Mike Smithson of politicalbetting.com has stimulated debate about Sunday's Ipsos MORI poll which showed the Conservative vote dropping to 6 points between labour and themselves, but now has a new poll (exclusively for PB) showing that the LibDems (21%) are only one point behind labour (22%) and with the tories ahead on 39%. Further analysis has yet to be completed.
I seldom take polls seriously as samples can be too small and/or too targeted, but there is a serious question behind a poll which shows a drop in the tories support. After all, surely with the lack of confidence in Gordon Brown and his diabolical handling of Afghanistan, the economy and most other essential issues involved with running a country, the tories should be a shoo-in.
Having read an array of blogs and newspapers over the past couple of weeks, the problem for the tories appears to be the EU. Many tory voters remain angry about David Cameron's handling of the Lisbon Treaty during and after the Irish referendum - angry enough to decide to vote for UKIP. Labour voters are happier to accept the actions of the labour leadership by all accounts. They don't feel they have been betrayed by Gordon Brown ignoring his promise or if they do then they're still prepared to vote labour.
David Cameron has tried to be all things to all men with regard to the EU and it's beginning to backfire seriously upon his party. Pussy-footing around is no longer acceptable and many would be tory voters may have written them off for years to come.
Melanie Phillips, plus other commentators, have been forthright in their demand for the tories to stop the cheap stunts such as the Westminster Abbey Garden of Remembrance photo-shoot and start to show some conviction. In the Spectator yesterday she has a postscript to her main article in which the EU looms large, which brings me to the point of this post.
Both labour and the tories have let the people of this country down regarding the EU. Gordon Brown is the more guilty because he refused to acknowledge his promise of a referendum but David Cameron isn't too far behind with all his party's hints that 'we will do something' should we achieve power, even although the Irish and the Czechs sign. He didn't stop to think we knew there was nothing he would be able to do to halt the introduction of the Treaty.
There needs to be a debate about the EU and why we are there. We all know how we got there, but the reasons for wishing to stay and its benefits require analysis, particularly since from next year our payments are set to rise by 60%. The SNP should also look at their policy as much has changed since it was came into being years ago and although the Scots are presently more enthusiastic about the EU, when the effects of Lisbon and the increase in payments kick in, attitudes may well change quickly.
If the tories don't show some strong leadership in this matter, then it could be that the alleged drop in support will never recover in time for the general election. It's now a case of not what labour has done which will lose them the election, but a case of what they themselves haven't done.