Bottler doing his best
Down 11 points in just two months, Bottler's been rumbled. As Prof King says:
"YouGov's latest findings for The Daily Telegraph are among the most devastating for any Government in the history of opinion polling."
Jeff Randall, in another excellent article, likens this disastrous "government" to a Trabant:
"In its early days, Brown's leadership, which had been launched with a cheeky re-spray, pop-popped along quite convincingly. But very soon nasty noises emerged from under the bonnet; the Trabant's big end was banging.
Smoke started billowing from its exhaust, as Northern Rock crumbled. The clutch slipped when the personal details of 25 million citizens went missing. Finally, the wheels began to wobble over "unlawful" donations."
To Tyler, the poll's most interesting findings relate to the government's wholesale managerial failures. BOM readers will be familiar with the following litany of disaster, but YouGov has asked voters what they think:
From the NHS, to defence, to criminal justice, to immigration, the majority of voters rate Brown's government as Poor/awful. And frankly, we're surprised it's only a minority who think the same on the Olympics (already officially four times over Brown's original budget), foot-and-mouth (caused by a virus escape from a dilapidated government plague lab), and the summer floods (made much worse by shortcomings at the bungling Environment Agency).
Overall, 52% think the government couldn't run that famous whelk stall.
When we started BOM just before the last election, we did so because we were fed up with the way Big Government always seemed to get the benefit of the doubt on managerial competence. The Progressive Consensus said "yes, of course, there are a few problems from time to time, but they stem from the evil Tories, who systematically starved our public services for years; Labour's investing in the future and getting on top of things; with goodwill on all sides things can only... er... get better."
Well, the things have suddenly become a lot clearer. Voters are watching a masterclass in Big Government incompetence and deceit. Stalin may have won WW2 and never actually turned into Mr Bean, but this arrogant socialist clown sure has.
There's no way back now for Bottler. He looks completely f****d, and may need to take the Anthony Eden escape hatch*. But the real question now is whether voters are ready to make the next leap.
Do they really think Dave and Co could do a whole lot better? Do they still believe anyone is capable of running the gargantuan NHS? Do they still have faith in top down criminal justice? Do they think anybody is capable of running Big Government mega-bureaucracies like HMRC or DWP? Are they finally ready to listen to the case for downsizing government?
According to the Major's brainy friend Herr Docktor Professor Kuntz, the certain date of the next election is 29 April 2010 (the very last Thursday before the five years are up). So we've got 849 days left.
849 days of recession, house price collapse, public spending squeeze, higher taxes, higher borrowing, and deteriorating public services. 849 days to plug the message, and hope somehow that Dave takes it in (cf Mr Liberty's views).
*Footnote- Anthony Eden famously waited a decade for Churchill to give him a turn at the wheel. He lasted one year and 279 days before retiring on health grounds. Just like Bottler, his predecessor never thought he'd be up to the job. And just like Bottler, he presided over a disaster. But there the similarities end: Eden won an election (1955).