Despite the shenanigans of yesterday, which will soon blow over in any case, the poll, and the electoral arithmetic, suggests that Labour is far from being out of this game, which makes one wonder why on earth anyone in that party thinks raising leadership issues at this time is anything other than the baddest of bad ideas. If you want an indication of just how the polling maths piles up, take a look at this projection on Political Betting. Labour gets the largest number of seats even if it is polling some 6% behind the Conservatives. The current YouGov poll would have the Tories 5 seats short of a majority in a hung parliament, which makes Clegg, despite his protestations, the kingmaker after all. UK Polling Report's swing calculator comes up with the following based on today's figures. Both Tories and, even more, Liberals are seriously under-represented of course, a feature of the current system and boundaries that is already common knowledge. But Clegg could decide to give the Tories a majority in coalition with him, or he could deny them the opportunity by defeating their Bills in alliance with Labour, thus precipitating a likely new election within months. Of course, it is possible that the experience of the SNP in Scotland might be an indicator as well - still in the driving seat despite having to fight each Bill one by one in view of its minority status.
So, an absolute Tory majority is still a massive aspiration for Cameron, who has been lucky in this weeks Hoon affair, given that it has taken the spotlight off his own marriage tax mis-step. Just prior to news of the plot, this had given Gordon Brown new life in his Commons exchanges at PMQs yesterday, which really does beg the question of what an earth the plotters thought they were doing - unless, of course, they are indeed desperate to prevent a Brown victory themselves?!
|Conservative||321 seats (+123)|
|Labour||261 seats (-95)|
|Liberal Democrats||38 seats (-24)|
|Others||12%||12 seats (nc)|
|Northern Ireland||18 seats (nc)|