26 April 2010

How are we doing so far?

Relax - a week on Friday and it will all be over. Just as well, I hear you whimper. So how are we doing? Not well, I fear.

None of the parties has come clean about the public spendng cuts and/or tax increases required to reduce the deficit to the level to which each is ostensibly committed. None of them will therefore have a mandate to do what needs to be done. Which in turn means an unholy row when whichever of the parties (or combinations thereof) takes office seeks to implement a programme for action. Winning the election may not therefore be of longer-term political advantage. (Insert here your own 'Ah didnae ken/well ye ken noo' joke).

What do the polls tell us? I draw two main conclusions. First, the Tories are stuck at about 35%, enough to give them the most seats but not enough for an absolute majority (despite Boris' entertaining but mistaken fulminations in this morning's Telegraph). Unless the Tories can get much closer to 40%, we are faced with a hung parliament. A week is a long time in politics, I know, but is it long enough for the toffs to recover a winning lead?

Secondly, Labour are now lying third in terms of the popular vote. Regardless of how many seats this may deliver, it will be seen as a defeat for Brown and the manoeuvring to replace him has already begun. Unfair, perhaps, as Labour was never likely to have a winning hand at this election; but it has been a shoddy, ill-directed campaign up to now, marked by an increasingly desperate flailing about in the search for a tune which will play with the voters. Can they recover the ground lost before next Thursday? Of course they can. Will they? Seems doubtful to me.

Meanwhile, the First Minister is reduced to petulantly stamping his feet on the sidelines. Our Alex is giving an all too accurate impression of a wee laddie shouting at the assembled throng 'Look at me, look at me'; nobody sees him, however, and nobody is listening. But grace under pressure is not a quality one usually associates with Mr Salmond.

So there we are. Cursed to live in interesting times.

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