Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Liberal Democrats - together in elected dreams

Charlie Kennedy is in buoyant mood on the Liberal Democrat website.

'The majority of people in this country now see the Liberal Democrats as the Real Opposition'

That's nice Charlie, but isn't the idea that a majority of the people see you as the government?

Now, I know that the Liberal Democrats have an interesting attitude towards forecasting outcomes - a glance at the various graphs reported over on LibDemWatch would suggest that they are the only ones who can win in every seat in England, Scotland and Wales, but this does stretch credulity to breaking point.

The most recent political highwater mark was reached in a YouGov/Sunday Times poll on 22 January, where the Liberal Democrats reached 25% support, compared to 34% for Labour and 31% for the Conservatives. This translates into 66 seats - 15 up on the 2001 election, but a little short of the Tories 180 and Labour's 369. Incidentally, while our friend John Hemming would win Birmingham Yardley under this scenario, Brent East and Leicester South would both return to the Labour fold and parliament would remain but a dream for Nicola Davies in Birmingham Hodge Hill.

Charles isn't too far from the mark in some ways, though. The Tories have been a thoroughly spineless opposition, far too concerned with their own navels than holding the government to account. It is only in recent weeks, when they've been able to come out with their policies based on prejudice and greed that they've shown a recovery.

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