Archive for the 'Coalition' Category

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The Thursday PB Nighthawks Cafe after an evening away from coronavirus pandemic developments

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

I’ve just spent the last three hours totally away from issues relating to the virus thanks to the remarkable plan by the National Theatre to screen free on ‘YouTube a production from its National Theatre Live programme. One Man Two Guvnors with James Corden has just ended and it has been thoroughly entertaining. I’ve not laughed as much in months.

It is a feature of this whole affair that initiatives like this have emerged. If the shutdown is going on for months we really do need things to take our minds off the issue that dominates everything. The NT screenings are going to be a regular Thursday night fixture.

The only time when we paused the this evening was at 8pm to join the collective clapping in my street.

Apart from that this is the usual nighthawks formula and over to you.

Mike Smithson



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Latest Ipsos-MORI coronavirus tracker finds that one in five still NOT washing hands

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020


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UK coronavirus death toll up 381 in a single day – the worst yet

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

This had been widely predicted and, indeed, follows the pattern or some other countries but even so the scale of what is happening comes as something of a shock. The forecasts earlier in the week of the eventual UK death total being 20k don’t now look exaggerated.

One thing is for sure the more old people are losing their lives the more people are taking note of the government warnings.

Quite where this will end is hard to say but the growing toll certainly adds to the fear in the vulnerable groups.

Mike Smithson



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Ever since the first LAB leadership YouGov poll came out the result has never really been in doubt

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
What the polls were showing for the final preferences

Ever since that first YouGov labour leadership poll come out at the start of the year there has never been any real question that the next LAB leader would be the former DPP, Sir Keir Starmer. His margin in that first poll came as quite a shock it will be recalled, because the assumption was that at the candidate favoured by the current leadership, Rebecca long Bailey, would secure the backing of the same groups in the party that were behind Corbyn’s 2015 and 2016 leadership elections.

That didn’t happen and all the indications were that many Momentum members were not going with with long RLB but were supporting Starmer. The detail from several of the polls indicated that the overwhelming issue for large numbers of those taking part in the election was which candidate would most likely lead the party to victory at the next general election.

It should be noted in the polling list above that the first Survation poll used a very different sampling approach than the one in the firm’s February survey.

In many ways this contest was decided on December 12th in the North West Durham parliamentary constituency where the then favoured contender of the Corbynistas, Laura Pidcock, lost her 18.3% majority to the the Tories. Without Pidcock there was no obvious figure to lead for left other than RLB.

Looking back over the campaign Long Bailey has done better than many expected and has improved markedly, The big problem is that she has faced Starmer who is a very different proposition having entered politics already a Knight and having been in the high-profile role of director of public prosecutions. He was a big beast right from the start.

A big interest for me when the results are announced on Saturday morning will be how good the pollsters were and will YouGov maintained its incredible record since of of getting right every membership leadership of every party.

YouGov’s biggest failure, if that is the right term to use, was actually last July with the CON leadership contest when the final lead it was reporting for Boris was 15% higher than that which he actually achieved.

Mike Smithson



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And now after five years the return of PB NightHawks

Monday, March 30th, 2020

For the best in late night political conversation

For many years a regular feature on PB was nighthawks – an overnight open thread. For some reason we stopped doing it and I am bringing it back following calls by a couple of longstanding PBers.

The nighthawks “logo”, inspired by the original Edward Hooper painting, was designed by Marf.

For me there are two big unknowns – how long this is going to last and how the world will have changed when, hopefully, coronavirus has been vanquished?

If you are a longstanding lurker why not join the conversation tonight?

Over to you.

Mike Smithson



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Even LAB voters are giving Johnson positive leader ratings

Monday, March 30th, 2020

There haven’t been many opinion polls of late but this afternoon we’ve got the detail of the latest Deltapoll which includes its regular well/badly leader ratings. The detail is shown in the panel above together with what those sampled did at GE2019 and the referendum.

For me the most interesting numbers are the views of Johnson particularly the sub-set of LAB voters just three and a bit months ago.

Generally there is a very clear party split in views of a PM and what’s most striking to me is LAB GE2019 voters give him a net positive number. Interestingly LAB voters give both Johnson and Corbyn the same positive rating of 50%. I cannot recall a precedent in recent times.

Interestingly on another question the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak does best on who people would like to take over if Johnson had to stand aside to self-isolate. The designated stand in, Dominic Raab, comes bottom as this chart shows.

There is high level on don’t knows on this question.

Mike Smithson



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CO-19: It won’t be long before the global total tops the million mark

Saturday, March 28th, 2020
Twitter



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The football season should be completed even if matches are behind closed doors

Friday, March 27th, 2020

At least we’d be talking about something other than the virus

The thing that I find most weird about the current lockdown situation is that there is no football or other our professional sport. At this point we would be having the build up to the Grand National, the Boat Race and the final stages the football season.

The lack of things to bet on has huge implications for the betting industry because so much of their turnover is driven by live sporting events mostly football and horse racing. I don’t know whether it is still the case but it used to be that about a quarter of all the betting each year was on the Grand National.

I’ve been a soccer fan all my life and the default radio station that comes on on in my car is talkSPORT which is managing to fill the hours and days at the moment with sporting discussion even though there is no sport itself taking place.

I just long for normal football weekends to return turn but that seems highly unlikely. My team is Burnley and before soccer was suspended we were going into the final nine games relatively confident of avoiding relegation and looking another season in the Premier League.

Next week a decision is due to be made on what should happen to soccer th Given that the coronavirus crisis looks set to go on for months that raises questions about what happens to promotion and relegation in the Premiership the championship and the Football League in England. This has huge financial implications for the clubs involved.

In my view the best thing that could happen is for the remaining rounds of games to be played but behind closed doors. This is far better than any of the other proposed options like freezing the season where it stands. Maybe a special TV arrangement could be concluded so all fans could watch their teams live.

Mike Smithson