This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 29%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10%, Others 10%. While the eleven point lead for Labour is pretty typical of what YouGov have been showing this week, the 29% for the Conservatives is the first time YouGov have shown them dropping below 30% since October 2004, and the 10 points for UKIP is their highest. Normal caveats apply – it’s just one poll, sure, it may be the start of a decline into the 20s… or they may be right back above 30 in the next poll.

For most of the two years since the general election the Conservatives remained at or only just below the 36% they received in May 2010. Since the budget that support has finally started to crumble, with most polls showing the Conservatives dropping into the low thirties. However, a lot of that lost support seems to be going to smaller parties, rather than to Labour.

I’ll do a fuller report tomorrow when the tables are published.

UPDATE: There is also a poll for Lord Ashcroft in the Sunday Telegraph, looking at political attitudes of ethnic minorities. The survey shows what we’ve previously seen in the Ethnic Minority British Election Study – Labour have an overwhelming advantage amongst black voters, the Conservatives do slightly better (or at least, slightly less badly, given Labour still have a big advantage) amongst Asian voters and Hindus.

UPDATE2: Much more detail from the Ashcroft/Populus poll here.


125 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 29, LAB 40, LD 11, UKIP 10”

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  1. billybob

    Big difference..voting intention is FLOODING away from con (and some of it is going to Lab)

    The Boris factor (i.e. not being Cameron) might save him, but I think it’s going to be close.

    Watch Boris condemn the Government and Cameron stay away. They know.

  2. I think we are going to see BJ/KL neck and neck on Monday…Will the Tories new low depress their voters enough not to turn up on Thursday especially if the Hunt issue continues to dampen things…As UKIP voters give second preference for Boris,this leakage of votes to the right will probably not affect the result

  3. One wonders if it realistic to expect such Labour poll leads to continue for the foreseeable future. Although many out there will say “certainly not” one does wonder whether now we have seen a watershed in which the reputation of the Tories as well as the Lib Dems have been permanently damaged.

    Are we for instance going to see both coalition parties limp onwards towards the 2015 GE with dire poll ratings in the desperate hope that the fortunes of the economy improve and as a result their election prospects too.

    Perhaps the answer to both of these questions lies in how EM and Labour utilise or squander this golden opportunity with which they have been given….

  4. Nick

    I see what you mean, but this link
    h
    ttp://www.businessballs.com/demographicsclassifications.htm

    shows the figures for 2006, the total ‘middle class’ (ABC1) outnumber the ‘working class’ (C2DE) by 26,787,000 to 21,699,000. So why are Labour ahead in the polls?

    Many C2’s (skilled manual workers) including I suppose people like Engine Drivers, Toolmakers etc, would earn far more than junior clerks and even some middle managers (C1 and B), so it’s not all that cut and dried.
    There’s also the fact that, as I said, many professionals and others identify themselves as Labour supporters.

    To see an actual income and wealth distribution of supporters of the various parties would be very interesting, and might force a rethink of a few preconceptions.

  5. CROTALE
    “The most amazing thing about this poll is the 20% for non-Lib Lab Con.”

    Amazing things happen in polls but there’s northing in these that’s out of line with either polls or real elections in mainland Europe or indeed the USA.

    That doesn’t diminish the importance of the moment when the conservative poll number sinks below 30% or UKIP is at 10%. the greatest danger to the right is the sort of division that destroyed the left in the 1980s. retention of FPTP and the reduction in the number of constituencies make the Conservatives potentially as vulnerable to UKIP now as they were to the LIBDEMS in 1997.

  6. @Rob Sheffield

    Ken is not GG. Maybe to you they have similarties but I see very few. And in policy terms they’re actually.quite far apart. Ken isn’t for example, promoting anything remotely hard left on policing, housing or transport – areas over,which the Mayor,actually has,powers, and,(at least in relation to the,latter two) his ideas are very popular.

    Your monochrome analysis of Livingstone seems,a little jaundiced.

    Oona lost Bethnal Green and Bow,to GG because despite the wishes,of,her constituents, she supported the Iraq war. And there are many,who,would not,have,voted for her for mayor because of this. She is Jewish, however, so would not have been so critiicised by Alan Sugar,or Robert,Winston.

    Anyway Oona,is backing Ken and,will serve,in his cabinet if,he,wins. She is also heavily critical of Boris. I can’t imagine her ever being asked to, or agreeing to, work for GG

  7. @NickP

    “no it suggests a more widespread hate for Tories than hate for Labour. But then there’s more poor people than rich.”

    I think you put it too starkly, but while there is no doubt a visceral loathing of Labour amongst the over-represented right wing commentariat in our media and on the blogosphere, it’s not something I’ve found widely shared amongst the electorate. Sure, there’s been times when there has been no desire for a Labour Government and also times when a substantial majority are quite keen to evict one, but I don’t think Labour has ever attracted the levels of disdain and deep dislike that were visited on the Thatcher and Major administrations in their latter stages. In fact, I was struck and shocked by the fierceness of the antipathy I found towards the Tories in 1997 and, to some degree, I’m not sure that they’ve ever fully recovered from it.

    On the other hand, even in their long wilderness years of the 50s and 90s, there was polling evidence that suggested a lingering affection for Labour and the tantalising possibility that one far off day the electorate would return to them, as indeed they did in very large numbers in 1966 and 1997. Labour tends to attract deep disappointment rather than hatred!!

  8. Crossbat
    “Labour tends to attract deep disappointment rather than hatred!!”

    I think you’re right, but I wonder why? Is it because, in theory at least, Labour is an idealistic party with a vision of a perfect world, whereas the Tories are seen a much more pragmatic, not having a vision that inspires many people? Therefore those who lose out to their policies hate them more? I don’t quite see how it follows, but I’m just interested in why it might be.

  9. @Crossbat 11

    Iraq? I know it’s just a single issue, but many people have still.not/may never return to Labour because of it. And it did cause (in some areas) a visceral.hatred of Tony Blair. In fact it was one of the long tetm cayses of his departure.

  10. The Ashcroft article is interesting, and it’s good that he is taking the disconnect between the Tories and BME groups seriously.

    The fact that the fieldwork only took place in areas of high BME penetration means that it probably overstates ethnic minority support for Labour.

    I don’t wish to keep harking back to my MORI days (honest!) but after the 1987 general election I persuaded Bob Worcester to ask our voting intention interviewers to “estimate” the racial origin of each respondent (using the broad categories of white, black, Asian or Other). The idea behind this was that we would be able to accrue a totally representative sample of BME respondents and also assess what proportion of the overall electorate they accounted for. (In those days it wasn’t more than about four percent, and we had to wait for our more statistically reliable quartlerly “aggregate analysis” tables in order to make any sense of the figures).

    It was actually quite surprising how narrow the Labour lead was over the Tories among Asian respondents. (A poll of black and ethnic minority respondents in high-concentration BME areas during that year’s general election had given Labour 66% of the overall BME vote).

    When I think of the Asian people I knew at that time, there was no doubt that those who lived in overwhelmingly white middle class neighbourhoods were more prone to voting Conservative than those living in high BME-populated inner city areas.

    My own town (Southall) has had a long history of near-solid Labour voting on the part of the local Indian community, but that probably has much to do with the particular discrimination that has been directed at the town by the authorities, the police (and, on occasion, by the Tories themselves when they have been in charge at Ealing Town Hall). Hence, the people here have been more ‘political’ and likely to vote on racial issues. It has also been an historically working class Asian town. Even here, though, the Tory vote has risen significantly in recent years – possibly as a result of the sons and daughters of the first generation mainly C2DE immigrants going to university and onto middle class professional occupations..

    A few other things: it’s interesting that the Hindu vote seems to be fairly consistently more pro-Tory than other BME groups across the range of Ashcroft questions. This shows that within the BME communities, social class has an important influence on voting intention (bearing in mind here that the Hindus are traditionally the most middle class of the Asian groups).

    Notice also how David Cameron polls higher on these issues than does his party.

    Another small point: Ed Miliband runs behind his party on the range of questions, but interestingly not as far behind among Muslim voters. (I say ‘interestingly’ because he is Jewish). This confirms my own observations from talking to local members of the Pakistani community here in Southall: religion doesn’t really make any difference to the way a Muslim in likely to vote. They tend to have their religion in one part of their mind and their party preference in the other. What makes Pakistanis more pro-Labour than Indians is the simple fact that the latter have a more middle class social profile (and this was very clear from the cross-breaks of the Ashcroft Feltham & Heston poll).

    Incidentally, we recently had a controversy here in the Ealing borough arising from what some perceived to be an outspoken public attack made by a Tory councillor against Southall’s Indian community. He has now been suspended by Conservative Central Office, but the problem is that a number of Tories have gone on record as supporting him (including another Conservative councillor who used his blog to accuse Labour of ‘playing the race card’ simply because they disagreed with the councillor’s remarks).

    This sort of thing is a fundamental problem for the Tories, and it explains why David Cameron is more popular than his party among BME groups: whenever a Conservative politician is perceived to have said something racist, he gets publicly applauded by other Tories – thus leading black and Asian voters with the impression that the party cannot be trusted on this issue.

    Of course, whereas the Conservatives may lose BME support over the perception that they contain a racist element, it is much more difficult to quatify what influence this issue has over the way white people vote and what the overall net effect of race is on the relatives strength of the parties.

    (Apologies for length).

  11. RAF

    Iraq was an appalling decision by Blair and the Labour Party suffered for it.

    Not many of those votes went to the Tories though who were even more gung-ho than Labour (Blair had to make things up – the Tories would just have gone ahead anyway)

    The LD took most of those votes and it could be now that the betrayal of those voters during the Coalition those votes may return to Labour party with a new leader or just not bother

  12. @ROBIN HOOD
    `(Apologies for length).`

    No need to apologise…I think you nailed it

  13. “… there’s more poor people than rich.”

    That should be “there’s more squeezed-middle than rich”… which would indicate that Miliband has taken on board the insight’s of Peter Kellner (“don’t reject what Blair understood”) into what demographic change has meant for Labour’s vote over the years.

    In 1992 the ABC1/C2DE demographic was 43%/57%, in 2010 it was 57%/43% (in 1979 it was 36%/64%).

  14. RAF

    Iraq is an utterly immaterial issue outside of the 2% who are far left and certain demographic constituencies (and their sympathisers).

    KL is still rehetorically left wing even in campaign mode and-of course- would have swung far left and championed as many daft and middle England/ ordinary people alienating causes as he could manage once elected. He made too many Faustian bargains this time around because he was scrabbling for votes. A KL mayoralty now would have had more in common with the GLC KL than the slightly bumbling jovial KL who was Mayor in his first term.

    Ooona King is a loyal Labour party member and does not want to upset the apple cart. Nonetheless she would have been a significantly better candidate than KL. She is BTW half Jewish but perhaps that means the same to you?!

    As said- IMO second round poll on Monday wil have BJ on 52 or more: and that is what the result will be after 2nd preferences are distributed. UKIP second preferences will go to BJ and a significant proportion of erstwhile Labourites will not vote for KL either as first or second preference.

  15. How long until UKIP & the Tories are polling at 20% each?
    :twisted:

  16. Quite a good poll for the Lib Dems. YouGov hasn’t given them 11% in many polls this year.

    On the face of it this is a terrible poll for the Tories but I can’t see UKIP getting anywhere near 10% in a General Election using FPTP. The vast majority of that 10% will, in my view, go back to the Tories.

    I’m still predicting a close election in 2015 and, as a loyal Lib Dem, hoping for another hung parliament.

  17. LIZ H.
    Synchronisity.

    Just in from a not so grumpy men’s drink, we started our group in 1994.

    Labour pleased but as DAVID has also said the Lib Dems VI is very high.

  18. @ LizH

    Far too early for Labour to be celebrating, I think. Labour frequently had double-digit opinion poll leads in the 1987-92 parliament, but we all know what happened in the end (and that was a period when the Lib Dems were ridiculed/written off by many pundits). Sound familiar?

  19. @CHRISLANE1945

    The LibDem vote is an outlier.

  20. @AW

    the 29% for the Conservatives is the first time YouGov have shown them dropping below 30% since October 2004, and the 10 points for UKIP is their highest.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 29% is the Conservatives lowest too for YG, and have only ever shown it in that one date in Oct ’04, in their decade-long history.

    @Rob Sheffield
    YouGov’s poll in late 2010 identifying where Labour went wrong, had the public agreeing 75%-12% that Labour were too subservient to America regarding the UK/US
    (only ‘too soft on immigration’ recieved higher – 1% higher to be exact, with 3% more disagrees and just under a third (32%) of the general public chose that as on of their three factors which most contributed to Labour’s defeat, suggesting your claim that it’s just a minority of far-leftists who sympathise to be your typical Blairite rubbish.

  21. *Too subservient to America regarding Iraq/Afghanistan, even.

  22. A message to everyone here predicting the mayoral race being a coin toss. You can currently get 4/1 on Betfair on a Ken victory, so I recommend you all take advantage of what is if you are correct an excellent value bet before the odds shift if the Monday polls prove you right.

  23. Tory VI in twenties in mid term was as I always thought.
    It will recover by next GE to mid thirties but that will not be enough.

    The way Labour will win – and I think it will be close but they will win – is not by rehabilitating themselves ( that will take at least five and probably ten years) but by being the only alternative for any on the left and centre, and by the Tories collapsing because their economic policy is simply wrong – most economists said it was wrong -and the figures are now showing how wrong it was.

    If any posters actually believe that there will be any” feel good” recovery ( I am talking 2.5% plus growth not under 2 as will almost certainly be the case if we have any at all which is still my hunch actually) before next election then they are deluding themselves.

    I remember being shot down here when I said OBR were ludicrously optimistic and that they had severely underestimated the effects on growth of public expenditure cuts. I think the facts have now shown the truth of that ( though admitting you were wrong is so difficult that you invent external factors to justify your plain wrongness).

    The irony is of course that they were brought in as Osborne believed Treasury figures were institutionally biased and rosy. I suspect their forecasts under last Labour government were far more accurate than the OBR’s have been under this.

    The irony here is that all of the faults of hubris, believing bogus data, becoming economically ludicrous and becoming politically inept took the last government somewhere between 6 and 9 years.

    This lot appear to have hit the ground running in terms of losing credibility and exhausting good will.

  24. LD on 11% is surely an outlier. The next few polls will tell us one way or the other. But it beats me where they find the 11% stalwarts from! It does not seem to have sunk in with some of them that many ex-LDs who are left-leaning will never return to the fold. Once bitten twice shy.

  25. If UKIP continue to drain away and waste much needed Tory votes maybe now the Tories will wake up to the fact that AV was not such a bad idea after all.

  26. Good Morning All.

    LIZ H and OZWALD.

    Labour maybe should be higher than 40% given the state of Denmark and Hunting.

    In agree that LD figure of 11% is a high outlier, as I have said a few times I think.

    Cardinal O’Brien has spoken well, which is good, on social justice.

    I see Boris has attacked his Party this morning.

    I am pleased to hear the news, as I write, about the A Level curriculum changes, making them more rigorous.

  27. Surely UKIP’s 10 % warrants being prompted for next time around?

  28. UKIP is going to gather a lot of support in the next few years as we have seen so far . Support for Labour /Lib Dems/Conservative is waining !

  29. Crossbat11’s second point about UKIP is right imo.
    I believe at the GE over half of UKIP will return to Cons with a little to Labour and a little elsewhere so the 10% UKIP score means the Lab-Con lead is perhaps 5% narrower. The key is that Cameron may well tack right in order to try to achieve this and more particularly individual candidates. Consequently, how UKIP current supporters vote in marginals may well be different to in safe seats where they can still vote UKIP as a protest.
    Moreover, UKIP will not field candidates in all seats. They will do 2 things, target a few seats that they either think are possibly winnable, which will be based on data from Euro Election; and, they will not stand in seats where the incumbant (or candidate for the party holding the seat) is in their view sufficiently Eu-phobic or supports a refendum on EU membership. They may also target some specific seats as spoilers where they think the sitting Tory MP is particularly pro-EU.
    I envisage perhaps 3 dozen or more conservative MPs having a personal manifesto to the right of the national party at the GE on the EU question and resisting moving too far rightwards to attract LD Orange bookers and other centrists may be tough for DC.

  30. The problem for the Tories when it comes to the ethnic minority vote (same as the pink vote) the more they try to attract minority voters, the fatter the UKIP worm inside the Tory apple will grow.

    Most Tory activists are UKIP at heart, (there isn’t much the traditional Tory voter disagrees with Farage about) its only loyalty that stops them from jumping ship, you get the feeling Cameron is stretching that loyalty beyond its limits.

  31. Does anyone have a working link to the tables? The link on the news page on the YouGov site goes to “file not found”

  32. @The Iceman – “The irony is of course that they were brought in as Osborne believed Treasury figures were institutionally biased and rosy.”

    You weren’t criticised by me for your predictions, and the OBR position is interesting. Osborne clearly wanted to create an unbiased reporting body to issue forecasts, and there is a great deal of merit in trying to take political spin out of such things. He deserves some credit for this.

    The difficulties are that the OBR as using the same models as the Treasury use, so the numbers are going to be exactly the same as they would have been anyway. Clearly, the models are wrong, and we would expect this, as we are in a once in a century financial event that very few people have any real memory of.

    Osborne’s plan for the OBR would have worked, if the OBR were seen to be accurate. As it is, they have woeful at predicting job losses and very poor at growth rate predictions, and this isn’t helping anyone at all.

    On the economy – there are some interesting snippets, with consumer confidence at a 9 month high on the last figures and has been rising since the autumn. Tentative signs that sentiment is turning up, and if this is valid, the last thing we need is the government to start talking of more cuts being needed. As Darling said yesterday, the big mistake that has been made is not so much the cuts themselves – they haven’t really started, as so many Tories keep telling us – it was the crisis language used by the coalition, the comparison to Greece, the talk of market panic and the hyping up of austerity. All in the name of a political strategy to ensure the blame sticks to your opponents.

    [Snip]

    On the polls – a little over excited I suspect. I very much doubt the real position had Labour on 45 last week and 40 now, nor were the Tories on 34 a couple of days ago and have now slumped to 29.

    It looks like MoE stuff really, and I do think reds are getting a bit carried away here. As ever, we need more polls, but don’t just ignore the ones where your team is struggling to break 40%.

  33. Alec

    It looks like MoE stuff really, and I do think reds are getting a bit carried away here. As ever, we need more polls, but don’t just ignore the ones where your team is struggling to break 40%.

    I agree Alec.

    Clearly the Conservatives are having a bad few weeks – some bad luck (the Murdoch stuff has blown up in their face, but could easily have done so in the last Governments too) and some due to poor judgement, strategy and policies.

    However, Labour has in no way, shape or form outlined a credible alternative yet. Their lead is very soft in my view, and won’t solidify until they offer a substantial vision of what they would do, rather than what we know at the moment what they don’t like (partially).

    I am standing for the Greens locally, and the strong message from the doorstep isn’t good for the main three – it’s a plague on all their houses and they are all the same.

  34. I can’t open the latest YouGov tables. Is it just me?

  35. ALEC.
    Good Morning to you, and a brilliant post from you, thank you.

    As in Kinnock’s time Labour is not bringing the anti tories home.

    I have lived 5.68 decades.

    Two men in my lifetime were able to take TIGPOO up to 45% plus consistently.

  36. Re: Iraq

    Of course Blair’s wars did him and his party massive and lasting damage which they are still struggling to recover from. Rob Sheffield’s suggestion that only a minority of far-left voters care/cared about this is indeed ‘typical Blairite rubbish’, as Craig admirably puts it.

    Re: UKIP

    Actually UKIP have suggested they will try to stand in all seats at next GE, certainly not just those with pro-Euro MPs. This will certainly have an effect on the GE result, even if it is still highly unlikely UKIP will gain any MPs. Did anyone else hear Peter Kellner’s £10 bet with Farage on Radio 4 last week?

    FWIW I think it’s likely Lucas and Galloway will retain theirs seats, though unfortunately (from my perspective) their parties may struggle to gain any further MPs as they will be badly squeezed by the rising Labour vote.

    I would be very surprised if UKIP gained even a handful of council seats. Remember they only have around 25 as it is. (By the way, beware any claims otherwise given by UKIP. They are notorious for trying to include town and parish councillors in their totals!)

  37. h ttp:/cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/bkmm9p70rl/YG-Archives-Pol-SundayTimes-results-27-290412.pdf

    You have to delete up to the second http in the URL.

  38. That link works, Thanks AW.

  39. thanks Hannah. There’s usually some mistake in the URL but I couldn’t see it.

  40. “The lastest (sic) economic figures show the country
    is back in recession. What do you think is the
    main reason for Britain’s economy going back
    into recession?

    The present government’s economic policies and/or Cuts?

    32%

    (that might seem low but it is the highest answer and compare to this:

    The deficit left by the last government

    17%

    The swecon highest answer is Global/Eurozone and amounts to 29%

    Does that mean that “a recession made in Downing Street” is sticking?)

  41. @Luke
    “I would be very surprised if UKIP gained even a handful of council seats. Remember they only have around 25 as it is. (By the way, beware any claims otherwise given by UKIP. They are notorious for trying to include town and parish councillors in their totals!)”

    This site:h
    ttp://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/uklocalgov/makeup.htm
    has them on only 21. Most of whom will have been elected in 2009.

  42. RobS
    “Iraq is an utterly immaterial issue outside of the 2% who are far left and certain demographic constituencies (and their sympathisers).”

    I’d be interested to hear where your evidence for this is. My (entirely anecdotal) experience is that Iraq was a HUGE issue for the centre-left, liberal, economically comfortable middle class who left Labour in droves for the LDs after 2003. Iraq was (as they saw it) part of an illiberal thread in New Labour that they despised. That illiberalism, far more than economic issues, was what led to the initial discontent with Labour and to the crumbling of the Labour vote.

    At least that’s my take. If you have polling evidence to the contrary, I’d be delighted to see it.

  43. Lefty – without putting words in his mouth, Rob said *is* not *was*. One can easily believe that Iraq was once a big issue that has now faded to the fringes.

  44. Robin Hood,

    ‘Of course, whereas the Conservatives may lose BME support over the perception that they contain a racist element, it is much more difficult to quatify what influence this issue has over the way white people vote and what the overall net effect of race is on the relatives strength of the parties.’

    Most white people aren’t racist and are more likely to share the unease. I think I remember a poll last year or the year before that reported one in five people described themselves as racist (I presume there are significant degrees of racism within that one fifth, too, with perhaps only one fifth of that being of the extremist sort we see so often on the blogs).

  45. ”Iraq is an utterly immaterial issue outside of the 2% who are far left and certain demographic constituencies (and their sympathisers).”

    Rob – I think you are in a minority with this view even within the Labour Party itself. (I have no evidence for this I acknowledge but neither do you for your assertions)

    Certainly as a canvasser it was raised to me in 2005 and again in 2010. The whole dodgy dossier thing, finding no WMD etc was a big trust thing in addition to the initial decision for which many gave the benefit of the doubt to initially.

    You may be correct about 2% hard left but more support went LD in part due to Iraq and trust, of course they have arguably blotted their own ‘trust’ record with large parts of this group of voters now.

    For this reason it will play less at the next GE; also time heals and EM acknowledging it was a mistake will help.

  46. Obviously the Tories are in a bad place right now.

    The ‘others’ (including Lib Dem and UKIP) is very high at the moment. Can anyone tell me if there is a trend to ‘others’ as an election approaches?

    I know historically this has been a trend with the Lib Dems as people focus on who they are going to vote for and certainly at locals Lib Dems support appears to be higher than the polls I wonder if the same factor applies to others as well- so if you have decided to vote for someone next week that will be reflected in polling regardless of whether this will be the same in a general election – ie protest vote etc.

    Much as I would love to see Ken get in I can’t believe the straw clutching going on at the moment. He’s not been ahead in any polls and well behind in most- 3% margin or error therefore suggests the poll with 2% was 3% margin of error the wrong way. I also think the mayor contest has become a personality thing/presidential style and people are not going to change at the last minute. A very outside clutching of straws is that Tories don’t bother to vote on the day- seems unlikely- they are more likely to want to vote UKIP and send a message to the government and if they do that Boris will still get his vote out.

  47. A veritable plethora of Green posters on here now.

    @Catmanjeff – firstly, good luck on Thursday, but said this – “(the Murdoch stuff has blown up in their face, but could easily have done so in the last Governments too)”

    which I don’t agree with. Certainly there were links between Labour and NI which were unhealthy, but I’m afraid it’s a myth that Blair or Brown were in Murdoch’s pockets. As John Rentoul in the Independent is tirelessly trying to point out (swimming against a hard flowing tide I have to say) it simply isn’t true that NI got any favours from Blair.

    The oft quoted occasion when Blair ‘flew half way round the world’ to address the News Corp execs in Australia makes for a god dig at New Labour, but have a read of what Blair actually said – he told Murdoch, to his face, that he was wrong over Europe and the EU and his government was going to stick to it’s pro Europe line.

    Think also about NI’s attempt to buy Manchester United in 1999 – blocked by arch New Labourite Stephen Byers. Think about numerous attempt by James Murdoch to neutralise the BCC, consistently and consciously resisted by numerous Labour ministers.

    Compare to what we have seen in two short years from the Tory ministers, and you can see a shocking pattern of government being used as a clearance mechanism for any Murdoch competitors and a clear bias towards helping him in any way he asked for.

    Cameron and Osborne absolutely devoured Blair’s biography and have used this as their government play book. However, as with so many things, they can read the words, but just can’t grasp the meaning.

  48. It seems be the case that CON + UKIP = LAB (within margins of error). Having said this, should Cameron attempt to collect UKIP votes he would (or perhaps should) leek votes to Labour, since they’re not going to go to the libdems, unless something very weird occurs.

    Also, Anthony, have any questions been asked about intention in the local elections?

  49. David,

    The 1992 defeat for Labour was still part of the ‘split left’ paradigm that had dominated the 80s.

    It is the reverse now, with the left effectively reunited and the right splintering and the Liberals reduced to their pre-SDP rump.

    —-

    As for the ‘class’ thing, I would like to offer a different perspective: that the supposed correspondence between these A-E categories and voting is nonsense, mainly because the categories themselves are nonsense.

    Marxists describe class as being the relation you have to the means of production: in other words do you own them, manage them or work on the machines and computers yourself?

    The current designation of class, according to Marxists, is deeply political, because it is engaged in disappearing the working class — or at least making it a minority – by subsuming it into other groups not on the basis of whether you must work to survive, but on where you are located in the structure.

    All bar A for the most part, would be ‘working class’ to a Marxist, since all of these people have to work in order to live: they don’t live off profits, dividends or rents and any change in circumstances could see them drop to E overnight.

    Most of A would have accumulated enough wealth to stave that off and aren’t likely to be threatened with sudden unemployment anyway. Marxist refer to these as ‘intermediate layers’ or ‘the middle class’.

    The ruling class is the small section of A that does live from profits, dividends and rents.

    In short, these categories may correlate to voting in some way, but they are arbitrary categories without a real, material social basis.

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