The last monthly poll of the year that was still outstanding, ICM for the Guardian, turned up on Christmas Day of all times. Topline figures were CON 32%(nc), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 13%(nc) – the figures are all typical of ICM’s polling of late (the comparatively high Liberal Democrat level of support is methodological, and normally due to the reallocation of a proportion of don’t knows to the party they voted for last time, which usually produces a higher Lib Dem score and a lower Labour lead).

Depending on what TNS BMRB and Opinium are doing with their regular polls over the Christmas break, this may well be our last poll of the year.


324 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 32%, LAB 40%, LDEM 13%”

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  1. Happy New Year then.

  2. nc/nc/nc in this poll reflects the whole of 2012. Government has managed day to day events and neither they nor the opposition have moved the debate on. The polls have remained static and will probably do so for the foreseeable future. 2013 promises to be 2012 and 2011 all over again.

  3. @COLIN GREEN

    In Deember 2011,Labour had a two point poll lead which has increased to eight for the last three months.Difficult to argue that there has been no change in 2012.

  4. Overall Labour lead across all pollsters circa 10 points. A good, solid lead but not necessarily an election winning lead at this stage. Overall, a good year for Labour and Ed Miliband. Can they keep the momentum going in 2013?

  5. Lab up 5% since Jan 2012, Con down 8%. That’s not no change over 2012. That said LDs remain static in the doldrums – within 1% of their post GE low with ICM.

    So a much happier Christmas for Miliband this year. Balls remains Labour’s weak link.

    I missed the last post yesterday, so a belated Happy Christmas to all.

  6. “the figures are all typical of ICM’s polling of late (the comparatively high Liberal Democrat level of support is methodological, and normally due to the reallocation of a proportion of don’t knows to the party they voted for last time,”

    Would be nice to see a little more polling questions asked for the ‘don’t knows’. Part of me says well if former Lib Dems don’t know by now then maybe they will be back in the fold. However it could be a ‘don’t know’ because it won’t be Lib Dem but they haven’t a clue where else to go to.

    I actually think this poll could be very close the GE result in 2015. Labour maybe down a couple of points, Tories where they are now, Lib Dems probably a bit lower but maybe not damaging them as much in the Tory/Lib Dem marginals.

  7. For all the ideological debates over policy we see here I wonder if we are now in an era of “Managerialism”.

    Voters haven moved away from the Tories because they don’t like what it has done in the last year, particularly in the budget, but I don’t think they are rallying to Labour because of what it is offering.

    With the economy set to dominate policy for the rest of this Parliament I think who will be seen as best on that issue will be crucial. Increasingly in 2013 we will see the Tories switch to trying to tie Labour down to “What would you do instead” and Labour avoid giving details.

    Labour will go for “We’re not Them” and the Tories say They’d be Worse”!

    The games afoot!

    Peter.

  8. I don’t know what my colleague Colin Green is imbibing but he seems to be ‘inebriated with the exuberance of his own optimism’ (apologies to Disraeli). :-)

    Admittedly, the poll at this time last year was heavily influenced by the EU ‘veto’ bounce in the weeks previous.

  9. The poor old libdems what terrible figures. Surely the temptation to make Nick walk the plank is getting to fever pitch?

  10. @colin green

    “2013 promises to be 2012 and 2011”

    Not sure I agree- think it is possible that one more huge shellacking in the Locals (where many contests are against Tories and where all CC are up) will put the LD activists over the edge. I can see one scenario post such another local election slaughter where Nick gets the orange boot- which more than likely would mean (at last) a ‘C&S’ arrangement.

    Though agreed also a possibility that LDs sit on their hands rather like a rabbit remains still when staring at oncoming cars headlights.

    That’s the politics – where I do agree it will be similar is in the numbers: whatever happens. I think 8-10 Labour lead and LDs circa 10-12 for all this year.

    It’s only going to be the election campaign (or the actual full break up of the coalition i.e. not even C&S) that really shakes things up in the polls IMHO- bar the normal Macmillan caveat.

    The campaign and the debates will narrow the gap between Labour and Tories.

  11. @SHEVII (11.25)

    “Would be nice to see a little more polling questions asked for the ‘don’t knows’. Part of me says well if former Lib Dems don’t know by now then maybe they will be back in the fold. However it could be a ‘don’t know’ because it won’t be Lib Dem but they haven’t a clue where else to go to.”

    Good point. As an “ex Lib Dem” I am currenntly in no-mans land. I use quotes as while I resigned from the party over NHS “privatisation”, I still support them locally delivering focus leaflets and will vote for my LD councillors.
    If Clegg, Alexander and Laws depart the scene before 2015 and/or the party moves back to the centre/centre-left then I will almost certainly be back in the LD camp. If the changes do not occur, then my vote will probably go Green or independant depending on the actual candidates. It is unlikely to go Lib Dem or Lab and definately not Con or UKIP.

    Thus it can be said I am a definate “don’t know”. How many more people are in a similar position.

  12. Rob S

    “I think Labour lead 8-10% for all this year”

    A bold prediction with still another five full days to go Rob.

  13. “The campaign and the debates will narrow the gap between Labour and Tories.”

    Yes, I agree with Rob that it is very likely that the gap would/will close during an election campaign and the debates due to 1) the incumbency factor, and 2) the public’s general perception of Cameron being a better leader than Miliband. The real question is how much the gap would/will narrow, and will it be enough to still see a Labour victory? Beyond very biased and partisan predictions, I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to these questions. However, at present it seems that 2015 is likely to be another close election if current polling numbers are to be believed. If the Tories close the current 10 point gap during 2013, then Labour could be in trouble in 2015. But if Labour manages to widen the gap in 2013, I think Miliband will be odds on favourite to become the UK’s next prime minister.

  14. I think the current ‘static’ situation the polls is a reflection of a wait and see attitude of much of the electorate. So far Labour have offered just a couple of concrete policy proposals and none of those have much to do with the economy. Will Labour still move to reduce VAT in their 2015 manifesto? Will they move against the banks viz bonuses and quicken their restructuring (separation of functions)? Will they reverse the NHS ‘reforms’ ?

    These and other policies may emerge over the next two years but if Labour wait too long before committing themselves to anything for their manifesto, they may ‘miss the boat’ so to speak.

    The ‘wriggle room’ that Osborn craves to be available to him in time for the 2015 election is fast disappearing and he will be looking for something more than just blaming Labour for all our ills.

    No, I think there is much to be decided and in the ‘game’ of politics much to be played for over the next two years. This plus ‘events’ could change our current perceptions radically.

  15. Anthony,

    Interesting point on PB about 44% of UKIP supporters being willing to switch to stop a party they don’t like.

    Have YouGov ever done anything similar and if so what were the results.

    I’d be interested to see just how many of each Party’s supporters would vote tactical and for and against who.

    I suspect it would be a fair slice of the electorate.

    Peter.

  16. thewash:

    Excellent use of “inverted” commas. My Mum used to do that a lot …. as in

    “We went to ‘Barnstaple’ to the shops.”

  17. I find it amusing that so many people still assume that ‘the Debates’ are going to happen in 2015. Comments from the Tories in recent weeks clearly suggest an inclination to walk away from them next time. Labour has already stated that a repeat of the 2010 format will be unacceptable.The chances of them happening at all have surely diminished a fair bit.

  18. Graham

    You’re easily amused: d’you want to hear another of my xmas cracker jokes??

  19. @PC

    Ha! Yes bolder if I had typed correctly that I can see an 8-10 point lead lasting through 2013 subject to usual caveats!

    @Amber

    I’d agree with you if either movement in either direction were a result of Labour announcing firmly their spending, tax, immigration and Europe policies. Somehow I can’t see EdM et all obliging- even though IMHO as regular readers know I think late 2011/ sometime in 2012 were for all of the above. Any movement during a policy free/ policy lite year (if that is what 2013 ends up being) is just going to make the eventual swings seem even larger once the polices do get announced- especially the centrist stuff the pees off the ‘we got our party back brigade’. IMO it would have been far better to announce the bad news of “tough times and choices even under Labour” *years* in advance of the suggested 2015 election. Though I remain unconvinced the coalition is going to last much longer past this time next year as I have been saying since May 2010.

    @Graham

    I find it amusing that anyone is falling for the posturing and tactical games playing of any party at the moment vis-a-vis debates!!

    The only reason NOT to have a debate (irrespective that whoever pulled the plug would be slaughtered by web, print and TV media) would be if you were so far ahead you did not need to risk it. The next GE is going to be a close one and neither potential PM is going to be sure of a win.

    There will be at least one debate during the next GE campaign.

  20. @ Rob S

    I think you were responding to Ambivalent Supporter’s comment rather than one of mine; although you may be psychic because I was about to comment as follows:

    I do not believe the Labour/ Tory gap during 2013 is important at all; what will be important is if Labour can stay firmly above 40% with new highs which exceed their 2012 44% limit (45 & 46 being outliers in 2012).

    If Labour can achieve that 45ish% level of support & the LibDems kick the boundary changes into the long-grass then Labour will simply need to hold their nerve & stay ‘policy lite’ all the way to the election (whenever it comes).

  21. The “static” thing isnot the lead, but the speed and direction of travel.

  22. @Rob Sheffield,

    “I find it amusing that anyone is falling for the posturing and tactical games playing of any party at the moment vis-a-vis debates!!

    The only reason NOT to have a debate (irrespective that whoever pulled the plug would be slaughtered by web, print and TV media) would be if you were so far ahead you did not need to risk it. The next GE is going to be a close one and neither potential PM is going to be sure of a win.

    There will be at least one debate during the next GE campaign.

    You beat me to it, Rob. I totally agree.

  23. Rob Sheffield
    ‘whoever pulled the plug would be slaughtered by web, print and TV media’
    I don’t believe that any party is likely to reject the Debates on principle – much more likely is that they will fail to agree a format. That way no single leader gets landed with the blame!

  24. @Amber,

    I think the boundary changes are dead now anyway. Any future boundary changes won’t happen until after 2015. Same goes with the change to individual voter registration with the exception of postal votes.

  25. @Graham,

    In the case of a close election – and most experts believe the next GE will be close – all 3 main leaders will see the televised debates as a means to gain public support and win the GE.

  26. Can someone remind me which of the pollsters is usually called “The Gold Standard”. I know it is usually the one which gives Labour the least percentage, however with the polls all now giving them the same percentage within MOE, I have actually forgot which one wears the medal…..can anyone let me know.

  27. If I was Miliband I would be insisting that UKIP were included in the televised debates in the interests of fairness and in the interests of him being a casual bystander while Cameron and Farage thrash it out. All his contribution would need to be is a rolling of the eyes!

  28. @ Keith P (from the previous thread)

    “According to the Archbishop of Westminister, Gay Marriage is Undemocratic. Well, he ought to know something about that: for instance Faith leaders in the HoL, etc. Irony, mmm?”

    Well, most fundamental rights aren’t democratic. That’s why they’re fundamental rights. A majority might dislike the exercise of that right but they can’t take it away.

    While I don’t think that fundamental rights should ever be put to a popular vote, something that gives me a good deal of holiday cheer is that voters in 4 states defied the orders of the Pope, Archbishops, and other religious leaders and figuratively flipped them the bird. And the Archbishop of Westminster and the Pope can scream and whine and express their bigotries all they want but there’s nothing they can do about it. :)

  29. I have no idea as to whether ‘the Debates’ will happen in 2015 – I am simply making the point that they are not the certainty that many appear to assume. It is perhaps recalling what happened in the USA . The Kennedy – Nixon debates took place in 1960 but there were no debates in 1964, 1968 nor 1972 – only since the Ford – Carter debates of 1976 have they become a fixture of the Presidential campaigns.

  30. @SoCalLiberal

    Define “fundamental rights”: when did they become fundamental? Or do Human Rights trump them? One of the great ironies is “protecting Religions from Human Rights legislation”. Bizarre but some deem it necessary.

  31. SoCalLiberal,

    Just as fundamental rights shouldn’t be overturned by the majority as they represent a universal entitlement, that all should have, so to, those that hold minority views shouldn’t be silenced.

    Fundamental rights are in fact democratic, because democracy is rule by majority consent for the good of all, and equality under the law is in the interests of us all.

    As a Catholic I don’t agree with my own churches views on Gay Marriage, I don’t have a problem with it, I do however draw the line with the idea that they are bigots because they hold a minority view or that I don’t agree with it.

    An odd thing the polls show is that a majority feel that marriage should be between a man and a women, but also that a majority also support Gay marriage.

    That seems to suggest that people understand in some way that just because they would rather it wasn’t the case personally they hold a stronger view that it is wrong to deny it to others.

    That seems to suggest a rather healthy society on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Oddly enough many religious people oppose abortion because for them “The Right to Life” is a fundamental right and shouldn’t be overturned by the courts or politicians even if by a democratic vote.

    On that your view would fit with theirs.

    Others put the right of choice as more important or fundamental so support abortion on demand.

    How to you reconcile two groups with opposing views both of whom think they are fundamental?

    Citing the four US States, you seem to like the fact that it has been resolved democratically even though you don’t think fundamental rights should be taken away by the majority even after a vote?

    Peter.

  32. @Peter Bell

    I’m within a gnat’s spit the same position as you; the only difference being that I will no longer canvass or leaflet for the council candidate; not because of him personally, but because he is now running under the umbrella of a tainted brand.

    I may vote green (but probably not, as they tend – per Sellar & Yeatman – to be Wrong but Wromantic), I may vote independent (but probably not as they tend to be Tory or one-issue-merchant or nutcase), I may vote Labour (though holding my nose at the autocratic centralism endemic in the party). Most likely, for the first time in my life, I’ll spoil my ballot paper at the general election when it comes in 2015 (or still possibly, as I predicted in the aftermath of the last election, in 2013).

    As to the polls, polldrums will continue unless and until there’s a collapse in either (a) the coalition, or (b) the eurozone. My bet, for what it’s worth, is that both will happen this summer.

  33. @AW

    Can I canvass for UKPR man-of-the-year award? In two years occasional posting (ok, on average only one a month or so) I have yet to go into moderation.

    […awaits this going into moderation] ;)

    Happy new year one and all.

  34. @ Steve Coberman (12.28 & 12.34)

    The reason I continue to support the local candidates is that in Newcastle we had a very good LD council until 2011 when the stupidity of Clegg et al cost us a number of seats.

    Like you I may spoil my ballot paper – I have done it before, the last time being the Police Commisioner elections as I was totally against the idea of PCCs.

    I would have to challenge you for UKPR man of the year. I have probably contributed on more occasions than yourself and like yourself have yet to be moderated. Almost feel deprived (of being on the naughty step) cf. some contributors on here. -:)

  35. @Peter Bell

    I’ve only spoiled my papers at local elections, never general elections. Last District Council elections here had 4 candidates for 3 seatss:3 Tory and one UKIP. A no-brainer!

    Like the vast bulk of the populace I didn’t go near a polling station for the PCC election; I have a life.

    For info, my GE history is below. It would be interesting to see other regular UKPR posters histories (though ballots are secret, and I don’t cavil at anyone resiling from imitating my openness).

    Feb 74: Lib (Reading South)
    Oct 74: Lib (Reading South)
    79: Lab (Rochester & Chatham)
    83: Lab (Islington N)
    87: Green (Hackney N)
    92: LDem: (Worthing W)
    97: LDem: (Worthing W)
    01: LDem: (Worthing W)
    05: LDem: (Worthing W)
    10: LDem: (Arundel & South Downs)

    You’ll find that gives a record of 1 win, 9 losses; and the win was for a roaring trot in 1983 when I was sickened by Thatcher and all she stood for.

  36. I only tend to get moderated if I post – AW is very fair.

  37. PETER CAIRNS

    A very nicely argued, and thoroughly decent & balanced post.

    Contributions like that make the frustration of your politics worth bearing.

    Smiley/winkey thingy.

  38. @ Steve Coleman

    Your list of GE voting made me compile mine and I was quite shocked that despite being a ‘natural’ Labour voter I have only voted for them in 3 out of my 7 GE’s (tactical Lib Dem in my first vote and Green during the Blair years including 1997).

    I can do better than you though on the failure stakes- only once voting for a winning MP but never having voted for a winning government. You at least have one coalition (even if you grit your teeth at the thought!) and one holding the balance of power…

    At least I can say that nothing that has happened over the last 35 years is my fault :-)

  39. STEVE C.
    Good Morning. For me:
    Feb and October 74=Eccles:
    1979= Eccles
    1983=Basildon
    1987=Lancaster.
    1992=Norwich.
    1997, 2001, 2005, 2010= Bournemouth

    2015= will I hope, coincide with my last term in school teaching.

  40. THE WASH
    “So far Labour have offered just a couple of concrete policy proposals and none of those have much to do with the economy. Will Labour still move to reduce VAT in their 2015 manifesto? Will they move against the banks viz bonuses and quicken their restructuring (separation of functions)? Will they reverse the NHS ‘reforms’ ”

    The two which have counted for me have been a “pre-distributional” policy and an English language speaking and increassed teaching for immigrant communities already here. Both are to do with the distribution of wealth and services. Those which you cite as queried options, I would suggest are givens. Think of these as policy building blocks, and you might conclude that EM is not going for any shock and awe policy statements but is steadily compiling a policy platform to meet the one nation objective. PETER CAIRN;’s “managerial” politics is, I think, an evident fact, not just in relation to party politics but in terms of the management constraints which the banking and Eurozone crisis, China’s manufactural and trading ascendancy, and changing perceptions of risk and feasibility in conflict areas are imposing on foreign policy, and changing demography and labour market now assert Domestically towards any Government.

  41. Colin,

    Thinks for the compliment, only tempered by the fact your a nutter!

    Peter.

  42. PETER

    You really think so huh?

    …..spelling & apostrophe usage a bit iffy this morning Peter .

  43. THEWASH

    @”These and other policies may emerge over the next two years but if Labour wait too long before committing themselves to anything for their manifesto, they may ‘miss the boat’ so to speak.”

    They may-but I doubt it, because Ed’s tactic seems all too clear; and it doesn’t require policies.

    His central theme is the “unfairness” of Conservative policies . This is exampled constantly in two themes :-
    * The personal difficulties -( real or alleged) -which voters -( individually or collectively) -are encountering as a result of a given policy.
    * The Class distinction between Cameron and other chosen Cabinet Members , and the “ordinary” voter. This theme aims to portray the “unfairness” as resulting from a lack of understanding of and empathy with “ordinary people”.

    The first of these certainly has traction and impact. How could it not? It does not require policy alternative -save for the assertion ( made by Balls prior to Christmas) that Labour would be “fairer”.
    This approach assumes that the voter will believe that Labour would be fairer , without being provided with any indication as to how-or in which areas. It is this weakness which requires the second theme.

    If Conservative Cabinet members can be portrayed as socially incapable of perceiving the alleged unfairnesses, because of a Class divide, the lack of policy alternative becomes less of a requirement.
    So the constant resort to Eton, Toffs, Hunting, Supper, Bullingdon etc will not abate. It is the chosen method of demonstrating fundamentally ingrained unfairness.
    by default.

    I’m not convinced that this theme has traction, or indeed much general appeal. I can’t prove it, but I do not think British voters perceive their Prime Minister through the primary prism of Class background.

    If the “Class card” does prove to be a poor play, then it may be that the lack of detailed policy alternative with which to demonstrate “fairness” in fiscal tightening ( and even Balls admits that some will be required under Labour) will become an increasing problem for Miliband.

    I don’t think there is much DC & co can do in response to the Class War , indeed it would be uncharacteristic of their background to do so.
    But they can press more loudly & effectively for proof of what Labour “fairness” actually means-and what it’s fiscal implications are.

    They can also do much much better at responding to Labour attacks more quickly with facts.
    They have been very poor this year on that front , but it has to be said they have provided a number of own goals too.

  44. Colin

    You are somewhat off target, as are Labour.

    The class war is over, but we have a division between the over-rewarded metropolitan “elite” and the rest of us.

    To be part of the”elite” you do not need the education, cultural tastes, manners and sense tradition and of duty to society as a whole that characterised the old upper class.

    All you need is money and a degree of familiarity with New York or Dubai greater than that of Liverpool or Glasgow.

  45. For what they’re worth, a few reflections on the political year and one or two stabs at gazing into that infamous murky crystal ball: –

    – Still astounded that the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympic Games failed to boost the Coalition, particularly the Tories, in the polls. I had these down, as did many, as nailed on feelgood events that any vaguely astute incumbent government would be able to exploit politically. However, hardly an upward polling twitch of any sort could be discerned. Very mysterious.

    – Not all the economic news was as gloomy as the economists predicted. Inflation fell, unemployment declined and some sectors of the economy grew. Sure, living standards are being badly squeezed, overall growth went negative for a quarter or two and chronic under-employment and insecurity is detracting from the headline good news on job creation, but economic Armageddon, should it ever come, has obviously been delayed for a while. Lo and behold, Osborne was even able to claim in his Autumn statement that he was borrowing less and cutting the deficit and he’s still getting away with being able to put Labour’s fingerprints all over many of our current economic woes! Effect on the polls? Diddly squat. Again, curious and interesting.

    – The dynamic between Cameron and Miliband has fundamentally changed. Rawnsley in the Observer was good on this a few Sundays ago and it’s one of the reasons why (he says, rubbing his crystal ball) that the good money is on there being no TV Leader’s debates during the election campaign in 2015. Cameron is heavily salting the ground to that effect now as he sees what he once thought was an electoral trump card (i.e his personal ascendancy over Miliband), melting away. Most independent observers sense Miliband now relishes his weekly contests with Cameron at PMQs where he once feared them. Albeit glacially, the polls are starting to move Miliband’s way in terms of his personal ratings vis a vis Cameron. This, in my view, has been one of the most significant political developments of the year.

    – Going global for a while, Hollande’s election and Obama’s re-election are good news for the Left and while both those leaders and their governments still face enormous challenges, a Romney and Sarkozy world view would have looked and felt very different; and not in a good way either!

    – Only way is down, perhaps, for Salmond the SNP and the Independence cause in Scotland. A very difficult year ahead for the SNP, I sense, and I wonder if May 2011 was their high watermark? It’s a gut feel, no more, but I sense a tide slowly turning. We shall see.

    – May 2012 local elections saw further depletions in Tory and LD councillor strengths and, as a result, a weakening in local party organisations where the on-the-ground numbers of foot soldiers slowly melt away. 2013 promises more of the same and this slow erosion of the party base is another reason why incumbent governing parties find it mighty hard to increase their vote from one election to the next. Impact on internal morale is not good either.

    – I’m a little surprised that more isn’t being made of these pretty dire Tory VI figures in the polls. Low 30s at best since March, upper 20s at worst. Much ado about the Lib Dems in single figures, but these very low figures for the Tories aren’t sporadic troughs in reaction to one-off events, they’re sustained and now ingrained and seemingly impervious to good news stories for the government. We need to keep an eye on this but failing a complete and unforeseen economic turnaround between now and 2015, with living standards for the many transformed, what’s going to float them off these rocks of unpopularity? My hunch is that their unpopularity has other causes beyond the state of the economy. If I’m right, then beware all these confident predictions of the Tories bouncing back in a big way as soon as we get a bit of economic growth which, by the way, we surely will..

    As for my 2013 crystal ball, here goes: –

    – Lib Dems to limp on within the coalition, despite further setbacks in May 2013. They’re in too deep and a surprisingly safe Clegg will continue to lead his docile party on to, what he hopes, is political justification and electoral reward in May 2015. I’ll leave others, for now, to adjudicate on whether this is a good strategy or not!

    – A strong UKIP showing in the May 2013 local elections will heap further pressure on Cameron to promise an in/out EU Referendum. I think ructions and rumbles will intensify within the Tory Party, as they will on various social and environmental policies like Gay Marriage, maybe even fox-hunting. I don’t predict all out warfare, yet, but I sense that they’re a seriously divided party. Power, or rather the achievement, wielding and retention of it, was what used to unite them but I’m less sure now. As with the US Republicans, they seemed to have abandoned pragmatism for ideological purity!

    – Some further policy teases from Labour but, quite rightly, no real detail yet. 2013 will be a year for Miliband to consolidate his leadership and get a still sceptical public to warm to him a little more. As stardust continues to fall off Cameron, he may not have to do anything spectacular, but I think he’s continuing to sharpen his political attack on the Government and he’s coming up with a ready supply of zingers that are starting to hit some sensitive targets. Remember, most of the public only pay periodic and superficial attention to politics. Orange books and Blue Labour are for the fairies, but the “Government is made up of out of touch millionnaires” is a message capable of gaining traction. For what it’s worth, I think it’s something that’s already, post March, done the Government a great deal of political damage. Rather like “I can’t stand that Gordon Brown” we used to hear in May 2010, it’s a sentiment I hear recounted in the saloon bar more and more now. “They’re all a bunch of bloody…blah de blah”. Not pretty or cerebral, I know, but political tides are built on such political gut feels.

    I could go on but this crystal ball has changed tack and is starting to warn me of Villa’s impending relegation. I’ve just flung it through the window!

    Happy New Year to one and all.

  46. @Colin
    I agree that Labour are preparing a platform for a superstructure of policies nearer the election. I also agree that the ‘class’ thing has only low traction in the larger scheme of things – but it does have some.

    As a Labour supporter I am bothered by the ease with which DC and NC – and any others – can currently accuse Labour of having no answers to the fundamental problems we face, particularly with regard to the economy and what is linked to that such as the cost of welfare and how reforms can be identified to improve matters, not just to get the country going again but for the one nation long-term future that Ed Miliband is hoping for.

  47. @ Thewash

    @Colin
    “I agree that Labour are preparing a platform for a superstructure of policies”

    To an outsider it looks as if they’re still casting around trying to decide where to break ground first.

  48. @PC

    “How to you reconcile two groups with opposing views both of whom think they are fundamental?”

    Abortion / No abortion
    Protestant / Catholic
    Man Utd / Man City
    Love Marmite / Hate Marmite

    You can’t. Good governments should take the issue and make it as compromising as possible within common sense.

    Unfortunately, most governments have two ways of dealing with such difficult issues:

    Bury them and let the next lot sort it out (ad infinitum);
    make the decision that wins the next election;

    Such is our blessed democracy.

  49. By far the most interesting polling of 2013 will arguably come in January as a result of Cameron’s announcements on Europe (on January 15th). If, as many commentators are now expecting, he offers renegotiated terms and an in-out referendum based on these new terms (almost definitely after the next general election,) will this have any effect on current polling? Even if the effect is temporary, such an effect would indicate that the numbers are not now fixed/impervious to political events as many on here believe.

  50. By far the most interesting polling of 2013 will arguably come in January as a result of Cameron’s announcements on Europe (on January 15th). If, as many commentators are now expecting, he offers renegotiated terms and an in-out referendum based on these new terms (almost definitely after the next general election,) will this have any effect on current polling? Even if the effect is temporary, such an effect might indicate that the polling numbers are softer than many think.

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