Inevitably there is talk about tactical voting. There always is, but those like Lord Adonis, urging LibDems in constituencies where they are unlikely to win, is supporting labour strategy. That is to win an overall majority.

The Toy strategy is likewise to win an overall majority. There is a third strategy, shared by the LibDems, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and some others, the achieve a hung Parliament. Whether this results in coalition or minority government matters less.

They all want constitutional changes which are unlikely to be delivered by either a majority Conservative of Labour ministry. Yes, Gordon Brown is promising constitutional changes but don’t hold you breath: turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

The three strategies — Labour or Conservative win and hung parliament — are much more equal than first appears. Pollster YouGov was yesterday putting the Conservative  share of the vote (among those who had a view) at 37%, Labour 31% and LibDems+others at 32%.

In other words getting on for a third of people who say they will vote and have made up their minds are supporting parties who want a hung parliament.

The Telegraph devoted a long piece on Nick Clegg’s “balancing act as a hung parliament looms” on Saturday — a sure sign that he has made himself a major player in this election.

While tactical voting to support Labour or Conservative parties is relatively easy for individual voters to work out, supporting the hung parliament strategy is more difficult.

In England the simple approach — vote for anyone other than Conservative or Labour who stands a chance of winning. Some constituencies, like Norwich South, have more chances for the tactical voter who wants a hung parliament.

There Labour’s Charles Clarke faces competition from Conservative, Green, liberal Democrat, UKIP and BNP candidates. An ipsos Mori poll for the students’ union at the University of East Anglia fount that of those who said the would definitely vote Clarke was ahead on 39%. The Conservatives on 20% and the LibDems and Greens with 19% each were virtually tied.

That suggests that nothing other than large scale tactical voting will support the hung parliament strategy. But who to vote for, the LibDems of the Greens?

In Weston-super-Mare the Green prospective candidate has withdrawn and asked his supporters to vote LibDem. That is not a prospect in Norwich South where the Green party has already built a strong local government base. So short of a huge gesture by one of the candidates, it looks as if Clarke will retain the seat with a minority of the votes.

In Scotland and Wales there are substantial opportunities for tactical voting to keep out Labour and Conseratvive candidates by voting for the LibDem or Nationalist most likely to capture the seat.

Tactical voting is good but you need to know which strategy it is supporting.


It’s an appealing thought: David Cameron, Gordon Brown and their cohorts suddenly start using the language of the people. It would inevitably have to be toned down a bit, otherwise they would have to be deselected like Labour candidate Stuart MacLennan. His effing and blinding on twitter did go a bit beyond what is acceptable.

Vince Cable, the Lib-Dem treasury spokesman, seems to have got it about right calling the businessmen who have come out to support the Conservatives — and self-interest — as “utterly nauseating”. For good measure he accused the Tories of “barefaced cheek” in a Guardian interview.

That is language which can and is used in families everywhere in Britain.

I realise now that I was falling into the trap of avoiding everyday speech in a post yesterday about Cameron’s announcement that he would impost a 20 times maximum pay differential between the lowest paid and the highest paid in the public sector.

He commended the policy to the private sector too. I expressed the hope that he could “get all those company bosses who have signed up to eagerly to his campaign against a hike in National Insurance, to endorse it with the same enthusiasm”.

Irony is not enough. I should have written that “Cameron is treating us as complete idiots who will be taken in by any old muck he cares to throw at us.” Please feel free to change or insert a few of the words if you wish to bring this more into line with the language you use at home.

The Guardian has put some meat on this, finding that “bosses at 10 of the largest companies to have endorsed Cameron’s tax plans would be forced to take a combined £74m cut to their pay and bonus deals” if they followed the policy suggested for the public sector.

That would be something worth voting for.

At last David Cameron has identified one of his proposed cuts. He will introduce a multiplier to public sector wages (the boss could not earn more than 20 times as much as the lowest paid in the organisation, according to his article in the Guardian today.

The get the full flavour of this you need to cross-reference the article with the paper’s front page story with additional information, presumable supplied by Tory spin merchants.

So we learn police chiefs are safe with the highest paid on £253,620, 11 times the lowest police salary of £22,680. I am very glad to learn that the police pay their cleaners £436 a week (I am sure the Tories would not use the sophistry which excludes people working for contractors).

Obviously such a policy cannot he forced on the private sector in the same way, but Cameron nods in this direction saying: “Some of our most successful private sector companies operate a pay multiple, meaning that the highest paid person doesn’t earn more than a certain multiple of the lowest paid.”

Cross reference this to the front page and discover he is talking about John Lewis (successful but hardly typical capitalism) and Richard Rogers architectural practice (a one-off).

Nevertheless, it is an interesting policy which would be great appeal to the Voters. Perhaps he can get all those company bosses who have signed up to eagerly to his campaign against a hike in National Insurance, to endorse it with the same enthusiasm.

Cameron also makes a bizarre claim: “The one progressive new idea we hear will be in Labour’s manifesto – the living wage – is actually a Conservative policy: Boris Johnson has already introduced it in London.”

I don’t think I am loosing my marbles when I recall sitting in the Greater London Assembly chamber and hearing Ken Livingstone banging on about the London living wage. Perhaps, the missing London in Cameron’s article makes all the difference.

The origins were that the national minimum wage was not enough to meet the higher cost of living in London. But adopting it as a national policy would amount to raising the minimum wage (good idea and a vote winner).

Then the pressure would be on to increase the London living wage to create a differential. I wonder if Boris Johnson would be so keen on that.

So, another day and another glib and vacuous statement from a party leader: an election which is all fashion analysis of what SamCam and SaBo are wearing but little substance.

An interesting take on election advertising by Christopher Burgess at History and Policy. He compares the Conservative posters of 1929 and 2010 and writes:

The parallels between the Conservative posters of 1929 and 2010 are startling. Both men project an aura of seriousness, attempting to persuade the voter that only they have the necessary gravitas to lead the country. Both posters are about one man, the leader: Cameron like Blair is just one of a very long line of ‘presidential’ leaders. In both posters the party is notably absent – knowing how low in public esteem they are held, parties are often all too happy to hide behind what they hope will be the winning personality of their leader. The 1929 poster does not even mention the Conservative Party at all. In 2010 the tree logo is strikingly absent, with only the election slogan ‘year for change’ and website details visible.

1929 election poster
Baldwin like Cameron is portrayed as a man to trust

What he does not say is that Stanley Baldwin lost the election and Ramsey MacDonald formed a minority Labour government, the Liberals holding the balance of power.

The parallels could prove to be even stronger than Christopher Burgess suggests.

Techronati claim: AUGGJSB63N4Y

Arabian Money sums up its analysis of the election this way:

But whoever wins the UK election face an appalling economic outlook, and the message for foreign investors can only be to wait for desperate times ahead to snap up assets at very low prices.

Some things you find in blogs are simply crazy. Take this for example:

Poor David Cameron. He has tried so hard to emulate Blair in the reformation of his party, not because it actually needed reforming but to make it compatible with the global progressive Marxist communitarian partnerships that all the main political groupings have bought into, and pushing real conservatives into the arms of other parties as a result.

Where does libertarian Ian Parker-Joseph get the ideas for his IanPJ on Politics blog. Dig a little bit deeper and it all becomes clear. Who but Melanie Phillips could think like this. She wrote in her Spectator blog last Friday:

The British Conservative party has signed up to the revolutionary Marxist politics of Saul Alinsky and his seditious strategy of using ‘community organisers’ to turn the people against the state and against the bedrock moral and social values of their country – and it is almost certainly too ignorant, lazy or stupid to realise that this is what it means.


Unbelievable! You said it Melanie.

“It’s like having fairies at the bottom of your garden.” That’s the view of Twitter by novelist Margaret Attwood and endorsed by Sarah Brown on her Twitter account this morning. It’s a fair bet that she would like the support of a few fairies at the moment.

This is the Internet election, they keep telling us. No doubt, that is why Sarah is welcoming us to “my little section of Gordon’s website” at labour.org. I hope she really is writing this because all bloggers are prone to spelling mistakes and so spelling the supermarket chain “Morrisson’s” can be forgiven.

Gordon is also blogging in the first person. He tells us:

Elections are always important – but they aren’t always close, and they aren’t always major turning points in the history of a country. This one already feels like it could be both, so I am determined to talk with people directly and not just be mediated by a handful of newspapers. So I’ll be blogging here – and getting round the country to speak with people about public services and securing the recovery.

Did he really write this platitudinous, cliché-ridden paragraph? Maybe he really does talk like that in the comfort of his Downing Street flat, but I doubt it.

There is some stylistic evidence that the first campaign posts by both Gordon and Sarah (blogging is pretty informal) were written by the same person. For example, they both use the same phrase.

Gordon: Yesterday when I came back from speaking with Her Majesty the Queen…

Sarah: Gordon came back from speaking with Her Majesty the Queen…

I think, in the interests of transparency, we should be told who is writing the blogs. Perhaps it is the fairies.