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Doesn't this remind you of our own party when we really struggled to know what to do with a reinvigorated Labour party with an energetic new leader. We lurched from attacking them for stealing our policies - to attacking them for really been socialist underneath. What I think we are seeing is a Labour party not quite knowing how to deal with DC.

When you put the numbers in on Baxter, Labour are actually shown to be gaining seats! Admittedly they are all Lib Dem seats, and therefore would never happen, but its certainly a change from what we've been seeing on there recently.

Labour still being on 35% is pretty dissapointing, and I'm suprised the recent scandals haven't hit them at all. Political Betting has an interesting article explaining why, but I still think we can do more to squeeze the labour vote.

I've just finished listening to the Today interview with Mansoor?? sic. He was being pushed hard by ?Naughtie ( didnt catch who the interviewer was, but the guy was making it pretty damn clear that since 1948, Israel was dumped among these upright Arabs, I guess he was trying to say like the proverbial cuckoo, and should now be eliminated! He was that clear about Arab policy. Now where does this leave dear old Ming with his lets all be beastly to the Jews rhetoric?? A vote winner for him? NOT!

Labour are actually shown to be gaining seats! Admittedly they are all Lib Dem seats, and therefore would never happen
The Liberal Democrats have a number of seats where their main challenger is from one only of the main 2 parties and some Labour cannot win and others the Conservatives cannot win and inevitably a Liberal Democrat slide will see them being split between the 2 main parties - Chesterfield for example is a Labour-Liberal Democrat battle.

I know this is a half full/half empty attitude. This poll is amazing, despite Prescott/Levy sleaze accusations, Iraq, Afghanistan, constantly bad headline etc.Labour is untouched, its percentage of the poll is hardly any different from the GE. Only a moron, would make a prediction for the next GE based on a poll three years from the event, certainly when a change of PM is in the offing. So lets be moronic, taking conventional wisdom, that a sitting government, normaly improves by about 4% from its lowest recorded poll position. If that is correct, in three years time, there will be hardly any overall change. Labour will have a majority of about 50/70 seats: any thoughts on this!

Yet another positive poll. Shows how far we have come as a party that the Editor advertises a poll in which we are 4% points ahead as a disaster for the Lib Dems, rather than a triumph for the party. I remember those long years before we voted for change when a 4 point lead would have sent shockwaves through a site like this!

So there's a new party leader who is young, personable and articulate, rather than being a rather elderly leftover from the last disastrous Tory government who still had something of the night about him, who had usurped the position from a good man who unfortunately couldn't express himself and who was constantly undermined by the europhile wing of the party, who had been elected to replace somebody else who was advised to make a fool of himself with a baseball cap and boasting about drinking 14 pints a day when he was young, and to campaign to save the pound in a general election when everybody knew that there would have to be a separate referendum on that issue ... it would be a surprise if poll ratings hadn't gone up for that reason alone. That doesn't mean that he has either the strategies, or the policies, to win the next general election.

I think it would be a mistake to assume that the anti-Tory vote is going back to Labour everywhere. In Bromley the anti-Tory vote consolidated on the LibDem.

I find talking to people about how they vote is more interesting than polls which do not seem to give the full story.

It is easy to find many who voted for Blair in 1997 and 2001, but who didn't in 2005. Street talk shows that Labour's support collapsed at the last election, and was only held up by postal voting - much of which was dubious.

I don't know why polls don't reflect what you find by talking to people, but then again most news bears little resemblance to the real stories being reported these days.

The only real polls such as Bromley or council by elections have shown a collapse in support of Labour.

The government claim to be introducing new rules to limit postal vote fraud, but these are obviously far short of the measures needed to properly prevent postal vote fraud. And now the government will keep the ballot boxes overnight somewhere in addition. I wonder who will be guarding those? BNP audits have revealed discrepancies between numbers attending polling stations, and numbers of votes actually cast.

See http://rightlinks.co.uk/linked/modules/wiwimod/index.php?page=Postal+Voting

I agree with Jonathan about the idea that history is repeating itself.

This poll is amazing, despite Prescott/Levy sleaze accusations, Iraq, Afghanistan, constantly bad headline etc.Labour is untouched

That is the real story in all of this. It may be partyly because although Dave has done much to reduce antipathy toward Conservatives, he has so far done little to give people a reason to vote Conservative.

Whatever it is, its disappointing.

In Bromley the anti-Tory vote consolidated on the LibDem.
In a by election, I think what is happening is that the Anti-Conservative Lib Dems will be largely returning to Labour and after many years the Anti-Labour Lib Dems will be returning to the Conservatives and the same with many who simply have not been voting since either 1992, 1997 or 2001 - there is of course also an Anti Labour\Lib Dem\Conservative vote too and that remains more substantial than at any time since WWII.

Got to agree with JS and Serf. The big question is do the attacks mark the end of just Blair or New Labour itself?

If the personal attacks on Cameron continue after Blair has gone then Labour will be clearly out of ideas and in serious trouble, however if Brown opts for a positive approach, pushing his own agenda, then I think he will win the next election.

A conundrum for which I have no decent answer. We should, given Labour's problems, be miles ahead of where we are. When there's a chance to kick Labour, it happens. But if you look at real polls: Blaenau Gwent, Fife, Bromley and local by-elections, Conservative progress is patchy at best. Maybe we are now in territory of facing facts that the Conservative is falling between two stools: not attractive enough for floating and Opposition voters, nor Conservative enough for Party members.

Thank you serf I think that is the crux of the matter.

What has happened over the last few years, with public opinion is a new development. Both the two main parties have a core vote in the low to mid 30's. Bouncing between them and the Libdem's is about 5% of the vote, these are mainly left/liberal voters.

The irony now is, that these floating five percent, are now choosing the government. So all three main parties are merging into one party ideologically, to satisfy 5% of the electorate.

The floating five, are attracted to the Conservatives because of DC, dislike of Blair etc, but they have no real party allegiance. They are attracted to certain values, and attitudes mainly of the left/liberal, pro-europe, metrosexual type: no party leader dare upset them. Unlike many Labour, Tory voters, the floating five, are not party political, they can be attracted or repelled, by a speech or a statement.

People with no party affiliation can have any views, they might see all 3 main parties as being too doctrinaire or they might see all as being too Liberal, too Socialist, too Capitalist or any numbers of things.

Just remember that the LDs usually overperform their poll ratings and that prior to '97 they were sitting on ratings in the early teens. There is still a long way to go.

That said, the pendulum is swinging. But making the most of the anti-Labour effect to damage the LDs will need to be handled carefully.

Getting rid of the yellow peril is a highly localised business and requires experienced campaigners who are both local and credible to close the deal. Too often we balls it up and then wonder how the buggers survive.

and that prior to '97 they were sitting on ratings in the early teens.
And their vote was well down on 1992, the gains in seats masked the fact that on a low turnout (In 1992 on a high turnout they got 18% of the vote, in 1997 on a low turnout it slipped to 16% of the vote) their vote percentagewise was almost back to where it had been in 1979 and in terms of those eligible to vote was actually worse - really I think the 1997 and 2001 results were purely due to low turnout by especially Conservative voters, without that the Liberal Democrats would have had a major setback, their total vote has only actually gone up in 2 General Elections since 1974 - in 1983 and 2005.

In 1984 and 1985 the Alliance expected to be able to make major gains at the following General Election and overhaul Labour and that was after a far bigger boost to their vote in 1983 and in the end they failed to make any progress and their percentage vote fell with Labour and the Conservatives both increasing their total vote sharply.

That said there will be a lot of tactical voting where one of the 2 main parties clearly has no chance of winning and it is between either Labour and Liberal Democrat or Labour and Conservative.

Just remember that the LDs usually overperform their poll ratings and that prior to '97 they were sitting on ratings in the early teens.

A study of pre General Election polls over the last 50 years or so showed that the Conservatives were consistently underated, and the LibDems more so.

The big story here is that this is the best ICM result since before Black Wednesday!

It is not surprising that our lead is growing slowly in national polls, as Cameron is prepared to risk losing tradional support in favour of gaining the centre ground. If his strategy is starting to pay off, it will be a great relief as many traditonalists are vocally declaring the end of their Conservative loyalty.

The strategy could yet be blown off course.

NB an extrtact from BNP report on the Redbridge by election -

'The Labour social worker types who are crawling all over the small working class parts of the ward telling their supporters to vote Conservative to keep us out, by contrast, positively seethe with hatred every time they see us.'

Maybe such tactical voting stopped the BNP at Redbridge. The BNP focused their campaign on hoody hugging, and targeted Conservative voters, nearly winning the seat. Maybe Labour tactical voting blocked them, and saved the day.

The Cameron centre ground strategy may have to face this new threat if Redbridge is a sign of the new BNP thrust for Conservative voters. Traditional Conservative voters may not simply sit on their hands as they did at Bromley, where there was no BNP candidate. It was quite clear there that UKIP holds little attraction now.

Cameron could be relying on the BNP being made illegal, or on using state funding to ensure fringe parties are not funded. But this must surely be the main risk to further progress.

Lib Dems are targeting Labour's left wing under Ming. BNP are targeting our right, while Cameron is hunting the centre. While Labour are increasingly relying on election fraud to maintain their vote, the outcome is unpredictable.

an extrtact from BNP
I don't know why you keep quoting BNP reports, the BNP actually are tending to target dissilusioned Labour voters really and it's in areas with safe Labour seats where they have had their few successes, they still have yet to win a single County Council seat, MEP or MP or even become the largest grouping on any council at all; they and the National Front have been talking about being on the verge of a breakthrough for decades now and yet the truth is that both have never even been as near as the New Party was in 1931 and yet the New Party failed to hold a single parliamentary seat in 1931.

John 09:37 says that its a half full hald empty debate. I was once told it isnt important whether the glass is half full or half empty - its who's holding the bottle.

In that respect I really think we are setting the agenda which has to be positive. I believe Labour just dont know what to make of DC. Portray him as posh, no as a chameleon, no as same old Tory... they just don't know.

About Cameron and the "Core Vote" I cant see what he has really done to upset them. Take Grammar Schools for instance. Margaret Thatcher actually closed a few down and Major did not do anything to promote them. Cameron here has just stated publicly what the last two Tory PM's were saying. The main part to Cameron's appeal is that he is talking about things that people don't expect Tories to be interested in. Anyway why would any of the "core vote" want to vote BNP when there economic policies are to the left of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats

Margaret Thatcher actually closed a few down and Major did not do anything to promote them.
Margaret Thatcher closed more down as Secretary of State for Education & Science than any other person in that role before or since and she was very happy to work with Labour councils in doing this - she hated Grammar Schools seing them as Socialist.

John Major had a slogan of setting up a Grammar School in every town but really all that happened was that the closure rate slowed and some State Grammar Schools were allowed to go Independent or convert to Grant Maintained Schools - if the government had decided to bypass the LEA's in setting them up, perhaps end the LEA system they perhaps could have achieved his ambition but LEA's being generally hostile to Grammar Schools it was never very likely that any would actually be set up without some radical change.

"Anyway why would any of the "core vote" want to vote BNP when there economic policies are to the left of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats"

I doubt many of the people voting BNP are actually expecting, or wishing, them to form the government. So the BNP's policies on tax, education or health are pretty much irrelevant to these voters.

Nobody votes BNP because of their economic policies, most people wouldn't know they even had an economic policy. In the same way as most Sinn Fein voters are not radical socialists.

I dont think people should be to concerned when "traditionalist" no longer support the pary. These "traditionalists" are really just a small section of the party who have had far to much influence for far to long. If they do vote BNP then they are really just supporting a party that represents about 20% of there views and opinions as opposed to Camerons Conservative that represent about 75% of there views

The core vote is shocked by Hague threatening Roger Helmer with deselection because he dared to speak out against corruption the Euro Parliament. If the Conservative Party is no longer an anti-corruption Party, we have a crisis of identity.

There is no doubt that the BNP are sniffing around the disillusioned Conservative voter. They say as much.

As to whether they succeed in drawing many votes we will see. They are not interested in Westminster seats, but they are into regional government, the Euro Parliament in 2009, local government seats and an English Parliament should one ever be created. They see Westminster as already dead.

How right Serf is @ 11.02: "It may be partyly because although Dave has done much to reduce antipathy toward Conservatives, he has so far done little to give people a reason to vote Conservative".
It is profoundly to be hoped that clear and practical policies - that cohere -will one day emerge and voters will then be able to see the substance behind the easy eloquence.
Please convince me that this is what will happen.

They are not interested in Westminster seats, but they are into regional government, the Euro Parliament in 2009, local government seats and an English Parliament should one ever be created.
Of course they want Westminster seats, Regional Government and Local Authorities can only do anything that the Westminster Parliament will allow them to, Local Authorities largely are dominated by targets set by Central Government anyway these days - naturally they'd want a majority in parliament because they could then put their programme into effect but they are nowhere near this and even the 119 candidates they fielded in 2005 left them heavily in debt - if anything they only see Local Government as a start towards their main goal which is power at Westminster, they aren't interested in the running of Local Government in the slightest - they haven't even managed to win any seats under the Regional List System used in Euro Elections, if there was an English Parliament with a similar electoral system to the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments they would still struggle to win any seats even in Regional Lists and would most likely be kept out of any coalition Executive.

UKIP in 2005 gained more extra votes than the BNP got in total, the BNP came behind the Greens, DUP, SNP and only barely ahead of Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionist Party in terms of total votes despite them supposedly being a "National Party".

I agree with a previous analysis...the Tory vote is consistently underestimated. The underlying rate of swing back to the Conservatives is probably beyond this 40% threshold.

Good analysis YAA. BNP's support was much higher in 2006 council elections than 2004 -about 2.5 times higher.

If the same rate of growth continues, they will not be as insignificant as your retrospective ananlysis suggests, though clearly they have a long way to go.

I would prefer to look at real world polls to track the progress of minor parties, as opinion polls don't really try to provide any proper analysis. Obviously Cameron is far from a meltdown situation, but he needs to watch his flank. Bromley might have been untypical.

They only fielded 350 candidates and that only resulted in a gain of 26 seats, most of the candidates were in Labour areas as were most of the gains - 11 of which were in Barking & Dagenham and probably owe more to Margaret Hodge's Cack handed attempt to raise certain issues and a crisis in the Home Office at just the right moment for them, 46 Council Seats out of 22,000 in elections in which the average turnout overall nationally was 36% is hardly being anywhere remotely near being any kind of major electoral force, the fact is that there are other parties - surely the most likely party for Conservatives to turn to, as in Bromley & Chislehurst where there wasn't a particularily notable vote for the National Front, was UKIP - the BNP did not put up a candidate in what by your reckoning should have been an easy deposit to hold at the very least - I wonder why? Could it be to avoid ending up level pegging with the National Front? Parties such as UKIP, the New Party, maybe the English Democrats or Freedom Party - surely all these are more likely to be possible benificiaries in that they have policy agenda's more similar (whatever their actual ambitions are - UKIP's and the English Democrats are clear, the others are hard to fathom), even Veritas depleted as they are, the BNP's economic policies are verging on the Communist and clearly don't add up and they are by their own admission a racialist party, despite maybe having moved away from their origins at least for propaganda purposes.

People vote for the BNP because they want a party that they think are going to stop immigrants coming into the country and deport all those that are already here. It is undiluted racialism and to dress it up as anything less is a fraud.
There are certain thngs in politics you oppose because the are wrong and evil not because of any party politcal reasons.The BNP and racism is one such thing.
We shld be out theren the steets fihtng the and all i stands fornthiking weshouldompromis ouviews to att there surtrs.

Jack your posts have descended into levels of Prescott like incomprehensibility.You don't really understand the points being made by others do you?
They are not supporting the BNP you fool ,they are trying to explain the reasons for the BNPs electoral success.Not that I agree with them.

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