Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


Today’s PMQs in full – the first after conference season

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


Rochester & Strood looks set to be bigger even than Eastleigh

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Kelly Tolurst 4/6 favourite to win 1st all postal by-election primary

Kelly’s opponent Anna Firth at 11/10


The GE15 debates take a big step forward – but what about the Greens?

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Full story here.


The Saturday night rolling polling blog

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

The big polling question tonight is why there’s such a big difference in the UKIP shares. Opinium 17%, YouGov 16% with Survation on 25%.

Chart updated to include Survation with UKIP on record 25% for any poll and YouGov for Sunday Times.

For ICM’s Wisdom Index those sampled are not not asked who they’d vote for but to give their predictions of party %ages, At GE10 it was said to have been more accurate than any other poll.

The Opinium poll has changes of CON -4, LAB +1, LD +2, UKIP n/c, GRN n/c. Most of the fieldwork took place BEFORE Thursday’s by-elections. I’d expect any surveys polled afterwards to show UKIP boost.


Four months before being elected Tory leader Margaret Thatcher was a 50-1 shot

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Did you get on? I certainly didn’t

The BBC Parliament Channel has been re-running the October 1974 General Election results programme as part of its intermittent series of playing back old elections. I love them and you learn so much simply from seeing how things were seen then.

A common feature of these programmes as they draw to their close is speculation about what will happen to the losing party leaders. Inevitably defeat focusses the mind and it was clear in October 1974 that Edward Heath’s tenure as CON leader wasn’t going to last.

For me the most striking feature of the October 1974 programme was that captured in the screen-shot above. The betting prices on who’d be Heath’s replacement. Maggie was at 50/1.

The interesting thing is not the long price on Maggie but that she figured in the betting at all. Just about nobody was tipping her and I certainly was not attracted to a bet. As I recall my money was on Willie Whitelaw.

Mrs. Thatcher was elected leader on February 11th 1975. She remained until 28 November 1990 aftet winning three successive general elections.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


The day after: Betting and other by-election round up

Friday, October 10th, 2014


By-Election Results: October 9th 2014

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Waterloo on Blackpool (Conservative defence)
Result: Conservatives 406 (34%), UKIP 372 (32%), Labour 347 (30%), Liberal Democrats 34 (3%), British National Party 17 (1%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 34 (2%)

Bicknacre with East and West Hanningfield on Chelmsford (Conservative defence)
Result: Conservatives 649 (56%), UKIP 359 (31%), Labour 80 (7%), Greens 35 (3%), Liberal Democrats 34 (3%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 290 (25%)

Southgate on Crawley (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result: Labour 733 (44% +3%), Conservatives 642 (39% -5%), UKIP 277 (17%), Justice Party 10 (1%)
Labour GAIN from UKIP (Conservative) with a majority of 91 (5%) on a swing of 4% from Conservative from Labour

West Heath on Rushmoor (UKIP defence)
Result: UKIP 662 (51%), Conservatives 312 (24%), Labour 196 (15%), Liberal Democrats 130 (10%)
UKIP HOLD with a majority of 350 (27%)

Brightlingsea on Essex (UKIP defence)
Result: Conservatives 1,809 (34% +9%), United Kingdom Independence Party 1,642 (31% +1%), Liberal Democrats 1,199 (22% -5%), Labour 524 (10% -2%), Greens 200 (4% unchanged).
Conservative GAIN from UKIP with a majority of 167 (3%) on a swing of 4% from UKIP to Conservative

Clacton Westminster By-Election (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result: UKIP 21,113 (60%), Conservatives 8,709 (25% -28%), Labour 3,957 (11% -14%), Green 688 (2% +1%), Independent 205 (1%), Loony 127 (0%), Independent 56 (0%)
UKIP HOLD with a majority of 12,404 (35%) on a notional swing of 44% from Conservative to UKIP

Heywood and Middleton By-Election (Labour defence)
Result: Labour 11,633 (41% +1%), UKIP 11,016 (39% +36%), Conservatives 3,496 (12% -15%), Liberal Democrats 1,457 (5% -18%), Green 870 (3%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 617 (2%) on a swing of 18% from Labour to UKIP


A week a long time in politics. Last Friday CON celebrating 1st YouGov lead for nearly 3 years

Friday, October 10th, 2014

But the real sensation, as Carswell said, was UKIP getting so close in Heywood & Middleton

Clacton was in line with the polls: In Heywood UKIP beat the polls by some margin

What a night and how British politics has changed. Carswell, as seen in the Sky clip above, was hugely impressive and looks set to be a very major figure perhaps eclipsing Farage himself in the not too distant future.

But the big result came through earlier. UKIP getting so close in Heywood and Middleton – an outcome that’ll be used time and time again whenever Tories say that a vote for the purples lets in Labour. Heywood raises all sort of questions about the LAB election machine. The low turnout suggests that the red team failed to get their vote out which is serious.

What’s hard to work out is what happens next. Are we going to see other Tory MPs take the Carswell plunge and could we have a rolling series of by-elections in the run-up to next May?

    The idea that Labour was invulnerable has been smashed by the Heywood numbers. Could that add to the question marks over Miliband’s future? There’s no doubt that the Miliband-doubters have got a substantial new weapon in their hands.

My problem with the Labour leadership is identifying an alternative. I just wonder whether now could be the spring-board for Andy Burnham?

How are the Tories going to handle the new situation? Exactly a week ago the big polling news was that YouGov was showing a CON lead for the first time since early 2012. Suddenly CON prospects for GE2015 took a turn. But what now? One thing’s for sure – the Rochester by election is going to be massive. The blues simply cannot let this one go.

A big thanks to TSE. I’ve just returned from my holiday in Spain which was put back because of the IndyRef. ISE has done a great job running the site in my absence.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble