1. A new Parliament, a new camera angle. Just like a new term at school. Some people getting excited about where to sit, others impressed with the new technology that has been installed over the holidays.
There is still a while, though, before we start the serious business of watching a single-party majority government in operation.
2. I wonder how the British Polling Council’s inquiry is coming along. I haven’t had a chance to investigate closely, but feel that the keys to a better model of voter behaviour are questions about preferred prime minister and economic competence.
Conservative sources tell me that the much-vaunted rise in Ed Miliband’s personal rating during the campaign came from people who were already Labour supporters, and that he actually went backwards (slightly) on the forced-choice question: “Who would you prefer as prime minister?” David Cameron, on the other hand, increased his support.
It is going to be interesting to see how the polling companies use these kind of questions to adjust their raw voting-intention figures.
3. By outlining an intelligent campaign to leave the EU, Daniel Hannan, the Conservative Euro-MP, shows how it is doomed. Points 1, 3 and 9 are all injunctions to his fellow Better-Off-Outers to be optimistic, but are contradicted by points 5, 6, 7 and 8, which are complaints about how terrible the EU is. He ignores the most persuasive argument against leaving, which is that we cannot be sure that the French and Germans would allow us free access to the single market. Nor does he deal with Cameron’s claim to have renegotiated the terms of our membership so that everything will be better than it was.
4. Another brilliant article from Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times, on how Labour may be over-thinking its post mortem already, by worrying about deciding its direction first before deciding who should lead it:
“Labour lost the election for reasons that any bus driver or part-time florist could diagnose in a sentence: its prospectus was too left-wing and its leader, Ed Miliband, was a liability. If it had chosen his brother David in 2010, and not spent five years openly goading employers with price interventions and other intellectual remnants of the mid-20th century, it would now be in government or thereabouts. There is nothing structurally wrong with the left that leadership and moderation cannot fix.
“Judgment, not intellect or hard work or even charisma, is the winning trait in politics. Judgment is why John Major became prime minister and his more luminous peers — Michael Heseltine, Michael Portillo, Ken Clarke — never did. ...
“The Labour mind is nothing but clutter... Even Blairites fall for this culture of overelaboration. They kid themselves that New Labour was an intellectual project, that three elections were won with blinding new thoughts about globalisation and the modern state. The truth is plainer: their man was a superstar whose gut instincts on everything but foreign policy were those of the average voter.”
5. Which brings us to the curious phenomenon of Andy Burnham, who came fourth last time and is now the front runner. Picking up endorsements from the party establishment, from Charles Falconer to (yesterday) Dan Jarvis, he is now the David Davis of this campaign.
There is just one question about him. Is the Labour Party really prepared to be led by someone who has gone off The Smiths?
6. And finally, thanks to Moose Allain for this update:
“My hot rolled asphalt paver, chipping spreader, and ‘three point’ roller have gone missing.
“I’m sure they’ll resurface at some point.”Reuse content