David Cameron’s Conservative Party now enjoys an 8% lead over Labour according to a new YouGov poll for today’s Telegraph. The poll has been taken during the last 48 hours and so it will have captured voters’ immediate reactions to turmoil inside the Government. The 7% Tory lead in the ConservativeHome poll of polls is the largest Tory advantage since the series began.
Commenting on the poll, Anthony Wells at UK Polling Report doesn’t find much comfort in the poll for Gordon Brown:
"There is little confidence that Gordon Brown will be an improvement on Tony Blair. Only 20% of people think he will be better than Blair, with 22% thinking he will be worse. Overall 30% of people think Brown will prove a good Prime Minister, with 38% thinking he will be a bad one. Only a third now think that Brown has done a good job as Chancellor, only a fifth think him honest and only a sixth like him. That said, he still has no serious challenger for the position – amongst Labour supporters he is first choice of over 50%, with John Reid second on just 9%."
Gordon Brown seeks to improve his standing in a page two article for today’s Sun:
- "Between justice and evil, humanity and barbarism, democracy and tyranny, no one can afford to be neutral or disengaged." This is close to plagiarism! George W Bush in 2001 said: "Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them."
- "I have already doubled the money we spend on security since 9/11 to £2billion per year, and I guarantee we will continue to spend whatever it takes to meet the new security demands we face, and our military commitments abroad." Whatever it takes? Try telling that to our under-equipped troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- "Alongside the national ID card scheme, our next step must be the introduction of biometrics in new passports and visas, and the screening of all passengers." Is that the ID card scheme that is ‘set to fail’?
- "My aim as Chancellor has since 1997 been a Britain strong in economic stability. In the years ahead, all our aims must be a Britain strong in stability, strong in security, and strong in the world: a Britain truly safe and secure in our hands." Strong. Strong. Strong. Mr Brown will wisely abandon trying to compete with David Cameron
by talking, for example, about the Arctic Monkeys. His best hope against the Tory leader is to contrast his strength and experience with David Cameron’s untested inexperience. It’s vital that David Cameron addresses this risk by constant attention to his own homeland security credentials (as he did last month).
There’s more trouble this morning for Brown with Charles Clarke questioning his behaviour over the last few days. The former Home Secretary describes Mr Brown’s behaviour as "absolutely stupid". This may be the beginning of a concerted effort by Blairites to undermine Gordon Brown’s hopes of succession and a preparation for the Blears-Reid-Johnson ticket…