Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 45%, UKIP 8%, LDEM 7%. The 14 point lead is the biggest Labour lead YouGov has ever shown since starting regular polling in 2002 (though other companies showed a lead of that size back in 2003).

While the size of the lead is notable, it’s not entirely surprising. Since the local election results YouGov have been showing an average Labour lead of 12 points or so… hence a 14 point lead is just as much in line with that as the 10 point lead last Thursday was.


152 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 45, UKIP 8, LDEM 7”

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  1. There is a deep and visceral hatred of the lib dems amongst many people who voted for them in 2010.

    These people voted lib dem as an anti-tory alternative to labour – and that was very much how the libdems had been positioning themselves to the voters.

    The Clegg line that they formed a coaltion in the national interest, that there was no other choice and that a second election would have seen a tory OM is not simply not belived. Rather they belives that Clegg and co couldn’t resist a ride on the ministerial limos and were happiily junked their party’s supposed principles to achive that aim.

    A confindence and supply arrangement after the 2010 election would have stopped the tories being able to bring in the NHS bill, student fees and could have softened some of the austerity.

    Yet the lib dems, rathe than facing up the reality, blame the voters for not understadning coaltion politics or appreciating their sacrifice for the national interest.

    This is not going to win back the voters.

  2. @Alan (1.09)

    I don’t agree that a formal coallition is necessary. I firmly believe that a S&C or is it (C&S) agreement would work.

    I am no expert on Scottish politics (perhaps OldNat can correct me if I am wrong), but I believe that in the previous parliament the SNP ran a minority government which was obviously successful enough that they then obtained a majority against all the odds.

  3. @SOCAL (1.09)

    “I don’t think the Lib Dems will split up but certainly for the next election, the SDP wing is likely to go to Labour while the Orange Book Liberal wing will continue to support the Lib Dems. ”

    SOCAL, If you are talking about party members (or ex-members) rather than “non-member voters” then I would disagree with you re the SDP wing going to Labour. From what I read, most of them will be like myself – homeless. The centrist policies of Labour are not acceptable to the majority of LDs (from either wing) and therefore I doubt whether many will vote Labour. If the Green party can field sufficient candidates then I believe they will be the recipients of many ex-LD votes. Alternatively, the NHS party (can’t remember the correct name) could benefit. Failing the presence of either of these then imo many ex-LDs will stay at home or like myself, deliberately spoil the ballot paper.

  4. The fact the conservative voters show more trust to their party of choice on the NHS over Taxation/Unemployment/The Economy seems to me to say that they’ve fallen back on that core support they had throughout the Blair years. Not a great sign really for a minority party.

    Labour and moving along quite well. Agree with general consensus they need more policies – but looking at those polls; they should be basing a large part of their policies through the reduction of tax rates (seriously though; why do the Tories back increases in taxation but want to deregulate employment? Do they not realise that taxation stops people spending and probably has a bigger affect on businesses than ‘Helens a bit lazy’?); protecting workers rights; forming a ‘new Europe’ with a referendum on a ‘new treaty’ (hope they get something; look busy and if they are not backed – least they can look like their trying); increasing growth through lower taxation/better spending; fix the NHS.

    Problem? The big big problem? The Tories could do all this before them. Ed is great at scalping; hes great as an opposition – but he has so far failed (imo) to really get a sense of his policies across to the public. So if the Tories move first its very difficult for Miliband to manoeuvre. Of course it is still difficult for Cameron since he is mid-term; but still its ‘who goes first’ imo – and Cameron is in the best position – hes in government!

    So really I think its time for Miliband to really go for the taxing the poor to pay for the rich (danger here ofc is the bailouts; but Miliband could easy parry this by pointing out the creation of the 50p tax in reaction to this).

    @Amber

    This is more a problem with the European system and quite frankly something we should all want to change.
    It stops governments investing in their population – they end up funding other European states who don’t do the same.

  5. Peter Bell

    C&S would have lasted 6 months, by which point the position that “We need to make certain cuts, we can’t get agreement where to make the cuts so we need to go back to the country” would be clear.

    If the lib dems allowed any cuts to go through to keep the government going more than 6 months, labour would have attacked them just as viscerally and the media would have joined them “for propping up the Tory party”

    C&S is only suited to administrating the status quo. In 2010 the status quo is not what we needed.

  6. @ Peter Bell

    “If you are talking about party members (or ex-members) rather than “non-member voters” then I would disagree with you re the SDP wing going to Labour. From what I read, most of them will be like myself – homeless. The centrist policies of Labour are not acceptable to the majority of LDs (from either wing) and therefore I doubt whether many will vote Labour. If the Green party can field sufficient candidates then I believe they will be the recipients of many ex-LD votes. Alternatively, the NHS party (can’t remember the correct name) could benefit. Failing the presence of either of these then imo many ex-LDs will stay at home or like myself, deliberately spoil the ballot paper.”

    But aren’t the Lib Dems more centrist than Labour? I guess that leaves me confused. And didn’t you once tell me that you voted for the Lib Dems in 2005 after voting for Labour in previous elections because of the Iraq War? I tend to think of Lib Dems as left wingers (perhaps because I can’t possibly think of anyone who is a “liberal” being a right winger) but more moderate.

    If I lived in Europe or Britain, I might very well be politically homeless too.

  7. @SOCAL (2.00)

    Sorry for causing confusion. When I used the term “centrist”, I was referring to all their policies and decisions coming from the centre of the party, ie the leadership and, more importantly, from the centre of government (ie. Westminster) with regions, local authorities, local organisations (eg hospitals, schools) having less and less authority.

    Re me voting Lab – not since the formation of the SDP, ie. long before Iraq, although I did attend a protest in Blair’s constituency (ca 30 miles from my home) when your president (Bush) visited the UK after the invasion of Iraq.

  8. SoCalLiberal

    When Labour dived to the right under Blair, it left the old “labour-lite” wing of the libdems to the left of the labour party. The liberals were always more centrist although didn’t have much of a voice until Nick Clegg took the reigns.

    Although the SDP was formed as a protest against the hard left within Labour, they still are a left wing party and don’t want to be dragged to the centre by copying the Labour party or by their Liberal “friends”. Consequently their political ideology has few neighbours in the political landscape. Respect or the Greens may be their closest but both of those are moving further away from the political mainstream.

  9. @Robin
    It wasn’t the Labour left who broke off and formed a new party as soon as their policies weren’t the ones adopted – in fact they’d accepted it for decades.

  10. Some of you have asked me how President Obama’s endorsement of legalized same-sex marriage would affect his re-election chances. I didn’t have an answer at the time.

    A few stories today have made me think that he will ultimately gain political benefit from this development.

    The 53% of Americans who now support same-sex marriage are not the same 53% of Americans who voted for Barack Obama. Republicans went hog wild passing constitutional bans of same-sex marriage in 2004 and 2006 because they believed it would benefit them by driving out religious fundamentalist voters to the polls. Also, when Democratic elected officials inevitably opposed these measures, large numbers of Democrats who opposed same-sex marriage would cross over and vote for the Republican candidates. While these measures were wildly successful and Republicans celebrated, a deeper look at the actual election results showed that this effect wasn’t actually happenning.

    Democrats weren’t switching their votes. Independents and some Republicans who supported same-sex marriage were switching their votes. This was especially true of Millenial voters, many of whom were turning out just to vote against these measures. They would do so in futility but they would generally vote Democratic and impact races.

    The 2010 election results in California showed that African American and Latino Democrats would not switch their votes or stay home simply because of the marriage issue. In fact, I learned something interesting today about Bishop Harry Jackson, a prominent African American preacher bigot leading the crusade against same-sex marriage. There were 2-3 different cases in the District of Columbia Court system in his attempt to stop same-sex marriage legalization there. This man would seemingly would represent all the outraged African Americans ready to abandon Obama over his announcement.
    Only, he doesn’t. Because as it turns out, he voted for John McCain in 2008. And actually, ironically enough, he’s not sure he will vote for Romney this year and may very well vote for Obama in spite of his disagreement over the marriage issue.

    Meanwhile, with the fundamentalist right wing attacks over this issue, there’s a good chance of some Republicans moving away from Romney as well as Independents. The Fundamentalists hate Obama anyway and this latest development only led them to rage in hysteria some more. But that’s not going to help them. This was one interesting story I saw today.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/14/1091651/-Mitt-Romney-donor-withdraws-support-after-Romney-condemns-marriage-equality-at-Liberty-University?showAll=yes

    Where this will certainly help the President is in his fundraising. Since last week, there’s been a huge spike in his fundraising. And he needs those funds.

  11. @ Alan

    “When Labour dived to the right under Blair, it left the old “labour-lite” wing of the libdems to the left of the labour party. The liberals were always more centrist although didn’t have much of a voice until Nick Clegg took the reigns.”

    It’s kind of interesting to see the divergence.

    “Although the SDP was formed as a protest against the hard left within Labour, they still are a left wing party and don’t want to be dragged to the centre by copying the Labour party or by their Liberal “friends”. Consequently their political ideology has few neighbours in the political landscape. Respect or the Greens may be their closest but both of those are moving further away from the political mainstream.”

    Huh. Interesting. I think there might be some fundamental problems (at least in Europe) with Liberals moving to the Greens. At least en masse.

  12. Whilst it’s pleasant to remember the politics of the early 80s, it is highly unlikely that the SDP is actually significant in terms of the LibDem loss of support today. It may be relevant to some LD members, but I would suggest very few (what proportion of their membership have been continuous members since prior to the merger?).

    It’s as relevant as arguing about Militant Tendency.

  13. TheSheep

    We aren’t talking solely about members but voters. Voters who believed that the party stood solely on the values of the SDP. The lib dems have been trying to appeal to voters from two separate camps. Perhaps using the term SDP is outdated but the fact that there are (at least) two differing sets of core beliefs about what the libs dems stand for remains.

    I could have used “wing A” and “wing B” to replace SDP and Liberal, but that would probably be less informative. If it helps, you may read any future references as such.

  14. Oh dear! Stonking quarterly GDP growth in Germany of 0.5% and no recession in France makes the UK’s recession a little hard for Osborne to blame on those difficult Eurozone conditions.

    Funnily enough, it also demonstrates amply the central problems with the currency bloc. If Germany’s economy is storming ahead, while the southern nations are crashing, clearly the economies are not in balance. Without substantial and continuous flows of capital from the north to the south, it’s such a clear demonstration of why the Euro is in crisis.

  15. I suspect we may be seeing the effect Leveson enquiry’s slow leakage of electoral poison for the conservative party.

    Their best bet would be to ditch Cameron and Hunt and appoint another leader. Who, I can’t imagine. Gove? (Just my little joke!)

  16. @Alec,

    Yes, clearly the Germans need to drop their austerity programme and spend for growth. Oh no, hang on…

    And as for France – despite all the rhetoric, their Gaullist government hadn’t really even begun to cut anything (hence their credit downgrade). And the difference between the UK and French growth figures, whilst psychologically large (in terms of what technically defines a double dip recession) is actually very small.

  17. @ALEC

    Not sure I agree with that, look at the UK where we have the “rich” South and “poor” North. Quotes because I live in Tower Hamlets in London, one of the poorest areas in the UK.

  18. @OldNat, Robin

    I wasn’t suggesting that politics should “fossilise”. I was simply amused that Pete thinks a rise in the UKIP vote will bring about big changes, when in fact what it will do is “fossilise” the current system by dividing the anti-Labour vote in the same way that the anti-Tory vote was divided in the 1980s.

    In any general election under the current system which sees UKIP and LD both on circa 10%, it is impossible to see any outcome which has a Labour majority under 60 or 70 seats.

  19. @NEIL A

    But that is not quite right, the coalition message is that our problems are because of the Euro zone. And no matter how they spin it, they can not claim that we are not in recession while Germany and France are in growth. I think Labours claim of a UK made recession fits the facts and people are starting to believe it, hence the movement in the polls (maybe) or it all could be because of the Local election boost (maybe) but is probably a bit of each plus a load of other issues.

  20. I wonder what impact the coalitions popularity will have on coalitions in general.

    An odd feature I have noticed in the last year up here is that the opposition parties are trying to portray Alex Salmond as a dictator because he has a majority, even though that has been the norm in Westminster for most of the last century.

    In contrast the coalition is proving as stable as the Brown and Major governments ( okay that’s not saying a lot) and the argument that coalitions don’t work seems to be muted.

    It’s as if the two parliaments have reversed positions.

    Holyrood which was designed to stop majority government without majority votes seems to have adapted to a majority and Westminster which with FPTP tends towards one party rule has adapted to coalition.

    But have the UK public, particularly in England, adapted to coalition (in Scotland we have had a decade of practice till 2010), and if not will it be a dislike of the concept rather than the LibDems that drives them to vote Labour or Tory not LibDem.

    What is it people don’t like, the Libdems in the Coalition or the Coalition with the LibDems, because they are two different things.

    Peter.

  21. There’s a fair bit of historical revisionism (probably unwitting) going on here. It’s fairly nonsensical to discuss the Liberal Democrats as if they were still an uneasy coalition between two constituent Parties. There are two main reasons for this.

    The first is simply time. The Lib Dems were effectively formed in 1988 – 24 years ago. Many, perhaps most of its members, MPs, even the current leader never belonged to one of its predecessors. To divide them into ‘Liberals’ and ‘SDP’ is just silly – they joined a Party that was past that.

    Secondly even both the Liberals and the SDP had a very wide range of political philosophies within them. This is true of all major political Parties, but particularly so for these two. The Liberals because as a growing third Party they had always attracted a wide range of views; the SDP because as a new Party (I think the majority of members were new to politics) they took over that position.

    Furthermore these ranges of views overlapped more or less completely. The balance may have been a little different between within each Party but even that was not always in the ways which some seem to assume.

    For example on economic matters there were probably more “19th Century Liberals” in the SDP than the Liberals. There was a tiny minority in the Liberals (some linked to the School of Economic Science), but the ideology hadn’t had many fans there since Keynes redirected the party’s policies back in the 1920s and 30s.

    There were cultural differences of course. The SDP has many ex-Labour members with democratic centralism in their blood and it also attracted a lot of the ambitious who saw the SDP as an electoral fast-track. But most of these either disappeared after the easy success promised didn’t materialise or returned to/joined Labour or (as with some members of the current cabinet) the Conservatives.

    The reality was that both SDP and Liberals were Parties of the post-war concensus and the Lib Dems continued on in that tradition. In contrast the Conservatives became devout believers in market-worshipping neo-Liberalism. After a not very convincing flirtation with the Left, Labor’s leadership joined them and developed a variant that included throwing cash at anyone who looked like they might complain (especially if they were already rich).

    Where any divide has arisen within the Lib Dems, it has been because sections have been keen to become subsumed into the Westminster group-think. It must be very alienating to spend your time pointing out the Emperor is naked, while all around those agreeable people you went to school with are praising his clothes.

    This can apply at the local political level as well and even among ordinary voters who are bound to be influenced by the conventional wisdom that the media churns out.

    So to go on as if there two clearly defined and historically derived parts of the Lib Dems is just not true. The real tensions are more around how much to buy into the neo-Liberal consensus and even among the minority of Lib Dems who go back to when there were two Parties, people from both Parties will be on both sides of the argument. Of course the same argument also happens within the other Parties too, but the historical tolerance of dissent there makes the tensions more public.

  22. Neil A

    Over the last 6 quarters, France’s GDP has grown by 2% whilst ours has shrunk by about 0.3%. France has had one quarter of negative growth (just dipping to -0.1% briefly) whilst we have had four. Last quarter, they were growing at an annualised rate of 0.8% whilst we were shrinking at the same rate.

    If you reckon that the gap between their figures and ours is small, I hope you’ll give me a fair hearing if you ever feel my collar and I tell you that the gap between my speed and the speed limit was insignificant ;)

  23. Very good inauguration speech by Hollande…..interrupted by SN to report that Brookes to be charged for perverting the course of justice.

    Maximum penalty is life!

    Archer got 4 years though…..

  24. RB and Husband to be charged with Perverting the Course of Justice during the phone hacking scandal. More bad news for DC, but is this already factored into the ratings?

  25. LEFTY

    @” Last quarter, they were growing at an annualised rate of 0.8% ”

    “France’s economy stalled in the first quarter as household consumption flatlined, businesses pared back investment and exports slowed, underlining the challenge facing Socialist President Francois Hollande as he takes office on Tuesday.

    The euro zone’s second-largest economy posted zero growth in the first three months of the year, the INSEE national statistics institute said, after an anemic expansion of just 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, revised down from 0.2 percent.

    Beaumont predicted these negative factors would remain in place, resulting in a slight contraction in second-quarter GDP. Thereafter, a fragile recovery would take hold, restrained by the need for ongoing fiscal consolidation in France and the economic weakness in its trading partners in southern Europe.

    Hollande forecasts growth of 0.5 percent this year and 1.7 percent for 2013 but some expect him to lower these forecasts at July’s extraordinary session of parliament to review the budget.

    Despite becoming the figurehead for the fight-back against austerity in Europe, Hollande has pledged to respect France’s EU commitment to cut its deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2013, from 5.2 percent at the end of the year.”

    Reuters

    By comparison, UK’s 11/12 Deficit was 8.2% of GDP-down from 11% in 09/19

  26. Hi folks.

    Some graphs on the changes in VI over the past seven weeks. Everytime there’s a new poll, I take a note of the median absolute deviation (MAD) of the parties. This cuts out the outliers and gives (hopefully) a slightly more accurate state of play. The MAD samples used to calc it all use the last 30 polls, so there’s scope of error, but hopefully not too much.

    As time passes the gaps open up, assuming there are gaps. On a daily basis you might see no change or slight change, but over a period of seven weeks (32 polls in this instance) there is significant change.

    First a graph comparing the MAD on 27th March and the MAD from the 14th May:

    h ttp://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/441/thennow.png

    Of particular note are the UKIP gains in the Rest of South and Mid/Wal (with corresponding Con losses; In fact the con VI is down everywhere), and a possible Lib Dem recovery in Scotland.

    Next, the changes graphed:

    h ttp://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/252/changec.png

    Lastly, the sum of the changes by region (hopefully indicating if turnout, is rising or not):

    h ttp://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/33/turnout.png

    Not very scientific, but it does make for interesting speculation.

  27. @Neil A – “Yes, clearly the Germans need to drop their austerity programme and spend for growth. Oh no, hang on…”

    What I think you are missing is that the German response to the crisis was (alongside a bit of austerity) a major push on various investment incentives. They have long understood the benefits of a more development orientated interventionist industrial policy, and announced a raft of measures designed to help industry.

    By contrast, Osborne’s approach was to rely on a weak currency, cut government spending, cut investment tax reliefs, and hope that somehow private sector activity would magically expand to fill the gap.

    We are seeing the results of these two contrasting approaches.

  28. There was a brief moment when the SDP Liberal Alliance reached 50% in an opinion poll – this was largely beacause Labour was in self-destruct mode and there was a need for an opposition to Thatcher, who was deeply unpopular at the time.

    They were the main opposition in 70% of Conservative seats at the 1983 GE.

    When Labour became unsoppable again, the old guard SDP gang-of-four where guiding Paddy Ashdown down the path of alignment with Tony Blair.

    The big change occurred pretty much unnoticed by the electorate under Kennedy. It so happened that the Orange (smash the NHS) Book was published at the same time strategists made a decision about how being the opposition to Tories had run its course – further electoral progress would only come by replacing Tories as the main opposition to Labour.

    You can have ‘equidistance’… but on the main issue of the economy Cable (until the leadership debates began, Clegg was described by journalists as his bag carrier) clearly positioned LDs closer to Darling than Osborne – there is the volte face which brought years of equivocation to the surface.

  29. @Colin

    “Despite becoming the figurehead for the fight-back against austerity in Europe, Hollande has pledged to respect France’s EU commitment to cut its deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2013, from 5.2 percent at the end of the year.”

    His Presidential inauguration speech just now was very much the “cuts lite combined with employment and output support” that Labour needs to announce ASAP in my opinion.

    I am untroubled by a 3% ‘growth and stability pact’ esque deficit- which is *significantly* different from a “no deficit at all” policy.

    If Hollande really does implement a cuts lite approach to a 3% level and if Osborne continues with Plan A then – IF the election is in May 2015- we will have by then plenty of empirical evidence on the relative merits of the two approaches for the voters to base their judgement upon.

    @Alec

    I wrote this in response to a post of yours in the previous thread but the thread then changed almost straight away. It relates in any case to my post to Colin.

    ***
    @Alec

    “i) Labour needs to come forward with some policies and ii) When they do this, they will lose more support than when not having policies. So best not to have any policies then?”

    Is it illogical or merely wilful to misinterpret someone as often as you do!!

    Let me spell it out for you.

    Labour need to set out their policies long ahead of a potential election (and it is by no means certain that we have untill May 2015…) in order to take as long as they possibly can to convince as many people as possible of their appropriateness-here’s hoping what the two Eds finally come up with is appropriate!!

    The average voter should be utterly and completely unsurprised by anything that is in the next Labour manifesto- they should have heard about it at least 12 months before the election occurred (preferably even longer).

    If the policy platform *does* represent the kind of social democratic centrist position that IMO is needed for a chance at an OM, Labour are going to – probably but not inevitably- lose some of the ‘petulant left’ vote that (effectively) voted in the coalition by backing Clegg or the greens at the 2010 election- the sorts of people who were SO annoyed by what Ed Balls said in January. These are people who since ConLib have swung back behind Ed and believe the ‘we have our party back’ rhetoric of some observers.

    With detailed policies (especially cuts lite/ slower deficit correction) Labour will also initially lose some non aligned voters as they get monster’ed by the media and the commentariat (for being ‘tax and spend happy’ / ‘same old Labour’ etc)- a media who will have become bored of happy slapping Dave and Nick and will now have something meaty from Labour to get their fangs into. Labour needs to give them as many months (preferably years) as possible to wear themselves out.

    So:

    1) Labour need policies out ASAP and in detail to avoid their appearance as vapid and consisting merely of sound bites and phrases;
    2) to do so will initially lose them VI points in the polls (from left and non aligned voters);
    3) but getting it all out early will give enough time to win the argument- biggest mistake that Cameron made was staying policy lite right up till the GE of 2010. Nothing to learn from his approach, ditto neither Blair in 1995-1997 whom Cameron foolishly thought he should copy.

    Simples!

    BTW the probability empirically is that there will be at least some swing back to the Tories- not of Eoinesque proportions but certainly some.

    Labours lead is soft.

  30. @Neil A, Craig,

    “It wasn’t the Labour left who broke off and formed a new party as soon as their policies weren’t the ones adopted – in fact they’d accepted it for decades.”

    “a rise in the UKIP vote will … “fossilise” the current system by dividing the anti-Labour vote in the same way that the anti-Tory vote was divided in the 1980s.”

    My point is that the ‘UKIP Tendency’ reminds me very strongly of the Labour left in the 80s (even post SDP), that put the purity of their own ideals over any electoral consequences. The europhobic right is beginning to have the same rhetorical feel to it, such that there seems an increasing chance that they won’t simply return to the Tories (unless the Tories lurch right), with the ‘”fossilising” effect Neil’s referring to.

  31. @Gary Gatter – “Not sure I agree with that, look at the UK where we have the “rich” South and “poor” North. Quotes because I live in Tower Hamlets in London, one of the poorest areas in the UK.”

    I’m not quite sure what your point is, as your quote above rather backs up my case regarding the Euro.
    In the UK we do indeed have rich and poor regions, locked together with a single interest rate. This is clearly not sensible, unless there are compensating capital flows from the wealthy tax paying regions to the poor benefit recipient region to cover things like welfare bills and investment. This is the only way that a currency system can operate.

    Within the EZ, this doesn’t happen, which is why we have a problem. There is some ability for states to alter their fiscal policies in the EZ which can’t happen here (except in Scotland) but even here the EU has established rules on VAT and wants to harmonize tax regimes, creating even less flexibility to allow imbalances to be ironed out.

    It’s time to accept that the Euro is a completely defective currency in it’s current form, and it either needs to be abandoned or move towards a single state.

  32. If these poll leads for Labour can be sustained during the summer then how long before Ed Miliband starts to be portrayed as a PM in waiting?

    Cameron has already admitted he has no plan B, he appears to be a dead man walking

  33. Hi all, it is good to see Pam and Howard on here from The Green Benches

    I wanted to draw attention to some research carried out by the Fabians which shows ed is doing a good job of attracting and also retaining disillusioned Liberal Democrats

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/may/13/liberal-democrat-labour-ed-miliband

  34. @ALEC

    I agree about the single state. They are not far off it. We cope quite well with one currency for a diverse economy.

  35. @Rob Sheffield – thanks for the reply. I did read that, and all your other posts, and broadly speaking I don’t disagree with much of what you say. We’re not altogether too far apart on this. I just like prodding people who display outright certainties sometimes.

    I’ve always held a much more open opinion about Labour’s chances to win under EdM than you, and currently the polls are swinging behind my views rather than yours, although I’m not foolish to claim that these leads aren’t soft or more through mid term anti Tory sentiment than definitive pro Labour switching.

    I would maintain however, that my original shopping list of issues that will cost Cameron support and give Labour a good run at a majority next time round are still very much in play; NI – the scandal that just keeps on giving; the NHS – reports already of treatment on trolleys etc – by 2015 health will be a big negative for the government in my view; the economy – probably going to be the governments biggest perceived failure; party funding – I’m still expecting a big scandal here at some stage.

    I think we can sometimes be too mechanistic about predicting political futures, and in your case I suspect that your low regard of EdM is clouding your ability to accept uncertainty or changing perceptions. This doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly disagree with much of what you say.

    In one of your posts however, I could have been mildly offended, if I was that way inclined. You started by discussing David Milliband, before passing a comment about some who thought him a torturer etc, then implying pretty clearly by moving on to address me that I was one of those.

    For the record, I’ve never made any assertions regarding DM on this score, and it is unfair of you to link me to such beliefs. I have made plain my view that DM has a limited philosophical edge and in my view struggles to define a clear political framework, and I have also stated that he has repeatedly shown a lack of courage and decisiveness, in contrast to his brother.

    He may be an indecisive ditherer, but I’ve never labelled him as a torturer.

  36. Various Sun/NoW journalists have commented on how out of her depth/hopeless Wade/Brooks was as an editor, and how she inspired protective feelings towards her among colleagues.

    My guess is that she has an intuitive understanding of power politics, which enabled her to read the strengths, weaknesses and motives of the principle players around her – and this made her indispensible to them.

    Chrislane1947 will be saying a prayer for her today. The imploring glances she threw towards the increasingly tetchy Leveson probably cut little ice. Looks increasingly like she will end up carring the can. Establishment figures may be tainted, but will hope to escape serious censure.

  37. @ZEPH

    One point not mentioned is that many 2010 Lib Dem voters came from the Labour ranks in the first place. Some will return to the Labour ranks as time passes and distance from the 2010 election widens.

    @All

    With Caroline Lucas stepping aside, one wonders if Labour will benefit from Green Party folk who perhaps don’t like the Greens in the future (pure speculation without basis on my part).

    If Cameron can solve:

    The Economy
    Immigration
    Europe

    …all before 2014, he’ll win. He needs the UKIP voters back. Many are going to UKIP due to the last item, while UKIPs ranks were inflated slightly because of the immigration issue.

    The economy is still the key. In some ways for the UK France can help Cameron. If their economy suffers, he can blame the policy, if it thrives (and in turn increases the EU confidence), he can do more business with the EU and improve the UK economy, but only if he loosens the screws on the austerity a little. Win – Win perhaps?

    Given that Germany is posting 0.5% last quarter with an austerity package, and Hollande is reportedly looking more at austerity-lite with some spending (basically what the UK gov needs to do if the economy stalls for a third month), there’s nothing to suggest that austerity in itself is a bad thing, so much as the degree of austerity and the direction it takes. Different nations, with different economies and trading partners will have different austerity plans.

  38. @Gary Gatter – “I agree about the single state. They are not far off it. We cope quite well with one currency for a diverse economy.”

    By ‘they’ I assume you mean the Eurozone? If so, then I’m afraid you’re wrong – they are a million miles from it.

    To get any real sense of what is required, you really need to look at the only other recent example of a successful European currency union, which was the unification of Germany. here, West German real incomes were effectively stagnant for 15 years as money was poured into the former East from the richer west to unify the economies and balance the divergent systems.

    This is the kind of sacrifice Germany and other will have to make again, if you are to build a successful currency union across Europe, and they are simply unwilling to pay the price.

    The only currency unions that have worked (the UK, Germany and Italy in the C19th, the USA etc) have all been linked directly to political union with overarching national or federal budgetary powers.

    The Euro will never work as a long term stable currency unless and until there is a single European state. Indeed, this is the reason the Euro was designed. It’s originators knew the system was shot through with gaping holes, but they just assumed if they locked citizens into the room for long enough, they would automatically agree to the necessary changes to make it work.

  39. @ Martin “Their best bet would be to ditch Cameron and Hunt and appoint another leader. Who, I can’t imagine.”

    David Davis

  40. I find Social Liberals comments strange. I know many Americans who would dearly love to have a party with a solid base among working people, a strong trade union link and great democratic socialist credentials. Labour of course makes mistakes from tome to time but could never go down the unprincipled blind pit the Lib Dems have dug for themselves.

  41. @Statgeek – “Given that Germany is posting 0.5% last quarter with an austerity package…… there’s nothing to suggest that austerity in itself is a bad thing…”

    What people aren’t getting here is the impact of currencies. Germany is benefiting from an artificially low currency rate, as it is locked into the Euro. So far this has meant it is getting enormous help in terms of exporting outside the Eurozone. The crashing Euro will only help them further.

    The UK by contrast is now seeing our currency appreciate against our main export market currency, which is also undergoing deep austerity. This is why Germany can apparently do quite well under austerity and we can’t.

    It would be unwise to assume that if Germany can do it, we can. Indeed, it’s more likely that the more encouraging news there is from the German economy, the worse it will get for the UK.

  42. Just a thought… I think there must be an element of the population that don’t take much notice of the political details but rather follow the crowd to vote for who they think will be the winner.

  43. @ALEC

    “It would be unwise to assume that if Germany can do it, we can. Indeed, it’s more likely that the more encouraging news there is from the German economy, the worse it will get for the UK.”

    I didn’t say that. I said that it doesn’t mean austerity is a bad thing in itself, but different economies need to approach it in different ways and at different levels.

  44. ROB SHEFFIELD

    Thanks.

    I think the 3% is a maximum under FiskalPakt ( also under the old Growth & Stability thing , which France & Germany both disregarded )-not a target.

    I think the jury is probably still out on whether continuous deficits of 3% of GDP are sustainable.

    I wonder whether two or three years will, in fact be long enough for Hollandaise vs Osbornesque to be definitively analysed.

    But I certainly agree that politicians here will not turn the opportunity down-provided they can construct an argument which suits their cause.

    I wish I was as certain as you that the new Labour lead is soft. I would call it soggy-but if the summer is hot & DC doesn’t respond, it will start to solidify.

    THere is a great piece in today’s Times by Paul Staines about where the RoI bailout went. He makes a case for Irish withdrawal from EZ.

    I cannot make my mind up about a a Greek default & secession from EZ.

    I would have thought most commercial banks have written down their Greek holdings & taken the hit through P&L.

    But then there is the IMF/EU bailout money-that would be a huge hit for IMF/EZ sovereign contributors. And reading AD’s bleak analysis of food aid to starving Greeks-I can understand why the Greek Far Lefty who looks in pole position wants to stay in , but not pay the entrance fee :-)

    The political left is always ready to take someone else’s money with which to construct the New Jerusalem. :-)

    Exciting Times.

  45. Zeph

    The research that the article refers to is that shown here:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/xqzac41b6x/YG-Archives-Pol-FabianSociety-AttitudestoState-100412.pdf

    I do have to point out that despite the impression given by the G article the words ‘Ed’ and ‘Miliband’ nowhere appear in the poll. Having denounced the 99% of media coverage that is ridiculously biased against EM, it would be hypocritical of me not to also point out the 1% that goes the other way.

  46. @Statgeek – “I didn’t say that. I said that it doesn’t mean austerity is a bad thing in itself, but different economies need to approach it in different ways and at different levels.”

    I can agree with that. It’s worth bearing in mind that austerity of the kind envisaged in the UK and some other EU countries has never worked previously, unless it is accompanied by a major currency devaluation and/or against the backdrop of strong regional or global growth. This is the problem.

    Two years ago the coalition were briefing austerity success stories such as Canada and Sweden, but a largely uncritical media only explored these in terms of how much spending was cut and what was the balance between spending cuts and tax rises.

    Few journalists bothered to assess the fact that both examples were accompanied by substantial devaluations and in periods of strong global growth, which is why the domestic austerity in both cases was matched by export led growth and the programmes were ultimately successful.

    Coordinated austerity has never worked – reference the 1930’s. The fact that Germany is growing is merely a sign that austerity isn’t working. It just shows that the benefits of austerity are accruing to the nation that doesn’t need them, with the resulting continued impoverishment of the austerity driven nations as the result.

  47. Robin

    “reminds me very strongly of the Labour left in the 80s (even post SDP), that put the purity of their own ideals over any electoral consequences”

    Read as self defined ‘people of principle’!

    As the yanks say (about someone like poster @Craig or people like Arthur Scargill or Tony Benn):

    ‘…there goes a man who’d rather believe himself to be right than be president’.

    8-)

    @Alec

    Replied to you on new thread

  48. @Colin – “I cannot make my mind up about a Greek default & secession from EZ.”

    You probably don’t have to – it was decided years ago.

    The real tragedy about this is that the blindingly obvious has been ignored by the EU governments in an effort to save their own reputations. As a result, what should have been a planned and supported strategic realignment of the Eurozone, run at a timetable set by policy makers and with sufficient space to allow firewalls and rebooting of failed economies to take place, will now occur at a pace set by panicking markets.

    When it comes it will probably happen in the space of days or even hours, and will cause maximum damage to the poor Greek citizens and likely contagion elsewhere, with an ill prepared ruling elite largely powerless to intervene as they have sat on their hands and refused to countenance such an occurrence as it hinted at their own political mortality.

    I still favour something like a plan for Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland to leave the Euro. They would need to devalue and consequently default, so all creditors would exchange current debts for new 30 year bailout bonds issued as part of a rescue package that would not pay any interest. These would be affordable, but would mean that banks would maintain capital assets that would degrade slowly over time, spreading the losses over a lengthy period.

    In due course, these could be redeemed early or written off in a staged and structured manner as and when economic conditions improved, with the burden being shared between taxpayers and creditors over a long time scale and without a single shock event to paralyse the system.

    I seriously doubt the banks and markets would accept such a deal, but then they are terminally stupid, which brings us back to why we’re here in the first place.

  49. ALEC

    @”you probably don’t have to – it was decided years ago.”

    I do actually Alec.

    I quite like trying to make my own mind up, rather than reading yet another ready made set of absolute certainties from you.

    Thanks all the same.

    I am increasingly persuaded that easy talk of mass defections from EZ is too pat & superficial.

    This is a huge & complex problem.

    Simply trotting out the bleeding obvious-that they shouldn’t have got here in the first place doesn’t contribute a lot.

  50. Martin,

    ‘Their best bet would be to ditch Cameron and Hunt and appoint another leader. Who, I can’t imagine. Gove? (Just my little joke!)’

    Perhaps Jacob Rees-Mogg is a bit over-qualified for Wales and is ready to leap into the top job.

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