Archive for the 'UKIP' Category

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After yesterday’s dramatic Scottish polls LAB braces itself for the South Yorks PCC result

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Is this another victory for the purples?

The big news this morning should come from South Yorkshire where counting takes place in the Police and Crime Commissioner by-election – only the second to be held since these new elected positions were created two years ago.

This has been set against the background of the Rotherham scandal which UKIP (see above) has been featuring strongly in its campaign. The area is largely dominated by Labour strongholds which in normal times should have been enough to guarantee the red team victory.

But these are not normal times as we saw in the Heywood and Middleton by-election at the start of October. UKIP is making serious inroads into place like this and yesterday’s election presented a huge opportunity. We’ll know later this morning whether they’ve managed to pull it off.

    If UKIP have ended up as victors it will add to the party’s momentum in the final three weeks of campaigning in Rochester where the polling and the betting suggests that it is heading for a comfortable victory.

A UKIP defeat could just take the edge off the party’s progress. South Yorkshire is much more challenging than Rochester where the sitting MP, Mark Reckless, stepped down to fight the seat after defecting to Farage’s party.

What could make today’s count and result interesting is that the election is not held under first past the post. If on the first count a candidate has not secured 50% of the votes then second preferences will be taken into account.

  • Note I’m away for most of the day and will be posting on the result and its likely impact later.
  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    The Westminster Big Three: zen-like serenity or zombies in action?

    Saturday, October 25th, 2014

    How come poor CON/LAB/LD polls are being accepted so readily?

    Time was when you could be reasonably sure that a party struggling in the polls would lead inevitably to speculation about its leader’s position.  The media would talk about it, backbench MPs would talk about it and cabinet or shadow cabinet members would let their friends talk about it.  What is remarkable about the last few years is that despite unprecedented combined unpopularity of both leaders and parties, there has been so little such talk never mind action.

    Of course, the fact that all three main Westminster parties are so unpopular simultaneously may have something to do with that: it’s easy to console yourself that you stand a decent chance of recovery when your opponents are doing badly too.

    Even so, this is very far from a zero-sum game.  All three parties face an existential threat.  UKIP has the potential to replace either the Tories or Labour (but not both) after the next election as the main party in their part of the spectrum if the cards fall well for it.  Neither has a right to exist, never mind to success, and both parties’ former core vote is disillusioned.  At the moment, Farage’s party’s mid- to upper-teens score would probably see them pick up only a handful of seats but were that to be upped to the mid-twenties that would do real damage.

    The prospect of such a step-change in UKIP’s polling is far from inconceivable: they have polled up there on occasion, by-election victories between now and April would reinforce their current momentum and the debates – if they happen – provide a further opportunity to advance.

    Strangely, a half-reasonable performance may be worse in the long run than a bad one as it’s far harder to fight off the threat while in government.  Clacton has already demonstrated the risks to the Conservatives and Rochester may reinforce that message.  Should Labour regain government, the danger may be even worse, polling as it is in the low thirties with the support of a great many 2010 Lib Dem defectors.  A majority Ed Miliband-led government could easily leak that support straight back on one wing while being assailed by UKIP on the other.  Gordon Brown’s Labour government bottomed out at 18% in the polls; an Ed Miliband one could go further still – and that might drop it to fourth place by vote share.

    For the Lib Dems the threat is greater still and more immediate: their party has lost more than two-thirds of their 2010 vote, a level meaning it’s dicing with oblivion.  True, local strongholds appear firm for now but results from the constituency polls sit uneasily with the national ones: my guess is that it’s the national ones and we’ll see Lib Dem support edge up as May approaches and people think more about their local situation.  But it may not and didn’t in Scotland in 2011, where the Yellows lost all but two of their constituency seats (and Orkney & Shetland is just one seat for Westminster).

      With threats to their existence such as the parties have not faced in many decades, if ever, what’s remarkable is how calm the leaderships and parliamentary parties are. 

    There is grumbling about Miliband but no serious threat this side of the election.  Cameron has suffered two defections – one reinforced by a by-election defeat – but despite their reputation for deposing leaders, Tory backbenchers have remained unusually quiet on the subject.  Even quieter have been Lib Dems, who are polling worst of all and perhaps have most opportunity for change (their leader has the worst ratings, plausible alternatives are available and one of the causes of their woes – being in government – could be resolved by a well-timed withdrawal).

    Will one or more of the parties brake out of their zen-like calm – or zombie-like sleepwalking if you prefer – before the election?  I doubt it.  It’s almost too late now to change strategy or leader and will be by the New Year.  These things need pressure to build and that rarely happens quickly.  It also needs anger, focus and division, and such factors simply aren’t present in sufficient quantity, particularly when there’s the belief that the other side(s) might hand you victory by default.  It is somewhat ironic that the biggest upheaval in the political system since at least the early 1980s has produced so little reaction.  But then maybe that’s the point: the changes are so far outside their experience, they can’t reach for a stock response and like rabbits in Farage’s headlights, produce none.

    David herdson



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    When ComRes tested impact of prompting for UKIP the views of women barely changed. Male support however jumped by 8%

    Sunday, October 19th, 2014

    Two pollsters, three polls, and UKIP shares between 16% and 24%

    With all eyes on UKIP polling shares following their by election successes the online survey by ComRes for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror carried out a test to see whether, as many purple enthusiasts argue, their shares are understated by firms that don’t specifically prompt for the party.

    So the ComRes sample was split in two with the first using the conventional approach and the second including UKIP in its main party prompts.

    The problem with this is that the sample sizes became so small, down to 782 in one case, that the margin of error increases substantially especially when trying to analyse the UKIP voting subset.

    In fact the difference between the two approaches can almost all be explained as standard margin of error.

      With that caveat a big move was apparent between the two ComRes polls. The views of women barely changed when UKIP was prompted – men, however increased their support by 8%

    Read into that what you will! Maybe prompting says more about how men and women respond to online polling than it does about UKIP support.

    Another difference was that non-2010 voters amongst UKIP support amounted to 7% in normal poll, but 13% in the prompted one.

    Meanwhile the latest YouGov, with a later fieldwork period than ComRes, has UKIP down 3% from dizzy heights of last week to a more normal looking 16%.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    Marf on the morning after at Number 10

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    morningafter (1)

  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.


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    Henry G Manson: Words and the world of workers – how Labour should respond to UKIP

    Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

    LAB Poster (1)

     

    The debate about UKIP is hotting up in Labour circles. UKIP are demonstrating they can get past Labour’s defences in a lot of traditional working class communities in a way the Tories never could. A few years ago the purple party were dismissed as ‘the BNP in blazers’ and a party with an appeal limited to southern leafy shires. Not now.

    Now UKIP are genuinely challenging in northern towns like Rotherham and Grimsby and have made enormous progress in Heywood and Middleton from a standing start. Should Labour retain the seat it will be down the wisdom of picking a working class NHS worker from the area and crucially for going for the shortest election period possible – not something that can apply to next May. UKIP aim to be seen as the main opponent of Labour in most of the north of England after the general election and their electoral threat extends to seats in Plymouth, Southampton, Dudley and other areas too.

    The Fabian Society’s Marcus Roberts has twinned up with UKIP expert Rob Ford to look at how UKIP can harm Labour and what it could do about it. It’s a report worth reading carefully. One bit that caught my eye was in some of the failings of how Labour’s politicians talk:

    Arguments about political messaging often break down into two categories: soundbites or stories. The New Labour tradition, and that of Clinton Democrats in the USA, is to favour soundbites with short, pithy lines to take that encapsulate big arguments. In contrast, politicians like Labour’s Jon Cruddas, or Obama Democrats, favour a narrative approach in which a bigger argument is made with more words to explain where a problem comes from, how it effects people today and what the future looks like after it has been addressed.

    Journalist John Harris is blunter still. Writing in the Guardian today about Farage’s appeal he talks of ‘a great visceral roar of dissent and defiance, channelled through a party whose leader instinctively understands politics’ more emotional aspects while the people at the top of supposedly mainstream parties have no clue…Whereas modern politics is fronted by androids who talk in borderline riddles – “One nation”, “the big society” – Ukip’s thinking is presented in appetisingly straightforward terms. ’

    It would be easy to land this at the feet of Labour’s general election co-ordinator of 2010 and today, Douglas Alexander. Schooled in the era of New Labour where it was privately proclaimed that disaffected Labour supporters would ‘have nowhere else to go’. The party is paying the price for excessively focusing on a narrow strip of Tory-Labour swing voters in southern marginal at the expense of the new ‘swing voters’ for Labour to appeal to swinging from either voting for Labour, to UKIP or to not voting for anyone at all.

    In Douglas Alexander’s defence, since the lacklustre European Election campaign there has been a more attacks on UKIP, however there has been so far only a limited amount offered to appeal to these defecting voters and the tone just still isn’t right. This problem goes beyond one individual and applies to all those schooled in the New Labourism and perhaps what’s worse it applies to some in the next generation who have chosen to model themselves on that.

    Roberts makes a spirited case for Labour become more of a social movement again. He’s right but that’s going to be something that takes some time and not prioritised in the run up to a general election. However some of the policy ideas in the pamphlet could work in the coming months.

    Drawing on the ‘blue Labour’ thinking of Maurice Glasman (but diluted to taste) it includes more housing for local people, ending child benefit being sent overseas, greater emphasis on contribution within social security payments and ‘fair movement’ rather than ‘free movement’ across the EU. Now these are all good ideas but they’re still a touch defensive if you ask me. Labour needs something positive too and in plain language to appeal to workers and not just play catch-up with UKIP.

    Kevin Maguire has written about a six point pledge for workers that’s now doing the rounds which as luck would have it would appeal to both Labour’s core voters and to those considering UKIP. These pledges include 1) Pay – a fair rate for the job 2) Law – a defined and fair working week 3) Employer – decent treatment at work 4) Dialogue – the right to be heard 5) Guarantee – rights that are honoured and secured and 6) Enforcement – representation to make your rights count. If Labour backed these and issued them on a ‘workers’ pledge card’ it could challenge the other parties on its own turf.

    There are a growing number of answers emerging for how Labour should respond to UKIP, but most of them seem to be happening outside of the official Labour Party channels at the moment. Will the party’s election team get the message in time? As the new Fabian research suggests the outcome of a growing number of seats and the election itself could depend on it.

    Henry G Manson



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    Voters think Lib Dems will fade away within ten years but UKIP is here to stay

    Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

    In the last few weeks, YouGov polled the following question about the Lib Dems and UKIP

    “Which of the following comes closer to your opinion about the future for the Lib Dems/UKIP”

     

    As we can see the voters think going forward that UKIP will be more relevant than the Lib Dems.

    I suspect the current Westminster VI polling is driving this, as the Lord Ashcroft marginal polls showed, the Lib Dems are doing better than national polling suggests, more so than normal, the next election will be about seats won, rather than the national share of the vote.

    So the Lib Dem relevance will still be important in UK politics, I and others have speculated that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems might be the only constant in government this decade. I expect both the Lib Dems and UKIP are here to stay.

    History has also shown that writing off the Lib Dem isn’t wise, as they following video shows, a week later after this intervention, the Lib Dems gained Eastbourne from the Tories in a by-election.

    TSE



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    As long as we see polling like this it increases the chances of tactical voting against UKIP

    Sunday, October 5th, 2014


    Whilst the polling on this question has improved slightly for UKIP since May, it still represents a problem for the party. I’ve noted in the past that in politics, sometimes perceptions matter more than the facts, and unfortunately they are perceived as the party of fruit cakes and loonies and closet racists mostly.

    Given the large number of Labour voters in Rochester & Strood, it will be interesting if the Tories try and push the meme with Labour supporters, as I have noted in the past, the danger for the Blues it might alienate the Kipper votes they also trying to win over.

    TSE



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    After all the hype from UKIP about the 5pm defection – it’s all about the defector who defected in the morning

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    Memo to Nigel: I don’t think the journalists who have been dragged to Gloucestershire will be impressed. You should always under promise and over deliver.

     

    TSE