Counting Down To May 6th

The Tories attack Labour:

Massie highlights a longer Cameron pitch and is underwhelmed:

These clips are neither one thing nor another, neither a fireside chat nor a fully-trumpeted stemwinder. Instead, he falls somewhere in between and the result is oddly discordant  - as though he aims for the full Lloyd George only to restrain himself for fear that it would sound and look ridiculous. The result is a delivery that, sometimes at least, is both passionless and lacking in reassurance.

My argument against proportional representation (PR) is here. David McKie's thoughts:

It is possible to envisage a system with a less proportional outcome, such as the Alternative Vote, which is not acceptable to strict adherents of PR as it by no means guarantees a proportional outcome, but is finding favour with Labour. But even the Alternative Vote would seriously diminish the chances of the Conservatives (or Labour) forming an outright government, even in years when they are stronger than they are now. Maybe the only prospect of a Cameron government after May 6 will be one with some form of Liberal Democrat backing. Yet to abandon all hope of another Conservative dawn such as the Lady achieved 31 years ago must amount to a...version of heresy [for certain Tories]– even a vision of hell.

Edward McMillan-Scott is for electoral reform:

I was leader of the Tory MEPs during the 1999 Euro-election and held a seminar at Central Office, at which Oxford academics Vernon Bogdanor and David Butler spoke of fairness and change. I couldn't get Professor John Curtice to come from Glasgow, but he told me that he had always been astonished by the Conservative reluctance to go for real PR for Westminster, since it would actually give them a significant lift because of their broadly-based support.

There is a need for a national debate about a genuinely fair electoral system, and this election must be the catalyst.

Julian Glover doesn't think PR is an option:

[T]here is no way Cameron, if he led a minority government, would be able to get his party to pass a bill allowing a referendum, even if he wanted it to do so and even if he then promised to campaign for a no vote. So the search is on for a compromise. Some Tories are dreaming up elaborate schemes in private to rebalance parliamentary voting, which would benefit the Lib Dems whilst leaving first the post intact. But they will get nowhere. More likely, I think, is a standoff, a minority government and probably a second election later this year.

Iain Martin is given some good advice from a friend:

The concept [Tory "Big Society" idea] is an attempt to explain how civic society might fill the gap when the state does less. This didn’t get much of a response. The Big Society sounds far too wimpish, said someone else. Like a song by U2, Then Jerico or Big Country from the 1980s. And it is so vague that it reinforces the widespread feeling in the country that Cameron and his ideas lack definition.

A friend, not involved in politics or journalism, then made a brilliantly clear point that stopped the discussion in its tracks. “Wouldn’t they have been better calling it The Strong Society? Much tougher and far less vague. Strong is a good word.”

Larison goes after Clegg's opposition to replacing Trident:

Just a month ago, Clegg was rightly railing against the major parties for having effectively ceded British sovereignty over matters of war, and yet he argues for a position that could very easily reinforce all of the worst habits of the British government in its relations with the United States concerning matters of war. If Clegg wants to repatriate British foreign policy, as he says he does, scrapping Britain’s nuclear deterrent does not make very much sense.

Peter Hoskin says some Tory MPs are warming to the idea of a hung parliament:

One corollary of the Lib Dem surge is that it seems to have made certain Tory MPs more accepting of a hung parliament in private.  They still don't like it, of course – and there's still plenty of anger being directed at the party leadership, that the Tories aren't miles ahead in the polls.  But they do regard Cleggmania as something of a freak occurrence, which could barely have been guarded against in any event, and which is slightly more excusable than being run close in a straight race with Labour.  Whether this will smooth any post-election deals and recriminations remains to be seen.

Dizzy sketches out arguments for and against a hung parliament. But will the public go for it? Anthony Wells digs into the Sunday YouGov poll:

YouGov also asked if various election results would delight or dismay respondents. 24% would be delighted by a Cameron majority government, the highest figure, but 47% would be dismayed. As you might expect, most Conservatives would be delighted, most Labour and a significant majority of Lib Dem supporters would be dismayed. Asked about a Brown majority goverment 17% would be delighted (since almost a third of Labour supporters said only they wouldn’t mind), 50% would be dismayed.

Now it gets interesting – asked about a Cameron led Con/LD coalition, it is less popular than a Conservative majority. Only 8% would be delighted, and 52% would be dismayed (the highest figure). The reason is 53% of Lib Dem supporters would still be dismayed by such a result, and only 6% delighted, while 33% of Conservative supporters would be dismayed by such a result. What about a Gordon Brown led Lab/LD coalition? This is slightly more popular, 10% would be delighted and 49% dismayed, but still less popular than a Labour majority. Contrast this with a Lab/LD coalition under a different Labour leader – 11% would be delighted (including 24% of Lib Dem voters), and only 43% dismayed.

Finally, a Lib Dem viral video (via Lansonboy):