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Fraser: There is no third way

Hung A COUPLE of months ago I was talking to David Cameron about what his life would be like after the election: No10, bodyguards etc.

He was having none of it. “I don’t think in those terms,” he said. He always said IF the Tories win, not WHEN.

I thought he was nuts. Not any more.

His fears have been realised: The polls point to a hung Parliament with no outright winner.

It would be an utter disaster.

Cam has three strange habits. Jumping into ice cold water, gorging on junk food while travelling – and blowing opinion poll leads.

A Mori poll gave him a 28 point lead not so long ago. Now, as this newspaper shows, it stands at just six points.

This, by the way, is the best news Cameron has had for ages. It puts things roughly back to where they were before the debates. It gives hope that if Cameron gets his act together and has a knockout performance in next week’s TV debate, he can win after all.
 
Last week, it seemed the Nick Clegg mania was set to deny the Tories victory and might even let Gordon Brown cheat political death. But today, our poll suggests the LibDems have had a soufflé surge: It collapses when tapped.
 
Yet what’s to stop superchef Clegg bringing another soufflé out of the oven? A week is a very long time in politics.
 
The choice is not between a Brown victory or a Cameron victory. For Gordon Brown, it's a case of ‘game over’.
 
Anyone who thinks differently should get down to the bookies, where odds of 12-1 are being offered on an outright Labour victory.
 
Worryingly, the money is on a hung Parliament.
 
The last time we tried it was February 1974: Everyone knew there'd be a second election. So Labour’s Harold Wilson prepared for it by shamelessly bribing the unions. National interest went out of the window.
 
Result? Rampant inflation and a financial crisis ending in Britain going bust — and needing a humiliating IMF bailout.
 
The equation is clear. A hung Parliament means instability. Our mortgages, jobs and savings would all be at risk.
 
We might see a Labour-LibDem deal, even if Cameron gets the most votes. They’d say it was just until a new election was called. But you can bet they’d stitch up a new voting system designed to keep the Tories out — and condemn Britain to perpetual Lib-Lab coalition.
 
Only Cameron has a plan to fix the public finances, and steer us away from a Greek- style financial disaster.
 
He may yet get his majority. As we show today, the polls are in flux. Millions are undecided. So even at this late stage, Cameron can win the country round.
 
He should ignore his advisors, who are sending him into these debates with too much preparation, so he sounds stale and rehearsed.
 
From what I know of Cam, his passion, anger and enthusiasm are real. He doesn’t need the polish his aides apply.
 
Voters want to be persuaded. They know Gordo has failed. They are in the market for good ideas: Cam has plenty.
 
There’s still time. In Thursday’s debate, he should throw away his crib sheet and tell it from the heart.
 
And when election day comes, voters will know that the Westminster system means just two available outcomes.
 
Either Cameron — or chaos. There really is no third way.
 
FRASER Nelson is also Editor of The Spectator.
 

 

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