This is the first in a short series, looking at how we read the various signs and indicators that abound in the political arena. I have covered some of the ground before, so do not intend to go over the same ground in that kind of detail, more to just mention as necessary.
Two columns this past week have prompted this particular post, as they both come from informed sources yet come to completely opposite conclusions. Dan Hodges believes that Ed[ward] Miliband's policy vacuum and mostly lacklustre personal performance mean that Labour cannot realistically win next year's General Election. He has a point – in fact, several very good points. In a sensible world, based on merit, he'd be right.
Sadly for him (and us) the reality is more likely to be what David Herdson – for whom I have considerable regard – carefully explains as the political landscape on which that election will be contested. Idealism gives way to realism, as it so often does in this flawed world, and David is, no doubt unfortunately, likely to be closer to the truth that May 2015 will reveal.
As we now know, the supposedly 'acceptable face of Conservatism' presided over by Tony Blair turned out in reality to be nothing more than a superficial cover for the eleven-point plan devised by the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism designed expressly for the purpose of destroying a nation and its culture – yet he won three elections in a row with hardly anyone realising 'New' Labour's true agenda. Presentation, rather than the actual policies, secured those election wins; and it is a lesson worth learning and never forgetting!
However, I think that neither view should be taken in isolation, and there is still time to go, so nothing is set in stone. Personally, I have a feeling that the UKIP bubble is about to burst, and that in itself will not only return a number of former Conservative voters back to their roots, but also some of the other now-UKIP supporters might well turn rightward, as a result of having been immersed in an ostensibly tight-wing agenda and finding that they supported it after all, despite where they had been politically before making that switch. It happens to people...
Whether Labour get back into Downing Street next year or not is thus far from a certainty either way. I have made my own plans for either outcome, and for several 'hung' and other variations (no surprise there!) so am as ready as it is possible to be for whatever result transpires.
The one and only advantage of a Labour government, if that should be what we get, is that current generations will learn what that truly means – from personal experience. It is sometimes better to go through all of that just so that people won't make the same mistake again for at least a generation. I wonder whether that will be the real legacy that next year's election will leave?
Meanwhile, keep watching the signs, but with intelligence...