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Big shake up in next LAB leader betting following Chuka Umunna’s withdrawal from the race

May 15th, 2015




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The GE2020 challenge for LAB: Unless its Scottish losses can be reversed it needs a 12% lead for a majority

May 15th, 2015

Within a few weeks of each general election Professor John Curtice and other leading psephologists start producing the numbers that will shape the next general election.

The first one is in the Mail piece – what LAB would need to do to secure a majority next time.

Before last week’s election Curtice had said that the Tories would require a 7% lead for a majority depending on how well they performed against the Lib Dems. As it was they did far better on that last measure than just about anybody predicted and the Cameron was able to secure a majority with a GB lead on votes of 6.7%.

    It is a combination of the near wipe-out of the Lib Dems in blue facing seats in England and Wales and the developments in Scotland that make Labour’s challenge look so daunting.

This is the context in which Labour’s search for a new leader is taking place. Essentially Miliband’s successor needs the electoral magic that only Tony Blair has ever had in the entire history of the party.

Mike Smithson





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The real answer to the “shy Tories” phenomenon is Boris

May 14th, 2015

In 2012 many more said they’d vote for him than actually did

A lot has been written in the past week about so-called “shy Tories” who are reluctant to tell pollsters on the phone or when they complete online questionnaires that they’ll support the blues.

Yet look at what happened in 2012 when Boris was re-elected as mayor of London – the opposite happened. Every single pollsters had Boris lead at a level bigger than it was.

Of the firms featuring in the chart only one used the phone at that election – Populus- and it came out worst of all.

Mike Smithson





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Meanwhile away from UKIP runners declare themselves in 3 political races and an 8/1 tip from Damian McBride

May 14th, 2015

The LAB leadership contest

The LD leadership contest

LAB selection for the 2016 London Mayoral race

And a tip from Damian MaBride



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The UKIP implosion Part 2: Farage accused of being “snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive”

May 14th, 2015

The fall-out from Farage’s unresignation continues

Last Friday Nigel Farage stepped down as UKIP leader following his failure to become an MP. After the weekend that was all rescinded when the party executive refused to accept it.

The following day there was a hugely publicised row between Farage and his party’s only MP Douglas Carswell.

This morning the Guardian and a number of of papers are highlighting a remarkable attack on Farage by UKIP’s campaign chief, Patrick O’Flynn in an interview with The Times that it is carrying on its front page (££).

What’s striking here is the person who is making the attacks. O’Flynn is the former political Editor of the Daily Express and his move to the party last year was regarded as a big coup. As well as the headline comments O’Flynn gets more specific:

“What’s happened since Thursday night, Friday morning has certainly laid us open to the charge that this looks like an absolutist monarchy or a personality cult,” he said. “I don’t think that even Nigel would say it’s been the most glorious chapter of his leadership..” He said the party had to ask itself why it had failed to secure a string of winnable seats, including Mr Farage’s own target in Kent..The team around Nigel himself need to reflect why it was that Thanet voted in a Ukip council but didn’t vote in Nigel as the MP for Thanet South, Mr O’Flynn said.”

This is tough stuff and it is hard to see how both Farage and O’Flynn can continue in the same party. One of them surely has to go.

No doubt we’ll see more Farage-related betting markets being announced during the day.

Mike Smithson





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What a great idea for Labour’s leadership contest – test each of them out at PMQs

May 13th, 2015

Given that the weekly slot at PMQs is such an important platform for the leader of the opposition then the idea being promoted by Dr Will Jennings seems a very good plan. How will each of them perform one week at a time against Cameron?

Will they be able to think on their feet? How will they cope with the crescendo of noise? What questions will they choose to ask? Labour should give this a try.

Looking at the election timetable there would appear to be ample time before the summer break for each to have a slot.

UPDATE: Yvette enters the race

Mike Smithson





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Marf on six days after

May 13th, 2015

mememe (1)



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Farage’s biggest mistake was to duck the Eastleigh by election

May 13th, 2015

farage and carswell

A big public split with Carswell was almost inevitable

The very public row that has broken out between Farage and his party’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, was one that had been widely predicted. The only issue was what would spark it off.

For because of his unique MP status it is up to Carswell to decide on how the public funds that UKIP is due from what is known as Short money should be used. The Clacton MP believes passionately in a smaller state and could not see how the sum involved, £600k, could be justified

What this highlights is how important it is that Farage as party leader should be an MP. His failure in Thanet South last Thursday was a huge blow for him and his party.

The signs are that Farage will endeavour to get into the Commons at a by-election but the timing and location of that are clearly out of his control.

Back in February 2013 I could not understand why he stood aside at the Eastleigh by election. It had been clear for at least a year beforehand that there was a big chance that a vacancy would occur there and Farage had stood for UKIP in the seat at a previous by election.

Given that his party’s surge was just starting at that time this presented an ideal opportunity for him to become an MP. For whatever reason he decided against and saw the UKIP candidate come in second very close behind.

In politics you have to take opportunities as they come and it says a lot about Farage that he didn’t.

Now the speculation is that Carswell might leave and there’s even a betting market that he’ll rejoin the Tories.

Mike Smithson