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Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

A doctor in the NHS called @Hindumonkey has provided an account of a visit by Boris Johnson to a hospital. It’s a rant about how disgusting it is that the Prime Minister of this country should have the temerity to visit an NHS hospital, and how angry all the staff were – so much so that none of them wanted to meet him.

And, how dare he. How. Bloody. Dare. Johnson announced during his visit that the funding the hospital had been asking for five years to move a department from one site to another was being granted. I mean, bloody cruel Tories.

According to this account, not a single patient wanted to see him, either. Isn’t it strange how the Conservatives have a ten point lead in the polls, given how every single person in the country hates them? I have no idea how true this account is but, on the assumption that it is even vaguely so, the vitriol poured over Johnson by this doctor says far more about him and his colleagues than it ever does about the Prime Minister.

Surely logic would dictate that if you feel so strongly about the NHS, you’d grab any opportunity you could to tell the Prime Minister of your concerns. That’s what any normal person would do, rather than just flounce. It’s a funny old world.

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The Yougov/MRP constituency poll brings back unhappy memories from the last election for me. I was confidently predicting a large Conservative majority and ridiculed the same poll, which was predicting a Hung Parliament.

I tweeted that one of us was going to have a large amount of egg on our faces. It turned out to be me. Two weeks out from polling day ,I still think there could be a narrowing of the Conservative poll lead, and this could lead to some definite sphincter tightening in CCHQ on election night. Anyone who thinks a decent Tory majority is in the bag is deluding themselves.

I am pretty sure the Labour Party still has some ammunition to fire, and although like John Curtice I cannot believe Labour can achieve a majority in Parliament, anything else is still possible, including a minority Labour administration. If you need an incentive on a dark December night to go out and deliver that last hundred leaflets, that ought to be all the incentive you need.

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A friend from Spain sends me a Skype message: “I don’t think you are enjoying this election, are you?” In all honesty, she’s right. I find the whole thing depressing.

Elections used to be real events. They were opportunities for a real national debate. Politicians knew their role and they played it well. They would readily agree to appear on TV, radio and at events up and down the country. In this election, only a select group of them are allowed on TV or radio, and the rest stay in their constituencies.

Mass rallies don’t take place because following the South Thanet court case the costs have to be allocated to the local campaign. The costs of posters can’t now be written off across several election campaigns: the full cost has to be allocated to one campaign, hence you don’t see the usual number of Correx poster boards. In most areas, you’d be hard pushed to know there’s an election on.

Back in the day, elections used to be exciting events. No longer. Given the policy divides between the parties, this ought to be the most exciting campaign since 1983. Instead it has failed in every single way to engage voters.

Whatever the result, I hope there is a serious attempt to examine why this is and to make campaign reforms which seek to improve things for next time. It’s the sort of thing the Electoral Commission ought to turn its attention to, but that’s a forlorn hope. Indeed, the Electoral Commission is a big part of the problem.

The post-election cabinet reshuffle should be quite interesting. In theory, we might not expect too many changes given the prime minister has only been in office for a few months. However, I hear he might be thinking of making rather more changes to his top team than might have been anticipated. One or two long time supporters of his might have good reason to feel nervous about continuing in their jobs. Given what he did to Penny Mordaunt and Jeremy Hunt in July, this is not a prime minister who has any qualms about carving the joint, even though he has a reputation for hating personal confrontation. If he has a decent majority on December 13th, that might be the most interesting day of the campaign so far.

 

75 comments for: Iain Dale: If everyone hates the Conservatives, why do they lead the polls?

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