Over on The Telegraph comment page, Toby Young (no, I have no idea who he is either) wonders why the Tories and Labour are running neck and neck in the polls.
So what, exactly, is going on here? Why can’t the Tories put clear blue water between them and Labour?
A good question, Mr. Young.
It's not really - I was being sarcastic. It's a stupid question. The Tories can't put "clear blue water" between them and Labour in the polls because there is no "clear blue water" between them and Labour in general policy and the fundamental aims of their parties.
Whichever party gets elected to form a government we're going to get a progressive liberal government. Labour and the Tories may squabble over the minutiae of detail, but basically they are both pushing in the same direction.
Given that there is so little difference between Labour and Tory policy, it's actually quite surprising that the Tories are as high in the polls as they are - but the reason for that is that most people who say they will vote Tory at the next election will vote that way just because they always vote Conservative. Of that 36% from the latest poll, I would guess that at around 90% of those will always vote Tory (i.e. they are guaranteed around a 30-32% share of the vote just from their core vote).
And it's not as if Labour have moved to the right either. The centre ground of British politics is way to the left of where it was fifty, forty or even twenty years ago. The "centre ground" has been moving inexorably to the left of the political spectrum since the sixties and the pace of that move has, if anything, increased over the last five years since Cameron became leader of the opposition.
Even if the Tories do win the next election, those who voted for them are going to be disappointed - because they will still have the same government they had before. The only real difference will be that the new administration has even less experience and even fewer truly talented people to draw upon to form a government than the Labour party.
The Tories have spent fifty years paddling their battered craft closer and closer to the good ship Labour - discarding conservative ideals as they go - and now they've jumped aboard and cast the remnants of conservatism to drift with the tide.
The Conservative Party is no longer a conservative party - and more and more people are beginning to realise this. They can't open up clear blue water between them and the Labour party because they are all in the same boat and they are not fighting over which direction to steer the ship - only about whose flag is to fly from the main mast.