Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


Just when it looked as though LAB had got through its leadership troubles Ipsos-MORI has worst poll for party since GE10

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014


Extraordinarily both CON and LAB fall to new lows on the Betfair GE2015 market AT THE SAME TIME

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Another hung parliament is looking even more likely

The two charts above represent betting developments that have never happened before. Both the chances of a CON and a LAB majority at GE15 on the betting exchange have moved to new lows together.

This is a odd phenomenon. Normally if the blues collapse then the reds soar and vice versa. Now, with less than six months to go, both appear to have deep problems which will make it harder to put up convincing cases to the electorate next May.

With LAB it’s the continued angst about the leadership while amongst the Tories it is the opening up yet again of the European fault line that has been so corrosive for nearly a quarter of a century.

    All of this coupled with the rise of UKIP and the Greens make the general election even harder to predict. The public don’t like split parties or apparent weak leadership and we are in a remarkable state of flux.

The opportunity is surely there for UKIP or the Greens but neither have leaders capable of resonating amongst voters groups outside their own bases.

Add onto all of this we have the challenges created by the first past the post voting system in each of the 650 constituencies. We could see many MPs being returned with fewer than 30% of the votes in their own seats.

Watch this space!

Reminder. Next PB gathering Friday Nov 21 - the day after Rochester. Usual place - the Dirty Dicks pub in Bishopsgate opposite Liverpool Street station in London. From 1830

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


After tonight’s events in the Commons the question that must be asked..

Monday, November 10th, 2014


The Rochester leaflet that points to how CON will try to make the economy centre stage at GE15

Monday, November 10th, 2014

And the polling that suggests they’ll struggle with UKIP voters


Poll finding of the week: 15% tell YouGov they’d heard of a politician who doesn’t exist

Sunday, November 9th, 2014


The big picture is that Cameron’s Conservatives continue to lose much more to UKIP than Miliband’s LAB

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

While that remains the Tories are heading for defeat

After a massive polling Saturday and the ongoing speculation about Ed Miliband let’s step back for a moment and look at the wider picture.

The chart above is from the latest batch of Lord Ashcroft’s CON-LAB marginals polling with an aggregate sample about three times as large as all the data that came out overnight. It highlights the big development that appears not to be going away – the rise of UKIP.

It shows where the current UKIP vote in the key marginals is coming from a picture that is broadly unchanged on recent months. For all the Farage spin his party is a much bigger threat to the Tories than LAB. The reason why the Tories are doing so poorly in the marginals is that they’ve lost a lot of votes to the purples.

In eleven days time, if the polling is right and there’s been no change, the Tories will lose Rochester to UKIP adding further fuel to the purple surge and possibly encouraging other Tory MPs to jump ship as well,

In all of this LAB has simply to hold its nerve which it doesn’t appear to be doing this weekend.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Downing Street might have just saved Ed Miliband

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

EdM Speech 2014

The EU Budget deal has moved the story on and taken the pressure off

If you have bad news to get out, then Friday evening is as good a time as any to do it. MPs have gone back to their constituencies, the public is paying less attention and it falls in that gap between the weekday and weekend media. The timing of the announcement that the government is to pay the £1.7bn demanded by the EU – late, in instalments and with a rebate woven in, but pay it nonetheless – is entirely unsurprising. The decision will still kick up an enormous fuss.

What seems clear is that the government has recognised the reality that it had no support for its position and that it had a choice of cutting as good a deal as it could get and setting itself unambiguously on the road to exit. A Francis Urquhart of a prime minister might have taken the latter option, played the patriotic card, split the coalition, caused an immediate election and sought to sweep the UKIP vote into the Tory fold. David Cameron is not a Francis Urquhart which, all things considered, is not a bad thing.

The consequence of keeping his European powder dry will, however, be a lot of criticism within the media, within his own party and from his opponents. He’ll be accused of caving in after marching his troops to the top of the hill, and of trying to spin his way out of an undoubted retreat. Some will say that it bodes ill for any hope of success in his planned renegotiation after the election and that European partners will take him less seriously having not gone to the line this time. I disagree – it has shown them that he is willing and able to work with them and that as such they have an interest in being constructive too.

Even so, the payments will be grist to UKIP’s mill and can only assist their campaign in Rochester and Strood at precisely the time that postal votes will be going out to voters.

What they’ve also done is switch the media narrative and the pressure from Ed Miliband to David Cameron and George Osborne. If Miliband was going to be forced out before the election, which some in Labour seemed serious about for the first time this week, that event would have to come from sustained pressure within his party and the wider Westminster world. That simply won’t happen if the focus is on the occupants of Downing Street.
Indeed, it’s probably cleared the pressure on Miliband this side of Christmas. The EU row has several days value in it and even if it then subsides, a Tory by-election loss to UKIP would pile the pressure back on later in the month. By that point, the parliamentary season will be winding down and once we hit the new year there isn’t time for any party to conduct a full leadership contest and then prepare a campaign and manifesto for the election.

I don’t honestly think there was ever that much of a chance that Miliband was going to be forced out. People who have demonstrated the sort of ruthlessness that he did to get where his is, and the stubbornness he has to stay there, do not give up lightly, particularly when there is no clearly superior alternative that the party is rallying to. Even so, one accidental consequence of the budget furore is that it’s reduced the odds of him going before the election from slim to negligible.

David Herdson


This week’s Local By-Election Results: A good day for the Tories

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Mevagissey on Cornwall (Lab Defence)
Result: Conservative 348 (32% +8%), UKIP 281 (26% -2%), Labour 204 (19% -11%), Liberal Democrats 197 (18% +4%), Greens 50 (5% -2%)
Conservative GAIN from Labour with a majority of 67 (6%) on a swing of 5% from UKIP to Conservative

Bilton on Rugby (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 668 (42%), UKIP 325 (20%), Liberal Democrats 280 (18%), Labour 212 (13%), Independent 60 (4%), Greens 37 (2%), TUSC 10 (1%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 343 (22%)