Monday, 27 April 2009

Why Should Anyone Vote Conservative ?

When a Party is enjoying 15-18% leads over its opponents, it may be a fatuous question to ask why anyone should vote for them but I'm not alone in having "doubts" about Dave.

There's no doubt in my mind the Conservatives are going to win the next election. The question really is how big they will win. Some Tory activists reckon a 150-seat majority is likely but my most optimistic scenario suggests 130 and I think somewhere between 60 and 80 as the likely final majority.

That would still mean the Conservatives "gaining" 160 seats which will take some doing despite poll figures of 43-45%. The constituency boundaries aren't as favourable as 1983 so a Falklands-style landslide seems unlikely.

David Cameron will have spent (by next summer) nearly three years blaming Gordon Brown for almost everything. It may well be that the Conservatives can coast to power on the back of anti-Labour sentiment but that will be the easy bit. Once in power, I suspect people will very soon look to Cameron and Osborne to make things better and while there may well be some growth in the economy, high levels of unemployment are likely to persist and the disastrous condition of the public finances will severely limit the new Government's freedom of action.

Indeed, we may well see some real pain in Osborne's first Budget if not before and the political question for the new Government is going to be how bad it will get and how quickly. With Labour in disarray, the initial winners will be the Liberal Democrats and I suspect 2012 in particular will be a good year for the Party as a crop of Tory Councillors pays the price for the pain.

Up till now, Osborne has had the easy job of pointing out where the Government has got it wrong and, to be fair, he has eventually come up with a couple of good ideas after having looked pretty clueless last Autumn. I'm sure he'd love to be cutting taxes all round but he's not going to have that luxury for some time.

The Parliamentary Conservative Party will have some rough polls to digest and difficult by-elections to endure and, after years of benign political conditions, the combination of economic austerity and the natural foreseeable and unforeseeable gaffes and scandals of Government may well prove as debilitating for them as it did for Blair and Brown.

So, the next 12-15 months are as good as it's going to get for Conservative activists and supporters culminating in an euphoric election night in May or June 2010. Let them enjoy every poll that's good for them because we know that from 2011 onwards there won't be many of them.

Com Res tonight apparently shows a 19% Tory lead (45-26-17) which isn't too far out of line with other polls so another bound of Lib Dem baiting, posts about huge majorities and the like over on

I suspect on some summer night in 2012 or 2013 we'll see a poll putting the Conservatives on 26% - let's hope those dishing it out now will be there to take it then.

Frankly, I doubt it.

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