Despite almost universally glum economic projections, infinitesimal economic growth, inflation, unemployment, falling wages and terrible outlook, only You Gov, who weight Mirror/Daily Record readers double their responses in their online panel, now have Labour showing a significant lead. The rest show Labour at best neck and neck with the Conservatives. Labour have lost their Scottish Fastnesses to the Scottish Nationalists. The Tories are making headway in Wales, and Labour no-longer exists at all south of the Severn/Wash line save for a couple of pockets in London.
Labour represents almost no-one in this country who pay the taxes that keep the country afloat. They’re mistrusted by the elctorate on the economy and are seen as the party of benefit recipients, immigrants and the Public sector unions. Labour’s leader, Ed Miliband is risible, even less popular than Gordon Brown at the height of his unpopularity. Only the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls is more universally disliked.
At the conference, Miliband said “I am not Tony Blair” He paused, waiting for the cheers. What happened was that the assorted brothers in the hall hissed and booed at the name of Labour’s most successful ever leader. This is not a party which wants power. They want to enjoy the economic equivalent of smearing themselves in faeces, in opposition by opposing economic sanity at each turn.
Just about the only thing which could possibly save Labour now is a complete collapse of the Coalition’s economic policy. That is possible, but unlikely. (If you vote Labour, and want to take issue with this assessment, please, bugger off. I’m not interested in your economic brain-fart, any more than I would be interested in Halle Berry’s views on the importance of a decent forward defensive stroke). Even if we get a double dip recession, the economy will in all likelihood be recovering nicely by the time the next election hoves into view. In any case, global financial events are behind the slow-down. Just as Gordon Brown was not blamed (rightly) for the recession which Brown is judged to have handled deftly, the electorate do blame Labour for the cuts. The charge that Labour spent too much in the good times, leaving us vulnerable when the crunch came, has stuck. The electorate have surprisingly long memories.
Coming out of the Labour conference was no real, honest admission that they overspent and left the country unprepared for the recession when it came. Indeed whilst Shadow Cabinet members mouthed the need for deficit reduction, no-one really did so with the enthusiasm necessary to achieve so hard a political end, and the talk from the stage was all about the “savagery” or the “callousness” of the coalition’s economic plans. With this attitude, Labour are just not, and will not be trusted on the economy before the election.
Then there is the Boundary review, which I reckon will go through, which removes much of Labour’s inbuilt (unfair) advantage, as will individual voter registration which removes the opportunity for Labour to farm votes in ethnic minority communities. Finally the incumbency advantage will be behind the Tories.
The fact is Labour’s polling is boosted by the fact that saying something to a pollster when times are tough, as now, is a cheap way of telling the Government “I’m unhappy”. Mike Smithson of Political Betting.com believes that Leader approval ratings are a better guide to the future electoral success of parties than the standard “if there was an election tomorrow…” question, as voters in an election are looking for Prime-Ministers. If he’s right, Labour’s toast.
On the Today program, Jim Naughtie asked Ed Miliband “Why do people find you weird?” There is just no way Labour can win an election with such an implausible twat at the helm. Ed Miliband: My favourite Labour leader since Gordon Brown.