There is the Westminster village view of reality. Then there is the real reality. And the two are, to no surprise of those of us not resident in the former, often different. Then, op top of the Westminster reality is overlaid the reality seen through the filter of the pundit churning out the copy. And in the case of Dan Hodges, wearily scribbling away at Telegraph blogs, this reality beggars description.
Dan who? No, I don't remember him
Such is the bitterness that Hodges houses towards his former party – on which, remember, he chose to walk out – that Labour can in his eyes do nothing right. The leadership are rubbish, they’re fighting amongst themselves, they’ve already given up on next year’s General Election, they can’t muster a decent policy between them, and Mil The Younger is useless at PMQs, and anything else.
One scan through his recent essays on the subject may prove instructive: “The opinion polls are ticking back up again” he tells, before warning “At least, that’s what the more optimistic – or gullible – members of the Labour family are telling themselves ... The Tories post-Budget poll surge wasn’t a bounce, but a portent ... Labour’s new economic strategy. There won’t be one”.
Yeah, that Miliband is rubbish, see! Then, only two days ago, came “Labour has no idea what voters want, so it's decided to offer them everything ... no one in the Labour Party has the slightest clue about what they should be saying or doing to win the next general election”. And, when Maria Miller appeared, blinking like a rabbit in the oncoming press headlights, this was more proof that Labour was rubbish!
“Labour's response to Maria Miller's resignation is an embarrassing, incoherent shambles” he droned. Then Cameron had to reshuffle his cabinet, and this too meant Labour was rubbish: “Labour fears Sajid Javid because he's everything it's not: working-class, non-white, successful”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. But then, that real reality came calling.
The polls for which fieldwork was done during the Maria Miller row are now being published. And they make grim reading not just for Tory supporters, but also those who peddle the view that Labour is on the slide. An Ipsos MORI poll for the Evening Standard – not by instinct a Labour supporting paper – shows that party widening its poll lead to six points. The fieldwork was done last weekend.
In other words, the poll was taken before the full force of the Maria Miller storm had hit the Tories. Worse for Young Dave is that UKIP are back to 15%, and for Hodges’ kicking of Miliband, whose “cost of living crisis” message recorded an 82% “agree” rating. Miliband scores best on “understanding the problems facing Britain”, while Cameron gets the highest “most out of touch with ordinary people” score.
Yet on ploughs Hodges, oblivious to all bar his own bitterness. What a sad sight.