- Do Labour need to do more than just hold on?
By an accident of timing the fieldwork for both ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian and the Communicate Research survey for the Independent is due to start a week tomorrow when, no doubt, the results of the Sedgefield and Ealing Southall by elections will be dominating the news.
So with its new leader being in office for little more than a fortnight Labour desperately needs to keep up the momentum and an ideal end to parliamentary year would be for more clear leads in the polls on top of comfortable by election victories.
Clearly maintaining the margins of May 2005 might be challenging but for Gordon Labour’s by elections majorities should raise no questions about his leadership.
- The last thing that the new Prime Minister wants is for the party to limp home like the Tories did in Bromley a year ago.
That’s pressure but next Thursday is going to be no easier for David Cameron. For the best you can say about the Tories and by elections is that their performances in recent decades have been totally abysmal.
- If Cameron is to prove that he is an electorally popular leader he needs to show that his party can be successful in this form of political beauty contest.
Unlike Bromley where his local party side-lined him in the candidate selection and campaign Cameron has become central to the Tory Southall effort. A top two finish there is essential if the young Tory leader is to maintain his credibility.
And what about Ming – the leader of the party that has made by election sensations its electoral USP? With the whisperings against his leadership he needs solid performances in both seats to show that the LDs are still a force to be reckoned with.
I had a long phone call last night with a leading member of the Lib Dem campaign team in Ealing Southall whose main observations were on Labour’s approach. Its campaign has been far less visible than the other main parties and he thought that they were suffering from their choice of candidate.
Having as your standard-bearer a 70 year old non-Sikh in a seat with the largest Sikh concentration in the country could prove to be costly.
– still on holiday in Burgundy where the local agricultural produce is not disappointing