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It gets more like the dog days of the Callaghan government in 1979 every day - this from today's Guardian.....It'll be cap in hand to the IMF for a loan next.

"The UK government is heading for a fierce clash with the EU over its spending and borrowing plans, with Brussels rapping it over the knuckles for running an excessive budget deficit this year and next.

Joaquín Almunia, EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner, said today he would propose to start disciplinary measures against the UK on June 11 for breaching the 3% limit on deficits. The commission forecasts that Britain's deficit will be 3.3% in both 2008 and 2009."


Couldn't run a whelk stall.......

Given that the recent row about the 10% tax band is presently hitting Labour popularity it seems worth pointing out that the Grangemouth strike, being over pensions, is as a result of another Brown hit at the poor who pensioners usually are. It seems difficult to overstate the connection here, particularly since they were both introduced to parliament substantially dishonestly. I cannot be the only person whose mind is bogeling at the behaviour of a British government, never mind one which claims its main purpose is to help the poor.

I have read the party document on poverty, the stated idea that Labour are genuine in their intentions seems less than reasonable in view of the above. The above would also mean something to voters as opposed to the party report which will be read by about 2% of people most being academics and journalists who will make sure no one hears about it.

At this rate, all Brown has to do is get 27% in the polls and not trip over the press podium on Friday and it'll be hailed as a great day for Labour.

Can we please have a poll showing Cons and Labour neck and neck so we can lower expectation!

There is no way Labour can turn this around and with the cupboard bare there is no possibility of Gordon Brown pulling a surprise rabbit out of the hat. Charles Clarke stated that many Labour MPs are resigned to defeat and its only really a question of the winning margin. The Labour core vote is loyal and is more likely to stay at home than switch. I fully expect a rout on thursday.

Split is 40%:26%:20%

Tony, quite.

What percentage of the 26% will actually take the trouble to go and put an X next to Labour?

I hate to say it, it might be better for Labour do just enough Thursday to save face and for Brown to survive. Better the incompetent devil we know staying in charge.

On the other hand some Labour bloodletting might be fun to watch.... I am torn really.

BW - I honestly don't think Brown is going anywhere. The mechanism makes it so much harder for Labour than the Tories to ditch a leader, and I can't see someone that self-obsessed putting party (or indeed country) before himself. It has taken him about 25 years of plotting, back-stabbing, manipulation and bullying for him to get that job. I can't see him giving it up, and I don't really know who would dare stand against him. Everyone is saying the Millipeede would have a shot, but if he loses a leadership contest Brown will destroy his career. Plus, the unions will vote for Brown if such a contest goes ahead anyway - a third of the voters.

Hazel Blears on Newsnight thinks that David Cameron has not won the voters over. So it must be right. (Hasn't she got wonderful cheek bones?)

It gets more like the dog days of the Callaghan government in 1979 every day

I think the Major years are a far closer parallel.

Brown is like Major in that he has had the most appalling run of bad luck (a lot, though by no means all, of his own making), and his parliamentary party want rid of him but are afraid it would be even worse to change an unpopular leader twice in a row.

"The man with the non-Midas touch is in charge. No wonder we live in a country where the Grand National doesn't start and hotels fall into the sea" - the late John Smith, HoC debate, July 1993.

Sound familiar? Ironic that John Smith was Brown's mentor...

By contrast, it's easy to forget at this distance in time, but Callaghan was always ahead of Thatcher in the polls both as a personality and as potential PM. Her ratings before she got in weren't good at all. If 1979 had been a presidential election, Callaghan would've won comfortably. It was the Labour government as a whole which was unpopular.

Callaghan was far more respected than Major was, or Brown is.

I don't like the comparisons with Major. He won an election in 1992 with (I think) the highest popular vote ever. What has Brown ever won?

Well said EML!

Major did win three elections, two internal and one General.

He won more votes in 1992 than Tony Blair did in any of his elections.

National vote shares I predict:

Con 43% Lib 25% Lab 24%.

Boris wins in London 52/48%

Cons take Vale of Glamorgan (spelling?), Bury , North Tyneside, Cheltnham. Cons make 230 ga

Huge double digit swings towards Boris in Ealing, Brent North, Harrow and Hounslow.

Question: Apart from the current holder dying, under what circumstances would a bye-election be held? Except for putting contracts out on Labour MP’s, what could the Conservatives do to bring about more bye-elections that they could win thereby bringing down the Labour majority? Personally I don’t have a problem with the first method and would like to volunteer for service.

There is a quite a lot of counting of chickens going on - understandable in present circumstances - but I think we should be concentrating on the outside possibility of an Autumn election.

I don't think that Labour could bring in yet another "leader" without allowing the people to have a say - could they?

Brown has even ceased to be like the renowned army officer, whose men followed him "purely out of curiosity".

The problem with opinion polls is how much they show fashion, adjustments are made for reluctant voters of one party or another - but there is no way or really knowing how accurate such adjustments are because if people are lying to pollsters or lying to themselves then the figures won't reflect it.

I would expect actually quite high turnouts by Local Election standards and Conservatives getting 41% Labour 30% and Liberal Democrat 20% - both Conservatives and Labour will make net gains, all three main parties will claim to have had a successful night and everyone will argue about if afterward.

Ken Livingstone will stagger into a final term as Mayor, and Labour will claim a great success from this even though it was more a matter of a stop Boris campaign. Whether Labour will hold its position on the GLA though is another matter.

I still expect a 11 June 2009 General Election and I still expect net gains by both main parties with Liberal Democrats and parties such as KHHC, Respect and Blanaeu Gwent Labour slipping back.

In the European Elections next year, UKIP could get the biggest vote.

The biggest loser in Local Elections over many years though has been Local Government as national parties campaign in Local Elections on national issues - the Liberal Democrats on the War in Iraq, anti-Terrorist legislation and Council Tax referring to the Local Elections then as "a referendum", Labour also in the mid 1990s referred to Local Elections as a referendum on the government and now opposition parties are referring to the Local Elections as being a referendum on the government.

This all undermines the reason for Local Government which is to take decisions on things going on it their local area and have no control over VAT, Council Tax, foreign policy or Income Tax.

Ludicrous situations such as the Liberal Democrats attempting to hold debates in Council meetings over their proposal to replace Council Tax with a Local Income Tax.

Patriot @2013- The Commissioner can't tale disciplinary measures against the UK since the UK is not in the eurozone! [Typical Guardian!]

The Tories, despite the collapse of the Labour support , seem to struggle to get above 40%. Sunday's ICM poll put them on 39% and gaining nothing from the drop in Labour's share. Today Labour is 'off' by 5% but the LibDems got more benefit than the Tories. There is disgust at Labour but no enthusiasm for the Tories. [There's nothing to get excited about!]

This poll gives striking figures for changes in intention amongst various groups notably putting the Tories ahead in the poorest section of all. It also shows a mounting dissatisfaction with politics in general.

The Independent is the most Labour-oriented paper of the lot but Gordon Brown will not like the commentary here today one little bit.

It staggers me that, statistically, one in four of the people I meet every day support this catastrophic NuLab shower in government. I admit that here in Sussex the NuLab vermin are pretty much wiped out but there are so many employed by the client state that there must be closet supporters somewhere!

The problem I have with Cameron and Osbourne is this fixation of 'keeping to the existing spending plans' when, frankly, the country just cannot afford to.

They criticise Brown for spending and taxing too much yet offer no vision of doing any better; in fact, they pledge to do the same and offer to 'share the growth'; what a vacuous statement. Hence they were unable to really kill Brown on the 10p issue when a vision of taking millions of people out of tax by raising the thresholds.

It seems to me that Project Cameron has improved the acceptability of the Conservative Party but has failed to project any excitement - it is reported that when canvassing there is a 'real anger' about this government; we should be exploiting that and telling the electorate precisely why they should positively vote Conservative rather than voting Conservative as 'you're not the other lot'.

Just out of curiosity I went searching for the numbers. Here's the popular vote for the winning party:

2005 - 9,562,122
2001 - 10,724,953
1997 - 13,518,167
1992 - 14,093,007
1987 - 13,760,935
1983 - 13,012,316
1979 - 13,697,923

1951 - 13,948,883

If Tony Blair had a very small mandate in 2005 because he got elected by such a small proportion of the population, what mandate does Gordon Brown have?

Actually in 1951 that was the number of votes that Labour got - 48.8% of the Popular Vote, the Conservatives & National Liberals got 13,718,199 votes (Conservative 12,660,061 and National Liberal 1,058,138) or 48% of the Popular Vote. An electorate of 34,912,979, with both main parties getting almost 40% of those eligible to vote and the Conservatives scraping a majority of 16.

with both main parties getting almost 40% of those eligible to vote
Really I should have said - both main parties each getting almost 40% of those eligible to vote, as a proportion of those eligible to vote the combined Labour\Conservative total was higher than the turnout in any UK national election since 1992.

Those numbers are really interesting - and also show the importance of targeting marginal seats in a parliamentary democracy, and not merely ramping up safe areas... I'd suggest that the same goes for policy. Unlike many on this site, I want the Cons to target 'marginal' policy areas, and not to return to 'ramping up' safe policy areas.

If you know what I mean!?

Personally I don’t have a problem with the first method and would like to volunteer for service.

That's your firearms certificate screwed.

That's your firearms certificate screwed.

I don’t know.

Plod: “Mr Bodden, what is your reason for applying for this firearms certificate?”

DB: “I plan to cause bye-elections in Labour held constituencies”

Plod: “And how many would that be sir?”

DB: “Whatever the current Labour majority is plus one. At that point the government will fall and we can rid ourselves of them forever.”

Plod: “Very good sir; quiet an admirable cause. Nice to meet someone that is prepared to do so much for the general good. Here you go. Have one for me and the boys will you, sir”

DB: “My pleasure officer”

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