Only thirteen years since Tony Blair tried to reinvent Labour as a neo-liberal force, it is in a fight for its life. The latest ICM poll shows Labour at 26 percent, which is two points lower that its worst ever showing, under the flaky near communist, Michael Foot, in 1983, whose manifesto was famously called "the longest suicide note in history." The Lib-Dem surge has not relented but the Tory vote is holding up well.
As a Whiggish Tory, there is nothing I'd rather see than the demise of the Labour party, the architect of the socialist state and the culture of class-hatred that I grew up in and that Thatcher alone helped partially dismantle. Under Gordon Brown this might actually happen:
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde university, said: "The Prime Minister is in danger of leading his party to its worst electoral defeat since 1918. At 26 per cent, the party’s poll rating is even less than the 28 per cent it secured under Michael Foot’s leadership in 1983.
"It seems unlikely Mr Brown would survive long as Labour leader should such an outcome occur on May 6th. Only the vagaries of the electoral system potentially stand between Labour and complete disaster."
And I can see how the voting system will become extremely controversial if the Liberal-Democrats come in a strong second and yet Labour gets three times as many seats. In my view, Clegg now needs to pivot to traditional Labour voters and tell them that if they do not want a Tory government, they should vote Lib-Dem. On the current polling, with the LIb-Dems 5 points ahead of Labour, they would still only get 102 seats in the Commons compared with 262 for Labour. Clegg's case for electoral reform as a condition of joining David Cameron in a Tory-Liberal coalition government will be enormously stronger as a result.
One other critical factor:
The Lib Dems are attracting the most support among 18-34 year-olds.
Will they vote?