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Wings Over Scotland

Ideological arithmetic

Posted on July 20, 2013 by

ComRes for ITV News, 20 July 2013:

“After a fortnight which included high-profile debates around Labour and Ed Miliband’s relations with the trade unions, Britons are saying they do not believe that the Labour leader will be the next Prime Minister. Fewer than one in four (22%) expect Ed Miliband to be the Prime Minister in 2015.

Other findings include:

– A majority of the British public (57%) do not see Ed Miliband as an election winner.

– Twice as many (42%) agree that Labour would have a better chance in the next General Election without Ed Miliband as party leader as disagree (20%).

– One-third (33%) say that they would prefer a Labour-Lib Dem coalition to a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. More than two-fifths (43%) disagree.

– Two in five (42%) agree that the Labour Party understands the concerns of ordinary people better than the Conservatives. However, this is down 5 points from last September and more than one in three (36%) disagree.

– Almost half (46%) say that Labour cannot be trusted to run the economy – unchanged from last year.”

Our emphasis, there. We’ve written at length on this site previously about the public’s lack of faith in Ed Miliband and the unlikelihood of Labour winning in 2015 as a result, so there’s no real news in the headline stat.

But the surprise to us is the middle finding in the list: that a clear 10-point margin of UK voters would prefer another Tory/Lib Dem coalition to a Labour/Lib Dem one.

Labour’s single-digit poll lead, in the mid-term of a government implementing cuts of unprecedented brutality in British political history, is already catastrophically feeble. But the fact that Lib Dem voters, historically always seen as left-leaning, now appear to be throwing their lot in with the Tories is a hugely significant development.

As noted by YouGov’s Peter Kellner, Labour’s problem has traditionally been that the electorate saw it as “nice but dim” – that is, people would rather live under what were seen as Labour values, but doubted the party’s competence at making it happen. The fourth finding in the ComRes list, though, shows even that advantage evaporating fast.

Because now, as “One Nation” Labour desperately adopts more and more Tory policies (most notably on welfare, immigration and defence) in an attempt to placate right-wing voters in the south of England, all that’s left is “dim”.

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29 to “Ideological arithmetic”

  1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I will say it again. The Blair/Brown Labour governments were the last Labour Governments.
    In Scotland many think the destructive de-industrialisation of Scotland under Tory governments finished off the Tories. It did – but the Feeble 50 also sent Labour in Scotland into a terminal decline. Though they picked up support in protest against Tory Thatcherism this was short term and their choice to be powerless removed any reason in the longer term to vote for them

  2. scottish_skier says:


    As commented on the previous article, it’s a case of vote No for further rounds of the Tories with a good chance of some UKIP garnishing. 

    Poll after poll after poll says the same thing.

  3. Melissa Murray says:

    Well said Rev. 

  4. Bruce Hollands says:

    Of course Middle England will vote in a further Tory/LibDem coalition in 2015. That’s why we have to be well out of it. Imagine never voting in a Wastemonter election again!

  5. James Westland says:

    The big question must be “to what extent would the likelihood of another Tory victory in 2015, make indyref undecideds in Scotland vote “yes” in 2014?”
    And possibly, also, “to what extent would it make indyref “No” voters change their postion? (assuming they were “soft” no voters rather than diehard union supporters.

  6. scottish_skier says:

    The big question must be “to what extent would the likelihood of another Tory victory in 2015, make indyref undecideds in Scotland vote “yes” in 2014?”

    Something like this:

    Prospect of Tory government would see most Scots back independence

    and this:

    Poll: independence support would rise if voters think UK’s leaving EU

  7. Bruce Hosie says:

    This is so great, I really hate the Labour Party, even more than the Tories. Their betrayal of working people is nothing short of one of the most scandalous political moves in history, may they rot and die as a party.

  8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    You don’t need to sign your comments, Bruce. They’ve got your name at the top of them 😉

  9. Braco says:

    This realisation that the Tories are more than holding their own against Labour in a UK context, mid term when Labour really should be streaking ahead, I think is happening early enough now to slowly sink in to the soft NO SLAB voter’s psyche.
    It’s these same soft NOs that have already settled in their mind a possible priority change to YES should it look like another five years of UK Tory rule from Westminster post 2015.
    The slow build up to this conclusion I think may well cement it as a very real possibility in the Scot’s electorates mind, even if the polls should start fluctuating closer to the referendum date.
    It’s the general credibility of a possible Tory victory that’s important rather than simple poling evidence over a year out from the Westminster elections in 2015 that will be important to the referendum calculations of that soft SLAB NO vote, in my opinion.
    What I also feel will heighten their anxiety of a Tory/right wing victory in 2015 will be UKIP’s European Election campaign and results just prior to the referendum campaign hitting top gear in 2014.
    I think the European Election results could really set the stage for a lot of soft SLAB NO voters to eventually admit the inevitable and finally (emotionally) commit to that priority change to YES that they have always reluctantly held in reserve, just in case the Westminster circumstances appeared hopeless enough to them. 

    This all happens at the very, very end of the campaigning period so it’s a case of keeping our nerve and staying positive, ensuring YES remains a true alternative hope for these soft SLAB NOs.

  10. Bruce Hosie says:

    Don’t want to self promote but I wrote about this in my wee rant which is my blog and helps keep me sane, Vote No Get Tory Vote Labour Get Tory. These figures really have made my day, better than the crap film knocked up I watched the other night expecting a comedy.

  11. SCED300 says:

    The points highlighted above, that most Scots would vote for Independence if they thought there was to be another Tory Government or if it looked likely we would leave the EU is beyond Labour’s ability to grasp and consider in a rational way.
    Maybe secretly they do, but can’t cope considering a situation where they would not be in charge.

  12. velofello says:

    Labour nice but dim. In England perhaps but certainly not “Scottish” Labour. Dim yes.
    I’ve just read the Gerry Hassan article in the Scotsman referred to by Linda’s back on the “the devils you know” article. 
    “Imagine a Scottish politics of Lamont, Rennie and Davidson”, he writes.
    Westminster’s pay rise- wealthy people are wealthy because they like money. Little chance then of them declining more of what they like.

  13. frankieboy says:

    I want the Labour Party to exist long enough so it can implode after a YES vote.

  14. Jiggsbro says:

    “Imagine a Scottish politics of Lamont, Rennie and Davidson”, he writes.
    Could it really be any worse than a politics of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband? Who knows, perhaps if they were free to think for themselves they might turn out to be competent…well, okay, bad examples, but there might be competent people in their parties,

  15. Bill C says:

    @Bruce Hosie 12.46 – Amen

  16. Andy-B says:

    Lets face it, Labour are virtually no different to the  Tories now, policy wise albeit the odd one or two, and Ed Milliband publically stated Margaret Thatcher was his hero, so it all seems rather pointless now who takes over the reins in 2015 at Westminster.
    We know what awaits  Scotland and Scots if we fail to break the shackles of Westminster next year, years of austerity and a concerted effort to undermine Holyrood in the process

    I just think its pointless, caring who becomes UK PM in 2015.

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    Dave – “I will say it again. The Blair/Brown Labour governments were the last Labour Governments.”
    It’s quite a stretch to call those “Labour Governments”!
    An interesting idea though. With nothing to differentiate between Labour and the Tories these days, what incentive is there for people to vote Labour? Perhaps Labour’s poor performance in polls suggests people in England are finally starting to realise that if you’re going to vote for a party of bastards, you might as well vote for the party that stabs you in the front, rather than the one that stabs you in the back.
    Are you talking about Labour simply never again winning an election again – but continuing to exist as a perpetual “opposition” party – or are you predicting their demise? After all, a fundamental shift in the make-up of UK politics is long overdue, and Labour wouldn’t be the first ex-governing party to simply cease to exist.

  18. Krackerman says:

    Labour have no intention of winning the next election – there’s no recovery in sight so why bother…  Better to let the Tories take the heat…

  19. Turnip_ghost says:

    I’m playing catch up twitch the articles and skimmin through the comments so apologies if this has been said before but has anyone noticed something odd about the new Natwest advertising campaign? “NatYes” is their new slogan…
    AND the Yes is in a very similar font to the Yes Scotland font…

  20. Susan says:

    Labour Party in Scotland have definitely given up the hope that they will win in Scotland any time soon. All this talk about more powers for local authorities is because they do well in council elections in Scotland.
    Also, Labour Party in Scotland talks about how we are not using all the powers we already have(we do not want more powers for Scottish Parliament) is because they do not see themselves electable in near future so they do not want to campaign for more powers where a SNP government would enjoy it.

  21. Doug Daniel says:

    Krackerman and Susan – aye, Labour’s ideal position of power at the moment is local councils. It gives them the freedom to indulge in their usual cronyism and local corruption, while allowing them to blame the Tories for a lack of money to actually make any positive changes. Labour hate responsibility, which is why they were delighted to lose the 2010 election, allowing them to blame the Tories for the mess they created.
    And it’s why they love the union, because once Scotland is independent, they’ll have to actually face up to the decades of poverty they’ve presided over in many Scottish communities. As a party that has depended on defining itself as what it isn’t (first the Tories and now the SNP), with independence they’ll have to actually start defining themselves by what they ARE, not what they aren’t.
    No chance. Far better to sit on the opposition benches in Westminster and carp at the Tories.

  22. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I believe we have seen the last Labour government. There is a degree of historical inevitability involved in my view. Every democracy has a status quo coalition against which comes other causes with defined objective or objectives, That was the Labour party which replaced the LibDems whose time had run having achieved what had been their central aims for a century and a half (their collapse assisted by a split on Irish Home Rule – interesting parallels can be imagined here).
    I think Labour’s time ran out some time ago as it achieved power and then got absorbed into the status quo position and now exists without any agenda accept to do what it has to do to win elections in England
    The nightmare scenario facing the UK is a right wing ruling party whose main opposition is further to the right. If you think this is not possible look at USA. Labour is in meltdown at ground level in Scotland. These disaffected ex supporters have several places they can go in Scotland. They have no such luxury in England. The Tories will win in England again with a cushion against defeat provided by either the Libdems or UKIP or both. Some of Labour, with probably some TU support, will reform under another banner ( I hope)

  23. Molly says:

    I agree with Bruce. As Gerry Hassan alludes to , the impression that Scottish Labour were the ‘voice of Scotland’ was a convenient myth to fight the Tories and somehow became accepted as the norm . Kind of  like ,Donald Dewar was the Faither o the nation or we all eat deep fried Mars bars .To say I despise what the Scottish Labour hierarchy has become is an understatement but do hope for the day someone like Alan Grogan stands up to speak representing Slab ,  in an Independent Scotland with the passion and commitment he’s shown .  Can you imagine a parliamentary debate on Trident say with Keith Brown , Patrick Harvey and say Alan Grogan , they may approach such a debate from different angles but would be debating what is in Scotland’s interest.

  24. PhilMacVee says:

    Is it not the case that Ed Mili is just another placeman since the BritLabs do not want to be in power until the CONDEMs have ruined the country and their own reputations.
    No answers just empty rhetoric. Business as usual.

  25. john king says:

    turnip ghost said

    “NatYes” is their new slogan…AND the Yes is in a very similar font to the Yes Scotland font…”
    what? do you think Natwest are sending out subliminal msssaging supporting a yes vote? 
    rriiigghhtty ho 😉


  26. Adam Davidson says:

    I think the Natwest RBS marketing is more a reflection of how little awareness of Scotland there is in England outside the political arena. It is bizarre they should have a campaign like this while a referendum campaign is running. 

  27. JLT says:

    James Westland
    Mate, I totally agree with you! This is something I have also asked the ‘Don’t knowers’ and even the ‘No’ers’ how they will feel, that if they vote ‘No’, then they could be looking at perpetual Tory rule for the next 10 plus years.
    Adding on to that, future right wing governments (including Labour …if they ever get elected) will punish the Scots, as well as diminishing the Scottish Parliament. Once you tell folk what is awaiting them in the future, you can see the troubled look on their faces! They are not happy with what they see now, and I can tell that they dread the future.
    By actually speaking out and asking them; and then letting them know how you feel about it all, and that you will vote ‘Yes’, well, I think it may help them decide. This is an utter blessing that we literally know the outcome of the next General Election. No doubts who will win the next one, and worse still, it could be a Tory-UKIP coalition – our worst nightmare.
    This is the new line of attack from ourselves on to those with doubts or are ‘No’ers’.
    I know of only 2 folk who believe that Labour will win the next election (both Unionist), and everyone in the room hee-haws when they say Miliband will win. These 2 folk I have just written off as ‘true delusionalists’; they can’t be won over so I won’t waste my time – they sky ain’t blue in their world!

  28. Angus says:

    Ed miliband is like an unreconstituted pot noodle-he is irrelevant to Scotland but played (badly) by the media as if he matters because the media have to pretend Westminster matters .

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