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No complacency, variants on a theme

Posted on 24 October 2009 | 9:10am

Doubtless a few polls will be kicking around this weekend, and after my message to Labour yesterday to guard against complacency in the face of the BNP, a warning to the Tories today.

December 5, 1996, Gallup poll. Labour 59. Tories 22. Now that’s what I call a lead. And they’re nowhere near it, because they have not sealed the deal, because they’re not serious on policy, because they haven’t changed much, and because a lot of people don’t really like them.

That’s it. Short and sweet today. Off to Burnley now. Hundred per cent home record to defend. No complacency.

  • Alison Hall

    There I was yesterday, saying your blog was too long, and now up pops this little thing. Still, the point is right. If Labour are as bad as the Tories and the media say, why is Cameron not out of sight?

  • Pete Farr

    I have a horrible feeling the next poll will show a blip upwards for the BNP. I totally agreed with your analysis yesterday

  • Cheeky Chappy

    Wigan — too strong for you

  • Peter Palladas

    Telegraph recommends taking 6/1 for a 1-0 home win. No odds given for the weekend’s polls. Much the same I should imagine.

  • Alan Quinn

    Good luck against the Pie Eaters then Ally, I’m off to Northwich watching FC United this afternoon in the FA Cup.
    Let’s hope tomorrow that those cheeky scamps from Manchester don’t throw any beach balls onto the pitch at Anfield in Liverpool- United game!

  • David Herdson

    Comparing today’s polls against that Gallup one is statistical nonsense. The only valid comparison between the results now and those pre-97 is with ICM as they’re the only firm who haven’t changed their methodology. The leads Labour had then with them are about the same as the leads the Tories have now, mid- to high-teens. ICM were also very accurate in predicting the outcome of the 1997 election.

    That said, because of differential turnout in their respective safe seats, that gives Labour an inbuilt advantage; Cameron won’t end up with the 177-majority Blair had with a 13% lead.

    Even by the standards of the day – and we know now that they weren’t very high – that Gallup poll was obviously rogue. Methodologies have improved markedly since then.

    The big question that Labour have to ask themselves is about their vanishing vote. Even in the Tories’ dark days of the mid-90s, their ICM poll rating rarely dropped much below 30% and by this stage in the parliament was consistently back into the low-30s. By contrast, Labour’s share with ICM has been consistently 26-27% for several months now. Add that the the Euro-result and parliamentary by-elections (Glenrothes aside) and the conclusion is that the Labour vote is withering.

    You might well be right that a lot of people don’t really like the Tories; however, right now, even more don’t like Labour, and dislike them a lot more strongly.


    From that poll labour lost around 15% support during that election campaign. I would concentrate on that if I was you.

  • Katie

    The way I feel, and many people I know feel, is that we were so enthusiastic about Blair, and so excited about the “new dawn”, that the disappointment when it came was huge. The gap between the hopes and expectations in 1997, and the reality was too much – as I suspect will be the case with Obama. Not that I don’t wish him well, I desperately do. But I don’t see how a man can live up to all the hopes invested in him. And Blair’s Government did many good things. Of course they did. Iraq and surrounding issues were the killer for me. Anyway, I don’t feel I can ever be as enthusiastic about politics again as I was prior to 97. It is almost like a first love. Never again will a love be so colourful and brillian, nor hurt so much. Hence the polls. I would guess that it will be a long long time before people trust and admire a party enough to give the kind of poll leads New Labour enjoyed. And I think it is really sad.

  • obangobang

    You see, some people might look at that 1996 poll and ask themselves how on earth Labour have gone from +37% to -17%, in a little over a decade, possibly the largest opinion poll swing in modern political history.

    A question of priorities, I suppose.

  • Official Voice

    Burnley 1 Wigan 3. No complacency.

  • annbaker

    The Guardian interviewed a cross-section of Burnley voters following “Question Time”—-very enlightening!!!!As a resident of Burnley and a Labour supporter,we should have addressed the immigration issues immediately the first B.N.P.councillor was elected—-not waited until Nick Griffin was able to exploit the situation.I wrote to Kitty Ussher about my concerns about the disenchantment of the white working class voters with Labour—no reply!!Sorry about the football—at least it stayed dry—although you were in “the posh seats”,so it didn’t matter!Guido Fawkes even gave you a”plug” today!!!!”THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER”!!
    Regards.Maybe we can do better against Hull.

  • betty curtis

    Money talks! The Tory Party have Lord Ashcroft & his millions—Every local election throughout the country the Tories have pumped astronomical amounts of cash into fighting them—-This makes them look like winners & they ooze confidence—Hence,the media,(tired of Labour after 12years)want the Tories elected & they’re treating them like they’ve already won the election & don’t even bother reporting what the PM & Labour are doing & the important changes that our Government are implementing that will benefit ordinary people. This lack of media coverage for Labour could be the reason they are lagging in the polls although they have the right policies compared to the Tories & Libs.
    I watched Andrew Neil with Martin Bell(Journalist & ex MP) Martin said “The Tories would win the election but it would only be one term in power as THE BULLINGDON CLUB DAYS WOULD COME BACK TO HAUNT THEM”.
    We need some investigative journalism carried out—-What does he know about Cameron & Osborne that the voter should know before the election?
    I don’t want to have to wait & experience the devastation that a Tory Government would cause & one term would be one too many for our Country.–

  • Trevor Malcolm, Portsmouth Hampshire

    Sore Fingers, Sore Thumbs – The Saturday Night into Sunday Morning “S” Word

    On Alastair Campbell’s “Sore Fingers, Sore Thumbs”

    Bye gum, lad. Sore Fingers? Sore thumb, too, I bet. To judge from the number of acceptance button clicks you’ve been bashing out in response to that backlog of FaceBook Friendship invites you’ve received lately. No picnic, is it? No wonder, I leave practically all mine to Rest In Peace, unattended. Too squeamish to tap the “I decline” button, in case I inadvertently upset anyone, as well

    This weekend, your invitation acceptances must’ve made the “chosen few” feel valued and important, (well, selected, chosen few thousand, actually – it’s not THAT elitist)

    They’ll feel special, thanks to you. Above all, happy and in brighter mood. More ammunition for my firm belief that Mr Alastair Campbell is the most misunderstood Gentleman in the country. He raises millions, for charities. He gives keynote speeches, pro bono, often at fundraising and charitable events

    Folks want to hear what he thinks, how he feels (worth noting that whenever the subject turns to mental healthcare issues, all hoots n heckles cease, and everyone listens so attentively, you could literally hear a pin drop, even in a vast hall full of people)

    This selfless service has not gone unnoticed – occasionally, at least, but not by everyone. At the rate you’re going, sir, you will end up on my THREE BEST “S-WORDS” list

    “S” words? On a Sunday, especially. Nope, wrong. This website does not tolerate rudery, so you all guessed wrong, see?

    My special chosen few, (I restrict to just three), all beginning with an “S” surname, curiously. They are Spencer, Diana Frances – arguably, the most misinterpreted and misunderstood person in the land. So, on that point at least, you really did have rather a lot in common

    Second, Sinatra, Francis Albert. And third, Sobers, Sir Garfield, the most complete all-round Test cricketer you’d ever watch entertain and perform. Plenty of inspiration available there. Still time for others to contribute to Life at that high a level, if their courage and determination allows

    … Oh, and that dull, aching pain in your hands, after accepting all those FB invites, that’s RSI – a Repetitive Strain Injury. What physiotherapists like to refer to as CTD, potential Cumulative Trauma Disorder. Guess it depends upon how much more FB invite backlog bashing you do

    No harm in popping in the Finchley NHS walk-in centre as a precaution, if the problem lingers. Just think, you might get the same attractive and efficient nurse who looked up your bunion, no wait, your blister last time.Your Great North Run triumph

    Tell the nurse your wrist’s gone all limp. As limp as the local vicar’s handshake. Honest, the nurse will understand your problem. Trained professionals. She’ll ask you some questions – then want you to autograph your novel, “All in the Mind” for her – odd request, for a gentleman who has just trashed his hand in, pressing computer buttons

    Trevor Malcolm



  • Leo

    ‘they’re not serious on policy’… A government insider is reported today as saying that Blair and Straw had a secret policy of mass immigration to change British society. Secret because it was a sensitive issue which they thought might stir up the public. He suggests it had a side benefit of being a dig at the Conservatives. I don’t think I’m the only person who thinks the execution of this policy has been a disaster – it’s a reason (the main reason?) for the rise of the BNP. How was this policy serious in anything other than its consequences?

  • Charlie Reynolds

    The idea that the country was hugely thrilled by the thought of Blair becoming PM in 1997 is balearics. He got almost a million fewer votes than Major in 1992. The PR operation at the time was successful (well done) and the media were sick of the Tories after 18 years.

    On this basis many people decided it was time for a change and that we would give Blair and New Labour a chance.

    The same applies now. The only difference is that we are all even more disillusioned with politicians than in 1997. Partly this is as a result of the way government has been run (and spun) over the last 12 years and mainly as a result of the expenses scandal.

    Cameron and the Tories have no chance of a huge polling success or love-in as a result of the way in which politicians have misappropriated public funds. This will help Labour in the next election.

    I suspect you know this. I also suspect you do not support Gordon Brown as PM and are trying to appeal to the party to change leader as there is everything to play for….. I can’t imagine why anyone would ever trust you.

  • Judith Haire

    In my neck of the woods the party colours are a very deep shade of blue. We won’t pay more than a pound for anything if we can help it. Actions speak louder than words, pollsters just fill up empty spaces in the weekend papers. Ancellotti did Frank Lampard no favours in suggesting he might be the next Prime Minister; Frank’s much too nice a chap. We want ruthlessness. Let the Go Fourth Campaign be like Chelsea Football club, storming missile like to the top.