Lord Ashcroft has done another great big chunk of polling, this time focusing upon the rise of UKIP. Over on his site he has the results of a big poll of 20,000 people plus a series of focus groups with UKIP supporters and considerers.

Looking first at the demographics of who is supporting UKIP, amongst the 1000 people who said they would vote UKIP at the moment in Ashcroft’s poll, 45% say they voted Tory in 2010, 27% UKIP, 15% Lib Dem, 6% Did not vote, 4% Labour and 4% other parties. The demographic breaks show UKIP supporters continue to be heavily skewed towards elderly men – 43% of their support is from over 65s, just 8% from under 35s. 66% is from men, 34% from women.

Lord Ashcroft headlines his article on one of the most persistent myths about UKIP, that people vote for them over the issue of Europe and, therefore, winning the support of those people is all about offering policies related to Europe.

Past polling has shown this to be nonsense – a huge YouGov poll of voters in the 2009 European election found that Europe was only the fourth most important issue for UKIP voters after the economy, immigration and crime; a 2010 YouGov poll of UKIP voters at the 2010 election found the issue of Europe trailing behind the economy and immigration – and Lord Ashcroft finds the same now. Amongst people considering UKIP (he doesn’t provide a crossbreak for people saying they actually would vote UKIP) 68% name the economy as one of the most important issues facing the country, followed by immigration on 52% and welfare dependency on 46%. Europe is fifth on 27%… meaning almost three quarters of UKIP considerers really don’t see the issue of Europe as that important. Ashcroft found a similar pattern in his focus groups – Europe was mentioned comparatively little compared with immigration, welfare and general disatisfaction with modern Britain.

Asked which party people think has the best policy on particular issues, UKIP come nowhere at all on most issues. Even people considering voting UKIP don’t think they have policies on the economy, health, crime or whatever. There are only two issues where even UKIP considers think they have good policies – Europe and immigration. Essentially, UKIP have managed to break out of the ghetto of being a single-issue party to become a two-issue party, or a three-issue party if you count being generally dissatisfied with modern life.

As I endlessly say here though, policies really aren’t that important in determining voting intention. Ashcroft’s UKIP considerers say that they think the economy is the most important issue and they overwhelmingly think the Conservatives are the best party on that, they think David Cameron would be the best PM, they would prefer a Conservative majority at the election… yet they say they would consider voting UKIP. Why?

Crunching the data Ashcroft found the strongest correllations with considering voting UKIP were statements associated with values and party image – people who thought UKIP reflected their values, or was prepared to say the sort of things other parties wouldn’t. Lord Ashcroft also asked UKIP considerers whether they agreed with various reasons people might support UKIP. The most agreed with statement was to send a message about immigration and Europe (sadly lumped together in the same statement), followed by agreement with UKIP’s immigration policy, wanting to “take Britain back in time when things were done more sensibly” and the “bigger parties seem more interested in trendy nonsense than listening to ordinary people”.

Putting aside European elections (when much of UKIP support is from otherwise loyal Conservative voters sending a specific message over Europe), UKIP support is not particularly connected with Europe, it is an anti-immigration vote and protest vote against some aspects of modern Britain, a general reactionary vote in support of taking Britain back to a status quo ante.

Ashcroft also asked how some of the things that might stop people voting UKIP. The statements that UKIP considers agreed with least were the statements that UKIP seem “quite old fashioned”, or “seem a bit racist” – hardly surprising given the elderly age profile of UKIP supporters, their support for things being as they used to be and opposition to immigration – such voters are highly unlikely to see being anti-immigration as racist or being a bit old fashioned as a bad thing. The most agreed with statements were tactical ones about voting UKIP letting a party they didn’t like win their local seat or form the government.

So what of the future? The fact that UKIP support is not primarily driven by attitudes to Europe suggests that a referendum on EU membership is not the sort of elixir that some people seem to consider it to be. That’s not to say it wouldn’t shift votes, or appeal to people with the sort of values that lead them to support UKIP… just don’t expect it to magically lure all those votes back to the Conservatives overnight.

More pertinent is the degree to which UKIP sympathisers who prefer Cameron and the Conservatives to Miliband and Labour will end up returning to the Conservatives once an actual election arrives, and the degree to which UKIP has replaced the Liberal Democrats as a vehicle for mid-term protest votes from people unhappy with both the government and the opposition. Right now there is no good way of measuring that.


259 Responses to “Lord Ashcroft’s polling on UKIP”

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  1. Interesting poll from BritainThinks (on behalf of British Future) (2149 people):

    “Some people feel uncomfortable with the choices that their children or grandchildren might make about their relationships. Regardless of whether you have children at the moment, how would you feel if your child or grandchild were to have a serious relationship or marriage with any of the following:”
    Different race or ethnicity: 62 comfortable, 15 uncomfortable
    Different faith: 58/16
    Disabled: 51/15
    Same gender: 45/31

    “When they are released, the 2011 UK Census figures will show an increase in the number of children born to parents of different ethnic backgrounds. Which of the following comes closest to your view?”
    The growth of mixed-race relationships is a good thing. It shows that people can and do mix across ethnic groups, which could help Britain become more integrated – 47
    The growth of mixed-race relationships is a bad thing. It may lead to the dilution of the identity and culture of the different ethnic groups in our society – including white and ethnic minority cultures and identities – 21
    Neither – 22

    On a related point – does anybody know how much of an effect the bias of ‘I’ll answer based on what I’m supposed to, socially, say rather than what I believe’ actually has?

  2. Latest IPSOS-MORI Issues Index:-main changes :-

    Unemployment ( 2nd) -30%-down 3%
    Immigration ( 3rd up from 4th))-22%-up 3%
    Law & Order ( 4th up from 5th) -19%-up 2%
    NHS ( 6th down from 3rd)-15%-down 5%
    Education ( 8th down from 7th)-11%-down 3%

  3. Any chance of a second referendum on preferential voting? The Tories might now understand how it works….

  4. I wonder whether David Cameron has his tactics right at PMQs when he seems to respond to Miiband with a mixture of anger and impatience? Would it not be better to answer more dispassionately, and politely deal with the substance? As it is I think he appears .too defensive

    I felt similarly about EM when he always seemed to have a pained tone to his voice for the first year or so but that seems to have levelled off recently.

  5. @ Paul C

    The facts – courtesy of the Spectator:

    “In 2007/08, 22 food banks launched and fed 13,800. Those numbers rose steadily: in 2009/10, before the general election had even taken place, 40,900 people received emergency help from food banks. The picture is much worse now: 128,700 people used food banks in 2011/12.

    “As food prices rise, it becomes more and more difficult for those whose finances are fragile to weather a sudden shock, like an extra bill, or a late pay cheque. And 2013 is going to be a very, very hard year: this is when a large bulk of cuts to benefits come in, and anyone who pretends that life will stay the same for those on welfare payments is misguided.”

    And an ‘opinion’ paragraph from the same article:

    “But Miliband is offering no solutions to this. That Labour would also have to make cuts that would cause shocks is something his party doesn’t want to talk about at all, at least not before 2015.”

  6. Amber

    Ta. I was really also thinking that responding to the growing necessity for food banks with statistics about council tax etc just doesn’t come across as very caring, though I am not saying he doesn’t care. One would have assumed that DC and his team would see these questions coming and have better answers prepared for them.

    You’d also have thought the poice knew something about cameras and watertight evidence though: that is al very bizarre because, if they have colluded then they must have been very angry about something to do so, surely?

  7. PC
    Re: They must have been very angry.

    Either that or for some of them it’s a default state. The in-public examples of police collusion are now stacking up. It’d be ironic if a fairly minor example that happened to target a Tory grandee was the one that brought the house in on the police. They are struggling for friends right now.

  8. PAULCROFT

    Could you please have the letter (L) fixed on whatever contraption you are using?

    Tapadh leat….

  9. Can someone who has TV help me out.

    A retired college principal has described SLAB’s policy on tuition fees as “courageous” and journalists are quoting this as a positive comment in support.

    Isn’t “courageous” a Sir Humphrey euphemism from Yes, Minister?

  10. Aan:

    Dunno what you mean.

  11. JOHN B DICK

    “A retired college principal has described SLAB’s policy on tuition fees as “courageous”
    ____

    I think his name was Jack McConnell. ;)
    …..

    PAULCROFT

    Aye sure you do!!

  12. JOHN B DICK

    That would be Ian Graham, who described universal services as “a cruel and wicked deception”.

  13. There is no such thing as a Universal Benefit in Scotland.

    I deplore SNP spokesmen’s uncritical adoption of the value laden terminology of their opponents. To do so is sloppy thinking and the beginning of acceptance of the underlying values.

    The FM frequently tells us that in Scotland “sovereignty comes from the people”, not from the Queen in Parliament. Even he may think this is just a clever if arcane historical debating point, but it isn’t.
    A benefit (cognate with benefice) is something granted by the grace and favour of a ruler, landowner, bishop or factor.

    If your boss takes the staff out for a drink to mark the end of a project or year, that’s a benefit. If a group of colleagues go to the pub for a night out and put money in a kitty, that’s a co-operative purchasing arrangement.

    Most if not all of what are termed “Universal Benefits” are things that the people of Scotland require and expect their governments to provide out of taxation and we leave it to elected representatives to find the ways and means. Of course there are different views of what is or is not a requirement, the extent to which it should be provided, and the best means of doing so. Governments are assessed on the judgments they make and how they are implemented.

    They are not dispensing “benefits” as if to lottery winners .It is our (the people’s) money and our desire is to have e.g. a free NHS. They, (the politicians) are expected to use taxation money asyou did when you were sent out to get the messages for your mother. It’s not their money to do as they please witht. It is not for them to say something can’t be afforded and spend the money on something else we haven’t asked for.

    In England secondary education (but not more) is assumed to be necessary even for plebs because it is a prerequisite if they are to be able to service the elite. Therefore it is not spoken of as a “Universal Benefit” because to do so would call into question what principle is involved in making the distinction.

    My definition of a “Universal Benefit” is that it is
    something which is now free, but which within living memory has been paid for in either England or America.

  14. Oldnat

    It’s not ironic?

  15. @ Old Nat

    “Political parties (not infrequently) decide that suicide is a great idea! :-)”

    It’s not suicide. It’s accidental death through negligence.

    @ Billy Bob

    “Thanks for your reply to my post. I appreciate your comments about the lack of care services for those with mental health problems.

    I suppose in some ways I see mental health/illness as a sliding scale which could affect anyone anytime (even a vitamin deficiency might do it) – and as a kind of continuum, which is in its own way, an expression of society.”

    You’re welcome. In every single mass slaughter of innocents we’ve seen in these past few years, none of these events were the result of sudden psychotic breaks. They required extensive planning and preparation. They also required people to decline.

    I am sure that if everyone had access to a psychologist, just about everyone would have some sort of mental health condition. In the cases of those who decide to murder people for reason, they didn’t just wake up one morning nuts. They were severely mentally ill and suffering greatly. It also took a long time to fall to that point as well. It didn’t just start at the time of their attack. Or right before.

    “I had an argument with the Advertising Standards Authority, about how violent imagery (so they say) doesn’t affect people. I had an horriffic 5×25 metre poster for Eli Roth’s Hostel on an advertising hoarding outside my house at the time – passing toddlers in their pushchairs being traumatised on a daily basis for weeks.

    In my opinion violent imagery is more likely to have an effect on people when and if the balance of their mind is disturbed. The senseless murder of a homeless person occured one night within sight of that advertising hoarding – probably a coincidence but who knows?”

    It’s this kind of reasoning that always raises my fears of censorship. As a defender of free speech, I have to stand by violent speech. Even the speech I hate.

  16. @ Old Nat

    “Scottish Liberalism still exists. It’s just that Liberals don’t find the party worth supporting.”

    How does Scottish Liberalism compare to other forms of Liberalism? Namely, mine. :)

    @ Howard

    “Why is it you young people are so anxious to tell us about your VI?”

    Because young people are so rarely listened to and so poorly represented in government and the halls of power. In so many cases, decisions are being made for us without much in the way of our input. And because there’s an assumption that young people don’t care and don’t vote. So it kinda makes sense to state how one is voting.

  17. @ Old Nat

    “And they were so chuffed with Clinton’s comments about Scotland :-)”

    Well I’m not sure it was a veiled threat. I didn’t read it that way. I just read it as a American misunderstanding of current European nationalism. The increase in this new European nationalism is largely NOT attributable to a desire to re-balkanize Europe. Instead, it stems from the fact that Europe is more united than it’s ever been under the EU.

    I think Bill Clinton of all people should be careful to speak on votes occurring abroad. I mean, I think the last thing any Scot either undecided or only leaning one way or another on the issue of independence is Bill Clinton (or any other American for that matter) coming in and telling them how to vote. It’s the last thing that the No on Independence campaign wants.

    I’m a little bit frightened of Bill right now. I have a conspiracy theory (that shows you how possibly deranged I am) and that is he’s going to intervene in the upcoming LA Mayoral Election. And he will do it for the opponent of the candidate I’m supporting. It will mean something too as the candidates he endorses in Democratic Primaries or general election races featuring two Democratic opponents seem to have a habit of winning.

    He’s got a political hit-list (Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are probably not on the list) where he looks at races that pit supporters of the President in 08′ versus supporters of Hillary in 08′ and goes in to help those candidates who backed his wife. He goes in under the radar too. He’s gotten over his beef with the Prez but he still has lingering anger over 2008 and he’s got grudges he’s taking out. He’s also trying to make sure he builds up support for his wife for a 2016 race. I tell you, I don’t like it.

    But that’s my current beef with him/paranoia. Absurd? Perhaps. But no one could ever accuse the Big Dawg of not playing politics well.

  18. @ SoCal

    It’s this kind of reasoning that always raises my fears of censorship. As a defender of free speech, I have to stand by violent speech. Even the speech I hate.
    ————————
    Are you against age ratings for movies, games, music etc.?

  19. @ Amber Star

    “Are you against age ratings for movies, games, music etc.?”

    No. Those are self-censorship decisions. They are not required by law, instead required by industry associations. And they help members of the public make informed decisions about what they read, watch, play, and listen to.

  20. @ Roger Mexico (from the previous thread)

    “I’m not sure that quoting John Lennon is the most tactful thing to do when considering the use of guns in the US. It also rather undermines your point about high gun crime in DC by pointing out that there are few restriction just over the river in Virginia – unless guns like witches can’t cross running water. [forbidden smiley thing].”

    Well perhaps it wasn’t that tactful. But the point still stands. The DC point is often raised by right wingers. DC has a strict ban on all guns. Yet it has suffered from high crime, including very high gun crime in the past. As you and others point out, it’s very easy to get a gun in nearby Virginia. I agree and so the point is refuted. But I bring up the statistics to raise a larger point. Crime levels are not neccessarily related to the availability of guns.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against all gun control and I think we certainly need more, at least more regulation. But I don’t think simply making possession of a firearm a crime is somehow going to stop gun crime from happenning. Afterall, the crimes committed with the guns were already against the law to begin with.

    “Of course nearly everyone misses the real reason why strict gun control is needed in the US. It’s not about massacres or homicide or even accidents caused by guns being misused or not kept securely. All these would be reduced substantially, but the real life saver is in reducing deaths by suicide, which actually responsible for over half of those deaths..

    This is because of what you might call the Dorothy Parker effect. As she remarked on the subject of killing oneself:

    Guns aren’t lawful,
    Nooses give,
    Gas smells awful.
    You might as well live.

    But if guns are lawful suicide becomes much easier and requires much less effort and thought. If you have a loaded gun at hand, a passing suicidal thought can be carried out immediately and almost certainly fatally. Other methods of killing yourself take time and effort and have a much lower success rate. People have time to decide that they might as well live.”

    Australia introduced much stricter gun controls in 1996 (following a massacre) there’s an interesting piece (from August so not prompted by recent events) in the Washington Post about it here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/08/02/did-gun-control-work-in-australia/

    The Australian ban was accompanied by a buyback scheme and had the political advantage of being introduced by a right-wing government, which stopped partisan politics being played with it. The drop in the suicide rate was substantial and there doesn’t seem to have been a corresponding rise in other ways of taking your life.”

    I don’t think people take their lives on a whim. I’ve spoken to a number of people who have dealt with clinical depression and a number of mental health professionals on the subject.

    Besides, suicide reduction is more evidence of the need to combat mental health issues. The answer is not to take away guns from law abiding citizens. Someone who wants to take their own life (who isn’t terminally ill or facing imminent death….I’m thinking of the people in the World Trade Center who leapt to their deaths rather than be burned) needs professional help and counseling. Perhaps medication (or a change in the medication).

    Also, even if we had an all Republican held federal government and we had this kind of push, there would still be partisan politics. Those Republicans would be targeted by the NRA in primaries. And other gun rights lobbying groups.

  21. @ SoCal

    They are not required by law, instead required by industry associations.
    —————
    I see; do you think that it’s consumer pressure via a boycott which they fear? Or do they fear censorship being enforced by laws, if they don’t self-censor?

  22. Good Morning All. The end of term tomorrow! Thank God.

    Labour with 13% and Cons with 30. Seems big lead.

  23. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 19th December – CON 30%, LAB 43%, LD 11%, UKIP 10%; APP -36

  24. 9 pt Lab lead over 60s. And Lab only have 38 for that age group.

    29% support for Con amongst over 60s. Blimey.

  25. An early Radio 4 programme today; Farming Today, had a distressing item about the rising number of working rural families going got help to farming chariites for food and cash.

    It is not just urban Britain in distress.

  26. @ Amber Star

    “I see; do you think that it’s consumer pressure via a boycott which they fear? Or do they fear censorship being enforced by laws, if they don’t self-censor?”

    I think they fear censorship being enforced by laws. Now I don’t think there’s as much risk for that these days as there was back in the olden days when you had more judges who preferred to enforce their own moral philosophies rather than actually follow the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold. Still, by having these ratings systems, the entertainment industry has protected itself. By having the ability to self-regulate, it wards off potential attackers. It helps gain allies too who are not neccesarily supportive of your product. It’s a lot easier to send the Mary Whitehouses of the world off to Oregon when you can get the public’s support.

    It also helps people though to avert their eyes from that which they don’t wish to see. If you jam something in someone’s face, you’re taking away their individual right. As my former City Councilman and County Supervisor Ed Edelman once said (as he cast votes against requiring news racks to cover up nudity on public shelves and voted against prohibiting topless bars), “No one is forced to look at nudes. The people who are frequenting these topless places are doing it of their own will.” I feel that ratings systems and self-regulation helps make that refreshing quote a reality. No one is forced to look and if they do look, they know what they’re getting.

  27. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9755932/David-Cameron-deserves-better-than-this-ghastly-backbench-B-team.html
    Interesting piece from Peter Oborne – the quote that’s being widely bandied about is ” Mr Miliband now looks likely to become the next prime minister” – but that completely divorces it from it’s context.

    The argument is effectively that Cameron’s party, rather than his leadership, – by seeing things only in a blinkered partisan and ideological way – will cost the Conservatives the next GE and give Miliband the prime-ministership by default.

    Given a similar situation has happened in various countries around the world – the government who were in power during the financial crisis getting booted out and then taking back power a few years later [1] – it’s not completely inconceivable that Labour will win not because they’re supported but because the Tory and LibDem vote collapses.

    [1] Japan and Greece are prime examples.

  28. It should be noted that Labour won in a similar way in 1997 and the Tories in 2010 (if we start with 1997 as our ‘point of origin) –
    The Conservative vote dropped 10.7% of the electorate between 1992 and 1997 , Labour picked up 4.2% of the electorate and turn-out dropped around 6.2%.
    If we assume that the Conservatives had turned out in 1997 who voted in 1992 (equal to say, 5% of the electorate), then we would have been looking at a VI closer to Con 35, Lab 40.
    Equally Lab 1997-2010 saw a drop in the electorate of 12%, but Tories only gaining 1.6% of the electorate over that period.

    So plenty of governments have won ‘by default’ rather than a massive increase in popular support in their time in opposition.

    Hopefully we won’t see similar collapses in turn-out here next time. ;)

  29. chrislane

    “the end of term tomorrow, thank god”

    I’ve heard of faith schood chris but i didn’t realise that god got involved in the holiday rota!

  30. Interesting YouGov poll and that 30% strikes me (Anthony?) as the lowest for the Tories in a YouGov poll for many a long day. The slight irony about this for me is that I think it’s been a pretty good week or so for the Government of late and, if anything, I would have thought that the polls might have tightened a little to reflect that. Inflation static, unemployment falling, the Mitchell saga unravelling beneficially, the Hillsborough inquest ruling, troop withdrawals from Afghanistan announcement; that strikes me as a batch of fairly good news stories, certainly in comparison to the last baleful nine months or so for the Conservatives and the coalition.

    I’m presuming that tomorrow morning’s YouGov poll will be the last this year as we head into the Christmas and New Year break, and I shall be intrigued to see if, somewhat belatedly, the Tories get a bit of a pre-holiday bounce from the recent positive political and economic news. There’s no sign of it yet and the intriguing thought may be that the damage done since March has dealt them some terminal damage, a la Major’s government in 1992, and that the electorate are not greatly inclined to reward them even when they appear to be governing quite competently. If so, that’s extraordinarily worrying for both parties in this Coalition because it rather suggests that fixed opinions of them are starting to form in voters minds and that some of the anti-Tory vote isn’t quite as soft and recoverable as they’d like to think.

    On the Hillsborough inquest ruling, I have to say that I’m greatly impressed with Dominic Grieve. I heard him talking about it on Radio 4 last night as I drove home and he’s the sort of politician that gives politics a good name. One of the unsung heroes of this Government, I think.

  31. @CL1945 – “An early Radio 4 programme today; Farming Today, had a distressing item about the rising number of working rural families going got help to farming chariites for food and cash.”

    I would back that up. I work with a support charity in our very rural area, and the situation is increasingly difficult. While agriculture is doing relatively well at present in terms of prices and incomes, costs are rising also, and certain sectors particularly are now struggling.

    However, in economic terms, agriculture is a relatively minor part of the employment and economic base in rural areas, and it’s in these other sectors where things are tough. Numbers of sufferers are not necessarily high, in gross or relative terms, but it’s the nature of the problems that make live difficult, and the high costs associated with living in many rural places.

    The group I have been involved with has had a very good record in preventing suicides for the last decade or so – a problem which plagued our dale in the past and was the main reason the group was established. Their funding runs out in less than a year as grants disappear.

  32. On Scotland and universal benefits; I believe SLAB are onto something here. Scottish Universities themselves are nervously pointing out that they will lose around £60m under independence, as they won’t be able to charge English students any more, so the tuition fee issue is going to become a real test for the SNP.

    I think there is also a general disquiet amongst many Scottish voters regarding the costs of maintaining things like free care for the elderly, with even some SNP MSPs saying this isn’t a viable long term position.

    I noted with interest the thoughts of some bloggers and commentators that SLAB had ruined their chances by raising the prospect of an end to universality in some areas, but at the time I thought this was misreading the mind of the Scottish electorate.

    My guess is that over the next few years, the issue of the SNP’s credibility will be a key consideration. While I’m not predicting the future here, my strong suspicion is that they will be under intense pressure on independence issues like the currency and membership of the EU, and domestically it will become increasingly clear that the effort to distinguish themselves from their SLAB opponents through universality is in trouble.

    I suspect that Labour will do very well in Scotland in 2015, and the weakening of the SNP presence is not going to be wonderful news for Cameron.

  33. @TingedFringe

    The Oborne article is certainly interesting but, as you’d expect from a lifelong Conservative, it’s very Tory-centric and introspective and contains some extremely contestable dismissive swipes at Labour and Miliband. I also think he misunderstands the true nature of the Tories political and electoral problems. Troublesome backbench MPs bedevil all governments and I haven’t seen anything that Cameron has had to deal with that predecessors like Thatcher, Major and Brown didn’t have to encounter too. Cameron shouldn’t obsess too much about the Bones of this world; his real and much deeper problems lie elsewhere.

    Oborne cites old Tory legends like Willie Whitelaw, but the slow decline in Toryism started in that era and the seeds for later woes were planted and nurtured in the Thatcher and Major days. Cameron is doing as best he can with a party that was largely hollowed out in terms of organisation and membership in the 90s and whose election-winning coalition of voters more or less collapsed then too.

    This is pure conjecture, I know, but maybe the British centre-right needs a Tory defeat in 2015 so that it can begin to align itself around a major party, or parties, that look and feel different to the current Conservative Party. I think the centre right in the US may well have a similar challenge too.

    New Labour wasn’t as ridiculous a concept as some people alleged at the time and it was conceived as a political concept by Labour modernisers who recognised that what we loved and knew as the old Labour Party had more or less come to the end of its political life by the 1980s. Maybe Toryism as embodied by the old Conservative Party is arriving at that stage too.

  34. We shall see tomorrow morning whether there has been a great tide of sympathy for Mr Mitchell resulting in a Con lift but today’s poll is surely something of an outlier?

    I mean for Con to be at 30, without UKIP up (indeed lower than LD) seems ‘not right’.

  35. I felt similarly about EM when he always seemed to have a pained tone to his voice for the first year or so but that seems to have levelled off recently.

    -Ed Miliband had a deviated Septum in His nose which caused the nasal sound and other bronchial problems , this was operated on a Year ago, apparently it worked.

  36. Tinged Fringe

    You refer at several points to ‘the electorate’ but I got the impression your figures were sometimes about turnout rather than those entitled to vote (as opposed to those who did).

    Did I misunderstand your points?

  37. @Alec

    I don’t want to dispute your facts but Aldi sell pasta for 29p.
    It’s really hard to starve in the UK.

  38. First para is a mess. Hopefully TF you understood what I meant to ask.

  39. Crossbat11

    ‘On the Hillsborough inquest ruling, I have to say that I’m greatly impressed with Dominic Grieve.’

    I agree with that. He is the best of the lot of them by a long way. Seems to be a decent and honourable man.

  40. Crossbat – its their second lowest since the election (I know, since I accidentally told the Sun last night that it was the lowest, then spotted a 29% in April and had to quickly correct myself!)

  41. Odd thing about the Oborne/Telegraph article, is that I read it last night and enjoyed reading the comments (I am a proud lurker) and I noted many against Oborne which I believe may stem from UKIP posters, and there were also a fair number that took parts of his article to task with him. Today however, the comments section to this article has disappeared, is it my PC? I don’t think so, it seems to be loading other sites successfully.

    Are people getting really scared

  42. CB11

    @”the electorate are not greatly inclined to reward them even when they appear to be governing quite competently”

    Having similar thoughts ( & worries in my case!)

    However, the VI flounce to UKIP is still clouding the issue -if indeed it is not of a permanent nature.

    In this morning’s YouGov Poll , just half of the UKIP support in the 40/59 & 60+ demographics represents 4%pts of Con VI.

    I had a feeling that the UKIP bounce might have been triggered by the Census numbers. These were well covered in the Press & would certainly have acted as a “reminder” of a state of things which Ashcroft shows as of concern to at least half of UKIP considerers.

    The last net inward migration numbers showed a decent fall-below 200k pa for the first time in four years. And those numbers were very dated-YT March last.
    So perhaps Theresa May, whose involvement in the recent Hillsborough announcements must count amongst your “fairly good news stories” holds the main key to a return of the migration anxious defectors if she can maintain that trend.

    Also, the Ashcroft Poll seems to show a distinct aversion to the Coalition , as opposed to the Conservatives in UKIP considerers. I take this to mean distrust of the LibDem influence.
    That will disappear at the GE-and NC will help as he cranks up the anti-Tory rhetoric & both parties go their separate ways.

    That does leave Europe-albeit with the Ashcroft caveats -still a concern of nearly a third of UKIP considerers.

    This falls to DC , and he has said he will set out policy thoughts in January. The subject is so fraught with technicality and constantly changing criteria that I find it difficult to see how DC will be able to set out anything which can be considered of permanence , let alone of attraction to the visceral Europhobe.

  43. Wolf,

    ‘I don’t want to dispute your facts but Aldi sell pasta for 29p.’

    Sure but how much is the bus fare there and back again?

  44. @SoCalLiberal – ” …none of these events were the result of sudden psychotic breaks. They required extensive planning and preparation.”

    That’s right, the recent disaster wasn’t a sudden whim/heat of the moment calamity made possible by a gun to hand. From what I have read the perpetrator grew up in a home where gun collecting had become obsessional. Planning probably took the form of an ongoing fantasy which was finally enacted during an episode.

    In the home where I grew up toy guns were banned – not that it stopped us improvising… though as the youngest I usually got the imaginary bow and arrow. That was the 1960s and I’m happy that was how it was. It’s entirely possible if I lived in the US I would feel different.

    On the Eli Roth thing, for sure I’d censor advertisers who blitz a neighbourhood with massive hoardings depicting a torture scene.

    There is a historical element, how a society has developed and the extent to which guns played a part. There is the cultural element too. Very occassionally an ogre would flash a rod in silent films, cue theatrical raised eyebrows, everyone runs away, and plenty of ingenious stunts along the way. Then there were the plot twists in film noire when a baddie suddenly losses off: Blam-Blam. Then the gunslingers whose six shots (or was it five?) invariably went wide. How far have we moved beyond the 1980s era where an action hero in a bandana blasts all to hell with a machine gun?

    Perhaps something for politicians to think about, the type who like rhetoric about America being a beacon for the world?

  45. @ Wolf

    29p when you haven’t got it is a lot of money. Talking to a young mum yesterday I noticed her hand very inflamed and asked what she had done, she told me she got it stuck down the side of the chair because she could hear coins moving but couldn’t get to them, she managed to free her hand but injured herself in the process. I offered her some change I always keep in my coat pocket for emergencies like a litre of fuel, or parking or supermarket trolleys, she said it was OK she had managed to get the money out by actually cutting into the underneath canvass of the chair. She was desperate for loose change to buy that day’s dinner. It is not hard to starve in this country today and unfortunately it’s getting worse.

    How can she manage to feed her little boy and heat their home too? With all respect, your comment shows that you really have no idea how hard it is for people and the flippant comment, I found quite jarring.

  46. Colin,

    Whilst not wishing to get into a debate about immigration either, reduced numbers cannot simply be described as ‘good news’ unless you share the concerns of the UKIPers.

    I don’t object to immigration, nor emigration. I think it is human freedom of the sort that white western europeans have always more or less taken for granted.

    I’m far more worried about the shady ‘concerns’ of UKIP supporters on this issue and the way the entire debate is handled by the mediam which presents immigration as a threat to us and as if we are all being taken for mugs by grasping foreigners.

  47. WOLF

    @”I don’t want to dispute your facts but Aldi sell pasta for 29p.
    It’s really hard to starve in the UK.”

    I was looking for some data on the reasons for using a Food Bank.

    Trusell Trust ( a significant provider) found that :-

    30% are short of cash on a cyclical basis due to waiting for Benefit payments. ie they need every penny & have no facility to fund cash flow variation.
    10% are in Debt crisis-loan sharks etc.
    5% are rough sleepers .

    “The two main reasons that people were referred to foodbanks in 2011-12 were benefit delay and low income. Other reasons for referrals include delayed wages, domestic violence, sickness, unemployment, debt, benefit changes, refused crisis loans,
    homelessness and absence of free school meals during school holidays. ”

    Their numbers are certainly rising:-

    05/06 2814
    06/07 9174
    07/08 13849
    08/09 25899
    09/10 40898
    10/11 61468
    11/12 128697

  48. MIKEMS

    @”Whilst not wishing to get into a debate about immigration either, reduced numbers cannot simply be described as ‘good news’ unless you share the concerns of the UKIPers.”

    My post was expressed in terms of UKIP considerers.

    I share your wish not to debate the effects upon the UK of it’s net inward migration numbers over the period of the last Labour Government.

  49. Thank god for immigration. The pensions demographic would be woeful but for the incomers and their kids.

  50. @Wolf “I don’t want to dispute your facts but Aldi sell pasta for 29p.
    It’s really hard to starve in the UK.”

    I’m so glad you’ve solved all the problems and there’s no need for Food banks now. Best nip along and tell all those volunteers they are not needed any longer.

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