Tuesday 5 January 2010

And they're off ....

What a terribly interesting start to the run-in to the General Election; many wee points have poked their wee heads up for a spot of attention, and here's a wee selection of the wee points with their wee heads:

1. More people in Scotland think that the SNP will win the UK General Election than think that the Lib Dems will, according to the Conservatives' poll of their target seats (question 2, page 3).

2. The Labour Party is bankrupt. Financially as well.

3. Brown and Cameron invited Nick Clegg to make himself irrelevant in the election and he obliged.

4. Cameron nipped in and nicked the initiative on health proposals (for England), leaving Labour without its favourite flag to wave.

5. Darling's attack on Cameron fell flat because the UK Government is simply not credible any more and resulted in Civil Servants complaining that Labour was abusing the power of Government.

6. Cameron showed an uncertainty in the first forays, something he'll have to recover from.

7. There's an enormous fiscal deficit which has restricted Labour's opportunities for manoeuvre, forcing them to fight out in the open for a change.

8. Gordon Brown's official spokesman has gone off-piste in media briefings.

9. Peter Mandelson has put the boot into the 'toffs' strategy that Brown has been pursuing, saying that Labour can't win if it continues as it has been doing. He later clarified that he was merely stating the obvious when he said that Labour couldn't win with a 'heartlands strategy', but his words in the original interview were quite clear - "We have to reach out to" rather than "We are reaching out to".

10. Now there are rumours (yet again) of a Labour leadership contest. A departing back-bencher has already voiced the dread thought (well, typed it, anyway), and some media outlets are beginning to write 'the long goodbye' stories already, scribing the downfall and speculate on future leadership contenders.

11. A wee analysis of opinion movement in the run-up to elections shows that the Conservatives pick up ground on Labour in the last months (the author of the analysis over at Political betting is a chap called Andy Cooke).

12. It turns out that the SNP spent £126,000 on the European election in June while Labour spent £228,000 but we still beat them by 321,007 votes to 229,853 votes. If we can beat Labour while they are still outspending us then politics has truly changed in Scotland and none of the old verities can be relied upon any more.

So there you have it - Labour in utter disarray, Lib Dems ruling themselves out of contention, Conservatives having a few wee stabiliser problems, and the SNP sailing serenely on. This is going to be a very interesting election!

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