Saturday, September 10, 2005

Time And Tide

As Mr Urquhart always used to say, "The tide is everything in winning these contests; if it's with you, it will sweep you home; flowing against you, then no matter how good a swimmer you are, you'll still drown...To catch the tide, your timing has to be right...give the other contenders time to tire, for their campaigns to ship a little water and get everyone bored..."

So has Ken caught the tide? There's no doubt that since his formal declaration, he has built up some visible momentum. And his excited supporters are already writing off DD.

But we're sure Ken himself realises he's still some way behind. Even now, the bookies only put his implied probability of success at 30%, compared to DD at over 60%. And Davis has 39 MPs already declared for him, compared to Ken's 11.

Despite his energetic spurt, and all that support from his friends at the BBC, Ken himself must be concerned that he's still got a big gap to close.

Plus of course, momentum always has to be managed. We won't comment on his age, but with the finish nowhere in sight, he's already used up an awful lot of puff.

At least he's had those good polls. But then again, history tells us polls can be incredibly fickle friends in leadership elections. On 22 November 1990, a Gallop poll reckoned 37% of voters wanted Hezza to take over from Maggie, compared to just 3% for John Major. Two days later, Major was on level pegging, and three days after that he was elected.

So are we in the Davis Supporters Club downhearted? Not a jot. We reckon Ken will fall foul of Urquhart's Law:

"Get him off to a roaring start, which means that instead of a free-for-all we have a target at which everyone is going to shoot. In a couple of weeks' time, he's going to be amazed at the number of bad friends he's got within the Party, all trying to do him down. He'll be on the defensive. Fighting the tide."

Are we having fun yet?


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