Thursday, March 27, 2014

LibDem Poll Spin: Clegg Actually Lost 65%-28%

LibDem press office is trying to spin its way out of last night’s 22 point thumping, selectively quoting three lines of YouGov pollster Peter Kellner’s methodology to suggest the results were unfair on Clegg:

Yet if you look at Kellner’s reasoning in full rather than the heavily edited LibDem version, if YouGov had done what the LibDems wanted and not “skewed” the poll Farage would have actually beaten Clegg 65% to 28%:

“An alternative approach would have been NOT to have corrected the political skew among our original 3,000 sample. The argument for doing this is that any assessment of audience reaction should take the audience as it is – in this case, accepting that UKIP supporters were much more likely to watch or listen to the debate than supporters of other parties. Had we done this, I estimate that the verdict of the audience would have been Farage 65%, Clegg 28%. Those who prefer to cite this figure, rather than to adjust for the UKIP-rich nature of the audience, are of course free to do so.”

A spectacular trajectory of toys from pram.

How Farage Won Last Night’s Debate

The YouGov/Sun poll speaks for itself: Farage had a 12 point boost in his personal approval rating after last night, narrowly winning the debate on jobs and leaving the EU. Worth noting Clegg also saw a 4 point rise in the “positive impression” category. The LibDems are in full damage limitation mode this morning, claiming “the real winners are the voters” and “it’s a marathon not a sprint”. We’re getting closer to the finish line…

UPDATE: Blurt’s Twitter worm analysis confirms a narrow win for Farage:

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

That UKIP Expectation Management Strategy in Full

Godfrey Bloom is on as message as ever:

“Well Nigel Farage has to win. He can’t draw. A draw is not enough. It’s Nigel’s subject, it’s Nigel’s baby. It’s UKIP’s thing, so consequently he can’t come away having just drawn the game… He has to win and he has to win convincingly… I think he will because Nick Clegg has an Achilles heel in his argument as I discovered when I was in Sheffield.”

Talking the talk…

Clegg Denies Inappropriate Use of Civil Service for Debate Prep

Has Nick Clegg been using civil service resources for party political preparation for tonight’s debate against Nigel Farage? He is not appearing at the LBC Debate in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister rather, as a LibDem spokesman told Guido this morning: “Tonight is the leaders’ debate so Nick is appearing as the Leader of of the Liberal Democrat Party”. It’s a very political event…

As Deputy Prime Minister Clegg is allowed to request factual briefings on government policy whenever he likes, yet sources familiar with the situation have indicated to Guido that they believe he has strayed beyond this and into party political territory. “He’s asking for all sorts of things, beyond government policy on Europe”, one told Guido this morning. It is believed by some that the briefings have been prepared to back up attack lines on UKIP –  a big no, no for civil servants.

Nick Clegg’s spokesman denies that they have done anything wrong, but did confirm that civil servants have briefed the DPM for this specific political event:

“Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister as well as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He is regularly briefed on all aspects of Government policy, including Europe, before public appearances, such as DPMQs or Call Clegg on LBC. It is very likely that during the debates he be asked about Coalition Government policies and the relationship between the British Government, of which he is Deputy Prime Minister, and the European Union. To that end, he has been given factual briefings and facts and figures on Coalition Government policy and how the EU works in relation to Britain. But the briefings for the debates are being done by political advisers and HQ staff.”

Guido has requested a copy of all the debate preparation from the Cabinet Office under the Freedom of Information Act.

It is worth noting that the ‘General Principle’ of the Ministerial Code states:

“Facilities provided to Ministers at Government expense to enable them to carry out their official duties should not be used for Party or constituency work.”

Point 6.3 makes things a little clearer:

“Official facilities and resources may not be used for the dissemination of material which is essentially party political.”

Should it emerge that Clegg used civil servant briefings on issues beyond government policy on Europe to prepare for tonight’s debate then Guido cannot see how he has not fallen foul of this point. 

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tim Farron Funnels Taxpayer Thousands to LibDems

LibDem president Tim Farron wastes no opportunity to line his party’s coffers with taxpayers’ money. Last year re-renter Farron was one of the guilty men exposed for funnelling parliamentary expenses to his local Westmoreland and Lonsdale party, claiming £6,000 in the last financial year to rent a building owned by his local LibDems and letting them cream off the cash. Now Guido can reveal Farron has recently submitted a £1,554 expense claim for a staffer in his constituency, and guess what, the money was paid to Westmoreland and Lonsdale Liberal Democrats.

Taxpayers are subsidising Farron’s local party to the tune of thousands of pounds a year, with zero checks on whether public money is funding party political activity. It gives him a publicly-funded advantage over any opponent. The LibDems are the most cunning at this and that’s because they are taught how to fiddle centrally – in 2008 they gave a presentation to their MPs urging them to maximise expenses for party benefit.

Hughes Signals FoI Expansion to Public/Private Money

Guido still has to pinch himself when he remembers that Simon Hughes is a Justice Minister, but credit where credit is due. The LibDem told the Commons today:

“We do intend to extend FoI further as soon as it will be practical. We intend to publish a revised code of practice to make sure that those private companies that carry out public functions have freedom of information requirements in their contracts, and go further than that, and we hope that will be in place by the end of this year.”

Let the games begin.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Little Less Representation

Labour won last night’s council by-election in Clifton North, but the only real story was the LibDems being beaten by this man.

20140307-084713.jpg

Sounds about right.

Via @FelicityMorse, @cllrjamesdawson.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week: Tim Farron v Labour Press

Guido never understands why official party HQ Twitter accounts of all colours bother to waste time embarrassing themselves in cringeworthy spats. Labour’s press team does however have a point in highlighting LibDem president Tim Farron’s hypocrisy here. Even if the trash talk is at primary school playground levels:

Tim best not be too rude or he might harm his hopes of being Miliband’s deputy PM…

Don’t Mention the Day Job

Talking of Downing Street aides… LibDem council candidate Matthew Hanney’s record is there for all to see on this leaflet he has been handing around in Lambeth. Lives locally, check. A LibDem for years, check. Customary slap for Lambeth Labour, check. Just the one thing is missing. For some reason Hanney makes no mention of the fact that he has been a Special Adviser to Nick Clegg since he became Deputy PM, and a close aide for years before. Does Hanney not want voters to know about his vital role at the heart of government?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Goldsworthy OUT of Treasury

After Guido revealed last week that Danny Alexander’s SpAd Julia ‘rocking chair’ Goldsworthy was seeking to become an MP again while still being paid by the taxpayer, she has parted ways with her boss over the weekend:

“After 4 years as a Special Adviser to Danny Alexander at HM Treasury I am moving on with immediate effect so that I can stand as a Parliamentary Candidate at the next General Election in 2015.”

Seems Julia is bullish about her chances, despite the cloud of controversy under which she was booted out in 2010.


Seen Elsewhere

Elitist Politicians Caused Democratic Disenchantment | Janet Daley
Police Can’t Stop Man Who Stalked Me for 7 Years | Nadine Dorries
Owen Jones’ Middle Class Moralism | Spiked
Carswell’s Caravan Campaigning | BBC
Watch Last Four Presidents Announce US Bombing Iraq | Reason
Farage Won’t Come to McDonald’s With Me | Douglas Carswell
Ed and Gordon May Have Killed the Union | Dan Hodges
How the Young Restored No’s Lead | Speccie
Top Businessman: Free Scotland Will Prosper | Guardian
Why Did Cameron Concede So Much to Scotland? | Jill Kirby
Snouts Still in the Trough | Mail


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Martin Wolf in the Financial Times

“Scotland can adopt the pound without a currency union..”



McCameron, McClegg, McMiliband says:

Why did the Englishman cross the road?

To grovel at the feet of the jocks.


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