Monday, July 23, 2012
Coalition Leaders Under Attack
Everyone knows the government is not doing too well in the polls but this report shows: Labour 'roaring' ahead on 44%; the Conservatives on 31%; only 28% thinking the government is handling the economic crisis effectively; and over half of voters believing the Coalition will not last until 2015. No doubt the squabbles between the two parts of the coalition, help explain doubts as to longevity while the flat as a pancake economy explains much else. Labour is now at last creeping ahead on economic competence and Ed Miliband's personal rating shows he is less unpopular than the Prime Minister.
Back in April Clegg's personal rating was a horrifying minus 53 points. Following the row about House of Lords reform - a reform the public don't want but the Lib Dems currently see as their raison d'etre for being in the coalition- the junior partner's future seems dire indeed. Just to add to his party leader's discomfiture, Vince Cable has signaled he is prepared to stand for the party leadership. He commented to the FT that “The worship of youth has diminished – perhaps generally – in recent years”.
As for David Cameron he was savaged by David Starkey in the ST yesterday and, more importantly criticised by Bagehot in The Economist:
Voters increasingly deem the Tory leader woebegone. Mr Cameron remains tolerated as a leader. But a poll by YouGov shows the proportion of Britons who think he “sticks to what he believes in” has collapsed, from 30% in late January to just 17%. Worse still, a different survey showed Labour was considered the most competent of the three big parties for the first time since the coalition was forged in May 2010.
And the awful state of the economy, despite claims by some that GDP is actually increasing- hence increasing employment- mean knives are out for Osborne. The influential Peter Oborne in The Telegraph has called for his sacking as Chancellor; Lord (Nigel) Lawson has argued he should give up his strategic role advising Cameron and stick to his 'day-job of running the economy; senior Tory Tim Yeo has lambasted him for betraying the government's Green Agenda; and yesterday John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, representing 100,000 UK firms lambasted Osborne for 'indecision, equivocation and short termism'.
With problems like these I would say the chances of the Coalition lasting the course, are fast diminishing. Inevitably both parties will jump ship before the election to work on maximising their own support, but the way things are going a much earlier break than intended might prove a convenient excuse for ending this mismatch partnership.