Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Labour may never, ever win power on its own again | Andrew Rawnsley | Comment is free | The Observer

Yet this Labour depression is not mirrored by Conservative elation. The Tories are naturally happier than their Labour counterparts. You would rather have David Cameron's problems than be afflicted with Gordon Brown's. But the Tories do not look like a government in waiting which is striding confidently towards office. One symptom of this is that they are still focused much more on campaign tactics than they are on strategic planning for power. One member of the shadow cabinet describes David Cameron as a leader obsessed with "the getting there rather than the being there".

This is understandable. It is in the nature of parties that have been in opposition for many years to be paranoid that the prize may be snatched from their grasp. The polls are bleak for Labour, but they do not tell us that there is a wave of national enthusiasm for their rivals. There is no evidence that Britain is yearning to be ruled by the Conservatives. In the last 20 published polls, the Tories have been at 40 points or above in just six. They have never climbed higher than 41 and have frequently drifted down towards the mid-thirties. This is not at all impressive against an old, tired and confused government led by a prime minister who is a woeful communicator and at a time when the jobless total is marching inexorably towards 3 million. The Conservatives really ought to be performing much better than this. Labour was routinely polling in the high forties and quite often above 50% when it was on its way back to power before 1997. It has been a regular refrain from David Cameron that he needs to "seal the deal" with the electorate. This he has still not done.
Labour may never, ever win power on its own again | Andrew Rawnsley | Comment is free | The Observer
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