Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Brown Bounce and the return of the Vulcan

Remember when the Tories were ahead in the polls and those same polls reported that, if Brown became P.M. then the Tory lead would widen? Well, the “Brown bounce” appears to be holding. The YouGov poll for The Sunday Times puts Labour 10 points ahead on 42% (the Lib-Dems are on a measly 14% which does not augur well for Ming the Monotonous). Brown seems to have gauged the Bush summit correctly: 71% see him as less close to Bush than was Blair. 65% say Brown is doing well as Prime Minister compared to 17% who say he is doing badly: a positive rating of 48%. The Ipsos-Mori poll in Saturday’s Sun showed 69% saying that Brown was the best leader to deal with emergency situations such as foot-and-mouth and floods compared to just 10% for Cameron. There is a lot of speculation about an early election, but that is unlikely for several reasons: Labour needs to sort out its finances; the SNP appear to have a big poll lead in Scotland; and Brown is an innately cautious politician who likes to play the long game. At this point it is impossible to say whether Labour can consolidate its poll lead. It will be interesting to see what the picture looks like after the party conference season. If by the end of November the Tories are still behind in the polls with a rating in the low 30’s my money is on a Cameron decapitation. Interestingly the Ipsos-Mori poll showed 43% would rather share a pint with Brown compared to 41% who would rather share a pint with Cameron. I wouldn’t have though Cameron was a pint man: isn’t Pyms more his style? Meanwhile the Observer reports the return of the Vulcan. John Redwood in his report to the Tory leadership on competitiveness will recommend tax cuts. He will try to square this with the Cameron line by arguing that, of course, this should only happen “if it does not destabilise the economy”, but reading between the lines he is clearly signalling disagreement. The report seems likely to fuel divisions within the Conservative Party. (Redwod was last heard of earlier this year arguing that global warming would be good for the tourist industry. As Steve Bell has remarked, he does not try to conceal his madness).


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