ICM poll: Labour leads Tories by 7%, Lib Dems in third place on 12%

What a difference a month makes. In July, the Guardian’s ICM poll – the ‘gold standard’ – showed a narrow 1% Tory lead over Labour. Fast forward to August and Labour enjoys a solid 7% lead over the Tories, by 38% to 31%. The Lib Dems are in third place, unchanged on 12%, with Ukip trailing on 10%.

icm poll - aug 2014

Three brief points:

1) Though I have high regard for ICM, that they report only once a month means it’s hard to know if this month’s score reflects a genuine increase in support for Labour at the Tories’ expense (not something other polls are showing) or is just random noise.

2) Lib Dems will be relieved to see the party’s ratings stable. I realise they’re stable at a rate half that we won at the last general election. But given it’s a month since the last poll showed us in double digits, at least the pollster with the best track record has us steady at c.12%: that’s something.

3) ICM shows there’s a pretty minimal ‘Boris effect’ among the public, a modest 3% up-tick in support, principally drawn from Ukip. In any case, I tend towards Antony Wells’ view of such hypothetical polling:

… I wouldn’t take “How would you vote with X as leader” questions too seriously anyway. People are rubbish at answering hypothetical questions, and here we’re expecting them to say how they’d vote with X as leader without knowing what changes X would make, what priorities and policies they’d adopt or anything else about what an X leadership would look like. They can be useful straws in the wind, but really, they are no more than that.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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55 Comments

  • It could because the Tories don’t represent Britain and have admitted as much by relying on Darling to Keep the UK together! This could account for a conservative swing to Labour by making them seem British. The idea of a United Kingdom is very powerful to people with a strong sense of continuity and history.

  • Jonathan Pile 12th Aug '14 - 10:34pm

    12% will only be a bridgehead to a party election recovery (circa 15-18%)in 2015 if Nick Clegg and his acolytes adopt a broader unifying approach to policies which the majority of 2010 Lib Dem Voters support such as dropping HS2, abandoning tuition fees, bedroom tax and a more centre left agenda whilst praising Lib Dem achievements in Government like 10k tax limit, more jobs & a return to growth.

  • Peter Chegwyn 13th Aug '14 - 2:48am

    Stephen, If you’re going to quote polls then you really shouldn’t selectively quote the only poll in the past three weeks to put us in double figures. The Guardian’s ICM poll generally gives us a higher rating than other polls but for a much more represenative cross-section of polls have a look at the graph on http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/ which shows that in 25 polls between 21st July and 11th August we didn’t once hit double figures.

  • This ICM poll, and the one previous, are both within the margin of error for there being no real change. As is the Johnson question compared to straightforward voting intention. You need to wait a few more months before you can say anything about a trend.

  • Caractatus.
    The European elections were plainly not indicative of a general election, Though I can.t remember the percentages involved the local elections held on the same day put Labour first, The Conservatives second, Lib Dems third and UKIP fourth. This I was plainly a better guide to a general election than the Euro results.

  • I would be interested to see some information of voting intentions of under 25’s. We seem to be neglecting them in the issues that we are campaigning on. Too much about appeals to self-interest and not enough about issues that are more idealistic e.g. those that have human rights implications.

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th Aug '14 - 8:35am

    I am pleased to see that it is only the Conservatives and Ukip that are most affected by what I see as the the Boris side-show.

    I don’t understand why people are dismissive of a poll that encourages people to think again about voting Lib Dem. There are probably others like myself who are waiting until 2015 to find out where our candidate stands on the Liberal Democrat political spectrum before making a decision on where to place our vote.

  • Peter Watson 13th Aug '14 - 8:59am

    @Glenn “Though I can.t remember the percentages involved the local elections held on the same day put Labour first, The Conservatives second, Lib Dems third and UKIP fourth.”
    Actually, on the popular vote, in England UKIP were third with 17% and Lib Dems were fourth with 13% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_local_elections,_2014).

  • Haven’t the Liberal Democrats been forced into 5th place in some areas and in some polls, less than the Green Party?

    Farron appears to be the only really genuinely popular senior Liberal. I suspect under him the party has a chance of rebuilding.

  • John Roffey 13th Aug '14 - 9:17am

    @ Caractatus

    ” I’d love the lib Dem to be on 12% instead of 8%, but they aren’t and hoping they are won’t make it so.”

    I suppose the intention is to try to reassure members that the current strategy of shutting eyes, putting fingers in ears and hoping will work. All the signs are that, without some significant change the Party’s fortunes are going continue to diminish as the general election draws nearer.

    The aim of maximizing ‘success in the 2015 General Election and to come out of the election as a party of government for a historic second time’ is extraordinarily remote because it is in both the Tory’s and UKIP’s interests to form a pact a few months prior to the election – if the Tories do not have a clear lead by then.

    I suspect Cameron has succeeded in convincing NC that he would never form such a pact and that he would be happy to be in coalition with the Party again – if it can hold on to enough seats.

  • Frank Booth 13th Aug '14 - 9:44am

    I can’t see Ukip agreeing to a pact with the Tories. What’s in it for them? How many Tory candidates would be prepared to stand aside for them? It would also annoy the red Ukip voters.

  • Peter Watson.
    Cheers for that. I still suspect UKIP will continue to slump and the Lib Dems will hit around 14 to 15%. The real problem is whether or not this will mean they hold a decent number of seats. What is pretty obvious is the Tories show no sign of getting the 11% per cent increase they need for a majority. My guess is a labour win or a hung parliament with a decreased majority for the Conservatives.

  • John Roffey 13th Aug '14 - 9:57am

    @ Frank Booth

    If you recall Farage said that UKIP were only interested in a couple of dozen seats – and the Tories could have the rest. Clearly, with UKIP still predicted to get no seats at the GE – Cameron could probably get this reduced to less than 10 – and since the candidates in these seats will be the Tory’s smallest fry – because they will be in seats where they are in third place – I would not expect him to have any difficulty at all.

    Farage is likely to have a bigger problem with his own candidates – because there would be many more of them. However, unless the Tories win – there will be no EU Referendum.

  • Why would the Tories consider a pact with UKIP? The last thing the Tory party needs is to tear itself apart over Europe, aided by an alliance with UKIP. That would let Labour in with a very large majority. Don’t forget the Conservative Leadership and much of the party want to remain in the EU, even if they want the terms changed. UKIP want out. No ifs, no buts, no compromises.

    I’m sure the Tories would find a pact with a centre-right liberal party much more palatable, even if they disagreed on the precise detail of EU policy.

  • @ g

    The majority of the Tories are eurosceptic and certainly would not want to stay in unless significant powers are returned – and that is not going to happen. Virtually all Tories want to remain as the Party of government above all else.

    I think Boris entering parliament in 2015 might have been misread here. Farage has said that he could work with Boris [when Cameron rejected his previous offer] and Boris said, when he made his announcement, that he did not think we should stay in the EU without a significant return of powers. Once he is a PPC, the majority in the Party will have a leader-in-waiting to put pressure on Cameron’s leadership – if he does not do a deal with UKIP to ensure a Tory victory.

    The sums for such a pact on the marginals have already been done – the Tories would win an easy outright victory – it is the reason Ashcroft has been carrying out his detailed polls in these marginals.

  • jedibeeftrix 13th Aug '14 - 11:04am

    Frank, where he is mostly likely to win is in traditionally working class seats, you can understand that Cameron is intensely relaxed at the prospect of giving them away.

  • Reading between the lines here I get the impression people think Ukip are just a more radical version of the conservative party, keeping the true Thatcherite flame alive. That may be true of much of the leadership, but not their supporters. Would Farage want to alienate the red kippers by doing a deal with the Tories? I don’t think so.

    g – the Tories might well prefer a deal with a centre right liberal party, but no such party exists – although one does wonder sometimes.

  • As a general rule, I wouldnt bother with individual Polls except when Polls are changing rapidly. Right now they seem fairly stable. Different Polling firms treat the raw data very differently so it makes sense to compare only Polls in the same series or keep a reminder of each firms “bias” handy. “Political Betting” had a table showing the “bias” of all the main Polls afew weeks back, worth looking at. Its under “House Effects” I think.
    ICM typically give us 2.8% more than the average, so 12% from them is in line with our current averages of 8% with UKPR or 9% with the BBC
    What any of this actually “Means” is another story.

  • Glenn: You say the Conservatives do not represent Britain but neither does the Labour Party or any other party. They all represent certain parts of British society in their different ways. It seems odd that people who claim to be Liberals seem unable to understand that people can be British without everyone holding the same opinion as the one they hold. Not very Liberal some might say.

  • John Roffey

    The majority of the Tories are eurosceptic and certainly would not want to stay in unless significant powers are returned – and that is not going to happen. This may be true of their members, but it is not true of their ministers, nor is it true of their voters, especially those they need to gain a majority.

  • I can understand why this artice has been posted, as an attempt at a kind of confidence boost, come rallying cry, But beneath it lies a severe problematic shift, : a growing trend in Lib Dem party attitude.
    After the May elections all three main parties, said to the effect ” Yes, O.K. voters,… we hear you,…we are listening!” But that listening never really materialized.
    This article [listens] to one supportive poll, but [blocks out] all the others that don’t send the message you want to hear.
    A few threads back, someone introduced us to a clever piece of software, that [blocks out] voices you don’t want to hear, so you need only read messages, that you [want to hear]. See the dangerous pattern emerging in your chosen deafness?
    As a party, you can’t bluff this. Either you ARE listening to voters or you are purposely blocking your ears and ignoring them? Unfortunately for Lib Dems, the ballot box hears ALL voices, including the ones you prefer not to hear. Before the May elections I wrote here, that the Ukip sledgehammer, would make Westminster teeth rattle. And so it did? From what I read on the ground, and the desire by politicians to throw a deaf ear to voters, I think the ballot box in May 2015, is going to dislodge more of those teeth than you can possibly imagine.
    Not what you want to hear? No problem, I believe that there’s an App for that.

  • paul barker 13th Aug '14 - 1:04pm

    On that question of what the Polls “mean”, new research reported in The Telegraph shows that only 3 in 5 Labour “Voters” trust Labour on The Economy, 1 in 4 actually prefer The Tories. That suggests that the real level of Labour support is not the current average of 36% but somewhere between 22% & 27%. That fits with other Polling about whether Voters want a majority Labour Government or Milliband as PM.
    So why are Labour still on 36% ? Because theres no need to think about The Election till its visibly round the next corner. Our insistence on Fixed-Term Parliaments has given The Voters an extra year when they can pull the covers over their heads & forget “Bloody Politics”.
    How much longer can Voters go on ignoring the coming Election ? I dont know.

  • Paul in Wokingham 13th Aug '14 - 1:42pm

    @Paul Barker – on the question of trust about the economy, YouGov recently posed the question “what party has the best policies for the economy in general?”. Only 37% of self-identified Lib Dem supporters rated the Lib Dems as best, and only 3% (that is not a typo) of all respondents said the Lib Dems had the best economic policies.

    So what is the “true” level of Lib Dem support?

  • John Roffey 13th Aug '14 - 1:42pm

    @ g

    “The majority of the Tories are eurosceptic and certainly would not want to stay in unless significant powers are returned – and that is not going to happen. This may be true of their members, but it is not true of their ministers, nor is it true of their voters, especially those they need to gain a majority.”

    Even Farage praised the , what he thought surprising, honesty of this Guardian poll:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/21/eu-referendum-majority-leave-opinium-observer-poll

    Although Cameron has promoted ‘like minded’ individuals to Cabinet posts – this was the point of Boris standing for election in 2015 – to force him to act in accordance with the majorities wishes. Also, as you can see from the Guardian poll the majority of voters are against our membership unless significant powers are returned – which isn’t going to happen.

    We, and of course Cameron knows, how ruthless the Tories can be if they think the current leader will lose them a winnable election. There are other eurosceptic Tories waiting in the wings to take his job if he will not deal with UKIP.

    Like it or not – the Party, with its current strategy, is almost certainly going to fail in its aim and be left in a pretty disastrous position after the GE.

  • Ipsos Mori today has the party at between 7 and 8%. Judging from our local by election performance week in and week out, that seems just about on the money. CHANGE OF LEADER PLEASE PLEASE. Even Paul Barker must have his doubts..

  • If I remember correctly, LDV used to have a rule to comment on individual polls only in exceptional circumstances. Now the rule seems to be to comment only on ICM polls – with a compulsory description of ICM as the “gold standard” – and ignore all the rest.

    And the “gold standard” mantra really is a bit silly. In fact, there wasn’t that much to choose between the major pollsters in 2010, particularly if averages of several polls were considered, rather than focusing on the final poll of the campaign. They all overestimated the Lib Dem vote, by between 3 and 6 points. But in terms of that final poll, if anyone it’s MORI which should take the prize. MORI’s total error was the same as ICM’s, but it got both the Tories and Labour spot on (at the cost of overestimating the Lib Dems by 4 points as against ICM’s 3). MORI currently has the Lib Dems at 7%.

  • paul barker 13th Aug '14 - 3:06pm

    Can I just repeat ” Polling averages good – Individual Polls bad”. Relying on Individual Polls you must beleive that our support is both the same as The Greens & 4 times as high, even I cant believe that. Stick to the averages unless you have a good reason to think one Polling Firm has it “Right”.

  • Paul, in this constituency there were no Lib Dem candidates in the County Council elections, but the Greens had one in each seat. I do think you overate our appeal and performance.

  • John Roffey 13th Aug '14 - 3:47pm

    Do you take any notice of this pollster Stephen – I understood that they were the most accurate in 2010 – and their predictions slightly more to the point:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/gainloss.html

  • Peter Watson 13th Aug '14 - 3:56pm

    All we really know about the ICM poll is that when 1002 people were asked “The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and other parties would fight a new election in your area. If there were a general election tomorrow which party do you think you would vote for?”, 58 of them (i.e. less than 6%) said “Liberal Democrat”. ICM’s magic then turns this into 12%.
    For comparison, in today’s IPSOS-MORI poll, 1003 people were asked ” How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow?” and 51 (less than 5%) said “Liberal Democrat” but MORI’s magic turns this into 7%. In the last yougovpoll, of 1942 people asked for their voting intention, 106 (just over 5%) said Liberal Democrat and yougov magic this up to 8%.
    All of the polling companies’ raw data are very consistent and show little enthusiasm or support for Lib Dems. Choosing one firm’s magic over another seems like a futile exercise in wishful thinking, and for once I agree entirely with paul barker when he says, “Polling averages good – Individual Polls bad”.

  • Stephen

    I’ve never thought appeals to authority sit very well with the liberal philosophy. “Show us the facts and we will believe” seems a much better approach. As I’ve said, I don’t think the facts really support the narrative of ICM being significantly more accurate than the other pollsters (though please prove me wrong if you have any numbers to offer!).

    In the absence of facts, and at the risk of lese-majeste, I’ll persist in thinking that both you and Mike Smithson are being rather silly about the “gold standard” mantra. And I’ll carry on preferring your old approach of sticking to averages, rather than picking out individual polls.

  • for once I agree entirely with paul barker when he says, “Polling averages good – Individual Polls bad”.

    Yes – I agree with Paul.

  • All I know in one by election last week our candidate got 7 yes 7 votes. Hard to beat that!!!!!!!

  • The description of ICM as the ‘gold standard’ is reasonable given their overall past record in general elections. However there is good reason to believe that their methodology may be less accurate this time. Allocating 50% of undecided voters back to the party the voted for last time made sense for Labour and Tories who would naturally lose some
    support over the course of a time in government due to temporary unpopularity, but when push comes to shove at an election people are more likely to go back to them. Their support bases are more stable in general and have less churn of voters than the Lib Dems, whose supporters change more from election to election and are less tribal. The main factor to add to that is that we know the way the electorate looks at the Lib Dems has changed dramatically since the coalition, losing millions of 2010 left of centre supporters. It is unlikely that the 50% assumption will hold
    true this time and if you track the drop in the numbers of LDs saying don’t know the Lib Dem polling figures have actually got worse. I think it’s highly likely that when the pollsters converge it will be ICM moving towards YouGov and not vice versa. On top of this, every other pollster has UKIP ahead of the LDs other than ICM. Other than the spiral of silence adjustment that helps the LDs and mainstream parties against UKIP, ICM also significantly down weights people who say they are going to vote for X party who didnt vote last time, significantly hitting UKIP and to a lesser extent Labour. There is plenty of evidence from around the country of previous and in some cases, long time non voters coming out to vote UKIP in local and European elections. Go and have a look at a marked register in working class areas. In many cases these are older people who did vote for many years but stopped. The polling looks bleak for the LDs and for these reasons I think ICM are more likely to be dragged into line and less likely to accurately predict the UKIP vote than others this time.

  • Your last point, Joe AJ, are those I refer to as f*scists. Those with twisted, warped faces, you only generally see at polling stations in Euro Elections. Yes, I saw them last year at the County elections (where I was relegated from 2nd to the Tory to 3rd by a strong UKIP performance). It would not surprise me if we saw them again at the General, and therefore the locals, in 2015.

  • IN 2005-10 the Lib Dems consistently outpolled (by 4-5% IIRC) that April & May ICM rating when it came to the BBC etc estimated national vote share in the local elections. Since 2010 performance in the local elections has pretty much matched the ICM ratings. In other words there is no premium in local elections over the ICM poll rating.

    Now when comparing two variables if could be either that is changing but there is certainly something significant that has changed.

  • Tony Dawson 14th Aug '14 - 8:17am

    @Glenn

    “I still suspect UKIP will continue to slump and the Lib Dems will hit around 14 ito 15%. ”

    Which will affect precisely what which has interest to the Lib Dems in terms of the Lib Dem seat outcome in the coming General Election? This will be determined almost entirely by how cleverly a small group of campaigners in a handful of seats work out their own message package and how to deliver it. The only obvious significance in variations of the Lib Dem national vote share in the present scenario relates to whether Labour can get an overall majority on a low vote share.

  • “The description of ICM as the ‘gold standard’ is reasonable given their overall past record in general elections.”

    I’m sorry, but I still don’t think so. I’ve referred to the 2010 election above. That was based on a BBC analysis taking into account the predictions for the three main parties:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8667801.stm

    The British Polling Council has a different analysis, including “Others”, and that does admittedly rank ICM top, with an average error of 1.25% compared with 1.5% for Harris and 1,75% for MORI and Populus:
    http://www.britishpollingcouncil.org/2010/05/

    But they also have a similar analysis for 2005:
    http://www.britishpollingcouncil.org/accuracy-of-the-final-polls-2/
    In that case NOP was ranked top with an average error of 0.25%, with ICM, MORI and YouGov equal on 1% and Populus worst with 1.5%.

    But looking at the predictions for the three main parties only, ICM ranked 4th out of 5 for accuracy.

    In reality, the differences between the pollsters’ average errors are measured in fractions of a percentage point, and there is no “gold standard”.

    However, I do think you are justified in your doubts about whether the 50% assumption will be borne out next year.

  • I really don’t understand why there is any expectation that UKIP’s vote will slump and if it should – why the Party will be the beneficiaries. This might be the case if there were likely to be any significant change in strategy, but there does not seem to be much chance of that happening.

    I would have thought that this prediction is the most realistic at the present time – essentially because it focuses on the marginals. Should UKIP falter, and the research I have seen does not seem to indicate that is likely – the likely beneficiaries will be the two main parties with the Tories benefitting more – although the Greens do seem to be on the rise.

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/gainloss.html

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Aug '14 - 2:58pm

    John Dunn

    As a party, you can’t bluff this. Either you ARE listening to voters or you are purposely blocking your ears and ignoring them? Unfortunately for Lib Dems, the ballot box hears ALL voices, including the ones you prefer not to hear.

    Well, I hear people wound up by THE Sun, Daily Mail and so on into supposing that the problems with this country are all to do with membership of the European Union, and that pulling out of the European Union will magically resolve them and make this country oh so much better. But I believe them to be wrong. Sorry, just because people have been fooled into believing this nonsense by millionaires who put large amounts of money into pushing it does not mean I am going to change my mind on it.

    Do you want me to go along with the millionaires, or do you want me to think for myself?

  • Simon Banks 14th Aug '14 - 7:35pm

    I don’t quite understand some of the criticisms of the post. Stephen does not claim our position is improving: he makes clear that the ICM poll gave the same result for us over two months and the reassurance for us is that things don’t seem to be getting worse. I can’t see anyone spraying champagne for that.

    I do suspect UKIP has peaked. They’ll remain a serious force which could throw several seats to one of the other parties and they might win a couple of parliamentary seats, but unless they win a parliamentary by-election, I can’t see them gaining momentum for more big shocks.

    As Stephen indicates, the big surprise in this poll is nothing to do with our standing – it’s the jump in the Labour rating for no apparent reason. My guess is that this is a blip, but we’ll see.

  • @ Matthew Huntbach
    Good rant at 2.58pm, but if Lib Dems continue to choose to ignore voters real concerns, do not be surprised if the voters ignore Lib Dems?
    Like I have said before, Ukip is not specifically the answer, even we imbecile knuckle dragging *Sun readers* know this, but the three main parties have let us down very badly, and Ukip is the only sledgehammer we have right now. We *will* swing that Ukip sledgehammer to best effect in 2015

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Aug '14 - 9:41pm

    John Dunn

    Good rant at 2.58pm, but if Lib Dems continue to choose to ignore voters real concerns, do not be surprised if the voters ignore Lib Dems?

    As I said, these are concerns that have been manufactured by THE Sun, the Daily Mail etc in order to distract voters from their real concerns. Voting UKIP to express your concern about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer makes as much sense as voting Labour to express your opposition to the power of trade unions, or voting SNP to express your commitment to Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.

  • Even if were true that ICM are slightly more reliable than other pollsters, which is rather debatable, then a single ICM poll is still less accurate than the average of two other polls. Singling out a single pollster that only reports every few weeks is really quite a poor method of gauging electoral intention.

    Anyway, Stephen Tall, how does this poll match with the ‘trend’ predictions you’ve written about in previous articles about ICM?

  • John Roffey 15th Aug '14 - 9:31am

    Another prediction – this time from the University of East Anglia [and in line with that of Electoral Calculus] – showing the Party to retain 16 seats – using polling fielded up to 13 August 2014. EC’s prediction is for the Party to retain 17 seats.

    http://electionforecast.co.uk/

  • @ Matthew Huntbach
    I’m perplexed as to why you keep banging on about millionaires, and ‘the rich getting richer…..’? What has given you the impression that that is a core Ukip concern.?
    The core concern for Ukip is having a real democratic voice. And that voice should have an equal say, whether from a millionaire or a pauper.
    Seriously, why do Lib Dems despise voters having a say in their lives, instead favouring this paternalistic ‘we know best’ attitude?

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Aug '14 - 11:06am

    John Dunn

    I’m perplexed as to why you keep banging on about millionaires, and ‘the rich getting richer…..’? What has given you the impression that that is a core Ukip concern.?

    Because UKIP leaders and those who fund UKIP have said they regard Margaret Thatcher as their hero, and want more of the sort of policies she was in favour of, which are policies to cut tax on rich people at the expense of cutting government services which help poor people.

    If you go into what the people who give big funding to the anti-EU movement are most concerned about, it IS international co-operation. They don’t like the EU getting together and doing things like protecting people’s working hours, or stopping the rich from having huge bonuses and the like. They are anti-EU because they like the idea of weak nation states so that the global super-rich can play one country off against another, say to any country which tries to stand up against them to help the poor “Oh, if you do that, we are off with our money and jobs”.

    Oh, it isn’t put like this to the plebs, but it’s what underlies the anti-EU arguments put in posh right-wing circles (e.g. the Spectator magazine) and THAT is where most of UKIP’s funding comes from.


    Seriously, why do Lib Dems despise voters having a say in their lives, instead favouring this paternalistic ‘we know best’ attitude?

    No, I don’t despise voters, but I can think through these things myself. Why do you despise me because I can see through the nonsense pushed out by the millionaires, and used to whip up the people through the Murdoch propaganda machine?

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Aug '14 - 11:12am

    John Dunn

    I’m perplexed as to why you keep banging on about millionaires, and ‘the rich getting richer…..’? What has given you the impression that that is a core Ukip concern.?

    Plus it is John Roffey who is using the line that somehow a UKIP vote is a protest about British politics, and the big shift to the right that has been seen in all the parties, which has led to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. But UKIP’s economic policies are just the same, or even more so – they are all about extreme free market policies and their underlying opposition to the EU comes from seeing the EU as a brake on that sort of thing.

    So it seems to me that voting for UKIP as a protest against something that UKIP is even more in favour of than the other parties is madness. It’s like the line that we used to come across when people voted BNP saying “Oh, I’m not a racist, but I want to make a protest against the big political parties, and if I vote BNP, they’ll sit up and take notice of me”. It didn’t work. It just made those places which had a big BNP vote look racist.

  • @ Matthew Huntbach
    (They are anti-EU because they like the idea of weak nation states so that the global super-rich can play one country off against another, say to any country which tries to stand up against them to help the poor “Oh, if you do that, we are off with our money and jobs”.)
    That is the situation *now*, even with the EU? And it’s promising to get even worse ( TTIP …?)
    What you are failing to grasp is that politics over the last few decades, has drifted away from any pretence at *representation*, instead cynically favouring to represent the party leaders views, via their chief whip. In 2010 a young first time voter, expected to be *represented* by a Lib Dem MP he voted for and got into Parliament, on the basis of ”’ ending tuition fees ””?
    How did that *electoral representation* go?
    But for sure, that young student learned a very valuable lesson. An MP’s job is to save his/her own skin, by representing whatever the Chief Whip tells them to represent, and to hell with what the voters want (for another 4 and a half years). And then spend the last 6 months up to a general election, concocting all manner of false promises, to tease gullible voters into believing their promises and pledges will be fulfilled? Fat chance of that.
    Ukip want to pull more direct democracy, back into voters hands, and away from the clutches of the deceivers and charlatans in Westminster and Brussels. And those politicos that hate Ukip, hate, even (((shiver))), at the idea of having to give up their ill-gotten power.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Aug '14 - 9:02am

    John Dunn

    In 2010 a young first time voter, expected to be *represented* by a Lib Dem MP he voted for and got into Parliament, on the basis of ”’ ending tuition fees ””?

    Yes, and only 57 MPs were elected who were in that party, as opposed to 306 MPs from the Conservative Party, whose main principle was keeping taxes low. A year later, the people of this country agreed in a referendum vote that they wanted to keep the system that distorts representation so that the party which wins the most votes gets many more MPs than its share of vote, and parties with lower shares of votes get fewer.

    So we have what people voted for here. Most people did not vote for what your first-time-voter voted for, and this is the consequence.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Aug '14 - 9:09am

    John Dunn

    What you are failing to grasp is that politics over the last few decades, has drifted away from any pretence at *representation*, instead cynically favouring to represent the party leaders views, via their chief whip.

    No, I am not failing to grasp it, I am continually arguing on this site for the Liberal Democrats to move away from the top-down leader-oriented model of politics.

    However, we have it because that is what people vote for. We are always told that a strong united party with a strong leader is what people want, what wins votes. As I have already mentioned, there is also the factor that the people voted, by two-to-one, in favour of an electoral system which forces them to vote, in most cases, for Labour or Conservative, out of fear that anything else would “split the vote”, and the consequence of that is the sort of politics we see now, Thanks the to the first-past-the-post system, which the people of this country so enthusiastically backed when they had a referendum about it, most MPs have safe seats, so don’t face much of a local challenge, and alternative choices don’t stand a chance because people run the risk that if they vote for them they will “split the vote” and so let in which of Labour and Conservative they like the least.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Aug '14 - 9:23am

    John Dunn

    Ukip want to pull more direct democracy, back into voters hands, and away from the clutches of the deceivers and charlatans in Westminster and Brussels.

    Perhaps you have not grasped my point about the AV referendum. I was not REALLY saying that people voted as they did because they wanted all what I said they wanted. My real point was to show how people can so easily be manipulated in referendums into voting for something which is not in their best interest.

    Referendums place power in the hands of the deceivers and charlatans who run the big newspapers, issuing continuous propaganda through them in favour of placing more power in the hands of the global super-rich. That is why they are so keen on pushing out this “politicians are all bad” message, because it is used as a reason to shift power away from politicians, with all this privatisation and the like, int the hands of the global super-rich. It is used to dissuade those who most need an active state to counter the global super-rich into not voting at all, so ensuring those who do get elected are those who won’t challenge the unbalanced nature of wealth in our society.

    We can see this in the call for referendums. How come there is always a big call for referendums on issue the political right-wing think they will win, but never for referendums on issue they would probably lose? So we have all this fuss about a referendum on EU membership, but how come no call for a referendum on the semi-privatisation of the NHS? How come no call for a referendum on the privatisation of the Royal Mail? How come no call for a referendum on big tax rises for the rich in order to pay for better government services for the poor?

    No, this whole EU thing is about cynically whipping up people on one issue as a distraction from everything else. UKIP are the biggest charlatans and deceivers going. Not just because they are all part of this cynical distraction, but because of the way they put across this popular image of being on the side of the people, while in reality standing for just the same sort of extreme right-wing economic policies which have caused the people of this country to be dissatisfied with how things are. Nigel Farage is City money man. His main financial backer is a City money man. The main thing that really motivates then against the EU is what it can do to stop City money men from getting stinking rich at the expense of the rest of us. I will take NO lectures of charlatans and deception from those who back these political fraudster, whether knowing what they are really about underneath or just fooled by them int believing their propaganda.

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