None of this is original, but it needs saying, given the feverish atmosphere of daily polls, talk of collapses etc. If I may quote from the fragrant Toynbee, today:
“What will be the abiding legacies of Labour’s era? What will last? Governments list those things that they planned and politicked for, but more enduring may be the shadow of things over which governments seem powerless…”
There is an air of fin de siecle, wouldn’t you say? A strong hint that she believes that her beloved Labour are on the way out. Likewise, the soft leftie Matthew Norman, only 3 days ago:
“But the Shakespearean tragedy lies in the fact that he did become prime minister and that a man driven by ambition to sell his spiritual birthright for a post he could only mess up spent almost his entire time in office raging, raging – at others, but really at himself – against the dying of the light…”
Or the undoubtedly pro-Labour Jenni Russell, 2 days ago, in a superbly insightful piece on the Brown Bully:
“Gordon Brown’s rages are well known among the small circle in which he operates, are deeply destructive to good governance, and are a key to understanding why this man’s government has been so unco-ordinated, unhappy and ineffectual in so many ways..”
And from the unashamedly pro-capitalist Jeff Randall:
“I inferred from Mr Darling’s equanimity that he has accepted his fate. For him, the Downing Street game is nearly over. Even if Labour were to pull off a remarkable election victory, securing another overall majority, the chances of him being invited to remain as Chancellor are slimmer than a collection of Mr Brown’s witticisms. In the unlikely event that the Prime Minister finds himself back in charge, you can be sure that only loyal Yes Persons will be rehired..”
At least Jeff sportingly concedes Brown has a tiny chance. He’s probably just being polite.
There is a theme in all this, that Labour are finished, out, going, dead etc. No sign of a hung parliament, just losers. The Guardian has run a piece today exploring Tory anxieties about a hung parliament, yet none of the media, particularly the left inclined media, are showing any sign that they genuinely believe it to be likely.
All of this makes perfect sense in some ways, best summarised by Danny Finkelstein in The Times:
“This talk is all based on the very simple idea that the Tory vote will rise and Labour’s fall by pretty much the same amount in every seat in the country. And that isn’t going to happen.”
As the occasionally pessimistic, and excitable Michael Brown points out:
“Mr Cameron still has hidden advantages that may yet secure a comfortable Commons majority. According to this week’s PR/Angus Reid poll in Labour marginals (where Tories are the main challengers) there is a 12 per cent swing from Labour to the Tories since the 2005 election compared with the 7.5 per cent swing registered in the national polls. Private polling for the Tories also seems to indicate that they are making their votes count where it matters…”
If, as is the case, your campaign is based on aggressively targeting marginals, in the widely admired (and feared) policy pioneered by Lord Ashcroft, why should you get so nervous about polls which require uniform swings across the country?
The answer is, you shouldn’t.
*Full text here