Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Gordon Brown urges voters to 'come home to Labour' after late poll boost.

As we near the finishing line Gordon Brown is coming out fighting.

The momentum behind a last-minute resurrection of Gordon Brown's election campaign grew last night after he delivered a powerful testimony to his party's achievements and appealed to undecided voters to consider their record and "come home to Labour".

Buoyed by a strengthening in Labour's polling position – YouGov today puts the party back in the lead in terms of the number of seats – Brown told a rally of 500 party faithful in Manchester that they had a record to be proud of and to fight for.

In a passionate and detailed speech, he read out a 55-point list of Labour's achievements, ranging from the minimum wage to free museum entry, to rapturous applause.

Brown, who was flanked by 10 cabinet ministers, warned that a Tory government would undo that progress, and launched a powerful critique of David Cameron's judgment, saying the Tory leader would have left families to "sink or swim" in the recession, and businesses to go to the wall, and have seen unemployment as a "price worth paying".

The scary thing is that every word of what Brown says is true. The Tories did want the recession to be allowed to bite as deeply as it could and they did see unemployment as "a price worth paying".

They should be punished heavily at the polls for their callousness but, for the longest time, it didn't look like it was going to work out that way.

However, if the latest polls can be believed, the Tories may very well fail in their bid to have a majority.

Lord Mandelson, who described the speech as "another bravura performance", highlighted today's YouGov/Sun poll which put the Tories unchanged on 35%. Labour was up two points on 30% while the Liberal Democrats were down four points on 24%.

This could give Labour 288 seats, the Tories would have 261 and the Lib Dems would have 72.

"We have a day to go," Mandelson said. "This poll shows we are still in it. Far from David Cameron waltzing into No 10, the public are not dancing to his tune. They are looking very carefully at the choice between Labour and the Conservatives."

This last minute surge in Labour's fortunes has sent David Cameron around the country on an all night long campaign to pull in those final undecided voters.

David Cameron urged voters to rally to the Conservatives as he embarked on a non-stop, 30-hour tour of 10 target seats across the British Isles to try to cement his support in the final hours of the election campaign.

The Tory leader sought to underscore his determination to win an overall majority on Thursday by campaigning through the night, declaring he was a unifying force, "fighting for change, fighting to win and fighting for people".

Cameron is the man who, had anyone asked me six months ago, I would have said would waltz into Number Ten in this election.

But, it's not working out that way because, much as he talks of "change", he has utterly failed to let the British people know what that change might look like.

This has allowed Nick Clegg to sell himself as the real agent of change and to steal Cameron's clothes.

My gut still tells me that Cameron will form the next government, but the fact that we are this close to election day and there is still this amount of doubt about the final outcome says a lot about the incompetence of the campaign which he has run.

No-one has a bloody clue what he stands for; other than the fact that he is not Gordon Brown. For many months it appeared as if that would be enough to see him across the finishing line.

But, as the election approached, one could almost feel the country having second thoughts. They don't want Brown, but neither has Cameron convinced them of what he stands for.

As we go into the last day of the campaign, it would be a very brave man who would risk money betting on the outcome. Unless he was betting on a hung parliament. Because, at the moment, that's about the only thing I feel sure of.

That, and the fact that Cameron has still not sealed the deal...

And, as if to undermine that point, here's an example of the kind of fire which Brown is now displaying.

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