Will Parliament next Saturday end Cameron’s Premiership?

September 16th, 2014


The knee-jerk response to a YES vote?

A couple of days ago the Sunday Times reports (££) Informal soundings have been taken about recalling parliament on Saturday, the first Saturday sitting since the Falklands War, if there is a “yes” victory.

I know there’s been a lot of debate on pb and elsewhere, about David Cameron resigning in the event of Scotland voting to secede from the United Kingdom, whilst I’ve been in the camp, that he wouldn’t resign, I’m ever more convinced it won’t be his decision.

As a keen studier of history because history has a tendency to repeat itself, I wonder if we do have a Saturday debate, the Opposition will force a vote, which effectively becomes a vote of no confidence in David Cameron, as happened in the Norway Debate of 1940, which forced Neville Chamberlain out as Prime Minister. Chamberlain won the vote but with a quarter of his party abstaining or voting against the Government, his position became untenable.

The Sunday Times report, there’s enough Tory MPs to trigger a vote of no confidence in Cameron, and probably 100 would vote against Cameron, which means some could vote against Cameron in any vote.

Will we have a Leo Amery des nos jour, and utter to the Prime Minister

I have quoted certain words of Oliver Cromwell. I will quote certain other words. I do it with great reluctance, because I am speaking of those who are old friends and associates of mine, but they are words which, I think, are applicable to the present situation. This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”. 

If we do have a Norway debate moment, then well, who will be the modern day Sir Winston Churchill to Cameron’s Neville Chamberlain? I wonder if this scenario favours William Hague, widely liked across the House, experienced and strong character to take the country through a very difficult phase. At the time of writing, you can get 40/1 as next Prime Minister.




Guardian ICM phone poll sees Labour lead cut from 7 to 2

September 15th, 2014

The Guardian ICM phone poll is out. It confirms what the suspicion that last month’s ICM with a Labour lead of 7% was an outlier.

The Greens are up to 7%, only 3% from being third in a Westminster VI poll! whilst the Lib Dems  are equalling their worst-ever performance over the last two decades. It maybe the Greens are receiving a boost, having just held their conference.

For those anticipating swingback, well, there may not be much scope for that between the Blues and the Reds, the Guardian notes

The small print on the voting intention figures suggests that the trenches of the general election 2015 are already dug very deep. There is almost no direct movement between the main Labour and Tory blocs, with just 2% of David Cameron’s 2010 voters saying they will turn out for Miliband next time, and only 1% of those who voted for Gordon Brown making the opposite journey. Instead, 88% of 2010 Labour voters are staying loyal, as are 81% of 2010 Tories.

The relative standing of the two depends much more on Labour’s success in attracting disaffected Liberal Democrats from 2010 – 36% of whom now plump for Labour, against a mere 33% who plan to stay put – and the Conservatives’ ability to stem leakage to Ukip, which this month is attracting 9% of 2010 Tories.

To put this ICM poll into context, “Martin Boon, director of research at ICM, cautions that the opposition should not assume that this slim lead is secure. “At this stage of the last political cycle, David Cameron stood some 17 points clear of Gordon Brown, and looked set to barnstorm No 10. He ended up in a hung parliament situation, and with a mere two-point lead Ed Miliband looks considerably less secure than that.”"

There have a been a couple of other polls out today, both showing the trend of Labour’s lead shrinking/being wiped out in recent days, it makes the Opinium at the weekend with a Labour lead of 8, a bit of an outlier. But all said, I think the polling is consistent with where it largely has been for the last several months, a Labour lead of around 2-3 points.

ICM inevitably had some questions about the Indyref. From this polling the most striking thing was, the Sovereign will of the people of England & Wales is clear. “63% of voters in England and Wales believe that the UK should “refuse to negotiate” over a common currency area if Scotland becomes independent, more than twice as many as the 27% who would favour such talks beginning. This makes for a total contrast with Scotland, where 62% believe that a currency union should be negotiated.”



Marf on the IndyRef countdown and Canadians give their backing to the separatists

September 15th, 2014

justyouwait (1)

A new poll of Canadians by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies has just come out and finds Scottish IndyRef YES is supported by 32% to 29%.

Interestingly amongst those sampled who are from Quebec the split was 44% YES to 24% NO.

The independence referendum that took place in the Province in October 1995 is is the closest comparison to Thursday’s big election in Scotland.

Back then YES went into polling day with a lead but voters in the Province rejected the move by a fraction of 1%. Interestingly the demographic splits that we are seeing in Scotland at the moment – women and the old being the most opposed to change, happened in Quebec.

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  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    The pollsters’ big fear: Thursday could be a disaster for them like 1992

    September 15th, 2014

    GE1992 Even the exit poll got it wrong

    Martin Boon, head of ICM the pollster with the best track record, has voiced on several occasions in recent weeks that the Scottish referendum could be a disaster for them on the scale of 1992. This was when all the firms totally understated the eventual CON lead of 7.5% and only one of them had a lead at all albeit of just 0.5%

    For GE1992 was the election when the pollsters got it wrong and led to big changes in polling methodology in the years that followed. This is one of the reason why those who try to predict polling trends by looking back are on the wrong track. The pollsters have moved on.

    As can be seen from the screen-shot from the BBC 1992 election results programme even the exit poll was very much out.

    The big challenge of the IndyRef is that there hasn’t been one before so there’s nothing to fall back on. Add to that turnout predictions of 80%+ and you create a huge headache for pollsters used to doing general election polls where only 65% actually vote.

    The measures that are used to filter out potential non-voters from their samples could mean that they are understating YES. On the other hand there’s what have become known as the “shy Noes” – those who don’t want change but are reluctant to admit it.

    So another 1992? My reading is that Thursday could produce a YES victory or a NO win by up to a 10% lead. Hedging my bets? You bet.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Survation finds that the Tories would be 3% closer without Scotland

    September 15th, 2014

    The shape of polling to come post referendum?

    Interesting new Survation poll published overnight by Survation with new Westminster numbers showing for the first time two sets of numbers – both with Scotland and without.

    The outcome is not surprising but it is good to measure it. Given that generally Survation tends to show higher UKIP figures than most other firms and lower CON ones then the one percent CON deficit should be encouraging.

      But inevitably the whole political environment will look totally different if Scotland does vote for separation on Thursday. Would Cameron still be there for instance?

    It was the PM, of course, who was opposed to including a “devomax option” on the ballot making the Scottish people decide between separation from the rest of the UK or not.

    Other findings from the poll:-

  • 61% say the UK should not agree to a currency union with an independent Scotland compared to 21% who say they should.
  • 59% say Trident nuclear weapons should be removed from an independent Scotland compared to only 21% who say they should be shared
  • 48% say there should be a guarded border between England and Scotland if Scotland joins the Schengen area.
  • 77% say the UK should give no financial help to an independent Scotland compared to just 12% who say it should
  • 56% do not think the 2015 general election should be delayed if Scotland becomes independent compared to 31%.
  • The campaign for separation hasn’t had a huge impact on cultural relations between Scotland and the UK. Just 11% say they are less likely to support Andy Murray, 12% less likely to celebrate Hogmanay and 10% less likely to drink Scottish whisky.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    With just four days to the big day Marf returns to give her take

    September 14th, 2014

    yes2 (1)

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  • Welcome back Marf – you’ve been missed


    Alex Salmond says there are no NO voters, just deferred YES ones

    September 14th, 2014

    You’ve got to be careful making presumptions about voters

    Given the polls there are three things that YES/Salmond have to do: Ensure there’s a maximum turnout amongst those currently saying YES; try to win over some switchers, and endeavour to ensure lower turnout levels amongst those inclined to NO.

    It is that last category, I’d suggest, that are most important which is why YES/Salmond have to ensure that what they do doesn’t galvanise those who are against change.

    I’m far from sure that his approach on this morning’s TV show has got this right. Making the presumptions he did and expressing them in such a dismissive manner could be impeding his overall objective.

    His hubris reminds me of claims ahead of the 2012 Scottish local elections. They’d swept to power at Holyrood with an overall majority the year before and Salmond and team repeatedly trumpeted that they were about to win full control of Glasgow. What happened? Labour returned to power with an overall majority and a night that should have been seen as an SNP success looked like failure.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Make no mistake the polls point to the IndyRef being on a knife-edge and so much depends on turnout

    September 14th, 2014

    More than 80% of postal votes have now been returned

    The big unknown from this election is turnout – something that all the pollsters seek to measure and apply when working out their final vote shares.

    Thus the 2% NO lead ICM phone poll used the firm’s standard turnout adjuster of attaching a 50% discount to those who didn’t vote in previous parliamentary elections.

    But in the context Thursday’s totally unprecedented election we don’t know whether that’s a valid approach or not.

    The other major phone pollster, Ipsos-MORI, only includes those saying they are 100% certain in headline figures. Again how valid will that be given the immense interest and enormity of Thursday’s vote.

    We do know that more people, an estimated 97%, are on the Scottish electoral registers and that there has been a huge effort to get this up to that level in advance of the referendum. But how many of the new names will cast votes on Thursday and are the more marginal ones more likely to be YES supporters?

    The current postal vote turnout is in excess of 80% pointing to and overall postal vote turnout of 85%+. The assumption is that NO will have the edge amongst these voters largely because they are older. Will that hold?

    So many imponderables and so much of this is emotional which is hard to measure.

    I am maintaining my split betting position so I win the same whatever

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble