I have kept the title of this morning’s offering broad because it suits the two slightly disparate themes – though the outcome of both will be the same if the Government messes up on either.
I have been out and about with canvassers over the past few days. The areas I have been in, on the most part, have been blue collar and commuter belts. What has been really noticable has been the cohort of don’t knows. Maybe it’s the so-called demographic I have been encountering but it seems much much higher then we recorded in our poll of 19per cent.Don’t knows have been converting two to one to the No camp. I’m not for a second suggesting the percentage of uncommitted is as high as last year.
And I suspect more don’t knows won’t vote this year. But the referendum outcome just does not look as clearcut today as a month ago. An element of uncertainty has crept in.
Final days too for Gordon Brown. He delivers his last leader’s speech to the Labour conference in Brighton, before the general election in 2010. For many, the second clause of the last sentence is superfluous. Brown is in trouble and from this vantage point his situation looks unrecoverable. All of his flaws have been exposed (even his eyesight and general health have become major issues).
His passage is like that of a small boat in an Atlantic storm. You get over one roller only to be confronted with another enormous one. The battle is endless knowing the boat may have to be scuppered at any moment.
Brian Cowen’s Coalition is in similar straits. Those around him talk constantly about his mastery of the brief. But that’s not evident at all. Cowen needs to be in form to perform strongly in public. Mostly he’s not as was evidenced by Richard Crowley’s mastery of him last Sunday. For a long time I thought he was pursuing a rope-a-dope strategy. But there’s no sign of a sudden spring to action.
No sign of that happening any time soon.
You wonder how many leader’s speeches he has left in him.