In this country one doesn't always expect mid-year weather to be quite as warm as this. Nor does one expect the main opposition party to be losing its cool mid-term to quite the extent that Labour has. But it's there for all to see: Labour on the back foot - over its links with Unions, on its leadership, on welfare reform and yes, on the NHS. Oh, and an interesting straw-in-the-wind poll showing the Tories significantly up
Coincidence - or Crosby ? Well the Labour Party are calling for his dismissal on several pretexts, so they clearly fear as much. As you know I'm inclined to optimism when it comes to the benefits of having a true strategist like that on board. And if it's correct that shelving peripheral stuff like tobacco packaging and alcohol pricing is being done under his principle of scraping the barnacles off the boat, so much the better for serious politics. Labour are stuck with their unattractive two-Eds leadership, the LibDems are stuck with Clegg, and Cameron polishes up better than any of them when it comes to a crunch.
It's hardly time to hang out the flags when objectively there is so much the government is getting wrong - in several cases, badly wrong. But in purely political terms, if the remaining less-than-2-years can be conducted adroitly ...
Not forgetting that government holds most of the levers, and the key is knowing how they are used. That's where Mandelson and Campbell were so effective; so much, much more effective than (say) George 'Strategic Genius' Osborne. Scraping the barnacles here, establishing a few dividing lines there (Trident and the LibDems, anyone ?) and the Tory ship may soon look a lot more ready for the engagements to come than was the case 6 months ago.
And making the NHS an(other) albatross around Labour's neck ... now that would be quite a trick. One that wouldn't have sounded at all plausible until, well, until very recently indeed.