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A General Election fought on fear

By Alex Chatham
May 27th, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Comments Off on A General Election fought on fear | Posted in Labour

It is clear that many in the Labour Party, and some Liberal Democrats, believe that the Conservative waged a fear campaign during the General Election. Putting to one side the accuracy of this view, and whether one should have been scared of a SNP supported Labour government, something has been missing from the discussion.

Fear was used in the General Election campaign and it was used by the Labour Party. Ed Miliband repeatedly told the voters that they had days to save the NHS. Coming from the party that introduced more private suppliers to the public service this is perverse at best and downright misleading at worse. The fear tactic didn’t work and we still have a National Health Service. No doubt when the Tories leave office we still will.

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Lynton Crosby call for banning election polls is wrong

By Editor
May 17th, 2015 at 10:10 am | Comments Off on Lynton Crosby call for banning election polls is wrong | Posted in Uncategorized

Interviews from Lynton Crosby (the true election professional) are all too rare. But he has stepped forward over the weekend to provide some fascinating analysis of the latest UK General Election.

Much we agree with. But where we disagree with the “Wizard of Oz”, is his call for “…public polls to be banned for the “two or three weeks” before a general election because of their potential impact on the result…”

First and foremost “bannning” something should never be the first instinct of any lover of free markets. Banning stuff has unintended consequences.

In this instance the unintended consequence of banning the publishing of opinion polls for the last couple of weeks of any election, would be to create a two tier system. Those that have information, and those that don’t.

The ban on published polls would not stop opinion polls being commissioned (by banks, political parties, the media and other privileged groups). It would simply deprive us, the average voter, from knowing what those polls said. An “information rich elite” vs “voting public ignorance”.

We would be subjected to an endless chorus of pundits, commentators and journalists alluding to information they “had seen” but “could not report” that pointed in one direction or another. That would not enhance transparency and debate, it would mean the political classes claiming they “knew” stuff that we did not. That does not assist democracy, it merely deepens the gulf between “us” and “them”.

In all likelihood, Mr Crosby probably has the best polling methodology in the UK. So it makes sense for him to use this opportunity to call for such a ban. And he is sufficiently canny to know that planting the suggestion of a ban now may take root – and to his advantage in years to come. We are sure he would much prefer to be able to selectively leak, come May 2020 that “Conservatives insiders believe it is a close race” or “Senior figures inside Conservative HQ believe they are well ahead” – according to his preferred strategy. Fair enough Mr Crosby, but don’t expect us, your average voter, to agree.

What we want it is better polling. It seems to us that the problem with the polls at this election was not necessarily “shy Tories” (wic may explain 1% of the error), so much as the cartel of opinion poll companies tweaking their methodology constantly to keep in step with the pack. For example, polling company Survation has already admitted that it suppressed a poll conducted late in the General Election because the results seemed so “out of line” with previous research they had conducted and the results being reported by their peers that they decided not to publish. Lessons learned we hope.

So we say we would rather that bans, let ’em try again next time, We’d much rather that, than exist in a 2 week vacuum with the political elite spoon-feeding us with whatever spin they wish to serve up.

Polling aside Mr Crosby has many excellent points to make and makes for an excellent read. You read the full interview with him here.

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Are manifesto sales a guide to election results?

By Angela Harbutt
May 4th, 2010 at 12:29 pm | 6 Comments | Posted in Election, UK Politics

Here’s a thought. I read over on the CNN website that sales of parties manifestos have reached record levels for this election. As they say – no apathy here then.

It reads….

“Now evidence of this comes with news that election manifestos – the documents in which political parties lay out their planned policies – are selling in record numbers, according to book trade media.

 “Political manifesto sales at Waterstone’s have already outstripped those during the entire 2005 election period,” reported UK trade paper The, “up 160 percent with just eight days to go to the election.”

Andrew Lake, politics buyer for Waterstone’s , one of the UK’s leading booksellers, said: “This is clearly the most important election in a generation. I’ve worked in books for nearly 20 years and have never seen such demand for manifestos.”

The report goes on to say that , the Conservatives have taken 38% of manifesto sales so far,  followed by the Liberal Democrats on 32% and Labour on 30%. What is impressive (and perhaps not surprising given what we have seen in the past few weeks) Liberal Democrat manifesto sales are up a whopping 250% !

Does that count for anything I wonder?

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Tory quote “If this was a safe seat we wouldn’t have to do this work”

By Angela Harbutt
May 4th, 2010 at 12:09 am | 4 Comments | Posted in Election, UK Politics

Aarggggghhhhh. Really.  Joanne Cash – the infamous Cameron cutie standing in Westminster North really did just say that.

I just caught the BBC ONE Local London News. They ran a piece on fight in the seat. Just at the point when I was about to switch over to catch the tail end of the snooker, I was stopped in my tracks. OMG. No . Yes. No ..OMG… Yes!!!

She really did say 

“If this was a safe seat we wouldn’t have to do this work”.

If ever there was an argument for a change to the voting system of this country then this idiot woman is it. In a nutshell!

It’s what I hate about these “New Tory” politicians (and Cameron Cuties in particular). They seem to think that being an MP is some sort of X-Factor for the privileged. Can’t you just tell that they would prefer not to have to talk to the trolls if it could possibly be avoided. Don’t you just know that if they were to be voted in with some huge majority,  90% of the constituency (celebs and millionaires excepted) could go hang. Surgeries would only happen if enough surgical wipes could be supplied. And notes would be taken in beautifully crafted Smythson notepaper – and then handed to some earnest young wannabe to ..what …file?

This ladies and gentlemen is the Tory attitude laid bare. It’s why they dont want PR. Its why they like the old two party system. Why they love first-past-the-post. Ideally you only have to meet grubby people once every four or five years and really only the once every ten if the opposition is inept and your majority is sufficiently robust. 

This  is what people are and down this country are fighting against. 

Big Society?….High Society more like.

May no MP, ever again, feel it acceptable to say in public “if this was a safe seat we would have to do this work”

Of course, lest we forget this was THE Cameronista who, having being parachuted in by Cameron, (nothing to do with the fact that she is married to Octavius Black – an old Etonian mate of Dave’s)  resigned and then “unresigned”following (1) a row with the local party and then (2) Cameron’s intervention (yes in that order) ….. And blood all over the local constituency floor. Hmm David Cameron heavy-handed centralist control? Surely not?

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What now ?

By Angela Harbutt
May 3rd, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Comments Off on What now ? | Posted in Election, UK Politics

Where ever I go,  people, not normally involved in politics, tell me that they DO want change. That Nick IS the agent of change. A hung parliament WOULD be great. Political reform WILL give people a vote that counts. It will make politicians listen more, talk less.

I came back on the tube today from the Trafalgar Square Lib Dem flashmob wearing my ” I Agree with Nick”  T-shirt. It was amazing (and not to say a tad disconserting) at how many people beamed great big smiles at me. A couple even winked at me (no that does not normally happen). On a personal level, my experience is that Nick, and the Liberals, have captured the zeitgeist. No to the old politics. Yes to something new.

At the moment it looks (very roughly) from the current vote share that the Tories will have around 280 seats, Labour 260, Liberals 80 (based on BBC poll of polls and a very rough conversion to seats). What a frankly ludicrous electoral system when we are talking about Liberals and Labour being neck and neck in the vote share btw.

So, do we think have we done enougth to hang parliament? I dont know….I dont think anyone knows..Margins of error, success in the marginals, the undecideds, the last 72 hours or so of campaigning….

The question I find myself asking is have the Liberal high command (the election campaign strategists behind the scenes) done enough to capitalise on Nick’s brilliant TV performances?

The leaders debates are done now. Indeed it’s been 3 weeks since the first debate when the good ship Lib Dem blasted itself into the heart of politics, bringing a swathe of people and donations flooding to the Lib Dem cause (as surely never before?).  

So here is where we look for the sweat, the toil, the genius of the election campaign planners. Clegg delivered. Will the men (/women) behind him? 

I would hope that there is a Lib Dem answer to the the last ditch Tory stunts…. The so-called “contracts” … phoney…..but news-worthy. (And kind of catchy it didn’t feel like some huge great big con) and the “Mr Duracell Man” doing the “never-been-done-before” 24 hour stint on the road.  But I guess I will forgive no “one last big idea” to the nation, if they have, in fact, been pulling off minor miracles in the marginals…

So here I sit…waiting, hoping, yes praying, that the backroom boys have earned their place on the team.  Nick certainly has. Miriam has. Chris Huhne, Ed Davey, Norman Lamb, Paddy Ashdown et al ….they’ve all done their bit…magnificently…..

And, I think it can be said that the people have…the volunteers, the supporters, the bloggers…and yes all those mad flashmobbers today have….

How frustrating it is to sit here wondering if  those in charge of the Lib Dem campaign have. Have they got the resources into the marginals? Have they converted Nicks perfomance into sustained vote share? Have they got one last big idea up their sleeves? This is on a knife’s edge. We need the boys in the backroom to come good now. No pressure guys!

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