YouGov put the Tories 6 points ahead
A new YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s previous poll at the end of October, of CON 41% (nc), LAB 35% (-3), LDEM 13% (+2). No dates yet, but the poll would probably have been conducted between Thursday and Saturday.
Miliband "trying to destabilise Brown"
I fear David Miliband's love-bombing strategy hasn't worked. There is a lot of anger about at the way he allowed a briefing cock-up last week to turn into a weekend of damaging headlines. Comments in the Observer attributed to "friends of" have played badly inside the machine. The main players are falling over themselves to stay out of it, saying only that that it's all a cock-up.
Spotty And Dizzy
We currently spend some £26bn pa on incapacity, disability and injury benefits. We have 2.7m people of working age drawing IB. Everybody agrees* that many recipients are claiming for pretty dubious reasons (eg see this blog), and this morning we get some more detail: "Almost two thousand people who are too fat to work have been paid a total of £4.4 million in benefit. Other payments went to fifty sufferers of acne.
Who does Blair think his natural heir is?
The Independent have launched a string of new blogs which are well worth checking out. Open House, their comment blog, looks particularly promising—anything that offers us more of John Rentoul and Steve Richards can only be a good thing.
Why Nick Clegg will have to try harder
I missed the Liberal Democrat leadership debate on Question Time last night, as, I am sure, did you. But a good friend and acute political observer called me this morning and told me I should make good this omission. So I have. And I understand why my friend called. Two things come out of the programme. The first is that it led me to question the assumption that Nick Clegg will easily defeat Chris Huhne. The general idea is that Clegg will win because he is much better on television and a superior performer. Well maybe that's true, but I have to say it wasn't last night.
It's civil war in the Lib Dems
Hunter caught the last few minutes of Thursday's Question Time, staring Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne. Surprisingly, it was left to Huhne to defend the government's decision to renew Trident. Clegg sounded as if he had been harangued the night before by Bruce Kent of the CND. Many people wrongly assumed that he was the "sensible" one of the two contenders. Clegg was weak, weak, weak - and reminded Hunter how Tony Blair used those words to taunt John Major back in the mid nineties.
Can Chris Huhne Win?
I have just had the dubious pleasure of watching last week's Question Time and today's Politics Show, both featuring the two LibDem leadership candidates. Question Time was an inconclusive and very boring score draw.The Politics Show, however, was far more exciting. Jon Sopel produced a memo written by someone on Huhne's leadership campaign called 'Calamity Clegg'. It was clear that Huhne was unaware of it and he made a good fist of repudiating it. However, Clegg was clearly fuming and they have a five minute barney about it. Watch it HERE.
Cut it out, Chris!
I made up my mind to vote for Chris Huhne as the next Lib Dem leader after watching Thursday's Question Time debate in which I thought he was clearly the better performer, relaxed and confident, able to articulate a clear liberal vision while having an obvious mastery of detail. Although today's Politics Show debate did not change my mind, I thought Chris did himself absolutely no favours whatsoever.
If Chris Huhne cannot control his own campaign team, how can he run the party and the country ?
I was deeply embarrassed watching Chris Huhne being exposed Jon Sopel on The Politics Show. As a Liberal Democrat it was embarrassing to see a leadership candidate deny he had said something, have a complete lack of knowledge about what his campaign team were issuing on his behalf and then, to top it all, then make the allegations again.
Does this make Clegg look a bit precious?
In the introduction to the thread on Thursday’s Huhne-Clegg Question Time debate I noted that “there’s been a lot of edge between the two men during the campaign and there might just be fireworks.” Well it did not quite happen on that occasion but last night the contest, which has struggled to command much media attention, was topping the BBC bulletins after Nick Clegg made a formal complaint over the Huhne campaign briefing document, revealed on the Politics Show, under the heading “Calamity Clegg”.
The good news is that Labour is in trouble (the bad news is that so is Britain)
A week ago I spoke to North Shropshire Conservatives as the guest of Owen Paterson MP. It was my first attempt at a big picture overview of the political scene since Brown bottled out of an autumn election. The post below is a development and update of what I said. I'd be grateful for reactions... There is good news and bad news. The good news is political. The bad news concerns everything else.
The farce of Brown's "government of all the talents"
Brown's "reaching out" style of government really has been exposed as a farce this week. He brings in the "simple sailor" Lord Admiral Alan West. He hears West's advice, which is built on year's of experience, and then promptly tells West to reverse his opinion on the 56 days detention without charge period.
Answering the Hung Parliament question
Our frustration at a quarter of Question Time being spent on the hung parliament question was palpable. Yet at the same time I think there is understandable frustration that neither candidate gave a what would seem to a non-party observer to be a straight answer.
Day 2510: How DO you answer the HUNG PARLIAMENT question
It's actually REALLY easy! The BBC's Questionable Time show brought us the BIG DEBATE, Mr Nick Clogg in a pink tie against the blue background versus Mr Chris Huhney-Monster in a blue-check tie against the red background. Your host was Mr David Dimbledonkey with ANOTHER pink tie, though his had gold highlights…the ONLY Liberal Democrat gold on show!
The Blair Years (not)
Anthony Barnett (London, OK): My immediate reaction on watching the Blair Years on BBC1, scripted and presented by David Aaronovitch, was to feel slightly soiled, contaminated even, as if the mere act of my watching was a form of collaboration with the odious atmosphere of bad faith and dishonesty. The programme started and ended with clear falsehoods. The first, that the decision to make the Bank of England independent was in any way instigated by and belonged to Blair. The last, that Lebanon was just a minor background to a small rebellion of second-raters. Did I hear Aaronovitch say “he got into trouble over the Lebanon”, as if in passing?
The Top 10 Labour Twits
A week or so ago, Tara Hamilton-Miller in the New Statesman put together a list of the Top 10 Tory Twits. It was entertaining reading, though she unaccountably omitted both Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who was once cut off mid-flight by Mr Deputy Speaker when attempting a graphic description of the homosexual act during a Commons debate, and Alan Clark who famously got his penis out in the hallway of his mistress's flat after feeling neglected during a party.
Why are older people giving up on Gordon?
YouGov, like ICM, shows a big Labour deficit amongst the elderly. On Tuesday I came under attack when I observed that the latest ICM poll had showed a very sharp difference in Tory lead amongst the 65+ age group. True - there is always a danger when you focus on sub-sets, like I was doing, that the picture could be be distorted. But when the same trend is seen across a number of surveys you can be more confident about coming to a conclusion.
Getting out in time
Are you sure we'll get our money back, Darling? "His job is on the line". So said the Tory shadow chancellor, George Osborne, with menace today. He will keep reminding Alastair Darling of his pledge in Parliament to ensure that taxpayers get their money after the Northern Rock saga finally comes to an end.
Miliband's ad lib
Iraq in the EU? Perhaps I should have said Israel. Why is the EU like Voltaire's God? And what happened to the latest proposal for a new European charter? Read on.