The polls have narrowed. Labour's lead has evaporated to between 1 and 2 per cent. Miliband no longer looks like a PM in waiting, but like a Neil Kinnock tribute act. (Hattip photo from @GeneralBoles)
What's going on?
The Left has gone loopy, that's what. It's not me saying it, but what thousands of voters seem to be telling the pollsters each week. Westminster watchers are so busy watching every nuance in SW1, they have missed something that folk outside can see clearly: the Left today is simply not credible.
1) Opposing benefit reform: The party that set up the Welfare State has somehow managed to get itself in to a position where they think it is OK for some families to earn more than £26,000 a year in benefits.
2) Francois economics: Across the Channel, French President Francois Hollande is giving us a live demonstration on how not to run a country. Government spending is up, income taxes on high earners have been raised to 70 per cent, the brightest and best are leaving and the economy has stalled. Even Hollande has started to think twice about the wisdom of Francois economics. So what did Ed Balls announce last week? A Francois economic plan for Britain.
3) Energy pricing: Energy prices are up because Ed Miliband as a minister signed us up to EU renewable targets. Ministerial meddling has had massive consequences in terms of higher household bills. So much so that even Brussels has ditched the idea. So what does the Left now aim to do? More ministerial meddling, with government setting prices.
4. Hounding Tony Blair: OK, so not everyone in Labour is part of the "Arrest Blair" initiative, but plenty on the Left think it acceptable to harass him. Some seriously argue that the most electorally successful prime minister that the Labour movement has ever produced should stand trial in the Hague. Really.
5) Distrustful of democracy: Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour Party, believed in standing up for the ordinary working man and woman against the interests of the rich and powerful. Yet the Left today is actively distrustful of greater democracy. Labour opposes directly-elected police commissioners. They have sided with rich bankers in the eurozone against the interests of ordinary Europeans, impoverished by monetary union. On the side of unelected technocrats in Brussels, the current Labour leadership will do anything to prevent the people being allowed a say in an EU referendum.
The Left has gone loopy – which is why it can be defeated. We really could have that referendum to take us out of the EU in 2017, lower taxes, less government, political reform ... and all those other things we would like to see a proper majority Conservative government do.
This article first appeared for the Telegraph, where Douglas writes regularly.
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Printed by Douglas Carswell of 61 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex