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. Howard

    Don’t be daft.
    GO would be very silly to say much more before he sees Labour’s books and then have an emergency budget. The Tories have given much more detail about cuts then any previous opposition. The disgrace is that Labour who has all the information has not had an open public sector spending review to give an indication how they will cut from April 2011.

  2. Okay, time for another little guessing/prediction game:

    which minor party will get their first seat.


    or none?

    Or perhaps George Galloway (Respect) will get a
    friend to cover for him when he next gets suspended from parliament.

    Any guesses?

  3. @ Mark Johnson – Twas ever thus and ever thus shall be. Maggie changed the boundaries all the time to suit herself and Labour had to climb the same mountain to overturn the majority that Cammy has to climb now.
    Might not be right on either side, but what’s sauce for the goose……


  4. Thanks to Jason’s indefatigable work, Messrs Cameron, Osborne & Hague can take a break. Clearly Jason can carry the whole Party on his own.

    I must say Roland I did enjoy your contributions which were very humorous.

    I am going to do a seat-by-seat prediction on the eve of poll. Like the Grolsch, it is not ready yet.

  5. @ Mike N

    Not really in favour of PR because it would quite probably result in no party ever having a workable majority and weak government.
    However i do know where you are coming from with your statement although you must agree it would seem ridiculous if that was the outcome?

  6. @ Keith – Oh, it pains me to say it could well be Greens in Brighton Pav. I Loved David Lepper, but now a “newbie” is standing, Nancy Platts. Whilst she seems to be very good, the Greens are putting everything into this seat and it’s neck and neck at the moment.

  7. Mark, the only way to avoid such results is in a PR system, the Tories have also won government, in the past, on a lower vote than Labour had. The current system will see results come out like that.

    I think it be a struggle for either side to get a majority at the moment, the mood is more of that of being “anti-Labour” rather then being in favour of the Tories because of their policies, and the swing needed for the Tories to secure a decent majority is very large, and will be a big ask.

    I think this will probably result in a hung parliament, or an extremely small Tory majority.

  8. As a Tory voter in the past, I am now going to switch to the Lib Dems as they simply have the best policies and Vince Cable is the best person to run the economy. My son (a first time voter) is doing the same and so are many of my friends – and this in a Con/Lib Dem marginal.

    I predict:

    Con 37 270
    Lab 32 275
    LD 23 70

    This will be because the Lib Dems will do well in their marginals and hold seats the national swing predicts they will lose to the Tories and that the Conservatives will do well in Labour marginals.

  9. What has been fascinating about Osborne’s speech today is the focus made on cutting business taxes. my view is that this is a sensible reaction to the crisis, and is something darling appears to have been looking at already after his comments about the budget being ‘for growth’. What’s doubly fascinating however, is that in effect the Tories have now sided with Labour’s arguement in many ways. Yes, the deficit needs to be reduced, and spending controls will be part of that. However, any sensible economist knows that we will only overcome the debt issue with long term economic growth. By agreeing to ‘spend’ more, through lower taxation, Osborne has backed Brown’s argument.
    The shame for the Tories is that if he had come out with this in October instead of the disastrous ‘age of austerity’ stuff, the Tories would have been in the high 40’s and out of site, but without a thought through strategic response to the crisis they just couldn’t resist the soundbite. It’s too late now as they have allowed Brown to paint them as spending cutters and wreckers of the economy, but it confirms my view that cameron lacked a clear strategy all along.

  10. AL J

    I’d very much go with your average of those who have posted a GE outcome – and whatever Clegg says he’ll take a coalition with Labour with open arms simply because of the PR referendum, although he might demand that the referendum contains 3 options – no change, AV or STV.

  11. @Tony Fisher

    “As a Tory voter in the past, I am now going to switch to the Lib Dems as they simply have the best policies and Vince Cable is the best person to run the economy. My son (a first time voter) is doing the same and so are many of my friends – and this in a Con/Lib Dem marginal.”

    And in doing so you might let in Labour who are the worst people to run the economy (and have a $800bn deficit and growing to provie it).

  12. Don’t know what’s wrong with me tonight, but quote from Hague today:

    “He (GB) may not want to discuss his pension-destroying, gold-selling, golden-rule-breaking, national debt-doubling, money-wasting, tax-raising, colleague-rubbishing, pledge-betraying, election-bottling record, but we do – you can be sure of that,” he said.

    Now THAT’S fighting talk and from a Labour Gal, I’d really worry if he was leader again.

  13. Alec -would you like join the game & give me your GE prdiction before I tally?

    Mike you’re right I missed four people, while I was calculating I think.

    Tony Fisher is the latest one to be added ;-)

  14. I’d be tempted to actually vote for them if he was leader again. They need to get him all over the telly in the same way libs want chat show charlie living his name. Labour don’t have anyone like that really.

  15. Do you know, if he was leader, I might be able to just about bear him. if you knew my record that is about the most staggering thing you’ll hear all election.
    Hate his Thatcherite monetarist tendencies, but I do get the feeling he might be the most “normal” of the Tories and I certainly think he’s much more able to judge public mood than the Cameroons.
    Perhaps they shouldn’t have peaked too soon with him, but obviously I’m glad they did!!
    What’s wrong with me, MUST stop telling the Tories when they get it right!!!
    Don’t agree about Labour spokespeople though Wood. Love him or Loathe him, (and I totally get why all Tories loathe him) Mandy is the God of media, argument, and trampling on the opposition. Prezza appeals to many working class voters too whether us chattering classes like it or not.

  16. @Mike I should have put a second smiley at the end of my piece on GO -but he is a bit policy light would you not agreee?

    @Tony M
    How can Tony F let in Lab if he lives in a Tory / Lib Dem marginal?

  17. Sue – Hague’s bald. Sorry.

    My predicion :

    Con 38
    Lab 34
    Libdem 20
    Others 8

    Don’t know what that does to the figures…

  18. @Sue
    , whether us chattering classes like it or not..’

    You would say ‘we’ if you were a member Sue.

    Keep up the good work by the way (and that from a right wing Lib dem).

  19. No mention of Staffordshire (where targets cost lives) in NHS discussion. As the Independent says ‘the hospital was, during this time, drastically cutting staffing budgets and leaving patients to fester in soiled sheets. How did the inspectors miss this? The report says the hospital’s management was pre-occupied with cost-cutting and meeting crude targets set by Whitehall. ‘

    No mention of labour councillor Dr Anwara Ali, who is the face of the NHS in an East End poster campaign defecting to the Tories
    “As a GP working on the frontline in the largest practice in the East End, I have become increasingly disillusioned with Labour’s failure to reform the NHS … Gordon Brown’s obsession with top down targets and a tick box culture has ruined the morale and goodwill of the national health staff.”

    Equally Prof David Kerr is to become a Tory advisor. “One of the architects of Labour’s NHS reforms is to become a key adviser to the Conservatives because the Government has “lost the plot” on improving patient care.”

    “The Tories are more committed to the NHS that we love and understand as free at the point of access and offering universal care … we have a Conservative leadership that is committed to the future of the health service. If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t be there.”

    No mention of the fact that NHS spending tripled under the Tories, or that extra Labour spending in the NHS comes from extra NI contributions (tax).

    No mention of the report ‘Quality Oversight In England’, by the think tank Joint Commission International, which identified ‘the pervasive culture of fear in the NHS and certain elements of the Department of Health’.

    Then the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, said the ‘NHS has developed a widespread culture more of fear and compliance than of learning, innovation and enthusiastic participation in improvement’.
    An NHS worker interviewed for the report said: ‘The risk of consequences to managers is much greater for not meeting expectations from above than for not meeting the expectations of patients and families.’

  20. I think this year has all the hallmarks of the Kinnock election – an unpopular government, down in the polls but when push came to shove, the ‘undecided’ voters just didn’t trust labour on the economy. The issue for the Conservatives in this election is that they have no poilicy, having relied upon the Government imploding plus the credit crunch for the past two years. I’m having a sneaky bet on a slim labour majority, a decade of unprecendented growth prior to the credit crunch and a return to growth in q3 2009 being the key factors

  21. @ Mark Johnson-Chadderton
    I’m in favour of PR whatever the outcome. (But I’d want to outlaw BNP and similar, too.)
    How can we as a democracy allow ourselves to be governed by a party that has received less than 50% of the votes? Do you know of any country that has abandoned PR in favour of first past the post?

  22. @ Roland Haines

    Starting to panic yet, Roland? People have begun to realise that Dave & George are a pair of shallow opportunists who are incapable of constructing a coherent or consistent strategy and who wobble on policy with alarming regularity. God forbid that they should ever find themselves in charge of the country>

  23. @ Trevorsden – Just painful, 26 year, undeniable experience Trevorsden. Doctors have a very different experience of the NHS than patents.
    I’ve been an in-patient for 2.6 full years of those 26 Trevorsden, over both Tory and Labour governments and there’s not a soundbite in the world that can change experience.
    Quite simply I’d be dead under the Tories and that takes some explaining away under ANY criticism you care to offer.
    If we go back in time, Consultants had to be dragged kicking into the NHS almost as doggedly as the Tories, so forgive me if I don’t always share their view.

  24. Just ignore me if I’m getting boring, but there isn’t a GP in the country who earns less than 100k a year now and letting them opt out of out of hours care was IMO the worst mistake Labour have made.
    Labour have had to battle doctors at every step and if “reform” has been too slow in coming, blame the doctors, not the government – they’ve opposed reform at every step.
    You know what? Get radical Gordon. If he wins this election he should pound on doctors until they realise they are no more deserving of respect or privilege than the Tories.
    There. No doubt where I stand then.
    Here’s the golden nugget on the NHS. “Government” can only do so much. It’s still run by people and some of those people need to realise they are there to serve patients.

  25. Labour have wrecked the health service and indeed appear to be proposing further cuts.

  26. ………………… CON……….. LAB…………. LD
    Naylor……… 36……………. 33……………. 21
    Rob S……… 39……………. 32……………. 19
    Scott……….. 38……………. 30……………. 22
    Martin………. 39……………. 33……………. 21
    Robert C…. 38……………. 31……………. 21
    Alley Cat….. 41……………. 26……………. 18
    Sue Marsh. 34……………. 38……………. 20
    Mark J……… 40……………. 30……………. 20
    Al J………….. 38……………. 33……………. 22
    Valerie…….. 39……………. 32……………. 21
    Howard…… 36……………. 34…………… 22
    P Will S……. 37……………. 35……………. 18
    Mike………… 40……………. 29…………… 21
    Amber Star 34……………. 38……………. 21
    Mike N…….. 35……………. 34……………. 21
    Mike R…….. 39……………. 29……………. 20
    Paul………… 36.65………. 34.92………. 25
    Wood………. 37……………. 34……………. 20
    Marion S….. 43……………. 26……………. 22
    Quincel……. 42……………. 32……………. 20
    Jamie……… 38.5………… 32……………. 22
    Andrew M… 40……………. 29……………. 22
    Tony F…….. 37……………. 32……………. 23
    John TT…… 38……………. 34……………. 20

    Average…… 38.13………. 32.12………. 20.92

    24 Collective UKPR posters predict a tie ;-)

    Con Seats 284

    Lab Seats 284

    L/D Seats 53

    Hung Lab Short by 42 seats (re UNS swing)

  27. The reason the polls are tightening – people are having memory relapse to the nasty Tory Party of old. Many
    do not trust or like them in spite of the mistakes Labour have made. The elitism lark was a great ‘faux pas’ and has isolated many – just where do you make your dividing line from the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’?
    Momentum may be switching to Labour and that is just what you need going into an election which is going to tight. Remember this – if Labour are the worst government this country has ever had – that must make the Tories the WORST OPPOSITION this country has ever had as they are not romping away with the election.

  28. If I’ve left anyone out -sorry – I can include you tomorrow ;-)

    The forces of right and left are evenly matched lol

  29. @ George Gardner – Talk to yourself Sue

  30. 41/29/20, Tory majority of 20-50 and GB goes back to Scotland and gains a majority (unfortunatley) at the Hollyrood elections in 2011. Thats my prediction.

  31. George Gardner

    You’d Better go out and get a hat lol

  32. @ Al J – cool. Probably won’t be far out.

  33. As this is an Open Thread, I’ll just say that there is some utter claptrap being spewed out.

    I work in the NHS and it is top-heavy with bureaucracy and people with non-jobs like community outreach health advisors and suchlike. North Staffs hospital is not alone in treating very badly those patients it does not kill, while still hitting targets, My local hospital was described as ‘third world’ by a respected GP. Massive cuts are already happening. The organisation where I work has to save £20m out of a £100m budget next year alone. This is Labour plans, not Tory.

    Councils are laying off workers by the thousand, and public sector strikes are imminent. I don’t suppose all those people are enthused by the current government.

    Apart from all that, let’s remember that the famous leftie icon Bill Clinton said ‘It’s the economy, stpid’. Brown has put us in more debt than we were in after the Second World War, and that took 60 years to pay off. He seems to have hoodwinked some people into thinking that it was the fault of those nasty Americans, but Northern Rock started it all and they’re not American. His revision of the banking supervisory system led to our solid banks investing in dodgy American investments. Our recession is longer and deeper than anyone else’s of any significance. The so-called good years were created on a sea of debt.

    Phew. Rant over.


    Tory 38% of popular vote
    Labour 31%
    Liberal 22%

  34. ICM 21/01/10 C 41 L 29 LD 21 gives 329 seats to C on swingometer majority of 8
    ICM 23/01/01 poll on marginals gives majority of 38 therefore C will have 345 seats

    345 – 329 = 16 = Ashcrofts bonus

    2005 election result L 35 C 32 LD 22

    For 2010

    LD 20 – 2. LD’s did well in 2005 post Iraq, this will not be so evident this time.

    L 31% – 4. Can’t see it falling much more than that, as some that voted for other parties due to Iraq will come back.

    C 38 % + 5. Can’t see it falling below that.

    Swing of 4.5 %


    C 294 L 275 LD 51

    With Ashcrofts bonus

    C310 L 261 LD 49

    Cons short of majority by 16

  35. Sue—-have I got it wrong or have you gone soft on
    William Hague?
    I can’t forget that when he did have power he said—
    “The minimum wage is the height of irresponsibility”
    In my part of very rural Lincolnshire Labour’s minimum
    wage legislation benefited 24% of the population when it was introduced.—Do leopards lose their spots?

  36. @ David Greybeard – I know, I know, it was just such a good quote.

    @ Pete B – that’s why I’m spewing it, but again I say, Patient, Patient, Patient, Experience, Experience, Experience.

  37. Hi AL J

    Great poll of predictions; thanks for all the hardwork, it’s very cool :-)

    Hi Sue Marsh

    Good job you & I are ‘space cadets’. We brought them to a draw on day 1 of AL J’s poll of predictions.

    I’m optimistic that real people – on the streets & phones – can bring this home for the red team.

  38. @AL J

    Like your prediction but I will go for others at double digits.

    Local elections late last year had cons at 37 and labour at 28.

    That has closed to now in recent local elections to con 36 and labour 29.

    I can see it going from 9 late last year to seven now to five at the election.

    This is about in line with the guardian pollsters election prediction of 36 con and 32 labour.

    Con 37 289

    Labour 32 277

    Lib dems 20 56

    Labour minority government with clegg support but outside the cabinet.

    I split the difference between their being a big difference in marginals which private tory polling it has been reported is showing to national voting and no difference. Blair was an asset in a lot of these marginal areas.

    Labour will vote for lib dems in lib dem/con marginals while lib dems will stick more with lib dems in labour/con marginals so the swing to con in lib dems marginals will be very small.

    Labour’s 277 and lib dems 56 gives labour 323 seats which is more than the other 322 without Sinn Fein’s five projected seats.

    Also labour will have at least one seat from SDLP and 3 seats from Plaid Cymru. This would give Brown at least 327 seats to 322 seats of support. This scenario would still keep Salmond and SNP at bay and there would be no SNP rope. I don’t see greens, bnp or ukip getting any seats.

    No matter what Clegg says lib dems rank and file won’t allow Clegg to help the tories in anyway. Only party lib dems are talking to behind the scenes are labour.

    I believe Clegg when he says lib dems won’t join the cabinet as it allows lib dems to keep their distance from the government.

    New AV system for labour’s fifth term with same results would be.

    Labour 293 32 percent

    Con 264 37 percent

    Lib dems 65 20 percent

  39. Mistake in my prediction. Labour and lib dems would actually have 333 seats in my prediction to 312 even without SNP. With 4 seats from sdlp and plaid cymru labour would be safe from any by election threat fron the cons with 337 seats to 308 without SNP. This is taking out Sinn Fein’s five seats.

  40. What do people think about the lib dems prospects, in my prediction I have them at 18 % of the vote, my assumption being that the vast increase in the tory share on 2005 and the labour vote holding steady will squeeze thier share. In 05 a lot of labour voters switched sides to the lib dems whilst the tory share largely remained flat as it had done in 97, and 01 – isnt it likely that the 2010 election will be a reversal of that situation.

  41. Amber Sue DavidB and UKPR posters

    Thanks for your appreciation -it’s been a crash course in excel for me!! ;-)

    If this has any semblence of the real election it will be fascinating -we won’t get any sleep for 24+ hours lol


  42. @ Pete B – What do you do in the NHS by the way?

  43. Sue Marsh – About half of GPs get 6 figure salaries. They do more than GP work to earn this. More highly paid GPs are people like dispensing GPs.

    Effectively partner-GPs have not had a pay rise for probably 3 years now. As the Scotsman said 3 years ago – “Last month, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, unveiled below-inflation pay rises for health staff, including zero for GPs. ”

    The deal which involved out of hours work was effectively imposed by the wonderful labour govt. if it was a bad deal they the govt have let down the country.

    But what the hell Sue, lets encourage people to be lawyers instead of doctors.

  44. Jason

    Sorry what’s your prediction -do you want me to include it ?

  45. I think we should at least explain our predictions (some have) as otherwise they are, well, not interesting.
    My 36 22 34 (somehow,as a man that looks better) is based on the TV debates narrowing the gap and giving a real lift to my own party of two points. Then, GB performs better at one to one (which is what TV is) than the HOC, for instance, where he just looks flustered and angry mainly. Clegg also looks a bit too young there, especially sat next to Cable. I am sure you all remember Schmidt’s comment on David Owen.

    But on TV I think GB’s substance-rich effort will make stark contrast with the other two. I don’t understand why Sky want it as it will only be a detriment to their man.

    So just a couple of points shift but how important.

  46. @P Will S

    Compared to this point in 2005 lib dems are clearly polling worse.

    Labour has got some votes back and some have gone to tories.

    But I believe the polls are underestimating the labour tactical voting to lib dems in lib dem/con marginals.

    Lib dems also tend to do better than the polls.

    So I think they will be down from 2005 but not as bad as the latest polls show.

  47. Sue

    Trevorsden is on a wind up. Don’t take the bait ;-)

  48. @ AL J

    Con 37 289

    Labour 32 277

    Lib dem 20 56

  49. @ P WILLS

    “What do people think about the lib dems prospects, in my prediction I have them at 18 % of the vote, my assumption being that the vast increase in the tory share on 2005 and the labour vote holding steady will squeeze thier share. In 05 a lot of labour voters switched sides to the lib dems whilst the tory share largely remained flat as it had done in 97, and 01 – isnt it likely that the 2010 election will be a reversal of that situation.”

    I have them at 19% in my prediction- largely as a result of losing the votes they picked up from anti-Iraq Labour voters in 2005. So back to their 1997 and 2001 levels.

    However they will get more seats than a UNS indicates on this level of support due to the TV thats is likely to happen in 7-9 weeks.

    In fact on *any* level of support amongst our various predictions they will get more seats than a UNS projects- due to TV in their favour.

  50. Anthony,

    It’s all very well having these open threads, but at least give them a theme!

    The reason people get into party political flaming is because of a particular contentious issue or poll… I don’t see it helps to just have a blank open thread – it doesn’t really extirpate the root of the ranting.

    How about one of your “reviews of polls” posts… they seem to help focus the bile

    PS: Are you going to give up filtering my IP or shall I just circumvent it?


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