If Blair can’t help, is it time for tactical voting?
The Mole: It’s Labour’s unmentionable option – tactical voting to keep the Tories out of Number Ten
Tony Blair's charm offensive on behalf of his old pal (?) Gordon Brown is Labour's last-ditch attempt to win over the wavering voters in the Labour marginals and rescue Brown from the humiliation of coming third on polling day.
The Brown camp have given up on any remaining chance of winning the popular vote, and Labour's strategists are now bending all their efforts to ensuring that their man at least comes second.
Next week, they will be moving heaven and earth - and Tony Blair again - to stop the Lib Dems splitting Labour's vote, thus allowing the Tories to win more seats in marginals close to the Labour heartlands.
But if that strategy fails to work, there is one so far unmentionable option that the Labour high command is holding in reserve - tactical voting.
Brown and his ministers cannot openly advocate tactical voting to stop David Cameron forming a Conservative government on May 7 because that would mean consigning dozens of Labour candidates to certain defeat.
However, some ministers in the Blair mould believe it is essential to preserve a 'progressive' government in Britain, even if means encouraging tactical voting for the Lib Dems to produce a hung parliament.
It is no easy option for Brown, because some of his closest allies are dead set against any electoral deal with the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. Ed Balls, Brown's former special adviser and now a Cabinet minister, is among the diehards set against advising the voters to vote tactically to stop Cameron. He warned immediately after Brown's failure to deliver a knock-out blow in Thurdsay's televised debate that a vote for Clegg would put Cameron in office.
But be on the look out for other ministers who when pressed about whether they support tactical voting turn into jelly and refuse to give a straight 'No'. They know that tactical voting could now be the only strategy that can stop Cameron taking power with a majority.
Blair's decision to fly in for at bit of campaigning on Brown's behalf at least offers Brown the comfort of knowing that if he does lose on Thursday, there is a life after political death. He can look forward to trotting about the international stage, getting a tan, and writing his memoirs about how he saved the globe from banking meltdown.
Or can he? The Mole has heard that Blair underwent a test on his blood pressure when he visited a clinic in Harrow. It was supposed to be a simple photo op but the doctors told him that his blood pressure was high and he should have it rechecked as soon as possible.
"He said he had a recent health check so it may have just been the stress of the visit," said one doctor at the clinic. No one said helping out Gordon Brown was easy. ·
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