Matthew Dancona

Labour has lost the next election already 

Labour has lost the next election already 
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Predict in haste, repent at leisure is a sound maxim for all pundits. I have also long thought that there has been a bipolar quality to much writing about Gordon Brown - exaggerated savagery when his fortunes are waning and equally daft euphoria when they pick up (June 2007, September 2008).

So I did not draw my conclusions in tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph column lightly: namely that Labour has lost the election and that David Cameron is our next Prime Minister. It is not as if the Tories have been on a particular roll or Cameron more than usually to the fore. And yet the polls this week have been remarkably consistent: they suggest a nation that has, quietly but irrevocably, made its mind up to rid itself of a Government and replace it with another. The readiness is all.

In the four months since the collapse of Lehman Bros, Brown has made masterly use of the levers of office as a purely political tool, making of sheer kinetic energy a claim to authority and intellectual credibility. But - as the FT reported this week - this frenzy of initiatives is starting to look impotent rather than omnipotent. Each day there is a new strike, a new works closure, a new statistical disclosure or forecast that makes a nonsense of Brown's Panglossian claims. The news is bad, day after day, and will get worse. Militant trade union nationalism is back. Labour peers are disgraced. The polity creaks and groans.

So the game is up. That is what I think. The PM said yesterday that we have no map for the new world. He is right. But he will not be its cartographer.