Monday, November 10, 2008

Tories still ahead in the polls

Much is being made of Labour's supposed return to good fortune at the moment - partly because they won a safe Scottish by-election last week. Tomorrow's Times tells a different story with a Populus poll that puts the Tories on 45% (up 2%) to Labour's 30% (up 3%).

It's no real surprise that in a time of crisis that the profile of the smaller parties has declined. After all if experience in government becomes a valued commodity, boosting Brown's overall rating, not having any MPs probably doesn't become an asset. I would argue, of course, that Brown and co are partially responsible for the mess that we're in and we actually need new approaches to the economy so we can't afford to stick with the same gang of people who got us into this mess in the first place.

It's one thing to say better the devil you know - but it does essentially leave you eating sulphur for your tea. Well, he'll be out soon enough I suppose and his more cheerful, posher mirror image can have a go.

Another thing that caught my eye in the poll. Whilst UKIP got its heaviest support in the over 55's the BNP was getting stronger support among the under 24's. Both had far more support among men than women. Far more, but I guess that isn't much of a surprise.

The other news in the poll is that it puts the Greens on 2% (and therefore the fifth party behind the big three and the SNP) which has its best demographic in the 25 - 34 age bracket. Of course, much of our (real rather than predicted) vote is concentrated in those areas where we have effective and active branches, although there are exceptions to this and certainly there are some areas that are more fertile territory for us than others.

It's that placement of votes that is the decisive factor under the first past the post system. At the last general election the Tories got many more votes than Labour in England, but England returned many more Labour MPs due to the distribution of votes, I doubt they can rely on that to keep them in government though.

Whilst I'm convinced more people would vote for the smaller parties with a proportional representation system (which is why the Greens have two MEPs but no MPs despite the fact that there are many more of the latter than the former) but as we don't have it we need to recognise the fact that we have to concentrate our resources to ensure we elect our first MPs at the next election.

Whilst I don't envy our New Zealand colleagues who have upped the number of MPs from six to eight whilst seeing the Labour government unseated to its right wing rivals it might well be the situation Greens in this country find themselves in rather soon, celebrating Green wins whilst taking a good gulp of gin as we watch Cameron making his victory speech. Wont that be fun.


weggis said...

"Both [UKIP and BNP] had far more support among men than women. Far more, but I guess that isn't much of a surprise."

Why should that be so?

Jim Jay said...

I don't think there's anything intrinsic about women that stop them being right wing - there are plenty of right wing women to dispell that illusion if someone were suffering from it - but the nature of the far right in the UK does, I think, make it a particualrly unwelcome place for women.

Macho, ugly, backwards, and tainted with violence the BNP isn't a particualrly welcoming place for anyone but I think this effects women in particular. Add into the mix facts like the historic association with football violence, the unremitting sexism of the borish rightwinger and I think you begin to build a picture of an organisation designed for men by men.

UKIP is more male dominated for a different reason I think. Firstly all the nine MEPs they had elected in 2004 are male so I start off with an assumption the organisation doesn't have *many* leading women.

Then there's the tedious meticulousness of their obsession around Europe and the astonishing contortions it leads them into (I was once told by a UKIP candidate that the miners strike only happened because Thatcher was kowtowing to Europe, which seemed such an unlikely explanation that I just stood there open mouthed), it just seems such a particularly male way of being a fringe politician.

I'm saying that all men have a little BNP/UKIP in them, nor that women can't be right wing - only that these specific organisations have a very male feel about them.

Green Gordon said...

It could have something to do with the women/men sociotropic/egotropic divide in economic voting. Women have been linked to voting based on their perceptions of the impact upon the country as a whole, whereas men are more likely to vote based on perceptions of impact upon themselves personally. I don't think it's too much of a simplification to say that far-right politics have a fundamental selfishness to them.

weggis said...

When the female of the species protects their young are they being selfish or selfless?
[The Selfish Gene?]

Barnbrook was on form this morning at Mayor’s Question Time. He had a valid point but it was lost in its phrasing and divisive context and no doubt just because it was him.

It worries me when such episodes are dismissed with glib platitudes without addressing the concerns of the people who put him there.

ModernityBlog said...


you might like to comment on the New Labour proposal on Council Housing

that's a certainty for boosting the BNP :(

Lyndsay Mc said...

In terms of Aotearoa/NZ, the current batch of Green Party MPs consists of 5 women and 3 men.