Open thread

Tonight is our day off from the YouGov daily polling and I’m not expecting any other polls overnight. It’s been a while since I’ve had an open thread, and I’m having to moderate a lot of partisan arguments on the normal threads as the polls tighten. So, the comment policy is suspended here for you all to have party political arguments (the quid pro quo is that you all stick to the policy on the other threads!)

434 Responses to “Open thread”

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  1. Still think Cameron will get an overall majority; though he’s going to have to get back to a powerful simple message. Forget the draft manifesto crap, just ask the country if they want five more years of the government that has spent the last thirteen buggering the place up.

  2. Here’s one to start off!

    If you’re a Tory, your best bet is to send Osborne back on that yacht – as quick as possible!!!

    He is totally out of his depth and will lose the election for the Tories if he’s not stopped! Worst recession for 30+ years – tax cuts for business???? Crazy!

  3. He will probably first have to pursuade the electorate that he won’t spend the next 5 years making things worse.

  4. Harry: Couldn’t really have put it better myself-lol

    He certainly does need to sharpen his act but still think the Conservatives will form the next government.

    Con – 40

    Lab – 31

    LD – 21

    Effect of English marginals should give the Conservatives a working majority of 20 – 50 seats!

  5. Gosh Harry, that’s bit of a sophisticated
    approach isn’t it?

  6. The Conservatives left the UK in a terrible mess in 1997 – which is why they were kicked out (and were even more unpopular than Labour are today!)

    And Labour have left the UK in a terrible mess today.

    Isn’t it time for a PR system so that Government is done in the NATIONAL interest rather than party political interest?

    If so, vote with the goal of electoral reform in mind!

  7. Richard. Spot on!

    One minute he’s talking about drowning in debt, the next he wants to cut government income.

    does not compute….

  8. Is this the room for an argument?

    Seriously though, neither of you Harry nor Mark seems to have got it. You’re simply proposing a further dose of the same strategy which has led to the tightening of the polls in the first place. Just bashing Brown isn’t going to be enough. If people are to vote Conservative they will need to be convinced about the alternative in sufficient numbers, and thus the Tories have to project a positive not a constantly negative message. As most will know I’m opposed to the Conservatives, but nevertheless I think the reasons for the diminishing lead are clear to most, even those who do support the Conservative Party.

  9. It would be a good idea if Cameron didn’t change his mind so much.

    Right now all the policies are clear as mud ;-)

  10. @ Old hissy fitting Roland (beofre you have a heart attack!)
    Whos the one ‘too angry to type’? you are. youre the one thats hissy fitting.
    You can say what you want in your own home with your own little circle of ‘old boys’. Keep the offensive comments to yourself and off a political blog.. People like me? Do you know me? No you dont.
    I come from an area that was devastated by the last Tory governement and its still suffering from it. Your attitude shows just how SOME tories are still stuck in the dark ages! vote for change? you must be joking! 36% of the Tory party have been to private school (not very representative, not much of a change). Less than 3% are from an ethnic background (not very representative, not much of a change).. A real change would be voting for people from different backgrounds, not the elite your party stands for.. Are you cracking under the pressure of poll results?? I wouldn’t let it worry you too much! not worth risking your health really is it?? ha

  11. leave DC & GO alone they are doing a marvellous job

  12. “Vote for Change”

    Here’s the problem. When a country is in recession, people don’t want change. They want reassurance that tomorrow will soon be the same as yesterday (when we weren’t in recession)!

  13. **Vote for Change**

    is a bit scary

  14. People are starting to make their voting decision with a mind that Hung Parliament might be the best option.

    As an aside… Political Betting appear to be grasping out at any reason to say that the Tories will do better than current polling indicates. From generating their own unique seat allocation ‘model’ that gives the conservative party much more seats than any other model, and is based on a wonky set of assumptions; to starting to say that the polling establishment are weighting the figures wrong in ways that push down the tory vote.

    Anyone else think the reason here is that PB was for a very long time advising people to bet large amounts of money on a strong Conservative result? I’d certainly be reluctant to tell a crowd of people that they’re going to lose a lot of money I told them to bet.

  15. Barnaby – no, I expect this thread is for abuse ;)

  16. Well you know they say you shouldn’t gamble!! shame on them :-)

  17. Anthony

    As the one with *inside knowledge* may I ask – will you at some stage give your own GE prediction?

  18. @David

    Gordon Brown next week will say that the Iraq war was right and that he was for it not for WMD but because of UN resolutions.

    That is a cop out and lie. There was no cabinet planning on Iraq and Blair gave Brown the job in the last week to rally the cabinet. Brown went after the French for not being for the war at the UN and blocking action.

    How can Brown say going to war was upholding UN resolutions when the inspecters were never given the chance to finish the job and were only kicked out at the end because of the impending war. Even the UK knew the first UN resolution wasn’t for war as they knew they had to get a second resolution. So Brown saying in the tribune interview that going to war was justified because of UN resolutions isn’t accurate.

    Before the Iraq war afghan people were willing to give uk soldiers a chance. Afghan war ignited the whole region and lead to massive arms dealing.

    Before Iraq war there were no suicide bombings and no IED’s in afghanistan. In 2002 no ied’s in afghanistan. So many ied’s now in afghanistan there are more trauma from uk in afghanistan daily than in the whole of the uk.

    Now UK soldiers have to deal with thousands of ied’s in a quagmire. Militants that fought in iraq taught the taliban the iraqi tactics and they have been copied. Ied’s are getting more powerful and the rate of them increases all the time.

    Brown thinks Iraq was a good idea and now afghanistan is IED land.

    Brown is always forceful with pakistan but he doesn’t understand that before the iraq war there weren’t ied’s and suicide bombings in pakistan. The militants have copied the tactics and iraq war ignited the region. Plastic explosives from lack of security in iraq lead to bombings in turkey from pkk. IED’s are now being used in somalia to nigeria.

    Just like there was no planning for the iraq war there has been no planning to deal with the consequences.

    Years after the IED threat soldiers are driving around in unarmored landrover vehicles which leads soldires to get maimed more easily.

    MOD recently took soldiers to court to get back payments for their injuries they recieved in treatment.

    Brown has made a mess of the UK military.

    Worst of all he was for the Iraq war then starved the troops the resources they needed. The money for helicopters that were desperately needed.

    Watch Brown next week say how great of an idea the iraq war was. This man is unfit to govern. Brown has in power for 13 years and lives in a bubble.

  19. I welcome the new polls.

    BUT I feel that there is too much of left vs right, tit for tat claptrap appearing on these pages.

    I believe that readers of this site want to hear about new polling news: be it local newspaper information, street information, national poll breakdowns etc.

    Do we really want to hear every night until May a slanging match best reserved for the provincial alleys?

  20. I’ll give you mine! :-)

    CON 36 – 265 seats
    LAB 33 – 301 seats
    LIB 21 – 53 seats

    Labour 26 seats short

  21. @Jay

    Completely right. As a Liberal Democrat supporter in a Labour-Conservative marginal, I’m seriously considering voting Labour just to increase the chance of a hung parliament. Which is obviously the best result for the LDs (aside from anything else, makes it quite likely for AV referendum to happen).

    Whether I’ll be able to bring myself to do it is a different matter entirely.

  22. I think that tories will recover, or maybe that is just hope as a Tory voter myself.

    I do like to think that the Cameron regime has changed the ethos of the party, but even if I was not a conservative voter I can’t see how people still actually put their faith in Gordon Brown. I mean how much bad press does a government need to get a dent in the ratings?

    Or perhaps the average joe public just doesn’t care about the political nit-picking and petty machinations… I wonder what DOES sway them, I used to think that the public was a slave to the media, but it seems as if I was wrong…

  23. Naylor

    very interesting

    though you are being a bit hard on Lobour lol

  24. David in France
    “The Conservatives left the UK in a terrible mess in 1997”

    Absolute rubbish. The economy was thriving, and indeed the only reason Brown didn’t crash the economy immediately was that he pledged (and kept the pledge) to continue Tory spending plans for the first few years.

    However, i do agree with your second point that the country is in a mess now.

  25. If I were a tory I might want a hung parliment, AV may see a lot of UKIP votes 2nd choice BNP, then again might see the Left permanently in power… Left or right, who knows?

    Personally, PR is the absolute fairest way and I advocate a method when one votes for an MP from a party, total votes from the partys are added up, seats proportioned accordingly and MP’s allocated according to voters preferences (this also lets you kick the ***** out whilst keeping a party in). Of course leaders would have to be excluded from this on the grounds that as the leader *is* whether we like it or not the most important policy driving force behind a party if we made people vote for them as with all other MPs they might all feel inclined to vote for the leader just to make sure they keep him leading to various problems with a lack of voting for any other person.

    Anyways polls, there’s quite a lot on PB about the weightings. I think this will remain an unanswered question until the election. I think money will help in the marginals. I think Cameron needs to be simpler and not CHANGE…. I think Brown is doing a good job on hammering one point home, they will CUUUUUUUUUT whilst simultaneously distracting from his/ Darling’s plan. (Who seriously thinks if Labour win they will let Brown stay? Although he has proved himself to be pretty well entrenched)

    Of course Labour voters could be voting Labour whilst hating Brown because they think they’ll still lose and Brown will be out but they’ll save the party some seats, if it seems Brown is going to stay, on the other hand….

  26. I will do mine in 30 mins

  27. Barnaby:

    “the Tories have to project a positive not a constantly negative message.”

    Not half as bad as Scotish Labour.

  28. I made some really good points but the wrong captcha code error message came up so you missed out. it was sublime. :-)

  29. @epochery
    If you just press back on your browser its normally still sitting there…

  30. @Amber Star

    It is not only that. The Tory problem is that their whole election strategy is based on electioneering by numbers. For years their only obsession was New Labour’s electoral success, now they have an added one, Barack Obama.

    Any true C(c)onservative will know that change for change sake is Hobson’s choice. Change to what? Is the response to the new Tory slogan. Fine if they want to waste their time telling us what we would be changing from, we already know that. What we don’t know is what we would be changing to, and if this really would be change. And the polls are showing that.

    When Blair, and Obama offered “change”, they were able to inspire people to visualise the change they were offering. They did this by having a strong set of basic policies that they and those closest to them felt confident in focusing on.

    As a recent BBC/ComRes poll showed only 28% said they knew what the Conservative Party stood for and I liked it. Showing that they are failing to get out a coherent message.

  31. CON 38– 275 seats
    LAB 33 – 292 seats
    LIB 22 – 55 seats

    Labour 34 seats short

  32. I will probably vote Tory since Brown is incapable of fixing the finances.

    But that is a negative vote and I cant think of anything else that makes me like the Tories more than Labour, or dislike them less.

    The policies are almost the same so we have a choice between financial incompetence and negative politics.

    If I wasn’t so worried about the national debt I’d vote Labour just to poke Cameron in the eye.

    I have voted for everyone over the years. Green last time.

    And before someone suggests LD, I don’t want a minority party blackmailing whichever of the big two get the most seats.

    If the election was this week I would probably abstain (no Greens in my new home town)

  33. Along the same lines as Joe R, I also live in a Conservative target seat. Since my dad also lives in a Conservative target seat, I’m going to try and convince him to do a tactical vote switch with me, whereby instead of him voting Labour as he normally would, he would vote Lib Dem in his seat which is a Lib Dem-Con marginal, and in return I’ll hold my nose and vote Labour, instead of Lib Dem, in my seat which is a Labour-Con marginal. And hopefully I can persuade my mum to vote Lib Dem anyway.

    Anything to keep the Tories from an overall majority :D

  34. @ C.L.A.D.


    Many studies have been done in the private sector. People resist change. That’s why managers are expected to be good at managing change; some firms even employ dedicated change managers.

    The first thing these managers learn is: People are more resistant to change if the firm is perceived as doing badly.
    The second is: People are more resistant when they lack clarity about what the change will result in; & especially what the likely outcome is for them, personally.

    The top Tories are supposed to be businessmen who live in the real world, yet the most basic rules of change management appear to have gone over their heads!

  35. My personal prediction is that Labour will be the largest party possibly 15 to 20 seats short. Even if you factor in the marginals going blue on a bigger swing than the national one(similar to the swing Labour had in the marginals in the 92 election), that national swing will probably only be about 2 or 3 to the tories – which is no where near enough for them to gain a majority. I think people forget that the tories need to win 117 seats just to have a majority of 1 and need a swing akin to the size Labour got in 97 and lets be honest I dont think anyone can be in doubt that the mood for the tories is not like the one for Labour in 97.

  36. pete B
    i think you will find the tories did leave the UK in a mess in 97, the economy might have recovered but this was at the expense of public services, schools with leaking roofs and with no money to get them fixed etc.
    it seems that the labour are incapable of keeping spending under control and the tories get carried away and cut too deeply, maybe, as david says, a PR system would be better so no lab/con govt can do what they want without being moderated by smaller parties

  37. Okay, at the risk of being called a space cadet, I think Labour will win almost as many seats as they did in 2005.

  38. Come on Amber & C.L.A.D

    Give us a seat projection- :-)

    I’ll keep it & we can see how we did after the GE.

    Mine is farther up.

  39. What is all the fuss about? The election hasn’t been called yet! the more of Brown people see, the more they will remember the reason they dislike him!

    The Tories will bring out the big hitters, Haig and Clarke (they are under wraps for now). Cameron needs to take some time off, he hasa to be at his best for when the election is called (take a break Dave!!) The tory press has not geared up yet, They WILL!

    Cons 41
    Lab 26
    Lib 18

    Con Majority 65 Seats (Bet on it)

  40. Which way would Ayn Rand vote?- I know she was addicted to benzedrine, couldn’t write dialogue for toffee but- she did know that the proper business of the state was to keep the people safe from external enemies and local violence and that is ALL. So how do I vote to meet those ends- UKIP won’t be elected where I live so what is there but Tory? And then join a Tea Party!

  41. I personally think that the LD’s are under the most pressure as they will more than likely hold the key to the next government and they should explain their positin in the event of a hung parliament. If the tories win the popular vote, get the most seats but fail to get the support of the lib dems then doesnt that lave the whole argument of proportional government at risk?

  42. Looks like the Tories have just resorted to Plan B and flip flopped their entire campaign. For well over 12 months they have said that there will need to be massive cuts, it then went to large cuts, now they are planning a massive tax and spend give away, and not one mention of how they are going to pay for it all.

    Sorry Tory chaps, but to coin your phrase…..were do we get the money from to pay for all these tax cuts. Is that your way of reducing the debt, by reducing the tax intake.

    That is one way to confuse the electorate, firstly tell them we need to massively cut back on spending, then tell them, that’s now wrong, lets go for tax cuts and more spending instead. The public won’t know what their real policy is, do they know what their real policy is?

    Plan B will go the same way as Plan A.

  43. Until I see mainstream polling from the marginals this is how I see it (used EC predictor as more favourable to Tories than UKPR on UNS and I am a cautious old soul).

    So this is a straight national swing

    CON 39% 304 seats
    LAB 32% 269 seats
    LIB 19% 46 seats
    Nat/ Oth 13 (plus the NI seats on top)

    CON short 22 of majority

    Using the EC TV tool and projecting that there is a 2.5% tactical swing (of lab vote to LD in LD-Con marginals/ of LD vote to Lab in Con-Lab marginals and of Tory vote to LDs in LD-Lab marginals) produced the following seat tally with the same percentage national votes but adjusted for this modest TV pattern:

    CON 39% 278 seats ( – 26 due to TV)
    LAB 33% 287 seats ( + 18 seats due to TV)
    LIB 19% 54 seats ( +8 seats due to TV)
    Nat/ Oth 13 (plus the NI seats on top)

    LAB short 39 of majority

  44. My prediction in Jan was 39/29/19. Now:

    38/30/22. I can see the Lib Dems doing really well from the election debates. And what with there being so many floating voters this time around, I can see people giving the Libs a vote.

    BTW, why is Labour on 30% on the top right hand side? Is AR included in the average?

  45. /\

    That was my prediction in early Dec, not Jan. Not that anybody cares. Does anybody know when the TV debates are likely to be?

  46. I’m a Labour man who approached the party from the Left rather than the Right. I am no friend of a lot of the leadership, but I believe in the Labour movement.

    I believe in a movement that is over a hundred years old and has got roots that will outlive the electoral strategy that was ‘New Labour’

    I’m not a ‘back-to-the Seventies’ man either.

    The truth is folks, we saw that the old policies of the Left led to economic decline and crisis in the past. We have seen the New Economic consensus of the Right lead us to near collapse mere months ago. We are in uncharted territory now: both Left and Right are groping for new answers and new orthodoxies now. All we are left to rely on for the moment is that elusive and much-claimed trait: judgement.

    Which is why I’ll vote Labour, because for all else that I deplore, and despair over that this government has done, they made the right call…and the Tories didn’t.

  47. @Scooby

    Right call on less regulation for the banks?

    Right call in 2007 in the credit crisis brown saying we were in a golden era?

    Right call to waste treasure on iraq war?

    Right call to buy gold at record low?

    Right call to not allow barclays to do a deal with lehman brothers which lead to the world economy going off a cliff?

    Right call on Northern Rock?

    What right call did Brown make that Labour voters have rallied too. Buying bank shares that even the banks didn’t want them to buy?

    Giving banks so much money without any rules for bonuses?

    What right call have the labour left rallied to?

  48. Amazing that leaks damaged northern rock but the deal with RBS was kept very quiet.

    RBS is also not penalized by the new bank tax and they are giving out bonuses like crazy.

  49. @Scooby

    Brown next week is going to testify that Iraq war was the right call because of UN resolutions.

    Brown is wrong inspecters were being allowed in.

    There were no IED’s in afghanistan before the iraq war. Now there are tens of thousands of IED’s in afghanistan. Before the iraq war afghans were willing to give uk troops a chance.

    There was no planning for the iraq war.

    Just like there was no planning for the consequences of the war. Several years after the first IED’s in afghanistan troops are still traveling around in unarmored landrovers in afghanistan. Still a lack of helicopters. And Brown’s MOD is taking maimed soldiers including one who lost an eye to court to get back payments they recieved because of injuries they got in their treatments.

  50. Let’s get one thing straight first, the tories are still probably in the driving seat, and all things going well, should still probably have a good chance at forming some sort of government.

    I think the only real complaints surrounding them are that it should probably be a heck of a lot more.

    Brown’s goverment is probably more popular than Major’s in 1997, but I’d have thought that tory HQ would have been thinking “huge majority” 2 years ago.

    A party trying to go into it’s 4th term. With an 14 years of policy to be attacked with, you know, you should be thinking about 13 years in power yourself off of that.

    That’s my general view on politics. All governments will make a few clangers in a parliament. The longer you stay in power, the more clangers you make, the more ammunition the opposition have. And eventually you make so many, that the opposition destroy you.

    I think the measuring stick of the opposition is how they generally use this.

    Blair did it incredibely well. Obviously for quite a long time.

    I would have to say that the Labour party need a bit of credit in raising their game however. It will probably notbe quite enough, but cutting a poll lead in half, going into your potential 4th term is no mean feat.

    Have to look at Mandelson and Campbell I’d suggest, on their improvements. Love them or loathe them, they are the most succesful election strategists of probably the modern era.

    PS.I think some people are actually misreading comments like this. This isn’t “Labour are going to win”. It’s “wow, they’ve actually bought it back into the realms of respectability”.

    You know, a close election is allLabour can hope for. The argument really being, this shouldn’t be close.

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