Tag Archives: Clegg

Lib Dems worst EVER YouGov ratings

The Lib Dems have dropped to their worst ever YouGov poll rating today with just 6% of those polled saying they would vote for them at the General Election. This is the worst result for the Lib Dems in a YouGov poll since the company started in 2001.

Lib Dem
Significantly, the Green Party are just 1% behind them on 5% and UKIP have more than doubled them on 14%.

A closer look at the statistics also spell out some worrying findings for the Lib Dems.

Firstly, a look at those who said they voted Lib Dem in 2010. 32% of them now say they plan to vote Labour, 18% Conservative, 13% UKIP, 11% Greens and just 24% said they will stay with the Lib Dems.

Compare this in contrast to Conservative or Labour who are holding onto the 76% and 84% respectively of their 2010 voters.

It is clear that the Lib Dems are struggling to keep hold of their own voters and importantly, they are also failing to pick up soft Conservative votes (only 1% of those who voted Tory in 2010 plan to vote Lib Dem in 2015).

Secondly, on the 5% of young voters (18-24) said they plan to vote Lib Dem in 2015. It is worth highlighting that this is considerably less than the 11% of 18-24 year olds that are planning on voting Green.

This could spell bad news for the Lib Dems for two reasons. One it doesn’t bode well for the long-term growth of the party (political parties, like banks and car manufactures target you when you are young hoping brand loyalty will keep you with them the rest of your life). And secondly, it could spell disaster for Lib Dems in some key seats that have large university populations (the one that jumps to mind is Clegg’s home of Sheffield).

It is important not to read too much into this. The 5% headline figure is pretty similar to what they have been polling over the last few weeks. It does though just mark a new, unwelcome, milestone for the Lib Dems in their desperate fight to regain some popularity in the polls.

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Labour’s un-credible election strategy

It could be easy to write off the latest Labour Party Political Broadcast as just a little odd. Indeed it is. But, for Labour Party activists, it represents something far worse – an entirely un-credible election strategy (and a distinct lack of ambition).

Although it is odd, I can see what they are trying to do…they’re trying to make sure that Labour secure as many of the disillusioned (ex) Lib Dem voters as possible – a sensible strategy that is broadly working for them at the moment.

Indeed, YouGov’s latest poll shows almost as many 2010 Lib Dem voters are planning to back Labour as they are the Lib Dems.

Lib Dem vote*See the full results here.

So if this approach of sweeping up ex-Lib Dem voters is working then why would I be suggesting this latest broadcast, which essentially amounts to a character assassination of Clegg, could be bad for the Labour Party?

In short the Lib Dem votes are only going to get them so far.

By once again being seen to go on the attack they are failing to sort out some problems closer to home. Labour are failing to look like a party ready for government in the eyes of the all important middle ground. Equally important is that neither is Labour’s own leader, Ed Miliband, is not looking like a Prime Minister in waiting.

The latest polls suggest 26% of the electorate think Miliband is doing his job well and 64% think he is doing it badly.

When asked what characterisitics each leader holds the results for Miliband are damning:

Ed

*See the full results here.

Note that both Clegg and Miliband hit rock bottom (3%) when voters are asked if they are natural leaders. Compare that with Cameron who had about 40% of the population thinking he was a natural leader just before he became PM and you can begin to see the problem for Labour.

If the Blair year’s of Labour rule taught us anything, it is that personalities count.

If Labour were building for a long-term future with Miliband they would be looking to rebuild their and his reputation amongst the core of voters in the centre ground.

Instead they seem happy to continue with their attacks on the Lib Dems. Fine to win them a few easy votes, not a sign of a long-term strategy for winning a majority in 2015 though.

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The greenest government yet? Sadly yes!

The greenest government yet?

This coalition government set out to be “the greenest government yet“.  Sadly, it appears to be achieving this.  Not because of any amazing policy initiative but more out of an utter failure of New Labour to act on climate change.  The over-riding message coming out of this government is we are acting “Green”.  The over-riding message coming out of NGO’s is “good, but you desperately need to go further”.

So what have the coalition achieved so far?

1 The Green Deal: 100,000 jobs to insulate and upgrade homes, reducing carbon emissions and saving money
2 £1bn for a Green Investment Bank
3 Replacing Air Passenger Duty with a per-plane duty
4 Scrapping Heathrow’s third runway
5 £200m for low-carbon technologies, including £60m for infrastructure to help create an offshore wind manufacturing industry
6 £1bn for a commercial scale Carbon Capture and Storage
7 £860m will fund a Renewable Heat Incentive
8 Lobbying the EU to increase our emissions cut target from 20 per cent to 30 per cent and provided effective leadership at Cancun.

This government has done more in 6 months than Labour achieved in 13 years to tackle climate change. Yet, anyone who is aware of the severity of the problems facing the UK through climate change can see that these measures simply do not go far enough.  The Green Investment Bank for example is a good idea, but it needs investment 4 – 6 times the amount currently being proposed to be truly effective.

This is the greenest government yet, that I have little doubt.  To be able to mutter this statement though is a cause for Labour to hide in shame, not for the coalition to hold its head up high.  We need to congratulate the coalition on the steps they have taken and push them further – much further.

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Are there any good news stories to come out of the CSR?

George Osborne with his Bullingdon club friends - we are all in this together!

I am an optimist! Thus, in times of gloom I would like to take a few minuets to explore what, if anything, positive might be milked out of Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) yesterday.

Firstly, in the words of the great master Yoda, the future is indeed cloudy, hard to tell what it holds.  Although I strongly suspect this won’t happen; just imagine that this economic plan worked! Just imagine if it defied the FT, Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stieglitz and the greatest economist of our age John Maynard Keynes and actually bought this country out of “the danger zone”. Our structural deficit will be eliminated within 5 years, and the theory goes, we could then re-focus our expenditure on things that we thought mattered (like schools and hospitals).  This is of course all based on the big IF Osborne is smarter than Stieglitz, the FT and Keynes!

So what about the short-term?  Is there any one in society that will benefit, or avoid feeling the pinch, of these wide-spread cuts? Well, if you habitually like going to Museums your in luck! We can still go into State owned museums for free. A priority? Churchill thought so.

If you are currently at school then your schools funding is protected…assuming you live in England.  In fact, momentarily trying to be fair, the schools budget will actually rise in real terms! This combined with the Pupil Premium, might go someway to reducing inequalities in our schools (assuming a child never leaves schools gates and has to experience the real world).  Equally, this assumes you are under 16, as the EMA has been destroyed leaving thousands of poorer students unable to fund their FE.

If you require social care, there is a possibility that you might benefit from an extra 2 billion put aside; also it is worth noting that the NHS has been ring fenced.  Hurrah. 

Now for the real winner, the International Aid budget is expected to grow to 11.6bn (from 7.7) over four years to meet UN aid commitments.  Could this be the one truly commendable aspects of the spending review?

This blog has been painful to write.  It is clear that there are some good points of this spending review (like the core point of tackling our structural deficit), but to have the audacity to claim it was a progressive piece of policy is laughable.  The Institute of Fiscal Studies took literally seconds to point out it was regressive as it will have the greatest effect on those on the lower end of income.

Thus, this leaves us, caring normal individuals, with no choice but to become part of the big society.  If the State won’t have the capacity to look after people then I guess we have to.  Either that or we can sit back and pretend people’s lives are not falling to pieces behind closed doors.  Which do you think will happen?

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Age is not the problem for our political elite

It's not their age thats letting them down

Recently a lot has been said about the age of the leaders of the three main political parties.  Clegg and Cameron were born just a few months apart in the mid-60’s.  With the election of the younger of the Milliband brothers as leader of Labour it appears we are looking at a new generation of politics.  Long gone are the days of Churchill still serving in his 80’s.  Churchill however, also highlights another key difference between himself and the other top dogs.

Churchill was elected into the house 32 years before he became PM.  This is in considerable contrast to the three current party leaders who have all had relatively short (or non-existent) ministerial lives.  There is a two-fold argument to why this might be problematic.

Firstly, with politicians leaving front bench politics at such an early age we are loosing political talent for the future.  Our embattled (and let’s be honest quite old-looking) ex-PM Tony Blair left his post at the tender age of 53 (12 years before Churchill took office). Like him or loathe him, don’t you think his talents are being wasted at the moment?

Secondly, it is questioned how much experience, both politically and professionally someone can bring to office in their 40’s.  Can someone run a country if they have not had experience of how it works?

I would suggest that neither of these arguments hold up to scrutiny.  The Conservative Party conference looked like a come back kid special with Hague (who resigned his party’s leadership in his early 40’s), Duncan-Smith and Michael Howard all playing central roles throughout the conference. The idea that when you step down as party leader, your political career is inherently finished has been proven to be nonsense.

The Second point around experience highlights a much more serious problem that is unconnected with age.  Career politicians!  The very concept is worrying.  Can someone living off a trust fund (I’m thinking about you Mr Osborne) with no real life experience really run an economy?  Age might start to play a part in this issue if we were talking about leaders in their 20’s, but I do not see it as a problem for someone in their 40’s to be running the country.  The idea that someone in their 40’s might not have had enough time to collect adequate experience is laughable.  I would suggest it is more important to look at what they have done in those 40 years (ever had a real job for example?)

There is need for a diversity of ages in modern politics.  Clearly old battle axes like Ken Clarke have their role to play (he’s been in the Commons for over 40 years and is still going strong well into his 70’s).  Equally however, there is a need to engage the next generation.  There are few MP’s like Pamela Nash who was elected at 25 to become the UK’s youngest MP.  I would like to see this change.  Equally, I would like to see parties recruit their candidates from a richer variety of professions.  We have to make it that studying PPE at Oxbridge is not a prerequisite to becoming an MP.  The doors to Westminster to need to be open to all, and to a limited extent, age should not be a concern.

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