We seem to be back to the Alan Johnson saga. As most of you will recall, under both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, Alan Johnson was always supposed to be the next Labour leader, and no matter how many times he said he didn’t want the job, the speculation just wouldn’t go away. Likewise, no matter how many times Theresa May says no election (as she did again yesterday), a small majority and a huge poll lead just keep fuelling the anticipation.
There is movement, however. The Times reports that “Behind the scenes the Conservative machine is gearing up, however. Senior Tories revealed that a record number of people have applied to join the party’s list of approved parliamentary candidates.”
That doesn’t sound like something that would be happening without a probability greater than zero of an election, the question is how much greater than zero.
ICM’s fortnight’s poll for the Guardian showed the Tory lead falling to 16 points, or 44-28, which is pretty much the 1983 mainland popular vote. That works out as about a 100 seat majority on a uniform swing, but I have my doubts as to how uniform the swing would be in practice.
I don’t normally share content from politicians, because they’re the definition of partisan. But sometimes they write good, balanced stuff. This from Lisa Nandy gets as close as anything I’ve seen to nailing Labour’s long-term problem – the cultural gap between metropolitan and provincial.
And in the blue corner, Conservative Home has an interesting new feature – it’s teaming up with social media sentiment analysts Blurrt to get a new insight into what people on the right are thinking and feeling. As I’ve written before, actually using this analysis for predictive purposes is probably some way off, simply because there have been so few elections during he social media era. But it’s still very interesting.