As the UK votes, The Telegraph notes that the Conservatives are declining precipitously as Blair seems set on reelection.
YouGov’s final campaign survey for the Telegraph – based on interviews yesterday and the day before with nearly 4,000 electors across Britain – suggests that the Tories are heading for yet another catastrophic defeat.
Far from improving their position during the final days of the campaign, they have apparently slipped back.
According to YouGov, 37 per cent of voters have already cast postal ballots for Labour or seem likely to vote Labour today. For their part the Conservatives began the campaign on 35 per cent, but only 32 per cent want to back them now.
The Conservatives have essentially been rudderless since Lady Thatcher left public life. John Major was affable, but hardly dynamic. Moreover, Blair’s “Third Way” which combines much of the Thatcherite reforms of the 1980s with a squishy socialism has been wildly popular. Thatcher won because she could point to the fact that Labour “wasn’t working” as garbage piled up in the streets of London and the entire country faced fiscal chaos. Modern Britain is economically vibrant thanks to Thatcher’s reforms and the “New Labour” policy of embracing many of her fundamental structural changes. Andrew Sullivan notes that this election might as well be Thatcher’s seventh victory.
Sullivan is also right — if the choice is between Tony Blair, an eloquent and charismatic leader who is a bit too fond of the welfare state and a party that essentially stands for more of the same, why not pick the original? If the Tories want to avoid dying out entirely, they need to find a leader that can elucidate the value of limited government, lower taxes, and the rollback of the nanny state. They need to offer a “choice, not an echo.” So far, they’re entirely unable to do so.