And then there was another poll showing a narrowing Tory lead: this, the latest in the Guardian/ICM series, shows a 40-31-18 split between Tory, Labour and Lib Dem. Also, it was conducted after last week’s Pre Budget Report, with all its attendant bad news on taxes.
On these numbers, Young Dave should still be able to muster a majority, but one in perhaps single figures. Should he worry? Maybe not: for an opposition to defeat him, they would need to be united, and that would have to include Plaid Cymru, SNP, Independents, and the Northern Irish members – some of whom won’t take their seats at Westminster. Is there a scenario where the SDLP and DUP would file through the same lobby?
So maybe the time has not yet come for the Tories to worry unduly. That would only happen if the numbers continue to move against them: if they were to drop another five points to Labour, their lead would be gone. And, after all, Labour won in 2005 on just over 35% of the popular vote.
Meanwhile, there is talk of a so-called “early election”. In late March next year. This is “early”? It’s more than three months away. Somewhere in the ranks of assembled hacks, someone is getting carried away. Pa Broon will not be getting deflected, and neither will his opponents, whatever their followers say for public consumption.
The real message is that we should concentrate on doing Christmas, and have a think about the politics in the New Year.