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Should Clegg have shared his big moment?

April 30th, 2009

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Was it a mistake to allow Dave to muscle in?

Some interesting debate on the previous thread over whether Nick Clegg was right to allow Cameron to be part of his big moment in the immediate aftermath of yesterday afternoon’s vote.

Ben Brogan in his Telegraph blog was no doubt about its significance and ran a piece under the heading “A picture that changes politics?”. He went on about Clegg: “.. His willingness to share the glory with Dave shows political smarts and a keen eye for an irresistible photo. We are still a long way from coalition politics, but the more the polls point to a hung Parliament, the more today will take on significance”

Labour is far less enthusiastic for the idea of a more united opposition must add further to the jitters of MPs. Tom Harris blogs under the headline “Just how much of a mug is Nick Clegg?” – an approach that suggests that he for one senses the real danger of the others ganging up on his party.

For in electoral terms this sends out messages to several different segments of voters that could affect the outcome in key marginals.

In LAB>CON seats it could encourage more Lib Dems to vote tactically to get Labour out while at the same time causing those considering switching to Labour to think twice.

In LD>CON seats it might make the Lib Dem defences a tad easier. It’s going to be a bit harder for the Tories to claim that a vote for Clegg’s party is a vote for Brown.

In LAB>LD contests it might encourage more Tory tactical voting but it could also make Labour supporters more determined to turn-out.

The pictures from yesterday are going to appear time and time again in all sorts of different forms. You can see them being featured in Tory leaflets in marginal Labour seats as well as in LD leaflets where Clegg’s party is the main challenger.

So should Clegg have shared the moment? Yes – his party might well end up with a handful more seats than it was expecting – although there’s a danger that it’s national vote share will decline.

General Election constituency betting

Mike Smithson






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