The government have, needless to say, not had a particularly good few weeks. They have lost two cabinet minsters and have several more under clouds who the media have portrayed the Prime Minister as too weak to sack. You’d probably expect the government to be tanking in the opinion polls.

Yet YouGov’s latest poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 40%(nc), LAB 43%(+1), LDEM 6%(-2). Fieldwork was on Tuesday and Wednesday, so right in the middle of the Priti Patel row but before her resignation, and changes are from mid-October. Labour are ahead, but it’s the same sort of narrow lead that they’ve held since just after the election. As in other recent polls, Conservative support appears to be holding steady at around 40%.

It is a similar case with Theresa May’s own ratings. Her approval ratings are negative, but show no sign of collapse: 31% think she is doing well (unchanged from last month), 55% think she is doing badly (four points down from last month). 29% of people think she is a strong leader (up one point), 49% think she is weak (down three). 42% think she is competent (no change), 38% think she is incompetent (down three).

This raises the question of why support for the government and Theresa May is holding up when, on the face of it, they seem to be in such a mess. One eternal reason is that most people pay far less attention to political news than anyone reading this blog does. Cabinet rows and government weakness will make no difference to the voting intention of people who are wholly unaware of them. As an illustration, the poll also asked people if they thought Theresa May should get rid of Priti Patel (at a time, remember, when the story was all over the news and had been for four days). 17% said she should stay, 30% that she should go, 53% gave a “don’t know”. Government incompetence won’t hurt Tory support among people who are unaware of it.

An alternative possibility is that Tory voters are sticking with the Conservatives, however poor they are, because the alternative is Jeremy Corbyn. To test this YouGov asked people who said they’d vote Tory tomorrow why they were supporting them. Only 7% of Tory voters said it was because they both agreed with the government’s aims and thought they were delivering them, 48% said they agreed with the government’s aims even if they were struggling to deliver them, 22% said they thought the government were competent, even if they didn’t agree with all their aims. 19% of Tory voters, however, said they didn’t think the government were governing well and didn’t agree with their aims… but they still preferred them to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Why is the government’s support holding up? As ever, there is never a single simple reason, but part of it is that most people don’t pay much attention to the day-to-day soap opera of politics, so individual scandals will not necessarily make a huge difference. Secondly, while even most Tory voters think the government are struggling to deliver their aims, they do mostly agree with what they are trying to do. Thirdly, there are a significant chunk of Tory voters who don’t think they are governing well and don’t agree with what they are doing… but would still vote for them because they aren’t Labour.

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1,214 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 40, LAB 43, LDEM 6”

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  1. @CBX

    “What I think is missed, and I will admit to being a Tory, is that the Conservatives are analysing what went ‘wrong’ in not winning a majority”

    I live somewhere where a lot of people switched directly from Tory to Labour and it cost the Tories one seat they thought reasonably safe, and halved another previously safe majority (Macclesfield/High Peak). As a consequence I know a lot of those switchers. The conclusions the Tories have come up with do not match any of the reasons (Brexit being one) I know people were especially energised about changing that vote, and the party can’t admit that Brexit is an issue anyway.

    They seem to have settled on the narrative that universities are brainwashing young people, which is a downright idiotic – and dangerous – idea.

    Meanwhile Tory Leavers still don’t actually understand why non-Tories actually voted Leave and so are dead set on policies that will make them angry.

  2. @Rachel

    Sorry to here about your problems re claiming benefits. I wonder what happened to the Tory mantra that it must always pay to be in work.

    And thank you for providing a glimpse into people’s trials and tribulations in the real world. Makes a refreshing change from the arid self serving pontificating we have have to endure these days on UKPR.

  3. Tory Polling

    The more you concentrate on politics the less able you are to see the bigger picture.Examples:

    1, The biggest threat to the tories is the tory parliamentary party. Out in the country there are 40% willing the government to stay in power and complete the Brexit;
    2. TM is undergoing a re-assessment in the country and there is some rebalancing going on.She will never scale the heights of the pre-election bubble but there is a reasonable prospect of her achieving a 10 point lead over jezza in best prime minister.
    3. incidentally, i will be betting on labour not increasing its seat total at the next election. Peak Corbyn has been reached. Those that say that after brexit the working class vote will return to labour forget that the southern middle class vote may well return to tories when we have left and “cliff” Corbyn makes its bid for power.

  4. Another day another claim of peak Corbyn. Everyday since September 2015, got to be right one day

  5. NORBOLD
    ” I think by now everyone is clear what Labour’s policies are under Corbyn and they are happy to go along with this because they feel these policies are right for the country.”

    If, as AW has suggested once or twice, what is occurring is “not a blip or a surge” but a trend, it might be right to regard the Lab VI as a trend which is – despite Anthony’s remarking that people don’t follow the news – driven by the effect of the Lab manaifesto – and before that explicit expectations of it – which are information driven.
    Taking YG polls alone, the trend is one which virtually uninterrupted has gone from 26 on 4/01/2017 to 43 on 9/10/2017. It may be continuing to be driven by information which people like about the Lab policy, but also by the continuing arrival or a cohort of voters for whom various aspects of the policy match their aspirations and needs.

  6. S Thomas

    Or the southern middle class will be feeling everything from incensed to lethargic and never return to the Tories again. I don’t think the chlorine washed chickens and general lowering of our food standards to satisfy a free trade agreement is going to fire up the pro EU liberals, nor is it going to please pro leave northerners.

  7. CROSSBAT11

    I hope your lurking there below, and may stir in your hammock at the sound of distant cannon and the crash of timbers.

  8. @ COLIN – i think you misunderstand me. The student situation IMHO is that we have too many young people taking degrees and/or too few jobs that genuinely need a graduate – the hike in tuition fees failed to reduce demand!

    I firmly believe undergraduates need to understand the “investment” they are making and decide if it is good investment.

    The interest component is different and why I think it could, spun well, make a difference.

    The IFS studies on SLC show that a move from RPI+3% to CPI would save a typical graduate 40k in interest. With the correct spin that is a very good headline. It also increases the chances the loan is repaid (hence with a RAB tweak it is zero cost). I do not want the debt written off. IMHO increasing the repayment threshold was a mistake – it increases the RAB and hence future risk of loan not being repaid.

    I agree Hammond has a very difficult task – do you see any major initiatives that might make a difference in VIs?

    I can see CON limping through Brexit but get very worried about Corbyn inheriting Leave free of ECJ oversight. The Bennite rationale for leaving EU is very, very different to the CON rationale. IMHO in a LAB-Leave all of the risks of Brexit would come true (Brexodus, recession, unemployment, currency crisis, inflation, etc) but none of the opportunities would be captured. Hence why I’d even go as far as to prefer a LAB-Remain situation and come back to leaving EU properly a little later. Remain = EEA+CU in this context.

    If it came down to it which would you prefer – LAB inheriting Brexit in 2020/22 or a temporary pause on balancing the budget in order to ensure CON have the highest chance possibly to stay in until 2022 and then win in 2022?

    Those that want a balanced budget will never vote Corbyn, although rude to take a section of voters for granted, it is the marginal voter that counts and CON need to recover 5%+ in VI at some point. IMHO they need to start turning the VI soon as the risk of a GE in 2018-20 is IMHO quite possible.

  9. Hmmm. Some bizarre posts on here today regarding Corbyn’s apparent lack of appeal.
    Lab are currently on 43% yet I hear folk say that he isn’t as appealing to some voters like Blair was. Yet at the peak of his powers and popularity what share of the national vote did Blair’s Labour win in 1997? Yep it was 43.2% and that was on the back of 18 years of Tory rule and a press that back then was relatively benign towards Blair.

    In 1997 the Lib Dem’s won just shy of 17% of the share of the vote. The Tories won 30%. So I would suggest the question that should be asked is why are the Lib Dem’s still poling so poorly and failing to win back Tory Remainers.

  10. Quite coincidentally, I’m currently putting together some data and blog post on where we are with May vs Corbyn in the context of history.

    1992-1997

    Between May and August of 1992, John Major’s Government had dropped from a net approval of about -12% to -35%. Following Black Wednesday it soon fell to -63%. This eventually climbed back to about -39% by March 1997.

    John Smith took a rapid lead over John Major of about 10% as best PM rating. Tony Blair increased this lead to about 20-25% and never looked back. John Major’s best PM rating fell to just over 20% and only managed to get that back to 30% close to the 1997 GE.

    The best party for the economy rating started in November 1992, and Labour led all the way to the GE.

    In summary, Labour’s landslide was based on a massively unpopular Government (net approval around -60%), and a strong Labour lead on best PM and best for economy ratings.

    1997 – 2001

    Labour’s net approval peaked at +60% early doors, and fell over the Parliament, end up at around +5% at the 2001 GE.

    Tony Blair’s best PM rating averaged 53% and never dipped below 40%, and William Hague’s never got above 25%.

    On best party for the economy, Labour had a 20% lead over the Conservatives most of the time, except a minor blip during the fuel strike.

    In summary, despite some slippage from very high approval rating, a strong lead in best PM and best for economy resulted in another landslide.

    2001-2005

    Labour’s approval rating declined, with a nadir of -40%, and at -24% before the 2005 GE.

    Tony Blair led as best PM, but his lead narrowed, ending with a lead of 37% vs 25% at the end of the term.

    Labour and the Conservatives spent much of period with a nip and tuck battle at around 30-35% for best for the economy. Labour’s rating fell below the Conservatives’ at times, but pulled away at the end to a 15% lead (45% vs 30%).

    Labour’s majority was reduced in 2005, but still perfectly workable.

    2005-2010

    Labour’s approval fell from a start of -20% to finish at -44%. They bottomed out at -57% on two occasions.

    Cameron was level as best PM by Dec 2005. After falling behind Gordon Brown during the financial crisis, He took a clear lead in early 2009, and never looked back.

    The Conservatives started 15% behind as best for the economy, but after the financial crisis took the lead, and Jan 2010 led by 34% vs 26%.

    So by the end of the term the Conservatives has the’Best PM’ and ‘Best for the economy’. As we know teh Conservatives beat Labour in 2010.

    2010 +

    …not done yet…

    ————————————–

    So where does that leave us now?

    On best PM, Theresa May leads 34 – 31 vs Corbyn on today’s poll. From the 1997 GE to 2010, the winning party had had the best PM rating.

    According to to Yougov’s trackers, The Conservatives have led Labour over the ‘best for the economy in general’ by atabout 10-15% since the EU Referendum.

    From 1997 – 2010 GE, the party which led on this measure won the election.

    The only conclusion I can come to based on evidence is that if Labour want to win the next GE, they need to massively improve how they are perceived on the economy in general, and Corbyn needs to create clear red water between himself and Theresa May on the Best PM question. It’s impossible, but tough I would suggest.

    The records hint that once a PM’s ‘best PM’ rating is slipping, it’s really hard to recover. However, TM’s rating haven’t fallen through the ‘terminal floor’ yet. If she does go after Brexit has happened, a popular Conservative leader could have a decent platform to win the next GE (IMHO of course).

    All in all, all things being equal, I’d be betting on another hung parliament from here.

  11. Correction

    Quite coincidentally, I’m currently putting together some data and blog post on where we are with May vs Corbyn in the context of history.

    1992-1997

    Between May and August of 1992, John Major’s Government had dropped from a net approval of about -12% to -35%. Following Black Wednesday it soon fell to -63%. This eventually climbed back to about -39% by March 1997.

    John Smith took a rapid lead over John Major of about 10% as best PM rating. Tony Blair increased this lead to about 20-25% and never looked back. John Major’s best PM rating fell to just over 20% and only managed to get that back to 30% close to the 1997 GE.

    The best party for the economy rating started in November 1992, and Labour led all the way to the GE.

    In summary, Labour’s landslide was based on a massively unpopular Government (net approval around -60%), and a strong Labour lead on best PM and best for economy ratings.

    1997 – 2001

    Labour’s net approval peaked at +60% early doors, and fell over the Parliament, end up at around +5% at the 2001 GE.

    Tony Blair’s best PM rating averaged 53% and never dipped below 40%, and William Hague’s never got above 25%.

    On best party for the economy, Labour had a 20% lead over the Conservatives most of the time, except a minor blip during the fuel strike.

    In summary, despite some slippage from very high approval rating, a strong lead in best PM and best for economy resulted in another landslide.

    2001-2005

    Labour’s approval rating declined, with a nadir of -40%, and at -24% before the 2005 GE.

    Tony Blair led as best PM, but his lead narrowed, ending with a lead of 37% vs 25% at the end of the term.

    Labour and the Conservatives spent much of period with a nip and tuck battle at around 30-35% for best for the economy. Labour’s rating fell below the Conservatives’ at times, but pulled away at the end to a 15% lead (45% vs 30%).

    Labour’s majority was reduced in 2005, but still perfectly workable.

    2005-2010

    Labour’s approval fell from a start of -20% to finish at -44%. They bottomed out at -57% on two occasions.

    Cameron was level as best PM by Dec 2005. After falling behind Gordon Brown during the financial crisis, He took a clear lead in early 2009, and never looked back.

    The Conservatives started 15% behind as best for the economy, but after the financial crisis took the lead, and Jan 2010 led by 34% vs 26%.

    So by the end of the term the Conservatives has the’Best PM’ and ‘Best for the economy’. As we know the Conservatives beat Labour in 2010.

    2010 +

    …not done yet…

    ————————————–

    So where does that leave us now?

    On best PM, Theresa May leads 34 – 31 vs Corbyn on today’s poll.

    From the 1997 GE to 2010, the winning party had had the best PM rating.

    According to to Yougov’s trackers, The Conservatives have led Labour over the ‘best for the economy in general’ by atabout 10-15% since the EU Referendum.

    From 1997 – 2010 GE, the party which led on this measure won the election.

    The only conclusion I can come to based on evidence is that if Labour want to win the next GE, they need to massively improve how they are perceived on the economy in general, and Corbyn needs to create clear red water between himself and Theresa May on the Best PM question. It’s not impossible, but tough I would suggest.

    The records hint that once a PM’s ‘best PM’ rating is slipping, it’s really hard to recover. However, TM’s rating haven’t fallen through the ‘terminal floor’ yet. If she does go after Brexit has happened, a popular Conservative leader could have a decent platform to win the next GE (IMHO of course).

    All in all, all things being equal, I’d be betting on another hung parliament from here.

  12. CATMANJEFF

    I would just add a retainer that Corbyn has recovered a huge amount of ground in the past six months having had to overcome an incredibly hostile press and hostility within his own party. I believe the pressures of Brexit will make life very difficult for May during 2018 and would expect Corbyn to take a comfortable lead in who would make the best PM during the course of next year.

  13. I think a lot is made about how hamstrung TM is, and I believe she is an a difficult position.

    However, JCs position – or room for for manoeuver -is equally restricted. Instinctively, I’m sure a lot of Labour MPs would instinctively love at least a soft Brexit or a re-referendum, but he knows that will sink him and his party.

  14. @Mike Pearce

    Corbyn did drive this ratings from appalling to average.

    Can he step up the 40%+? I don’t know.

    It doesn’t matter if Corbyn beats May on Leadership, she won’t be standing at the GE.

    If the Tories pick someone younger, without the baggage, Corbyn may look very old and tired next to them.

    He’s done well to get this far IMO, but it might a good time to hand the baton on himself.

  15. CATMANJEFF

    Indeed. He is 68 and I doubt will be ready to fight another GE campaign if it doesn’t take place until 2022. The new Tory leader might be a disaster of course. A Ruth Davidson would make Corbyn look somewhat old and tired. A Boris Johnson wouldn’t.

  16. @ Princess Rachel I was very sorry to hear of your work struggles. Sadly it was ever thus or at least has been so for some time,

    My wife used to take in homeless people back in the 90s and early noughties and the issue you describe now was major at that point. One dedicated worker in our house had to give up agency work as her wages fluctuated wildly and her finances were simply unsustainable. Employers in pubs and elsewhere wanted to see how well people could work before taking them on full-time and routinely offered cash to work without registering it thus making criminals out of those of our residents who hadn’t already had a brush with the law. More recently it seems to pay supermarkets and others to offer part-time rather than full-time work as a result of National Insurance contributions and of course there are zero hours contracts which are a formal continuation of the informal situation described above. All of this leads to the horrendously complicated lives you describe.

    At the time I thought that the problem was that the social security system was designed for a time when you had a job or you didn’t and not for a situation where people have to claw their way back into work. I believe that Universal Credit is supposed to sort a lot of this out but instead it has been gutted by Osborne and is making confusion worse confounded. But there must be good advice available on how to make of It whatever can be made.

    My only suggestion (for which you will probably have neither time nor inclination) is that you use your abundant intelligence and linguistic skill to bring these matters to the attention of those who should notice them – a kind of dispatches from the front line in the form of a blog or, ideally, column. That would be really good, but the difficulty is that those with the experience to write such things are too busy managing their horrendously complicated lives to do so.

  17. Paul
    If your knee is giving trouble, read the account of Vicky Barnes, British sprint cyclist’s crash and rehabilitation
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41940925

    and to get you off to sleep with your cup of cocoa and the girls around your ankles,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MJzGHz1R00
    – a video from the age of innocence and from my ongoing dialogue with @colin over happiness under totalitarian regimes.

  18. TREVOR WARNE

    Thanks.

    I agree that the Student loan interest policy needs revisiting.

    re @”do you see any major initiatives that might make a difference in VIs?”

    This is THE question !

    The trouble is they have wasted so much time & political capital since the JAMs speech-it will all begin to look reactive now in response to Corbyn’s criticisms.

    I can only say-as I have done for years-that unless & until Cons can convince the younger half of our population that they are really trying to be “fair” they will never be embraced at the ballot box.

    Anyway-in answer, I suppose the “retail” policy areas are clear enough:-

    Housing availability.
    UC-making it work smoothly & genuinely reward extra work.
    Public Sector pay.
    NHS funding.
    LA services.

    But I know you & I agree that their is a huge agenda outwith the domesti/family stuff-ie Industrial preparation for life post Brexit.:-

    ie:
    INfrastructure & R&D investment.
    City Region Hubs & devolved powers.
    Academic & non-academic education & skills.
    Food & Agri-Environment Policy.
    Immigration Policy.
    etc

    RE @”which would you prefer – LAB inheriting Brexit in 2020/22 or a temporary pause on balancing the budget in order to ensure CON have the highest chance possibly to stay in until 2022 and then win in 2022?”

    The implication of this question is that if PH “spends” enough that wins for Con & defeats Corbyn at the GE. I don’t think its that simple. ( I don’t yet fear a GE before 2022).
    Nevertheless he does have to spend-I’ve indicated the areas in question.
    I think he is perfectly open to stretching the timetable of Deficit Management-GO did it all the time. But PH faces something GO didn’t-the risk to funding Public Services from a rising interest rate applied to unprecedented levels of UK Debt just at a time of economic slowdown.

    As I say-I do not envy PH’s task one bit.

  19. CMJ

    Fascinating analysis-thanks.

  20. @Mike Pearce

    If the Conservatives can find someone like Ruth Davidson, they could appeal beyond current Conservative boundaries.

    Mind you, suggest that to them and they would pick Boris just to be bloddy-minded.

    ;-)

  21. Opponents of PR claim the virtue of FPTP is that it provides a strong and stable government with a clear mandate.

    How ironic that since 2005, no government has obtained a working majority. And given the polls, a hung parliament looks likely for the foreseeable future.

  22. Colin,
    “Their dislike for Tories goes much deeper”
    The tories have two problems reversing their policy of the last 10 years. The first is credibility, whether anyone thinks they really believe in it and wont back track (which frankly they have already been doing since May arrived, and even under cameron). The other is that reversing policy now is an admission they got it wrong for ten years and all that pain was pointless.

    Again, its much easier to be formally defeated and then change policy in opposition.

    WB,
    “The Brexit specific clause announced today of leaving at 11pm on 29 March 2019, should not prove problematic”

    On the contrary, it ought to prove very problematic. Getting it changed now in the context of passing the entire bill may be much easier than mustering a majority for a one line bill to change it when it transpires the government and parliament disagree whether this is the right moment. To allow it to remain weakens parliaments control significantly.

    Analyst,
    “Looking at VI, there’s the real possibility that Corbyn is blocking a lot of potential Tory-voting swing voters”

    But he has already brought into the labour camp many more. This is revisionist thinking for anyone to argue he is a net disadvantage to the party. Without him there would have been a healthy conservative majority.

    Trevor Warne,
    ” if he strikes before 29Mar19 he has to commit to a stronger Brexit view”

    I don’t agree. I think a commitment to reman would see labour doing as well in a new election as in the last one, and I would see their position improving week by week. The risk for the tories Is the group of leave voters who expect ‘have cake and eat it’, and what happens when they find this is impossible. We might be approaching that now, and I think the government will welcome such a showdown, is working to create it.

  23. @Colin.

    Thank you

  24. DANNY

    I agree with you……………except for :-

    @”Again, its much easier to be formally defeated and then change policy in opposition.”

    No party wants to lose. Being in power is what they exist for.

    And frankly the MPs NOT wanting to lose to JC is the ONLY reason TM has her feet under the Downing Street table.

    No-they will soldier on-they have no choice.

  25. DANNY

    In agreeing with you I should have said that it isn’t a matter of “reversing” 10 years policy. Cons should never ever apologise for pursuing Sound Money policies & Fiscal Responsibility.

    What needs changing is recognition of & policies for addressing , the perceived “unfair” effects of an extended period of Deficit Management.

  26. @Mike Pearce

    “Hmmm. Some bizarre posts on here today regarding Corbyn’s apparent lack of appeal.
    Lab are currently on 43% yet I hear folk say that he isn’t as appealing to some voters like Blair was… ”

    Yes, it is somewhat bizarre, I agree, especially when you consider where both he and Labour were about 160 days ago. I suppose it all depends on what timeframe you care to use. If you want to go from polling day to here, then the Tories have sort of held their own, albeit slipping a little from election day. A 2% lead is now a 2-3% deficit in the polls. No plummeting, I agree, but why anybody thought that would be the case, I’m not quite sure.

    But, if you want to roll the clock back a mere further 30 days, then the game has changed utterly in term of Labour’s position vis-a-vis the Tories. 20% deficits are now 2-3% leads. Has there been a more dramatic turnaround in British politics in such a short space of time in terms of the relative positions of the two main parties? And those weren’t odd, snapshot polls taken at specific times, Corbyn and Labour had been 15-20% adrift for 12 months or more.

    If you want to know what’s really spooking the Tories, it’s that dramatic shift towards what they thought was a terminally doomed Labour Party. That’s the key to their paranoia and self-doubt. It’s changed the game utterly, despite the faux succour being sought in relatively small leads for Labour now. May was shafted in June not by a flight from the Tories, but by a Labour surge. A totally unforeseen one too.

    It wasn’t meant to be like this. It really wasn’t and consolation in finding the hole not quite as deep as it could be reminds me a little of someone whistling, rather forlornly, the tune to “Look on the Bright side of Life.”

    Talking of that, what have the Tories ever done for us?

    :-)

  27. DANNY

    Revisionist thinking indeed. As I alluded to earlier Corbyn’s Labour are polling at the same sort of share of the vote as Blair’s Labour in 1997. The difference being Blair was given an easy ride by the press and his own party. Corbyn not so.
    I expect Labour to increase their opinion poll lead over the Tories in coming months but not greatly so. A lead of something like 7 or 8% is realistic if the Tories Brexit woes continue. That might sneak Lab a small overall maj in a GE.

  28. Colin,
    “No party wants to lose. Being in power is what they exist for.”

    More of a strategic withdrawal. I have posted already, it is just possible a very bad Brexit could see the tory party replaced by the libs as the dominant party of the right.

    “And frankly the MPs NOT wanting to lose to JC is the ONLY reason TM has her feet under the Downing Street table”

    eeeh. No. The tories dont care about Corbyn. They bask in the adoration of voters scared by him. A big recruting point for them is whipping up fear of Corbyn. They need Corbyn. Which is not to say he doesnt help labour even more, because the two parties appeal to different groups. Its about persuading people to the two opposed ideologies, and the starker the contrast, the better.

    “No-they will soldier on-they have no choice.”

    They cannot be seen to give in, because that would be seen as a betrayal by their voters. But they do have a choice to engineer a defeat, and they are.

    TM is PM because of Brexit. Nothing to do with Corbyn at all. Its all about Brexit.

    “What needs changing is recognition of & policies for addressing , the perceived “unfair” effects of an extended period of Deficit Management.”
    but those unfair effects are mainly charcterised by austerity, meaning benefit cuts and service cuts (which affect those most needing services). The policy to address this is to reverse it.

  29. Mrs May’s statement that “she will not tolerate” attempts to reverse the movement towardsan agrrement with the EU on Brexit (if that’s what she said today – reported on BBC News but not on he website) is unconstitutional. She may say that to members of her own party in Parliament within the constraints of the whip, but she cannot say it either to members of other parties or to the public or to any institution.
    As Lord Kerr has said today there is nothing in Article 50 or in any aspect of our treaty or constitutional association with the EU that prevents us revoking the letter or withdrawal submitted by the Prime Minister, and it can be done at the stroke of a pen.

  30. DANNY
    A big recruting point for them is whipping up fear of Corbyn. They need Corbyn. Which is not to say he doesnt help labour even more, because the two parties appeal to different groups. Its about persuading people to the two opposed ideologies, and the starker the contrast, the better.”

    As the rational man that you are, consider that this may be wrong – that it might have been right a year ago, but that it is no longer so. Corbyn’s appeal has, rather, been subsumed into the attraction of Labour policy and the latter has increasingly been seen not depend or even stem from Corbyn, but from ministers looking increasingly like a government.
    In respect of Corby the bogeyman, as with other uses of this tactic, this has, with attitudes to respective manifestos and public performance, faded to becoming more a statement of the out-of-date nature of the Tory party as a campaigning organ.

  31. @Crossbat

    Fully agree with your post. The transformation in Labour’s fortunes, since 30 days before the GE, is a wonder to behold and has brought joy to this household.

    @Mark Pearce
    My comments above do not imply that Corbyn will ever have the same appeal to RoC voters as Blair did.

    Colin, of this parish, voted Blair in 1997. Is he likely to ever vote for JC??

  32. Danny

    @”The tories dont care about Corbyn.”

    They do now-after the GE-oh yes!

    @”A big recruting point for them is whipping up fear of Corbyn”

    They know now that it just had no traction at the GE.

    @”TM is PM because of Brexit. Nothing to do with Corbyn at all. Its all about Brexit.”

    I disagree-she is PARTY LEADER because Con MPs know that a challenge would result in a bloodbath inside the party, and calls from Lab for a GE which would be very hard to resist. So -she is still PM because of Corbyn.

    @”but those unfair effects are mainly charcterised by austerity, meaning benefit cuts and service cuts (which affect those most needing services). The policy to address this is to reverse it.”

    We just have a different political view on this.

    imo Public Spending had to be curbed & the Deficit reduced. Just saying all of that has to be “reversed” is to avoid explaining how an increasing Deficit & Debt can be just allowed to ocurr .

    As I said it is a question of degree. GO compensated for deficit reduction target undershoots by stretching the timescale-not by increasing the fiscal tightening.

    The Welfare bill was out of control & riddled with disincentives to work..

    What has been missing latterly is a more refined & nuanced approach-looking for & eliminating overtly unfair outcomes for the very vulnerable.

  33. @Colin

    What needs changing is recognition of & policies for addressing , the perceived “unfair” effects of an extended period of Deficit Management.

    This in conjunction with your earlier email seems to me excellently put. (Well to be honest I would like the inverted commas to go but why quibble?)

    To cavil, though, I am not convinced that deficit management in this form was a good idea, I don’t see the Tories adopting your agenda, and I am not sure they would convince the voters if they did.

    I suspect there was a time when the country could have got behind a ‘we are all in this together agenda’. Osborne blew that with his omnishambles budget and then the apparent failure of his deficit reduction strategy. Apres lui le deluge.

  34. Re: Corbyn v Blair, Blair did get 43% in the 1997 election but he was polling a lot better than this in the weeks beforehand (>50%). In the last few days he seemed to lose vote share to the lib dems, maybe due to tactical voting? Also, I think that Corbyn and co might be one of the things which is stopping people drifting off from the tories to the lib dems as they don’t want to split the non-labour vote and let him in.

    At the end of the day i think its quite difficult to get much more than 43% of the population voting for you as there will always be tribal voters of other parties or people who stand to gain from other parties policies.

    In some ways i think the polls at the moment may not be as relevant as some people think as to what happens at the next election. If there were to be an election in the short term, ie in the spring, then it would likely be because the conservative party had imploded over europe – quite what would emerge from that i don’t know. They really don’t want to implode but i wonder what would happen to the brexiteers if we do end up paying 60 billion and have a transition period etc? Part of me thinks this is a very low probability chance but i am not sure. In the longer term, ie 1-2 years time then surely what happens with brexit will be a decisive factor. Longer term still, ie 2021-2022 and we could have different leaders of CON, LAB and LIBD.

  35. CHARLES

    @” I am not sure they would convince the voters if they did.”

    It would take time -clearly.

    Policies need time to demonstrate outcomes.

    So it would be during the 2022/2027 term they could get stuck into it.

    The problem is-how to get there?

    ( I’d rather you didn’t use the word “cavill”-it has ………..certain significance …………for Paul Croft & I. and gives rise to lengthy discussion)

  36. @COLIN
    My point is not that fewer votes = greater mandate, obviously. I can see that the naive view would be that appealing to a wider audience increases your mandate. But I disagree.

    My point is that you don’t earn a mandate by triangulating and fishing your views, especially when you then do the opposite. There ARE hard choices to me made, and it’s only by presenting actual positions to the electorate that you earn a mandate.

    It’s why many people who have a sophisticated view of democracy suggest that there is no mandate for Brexit, because there’s no majority for a coherent form of Brexit. You don’t get a mandate by promising to have your cake and eat it if, in the end, all you can deliver is either cake or eating.

  37. @Smileyben

    Arw you really saying that?

    I prefer a simple view of democracy where one person = 1 vote.

  38. @Neilj
    ‘I think it unlikely (but not impossible) Labour will poll much above mid forties, but I also think that is true for the conservatives.
    The question is which of the two parties current supporters will switch to don’t know or a third party.’

    I very much agree with that. A poll rating of 43% is actually pretty good and in the last 50 years Labour has only once polled in excess of this level – ie 1997. Back in the 1950s & 1960s both main parties did poll higher vote shares, but that was at a time when hundreds of constiuencies were contested by just two candidates – with even the Liberals only fighting half the seats.
    A 3% Labour lead represents a swing of 2.7% in its favour since last June and would imply 35 gains from the Tories. In addition , Labour is well placed to pick up circa 20 seats from the SNP and probably Arfon from Plaid. Overall that would leave Labour just short of 320 seats.

  39. Labour’s vote share in 1997 on a GB basis was actually just under 45%.

  40. GRAHAM

    Not according to the BBC stats

  41. Mike Pearce
    If you are referring to the 1997 election Labour’s UK figure was circa 43%. The pollsters, however, do not generally include Northern Ireland in their findings.

  42. @JONESINBANGOR

    I agree that one person one vote is a foundation of democracy. It’s why we need a proportional system, and why FPTP is an abomination.

    I wasn’t talking about the electoral system though, but about mandates. All governments claim one, but I think it takes more than a victory. Namely, it needs you to have been clear about what you were going to do, and then doing that.

    I’m not suggesting that things can’t happen without a mandate, but I do think it’s interesting to think about whether a politician or party can honestly claim one.

  43. @FROSTY
    Re: Blair 1997: I’m pretty sure Corbyn would prefer to be polling 43% now and get 50% in the next election, rather than the other way round…

    ;-)

  44. VALERIE

    I wasn’t referring to your comments when I posted.
    I prefer Mike btw

  45. Rachel

    Like Valerie and Charles I am very sympathetic to the problems you are facing – and very angry that this seems to be seen as somehow okay by the people supposedly looking out for for us.

    CMJ

    I was pleased to see that your analytical look at projecting possible future outcomes based on past polls, plus actual election results, fitted in very well with my, much lazier and more “intuitive” ** one.

    I’d add that comparing Labour’s current OP of 43% with Blair’s 1997 GE figures that were almost the same [as Mike did] is to disregard two other factors:

    1/ The Tories were certain to lose and this gave voters the freedom to vote LD in the knowledge that Labour were home and dry.

    and

    2/ It was an actual General Election !

    And I would suggest to those who are 100% committed to Corbyn and say that they would not vote for a [to coin a popular phrase] New Labour version again that the opposite is precisely what voters such as Valerie and myself WILL be doing.

    The idea that, because elements of NL were not sufficiently radical they were therefore identical to Tory policies, is, frankly, very silly; and the evidence is everywhere to be seen – very often at first hand by posters in this very boutique.

    John P.

    Thanks for those links and I shall have a browse in a bit.

    ** i.e. I guessed.

  46. Corbyn and labour

    I do not find it odd that people should have doubts about jezza despite the labour position in the polls.
    the fundamental point is that after 7 years of austerity he led the labour party to yet another defeat.
    to those who say that he improved the position of labour from being 20% behind in the polls to being 2% behind have to ask themselves why they were 20% behind in the first place.jezza had driven a lot of labour voters to DK’s in the first place. His election message was thus that he was not as bad as you thought he was. A better labour leader would not have been 20% behind in the first place and could probably have beaten May.It might well be argued therefore that the reason for the Labour defeat was the distance it had to travel which was a consequence of jezza himself.
    He is good campaigner but is he more than that?Since the election he has been quiet and now we see TM becoming batttle hardened and moving up in the polls again.With an election in 2022 he might face a new tory leader, or the same one determined not to make the same mistakes and one who the nation knows. If labour are ahead in the polls all the old political worries about labour will resurface. Never mind 21 days to save the NHS it will be 21 days to save your mortgage and home.
    Labour led by one of the disregarded might win but i think the odds of Jezza ever walking into No 10 are diminishing day by day. He said it would be all over by christmas. It may be but then perhaps not as he envisaged.

  47. I’d be quite interested in positive v negative rationale OPs re the reasons for particular party support.

    My “intuition” [see previous post for explanation of this dazzling skill I have] makes me think that enthusiasm for Party A is considerable less than the antipathy/intense dislike and mistrust for Party B, and vice versa.

    If I am right, then that would explain the appalling LD figures [besides the obvious other reason] inasmuch as neither party A or B haters feel they can risk a vote for party c.

    Is this a possible subject for polling Anthony?

  48. I must say that the one bitten/twice shy saying must surely hold true for the next GE – even if it is fought between two different party leaders.

    The Labour Party can’t come up with the:

    “Ooo… we didn’t realise they were going to have a serious go at it.”

    shock, that seemed to take the Tories so much by surprise this year, next time around.

    That doesn’t mean Labour can’t or won’t win. But it will be a very, very different campaign they will be facing, and they will need to be [and, I imagine almost certainly will be] prepared for that.

  49. @S Thomas
    ‘the fundamental point is that after 7 years of austerity he led the labour party to yet another defeat.’

    But he also led Labour to its highest vote share since 2001 – higher too than achieved by Wilson, Callaghan and Kinnock in the 1970s, 1980s & early 1990s!

  50. @Rachel
    Sympathy for your situation, which I’m sure is widespread. Quite apart from the daft rules, the system is beset with cockups as well. One local (who is in no position to work) has had her housing benefit stopped 22 times, in many cases because someone in the DWP recorded her address as Rd rather than Road causing the system to spit out a change of circumstance and automatic suspension of benefit.
    Another case I’ve just become aware of is an attempt to recover a housing benefit overpayment for the period 1999 to date (I kid you not), due to a change of address. This was delivered to the same address where the subjects have lived for about 30 years and upon which they have been awarded HB throughout.
    Aside from the scandal of phone charges (the concession on which, contrary to the impression given by the govt, will only apply to DWP so if tax credits are involved the 55p per minute rolls on) the documentation they send out is incomprehensible even to me (a qualified accountant) and frequently to the benefits clerks themselves so what hope an anxious, elderly, perhaps low intelligence claimant has of understanding them is beyond me.

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