Saturday, May 03, 2008

Heffer's not bitter

Simon Heffer's triumphal political analysis continues with a column entitled 'Gordon Brown must go to save Labour necks'. So far, so insightful, until you remember what he was saying on September 5th 2007:
Mr Brown is doing so well not because he has better policies than his rivals (insofar as his rivals have any), but because he is a better politician than any of them.
It is possible that the great intellect is simply parroting the received wisdom of the day? Yesterday the collective wisdom was that Brown was a genius so he wrote that. Today Brown is perceived to be a dithering incompetent so he writes that. Nice work if you can get it.

Simon, has not, however, wavered one iota from his dislike of David Cameron and so attempts to trash Conservative successes on the May 1st elections. His supposedly killer point is this:
The real significance of this election is the 65 per cent who didn't bother to vote. This is a time of economic difficulty and there is deep concern about the record of the Government: yet most people simply couldn't be fagged to take a view.

An opposition that wants to become a government needs to tap into, and mobilise, that vast disconnected group. For all the rejoicing in Tory central office, they shouldn't kid themselves that they have remotely done that yet.
Er...right. The turnout at these elections was pretty much the turnout that you expect for local elections. It was certainly consistent with the turnouts of the mid-90s that were a pretty accurate barometer of the eventual fate of the Major government. Criticising the Conservatives on the basis that they haven't managed to increase turnout at the election is the act of a man desperate to cling to a position that David Cameron would do better by running the sort of narrow right-wing agenda that actually only appeals to a very small fraction of the population. Face it Simon, the man has ignored your advice and he thrashed Labour by 20 points. You either have to admit that you were hopelessly wrong or try and pretend that the Conservatives have somehow still managed to fail. A bigger man might have gone for the first option.

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