Daily Archives: May 4, 2010

Jim Pickard

Rumours of a poll tonight that puts the Lib Dems at third place (update: 26 per cent at ComRes and 24 per cent at YouGov). If so, it would tally with what one Tory source told me today; the more people know about Clegg’s amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for over 10 years, the less they like it. (The Sunday Times had a frontpage article two days ago saying people loved Clegg but not his policies.) According to his account, quite a few people are talking about it on doorsteps wherever he goes.

Of course this could be a freak poll. Or there could be other reasons for the Lib Dem bounce losing momentum. 

Jim Pickard

Hello and goodbye to Manish Sood, Labour PPC for North-west Norfolk, who today won his 15 minutes of fame for slamming Gordon Brown’s premiership. Lord Mandelson has suggested that he is “a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.”

Here is Sood’s Sky interview where he moans that you can no longer leave milk bottles out without them being stolen. Pot holes on the roads, rising petrol tax, the increase in national insurance, everything is getting worse, he says. 

Gordon Brown’s impassioned speech to the Citizens’ UK meeting on Monday has been widely and rightly praised – he showed us a leader worth electing, a leader capable of inspiring. He also showed Labour activists a leader worth getting the vote out for. It reminded me of a speech he gave back in 1994 to a Labour regional conference when the party leadership had already all but slipped away from him – a gutteral, almost political scream, who showed Gordon the radical, the idealist. But again it came only when he already sensed he had nothing to lose. It makes one wonder what kind of leader he might have been had his innate caution not always held him back.

(As an aside it is extraordinary that he was moved to such an animated performance by the tearful intervention of a young woman detailing the financial travails of her mum who worked as a cleaner at the Treasury. This was after all the department Mr Brown ran for 11 years.)

In our election podcast, Charles Lewington points out that John Major also seemed to find a moment of release in the last days of the 1997 election campaign.

There is something terribly sad about modern politics that the political class finds candidates who seem to embody what we admire in raw form and spend the next years stripping out everything that made them admirable in the first place. Some might argue that David Cameron took this process to its logical conclusion by doing the work for us in advance. 

Labour’s possible defeat fills European Left’s cup of woe – Tony Barber in The FT
Brown ponders post-defeat exit – The FT
Tories fear tax credit threat - Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph
Election leaflets: The best and worse revealed – The Guardian
Brown’s barnstorming speech: What took him so long? – Jonathan Freedland
The Ulster effect – James Forsyth on Specator Coffee House

Jim Pickard

I only heard about Brown’s speech at Methodist Central Hall yesterday on the grapevine. And I’ve only just caught up with on YouTube.

It strikes me as one of the most tub-thumping and fervent speeches he has ever made – which may explain why nearly 40,000 people have seen it so far. (Labour officials believe it has had a galvanising impact on activists’ morale). You may think it’s too late to alter his chances. But worth watching nevertheless. 

Jim Pickard

Clarke has exercised his usual honesty in an interview with politics.co.uk, discussing how awful it would be to be in a Tory coalition. This may come back to haunt him if David Cameron strikes a deal with the smallest parties to form a government. 

Jim Pickard

Alistair Darling hosted an event this morning at a Labour event high in the Centrepoint tower. I asked him if there was any truth to Telegraph speculation that he could become a unifying Labour leader in the event of defeat on Thursday night. (It’s something we have speculated on before given the chancellor’s quiet dignity and astounding Teflon qualities)

Jim Pickard

The Electoral Commission donation figures for the first quarter have been rushed out ahead of the election.

The Tories received £12.3m in the period, vastly in excess of any rival party. 

Our expert election panel will meet for the final time on Friday afternoon for a video election debriefing. See the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

If coming third in the polls and a seemingly collapsing campaign strategy wasn’t causing enough stress within the Labour party, a Labour parliamentary candidate from North west Norfolk has called Gordon Brown “the worst prime minister we have had in this country”.

According to the Lynn News newspaper, Manish Sood, who is contesting a Tory-held seat, said: “I believe Gordon Brown has been the worst prime minister we have had in this country … It is a disgrace and he owes an apology to the people and the Queen.” 

The next chancellor’s spending cuts will have an impact on growth. One of the worries in the Treasury is lower than expected growth will then up the ante on the cuts required to tackle the deficit. It is an horrible negative feedback loop.

If you want a sense of the scale of the challenge, take a look at Chris Giles fascinating piece on the impact of the deficit reduction plans using a replica of the Bank of England’s economic model

They’re not perfect but the Tories fit the bill - FT Leader
Farewell New Labour but does Cam have a plan? – Philip Stephens, FT
Electoral reform is not a precondition – Clegg interview, FT
National Insurance row is an ‘irrelevance’ – FT
Vote Lib Dem if it makes sense in your area – Peter Hain in the Independent
My family will be voting Lib Dem in Norfolk – Ed Balls in New Statesman
Duffy and the shrieking gibbons – Armando Iannucci, The Independent
Tories 12 points behind in Lib Dem marginals – The Telegraph
But a word of warning about the sample size – UK Polling Report
Giving Lib Dems hope of taking Wells - The FT
Tory fundraising begins for second election – The Mail
The money is back on a hung parliament - Political Betting
Is Ed Balls throwing in the towel? – Mary Riddell in The Telegraph
Ministers drop tactical vote hints – The Evening Standard
Labour left clinging to hope – Julian Glover in The Guardian
Impartiality is over: Cameron gets my vote – Michael Grade for the Times
Off with their heads! Soon the cuts will begin – Rachel Sylvester for the Times
Brown delivers best speech of his campaign – Spectator Coffee House