The Times' tracker poll shows that Tory support has slumped to 27% - although it does need to be noted that this is only useful for showing trends, rather than predicting results. The sensitivity of Central Office to this news was shown by Liam Fox's dismissal of the poll as typical of a Labour-leaning paper. I'm sure that Populous Research won't regard that as critical of their techniques. They also ran a poll recently that showed that people still prefer Labour and Blair to the Tories and Howard.
Perhaps the sensitivity isn't solely because of the impending failure, as the polls indicate results broadly in line with 2001, but also because Howard has thrown everything into this campaign and the Tories may have to sell their old headquarters in Smith Square to try and cover the cost. Any bets on the issue of public funding for political parties coming up over the next few years?
Desperation has set in and thoughts have turned to the post-May 5 future.
Guys, you don't have one.
The battle is for the centre ground and Labour and the LibDems are about to start fighting over that again. At long last, Labour seem to be waking up to the threat that is the Liberal Democrats. They've gained ground in recent years and we can't rely on ignoring them any more, we need to attack their policies and highlight their thorough lack of principles.
They are working in a pincer movement to attack both parties from above and below. Labour is under attack in local government, as they are marginalised by the Liberal Democrats doing deals with the Tories, which provides a local power base to attack Labour parliamentary seats. When it comes to attacking the Tories, they have had a long standing truce with Labour in Tory/LD marginal seats, an agreement that Charles Kennedy only abandoned last week.
They won't make the breakthrough this time round, but the next general election will see the Liberal Democrats overhaul the Tories and become the largest opposition party. The election after that will be between Labour and the Liberal Democrats - the Tories seem determined to head further into the wilderness. To achieve this, they will need to abandon opportunism and grow up - this Observer article highlights some of the obvious contradictions within the party.
There's a new game in town and some of us are already playing it.