Stephen Tall’s post about Tony and Dave, with that wonderful Time Trumpet clip, reminds me of a morphing experiment that’s been sitting on my hard disk for a while…

Blair and Cameron morphing into each other

The effect is, to put it mildly, rather disconcerting.

If you’d like to have a go at doing a similar morph yourself, check out Debugmode’s Winmorph, another one of their excellent pieces of freeware.

Latest polls…

Good to see the Lib Dems up to 24% in the latest IPSOS-MORI poll.

Looking at MORI’s long term trends (and using their unweighted figure of 23% for comparability), we seem to be up +1%pt vs. the General Election and up up +3%pts vs. the last poll before Ming became leader.

Five months after Paddy started, we were on 8%, up +1%pt vs. the last poll before Paddy became leader

Five months after Charles started, we were on 15%, up +1%pt vs. the last poll before Charles became leader.

Thirteen months after the 2001 General Election, we were on 16%, down -2%pts on MORI’s General Election poll.

There are arguments about MORI’s methodology, but with the exception of ICM (which looks like an outlier), the other polls also show no burning need to panic, with our polling up flat or slightly up since Ming took over. Generally long-term trends are by far the most useful things to look at with these polls since methodology makes short-term trends and absolute numbers unreliable bases for comparison.

Looking at the current political situation, Ming also has the non-trivial advantage of having done the important thing of being right on the major issues. Cameron’s failure to show any leadership in the face of the crisis in the Middle East will not have done him any favours in the long term. It all suggests that there is no need to panic just yet.

Ahead of his time…

One of the things I appreciate about Ming Campbell has been the way he has led opinion on several domestic and international issues: whether rendition, the Home Office or the current Middle East situation.

On the Middle East, he has been leading the way in the UK in calling for an immediate ceasefire in the face of Blair’s usual kow-towing to Bush and the US neocons.

On the Home Office, he faced Blair’s usual evasiveness and glib superficiality at PMQs, as reported in Hansard on May 3, 2006:

Ming Campbell
Is the Home Office fit for purpose?
Tony Blair
That might be a question better asked of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not believe that the answer to this problem lies in reorganising the Home Office. I think that the fit between prisons, immigration and asylum, and crime is the right one. The issue is the way in which the system works.

But seems to have, once again, been proved correct by events according to this BBC report on May 23, 2006:

Home Secretary John Reid has damned his department’s immigration operation as “not fit for purpose” with “inadequate” leadership and management systems.

While we’re on the subject of media coverage, I’m also surprised that the media haven’t gone after Cameron for his silence on the Middle East. This article by Matthew Parris suggests it may be because coming down on one side or another – particularly the neo-con side which close Cameron advisors such as George Osborne, Michael Gove and Ed Vaizey strongly favour – could put the carefully constructed facade of Conservative party unity at risk. It will be interesting to see if this would-be Prime Minister will have anything interesting to say on the most pressing issue in world politics on his return from Afghanistan. Or perhaps he is going to wait a year for the outcome of one of his policy reviews on the subject?