The Tory rollercoaster continues to fall
With the Tory buy price on the spread markets down to 197 seats – just 32 more than the 2001 General Election total – the question of whether there will be another Tory calamity depends on the outcome of a battle in which the party will hardly be involved and over which, like William Hague’s rollercoaster in the picture, it has little control
For the real issue that will determine whether it is Blair by a big majority or not will be the extent to which the Lib Dems eat into the Labour vote.
If they can do what they have in previous elections and pull back from Labour 5-6% on their poll ratings then there could be a shock outcome.
After fighting off, just, the Lib Dem challenges from third places in Birmingham Hodge Hill and Hartlepool, Labour are approaching the coming fight with some confidence and campaign managers like Fraser Kemp think they’ve got the measure of Charles Kennedy’s party.
The real worry for Labour is that whenever the Lib Dems have had a lot of exposure, like at their conference, they’ve shot up in the polls . In September ICM, Mori, Populus and CR recorded Lib Dem ratings in the 25-29% range with Labour down to 28% in one survey.
A flavour of the ferocity of what we can expect came in comments over the weekend from Ben – who is very close to the New Labour establishment. The Lib Dems, he noted, are ….committed to introducing a local income tax and 39 other new taxes….Oppose giving pensioners Â£100 towards their Council Tax…they Oppose the Pension Credit which already gives pensioners up to Â£25 a week extra on top of their pensions….Opposition to ID cards.. .Proposals to allow16 year olds will be able to appear in and purchase porn..Relax the laws to make it easier to open sex shops…Opposition to restricting the sale of airguns and spray-paint to over 18s..Opposition to Anti Social Behaviour Orders etc. etc.
The Lib Dem rhetoric looks set to build on the collapse of trust in Blair over Iraq and link it to key domestic issues. You can see the line developing....”if you can’t trust Tony Blair over mega-issues like WMDs and the 45 minute warning how can you believe him over the economy, health and education?”.
While all this is going on Michael Howard will just have to watch and wait. His decision to impose support for ID card on his party means that on two key issues, that and Iraq, there is clear yellow water between the Tories and the Lib Dems.
The latest General Election seat spreads from Spreadfair – the spreadbetting exchange are LAB 351.5-353: CON 195-197: LIBD 71 -71.5: SNP 5-6: PC 4-5: UKIP 0.5-1.1. The UKIP and PC sell prices are down as is the Tory buy price.
There will come a time when there is betting value on the Tories but not yet. The recent market moves are totally in line with what we predicted three weeks ago.
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