Telegraph: how the tories could blow the next election

Conservative conundrum

Originally uploaded by Martin Deutsch

It was nice of the Telegraph to provide this intriguing item. You could say it is an example of a kind of counter-factual journalism, one that projects, beautifully succinctly, just how the UK Conservative Party might lose the next election. In eight easy steps, no less. I have to admit, the prospect of the weasels failing to get back into power really cheered my Saturday afternoon.

In summary:

1. Alistair Darling announces US-style fiscal stimulus: tax cuts to millions in pre-budget report. Winter fuel allowance for pensioners increased immediately.

2. George Osborne makes a hash of responding to pre-budget report. Tories break out into open warfare.

3. Early December, Bank of England cuts mortgage rates again.

4. First poll shows Labour have lead over the Tories. Dismissed as erroneous polling.

4. Mid December. Caroline Spelman is censured by Parliamentary authorities. Talk of shadow Cabinet reshuffle dominates Christmas period. Osborne loses general election role in early January.

5. Bank of England cuts mortgage rates by 0.25 percentage points. Fuel bills fall sharply. Petrol hits five-year low.

6. Late January. Millions of mortgage customers receive huge reduction in bills as many home loans are only recalculated once a year. Barack Obama visits Britain to see Brown.

7. Early March. Bank of England cuts mortgage rates again. Credit markets begin to loosen. Election called.

8. Early April. All tax bands frozen. Labour narrowly win general election.

It looks like #2 might have already broken out (spooky that). But before the left gets too smug it is also worth pointing to this right-wing riposte from the comment field of the Conservtivehome blog (quite possibly an early sighting of of counter-counterfactual journalism).