The final YouGov poll of the year is up here. Voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. The six point Labour lead is the same as the average in YouGov’s polls across December, in comparison in December 2012 YouGov was showing an average Labour lead of eleven points, so year-on-year Labour’s lead has almost halved – the YouGov average for December 2013 is Conservative 33% (up 1 since 2012), Labour 39% (down 4), Lib Dem 9% (down 1), UKIP 12% (up 3).

Labour leads have seemed a tad lower since the Autumn statement, but the vast majority that narrowing came in the early part of 2013 when economic optimism first stating picking up. We can see the changes in attitudes to the economy in the other regular YouGov trackers here. 17% now think the economy is doing well, 50% badly. It’s still strongly negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 5% well, 73% badly. 41% of people now think the coalition are managing the economy well, 51% badly – it’s still a net negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 31% well, 59% badly.

The most interesting questions in the rest of the poll were on shale gas and fracking, 44% of people support fracking/shale gas, 29% of people are opposed. This is up slightly since YouGov last asked in August when it was 41% to 33% opposed. Asked about its impacts people see it as safe by 47% to 33%, as good for the economy by 64% to 14%, but as environmentally damaging by 42% to 34%.

Compared to other potential ways of generating energy, fracking is seen as broadly preferable to coal or imported gas, but seen as less desirable than nuclear or renewable energy. People would, unsurprisingly, be less positive about fracking in their immediate area. Only 25% of people would support fracking within a couple of miles of their home, but it rises to 32% support if its further away, but in a local town or village, and goes up to 46% support if it was somewhere else in their local county, but not their own town or village.


316 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. Julian

    Electoral Calculus interesting – though you have to wonder about the reliability of anyone who considers Ross, Skye & Lochaber to be part of the ‘east of Scotland’!

    There are several tight fights: e.g Berwickshire & co., Argyll, Edinburgh West; only Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine seems anything like a reasonable certainty for the Tories. Dunbartonshire East looks like a Labour win, but in all these cases we won’t know anything definite until the scale of tactical voting intentions becomes clearer.

  2. @Ewen Lightfoot

    About a month ago I saw a Green councillor and the Labour Party canvassing and was called twice by the Libdems. As far as I’m aware no elections are scheduled
    here. Could be an early start for the Euros .

  3. rogerh

    Quite possible that Labour will have a new leader as well.

  4. @Wolf

    Political campaigning goes on around the year. The more information you have about your electorate the better you can target them. One of the lessons from the Obama campaign (tested by experiment) is that multiple ‘touches’ of supporters makes them more likely to vote.

    And on that note – happy Christmas!

  5. John B. There are a few Scottish seats that are a 4 way split, and Argyll is one of them, Edinburgh West another. Under FPTP the winner in both these seats could be achieved with well under 30% of the total vote. I think the Tories will only actually win Aberdeenshire West and Kincardineshire, and Berwickshire, giving them 3 seats in total. So yes the revival is very modest for the Tories, but it could also scupper the chances of the SNP making spectacular gains from the Lib Dems, if the anti Lib Dem vote is split between the Tories and them, e.g. NE Fife, allowing the incumbent Lib Dem Menzies Campbell to hold on.

  6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528083/Britain-isnt-eating-Duncan-Smiths-fury-Churchs-advent-campaign-says-benefit-cuts-forcing-poor-use-food-banks.html

    This type of campaigning may have an effect on polling over a period of time. The British people are mostly very compassionate, as evidenced by the amount given for every charity event.

    Obviously for Labour and other parties to gain from this, they would have to be offering an alternative policy. At the moment it is not clear whether Labour would increase benefits or offer up some form of food voucher scheme with the supermarkets. The question is then how they would pay for increased DWP spending, without needing to increase tax rates.

  7. In any normal electoral cycle I would argue the Tories were on course to win being only 5 points behind in the polls but there are three factors that suggest to ed m will have the keys to Downing Street

    1 boundaries the bias to labour means they only need a small lead
    2 the lib dem collapse seems to have gone to labour and stuck
    3 ukip splitting the right wing vote the blues cannot win with ukip polling 8% at a general election

    Labour will win an outright majority of 20 seats you heard it here first

  8. I believe the figure is a around a 500% increase in food bank usage since 2010.
    The figures are :

    2008-09: 26,000
    2009-10: 41,000
    2010-11: 61,468
    2011-12: 128,697
    2012-13: 200,000 (predicted)
    Source: Trussell Trust

    The Mail’s Comment section (not my normal port of call) is very interesting with the top rated comments very critical of IDS and the lack of Compassionate Conservatism.

    It is possible that continued incidences of genuine poverty may make clobbering the poor less attractive.

    As most of the increase in food bank usage I understand has been the families of the Working Poor I think most people of whatever political persuasion would accept that a fairer distribution of earnings within organisations where the lowest paid saw their wages rise and the in work benefit bill fall would be good for the vast majority of the UK population.

  9. If Mr Cable thinks Cameron is Enoch Powell, or worse Hitler, it must make him Marx. No, not Groucho, Bepo.

  10. @Roland Haines

    The Tories have got to be careful that they don’t feed into the UKIP agenda. As the polls have shown, the more the Tories talk about EU/immigration issues, the more UKIP increase in the polls.

    My opinion is that people will always want to migrate and it is difficult to do anything about it. There are millions of people born in the UK who now live abroad. It is important that when politicians talk about migration, that they do so in a rounded way. Some recent comments by senior politicians have not made in the right way.

  11. Wolf, Richard, Billy Bob
    My Old Moore post was just a bit of Christmas jollity, still you never know the LDs might be Cosmic Turkeys enough to vote for early festivities !

  12. @PANTHER
    Your comment makes perfect sense I M P O, however, do not right off a deal between Tories and UKIP. Furthermore, the continuing improvement in the economy will register with voters, at some stage during 2014, because Osborn will make sure it does with some kind of give away.

  13. @R Huckle,
    Yes the Tories do have to be careful, I agree. However, the situation has changed regarding public perception. The hardship caused by the recession/ “Tory Cuts”, which we hear so much about, have made many more people anxious about more foreigners coming to this country.
    [Snip] the fact remains, when Mr and Ms Average see that 35% of Big Issue sales persons are East Europeans, they are not impressed.

  14. JULIAN

    “NE Fife, allowing the incumbent Lib Dem Menzies Campbell to hold on.”

    Ming is standing down in 2015.

  15. @ Roland

    “Leftist people can wriggle all they like on this issue, but the fact remains, when Mr and Ms Average see that 35% of Big Issue sales persons are East Europeans, they are not impressed.”

    Do you really think that a) Mr & Mrs Average notice Big Issue sales persons and b) Manage to work out that 35% of them are Eastern Europeans?

  16. Talking of the recovery and the cost of living. George Osborne said in his Autumn Statement that rail fare rises would be pegged to the rate of inflation. Greater Anglia have just announced a 4.1% increase for commuter fares from my home town of Clacton.

    Does that mean the rate of inflation is now 4.1%?

  17. “…but the fact remains, when Mr and Ms Average see that 35% of Big Issue sales persons are East Europeans, they are not impressed.”

    Yeah, British jobs should be for British workers………*roll eyes emoticon*

    Criteria for becoming a Big Issue seller:

    Homeless or rough sleeping
    In temporary accommodation
    In danger of losing a home
    Unemployed and facing financial crisis, you can start selling immediately.

    I’m intrigued about how Mr and Ms Average determine the BI sellers nationality however, seeing as they probably are too busy looking beyond the person standing on the street, shivering & soaking wet in weather such as we have today.

  18. Happy Christmas folks. I hope you & your loved ones keep safe & warm.

    Hold close those that are dear to you & remind yourself how fortunate you are to have someone that loves you.

  19. Cable’s attack is interesting, but risky. Migration remains a very touchy issue, but to attack coalition partners in such a way is a high risk strategy.

    While I would agree with Cable that politicians need to be careful with their language, he also needs to keep in mind the facts about recent EU inspired migration. It’s a point of fact that is not often realised, that the Eastern European in flux post 2000 was probably the single biggest mass movement of people in human history. Quite astonishing, but more people moved than were displaced by WW2.

    I am absolutely certain that had these been African migrants, we would have seen some very significant social tensions erupt into unpleasant outcomes. Because they were white, and to a degree less visible, the tensions were easier to deal with.

    However, I think Cable needs to recognise that while language needs to be tempered, genuine concerns over how we manage vast movements of people are valid. He risks making the issue a binary approve/object choice, in the same way he is criticising Cameron for so doing.

  20. @ Alec

    Your last post was surprisingly undiscerning and undifferentiated.

  21. CHORDATA – If new in the UK a person will almost certainly be eligible to sell the big issue as they will classify as being in temporary accommodation or unemployed. Then once accepted you can apply for self employed tax credits. This is not worth it for single people, but with family it is. A parent must work just 16 hours across the week to claim, and then receives working tax credit and child tax credit. With 2 children I’ve checked and amount for 12 month would be £10100, in addition to heavily subsidised or free housing, and child benefit. You can input this into the HMRC website to see for yourself -http://taxcredits.hmrc.gov.uk

    So the total amount, if we say annual profit of 3k selling the big issue, is 10k tax credits, £1055 child benefit for first child and £696 for the next, housing benefit (which varies but is set to the 30th percentile locally) say, an average in a city would be £300 a month or £3600 a year.

    As the UK has a needs based not contributory welfare system, as opposed to most in the EU, a new immigrant would receive £18600 income of which only 3k is earned. that’s before free education, healthcare including dental. Depending on location there are other preks such as free bus travel for all under 18s in London. It is no surprise the UK is a magnet with such figures for working just 2 a bit hours a day or 16 a week. However it is not really sustainable long term.

  22. It also contained quite startling errors. Have you heard of the separation of East and West Pakistan for example?

  23. ALEC – EU migrants have been outnumbered by non EU migrants in recent years. Mainly African and Asian and there have been huge tensions in many areas. And in areas I know very well it has not been colour that is the issue for many (the racists do I’m sure but that’s not most people) but culture. There are some very offensive anti-gay and sexist beliefs amongst African and Asian immigrants I’ve unfortunately seen at close hand. Couple with objectionable selfish & anti social behaviour on a very large scale. Of course that existed among white Britons but not on the sheer scale seen now in many areas.

  24. Another ex MP jailed for expenses fraud.

    If every MP could voice their disgust such as John Mann then parliament might be that little bit more credible to the public.

  25. @Laszlo

    I don’t really care whether or not Alec is right in claiming that the post 2000 migration from E European was the biggest on record.

    What matters is whether he is right that “genuine concerns over how we manage vast movements of people are valid”. On that I agree with him.

  26. Moderated for suggesting Santa was fly*ng!

    Let’s get this clear. Closed borders stop people coming in…and pretty soon going out too. Wanna work in Bulgaria…or Germany? Think you should be able to?

    ratcheting up this fear on being “swamped”…think it is anyhting to do with “genuine concerns of how we manage vast movements of people or is that language itself part of the cynical anti-immigrant card being played?

    Are you thinking what i’m thinking? Does it make you sick?

  27. “It’s a point of fact that is not often realised, that the Eastern European in flux post 2000 was probably the single biggest mass movement of people in human history. Quite astonishing, but more people moved than were displaced by WW2.”

    Really?

    I’ve just looked at Poland:
    1) Average NET emigration rate since 2001: 0.49 per 1,000 = approx 20,000 net per annum

    2) World War 2: minimum 1.6 million expelled in Nazi occupied Poland, not including slave labour transits or Jewish concentration camp victims, both of which numbered in excess of 1 million, minimum 1.5m expelled in Russian occupied Poland.

    Now, appreciating the net migration rate is just that, the difference between outflows and inflows, and that outflows can still therefore be substantial, it is still an incredible stretch to match the 5 million + that happened in WW2.

    I think this might be an example of what Mr Cable was referring to…
    BFR

  28. From a polling point of view you could argue that Cable is taking a risk by telling the truth as he sees it. Just as ol Enoch took a risk by expressing his version of truth all those years ago.

    As AW often reminds us, objective truth has no part to play on this site as we are interested in “polling” truth. Otherwise known as “how much codswallop can politicians and hacks get the masses to swallow”.

    So the only question here is, what will the effect on the polls be of the Crosby version of the “race card”? I would venture to suggest only disappointing effects for the Tories.

    Just as in 2005.

  29. Ed,

    “There are some very offensive anti-gay and sexist beliefs amongst African and Asian immigrants I’ve unfortunately seen at close hand.”

    This is true, but as far as I know, non-PC beliefs are not what gets most people angry about immigrants.

  30. Interesting little spat between Nigel Farage and the junior Defence Minister, Anna Soubry. I won’t risk eternal moderation by giving my views on either of these politicians, and I certainly won’t repeat Soubry’s theory on why she thinks Farage’s facial expressions are the way they are, but the ridiculously ill-tempered exchange does illustrate the extent to which UKIP are spooking the Tories at the moment.

    Farage seems hell bent on destroying the Conservative Party and if he’s serious about establishing UKIP as a viable and serious centre-right party, then of course that is what he must do. The 2015 General Election is do or die for UKIP. They won’t have a better chance of fatally wounding the Tories, condemning them to, in effect, a fifth consecutive electoral reverse. They won’t come back from that, certainly not in my lifetime, and it’s quite possible that a combination of Tory self-implosion and a EC friendly centre left Labour Government, will be the gift that cannot fail to keep giving for a burgeoning UKIP. Farage’s dream scenario, surely.

    I can see the smile on Farage’s face now and I don’t think it will be caused in the way that Soubry’s lurid and faintly disturbing imagination leads her to believe! lol

  31. That’s of course assuming that the Tory performance in 2005, which wasn’t all that bad, really, was negatively affected by their message on immigration. Do we know that is the case? Could it not be that it was positively affected by the message, but the positive effects were outweighed by other questions (trust on the NHS etc)?

    I actually think that “disassociation” for the coalition parties is a two-way street, and for every voter that the LDs might hope to pick up on the left by doing so, there is a chance of the Tories picking up a voter on the right.

    If 2014 shows (like with the last tranche) that estimates of immigration from “new-joiners” are hopelessly overoptimistic, then the general public may not be all that well-disposed towards Vince and the LDs by the start of the GE campaign the following year.

  32. neil a

    It’s clear that the Tories think immigration is a strength for them and a weakness for Labour. Polling seems to confirm that…but as you say, is it as bif a factor as say, the NHS? Schools? University fees? Energy bills? Stagnant wages?

    The trick will be to attempt to blame immigration for all of the above…but that would beg a question. If it’s true, what are you doing about it? i don’t think enough voters are going to look at teh topdown reorganisation of the NHS, rsing Uni fees, rising energy bills, Gove’s idealogical shift to “free schools” and see any response to immigration. So they are more likely to blame those things themselves than immigrants that haven’t arrived yet.

  33. @Bill Patrick
    “…..not what gets most people angry about immigrants”

    I must be in a minority then, because I don’t get angry about immigrants at all. I do though have concerns about the impact of migration in this country, in particular the impact of unregulated EU migration in depressing wages at the lower end of the labour market, and therefore in widening inequalities further in a country where inequality is already just about off the scale.

  34. Has anybody ever asked this question about migration within the EC? It’s based on a what-if scenario that is very unlikely to ever occur, but let’s pose it nonetheless.

    If our hard stance on allowing migrants from other member countries to come here precipitated a migrant war, a bizarre version of a trade war if you like, what would people think when the reportedly 2 million UK citizens currently taking advantage of the free movement of labour regulations within the EC, were sent back to these shores? More to the point, what the hell would the 2 million Brits think?

    Mind you, they’re probably all benefit tourists, come to think of it and our partners would be only too glad to see the back of them!

  35. @ Phil Haines (and others)

    Migration from the North to South England has a much bigger influence on wages and social services than immigration.

  36. Just received this from a very right wing old schoolfriend of mine who clearly found it hilarious.

    I think it sum up what many of us feel about the almost visceral hatred of “illegal” immigrants. How desperate must they be to try and escape in boats etc and risk starvation or drowning?

    Yes we need controls, but surely they should be done with a human understanding of what drives the majority of them to leave their own country in order to live in the shadows of a foreign one?

    ………………………………………………………………………………..

    “Have a laugh” [was the invitation.]

    The HMRC has returned the Tax Return to a man in Evesham after he apparently answered one of the questions incorrectly.

    In response to the question Do you have anyone dependent on you?, the man wrote “2.1 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crackheads, 1.1 million civil servants, 4.4 million unemployable Jeremy Kyle scroungers, 900,000 criminals in over 85 prisons plus 650 idiots in Parliament and the whole of the European Commission”.

    The HMRC stated that the response he gave was unacceptable.

    The man’s response back to HMRC was “Who did I miss out?”

  37. @ Rosieanddaisie

    Of 67 million you will always find such. This is why it can be comical (but in some countries it can lead to murder, including my home country).

    For the first time you failed to cheer me – but you don’t have to, not your task. Oszi has had enough of Christmas already and it’s funny enough.

  38. RnD
    ‘Twas on the News Quiz,that was, this very weekend, reminds me what a dreadful horde of Free booting individualists Mrs T unleashed on us, who seem to believe that they pay for everything and get no advantage in return , still send ’em back that’s what l say…to 11th Century Normandy that is.

  39. Phil Haines,

    You are in a minority, and I’m in the same group. I don’t even worry about the unskilled migration, because it can only hurt unskilled workers in this country insofar as there are people in other countries with even worse opportunities, who deserve the right to take a chance in the UK.

    I’m quite radically non-nationalist about these things though, even among my generation. And I work/study in a profession (academia) that is exceptionally exposed to foreign competition, but also one that benefits tremendously from a globalised marketplace of ideas.

  40. Nick Griffin’s wishing everyone a white christmas! Lovely of him. Anyway, thought he was meant to be making the party electable, not parodying himself. Starting to understand why our Reg left!

  41. Here’s my comment on Immigration…

    Alec mentions that the Polish migration after entrance to the EU was a bigger movement of people than from refugees fleeing WW2.

    If so, then that’s had a staggeringly small impact on the UK hasn’t it. I mean, people talk about how it “could put strain on local services”, and yet the system went on. It appears to me that “austerity measures” have done much much more to reduce local services than immigrants ever did.

    And as much as people have argued for *why* Britain must be beset by benefit tourists, not one single bit of data has been presented demonstrating it. “Soft touch benefit tourist Britian” seems to work on “I reckon” logic. Plenty of reasons why “they must be claiming lots of benefits”, very little on how much benefits actually get claimed. In the same way people often insist things must be true, because they have articulate stories about why they would be true, in-spite of lack of evidence or evidence against it. (For an example of this kind of thing, see warning notices on South Korean indoor fans telling users not to sleep in the same room as one when it’s switched on. Why do they have them, because people in South Korea ‘reckon’ that fans ‘slowly suck the oxygen out of a room’.)

    So, my honest opinion is that the worries over “benefit tourism” and “putting local services under strain” are either unfounded, over inflated, or simply being used to mask motives of an entirely different kind. And it disturbs me that people who have access to the figures on how much is being claimed, are never the less promoting it. However, we know that certain public figures have past form with statistics…

  42. I will apologise if some people have been upset by my earlier post on EU – but only up to a point. On reflection, I should have described this as ‘one of’ the biggest movements of people in history, which it was. It had, and continues to have, significant social and economic impacts. I’m struggling to understand why stating these things should create such a reaction.

    I also maintain my view that had this sudden increase in numbers been non white, it would have created significant friction. I find this unfortunate, and unpalatable, but based on some previous experiences with inward migration.

    I was very careful not to place any value judgements on EU migration. As it happens, I think it’s clear that most have arrived to work, benefits claims are lower than the UK population, and many migrants have already returned home. Migration has had many good impacts, and some bad. I don’t think this is particularly controversial.

    However, it’s also completely true to say that we don’t actually now just how many people did arrive. The official figures are based on a worker registration scheme, which was voluntary. The assessments of 2004 – 2010 tend to be based on these numbers, which could be completely inaccurate, and only count workers anyway.

    Given the method of data collection, it’s clear that the official figures are the minimum possible, and it’s almost certain that the actual numbers were higher then this.

    Successful migration needs to be managed, but the EU treaties mean that this is much harder to do, so the impacts are felt more keenly.

    I remain deeply saddened at some of the responses when reasonable concerns are raised regarding the management of migration.

    @lazslo – appreciate the point regarding the partition of India, but you should also appreciate that this was a mass movement that took place with the agreement of both populations (to a degree at least, within the bounds of democratic accountability within the negotiations) and was a flow in both directions.

  43. Any mention of a Tory/UKIP deal I simply regard as a fantasy despite the rather naughty article by Bloom in The Guardian. UKIP grassroots would simply disobey Farage if such a dirty backroom deal were done to give Farage a peerage for standing down in key contests. Remember when he tried this in Wells last time – a local UKIP constituency group would simply field a candidate whatever Farage directed them to do. Can you imagine the response of a hopeful UKIP PPC being told to stand down so that Farage could get a peerage!?! The only deal that would or could stick where UKIP PPCs were willing to stap aside would be if the Tories were to give UKIP a chance of some representation in the Commons. The only imaginable chance of this would be a) Where a sitting Tory is standing down and UKIP are already strong: b) Giving UKIP a clear run against sitting LDs.
    I cannot see local Conservative Associations being at all happy with either of these scenarios.
    A UKIP/Tory deal is thus an impractical fantasy IMO.

  44. @Bigfatron – I was careful not to talk about Eastern EU migration to the UK only. The movement of population out of the accession states to other EU states was very substantial, although many of these migrants have returned in time.

    It really was a very significant population movement.

  45. @Jayblanc,

    I think your thinking is a little bit exclusionary. You recognise that there is a strain on public services in this country, but assume that this must be due to the decrease in funding (caused by austerity) rather than the increase in demand (due to immigration). Surely, logically it is a combination of the two? Even if there had been no cuts at all, the increase in population alone would have stretched services.

    I agree that the concept of “benefit tourism” is a bit overblown, as most of the immigrants are clearly willing to work and that’s why they came here. But there is simply no denying that there are colossal numbers of immigrants in the UK, and that they are putting a strain on everything from school places, to roads, to housing to unskilled employment.

  46. EU VI POLLS ROUND-UP
    As 2013 ends, here is, in brief, the panorama of VI polls for 26 EU countries (no GE VI polls for Luxembourg, that voted in October, and for France, where GE predictions have sense only after a Presidential Election, which is still far away, scheduled for 2017)
    SOCIALISTS AND DEMOCRATS are ahead in Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the French-speaking part of Belgium (where they head the respective govts.), and also in Portugal, Sweden and UK, where they are actually in opposition.
    EPP parties are ahead in Cyprus, Eire, Germany, Hungary, Spain, where they are the gvt. senior partners. However they lose OM in Spain.
    SD and EPP are ex-aequo in Malta (actually gvt. by the SDs)
    ALDE (Liberals) are ahead in Estonia, Denmark and Finland. In all three countries they are actually in opposition. (NB: In Estonia both major parties are ALDE, actually the gvt is headed by the right-wing RE, whereas VI polls give the first place to center-left KE)
    EUL (Radical left) are ahead in Greece, actually governed by EPP.
    ECR (Conservatives) are ahead in Poland, actually governed by EPP.
    EFA (Regionalists/separatists) are ahead in the Flemish part of Belgium.
    Unaffiliated parties are ahead in Austria, Netherlands and the Czech Republic (Far right parties in the first two, where actually the PMs are SD and ALDE respectively, the centrist ANO in CR, actually junior partner in the new SD-led gvt.)
    Of particular interest are VI polls in the countries scheduled to vote in 2014: Sweden, Hungary, Belgium and Latvia. In Sweden and Latvia the SD opposition has a commanding lead over the current c-right EPP-led gvt. In Hungary the EPP (FIDESZ, leaded by PM Orban) is poised to get reelected. Belgium is a special case, the political landscape is as always very fragmented, the situation is completely different in the two parts of the country and all options are open (actually there is a 6-party gvt headed by the French speaking socialists).
    The big losers seem to be (as in 2012 and 2013) the EPP. If VI polls were election results, the would lose Sweden, Latvia and Portugal to the SD, Finland to ALDE, Poland to ECR and Greece to EUL. Also their loss of OM in Spain would probably lead to a “rainbow coalition” of center-left and regional parties. This would leave them with just 4 heads of gvt: Cyprus, Eire, Germany and Hungary.
    The SD would lose Denmark (to ALDE) and CR (to the centrists) , but their gains would be by far more important: Sweden, Latvia,Portugal and possibly Spain from EPP, UK from ECR. So their actual 13 PMs would become 15 or 16.
    ALDE would lose Netherlands to the Far Right and would gain Denmark and Finland from SD and EPP respectively (Nevertheless, the far right PVV would not be assured to head the Dutch gvt since no one wants to cooperate with them, so maybe ALDE would retain Netherlands after all).
    ECR would lose UK to SD and gain Poland from EPP, but VI polls there do not give OM to the very conservative PIS, so there could be a centrist coalition gvt of PO (EPP) with SLD (SD).
    SYRIZA in Greece actually leads all VI polls, but their score is very far from OM (even with the 50 seat bonus given to the first party), and would probably form a coalition gvt with the 2 center-left parties (PASOK and DIMAR), both SD.
    Finally, the first place of FPOE in Austria is certainly bad news if confirmed (but next GE is in 2017), but even then there could be a coalition govt of moderate parties (the two partners of the actual gvt,, SD and EPP, plus maybe the Greens and/or the Liberals).

  47. @Tony Dean – ” …a local UKIP constituency group would simply field a candidate whatever Farage directed them to do.”

    Farage has said that he will leave it up to the local association to conclude local deals with the Conservatives… so you may well be right.

    A couple of things happened in August though. After Will Gilpin’s departure as cheif executive, Farage announced that he would be taking a step back from frontline politices in order to “get a grip on UKIP” and take “direct managerial control of the party”. MEP Mike Nattrass also began a legal action because he has not been given executive approval to be a candidate in 2014 (even though he appears to enjoy support from a local branch chairman).

  48. @Bill Patrick

    I don’t think we’re going to agree even on the points on which we happen to differ. Mine are not nationalist concerns as such.

    I happen to consider that to achieve a country which is prosperous to the benefit of the whole of its citizens, there has to be a significant regulatory role for the state to control the operation of markets in a whole host of areas. That requires, amongst other things, the regulation of inward migration in so far as it affects labour markets, because without it wage rates at the bottom end of the labour market are always going to be held back while the rest of the economy grows.

    That’s the very opposite of the view which aims for unregulated global free markets and which appears to have driven so much of our public policy during the last 30 years or so.

  49. BILLY BOB

    “Farage has said that he will leave it up to the local association”

    Except in Scotland where Farage has dissolved the existing structure.

    http://archive.is/dyIcM

    Not, I imagine that it will make any difference.

  50. What is nice about the day before xmas eve is you can already start thinking “Soon be over” and prepare to return to a proper state of grumpiness.

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