The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘next UK General Election’

Post-Election Day

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 7, 2010 @ 08:50

And so the fun continues into day two. After a mere 90 minutes sleep, I cannot sleep any more. So off we go…

1455 – regardless of what happens, I think all three leaders have been extremely dignified today. They look a bit humbled given the lack of ringing endorsement to any of them. “Chastened” is, perhaps, the right word. Have the public achieved exactly what they wanted?

1451 – how can Cameron tacitly admit that the electoral system is flawed and then say he doesn’t want to change it?

1444 – Is David Camron’s “Big, Open and Comprehensive Offer” a trap for the Lib Dems? Or is it the stuff that transforms a country truly in the national interest?

1440 – Cameron rewriting decades of political tradition here…

1417 – it’s truly remarkable that Clegg’s statement this morning has set a new constitutional precedent. Gordon Brown has acknowledged that Clegg has every right to look to work with the vote and seat winner of the election. That is very good. The constitutional position of the sitting prime minister getting first go, regardless of the circumstances, was ridiculous and unfair. Now Brown has accepted it, it sets a new precedent. And precedents, if they keep going, become part of the constitution. Until someone breaks them, like Clegg.

What a non-conformist!

1248 – these results need very details analysis. That will come in the days ahead. There are some remarkable regional differences underneath the general swing to the Tories. But what’s amazing is that if you draw a line from the Severn to the Wash, and exclude London, there are but a handful of Labour MPs. A rump regional party?

1235 – I can’t believe it sounds like the Tories are in open revolt.

1233 – fair point from Fraser Nelson about how difficult this is going to be for the Tories to get through a great deal of difficult parliamentary business if they choose to govern as a minority.

1149 – What are the options looking like from here?

Most likely: Cameron forms a minority administration with Lib Dem blessing.

Second most likely: Brown resigns, Lsbour seek to govern with Lib Dem support and new Prime Minister.

Third most likely, quite unlikely though: Lib Dems agree to a Labour programme of government, with Gordon Brown as PM.

Fourth most likely, very unlikely: Clegg refuses offer of programme for government from the Tories, group of MPs defect to the Tories to grant them a majority.

Not going to happen: any form of coalition government involving seats at Cabinet. Forget it.

1147 – I can’t wait to see what the new list of Lib Dem targets looks like. It seemed to me that there were a huge number of seats that were extremely close.

1130 – I think it’s time the media realised that The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland are a sister party to the Liberal Democrats. Jeremy Vine has just claimed “she is more likely to join Labour”.

1122 – Labour making it up as they gone along now. Lab+LD > Tories does not mean they have a right to govern if they are way short of a majority.

1113 – I predicted that things would move quite quickly today. It looks like that might be the case. Cameron to make a statement at 1430.

1058 – another election within a couple of years? I think so. The only question is whether there will be a referendum on voting reform in the meantime. My instinct says no.

1045 – Nick Clegg’s positional is constitutionally incorrect, but morally right. Labour should not have first chance to govern.

1043 – Clegg looking impressive in his statement, but he should have put the bit on electoral reform first. Someone show him the fucking numbers about the disgrace that has just transpired.

1032 – no, it didn’t. And no one has still answered the question: how can the Lib Dems possibly go into coalition with Labour when the parliamentary arthmetic is still against them?

1008 – time for breakfast. Will chocolate Ready Brek cheer me up?

0954 – Julia Hartley-Bitch talking utter shit about electoral reform on BBC News.

0951 – can the LDs scrape home in Brent Central? Oh, I hope so. Please. It’s been a cruel night, I feel it may now continue into the day after…

0934 – How on Earth did Scotland go through an election, five years after the last one, and produce the exact same result? What a load of bores. Do none of them change their minds?

0918 – can we please lose all these pundits telling us how sad the fucking markets are? This is POLITICS. Did Belgium collapse while they spent nine months forming a government? The people come first. We shouldn’t be letting our decision making be forced or clouded by the right-wing forces of economics.

0856 – fancy some more?

857k = 0 MPs
530k = 0 MPs

Mandelson has got one thing right. FPTP is on its last legs. But will the Tories put it out of its misery? Of course not.

0849 – 168k votes = 8 MPs
261k votes = 1 MP
6.3m votes = 51 MPs

Just another day in the life of First Past The Post.


Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This Is It

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 6, 2010 @ 13:14

I certainly won't be keeping Young

Years and years of waiting have finally come to an end.

Big elections, like this one, don’t come round often enough for political animals like me. Who cares about mere trifles like the local council results in the Vale of White Horse? They are as insignificant as Channel 4’s attempt to make the election funny tonight will be.

But this one seems to have taken particularly long. Maybe it was the rather absurd situation of a change in Prime Minister without the trouble of finding out what the voters wanted. Or maybe it was the fact that Labour have been electorally and politically dead for years now, which has made this wait seem to drag so much.

It’s the longest between elections, too, in my short memory. OK, I can remember 1992 and 1997, but my concept of time back then was so fuzzy that all the days just zoomed by. It really does feel like five years since the last election this time. Way too long, in my not so humble opinion. Time to reduce the limit to four years, like most other sensible democracies.

But in any case, this is it.

I completed my civic duty this morning, a futile attempt to elect a Liberal Democrat in a rock solid Tory seat. But just this time, just this once, it’s actually worth voting Liberal Democrat anyway for the simple reason that if the unthinkable can happen, and the Lib Dems finish higher than Labour in the popular vote, it will – hopefully – sound the death knell for a party that has let this country down so badly.

Of course, I may soon be eating those words, in the event a miracle in the shape of a hung parliament. My party may have to work with Labour to produce a rather interesting period in which we may finally see a large number of policies that could reshape Britain.

But I don’t think so. I think, in the final analysis, too many people will get to mark their ballot paper and will decide that they’ve had enough fun toying with the politicians, and give David Cameron his majority after all. It’s just one little cross. What harm can it do?

A lot.

I’ve never been more nervous about a British election than this one. Maybe it’s because there’s just a slim hope that my “team” are going to make some progress for a change.

Or maybe it’s because I know this truly is the defining moment for this country. Are we going into this decade with a new wave of Conservative economic dogma being applied to every aspect of society? Or are we heading for an uncertain period that will nevertheless bring a great deal of reform that can transform the way the British political settlement operates?

The latter is more difficult.

But it’ll be worth it.

Vote today.

Just make sure you vote.

If you don’t, you lose the right to complain about what lies ahead.

And never again will the decision be this important.

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The Battle Of The Pollsters

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 5, 2010 @ 23:25

Let’s face it, there are too many polling organisations doing political work.

But this year, one of them is definitely going to get it right (and by that I mean within 1% on each party) because of the wide spread of results. You pays your money, and you takes your choice. As you can see below…

These are the final polls for the named pollster.

Pollster Labour Conservative Lib Dem
Angus Reid 24% 36% 29%
BPIX 27% 34% 30%
ComRes 28% 37% 28%
Harris 29% 35% 27%
ICM 28% 36% 26%
MORI 29% 36% 27%
Opinium 27% 35% 26%
Populus 28% 37% 27%
TNS 27% 33% 29%
YouGov 28% 35% 28%
RANGE 24-29% 33-37% 26-30%

On top of all this, we have the monster exit poll to come tomorrow, which is going to involve NOP, who haven’t done any political polling for anyone for years, despite getting the 2005 election spot on.

There has been some convergence, so they’re either all going to look good, or all bad. I’m supremely confident that each party will get a figure within the range indicated. Why bother with polling otherwise?

Of all of them, the one that stands out the most is Angus Reid. They have a lot on the line tomorrow. Are they going to be rewarded for bucking the trend all year? Or are they going to find British polling a lot tougher than they thought?

I’ll be taking my final shot at the numbers tomorrow. With and without YouGov. Not because I don’t like them, just because my sample is so heavily biased towards their polls cos there are so bloody many of them.

Good luck to them all, anyway. But we may be wishing or or two farewell come May 7th…

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A Lib Dem Vote Is A Wasted Vote

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 5, 2010 @ 09:51

… if you think the country needs a Strong Conservative™ government, elected by just 35% of the electorate, representing no more than 20% of the population, and awarded 100% of the power because of a totally flawed system that no one has ever voted for.

In my eyes, the First Past The Post electoral system has no legitimacy whatsoever. Tomorrow, I, like millions of other people, will cast yet another in a long list of ballots which have had no impact on the result, in a futile attempt to pretend that somehow I am doing my bit for the country.

But we let it go on.

One day I dream that I will be able to see my vote count towards something. One day I dream that I won’t need to consider spoiling my ballot paper because there is not an appropriate option for me. One day I dream that political parties won’t spend all their time only focusing on a handful of people in a smattering of middle-class areas that have little relation to what goes on in the majority of the country.

But we let it go on.

This is once in a lifetime chance to change that. Just this once, share with me a hope that a decent Liberal Democrat performance will finally put to bed generations of a cozy, corrupt two-party consensus that has seen the concept of Buggins’ Turn being turned into a principle for governing a major economic power. That’s not democracy. That’s a sham.

But we let it go on.

It may be another 30 years before this opportunity arrives again. Don’t for a second believe a Labour Party whose deathbed conversion to fake-PR is fleeting, skin deep, and designed to ensnare Liberal Democrat sympathisers into thinking they’ve seen the light. They lie. They do not support the principle of fairness. They might have once, but when the party sold its soul to the Blairite elite, it betrayed its working class roots so deeply that it should never be trusted again.

There is only one way to secure the political reform that this country needs, and that is to send the biggest number of Liberal Democrat MPs to Parliament in a century. Only the Liberal Democrats genuinely believe in the political reforms needed to bring this country into the modern age. Fair votes. Equal democracy. Transparency. Fixed-term parliaments. Real devolution of power.

We’ve had the same old, same old now since The Second World War War. The same, tired old politics of division, of fear, of patronage, of secrecy, of deceit, of complicity in illegal wars and torture, of authoritarian, statist solutions to everything, of wasted years, squandering away our unique economic and cultural position in the world for all the wrong reasons.

We’ve let it go on for too long.

Don’t let it go on this time.

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Pollwatch: T-Minus 2 Days

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 4, 2010 @ 22:39


LIB DEMS: 28% (-1%)

LABOUR: 28% (N/C)

Changes based upon last time (yesterday). Sample consists of all polls with mid-point fieldwork dates within the last 10 days, including today (n=29). Includes all British Polling Council registered pollsters. The results above are the median figure for each party.

This election has been like a rollercoaster. One day up, one day down.

The problem is that rollercoasters are under the influence of gravity. And, in the end, it returns to the Earth.

Just like the Lib Dems. Tonight’s polls continue to show their steady decline back to the norm. Bear in mind that good old Charles Kennedy notched up some 23% in very favourable circumstances last time. Now that expectations have been raised immeasurably, anything in this region would be very disappointing for Nick Clegg.

So what are we to make of tonight’s YouGov putting them on 24%. It feels like an outlier. We might find out tomorrow. But what if it’s not? Oh, I can’t take the stress any more.

This is what makes this election so cruel to us poor downtrodden Lib Dems. We thought we might be in with a shot. The polls were even mean enough to confirm our gut feeling that something special had happened on the night of that first debate.

And then it gets snatched away from us.

I’m trying to stay positive though, especially as it would be fickle of me to change my mind again after my post yesterday, in which I tried to cheer myself up.

The election, however, is even more wide open than before. If YouGov is right, and Labour get 30%, that will definitely be enough to ensure a hung parliament. I’m confident of that, because it will mean Labour don’t lose too many Lab-Con marginals; and if the LDs outperform their rating in the LD-Con marginals, it will make for one hell of scrap for power on May 7th.

The final polls tomorrow will be the ones to watch out for. Will there be the usual convergence? Even if there is, will it even mean anything, because 1% here and there when the polls are this tight, and in our electoral system, can be the difference between hung parliament and majority?

I love elections.

There will be no Pollwatch instalment at this time tomorrow, as it will be shifted forward into Thursday instead to make sure I don’t miss any of them being released on Wednesday night.

Be lucky.

Posted in Monster's Poll | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pollwatch: T-Minus 5 Days

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 1, 2010 @ 23:59


LIB DEMS: 29% (N/C)

LABOUR: 27% (N/C)

Changes based upon last time (yesterday). Sample consists of all polls with mid-point fieldwork dates within the last 10 days, including today (n=28). Includes all British Polling Council registered pollsters. The results above are the median figure for each party.

Still nothing happens. And there were four new polls today, as well… all of them suggesting that the Lib Dems are slipping and the Tories are gaining.

It’s an old cliché, but it’s beginning to come true. The more likely a hung parliament seems, the less likely it really is.

As the election draws nearer, and it seems like it’s going to be an inconclusive result, opinion starts to harden one way or the other. In this case, the country seems to be deciding, after it’s brief flirtation with the third party, to come home. Perhaps we just wanted to keep Cameron on his toes, make him prove that he is worthy of being PM.

Or maybe it’s just the fickle electorate once again.

Having said that, it’s probably too early to conclude just yet. The medians above haven’t moved, after all. And so they shouldn’t. More evidence is needed first, and there’s going to be plenty of that next week.

These shares, despite what UNS might say, are not far off a majority. Labour meltdown, plus more “wasted” votes going to the Lib Dems, and a disproportionate pro-Tory swing in the marginals, will ensure they get the seats they need.

It’s not over, but the writing is starting to appear on the wall.

Posted in Monster's Poll | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pollwatch: T-Minus 6 Days

Posted by The Futility Monster on April 30, 2010 @ 23:59


LIB DEMS: 29% (N/C)

LABOUR: 27% (N/C)

Changes based upon last time (yesterday). Sample consists of all polls with mid-point fieldwork dates within the last 10 days, including today (n=28). Includes all British Polling Council registered pollsters. The results above are the median figure for each party.

Well, that was exciting, wasn’t it?

There has only been one post-debate poll released, and that’s the daily YouGov. That showed… nought but a 1% rise in the Labour share. Barely anything. And, though we still need more data, I’m going to stick my neck firmly on the block now and say I’m feeling pretty vindicated about predicting nothing will come of “bigotgate” .

Sunday is definitely the big day. There is bound to have been lots of polling in the field today, and more tomorrow, all ready for the final Sunday of the campaign. There will be much talk of whether these polls on a bank holiday weekend are accurate, but I trust the pollsters to get round any sampling difficulties. They know what they’re doing.

And expect next week to be a continued deluge. Be aware too, that of all the numbers coming out over the next few days, one of them is bound to be exactly right. And maybe more.

Scary thought, no?

The endgame approaches. Are you ready for it?

Posted in Monster's Poll | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Paxman v Brown

Posted by The Futility Monster on April 30, 2010 @ 21:26

Poor bugger...

In the final chapter of this series (Paxman v Clegg; Paxman v Cameron), Gordon Brown finally decided he would grace Jeremy Paxman with his presence. At the very least, these interviews have a bit more substance to them for wonks like me, and won’t get spun as to “who won”.

Overall, Brown gave a good account of himself. He was stubborn as hell. He had an answer to every single question, and they were almost all delivered without a moment’s pause or hesitation. There was no stuttering, no thoughtfulness. Just a steamroller through every issue.

First thing to say though is that he looks quite rough. This election is clearly taking it out of him. He seems to have aged noticeably, and even his voice, that dreaded, unforgiving monotone, sounded tired.

Because Brown is the only politician in government, however, he is the only one who has a 13 year record to defend. That’s a tall order, especially compared to the newness of Cameron and Clegg. As a result, Paxman did his level best to take every aspect of Gordon Brown’s record and pin the blame to Brown at every turn.

It was like a history seminar. Gordon Brown, the old and wise professor, correcting the errant and wayward student for daring to question his version of events. “My historical record is accurate”, insisted Professor Brown. Paxman ducked and dived, hurling shit at every opportunity. Expenses! Banking! Scandals! Immigration! Lack of mandates! Boom and bust! Iraq!

And then he finished with a cruel blow… with words to this effect:

“Why do people dislike you?”

But to give Brown his due, he answered them all, even the nasty attack on his personality, even making Jeremy Paxman laugh with his reply. But as for the policy, Brown is, of course, not correct to say that no one could have seen the disaster heading towards us in the banking sector. After all, a certain politician named Vince Cable warned us all about it for several years beforehand…

Brown, however, is just too abstract. He is a details man in a big picture world. He has all the facts and figures (at least, his versions of them) at his disposal in order to make a decent argument. An academic would love his essays.

Sadly for him, the electorate aren’t academics. He fails to make his logic into a tangible, touchy-feely, and even emotional case for governing. He just cannot do it. Mean people suggest it might be a form of autism. Even Jeremy Paxman hinted at it by asking why Brown struggles to relate to people (see the historical record, passim). Brown dismissed it, of course, but the charge is there.

Brown did eat his humble pie over “Bigotgate”, but Paxo kept on stuffing him by turning the debate fully to the issue of immigration, and spent five minutes accusing him of having no mandate for the amount of it this country has seen. A very difficult accusation for him indeed, but Brown blustered through. He has done that for over 10 years anyway, so he’s pretty good at it by now…

The biggest thing I take from the interview, though, is Brown’s utter determination to go right on to the bitter end. He is still supremely confident of his abilities, and has complete bloody-minded certainty of his convictions, even though the evidence over the years is of a man who has changed his position time after time to put him on the winning side.

And while it appears that there’s no one in the Labour Party who’s prepared to tell him that the Emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes, he will continue to do it until he’s ground Labour into the dust.

Full marks to him for his sheer brass neck in the interview. Full marks for playing up his experience and belief that he can keep saving Britain. Full marks for using it instead of the way other politicians play the charisma card.

But, these days, you just can’t get away with it.

Sorry, Gordon. Your number’s up.

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Pollwatch: T-Minus 7 Days

Posted by The Futility Monster on April 29, 2010 @ 23:59


LIB DEMS: 29% (N/C)

LABOUR: 27% (N/C)

Changes based upon last time (yesterday). Sample consists of all polls with mid-point fieldwork dates within the last 10 days, including today (n=29). Includes all British Polling Council registered pollsters. The results above are the median figure for each party.

All very stable, but we’re in a holding pattern. The first, and only, post-bigotgate poll puts Labour on absolutely no change at all. But I told you that yesterday, so regular visitors (all two of you) should not be surprised!

The holding pattern is, of course, because of tonight’s debate. What will the impact of David Cameron’s “win” be? We won’t find out for sure tomorrow… for the full reality, we may have to wait till the opinion polls in the Sunday papers.

But so far, it’s a slight nudging forward for the Tories. And that’s all we will ever really see in these smoothing median samples. The direction of travel, then, is most important. Maybe we’ll see another point to them tomorrow… and that will definitely be a worrying sign for those of us hoping for a hung parliament.

Oh well…

Posted in Monster's Poll | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pollwatch: T-Minus 8 Days

Posted by The Futility Monster on April 28, 2010 @ 22:42

As we count down to May 6th, as promised, Monster’s Poll will be going daily. Here goes…


LIB DEMS: 29% (N/C)

LABOUR: 27% (-1%)

Changes based upon last time (Saturday). Sample consists of all polls with mid-point fieldwork dates within the last 10 days, including today (n=30). Includes all British Polling Council registered pollsters. The results above are the median figure for each party.

Not a lot happening, more’s the pity. But these numbers would certainly produce a hung parliament.

What will be the effect of the Gordon Brown gaffe? I suspect very little. In truth, I hope so, because anything less is sheer hypocrisy. He got caught out with a thoughtcrime. Who amongst us hasn’t been rude about someone behind their back?

But then again, my opinion of the electorate is so low that it wouldn’t surprise me if Labour took a knock. Yet, I still think this betrayal of humanity might just let him off the hook. Remember: not flash, just Gordon.

Will the electoral landscape be different tomorrow? Stay tuned to find out…

Posted in Monster's Poll | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »