Monday, January 5, 2015

Social Media Sentiment is Mythical – Just Ask Alex Salmond

Labour are playing the best of a bad hand by bleating on about being outspent by the Tories, but they should be careful to avoid choking on their own Kool Aid. Pretending that Twitter can level the playing field did not work in 2010…

Guido has warned before, and will say it again; Twitter is just an echo chamber, not a voter battleground. Anyone following politics closely on there has already pretty much made up their mind how they are going to vote. Whilst it might be good for Labour morale, it’s not going to help them in the long run. 

There are 45.5 million voters in the UK, yet only 15 million people on Twitter. Only a fraction of those active users actually follow politics, so to pin your hopes on swinging an election by targeting this already partisan demographic is at best naive…

And it goes badly wrong. Alex Salmond was drafting his victory speech at 10 p.m. on Referendum Day because he was relying on social media sentiment analysis over reality based numbers. Euan McColm reports in the Scotsman:

“But, still, Salmond believed he had won. This was because of his secret Canadians. At huge expense, and amid considerable secrecy, the former SNP leader had brought in polling experts from across the Atlantic. With their new methodology, they’d be able to give him the most detailed predictions yet seen in political analysis. Or something like that.

The reason I mention these secret Canadians, apart from the fact that their existence remains a fascinating, if little known, aspect of the referendum campaign, is that unlike most traditional operators in their field, they placed great store on the use of social media among voters. By monitoring interactions on Face­book and Twitter, a fuller picture would be painted.

In the end, the fuller picture turned out to be a fake, but the fact that Salmond was willing to invest so heavily in his secret Canadians shows us how seriously the SNP – and, naturally, all other political parties – take social media as a campaigning tool.”

Has Douglas Alexander hired the same Canadian voodoo pollsters? 

Smoke and Mirrors on Tory ‘Treasury’ Doc Cover

It looks like a Treasury document, it’s laid out like a Treasury document and it reads like a Treasury document. That doesn’t make it a Treasury document…

Ironically, Osborne won’t actually let Labour’s figures be analysed officially (by the OBR), stalling until the next parliament citing a lack of resources.

From the red cover, to the green and black text inside the Tories really, really want you to think this is an official document. Still brave of Labour to use the expression “dodgy dossier”…

UPDATE:

Another happy reader…

Amateur Hour: New Scot Dep Leader Blows Labour Negotiation

Labour’s newbie Deputy Leader in Scotland is clearly not a poker player. “I have no qualms whatsoever about working with the SNP,” says Kezia Dugdale. What a great bargaining position she is building for her party’s real leadership there.

Such a blunder should come as no surprise. After staying at university to work for her student union, Dugdale progressed to the dizzy heights of the NUS before becoming office manager to piss artiste peer and MSP Lord Foulkes. She replaced him in the Scottish Parliament in 2011. What was it about her CV that qualified her for this sensitive job?

Joined Up Campaigning From Labour

“A choice of hope with us or falsehood with Conservatives” says Ed Miliband this morning. Labour are briefing their key election principles will be to fight for victory on streets and doorsteps – not speaking over heads with posters – and secondly offering people hope, not falsehood.

This weekend they launched their campaign with a poster with a proven falsehood on it.

Makes you wonder about the rest of Ed’s ‘cast-iron commitments’…

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Labour’s Shadow Rail Minister Privatises Christmas

Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher seems to be the last person left in Westminster, press releasing this morning about Tory transport hypocrisy: “Yet again, this Tory-led government has been shown to be all talk and no action.” When it comes to hypocrisy he might want to have a word with his own team though…

Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood has spent the year banging on about privatisation and slagging off the private rail operators, telling the Commons she wants to renationalise:

“I would accept that we were perhaps too accepting of the overall franchising model…With all the inter-city franchises expiring in the next Parliament, we are right to look again at the best way to structure the railways to deliver real value for passengers and taxpayers. My message to the Government is clear: “Call off the privatisation, get the Department in order, and make sure that essential investments in our inter-city lines are kept on track.”

That didn’t stop Comrade Lilian accepting a nice healthy bung from privatised rail this festive season though. She’s got East Midland Trains to sponsor her Christmas cards:

“All talk and no action…”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Citizens Advice Bureau Tries to Keep “Perception of Neutrality”

How do left-wing charities stuffed full of Labour apparatchiks try to mask their political allegiances? Leaked emails from the Citizens Advice Bureau reveal former Miliband aide and Labour candidate Polly ‘parachute’ Billington has been moved from the front line so “she can focus on her personal political activities“, and so that the “perception of our political neutrality” is “maintained”.

Meanwhile, the charity has just hired the Resolution Foundation’s James Plunkett as its new head of campaigns. That would be the same James Plunkett who used to work for Gordon Brown and who has written a string of articles for the Guardian laying into the Tories and “the cuts”. Wonder how they will maintain his “perception of political neutrality”…

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lucy Lips Sink Ships

Ed’s understatement that there were bits of the leaked Labour immigration document that “obviously weren’t well-drafted” is nowt compared to the kicking the toxic memo gets in this morning’s papers. “Disastrous”, “cack-handed” and “bollocks” are some of the milder sentiments from Labour figures. Election strategist Lucy Powell will be trying to “move the conversation on” from just what she thought she was doing by telling MPs to stop talking about immigration. Ed’s pet is under fire, with her incompetence becoming a really salient issue on the PLP doorstep this morning. A Labour spokesman quips: “Everyone is in total agreement that we should be — and are — campaigning on immigration.” Seriously though, everyone seems to be in total agreement that Powell is a walking disaster. Guido hates to say he told you so…


Seen Elsewhere

Users of Gay Hook-Up App Grindr Infected | TechnoGuido
ISIS Raising Funds Online Using Bitcoin | TechnoGuido
UKIP’s Youth Challenge | BBC
ISIS Operative: This Is How We Send Jihadis To Europe | BuzzFeed
Shapps Defends Bashir Defection | Seb Payne
Tory Leadership Contenders Jostle Over Europe | Alex Wickham
Cutting Taxes is Good For You | Art Laffer
Suspects Will Now Have to Prove Innocence | Laura Perrins
Labour Cllr: Cops Shouldn’t Stop Petrol Thieves | HandF Forum
Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath


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Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:

“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”


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