The latest Scotland poll brings more misery for Labour, with neither they or the SNP showing any real movement outside the margin of error. (The numbers are SNP 45%, Labour 28%, Conservatives 15%, Liberal Democrats 5% and "Murphy's Raw" is the Record's splash)
But in England and Wales there is little sign of a Conservative revival. The Labour lead doesn't seem to be falling as electoral history would suggest that it should - and to make matters worse for Tory hopes, it looks like Ed Miliband, rather than the PM, who is the beneficiary of the apparent decline in Ukip's standing of late, with Labour again on 34% for the fifth day in a row in our poll of polls . (The usual health warnings apply, of course, although the decline does appear to be fairly regular across all the pollsters)
It may be that the latest announcement on welfare - "Stamp out sick-note culture, GPs told" is the Times' splash - with GPs tasked with referring anyone ill for more than four weeks to a fit-for-work test will secure that much-coveted Conservative boost. (Don't forget that when focus groups are asked to pick an image to describe Labour, they tend to choose a slob on a couch)
Or it may be that it confirms voter prejudices about the Conservative party at the worst possible time. As James Kirkup notes in his column today, it's a contest between core votes. It does, for the moment, appear as if Labour's bunker is somewhat larger than the Conservative one.
PUTIN THE BOOT IN
Vladimir Putin doesn't appear to be keeping his word in Ukraine -hardly a surprise, our leader sighs - and Michael Fallon warns that there is a "real and present danger" that Mr Putin will make a grab for the Baltic states next. "Putin will target the Baltic next, says Fallon" is our splash.
HAPPINESS IS A NATIONALISED TRAIN
Privatising the railways was a "disaster", councils should be stopped from putting so many speed cameras everywhere and the best Beatles record was the White Album, Michael Dugher tells George Eaton. Labour are pledging action to fix the first two if they win in May.
OH, THE HOKEY-COKEY
David Cameron has downplayed the chances of a 2016 referendum on the European Union, saying he will need more time if he is to succeed in his renegotiation. "I want to give people the best possible choice," the PM said. An In-Out referendum without renegotiation would leave Britain with two "unappetising choices".NOTE TO SELF: NEVER TAKE NEIL KINNOCK TO LUNCH
The mansion tax is nothing for the people paying it, Neil Kinnock tells the FT's Jim Pickard. "They would spend that on lunch," Lord Kinnock says, pointing out that people who have low earnings and large houses can defer the charge until the house is sold or they die.
THE DOWNING STREET DISASTER
Downing Street has been accused of revealing the name of an ex-SAS officer "to make a political point". The Indy's Robert Verkaik has got hold of the minutes of a meeting of the DA Notice Committee.
Tony Blair will advise the Serbian government on governance issues, the Guardian reveals.
Esther McVey has an honest answer to the tricky question of whether she'd like to be PM one day. "Yes," she told Loose Women. In a remarkable coincidence, I'm in Wirral West where the WiFi is not great. Apologies for the delay!You can get in touch with me by pressing "reply" or or on Twitter. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams, who is also on Twitter. A gallery of his work can be viewed here.
POLL OF POLLS
Labour 34% Conservatives 33% Ukip 15% Liberal Democrat 8% Greens 7% (Ashcroft-IpsosMori-Opinium-Populus-YouGov)
LATEST POLLS:YouGov: Labour 34% Conservatives 32% Ukip 14% Liberal Democrat 8% Green 6%
TOO MANY TWEETS...
@owen_g: Party leaders seem to be giving one endless pre-election speech, with buzzwords and small businesses in the midlands inserted at random.
From the Telegraph
James Kirkup - Could 2015 be a good election to lose?
Jenni Russell - Chaos lies ahead (Times)AGENDA
1100: Electoral Commission publishes detail of donations to, and borrowing by, UK political parties.
MANCHESTER: John Cridland speech to CBITODAY IN PARLIAMENT
In recess until 23rd February.
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