Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Labour’s Westminster Bubble Bursts
Half of Party’s Key Marginal Candidates are Political Insiders 

Researched published in the Guardian today confirms Labour’s bubble problem: half of the party’s candidates selected to fight marginal seats come from jobs in politics. 54% of Labour candidates in marginal and inherited seats have previously worked in politics or wonk world, compared with 46% of LibDem candidates and 17% of Tories. Created in the image of their leader…

The research finds that former or current staff of Ed Miliband, Yvette Cooper, Tessa Jowell, Ruth Kelly, Hazel Blears, Alistair Darling, Hilary Armstrong, Mary Creagh, Lord Foulkes, David Blunkett and Lord Sugar are all running, as are 15 ex-Labour MPs standing again, as readers will remember they include expenses piggies Joan Ryan and Andrew Dismore. They identified four Red Princes so far: Jack Straw’s son Will, Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen, former MP Colin Burgon’s son Richard and ex-MP Shona McIsaac’s husband Peter. They won’t be the last.

In 2012 Miliband championed a new Labour Party programme to find more working class MPs to try to address concerns that too many of the party’s candidates had backgrounds as researchers and SpAds, but as Bath University’s Dr Peter Allen says, “it is more a Labour problem” and it is not going away. An ICM poll finds 44% say they are fed up with careerist MPs who “look and sound the same“, indeed a Times/YouGov poll earlier this year found that not having had a “real” job outside of politics was the least attractive quality for candidates, with 55% saying it made them unsuitable for public office. Even Tony Blair said last year that there was a “problem” with MPs not working in normal jobs before entering politics. Might there possibly be a link between Ed Miliband spending his adult life in the bubble and the public’s perception of him as an out of touch weirdo?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ed Smashes His Negative Polling Record, Slumps Below Clegg
Osborne’s Shock Positive Approval Rating Grows

Ed Miliband has hit his lowest ever personal rating by gold-standard pollsters ICM for the Guardian. The Labour leader has dropped 14 points in the last month to -39, below even Nick Clegg, who has a rating of -37. Cameron has lost last month’s positive rating of +2, dropping to -5, though Osborne has seen an increase in his own rating from +5 to +6.

The force is strong in that one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Poll: Just 8.2% of Europeans Can Name Jean-Claude Juncker

Just 8.2% of EU nationals could name the lofty European Commission presidency candidate Jean-Claude Juncker, a poll conducted by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists has found. 91.8% haven’t got a clue who he is.

Having had the selection process explained to them – that political parties at the European level run candidates for the role – 89.9% said that this should not be the criteria for selection. Just 10.10% supported the process.

Now that’s what you call a mandate…

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ashcroft Newark Poll Has Tories 15 Points Clear

Lord Ashcroft reports:

“A by-election two weeks after the European election means that Newark’s electors have enjoyed the prolonged attention of the parties, a privilege for which they must surely be grateful. The evidence from my poll is that the Tories have had the better of an intense ground war and have by no means taken the seat for granted. More than nine out of ten voters say they have heard from the Conservatives locally, including 81 per cent who have had literature through the door; nearly half have received personally addressed mail. Eight in ten say they have heard from UKIP; the party is reported to be slightly more active than Labour in all elements of the local campaign.

The poll was conducted in the week before polling day, and just under a fifth of voters say they may yet change their mind. Despite this, it looks clear that the next MP for Newark will be Robert Jenrick.”

The full data is here.

It’s theirs to lose…

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cost of Taxation Crisis

Over the course of a year, the average British household pays more in tax than it spends on food, clothing, housing, fuel and power. As illustrated by this chart from the Taxpayers’ Alliance:

Click to enlarge.

Forget the cost of living crisis, Britain is facing a cost of taxation crisis…

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Misery Index: Summer is Coming

A weekend heatwave, wall to wall sunshine and even a slight drop in unemployment – it’s no wonder we are all so happy. This is one of the most joyous months we have had under this government, with the Retail Prices Index staying at 2.5%, more people in work and a three day weekend awaiting us. There has however been a rise in the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement, meaning we are not quite as happy as our happiness peak in February this year. The clear trend of decline in misery since February 2011 remains…

N.B. stats bods can check Guido’s adding up here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Unemployment Rate Down to 6.8%

  • Unemployment rate down from 6.9% to 6.8%
  • Unemployment January-March down 133,000 to 2.2 million
  • Employment up 283,000 in quarter, biggest increase since records began in 1971
  • Claimant count at lowest since November 2008
  • Pay including bonuses for January-March 2014 was 1.7% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 1.3% higher
  • 140,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were in work in the UK in the three months after lifting of controls, down 4,000 on Q4 but up 28,000 on a year before

And the sun is even shining…

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tories Beat UKIP to First Place in Guardian/ICM Euros Poll

Tonight’s Guardian/ICM poll has the Tories in first place for the Euros on 27%, ahead of UKIP on 26%. Labour drop to third on 24%. In their state of the parties poll the Tories are also in first, this time two points clear of Labour, on 33% and 31% respectively. Things get even worse for Miliband in the leadership poll, he has a worse approval rating than Clegg:

UKIP will say this is an outlier for the Euros, though Labour will struggle for an excuse given the Ashcroft polling earlier. If it rings true it is devastating for both parties…

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BBC Pays MPs More Than Every Newspaper Combined

Press Gazette has crunched the numbers and worked out that the BBC pays more money to publicity-seeking MPs for vanity appearances than every national newspaper combined. Rory Stewart trousered £8,000 for his documentary, Alan Johnson pocketed £5,317, while part-time MP and TV personality Diane Abbott has been paid £2,800. Tim Loughton got £1,500 for appearing on Have I Got News For You, as did wannabe London mayor Sadiq Khan, who probably now regrets that ill-fated idea to boost his profile.

It all adds up to £20,000 of licence fee payers’ money paid to MPs so far this year, well ahead of the £17,905.40 the entirety of Fleet Street has stumped up. If ever there was a reason for scrapping the licence fee…

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

#Nigel4Newark: the Pros and Cons of Running

The UKIP leader says he will “think very hard” about standing in Newark but appeared cautious last night, asking is it the right seat for me?” Guido gives you the pros and cons facing Farage.

Pros

  • CLICK TO ENLARGEAnalysis by the Election Data website (right, click to enlarge) looking at Mosaic demographic data, past voting behaviour and self-reported political affiliation suggests that Farage would be well received in Newark. The overwhelming majority of the constituency is seen as “receptive” or “fairly receptive” to UKIP, with some areas “very receptive”. Only the town centre are voters described as “unreceptive”.
  • UKIP’s support in the seat has multiplied in the last four years. In 2010 the UKIP candidate polled just 3.8%. As George Eaton notes in the 2013 county council elections the party won 17.1% in Newark and Sherwood. The by-election will come off the back of a Tory humiliation in Europe.
  • Mike Smithson makes a convincing point for the pro camp: the last Tory by-election hold while in government was William Hague at Richmond in 1989 – 25 years ago.
  • Farage has hinted that he wants to run in a by-election before 2015. How many more by-elections will there be in UKIP-friendly Tory seats in the next year?

Cons

  • Patrick Mercer had a majority of 16,152. It is a fairly safe Tory seat.
  • The Tory candidate Robert Jenrick has been putting in the groundwork over the last few weeks in anticipation of a by-election and the Tories are quietly confident their man is the real deal. Though his website needs some work.
  • Farage told BBC News last night his main reservation is that he is not a local candidate, admitting “I haven’t particularly got connections with the local area”. Given UKIP’s Tory opponent has been parachuted in, might UKIP gain from running a candidate from within the constituency instead?
  • The establishment media is with one voice telling Farage that if he does not run in Newark then he is a bottler. His enemies seem awfully keen on Nigel running. The Tory stooges at the Times have put it on their front page, as have the Telegraph. Are they setting a trap?

Or does he who dares win…


Seen Elsewhere

Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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