Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Great Silly Season wind-up

The curtain is drawing down on another silly season and it’s back to business very soon in the Westminster village. Of course we have the annual conference season to contend with which always throws up something before we get back in to the business of parliament; but the desperate August hunt by journalist to pick up a story however trivial and the opportunistic back bencher or has been to get himself heard is very much coming to an end. However, this season’s silly season has had a rather unfortunate overtone of seriousness about it what with failed terrorist attacks, flooding, foot and mouth and bouncing Brown. I feel a bit robbed. That was until I realised we have just been witnessing the biggest silly season story of recent times. August polling.

That’s right, the joke was on us this year. It seems like months that we have been asking when will the Brown bounce settle; will Cameron recover; will there be an autumn election? All the time we have been looking to polls that every other year aren’t even compiled – because they are notoriously inaccurate! Of course, they had to be asked – Gordon had just got in to power, Labour wanted the headlines and the papers wanted to write them. Now we are back in business it is becoming more clear that the Brown bounce isn’t all that the polls thought it was, Cameron is still in the game and there almost certainly won’t be an Autumn election. All things we knew three months ago. Nothing has changed. It’s business as usual – Labour have the advantage, the Tories are doing enough to keep themselves in the game and Cameron in the job and the Lib Dems are completely oblivious to the fact that if they do not get rid of Ming they stand to lose half their seats at the next election. In fact, the only thing these polls have shown us is that while Labour and Conservative ratings can yo-yo depending on the day of the week, the Lib Dems are heading in one direction: down.

So I guess the biggest fool of the silly season wasn’t Cameron or the journalists or you or me, it was those Lib Dems who have been laughing at the Tories as they lose their poll ratings, rejoice when Brown loses his bounce and then realise it was all just silly season after all and they are out the game altogether – Autumn election or no Autumn election. They should have kept more an eye on their failed leadership than the leadership of the other two parties.

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