Sunday, April 18, 2010
Can Lib Dems Maintainh Their Momentum?
If the Tories have a mountain to climb, the Liberal Democrats are looking from base camp to Everest. They had 63 seats in the last parliament. A 1% swing would bring that to 68 seats, 2% to 78, 3% to 97 (where they are on the latest YouGov figures), 4% to 121 seats, 5% to 154 seats, 6% to 197, 7% to 250 seats – where they just might be the largest party – and 8% to four short of the 326 needed to be the majority party.
So it's a really a big ask for them, a mountain they have only just begun to climb and Clegg faces at least two problems come Thursday's second round: firstly both Gordon and Cameron, awfully politely and smiling like crocodiles, will be swimming through the interview waters to chomp him; and secondly, after his star debut, he might find it hard to keep up the same intensity of performance. My bet is he'll not be quite as good.
And this will be for one of the reasons he was perceived as being so good last Thursday: the media love exciting newcomers who exceed expectations. So it was with Cameron and his 'look Mum, no notes!' at the 2005 party conference; so it was with fusty Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent that time; and so it was with fresh faced relative unknown Nick Clegg on his debut. He'll never quite have the portents so favourably arranged as he did last Thursday. But, having said that, he's probably sunk the Tories' chance of winning an overall majority now. 'Thanks Nick' smirks Mandelson in a recent email to party members but goes on, less believably, perhaps, to predict : ' most people will not follow through on their current flirtation with Nick'
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