Sunday 18 April 2010

The Third Party Surge Continues: Clegg More Popular Than Churchill

Following on from the Nick Clegg phenomenon the Sunday Times reports today that the Liberal Democrat leader is now the most popular party leader since Winston Churchill. So more than the blessed Margaret as well then? Following his victory in the so called Prime Ministerial debate, Clegg has surged to a higher approval rating than Tony Blair at his peak of popularity.

A YouGov survey showed the three parties neck and neck. While Labour and the Tories desperately tried to respond to the Clegg surge. The election in England has become a three-way contest with the Lib Dems, on 29%, enjoying their strongest support in almost 30 years, one point behind Labour on 30%, with the Tories having a slender lead of three points on 33%. The poll suggests David Cameron’s Tories are on course to secure 239 seats, only 46 more than they have now.

The ridiculous first past the post system means that Labour, despite being second in terms of the popular vote, would get the most seats, with about 287 MPs, allowing Gordon Brown a desperate chance of clinging on as prime minister despite having an at best dubious electoral mandate.

The number of Lib Dem MPs would increase from 63 to 93, giving them the whip hand in a hung parliament. Clegg himself has an unprecedented approval rating of 72%, ahead of Cameron on 19% and Brown on minus 18%. Clearly I was wrong yesterday when I suggested that their poll could not cope with negative numbers.

The Tories, the biggest victims of the Clegg surge, last night sent out another of their big guns to attack the Lib Dems policies and leadership. William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, claimed that a vote for Clegg was a vote for the “European super-state”.

The Tories are clearly rattled hence wee Wullie’s outspoken attack on Clegg. A shallow attempt to discredit the Lib Dem leaders European credentials saw him claiming that the former EU official and MEP was ready to “sign up for anything that has ever been on offer or proposed from the European Union”. “It is their policy to join the euro,” he added. “That is completely out of step with the majority of people in the country.” Or not as the case may be. Did anyone mention to Wullie Cleggs popularity rating? He also appealed for voters to switch back to the Conservatives, claiming a hung parliament would lead to an unpopular second general election. How pathetic is that? But don’t mention Lord Ashcroft will you!

The Sunday Times poll suggests Hague’s appeal may fall on deaf ears. With many people unexcited by the two main parties, a total of 53% say that a hung parliament with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power would be a “good thing”. And who can blame them when the best the Tories can do when faced with a really popular leader instead of a stuffed shirt with a silver spoon in his gob is trot out this claptrap.

Meanwhile, Dave went on the campaign trail yesterday and pleaded with voters not to snub the Tories. “A hung parliament would be a bunch of politicians haggling, not deciding,” he said. Not haggling? Is he not aware that we can watch them deciding on TV? Looks more like a beer garden than a parliament to me.

Labour on the other hand stepped up its charm offensive with Peter Hain saying the party was ready to do deals on controversial issues such as tax and nuclear weapons.

The strategy is designed to persuade Lib Dem supporters in Labour-Tory marginals to vote tactically for Labour while by emphasising the similar agendas of the two parties, Labour also hopes to coax Lib Dem MPs into backing Brown in a future hung parliament. Hain called on Clegg to set aside his personal hostility towards Brown and to prepare to work with Labour after the election. “Personal chemistry should not get in the way of the national interest,” he said.

“Their particular policies on tax do not add up at the present time,” said Hain. “However, our ambition would be to lift the burden on the lowest paid and to do it over time when it is affordable, so there is a common agenda.” He added: “We are absolutely firmly committed to a nuclear deterrent. Within that, time scales, affordability and all of that agenda, there is scope to negotiate.”

Also pretty pathetic. They want Nick to support a lame duck of the first water but the best they can trot out at the moment is Peter Hain the Welsh Secretary. Where is Petronella Voldermort, the real decision maker?

The Lib Dems, however are having none of it and said they would resist the squeeze from the two main parties while revealing a surge in donations, with £120,000, mainly in small sums, coming in during the 24 hours after the debate. There has also been an eight-fold increase in visits to the party’s website, with Lib Dem strategists plotting how to capitalise on the new interest in their leader.

Clegg, speaking yesterday on a visit to the London hospital where his third son was born recently, said: “A growing number of people are starting to hope that real change and real fairness is finally possible in Britain.”

In the past week the Lib Dems have risen by 11 points from 18%, the Tories have slipped by seven points from 40% and Labour has fallen by two points from 32%.

Other polls confirmed the Lib Dem bounce, with one by BPIX for The Mail on Sunday putting the party in the lead on 32%, ahead of the Tories on 31% and Labour on 28%. A ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror put the Lib Dems on 29%, Labour on 27% and the Conservatives in the lead on 31%.


  1. The consensus seems to be that Labour and the Tories must fashion a plan to effectively counter Clegg in advance of the next debate.

    When politicians are suddenly taken seriously, they must watch their backs. The Guardian is now reporting on "Cactusgate."

    Did Nick torch two greenhouses.....or just hold a cigarette lighter to a couple of plants?

    He will now surely be the target of even more serious attacks. But I assume that he will fight them in the fields and in the streets, on the beaches and on the landing grounds, and that he will never least until 6 May.

  2. Danny: that is such a non story I can’t believe that the Guardian are wasting column inches with it. If Ms Coren has nothing better to do than pen that sort of claptrap I suggest she powers on the Mac Book and signs into Party, a much more useful way of wasting her time, but not ours.

    Both Labour and the Tories have been forced to dream up a way to counter the unexpected rise of Mr Clegg. The Tories have concentrated on half baked sensationalist slurs. And they have used discredited twerps like Wee Wullie Hauge and their only real asset Ken Clarke to date to deliver them.

    While Labour have openly been cosying up a trying to make them selves look more Liberal like. But I have no doubt that Lord Voldermort and his trusty monkey, Alistair Campbell are cooking up some vile slur in a cauldron somewhere. Who knows this may be their opening salvo.

    As for Alistair Stewart, I thought he was crap, squeaking away shrilly like a vole on acid. And the production values, continuity and camera work were so poor it looked like it had been done by Kazakh state TV in the 1980s.

  3. First class post Munguin.

    I'm pleased to see the surge in the Liberals' fortunes. It's time the UK was like other European countries and had real choice.

    It was bound to happen. English voters have a choice between centre right and centre right. The Blue Tories, with a history that goes back over the centuries, or Red Tories, with a history of less than 20 years.

    Now the English have a real third alternative. But look at how the seats would pan out. They could be the first party in popular vote and be third is seats. That is because the big birds insist on this antiquated system of FPTP. Coupled with hereditary monarchy and a hereditary/appointed upper chamber (whose members have no constituency, no one to serve but themselves), you often wonder if there is even a smattering of democracy in the UK.

    William Hague is right. Few here want the Euro. I remember hearing on the news that people would not tolerate a currency that does not show the Queen’s head. (Presumably they had never been to Scotland or Northern Ireland where we have such a currency.) But people are so sick to the two main parties and their lies, and their members fiddling and stuffing their bank accounts with our money while life in the UK gets harder and harder.

    There should be no notion of ‘another’ general election. We moan about the Europeans having referenda until they get the answer they want, but we do it with General Elections....? Double standards or what? The UK should be grown up about it. Like Scotland is. Deal with coalition or minority government for the full term, and if you lose some bills... tough. Of course that takes brains and compromise and real political ability. Real politicians can do that. Fat hopes for London then. They are far too busy being important to bother with politics.

    Hain is a slimy wee toad is he not? This is the guy who aspires to ministerial office but was either too stupid or, well let’s just assume he was too stupid, to account for the money that he raised for his feeble attempt to come last in Labour’s deputy leader competition. He lost to Harman for heaven’s sake. He has risen, however, to Cabinet rank (anyone does now), the same one as Willie Hague had when he was in John Major’s government at the age of 12 or thereby.

    Hain rambles on about doing something for the poor, incrementally, WHEN THEY CAN AFFORD IT.... Hello Mr Hain, you’re the bloody Labour party. That was your raison d’être, you stupid nob. Not feathering the nests of the bankers. And as for WHEN you can afford to.... WHAT? Didn’t your arse of a leader get rid of the “bust” part of “boom and bust” for 10 years? Wasn’t that the time to give something to the poor? Dim witted man. I think he probably WAS just too damned stupid to cope with deputy leadership money. Thank heaven the Welsh have their own government. Imagine having that half wit in charge. How the excellent Labour Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, must shudder with shame.

  4. That was a dead story years ago Danny.

    We all knew about it. It's on Wikipedia ....LOL.

    Clegg has had a very interesing and varied career. He's a clever man.

    He has also slept with about 30 women when he was young. Wow. And he's not a Christian. Ouch.

    If Cameron was in the Bulligdon, he was probably too drunk to sleep with women, and iof any0ne has ever seen a pic of the young Gordon Brown...well, draw your own conclusions.

    As as for being a Christain. I wonder how approving Christ would be of the policies of the other two compared to his?

  5. I don’t think that William Hauge is in a position to tell anyone that they will be tricked into a step that is contrary to the wishes of the majority in this country. Was he not tricked into proposing that their man from Belize get to enter our unelected senate on the understanding that he would pay tax over the past 10 years? And then he was made to look like a fool when asked if he knew that his pal had given the two fingered salute to the British tax payer. I’m sorry Willie but you have cut down the credibilitree!

    And neither is the Tory party, who was it again that signed the Maastricht treaty and set us on the road to the Euro in the first place?

  6. Ah find masel a bit torn this mornin', an' ah'm probably not alone.

    Ah want an independent Scotland. Always have done, always will do. Votin' for the SNP has always been the best way tae acheive this, an' always will be. But the sands are shiftin' under oor feet.

    Ah live in Leith an' ah'm caught in a tactical votin' quandary. The SNP won here, in 2007 (list vote) an' again in 2009 European vote. So ah ken the SNP can win here in May. But the LibDems did come second here in 2005, an' only need a wee swing tae take it.

    Ah'm no that averse tae votin' liberal, ah've done it before an' it didnae hurt too much. Mind, Jeremy Thorpe was still oan the go then. But ah want the National Party's vote tae be higher than before, an' it wid be ma dream tae live in an SNP constituency, has been ever since the late Willie Wolfe widda been ma MP.

    Whit am ah gaunnae dae?

  7. I shall not lose sleep over the Liberals LOL!

    Give it a week, things shall be back to normal again. A passing fancy, nothing more.

  8. Dean, you wont but it looks like David Cameron, Ken Clarke and William Hauge will. Not had an e-mail from Ecky Pickles yet explaining there shockingly poor performance away, so will look forward to that.

  9. Danny: You have to admit that its production values were poor to say the least, mics off, cameras pointing in the wrong direction. Nick Clegg often only half on the screen etc etc. Did they not think to do a sceen test and sound check before hand? I can't believe that our American cousins would be happy with something so poor especially with all your years of experience.

  10. Sophia: I see how you find yourself in a dilemma.

    The Liberal blokey or the SNP blokey?

    I guess it's hard when you have to chose between two blokies... That Jeremy Thorpe was a bit of a one though wan't he? I'm surprised you voted for him.

    My advice is Vote SNP. Callum needs the work.

  11. Jeremy was aye turned oot nice, he was quiet, never spoke unless he was spoken tae, an' he only tried tae murder his ex that one time.

    He was nae serial killer.

    Callum looks sic a cheery wee man, he might get ma X yet.

  12. Och, only the once? That's nothing.

    I could see why you would vote for him.

  13. Aye Sophia that Jeremy Thorpe is not the sort that Chris Grayling would want at his guest house though is he. That would never do!

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  15. Ah think the point is that Jeremy was exactly the sort that Grayling would have in his guest house. Pre-NormanScott obviously.

    The Tories dinnae mind quiet pooves, just the wans that want tae sign the register as Mr & Mr.

    A hypocritical policy fae a hypocritical party.

  16. Considering that it was hailed as an earth shattering advance I just find it hard to believe that they did not want to make it as good a programme as it could have been, not just for the political content (although I felt that that was weak enough) but for its production as well.

  17. Well Munguin, I take your point. As a televised event, it definitely deserved a first class production. As for the political content, I do think that Americans are accustomed to a generally lower level of political discourse than are the British. So Americans may indeed have a better opinion of the British debate based on their own experience.

    I've watched a televised Vice Presidential debate featuring Sarah Palin as one of the participants. Now imagine what that sort of thing can do to your political perspective....LOL.

  18. Political style is perhaps different in America. I admit that there would probably never be a question on rape of wives. But this whole thing is about the press too. They will continue the Clegg story until it gets tired and next week they will sell papaers by dashing the guy to pieces and then they will build him up again. Whatever sells papers.

    By British standards the prodution quality was poor in the "highlights" I've seen. For all its political bias the BBC will do a better job. Who knows about Sky. I've neer seen anything it does, digital signals being so poor around these parts.

    I have a nasty feeling it will be that pompous old fool Dimbleby who will be doing the BBC one. He's the guy who got where he got because his dad was fantastic. He's useless.

    They could have done better Danny. We're used to the Today Programme and Question Time, both of which are much better run than this (Dimbleby and all).

    It's interesting though to compare and contrast they styles.

    I personally thought the ones between Bush and Obama were better.

  19. Tris: you mean between Obama and McCain and personally I was very impressed by their debate (Obama & McCain)and cannot recall any problem with production values either. All in all streets ahead of the one on thursday. Maybe we just respect each others politicians more than we do our own.

  20. Tris...Your comment about how the Clegg story will be treated now and later reminds me of something I heard once about the press.

    They are either at your feet or at your throat.

  21. I'm not sure that any of the papers now care about new (although the journalists may) It's all about selling copies and making money as the bottom falls out of their world.....

  22. Really interesting guys. Obama is a good talker, but I found the Obama/McCain debates scripted and boring, a recitation of their positions as memorized little political speeches.

    By contrast, the encounter between Brown, Cameron, and Clegg seemed to me to be lively, spontaneous, and full of information.

    Different views from different sides of the pond. Of course British politicians, and British politics, are little known to me. So maybe I was actually more interested in what they were saying, not being all that familiar with it.

    I DO think that Britain "does" politics better than America. But of course you've had a lot longer to practice.

  23. Sorry Munguin. I did mean Obama - McCain.

  24. Danny, it's funny when ye say we in Britain have had longer tae practise oor politics. Funny that is when ye hear Mr Clegg gaun oan an' oan aboot 'the twa auld pairties, Labour an' Tory'

    The Liberal Democrats, as Liberals, an' afore that as Whigs, hae an unbroken history as far back as 1688, far longer than Labour.

    That Mr Fox, their first leader, was a funny wee man. Ye woulda liked him, he supported independence for the colonies, tho he forgot that Scotland was an English colony as well. Ah mind he used tae come intae the Hoose o' Commoners dressed up as a yankee. Oh how we aw laughed.

    Then he started dressin' up as a French revolutionary. We didnae laugh at that tho.

    Vive les Whigs.

  25. Interesting historical perspective Sophia. I heard Clegg talk about the two "old" parties, and didn't even give it a thought. Seems to me that David Lloyd George was probably Prime Minister before Labour came on the scene. Mr. Fox sounds like a very colorful character BTW.

    There was a Whig party in America too, in pre Civil War times. Many prominent American politicians were Whigs, including Abraham Lincoln....before he joined the Republican Party which was formed in 1854.

    The 1854 Republicans are called the Grand "Old" Party, although the party is much younger than the Democrats who date from the late 18th century. Go figure.....LOL.

  26. "A hypocritical policy fae a hypocritical party"


  27. Just seen a opinion poll which found Our cleggy more popular than God.......90% to 10% for God

    Nah! just made it up but it will Happen mark my words

  28. Well ah believe in Nick Clegg mair than ah believe in God. Even mair than 90%.

  29. Mr MixedPickle, ha ha very funny and Gordon Brown is on minus 18 just slightly less than Beelzebub himself- wont you join me in a weep about that?

  30. Should really be the Grand YOUNG Party Danny?

  31. I love it Tris....the GYP.....accurate in every way...LOL

  32. Ha ha... I never thought of that.

    GYP is perfect....


    This is a really good article from the mercury.