There aren’t the normal wide grab bag of question topic’s in today’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll, instead it concentrates on the G20 and MPs expenses.

Looking at the regular trackers first Gordon Brown’s personal ratings have risen strongly – 41% now think he is doing well as Prime Minister, 53% badly, for a net approval of minus 12. I think this is the best personal rating Brown has received in the YouGov/Sunday Times series (slightly different questions make quite a difference on approval ratings, so it’s important to compare like to like) since way back in 2007 during his original “Brown bounce”. Cameron’s approval rating has fallen slightly from its heights last month, but remains strongly positive at plus 25.

There was a slight improvement in economic optimism, but hardly a transformation. 87% thought the economy was bad or very bad, compared to 92% last month. 25% were positive about their personal finances compared to 21% in December. Brown & Darling are also once again the preferred team to deal with the present crisis, leading Cameron & Osborne by 30% to 28%.

At the simplest level people approved of the G20 summit. 53% said it was a success, 21% said it failed. Looking more closely though respondents were rather less enthusiastic, rather more cynical. Of that 53% only 6% said it succeeded well, 47% said it succeeded “on balance”. 31% thought world leaders were committed to working together as a result of the G20, but 25% though they were anyway and the G20 had made no difference, and 32% thought they were deeply divided and the G20 was merely papering over cracks. 44% of people thought that the G20 summit would help deal with the recession in Britain, but 42% thought it would make no difference or make things worse.

YouGov also asked about MPs expenses. Perhaps surprisingly given the normal hostility towards politicians there was a fair degree of support and sympathy for Jacqui Smith. 34% of people thought that she should resign following the criticism she has faced over claiming her sister’s spare room as her main residence and for accidentally claiming two blue movies on her expenses, but 58% thought she was no worse than anyone alse and should keep her job. I’m slightly wary that the question is really asking two things – one whether Jacqui Smith is worse than other MPs or not, and secondly whether she should resign or not – but either way, the reaction seems to be more that they are “all at it”, rather than focusing on Smith personally.

On wider questions 81% of people thought the allowance system for MPs required urgant reform, with 15% saying it had been blown out of proportion by the media. YouGov also asked whether people would prefer to see MPs allowances reformed by tightening up procedures to make sure claims are genuine, or whether their allowances should be scrapped and replaced by a higher salary – this time the public preferred the latter by 54% to 39%. This is in sharp contrast to a YouGov question for the Telegraph that gave people the same sort of options and got a result the other way round. The differences were things like saying allowances should only be “genuine” in this version or “necessary outgoings” in the Telegraph version, this version pointing out salary would be taxable and so on. It suggests that, in theory, people’s reactions would depend on the detail of any proposals (in practice, I expect they’d depend on the media reaction and whether it was presented as reform, or MPs giving themselves another pay rise).

There was also an ICM poll in the Sunday Mirror, whose coverage prevents us telling much from it. 70% thought Brown had down well at the G20, 69% thought the summit would help the world economy. Again, a positive reaction, thought without seeing what actual answers they gave to actual questions it’s hard to say how enthusiastic respondents were. There was no sign of any voting intention question asked.

34 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

  1. The G20 meeting made it clear: this is a global recession caused by corporate greed.

    If voters accept this view – which does appear to be the correct one – then Labour may keep the gap at only 7 points or so.

    If voters reject that view, however, and blame Labour for the recession, the Conservatives will soon have their lead back at 10 or 12 points.

  2. The Group of 20 Socialist governments would try to put that idea across wouldnt they.

    And of course Labour should be blamed for the severity of the problems Britain is facing.

  3. “Brown & Darling are also once again the preferred team to deal with the present crisis, leading Cameron & Osborne by 30% to 28%.”

    On the surface this is an extremely important finding. I have alwys believed that other questions than the hypothetical voting intention are the most useful in polls, and the ‘best on the economy’ is even more important than usual when it is so likely to be the dominant issue in the May 2010 election.

    However, I also agree with those who point out that we are seeing another ‘bounce’ which is likely to be short term. Very soon the G20 will be forgotten, and all depends on voters’ perceptons of their own experience. My belief is that this will get worse later in 2009, and I would not be surprised to see a 20% Conservative lead again later in the year. The June results will be very poor for Labour – they do exceptionally badly in European elections, though at least from their point of view the absolute numbers of losses will be less than usual because of PR in Europe and relatively few councils up.
    Then Labour’s only chances will be: to be seen as best even in hard times, or if there is the beginnings of a recovery in the early months of 2010. These seem on balance unlikely straws to me, and my current guess is for the Conservatives to win the election as largest party, though an overall majority will be very hard to achieve, particularly as they are not likely to pick up very many seats in Scotland, and far fewer from the Lib Dems than uniform projections suggest.

    However all is speculation, and the polls mean little, until the last 6 months.

  4. Small typo – penultimate para, second line, it’s “urgent” not “urgant”

  5. “The G20 meeting made it clear: this is a global recession caused by corporate greed.”

    It didn’t do any such thing.

    These are quotes from the actual Communique:-

    “Major failures in the financial sector and in financial regulation and supervision were fundamental causes of the crisis.”

    “Strengthened regulation and supervision must promote propriety, integrity and transparency; guard against risk across the financial system; dampen rather than amplify the financial and economic cycle; reduce reliance on inappropriately risky sources of financing; and discourage excessive risk-taking. ”

    ” In future, regulation must prevent excessive leverage and require buffers of resources to be built up in good times; ”

    All of which is to say that politicians must ensure that these regimes are in place-AND react to their advice-AND avoid unsustainable Public Spending programmes.

  6. Robert – being pedantic, that isn’t the “best on the economy” question :)

    In polls where they’ve been asked in parallel, the Conservative’s have normally done better on a straight best on the economy question than they do in a question specifically asking which party is best in the current crisis.

    (I think asking Brown & Darling vs Cameron & Osborne also shows better results for Labour than just asking Brown v Cameron.)

  7. Agreed, Anthony – both will be important questions though, and arguably
    (1) it’s difficult to disentangle the economy in general from the ‘current crisis’, which is surely the most immediate and important element
    (2) some think that politics is now so personalised that voters will choose on ‘names’ above / as well as parties.

  8. If Brown and Darling lead Cameron and Osborne as the team people prefer to deal with the economic crisis by 30% to 28%, is this not sufficiently close to be accounted for by sampling error?

    On these figures, we do not appear to have sufficient reason to believe that Labour’s economic leadership will benefit them by comparison with the Conservatives in terms of voting preference. This would be so even if people based their votes only on parties’ perceived competence at economic management, which of course they do not.

    In a number of recent posts, I have suggested that voting intentions may be shifted suddenly by major events, by comparison with which gradual shifts in party preferences are less important. It is not surprising that the G20 summit has helped Brown slightly. But this poll shows that G20 has not resulted in the step change in Labour support that Brown probably hoped for at the end of last year.

  9. “Major failures in the financial sector and in financial regulation and supervision were fundamental causes of the crisis.”

    ture but labor had 11 years to sort things out, yes the last torie govenment did not regulate fully or at all in some cases and this has not helped but in 1997 the first thing is redundent and washed up govenment should have done is sort out harder regulation for the banks, but what we now have is the FSA which cannot even regulate to stop anything and most of our ruling classes could’nt even run a party they would argue to much.

  10. Darling has conceded that his PBR forecast of recovery this Autumn is now shot & that we will see no recovery this year.

    Presumably this puts paid to a 2009 GE call.

    Even if there are signs that we are coming out of recession before say May 2010, there is still the matter of the Party Manifestos & the platforms on which the GE campaign will be fought.

    How can Brown fight a traditional battle with Cons over public expenditure policy, when debt reduction is bound to be on the agenda? If he refuses to concede tax increases will be in the mix, will anyone believe him?

    How can Cameron go on a programme of prudence & good housekeeping to bring public finances back into stability without frightening the horses over public services?

    And who will perform best in the GE campaign-Brown or Cameron?

    Now is now & Then will be very different, so the Polls just now are a little academic.

  11. Frederic Stansfield.
    Yes, 30-28 is within polling error, (which can go either way, not just the way one wants, by the way!) but the point is that it suggests the standings on this indicator are close. Level standings in actual national voting would make Labour the largest party, and even cose to a majority, due to the way votes are translated into seats.
    My point was also that my experience as a pollster was that voting intention is not actually a good long-term predictor of how people actually will vote, odd though that might sound. When it comes to an election, the single biggest (though not overwhelming) factor is often – and I would suggest likely in 2010 – trust in the parties on the future of the economy (as Anthony points out not quite the 30-28 question). That’s a more stable indicator and one I’d be more interested in over the next few months.
    I believe the reason for my preference of questions as guides is that voting intention does not concentrate the mind on the financial implications of a future vote. When people vote it is a more serious matter than merely answering a polling question – though it converges as one approaches an election.
    Anyway, as I said, any poll, voting intention or not, tells us little about what will happen in an election in over 12 months time. It really does make me crease (my brow) to see politicians, pundits and activists anticipating and poring over mid term polls!
    Economic forecasts are not good for the Labour government’s chances. How voters will react is even less knowable, but my guess is – not good either.

  12. The rise of Darling-Brown over Cameron-Osbourne is surely another indication that he best thing the Cons can do is let the beast loose on Darling as Shadow Chancellor; Osbourne is a credibility lacking junior, Super-Ken is signifcantly more popular and rather better in judgement.

    If the Tories are still managing a 7 point lead over all, then this is good since in the future ought they not be well placed to quickly restore a sizable lead again (given the scandal about to errupt over MPs expenses; granted the tories will take a pounding too- but the major newspaper focus will be the government ministers etc).

  13. The latest UKPR poll average and projected Conservative majority is a good indication of how the the FPTP system has moved against the Tories since 1992, when they won a majority of 21 with a 7.5% lead. Today the latest projection is a majority of 20 with a 10% lead, so the voting system has effectively moved against them to the extent of 2.5%, in the sense of their lead being that much larger without accruing them any larger majority.

  14. Brown / Darling vs Cameron / Osborne gives a better result for Labour than Brown vs Cameron.

    One could say that just means that Darling is preferred to Osborne, but I think it goes further than that. Last year the Chancellor was widely regarded as being out of his depth and/or a puppet whose strings were being pulled by the First Lord of the Treasury. In the past few weeks Darling – ably assisted by the Governor of the BoE – has managed to raise his profile and assert himself in contraposition to the PM .

    On April 22 we will see the first true Darling budget (and it really will not be a Darling delivered Brown budget). I suspect that the next two weeks are not going to be very comfortable around the cabinet table (or in Drowning St).

    The country needs an austerity budget, and it would seem that Darling is preparing to deliver one. The big question is whether Brown will let him. That must be the ultimate bitter pill for Brown to swallow that the man he appointed to carry out his schemes at the Treasury may be about to stand up to him.

    At the moment, Darling is more secure in his position than any chancellor for years. Brown really cannot afford to sack Darling if they disagree. That security gives Darling the assurance he needs to have the courage to stand his ground.

  15. re icm poll i took part in one on thursday with icm (they rang me) they did ask voting intention questions and then some about social workers

  16. “The G20 meeting made it clear: this is a global recession caused by corporate greed”

    Funny that. Twenty current governments blame someone else for a crisis that occured on their watch (in our case, its apparently the fault of a party that has been in opposition since 1997).

    John Redwood made a good point in his appearance with Derek Draper. DD accused the Tories of supporting less regulation of the banks, which JR said ‘Yes, we do support less regulation, but we would regulate cash and capital as we did last time. And you know what, five British banks never needed bailing-out on our watch’ (or something to that effect).

    It was well delivered and he wasn’t afraid to stand up to an accusation that was, in effect, true. Unfortunately is also showed that Cameron continues to have the wrong man as shadow Chancellor.

    Back to the polls, I wouldn’t be surprised if things go quiet for a week or two as any polls between now and April 22nd are going to miss the budget.

  17. G20 group of socialist governments? LOL!!

    I wasn’t aware that the Argentinian President Kirchner, a Peronist, the Christian Democrat Merkel or the Gaullist Sarkozy were in fact really socialists. And Berlusconi?

    Why attempt to make a political comment when clearly your vision is fatally blurred.

  18. Darling is a different kettle of fish to Brown.

    He comes across as inherantly more honest, and reluctant to spin.

    In the last few days Darling has conceded that his economic forecasts for 2009 are wildly out; and that G20 outcomes would be no “quick fix”.
    This is in marked contrast to Brown who never concedes mistakes , shamelessly spun the G20 numbers & made it sound like the Second Coming.

    However I think Darling’s honesty is a plus for Conservatives in debate/GE campaigning.

    Brown’s mixture of half-truths, untruths double counting & spin is very difficult to counter except with masses of detail-which he then rejects;or accusations of lying-which is not voter friendly.

    With Darling however, the facts seem to be on the table, and a simple charge of incompetence ( including a by proxy charge for Brown) should be much easier to make stick.

    At present only the few anoraks who watch PMQs will be aware of these subtleties.
    In a GE campaign they will be on full view throughout the media.

  19. Noe Beckett joins Hoon & Darling in the Three Homes Scam.

    The reaction to the Allowance for MPs second homes was built into this Poll….but Ministers with Grace & Favour homes using “the rules” to milk the system?

    Is there any traction here for Cameron?

  20. I thought Margaret Beckett wouldn’t have a problem with home expenses since her main hobby is caravanning. :-)

  21. Andy-I think she missed a trick actually.
    She could have registered the ‘van as her main home, and opened up a wealth of opportunities for travel expenses to Westminster.

  22. Onthejob – I have checked with ICM and there was no voting intention question for the Sunday Mirror as the sample size was only 500. The voting intention q you got must have been internal or for another client.

  23. The time has come to be open and honest about the mess we are in as a country. That requires clarity on:

    – the true level of fiscal deficit and national debt, and the need to reduce this in absolute terms, not just as % of GDP;
    – the true level of public spending and the need to reduce this in absolute terms, not just as % of GDP;
    – the burden of taxation which will be required to meet the fiscal deficit, and the need to reduce this over time in absolute terms, not just as % of GDP;
    – the absurd complexity and counter-incentives in the tax system, and the need for both simplicity and transparency;
    – the burden of petty regulation, how this is crippling businesses of all sizes, and the need to free enterprises for productive wealth creation;
    – the decline of our manufacturing and other productive sectors leading to the unsustainable trade deficit we have had for the past decade.
    – the failing standards in public services of all kinds, and the need to free local maangement from centrally imposed targets and controls.

    A proper debate on how we as a country can address these ills needs honest politicians on all sides.

    Unfortunately, it is clear that that can never happen while Brown leads Labour, and the country needs the Labour Party to deal with that issue.

    Oh dear ! Just when we think we can point to Darling’s apparent honesty and integrity in contrast to Brown’s spin and denial, he gets himself embroiled in the ministerial abuse of allowances.

    In terms of the amount of public money involved, these abuses are peanuts compared to phenomenal sums being thrown at the financial sector to plug Brown’s regulatory failure, but they so thoroughly undermine the integrity of Ministers that they are preventing any hope of action on the important issues.

    We need urgent agreement from all Party leaders on some basic principles for Ministerial / MP pay and allowances.

    (a) The base salary should be sufficient for the basic role of constituency MP. MPs who are Ministers or Chairmen of Select Committees to receive additional pay in line with their additional duties/responsibilities.
    (b) Since MPs need to have a physical presence in both Westminster and their constituency, the House should provide a block of appartments close to Westminster which MPs can rent on favourable terms, but MPs be free to live elsewhere if they so choose. An allowance equivalent to the minimum rent charged in that block to be paid to all MPs, but not to Ministers who receive Grace & Favour homes.
    (c) Legitimate documented expenses when travelling on official HofC business (including one return trip to constituency per week when House is in session).
    (d) Equipped office and support staff of one secretary and one researcher per MP, to be employed and paid directly by HofC.
    (e) no other expenses or allowances needed.

    Thereafter, any MP found guilty of abusing the expense system to be disqualified from Parliament.

    It does not require a six-month enquiry to reach agreement on this. The new system could come into effect from the start of the next session – though it may take a bit longer to identify and acquire a suitable appartment block.

  24. Andy Stidwill:
    The reason why the voting system has (or appears to have) moved against the Tories since 1992 is to do with turnout (not boundaries, as some seem to think).

    Labour gets more return for their percentages because it takes fewer votes to elect a Labour MP. This is very slightly because their constituencies are smaller (e.g. in the continued over-representation of Wales) – but much more because of the much lower turnouts in their predominantly working class seats.

    Apart from the unlikely event of an equalisation of turnouts, the only thing that would even out the ‘bias’ would be PR – which would of course lead to a permanent hung parliament (and consequently everything would depend on inter-party deals, as in Scotland and Wales).

  25. @ Robert Waller – “Apart from the unlikely event of an equalisation of turnouts, the only thing that would even out the ‘bias’ would be PR”

    Not the only thing. Voting could be made compulsory, as it is in Australia.

  26. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said in its Budget 2009 report that the Government will require an extra £39 billion cash a year by the end of 2015 because it has failed to account for £130 billion of losses connected with the nationalised banks. This is the equivalent of a £1,250 tax rise for an average family.

    The think-tank forecasts that taxes in Britain will likely have to rise by at least £20 billion a year to cover runaway public borrowing. If the Government does not raise taxes, there will have to be a five-year real freeze in public spending.

    Downing Street today defended the right of cabinet ministers living in grace-and-favour apartments to claim a parliamentary allowance for a second home.
    The prime minister’s spokesman said that, in claiming the second home allowance, even though he had the use of accommodation in Downing Street and at Chequers, Brown was following “the approach taken by his predecessors”.

    But the spokesman said Brown also believed the system had to change,

    The General Election campaign will change everything.

  27. James, you have a point, although as I’ve said elsewhere I find the compulsory voting idea disgusting, for several reasons ….

    Also, the way that would reduce the bias is by increasing the Labour share. There is little doubt that non-voters would break more that way – apart from their location in Labour seats, just look at the way Labour goes down from raw figures in opinion polls to published figures taking likelihood to vote into account (also this was one of the reasons why polls in the old day tended to overestimate Labour).

    I meant reducing the electoral system effect while still keeping only those interested / knowledgeable / committed enough actually to wish to use their democratic right.

  28. ‘James, you have a point, although as I’ve said elsewhere I find the compulsory voting idea disgusting, for several reasons ….’

    Can I point out in Australia it is compulsory to attend the voting booth and get your name ticked off- it’s not actually compulsory’ voting’. And the population does not find it ‘disgusting’.

    And I certainly agree with it there, as with their version of preferential voting systems every vote counts. (The winner there is not the person with the most initial votes, but the person who finally gets 50% of the vote plus one. The person with the least votes gets dropped and the 2nd choice etc get counted. This, it is argued, means that the person with the most community support gets elected. And crucially it means you can vote Green or other minor parties to show a concern but its not wasted as its how you list all candidates which matter…)

    With FPTP voting systems we all know only a minor group of seats have any likelihood of changing hands and only there do your votes really matter. I can see some grounds for not voting if the system is so rigid that change will not happen until the percentage of participation becomes embarrassing to a govt..

    I have trouble with the idea that anyone can find compulsory voting ‘disgusting’; one can object to it on some grounds but its basic premiss is that to live by the rules of a democracy one should participate in that democracy, hardly a reason for ‘disgust’.

    Overall I believe compulsory voting to be an excellent idea, but not with the FPTP system as I find it a simplistic system which magnifies the winners at the expense of the plurality which can occur in systems such as in Australia.

    (Basically, one reason for the disenchantment of the electorate with the political system is their realisation that as tribal party loyalty has lessened, the chances of minor parties -reflecting the increasing plurality of views in society-getting a seat in Westminster remains nil. Thankfully devolved parliaments have allowed for change. This is one of their strengths…)

  29. @ Robert Waller – I’m at a loss as to why you find compulsory voting “disgusting”. Requiring people to vote in local, national and European elections every now and again hardly seems onerous. Provided voters are given a “none of the above” option, where’s the problem? It’s not much to ask that people bother to play a tiny part in the democratic society that they depend on for everything from healthcare to policing to road maintenance.

    The FPTP vs PR argument is a separate one, IMO, and has no bearing on whether or not voting should be compulsory.

  30. The right not to vote is, in my opinion, as important the right to vote.
    Turn it around: why should people be made to vote, if otherwise they do not feel they are informed enough, or have sufficiently strong views or knowledge, or, actually, any other reason ?
    There is, in my view, a need to make the case for compulsion in all matters, not the other way round. It’s quite easy to sit at a keyboard and say x should be banned, or people should have to do y.
    Perhaps I just lack an authoritarian personality, but I prefer to go along with the practice in the vast majority of democracies.
    I love voting and elections, or I wouldn’t be on here now, and have never yet missed – but if voting were compulsory I would have to refuse and be subject to the criminalisation you seem eager to thrust upon me, and others who think the same in a society where the hard-won values of freedom are increasingly under threat.

  31. James and Jack,

    Making anything “compulsory”, least of all voting, is an efront to the concept of liberty.

    It presumes that we as individuals are the servants of the state and owe it a duty to provide it with the sham of democracy.

    We, the people, as a collection of individuals, are sovereign, and the state is our servant. If we wish to withhold our consent, it is not for our servant to command us.

    As for playing our part – we are obliged to do that every time the state, through legitimised theft, deprives us of our property in order that it can spend our money on its whims.

    Jack, the logical consequence of your comment is that those who reject the “rules” of the majority should either comply or be expelled from society. Did you really intend that ? That is a sure fire route to tyranny – as so many so-called “progressive democracies” have found.

  32. @ Paul – lots of things are compulsory. Given that compulsory taxation isn’t likely to be abolished anytime soon, moaning about it while playing refusenik when it comes to voting is just a useless whiner approach. You can spout grand-sounding rhetoric until your spittle knocks a passing pigeon right out of the air but it won’t change a thing. Democracy won’t magically start working better or be replaced by anarchy just because you denounce it. But more people making the effort to vote might just make this country a bit better and its governments a little more representative.

  33. James,

    I am not whining, and I don’t sit sniping from the side-lines. There is an old English adage that one volunteer is worth ten pressed men. This is true in any context, and explains why the systematic incursion of the state to the exclusion of the voluntary sector in so many areas of social and charitable endeavour has seriously undermined the fabric of our society over the past fifty years.

    For the record I have only ever missed two elections of any kind since my 18th birthday (May 1979 & June 1983). On both occasions I was out of the country and did not qualify for a postal vote – the rules were much tighter in those days, otherwise I would have arranged a proxy as I did at a later election when away on business.

    Not only do I vote, I have campaigned actively since my teens and have even stood for election in three different local councils over the years. (I am now pleased to be the member for the ward where I live.)

    But, if we want people to be truly engaged, then they need to be encouraged to vote because they see it as something they want to do, not some onerous chore which might otherwise land them with a fine or a criminal record.

    Making voting compulsory devalues the process. Voting voluntarily makes people genuinely part of the democratic process – whether they do so out of a sense of civic duty; a passion for a particular philosophy or party, or simply because they want to turf the rotters out.

    Whether the elected are representative is more a function of the electoral system used and has nothing to do with turnout – unless it can be shown that certain parts of society abstain disproportionately.

    If the reason for low turnout is down to apathy, ignorance, or a “what’s in it for me ?” attitude, then it could be said that we deserve sub-standards MPs with the same approach to their role and responsibilities – and that’s what we have got.

  34. “Making anything “compulsory”, least of all voting, is an efront to the concept of liberty.

    It presumes that we as individuals are the servants of the state and owe it a duty to provide it with the sham of democracy.

    We, the people, as a collection of individuals, are sovereign, and the state is our servant. If we wish to withhold our consent, it is not for our servant to command us.”

    Hear, hear… to an extent…

    @James Ludlow
    …would you be spouting that if compulsory voting brought in a BNP government? I think not.
    Advocates of compulsory democracy are either disingenuous or naive …do you suppose that most voters are like you? with your background, education, culture?

    The things that are compulsory are contingently so… they have legitimacy because the balance of power between state and citizen is usually more or less right (not so much recently with acts brought in by the current regime).

    “more people making the effort to vote might just make this country a bit better and its governments a little more representative.”
    …but not with the whip cracking behind them.
    Democracy is often used cynically by totalitarian regimes to gain and enforce power… China, is technically a democracy; as is police state Singapore, and many an African and Latin-American despot uses democracy.

    individuals need protection from mobs, and some form of republic with a bill of rights, would offer far more freedom than any demobracy ever could.

    @Paul H-J
    “If the reason for low turnout is down to apathy, ignorance, or a “what’s in it for me ?” attitude, then it could be said that we deserve sub-standards MPs with the same approach to their role and responsibilities – and that’s what we have got.”

    …Oh it’s more than that. It’s the belief that your vote is probably a wasted vote, when experience shows how little the public is regarded by the establishment.

    Pressure groups, direct action, and online activity have gradually begun to supplant the role of parties, as you can see by the collapsing membership figures… it’s only a matter of time before the generations for whom party membership and voting is the norm edge into minority; to be replaced by generations for whom other forms of political expression are the norm slowly emerge as a majority. …imagine what is happening to the music and media industries finding a parallel paradigm shift in the world of politics.