Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


Philip Hammond: worth backing at 28/1

Friday, April 8th, 2016


Another grey man might be just the thing to pick up the pieces

If asked for a role model, few aspiring politicians would opt for John Major. Unfashionable, uncharismatic, comprehensively battered at the 1997 election: why would they? Yet the travails of the 1992-7 parliament culminating in that electoral apocalypse overshadow what he achieved in his first 18 months: reuniting a party riven by Europe and re-establishing the Conservatives as economically competent, ideologically pragmatic and on the side of ordinary people. Plus ça change.

Fast forward to the present and to the statement that Major’s successor-but-three as Conservative leader gave, that he will not resign whatever the outcome of the referendum this June. That might or might not be Cameron’s intent (he could hardly say any different without risking Remain’s chances, for fear of giving Tory opponents an incentive to vote Leave), but even if it is, the matter doesn’t lie entirely within his control.

That’s not to say that the one will necessarily follow the other but there’s a strong chance it would. So suppose Cameron does fall this summer. The new leader will almost certainly be either Boris or one of the current cabinet. Unlike in Labour, Conservative members (never mind ‘supporters’) will not get the chance to vote for mavericks that the MPs don’t support. So who would they get the chance to vote for?

Precedent is not everything but it can often be a very good guide and there are two worth considering here. Firstly, every midterm change of PM since WWII has seen either the Chancellor or the Foreign Secretary take the top job. Secondly, Conservative leaders are invariably chosen as much for who and what they are not as for what they are – in other words, a candidate without strong negatives starts at a considerable advantage.

That first point can be overstated. We certainly shouldn’t rule out Boris or May or Gove (for example) just because of their current job. There’ve only been six midterm changes of PM since 1945 and in most of them there were serious candidates who held neither springboard Great Office.

But the second point is one to take very seriously. Almost every current leading candidate to take over from Cameron has at least one big question mark hanging over them, whether that be political judgement, public popularity, experience, media ability or whatever.

By contrast, Philip Hammond doesn’t. True, as Foreign Secretary, he cannot entirely disassociate himself from Cameron’s referendum. If there is a leadership change this summer then it follows that Conservative voters, never mind members, will have rejected the deal on offer and so he’d find himself on the wrong side of that divide. However, he’s kept a remarkably low profile in the campaign so far and the negotiations themselves were very much Cameron’s baby. Hammond may have done some bag-carrying but he’s not deeply complicit. In fact, if there were a withdrawal to negotiate, a former Foreign Secretary might be a good person to lead it.

Indeed, a safe pair of hands might well be seen by the Conservatives as the ideal contrast to Labour’s unorthodox choice as leader.

The question is whether Hammond could secure the support of enough MPs in the first phase to make it onto the ballot paper. After the recent dimming of the stars of Osborne, Boris and Javid, there has to be a realistic chance; none of his potential opponents appears to be the beneficiary of any groundswell of support.

It may well of course be that there isn’t a leadership election this year. Cameron may comfortably win his referendum, or he may survive a different result anyway. All the same, the 28/1 available for him represents good odds that are only realistically explicable by his lack of visibility. On any other consideration, he’d be given a much better chance.

David Herdson


New Ipsos Referendum phone poll has the REMAIN lead down to 8%

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

The pollster has changed its methodology which I will write about later


REMAIN lead drops to lowest level yet in ComRes phone poll for ITV

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Why we should stay in Europe according to Alan Johnson  Labour    BBC News   YouTube

The ComRes press release states:

Remain” leads “Leave” by seven points according to the latest ComRes poll for ITV News (fieldwork conducted over the weekend, before the events in Brussels). The seven point lead is the lowest recorded in a ComRes telephone poll since the General Election, however, it is in line with the eight point lead in the February ComRes / ITV News poll (although another ComRes poll for the Daily Mail had shown the Remain lead rising to 12 points after David Cameron had agreed the deal in Brussels).

In this new poll 48% back Remain, while 41% say they would vote for Leave if there was a referendum tomorrow. The lead widens when people’s relative likelihood to vote is taken into account: if turnout patterns between different demographic groups at the referendum reflect those at last year’s General Election, there would be a 14 point lead for remaining in the EU.

The poll also finds that David Cameron is the most important politician in deciding how people will vote at the referendum. One in three (34%) Britons say the Prime Minister will be important in deciding how they vote. Boris Johnson is named by 29% while one in four (24%) say Jeremy Corbyn will be important to them…


YouGov London Mayoral poll has Sadiq with 7% lead

Monday, March 14th, 2016

This latest poll follows the Opinium survey for the Evening Standard last week that had Khan with a 5% lead on first preferences which rose to a 10% margin over Zac when second preferences were allocated.

Both YouGov and Opinium are online and at 2012 both had the top two most accurate surveys.

This looks like reasonably good news for Zac and for those PBers who are holding vouchers at 33/1 on him winning.

The PB London Mayoral Competition post will be re-published later.

1615 UPDATE: LAB level with CON in latest ICM Phone poll

Mike Smithson


Another big night of WH2016 primaries

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016


Local By-Election Results : March 3rd 2016

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Bloomfield (Lab defence) on Blackpool
Result: Labour 450 (58% +13%), Conservative 150 (19% -1%), United Kingdom Independence Party 118 (15% -10%), Green Party 32 (4% -5%), Liberal Democrat 31 (4%, no candidate in 2015)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 300 (39%) on a swing of 7% from Conservative to Labour

Alderholt (Con defence) on East Dorset
Result: Conservative 384 (47% -16%), Liberal Democrat 376 (46%, no candidate in 2015), Labour 49 (6%, no candidate in 2015)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 8 (1%) on a notional swing of 31% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Bondfields (Con defence) on Havant
Result: Conservative 207 (30% -3%), Liberal Democrat 187 (27% +16%), Labour 148 (22% -7%), United Kingdom Independence Party 143 (21%, no candidate in 2014)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 20 (3%) on a swing of 9.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Whissendine (Lib Dem defence) on Rutland
Result: Liberal Democrat 265 (65% -1%), Conservative 109 (27% -7%), United Kingdom Independence Party 33 (8%, in 2015)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 156 (38%) on a swing of 3% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat


South Carolina goes as expected – an overwhelming victory for Hillary

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

South Carolina Primary Election Results 2016   The New York Times
New York Times

A great platform for “Super Tuesday”

As I write the votes are still being counted in South Carolina but the networks all declared her the overwhelming winner of South Carolina based on the exit polls alone.

She’s certain to pick up the lion’s share of the 59 delegates at stake and goes into Tuesday very much as the presumptive nominee.

Mike Smithson


Tonight’s local by-election line-up has 3 LAB defences and an LD one

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Crompton (Lab defence) on Bolton
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 39, Conservatives 15, Liberal Democrats 3, UKIP 3 (Labour majority of 18)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 2,363 (60%), UKIP 826 (21%), Conservative 456 (12%), Liberal Democrat 148 (4%), Independent 121 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Bilkis Bashir-Ismali (Lab), Laura Diggle (Green), Paul Eccles (UKIP), Ryan Haslam (Con), Garry Veevers (Lib Dem)

In the 2004 local elections something quite remarkable happened in Bolton, the Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the council (Lib Dem 21, Lab 20, Con 19) of course it didn’t last long and in 2006 they started a long slide to their three councillors at the moment and Bolton returned to it’s long term tradition of being a solid Labour council which poses the question therefore of whether Bolton wants an inbuilt majority for Labour or are they seeking an alternative but each option disappoints? If that is indeed the case then UKIP could be in for a very bad night indeed, after all polling 19% at last year’s elections (from a standing start in 2011) means that they have a long way to fall back.

Lower Stoke (Lab defence) on Coventry
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 41, Conservatives 13 (Labour majority of 28)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 1,854 (47%), UKIP 938 (24%), Conservative 600 (15%), Green Party 259 (7%), Trade Unionist and Socialist 248 (6%), British National Party 70 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated:Aimee Challenor (Green Party), Christopher Glenn (Lib Dem), Harjinder Sehmi (UKIP), Rupinder Singh (Lab), Eliane Yebkal (Con)

When the Conservatives gained control of Coventry in 2004 Labour were sure “This is just a temporary blip” and it is true that just six years later Labour regained control and now have a majority of 28, but at the same time at the general election the three seats that make up Coventry there was a 0.45% swing to the Conservatives making Coventry North West as well as Coventry South into Labour marginal seats and whilst there is no chance of the Conservatives gaining Coventry in 2016, the fact that Coventry has seen a Labour lead of 33% in 1997 slump to just 15% in 18 years is something that will no doubt give Labour several sleepless nights for years to come.

West End North (Lib Dem defence) on Eastleigh
Result of council at last election (2015): Liberal Democrats 38, Conservatives 6 (Liberal Democrat majority of 32)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Liberal Democrat 1,156 (40%), Conservative 1,020 (35%), UKIP 446 (15%), Labour 280 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Andy Andrews (Lab), Janice Asman (Lib Dem), Steven Broomfield (Con), Glynn Fleming (Green), Hugh McGuinness (UKIP)

When the Conservatives brought Eastleigh back into the fold at the general election, they managed to do so on a very fractional increase in the Conservative vote (from 39% in 2010 to 42% in 2015) the real reason was the collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote from 47% to just 26% so you would expect therefore that in the Eastleigh council elections (held on the same day) the Liberal Democrat vote would collapse compared with the 2011 local elections (and while it did fall 10%) there was only a 7% swing from Lib Dem to Con compared to the 12% swing at the general election so therefore there has to be a very strong chance that the Lib Dems should be able to hold this ward.

Cranford (Lab defence) on Hounslow
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 49, Conservatives 11 (Labour majority of 38)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 2,085, 1,813, 1,643 (55%)
Conservatives 987, 851, 801 (26%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 508 (13%)
Liberal Democrat 235 (6%)
Candidates duly nominated: Sukhbir Dhaliwal (Lab), Nico Fekete (Green), Hina Malik (Lib Dem), Sukhdev Maras (Con), George Radulski (UKIP)

The last time that Labour had 49 seats back in 1994, the opposition was made up of 6 Conservatives and 5 Liberal Democrats and from that moment on Labour dropped so that by 2006 Hounslow was a hung council but that didn’t last too long and it only took two elections for Labour to get back to 49 councillors and eliminate the Liberal Democrats as an opposition group member. However, with the London Mayoral and Assembly elections on the way a good Conservative performance in a Labour heartland will allow them to say that they are the only challengers to Labour in the capital and that as a result, Zac Goldsmith should be elected Mayor to counter a Labour controlled Assembly.

Compiled by Harry Hayfield