30 April 2010

David Cameron is on his way to Downing Street

After three ninety minute TV debates the election campaign is almost over.  There is not much left to be revealed apart the weekend polls.  Unless they tell us we are living in another world, Cameron will be asked to form a government next Friday.

Cameron passed the test on Thursday by saying nothing.  Earlier in the day had been asked about the 'Gillian Duffy incident' and correctly refused to comment.  Then, it was left to Gordon Brown to close the lid on Labour's period in office, which he did twice during the debate itself.

First, he had this to say in his opening statement:
There is a lot to this job and, as you saw yesterday, I don't get all of it right.
Second, in his closing staement:
I know that if things stay as they are, perhaps in eight days' time David Cameron, perhaps supported by Nick Clegg, would be in office.
He must be the first Prime Minister to have conceded before the polls close.

What happened in between those two remarks didn't amount to very much.  Brown was negative and smiled at the wrong times.  Clegg wobbled, especially on immigration, but he had done enough during the first debate.  Cameron finally got the hang of having an election campaign in 270 minutes and for the first time started to sound like a Prime Minister.

The media narrative will now move from hung parliament mania to endless speculation as to whether Cameron will get an overall majority.  The challenge for him over the next six days is to transform himself, in a seemless way, from being an opposition leader to the country's next Prime Minister.  His first post-debate test will come when he is interviewed by Andrew Marr.

Like the 1983 election, the real battle is over who finishes second.  Nick Clegg is best advised to cease all talk of what may happen after polling day and concentrate on maximising the Lib Dem vote.  He just needs to smile, nod, wave and avoid any banana skins.

The dear old Labour party has to keep the show on the road, stay united and hope that their core vote doesn't collapse.  A lack of discipline from within the ranks before the polls close will just make matters worse for the exhausted comrades.  How the party conducts itself next Friday depends on whether Ed Balls holds his seat.

Let's hope that Gordon Brown conducts himself in a dignified way before he leaves office and his opponents allow him to do so, but first he has to negotiate his way through the interview with Jeremy Paxman.  The sad truth about that, as with so much else during this campaign, is that there will be few listening to what he has to say at the beginning of the long holiday weekend.

So, the ducks are nearly in a row.  Barring any unknown unknowns, we know that the somewhat tragic career of Gordon Brown is over and who will be our next Prime Minister.  Next Friday, we will find out if Cameron can walk alone into Downing Street, and which party he will face across the despatch box when the new House Commons first meets.


  1. You spoke too soon.

    "The dear old Labour party has to keep the show on the road"


    I thought that Brown's campaign was a train wreck, but I guess I was wrong.