1 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 7

A Spectator's Notebook

LABOUR leaders have always, naturally enough, been rather less confident in private than in public about the likely outcome of the general election. Now that the Tory succession is settled and the new Prime Minister is proving himself no bungler in the business of image-making, they are admitting that it looks as if it will be a close- run thing. I was talking to an official of the Labour Party the other day who, when he had said his party piece about a fifty-to-sixty Labour majority, waxed eloquent and sympathetic about the misgivings of political journalists. 'Poor chaps,' he said, 'those I know who are beginning to suspect that another Tory victory is on the cards are feeling pretty desperate. After all those years of the same old faces they just won't be able to take it any more. I feel for them.' He has a point. Perhaps we shall see, if the Tories do get back, all the veteran Lobby and Gallery journalists petitioning their editors for a move to fresher fields.