Saturday, October 22, 2005

Calm Down Everyone- DC Magic Not Enough

I want us to win the next Election as much as anyone. And the latest polls do suggest that having a bright fresh highly telegenic leader would take us in the right direction.

The Guardian/ICM poll, taken after Thursday's result, shows that as things stand today we trail Labour by 3% (33% to 36%)- our best result since the Election. But the bad news is that under Gordo, Labour would improve sharply: vs Cameron, the lead would be 5% (38% vs 43%), and vs Davis the lead would be 13% (45% vs 32%).

I know what you're thinking- better to take DC because at least the gap is much smaller. Plus (although we haven't seen the detailed numbers), DC must really whack that LibDem support, which would certainly give us Southern Tories a very special glow.

Two points: first, although the gap is smaller, we still lose- Davemania, currently pumped up to bursting by the media, is still not enough.

Second, the stuff we need to close the remaining gap is non-trivial. We need to fashion a compelling policy platform dealing with such contentious issues as NHS reform. And just turning the gas up under timid Tone's half-baked "reforms" ain't going to do it. Abandoning that middle-class ops opt-out sidesteps one issue, but we're going to need to come up with something much more substantial than that.

And it's not just some technical exercise- hire a few wonks and let them work out the "best" approach which people of goodwill can all buy into. No, it involves confronting a vast array of vested interests and prejudices- not just those public sector unions, but also our national attachment to the Welfare State. All that without even contemplating another outbreak of- ghastly prospect- Tory Wars.

Which is why- grizzled and broken-nosed though he may be- we need DD's experience and, frankly, toughness. This ain't gonna be no cakewalk.

Magic is not enough- no matter how great it looks on the Ten O'Clock News.
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