The BBC have commissioned a very rare creature – a local government voting intention poll for a single council, in this case a ComRes poll of Brighton and Hove. The reason, naturally enough, is because of Brighton’s status as being the only Green party council in the country. The poll does not bode well for it remaining that way – it shows the Green party down by about 10 points since the local elections in 2011, Labour up by about 7 points. The figures I have for the 2011 vote in Brighton & Hove are slightly different from those used by the BBC, probably due to dealing with multi-member seats differently, but either way it doesn’t show the Greens doing well. Of course, just as Westminster polls are snapshots of the current position, not predictions of what will happen when the election does roll round, the same applies to local elections.

The poll did NOT ask how people in Brighton and Hove would vote at a general election, so we can’t conclude from it whether or not Caroline Lucas is in trouble of losing her own seat.

Meanwhile the twice-weekly Populus poll is out today and has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 14%, UKIP 8%. The three point lead is at the lower end of Populus’s typical range, but perfectly explicable by the normal margin of error. Full tabs are here

175 Responses to “ComRes Brighton poll and latest Populus polling”

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  1. Alec,
    What is your evidence for that statement? There would be huge opportunities for private companies. You would need a regulator of some sort to make sure that there was power in remote areas like Scotland, but that’s about it.

    (previous attempt went into moderation, possibly because I used the word outl-ing instead of remote)

  2. PETE B

    Are you digging down in Ken’s hole? :-)

    London is also remote – depends where you are standing.

    As for the rural areas of Northern Scotland, it was one of the greatest of Scots, Tom Johnstone, who ran the Hydro Board that built the power sources and transmission system that only a really remote government would have sold off to the private sector at any time.

  3. OldNat
    Apologies – just wondered if you were still awake. It’s a bit like poking a snake with a stick. :-)

    Actually, as soon as I posted that, I remembered about the hydro, and of course, wind, oil, coal etc. Could be a nice little earner when you go independent!

  4. PETE B

    Offence not taken – but language use is indicative of thought patterns.

    I must mention to Alex that energy would add to our wealth – he probably hasn’t thought of that. :-)

  5. I wonder if the reivers will make a comeback? I hope not, or smuggling might become more difficult.

  6. PETE B

    In the early 17th century, Scotland and England jointly agreed to extend governance to the border Marches. Consequently, many of the worst from both sides were exiled to Ulster to ensure that the peace could be kept.

    That worked well, didn’t it?

  7. Lol!

    I have been reading this up, and apparently the Borderers had the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong of course. In the future of asteroid mining etc, I fully expect the first space pirates to include names such as Kerr, Douglas, Hume etc.

    I think I’ve wandered off the thread of polling a bit too much now, so it’s goodnight from me.

  8. Armstrong is very much a Borders name. “Little” is another one, and there are plenty more.

  9. Tue October 22, 6 a.m. BST

    Latest YouGov / The Sun results 21st October – Con 33%, Lab 38%, LD 9%, UKIP 13%; APP -26

  10. @Me – “@Pete B- quite wrong. No government involvement, lights go out.”

    @Pete B – “What is your evidence for that statement?”

    I’m afraid it’s brutally straightforward and the evidence is all around you. We have got a free market in energy supply right now. Anyone can apply to build any power generation plant, anywhere they like, if they think they will profit from it.

    Very few have, which is why the lights are already in danger of going out. This is why government is incentivising the private sector with huge subsidies to build power stations.

  11. @Pete B – “Actually, as soon as I posted that, I remembered about the hydro, and of course, wind, oil, coal etc. Could be a nice little earner when you go independent!”

    Scotland is highly likely to suffer it’s own generation crisis with the forthcoming closure of it’s two largest power stations. I haven’t checked the figures, but I think Long Gannet and Torcross produce over half Scotland’s total output, with both closing between 2020 and 2025.

    At present, there is no sign of the increase in capacity to meet this loss, so my best guess from here is that Scotland will be a net importer of electricity by 2025, and that they will pay heavily for this as the proportion of their home produced energy mix coming from irregular renewable supplies is going to increase dramatically. This greatly affects the economics of energy.

  12. The looming energy crisis shows the weakness of short-term thinking by Government and the lack of capability of the free market to respond to these situations where there is a need for massive investment and payback over decades.

    The only way it seems to be able to work is ‘stuffing their mouths with gold’ like Hinckley C, but in the end the Government will still be the one holding the risk if it fails….

    The Chinese have an advantage in areas like this as they have a ‘command economy’ whereby the Party decides what will happen and how which allows for long-term planning, unfortunately in a way that damages people and the environment (which I doubt are always theior primary concerns).

    Can we find a happy medium between dictatoing and procrastination – possibly but it will need very strong leadership and will, not something that is encouraged in our current band of politicans.

    The other message is that the privatisation of strategically critical industries/services like energy, water, transport etc was a gross error (especially seeing it a significant proportion has been to the Government’s of other countries) and one that we are now paying for in more ways than one.

    We are currently seeing the same with health and eduucation. The ‘what’ can be debatable ie there can be some ways that the private sector can help do things more efficiently but the ‘How’ is another matter completely and we are seeing with the ‘free’ schools fiasco that we have not learnt many lessons

  13. ooops wild apostrophe their – comes from changing mid whilst typing…

  14. and spelling there wrong as well…too early for me

  15. “Tue October 22, 6 a.m. BST
    Latest YouGov / The Sun results 21st October – Con 33%, Lab 38%, LD 9%, UKIP 13%; APP -26”

    I suspect this is a poll that’s slap bang in the middle of the MOE range and, as such, quite an interesting one to pore over. 13% is possibly slightly above the recent average for UKIP, but it’s intriguing to see them, despite continual reports of their imminent demise, hanging on in there, regularly polling ahead of the Lib Dems. Worry beads for Tory strategists, methinks, and a constant temptation for them to continue to tack rightwards. As they do so, of course, they risk ceding the sacred centre ground, hitherto natural habitat for the Lib Dems but, maybe now, vacated territory for Labour to occupy.

    The Labour vote has floated south of 40% but remains pretty solid in the late 30s and I would think that they’ll be encouraged to see the Tory vote more or less going nowhere. We rarely see the Tories below 30% now, unless you’re a Survation and Opinium afficianado, but they hardly ever creep much above 34-35% and their default VI rating appears to still be in the low 30s territory. No lift off to discern at all, despite some pretty favourable political wind in their sails in the last 6 months or so.

    As for the Lib Dems, well, what can one say?!

  16. Perhaps the UK could import some of the wind energy that Germany is increasingly desperate to get rid of.The UK does have form in building unnecessary power stations.

  17. WOLF

    “Perhaps the UK could import some of the wind energy that Germany is increasingly desperate to get rid of.”

    Or perhaps we could import some of that “pretty favourable political wind in their [Conservative] sails in the last 6 months or so” that Crossbat mentioned they don’t seem to be using.

  18. @Alec

    What’s the general view in Scotland about Grangemouth?

  19. Morning Everyone,

    Latest YouGov is about right as most people say!

    @CROSSBAT – I’m a natural Conservative BUT a very fair and correct assessment I must say – probably spot on for now!

  20. Approval on the way down again

  21. @OldNat
    I dont know where you get the idea that You Gov is the least accurate on Scottish polls.

    According to Anthony’s database on the right, on the 15th April (ie 3 weeks before polling) they were within the margin of error for the SNP share of the vote, albeit they were still overestimating Labour’s. A week later they had increased the SNP share (exact result) and reduced Labour’s (within MoE).

    Of course, the other explanation is that people’s opinions changed within that period of the campaign. Which makes sense, otherwise political parties wouldnt spend so much time and money on them.

  22. And for the record, Bradwell Nuclear Power station is located 45 miles from central London, which is probably as close as you can get while still having access to the large volumes of cooling water from the sea.

  23. ALEC

    @”building the thing as a nationalised industry. ”

    Building by whom?

    You may have forgotten that the then government sold UK’s nuclear expertise company , Westinghouse, to the Japanese in 2006.

    We don’t have the knowledge or technology to build & run nuclear power stations-so which “nationalised industry “did you have in mind?

    Talking of alternative funding arrangements is one thing-but talking of building & running it “ourselves” is nonsense.The awful truth is we would be hiring the expertise , whether the lead player was The MInistry of Nuclear Cock-Ups or not. EDF has made it plain-British Companies will get the “muck shifting” contracts-that is all we can do now it seems.

    As to whether the strike price on this deal is good or bad, why do you imagine that “The Ministry” should have different financial criteria to EDF?

    What we have been told is that this deal allows them a return of 10% on capital employed on the project. Given the risks inherant in it , are you suggesting that is excessive?
    And that figure also hammers home the real cost of these technologies which we are imposing on ourselves with our green objectives*:-
    Sales revenue on the project is twice the market rate.
    ie without the subsidy, revenue would halve. Do the maths on a profit to sales of say 5% ( or any other conceivable return on sales) on sales & see what losses arise .

    There was a very interesting article in The Times yesterday about the costs of nuclear plants. A book by Bernard Cohen is quoted as source of data on the increasing costs of regulation which have driven nuclear costs through the roof. The cost of build has risen ten fold, over the last 40 years & the time to build extended considerably. The irony of this is that nuclear’s good global safety record is still denied .

    Actually, this article argues for smaller, modular plants than Hinkley Point C-180mw local plants, rather than 3260mw behemoths like HPC.
    This technology is routine in submarines & being promoted by Babcock & Wilcox in USA.
    There is a British Company – Penultimate Power, developing this approach-small modular plants rolled of production lines , producing small , local power output at less cost & in less time.

    * Why do you think a LibDEm Greeny like Davy has promoted nuclear generation?-because it is the only technology which will keep the lights on AND reduce carbon emissions.

  24. @CROSSBAT11

    I agree with your comment of UKIP vote and it is consistent with the emergence of other let’s call them ideological proto nationalists in other parts of the Western capitalist economy…seeming to prove economic hard times are always better times for those with more extreme views, right or left, parties conveying the notion there’s a simple solution readily to hand if only we had the courage to take it.

    I still think being held to 5 year term may disadvantage both coalition parties as they will now have to negotiate both the EU election and the Scots referendum either of which could dislodge momentum. They will both hope to do better in London elections than in national polls.

    And though it seems unlikely the GOP & Republican leadership in the House in USA still have not quite abandoned their flirtation with default to get their own way on Obamacare as they call it…and that has the potential to do all sorts of unpredictable damage.

    Meanwhile over here if there’s a good old fashioned housing boom in UK will government raise interest rates…or will they bottle out?

    All that money printed by Fed BOE and other central banks finally is moving into the wider economies albeit by trying to find a safe home in bricks and mortar in London and the other big capitals of capitalism…difficult to know where this will end…right back where we all started in 2005-7 I hazard to guess

  25. Wolf
    Yes,what is going on at Grangemouth? Seems the Scottish Govt is disinterested in doing anything. Or is it that they are impotent in the face of Multi National Capitalism?

  26. Not sure if anyone else has been keeping an eye on this, but the borrowing figures out an hour ago look pretty good (at least politically – probably too early to tell in the real world). At a rough calculation, I think we may be heading for a deficit of £105bn, down from the £120bn forecast in March. Admittedly, the March 2013 forecast was pretty dire so it’s not a huge achievement, but we could be looking at deficit reduction forecasts coming forwards a year.

    Expect a lot of political manoeuvring on the Autumn Statement on the 4th December, when official forecasts come out (and not just unofficial extrapolation of ONS figures). The OBR will almost certainly revise debt/deficit forecasts down this time. Osborne will try to use this as his redemption for austerity policies. Big question: how will Labour choose to respond to this?

    Only thing we can be sure of is that if Labour are daft enough to carry on with the same “The figures are getting worse and worse” argument, they’re sunk. I can’t image any politician doing something that stupid, but stranger things have happened.

  27. Crossbath11

    Of course the otherway of looking at it is taking the last 10 polls labours lead is only 4.4%, compared to over 10% at the beginning of the year.
    In the Midlands&Wales both parties are pretty even with the Tories nudging ahead on a couple of occassions, on most of the major issues the Tories poll above Labour and of course DC continues to poll above EM in most polls.
    Methinks there’s a lot still to play for before some people begin to crow to much.

  28. @BCrombie – it’s genuinely quite difficult to say that privatising utlising was a ‘gross error’ as this implies things went well beforehand.

    Some utilities did – the national grid itself was pretty good as a state owned asset, but has deteriorated in quality since. However, the pressures on it are far more intense now. Could a state asset meet the demands placed on it either?

    There is also no question that private ownership has brought in private capital, but at the expense of higher prices and consumer funded profits.

    I run my own private business, so I would be open to accusations of hypocrisy if I tried to claim profit was wrong – I think it’s more a question of how much profit and whether private utilities allow markets to function. If they don’t, as with energy, then you’ve lost the key advantage supporters of privatisations claim, and you may as well have the state doing the activity.

    I see the regulatory framework as key. The water industry within England is functioning pretty well. Charges are fixed for all customers, profit is made, and investment is huge. Our water quality, from taps, to rivers to beaches, has improved massively since privatisation, largely due to EU legislation. It’s illegal for vulnerable customers to be cut off, and charges are applied without favour to different types of customer.

    There are arguments about profit levels and prices, and incentives to cut leaks etc, but in general the industry is working well and planning for the future. Private investment, closely regulated, providing an improving service, but with regulated but rising prices and profit being made.

    Other private utilities aren’t working very well, largely, in my view, because the regulation is defective.

    I see a key problem being that we seem to believe in only two options – state owned or privatised. I really don’t see any reason why we can’t invent a mixed model, where utility services operate under some form of joint venture, enabling private capital to come in at low risk due to state backing, where profits are made but shared, and service standards are balanced against long term investment.

    I don’t mind making a profit from my customers, if that profit reflects fairly on the quality of my work and delivers a fair deal for both myself and my client. Likewise, I don’t mind my electricity supplier making a profit from me, if the profit is fair and reasonable, and the industry as a whole is being run well over the long term.

    I don’t think ownership per se is the key issue – it’s the oversight and management we need to focus on.

  29. Colin

    “What we have been told is that this deal allows them a return of 10% on capital employed on the project. Given the risks inherant in it , are you suggesting that is excessive?”

    Which risks are you talking about, seems to me that it’s Joe public that’s taking all the risks so maybe they should get the 10% return on capital

  30. C N_S

    Yes-encouraging Public Finance numbers for Sept :-

    Excluding RM Pension tfr & APF coupon refund :-

    Sept 2013/14 £11.1
    SEpt 2012/13 £12.1

    Apr/SEpt 2013/14 £ 56.7 bn
    Apr/SEpt 2012/13 £62.6 bn

    2012/13 FY actual £ 115.4bn
    2013/14 last forecast £ 120bn

    April/SEpt Government receipts up 4.5% on PY ( excluding APF etc)

    Apr/Sept Total Current expenditure up 2.4% on PY


    “It’s okay Statgeek, you’ve made yourself perfectly clear!!”
    “As long as one would is not serving pints to police therefore, have at it!!”

    You’ll run out of exclamation marks at this rate. Can we agree to differ?
    I believe it was a storm in a teacup, and the parties involved took things the wrong way to suit their agenda.
    I have no respect for pints whatsoever. I drink nips. :-p


    No probs, Statty!! I am happy to do as you suggest and disagree over whether serving pints to police makes all the difference. You could claim the moon is made of cheese and I would agree to disagree over that too!!

    I do agree agendas may possibly have been involved, though the point people have been making is that other public servants might have taken a bigger hit. Would you find it acceptable if a parent went to talk to a teacher and had to suffer verbal abuse? And do you think it would be consequence-free?

    Agree also that I find shorts are often preferable to pints (Unless it’s a pint’s-worth of Pimms or summat)…

  32. RiN

    @”Which risks are you talking about,”


    Building a nuclear plant which actually delivers electricity & doesn’t exceed budget cost to build & run.

    Actually making a return on capital from the strike price.

    Making sure the plant doesn’t fail on safety grounds, & trigger large compensation costs.

    DEaling with the waste effectively & safely.

    ……..I expect there is other stuff !

  33. @Colin – not altogether sure quite what the point of your last post to me was.

    I’ve long been in favour of a nuclear element to UK power mix and have been saying we need to start the new generation now.

    Your point about who builds a state owned plaant is a bit weird. Of course we’re not going to see DECC officials roll their sleeves up and start digging the Hinkley foundations on weekend overtime – we’d do what we do with roads or schools, and put out a contract to the private sector to build the thing. The state would supply the capital, so the company wouldn’t need to see a 10% operating return on it’s capital.

    The actual point I was making was that could be a good deal, or it could be a bad deal – no one knows. It does, however, help to end the notion that nuclear is a cheap option, or that green energy is being excessively subsidised. We need both, and we need to pay for both.

  34. C N-S

    @”Big question: how will Labour choose to respond to this?”

    So far as one can tell it will be :-

    ” Yeah yeah-but it’s all taken too long & the Cost of Living is the real problem-so whose worried about Deficits anymore-not us “

  35. ALEC

    @” put out a contract to the private sector to build the thing”

    Exactly-it was your “as a nationalised industry” which threw me.

    Funding alternatives is another topic -and a reasonable one.

  36. @Colin/Chris N-S

    Surely Labour’s response will be this: –

    “If your austerity policies hadn’t choked off the recovery in 2010, thereby more or less killing off any economic growth thereafter during the first three years of your term of office, rather than you presiding over the most anaemic and long delayed recovery in the history of the UK economy, you might have got the deficit and borrowing down a hell of a lot quicker.”

    Or words to that effect.

  37. @Colin

    Actually, the early indication from Labour is that they are going highlight the fact that borrowing forecasts are still over the original promises made in 2010. Which is a fair point, and will almost certainly still be the case in 2015. The government may have had some economic good news in the last 6 months, but it’s now near-impossible to catch up with original figures in the next 18 months.

    Whether this argument is enough to bag Labour the 2015 election is the $64,000 question.

    (This, of course, assumes that what Chris Leslie is saying is official Labour Party line.)

  38. @Colin – understood.

  39. C N-S

    @”Actually, the early indication from Labour is that they are going highlight the fact that borrowing forecasts are still over the original promises made in 2010. ”

    Which of course ignores any subsequent events in EZ-but in the immortal words of Lefty of this Parish ” that’s politics”

  40. “What’s the general view in Scotland about Grangemouth?”

    I wouldn’t live there.

    In seriousness, I think we have a good old private scrap brewing, and the government would do well to stay out of it. Any government getting too involved will either be anti-workforce or anti-business.

  41. Colin:

    “Which of course ignores any subsequent events in EZ-but in the immortal words of Lefty of this Parish ” that’s politics”

    Haven’t heard Tory or Labour line on that argument yet, but I think I can guess.

    Cameron and Osborne will argue that the poor figures in 2011-2012 were the fault of the euro crisis.

    Milliband and Balls will argue it’s the fault of the cuts.

    As there’s no definitive way of proving who’s right, we can expect this argument to be repeated ad nauseum in the 2015 election.

  42. OLDNAT…………..Your post of 12:11am to PB, kindly desist in advertising your obsession with my anatomy, I am a sensitive soul.

  43. Statgeek
    So what if Grangemouth closes and the Scottish Govt did nothing?
    Somebody is playing hardball and it ain’t Wee Ec.

  44. COLIN

    ‘Which of course ignores any subsequent events in EZ-but in the immortal words of Lefty of this Parish ” that’s politics”’

    Well Is suppose if the Tories can ignore the fact there was a world banking crisis and blame the last Labour Government for the deficit in 2010 then Labour can ignore the Eurozone crisis and blame the slow recovery on the Coalition. Quid pro quo maybe or, as you say, “that’s politics”.

  45. I suppose, not is suppose!

  46. “As for the Lib Dems, well, what can one say?”

    They’re doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomed.

  47. CHRIS N-S

    @”we can expect this argument to be repeated ad nauseum in the 2015 election.”

    Yes-what a prospect !


    @”Quid pro quo maybe or, as you say, “that’s politics”.


  49. @Crossbat11
    No you couldn’t make it up. I believe that a good rule for political activists is not to believe your own side’s propaganda without questioning any of it.

    I have plenty of reservations about ‘my team’ and they sholud not take my vote for granted. Especially after Rachel Reeves recent outburst.

  50. @Ewen
    What is perhaps little realised is that there are two Grangemouths.

    One is a plant which refines oil coming in through the Forties pipeline (it comes ashore at Cruden Bay, to give you an idea of how far that goes to reach Grangemouth), which supplies fuel oil products for Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.

    Next door is a petrochemical plant which uses some of the distillate from Grangemouth 1 to produce chemicals etc used in wider industrial processes.

    Ultimately, closure of Grangemouth 1 would be of very serious consequences to the economy of the northern UK. Grangemouth 2 is the major loss making element of the site, as there is tough competition in the market, and many other plants can currently produce it’s output worldwide. It needs several hundred million pounds of investment (apparently) to survive. Grangemouth 1 doesnt HAVE competition – if it doesnt do its job – no one else can and the North Sea shuts down.

    The Scottish Government is apparently looking for buyers for the site – I wasnt aware it was for sale. I could imagine a consortium of oil producers wanting to buy Grangemouth 1 – they wont be bothered if Grangemouth 2 is shut, and it will struggle to find anyone.

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