The bitterest Poll ?
I write this seeing news of the opinions polls to be published in the Sunday press being trailed on Saturday night – as has become traditional
There’s plenty of Tory triumphalism about – and who wouldn’t be ? 45% with a clear 19% between them and Labour 19% Tory lead in News of the World/ ICM poll would produce Commons majority of 170. And if the public were supposedly tired of the traditional 2 parties, then there’s no relief at all for the likely benefactors from that disillusionment – the Lib-Dems – who appear to have gone into meltdown.
This seems odd to me though. Last June, at the time of the European elections, it was difficult to find anyone outside the ranks of Labour diehards, to say they would vote Labour – the opinion polls as I recall (& I haven’t checked back – maybe someone would like to) reflected this, and the results at the ballot box did too.
It hasn’t been the same this last couple of weeks though – the conversations I hear on the train, in the staff room, just around and about – have been saying things like what a pillock Andrew Marr was asking Gordon Brown about pain killers.
Things like how much more inspired Gordon Brown was at the Labour party conference than they thought he was.
And when the Conservatives started their conference the floodgates opened and everybody – but everybody – I’ve talked to or overheard talking seems to be worrying about what the conservatives will do if they get elected, going on about how bad it was under Margaret Thatcher, and wondering how we could do anything to avoid it. I really have sensed a big change in the general mood.
The polls though don’t seem to show this – exactly the opposite in fact. Which bewilders me. So much in fact that I really don’t believe them.
OK – I’m a Labour supporter, and I admit that it’s hard to stomach bad news, I concede also that there’s always an element of wishful thinking in judging the political mood of the nation. It just doesn’t feel right though – I’ve been around a while and seen polls and governments come and go. The latest poll results feel very out of kilter with what’s happening.
But could Poll results be rigged ? Is it feasible ? Despite my low opinion of some of the news outlets – particularly the Murdoch empire, and the Mail – I’ve always more or less had trust in them not to fake opinion polls.
I just wonder that’s all.
To come back though to those staff room conversations worrying about the Tories, I’ve found it very interesting to hear what people have to say. Particularly as they’ve not been politics geeks like me – or like the people who are likely to read this (sorry but that’s what we are !). Most people have precious little interest in politics until they have to be interested – but those people are the ones whose votes will determine the next Government.
These people seem to be saying that they don’t want the Tories back. They don’t necessarily want Labour either though – although a commonly held opinion seems to be “better the devil you know” . It seems rather that people are instead saying – we want something new and different.
My school site manager put it best I felt (a little paraphrasing here – I can’t remember it verbatim) :
“The government system we have now is the same one we had when Disraeli and all them geezers were around. We’re all walking round with iPhones & lap tops, and they’re calling each other names sitting in an old building. We’ve got all this technology, and we stick with a system that’s hundreds of years old, and involves folding up pieces of paper and sticking it in a tin. The only time I ever use a pencil is when I vote. I don’t want to do this anymore – I want something new and better”
I think there are lessons to be learned from that. I think Labour would do well to heed them. Actually I think all the parties would – I just hope that Labour does it first.