I had to laugh at this weekends polls, yougov gave labour an increase of 1, but also the tories, maintaining a 14 point lead in their poll and ICM gave them a whopping 17 point gap. All this after Labour 'took the fight' to the tories over the NHS. When Labour's one big idea in their history can no longer be used as a stick to beat the tories with then they are in big trouble indeed. At any other time or with any other leader, the tories would be taking a massive hit on this topic but Cameron has not only neutralised but turned it into a position of strength which is making Labourites tear their spleen out. He hasn't drawn on his personal history and why the health service is important to him, but everyone is aware of it but when he speaks about the NHS the public know he's speaking from conviction. And this is also the thing preventing Labour launching a full-on attack on Cameron on the topic. Because :-
1.> They won't be believed.
2.> The public will seriously hate them for it, after what he's been through, people will not stand for it.
The main tactical error on this was drawing him into an argument on the NHS in the first place. On politicalbetting.com, Mike Smithson has a series of golden rules, one of them is that when Cameron is in the press the tories get a bounce. So all Labour have managed to do is give the tories a little fillip before conference season. Shrewd. Other things have emerged from this too, Andy Burnham is nowrivalling Bob Ainsworth for most useless cabinet member, with his brief seeming a bit too much for him. Andrew Lansley, who has been under pressure and in receipt of much criticism of late has turned around and played a blinder (though the yellow jacket was enough to trigger seizures in some people) showing that while he might put his foot in his mouth occasionally, he is doing well with the health brief and has placed the spotlight back on Labour. Also, Labour's main line of attack has been drawn out in the open. Mandy accuses Cameron and co. of being two-faced (Oh, the irony!) and still being 'the nasty party'. And what of Brown? Well he proved Cameron correct, too many twits do make a twat. And the man can't pull off a decent photo-op to save his life!
The question is, as things are going from bad to worse for Labour, will they be tempted to cut and run and call an early election in late october/early november as it seems to be the only way they can stave off complete annihilation. My view is that if they carry on until next May the party may be irretrievably damaged and that could lead to the libdems leapfrogging them within a decade if they get their act together.