The case is made easily – and frequently: if we had a different method for electing our MPs, Britain would still be in the European Union. The argument goes like this. The 2019 general election produced a big parliamentary majority for Brexit because First Past The Post (FPTP) distorted our votes. Almost 17 million people … Continue reading Why pro-Europeans should beware of voting reform
This blog takes me back to an old hunting ground, when I was President of YouGov and a trustee of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) – and YouGov first conducted major annual survey for ASH. This year’s survey assessed public attitudes to the Government’s declared ambition to reduce the number of smokers to 5 … Continue reading Voters, including many smokers, want tough action to make tobacco history
Boris Johnson talks frequently of his ambitions for “global Britain”. He wants the United Kingdom, post-Brexit, to play a great role round the world. In a Government report published in March, he said that this is vital for the UK’s “safety and prosperity”, and definitely not a “vainglorious gesture”. How seriously should we take Britain’s … Continue reading Global Britain versus Modest Britain: why Boris Johnson’s ambition is doomed to fail
Are the glory days over for social democracy? Do voters now take for granted the great progressive reforms of the post-war era – pensions, education, healthcare, social insurance etc – and see no need to continue supporting the parties that first championed them? Two weeks ago I explored the long-term roots of Labour’s decline here … Continue reading Why progressive parties have lost ground around the world
Two rival theories have sought to explain Labour’s drubbing in last week’s elections. The Left accuses Keir Starmer of deserting the party’s socialist principles. The leadership fears that the party has not changed enough: it needs to shed the ideological baggage that make it look elitist and metropolitan. I believe both theories are wrong. They … Continue reading Labour’s crisis has been decades in the making
I admit it: my past election predictions have not always been perfect. Here, though, is one that I make with confidence. Over the weekend of May 8-9, as we digest the results of next week’s elections, all the main political parties will tell us that they have done better than they expected. They will, of … Continue reading Tory, SNP hopes? Labour, Lib Dem fears? A Green shock? How to make sense of next week’s elections
Two big lessons can be learned about public opinion since Britain’s agreement with the EU came into force in January. The first is that there has been a clear rise in support for Brexit. The second is that, given all that has happened in recent weeks – not least the spat between London and Brussels … Continue reading Support for Brexit rises – but not massively
As Winston Churchill famously said, jaw-jaw is better than war-war. However, jaw-jaw is less exciting, which is why the latest news about relations between Britain and the European Union has passed most people by. In three separate areas, confidential discussions have been proposed to resolve tricky issues. Any or all may yet founder. Even if … Continue reading Brexit: will Boris Johnson betray hardline Tory MPs?
If we ever needed proof that one of the most valued arts in politics is expectations management, the coming by-election in Hartlepool is certain to provide it. Already Labour and the Conservatives are briefing journalists on why they expect to lose – in both cases in order to prepare for the result in the early … Continue reading How much does the Hartlepool by-election matter?
Election buffs are in for an exciting spring; and for every party it will be unusually tense. For the first time since Brexit and the outbreak of Covid, millions of real votes, as distinct from opinion polls, will reveal the mood of the nation. In the wake of the pandemic, last week’s Budget and the … Continue reading Why all of Britain’s parties are nervous about May 6