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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Was it something I said?

The previous post was an interesting exercise in letting the blog write itself. I should have guessed it might provoke a few comments.

I've been away in Kent again over the Bank Holiday then snowed under with work, so apologies for the lack of posts.

Whilst I was otherwise occupied I was pleased to see David Cameron swerve off to the right in a re-run of William Hague and Michael Howard's dog whistle core vote strategy, Gordon Brown doing the right thing re. Iraq, and the great Denis Healey giving a barnstorming interview.

The Guardian's ICM poll on Monday - analysed here - included some fascinating data on regional trends since the 2005 election, based on all their polls since Brown became Leader:

Scotland and Wales, CON 18%, LAB 36%, LDEM 13%, OTH 33%.
North, North-East, North West: CON 26%, LAB 47%, LDEM 22%.
East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern: CON 40%, LAB 37%, LDEM 17%.
South-East, South West: CON 48%, LAB 28%, LDEM 19%.
London: CON 34%, LAB 48%, LDEM 15%.

The basic story seems to be Labour regaining ground compared to the last General Election in London (heavily - welcome home Guardianistas), the North and Midlands, but losing ground to the Nats in Scotland and Wales. The worrying region is the South, with Labour up a little but the LDs collapsing to the Tories. This is good news in Lab vs LD marginals like Oxford East, doesn't matter much to us in the rural South West seats that are LD vs Con but could be a problem in Con vs Lab marginals if it means the Tories are squeezing the LD vote. I guess we need a county by county poll to really work out the impact - for instance in North Kent where there are 7 or 8 marginals there is so little Lib Dem vote to squeeze that this should not be a big factor.

I think we do need a Southern Strategy though. The person who has looked into this in most detail is John Denham MP. His speech to the Fabians in May that I've linked to is essential reading for anyone in the Labour Party who is serious about us being the one truly national party that can win in every region. If I was Gordon Brown I would be getting Denham and Dorset South MP Jim Knight working on a set of messages and policies and Party regeneration for the South ASAP. Hopefully he already has.


Blogger Joshua said...

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9:40 pm, August 29, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"If I was Gordon Brown I would be getting Denham and Dorset South MP Jim Knight working on a set of messages and policies and Party regeneration for the South ASAP"

Hasn't Stephen Ladyman been appointed Party Vice-Chair in charge of "South East"? I suppose his role would be something similar

10:18 pm, August 29, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Hi Andrea: I don't think Luke has to worry about any arrangements that have already been made. He clicks his fingers and leaders change their plans immediately and without question. Here's something on Luke's "Helmand Today" PR sheet for Hackney residents. Chris P

PS Joshua sucks. His idea that we become bloggers to UNITE MANKIND is very odd indeed. Surely it is to divide and rule?

10:28 pm, August 29, 2007

Blogger Hughes Views said...

My worry about the Con vs Lab marginals is that the Tories are at last getting a little smarter at using their huge resources. Instead of campaigning hard in their safe seats they're now diverting resources into nearby marginals. For example in 2005 daily mini-buses took their activists from ultra-safe Beaconsfield to St Albans (which became a Tory gain).

Here in Gloucestershire they seem now to be organising on a county-wide basis presumably to attack Stroud, Cheltenham and Gloucester (probably in that order) and to hang on to FoD whilst leaving Tewkesbury and Cotswolds to take care of themselves...

11:05 pm, August 29, 2007

Blogger donpaskini said...

In the South, doesn't it depend where the Lib Dem vote is falling? I'd imagine it is holding up where they are doing lots of campaigning (where they are first or close second at the moment), but falling back heavily in areas where their vote went up in 2005 where they aren't doing much campaigning.

9:36 am, August 30, 2007

Anonymous pregethwr said...

Yes I agree with Don, I think the national headlilne figure tells you very little about what the Lib Dem vote will be locally.

Remember in about 550 seats at a General Election they will run paper candidates and do no campaigning. In 2005 they got big swings in those places, at the next election they will get big swings against. That will make up their headline share of the vote.

The 100 seats or so they do campaign in are likely to be very different especially as they will concentrate largely on squeezing Labour and Tory votes with tactical voting messages - which might actually be easier in a closely fought election.

11:15 am, August 30, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

I think that votes are still quite 'soft', though. I would agree that many of the liberal middle class will give Labour another go if the election is soon, but if it isn't, and no moves are made out of iraq, that could still mean some reluctance (and seats like Cambridge and Manchester Withington staying LD)

I'm not surprised that Cameron has made some right wing noises. The sheer contradictory nature of the Tory position cannot be underestimated.

Why do Southern contributors feel that we have such a hard time in the south? There are areas where our votes are derisory and where we wouldn't expect to do any better, but in terms of our 'core' vote, places like Aylesbury and Maidenhead are by no means all 'posh' . Labour voters remain few and far between in those areas.

4:50 pm, August 30, 2007

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

Don is right- the Lib Dems will target resources heavily in their key marginals. Down here in Eastbourne (where I hope to be selected as Labour PPC on Thursday, by the way...) they have been throwing everything including the kitchen sink at it- to the extent that in May they took control of the council and reduced the Tories from 15 to 7 (their lowest representation here in living memory) During that time they were bolstered both by activists from other areas, and several "borrowed" full-time officials. The polls, unfortunately, are never a good indicator of how the Lib Dems will fare unless they are based on constituency-specific data.

11:42 am, September 02, 2007

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

From what I have heard from ex-civil servants under Jim Knight, it would be a miracle if he learned how to read, write and formulate a sentence without having it spoon-fed to him before putting the man in charge of anything.

12:00 pm, September 03, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke something else which the labour high command may be onto is that 15 lib dem seats are highly marginal to Labour, these could offset losses to the tories if things are tight. You will know bristol west well (new boundaries are much better) but it includes a number of inner city guardian readind seats - cardiff central, manchester withington, birmingham thingy and seats like Oxford east and at the margins York outer. We need a national strategy for taking these seats back - many of them experieinced an above average swing due to iraq and top up fees

10:23 pm, September 04, 2007

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