74 days to go: Will the campaign in Brighton Pavilion be overshadowed by the Ludicrous Left in Brighton Kemptown?

There are just 74 days to do, and the campaign in Brighton Pavilion remains as close as ever, with ‘undecided’ voters probably holding the key.  This is good news for the Conservative, Charlotte Vere, who can reasonably expect the majority of votes from those who claim to be undecided.  Whether or not they will bridge the gap between her and the Green’s Caroline Lucas, is another matter. 

Yesterday’s poll in the Argus, while giving a boost to Labour’s Nancy Platts, is generally regarded as misleading.  What won’t change is Nancy’s single-minded determination to fight for every last vote until the polls close on 6 May.  The Andrew Rawnsley ‘expose’ today will not, ultimately, hurt Gordon Brown.  Those who were not intending to vote Labour will have a further ‘justifification’ for not doing so.  Already there is evidence that people are beginning to see the alleged ‘bully’ as the one being bullied.  Attacks on Brown have been overdone and will prove counter-productive.

Ultimately, when faced with the coise between David Cameron and Gordon Brown, people will remember that (in spite of earlier dithering) Brown was the one who was decisive when it really mattered – that weekend when it looked as though the banks would crash.  All we get from George Osborne is the ludicrous proposal to sell cheap shares in the nationalised banks!

But the ‘big’ story of the week – not GB’s Piers Morgan show, not ‘Rawnsleyrot’, not Labour’s substitute for its spring conference – is the launch of  the mighty TUSC , the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which is standing in Brighton Kemptown at the General Election.  Its candidate will be Dave Hill, former Labour Councillor and parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion so long ago that even I can’t remember when!  Dave is an energetic and passionate candidate, but his impact, and that of the Ludicrous Left, is likely to be nil.

Brighton Politics Blogger hitting an all time low

“Ad hoc, ad loc, et quid pro quo, so little time, so much to know”

Thus spoke the Nowhere Man, that odd little creature in the Beatles film, Yellow Submarine. Today there is so little time and so much to comment on.So I will be brief:

John Terry: Lay off him won’t. He may be an overpaid, self-indulgent individual, but unlike other Premier Division footballers he hasn’t been accused of forcing himself on women, rape, or beating up his partner. Enough, I say.

Ivor Caplin: Former Labour MP for Hove. Having to repay £17k in the Expenses scandall for refusing to respond to questions on his expenses. This on’t hlp Celi Barlow trying to defend her seat.

David Cameron: Making a fool of himself in an interview with the wonderful Johann Hari in today’s Independent. He denied voting against gay marriage, saying he defied the whip, and even when referred to the Hansard record of his vote, he repeated that “his memory” is that he abstained.

Katie Price: Getting married again. I wasn’t invited but as Liza Minnelli said to her mother, Judy Garland, when saying she couldn’t make her sixth wedding, “I promise to come to the next one”.

David Cameron (again): For having George Osborne as his Shadow Chancellor.

Nicholas Soames: For playing the immigration card – he has just realised there is a general election looming.

Brighton Politics Blogger: Shame for bringing blogging to a new low!

Ask Simon Kirby, Charlotte Vere and Mike Weatherley how the Tories will cut £90 billion in public expenditure

George Osborne’s speech this morning made me cringe – lacking in substance and specifics.  His responses to questions was even worse – jokes about BBC salaries, saying that £1.5 billion “is a lot of money” (The £1.5 billion being the only item that the Tories have confirmed they will cut (from gthe government consultancy and advertising budget).

He said £1.5 billion is indicative of what can be done to cut government expenditure.  He continuously blames Labour for the scale of the savings needed. He says  he will go further that Labour who are committed to reducing the £178 billion deficit by £82 billion, but he won’t say how. 

When asked whether he would go further than £1.5 billion in year 1, he floundered.  He is trying to reassure the banks and credit rating agencies that he has a credible plan in order to protect the UK’s credit rating by saying the Tories will reduce the deficit by 50% in the lifetime of a Conservative Government.

Lots of words but no substance. What is clear is that the Tories will cut by at least £90 billion over a 5 year Tory government.  If it is just 1.5 billion in year 1, there will be cuts of £22 billion year on year. The problem for Cameron and Osborne is that they cannot reveal the savage level of cuts that they are planning.  If they do, they would lose the general election. 

The only conclusion that we can reach is that we should be afraid, very afraid, of a Tory government.

When you meet Tory candidates like Simon Kirby (formerly Radford-Kirby), Charlotte Vere and Mike Weatherley ask them to be open about how their government would cut £90 billion in public expenditure.

I want a hung parliament

The poll in today’s Observer (by Ipsos MORI) has the Tory lead down to just 6 points.  If this was replicated at a general election, the Tories would have just 9 seats more than Labour and we would have the first hung parliament since 1974.  If the gap narrowed to 5 points Labour could be the largest party in the Commons!

In today’s Observer, Tony Helm, the paper’s Political Editor, writes: “Among Tory MPs and candidates a new nervousness has been evident since early in the month. One Tory candidate noted a recent wave of hostility on the doorstep towards George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, who announced in October that the Tories would freeze public-sector pay as part of necessary economic austerity measures”.

This is great news, and poses a challenge to David Cameron.  The approach to date of saying little, committing to nothing, with him and George Osborne sailing effortlessly into Numbers 10 and 11, is no longer credible. On the occasion when Osborne did speak out, the real face of Cameron’s Conservative Party was revealed.  And people don’t like what they see. It is the same old Tory Party, determined to cut jobs and services.  With Osborne proving to be so unpopular, will Cameron stand by his friend or will his ruthless personal ambition result in Boy George getting the elbow?

I want a hung parliament because Labour does not deserve a further term. They didn’t deserve this term. But the Conservatives would be the worst of all worlds – its natural instinct to cut given cover by the need for ‘pragmatism’. With a hung parliament each and every MP will have greater influence, and will be held accountable as the Commons will regain some power lost under Blair.

A hung parliament: things are really looking up!