Humiliating relegation to third place should serve as a stark warning for the Tory party

It may be only one opinion, and one piece of modelling using the UK’s capricious parliamentary voting system, but the possibility that the Conservatives could come third to Labour and the SNP at the next election is a sobering one. “Just a bit of fun,” as Peter Snow said today, though the Tory High Command won’t be smiling.

In fairness to the pollsters Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus – who crunched these terrifying (for Conservatives) figures – the sample size was an unusually large one, and the 26-point Labour lead was in line with a range of recent opinion polling trends.

It does not, in other words, appear to be a rogue reading of the national mood; and government sources aren’t wasting their time in trying to deny the obvious. They are in deep trouble. It takes a leap of imagination to see constituencies in the comfortable shires turning “socialist” and some 15 cabinet ministers out of the Commons, but that is also how things felt before the New Labour landslide of 1997.


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