I see Mike Smithson’s taking advantage of the Tories’ two per cent poll lead over Labour to call into question the future of Ed Milliband. However, that question has always been there. He’s simply not rated as a political operator, even by own his party’s footsoldiers at Westminster.
If anything the mystery has been his substantive lead over the government. Even now, it’s not that he’s dropped points, more that Cameron’s disaffected Eurosceptics are coming back to after his ‘veto’ move last week. For now, the two party arrangement – which over the very long term has favoured by the UK’s quaint First Past The Post system – is slowly reasserting itself.
For now, there is only Labour and Conservative in the game. And the second part of Cameron’s two part play with the LibDems comes into play: after the romance, comes the brush off. As my old buddy in arms, and co-author of The Long Peace, David Steven spotted it immediately after the Euro walk out:
Nick Clegg is dead, politically. That was already true, but I can’t imagine even Miriam González Durántez now plans to support her husband at the next election. Paradoxically, accepting his terminal status could give Clegg new freedom of action. Instead of continuing to play the role of coalition gimp, he should offer leadership to those keen to explore what comes after the storm. Politicians with proper jobs – Cameron, Osborne, even Cable – are going to be overwhelmed by events throughout this parliament, even in the best case where Europe struggles back onto its feet. Clegg, though, has an opportunity to focus energy on the longer term. He’ll still lead the Lib Dems to electoral Armageddon, but catalysing a vision for renewal might make posterity a little kinder to the poor man.[emphasis added]
As predicted, locked into an executive they have no control of, the LibDems have been relegated to the status of ‘mudguard’.