Voodoo polling corner

The Press Association are reporting that “The majority of people from across the political spectrum believe Scotland should be responsible for raising most of the money it spends, according to research from an independent think-tank.”

Because it is on the Press Association feed, this is then repeated verbatim by various other newspaper websites here, here, here, etc, etc, all labouring under the misapprehension that because the Press Association reports a poll it is meaningful. They are wrong.

The “poll” was conducted by Reform Scotland, a think tank that published proposals for devolution plus earlier this year. The “sample” was drawn from people on Reform Scotland’s mailing list or following them on twitter. Needless to say, this is not a method likely to provide a representative sample of the Scottish public as a whole.

I hate to write as if addressing morons, but sadly it sometimes appears as if it is necessary. People who have signed up to follow a think tank that has proposed a devolution plus plan are, firstly, far more likely to be interested in politics (the vast majority of normal people are not on the distribution lists for think tanks!) and secondly, likely to be pre-disposed towards further devolution of power towards Scotland (for what it’s worth, the poll is also three-quarters male, only 10% over 65+ and has more Tory identifiers than Labour ones).

To give them some credit, Reform Scotland themselves haven’t claimed it is a representative poll, saying “We do not claim that this poll is totally scientific as it was self selecting. However, the responses, particularly those broken down by party affiliation, are very interesting, in particular”. Alas, the reality is that these caveats never get picked up by journalists, and such surveys inevitably end up being misreported as representative meaningful polls. For the record, the party breakdowns are not of any meaning either, since in the same way the poll overall will be grossly biased towards people with an interest in Scottish politics and a predisposition towards greater devolution, so will each of the party crossbreaks (i.e. the Labour voters in the sample will be more political and more in favour of further devolution than the average Labour voter, ditto other parties. They are also grossly demographically skewed towards younger men, and apart from the SNP have sample sizes under 100).

Over on the British Polling Council’s website there is an article written by Peter Kellner several years ago titled “A Journalist’s Guide To Opinion Polls”. Amongst other things, it gives guidance to journalists on when to take a poll seriously, and when to bin it. It is still flawless advice today:

“If the poll purports to be of the public as a whole (or a significant group of the public), has the polling company employed one of the methods outlined in points 2,3 and 4 above [quasi-random or quota sampling]? If the poll was self-selecting — such as readers of a newspaper or magazine, or television viewers writing, telephoning, emailing or texting in — then it should NEVER be presented as a representative survey.


201 Responses to “Voodoo polling corner”

1 2 3 4 5
  1. A CAIRNS

    Yep. Better than the others I’ve seen.

  2. Oldnat

    “The other aspect that I suspect is happening, is a deep disappointment among English commentators with the quality of their own political leaders”

    Yes, but not just commentators, judging by approval ratings.

    They can’t be inherently such failures. Most of us are just about average and not “Outliers” as above.

    Is it possible that the highly paid PR people and focus group interpreters are just charlatans, and their received wisdom simply metropolitan fashionable opinion with little or no substance?

    Sarah Palin had a distinctive pair of glasses and an extreme clothing budget for an election campaign.

    So did Gandhi.

  3. @Hannah

    You may well be right. Also noteworthy that in four of the LD ward losses they slipped to third place behind Con/Lab:

    h
    ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannock_Chase_Council_election,_2011

  4. John B Dick

    You are on form tonight!

    I have never heard anybody else make a reasoned comparison of Palin and Ghandi! :-)

  5. Oldnat

    Great vid, he really does deadpan very well. Saw this comment over at the indie which I thought you might like

    ” Alex Salmond was interviewed on Chinese current affairs programme ‘Talk with World Leaders’ a couple of days ago , average audience of 350 million. I expect they’ll get round to inviting Dave sometime”

    Unfortunately now that I read it out of context its not nearly as funny

  6. @Alec,

    Wonderful. I will have to tell all my fellow physics students that one.

    Since we are on the subject of jokes such as the original poll, here is another:

    @A Common Euro Language

    The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other contender. Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year phasing in of “Euro-English”.

    In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”, Which should klear up some konfusion and allow one key less on keyboards.

    There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”, making words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

    In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e” is disgrasful.

    By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

    During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI COM TRU!

    Herr Schmidt”

    Re the proposed by-election in Cannock Chase. I will admit that I hope there will be no by-elections in Tory-held seats during this parliament. Just in case we lost.

    @OldNat,

    Great video! Now I understand how the SNP won in May. The only possible way for nationalists to make people vote for them was to do comedy sketches :)

  7. This poll conducted by conservative home is in the independent.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tories-say-they-want-to-leave-eu-and-prefer-boris-to-cameron-6282185.html

    A majority wanting to leave the EU.

    @ Anthony
    Is it possible to conduct a representative poll on a selected group such as conservative party members?

  8. If you go to the UKPR main page and click on the tag ‘Voodoo’ at the bottom of AW’s last post, it will take you to the other posts categorised under ‘voodoo polling’. If you look at the third post down, you find a wonderful post from 17th August 2010 with an angry title ‘No, the Lib Dems are NOT on 8%’. Does anyone else find this amusing?

  9. Stanley

    I once had an interesting (if rather drunken! chat) with a US Psychology professor who had done research into humour in sub-groups within societies.

    His main research had been into Jewish humour, but he had also looked at other examples such as Scottish humour (and I translated some for him).

    His thesis was that self-deprecating humour was a way of persuading the dominant social norm that the minority wasn’t a threat to their dominance, while simultaneously cementing social solidarity within the sub-group.

    Combine that concept with Salmond’s appearance on Children in Need, and add in the strong suggestion in the Scottish Election Study that the SNP won a majority because they were both competent and stood up for Scotland, then you might see just why that appearance on the Beeb contributed to SNP success.

  10. So Hibs and Caley Thistle drew as well.

    I guess that must mean that there is political equivalence between the North and the capital, if we are to follow ChrisLane’s thinking?

  11. OldNat,

    Interesting. Since PMQs is rapidly turning into a comedy performance, I wonder if the same might one day apply to Westminster.

    Of course, it is probably easier for Salmond to perform to the amusement of all of Scotland than for say Cameron to do the same for the whole of the UK, because I suspect that Scotland has a greater sense of National identity. Also, Salmond doesn’t need to be nice to the English- there’s no votes for him there, whereas DC really does need to get more votes in Scotland.

  12. Stanley

    Alas, I think the “comedy” in PMQs appeals to very few – and they are already sitting in the HoC.

    Gives Cameron a problem, doesn’t it? He can’t be Scottish – because he isn’t. He can’t appeal to Britishness – because that isn’t the dominant identity for Scots. He can continue to be English – with the obvious result.

    More importantly, he hasn’t learnt to tell a good joke, or at least one that non-Tory MPs will find funny.

  13. Unfortunately Cameron does the PMQ equivalent of laughing at his own jokes. After his well executed (if pre-scripted) put-down viz the Brothers Miliband, he completely ruined the effect with his “you walked into that one” jibe at Ed. Far too pleased with himself. He should definitely take some deadpanning lessons from la Salmond.

    On a slightly (but not much) more serious note, I don’t think it’s the case that there are totally separate Scots and English senses of humour. There’s a huge overlap. I am quite sure there are plenty of funny things that an English Tory politician could say that Scots would understand and enjoy. Not sure that DC is the one to deliver them though. Boris maybe…

  14. Neil A

    ” I don’t think it’s the case that there are totally separate Scots and English senses of humour.”

    I quite agree. Lots of humour is international. I was brought up on the Marx Brothers and the Goon Show. Morecambe & Wise, Two Ronnies etc had wide appeal – often because of the use of word play.

    I’ve never understood the international appeal of Benny Hill. I remember sitting bemused on a Greek Ferry where they were showing endless Benny Hill shows dubbed in Greek – that may have been the cause of their economic demise. :-)

  15. While we are talking about comedy can I just say that monty python is mostly NOT FUNNY. I’m fed up with having to pretend that it is and annoyed that so many foreigners want to talk about monty python and how great it is

    Thank you, I finally got that off my chest, thank god none of you know me or I would never been able to admit this

    :smile:

  16. Oldnat

    The poll is a voodoo poll, that’s obvious, but the fact that it is reported as real is a fact in itself.

    It can affect both sides in the debate and encourage the feling that when the time comes Scotland will vot for independence. Perhaps that could weaken the resolve of the unionists to make the effort to save the union or less likely encourage the Nats to take the result for granted.

    If had to make a prediction, I’d put my money on incompetence and internal division on the Unionist side to determine the outcome.

  17. John B Dick

    While we all appreciate Anthony’s strictures on voodoo polls, this is a site about public opinion and what influences it.

    So, yes you are right. Such a survey (especially if it isn’t hugely removed from what actual polling has ascertained) can, if not shift, then confirm views.

    Apart from us geeks, most readers take all news stories about “polls” as being the same. If people see their views (even if tentative) being confirmed as “most of us think ….” then that will have a reinforcing effect on their view. Others, who are vaguely against, might think they are “out of step” and move to what they think is conformity.

  18. RiN

    NHS Cambridge probably has a help line for those who consider that some of the Python output is the product of public school educated, Oxbridge de-educated simpletons.

    If you give them a ring, iIm sure they’ll help you to “always look on the bright side of life”.

  19. Oldnat

    Thank-you, a hotline is obviously what I need or an indoctrination camp :smile: but why would it be located in Cambridge, aren’t they part of the oxbridge mafia??

  20. RiN

    Don’t ask me about NHS England! I just assumed that the Cambridge Footlights Review and NHS Cambridge would have a symbiotic relationship.

  21. OLD NAT.
    good morning to you.
    Neil Lennon and the Rangers manager, Ally McCoist hugged each other after the game- so no nasty f word was used which is good, and the f word is the political word meaning irish giant.

    Celtic fans always used to vote Labour and rangers fans always used to vote Unionist.

    maybe that is changing now.

    ‘Let The People sing’

  22. We’re blighted not just by voodoo polling by also by voodoo reporting. This mornings Telegraph online edition has a classic example.

    Under the headline “Greener energy will cost £4,600 each a year” you might expect this to mean that we will all be paying an extra £4,598 a year if we persist with plans for green energy.

    In fact, the article goes on to explain that energy provision currently costs £3,700, that the green energy plan is the cheapest option available, that doing nothing would be more expensive and that continuing to rely on gas an coal would cost £4,682 pa each.

    So the headline, while not factually incorrect, is potentially highly misleading. A far more appropriate option would have been along the lines of ‘government report finds renewable energy the cheapest option’.

    I’ve always found poor reporting to be one of the more damaging aspects of democracies. We depend on people’s good judgement for the selection of our governments and the consequent ordering of society, but there are so many areas where we rely on external information in order to make our judgements. When the quality of reporting is so poor, or willfully distorted, we’re really going to struggle to make reasoned judgements on difficult and complex areas of policy.

  23. This is well worth a read – http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100126347/it%E2%80%99s-modernisation-not-morality-that-is-the-dirty-word-of-politics/

    I like Oborne’s freedom of thought and lack of partisan, party based distortion that you get with so many commentators across the political spectrum. It means he can be genuinely much more observant of issues across politics, and he’s done it again here.

    He picks up on something that we started to talk about on this board last summer regarding Ed M and his appeal for a new responsibility. Oborne says –
    “One of the reasons why Ed Miliband has been consistently underrated as Labour leader is that he is trying to reintroduce values into British politics, and to move away from the manipulation and cynicism of the modernising era. He has done this on a number of fronts. Miliband has consistently and with admirable courage stood up for trade unions as a legitimate voice for working people, launched attacks on the greedy and irresponsible rich, and was the first party leader to take the bold step of condemning press criminality when the phone-hacking scandal broke last summer.”

    What is doubly interesting is that Oborne also suggests that Cameron is beginning to ditch his opposition persona of vacuous soundbites and Blair aping inanities in favour of a more robust, belief driven ideology. This may be why some people are seeing Cameron as growing into the role of PM – he is actually finding something to believe in.

    If Oborne is correct, and I suspect he is (certainly for EdM and possibly also for Cameron) I would agree with him that this will be good for British politics. Sucessive governments has persistently ducked some of the toughest issues facing us, as the modernising agenda can’t handle difficult, divisive decisions, where there simply isn’t any substitute for have a real opinion and and firm ideological stance.

    So far, we’re still trying to handle the massive economic problems in an ideological vacuum, and this is probably the biggest single reason why we haven’t found the solutions yet. We could be on the cusp of a really interesting few years.

  24. It WOULD be interesting if we saw traditional Tory values vs traditional Labour values.

    But I think not. Ed M won’t to be seen too far left. But it might be that Clegg allows Cameron to be more Tory without having to do much about it.

    I think (personally) that reports of Ed Milliband’s demise as exaggerated and seem to have gained currency amongst those who talk about such things. But Labour are waiting for some more real votes, like Oldham and Feltham.

  25. OLDNAT

    @”NHS Cambridge probably has a help line for those who consider that some of the Python output is the product of public school educated, Oxbridge de-educated simpletons.”

    For those poor lost souls who see Python in that light ( & it’s the first time I have seen anyone suggest it ) , there are few places to seek help-NHS being totally inadequate.

    North Korea might be worth a try-or Albania.

  26. @ Nick P

    I would like to think that Ed M can raise his profile and become more popular with English voters. Apparently when he attends small meetings of people that are not always Labour voters, he comes across quite well i.e. not a politician and someone who genuinely cares about the issues people face.

    The problem for Ed comes when he addresses bigger audiences eg. conferences and in parliament. He is not a natural big stage performer, but then not many people are. To be a good performer on a large stage you need to have a very charismatic personality, capable of thinking on your feet about how to approach the audience and deal with any difficult issue, with some humour if required. Tony Blair did not always get this right e.g WI, but generally he was pretty good at it. I am not sure Ed, will ever become a natural on the big stage or in TV interviews/leader debates.

    Ed and Labour will have to make sure he improves in this area during 2012 or face the decision to look to a new leader. I am not sure which Labour MP they would choose, but probably I would go for Andy Burnham, with John Healey as shadow chancellor. Unfortunately I am not sure Ed Ball is that popular with the UK public, so would probably be shfited back to another shadow position.

    Whilst some from Labour may not want this discussion now, I am pretty sure that by the time of the Autumn conference, this will be the major media discussion point. For Ed M, he needs to come out fighting and look like a PM in waiting.

  27. Miliband’s new year message seems to indicate he is taking note of the new Policy Network pamphlet: ‘Cameron’s Trap: Lessons for Labour from the 1930s and 1980s’

    The concern is that Conservative governments – and Conservative-Liberal coalitions – have in the past been comfortably re-elected in the wake of economic austerity.

    This is an acknowledgement that the austerity mindset has become deeply ingrained.

  28. OLDNAT
    “I’ve never understood the international appeal of Benny Hill. I remember sitting bemused on a Greek Ferry where they were showing endless Benny Hill shows dubbed in Greek – that may have been the cause of their economic demise. ”

    No, I have never understood the international appeal of scantily clad young ladies with large breasts either! :)

    RIN I agree with you on Monty Python – some of the sketches are very funny but most or just plain silly. Sadly many modern comedians aren’t even that. How Frankie Boyle can be termed ‘a comedian’ is beyond me. He is just a nasty piece of work who thinks it is amusing to make fun of people with disabilities.

  29. To a huge extent, the public’s impressions of Ed M have been swayed mainly by what the press have told us the public’s impressions of Ed M are…

    Now we see a shift in that narrative… Ed has gone from ‘not even his own party wants him’ to ‘He doesn’t do well with crowds but people who have met him are convinced’… And I suggest this has less to do with any change in Ed M, and rather a slow softening towards him from the press. Perhaps he’ll be “showing signs of being a statesman” by Autumn Conference time!

  30. ROBERT NEWARK

    @”but most or just plain silly.”

    For devotees like me……that is the whole point of them-as it was in the Goon Show, in which they found much inspiration.

    Had a DVD for Christmas of the old Secret Policeman’s Ball sketches. Absolutely wonderful-but you need to be free of prejudice about educational elitism to think so :-)

  31. @Alec

    I think what Oborne is gliding over is the extent to which the modernising wing which championed Cameron (Maude/Letwin etc, the ex-Portillo followers) has been totally eclipsed by the traditional Osborne/Hague side of the party.
    A kind of denoument to what was happening in the party a decade ago.

    Significantly, the recent ConHome survey is suggesting that an overwhelming majority of Tory constituency members are way more in line with Ukip than with the official parliamentary line… and it is this pressure that has been gradually dragging the Tory profile rightwards since the demise of Thatcher.

  32. The appeal of humour, I couldn’t stand ‘Allo ‘Allo so I was somewhat surprised when in Germany to find out from some well educated Germans, that they found it hillarious and saw it as a satire.

    Right!!

  33. More advice for EM:-

    h tp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/dec/28/ed-miliband-tory-public-spending

    But it is given by two former Oxford University historians , so he can no doubt ignore it as being from ” Oxbridge de-educated simpletons”

    :-)

  34. DAVID

    We were on holiday in Italy one time, when Fawlty Towers was being screened.

    The Italian waiters there thought Manuel was very funny-because the Spanish waiter was an object of humour in Italy .

  35. A kind of denoument to what was happening in the party *two* decades ago.

  36. Sorry, right first time… a decade ago.

    Curiously the Hague/Howard/IDS traditional Tory image was considered so toxic – and “flatlining” in the polls for so long, that modernisation (and Cameron) was seen to be the only way out.

    Cameron maintained that image into the election – and to some extent after in coalition with the LDs. The Tory party as a whole now has reasserted itself, with a rationale that they could have won an OM with real Tory policies – and a feeling that the public mood has now changed, it is largely accepting of the opportunity austerity has given to roll back the state.

    The Policy Network points out that even during the 30s and 80s recessions, there was a sufficient margin of the electorate who were still expiriencing an increase in living standards to ensure that Con/Lib and Con administrations were re-elected.

  37. ALEC
    What is doubly interesting is that Oborne also suggests that Cameron is beginning to ditch his opposition persona of vacuous soundbites and Blair aping inanities in favour of a more robust, belief driven ideology. This may be why some people are seeing Cameron as growing into the role of PM – he is actually finding something to believe in.

    This can be observed in the last few PMQ`s…He seems to put more meat on what he`s saying rather than just blaming everything on Labour…Whatever one says about Cameron,he has got his finger on the public pulse…He realised that blaming Labour worked for 18 months and when people were starting to tire of this approach,he changed it…It is working for him

  38. @R Huckle-

    “He [EM] is not a natural big stage performer, but then not many people are. ”

    While that may be true, note that not many people become Prime Minister. To lead a big political party, and even more so to lead it successfully into an election, is something for exceptional people, so I’m afraid that the argument of ‘EM isn’t a good speaker/debater but very few people are’ isn’t likely to cut much ice.

  39. Chris Lane

    Yes, things have long changed from such widespread tribalism. There is, of course, some left in organisations like the Orange Lodge which urges its members to vote for the candidate most likely to beat the SNP.

    2011 voting

    Party, CoS, RC, No Religion
    SNP, 44%, 43%, 47%
    Lab, 26%, 36%, 25%
    Con, 15%, 9%, 9%
    LD, 6%, 3%, 7%

    Incidentally, Finn MacCool is a hero common to both Scotland and Ireland. Not surprising since there are such close cultural links. In our version, he is entombed under Craighowe in Rossshire – which I could see from my Grandad’s house.

  40. Colin

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/comedy/features/is-monty-pythons-flying-circus-dead-as-a-parrot-1797668.html

    “But a lot of Python was stuck fast in the public-school-Oxbridge ethos, the comedy of the schoolroom, the naughtiness of playing foolish japes on figures of authority.”

    The point has often been made.

  41. @Billybob:

    “a feeling that the public mood has now changed, it is largely accepting of the opportunity austerity has given to roll back the state.”

    I don’t think that they accept austerity as an opportunity to roll back the state, I think that the general public don’t really know the difference. Austerity means cuts, and the public don’t realise that the areas being cut (many ideological) are not the only options, so is willing to accept the cuts because there is no alternative.

    Lab therefore needs to fight back by producing a credible alternative and take on the role of opposition fully, rather than anti-Tory knee-jerk reactions.

  42. COLIN
    “Had a DVD for Christmas of the old Secret Policeman’s Ball sketches. Absolutely wonderful-but you need to be free of prejudice about educational elitism to think so ”

    I’m certainly free of that, having proudly attended a state secondary modern in the 60’s. Back in the days of tough exams, discipline and school uniforms.

    My favourite Python sketches were; the Ministry of silly walks and the lumberjack ones.

  43. @scotswaehae – “… willing to accept the cuts because there is no alternative”

    Agreed. The Tory right interpretation has become so dominant because opposition, if it is seen to come at all, it comes from where? Vince Cable?.

    Labour it seems, did not put up an alternative because Brown/Darling/Mandelson etc left the stage, and then there was a period of introspection throughout the long leadership campaign.

    It was January 2011 before Ed Balls became shadow chancellor. The TINA narrative was fully accepted in the madia by that stage – and he in any case struggles to get a sympathetic hearing at the best of times – newcomers like Rachel Reeves etc are only just getting established in their roles, and there is as yet no distinctive party line for the rest of the shadow cabinet to get behind.

  44. @Scotswaehae,

    I think that’s part of Labour’s problem; they seem to just oppose everything the Tories/Libs do without offering a viable alternative. It’s makes them lack credibility.

  45. AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    “I think that’s part of Labour’s problem; they seem to just oppose everything the Tories/Libs do without offering a viable alternative.”

    Without commenting on whether that perception is true or not, the Scottish Election Studies have shown that parties that display negativity don’t do well with voters.

    Respondents rated the party campaigns during and immediately after both the 2007 and 2011 elections

    A score of 1 represents a wholly positive campaign, and 5 a wholly negative one.

    The mean scores were

    Party, 2007, 2011
    Lab, 3.7, 3.7
    L_D, 2.9, 3.4
    Con, 3.0, 3.3
    SNP, 2.7, 2.1

    While both Con and LDs ran more negatively in 2011, neither could match Labour’s consistent negativity, or the SNP’s greater positivity.

  46. OLDNAT

    @”he point has often been made.”

    Well once apparently :-)

    Thanks for the link.

    I don’t begin to understand the opinion expressed.

    This bit seems at the heart of it:

    “The suspicion that the writers were being a touch elitist is worsened by the Oxbridge smart-aleckry on display. Would any comedy writer today name-drop so many historical names, confident that the audience would be dead impressed? Richard III, Marat, Jean d’Arc, Lincoln, Edward VII, Nelson, Mozart, Kandinsky, Braque, Mondrian, Chagall, Ernst, Kokoscha, Schwitters… Gosh, well done, chaps, for having a nodding acquaintance with French and art history — not that it’s being used for any actual humorous effect.”

    Just not on the same wavelength as this person I’m afraid. We have enough dumbed down stuff of every conceivable kind on TV . How much brain numbing banality do people like this want?

    Bet he didn’t like Blackadder either-too much history no doubt .

  47. ROBERT

    Loved both of those-Life of Brian-the whole shebang.

  48. SCOT NAT.
    many thanks for your interesting statistics.

    Amazing to think that in 1951 the Con and Unionist party of scotland won the majority of scottish seats.

    In England and wales the majority of roman catholics vote Labour. The vast majority of catholic mp’s are Labour.

    But Labour lost some marginal seats owing to its policies last time, and in England this is serious politically since there is a middle class resurgence of church going in some areas.

    And to jump back on to my new year hobby horse, I hope Nick Clegg appreciates the value to his own children of the schools, which his party manifesto pledged to stop.

  49. S Lab’s campaign didn’t actually strike me as excessively negative until the very end when they panicked – more lacking in ideas.

    Scotswaehae is pretty much correct – a knee jerk anti colaition approach won’t work so well for Labour next year so they need to find a clear cut stance on at least a couple of bread and butter issues to run with.

  50. @ Stanley

    “To lead a big political party, and even more so to lead it successfully into an election, is something for exceptional people, so I’m afraid that the argument of ‘EM isn’t a good speaker/debater but very few people are’ isn’t likely to cut much ice.”

    John Major = Exceptional ?

    Not sure. Really nice, fairly honest bloke, you would trust to be your bank manager. To run the country as a PM or to lead a main political party, I am not so sure. Not really sure he got to grips with the job as PM or leader of the Tories. Has become a better person since leaving parliament.

    I don’t think many PM’s or party leaders are exceptional. In the modern age, they need to be seen as credible in many different ways. 1) They need to look the part (image everything). 2) People have got to trust them more than the other candidates for the job. 3) The person and party they lead, need to chime with the mood of the nation. 4) They need to be commanding in a good way, with the ability to handle the akward squad in and out of their party, 5) They need to be able to generate funds for their party to stand a chance of being elected. e.g list of contacts to raise funds. 6) They need to be able to network with people that are helpful to them and their party.

    Not personally keen on Cameron, but he does tick many of the boxes required to lead a main party.

1 2 3 4 5