There are three voting intention polls tonight. Their topline figures are as follows

YouGov/Sun – CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%
ICM/Guardian – CON 37%, LAB 36%, LDEM 16%
Populus/Times – CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%

ICM shows Labour down since before the phone hacking scandal broke, putting the Conservatives ahead for the first time in months. Populus show the Conservatives sharply down. What’s the real situation?

First off, it’s worth remembering that all polls are subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points – so if Populus happen to have got a sample that’s a bit light on loyal Tories, if ICM have a sample that’s a bit light on loyal Labour voters, there’s your difference. The methodologies used by ICM and Populus are very similar, so sample error is the most obviously explanation for the difference.

ICM continue to show much higher support for the Liberal Democrats than any other company – ComRes, Populus & MORI all tend to have them at about 11%, with YouGov a point or two lower – the reasons for the size of the difference are unclear, but this difference probably also explains why ICM has twice shown a Tory lead this year: their 2010 Lib Dem voters seem to be less likely to have switched to Labour than those in other polls.

So, has “hackgate” impacted on voting intention or not? Well, the biggest advantage of YouGov’s daily polling is that we don’t need to worry about random sample error to the same extent – if there is a rogue poll, it should become clear the following day. The news that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked, which effectively brought the phone hacking scandal to a peak, broke on the 4th July. In the month leading up to that YouGov had pretty consistently shown a Labour lead of 5-7 points, with the Conservatives on 36-37% and Labour on 41-43%. In the fortnight since then YouGov has shown Labour leads of 8+ points on five occassions, and the Conservatives down on 35% on five occassions. While one cannot rule out co-incidence, this obviously suggests a small but genuine knock to the Conservative party’s support from hackgate. However, the last three YouGov polls have been back within the normal “pre-hackgate” range, suggesting it may have been a short-term effect that is already fading. We shall see.

The big increase in Lib Dem support in the ICM poll is probably illusionary – they fell by 3 points in the last ICM poll so I suspect the increase this month is mostly just a reversion to the mean. Populus’s Lib Dem score a month ago was also conspicuously low. However it’s possible that there has been some benefit for the Lib Dems, while their score in YouGov’s daily poll today is typical, they hit 11% in a YouGov poll on Sunday for the first time in weeks. I’ll reserve judgement on that one.

The other impact of “hackgate” is on perceptions of the leaders. Now, there are two ways of measuring whether an event has changed how people perceive a party or leader. You can ask people if their opinion has gone up or down, which is what Populus did in their survey. This found 39% of people thought worse of Cameron as a result of hackgate, but also found people were more likely to think worse than better of Ed Miliband. However, questions like this tend to give misleading results – people who never liked a politician to start with say it’s made their view worse and vice-versa.

The better way, if you are lucky enough to be in the position to do it, is to have asked people what they think before the event happened, ask them again afterwards, and see what the difference is. ICM, YouGov and ComRes have all been in a position to do this, and have found the same pattern – David Cameron’s ratings are down, but only marginally, Ed Miliband’s ratings are significantly up.

While YouGov found people thought Cameron had handled the phone hacking affair badly, it hasn’t had much affect upon his approval ratings. YouGov have Cameron’s approval rating at minus 12, compared to minus 10 before hackgate. ICM have his approval rating at minus 5, unchanged from last month. ComRes have 33% thinking he is a good PM, down from 37% a month ago. In contrast, there clearly has been a positive effect on how people view Ed Miliband. His approval rating from YouGov has risen from minus 34 to minus 21, his rating from ICM has risen from minus 21 to minus 16, with ComRes 27% think Miliband is turning out to be a good leader, up from 18%. Whether these positive ratings remain once the political agenda moves on is, of course, something else that remains to be seen.

So in conclusion – from the polling so far hackgate appears to have had only a small negative effect on the Conservatives in the polls, and one which may already be fading. While people think Cameron has handled it badly, it has had only a minor effect on his broader approval ratings. Ed Miliband meanwhile has seen a significant boost in how the public see him, though it remains to be seen if it lasts.

The other poll tonight is from ComRes for ITV news. The most interesting question in there was whether people agreed or disagreed that James Murdoch should resign – 65% think he should, 9% disagree.


317 Responses to “The polling effect of “Hackgate””

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  1. @ICEMAN
    Another sensible summing up of the situation. A Labour poster yesterday called this Cameron’s Ecclestone moment. Absolutely spot on in my view.

  2. what do you reckon is worse for the Conservatives: a – keeping Cameron in place with all the drip drip drip that entails; b – going to the country before they get their goal of 600 MPs; c – having a leader who has not been given the country’s yea through an election?

    Bad hand to have to play.

  3. Populus Scottish split:

    Westminster voting intention – Scotland
    Sub-sample size = 137
    Fieldwork: 15-17 July 2011
    (+/- change from UK GE 2010)

    SNP 40% (+20)
    Lab 37% (-5)
    Con 11% (-6)
    LD 5% (-14)
    UKIP 2% (+1)
    Grn 1% (n/c)
    BNP 0 (n/c)
    oth 4%

    http://populuslimited.com/uploads/download_pdf-170711-The-The-Times-Poll—July-2011.pdf

  4. I don’t think Cameron is in danger of anything except losing a Chief of Staff and a furious time in Parliament tomorrow.

    Unless anything else comes out….

    One thing in his favour is Brooks has said she played no part in the hiring of Coulson.

  5. Stuart Dickson

    Sample size of 137, I’m not sure what the MOE is on that but i’d guess about +/-15% (assuming the sd changes as 1/sqrt(n) )

    Looks nice for the Nats but ultimately meaningless.

  6. Stuart Dickson

    A tantalising face-validity but you and I could go out in the street to ask more people than that in an afternoon and we would know that the result wasn’t reliable.

    I’d grant that the direction of movement is credible, but the distance travelled can not be inferred from a sample this size.

  7. John B Dick

    Also a carefully selected subsample, looking at YouGov’s split in Scotland reveals a completely different set of figures.

    Con 20
    Lab 42
    LD 6
    SNP 28
    Rest 4

    To pick out solely the most attractive subsample with a tiny size (and therefore massive volatility) really does have no meaning at all.

  8. Very silly talk about Cameron having to resign. He may now regret hiring Coulson but clearly he has done nothing resignable. Coulson has been arrested but not charged & if he never is, Cameron is vindicated. If he is charged then, as Cameron has said several times, Coulson obviously lied & should expect the full force of the law.

    It is apparant that those on the right are trying to get the whole issue sorted & corrected (setting up enquiry etc) and those on the left seem just intend on silly political point scoring. The good news is that EM has probably done enough to dissuade his party from replacing him & I guess that was his objective. I would imagine that blues will be happy with that also.

    All on the left, when calling for Cameron’s resignation, just seem to have conveniently forgotton that they were fawning all over Murdoch until about 3 weeks ago. Pots, kettles & hypocrytes spring to mind.

  9. My many admirers on this site are always delighted when I post my periodic comments on matters of state, and I expect many of them will have been waiting with baited breath for my latest bon mots on the Murdoch saga. Well, fans and acolytes, here they are.

    There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that the scandal, even allowing for the most recent revelations, will bring Cameron down. As I predicted many weeks ago, he’ll stick with the line that he, and many others, received personal assurances, some on oath, from Coulson that he had no involvement in criminality. Naive and poor judgement? Yes. Corrupt? No. The resignations and prosecutions in this tawdry affair lie elsewhere, probably in the higher echelons of the Met and News Corp but I see no Governmental scalps in the offing. Cameron will ride it out and the caravan, eventually, will move on. That’s not to say, however, that it doesn’t have the potential for toxicity further down the road, or that it hasn’t severely damaged Cameron’s standing in the country, but the fire-storm will soon abate and the Inquiries and Investigations will head into the political long grass.

    Last night’s polls also underpinned my “gut-feel” that, apart from some interesting twitches, the headline VIs will not move dramatically either way. We’re all in danger, coming as most of us do from partisan standpoints, of reading too much into them anyway. I plead guilty to this and I always need to remind myself that people, when asked an entirely hypothetical question (eg “How would you vote if there was a GE tomorrow”) don’t always give the most reliable of responses. Especially if a GE isn’t likely to occur for four years!!

    The real interest for me is what the recent furore has done for the reputation of the party leaders and the stature of Parliament. Three potentially very significant things have occurred in the last two weeks that I think, in years to come, may be seen to be seminal political moments. Firstly, Parliament, the assembly of our elected representatives and the sovereign body in our democracy, has reasserted itself gloriously and triumphantly. Parliamentarians of real stature, Chris Bryant, Tom Watson, John Wittingdale and Lord Fowler, to name but a few, have emerged blinking into the liberating light. Secondly, an overweening, glowering, malevolent and seemingly omnipotent media empire’s influence on our public life and discourse is in full and humiliating retreat. Thirdly, a rather ugly political duckling, hitherto gauche and largely unloved, but finding himself leading HM’s Opposition and one of the country’s great political parties, has at long last found his voice and his feet.

    Cameron lives on, as does the Coalition, more than likely for four more years. But sands are shifting. Slowly, but surely.

  10. I suspect a fair gauge of the situation we are in is the report in the Telegraph of two Tory MPs agreeing that this was the week the 2015 election was lost.

    Fair enough – a huge battering for Cameron’s reputation and the loss of respect for an already less than hugely popular PM, leading to a steady and terminal loss of support.

    On the other hand, the second Tory MP said that this affair means Ed is secure as Labour leader which means Cameron is bound to win.

    A lot of speculation on this board seems to follow that pattern. Big news it may be (dishonest journalists, backscratching coppers, politicians oblivious to the obvious – is this really such big news?) but no one here really knows what, if any, the effects will be.

  11. I was struck -& surprised-by the difference between the two committees.

    Vaz’s lot were very professional & respectful-acted as a team, followed up each others questions & Vaz chaired & interjected excellently.
    The whole thing looked & sounded purposeful & effective.
    The room was silent.

    Whitingdales’s lot were embarrasing-parochial & small town when questioning the Murdochs about the global corporation they run.- uncoordinated, rambling & seemingly without purpose or direction.
    Whitingdale didn’t interject at all & never tried to pull the thing together. It over-ran .
    The room was a cacophany of sound throughout.
    Watson left the proceedings after his question to Brooks ,leaving an empty chair of disrespect.
    And the let a loony in who could have had a knife.

    Better not say what I thought of the ex-policemen -particularly Yates.

    Thought the Murdochs came across very well.
    Rupert humbled by what happened in this tiny corner of his empire-he owns 200 papers worldwide & it happens here!

    James-very powerful performance.

    Brooks-not at all what I expected-not strident but quite the revese.

    It does look like these people did not know what was happening in NoW on voice-mail intercepts.

    We can only wait now for the police to tell us who did.

  12. @Crossbat11 – I would add that Milliband’s move two days ago to craft a critique of a lack of responsibility at the highest levels of society, linking MPs expenses, phone hacking and the banking crash could be one of the aspects of the sands that begin to shift.

    I actually think that if he begins to target maladministration in Europe as well, which is beginning to appear on the Labour party radar, this could become the point at which the nation state starts to reassert itself against the worst ills of globalisation and the march of the super rich.

    Lots of themes there, but if political parties (on all sides) start to believe they can hold firm to their beliefs and overcome apparently unassailable opponents, we might start to see politics coming home.

  13. Must confess to enjoying :-

    Rupert saying the politician he saw most was Brown & they were family friends -kids played together-wives got on etc-hope we can be again some time :-)

    Brookes saying she went to No10 lots under Labour , but never under DC-with whom she has never been riding . :-)

  14. @ Nick Poole

    “Basil was probably less likeable if you were staying at his hotel.”

    Lol, probably.

  15. Alec – quite right on your last point, but I suspect Rachel Whetstone, Steve Hilton and Sarah Hunter would beg to differ…

  16. What the hacking saga and the NI has demonstrated is that private companies are not necessarily run better than public organisations. The senior people of NI questioned today did not know what was going on in their company and were not willing to take the responsibility for the actions of those under them. Doesn’t this really show that a good management is what it is all about regardless of whether it is a private or public organisation?

  17. @Colin

    I never did think that the Murdochs were involved. Unfortunately, I do not share you confidence in Rebekah Brooks. It would be staggering if she really knew nothing about a practice I think we’ll find was pretty widespread across the print media.

  18. @ Crossbat11

    “My many admirers on this site are always delighted when I post my periodic comments on matters of state, and I expect many of them will have been waiting with baited breath for my latest bon mots on the Murdoch saga. Well, fans and acolytes, here they are.

    There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that the scandal, even allowing for the most recent revelations, will bring Cameron down. As I predicted many weeks ago, he’ll stick with the line that he, and many others, received personal assurances, some on oath, from Coulson that he had no involvement in criminality. Naive and poor judgement? Yes. Corrupt? No”

    Well Crossbat, I am one of your many admirers and I usually appreciate your thoughts. And you’re probably right in your analysis. This doesn’t end Cameron’s career but it does hurt him. And I agree with you on Chris Bryant growing in stature. He has certainly come a long way from his days of posting nude photos of himself on the internet (although I don’t really fault or look down on him for that). :)

  19. RAF

    The Culture Comittee were embarrasing in their parochial failure to understand what Rupert was telling them-NoW is 1% of the global organisation he runs.

    James has global responsibilities too.

    I thought they both came over well on this issue.

    Brookes-who knows……we have to rely on The Met to tell us ;-)

  20. @Colin

    And we believe the person who went out of her way to discredit, smear and insult GB on a weekly basis, and more regularly when she edited the Sun, while at the same time glorified DC and the Tory party?

    Yep, Im absolutely sure she would give unbiased account which would be damaging by association to DC. Not visiting No.10 means no contact or discussion between ex-neighbours on cheek-kissing terms? Im doubt it very much.

    She is more than well aware she is damaged goods that can only leave a stain on anyone who is closely associated with her.

    Regardless I cannot see this having any impact whatsoever on DC’s standing even if turned out he employed and retianed Andy Coulson despite knowing everything about him.

    Lots of wishful thinking on the part of non-Tories I suspect. Question is does the average voter (the vast majority of people I suspect…though I’m sure Ive got my mathematical definitions confused there) give a monkeys. I greatly doubt it.

    As time goes on, there is proving an avalanche of material which I suspect many many people are struggling to recall and minutia is coming to light which is very important but is also proving of a technical detail that many people do not have time (and maybe inclination) to put into context.

    I suspect for the Tories to lose what is looking like their rock-solid core of c36% it really is down to Labour to stick something very simple and understandable which is clearly a ‘wrong’ onto DC.

    Can anyone see that happenning? I think not.

  21. @ Alec

    “I suspect a fair gauge of the situation we are in is the report in the Telegraph of two Tory MPs agreeing that this was the week the 2015 election was lost.

    Fair enough – a huge battering for Cameron’s reputation and the loss of respect for an already less than hugely popular PM, leading to a steady and terminal loss of support.

    On the other hand, the second Tory MP said that this affair means Ed is secure as Labour leader which means Cameron is bound to win.”

    Meh, you can’t predict politics that far out. I mean, we’d all like to, we all want to but we can’t. So yeah, Cameron might be having a bad week and Miliband a good one, but that doesn’t mean you can predict the next election (especially not one that’s 4 years away).

    As for Miliband being secure and that guaranteeing Cameron reelection, I have two comments.

    1. There’s no guarantee that Miliband won’t continue to improve and make strides as the opposition leader and prove a formidable threat to Cameron in a few years.

    2. Milliband is only temporarily secure. Because there may be a point where Labour MPs look around and they see that their party is more popular than the Tories, the Tory government isn’t doing well and is highly unpopular, there’s a huge chance to pick up Lib Dem defectors, and yet Labour is struggling because of a feckless and unpopular leader. And they may decide to remove him even if they wouldn’t do so right now.

    Again, it’s all too far out to predict with any kind of certainty.

  22. I wouldn’t under-estimate Ed’s ability to ask some tricky questions perhaps with medium to long term advantages tomorrow.

    I don’t think Cameron will be taking tomorrow lightly.

  23. @CROSSBAT
    Thank God I can go dark and rest now I have read your post. The majority of which I agree with. As I posted earlier, a Labour posted that this is Cameron’s Ecclestone moment. Remember, His Gorgeousness
    St Tone won two more GE’s after that.

  24. Choenlai

    I was about to post almost exactly what you have just done. (including agreeing with what Crossbat wrote).
    In my view, this is just one of those tiresome moments to get over (like the Ecclestone affair/Damien McBride/robbing pensioners of their shares in the railways/ fuel protests etc). It provides the government with some temporary but not lasting, discomfort.

    The election will be won/lost on the economy & the perception of who is perceived to look & sound most like a PM. That is unlikely to be decided until 2015.

  25. R Hucle,”Dragging on for years”.As often I feel that you have your finger on the pulse.There was an interesting
    article in the telegraph today in which it compared the
    Macmillan/Profumo affair with Cameron/Coulson.The
    point made was it took two years for the endless drip/drip
    of negative news to do for Macmillan.Who knows where all this is going to end,but probably not anytime soon.

  26. Socalliberal, Oh please,Ed Milliband feckless? I really do not think that he answers that description,cautious and
    careful are nearer the mark.

  27. Liz Hancock

    “What the hacking saga and the NI has demonstrated is that private companies are not necessarily run better than public organisations.”

    Was it Hughie Green or Bob Monkhouse who said that if you could fake sincerity you’ve got it made? I was convinced by Rupert Murdoch. I thought he felt let down by others.

    My wife recalls reading a critical piece when James Murdoch was appointed to his present exalted position. The issue was whether he was fit for it, and the verdict was that there was reason to think that he was being promoted beyond his competence.

    Who knew what and when did they learn to forget it can be argued over, but maybe even Rupert Murdoch and the BskyB board and shareholders now think now that his son is overpromoted and overpaid.

    I didn’t see the assault, but I was watching Mrs Murdoch. She must have been alert when her husband was attacked, and when her husband was being addressed or answering, she was as engaged as any football supporter whose team is about to score.

    When James Murdoch was speaking she was disengaged, bored even. She has no doubt had to listen to him before.

    Does she post on here under the name JayBlanc?

    So top NI people are of merely averagely competent and do not warrant their huge salaries. Many think top bankers are not the intellectual giants they would have you believe that they were.

    What about recent, or current PM’s?

    Do we expect too much of ordinary people on extraordinary salaries?

  28. ‘socalib’

    Ed M Feckless?

    Maybe the word has a different meaning in American Englsh. 8-)

  29. Colin,perhaps you and I were listening to a different person, the Rupert Murdoch I heard sounded old,tired and
    confused.His son was trying to answer for him all the time.How are the mighty fallen I would say.

  30. Tonights YouGov 19th July CON 36%, LAB 43%, LD 8%; APPROVAL -28

  31. I thought that Rupert Murdoch did ok for an 80 year old, but it is obviously getting too much for him. News Corp is such a massive company.

    Latest YG Lab 43%, Con 36% and LD 8%. Looking at the polling data, appears to be quite positive for Labour who are at 50% in a couple of age groups.

  32. A record: -20 for coalition beating the previous low of -19.

  33. Does its invisibility work against LD (8%), or for it?

  34. @ Anthony Wells

    “I’ve pruned the thread again, please don’t insult or complain about other posters.

    I’m stepping into discussion too often in the last few days – I appreciate some people find it difficult to contain themselves at times of high political drama, but do try to control yourselves. In a perfect world, other people shouldn’t be able to tell your own political views apart from any background to your posts… at least try to aspire to that!”

    That’s good advice for life in general. Take a step back and think about what you’re about to say before you say it. I don’t always live up to it but I do try. :)

  35. It might mean nothing but the LD rise has gone and Labour easing away.

    Do you know, I think Ed needs to play more on the new responsibilities for the rich and influential theme.

    I wonder if he’d be better off tomorrow saying to DC, “You must feel like a noose has been removed from your neck. Let’s forget Murdoch and next time we meet here let’s go hammer and tongs about something we believe in. Let’s argue about our own polices.”

    Cameron: “I would if you had any.”

    Milliband “be careful what you wish for. have a nice holiday.”

    Or he could offer Ed Balls to help with the economic storm that is about to hit Europe.

  36. Anne in wales

    ” Rupert Murdoch I heard sounded old,tired and
    confused.His son was trying to answer for him all the time.How are the mighty fallen I would say.”

    I am sure you would say that ………….as Mandy Rice Davies did say :-)

  37. @SocialLiberal, Alec
    IMO, the 2015 GE was not lost for the Tories this week. In reality, it was already lost the day of the 2010 GE, when they scored a miserable 36% after 13 years of Labour rule, in the middle of a serious economic crisis and against an outgoing PM who was taking the blame for every disaster since the Fall of Rome. Their unique possible reservoir of votes would be the LDs, but they are already destroyed by their very alliance with the Tories, and there is not much to take from a party that is already at 8-11%. So, if they want to have a remote chance of winning the next GE, they have to garner a part of the LD voters that now declare that they will vote Labour. But how probable is this, when the very reason for these voters to abandon the LDs was their aversion to the Tories? This is an impossible situation, and the current hackgate just makes it more obvious.

  38. A momentous day today; no wonder that we political wonks/geeks have got so worked up.

    I think a lot depends on whether people believe that Mr Cameron did not know about the Wallis-Coulston connection.

    We do know he was warned by Mr Clegg and others about Mr Coulston.

    And ‘Chou’ was right to say that the PM was given the advantages of birth, wealth and education by ‘providence’

    And those who say that ED has found his voice and grown in stature are correct, i think.

    If there are trials and guilty verdicts for people from the No 10 Machine it must become very difficult for the PM and his Lib Dem partners

    50 years to the day from the start of Profumo affair

  39. That’s true Virgilio.

    How could the Conservative Party broaden their appeal and win an outright majority.

    Well they could work an economic miracle and by 2015 everybody will be in work (or near as damn it), benefits and pensions generous and everybody feeling valued and fairly paid.

    I’ll vote Tory if that happens.

  40. Well that was the shortest LD revival yet. 24 hours.

    Back to 8%. Very very poor indeed. A sinking ship.

    It remains the big story of polling.

  41. I think Lib Dem got a boost when they went anti-Murdoch…but the moment Clegg backed Cameron it fled again.

    Or it could all have been meaningless fluctuation.

    There’s been a few of us avidly sucking it up a work (including a Tory, boo!). But a woman I know wondered over today so I could give her an update.

    “I like it when you explain it, cos I just block it out on the news.” She didn’t actually know there was anything much going on, including an extension before recess. And she works on the MP’s Hotline.

    Obviously I am completely even-handed in my explanations.

  42. UKIP on 6% – will they overtake the LibDems with the escalation of the Eurozone problems?

  43. I would have to say that I don’t agree that this is Cameron’s ‘Eccleston’ moment. When the Eccleston affair broke Blair was on 70% approval rating, which slipped to 60% soon after before recovering to around 68%. At the time there was no clear linkage of cash for policy and the money was swiftly returned.

    I’m not going to argue the rights and wrongs of this affair – we have more evidence now of that than were available at the time – but the Ecclestone events had no lasting impact whatsoever on Blair or New Labour. In many ways, the quick return of the cash and Blair’s ‘I’m a pretty straight kinda guy’ interview actually increased his standing. With the Tories is total disarray Blair remained the darling of a largely uncritical press and was totally unscathed.

    This affair for Cameron won’t be terminal (probably) but will have a far greater long term effect. It has punctured his air of competence and has deeply unsettled his party and things will never be quite the same again. His relationship with the press pack has altered – he has never been savaged at press conferences like he was last week in London and yesterday in Africa. They have lost their trust in him, and that will hurt.

    Please don’t compare this to Ecclestone – there is no comparison in either scale or outcome. Oddly enough, while the Ecclestone affair was more directly sleazy, it turned out to be virtually irrelevant in political terms. This one won’t be – at the very least, it has enabled the opposition leader to get a foot in the door – something the Ecclestone affair palpably failed to do.

  44. Nick Poole

    “But a woman I know wondered over today so I could give her an update.”

    What possible relevance has the sex of the person who hung on your every word got to do with anything?

    I always find it interesting how people reveal their derogatory views of other groups of people through their use of language.

  45. ” Rupert Murdoch I heard sounded old,tired and
    confused.His son was trying to answer for him all the time.How are the mighty fallen I would say.”

    Hmmm. I expect his ticker is taking the strain too. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he hadn’t a soupcon of cancer. He is eighty. I hope any one judging him takes this into account.

    Can you do that wobbly mouth symbol on here?

  46. Nick Poole

    I am, of course, far too polite to ask why anyone would “wonder over” to you. :-)

  47. YG Lab 43%, Con 36% and LD 8%

    Polldrums again – where does hot air go again?

  48. :s

    Yep.

  49. Alec

    “Please don’t compare this to Ecclestone”

    People can compare it to whatever they want. I compare it to a wet weekend in Nunhead.

    OldNat – LOL.

  50. @Alec

    “Lots of themes there, but if political parties (on all sides) start to believe they can hold firm to their beliefs and overcome apparently unassailable opponents, we might start to see politics coming home.”

    I think, as you usually do, you put it very well. I agree also with your point that Miliband might well be on to something interesting with his over-arching critique of the lack of responsibility at the highest levels in our society. I’d call it an oligarchy of unaccountable elites, but I might be harking back to my brief student Marxist days by reverting to those terms!

    I know you’re a Green Party supporter now, but I dearly wish people like you could return to Labour one day. As Nick Cohen once pithily observed, the Labour Party is like a rickety old back-firing vehicle, often skidding off the road, with lots of back seat drivers and people perpetually fighting over the control of the steering wheel. But, now the Lib Dems have headed rightwards, for those of us on the left in British politics it’s all that we’ve got really if we’re ever to produce the sort of society I suspect both you and I, and a fair few others, yearn for.

    Imperfect and deeply flawed as it is, I’m still on board the old banger and, in my optimistic moments, when I look at a poll like tonight’s, I think and hope a fair few others might be too!

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