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8 December 2009

A pause in blogging

Brief reflections before regular service returns in a week

By James Macintyre

I’m abroad for the next week and off the blogging radar. You can keep up with the action on the increasingly lively New Statesman site.

These are interesting times in British politics. To some of us, however, it is also an inevitable time, with the fortunes of all three main parties changing. Four years after David Cameron became Conservative leader, there is now no doubt that the (to many unthinkable) decline in the Tories’ standing that I first wrote about in my second week at this magazine, last October, and that my colleague Mehdi Hasan and I charted in June, has begun. As Peter Riddell has pointed out, “Eight of the 12 polls published since early November have put the Tories below 40 per cent, against only one of the previous 25.” That’s in the same issue of the Times, incidentally, that carries a leader arguing that Cameron has failed in those four years to make a “compelling case” for entering No 10. The Times‘s criticism will rattle Cameron after the Sun‘s support backfired.

Meanwhile, Labour is suddenly more united, and showing it has a clearer strategy, as it appears to be closing the gap, and the Liberal Democrats have reached a pretty stunning 20 per cent in the latest poll: a reflection, perhaps, of the return of the 2003 Iraq invasion to the domestic news agenda. We shall see if this shift sustains itself going into the new year.

But either way, the conventional wisdom that a Tory victory is done and dusted no longer stands scrutiny.

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PS: Look out for a pretty lively and explosive interview with John Prescott in this week’s magazine.