There is an ICM snap poll on the BNP in today’s News of the World, but what’s online really isn’t enough to do a proper analysis – we really need to see what was asked. From first sight, while it’s reported as a “shock horror people agree with BNP poll!”, a glance at the article suggests it actually shows small majorities of people don’t want gay sex taught in schools and think Islam has a poor record on women’s rights, which really isn’t the sort of thing I’d find particularly surprising. Only 10% think there should be a total stop to immigration.

The one surprising finding from the News of the World article is that ICM apparently found a third people agreeing with stopping benefits to British-born people from ethnic minorities to pay for them to leave the country. That seems counter-intuitive, after all, if only 10% of people want a stop to immigration, stripping benefits from British people based on their skin colour and paying them to leave would normally be regarded as a lot more extreme, but the News of the World claim ICM found it was three times more popular. I think we’d better wait and see ICM’s tables, rather than the News of the World’s interpretation of them.

Moving on, the Observer has an article saying that Labour strategists think that UKIP could cost the Conservatives 50 seats at the next election. Quite frankly, while a good performance by UKIP might well disadvantage the Conservatives, the sums here don’t even begin to add up.

If we take the Conservative’s 60 most winnable seats, the majorities range from 31 to 2686 (0.1% to 5.7%). Of course in reality these aren’t the seats that are under question, the Conservatives are going to win these anyway. Different levels of support will give us different distributions of required swing, but since we don’t know what the actual swing will be at the next election, these make as a good an illustration of how the majorities in seats are distributed as any.

If one assumes an even level of support for UKIP across these seats, UKIP would have to take an extra 5.7% of the vote, above and beyond the 2% they got at the last election, and take it all from people who would otherwise have voted Conservative in order to prevent the Conservatives winning all 60 seats. UKIP getting 8% at the next election seems pretty damn unlikely to start with, given they are currently on 4% and have been in decline since their boost at the European elections. In fact, even if they did, it wouldn’t cost the Conservatives 60 seats.

The Observer’s article has that old canard that UKIP cost the Conservatives 27 seats at the last election, if one starts from that basis, 50 seats sounds entirely plausible with a higher level of UKIP support. Unfortunately, it’s rubbish. Firstly, it’s only actually 24 seats where the majority over the Conservatives in 2005 was smaller than the UKIP vote (the 27 comes from lumping Veritas in with them). Secondly, for the Conservatives to have won all of them they would have had to win every single vote that went to UKIP.

In reality, some UKIP voters are people who would otherwise vote Labour or Lib Dem. A large chunk of UKIP’s voters are people who probably wouldn’t vote at all in the absense of UKIP or an alternate fringe party to cast a protest vote for. I’m pretty certain that UKIP take more people who would otherwise vote Conservative than people who would otherwise vote Labour, but once you also take out people who wouldn’t vote, or would vote for another minor party, the difference won’t be massive.

In the Observer’s report, they are assuming that UKIP takes about two-thirds of its support from Conservative minded voters and a third of their support from Labour minded voters – so every 3 votes for UKIP reduces the Conservative performance relative to Labour by just 1. On that basis, UKIP cost the Conservatives all of 10 seats at the last election, and for UKIP to prevent the Conservatives winning 50 seats, would take a performance in marginal seats equivalent to them winning 19% nationally. On that front, we really are into fantasy land.


69 Responses to “ICM/NotW and would UKIP cost the Conservative 50 seats?”

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  1. That BNP thing does sound strange….

    While I assume you know what you’re talking about far more than me, your UKIP thing seems a little dodgy, to me…..the word ‘might’ jumped out at me….and then, the first 60 seats…..seeing as this websites latest prediction is for cons to gain ~170 seats…..surely it’d be 50 quite a bit further down the list the Observer is speculating about?

    Also, thanks to OLD NAT if this goes through

  2. Wood

    Glad it worked.

  3. Wood – yep, it would be ones further up the target list, and the distribution of marginal seats does change along that scale.

    However, it doesn’t change that much. For the Observer’s suggestion to be realistic without UKIP getting an unrealistically huge share of the national vote, you would need 50 seats with a majority over the Conservatives within 1 or 2% of each other… and looking down the list of Conservative target seats that doesn’t exist.

  4. “if only 10% of people want a stop to immigration, stripping benefits from British people based on their skin colour and paying them to leave would normally be regarded as a lot more extreme,”

    Three possible explanations: 1) the NoW has misinterpreted the data; 2) respondents make a distinction between “immigration” (which includes white immigrants) and “ethnic minorities” (which generally doesn’t); or 3) respondents didn’t understand what they were being asked.

  5. Of course, a lot depends on what happens in the world of Euro politics between now and the election. There are circumstances in which I could see UKIP digging into Tory votes. But it seems that the BNP might dig out a few Labour votes too so who knows.

  6. @James,

    Yup I can imagine a few Arsenal fans thinking “Stop all immigration? No Arsene Wenger? No way!!”

  7. Apart from Euro polls UKIP is such small numbers it is impossible to know anything other than the net movement of votes and, as you say Anthony, no ones knows how many UKIP voters wouldn’t have voted if UKIP hadn’t stood. It’s slightly the same with the BNP. If you look at council election results they often seem to find “new” voters. You can tell that just by doing simple arithmetic.

  8. On Political Betting, they have a small analysis of BNP voters.

    The article ends – “What’s the profile then of BNP voters from this brief analysis? We get a picture of a man or woman, most likely C2DE, who didn’t vote at the 2005 election (though if they did vote they were most likely to have supported Labour). It appears therefore that rather than the BNP tapping into disaffected Labour votes, they have actually managed to mobilise a previously non-participating part of the electorate and persuaded them to go out and cast ballots.”

    (I’d forgotten that this site doesn’t really like links – sorry)

  9. “That seems counter-intuitive, after all, if only 10% of people want a stop to immigration, stripping benefits from British people based on their skin colour and paying them to leave would normally be regarded as a lot more extreme,”

    …Not if you don’t believe that they are British, just because of a piece of paper. Anyway, Britain is a Jus Sanguinis state, it’s been the case for a long time that the location of birth is not relevant, it’s the fact of at least one British parent married to a non-British. The issue is one of what *you* understand those terms to mean. Surely for a BNP supporter, British has a specific ethnic definition describing a group of north-west european ethnicities – isn’t that the point of it?
    There are a whole host of anachronistic and problematic terms that seem to hinder the interpretation and analysis of these sorts of data sets… in particular the the term “white” is particularly useless and meaningless… consequently both sides of the argument are able to conflate and equivocate at will, and you never really get at the heart of things.

    Immigration’s another one… even at ONS, they are in the disingenuous habit of conflating and equivocating upon every possible kind of immigration, so you get permanent settlement from the 3rd world bundled in with indigenous people studying or working abroad for a year… I fail to see what purpose is served by this “bag of fruit v bag of veg” (as opposed to apples v oranges) presentation of data?! It doesn’t give anyone enough credible and meaningful information to have a proper debate on what is clearly a pressing matter.

    Incidentally, aren’t UKIP heading for bankruptcy now? What would that do to the spread of votes I wonder, if they went up in smoke before the general election!

  10. UKIP aren’t heading for bankruptcy , Labour and the Conservatines have both beem operatind quite happily whilst technically insolvent for several years now .
    Labour ended 2008 nearly 10 million in debt and the Conservatives over 7 million in debt . Inly the LibDems of the 3 major parties ended up with net assets around 1/2 a million .

  11. One explanation for the strange findings could be that for some reason people felt embarrassed to say what they really thought on the immigration question but felt able to say what they really felt about benefits.

    People do tend to get most angry about the use/abuse of benefits, maybe more so than immigration. That could explain it.

  12. I think when a possible UKIP/TOTY voter is faced with another 5 years of Gordon. Europe will sink into insignificence. The Euro election usually qualifies as a protest vote.

  13. I think UKIP will do better than in 2005; they could save the majority of their deposits this time. The combined UKIP/Green/BNP percentage was about 4% in 2005. This time it could be around 10%.

  14. After reading the ICM Poll on the BNP, my personal level of Patriotism just went down, mainly because of the following paragraph.

    “It also reveals that ONE THIRD of voters believe in a core BNP policy – that British-born people from ethnic minorities should lose all state benefits, including NHS medical treatment, to pay for them to leave the country.”

    That is one of the most pathetic things i have ever seen. If it’s true, that means that 20 million people are open racists, and considering that around 10% of this country’s population is non-white, then that means that around 40% of white people in this country are open racists.

    This is not me being PC. If the question was “Should NON-British born people lose all their state benefits”, i’d understand it more. But to say that people should have their health care, education etc taken away from them, not because of their nationality, but because of the colour of thier skin, it just blatently racist.

  15. Andy,

    In order to save the majority of their deposits, UKIP would have to poll above 5% nationally – unless you think their candidates will not follow standard distribution and all get either c5.01% or <1%.

    Personally, I think they will attempt over-stretch by putting up too many candidates such that they lose an even greater share of deposits than they did in 2005.

    Their prime raison d'etre is still a single issue, and whilst it may be a major issue for those most likely to support UKIP, it will not be the most prominent issue at the GE.Especially as the Czechs have done Cameron a favour by getting Lisbon ratification out of the way well before the GE.

    By next May UKIP will be looking rather foolish if they focus their attacks on Tories for failing to do something which was never within their power. On the other hand, if they do focus their fire over Europe on Brown, they face the problem that in most cases, why Vote UKIP if it means you end up with a Labour MP ?

    Apart from Beaconsfield, I will be surprised if UKIP break above 10% in more than a handful of seats, and expect their average score to be nearer 3%, with few deposits held.

    As to depriving Cons of setas – no doubt there will be seats where the Lab majority is smaller than the UKIP vote – but equally there will be many seats where the winner's margin is less than the vote obtained by one or more minor party. This is almost inevitably the case – but so what ?

  16. Bobby – I couldn’t agree with you more. Its sad, chilling and deeply disturbing if these findings really are true. I think the methodology needs a bit more investigation.

    I for one have believed strongly for a long time that immigration at the levels we have seen is worrying and has casued/will cause real problems of social cohesion, pressure and culture, but sure as anything the BNP and these terirble views are not the solution. One could say ironically that such solutions are as far fom being English in character as dakness is from light. How ironi c also that the vey people from whom benefoits would be withdrawn supply a level of staff to the NHS which keeps it afloat.

  17. Immigration questions need to be nuanced. I don’t know a single person who supports zero immigration but virtually everyone I know is in favour of less immigration.

  18. Andy,

    I have to disagree with you on UKIP’s ability to save the majority of its deposits next year.

    Firstly, unless you believe that normal distribution will not apply, and they will have a large number of candidates at just over 5% with the rest at under 1%, this implies a national average score for UKIP above 5%. I do not think this is likely.

    Secondly, there is a real risk that by putting up too many candidates, UKIP will face serious overstretch. This may mean that they underperform in those areas where they may have had a chance of saving their deposit, for the sake of picking up a few votes where it makes little difference.

    Overall, I would be surprised if UKIP manage to save more than a tenth of their deposits, and, with possible exception of Beaconsfield, they will struggle to break 10% in any seat.

    As to the premise that UKIP will deprive Cons of 60 seats, I agree with Anthony. There are two quite separate reasons for this.

    Firstly, psephologically, there will always be seats where the winner’s margin is less than the votes secured by some minor candidate. But, it does not follow that if that candidate had not stood, all those votes would have transferred en masse to the otherwise second placed candidate to ensure victory.

    Secondly, politically UKIP will be less relevant by May as Europe slips down the the list of important issues. On this score the Czech position now means that Lisbon will be history by May, so UKIP will come across as wanting to fight the last war instead of offering a policy for the future. UKIP may also find themselves in a cleft stick:
    – Do they attack Tories for failing to deliver something that was outside their power ?
    – Do they attack Labour for reneging on their manifesto and pushing Lisbon through without a vote.

    While the latter approach has more likely traction, it runs into the problem that why should people vote UKIP in protest at Lisbon if it means a Labour MP can retain his/her seat ?

    In my view, UKIP are unlikely to get an average vote much above 3% in England, and even lower in Scotland or Wales.

  19. Correction: that should read Buckingham not Beaconsfield.

  20. I think both UKIP and the BNP will do okay. They won’t make any huge breakthrough, I doubt they will even get a seat.

    However we are now very close to the point of no return for Labour and when they idea of a Tory victory finally becomes the accepted outcome, people who voted Labour last time will go elsewhere.

    Some of the current UKIP and BNP vote comes from the benefit of a weak Tory party in the last few elections, some of which will unwind, but a fair bit will remain.

    Add what they will retain to what they will gain fromlabours decline and I think both might finish about 2% BNP and 3% UKIP, and just possibly 1% higher for the BNP. If anything because of it’s demograhpic the BNP will do better as the are more likely topick up disgruntled labour voter in a recession where as those ex Tories who have voted UKIP may well go back to Cameron.

    Neither will go anywhere in Scotland and indeed they may well fall back, I’d even go as far as saying that the SNP might get almost as many votes as UKIP.

    Peter.

  21. Thank you OLDNAT for the political betting comment which helps answer my question of some time ago, about who votes BNP.

  22. “It also reveals that ONE THIRD of voters believe in a core BNP policy – that British-born people from ethnic minorities should lose all state benefits, including NHS medical treatment, to pay for them to leave the country.”

    Is that 30% of people support compulsory repatriation? Hard to square with only 10% wanting the doors slammed shut.

  23. Richard: I did give a possible explanation above, which is basically that people feel more able to complain about benefits than immigration.

  24. Oldnat said

    ‘On Political Betting, they have a small analysis of BNP voters.

    The article ends – “What’s the profile then of BNP voters from this brief analysis? We get a picture of a man or woman, most likely C2DE, who didn’t vote at the 2005 election (though if they did vote they were most likely to have supported Labour). It appears therefore that rather than the BNP tapping into disaffected Labour votes, they have actually managed to mobilise a previously non-participating part of the electorate and persuaded them to go out and cast ballots.”.

    Thanks for that info. It strikes me though that while 9.5 million voted Labour in 2005, 13.5 million did in 1997. This means that BNP voters could be disaffected Labour voters even if they didn’t vote Labour at the 2005 election, and that there could be up to 4 million more of them. The BNP would be certain to gain a few seats if even half of those four million voted for them.
    It was also interesting that while the BNP voters were more concentrated in the C2DE classes than the other parties, nearly 20% of them are ABs according to the analysis.

    The BNP have policies other than immigration which resonate with the public, because the major parties ignore the majority view – e.g. return of the death penalty for certain crimes, and leaving the EU.

    I wonder if there is yet any more support for my idea that I have mentioned on other threads – i.e. each adult has one vote, but it might be possible to earn extra votes by having a job for instance, or perhaps tertiary education. Perhaps if the BNP threat becomes scary enough, one of the major parties might contemplate this?

  25. @Bobby and Peter

    1. 30% is quite low, in a blind Sky poll a couple of years ago, when people were presented with a set of policies of a made up party and asked whether they agreed with them, 55% said yes; that dropped like a stone when it was revealed that the party was in fact real, and was the Brit Nats.

    2. Again, this word “RACISM” is the problem… human beings all over the world are ETHNOCENTRIC in large proportions. RACE does not exist (the words of leading geneticists and anthropologists); hence nor does “RACISM” – unless you use the term to describe people who believe that such a thing as race exists (i.e. there are no parameters for it as a “thing”).
    Once people understand this, then the expression of views you see from polls like this make more sense – as they would in any part of the world from any indigenous people facing an unprecedented influx of “outsiders”.

    It needn’t be open or one-way… all ethnic groups in all countries exhibit degrees of ethnocentrism – even babies have been shown to in accredited scientific studies. The existence of self-imposed apartness (or in Dutch “apartheid”) is visible up and down the country, and has been for years… it’s not loud noisy aggressive hate; but quiet, discrete, passive, distancing that is the most prevalent phenomena.
    Trying to change that in human beings is getting into Clockwork Orange territory…

  26. Pete B, you’ve just stated that 20% of BNP votes come from ABs, and you want to restrict CDEs from voting… how many Labour votes will that affect!

    If you don’t like the result, why bother having an election?
    The conclusion I draw from you is that if the BNP managed to become a parliamentary party, you would instigate a benign dictatorship to protect us from them! King Peter the first perhaps?!

    1992 77% turnout,
    14m Tory
    11.5m Labour
    6m LDP
    7,000 Brit Nats

    1997 turnout 71%
    11.6m Labour
    9.6m Tory
    5.2m LDP
    35,000 Brit Nat

    2001 turnout 59%
    10.7m Labour
    8.3m Tory
    4.8m LDP
    47,000 Brit Nat

    2005 turnout 61%
    Labour 9.5m
    Tory 8.7m
    LDP 5.9m
    Brit Nats 193,000

    Conclusions…
    Labour have benefited immensely from FPTP; the LDP have suffered immensely. The Brit Nats have shot up but are still nowhere near as important as made out to be: they might get 7 or 800,000 votes max… nearly 1000,000 people have lost their cherry, so if events take their toll, there’s a lot to play for, particularly in places like Burnley and Barking.
    Turnout has been in chronic and serious decline since Labour came to power. Save for a little LDP surge last time. I can see Labour dropping to about 8m votes on a bad day, and the Tories maybe getting 10m, but a lot of stay at homes could bring the turnout down another couple of million or 4% or whatever it is.

  27. @Seal Pup,

    I agree that humans are instinctively ethnocentric, but I think the patchwork of ties we feel towards other humans is far more complex than that.

    All other things being equal, I might subconsciously gravitate toward other white people. But in reality, I would be more likely to enjoy the company of a black or asian person who shared my views, interests or sense of humour than a white person who didn’t. I grew up in an environment where racial mixing was unavoidable (a children’s home in North London). My best friend is “dual heritage” (Irish/Jamaican as it happens – ginger afros rock!) but we share numerous interests and, of course, a long history of shared experience.

    I have visited Denmark, the country that could best be described as my “ethnic homeland” (I am a bit of a mongrel) and although I obviously had a lot in common physically with the people around me, I felt extremely foreign and out of place.

  28. seal pup

    “this word “RACISM” is the problem” It is. Unfortunately, exactly the same argument applies to “ethnocentrism”.

    It actually makes far more sense for people to think in terms of “communities” and “identities”. These can be multiple, of course, Also some communities/identities are exclusive or inclusive dependent on circumstances.

    Hence why racism is still a useful construct to describe those who think there is some genetic basis for their wanting to exclude those they see as outside their community/identity.

  29. Seal Pup
    “The conclusion I draw from you is that if the BNP managed to become a parliamentary party, you would instigate a benign dictatorship to protect us from them! King Peter the first perhaps?!”

    Not at all. Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. I have long held (for years before this BNP frenzy) the idea that those who pay taxes should have a greater say in the running of the country than those who live on benefits. This is analogous to the idea that the owner of a house should have more say in what happens to it than a non-paying guest. I know that this will probably never happen, but just find it an amusing conceit that the idea might possibly get discussed because of a perception amongst our ‘masters’ that BNP voters are mainly unemployed and uneducated.

    For what it’s worth, I think that the more diversity of parties that we can get into parliament the better, whatever their views, because that way fewer people will feel disenfranchised. The 3 main parties are so close together, fighting for the so-called middle-ground that there seem to be precious few MPs with any real beliefs on any side at the moment.

  30. SEAL PUP

    “Brit Nats” :-)

    That’s the composite term often used here for the Con/Lab/LD/UKIP grouping who want the state to represent the British nation/community/identity as against SNP/Plaid who use exactly the same civic nationalism approach of inclusivity.

    The BNP are ethnic nationalists and as such shouldn’t be confused with those who respectably advocate British Nationalism.

  31. Pete! I often agree with you but I can’t believe you’d support a reversal of universal suffrage and a retrograde journey back into the early 19th century!

  32. Neil,
    Sorry you can’t agree with me on this one, but i wouldn’t advocate taking the vote away from anyone, simply granting extra votes for those who pay for everyone else.

    In ancient Athens, the cradle of and model for democracy, every citizen had a vote. The only problem from our perspective was that citizens did not include women or slaves (the majority of the population). So there have been various models of democracy over the years.

  33. Pete B

    I don’t know about England, but my parents had two votes each until 1950. One for the constituency in which they lived and another in the Combined Scottish Universities constituency.

  34. Oldnat
    I believe that was the case in England too up until about the same time, at least in certain places like Oxford and Cambridge.

  35. Pete,

    Sounds a bit like the three-class franchise in Imperial Prussia to me.

    The problem I can see is that there are some people with a lot of money who are stupid and selfish and would make terrible electors (Mark Thatcher, anyone?) and some people who earn very little but who are hard working, well educated and have great insight into current affairs (nurses, home helps, that kind of thing). And those on benefits (which includes my fiancee, who had the misfortune of splitting up with her husband, and therefore losing her job with his company, just at the start of the recession) are often (not always) just as invested in the future of the country as higher rate taxpayers.

  36. Neil,
    I said nothing about higher-rate taxpayers, just taxpayers. Also, the details would have to be worked out, it’s just a general principle.

    For instance, retired people who had been taxpayers most of their lives could still have the extra vote. I have been made redundant myself 3 times, so I have nothing against those temporarily out of work. Some kind of qualification could be made such as 4 years NI contributions in the last 5 years or something. My idea is simply to reduce the influence of lifelong dole-scroungers on the government of the nation,

    Anyway, this is all getting a bit off-topic. On Anthony’s main point in this thread, I agree with him that UKIP will have only a marginal effect (probably less than the Greens and BNP) on the forthcoming election. This is because, rightly or wrongly, they are seen as a one-issue party that are only relevant in European elections. I believe that to achieve their aims, they do need to get some Westminster seats, but I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.

  37. UKIP’s platform seems to me to consist of “We’re Tories Who Want To Leave The EU”.

  38. Right…

    @Neil A
    I’m glad you can agree with some of my spouting. ; )
    When I went to Denmark as a kid (to Billund, for obvious reasons!), one of the things that impacted on my memory was the curious habit of people to have flag poles in their gardens… Danish flags everywhere… only ever seen that in the Far East, Vietnam, Thailand, China… My children are half Asian, and I love foreign languages and culture (much like the prophet Enoch ; P); despite that, and my excessive exposure to Johnny Foreigner, I can’t identify with them… I don’t even like Cockneys, never mind swarthy fellows!

    “some people who earn very little but who are hard working, well educated and have great insight into current affairs (nurses, home helps, that kind of thing).”
    Nah… I don’t believe any of them know much about current affairs – my dad was a nurse, and I worked with nurses in my youth!

    As for the rest: TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!! (sorry!)

    @Old Nat
    WRONG! “Racism” (and I really don’t know what it means – because it seems to be a fluid and covert homonym for evil) doesn’t describe anything… where are the boundaries of this term? What is a “race”? Where does one end and another begin? I just refer to Profs Oppenheimer, Edwards, Davies et al, and note it’s meaningless and anachronistic nature. Ethnicity means something – mtDNA and Y-chromosome gene clusters attached with cultural memes; i.e.: ethnotype = culture+phenotype; phenotype = geography+genotype: simple! And now we have nice haplogroup maps to confirm this.
    “community” and “identity” are amongst these appallingly meanginless terms designed in American marketing agencies to evade description – much like “celebrating diversity” (what, with jelly and ice cream?!) etc… it makes no sense to use these terms unless you want to hide some fact or evade some debate: it is equivocation of the most transparent kind; we are now ready to be freed from this insidious crypto-orwellian doublespeak.
    Ethnocentrism is a precise, academic, and neutral term to describe a policy focus around an ethnic group; racism seems to describe unjustified aggression, and is not the same thing.
    Anyway, what’s a subjective thing like “sense” (whatever that means) got to do with it? I’m describing what is; not what I would like.
    On a logical living systems basis, it makes most sense for inclusive fitness for an ethnic group to exclude aliens, to be sure that they are not inflitrated or subjugated by an alien group… I could elaborate, but it would be a major digression!

    PS I use “Brit Nats” to get round the filter… no other reason; but yeah, as a Scot, I don’t see why it should not be used as Scot Nat and Welsh Nat to be honest.

    @Pete B
    I have agreed with you about this before – when you phrased it differently.
    The notion of Roman-style citizenship, where a vote has to be earnt *could* be of value, but I worry about the potential for corruption in such an overtly stratified system.
    Carrots and sticks are good – provided you don’t mind the notion that the state has some right to treat the public like children.

    I think at the core of this is the the profoundly ideological question of whether you believe we should remain an “ethnic state” (derived from the tribe) where ethnic nationalism prevails; or become a “corporate state” like America, where civic nationalism prevails and citizens are much like staff.
    You can only legitmately enforce tribal law – such as voting rights – in an ethnic state; not in a corporate state.
    I mean I understand the start point of wanting to exclude the irresponsible and reward good behaviour… that’s inclusive fitness at work! If you were going to do it, you’d need it to be a technocratic society where qualifications could get you access to rights… lots of paperwork and money for lawyers… it might end up as a Singporean style police state! The tax credits system alone is a nightmare… you’d have tons of paperwork just establishing who was working and not; and it’d be a trojan horse (in the Greek theme) for ID cards.
    I guess doleys fall into the slaves category?
    Sorry… I’m out! (dragons den style!)

    I like the Swiss Canton system… bring it on!

  39. Enoch (this is just to test the filter)

  40. Right…

    @Neil A
    I’m glad you can agree with some of my spouting. ; )
    When I went to Denmark as a kid (to Billund, for obvious reasons!), one of the things that impacted on my memory was the curious habit of people to have flag poles in their gardens… Danish flags everywhere… only ever seen that in the Far East, Vietnam, Thailand, China… My children are half Asian, and I love foreign languages and culture (much like the prophet E n o c h ; P); despite that, and my excessive exposure to Johnny Foreigner, I can’t identify with them… I don’t even like Cockneys, never mind swarthy fellows!

    “some people who earn very little but who are hard working, well educated and have great insight into current affairs (nurses, home helps, that kind of thing).”
    Nah… I don’t believe any of them know much about current affairs – my dad was a nurse, and I worked with nurses in my youth!

    As for the rest: TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!! (sorry!)

    @Old Nat
    WRONG! “Racism” (and I really don’t know what it means – because it seems to be a fluid and covert homonym for evil) doesn’t describe anything… where are the boundaries of this term? What is a “race”? Where does one end and another begin? I just refer to Profs Oppenheimer, Edwards, Davies et al, and note it’s meaningless and anachronistic nature. Ethnicity means something – mtDNA and Y-chromosome gene clusters attached with cultural memes; i.e.: ethnotype = culture+phenotype; phenotype = geography+genotype: simple! And now we have nice haplogroup maps to confirm this.
    “community” and “identity” are amongst these appallingly meanginless terms designed in American marketing agencies to evade description – much like “celebrating diversity” (what, with jelly and ice cream?!) etc… it makes no sense to use these terms unless you want to hide some fact or evade some debate: it is equivocation of the most transparent kind; we are now ready to be freed from this insidious crypto-orwellian doublespeak.
    Ethnocentrism is a precise, academic, and neutral term to describe a policy focus around an ethnic group; racism seems to describe unjustified aggression, and is not the same thing.
    Anyway, what’s a subjective thing like “sense” (whatever that means) got to do with it? I’m describing what is; not what I would like.
    On a logical living systems basis, it makes most sense for inclusive fitness for an ethnic group to exclude aliens, to be sure that they are not inflitrated or subjugated by an alien group… I could elaborate, but it would be a major digression!

    PS I use “Brit Nats” to get round the filter… no other reason; but yeah, as a Scot, I don’t see why it should not be used as Scot Nat and Welsh Nat to be honest.

    @Pete B
    I have agreed with you about this before – when you phrased it differently.
    The notion of Roman-style citizenship, where a vote has to be earnt *could* be of value, but I worry about the potential for corruption in such an overtly stratified system.
    Carrots and sticks are good – provided you don’t mind the notion that the state has some right to treat the public like children.

    I think at the core of this is the the profoundly ideological question of whether you believe we should remain an “ethnic state” (derived from the tribe) where ethnic nationalism prevails; or become a “corporate state” like America, where civic nationalism prevails and citizens are much like staff.
    You can only legitmately enforce tribal law – such as voting rights – in an ethnic state; not in a corporate state.
    I mean I understand the start point of wanting to exclude the irresponsible and reward good behaviour… that’s inclusive fitness at work! If you were going to do it, you’d need it to be a technocratic society where qualifications could get you access to rights… lots of paperwork and money for lawyers… it might end up as a Singporean style police state! The tax credits system alone is a nightmare… you’d have tons of paperwork just establishing who was working and not; and it’d be a trojan horse (in the Greek theme) for ID cards.
    I guess doleys fall into the slaves category?
    Sorry… I’m out! (dragons den style!)

    I like the Swiss Canton system… bring it on!

  41. “UKIP will have only a marginal effect (probably less than the Greens and BNP) on the forthcoming election. This is because, rightly or wrongly, they are seen as a one-issue party that are only relevant in European elections. I believe that to achieve their aims, they do need to get some Westminster seats, but I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.”

    They’ve already got Bob Sphinx MP haven’t they?

    They have got a cheesy populist image and less web content than most parties.

    I think they are regarded as the EU version of the Tory party… the PNB and sneerG have got more chance (almost guaranteed IMO) of making it to Westminster within the next two general elections.

  42. “based on skin colour” – when I hear this I always groan. Nothing is based on skin colour. Skin colour is a shorthand for everything beneath the skin – parental genes, domestic upbringing, attitude, expectation, diet, tradition, culture, heritage, faith….

    Oh, and the correct spelling for the possessive is ITS, not IT’S.

  43. Seal Pup
    “The tax credits system alone is a nightmare… you’d have tons of paperwork just establishing who was working and not; and it’d be a trojan horse (in the Greek theme) for ID cards.”

    No it’d be a piece of p–s if it was done by proper private industry (i.e. not by expensive ‘consultants’). The tax office database could be interrogated to see who had paid NI contributions for (say) 4 out of the last 5 years or (say) 40 out of 50 years for retired people. A maximum of 1 weeks’ work by one decent programmer (e.g. me).

    Also, don’t forget that dole-scroungers would still get a single vote in my system.

    PS Tax credits should be abolished and replaced by a tax threshold equal to the minimum wage, thus saving millions (if not billions) of pounds.

    PPS have been desperately trying to think of a way of bringing this back on topic, But I can’t, so i’m out too. G’night all.

  44. Seal Pup

    i don’t think our views diverge very much. Any descriptions of the human tendency to identify with kinship (and adopted kinship – see the Scottish clan system) are nonsense if they pretend to be based on some genetic basis.

    However, people do tend to identify with their own communities. The interesting sociological analysis is to tease out which factors determine such identities. Politically, such factors don’t need to determine political structures, but in practice they do.

  45. I dunno who John Boy is talking to, but he ain’t quoting me.
    Though I would say that “race” seems to cover all he describes (if you read the race relations act, the definition is arbitrary and indefinite).

    On “it’s” v “its”… strictly speaking, “It’s” is correct as the contraction of the archaic genetive “Ites”; “Its” is a Victorian invention… an error that has become standardised along with the anapodoton “But” and “And” starting a sentence; and “till” rather than ” ’til “… but we digress… (I effing hate supersilious pedants.. don’t mind the self-effacing ones though).

    Pete, how often? You’re assuming that people stay in chronic employment. As a student, I’ve worked in the summer, and then been temporarily eligible for Tax Credits. Occasionally I’ve done the odd shift in term-time… again I become eligible… you are asked to report significant changes (they gave up on “every” change in hours after the first year or two!)… It’s BIG IT all over again… I have had exceptionally intimate exposure to it from all angles over many years, being technically inclined as well as a student… BIG IT requires a strategically located SH in front of it…

    Tax Credits… I dunno, I like the idea that you are positively incentivised to get off your arse to find work to get them (I don’t like that they don’t allow you to combine qualifying hours with your spouse… because that would be family friendly).
    I abhor flat tax style stuff… it’s all passive… no incentivisation. Complex tax is there to direct behaviour in ways that the market can’t (at least, not quickly enough).
    I also think you’re kidding yourself that there’d be people of your desired calibre running it… anyone good would not be forced to do a job like that!

    @old nat.
    Wrong, kinship does mean something genetic, like it or not… you can squabble about the viscosity of the blood, but it’s still there. My children may have asian blood as well as scottish blood, but they still possess celtic genes; I base this view on detailed study of the science not on reading online trash, which would be totally off topic on here; e.g.:
    http://www.geocities.com/littlednaproject/Y-MAP.GIF
    (ignoring it’s a geocities site, the image has the source on it).

    sociology is quack science, and terms like “community” are meaningless, and invite disingenuous equivocation and manipulation of data for cryptofa shist demographic engineering propagan da. All the answers you need are there in Evolutionary Psychology, never mind History and Political “Science”.

    I don’t see how our views are non-divergent on this basis, unless you are using the word “community” to mean something else (i.e. ethnic group) – thus highlighting the problem with using pseudoscientific terms like this: there are no “communities”. You and I are not part of a Scottish “community”, like a backgammon club; we (may or may not be) part of a Scottish ethnicity, an intrinsic definer of our very beingness, that can be identified on a petri dish; or the way we talk; or dare I say, our complexions… there is a hierarchy. Either way, Call me what you like, but I don’t see what makes a Chinaman with a Glaswegian accent, Scottish.

  46. Yes that Observer story did sound as though a desperate Cabinet minister was clutching at straws (or Straw?) It is depressing how naive editors seem to be about anything statistical.

  47. Thanks for the reply Ant, just seems a bit strange to use seats which obviously aren’t in question…

    Complex discussion abounds it seems….race may not exist (certainly not in the sense people think of), but racism certainly has meaning….even if argued about a lot.

    The problem with the BNP & racism, is that they were a racist party…..but now with ~1mil votes….most of those voters probably aren’t racist (depending on your definition)…..so is BNP still racist? think of NI, at what point does a party stop being an evil racist/terrorism supporting entitiy, and become a legitimate party that happens to have racist/terrorist members….

    As the BNP becomes more and more popular accusations of racism are being made more and more frantically, just as they become less and less accurate….I think BNP populatiry will depend on conservative actions when (or if) elected…if they do like Howard on immigration & EU BNP will wither away to its core again, if they do like Blair mark II…I suspect it’ll still be popular, possibly even more so….and then the real interesting time will come if they change leader.
    Atm it’s easy to put them down when they have such a contemptuous uncouth nazi tit as leader, if still having a larger (and less extreme) support base when they come to replace him, they’re gonna get someone against whom accusations of racism will really just help.

    I think Glenn Otto had it right too, any UKIP damage to cons (and there’s bound to be at least some), will be in proportion to how large cons lead is over lab, as if it’s close those voters won’t want to ‘risk’ labour…..so it’s not something lab can look to to help them.

  48. Seal Pup

    You’re right we are miles apart. I use the polling and census data to look at how people see themselves.

    You think that you are entitled to tell a “Chinaman with a Glaswegian accent” that he’s noy allowed to decide for himself what he is.

  49. I’m amazed Labour only got 100,000 more votes in 1997 than in 1992.

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