The Times this morning has some intriguing YouGov results on Ed Miliband. Taking the simplest bit first, Yougov asked if people thought Ed Miliband was a better or worse leader than Gordon Brown, and a better or worse leader than Tony Blair. Miliband was seen as better than Brown by 32% to 17%, and worse than Blair by 41% to 20%.

All straightforward so far. However, YouGov also repeated a bank of questions asking about Ed Miliband’s qualities that had previously been asked about Gordon Brown in May 2010, immediately after the general election. Miliband got higher don’t knows than Brown for obvious reasons, but looking at net figures Miliband had better ratings than Brown on being in touch and being honest, but worse (in some cases MUCH worse) on being a strong leader, on being decisive, on having a sense of purpose, on caring about ordinary people and on trying to do the right thing. So people think Ed Miliband is a better leader… but also give him worse ratings than they gave Brown?

It’s interesting to ponder the apparent contradiction – there are several possible explanations. One is that the Gordon Brown polling was done right at the very end of his premiership, and his personal ratings increased during 2010 so these figures are how Brown was seen at a comparatively positive point, not Brown when his ratings were at their worst. It’s possible that the “folk memory” of Gordon Brown that people are comparing Miliband to is Brown at his lowest point, or an image of Brown that is actually much worse than the reality at the time.

There is also a question of people’s changing perceptions towards an incumbent party leader – in many ways the “right” answer for a Labour supporter in May 2010 was to give Brown a positive rating, while the “right” answer now is for them to say Miliband is an even better leader. That’s not to say people are somehow not giving their genuine opinions – I am sure they are. It’s just, if you are a Labour supporter you are going to see the party’s leader in a positive light, overlook his weaknesses, notice his strengths. Labour supporters in May 2010 would have seen Gordon Brown in a positive light, now Ed Miliband is leader they’ll note his strengths and perhaps take a more neutral view of Brown. In just the same way Conservative supporters in 2002 told pollsters that Iain Duncan Smith was a good leader… and I’m sure if asked today would recognise that, when all is said and done, he was a bit of a duffer as leader.

While we are here, we should stop to look at the figures in their own right, whatever people thought about Gordon Brown, they are also a chance to see how people see Ed Miliband as a politician in his own right. Looking at them that way, Ed Miliband’s most positive rating by far is on honesty – 39% think he is honest, compared to only 24% dishonest. His ratings are also comparably good on “trying to do the right thing” (39% v 41% serving his own interests) and caring about ordinary people (36% v 42% caring about only a select few). He scores much more negatively on being dithering (57% v 19% who think he is decisive), weak (56% v 19% who see him as strong) and being unclear what he stands for (53% v 27% who think he has a clear sense of purpose).

I’ll end up with by my normal summary about the Ed Miliband question, since it’s always a subject that provokes a lot of discussion and some very entrenched views – I invariably see Labour supporters wedded to the idea that Miliband’s ratings will be irrelevant come the election, and Conservative supporters convinced that it would be impossible for Labour to win under Miliband.

Suffice to say, Miliband’s ratings are bad, and are bad compared to past opposition leaders. It seems likely that he is having a negative effect on Labour support. HOWEVER, Labour are ahead in the polls, and have a lead that would give them a comfortable overall majority at an election, so the idea that they cannot win with Ed Miliband is clearly false. Right now, people are telling pollsters that they will vote Labour regardless of Ed Miliband’s negative ratings. The question is whether or not those negative opinions of Miliband (assuming they don’t change) will play more of a role in influencing people’s voting intention as the general election gets closer and voting intention becomes more of a choice between alternate government as an anti-government statement. Current polling cannot answer that question – and the key to interpreting polls is often as much about recognising what they can’t tell you as what they can.


317 Responses to “YouGov/Times poll on Ed Miliband”

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  1. LEFTY

    Smilies !

    It’s been a funny old year & no mistake.

    Global Warming I expect.

  2. STEVE.

    I feel sure you are a really nice person-but as a police officer that would not be a requirement for me.

    I just need you to be honest & efficient.

  3. @JimJam
    “BGR – Like you I respect what Liz says but like you believe many Lab leaners in Con/LD marginal will in the end vote LD to keep the Tory out in 2015.”
    _________________________________

    That might be their intention, but if they do, they’ll be encouraging the LDs to once again put the Conservatives back into power.

    Consider two scenarios, in which in both the Cons and LDs have 335 parliamentary seats between them, enough for a working parliamentary majority just about sufficient to last a full five years in coalition.

    Scenario 1: Con 290 LD 45. LDs lose only 12 seats as Labour supporters vote LD through gritted teeth in LD/Con contests.

    Scenario 2: Con 315 LD 20. LDs lose 37 seats as Labour supporters refuse to vote LD tactically in LD/Con contests. LDs lose a further 25 seats to the Conservatives thanks to the loss of tactical votes.

    Now imagine you’re in Clegg’s shoes the day after the GE. In Scenario 1, the LDs have escaped from 5 years of supporting a Conservative government with relatively light losses. Having experienced relatively little damage, Clegg is encouraged to go back into coalition with the Conservatives again, in the knowledge that virtually nothing his party does will be sufficient to discourage Labour supporters from supporting the LDs in key seats.

    In Scenario 2, the LDs have learnt the hard way that Labour support can’t be taken for granted. Clegg is ousted by his remaining MPs, who realise that a change of course is needed. The Conservatives are unable to form a government that secures a parliamentary majority.

    So the paradox for Labour supporters is this. In voting LD to prevent the Conservatives gaining a parliamentary seat, you are also voting to encourage the LDs to carry on in coalition with the Conservatives given the chance. In voting to “keep the Tory out” in your seat, you’re also voting to put the Tories back in into government.

  4. Turk
    “Steve
    Actually I’m a member of the National Farmers Union and have been for 25yrs not a trot in sight.”

    Aye, well, to follow the Chris Morris/Brass Eye stylee, there are Good Vested Interests and Bad Vested Interests. Collective pressure groups are all bad. So long as they represent the lower classes. Those that represent the upper middle classes (NFU, BALPA, professional institutions) are part of the bedrock of British society.

  5. TGIF so let’s not have class war break out here. Good on you Turk, I feel good about your 25 acres.

    Let’s hope the son in law feels the same. :-)

    Although re-reading, he’s ‘the business partner’, not the son in law (?), so who knows what will happen, unless your daughter stands firm?

    I do not trust any farmer to resist the chance to develop if the new planning opportunity is offered. Our future king could not resist do so, outside Dorchester, when they all kowtowed on the local Council, so who could blame anyone else for doing the same? Mind, it is evident that he definitely needed the money. :-)

    Everyone else, private chortle between Turk and me.

  6. Phil – you may well be right but the choice locally put by the sitting LD will be me or the Conservatives. Oh and by the way this is what they would have done had we not been in coalition to stop them.

  7. @Martyn

    “you have numerate jobs”

    I count my loose change from time to time.

    It all looks a little algebraic. I’m fine with spreadsheets, but that’s about it.

    PMt-1/ PMt-2…Prime Minister’s telly channels? Ye Gods!

  8. @Phil Haines

    Orange Bookers would prefer to team up with Tories than Labour so there is no point for any left leaning people voting LD. Vote LD get Tory so you might as well vote for the party you prefer. At least in my case this might give Labour the chance of coming second instead of third.

  9. @ Phil Haines

    Either way, if the Tories are the largest party after the next election and LDs can only form a coalition with them not with Labour, then that is what they should (and will) do.

    Clegg’s decision will turn on the relative number of Labour seats v Conservative – more Tory seats means Clegg has more of an obligation in the national interest to partner up with the Tories – not a win for Labour supporters.

    The alternative is to tell the electorate that he will keep forcing elections until they give him the result he wants, which is:
    a) un-democratic, and
    b) likely to irritate the hell out of the electorate and give UKIP a massive boost.

    If Labour can’t get to the point where. after 5 years of austerity, they are close enough to a majority to form a coalition government then, frankly, they don’t deserve to be in power…

  10. GFR – postage included (I think) posted a thread or 2 ago that NC has said that recently that the ‘biggest mandate’ means most votes.

    Setting him up to back the Tories in the event of a 38/35 kind of result but Labour having more seats.

    I suppose that is a good reason for Lab leaners to vote Lab in Tory/LD marginal even if the Tory gets in as it increases Labs vote share.

    I have the luxury of being a Lab seat with a modest majority over the cons so don’t have to make this difficult choice; a genuine dilemma for some and who the LD is might make a difference, eg. TF or DA/DL.

  11. Lefty

    Did you have a bit part in “Citizen Smith” by any chance.

  12. I think there is another by election waiting to happen somewhere in Lancashire.

  13. I have the opposite reading to Phil and LizH on Lib/Con marginals – in that I think the Liberals would, unless the electoral arithmetic showed no other possible stable coalitions, rather cut their own noses off than go back with the Tories. They need to be able to differentiate themselves again post-coalition, and whilst I suspect they’d give the Conservatives another list of demands, having learned some sharp electoral lessons from the last round would probably dictate these being more than the Conservatives could put up with.

    Also, one has to take into account that Cameron is a relatively socially liberal Tory; replace him with a dry-school Thatcherite as the party tries to react to UKIP and you quickly get a party even Clegg and Laws wouldn’t deal with.

  14. More attention will be given to the LD manifesto next time around.

    David Laws is chair of a committee which includes Clegg and Farron, husband and wife team Hames and Swinson as well as a couple of ther tuition fees rebels Huppert and Wilmott.

    Mark Pack makes a couple of observations about competing demands: the local campaigning need for a long list of aspirations (“pick and mix the optimal combination for each niche”) vs the need for a short list of detailed policies… though this debate is couched in an awareness that detailed policy must be negotiation compliant in the event of another hung parliament:

    h
    ttp://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4761a1f83089fd89eba4fef19&id=5871794cd0

    Labour would be unlikely to offer a coalition arrangement imo, and it looks increasingly unlikely that Tory backbenchers would allow the leadership to go down that path again.

  15. ‘Clegg’s decision will turn on the relative number of Labour seats v Conservative ‘

    I wasn’t aware that it was a ‘decision’ for Clegg or any other LibDem leader.Surely he does not have the power to simply impose his preferences on the rest of his party? In any case I suspect that if the circumstances arise again in 2015 , there will be far less deference amongst LibDem MPs to whatever his opinion is. Highly likely that a good number of MPs such as Kennedy, Hughes et al would refuse to back another coalition with Tories and might well insist that the various options are submitted to the party membership for a formal vote.

  16. Rosie and Daisie are forecasting a doube digit Labour lead for Sunday.

    I lost count after around 10 woofs so can’t be more precise.

  17. Turk.

    Aye. I was Harry Fenning. Just shows how right wing you are spadger, if you reckon I’m a mad lefty!

  18. Phil,

    Scenario 2 would see a minority Tory government. While 315 isn’t a technical majority, 5 Sinn Fein abstentions and the speaker means that the actual threshold is 323 and the 8 DUP MPs wouldn’t vote against the Tories.

  19. Lefty

    Silly boy

  20. Incompetence and sleaze.Another accusation against the deputy speaker,plus
    The news today.Things are not going well methinks.

  21. @Graham
    My bad phraseology – Phil had implied that Clegg would be making a choice, I simply followed that reasoning. In reality it would be presumably be up to the leader of the largest party to try to form a stable coalition and open talks with the Lib Dem leadership.

    Out of interest, I can find no reference on the internet to Clegg referring to working with the party with most votes first – everything I can find refers to most seats as being the prioritising factor. Not doubting those who have said otherwise, but can you provide a reference?

  22. @ BFR

    Clegg said that he had always maintained that the party with the most seats and the most votes should have the right to seek to govern. As far as I’m aware, he has not stated which would be the priority where there’s an either/or situation both of which could create a viable coalition government.

  23. Given that they’re big fans of PR (although perhaps not so much after 2015) they’d probably go with most votes.

  24. @MrNameless

    When you say the DUP wouldn’t vote against the Tories, do you mean in the context of a confidence vote?

    To my great surprise, in the last few months, they’ve voted against the government (either all of them or most of them) on at least two occasions not counting equal marriage and the EU. It seems they aren’t to be taken for granted!

  25. Amber – was postageincluded a day or 2 ago said it would be votes not seats,

  26. @Mrnameless – the DUP will do as the DUP (and everyone else) always does – vote in whatever way suits their interests best. This may or may not include voting with Tories – it depends who makes them the best offer. (Like the SNP allying with Tories in Scottish councils. Who’da thunk it?).

  27. @Ann in Wales – I’m getting that 1980’s feeling all over again. Recession, declining public services, cash for questions and sex scandals. Whoever said ‘nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’ obviously wasn’t a Tory.

    Fascinating news from Sweden, where the much vaunted (by Michael Gove) free schools have hit some problems. A private equity firm that runs 23 schools with 10,000 pupils has announced it is losing money so has decided to sell or close all of it’s free schools. The CEO said “It’s extremely regrettable that it will affect the students.”

    Students with a single chance of education, having their schools closed and sold. Lovely.

    Private equity companies are also running free schools in the UK, and many in Sweden are now suggesting that the lack of oversight and high costs of their free schools represent a major system failure, and that the UK has adopted an almost identical system.

    I still suspect that free schools will become more of a negative than a positive in 2015, as the lack of school places contrasts with the cuts to school building programmes and the relatively high costs of free schools, that are failing to meet the essential role of providing places where they are needed.

  28. @Alec

    One of the reasons Scotland won’t vote to be independent
    is the scandal of SNP headteachers being paid £60 000 per year plus pension to run schools with few or no pupils.

  29. Kitsune

    Yes, I mean in a confidence vote. They could probably even do without them if enough MPs forget to turn up.

    I was just reading an article by Graeme Archer on the Telegraph website about how the Tories should target Brighton Pavilion as a fightback against UKIP.

    It’s very interesting to me that I did not find a single pro-Tory comment on there. Either it was vehemently anti-Green (no surprises) or pro-UKIP. Have the Tories lost their base?

    I quite like Caroline Lucas. I’m Labour, but I hope she’s re-elected in 2015. Firstly, I see the Greens as Labour’s natural allies, since the Labour left and many Greens are indistinguishable on many policies, and second because the more parties represented in parliament, the healthier that is for democracy and debate.

    All of you should try this tool out by the way – I’m very curious whether you all match your parties: http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

  30. @Alec

    I’d be surprised if the Swedish free schools get the subsidy of their UK counterparts. Here we can’t move for public money proping up the private sector.

  31. Wolf,

    Where is that and why?

    There are cases in places like Highland where you have a one teacher school who is by definition the head with very few pupils.

    As head teachers in Scotland are on a sliding scale I am not sure one in a small school would earn £60k as that is the salary for a secondary with over about 700 pupils.

    A single teacher head would in trith still be in on a good salary of over £40k about twice the average wage.

    From time to time even if one family leaves the school has no pupils for a period of time. How do you deal with that is ?

    Do you keep the head teacher/sole teacher on the books but deployed elsewhere or doing something else?

    Do you sack the teacher and close the school and when pupils appear bus then two hours each way to the nearest school?

    Do you sack the teacher and mothball the school and hope that when you need to reopen it you can get someone of quality to up sticks and move to a remote community?

    At the moment we tend to keep the head on the books doing something else if we think there may be a need for the school for that community in the future.

    As to the rights of the current teacher and there salaries that was all decided by the terms and conditions set out by the McCrone report which was instituted by Labour and heralded as one of there great achievements.

    Peter.

  32. Mr Nameless – thanks for the confirmation – I’ll try out your link shortly!

  33. Regarding the responses to my earlier post:

    @JamesBaillie
    “I have the opposite reading to Phil and LizH on Lib/Con marginals – in that I think the Liberals would, unless the electoral arithmetic showed no other possible stable coalitions, rather cut their own noses off than go back with the Tories.”

    If they are so keen not to go back in with the Tories, then why wait? Why the commitment to a full five years of coalition? If they want a change of tack, they could pull the plug at any time, and probably gain a moderate degree of support by doing so. But they won’t. My impression is that the Orange Bookers who run the LD show are quite comfortable with their role in making possible a Conservative government. And if they manage to somehow pull it off while suffering relatively few parliamentary losses, they are more likely to convince themselves that they can repeat the trick a second time. Indeed much of the emphasis on LD Voice is that the LDs have every chance of surviving in 2015 relatively intact. So without a wake up call prompted by electoral defeat, more of the same is a strong possibility. My point is that a change of course from the LDs is far more likely if they get heavily punished in terms of parliamentary seats at the GE.

    @MrNameless (and others)
    Regarding which party the LDs decide to go into coalition with, it won’t depend on anything Clegg or others say before the election. They’ll do what they think is in their interests, and then think up a retrospective justification for their actions.

    @BigFatRon
    “Clegg’s decision will turn on the relative number of Labour seats v Conservative – more Tory seats means Clegg has more of an obligation in the national interest to partner up with the Tories – not a win for Labour supporters.”

    In practice, it’s inconceivable that the LDs would have enough seats to be able to have the choice of forming a majority coalition with either major party – they’d need a dead heat and in excess of 60 seats for that. So it would be a choice of full coalition with one, confidence and supply, or seeking to force a fresh election. They might not even have enough seats to be able on their own to offer a working majority to any party. But in terms of what guides Clegg and his party, see my comments above. Whatever does decide their course, It won’t be a sense of “obligation in the national interest”.

  34. Are Mr Nameless and Sine Nomine the same person?

  35. @Mr Nameless

    Thanks for the interesting link. I was 100% UKIP. I wonder if I should vote for them?

    It was interesting how high a percentage the Greens got – far higher than their actual votes or how they score in polls.

  36. @PeteB

    Their platform isn’t much different from the social democratic policies Labour used to promote – polls repeatedly show a hefty amount of the population would vote for that (and indeed often think they’re doing so by voting Labour) but I don’t think it’s the population caught unbeknownst – the electoral system suppresses them, and disincentives votes to them.

    Although it has to be said, self-selection (those with computers, enough time and interest to survey their political stances and all the bias that entails) makes it unrepresentative.

  37. Many LD voters who lean left of center and I really mean sway a little left, never dreamed the LD would form a coalition government with the Conservatives, the LD were a safe center vote an alternative to labour and the conservatives and could of remained so.

    That illusion is no longer there and it is important to understand that, it has caused much concern and will raise stark questions for voters to ponder in the run up to the 2015 GE

    Hardcore voters will vote for their particular party no matter what… I also think the LDs have now forced those who would never vote Conservative but who voted for LD to change track, re-evaluate their choice if you like, and the choices are quite stark. But and it is a really big but; can the right of center trust the LDs to use their vote as they expect, and this is where the LDs are going to lose, in trust… there will be doubt from all but core LD voters in my opinion.

    The LDs have do a core vote and I think we are going to see just how much of a core vote at 2015, the other problem is of course UKIP, the unknown quantity really; the media are going to try and force certain issues that are important only to the media like TV debates.

    Any TV debates will distort and distract from the real issues of our election…. And be sure of one thing the media want this, not the politicians, personally I would say no.

    If the media say we will have the debate anyway with an empty chair, let them go ahead but then do a deal with the TV broadcaster who is not involved in the debate and have several empty chairs…or instead of empty chairs have the whole of the front bench to answer questions, it would sting a little.

    Our country in trouble and we need more than gimmick TV debates.

  38. The upcoming G8 Summit in Enniskillen.

    Well now, it wouldn’t do for the world’s leaders to see the reality of their response to the Great Recession would it?

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/recession-out-of-the-picture-as-fermanagh-puts-on-a-brave-face-for-g8-leaders-1.1409112

    The word “Potemkin” comes to mind…

  39. “Labour are ahead in the polls, and have a lead that would give them a comfortable overall majority at an election, so the idea that they cannot win with Ed Miliband is clearly false”

    Surely that’s a non-sequitur. No opposition has won a GE with such a small mid-term lead or such negative ratings for their leader this close to a GE for at least 30 years. The idea may be incorrect but it’s not “clearly false”.

  40. @NBeale

    Since 1983 there have been seven elections. In that time no party with a leader whose surname starts with M has ever won. It must be true.

    So, just to be clear: correlation does not equal causation.

    AW’s statement is true since (even if Labour don’t win in 2015) the current polls hold a contradiction. Logically his wording puts the burden of proof on those who (as you have apparently done) deny any possibility of Labour winning with EM as leader. Even if you put that chance at 1% then the idea that the chance is zero is “clearly false”.

    Of course that does make the statement essentially useless!

  41. This XKCD is infinitely useful when looking at electoral precedents: http://xkcd.com/1122/

  42. @ Phil Haines
    Hang on, it was the original poster who posited Clegg ‘rejecting the left’ which implies a scenario where he has a choice of Tory or Labour to support – that wasn’t my scenario, that was his!

    I’m just saying that the LDems have always said (subject to that post from postageincluded that I can’t find confirmed anywhere) that – if offered from both other parties – the LDs would first talk to the party with the most seats. therefore labour voters are incented to minimise Tory seat numbers.

    My impression is that, Laws excepted, almost all senior LDs would far rather be having that conversation with Labour at the next election – their whole raison d’etre is to be separate from both Labour and Tory, and running a second parliament in coalition with Tories would be pretty much fatal to that positioning, as well as the difficulty of working with the – inevitably more right wing – Tory leader who would succeed Cameron if he failed to get an outright majority again.

    In fact I suspect a second ‘Tory largest party’ scenario would lead to a supply agreement from the LDs (if that’s the right term?) at best.

    @Tojim
    I agree there will be many LD leaners who have doubts, but most of them have left already – the question is, will some of them go back? I think some – not the majority of course – will.

  43. @BigFatRon.

    Your analysis is the same as mine. I am a LD happy with the current coalition. I would never ever vote Tory but really believe that the current arrangement involving the LDs is causing massive internal distortions to open up for the Tories. Witness the rise of UKIP and push for an ever more right wing vision.

    I cannot though for the life of me think another Con-LD coalition is at all possible post 2015. Both party memberships would be in open revolt. It should be noted that current LDs have remained remarkably loyal to Clegg despite a precipitous drop in VI. I dont think that would continue if another coalition with the Cons was proposed.

    I have noted that a lot of Lab supporter on UKPR tend to categorise the LDs in very didactic terms. Its very much “you are either with us or against us”. I sometimes question whether they really believe this or whether they just recognise that currently its in the Lab parties tactical advantage to “scare” ex LDs into the Lab fold. We all know this represents Labs best chance of winning in 2015 so fair play. But this doesn’t in anyway to me invalidate the rather neutral and sensible points you are putting forward.

    In particular your point that you have said 3 times now:

    “I agree there will be many LD leaners who have doubts, but most of them have left already – the question is, will some of them go back? I think some – not the majority of course – will.”

    Nobody is denying that many 2010 LDs feel a sense of betrayal. Nor that some are for never turning back (they seem to shout the loudest by the way) under any circumstances. But your rationale that some will return to the fold is very well well made. And it is worthwhile considering the size and impact of this vote.

  44. I should state that my guesstimate for 2015 is that Lab are on course for a workable majority of about 30-40.

    However much of what will be haggled over in the next 2 years could, if things went badly for Lab, see them pushed down to where they are only able to achieve largest seats number and not a majority of their own.

    I find it inconceivable at the moment that Ed Milliband will not be PM. Either as leader of the largest party or as head of his own majority.

    If he is leader of largest party I think he will be inclined to form a coalition with the LDs. (Again, if the numbers allowed such a coalition to bring about a majority govt). I think he will recognise the relatively precarious position a Lab minority govt would be in, and would want to have a partner to share the blame around with.

    I see no reason why the LDs would not entertain such a coalition if the numbers made this viable. 1. The leadership (and by this I mean more than just Clegg) would quite like to remain in power; 2. There are many leading LDs that are ex-SDP and remain in their souls still connected to the Lab party.

    Personally I don’t think such a coalition would be a very good thing for the LDs going forward but I do feel it would be very likely in the advent of say numbers such as Lab-290 seats, LD-35 seats.

  45. Excluding Mercer and the deputy Speaker the Tories are down to 303 MPs. LAB+LD have 314 MPs

    So the Libs could if they wanted to switch to Lab and form a gov’t that would be fun

  46. Apparently I’m 60% Green and 40% LD. In fairness, I could recognise most of the elements of manifestos that were peculiar to one party, whereas the best situation is where one cannot do that so readily. So don’t worry, partisans, ending up in another corner just proves you should bone up on your party’s manifesto so that you can be on message. :-)

    I am actually quite right wing on some things so i just avoided the trap of going down those routes (did not include Crime as a subject for instance).

    What the quiz fails to do is identify the core item(s) which makes you a supporter of one party – on balance. It’s that balance that is so crucial for the thinking voter. For the disinterested voter (the vast majority) it’s just pure luck but the tendency will be to support the simplistic viewpoints.

  47. Regarding the Mercer ‘sting’ why did the Telegraph chose to target him?

    That is what I don’t understand did they try it on other MPs and fail and he was the only one that took the bait?

  48. @ Couper

    “Excluding Mercer and the deputy Speaker the Tories are down to 303 MPs. LAB+LD have 314 MPs
    So the Libs could if they wanted to switch to Lab and form a gov’t that would be fun”

    I agree. Great fun! :)

    I doubt the LDs would do it however. The Clegg strategy has all along been about showing that coalition govt can work.

    What it might mean is that the LDs put more internal pressure on their coalition partners (via the Quad) but perversely I believe they could find themselves pushing on an open door since I still think Camerons best strategy is to look as if he is standing up to his party and UKIP.

  49. Regarding the Mercer ‘sting’ why did the Telegraph chose to target him?

    -Maybe they couldn’t find any suitable Labour or LD candidates?

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