When you sit down to do a marginals polls one consideration is where you draw the line: what is a marginal? The thing you want to avoid is under or overshooting the real battleground – the risk is that you poll lots of seats that need a swing of up to 5% and find a swing of 10%, enough to win lots of seats you didn’t bother polling.

That’s the sort of thing that’s happened in the third of Lord Ashcroft’s three sets of marginal polls – full details here. He polled the four most marginal LD -v- Lab seats, Norwich South, Bradford East, Brent Central and Manchester Withington. These need a swing of up to 2.1% to go from LD to Lab, which unsurprisingly Labour get easily. The average LD => Lab swing in these seats was 15%, confirming that the Lib Dems are doing much worse where they are up against Labour and easily enough to unseat almost all Lib Dem MPs with Labour in second place. In practice of course we can’t actually be that confident that voters in a tight LD-Lab marginal will behave the same way as in a seat where the Lib Dems have a 20% majority, so it’s a bit of a shame Ashcroft didn’t include some more challenging LD-Lab fights like Cambridge, Hornsey & Wood Green or Bermondsey.

An interesting thing to note is that the Greens are doing notably well in a couple of these seats. In Norwich South they are in second place on 20%, but that was one of their target seats anyway, they are also doing well in Manchester Withington, up 8 points on 10%.

While it’s hardly a LD-Lab battle, Lord Ashcroft also polled Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas’s seat. Voting intentions there with changes from the general election are CON 18%(-6), LAB 33%(+4), LDEM 5%(-9), GREEN 32%(+1), suggesting an extremely tight race between Labour and the Green party.


193 Responses to “Ashcroft polling of LD-Lab marginals”

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  1. @Muddy

    Isn’t that what’s called the “Just do the math(s)” approach to Quantum Mechanics. I.e. our attempts to visualise what it “means” by analogies to everyday experience are never definitive; the equations are the only real connection we have with the quantum world.

    Bit like poll results really.

  2. @BFIELD

    “Car few, EM would have to be living in a box to be carp and not carp at the same time. Perhaps the Wesrminster bubble is the answer.”

    ———–

    No one knows what would happen if you collapse the wavefunction of the Westminster Bubble as it takes us out of the realm of normal Physics. It creates a rupture in the spacetime continuum in which strange things happen to cause and effect and everything you thought you knew gets turned on its head. Austerity leads to an increase in demand, ushering in an era of twenty percent growth. Growth in the economy leads to wage rises. Energy companies compete on price etc.

  3. I wonder if enough account has been taken in the consideration of polling data of the fact that we are being governed by a coalition.
    It seems clear that LD supporters (2010 and prior) do not like the fact that their party is in coalition with the Tories and have consequently changed their allegiance. There may be particular policy reasons for this (generally being more left-wing etc.) but it may also be something in the nature of those who vote for a party they don’t seriously expect to form a government.

    It’s less clear what other voters think of coalition government (rather than just this particular coalition).
    The questions asked about voting intention don’t really show up those who would actively vote for a coalition – i.e. they like the idea of two party rule regardless of whether the present two would be their choice.

    My hunch is that a lot of people, probably not political anoraks, quite like the idea of ‘working together’ and would actively support a coalition – which may explain some of the odd polling.

  4. That’s a good point Maura.

    And in line with parallel discussions has the quality that electors simultaneously complain that ‘they’re all the same’ whilst seeking a coalition to ensure nobody does anything extreme (aka different)

  5. “It would prompt an occurrence of spontaneous symmetry-breaking resulting in the formation of a new particle to sit alongside the Fermions and Bosons: the “Carpon”.”

    —————

    Pah, that’s just spin.

  6. @ SPEARMINT
    @ Dr. Mibbles,
    If they just went hard Left
    They tried that one in 1983 and it got them 8 million votes for socialism. Mind you, half that manifesto is now cross-party consensus (gay rights, anyone?) and there’s been a surge of enthusiasm for nationalisation now that people have had to live with the alternative once more, so it might be worth another go. Plus the lingering death of Tory England gives them more room to manoeuvre. But the party has PTSD.

    —————————————————————————

    The LP is also not facing the SDP-Liberal Alliance splitting the opposition vote as in ’83 which IMO was more significant than the manifesto. However, the existing discontent amongst the remaining New Labour MPs might precipitate a walk out if EM did go ‘Hard Left’.

  7. @Carfrew

    “Growth in the economy leads to wage rises. Energy companies compete on price etc.”

    Now you’re just being silly.

  8. I’ve discovered what looks to be a decent poll of the student community, they publish tables and have a nice set of graphs which compares student vote to the national polls over time. I don’t know if they are members of the BPC.

    http://www.youthsight.com/media-centre/press/students-soundly-reject-ukip/

    When we talk about the 2010 Lib Dem vote, it looks like a substantial part of that was the student vote. It looks like the Lib Dems got around 50% of the student vote in 2010.

    After tuition fees, that moved to Labour, but over the last year it is now steadily moving to the Greens. Their latest student VI has:

    Labour 34%
    Conservatives 21%
    Green Party 18%
    Liberal Democrats 7%
    UKIP 3%

    Labour were as high as 50% in 2012, but every month there is further leakage to the Greens.

  9. Richard

    “When we talk about the 2010 Lib Dem vote, it looks like a substantial part of that was the student vote.”

    However, students make up only around 9% of the voting (?) population.

    While the data are interesting, it is, perhaps, unfortunate, that only support for the main parties at Westminster is surveyed in a poll which covers not just Scotland and Wales (with their different electoral dynamics) but Northern Ireland as well, where the main Westminster parties don’t stand for election.

    I doubt that the proportion of non English students would make a huge difference to the results, but in a UK-wide survey, it would have made sense to measure the support for parties other than those which stand for election in England.

    Since students can vote in either their home or term-time constituency, it would have been useful to ask whether their vote would vary dependent on the constituency in which they intended to cast their vote.

  10. Today’s YouGov –

    Lab 38
    Con 33
    UKIP 11
    LD 8
    Grn 5
    SNP/PCY 3
    Others 0

    Approval -21

    Cameron has picked up a lot of ‘sticks to what he believes in’ points.

  11. @ Billy Bob (from the previous thread)

    “Well, Henry Waxman endorsed Ted Lieu I suppose.”

    That’s not a shocker. Everyone has of course. In some cases, it’s a matter of formality if they haven’t officially yet. And he’ll win unless there’s more uncovered to the federal investigation and he’s more than just a cooperating witness in the cases against some of his State Senate buddies.

    “Going by photos, partner Betty Lieu would appear to have to have the charisma, plus expirience as a California deputy attorney general… could they become power couple to watch?”

    No.

    Ben and Sandra are the two to watch if anyone is worth watching. Actually both might be even though one will inevitably lose this race.

    Here’s what’s amazing. This was all made possible by the right wing billionaire who ran against Henry last time. He decided to create an independent expenditure of close to $700k on behalf of Allen (which is truly bizarre). This enabled him to leapfrog over Betsy Butler (you may remember her as the ice queen who nearly got into a fight with a rival candidate over her hair). She wasn’t as well known as she thought she was. And Allen had a good chunk of Democratic institutional support she simply assumed she had and gained a number of converts from the old Waxman-Berman alliance folks. She stalled.

    It also completely undercut the Mayor of Manhattan Beach, who was trying to run to the right and capture moderate, centrist, and conservative voters in the South Bay. Those on this guy’s list-serve (Republicans, conservative leaning Decline to State voters) heard about how they needed to vote for this lefty.

    And that opened the door for Sandra, who pumped in some of her husband’s fortune (she comes from a working class/lower middle class family but she recently married…..and well) for a last minute blitz.

    The result was one that no one expected.

    The upshot of all this is that the district wins no matter what. .

    “Was looking at a Wendy for Governor bumper sticker on Ebay last night… though things don’t be looking to good for her atm. Demographics should to be breaking the GOP hold on Texas, but Dems need to crack the turnout problem first.”

    I don’t know how she’s going to pull it off. But I wouldn’t rule her out at this point. It’s early July. Long way to go until November.

  12. NEILA
    The Carol Howard sex and race discrimination case against the Met seems to resurrect troubling issues of institutional racism, not least because the position of member of the Diplomatic Protection Group must demand high levels of skills and responsibility,and (I assume) black and female membership must be highly valued and difficult to achieve, on both sides.
    In the circumstances can you help to explain the response of Scotland Yard:
    “A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ”We are aware of the decision of the tribunal. We are disappointed at the tribunal’s finding in favour of Pc Howard.” (DT)

  13. Maura,

    “The questions asked about voting intention don’t really show up those who would actively vote for a coalition …”

    No-one can ‘actively vote for a coalition’. The GB GE voting system doesn’t enable such an action.

  14. @SoCalLiberal

    Glad to hear that you’re not too downbeat about Wendy Davis…

    Here’s a little background from the 2014 Texas gubernatorial Wikipedia page…

    Our old friends Rasmussen Reports had it at 53% for Greg Abbott, 41% Wendy Davis (March).
    PPP: 51%~37% (April)
    UoT/Texas Tribune: 44%~32% (May-June).

    Democrat Ann Richards won this election with1,925,670 votes (49.47%) against 1,826,431 votes (46.92%) for Clayton Williams in 1990.
    She lost to “that young Bush boy… born with a silver foot in his mouth” by 2,350,994 votes (53.48%) to 2,016,928 votes (45.88%) in 1994.

    ,

  15. Surely when you are looking at 36% being enough to win an election outright the “frightening of horses” applies as much to not frightening UKIP voters back into the Tory fold as it does frightening away potential Lab voters.

    @ Alec

    “We can no longer claim that it’s something to do with how our league’s work, as many players from other nations play in the same leagues”

    I think that is the key point to be honest. If you only have 2 or 3 players in any given Premier League team eligible to play for the English National team and no room for many Scots in the Premier League you don’t have enough English/Scots players getting the match experience at the right level. Also because we can generally buy in the star players from overseas the home grown players we tend to produce are the hod carriers with a job to do rather than given the freedom to experiment.

    A country where there is less money floating around not only exports those players to play in better quality leagues and gain more experience but they then have another batch of players coming through in their own leagues. It may have been that we won the World Cup under a Labour government but it is probably only UKIP now who can win it for us again :-)

    This of course doesn’t quite explain why when the top clubs are investing millions into academies and picking players from the age of 11 they don’t seem to be getting much in the way of a return. I guess buying in a ready made player from overseas is less risky than giving experience to a youngster who then never gets the experience or responsibility to get to the very top of their abilities.

  16. Going back to some thoughts I expressed yesterday, looking at the latest YouGov poll, I find it interesting that, whilst some Scots think EM is ‘strong’, very few think he is ‘a natural leader’. From the perspective of folk up here, EM comes across as very metropolitan, even though he’s representing a constituency in the north of England. Blair was the same. This cannot be said of any other Labour leader in my life-time.
    If EM wants to convince people, he’s got to learn to lengthen his vowels and saand Yorkshire….

    SNP back up to 28 for Westminster. If only they could get to 30 or beyond……..ideally 34, at which point all sorts of Labour fortresses start to crumble and we might see some real change to Labour’s dire leadership up here.

  17. @Shevii et al

    The FA ought to announce a simple policy:
    all clubs must have a minimum of 8 players eligible to play for England on the field at all times over a period of 12 months before any player will be considered to play for England. Or make it 9.

    As for Scotland, Gordon Strachan does seem to have put some life back into squad, but I’ve no idea what would get Scotland back to the World Cup finals……..

  18. The Ashcroft polling casts a bit of light on the question of where the Green VI could switch to in due course (as discussed upthread in relation to Hornsey and Wood Green local elections).

    In the four marginal LD-Lab constituencies, the responses for current Green voters are included in the question “Are there any of the following political parties that you would definitely not vote for at the next General Election?”. Responses for Green (n=248) are as follows:
    UKIP 84%
    Con 77%
    LD 64%
    Lab 45%

    Lord Ashcroft hasn’t published similar details for the Greens for his other marginals polls, but this for me points to the potential for Labour to win votes back from the Greens, albeit from a small pool.

    Regarding UKIP, the potential to switch back is less pronounced. This is from Ashcroft’s earlier polling where the same question was asked of current UKIP voters in Con-Lab marginals (n=3364) (this being the more set of seats in terms of the overall GE outcome):
    Con 65%
    Lab 70%
    LD 78%

    Here the data suggests that the Conservatives will at best only gain a slight advantage over Labour if the UKIP VI shrinks, and also that current UKIP supporters may be generally less likely to abandon UKIP than has often been presumed.

  19. should be “this being the more relevant set of seats in terms of the overall GE outcome”

  20. At the recent council elections the LDs lost all nine of their seats in Manchester – including six of the seven wards making up the Withington Constituency (the seventh was all Labour already). In those seven contests, the LDs came second in four, third (behind the Greens) in two and fourth in one (behind the Greens and the Tories in that order). Across those seven seats Labour got 13463 votes, the LDs 5842 and the Greens 4688 – snapping at their heels, even with incumbency effects.

    The way I’d read it is that the LDs profited here from two separate ex-Labour groups. A lot of the principled left oppositionists who swung to the LDs over Iraq have swung right over to the Greens; they’re not going back to the LDs, but they’re not coming back to Labour either. But they’re outnumbered by disgruntled “always been Labour” types who deserted the party when it was New Labour (and when Charlie Kennedy’s LDs seemed to offer a civil-libertarian leftish alternative); they’ve swung straight back to Labour.

    Which is also why Pavilion is going to be fought so hard. I think it was back in 2001 I had a conversation with my mother (who lived in the constituency) about how Caroline Lucas had a real chance if enough disgruntled Labour types went Green. Unfortunately all I managed to do was remind her that she had a Labour MP and that she quite liked him. A lot of similar “is Labour *that* bad?” conversations are going to be happening in 2015, fuelled by the godawful mess Jason Kitcat has made of the running the council.

  21. “No-one can ‘actively vote for a coalition’. The GB GE voting system doesn’t enable such an action.”

    You could do it by voting for the most likely candidate to take your seat outside of the top two parties.

  22. @Shevii – “I think that is the key point to be honest. If you only have 2 or 3 players in any given Premier League team eligible to play for the English National team and no room for many Scots in the Premier League you don’t have enough English/Scots players getting the match experience at the right level.”

    I have come to the conclusion that this really isn’t relevant at all.

    Consider the Costa Rican national team – far superior in this tournament to the might on England. They have only two players in their squad that are curently linked to Premier league teams (one on Arsenal’s books, one on Fulham’s, but both currently on loan to European teams). They have 6 players currently playing in the Costa Rican leagues, 4 in the US league, and the rest playing for pretty low ranking teams in the main across Europe (by ‘low ranking’ I mean teams I’ve never heard of).

    Together however, they outclassed the English team of highly paid superstars, who all (mostly? – I don’t know) play in the premier league.

    A few world cups (possibly Euro championships) ago I saw a comparison between the victorious German team and the English team they had just beaten. The entire England team couldn’t muster a single A level between them, while the German’s average 2.8 each of their equivalent.

    I recall Graeme le Saux was talked of once as an intelligent footballer, on the basis that he had two A levels.

    There is something shockingly dim within the home nations playing, management and organisational centres. There doesn’t appear to be a collective ability to think within the game, and it is populated largely by people with limited intellect and mental capacity, who just happen to be OK at kicking a ball around.

    I can’t see any other factor that distinguishes home nations football from other nations, yet our record at international tournaments going back 50 years is utterly execrable.

  23. Another observation I made was watching a BBC report from Brazil where they were talking to a Frenchman who went to Rio to manage one of their club sides.

    He became something of a hero by securing success, but he said he was very surprised when he found that many of the players came from the favelas, and once they achieved a little success, tended to sit back and not push on. Motivating them to be the best, rather than just OK, was a real problem. He felt this was something to do with their backgrounds – they had come from nothing, but once they had enough money to take care of themselves and their families, the motivation left them.

    Maybe there is something similar here, given the backgrounds of the British players?

  24. One of the parties needs to come up with a policy on right to die, before it’s implemented on the basis of somebody going to the European Court of Human Rights. It’s absolutely clear now that in some instances, it is cruel to keep people alive, in pain, against their wishes. Am sure the majority of people agree with this, and would support a party who has the guts to be clear on this.

  25. @ Anthony Wells: “Phil – the thinking behind it (since it’s something I came up with originally) is that the first question essentially cleanses people’s palate, it allows people to get their national preference off their chest before we ask the constituency question.”

    From my experience as a YouGov respondent, the general VI question simply asks “if there was a General Election tomorrow…” Well, if there was a GE tomorrow I’d be voting in my constituency, and I’ve always answered on that basis. As it’s a LD/Con marginal, how I’d vote here is different from how I would vote in any other sort of constituency.

    The point is that because the question doesn’t make clear whether it wants an answer in general or constituency terms, the responses will be a mixed bag. And that seems to me a weakness.

  26. @JohnB

    “As for Scotland, Gordon Strachan does seem to have put some life back into squad, but I’ve no idea what would get Scotland back to the World Cup finals……..”

    Having some better footballers, possibly? :-)

    @Alec

    “Together however, they outclassed the English team of highly paid superstars, who all (mostly? – I don’t know) play in the premier league.”

    Costa Rica played much better than England did against Uruguay and Italy but it’s an exaggeration to say they outclassed England when the two sides played each other in their “dead rubber” group stage game. It was a very poor game that England should have won. You can’t have watched it by the sound of it and you must be relying on second-hand reports. You need to be careful, because the tabloid press are following, in the main, a lazy “English football is going to hell in a luxury limousine” line of thinking. Overpaid, talentless and pampered morons who don’t care about playing for “this great country of ours.” Drivel, really, and I’m surprised that you appeared to have fallen for it. Since when have A Level results had anything to do with footballing ability, for heavens sake?? The ability to spout eloquent and articulate clichés in various languages on TV studio sofas doth not a footballer make.

  27. @Rich – it won’t be the Tories, that’s for sure. Keeping their voters alive is their key polling strategy, judging by their demographics……

  28. alec

    Polling booths in retirement homes could be the way forward for them.

    Maybe someone on hand to make sure they get it “right”.

  29. @ Alec

    You could be right- Crossbat is probably the best to know about these things. I just watch non league and don’t even bother with MOTD so I can’t really analyse it out that well but I bet the Costa Rican players you mention have more freedom to practice their skills in a competitive game at a decent level than any of the English players who are playing second fiddle to the overseas stars. Maybe also the money and fear that goes with it “We must make a European place or avoid relegation” doesn’t encourage players to risk things and make a mistake while they learn.

    I doubt Costa Rica will be more than a one off anyway. there will always be one team that gets it right and punches above their weight for one world Cup- just never seems to be England or Scotland!

    Re Le Saux- Clearly having two “A” levels and reading the Guardian didn’t seem to make him popular as he was always getting into scraps on the field, but I suspect that had as much to do with his personality as it did his education. Chelsea had another player, Pat Nevin, who also seemed well educated but not only was he popular he was also able to make a successful stand against the openly racist section of Chelsea fans at the time by threatening to leave if they didn’t stop booing their black players. First songs sung after he made his comments were singing the names of those black players who had previously been booed.

  30. ” Keeping their voters alive is their key polling strategy, judging by their demographics……”
    ———————-
    Interesting point. The grim reaper contributes to demographic change. Around 5% or so no longer with us after 5 years? And around 5% young folk voting in a GE for the first time. Is this factor priced into polling responses anyway?

  31. @JohnB
    “As for Scotland, Gordon Strachan does seem to have put some life back into squad, but I’ve no idea what would get Scotland back to the World Cup finals……..”
    Having some better footballers, possibly? :-)

    @Alec

    “Together however, they outclassed the English team of highly paid superstars, who all (mostly? – I don’t know) play in the premier league.”

    Costa Rica played much better than England did against Uruguay and Italy but it’s an exaggeration to say they outclassed England when the two sides played each other in their “dead rubber” group stage game. It was a very poor game that England should have won. You can’t have watched it by the sound of it and you must be relying on second-hand reports. You need to be careful, because the tabloid press are following, in the main, a lazy “English football is going to hell in a luxury limousine” line of thinking. Overpaid, talentless and pampered dullards who don’t care about playing for their country. Nonsense, really, and I’m surprised that you appear to have fallen for it. Since when have A Level results had anything to do with footballing ability, for heavens sake?? The ability to spout eloquent and articulate clichés in various languages on TV studio sofas doth not a footballer make.

  32. @Shevii – I recall people thought le Saux was gay, which is why he had some bother. I don’t know if he is, but I think some of his colleagues thought he might be because he was clever. Weird.

    As for Costa Rica, I don’t think you can dismiss this as a one off. CR themselves have qualified for 4 world cups since 1990, getting into the knockout stages once before.

    They also aren’t a one off team in this competition. When comparing to the English performance, we could easily talk not only of Costa Rica, but Greece, Portugal, Belgium, USA, Uruguay, Switzerland, Colombia, Algeria, Chile – all nations that UK fans would probably consider as inferior footballing nations that not only progressed further than any of our teams, but also played far superior football (except possibly Greece, although it works for them).

    We can’t even argue that this is something to do with where the competition is, as our collective record in the Euro championships is almost as bad as the world cup.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with UK football and UK footballers which renders us incapable of being adequately competitive on a global scale.

  33. Without wishing to provoke an inappropriate discussion in a non-Saltire thread, this is a really interesting piece of analysis: http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/07/01/why-do-polls-scotland-vary-so-much/

    Apologies if it’s been covered already.

  34. @Alec

    “We can’t even argue that this is something to do with where the competition is, as our collective record in the Euro championships is almost as bad as the world cup.”

    I/we mustn’t turn this into a footballing forum, a charge frequently made of me (!), but you’re quite wrong on this in my view, not only in your speculative diagnosis of our footballing problems, but also factually. England’s record in major footballing tournaments is actually quite decent. Regular quarter-finalists in World Cups over the years, they came quite close to winning the tournament in 1990 and 1998. They had a shocker this year in Brazil, but so did Spain, and England outperformed France in 2010 in South Africa. As for the Euros, England again came very close in 1996 and, inspired by a young Rooney, did well in 2004 too. Holland performed atrociously in the 2012 tournament. These things happen.

    It’s also interesting to recall how poor our record in World Cups was before 1966 and the fact that we failed to qualify in both 1974 and 1978, way before the Premiership was even a twinkle in Richard Scudamore’s eye!

    Of course there are many and varied problems with English football, but they go back a very long way and can, in my view, be traced back to the way we identify, nurture and coach our young talent. The FA are, at long last, addressing the chronic lack of skilled and competent coaches in our game, via the long-delayed centre in Burton, but we’re unlikely to see the fruits of this for another 15 to 20 years. In the meantime, more heartache to come, I fear!

  35. @Crossbat11 – “Since when have A Level results had anything to do with footballing ability, for heavens sake??”

    Well that’s rather my point.

    I’m not a keen follower of the game, as some of my posts should indicate, but I am able to discern the simple fact that, over a period stretching back years, if not decades, the home nations performance in major championships has been dire.

    I specifically haven’t followed the established media critique. That’s rather the entire point of my contributions. I deliberately pointed out the fact that many of the foreign teams playing better than us have numerous players in our leagues, so we can’t blame the number of games, the levels of pay, the type of football they play week to week.

    This lack of any clear distinguishing difference to explain such divergent national performance needs therefore to look elsewhere. I may well have the wrong answer – I’m no expert in these matters – but there is, at some level, some long term, persistent issue or issues that is preventing the home nations from emulating many much smaller nations with inferior resources and football establishments.

  36. @ Phil Haines,

    Interesting. Good spot.

    @ Phil Not-Haines,

    That seems like a good argument for voting Labour in the locals and keeping Caroline Lucas for MP (she was out protesting the council along with everyone else, although it might just be habit with her at this point…)

  37. @ Crossbat

    The trouble is the footie forums descend into mouthing off at each other between rival fans whereas Anthony’s forum rules keep posts cordial.

    @ Alec

    You just have to read Wikipedia to catch up on Le Saux. No he wasn’t gay but there is a special section on his page entitled “homophobic abuse”.

  38. ALEC

    I think you’re on the right track-Harry Redknapp got into hot water for giving examples just recently.

    No doubt the FA has much to answer for too .Perhaps we need a modern day Will Carling to tell the truth as bluntly as he did about RFU all those years ago.

    But either we have the players & can’t find a manager capable of organising them into a team-or we have had a succession of managers has failed to find the requisite quality & commitment.

  39. JOHN B

    The FA ought to announce a simple policy:
    all clubs must have a minimum of 8 players eligible to play for England on the field at all times over a period of 12 months before any player will be considered to play for England. Or make it 9.

    Do we also say that 90% of people working in the NHS…must be Briish…..

  40. @Alec and Crossbat

    I don’t know what the answer is but I do agree with Alec’s basic point: it may be that the Premier League doesn’t help our young players but we are nevertheless capable of easily putting together a squad of footballers who are regulars in top PL teams. It would be interesting to compare the transfer valuations of the WC squads but my guess is that our lot would be very near the top and certainly ahead of all the non- European teams except perhaps Brazil and Argentina.
    So it’s something in the way the collective works.
    Anyway, no WC polling boost for the coalition, I imagine!

  41. Only one player has ever played for England without playing in the English leagues. He also once played in an international fixture alongside Denis Law.

  42. Joe Baker?

  43. @Barney
    2 now: Owen Hargreaves.

  44. Correct
    His brother played for the usa and Joe played for the Italian League against the Scottish League in 1961. Along with Denis Law and John Charles…. and the Scottish League drew! So something has changed!

  45. stand corrected. Maybe the shape of things to come.

  46. “all clubs must have a minimum of 8 players eligible to play for England on the field at all times over a period of 12 months before any player will be considered to play for England.”
    And if the clubs don’t? Who plays for England?
    (The clubs are surely trying to win competitions and entertain their fans. What that scheme implies is simply a limit on the number of foreign players. Why not simply state one? EU rules?)

  47. @GuyMonde

    “So it’s something in the way the collective works.”

    True, but I’m naturally averse to pat diagnoses and solutions. The England football team regularly disappoint but do they really under-perform when they’re competing in a truly global game, played seriously and to a high standard by 60-70 countries (more as every year goes by – see US for details)? How successful in that fiercely competitive environment have we any right to be? This isn’t Cricket or Rugby Union where the England team competes meaningfully with only about seven or eight other countries. It’s much easier to win tournaments in those circumstances and I’m always slightly amused at the triumphalism and hype associated with English success in Ashes cricket and British Lions Rugby series which are, effectively, Cup Finals between two teams but with with no preceding qualifying rounds. The Rugby and Cricket “World Cups” are misnomers and aren’t really world competitions in any meaningful sense. They are not comparable to Football World Cups at all. Apples and pears and all that.

    Could we a better a football team than we currently are? Of course we could. Are our performances in international tournaments a source of national disgrace? Of course they’re not and a narrow 2-1 defeat to Uruguay tells me nothing about the state of the nation or the national game. We occupy the same place in the international pecking order as we always have and, in a global sport spawning more good standard international teams every year, treading water may well be a creditable achievement.

    At the moment, there’s far too much faux angst, mock outrage and quack diagnosis from people who neither understand nor care for the game.

    There I rest my case. A personal view and probably a controversial one too that many will disagree with, but I better not test everyone’s patience by droning on any longer about football on a political polling website!

  48. Crossbat

    I agree. We’ve probably chewed over it too much for a polling site (like someone else I could mention)

  49. @AW or someone

    Can you help me I have a question on the latest referendum poll. I see in the data tables along the top HolyroodVI and Constituency VI but I don’t see that question being asked. How does that work? Where do they get the VI from ?

  50. From the BPC rules:

    “2.2. Whenever it is practical to do so the following information should also be published

    Complete wording of questions upon which any data that has entered the public domain are based;”

    So if they haven’t published the wording then the question hasn’t been asked – so where does the VI come from?

    puzzelled

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