Can it last? Here’s my verdict

by Stephen Tall on April 21, 2010

I was one of five bloggers who yesterday gave their answer on Lib Dem Voice to the question, Can the surge last? Here’s what I said:

Lib Dem members could have been forgiven for waking up this morning, surveying the papers, and imagining they were still dreaming. Suddenly, the media cannot get enough of us, the party is surging in the polls, and the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times splashes the headline ‘Nick Clegg nearly as popular as Winston Churchill’ as its front-page lead.

Can ‘Cleggmania’ last until polling day? Here are three reasons why it just might.

First, the time is ripe. There is a public eagerness for a fresh start, a feeling that Labour and the Tories have taken it in turns to govern for 65 years and made a mess of it.

Secondly, the Lib Dems are in a position to break through. The party is in first or second place in almost half the country, some 250 constituencies across Britain, with mustard-keen activists campaigning all year round to make Lib Dem victory a reality. If the party reaches 30%, as some polls are currently suggesting, it could easily double its number of MPs to well over 100. Labour and the Tories would not then be able to ignore the public appetite for change.

And thirdly, there are still well over two weeks to go until polling day itself, plenty of time for the Lib Dem momentum to snowball.

Yes, it’s possible Lib Dem support has peaked. That’s what Labour and the Tories will be praying.

But it’s equally possible that this time the public really could break the mould of British politics. The decision rests not with the politicians, but with the voting public.