Monday, February 23, 2009

Lib Dems back down to earth with ICM

Con 42 (+2)

Lab 30 (+2)

LD 18 (-4)

Not a lot to say here, other than the Tory number is heading in the right direction, Labour appear not to be crashing into the twenties as they did last year, and the Lib Dems’ 22% appears to have been anomalous. We’ll have to wait for March’s poll selection to see if the Tories increase their lead. I doubt any further Ashcroft coverage would do them any favours.

The Polls – Running Average

This is a test I’m doing using Google Docs to see if I can satisfactorily embed my Polls spreadsheet into the blog. It’s certainly a better result than Scribd, which refuses to publish it in landscape mode. I am not, however, satisfied by the lack of dates on the x axis – it starts in May 2005 and runs to Feb 2009.

Polls Latest

A quick update, taking all February polls so far into account. Word from Anthony Wells is that we’ll be hearing from ICM this evening. It will be interesting to see if they confirm their previous Lib Dem increase of six points, and how far ahead the Tories are. At the moment, there is a large margin of eight points between the best poll for the Tories (MORI) and this one. Will the Tory number increase?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome back to a 20-point lead (and other boasts)

MORI suggested earlier this week that the Tories might be returning to the sort of poll leads they enjoyed in the Summer of 2008, although one poll on its own is, of course, not enough.

Con 48 (+4)
Lab 28 (-2)
LD 17 (-)

CON MAJ >150 (silly nonsense, utmost conjecture and very unlikely to happen - 'CON GAIN BOLSOVER', etc)

It doesn't appear that MORI's respondents agree that the LibDems' position is improving either.

It also appears that Labour may be entering another hilarious phase of internal mucking about, as several newspapers are reporting that Harriet Harman might be positioning herself to become the next leader of the Labour Party, with further chatter than she might team up with John Cruddas to form a so-called 'dream ticket' for the lefties, silly lefties, ultra sillies and completely deluded neo-Marxist ultra statist 1983ites, oh, and the unions. Such a team would only be a dream for the Tories. It's inevitable that an internal debate must ensue in the Labour Party after New Labour has, in the eyes of most, been shown to fail - but as Charles Clarke has often warned, Labour must debate how to take votes off the Tories, not how best (or indeed worst) retreat into idealistic and prejudiced leftwingdom, which so dogged its electoral performance in the 1980s.

Many see James Purnell and Alan Johnson as a future Labour leaders. I would suggest that a pairing of those two might save Labour from its most potent threat - a return to its core beliefs. Such a duo may, however, threaten Labour with terrible factionalism, or worse still, a complete split. This scenario would probably consign them to electoral oblivion. So - excellent.

It may be that Labour will do as badly in 2010 as they did in 1983. If they do, however, it will not be because voters wanted a left wing alternative. It will be because they are sick and tired of a government that thought it could do everything, and suddenly found out everything that it thought it had done, had amounted to nothing.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Lib Dems up to 22% with ICM?

Don’t forget one of Mike Smithson’s golden rules – a rogue poll is one where you don’t agree with the numbers!

Con 40 –4

Lab 28 –4

LD 22 +6

I certainly don’t agree with these. What have the Lib Dems done to deserve an extra six points? With the exception of The Cable, they’ve been largely out of the media spotlight since economic woe took over last autumn, crushed by the might of the other two parties. We shall see if other polls confirm this odd trend, not forgetting, of course, that ICM is the pollster which tends to give the best Lib Dem scores. YouGov, MORI, Populus and Comres would have to show 4-6 point jump in the Lib Dem score for this not to be a rogue in my opinion.

Ukelect yields:

Con 329 +116

Lab 235 -112

LD 55 –5

Con maj 10

The Tory figure of just 40% is quite disappointing, but seeing Labour return to the twenties is a pleasure indeed.

This Age of Offense

I’ve been brewing a post on this topic for a day or two now, after the recent mini-scandals involving Thatch junior and Clarkson.

It seems to me that the centre-left consensus of the past decade has conspired to create a nation of hypersensitive types, who feel unable to accommodate any sort of offense, either in seriousness or in jest. It’s part of the culture of the apology, of compensation, political correctness, of fault assignment and blame management. I’m sure the leftist bureaucracy can fully approve those terms, and there are probably about 10,000 people employed in such positions in the NHS - ‘blame management consultant’, or ‘fault assignment coordinator’.

Some might know that I possess a fairly offensive sense of humour myself, and I don’t shy away from joking about supposedly taboo subject matter – race, religion, terrorism, etc. What infuriates me most is that supposedly near-the-knuckle comedienne Jo Brand was present during the Thatch junior ‘golliwogate’ (that’s g******gate for the lily-livered) and is rumoured to have found Thatch’s quip unacceptably offensive. What wholesale hypocrisy from this woman. I have seen plenty of Brand on television, both on stage and on shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You, and she is capable of causing far more offense to a much wider audience than Carol Thatcher.

Now, had Carol Thatcher not been joking about golliwogs, and had actually been systematically banding about colonial-era racist terminology in an effort to offend, then I might have sympathy with the BBC’s actions. But it was a joke, for fuck’s sake! Is there now a BBC humour code which excludes sensitive subject matter? Because if that were the case, we’d still be watching The Good Life, early episodes of The Goodies, and similarly inoffensive and tepid material. I’m not saying these comedies aren’t funny because they’re not offensive – that would be very childish. I’m just observing that near-the-knuckle humour makes people laugh. That includes jokes about race – because it’s risqué, precisely because it appears to risk offending people. Whether it’s the old pun about ‘entering a horse at the Grand National’ or the late Humphrey Lyttelton’s frequent, outrageous, and pre-watershed observations about Samantha’s lifestyle on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, this sort of humour has a long established tradition on the BBC, and its recent actions suggest it’s following a very dangerous path indeed.

Now, on to Clarkson. I am an enormous Top Gear fan – I am counting down the days to a new series, and watching the old ones again and again on Dave. Sure, I often find Jeremy’s surprisingly childish and dismissive attitude a little frustrating, but that’s always counterbalanced by the tremendous amusement caused by him consistently buying the worst car in a Cheap Cars Challenge. I would like to take this opportunity to examine Jeremy’s comments about Gordon Brown during his time in Australia doing Top Gear Live. He referred to the Prime Minister as:

‘a one-eyed Scottish idiot’

So, let’s examine those words one by one:

a: the indefinite article

one-eyed: well this could mean that the Prime Minister has literally only one eye, in the middle of this face. According to recent television footage, this clearly isn’t the case. The Prime Minister is, however, blind in one eye. Is this wildly offensive? Not really – it’s crass and insensitive – and I’m sure Gordon is thick-skinned enough to take it.

Scottish: it is unarguably the case that Gordon Brown is indeed Scottish. Why is this more insulting than if he were British? Surely ‘British idiot’ bears the same insult value as ‘Scottish idiot’? What about ‘Welsh idiot’? No sniggering at the back. How about ‘golliwog idiot’? Smarting yet, lefties?

idiot: well this is obviously down to one’s own opinion, but taking into account Gordon’s track record as Shadow Chancellor, Chancellor, and Prime Minister, I come to the conclusion that yes, he probably is. If your name’s Derek and you spend your time adding all of Iain Dale’s followers to your Twitter feed, recent emails and deluded rants provide evidence that you might disagree with this view.

Taken as one phrase then, one-eyed Scottish idiot doesn’t appear to cause enormous offense – it’s a combination of unavoidable fact (one-eyed, Scottish) and opinion (idiot). If you find this hugely offensive, you’re a c**t of the highest order. 

In other news: 9/11 – yes or no? Diana: was the car made of marzipan? Religion – is it all a load of old bollocks? Race – was Hitler right?