The Beeb’s poll tracker is now showing one clear message: the much debated Ipsos Mori poll recently was not the only one showing a narrowing in the Tory lead. But, so what? These things show movements to and fro, and a few more weeks down the line, things may be different. This stance, I suspect, is the one being taken by Young Dave and his chaps: they might have less good days, but they’re still nicely in front.
And it’s probably the sensible line to take, as is the Tories’ newly defined stance on the EU. But the cheerleaders in the blogosphere are more easily unnerved, and it’s easy to tell when a less favourable poll comes out – it gets ignored. Conversely, a better than expected poll is greeted by coverage bordering on overkill. The thought that the poll lead might fritter away, as Neil Kinnock’s did back in 1992, is preying on many minds.
Added to this is today’s apparently happy and confident performance by Pa Broon at PMQs, likely to have been bolstered by the return to the top team of Big Al, who is one man who still frightens the Tories – more so than Baron Mandelson of Indeterminate Guacamole. Tory cheerleaders are now whining about Brown’s “playing fields of Eton” jibe and shouting “liar” (unfortunately, much in the blogosphere has difficulty rising above this level) at his rather broad definition of the G20 (is Spain a member or just an attendee?).
On the other hand, the playground smears about Brown’s alleged medication are being shouted all over Tory blogland. I make no complaint about this apparent factual imbalance: it is symptomatic of folks getting – prematurely, I would suggest – nervous and rattled. And, if a mere dip in opinion poll ratings gets folks rattled, what if the lead were to vanish?
One thing is for sure: shouting “liar” and making medication jokes won’t bring it back.