On a morning that has seen a second national opinion poll showing Labour an election-losing 9% behind there is a provocative piece from the Independent on Sunday’s veteran commentator, Alan Watkins. He argues, in his own style, that quite simply that the age of Labour is dead.
He writes: “..Mr David Cameron is doing well but not quite well enough. In view of various disasters for the Government since October, he ought to be miles ahead in the polls. That seems to be the view among my colleagues…The corollary is that there is ample time, until June 2010, for Mr Brown to recover. My own view is that there was a shift in public opinion in 2007 or even as early as 2006, and that since then the period of Labour is slowly, and often painfully, playing itself out…..not on your nelly can Labour recover, not with Gordon Brown as leader.”
The latest poll, following on from the Populus 9% deficit two weeks ago will make particularly depressing reading in Downing Street. For, unlike in the troubled weeks before the Christmas recess, things have not been too bad for the party.
Yes there was Peter Hain – but then the Tories had Derek Conway.
The hard truth for vulnerable Labour MPs is that all this was so predictable. For eighteen months before Brown became PM the polls were showing a pretty consistent picture of what a Gordon premiership would do to his party’s ratings. Yet there was a collective act of self-denial and what was being produced by one pollster after another was ignored.
Like the Tories said about IDS in 2001 it was argued that once in the job Gordon would be fine. Apart from the freakish honeymoon period it has not happened.
Having said that I’m far from convinced that the Tories can win a majority.