Tory MP Nadine Dorries said it: the Government is led by “two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition, and no passion to want to understand the lives of others”.
As council elections and referenda on whether cities want elected mayors approach on 3 May, Labour has at last begun to pull ahead in the polls, leading the Tories by a margin variously estimated between 7% and 13%.
It would be much more if Labour’s leaders campaigned properly against the Tory cuts and against those whom Ed Miliband rightly calls “the predators”. But for 3 May Labour council candidates are saying they will comply with Government cuts, only softening them.
As a result, Glasgow City Council, long a Labour stronghold, looks in danger of being captured by the Scottish National Party, which for many has more credibility as a representative of “old-Labour”-type reformism than Labour currently has.
In October 2011 an anxious Labour Party hierarchy sent officials to manipulate the selection of council candidates, and the officials deselected 16 councillors with a total of 190 years on the council.
Deselected Labour councillors have formed a group called “Glasgow First”, which will stand 22 candidates on 3 May, probably taking votes from Labour, and two other deselected Labour representatives will stand as independents.
For the Greater London Assembly election, Labour has an opinion-poll lead of 9% in the constituency section and 11% in the list section. The individual quirks of mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone have become a handicap rather than an electoral asset: he lags behind the Tories’ Boris Johnson in polls, by a margin varying from 6% to 2%.
Although only 14% of people polled think Johnson is “in touch with the concerns of ordinary people”, he has outdone Livingstone in the “colourful maverick” act. 50% say Johnson has “charisma”, and only 15% will say the same for Livingstone. 38% judge Livingstone’s mayoral campaign “poor” or “awful”.
George Galloway’s Respect group has been boosted by his Bradford West by-election victory on 29 March. It was previously on the verge of shutting up shop, but will now hold a national conference in June. At short notice it has been able to muster 12 candidates for the 30 council wards in Bradford, but in Birmingham, where it once had a number of councillors, it proposes a vote for the Greens.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (a group run by the Socialist Party with some leaders of the RMT rail union) is running in the list section in London (not the constituency section, and not the mayoral contest).
A YouGov poll shows it scoring 0%, but such polls may be very inaccurate for smaller parties.