There is a new ICM poll reported tonight for tomorrow’s Guardian showing Labour at a higher level than other recent polls and an increased Conservative lead of 11%:
Conservative 39% (down 1%)
Labour 28% (down 2%)
Lib Dem 20% (up 1%)
The minor parties are on 4% each for the BNP and UKIP and just 2% for the Greens. The most interesting findings are over how the respective party leaders have handled the Parliamentary expenses crisis: 55% credit David Cameron with handling the crisis well, while 69% think that Gordon Brown has handled it badly. In the case of Nick Clegg 39% think he has handled it badly while 37% take the opposite view.
There is a new YouGov poll reported this morning for the Daily Telegraph, confirming other recent polls and with a Conservative lead of 16%:
Conservative 39% (down 2%)
Labour 23% (up 1%)
Lib Dem 19% (no change)
The changes are within the margins of error but Conservatives will not be pleased to be under 40%.
It is hard to believe that I began this blog just six months ago. It seems much longer! In that time this blog has made the local press several times and prompted the Reading West MP to get his website updated.
However, over six months it seems to have taken off and earned a committed readership, for which I am very grateful. Many readers also take the time to comment and, with one or two exceptions, they have been good natured and constructive comments, whether supportive or critical.
Currently I get about 500 hits per day, with the busiest single day (last month) achieving over 1,300 hits. I write about a mix of politics, shows and films with the most read article being the one I wrote about the film “17 Again” (over 3,600 hits). The article with the most comments is the one I wrote about the Falkland Islands, which currently has 74 hits with a continuing debate about the sovereignty of the islands and the sinking of the Argentine ship the “General Belgrano” in 1982.
Many friends and colleagues have linked to my blog but the biggest source of hits is Iain Dale’s excellent blog, which has sent me over 4,800 visitors, followed by Jane Griffiths’ original blog with almost 1,300. As I write this I have almost 49,000 hits recorded on the site counter (and that does not include my own visits, before you ask). Not bad in just six months!
I will continue to write a mix of mainly political articles, levened with some reviews of shows and films. My politics are openly Conservative and if you chose to read my blog that is inevitably the angle you will get. Unlike some others I prefer to be open about who I am and my politics. You can make your own mind up who you read and why.
One of the most interesting result of blogging is the number of people who get in touch with me to offer information. It has enabled me to break stories first on occasion and to offer a unique insight on others. Both Jane Griffiths and Cllr Tony Jones have commented on the speed and/or accuracy of my reports. Of course I won’t divulge my sources but I can say that I have people from within other parties who for one reason or another chose to send me information about what is going on in their party. Some may scoff but to date I think the evidence demonstrates that those sources are reliable.
It may be true as Martin Salter suggests that blogging is “the last refuge for tragic insomniacs who lack social skills” but it has become a passion of mine. It is my firm belief that it is also to the advantage of the community for local representatives to blog about their activities. I began by publishing a monthly activity report, which has been followed by several other Councillors and I have also published meeting reports and expense returns that might otherwise not have been available.
Blogging it seems to be is a democratising force, as long as you are prepared to allow for the occasional inaccuracies and unpleasant comment. I hope that readers get some benefit from what I write and remember……I am always interested to hear from new sources of information!