Saturday, 17 November 2007

If a week is a long time in politics ...

... eight weeks is clearly an eternity. It was eight weeks ago tomorrow that Peter Kellner was writing in the Telegraph – you can read it here – that the Bottler was looking at a majority of around 100 were he to call an autumn election. Despite Northern Rock, the Labour lead over the Tories was 11 points, 44% to 33%. The Bottler in particular emerged strongly, 42% of those polled believing he would make the best prime minister. By contrast, a derisory 20% of those polled believed the same of Cameron.

Fast forward to the most recent YouGov poll and Labour are on 38% and the Tories on 41%, breaking the 40% barrier for the first time since 1992.

Has there ever been a more spectacular or precipitate collapse in any ruling party's fortunes? If all political careers end in failure, this nonetheless generally tends to be the result of a steady, eventually remorseless erosion of support. But what we have seen this autumn is a vertiginous plummet that looks likely only to end in a massive crash landing. It is hard to see many survivors staggering from the wreckage.

Yet at least as interesting is the transformation of the fortunes of the Bottler himself, the self-styled far-sighted father of the nation giving way to near gibbering wreck. There is an unmistakeable sense that, as the crisis has unfolded, so the Bottler has been reduced to yanking the levers of power ever more frantically – full ahead! full astern! hard to port! no! no! to starboard! I mean port! – while simultaneously ever more maladroitly manipulating the puppets who make up his government. More ham fisted than clunking fist.

It is an astonishing spectacle. I strongly suspect it is far from over.


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female political and social comment said...

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poor old foolish, feeble gordon brown
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