Monday, 3 December 2007

The Weekend Poliblogs 1st & 2nd December 2007

Another pollster gives Dave a double digit lead

Tory ICM margin moves from 6% to 11%. A new poll from ICM for the News of the World shows a Tory lead of 11% and means that four surveys from four separate polling organisation in the past week have recorded significant moves to the Conservatives. Based on what limited information is available the shares are with changes on the last ICM survey a week ago - CON 41% (+4): LAB 30% (-1): LD 19% (-2). Given Labour’s appalling week party officials might have been expecting much much worse. At least this poll has them still in the 30s.

Political Betting

ICM give the Conservatives an 11-point lead

A new ICM poll in the Sunday papers apparently has topline voting intention figures (with charges from their last poll) of CON 41% (+4), LAB 30% (-1), LDEM 19% (-2). The exact dates of the poll aren’t available yet, but normally ICM polls published on a Sunday have fieldwork conducted between Wednesday and Friday, so it’s likely this poll was conducted when Labour’s funding row was at its height. (UPDATE - the News of the World report is here, and the poll was actually conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. It should go without saying that this isn’t the strongest Tory lead for 15 years, it’s the strongest lead for 8 months…but hey, that wouldn’t have been a less impressive headline wouldn’t it? Sheesh)

Polling Report

Older voters and women abandon Brown

It’s always interesting to pore over the detailed results of our YouGov polls. We don’t have space to print the breakdown of answers by sex and age group - though YouGov themselves will put the full results online next week - so here are a few snapshots from the small print of this morning’s poll, which gave the Tories an 11-point lead over Labour.

Three Line Whip

'Donorgate' Getting Worse

I just cannot believe the way Labour are responding to the 'scandal' involving their politicians taking money from donors in an illegal way. The one thing Labour should not have done is try to 'spin' their way out of it. The man caught in bed with his best friend's wife, has only one course open to him - apologise profusely, show remorse and beg forgiveness. Inventing some spurious reasons will only make matters worse. But this is precisely what Labour have been doing.

A View from Rural Wales

Remaining questions

So now we have Jon Mendelsohn's statement and the letter he sent to David Abrahams (below). We now have confirmed that a second senior Labour official knew about secret donations to Labour. However, questions still remain:

• How long did he know for?

• Why did he apparently tell no-one else - either the authorities or anyone in his party?

• And why did it take him so long to get around to contacting the man behind those secret donations with - we're told - the intention of halting the payments?

Nick Robinson

Alexander 'tugged in two ways'

I have not spoken to Wendy Alexander today. She is confining her comments to a written statement. However, I have spoken to several other individuals in Scottish Labour - close to the controversy, on its margins or simply observing with bemused horror. I believe that Wendy Alexander is tonight tugged two ways. Instinct, personal integrity and perhaps the long-term interests of the Scottish Labour Party tell her to quit.

Blether with Brian

Does the Alexander Technique work?

Four days out of the frontline and I return to find a story now turned so dire for Gordon Brown that I almost can't bear to watch or read it. Tootling down the M4 this evening at a speed that may or may not have been a tad over the speed limit, I caught up with Wendy Alexander's statement about uninentional wrongdoing. For the next few miles I rehearsed in my mind how I would explain myself if one of those nice officers from Thames Valley Constabulary were to flag me down and accuse me (unfairly, I assure you) of speeding. I imagined myself saying "I am confident when all the facts are known I will be exonerated of any intentional wrong doing". I then imagined the cop saying "of course, sir" before issuing me with a summons to appear in court.

Ben Brogan

Recap On Party Funding

Does Mr Bean really think he can divert our attention from Labour's long and shameful record of criminal fundraising by threatening to revive the outrageous plan to grab more from taxpayers? We've blogged this many times before (eg see here, here, and here). Here are some of the key points:

Burning Our Money

Openness, Accountability and Honesty

Gordon Brown used the country's legislative move today to make yet another deeply political move. He's demanding that all three parties reach an agreement on party funding legislation. The clunking fist is back and he's planning to blame the system rather than the Labour Party for the gross deceptions in party funding that have come to light recently.

Caroline Hunt

Stephan Shakespeare: Who is driving the volatility in the polls?

First, a concession: I over-estimated Gordon Brown. I thought him a stronger politician than he has since proved. I thought his ‘bounce’ would be sustained longer. Had he announced a general election in the middle of the Labour Party conference, he would have easily beaten the Conservatives. But he proved weak, Cameron rallied, and of course now the tables have turned.

Conservative Home


This gentleman is Bennie Abrahams, father of David Abrahams aka David Martin, Labour's "property developer" peculiar donor, whose ability to get planning permission for major developments in areas next to the A1 where development is banned, is of course in no way related to his secret donations to New Labour.

Craig Murray

Will capping union donations cause a civil war within the Labour party?

Gordon Brown must decide whether he is going to stay in the donorgate frying pan or jump into the trade union capping fire. Either way he's in for a torrid time of it. If he doesn't agree to union capping, then he will have reneged on his comments made in the last few days of this fiasco. If he does agree to cap union donations then he is facing a potential civil war within the party.

Daily Referendum

Political funding: what is to be done?

Nothing more clearly underlines the essential continuity of the Blairism and the Brown government than the ongoing controversy over donations to New Labour from wealthy businessmen. Sources of financial support symbolise - perhaps more than anything else - the different class bases of what Labour once was, and what it has today become. Historically, few wealthy individuals have donated to an ostensibly socialist party out of political conviction. True, there were always a handful of working class boys made good, and those intellectually converted to Fabianism.

Dave’s Part

NO, NO, NO to current NHS reforms

There seems to be a widespread view that the NHS needs reform and that all the current NHS reforms are good, and that only antediluvian “vested producer interests” of doctors, nurses and other unions are holding them back. To these commentators who all seem to be politicians, health economists or management consultant types reform is a great good in its own right, and all who stand in its way are some combination of:

Dr Rant

Another myth bites the dust

Flagged up by The Sunday Times today is an entertaining report by the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change. It takes a tilt at some of the more egregious myths put about by the "warmists", not least that global warming will result in a big increase in deaths from weather-related disasters.

EU Referendum

Seeming is believing

Gordon Brown has been likened to the hapless comic, Mr Bean. Such metaphors can make or break a politician

Simon Lancaster

He did the Wright thing

The first conviction under the Hunting Act has been overturned - which would make this a good time to ditch a bad and divisive piece of legislation

Kate Hoey

Another day - more lost discs and dodgy donation suspects

Each of the three public crises hitting the government - lost data ,dodgy donations and Northern Rock- is getting worse. Today we learn of more data that was sent out on a disc with no encryption or password protection. That ended up with a newspaper who returned it. It proves the Revenue and Customs loss was no one off by a junior official, but part of a careless culture in this government. Ministers clearly did not think the protection of our data was a priority and have allowed their offices to be casual in their approach.

John Redwood

New poll: where on the political spectrum would you like the Lib Dems to be?

This was one of the questions asked by YouGov in the party members’ poll commissioned by Sky News. I suspect I wasn’t alone in finding it hard to answer, as none of the eight choices on offer included the word ‘liberal’, a striking omission when surveying members of the Liberal Democrats. Instead, answers ranged from ‘very left-wing’ to ‘very right-wing’. (Click on the image to see my screen-shot.)

Lib Dem Voice

The problem with cash in UK politics isn't that there's too much of it

I'm entertained by the comments under the post below suggesting that the problem with UK political funding is high spending by political parties. They obviously haven't worked for one recently. Full-time Labour (and I suspect Tory and certainly Lib Dem) officials up to and including the recently resigned General Secretary earn salaries that are derisory compared to the rest of the voluntary sector, let alone their counterparts in trade unions, the public sector and the private sector.

Luke’s Blog

Is Brown planning to sacrifice Labour's TU link?

An emergency Labour Party National Executive Committee is planned tomorrow on the margins of the National Policy Committee at a Heathrow hotel. Gordon Brown is considering intends bouncing a proposal to accept Hayden Phillips recommendations on the funding of political parties in the wake of the Donorgate scandal. In the light of his recent success at the 2007 Annual Conference in gagging conference delegates, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to muster support, now the prospect of a General Election has receded.

Peter Kenyon

YouGov has Clegg leading Huhne by 56%-44%

Why PBC is breaking the embargo? A YouGov poll of 678 Lib Dem party members that will be released later this evening by Sky News has Nick Clegg beating Chris Huhne by 56% to 44% in the membership ballot. But the race could still be close because 52% of those questioned have not voted yet only 52% of those questioned had already voted and 24% said they were undecided. The pollster built up a good reputation for party membership polls when in 2001 and 2005 it got the Tory contest correct to within 1%. The firm did not do as well this June with their Labour deputy leadership surveys where it had Alan Johnson ahead. That was, however, a complicated election because of the transferable vote system amongst six candidates.

Political Betting

Fanning the Flames of Hatred?

Before we "tut, tut" too loudly about the morons in Sudan who have locked up a volunteer teacher for allowing a teddy bear to be called “Mohammed”, we shouldn’t forget we have more than our own share of home-grown religious berks. I’m not this time referring to Galloway and his Respect Renewal but rather to the new Christian Fundamentalist website “MegaMosqueNoThanks”. This site appears to be run by a certain Newham Councillor, Alan Craig, from the “Christian Peoples Alliance” (CPA). His name and telephone number is on the press release.

Labour Home

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