The Tories are losing the election and the plot; Labour could yet win the election!

With the publication of every opinion poll, the chances of a Conservative victory in May become more remote.  Tonight’s ICM poll for the Guardian puts the Tories on 37% (down 3%), Labour on 30% (up 1%) and the Lib Dems on 20% (down 1%).

It appears that any immediate harm caused by Bullygate has been off-set by the Piers Morgan effect. And there is a sense that people are feeling that the alleged bully is, in fact, the bullied.

It now looks that we are heading for a hung parliament.  That’s not great for the economy, but better than having Chancellor George Osborne.

What is most fascinating about this poll are the underlying trends. The Tories have also lost ground on key policy issues, not least the economy, and also appear to be losing their campaign against Labour’s so-called death tax. Labour leads the Tories by eight points as the party with the best policy on care for the elderly.

The negative campaigning of the Tories is proving to be counter-productive. 

The possibility of Labour win in May should not be ruled out. It was always likely that, when faced with entrusting Cameron and Osborne with their financial future and that of the country, the voters would lose confidence, prefering to go with Brown and Darling.  Cameron and Osborne look lightweight by comparison.  They really don’t have it.

Being criticised for my constructive criticism of Green councillors in Brighton Pavilion

Local thespian, Ralph Brown, has taken issue with my blogging style.  In a Tweet earlier this evening Ralph twittered: “@BrightonPolitic I’m afraid your blog is losing it’s grip. Innaccurate, attention-seeking and shit-stirring speculation. Must do better”.  There’s nothing more satisfying than being recognised by one’s peers!

What Ralph has taken issue with is my criticism of local Green councillors. Ralph’s reaction was just what I was hoping to avoid.  It is fine to take issue with what I say, but he offers no evidence to support his view that what I have written is inaccurate.  In fact, I was quoting an assertion he had made about Brighton’s Open Market and Green councillor Keith Taylor’s failure to campaign to save it. 

“Attention-seeking and shit-stirring speculation”?  On the contrary, I have written from the perspective of supporting Caroline Lucas, the Green candidate in Brighton Pavilion.  I have called for tactical voting by Labour and Lib Dems.  I did the same in the Goldsmid by-election that saw the election of energetic and impressive Green, Alex Phillips.  But a blog must be allowed to make constructive criticism, and I do so because, as I said earlier, Caroline’s campaign is being let down by Green councillors in certain Brighton Pavilion wards, and specifically in St Peter’s and North Laine ward.

A far more constructive criticism comes from Luke Walter.  I am happy to reproduce the full text of his comment, and would urge you to read his excellent blog:

“I think there’s strong evidence to suggest that the Greens message, particularly in this campaign, is reaching other parts of Brighton, beyond traditional Green areas.  You can read my analysis of the ward breakdown from December’s ICM poll here: http://bit.ly/aCBboK. Whilst the poll has it’s flaws, it suggests that the Greens are performing well in Patcham and Withdean (actually out-performing the Tories in Withdean). Whilst there is work to be done in Hollingbury and Stamner, and the Greens need to shore up the vote in Regency, the message is getting through. In Hollingbury and Stamner, the Greens need to continue to make the case to Labour-supporting residents that their best bet to beating the Tories is to vote Green, as this blog has advised and rightly so. There is no doubt that the Greens can get their literature through the letterbox faster than any other party, and can certainly rely on a kind of national support the Vere and Platts campaign could only dream of. They just need those extra voters to trust the Greens, which we hope they will.”

Thanks, Luke, very constructive.  And Ralph, I will try better!  But perhaps you could encourage those hardworking but bureaucratic Green councillors to get out campaigning for Caroline!

Tactical Voting: It MUST be Green in Brighton Pavilion

It is suddenly becoming much clearer.  An ICM poll puts the Greens 8 points ahead of the Conservatives and a full 10 points ahead of Labour in Brighton Pavilion.  However, the most significant aspect of this poll is that two thirds of Labour and Lib Dem voters would be willing to vote Green if it would result in the Tories being kept out.

The telephone poll of 533 voters adjusted to match the local electorate’s profile was undertaken by ICM Research’s Government and Social Unit between 16 – 21 December 2009.

This blog has for some months wavered between support for the impressive Nancy Platts (Labour) and the rather too distant Caroline Lucas (Green).  However, I have been consistent in saying that Nancy’s greatest challenge is the Party she is representing, the “right candidate standing for the wrong party”.  The other problem she is facing is that it is Brighton Pavilion is the Greens number one target.

The Greens now have a head of steam which should allow them to have a clear run-in against Charlotte Vere, playing on the goodwill of Labour and Lib Dem supporters, to harness a substantial vote against the Tories.  Labour supporters are very unlikely to vote Tory to keep the Greens out, some will, for honourable reasons, remain loyal to their party and to Nancy Platts.  The Greens need to nurture the green/left/anti-Tory vote.  It is likely that Caroline Lucas can now look forward to a substantial victory at the General Election. 

If the situation was reversed, with Labour having a ten point lead over the Greens in Brighton Pavilion, it is not likely that two thirds of Green voters would consider voting Labour.  That is both a strength and a weakness of the Greens – able to attract wider support, but ultimately not a party of the left (although New Labour has tried to ensure that it is not seen as being of the left).

This blog, having sat on the fence for so long, calls for unreserved tactical voting in Brighton Pavilion for the Green Party.

A final word for Nancy.  You don’t deserve this.  You are an impressive candidate and individual. You have been let down by your Party and by events. I hope that you will find another seat in due course since you will make an excellent Member of Parliament, but it won’t be ion Brighton Pavilion.