Having begun the election campaign with a lead of over 20% the Tories now realize they have a fight on their hands. The gap, according to the polls has narrowed to around 3-15%. Some recent modelling suggests that the Tories might actually lose seats and their overall majority in Parliament. Of course, we know polls can be unreliable, and , most recently, that’s exactly what they have been, but two things are clear. Corbyn has fought a much better campaign than expected. His, and his teams obvious gaffes ,and  some might say, dodgy records , don’t seem to be having the negative impact they would have had in past campaigns And the Tories strategy to focus on Theresa Mays leadership and turn this into a presidential style campaign promoting Brand May , could have backfired. The Evening Standard on Tuesday (edited, of course, by George Osborne , who was sacked by May) said the Tory campaign had “meandered from an abortive attempt to launch a personality cult around Mrs May to the self-inflicted wound of the most disastrous manifesto in recent history”. A bit harsh, probably, but reflecting genuine disquiet in Tory ranks. Mays decision not to debate with Corbyn directly looks now to have been a tactical error, although Amber Rudd’s performance as a proxy was good enough. Mays record as Home Secretary over her six year tenure was frankly mixed (Immigration, Police Prisons etc)and she has had to defend that record. Setting targets for immigration and consistently failing to meet them is not very clever. Corbyn doesn’t have to defend a record in government as he has none. Nor has he really managed anything much. How he  currently runs his own office should give electors some concerns, and indeed, insights into what Corbyn would look like as Prime Minister. He is not bad at the poetry of campaigning, but untested in the prose of governing. The Prime Minister gave a speech this week attempting to realign her campaign on Brexit. Significantly, she appeared in front of re-branded posters which carried the word “Conservatives”, more prominently instead of the previously used slogan “Theresa May’s Team”.
If the Tories don’t win a significant majority, ie over 50 . Mays authority will be diminished and Corbyn will claim a partial victory and stay on as Labour leader. He may well stay on as Leader anyway, of course. Much can change over this next week. But this election is, for sure ,turning up a few surprises.