This evening’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%

After a couple of days with the Greens equal or ahead of the Liberal Democrats, today’s poll has them behind. These little variations between one poll and the next are mostly irrelevant of course, the broader picture remains that YouGov show the Greens and Lib Dems essentially equal, but that’s because YouGov tend to show some of the highest support for the Greens and some of the lower figures for the Lib Dems. TNS and Ashcroft have also shown the Greens in fourth place, but other companies are still show them consistently behind the Liberal Democrats.

On that issue, today OfCom published their consultation on which parties should be treated as major parties at the general election – more specificially, they are classifying UKIP as a major party along with the usual big three, but not the Greens. This has been widely reported through the prism of the leaders debates, but I think that’s missing the bigger point – the debates will or won’t go ahead depending on the political realities of what the broadcasters can get the leaders to agree to. The more important impact is probably that broadcasters are required to give due weight to all the major parties in their editorial coverage come the election campaign, so UKIP are now ensured an appropriate level of TV coverage, the Greens less so.

From this blog’s point of view it’s also interesting because the polling plays such a role in OfCom making their decision. It’s not one I envy. In making their decision OfCom take into account both past support and current support. In the past this must have been a comparatively easy exercise for OfCom – there were clearly two and a bit main parties (Con, Lab and LD) and this was always the same for both past and current party support. The difficulty now is that past and current support are different – in the last two elections the main parties were clearly Con, Lab and LD. In the last couple of years opinion polls have put UKIP as clearly the third most popular party, with the Liberal Democrats in fourth place and the Greens advancing. One can easily see how the Lib Dems would qualify as a major party on their past support, how UKIP could qualify through their recent support in polls and in local elections, and how the Greens could fall between two stools. It still just draft guidance of course, the consultation is open until next month.


165 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33 LAB 33 LD 8 UKIP 13 GRN 7”

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  1. David in France

    The Greens only have enough support to be competitive in Westminster in isolated pockets.

    I am not arguing that Respect should be invited, but that the Green case is pretty weak.

    Actually, I think the debates are a stupid idea because of the fracturing of the party system, and the fact that we not actually elect Prime Ministers. It could easily be the case that none of the people invited to the debates are actually PM by the end of the next Parliament.

  2. What seems to have escaped all of you so far is that we in the UK do not elect a prime minister. We elect our representatives – sometimes, but by no means exclusively, on the basis of whom they might support (there is no guarantee of this, of course) as leader of HM’s government.

    The whole idea of having these ‘leadership debates’ is an attack on the basis of our representative democracy. By all means have local constituency debates with all the candidates present and participating; but the televised ‘leaders debates’ really ought to be scrapped.

    The situation becomes absurd, of course, when these debates are shown in areas of the UK where they have little or no relevance (e.g. Northern Ireland). In Scotland the ‘leaders debates’ must include the SNP – otherwise they are irrelevant to our situation – and only debates including the SNP (and the Greens, perhaps) ought to be televised.

    Furthermore, UK-wide debates ought only to cover UK wide topics. So no education or NHS questions allowed for a start.

    Which brings me to a last point regarding Labour’s campaign so far. I assume that their concentration on the (English) NHS indicates that they (EM and EB etc.) have nothing to say to us in Scotland….. or am I mistaken on this?

  3. Apologies to Lurker, who got in before me.

    Yes, it is possible that none of the present ‘leaders’ survives the carnage which may happen on May 7.

  4. John B

    Even if Cameron won, he could easily be forced out before 2020.

    Had the debates happened in 2005 (and we ended up with the same election outcome), then all the participants would have been gone within a little over two years, despite Blair winning a 60-odd majority.

  5. John B
    Agree re Debates.
    Re Lab NHS etc commment – i think your comment is partisan.

  6. Latest Populus VI: Lab 34 (-2), Con 33 (-1), LD 8 (-1), UKIP 14 (+2), Oth 11 (+1)

    Within Moe.

    maybe next revision of UKPR Average will have lead 2% – pehaps even 1%.

  7. I would tend to agree with @Etienne on this. For those who aren’t aware, I’m nominally a Green myself (party member, etc) but I don’t think it’s credible to argue the Greens are a major party. Even if they poll ahead of the Lib Dems for a while, this really doesn’t mean that much, at least until it happens consistently and is replicated in real elections. Just look at how few councilors the Greens have, and then try to argue they are a major party.

    UKIP is an altogether different story, although here there are still major issues. I think they’ve done enough to just about qualify as a major party, but again it’s a judgement call, and as ever in politics, no one will agree on judgements.

    Personally, I think it’s difficult to exclude a party from this category if they have polled consistently above 10% for a lengthy period of time, they have topped at least one national election, and are the biggest UK wide party in terms of council seats behind Lab/Lib/Con. The SNP do have more council seats than UKIP in total, but they aren’t a national party in the UK sense, so it’s a bit difficult to claim the SNP have a right to enter a UK national debate.

    With the Greens, there is also the issue that ‘the Green Party’ spoken of in this context is actually the E&W Green party, so we get back to the ‘SNP in or out’ argument, but I don’t see that as particularly valid, as presumably the Scottish Greens would allow themselves to be jointly represented by the E&W leader. Otherwise we could start to argue that Labour & SLAB are not UK national parties, and indeed the Tories, made up of independent individual constituency associations, might technically not even be a national party within England. A sense of realism is required on this specific issue I think.

    As I posted last night though, I suspect the rise of unregulated online media means that we will have a leaders debate, with the format decided by the leaders wishing to take part. Cameron may well exclude himself from this, as may other leaders, but I don’t think the big three leaders remain in control of the process any more.

    When the option was restricted to the broadcast media, leaders could exert an influence as impartiality rules come into play, so they could decline to participate and it would have been difficult to proceed with the empty chair option. Online it’s different, so I suspect all manner of live head to heads will occur.

    The more significant element if this judgement of Ofcom’s stands, is going to be the increased coverage afforded to UKIP in the broadcast media in general. That has to be bad news for Tories, whatever happens in the debate.

  8. @John B and @Lurker – I disagree entirely regarding leaders debates.

    Party members stand for election in specific constituencies, and obviously none but their local constituency voters actually elect a PM.

    But we all elect MPs who we then mandate to support a specific PM. It would be very odd for me if my local Labour MP went to Westminster and then decided on balance, that she preferred a Tory PM and policies.

    The leaders serve to represent their parties and their parties policy platforms, and local candidates have signed up to these, so it’s perfectly fair to have leaders debates in a representative democracy. Indeed, I would say it’s essential, as we need to see the people that our local candidates are likely to put into power if they get elected, and then it’s up to us to weigh the local against the national.

    It’s equally relevant for Scottish voters to see the leaders debates. Their MPs will be voting for or against the PM, however the result goes. Don’t you want to have a chance to make your own judgement on the potential PM, so you can judge how to use your own vote based on who your candidates may or may not support for PM?

    Equally, the fracturing of the party system, while somewhat overstated, is, in my view, an even stronger reason why we need a broadly based series of debates. We need to hear what the alternatives are, with leaders debates one of the best ways to get a broader political exposure.

    As a viewing spectacle these things can be utterly dreadful (I call as evidence the second referendum debate m’lud) but they serve a useful purpose, especially in a political system that is undergoing change.

    Indeed, I would go much further than most, and remove the choice to participate from the parties and require party leaders to participate if their parties meet the relevant criteria for a major national party.

    Voters should be able to command their would be representatives to answer questions when asked, in many different formats. The politicians right to evade and hide from examination should be curtailed.

  9. @Lurker

    There was a leader debate in 2005. Blair, Howard and Kennedy.

    I wonder whatever happened to them….

  10. I have to say I’d assumed it was a given that Bennett would be the Green representative, but Rupert Read’s (sadly, not very impressive) response to the Ofcom initial view suggests that it could be Lucas. Lucas is of course a very impressive performer, but it would look very odd if the party leader didn’t represent the party, and would look like we’re trying to hide her.

    http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2705465/the_green_voice_must_be_heard_in_election_2015.html

  11. I have a fairly simple view of this.

    Yes of course (yawn) we vote for local candidates rather than for a Prime Minister. That’s why national opinion polling is such a complete waste of time and of no interest to anybody, since it has no relevance to what’s going on in my constituency.

    Back in the real world, most of us vote for a party platform (with half of us not even knowing who the local MP is) and only 3 people in each constituency read all the manifestos (and all of them are pensioners).

    We get our impression of parties mainly from TV, though younger people are increasingly getting it from social media and older people still follow the national press.

    Even as a fairly enthusiastic politico I have but a sketchy idea of what the parties stand for, though I have a pretty good idea about 2 1/2 parties. I know very little, if I’m honest,
    about what Green and UKIP stand for, because Green gets very little coverage and UKIP deny most of the policies attributed to them by people who read their last manifesto.
    What the SNP, PC, DUP etc stand for is a bit interesting but of no relevance to me, as they won’t stand in my country.

    Therefore, in the interests of an informed democracy, I would like to see debates involving the 5 parties which have a national spread across England.

  12. I have wondered before about yougov’s sample.

    Presumably they are sampling from a pool of self selected people, the kind of people who spend a lot of time on the internet, like to tell the world what they think and are on the internet at certain times of day.

    I wonder if this is reflected in the fact they always seem to have the highest UKIP figures and the lowest LD figures?

  13. @Lurker – 10.38

    Agreed

    @Jim Jam – 10.47

    Partisan? Moi?

    Seriously though, the point is that since serious devolution took place, much of the political debate in Westminster now has little to do with reality in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. There is no ‘ring fencing’ within the Barnet Formula – thus Jim Murphy’s assertion that Labour in Scotland will (would!) use extra cash raised in the S.E. of England mansion tax to pay for nurses in Scotland is, on one level, totally within the rules of the game. Where he is mistaken is that until Labour gains an OM (or even the position of being largest party) in Holyrood, nothing in the up-coming GE campaign and subsequent parliament has anything whatsoever to do with the NHS in Scotland.

    So my point stands. If Labour continue to speak only about English issues in the upcoming GE campaign, what are the rest of us to conclude? That EM seriously supports EVEL?

  14. @Aec – 11.11

    I disagree. We do not ‘mandate’ MPs to do anything. They are not delegates. Of course, if someone stands on the Labour ticket we have a right to assume that, in general, that person, if elected, would support the party leader – though intraparty rivalries do make me wonder, sometimes, if this is something we may assume without reservation.

    Furthermore, I am quite certain that I am not voting for or against any party leader. If I wished to do that I would join a political party (or perhaps all of them!) and vote for the leader when the opportunity occurred. Instead, I vote in response to the question: Whom do you wish to represent you in parliament? I might well like to hear from the local candidates what they think of the leaders of the parties, but I hear quite enough from those leaders as it is, thank you very much, without being subjected to shouting matches and evasion paid for out of my tv license fee.

    Which is not a tax, by the way, as claimed earlier in the thread. If you don’t want to pay the license fee then don’t have a tv. Simples!

  15. Alec

    You do not elect Prime Ministers; end of. De facto, you vote for parties, and the leader is not he only representative of the party.

    It is very common for MPs to mandate a PM who was not leader at the election (Brown, Major, Callaghan, Home, MacMillan and Eden were all in that position at some time or other). If voters are deluded by leader’s debates into thinking they are voting for a particular candidate that is potentially dangerous as they could argue that a PM that came to power partway through a Parliament was not legitimate. Indeed, some partisans made that point against Brown. They would be wrong to think that.

    If voters want that sort of personalised leadership, then the public need to give Brenda and Chaz the heave-ho and declare a republic.

  16. Populus Scotland crossbreaks

    SNP 38 Lab 27 Con 18 LD 8 UKIP 5 Grn 4

  17. John B & Lurker

    I totally agree. There is really no way to do these debates fairly and really they shouldn’t be allowed in the election period.

    But I think the issue is ‘major party’ status this gives parties that are already popular more airtime & for ‘balance’ in the GE campaign period. How can they handle UKIP being a ‘major party’ in E&W but not Scotland?

    Chomsky said the powerful keep power by that ‘narrow the boundaries of acceptable opinion’ that seems to be the case here, kept the anti-Austerity parties off the agenda so the ‘acceptable opinion’ is austerity.

    In Scotland will get a lot of the same programs and will have to frequently watch a panel of Lab/Con/LD/UKIP with no representation of the parties SNP/Greens most Scots will be ‘considering’ voting for.

    @John B

    Murphy does have a problem in that Labour is focussing all their campaign cash & airtime on the NHS which doesn’t apply to Scotland. He will be trying to blur the lines so people forget that there are separate NHS’s. I have noticed this tactic by Labour to imply that Holyrood is responsble for things it is not responsible (energy prices, oil) for and Westmister responsible for things it is not (NHS). I wonder if this tactic has a point.

    With McTernan now Murphy’s right hand man we can expect a lot of tactics before May. Those in the Neil Findlay camp must be in despair at that appointment.

  18. I think this is where constitutional theory meets reality.

    We don’t mandate an MP or vote for a PM, but actually we do, as @Guymonde says. Theorists need to get with the reality.

    It’s a bit like being gay and being gay. There was once a meaning for gay, but we’ve collectively decided to change it – no one informed us that the meaning had been officially changed.

    @John B – I find the Scottish complaints about leaders talking about devolved matters interesting. Didn’t the SNP try to tell us that Westminster decisions on the NHS would damage their NHS not so long ago.

    You can’t have it both ways, I’m afraid.

  19. I suspect that Cameron’s refusal to take part unless the Greens are included is a mere pretext – his real aim being to scupper the debates entirely. The Broadcaters had only suggested that UKIP be part of one debate – the earliest one. Treating the Greens on the same basis would,therefore, have no material effect on debates 2 and 3 – the former being restricted to the three main parties – the latter to Cameron and Milliband. Debate 1 would occur about a month in advance of Polling Day and with four or five leaders would be likely to be somewhat unwieldy. It seems unlikely that such a debate would make a particularly firm or lasting impression. For that reason, I suspect that it is the later debates that Cameron is anxious to avoid.

  20. @Alec

    It is a double edged sword, everytime LiS or UKLabour say ‘VoteLabour to save the NHS’ they are met by a barrage of responses along the lines of ‘But you told us it was safe, what do you mean it’s not?’

  21. achristie

    “I know we shouldn’t take much notice of cross breaks but todays YG is in line with current Scottish polling and gives the following seat projections……………..”

    So, pointless but you do it anyway. Oh dear.

    …………………………………………………………………………………

    Colin

    The nine points ARE excellent. I especially like number nine as a riposte to some of the more sanguine reactions we have been reading.

    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    Debates.

    One/ DC and EM

    Two/Plus Clegg

    Three/Plus UKIP/Green

    That seems as equitable as you are likely to get guven that you can’t take account of absolutely every detail of party support.

    It gives Lab and Con 100%, LD two thirds and UKIP/Green one third.

  22. I am in two minds about the effect of a Ed, Cam, Clegg & Nige debate in Scotland. Four male, multi-millionaires discussing immigration (Scotland’s needs are different we want immigration), English NHS, English Education and Austerity might boost the SNP

  23. coup

    It is a double edged sword, everytime LiS or UKLabour say ‘VoteLabour to save the NHS’ they are met by a barrage of responses along the lines of ‘But you told us it was safe, what do you mean it’s not?’

    Leaving aside the fact that I must have somehow missed that “barrage” of responses, the fact that Labour have not been in power for nearly five years, during which time the NHS has been hugely re-organised, seems a reasonable response… don’t you think?

  24. @Alec There is no separate Labour or Tory party in Scotland. There is an entirely separate Green Party in Scotland. Why should the “regional” Green parties participate directly or by proxy in the debates and other more significant “regional” parties such as PC, SNP and NI parties not be allowed to do so?

  25. ROSIEANDDAISIE
    achristie

    “I know we shouldn’t take much notice of cross breaks but todays YG is in line with current Scottish polling and gives the following seat projections……………..”
    …..
    So, pointless but you do it anyway. Oh dear
    ____

    I know it only gives Labour 5 seats……oh dear.

  26. AC

    Populus gives them a few more than 5.

  27. @ROSIEANDAISIE

    Debates.

    One/ DC and EM

    Two/Plus Clegg

    Three/Plus UKIP/Green

    That seems as equitable as you are likely to get guven that you can’t take account of absolutely every detail of party support.

    It gives Lab and Con 100%, LD two thirds and UKIP/Green one third.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Working on the basis that each party get equivalent airtime for each debate it would actually give UKIP and the greens 7% in terms of air time. Labour and Tories get 34% and lib dems 18%. So in reality it gives Greens aprox. what they are currently polling which seems fair to me. Obviously the Lib dems and UKip would need to swap round to make it completely fai on this measure!

  28. ALEC
    Didn’t the SNP try to tell us that Westminster decisions on the NHS would damage their NHS not so long ago.

    1st it is relevant due to Barnett consequentials.

    2nd that applies to all 3 devolved nations, which is what makes EVEL such a can of worms.

  29. achristie

    The pretend/theoretical seats total is not the point is it?

    The point is that there isn’t one – as we have been advised by AW fairly regularly.

  30. ALEC

    PS: It would be fine if the moderators of the debates were to point out clearly and categorically the geographical limits of each topic to be discussed before any leader is allowed to speak. That certainly did b>not happen in the 2010 “debates”.

  31. Very low combined Labour/Tory score in today’s Populus (67%) with both parties down from the previous poll. It seems to me that Labour’s pre-Christmas mini-revival is unwinding and their VI is drifting downwards ever closer to the still inert Tory figure. There appears to be absolutely no sign of any loss of enthusiasm for the smaller parties and, if anything, the flight from the three main parties gathers momentum.

    On the basis that Populus have been the kindest pollster to both Labour and Tories for some time, and I accept the MOE caveat, I wonder if today’s poll may suggest that the first week of serious electioneering by the two main parties, with its inane sloganeering and name-calling,has had its predictable effect; namely the plague on both their houses rages ever on.

    SNP, Greens, UKIP et al laughing all the way to the ballot box, I think.

  32. PAUL

    I agree-and particularly about point 9.

    Also the author-hugely important , and the only source which will provide an answer.

  33. @David in France – “I have never been able to see in what context UKIP are a “major party” and the Greens are not.”

    Well in the last national election (the Euros in June 2014), UKIP won an MEP in every single region apart from Northern Ireland, as did Labour. The Tories got an MEP in every single region apart from the North East and Northern Ireland.

    The real question mark is over the LibDems. They got just one MEP (compared to three for the Greens and two for the SNP) and featured in just one region (south east England).

    I suppose they have to play a part in the debates, because they are defending their record in govt. If they do truly badly in the general election though, it’s curtains for them as regards to being treated as a “main party”.

    Regarding the debates – like it or not, despite the fact that we elect individual MPs, the character of the Prime Minister IS important, not least because in a crisis situation, it’s down to him/her rather than the backbenchers.

    I really enjoyed the last set of debates, and enjoyed seeing how they performed under pressure (the closest we’ll get to simulating an artificial crisis situation). I hope they happen again. The only thing I would change is to have them right at the start of the campaign. Last time they happened too close to the election, so voters didn’t really have time to mull over the performances properly.

  34. Alex 12.15

    I agree with your point about the NHS in Scotland not being directly ‘under threat’ from Westminster.

    I was never much convinced by the SNP campaign on threats to the NHS. However, I would suggest two caveats:
    1. that Barnet consequentials would reduce overall funding for Scotland if NHS budget in England were cut;
    2. the Atlantic Trade agreement (over which the Scottish Parliament has no control) might still cause changes to the Scottish NHS because of that agreement’s UK-wide effects.

  35. Alec

    I am not taking a theoretical approach. If I were, I would point out that voters do not elect parties either (after all, MPs can defect), and that the PM is chosen by the Head of State.

    I am pointing that in both theory and practice the voters do not elect the PM. I have quoted a number of examples where we had a PM who came to power where the voters would have no way to choose them.

    It is quite possible that none of the party leaders will be able to form a coalition, but another party figure would. Combined with the fact we have fixed term parliaments, this is not nit-picking but thinking through a perfectly possible and plausible and scenario.

    Constitutional government is more important than a TV show.

  36. @Lurker

    FWIW I’m in total agreement with you. We do not live in a presidential (US or French style) democracy but a representative one where the MPs elected by us decide whom they wish to support in the House of Commons. The queen, after taking soundings on the issue, invites the person she deems most likely to be capable of doing it to form a government. Perhaps the queen ought to preside at the TV debates!

  37. I think the leaders debate incompatible with a parliamentary system issue could be resolved by having more debates, but having the others as policy ones. So you’d have 1 leaders debate, 1 on economic policy with Osborne, Balls etc, and others for Home and Foreign policy.

  38. Etienne

    “So you’d have 1 leaders debate, 1 on economic policy with Osborne, Balls etc, and others for Home and Foreign policy.”

    And the viewing figures would go theough the roof….er….

  39. Through!

  40. Norbold
    You beat me to it

  41. NORBOLD
    And the viewing figures would go th[r]ough the roof….er….

    Point taken, but it would provide something worth watching for us political geeks on BBC Parliament after the dissolution.

  42. Lots of responses.

    @hireton – yes, the Greens do have separate parties north and south, but so what if the two branches choose to have a single representative for a national election debate?

    The SNP are a regional party only (in a UK context, please don’t take offence) so most people would probably think they are best served by appearing in Scotland only debates.

    @Various people – yes I appreciate the consequences of Barnet on the health service north and south, but the block grant was never hypothecated, and Scotland has always had powers to raise income tax, and now has further powers, so there are choices that could and can be made.

    The SNP did tell a somewhat monster fib when they tried to say that privatisation of the NHS in England would reduce their NHS funding as private contracts don’t count as public spending. This was said by AS in the second debate, which was an astounding untruth.

    He was corrected by AD at the time, but in the bear pit atmosphere I don’t think anyone noticed.

    @Lurker and @John B – yes I agree, technically all you say is constitutionally correct. It is also largely devoid of meaning in any practical sense.

    As yourself why we have leaders ratings in the polls? That’s partly why people vote.

    You can try to launch a one man education drive (two man, or I suppose one man and one woman, or perhaps two woman – I don’t know) to educate every UK voter as to the finer points of our constitution, but I would suggest that de facto most people are voting for a potential PM.

    Arguing against this gets us into angels and pin heads I’m afraid. This is the modern reality of British politics.

    “Constitutional government is more important than a TV show.”

    I wouldn’t be quite so aloof, to be honest. I’m far more interested in getting people engaged. 22m people watched some of the debates in 2010 I gather, which seems like a pretty good level of engagement.

    What matters far more to democracy is not the niceties of the constitution, but how well citizens interact with it. That’s where we need to focus our attention, and I tend towards thinking that on balance, TV debates will help that.

  43. Two hostage situations now in France, two more deaths.

    This is potentially very alarming for the influence it might exert of NF and other right wing parties.

  44. Alec

    Indeed, the leader is part of the reason for voting in an election. So putting all the emphasis on the leader in a debate format is distorting.

    I can appreciate how a debate might engage the public. However, the damage that would happen to public engagement if none of the people in the debate were PM at some point during the following parliamentary term should be considered.

    If the election is presented as being from a list of PM candidates, then that is lying to the public in how the system works in practice, not just in theory.

  45. Regards party inclusion and Ofcom, it occurs to me that if any party had 10 or more MPs in parliament, it could make enough noise to be heard on some issues.

    I picked 10, as it’s more than ‘just a small number’ but less than the typical amount required to be crucial in most HoC votes (hung parliaments aside). VI is based on today’s poll, while N. Ireland data is based on 2010 election, as a simple example.

    So why not pick the parties based on the criteria:

    They have 10 or more MPs

    or

    They would have 10 or more seats nationally, based on their VI in a PR system nationally (if declared as a national party)

    or

    They would have 10 or more seats nationally, based on their PR VI at a regional level (if declared as a regional party)

    See how it would work (a bold bit qualifies them – no need for more that one bold bit per party):

    Con – 304 seats – 33% nationally (215 seats) – National Party
    Lab – 257 seats – 33% nationally (215 seats) – National Party
    Lib – 56 seats – 7% nationally (46 seats) – National Party
    UKIP – 2 seats – 13% nationally (85 seats) – National Party
    Green – 1 seat – 7% nationally (46 seats) – National Party
    SNP – 6 seats – 4% nationally (26 seats) – 46% regionally (27 seats) – Regional Party
    DUP – 8 seats – 0.65% nationally (4 seats) – 25% regionally (10 seats) – Regional Party
    Sinn Fein – 5 seats – 0.66% nationally (4 seats) – 25.5% regionally (10 seats) – Regional Party

    PC – 3 seats – 1% nationally (7 seats) – 4% regionally (2 seats) – Regional Party

    So there you have it. Con, Lab, Lib, UKIP, SNP, DUP and Sinn Fein should all be included, while Plaid Cymru, sadly does not make the grade.

    After some thought, someone says, “we can’t have the NI parties at a debate, so make it 11 seats”

    …then someone says, “we can’t have the regional parties at a debate, so make it 5% nationally”

    …then someone says, “UKIP, Respect and the Greens have less than 5 MPs each, so they can’t be there, so let’s have a Con / Lab / Lib debate”

    …then someone says, “The Lib Dems are Toast, so let’s just have Con v Lab”

    …then Cameron says, “In a 1 v 1 situation, the incumbent usually suffers, so no chance!”

    Democratic folk, the Brits.

    :))

  46. @RosieandDaisie

    I’m not sure I agree with you about that piece. I’m instantly sceptical about “Nine Reasons why……” type checklists; all a bit tabloid for me and I thought the piece was more journalese than deep thought.

    Point 9, the one you particularly liked, was a direct riposte to Simon Jenkins article in yesterday’s Guardian but it didn’t change my view that Jenkins’s was the voice of reason and wisdom. An antidote to knee-jerkism.

  47. @Couper

    “I wonder if a formal GE coalition would give them major party status and I wonder if they are exploring that option.”

    I took the liberty of estimating their united support. Not too far from UKIP’s VI, and probably with a better chance of more seats, albeit most of them being SNP at current polling.

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2014/09/here/

    5-poll average, mind.

    The PC value was estimated. Today’s poll has M&W others at 3% and PC / SNP category at 1%, but 1/3 is not workable, so I erred on the side of 1/2 of Others. The difference is 0.25-0.5% nationally, so not much anyway.

    A national party, with the SNP in Scotland (supposedly Greens of Scotland voting SNP), the left of England tending to Green, and the left of Wales uniting behind PC…sounds good, but I can’t see it.

    The unionists that are Green or left-wing won’t care to keep voting for parties that bang the independence drum.

  48. statty

    “Democratic folk, the Brits.”

    As that was presumably ironic can I ask compared to who?

  49. @Alec 2.39

    “You can try to launch a one man education drive (two man, or I suppose one man and one woman, or perhaps two woman – I don’t know) to educate every UK voter as to the finer points of our constitution, but I would suggest that de facto most people are voting for a potential PM.”

    Whilst ‘most people’ is a bit vague, I would in any case disagree. If people were only voting for (or against?) a potential PM, then no-one would ever vote for a candidate who stood no chance of ever being on the government benches. The fact that many vote for ‘minor parties’ just goes to show that what we are in fact doing is voting for the person we want to represent us (though it is also probable that many vote against the person they would least like to see represent them!)

  50. @R&D

    compared to WHOM, surely!

    ‘Pedant’

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