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Scottish Conservatives On The Roll 16 April 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scotland, Scottish politics, SNP, UKIP.
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Suddenly, and unexpectantly, the Scottish Conservatives are on the roll. Their campaign so far has been nothing short of a miracle. Anabelle Goldie, who for ages seemed boring and dull, turns out to be a quad bike riding, ten pin bowling, former naughty school girl who ouzes charisma, trouncing the other party leaders in debates and interviews. The pledge not to go into coalition has proved highly popular, and the lib dem yellow paint-chart – emphasising a Lib Dem vote is a vote for Labour government – is very innovative (and true).

But the SNP are still far ahead, with Labour making the error of portraying their former Scottish deputy general secretary as an ordinary member of the public. It’s almost as if certain elements in Labour want them to lose, perhaps to derail Brown? They also continue to rely only on negative campaigning and scares of life in an independent Scotland that is inevitable if the SNP win, leaving voters feeling insulted. If they have such low opinion of Scotland’s prospects, they’re hardly the inspired optimists needed, but rather failed has beens believing in an inescapable dependency culture on a national scale.

The SNP, of course, aren’t what’s needed either. They certainly aren’t inspired or optimistic, basing their figures on magic growth, EU cash now heading East and fast depleting North Sea Oil (“It’s Scotland’s oil” they may say, but most of it’s nearer the Shetland Islands actually, time for SINP?). Their campaign is merely a glossy, GQ style sales pitch of Alex Salmond. Slogan: “It’s Time”. Time for what? As yet, we don’t know.

And bubbling under, as with all elections using proportional systems, is a plethora of small parties. There’s UKIP, the “Stop the Growth” Greens, the Scottish Socialists, and the Labour supporting Lib Dems.

So who’ll win? Who knows.

Second Preferences Mean Little – Except Sometimes 1 April 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Polls, UKIP.
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 As discussed on ConservativeHome, the YouGov survey for The Daily Telegraph identifies some interesting findings on the second preferences of likely voters for the main political parties.  They are summarised in the graphic. Second Preferences

Some have rushed to suggest large numbers of Tory voters (23%) are leaning left, to the Liberal Democrats. False. The Lib Dems are the second preference of everyone who seriously hates Labour, and wants to stop them. If you can’t vote Conservative, they’re the only credible alternative to seeing Labour win (i.e. they’re the only viable second choice).

I expected a higher share for UKIP than 18%, but their recent problems and near zero chance of winning makes them second choice for all but the most serious Eurosceptics. The BNP rank of 12% surprised me, but I imagine its down to protest voting and their higher chances of winning in certain areas such as London, the Midlands and Yorkshire.

With the Conservatives, the second preference statistics are largely irrelevant as they will contest all seats with a good chance of winning in many. The voters therefore have no need of second preferences and tactical voting. The figures for Labour and Lib Dems are more important however, as becoming the second choice controls tactical voting, and is surely the first stage in full conversion to becoming first choice.

In most Lib Dem seats, the Conservatives are the main opposition. And in many Labour seats with Tory opposition the ratio of how the Lib Dem tactical (i.e. second choice) vote splits is the difference between the seat staying red or turning blue. With Labour still ahead 21% to 16%, Cameron will be keen to keep wooing the Lib Dems without upsetting any more Tories. The Conservatives need Lib Dems to significantly prefer a Cameron government to a Labour one, so as to chose to vote tactically (to stop Labour, and to boot out Lib Dem MPs in favour of Tories under the “Vote Lib MP, Get Lab Gov” principle).

The fact Labour voters split 33% for the Lib Dems and just 9% for the Conservatives is worrying, and suggests there’s few more Labour voters to win over. It also suggests the Lib Dems will do well in the Labour seats they’re currently second in, matching their long running council seat shift from rural to urban. Cameron needs policies to win strivers – the people Margaret Thatcher built her landslides on. Cameron must also target non-voters, which are a large constituency needing a home.

Interesting too is the 30% of Lib Dems and 14% of Labour voters who list Green as their second choice. This is a good opportunity for the Conservatives if they get green enough to win them over. It also gives the possibility of a few Green MPs in places like Brighton.

The End of UKIP? 3 March 2007

Posted by David in UKIP.
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Surely it’s got to be the end for Ukip? Their terrible by-election performances, the KCC elections gaffe, late accounts, fine for accepting illegal donations, failure to improve their poll figures despite the higher profile new leader (except YouGov), the suspension of a senior MEP for “financial irregularities” (having previously lost 2 of their 2004 intake), threats of resignation from 2 further MEPs, entire associations resigning, defeated leadership contenders resigning, and now the scandal that the party deselected a candidate due to disability – later attempting an awful cover up that it was an “act of kindness”.

 

Ukip gives a bad name to the anti-EU movement. The only vehicle for Euroscepticism and abolitionists is the Conservative Party.

UKIP Must Change 10 February 2007

Posted by David in UKIP.
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I always thought that the UK Independence Party needed to start contesting local council elections and by-elections to build up a presence and be more effective at general elections. This however must be wrong. At the by-elections this week they polled disasterously; a mere 40 votes in Croydon and just 8 in Nuneaton.

Croydon LBC, Bensham Manor: Labour 1683, Conservative 617, Green 240, Lib Dem 126, UKIP 40 , OMRLP 15, People’s Choice, 9. Labour Hold. This showed a strong swing to Labour in a safe seat.
Nuneaton BC Bede: Labour 658, BNP 546, Conservative 301, LibDem 119, English Democrat 75, Save NHS 43, UKIP 8. Labour hold. The Conservatives came a close second here in 2004 and 2006, and really should have expected to take this seat, given recent local by-election results. Instead, Labour held it, and the BNP came from nowhere to win a close second place. The Labour vote here held up much better than the Cosnervative vote, which suggests the BNP did better among former Conservative voters than Labour voters.
Barnet LBC, East Barnet: Con 1666, Lab 1025, LD 552, Green 147. Conservative hold. This was a good result for the Conservatives, in a marginal ward.
Cornwall CC Penryn: LibDem 456, Independent 360, Conservative 207, Labour 94, Independent 63. LibDem hold. 

I have to agree with Sean Fear that UKIP would do better only contesting European Parliamentary Elections, which have the EU as the major issue and are conducted under proportional representation where people are far more willing to lend their vote to a minor party. At council and general elections, we all know UKIP won’t win, so it’s a wasted vote. For some strange reason they even publicise the seats they helped Labour and Lib Dems to win!

My advice, focus on the Euro-Elections.

The “Others” Are Out There 22 December 2006

Posted by David in Conservatives, Polls, UKIP.
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In my post “Don’t Fight A War On Two Fronts, Mr Cameron” (13th December 2006) Iexpressed an interest in this month’s YouGov poll, after Populus had rated the Greens at4% and UKIP at 2%.As I said then, “Populus hasn’t traditionally shown high scores for minor parties, that’s usually YouGov, however all pollsters are showing the othersincreasing. It will be interesting to see the next YouGov poll, as they are my favoured company and give higher minor party figures. Their last poll gave the Greens, UKIP and the BNP 3% each (Populus at the time gave UKIP 1%).”

Now we have that December YouGov poll. Whilst it’s bad news for the Greens (down to 1%), UKIP is static at 3% and the BNP up to 4%, equal to the combined SNP/PC vote.

Previously there had been speculation that the Greens could split the Labour and Lib Dem vote, delivering a Conservative government. With their poll ratings back to normal, it looks like the 3-4% Green poll shares were just a blip caused by the heavy media focus on the environment or a simple statistical error. If it’s the first however, a savvy Conservative campaign strategist could focus on the environment not to gain votes but to split the Lib Dem vote in the Greens favour, electing Conservative MPs.

According to ICM, just 19% of Conservative voters and 16% of Labour voters would consider voting Green, both within each others margin of error. Damage would be fairly equal to both parties. A Green focus could however be lethal to Lib Dems, as 30% of their voters declared they would consider voting Green.

Conversely, a Labour government could allow Europe to become an issue to cause Conservative splits. This I feel is less likely, due to the unpredictable nature of Eurosceptic voters. Whilst most die hard UKIP are former Conservatives, only 14% of current Tory voters would consider voting UKIP, only just ahead of 9% of Labour voters and 8%of Lib Dems considering it. An EU focus would drive voters to UKIP from all parties, but also to the Conservatives.

Cameron has really got to close his ‘home’ flank from UKIP raids. This is the tactic of other successful parties internationally, but sadly it seems to be getting missed.

Farage In Romania 22 December 2006

Posted by David in Europe, UKIP.
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UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage MEP, will be the feature on BBC1 Ten O’Clock News (Friday, 22 December 2006). You can read about it here.

The broadcast will be interesting for all, not least as it will be a chance to see how the pro-EU BBC reacts to Mr Farage’s frank, jolly dislike of political correctness and the EU.

From the brief BBC News Online report there are already some oddities, such as the barman declaring he is unaffraid of Big Brother because he wishes to become part of it. Alarming. On a more lighter note there’s the Romanianwoman cheekily told “see you in London” by Farage and replying “maybe”.

I agree however the portrayal of Romania and Bulgaria has been harsh. We must be clear we have nothing against them, and indeed welcome them into the Western World, however only wish to control migration due to the environment, unemployment and social cohesion. I am vehemently anti-EU, but love Europe. The EU is not Europe.

Don’t Have A War On Two Fronts, Mr Cameron 13 December 2006

Posted by David in Conservatives, Polls, UKIP.
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As I have expected for some time, polls are showing a gradual rise of the “others”. The Independent reports on it, as does Anthony Wells. The latest Populus poll for The Times states Conservative34% (-2%), Labour 33% (nc) & Liberal Democrats 19% (-1%). The Greens are given 4% and UKIP 2%. It is unclear what the BNP polled.

Populus hasn’t traditionally shown high scores for minor parties, that’s usually YouGov, however all pollsters are showing the “others” increasing. It will be interesting to see the next YouGov poll, as they are my favoured company and give higher minor party figures. Their last poll gave the Greens, UKIP and the BNP 3% each (Populus at the time gave UKIP 1%).

Cameron has got to be careful. The Cameronians have believed that Tories have no where else to go, or won’t want to risk Labour winning, so will always vote blue. This view has been put across to me by several MPs. They are wrong. As the Bromley by-election showed, they can and will stay at home if they see no difference between New Labour and “Blue Labour” – a UKIP term getting known by more and more of the general public.

I do not want to see a Labour government caused by the centre-right splitting. It is up to Mr Cameron to see that it doesn’t. I equally don’t want to see Blue Labour. Again rectifying this is up to Mr Cameron.

He cannot go on fighting a war on two fronts. He must learn from other parties across the globe, where they have moved a few select single issues to the right/left (depending on their own ideology) to stamp out competition on their ‘home’ flank. A referendum on the EU would do this easily, but he must do it soon or risk failure.

Litvinenko “Prodi KGB” Case Mustn’t Be Dropped 4 December 2006

Posted by David in Europe, UKIP, World.
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The allegation that Romano Prodi, current Italian PM and formerly European Commission President, is the KGB/FSB’s man in Italy has continued to be pushed by UKIP. The Guardian and Sun reported it in just a few dismissive lines, but after Mr Litvinenko’s death and the contamination of his friend, Mr Scaramella, as well as numerous aircraft and sites across the UK, it deserves wider investigation.

Gerard Batten took the floor in a moving and important speech about the death of the former KGB Colonel Alexander Litvinenko. Mr Batten knew Mr Litvinenko and has been key to letting the world know some of the most extraordinary details of the whole Russian poisoning affair. This speech is here slightly altered as it was spoken under Parliamentary privilege.

I should like to pay tribute to my constituent, Mr Alexander Litvinenko. Alexander was fearless in exposing the political gangsters that now run Russia, and the creatures of the KGB and FSB that still hold political office in Europe. For his bravery, he paid the ultimate price. In April, I made two speeches in this Parliament repeating allegations made to me by Alexander that Romano Prodi had been an agent of some kind of the KGB. Alexander told me that the key figure to understanding Mr Prodi’s alleged relationship with the KGB in the 1970s was a man named XXXXX, also known as XXXXX, who worked for TASS in Italy. Since Alexander can no longer testify to this effect, as he was ready, willing and able to do, I am pleased to provide this service for him posthumously.

The work that Mr Batten has done on this case over the months has done much to bring into the light the evidence of high level infiltration of both the Italian government and the EU institutions by former Russian secret service operatives. In the light of the current situation he should also be applauded for his courage and his dedication to unearthing the truth.

Kent Council’s £305k Brussels Office 4 December 2006

Posted by David in Conservatives, Europe, UKIP.
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UKIPKent On Sunday has reported that Kent County Council runs a Brussels office costing £305,000 per year! The UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, attacked the policy although made a gaffe by claiming there would be county council elections next year (there aren’t, only local council elections).

Cllr Alex King, Deputy leader of KCC, claimed the office had secured £100m funding for Kent over the last six years. He failed to point out this money originated in Britain anyway, as the UK contributes more than it receives from the EU.

 KENT County Council has been accused of “squandering” thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on an office in Brussels. New figures show the office in South England House, a few minutes from the European Parliament buildings, costs £306,000 a year. But Cllr Alex King, deputy leader of Kent County Council, said the office had helped bring in £100 million of extra funding over the last six years and is used by other authorities and the South East England Development Agency.

It’s a shame that UKIP had to make such a silly mistake which ruined, for them, a great story to use at next year’s local council elections (even though it’s a county issue). Responding “whoops” probably wasn’t that greater idea either. It will be interesting to see if UKIP uses this article in their campaigning, or whether they return to their long, long, sleepy ‘kip’.