There is a new Populus poll of Unite union members for tomorrow’s Sunday Times.
At the last General Election Labour had a 25% lead over the Conservatives of Unite members intending to vote, now that is just 3%:
Lib Dem 19%
Unite is Britain’s biggest union, is affiliated to Labour and provides a large amount of its funding. 61% of members polled described David Cameron as “strong” compared to only 49% for Gordon Brown. 51% thought a Conservative government would be “good for them and their families” compared to 49% for Labour under Brown.
This is quite a remarkable poll and again underlines the depths to which Labour has fallen in recent times. It also suggests that David Cameron is making real inroads into sectors of the population that until recently would never have considered voting Conservative.
There is a new ComRes poll reported tonight in the Independent on Sunday tomorrow showing the Conservatives lead narrowing. However, the new poll brings ComRes into line with other recent polls:
Conservative 41% (down 3%)
Labour 30% (up 2%)
Lib Dem 17% (no change)
Conservatives will be pleased to have maintained a lead over 10% and a party rating in the 40’s. However, Labour will draw some small comfort that they are slightly up from their ratings in the 20’s last month.
UPDATE: Full details of the polls are here.
Car production is down 59% year on year
Van production is down 72% year on year
That is the worst that anyone can remember. The 2010 British International Motor Show has been cancelled and job cuts are being planned across the motor industry. This is especially bad news as around the key motor manufacturing plants are clusters of hundreds of companies that supply the big plants with parts, design expertise and servicing. These employ many tens of thousands of people over and above those directly employed in vehicle manufacture.
The decline in vehicle production has been especially marked due to the fact that a high proportion are normally destined for export and those markets have dried up in recent months. Despite efforts in Germany and elsewhere consumers that are buying seem to prefer locally made cars. France has caused a row within the EU with the news that Renault is to transfer production of one model from a plant in fellow EU member Slovenia, back to France, possibly due to state aid to the car maker.
In this country Labour has a particular problem as many of the key car plants are in Labour voting areas or the marginal constituencies of the midlands. The electoral effect for them could be devastating if newly unemployed former Labour voters decide to stay at home in protest rather than turn out to vote in the Euro elections in June and then the General Election.
We are due to have a range of economic figures next week that could be equally bleak. The Retail Price Index is expected to dive into negative territory for the first time in most memories and retail sales figures are expected to be poor, having also been hit by the snowy weather last month. This is at a time when Government borrowing and cash injections appear to be having little if any impact.
It cannot be a comfortable time for Labour MPs sitting on majorities of less than 10,000 votes. They and their leader Gordon Brown face joining their vehicle industry constituents on the dole as soon as a General Election is called.