Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


SNP take 29% lead over LAB in new Scottish poll from Ipsos-MORI

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

LAB could be down to just 4 seats

More follows


Why CON could still be losing seats to LAB even if it manages to get a 6% lead

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The first target for the blues – to be doing better than last time

At GE2010 the Conservatives had a GB national vote share of 37% which was 7.3% bigger than Labour’s total of 29.7%.

So under a uniform national swing CON needs to be ahead by that margin simply to stop losing seats to LAB. That is the starting point for the party at GE15 – to do at least as well as they did last time.

    Thus it cannot be assumed that CON lead of 6% is sufficient for them to hang onto all they hold at the moment from LAB.

This all assumes a uniform swing and, of course, the whole political environment is very different with the rise of UKIP. But in terms of the impact on seats it is the gap between LAB and CON that historically has been the best measure. This at GE10 CON moved from being 3% behind LAB to 7.3% ahead.

Note that all the main national polls shares are on a GB basis rather than an all-UK one. For this purpose the Northern Ireland seats are left to one side. Thus it is the GB shares from 2010 that we work from. CON 37, LAB 29.7, LD 23.6.

Of course the Tories have hopes of taking LD seats but here there’s a huge challenge. As is widely known the yellows have a record of outperforming national swing in the seats that they hold, particularly where the existing MP is standing for re-election.

This is being shown again for GE15 in the Lord Ashcroft CON-LD marginals polling. Although on national numbers there’s a huge gap between blue and yellow Lord A’s latest constituency based findings have a LD to CON swing of just 2%. This would curtail many of the expected gains from current margins in national polls.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Tonight’s ComRes phone poll for the Indy sees LAB drop 5 and UKIP up 4

Monday, October 27th, 2014

4 out of the five last polls have been level-pegging

It’s been a big polling day with three surveys already all of them pointing to the fact that the race has got very tight.

Just published is the ComRes phone poll for the Indy which has CON 30+1, LAB 30-5, LD 9-1, UKIP 19+4, GRN 4=

The UKIP figure is a high for ComRes phone polls and the 30% LAB share equals what the party was on at the last general election.

    Polls that are level pegging represent a 3.5% CON-LAB swing and mean, if applied on a uniform swing basis, that the party would lose seats. The Tories need a margin of 6% to ensure that they stop losing seats to LAB

The Tory hope is that they’d make up some of their losses with gains from Lib Dems but yellow strong incumbency will make that harder than it seems.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Neil Findlay – Henry G Manson’s tip for next Scottish LAB lead

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Look beyond Westminster for likely contenders

So far the bookmakers appear to have worked on the assumption that it was there for the taking for the so-called Westminster ‘big beasts’ of Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy with Anas Sarwar the Scottish Labour Deputy the main MSP contender. However with both Brown and Sarwar now ruling themselves out, the field opens considerably.

There’s no certainty that Jim Murphy will stand although he will be sorely tempted given that he is unlikely to prosper under an Ed Miliband-led Labour government (should there be one). However the nature of Johann Lamont’s resignation means that there will be appetite for the next leader to be seen as more independent of the Westminster Labour operation. Given Murphy does not have a seat in the Scottish Parliament this makes things messy though not impossible. All this creates an opening for the likely trade union candidate Neil Findlay.

One of the main developments in the Scottish Labour leadership race is the confirmation that the electoral college will be retained for this election. We’re in the period before the new all member voting as recommended by Ray Collins can be implemented:

‘Mr Sarwar also confirmed that the new leader would be selected under the existing electoral college system which gives equal weighting to three distinct groups – elected politicians, unions and party members.’

This is all very good news for Neil Findlay the likely trade union candidate and Shadow Cabinet Member for Health. He wouldn’t be favourite to beat Jim Murphy, but he’d certainly have a chance. He’s 5/2 with Ladbrokes but a whopping 16/1 with William Hills and 14/1 with Skybet. They simply haven’t caught up with events and these represent great value.

Left-wing author Owen Jones who has close connections with the unions wrote:

Step forward, then, Neil Findlay, the party’s health spokesman. He is little-known now, but that may be about to change. “Anyone who thinks that we can take on the SNP from any other position than firmly to their left needs to re-enter this world from cloud cuckoo land,” he wrote last week. He calls for a national house-building programme, including council housing, desperately needed in Scotland, which has about 180,000 families trapped on waiting lists; a policy of full employment; the living wage and rights for struggling workers treated as commodities to be hired and fired; an industrial policy to support the industries of the future; and a new generation of apprenticeships and college places. Under Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP will present a more radical prospectus than that offered by Alex Salmond: Findlay offers the possibility of a charismatic, inspiring alternative. The SNP should fear him.’

Should he stand (which looks very likely) then Neil Findlay should be around the 7/2 or 4/1 mark.

Henry G Manson


If Thursday’s S Yorkshire PCC by election is close then CON voters’ 2nd preferences could push the purples across the line

Monday, October 27th, 2014

The blues surely want UKIP to be stopped even if that means LAB winning

Looking at the result 2 years ago for the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner the outcome of Thursday’s by election appears to be a foregone conclusion – a LAB HOLD on an even lower turnout.

But the dramatic and worrying events in Rotherham combined with the UKIP surge so close to the general election have led Farage’s party into believing that they might take this one as well.

They are fighting this hard in an area that has been dominated for decades by LAB. If they do it it could have repercussions in similar LAB heartland areas next May.

One factor that makes this a possibility is the voting system which is like the one in mayoral elections where voters have two choices – the second one being counted if no candidate gets an overall majority on first choices.

    If the Tories are 3rd on the first count what’s going to happen to their second preferences given that there’s no LD contender? Could it be Tory votes that win it for UKIP?

Given what’s happening nationally and the Rochester by election the last thing that the blues want just now is another huge election boost for UKIP. Yet it must be highly likely that many CON voters will place UKIP second given that their other options will be LAB and the English Democrats.

My guess is that many will simply leave the second box blank – an action of itself that could help UKIP. The Conservative party interest here is to stop UKIP even if that means a LAB win.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


No Overall Majority now an even hotter favourite for GE15

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

It really is hard to argue against

The coming general election really is quite extraordinary. I can’t recall a time ever when all the main political parties and their leaders have been viewed with such low esteem and the polls are very tight.

Although theoretically LAB will enjoy an enormous benefit from the way the electoral system works you’ve got to be quite brave to back them for a majority particularly given EdM’s continual poor personal ratings.

The Tories suffer from the fact that they are seen as a party “not for people like us” – a perception reinforced by the backgrounds of those in Cameron’s close circle. There’s not a lot they can do about that – they are what they are.

And as for the LDs there’s really nothing more you can add to the tale of woe since the tuition fees fiasco four years ago. They are facing a beating the only issue is how well traditional strong incumbency works for them.

    My view is that with the main parties looking so weak then the personalities and records of individual candidates will matter more than ever before thus adding to the overall uncertainty.

Then of course there is UKIP – the party that is flourishing on the anti politician mood and looks set to make a breakthrough the scale of which is hard to quantify.

I’ve got an all green position with Betfair which I’m not tempted to change.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Gains for LAB, CON and SNP in this week’s council by-elections

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Oban North and Lorn on Argyll and Bute (Ind Defence)
Result: Scottish National Party 1,090 (41% +16%), Independent 629 (24% +1%), Labour 530 (20% -2%), Conservative 415 (16% -2%)
SNP lead of 461 (17%) on the first count on a swing of 8% from Independent to SNP, SNP GAIN from Independent on the fourth count

Rogate on Chichester (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 342 (71% -20%), UKIP 138 (29%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 204 (42%) on a swing of 25% from Conservative to UKIP

Burnopfield and Dipton (Derwentside Independents Defence) and Evenwood (Lab Defence) on Durham
Burnopfield and Dipton
Result: Labour 656 (45% +7%), Derwentside Independent 655 (45% +10%), Conservative 86 (6%), Green 63 (4%)
Labour GAIN from Derwentside Independent with a majority of 1 (0%) on a swing of 1.5% from Labour to Derwentside Independent (True Swing: 17% from Independent to Labour)

Result: Labour 546 (38% -14%), Conservatives 396 (28% -3%), UKIP 309 (22% +5%), Independent 108 (8%), Green 72 (5%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 150 (10%) on a swing of 6% from Labour to Conservative

Newnham and Westbury on Forest of Dean (Ind Defence)
Result: Independent 321 (39%), Conservatives 216 (26%), UKIP 102 (12%), Labour 100 (12%), Greens 70 (8%), Liberal Democrats 25 (3%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 105 (13%)

Mitcheldean on Gloucestershire (Ind Defence)
Result: Conservatives 959 (38% +14%), UKIP 550 (22% +3%), Independent 455 (18% -18%), Labour 278 (11% +1%), Liberal Democrats 150 (6% unchanged), Greens 106 (4% unchanged)
Conservative GAIN from Independent with a majority of 409 (16%) on a swing of 6% from UKIP to Conservative

Haywards Heath, Lucastes on Mid Sussex (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 524 (56%), UKIP 203 (22%), Liberal Democrat 112 (12%), Labour 90 (10%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority 321 (34%)

Folkestone, Harvey West on Shepway (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 385 (39%), UKIP 293 (29%), Liberal Democrats 262 (26%), Labour 57 (6%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 92 (10%)

The main headline has to be four UKIP MISSES including two in prime UKIP areas

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview : October 23rd 2014

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Oban North and Lorn on Argyll and Bute (Ind Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Independents 15, Scottish National Party 13, Conservatives 4, Liberal Democrats 4 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 3)
Result of last election to ward (2014): Scottish National Party 595 (25%), Independent 548 (23%), Labour 526 (22%), Conservatives 445 (18%), Independent 301 (12%).
Candidates duly nominated: Kieron Green (Lab), Stephanie Irvine (Ind), Iain Maclean (SNP), Andrew Vennard (Con)

The SNP will be hoping that the opinion poll rises in the wake of the Scottish referendum (which in some cases project no less than fifteen MP’s at Westminster and another majority at Holywrood) will manage to overturn the problems that they have been having in Scotland of late. So far this year, the SNP have lost three seats in local by-elections (this is in comparsion with Plaid being unchanged and the Greens gaining three) and the last by-election here in July wasn’t that encouraging either.

Rogate on Chichester (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 27, Liberal Democrats 5, Independents 4, Labour 2 (Conservative majority of 16)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Conservative 990 (91%), Labour 97 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Gillian Keegan (Con), Elena McCloskey (UKIP)

First of all I can completely sympathise with the Labour candidate in 2011. I have stood twice for local elections in Ceredigion and both times got completely hammered. In 2008, I stood in Ciliau Aeron ward and polled 151 votes (19%) compared to the winning Plaid Cymru candidate polling 544 votes (67%) and in 2012, I stood in Llansantffraed against the sitting Independent and polled 141 votes (14%) which as the total poll was 983 votes gives you an idea of the stuffing I recieved. So maybe it is no real suprise that Labour aren’t contesting this ward at this by-election but what it does offer us is the classic question that pollsters have been asking ever since 2013. “What happens in a straight fight between Conservative and UKIP?”.

Burnopfield and Dipton (Derwentside Independents Defence) and Evenwood (Lab Defence) on Durham
Result of last election to council (2013): Labour 94, Independents 9, Liberal Democrats 9, Derwentside Independents 8, Conservatives 4, Spennymoor Independent 1, Wear Valley Independent 1 (Labour majority of 62)
Result of wards at last election (2013)

Burnopfield and Dipton : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 701, 688 (38%)
Derwentside Independents 760, 510 (35%)
Independents 381, 328, 257 (26%)
Candidates duly nominated: Alan Booth (Con), Gill Burnett (Derwentside Independents), Joanne Carr (Lab), Melanie Howd (Green)

Evenwood : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 870, 655 (52%)
Conservatives 529, 362 (31%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 491 (17%)
Candidates duly nominated: Lee Carnighan (Ind), Ben Casey (UKIP), Stephen Hugill (Con), Greg Robinson (Green), Heather Smith (Lab)

Durham, that rock solid bastion of Labour support in the North East, does have a slight chink in it’s armour and that chink is the Derwentside Independents (who are more than a little miffed at seeing Derwentside simply disappear off the face of the electoral map). When the council disappeared in 2007, Labour only had a majority of three on the council (having lost 9 seats in those elections, eight going to said Derwentside Independents and one to the Liberal Democrats) and were probably very glad indeed to see the council merged with the other authorities in Durham to create the new Durham County Council. Indeed, if you add up the votes and seats in Derwentside, you find that although Labour won 11 of the 21 seats in the former council area, the Derwentside Independents won 8 and that Labour’s score of 49% was only ahead of the Derwentside Independents by a matter of 16% (in other words not the bastion that you might think of when thinking about Durham)

Newnham and Westbury on Forest of Dean (Ind Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 19, Labour 17, Independents 11, Liberal Democrats 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 6)
Result of wards at last election (2011): Emboldened denoates elected
Independent 790
Conservatives 606, 196
Greens 318
Labour 256, 171
Candidates duly nominated: Richard Boyles (Con), Peter Foster (UKIP), Ian King (Lib Dem), Sid Phelps (Green), Simon Phelps (Ind), Jenny Shaw (Lab)

Mitcheldean on Gloucestershire (Ind Defence)
Result of last election to council (2013): Conservatives 23, Liberal Democrats 14, Labour 9, United Kingdom Independence Party 3, Independents 2, People against Bureaucracy 1, Green 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Independent 1,152 (36%), Conservatives 772 (24%), United Kingdom Independence Party 612 (19%), Labour 328 (10%), Liberal Democrats 179 (6%), Greens 120 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Malcolm Berry (UKIP), Jackie Fraser (Lab), Sue Henchley (Lib Dem), Ken Power (Green), Brian Robinson (Con), Ian Whitburn (Ind)

When the UKIP breakthrough occured in 2013, Gloucestershire was one of the first areas to experience it when UKIP won three seats on the county. Now, I agree that compared to now when UKIP seem to be winning seats on all manner of local authorities in such numbers as in Essex, three might seem a little disappointing, but it’s where those three were won that was the more intersting fact. The wins were in Blakeney and Bream, Drybrook and Lydbrook and Lydney (and all three were in the Forest of Dean district council area) and if you add up all the votes in that district area, the prospects become even more interesting for UKIP. UKIP polled 6,247 votes (28%) and won 3 seats with Labour second on 5,292 votes (24%) and 2 seats, the Conservatives third on 5,257 votes (24%) and 2 seats and the Independents on 3,055 votes (14%) and 1 seat. Therefore if UKIP can pull this double off (and as we saw in South Tyneside not that long ago, there is a precedent for Independents voting UKIP) then it will mean that Forest of Dean constituency (a traditional Con / Lab battleground) can be added to that list that seems to be ever expanding of UKIP prime targets.

Haywards Heath, Lucastes on Mid Sussex (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 45, Liberal Democrats 8, Labour 1
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,168, 1,143
Liberal Democrats 551, 499
Greens 390
United Kingdom Independence Party 157
Candidates duly nominated: Nicholas Chapman (Lib Dem), Henry Fowler (Lab), Marc Montgomery (UKIP), Geoffrey Rawlinson (Con)

Folkestone, Harvey West on Shepway (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 44, Independents 2
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 883, 870
Labour 374, 353
Liberal Democrats 342
Candidates duly nominated: Helen Barker (Con), Jasmine Heywood (Green), Stephen Jardine (UKIP), Nicola Keen Lab), Hugh Robertson-Ritchie (Lib Dem)

UKIP must be rubbing their hands with glee this week. Occasionally they may pick up one, maybe two gains on a good night. This evening could see them walk away with as many as four gains and in Shepway they have previous. Just six weeks ago, they gained Harvey Central in Folkestone on Shepway with a 6% majority in a ward that in 2011 didn’t even have a UKIP candidate, so with four potential gains this week, the small matter of a PCC by-election next week and in a month’s time the Rochester and Strood parliamentary by-election, the other parties need to ask themselves “Is there anything we can do to stop UKIP?” and if they do find an answer, they need to implement it fast as there are now less than two hundred days until the next election (which makes the debate in Parliament today about a possible repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments act very interesting indeed).