Would his plan have gone through if his ratings were better?
The key impact that opinion polls have is not in predicting the general election but in setting the whole back-cloth for the way current politics is conducted.
So is this how we should explain the lack of support for Mr. Brown’s tax plan from other leading countries at yesterday’s meeting of G20 finance minister?
If Brown looked set to continue in office for the next five years then his ideas would have had to be taken more seriously by our international partners. But they can read the polls and hardly anyone believes that Brown will be in the job by June. This is what happens at the fag-end of a government.
A couple of the Sunday political columnists pick up the theme that power is already transferring to Mr. Cameron. This is how Matthew D’Ancona sees it in the Sunday Telegraph.
“Let the record show that the Cameron government came into being on November 4 2009. Not officially, of course: that must await the formalities of a general election and the kissing of hands. But last week was the moment that we started to treat David Cameron as the de facto leader of the nation, with all the attendant scrutiny and expectations….Jack Straw has often observed that â€“ in the voters’ minds â€“ New Labour has been in power since Tony Blair became leader of the Opposition in July 1994. The equivalent shift became observable on Wednesday, as Cameron announced his party’s new policy on the European Union. The response of the domestic media (Cameron’s first big U-turn) and our continental partners (the Tories are “autistic”) was the response one accords to a governing party, or a party so close to being in government that it makes no odds”
The Independent on Sunday’s John Rentoul who’s a Tony Blair biographer has some interesting insights comparing the Cameron style with that of the former Labour leader. Writing about the Lisbon referendum decision Rentoul notes “..that in one bound Cameron is free.”
“..Delaying last week’s announcement until the Lisbon Treaty was finally a legal fact was cowardly, intellectually unsatisfactory and absolutely right. The delay allowed the Foxite wing of his party to come to terms in advance with their betrayal. Cameron now has as much room for manoeuvre on Europe as is possible while leading a fundamentally Eurosceptic party… In a negative sense, then, of getting awkward stuff out of the way, Cameron is prepared for government.”
The problem for Gordon in all of this is that these perceptions make his challenge that much harder. How can her persuade voters that he’s the right man when this is how the world treats him? Just compare this weekend with the response he got after other intentional gatherings in the past twelve months.
Life’s tough – perhaps he ought to invite John Major for a natter over a cup of tea?