James Forsyth

What lead do the Tories need to win?

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While we all wait for the revelations from Andrew Rawnsley’s book, which is being serialised in The Observer, there are a few things worth noting from Douglas Alexander’s interview with The Guardian today. First of all, Labour thinks that the Tory strength in the marginals means that the Tories only need to be six points ahead nationally to win an overall majority. This is significant as it suggest that the parties are in rough agreement on how far ahead the Tories need to be to win; the Tories assumption is that a seven point lead in the popular vote will translate into a Commons majority. Second, it is interesting that Alexander directly credits the media with helping Labour turn this election from a referendum on it into a choice between them and the Tories. This is a real shift from Labour conference where attacks on the press were guaranteed to be met with passionate applause at fringe meetings and in the conference hall. Finally, it is striking that Labour has—at least in theory—understood the organisational lessons of the Obama campaign. This interview and James Purnell’s decision to train as a community organiser suggests that the next generation of Labour politics understand how this kind of politics works.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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