A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

God bless the British public

Because after weeks of everything that could be being chucked at Labour, today's Populus poll in the Times shows Labour up 1% from early January to 33%, the Tories down 3% to 36% and the Lib Dems up 1% to 19%.

For those of you who can't be bothered to stick this into the various election prediction sites, this would give Labour 305 seats, the Tories 273 and the LDs 40.

With Brown as leader the gap narrows further to 34% vs 35% - which would give Labour 323 seats and the Tories 253.

Perhaps the public are making their judgement based on the economic performance of the government, and its policies for the things that affect their lives, rather than short-term headlines.


Blogger tom watson said...

That's twice this week you've cheered me up.

9:56 am, February 06, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

Interesting to see such a response from a politician who has done probably more to destabilise this Government than any other single MP!

Anyway, of course we should all welcome this news. However, I strongly doubt that this has anything to do with the recent performance of the Government - which is now generally regarded as mired in sleaze and is led (according to the opinion polls) by one of the most unpopular Prime Ministers in postwar Britain.

This has everything to do with the unpopularity of the Tories, not the popularity of New Labour. The Tories enjoyed a slight bounce under Cameron (from people to desperate to see change) which evaporated when:

a) people realised Cameron was basically a clone of Blair, and they'd already had enough of Blair I after ten years thank you very much;

b) the Tories have no real policies to speak of and have resorted to fairly embarrassingly gimicks;

c) the groundswell of anti-Tory hatred in much of the country (particular in the North) has still not subsided after 10 years;

d) the most unpopular policy of this Government (the Iraq war) was wholeheartedly supported by the Conservative party (in stark contrast to the Labour party);

e) they are dominated by a bunch of public school boys who the corporate media may like (and recognise as their own), but who are socially lightyears away from the vast majority of the population.

This is not a vindication for New Labour. This is damning for the Tories - that even at a time when New Labour is at the very peak of its unpopularity, they are still not getting anywhere. That doesn't alter the looming catastrophe we face - that, because so many of our voters are going to refuse to vote at the next election unless there is a change in political direction, we may end up with a Tory-Lib Dem coalition that most people don't want.

10:51 am, February 06, 2007

Blogger Bill said...

I think we may well get a Tory-Lib-dem, coalition out of that - they've done it often enough in local government, a a "time for a change" rationale is all they'll need to sue to oust the largest plurality party (plus, their price will be PR, which means they can beat Labour with the fact that the FPTP result isn't fair or representative).

Since we don't have a president a la Germany who could make the first offer to the largest party, this result could also do some damage to the monarchy.

This si why they knifed Kennedy - Menzies Campbell will be foreign secretary, the lib-dems will be in government, it'll take a lot of hard work to stop that.

11:01 am, February 06, 2007

Anonymous ted harvey said...

Really interesting stats Luke. Owen I don't think I agree with your scenario of 'its because the Tories are so unpopular'. Its a well-worn but enduring mantra that in UK general elections its the Government that loses (or wins) an election, not the opposition that wins it. I suspect that there is a strong undercurrent, based on Labour's economic competence, of "well they're getting rid of tarnished Blair and getting prudent Gordon in, so lets give em the benefit of the doubt'. By the way, the anti-Scottish sentiment in middle England is a vastly hyped piece of right wing press black propaganda. Of course the Smith Institute 'issue' could upset this.

However, two newer points emerging. One is that there maybe some indications that voters are less and less inclined to do a straight swap between Labour and Tory (or reverse). It seems possible that voters are becoming much more footloose and porous in their voting behaviour and that this takes in the minorities (Green and Nats) and the nutters (UKIP etc.)

The other insteresting aspect is that there is a good working precedent for Labour and Lib Dem with their alliancxe in the Scottish Parliament. Good lessons to be learnt here - but that would of course require a lot of 'British' actors and pundits to be capable of even being aware of what happens north of the border.

12:19 pm, February 06, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're all waiting your verdict on Lords reform, Luke.

An unmitigated shambles or a pragmatic approach? Allowing the Bishops to stay in - unsocialist or avoiding an unnecessary diversion?

7:17 pm, February 07, 2007

Blogger Sham said...

Owen says: "Interesting to see such a response from a politician who has done probably more to destabilise this Government than any other single MP!"

Oh really? That tag probably belongs to the Labour MP who's voted against this Government more than any other!

Now who might that be ... ;)

7:42 pm, February 07, 2007


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