If there is to be an election within the next 12 months or so, which I doubt, we should not already be giving up trying to win it!
Yes, we've squandered the large leads over the summer and Labour appear to be gaining significant ground, but it is worth bearing in mind that the recession has not hit home with the electorate just yet. The PM is still basking in the supposed glory of being master of the financial bailout universe. There is a strong possibility that Brown will suffer once unemployment mounts up and the economy contracts more.
It's also worth bearing in mind that the bank bailout is not having its desired affect - the government may have to implement some sort of ultra-socialist lending approval mechanism if the situation doesn't improve. That could prove politically disastrous.
On the other side of the argument, however, is the 1992 election. Labour enjoyed considerable poll leads during the 87-92 parliament, but mostly because Labour was not trusted with the economy (and appeared triumphalist and complacent), they lost the election during a Tory recession.
If we are not bold, and choose not to formulate straightforward policies which the electorate understand and whose benefits are appreciable, we will lose. At the moment, it appears as if we are unwilling to help people through the recession because there is 'no money left' with which to do so. This is nonsense. There's plenty of money to be saved. The electorate understands that Labour has squandered millions of hard-earned taxpayers' money, so now is the time to put that right.
During a downturn such as this one, sacrifices have to be made. If that sacrifice is public spending, so be it. We must not allow the absurd statist consensus of the bloated public sector to prevail over the coming years.
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