Tony King, one of the finest and also nicest political scientists of the modern era, liked to ask his students questions designed to test their thinking. If, as students often do, one of them proposed a policy outside the political mainstream, Tony would invite them to consider not just the merits of the idea but … Continue reading Three boulders block the road to voting reform
How grumblers and defectors have laid a trap for our pollsters
This is one of my very occasional very long blogs, so I‘ll start with a summary of my argument. In recent years a new polling technique, MRP, has attracted much attention. It uses detailed data from large national surveys to predict the results of individual constituencies. Despite some well-publicised successes for MRP, I believe there … Continue reading How grumblers and defectors have laid a trap for our pollsters
Local elections: terrible for the Tories; just OK for Labour
Welcome to the cherry orchard. In the past 24 hours the different parties have been picking their fruit from different trees. Rishi Sunak points to Tory gains in Sandwell, Bassetlaw and Stockton. Labour proclaims its triumphs in Swindon, Medway and Stoke. Ed Davey has discovered the national significance of Windsor & Maidenhead. It was ever … Continue reading Local elections: terrible for the Tories; just OK for Labour
The Lib Dems: yellows in peril?
Whither the Liberal Democrats? Or, if you prefer, wither the Liberal Democrats? Can they find a route back to relevance or are they heading for the great committee room in the sky? The questions remain open because the evidence of their performance is so contradictory. They languish in the polls, with just 9-10 per cent … Continue reading The Lib Dems: yellows in peril?
The polls dispute the size of Labour’s lead; the local elections may tell us which are right
How times change. In bygone days, polls were rare treats. Mid-term figures for voting intention would appear two or three times a month. Pundits and strategists would savour each one, as if sipping a rare malt whisky. Today they flow like running water. At least one hundred have been published since that start of this … Continue reading The polls dispute the size of Labour’s lead; the local elections may tell us which are right
Why the Tories would be mad to bring back Boris
Here is some free advice to Conservatives who want to bring back Boris Johnson: don’t. Deltapoll has compared his reputation with those of his party, Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer and the Labour Party. The results are clear. His ratings are worse than those of Sunak; he is as unpopular as his party – which means … Continue reading Why the Tories would be mad to bring back Boris
Scotland will change after Sturgeon. So might Westminster
The facts have not yet changed; so I have not yet changed my mind. But they might; and if they do, I will. In a recent analysis for Prospect I looked at the votes Labour needed to win the next election. On a uniform swing, I estimated that Labour needs a lead of 6 per cent to be … Continue reading Scotland will change after Sturgeon. So might Westminster
Wanted: big ideas to fix broken Britain
Any serious analysis of the UK’s current condition starts with Brexit; and so will the argument that follows. But, as we shall see, Britain’s problems don’t end there – and, indeed, didn’t begin there; and leading politicians seem nervous about rising to the challenge of solving them.. Seven years ago the most famous bus in … Continue reading Wanted: big ideas to fix broken Britain
Should the Tories be worried by Reform – and Labour by the Greens?
Last time it didn’t matter; next time it might matter a lot. The best analysis of the 2019 election result found that the Brexit Party cost the Conservatives 25 seats. However, as Boris Johnson’s majority was 80 without those seats, the Brexit Party, which won no seats of its own, failed to achieve Nigel Farage’s … Continue reading Should the Tories be worried by Reform – and Labour by the Greens?
Figuring out the next election
I have bad news for those who complain, as I’m told Aneurin Bevan once did, that statistics take the poetry out of politics. The analysis that follows is mainly about numbers. There is a reason for this. The outcome of the next election—who will win, and how well—will depend on the way thirty-plus million votes … Continue reading Figuring out the next election
Labour voters want pragmatism, not ideology
When Keir Starmer stood for Labour’s leadership three years ago, he made ten campaign pledges. This was pledge number five: Common Ownership; Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system. This is … Continue reading Labour voters want pragmatism, not ideology
A new year fantasy of a better politics
Let us start with some good news about climate change. No, I cannot unveil some secret analysis showing that global warming is slowing down, or that targets for the future are well within reach. The COP meetings in Glasgow and Sharm-el-Sheikh made less progress than the planet requires. The good news, however, is that the … Continue reading A new year fantasy of a better politics