Thursday, July 27, 2006

More bad news for Ming

I don't want to become a prophet of doom for the Liberal Democrats, but today's ICM poll putting the Tories on 39pc, Labour on 35pc and the LDs on 17pc makes very grim reading.

As political betting guru Mike Smithson points out, there is now evidence that we are returning to an old-style two-party battle as the prospect of a tight election race in 2009/10 draws closer.

"For the first time in a decade and a half there is just the prospect of a Tory General Election win and it is this that might be keeping Labour stable and squeezing the Lib Dems," says Mike.

Furthermore, things could get worse before they get better. The Guardian's piece on the poll outlines a "nightmare scenario" in which Ming's conference speech bombs, new left-right splits emerge over "Orange Book II," and Charles Kennedy pops up to remind us all he ain't finished yet.

The sole silver lining to all is that Cameron is only four points ahead of Labour whereas he will need to be eight or nine points ahead to win a parliamentary majority under the current system.

Cameron is therefore likely to need to bring Campbell into a Tory-Lib Dem coalition - which would be fine if it wasn't for that the fact that Campbell would much rather go into a coalition with Gordon Brown.

I don't want to harp on - honest - but in the difficult electoral circumstances in which the Lib Dems now find themselves, it seems vital to me that the party has both a clear, distinctive message and a popular, charistmatic leader.

Currently, it has neither.

free web site hit counter


Joe Otten said...

...(c) all newspapers

And how is this different from the obituary you and all the papers have written every month this year? Each one made to look foolish at the polls.

Paul Linford said...

Oh come on Joe, you know perfectly well that by-election performances have absolutely no bearing on national share of the vote in a GE. If they did, the Lib Dems would have been in power continuously since about 1981.

Anonymous said...

What is your problem Paul?

Let him get on with it and stop trying to bring him down all the time for christ's sake.

And you'd seriously rather have the drunk in charge. It's ridiculous.

Paul Linford said...

What's ridiculous is the political judgement of Lib Dem MPs who, although they were hitting 25pc in the polls, thought they should be doing much better than that, decided to replace the leader, and ended up with 18pc - the difference, for a third party, between winning 60 seats and winning 10.

The drinking was a convenient pretext as I suspect you perfectly well know - if you're not an insider, why are you posting anonymously?

Anonymous said...

the drinking was NOT a convenient pretext. You can not have a party leader who didnt turn up to events because he was incapable. Or one who fluffed early morning election launches (LIT) What is more, he was losing the respect of journalists and key opinion formers with the position he was in.

He is a very good and decent man and a very talented politician but that job was not helping him or the Party. He was a very large reason why we had 25% of the polls but that was not a reason to keep him there. It was unsustainable in the long term and would have cost the Party dearly.

Paul Linford said...

I'm not advocating that Charles shouldn't have come clean about his drinking or sought treatment for it, but that he should have been allowed to contest the leadership election, which he would, in my view, have won.

Instead he was stabbed in the back by 25 MPs, most of whom had already decided to vote for Ming, in the hope that a coronation would duly follow. Thanks to Mark Oaten, Simon Hughes and pre-eminently Chris Huhne, it didn't. But that does not minimise the catastrophic error of judgement which those MPs committed in seeking to deny their members a choice in the election and saddle the party with a leader who has proved to be public relations disaster of IDS proportions.