A marathon not a sprint…

Tonight’s ICM poll has been presented as something of a mixed bag for Labour despite it showing us neck-and-neck with the Conservatives. It’s quite clear and this is a trend confirmed in poll after poll that Labour’s rise has been on the back of the electoral implosion of the Liberal Democrats. It is hard to see a way back for the Liberal Democrats because even if by some minor miracle George Osborne’s economic medicine works that is not the reason Lib Dem voters are abandoning ship. They are doing so because they have been fundamentally betrayed by the Party they thought represented them and that will not be forgotten in five years time no matter what the economic weather. Just as these people punished Labour for Iraq now they will punish Nick Clegg for his opportunism and there is nothing the Liberal Democrats can do to stop that – unlike Labour they are not resilient enough to survive this electoral humbling. The party really is over.

The Guardian‘s coverage of the poll says that the Coalition is ‘winning the economic argument’. Reasonable grounds exist for questioning the durability of this advantage given that Osborne’s support is only at 42% (compared to 33%). However, despite all this Labour has a problem and that is the fact that the Coalition will do everything it can to hang on for five years. The notion that the Liberal Democrats may force some sort of crisis and an early poll is absurd. Why would they with every opinion poll predicting electoral decimation? Fear of the consequences will keep them in line much more effectively than any piece of paper. The only force from within the Coalition that can destroy it is the Conservative right.

So, we are going to have to be prepared for the long-haul because although these new polls are great news we have to remember this is a marathon not a sprint…

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About darrellgoodliffe

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2 responses to “A marathon not a sprint…”

  1. Peter Smith says :

    You are assuming that the Libdems don’t fracture. It is feasible that some key players like Kennedy will either join Labour, or more likely do what the Gang of Four did to Labour when they founded the SDP i.e. form , or reform, the Liberal Party. Unless they do this, their party won’t survive.

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  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Peter,

    If they do fracture I think its highly unlikely the fragments would join Labour – they have spent too much time attacking them so I think, if they do, its far more likely to be the latter not the former. Another problem with what you say is that its not the liberal wing of the liberal democrats that has a problem with this Coalition; that is quite snug in bed with Cameron, it’s the social democratic/social liberal strain.

    Regardless, the Liberal Democrats as we know them now are finished.

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