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Shouldn’t Gordon be attacking the Lib Dems instead?

April 28th, 2006

gordon chameleon.jpg

    Why is he focusing all this effort on the wrong target?

If Gordon Brown is, as has been reported, the driving force behind the Dave the Chameleon campaign, why is he investing Labour’s precious campaign resources and air-time on the Tory leader when, notwithstanding the party’s second place in Moray, the real threat at the moment is coming from the Lib Dems?

For the remarkable feature of the polls in recent months is how resilient the Lib Dem vote has been. In spite of everything there was just one small dip in January but the recovery is happened very quickly and is being sustained.

And in the polls that ask how respondents voted last time another phenomomon is happening – nine out of ten people who voted for the party last May are “remembering” what they did. This compares with the between seven and eight out of ten who “remembered” voting Lib Dem in the 1997 and 2001 elections and indicates that something is happening.

It was, it will be recalled the Lib Dems who took nearly six percentage points out of the Labour vote last May – a move that was put down almost entirely to Iraq. Given that that vote shift is now looking more permanent then surely Labour should be doing everything it can win back the voters it has lost?

    A huge problem with going negative – as in Dave the Chameleon – is that you can only attack one opponent at a time. So if you do decide on this course you must be absolutely certain you are fighting the real threat.

The big political challenges at the moment are next weeks’ local elections when the Lib Dems traditionally do much better. A poor Labour performance could have a lasting impact and everything, surely, should have been aimed at limiting the damage.

One feature of the second “Chameleon” PPB, screened last night, was the focus it put on the famous picture of David Cameron in the background behind Norman Lamont on that day in September 1992 when the UK had to leave the ERM. Could this have been included at the express desire of Brown?

The problem is that all this was nearly a decade and a half ago which for most people who are less than 30 is ancient history and not part of their consciousness.

The second Chamelon film was harder-edged than the first and the only thing to be said for it is that it might, just, motivate Labour activists in the final week. But if you are facing a strong Lib Dem challenege in your ward surely you would have wanted see something that dealt with that?

The General Election betting, meanwhile, has seen a move away from Labour which is now priced at just 0.95/1 to win most seats.

Mike Smithson






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