Monday, 22 May 2017

A Most Welcome Mid-Campaign Wobble

As alarming as yesterday's poll showing that the Tory lead has narrowed to 'just' 9 points was, it was probably a salutary moment, regardless of how accurate it was. Last week Labour got a lot of publicity and for once got to talk about policies. Now to my mind its policies are idiotic and dangerous and would reduce this country to penury and the people Labour claim to care most about to something worse. But I am not really the target audience for such absurdities. Labour is reaching out to vested interests. That is what Chauncey's Labour do now. They don't bother with the people that the party was actually founded to defend. They reach out and seek to represent various minority groups and shamelessly bribe them with money that from their magic money tree.

There are always wobbly moments during all election campaigns. This is not a long one by historical standards. It is mercifully aeons shorter than the 2015 campaign that started around Christmas time thanks to the Fixed Term Parliament Act. But that is still plenty of time to discuss various issues and policies and to talk about things that the parties would like to talk about and indeed what they do not want to talk about. The list of things Labour does not want to talk about is as long as my arm. When the media talks about these things they are biased. To prove that they are not biased, or at least try to present both sides of the argument, last week they talked about Labour's promises. A few people seem to have believed that these are actually deliverable, hence the bump in the polls.

The Tories are paying a short term price in the polls for having the courage to admit the partial truth about what they and indeed any government would be obliged to do with regard to issues like pensioner benefits, the cost of care and so on. To go the whole way through the campaign without addressing these issues is simply untenable. Yet that seems to be the Labour approach to this election. Talk about what we want to talk about, but if you talk about what we don't want to talk about then that is unconscionable bias. Wait 'til we get in and pass legislation making you 'accountable.'

It remains to be seen how real that bump in the polls really is. It is probably not as dramatic as The Sunday Times poll showed it to be, but not an illusion either. It was likely a slight outlier, but not completely an outlier. Somewhere in the middle then.

In truth Tories should be pleased. The last thing they want is complacency or a sense of inevitability, even if both will be hard to avoid. The biggest vote for any party in history remains that for John Major's Tories back in 1992 when there was a very real prospect of Neil Kinnock becoming prime minister. The best way to emulate that kind of turnout is to persuade people, by no means all of them core Conservative voters, that there is a very real prospect of Chauncey being our next prime minister, not necessarily by winning a majority, but by means of an electoral accident that would see him parachuted into power with the aid of Lib Dems and the SNP et al. After all we saw just that sort of electoral accident deliver Donald Trump to the presidency only 8 months ago. The same could easily happen here.

It was always likely that this election would become tighter as the campaign wound on, although as we head into the last couple of weeks the Conservatives will be letting loose their heaviest ammunition in the form of the idiocies of Chauncey, Abbott and co these last 30 years. This has been made more likely given the brave decision of Mrs May to be honest about the hard choices she will have to make over the next 5 years that Labour can avoid by virtue of having not offered a serious prospectus for government, but a teenage wish list. The Tories have had their wobble this weekend, now is the time to get out and show that they are the grown up politicians being honest with the British people. Under David Cameron and george Osborne they won plaudits for being honest with the public about the need for austerity, an austerity they then failed really to deliver. Now Mrs May must invoke the same spirit of the need for hard choices rather than the politics of no choice offered by Labour.

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