Bishop Auckland

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12799 (32.5%)
Labour: 16307 (41.4%)
Lib Dem: 1723 (4.4%)
Green: 1545 (3.9%)
UKIP: 7015 (17.8%)
MAJORITY: 3508 (8.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North East, Durham. Part of the Durham council area.

Main population centres: Spennymoor, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Coundon, Barnard Castle, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Staindrop.

Profile: This is the rural south west of County Durham, stretching westwards into farmland, open moorland and the pennine hills. There are several small towns and villages in the rural west of the seat, most notably the historical town of Castle Barnard, a tourist location and site of a major GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals factory. Most of the electorate, however, is in the eastern part of the seat in the old Durham coalfield. Bishop Auckland is the historic seat of the Bishop of Durham, but in the nineteenth century became a mining town and is surrounded by other former colliery towns like Spennymoor and Coundon.

Politics: The rural western part of the seat votes Conservative, but it is easily outweighed by Labour voters in the traditional coal mining towns of the east, making this a reliable Labour seat, held by the party since 1935.


Current MP
HELEN GOODMAN (Labour) Born 1958, Nottingham. Educated at Lady Manners School and Oxford University. Former chief executive of the National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries. First elected as MP for Bishop Auckland in 2005. Junior minister at Department for Work and Pensions 2009-2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 10805 (26%)
Lab: 16023 (39%)
LDem: 9189 (22%)
BNP: 2036 (5%)
Oth: 3083 (7%)
MAJ: 5218 (13%)
2005*
Con: 8736 (23%)
Lab: 19065 (50%)
LDem: 9018 (24%)
UKIP: 1309 (3%)
MAJ: 10047 (26%)
2001
Con: 8754 (23%)
Lab: 22680 (59%)
LDem: 6073 (16%)
GRN: 1052 (3%)
MAJ: 13926 (36%)
1997
Con: 9295 (20%)
Lab: 30359 (66%)
LDem: 4223 (9%)
MAJ: 21064 (46%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHRISTOPHER ADAMS (Conservative)
HELEN GOODMAN (Labour) See above.
STEPHEN WHITE (Liberal Democrat)
RHYS BURRISS (UKIP)
THOM ROBINSON (Green)
Links
Comments - 177 Responses on “Bishop Auckland”
  1. ‘Oh fuck off Tim.’

    F*** you too you complete and utter tool

    Any old idiot can find an example of something somewhere that doesn’t work – as you have proved

    I’m not saying that rent controls are necessarily a good thing – just criticising your totally disingenuous implication that tenants lose out when everyone who has seen your posts on here knows that’s not something you would seem to be remotely concerned about

  2. I have posted an example of a situation where tenants do indeed lose out from rent control. If my argument is indeed disengenuous then you should have no difficult in citing evidence to that effect, or providing reasons why the Swedish example is in some way exceptional.

    Your argument (such that it is) seems to be this:

    I (in common with most Conservatives) oppose rent control. Tories only care about the interests of rich landlords. Therefore any Tory who opposes rent control (including me) can only ever be doing so on the basis that it benefits landlords at the expense of tenants.

    Its nothing more than a collection of baseless assumptions and non sequiturs.

  3. ‘I have posted an example of a situation where tenants do indeed lose out from rent control.’

    But with all due respect Kieran – and I do genuinely mean that – there are even more examples where tenants do benefit from forms of rent control, as I suspect you well know

    It’s a bit like those in the US who say they wanted to get into politics to help the guys and the bottom and then join the Republicans – a rich man’s party

  4. “there are even more examples where tenants do benefit from forms of rent control, as I suspect you well know”.

    Where?

  5. Rent control can be benign if it is implemented so that its market-restraining effects are modest, it helps to defuse public anger about high rents, and assists citizens by providing an agreed framework for contracts.

    In Sweden it doesn’t work because rents are set far below reasonable returns-on-investment and studies estimate that to make a 5% return on investment, a Swedish developer would need to set rents 70% higher than allowed by the Rent Tribunal.

    Also, rents in all dwellings must match rents for alternative, comparable dwellings, based on size and ‘attractiveness’, and rents in low-rent municipal houses and rents are little influenced by location, so that metropolitan units are specially underpriced.

    Those countries that adopt the system whereby rents are initially freely negotiable but there is a limit on the amount of rent increase tend to be vert beneficial to tenants, especially where the maximum allowable increase is based on either a fraction of the construction cost index or consumer price index or CPI

    Such countries include France, Italy, Spain and the United States, the most right-wing country in the developed world

    Just be honest with people Keiran and admit that your objections to rent controls have nothing to do with the fact that in some circumstances tenants can get a bad deal out if them

    ‘Why do people recourse to ad hominem on this seat?’

    Because he swore at me – as those on the extreme Right have a habit of doing when people say things they don’t like and they have no means if directly contacting that person

  6. This is a good few paragraphs on why rent control is a bad idea and bad for tenants too, I didn’t write this so full credit goes to the author:

    ”Imagine a fellow named Jerry and a girl named Elaine. Jerry wants a one-bedroom apartment in San Diego, but he can only afford $850 a month in rent. Elaine also wants to find a one-bedroom apartment, but she can afford $1,500 a month in rent. Because there is currently a free market in San Diego, Jerry can’t find a one-bedroom for $850 a month. There are a limited number of units and there are many more “Elaines,” who are also willing to pay $1,500, which means rents hover around that value. As a result, Jerry reluctantly rents a room in a 3-bedroom apartment with two roommates. In the meantime, Elaine seeks her one-bedroom, and indeed she finds one at market price. It is crucial to remember that this is not a unique situation, this happens over and over again throughout all of San Diego, and this is what keeps prices at their current value.

    However, in an alternate reality where San Diego has rent control, Jerry is able to find his one-bedroom apartment for $850, but so can his two roommates, and so can Elaine. This happens across the city, resulting in more people trying to rent one-bedroom apartments than there are one-bedrooms that are available. This results in a shortage of housing. This effect can be illustrated by vacancy rates in the real world. Vacancy rates tend to be at about 7 percent nationally, certainly something we see here in Phoenix, a city that currently has no rent control. However, in cities with rent control, the vacancy rate is often much lower. For example, in San Francisco the vacancy rate is around two percent, and in San Jose it is about one. Ultimately, this makes it hard for tenants to find housing. While a low vacancy rate sounds good for landlords, there is no benefit when the tenant is paying far below market value.”

  7. So essentially rent controls are bad for both landlords and tenants. Despite sounding like a good idea if you scratch beneath the surface it actually exasperates levels of housing shortage.

  8. ‘So essentially rent controls are bad for both landlords and tenants’

    They are bad news for landlords who can currently charge whatever the f*** they like in the UK – I’m not disputing that – but apart from a few rare cases, which rent control opponents are forever referring as a way of justifying their regressive argument, on-the-whole some form of modest rent control is undoubtedly good news for tenants – and its only those in the pockets of the landlords (or the landlords themselves) who try and pretend otherwise, and I think they should knock it the f*** off because again they are taking people for complete and utter fools

  9. Re rent controls even if you want to stick to the belief that it reduces supply etc (which I will come onto in a moment) that all pertains to the “price capping” element of rent controls. Rent controls really are just a buzzword for tougher rental regulations, I’d like to hear some legit arguments about why increasing minimum tenancies or extending eviction or rent notices all suddenly damage supply? All that does is give renters a lil bit more security at the expense of the landlords right to fleece them.

    But moving onto the price aspect their is a fairly unique aspect to the British rental sector (particularly in London) that nobody ever considers in that the extortionate rents are only feasible because the state subsidises it through housing benefit to the tune of billions every year which goes straight into the pockets of landlords This means that the average return on a rental property in the UK DWARVES the average return in other countries. The argument on price caps and such is that as Tim says it possibly acts as barrier to entry for new developers who cant expect a reasonable return on their investment. In the UK though their currently getting WAY more than a reasonable return, they’re essentially receiving license to print money. This means that the cost of rent can be cut massively in the UK and it would still leave the industry as very commercially viable it just wouldn’t be the bloated machine it is today.

  10. Pepps
    “I also think you are being way too optimistic about Labour’s prospects in an early general election”

    Maybe I am who can say, my belief is based on the fact that current polling (which is undoubtedly made worse for Lab cos of current infighting and May’s honeymoon) is not that much worse than the polling we saw in the immediate aftermath of the last GE. Thus assuming things improve for Lab at least a tiny bit come a snap GE that would leave us in the same ballpark as 2015 thus a repeat of last GE basically.

    Any gains or losses would be the usual random fluctuations, maybe a few seats in WWC ultra marginal areas like Barrow that Lab lose cos of Corbyn but maybe a few gains in metropolitan ultra marginal seats like Croydon Central were Corbyn might go down quite well thus leading to my + or – 10 seats prediction. I think anything else is really pushing it, you’d need a 14 point poll lead for Lab to lose 30 seats and yes some polls have shown that but your at top end of what present polling has been showing at that point and as I said I’m a firm believer things will stabilise for Lab at least a little bit.

  11. Maxim
    “It’s all pie in the sky anyhow because there’ll be boundary changes before the next election”

    I thought your presumption was that we base all predictions on present boundaries until the review actually happens? As it is I’m a lit bit more confident the review won’t pass cos with the current Lab flux I believe some Tories who might rebel will be all the more likely too cos they probably feel they don’t need the review to win.

    “I wouldn’t be so sure about Croydon Central being a Labour gain”

    I’m not sure about any seat, its why I said maybe and generally avoid making definitive predictions.

  12. Maxim
    I’m still off the opinion the review will pass but I highly doubt many Lab MP’s will vote for it and if they do its cos they fervently believe its the right thing to do or their one of the few La MP’s that benefit from it. Trident wasn’t so much a case of spiting Corbyn as it was them doing what Corbyn always talks about, not abandoning your principles, the MP’s that voted for Trident genuinely believe in it. No Lab MP though has some die hard belief in the boundary review and voting for it to spite Corbyn would be a real case of cutting of your nose to spite your face or whatever the saying is…

    Re Corydon central its indeed very possible and who can say? Most London seats are indeed shifting rapidly. I only quoted it as one of a few examples of marginal seats where Corbyn might not necessarily go down badly. In practically every election there a few seats that go against the grain, even in the scenario were Corbyn does tank its not hard to see one or two shock Lab gains here or there. Happened for Lab in 10, 83 and 59 and happened for the Tories in 45, 64 and 01

  13. 1966 rather not 1964.

  14. @rivers10 the pollsters for whatever reason always under poll the Tories and nearly always over poll Labour. If the Tories are going into an election with a 7% lead then its highly likely the lead will be more like 10% or even higher. Plus Corbyn is likely to concentrate Labour’s vote even further into already very safe lefty metropolitan seats (the Islingtons of this world) while WWC seats (the majority of Lab held marginals) move against Corbynite Labour costing them a slew of seats.

    The problem for Corbyn is that there are very few places he can hope to gain votes, the Greens being about the only one. While Corbyn puts Labour’s more moderate and WWC vote (which is larger than the greens) on the line.

    Plus the election campaign would essentially be about Corbyn’s past behaviour and the skeletons rattling in his closet. Essentially the question posed the electorate would be do you want this man to be prime minister given his views and behaviour past and present (I see today that he wouldn’t commit to defending another NATO country under attack) ? The answer from the electorate including many Labour voters would be hell no! As I have said before Corbyn is such a terrible choice for leader the chance that Labour could get completely obliterated rises from virtually zilch to conceivable.

  15. Pepps
    “the pollsters for whatever reason always under poll the Tories and nearly always over poll Labour”

    Agreed they used too hence they all changed their methodologies massively in light of the calamity of the 2015 GE. They may admittedly still be wrong though, only time will tell but as is we’re basically starting from a blank slate now the methodologies are so incomparable to last time, there’s every chance that their new methodologies (which for some pollsters include some truly brutal turnout filters that see every respondent that doesn’t claim to be 10/10 likely to vote being discarded and quite a few of those who do say their 10/10 likely to vote also discarded if their part of a low turnout demographic) actually over represent the Tories and underrepresents Lab. Thus as things stand I’m taking the polls at face value (though my faith in them is on shaky ground to say the least)

    Moving onwards I campaign for Lab most weeks (not just on Merseyside, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the Warrington South constituency of late) and I’m not pretending there’s any great love for Corbyn but one thing I have picked up is that the genuine hate for him is really limited, in decidedly MOTR WWC areas like Penketh I just don’t see this supposed groundswell of hatred for Corbyn, he’s honestly hardly ever mentioned and when he is its a real mixed bag of views but the only seriously hostile to the effect of “will never vote for Lab as long as he’s in charge” are not only rare (can count them on two hands) but come from people that our returns state rarely if ever voted Lab anyway and this may amaze you but I have spoken to multiple former UKIP voters who actually LIKES Corbyn or his policies, I’ve even met TORIES who like Corbyn. I’m not saying this is anywhere near enough to win us an election as I said I don’t know but the commentators would have you believe that getting on for half the WWC voters in Britain hate Corbyn and in my experience that’s quite the exaggeration. I may be wrong but I just don’t see it when I go canvassing.

  16. All I ever try to do is put things in perspective and bring things back to reality, most of us our guilty of making some very bold predictions pre-2015 that turned out to be very VERY wrong, I’m as guilty as anyone and I’ve learned but many (who have got literally everything they have ever predicted wrong though not you or Pepps mind ;)) are now trotting out these very bold predictions, if it wasn’t so tiresome I’d find it comical. So when they make an extraordinary claim that Labs heading for a massive defeat and is going to lose most of its seats, possibly lose the mantle of official opposition, poll in the high teens I just say “whoa hold on what evidence is there for that” and the evidence while not great for Corbyn doesn’t paint a picture nearly as bleak

  17. I don’t think anyone actually hates Corbyn; he’s a decent and principled man but a feeble leader advocating outdated policies that were resoundly rejected more than 30 years ago and lacks any kind of appeal beyond the small set of radical left wingers who represent no more than 5% of the voting public

  18. Oh I’m not accusing you off ramping I’m agreeing with you totally, for the most part the seats you comment on are definitely trending Tory.

    What I was referring to was when you said
    “Miliband gained some Tory seats. Foot technically gained a few that were notionally Tory in ’79. It’s possible Corbyn could gain the odd seat here and there”

    I again totally agree with you but many from the “Corbyn is carp” brigade find it unfathomable that Labour is heading for anything short of total annihilation under Corbyn. So when someone proposes the quite modest prediction of “They’ll probably lose but I don’t think t will be that bad” they start frothing at the mouth despite the vast majority of evidence being a long way from their apocalyptic doomsday scenarios.

  19. I think a lot of Tories like Corbyn because they see him as guarantor of a Conservative landslide in 2020

  20. Maxim
    As I say never say never, short of a Lab split Corbyn winning is more likely than Lab falling to the levels some here have predicted but anything is possible..

  21. Agree, the one thing most people seem to agree on is that Lab is very much holding their own if not thriving in the major metropolitan areas, this is always accompanied by “but this is obviously nowhere near enough for them to win a majority” and they’re right but they seem to think the major metropolitan areas consist of about 25 seats when in reality there’s about 160 of them. No party is supplanting Lab when its got 160 seats under its belt.

    For Lab to fall lower than that they’d have to start losing seats like Wythenshawe or Leeds NE and who do they honestly expect to win these off Labour?

  22. @rivers10

    Nobody expects them to lose Wythenshawe or Leeds NE but160 seats is an absolutely diabolical performance similar to the Tories performance in 1997 and it took them 13 years to recover from that scale of a defeat. While this scale of a defeat is not ‘total annihilation per-se’ it is a complete and utter meltdown which would finish Labour as a relevant political force for at the very minimum another decade. I also never said annihilation is a certainty I said its possibility has been raised from virtually zero (if you had someone competent like Burnham or Watson as leader) to within the realms of possibility with Corbyn, I don’t think this is an unreasonable statement. And yes even Corbyn will certainly keep Labour the opposition status barring the majority of MPs walking out.

    ”Moving onwards I campaign for Lab most weeks (not just on Merseyside, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the Warrington South constituency of late) and I’m not pretending there’s any great love for Corbyn but one thing I have picked up is that the genuine hate for him is really limited, in decidedly MOTR WWC areas like Penketh I just don’t see this supposed groundswell of hatred for Corbyn”

    You know as well as I do that the public pay very little attention to daily politics and the ‘Corbyn said this, May did that’ stuff that we politics nerds obsess over go straight over their heads. However they do actually start paying attention when an election campaign begins. I can tell you right now that the huge issues dominating the next election campaign will include: Corbyn himself, his unsuitability to be prime minister, his association to extremist and terrorist groups, his foreign and defence policy (not defend fellow nato countries, fauklands etc.) that the public heavily disapprove of, how he will discourage corperate inverstment in Britain etc. (you get the gist). It is then a groundswell of hatred for Corbyn could well come not now when the average Joe isn’t paying much attention.

    I would also say that it is not just WWC seats Corbyn could put in jeopardy, a seat like Harrow West which is a fairly wealthy ethnic minority heavy seat will likely not take kindly to left wing economic policies. This along with the Tories beginning to strengthen with wealthy Ethnic Minority voters (especially Hindu Indians) to pit that seat in jeopardy. It could be a similar story further in Corbyn’s economic policy could cause places like Hampstead proper and Chiswick to back the Tories more even heavily than normal (though I accept Corbyn may do well in Kilburn and Hounslow proper) to hand them those seats too.

  23. Pepps
    “Nobody expects them to lose Wythenshawe or Leeds NE”

    I’m not saying you or Maxim do but I’ve seen many people on this site and many bloggers and pundits of various quality say things to the effect of Lab losing a hundred seats, falling to sub 100 seats or the Tories ending up with a majority of more than 100 seats etc and whether they realise it or not such scenario’s would require Lab losing seats like Leeds NE or Wythenshawe. This demonstrates ignorance of the actual electoral reality of the Tories gaining a majority of 100 seats or ignorance of the extent to which Corbyn’s perceived unpopularity is harming Lab.

    “but 160 seats is an absolutely diabolical performance”

    No doubt but I’m not predicting that will happen just that’s what I envisage is Labs absolute bottom floor, it doesn’t even include the Ashfield’s, Bolsover’s or Wansbeck’s of the world which I’m sure you agree Lab probably wont lose any time soon. I don’t anticipate Lab falling that low I was simply giving a worse case scenario to put the doomsday predictions of some in perspective and demonstrate how outlandish they are. I think its indicative of the extent many people have lost their minds over Corbyn that they are genuinely of the opinion that its more likely Lab will lose seats like Wythenshawe than it is Corbyn might lead a Lab minority government by sneaking victories in places like Pudsey. You may not think the latter is likely but you surely acknowledge its more likely than the former?

    “You know as well as I do that the public pay very little attention to daily politics”

    Agree they pay very little attention but enough attention to hear the constant stream of Corbyn abuse coming from the media these days which includes all the things you’ve just said, such things are already in the public psyche for the most part. The opportunity for Corbyn (however likely or unlikely) is that once people start to properly pay attention they will see him for themselves, an elderly, softly spoken vegetarian talking about poverty, mental health and inequality not the raving commie that wants to tax them at a million percent and make them foster a refugee child. They’ll have a chance to listen to his actual policies not just the scare stories and form their own opinion. I genuinely think Corbyn’s popularity can only go up since at present its only the bad news stories filtering through. I’ve had a few conversations were people say things like “I’m worried about Corbyn why does he want to disband the army?” I then politely point out that’s not Labs policy, never has been and never will be and Corbyn has never said that and after a bit of back and forth on his actual polices they have a much more assured view of him.

  24. Maxim
    “Labour can’t win an election with metropolitan seats alone”

    No they can’t but their not going to come anywhere close to a wipe out so long as their under their grasp either.

  25. ‘The opportunity for Corbyn (however likely or unlikely) is that once people start to properly pay attention they will see him for themselves, an elderly, softly spoken vegetarian talking about poverty, mental health and inequality not the raving commie that wants to tax them at a million percent and make them foster a refugee child. They’ll have a chance to listen to his actual policies not just the scare stories and form their own opinion’

    But Rivers if the EU referendum has taught us anything its that the press – particularly the newspaper industry – still holds quite a bit of clout in this country and rightly or wrongly the two papers with the highest circulation have decided to make Corbyn public enemy number one

    Whilst nobody would expect Corbyn to have any appeal to your average Daily Mail reader, if he is to even challenge the Tories he’ll need to win the support of a significant minority of The Sun readers at the very least

    And I think we all know that’s not going to happen

    As somebody who would sooner vote May than Corbyn (albeit begrudgingly) I think the way certain newspapers have treated Corbyn is profoundly wrong, but the EU referendum showed us that in today’s world they carry a lot more influence than politicians do

  26. “I think the way certain newspapers have treated Corbyn is profoundly wrong, but the EU referendum showed us that in today’s world they carry a lot more influence than politicians do”.

    But the press was pretty evenly split on the EU referendum, with examples of papers from the same stable supporting different sides. The Daily Mail and the Sunday Times supported leave, while the Mail on Sunday and The Times plumped for remain.

    And that’s before we even get onto the almost total lack of evidential beef to your “power of the press” argument. I suppose it’s an awareness that you don’t posses the intellectual ammunition to argue your case that leads you to question people’s honesty rather than challenge the substance of their arguments. That’s what you did to me upthread on the risible grounds that there is no way an evil, moustache twirling Tory could possibly genuinely oppose rent control on the grounds that it is bad for tenants. You’ll find that if you go through life questioning people’s integrity without good reason you tend to get sworn at.

    The reasons why remain lost the referendum are far more complex than “it was the press what won it for the leavers”.

    For some time the UK has been much less “European” (to use a convenient shorthand) than any other member state. See this article: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/explaining-brexit/

    The U.K. has the lowest level of European identification, the third lowest level of trust in EU institutions, the smallest number of emigrants living in other EU states, the lowest level of exports to other EU states and the second lowest level of imports from the EU of any member state. This creates a situation in which the UK’s national interest is less aligned with that of the EU as a whole than is the case for any other member state. The more the EU integrated the more likely Brexit became.

  27. @Maxim

    ‘Clearly Labour won’t be “annihilated”’

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Annihilation certainly within the bounds of possibility.

  28. ”100 seats or ignorance of the extent to which Corbyn’s perceived unpopularity is harming Lab.”

    Well half the damage has already been done under Brown and Miliband. My current belief is that if an election was held either in the Autumn of this year or the Spring of next Labour would get ~200 seats which isn’t annihilation per-se but is a Foot level (even just sub Foot) performance, but it is awful enough that I would class it as a meltdown. My personal belief is if the Lib Dems hadn’t wrecked their credibility with left leaning voters Labour would indeed be ‘on the highway to hell’ (a huge split could achieve this too).

    ”No doubt but I’m not predicting that will happen just that’s what I envisage is Labs absolute bottom floor, it doesn’t even include the Ashfield’s, Bolsover’s or Wansbeck’s of the world which I’m sure you agree Lab probably wont lose any time soon.”

    I don’t expect they will but with Corbyn the impossible/inconceivable suddenly enters the far reaches of the realms of possibility. These kind of places have a lot of the ”I vote Labour because I always have and my daddy and granddaddy did before me” kind of voters. If there is any Labour leader who could cause this attitude to completely crack it in the space of an election it is Corbyn (I don’t think it will personally but it’s why some people make the ‘doomsday’ predictions).

    ”Agree they pay very little attention but enough attention to hear the constant stream of Corbyn abuse coming from the media these days which includes all the things you’ve just said, such things are already in the public psyche for the most part.”

    It hasn’t really sunk in that he could actually be prime minister, people don’t focus on what could happen until it is almost on top of him.

    ”The opportunity for Corbyn (however likely or unlikely) is that once people start to properly pay attention they will see him for themselves, an elderly, softly spoken vegetarian talking about poverty, mental health and inequality not the raving commie that wants to tax them at a million percent and make them foster a refugee child.”

    You are being very, very naïve if you think that is even vaguely possible or that is what the public will come to see Corbyn as. What they will most likely come to see him as is a complete lunatic that supports extremist groups that tried to assassinate a democratically elected government, doesn’t believe in the principle of self determination (Falkland’s), doesn’t believe in protecting our allies from military threats from countries with despicable leadership, an admirer of the failed state of Venezuela, will destroy outside investment which is currently driving the economy etc. It is this kind of wishful thinking why a lot people call Momentum deluded…

    ”I genuinely think Corbyn’s popularity can only go up since at present its only the bad news stories filtering through.”

    Yes Corbyn’s approval rating may well go up a bit in the medium term when he isn’t really in the news (the public have short memories) but in an election campaign unfortunately for Labour he will be top story or near top story every day which will drive his negatives back up. Also at the moment of Corbyn’s disapproval is more ‘soft’ disapproval e.g. ”I’m not keen on that Corbyn fellow but I’m going to vote Labour despite of him”. But in the full heat of an election campaign when everyone is paying full attention not just the Labour selectorate, political journalists and political nerds like us a lot of that ‘soft’ disapproval will likely convert to ‘hard’ disapproval, fear and even hate and the reluctant Labour voters evaporate.

  29. ‘I suppose it’s an awareness that you don’t posses the intellectual ammunition to argue your case that leads you to question people’s honesty rather than challenge the substance of their arguments.’

    Hang on a minute Keiran

    Upthread you asked me to provide evidence of countries where rent controls worked, I did so and gave quite a detailed analysis of my viewpoint, and you disappeared, only to reappear today to have a pop at me for daring to suggest the press still hold a unhealthy amount of influence on British public opinion

    Of course the reasons the EU referendum went the way it did are more complex than the influence of the press, but had their not been the constant news stories about refugees and immigrants in many of the tabloids, I don’t think turn out would have been anything like as high as it was

  30. @Walt ”I don’t think anyone actually hates Corbyn; he’s a decent and principled man”

    Well I would be in the ‘hate’ Corbyn camp and it’s certainly a very common view amongst the private sector upper middle class of the London commuter belt who hate not only his foreign policies but his economic one as well. I would also content that he is ‘decent’ his behaviour and actions suggests he is one of the least decent MPs in the entire parliament.

  31. @Maxim

    At the moment a landslide would probably result in them hanging on to about the 1983 level of seats. But a lot can happen over the next four years, and if Corbyn is still leader it probably will. With potential splits, selection battles, new parties, MPs that can’t say they’d like their leader to be PM etc. things could get much worse than they already are. A situation where currently very safe seats are in danger is not inconceivable.

  32. Amazingly, Tim, I occasionally have other things to do besides posting on here. That accounts for any instances of me apparently disappearing from time to time.

    Certainly your most recent post on rent control was an improvement on your previous ones (although it still included the plea that I “admit” that Tories oppose rent control in order to screw tenants rather than as a result of the mountain of evidence suggesting the policy is on balance counter productive).

    The form of rent control you propose where restrictions only apply to rent increases during a tenancy does indeed mitigate some of the policy’s negative effects, but it also limits any possible up side it might have as landlords are still free to charge what whatever they want at the start of a tenancy.

    Fundamentally rent control is a bad policy, and watering it down only makes it less bad rather than making it good. Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw here posts a blog detailing issues on which there is a substantial degree of consensus among professional economists. Right at the top is the fact that rent control reduces the quality and quantity of housing available:

    http://gregmankiw.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/news-flash-economists-agree.html?m=1

    On the influence of the press I will continue to have a pop at you whenever you attempt to argue that it acts as a decisive influence on electoral outcomes for the simple reason that the available evidence does not support that conclusion. How can news outlets that reach a single figure percentage of the adult population according to OFCOM’s figures possible have that kind of influence?

    Finally, if you could learn to spell my name correctly that would be great.

  33. Much more likely that UKIP voters in a seat like this are disillusioned former Labour voters who would probably never consider voting Tory. Indeed many are likely to have voted LibDem in 2010! For that reason, I think it is far from clear that a sharp fall in the UKIP vote here would be to the advantage of the Tories.

  34. Not so obvious if comparison is made with the 1959 result there!

  35. The UKIP vote in seats like this will be a fairly even split of the socially and morally conservative, but non-Conservative voters – who probably used to vote Labour, and would be repulsed by the likes of Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott, and that element of UKIP/Tory that is interchangeable.

    Now – May is certainly more appealing to both of those groups than Cameron could ever dream of being, the former might struggle to find it in themselves to vote for the Conservatives, and the latter will probably head back ‘home’.

    UKIP will certainly shift leftwards on economics, and to the right on social issues – like crime and punishment. Some of what Nuttall says makes perfect sense, if someone is sentenced for five years, they should serve five years.

    Labour are making a mess of pretending that UKIP pose no threat to them, by getting their social media fans and the likes of Owen Jones to misrepresent Nuttall as some kind of head banger.

    They just don’t get it, why they are losing large swathes of supporters in those kinds of seats, whilst at the same time gaining huge majorities in parts of London and also Merseyside.

  36. I think Labour are trying to define Nuttall in the eyes of the public before he defines himself. By focussing heavily on his previous statements about NHS privatisation they are trying to undermine his claim to be a man of the people.

    Early strikes of this kind against a party leader’s character can be devastatingly effective. Labour have suffered badly from this tactic being deployed against them in recent years – both Ed Miliband (weird) and Jeremy Corbyn (IRA-sympathising Britain-hating beardy-weirdy Communist) were attacked from the get-go by their opponents, and once the public have settled on their opinion of a politician it is very difficult to get them to change it (unless they go on Strictly, apparently).

  37. “…(unless they go on Strictly, apparently).”

    Will be interesting to see if Balls comes back to British politics. Part of his calculation would doubtless be that he would be unlikely to be in government before about 2025.

    Were I in his shoes I’d stick with academia. An academic who’s built up a reputation in their field has more influence than an opposition politician.

  38. When Labour have nothing to say, they always resort to the NHS, it is so predictable.

    Interesting that they always forget the huge expansion of PFI as if it never happened….

    Plenty of people would agree with his views on the NHS, that it wastes enormous amounts of money and that throwing buckets of cash at it gives no guarantees of sorting it out.

    It is a shame that the debate around the NHS just gets stifled and shut down, I think it would be an interesting one to have.

  39. Defining your opponent before they can define themselves is the most effective strategy actually. Ignoring Nuttall and pretending he doesn’t exist is the worst thing that Labour could do. However it is most effective when you have at least some credibility yourself hence the Tories were able to negatively define Miliband and Corbyn (not that they needed much help with the latter). However Labour under Corbyn’s leadership has rock bottom credibility so their attempts to define Nuttall will be seriously blunted (not that they shouldn’t try though).

  40. @Kieran

    Yes, I doubt he’ll want to go back into parliament. The PLP isn’t exactly a very fun place to be at the moment. It would be different if they looked like being in govt. relatively soon.

  41. I think what hurt Labour was the incredibly long winded process of electing a new leader – on both occasions the Tories were able to exploit Harriet Harman quite a lot.

    Of course UKIP has had a near two year leadership issue – Farage ought to have gone when he said he was going, but his own inner narcissism dictated that he remain in place.

  42. To be fair Labour’s performance here in 1997 was an aberration. The Conservatives have often managed more than 30% and were only 4306 behind in 1983. Yes, there has been a pro-Conservative drift here and I think Labour is in real trouble in 2020 if the Conservatives are doing well nationally but it’s perhaps less striking than you think it is.

  43. No wonder you got some guesses right in 2015 if you literally go about posting Conservative gain in every marginal/semi-marginal Labour-Conservative seat.

  44. ‘Labour went from above 65% in 1997 to below 40% in 2010. Are there many other seats where that happened?’

    Thurrock and Neath have both seen 30% loss in vote shares.

  45. Sedgefield? Lab majority is nearly 7,000… 2020 swing likely to be big but a 9% swing to Tories? Unlikely.

    All this depends on the boundary reviews. The first round of proposals kills off Tory chances in Bishop and Middlesbrough South. Darlington would become marginal (about 500 maj to Lab).

    But if the boundaries go a different way, radically different.

    Barely worth commenting until we see what happens.

  46. I believe this is now Labour’s largest seat by area, after it lost Copeland.

  47. One wonders for how much longer if the boundaries end up not being changed. Definitely one to watch in 2020.

  48. I imagine the commission will at least be pressured to keep all of Barnard Castle in the same seat in their final proposal as there is no reason at all to split it. I think it’s highly likely the Tories would gain this in a general election held today, as for 2020 it depends on whether the government makes it through the Brexit negotiations intact and whether Labour is still a complete shambles and if they’ve replaced Corbyn.

  49. Prediction Con gain

    Con 40
    Lab 38
    UKIP 9
    LD 9
    Grn 4

  50. If anyone Goodman is certainly an MP who could have a negative incumbency factor, but this is also a seat where the decline of UKIP could help Labour to hang on.

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