Saturday polls

There are two polls in tomorrow’s papers, showing much the same picture. YouGov in the Sun have voting intention figures of CON 42%, LAB 28%, LDEM 19% (changes from the last Yougov poll seem somewhat redundant, since this one was conducted simultaeneously or even slighter later than the final daily poll). Meanwhile BPIX in the Daily Mail have almost identical figures – CON 42%, LAB 28%, LDEM 20% 18% (UPDATE: Corrected Lib Dem score for BPIX)

Prior to the conference season we had a Tory lead of about 14 points, the same appears to the be case now. It’s probably worth waiting a couple of days to see if the level of Conservative support recedes – these polls were, after all, conducted at the time of David Cameron’s speech – but that aside, it appears that the conference season has not sprung any great surprises or had any great affect.


49 Responses to “Saturday polls”

  1. CON 42%, CON 28%, LDEM 19%

    Sometimes I see typos and REALLY wish they were reality

    ;)

  2. That’s a Conservative majority of 35-40 seats, oddly similar to Mrs Thatcher’s first term and with similar circumstances. Perhaps Cameron will wear a wig just to make sure we get the message.

    Perhaps Conservative support of 70% (as above) is pushing things a bit.

  3. Does anyone know what the seats would be if every constituency had the same number of voters?

  4. Phil’s Dad

    You would need to know how the various Boundary Commissions constructed the constituency boundaries, before that question could be answered. There are different ways in which the lines could be drawn that would result in approximately similar sized constituencies.

    How long is a piece of string?

  5. I would expect a return to exactly the way the polls were before the conferences. Which is what Cameron will have hoped for. There was no recovery for Labour, Brown blew his chance (if he ever really had one) and the Conservatives are still comfortably ahead. They won’t get a boost – you get a boost by promising something nice, like raising the inheritance tax threshold. Voters are not dim and they know we cannot afford giveaways now. The Tories played it exactly right, they were sober and they talked making about cuts and freezes and delaying tax breaks. That won’t gain them eager voters but it will have won the respect of those already inclined to vote Tory and solidified the lead they have. Labour will have to be panicking now. What else can they do in the 7 months between now and the election?

  6. Perhaps rather than changing the general picture, the conferences have had the effect of cementing it. I don’t think people can meaningfully talk about the Tory vote-share as “soft” anymore, or claim that they lack policies. The Tories – Osborne and Cameron especially – were clear about what they stood for and as the dust settles, it appears their support remains the same.

    Bad news for Lib Dems. Efforts to reposition them as the first party of choice for the progressive left don’t seem to be working at all well.

  7. I think suggestions that the Conservative lead needs to be over 10 points for Cameron to get an overall majority could be slightly missing the mark. Although he needs a solid lead it seems his party’s performance in the marginal constituencies is perhaps better that even the national poll is predicting. I live in the so-called bellweather seat of Bolton West and can assure you the Conservatives will win this seat, 10 point lead or not. Any other regional indications would be welcome.

  8. Folks – isn’t it a little early to say nothing has changed? As AW points out, these polls were taken in the immediate aftermath of Cameron’s speech, so expect slightly inflated Tory support that might decline a little. In theory these polls are the high watermark of Tory support, so there is a case for arguing that while they have come out of the conferences OK, they could still have lost a little ground. This is more in line with the actual poll evidence of Labour support from last Sunday up to Wednesday.

    @Kevin T – you ask what Labour could do now. I’ve argued for a long time that someone needs to tackle the abundant waste of higher rate tax relief on pension contributions. A wealthy banker paying £200K into her pension gets £133K from the tax payer. Why? A straighforward end to tax relief for the very well off would hurt no one but yeild billions. More controversial would be extending NI thresholds to cover all earned income but reduce the overall rate – a cost neutral way to deliver 75% of working people a tax cut plus a boost to the economy as lower earners are more likely to spend sspare income. These would be hard for the Tories to argue against, as its exactly what they said they want to do – help the less well off.

    Overall, this crisis is being wasted by both the main parties – there are plenty of radical, fair and useful policies each party could adopt, but they are all too timid. There is a window of opportunity for someone, and it should be Labour, but I don’t expect anything so grand.

  9. Well I finished my Scottish daily tracker and it didn’t show anything worth while.

    The best thing that came out of it was that the averages were;

    Con 20%, Lab 35%, LibDem 15%, Others 30%.

    Which I recon puts the SNP on about 25% which is pretty much were I think Scotland is right now.

    Peter.

  10. WMA 42:28:19. As we suspected the YouGov polls giving a 9% and 17% CLead were both just sampling errors (there really should be a BAN on journalists reading swings into a single poll!) and the CLead has now as predicted reverted to the 210 day mean of 14.

    Brown in the Telegraph today says he is optimistic and doesn’t mention debt or deficit once. It sounds as if he is going to try “Labour investment vs Tory cuts” (+ “Tory toffs” and “you are all wrong about me, I am wonderful and brilliant”) This could have a significant effect on the electorate, but not, I suspect, in the way that Brown wants.

  11. I wouldn’t say “nothing has changed”. There is a definite improvement in the Labour vote, albeit small. It seems to have come mostly at the expense of the Others, with a little from the LibDems. That improvement takes Labour’s position from “hopeless” to “very difficult”, and I would think it will help them in various ways, including motivating their troops, persuading financial backers that money spent on the GE is not wasted, and quite importantly persuading the remaining Labour MPs (who haven’t yet announced that they’re quitting) to fight on and have some hope of saving their seats.

    On the other hand, if you’re the government and you are unpopular and well behind in the polls, you really need “something” to happen to reverse your fortunes. Conference could have been “it”. It wasn’t. They will now be looking for the next possibility. They are probably running out of chances.

  12. @ Peter

    I’m amazed Labour are 10 points ahead of the SNP – what on earth is going on up there?

  13. @ Kevin T

    There is one way I think Labour could win the election and if they were unified and serious they would do the following:

    Get rid of Brown and beg Blair to come back, they get him to issue an unreserved apology about taking Britain to war and then embark on a serious campaign to match the Tories austerity stretegy.

    Although I wouldn’t buy this for a minute I think there could be plenty of people that would. I think this could bring Labour to within 3-4% of the Tories and may just swing them a win.

    Thankfully due to the rafts of personal agendas getting in the way of a team effort this will never happen!

  14. Andrew, there is no way bringing Blair back would help. It would alienate a large bloc of left-wing, union based support quite beyond the personality issues you mention.

    Personally I think the only real hope for Labour, beyond a Tory screwup, would be 1) Gordon resigns due to Ill Health 2) Alan Johnson becomes Leader 3) Alan Johnson sorts out the Royal Mail / CWU dingdong 4) Alan Johnson proposes numerous new Jam Today spending increases; sticking to the line that “investment is essential to prevent the recession coming back” and 5) the Tories stab each other over Lisbon.

  15. I can’t see what Johnson would bring to the party – he is as useless a home secretary as all the previous imbeciles – he has done nothing in the job as far as I can see. Yob culture is still out of control and the Police only arrest victims of crime these days.

    So I really can’t see how he would be so good as PM!

  16. I didn’t say he’d be any good as PM. He’s working class, smooth-talking, union-friendly, fairly moderate but not a Blairite. His background and accent would constitute a sort of unspoken “Tory Toff” campaign, without the unsubtle bludgeoning. Whilst he hasn’t done anything in particular at the Home Office, he hasn’t made any gaffes either. I am not commenting on whether he’s any good – that would contravene the comments policy – I am just saying that he might offer the Labour party a chance to improve their Poll rating.

    Oh and as a police officer, you will be glad to know that I haven’t arrested any victims of crime in my entire career and that my last few arrests were all for drug dealing, firearms possession and/or money laundering. Just thought I’d reassure you on that score….

  17. Peter & Andrew

    Not so sure about the figures on the daily tracker or indeed whether it gives useful figures on a Scottiosh basis. The tiny sample seems too vulnerable to daily fluctuations while obviously the SNP haven’t had their Conference coverage as yet. However as indicated below there is some indication of trends over the season.

    However with theaboive health warnings my averages from the 15 daily trackers over the Conference season from 21 September to 10 October are Lab 35 Others 32 Tory 19 and Liberals 15. On the polls which separated them most had non-SNP others at 4 so that should be deducted for the Nat figure.

    More interestingly the first 8 September polls showed Lab 38 Others 30 Tory 19 and Lib 15 while the 7 more recent October polls showed Lab 32 Others 34 Tory 20 and Libs 15. Again deduct 4 for Nat figure giving a Labour lead of 32-30.

    Each of the sub samples are around 7-800 and perhaps this suggests a move to the Nats over the period. It certainly indicates that they didn’t suffer unduly from the London Parties conference season.

  18. @ NeilA – I think Johnson’s moment has long-gone. He didn’t have the balls for it and came across as a bit of a drip as a result. The people (Toynbee and co) who were touting Johnson as Labour’s Last Great Hope seem to have given up on him altogether.

  19. Seriously folks, let’s compare like with like.

    At this stage all we can do is compare each party’s standing after their leaders speech with their standing before the conference season. We can’t say anything about long term fall out for another two weeks. In addition the Cons. may yet have a few more days of conference rise.

    So far what we can see is LD maximum of 25, a rise of about 6 points. Lab maximum 31, up 7 points. Con a maximum of 44 points a rise of about 4 points. Of course those figures are probably outliers and at the moment the running averages look like there was certainly a boost for Clegg and Brown but very little for Cameron although he is still comfortable in a majority winning position.

    Looks to me like Clegg really benefits from the extra publicity, so expect the return of the Lib election bounce while GB benefits from the chance to look heavy weight. The party leader debates seem to offer both clegg and brown opportunities while Cameroon will have to work to stay still. However as he still seems much more popular than his party it does offer the chance to consolidate his position.

    My view? The debates are going to be crucial and will change General Elections for ever.

  20. A number of reasons why it’s not ‘in the bag’ yet for the Conservatives ;

    1 As we near an election, the Liberal Democrats will gain more attention and as is alway sthe case theire share of the vote will incerease by a couple of percentage points. Mainly I suspect at the expense of the Conservatives.

    2 Similarly, UKIP may increase their share of the vote in Conservative seats albeit not by enough to change too many seats.

    3 The recovery will gather pace and some but not much credit may go to Gordon Brown and/or the Labour Party.

    4 When push comes to shove some people will still vote on the basis of better the devil you know, like 1992 and almost every other elections the incumbents will see a number of voters return to the fold.

    5 David Cameron still appears devoid of a grand plan or any really strong policies and this may expose him when the media start to scrutinise him more.

    6 The Lisbon treaty will most likely be in effect by May/June next year – Poland complete ratification today and the Czech Republic likely by December. Europe may yet be a thorn in the side of the Conservatives.

    Of course, none of this means that the final result will be any different, we are still looking at the Conservatives as being the largest party but I sense that enough factors are in play to mean that a hung parliament is a real possibility – then what ???

  21. @Pompey Observer

    Of course those figures are probably outliers

    Yes, I imagine they are. So why go on and base most of the rest of your comments on them?

    I agree that the debate(s) is/are another potential opportunity for a significant change in the landscape. I think there is a good chance that Cameron will be seen to underperform, because of the massive expectations. But honestly I think he needs to screw up, rather than be lacklustre, for the debate to be a gamechanger. Cameron is not given to screw ups.

    Clegg, frankly, has a problem. In a three way debate he will look like a paler version of Cameron, and he will no doubt direct most of his fire at Cameron rather than Brown. This may help in the Westcountry and the coastal towns, but isn’t going to help him all that much in the northern cities and other key battlegrounds with Labour.

    If there are three 2-way debates then if anything the problem is even worse. He will go after Labour on pretty much the same ground as Cameron will, and probably won’t do it as well. That would drive “anyone but Labour voters” towards the Tories (which would hurt Clegg in the Westcountry particularly, where “anyone but Labour” is pretty much the general philosophy of the population.

  22. So GB is optimisitc….I think that’s part of the problem – he has been hopelessly optimistic for years – witness his forecasts as Chancellor as to the PSBR and when we would have a balanced budget.

    As for Prescott saying GB is a ‘global giant’ – Well I guess the world is dominated by some pretty small leaders.

    Japan’s Yasuo Fukuda is only 5’6″, and Germany’s female Chancellor Angela Merkel measures in at only 5’5″ – as does President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.
    President Dmitry Medvedev, brings up the rear at only 5’2″.

    :-)

  23. The polling differential of 10 points between Lab. and Tories will certainly win the Election for Mr. Cameron. Interestingly, for each point above 40%, the Tory lead over Labour widens the gap exponentially.

    In the early contributions, ‘Danny Boy’ makes the all-important point that the marginal’s hold the key to 10 Downing St. It seems that there is no problem with the Tories picking up Northern votes in Bolton West!

    It is a reasonable assumption at this stage to predict Con. low 40’s; Lab. under 30 and as for the poor old Libs. almost every poll shows them achieving far fewer seats than they have now. Mr. Cameron will have enjoyed his Birthday!

    David J

  24. P.S.
    ‘Guido’ has got the latest Sky News projections:
    Con. 44 / Lab. 27 / Lib. 17.

    David J

  25. We do have to wait probably 2 weeks for the short term effect of Camerons speech to wear off and for some analysis of announcements to be carried out.
    I suspect 2 pts lower (a still healthy 41% perhaps)
    Polls out on Sunday 25th will be interesting.
    What the coinference season seems to have done, though, is bring 2% or so off others for Labour and Cons (excepting Nats in Scotland not really others), whilst the LDs have stood still as they probably lost less to others over the expenses scandal and Euro Elections borrowing.
    The idea of the LDsd overtaking Labour is gone for this GE baring an unknown unknown.

  26. Think Guido is just reporting the last daily poll

  27. I think whether President Klaus has ratified the treaty will have a large effect at GE time. If he has not, many of those voting for UKIP due to perceived Tory “dithering” will switch to ensure they have their referendum. That, I would argue could add a good 3% to the Tory percentage and more than likely carry them over the winning post.

  28. @ KEVIN T:-

    “What else can they do in the 7 months between now and the election?”

    Disagree with Osborne by the look of it.
    GB’s Telegraph interview includes these quotes:-

    “the economy is set to grow beyond expectations over the next year, making widespread cuts in public spending unnecessary. ”

    “it is simply not true that the tough years still lie ahead.”

    The PBR is going to be absolutely fascinating.

  29. KEVIN T

    “What else can they do in the 7 months between now and the election?”

    Attempt to exploit the fact that eyesight tests have found Gordon Brown has two minor tears in his retina

  30. He also said :-

    “Mr Cameron’s “austerity” policies were now the major threat to a prosperous future.”

    Colours have been nailed to masts-the battle lines are being drawn.

    Given the apparent polling support for Public Expenditure constraint, & Public Sector pay freeze, one wonders how Brown can make his case convincingly outside of the Mirror readership?

    It’s all boiling up nicely

  31. “What else can they do in the 7 months between now and the election?”

    Attempt to exploit the fact that Brown has 2 tears in his retinue.

  32. If Brown has indeed said that it’s probably not the best time to suspend training for the Territorial Army because the MOD has run out of money.

  33. ” 2 tears in his retinue.”

    I think he has a few actually-Sensitive Twittering Ben Bradshaw is certainly one of them.

  34. Alec

    Your assertion that a wealthy banker who puts £200k into a pension fund gets £133k of that from the taxpayer is totally preposterous. What happens is that same taxpayer keeps his £133k rather than giving it to the taxpayer – a very different thing from taking the money from the poor to give it to the rich. Taxing the rich doe not, in your words, ‘not hurt anyone’. It hurts the rich you are taxing, and if you tax them too much, they leave for greener pastures so reducing your tax base and hurting everyone.

    I bet you believe that scamming insurance companies hurts noone either

  35. @TMT – remember that you can take 25% tax free cash lump sum (v big lump sum if you have the maximum £16.5m pension pot) so you haven’t paid any tax on a quarter of it. However, whichever way you cut it, the state should support pension provision up to a certain limit. A £990K pa pension is beyond that limit.

    On other issues – there is trouble out there for the Tories that will have an impact. Their £13b pension savings claims have been blown out of the water by the independent think tank whose report they were based on – Osborne’s aids misread the numbers and there is a £3b whole in his plans. Its a big error, and raises a real credibility issue. Also David Blanchflower, the only member of the MPC who called the recession correctly – has stated Tory plans at immidiate debt reduction would be disastrous and would lead to a ‘spiral of death’ for the economy. This is a big story.

    I’m not saying Labour is great or should win – I am saying that Cameron has a number of exposed flanks, and if Labour support can edge up during a Tory conference, I wouldn’t want to bet my mortgage on the GE result. The firefight goes both ways, so of course Labour can take more hits as well, but the Tories will be under the spotlight far more now and they to start getting things right.

  36. Alec,

    For some time we had the inpression that you were assidiously fair in your analysis, though you were clearly sceptical of Cameron’s personal qualities – perhaps because your analysis often seemd too focused on cold soul-less economics and ignored the emotive side of politics.

    It is disappointing that an apparent (for it proved shortlived) surge in Labour support caused the mask to slip. Your more recent posts are really verging on pure partisanship, with many of the unsubstantiated assertions or crude statements which you used to rightly criticise in others.

    May I just take one quote from your post above:

    “A straighforward end to tax relief for the very well off would hurt no one but yeild billions. ”

    How can any policy which yields billions in additional tax revenues possibly hurt no one ? Or do you imagine that the “well-off” (notably undefined) do not count as people ?

    If you have a tribal abhorrence of Conservatives, be honest. But please do not pretend to be objective yet continue in the vein of your recent threads for you will only lose respect.

  37. Mark,

    # 3 can only happen if the Tories and Lib Dems let it happen. All it takes to prevent Labour gaining is to do a little quote-mining about “international crisis” and “needs a world solution” etc., not to mention all the “we have abolished boom and bust” quotes one can use. That’s not “fair play”, but it is a consequence of the strategy Labour used throughout the crisis to escape blame. It’s the classic trade-off: you can escape blame for a crisis by giving up responsibility, but only but losing credit for the recovery. Labour COULD gain from an economic recovery, but only if the opposition is systematically incompetant.

    4 has been dealt with here again and again and AGAIN. Incumbent governments don’t tend to gain as the election approaches: Tory incumbent governments do.

    5 may well be the case (it’s highly subjective) but that doesn’t seem to be popular perception and it isn’t the angle that either Labour or the Lib Dems are taking against the Tories. The line now is “Cameron’s plan is the WRONG plan”, not that “He has no plan”. Equally, the Tories are now the “Do the Wrong Thing” party, not the “Do Nothing Party”. It’s important to keep up to date with party messages.

  38. @ Alec – “Their £13b pension savings claims have been blown out of the water by the independent think tank whose report they were based on – Osborne’s aids misread the numbers and there is a £3b whole in his plans. Its a big error, and raises a real credibility issue.”

    Not really, because economic predictions – including those of independent think-tanks – are never all that accurate anyway. Of course it’s necessary to make such predictions in order to plan ahead but anyone who regards them as anything other than an educated guesstimate contingent on a range of possibilities is just being silly.

  39. Jm Jam,

    I had planned to post a detailed anlysis of the effect of the conferences for each party on Thursday, but the Captcha thingummy sent it into oblivion (I now take more care to copy my text before hitting submit).

    Broadly, I agree with you. We have not really seen any meaningful movement in the polls, other than some shift back from “others” to both Lab and Con. However, in all probability this was merely a continuation of a pre-existing trend, such that the conferences themselves have had no effect. It may be interesting to see if the latest news on expenses causes some of that to be reversed.

    For me, both Lab and Con conferences merely consolidated / stabilised the position as between the two parties. I think Labour may have found some fight which could avoid total wipe-out, but they have not found an escape route which will somehow snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

    The most curious was the LD conference. They tried to be bold, but it was not clear what they were trying to achieve. They came across as contradictory and woolly-minded, as the Liberals used to be in the 1970s/80s before Paddy Ashdown built some coherence into them as a slightly left-of-centre party.
    The only lasting effect is that Cable’s economic credibility has been damaged by the ill-fated mansion tax (doubt we will hear any more on that in the next 6-7 months).

    There may have been a small opportunity for Clegg to position LDs to replace Labour in the longer term – but I fear he has blown it. While we could see some small Lab-LD movement during the campaign proper – as has usually been the case – I now expect the Lab/LD gap to be in the region of 5-7%, and the number of LD seat gains from Lab to be in single digits.

    It really would take an unknown unknown to change that as I can’t think of any event which would now see a big shift from Lab to LD – or a big Con to LD movement either.

  40. @James Ludlow. Not in this case. It’s a pretty simple matter of looking at numbers of people, their ages etc. Osborne claimed £13b savings from 2016 – it emerges that the people on which he based his predictions are saying it will be £4b in 2016 rising to only £10b by 2020. If its a prediction only, then say so – I thought he was wanting to be honest?

    I’m fairly sure that if Alistair Darling did something similar you might not be so charitable, but fogive me if I’m wrong.

  41. Alec

    Just to bring you up to date the tax grabbing labour government has largely removed the 40% tax allowance for higher earners if they, being prudent, wish to pay money into a pension. The allowance is only £20,000 a year and this includes any payment that an employer is making on your behalf. Above that the limit is around £250,000 but you only receive 20% tax relief – so if you put in £250,000 of POST TAX pay, you get 20% tax back. For someone who will soon fall into the 50% tax bracket you still end up paying 30% tax on the amount you put into your pension. The less that individuals have to rely on the state for their pension the better. You must live in a crazy world if you seriously believe that it is wise to suggest that everyone should rely on the state to provide their pension. Why not just stop at pensions – why not also suggest that all individuals pay capital gains tax on their primary properties – owning property then downsizing that property in retirement is simply another way of saving and avoiding tax. Targeting bankers as the cause of this recession is just ignorant – we have all enjoyed the past decade of easy credit and Gordon Brown should have been running fiscal surpluses for many of the good years – his ridiculous spending spree using the tax revenue generated by bankers is what has exacerbated the problem in the UK.

  42. “David Blanchflower, ”

    The Labour supporting Blanchflower is not without his critics.
    His addiction to the feelgood economics of ultra-low interest rates is by no means universally acclaimed.

  43. ALEC
    James Ludlow is correct in his comments re the Tory pension savings and you seem to be very biased and unfair in your comments. You should know that all estimates of Government savings by all political parties are forecasts as were the figures quoted in the independent report. I understand that the difference in pension saving forecasts was due to the fact that the independent figures assumed no growth in the UK economy while Osborne allowed for growth consistent with the Government forecasts. Far more serious is that Brown in his Conference speech made promises that were not quantified at all and he failed to give an indication how they were to be paid for.

  44. Reuters on Blanchflower & QE :-

    “Blanchflower may be crowing, but he first voted for a rate cut in March 2007, at the peak (as we can now see) of the house price boom. Had the committee agreed with him, there would have either been a final frenzy of buyers acquiring property they could not afford, or a gut-wrenching U-turn as the MPC (unanimously) raised rates two months later.

    Today, he believes that the risk of a long-lasting recession is not over. He castigates the “feeble six” members of the MPC who disagreed with King’s proposal to raise the ceiling on the amount of stock the Bank plans to buy in. Yet the efficacy of this policy of Quantitative Easing is far from proven. The bizarre spectacle of a UK Treasury, desperate for money, spewing out new stock in vast quantities one day only for the Bank to buy almost identical stocks the next, defies common sense.

    The consequences of governments round the world resorting to the printing press are already apparent in the prices of shares, desirable houses, gold and commodities. At some stage these rises will filter into the sort of inflation that the CPI measures. At that point, the Bank’s store of stocks will be added to the government’s continuing borrowing needs, and the hunt for buyers will begin.

    While it’s always possible to find a seller of a government stock, at a price, the converse is not always true. There have been times when almost no price looked attractive enough to the buyers, and interest rates were forced to ruinous levels – as they did shortly after Goodhart proposed his law. Do not think it can never happen again.”

    Who is correct?-Economists!!

  45. @ Alec – no, it’s not that simple at all I’m afraid. The NIESR figures are an estimate, and Osborne’s figures factor in predicted inflationary rises as well. It’s all estimates and cannot be anything else. Or are you a disciple of the Mystic Meg School of Futurology?

  46. Yet another yougov poll in the times.
    42/29/19.
    You’d think the three Murdoch companies could avoid getting 3 polls on the same day from the same pollster, wouldn’t you?

  47. MIKE GRAHAM. Murdoch N of World ICM poll now out 45 C – 26 L – 18 LD i

  48. ICM in NoW

    45( +5)
    26 ( n/c )
    18 ( -5 )

  49. I hve little doubt that the Tory lead is much more to do with the electorates dissenchantment with Labour reenforced by the Tory press than it has to with a love of the conservatives. The kind of leader cult that emerged from the conservative conference will not survive the intense examination that will follow over the next 7 months. What will emerge is either a return to the traditional two party divide or the serious emergence of third force probably the Lib Dems. Am I alone in having given up newspapers because of their bias?