The Spectator has always been “on the Right”, but in its present iteration it is increasingly relaying the version as approved by Tory HQ. And more infallibly papal than the Pope. As in this magisterium:
Things could scarcely be going better for the Conservatives. Every week seems to bring more news of the recovery. High street tills are ringing, employment is at an all-time high and Britain’s economy is growing faster than that of any major country. No wonder the Labour party’s opinion poll lead has been reduced to one vulnerable point. Two years ago, the Conservatives had almost given up hope of winning the next election. Now, it looks within their grasp — if they keep it together. And therein lies the problem.
Which leads into a plea, a demand, an injunction — nay, a commandment — for strict toeing of the party line. No more EU-line dancing.
Let’s Fisk those assumptions:
Is the “recovery” doing that well?
The City slickers may be happy in their work and bonuses; but there is precious little evidence of “trickle down”, especially in the blighted provinces, and north of Watford.
Has anyone heard the tills the length of the High Street all a-ringing?
Marks & Spencer suffered its third Christmas of declining clothing sales, increasing the scrutiny on the high street bellwether. Tesco said UK Christmas sales fell 2.4pc like-for-like. Morrisons warned full-year profits will be toward the bottom of expectations after like-for-like sales dropped 5.6pc.
What most of us notice about the High Street is the increase in closures and voids, and infilling by charity shops.
Is Britain’s economy “growing faster than that of any major country”?
Well, provided we exclude China (+7.7%), India (+4.8%), Indonesia (+5.6%), Malaysia (+5%), Nigeria (+7.7%), Pakistan (+3.6%), the Philippines (+6.9%), Saudi Arabia (+3.1%), Singapore (+4.4%), South Korea (+3.9%), Taiwan (2.9%), and Turkey (+4.4%) from any list of “major” countries.
Oh, and news just in:
The US economy grew at a 3.2% annual rate for the final quarter of 2013, according to the country’s Commerce Department.
So, another to add to that list of not “major” countries.
The Labour party’s opinion poll lead has been reduced to one vulnerable point
Got that. But only in the ComRes telephone poll for the Independent. As Anthony Wells continues:
Populus’s Monday poll was also conducted after the 50p pledge, at roughly the same time as ComRes, and they show Labour’s lead still at seven points. Even without that, we know polls jump about from day to day, YouGov have already shown a couple of 3 point leads this month that turned out to just be normal sample variation.
Still, The Spectator has ornithological leanings, and one swallow may make its summer.
Now all that is required is:
- the Tories not to panic about the Kippers and Faragista incursions into home territory, even when the Euro-elections go all Penny Mordaunt belly-flop for them,
- for the disappointed and disaffected backbenchers not to go ape when the Wharton Bill finally fails,
- for the ConDem divorce to take place painlessly and without rancour,
- for there not to be any scandal (financial, sexual, whatever) to titillate the yellow press,
- for Downing Street not to be even peripherally implicated in the continuing trial of Coulson and Brooks,
- for shit not to happen during the next sixteen months …
Not asking a lot!