Looking at the British political scene from a sunny French beach it’s clear that’s what’s changed in the past 2 years is that Blair’s adventure with George Bush has cost him the support of the chattering classes.
It was these groups’ abandonment of John Major and their enthusiastic embracing of New Labour that set the scene for the ’97 landslide. The media honeymoon that continued until last year was driven by the widespread view amongst the chattering classes that Blair was a ”good thing”.
This has now been destroyed, probably for ever, by going to war without the UN’s sanction, the absence of WMDs, and the Hutton and Butler reports.
- The chattering classes have simply fallen out of love with Tony.
Thus the hottest ticket this autumn is for David Hare’s Iraq satire “Stuff Happens” at the National, the “impeach Blair” move threatens to evolve from a “silly season” filler to a running sore for Number 10, and the Observer and Indy will continue to stoke up rows llke the one with Greg Dyke.
The polls seem to show that Iraq is not the issue it was but it’s the chattering classes mood change that no longer gives the PM the beneflt of the doubt on other matters that could be most dangerous.
Fortunately for Tony Blair the chattering classes are still “out of love” with the Tories and it’s a brave person who expresses pro-Michael Howard sentiments in polite company.
Taking all this into account we think that Labour will be 15 seats either way of a hung parliament which will be the outcome at 323 seats or less.
Selling Labour at 343 seats in the spread markets continues to look good value.
Guide to the Polls
Anthony Wells has produced an excellent, if lengthy, guide to opinion polling on his site. http:// anthonywells.typepad.com/ anthony_wells
Anybody betting on the basis of what the polls are showlng will find it very helpful.