Archive for September, 2010


Take the 18/1 against Burnham becoming Shadow Chancellor

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Is that the value bet following EdM’s big speech?

What struck me about the economic parts of Ed Miliband’s speech was what it said about the chances of Ed Balls getting the job of shadow chancellor. It really is hard to see EdM giving him the role giving the very different approach the two men have to the deficit. Also the two are said to have a “history” going back to the election that never was in the autumn of 2007.

So if not EdB then who? David Miliband name has been widely touted but the speculation is that the former foreign secretary is planning to step aside.

I’m not sure that EdM would go with Mrs. Balls, Yvette Cooper and by now you are running out of possibilities.

So what about fellow leadership contender Andy Burnham who seemed to grow during the long campaign? PaddyPower have him at 18/1 which seems fabulous value.

It seems a good punt.

Mike Smithson


Forget New Labour – now it’s “Different Labour”

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

How’ll the new leader’s message go down?


How could the Beeb make such a pig’s ear of this?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Click to play

When will they learn – we want the fecking numbers!

Fortunately on Saturday afternoon I watched the Labour leadership results being announced on SkyNews and have only just caught up with how the BBC did after reading of a formal complaint made by a PB regular to the BBC and reported on the previous thread.

It’s the same fault we get every time. They don’t think that we want the numbers so we had the ridiculous spectacle of the Political Editor of the Corporation talking over the official announcement and, incidentally, getting it totally wrong.

To make matters worse the BBC ignored the Powerpoint slides showing the outcome section by section round by round that were displayed on a screen on the stage as the results were being read out. SkyNews covered this – the BBC didn’t.

What a mess-up and why do they never learn?

Mike Smithson


Will UNITE think that Ed Miliband owes it something?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

First preferences Abbott Balls Burnham DaveM EdM
UNITE 11129 6995 7993 21778 47439
GMB 3213 2548 3119 9746 18128
UNISON 2910 2141 2343 6665 9652
Other 21 bodies 8686 9934 4449 20000 12366
Total affiliates 25938 21618 17904 58189 87585
Overall split 12.28% 10.23% 8.48% 27.55% 41.46%
UNITE SPLIT 11.67% 7.34% 8.38% 22.84% 49.76%

Should one union be so influential?

As everybody knows it was the heavy voting for Ed Miliband in the “associates” third of Labour’s electoral college that won the leadership for Ed Miliband.

But a close look at the detailed results shows that it was the three unions that endorsed him, particularly UNITE, which made all the difference. For of all the first preferences that were cast for the new leader in this section well over half were by members of the latter.

The voting pattern amongst the non-EdM backing organisations was broadly in line with other parts of Labour’s electorate. It was UNITE, the GMB and UNISON that did it.

They were helped enormously by the fact that turnout in this segment was very low and the general theory of low turnout elections is that the best organised campaigns prosper – and so it was.

For according to the FT’s Jim Packard the unions behind Ed “got round” a Labour ban on unions sending promotional material in the ballot paper package by using two envelopes.

The outer one had leaflets supporting the younger Miliband – the inner one the ballot papers. The result can be seen above.

Mike Smithson


Labour take lead in first poll of the EdM era

Monday, September 27th, 2010

YouGov/Sun 27/09/10 39 40 12 -1
YouGov/Sunday Times 24/09/10 39 38 15 1
YouGov/Sun 23/09/10 41 37 13 4
YouGov/Sun 22/09/10 43 36 14 7
YouGov/Sun 21/09/10 39 39 13 0
YouGov/Sun 20/09/10 42 38 11 4
YouGov/Sunday Times 17/09/10 41 39 13 2
YouGov/Sun 16/09/10 41 38 12 3
YouGov/Sun 15/09/10 42 39 12 3
YouGov/Sun 14/09/10 40 39 12 1
YouGov/Sun 13/09/10 41 38 12 3
YouGov/Sunday Times 10/09/10 42 38 14 4
YouGov/Sun 09/09/10 42 37 14 5
YouGov/Sun 08/09/10 43 38 12 5
YouGov/Sun 07/09/10 42 38 13 4
YouGov/Sun 06/09/10 42 37 13 5
YouGov/Sunday Times 03/09/10 42 37 12 5


Harry Hayfield’s September local by elections summary

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Votes Cast / Seats Won and Change
Labour 11,694 votes (40.64%) winning 7 seats (unchanged on last time)
Conservatives 8,573 votes (29.79%) winning 5 seats (-3 seats on last time)
Liberal Democrats 4,611 votes (16.02%) winning 4 seats (+2 seats on last time)
SNP 1,382 votes (4.80%) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Greens 822 votes (2.86%) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Independents 700 votes (2.43%) winning 1 seat (+1 seat on last time)
UKIP 451 votes (1.57%) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
BNP 244 votes (0.85%) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Others 297 votes (1.03%) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)

It is now coming up to five months since the general election and over the past five months a clear pattern is emerging in all the local by-elections that have been occuring across the United Kingdom. The Conservatives are dropping from their high water mark in local government over recent years, their coalition partners also falling and Labour picking up about half of that lost support with the other half going to regional and local parties (such as the SNP in Scotland, Plaid in Wales and Greens in places like Brighton and Norwich).

This was of course alluded to in Harriet Harman’s statement at the Labour leadership election announcement. I can only assume she was referring to just Conservative and Labour contested elections, but even when considering all elections Labour are on 32% of the vote, compared to the Conservatives 28% and the Liberal Democrats on 22%.

This represents a swing from Conservative to Labour of 8.5% compared to the average of the national projected share of the vote for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 which if repeated at next year’s local elections would see Labour on 32% (+6% on 2007), the Conservatives on 29% (-11%) and the Liberal Democrats on 22% (-4%).

This suggests that not only will Labour be able to take councils from the Conservatives, but that in Scotland and Wales they could well be in a position to retake overall control of the National Assembly and be the main driving force of a minority government (or indeed a multiparty coalition) in the Scottish Parliament.

Changes on last time

Conservatives GAINS: None

Labour GAINS: Worksop South (Bassetlaw) from Con

Liberal Democrat GAINS: Aspartia and Wharrells (Fylde) from Con, Earl’s Court (Kensington and Chelsea) from Con

Others GAINS: Independent GAIN Ayresmore (Middlesborough) from Lab


Did nominating Diane Abbott cost DavidM the election?

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Would he have fared better without her on the ballot?

In early June when David Miliband announced at the last minute that he would nominate Diane Abbott there were those who declared this a master-stroke.

For it was argued that the presence of a black woman on the ballot would divert votes from his brother making the latter’s task that much harder. This is how the Indy on Sunday’s John Rentoul described it at the time:

..”What she will do, of course, is take votes away from the most left-wing of the other candidates…It shows a flash of steel in David Miliband. The former foreign secretary has been unfairly cast as a serial bottler, for not challenging Brown for the leadership on a number of occasions when he would have failed to dislodge him because Labour MPs were too fearful. Now he has shown a streak of ruthlessness in claiming the mantle of pluralism while at the same time weakening his brother’s chances…”

I questioned John Rentoul’s thinking then and just looking at the detailed numbers there’s a strong argument for saying that the presence of Diane Abbott on the ballot cost DM the election.

Did the presence of Diane on the contenders’ list cause members and trade unionists to vote when they might not have done so thus increasing the overall proportion of anti-DM voters?

Diane did best of all in the trade union section where she came in a creditable third place ahead of Ed Balls and well ahead of Andy Burnham. But because she was bottom overall her votes were the first to be allocated according to the preference order. It also mean that when it got to the final round the fourth preferences of those putting DA first were reallocated.

We know from the YouGov poll of trade unionists, the one that proved to be pretty accurate, that Diane Abbott supporters were more likely to have voted early. Thus 43% of those DA backers interviewed had already voted a proportion that was only bettered by EdM’s 49%. By contrast at that stage just 35% of those saying they were voting DM had got their votes in.

So Diane Abbott’s voters were more motivated to vote and the results show that they were more likely to place Ed Miliband ahead of his brother in the preference list.

Mike Smithson


The book

Monday, September 27th, 2010