Polling of local elections is very rare – presumably because they only cover part of the country, and it is hard to actually get any meaning out of the figures. What exactly does a four point Labour lead in local elections in the areas where there happens to be local elections that year mean? Still, we’ve had a go!

The YouGov local election poll in the Sun today is based on just repondents in those areas that actually have local elections in May – that is, excluding London, Scotland, Wales and the 13 or so councils who do not have elections this year (primarily Cornwall, Durham, the Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire, with a handful of district councils with unusual electoral cycles).

Topline figures, with comparisons to how people voted in 2007 when these council seats were last contested, are:

CON 34%(-4), LAB 38%(+16), LDEM 13%(-11), Others 15%

Note that these figures are NOT compable to the Equivalent National Vote shares that are calculated by the BBC, and later by Rallings & Thrasher, on local election night. The NEV is a notional projection of what the local election shares of the vote would be if every single part of the country had had local elections, these figures are just people in areas that actually do have local elections. They are, of course, still not perfect – there will be some wards in councils with elections by thirds that don’t have an election this time round, and many people in three member wards will end up splitting their votes between parties… but it’s the best I think can be reasonably done.

More importantly, how would these figures actually translate into seats? Now, there is no easy formula or calculation for this, but the Sun have got Colin Rallings to do a projection based on these shares of the vote. Prof Ralling’s calculations are that this would lead to the Conservatives losing 1000 council seats (about a fifth of those they are defending), and the Liberal Democrats will lose 700 (well over a third of the 1850 seats they are defending). The Liberal Democrats would lose control of 11 councils out of the 25 they currently control.


126 Responses to “YouGov local election poll”

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  1. Neil,

    “or do Scottish Labour voters really not like their own leader?”

    I think that they do not really KNOW their leader. Neither Gray nor Miliband.

    But the question is: will Gray and Milibands’ ratings rise as awareness of them increases. Or will their ratings actually drop even further as voters get to know who they are?

    I suspect the latter, especially in Miliband’s case.

  2. @ Stuart Dickson

    Regarding TNS certainty to vote, YG change their method to include a ‘how likely to vote’ adjustment when it gets close to election day.

    Regarding your leadership comment, Ian Gray needs some support from the Labour Party to raise his profile during the actual campaign. It will be interesting to see if he gets it; &, if he does, will it make a difference.
    8-)

  3. George Galloway says he’ll back Labour in Holyrood if elected :)

  4. @ Éoin

    That is a very interesting article.

    Ed M, Dougie A & Jim M are all publicly asking questions about the ‘rebel’ council’s bona-fides.
    8-)

  5. Amber,

    Its about time they did… Murphy was gung ho two Sunday’s ago :(

  6. @ Éoin

    Have you read the CTC Sinjar documents? There’s a link in this FT article that takes you to them.

    h ttp://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2011/03/our-new-allies-eastern-libya-and-al-qaeda/
    8-)

  7. @ Éoin

    Its about time they did… Murphy was gung ho two Sunday’s ago
    ———————————————-
    I am assuming he got new information or maybe Labour really are listening to their members now.

    I have been making my views known & I am sure you & many others have also been contacting MPs, blogging etc. to get some attention paid to our concerns.
    8-)

  8. Amber,

    Yes. I have been hounding them. Channel 4 used my material the first weekend before much of this had come to light :) No satisfaction beyond that however. :( Thanks for the journal.

  9. Amber,

    Hezbollah is a useful point but its much more sinister even than that… [although there are some pan-Hamas offshoots involved, but that should be common knowledge].

  10. Amber,

    “Ian Gray needs some support from the Labour Party to raise his profile during the actual campaign.”

    Interesting that even you, as a Scottish Labour activist, mis-spell his name! ;)

    Listen, he has been Leader since 13 September 2008. John Smith House have had PLENTY of time to “raise his profile”. Either they didn’t want to raise it (for obvious reasons), or else they were merely incompetent at doing so. Either explanation suits me.

    ” It will be interesting to see if he gets it; &, if he does, will it make a difference.”

    Indeed. But am far from convinced that a higher media profile and voter awareness would help his ratings. I’m afraid that he really may be the complete dud that is often talked about in private.

    For instance, my parents are disappointed with the SNP government (my theory being that they read too much Mail/Express), but every time Iain Gray’s face appears on the telly you get an unprompted rant about what a waste of space the man is, and how he’d be a disaster if he got in. ie. he seems to be actively pushing many voters to (often tactically) vote for the SNP, to keep him out.

  11. Don’t think that everybody in the Lib Dems is over-concerned with local election success. In some areas it has been a springboard to GE success, in many areas not. Voters generally will do well if they know who their MP is and haven’t got a clue who their councillor is. Councils are very limited in what they can do because they are heavily dependent on government grant and subject to draconian central control.

  12. I’m a little puzzled by the discussion on Brum.

    Why would the LD’s think about switching allegiance to Labour for a coalition just because Labour became the biggest party on the council in 2011?

    Labour WAS the biggest party when the Tory/LD coalition first formed in the early noughties.

  13. “Don’t think that everybody in the Lib Dems is over-concerned with local election success.”

    Stop it Bernard. You are killing us!

    What does concern the Lib Dems then? Not the local elections and losing 700 local council members, not AV, not the cuts, not the opinion polls. I am running short…help me…

    Are you dreaming of the glorious Lib Dem future?

    I can’t say too much more as I’ll be moderated but really I’d have more respect if the Lib Dems showed that they understood the gigantic political hole they are in.

  14. From twitter: latest YouGov/Sun voting intentions CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%

  15. @Robert

    “I’m a little puzzled by the discussion on Brum.”

    Me too, to be honest. Given that the coalition here has worked quite well since 2004 and council services have improved in the city, I can’t see why the Lib Dems would take the first opportunity to bail out and court Labour.

  16. I don’t think we’ll do this well, unfortunately. We’re coming rom a low base, facing incumbency, as well as the ‘traditional’ reluctance of tories to admit their allegiance. I would guess LibDems will also becoming shy.

    Locally, here in the west country, LibDems are rebranding themselves, as Upper Codswallop First, & Nether Appen Independants, which will also be a factor.

    PS as a newbie as well as a Labour supporter, it seems inaccurate to post under neutral grey, how do I post on a red background ??

  17. I am standing as a candidate in surrey heath, that is Michael Gove’s constituency. The mood on the doorstep is pretty positive albeit in an area more likely to vote labour. Still a large amount of voter apathy and local issues at the forefront but many people worried about cuts out there. We only have two councilors out of 40 but the signs are good we can improve.

  18. IAJ, is right.

    I suppose Lib-dems have to have something to cling to. We have all been there – Labour in ’83 and tories in 2001 – and you try and find anything!

    The polls are, as I suspected ,astonishingly resistant to change. Milliband has looked weak, no enthusiasm for Labour, the Tories have been lawful ( just about) in their military adventurism – and at the very least honest.

    In terms of statesmanship, Cameron has actually appeared like a genuine statesman. Budget was actually about as clever and as effective as it could have been given the straight jacket that they have chosen to squeeze into.

    And yet no shift in polls. This is as good as it gets for both Tories and Libs this parliament. Astonishing – Labour does nothing and doesn’t even do it well and yet still holds a lead.

    In Scotland, I think there is all to play for. Swing will not be uniform – Labour will pile up its core central belt vote and SNP will make spectacular inroads everywhere else – wee flutter on Tory borders seat going Nat – and everything except the two city seats of Dundee and Aberdeen north of the central belt going SNP – at least on the mainland – possibly even Orkney! How this translates into final count of seats is rather tricky to predict.

  19. Stuart D
    I posted that the poll was based on certainty to vote (or to be more accurate asked Anthony to confirm this was the case). I thought it must be
    Iain G
    is simply a much nicer man than Salmond. He travelled early in his leadership to help me start my UK campaign. he attracted the main regional press to our campign but stayed out of the picture so I could get the headline.
    Anyway he did fine tonight
    SNP list candidates we are told will be standing as “SNP Alex Salmond for First Minister.”
    A story from the end of the Scottish Parliament sums Salmond up. Standing in for Tavish, the MSP for West Anerdeenshire asked a question about transitional relief instancing bad results for business in Ballater and asking why Salmond had refused to meet with them.
    Salmond knocks this MSP round the room to much SNP laughter culminating in crushing comment that the allegedly unhappy business people had written to the relevant SNP minister thanking him.
    The only problem is no one admits sending any letter… and the minister can’t find it.
    Iceman
    40/42 to Labour would make Labour a good bit bigger..almost certainly, remembering Mr Dick’s comment.
    Salmond will though try hard to hold on. The Tories and SNP can’t stop praising one another. But it would be hard for the Lib Dems. Tavish Scott can’t hide just how much he despises Salmond and the same now applies to the Greens. Galloway knows the easy way to be elected is to be Labour in all but name
    Murphy
    There has been no change. The allegation of him ever being gung-ho is false. From the start Labour MPs have been getting the same very cautious message

  20. Government approval has dropped to -25 again. It had been improving but is now slipping back.
    8-)

  21. @ Stuart Dickson

    Interesting that even you, as a Scottish Labour activist, mis-spell his name!
    —————————————————————
    Yes, I often put Ian instead of Iain.

    I know you were having fun ;-) but I am going to join in by saying, I also spell our 1st minister’s name wrongly too. Alex? Alec? Salmon? Salmond? :-)

  22. Hillary Clinton reported as stating that the UN bombing resolution trumps the one banning selling arms, so the coalition could legally arm the rebels. (She says)
    That might worry a few people & I don’t just mean Gadaffi!

    I still have very mixed views on our getting involved. The ‘who cares’ part of me says that we should just let them kill each other, it’s not our war. But the Christian side of me asks how I would feel if we had ended up with the ‘final solution’ in the country with millions slaughtered. It is not black & white.

  23. Barney, when can we expect your non partisan point?

  24. Poll Alert: Holyrood (YG) http://t.co/MFt29ea

  25. @ Barney

    My son has been on campaigns which Iain Gray has visited. He finds IG very self-effacing & likeable.

    It will be interesting to see if making the Holyrood election into a ‘presedential’ campaign works for the SNP.

    If the SNP doesn’t win, will AS try to form a coalition & stay on or accept the voters’ verdict that they don’t want him as 1st Minister? ;-)

  26. Comparison of current LD position to that of Labour in 1983 is somewhat inapposite.

    Current LD position is being part of the govt for first time in 70 years. Number of MPs is double what it was at any time between 1945 and 1997.

    Labour in 1983 had lost 1/4 of their vote despite unemployment going through the roof under Thatcher,
    Only just held on to second in popular vote.

    I remember LDs being at 6 per cent in the polls and being hammered by the Greens in the 1989 Euro election.

  27. Robin

    To appear in your true colours you need to be logged in and go to the gray bar at the top of the frame. Go to your name; click on ‘Edit My Profile’ on the drop down menu; on the profile page click on ‘Your Extended Profile’. A page should come up headed ‘User Details’. Against ‘political party supported’ you click the arrow and make your choice from the tempting selection that Anthony has provided. Then click on ‘Update user’ and you’re away.

    Though why you should bother when even potential MSPs are hiding their light under a bushel, I don’t know. Obviously Labour are really expecting a drubbing in Scotland. :P

    By the way if I were called Ian/Iain Gray/Grey, I think I’d change my name to something more definite or exciting rather than trying live up (or down) to it. John Smith never tried to be John Smith.

  28. @Bernard,

    You make a good point that is often overlooked. The current LD position is awful compared to where they were a year ago. But a year ago they were absolutely at a high point. They have been in dire straits on and off for decades.

    Their position in Scotland, however, is historically diabolical. I think there will a lot of anticipation over the next month. A strong hope that the polls are exaggerating their problems and a creeping fear that they aren’t.

  29. Latest YouGov/Sun results 29th Mar CON 36%, LAB 42%, LD 10%

  30. Hillary Clinton reported as stating that the UN bombing resolution trumps the one banning selling arms, so the coalition could legally arm the rebels. (She says)
    ——————————————————
    I don’t know where Mrs Clinton gets the ‘trumping’ idea from.

    Resolution 1973 specifically refers to an arms embargo on all Libya:

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/17/un-security-council-resolution

    And 1973 refers to Resolution 1970, which sets out the arms embargo thus:
    “Para 26. Decides that the mandate of the Committee as set out in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall also apply to the measures decided in this resolution”.

    Here is a link to the text of Resolution 1970
    h ttp://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/245/58/PDF/N1124558.pdf?OpenElement

    This clearly prohibits supply of weapons into Libya.
    It allows a few exceptions including:
    (c) Other sales or supply of arms and related materiel, or provision of assistance or personnel, as approved in advance by the Committee (see below).

    New Sanctions Committee
    Para 24. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council (herein “the Committee”).
    ———————————————————-
    I cannot see anything in Resolution 1973 that ‘trumps’ Resolution 1970 because Resolution 1973 specifically says that it is referring to 1970 & (at para. 26) that the Committee (ie the Security Council in its entirety) retains its rights & responsibilities regarding weapons to Libya.

    I can only assume that Hilary Clinton is trying to turn the pressure up on Gaddafi by making the assumption that the Security Council would make this exception for the supply of weapons to the ‘rebels’.

  31. @Colin Green (Re Birmingham)
    “Given that the coalition here has worked quite well since 2004 and council services have improved in the city, I can’t see why the Lib Dems would take the first opportunity to bail out and court Labour.”
    _____________________________
    First opportunity? The LDs have had seven years in which to bail out and court Labour, during which they have resolutely stayed in the blue corner, to such an extent that Birmingham Council is often now spoken of as an enduring prototype for what we now see at a national level. (Heaven help us). My wife, who hopes to be working for the council for a few months more despite redundancy threats, begs to differ over your assertions on quality of services, and views with horror the scale of the cuts that are resulting from the budget now set for the financial year to March 2012.

  32. Been a while since I posted on here, but I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas what these local polls might mean for councils where it’s a straight fight between the LDs and Tories? I’m covered by Lewes District Council where Labour came a distant last in every ward. It’s currently 21 LD councillors, 18 Con and 2 Ind. While the seven Lewes councillors, all LD except for one independent, have Green challengers who might have a better chance this year, in the rest of the district it really is purely a two horse race. Any predictions? Would previous LD voters fed up with the coalition really vote Tory in protest?

  33. Dawve
    I don’t think it is too bad considering I am a candidate. I was correct in thinking the original figures for TNS were for determined voters which does have an effect. I pointed out this meant turn-out would have a decisive influence on this election. It is important that outside observers get the idea that A Salmond is a marmite figure. You either want to have his babies or you don’t like him at all (I admit the strong dislike is more common the closer you are to him). I think that the points I have made about Tories, Lib Dems and Greens have been bourne out by events (maybe even further if there is anything in Eoin’s twitter tonight)
    I have pointed out earlier that the Tory love-in with Alex could end in tears for them. A lot of things could happen at the last minute. The Tories could pull back their voters. However Iceman I think we can assure you a SNP victory in Orkney is unlikely. Currently Labour only holds one FPTP seat north of Falkirk, Aberdeen Central. We can be confident that will change whatever else happens

  34. Poll alert from across the Channel:
    French Presidential Election 2012:
    Socialists 24-29 (Aubry or Strauss-Khan)
    LePen 21-19
    Sarkozy 19-17
    (BVA Institute, 25-26 March, between the two rounds of Cantonal Election). As a French (albeit by adoption) Socialist, I should be glad with these figures, yet I feel something is wrong, first because such figures for an extreme right party are very upsetting, and second because, sensing the danger, right-wing voters might desert the minor center-right candidates (such as Villepin or Borloo, who get between them more than 10%) and vote Sarkozy to avoid elimination. On the contrary, center-left voters, feeling secure because of the promised 1st place, might feel free to vote Green, communist or whatever, and we are in for a remake of April 2002. You see that we are so traumatized by that defeat and by those that followed it, that we cannot really believe in victory, even now that it is ours to grab. So I will not sing victory (do you say this in English?) until the night of 2012 Election Day.

  35. Amber
    I was pilloried for saying some time ago that A Salmond would fight tooth and nail to stay in place regardless of the arithmetic. I still think that would be the case

  36. Green Party overtake Liberal Democrats in Scotland Regional Polls http://t.co/MFt29ea

  37. Barney

    You don’t get pilloried for saying Salmond will fight tooth and nail just for being the most boring of all party hacks.

    Your candidate for First Minister is – at best -a bit below average.

    Salmond is – at his worst – substantially above average.

    And yet you want us to vote for you because you say your man is “nice” and Salmond is “nasty”!

    In fact you know nothing at all about Salmond and I suspect the great Scottish public have it right when they see a bit of a leader in the First Minister and nothing whatsoever in your man.

  38. There is going to be a Rally Againt Debt march held in London on May 14th. Theres likely to be a huge crowd from remaining Lib Dems, the Conservatives and UKIP. Might have an effect on polls. It is in planning stages at the moment but it looks likely. Il be attending.

  39. @ Stuart Dickson

    “Am I totally misreading something, or have STV seriously f**ked up here? Punters deserve to know, cos this poll utterly changed the betting markets.”

    It’s still a very tight race either way. Labour’s lead, even among those who are “certain to vote,” is small and within the margin of error.

    “POLL ALERT: Gray in 3rd place”

    Looking at the tightening polls, I kinda wonder if there’s this incumbent discovery factor for Scottish voters. It seems like, with Westminster elections, Scottish voters tend to lean Labour and Labour is the most popular party. That probably accounts for Labour’s initial large lead in the Scottish Parliamentary elections. But as Scots tune in to the election, there may a realization that the SNP is in power (and if they’re happy with the way things are being run), some voters are drifting to the SNP.

    I’m also curious what would happen if there was a UK General Election on the same day that there was a Scottish Parliamentary election under the current leadership. I have a hunch that there would be a great deal of split ballots where you had the same ballot marking SNP for their MSP and Labour for their MP.

  40. @ Robert Newark

    “Hillary Clinton reported as stating that the UN bombing resolution trumps the one banning selling arms, so the coalition could legally arm the rebels. (She says)
    That might worry a few people & I don’t just mean Gadaffi!

    I still have very mixed views on our getting involved. The ‘who cares’ part of me says that we should just let them kill each other, it’s not our war. But the Christian side of me asks how I would feel if we had ended up with the ‘final solution’ in the country with millions slaughtered. It is not black & white.”

    I’m sure Hillary is right. She’s very smart and a talented attorney. But I get the feeling that arming the rebels might turn out to be a very bad idea. If only because they’re not trained on how to use the weapons (and as I’m reminded of what I tell gun crazed NRA types) and not knowing how to use a weapon can make that weaponry useless or perhaps even deadly to themselves (after all the only plane the rebels flew was shot down by their own forces). Usage of weapons might turn out to be ineffective (I’m thinking of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961) or even more deadly where untrained albeit well-intentioned people wind up killing far more people (including innocent civilians).

    It’s one thing to take out Ghadaffi’s heavy duty armed forces with some airpower, it’s quite another step to arm the rebels. I’m not totally opposed but this idea but it’s a significant step.

  41. @ Stuart Dickson

    “Interesting that even you, as a Scottish Labour activist, mis-spell his name!”

    Is Iain Gray any relation to Vincent Gray? J/k. :)-

    Without making any judgments on Gray as a leader (cause’ I know next to nothing about him), I think that the narrowing of the polls in the Scottish elections is probably due to the fact that Labour can’t coast simply on the dislike of Tories. If voters dislike the Tories, in a Westminster election, Labour is the default vote. Labour doesn’t need to be that popular. They can benefit just by being Labour.

    Of course, if your main opponent is no longer the Tories, a problem arises. You can’t run against what isn’t in power (well you can try but it rarely works…..I remember a campaign like that).

    I’ll give you an example. San Francisco voters in their infinte wisdom thought it was a good idea to elect a defense attorney as their city’s District Attorney (the top prosecutor). Without getting into all the problems and various conflicts of interest in this scheme, needless to say he didn’t do a very good job.

    But he could win because he could tout his liberal credentials and win over voters who were distrustful of authority and conservatives and messages of “tough on crime.” He was helped by having a frequent opponent, who was a hardnosed conservative prosecutor.

    But when he ran for reelection in 2003, he faced not only his traditional opponent but a second opponent who was an unexpected entrant, a liberal prosecutor. She promised to carry out reforms, develop creative policing programs, and ensure that prosecutors adhered to the law. But she also promised to do the job that a DA is supposed to do (prosecute criminals).

    She had no political experience but after she managed to edge into the runoff over the conservative prosecutor, the DA had problems. He couldn’t rail against conservatives in order to win votes because in an opponent, he had a feirce liberal. A political upstart, she wound up winning by double digits.

    Relating this back to Scottish Parliament, Labour can rail against the Tories and most Scottish voters may wholeheartedly agree. But their opponent is the SNP, not the Tories. An attack against the Tories is an attack against a non-existent enemy.

    “But the question is: will Gray and Milibands’ ratings rise as awareness of them increases. Or will their ratings actually drop even further as voters get to know who they are?

    I suspect the latter, especially in Miliband’s case.”

    Here’s the song that I think Ed Miliband needs to listen to (or have sung to him):

    h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rXxrVQB_E0

  42. @ Virgilio

    “So I will not sing victory (do you say this in English?) until the night of 2012 Election Day.”

    I think I might use “celebrate” instead of “sing.” There are a few terms for this. I like the phrase “let’s not count our chickens before the eggs have hatched.”

    It’s a good attitude to have (especially if you’re volunteering or working on a campaign). I can sympathise with feeling trauma of losing past elections. I’ve had it myself on election night (even really great election nights), that feeling of anxiety.

    Btw, does Strauss-Kahn have higher polling figures than others in his party? And what about Bertrand Delanoe and Segolene Royal? Are they planning to run or are they both out of it? I was reading an interesting Guardian article a week or so ago about the rise of LePen and the extremist right in France. The article talked about the frustrations of the French (especially the young). It seems to me that the right wing (both Sarkozy and LePen) is merely peddling easy answers. LePen’s rise seems to be due to the fact that she’s not quite the total whackjob that her dad is and seems like a slightly normal person (kinda like the Jeb Bush strategy).

    If I remember correctly, Royal had a lot of promise in 2007 but she struggled to come up with substantive ideas on economics and other social policies and her campaign went off-focus, which ultimately led to Sarkozy winning. I think her big idea was that every immigrant family should be required to host a French flag in their front window (F.Y.I. that would be grossly unconstitutional in the U.S.). I think if the Socialists are going to win next year, they’re going to have to come up with a platform that really addresses the problems that the French youth face and what citizens in the suburbs face.

  43. @ John Murphy

    “The Scots poll is deeply confusing…but it doesn’t mean it isn’t correct…Politicians with the name Gray/Grey need to be wary of being seen in the wrong light!…Was it poor Gray Davis who won relection and then got snookered by the ‘Governator’ in a special election in California?”

    The real people who got snookered in that race were Richard Riordan and Darell Issa. Issa, a Congressman and former cartheif, spent over two million dollars of his own money to get the recall initiative on the ballot. Then Gropenfuhrer jumped in the race and Issa turned tail and ran away (imagine that, over 2 million spent and not a single vote earned). Riordan and Gropenfuhrer were friends (and I think one time neighbors) and they’d discussed the race and seemingly agreed that Riordan would run if the recall effort qualified. Riordan, who would have beaten Davis handily for reelection had Davis not spent money in the GOP Primary to sabotage him. Without informing him first, Gropenfuhrer jumped in the race. He effectively all the moderate GOP support, all the money, and all the strategists, leaving Riordan high and dry.

    Poor Gray, that man got such a bad rap and was treated so unfairly by the media. I have to say that his public persona made me trust him and like him that much more. An elected official with a public persona so unpleasant and that unfriendly and cold struck me as one who was incredibly honest and sincere.

    The most prominent politician I can think of with the last name Gray is Vincent Gray, the current mayor of Washington, D.C. (I figure he must be Iain’s tall, African-American cousin). I like this guy actually though he admittedly won an election without any real platform or even a basic campaign message. He won because his opponent was an incumbent who was so hated and so lousy in office, people decided they’d vote for whoever wasn’t the incumbent. But you gotta give the man credit for taking advantage of a good political situation and jumping in to run when no one else would (everyone thought the incumbent, a close friend of Obama, would easily sail through his reelection).

  44. @ Eoin

    “Its about time they did… Murphy was gung ho two Sunday’s ago”

    I think he’s being consistent but he’s got to be careful that he does not come off sounding inconsistent. He’s a proponent of Liberal Interventionism and he has to keep that up without equivocating. Obama has made it clear that removing Ghadaffi is a political goal, not a military goal. If you accept that premise (and I do), I think Murphy was right to support the intervention militarily but also suggest that it’s important to understand the rebels.

    The Bush-Blair Doctrine for preemptive war is unworkable and a proven failure. The Obama-Jim Murphy Doctrine for Liberal Intervention has worked in the past and ought to be given a chance to work in Libya.

  45. @SocialLiberal
    The feeling I get from France is that S. Royal does not have a chance this time, maybe the novelty of her candidature has worn out. The real choice is between Aubry and Strauss-Khan, and there is a widespread view that they will not stand against each other in the socialist primary of June, but will instead come to an agreement (e.g. if Strauss-Khan finally runs for the office and wins, Aubry will be PM). Anyway, I am very suspicious of situations where things seem so be “arranged” in advance, many people hate this because they feel that their opinion does not count. As for Marine Le Pen, she is of course much more dangerous than her father: having “modernized” her discourse, she now appeals to a broader audience, offering the “solutions” (based on islamophobia, anti-immigration policies, security etc.) that they want to hear, but in a more subtle and “secular” way. Of course the first to suffer from this is the presidential UMP party, which now seems to be in shambles after its repeated defeats in local elections and its constant infighting, but in the long run no one is immune, and of course the left-wing “populists”, such as Besancenot of Melenchon see their potential audience shrink, since Marine’s message is much more powerful. Another consequence is that the “centrist” , moderate and pro-European electorate, allergic to all this populist commotion, tends to federate around the socialist candidate, especially if this is Strauss-Kahn.

  46. Barney my problem is you hardly make a post without down crying Salmond.

    You don’t like him I get that.

    Do you need to post it on this supposedly non partisan site every time you wan’t to say something?

    I don’t think you do.

    I could post my opinion if Gray but that’s not what this site is for.

  47. phil

    “First opportunity? The LDs have had seven years in which to bail out and court Labour, during which they have resolutely stayed in the blue corner”

    Quite. That’s why The Sheep’s comments seem strange.

    “My wife, who hopes to be working for the council for a few months more despite redundancy threats, begs to differ over your assertions on quality of services”

    Although in the league tables, Birmingham has moved up from “failing” in many areas to something more adequate. Far from good enough but still a big improvement.

  48. @socallib

    Thanks for all the detail…really interesting…..I too think Mr Davis got an unfair trashing…but as I’m constantly reminded none of this is about, fair, or right, or better….

    It seems though we stand on the shoulders of giants that our need to make our own mistakes dwarfs our capacity to really learn from them….

  49. Socal,

    As a general rule, I dont like suffix[es] or prefix[es].

    ‘muscular Liberal’
    ‘equality of opportunity’
    ‘liberal interventionism’

    I believe in equality and think equal of opp is a dilution.
    I believe is Liberalism and think muscular is a dilution/smokescreen
    I dont believe in interventionsim and think ‘liberal interventionism’ is a con/equivocation.

    As my mum taught me… if you are behaving in the same way as an oponent, or someone you deride, you are know different to them, no matter how much you may try and pretend to be so..

    So some supposed lefty crooning about the joys of Liberal interventionsim whilst deriding a neo-con for doing the exact same thing is a hypocrite. Your no different or better. When I wake up, open my curtains and look out my window, you both support bombing Muslims.

  50. socal,

    *no diff [apols]

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