Monday, April 19, 2010

Liberal surge is biggest shock to electoral landscape for years.

None of us could have foreseen that the debate between the three party leaders was going to shake the equation in quite the way which it appears to have done.

Never before have the polls put all three parties so close to each other during the course of an election campaign.

An election that last week the Conservatives looked close to being able to win outright now appears to be entirely up in the air. The ground was already starting to move even before Thursday night's debate. At 21 per cent, Liberal Democrat support was up on last week by two points, while the Tory lead over Labour had fallen back from nine points to six.

But now, in the immediate wake of the leaders' debate, the Liberal Democrats have gained a further nine points. At 30 per cent they are two points ahead of Labour and only two points behind the Conservatives. This represents the biggest shock to the political landscape since Labour's debacle in October 2007 over the election that never was.

This has come about because the government of Gordon Brown is unpopular, yet the nation has still not reconciled itself to being led by the Conservatives.

And, once again, Cameron is proving that he simply doesn't understand the mood out there.

David Cameron responded to the explosion in Liberal Democrat support by warning last night that a vote for Nick Clegg risks the country being "stuck" with Gordon Brown in No 10 after the election.

In a Guardian interview Cameron adopted a clear Vote Clegg, Get Brown message, saying: "It is the Conservatives who offer decisive change – anything else and you risk being stuck with what you have got."

The country feels that it time for change, but they are not in any way excited about a return to power by the Tories. If they can vote Lib Dem and get Labour that might be just what their consciences need.

It says a lot about how little Cameron has done to sell his newly minted Conservative party that many people are actually hoping for a hung parliament.
Not only do 90 per cent of Liberal Democrats think a hung parliament would be a good idea, but more than half of Conservative supporters would like Nick Clegg to have a role in the next government.
A hung parliament would be my preferred option. If we have to have the Tories back in power then let's at least limit the amount of damage that they can do.

I'm a Labour supporter but I don't really want us to win. I think a victory in these circumstances might seem an awful lot like the Pyrrhic victory Major won over Kinnock. That, ultimately, kept the Tories out of power for thirteen years. It would have been better for the Tories had Major lost.

Labour needs time to rebuild, and a hung parliament would allow them to do so whilst ensuring that Cameron is held firmly in check.

Clegg is doing the nation a service by making that much more likely.

Click here for full article.

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