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.

12,036 Responses to “On the importance of the “Red Wall” seats”

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  1. @ JAMES E – Did you read my reply to you t’tother day on LDEM tactical voting from GE’19 (eg Esher and Walton)?

    There were several ‘Tactical Voting’ websites trying to coordinate the Remain (ABCON) vote, eg

    So in quite a few seats LDEM votes were boosted by ABCON voters (who pinched their nose and might well wish to ‘forget’)

    Tactical voting generally favours LAB but that process has been going on since 2015 and in many areas, notably ‘the wall’ there is very little LDEM vote left (eg Redcar, where LDEM have gone from an MP in 2010-15 to just 4.9% of the vote in GE’19) – those once LDEM voters are now LAB voters (unless/until LDEM find a ‘raison d’etre’)

    LDEM might retain some seats on ‘incumbent’ claim but as we saw in N.Norfolk those seats turn Blue once the incumbent goes. LAB have already taken most of the ‘Uni’ seats but Bath, Oxford.W. and arguably some of the SW.London seats are still Orange (not ‘pure’ Uni seats but LDEM are the clear ABCON vote)

    LDEM, in terms of Westminster seats, need a raison d’etre otherwise they will become an increasingly small number of defacto ‘well liked’ local Ind.

    Once analysis to look at is how well LDEM (and Greens) do in LA elections (and EP elections) compared to Westminster seats.

    FPTP is brutal – you either find a major ‘raison d’etre’ to get to a high % of vote or establish a solid ‘geographic niche’ (eg SNP, PC and possibly LDEM in SW London) else you die playing a PR approach in a FPTP system.

    LDEM face an existential threat but it appears they ain’t bovvered. The issue then is who gets whats left of their VI and seats?

    PS Although UKIP were arguably the most influential party in the last decade and at their peak they only managed 2 MPs.

  2. Sky News has taken the vaccine supply numbers that were withdrawn from the ScotGov vaccine briefing, and grossed them up to UK level’

    If Scotland has been given a supply of vaccine proportional to its per capita share of the UK’s population, as sources with experience of UK-wide immunisation programmes say is normal, then the UK will easily have enough vaccine to make its February target.

    The Sky report is a little inaccurate. The vaccine plan is based on what UKGov said would be delivered. It is only those future deliveries that could cause concern for “commercial considerations”.

    To imagine a conspiracy theory whereby UKGov could plan to either under deliver or over promise vaccine supply to one part of the UK would require UKGov to be brilliantly able to form an elaborate plan (for some unknown reason) to disrupt vaccination in part of its territory.

    UKGov has shown no sign of having that degree of competence before, so it isn’t clear how they would manage it this time, or secure the compliance in such a plot of the large number of officials employed in procurement, and delivery planning.

    Additionally, Ministers in UKGov may be inept and incompetent, but they aren’t stupid.

  3. @JIB

    In my industry there is a big argument about the deskilling of the industry the argument about black cab and uber drivers is a classic example of this. Again it is the ability of technology to do the deskilling, the lack of regulation that allows certain style of innovation to occur and then the fact we have to deal with the consequences.

    My worry is that we have created a situation that makes deskill a logical response to making money in a attempt to create a monopoly. Uber as it stands has managed to corner investments on the idea of all that money creating a monopoly it need not make a profit until the monopoly is guaranteed and yet we seem to be powerless to do something about it. they take advantage of striated markets allowing for domination of the markets.

    The issue of skills is not as complicated as people seem to suggest as I said the way the CIPD did it was actualy a rather good way. At 10 year of age y daughter could have worked a till at Tescos easily she did not even need to be able to to add up in the main. But I would argue that she would not have been able to work at the fishmongers without significant extra training or would not be able to butcher a lamb carcass both are skilled job requiring extra knowledge (some of us pick up such skills over time informally but we need to recognise that is a skill.

    So I think we need to understand skilled /unskilled issue because without it we will not even be able to identify what the problem is let alone solve it.

    it was the reason that I believe that while blair speech was interesting on several reads I found it rather frustrating.

    as to DANNY’s comment about care works being unskilled. I would argue that much of the rationale for them being unskilled is that they are easily replaceable and thus are low wage. if you had to have 4% of carers having to be able to give palliative proper nursing care I suspect we would not have hadas many deaths in homes as we had.Indeed we have only 41K nurses employed in adult care compared to a total staff of over 1.5Million kind of suggest that something is wrong.

  4. @ OLDNAT – ?!? You’ve accepted one point and I’ll re-ask the other:

    “Will you also acknowledge that Scotland is getting a lot more vaccine doses as part of UK than it would be getting as part of EU”

    If you acknowledge that then I’ll state I ‘misunderstood’ the intention of your multiple comments (rants) on UK HMG vaccine roll-out.

    NB Chuck the insults and faux outrage around if you like – water off a duck’s back mate ;)

  5. Lewblew,
    “To Lewblew: The fundamental point is that SARS-COV-2 will remain endemic in the rest of the world, particularly the developing world, unless vaccine roll out is a global one.”

    Well no. The fundamental point is it will remain endemic here too, just symptoms will be less.

    “I do believe the eradication of here is possible – the “original” outbreak died out many months ago, and the autumn wave was seeded by travellers from Spain”

    I dont understand your comment. Wave 1 in the Uk did not die out, it just went low. Wave 2 was an outbreak amongst youngsters sent back to education. What I have read suggests that by that time the virus had already mutated, which it does constantly and cumulatively. Wave three has been christened a new variant because it has aquired enough mutation to overcome immunity, and I guess overcome what you might calll herd immunity.

    I would agree with you it is possible the new variant arose in the Uk or on the continent. It is suggestive that it arose adjacent to the channel tunnel/ferry links.

    “If you can start undertaking the role with minimal training and rely on common sense – unskilled.”

    Common sense can be quite uncommon.

    “Skilled jobs usually involve considerable training, mentoring and certification requirements. ”

    Sounds like the definition of a closed shop. Many occupations have introduced certification almost as a status symbol, wthout much gain. Most teacher training courses, for example, seem to grossly fail to teach teachers how to controll a class and impart knowledge effectively. Perhaps that is because the vested interest of the certificate poviders is to pass people. Training people half of whom immediately quit the profession because they cannot do the job is for the certificate providers an ideal outcome.

  6. Laschet was elected as president of the CDU, so the candidate who is most likely to continue Merkel’s politics.

  7. LASZLO The UK attempted to introduce something similar, but not very successfully. The current NVQ system in the UK is not very reliable at lower levels unfortunately

    Which means you consider it reliable at higher levels? I have an NVQ5 and a NEBSM. Neither of which are particularly difficult. In fact not difficult at all, and have never proved to be of much use. The NEBSM has marginally, but the NVQ5 never has, not even in the job I was doing at the time, and the employer was footing the bill for it.. I found the CSCS card needed for building sites more difficult than either and worth far more.

  8. @ Danny

    “I dont understand your comment. Wave 1 in the Uk did not die out, it just went low. Wave 2 was an outbreak amongst youngsters sent back to education. What I have read suggests that by that time the virus had already mutated, which it does constantly and cumulatively. Wave three has been christened a new variant because it has aquired enough mutation to overcome immunity, and I guess overcome what you might calll herd immunity.”

    You’re not a scientist, so it’s not surprising that you don’t. Basically the original “strain” of SARS-COV-2 has gone – it exhausted its victims and burnt itself out.

    The strain imported from Spain might as well have been a new novel disease – it infected a whole new set of individuals and their social contacts. Probably a lot of youngsters who’d packed in a cheap end of season blow out in Spain before heading to Uni.

    The genome work allows scientists to map the infection pathways. Hence I stick to my line, has SARS-COV-2 not been reimported from Spain, the epidemic here would have ended as in New Zealand or Australia (mostly) etc.


    You point out one of the biggest issues with regards our educational system it is not really fit for purpose for those that are basically not academically strong. We need to rethink tertiary education but also rethink life long education because basically without this we are [email protected]#ked as a nation and our skills base and productivity goes down


    Part of the problem is many of these issues are those people that are employed on behalf of the state. That you need smallr classes you can do two thing bring in a lower class of teacher or get more fully trained teachers one cost a lot of money and the other cost less so guess what happens you go for the cheaper option so now you can have teaching assistance whom are not qualified teacher and and slowly you get mission creep.

    In the end it is about cost not closed workshop if you can do it cheaper you do if you can deskill you do that is how capital works it also means that your productivity gains are not based on better quality but lower quality and more throughput.

    Teacher are taught class control as part of their training. I often say to people if you are constantly ragged on no matter how well you do as a profession are you surprised that people leave that profession.


    “It takes longer to train a London black cab driver because of ‘the knowledge’ (whose only qualification is a driving licence), than it does to train a HGV class 2 driver, who has a vastly superior licence (5 day course). So you therefore must believe said London cabbie, is more skilled than a Class 2 HGV driver jockeying a 40-50 tonne (and more) articulated HGV. Which is patently and obviously not true. And black cabs not in London where they dont learn knowledge?”

    I don’t believe a HGV driver is less skilled than a black cabbie. Both are skilled occupations that are appropriately regulated.

  11. OLDNAT
    If Scotland has been given a supply of vaccine proportional to its per capita share of the UK’s population

    Thats not strictly how its allocated though is it? Its how many per capita of groups 1-4 I believe (which is undeniably fairer) which puts a slightly different perspective on the allocation issue, bringing demographics into it.

  12. TW

    Tactical voting is a separate matter.

    As you say there are some constituencies where it is clear that the LDs benefitted from tactical votes from Lab, but these are only about 30 or so out of 632 across GB. It could be that the ‘forgetful’ 20% of the 2019 LD voters coincides with this to some extent. However, the only finding that I can trace as to what proportion of voters voted ‘tactically’ for the LDs puts this as just 5% – hardly surprising where there are so few seats where a tactical vote for the LDs looked worthwhile.

    “5 per cent of the electorate voted Lib Dem even though another party was their first choice. This group would largely have voted Labour in 2017.”

    It’s a fair point that winning 2019LD voters does not generally give Labour more support in the right places: parity between Lab and Con in votes would probably leave the Tories as the largest party in the HoC by about 25 seats.

  13. CBX1985

    Sorry to here that youer wife is positive despite a first dose of vaccine. Hope you both are OK going forward, Iv’e got my fingers crossed for you.

  14. JIB – but you believe an uber driver in London is unskilled when the only difference between them and their back cab counterparts in London is ‘the knowledge’, and outside London no difference at all.

  15. Charles,
    “Manaus does not seem good news for herd immunity theorists. Either herd immunity is very difficult to reach,or it is very short-lived, or it is vulnerable to mutations. Belief in herd immunity does, however, seem to encourage risky behaviour and that is not good news at all.”

    I dont remember when I got to this view, but it was a while back, i do not think we can ever get herd immunity to covid in the way we do to measles. measles is much more an all or nothing disease. Whereas colds, flus and covid are a question of degree.

    The reason we cannot create herd immunity is because these viruses change. But on the other hand nor do we start from scratch in defeating a new one. Thus we end up at the situation where hardly anyone dies from a ‘cold’, some die from flus, and more die from covid. When it arrived covid was already some way down the harm ladder because of existing immunity and will continue to sink . it might stop at the flu level, or the cold level. Whichever we will be stuck with it there.

    What we have to decided is what level of deaths is acceptable for us to return to normal. This question is linked to another, how many of those deaths were inevitable whatever we did, or at least whatever we did from the selection of known choices.

    Unknown choices include how Japan has kept serious illness so low, and at least potentially how Hastings had covid without noticing in winter 2019/20. The Hastings evidence could be interpreted that without intervention it survived its first outbreak much better than its recent one where restrictions were in place. This is not impossible, for example that lockdown has materially harmed our general acquisition of immunity through low level exposure. Or, it could simply be since covid deaths are naturally not much more than typical winter deaths, simply no one noticed them in Hastings. We have really done all this for a level of death which is not much off normal.

  16. passtherockplease,
    “we have only 41K nurses employed in adult care compared to a total staff of over 1.5Million kind of suggest that something is wrong.”

    From experience I would say a formal nursing qualification can be counter productive when looking for an adult carer. Its not the right ability set. Formally qualified nurses dont do hands on care so much these days, they have auxil!iary (ie unqualifed or various less qualified) to do that.

    I know someone who used to be a qualified ward nurse. When she started out that was what nurses were, but it came to the point as the one qualified nurse on duty, she was by default in charge of all the auxil!aries telling them how to do things. So she went and worked for a GP instead. Who of course are also following this process of passing work down the chain to less qualified people, ie getting in nurses and nurse practitioners to do it.

    next time in hospital look for a chart showing the hordes of different uniforms designating different ranks. Something to pass the time when we return to waiting around for appointments.

  17. Andrew Williams

    “Thats not strictly how its allocated though is it?”

    The quote is from the Sky News article. Did you read it?

    It might be that current vaccine delivery is allocated on pro rata numbers in Groups 1-4 (though that would be somewhat unfair, since all polities are dealing only with groups 1 &2). I don’t know. Do you have a link.

    In any case, the article is based on the numbers given by UKGov to ScotGov for vaccine supply to all 9 priority groups.

    That isn’t the issue, however. The question is why is there so much secrecy as to the supply timing? UKGov and its supporters how “world beating” it has been in securing supply and in Scotland, the Tory opposition has been demanding that ScotGov publish vaccine delivery quantities for each Health Board on a daily basis.

    They do that (as the press does) to scrutinise whether the vaccination programme is working effectively (and hoping to make mischief, of course, as well – but that is normal politics everywhere).

    Holding governments to account matters in a democracy. That’s also one of the reasons governments like to keep some things hidden! (again normal politics).

    But why is UKGov so keen to keep the numbers of vaccines they claim to have guaranteed a secret?

    As Sky also say Without these numbers it’s very hard to judge the UK’s progress. We only have the assurances from ministers – which, for understandable reasons, many people are reluctant to rely on.

  18. @CBX1985 – just caught up with your news. likewise, from me – hope it passes with no major effects.

    On a lighthearted note, the pandemic has made me wonder whether it’s time to dispense with one of the English languages most annoyingly ill used expressions;

    “You really need to stay positive”.

    No thanks. Being negative has it’s compensations.


  19. While we are talking about the English language, the OED has apparently included a new definition in their next edition:

    “Sovereignty – being masters of one’s own downfall”

  20. As the UK broadcast media tentatively starts to go the Fox News route, an interesting perspective from one of the Murdoch clan –

    “The damage is profound,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years.

    “I hope that those people who didn’t think it was that dangerous now understand, and that they stop.”

    He added that the media would inevitably face “a reckoning” after being “co-opted by forces that only want to stay in power, or are manipulating our discourse from abroad and are only too happy to make a mess and burn things down.””

    Fishermen, hauliers, logistics firms and many others might think that such words could equally apply to Brexit today as they do to events in the US.

  21. Passtherockplease,
    “,Part of the problem is many of these issues are those people that are employed on behalf of the state. That you need smallr classes you can do two thing bring in a lower class of teacher or get more fully trained teachers one cost a lot of money and the other cost less so guess what happens you go for the cheaper option so now you can have teaching assistance whom are not qualified teacher and and slowly you get mission creep.”

    Private schools do not in my experience bring in poorer or less qualified staff. they do pay less but expecting the same or better standard. because working conditions are much better, smaller classes and more prep time, longer day but longer holidays, this is an attraction for some. Also the general standard of discipline is much better, making the job easier, and parental support frequently much stronger -because if they werent motovated to make sure their kids learn and behave, they wouldnt be paying for a private school .

    My understanding is increasingly state schools end up with auxill!aries originally conceived as class room assistants being left in charge for lack of enough qualified staff. So the whole thing has come full circle. The state has reinvented the unqualified teacher because it needs them.

    There is no shortage of qualified teachers in the Uk, Its just that most would rather do somethign else, and are.

    “In the end it is about cost not closed workshop”

    Private schools are about a better outcome for the kids. Thats what you are paying for. There is a direct motive to provide high quality value added teaching for every child. that simply is not the case in state schools, which are only interested in achieving government targets.

    There are some very good state schools, and some very bad ones. one of the problems for standards is that competition is often only against local schools. So if all the local schools are bad, you do not need to perform better than an excellent school in the next county. Private parents are not restricted by distance in their choice, and schools lay on transport themselves to widen catchment areas.

  22. @LASZLO

    That’s good news about the new CDU leader. One contender was a ne0-liberal Thatcherite. IMO it’s good for Germany and the EU that he didn’t get it.

  23. @ALEC

    Given all of this, I’m revising my views on the short term impacts of Brexit. I think it is going to be more damaging to the UK economy than I thought, and also I strongly suspect that the reputation of UK businesses across the board is going to be tarnished.

    I keep asking myself what did the deal actually buy the UK government. if they did this deal to sell itself as ‘winning’ I don’t think that it feels like winning in any way. If they sold this deal as something smart, again I have no clue as to how it got to that position basically I am rather perplexed as to how they believe that this was ever going to be anything other than a [email protected]#k

    What has surprised me is that the simple acquiescence of the fact as to where we are. it is almost as to say after we have had a red hot poker up our collective rears t say well we survived that so it had to be good.

    The problem is that people watching this debacle would want to keep well away from us for a while. It is obvious if you see someone doing slef harm on the street and giving you a hard time the instinct is to be wary of the situation,

    What has not surprised me is that from the many coments I have seen here that even those of us (not me I thought it would be no deal) seemed to imagine a UK that understood the implications of this. I would argue that in 6 months there will be rumblings of why did we not go for no deal


    Drop in GDP last year: Germany 5%, France and Italy 9%, UK 11%.

    Germany locked down earlier and fiercer than UK which meant that Germany’s additional spending on the virus fallout accounted for 4.3% of its £3.3 tn economy; in the UK virus spending was 12.4% of a £2.2 tn economy

    Figures from Oxford Economics and others.

    More world-beating.

  25. @ JAMES E – Tactical Voting is impossible to ‘prove’.

    It’s hardly surprising B4B came up with a low number on a retrospective analysis given they were pushing Tactical Voting very hard prior to GE’19 – easier to blame the voters than an ineffective effort to deny CON a majority[1]

    There is a lot of ‘coincidence’ in the ‘lumpiness’ of LDEM vote % at a seat level.

    For sure part of the ‘lumpiness’ might be ‘incumbency’ (eg Lamb in N.Norfolk (pre GE’19), Farron in Westmorland, etc) or a very strong local ‘new’ candidate against a poorly regarded incumbent (eg LDEM gain in St.Albans) and might be a bit of a ‘geographic niche’ (as they seem to have in SW.London) – they have so few seats or marginals that it easy to look at them individually.

    However, there a lots of ‘similar’ seats from GE’19 where LDEM get what would seem like way above their ‘real’ level of support.

    For LAB or Green folks, perhaps even some CON-Remain who voted LDEM in GE’19 (or ’15 or ’17) as the best ABCON / Remain option then it seems more likely they wish to ‘forget’ they voted LDEM (ie the issues you mention)

    It is different when viewed the other way. For LDEMs (GE’19 or ’17) that have moved to LAB in many seats then I doubt that was due to the ‘Corbyn effect’ and for ‘cognitive consistency’ then, especially now, it is easier to claim you voted LAB coz you wanted to (ie not just as ABCON). With Starmer (Blair2.0) then anyone who was LDEM pre GE’15 and had voted LAB since is likely now a safe LAB vote and would state LAB as VI – ‘forgetting’ that they ever voted LDEM in the past.

    It would be impossible to prove but that is quite a plausible explanation for the numbers your analysis is providing (ie a chunk of LDEM’19 were not ‘real’ LDEM votes but were tactical ABCON / Remain votes who wish to ‘forget’ they voted LDEM)

    The ‘Lumpy’ (tactical vote) can have a material impact on GE results (as B4B hoped it would prior to GE’19) and is perhaps best seen in looking at Focaldata’s MRP versus Electoral Calculus (or one’s own) model.

    Simplistic MRP will likely ‘strip out’ tactical voting and we can see that in all LDEM seats and marginals in Focaldatas spreadsheet (see comments made at the time).

    TBC in the next GE of course but if LDEM don’t receive some tactical voting (lumpy) help in most of the seats they currently hold (or hope to win) then… see Focaldata MRP analysis of how many MPs they would have after GE’24

    [1] Compare the “Our efforts helped Labour to victory in six seats they may well not have otherwise won “ analysis after GE’19 post to “Over 150 seats where a pro-EU alliance is needed to win” hope before GE’19

    Also beyond the ‘direct’ impact (or lack of) from Tactical Voting then does it create a retaliation view and indirectly help the other side (eg Isle of Wight where LDEM stood down to help Green but CON ended up winning a larger majority and to add insult to injury, Green vote share actually went down – possibly due to being associated with the toxic LDEM brand?)


    ‘JIB – but you believe an uber driver in London is unskilled when the only difference between them and their back cab counterparts in London is ‘the knowledge’

    That’s not really true. Black Cab drivers have to know things like: where is the nearest cashpoint that dispenses Euros. The Knowledge is far more than just getting from A to B.


    “but you believe an uber driver in London is unskilled when the only difference between them and their back cab counterparts in London is ‘the knowledge’, and outside London no difference at all.”

    Aided by technology, but yes, fundamentally unskilled vs a black cab driver.

  28. In terms of population of 80+ then by region and nation (% of total population in nation)

    NE: 140,848 (5.3%)
    NW: 364,403 (5.0%)
    Y+H: 277,171 (5.0%)
    E.Mids: 246,518 (5.1%)
    W.Mids: 303,023 (5.1%)
    East: 347,541 (5.6%)
    London: 301,733 (3.4%)
    S.East: 508,926 (5.5%)
    S.West: 346,801 (6.2%)

    England totals: 2,836,964 (5.0%)

    NI: 81,578 (4.3%)
    Scotland: 269,894 (4.9%)
    Wales: 174,163 (5.5%)

    UK totals: 3,362,599 (5.0%)

    Source: ONS link provided earlier

    NB Khan was playing politics with his claim about London (hence placed in bold – London has a much younger population that other regions/nations). Also note how more advanced NI really are given their younger population (and how further behind Wales really is).

    NB2 Lots of folks (including myself on critique of some Groan and Tabby analysis) are using different sets of data for different things. EG the Tabbster is using ‘adult population’ as the denominator for his %s. IMO the correct measure is totals in relevant priority groups but I don’t know the split of Care Homes (we could assume vast majority are 80+ and certainly 70+ so can remove any double counting issues)

    @ BFR – Thanks for your input t’tother day. Revisions made. Data above or on the ONS link if anyone wants to check progress themselves rather than rely on press.

  29. @Toby

    No doubt someone will claim that lockdown in the UK economy produced the wrong type of GDP drop.

  30. Andrew Williams

    I said lower level NVQs, because they have no formalised assessment (or very few have) of skills (just a course file).

    I have been invited to attend a formal assessment in a German Fachschule – both practical and theoretical (it was in food industry – related to lactic acid fermentation). It was extremely impressive.

    Mind, I was also invited to attend a French artisan exam – the candidate had to measure two kilos of salt by hand (+/- 3% error) as a part of a bakery certificate and also had to produce a sugar coated cake with not more than two cracks… On the other hand they also had to produce a three-layer wedding bread loaf which was probably more relevant.

  31. Y’days news (rumours) but from YG:

    “Reports have emerged that the government may scrap the 48-hour working week limit.

    But just 12% of Britons (and 16% of Tory voters) think that employers should be allowed to ask workers to work more than 48 hours a week”

    If the ‘rumour’ was floating a trail ballon then the verdict = lead balloon.


    Of course Black Cabs have satnav too but in fact the drivers use Knowledge ‘runs’ usually, which time-honoured practice have proved to be quicker than satnav.

  33. GDP data. Plenty of info on why the measurement of GDP has exaggerated the C19 -ve impact on UK.

    Note, that what is incorrectly measured on the way down provides a larger YoY bounce on the way back up ;)

    So you won’t find any CON-Leave folks who understand the GDP data complaining about a low base number set in 2020 :-) :-)

    Remainers – the gift that keeps on giving :-) :-)


    ‘wrong kind of GDP drop’. That seems to be what TW is saying (if I could make head or tail of it) – he probably knows much better than Oxford Economics, though.

  35. @ TE – :-) :-) :-)

    Nope… perhaps try and work it out yourself. I’m totally fine with the reported numbers for 2020.

  36. NHS England vaccine. Cumulative (daily)

    1st dose: 3,090,058 (+320,894)
    2nd dose: 424,327 (+3,817)

    Total: 3,514,385 (+324,711)

    Which is 45k increase on y’days numbers and the kind of numbers we need to hit the end of Jan and 15Feb target. Ideally we ramp up further as could be a Sunday effect and it would be nice to beat the target and beat it on high % uptake and actual jabs (not just the vague ‘offer’)

    PS IMO, then If any polity (incl. very local) has completed groups 1+2 then should continue down their local priority groups and not wait for other polities to ‘catch-up’. Each nation at a national level then needs to focus on areas that need help ‘catching-up’ deploying ‘best practise’ info and additional resources as required.

    IE ‘Level Up’ but don’t punish success.

  37. I`ve just been reading in our “evening” paper, recently arrived, that mass vaccinations have just started in NE Scotland

    I realise that paywalls stop the actual double-spread article being available. But in light of the arguments of TW, ON, and others earlier today, I thought I ought to give the news on there being a start, this 5 weeks after the same happened in parts of England. Also the article has statements from NHS Grampian that expansion of the programme depends on doses becoming available and on the recruitment of staff to do the jabbing.

    TW gave earlier some percents for England and Scotland, which certainly showed Scotland lagging. But these were overall figures and didn`t reflect the different priority listing in the two nations. I agree with TW that the Scotland delay for over-80s in the general population resulted from a SG decision to go first to hospital staff and care homes. A decision OK when it was made, but 5 weeks later and with CV increasing, there has been much worry in the general older population.

    I also agree with ON and the SCONs that the info on doses promised, doses delivered and actually jabbed, should be transparent. Because this London Tory government is so little trusted here. Even TW was posting that a few porkies from Johnson are allowable.

  38. @ DAVWEL – “Even TW was posting that a few porkies from Johnson are allowable”

    Nope. Not when it comes to anything related to C19, specifically the vaccine info. No porkies, not even for ‘spin’ should be allowed or accepted from any politician. I have stated that beyond some specific issues that England (UK) should set Israel as the ‘Platinum standard’ of vaccine roll out and although I’m glad to see our numbers up we can and must do better.

    Scotland. Devolved responsibility for healthcare and is not my polity and I haven’t commented on what approach your polity is doing.

    I have posted links to the info for my polity (England) and in a corrected post did mention folks should check the Travelling Tabby info for themselves.

    As I hope you already know, Scot.Gov joined the ‘4 Nation’ vaccine program (ie purchase orders) and acknowledges MHRA as the regulatory authority. Without any evidence to the contrary then all nations are receiving equal access to vaccine doses but some are clearly jabbing at different rates – those issues are often ‘local’ logistical poor planning issues (as I have mentioned) but I’m not commenting on what is going on in Scotland as that is not my polity.

    PS London has a LAB mayor not a Tory. Khan certainly has been stating a few porkies and I’ve called him out on that (specifically London has a much lower % of over 80s and that will obviously impact jabs given %s when shown as a % of total population)

  39. Davwel

    “the Scotland delay for over-80s in the general population resulted from a SG decision to go first to hospital staff and care homes.”

    You are also agreeing with me on that, since it is what I told you some time back.

    It’s also possible to rephrase that –

    “the English delay for hospital staff and care homes, resulted from a UKGE decision to go first to over-80s in the general population”.

    As I reported earlier, PHE decided (perfectly sensibly within their health system) that the logistics of using the Pfizer vaccine in all but the largest care homes made keeping them as the first priority impractical.

    It would be foolish to “blame” PHE for that decision to defer vaccinating many of those in the very highest priority group, due to their NHS structure. Different structures and geographies are factors that the planners in any system will take into account when choosing the most appropriate methodology.

  40. RS Archer
    Jan 15
    CEO of French haulage firm interviewed this morning,

    “We have decided to no longer accept orders for Great Britain, the paperwork and delays are just so bad it is not worth it for us. Our drivers do not want to go there any longer”

  41. TW
    London does have a lower level of elderly but it also has much higher level of ethnic minority population and huge problems in relation to low income and inadequate housing. Plus of course it’s population density is far greater than for example the South West.

    All of these are factors established as significant in both the spread of the disease and outcome.

    A less charitable person would think you picked one single factor simply because you thought it undermined Khan’s point.

  42. TW – re LD 2019 subsamples

    While it is hard to quantify the exact proportion of voters who voted tactically, the 5% figure for 2019 LDs looks intuitively right; the fact that the polling it is based on was sponsored by Best for Britain isn’t really relevant (unless you can identify some factor that skewed the responses). Besides, as I mentioned above, the LDs were only in contention in around 30 of the 632 GB seats, which would greatly reduce the scope for people to cast a vote for them tactically: 5% of all LD 2019 votes would equate to around 30-40% of the votes cast for them in the genuine LD/Con contests.

    In contrast, it is possible to measure the underrepresentation of 2019 LDs in the non-panel pollsters – and I have done so for all the non- panel polls that have been conducted since the start of December.

    The results speak for themselves: in all 8 polls, the ‘unweighted’ figure for LibDem 2019 voters is significantly lower then the ‘weighted’ figure – and by an average of more than 20%. Conversely, the Labour ‘unweighted’ figure in every poll is larger than the ‘weighted’ figure, but by a smaller margin.

    Samples for last 8 non-panel polls, 2019 voters by ‘unweighted/weighted’.
    R& W 11 Jan LD 147/206, Lab 596/572
    ComRes 8 Jan LD115/129, Lab 491/488
    Delta 30 Dec LD 94/163, Lab 476/461
    Survation 22 Dec LD 85/97, Lab 273/256
    ComRes 21 Dec LD 159/176, Lab 565/503
    ComRes 13 Dec LD 95/110, Lab 469/461
    Survation 10 Dec LD 192/234, Lab 1068/1027
    R&W 2 Dec LD 142/204, Lab 609/586

    [The overall ‘shortfall’ in 2019 LD voters is 290, with those reporting having voted labour being 193 more in aggregate].

  43. King’s app report for 16 Jan, figures up to 12 Jan.

    As yesterday, England and UK R=0.9, London 0.8. East dropped from 0.9 to 0.8. N. Ireland dropped 1.1 to 1.0.

    General fall in cases from 1 Jan. So actual infections from 1-2 weeks previous, about the start of the christmas holidays.

    Should be noted perhaps that English infections by age group shows 0-19 group cases falling from 23 nov to 7 Dec, then more or less flat and lower than other groups ever since. Other age groups rose signficantly x2-3 (various for different groups) and peaked in the region of 5-14 jan at slightly different times. So all in all the one group which did not take part in the recent rise and fall was age 0-19.

    I am tempted to conclude that once again government has arrived too late. Wave 2 was about schools, but in wave 3 they did not take part despite schools remaining open. This pattern varies a bit in different regions, with a little rise amongst youngsters in some, but its a pretty solid conclusion. The exact opposite of how it went last time in September.

  44. JAMES E.
    It is lovely to have some good political discussion at las, so thank you.

    You probably know that ‘Harold’ gained power in 1964 and again in 1974 (the latter date was my first GE voting) on the back of significant increases in the Liberal Vote. The shift from Alec Douglas Home to Grimond and then from Heath to Thorpe was very helpful to Labour.

    Starmer needs a revival among the Lib Dems to hold off another swing to the Tories and to ‘take’ Tory votes in some Labour v Tory marginals.

  45. @ OLDNAT – I’m not commenting on your polity, Scotland, but you keep commenting on England without the facts. Where are you getting your info concerning my polity from – SNP HQ?

    England are prioritising groups 1 and 2. Not 1 then 2, or 2 then 1. 1 AND 2 – before end of Jan (then 1-4 by 15Feb)

    There are logistical issues with different groups and obviously remote-rural areas with smaller numbers within the current priority groups will take up more human resource time than say a big city or region with high population density but those were KNOWN KNOWNS and should have been planned for.

    If you feel the need to comment on another polity please make the effort to get your facts right.

    Any issues within your polity, Scotland, is for Scottish residents to take up with their authorities (from local up to Holyrood) so maybe take a day off being a SNP sock puppet, eh?

  46. JIB,
    “You’re not a scientist,”

    Really Jib. you should not jump to conclusions. I did a science degree at arguably the world’s top university. (british rankings, anyway) One of the things I was taught and firmly believe in, is to try to make what you say or write understandable by anyone.

    ” Basically the original “strain” of SARS-COV-2 has gone – it exhausted its victims and burnt itself out. ”

    So we are in agreement it created a large amount of immunity to it, or at least in total there was a large amount of immunity , and in fact you think it was enough to end that outbreak without further intervention. The original outbreak was in fact over?

    That is what I have been arguing too.

    Or have you redefined what you mean by original strain, to confuse us all?

  47. TonyE

    I value Uber above taxi’s when out and about as the route they take me does not affect my cost and there is a record of the journey. I loathe the meter system and see the “knowledge” system to be akin supermarket staff being able to recall an entire stores barcodes.

    Taxi drivers were once skilled but are no more, as they are now just a “brand”.

    I have been interested in the skills argument. Except for a few key roles, I don’t see degrees offer more professional skill; they just help ground you as an individual and give you an inbuilt network (if you go to one that is respected).

    A butcher could train from leaving school at 16 and I’d argue is highly trained by 21. They won’t earn a fortune, but they have a valuable trade which there is always work.

    Most, though not all (i.e. nurses, teachers, doctors etc) grads on leaving University have deferred gaining those practical skills in the effort to be able to employable in — but most do not recognise that and come to a disappointment.

    As was said earlier, a skill should be a moat that prevents a school leaver from being appointed and being as good within a week. A call centre bod with an Oxbridge PhD is unskilled. An illiterate welder is highly skilled.

  48. we case numbers down nearly 40% on this time last week.

  49. Trevor

    Whether this is a finance thing, but I have found the WTD opt out form is always contained within the contract packs when you start a new job.

    You don’t have to sign it, but they don’t tell you that and it’s not a good look not to. Some jobs require long hours and not much you can do about it.

    For that reason, probably best left alone. Easily worked around, but looks like an employee friendly rule.

  50. @ JAMES E – I was merely offering a plausible explanation for part of the ‘forgetful’ issue and showing how it is relevant to seats (given we have a FPTP system)

    As for B4B asking ‘did you vote tactically in GE’19’ in a question asked in Jan’20 then I would hope the explanation of possible ‘false recall’ is obvious given you are commenting on ‘false recall’ issues.

    The ‘plausible explanation’ for such a low % of folks who said they voted tactically being a combination of ‘cognitive consistency’ (eg convincing yourself the candidate-party you vote for is the candidate-party you want to win – on the day you vote) and ‘pinching ones nose’

    It is impossible to ‘prove’ how many folks vote tactically in any past GE (or obtain an accurate estimate for future GEs) – asking before or after the event is not going to provide an accurate answer.

    IMO then ‘simplistic’ MRP versus actual GE results – if they were run at the exact same time would give an indication of Tactical Voting at a seat level but even then, as I mentioned, multiple local factors might be at play (incumbency, etc)

    IMO we are arguing the same point from a different perspective. IE LDEM received a higher number of votes in GE’19 than folks, asked now, would state as their GE’19 vote. The polls with the lower % for current LDEM VI are probably more accurate (although how folks would vote on the day might be different)

    PS Greens ‘recall’ is opposite issues but smaller numbers and one for another time. 1-2% in national polls is not the most important issue in a FPTP system.

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