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New ComRes Poll – Labour 1% Ahead

There is a new ComRes online poll published in tomorrow’s Independent  which shows the Conservatives slipping 1% behind Labour:

           Conservative            37% (down 1%)

                                        Labour                      38% (no change)

                                        Lib Dem                    14% (up 3%)

Most people still blame Labour for Britain’s economic woes. Asked whether the Coalition is more to blame than the previous Labour Government for the current state of the economy, only one in four (26 per cent) agrees and 62 per cent disagree. Labour voters are divided; some 48 per cent think the Coalition is more to blame but a surprisingly high proportion — 42 per cent — disagrees with this statement.

Asked whether they trust Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne to make the right decisions on the economy,  35 per cent agree and 55 per cent disagree – a  net “economic trust” rating of minus 20 points.

Labour’s position is much worse. Only 24 per cent trust Mr Miliband and Mr Balls to make the right decisions on the economy, while 65 per cent do not – a net rating of minus 41 points. Some 42 per cent of Labour supporters do not trust the party leader and Shadow Chancellor to make the right decisions, while 51 per cent do.

ComRes surveyed 1,001 GB adults online on 27-29 January 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative and by past vote recall.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 2 Comments

New YouGov Poll – Tories Enjoy a 2% Lead!

There is a new YouGov poll in the Sun newspaper tomorrow showing the Conservatives with a lead of 2% over Labour:

                   Conservative              40% (down 1%)

                   Labour                         38% (up 2%)

                                                     Lib Dem                       10% (up 1%)

This poll comes after a couple of YouGov polls showing the two major parties neck and neck with Labour enjoying a small lead.

In other findings 34% approve of the Government’s record to date with 50% disapproving, giving a net approval of -16%. This is significantly better than most of the latter part of last year.

Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 22 January.

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Essex Lib Dem Councillor Defects to the Conservatives

Conservatives in Essex are celebrating a new addition to their ranks as a Brentwood Lib Dem Councillor has crossed the floor to join the ruling group. Cllr Nigel Clarke who represents the Brentwood West ward on the Council is a well known local businessman with a hair dressing salon in Crown Street.

Cllr Clarke’s switch reduces the Lib Dems from 8 to 7 seats and boosts the Conservatives from 27 to 28, with just one Labour and one Independent Councillor.

Speaking to his local paper Cllr Clarke summed up the mood amongst Lib Dems at present. He said: “I don’t think there is a hope in hell of making any progress, not talking on the doorstep.

“While the Lib Dems are in the coalition, we were getting treated the same here locally.  There is just a feeling in the country at the moment.

“There is a frustration at not moving forward, not getting new councillors. That’s what happened with me, they lost one.”

Welcome to the Party Nigel!

January 28, 2012 Posted by | National | 1 Comment

Holocaust Memorial Day – 27 January

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day when we remember the horrors inflicted on the Jews of Europe and others considered undesirable by the Nazi regime in World War Two. I have been privileged, to meet several survivors of Auschwitz and although I have yet to visit the camp itself I was profoundly moved by their account of some of the terrible events conducted there and in other concentration camps.

In recent years there have been attempts by some to broaden the scope of the reflection on this day, to include other terrible but much smaller events. I think that is mistaken. The holocaust in World War Two was uniquely evil in that it was a state inspired attempt to completely annihilate an entire group of people from a whole continent. The only terror which comes close is Stalin’s purges, murders and deportations of millions of non-Russian peoples.

Last year I attended the Council Holocaust event in the Civic Offices. It was run by Reading Council for Racial Equality (RCRE) but I felt that it failed to treat the event with the non-political dignity which should have been accorded. The RCRE abused the opportunity to push their own political agenda and despite some moving elements to the occasion, I and others left feeling that things could and should have been run much better, with the main focus being on the Nazi’s murderous deeds. I was hopeful that this year people other than RCRE would organise a more suitable event, possibly led by Rabbi Solomon. When I received the invite from RCRE once again I decided that I would not participate this time.

I very much hope that in 2013 there will be an event which is Jewish led, attended by representatives of other groups who suffered in the Holocaust, and I will then be honoured to attend.

Europe is once again in a period of economic chaos and government instability. The conditions are there in some nations now for dictatorship and nationalism. Unemployment is almost 25% in Spain and Greece is teetering on the edge of widespread societal collapse. Earlier this week I watched a documentary about the Warsaw ghetto based on original footage filmed by German soldiers for propaganda purposes. It was shocking to see people starving and lying dead on the streets as others walked past.  We must never forget what was done across Europe in the name of the German people and their supporters in other nations.

January 27, 2012 Posted by | International, National | 15 Comments

New ICM Poll – Tories Surge to a 5% Lead in a Second Major Poll

There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow showing the Conservatives surging to a lead of 5% over Labour:

         Conservative              40% (up 3%)

                                                  Labour                       35% (down 1%)

                                                  Lib Dem                      16% (up 1%)

This confirms yesterday’s YouGov poll which also had the Conservatives 5% ahead of Labour. With the last two YouGov polls showing 3% and 5% leads respectively and now ICM (the pollster of choice for many who follow opinion polls) showing a 5% lead it is reasonable to conclude that this is a realistic reflection of public opinion at this time. For Labour to be substantially behind the Coalition Government at this time is a damning indictment of Ed Miliband and the senior Labour leadership.

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1003 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 20-22 January 2012.

UPDATE: Tonight there is also a Populus poll for tomorrow’s Times which finds: Cons 37 (+2), Lab 38 (-1), 13 (+1)

January 23, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New YouGov Poll – Tories Stretch Their Lead to 5%

There is a new YouGov poll published in today’s Sunday Times newspaper showing the Conservatives stretching their lead over Labour to 5%:

                   Conservative               41% (no change)

                   Labour                        36% (down 2%)
                                                       Lib Dem                        9% (up 1%)
On Friday when YouGov showed a 3% Conservative lead I expressed the view that it could be an outlier, so to have a new poll from the same company showing a bigger lead is surprising and very encouraging. The ComRes poll today shows the two parties both on 38% so we will have to see how the polling picture settles down but it does seem that the period of continuous small Labour leads may be at an end for now.
Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 19 January.

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New ComRes Poll – Tories Neck and Neck with Labour

There is a new ComRes online poll published in today’s Independent on Sunday which shows the Conservatives remaining neck and neck with Labour:

              Conservative             38% (no change)

                                        Labour                      38% (no change)

                                        Lib Dem                    11% (down 1%)

They then asked how people would vote if the following were Labour leader, and this is what happened to the Labour lead (zero under Ed Miliband):

David Miliband  +3

Ed Balls            -6

Tony Blair         -6

Alistair Darling -13

Harriet Harman -15

Yvette Cooper   -20

Chuka Umunna -26

If David Miliband were leader, the vote shares are Lab 38%, Con 35%, Lib Dem 9% — but the “Others” figure goes up to 18%, which suggests that changing the Labour leader reminds voters that there might be other options.

With David Miliband as leader, Labour attracts support from 8% of Tory voters and 15% of Liberal Democrats.

Andrew Hawkins, chairman of ComRes, says: “Chuka Umunna and Yvette Cooper both are too low profile to reflect fairly how they would rate against the Conservatives.” Their don’t knows (excluded from the figures above) are 50 and 45% respectively.

The poll also suggests that Ed Balls’s change of emphasis this week has gone down badly with Labour voters.

Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, was correct to say that a Labour Government would have to keep all the Coalition Government’s spending cuts

Agree: 43% (Labour voters 33%)

Disagree: 26% (40%)

The leader of the Unite union was right to criticise Labour shadow ministers who “endorse savage spending cuts”

Agree: 31% (Labour voters 43%)

Disagree: 38% (29%)

We also asked about the plan for a present for the Queen’s diamond jubilee:

It would be wrong for the taxpayer to be required to contribute towards the cost of a new royal yacht

Agree: 77%

Disagree: 11%

Finally, the Prime Minister personal ratings have improved sharply since last month:

David Cameron is turning out to be a good prime minister

Agree 34% (last month 27%)

Disagree 43% (52%)

Net agree -9 (-25)

Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader of the Labour Party

Agree 18% (last month 20%)

Disagree 53% (52%)

Net agree -35 (-32)

Nick Clegg is turning out to be a good leader of the Liberal Democrats

Agree 22% (last month 18%)

Disagree 54% (61%)

Net agree -32 (-43)

ComRes surveyed 2,050 GB adults online on 18-19 January 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative and by past vote recall.

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New YouGov Poll – Tories Take 3% Lead

There is a new YouGov poll published in tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing the Conservatives taking a 3% lead over Labour:

                   Conservative               41% (up 1%)

                   Labour                        38% (no change)
                                                       Lib Dem                        8% (down 2%)
For the Conservatives to be 3% behind Labour at this stage of the political cycle would be amazing, to be 3% AHEAD of Labour at this stage is almost incredible. We will have to see if this is sustained or whether it is an outlier.
Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 11 January.

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New Conservative Leader Announces His Team

The new Leader of Reading Borough Council’s Conservative Group has announced his new Shadow team following a wide-ranging reshuffle.

The new Shadow Cabinet is:

Leader and Enterprise & Economic Development – Cllr Tim Harris

Dep Leader and Equality, Communities & Voluntary Sector – Cllr Jeanette Skeats

Finance & Property – Cllr David Stevens

Strategic Planning & Transport – Cllr Richard Willis

Children, Education & School Improvement – Cllr Mark Ralph

Transformation, Policy Co-ordination & Scrutiny – Cllr Tom Stanway

Environment & Housing – Cllr Isobel Ballsdon

Community Care & Health – Cllr Dave Luckett

Culture & Sport – Cllr Emma Warman

The following have been appointed as spokespeople (not Shadow Cabinet positions):

Lead for Crime & Policing – Cllr Jenny Rynn

Lead for Licencing – Cllr Jeanette Skeats

Lead for Planning – Cllr Isobel Ballsdon

Deputy Lead for Culture & Sport – Cllr James Anderson

Deputy Lead for Children, Education & Families – Cllr Sandra Vickers

Deputy Lead for Transport – Cllr Azam Janjua

In addition the following have been appointed:

Deputy Whip – Cllr Jenny Rynn

Cycle Champion – Cllr Dave Luckett

PR & Media – Cllr Richard Willis

Cllr Tim Harris said, “This is a fantastic team that will set the agenda and take the fight to Labour, highlighting the many areas where they are failing the people of Reading. There is a good mix of experience and new faces in the Shadow Cabinet and I am particularly delighted to welcome Cllrs Dave Luckett and Emma Warman who join the front bench for the first time.

Labour are a minority administration and it is important to have an effective and vocal opposition to hold them to account and ensure that Reading people are heard.”

UPDATE: It is worth noting that unlike the minority Labour administration, the Conservative Shadow team draws no additional allowances for their roles, with the exception of the Leader.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

Triple Trouble for Hapless Miliband

Ed Miliband

2012 is not proving to be a good year so far for Labour Leader Ed Miliband. His leadership was fatefully undermined when senior advisor Lord Glasman started the year by describing Miliband minor’s leadership as having “no strategy, no narrative, and little energy”. Following this Miliband’s leadership poll ratings plumetted even among strong Labour supporters.

However, today Miliband has suffered three further blows:

The first blow was the news of the defection of Luke Bozier (27), former senior Blairite advisor, to the Conservative Party. He was scathing about the Labour Party under Ed Miliband who he said is proving a “disaster” as Labour leader; his party had “zero credibility” on the economy. He also said “Labour has a vacuum of policy and a vacuum of vision. Even if Ed Miliband had a policy and a vision, he is clearly unable to communicate it or connect with the electorate in any meaningful way.” Clearly an insightful young man!

The second was another attack on his leadership launched by senior Trade Union leader Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union. He attacks the weekend relaunch of Miliband’s leadership which sought to accept the basic principles of the Coalition’s austerity policy. He considers that the new stance “challenges the whole course Ed Miliband has set for the party, and perhaps his leadership itself”. It “will lead to the destruction of the Labour party as constituted and certain election defeat”.

The third blow was the enforced resignation of Labour MP Tom Harris as the party’s Online Campaign Leader in Scotland for likening SNP leader Alex Salmond to Adolf Hitler in a spoof video. After the way Labour attacks any Conservative or Royal who is foolish enough to be in anyway associated with Nazi emblemology, it is hypocrisy in the extreme for a senior Labour MP to liken another politician to Hitler.

Many Conservatives are now advising David Cameron to go easy on Miliband at Prime Minister’s Questions. The last thing the party wants is for Labour to replace him with someone more effective. The same probably applies to Ed Balls, who while he appeals to core Labour supporters, is a turn off to more moderate and floating voters.

January 16, 2012 Posted by | National | 1 Comment

New YouGov Poll – Tories Take the Lead Again

There is a new YouGov poll published in tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing the Conservatives overtaking Labour to take a 2% lead:

                   Conservative               40% (no change)

                   Labour                        38% (down 2%)
                                                    Lib Dem                       10% (no change)
This suggests that the boost enjoyed by the Conservatives following David Cameron exercising the veto in the EU is being sustained into the new year.
In further findings, David Cameron is rated as the best Prime Minister by 41% (+3), while Ed Miliband is languishing on 17% (-2%).
Changes shown are compared to today’s YouGov poll.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New YouGov Poll – Tories Back Up to 40%

There is a new YouGov poll published in tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing Labour losing their lead as the Conservatives jump 2% to catch them up:

                   Conservative               40% (up 2%)

                   Labour                        40% (no change)
                                                    Lib Dem                       10% (no change)
Changes shown are compared to the last daily YouGov poll I covered on 8 January.

January 10, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Reading Conservative Councillors Unite Behind a New Leader

Reading Conservatives have elected their new Group officer team. Cllr Tim Harris was elected Leader unopposed. He was nominated by me and seconded by Cllr Jeanette Skeats.  Jeanette was re-elected unopposed as Deputy Leader; Cllr David Stevens was re-elected as Group Chairman and I was elected Whip.

Cllr Andrew Cumpsty announced that he would not be standing again as Leader in order that he could focus on new projects and his work as Deputy Chairman of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Under Andrew’s leadership the Conservatives led a Conservative/LibDem coalition and Andrew was the first Conservative Leader of the Council for many years.

In his first speech to the Group as leader, Cllr Tim Harris paid tribute to Andrew Cumpsty’s time in control and announced his strategy for the Conservative Group in 2012/2013.

Cllr Tim Harris said ‘It has been a great honour to work with Andrew Cumpsty over the last 4 years. I am delighted to have been elected unopposed and am really pleased with the officer team. The energy, knowledge and innovation within the Conservative Group is awesome, so I will be working hard to fully embrace this for the benefit of the people of Reading. One thing from this meeting was absolutely clear; that the Conservative Group is united in our strategy to continue to set the local political agenda and to hold the minority Labour administration to account.’

Cllr Jeanette Skeats said ‘It has been a privilege working with Andrew as his deputy leader and as a member of the Coalition Cabinet. Under his leadership we achieved much for the people of Reading. I congratulate Tim on his election and look forward to working with him as his deputy.’

Tim is a great guy and together with Jeanette as deputy they form a very strong leadership team for the Group. Other parties will underestimate Tim at their peril!

January 10, 2012 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

New YouGov Poll – Labour Still Just 2% Ahead

There is a new YouGov poll published in today’s Sunday Times newspaper showing Labour maintaining a narrow 2% lead:

                   Conservative               38% (down 1%)

                   Labour                        40% (down 1%)
                                                    Lib Dem                        10% (up 1%)
Changes shown are compared to the last daily YouGov poll I covered on 3 January.

January 8, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New YouGov Poll – Labour 2% Ahead

There is a new YouGov poll published tonight for tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing Labour starting the year 2% ahead:

                   Conservative               39% (down 1%)

                   Labour                        41% (up 1%)
                                                    Lib Dem                        9% (down 1%)
Changes shown are compared to the last daily YouGov poll I covered on 21 December.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment