Today we’ve the final Ipsos MORI monthly poll of 2014 and the last 2014 batch of Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polling (the keenly awaited Scottish marginals polling is taking place next year).

MORI’s monthly poll has topline figures of CON 32%(nc), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 13%(-1), GRN 9%(+2). The Conservatives are three points ahead, but as ever it’s the trend that counts and there is no difference from last month for the main parties here. Note the Greens though – nine points is another new record high for them. Full tabs are here.

Meanwhile Lord Ashcroft’s final batch of 2014 constituencies polls covers three groups of seats. One is another swathe of Con-held Labour targets, another is a group of those Labour seats who the Fabians have identified as the most vulnerable to UKIP, the final one is the unusual seat of Brighton Pavilion. Full details of all the polls are here.

This batch of Con/Lab seats covers those with Conservative majorities between 7.1% and 8.1% – in other words these are seats that would need a swing of between 3.5% and 4% to fall to Labour, the equivalent of national polls showing a Labour lead between zero and one point. This is in the region of current national polls, and as the swing in individual seats varies from one to the next, Ashcroft found Labour ahead in some of these seats, the Conservatives ahead in others. Across all eight seats polled Ashcroft found an average swing of 3 points in these seats, the equivalent of national polls showing a one point Conservative lead – so in this batch of seats, Labour are actually doing slightly worse than they are in the country as a whole. These might just so-happen to be eight seats where the Tories are doing a bit better of course, so don’t run off with the idea that the Conservatives are out-performing in the marginals just yet. The broader finding in Ashcroft’s Con-v-Lab battleground polls so far is that the marginal swing is pretty similar to the national swing.

The Lab-UKIP part of the polling covered four Labour-held seats (Great Grimsby, Dudley North, Plymouth Moor View and Rother Valley) that the Fabian Society’s paper Revolt on the Left identified as being at critical or high risk from UKIP. The polling found Labour ahead in all four seats, but with UKIP in a close second place in all four of them. Labour have a 1 point lead in Grimsby, 3 points in Dudley North, 5 points in Plymouth Moor View and 6 points in Rother Valley. This appears to confirm the research by Rob Ford and Ian Warren that these would be seats where, based on demographics, UKIP would pose a strong challenge – and suggests that Labour cannot afford to take them for granted. It’s also worth pointing out that using standard “how would you vote tomorrow” UKIP were ahead in three of the seats, Labour only moved ahead on the question asking people to think about their own constituency and candidates.

Finally in Brighton Pavilion, very much a unique seat given its Green incumbency, Ashcroft found latest voting intention figures of CON 21%, LAB 28%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 8%, GRN 38%.


323 Responses to “Latest MORI poll and Ashcroft constituency polling”

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  1. It could be that these spikes in apparent Labour support, though they are more like troughs in Conservative support, are largely due to the “back to the 1930s ” narrative. If so, we can expect them to be fairly short lived as reality dawns and the nonsense of such rhetoric becomes apparent. There is a hint in the latest figures, that tax receipts are on the up (just as everyone was starting to accept the pessimist’s reasoning as to why they were down) and January may after all be a good month for the government’s finances. Where people’s VI will go then is not easy to gauge but the status quo should look increasingly attractive.

    All speculation of course, but isn’t everything?

  2. @NEWFORESTRADICAL
    Greeens on 8% and we know that a significant portion of that number will vote Labour so this still suggests a healthy Labour lead.

    How do you know that, NFR? Green opinion poll ratings have never before been going up before 5 months before a General Election like they are now, so we know we are in unprecedented territory in that respect.

  3. @Craig

    Because polling is not simply a measure of VI, but can be seen as itself also influencing VI, certainly it may have an appeal to the partisan.

    But being as it is a measure of VI, it also appeals to the non-partisan, who simply wish to understand stuff better. Thus there are many non-partisan and enlightening posts.

    Furthermore, even the partisan are not always wrong, and one can learn from the ways they think.

    Anyway, as I have already made clear, there are numerous reasons for participating here beyond trying to campaign for a view, though you may not be able to see them. To learn stuff, try and contribute a bit of info., have your ideas checked out, get a handle on the perspectives of others etc.

    Though when it actually comes to changing people’s minds, it is often said that people won’t change their mind, you don’t have to look too closely to see people’s viewz on hear changing quite a bit, though they may not telegraph the fact.

    And polling frequently gives examples of how opinions shift. If you ever worked in education, you would know that people ard learning machines… they change daily, and indeed wouldn’t survive very long if they didn’t.

    Yours seems a rather depressingly unpleasant view of things tbh..

  4. We know it because of that YouGov data.

    I think the fact that UKPR is occupied by partisans is what keeps it relatively high quality. We all know there’s no chance of convincing one another so we don’t try and just concentrate on fact (well mostly).

  5. @OLDNAT

    Shouldn’t that be (relative to last week’s YouGov/SunTimes):

    CON 32 (=), LAB 34 (+2), LIB 6 (-1), UKIP 15 (-1), GRN 8 (+1)

  6. viewz on hear = views on here

    !!

  7. @Craig

    On the distillation thing.

    If you are not going to distil something, what’s the point? Why not try to be as efficient as possible? Why make things longer than necessary? And to my way of thinking, if someone has to read the books, you are not offering any value. I value the posts of many on here who distil stuff. And to be fair, others have said similar…

  8. The vast majority of polls still have the Libs ahead of the Greens…and several this week a long way ahead. Let’s not be overcome by the ‘Greens ahead’ narrative just yet. As for prospects in the GE, the Green vote is very squeezable for Labour and the Lib Dems in marginal seats. I suspect they will keep Brighton but not pick up any other seats. I also think the Greens and Lib Dems should be promoting their pluralistic credentials atm along with the SNP and PC….these parties all understand modern politics and pluralism and should see the current climate as the moment to start a mature conversation about what that means.

  9. I should also add… just reading the books can be very limiting. You’re not offering a critique of the books, nor synthesizing something new and useful out of several different books. The posts that pull stuff together, and efficiently, are hard to do, but can be very valuable…

  10. @PTHIERS 00:10 (ie 23 hours ago)
    All I meant was that the destruction of the LDs presents a once in a generation opportunity in a FPTP Parliamentary system to become one of the influential parties. But there is only room for one party to replace the LDs.
    I disagree in that I don’t think there is anything about our electoral system that inevitably limits the number of influential parties to a set low number (I guess there may be a limit somewhere below 10, but I don’t know, and don’t actually imagine it will be tested in my lifetime).

    Unless there is a change in voting rules, the Greens need to show that they can out poll UKIP by April.
    I’ve no doubt it would help the Greens, and know there will be some NOTA voters who might swing between the two. But I think the number of genuine NOTA votes is relatively limited, and their reasons to swing between UKIP and Greens may well be something other than which one looks more likely to get into a position of power. And if the number of voters who might swing between UKIP and Greens is so limited, it’s hard to see why the electoral system will provide space for either/or and not both. To me the ‘neither Tory nor Labour’ pool in which the LDs fished has been split three ways. The more relevant question for Greens is whether they can establish enough of a foothold to mean that when (eventually) people forget about the LDs betrayal in 2010, Greens can compete effectively for voters who might choose between LDs, Lab and Greens (and nationalists if applicable).

  11. Good polls for Lab heading into Christmas. Let’s not say anything about swingback.

    Still I think caution is needed. Too many unrealistic scores. I really can’t see Cons at sub 30, so I think some of these polls are exaggerated.

    However, it does seem that the master strategist has been at it again, and the peculiar autumn statement has allowed Labour to muddy the waters on austerity and open up a more catchy defence on the key economic question.

  12. @ASHLEY 23:24
    The vast majority of polls still have the Libs ahead of the Greens
    Of the last 10, LDs ahead in four. Level in 2. Greens ahead in four.

  13. @ Craig,

    Swingback from whom?

    The Tories, from the look of things. Which I have to admit seems rather unlikely, but maybe we’re seeing a Tory -> Ukip, Ukip -> Labour musical chairs shift?

    @ RMJ1,

    It could be that these spikes in apparent Labour support, though they are more like troughs in Conservative support

    This last one wasn’t. The last five Opiniums have been (from most recent to oldest):

    29 / 34
    30 / 33
    29 / 32
    33 / 33
    28 / 35

    So this is a normal Tory score but Labour are high.

  14. “The vast majority of polls still have the Libs ahead of the Greens…and several this week a long way ahead”

    27 polls this month

    13 have the Lib Dems ahead of the Greens
    14 don’t.

    Of polling companies that reported that month –

    5 (Opinium, Populus, ICM, Comres, Lord Ashcroft) have the Lib Dems ahead (in their latest polls)
    3 (YouGov, TNS, Mori) don’t.

    Is this the vast majority? The picture seems very unclear to me. You’re right that several polls recently have shown the Lib Dems a long way ahead of the Greens – yet today we see another with the Greens ahead of them.

    No doubt the larger parties are glad there’s a rivalry going on down there.

  15. @Alec

    You don’t think it’s kinda comic that the Greens think a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset is a great threat to safety Fukushima-style, but the nuclear power stations a few hundred miles across the water in Normandy are not?

    It recalled to me the old joke about “Fog in the channel, Continent cut off”. Sometimes the continent seems way further away than it really is, and that the channel a bigger protection than it really is…

  16. The contrived abuse of the exchanges is so off-putting that I now switch off as soon as I hear the first words, and I am interested in politics!

    It has long been my primary criticism of both sides of IndyRef, the UKIP surge and of the Lib Dems’ attempts to stave off annihilation, that this mentality has been both accepted and adopted, and worse still in the first two cases actually brought onto the streets (it probably would have been by the Lib Dems as well, were it not for the fact that they have relatively few people left on the streets).

    Yes, not resorting to the same depths as your opponents is not a paletable option, if those “depths” are proven to have a net positive effect at the ballot box. But Britain (and I use that word to refer to the island, rather than as an incorrect word for the political entity) has a proud tradition of taking on and abiding by burdens that make it that little bit harder to win if your “opponents” do not behave likewise (the Geneva Convention is perhaps the most appropriate example given my choice of language, but there are plenty of non-military examples of international laws and agreements that Britain tries to stick to in the knowledge that other signatories are far less worried about doing so).

    The downside of that approach is that sometimes others will steal a march on you – the upside is that if/when you do succeed, that success will be more long term and stable.

    It remains my opinion that the SNP might have won Indyref had they followed up the (vote-winning, effectively used and entirely accurate) “we are fed up of Westminster” line with “… and absolutely refuse to behave like them”. They didn’t lose IndyRef by failing to get enough Labour voters on board, the polls show that they squeezed Labour extraordinarily well. They lost it by failing to win the one-off support of those who believed the time was right for independence but that the SNP was not the party they would want to lead the sovereign state.

    It remains my opinion that UKIP will not be able to consolidate past 2015 because they have shown little to suggest to me that once the EU issue is resolved one way or the other, they will be able to rally their voters around a “we are nothing like the establishment and will not behave like them” banner, despite the fact that this sentiment makes up a significant chunk of their existing VI.

    It remains my opinion that the principle of the Lib Dems’ political strategy was sound: that if they could have convinced voters that they are willing to work with the political establishment through necessity, whilst not behaving like them and robustly holding them to account where appropriate, that they could have recovered to the low-to-mid teens by GE day and have been in a reasonable medium and longer term position.

    And I don’t say any of those things with any pleasure – not even the bit about Scotland. I know I’m wildly unpopular on this section of the site amongst Scottish nationalists, and am quite comfortable with that because I’ve made no effort whatsoever to get along with those from any political persuasion (be that Scottish nationalists or the Toriest of English Tories) who openly and brazenly mix the political and the psephological. But in my defence on the referendum, I always said that a narrow “No” would be the worst possible outcome to the referendum – that my personal view was that a clear No was preferable at this time but that a Yes would be better than an unpredictable and potentially destructive state of limbo that could be bad for both Scotland and rUK. In fairness to my critics I was also hesitant to define what “narrow” meant, which was primarily because “narrow” and clear are matters of public opinion, and it was not for me to second-guess whether the public would see 10% as narrow or not.

    I don’t have any particular warmth for UKIP’s political message at home or overseas, but am entirely in favour of a new party emerging on a ticket of direct democracy, appealing to precisely those traditional Conservative or floating Con-Lab voters that have drifted away from the Tories in recent decades (the fiscally conservative, home-owning working class). Whether you love, loathe or couldn’t care less either way about right-leaning politics, democracy is first and foremost about representation, and that significantly-sized group of people has long felt that no-one is trying to represent them.

    I don’t take any pleasure at all in the Lib Dems’ longer term demise (though they deserve the national kicking they will get in 2015, and I say that as someone who will be voting for Dorothy Thornhill), if their demise makes it easier for the big two parties to maintain a stranglehold on power on ever-declining support levels.

  17. @Candy

    Wrong again. I’m a fairweather friend – Greens don’t speak for me, but they do advocate PR, I can agree on some policies and I would dearly love to see Lib Dems fifth. But I won’t be voting for them.

    []

  18. @Candy – enough with your puffed up bombast about the greens. Its not the site for that.

    The Greens are campaign very much on an anti-austerity ‘socialist with a environmental focus’ ticket – citizens wage, anti-trident, wealth distribution, re -nationalisation. Its very much policies that labour supporters want but than their party wont propose because they are far too tied to establishment and its neo-liberal economic consensus (i.e. austerity, privatisiation )

    That appeals to a lot of younger, educated, left inclined people – the same sort of people who support things like Occupy and UK UNcut.

    The greens – by eating into the left of centre vote – will not win many seats but may help pull the political debate onto this territory in the same way that UKIP has changed the debate around immigration.

  19. @CANDY

    “Toughen up, sir. If a few comments on ceilings on votes upset you, you are never going to make it to the big time!”

    ————–

    Interesting, innit? I wasn’t chucking ad hominems around, it is Craig who did that, questioning “likeability”. Which is not itself necessarily the nicest or most likeable thing to do. Bizarre really: won’t engage on something useful like impact of Green actions or policy on VI, but WILL engage to pop an ad hominem.

    As you note, up to now, Greenies have been able to float under the radar unchallenged, and as VI rises, that may change, and I dunno that suggesting to people you don’t like ’em and to go read a book instead is necessarily gonna cut it. (Though to be fair, the read-a-book gambit is yet to be tested in polling…)

    The irony here, is that to some extent, Green policies haven’t really been tested re: renewables etc. because all the main parties have to some extent been going along with it, partly because forced to by the EU. Hence Colin’s chagrin at the latest compromises in trying to sort baseload for renewables. Peeps aren’t necessarily aware of the inefficiencies and cost.

    It’s tricky, trying to deal with the intermittent nature of wind, solar etc… Having conventional backup generation is inefficient, as Colin notes… trying the smart grid and interconnectors costs, rips up landscape and loses power in long cable runs, and storing the power en masse is in its infancy and Lefty tore one scheme I had come across and volunteered on here to shreds with a few simple calculations.

    Conventional nuclear having its issues, I wound up looking at Fusion, and then discovered how hard that can be*, which is how I wound up at Thorium…

    * though the Polywell could change this…

  20. Opinium tables are here:

    http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/sites/ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/files/vi_16_12_2014.pdf

    Not many supplementaries but I was struck by the response to And which party, if any, would you say you trust the most to handle the UK’s relationship with the rest of the European Union:

    Con 23%

    Lab 23%

    Lib Dem 5%

    UKIP 17%

    Other 4% (mostly from SNP and Green supporters)

    None of these 18%

    Don’t Know 10%

    So (one of) UKIP’s strong points doesn’t really seem that strong and doesn’t seem to attract much in the way of support from outside their own ranks.

  21. @Reggieside

    “younger, educated, left inclined people”

    … and older ones too !

  22. @Candy

    yeah, Craig’s all over the place… the lack of debate thing came up more in my posts, rather than yours, bit I wasn’t complaining about it, simply warning about the consequent homework they give you instead…

  23. Briefly on my political view on small-g green (that is, green energy policies in general, and not specifically those of the Green Party).

    It’s an undeniable fact that non-renewables are… well… non-renewable – they’ll run out eventually. It is therefore an economic inevitability that at various points between now and then green technologies will become (in this order) economically viable, value for money and economically necessary before we exhaust fossil fuels. And history shows us that the countries that thrive are the ones that are leaders in the right technologies at the right times, be they military or civilian. It would therefore be self-defeating madness not to put significant money into green energy, because at the point that it doesn’t make sense not to use those technologies we need to be ahead of the game. The real questions are how and where we spend that money (in terms of geographic locations, what sort of money we spend on each different type of renewables, and the balance struck in that spending between research for tomorrow and electricity generation for today).

    On the climate change front I’m cynical although in no sense a climate change denier. It’s inevitable that fossil fuels will be used until they are not economically viable, because there are two many countries out there who will continue to act in self interest regardless of international agreement. The one reason I’m in favour of the endless push for emissions agreements is that there are good reasons to increase the timespan over which mankind can come to terms with the effects of climate change and retrospectively try to do something about it – things which might not be technologically, politically or economically feasible over a timescale of 50 years are more likely to be feasible over a span of 100 or 150 years.

  24. @Reggieside

    ” The greens – by eating into the left of centre vote – will not win many seats but may help pull the political debate onto this territory in the same way that UKIP has changed the debate around immigration.”

    ——-

    Or, as I argued the ogher day, actually push the debate away from Greens…

  25. @CHRISHORNET

    “Briefly on my political view on small-g green (that is, green energy policies in general, and not specifically those of the Green Party).

    It’s an undeniable fact that non-renewables are… well… non-renewable – they’ll run out eventually.”

    ——-

    There’s enough Thorium to last for thousands, even millions of years… by which time we’ll have probably figured out how to harness the vacuum energy of space or summat…

  26. “The real questions are how and where we spend that money (in terms of geographic locations, what sort of money we spend on each different type of renewables,”

    ———-

    Renewables need resources too. E.g. wind turbines use up rare earth metals…

  27. @R&D

    “if you are so keen not to know footy scores because of MOTD you must eschew all media”

    One would expect a polling site to be one place where footie results are not trumpeted, or at least the good folk would start with:

    *** footie spoilers ***

  28. @Statty

    they don’t even do spoiler alerts for the polls…

  29. @Candy

    “Toughen up, sir.”

    Nah, I think I prefer Anthony’s way. No need to toughen up if people are non-partisan and respectful of others. There are literally hundreds of sites, full to the brim with people happy to knock lumps out of each others’ political opinion.

    This place is better than that.

  30. “This place is better than that”

    ———-

    except for the spoilers…

  31. @Carfrew

    Nothing to spoil though, is there. We all want to know, and it’s not like the data comes out over 90 minutes with exciting action and reasons to throw cans at the telly.

    (Now the General Election might be the closest thing to that in the polling sense)

  32. @Statty

    I already said, ages ago, that all these polls were spoiling the GE for the rest of us. But being as one cannot avoid polls these days any more than footy results, I thought I might as well make summat of it…

  33. So (one of) UKIP’s strong points doesn’t really seem that strong and doesn’t seem to attract much in the way of support from outside their own ranks.

    Well, even now few polls have UKIP as high as 17%, and no reputable poll has the big two as low as 23% each, but in that context I certainly accept the point made.

    I’m sure few of the “none of these” said so on the grounds that UKIP are not Eurosceptic enough. That said, if my hypothetical view were not only that the UK shouldn’t be in the EU but that the EU should not exist, then I would probably answer “none of the above” to that question.

    The mere suggestion of the EU ceasing to exist being more than a fringe political view might sound fancifuI, but I can’t be the only one who shudders at the prospect of a future Kingdom of England and Wales (which is surely all that would be left of the union in 15 years if the UK were to leave acrimoniously) being the only European country which has poor relations with the EU (outside of non-EU remnants of the former USSR), maintaining poor relations with Russia, and becoming more and more of an irrelevance with the USA, bearing in mind that to trade with all three we would have to play by certain rules set by those three whether we liked them or not.

    For clarity I’m in favour of reformed EU membership (though have no confidence at all in Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Sturgeon, Bennett or indeed anyone else in these lands achieving it). But surely the logical extension of wanting the UK to leave in the belief that the EU has moved from being a free-trade agreement to a bureaucratic, undemocratic, economic basketcase, is that it should be dismantled entirely with a new, looser economic agreement between European countries started from scratch?

  34. @ChrisHornet

    “And history shows us that the countries that thrive are the ones that are leaders in the right technologies at the right times, be they military or civilian. It would therefore be self-defeating madness not to put significant money into green energy, because at the point that it doesn’t make sense not to use those technologies we need to be ahead of the game.”

    ———-

    I have myself argued similar at times past, but one does have to be careful. We led the world in the jet thing, but being first with the jet airliner meant we made the mistakes and let the US take our place, learning from our mistakes.

    Meanwhile, the US had the lead in Thorium, canned it for political reasons, and now the Chinese have accelerated their programme. They are looking to have it ready commercially in a decade.

    If they pull this off, it’s gonna make the wind turbine wranglings all rather moot…

  35. There’s enough Thorium to last for thousands, even millions of years… by which time we’ll have probably figured out how to harness the vacuum energy of space or summat…

    In which case I look forward to trading in my ageing petrol-powered Fiat for the new Thorium model in the near future.

  36. @ChrisHornet

    There’s much fun debate on Thorium-powered cars on the net.

    The Thorium reactor was designed to be highly portable, because it arose out of the desire in the fifties to have a nuclear-powered bomber.

    In reality, a Thorium-powered car is unlikely, not least because of the shielding required.

    However, it’s possible you don’t normally read my posts, as I have already explained how Thorium can provide petrol for cars. With energy that cheap.and abundant, you can use it to extract the CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into petroleum.

    (Though recent research shows it’s more efficient to extract the CO2 dissolved in the sea water…)

  37. If they pull this off, it’s gonna make the wind turbine wranglings all rather moot…

    Primarily because wind power is not that much more efficient than a network of high-end bicycle generators. Other forms of renewable energy have far more potential (whether they have enough to actually become a mainstream and economically competitive form of energy is a matter of debate, though my personal view is that they do).

  38. @Chris

    Other forms of renewables tend to suffer from the intermittent thing. Some don’t, like using heat pumps in the ocean, but these are only viable in warmer waters. You often have to transmit the energy long distances from where the energy is to where the demand is, and windmills, solar panels etc. require lots of resources, use lots of land, require lots of international co-operation and can leave our supplies vulnerable.

    Meanwhile with Thorium, where you can have lots of small, locally sited reactors – as they don’t need to be near water unlike conventional, water-cooled reactors – as well as avoiding these problems, we could gain numerous additional benefits.

    In addition to such cheap, abundant energy massively increasing prosperity and reducing over-population in the process, because the reactors run at much higher temps you can recycle the waste heat for desalination, heating homes, industrial purposes etc.

  39. Carfrew, I wasn’t supporting or dismissing the notion of Thorium nuclear power dominating one day. But as with electric cars, its various potential applications such as the one you mention will only truly catch on if or when they are economically viable.

    The problem for nuclear power (which theoretically should be untouchable) always has and will be that the setup costs, maintenance costs, waste disposal costs, operational life of the facility and the small but always existant chance of having to foot the bill for a catastrophe make other options more competitive than they should be from a purely theoretical standpoint. Thorium as the starting point has advantages on some of those fronts over using Uranium or Plutonium, and as you say is abundant, but the picture is not all that different. Nuclear power can be and might become dominant, and Thorium research could be a step towards it, but its downsides will always ensure that there are other viable options.

  40. @Chris

    The whole point about using Thorium is that it renders many of the traditional concerns and costs of using nuclear power moot.

    The reactors are much less complicated and safer, and even the waste products are safer and tend to be commercially valuable, especially for medical uses. The by-products are probably more valuable than the energy of the fuel itself.

    You can’t have a catastrophe with a molten salt reactor the way you can with a conventional reactor, because they cannot meltdown, and they do not use water under pressure as a coolant, with its risks of exploding vapour all over the place. You couldn’t have a Fukashima: If the cooling pumps fail, the reactor automatically drains into a holding tank. It’s all very clever…

    Any running costs are dwarfed by the energy efficiency and fuel abundance. These molten salt reactors are at least a hundred times more efficient than conventional reactors. You don’t even have to mine for the fuel: Thorium is a by-product of mining for rare earth metals etc., and is sitting around currently being treated as waste.

  41. @Chris

    Or to put it another way: conventional reactors are an insanely bad way of doing nuclear power. They arose out of using Uranium because they were familiar with that material from making the bomb. Then the Navy needed a reactor quick for their subs in the Cold War, so they cobbled something together using Uranium, and then that approach got transferred for power stations.

    But it’s a really bad approach. Thorium has still more advantages: unsuited to weapons proliferation, portability, and easy to shut down quickly…

  42. @Chris

    Or to put it another way: conventional reactors are an insanely bad way of doing nuclear power. They arose out of using Uranium because they were famili-ar with that material from making the bomb. Then the Navy needed a reactor quick for their subs in the developing Cold War, so they cobbled something together using Uranium, and then that approach got transferred for power stations ‘cos it was easy…

    But it’s a really bad approach. Thorium has still more advantages: unsuited to weapons proliferation, portability, and easy to shut down quickly…

  43. (Or specifically, Uranium 235 I should say…)

  44. MR NAMELESS
    “we don’t try and just concentrate on fact (well mostly)”

    And on access to the facts. There is a subtext in some debates on here (which I think v. important) on the validity of cited data, or on the sourcing of data used to support an argument, which stems from the evident fact that, whether for active politics or for professional involvements, a number of people on this site look for verifiable data and how data is verified. (Incidentally, the political salience of of this concern is traditionally on the left and at the heart of liberalism in its debates with socialism)

  45. @CANDY 16:23
    Regarding the Greens … they have as many daft policies as UKIP but the press have been slow to pick up on them (as they were slow to look at UKIP’s).

    Ignoring your ridiculous mis-representation of Green policy, one thing that struck me was the thought “25 years ago”. In 1989-90, how radical Green policies were was news. And voters discovering that radicalism was one element in the Greens’ loss of support then (along with David Icke, greenwash from LDLabCon, internal splits in the Green Party and poor organisation). But can it really be news again 25 years later? (especially when the Greens have learnt from that and renamed their former ‘Manifesto for a Sustainable Society’, and made it harder to mine for ammunition). Indeed, with changes to the media (right-wing newspapers are vastly less influential with today’s Green supporters, who pay significant attention to social media, whereas UKIPs support is much older and more likely to get their news from right-wing papers), it is vastly more significant if the press rubbish UKIP than it is if the same press rubbish the Green Party.

  46. Doubt that the press are going to tell anyone what they don’t know already.It isn’t as though the UK has much respect anyway.

  47. If (and it remains an if) there has been a boost in Labour polling numbers recently, we need to start asking why. My personal theory is that a combination of negativity over the autumn statement and relatively large amounts of focus on the bedroom tax are worth perhaps a point.

    Any extra looks to be coming from negativity being heaped (fairly or not) on UKIP and their more wacky ideas (recent candidate fiasco, breastfeeding) which, while it won’t displace some Lab> UKIP switchers, might move some anti-government voters over to the party perceived as less toxic. This can be seen in issues polling where as earlier pointed out there is a cap on UKIP support, and on Nigel Farage’s poor and falling personal ratings.

  48. Carfew
    Perovskites to you. (Not an anagram!)

  49. Good polls for Lab heading into Christmas. Let’s not say anything about swingback.

    Still I think caution is needed. Too many unrealistic scores. I really can’t see Cons at sub 30, so I think some of these polls are exaggerated.

    However, it does seem that the master strategist has been at it again, and the pecul!ar autumn statement has allowed Labour to muddy the waters on austerity and open up a more catchy defence on the key economic question.

  50. Will energy be a subject for debate in the GE?

    What about wind energy? The Scientific Alliance is a group of physicist and engineers based In Cambridge and Edinburgh. Here are some of the things the Scientific Alliance is saying about wind energy.

    The latest study by the Alliance assesses quantitatively wind variability and intermittency based on nine years of hourly measurements of wind speed on 22 sites across the country. A model UK wind fleet of 10 GW nominal capacity was then used for analysis

    The model reveals that power output has the following pattern over a year:
    i Power exceeds 90% of available power for only 17 hours
    ii Power exceeds 80% of available power for 163 hours
    iii Power is below 20% of available power for 3,448 hours (20 weeks)
    iv Power is below 10% of available power for 1,519 hours (9 weeks).

    Derek Partington produced another study of wind energy output. He looked at the average percentage output compared to nominal capacity. The years studied,2011 and 2012, seem to have been windy years. In 2011 the average wind energy % output was 33.2% and in 2012, 30.7%.

    In the “low wind” year of 2010 UK wind turbines produced less than 10% of their rated output for 38.8% of the time and less than 5% of their rated output for 20.8% of the time.

    The costs of generation of wind energy in comparison to other means of energy generation has been done by Colin Gibson, a former director of the National Grid. Gibson concludes that: “Over the lifetime of a generating plant, nuclear, coal and combined-cycle gas turbines all cost between £50 and £100 per Mwh. Onshore wind costs £150 to £200 per Mwh and offshore wind is in the range £200 to £300 per Mwh.”

    The intermittent nature of wind energy is a factor in its cost. Wind energy requires back-up on constant standby.

    Because wind energy is such a weak producer of energy, compared with other energy producers, large areas need to be covered with turbines and transmission lines.

    Supporters of renewable energy argue that wind energy is needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is questionable if it is effective at this. One cause is the necessity to have back-up supply, usually gas power. Because the gas generator is not running all or most of the time but acting as “spinning reserve” the efficiency is decreased. Compensation has to be paid to the operators of the stand-by plant not only for its stand-by function but for its decreased operating lifetime as a result of running at lower efficiency.

    There is an Irish study by Eleanor Denny, “A Cost Benefit Analysis of Wind power” which found that “the carbon dioxide reduction benefits of a carbon price can be completely outweighed by the added cycling costs…When a carbon price and wind generation are combined, the cycling costs are increased further,” and “it was found that even with 3000 MW of installed wind generation, the cycling costs can still exceed the value of the saved carbon dioxide emissions.”

    There will be unknown quantities of carbon dioxide production involved in the installation, maintenance and decommissioning of wind turbines.

    There is also need for better debate of climate change. The major uncertainties lie in the detection of a temperature increase and in the attribution of that increase to man’s activity. As far as my very limited knowledge goes that ability to attribute a temperature increase to man’s activity seems to rest on “expert judgement” (aka “a guess”).

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