Archive for June, 2014


It’s cross-over time on the Ipsos-MORI Issues Index. Immigration moves clear of the economy as top concern

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Concerns on the economy move to a six year low

Concerns over the EU move to nine year high


Deferred Elections Results : June 26th 2014

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Swanwick on Amber Valley (Conservative WIN in 2010)
Conservatives 474 (36% -14% on 2010)
Labour 298 (23% -8% on 2010)
Independent 252 (19%)
UKIP 245 (19%)
Lib Dem 32 (2% -17% on 2010)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 176 (13%) on a swing of 3% from Conservative to Labour
New Amber Valley Composition: Labour 23, Conservatives 22 (Labour overall majority of 1)

Colindale Dale on Barnet (3 Labour WINS in 2010)
Result (by party and candidate) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives: Nneka Akwaeze (501), Golnar Bokaei (420), William Nicholson (466)
Green Party: Maggie Curati (130), Francesco Marasco (108), Andrew Newby (114)
Labour: Nagus Narenthira (2,119), Gill Sargeant (2,088), Zakia Zubairi (2,015)
Liberal Democrats: Victor Corney (19), Daniel Estermann (133), Sabriye Warsame (87)
United Kingdom Independence Party: John Baskin (347), Khalid Khan (268), Barry Ryan (309)
Three Labour HOLDS
New Barnet Composition: Conservatives 32, Labour 30, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative majority of 1)


The Cameron-EU stand-off over Jean-Claude Juncker: If the PM wins it would be a major coup

Friday, June 27th, 2014

But if he fails then where does that leave Dave?

Until now the row over Jean-Claude Juncker has made Cameron look increasingly isolated in Europe.

    What’s not generally appreciated in the UK is that in most other EU countries the recent European Parliament elections were presented as being about choosing the EU president as well as MEPs.

Each of the main party groups in Brussels went through a process of selecting a candidate and in the run up to polling day there was a series of TV debates. In a number of member states there was extensive polling.

Back in April I took part in a Euro TV discussion on the elections and was taken aback by questions about which of the contenders would go down best with UK voters. I hadn’t realised that this was how the process was being seen.

As it turned out the EPP – European People’s Party – came out with most seats in the voting and Jean-Claude Juncker had been selected earlier as their man. The EPP, of course, was the grouping that the UK Conservative party used to belong to. That ended following Cameron becoming Tory leader.

It is against this background that the current row between Cameron and the rest needs to be seen and why, I believe, this has been such a tough fight.

Today’s Telegraph story alleging that Juncker has drinking problems is certainly well timed and adds force to Cameron’s case.

If he wins and Juncker doesn’t get the job it will be huge victory for Cameron on a scale greater than the famous veto of December 2011. If he doesn’t then it is hard to predict the consequences.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Deferred Elections postponed from May 22nd : June 26th 2014

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Swanwick on Amber Valley (Conservative WIN in 2010)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 24, Conservatives 21 (Labour overall majority of 3)
Result of ward at last election (2010): Conservative 1,610 (50%), Labour 983 (31%), Liberal Democrats 599 (19%) Conservative majority of 627 (19%)
Candidates duly nominated: Joel Hunt (Lib Dem), Allen King (UKIP), George Soudah (Ind), Antony Tester (Lab), David Wilson (Con)

Amber Valley has always been a bit of a Con / Lab battleground and since 2003 has experienced everything that the electoral pendulum can throw at it. Between 2003 and 2007 it was a case of “Advantage: Conservative” as they increased their majority on the council from five to eleven. In 2008, the majority increased again to 13 although a slight spanner was thrown in the works when the BNP won their first seats. In 2012, the Conservatives suffered their first major reversal losing four seats as Labour gained six (including the two from the BNP) and in May (when the rest of the council voted) Labour gained control on a straight swap of three seats.

Colindale Dale on Barnet (3 Labour WINS in 2010)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservative 36, Labour 27, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative majority of 8)
Result of ward at last election (2010): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 3,259, 2,836, 2,711
Conservatives 1,175, 1,175, 1,019
Liberal Democrats 1,095, 898, 764
Greens 337, 306, 276

Candidates duly nominated by party
Conservatives: Nneka Akwaeze, Golnar Bokaei, William Nicholson,
Green Party: Maggie Curati, Francesco Marasco, Andrew Newby,
Labour: Nagus Narenthira, Gill Sargeant, Zakia Zubairi
Liberal Democrats: Victor Corney, Daniel Estermann, Sabriye Warsame
United Kingdom Independence Party: John Baskin, Khalid Khan, Barry Ryan

Barnet is so Conservative, you might wonder why the other parties even bother to stand. In the last 24 years it was not controlled by the Conservatives for just eight years (1994 – 2002) and the best that the opposition could do as a combined total was back in 1998 (when they had 32 councillors to the Conservatives 28) so although it seems fairly obvious that Labour will win three extra councillors to their group on Barnet, very little else will change.


Why UKIP could be heading for a general election share in the 10-15% range

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

If that happens it’s seriously bad news for Dave

At a Political Studies Association briefing that I attended before the May 22nd Euros Prof Jane Green of Manchester University announced that British Election Study (BES) poll data sampled in February and March found that 57.6% of those planning to vote UKIP in the Euros also intended to vote for the party at GE2015.

    Why we should take this poll finding seriously is what happened five years ago when it gave a pretty good pointer to what would happen between the two elections

When the same question was put in the BES study before the 2009 Euros 26.5% of those planning to vote UKIP said they would do the same in the following general election. The actual results from the 2009 Euros and the 2010 general election showed a slip back from 16.2% to 3.2%. When the different turnout levels between the two elections are taken into account that 2009 BES finding stood up pretty well.

So a broad-brush extrapolation from the 27.4% UKIP share from the 2014 Euros points to a UKIP GE2015 share well into double figures – perhaps in the 10-15% range.

The latest BES study also found that of those people intending to vote UKIP at GE2015, 44% voted CON in 2010, 17% voted LD, 11% voted LAB. 9% voted UKIP and 11% didn’t vote. This is in line with other polling that we’ve seen.

So it is hard to conclude other than the Tories will be hit most by a high UKIP vote at GE2015.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


I’m not convinced that the Coulson conviction will have more than a short-term negative impact on Cameron

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

PMQs, as you’d expect, was dominated by yesterday’s news from the Old Bailey that former Number 10 Communications Director had been convicted in the hacking case.

Ed Miliband worked hard to make capital and at best it was a score draw if not a victory for Dave. The PM, of course, has had several years to think about his PMQ responses should Coulson be convicted.

I don’t think that the affair has that much salience now and the only line that might still resonate in the run-up to GE15 is that Cameron brought a criminal into Number 10 for a key role.

In a way the very fact that Miliband launched an attack made it easier for the PM. His side were always going to get behind their man once he was under fire from the opposition leader.

Anybody planning to go to the PB Ilkley get together from Greater Manchester on July 7th. One intrepid non-drinking PBer has space in his car. Get in touch with me here.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If reports of private polling are accurate then the Greens could lose their only MP – Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavillion

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

You can still get better than evens on Labour

At the last general election one of the most active constituency betting markets was on Brighton Pavillion where, as we all know, Caroline Lucas won through with a 31.3% vote share to become the Green party’s first MP. The result and vote changes are in the chart above.

This victory came after years of work in the area during which the Greens built up a very strong councillor base.

    The big question for GE15 is whether she can hold on and until now the bookies have made her favourite.

That might change following unconfirmed reports that the Greens carried out a private poll in the seat which shows that they are behind LAB by quite a margin.

The pollster is said to be ICM which carried out surveys for the party ahead of the historic victory in May 2010. I am being told that a new poll was carried out earlier in the year which had the Greens a long way behind.

The party shares being talked about are in the region of LAB 39% to GRN 23%.

The best chance that Caroline Lucas has is if she can persuade CON and LD voters that she is the one to support if they want to stop Labour winning.

I’ve not seen any data or had any confirmation but my source is credible enough for me to have had a punt on Labour at 11/10.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Nighthawks is now open

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

If you’ve been Working 9 to 5, or longer, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

If you’re a lurker, why not delurk tonight?

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

  1. Antifrank looks at the Lab battleground.
  2. Antifrank looks at the Lib Dem battleground.
  3. Why changing leader now  WILL save the Lib Dems in 2015 and beyond.
  4. Elected Mayors should be created by voters, not Ministers
  5. How Labour is failing to grasp Ukip’s appeal to angry white voters
  6. Ed Miliband could learn a lot from Dolly Parton
  7. There’s poison in the Shadow Cabinet – and it could cost Ed Miliband the election
  8. The Labour leader Miliband most resembles? Clem Attlee
  9. I’ll stay on as Labour leader even if we lose the General Election, says Miliband: Ed tells friends he can ‘do a Kinnock’
  10. What makes young British Muslims want to go to Syria?
  11. MPs to be taught ‘difference between right and wrong’ after Maria Miller scandal
  12. Cameron has botched relations with old and new Europe, and now stands alone. 
  13. Britain is scorned and insulted across the EU. Why do we stay?
  14. Voters back Cameron’s stance in fight against Juncker
  15. Who is behind Isis’s terrifying online propaganda operation?
  16. Five years of the Speaker: what has John Bercow changed in parliament?
  17. Green investment bank to launch £1bn offshore wind fund. 
  18. Man gets stuck inside a statue of a vagina in Germany
  19. If Scotland breaks away, the constitutional consequences would be dramatic
  20. Today is the 700th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Bannockburn.