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.

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…

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…

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…

#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…

Hacked Off Seek EU Diktat to Force Through New Press Laws
Watson Backs Brussels Directive on Media Ownership

After Sajid Javid signalled that he wanted to put the issue of press regulation “to bed”, Hacked Off last night called for an EU directive to force through new laws and overrule the Culture Secretary. Evan Harris and Natalie Fenton, two of the group’s directors, endorsed a new campaign aiming to secure a petition of one million signatures and seek a diktat from Brussels to set limits on media ownership at a European level.

The campaign, which has the somewhat sinister name ‘Reclaim the Media’, is backed by the Green MP Caroline Lucas, the National Union of Journalists, the Trades Union Council and Labour’s Tom Watson, who was due to chair last night’s meeting but failed to attend after he was “unavoidably detained in his constituency”Evan Harris’ face told you everything you need to know about the prospects for Hacked Off’s latest doomed venture…

Click to enlarge.

MediaGuido was particularly interested by a series of graphs provided at the meeting. Reclaim the Media’s campaign for plurality focuses on the Murdoch and Rothermere titles, despite their own evidence showing that it is actually the BBC that enjoys unrivalled dominance in the news industry. Confused Labour MP John McDonnell suggested the motives were personal: “there are thousands of asylum seekers locked up because the government is pandering to the racism of the Daily Mail”, adding that MPs were “petrified by the bucket of sh*t that The Sun pours on you”. Yet according to their own evidence it isn’t the Mail or the Sun that threaten press plurality, it is the BBC…

UKIP Stealing 1 in 5 2010 Labour Voters

Labour are getting spooked by the rise of Red UKIP. Ed’s British guru Lord Glasman used his interview with the Sunday Times to warn middle-class metropolitan Miliband that he is haemorrhaging working class votes to Farage:

“This is a long-term trend since 2001, in terms of the working-class vote just declining quite dramatically. The Labour middle-class vote held up [in 2010]. It was the working-class vote that died. These are often people who are earning, who have jobs, but they don’t see Labour as representing their interests. There was possibly an assumption at first that [the rise of Ukip] would just work against the Tories. But there is a view that says that after the European and local elections are over, there could be a swing back to the Conservatives of Ukip voters. But will there be necessarily a swing back to Labour from the Ukip voters?”

Do the numbers back him up? 

YouGov’s poll this weekend found that almost one in five of Labour’s 2010 voters said they would be voting UKIP on May 22. One in ten Labour 2010 voters said they would vote UKIP in 2015. That said UKIP is still hurting the Tories and LibDems far more. Just 46% of Tory 2010 voters are sticking with Dave for the Euros. The same number have defected to UKIP…

GRAPH:  BBC Mind Share v Public Market Share

BBC-PAPER-CHARTFor years the BBC has explained its disproportionate consumption of the Guardian newspaper compared with public market share by arguing that it needs to buy more broadsheet papers than popular ones to best provide news for licence fee payers. It is not an issue of left-right bias, they claim, rather a distinction along broadsheet-popular press lines. Guido has analysed new figures released by the BBC to see whether this excuse stands up to scrutiny.

Methodology: By dividing a) each paper’s percentage share of the total papers purchased by the BBC , with b) each paper’s percentage share of the public market, we get c) the BBC mind share / public market share ratio. This tells us how greater or smaller BBC consumption is proportionally compared to public consumption.

Results: As the graph above shows, BBC consumption of the Independent is proportionally over 11 times that of the public market share. Next follows the Guardian at almost 5 times. BBC consumption of the Telegraph is proportionally just 1.7 times that of the public, and consumption of the Tory establishment’s Times newspaper is proportionally just 2.5 times as much as the public. The left-wing broadsheets have a far higher BBC consumption ratio than their right-wing rivals.

However, the popular press is where the BBC really gives the game away. Proportionally its consumption of the Mail is half that of the public and its consumption of the Sun is just a third that of the public. These are by some distance the two best-selling newspapers among the general population. Yet BBC consumption of the Mirror is proportionally double that of the Sun and 1.5 times that of the Mail.

Conclusion: This analysis shows that while the BBC is right that it makes a distinction between low circulation broadsheets and the popular press, there is a left-wing bias that extends to all papers. Among broadsheets, the BBC’s consumption of the Guardian and Independent is proportionally considerably higher that of the right-wing broadsheets (Times and Telegraph). Among the popular press, the BBC’s consumption of the Mirror is proportionally considerably higher than the Mail and the Sun. The numbers clearly show that the BBC’s newspaper purchasing patterns are not determined along a broadsheet-popular divide, they are determined on a left-right political bias.

Two Thirds Say Standards Committee Should Be Abolished

69% of the public agree with Guido that MPs should not be allowed to sit on the committee that judges whether politicians are guilty of fiddling their expenses, according to a Survation poll for Breitbart London. 47% say Maria […]

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What the Public Thinks About Each Party Leader

Big exclusive polling by the Daily Politics today. Who do you most trust to manage the economy? Cameron/Osborne 58%, Miliband/Balls 42% – damning for Labour. A glimmer of hope for Ed that he is seen as less weird than Farage, […]

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Pundit’s “Budget for the Old” Wins Youth Vote
Weird Ed Has Lost Younger Voters Since Budget 

If you read the pundits, for example  and , the budget was aimed at older voters to counteract UKIP’s attraction to older more traditional small ‘c’ conservative voters. This is the pundit’s explanation for the poll […]

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‘Weird Ed’ Problem is Not Going Away

After four years as leader the British public still thinks Ed Miliband is a weirdo who was the unpopular bed-wetting swot that got bullied at school and picked last for sport teams.

All vote winning qualities…

Buzzfeed’s YouGov poll today[…]

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Quote of the Day

Former Labour MP Dame Anne Begg:

“[Iain Duncan Smith] took to standing behind me during Prime Minister’s Questions. He stood at what’s called the Bar of the House and occasionally he would lean on my wheelchair. Our working relationship was slightly fraught anyway because I’d been critical of him a lot. I wanted to keep that criticism a professional criticism, not a criticism of him as a person so I never quite built up the courage to actually say: ‘Please don’t do that.'”

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