Tag Archives: UKIP

UKIP, not the Greens, are attracting the most former Labour voters

Farage
Today’s polling from YouGov shows the Conservatives beating Labour and the Greens beating the Lib Dems each by one point. Some within the Labour party (and media) are panicking that this is a symptom of Ed Miliband’s failure to inspire more left-wing voters who are in turn moving to the Green Party.

The problem is, the polling does not support this.

Of those surveyed who voted Labour in 2010, a significant 76% of them are still planning on voting Labour in 2015. This is more than the Conservative equivalent (75%) and significantly more than the Lib Dem equivalent (28%).

This does however suggest a 24% voter leakage. It is UKIP however, not the Greens, who are picking up most of these disillusioned former Labour voters. 10% of those who voted Labour in 2010 said that they are now planning on voting UKIP.

In comparison the Conservatives are picking up 7%, Greens 4%, SNP/Plaid 2% and Lib Dems 1% of former Labour voters.

Labour have a problem here but the problem is UKIP shaped, not Green! Labour’s response though has been to appoint Sadiq Khan to lead a unit responding to the Green threat whilst essentially ignoring the much larger and significant threat of UKIP.

This might well be one of a list of mistakes that may just cost them the majority they are seeking in 2015.

If the Green Party though are not picking disillusioned Labour voters, where are these new found supporters coming from?

The Green Party are making their gains primarily through disillusioned former Lib Dem voters. 16% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 are now planning on voting Green in 2015. Specifically the Greens are making huge ground among young voters (especially 18-24 year olds) which used to be a Lib Dem strong area.

16% of 18-24 year olds said they would vote Green compared to just 8% of who said they would vote Lib Dem.

Both the Green Party and Labour’s relative position in the polls are dependent on the sinking Lib Dem ship continuing to sink (more 2010 Lib Dem voters are planning to vote Labour than they are Lib Dem!).

If after 2015 the Lib Dems end up back on the backbenches and start to regain some of the trust they lost in government and Labour attempt to run a government, it will be interesting to watch where these floating voters settle.

There is a big chunk of the electorate who are no longer attached to one political party which is going to make the coming decades hard to predict and interesting to watch.

In the words of Master Yoda – “Difficult to see, always in motion are the future”

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UKIP and Greens to influence the 2015 General Elections

Both UKIP and the Green Party are consistently polling at record highs. Hynd’s Blog takes a look at how this might impact the outcome of the 2015 General Election. 

polling station
There is a broad feeling within the Westminster bubble that Labour will win the most seats at the next election. Opinion polls, with the exception of the aftermath of Miliband’s farcical conference speech when he forgot to mention the deficit (opps), show that Labour have consistently polled a few points ahead of the Tories.

Significantly though few expect them to secure enough seats to form a majority government. This means that a coalition is more than possible.

The latest uniform swing predictions put Labour short of an absolute majority by just one seat.

uniform swingIf this prediction comes true then Labour could comfortably (mathematically speaking) enter into coalition with one or a range of parties and rule with a majority government.

However, there is also a scenario where the Lib Dems (currently estimated to pick up 23 seats) fail to have enough support to help Labour secure a coalition with an overall majority.

With this in mind, the relative rise of both UKIP and the Greens and the demise of the Lib Dems takes on a whole new level of interest. No longer is it a given that the Lib Dems will secure enough seats to be able to go into coalition with Labour (or Conservatives) and form a majority government.

It is also worth looking at how in key marginal battle grounds the new found support for both UKIP and Greens might cause a split in the vote a cause an upset.

Those, including myself, who used to talk about the UKIP support just being an electoral blip, have surely enough evidence in front of them now to admit that they were wrong. Equally after a strong showing at May’s European elections and continued growth in support in opinion polls the Greens are increasingly securing their places as a major player in British politics – despite many commentators patronizing dismissal.

To illustrate the current consistent support both the Green Party and UKIP are enjoying I have looked back over the last 10 YouGov voting intention polls. This show that both UKIP and the Green Party are relatively consistent in their new highs within the polls (16-18 % and 5-7% respectively).

graph

The next obvious question then is to ask where this new found support for these two relative outsiders is coming from.

Peter Kellner over at YouGov provides us with this useful infographic from surveys that had a collective sample is 26,724, of whom 1,314 said they would vote Green and 3,401 Ukip:
UKIPGreen demo
Kellner analysed these findings saying:

“In many ways the Greens and Ukip are mirror images of each other. Half of Ukip’s supporters are ex-Tory voters, while the Greens attracted half of their vote from the Lib Dems. Green voters are younger, more female, better-educated and more middle-class than the average – whereas Ukip voters are older, more male, more working class and far less likely to have a university degree. Ukip voters veer to the Right in ideology and choice of newspaper, while Greens veer to Left.”

UKIP, although picking up working class Labour voters, are overwhelmingly picking up former Tory voters. The Greens on the other-hand are picking up a lot of former Lib Dem voters.

If the Greens maintain this level and demographically specific support we can expect to see:

  • Greens returning Caroline Lucas as MP in Brighton Pavillion (Labour’s number one target seat in the South East).
  • A possible second MP in former Lib Dem strong holds (they are targeting Norwich South and Bristol West).
  • A significant impact on Tory/Labour marginals (likely to dent the Labour vote).
  • An increased threat of sitting Lib Dem MPs losing their seats – this is especially true in Lib Dem/Labour marginals.
  • Greens increasing their vote share across the country looking to secure deposits (by securing 5% or more of vote) and possibly beating the Lib Dems.

If UKIP maintain this level and demographically specific support we can expect to see:

  • The standing UKIP MPs (who knows how many other current Conservative MPs will follow Douglas Carswell’s example and defect) returned with little challenge.
  • UKIP gaining a significant number of seats (exact numbers are hard to predict but probably the gains will be counted on one hand).
  • A significant impact on Tory/Labour or Lib Dem marginal (likely to dent the Tory vote more than the Lib Dem/Labour vote).
  • An increase in vote share leaving them with at least double that of the Lib Dems.

In addition there is also a small chance, that UKIP (and even less likely Greens and nationalists) will secure enough MPs to become the minority partner in a coalition themselves – unlikely though.

With all this said and done we are left with more questions than answers: Is this the end of two party politics in the UK? Is our electoral system up to the job with the potential demise of two party politics? Will the Lib Dems enter back into coalition? Would Greens look to join a progressive alliance to form a government? Will Nigel Farage become the next DPM?

So much of this that seemed like an impossibility 4 years ago suddenly seems dramatically possible! When all the talk is of voter apathy it strikes me that there never has been a more exciting time to be involved in politics as the status quo is ripped wide open.

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UKIP but not the Green Party included in TV leader’s debate

FarageBennettThe BBC this morning reported:

“UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has been invited to take part in a TV debate with David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg ahead of next year’s general election.

The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 have announced plans to hold three debates.

One would involve a head-to-head debate between just the Conservative and Labour leaders, and another would include the Liberal Democrat leader.

The other debate would involve all three leaders plus Mr Farage.”

Almost instantly a variation of the pertinent question ‘On what basis is Nigel Farage included and not Natalie Bennett and the Green Party?’ was being replicated across social media.

Now UKIP have one elected MP, but of course The Green Party has also had one MP since 2010. Recent polling figures show UKIP flying high but have also shown the Greens polling in the same ball park as the Lib Dems.

Norman Smith, the Assistant Political Editor at the BBC, at least could foresee this inevitable anger and frustration:

But many still felt his language didn’t do the scale of this stitch up justice:

UPDATE:

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: “With these statements the broadcasters are demonstrating just how out of touch they are with the public mood, and how ridiculously they cling to the idea that the future of politics looks like the past.

“It is clear from votes and polls that the public are fed up with the three business-as-usual parties and are looking around for alternatives.”

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How the Green Party in Stroud responded to the idea of a UKIP/Green pact

Stroud Greens
The Green Party Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) in Stroud, Chris Jockel, came out with this stirring statement in response to a UKIP suggestion of a Green/UKIP pact in Stroud.

From the local rag, the Stroud News and Journal:

“We believe UKIP promote a message of fear, division and potentially hatred, born of a superficial, lazy and ultimately dishonest analysis of the national and local situation,”

Talk about pulling no punches!

Just in case any local UKIPers were left in any doubt the Green Party’s MEP for South West of England (and formerly a Stroud District Cllr), Molly Scott Cato, added:

“UKIP’s candidate seems to subscribe to the adage that ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend’ but I have to tell her that the Greens choose their friends with more care than that.”

Well, glad we got that one sorted. No UKIP/Green pact in Stroud!

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UKIP MEPs turn their backs on the EU to face the far-right of European politics

When UKIP MEPs turned their backs in protest to the EU flag they embarked on creating some truly wonderful imagery.

They had hoped to create a powerful visual protest against the EU by turning away from the EU flag. Without realising though they all turned instead to face no other than Marine Le Pen, of Front National (FN) – the far-right French political party resulting in this wonderful image:

UKIP

*Photo New Europe

Of course, in the lead up to the European elections UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the man who orchestrated this parliamentary protest, spoke out about the ‘common ground’ between the FN and UKIP and the potential of working together in the European Parliament as a blocking minority.

Indeed Geert Wilders, the lunatic Eurosceptic leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, told the Guardian that hoped he could get Le Pen and Farage to work together in the parliament.

This overlap between the far-right of European politics and UKIP is seen in Farage’s recruitment of one rogue FN MEP into their political group (something which didn’t please Le Pen herself to much).

They are joined in UKIP’s ‘Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy’ (EFD) by two Swedish far right MEPs whose party was founded by white supremacists (I read that they had to write specifically distancing themselves from white-supremacist views to be allowed in) as well as Lithuania’s Order and Justice Party (a party who themselves have had to deny links with Le Pen’s far-right FN).

A charming group huh?

I wonder how many 2014 UKIP voters realized that their vote was going to be used to help grow such a far-right grouping in the European Parliament?

I suspect not many!

european election results

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As the economy slips in importance to voters, Labour’s prospects suffer

After almost six years, the economy is no longer the most important issue facing Britain today’

This is the headline finding from the Ipsos Mori issues index published today.

Jun14top10issues

The polling, which asks voters which issues are the most important to Britain, has found that issues around race and immigration are now seen as the singular most important issue. The economy moves to second place, for the first time since August 2008.

These latest figures are part of a trend that has shown concerns over the economy slipping since 2011 from the notable spike that came soon after the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

IPSOS MORI 1
The problem for Labour is that they have rallied around their ‘cost of living crisis’ campaign assuming that the economy will remain top of the list of voter concerns (as it had done for the last 6 years). This continued decline in importance to voters is bad news for Labour’s prospects in 2015.

Labour had established a good campaign on the ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ with strong messaging. Had the economic recovery been slower, or voter concern more consistent, then this would have provided a strong basis on which to campaign on in the run up to the General Election in 2015. As it stands however, it feels as though Labour are struggling to find their voice on other issues important to voters such as immigration let alone setting out a left-wing alternative that also addresses voters’ concerns.

If they fail to get this sorted this might well be the difference between government or opposition after May’s elections.

And of course, what is bad news for Labour is good news for the Conservatives who have been desperately trying to peddle the message that ‘they took hard decisions’ but that the economy is ‘back on track’ now they have cleaned up ‘Labour’s mess’.

The campaigns team in Tory HQ will be delighted with these Ipsos Mori findings.  However, the rise of the immigration/race issues that have traditionally played into Conservative hands may also fuel the continued rise of UKIP with their no-nonsense ‘standing up for Brits’ messaging.

These opinion polls are pulling all the major parties to the right, each trying to out do each other to sound ‘tough on immigration’. This phenomena has led to what some commentators are calling a bidding war on trying to sound tough on immigration.

Once again though this plays into Tory hands rather than Labour’s. The risk of Conservatives loosing votes by sounding too harsh on immigrants is small, for Labour this is a real possibility.

In short then, it might be a time for a re-think for Labour. How, with just over 300 days until the election, are they going to set out an attractive alternative that answers voters concerns on issues such as immigration, unemployment and the NHS?

I’m not sure they will be able to which is why at this stage I would put money on a Conservative minority government in 2015.

More information:

 

 

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Greens and UKIP on course for big gains but no new seats at General Election

polling
The average of the most recent 20 opinion polls put the Green Party on 5% of the vote for 2015 General Election, five times the vote share they secured in 2010. UKIP are also set to make big gains securing 12% more than they did in 2010. Thanks to the current electoral system though, neither are likely to gain more MPs.

The UK Polling Report polling average ‘takes in polls from the last 20 days and gives them weightings based on various factors, including how recently they were conducted, the past record of the pollster producing the figures, the methodology used, the sample size and how many polls have been produced by a single pollster.’

Although the average does not necessarily reflect a greater likelihood to accuracy, it does stop those with vested interests cherry picking the most favourable results to imply an unrealistic support one way or another.

Comparing them to the actual vote share from 2010 also gives a rough idea of how the party’s fortunes have fared over the last 4 years.

2010 result Current polling average +/- %
Conservative 36% 32% -4%
Labour 29% 35% +6%
Lib Dem 23% 8% -15%
UKIP 3% 15% +12%
Green 1% 5% +4%

 

The clear winners are UKIP (although despite this jump in vote share they are still projected not to win any seats – time for electoral reform?) while the clear losers are the Lib Dems (although it is thought that Lib Dems will still hold 30-40 seats – time for electoral reform?).

Despite massively growing their vote share The Green Party is also unlikely to take any new seats but will probably hold Caroline Lucas’ Brighton Pavilion seat (although it is Labour’s number one target for the South East).

The Conservatives show a clear drop but nothing of the magnitude of their coalition partners. Labour, although showing a decent rise are being compared to the lows of the Brown years and are not polling high enough to consider winning a majority (another coalition on the cards?).

All in all regardless of millions of votes switching between Greens/UKIP/Lib Dems – the core 28-36% vote shares of Labour and the Conservative will ensure one of them will attempt to run this country without the backing of the vast majority of voters, let alone non-voters!

With this in mind I think the case for electoral reform has never been clearer.

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Local elections: Bristol results

bristol
Labour gain three additional seats and stay the largest party on the council but fail to gain enough seats to gain ‘overall control’.

With The Green Party gaining 2 seats this leaves them holding the ‘balance of power’ in Bristol (if they vote with the Labour group then a motion will pass regardless of what the Conservatives or Lib Dems do).

Following a national trend the coalition partners took a wee kicking both losing vote share. However I am sure there are some within the local Lib Dems who will be sighing with relief that they still have 16 seats on the council (successfully defending 4).

It should also be noted that despite a drop in vote share, The Conservatives managed to gain one council seat.

Although Labour saw a modest gain in the vote share it is The Green Party who will be celebrating these results with a much larger gain of the overall vote share.

UKIP with 11% of the vote picked up one Cllr. A win, but hardly the ‘earthquake’ they claim to making elsewhere in the country.

Bristol popular votes:

Lab 21,644 (28.55%)
Con 17,942 (23.67%)
LD 12,848 (16.95%)
Green 11,781 (15.54%)
UKIP 8,874 (11.71%)
TUSC 1,579 (2.08%)

Changes since 2010 locals:

Lab +1.76%
Con -3.55%
LD -17.33%
Green +7.60%
UKIP +11.71%
TUSC +2.08%

Swing, Con to Lab: 2.66%

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How many MEPs will each party have after Thursday’s European Parliament elections?

These were the headline polling figures from today’s Sun/YouGov poll.

Greens sun poll

How will this translate though into the number of projected seats in the European Parliament?

Put simply, this poll is great news for Labour who would firstly win the largest share of the national vote and secondly see (based on projections from this polling) gain an additional 12 MEPs. This would give them 25 in total.

Although UKIP will be disappointed with not topping the polls they are projected here to win an additional 6 seats in the European Parliament. This would give them 19 in total.

The other big winners are The Green Party who comfortably beat the Lib Dems into 4th place. This would see The Green Party return an additional 5 MEPs. This would give them 7 MEPs.

The big losers are the coalition partners. The Conservatives are set to lose 11 MEPs bringing their total down to 15 while the Lib Dems are expected to lose 7 MEPs leaving them with just 4. For the Lib Dems though this might be  a relief that they have not been wiped off the board as some are predicting!

The other big loser (in every sense of the phrase) are the BNP who continue their decline and are set to lose both of their current 2 MEPs.

However, it is worth pointing out how this poll differs from current trends. As the Guardian noted, if you average the most recent five polls (excluding this Sun/Yougov one) on voting intention for the European Parliament elections UKIP come out on top. Labour come out in second place with 26.6% followed by the Tories who get 23.4%. The Greens are fourth with 8% closely followed by the Liberal Democrats with 7.4%.

Under this uniform swing projection UKIP would have the most number of MEPs (23) with Labour just behind them (22). The Conservatives would slip back to third (18). The Greens would take 4th (6) while the Lib Dems would return just 1 MEP. The BNP would of course still lose their 2 MEPs.

UPDATE:

An interesting chart from YouGov showing how polling has changed through the election campaign:

polls

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Ask yourself a question – are you going to let UKIP win?

So a hat tip to the Liberal Democrats for this latest campaigns video as they continue to (not very successfully) pitch themselves as the only party that can stand up to UKIP.

I always maintain that there is a place and time for negative campaigning and this anti-UKIP rhetoric is one of them. Although, to clarify, I don’t think it is enough by itself.

Anyway – have a watch:

Let me know what you think of the video and whether or not it is more or less likely to make you vote Lib Dem!

Also, I am slightly aware that I have been rubbishing quite a lot of what The Green Party has been putting out lately so I thought it only right that I also highlight this rather good animated video from them regarding the privatization of the NHS. Again, well worth a watch.

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Why did the police follow up a UKIP complaint about a blogger?

Bm34HPPCcAE3LLX

Last week a good friend of mine (who has previously guest posted on Hynd’s Blog) posted the original of this poster (minus the sources). What ensued was a discussion about the origins of some of the claims.

It is with interest then that I heard this morning about the chap who posted this alternative poster (trying to ascertain which claims were true and which were not) being visited from the police (you can read his whole account here) in relation to the poster.

In his account he says that:

‘they [the 2 police officers] said this was in relation to a complaint that had been made by a certain political party in relation to tweets I had published about them’

This seems bonkers doesn’t it? UKIP, lodging a complaint with the police (as far as I know this guy hasn’t broken any laws) against someone who has tried to reference a poster that was attacking them? And then, either more strangely, the police actually following it up.

Either way, both his local MP (Lib Dem Julian Huppert) and Jenny Jones (Green in the House of Lords) have promised to follow this up on his behalf.

And there are some interesting questions that hopefully one or both of them will ask. Like, why were the police following up a non-legal complaint from a political party?

I am no expert here but surely this cannot be normal procedure can it?

I will look into it some more and post any follow up information below.

UPDATE:

A police statement (quoted by The Guardian) says that he has done nothing wrong but fails to say why the police officers were there to begin with:

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: “A Ukip councillor came across a tweet which he took exception to. The name of the person on the tweet was identified and that individual was spoken to. We looked at this for offences and there was nothing we could actually identify that required police intervention. Clearly, the councillor was unhappy about the tweets. If every political person was unhappy about what somebody else said about their views, we would have no politics.”

As for being told not to tweet about the visit, the spokesman added: “I don’t know if he’d have been told that. It’s certainly not the advice I would have given him. A gentleman has a right to free speech – absolute total right to free speech – we can’t tell people what they can and can’t say on the internet, as long as it’s within the law. We certainly don’t go to people’s houses and say: ‘You can’t tweet about this’. This is not 1930s Germany.”

 

 

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Bizarre BNP accuse Nigel Farage of converting to Islam

Griffin visits Hamilton
Yesterday the increasingly bizarre BNP accused Nigel Farage of having undertaken ‘a recent conversion to Islam’ in a post which was primarily made up of a copied and pasted spam email.

As they face the final steps towards political obliteration (they have now lost all council seats they once held and are on course to lose their two MEPs in May’s elections) they appear to have resorted to trying to win back the particularly islamaphobic UKIP voters by making stuff up about Nigel Farage.

Classy huh!

This latest move is only one step removed from the utterly bizarre plea they sent out before which asked for members to ‘engage in making babies’.

Yep, after last May’s drumming at the local elections the BNP sent out a message calling for nationalists to reproduce more to fight the growing wave of immigration.

Little things like this can lead one to think that things are getting a wee bit desperate in BNP HQ.

If you live in the North West and want to make sure that the BNP see their electoral death, read this tactical analysis on how to best beat the BNP in May’s elections.

 

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The rather droll UKIP joke…

UKIP (aka the people’s army) have launched their campaign ahead of May’s European elections. The campaign attacks establishment thinking focusing on concerns of ordinary Brits. Who better to head up the campaign (funded by ex-Tory donor and millionaire Paul Sykes) than son of a stockbroker, the privately educated city boy, Mr Nigel Farage? Who says UKIP don’t have a sense of humour?  

Ukip poster campaign
UKIP’s European election campaign was today launched with a bang. Their (racist?) posters have caused controversy, shock and also a fair amount of TV coverage for UKIP.

But there is more than just a touch of irony in this campaign.

The posters nail the core issues that voters keep saying they are most worried about… the economy, immigration, and of course, jobs. But threaded throughout is their ‘core message’ that they are the party of the people standing up for ordinary Brits.

With either a splendid sense of humour or a terrifying sense of self-delusion, UKIP have even started referring to themselves as ‘the people’s army’.

You have to laugh don’t you (or you might cry)? Here is the privately educated stockbroker, Nigel Farage, heading up a campaign that is funded by ex-Tory millionaire Paul Sykes, lamenting the ‘establishment’ and ‘vested interests’.

In a way it is all quite droll.

Worryingly though, against all odds, I am not sure the electorate have spotted the joke.

UKIP are not exactly shy about their vested own interests. Hynd’s Blog is no Private Eye. Just yesterday in that little known publication, The Daily Telegraph, millionaire Mr Sykes wrote quite openly about why he has pumped £1.5 million personal pounds into the latest UKIP poster campaign. In the article he finishes by chillingly saying he will ‘do whatever it takes’.

Can people really not spot the contradiction here? A party stuffed full with disgraced Tories suddenly becoming the voice of the people?

I mean really….do people honestly believe that a party chaired by Neil Hamilton is really the party that is planning to stand up for ‘ordinary Brits’? The same Neil Hamilton whose Conservative career came to an end for accepting envelopes stuffed with cash from Harrods boss, Mohamed Al Fayed, in exchange for asking parliamentary questions…

If I stopped looking at the polls I could be convinced that UKIP was just a rather droll joke, but then I am reminded that this is the party that many tip to win May’s elections.

How very terrifying.

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UKIP & Liberal Democrat MEPs vote against gender pay equality

Antony Hook – the Liberal Democrat MEP candidate for the South East of England this week tweeted this picture.

UKIP

Rightly, he points out that UKIP MEPs were either absent or voted against a European Parliament motion calling for the equal pay of male and female workers. This motion received a massive 87% support from across the political spectrum but not from UKIP.

What Antony Hook might not have realised though is that his Liberal Democrat colleague George Lyon also voted against the motion alongside two other ALDE MEPs.

I look forward to his infographic highlighting this.

Shame on any MEP who voted against this motion…Lib Dem, UKIP or Tory (note no Labour or Green MEPs voted against the motion)!

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UKIP – less popular but here to stay?

423px-Europarl_logo.svg
I have written before about why I thought that UKIP would, like other far-right groups, rise and fall in the polls. I expected the May 2014 elections to represent their high before starting to crumble before the 2015 elections.

However, a new FT/Populus poll today shows that most of those planning to vote UKIP in May are also planning on supporting the party in 2015. This could be bad news for both Labour and Conservatives in key marginal seats. The Lib Dems however would surely gain from a strong UKIP turnout in 2015 as they fight their marginal seats against divided votes.

As Lord Ashcroft pointed out last month, these findings also question the effectiveness of the proposed Tory ‘Vote UKIP get Labour’ messaging planned for the next general election. Most UKIP voters don’t care if they get Cameron or Miliband. It would appear that a ‘they’re as bad as each other’ feeling is permeating UKIP supporters.

However, the FT/Populus poll also shows support for UKIP for the May 2014 elections at a relative low of 25%. Significantly 2 percent behind the Conservatives and 6 percent behind Labour. This is a far cry from UKIP’s aim of topping the polls in May 2014.

The FT/Populus poll also spells bad news for The Green Party giving them just a 3% share of the national vote (about half the lowest vote share they secured anywhere in England and Wales in 2009)!

You can see the detailed results here.

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A vote for UKIP in Stroud is a vote against science

ukip
My local paper, The Stroud News and Journal, this week published a letter from the UKIP perspective parliamentary candidate, Caroline Stephens. In the article Ms Stephens argues ‘that the climate has always been changing’ and that the local Greens should leave poor old Mr Patterson (the current climate change sceptic Tory Environment Minister) alone.

For those of you who are not familiar with the environmentalist epicentre which is Stroud, this move is akin to turning up to the WOMAD music festival to argue why you thought, not that you just didn’t like world music, but that it didn’t actually exist.

The reaction she received in the SNJ was comparable to a very verbal booing off stage. It was a splendid mixture of disbelief, outrage and bewildered humour.

But for every Stroudie who commented on the article, there are probably hundreds more who were taken in by her half-truths.

And so, once again, I feel honour bound, for the sake of anyone who is even considering lending her a vote, to highlight the pure idiocy of what she (and many other UKIPpers) actually thinks:

Point 1 – She writes:

If climate had never changed, the world would still be in say the Jurassic period maybe. If climate didn’t vary from one place to another sun seekers would not likely prefer southern Spain to the north of Scotland for their sun bathing holidays.

The first sentence is about as idiotic axiomatic and a non-sentence as me saying ‘if the Sun wasn’t there then there would be no life on this planet’.

I look forward to her speculation about where we would be without gravity.

Her second sentence shows a misunderstanding (or purposeful confusion?) of the fact that when we talk about global warming, we are talking about the globe, not what the weather is like in Spain.

Up to this point she is slightly odd but nothing too harmful.

Point 2 – She writes:

Currently there has been no statistically significant global warming for around 17 years (depending on which dataset is used).

I love the proviso here… “depending on which data set you use”. Perfect.

I think she is referring to the disparity between surface temperature and ocean temperature. If so, our friends over at Skeptical Science (who have devoted quite a lot of time to myth busting) write:

“Records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there is no sign of it slowing any time soon (Figure 1).  More than 90% of global warming heat goes into warming the oceans, while less than 3% goes into increasing the surface air temperature.”

So that explains the surface temperature recordings to which I assume she refers (but this is hard to tell when her myths are written with no sources to support them).

You can read more about why the earth has been getting warmer in the last 17 years here.

Point 3 – She then references Prof John Cristy:

Yes, her only real half reference is the same John Cristy profiled here. Lol.

Point 4 – One has to ask how there were so many storms and floods going back to the nineteenth century and before. No one had even thought of blaming humankind for the weather then although the alarmists of the day did blame so called witches for ‘cooking’ the weather? Weather (rain) not climate change has been the cause of floods which have been exacerbated by the European Union’s discouraging dredging of waterways in the name of creating wetland wildlife habitats.

Just wow…of course, it is the EU’s fault!

Right, let’s keep this simple. Rain (weather) is different to climate. But the climate can impact on extreme weather events (this was the very basic point that Green Cllr Sarah Lunnon was making that sparked this bizarre response from Ms Stephens).

If you want to know exactly how climate change might impact on extreme weather events you can read this 2012 IPCC report.

A slightly more credible source than her…oh wait…none existing source.

Point 5 – (I skip a bit here as it all relates to extreme weather and frankly, I’m getting a bit bored). But towards the end she writes:

Thank goodness there are a few climate rationalists left in the Coalition to try to defend our way of life.

Sigh. “Climate rationalist”. She is of course referring to Owen Patterson who I think broke a record a few months back with the most number of climate change myths spouted on national radio.

Read this blog on his (would be comic if it wasn’t so depressing) appearance on the BBC’s Any Questions.

The Greens have my absolute backing when they call for the sacking of this man who seems to be able to ignore basic climate science.

In short, the whole letter consisted of half-truths, misinformation and vague unsupported ideas that I felt needed to be tackled .

But I look forward to Ms Stephen’s (fully referenced with peer reviewed science) response.

Until this happens though I hope the good people of Stroud will back a candidate/party that actually uses science to base their views (and policies on).

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Filed under Climate Change, EU politics, Far-right politics, Gloucestershire, Media, Politics

Watch Nigel Farage launch the ‘straight talking’ 2010 UKIP manifesto

Farage
Nigel Farage has today said that he stands by none of his party’s 2010 manifesto policies. Making considerable effort to distance himself from the manifesto he stated that UKIP would adopt no new policies until after the 2014 elections.

Yep, to clarify, UKIP are asking you to vote for them, despite offering no clue to what their policies might be!

Commenting on the 2010 manifesto Farage said, “I don’t defend the 2010 manifesto. I didn’t put it together”

So here is a video of him in 2010 launching his party’s ‘straight talking’ manifesto:

Hat tip for the video for Andy Carling.

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Filed under EU politics, Politics

What can we learn from UKIP’s half-baked, semi-coherent, anti-science policies

711px-Derek_Clark
UKIP’s education spokesman, Derek Clark MEP, today made Gove look like a model of modernity and scientific enlightenment by stating that he believed, “all teaching of global warming being caused in any way by carbon dioxide emissions must also be banned”.

To clarify, this spokesman of a supposedly libertarian party, wants to ban schools from teaching about climate change!

UKIP’s main energy document ‘Keeping The Lights On’ claims that there is “increasing doubts about the theory of man-made climate change.” Something which the growing scientific consensus around man-made climate change directly contradicts.

UKIP’s education policy, like that of its energy policy, directly contradicts the consensus reached by the majority of climate scientists.

For some this makes them heroes for standing up to ‘establishment thinking’. For others, this blogger included, this makes them halfwits that put political ideology before evidence whatever the impact this might have on ordinary people.

Disturbingly though, poll after poll shows UKIP are on course to do rather well in May’s elections. They are certainly going to kick the Tories into third and may even beat Labour and finish on top of the pile.

So what does this tell us?

It tells us something which I have been shouting about for a long long time within progressive circles.

The electorate doesn’t worry about little things like policies but they do care about sentiment, feelings, and gut reactions.

UKIP have been exceptionally good at presenting an image of ‘standing up for ordinary people against the political elite’ and ‘speaking common sense’ whilst at the same time having a list of incoherent, half-baked and anti-science policies.

In contrast The Green Party has a list of science-based progressive policies that have been shown to be the most popular with the electorate but have failed to gain a significant vote share because at best they are seen as ‘standing up for the environment’ (something which most people include well down on their list of priorities) but at worst are seen as ‘middle class, university educated elite who are out of touch with ordinary people’.

And so, in the run up to the coming European elections, I hope to hear Greens talk coherently not about ‘the science behind the badger cull’ but about how they are ‘standing up for animal welfare. I hope to hear not about their proposed ‘Financial Transaction Tax’ but about ‘putting people before big business’. I hope to hear most of all not about ‘the scientific consensus around climate change’ but about ‘looking after our planet for future generations to enjoy’.

This might seem like a crass simplification of politics but if there is one thing UKIP can teach us – it is that in a badly informed democracy, gut feelings are more important than policies.

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Filed under Climate Change, EU politics, Politics

Labour’s opposition to an EU referendum could cost them crucial votes

Peter Mandelson
Did anyone listen to Peter ‘Mandy’ Mandelson on BBC Radio 4 this morning? Essentially he was there defending the Labour Party’s new policy on not having a referendum on the EU.

Fine. I disagree with him, but if that’s his view then fine.

But…and this is what annoys me…I don’t think it is entirely his view. Have a look at this quote from him in the Guardian in 2012:

“I believe a fresh referendum will be necessary because the political parties cannot reconcile their own differences and come to a final conclusion on their own, and nor should they.”

So why the conversion? Well it could well have been a favour pulled in by the Miliband camp who have watched high-profile figures including Tom Watson and Ian Austin split with the party’s official position in recent months.

Either way – it does at least begin to clarify in the voters mind what their policy actually is (something that was less than clear for the last few years). But one wonders how they have come to this policy? Poll after poll shows that the electorate is desperate for an in/out referendum.

As a result this leaves many traditional Labour voters who want a referendum with a difficult decision. Back Labour and have no say on EU membership, or back another party? If they chose the later they have little real choice with only the Conservatives, UKIP or The Green Party currently offering a referendum.

Still, one has to ask: just how many votes this will cost Labour at the European elections in 2014?

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Filed under EU politics, Politics

3 points on partly political funding

Today the quarterly donations for political parties in the UK was published.

Apart from the actual quantities (millions of pounds) there were a few noteworthy figures to highlight:

  • The mystery of Ms Joan L B Edwards – Sitting in both second and third position (after UNITE) for biggest donations was a Ms Joan L B Edwards who donated £420,576 to the Conservatives and £99,423 – curious isn’t it? Our friends over at Lib Dem Voice helped unravel the mystery though – apparently Ms Edwards left £520,000 to “the government of the day” in her will. It was decided that because of the coalition this should be split between the two parties by number of MPs and cabinet members.
  • UKIP and BNP are making a mint while the Greens are looking green  – UKIP was donated a hefty £153,229, the BNP (considering that they have almost ceased to exist in any elected sense) picked up an impressive £97,879, while the Greens took home a measly £27,242. To put this into context, the Tiverton branch of UKIP received almost twice as much as the national Green Party.
  •  If things look bad for the Greens though…it’s worse the SNP – Once again the SNP have picked up little more than peanuts (£4,500). This, if not bad in itself, shows the nationalists to be in stark contrast to The Labour Party who, in Scotland alone, picked up £66,032. With an independence referendum coming…this sort of money disparity will surely have an effect.

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Filed under Economics, Politics