Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome to the cast of 'FagEnders'.

After another absolutely amazing day out canvassing I am more and more convinced that Gordon Brown will join to the select group of gentlemen above - the fag-end Prime Ministers.

The politics of the late 20th century was punctuated by some leaders who, after a long life of politics finally made the top-spot only to turn out to be a massive disappointment. In all cases their careers had bumped along unnoticed until they became PM where they failed to capture the imagination of the public and proved short-lived washouts.

In most cases they immediately succeeded charismatic, successful leaders - Churchill, Eden; MacMillan; Douglas-Home; Wilson - Callaghan and now Blair -Brown.

It's the strength of feeling on the doorstep that convinces me; sneering contempt from disgusted voters was an emotion reserved for some of our (quite recent) past leaders and I have knocked on many a door these last few years and taken 'advice' from angry Tories about our choices for leader.

Although this dramatically improved in 2005 with Cameron we were still finding some doubters in streets where we should be able to weigh Tory votes rather than count them.

But since the summer that atmosphere on the canvass trail has been completely and utterly transformed. In one road this morning I canvassed every home and in every single house I was pledged unequivocal support; that has not happened to me in ten years of political activity.

Sure, all the usual caveats apply, 'two years is a long time in politics', 'never trust the candidates canvass returns', 'people say anything when there isn't an election' etc, all true.

But I don't remember ever having had a run of canvassing days such as we have had this autumn, and neither does anyone else who came with me.

It's nothing local, nothing personal and nothing to do with me; it's about not having the new Government that voters thought they might get when Gordon took over in June (and didn't) and then were led to expect they might have in November (and didn't).

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