Happy new year

Yesterday we had the final poll of the year – the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer, which showed topline figures of CON 29%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 15%(+1). I’m normally somewhat wary about polls conducted over holiday periods due to the potential of getting skewy samples. In this case the poll was conducted between the 21st and 27th of December, so right over the Christmas period itself, but the results don’t seem to be out of line, in fact they are almost unchanged from a fortnight ago.

With that out of the way I was intending to write a nice end of year round up, but time has gotten away from me, so instead I’ll put together some looks forward to the year ahead over the next week or two. Until then, have a happy new year.


243 Responses to “Happy new year”

1 2 3 4 5
  1. MinM

    “Obama and myself have gone on the same journey”

    I s’pose if you must name-drop you might as well do it properly. I thought he was Barak to you though? Have you fallen out?

  2. Anthony

    As a long time political junkie lurker, I wanted to say two things.

    Firstly to thank you for a most informative and entertaining website, which I read regularly and slightly obsessively.

    Secondly – Could you try not to use (and thereby further encourage) the the American word ‘gotten’? I think this may be a lost cause, but it does grate! I hadn’t heard it much from the lips of Brits until a few years ago, but it seems to be well on the way to becoming the norm. Ugh.

    And on that grumpy-old-man note…Happy New Year!

  3. @ Katie

    Thank you :-)

  4. GRHINPORTS

    @”For me there is no “we” or “them” only individuals.”

    Ah-a Dawkins purist I see.

    For a different perspective , I recommend one of my Christmas presents-E O Wilson’s brilliant new book The Social Conquest of Earth.

    In it he makes a case for the essential traits of humanness being derived from our transition to eusociality-the multi-generational nest.

    Tribalism rules-and has done since we became sapiens.

  5. “I s’pose if you must name-drop you might as well do it properly. I thought he was Barak to you though? Have you fallen out?”

    Paul I’m afraid we have, I won’t go into full details, but basically his gift giving hasn’t got any better since the faux pas with Mr Brown in 2009,

  6. Colin
    “Neither actually-it was a charity fundraiser for Friends of Chadlington Primary School.”

    The school is a C of E faith school, located in the notorious Chipping Norton area.

    I share your concerns re DC’s intentions re garments. lol

    Anyway, a jolly good show by Dave. And a great PR / photo opportunity. Eat your heart out BoJo.

  7. MIKEN

    You took a little longer than I thought you would-but thanks for obliging.

    ….yes indeed-a Faith School crammed full of small evil children who have been indoctrinated into appalling concepts like learning -and discipline , by some dark priesthood.

    …and in Chipping Norton too!-where every resident is the very spawn of the Devil.

  8. Happy new year to everyone.I agree with all of R Huckles predictions except
    The last.Wimbledon will of course be won by Roger Federer.

  9. @ChrisLane

    “Villa to do better in 2013.”

    Villa are going down on the last day to Wigan (my newish home town but not my club although I always wish them well). Wigan have experience of these things. You heard it here first.

    Other predictions- no big changes to economy or polls in 2013. Economy may treble dip, but like the double dip it is more a statistical bump that come from bumping along at the bottom.

  10. @Katie

    Be careful, as Anthony always warns us, of reading too much into local council by-election results. By the very nature of them they will be random and may well occur, as events will determine, in areas where one party predominates in terms of support. The turnouts too are usually, like the Police Commissioner elections, paltry and derisory. Actual local election results in May, when the turnout is better and whole areas go to the polls en bloc, are the more reliable indicator, as are parliamentary by-elections. In 2012, the Tories fared pretty disastrously i these elections, losing deposits, seats and councillors, and I’d be very surprised if the C33 L29 LD19 UKIP 6 configuration is one that holds much water in terms of both reflecting the current levels of support for the parties and predicting future national election results.

    Thanks for the invitation, but they’re not worth discussing in my view

    @Shevii

    “Villa are going down on the last day to Wigan (my newish home town but not my club although I always wish them well). Wigan have experience of these things. You heard it here first.”

    It will be a meaningless game because neither are going down. QPR, Reading and the Saints will all be gone before May arrives. You heard it here first. Oh, and by the way, just in case you hadn’t heard today’s results – Wigan 0 Man U 4, Swansea 2 Villa 2. Hhmmm as Colin likes to say. lol

    @Turk

    “Nice to see David Miliband continuing that fine tradition of politicians to earn a fast buck with little effort, while crying crocodile tears over the fate of the poor.”

    Crikey, those old grapes you bought for Christmas must be sour.

    Actually, talking of David Miliband, I forgot to add in a 2013 prediction. He’ll be back in the Shadow Cabinet by the end of the year. You heard it here…………………oh gawd, enough of the cliches for one post!

  11. Colin
    “but thanks for obliging”

    You’re welcome

    “where every resident is the very spawn of the Devil”

    lol

  12. @ Colin
    “Tribalism rules-and has done since we became sapiens.”

    Actually I don’t really dispute that…but whose in which tribe? and whose not?

    Any tribe is only a collection of individuals. Moreover the drawing of tribal boundaries is so immutable and often drawn for highly pragmatic reasons.

    Therefore to suggest one set of judges have a greater sense of morality over another set, purely on the basis of their nationality (tribal allegiance?), must be at least somewhat open to question.

  13. Phil:

    “gotten”

    America has a lot to answer for. Thinking of America though, shooting people who do say “gotten” would surely curb it a bit?

    My lot are now telling me they are “good to go” and if I ask if I can have the salt or a biscuit they say “go for it” – presumably to encourage me in my salty/biscuity endeavours.

    It wasn’t like that in 1320, as t’other Howard wil testify.

  14. Paul

    Just finished watching The Wizard of Oz.
    Aw Shucks!

  15. Grant Shapps has a piece in the Telegraph saying that Tories mustn’t write themselves off for 2015.

    Apparently, to stand a chance, the Tories need to win the votes of ethnic minorities & women.

    This from Grant Shapps, who became Chairman after the Tories unceremoniously dumped Baroness Warsi.

    You’d need to have no sense of irony, not to laugh.

  16. The legitimate use of the word “gotten” dates back to Middle English as a past participle of “get”. Gotten was used by many writers including Shakespeare, Bacon and Pope.

  17. Is there anyone who posts regularly with a mobile who can recommend a new mobile for me, this one is just about had it.

  18. Crossbath

    Not my sour grapes I’ve just sold my farm for a lot more, but if I was on minimum wage I don’t think I could earn £125,000 pounds in ten days for doing nothing very much.
    I wonder what your the reaction would have been if that had been Cameron who had earned that money.

  19. TOH

    Great stuff-of such gems is UKPR made.

    TURK

    @”Crossbath”

    I really like that -almost tempted to type lol-but I won’t.

  20. turk:

    That is not the point – the point is why does that equate to “crocodile tears”? Its quite possible to be wealthy and sympathetic to those who are poorer and your comment was wholy partisan as wel as slightly distasteful..

    I assume you feel that Dickens’ novels demonstrated “crocodile tears” also, simply because he was relatively well-off?

  21. “Therefore to suggest one set of judges have a greater sense of morality over another set, purely on the basis of their nationality (tribal allegiance?), must be at least somewhat open to question.”

    I think it’s more to do with the fact they are government appointed, the Azerbaijani judge on the court for example, we can say with quite some certain is a supporter of the Aliyev regime, otherwise he would likely not be in that position.

  22. TURK

    I assumed -given the numbers you mentioned-that you referred to his fees at Sunderland FC.

    I my maths is any good it works out to £8300 per day, which, given the club lost £6 million last year-and he is an Arsenal supporter, is a combination of financial initiative & chutzpah which should be admired.

    Haway the Lad.

  23. Lets be fair-it seems that DM brought Sunderland the biggest sponsorship deal in their history.£125k was chicken feed.

    Tullow Oil was the prize-a company with an interesting history of business in Ghana., as the Indy pointed out last JUne.

  24. @ Turk

    Nice to see David Miliband continuing that fine tradition of politicians to earn a fast buck with little effort, while crying crocodile tears over the fate of the poor.
    —————–
    If you can find any speeches or articles by David Miliband where he is crying over the fate of the poor, I will eat my hat.

  25. “I think it’s more to do with the fact they are government appointed, the Azerbaijani judge on the court for example, we can say with quite some certain is a supporter of the Aliyev regime, otherwise he would likely not be in that position.”

    MiTM – I think you prove the point about tribal allegiance. Do you convince me that the same individuals cannot pass any judgement (on unrelated matters) upon our nations activities because we might perceive our own tribes “moral superiority”? I am afraid not.

    I’ll take each case on its merits thanks.

  26. @ Colin

    Yes, Oil & Gas companies are notoriously tricky about environmental conditions & compensation for consequential losses when arranging drilling rights. Running rough-shod over public concerns & similar!

    It couldn’t fracking happen in the UK though, could it? Our government would never allow anything like that here.

  27. AMBER

    @”s, Oil & Gas companies are notoriously tricky about environmental conditions & compensation for consequential losses when arranging drilling rights.”

    Aren’t they just.

    But I feel sure DM knew nothing of such matters when he persuaded Tullow that Sunderland was THE place to publicise African OIl exploitation.

    Frankly I take my hat off to him-that was worth £125k of any desperate UK football club Chairman’s money.

  28. @Paul C

    Turk, cheered on by dear old Colin, is playing the classic old righties game of “spot the left wing hypocrite”. If you inhabit this world, then anybody with left wing views who earns a bob or two, however legitimately, it matters not a jot to them, is guilty of hypocrisy and can’t possibly care genuinely about the people he or she is claiming to champion. So, the game goes, we’ve just found out that David Miliband was paid by Sunderland FC for his services as a Director. £125k, the bloody hypocrite! Why isn’t he giving that to the young unemployed in South Shields he claims to care about? To fight for those people you need to be unemployed too and living on the dole. And what about Prescott’s two Jags and as for that bloody Wedgewood Benn and his millions. Call themselves bloody socialists (hate, rage, foaming mouth………). And have you seen the house Ed Miliband lives in? Why isn’t he on the streets with all these homeless people he keeps banging on about? As for bloody Blair….. (more hate, rage foaming mouth..) lol

    Who do we prefer? Affluent and well rewarded politicians fighting for the poor and underprivileged or affluent (extremely so in most cases) and well rewarded (extremely so in most cases) politicians entrenching wealth, lowering taxes for people like themselves and impoverishing the already poor? It’s a toughie!

  29. @ CB11

    “Who do we prefer? Affluent and well rewarded politicians fighting for the poor and underprivileged or affluent (extremely so in most cases) and well rewarded (extremely so in most cases) politicians entrenching wealth, lowering taxes for people like themselves and impoverishing the already poor? It’s a toughie!”

    Hmmm, slightly begs the question of whether extremely well rewarded, affluent politicians of any political persuasion are preferable.

  30. Crossbath

    @”Who do we prefer? Affluent and well rewarded politicians fighting for the poor and underprivileged or affluent (extremely so in most cases) and well rewarded (extremely so in most cases) politicians entrenching wealth, lowering taxes for people like themselves and impoverishing the already poor? ”

    Ah, I spy the classic old leftie’s game :-Exploiting the foreign oil contacts you made when you were Foreign & Environment Secretaries is fine if you are Labour.But it’s not fine if you are Conservative.

    ……actually I do not suggest that DM give his backscratching fee to the unemployed in Sunderland.

    He owes them no personal fiscal duty.

    But I do suggest that he avoids giving highly paid lectures on the evils of global oil companies & the fate of indigenous peoples in the extraction zones.

  31. @ grhinports

    I think that distributing wealth & income a bit more fairly throughout the population as a whole would make people less resentful about the wealth & income of MPs.

    If the MPs could also contrive to look a tad less venal when arranging their financial affairs, that would help too.

  32. GHRhinports

    If you seriously believe any supporter of the regimes in Azerbaijan or Belarus are fit to pass judgement on us then there’s really not much point talking to you as I don’t give trolls such as yourself the attention they crave.

  33. @Katie

    Unfortunately there’s no swings for share, just seats, so as Amber said, those shares tell us very little. I don’t know why you’d (not you obviously) go to the trouble of collating the entire yearly by-election vote without their last results to compare to, but there you go.

  34. @ Amber

    Perhaps…but then in a sense MPs are just playing by the same rules of the game the rest of society are.

    @ MiTM

    I can assure my position is genuinely held and not intended to troll. And I feel sorry if thats your final position, but perhaps if you are so confronted by my view it would be best not to pursue this further.

    I only started this conversation with you because like you from the previous thread I despair at the way political parties don’t really address the real discourse that is going on in our society. And like you I think, I seek better representation of the (albeit opposing to you) views that I hold to.

  35. @Katie, @Crossbat11, @Craig

    Those 198 by-election results across 2012 would have proved useless as means of predicting the results in the 4900 local council seats contested in May 2012.The R&T national equivalent vote share based on those 4900 results was markedly different – i.e. C 33%, L 39%, LD 15%. And even then, those figures are likely to flatter the LDs in particular in terms of a pointer to GE performance, based on well established patterns of variation between local and GE performance.

    This is a useful link to what happened in May:
    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP12-27

    More meaning can be derived from aggregate statistics for police commissioner by-elections in 2012 than aggregates for council by-elections. That is, as police commissioner by-election statistics are non-existent, they have the relative merit of not being worse than useless.

  36. Obama’s lead over Romney now up to 3.85%, 51.06% v 47.21% with only a handful of votes in Hawaii left to come.

    Turns out to have been quite a poor election for most but not all of the the pollsters. Final predictions were for an Obama lead averaging around 1%.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At91c3wX1Wu5dFp2dUlkNWlJeGN5NFUxa0F3cXpoLXc#gid=0

  37. I must admit that I am struggling to understand the posts people have made on David Miliband this evening.

    For me personally it sums up why MPs are held in such low esteem and sums up a problem with the country as a whole.

    First issue is that being an MP should largely be a full time role. Many Mps seem to not regard it as such.

    The second issue is that even if the £125k brings in £2m I do not agree that that the £2m that is brought in means you should be have your snout in the trough for a percentage of the £2m and it should to some extent be based on time spent. I’m sure Sunderland have benefitted from his services but in the wider picture that sponsorship would have gone somewhere anyway- just maybe without incurring those finders fees in the process.

  38. @ Katie and Crossbat
    ” C33 L29 LD19 UKIP 6 ” in local by elections nationwide.
    Crossbat is right but maybe missed the key flaw in Katie’s quoted totals. This is that Labour is bound to be heavily under-represented overall in Council by elections because of the part unitary and part two- tier local government system in England. Unitary authorities are generally in large cities and freestanding towns or urban areas where Labour’s vote tends to be concentrated, whilst two tier areas roughly equal the Tory Shires. There are some exceptions to this such as Unitary Shropshire, but the overall picture is clear. I checked this out for a typical Labour Unitary Authority – the City of Manchester – and a typical Conservative two-tier shire – Gloucestershire (which has a County plus 6 District Councils). The population of Manchester is 502,900 and it has 96 Councillors – ie 5238 voters per Councillor. In Gloucestershire the population is slightly larger – 593,500 – but the number of Councillors is 319 (sic!) – or 1860 per Councillor. Assuming roughly equal attrition rates leading to by elections (death, illness, moving away, or disgrace) then it’s obvious that the total numbers voting in a year’s by-elections in the UK will be quite heavily skewed to the Conservatives. They may also be biased to a lesser extent to the LibDems. Scotland and Wales are both likely to be neutral in this respect as they are uniformly Unitary. In fact the figures you quote look to me as if they are actually very good for Labour once you allow for this “bias in the sample”
    BTW this made me think that getting rid of all two tier authorities would save a lot of cash (in Councillors’ allowances and salaries and election costs) but for some reason Messrs Osborne and Pickles don’t seem to have put this at the top of their wish-list. I am sure this cannot be related to the fact that hundreds of mainly Conservative Councillors would be out of office and thus less likely to form the doorstepping infantry in Parliamentary elections…:< ). Quite why Labour when in Government have retained this grotesquely unbalanced system bequeathed by Mrs T beggars belief IMHO but that’s Blairites for you !
    PS If Parish and Community Council by elections were included in the totals this will also have skewed the figures towards the Conservatives as most (Labour) Cities and large towns have few, if any, Parish or Community Councils.

  39. Although I don’t support them at all do you reckon its time to put UKIP on the main average poll trackers?

  40. MitM
    “Obama and myself have gone on the same journey”
    At 19 this must be not quite accurate, but may I join a good tradition on this thread to give you Godspeed and offer the experience that I and others have had in making most of the system: you must, I judge, be aware of writing well, and of having the intelligence to contend not only in political discussion but in related academic areas, of sociology, economics, and phlilosophy, for example, so you’ld do well at university. I should imagine that many of us on this blog have done that journey over a long period and alongside working, and have been conscious of the milestones ahead of us; for me, evening classes, Civil Service exams and t hen exiting the system to study full-time, initially at Birkbeck in the evenings, evenually post-grad research. Regardless of the financial situation for students now, that seems to be a path that’s still there and well laid down, and I judge it is available to you. But you need to think and make judgements and investments of time and work over a ten to fifteen year period. There are no quick fixes, but if you are able to study and work in areas from which you get pleasure and satisfaction, it’s a great journey. One tip: it does not matter much what discipline you study in along the way., but in post-graduate study and research, which I am sure you are capable of, be aware of and acquire the professional and vocational skills which you can then earn a living for the next few decades. Good luck, mate.

  41. Fiscal Cliff crisis was averted. House came too its senses. For what it’s worth, don’t blame me, my Congressional Representative voted in favor of the deal. It shouldn’t have gone this far. Markets will open tommorow to releif and we will put off harming the worldwide economy…..for at least another two months.

  42. So the US results are currently:
    Obama -3.5m
    Republicans +0.9m
    Libertarian -107 (votes)
    Green -17 (votes)
    And turn-out -2.4m
    So almost all of the fall in Obama’s votes is down to reduced turnout – which isn’t much of a surprise since turnout shot up in 2010.

  43. A new Years resolution from NIck Clegg it seems.

    Start attacking Labour.

    It certainly makes a welcome change from attacking Conservatives.

  44. @Colin

    “A new Years resolution from NIck Clegg it seems.
    Start attacking Labour.
    It certainly makes a welcome change from attacking Conservatives.”

    I’m sure EM will be quaking in his boots.

    This has to be good news for Labour. While Clegg continues to act as an adjunct of the Tories, there is no chance of once-LD voters moving away from Labour. And if that stays true, a Labour win in 2015 is surely pretty much nailed on.

  45. ROBIN

    I can understand your train of thought-it certainly seems supported by the OPs.

    But since I have no expertise to offer on whether NC’s lost voters are irrevocably lost, I can only welcome a Coalition attack on Labour’s failure to explain -in numbers-how their deficit reduction programme would impact current tax & spending policies.

    This question has been hanging in the air for too long & it is time to press for an answer.

  46. @Robin

    I cannot see how you can come to the conclusions you do, since as Colin says Labour seem to have no answer to the most important question facing the Country.

  47. ROBIN

    Are you absolutely certain that your last sentence is based on the correct analysis?

    I only ask because I’ve just read this :-

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/01/02/david-camerons-happy-new-year/

    Fairy tale ?-what do you think?

  48. Reading the bbc web comments on the freezing of benefits. It does not seem to be such a sure fire winner as IDS hoped.

    Most of the comments seem wise to; low wages being the real problem, in work benefits and the dispoportionate effect of cuts on the poor, with a few tory millionaires telling us what is fair thrown in.

    The comments seem about 75-25 against the cut (I know it is a cut in real terms not an actual cut)

  49. “@Colin
    “A new Years resolution from NIck Clegg it seems.
    Start attacking Labour.
    It certainly makes a welcome change from attacking Conservatives.”
    “I’m sure EM will be quaking in his boots.
    This has to be good news for Labour. While Clegg continues to act as an adjunct of the Tories, there is no chance of once-LD voters moving away from Labour. And if that stays true, a Labour win in 2015 is surely pretty much nailed on.”

    Is it not possible to be critical of Labour without being an adjunct of the Tories?

    Well, NO I suppose for Lab supporters it its not possible.

1 2 3 4 5