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Remember that even Tony Blair with all his magic was never able to lead New Labour to victory in the Euro elections

May 13th, 2014

The closed list PR system has never worked for the red team

The Westminster polling above is from May 1999 when Tony Blair’s New Labour was riding high and William Hague’s Tories were struggling to make an impact. At the time those sorts of 20%+ poll leads were common place and, as we all know, two years later New Labour went on to win a second huge landslide victory only a few seats down on 1997.

Yet success in the closed list PR system used since 1999 for the European elections always eluded Tony Blair in spite of his extraordinary record in general elections.

    If Blair was unable to do it in the most clement of conditions for his party then is it any wonder that EdM’s Labour is going to struggle?

For Labour has always had a challenge getting its supporters out to vote when the government of the country is not a stake.

On top of that the red team is facing the Lynton Crosby campaign which has superb message discipline and a coherent and easy to understand proposition on an EU referendum. Compare that with the muddle of last week’s Labour PPB which didn’t even touch on Europe.

An added bonus for the Tories is the voting confusion for potential UKIP backers caused by the party, “An Alternative in Europe – UK Independence Now”, that appears at the top of the ballot in all but one of the English regions. When I first saw this on the list I was confused. At this stage it is hard to quantify the impact but it could be quite significant and this won’t be picked up by the polling.

Electors could fill in their postal forms at home or cast their votes on the day wrongly believing that they have voted for Farage’s party.

My view is that the Tories are in with a good chance.

Mike Smithson

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