What the hell is Polly Toynbee on? It’s not a new question, but her continuing ability to ignore reality is just bizarre. Take today’s little effort. Tagged on to the end of an article which, helpfully, rebuts itself on whether Labour should introduce electoral reform before the next election (“Indeed a death-bed conversion by Labour after all these wasted years doesn't look good…It looks like a kind of gerrymandering, the last gasp of a dying party, say cabinet opponents. Yes, it smacks of panic that Labour never reformed parliament when it could…”).
But it’s the finale that leaves one wondering where she’s left her marbles:
Cameron, on current polls, is set to win a good majority in the Commons on the smallest proportion of votes cast since the last war. What's more, today's Hansard Society poll finds only 53% certain to vote, so he may win on the fewest votes ever.
On current polls David Cameron is set to win 43% of the vote (and you’d think Polly would have seen this – it’s in the Guardian). Here is the list of Prime Ministers that have won elections since 1970:
Tony Blair 2005: 35.3%
Tony Blair 2001: 40.7%
Tony Blair 1997: 43.2%
John Major 1992: 41.9%
Margaret Thatcher 1987: 42.4%
Margaret Thatcher 1983: 43.9%
Margaret Thatcher 1979: 43.9%
Harold Wilson 1974 (2): 39.2%
Harold Wilson 1974 (1): 37.2%
So what the hell does Toynbee mean? If current polling is accurate, David Cameron will win as large a proportion as Blair in 1997. I think we’re back to the old Toynbee question – is she ignorant or lying?