Jack W asks: Were you up for Portillo ?
It was perhaps the most iconic moment of the 1997 general election as Michael Portillo was defeated at Enfield Southgate by the eyebrow raising fresh faced Stephen Twigg. It was also one of the Conservative defeats that locked in the Labour landslide. A defeat that was was well outside the expectations of both the BBC and ITN exit polls and early results swing of 8-10% Portillo fell off the scale at over 17%
Twelve years on we discuss casually the notion of that Labour landslide that saw Labour’s dissolution total increase by 145 seats and the Conservatives almost halved to 165. It was a landslide that many on the left dared not to believe would happen. Even Tony Blair was very cautious, ready as he was with Paddy Ashdown and electoral reform in his pocket. It’s also a strange feature of modern British politics that in the 20th century whilst Conservatives have formed more administrations, landslides have been the preserve of the centre left – Liberals in 1906 and Labour in 1945 and 1997. Is that about to change and to an extent few are prepared to hope for or fear ?
Certainly the polls are clear – The Conservatives are heading for government with a lead of over 12 points. But are the polls understating the Conservatives share as they tend to do. Even the 97 election exit polls underpolled the Conservatives by about 2.5 points and in contrast will the Smithson Labour poll rule that their worst poll will be their actual poll come into force?
Further will tactical wind now work to the Conservatives advantage and also differential turnout and swing in the marginals decimate Labour to even greater levels that will not see a Conservative landslide but a tsunami ? The Liberal Democrats would also suffer dramatic losses where even barnacle imcumbancy would not be enough to turn back such a dramatic electoral tide.
Economic “Events” might also work to the Conservatives advantage and a leaders debate might seal the deal as a poised “Prime Minister in waiting” Cameron comfortably bests both a tired, washed out Brown and inexperienced Clegg. If all these “events” run in the Conservatives favour and the electoral factors fall in place what will a Conservative Tsunami look look like ? Until now the nearest we come to is the vision of Nick Soames diving from a 10 meter board. No more !! …. A 2010 Conservative Tsunami is of the range :
Con 47% .. Lab 25% .. LibDem 18% .. Others 10% resulting in a seats total of Con 450 .. Lab 140 .. Lib Dem 30 .. Others 30.
With the spread markets operating in the broad range – Con 360 .. Lab 205 .. Lib Dem 50 there is plenty of scope for the bold to cash in and also to cherry pick some inspired constituency betting opportunities.
So is this just a Conservative dream scenario ? There were many Labour supporters after the 1992 disaster who could but dream of the 97 landslide. There had never been a third successive Labour administration until it happened in 2005. There is no electoral law that precludes a Conservative Tsunami. Are we being blind to a great betting opportunity ??
Friday 7th May 2010 …. Conservatives Gain Morley and Outwood
Were you up for Balls ?!?!