>Peter Brookes from the Times 29 September 2009
The lastest Ipsos Mori puts Labour in 3rd place in an opinion poll for the first time since Michael Foot was leader in 1982. With the Tories on 36% down 7% on last month, the Liberal Democrats on 25% up 8% and Labour on 24% down 2%.

Of course the media are going to put this down to a Lib Dem conference bounce, but don’t forget this is the same media that said that the Lib Dem conference was a disaster for the leadership only last week. Maybe it is a conference bounce and if it is it shows that the people can see past the media spin and realise that the Lib Dems listen to people whether the party members for forming policy or as Katy Gordon proved the people (women) on the street.

Rumours tonight are also circulating that Gordon Brown is going to announce at last that he is prepared to take part in Prime Ministerial debates ahead of the next general election. However, there are also hints that he is seeking to exclude Nick Clegg from some of the series of debates he proposes. Here in lies a fault there are currently just 8% points between the three main parties in this latest opinion poll. Not as close as in 1982 when it was wafer thin between the three. Then the other two parties tried to exclude the Alliance to hinder the birth of three party politics, now 25 years on Labour are trying to do the same again from an even weaker position.

The only bright spot of the Labour conference so far it seem was Lord Mandlevort of Hartlepool and Foy’s speech this afternoon. From what I saw yesterday it look like a wake. They truly are a party on the downward slide. Now the Prime Minister is worse off than they were in there darkest hour in opposition. Not only is he in third place but has less than a quarter of the support of those polled. He truly does have one (Michael) Foot in the Grave. Things can only get worse, one expects.

However, the hegmony of our current electoral system is once again shown when the opinion poll is put into Electoral Calculus. On this opinion poll the Tories would have 327 seats, Labour on 209 and the Lib Dems with 82. So even having overhauled a sick Labour Party in the opinion polls the Lib Dems would still have less than half the seats. How the apologists for First Past the Post can call this a clear, simple, easy-to-understand outcome is beyond me. Even when they are in third place Labour would still maintain a strong second place in the number of seats. Just how safe are some of those that wear a red rosette?

The answer sadly is that leaving the Tories as they are on 36% even if the Lib Dems reach 30% and Labour sink to 19% they will still have more seats than the second most popular Lib Dems. The split is 341, 141, 135. Surely that cannot be right?

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