Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


Corbyn has the best satisfaction ratings of any leader in today’s Ipsos poll

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Farron ahead of Cameron

UKIP drops to just 7%


The tax credits defeat happened because the Tories are still paying a price for not winning a majority in 2010

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015


The UK politics version “A peerage is for life not just for a parliament”

Whenever I see animal welfare posters like the one above I think of the Coalition agreement of May 11 2010 – the day that David Cameron became PM after reaching an agreement with Nick Clegg and his team.

For in recent days there’s been some comment that the Liberal Democrats are in a very strong position with 100+ peers in the House of Lords – a total that is disproportionate to the 8 MPs they were left with after the general election in the House of Commons.

During the five years of the Coalition the total number of Liberal Democrat peers just about doubled. This was because of the section of the agreement on House of Lords reform.

The idea was that during the last Parliament the upper house would be reformed and made into an elected chamber. In the meantime it was agreed that the proportion of Lords that a party had would be linked to their national vote sshares at the 2010 election.

The thinking at the time was that these new peers would really be temporary appointments whose role would terminate once a new structure had been put into place. After all both coalition partners, in public at least, had committed themselves to creating this.

As we know that all didn’t happen following the commons rebellion by Tory backbenchers in July 2012. The process for extra peers, however, remained, and the yellows saw a huge expansion in their numbers in the House of Lords. They are there for life and not just for a parliament.

Without them the Tories would have escaped unscathed from last night’s voted on Mr Osborne’s tax credits changes.

Mike Smithson


Hillary moves much closer to the nomination following Joe Biden’s announcement that he won’t be running

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

hillarstar (1)

Latest Betfair trade: Clinton 83.3% chance

Next year’s White House race looks a lot clearer this evening following Joe Biden’s announcement within the past hour that he will not run for the Democratic nomination.

There are other runners still in the race including the Vermont socialist Senator, Bernie Sanders but it’s hard to see how they can mount a challenge that puts Hillary at risk. Sanders who is in his mid 70s has been polling well, although Hillary is a head by quite a margin in the national surveys.

This news from Biden comes on the eve of Hillary’s appearance before the Senate Benghazi committee which has been investigating the circumstances in which four American diplomats were killed while Hillary was Secretary of State.

There’ve been accusations from the Democrats that the Republican dominated senate has pursued the investigation for partisan reasons and as a means of undermining the Clinton campaign.

It is very hard to see, now, another candidate being able to come forward to take on the task of competing against Hillary Clinton.

Mike Smithson


Local By-Election Preview : October 15th 2015

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Chatteris on Cambridgeshire (UKIP defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 32, Liberal Democrats 14, United Kingdom Independence Party 12, Labour 7, Independents 4 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013): United Kingdom Independence Party 584 (35%), Conservative 579 (34%), Liberal Democrat 358 (21%), Labour 159 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: John Freeman (Lib Dem), Richard Mandley (United Kingdom Independence Party), Alan Melton (Con)

So far since the general election there have been 82 local by-elections, and in those 82 local by-elections UKIP have polled a total of 8,934 votes (5.39% of the total) which puts them roughly level with the Greens. Unfortunately for UKIP, the direction of travel since the last time these wards were contested has been distinctly one way, and that way is down. They have lost almost 3% compared with the last elections in these wards and have managed to lose three of their four defences. In fact the first by-election since the general election gave an indication of this when the Conservatives gained Wisbech South on Camberidgeshire from UKIP on a swing of 26% since the 2013 local elections. And since then the pattern has continued. Conservatives GAIN Gorleston St. Andrew on Norfolk from UKIP on a swing of 19%, Conservatives gain Camborne Pendarves on Cornwall from UKIP on a swing of 11.5% and even when they managed to hold Rush Green on Tendring, there was a 6.5% swing from UKIP to Conservative. In the wards where UKIP had a candidate last time only in St. Helens on Hastings (+1%), Newton on Sandwell (+3%), Southborough North on Tunbridge Wells (+4%) and Goldsworth East (+1%) has UKIP managed any increase and their best performance since last time was in Pontefract North on Wakefield where their vote increased 13%. Coupled with the fact that Thanet (a UKIP GAIN from NOC at the local elections in May) is now back in NOC following the defection of five UKIP councillors to an Independent UKIP grouping and it does make you wonder whether UKIP is now destined to fall back just as the Liberal Democrats did between 2011 and 2015, the BNP did between 2009 and 2011 and the Greens from 1989 to 1990.

Howgate on Cumbria (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 35, Conservatives 26, Liberal Democrats 16, Independents 7 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 8)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 692 (60%), Conservative 354 (31%), Green Party 98 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Eric Atkinson (United Kingdom Independence Party), Gillian Troughton (Lab), Andrew Wonnacott (Con)

Which poses the question “If UKIP are deemed a party of protest, is this their new strategy? Putting candidates in places they have never contested before to see if they can influence a result?” and looking at the by-elections since the election there could be an agrument in favour of that statement. In these set of by-elections, the UKIP vote is actually very impressive indeed. The highest being 24% in Crosskeys on Caerphilly, followed by 21% in Mill Hill in Blackburn with Darwen and several mid teens. However as it is becoming apparent, stansing as a party of protest tends to be a one trick pony and as soon as the novelty wears off, UKIP’s support falls as well

South Camberwell on Southwark (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 48, Liberal Democrats 13, Conservatives 2 (Labour majority of 35)
Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,915, 1,853, 1,827 (51%)
Green Party 855, 619, 506 (23%)
Conservatives 421, 363, 351 (11%)
Liberal Democrats 315, 283, 237 (8%)
All People’s Party 176 (5%)
Independents 96, 70, 67 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Stephen Govier (All People’s Party), Octavia Lamb (Lab), Benjamin Maitland (Lib Dem), Eleanor Margolies (Green), Christopher Mottau (Con)

There are parts of the UK that I don’t have any clue about and sadly South Camberwell is one of these parts (in fact the only thing I know about it is that in the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera “Trial by Jury” it is compared to an Arcadian vale by the counsel for the prosecution when demanding that the jury find the defendant guilty of failing to complete on a promise of marriage). But never fear, especially with a site as illustrious as Political because we have a solution, namely our very own “Shadders” (if he will excuse the analogy to the reggae star Shaggy) so here’s his thoughts on the ward:

The seat is a mixture of council housing and increasingly expensive Victorian terraces. Parts of Southwark now resemble many people’s idea of 1990s Islington, with the Liberal Metropolitan Elite having moved in en-masse in recent years. On paper, this should be a relatively straightforward Labour defence; Corbyn might be relatively popular with a lot of the left leaning population here. The Greens have held a seat in this ward in the past and it may be that much of the substantial vote that still exists could be captured by Labour this time. However, local hustings resulted in a clear win for the Green candidate against a nervous and unimpressive Labour representative and it may be that she can make this a closer contest than anticipated. One big local issue has been the proposed ground re-development of local Non-League success story Dulwich Hamlet (aka “Hipster FC”) who are based within the ward. It turns out that the Conservatives are the only ones to back the club’s proposed move, thus confusing local fans who are overwhelmingly of a anti-Tory persuasion, judged by the banners and chants at matches. This will gain them a few extra votes as will the absence of any right of centre alternative. UKIP aren’t running – this might be as kipper-unfriendly a seat as you could imagine

And of course, where would we be if we did not point out that he is the head of political odds at Labrokes so it only seems fair to list the odds he has for the ward when the books closed at midday today: Labour 1-33, Green 7-1, Conservatives 33-1, Liberal Democrats 66-1, All People’s Party 100-1


My favourite Denis Healey quotation – on David Owen

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015


What a giant of a politician


Ipsos-MORI boost for Boris in the Cameron successor stakes

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

But George doing better with CON voters

We’re going to have to get used to a lot of this – polling on the next Tory leader who could be the next Prime Minister. What’s striking is the huge difference between the all polled split and the numbers restricted to just Tory voters. George is in third place on 15% in the general rating but on 32% in top slot with the latter group.

The could represent a serious problem for the blue team. Just 7% of the non-CON voter split in the poll go for Osbo compared with 24% for Boris.

    This is a bit like the Corbyn dilemma within LAB. Do you choose a leader with the potential to win converts from other parties or stick with your comfort zone? The red tribe opted for the latter.

On a general matter I’ve long been highly suspicious of Boris polling. Remember how in the last London Mayoral race every single final poll over-stated him with Ken coming far closer than anyone had anticipated.

Mike Smithson


Concern about immigration moves to highest level ever recorded by Ipsos MORI

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Meanwhile the economy moves to lowest since the 2008 banking crisis


Whatever the veracity of the story this could stick to “Call me Dave”

Monday, September 21st, 2015

I like the Daily Record’s reference to the famous Daily Record front page before the InyRef a year ago with the headline “The vow”.

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve been driving back from the South of France and only this afternoon did I start to catch up with the story. Nobody really knows whether this is true or not or whether there is more to come out. My guess is that there could be.

Lord Ashcroft’s publisher, Biteback, is run by Ian Dale who, clearly, has taken a view on the contents of the book.

Also from Scotland the front page of the National.

Mike Smithson