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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

It may be a blip, but it is our blip!

The inevitable rise in our opinion poll rating after the Brent East by-election has happened. The Guardian published its monthly ICM poll of voting intentions today showing us increasing our share of popular support by six points to 28%. We are now only two per cent behind the Tories, who are in turn lagging five points behind Labour. No doubt we will slip back but each time we do so we gain ground on where we were before. The Hutton inquiry has obviously taken its toll with a marked swing against the war. The Guardian very kindly writes that the poll "confirms that it has been Charles Kennedy's party rather than the Tories who are benefitting the most from the government's troubles." Tellingly, the poll records that the Labour Party's reputation for economic competence, which has been crucial to its landslide election successes since 1997, is showing signs of erosion. Further signs that we have arrived as a major force in British politics is a two page article in The Sun seeking to brand the Liberal Democrats as reds under the bed and personally attacking Charles Kennedy. It is nice to have a major tabloid paper publish all our main policy planks even if their motives are to rubbish rather than promote them.

More good poll news emerges even as I type this. The television news reports that George Bush's poll ratings are also declining and that the newly declared Democrat candidate, Wesley Clark, is now in a potentially winning position. There is long way to go in both Countries of course but who can blame me for enjoying the good news.

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