I want to write something more lengthy about Ed Miliband’s polling, but I though this worth a short post in its own right. In the last few months there has been various rumbling on blogs and the media about Miliband’s leadership, and polling figures have naturally come into that.

The Labour party have tended to point to Ed Miliband’s approval ratings with MORI, which are negative but not toweringly so. In MORI’s last poll in December 34% of people were satisfied with the way Miliband is doing his job, 50% are dissatisfied. Labour’s case is that this is not out of line with past leaders of the opposition.

Meanwhile anyone looking to criticise Miliband would want to point to his approval ratings with YouGov which are dire – in today’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll only 20% thought he was doing a good job, while 66% thought he was doing badly. YouGov doesn’t have as much past trend data as MORI, but compared to what they do have these are very bad.

What’s the reason for the big difference though? Well, some of it is probably methodological (MORI don’t use political weighting, which means their samples sometimes have more Labour voters than other companies), but I think most of it is down to the question asked. While we tend to dump them all in together as job approval, MORI and YouGov are actually asking very different questions – MORI ask if people are satisfied or unsatisfied with how Miliband is doing his job, YouGov ask if people think he is doing well or badly.

If you break people’s answers down by party support (and here I’m using YouGov figures from December, so we are comparing apples with apples)

Miliband approval ratings in December MORI poll:
MORI Con supporters – 25% satisfied, 61% dissatisfied
MORI Lab supporters – 54% satisfied, 37% dissatisfied
MORI LD supporters – 33% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied

Miliband approval ratings in December YouGov poll:
YG Con supporters – 8% well, 87% badly
YG Lab supporters – 59% well, 31% badly
YG LD supporters – 24% well, 63% badly

You can see where most of the difference lies – amongst Labour voters the answers are not that different, Miliband’s approval rating is in the 50s, his disapproval in the 30s. The big difference is how the supporters of opposing parties answer the question. Basically, if Conservative supporters are asked if Miliband is doing well or badly, they overwhelmingly think he is doing badly. Asked if they are satisfied or disatisfed with his leadership, a significant minority of Tory supporters say they are satisfied – presumably because they are perfectly satisfied with Labour having a leader who they think is doing badly.

219 Responses to “On Ed Miliband’s approval ratings”

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  1. Roger Mexico

    “rUK” isn’t actually my term (unlovely or not).

    It has been standard usage for many years in Scottish official publications. It just means “rest of the UK”, since there are so many aspects in which Scottish statistics are calculated, and tabulated either in comparison to UK (including Scotland) or rUK (excluding Scotland) data.

    It would be a little tiresome to have to type “the rest of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” all the time. :-)

  2. Sarkozy and Merkel have announced intent to move on quickly with a Fiscal Transaction Tax within the EU. Cameron’s “Veto” seems to have back-fired by compelling them to move to get this passed through the EU Parliament under QMV while the UK is still isolated.

  3. oldnat @ Amber

    “But then I wouldn’t really expect you to think that was honesty from Labour – they are dishonest on so many things.”

    No, there is a simpler explanation.

    It’s a different generation before NewLabour.

    A generation when most of the Labour party were still Socialists and unilateralists;

    when principled people like Donald Dewar, John Smith and Robin Cook had the respect of many in other parties and in none;

    when male politicians didn’t wear make-up and they let their hair go grey;

    when Rupert Murdoch was an Australian;

    when there were fewer peers and ex-MP’s
    in jail;

    when the SNP were where the Greens are today;

    when I voted Labour.

    Before I was old.

  4. OldNat

    Well it may be small but “rUK” isn’t that perfectly formed. Maybe you could call it “the outwith” :)

  5. richard in norway & John b

    ” That’s because you are right, and anybody who is not ignorant, stupid or an authoritarian follower can see it.”

    “Careful now, you are starting to sound like an authoritarian leader!! ”

    The reason I have never joined any political party is that fo some odd reason none of them have invited me to be leader. Like everyone here I think I could do better.



  7. I’ll re-iterate my opinion that overall net approval ratings for the leaders are pretty much pointless. What matters (unfortunately for democracy, pace the discussions earlier) is what the swing voters think.

    Given that THE defining aspect of this Parliament so far has been the collapse of the LD vote, it is likely that where these people place their X in 15 will go a long way to determining the outcome of that election, So it’s instructive, once again, to look at what the lost LD voters think of the different leaders.

    My usual, simplistic methodology applied to the latest YG data :

    1)find the number of LD voters from 2010 in the survey who rate each leader in each category
    2) Subtract from this, the number of current LD supporters who rank each leader in each category.
    3) Assume the resulting figure is the number of lost LD voters in each category.
    4) Find the number of lost LDs by subtracting the weighted 2011 LD total support from the weighted 2010 LD total support.
    5) Divide 3) by 4) to get percentages of the lost LD support.

    Imperfect I’ll grant you, but the best you can do with the data to hand.

    And the results:

    VW 2
    W 26
    B 38
    VB 30
    DK 5

    VW 3
    W 19
    B 46
    VB 23
    DK 13

    VW -1 (I said it was imperfect methodology…)
    W 11
    B 41
    VB 44
    DK 5

    So, the key swing voters are utterly unimpressed with the lot of em! Which suggests to me that policies, rather than personalities will decide where their votes go in 15.

  8. You are mainly considering the LD-Lab swing voters so its bound to have a labour bias relative to con.

    Furthermore the fact that (mostly lefty) voters who have left the LDs marginally prefer DC to EM is not insignificant, on the contary given that this group of voters would logically prefer Lab it says something serious about EM’s leadership

  9. Joe.

    With respect, I’m not sure that your comments make a difference. What I said was that (in my judgment), the collapse of the LD vote is THE key first order issue that is likely to affect voting patterns in 2015. Those who voted Con in 10 are still, overwhelmingly supporting the Cons. Those who voted Labour likewise. Barring some unforeseen game changer, I don’t see large numbers of either of these groups suddenly flipping to the other side.

    So it is of more than passing interest to extract the opinions of the voters who ARE moving in large numbers.

    The only conclusion that I draw from the data as presented is that these voters think Cameron and Miliband are equally repulsive, and Clegg still more so. So I assume that they will make their decisions on the basis of policies rather than personalities.

    I draw no more of a conclusion than that.

  10. @Joe

    People don’t vote for party leaders, they vote for parties. DC may well present a nice face to the public than EM has… But the rest of the Conservative Party have more sway in the Voter Intent than DC alone has.

    What people often forget here, is that EM’s job is *not* to make himself appear to be the best leader for the party. His job is to get Labour into government in the next elections. On that measure, he’s doing really well.

    In the same way that you wouldn’t judge a CEO’s success on how popular he is, but on the progress of his company, EM should be jugged by Voter Intent, not ‘Personal Popularity’ polling.

  11. NB: I should have said “equally repulsive within MoE”

  12. FAO BillyBob.

    You were asking t’other day if anyone had extracted the data from AW’s Lost LD survey, for where voters position themselves on the left-right spectrum, presented by party of VI, and as a proportion of the entire sample.

    I had already posted such a graph, but had screwed up the figures for the lost LD voters. Here it is again, corrected.


  13. @Roger Mexico – “… the YouGov ‘well/badly’ is seen as being more about general public perception…. [which] will prompt some people to say they are doing well/badly when personally they think differently.

    I have often thought about this, but haven’t seen anyone identify it as a type of response which could apply especially to some of the non-VI questions.

    Perhaps even VI can be seen in that light – some people are not that opinionated … so where do their opinions come from? Perhaps they remain in the don’t know/haven’t thought about it category until immediately prior to casting a ballot, at which time they then make a snap judment about the consensus.

  14. chouenlai

    “Who the hell was that ridiculous Scottish woman on the news this AM”

    She was the Deputy FM and possibly more popular than AS. You would think she had read Roger’s post yesterday.


    I hope she never becomes party leader in my lifetime.

    In the last year I have had 22 GP Surgery contactsand 7 hospital contacts including a MRI scan and an Angiogram and am booked for a triple heart bypass. I want her to remains Health Secretary as long as I need the NHS.

    Labour had two very good Health Secretaries too, but unlike them we now have someone as commited to the principles of the NHS as any in either system including Barbara Castle, and who has the full support of her party.

  15. @ Scotswaehae

    ” I wonder if it would end up similar to the Republic of Ireland, where they still get to vote in elections? I hope not, I think it´s unfair.”

    Thanks for the reply.

    Your comment about being similar to the Republic of Ireland brings to mind another unanswered question from the SNP and its Independence proposals.

    When Ireland voted on the issue of its Independence, some counties voted against, some were evenly divided. The result was the joint formation both of the Republic of Ireland and of Northern Ireland. The latter still remains as part of the UK. Will Scotland go the same way especially if some areas/islands vote to leave and some areas/islands vote to stay?

    Would for instance the Orkneys and the Shetlands prefer to be ruled from Holyrood or Westminster or even maintain a special status within the UK. Westminster could have a complete department going spare and even a spare Secretary of State to ensure representation at Cabinet level of any element voting ‘Non’ to Independence. Also then the SNP will have to drastically revise its financial viability plans as most of the ‘Scottish’ element of North Sea Oil seems to be within the territorial waters of these two islands, rather than those of the Scottish Mainland. Indeed an independent ‘O and S Islands’ entity or even a ‘Highlands and Islands’ entity would be very oil rich and could easily maintain a separate status within the UK along at least the same lines as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, if not a jolly sight more advantageous.

    But will the SNP allow any of the composite Scottish regions the same regional choice on independence or will it impose a decision dominated by the votes of its Lowlands urban centres, so far removed from its rural oil rich islands.

  16. @leftylampton

    Even better, thank you so much.

    Food for thought there, especially on what is happening to the fabled centre ground.

    Labour overhauling the LD May 2010 centre profile. And Tories… is the centre-right positioning just for elections?

  17. leftylampton @ FAO BillyBob.

    It looks to me as if there should be five or six parties apart from Greens or Nationalists

  18. BillyBob

    You’re welcome.

    As for centre-ground positioning, well you can position where you want in opposition but being in office tends to make you decide, as the song goes, which side you are on. The big question of course is whether the centrist voters are now firming up on which side they are on, or whether they are still soft.

  19. Seems Spartacus Report on disability Benefits shows the government has been less than frank to Parliament…

    This is one area where the government is vulnerable and cavalier…and if it gets traction this will damage them.

  20. @leftylampton

    That visulisation certainly suggests that the Conservatives are losing the centre ground, and that primarly on the back of LibDem defections Labour have built up a ‘Camel Hump’ of strong support in their core and the centre ground. And that can win elections. Of course, this is from a single survey… And taking a measure of things not easy to test for reliability.

    However, I do wonder if we’ll start to see Cameron caught in having to swing back and forth between placating the Right of his party with more ‘Veto’ like red meat, and having to come up with Feel Good centrist policies. Could slowly generate a very messy public impression of him…

  21. Frank G

    The SNP strength is not in the central but in the Highlands,

    O&S might not vote for independence but they will go with the rest. This is just one of a shoal of unionist red herrings. If they don’t want the parliament in Edinburgh, they would consider the nearest capital city a preferable choice to London.

    Try and calculate the cost of a Shetland family visiting London to go to the Olympics. It probably costs more and is quicker for a London family to go to any place where the olympics have ever been held.

  22. Frank

    Interesting that you want to keep the highlands and islands within the UK but don’t care if the rest has independence! Looking at the electoral map it looks more likely that the highlands and islands will be part of an independent Scotland but we might end up with the poorer parts of Glasgow. I think that would be wonderful, yet another province with sectarian problems!!!

  23. John

    I see you already made my point, but in a more polite manner

  24. Frank G

    To begin to understand the Shetland perspective, log into Google Earth, centre on Lerwick and then put North at the bottom of the screen and South at the top.

    Then consider how many faith schools, academies, free schools, independent schools are needed, and what is the school with the smallest number of pupils.

  25. FrankG: Not at all, you raise some very interesting points!

    Personally, I think Scotland will vote as one, for or against independence, the SNP want an independent Scotland, not Scottish states. I think they´d rather throw the referendum and preserve Scotland than grant independence to select areas.

    As you say though, there is a stronger pro-independence movement in the Highlands and Islands as opposed to the Lowlands of Scotland. Between Glasgow and Edinburgh (including the greater areas I presume), they have more than half the Scottish population, so that´s where the main fight will be held.

    John B Dick; on NS, totally agree she makes a fantastic Health secretary, I want her to stay put. I don´t think she´s more popular than AS though, but she´s certainly being groomed for leader. I think nomatter who replaces AS, the SNP are going to suffer, as for a long time SNP ran solely on AS´s own steam. He´s such a huge part of the party I think without him they might lose momentum.

  26. Interestingly, Nicola Sturgeon has been sent out to decline the Coalitions offer. Nicola has also categorically stated that the SNP preference is for one question which, presumably, is for indepedence.

    So there you have it, the SNP prefers a single question ‘attitude survey’ to an actual referendum. And, unless the single question isn’t for independence, it sounds like the SNP are also going to ‘deny’ voters their preferred option of fiscal autonomy.

    That achieves one of the Coalition’s aims, i.e. to get a bit more clarity regarding what the SNP’s intentions are.

    BTW: Where in the world is Alex?

  27. scotswaehae @ John B Dick

    “On NS, totally agree she makes a fantastic Health secretary, I want her to stay put. I don´t think she´s more popular than AS though, but she´s certainly being groomed for leader. I think nomatter who replaces AS, the SNP are going to suffer, …”I think without him they might lose momentum”

    They did before under John Swinney who might do better now, and AS is a great asset of course, but I think that since the 2007 election ministers have got better known and they might not lose as much momentum as previously.

    There is certainly no faction in the party which wants to move him right now, that’s for sure.

  28. Something which might come up in the news soon is the Italian banking sector, last week Unicredit suffered falls of 16% and 14% in its share price on two consecutive days, today the share price crashed 45%. As I keep saying its not govt debt that is the problem it the need to bail out the banking sector. I will watch with interest how this develops

  29. John B Dick;

    I think that AS is an astute politician, more so than any other we have in the UK at the moment. He´s always two steps ahead. I think other ministers are better known now, but I think the boots are going to be too big to fill…

    One policy I´ve heard about which has caused me concern is the regional education one… where your college or University is decided by whichever one is closest to your home. I can understand with colleges, as with the exception of some non-University education establishments, it doesn´t matter internationally where you get your qualifications from, but for Universities it´s an essential part of your education. Could you imagine going for an interview with a degree (for example) in English Literature from Glasgow Caledonian, or the University of the West of Scotland, and are against applicants from Glasgow or Edinburgh Universities? The Universities are different, the courses are different, and the fact is some are harder, and therefore better regarded by other institutions and companies…

  30. @ RiN

    Maybe Unicredit has higher than average exposure to Greek debt. Angela Merkel reiterated today that there will be haircuts. That might explain the 45% drop today.

  31. Amber

    Might be, but I’m sure I have mentioned before that Unicredit is badly exposed to eastern Europe and Hungery in particular

  32. Just Unicredit in trouble today, Barclays has taken a 4% hit but that’s not in the same league

  33. @ Scotswhahae

    One policy I´ve heard about which has caused me concern is the regional education one…
    This sounds similar to the instate/ Out of state system from the US. Instate is much cheaper – i.e. the fees are much lower, if you attend the college (aka University) in the state where you are resident than in another state.

    I am only going by what I’ve read on UKPR but it sounds to me like an attempt to avoid giving EU &/or UK students a fee free education in Scotland by imposing conditions which they cannot meet without taking up residency in Scotland for, I’d guess, 3 to 5 years prior to attending college or university in Scotland.

  34. On Hungary;

    Is anyone else concerned about the steps taken by their newly elected Prime Minister?

    Effectively outlawing the opposition, placing prohibitory fines for free press, and replacing an independant judiciary system with one which rewards judges and political allies who follow the party line. They´ve also introduced a law that to change these things, you have to have more than 2/3rds of the Government.

    This on top of disturbingly racist, anti-semitic and homophobic statements, and references to taking in nearby countries with ex-Hungarian populations, whether they want it or not…

  35. @ RiN

    Hungary’s president (or front-runner candidate) is talking tough about not bailing out banks etc. so that could do it.

  36. Amberstar:

    I think it´s a good idea to avoid giving everyone freebies (I think that HE fees in the EU should be decided by what countries would charge your nationals to attend, but that´s another matter…), but the American system, whilst flawed, it´s at least big enough for most states to offer at least one well-regarded college. Scotland isn´t big enough to box students in that much, students should have the choice between all Universities, particularly when there is such a divide in their reputations.

  37. Scotswaehae/Amber

    I think what you are referring to are the proposals for a regional planning approach to FE colleges. That is out for consultation at the moment and the document is here.


    It does not apply to Universities, although some higher education is delivered in FE colleges.

  38. @JayBlanc and LeftyLampton,

    I’m not sure that the Tories are (necessarily) losing the centre ground to be honest. Polls in the past year have demonstrated that quick, significant changes in the polling numbers are more than possible, even after seemingly minor/relatively insignificant political events. I think this indicates that any underlying conclusions we draw based on current polling is likely to be flawed and/or change come a GE in 2015. In the very least, there is certainly very strong evidence that both the Conservative and Labour vote is very soft at the moment, and is therefore liable to change in the coming days/months/years.

    To be honest, given the current political and economic situation I think DC and the Tories will be absolutely delighted with their polling numbers (as many commentators on the BBC, ITV and YouGov to name a few, have also said). It doesn’t mean that they will necessarily win in 2015, but I think most people (myself included) would have expected them to be deeply unpopular by now. They aren’t – which for me anyway, is a miracle in itself!

  39. There’s an interesting article by Peter Kellner of YouGov on Ed Miliband:-

    “It has frequently been said, not least by me, that while the Conservatives frequently depose their leaders, Labour never does. In fact, the people’s party did just that on one occasion, albeit many years ago. Later in this blog I shall return to the fate of John Robert Clynes – what do you mean, you have never heard of him? – but first, the figures that help to explain why sections of the media are speculating about Ed Miliband’s future.

    YouGov’s latest survey for the Sunday Times reports Ed Miliband’s worst ratings yet. Just 20% think he is doing well as Labour’s leader, while 66% say he is doing badly. This net score of minus 46 compares with minus 31 in mid-December, and his previous worst, minus 35 in late November. For the first time, albeit by the narrowest margin, fewer people think he is doing well than Nick Clegg (21%).

    Now, these figures reflect the impact of some pretty bad media headlines. I would be surprised if Miliband’s figures don’t recover over the next few weeks. But suppose his true underlying rating is, say, minus 30, how much comfort can he take from that?

    His allies defend his poll numbers with the following argument: Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron were also unpopular at the same stage in their leaderships, yet the following general elections propelled them to Downing Street; suggestions that he is Labour’s William Hague or Iain Duncan Smith, and destined for failure, are, they say, ridiculous.

    Let’s check the numbers. Here are the net ratings of these leaders when they, like Miliband today, had been opposition leader for 15-16 months. (The figures for Thatcher and Hague are from Gallup, which asked a slightly different question, but this wording difference is unlikely to make a massive difference to the net scores.)

    Thatcher, May 1976: minus 10

    Hague, September 1998: minus 31

    Duncan Smith, January 2003: minus 56

    Cameron, March 2007: plus 13

    Now, poll numbers can fluctuate. So, to provide a fuller context, here are the averages for the leaders in their second year at the helm:

    Thatcher: minus 10

    Hague: minus 26

    Duncan Smith: minus 39

    Cameron: plus 1

    Miliband (so far): minus 32

    It’s clear from those figures that Miliband’s figures are far worse than those of Thatcher or Cameron at the same stage in their careers. He hovers roughly half way between Hague and Duncan Smith – not happy precedents.

    Or, if one wants to delve into the record of past Labour opposition leaders, here are their second-year averages, according to Gallup:

    Michael Foot: minus 54

    Neil Kinnock: minus 13

    John Smith (who died just before completing his second year as leader): plus 18

    Tony Blair: plus 39

    Those figures speak for themselves, and Miliband won’t like what they say. He can’t be happy that he is less well regarded than Kinnock was, or that, of all the opposition leaders in recent British history, only Foot and Duncan Smith had worse ratings.

    Of course, things can change. On the day before his second anniversary as Labour leader, Kinnock delivered his celebrated assault on Labour’s Militant Tendency (‘…the grotesque spectacle of a Labour council – a LABOUR council – hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers…’). It transformed his ratings. In one month he climbed from minus 23 to plus 15. So courage can make a difference.

    On the other hand, Kinnock never led Labour to victory; so although Miliband could usefully learn from Labour’s slow journey back to electability in the Thatcher/Major years, he (and his party) probably have higher aspirations than to match Kinnock’s record.

    This brings us back to media speculation about Miliband’s future, and the cautionary tale of the one successful attempt to unseat a sitting party leader.

    JR Clynes, a trade unionist from Oldham, had been elected party leader (technically in those days, Chairman of the party’s MPs) in February 1921. Although one of the party’s least known leaders he was arguably one of its most successful. In the 1922 election Labour more than doubled its number of MPs, winning 142 seats. However, in two ways that proved to be Clynes’ undoing.

    First, one of Labour’s ‘new’ MPs was Ramsay MacDonald. He had been an MP before – from 1906 to 1918 – and had, indeed, led the party from 1911 until 1914, when he resigned because he opposed the party’s support for Britain’s involvement in the First World War. Back in Parliament in November 1922, he was ambitious to resume the post he had surrendered eight years earlier.

    Secondly, Labour was now, unquestionably, Britain’s main opposition party. But the Speaker did not want the party to acquire the full rights of His Majesty’s Opposition, and some Labour MPs criticised Clynes for not standing up to the Speaker.

    The showdown took place on November 22, eight days after the election. More than 20 MPs were absent – mainly Clynes supporters, new to Parliament, who were trade union officials and who had yet to disentangle themselves from their union commitments. Clynes assumed he would be re-elected unopposed, and let them stay away. Macdonald, however, had quietly but effectively organised his support. He challenged Clynes and won by 61 votes to 56. Fourteen months later MacDonald was Prime Minister. (Fourteen years later, MacDonald was out of power, out of Parliament and largely discredited; but that’s another story.)

    Lessons for today? First, even Labour Party leaders are not completely safe. Second, behind-the-scenes organisation can be decisive. Third, as has been said before in other contexts, history is written by those who turn up. Fourth a narrow victory in questionable circumstances need not ruin a party’s electoral prospects.

    That last point, of course, helps Miliband: the fact that he defeated his brother narrowly thanks to his friends in the trade unions, might bother his opponents inside the party but matters little with the wider public.

    So, what should Labour MPs do now? Their wisest course is to reject the notion that Miliband is the sole source of their problems – or, in contrast, that he is their sole means of salvation. It’s a judgement call whether any other leader over the past 15 months would have navigated Labour to a larger lead over the Tories. In my view, Miliband is unpopular largely because Labour remains unpopular. Deciding either to keep or change leader is the easy bit: the real challenge is to change the party.

    Labour MPs could do worse than recall Cassius’s words in Julius Caesar: ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves’.”

  40. Yes there is talk of a new banking crisis to hit some of the banks on EU mainland within months. I can see a few needing to be bailed out and nationalised, I am sure that I heard that the French government were told that some of their banks should be nationalised, as they were in danger.

    At some point the G20 nations, plus IMF and other relevant people are going to have to get together to discuss the rescheduling of current debts over a longer period. The austerity needed in some countries won’t fix the problem. There is just too much debt in the system and if austerity causes a longer recession/depression, then they will be cancelling debt, not rescheduling. It is surely in the interest of most countries and investors for them to agree to reschedule debts, so they get paid over a much longer period, rather than the alternative. They should deal with the situation as if there had just been world war 3, with many countries and their people in a complete mess. This is the reality of the situation. Governments and people holding too much debt/limited spending power, so the economies could be on the brink of partial or total collapse.

  41. The article (Peter is a Labourite BTW) makes for very interesting reading IMO. It also dispels the Labour myth that David Cameron and Maggie did as badly as opposition leaders as Ed. However, I also happen to (partly) agree with his opinion that people’s negative perception of Ed is mainly down to how badly they see currently perceive the Labour Party. Made for interesting reading anyways.

  42. Alan Johnson has picked up on the fact that there`s a problem in Milliband`s communication strategy…Tomorrow is supposedly Ed`s relaunch day with a big economic speech…Guess what`s happening:The HS2 decision is going to be declared tomorrow…Who is going to get the coverage?.His last big speech was overshadowed by the Northern Rock sale…I am not clear whether his team are being naive or the government is deliberately rescheduling events to overshadow him…Can anyone elucidate?

  43. JOHN B Dick.
    Good Afternoon.
    You refer to a time when men were socialists and unilateralists.
    However, Attlee, Bevin, Bevan, Wilson, early Benn, Crosland, Jenkins, Dewar were not unilateralists, though ‘NYE’ flirted with this idea 1950-1957 circa.

    As to ‘socialists’ the former deputy leader, Roy Hattersley, preferred social democrat, to distinguish himself and where he wanted the party to be from the unacceptable left who had infilitrated the party since Wilson had abolished the Proscribed List of groupings who were de facto friends of the ‘CP,’ and more left wing groups than that stalinist organisation.
    His book ‘WHO GOES HOME’ is very good on that. ‘No enemies to the Left’ was a damaging slogan in the days of Old Labour.
    At least it damaged Labour as Labour used to lose several elections in a row from 1951, 55 and 59-and 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992. The 1970 defeat was not a surprise to Heath, Jenkins or Healey- according to their memoirs
    Like you, I am old, or I feel old today. I was 10 in 1966, and 41 in 1997. In thirty years time I will have been 86.

    So that explains why I have an irritating attachment to Tony, who was undermined more by the two EDs- working for GB- than he was by DC.

  44. Tony was a major asset to the Labour Party. The sooner Labourites realise and appreciate this the better.

  45. @ Smukesh

    Alan Johnson has picked up on the fact that there`s a problem in Milliband`s communication strategy…
    After 13 years in power, an awful lot of Labour MPs have forgotten (or never known) what it is like to be in opposition. Labour used to deliberately & consistently crowd out the Tories from the ‘news cycle’. Alistair Campbell was brilliant at reheating some old policy & [re]launching it as a new & controversial/ exciting policy whenever the Tories were trying to get attention. They are now doing the same to us.

    That’s how it goes, I’m afraid.

  46. @Ambiv…

    “It also dispels the Labour myth that David Cameron and Maggie did as badly as opposition leaders as Ed.”

    What the article doesn’t cover is whether we’re comparing the same questions. Were the previous polls asking about “satisfaction” or “performance”? As we’ve seen, that makes quite a difference.

  47. @Hannah,

    I wasn’t aware of that bizarre proposal. It’s not really my line of work, but I had absolutely no idea that anyone in the city considered foreign students to be anything but a boon. I have fairly regular contact with the registrar professionally and it’s never come up.

    It does seem an outlandishly racist suggestion. It would certainly have been laughed at in my old stomping ground in the Met.

  48. @ Neil A

    We can’t have all those foreign students spying on Trident, if it ends up in your neck of the woods. ;-)

  49. AMBER
    I would expect people paid a lot of money for their communications expertise be aware of government plans and reschedule important speeches if necessary…If tomorrow`s speech becomes a damp squib in terms of coverage,then he may need another relaunch…His leadership will never really get off the ground…Unlike the conservatives in 1997,2001 and 2005 the public (atleast some of them) are ready to give Labour a hearing as evidenced by the poll ratings…It would be a shame if this is wasted by the incompetence of Ed`s team

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