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A look forward: 2018 London elections (part 3)

January 3, 2018

Today, we conclude our look forward to the May 2018 local elections in London. You can find the first part of the series here (including details of our methodology) and the second here. Our concluding part covers the ten London Boroughs starting with the letters M through to W. Merton – likely Labour hold We […]

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A look forward: 2018 London elections (part 1)

January 1, 2018

As a New Year begins, I am setting out the scene for this year’s London elections, a critical test for the three main English parties. This is the first of three posts, setting the scene and covering 10 boroughs (B to G, alphabetically). May’s local elections will be a crucial test for the British political […]

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Corbyn’s Copeland Catastrophe?

March 1, 2017

There is no doubt that Labour’s performance in the Copeland by-election last week was historically bad: a government last won a by-election seat off an opposition in 1982. But Jeremy Corbyn’s most die-hard supporters have tried to explain this poor result away. Do their arguments hold any weight? You have read the headlines: this is […]

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By-Election Special: Tooting

June 15, 2016

Today sees the by-election in Tooting following the resignation of Sadiq Khan as he takes on the Mayoralty of London Much of the talk about today’s Tooting by-election has been about the tightness of the result last year. Without the advantage of Sadiq Khan’s 11 years’ incumbency, is Labour in trouble in this part of south […]

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By-Election Special: Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough

May 2, 2016

Along with the Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, London and local elections being held on Thursday, there are two Parliamentary by-elections. Both should be safe Labour seats. In this post, we take a look at the first of these to be called: Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough. This constituency was created for the 2010 general election, based […]

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Week 52: Prat – Jeremy Corbyn

December 29, 2015

The final Prat of the Week award goes to Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn for not shutting the fuck up One thing remarkable about the new Labour leadership is just how incompetent it is. There are all kinds of things that can be said about the ideological direction of the Labour Party under Jeremy […]

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2015: A Year in Review

December 20, 2015

As we reach the fag end days of 2015, it is time to over indulge, be merry and share some artery clogging treats with our loved ones. It is also a time to take stock and reflect on what has been a tumultuous and at times dispiritingly confusing year. Welcome to our Christmas circular review […]

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Week 48: Prat – John McDonnell MP

December 14, 2015

The long overdue Prat of the Week award from a fortnight ago goes to Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell You’ve got the chancellor of the exchequer exactly where you want him. He has u-turned on the centre piece policy of his ‘necessary’ welfare cuts, the abolition of tax credits. The bullshit that somehow a measily […]

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Week 42: Prat – John McDonnell

October 25, 2015

Last Week’s Prat of the Week Award went to Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell for his u-turn on the budget surplus This is a very late post (and some others have been missed in recent weeks from our Awards completely). That has largely been down to me. Difficult work stuff and life stuff has meant […]

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Labour leadership: some reflections and analysis

August 22, 2015

I’ve been in Washington DC for a couple of days. Halfway between Capitol Hill and the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue is the monumental old Post Office building, its tower a Washington landmark. The Postal Service sold it a few years ago to a certain hotel chain. The hoarding outside announces the process of the […]

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Why a Corbyn-led Left Wing Labour Could Win in 2020

August 14, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn, on current polling, is on course to win Labour’s leadership campaign. The latest polling has him 32% ahead of his rivals. This is staggering stuff. But, something more than just a new wave protest movement is rumbling on behind all of this. There are a number of factors behind this – ranging from […]

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Labour Leadership: The Zero Sum Game of Liz Kendall

June 19, 2015

The battle for the Labour leadership is a dispiriting affair. The campaign is too long (allowing the Tories to ratchet up their own nasty set of early parliamentary policies with little opposition) and the campaign offers not much in the way of big ideas and long term vision on how to make Labour a political […]

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Why the Tory Scaremongering About the SNP isn’t Ending Anytime Soon

April 20, 2015

Having not got much traction with their initial ploy of going directly after Ed Miliband – which veered from portraying him as an uber-geek to a Terry-Thomas style ladies’ man, the Tories have bet their house on going after Ed Miliband through the proxy of the SNP.    It has felt as if they (and their […]

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Labour’s Self-Defeating Deficit Fetishism

April 14, 2015

At yesterday’s launch of the Labour manifesto Ed Miliband exuded confidence.  Pretty much all commentators agreed that it was one of his best performances since becoming Labour leader, reminiscent of his speeches to the Labour Party Conference in 2012 and 2013, rather than the car crash of last year.  Its focus (perhaps with that deficit-forgetting […]

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Ashcroft Implications: Labour Has Lost the Election But David Cameron Still Hasn’t Won

February 6, 2015

As Charlie-East West wrote yesterday, Lord Ashcroft’s polls of individual Scottish seats have made it clear that Labour is in deep deep trouble north of the border, including in its hitherto rock solid Glasgow and West of Scotland heartland.   Those polls, with an average swing of 25.5%, would see, if applied on a universal basis […]

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The Greatest Election Threat to Labour is….

February 5, 2015

The SNP. Lord Ashcroft has just released a snapshot constituency by constituency poll across 16 key election battlegrounds in Scotland. It appears that the more general recent polling evidence of a SNP surge at the expense of Labour (and the Lib Dems) is very real. The Ashcroft polling indicates a huge swing to the SNP […]

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General Election preview: Lincoln

January 19, 2015

For the second in our series on seats to watch in this year’s general election, we turn to Britain’s oldest constituency: Lincoln. Today, Iain Dale shared his predictions for the General Election in The Independent. Some of the individual outcomes may not pan out, but the overall numbers seem about right to me. In his […]

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General Election preview: Gordon

December 24, 2014

With the General Election only four and a half months away, we are starting a series on constituency contests to watch. But first, as it is Christmas, a story… WEE ECK The King Beyond The Wall had lost. He had thrown all he had into the epic battle, and he had taken his troops far […]

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The Debates Debate

October 22, 2014

Last week the broadcasters collectively put together a proposal for leader debates for next May’s general election.   The proposal is for three debates.  The first is to involve David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.  The second a debate (along the lines of those in 2010) between Cameron, Miliband and Clegg and finally […]

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Week 41: Prat(s) – Labour’s UKippy MPs

October 12, 2014

This Week’s Prats of the Week are those Labour MPs who have reacted to the UKIP surge of support in Thursday’s by-election by calling on Labour to adopt more UKIP-like policies There is no doubt about which political party won the political battle last week, and it was not the Lib Dems whose conference in […]

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Dear Ed,

September 19, 2014

By a guest blogger (A Scottish civil servant who has requested anonymity) I received a letter from Ed Miliband today: Person in Scotland, I am delighted and proud that the people of Scotland have made this historic decision to stay in the United Kingdom. This was a vote for social justice, for our NHS, and […]

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Labour Gives Up

July 24, 2014

It didn’t get that much publicity but last weekend saw the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum agree the party’s basic policy positions for the next election.  Yes there is the conference to come in the Autumn but it has been a good long while since it mattered a jot.   What came out of that Policy […]

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Week 25: Villain – Ed Miliband

June 23, 2014

This Week’s Villain of the Week is Labour leader Ed Miliband for trying to appease the Daily Mail by proposing the abolition of out of work benefits for under 21s It never works.  And it particularly never works if you are Ed Miliband.   What the Labour leadership never seems to learn is that unless and […]

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Bedroom Tax vote: What is the point of parliament?

November 14, 2013

The government defeated Labour’s motion to challenge the Tories Bedroom Tax by 252 votes to 226, a majority of 26. Labour MPs have been strongly criticised after the analysis of voting lists revealed that 47 were absent from the Commons at the time of the vote. Labour Party whips have since responsed by stating: “We […]

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Where have all our great politicians gone?

November 5, 2013

“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” George Bernard Shaw The first sign of becoming a grumpy old man is to think that everything was better in the past. If that is the case, then in terms of politics, I am a fully paid up member of […]

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Tory myth busting: “Cleaning up Labour’s mess”

October 29, 2013

“The mess we inherited” “We’re having to clean up Labour’s mess” “We are making tough decisions to fix the country” “We’re all in this together” This Tory-led and Lib Dem nodding dog soundbite tactic has been in place since they have been in government and has continued, unbroken and to the point of listening to […]

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Sir Menzies Campbell: Mastering the Art of High Standards in Public Life

October 10, 2013

Yesterday, Sir Menzies (Ming) Campbell announced that he is to step down as a Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife at the 2015 election – bringing to an end his parliamentary career which began when he was elected in 1987. Ming is what I consider an old Liberal. A moderate social liberal. He is […]

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Politics through the eyes of an eight year old

October 1, 2013

Last night I had a great conversation with my eight year old boy about politics. He is already developing an early interest in politics – hardly a surprise considering he has two political junkies as parents. As follows… Harry: “Dad, who do you vote for?” Me: “I used to vote for the Lib Dems, but […]

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George Osborne: The Wet Nurse Chancellor

August 6, 2013

I am feeling particularly belligerent today. This is because of two things:- 1. Labour, and in particular, Ed Miliband passively standing back and letting the Tories shape the political debate. Repeatedly, Labour are ending up on the wrong side of the debate. Recent case studies include – trade union funding and also austerity. Labour should […]

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The diminishing returns of political party membership and funding

July 31, 2013

The Electoral Commission has just published the statement of accounts for the major political parties in 2012 – and it makes grim reading for the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems raised £6.02m in 2012 but spent £6.4m – which results in a deficit of around £400,000. Over the same period, its membership fell from 48,934 […]

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