Archive for the ' General Election' Category


Just two months left for Corbyn to achieve his Glastonbury boast – becoming PM by Christmas

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

If all the polls had been looked like Survation & the YouGov model there’d have been fewer JC accolades

Just on four months ago, after the LAB leader’s extraordinary reception at Glastonbury, the festival chief, Michael Eavis, reported that Corbyn had told him that he’d be PM within six months and that he would scrap Britain’s Trident nuclear defence system as soon as he could.

The following day the LAB PR machine went into action to seek to play down the latter claim but the becoming PM by Christmas element was left hanging.

The festival had very much caught the mood of that incredible month when TMay had looked all set to win an increased majority if not a landslide and Labour was doomed to be beaten once again.

But because most of the polls were pointing to much bigger vote leads for the Tories the fact Mrs May lost her majority was seen as such a shock and the credit started to be heaped on Corbyn.

    But let’s not forget the election arithmetic. The Tories ended with 318 seats while Labour got 262. There was a gap of 56 seats. This was still a defeat and they are a long way off the 326 MPs required for a majority.

Corbyn should have realised before the Glastonbury hubris that it is hard to envisage the circumstances in which he becomes PM without a new General Election which the Tories, whatever their internal turmoil, are not going to initiate.

Remember the ONLY way an election can be triggered before 2022 is by going through the processes set down in the Fixed-Term Parliament Act. This requires two thirds of all 650 MPs to back one, as last April, or else the government losing two votes of no confidence within a specific time table.

In the current context the latter requires both the DUP and the SNP to join with LAB, PC and the LD MPs. The DUP has been bought off for its 10 votes and LAB should be under no illusions about the SNP’s 35 MPs. Nicola’s party got smashed on June 8th and isn’t going to put its remaining 35 MPs at risk by doing anything that would facilitate an early election.

Corbyn owes his current apparent GE2017 “victory” status to the pollsters who got it wrong. His party actually undershot against the YouGov mode and the final Survation polls.

The current Labour polling leads are nowhere near what you would have thought they should be given the turmoil within the blue team.

Mike Smithson


Why Theresa May’s Maidenhead could be the next parliamentary by-election in a CON held seat

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Two days ago in my post on why there would not be a general election until 2022 I observed that there have been very few by elections in CON held seats in recent times. Tory MPs have been a lot healthier than LAB ones.

What CON by-elections defences there have been have been caused by other factors such as the weird resignation by the then shadow Home Secretary David Davis in 2008 so he could fight his own seat for reasons that have long since been forgotten.

In the current Parliament apart from possible actions by the courts which we cannot speculate upon my suggestion for the first by-election in a Tory seat would be Maidenhead.

This was retained by the Prime Minister with a whopping vote share of 64.8% on June 8th with LAB on 19.3% and the LDs on 11.1%.

Against the national trend which was an average vote increase of 5.8% by Tory candidates TMay’s vote went down by 1.1% but it still looks totally solid. It would be hard to see a by-election there as anything other than a CON hold with perhaps a reduced majority on a lower turnout.

    In spite of her survival since the conference TMay’s position remains precarious and wasn’t helped yesterday by another PMQs mauling at the hands of Corbyn.

If she is replaced as leader then like the former PMs of late who quit between general elections, Tony Blair and David Cameron, it is hard to see her wanting to continue as an MP.

In any case we are all aware of her diabetes and it is always possible that her departure could be prompted by her health rather than any political move.

Remember that morning last April when we were all standing by for an announcement from Downing Street of what turned out to be the general election call. The speculation for a time then, led by Sky’s Adam Boulton, was that she was going because of her health.

Whatever it is hard to see her sticking at Number 10 until the next election and there must be a high chance of a by-election.

Mike Smithson


The new election reality: The Tories need the SNP to impede LAB’s revival in Scotland

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Table – Commons Library

Why BoJo/Andrea/Phil/David/Amber might be cheering Nicola on

The group of constituencies that have seen the most dramatic changes over the past two general elections have been the 59 seats in Scotland.

At GE2010 when Labour lost power there were no changes at all north of the border with what was then Gordon Brown’s party retaining all 41 seats that it held on an overall increased Scottish vote share. The SNP had just 6 seats with the LDs 11 and the Tories just 1.

Then came the huge changes in 2015 in the aftermath of the IndyRef nine months earlier. LAB lost all but one of the 41, the LDs lost 10 and the Tories remained with just one Scottish MP.

The SNP found itself with 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats and displaced the LDs as the third party at Westminster.

Move on to June 8th this year which proved to be something of a disaster for Sturgeon’s party losing 21 seats and holding onto the 35 listed above all of them with much reduced majorities.

    Two years after gaining 50% of the Scottish vote the SNP’s biggest vote share in any constituency was 46.7% leaving a lot prospective rich pickings for the main national parties particularly LAB

If LAB is to return to government then much of the current seat deficit it has nationally with the Tories will be made up from battles with the SNP not the blue team.

One of the problems we have with ongoing analysis of this is that there is very little regular Scotland only polling. Trying to assess what’s happening north of the border from the Scottish sub-set in national polls is fraught with danger.

So in many ways whoever is Tory leader at the next election might be secretly cheering the SNP on.

Mike Smithson


Newly published Survation poll sees LAB up 2 to a 6 point lead

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

And Remain 3 points ahead to hypothetical 2nd EuRef question

Survation, the pollsters that was widely, and as it turned out unfairly, criticised in the run-up to GE2017 because it had the smallest CON leads has a new voting poll it. Its relatively old with its fieldwork being carried out in the week of the Tory conference when the blue team were making the headlines for all sorts of reason. The splits are CON 38%, LAB 44%, and LD 7%.

This is a somewhat better position for Corbyn’s party than the tie in the most recent ICM and 3 point lead from YouGov.

There’s a hypothetical 2nd EuRef question voting question which has Remain 3 points ahead – 52 to 49.

Whatever the sizeable Labour lead from the pollster that got it most right on June 8th won’t make comfortable reading for Mrs. May who remains in post for the time being.

I’ve no idea why we are getting this poll late but it is interesting that the pollsters producing regular surveys are in just about the same order as they were at the general election – ICM with the Tories in the best position Survation the worst.

Mike Smithson


Why the next general election will be in 2022

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Incumbent PMs of whichever party now much less likely to go early

At the end of my session before the House of Lords Committee yesterday the chairman, Lord Lipsey asked for our thoughts on the likely year of the next general election.

I took the view that this parliament will continue to run a full term under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act and so June 2022 will be when the country votes next.

This is in spite of the fact that Brexit is most likely to happen sometime before and the consequence of the last few months is that Mrs May is to replaced and won’t be given the chance to lead her party into another election.

    Her failed GE2017 gamble is going to remain in the collective political memory for generations and going early however good the polls will be regarded almost permanently as too great a risk

While the DUP arrangement with the Tories continues it is hard to envisage the circumstances in which LAB has the numbers with other parties to force through a confidence motion within the required terms of the FTPA.

Remember that the SNP, which opposed the 2017 election cannot be counted on to support any move which could prematurely cut its already reduced Westminster base. On June 8th it saw its 56 Scottish seats reduced to 35 and in none of them was its vote share above 46%. Its precarious position is one of the key facts of current politics which is rarely discussed.

The Tory MP totals could be reduced by by-election losses but the party will go to extreme lengths to avoid them.

    Remember that blue team has only lost one MP to the grim reaper since GE2001.

Perhaps the only way that an early general election comes about is if the Tories split in some form which with it being so divided on Brexit we must accept as a possibility. I’d suggest, however, that the prospect of risking Mr Corbyn becoming PM will be a great unifier.

If you want a bet on the timing of the next general election it means locking up your stake for nearly five years.

Mike Smithson


DUP lose 3 seats in new boundary proposals to put it behind SF

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

This isn’t going to be popular with TMay’s supply & confidence partners

Well done to Martin Baxter for getting his boundaries projection out so fast. His figures showing what would happen if they’d been in force on June 8th have the Tories just into majority territory but with the DUP suffering in Northern Ireland.

It is for this reason perhaps more than any why this plan is unlikely to happen.

But the law reducing the size of the Commons from 650 to 600 is still in place and would require primary legislation to change it. Whether the Tories will do that is hard to say.

There are other big legislative fish that need to be fried at Westminster before the boundaries need to be dealt with.

Mike Smithson


Hammond looks set to reward the young for turning out in such numbers at GE2017

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Mail Online

But taking from older workers could be a big electoral gamble

As was said repeatedly in the lead-up to June 8th the reason that the younger generations appear to get so poorly treated by governments is that by, in the past, not turning out at elections at similar rates to older ones they are seen to be electorally less important.

Well the big move on general election day was a big increase in turnout levels in the 18-24 and 25-34 age segments. At the time the oldies, the 65+ segment saw a drop off on their participation rate and both the these dynamics were the reason why most of the pollsters got it wrong and Mrs. May failed to win her hoped for landslide. The young are much more likely to be pro-LAB while the oldies mostly go for the blue team.

So is it any wonder that Chancellor Hammond should now be hinting ways of shifting things in the direction of younger age-groups who are much less likely than their parents, for instance, of being able to afford their own homes?

    The problem for Hammond is that if tax changes create losers then they are much more likely to remember when elections come round than those who gain who’ll just see it as justice being done.

A lot depends on how this is presented and not overstating the benefit. TMay’s big conference move on council houses looked markedly less important when it became clear that maybe only 5,000 extra new homes would be built a year.

The art, of course, is to slip in the balancing move in a form that is not immediately understood by those who’ll be out of pocket.

We saw with the manifesto dementia tax how things can quickly be interpreted to create a problem.

Mike Smithson


After the weekend break welcome back to the coalition of chaos

Monday, October 16th, 2017

It shouldn’t be able to go on like this but it probably will

The cartoon just about sums it up. Time is running out under the Brexit extraction process and it is hard to say with any certainty who will be the senior members of government at Christmas.

TMay is now a diminished figure and in spite of the apparent turmoil within her party she simply does not have the authority to try to reshuffle her cabinet.

One side of the Tory party calls for the Chancellor to be sacked while others want Foreign Secretary out. The fault lines that were exposed during John Major’s 1992-1997 government are still there and seem wider than ever.

    Meanwhile Labour, which looked finished after losing the Copeland by-election earlier in the year, has now got its act together and can smell blood.

On top of this the Tories have put back the committee stage of what was called the Great Repeal Bill because of fears of rebellions, splits and defeats.

Even when it gets through the Commons the battles will be resumed in the Lords where the numbers situation is even worse for the Tories.

On the face of it it shouldn’t be able to go on like this but most likely it will.

Mike Smithson