Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


UKIP is taking SIX times as many votes from the Tories as it is from Labour

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

In no way are the purples as big a threat to LAB as CON

There’s consistent talk at the moment of UKIP being a bigger threat to LAB than CON. This is a point that Mr Farage wants to hammer home on virtually every occasion.

Yet quite simply this is not supported by the data. Just look at the chart above based on data from the month’s biggest poll, the Populus/FT March aggregate with a sample of 16,424

Because of the sheer size of the aggregate sample we can draw firmer conclusions from the subset findings than in individual polls with samples between one and two thousand.

The chart shows the breakdown of the current UKIP vote based on the responses of 1,368 current UKIP voters to question of what they said they did last time. As can be seen the lion’s share belongs to those who voted CON at the 2010 general election. They comprise just under 44% of the total while 2010 LAB switchers represent just over 7%.

It is true that UKIP gets a lot of support from the C1,C2 and D demographic groups but not, if you analyse the data, from that many who voted Labour in 2010.

Things could change but for the moment it is the blue team which has been most hit by the rise of Farage’s party.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


David Herdson on whether Farage has done enough to win a place in the 2015 debates

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Prime Ministerial Debates 2010   YouTube (1)

One thing we should know: the debates will happen

In one sense, David Cameron and Ed Miliband missed out on an opportunity by declining the invites to what turned into the Clegg-Farage Eurodebates.  Not being there will not have helped either of their parties and Cameron in particular could have occupied the popular sceptical middle ground between Clegg’s uncritical Europhilia and Farage’s withdrawalism.

However, that opportunity has to be set against the cost, which would have been establishing a precedent whereby UKIP’s leader debated on equal terms with the leaders of the Lib Dems, Labour and the Conservatives.  Once achieved, UKIP would surely keep the pressure up for a repeat run this time next year.  The effects of this debate will probably dissipate within days; the precedent, had it been set, would have had much longer-lasting effects.

It’s true that Farage would have an uphill job winning a place next year.  Ofcom rightly adjudge which the major parties are according to the type of election as well as each party’s performance.  UKIP’s status for the Euro-elections owes more to their vote shares in 2004 and 2009 than their polling over the last two or three years, and just because they’re one of the Big Four this year it doesn’t mean they’ll be granted the same status next year at the general election.

Even so, they’d still reap good publicity if they were believed by the public to be unjustly ejected from the top table having been previously granted access to it.  For a party courting the anti-establishment vote, it would play well to their narrative.  By contrast, a two-way debate, where Clegg and Farage were seen more as representatives of In and Out than of their parties, isn’t the same kind of thing.

The more important precedent that has been set is that the debates went ahead at all, and were prompted by a relatively minor media player.  The same dynamics will apply next year which means we can be almost certain that there’ll be a repeat of 2010 in some shape.  Now we know that the broadcasters are prepared to empty-chair (or empty-lectern?) a leader who refuses, none can refuse.  Unlike last week, there would be huge benefits to the two or three men who did turn up and endless easy goals to be scored at the expense of their absent opponent(s). 

    Put simply, if one leader refuses, it almost automatically means the others will accept.  Likewise, once two accept, the other(s) will have to follow suit.  Much the same applies to the broadcasters themselves.

So where does that leave UKIP?  The existing Ofcom rules mean that they won’t be included: they simply don’t have a strong enough record at general elections.  That’s only half the story though.  On that basis, Ross Perot would have been excluded from the 1992 US presidential debates, when he was polling in the high teens (and had led the polls before his temporary withdrawal from the race), but would have been included in 1996 when his polling was in single figures.  Current form matters.  If UKIP do win the European elections in May and show strongly in the locals, they may have a case to challenge Ofcom’s stance, in the courts if needs be.

The question is whether UKIP will do that well, because the stakes are far higher than an extra MEP or two; the nature of the 2015 election campaign may be determined by it.

David Herdson


Farage’s performance last night makes it much harder to keep him out of the GE2015 debates

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Unless Dave agrees he’ll be accused of running scared

The big consequence of last night’s widely perceived victory by Farage in the debate with Clegg is that it’s going to be a lot harder keeping the UKIP leader out of the leaders’ debates at GE2015.

Quite simply Clegg is now not in a position to object while Ed Miliband has already indicated that he wouldn’t oppose such a move.

So the ball will be in Cameron’s court and it will be a tricky one to play.

The initial plan was to rely on Farage’s exclusion because UKIP is not likely to be deemed by the Electoral Commission a “major party” at the general election. This means that the broadcasters don’t have to pay the purples the same attention as that given to the old three parties.

But after last night that is going to be a lot harder to sustain even if, as is highly likely, the EC refuses to give a party that didn’t win any MPs at GE2010 that status. Of course in the meantime UKIP could have won a parliamentary by election.

    So the PM would have two choices. To go ahead with debates on the same basis as 2010 with the leader perceived as the loser last night included but the “winner” not there or to oppose the whole concept of debates

Whichever way he plays it Cameron will be accused time and time again of running scared of the UKIP leader and using the Commission as an excuse. That could become an issue itself in the run up to polling day.

Whatever it gives UKIP a great peg to argue on which will reinforce its argument about the whole system.

The genie is now out of the bottle.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The post Nick v Nigel debate reaction

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The YouGov poll on who won the debate is out.


My own feeling is that the real loser from tonight is David Cameron and The Tories, today and next week, Nigel Farage has been given one hour to hoover up the Euro-sceptic vote.

I’ll update this thread if further polling is released.



The political role of the purples: As a stalking horse

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Corporeal on UKIP

It’s reasonably common, in these cynical times that we live in, to hear someone dismissively remark that politicians are mainly interested in power. It’s a comment that is both often true and also the basic point of politicians. Politics itself is essentially the exercise of power in society in all its various shapes and forms and the proper use of that power is what politicians are fundamentally contesting. It is less a question of how the world should be, and more how it is and could be made better. The search for practical solutions rather than abstract truth.

Politics is the art of the possible, as someone who may or may not have been Benjamin Disraeli  Otto von Bismarck once said, and as with any practical pursuit getting anything done usually involves getting your hands dirty and your clothes (the clothes here being a cunning and subtle metaphor for principles) a bit roughed up.

Politicians genuinely without any interest in power are simply misplaced philosophers/journalists/loudmouths (delete as appropriately as you like). As to whether any politicians become seduced by the trappings of power, you might say that but I haven’t seen the new series yet.

But power comes in many guises, many of them indirect. The focus on UKIP’s ballot box prospects is in some ways misguided since it is only one means to achieve their general aims. The obvious comparison for them here is the Liberal Democrats, through the 1970s and 1980s there existed in Britain a notoriously polarised political party system. Following the re-emergence of a centrist party, both parties pulled hard back to the centre ground.

The history of the Lib Dems through those years is one of no involvement in government and relatively few MPs, but also of significant influence on the positioning of the political battlefields. Equally you can draw comparisons with other emerging parties (the SNP being a relevant example) being able to exercise influence with a limited number of MPs.

This, for the near future, is likely to be UKIP’s primary route of influence and it is one that shouldn’t be dismissed, they will be the ever-present stalking horse of British politics and we’ve seen before how dangerous they can be. Between the European elections and the next General Election we will probably see opponents try to dismiss them as irrelevant, a protest party, a sideshow, (see my previous article about the likelihood of them being excluded from the TV debates).

They will be cast as a dangerous distraction from the main event that by splitting Conservative votes will damage the Euro-sceptic cause. Come the General Election their votes may not stack up very high, but will cast a long shadow.



Farage : “I want to fight a marginal” : The possible choices

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

During today’s interview with Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics, the issue of where Nigel Farage wants to stand at the next election cropped up again and for the first time he gave an answer “I want to fight a marginal” he declared. Now, there has been a lot of discussion in the past about what constitutes a marginal (with experts ranging in opinions from a 5% lead to a 20% lead), but my own personal thoughts are that a marginal is a seat with a lead of less than 10%, however as he added that he wanted to take votes from all parties, what he is really looking for is a three way marginal. Now these are even more difficult to define, so I have gone for seats where the top three parties are separated by less than 10% and so would like to present (for Mr. Farage’s consideration) a list of potential seats that he might like to contest (ranked by numerical majority at the last election):

Hampstead and Kilburn
Lab 33%, Lib Dem 33%, Con 31%, Green 1%, UKIP 1%, BNP 1%, Ind 0%
Labour majority of 42

Oldham East and Saddleworth
Lab 32%, Lib Dem 32%, Con 26%, BNP 6%, UKIP 4%, Christian 0%
Labour majority of 103

Norwich South
Lib Dem 29%, Lab 29%, Con 23%, Green 15%, UKIP 2%, BNP 1%, Worker’s Revolutionaries 0%
Liberal Democrat majority of 310

Bradford East
Lib Dem 34%, Lab 33%, Con 27%, BNP 5%, Ind 2%, National Front 1%
Liberal Democrat majority of 365

Derby North
Lab 33%, Con 32%, Lib Dem 28%, BNP 4%, UKIP 2%, Ind 1%, Pirate 0%
Labour majority of 613

Great Grimsby
Lab 33%, Con 31%, Lib Dem 22%, UKIP 6%, BNP 5%, Ind 3%, People’s National Democrats 1%
Labour majority of 714

Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport
Con 34%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 25%, UKIP 7%, Green 2%, Ind 1%, Soc Lab 0%
Conservative majority of 1,149

Brighton, Pavilion
Green 31%, Lab 29%, Con 24%, Lib Dem 14%, UKIP 2%, Soc Lab 0%, Undead 0%, Ind 0%
Green majority of 1,252

Con 35%, Lib Dem 32%, Lab 27%, BNP 2%, UKIP 2%, Green 2%
Conservative majority of 1,425

Warrington South
Con 36%, Lab 33%, Lib Dem 28%, UKIP 3%, Green 1%
Conservative majority of 1,553

Northampton North
Con 34%, Lab 29%, Lib Dem 28%, BNP 3%, UKIP 3%, Green 1%, Ind 1%, Christian 0%
Conservative majority of 1,936

Birmingham, Hall Green
Lab 33%, Respect 25%, Lib Dem 25%, Con 15%, UKIP 2%, Ind 0%
Labour majority of 3,799

Colne Valley
Con 37%, Lib Dem 28%, Con 26%, BNP 3%, UKIP 2%, Green 2%, TUSC 1%
Conservative majority of 4,837

And as a lot of these constituencies have elections in May (which of course will be held on the same day as the Euros) I will revisit these suggestions after those local elections and see how well UKIP do in them compared with the 2010 local elections (when the wards contested in May were last contested)

Harry Hayfield


For the first time UKIP takes the lead in a poll for the May Euro elections

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

This should shake up the betting markets

Note that ComRes applied a different certainty to vote filter compared with normal Westminster polling. Only those certain to vote are included and my guess is that this is a major factor that has put UKIP at the top.

As I write I haven’t seen the detail but my guess is that demographic groups likely to support UKIP are those who are most likely to turnout.

Note. The change figures on the above chart now relate to the ComRes EP Jan 2013 poll.

On Westminster voting LAB lead narrows with ComRes but stays same with Opinium


Why May’s Euro elections could be more challenging for UKIP than 2004 or 2009

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Much greater scrutiny

The purples still waiting for their Paul Sykes donation