Politics outside London NW6…

To be honest I’ll be glad when it is all over. It looks like the Cons will be the biggest party. There was a poll in the News of the Screws yesterday from the marginals, which suggested the Tories would get an overall majority of four. Obviously some minions  on the Murdoch Death Star were trying to prove to the boss that all their mindless cheerleading for Call Me Dave had been worthwhile.

In fact, I think such polls will solidify the anti-Tory vote. It has happened in the past when certain ‘rogue’ opinion polls have suggested a surprise result and concentrated the minds of those opposed to such a result.

Those with quite long memories will remember ‘Wobbly Thursday’ in the ’87 campaign. A week before the polls, when with apparent meltdown at Tory Party HQ  and Labour ‘winning’ the campaign, a poll gave the Conservatives just a 4% lead over Labour. This concentrated Conservative minds, and they got a majority of over 100 instead. In 1992, while most of the polls had suggested a hung Parliament, the eve of the notorious Sheffield rally showed Labour suddenly getting 4%, 6% and 7% leads in three polls. Although the Sheffield rally’s triumphalist euphoria a week before the election did not help, I think a lot of ‘soft’ Conservative support rallied behind the Party when they saw a possible Labour breakthrough and they managed to get the Conservatives a  majority of 21 instead.

During the 1997 campaign virtually all the polls showed a very solid Labour lead, until the Wednesday before the election an ICM poll suggested Labour’s lead had been cut to 5%. (I remember it was in The Guardian, where a lot of letter writers next day suggested it should not have been published. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph, edited by Charles ‘Lord Snooty’ Moore, ran it as a front page story, even though its regular Gallup opinion poll suggested Labour still had a solid lead.) I think that jolted a lot of anti-Tory voters out of complacency over the result (me included) and led to a bigger Labour landslide than would otherwise would have happened. I was surprised in 2001 there was not at least one ‘rogue’ poll suggesting the Conservatives were catching up with Labour, just to get overall turnout above 60%.

So we will see. There seems to be a lot more enthusiasm amongst the Media, and what the Media finds interestingthan the public about the Election. One of the oft-repeated cliches of this election is that the public feels the politicians are not being honest with them, although I cannot see why that should be so. If only there were more people like Peter Hitchens, telling it  like it is.

While I hope the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition have a reasonably good General Election there is not much else  going on the extra-Labour Left to inspire. In Scotland the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity (under the TUSC umbrella) are both standing 10 candidates each. It was not so long ago when the SSP was fighting every seat in Scotland and was getting around 10% in Glasgow. Now the SSP, Solidarity and Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party are all fighting Glasgow North-East.  Real Judean Peoples’ Front v Peoples’ Front of Judea v Judean Popular Front stuff…

The SWP are standing some candidates under the TUSC banner, but after his glory days with George Galloway and Respect John Rees is sitting this one out with his fellow expellees from the SWP. He appears to be taking up the political programme of the late and largely unlamented Gerry Healy and his Workers’ Revolutionary Party. ‘General Strike Now’ anyone?  Hopefully JR can use the best Trotskyite newspaper headline ever, courtesy of the WRP’s ‘Workers Press’ in February 1974: ‘FOUR DAYS TO MILITARY DICTATORSHIP!’ (John Callaghan, The Far Left in British Politics, p.80.)

Blarrgh, soon be over…

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Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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