So today’s polls have the Tories at 33 and 34 per cent. This after a final debate which, thanks to skewed polls, the media gave (spuriously) to David Cameron; after the biggest poster campaign in modern electoral history; after a set of weekend papers and TV effectively annointing him as Prime Minister, topped by Andrew Marr telling Mr Home-and-Dry that he was ‘on a roll.’
Mr Cameron’s language, verbal and body, was all pointing in the same direction yesterday, talking about his first Queen’s Speech, the tone of his government and so forth. One word screamed out from the screen – arrogance, entitlement, Downing Street here I come.
But is the very idea of a Cameron government that is stopping the momentum towards it. What’s more, the resistance to the idea appears to be enhanced by the media coverage, which is becoming a bigger issue.
The Tories’ entire strategy for the weekend was to create a sense of unstoppable momentum. After a few tough days for Labour, the Tory hope was that our activists would simply give up the fight. But the opposite seems to have happened. The desire to stop the Tories is strong. Canvassers all around the country report that people are asking how best to vote to stop a Cameron government. It means that in the Tory/Labour marginals that will decide the outcome, hopes remain high.
One other thing that is coming through is the sense that the Tories and the Lib Dems have totally underestimated the extent to which their threat to tax credits is beginning to cut through with the public, particularly women. Cameron has yet to be pressed properly on this, but there is still time.
The real narrative of this election is the poll lead Cameron had at the start, and its steady erosion. That is driven by people’s memories of the Tories, and their fears of the unchanged party Cameron leads. The idea of cutting tax credits for ordinary families whilst giving an enormous inheritance tax cut to the wealthiest families in the country strikes most people as pretty crazy. But it is entirely in keeping with the sort of Tory he is and the sort of Tory party he leads.
GB showed yesterday, in his whistlestop tour of ten London seats yesterday, that he still has the fight in him to fight for the future. The Party remains up for it. The Tories’ media-backed unstoppable momentum strategy has faltered badly.
All to play for. Recovery v risk. Substance v style. Fairness v unfairness. Keep knocking on them doors!! And make sure you see, and everyone sees, Labour’s final election broadcast presented by Ross Kemp, which is on tomorrow evening. I thought we would be hard pressed to match the Eddie Izzard film, the most viewed UK election broadcast, but Ross has done a great job – matching passion for Labour with a hard-headed assessment of the risk of a Tory government.
*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.
In view of the massive media bias that has promoted Cameron and the vast sums poured into their Cam pain coffers, the Tories ought to be romping home but due to the sense of the British public, they’re not. I did a street stall on Saturday. All parties were out there. It was surprising to see how little response from passers by the Tories got. The Lib Dems had a lot of interest and despite the Duffy debacle, so did we. All positive. I’ve just recruited a group of Filipino health care assistants by explaining to them Labour’s achievements over the years which they hadn’t known. Now they’re going to tell all their friends to vote Labour.
David Cameron appears to have rolled up his sleeves and started measuring the curtains for Downing Street. But, of course, it ain´t over until the fat lady sings!
This is not a time to elect untested politicians (= Messrs Cameron and Osborne) with radical policies on the economy and public services. It is not a time to dismantle social democracy.
I do honestly believe that David Cameron can change the face of Britain in a year. Yes, the Tory policies will wreck the economy and public services. Change will mean cuts, cuts and even more cuts.
Labour must communicate its many achievements and message better.
DC hasn`t earned the faith of public sufficiently to be PM. People see that the arrogance of talking up his chances when he has a (magnificent) 33% in the polls and, more importantly, the bandwagon-chasing and the mixed-up policy statements of the last few days/months/years don`t add up to a coherent whole. I think Labour`s share of the vote will hold up fairly well – if we get a bit over 30% it`s obviously not as much of an endorsement as `05 (36%) but it won`t be the disaster that DC will face when his party`s share has slipped from a 20 point lead during a recession, 2 unpopular wars etc. The Tories are choking and I suspect that will have some effect in the last couple of days of canvassing. GB will carry on showing his resilience, NC will carry on doing his `Best Man at the wedding` routine and DC will be stewing inside.
Mr Campbell drawing our attention to the fact that Brown still has the fight left in him says it all. He can ramp all you like and campaign negatively all you like. It’s over, and Labour knows it.
alastair, why do we not see you on the election trail. you are the man to handle the tory media that is determined to elect the tories.i am angry with the bbc which i thought was supposed to be neutral , but every day sends out anti labour messages to the public.come on alastair lets see you on the tv saying it as it is.
So how ‘on a roll’ are The Tories compared to past electoral performance. Let’s have some figures shall we?
Conservative share of vote in past elections (source:Wikipedia):
1983 – 42.4% Conservative WIN
1987 – 42.2% Conservative WIN
1992 – 41.9% Conservative WIN
1997 – 30.7% Conservative LOSE
2001 – 31.7% Conservative LOSE
2005 – 32.4% Conservative LOSE
2010 – 35% Conservatives ???(Poll of polls 3rd May 2010)
Even when the Tories only squeaked home in 1992 they had 42% of the share of the vote. The current poll of polls shows their projected share way short of that. Way short.
So past evidence shows the Tories need to be on AT LEAST 42% in order to form a majority government. Cameron has barely achieved a higher rating these past 5 years even at the height of the Tory poll lead.
GB continues to close the gap. He’s like Rocky Balboa. The man will not go down! No pain.
Ah. I see! So the polls that you were suggesting were rigged yesterday, all of a sudden are credible & show the race to be ‘wide open’ today? All this because of a point or two change in two polls where the results are still within the margin of error? So what has changed about the nature & validity of these polls between yesterday and today? Yesterday – BAD -, Today – GOOD?! Tomorrow, will the same polls suddenly become unreliable if they indicate increased momentum in support for the Tories? This is just so laughable, Alastair! Laughable, but to be expected from the tribal cheerleader of a party on the way out. You really are grasping at straws!
Too right AC.
It’s the tax credits, stupid…I felt frustrated in the leaders’ debate that GB didn’t ram home the point that it was Labour who brought us the tax credits. We had them, and that meant holidays and kids clothes and a thousand other things that made life easier. I’m convinced that an amnesiac population thinks tax credits are just things that governments do. No, they’re the sort of things only Labour governments do (same for sure start, hospital waiting times etc, etc, )
On inheritance tax. New Labour talk about these 3,000 estates, estates a word conveying ideas of inherited wealth and large properties, as if they comprise an old boys club of the privileged. But what about those of us who had nothing in terms of money when we started, went to state schools and who made enough over the years to fall into the IHT bracket, paying income tax, capital gains tax, tax on savings etc along the way? I see the Tories making a specifically non-prioritised promise to reduce the burden of IHT as some minor medium to long-term encouragement for the self-made. Why are you so antagonistic to people from working class backgrounds who have managed to make money? New Labour talk of encouraging enterprise but it feels like all you want to do is put down people who are enterprising. Is it because whilst there’s not enough of us to make a difference in terms of votes, we make a great target for the politics of envy? I have less in common with Cameron perhaps than you do and certainly than Blair does but at least he doesn’t appear to be ideologically driven to punish the financially successful.
Just check the figures. The Tory lead is not enough by a long shot. Do you seriuoly expect Cameron to pull out a 42% share between now and Thursday? He hasn’t enjoyed that kind of lead for months. And if he can’t achieve it during an election campaign then when can he?
Gordon Brown is not the only leader fighting like his life depends on it.
Even as someone with EXTREME contempt for ALL three parties, I read your articles with great interest. Learning the mind of the master himself is always enlightening…
As shrewd and gifted as you are, you surely know the game is over for Labour. It seems to me that you are building the attack line for the NEXT election. For it is painfully obvious that the next government will have to pass massive cuts in public services. This will take time to heal the economy, nevertheless, it will be felt on the front line first.
You will then say: “I told you so.”
After all Labour did inherit a golden economy in 1997 and wrecked it astonishingly. Could that be the reason you dropped the previous non-stop loop of “boom and bust” from New Labour’s vocabulary? Just speculating…
People on 50k do not need tax credits. The Conservatives are right in this case!
Your post about IHT is ridiculous. You get to keep £300K tax free now – £600k for a couple – If you inherit more you cough up the tax – and COUNT YOUR GOOD FORTUNE.
Why if the nations finances are bad is it THE PRIORITY TO GIVE FOLK WITH SO MUCH even more
Help the poor in work through tax credits
Arrogance ? That’s a bit rich coming from the most arrogant bloke on the Planet – I know that your remarks are meant to be provocative but really AJC, that is laugahable, as are you these days I’m afraid
Could you please answer me a question that has always bothered me about politicans – what would be the result if there was a politicain who actually answered questions straight, did not lie or cover the truth up, and was open with the public? I watch and read alot of the political coverage (all year round, not just at election time) and it strikes me that politicians have a certain way of speaking which is based on avoiding the questions asked. Why is this? And what would happen if they actually told the truth?
E.g On the question of cuts, what would happen to Gordon Brown if he answered that the cuts were going to come from the following over the next 4 years:
10% Police force
20% Foreign Aid
30% Civil Service
All parties are spinning the heck out of this campaign, I expected nothing more…But the new one today about David Cameron measuring the curtains for No’ 10, and acting as though he has already been anointed. Well, it’s a bollocks comment by Lib and Lab, since I sat through the Andrew Marr show t’other day, and heard him say things like “if I’m elected.”
Note the IF, that isn’t the word of somebody who assumes anything, that is the word of somebody who is simply on an election campaign and wishing to be elected, because surely the job of opposition, is to try and be elected?
Plus, Marr chucked in a little barbed comment right at the end about “…it being the right message to end on,” Cameron says “Thank you,” Marr retorts “From your point of view anyway!”
So, nice disingenuous blog Mr. Campbell, but then again you bat for Labour so it’s your job and your belief that Cameron is supposedly show boating to a finish, hand in hand with the media.
I see a media that is up Clegg’s backside, and is happily stating loudly that “You’d have expected Cameron to have secured the vote by now! and “He still can’t convince people a hung parliament is a bad idea!”
Labour, is getting a shoeing, but then you are the incumbents and I just think it’s taken 13 years for the media to finally tire of your antics…I mean, you have kept so many scandals from exploding into something big, you were masters of media manipulation. Even today, with your powers waning, you can still work some of that old magic on the more ignorant and gullible of your core voters.
The transcript of the interview is online, go read it, ignore any slants and preconceptions, form your own opinion.
@ Mark Wright
Are you the only person not capable of using a gazzillion websites that show how a majoirty is won using % swings and share of vote??
Your a numbskull mate – A 38.7% share for the Tories with your lot and Lib Dems about equal , gives a majority Govt and this is a uniform swing which we know won’t happen – therefore something less than 38.7% will get a majority..
Get the picture??
You are all missing the point – the tories needed 42% when the LDs were getting 16% and labour 34% – with the left vote split equally at about 27% each, the tories get overall control at about 37% which is within the roundings of todays polls – if labour sag to say 24% which seems plausible then an even lower share of 35% would put the tories within 20 seats of overall control and that can be got from the irish and scots fringe parties
Wow, somewhere I can finally state that I really dislike Alastair Campbell. Thank you, I feel a bit better now. Does Tony B have one of these?
It is not IHT that is the issue – it is IHT versus tax credits. In other words it is about the strategic choices that have to be made in the context of the current and projected squeeze on spending. That Leo is a stakeholder to be considered I accept. That Leo is considered before parents who currently have the tax credits I do not accept. A single mother in Sheffield reminded me recently of the harm done to a generation of kids, families and communities during the Tory years when child benefit was removed from 16 to 18. Now we have EMA, e2e and WBL benefits (introduced by Labour) that bridge that gap PLUS tax credits to help parents back into work.
Can @Leo give a reasoned argument why an IHT tax concession is a better strategic choice ? One that is not based on an ideology of style, risk and patiality.
I heard a report on Radio 4 yesterday which included a statement from David Cameron on the election trail. He started:
“If I win the election…”
then corrected himself:
“If we win the election…”
I guess we can be grateful he didn’t say:
“When I win the election… “.
The Conservatives have already decided they have won the election. How could they not when they have so much money, so much of the Murdoch press on their side?
With their huge financially backing, surely the general election is a bit of a detail.
David Cameron knows how to woo the voters on TV. The voters are so dumb, why bother waiting until they have cast their votes?
I agree with you Alastair. Cameron’s arrogance knows no bounds. I can not remember an election in living memory where the cult of personality has played such a huge role. David’s minions are nowhere to be seen. He is fighting a presidntial election in a parliamentary system. The marginals are the key. Keep knocking those doors indeed. It doesnt cost a penny.
Patrick James, have a bit more faith in the masses. They may not be as sharp but they have an instinct to sense when they a being led to the slauther house. Labour has not helped itself with the Blairite wing often trying to get rid of Brown. Brown also has made mistakes too and he doesn’t sell the labour successes well enough.
I sense some new energy in the labour campaign from yesterday.
It is funny that the BBC lost connection during a labour party conference… again.
The case of tax credit just cought some fire. This I believe is because the threshold for cuts of tax credit, of the Tory party, has now been reduced to thirty thousand pounds(£30000) per household with children.
This is dynamite, especially with the report that said that the Tory saving amount from the tax credit cuts, would require them to cut tax credit for people with income as lot as thirty thousand pounds.
Yvette Cooper made a good case, when she talked about a family earning £16000 each would have their tax credits cut by the Tories. This is a winner!
Hot stuff. Labour should engage relentlessly.
I wish Labour were still fighting against the Tory PR onslaught. I have to say in our area (South Beds) we have had no literature about our Labour Party candidate or anything about your local policies, nobody knocking on doors.
I do feel that other than Gordon Brown the rest of the party have just given up.
As I understand it the cuts planned by Tories and Lib Dems are to tax credits affect those earning over £40k. No-one is planning to cut tax cedits to those below this level. Clearly circumstances differ but that doesn’t strike me as a sort of breadline level at which cuts in tax credits are unreasonable in the circumstances.
The question about strategic choices is a really good one. If proposed IHT changes were to be funded by cuts in tax credits then this would be unjustifiable and I would be totally against it. But I believe the cuts are part of the deficit reduction programme and would come in at once. The Tories committ to the IHT proposals only by the end of the next parliament which gives them up to five years not to do it. And I accept it should be at the end of the parliament. If of course they get in, which is odds against.
Sorry you think I’m being ridiculous.
To answer your question, I don’t think it is a priority. As I understand it, the Tories don’t either. They’ve just said they would like to bring it in by the end of the next parliament. At the risk of repeating myself, I don’t think they’re proposing to fund cuts in tax credits at the upper end by cutting IHT.
You say ‘you get to keep”, but I earned it (and paid tax on it already). And yes I’ve been fortunate but I didn’t win the lottery. I built something and on the way have also created jobs. Maybe I’d feel better about it if I felt governments in general, this one in particular, actually spent the money effectively but for all that they’ve done some good, they’ve done an awful lot more damage and wasted a vast amount of money.
Sky News reporting polls in the marginal seats show Tories on course for victory. Bad news for Labour. Has there ever been an election when the polls changed so much on a daily basis? Looks like we will all just have to wait and see until Friday.
Alastair, I am a first time voter at the age of 21. Many people criticise the young presuming they don’t know anything, but I can safely say, even with Sky News and the Murdoch media at full swing, I don’t trust Mr Cameron or indeed Mr Osborne with any inch of my soul. It seems they have a glint in their eye to gain power, I see no real sincerity in their actions – the general public are not stupid, that is why they are not racing ahead in the so called ” polls ” . We recognise the need for Brown to steer us in the path of recovery, and I think many will be surprised by the outcome of this election. I will certainly be casting my ballot for Labour and I urge others to do the same. It’s easy to blame the man in charge when we are hit by a global recession, yet, its worse to elect a man in charge who will back peddle us into disaster. I copy and paste a video from You Tube which is everywhere on Facebook now, just for a hint of hilarity. http://www.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DEKFTtYx2OHc&h=8731e