14 February 2011

The Fig-Leaf Society and the coming poll wipeout

Hell, call me Crozier but I enjoyed Desperate Dave on the news today trying to shore up the Big Society. Remember the heady days of being ahead in the polls Dave? Because the way things are going, they're gone for good. Labour was 10% ahead on YouGov recently and not far shy of that in most other polls. The development since Christmas is that why the Lib Dems are still stuck in the 10% doldrums, the Tories have slipped back from 40% to the mid-30s - and it's unlikely they'll be able to hold that for long.

Of course, being ahead in the polls is not a surefire guide to how the next election will turn out. Any of you kids remember Neil Kinnock? He had a double-digit lead in 1989-90, and still lost the 1992 election by 7 percentage points (albeit only after the Tories changed their leader). So no-one on the opposition front bench should get complacent. But the improved Labour poll performance should at least put questions about Ed Miliband's leadership to rest for the time being.

And as Ken Clarke (probably the most honest man in the ConDem govt) points out, the middle classes haven't even been hit by spending cuts yet. My guess is we are looking at a 20 point lead for Labour in the opinion polls by the end of 2011, and probably more like 30 points by the end of 2012. Now some of this support will be very soft, but not all of it - and I would be very surprised if Ed Miliband comes away with less than 45% of the vote at the next election. In fact I am going to see if I can put some money down at the bookies' on that basis.

It is amusing to watch Dave trying to shore up this Big Society concept - a Fig Leaf cover for massive spending cuts - and a rhetoric which no-one even in his own party believes in. Or at least it would be amusing, if thousands of people weren't going to die as a result of these policies.

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