Archive for the ' General Election' Category


Nigel Farage: the Comeback, Comeback, Comeback Kid?

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Ex-UKIP leader Farage on Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today

He appears to be planning a FOURTH return to the UKIP leadership

When Farage quit the UKIP leadership many were speculating that this was not the last we would see him flying the UKIP flag and there’ve been hints that this is the case.
In an interview on Russia Today suggested that he in fact might return as UKIP leader if Brexit is not delivered as he would like. He added that hoped he doesn’t have to but he would consider “plunging back in”.

If he did then it would be his fourth non-consecutive term leading Team Purple.

He first resigned the job in 2009 so that he could fight the speaker, John Bercow, in Buckingham. This proved to be a disaster in many ways. In the election, in which the mainstream parties did not stand, he was pushed into a poor third place on 17% behind a prominent pro-EU Conservative. On election day itself, of course, the private plane he was flying in towing a UKIP banner crashed and he was badly injured.

His next resignation came in the immediate aftermath of GE2015 when his party secured only one seat, the CON defector Douglas Carswell, and he himself was beaten by the Tories in Thanet South. That resignation lasted the weekend and by the following Tuesday he was back in the job.

In the current leadership race Farage’s favoured contender, Steven Woolfe, did not get on the ballot after a ruling by the party’s NEC.

Mike Smithson


LAB’s leadership weakness and another double digit Tory lead will increase the clamour for an early election

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

May doesn’t have the MPs to be sure of getting a BREXIT deal through

We have now got to a stage where a national voting poll that doesn’t give the Tories a 10%+ lead is going to be a shock.

This is being driven by a honeymoon for the new PM plus of course the huge weakness that LAB is currently portraying following the colossal vote of no confidence in Corbyn by 81% of the party’s MPs. His position is simply untenable but he’s struggling on and is favourite to beat off the leadership challenge.

My reading of Theresa May is that she won’t fall into the Gordon Brown trap in the autumn of 2007 and allow general election speculation to take hold but we have to recognise that her parliamentary position is very tight.

Her biggest challenge is the BREXIT deal she hopes to achieve which is never going to satisfy all parts of her parliamentary party. Already we’ve heard those wanting the hard BREXIT option are not going to be satisfied with a deal that also meets May’s declared objective of keeping the union together.

The talk now is that the timing of the next general election will be determined by those negotiations. If its controversial within her party then a 2017 election could give her a much bigger majority and the mandate to take the UK out of the EU on the terms her team can achieve.

I understand that there’s already talk of CCHQ putting the focus on a 2017 election with planning having been started.

Mike Smithson


ICM blow for Corbyn as he tries to hang on: LAB now 16% behind at lowest level since 2009

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016


CON 43% (+4)
LAB 27% (-2)
LD 8% -1
UKIP 13% -1
GRN 4%

If other pollsters follow ICM’s 16% CON lead it could create greater clamour for May to call a general election

In many ways the latest ICM poll is hardly surprising. The Tories have a new leader who is enjoying a honeymoon period while Labour is in all sorts of trouble with 80% of its MPs saying they have no confidence in their leader.

The splits are also being magnified by the current leadership contest which are dominating the domestic political agenda.

One thing that polling like this could trigger is a clamour for Theresa May to call a general election. After all the current majority of 12 is hardly comfortable and already the Eurosceptic right is starting to make noises about the deal Britain might end up with during the BREXIT process.

This poll will also add to the pressure on Corbyn. It matters little that many members and £25 sign-ups back him if the party under his leadership is failing so badly in the polls.

As in all things we need to see other surveys from other firms.

Mike Smithson


Alastair Meeks on the political and economic crises of breathtaking proportions

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016


Where do we go now?

One of the most haunting Arthurian legends concerns Sir Balin.  Merlin had long prophesied that he would “strike a stroke most dolorous that ever man struck”.  Shrugging off this particular instance of Project Fear from an expert, Sir Balin entered into a feud with the family of King Pellam.  Being pursued by the king through his castle, Sir Balin seized “a marvellous spear strangely wrought” and dealt a fierce blow to the king.  The spear turned out to be the spear of destiny that struck Jesus and the blow caused immeasurably wider devastation than Sir Balin could have conceived.  Sir Thomas Malory recorded that: “all that were alive cried, O Balin, thou hast caused great damage in these countries; for the dolorous stroke thou gavest unto King Pellam three countries are destroyed, and doubt not but the vengeance will fall on thee at the last.”

You can probably see where I am going with this.  Since the referendum, we have had concurrent constitutional, political and economic crises of breathtaking proportions.  The position of Scotland and Northern Ireland in the union is now in serious question.  The future direction of the EU has been thrown into complete confusion.  The government is functioning on emergency life support only while the opposition is no longer functioning at all.  In the meantime, Britain’s Standard & Poors credit rating has dropped two notches, the pound has suffered its biggest fall in one day against the dollar ever, markets around the world have crashed and recession is beckoning with a dark cloak, a skeletal finger and a voice that speaks in block capitals.

It is of course far too early to conclude that Brexit is a disaster.  Even the chirpiest Brexiteer, however, would have to concede that the barometer is currently firmly pointing to stormy.  With all of the prominent Leave campaigners queuing up to rat on the Leave campaign promises, it is becoming increasingly unclear what the benefits of Leaving are now supposed to be.  It has reached the point where Leave supporters are angrily blaming the government for not telling them.

What next?  It is important to differentiate between what needs to be done now and what can wait.  This week’s chief task is to stabilise the markets, so far as possible.  George Osborne and Mark Carney have done this to the best of their ability.

And then it is time for great minds to discuss ideas.  The Conservatives are to hold a leadership contest and it is apparent that it will be contested.  The various candidates should be setting out their vision for how to implement the referendum result   The winner is likely to be setting policy that will set the course of the nation for two generations, so this had better be well thought-through.  A newspaper column dashed off carelessly isn’t going to cut it.  For the sake of the nation, the Conservatives need to have a searching examination of the options between the different candidates.  This matters as leadership contests very rarely really matter.

The Lib Dems have already set out their position: to rejoin the EU. UKIP’s position is easy to guess – to prioritise restricting freedom of movement above all else.

But what of Labour?  What indeed.  Right now, their small minds are discussing people.  All discussion is focussed on whether Jeremy Corbyn should remain as leader.  But that is only the immediate problem.  It is likely that there will be a general election later this year in which the main policy topic will be how to negotiate with the EU.  The Lib Dems have a position.  UKIP has a position.  The Conservatives will painstakingly have established a position.  But as of today it is hard to contemplate even the mechanism by which Labour can form a policy position.  The party has effectively ceased to function.

A general election is pending.  Labour is running out of time to form a policy position.  As they argue among themselves about how the party is to be led, their leading figures risk complete irrelevance in the debate that is going to dominate British politics for the foreseeable future.  If Labour is irrelevant in the debate, the likely electoral consequence is obvious.  The most lethal stroke from the referendum result might be to the continued existence of the Labour party itself.

Alastair Meeks


Guest slot: Polling analysis finds Labour Loses Supporters of Brexit

Sunday, May 29th, 2016


Philip Walker analyses the polling and finds 3 in Every 7 of Labour’s 2015 Voters Backing Brexit Would Not Vote Labour in 2016

In the EU referendum, online and phone polls have persistently been at odds. Last week, YouGov reacted by publishing in full a set of parallel online and phone polling conducted in early May, exposing flaws in the phone sample to defend its own online method.  For polling junkies that unprecedented transparency had a further welcome consequence. A full, representative online data set of 1527 people who voted at the 2015 general election came into the public domain, allowing us map their views and link them to a host of other variables, regardless of how YouGov chose to use the data. Wikileaks could not have given us more.

YouGov’s polling data set includes 2015 general election vote, current general election voting intention, and current EU voting intention. That means we can look at the ebb and flow of each individuals’ support for each party since May 2015, and how that relates to their EU voting intention.

For Labour, this evidence should ring alarm bells. Those who voted Labour in 2015 split about 2:1 in favour of Remain over Leave. By early May 2016 that had risen to almost 3:1 for current Labour voters, thanks almost entirely to the desertion of former Labour voters backing Leave. In the sample, 42% of the 137 Leave supporters who voted Labour in 2015 would not back the party today and overall the number of current Labour voters backing Leave is 29% down on 2015.

By contrast, only 21% of the 282 Labour voters from 2015 backing Remain would not vote for the party now. Those supporters of Remain lost to Labour are almost entirely countered by new Labour supporters of Remain, including a significant tranche of former Greens whose switch of allegiance surely reflects Corbyn’s accession rather than his recent conversion to the EU cause.

Britain remains a highly Eurosceptic nation, however many might be enticed into voting for Remain with gritted teeth for fear of something even worse. YouGov found in 2014 that 61% of the electorate would favour substantially less EU integration or complete withdrawal compared to just 25% backing more integration or the status quo. For the working class (C2DE) electorate, those percentages are even more stark: 65% against 17%. Parties that seek to appeal to the working class on a Europhile platform do so at their peril.

The “Labour In” campaign, uncritically and superficially extolling the EU as the best thing since sliced bread, while dismissing out of hand concerns over EU migration, may yet bring a few of the party’s tribal supporters into the Remain camp. The polling evidence though suggests that there will be a price – that of causing more of Labour’s 2015 supporters to question their own tribal allegiance. Rather than reversing Labour’s losses to UKIP in 2015, Labour has seen further losses.

16% of the 137 Leave supporters who still voted Labour in 2015 had by May 2016 switched directly to UKIP, with another 26% switching to undecided, non-voting or other parties. No party should be content to be losing support on this scale, let alone a party in opposition to a government about to encounter the perils of mid-term. As the “Labour In” campaign gets into full swing, it could reinforce those trends by 23rd June. Just as in Scotland in 2014, Labour could end up losing significant electoral support as the price of achieving the referendum result that its MPs desire.

For all their divisions over Europe and their slide in current polling, the Conservatives are in a far better position to recover after the referendum. Conservative retention rates of 2015 supporters are only 68% for Leave and 73% for Remain, but the similarity of these suggests that much of these losses are down to the usual woes of a second year government rather than specifically due to the EU, despite the undoubted pull of UKIP now for some voting Conservative in 2015. For all its acrimony, the open debate between the wings of the party shows that the party wants to keep the door open in future for Conservative supporters of either camp. In addition, if Cameron’s successor is a prominent Leave supporter, many Conservative defectors to UKIP in 2015 and since could return in significant numbers. Do not bet against a general election before 2020 under a new Conservative leader.

There is one final statistic that should give Labour concern. 2015 voters who are undecided or who are currently inclined to no longer vote break heavily towards Leave: 39% for Leave to 28% for Remain. By turning itself into a Europhile party, Labour risks limiting its potential appeal to such swing voters to only the 61% not hostile to the EU. In contrast, by keeping a foot in both camps, the Conservatives can appeal to the full 100%.

Philip Walker

Phil Walker will be voting for Brexit and stood as a Labour candidate in Wolverhampton in the 2016 local government elections. He has previously contributed to PB as “Wulfrun Phil”.

You can access Philip’s analysis by clicking here: YouGov Apr 2016 EU Flux Values v2


A post Brexit vote recession could cost the Tories the next election

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Brexiteers are in danger of being blamed for the next recession even if it has nothing do with Brexit

On one side we have, inter alia, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, and the great and the good, from the IMF, the OECD, NIESR, The Bank of England, and their Governor, Mark Carney, who the polls suggest is political Kryptonite against Leave, forecasting Brexit as being somewhere from very bad to a visit from the Four Horsemen for the UK economy.

On the other side you have Leavers like Tory Priti Patel who said “The EU-funded IMF should not interfere in our democratic debate … It appears the chancellor is cashing in favours to [Christine] Lagarde in order to encourage the IMF to bully the British people.” Some Leavers say the Treasury’s figure that every household would lose £4,300 was a bargain, another said the ‘insecurity [of Brexit] is fantastic’, whilst another prominent Leaver said publicly he would would welcome the economic apocalypse of Brexit, and would be delighted to provide free accommodation to the Four Horsemen whilst they visited the UK*.

So the meme that Brexit is bad for the economy has been effectively seeded, and a stand alone UK recession in the short term after a Brexit vote could see that meme germinate in a way that is not optimal for the Tories, especially if a Leaver succeeds David Cameron.

In various polls, the voters generally sees Brexit as the worst option for the economy, and for them personally, than remaining in the EU, even in the polls that have Leave ahead, so it is easy to see that seed has been planted in the minds of voters.

At the last general election two of the Tory Party’s strongest assets were David Cameron and their stewardship of the economy, they will be fighting the next election without the former. A post Brexit vote recession means they could be fighting without the latter asset too. 

Sometimes perceptions matter more than the facts, Leavers shouldn’t complain, we saw it how badly the ONS report on National Insurance figures was reported this week, as this tweet  and this article show.

The events of Black Wednesday helped in part to keep the Tory Party out of power for thirteen years, and the legacy of the 2008 credit crunch has the contributed to Labour losing the last two general elections.

When the voters can blame the government for an avoidable economic disaster, they don’t forget it. They know politicians don’t have the ability to abolish boom and bust, that’s why for example the Tories didn’t lose the 1983 and 1992 general elections, which came shortly after/during recessions. 

As the mantra goes, oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. Labour could say a post Brexit vote recession was foretold, and the Leavers ignored their warnings, even if the recession is a normal cyclical recession. 

Inadvertently the Tory Party may have salted their own electoral ground during this referendum campaign, it’s almost like if after The Third Punic War, The Roman Republic had accidentally salted Rome instead of Carthage.


*That last one isn’t true, but with the way this campaign is going with talk of armed conflict if we leave and the EU being like Hitler, it is entirely possible for someone to say something that outlandish in the remaining forty days of this campaign.


If Corbyn does becomes Prime Minister he should thank those behind the Zac campaign

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

As a Muslim I was appalled at Goldsmith’s campaign, as a Tory I’m appalled that Goldsmith’s campaign makes Corbyn as PM more likely.

When your own sister criticises your campaign and praises your opponent as a good role model, when the media runs a quiz asking Who said it: Britain First or Zac Goldsmith? deep down you must know you’ve run an ignoble, divisive, and poor campaign that may have long lasting consequences. As an intelligent man, Zac Goldsmith should have seen the risks of these tactics and told his campaigning team he didn’t want to campaign like this. Last August, Goldsmith led Khan by 8% in the opinion polls, and should have stuck with the campaign strategy that saw such leads.

As we see on The Observer front page in the tweet above, it is very easy for the Tory Party to regain the mantle of the nasty party and has the potential to re-toxify the Tory Party brand, that David Cameron has worked so hard to detoxify. With David Cameron very publicly endorsing Goldsmith’s attack lines at PMQs a few weeks ago, there’s no way for the Tory Party to disassociate themselves from the campaign, and blame it on a candidate going rogue. Those Lib Dems across the country who switched to the Tories in 2015 maybe put off from voting Tory in 2020 because of this campaign. The impact of this campaign may resonate outside of London.

Unless Sadiq Khan appoints Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as his Deputy Mayor or introduces Sharia law, he can justifiably say all the Tory attack lines about him were bunkum, which ultimately could help Jeremy Corbyn in 2020.

It isn’t hard to imagine during the 2020 general election campaign, the Tories using some of the attack lines they’ve used on Khan on Corbyn. Corbyn’s rebuttal will be a very simple, they said the same about Sadiq Khan and those attacks were nonsense, and that’s even before he can cite several Tories who have publicly condemned the Tory campaign, one of whom said the campaign “probably increased our risks of suffering terrorism.”

The campaign may be a pointer to the forthcoming EU referendum, with both sides already engaging in ludicrous project fear campaigns, where it feels the choice is down to for voting for economic Armageddon if we vote to Leave or having 77 million Turks moving to the UK shortly after we vote to Remain.

Memo to both camps, tone down the hyperbole, criticise your opponents with plausible criticisms and not make it appear that victory for the other side was foretold in The Book of Revelation. A bit more hope and a little less fear please.



The Michael Crick election expenses investigation could get serious for the Tories

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Dave’s majority could be at risk

The news that the Electoral Commission is talking to the police and CPS about Tory GE2015 election expenses in key marginal constituencies has the potential to be troubling to the party which, of course, won a majority of 12 last year.

Crick and his C4 News team retuned to the subject again last night focussing on one party police commissioner candidate who was the election agent in a marginal seat that the Tories won a year ago.

Under normal procedures objections for election expenses have to be carried out within a year of the documents being filed but it is possible to extend that which is what the Electoral Commission is asking.

It is possible that criminal proceedings could be taken but what could be really troubling is if the elections in those seats were annulled and new votes would have to take place. Cameron could feasibly lose his majority.

So far 26 seats have been looked but I understand that other might be being probed.

As well as the legal side the story fuels a narrative that the Tories didn’t win fairly.

Mike Smithson