Thursday, May 08, 2008

Conservatives lead by 26

The Sun is publishing a survey tomorrow that puts the Conservatives on 49% with Labour at 23% - a Conservative lead of 26%. This is being reported as the worst poll position for Labour since records began, and the second best Conservative poll position ever.

No doubt Simon Heffer will now criticise David Cameron.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Basildon Labour choses Lynda

Lynda Gordon is the new leader of the Labour group on Basildon Council. This is good news, and I had better explain why before she is removed by her colleagues for making me happy. Lynda is level-headed and a thoughtful speaker, who showed considerable poise during her stint as Chairman of the Council a few years ago. While I suspect that we are poles apart in political outlook, she does not strike me as the tribal Labour type who assumes that all Tories and their works are evil and that should make for a more constructive atmosphere at the Council, and a better standard of debate and scrutiny. While the narrow interests of the Conservative Party might have been served better if Labour had picked one of the more divisive candidates on offer, it would not have been better for the people of Basildon District if the second major party had been fronted by a foam-flecked ranter. So, while I wish her party a long stay in opposition, I also wish her good luck in her new role. She may also be the first woman party leader ever in Basildon's history, and that is worth noting as well.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who will lead Basildon Labour?

Some time before the local elections, Nigel Smith stepped down as the leader of the Labour group on Basildon Council. That was a bit odd, as a leader resigning when a ballot is imminent doesn't really help on polling day. Anyway, the elections are done, Labour was squeezed again, and their remaining Councillors need a new boss. Who will it be? There are a couple of people who could actually do the job, but it will be interesting to see if the winner is the one individual who is hotly tipped, but who would almost certainly be a disaster. Whoever it is, they have a number of challenges, not least to come up with a decent narrative for the Labour Party in Basildon District. I cannot figure out what they are actually for, and if I can't then I suspect much of the electorate has the same problem.

At the recent elections Labour scored 21% of the vote in Basildon, which underperforms the national share by 3 points. That is pretty bad, and does not augur at all well for the General Election and Angela Smith's seat. In fact, based on the Electoral Calculus prediction, Basildon and East Thurrock is heading Tory on an 8% swing from 2005. Two years to go though...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Brown does the TV Newsrooms

Gordon Brown was out and about today trying to put a brave face on disaster. Now I find it hard to be objective but, frankly, I found him a bit weird. As quoted on Sky News he said things like:
I want to show people that, everyday, I'm dealing with the challenges they face.
I've got to show people that I'm trying to solve the problems and understand the problems they face.
Note the language, it's like he is talking to himself about what he needs to do. Maybe he's repeating what his spin doctor advised him this morning or from some self-improvement tape where you repeat the mantras to become a better person, I don't know. What he wasn't doing was connecting with anyone. The contrast with Tony Blair, or most normal humans for that matter, was stark. I am beginning to see what Alastair Campbell meant when he described Brown as 'psychologically flawed'.