Christmas fun

Naturally I wouldn’t expect any polls in the next few days, so in the meantime here’s a Christmas toy to play with – a nice graphical version of my swingometer. Before you click on any links, it uses Javascript and SVG, which Internet Explorer does not yet implement, so if you are an IE user you’ll need to download a plugin here to get it to work.

The basic version is here – Swingometer map, which is basically just the swingometer we already have on the site, but with a pretty map. There is also an advanced version here – advanced swingometer map, which does something a lot of people have asked for, allowing Scottish (and Welsh) figures to be entered seperately – the swingometer then calculates what the swing must be in England and Wales if the GB figures are X and the Scotland figures are Y.

This is very much a beta version, so let me know of any obvious problems you find – in particular I don’t know whether this is going to work nicely for Mac users (Safari does support SVG so it should). Note the figures don’t match those in the current swingometer exactly because they take account of Buckingham being the Speaker’s seat and the pact between the Conservatives and UUP.


89 Responses to “Christmas fun”

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  1. Statto,

    “It’s precisely because of the look of their results”

    Thats not very scientific is it, they do not fit in with the norm and therefore they can be discounted. I can see how some people might find the Angus Reid results as inaccurate but they are just using a marginally different eweighting that expands the boundaries rather than lies outwith it.

    “ICM, Populus and YouGov have a good track record”.

    On that basis we can discount any new entrant that doesn’t immediately mirror the results of the existing mainstraem pollsters. Come to think of it if YouGov ( as I think they did) had produced different results then we woud have discounted them too by your reasoning.

    We can’t know if AR are using the right methodology or not, but we can’t know if the others are either so we might as well include them.

    Peter.

  2. @Cllr Cairns

    “Thats not very scientific is it, they do not fit in with the norm and therefore they can be discounted”.

    On the contrary, the science says AR polling of Labour is not from the same statistical distribution as the others. As the others have been close to the actual Euro and general elections results past, there is no reason to believe AR is right. Indeed there is good reason to believe AR is wrong, because the chances of three pollsters going so far astray in unison is minimal.

    I have never said discount AR, just don’t use it in a voting intention mean. Barring any huge methodology cock-ups, it must be measuring something related to party “support”, but quite what that is, I don’t know.

    “We can’t know if AR are using the right methodology or not, but we can’t know if the others are either so we might as well include them.”

    We have evidence from the Euro polls that the others are using a good methodology. We have no such evidence for AR.

  3. “Anthony,

    The WMA currently stands at 40:28:19, a Conservative Majority of 36.

    How does this compare with the WMA exactly 12 months ago and what conclusions, if any, can we draw from this?

    Thank you.”

    Looking at the polls for December 2008, it looks as though the Conservatives are about the same, Labour are down about 7%, and the Lib Dems are up about 4%.

  4. “21st century” still feels like the future as far as I’m concerned. It’s strange that the first decade of the century is already over.

    The so-called “noughties” have been a strange combination of frivolous events such as Big Brother and very serious ones such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope the next decade isn’t so extreme.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Andy JS

    “I hope the next decade isn’t so extreme.” I share your hope that there are no more wars, but there is the exciting possibility of the disintegration of the UK and which parts will subsequently be in the EU to look forward to. :-)

  6. Putting in 39/28/22/11 I get
    ‘Conservative majority of 0’
    Should that not read hung parliament?

    Sorry about the earlier question, it was insulting to suggest you would have made such a mistake.

  7. On a more general subject, I think Cameron’s problem over the last 6 months has been his attempt to seemingly try and win every single vote.

    Even today I’m reading his claims that the tories and lib dems have very similar policy.

    Looking at their policy in detail, it seems to me that the gap is as wide as it’s ever been.

    Taxation, crime and punishment, EU, immigration – miles apart.

    So we have a situation where we are expected to believe that a party is both austere, frugal, traditional, family orientated. And wants to give tax breaks to married couples. And wants to cut immigration. And hates the EU. And wants an end to big public spending.

    But is at the same time progressive, vibrant, caring, modern, fair!

    Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that a lot of the tories problems are the mixed messages they continually send out?

    Personally, I just think they react to the polls too much. Which creates cynicism. Which creates doubt. Which creates a feelinig that they are no better than the current lot.

    If Cameron just went for a moderate to centre right support – like Tony Blair – and just made strong policy to please them, he’d have a majority of 100+

    His problem I feel is the fact that he not only has to cater for moderate/centre right support, but he also seems to have to please the far right back benches, and the far left!

    So we have a situation where one week he’s hugging a hoody. The next he’s vowing to crack down hard on yobs. The next week he’s “cuts cuts cuts, austere austere”. The next it’s “oh, um, that didn’t go down well with 10% of the voters, I better change that”.

    If he realised that leaderships is actually pleasing one group of voters, who share your principles – and not giving two hoots what the other lot think, he’d probably have a Blair like lead in the polls.

    In truth, I think he is actually a pretty weak politician. Not that Brown is any better, but I’m not sure there are huge amounts of substance in the man.

  8. I wouldn’t over-estimate the power of global events to dictate British politics in the UK either.

    I’d seriously suggest that Cameron wouldn’t have come close to winning this election, if the credit crunch hadn’t hit.

    Labour still had good poll leads under both Blair and Brown right up until that time.

    Just like Labour would really struggle to get elected in a time of recession, the tories struggle when we live in sunnier times.

    Most tory reigns over the last 50 years have been based on the fact that the country was struggling at the time. Only to find themselves getting hammered when it isn’t.

    Simple fact being, when the economies floundering people want to hear “save your pennies for a rainy day” policy.

    When it’s not, they don’t. They want Tony Blair telling us all how great we are.

    Think Blair and then Brown enjoyed nice poll leads until the credit crunch. Then the climate changed, and they struggled.

    Seriously, people didn’t give two hoots about immigration, migration, public spending when it wasn’t personally affecting them.

    Now money is tight, it’s the big topic. Just an example of how global circumstance shifts the UK political climate.

    Honestly. Not a chance in hell Cameron/Major/ Thatcher would have got in if it hadn’t been a bit dodgy at the time.

    Ditto Blair. No chance he would have got in 1997 unless things were looking up a bit from the Major recession.

    In short, we are an egotistical country. If things are looking good, we want someone shouting from the rooftops on the subject

    Cool Britannia! Aren’t we all great! Oasis! Let’s improve the country.

    We aren’t a nation of savers basically. If we have the money, we want it spent.

    We only want to save when we have to. Which is when the tories generally do well

  9. @ CHRIS :-

    ” a party is both austere, frugal, traditional, family orientated. And wants to give tax breaks to married couples. And wants to cut immigration. And hates the EU. And wants an end to big public spending.

    But is at the same time progressive, vibrant, caring, modern, fair! ”

    Who said Cons must be “austere” ?

    How do we get out of this almighty public finances mess without being frugal?

    Balls has just announced that Labour are now “family” orientated-he said they would “change the direction ” of their previous policies .

    In the IPSOS-MORI December Issues Index, Immigration was second top after the Economy. The Home Secretary said in November that Labour’s immigration policy had been in error.

    I don’t think wariness about EU federalist/centralist tendencies is reasonably described as “hatred”.

    How do you think it might be possible to persist with “big public spending”, given that a number of economists have just written an open letter to Darling in The Times criticising his proposals to do so in the PBR?

    What does “progressive” actually mean?

    Where is the incompatibility between “, caring, modern, fair” and Financial Prudence demanded by economists, Family orientated policies now advocated by Mr Balls, Balanced Migration policies now advocated by Mr Johnson , and Euroscepticism ?

    It would seem indeed from continuing announcements by Government Ministers, that Cameron’s ideas & proposals have found favour with them-as well as the public.

    ” pleasing one group of voters, who share your principles – and not giving two hoots what the other lot think” was precisely what Blair persuaded Labour to stop doing-that’s how he got elected.

  10. @ CHRIS:-
    “Labour still had good poll leads under both Blair and Brown right up until that time”.

    Suggest you study Anthony’s post 2005 voting intention graph Chris.

  11. FT has an interesting analysis of latest voting intentions in the North, showing Labour ahead by a substantial margin. This contradicts earlier stats.

  12. Lin -that article relates to the Guardian ICM Poll of 13 Dec reported on this site.
    The subset for North showed 44 to 28 for Labour.

    The YouGov Poll of 15/17 December showed the North subset as 32/28 for Labour.

    I wonder why FT has chosen to highlight a subset of 160ish people in a Poll carried out two weeks ago as significant?

  13. Lin – it’s just the cross break for the North in the last ICM poll, the sample size is 166, so basically worthless.

    Here’s the article I wrote the last time a journalist wrote an article based on a tiny regional subsample –
    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2243

    Basically, they jump about massively from month to month, to get anything out of them you need to aggregate lots of polls together (which is what the FT article back in September which he is comparing it do did actually do). Even then, they aren’t internally weighted so you can’t have complete faith in them.

  14. For the Conservatives to be 16% behind in the North, while 9% ahead in the Country as a whole would imply a 1.5% swing to the Conservatives in the North, compared to a swing of about 7% everywhere else. No election sees regional trends as divergent as that – and as Anthony says, an unweighted sample of 160 people is worthless.

  15. Anthony

    How do you regard single constituency polls like the one ICM have just done for the Greens in Brighton Pavilion?

    POLL QUESTIONS
    (1). Q. Labour, the Conservatives, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats and other parties will fight a new election in 2010 in your area. If there were a general election tomorrow which party do you think you would vote for?

    %
    Green Party 35 (+13)
    Conservative 27 (+3)
    Labour 25 (-10)
    Liberal Democrat/Liberal 11 (-6)
    UK Independence Party (UKIP) 1
    Other 1

    (2) Tactical voting propensity among Labour and LibDem voters
    Q. If it seemed that the Green Party were best placed to stop a Conservative win in the local area, how likely would you be to switch your vote to the Green Party?
    Base: All respondents likely to vote Labour or Liberal Democrat

    %
    I would be very likely to switch my vote 37
    I would be quite likely to switch my vote 26
    I would not be very likely to switch my vote 17
    I would not be at all likely to switch my vote 16
    Don’t know 4

  16. I should have added

    Methodology

    *ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 533 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 16-21st December 2009. Interviews were conducted across the political constituency of Brighton Pavilion and the results have been weighted to the profile of all Brighton Pavilion adults.

  17. Forget that! I hadn’t seen the new thread.

  18. Colin

    I don’t really want to get into a big policy discussion, but to answer a couple of your points quickly.

    1: Most economists are actually as scathing on Cameron economic policy as they are Labours. In fact that last major independent study rated his “cut now” policy as more likely to increase the budget deficit than halve it.

    The insitutue of Fiscal Studies report, into both parties actually rated Camerons plans as worse than Darlings in regards to cutting the budget deficit.

    It’s fine and dandy cutting immediately. Apart from the fact that it will increase unemployment by half a million within a year.

    It’s a fine balancing act. But in my opinion, most economic opinion is backing “supporting the economy for 2 years”. Not “auestrity”. As well as voters I should add. 61% in the last poll I read backed supporting the economy.

    2: Labour have actually announced more cuts (and a major tax rise) than the tories. I’d suggest this “frugal tories” thing you quote is little more than tory media invention.

    As an example, raising the inheritance tax threshold will amount to 7 billion in extra public spending in 2010. More than everything Labour have annouced so far in regards to increasing spending.

    The only dividing line is when to cut. The tories have made no commitment whatsoever to cut so far. Or raise taxes.

    In truth, in regards to handling budget deficit, they are probably a bit behind Labour at the minute. In regards to cuts, and raising revenue.

    3: your opinions on labour and voters being behind tory policy are a bit frivalous at best. In my opinion, much of Camerons policy has back fired, and he’s “bottled out” and moved back towards Labours central ground when he didn’t like the polls.

    Balls has said nothing about backing family, other than the fact that he will try and help lower income families.

    Both parties back family as such. And always have. Labour haven’t got “family over state” as their main election principle.

    The tories are trying to promote family. Which is fine. But it’s a big dividing line with Labour.

    Cameron said he wanted tax cuts for the married. Balls said he wanted no favouritism in regards to marriage. Cameron comes out and says he will also help “single parent families”. My point exactly.

    Eu – in joining the far right Latvians, and moving out of the centre right grouping, I’d suggest that it’s the most hostile tory move in Europe since we joined in the 1970s.

    Immigration – I’d suggest that there is next to no difference between any tory and Labour policy on immigration or migration. Merely posturing to get votes.

    Immigration has been high for decades. As has migration. Little has really changed in policy other than more EU movement.

    The tories highlight illegal immigration. And illegal migration. It’s actually pretty hard to get a sustained legal move to the UK on a visa.

    I they are claiming they will stop illegal moves – you may cut figures by a thousand every year. Wow. You know. Bearing in mind the tories cut costs hugely on our borders in the first place, I’d say it’s fanciful!

    You can’t stop EU movement. You can’t stop asylum. You can try and stop illegal immgration with more public spending.

    I’d say the entire subject is posturing. Johnsons comments were little more than taking advantage of a drop in numbers. Nothing has changed in regards to the bigger picture.

    So unless Cameron is planning to pull out of the EU, and ban asylum (illegal under NATO law) I’d suggest the whole issue is party posturing.

    Tory papers jump on it as they in general don’t like immigration. Neither do their readers. Jumping on Labour numbers, to hype up their readership. Predictable.

    I assure you, as soon as the tories are in power (well if) everything will be fine with immigration and migration.

    As an example, more Polish people left the UK in 2008 and 2009 than arrived. The net immigration level has been tiny in the last couple of years. Maybe 20k new people a year.

    Papers never really detail the fact that a lot of people actually leave as well………………!

    Population crisis is actually more to do with the fact that people just live longer these days. Again, something they choose to ignore..

    So in conclusion, I think your claims that major Cameron policies have found favour with either Labour, the Lib Dems or voters are wishful thinking at it’s highest!

    Most Cameron policies have done little more than create big dividing lines between the parties. There are chasms on most major policy now.

    EU
    Spending
    Tax
    Immigration
    Migration
    Marriage
    Crime and Punishment

    As it should be

    As for voters. Again, I’m sure Cameron is popular on tory media boards. But you have to accept that 99% of voters don’t spend all day debating politics.

    People generally go on newspaper boards to scream and shout a bit. The people who decide elections have little more than a passing interest in politics, I assure you.

    You have to remember, firstly, that Cameron is facing a very unpopular leader, an unpopular party, and a party going for a 4th term – so you have plenty of people who just want a change. And a recession – which plays into “tory values”

    To only have 8-9 point poll leads is a scathing indictment of voter reaction to policy.

    When you read most polls, the approval rating of Cameron and Osborne is not much better than the current lot. As is their polling on economic policy.

    Sorry. That’s about as far as you can get from voter backing.

    I assure you, and I’m being totally honest about this – without a recession to help them (recessions tend to help centre right parties) I’d really doubt Cameron would even win this.

    He was lagging in polls right up until the recession hit. With voters in full knowledge of Labour spending, immigration, migration, war, crime and pubishment

    If brown had called an election in 2006, he’d have won easily.

    Depression has a funny effect on voters. And their patience vanishes. As you have seen over the last 2 years

    Anyway – the fact that it’s even considered a race, with all Cameron has in favour of him – total media backing being one major thing – suggests to me that Cameron hasn’t done a very good job.

    Total media backing. A party people are bored with. An unpopular war. A recession. Expenses scandal.

    I’d suggest Cameron’s polling at the minute is about as scathing as it gets.

    Anyway, I respect your opinion, and you make a lot of valid points. I don’t really want to get in a partisan discussion, and I don’t think it’s fair to bother other users with such thing.

    Personally, it’s why I come here. So I don’t have to read party political stuff (admittedly just what I have written so I do apologise)

    So I’ll just take the position that we both have valid points, and sau adieu!

  19. Anthony

    My most sincere thanks and appreciation. This is what I’ve wanted for years. You have clearly been planning it for some time as a Christmas surprise.

    It’s beautiful. You are a star.

    Peter Cairns/RodCrosby

    “Two ot three percent of a difference could be the difference between not noticing there had been an election and the biggest turn around in Scottish Westminster politics in almost forty years.”

    That supports what I’ve been saying for months. It won’t happen this time, and the SNP will only get about 10 seats, not AS’s 20, but next time round the FPTP jackpot may well deliver a majority of SNP MP’s in Scottish seats.

    That would be such a surprise to the big two parties that they will be unprepared for it. The SNP will be though, won’t they?

    The next government is likely to be dependent on the LibDems or the wheelchair and stretcher vote, so the following election could be as early as in 2013. In 2011 there is a SP election when Labour (currently still in disarray from the last one, will be broke, losing members and in trouble at Westminster) and so will lose heavily to the SNP.

    In the meantime, a Con government with few Scottish MP’s, many problems and unavoidably engaged in crisis management will have its attention elsewhere and is likely to be as insensitive to Scottish sensibilities and problems as before.

    All the SNP needs to do now is to avoid making too many serious errors, and overstating or overselling the case for independence.

  20. Using Sean Fear’s WMA above of 40 28 19 (13) and fiddling the percentages in the Scottish prediction to give my mid range 3 35 11 10 seat prediction gives a workable Con majority of 32.

    Just one point transferred from Con to Lab and the Cons are hung -4, and two points -23.

    The LibDems are probably stable on 19 and I don’t see Con falling below 38 so with the same Scottish prediction Labour would need to improve a challenging five points mostly at the expense of others to give 266 231 33 3 in seats to come into range of hung -35. That’s not impossible, but unlikely enough to allow the LibDems to prepare to deal with a Conservative rather than Labour PM.

    The most interesting result of adjusting the Scottish percentages so as to produce my 3 35 11 10 seat prediction was that the percentages came out at 18 31 16 31 5. Labour, with exactly the same percentage as the SNP get more than three times as many seats,

    That satisfyingly illustrates what has been said above and what I have been predicting for months about the effect of FPTP in Scotland.

    English Conservatives should look at what FPTP would do to their party in Scotland on a relatively good day. It was worse than that in 2005.

  21. “If brown had called an election in 2006, he’d have won easily. ”

    Well that would have been some achievement indeed Chris, seeing as his party was behind in the polls throughout most of that year, and Tony Blair was the Prime Minister.

  22. @Colin

    An excellent, detailed and informative posting. It does a good job of dispelling a few myths of a number of activists who are frequent posters on here.

    Very enjoyable!

  23. The percentages which give my seat prediction

    18 31 16 31 05 resulting in 03 35 11 10 in seats

    is credibly where we are now with Lab and SNP having approximately the same share of the poll but if two points are transferred from Lab to SNP we get

    18 29 16 33 05 resulting in 03 30 11 05

    and the SNP still have only half the seats of Labour despite a four point lead but three points more at

    18 26 16 36 05 resulting in 04 14 10 31

    and the FPTP jckpot has flipped, the SNP have twice as many seats as Labour on a 5% swing (10% lead)and they have a majority of the Scottish seats which will allow them to secede.

    Apart from that, 101% vote in Scotland and the nationalist success has so confused a LibDem that he or she has gone over to the Cons for no apparent reason.

  24. Chris

    I encounter a couple of EU migrant workers who enter and leave several times a year.

    How are they counted?

    Is the data worthless?

  25. Correction:

    18 29 16 33 05 resulting in 03 30 11 05

    should read

    18 29 16 33 05 resulting in 03 30 11 15

  26. In the Sunday times Michael Portillo thought the Tories would form a government even without an overall majority, especially if they got more votes than Labour. The Liberals would not dare to force another election so soon.
    He made the point how the electoral system massively favours Labour. In 2005 they out polled the Tories by only 3 points yet got 159 more seats. He thought though it was almost inevitable Labour would lose their overall majority. To do this they need to lose just 32 seats, and there are over 40 where they lead the Tories by 3% or less.

  27. David P

    It isn’t straightforward for there are losses to and gain from the LibDems, Nationalists the Green party and even the Speaker which compliates the arithmetic, but Portillo is surely right.

    There is quite a narrow range from problem Lab majority to hung-Lab to hung-Con to problem small Con majority and we are certainly nearer the end than the beginning of that continuum, but which of the four is as yet not clear.

    It certainly doesn’t look like the sort of majority in which DC can afford to ignore his EU obsessives and we should look out for pork barrel constituency sweeteners, deselection threats, scandal blackmail and party games and other fun stuff like that.

    Labour are likely to be spared that, and would be better off with a period of reflection in opposition than struggle on for a short time in government losing much of the support they still retain. They could then look forward to an earlier return to office than would be the case if they continue as they are but with even more problems than they have now.

  28. Can somebody with local knowledge please help me with Wales?

    On another thread we had a most useful discussion about the outcome in Scottish seats and a degree of consensus that was as encouraging as it was surprising. My projection for Scotland above was based on that and I do not think Labour will be out by more than +2/-4 and the others by +/-2.

    If we can do that for Wales, and then maybe some English regions, then we might get very close to predicting the result.

    I realise that my method is getting further away from the hard polling data, but in the absence of regional polls it’s the best thing we have and we need something especially in Scotland where the fourth party may even get more votes than any other party.

  29. Anthony

    We don’t have TV and I want to see your marvellous map on my neighbour’s wide screen TV and to use it on election night.

    I am speculating that “Christmas Fun” has been planned and in development for some time for release at this time, and that you have even more ambitious plans to be revealed close to the election. If so, this is a very exciting sample.

  30. @ JOHN B DICK

    “Can somebody with local knowledge please help me with Wales?”

    I have been searching for the same data.

    Sadly I can’t get Anthony’s machine to work so have to be content with Electoral Calculus’Regional Predictor.

    This has two sets of numbers for regional options :-
    “Trend Values” & “YouGov Swing”
    The latter is implied from the big June 2009 YG Poll.Not sure how they derive the former.

    For Wales those numbers are :-
    “Trend Value”-27.9/35.3/14.6/12.6 (Nats)
    “YouGov Swing”:-31.4/32.9/15.9/12.6 ( Nats)
    GE 2005 was:- 21/43/18/13

    Using 29/35/15/13 (Nats) for Wales,

    and

    22/37/13/22 (Nats) for Scotland -(based on last few YouGov Polls’ crossbreaks-any comments?)

    and

    40/30/18 overall

    Electoral Calculus gives Con majority 26 ( but of course without Anthony’s lovely interactive map)

    When you next play with Anthony’s machine would you mind inputting my numbers as above & let me know if it produces anything like Con 26 maj.

    Thanks

  31. @ JOHN B DICK

    The waleshome.org blog has some decent welsh political comment and analysis.

    The most recent Wales only GE voting intention poll I could find (not one as a subset of a UK poll) was the Beaufort survey at the end of November 2009 which gave Lab 34 Con 31 PC 14 LD 14 meaning in Wales Lab 20 seats Con 12 PC 5 and LD 2 . This was a tiny change on the previous one I could find from the end of October 2009 which had Lab 34 Con 31 PC 15 LD 12.

    If you plug these November figures (as the latest available figures that are *not* a regional subset of a national poll) into the advanced widget, and combine them with the current voting intention on the UKPR front page of Con 40 Lab 28 and LD 19 it gives a result of 34 seat majority to Tories.

    If you change the national intention to current ‘electoral calculus’ front page prediction of Con 39 Lab 29 LD 19 then the widget delivers us a hung parliament with the Tories short by 2.

    OOOhhh this one is going to be a squeaker (in terms of seats not voting percentages) !

  32. I don’t see Wales having much effect on the election. The Tories have 2 seats there and may with luck gain 2 or 3 more. Labour might lose ground to the Nats, but their strength is in rural areas.

  33. Happy new year and many thanks to Colin, Rob Sheffield and David P for that advice. I’ll follow it up an put a range of figures for Wales into the model.

    Nearly always FPTP delivers a solid majority to one of the two parties of UK government (that’s why they like it) because there is a very narrow margin in which lie the four outcomes of a troublesome majority or a hung parliament for one party and a hung parliament or a troublesome majority for the other.

    It does look as if we are at the Conservative end of that spectrum and that will create an interesting opportunity for the EU obsessives in the Conserative party and more fun for the press and those who see politics as blood sport.

    It won’t be such fun for sick and dying backbenchers or those on the payroll vote compelled to disrupt their travel plans to vote in key divisions.

    It won’t make better government easier.

    A new government would have enough to keep them busy in the normal day to day process of government even without two wars, a recession, and terrorist threats without the management of government businsess itself being an issue.

    It would be going too far to say that I am already feeling sorry for the likely Conservative government, but in view of the problems they are facing I foresee many “events” and crises and expect at least some of these to be handled badly and so result in yet further detatchment from politics and disrespect for what passes for the democratic process in UK.

    We in Scotland already have a better parliament.

    Had the second phase of Donald Dewar’s vision been implemented (as he explained it to me over half a century ago) his Home Rule parliament could by now have been used as a model for the reform of Westminster and the SNP would now be a romantic fringe of no political significance whereas instead of which they are now on the cusp of winning a majority of the UK Scottish seats in 2012 or 2013 and are already in Governmment in Scotland.

    Independence is neither a prerequisite for good government nor my first preference but I will vote for it when the time comes because it is an instant means of getting rid of a parliamentary system that is not fit for purpose in which those in control have no appetite for reform

  34. Anthony,

    I have got your map working, but I have a question regarding Wales. It seems I can’t make LDs lose Cardiff Central unless I reduce LD vote to 1%. Surely Jenny Willot is not that secure ?

    David P,

    Your estimate of Con seats in Wales is way out. Apart from the fact that Cons start with 3 seats from 2005, and a fair number of close misses that don’t require massiive swings, not to mention their 5 const seats in 2007 Assembly elections, they actually managed to “win” no fewer than 17/40 Welsh seats at the Euro (compared to a mere handful in Scotland at that election). If you look at current Welsh Polls – see Rob Sheffield comments above – then there is a higher probability of Cons reaching double figures in Wales than in Scotland.

    It is perhaps true that Wales will not decide the election (any more than Scotland will) in that it is unlikely that Cons will be relying on gains in these two countries for their overall majority,

  35. John R Dick.

    I don’t like this talk of EU obsessives as if it was some fringe issue like esperanto of the height of office blocks. The EU touches on all issues of governance, Immigration, employment ,law and order , foreign and judicial policy. Not to mention the country’s future. Any politician not occupied with it is asleep at the wheel. It is something a Cameron government will have to wrestle with whether they like it or not.

  36. somehow on scotland i managed to get 16 -15 0 0 100 values just t say might be a wee bug

  37. There are fundamentalists in all parts of the political spectrum but it is a fact that constitutional matters related to Europe rank much lower in any listing of public concerns than you would think from reading scaremongering press stories about straight bananas.

    Within the Conservative party too there are many other priorities, and towards the end of John Major’s government the right’s equivalent of Militant Tendency did him no favours. John Major has been judged a failure because he happened to be the party leader when a run of Conservative governments came to an end.

    His achievements have been forgotten, but nobody could have been more successful than he was given the circumstances and party he had to deal with. In less than a year he persuaded the electorate that he was not Mrs T and decent man who woud do his best for the country as a whole and they gave him a chance to the surprise of many but in the end the Euroseptics (as Edward Heath called them) and English Nationalists were more than he could deal with.

    In a more proportional system, UKIP (and BNP) could get the representation they are due according to their share of public support and the Conservatives could form a government without internal radicals unwilling to accept (as does the Labour left) that they are not in a majority within the party

    Whatever happened to the Primrose League?

  38. The trouble with major was that he had flawed judgement. He stuck with the disastrous ERM to the bitter end. If the speculators hasn’t thrown us out god knows what would have happened to the economy.He pushed through Maastrict knowing it would split the party, so he was the author of his own misfortunes there.
    Quoting Edward heath, a walking disaster area as PM is unhelpful. I reiterate Europe is an issue no government can ignore.

  39. David P

    “I reiterate Europe is an issue no government can ignore.”

    That is self evidently true, and few would argue that the EU is not beyond improvement, but what we are about here is gleaning information from polling data. Europe is, for most voters, well down the list of voters concerns and as the effects of the recession are felt and the causes and consequences for many and varied aspects of government policy become clearer, so will Europe become even more peripheral to voters and press coverage in the period from now to the election.

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