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. @ Al J – had just decided the same myself. He hasn’t heard a word I’ve said.

  2. Thanks Jason -if it’s ok I’ll add it to the others for tomorrow and get a new average.

    Howard that’s interesting because I also think GB will do well in the debates. I’m sure it will move the polls a bit more.

  3. seeing as it;s for fun, break a habit.

    39/31/20/10

  4. Jim Jam

    Noted and added . thanks

  5. @AL J…………..I’m going with the ARS space cadet group.
    Con 43
    Lab 26
    LD 19
    Oth 12

  6. @Al J and SUE Marsh

    I tell you what is not a wind up – 1,200 unnecessary deaths at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS as a result of them chasing Labour targets rather than focusing on climinal need.

    Why not tell the famililies of those people how great the NHS is – or perhaps they would not listen to a word you say too?

    Well done Labour – another 1,000 deaths to add to the tens of thousands slaughtered in Iraq.

  7. Some clues………Alastair is going kami-kazi on Gord/Mandy, he’s in the driving seat and it’s payback time for the bullies. Liam Byrne salivating over hospital closures and budget cuts.270,000 striking public servants. We run out of money. Gordon goes into rehab. Mandy booked for a panto season. ;-)

  8. I think the predictions are interesting with or without reasoning if they are taken as a whole, because they give a sort of consensus of what politically-interested people of all parties think. It’s no guide whatsoever to the final result because 90% of people are only slightly interested in politics at best.

    Sue Marsh – after a lifetime in private industry and running my own business I now work with practices and others to develop services to keep people out of hospital – e.g. local ECG tests, paediatric triage etc etc.

    Though on one level I hate being a bureaucrat, I console myself by thinking that my job will both help patients by making services more accessible and also the country by making them cheaper. It’s much cheaper to keep people out of hospital if possible.

  9. @TONY M…………That is the real, unspun world of nu-labour management.

  10. @HOWARD

    “I think we should at least explain our predictions (some have) as otherwise they are, well, not interesting.”

    OK remember this is all ‘IMHO’.

    Mine (Con 39 Lab 32 LD 19) is based firstly on not yet seeing any mainstream marginal polling.

    Nieuwe strategie: Before the debates- starting this weekend- we will see Tories ticking back towards 40/ 41 (excluding AR who will have the lead back to 13-16 points by late March) and this small increase in Tory rating is due to the changed strategy- more ‘positive’- though it won’t have the dynamic impact that the Tories hope *and* expect. So there will be more Tory wobbles during the campaign about Cameron-Osborne.

    Debates: I think they will fight each other largely to a standstill and so- by and large (except amongst sky news and Tom Bradby etc) it will be reported as a points win by Brown (with his pre debate low expectations) but it won’t have a large impact on the poll numbers for of Tories (perhaps a 1 point loss) and it will only firm up the Labour vote around 32.

    Cleggs performance will seal the deal for labour and leftist (green; respect etc) voters to vote tactically if they are in Tory-LD marginal’s whilst the performances of Brown and Cameron (and the type of things they state especially about public spending and tax) will firm up Lib Dem voters view that they need to vote tactically against Tories if they are in a clear Con-Lab marginal.

    UKIP/ BNP etc: Whereas BNP are mainly white working class peripheral council estate demographics (i.e. arguably natural Labour Party material) what is often lost in this argument is that they are actually potential traditional labour voters. A lot of the BNP voters will never have voted before and have chosen to vote in recent times for NP as this is the first time in their lives they have felt strongly enough about anything to vote. Therefore they are not lost labour votes. Instead they are lost potential votes. In contrast UKIP votes are largely lost votes of people who have voted before and have -in the main- tended to vote Conservative. In some seats the Conservative vote will be impacted not just by anti Tory centrist/ centre left tactical voting but also by “betrayed over Lisbon and the whole damn shower” Eurosceptics i.e. a pincer movement.

    Cameron’s inability to seal the deal with voters to the left of the Tories wet Tory centre-right campaign position; and his problem with his Eurosceptic and nationalist right flank is one reason for the failure to make that 40 plus breakthrough he needs for a *workeable* majority at this election.

    So I am left with my long held view that I cannot see the Tories falling below 37/38 and I can’t see Labour getting more than 32/33.

    So- prior to seeing the marginal polling by 3/4 mainstream organisations- I am thinking the 39-32-19 split.

    However of course- this prediction is hung parliament territory as a UNS.

    But with even modest anti Tory Tactical Voting the Tory seat tally falls another 26-35 seats or so.

    For geek politicos like me its fascinatingly interesting !

  11. @PETE B…………the penny has dropped….it’s cheaper to keep people out of hospital, after how many years of encouraging them to go in ?

  12. @Al J

    My preduction and rationale..

    40% Con – becasue that is approximately the number of pople working in or recently made redundant from the private secotr and who are net tax payers.

    30% Lab – Those living off benefits as a lifestyle choice and public sectord workers who (mistakenly) think that voting Labour will save their /benefits jobs despite the dire straits of the economy. Also inclludes those blinkered by ideology and unable to assimilate facts independently.

    20% Lib Deb – because there are always some indecisive people who can not make up their mind and don’t realise they are just wasting their votes.

  13. Appologies for the spelling tonight!

  14. Tony M

    LOL ;-)

  15. @Tony M

    What arrogance and how dismissive of others opinions you really are.

    So Lib Deb (sic) are indecisive eh!

    Yeah right Vince Cable got it all wrong did’nt he and little George Osbourne is an economic genius !

  16. @Ken – no idea. I’ve only been there a couple of years. I find it incredible how badly-run everything is.
    Data isn’t even captured properly because each local service (e.g. District Nurse team) has its own way of working, sets its own time allowed for visits etc. This is one reason why standards vary so dramatically from one area to another. Hospitals try to get as many ‘clients’ as possible, while PCT’s try to keep as many as possible out. They are all fighting each other. Add to this protracted contract negotiations between each party involved – e.g. each hospital with every local PCT that uses it, every group of GPs with the PCT etc etc.

    If you go into any branch of Tesco’s the service will be more or less the same, even the shop layout will be roughly the same. Your clubcard works without having to fill a new form out at every shop you use.

    To paraphrase Professor Higgins “Why can’t the NHS be more like Tesco’s?”

    To bring it back to politics – the NHS is and always has been a hybrid between public and private. GP’s are all independent businesses, as are opticians and denttists. The whole lot should be privatised and run on commercial lines in my view.

  17. Ok, at risk of being called a ‘”space cadet” here’s my prediction;

    May 6th poll: 67% – 69% turnout

    Lab 37%, Con, 35%, LD 20%

    Small Labour overall majority of 10-20 seats.

    Small national swing to Tories of just 1% but they do better in the marginals and pick up an extra 10-15 seats above the UNS.

    Big question; after a 4th consecutive defeat will we see a 4th consecutive Tory leadership resignation occur on Friday May 7th??

  18. @TONYM

    “40% Con – becasue that is approximately the number of pople working in or recently made redundant from the private secotr and who are net tax payers.

    30% Lab – Those living off benefits as a lifestyle choice and public sectord workers who (mistakenly) think that voting Labour will save their /benefits jobs despite the dire straits of the economy. Also inclludes those blinkered by ideology and unable to assimilate facts independently.

    20% Lib Deb – because there are always some indecisive people who can not make up their mind and don’t realise they are just wasting their votes.”

    For the “decisive” categories these percentages are totally wrong- wade your way through the ONS !

    Oh- and just a tad stereotypical !

    Here’s just a little anecdote from my small part of the universe:

    – in my extended family and amongst friends I am the only person who works in the public sector (a University- though been a consultant in the 90’s). I don’t know a SINGLE person from my universe who is going to vote Conservative (though two admittedly are going to vote UKIP). I’m including in this three accountants, couple of personnel managers and even distribution depot boss.

    – Conversely in my public sector university department I know THREE people who are going to vote Tory.

    I think you need to reconsider not just the percentages but also the rationale !!

  19. Vote for change!

    Change to fox-hunting. Change to tax-cuts for the better-off. Change to cuts in the NHS. Change to cutting down on staff in schools(non-Eton type). Change to deepen and prolong our economic problems. Change to put the upper-class spivs back in charge.

    Change!

  20. @ Tony M

    False logic. I know plenty of people who work in the private sector (I am one) who don’t vote Tory. Your 40% seems a maximum, more like 39% if they’re lucky once their lack of any policies is exposed continually and they start to thrash around a bit in desperation while the economy recovers.

    Your comment about the Lib Dems is just complete rubbish. We are VERY decided that we want to reform our political system (new voting system with single transferable vote etc, limits on personal donations) and promote fairness e.g. £10,000 personal allowance to take the poor out of tax. The Conservatives don’t have ANY clear policies (that stay fixed for more than 24 hours) to do either of those things, do they?

    Prediction: Tories 38, Labour 32, Lib Dems 22. Result: Tories largest party, short by 43, plus a few bought with Lord Ashcroft’s cash= 20 short of a majority. Tories come grovelling for support to Lib Dems and are forced to chuck Osborne and install the infinitely better Vince Cable as chancellor.

  21. @ PETE B

    RE: Though on one level I hate being a bureaucrat, I console myself by thinking that my job will both help patients by making services more accessible and also the country by making them cheaper. It’s much cheaper to keep people out of hospital if possible.

    Why sound so apolgetic? It sounds to me like you have an interesting & worthwhile job. It’s great that technology & GP/ Nurse/ Med Tech. training is developing along these lines.

    It must have been a culture shock for you, moving from the private sector to the public. Any tales from the trenches that you’re willing to share would be interesting to hear :-)

  22. @MLB

    Did you get your % the wrong way around?

    You actually had Labour in front of the Tories in % terms!

  23. @ROB SHEFFIELD…………That does it for me, university people vote Tory. ;-)

  24. @KEN

    “@ROB SHEFFIELD…………That does it for me, university people vote Tory”

    Oh Yes- and even before the Mandy cuts as well !!

  25. Here are my predictions.

    42, 23, 16, 15, 8 and bonus ball 4.

  26. @Amber Star
    You’re dead right about the culture shock. Still, I’m only here for the pension :). Gordon Brown stole my private ones. See my post after the one you replied to for some ‘tales from the trenches’.

  27. Rob Sheffield

    That’s a good analysis.

    I don’t really know how the marginal’s are performing but have a gut feeling the Con vote will dissipate along with the national Tory lead.

    I think the Greens will win the Brighton seat –BNP will fail in barking and Nigel Farage may give us a laugh by being elected in Bercows seat (can’t remember which one).
    The Lib-dems will outperform their national % and will press GB for electoral reform as he’ll have the largest number of seats (first time I thought he might), but he may even win the GE outright.

    What’s all this about space cadets?

  28. Jay

    Your numbers noted and added – no bonus balls allowed lol ;-)

  29. @ RobrtC @ Rob Sheffield

    My rationale is indeed based on stereotypes. There will always be exceptions, but I believe that it is broadly correct.

    @ Richard Dawson

    GO may not be the brightest spark, but he and his team were the first to state openly the need for cuts (and you have to given them credit for that -especuially because it sia not a popular message and one that Labour have exploited to scare the electorate).

    Vince Cable is excellent at coming up with idea for fixing things – especially after thay have gone wrong, but even if he did have all the solutions, there would still be no point viting for the Lib Dems because their policies will never get implemented.

  30. Jay

    Having had a proper look at your numbers – I’m not too impressed lol

    Can you do it properly thanks

  31. @AL J – Thanks for collecting everyones results. Some are quite interesting. Cant see LD’S getting 25 as Paul suggested though!

    @Sue and Amber – like the style, lets hope you too are right!!

    @Roland – glad ive convinced you hehe. didnt take much. I like the sarcastic sense of humour though

  32. It’s almost time for footy but, as there is no ability to write off list to anyone, my apols for any rudeness in my contributions tonight – I think there was one. I actually learned more tonight than I do from the ‘moderated’ sessions as people were mainly prepared to at least try and justify their judgements. My judgement is that frankly none of us has a clue at present and it is that aspect that makes each succeeding poll of interest rather than identifying a long term trend -a week in politics, etc.

  33. The number of people needing treatment seems to expand to fit the availability of treatment, outreach workers have targets and need to find ‘clients’ to qualify for funding, you can’t move in some parts of London without being approached by some sort of outreach worker, bullied, fat, smoke, drink ,sex , stress, BME, gambler…………….?
    Was the NHS set up to cover every aspect of human weakness or just as a safety net in the event of real need?

  34. @HOWARD…………………Hear hear!

  35. @Al J

    Nope. My model makes an estimated prediction of the figures, but *I* don’t. The closest I’ve come is putting that frivolous 20 pound bet on hung parliament.

    I don’t claim to possess any special insight other than ability to put suitably filtered data into a graph, plot a trend, and a make an educated guess as to when election day will be.

  36. Tony M,

    Your figures on the final position will probably be correct 40,30, 20 despite recent boosts for labour. There is strong evidence in the polls that Tory support is weak in the public sector and strong in the private sector. There are probably many reasons for this.

    However, I remember that some parts of the public sector, such as doctors, have turned against Labour.

    In think you are a little unfair to the Lib Dems as there will always be those in the country (possible old Liberals) who oppose domination by large power groups, be it global business, central government or Trade Unions, over the individual.

    Perhaps, you should aim your criticism at the 40% who can’t make up its mind, or don’t care and don’t vote.

  37. Jay

    Fair enough -though it’s a shame as you are one of the main players here. Have you scrolled up to see -there are about 27 predictions so for?

    If you change your mind -I can add it later to the average. ;-)

  38. @ Davey

    Fair points.

    40% who do not vote is a shocker. More people probably vote on Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing. Is it apathy or ignorance?

  39. My crystal ball is justification enough :-)

    But to rationalise, I think LAB are more popular now than in 2005.

    Tories have over-done the ‘Gordon is a Moron’ routine. You can’t call somebody an idiot without having clear difference between you & said idiot. The Tories have failed to deliver those differentiated policies.

    “An NHS like Tesco” doesn’t excite the imagination; the electorate can distinguish between a supermarket & a health service. “BUPA for free” would resonate – but the private sector would go spare!

    “Tax cuts for business…. & bonuses for bankers”. People aren’t that enamoured with private businesses. They’re thinking businesses should pay a share. What will ‘the public get in exchange for these business tax cuts? Are more jobs guaranteed or will they simply ‘trickle down’ from somewhere?

    In short, the changes the Tories propose say nothing to me about my life – & I don’t think they say much to the average voter.

    So Tories will lose, Labour & LibDems will win.

  40. @ Amber Star.

    William Hague started to provide some details today detailing why GB is an idiot….

    “When Gordon Brown took over, this, our great country, was the 4th largest economy in the world. Now it is falling behind and forecast within 5 years to be the 11th, behind not just growing giants like China, but behind our neighbours France and Italy. We were ranked 7th in the world for the competitiveness of our economy. Now we are 13th. We were 4th in the world for our tax and regulation. Now we are 84th and 86th. We are the last G20 country to emerge from recession. We are borrowing almost as much of our income as Greece, but the Greeks have more plans than Gordon Brown, like everyone else in the world, to do something about it. We are telling the British people the truth: we cannot go on like this. We say to them now: it is time, it is time to make the break…….

    Last week Gordon Brown said the election should not be a verdict on the Government’s past record. Let me tell him this: we will ensure that a country that wants to look to the future is fully aware of his record. He 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, oh boy, we do. ”

    Not exactly the record of a great statesman.

  41. Amber

    here here.

    It’s going to be exciting – I look forward to the next few polls- wonder if the trend will continue.

    George Osborne didn’t make his policies any clearer today. Lost opportunity I feel.

    On theother hand Gordong Brown had an inspirational speech and I’m sure must have galvanised party workers.

  42. @ Amber Star

    I attended a discussion a Warwick Business School a couple of years back with some NHS doctors, consultants and managers. The talked about how they had revolutionised cataract surgery by allowing opticians to tell the patient that they thought they may have cataracts and make an immediate appointment for surgery within 2-3 weeks. This replaced a system whereby qualified opticians were not allowed to tell patients that they thought they had cataracts and instead had to refer them to a consultant through the normal slow appointment > consultation > surgery process.

    It was a great success within the NHS region in which it was implemented, and the team an Warwick Business School was eager to roll it out to the rest of the NHS…..until they discovered that the NHS is not National – more a confederation of regions doing their own thing. Proven success in one region would not result in others adopting it automatically. That is how the NHS needs to become more like Tesco – more consistent and quickly applying processes and services that are proven to work and be popular with the customer.

  43. AL J

    It’s going to be exciting – I look forward to the next few polls- wonder if the trend will continue.

    Given we have the Spring Tory Conference including Dave’s speech tomorrow, the new taped evidence of Brown’s bullying & Brown’s attendance at the Iraq Enquiry it may be a difficult week for Labour.

  44. @AMBER STAR……………Spoken like a true public sector employee. Your salary is paid by private sector profit, I know it’s distasteful and might offend your moral compass but it’s a fact, exporters of goods and services pay for your indulgences, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

  45. Amber Star,

    “People aren’t that enamoured with private businesses”. Where? In Cuba?!

    You may be a fully paid up member of the loony left but I suspect most people put more faith in Morrisons and Tesco’s to deliver life’s essentials than any of Labours schemes and bureaucracy-heavy quango’s.

    Communism failed, capitalism works better. Get over it. Vote Tory, you know it’s for the best really!

  46. @ TONY M

    RE: That is how the NHS needs to become more like Tesco – more consistent and quickly applying processes and services that are proven to work and be popular with the customer.

    But isn’t that the antithesis of Cameron’s “go local” policy?

  47. AL J

    “It’s going to be exciting – I look forward to the next few polls- wonder if the trend will continue”.

    Given we have the Spring Tory Conference including Dave’s speech tomorrow, the new taped evidence of Brown’s bullying & Brown’s attendance at the Iraq Enquiry it may be a difficult week for Labour.

  48. @ KEN

    I work in the private sector. As a business finance analyst for a NASDAQ listed US company (I live in the UK & pay UK taxes).

  49. @ TONY M

    RE: William Hague started to provide some details today detailing why GB is an idiot….

    Hague had his chance – a couple of elections ago – & he missed it.

    The public see Hague as loser (sad but true).

  50. @ Amber star

    I don’t think so. Central government seems to have failed in imposing best practice on local/regional authorities, so give the people in the local area the power to demand it.

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