Over on the right hand side of this site is a projection of how the current polls would translate into seats at a general election tomorrow, if there was a uniform swing. On twitter and suchlike I sometimes see if referred to as UKPR’s current prediction, but I’m afraid it isn’t. Polls don’t predict the next election, they measure support now, so the polling average here isn’t my best guess for the shares of the vote at the next election, it’s a measure of support in an election tomorrow. Of course, there isn’t an election tomorrow, and if there was, the polls probably wouldn’t be as they are – if there really was an election tomorrow then the last three weeks would have been full of manifestos, policy announces, campaigns and debates which may or may not have had some impact.

It’s also worth noting that while uniform national swing is not a bad guide by any means, it can certainly be bettered. To start with it’s definitely worth dealing with Scotland seperately based on Scottish polling figures, it might also be useful to include some assumptions about incumbency effects in seats with new MPs, and some degree of random variation at the margins.

I deliberately don’t make predictions this far out, given the huge amounts of unknowns. I tend to find most people who do predict this far out with any degree of confidence are – probably unconsciously – merely predicting what they would like to be the case. It’s rare to find someone confidently predicting a Labour victory who wouldn’t like a Labour victory (or who has an ideological axe to grind against the Tory leadership), or vice-versa on the Conservative side. Given the prominence of Nate Silver and other election prediction sites at the last US election I would expect a plethora of more academic and sensible election prediction models come the actual election (hell, I know for certain of several groups of academics working on various models), but so far virtually the only prediction I have seen that moves beyond wish-fulfillment to actually come up with a poll-based model is the attempt by Steve Fisher at Oxford here, with an explanation of the model here.

Steve’s model is a simple one – it is purely based upon voting intention polls and how they have tended to relate to the election result that follows*. We cannot assume that the polls will remain unchanged in the run up to the next election, given that in past Parliaments they have tended to change. Past change has not been a random walk, with equal likelihood of government’s gaining or losing in the polls – this is the key to Steve’s model. In the past the polls have rended to regress towards the result of the previous election (usually in the form of the government recovering). What Steve has done therefore is to take the current polls, and then factor in the sort of size and scale of changes that have typically happened to the polls over the last years of previous Parliaments, then based a prediction on that. At past elections this would have proven to be a more accurate predictor than just taking the current polls. That is not to say that that it is a particularly accurate prediction, only that in the past it would have been more accurate than assuming no change.

On that basis, if the polls over the next year behave like the polls in the last year of previous Parliaments the most likely result come the general election is a Conservative lead of 5 points over Labour, which would produce a hung Parliament with the Conservatives the largest party. The most important word in that sentence is probably the “if”, and perhaps the most important thing to note in Steve’s projection are the large prediction intervals around it. Steve’s model predicts the Conservative vote will be 37%, plus or minus 8.5 (so between 29% and 46%), the Labour vote at 32%, plus or minus 6.4 (so between 26 and 39). These are huge gaps. Of course, results towards the centre of those ranges are still considered more likely, but it underlines the imprecision of the projection, and the limitations on using current polling data to predict a general election a year away. Polls a year out from the election are not a very good prediction of the election. It would be wrong to say that anything could happen (Steve’s model, for example, suggests it is unlikely that Labour would get over 40, or that the Conservatives would fall below 29), but certainly a lot of different outcomes could happen.

It also reflects the sheer variety of elections. One criticism I’ve seen of Steve’s model is that this election will be different because of the coalition, the UKIP factor and the realignment of the Lib Dem vote. That may very well be true, but we could say the same about other elections – 1964 had two late changes of leader, 1966 wasn’t a whole term, 1974 was different because the Liberals started contesting all seats, 1979 was different because of the Lib-Lab pact, or the winter of discontent, 1983 was different because of the Falklands and the SDP split, 1992 was different because of Thatcher’s removal, 1997 was different because of the sheer scale of the landslide. 2001 was different because Labour never really had any mid-term blues to come back from. The infrequency of elections means that almost by definition each one has things that make it unique and different – yet Steve’s out-of-sample predictions shows the model would been a better tool at predicting those past elections from 20, 12 or 6 months out than just looking at what the polls 20, 12 or 6 months out were saying (it also underlines the difficulty for political scientists in coming up with any decent models at all – you only get 16 data points and they are all weird).

That doesn’t mean it would have been a particularly good prediction at those past points, just that it was better than the alternative of just looking at the polls 20, 12 or 6 months out. The polls now are a snapshot of public support now, they are not a prediction of what will happen in May 2015. If polls move in the sort of way they have in the run up to past elections we can expect the Conservatives to significantly recover. If they don’t, then they won’t, simple as that. Polls do not move by magic, drawn towards past election results by some invisible force. If they narrow, it will be because of the economy, because of changing attitudes to the parties, because, perhaps, of different factors weighing upon people’s political choices as an election becomes more imminent… that, however, is a post for another day.

(*I should also add that this is NOT Steve’s personal prediction of the election – it’s an attempt to see to what degree you can predict election results months in advance using just national poll data. I expect if Steve was making a personal prediction he probably would ponder what the impact of the economy, the party situation etc would be, but that would be a very different and more subjective model.)


253 Responses to “This is not a prediction”

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  1. @Colin – the current talk appears to be much more along the lines of converting them into 100 year bonds and sitting on them. This is little more than keeping up the pretense that QE WILL be reversed, as you say, as not to do this this would leave the way open for the teeming multitudes of horrible left wing people to argue that if magic money can be created for QE for the banks and never be repaid, how come creating magic money for ordinary people is reckless and dangerous.

    This may another example of the Threshold Effect for the Differential Application of the Laws of Economics. You can create money to help the banks, but your mustn’t create money to help the people.

  2. Nick P,

    You will almost certainly be right that ATTAD will be nowhere near the 60% or so in 2010. confirming your ‘Governments never increase their share’ mantra.

    It is quite possible, however, that 54% (a 10% drop) could break 39/15 for example;

    Disappointment with the Government by some Tories that may have led to desertion will be ameliorated by being able to blame those pesky LDs –
    Where do disappointed Tories who always vote out of a sense of duty who would never vote UKIP or Labour (or Nats) go?

    I would be astonished if the Tories did not poll more than 35% in the GE and think anything up to 39% is possible imo although I think 36-37% probable.

    Key number as ever is the Lab vote and GTVO where it matters.

  3. COLIN
    Thanks for your well phrased and well recollected comment on CB11’s outrageous but witty comparison of the Social Contract with MC.
    I think, however, to take you seriously on the poltical consequences of what was a long-haul process with an opportunist label, you leave out the evolution towards a lower case social contract, aided by Maggie’s legislation against secondary picketing, but also by the introduction in the EU of working rights. Both have been absorbed into the UK labour market struggle like tired feet into fireside slippers.
    I wonder if you happened to watch on from Marr to the Big Question on Sunday, when there were some very real life northern union leaders debating with Chamber of Commerce and CBI provincial officials, heatedly over employment issues, but with a tolerance and expertise that Wilson would have been nodding and waving his pipe at.

  4. jim jam,

    the % share is really irrelevant. More specifically, Which of the labour or conservative party do you think will have more seats in the house of commons in 2015?

    or do you have no view beyond asserting that the tories will get between 35% and 39%?

  5. The Conservative Party has not been around “since 1700.” The Tory Party of 1678-1760 was a completely different institution with no historical connection to today’s Conservatives. The historical roots of the Conservatives are in one faction of the Whig Party, after that party (already much divided, in the absence of a credible opposition from the then-existing Tories) definitively broke up in the early years of George III’s reign. The faction that became the Conservatives was that led by Mr Pitt in the 1780s.

  6. Peter,

    You are relatively new to the site (at least posting) so I will repeat my expectations for 2015 which I have held to 2 years or more.

    UKIP to get less than 6% and no seats.
    LD to improve to 14% but hold on to 30-35 seats defending most against the Tories but losing most where there is a realistic Lab or SNP challenge.
    Tories to beat Labour by 3-4% but seats to be very close depending on marginal etc.
    Either another Con/LD coalition or Minority Lab most likely, possibly with LDs C&S.

  7. @Colin

    Not for the first time, you misunderstand me. When I say selective, I don’t mean who you’ve gathered your quotes from but how selective you’ve been in what you’ve quoted. You’ve regurgitated a piece written by Dominic Sandbrook in his book “Seasons in the Sun; The Battle for Britain 1974-79” where he sometimes quotes half sentences out of much longer quotations. Context is everything if you want veracity, but irrelevant if you want to make a particular point.

    As an example of selectivity, I’ve chosen some quotations from what people have said about Sandbrook: –

    “the Hoodie Historian … throwing whatever passes for gang signs in the history department of the University of Sheffield”. Charles Shaar Murray of the NME.

    In February 2011, Michael C. Moynihan identified several instances of apparent plagiarism in Sandbrook’s book “Mad as Hell”. Moynihan later expressed amazement that there were few repercussions for Sandbrook’s career.

    Eugene McCarthy, the former Democratic presidential candidate felt that Sandbrook’s biography of him was “almost libellous”.

    Highly selective, but interesting, don’t you think, especially if you’ve got an interest in denigrating Sandbrook.

  8. jim jam,

    so that’s a don’t know then?! you’re not saying whether you think labour will get fewer seats than the conservatives.

    I thought that was the case. I have followed your posts regularly, and just had never heard anything definitive on this question from you. thanks for the clarification.

    I think labour will get between 305 and 330 seats. the tories 250-275, and the lib dems around 36-40.

    That’s clear I hope! the spreads are quite large and am prepared to stick my neck out at this stage. It’s not that bold, as it’s roughly where the odds are at the moment, though betting suggests the lib dems will get fewer than my suggested number of seatss/

  9. Jim Jam

    I make that Con 39 Lab 35 LD 14 UKIP 6 Others 6.

    UNS on AW’s calculation gives
    Con 306 Lab 294 LD 23 The rest 27

    One can fiddle with LD and Others but it seems to me that at least your prediction adds up and to a Con /LD coalition with LD not being able to even have the slightest influence, except perhaps on EU. Perhaps.

    Doesn’t seem realistic to me.

  10. @JimJam

    “You are relatively new to the site (at least posting) so I will repeat my expectations for 2015 which I have held to 2 years or more.”

    You have been entirely consistent in restating your unswerving predictions for May 2015 but, when you formed those opinions some two years ago, did you anticipate Labour would have held a solid opinion poll lead throughout the intervening 24 months.

    Or was what you expected to see and therefore entirely in line with what you are confidently predicting will occur in 13 months time??

  11. JimJam

    In a position where Lab lose the popular vote but win more seats do you think the LDs would support a Con+LD+NI coalition if Con+LD was short but Lab+LD was a majority?

  12. Howard

    Implicit in JimJams reasoning is that LD hold most of the notional C gains implicit in you figures. You need to add 12-15 seats to LD at expense of Con

  13. @Shevii
    “One thing that has been puzzling me a bit is that we haven’t yet had a neck and neck or Tory lead. If I understand my MOE right and AW is showing a 4% average lead with MOE at 3% (6% in total) there should be an outlier giving us that.”

    It must also be remembered that for a level poll, you need two extreme results, both Labour and Conservative.

    The further from the mean, the less likely it is to occur. 68% of data is within 1 standard deviation. 95% is with 2 standard deviations, 99.7% within 3.

    So you need a rare Labour poll at the bottom end to coincide with a rare poll at the Conservative top end.

    The chances of two rare occurrences happening at the same time is, well, rarer than rare!

  14. @Chris Martin

    On your suggestion that Fisher should do the “honourable thing”…

    Even the greats have gotten things wrong at times, Chris. Many scientists thought the aether was a necessary thing until Einstein finally showed it wasn’t.

    Meanwhile the model of the atom progressed from being seen as much like a tiny billiard ball, to the plum pudding model – after Thomson discovered the electron – in which we had protons and electrons clumped together. Then after Rutherford showed that most of an atom is empty space we had the planetary model with electrons orbiting the nucleus…

    …and then after Heisenberg showed that you couldn’t precisely know both the momentum and position of an electron, we moved via Schrödinger to the electron cloud model. Where one could only determine the probability of where an electron might be.

    Thus the concept of the cloud replaced the orbit… where the cloud around the nucleus represented the probability of finding the electron. Where the cloud was denser, there was a greater chance of finding the electron. But would you really remove the Nobel Prize from Thomson, the guy who discovered the electron, just for his plum pudding model, or from Rutherford for his planetary model… the guy who…

    – discovered the concept of the radioactive half-life
    – showed atoms have a nucleus, and thus fathered nuclear physics
    – split the atom
    …plus more on alpha and beta radiation etc….

    If you’d forced Rutherford to resign in disgrace once folk moved on to the cloud model, he wouldn’t have been leading the Cavendish Lab and overseeing Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron in 1932.

    One might argue that proposing a model, even if flawed, isn’t a resigning offence… failure to respond in the light of new info. would be the greater sin. Constructing models to test them can be illuminating, and reveal new stuff, even if the model itself doesn’t work quite the way you may have thought. Simply considering the planetary model for the atom raised some questions: for example, under that model you would expect the orbiting electrons to radiate energy and spiral into the nucleus. But they don’t… and considering that issue helped lead to further insights about the atom, and that the energy of the electrons is quantised, i.e. it only comes in particular amounts. Hence… quantum theory, and moving to the electron cloud model. The Planetary model helped spawn its successor.

  15. Ray – dead right thanks.

    CB – Actually I thought Labour would be still a little over 40% but think that the rise of the UKIP has led to some very soft support gained after the Omni-shambles moving away earlier in the parliament.
    (it would always have gone anyhow by polling day imo so does not bother me)

    You are aware that I think that the UKIP vote will fall with a net Con gain over Labour of 3% ish and that DK/WV returnees will be stronger for the Cons and LDs putting little between the big 2.

    A bit of ‘devil you know/need more time’ support for the Cons and a lower turnout among Labour voters (albeit largely in safe Tory seats) will produce the Con lead in votes I predict.

    If anything think UNS will overstate Cons seats and understate LDs and Lab.
    We all know about the LD/Tory targets seats thing.

    For Lab/Tory marginal (as per Mr N) the bigger the LD vote to squeeze the more likely Lab to take.
    I am not convinced that the first time Tory incumbents will perform much above UNS as the impact of Ashcroft millions was a one off; except in seats where the previous Lab MP had a 13 year or more incumbency built up by 2010 which the new challenger will not have.

    So even with 4% lead I think Lab could well have more seats than Tories

    (Peter very weak prediction but think Lab most seats just and then the legitimacy thing rears its head)

    Hardly scientific but rational imo

  16. i think the risk is considerably on the down side for the tories. a ukip vote of 10% will probably end up with a polling outcome not that dissimilar from current polls, most of which predict a decent labour majority.

    For there definitely NOT to be a labour majority, ukip have to poll under 8% in my view.

    Most tory victory scenarios rely on a collapse of the ukip vote from 2013-14 levels. Unfortunately for them, ukip have been polling consistently over 10% for more than a year now. most observers assume that there won’t be a substantial decrease in UKIP VI ahead of the May eu elections.

    After this, there is essentially a race to see how far the UKIP VI falls, leaving the tories 11 months and two weeks to stage the mother of all comebacks. It definitely is possible. Not sure I’d put money on that outcome, though.

  17. @Chris Martin

    On your suggestion that Fisher should do the “honourable thing”…

    Even the greats have gotten things wrong at times, Chris. Many scientists thought the aether was a necessary thing until Einstein finally showed it wasn’t.

    Meanwhile the model of the atom progressed from being seen as much like a tiny bill-iard ball, to the plum pudding model – after Thomson discovered the electron – in which we had protons and electrons clumped together. Then after Rutherford showed that most of an atom is empty space we had the planetary model with electrons orbiting the nucleus…

    …and then after Heisenberg showed that you couldn’t precisely know both the momentum and position of an electron, we moved via Schrödinger to the electron cloud model. Where one could only determine the probability of where an electron might be.

    Thus the concept of the cloud replaced the orbit… where the cloud around the nucleus represented the probability of finding the electron. Where the cloud was denser, there was a greater chance of finding the electron. But would you really remove the Nobel Prize from Thomson, the guy who discovered the electron, just for his plum pudding model, or from Rutherford for his planetary model… the guy who…

    – discovered the concept of the radioactive half-life
    – showed atoms have a nucleus, and thus fathered nuclear physics
    – split the atom
    …plus more on alpha and beta radiation etc….

    If you’d forced Rutherford to resign in disgrace once folk moved on to the cloud model, he wouldn’t have been leading the Cavendish Lab and overseeing Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron in 1932.

    One might argue that proposing a model isn’t a resigning offence… failure to respond in the light of new info. might be. Constructing models to test them can be illuminating, and reveal new stuff, even if the model itself doesn’t work quite the way you may have thought. Simply considering the planetary model for the atom raised some questions: for example, under that model you would expect the orbiting electrons to radiate energy and spiral into the nucleus. But they don’t… and considering that issue helped lead to further insights about the atom, and that the energy of the electrons is quantised, i.e. it only comes in particular amounts. Hence… quantum theory, and moving to the electron cloud model. The Planetary model helped spawn its successor.

  18. CB – BTW not confident but why come on the site if we cant have a bit of fun with predictions every now and then?

  19. Sorry about the repost AW… you freed my post real quick!!

  20. RAYFROMTHENORTH

    That would give Con 318 Lab 294 LD 35 The rest 27 (still)

    That gives LD about one tenth of Cabinet seats. I suppose blood money bargaining could give them a few cabinet seats including a DPM.

    Not going to happen as I see it. Labour are too strong in that scenario to enable a coalition to last. However, it proves the electoral mountain that needs to be climbed by Cameron, if he wants to hold on.

    Con 39 Lab 35? Rub your eyes (as it stands).

  21. Ray,

    In a position where Lab lose the popular vote but win more seats do you think the LDs would support a Con+LD+NI coalition if Con+LD was short but Lab+LD was a majority?

    No I don’t but what would be fascinating is if Lab most seats with 3% less vote but the LDs can put either in Government.
    Would mandate mean more votes then? Cleggo will make it up as he goes along perhaps.

    Just to be clear I want a Labour victory and would be delighted to be wrong.

  22. this is interesting stuff. the scenario in which the tories gain seats on a net basis from 2010, is most bizarre. Sure they’ll pick up a few seats off the lib dems, but if we assume the lib dem share is going to fall considerably, every poll this parliament suggests that labour are the principal beneficiaries of this decline.

    I don’t see a world in which the blues pick up seats from the yellows at a faster rate, so to speak, than they lose them to the reds. This has to happen for the tories to end up with MORE seats than they did in 2010. I don’t see the tories gaining any seats which are currently held by labour.

  23. @JimJam

    “CB – BTW not confident but why come on the site if we cant have a bit of fun with predictions every now and then?”

    Agreed. I don’t think your predictions are a million miles away actually, but where I differ is in the degree to which you think the UKIP support will collapse and I think you might be overestimating the degree to which the Tory support will increase between now and May 2015.

    Of course the two points of difference I’ve highlighted above are inextricably connected.

  24. Howard

    You added 12 to both Con and LD there.

  25. Peter – very well put and I agree totally.

    ”I don’t see a world in which the blues pick up seats from the yellows at a faster rate, so to speak, than they lose them to the reds. This has to happen for the tories to end up with MORE seats than they did in 2010. I don’t see the tories gaining any seats which are currently held by labour.

    The question you ask me then to paraphrase can Labour overtake the cons? is the biggy; although some think a Lab majority is possible of course.

  26. It’s hard to see anything BUT a lab majority.

  27. @Peter Crawford

    Just to underline your point, Labour rather than the Conservatives are the main challenger in about a third of the Lib Dem seats, and there seems to be general agreement that in the wake of their tryst with the Conservatives the Lib Dems are going to see bigger swings against them where Labour is challenging.

    So if the Lib Dems lost 25 seats to leave them with 32, that might mean just 14 Conservative gains, to say 10 for Labour and 1 for the SNP.

    In Con-Lab seats, there needs to be just a 1.1% swing for Labour to pick up 14 off the Conservatives.

  28. @Colin

    “But in my book the appropriate fate of Fred Goodwin & the rest of his Board was overseeing the collapse & insolvency of the monster they created, followed by the ignominy of their failed governance of RBS.”

    ———

    Problem with just letting banks fail is the knock on effect as they take out the businesses that depend on them in turn.

    The temporary seizure in the banks when they ran out of liquidity before the govt. stepped in to inject liquidity took out 7% of the economy… think how bad it could have been without the government stepping in…

  29. “The question you ask me then to paraphrase can Labour overtake the cons? is the biggy; although some think a Lab majority is possible of course.”

    ——

    In a recent post, ToH said he thought Tories would gain 5% from closet Tories at the election.

    He didn’t elaborate… so I dunno what the evidence is on this, for and against….

  30. Does ‘Nanny Benefit’ which is getting a lot of coverage today presage ‘Omnishambles 2 – Os doesn’t know he’s borne’ ?
    Or is that just my fantasy?

  31. @Steve

    “Because Public Sector workers live in al areas of the country without being regionally specific it is this type of change which may well have significant impact in marginals as we are talking in excess of 3 million workers eligible to vote + their families.”

    I won’t tell you where I work as that would be improper – however, it is within the Civil Service. At the last GE the remainng 11 members of staff of our team that in 2010 was 14 strong remember voting as follows: C6 LD4 Lab1. Today support is C3 LD1 UKIP1 Lab6. Of these staff 9 of the 11 vote in Con/Lab marginals currently held by Cons. Only a local staw poll at my workplace, but telling!!!

  32. yes. an interesting problem.

    Can labour pick up enough seats off the tories to become the largest party. The answer to this is surely yes.

    We need to work backwards to follow get a picture of what is happening.

    We know there are 650 seats in the house of commons. let’s assume that “others” will be about 30. [There are 18 Northern Irish seats plus SNP, Plaid, etc.: it won’t be far from that].

    There are then abt. 620 seats left. Let’s assume the LDs get between 30 and 45 seats.

    So, that leaves between 590 and 575 seats between the two parties.

    On these assumptions, the largest party will have at least between 296 and 288 seats. The higher figure presupposes a bad outcome for the lib dems.

    Do I think that labour can gain, on a net basis, 38 seats in 2015…er yes, actually. Remember that’s the top end [258+38=296]. If the lib dems do well, the hurdle is lower, 30 seats.

    Conversely, for the Tories, a lib dem wipeout, say with 30 seats, means they have to lose, on a net basis, fewer than 11 seats. If the lib dems do well, they have to lose, on a net basis, fewer than 20.

    It’s very well balanced. Looking at odds, betting, local election results and from personal knowledge, I think the Tories will struggle to keep their net losses lower than 20. I also think Labour, on a net basis, will gain at least 25 seats.

    That’s why I think labour is very likely be in government, after 2015. Incumbent governments generally lose seats at general elections. I don’t see 2015 being any different from that point of view, esp. with lib dem defectors, ukip etc. blah blah.

    The market implicitly is following this line of thinking.

  33. Yes Phil,

    Or put another way after LD seats are distributed Con may well be around 50 seats ahead of Labour.

    On balance I would expect 25 seats to go con-Lab so think Lab most seats is most likely but not the 55 or so they need for an OM.

    Reckon if Lab hit 310 they will try to form a minority Government (of course DC gets first stab as sitting PM).
    Below 300 too few and 300-310??

  34. The SDP is 33 years old today.

    That went well.

  35. ALEC

    I haven’t read that, and don’t really understand it.
    It is not for BoE to “convert” its Gilt holdings. They are denominated as they were purchased-and if the plan is not to reduce the monetary stimulus, BoE will just go on re-investing redemptions at maturity.

    As to ” You can create money to help the banks, but your mustn’t create money to help the people.” I think you are conflating a liquidity stimulus via Purchase of liquid assets by the Central Bank , with something entirely different in effect, & implication.

    But I really don’t want to open a debate on “Helicopter Money “/” Fiat Money”/ Money Printing.

  36. @Mr N

    I have few enough teeth already wothout you making me grind down the few that are left. Grrrrr.

  37. One reason why Clegg managed to get all of his MPs to agree to a coalition with the Tories is that there was no realistic possibility of a Labour-led one. I doubt he’ll get the same backing in 2015 if a minority Labour administration is a viable option.

  38. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”you leave out the evolution towards a lower case social contract, aided by Maggie’s legislation against secondary picketing,”

    As I recall, the Social Contract deal involved the scrapping of 1971 Industrial Relations Act.

    So I don’t see it as a precursor to anything except disastrous “incomes policy” , raging inflation & the Thatcher government.

    I didn’t see the discussion you mention , but I don’t find it at all surprising that modern Trades Union officials are capable of an objectivity which their 1970s forebears admitted openly was beyond them.At least I would have hoped for some progress on that front in 4 decades.

    In fact , I have read an analysis of the failure of the SC which goes like this :-

    On paper it looked like a reasonable attempt to copy the successful arrangements in Scandinavia, West Germany & Austria where ministers & union leaders worked together on growth without inflation.
    But it was fatally flawed because the plethora of hundreds of fractious & competing unions in UK was never going to deliver that model.

    The essence of the inflationery problems which escalated through the period was competitive , leap frogging pay settlements..

    I have already provided quotes from leading Union figures who subsequently acknowledged that they could not deliver the SC’s objectives from self-interested organisations .

    There are two other factors I think :-
    Unlike their European counterparts, the Labour Party & the Trades Unions had one identity the former being the Parliamentary wing of the latter. So objectivity was never going to be possible -even if Wilson might have wished, people like Foot & Benn saw Labour & the Unions as one entity for governance of the country through structures like The Liason Committee .

    Finally, as we know, the Union Leaders lost control-they could not deliver even if they had wanted to because local officials called strikes & kept the slot machine operating.

  39. CB11

    Thanks.

    I can only repeat that if you think different quotations, or more complete quotations from Union Leaders & Labour Politicians of the day , provide credible rebuttal of the suggestion that the key players acknowledged the failure of the Social Contract for the reasons suggested-then please provide them.

  40. @ Colin

    I suspect that when BoE decides the time is right-liquidity/monetary policy will be tightened by retaining redemptions rather than selling before maturity.
    —————-
    You still don’t get it, do you? It would require the government to tighten fiscal policy (i.e. generate a £375Bn surplus from taxes!!!) to reverse QE.

  41. carfrew

    Thanks muchly for the data on Eton etc. I don’t know that 38% is all that bad for them… it leaves a lot of people who don’t seem to mind so much, including nearly half the Labour supporters. Although, in a tight race…

    I was actually surprised it was so high. The actual question was Here are some characteristics that some people feel are unsuitable in leading politicians. Which three or four of these, if any, do you think are most unsuitable in a leading politician?, which might be expected to bias towards more general criticisms, rather than something so specific. There are after all ‘only’ 20 Old Etonians in the Commons, though Cameron himself does rather tend to surround himself with them. Admittedly some people may be picking ‘Eton’ as a symbol for inherited privilege in general.

    The poll was taken 25-26 February but not released till 10 March, which is itself interesting – and Gove’s comments followed soon after. Possibly we are looking at potential Murdoch manoeuvres after the next election (and possibly by implication against Boris?).

    The poll has been picked up today by the Spectator, trying to spin it as really against the whole political class[1]:

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/03/how-much-do-voters-care-about-old-etonians-and-the-political-class/

    there’s some truth in that, but it’s also true that the Conservatives have additional problems and are seen as being even more out of touch because of such links. And that may carry enough extra weight to make this a difficult topic for the Tories to deal with

    [1] The bit trying to prove that this is true because “the largest proportion of any leader, view Nigel Farage as working class” is particularly delightful, given that the figure involved is 6%

  42. I’m struck by just how pessimistic some Labour supporters still are.

    I find it very difficult to conceive of how Labour could drop as low as 35%. I think the 38% or so Labour have is pretty solid and I’m confident that as the campaign gets going Labour can pick up another % or 2from people who are wavering between not voting or voting Labour. Thus I’m confident of about 39% for Labour.

    I don’t think Ukip will drop to below about 9%. Their vote seems to have three components. First is their core who voted for them at the last 2 general elections and amounts to about 3%. The second comprises about 6% and are defectors from the Tories. My feeling is they have a fairly solid 9%.

    If I were to give a prediction it would be something like:

    Labour 39
    Tory 35
    Lib Dem 11
    Ukip 9
    Others 6

    That’s a 5.5% swing to Labour, with approximately a 7% swing in the Tory/Labour marginals, and virtually no net swing at all in Lib Dem/Tory marginals, leaving us with seat totals of something like:

    Labour 360-370
    Tory 220-230
    Lib Dem 35
    Others 25

    I think the reason why many people are so insistent that it will be close is because of the natural cognitive bias that makes it difficult to imagine a huge change. This is why so many people were so stunned by Labour’s 179 majority in 1997, even though it was more or less what the polls had been predicting.

    It won’t be anything like that emphatic this time, but I’m confident of a pretty decisive majority for Labour.

  43. RAYFROMTHENORTH

    Whoops (red face) – well, that makes my point even stronger. It’s not going to happen, is it?

  44. AMBER STAR

    @”? It would require the government to tighten fiscal policy (i.e. generate a £375Bn surplus from taxes!!!) to reverse QE.”

    No it wouldn’t.

    Fiscal policy is not involved at all
    . BoE’s holdings of Gilts are no different to anyone elses. The Treasury redeems them at maturity & issues more Gilts to replace them.

    The Debt Management Office does this all day long-rolling over & refinancing Government Debt.

  45. Thank you, Anthony :-)

  46. DRUNKENSCOUSER

    Taking your point about UKIP possible non-returnees, if such voters think that the only way to get out of EU and close the borders (perhaps that should be put the other way around), they would be safe voting UKIP, because they don’t really think Cameron’s promise will be effected anyway, perhaps once they hear that the polls are predicting a Lab victory. In a safe Con seat they can record their vote for UKIP as a no-brainer. In a marginal Con-Lab, they may be less likely to do so, unless their view of the actual Con candidate is that he wants to stay in the EU. My impression was that the 2010 intake were more anti EU than the rest, however.

    The only flaws in such arguments are that many voters do not generally know about whether their constituency is marginal or otherwise and in fact are even less aware of the consequences of the FPTP system. Otherwise UNS would not work at all, and everyone would be voting tactically. In fact, with an aberration here and there, UNS works pretty well, otherwise the polls would be pointless.

  47. David

    “The Conservative Party has not been around “since 1700.” The Tory Party of 1678-1760 was a completely different institution with no historical connection to today’s Conservatives….”

    Thanks for that information. I had dredged up some distant memory (from history lessons) of Tories in the reign of Queen Anne and extrapolated a wrong conclusion.

    I suppose some of our existing parties have evolved a bit as well. And maybe a bit of party repositioning to come, depending on the election result?

  48. Given a GE outcome of 37/37/12 , UKPR’s Swingometer suggests seats of :-

    282/322/20 +26

    Can one of our constitutional experts tell me what would happen then.

  49. Coming back to the present, and near future, it looks as though the coalition parties with the child-care help they are proposing are at least, or at last, showing some wish to win the next election.

    That is one of the few cards a governing party or parties have I suppose.

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