Yesterday Channel 4 news and JLPartners released an interesting poll of so-called “red wall” seats. A lot of things get written about “Red Wall seats” that don’t necessarily have much thought behind them. It is the Essex man or Worcester woman of the 2019 election, an easy buzzword that is too often a substitute for proper understanding. They are important, but you need to look careful at the nuances.

Let us start by going back to where the term originated, with James Kanagasooriam. It wasn’t just a generic word for northern marginals or Tory targets – James coined it when talking about as seats that demographically should have been Conservative, but which consistently voted Labour. James actually identified several groups of these seats – some in Wales, some in County Durham, and a big swathe of them across urban Lancashire and Yorkshire that looked like a red wall. Hence the name.

The whole point of James’ argument was that there were seats that in terms of their make up (class, economy, education, age structure and so on) you would expect to vote Conservative, but that they actually voted Labour because of a cultural, historical and social hostility towards the Tories. These weren’t seats full of horny-handed sons of toil, they were seats that were or had become more affluent but yet not become Tory. Sefton, for example, is largely affluent suburbia, with some of the highest home-ownership rates in the country. Yet it votes Labour, because it’s Liverpool’s suburbs, and people in Liverpool are not inclined to go about voting Conservative.

One can debate the reasons for this dislike, but the most obvious explanations are historical: the identity as former mining communities, the legacy and memory of Thatcherism and the dismantling of industry in the North in the 1980s. The point was, this was an obstacle to the Tories – how to appeal to these people who “should” demographically be their target audience, but for whatever reason were not interested.

Skipping ahead, we know that the Conservatives did manage to do this in many areas in 2017 and 2019. In fact in many of these areas there has been an incredible sea-change in voting behavior. Across the two elections the Conservatives have made gains there that would have looked unbelievable ten years ago. In 2015, the Conservatives won the national share of the vote by 7%. In 2019 they won by 12%, that is, a 2.5% swing across those two elections. Compare that to the Lab=>Con swing in some of the “red wall” seats. Sedgefield experienced a 14% swing across the two elections, Blyth Valley 13%, Bolsover 19%, Leigh 18%.

While there are some areas that did not follow this tide (Merseyside in particular is still extremely unforgiving territory for the Conservative party), among other areas in Lancashire, Country Durham, and Derbyshire mining areas the “red wall” decisively crumbled.

There are different explanations one can come up with for what happened. Part of it was probably the disruptive effect Brexit had upon traditional party ties, part of it perhaps a general change to the way the Conservative party has presented itself and its message. Much will simply be to the passage of time – those old mining identities can only sustain for so long once the mines have closed, the miners have passed on, the old sites regenerated and replaced by new build housing estates.

However, the Tory advances of 2017 and 2019 were not just in James’s red wall seats. Here is where it gets complicated, and why one should be cautious about throwing all those 2019 gains in together. The Conservatives gained other seats as well, some of which don’t match this description at all. Lewis Baston has written about this well previously. Some of them were in perennial marginals – places like Darlington, Stockton South, Keighley or Lincoln that have been competitive for decades and just happen to be in the North or the Midlands. If you are looking at opinion in the “red wall seats”, you have to be careful how you define it, and what you are actually looking at.

All that brings me round to the actual JLpartners/Channel 4 polling. This polled 500 people in the seats that the Conservatives won from Labour in the North & Midlands in 2019. The write up and full tables are here (do go and have a read, as there is lots of detail I have not explored below).

Overall the poll shows Labour at 47%, the Conservatives at 41%. In comparison, in the same seats the vote share in 2019 was Conservative 48%, Labour 39%. That translates into a swing of 7.5% from Conservative to Labour. In comparison the national polls conducted over the same period showed on average a Conservative lead of 1 point, a swing of 5.5% from Conservative to Labour.

On the face of it, that suggests the Conservatives are doing marginally worse in these seats than in the country as a whole. If that was to happen at an election it would be unusual – parties actually tend to do a bit better than average in seats they gained at the previous election because they have gained the incumbency advantage (the MP’s “personal vote”), and their opponents have lost it, so this would be a particularly poor performance. However, I should add the caveat that it’s just one poll of 500 people, so there is a margin of error of 4% on there. We should not put too much confidence on whether the Conservatives are doing a couple of percentage points better or worse in an area based on a single poll.

More interesting of course would be to be able to look under the bonnet at the different types of seat within those we’ve lumped together as “red wall” seats. Are there different patterns at work in those traditional marginal seats to those former mining and industrial seats that have been part of the bigger red-wall sea-change. There is no particular reason to think that seats like Lincoln or Blackpool South or Gedling would behave any differently to marginal seats elsewhere – but for seats like Sedgefield, Bassetlaw or Bolsover there’s a question of whether the political re-alignment we’ve seen over the last few elections has come to a halt or is still ongoing.

That’s not to say the JLPartners/Channel 4 poll isn’t good stuff – it is – it’s more than it’s only a starting point.

The question people tend to ask on the back of polls like this is whether the Tories need to worry unduly about keeping these seats in their column, and whether Labour can win them back. In that context, it is probably too simplistic to look at them as a single lump. In one sense, obviously these seats will be part of the battleground – but that’s just a truism. These are marginal seats, elections will be always be won and lost in the marginal seats. The more important question is whether these marginal seats are the ones that are most likely to change at the next election, or whether by looking at the fashionable “red wall” seats we miss looking at potentially more vulnerable seats elsewhere?

It may be that the political re-alignment in the true “red wall” seats is so seismic that they actually become safer Tory seats than some of the more traditional marginals. It may be that the more vulnerable Tory seats next time round are actually some more affluent seats with high proportions of graduates. The pattern of key marginals next time round could be those that are similar to North West Bristol or Canterbury, rather than winning back old mining seats.

Northern Tory gains last time weren’t monolithic – it isn’t one single “red wall” – they mix up some traditional marginals, as well as some sea that have seen truly transformational change. We shouldn’t assume they’ll behave as one block, or in the same way in the future either. Equally, we shouldn’t necessarily assume that all the interesting changes at the next election will happen in the same place as the last one. There are risks and opportunities elsewhere too.

12,042 Responses to “On the importance of the “Red Wall” seats”

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  1. I think that Johnson has so widely sickened voters across the North by his arrogance, bumbling and incompetence, that not only will the Tories lose many lent-votes next time, but also some long-time died-in-the-wool supporters.

    People like my sister in mid Lancashire – I am amazed at how outspoken she has become.

  2. And I wonder how rock solid Tory some of the Tory southern seats are?

  3. First of all, thanks Anthony for the new thread and interesting analysis.
    I haven’t yet looked at the figures in detail, but my own opinion is that many of the new Tory marginals will be very difficult to hold, because a big chunk of the swing was in order to ‘Get Brexit Done’. Now it has been done, many of those votes will revert to their previous home, whether it be Labour, DNV or whatever.

  4. “Now it has been done”

    Has it? The news is still full of it. I’m curious as to whether they will accept the technicality that we left the EU at the start of the year or will instead judge on general coverage in news and current affairs, in which case Brexit has really only just started so perhaps their shift is just disappointment in yet another brexit untruth.

    It’s also worth considering the studies that indicated that dislike of corbyn was rather more important than brexit being done in terms of the voting choices of these groups and corbyn has gone now so I’d figure that accounts for some of the shift.

  5. Another positive announcement on trade, this time with a services agreement with Switzerland –

    Truss is touting this as a big deal, and it is good, but it isn’t a roll over. We’ve replaced the existing EU based arrangement of free movement with a scheme that allows UK professionals to live and work in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a visa.

    Why they are using the term ‘UK professionals’ is unclear – maybe this is restricted to certain sectors? But whatever, it’s helpful, although quite a significant step backwards from the current position.

  6. James B
    My point is that however Brexit is perceived, many of those votes will revert. Even if it turns out to be a roaring success in the next few years a chunk of voters will think “Ok, we’ve done that, now we can go back to not bothering” (or Labour etc)

  7. Thanks, Anthony.

    My query is as to whether the calculations used by the pollers are valid.

    They have sampled an average of 11 people in each seat, then applied a uniform swing based on that aggregated.

    Here in Ashfield we had an independent on 27%, which I guess puts a spanner in the works locally.

    My observation to add is that in the 5 seats around ours (Gedling, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Mansfield, Sherwood, Broxtowe, Erewasg, Amber Valley) which are now all Tory they are all afaics behaving like LibDems.


  8. Sorry – messed up the list.

    Should be: Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Mansfield, Sherwood, Broxtowe, Erewash, Amber Valley.

    So seven not five.

  9. Nick P

    ” I wonder how rock solid Tory some of the Tory southern seats are?”

    There are clearly several vulnerable Tory seats in the South, but if you look at the list of seats that Labour might win on a 3-6% swing, it’s noticeable that there are far more in the North (or Wales or the Midlands) than in the South.

    It looks to me as if the type of Southern seats that Labour has won over the past decade – like Hove or Reading East or Portsmouth South – will become very safe, but middle-sized southern towns such as Basingstoke or even Crawley still look long-shot targets.

  10. Seats such as Bury North and Bury South have often been Tory and should not really be seen as part of the Red Wall at all. There were other seats such as Halifax – Tory held 1955 – 1964 and 1983 – 1987 – which stayed Labour in 2019.
    What we don’t yet know is the extent to which the ‘Brexit’ and ‘Corbyn’ factors distorted the results in 2019 and 2017. To what extent will their disappearance or very much reduced salience bring about a return to the status quo ante?

  11. Interesting poll.

    The Tories do have until 2024 to work on holding these seats, and time enough. Still a very tough ask and I would be surprised if they hold that many of them.

    2019 was like 1983 on steroids for them, so it will be interesting if 2024 is 1987 or 1997!

  12. Looking at the linked redwall poll, I noticed that Brexit did not feature much in people’s reasons for disliking con now. When specifically asked about it, people 2:1 think con have handled it badly, but that was when prompted to comment. About 1/3 of 2019 con voters think con have made a mess of it too.

    If they think its been done badly, that is not a good base to start out on as the thing finally starts to happen and will rise in public attention.

    What lab need to do as ever is make sure they do not share the blame for whatever goes wrong.

  13. The front page of yesterday`s i newspaper is a good example of the confusion and annoyance media people in the Home Counties are causing.

    This paper terms itself “Scotland Edition” Ha, ha!

    The headline is “Vaccinations to start on Tuesday in the UK”, Then there are 4 bullet points:
    1. First CV vaccinations to take place in Scotland next week
    2. Stockpiles to be transferred to 23 locations.
    3. Niclola Sturgeon hails ..
    4. FM and UK Health Secretary say …

    So I look inside to see the list of 23 locations. There is no list, and no further comment. So I think these 23 could be in England, or pro-rata just 2 in Scotland. I waste time searching the web, and cannot find anything.

    With 44 new cases in the care home just down the road, it is worth knowing for myself and the shielding wife if we have to make a 350-mile round trip for vaccination, or just 40 miles for an in-out journey to Aberdeen.

    Trust in our UK media has evaporated during Covid, and things could have been managed so much better with a little thought. If the i editors had no list, they shouldn`t have given the spin, whether from the SG, the UKGE, or SCON.

  14. JIB
    ‘2019 was like 1983 on steroids for them, so it will be interesting if 2024 is 1987 or 1997’

    Across GB 2019 was more like 1987. In England as a whole, however, it was more of a 1992 result – although the distribution of Labour’s support was very different with the massive loss of support in traditional working class areas partly balanced by much stronger support in the South and suburban seats.

  15. Anecdotal, I know, but from this Red Wall seat my general impression from chatting to normal people is that Corbyn was a massive drag on Labour that has now largely disappeared, and that Johnson was a positive for Cons in the sense of ‘let’s give this a go’.

    A year on, Johnson retains some loyalty, but others are questioning his suitability. But I don’t detect a huge sea change just yet.

  16. Opinium have a x-break on CON seats gained as well which is more or less along same lines as JL Partners. So not much new but looking ‘under the hood’:

    First up. Cell AB44 puts LAB ‘loyalty’ (GE’19 showings as VI) at 92% (versus CON, cell AA42 at 70%)

    LAB’19 DK are 3% versus CON’19 DK at 16%

    Then consider BXP’19 were 6%, LDEM’19 were 5% (average) in those seats. LDEM VI down to 2% (with some LDEM moving to LAB VI, some to DK). Neither BXP or UKIP are not stated in the poll but ‘another party’ scores 7%.

    So a lot will depend on ‘Uniting’ your own side and ‘Splitting’ the opposition.

    IF CON can get the DKs back to GOTV and ensure BXP/UKIP vote CON and/or if LDEM/Green can snaffle some LAB votes then CON can keep most of those seats (maybe take some more)

    Conversely, if LAB can ‘Unite’ the Centre and Far Left and BXP/UKIP snaffle some CON votes then LAB can take most of them back (and maybe some more)

    Long time to go with a lot of ‘events’ between now and then but CCHQ will know they need to keep most of those seats (where as losing what’s left in Scotland or a couple in Wokanda areas like London are more ‘expendable’ if you assume the main desire is to stay in power)

    They’ll also need to watch their Southern flank as well. EG LAB have progressed in the ‘proper’ SW and if LDEM disappear totally then might be a few more blobs of Red in the SW (beyond the ‘uni’ seats)

    Ironically CCHQ probably want LDEM to do ‘better’ than Sir Keir does but only if it is via a ‘split vote’ – not a ‘tactical one’ (hence why if Sir Ed makes LDEM the party of Rejoin it will be ‘happy days’ at CCHQ)

    PS Note, even if LAB win most of the CON’19 gains back then they’ll still need to rely on SNP (and/or maybe LDEM). By GE’24 it’s possible Scotland is no longer sending MPs to Westminster.

  17. @ JAMES E – You could add Canterbury to your list of ‘Southern’ seats that LAB have taken from CON.

    What do you think the ‘common’ demographic is in all those seats and how many student seats (damn, gave the answer away) are left for LAB to take.

    CON also need to tackle the issue of ‘Generation Rent’. If young people can’t get onto the property ladder (as very few can, without the ‘bank of mum and dad’) then the ‘demographic drift’ issue will continue to move the ‘average age’ tipping point higher.

    CON will never win the student vote but they need to work on winning the non-student younger folks and the young professional vote (and ensure they GOTV on the day)

  18. A “tidal wave” of red tape, even with a Brexit deal.

    Oh dear. I don’t recall that in the referendum manifestos.

    We did try to say this, but Nigel always knows best…..

  19. PS to 3:31pm. Some of those x-breaks are tiny so huge MoE. General points about CON DKs and the ‘unite’ v ‘split’ risk still apply tho

  20. Agree with you Alec on theCorbyn factor. Labour now have a leader who, whilst he hasn’t set the world alight, can be viewed as a safe pair of hands and indeed ‘looks like a PM” rather than a 1970s geography teacher who slept in his car last night.

    I also agree with others that this is only one poll of 500 people. More evidence needed. What matters now is not the poll per se but what Boris does from now on regarding his agenda, which has been slightly derailed by Covid.

  21. TW
    “If young people can’t get onto the property ladder (as very few can, without the ‘bank of mum and dad’)”

    It depends where you live. A 30-second search online turns up many properties under £50,000 in the West Midlands, including a 2-bed terrace house for £19,000. Not a very nice area, and no doubt pretty run down, but affordable for most folks I’d have thought.

  22. Excellent write up from Anthony.

  23. Anthony, thank you very much for your work such an important theme.
    Hopefully we will have good reflections shared here now.

  24. There needs to be rules, and rules must have boundaries, and wherever there are boundaries, there will be anomal!es.

    This is probably the most obtuse example of the lot – a couple whose house is in Tier 2 but whose garden is in Tier 3 –

  25. GRAHAM.
    very nice to see you back on here.
    In terms of seats, would you agree that Labour did a lot of ‘vote stacking’ in the GE’s of 2015, 2017 and 2019?

    Hence the result of 2019 was more towards 1935 (Attlee’s first-of-three defeats)

  26. Davwel

    23 ultra cold freezers have been installed around Scotland – in every Health Board area, to receive their share from the disaggregated pallets of Pfizer vaccine.

    No further information on their location (and none on the central stores, to which the pallets will be delivered) will be released, on the sensible advice from the security services.

    While there is no specific threat, they are an obvious potential target for criminals or terrorists. Blofeld is probably, at this moment, seeking their location while he strokes his cat and devises a fiendish plot to extort billions from governments across the world.

    Now that Sean Connery is no longer with us to foil SPECTRE’s plans, ScotGov has adopted a preventative strategy.

  27. “SpaceX has taken a key step toward getting a green light to fly its Starship vehicle to an altitude 100 times higher than the spaceship prototype has previously flown.

    On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction for SpaceX to conduct a Starship launch from its facility near Boca Chica Beach in South Texas. The notification allows the company to attempt a Starship hop on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, between the hours of 9am EST (14:00 UTC) and 6pm EST (23:00 UTC) daily. SpaceX must still obtain a launch license from the FAA for this flight.

    The company’s founder and chief engineer, Elon Musk, has said SpaceX will attempt to fly Starship to an altitude of 15km to demonstrate the performance of three Raptor engines over the course of several minutes. The company’s previous flights to about 150 meters, in August and September, used a single Raptor engine.

    This higher flight profile will take Starship above nearly 90 percent of Earth’s atmosphere, which will allow the company to do several new tests: assess the performance of body flaps on Starship, transition from using propellant from the main fuel tanks to smaller ones used for landing burns, and test the vehicle’s ability to reorient itself for returning to the launch site.

    Odds of success?

    All of this will be lot to ask of the large and complex Starship vehicle. Recently, Musk opined on Twitter that he expected this Starship prototype, dubbed SN8 or Serial Number 8, had about a 1-in-3 chance of landing safely. Of course, Musk has learned the value of setting expectations over the years—before the first Falcon 1 flight in March 2006, he told one reporter the rocket had a 90 percent chance of reaching orbit. (It did not come close to doing so).”

  28. Excellent article.

  29. TW – your 3:39pm

    Not all of Labour’s southern gains are ‘student’ seats. Hove isn’t, and target such as Reading West and Wycombe are not.

    But, as I stated above, Labour progress in the South is very uneven. The battleground is mostly in the North and Midlands.

  30. Thanks Anthony and Trevor for the detail extracted.

    It is the DKs as I stated on the last thread being higher from Con 2019 in these seats as a whole (as per AW they are not all the same) than across GB which produces the extra 2% or so swing.

    I don’t think much incumbency bonus will have kicked in yet, although that enjoyed by the previous Lab MP will have dropped out – if they had any.

    Chris – now you are on, FWIW, I don’t foresee any pacts involving Labour.

  31. Pretty sure there is a uni in Reading.

  32. @ PETE B – Excellent point. Part of ‘levelling up’ needs to be to ‘incentivise’ businesses to set-up/move to/expand in areas with cheaper housing rather than just focus on building houses where land price is very high (ie end the ‘London-Centric’ part of ne0liberalism and the perception of N-S divide)

    ‘Disposable net income’ (after mortgage or rent) is what matters to workers but businesses tend to expect the workers move to the jobs and generally have been too short-termist on investment due to ‘bad trade deals’ (ie our membership of EU and ne0liberal govts)

    TBC how radical this CON HMG will be, moving a few civil servant jobs to York, etc isn’t enough but we can certainly do a lot more of this

    along with University Enterprise Zones[1], freeports and, with a ‘thin-no’ deal (ie not a vassal state), we can certainly offer higher State Aid to ‘attract’ more businesses to ‘Build/Grow it in Britain’ (current deals like UK-Japan, Canada, etc and WTO are far more ‘generous’ on what can be done – especially if domestic-domestic)

    Thatcher attracted likes of Nissan, Honda, etc to UK as at that time (mid-1980s) we could offer them large ‘bungs’ but these days likes of Kia, Hyundai, have been setting up in C-E.Europe as that is where they get the biggest ‘bungs’ (and cheaper labour, etc) and tariff access to areas with higher wages and less ability to offer ‘bungs’. We’ll need to look at ‘pocket factories’ and ‘build under license’ type arrangements as well.

    Loads of potential and solutions available, but the ‘market’ needs a little ‘help’ (ie a short, sharp Keynesian boost and some protection from ‘bullies’ and those who seek ‘export led growth’ or have a tax haven or pollution haven ‘economic model’).

    If CON HMG can spend 400bn ‘saving jobs’ due to C19 then they can spend some money to make sure Brexit is a ‘success’ and with British jobs for British Workers the ‘Wall’ stays Blue and CON PM stays in #10 after GE’24.

    A challenging few days and then years ahead but I’m cautiously optimistic – CON will want to stay in power post GE’24, so they should know what they need to do ;)

    [1] Rishi and likes of Elon Musk went to Stanford, Oxford has been v.important in the Oxford vaccine and we can-should up the ‘pilot’ schemes:

  33. Nick P

    Reading University is in Reading East constituency – which has swung to Labour by 14% over the past 3 elections.

  34. The breaking ?Liverpool ” bribery” story looks politically interesting.

  35. @ JAMES E – ?!?

    1/ Hove’s MP since GE’15 has been and still is Peter Kyle (LAB). The full name for the city is Brighton and Hove, a Uni city.

    2/ Most of the students in Reading will live in East seat (one of the few ‘easy money’ bets from GE’19 was that one staying LAB)


    All also have young population with ‘generation rent’ issues as well.

  36. Colin

    The “witness intimidation” charges will provide meatier copy, I suspect.

  37. Latest Polling
    CON: 40% (=)
    LAB: 37% (-2)
    LDM: 9% (+1)
    GRN: 6% (+2)
    SNP: 5% (=)

    @RedfieldWilton , 2 Dec Changes w/ 19 Nov.

  38. Trevs

    I thought the full title was Brighton and Hove Albion Nil, but as you pointed out earlier, there is often little accurate information about our neighbouring polities. :-)

  39. Key points from latest R & W poll IMO ;

    Prime Minister’s approval rating has been boosted by a considerable 7% in the light of the announcement about a successful vaccine and the country’s emergence from a full lockdown, and now stands at only -1%. The proportion of the British public who disapprove of Boris Johnson’s job performance since he became Prime Minister has declined by four points to 40%, whereas 39% now approve.

    In addition, Keir Starmer’s approval rating has also dropped. The Labour Leader’s net approval rating has declined by four points to +9% overall. Overall, 34% approve of Keir Starmer’s performance, while 25% disapprove.

    Boris Johnson’s straight contest lead over Keir Starmer more than doubled to 11% this week. Currently, 43% think Boris Johnson would be the better Prime Minister for the UK at this moment (an increase of four points in the last fortnight), whereas about a third (32%) now think Keir Starmer would be.

    Bring British people together Tories 40% Lab 32%
    Build Strong Economy Tories 44% Labour 29 %
    Work well with Foreign Leaders Tories 41% Lab 34%
    Can tackle the Pandemic Tories 39% Lab 27%
    Better foreign Strategy Tories 36% Lab 26%

    Moreover, while Keir Starmer continues to lead the Prime Minister on several key characteristics, his lead has shrunk by 7% to one point (within the margin of error) in regard to who represents change and who cares about ordinary people.

  40. Hove GE’15 result (change from GE’10)

    LAB: 22,082 (+5,656) gain from CON
    LDEM: 1,861 (-9,379)

    sub-total: 23,943 (-3,723)

    CON: 20,846 (+2,552) lose to LAB as most LDEM went to LAB

    Similar in other ‘Uni’ seats, eg Calamity Clegg eventually lost his ‘Uni’ seat in GE’17 (Sheffield Hallam) although after the Jared O’Mara ‘issue” then LDEM did nearly win it back in GE’19

    In Wales, then Ceredigion has Aberystwyth University and the collapse of LDEM has made that a ‘safe’ seat for PC now (altho there was a very optimistic chance CON could have won that in GE’19 on a very split ‘left-Remain’ vote combined with ‘Unite the right’)

    LDEM’s coalition years and the ‘betrayal’ of their previous decent student % and even some uni seats (eg Cambridge, Leeds NW, etc as well) has turned most ‘Uni seats’ to LAB, either in GE’15 or GE’17

    Bath and Oxford W+A are LDEM and slightly more complex seats. Very ‘posh’ + students and possibly some strong local appeal of their MP has kept them as the best ABCON choice and LAB out.. for now.

  41. TW

    I can certainly agree with your final point that places with a young population profile are trending Con>Lab. The same can be said of constituencies with a higher than average proportion of graduates.

    To my mind, it is these factors which have led places such as Hove to trend to Labour rather than specifically, the ‘student’ population. .

  42. R&W write-up and tabs (TOH posted the headline VI)

    Vaccines news stated as explanation for:

    CON HMG being seen as less incompetent -11 (+3)
    Boris approval rating boost -1 (+7)

    Rishi has taken a hit as has Sir Keir, with both down

    and for JJ and TOH

    “Boris Johnson’s straight contest lead over Keir Starmer more than doubled to 11% this week ;)

  43. @ TOH – Great minds.. as they say ;)

    @ ON – ;)

  44. Old Nat

    Many thanks for that reassuring news on there being 23 vaccine distribution points planned across Scotland.

    Cheering after hearing the Cv cases in our local care home have risen to 72 today from 44 yesterday. I believe Aberdeenshire soon ought to rise to tier 3, with the virus surging to much higher incidence than in any period since March. Prof Hugh Pennington telling us not to worry when the location of most of these outbreaks is known (livestock slaughtering plants, fish processors, care homes) helps only a little.

  45. ToH

    Seems like the polling continues to give the Conservatives a slight lead. Which can only be a good thing imo.

    I expect to see a slight bounce for the Tories with the announcement of an approved vaccine.

    It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the brexit world in the event of a no deal especially as it seems it would have been very possible to conclude a deal had the French President Macron not interfered at the last moment over fishing rights. Just goes to show who besides Merkel actually runs the EU.

    I still think it more likely there will be a deal personally however I’m not sure I understand Macrons decision other than internal French politics because if there’s no deal there’s going to be precious little French fishing in U.K. waters.

    Still in the event of no deal I wonder how history at least in the EU will judge Macron, the man who put his re-election ahead of the damage to EU economy ,the same charge so often levelled at Johnson by the remainers.

  46. Davwel

    Knowing such things is relatively simple by listening to the ScotGov briefings, or in media made in Scotland.

    I understand that your preference would be for the London based media to accurately report on matters across the whole state, but ….

    As another example, Swinney had to point out today that media reports of “UKGov” giving quarantine exemption to high-value [1] business travellers when returning to “the UK” was b0ll0cks. UKGE made that decision only for such people returning to England from high Covid risk areas. No such exemption applies in any other part of the UK.

    [1] High value to the Tory Party, perhaps?

  47. @ JAMES E – A lot of students stay in their ‘uni seat’ after graduation[1] and there a lot more students being pumped out by ‘graduate farms’ than back in the day.

    Hence post the CON+LDEM coalition any ‘uni seat’ is going to have more graduates that will never vote LDEM or CON (well not until they start to pay a lot of tax).

    Hence LAB will continue ‘vote stacking’ in those seats – with very few gains left (eg possibly Bucks New Uni (Wycombe) or ‘spill over’ into Reading West from Reading East)

    At some point undergrads and fresh grads might ‘forget’ LDEM’s coalition years baggage and help split the vote to return likes of Canterbury to CON (and/or Sir Keir releases that ‘free fees for all’ is a tax break for the rich that just pumps out more 50k+ debt kids from poorer backgrounds and/or at 11bn/year is a bit too pricey) at which point the GOTV for LAB in those seats would likely drop.

    Pretty sure we more or less agree, just adding some detail.

    PS In Scotland then the opposite applies. SNP’s ‘free fees’ generates a very loyal ‘graduate’ vote for the dominant LoC party in Scotland and that builds every year.

    [1] “The study has revealed that over a third (36%) of students stayed and worked in their city of study”

  48. Turk

    “…it seems it would have been very possible to conclude a deal had the French President Macron not interfered at the last moment over fishing rights. Just goes to show who besides Merkel actually runs the EU”

    All EU Member States have a right of veto over new ‘mixed’ trade deals. You may not have known this, but our Government certainly should!

  49. Interesting the difference between the Redfield and Wilton poll and today’s Yougov (fieldwork 2-3 December) which has Johnson on -27 favourability, down 2 from 19 November. Can’t believe the vaccine wouldnt have had a personal effect but there we go.

  50. Turk

    “Seems like the polling continues to give the Conservatives a slight lead. Which can only be a good thing imo.”

    I agree that the latest poll almost certainly reflects a one off “vaccine bounce” for the Tories.I have been amazed how well the Tories numbers have held up over the summer. I think it is clear that the voters still think Labour unfit for office but of course they have time before the next election ti improve on that perception.

    On Brexit my best guess remains that there will be no deal, I have not changed that view for a long time now. Not long to wait and see now by the looks of it.

    I think the French have had a run of poor presidents, Macron certainly looks poor, and Sarkozy is in deep trouble it seems.

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