Yesterday I wrote about how manifesto policies don’t really have much effect on voting intentions. Today’s ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror neatly illustrates it.

The poll asked about the individual policies in Labour’s leaked manifesto and found strong support for almost all of them. Banning zero hours contracts, renationalising railways, building more council homes, keeping the pension age at 66, increasing tax on those earning over £80,000, bringing back train conductors were all backed by a majority of respondents (and most of the other policies they asked about received more support than opposition).

After all those questions on Labour’s policies ComRes went onto ask which party people thought had more realistic and well-thought through policies. After having approved of nearly all of Labour’s policies, respondents went onto say that the Tories had the more realistic and thought through, by 51% to Labour’s 31%. Asked if they would be more or less likely to vote Labour having heard about all these new policies 34% said more likely, 47% said less likely. Asked who was running the better election campaign, 42% said the Conservatives compared to 20% for Labour.

One can perhaps rationalise this as people liking Labour’s policies but not thinking they are realistic or thought-through (supporting something is, after all, not necessarily the same as thinking it’s realistic), but it does underline that what makes a party attractive or not to voters is about an awful lot more than a shopping list of policies that meet with public approval.

ComRes also asked the “like the party/like the leader” question (getting people to say if they like both the party and its leader, just one or the other, or neither). While the results don’t come as a great surprise, it nicely illustrates exactly why the Conservative campaign is focusing on their leader rather than their party and the Labour campaign really isn’t: 49% of people said they liked Theresa May, 11 points ahead of the Conservative party on 38%. In contrast only 27% of people said they liked Jeremy Corbyn compared to 46% who like Labour, a nineteen point deficit compared to his party.

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300 Responses to “ComRes poll on the leaked Labour manifesto”

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  1. @The Other Howard

    They must have been, since apparently Microsoft issued a patch for the issue this virus exploits several months ago. As Porrohman could probably tell us in detail, keeping a large network of computers up to date is far from easy, however.

    In the case of the Nissan factory, I particularly wonder if the computers running their automated machinery were affected, since those tend to be set up once and then left alone. It’s not seen as necessary to update the operating system when this might break/require an update for the vital and expensive software they run. Of course, such computers are not supposed to ever be connected to the Internet….


    My feelings too. May I ask what your forecast is?

  3. Laszlo, I get the feeling that Corbyn does not want the sort of structured approach required to run a modern effective campaign. Perhaps Corbyn thinks that the traditional style will work best. It will be one massive shift if Corbyn finds a way to reverse the current trend in the polls I just feel that Corbyn and his close friends like Abbott are determined to do it their way and prove that an old Labour, Union supported, left wing approach will win a huge vote.

  4. @toh

    “For once we agree,….”

    It had to happen eventually!

  5. When I worked I IT in the NHS as a humble technician back in the 90’s the behaviours of managers was shocking. I was constantly being asked to pirate software, break security settings etc… It was nothing to do with money it was things like “I want to play battle chess/leisure suit Larry” or “I can’t be bothered with check signing programme so can we just bypass the failsafes”

    And that was before the cyber age. I hope attitudes have changed

  6. Microsoft no longer support XP, they don’t even issue security updates to the general userbase (with a few exceptions such as today) – but they do continue to support it for some corporations and governments which pay them extra in return for the privilege. Does the NHS do so? If not, its machines will have been unpatched.

    According to Corbyn quoted at the Guardian: “in 2014, there was a one-year renewal of the protection system on the NHS systems which was not renewed after that”.

    I don’t know exactly what this refers to, whether it is a reference to a deal with Microsoft of the kind I’ve alluded to or something else.

    Of course no system can be 100% secure, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to run out-of-date operating systems or to fail to install the latest patches or both.

  7. Anyone still using XP and going online is inviting trouble. Microsoft still support it in as much as it still works and you can still download patches written before 2014 but they have ceased issuing patches to cover new flaws discovered in the operating system.

    Support for Vista ended April 2017 and Windows 7 support ends in Jan 2020.

  8. From Mike Smithson

    ORB online poll in Telegraph
    CON 46 =
    LAB 32 +1
    LD 8 -1
    UKIP 7 -1

    Lead 14%

  9. @Alberto

    Excellent analysis. I largely agree.

    I wonder if at this point we are witnessing the death of the Labour Party. It could simplistically be argued that this is just the political pendulum swinging rightward, and they aren’t doing irreparably badly in terms of seats (I doubt they will do any worse than the Tories did in 1997, for example).

    But the core factors look very bad indeed for them. First, there is the electorate. The old Labour party was based mainly on the votes of the industrial working class. However, that group has been in long-term decline due to deindustrialisation and since the 80s is not big enough to win an election. Labour compensated by going after the expanding liberal middle class in a big way, which Blair pulled off very successfully.

    The issue is that the interests and desires of these groups diverge significantly. This didn’t matter so much in the early days of Blair when the working class voters still tribally supported Labour, but over the last few elections they have gradually started to revolt and break away as Labour, myopically focused on the middle class, collided with their interests. In Scotland they switched to the SNP en masse, while in England and Wales some went to UKIP and now (it seems) to the Tories, while others still vote Labour. At the same time, some of the middle-class liberals bled back to the Tories once they got their act together David Cameron gave them a friendlier face. The end result is that Labour are being squeezed from both sides. There is little prospect of them resurrecting the coalition that propelled Blair to power, and neither the old working class nor the metropolitan liberals are anywhere numerous enough to win an election alone.

    And it doesn’t seem that those vying for control of the Labour party have any viable solutions either. The right of the party want to go back to courting swing voters, the Corbynites want to reinvent Old Labour based on a socalist working class that no longer exists. Meanwhile, the core vote is draining away based on issues (nationalism, opposition to immigration, industrial decline) which Labour cannot confront head-on without alienating the liberals who now form an indispensable part of their support base. They have tried to do so in a token sort of way (e.g. Milibands’ “Controls on immigration” mug, SLab’s attempts to triangulate between nationalists and unionists) but this simply lacks credibility due to a) its ineffectual nature, b) the fact that most of these issues are blamed on a Labour government, and c) the inevitably furious reaction from their liberal supporters when they do this (if some of their MPs complain that even mentioning controls on immigration is some terribly racist dog whistle, then good luck convincing anyone that they seriously plan to do it in government).

    So I foresee lots more infighting and defeats for the opposition for quite some time, until the UK’s demographics have realigned sufficiently as to support a stable second party. Or maybe the Tories will more or less take over, then split in half.

  10. Imperium3 – “It’s not seen as necessary to update the operating system when this might break/require an update for the vital and expensive software they run.”

    Yes. Most legacy systems are kept because other stuff run on top of it only works with the old systems.

    American nuclear missles still run on old Compaq 386s, because they are completely bug-free and have been for a long time, and they just don’t want to take the risk of upgrading to something that has problems.

    BTW, it looks like this ransomware was dumped onto the world by a group called shadow brokers, who say they got it from hacking the NSA:


    You are too kind.

    Andy T

    Corbyn’s faults as leader are many but think what you would have done in his place. He was abandoned by half the party machine and many in the other half were demoralised, uncooperative or even actively working against him. Is it surprising he surrounded himself with his old comrades and that they didn’t trust the experienced people, many of whom were totally deserving of that lack of trust? That the left lacked experience can also be blamed on the Blairite domination having cut them out of the machinery for a generation but I think that is only part of the issue and they deserve some of the blame.

    As I have grown tired of telling my local CLP; only together can we hope to defeat the Tories. We can learn this quickly now or slowly over a generation of Tory rule. I prefer the former. That it is necessary to explain the value of unity to socialists nicely demonstrates the depth of the hole Labour is currently in.

  12. While it is far from a close contest Corbyn and his team must feel that they have done well to turn it into a two horse race in the polls, especially given the intensity of the establishment’s attacks on his policies and personality in the media and in his own plp.

  13. @Imperium3,
    What if, in 2022, Labour and the Lib Dems (and possibly even the SNP, Plaid, Green(s)) found a way of uniting behind a common programme and formed an electoral pact either in key marginals or across the board? Obviously this would not be a panacea – it would be very hard for them to unite behind a common programme in the first place (and if they had an electoral pact without a common programme, it would invite accusations that either chaos or grubby backroom deals would follow a victory) and the alliance would put off some supporters of each party. Nevertheless, if was judged by Labour and the Lib Dems that the benefits outweighed the risks of such a pact, perhaps this unified opposition would give the Tories a run for their money.

    It goes almost without saying that one of the items on the coalition’s agenda would be voting reform which would severely reduce the chances of a future Tory overall majority thereafter.

  14. Those ORB figures imply a swing from Lab to Con of 3.7% and would – if the swing is universal – result in 31 Tory gains from Labour. Labour would end up on 201 seats plus any that might be clawed back from the SNP.

  15. We can but vote, and then the votes get counted.

    Pity about the un-representative system, the biased media, the snarling us and them politics etc but in the end if everybody eligible votes, we see what we get.

  16. Alberto

    In his place I think I would have recognised the futility of leading the Labour Party. I would have tried harder to really support all wings of the party.

    I have never stood for election and have never been a socialist, but I recognise the value of a strong unified opposition( Tory or Labour).

    I think the writing has been on the wall for Corbyn ever since he lost the support of almost all of the PLP.

    A very heavy loss might just focus the Labour Party and allow it to redefine itself unifying around a stronger leader.

  17. RP – “What if, in 2022, Labour and the Lib Dems (and possibly even the SNP, Plaid, Green(s)) found a way of uniting behind a common programme and formed an electoral pact either in key marginals or across the board?”

    I point you to what happened on the right of British politics. Despite 13 years in opposition, the Conservatives didn’t entertain for a moment making a pact with UKIP. Instead they fought tooth and nail to kill em off – see the ferocious contests against Mark Reckless and Farage in the last election for example. And the way Douglas Carswell was not allowed back into the Tory party.

    There is going to have to be a ferocious fight for supremacy on the left. Lab is either going to have to kill off the others, or the others will have to kill off Lab.

  18. @BARDIN1

    I agree but…

    The Conservatives haven’t really got going yet I feel. They seem to be letting Labour make mistakes for themselves (Diane Abbot, the leaked manifesto and running over a cameraman spring to mind). The UK press are portraying Labour as a sort of joke ‘Carry on Corbyn’ film and that plays in to the Theresa May – ‘Strong & Stable’ narrative.

    Once the Conservatives get going and started using the ammunition they have on Corbyn, they will cement that mid 40s position going into polling day.

  19. I don’t think the NHS IT issues are about funding per se, but shows something common in larger organisations. That is senior management knows very little about the subject, and IT security just isn’t a priority. For me the NHS needs to have a someone on the board reporting these issues.

    At work we have various pieces of critical equipment (CMM machines for example) that are not networked deliberately. When the OS updates, it often caused big problems with the CMM software Therefore, the equipment isn’t networked and updates stopped.

    I imagine the robots at Nissan are treated in a similar way. The bigger problem is probably the general computers, used for records etc. These will be highly vulnerable due probably having hundreds of thousands of users, all able to email, open attachments, use USB drives etc – all the high risk behaviours.

    The episode does confirm to me that when it comes to cyber-security firewalls, protection systems and encryption need to increased. The Government wishes to create back-doors into various systems, when it is clear to me it will leave us all vulnerable to more criminals.


    Have a look at Edward Snowden tweets. He has been tweeting about this cyber attack.

  21. Regardless of who did what in the NHS I think we should prepare ourselves because this is a sign of things to come.

    Most organisations are now to a significant degree computerised and computer dependant and the trend is increasing.

    Most use some variation on Windows or a mass system. Smaller companies that use or write their own control software might be less vulnerable but the number of options available to large organisations are few as are the number of companies who can handle it.

    It’s a bit like the old houses at the poor end of town having rusty padlocks while all the big expensive ones have digital locks.

    Really secure till someone gets the master code to the digital locks!

    Just over a year ago the German Government advised all citizens to stock two weeks essentials in their home in case of a large scale cyber attack.

    Just after Christmas I went into Tesco, got a scanner gun and and bought a really big strong eatable plastic storage box which I put in my trolley.

    I then went round the store and filled it with dried food, canned food, bottled water, toiletries and pretty much everything I’d need to support me and the family for a week or two.


  22. CatManJeff – “The Government wishes to create back-doors into various systems, when it is clear to me it will leave us all vulnerable to more criminals”

    Agree with this.

    See the wired article posted above – it looks like this ransomware was created by the NSA as part of their cyber attack tools, it got stolen, and then deployed on an unsuspecting world.

    I also think we need to look at decentralising systems. The thing was spreading from hospital to hospital because they were all networked. But do hospitals in the south-west need to be linked to hospitals in the north-east? What is the purpose of that? It might be safer if all the trusts had stand-alone systems, so that if there is an infection it is confined to that one trust only.

  23. PC

    Forgive me but what is an eatable plastic storage box?

    I know we miss out on most things in deepest Norfolk, but this!

  24. Not many people buying the party line about how it is all down to NHS managers and not funding related at all.

    The whole XP thing was entirely finding related. Austerity has been the driver for the Government since 2010.

    It’s been waiting to happen.

  25. @Candy

    I can see the need for a centralised medical records system, but nothing else really.

    Surely these records could be hived off to one organisation, one that is creates a single secure interface to access the data. The way that credit card companies keep their data would be a good model.

    All the other bit that each trust has can be localised.

  26. Problem is more likely fragmentation rather than centralisation.

  27. Judging from Rudd’s answer, Labour has managed to miss the opportunity arising from an open goal.

    As to security, in the last Industry 4.0 conference at Bosch they spent a lot of time on this as a major constraint on moving forward.

  28. I shall leave commenting on NHS cyber security to the experts which does not include me. I also suspect it does not include many on this site. For example just been listening to head of IT security in one NHS trust. He has responsibility for 15000 desk tops and I think he said 500 servers. Of those desk tops about 5 still run XP and they have to to remain compatible with the clinical hardware to which they are connected. However despite only having 5 out of 15000 machines running XP, in answer to the straight question “Does your trust run XP” his answer is yes. So just because Trusts say they use XP does not mean the whole system is XP driven.

    On to the raisin d’etre of UKPR. I think with 25 days to go, and all of their powder dry Mr Crosby must be quite pleased of where latest poll and trend in polls places the TM Party. Labour have in all but name launched their manifesto. The expenses issue has come and gone. The TM party has yet to show its hand and yet to go on the offensive and yet they still have commanding lead. Lynton Crosby has yet to unleash the dogs or war. I am struggling I am afraid to see the polls doing anything really from heron other than divide. I think with hindsight this weekend will be the narrowest TM party lead is in the whole campaign. I cannot see what else the Labour Party has to play with. I still don’t think Labour 25% and. Tories 50% is fanciful – albeit on a very poor turnout.

  29. I agree with Candy that under FPTP Labour needs to kill off the opposition on the left. The Tories are ironically better at unity than the left. It’s always been one of their main strengths. Under PR this would be less necessary.

  30. I have worked in IT for 17 years. If those few PCs running XP are networked then my worry would be that the system is probably only as secure as its weakest link. Of course there are mitigations, if security is properly configured and there are firewalls and antivirus software. But personally I do not believe any machine in the NHS should be running XP unless they have a contract with Microsoft to provide security updates. Even then there should be a plan to migrate systems away from it. It is after all 15 years old and rightly or wrongly wasn’t really designed to last.

  31. The ransomeware I’ve investigated, and this NHS one looks no different come down to people. First line and last line of defence.

    So for example, there is a vulnerability in XP, someone discovers it etc etc. The code needs to gain entry and then deploy its payload from there it needs some form of identity emulation to spreads. So somewhere someone will of decided that they couldn’t be bothered to wait 2 minutes to log off a system then login with a different user ID or all the systems were configured so that a standard user has file admin etc.

    The networking etc, cost etc is not an issue. It’s all in the design.

    So if you want to take simple solutions you do the following

    1. Malware and AV controls. Updated constantly and no user able to stop them.
    2. Patch all software. Let no one switch off a patch. They will, I bet we all delay them at home
    3. No one, without any exception at all, shall have internet access and local or network admin acess at the same time. People hate this, IT staff and developers always claim this will stop them working but that’s rubbish

    If you just do those 3 simple things then you stop a lot of basic attacks and have spent virtually no money.

    Next but we start to incur some cost…

    4. Lock down systems so only a white list of applications run
    5. Create recovery stytems and test regularly
    6. Access to information is controlled through ACLs on a need to know basis
    7. Firewalls should be layered and programmed to only allow certain protocols through

    You will now have stopped around 80% of attacks and you get get a cyber essentials certificate.

  32. The ongoing discussion about labour’s future on this thread in my mind only cements the conviction that there will be an inevitable split , to put it in crude terms the corbynistas left seem to view there role as to be the diametric opposite of the conservatives a mirror image if you like , whilst the moderate centralist seem more inclined to fight the tories on there own turf as a ‘pardon the pun’ a moderating force. I can not see how this fundamental difference in emphasis can be reconciled.

  33. I agree with Candy that under FPTP Labour needs to kill off the opposition on the left. The Tories are ironically better at unity than the left. It’s always been one of their main strengths. Under PR this would be less necessary.

    Who is on the left that Labour could kill off?

    I think some Greens went to Corbyn’s Labour, but those Greens remaining Green are very unlikely to shift, due to fundamental policy issues. Even if they did go to Labour, that’s only a few percent.

    The Lib Dems? Many Lib Dems are not traditionally left wing, and I don’t Labour could peel off much more than a few percent at best.

    I think it’s like the end of the dinosaurs. There are two big beasts, and the Labour beast is looking decidedly off-colour. The smaller parties are not willing to prolong the life of the dying animal, but are probably happy to wait and play the long game. Once the big beast has died, there will be remains to feed off.

    Labour could switch from trying to play the Tory vs Labour FPTP game (the one with only two players allowed), and offer a guarantee on policy that would persuade left and centre left voters to lend their votes tactically to overcome the FPTP barriers that Labour faces. That is a commitment to introduce PR. Greens, Lib Dems, even UKIP and perhaps SNP could back them in enough numbers to win a FPTP election.

    I suspect this won’t happen, so we are left with watching the beast die away.

  34. Aberdeen A

    It is difficult to see what Labour have left to throw at the Tories. If the polls are correct with Tories at 46 – 48% where do Labour go to close the gap.

    The weekend polls will be very revealing as Labour must be hoping for evidence that they can narrow the gap of circa 15% and then try to convince everyone that they are building momentum ( no pun intended).

    I think that we will see the Tories really let rip next week, and then 50% might be realistic ( allied to a further drift downwards from UKIP

  35. Peter Cairns

    “big strong eatable plastic storage box which I put in my trolley”

    Was it a strong and stable box, and what did it taste like?

  36. @ Andy T

    Agreed, the Tory vote share really has not moved even though they have done very little so far.

  37. Andy T,

    “Forgive me but what is an eatable plastic storage box?”

    The curse of Autocorrect! It started as Sealable!!!


  38. Andy T

    It is also the case I beieve that whilst Labour have in all but name launched their manifesto, the bit left to launch is the not so nice but – how to pay for it all. At the moment a lot of floating voters may be feeling quite enamoured by the Labour manifesto – who doesn’t want free university more cash for NHS more cash for Schools more houses higher minimum wage etc. But presumably this week Labour will show what the end of month crredit card bill would look like. So any pick up this weekend in Labour VI based on the nice part of the manifesto would I expect ease of this coming week when the debit side side of the balance sheet is revealed

  39. @Catmanjeff,
    You could be right. Otoh, I remember when books were being written with titles like The Strange Death of Tory England and people doubted they would see that party in power again. And look at Canada 1993, when the then governing Tory Party lost all but two of its seats. Eventually (after an alliance and merger with a rival party) it got back into government.

    And it could be argued that Labour remains better placed than many of its continental analogues. The Socialist candidate in the French presidential election got 6%, and that was with Green support. But even if you add on the Mélenchon vote you only reach a total of 25% or so.

  40. Peter Cairns

    Has auto correct inadvertently sparked off the next product to be featured on Dragons Den?

  41. Anyone know if there’s relevance in this line of Corbyn’s about a one year software protection in 2014 that wasn’t renewed aftwrwards? Or is it a red herring?


    Thanks for info on new poll. using Election Calculus it still gives a Tory lead of 100 but with Labour nearing 200 seats. Appears to indicate as have a number of other polls a slight tightening but nothing to worry the Tories.


    My current forecast is for a Tory margin of 110 seats. I will review it in the last week.


    Thanks for that insight into the Nissan situation. If your right then that is a surprise.

  44. I think Labour could hit over 200 seats, The polls maybe over stating the Tory lead, The nhs hack could do some damage and I know this is said every time but I think the youth turn out might be a little better this time helping labour, The youth turn out was up in the EU’s. I think social media might play a big part this time with the huge pro corbyn and anti tory whirlwind on there even if its what causes the youth turn out to be higher

  45. Also expecting ComRes and YouGov polls tonight, Maybe also ICM

  46. @Edge of Reason,
    It seems potentially relevant. Until today Microsoft were only giving out the XP security fix to those who had paid for support contracts. (And there is no guarantee that any future security fixes will be given to nonpayers either.)

    “The NHS is thought to have been particularly hard hit because of the antiquated nature of its IT infrastructure. A large part of the organization’s systems are still using Windows XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft, and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt cancelled a pricey support package in 2015 as a cost-saving measure.”

  47. @RP

    Leaving aside my opinion that such an electoral pact will not happen (those parties are separate parties for a reason – there are disagreements between them too deep to be papered over by being “anti-Tory”), such a grouping simply doesn’t have enough votes between them to beat the Tories.

    An analysis in the Guardian a few weeks ago ( showed that even in the impossible scenario of perfectly coordinated tactical voting between Lib/Lab/Green voters, the Tories would likely still win a majority in this election. There just aren’t that many Tory/Lab or Tory/Lib marginals where one of the other parties gets enough votes to matter. Contrast with UKIP, who came a strong third/second in a lot of Tory/Lab seats in 2015, and those votes switching to the Tories will make a big difference to the result.

    Such an electoral pact could certainly narrow the Tory majority, but it could only gain power by winning a significant number of voters away from the Tories. Involvement of the Greens would be actively counterproductive – they would probably drive away more support than they would gain because their policies are far too extreme for the swing voters the pact would need to target. And the SNP is a sticky question. Unless the pact scores a thumping victory it will need their fifty-odd MPs to govern, but it will struggle to secure a victory of any kind while allied to the SNP because government by the SNP is absolute anathema to many voters in England.

    In short, I think the best-case scenario for such an electoral pact, taking into account likely Tory weakening by the next election, is a narrow “win” in that the Tories lose their majority but retain 300+ seats, and continue to govern as a minority.


    Your comment re 25 days to go. Agree with you, Cons playing it very cool, no major mistakes, and as you say the expences issue has come and gone (as I expected). Labour manifesto full of popular goodies but looks unaffordable and unless they break through in the polls this weekend I can only see the Labour polling going backwards.

  49. @Porrohman and others.

    While it is true that Microsoft has ended individual consumer support for XP, they continue to support it for large organisations, for a fee. In 2015, the government made an active decision to stop paying for this support.

    Microsoft is still providing XP support to those who pay. For instance, the US Navy had options in its contract with MS to maintain support at least until June 2017. One assumes that the UK government could have done the same.

    The £5.5M/year the government saved is not looking like a good decision right now.

  50. On the progressive alliance, left-right, etc, today’s FT magazine had a good article.

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