Archive | September, 2012

Polling Observatory conference updates #2: Labour – how secure is Ed Miliband’s lead?

This is the second in a series of reviews of the state of public opinion for each of the parties to coincide with the conference season. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and […]

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Nick Clegg: the wrong sort of Liberal?

It has been an uncomfortable week for Nick Clegg. Opinion polls continue to show him to be (by some distance) the least popular of the party leaders, and his public apology for his Party’s failure to keep its election pledge on tuition fees has seen him inadvertently propelled into the world of pop stardom. But […]

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Sitcoms and the politics of disillusion

The return, for a final season, of The Thick of It and news that Yes Minister is to be revived for the small screen might suggest that comedies about politics are back with a vengance. However, the first new episode of The Thick of It, broadcast on BBC2, was watched by just over 1.5 million, […]

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Polling Observatory conference updates #1: Lib Dems & UKIP battling for third place in 2015

This is the first in a series of reviews of the state of public opinion for each of the parties to coincide with the conference season. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and […]

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Cameron, Miliband and the politics of the past

In her column in the Daily Telegraph last week, Mary Riddell drew on my book to argue that David Cameron is at risk of destroying his party’s link to the national past; of concreting over the connection to the native soil reawakened by the Olympics. Part of the argument of my book is that Margaret Thatcher […]

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Polling Observatory #18: Labour carry stable lead into conference season

This is the eighteenth in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling […]

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The Thick of It: ‘safe and acceptable’ shock

The Thick of It, that supposed satire of Westminster life, has returned to BBC2 for one last season. It is something I’ll be discussing in my forthcoming book for Bloomsbury,  A State of Play. British Politics on the Screen, Stage and Page since Trollope and is also one of the television fictions I analyse in […]

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What is the Green party’s electoral future?

  For political parties, the arrival of a new leader is often a catalyst for change. But as the relatively unknown Natalie Bennett will quickly find, the wider environment offers the Greens both problems and opportunities. Like their counterparts in other Western democracies, over past decades the Greens have benefitted mainly from a broad process of […]

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That’s Sir Gerald Howarth to you…

News of the knighthoods awarded to some of those departing the British government in its latest reshuffle reminded me of an interview I carried out with a whip for this book, on party discipline under Blair.  The Labour whip drew attention to a systemic weakness in the patronage available to them: They look after theirs, we don’t. Tories […]

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Is he ‘squiffy’?

On his personal blog, Nottingham PhD student Chris Burgess discusses the poster illustrated above. It is a Conservative effort, mocking H.H. Asquith, Liberal Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916. The poster simply asks ‘where is’ the cheap bread the Liberals promised in their 1906 election campaign. Asquith was the man who inspired the term ‘squiffy’ […]

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