25 April 2010

Election campaign update

I'm surprised at myself, I really am, but I am finding this election campaign fascinating. The main reason, of course, is the rise of Nick Clegg, and the wish or hope that it will change the face of British politics.

What's struck me more, though, is how useless the Conservative campaign must have been. They should have been able to walk it, facing a horrendously unpopular government, led by an unappealing and unlucky prime minister, and with a bunch of candidates who are either tired and uninterested or new and unknown. Yet the most optimistic prognoses for the Conservatives give them a tiny majority. And if that happens, it will be great fun to watch the Party tearing itself apart again over Europe. Most polls seem to suggest a hung parliament, and it's hard to see how Cameron or Brown could maintain credibility as leader of their party after that. Again, a Lib-Con coalition would inevitably split as soon as any European question arises. It's been a bit overlooked, as it's not really an election topic, but there's a huge antipathy to Europe among Cons backbenchers, which is likely to increase with the new intake. Lib-Lab is more plausible, but the Libdems would have to do something to prove that any deal with Gordon Brown is only temporary. If they don't achieve some sort of constitutional change pretty quickly, they'll lose a lot of credibility.

So, unexpectedly, I'm all agog about the next two weeks.

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