YouGov have repeated their poll of 60 Lab/Con marginal seats for Channel 4 (I wrote about the previous survey here). Labour’s share of the vote in these seats has increased by 6 points since the previous poll in early September, while the Conservatives are down 2 points. Whereas the previous YouGov marginal poll translated into a Conservative majority of about 150, this one would equate to a Tory majority of 54.

This is a broadly similar pattern to that which we’ve seen in national polls since the conference season: Labour up around 6 points from the mid-twenties to 30 or so; the Conservatives down a couple of points into the low-40s. The marginal seats seem to have reacted to the banking crisis in pretty much the same way as the country as a whole.

There are some other interesting findings in the poll:

YouGov asked who people thought would make the better Prime Minister “right now IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS” (YouGov’s emphasis!) and found a solid lead for Gordon Brown: 41% to David Cameron’s 27%. However, they then asked who they felt would make the better Prime Minister after the next election and the position reversed, Cameron led Brown by 36% to 26%. While this is a pattern I expected in reality, I’m rather surprised to find it as coming out so explicitly in questioning: people want Brown now, but Cameron once the immediate crisis has passed.

Despite getting credit for his handling of the crisis, it really doesn’t appear to be helping Brown that much in electoral terms. For example, 58% of people said Brown had “shown read leadership in tackling the banking crisis…” but the majority of those people still went on to say ” …but does not deserve to be re-elected Prime Minister at the next election”. Overall 27% thought he had shown real leadership and deserved to be re-elected, 31% thought he had shown real leadership, but didn’t deserve re-election. 27% thought he failed to show any real leadership anyway.

Looking at the practical way forward, 49% of people said the government had to spend the money it did to rescue the banks, with 33% saying it was too generous to the banks (though there is little scope here for the opposition to appeal to that 33%, 53% of people also agreed that the Tories were only pretending to be tough on bankers.) Increasing borrowing “to help families through difficult economic times” however was unpopular. Only 24% agreed, with 49% disagreed – suggesting increased government borrowing will be a hard sell to the public.

YouGov also asked about “Boom and Bust” (topically given today’s PMQs). 39% of people in marginal seats thought the current crisis showed Brown “was wrong to talk about an end to boom and bust”, but 47% said that the present circumstances were extraordinary and Brown couldn’t be blamed. That doesn’t mean he is off the hook entirely though – despite people mostly blaming American banks for the current problems (61% think they are most to blame), 58% think Gordon Brown bears a lot of responsibility.

Finally, these are Labour vs Conservative marginal seats, so how the Liberal Democrats are seen is pretty irrelevant, but all the same there is a question here to warm the cockles of their hearts. Asked to put aside party preferences and say who would be the best Chancellor for Britain right now, Vince Cable narrowly came out on top with 19%, ahead of Alistair Darling on 15% and George Osborne on 12% (54% said don’t know – a reminder that beyond the party leaders, even the most senior political figures aren’t actually that well known).

As a caveat of course, it’s important to remember these views are only representative of people in 60 Labour marginal seats. It’s unlikely people outside these seats have vastly different views, and in terms of electoral politics it may well be these people that matter anyway, but strictly speaking we cannot assume the country thinks the same way as this lot.

66 Responses to “YouGov show a swing to Labour in the marginals”

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  1. I’m first so I can beat Peter to it and ask what are the Scottish results if any.

    LAB/CON marginals isn’t the story in Scotland. I’ve just seen this in the Scotsman for 1st October.

    “One prominent [Con]candidate for Westminster admitted privately at the annual conference in Birmingham this week that he was expecting the Tories to win only “two to four” Scottish seats at the next election.”

    That’s spot on I’d say. Two is double what they have now and a satisfactory result. Four is optimistic but possible and should be regarded as not just an excellent result but a sign that they may be on the way back.

    Three is the mid range and the most likely as things stand now. You can put money on that.

    Meanwhile the SNP continue sneakily with their not-doing strategy. Not outsourcing hospital cleaners is this weeks capitulation to pragmatisn and commonsense. Not killing hospital patients with fancy bugs! What novel not-doing idea will they think of next?

    Alex Salmond went to Norway and they told him what they did there to reduce hospital acquired infections. Nothing. They didn’t have the problem.

    The cleaners were trained members of hospital staff on permanent contracts and valued members of the team. AS didn’t need to go to Norway, He could just have gone to the nearest hospital in his constituency and he would have got the same answer.

    Over 4% of the working population work in the NHS. These people their families and close friends are themselves both patients and voters. They are a significant section of the electorate. No greater proportion of them are fundamentalist free-marketeers than are socialists and they do not require the media to tell them what to think about how well or badly a government is managing the NHS.

    They hear the horror stories at first hand. The worst these are from South of the border where NHS funding is significantly lower, and they are defensive of the local hospitals which they use.

    Many of them (this is Scotland, remember) were Labour voters.

  2. Quite interesting. Some of your contributors have perhaps wishfully thought that there was for some reason a smaller Labour recovery in the marginals than elsewhere. Although as I have said a number of times previously it’s still clear that the Conservatives are winning this does seem to add further weight to the notion that Labour are back seriously in the race at least.

    It is usual for an Opposition’s lead at least to narrow as the General Election gets closer, so I think Labour will feel that a Tory victory is far from inevitable. It would be necessary for the recession to be at least kept in modest proportions, however, and for some sort of recovery to have started by earlyish 2010 for Labour to have a decent shot at saving the election.

  3. Do you know what what assumption is made about Con/Lib Dem marginals, in order to predict a commons majority?

    Some of the national polls would predict 40+ Con gains from the Lib Dems, on uniform swing assumptions. But the large YouGov survey of marginals for Politics Home suggested far fewer gains.

    Once we get down to predicted majorities of 60ish, the number of Con gains from the Lib Dems becomes rather important.

  4. A swing to Labour since the last poll, not 2005.

  5. It is a bizarre set of figures.
    I mentioned it in another thread that it has touches of Major’s Northern Ireland, which won him respect, but limited support.

    I think we’re going to have a fairly close General Election, but I never believed these figures below 30% anway.

    Banana skins like Osborne and Spelman could take a cumulative toll though unless they can be a bit more careful.

  6. The Tories are still remaining very stable at around 40%. for what its worth, I actually think we’ll see a final election night result very close to this poll. Tories ending up with a majority somewhere around 40 seats.

  7. The polls have been so volatile over the last 18 months or so. We saw Cameron fighting for his job 18 months ago, now its Browns turn, lots of stories starting to crop up that could damage either party by a few more % points.

    One thing that is very different from the past is that the Government is seeing it’s popularity rise in times of economic gloom and recession – now thats very different from all the recessions under the last Tory Government so I would say that nothing is a foregone conclusion about who will win the next GE. We are half way through a parliament, I think it’s expected that the party in power would be behind in the polls at this stage but as the last 18 months have shown, it doesn’t mean to say people will still feel the same in another 18 months.

    The other interesting point in the marginals poll confirms that a majority of people think Brown/Darling are best placed to get us through this present economic problem – good case for a snap election then? I think Brown will be looking at the polls around April time and if the gap has narrowed with lower mortgage rates and falling inflation I can see the bottler getting some bottle! Unemployment will not rise above 2.3m in my opinion and house repo’s will not become an issue for most people like they were in the 90’s so a GE next year is a distinct possibility, especially if there are any more slip ups from the Tories. 6 months of dirty politics ahead no doubt!

  8. Are we venturing into a dead cat boing rather than bounce territory or is this yet another outlier?

    John B Dick don’t tell me that the Conservatives are going to only gain 4 seats. Sceptic Peg on here said at least a double figure gain and I have put my pocket money on it ‘cos sceptic is never wrong when it comes to predicting POLLS.

  9. “The other interesting point in the marginals poll confirms that a majority of people think Brown/Darling are best placed to get us through this present economic problem – good case for a snap election then?”

    NO! Because the poll (like many others) makes it very clear that the public have no intention of voting for Brown at an election, even though they think he is best placed to deal with the crisis now (and that might be explained that a lot of them want him to clear up the mess he’s helped to create, before he b*ggers off ;) )

    I think Brown would be mad to give up his office a year early, but if thats what floats his boats, then fair enough.

  10. Now everyone is talking about the American economy and eclections, nice to read something different. Eugene

  11. Oh goodness, not that hoary old chestnut of the snap election again. I can’t for the life of me understand why some of your contributors bring this up. I think it’s fairly clear that Gordon Brown isn’t the kind of politician who is likely to call a snap election, nor as I’ve said previously would it be seen as in any way seemly at the moment. No, he will stay for at least a year more, and I think almost certainly into 2010. There is, I can assure you, absolutely no talk in the Labour Party about an early election. If one were in the pipeline we’d have heard about it by now within Party circles.

  12. “If there were an election to-morrow” is the key phrase. There’s no way I’d vote Labour to-morrow in a “snap” election.

    The only way an election could be called during this crisis is if there were to be a huge decision that would offer a complete change of direction. Then Brown could say he was going to the country to get a mandate. Can’t see it myself.

    The recession is clearly one that is caused by a financial crisis, and a global one. Unfortunately both those characteristics suggest more prolonged and deeper than a recession that was regionalised, and caused by mmore normal reasons (like allowing core inflation to get out of control).

    Fortunately for Brown, he won’t be blamed for the cause, and it remains to be seen whether the charge sticks that he didn’t save enough in the current account

  13. My view of an early election is the same as Barnaby’s, but it does raise a puzzling question. Brown was obviously badly burnt by the 2007 non-election, and reportedly his advisors are very wary of that (which sounds perfectly believable!).

    However, the occassional whispers in the last couple of weeks haven’t been knocked down by a firm statement from Brown saying there will not be a snap election. One reading is that he might call one, so he isn’t ruling it out. I thnk that would be absurd – his renewed popularity is based on being the man who offers firm, experienced leadership and stability at a time of crisis. That narrative would be destroyed if he asked for Parliament to be dissolved and started the month long disruption of a general electon in the middle of it.

    So why hasn’t he ruled it out? My guess is that it’s because there would be no way of then avoiding questions about 2009 or 2010, and he wouldn’t want to rule out 2009, or to conspicuously fail to rule out 2009.

  14. Interesting thoughts Anthony.

    Sterling exchange rate looking interesting too!

  15. Blair made his big mistake in giving in to the constant interrogation of “how long”. I think Brown simply doesn’t want the issue to arise, and therefore stonewalls. It’s the only way to deal with a leading question.

    What he could do is explain that.

    Mervyn King’s comments must have been timed with the exchange rate in mind, as a way of pricing in a fall against the dollar in advance of November’s expected rate cut. I would expect a steep cut and encouragement to pass it on in full. The last thing he’d want therefore would be an extreme currency market reaction.

    Only guessing, though!

  16. I can’t see any way Brown will call an election now or in 2009 – He won’t call it now because he’s still well behind and he won’t call it in 2009 because that’s when the recession and the feel good factor will be at its worst. His only hope is to hang on until May 2010 in the hope that the economy has started to turn round by then.

    But if the doctrine of “It’s the economy stupid” is stil valid then Labour don’t have a prayer of winning because for the next 12 months,at least, the economic outlook is set to get much worse.

  17. Anthony,

    The link to the full results isn’t working again.


  18. There is understandable focus on the economy currently.
    As KTL says, it may dominate our lives & politics throughout 2009.

    From the perspective of good old knockabout political exchange though, as the Flood Tide of Economic Crisis news recedes a little, we catch glimpses of the stuff which used to keep Labour in the headlines-

    Mr Woolas & Immigration “policy”
    Home Office & crime figures
    MOD penny pinching.

  19. Colin has hit the nail on the head. We’re starting to see a return to normal politics and that is hurting Labour.

    The news today plays in to Tory hands. You can’t believe Gov’t stats is all they have to say. The fear of crime is a real vote winner for the Cons.

    Labour is 15% behind in the polls after a Brown bounce. Ouch.

  20. In terms of financial bad news, it will dominate the early part of next year as more institutions feel the damage of unwinding ridiculous bets.

    When Brown says “whatever it takes” he’s not talking about something that he has done, he’s talking about things he suspects he may have to do in the future.

    We are most certainly not about to return to normal politics.

    We are at the end of the beginning of the bad news.

  21. john t t,
    this is no time to submit to the invalid churchillian comparison.

    Brown started off on a bad foot because he ascended to the leadership without being elected and he’s being playing catch up ever since (irrespective of the honeymoon).

    He rose on the bubble his inflated worth and is only now learning the theme of his premiership – he started off by saying he represented change, but just look what kind of change he has wrought!

    I’m sceptical about marginal swings as it doesn’t look like any radical changes are about to happen to what brought us to this position, so my feeling is that the volatility indicated by this poll is forestalling on the real changes the country is convinced we desire (whatever that may be).

    It is a shame that these polls are so narrowly framed, as I’m pretty sure most of the public would prefer to have Brusce Forsyth as the Conservative Shadow Chancellor (at least he wouldn’t feel out of place on a yacht)… just think of the potential punchlines.

    This isn’t quite that outlandish as it seems if we go by the example of the rampant populist trend in politics sweeping the world’s quasi-democracies like Russia – if Brown continues aggregating power to the centre he might benefit among the public by adding a bit of empty glamour (or is JK Rowling only good for her money?).

  22. Thomas – talking of invalid Churchillian comparisons, I may be mistaken but didn’t the great Winston also become PM without an election?

    If anyone gets the New Scientist there are a couple of great short articles this week. One on the global financial crisis – ecologists have been predicting something like this for some time apparently due to market complexity and connectivity. Esentially everything is linked and similar so contagion spreads. Also an interesting piece on scientific predictions for the US election. They all point to a Democratic win, but have done for months, in some cases years. Just for interest.

  23. Alec,
    if you want to make a valid comparison between Chruchill and Brown then you’ll remember not to use ‘great’ as an adjective.

  24. Of course people want Brown to sta on at the moment – even I said in a recent POLL with YouGov that i did’nt think Brown should step down yet – no one wants an election without a leader during the worst crisis since the great depression – even though the captain of the ship is heading us all to the rocks – we still need someone at the helm.

    So in my opinion – this POLL in the marginals measn nothing at all – if Brown were to have had a real bounce after his conference and the medai blotting out the Tory conference afterwards – Brown should be ahead of the Tories – “he is not” and that is disasterous news for Labour.

    They will be back in mid 20’s by mid November – cut and paste guys !!

  25. Someone stated on here that thing will get back to normal and Cameron will start to win his clash with Brown at PMq’s…..someone had better tell Cameron this as it was all one way again, away from him.

    No matter how much spin gets put on,it is our lead that is decreasing. “A Brown bounce and we are still so many percntage points ahead” doesn’t comfort me, we were mile ahead only a few months ago. To coin the phrase, we have not only lost the big M, we keep justifying it being lost by saying at least we are still in front. what happens if they draw equal.” All these months of positive spin and they do not even have a lead”?

    I am now begining to think that Cameron, like people on here,thinks the election has already been won, which worries me.

    Another poor PMq’s, his buddis failings are rumbling on…..what else can they do to grab defeat from the jaws of victory?

    I don’t know about the party shooting itself in the foot, it keeps taking potshots at its own head.

  26. Sceptic Peg, I have just checked back on your posts and nowhere did it mention that Labour would cut the Conservative lead, in fact you said Labour would implode before the next election and be no more.Was this comeback slightly off your radar? Maybe the Crystal ball needs a bit of Flash on it.

  27. Didn’t take long for the first post saying this poll doesn’t count, outlier, not right etc.

  28. I wonder what effect the impending rolling strike of a quarter of a million public sector workers will have on the fortunes of the Political Parties?

    Private Sector employees with redundancy notices & risk laden pension investments,trying to get into Job Centres whose employees have risk free pension guarantees & who are on strike for more pay.

    Any effect on the Polls?-if so what?

  29. Colin – could go either way.Depends how the parties react to it. I do remember virtually everyone on here say the then impending Banking crisis will see off Brown as the public will blame him.

  30. It’s not just “the economy stupid”, it’s sounding like you might have the solution to the problem when it goes wrong(ignoring for the moment who caused or contributed to said problem). Right now Brown is seeming like he does have some answers that might help the situation. No doubt time will tell if he has done something to help and those who thought he could make a difference were right.

  31. I wonder if the media narrative might be about to swing again after all the Osbourne coverage, the guardian is now reporting ‘inconsistencies’ about the timing of Lord M and the oligarch…

    If attention swings back to Lab from Con on this whole toffs on a tub issue, I think GB’s decision to bring him back might become a disaster even quicker than people were expecting… When do we expect next polls to see if the ‘r’ word vs Osbourne clanger have made any new impact?

  32. I wonder whether Lord Ashcroft (aka the [ litigious businessman whose residential status is unclear – AW] ) will now be forced to clarify his tax status, and if he can’t prove himself to the authorities the tories will have immense difficulties in repaying the millions they’ve already spent.

    Seeing as the Conservative electoral machine and poll strength is built on ‘paid volunteers’ I don’t see their lead surviving a funding shortfall.

    If performance at PMQs is the best indicator of the potential of the leader of the opposition Cameron will get crushed in a fair fight.

  33. Re Mike the so-called Oracle Richardson – I don’t know why we bother to comment on polls sometimes. If the Tories are having a great time he says I tell you so, if the poll shows an inkling of promise for Labour it doesn’t count because the Tories will be 40 points ahead again, you mark my words. All a bit boring really.

  34. Peter Rush – You are obviously a Tory supporter. Why the worry? You’re increasing your lead it would seem. 15% is a heck of a lot after a purple patch for Brown.

    The non-showing of the immigration minister on Question Time yesterday sums up Labour’s problems. Not only is the economy underpinning their poor polling but other issues continue to bite them.

  35. Thomas

    “If performance at PMQs is the best indicator of the potential of the leader of the opposition Cameron will get crushed in a fair fight.”

    I don’t agree with you on this – Since they’ve been head to head at PMQs Cameron has undoubtedly had the best of it. Brown undoubtedly “won” a couple of weeks ago whereas the common consensus was that the tussle from a couple of days ago was about level.

    Brown is definitely improving at PMQs but is still not as light on his feet as Cameron is.

    Of course judgement of performace is subjective and often depends which side of the political fence you’re on.

    Whilst its undoubtedly entertaining PMQs is something of a misnomer since this Prime Minister in particular absolutely refuses to answer direct questions – much more so than previous incumbents.

    In the light of todays economic figures look for next week’s edition of PMQs to be especially interesting.

  36. I am surprised that this polls does not include lib dem marginals these seats could have a significant effect upon who forms a government next time, particularly if they are squeezed

  37. Barnaby – “All a bit boring really”

    A bit?

  38. Anthony,
    apologies, but I don’t expect my comments to reflect the opinion of the site, however I feel it might be in the best interests of our politics if Ashcroft were able to use his money clarify his position rather than to just bully people into submission.

    your opinion of ‘common consensus’ is not borne out by the survey of the politically balanced Politics Home panel of 100 insiders.

    It is interesting that you describe Cameron as ‘light on his feet’, I thought he was almost blown over – Cameron’s facial colour certainly almost turned puce from it’s normal maroon as his frustration boiled over.

    I also thought Cameron misused his 6 interventions in repeatedly pushing the line on ‘boom and bust’ – was he trying to distract from his own weakness, was he incapable of making his point, or did he just have no other ammunition?

    All-in-all Cameron was totally lacking in any substantial or practical points – he might as well have written a letter to the editor of the Times!

  39. I think the boom/bust 6 Q’s didn’t come over that well at PMQs outside of Westminster but then again, the Opposition have been listening to a decade of ‘no more boom and bust’ from the PM, although GB now tells us he said ‘no more tory boom and bust and the Tories can’t help but point out how wrong that was.

    Makes them feel better no doubt but that doesn’t really help get them more votes in my opinion.

  40. It is surely possible that the whole political landscape will change {has changed?) as a result of the current catacliasmic events in the financial markets. A breakdown of the “free market” on this scale surely presents huge long-term problems for the Conservatives as it lies at the very core of their beliefs. It is also of course a major problem for New Labour, who embraced the same beliefs, but much easier for Labour to adopt and accept the greater degree of government control that is already upon us. Perhaps the short term importance of current personalities and current policies is of less importance than long term impacts of these huge events, which are likely to show up only very very gradually as an underlying trend in opinion poll results

  41. Talking about marginals,

    I am off to Glenrothes tomorrow, so I’ll tell you all how it goes on Sunday, probably on the Glenrothes page….


  42. Ernie. “It is surely possible that the whole political landscape will change {has changed?) as a result of the current catacliasmic events in the financial markets. A breakdown of the “free market” on this scale surely presents huge long-term problems for the Conservatives as it lies at the very core of their beliefs. It is also of course a major problem for New Labour, who embraced the same beliefs, but much easier for Labour to adopt and accept the greater degree of government control that is already upon us.”

    I agree in part Ernie – the problem is that more Government control = lower profts = less tax for the Government to spend and this government likes spending money.

    It is the free market and private enterprise that will evetually lead the country out of recession not the Government. The Government can’t even directly control interest rates anymore which are still way too high for the current situation.

    The Government says they will spend their way out of recession but in the absence of new announcements I note only that they are keeping current spending levels going. The Government can’t really spend its way out of recession since it is effectively broke – it will already be borrowing £200-£250BN over the next 2 years, on todays estimates, by issuing more Government gilts just at a time when there is a reducing appetite for buying gilts because of the global economic situation. The Government will be paying a much higher premium for borrowing money at the moment than it has done until now. This will result in tax increases and reduced public spending whichever Government is in power in 2-3 years time.

    IMHO the Government is effectively impotent in the current recession situation and can really only keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best. Of course GB would never admit to this.

  43. Thomas

    “Seeing as the Conservative electoral machine and poll strength is built on ‘paid volunteers’ I don’t see their lead surviving a funding shortfall.”

    Can you explain what you mean by this?

    I don’t know of any Conservative associations that pay volunteers to deliver and canvass. The closest any get to that is, when they can afford it, paying to post out leaflets or surveys in areas where the volunteer delivery network is thin on the ground.

  44. Sunbeam, you seem to fall into the same catagory as most on here, you only compare polls that would make it foavourable for us. The last time that polling company polled we were 28 percent in front, now it is 15%. what alot of people do on here is compare the previous poll from any company so long as it shows us in a better light.So yes if you want it to look good we have gone from 8% in front to 15% if you want to pick and choose comparisons. In the real world we haven’t.

    Top and bottom of it is our lead is gradually falling, Cameron since coming back from the break hasn’t had the better of one PMq’s, previously he won the majority of them, and his best mate when not looking out of his depth on economic issues is bringing back the ghost of sleaze to the party.

    No I am am not happy with our performance recently, maybe all this “i’ts in the bag” has gone to thier heads.

  45. KTL – “whereas the common consensus was that the tussle from a couple of days ago was about level” not what was said on Politicshome, even by the right leaning commentators on there.

    He was pretty poor actually, not as bad as previously, but still poor all the same. Maybe he has been caught up by events, someone needs to tell him to get back in the game. It does look bad on TV for the voters when with all the problems that is upon Brown he can’t even win an argument with him.

  46. Peter Rush

    Don’t worry Peter – now the R word is finally out into the open I think you’ll see the Tory lead gradually creep back up to 15-20 over the next few weeks.

  47. I think Ernie’s comments are very perceptive – the landscape has really changed, but how that translates in the minds of voters is not yet clear. Also critical is how Labour responds to the recession, as well as how bad things get in the real world. Its worth remembering that the Tory reputation (amongst their opponents) was created by ‘Tina’ [There Is No Alternative], ‘Get on Your Bike’ and ‘Unemployment is a Price Worth Paying’. It was the callousness of the response (in some people’s view), that defined that era, not the recessions themselves. To date Cameron has not displayed a clear grasp of what is needed, and their response through the entire banking crisis has been weak and constantly shifting. There is an opportunity for Labour, but my guess is that it won’t be enough for them.
    I also believe that party finance will become an issue for Cameron – as a neutral I have been extremely disappointed at the two faced approach of the Tory party. Nothing (yet) illegal, but shell companies, dubious residency claims, conversations about donations with dodgy foreign tycoons – I have no doubt that the only real lesson the Tories have learned is that you have to cover your tracks better, and in due course this will erupt in their faces.
    I think we all hope for a better government, with the party we favour either improving or getting into power. Sadly, I have no faith that Cameron is either new or better than his predecessors, and I find that deeply depressing.

  48. “Nothing (yet) illegal,”

    And that’s the point Alec isn’t it?

    UK companies can make donations regardless of foreign ownership.The Tories do this-the Lib Dems do this. You may not like it -and I may agree with you-but it is in accordance with the Law.The MP’s wrote that Law.
    You & I and thousands of others may not like this Law
    -but unless you want to outlaw all donations from individuals, and substitute State Funding you are stuck with it.

    As a matter of interest Alec, how would you rate the Ecclestone donation, the Abrahams donation(s) and the Peter Hain “think tank “donations in offensiveness when compared with the legal Tory donations you mention.?

    “conversations about donations with dodgy foreign tycoons”

    Since a conversation about a prospective donation via a UK Company-Leyland Daf-is not illegal, nor would such a donation be even if it had been made-which it was not, then “dodgy tycoons” would appear to outweigh “donations” in degree of concern here.

    The tycoon in question has had a personal relationship for some four years , Mr Mandleson reveals today.As you know Mr Mandleson regulated some of this “dodgy tycoon’s” business activities when a EU Commissioner.
    We also know that Mr Mandleson continues to enjoy the private hospitality of said tycoon.

    As a matter of interest Alec ,how would you compare Mr Mandleson’s “conversations” with this “dodgy tycoon” to Mr Osborne’s.

  49. “Nothing (yet) illegal,”

    And that’s the point Alec isn’t it?”

    No it isn’t Colin -you’ve missed the entire point. Firstly, I don’t like smelly money, whichever party takes it, so don’t set my points against Labour stories – I’m not prejudiced who I criticise in this matter. Second, you’ll find that donations from foriegn individuals channelled through UK companies are illegal – it’s proving it that is the problem. The evidence suggests the Tories are probably using non trading shell companies to direct illegal donations, including companies that have no trading activity, no capital, and are owned by foreign businessmen but are registered in the UK. Thirdly, didn’t Mr Cameron make a big thing about Labour sleaze a while back? You can’t play the game only in your opponents half, and that is where my respect for Cameron the man has evaporated.
    My solution? NO donations above £5,000 – individuals, companies or unions. Elections should be won and lost on ideas and principles, and you don’t need money for them.
    One huge problem politics has had in this country for 30 years is an obsession with business -if the city hadn’t dangled so much funding in front of political parties here and in other countries perhaps we wouldn’t have had such slack financial regulation and all the blood on the carpet now. Politicians (and voters) need to think for themselves for a change.

  50. “I’m not prejudiced who I criticise in this matter.”

    But you only criticised the Conservatives.
    Do you criticise the Labour donations I mentioned?

    “donations from foriegn individuals channelled through UK companies are illegal”

    Is that so? I rather thought that if they own the UK company, a donation through that company is legal.

    “My solution? NO donations above £5,000 – individuals, companies or unions. Elections should be won and lost on ideas and principles, and you don’t need money for them.”

    In principle I agree-subject to a limit which would provide sufficient funds for reasonable expenditure.
    WE have to be sensible-running a political party is expensive,but I think that the expenditure itself is a problem too-and should be capped.

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