19 April 2010

The Tories are lost in the fog

The latest YouGov poll has confirmation, if any were needed, that the Lib Dem breakthrough is not a spasm.  Yet the Tories still don't get it.  Here’s Cameron, in an interview with The Guardian, on electoral reform:

Most proportional voting systems break one or two cardinal rules – first that there is a direct link between the MP and his constituency and second that you can throw the government out of office.

Under PR, it could be argued, it’s far easier to “throw a government out of office” as no one party has a majority. 


I think disenchantment with politics would be even greater if in a smoke-filled room, and after a 100-day negotiation, suddenly a government emerges, and it is not really anything anyone voted for.

Forget the 100 days and the smoke-filled rooms, this is exactly what the public will have voted for.  The anti-politics electorate want fundamental reform; they are saying “no” to the status-quo.

Yesterday, the Tories had a bucket full of advice, most of which misses the point.  Then last night, James Forsyth pops up with his suggestion how the Tories should “burst the Nick Clegg bubble”

What the Tories need to do is to deflate it with humour. They should point out the absurdity of a lobbyist turned Eurocrat turned MP presenting himself as the alternative to the old politics.

Dear oh dear.  This will just hand more support to Clegg on a plate.  Cameron has got to start listening to what the electorate are saying and change his strategy to suit.

Team Cameron are making an error of judgement if they keep cruising along spouting the same message.

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  1. "Under PR, it could be argued, it’s far easier to “throw a government out of office” as no one party has a majority."

    How do you argue that one then? Surely PR would lead to permanent Labour/LibDem coalition government.

  2. There is no evidence to support that.

    Others seem to manage very well with coalition governments e g Germany. Cameron's argument is bogus.

  3. If LabLibDem got into power why would it ever give it up? When was the last time the Tories had >50% of the vote?

    PR needs more smaller parties to work, so they can mix and match to form government.

    In 2005 Germany had:
    CDU/CSU 37% seats
    SPD 36% seats
    FDP 10% seats
    Left Party 9% seats
    Greens 8% seats

    We had:
    Labour 55% seast
    Conservatives 31% seats
    LibDems 10% seats
    (others are parties are all <2% and wont make any difference when forming a government)

    In the long term PR would probably lead to both Labour and Conservatives splitting - Labour into Old Labour socialists and New Labour social democrats. Conservatives into One Nation Tories and the anti Europe right wing. You could argue the Conservatives have already split, with UKIP being the latter.

  4. Peter Kellner is talking sense on the BBC website:

    2110: If the Lib Dems are still up around 30% in the polls by this weekend, then something very significant has happened. If they're not, it hasn't, That's the opinion of Peter Kellner, president of pollsters YouGov.

    Like the volcanic eruption, this seems unpredictable. But I think the Clegg surge will tail off this week.

    Expectations are very high. It's almost certain that he will disappoint his audience this coming Thursday, probably not through his own fault.

    The debate this Thursday is international affairs. This plays to two of the Lib Dems strengths and one of their weaknesses. Iraq/Afghanistan does not need described in detail. Scrapping Trident is a proposal which enjoys some military support and seems to make sense in the current economic climate. But Clegg's Euro-enthusiasm may be his weak point.

    I don't think the Lib Dems will decline to their former levels. The real losers will be Labour. Plenty of voters remember 2005 when they voted Lib Dem over Iraq, hurting Labour badly...even when the opponent was Michael Howard. The 'soft Labour' vote (or perhaps the 'soft Not The Tories' vote) is likely to swing behind the Lib Dems. Brown suffered last week in the debates, he will suffer greatly this week and he will suffer the following week. I would be surprised if the Tories are despondent.

    As an aside, PR or AV works well in Scotland (when they get the ballot papers right)...we've seen a Lab/Lib coalition and now a SNP administration. The Additional Member system (which includes first past the post) works well...I like having more than one representative to approach if I feel cynical about their politics.