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. @John Fletcher – “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.”

    Hmmmm. Many manufacturers have been berating Osborne’s industrial policies of late. The emphasis has been on reduced corporation tax at the expenses of investment allowances (excluding start ups). There is also deep concern over the slashing of R&D support for universities. The net effect has been strongly negative for many in the manufacturing sector, so it’s a bit of a myth that he is trying to correct anything, other than hope a weak pound and growth elsewhere in the workd will do the job for him.

  2. @ Crossbat11/Nick H

    “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!!”

    So last year, I watched the 1992 general election on youtube (it’s really addictive and a great time waster but fun). I could really emphathize with Labour because as I watched (even though I knew the outcome), I got this eerie feeling that reminded me of what I felt during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. I know what it’s like to see your side lose an election that you know you need to win and should have won but fail to win.

    It was a good election for Labour to lose in hindsight. I kinda enjoyed watching the media claim that Labour might not ever win again just for the irony. A lot of people in the news media have this tendency to jump on whatever bandwagon is around at the moment. Similarly, after 2004, many in the U.S. news media declared the Democrats dead and were hailing a new permanent Republican majority.

    @ Jim Jam

    “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.”

    You’re not being lazy. It’s okay for people to hold on to feelings of disappointment and have it influence their future political notions. I think you can both have feelings of blaming the electorate and yet acknowledge why the electorate made the decision that it did. That’s how I felt about the U.S. presidential election in 04′.

    It’s only natural that those types of disappointments tend to last. When I worked on Election Day 08′, I was surrounded by older volunteers who were for the most part pessimistic, anxious, and fearful. They had not just suffered the disappointment of Dubya but they could remember Reagan and Nixon too. I was the only one who was at all confident (which is kinda ironic considering I get election anxiety just as much as the next guy).

  3. @ Neil A

    “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)”

    Too bad it’s only an April Fool’s joke. You guys can keep him for all I care. :)

  4. Socalliberal: I’m pleased you like the YouTube election uploads, I have to admit to being responsible for those! I’ve just finished putting the October 1974 election on there.

  5. @ MIKE N You need to read the following, it will set your thinking straight
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6825383/memo-to-johann-hari-this-government-isnt-planning-to-pay-off-our-debt-rapidly.thtml

    As I said yesterday much deeper cuts in Public Expenditure are required to get the debt down! The NHS is a good candidate after years of falling productivity.

  6. Spending in the 2011-12 budget is £711bn
    Spending in the 2010-11 budget was £697bn

    Osborne under everyone’s noses has engineered a plan B.

    He undershot on borrowing c.£8bn
    He has bank shares stored for that rainy day in 2014.

    The UK Labour Party is sleepwalking into a monumental disaster in my view

    Even if you factor in inflation, cuts this year are tuppence.

    By April next year we will be close to 40% of our way through parliament with these infamous ‘cuts’ still in never never land.

    They may well happen in year three or four but thus far GO’s Treasury Budgets show precious little sign of it.

  7. @ The Green Benches

    Totally agree with your last post. I expect the Conservatives to win the next election using plan B and then hopefully the real cutting will begin from 2015 onwards.

  8. @ The Green Benches

    The UK Labour Party is sleepwalking into a monumental disaster in my view
    _________________________________________

    In more ways than one IMO.

    DC’s comment about finding Balls the most annoying man in UK politics, at PMQ’s no douby boosted Balls’ popularity with the Labour faithfull whilst his further aside to Milliband that “he may one day agree with me” was a masterpiece.

    Balls is now so poweful within Lab now that Millband must be watching his back.

    Lab are creating another duopoly like the Blair/Brown era with all the cosequential tensions and insecurities.

    Far from ideal I would have thought.

  9. @ Andy JS

    “I’m pleased you like the YouTube election uploads, I have to admit to being responsible for those! I’ve just finished putting the October 1974 election on there.”

    That’s you? That’s awesome. I love the You Tube election uploads. Thank you for uploading those because you provide a great service. It’s one thing to read about prior elections but to watch them as they actually unfolded provides far greater insight.

    Now is it a time waste? Yeah it is but it’s a good kind of time waste. And last year, it got me through cabin fever. I was stuck in a snow storm in D.C. (snow is something I wasn’t brought up with and I do not like), couldn’t go outside and was confined to a small apartment. So what did I do? I watched the 1992 general election. That and some Baskin Robbins ice cream helped me survive cabin fever. And now I have you to thank! :)

  10. @Eoin – really can’t follow you logic at all. The £14b increase in spending you mention is actually a £20b cut if you allow for inflation at 5%. Then add on increasing costs for interest payments (over £20b a year extra), rising unemployment related benefits and the unavoidable rise in automatic payments such as pension increases due to greater numbers of older people and you get a very tough situation for public services.

    I know you delight in taking a contrary view, but really Eoin – saying things like “By April next year we will be close to 40% of our way through parliament with these infamous ‘cuts’ still in never never land…” is plain weird.

    We’re seeing redundancies from local government, police, NHS, universities and the charitable and private sectors where they rely on government finance. These people would look at your comments with a fair degree of disdain I don’t doubt. Osborne undershot borrowing by £8 last year, but will over shoot by £11b this year and every year until the election. (That’s nearly £50b more of new borrowing, by the way). Growth projections are down sharply. If this is Plan B, believe me – it’s no cause for relief.

    A thought for you – the NHS, in it’s entire history, has never had a single year when it didn’t receive a real terms increase of less than 1%, with this ultra low level experience only in a single year since it’s creation. It now has to cope with virtually no increase for 5 years.

    There are times when I’m not quite sure just which planet earth you are on.

  11. @ Andy JS

    And actually I marvel at your ability to upload old elections. I once DVRed the entire 08′ election night on CNN and MSNBC both. I would have no idea how to upload that onto You Tube from my television set. And it’s a moot point now because stupidly, I let my DVR get too overcrowded with recordings and it kinda automatically deleted both my election night recordings. :(

  12. I know Oscar Hammerstein said whilstle a happy tune and no one will suspect you’re afraid….

    But the notion that Labour is sleepwalking to a disaster or that Ed and Balls are a replay of Blair and Brown…well as the song says, when I fool the people I’m near I fool myself as well….

    In the gaderine rush to instant judgement I merely counsel a little caution…

    The coaltiion exists because despite Mr Bown and thirteen years of what’s charactised as monumental incompetence by the Labour government the Conseravtives not only failed to win an overall majority but polled less than when Ted Heath lost in 1974…. and at least he’d actually won an election in 1970….

    In the last comparable recession in the 1930s Mr Baldwin managed to do rather better than Mr Cameron.

    It’s perfectly true that in both 1951 and 1979 the Conservatives went on to win three subsequent elections…but in both those cases they were admirably assisted by Labour party internal divisions…

    I think any objective reading of the situation is thus far Labour has avoided that error. Of course they may well go on to make the same mistakes…but then again they may not….

    The rest reads remarkably like astrology rather than political science…but in parts of the Universe this still may be one and the same thing….but back on earth…we’ve moved on from reading runes and scrabbling through the intestines of dead sheep…and pace Denis Healey I’m not diparaging the Chancellor, LibDems or indeed any one….!

  13. @Socalliberal – we often get snowed in where we live. Our favourite is the video of The Shining. Can’t be beaten in a blizzard.

  14. Eoin

    “Even if you factor in inflation, cuts this year are tuppence.”

    This isn’t so.

    a) THe £83 bn cuts set out in the 2010 Red Book are clearly stated ( P 22) as being in the context of general inflation in the economy.
    ie they were always cuts “in real terms” rather than in “cash terms”

    b) Inflation is significant-& getting worse.
    ie to maintain purchasing power inflation has to be added.

    c) When you strip out Annual Managed EXpenditure ( Soc. SEcurity & Debt Interest) from Total Managed EXpenditure, to leave DEpartmental EXpenditure, the real terms decrease of around £20bn pa is significant-about 6%.
    And of course Health is not ( supposedly) taking a cut -so the rest take a bigger one.

    I don’t think any right of centre commentator should be trying to pretend there is no pain out there because cash spending has been maintained for Total Government EXpenditure ( DEbt Interest has gone up for one !)

    THere are a few trying this line -It is dishonest & doesn’t do the Government any favours whatsoever.

    ( I posted in more detail on your blog )

  15. @JF

    “…manufacturing industry at only 13% of GDP. At least the Coalition is trying to correct this now”

    And as one of their first actions, they impose an arbitrary tax on oil/gas companies that *instantly* causes them to halt planned investment and to move it overseas. Thus damaging the manufacturing sector that services those companies. Brilliant.

  16. @John Murphy

    “In the gaderine rush to instant judgement I merely counsel a little caution…”

    A top post, John, and one that’s still making me chuckle even though it’s a good five minutes or so since I read it!

    Without wanting to stray too much into biblical allusions, we should always beware of false prophets, but your reference to the famous gaderine swine is much more apt. A very evil polling spirit has entered one of our most loyal and regular contributors and I fear he may heading over the cliff!

  17. Colin,

    Thanks.

  18. @Colin,

    I agree with you on making an honest argument about the effects of cuts. The government line should concentrate on 1) The cuts are necessary and unavoidable and 2) The cuts are not the fault of the current government.

    On the police cuts the government is drifting into fantasy land with it’s insistence that frontline services needn’t be affected. Of course they will be. That doesn’t mean the cuts don’t need to happen. It would be better in the long run for ministers to cultivate a grave “Sophie’s Choice” sort of demeanour about the cuts. I love all my children, but some of them have to die.

  19. For those lurking or otherwise interested in the departmental comparison year on year, i list them below :) First figure 10-11 second figure 11-12 [in billions dudes/dudesses]

    2O10-11 2O11-12
    Other …. 73 …. 74
    Debt…. 44…. 50
    Public Order 35…. 33
    Housing & Environ…. 27…. 24
    Indust.,Agric. & Employ…. 20… 20
    Defence 40… 40
    Education…. 89… 89
    Transport…. 22…. 23
    Health …122…. 126
    Social Serv. …32…. 32
    Social Protection …194….. 200

    Annual increase of 1.86%.
    We dont know inflation for this financial year yet, mainly because it has not happened… chances are it will do a Duke of York.. march as the way to the top of the hill, and all the way down again!

    Enjoy your Friday… :)

  20. @neil A – I wouldn’t disagree with your view of how the government should present the cuts.

    All the parties got tied up in knots pre election trying to convince us they would take the deficit seriously but not wanting to admit there would be pain. This is understandable prior to an election. Trying to pretend there won’t be obvious pain now is counter productive in my view – it erodes credibility just when governments really need us to trust them.

  21. @Eoin – just to point out, the increase in debt interest accounts for 1% of the 1.86% increase, which rather backs up my earlier point.

  22. I love the way posters such as ‘THE OTHER HOWARD’ look happily forward to real cuts after a great Tory victory in 2015.

    I think they must live in a sort of parallel United Kingdom if they think the current and planned cuts are basically illusory.

    Today I have been talking to senior staff in a further education college about the impact of 25% cuts spread out nice and evenly over 4 years starting with academic year 2011-12.

    Further Education having worked hard and successfully to improve standards and outcomes is about to be knocked back 10 or 15 years and lots of people will notice, including ordinary but aspirant folk who can no longer afford evening classes – colleges have been told by the government to ramp up their income by increasing fees for adult courses well above inflation. Colleges don’t think they will be able to spend their adult funding allocation because not very many people will be able to afford courses so the courses won’t run anyway!

    What a wonderful way to run a country and anyone who think the cuts aren’t real or don’t amount to a proverbial can of beans have a serious cognitive problem.

  23. Crossbat…

    Thanks …

  24. John Fletcher

    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.

    —————————————————————————

    Not hoping for much are you.

  25. @SocalLiberal

    “A lot of people in the news media have this tendency to jump on whatever bandwagon is around at the moment. Similarly, after 2004, many in the U.S. news media declared the Democrats dead and were hailing a new permanent Republican majority.”

    Not just the news media, Socal! I remember well after the 1992 election all the doom-sayers telling us that Labour could never win again and that the Tory hegemony would last in perpetuity. Defeatism and fatalism stalked the British Left back then and I detect a similar pessimistic bandwagon gaining pace now, push-started by a strange alliance of the terminally morose and those who’s particular purposes are best served by their prognostications coming true. As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve already seen one or two Labour supporters on these pages more or less waving the white flag for an election probably over 4 years away. Staggering and bizarre stuff, but who are we to question what lies behind such relentless absurdity.

    Ironically, I also recall premature death certificates being signed for the Conservative party shortly after the 2005 election. A certain Geoffery Wheatcroft wrote a book called “The Strange Death of Tory England”! Well, they didn’t die, did they, and we’re reminded of their vitality every day as we see Tory Ministers sweeping down Downing Street. A sight that we were told we’d never see again only 5 years ago. It was poppycock, wasn’t it, just as the current “Labour are doomed” wailing and gnashing of teeth is poppycock now.

    Let me betray my utter hopelessness as a political forecaster. I know what I’d like to happen but that is a world away from what will actually come to pass. The result of the next General Election? I haven’t got the foggiest and if you meet anyone who tells you that they have, refer them to the nearest retirement home for the terminally deluded.

    (P.S. Mind you, I might have a go at predicting the result of the next GE about four weeks before polling, but look what fools the May 2010 election made of all of us just three weeks before polling day!!)

  26. @ Éoin,

    If there are no cuts, that can made to look very good for Labour. The much vaunted, swinge-ing cuts have been prevented by tough opposition from Labour & the Unions. And, despite what they told us, the country has not gone bankrupt!

    Followed up with: But if the Tories are given another term, savage cuts will be made & ‘we’ will have to fight to stop them all over again. Next time, it will be much harder to ‘stop the cuts’! Don’t risk it. Vote Labour.

    You are so determined to be non-partisan in your postings here, that you fail to see it: Labour could just as easily be in a win-win situation. Heaven forefend that the Party allows this to cause complacency but I think you are seeing a threat where others see an opportunity.
    8-)

  27. Neil

    I agree.

    Amber

    I disagree with “if the Tories are given another term, savage cuts will be made ”

    If the Tories are given a second term, then GOs plan will be on track-ie the economy will be growing, the deficit will be falling, and Total Debt to GDP will have peaked.

    We will be looking forward to the clear prospect of a budget surplus, and debates about how much of it needs retaining to get Total Debt down , and how much can be spent & on what-in other words “sharing the proceeds of growth” :-)

    If we are still looking at sluggish growth, missed forecasts on deficit, intransigent Total Debt & high unemployment-your lot will be in power .

  28. Amber,

    Now your talking! :) My whole point of raising it :) Richard Murphy and a few red MPs received it favourably when I put it to them… In fact the former has passed it up the food chain.

  29. Amber,

    Regarding the impartiality. This is Anthony’s site, he has done an amazing job to being such a coherent set up together. I think we all owe it to him to pursue that approach. Half a pint of Guinness in, you’d soon figure the cut of my jib.

  30. Colin,

    I agree with you.. Amber I dont think blues are set out ot be all that savage..

    The main reason I think this, is that it is actually very very hard to cut..

  31. Eoin

    Whoever said “savage”?

    Its just one of those emotive words they bandied about.

    But cuts in real terms there will be.

    The numbers are very clear- when the WHOLE of the CASH increase in spend from 2010/11 to 2011/12 ( £17bn) is accounted for by INCREASES in Debt Interest , Social Security payments & Health-then saying ” Total Government Expenditure has gone up so their are no cuts” is a very dishonest thing for any government supporter to say.

    I hope they stop saying it, because that just makes the people suffering from them feel worse.

    Getting hammered in the Polls for real terms cuts in public expenditure was to be expected. Trying vaccuous & insulting sophistry to pretend they don’t really exist is not at all sensible.

    You of course are perfectly entitled to say the cuts don’t exist if that makes you happy ;-)

  32. Colin,

    I am a discourse analyst remember? Look up you use the word savage in your post to Neil [A]

  33. @ Crossbat11/Nick H

    “Not just the news media, Socal! I remember well after the 1992 election all the doom-sayers telling us that Labour could never win again and that the Tory hegemony would last in perpetuity. Defeatism and fatalism stalked the British Left back then and I detect a similar pessimistic bandwagon gaining pace now, push-started by a strange alliance of the terminally morose and those who’s particular purposes are best served by their prognostications coming true. As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve already seen one or two Labour supporters on these pages more or less waving the white flag for an election probably over 4 years away. Staggering and bizarre stuff, but who are we to question what lies behind such relentless absurdity.

    Ironically, I also recall premature death certificates being signed for the Conservative party shortly after the 2005 election. A certain Geoffery Wheatcroft wrote a book called “The Strange Death of Tory England”! Well, they didn’t die, did they, and we’re reminded of their vitality every day as we see Tory Ministers sweeping down Downing Street. A sight that we were told we’d never see again only 5 years ago. It was poppycock, wasn’t it, just as the current “Labour are doomed” wailing and gnashing of teeth is poppycock now.

    Let me betray my utter hopelessness as a political forecaster. I know what I’d like to happen but that is a world away from what will actually come to pass. The result of the next General Election? I haven’t got the foggiest and if you meet anyone who tells you that they have, refer them to the nearest retirement home for the terminally deluded.

    (P.S. Mind you, I might have a go at predicting the result of the next GE about four weeks before polling, but look what fools the May 2010 election made of all of us just three weeks before polling day!!)”

    Well you can’t predict election results long term because as they say “a week is a long time in politics.” Things change and you can’t predict what will happen long term with any certainty. I’ve noticed that in U.S. politics, most great presidential landslides are often followed in the next election by a victory (often narrow) for the other side. I’ve mentioned the 2010 D.C. election here a few times as a key example. A young “star” mayor (a friend of Obama) had huge reserves of cash and no opponent at the beginning of 2010 and was widely considered a shoo-in for reelection. That was January and February. In September, he lost his reelection by a double digit margin.

    I understand the whole defeatist mentality. I’ve seen it first hand (both as a liberal and an Angelino where back during the 1990’s, pessimism and negativity passed for intellectualism). Now being realistic and being grounded in reality is a good thing. But you know, pessimism is not. And often I find it’s pessimism for its own sake. In the 1992 election, I found it ironic to watch David Mellow declare that he beleived Labour would never win in Putney again. Shows you that long term predictions and declarations don’t always go right.

    I’ve become a lot better at political predictions (usually by trying to be less of a partisan and more objective though that’s obviously difficult). I think my best political prediction ever was the 2005 LA Mayoral Race where I actually pegged the exact percentages of the candidates.

    I think some of that negativity is because of Ed Miliband. He seems to have a philosophy that you can drive the political views of the electorate. It’s the other way around and he’s looking a gifthorse while Cameron and Clegg are running the show (if voters are running into your arms, embrace em’, don’t scare em’ off). He is apparently a fan of the Boston Red Sox and likens them to Labour because the Red Sox failed to win the World Series for some 86 years. Ed Miliband fails to realize though that the Red Sox, since breaking the curse in 2004 have become a normal team again and have won again. Also, he should note that Red Sox fans did not enjoy the winless streak for 86 years (just as Labour party faithful do not enjoy 13 and 18 year spans out of power).

  34. Governments lose elections.

    Very true.

  35. Eoin

    ummmm-it was Amber’s word-not mine :-)

  36. Colin,

    Yes, that’s right. Which if you go back to my original post first citing the word, it was directed that way.

  37. RoI Debt to GDP is forecast to hit a peak of around 115%

    Given their cost of borrowing , that could mean debt interest at around 10% of GDP.

    If they manage to keep their tax take down to say 50% of GDP, then Debt Interest alone will be consuming 20% of their total tax revenue !

    More government spending & government debt anyone ? :-)

  38. @ Alec

    “we often get snowed in where we live. Our favourite is the video of The Shining. Can’t be beaten in a blizzard.”

    I’m not a horror movie fan. I don’t even like the Scream trilogy. I can’t imagine the Shining as a fun movie to watch during a blizzard when you can’t leave your home and police can’t respond quickly. Actually, I use that movie to refer to certain Republican counties in California as “Shining counties” (as opposed to the other two types: “Nazi Counties” and “Jesus Counties). Those are the rural sparsely populated counties in Northern California where one should own a gun just in case an axe-weilding or chainsaw weilding maniac breaks into your home in the middle of the night.

  39. America leads

    How about this then

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fiw-markets-20110401,0,4943776.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29

    and then hilariously

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-republicans-jobs-20110402,0,994601.story

    I suppose we shall be doing the same in a few days time.

    Should do Labour’s fortunes some good (on the whole) i would have thought.

  40. Colin

    RoI are following the GO cut, inflate, indirect taxes and no growth strategy.

    A bigger deficit is what you get if you don’t have growth no matter how much you cut.

  41. I thought we didn’t get moderated with real links if we are registered but i just have been. It was about the headlines in teh LA times about falling unemployment and rising growth and the fact that Republicans are not pleased because they don’t want Obama Keynesian measures to work.

    I thought it had import for Labour’s Ballsian stance.

  42. @ John Murphy

    How appropo is it that the day after you mentioned the 2003 Recall Election, Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up in the UK and was brought in to give a pep talk to the 1922 Committee and praise Cameron’s austerity programs? I think it’s kinda funny because if there’s one GOP leader I’ve said Cameron has attempted to emulate, it’s Schwarzenegger.

    Cameron should be careful with that though. The worst move Gropenfuhrer ever made was to declare war on the government employee unions in the name of budget busting. It destroyed his governorship and nearly cost him reelection. Also, Gropenfuhrer’s praise of austerity is a little hollow. Afterall, he is the one who bonded California into debt.

  43. To put Labour’s rise in context, let us see what happens in other European countries governed by unpopular center-right administrations. In some of them, the major opposition party (in most cases the Socialists) become the recipient of the government’s rejection. This is the case in Malta, Lithuania, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In other cases, discontented voters are directed not only to the major opposition party, but to minor ones too. This occurs in Germany (Greens, and, to a lesser extent Social Democrats), France (socialists and far right), Denmark (socialists and liberal left). The third category includes center-right administrated countries where the parties favored by incumbents’ decrease are other than the major opposition. This is the case in Netherlands (Liberal left [D66] and far left Socialists rising, whilst Labour and Greens decrease), Finland (True Finns, at the expense of all other parties), Poland (Social Democrats, the junior opposition party, is the only one to increase) and Italy (rise of Left, Ecology and Freedom, a new party that did not exist in previous election and is not represented in Parliament, Senate and EP).
    What I mean by this is that Labour’s increase is not “automatic”, discontent toward the Coalition could, in theory, find other ways of expression (Greens, UKIP, BNP), but this is not happening, Labour, unlike Italian Democrats, Netherland’s Labour or Poland’s PIS, takes it all and this is a remarkable recovery, and also a proof that UK system remains deeply bipartisan.

  44. @ Howard

    “I thought we didn’t get moderated with real links if we are registered but i just have been. It was about the headlines in teh LA times about falling unemployment and rising growth and the fact that Republicans are not pleased because they don’t want Obama Keynesian measures to work.

    I thought it had import for Labour’s Ballsian stance.”

    I think the last quarter’s negative GDP growth in Britain is actually helpful to Obama, who stated that if an airplane is too heavy, taking the engine out to lose weight is not a good idea. Republicans don’t want anything Obama does to work. That’s why many of them have started criticizing the Libya intervention (ironic in that just a few years ago, they believed anyone who opposed or criticized Iraq should be locked up).

    The problem right now for Obama is that even with the good job growth (and today’s numbers exceeded predictions), unemployment is still high and the recovery of jobs isn’t fast enough to get back to where the U.S. was in December of 2007. So even with job growth and even with GDP growth, people still feel like they’re in a recession. Even still, if Warren Buffet is correct and unemployment is in the low 7’s by the end of 2012, Obama’s reelection prospects will brighten.

  45. My god-it looks like RoI tax take is around 30% GDP….so they are headed for Debt Interest consuming a third of their total Tax Revenue !!

    They are surely *ucke*

  46. @ Nick Poole

    “Obama went for growth growth growth before any cuts at all and RoI have gone deeply austere.”

    Unfortunately he did not go for enough and I think there are certain cuts he could make that would be better. But he’s far more politically constrained than either Gordon Brown was or David Cameron currently is.

    You know what frightens me? There are many who say that a government shut down (which the GOP is pushing for) would cause a recession or at least deeply harm the recovery. I think that might actually encourage the Republicans to be even more keen on a government shut down. Because if they can cause a recession, they view that as harmful to Obama and whatever harms him, they favor.

  47. Nick Poole
    “A bigger deficit is what you get if you don’t have growth no matter how much you cut.”

    I’m sorry, but that jsut doesn’t make arithmetic sense.

    If the total economy is 100 and government spending is 50; and the following year there is no growth so total ecnomy = 100, but government spend goes down to 40, the deficit is reduced. Simples.

    Same as if your wages stay the same, but outgoings are reduced. You end up better off.

  48. Howard

    SoCal is right.

    Have a little read about the structural unemployment emerging in USA.

  49. That’s when partisanship has gone mad. When people cling to policies in the teeth of all evidence.

    Who was it who said if you carrying on doing the same things, you can expect the same results?

    At what point should the Tories admit defeat and go for reflation and keeping people in jobs?

    Two quarters of no growth? Three? Five?

    How long was it before the Second World War put a stop to the last slump?

    I repeat: double dip spells the end for the economic crediblity of the current lot. I can’t believe people are citing Ireland as evidence that spending should be stopped!!!!

  50. @Eoin – for a discourse analyst I think you rather missed the point of Ambers post. My reading of it wasn’t that she is claiming a 2nd term Tory government would cut savagely. Rather, she was arguing in my mind that if, as you claim, the Tories aren’t really making any cuts, Labour will claim at 2015 that the Tories will cut savagely if re elected with a majority as they have made such a fuss about wanting to make deep cuts already.

    I may have misread Amber’s post, but that was my reading of it.

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