Friday, 28 September 2007

Election Fever

Today I announce a u-turn – Garbo is, officially, for turning. I have long said that there will be no autumn election. Due to events of the past few days I have changed my mind and now believe that we will be going to the polls on 1st November. My change in heart is based on a number of factors – though mainly on some very reliable sources close to Brown’s aides.

All up until this week I maintained the view that a 2008 poll made more sense. I could now write a post explaining why I was right then and right now, but it would not wash with anyone! So instead I will put my neck on the line again and say what day I think an election will be…

There are three conceivable options if he is to call an election this year - either 25th October, 1st November or 8th November. As soon as Gordon goes to the Queen to ask for an election, he must wait three weeks before going to the polls. Traditionally, elections are held on a Thursday and so the soonest we could have an election would be three weeks on Thursday – October 25th. The press and many other commentators believe that the 8th is the most likely date. Any later is not really likely at all as it would be well in to winter and there would be little point waiting that long. So here goes-

25th October – This option is the boldest of the lot. It would mean announcing an election in the middle of Tory party conference – which would go down like lead balloon for the Tories. I just don’t think even Brown would do this though. It would however be before the clocks go back – and if you believe the hype about Labour voters being scared of the dark or something, this will benefit Labour. However the 25th does not really give time for the Comprehensive Spending Review to come out which will be big headlines for the government. The other factor against this date is that I think Brown will want to recall parliament for a couple of days the following week – partly to announce certain issues such as the CSR and maybe an announcement on troop withdrawals from Iraq before it is dissolved.

1st November – for me this is the date. A snap election is just that – you call it and then have it as soon as possible. What is the point in waiting until the 8th? The evenings will be darker still by the 8th and it gives more time for the Tories to prepare. The iron is hot now – leaving it a week does not benefit anyone in the Labour camp. I think Gordon will announce an election on the week beginning 8th October (possibly the Friday before) and then to the polls on 1st.

8th November – still a good possibility, but I just can not see the rational in waiting this long.

It will be interesting to see how the Murdoch press, particularly the Sun, react to a November election given their current attack on the EU Treaty and demands for an EU Referendum. That must be an issue Brown is thinking about right now – if the Tories can make it the issue for the election it could prove costly given the sign off on the EU treaty in Lisbon would be two week later. Another thing Brown will be considering is the recent by-election result that showed a 6.2% swing to the Tories – a trend or a blip? However, barring an incredible Tory conference and mass swing in the polls, it all points towards 1st November.

The Poliblogs 28th September 2007

Where, oh, where are the reforms going?

The ambiguous messages coming out of the government on the NHS have the potential to be highly damaging. Happily munching my cereal yesterday morning, the Today programme introduced a discussion with the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, and I confess my initial reaction was, oh no, ‘here we go again’. But, while there was the compulsory dose of ministerial squirming, I actually came away reasonably optimistic that the reforms in the NHS weren’t going to be rolled back after all. Even the reverse?!

Civtas Blog

The following is taken from a post that I wrote last month, it is even more pertinent since Gordon Brown's speech:

Gordon Brown has promised intensive action and tougher enforcement of the law in areas with a gang violence problem. He also promised to crack down on the sale of alcohol to under-18's and that he would put more police on the streets. Well it's about time, but are these just more of Labour's empty gestures? reacting to the newly announced Conservative policy.

Daily Referendum

Conservative principles

Just wondering why the sudden and eager adoption of conservative principles by Gordon Brown and New Labour is not being described in the media as a ‘lurch’ to the right. Or is that language only reserved for the Conservative Party?

Bel is thinking

My Two Cents...on an early election (Part 94)

It’s often said that a week is a long time in politics. It may be that 24 hours is a long time in politics too. Yesterday the overwhelming perception was that an early election is a certainty with Gordon Brown riding high with an eleven point lead in the polls. Today the ground is shifting. David Cameron is apparently preparing to focus on traditional Tory areas such as tax, marriage and crime and to make it clear that he is the heir to Margaret Thatcher, not Gordon Brown.

Blaney’s Blarney

Brown to decide by Sunday on snap poll

Gordon Brown will decide whether or not to call an election this weekend, The Guardian reports today. His aides, apparently, now think he is more likely to go for it than not. An announcement on October the ninth and an election on the first of November is the favoured option.

Coffee House

November 8th

Certain? Ten days ago I suggested the 28th of October or the 8th of November for the General Election. It's now the 8th. Gordon still has probably not decided but he is becoming trapped into a corner where his silence leaves him little choice. Parliament will resume the week after next. Enough time for a few big speeches, especially one on Iraq , then the 'wash-up' of legislation outstanding and then off to the campaign. It will give us all the ample time of three weeks.

Paul Flynn

Election drum beat

Consider for just for a moment the word "tosh". It's pithy, it's rounded, it's expressive. In short it's a splendid word. I fear though that my affection for it may have got me into a spot of bother. Readers with long memories may recall that a couple of months ago I deployed it to describe talk of an early election. I sense that, by now - with the sound of the election drum beat filling your ears - you may just be coming to understand my problem.

Nick Robinson

New Tory assertiveness and local by-election results may sow new seeds of doubt in Brown's mind

Last night's by-election results may produce further ammunition to those Labour 'greybeards' who are urging Gordon Brown to be cautious about an autumn General Election. We listed other risk factors on Monday.

Conservative Home

Can the Conservatives win the 2007 General Election?

I'm going to try to set out why I think that in the up-coming General Election, the Conservatives can greatly reduce Labour's Majority or even at a push, win. For a start there's the "Brown Bounce". If you look at the Mori Poll data below it can be seen that only as far back as March this year, the Conservatives had an 8% lead. In fact it wasn't until three months ago that Labour edged in front.

Daily Referendum

The end of the affair?

Labour 07: The Murdoch press are trying hard to discredit Labour, a risky strategy with a possible election win in the offing.

David Clark

Conservative Future Candidates in Bitchiness Shocker

It seems that although there is still no sign on the horizon of an official date for the next Conservative Future elections, it hasn't stopped the early starts of electioneering beginning between the ever ambitious youngsters of the party. Conservative Future elections are always a fun affair. I'm so looking forward to not running in the next set as it gives me this excellent opportunity to observe the silly mayhem from a safe distance.

Caroline Hunt

Ending sex slavery is not a Home Office target

Let’s hope Home Secretary Jacqui Smith reads the report in today’s Times about sex slavery in Cambridgeshire. Women are said to be traded in auctions for between £500 and £3,000. They are then virtual prisoners in rented houses. An investigation by The Times has revealed how immigration from Eastern Europe has brought a supply of women deceived into thinking good jobs await them. Instead they are sold to vice gangs.

Ellee Seymour

Tories retreat to core values

The Daily Telegraph reports today that David Cameron is to abandon his brave new world and retreat instead to the sort of core values on tax, marriage and crime that have failed his predecessors, Michael Howard and William Hague.

Peter Black AM

It's on...

November 1st

... more later

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The Poliblogs 27th September 2007

No laughing matter

Could somebody, anybody, supply the prime minister with a few new gags? This afternoon, in a Q&A session at the Bournemouth conference, he resorted yet again to the old standards, the single transferable jokes. Not that they’re bad gags. And he tells them with verve. But we’ve heard them before. Many times.

Blether with Brian

My Two Cents...on the general election campaign

The polls continue to suggest a general election is imminent and that the Tories will be trounced. I don't want to say "I told you so" to the Cameroons who underestimated Gordon Brown prior to his accession to the Prime Ministership so instead here are my suggestions as to how the Tories might at least be able to stave off Armageddon should an election be called in the next few weeks.

Blaney’s Barney

Active preparation?

The BBC has learnt that over the past 24 hours the Labour Party has begun recruiting key staff to work on an election campaign. The BBC has spoken to a number of individuals who have been asked if they can begin work on Monday. The people approached are currently self-employed or work for lobbyists, organisations sympathetic to Labour or in other political posts from which they can be released immediately.

Nick Robinson

Boris wins 79% in mayoral vote

Boris Johnson: 15,661 (79.0%) Victoria Borwick: 1,869 (9.4%) Andrew Boff: 1,674 (8.4%) Warwick Lightfoot: 609 (3.1%) CCHQ have released the following statements...

Conservative Home

Boris, Ken, Gordon And Celebrity Politics

No surprise at all that Boris Johnson has won the primary to be Conservative Candidate in next years London Mayor election. The Mayor posts introduced by the Blair Government are a unique innovation - an individual directly elected to the top job - and all the evidence is that having a big media footprint helps.

Boulton & Co.

Boris the Buffoon - an insult to London

So Boris the Buffoon Johnson is the Tory candidate for Mayor of London. Heaven help us if his very personal brand of tomfoolery actually makes it into City Hall. A Conservative Party spokesman said the contest had "captured the interest of the public and helped challenge voter apathy". That's a joke. Boris won 75% of the votes cast in the open Tory primary, but only 20,000 people bothered to take part.

Belsize Lib Dems

Boris Johnson - Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

Boris Johnson (hero of the people and all round bon oeuf) was confirmed this morning as the official conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

Daily Referendum

Red Mist

Does everyone have their own vision of Utopia? Or is it just the optimists? I think our political system encourages pessimists and encourages voters to be pessimistic. We always end up with the least-worst rather than the best-possible. It's a shame, because I think we should have a more forward-looking environment instead of the side-swiping gimmickry we suffer from now. I have to resist watching the news or political programmes because I quickly descend into a red mist. I get angry, but I suspect that many just switch over. This is the kind of stuff which puts people off:


How little they understand

One of the great pre-requisites for being in favour of the European Union, it seems, is knowing little or nothing about how it works.
EU Referendum

The past is another country

Labour 07: For the first time in years, the conference is free of Blair-Brown rivalry. But has the energy disappeared too?

Lance Price

Sleep walking into a one party state

Thoughts on the date of the election and the day on which Comrade Chairman Brown will call it vary from one person to another. I wrote the other day that I think he will call it this Monday for 25th Oct. Since then the share value of an announcement tomorrow, Friday, has risen, as has the prospect of the election being on 1st Nov.

Jonathan Wallace

The election: what Gordon should do.

I don't know whether Gordon Brown is going to call an autumn general election, and if the amount of bet-hedging and fence-sitting going on in Bournemouth amongst my former colleagues is anything to go by, neither does anyone else. In this post, however, I set out my admittedly rather idealistic view of what I think he should do.

Paul Linford

Why is the Times leading on the plagiarism suggestions?

Reproduced here is the front page of this morning’s Times showing the lead story which won’t please Number 10. For Labour’s new leader is accused of “rehashing old phrases from Bill Clinton and Al Gore without attribution in his first speech to a Labour conference as Prime Minister”.

Political Betting

My rule of thumb for assessing the polls

With so many polls showing such different pictures I’ve now adopted my own “rule of thumb” for working out what the big picture is. Basically I take the latest surveys from YouGov, Mori, ComRes, ICM and Populus and take the second lowest share for Labour and the second highest shares for the Tories and Lib Dems.

Political Betting

Are the kids all right?

The battle for Gordon's ear is fast becoming a battle of the generations. It is the kids of the Cabinet who are arguing most vociferously for him to go the polls. It is the Cabinet's grey hairs who are worrying about how it might go horribly wrong.

Nick Robinson

Sketch: Brown Q&A

Before Gordon Brown took to the conference stage for the second time in three days the Human League's pop classic "I just can't get enough" blared over the PA. By the end of the question-and-answer session the journalists, if not the delegates, certainly had.


The right way to harmonise taxes, if you must do it

With the news earlier this week of business support for a common corporate tax base in the EU, it seems little will stop Brussels from getting its way. So if we're going to have tax harmonisation forced upon us, let's at least make sure it's done in the right way. It's time, then, to re-visit a Wall Street Journal article, written in 2004, which still provides the answers:


EXCLUSIVE: Bercow's Blackpool No-Show

John Bercow, the Tory MP widely tipped to be the next prominent Conservative to defect to Labour, has told Sky News he will not be attending his party's conference in Blackpool next week.

Boulton & Co.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Poliblogs 26th September 2007

Is Gordon really a laydeez man?

The 11 point lead is bad enough for the Tories, but the thing Labour is most excited about in tonight's YouGov poll for Channel Four is the suggestion that Gordon Brown is winning over female voters. The survey claims the PM enjoys a 16 point lead among women.

Ben Brogan

Northern Rock weakens Cameron…

Gordon Brown has been strengthened by Northern Rock and David Cameron weakened. For the first time since the 1860s people queued up outside a British bank to recover their savings. If continued the confidence crisis that was specific to Northern Rock could have spread, and could have led to a collapse in credit and a recession.


Town the Tubes: PPP Slowly Coming Unstuck for Brown

Just as unexpectedly awful public finance figures are released, in turns out the Office of National Statistics was not initially being given the whole picture on Metronet and Tube Lines, two of McBroon’s little ‘off-balance sheet’ PPP schemes. The ONS had not been made aware that London Underground Ltd – part of the public sector - holds a Special Share in both ‘private’ companies. Nor was the ONS aware of the extent of London Underground’s powers of control over the two firms “which have been in place since the [PPP] contracts were signed” in 2002-03.

The CityUnslicker

David Miliband, you say it best when you say nothing at all.

In his speech yesterday, David Miliband referred to Tony Blairs foreign policy saying: "The lesson is that it's not good enough to have good intentions." The gist of little David's speech was to "move on" from Blair's poor foreign policy (the one he and the most other labour MPs supported) and implement a "second wave".

Daily Referendum

New wave of foreign policy?

He came to bury Blairite foreign policy, not to praise it. He came to lament the "scars of ten years of government". He came to explain patiently how we all must learn (a word he used no fewer than six times) from the past. This was Tony Blair's former policy chief David Miliband speaking. Politics is a brutal business.

Nick Robinson

I Tried to Stop Iraq War but Blair Overpowered Me, Claims Milliband

FOREIGN secretary David Milliband has revealed how he jumped on top of Tony Blair in a desperate bid to stop the invasion of Iraq. Milliband said he and a group of senior ministers, including Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and Peter Hain, tackled the former Prime Minister as he tried to push the huge Invasion Button on the wall of his Number 10 study.

The Daily Mash

What exactly is the aim of environmentalism?

Quoted by Reuters, Oxford University economics professor Dieter Helm said: The price of carbon has had virtually no effect on the market so far and virtually no effect on climate change. People like me who think the price of carbon is important don't think it is the only thing that matters. There must be more focus on energy efficiency, more research and development and more renewable energy. The truth is that Europe has performed less well on carbon dioxide since the late 1990s than the United States -- and Europe is inside Kyoto and has an emissions trading scheme.

Freeborn John

Urgent phone call makes me ask - "Is an election about to be called ?"

I received a phone call tonight from the Eastern Region of the Lib Dems asking, as an approved parliamentary candidate (I know that will come as a shock to one or two senior Lib Dem bloggers who loathe me and my blog), if I was prepared to stand at very short notice, as a Lib Dem candidate and be available from possibly next week to stand in seats where there is no lib Dem candidate selected yet.

Norfolk Blogger

A rogue poll, or are we kidding ourselves?

There’s no point obsessing about every poll, but… having reported last week’s ICM survey for The Guardian showing the Lib Dems with a 20% share of the vote, balance compels me to mention tonight’s Channel 4 YouGov poll showing the Lib Dems with just 13%, the party’s lowest YouGov rating since January 2006.

Lib Dem Voice

So will 11 Gordons influence the election decision?

A YouGov poll for Channel Four news taken in the immediate aftermath of of Brown’s conference speech gives Labour an amazing 44% share with the Lib Dems down to 13%. These are the shares with the changes on the last poll from the internet pollster - CON 33% (nc): LAB 44% (+5): LD 13% (-3).

Political Betting

YouGov show huge conference boost for Brown

The Conservative figure is believable enough, but the Liberal Democrat and Labour figures are extreme - the highest Labour figure recorded by YouGov (and indeed by any pollster) since 2002 and the lowest YouGov Liberal Democrat score since the depths experienced after Charles Kennedy’s removal. On a uniform swing these figures would give Labour a stonking majority of 140, put the Lib Dems down on 31 seats and the Conservatives on 197.

Polling Report

Autumn election would be unpopular

A very interesting poll statistic has been revealed by Nick Robinson on BBC 10 o'clock News - although Gordon Brown's poll ratings are high, 57% of respondants do not want an Autumn election compared to only 29% who do. It could be argued that although people feel Brown is making the right noises, they are not yet convinced and want to see more of his supposed new style of politics before having a General Election. This is an opportunity for the Conservatives that must not be passed up.

The Waendal Journal

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Politics Decoded: Unflash Gordon, Election Speculation & Two Jabs

I posted my latest Politics Decoded column over at the Wardman Wire this morning. For those who missed it, here it is:

Gordon, not Tony

After a decade of impatiently waiting, Gordon Brown has finally addressed the Labour party conference as party leader and Prime Minister. The over riding message of the past few months from Brown is “change” or to be more precise – “I am not Tony Blair”. Yesterday it was plain to see that he is not Tony Blair. In a speech that some have described as “deliberately dull” Gordon Brown did what he does best – kept it dull.

He is no show man, unlike Blair and he wants give the impression that the future is about politics, not personalities – which is just as well as he does seem to lack one. But you can tell he is trying to jazz himself up a bit. Compared to his budget speeches, yesterday was roller coaster ride in excitement. We heard about his rugby playing days, he had “celebrity” guest John Smeaton in the audience (terrorist combater come occasional baggage handler at Glasgow airport) and he even spoke about his dad. But what is the game plan?

Big Tent Politics

Gordon’s big tent politics was the undertone of the whole speech. Brown wants his government to be the government of the people, not the Labour party. He didn’t once mention Cameron or Campbell. He stayed away from Punch and Judy altogether. Even his backdrop wasn’t Labour red… it was Tory blue! He didn’t hark back to 10 years of Labour success like Blair and Prescott loved to do, he talked (in the driest of tones) of the future. He didn’t mention fighting for an historic Labour forth term. This was a speech from a man who was not interested in party politics – he was interested in doing what he thinks he should do. And it seems most of us quite liked the whole idea. But why?

Not Flash, Just Gordon

I ask why because, surely a grass roots Labour supporter would want their leader to be governing as a Labour leader. Yet it seems the party love Brown. While it is clear that a grass roots Tory supporters can not stand the idea of having a populist leader who wants to govern for the people. Tory supporters want their leader to a Tory, blue through and through. And that is the key – while the speech sounded like it was giving a new vision and packed with new policies, it was actually saying very little that was new. It did show, however, how unified the Labour party are compared with the Tories. Brown is in charge and he will decide what the party say and do. If he wants to woo Tory voters, then his party is behind him. If he wants to have Lib Dems as advisors, the party is behind him. And what better way to marginalise, if not destroy the Conservative party?

I am sure Cameron’s speech next week will be far more interesting and may even have a little humour in it, but I doubt it will be received nearly as well as Brown’s was yesterday. The irony being, it’s still not so much what you say, but how you say it and whether you can keep your troops in line. Dull is the new showman - whether this is a passing fad or long term trend time will tell. For now though, it may not have been flash, but that is Gordon.

Wallowing in Speculation

The subject of whether there will be an election was dead and buried only a couple of weeks ago. It was a commonly accepted that of course Brown won’t call a snap election in October. Then a poll comes out showing an eight point lead and all of sudden the rumours are rife again. I am on record a number of time saying he won’t hold one this year and I still don’t think he will – but he is having a great time winding everyone up about it. The Tories must be terrified knowing that he will ruin their conference if he announces one next week. The line he keeps coming out with is that he wants to get on with the job and not to speculate on any early election. What a load of rubbish! He is loving this. Gordon: if you really mean what you say, then there is one way you could end all this now – tell us if you want one or not!

Two Jabs

As well as Gordon Brown’s speech was received, give me a Prescott speech any day. It was this time last year Prescott gave his final speech to conference before hanging up his boxing gloves. It was very amusing – though I am sure he had no intention of it being so. It did leave me feeling glad that the PM would never have to leave the running of the country in the hands of this man again. As it appears we won’t be hearing anything approaching entertaining from this year’s Labour conference, here are a couple of classic quotations:

“Coming from low demand, houses available, prices falling. Depends from area to area, but if you go to the south, it’s exactly the opposite.”

“The green belt is a Labour achievement, and we mean to build on it”

And, my personal favourite, after returning from his first foreign trip as a Minister -

“It’s great to be back on terra cotta.”

Too see my favourite ever PMQs click here - it was Prescott vs Hague and is ten minutes or so of the funniest duelling ever seen in the Commons.

Usmanov Update

It appears that Bloggerheads is back, albeit at a temporary website.

See Matt Wardman's take on it all here...

Conference Watch: Brown's Speech

Nothing flash from Gordon

It was only a passing reference, scarcely worthy of note in the wider conference address. But my ears twittered a little when I heard Gordon Brown say: “We will in our manifesto commit to introduce the principle of elections for the second chamber.”

Blether with Brian

Gordon Brown’s speech

I’ve been watching journalists fall over themselves to praise Gordon Brown’s speech, but what I haven’t heard many of them point out is that some of the problems Gordon Brown identified yesterday were in existence in 1997, since when the Labour Government has had ten years to put them right. In fact, some of the problems were actually created by this Government, a Government in which Gordon Brown has been a key player.

Bel is thinking

Head Banging Reality

Who's crackers? Him or us? Listening to Brown yesterday, I scoffed, shouted, and nearly swerved off the road, as per. Surely he can't really think we disenchanted Tory voters will fall for the flag, a bit of crime posturing, and vague talk of patient choice. Can he?

Burning Our Money

Brown's moral society

He didn't once mention him by name. But make no mistake, David Cameron was the real target of this afternoon's big speech by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Paul Linford

Did Brown get the headlines he wanted?

If Brown’s aim is to get the Tories off the centre ground then some of the coverage will help him. But this is not without its own problems.

Political Betting

The helping hand, not the clunking fist

That clunking fist reappeared today in a different guise, as Gordon's speech was preceded by a party video focussing on him shaking hands with a backing track of 'Put Your Hands On.' The little sign on the front of the podium and screens throughout the centre displayed the words 'Strength to change Britain' and three of those words cropped up regularly, with Britain appearing repeatedly throughout the speech, as Gordon worked to stress that he's not a Scottish PM, but a British PM.

Political Hack UK

Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Party Conference - no good news for freedom. liberty or security, but plans to confiscate £670 million from bank accounts

Gordon Brown's Labour Party Conference speech - the BBC reports the full text:

Some selected bits which are of relevance to Spy Blog:It was extremely poor taste to start off his speech by exploiting the current sub judice terrorist cases involving the Haymarket and Glasgow Airport incendiarary vehicle attacks, for party political purposes


Conviction and responsibility

To go, or not to go. That was the question which hung over Gordon Brown's first party conference speech (watch it here). As it happened, he did nothing to reveal his intentions, not mentioning the word election, or talking about his opponents once.

Nick Robinson

The Poliblogs 25th September 2007

Time To Abolish Political Parties?

Over the years we've extended the right to vote to all our adult citizens in a desire to have a representative democracy, is it now time to take the final, logical step in that process and abolish political parties? Where once they were mass movements they've slowly restricted the influence of their members, driving down membership numbers to become almost wholly reliant on the donations of a few unions and millionaires.

Mayor Watch

Time for the beauty contest

Now that Gordon Brown has spoken (and spoken, and spoken), it's time for the runners and riders for the succession to sashay down the Bournemouth catwalk and show us what they can do. The PM made a slight joke of it yesteday, when he said his answer to those who asked if he would recommend the job to others was "not yet". So says he, but the rest of us are already running the political sliderule over the young thrusters vying for our attention.

Ben Brogan

Libdemologists: Insufficient Deaths, Too Much Rain

Hot on the heels of bankrupt Liverpool it seems the Lib Con alliance in Birmingham are looking for scapegoats as their budget runs riot. Just as well that the Libdemologists and Con merchants themselves who set the budget are not to blame. If so there could be a rout at the polls next May. So just who are the guilty parties? According to the Birmingham Post the buck passing Lib Cons say main culprits are:

Chris Paul: Labour of Love

Ahmedinajad - not a nice guy

Mahmoud Ahmedinajad appeared at New York's Columbia University yesterday (or was it the day before? I meant to write this blog post yesterday and have got confused - but anyway that's not the point). Some people might, and did think it was inappropriate. I'm not 100% sure I agree. I think these public appearance in a western democratic setting do wonders to highlight what an evil little bugger the Iranian president really is.

Caroline Hunt

Get ready for a short, sharp campaign

Labour 07: Gordon Brown is not a ditherer, and I predict he will announce the election very soon.

Derek Draper

Labour lead opinion polls are a load of rubbish.

I have come to the conclusion that the opinion polls that have been published over the last three months are a total and utter load of codswallop. I don't know of anyone who is not annoyed in some way or other with Gordon Brown. If you don't believe me go to the BBC News site and have a look at the Have your say section on Gordon's speech.

Daily Referendum

A step backwards

Labour 07: The big unions have fallen on their swords; from now on, party conferences can be little more than a media showcase.

Seumas Milne

Another change in Leadership

This one is in the Green Party: Shiona Baird will no longer be one of the Greens' Co-Conveners. Alison Johnstone has been nominated in her place, pending approval by the party membership. Johnstone is one of the Greens' three Councillors in Edinburgh (where she represents the delightfully named Meadows & Morningside ward), and one of eight nationwide (the other five are in Glasgow).

J. Arther MacNumpty

How difficult is it to have cleaner hospitals?

One of the Conservatives more memorable lines from 2005 has now been answered. The answer is “very” for some NHS hospitals. Today we will learn that the problem is so worrying the government willl spend more of our money on a new regulator to supervise hospital cleanliness, and on a deep clean for every NHS hospital in the land.

John Redwood

Election on November 1st?! Do me a favour!

Nick Robinson says he has it sound authority that the government will not call an election for October 25th. So, those still gullible enough to be drawn along by this "snap" election nonsense are now looking at November 1st. Do me a favour. It's not going to happen.

Liberal Burblings

Where are the new ideas (on the left)?

It would not have gone unnoticed by many that the Labour Party and the Conservatives increasingly sound the same on many issues.

Pickled Politics

Avoiding the issue?

Labour 07: Despite debating immigration, Labour seems unwilling to formulate coherent policy.

Ros Taylor

Monday, 24 September 2007

Conference Watch

What to watch for in Bournemouth

Gordon's first Labour conference as Prime Minister begins today: it could conceivably be his last. Just as last year's gathering of the party in Manchester was dominated by Tony Blair's farewell and the prospects for smooth transition to the Brown regime, the proceedings in Bournemouth will be consumed by a single question and one that will almost certainly not be mentioned on the conference floor: the timing of the election.
Coffee House

Should Labour rewrite Clause Four again?

Cabinet rising star Andy Burnham tells the Fabian fringe that Labour should revisit its statement of aims and values, so that an inspiring mission underpins Labour's agenda for the next decade. Should Labour have a new Clause four debate? What would you put in a new Clause Four, or should we stick with the one we've got?

Labour Home

Remember the members

Labour 07: We should be wary of recently proposed reforms: they chip away at the party's democracy.

John McDonnell

Oh Darling

Not a barnstormer of a speech from our new Chancellor, but I don't think that the Silver Fox does rabble-rousing. He did get his standing ovation at the end, but that seemed more out of courtesy and production planning than a genuine admiration for his delivery. Still, I want a calm hand on the economic tiller, not tub-thumping, so I'll settle for that.

Political HackUK

Mandy surrenders

The news that Peter Mandelson thinks Gordon Brown is doing a good job is the rib-tickler of the day so far.

Ben Brogan

Should Gordon go for it?

Labour 07: The polls look good for Labour, but thanks to the peculiar workings of the British electoral system, that is not necessarily good enough.

Lewis Baston

The new Labour split

In the conference hotel bar, there is but one subject under heated discussion, and it is, like treason, a matter of dates. The old Blair-Brown conference clash (RIP) has been replaced this year by a rather different sort of division: the Octobrists versus the Mayites, the 'go now, Gordon' camp versus the 'wait and see' crew.

Coffee House

Brown Says a Lot But Says Nothing

When I finished listening to Gordon Brown's speech I felt I had been assaulted by a wet lettuce. I am afraid I got distracted at various points so I didn't hear it all, but the bits I did hear could easily have been spoken by a Conservative. The new policy announcements tumbled out like a machine gun rat-a-tat-tat. The sheer audacity of much of it had to be admired, even if the delivery left something to be desired.

Iain Dale

Deliberately Dull?

I've heard too many leaders' speeches, whether Tory, Labour or Lib Dem, than I care to remember, and I have to say today's, from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was the dullest and most boring I have ever heard. In fact it was brilliant. This was clearly part of Labour's strategy for a fourth term in Government. Cameron is not seen as credible because he reminds voters of Tony Blair and after 10 years the electorate is ready for a change. You couldn't get a greater contrast than Gordon Brown and to the electorate it must look like a significant change has taken place.

Adrian Sanders

Britain, Britain, Britain, Britain, Britain

I've lost count of the number of Brtiain's in Brown's speech. Got to 26, and as Guido notes, only one mention of Scotland.

Dizzy Thinks

Artful but uninspiring

Labour 07: The prime minister's speech pressed all the right buttons, but never soared. Above all, it left us guessing at Brown's vision of Britain.

Martin Kettle

Usmanov is a very naughty boy!

I have added the code from Chicken Yoghurt to the right hand side of this blog that shows the links of everyone who has joined the cause against Usmanov's position.

The racketeering gangster, as he is allegedly known (though I am sure his mum would say he is not a gangster nor racketeer, he is just a "very naughty boy") is responsible for various blogs being taken down including Carig Murray and Bloggerheads. What is more he is an Arsenal fan. Quite clearly this man has no redeeming features.

(Not sure if it's libellous to call a man who has spent six years in jail a very naughty boy - no doubt he will think so...)

Conference Watch

Conference Watch returns today with the Labour party conference. Come back at about 4.30 this afternoon for the round up...

Guide to Political Blogging in the UK

Iain Dale's long anticipated guide is out today. I have my copy and will, over the course of this week, be updating my links and increasing my daily monitoring total so that includes every blog in the top 100.

I hope to have my monitoring total up to about the 200 mark by the beginning of next week.

Usmanov Update

Matt Wardman has a very interesting post here about Usmanov and his legal firm. Matt has clearly done some serious digging around and uncovered a few things...

Chicken Yoghurt has added his up to date list of all those bloggers who have put their name to the cause. He also has lots of news about the story there too - worth a read.

The links from Chicken Yoghurt are currently:

Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street, Laban Tall, Martin Bright, Spy Blog The Exile, poons, Jangliss, Who Knows Where Thoughts Come From?, Imagined Community, A Pint of Unionist Lite, Poldraw, Disillusioned And Bored, Error Gorilla, Indigo Jo, Swiss Metablog, Kate Garnwen Truemors, Asn14, D-Notice, The Judge, Political Penguin, Miserable Old Fart, Jottings, fridgemagnet, Blah Blah Flowers, J. Arthur MacNumpty, Tony Hatfield, Grendel, Charlie Whitaker, Matt Buck, The Waendel Journal, Marginalized Action Dinosaur, SoccerLens, Toblog, John Brissenden East Lower, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Peter Black AM, Boing Boing, BLTP, Gunnerblog, LFB UK, Liberal Revolution, Wombles, Focus on Sodbury…, Follow The Money, Freedom and Whisky, Melting Man, PoliticalHackUK, Simon Says…, Daily EM, From The Barrel of a Gun, The Fourth Place, The Armchair News Blog, Journalist und Optimist, Bristol Indymedia, Dave Weeden, Up North John, Gizmonaut, Spin and Spinners, Marginalia, Arnique, Heather Yaxley, The Whiskey Priest, On The Beat, Paul Canning, Martin Stabe, Mat Bowles, Pigdogfucker, Rachel North, B3TA board, Naqniq, Yorkshire Ranter, The Home Of Football, UFO Breakfast Recipients, Moninski , Kerching, e-clectig, Mediocracy, Sicily Scene, Samizdata, I blog, they blog, weblog, Colcam, Some Random Thoughts, Bel is thinking, Vino S, Simply Jews, Atlantic Free Press, Registan, Filasteen, Britblog Roundup #136, Scientific Misconduct Blog, Adam Bowie, Duncan at Abcol, Camera Anguish, A Very British Dude, Whatever, Central News, Green Gathering, Leighton Cooke (224).

The Weekend Poliblogs 22nd & 23rd September 2007

Who is a Fit and Proper Person to run a Football Club?

I thought that the blogstorm about Shillings Lawyers closing down several critical websites, and some innocent bystander websites including Boris Johnson’s blog, on behalf of Alisher Usmanov, would benefit from some background information about just who is regarded as a “Fit and Proper Person” to run a football club, and about the history of Mr Usmanov’s dealing with Arsenal.

The Wardman Wire

Blogging and Free Speech (updated)

Disturbing developments over at Bloggerheads, where Tim Ireland's blog is "off-air" - forced out of business thanks to the bullying of an Uzbek billionaire and his lawyers.

Alisher Usmanov recently bought shares in Arsenal. It's been alleged in several quarters that if they choose to dine with this guy, the Gunners should be supping with a very long spoon.

Mr Eugenides

Getting On With The Job

Election speculation continues to dominate the chatter here in Bournemouth, despite an identifiable calming of the language from Team GB. The Prime Minister has just completed a round of live breakfast interviews in which he failed to be pinned down on whether or not he's planning an election.

Boulton & Co.

Brown, bluetongue and election

He hasn't reached his 100 days in office, yet Gordon Brown must be beginning to wonder when his crash course in being Prime Minister is going to end. Terror, floods, foot and mouth, banking meltdown, more foot and mouth and now something called bluetongue. Bluetongue? Surely that's a joke about what Labour leaders get when they have tea with Margaret Thatcher? And in a weird Scottish touch it's spread by midges!

Ben Brogan

An Open Letter to Gordon Brown

Dear Gordon,

I hope you are having a good time in Bournemouth. I saw you on the television this morning and you looked as calm and relaxed as I have ever seen you. I know you are busy, but as a lowly party activist I just wanted to take up an issue with you. You wrote in The Guardian on Saturday about the lack of engagement between political parties and the electorate, and more specifically between political parties and their membership. You tell Guardian readers: I want every constituency party to have a strengthened mandate to engage on a regular basis with all sections of the community as an initial step to strengthen our grassroots presence.

Bob Piper

The Sun's EU campaign may derail Brown's election plans

Listed in the graphic on the right are some of the factors that may lead Gordon Brown to think again about a snap autumn election. Another risk factor should be added to that list this morning. This morning, The Sun launches a full-blooded campaign to give the British people a say on the draft EU Treaty.

Conservative Home

Labour at 2001 levels in the Mori “snap-shot”

What might cause some concern in the Brown camp is the way the Sun is covering the poll. The front page is reproduced here and indicates strongly that the paper will continue to take a pro-EU referendum stance and play it big.

Political Betting

Labour hit 42% in latest MORI poll

A new Ipsos-MORI poll in the Sun on Monday has voting intentions of CON 34%(-2), LAB 42%(+1), LDEM 14%(-2). There are no dates available for the fieldwork yet - sometimes MORI’s polls do take slightly longer to reach the papers, especially the monthly face-to-face polls, so this may have been taken prior to the ICM and YouGov polls that were published over the weekend.

Polling Report

Will he or won't he?

What did he mean by that? Is he preparing the way for an early election, simply keeping his options open or merely winding up his opponents - and, incidentally, the media?

Nick Robinson

Yes, people are talking about the next leader, but it isn’t because they want rid of Ming

If there is one thing that struck me more than anything at this week’s conference, it is that most people are now genuinely at ease with Ming Campbell’s leadership of the party. It is however also true that people are discussing who comes next.

Anders Hanson

A study in irrelevancy

It is a fair bet that, if a similar crisis was affecting French farmers, president Nicolas Sarkozy would not be basking in applause at his Party's annual conference, but would be holding urgent meetings with EU officials to bring aid to his beleaguered farmers.

EU Referendum

If you stop people voting on views the views do not go away

No wonder people are fed up with Uk party politics.

Today the Labour conference is expected to approve the Leader’s decision that members of the Labour party should no longer be able to table and vote on “contemporary resolutions” - topical matters that concern them. His reason - the members will probably have a different view from his and he has no intention of changing his view!

John Redwood’s Diary

Are referendums good or bad?

Disgruntled at Gordon’s Brown’s failure to hold a referendum on the new EU treaty/constitution, residents of a small village in Dorset took matters into their own hands and voted on the question of whether or not to hold a referendum. The pro-referendum party won overwhelmingly, and now the village of East Stoke in Dorset is committed to holding a referendum.

Pickled Politics

Would the Tories do better without Dave?

Reproduced above are the opening prices in a market from Paddy Power on who will lead the Tories at the general election. If this opportunity had been there before Brown’s arrival at Number 10 punters would have snapped up the 1/3 offered on Cameron’s survival. Now, after a string of seriously poor polls, it looks at bit different.

Political Betting

Trouble At T'Mill

I posted earlier in the week about the respective performances on Thursday of Wendy Alexander and Menzies Campbell, where I was fairly kind about Wendy and pretty scathing about Campbell. For the sake of a snappy headline, though, I suggested that this might have been Campbell's last outing as Lib Dem leader, something which seems to have raised at least one set of eyebrows - in retrospect, quite rightly as well.

Scots & Independence

Lessons from the Liberal conference

So what are the lessons of the Liberal conference? First up, get a bloody autocue already. We could have a blogger whipround. Out of all the speakers I saw on TV, excepting Ming's big finish, all of them were very obviously reading off a bit of paper. Danny Alexander's entire TV appearance consisted of him staring down at a script; not good. Nick Clegg was little better. The best performance was from a ginger Scottish guy called Kennedy; concise, punchy, addressing the crowd not the lectern. I wonder where we found him?

The Yorkshire Ranter