Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


The jobs of one or more of Dave/Ed/Nigel/Nick could be on the line if the May 22nd elections don’t meet expectations

Friday, April 11th, 2014

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This could be a very dangerous period for all 4 leaders

On May 22nd there are the Euro Elections and as well, for 58% of voters nationwide, local elections. This will be the biggest electoral test before the May 7 2015 general election. The outcomes could impact on the futures of all four main party leaders.

Parts of the Conservative party have never been reconciled to David Cameron and he’s still blamed in some quarters for failing to win a majority in 2010. It is not beyond the bounds of probability that what is perceived as a dismal failure next month, say coming a bad third in the Euros and losing a lot of council seats, could spark off leadership speculation. If UKIP tops the Euros then panic could really set in.

The Tories have shown in the past that they can be totally ruthless with failing leaders.

Their coalition partners, the Lib Dems, face the possibility of losing all their MEPs as well as another wallop of council seats. They could even come behind the Greens to take fifth in the Euros. Nick Clegg’s debate performances with Farage have not helped his position and it was noticeable that there were leadership rumblings in the weekend press.

It is striking how much the yellows are talking down their elections hopes.

That’s in sharp contrast to UKIP which is riding high and there are massive expectations. Nigel Farage has set coming top in the Euros as his objective and this is what the party expects him to deliver. His dictatorial style of leadership is fine if the party is winning but what happens if it comes second or even third?

On the face of it Ed Miliband is the safest of the four but there are large parts of the movement that have never come to terms with his shock victory over his brother in the 2010 leadership election. Consistent poll leads a few points south of the 40s are creating a sense of uneasiness. A poor set of results on May 22 could provide the peg for a challenge.

My guess is that we are so close to the general election that all four will survive – but I’m not betting on it.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Cameron’s handling of the Maria Miller affair: Across the board voters were not impressed

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The above poll, by ComRes for ITV News, was taken this afternoon after the news of Maria Miller’s resignation was announced and shows what voters thought of David Cameron’s handling of the expenses issue.

The numbers speak for themselves.

But with all such polling the question is whether and how it will impact on voting intentions. My guess is that it will help Farage’s party. Notice how UKIP voters are the most negative to the PM.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


New culture secretary Sajid Javid now 33-1 for next CON leader

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Sajid Javid on Feb2014 inflation of 1.7   25Mar14    YouTube

The first of the CON 2010 intake into the cabinet

What a morning and it’s quite hard keeping up with developments.

There’s no doubt that ex-banker, Sajid Javid, is one of the most able CON MPs to be elected at GE2010 but the big surprise is the Cameron has replaced Miller with a man. At one stage this morning you could have got 3/1 against that eventuality.

Sajid is seen very much as part of Osborne clan and no doubt the chancellor played a key part in the decision.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The Miller expenses case has touched a raw nerve that neither she nor Cameron anticipated

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

At today’s PMQs Cameron will face one of the 2009 “Expenses’ Saints”


PB Nighthawks is now open

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

If you’re wanting some Happy Mondays, why not relax and spend the night on PB Nighthawks.

If you’re a lurker, why not delurk and Step On to PB as a poster.

The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant link)

  1. Can Farage convert short-term popularity into long-term gains?
  2. Most supporters of the UK Independence party say they will stay with the anti-EU party after European elections in May, according to a poll, dealing a blow to Conservative hopes to win them over for the general election in 2015.
  3. Big catch for Tory reconciliation team as rebel gives up anti-Cameron fight
  4. David Cameron in retreat over Maria Miller’s expenses as he accepts that the parliamentary standards committee may need to be reformed
  5. Online political ads test boundaries while electoral law lags behind. There is no requirement for parties to declare responsibility for campaign material circulated on the internet
  6. Labour risks being a one-trick party on the cost-of-living crisis. If he is to woo the squeezed middle, Ed Miliband’s economic vision must go beyond just one issue
  7. Why Miliband is sticking to his “cost-of-living” attack, A few months of wage rises won’t be enough to repair the severed link between growth and earnings for most. 
  8. Has the Labour Party shaken off complacency? If we want to win, we must
  9. Police Federation in turmoil as chiefs resign
  10. A referendum on Europe would undermine our constitution (and yes, we do have a constitution)
  11. UK becoming ‘more local and global’ – Ipsos MORI carried out a survey of the UK public exploring their views on identity
  12. When Eric Pickles calls Britain a Christian nation I side with the atheists. If my religion is reduced to a form of state triumphalism then political correctness seems a far better option
  13. ConHome use a piece by SeanT to write “Scottish independence would be a disaster for Labour, but a death blow to the Conservative Party” (Hat-tip TheUnionDivvie)
  14. Tipping point online, tripping point offline? - Mark Shephard and Stephen Quinlan of the University of Strathclyde analyse the social media engagement of the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns.
  15. YouGov asks Would Bez of the Happy Mondays make a good
  16. Law set to give Attorney General power to edit online news archives in the run-up to trials
  17. Boeing 747 forced to make emergency landing because of overheating cows
  18. The Vikings were feared for a reason.  Ignore recent revisionism. The Norsemen carried out atrocities to equal those of the German SS
  19. Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Eurovision song contest, held in Brighton.
  20. Which ABBA won with Waterloo, here’s their performance from that night.



CON has a good chance of coming out top on votes: holding and winning seats is going to be a lot more challenging

Monday, April 7th, 2014

The Tory vote will be boosted by UKIP returners and fewer 2010 CON don’t knows

At the end of last week Ladbrokes put up a GE2015 market on whether the Tories could come out with most votes but be behind on seats.

The price when I got on at was 8/1 which seemed a good value bet. I am increasingly coming to the view that this might happen.

As we get closer to May 7th 2015, election day, I think that two things will happen that will boost the blue vote total from current polling levels: a significant proportion of the CON-UKIP switchers will return as will many of the GE2010 CON voters who are currently saying “don’t know”.

Labour which has lost far fewer voters to UKIP also has a smaller pool of 2010 voters now saying don’t know to tap into. Its major challenge is hanging on to the 2010 LD switchers who who represent about 18% of current LAB voters. My view is that they will largely remain.

    So all this could bring the Tories very close to LAB or even ahead on national vote share. The real problem is going to be on winning seats.

For on a uniform swing almost all the potential Tory gains up to a lead of 7% come from Lib Dems and those are going to be much harder to achieve than the simple mathematics suggest. Almost the entire campaign effort of the yellows will be focused on defending what they’ve got and there will be few easy pickings for the blues. This is reflected in the single constituency betting markets.

My reckoning is that even with a national vote lead of 4% the Tories would struggle to come out with most seats.

The result is that there’s a pretty big window for the Ladbrokes CON win on votes but LAB get most seats bet.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


What’s striking about the Maria Miller polling is that CON voters are as hostile to her as everyone else

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

The Mail on Sunday ratchets up the pressure on Maria Miller

Very often the most important factor in polling is not the data but how it is used. There can be few better examples than today’s Mail on Sunday coverage of its Maria Miller polling. The paper, like the Telegraph and the Times yesterday, is after her and Miller’s survival chances won’t be helped.

The key numbers from the Survation poll are in the chart. Generally whenever a politician comes under pressure and we get questions like this then the polling is split on party lines. Those sampled tend to respond in line with their allegiance and are generally less ready to condemn one of their own than the public as a whole.

Not so with the Miller numbers. On two of the three questions Tory voters are more hostile than the overall sample.

    Even the question here about Cameron standing by her sees CON voters being more harsh than the overall sample.

I can’t recall this ever happening before and that can only add to the pressure on the culture secretary.

If this media pressure is maintained then it won’t be long, surely, before she’s gone.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


ComRes: No EP2014 poll boost for either Nigel or Nick following the TV debates

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

LAB now moves into joint first place with UKIP

The first poll of the night is out – a Euros survey by ComRes for the People, and there’s very little change.

Both UKIP and the LDs will be disappointed not to have made any progress on the last such survey by the firm a month ago.

Fieldwork for the poll took place during the day of and the day after the second debate and it would appear to have had no noticeable effect on people’s voting intentions. Very similar proportions said they would vote for both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats before and after the debates.

The only move, which is well within the margin of error, is LAB up two so it is now alongside UKIP.

I’ve not seen the dataset yet but I assume that ComRes is following its normal pattern with EP polling of only including those saying they are 100% certain to vote.

Hopefully there will be more EP2014 polls later.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble