There is plenty of new polling in today’s papers, including two polls proporting to show that large numbers of people would vote for new political parties. One by BMG for the Huffington Post, claiming 58% of people would consider backing a new party at the next election, and a ComRes poll for BrexitExpress, claiming 53% of people in a selection of Tory constituencies would consider voting for a single issue party campaigning to “conclude Brexit as quickly and as fully as possible”. There have been various other polls in recent weeks asking similar questions about how popular new parties would be.

These sound like large figures, but you should take them all with a huge pinch of salt – the reality is that quantifying the prospects of a new political party before it exists is an almost impossible task. Certainly it is not something that can be done with a single question.

First let’s look at the question itself. Polls tend to take two approaches to this question, both of which have flaws. The first is to say “Imagine there was a new party that stood for x, y and z – how likely would you be to consider voting for it?”. The problem with that as a question is that “consider” is a pretty low bar. Does thinking about something for a fleeting second before dismissing it count as “considering”?

An alternative approach is to say “Imagine there was a new party that stood for x, y and z. How would you vote if they stood at the next election?” and then prompt them alongside the usual political parties. This does at least force a choice, and sets the new hypothetical party alongside the alternative established parties, prompting to people to consider whether they would actually vote for their usual party after all.

There are, however, rather deeper problems with the whole concept. The first is the lack of information about the party – it asks people whether they would vote for a rather generic new party (a new anti-Brexit party, a new pro-Brexit party, a new pro-NHS party, or whatnot). That misses out an awful lot of the things that determine people’s vote. Who is the leader of the party? Are they any good? Do the party appear competent and capable? Do they share my values on other important issues? Can I see other people around me supporting them? Are they backed by voices I trust?

Perhaps most of all, it misses out the whole element of whether the party is seen as a serious, proper contender, or a wasted vote. It ignores the fact that for most new parties, a major hurdle is whether voters are even aware of you, have ever heard of you, or think you are a viable challenger. That is the almost insoluble problem with questions like this: by asking a question that highlights the existance of the new party and implies to respondents that it is a party that is worthy of serious consideration a pollster has ignored the biggest and most serious problem most new parties face.

That’s the theory of why they should be treated with some caution. What about their actual record? What about when people polled about hypothetical parties that later became real parties that stood in real elections? Well, there aren’t that many cases of large nationwide parties launching, though there are more instances of constituency level polls asking similar questions. Here are the examples I can find:

  • At the 1999 European elections two former Conservative MEPs set up a “Pro-Euro Conservative party”. Before that a hypothetical MORI poll asked how people would vote in the European elections “if breakaway Conservatives formed their own political party supporting entry to the single European currency”. 14% of those certain or very likely to vote said they would vote for the new breakaway pro-Euro Conservatives. In reality, the pro-Euro Conservative party won 1.3%.
  • Back in 2012 when the National Health Action party was launched Lord Ashcroft did a GB poll asking how people would vote if “Some doctors opposed to the coalition government’s policies on the NHS […] put up candidates at the next election on a non-party, independent ticket of defending the NHS”. It found 18% of people saying they’d vote for them. In reality they only stood 12 candidates at the 2015 election, getting 0.1% of the national vote and an average of 3% in the seats they contested.
  • Just before the 2017 election Survation did a poll in Kensington for the Stop Brexit Alliance – asked how they might vote if there was a new “Stop Brexit Alliance” candidate in the seat, 28% of those giving a vote said they’d back them. In the event there were two independent stop Brexit candidates in Kensington – Peter Marshall and James Torrance. They got 1.3% between them (my understanding, by the way, is that the potential pro-Europe candidates who did the poll are not the same ones who actually stood).
  • Survation did a similar poll in Battersea, asking how people would vote if a hypothetical “Independent Stop Brexit” candidate stood. That suggested he would get 17%. In reality that independent stop Brexit candidate, Chris Coghlan, got only 2%.
  • Advance Together were a new political party that stood in the local elections in Kensington and Chelsea earlier this year. In an ICM poll of Kensington and Chelsea conducted in late 2017 64% of people said they would consider voting for such a new party. In reality Advance Together got 5% of the boroughwide vote in Kensington and Chelsea, an average of 7% in the wards where they stood.

In all of these examples the new party has ended up getting far, far, far less support than hypothetical polls suggested they might. It doesn’t follow that this would always be the case, and that a new party can’t succeed. I suspect a new party that was backed by a substantial number of existing MPs and had a well-enough known leader to be taken seriously as a political force could do rather well. My point is more that hypothetical polls really aren’t a particularly good way of judging it.


662 Responses to “The perils of polls about “new parties””

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  1. The first question in the YG poll very interesting.

    Most important in deciding who to vote for:

    CON VI
    Party represents MY values, principles: 41
    Best policies for OUR country: 37
    Best PM: 14
    Local MP: 3

    LAB VI
    Party represents MY values, principles: 58!!
    Best policies for OUR country: 30
    Best PM: 5
    Local MP: 1

    In 18-24 x-break the country option is down at 24!

    Interesting considering the £500 question that comes next in the poll!

    NB I used OUR instead of THE for country and added the emphasis. Just highlighting the self centred views of voters.

  2. I am trying to work out whether JMcD is a genius, the likes of which we have never seen before, or a complete lunatic.

    There is often a very fine line between the two and I think the decide here will be in the implementation, if he ever gets the chance to do so.

    Although, on balance I probably agree slightly more with the Labour policies than the Tory ones as things stand today, I still wouldn’t trust JC as far as I could throw him.

    This is a shame, because some of the ideas certainly have merit but only if thought through in detail, something which never seems to happen on either side.

  3. Sorry long post below.

    There is a group of LP MPs beyond the 5 serial Brexit Rebels (Hopkins included) that have mostly been on board with Stamer but did break over the EEA amendment to make a point to the rebels on the other side.

    Highest profile would Caroline Flint but also Skinner and Ronnie Cambell would be in this group plus Burnham who has influence in Westminster still.

    This 15 or so is now the crucial part of the PLP and keeping them on board means the Grieve group (if they develop a back-bone and Amber Rudd may end up leading them along with Justine Greening) may be able to deliver the votes to secure Norway plus.

    I reckon. lose these 15 or so Labour MP and there wont be enough Tory MPs to join the opposition for a soft Brexit.

    These 15 Labour MPs, imo (20 in all then) will oppose a second ref and certainly one with a remain option.

    Persuading these Labour MPs that by not supporting a soft Norway plus type Brexit that a ref with a remain option might ensue, as conference policy and off stage assurances dictate it would become LP policy, to therefore support that soft Brexit is imo the main internal challenge for Starmer in the coming months.

    A soft Brexit has a plurality of support in the LP but if there are only hard Brexit or Remain possibilities many would be pushed I to the ref with a remain option camp.

    Final point – other than that EEA vote this 15 or so LP MPs have supported the whip and are respected more than the ‘remain’ rebels as they have been less publicly vocal so the tactics will not be to try to cajole them but to persuade.

  4. BBC summary of today’s RHI hearing

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-45656657

    “Sir Patrick Coghlin said: “You tell the first minister you have an interest, but having done that you then continue to be involved – that can play back on the genuineness of your declaration.”

    Mr Brimstone shook his head in disagreement, but Sir Patrick continued that it created a perceived conflict of interest.

    “You told Mrs Foster, you told Mr Johnston – and none of the three of you have a discussion about the need to do something formally and withdraw.”

    Mr Brimstone has been in the public eye before: he was an aide to former social development minister Nelson McCausland, during which time he became entangled in a housing maintenance scandal.”

  5. THEEXTERMINATINGDALEK

    In the light of the poll TW has just posted, I’m surprised that many people even noticed the share scheme thing, […] Assuming that “not sure” equates to “don’t know”, I’m completely staggered that the DK figures are that low, across the poll.

    You need to look at the actual wording:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/ir1tkur96o/Peston_180926_ElectionsandBrexit_W.pdf

    Do you think the following policies are good
    or bad ideas?
    Making companies with more than 250 employees put 10% of their shares into a workers’ fund, which would pay up to £500 a year of dividends to each company employee?

    So those being polled didn’t actually have to have heard of the policy first but could consider it based on what YouGov described it as. It also wasn’t described as a Labour or Corbyn policy, which meant that people’s automatic partisan responses didn’t dominate the response. That said it’s clear that some response was Party-driven, either because people had heard of it on the news or because the policy was innately more attractive to such voters:

    All: A good idea 50%, A bad idea 19%, Not sure 30%
    Con: A good idea 38%, A bad idea 36%, Not sure 25%
    Lab: A good idea 69%, A bad idea 6%, Not sure 26%
    L/D: A good idea 46%, A bad idea 27%, Not sure 27%

    There was actually less divided opinion on the second policy[1]:

    Doubling the rate of council tax on second properties that are used as “holiday homes”?

    All: A good idea 54%, A bad idea 25%, Not sure 21%
    Con: A good idea 52%, A bad idea 33%, Not sure 15%
    Lab: A good idea 63%, A bad idea 16%, Not sure 21%
    L/D: A good idea 60%, A bad idea 22%, Not sure 18%

    suggesting wide appeal, though a more ‘traditional’ Labour policy was more partisan – though still very popular:

    Renationalising the privatised water companies?

    All: A good idea 46%, A bad idea 195%, Not sure 36%
    Con: A good idea 34%, A bad idea 37%, Not sure 28%
    Lab: A good idea 62%, A bad idea 4%, Not sure 33%
    L/D: A good idea 52%, A bad idea 25%, Not sure 23%

    [1] This is actually quite a hot topic in certain areas, with the Lib Dems winning a by-election on the topic a few months back:
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/24/southwold-empty-holiday-homes-squeeze-life-out-of-suffolk-resort
    though the actual tax situation is more complex that a simple doubling council tax (which already happens in some places) would fix – I assume that Labour’s solution is more subtle than just the headline.

  6. Britain Elects
    ?

    @britainelects
    2m
    2 minutes ago

    More
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 41% (-1)
    LAB: 40% (+1)
    LDEM: 9% (+1)
    UKIP: 4% (-)
    GRN: 3% (-)

    via @ICMResearch, 21 – 24 Sep

  7. Al Urqa

    I’m learning Japanese for fun and will probably be learning a to be determined European language through necessity.

    I suspect compared to Japanese most European languages will be comparatively simple!

  8. Just because of the foreign words, sentences above.

    26th of September is the European Day of Languages.

    The UK is the leader: 65% cannot speak another language apart from English (this bearing Romania, Bosnia, Albania and Hungary). Brexit means Brexit. No more shaming.

  9. From Sam Coates (Times)
    The Conservatives will go into their conference in Birmingham with a 6-point lead over Labour, according to a YouGov poll for The Times.
    A separate poll also suggests that the public is slowly warming to elements of Theresa May’s Chequers plan.
    The poll taken on Monday and Tuesday puts the Tories on 42 per cent, up 2 points from the previous week, Labour on 36 and Lib Dems on 11, both unchanged, and Ukip on 4 which is down 1.

  10. TW

    You seem incapable of NOT adding your own emphasis. Your posts are so littered with them it really undermines any credibility you might expect.

    One issue with that question is the likelihood that people think that their values are also best for the country and you are asking them to pick one. Depending how the question is asked (and not how you report it being asked) you could move things about a bit quite easily.

    You could turn things on it’s head and say 15% of Tories think no matter how bad their policies are for OUR country (using your emphasis for emphasis), it’s more important to have a conservative PM. Of course that would be meaningless spin.

    It’s a question which is pretty much meaningless as you are asking many people to pick one out of a series of choices where they believe all of the statements. i.e. Their choice of party is one which aligns with their views, is best for the country and the leader would make the best PM. How those options divide up in a forced choice is unlikely to be that meaningful.

    I think you are over analysing dust in the wind and just placing your own strongly held views on things.

  11. Anecdote alert…

    I have just been interviewed by someone doing a Doctoral Thesis on attitudes towards migration in Newham and Tendring. She has chosen these two areas because the East End of London was generally very anti-Brexit, whereas Clacton was, of course, very pro. And yet there is a high percentage of immigrants in Newham but very few in Clacton.

    She said that practically everyone she has spoken to in the two areas who were pro-Brexit gave immigration as their reason for voting Leave.

    However, there was one interesting little snippet (well I thought so!) She found that in Newham a high number of commonwealth immigrants or second generation immigrants voted to leave Europe on a promise from the local Leave campaign that once we left Europe all European immigration would be stopped and that it would be made much easier for Commonwealth immigrants to enter the country, so all their family and friends could come here to join them.

    She said, that speaking to these people now, they have mostly realised this is not true and that leaving Europe will make no real difference to the number of Commonwealth immigrants being allowed in and that, given the problems leaving will cause, most of them have now changed their mind and, if a second referendum was held, they would vote to remain. Maybe not a significant number to make a difference, but with small margins, who knows?

    Meanwhile, back in Clacton, the most common response is, “We voted to leave, why don’t we just get on with it?” Oh well…….

  12. Colin

    That share idea is an odd way of hiding a tax hike for business. I make an assumption that business will be expecting to be hit financial by Corbyn’s policy’s anyway so why bother with wrapping it up .
    Of course I appreciate it’s common practice amongst political parties to practice slight of hand some might say straight out the Gordon Brown text book ,but to promise £500 pounds worth of shares that you can’t sell ,that only applies to companies that have a share option and does not apply to anybody working for a company with less than 250 workers does seem rather divisive .
    I wonder how long it will take for companies to stop paying workers the usual bonuses by claiming they’ve given there workers 500 free shares, and how long for some of the poorest workers to realise there going to get nothing at least from this idea.

  13. The Irish Times ran a long piece on the RHI last June. It says quite a lot about the nature of Stormont government.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/cash-for-ash-fallout-will-not-end-with-politicians-1.3540328

  14. TURK

    Indeed.

    Actually it isn’t £500 of share value. As far as shares are concerned 10% of the company shares in issue will go into the Inclusive Ownership Fund. They will be under the control of “the workers”-who cannot sell them.

    It is the dividends on these shares which will provide a capped income of £500 pa.

    Apart from the raft of legal questions about shares with different rights attaching it is as you say a very circuitous route to giving employees £500 pa each ( not forgetting the Treasury take !!!).

    As I said earlier, I don’t think it is oversight or badly structured. I think it is deliberate to include the hiving off of a block of the share capital of all these companies. I think this is the start of MacDonnells attack on Private Wealth ( constantly signalled in JC’s speech) by giving a strategic stake ( 10% is a big chunk) in UKplc to THe Workers.

    You can bet your boots that the committee charged with management of these shares & their voting rights will be heavily influenced by LP politics.

    There are lots of implications to this proposal..

    I’ve been thinking about this evenings extraordinary YG Poll. When I watched the end of JC’s Conference speech & all the whooping & cheering; the fist raised singing of Red Flag, and the all round adulation & triumphalism on display-it took me back to Neil Kinnock’s 1992 triumphalism…………..

    ………….but I can hear AW shouting that no one watches Party Conference tv-and this is just one Poll.

    :-)

  15. I think LASZLO has got upon one of the great truths of our time. The far away countries of which we know nothing start at Calais. I do think, however, that the 65% is an underestimate.

    I meet many people in France who are very surprised that as an Englishman, I speak a reasonable amount of French. Most of the Brits, even those who would profess to speak the language, speak only rudimentary French, never watch French TV and would never read a French Newspaper. Only those who work or used to work here, (not including the builders who only work for fellow Brits), are fluent French speakers.

    This French are nearly as bad, but in their case it is largely due to their fear of miss-pronouncing words – regarded as a mortal sin in French. Consequently we know little of eachother. After more than 40 years in the same club, this is a very sad situation although it has improved recently, with the young being prepared to mix more.

    At least French TV news covers events in the UK, including UK politics even before Brexit. Uk TV doesn’t even cover French Football results and only covers disasters or terrorist attacks.

  16. standing up and down 10-15 times during a speech rather devalues them… imo.

  17. JIM JAM

    I agree. Many others would agree.

    But the Corbyn Leadership is being borne aloft by people who want to cheer & fist pump every point he makes-particularly when he is sticking it to the Evil Rich/Tories/Bankers/Press .

    Normal Rules don’t apply to the Corbyn Cult followers..

  18. @Trevor Warne – I see where you are coming from now on dieselgate.

    Because you have been unable to answer the simple point that the German legal proceedings against VW do not have any bearing on any potential criminal or standards beaches in the UK, and thus your linkage of this to the ECJ is entirely spurious, you now wish to claim that there is some grand conspiracy theory linking wrongdoing at VW to German and EC officials.

    Perhaps there is – who knows? – but what we do know is that this still wouldn’t have the slightest bearing on any legal case against VW in the UK, because guess what – we’re not Germany! (Umm…that’s why there is a British legal system and a German legal system – because their completely different).

    No doubt you’ll reply to this with some other barking theory (maybe Jaque Delors isn’t actually dead but is living on the moon with Elvis?) but I’m away for a while, driving my VW made car around somewhere in Scotland.

    Enjoy yourself!

    BTW – @Hireton was right about the tariffs. Of course you can pick out some individual tariffs that are painful, but under a sensible objective analysis, the EU’s trade regime is relatively liberal and it could not fairly be described as a protectionist block. The Tory MP for Shrewsbury recently learned a little about this I think?

  19. Nearlyfrench: … we know little of each other. After more than 40 years in the same club, this is a very sad situation

    Yes, I think the low (and apparently declining) level of proficiency in any foreign language in the UK is a major factor in our insularity and preference for an anglophone comfort-zone of USA, Australia etc. I must say, I feel quite uncomfortable in a country like Hungary or the Czech republic where I’m basically a dumb, ignorant foreigner unable to say more than a word or two.

    When I learnt French, to O-level, there was no conversational element at all – it was completely written and grammar-based. I doubt if my teachers were remotely fluent in spoken French. I’ve only become confident in spoken French since, through using the language in France.

    That situation may (or may not) have improved. I don’t understand why, in the intervening 50 years, there was not a big effort to recruit native teachers of French, Spanish, German, Italian etc. Too late now, I suppose. We’ll all just end up speaking American.

  20. ALEC “that’s why there is a British legal system and a German legal system”

    Was that loud bang from a northerly direction OLDNAT exploding?

  21. @Colin

    “………….but I can hear AW shouting that no one watches Party Conference tv-and this is just one Poll.”

    He’d probably also say that the fieldwork for the poll was conducted before Corbyn’s speech on Wednesday!!

    :-)

    Of course, if your theory is right about the off-putting elements of the delegates behaviour on Wednesday, I expect the next batch of polls will show a widening Tory lead. Or not as the case may be.

    Also remember that YouGov are now a bit of a sore thumb in terms of Tory leads and their size. Britain Elect’s latest poll shows the Tory lead down to 1%, albeit with fieldwork conducted over the weekend and Monday.

    I’d calm down, dear, for a while longer and avoid getting too excited for now. Plenty more polls to come. Red Flag rendition consequences yet to come!

    :-)

    :-)

  22. Genuinely interesting poll if that 6% YG lead is true. Normal wobble, or has the Lab conference frightened people?

    Also interesting to note a number of media reports claiming a group of cabinet members, including Hunt and Raab, are disagreeing with May’s Chequers or Bust plan. They are not supporting a no deal only option, instead preferring a Canada style deal.

    This was to be expected, as the realities of no deal were always too severe for a government to seriously contemplate letting it actually happen, as opposed to using it as a theatrical prop in the negotiation game.

    One other snippet of Brexit effects. In the THE university global rankings, for the first time ever the UK has lost it’s second place behind the US for most represented country in the rankings, now coming third behind Japan. In general, UK universities have stagnated or slipped down the rankings.

    Without question Brexit has had a major influence here, as the loss of staff and access to major projects which started immediately post referendum is now working through into research outputs, and will only get worse if Brexit proceeds. One more actual impact for some to deny, but traditionally UK universities have been something of a national treasure, so while Oxford and Cambridge retain the 1st and 2nd slots, collectively the picture is of a gentle national decline. Global Britain!

  23. About McDonnell’s ESOP.

    We really don’t have the details. It could be a vehicle for a get right to employees (so – non-voting right shares which become voting ones once there is no dividend payments – it is a common practice). However, so doubt that it the thought process has gone that far.

    Representation in the board. Well, probably he borrowed it from the German (and other) two-tier governance systems, which the UK doesn’t have. Even with the Mitbestimmung system (50%) the chair has a casting vote and there you are.

    I wonder if Will Hatton has become an advisor to McDonnell. These policies are surprisingly close to those he proposed to Blair (before Blair turned to Giddens).

    On the basis of one-by-one there is nothing wrong with these instruments – just the purpose is very unclear (well, meaningless really).

    My main concern is really the 400k green jobs- that’s really, really non-sense, and gives away the purpose of the game.

  24. Peter W

    Since Alec is currently driving in Scotland, I thought I might wait till he breaches Scots driving laws before I (reluctantly) chortled “Told you so!” :-)

  25. @Laszlo

    “I wonder if Will Hatton has become an advisor to McDonnell.”

    Is that Derek Hatton’s love child or do you mean Will Hutton, the Observer Economics editor? If it’s the former, then that’s more believable in McDonnell’s case. :-)

    @Alec

    “Genuinely interesting poll if that 6% YG lead is true. Normal wobble, or has the Lab conference frightened people?”

    As I said to Colin, who seemed particularly excited by it, I’d tend to take it with a large pinch of salt. YouGov have been showing Tory leads of variable sizes for some time now, on occasions in line with other polls, but more than often significantly out of kilter with them. Bear in mind also that the fieldwork was completed on Tuesday, well before Corbyn’s speech on the Wednesday. It’s also showing a Tory lead of 6% when the Britain Elects poll, taken over a similar period, shows the lead at 1%, down from a 2% lead in their previous poll.

    Of course, it’s possible that YouGov are picking up something significant, but we need a clutch of other polls from different pollsters, conducting their fieldwork post Wednesday, to see if that’s true and that the Labour Conference has shifted opinion towards the Tories. I sense some early wishful thinking from Tory sympathisers.

    My hunch is that this YouGov poll is a rogue..

  26. Before anyone gets too excited by the latest YouGov, there was a nice tweet from Stephen Bush:

    https://twitter.com/stephenkb/status/1045350298074710016

    putting any reaction to it in context:

    May 2015: I’ll never trust polls again.

    June 2016: I’ll never trust polls again!

    June 2017: I will never, ever, TRUST polls again!!

    September 2018: This poll conducted on Monday tells us a lot about what people think of Jeremy Corbyn’s Wednesday speech.

    I would add that we are still seeing the pattern of the last few months where every YouGov poll has a bigger Con lead than practically every poll from every other pollster. Of the 14 polls in September, all 4 YouGovs have had leads of 4 points or more (3 X 4 plus a 6). Only the monthly Kantar matched these (Con +5) and the details of this look fairly odd (Kantar obviously think so too as they downplayed the VI figures). The 9 other polls from 5 pollsters were all less and only one was even +3.

  27. ALEC

    maybe Jaque Delors isn’t actually dead but is living on the moon with Elvis?

    I don’t know about Elvis, or indeed Jaque, but Jacques Delors appears to be still alive at 93:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Delors

  28. Colin

    You obviously understood the shares thing better than me .
    I did catch some of Corbyn’s speech nothing new in content same old socialist stuff ,although I thought extending the Tory child care payments was a good idea.
    I could almost close my eyes and think I was listening to Micheal Foot he was the passed master of the quiet speech intersected by shouting to emphasis a point must be a left wing thing.

  29. Crossbat11

    :-)

    I really should read what I comment more carefully instead of accepting what the AI thinks of I meant.

    On the other hand, it could have been my subconscious, as I saw some of the 47 last week.

  30. @ TURK, COLIN

    The shares thing is simply theft. The small payments to the workers are just a smokescreen to make it look altruistic. The employees will end up worse off because of reduced potential wages and poorer employment prospects.

    Employee share schemes are generally good things but they don’t usually end with governments taking most of the dividend. The employees will be sold a pup – and don’t pups look cute.

  31. Crossbat11

    But beyond my silly mistake – if you read the “State we are in” there are some surprising similarities. And Blair did use him as an advisor back then.

    The evolution of A. Giddens’s thoughts are perhaps even more interesting – and an interesting lesson about “labels” of political factions.

  32. That YG poll

    CON – 42% (+2)
    LAB – 36% (-)
    LIB DEM – 11% (-)
    UKIP – 4% (-1)

    Always worth remembering rounding effects.

    That “+2” for Con could be as little as moving from 40.4 to 41.6 while the “-1” for UKIP could be dropping from 4.9 to 3.6.

    Of course, rounding might be disguising a larger shift also but, on the face of it, some UKIP/Con floaters in transit may not be of any significance.

  33. CB11

    @”He’d probably also say that the fieldwork for the poll was conducted before Corbyn’s speech on Wednesday!!”

    Oh yeah…………that too :-)

    @”I’d calm down, dear, for a while longer and avoid getting too excited for now.”

    OK then.

    @”Red Flag rendition consequences yet to come!”

    You never know. And if Corbyn ever does a photo op on a beach I’ll be watchin :-)

  34. NEARLY FRENCH

    @”The employees will be sold a pup ”

    That he doesn’t want them selling the shares tells you everything.
    Making a capital gain as a result of the company performance & share price !
    Thats Capitalism and what McD. is going to stop. The workers are there to bring about the Revolution-not make profits on their shares.

    £500 per annum-thats what the Workers are worth in McDonnell’s New Economy……and fronting up the Inclusive Ownership Committees to implement Labour Party Members’ economic policies of course.

  35. Female posters (and males with wives/partners/daughters) might find it more important that Labour has said that it will copy the SNP [1] and end “period poverty” in England [2].

    [1] Of course, they didn’t say they were copying the SNP, but they are.

    [2] So poor Wales, with Llafur in charge since the start of devolution, remains unchanged.

  36. @Trevor Warne:
    Most important in deciding who to vote for:
    CON VI
    Party represents MY values, principles: 41
    Best policies for OUR country: 37
    Best PM: 14
    Local MP: 3
    LAB VI
    Party represents MY values, principles: 58!!
    Best policies for OUR country: 30
    Best PM: 5
    Local MP: 1
    NB I used OUR instead of THE for country and added the emphasis. Just highlighting the self centred views of voters.

    Why do you want OUR country to have the best policies and representing someone else’s values? What’s the difference between this and being in the EU?

  37. The Yougov poll could be picking up some changes in feelings post Salzburg. Or not.

  38. “The employees will be sold a pup ”

    Schnoodles or border terriers are the best.

  39. “I’m learning Japanese for fun and will probably be learning a to be determined European language through necessity.

    I suspect compared to Japanese most European languages will be comparatively simple!”
    @Alan September 27th, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Wow! That sounds fun. I tried Mandarin 30 years ago, but didn’t get very far. The thing about European languages is their relatively recent divergence from Latin or a Germanic origin, so they are reasonably similar from what I know.

    Anyway, good luck!

  40. @Carfrew 2:48am
    “Re: solar panels – weren’t you asking about them not so long ago (for survivalist purposes}?”

    I probably was, but there’s a difference between me wanting them and the government wanting me to have them. As I was told at my public school by a master “You’re a bit of a bolshie aren’t you?”. I might get the sort they have for caravans because they are independent of the grid.
    ——————–
    @Reggieside 8:05am
    “Ive been there myself and work in one of the most deprived areas of leeds – widespread poverty is real, its growing and it wrecks lives.”

    I’m sure that’s true, and as I said I am sympathetic, but the point I was making was that wild exaggerations about millions of people being in relative poverty doesn’t help the case, when people like me can see from the figures that we are close to being included. It sheds doubt on the reliability of the figures and disguises the true extent of the problem.
    ————————-
    Somerjohn
    ” I don’t understand why, in the intervening 50 years, there was not a big effort to recruit native teachers of French, Spanish, German, Italian etc. Too late now, I suppose. We’ll all just end up speaking American.”

    Exactly, why bother? American is pretty close to English. Most other languages will gradually incorporate more English or American words (except perhaps Chinese). BTW, I can generally make myself understood in France, even if I have to shout slowly sometimes. :-)

    As an aside, I’m quite interested in languages, and was hugely amused when I discovered that the Welsh for window was derived from the Latin, which suggests that the Welsh hadn’t invented windows before the Romans came!
    —————————-
    @Colin and others
    Does anyone have any idea what would happen to a worker’s shares if he was sacked or made redundant?

  41. Good evening all from Edinburgh.

    Watching question time.. Mogg almost got a standing ovation twice and he’s quite a performer even if a little highbrow.

    The two females on the panel…well thank god for the mute button.

  42. I didn’t realise anyone still watched Question Time!

  43. PETE B

    When you’re staying in a hotel programs such as question time all of a sudden become a source of entertainment.

  44. Pete B

    “Before the Romans came” the common south of the Forth was Brittonic. The gradual differential development of that tongue into Welsh, Cornish and Cumbric came well after the Romans left.

    The English word “window” stems from the Old Norse “wind eye” which will cause you great amusement since (on your reasoning) those in what we now call England didn’t invent holes in the wall or roof to admit light and air until the Vikings invaded.

    Languages are even more interesting when you know something of their development, and don’t make daft assumptions.

  45. Allan Christie.

    Back in the 1980s I was confined to bed for some weeks. No daytime TV back then, but they did show the Party Conferences live. I was so bored, I watched them all!

  46. OLDNAT

    That must had been pure torture. ;-)

  47. @Laszlo

    “But beyond my silly mistake – if you read the “State we are in” there are some surprising similarities. And Blair did use him as an advisor back then.”

    I quite like Hutton and read his weekly column in the Observer regularly. In Cameron’s early big tent days, he asked Hutton to head up a working group looking at public sector pay reform. He duly did so but the working relationship ended a little stormily and I’m not sure the the group ever completed its report, certainly not with Hutton still as its head. I get the sense that he’s steadily drifted leftwards in terms of his macro-economic views and whereas he might be loosely described as Blairite in terms of his overall political credo, I could see him and McDonnell getting quite close when discussing economic policy development.

    McDonnell seems like a politician who has a real taste for power now, less interested in political posturing and grandstanding and much more focused on plotting a route to power. Hence his cosying up to Gordon Brown, maybe Will Hutton now and also figures in business and in the City. He’s even getting some plaudits in some of these quarters too. I thought it was interesting too how he publicly expressed his impatience with the internal party rows on antisemitism and arcane deselection processes. He’s getting a whiff of Number 11, I think, and has low tolerance levels for any navel-gazing trivialities that might get in his way. That separates him from a lot of the people he used to mix with within the party.

    An interesting political metamorphosis in the making and a politician well worth keeping an eye on. I don’t warm to him personally but I’ve come to respect him much more.

  48. mc donnel is very much the brains of new model labour party. tough and determined and sharp of mind – i think he is more important to the success of the corbyn project than corbyn.

  49. Number Cruncher Politics report a 2 point swing to Labour in the 60 most marginal seats since the election last year. No tables yet, just a report in the sun.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7366013/renters-abandon-tories-housing/

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