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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A question of trust

I don't tend to talk about opinion polls much on this blog. They are of course, a snapshot of one moment in time and tend to distract from the issues that really matter, however I am going to make an exception just this once.

My change of mind has nothing to do with a new poll showing the Liberal Democrats storming into government (I wish) but rather with one that reveals some interesting views amongst the electorate that reinforces my own instincts.

In fact the polls have been remarkably steady over the last six months or so for all of the parties and it will be interesting to see if the Party Conference season can cause any shift in public opinion. This one by in today's Guardian however, explores some of the attitudes behind the voting intentions.

They have found that an overwhelming majority of voters think Labour is failing to tell the truth about the state of the public finances. They say that this suggests the government has come off worst from a week of squabbling between the parties over the deficit, and Gordon Brown's admission that spending cuts will be needed:

Even Labour supporters do not trust their party: only 36% of current Labour supporters, and just 26% of its 2005 voters, think the government is telling the truth about debt.

By contrast 36% of all voters believe the Tories, 32% believe the Lib Dems and 33% believe no party. Unlike Labour, a clear majority of each opposition party's supporters trust what its leaders have to say.

This question of trust on the issue of the economy is going to be key at the General Election. It is why Vince Cable is such a big asset to the Liberal Democrats. It is also why Gordon Brown needs to turn around that particular indicator if he is to avoid an overwhelming defeat when he eventually goes to the country.
It's 2 minutes before final whistle, and all the Blues have to do is stop the reds scoring another goal. Except the only other goal in this game will probably be an own-goal for the reds.

I think, unfortunately, that the only way Labour can avoid defeat at the next general is if the Tories do something wrong in the meantime. That's not to say they shouldn't fight, but it would take a complete turn-around of New-Labour culture for them to stand a chance - something they're not going to be able to do in the.. how may months?
Note that I used the word 'overwhelming' before 'defeat'. The implication was that it is a question of managing the scale of defeat not avoiding defeat altogether.

Vince Cable got mauled by Andrew Neil, agreed?

Now he is calling for a property tax, which totally contradicts his previous position on taxing property.

He also was an economist at Shell during some pretty horrid human rights abuses in Nigeria.

He has spoken with some clarity, granted, but he has been hyped well beyond the reality.
And yet, according to a BBC Newsnight poll, more than a third of people have nver even heard of Nick Clegg let alone see him as someone they can trust.
I have no idea because I have not seen that interview but I can see why it would be in the other party's interests to try and undermine Vince. I take it you are not accusing Vince of being responsible for those human rights abuses? Vince is human like everybody else. He has off-days but the fact is that he has been proved right in the vast majority of cases. As for the property tax it a fact that the Liberal Democrats have always advocated site value rating in addition to local income tax so it is not right to say we have never proposed property taxes. It is also right that in changing economic circumstances when the very rich are building up assets that we should be able to tax them on that.
As I said Shambo polls are a snapshot in time and are best treated that way. Given that only half of people vote then presumably the vast majority of the 33% identified in this poll are none voters as well. Who knows?
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I believe that General Election 2010 will be a lot closer than most people think. Though I don't mind be proven wrong on this occasion. Hee! Hee! Hee!

I read about a poll recently that asked (and I paraphrase): "When it comes to public spending cuts, who will look after the interests of ordinary people?" Gordon Brown came tops. Food for thought, if nothing else - it ain't over yet.

The European Elections and Council Elections earlier this year, also found the swing to the Tories in the south east of England (the key marginals) was less marked than the rest of the country. The fact remains that the Conservatives need a swing like that of Labour in 1997 or 1945, if they are to win in 2010 with a comfortable working majority. It can be done, but I have my doubts whether David Cameron has what it takes to do it. Indeed, going on the results from the south east of England earlier this year, he could fail to achieve this. I currently sense a hung Parliament is more likely.

Indeed, those of us with long memories (like Peter) remember General Election 1992. Neil Kinnock predicted to be Prime Minister with comfortable working majority after enjoying double digit opinion poll leads for months. In the end people didn't trust him, lied about their voting intentions to pollsters (out of pure embarrassment) and then lost their nerve - voting Conservative in the privacy of a polling booth. A sure bet Labour victory became a Conservative working majority.

If only Labour had won in 1992 and had the ERM crisis. They would be finished a long time ago with the Conservatives in power from 1997 to - name your date. Hee! Hee! Hee!
Ted Heath, have you still got "Morning Cloud"?

Kinnock made two major mistakes just before the election, the first being judo tripped by Glenis and ending up in the surf, the second was his "Oh Yer! Oh Yer!" comments at conference just before the Election. The fact that he was Welsh and was referred to as "Boyo" by the Daily Mirror and had ginger hair had nothing to do with him not getting into Number Ten.
Please. Don't mention 'Morning Cloud'. It is a sensitive subject. For we all make mistakes. Neil Kinnock made mistakes and so could the Tories (a point made by Iguana above). That was my point too. For mistakes create a confidence and credibity gap with the public - something which, in the end, research shows is more important than having ginger hair or being Welsh. Remember too, it ain't over until that fat Returning Officer sings. Hee! Hee! Hee!

In many ways, Gordon Brown is now receiving what I call the "Neil Kinnock Treatment" by the English press. References to his being Scottish (rather than British) and being Scotch (as in The Sun's Boyo). This will all count against Labour in 2010. Mind you, the English do have "a soft spot" for the Scottish as opposed to the Welsh. Yet, to win an Election you do tend to have to be English or have their mannerisms. Labour knew that when they picked Gordon - so no sympathy there. Hee! Hee! Hee!

Anyway, I think that surf incident was back in 1983 when Neil Kinnock became Labour leader. Hence being at the seaside. However, I'm quite happy to be corrected - if you can also prove me wrong. Hee! Hee! Hee!
Well, the "surf's up" incident did keep getting played over and over again, in the introduction to "Have I got news for you!"
What! I can recall minor political events and you can remember the title sequences of television programmes from twenty years ago. I guess we can agree on this - we are both rather sad. Hee! Hee! Hee!
It could have been "Spitting Image" come to think of it...Wouldn't Gordon Brown make an excellent puppet for this show? Unfortunately, latex is smarter than Gordon, who sold the Gold Reserves at rock bottom prices!!!

Ted Heath may wish to comment on this, as I recall the Labour party in either the 1960s or 1970s put a ban on Joe Public for owning gold coins.
What! Now you are asking questions to Sir Edward Heath. Who do you think I am? Sir Edward Heath?

I do vaguely remember something about gold coins. Trouble is, I was rather busy at the time - fending off a leadership challenge from "that woman". Maybe I should have taken more notice of the very seriousness of that situation far sooner. Surely I'd still be leader of The Conservative Party today.

Halloween soon. Be careful. That woman will be out and about flying through the sky. Hee! Hee! Hee!

Anyway, do come and visit me in Salisbury some time. You are most welcome. For it gets a bit lonely here at Arundells sometimes. (http://www.arundells.org/)

God Bless.
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