Archive for the 'Tories' Category

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CON hopes are based on the LDs flourishing in LAB-CON marginals but not in CON-LD ones. The opposite is the case.

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

GE2015 will see the return of big time tactical voting

Because so much has been going on politically in the past few days very little attention has been paid to the latest round of marginals polling that was published by Lord Ashcroft last Sunday afternoon. The focus was on Lib Dem seats and the chart above is based on Lord A”s aggregate data from 17 separate polls.

We’ve talked so often before about the collapse of the Lib Dem vote providing the main boost to Labour in its CON targets. This polling shows what’s happening in seats the Tories need to win but where LAB has little interest.

The big figures are that the coalition partners are level pegging on 32% each which represents a swing from LD to CON since GE2010 of just 2%. This is the best performance by Clegg’s party in any polling and will give heart to his beleaguered party as delegates gather in Glasgow for their party conference – an event that had to be put back from its usual mid-September because of the IndyRef.

With current Lib Dem seats it is very hard to find common trends. In some places they are doing poorly while in other defences there is a CON to LD swing since GE2010.

    The most interesting feature and one that will concern Tory planners is that the polling shows that once again LAB voters are ready to switch to stop the Tories. 22% said they’d do so in this latest round.

That’s based on looking at the two-stage voting intention question which Lord A uses. An initial one and then a second asking responders to focus on their particular seat. So we can see from the data the scale of change.

That the LDs might be winning back some of this vote is critical because much of the Lib Dem success in previous CON battles has been down to persuading LAB voters that their best interest lay in switching.

With relations between the coalition partners inevitably getting worse as we get nearer to polling day the easier it will be for the Lib Dems to win over more tacticals which is why I’m expecting the party do do better in terms of seats than even the latest Ashcroft polling suggests.

Expect the very public spat this week between Theresa May and Nick Clegg to be amplified in Glasgow. That helps the yellows.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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Memo to the Tories: Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Since the defection of Mark Reckless to UKIP, I’ve not been surprised at the opprobrium heaped at Mark Reckless from the Tories, mostly because of his timing and his assurances that he wouldn’t defect.

The above tweet, shows the depth of the anger, the thing that should concern the Tories, is the anger and hate is flowing from the very top of the party.

Last night it was reported that David Cameron had used some very salty language when talking about the defector Reckless 

The Prime Minister toured the regional receptions getting steadily more pumped up in his anger about Reckless’s duplicity. Rumour is rife the words ‘effing Reckless’, ‘fat arse’ and ‘dick head’ were blurted out in various versions of a tub-thumping turn by Cameron. The Tories are going to fight Rochester hard – that was very clear by the time the PM arrived at Conservative Home’s late night reception for the 1922 Committee. By then Dave was in full blown Mr Angry mode, telling activists and media types that Reckless would be punished.

Boris Johnson, last night chipped in with a speech, that was largely reported as him saying  ‘Tories who defect to Ukip are kind of people who have sex with vacuum cleaners’

There’s a danger these could be seen as attacks on UKIP voters, the voters the Tories need to win to ensure they win the Rochester & Strood by election and the 2015 General Election.

Ken Clarke’s comments yesterday will not have helped either, he said Farage had “absorbed the BNP vote” and “taken on board BNP followers. He said there was “a nasty undertone” in Farage’s movement. “He does attract elderly male people who have had disappointing lives,”

That said, were another Tory MP defect either today or tomorrow, thus overshadowing David Cameron’s speech, then I expect the opprobrium heaped upon them, will be on another scale than that which has been aimed at Mark Reckless so far.

So my advice, Keep Calm Dave, and focus on winning.

TSE



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Let’s end this lazy assumption that UKIP voters are just Tories on holiday

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

The numbers show that this is simply not the case

You read and see this all the time both inside the Westminster bubble and out of it. Ukip voters, so the pervasive narrative goes, are simply ex-CON voters who can, if Lynton Crosby plays his cards properly, be seduced back into the fold thus providing the blues with the platform to secure an overall majority next May.

Thus the following is a statement that many might find hard to comprehend because it runs right across this current thinking

    Even if the Tories were able to win back half their UKIP defectors it would add barely 1.5% to current vote shares.

The reason why that doesn’t sound right is that one of the basic widely perceived “facts” of modern politics does not stand up to scrutiny.

Just look at breakdown in the pie chart above of current UKIP support in the marginals based on the latest data from Ashchroft polling. 2010 CON voters form only a quarter of UKIP support in the key LAB-CON marginals. If the Tories were able to win back half of them that would make up about one eighth of the kippers – and one eighth of the 13% UKIP figure in this polling is not going to make that much difference.

We see the same broad breakdown in standard national polling yet somehow so many cling to this “belief” so central to any analysis of GE2015.

Let me say that I, like so many others, have been guilty of making the wrong assumptions about where UKIP support is coming from.

Trying to win the kippers back is certainly something that the Tories should be doing but there are far far fewer ex-CON voters to be “swung back” than is widely assumed.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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Say hello to the Lilac Tories

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

New cabinet (1)

David Herdson on Cameron’s line-up for GE2015

Squaring circles is part of the business of politics.  One such conundrum David Cameron has to face is how to simultaneously make the party he leads more appealing to centrist floating voters while also attracting back those who’ve defected to UKIP.  On the face of it, those are two incompatible objectives: how can a party move both left and right at the same time?  The simple answer is it can’t; the more complex one is that it doesn’t have to.

There’s been some criticism that Cameron’s reshuffle is mere window dressing.  That if he was serious about the changes then he’d have made them before now, when the government still had serious parliamentary business to get through before the election.  That misses the point.  Cameron is not looking at this parliament; in making the changes now, he has put together his team for the next one.  (In any case, keeping ministers in place while they’re in the middle of something is actually a good thing).

What he’s also done is put together his team for the general election campaign and that’s where the circle-squaring comes in.  Replacing Michael Gove with a woman in her early forties is the most dramatic element of the image management surgery which has left the Tory front bench visibly younger and less male-dominated.

Of course, that image management only works if those coming in are up to the job themselves, which is something that remains to be seen.  Still, with education and immigration two of the electoral battlegrounds, we can expect to hear more Conservative women’s voices on the TV and radio in the months to come.  Few people will change their vote simply because the minister for whatever is a woman rather than a man (or indeed, any one politician rather than another).  However, the overall public impression of the party is very much affected by those making the case for it and to that extent, it will make a difference.

It should be noted that simply putting a woman in a job, even if she’s competent, won’t necessarily help in attracting women’s votes.  Women voters, as with any group or set of individuals, will still need to identify with the party in question, both in terms of empathy and policy – does the party understand them and the issues they face, and does it have the solutions to those problems?  A woman robo-politician will do no better than a male robo-politician; both appear equally out of touch.

Then there’s the other side of the equation: winning back the UKIP defectors.  The cabinet changes marked a definite Eurosceptic shift; one which should become more apparent once the election approaches and ministers can advocate party policy more and government coalition policy less.  Certainly, Europe is only one reason for the Con to UKIP switchers (if an important one), but again, just as the original defections were rarely prompted by a single policy in isolation but by a cumulative effect over years, so switchback, if it happens, is likely to occur due to the effects at the margin of many events.

It would be wrong to claim that Cameron’s cabinet changes were entirely a marketing exercise.  Some of the old guard left of their own accord and Cameron would not have chosen the team he’ll now have to take into the second term he aspires to if he thought they would then let him down.  Even so, there’s no doubt it’s also been put in place to chase the Lilac Tories; both those of a Blue-Purple persuasion and those who prefer a softer shade to their politicians.

David Herdson



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Post-reshuffle leadership betting: The new Foreign Secretary comes into the picture

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The Ladbrokes 14/1 looks good value

The big winner in the reshuffle is, undoubtedly, the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, who, with Theresa May, have been my long term bets at longish odds for Cameron’s successor. I got him originally at 41/1 and overnight I’ve put more on at 16.5 on Betfair and 14/1 with Ladbrokes

This looks a great price for someone who now occupies one of the three great offices of State and would be in an ideal position to compete if GE2015 goes against the Tories and we have an early leadership election.

    There’s a great rule in Tory contests – long term favourites never get it. Just ask John Major, William Hague, IDS, and David Cameron who all were elected in spite of not being favourite.

I got Cameron in September 2005 at 11/1.

One thing that Hammond has got going for himself is his back story which might fit the mood next May. He was state school educated followed by Oxford and a successful career in industry. After failing to win in 2015 with one old Etonian in charge would the party really choose another?

Hammond’s also older, 58, than the current crop of party leaders who all got their jobs while in their early/mid 40. This I’d suggest, will be seen as a strength if the Tories do lose power.

He would have been Treasury Secretary in May 2010 if the Tories had won a majority and is now into his third cabinet role since the general election.

You could see a leadership contest being fought out by Boris, Theresa, Osborne and Hammond. If he got through the first stage, the parliamentary party election, he’d do well in the final run off members’ ballot which is restricted to the top two from the MPs process.

His chances, of course, are very much dependent on a Tory defeat at GE2015.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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The Reshuffle

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Looks like the big political news of the day isn’t the Blues taking the lead with the gold standard of UK polling, but the reshuffle David Cameron is currently undertaking.

The big news is William Hague standing down as Foreign Secretary.

The interesting move will be who replaces him? Rumour has it will be Philip Hammond, in the past Hammond has said he would vote to leave the EU, which earned a rebuke from the PM. Perhaps this is a way of getting back votes from UKIP?

One of the other interesting moves has been the cull of the Law Officers, in particular Dominic Grieve, my hunch is that this is part of the Conservative plans to employ a harder line on Justice and the ECHR, in the past Grieve has warned leaving the EU or the ECHR would imperil “the economic, physical and ethical well-being of the UK”

This seems odd the day UKIP fell below 10% with ICM to become even more Euro-sceptic.

This appears to be a wider reshuffle than was anticipated, keep up to date with it here.

Dave should remember, the last Tory PM to move their Foreign Secretary to Leader of the House was toppled as PM a year later by that former Foreign Secretary, Dave must hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

Update I

There’s also a number of other MPs alongside Hague who have announced this evening their intention to stand down as MPs at the next election, this would make the Tories chances in 2015 harder, as the incumbency bonus goes in these seats.

 

TSE

 

HOW THE DAILY MAIL IS REPORTING THE RESHUFFLE



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If the Tories do win more votes than LAB but get fewer seats then let there be no bleating about the system being unfair

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

That’s the system that they campaigned hard to retain in 2011

If current broad poll trends continue and some of the CON-Ukip shifters return then it is likely that my 8/1 bet that that Tories will win most votes but come second to LAB on seats will be a winner.

Broadly the 2010 LD switchers to LAB are staying relatively solid and the returnees could boost the CON aggregate national vote share as we get closer to polling day.

The chart above shows what happens to the GE2010 results if you divide national vote shares by the number of seats won. The second tab shows the %age of the seats won. So CON came out with 47% of seats on 36% of the UK vote is is far from being unfair if you think that aggregate national vote shares are relevant.

    But the system we have is first past the post elections for individual MPs, not for parties or a PM, in each of the 650 seats. Nowhere does the relationship between national party aggregates come into the equation

That was the system that the Tories campaigned so hard to retain in the 2011 referendum and that’s the system that’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

The Tories had the chance during the 2010 coalition negotiations to opt for a fully proportional system but resisted it.

That’s fine but please no bleating if as a consequence of the UKIP surge GE2015 produces a result that appears to be unfair to the blues.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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Was Theresa May on manoeuvres and did it cost her SPAD her job?

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Today’s front pages don’t make great reading for the Tories, and in particular Theresa May or Michael Gove.

The Sunday Times reports (££)

The row exposed deep rifts within the cabinet. Two cabinet ministers accused May of running a “tiresome” and “obvious” leadership campaign, picking a fight with Gove to boost her hopes of succeeding Cameron if he fails to win the next election.

“She’s like the date from hell,” one cabinet minister said. “She sidles up to you and asks if you would like to get together to discuss the future of the party. She’s very obvious about it.”

Sometimes one of the great indicators of whether a party is going to lose office shortly is that cabinet ministers start positioning themselves for the Leadership election that will follow a defeat.

If we start seeing more shenanigans like this from other Ministers, we can infer that senior Tories are not expecting to be in power post May 2015, bet accordingly.

TSE