The brief post-budget bounce aside, Labour now have a pretty consistent lead in voting intention. However, the answers other questions are often rather bad for Labour.

On best Prime Minister Cameron has a 13 point lead over Miliband, on dealing with the deficit the coalition lead Labour by 14 points, Cameron & Osborne have a 9 point lead over Miliband & Balls on general trust on the economy. Ed Miliband’s own approval ratings are mediocre and 47% think he isn’t up to the job of Labour leader.

To put this in context, if we look back at 2006-2007 when the opposition Conservatives had a comparable single-digit lead over the Labour government, David Cameron was pretty much neck and neck with Tony Blair as best PM, the Conservatives and Labour were pretty much neck and neck on who would run the economy well and Cameron had a positive approval rating.

What explains this paradox? Why have Labour got a solid lead in the polls, but comparatively bad ratings in supplementary questions? Or indeed vice-versa? There are two alternative explanations for this – one more comforting for Labour than the other.

Part of the answer is down to the new landscape of coalition politics. People’s responses to poll questions are often very partisan, supporters of the governing party tend to say nice things about the governing party, supporters of opposition parties tend to say negative things. Now we have a coalition government, we tend to get both Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters saying nice things about the government, whereas prior to 2010 only one party’s supporters did. This translates into higher support for the government in secondary questions, but not in main voting intention questions where government supporters are split between Conservative voters and Lib Dem votes.

This shouldn’t worry Labour of course – in fact it’s a reminder of a positive for them. While it is probably wrong to view voting behaviour too much through an ideological prism (models of electoral behaviour these days tend to be more dominated by voters perceptions of compentence, rather than ideology), throughout the 1980s the left-of-centre vote tended to be split between two parties. With the Liberal Democrats reduced to a rump of supporters who are less antagonistic towards the Tories, the right-of-centre vote is looking more split. Certainly the group of voters who think the present government are competent is split between two parties.

However, this does not explain everything, and here we come to the explanation that is less comforting for Labour. A lot of people who say they would vote Labour do not give particularly positive answers to other questions about Labour. Only 63% of Labour’s own voters think Ed Miliband would make the best Prime Minister, only 54% think he is up to the job of Labour leader. Only 69% of Labour voters trust Labour more than the coalition more than Labour to deal with the deficit, 77% trust Miliband & Balls to run the economy more than Cameron & Osborne. 45% of their own voters think Labour need to make major changes to be fit for government. In short, a substantial minority of people who say they’ll vote Labour don’t seem to be very pro-Labour when you inquire further.

My guess is that the reason is that Labour are really the only major opposition party to the coalition and hence many people will be telling pollsters they’d vote Labour as the only mainstream way of voting against the coalition. If that is the case, you wouldn’t necessarily expect all those people to have positive views of Labour – they are benefitting from a negative anti-government vote, not necessarily a pro-Labour one.

But does this matter? Not necessarily – a negative anti-government vote counts just the same as a positive vote when it goes in a ballot box and the evidence from 2010 suggests that a large proportion of Conservative voters were driven more by anti-Labour feeling than support for the Tories. It does become a problem if it is an indication of soft support for Labour, if the government become less unpopular once they have a better economy behind them, if minor parties establish themselves as alternative recipients of anti-government votes or if during an election campaign it becomes more of a choice between two alternatives, rather than a judgement on the incumbent.

I’ve always stuck hard with the truism that oppositions don’t win elections, government’s lose them. The caveat I always add to that is that while oppositions probably can’t win elections, they are quite capable of losing them – it’s arguably what happened in both 1992 and 2005, when the incumbent governments had done plenty to make themselves unpopular, but the public did not see the opposition as ready for government. Right now there are probably four years to an election, so as long as Labour recognise the issue and address it, it doesn’t need to be a problem at all – the best position for them to build up more positive support again is from a position of strength. What they need to fear (expressed rather well by their former General Secretary Peter Watt today) is complancency.


288 Responses to “The paradox of Labour’s lead”

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  1. @Roger Mexico

    Only 23 Lib Dems need to give a vote of no confidence for parliament to be dissolved if the rest of the party ‘abstains’ or is absent. The Conservatives would need to turn 24 Lib Dems, at a moment of crisis for their party, to support the Government they had just broken with. If there had just been an emergency party conference, with motions directing the party to no longer support the government, that would put them in a very difficult position. Do the conservatives have 24 safe seats ready for parachuting Lib Dem defectors into?

    I suggest that even if they did, the mood of the country would turn pretty ugly, and the opposition would become very obstructionist. It would be much wiser to let go, than hang on to power and be put through a wringer and face later elections in an even worse political climate.

  2. @ Jay Blanc

    “The Conservatives would need to turn 24 Lib Dems, at a moment of crisis for their party, to support the Government they had just broken with. If there had just been an emergency party conference, with motions directing the party to no longer support the government, that would put them in a very difficult position. Do the conservatives have 24 safe seats ready for parachuting Lib Dem defectors into?”

    I’m sure that if worse came to worse, they could simply vote to expand the House of Commons back to the current number of seats.

  3. Fascinating Anthony.

    Thank you.

  4. A new YouGov poll on AV has the NO campaign 13% in Front. 44% (yes) 31% (no) :(

    Is this a record lead for the No campaign?

    [No – not at all. There was a 17 point one a few weeks back – AW]

  5. I see the April Fools have started.

    Where would Lord Schwarzenegger be Lord of I wonder?

    Lord Schwarzenegger of Hyperborea? (Conan)

    Lord Schwarzenegger of Mars? (Total Recall)

    Lord Schwarzenegger of the Future? (Terminator)

  6. My AV post was poorly scribed ..

    44% back FPTP
    31% back AV

    :(

  7. Anthony,

    As others have said one of your best.

    FWIW, I agree Lab would not get over 40% if there were a GE on May 05th but their projected share from the locals (R&Th) will probably achieve that as people are voting for different things and protest at the national Gov’t is part of it plus turnout from antis is usually higher.
    Whilst I am not worried about lack of detailed policies (in fact I think it is right 4 years out and we just lost) Labour do need to be developing a narrative of sorts.
    To paraphase one poster Lab can be confident already of 33-35% in 2015 and they are certainly better placed than the oppositions in 80 and ’98 and ‘ 02(can’t recall ’71/’75) but not as set as ’98 or even the Tories in 2006. Remember MIchael Howard did increase the cons vote share to within 3% of Labour.
    Personally, I think the chances of an early GE slim and if there was Labour have the ‘not expected’ line when pressed and would focus on competence, broken manifesto promises etc.
    As I have stated on previous threads this feels like 1988/9; I hope I am wrong but think a small Con OM most likely at the next GE but there is a chance of Lab being the largest party without an OM depending on the strength of the economic recovery in 13-15.

  8. Anthony,

    Brilliant – this is the post I was waiting for and explains a lot. I’ve always been of the view that Labour’s lead is soft exactly for the reasons you set out.

    But also that this lead could get firmed up and hardened up as Labour begin to develop a coherent set of policies (if they in fact do) that form a credible alternative.

    I think the question I have is that if EM’s ratings are poor and don’t improve soon, will this negative image stick. Or in other words, do perceptions of leaders change very much once they have set in and how long does EM have to turn his own personal favourability around?

  9. JimJam,

    I agree on your 2015 guesstimate.

  10. @JimJam

    “As I have stated on previous threads this feels like 1988/9; I hope I am wrong but think a small Con OM most likely at the next GE but there is a chance of Lab being the largest party without an OM depending on the strength of the economic recovery in 13-15.”

    Actually, I don’t think it feels like 1988/89 at all. Those were the dying days of a long standing Tory PM who was beginning to plumb the depths of her unpopularity, skewered and rotating slowly and painfully on the Poll Tax spit and leading a divided and unhappy party, many of whom were busily sharpening their knives to get rid of her. The Opposition was being led by a person who had been in the job for nearly seven years, and who had already heavily lost an election, and he was leading a party that had been out of power for nigh on a decade. It was also the relatively early days of a new and emerging third party in British politics – the Liberal Democrats.

    I could go on but, in summary, I return to the basic theme of many of my posts since May 2010. Comparisons with previous political eras, whilst fascinating, entertaining and diverting, are just that. They inform us very little, and mislead an awful lot. They can be comforting for those who feel the need for predictability and repetition and who like to wallow in loose assertions, and they can be usefully self-serving for blinkered partisans, but we have a wholly unique set of parameters now bearing down on our domestic politics.

    I know it’s uncomfortable and, for some, destabilising, but past political compasses lead us down dark and blind alleys and, speaking personally, I find that fact wholly refreshing and exciting. What a dreary and depressing political world it would be if we only had to dredge up 1985 opinion polls, or consult Ladbrokes and William Hill, to tell us what will happen in three years time.

    Roll on some real votes in real ballot boxes in a few weeks time when we can put the voodooists back in their boxes – well, for a few blissful weeks, anyway!!

  11. I don’t believe a Tory OM is possible, Cameron might narrowly win and be sustained with an orange book rump but I just can’t see an OM.

    A Labour OM is probably unikely as well.

    I do think Labour can count on 35% at the next election what ever happens but Miliband and Balls have to win back trust in the Midlands to get to 40%.

  12. > My guess is that the reason is that Labour are really the only major opposition party to the coalition and hence many people will be telling pollsters they’d vote Labour as the only mainstream way of voting against the coalition.

    I’d tend to agree. And I think Labour realises this, too, hence their desperation in Scotland, where I think it is fair to say there is another major party that opposes the coalition policies, to paint that party as being / behaving the same as the coalition (“SNP cuts”, “Tartan Tories”, “Only Labour”).

  13. I think the Tories will severely be underestimating the countries attitude towards NHS reform, if they just plough on to implement Lansleys plans. I think most people want their GP’s to diagnose/treat and not t be involved in consortias to make money from private companies.

    Labour would do well to concentrate their efforts on getting a coalition of people together from all parties to fight the Tories plans. Who knows, even Tebbit might join them!

    See. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/04/plans-owen-reforms-tebbit

  14. Crossbat you are right of course about the differences with 87/88 but as an LP member I am looking at this specifically in terms our readiness for power or electability.
    We wasted 79-83 and Kinnock spent his first four years stabilising so the journey back to power only started in earnest in 87. Coming to terms with why we were unpopular conducting proper policy reviews etc.
    This time we have not wasted time and I think there is a genuine understanding amongst our leadership of the need to, of course, defend our record and repudiate coalition attacks whilst recognising we need to reflect on why we lost and adapt.
    I have stated on earlier threads that this Labour generation is imo better than the last one as a group but unfortunately, I do not think we will be able to pursuade enough former voters to return by 2015 unless the Gov’t mess up completely.

    It may be lazy to look back but the disappointment of 1992 is ingrained deep within me and it took me years to stop blaming the electorate and acknowledge that we did not do enough to convince.

  15. Just read AW’s blog – and it’s a very good piece of comment/analysis.

    I haven’t yet read any of the posts here so this may be a repitition … but AW compares the current popularity of EM/DC situation with TB/DC’s in 2006/07 but I wonder if that is perhaps a little inappropriate. DC is a new PM, whereas TB was an ‘old’ PM.

    Plenty to ponder.

  16. Mike N – that’s not really the point of that. The point is that Labour are doing worse in secondary questions than in voting intentions… why is that? (Or alternatively, Labour are doing better in voting intention questions than in secondary ones…why is that?)

    The comparison is just to illustrate that this is not inevitable, oppositions don’t necessarily lag behind their voting intention figures in secondary questions. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, so it’s a question worth asking.

  17. UK Uncut are to become a political party.

  18. Erm… that’s an April Fool Eoin.

  19. R Huckle,
    Re the point you were making,there is a very interesting
    article in the Telegraph today which says that EM is doing
    exactly what you suggest.It is so positive in tone that I wonder if perhaps it is an April fool!

  20. AW

    The current political landscape is unique (at least in my memory). And so I’m sceptical about any comparisons with the past. But it’s good for discussion!

    If the LDs had not entered coalition, it is improbable that Lab would be ahead of the Cons in the polls at this point, IMO.

  21. Thinking about the political landscape, this is a big opportunity for EM and Lab to present themselves as a gov in waiting.

    This is difficult especially in view of the hostile nature of much of the newspapers (e.g the Sun).

    Despite the possibility that the coalition could break asunder at any time EM and Lab need to work on basis that the next GE will be in 2015. Lab should act as the Opposition and allow time for the views and perceptions of people to change over time.

    My only concern is how joe public perceives EM – and whether and to what degree this might change. For example, my wife thinks he looks and talks funny – and although this is really unscientific and “irrational” , this kind of perception if widespread can be very damaging.

  22. @JimJam

    “It may be lazy to look back but the disappointment of 1992 is ingrained deep within me and it took me years to stop blaming the electorate and acknowledge that we did not do enough to convince”

    I felt the hurt too and I empathise entirely! You make a very good point about the need to be ready for power and electable and that the process towards this, following a defeat, should begin well ahead of any election but the reason I didn’t agree with your 88/89 comparison runs through to why I think the 1992 election tells us very little too about likely future events and outcomes

    I think, sadly, maybe unfairly some would argue, that the bulk of the electorate had made their mind up about Neil Kinnock’s Prime Ministerial capabilities a long time before 1992 and that the verdict was an unfavourable one. He just wasn’t electable and, combined with the Chris Patten inspired “double whammy” campaign that convinced the electoraste of Labour’s plans for higher taxes, supported by John Smith’s phantom budget, the election was lost many months, even years, before it was held. The optimistic opinion polls were an illusion that intensified the eventual disappointment of the defeat, but those of us campaigning on the ground knew that the Kinnock factor was a debilitating one. Remember also that Major fought as the “I’m not Margaret Thatcher” candidate and convinced the electorate to give him a full shot at the job. Of course, as we all now know, it unravelled very quickly for him and he got his comeuppance, and met his denoument, five years later!

    In my view, 1992 was never a winnable election for Labour. The Tories won it when they ditched Thatcher (even old Neil might have beaten her in 92!). But it was a hell of a good election to lose, as Messrs Brown and Blair will no doubt testify!!

  23. Anthony,

    Tis but I wanted to put the eebie jeebies up a few :)

  24. 2010 was widely predicted to be a good election to lose, also.

    If crashes and faltering economies get Governments kicked out, then the theory must be that a strong economy in 2015 will win DC another term.

    But if we go back into recession then it’s another Black Wednesday moment. You can’t blame Labour again if they hand over strong growth and you cut so savagely you drive us back into recession.

    It’s going to be a close run thing for Q1 2011. The only thing that might save GO is that Q4 2010 was so bad that to do worse than that would be spectacularly bad. But I think it will be close to that.

    Double dip will mean, in my opinion, a dead Government, and they will be dead men walking even if it goes to 2015.

    Going to be very, very close.

    Any sort of positive figure, even 0.01% growth and GO breathes a a sigh of relief.

    But the real cuts bite later…what price another dip?

  25. I think you are all missing the critical shift here. The past is no indicator of the future!

    The Lib-dems are no longer perceived as a left of centre party. Most perceive them as either centre, or increasingly right of centre. This identification of the Lib-dems as an off-shoot of the tory government will intensify and not weaken as the parliament progresses. This has not applied in recent history when traditionally there was one right / centre right party and two opposing them. This, and only this, gives Labour its present position.

    The last Labour government was deeply unpopular, Brown personally more so, but the majority of the population did not perceive itself to be on the right of the spectrum. This is critical to understanding why the tories did not win a majotiy or gain a landslide as labour did under parallel circumstances in 1997.

    The most astonishing outcome of the last election was the pitiful percentage of the population that a young, populist centrist leader facing a tired unpopular leader who was seen as autocratic and somehow being vaguely illegitimate, after the worst and least predicted recession in over 70 years could get to support him. 37% in those circumstances was astonishingly dismal. For the tories moreover, this is probably the maximum tory vote available. They have no prospect now or in the foreseeable future of gaining an OM.

    Iif they had any sense they would ,with the lib-dems, adopt the Holyrood system of government for Westminster now. The people of the UK will not support them in sufficient numbers to allow an overall majority.

    They have actually had a remarkably good press since their election, and are,as AW points out, in terms of competence vastly ahead of their Labour opponents yet this is not, and cannot, be reflected in VI or I will predict, in votes cast. Quite simply the people who got the Tory vote at 42- 44% in eighties have died. Their new maximum is about where we are now. Cameron is not unpopular, The Tory government is not – yet- hated nor are they widely blamed for anything and yet they cannot get higher than previous election voting share.

    Their only hope of power is shared power in coalitions under a PR system. Both FPTP and especially AV will allow only one party ever to gain a majority in UK parliament and -that is Labour. The gift of 12% of the electorate to Labour from the Libs is not a result of policy surrenders, nor a feeling of betrayal but a more significant one of identification – therefore the vote is solid – but deeply unenthused at present. They feel that they oppose the right and consequently have to vote labour.

    Of course in Scotland this does not apply as we have the Nationalists to pick up the lib-dem waverers and those unenthused by Milliband.

    A paradox may be that Labour in percentage terms polls higher next time in England than in Scotland.

  26. Iceman

    That’s what I said right back at the start of this thread. It’s an anti-Tory vote and it ain’t ever going to become a pro-Tory vote.

    I think somebody called me toxic and partisan for saying so. But that doesn’t stop it being true.

    But people can be won over. There could be Tory majoriy again one day, and the Lib Dems could regain some lost vote.

    But not this parliament…I suspect.

  27. Very good post Iceman.

  28. The latest AV poll showing a 13% lead for No comes as no surprise to me for the following reasons.

    The Conservatives are united behind No to AV, historically Tory voters are the most likely to turn out at any election.

    Lab are split. They have little motivation in voting either way, uless its to vote No to give Clegg a kicking. The labour voters may cancel each other out.

    The others (Green, Ukip etc) are for Yes to AV, but they don’t really have the structure to get their vote out nationally.

    The LD’s are united behind Yes. However even their own core vote is “confused and dissolisioned” at the moment by the party sharing power. Their turn out of might well be low reflecting thier low self esteem at present

    The older voters are, the more likely they are to vote NO. Historically older voters are more likely to turn out.

    I am quietly confident. :D

  29. I think Iceman is possibly correct in that there is not much scope for labour to increase their vote by more than 3% or so in Scotland although it depends what happens at holyrood.

    Bit extreme to say that labour’s vote might be higher in England than Scotland though even if their WWC vote is far more likely to turn out at the next election.

  30. Or to put it another way…

    40% is the core annti-Tory vote, give or take a per cent. So if Labour actually gets its act together and gets some wider appeal and trust going, we might just see a landslide.

  31. @ Iceman

    Many who vote SNP for Holyrood vote Labour for Westminster.

    The preference in Scotland, when there is no outright ‘winner’, is for a Labour/ SNP coalition. I doubt this will be the outcome, though. It would be so overwhelming a majority that there’d be no proper opposition. I don’t believe that Labour & SNP would put our parliament in such a position.
    8-)

  32. The tories will find it very difficult to achieve a OM at the next election as they have no back up votes as it were to keep them in power,
    Governments get less popular as soon as they come to power..the only reason Labour stayed in power for 13 years was because of the massive landslide in 97 this became there back up vote as they got less popular over the years but it was because of 97 that kept them in so they could afford to lose votes but the tories cant and i can only see there votes declining!

  33. @JIM JAM

    I agree, I see a small overall Conservative majority at the next election, 20-40 seats but with a smaller Labour representation and an increased Liberal one as the latter benefit from a successful economuc strategy.

  34. I agree with Amber, it won’t happen because there’s too much petty vitriol/hatred between certain members of both parties.

  35. JAndrews

    but the tories cant and i can only see there votes declining!

    __________________________________________

    If as expected the economy improves over the next 3 years, house prices start to rise again as they are starting to, and employment in the private sector continues to increase to offset the loss public sector jobs, the Tories will get the credit.

    At a GE in 2015 I doubt that the electorate will risk another Labour Government to plunge them back into debt again.

    Also LAb supporters here should not underestimate how many of the young white working class, who should have become their future core voters, are now rabidly anti labour. They feel totally betrayed by them, particulalry because of the Labours open door immigration policy.

  36. John Fletcher
    “Also LAb supporters here should not underestimate how many of the young white working class, who should have become their future core voters, are now rabidly anti labour. They feel totally betrayed by them, particulalry because of the Labours open door immigration policy.”

    You can substantiate all these comments/claims?

    And just to correct your misunderstanding, it was GB and Lab that put in place the current points-based system for immigration that the current gov is using.

  37. @ Mike N.

    You can substantiate all these comments/claims?

    The rise of the EDL to a membership (almost exclusively young white working class) close to 85,000. This membership represents those who have put their heads above the parapet, and suggest they represent the tip of a iceberg. Also the increase in the UKIP support in the opinion polls, byelections etc in Labour heartlands with the increase now comming primarily from the young are IMO examples of this trend. The local elections on May the 5th may well confirm this trend I suspect.
    ________________________________________
    And just to correct your misunderstanding, it was GB and Lab that put in place the current points-based system for immigration that the current gov is using

    I should have said in my previous post “because of WHAT THE SEE as Labours open door immigration policy”

    I appreciate that there were controls in place. I’m not too sure they were rigourosly enforced, but that a different arguement.

  38. John Fletcher
    “The rise of the EDL to a membership (almost exclusively young white working class) close to 85,000.”

    How do you know this? Has the EDL provided audited data to show this is true?

  39. @ Mike N.

    I have just done some checks which might be of interest to us all.

    Facebook page membership.

    Conservatives – 134,574
    Labour – 97,852
    LD’s 93,311
    EDL – 83,897

  40. John Fletcher
    Interesting maybe, but I’m unsure what the stats tells us or whether they are at all reliable. Were the figures from some kind of facebook poll?

    Anyway, moving on…

  41. @ Mike N

    Were the figures from some kind of facebook poll?
    __________________________________________

    They are the number of facebookers who “like” the Facebook page.

    I am not trying to defend or extole the EDL. I am just making what I believe to be impartial observations on its rise over a short period of time and what this might represent eventually in the ballot box.

    If you, as a Labour supporter, along with your fellow travellers, choose to ignoor or deny this phenomenon then perhaps in time you may come to regret it.

    IMO

  42. Just read Johann Hari’s The biggest lie in British politics. Brilliant.
    Thank goodness there are people like him who articulate the ‘truth’ about the need for the cuts.

  43. Regarding the polling average, are the coalition parties currently taking more than 50% once one excludes parties polling less than 5%?

  44. @NickP – (11.25am) – not usre if you picked up todays CIPS Markit survey for the manufacturing sector? It shows a sharp slow down in March, well below expectations but still in positive territory. Manufacturing exports are still performing well, but new orders have fallen back sharply on the back of the stagnation of the domestic consumer goods market. This news has sent the pound lower and led market watchers to predict no interest rise in May.

    Manufacturing has been trumped as the UK’s get out crad by many people, although they consistently fail to recognise that as it only represents 13% of GDP, relying on recovery in this sector would mean a very long wait for a major economic uplift. These figures put even that in doubt.

    It’s only one month, but I think you’re right – there will be a lot of tension among ministers as they wait for the Q1 GDP results.

  45. @ Alec.

    This news has sent the pound lower
    _________________________________________
    Was down at 1.598 v $ at 2pm but has recovered to 1.612 and so is up on the day.

    FSTE has raced ahead and is now over 6000 again, up a huge 1.7% on the day.

    I agree with you however about the tension amongst ministers on Q1 GDP and the sad state of our manufacturing industry at only 13% of GDP. At least the Coalition is trying to correct this now.

  46. Christian Schmidt

    As usual agree with you. It follows that the SLAB vote in Scotland is not soft, the soft part long since moved off the the SNP.

    Amber/A Brown

    A Lab/SNP coalition couldn’t be led by either of the two party leaderss we have now. Nicola Sturgeon and Malcolm Chisholm, or someone from the ethical far left, are SLAB MSP’s allowed to join CND these days, or are they expelled?

  47. Anthony

    Couldn’t we have an edit facility? that last post is full of errors.

  48. @Iceman

    “This identification of the Lib-dems as an off-shoot of the tory government will intensify and not weaken as the parliament progresses. This has not applied in recent history when traditionally there was one right / centre right party and two opposing them. This, and only this, gives Labour its present position.”

    Very good post- the fact that this is the first time since January 1981 that there has been a single mainstream left of centre party squared up against the Tories seems lost on a lot of our fellow posters who – back then – were either in short trousers/ toddler dresses or merely glints in the parental eye!!

    It has got EdM a long way and his tactics have been largely spot on (‘tory [email protected]’/ policy review/ being pleasant at the despatch box).

    This pre 1981 scenario means IMHO (contra @jimjam) that there is no chance whatsoever of a OM for Cameron and Osborne whatever the figures are for debt/ inflation/ interest rates and unemployment in 2013-2015. Labour have a solid floor of around 35% and even under AV that keeps Dave and Gideon from majoritarian status.

    But all the wobbly soft under belly stuff that AW writes about in this thread post is what- certainly for the moment- leads me to suspect that there is little potential for a red OM either.

    That is what the two Ed’s (and a returned to shadow cabinet DM) have to deal with over the next 24 months.

  49. @Iceman

    “This identification of the Lib-dems as an off-shoot of the government will intensify and not weaken as the parliament progresses. This has not applied in recent history when traditionally there was one right / centre right party and two opposing them. This, and only this, gives Labour its present position.”

    Very good post- the fact that this is the first time since January 1981 that there has been a single mainstream left of centre party squared up against the Tories seems lost on a lot of our fellow posters who – back then – were either in short trousers/ toddler dresses or merely glints in the parental eye!!

    It has got EdM a long way and his tactics have been largely spot on (Tory administration policy review/ being pleasant at the despatch box).

    This pre 1981 scenario means IMHO (contra @jimjam) that there is no chance whatsoever of a OM for Cameron and Osborne whatever the figures are for debt/ inflation/ interest rates and unemployment in 2013-2015. Labour have a solid floor of around 35% and even under AV that keeps Dave and George from majoritarian status.

    But all the wobbly soft under belly stuff that AW writes about in this thread post is what- certainly for the moment- leads me to suspect that there is little potential for a red OM either.

    That is what the two Ed’s (and a returned to shadow cabinet DM) have to deal with over the next 24 months.

  50. John B,

    If you type your posts in google chrome instead of internet explorer… then there is a spell checker as you go along..

    It has not fully eradicated my dyslexia but it helps

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