How will the party machines deal with the mid-campaign baby?
We wonder whether Tony Blair is working into his election date decision the fact that a 05/05/05 poll would mean that Charles and Sarah Kennedy’s first child would be born right in the middle of the campaign.
And with the Tories relatively static at their 2001 vote levels anything that is good for the Lib Dems is likely to be bad for Labour. The big dynamic at the coming election will be how many Labour votes switch to the Lib Dems and the effect this will have on seats won.
Charles Kennedy’s party is currently 5-6% ahead of where it was at this stage before the last election while Labour is 4-9 points behind depending on which poll you look at.
Given the ability of the UK media to go completely gooey and suspend all critical faculties when it comes to the famous having babies could the timing of the arrival of the Kennedy first-born be an amazing campaign masterstroke?
There’s no doubt that this will affect coverage of the election for several days and will help the LDs portray their leader in a favourable light. With the party more likely than ever before to be facing the full wrath of both the Labour and Tory machines then the birth could help them side-line the attacks on the LD policy porfolio and help the party promote “Kennedy – the man”.
You can see the stories now – feature articles on whether he should he stick at Sarah’s side and take a lower profile in the campaign or should foresake his family and focus on the election. A large part of the media will be cheering him on with the former course which will attract even more coverage. It will be much harder for Labour and the Tories to land blows on Kennedy.
There’s also the difficulty with timing because this is something that is largely out of everyone’s control. Whatever the party campaigners had been planning on for a particular day in the campaign the arrival of the Kennedy child will knock it off the front pages.
Lib Dem General Election seats
61 + 1/3
53 – 60 5/2
45 – 52 15/2
37 – 44 14/1
0 – 36 25/1