Labour need nerves of steel

WITH two weeks to go, the opinion polls are all moving one way and the result of the 2005 general election appears to becoming more predictable.So why do I keep finding upbeat Conservative workers in Ipswich while the Labour Party's volunteers seem much more downbeat.

WITH two weeks to go, the opinion polls are all moving one way and the result of the 2005 general election appears to becoming more predictable.

So why do I keep finding upbeat Conservative workers in Ipswich while the Labour Party's volunteers seem much more downbeat.

I was talking to someone senior in the Labour campaign the other day and he was getting really edgy about the opinion polls showing the party pulling away nationally.

He said: “It's the question of complacency that is really starting to get to us again.


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“The polls do look good, but when they are showing that there is the temptation not to bother to vote.

“You might even get some people a bit unhappy with the party who make a conscious decision not to vote thinking its inevitable that we'll win anyway.

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“I think we'll be all right in Ipswich - but if there are enough people staying away it could be difficult.”

Meanwhile the Conservatives seem bouyant, telling everyone that they're finding many voters fed up with Labour who are coming across to them.

I'm doubtful whether there are many Labour voters prepared to switch directly. But it does seem that Conservatives are more committed to voting for their party than Labour supporters.

Whether there are enough who feel like that to cause an upset only time will tell - but it does look as if the dogfight is far from over in this part of the world.

ELECTION night in Ipswich has its own rituals. Each of the parties has its own room for a party - or a wake - and everything does get very tribal.

But this year will be different. The Town Hall next to the Corn Exchange is closed so the rooms there that the parties often occupy will not be available.

So Labour, Tory, and Liberal Democrat campaigners will not be able to retreat into their own rooms.

When one group cheers as a result comes in on the large television screens, their opponents will be wincing in the same room.

And when some workers get tired and emotional at the end of the night, it will be much more difficult to hide them away.

I hope this is a situation which remains with us for all elections in the future - it sounds as if things could get quite lively!

WHILE much attention has been paid to Tony Blair's orange hue at the start of the week, there's been less focus on the equally-tanned look Conservative leader Michael Howard has been sporting over the last few days.

Is it a trick of the light? Or has Mr Howard really got some more colour into his cheeks. Certainly when I met him before the campaign he didn't seem anywhere near as bright as he is now!

It seems that Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is the only party leader now not sporting a tan - whether from the sun or from a bottle.

And my advice, as someone who shares his sandy-haired complexion, is keep out of the sun. You won't turn orange - you'll end up a bright shade of salmon-pink!

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