Coffee House

Polling worries for Miliband – and for Cameron

14 March 2014

14 March 2014

There’s been much hullaballoo this afternoon over a Populus poll that shows a Labour lead of one point. The usual caveats apply (it’s just one poll!); but, nevertheless, this sample adds to the sense that Ed Miliband is in difficulty. There is, incidentally, only 419 days to go until election day.

If the Populus poll was disappointing, then this projection compiled by Stephen Fisher of Oxford University could have Miliband reaching for the scotch:

‘Forecast Election Day Seats:
Con : 307
Lab : 285
LD  : 31
Con largest party, but short of a majority by 19’

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A dismal prospect for Labour; but there are also worries for the Tories because they are not yet benefitting from Miliband’s malaise and the economic recovery. The Populus poll has them unchanged on 34% and they are unmoved on Fisher’s projections. Needless to say, UKIP’s support is healthy – 13% according to Populus.

David Cameron is in a stronger position than Miliband because he has more influence on events. Next week’s Budget is, obviously, crucial: the last big chance for George Osborne to make a ‘game-changing reform’ to drive home the advantage he has over Ed Balls. As for the UKIP problem, these various polls support the view that a vote for Nigel Farage is a vote for Miliband, which, after Miliband’s EU announcement earlier this week, means a vote for the European status quo. That, at least, is how the argument might run; whether the kippers flock to Tory colours is another matter.

Miliband is increasingly at the mercy of events; but he still holds a number of decent cards, chief among which is the electoral system – he doesn’t have to do very much to win. But more effort is required because Labour remains an indistinct, unpopular entity. The reason for this, I think, is the party’s caution on the vital question of the public finances. Talking to a Miliband loyalist earlier this week, I was struck by his inability to speak clearly about spending. He had lots of ideas that might save money, but nothing in the way of a firm plan that voters – and indeed journalists – can understand and endorse. Labour may pay dearly for its confusing approach.


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Show comments
  • Richard N

    For those not voting for UKIP, it is just a choice of which traitor to this country you prefer.

  • Conway

    That, at least, is how the argument might run; whether the kippers flock to Tory colours is another matter.” Keep thinking that. We aim to make you eat your words after the election. Speaking personally, I would spoil my vote rather than vote for Cameron’s unconservatives. Vote UKIP, get UKIP once the tipping point is reached. This is no time to keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different result. Labour, the Lib Dems and the Camservatives are all opposed to letting us, the plebs, have a say on whether we are run from Brussels or London. If you want a voice in your governance, voting UKIP is the only way to go.

  • Conway

    Talking to a Miliband loyalist earlier this week, I was struck by his inability to speak clearly about spending” Do you really expect anybody in Labour to admit before the election that they intend to spend, spend, spend?

  • Tom Tom

    Cameron should be letting Serco and Crapita run the election so they can begin stuffing ballot boxes now

    • Wessex Man

      and the postal votes as Labour do now!

  • global city

    Long term, the massive problem for the Tories is an existential one… and all due to the maneuvering the establishment are doing with the EU issue.

    We know that they intend for the UK to remain in the EU, but in order to win the next election they are having to unleash massive eurosceptic forces. What will happen to this force if the Cameron strategy works?

    The sense of betrayal that will result when they are in fact betrayed will be enough to killl the Tories as a party for good.

    This is the risk that Tories are building up, all in order to allow Cameron to wangle his way to one more win for himself.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Good comment.
      Cameron suddenly switched from saying “no Referendum, we must stay in regardless of what you want” to “I promise to renegotiate and hold a Referendum.”
      Why? Because the only part of his Bloomberg speech which was worth paying any attention to was the part where he said “the democratic mandate for the EU is wafer thin.” Hague repeated exactly the same phrase in his Party Conference speech last year. Actually it’s thinner than thin …. they never got a mandate for our membership of the EU.
      Thanks to the rise of UKIP and the threat to the LibLabCONsensus, the British Establishment knows it is going to have to get the mandate it currently lacks and that is what Cameron has been instructed to do.
      Unfortunately the EU and Merkel have made it perfectly plain that there is not going to be a substantial renegotiation of British terms of membership, so Cameron has recently started talking about reforming the EU instead.
      Any Referendum – if one is ever held – will be rigged to produce an IN vote.
      The British Establishment has no intention of risking a vote to leave.
      We will only get out if we vote UKIP.

      • global city

        You are correct.
        I really do hope that UKIP drop the constant drumbeat over immigration and concentrate on the fundamental constitutional and democratic ones.
        Everyone knows the problems/issues/opportunities of the mass migration and control of borders issue now and have opinions on it. Too many people are still not fully aware of the nature of the political drive and structures of the EU.

        I hope that he also nails the lies around the ‘jobs and economy’. In doing so definitively he will also expose the history and deliberate intent of our elites to deceive us over those fundamental consequences.

        They are the massive issues, and they are the ones that the people are still largely ignorant about.

      • Conway

        I think that is a very astute reading of the situation. A vote for the Conservatives will be spun as a mandate for staying in the EU because the time was not right for a referendum in 2017 (no negotiations had been possible/the timescale was too short). In the meantime, the EU will surge ahead with more integration and we shall be locked in ever more tightly.

    • Makroon

      You are hallucinating again.
      Fact is, UKIP beliefs are as follows: 1) visceral hate of Cameron, 2) xenophobia, 3) anti-EU-but-they-do-give-us-MEPs-loads-of-free-dosh-without-any-checks.
      Until there is another centre-right party which is pro-enterprise and business, and runs the economy with a modicum of competence, the continued success of the Tories is guaranteed.

      All the new UK parties are just obsessed with peripheral issues: LibDems (wanting to be the nice party of the suburban and small town yoghurt knitters), UKIP (xenophobia, but any other random stuff which might win a few votes), Greens (enough said), various “Workers Parties” (mid-19th century crackpot German drunk “analysis” of Britain’s industrial revolution), George Galloway party (George Galloway and random Muslim “causes”), English Democats (God knows what they want, not even their leader seems to know), Scot NATS ( a sort of Co-op government for Scotland), Plaid Cymru ( keep your English noses out of our affairs, OK?!)

      But then the Brits were always taken with eccentricity of any flavour.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and you appear taken with the LibLabCon clones, in their entirety.

      • global city

        You misunderstood my post.

        I would like to see the end of the Tories, I was just trying to point out how their current scamming strategy could cost them dear in the medium term.

      • livnletliv

        In what way are UKIP xenophobic?

  • Smithersjones2013

    ROFLMAO. Blackburn quotes Stephen FIsher. Is there a Tory left who hasn’t entered the Twilight Zone?

  • anyfool

    His polling worries would get a lot worse if Osborne sticks it to him over his ideas for running the economy on the mutual basis that his beloved Coop used to such suicidal effect.
    The Tories should learn to put the boot in and stop trying to play at appearing fair, clobber the useless wretches before the country ends up like the Coop.

    • Wessex Man

      When the venture capitalists call in the loans should be a good day as well!

  • George_Arseborne

    Polls like this excites the Tories. When Labour is 9pts ahead, they hibernate. Enjoy while it last. The real poll is in May 2015. By the way, l had never seen any Polls when the Tories are ahead of Labour since 2012. Why this celebration on a one off ? I am waiting for the day when the Tories will be ahead by a point.

  • CraigStrachan

    “a vote for Nigel Farage is a vote for Miliband”

    Bears repeating.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Do you think so?

      What if somebody usually votes Labour but decides to vote for UKIP instead?

      Would that still be a vote for Miliband?

      • CraigStrachan

        No, but there’s not many of them, though, is there?

        • Denis_Cooper

          About a million, by my estimation.

          • CraigStrachan

            And how many usually Tory voters are looking at Ukip, by your estimation?

            • Wessex Man

              Going by the real polls, by-elections, UKip have finished second to Labour in all their strongholds, which is why Labour are trying to shorten the polling periods and the Tories and Lib/dums are slipping out of sight, losing their deposits is becomong an habit!

              I can certainly see one of the seats in Sheffield being won by UKip, roll on the day!

              • CraigStrachan

                Yes, roll on the day when Ukip wins a seat in Sheffield and Ed Miliband becomes PM at the head of a Lib/Lab coalition.

                Really?

                • Denis_Cooper

                  As things stand Miliband is heading to be the next Prime Minister not as the head of a coalition government but with a comfortable overall majority. And the reason for that is little to do with UKIP, it’s mainly because the Tory party is crap.

            • Denis_Cooper

              You mean “erstwhile” Tory voters in many cases, but about three times as many in my estimation.

              That is why even if the 14% who now support UKIP all stopped supporting UKIP the net benefit to the Tory party vis-à-vis Labour would not be 14% but probably more like 2%.

              • CraigStrachan

                So significantly more potential support for Ukip comes from the Tories.

                Hence: vote Nigel, get Ed.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Hence, vote Nigel because under its party constitution UKIP shares your commitment to the reassertion of our national sovereignty and the restoration of our national democracy which has proved to be entirely absent in the party you previously supported. But as you obviously don’t care about any of that, I’ll just repeat that even if UKIP were to completely disappear from the political scene the net benefit to the crap corrupt self-serving unpatriotic anti-democratic Tory party would be small, maybe closing the gap on Labour by about 2%. Nothing like the 14% you may dream of, nothing that would get the Tories a majority at the next election.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I’m sure Ukip has a fine constitution. Shame it has no MPs and no real prospect of having any.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Well, you could help UKIP on the way to getting MPs by deciding that you will no longer support the pile of crap which is the Tory party and you will support UKIP instead, when you would increasingly be in the company of others who have decided that they will no longer support the pile of crap which is the Labour party or the pile of crap which is the LibDem party. But if you prefer to give your endorsement to any one of those three piles of crap, so be it.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Why would I support Ukip when it will very likely lead to a PM Miliband, and when the Tories are offering a vote on the EU?

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Because you should wake up and shed your petty tribal attachment to any of the old parties, which have long ago shown themselves to be inveterate enemies of our national sovereignty and democracy even if you have preferred not to notice that at the time. A vote for any of those parties is a vote for the further betrayal of our country, and would you really want to live with that on your conscience? I wouldn’t.

                • CraigStrachan

                  But you can live with a PM Miliband on your conscience?

                • Conway

                  If I held my nose and voted for any of the three parties that have left us in this mess I should not be able to live with my conscience.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  That wouldn’t be on my conscience because I wouldn’t have voted for it, any more than having Cameron as PM is on my conscience although it seems that it should be on yours.

                • livnletliv

                  So you think that no one should ever vote for any party other than labour or conservatives, and no other party will ever be given a chance. Bet the tories love you, bet they could drop bombs on your house and you would still vote for the traitors.

                • Conway

                  The Tories are offering a vote on the EU in the same way as a fisherman offers bait on a hook. Once caught, the fish is discarded, often damaged.

                • livnletliv

                  Why would anyone believe a single word Cameron says, and even if anyone did, 2017 is too late.

                • livnletliv

                  None of them will have any MPs, parliament is disolved on the run up to general elections, UKIP have more prospect than all the others put together.

      • HookesLaw

        UKPR points out that UKIP overwhelmingly is drawn from conservative potential rather than labour potential. Splitting the right wing vote lets in labour.
        Are you seriously saying to want a party full of socialists?

        • global city

          Idiot. The vast majority of poor people have the aspiration to escape socialism…. till now they have had now valid alternative to voting for Labour… now they have.

        • livnletliv

          Me and my family always voted labour, voted no one in 2010, but all will be voting UKIP at all future elections. So how is our vote for UKIP going to be for labour. No one i know would dream of giving their vote to what has a cheek to call itself the labour party.

    • crosscop

      “Bears repeating.”
      Must be through eating all those salmon.

      • Daniel Maris

        I expecting they’ll be sh*tting in the woods next.

    • global city

      A vote for Cameron will be the death of the Tories when it pays the ultimate price for yet another fundamental betrayal by the establishment over the EU.

      • CraigStrachan

        A vote for Cameron in 2015 is a vote for a referendum on EU membership in 2017. A vote for Ukip is a vote for a party that will win between zero and one seat at Westminster, but may siphon enough votes from the Tories to enable PM Miliband to take office, perhaps at the head of a Lib/Lab coalition that will be decidedly Europhile in orientation, and will certainly offer no referendum.

        Your call.

        • global city

          A vote for Cameron will see all of the forces of government and the establishment crushing any counter arguments and press ganging an ‘In’ vote, which would be for ever.

          An ‘In’ vote would be seen as the signal for our complete submersion into the supranational project, for ever.

          They would pay the price at the next election, but UKIP would not win that, so we would be stuck inside the political project, for ever.

          THAT is the consequence of voting for Cameron, a dedicated supporter of EU membership.

          Are you so stupidly tribal that you would rather see that?

          • CraigStrachan

            It seems I have a bit more faith in the British people than you do. Of course, the ONLY way they even get a vote on the EU is if the Tories are returned as the government in 2015.

            • saffrin

              The EU referendum is being held in May 2015 regardless of what many think.
              It’s LibLabCon = IN
              UKIP = OUT
              With the IN team dividing their support by three, UKIP can’t lose.

              • CraigStrachan

                Well, I suppose you can choose to see it that way, if you are willing to accept a 92% to 8% win for IN.

            • Conway

              Since Cameron has willfully alienated most of his core support, how likely do you think that will be? We have to break the mould and vote for something different.

            • livnletliv

              It clearly is not the way, never mind the only way. Have you not noticed Cameron has no intention in leaving the EU, have you not noticed that what Cameron says has no connection to what Cameron does. May be you should not vote at all.

        • rhys

          Or maybe a Lib-Lab coalition with a guaranteed referendum on PR ( Miliband is supposed to be vaguely in favour ).
          If so – what’s not to like for UKIP about a coalition which provides a chance of a fair voting system?

          No one believes Cameron would actually hold an EU referendum anyway.

          • CraigStrachan

            Er, wasn’t there already a referendum on PR?

            • Lady Magdalene

              No. AV is not PR. It was designed to entrench the 3 main parties, not provide the British people with a fair voting system that represented all opinion in the UK.

              • CraigStrachan

                So , what, you want to impose D’hondt and Northern Ireland-style deadlock across the UK? Very European of you.

            • livnletliv

              And you prefer Cameron who wants this FPTP that you say would let the wrong party in, if we vote the party we want. That alone would tell most people how corrupt Cameron is.

        • Conway

          A vote for Cameron in 2015 is a vote for the promise of a referendum. Rather like buying a lottery ticket is buying into the hope of winning the jackpot.

        • livnletliv

          That is the only way to get seats, by voting for them, not by not voting for them. No wonder you believe Cameron. Why would anyone anti-EU vote for someone pro-EU like Cameron the Merkel muppet.

    • Lady Magdalene

      A vote for Cameron is a vote for the EU.
      So is a vote for Miliband or The Clegglet.

    • Conway

      A vote for Cameron (or Miliband) is a vote for Clegg, it would seem. In any case, a vote for Cameron, Miliband or Clegg is a vote for the EU.

  • Denis_Cooper

    So we’re back on the “Miliband is in real difficulties” theme.

    • Daniel Maris

      I suppose in an era of Fifty Shades of Grey that masochism might be in fashion but even so I can scarcely credit that people are going to vote in huge numbers for a government that has made them personally and perceptibly poorer.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Which is why they won’t be voting for Labour who are responsible for that.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      That guy is a clueless muppet. I’ll give him whatever odds he asks that the Camerloons don’t get to 46%.

      He’s closer to correct on the Millipedes.

      The LD’s have no chance at +20%. They will be extremely lucky to get to double figures.

  • Two Bob

    Tory/Ukip deal = the only way. Every time Milliband makes a big speech and declares a policy (ie no referendum under Labour), Labour slip in the polls.

    If the tories pulled out of certain seats and Ukip others, there is every chance they could both form a majority together even if Ukip only got around 5 seats.

    • Wessex Man

      There will be no deal with a party that welcomes ex BNP members and adopts them as candidates for South Kesteven!

    • global city

      The only deal that UKIP should enter into is to not stand against politicians who have signed the Better off Out pledge, from what ever party.

      We need a House of Commons full of genuine ‘Outers’, regardless of party. UKIP will not win 650 seats, so such a commitment is the only valid one.

      Imagine how many freaky eurosychophant tories would be ushered back into the House on the back of a Tory/UKIP pact?

      Also, signing such a pact would be the death of UKIP. Perhaps that is what those tories calling for such a pact understand?

      • Wessex Man

        of course it is, but hold on, one of those outers is Rees Mogg in North Somerset, you know the one, he took his nanny out canvassing with him. When he proposed a pact with the BANES UKip branch they held a poll and 99% rejected it. No deal there then.

      • Conway

        I would add that the supposedly EU-sceptic MP’s voting record should be scrutinised as well. My MP makes a big thing about being EU-sceptic, but he has consistently voted for more EU and against both a referendum and affirming the sovereignty of Parliament. Look at what they do, not what they say.

        • global city

          Good and important point. It is the easiest thing in the world for a Tory traitor to sign the BOO pledge whilst still pledging their allegiance to their continental leaders.

  • Richard N

    Labour’s two big mistakes are:

    1. Having no real policies on anything than the public can understand – but instead, calculating that the best thing is to rely on winning the election by default, figuring that voters’ dislike of the Tories will win Labour the election; and

    2. Having a leader who is utterly unconvincing as a prospective PM. He has no real policies on anything, and is terrified to commit himself to any distinct point of view, other than those announced by his EU masters.

    • telemachus

      Policies not necessary
      The instinctive feel for fairness is understood and will deliver power next may

      • Smithersjones2013

        Of course policies are not necessary for Miliband because anyone prostrating themselves at the alter of ‘Ever Closer Union’ will be given their policies by Brussels.

      • Wessex Man

        to Ukip!

        • telemachus

          Whose role is to split the Tory vote in the 43 marginals and ensure reasonable government

          • Colonel Mustard

            The Labour party are incapable of delivering reasonable government. One only has to read your barmy posts here to understand that.

          • Conway

            The message in those marginals will be clear – vote Tory, get Miliband.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The democracy-busting combination of an absence of policies and the focus on acquisition of power should make everyone concerned.

        • telemachus

          The acquisition of power is crucial to deliver the will of the people

          • Colonel Mustard

            Which is the wrong way round of course. The will of the people should determine the acquisition of power. The Labour party does not – nor ever will – represent the will of the people of England.

          • Conway

            The will of the people is the last thing that will be delivered.

      • Rowdie111

        So that is all that is needed ….is “their instinctive feel for fairness” to run a country?…Life is never fair…never has been and never will be. It will become increasingly unfairer if you have a government that is incompetent in running the show. That is what happened last time…the mess that they made had it’s worst effects on the less well off and always does. The poor and needy are always the one’s who will suffer most when you have a bankrupt country.
        Same thing will happen again if Labour get back in just when we have got the economy firing again.

        • Conway

          In the meantime, a French study which was aiming to prove that selective education disadvantages the poor was shocked to find that it was comprehensive education that stopped children from poor backgrounds achieving their potential. UKIP wants to restore grammar schools and give poor, disadvantaged children a helping hand.

          • Rowdie111

            I went to a grammar school years ago……can’t be faulted!

            • Conway

              So did I. I know it’s the only way out of poverty for the bright working classes. No wonder Labour was so determined to kill it off. We can’t have those pesky plebs getting above themselves, can we? They might not vote Labour.

              • Rowdie111

                Everybody into comprehensives….dumbing down to the lowest denominator……then hopefully they should all vote Labour to ‘look after them’ in later life against the nasty Tories….The ‘them and us’ mindset….how pathetic!

    • Rowdie111

      Miliband….tells everyone he is a “conviction politican” like Margaret Thatcher; what do you mean “he has no real policies on anything” ? What about his ‘cap on energy prices’? …he says he will control the prices of Companies that are mostly foreign owned…..how will he do that?

      • starfish

        ‘…a conviction politician…’ does that mean he should be convicted?

        Labour’s essential problem is that their front bench is clearly linked to the debacle that lead to their ejection from office

        • Rowdie111

          “Clearly linked”?……they are the same front bench minus Brown & Blair..and with their same policies/ideas reincarnated.

      • Conway

        We wouldn’t need a cap on prices if Miliband hadn’t pushed the Climate Change Act through. Of course, if we could remove VAT from fuel, that would help, too, but the man from Brussels, he say no.

    • HookesLaw

      Labour have policies – they just do not want to advise the electorate of them.

    • ButcombeMan

      Wrong. Labour’s biggest mistake is having Balls as Shadow Chancellor. Every time he appears he reminds the electorate of his failed partnership with “The Great Leader” and their joint economic illiteracy.

      Someone asked the other day if Balls was frightened of Question Time, the answer is no, not personally, his skin is too thick for that, but Milliband knows Balls is a vote loser, the less the public is reminded of this man, the better.

      • Conway

        I don’t think that will bother the tribal voter, though. Mrs Duffy was insulted by Brown, but she still voted Labour.

        • ButcombeMan

          It is not the tribal voters who matter most. It is the thinking floating voter.

  • swatnan

    Its only a ‘Populus’ Poll; not even a ‘YouGov’ Poll. Best Polls are Mori and Gallop.

    • Wessex Man

      what for you?

    • HookesLaw

      Ipsos/MORI give a 3 point lead.
      Hardly riveting.

      • swatnan

        Lets not shoot the messenger … just yet.

  • 2trueblue

    Trends can change in the time left so this is all academic. The EU election will throw up some interesting figures and if UKIP can not capitalise and makes great gains there, then it will demonstrate that there chances of gaining MPs in Westminster are not great.
    Millipede may well be behind the curve for now but Cameron will need to capture more minds and hearts before 2015. Balls promising to raid pensions might have a greater impact on the vote for Liebore. Lots to happen to impact both parties before then.

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      Not great? They will not get any! Zilch. Zero.

      • global city

        You forget that the voting returns of the Euros will give them some idea of where their support is strong, so where best to target their campaigns in 2015.

        It has proven to be a workable strategy, as this is the one the Lib Dems used, and even the Greens did when they poured all of their resources to get the one seat that they won in Brighton.

        UKIP’s national spread will not be the insurmountable problem many are assuming.

        • Conway

          Not to mention that UKIP showing well in the European elections would embolden any waverers and attract those who might otherwise have thought it was a wasted vote.

  • HookesLaw

    There will be both an Autumn Statement and another Budget before the next election in 2015. So this is hardly the last chance. It is fair to say that this is the last chance for any tax changes to become effective before the election.
    I for one am certainly not surprised to find that Labour cannot talk coherently on spending.

    • Rowdie111

      When the non-committal statement by Miliband regarding what is in reality a message; that he is not prepared to give the British people their say on whether we stay in the EU or not and the impact that has on immigration; sinks in ….his standings will sink further.
      And that is prior to the the strengthening ongoing of the economy as we move on to the GE in just over a year.

      • Denis_Cooper

        He might give the British people their say on whether we stay in the EU and adopt the euro, or alternatively leave the EU. That is how his new “referendum lock” law would work; whatever the immediate issue, any referendum triggered under that law would not be about that issue but instead would always be an “in-out” referendum. If Miliband wants us to join the euro then it could be quite a canny move to first change the referendum law so that the Tory party would be hors de combat during the campaign, as there would be no point in them trying to persuade people that we should be in the EU but not in the euro when by law that option could not be offered on the ballot paper. Similarly if Cameron really wants us to join the euro it would be wise to refrain from any protests against Miliband’s proposal, then the Tory party could stand aside and let Labour bully the people into accepting the euro while saying that of course they never wanted it, what they always wanted was the best of both worlds, being in the EU but not in the euro.

        • Rowdie111

          Join the Euro.?…surely not….no party will ever get away with that.Mind you Germany wouldn’t mind…they need some one else to help them keep bailing out all the other EU states.

          • Lady Magdalene

            If it is supported by The British Establishment and all 3 main Parties, then no one party will suffer will it.
            But before they attempt it, they will manufacture a Sterling /financial crisis which will make it “essential.”

            • Conway

              A “beneficial crisis” is EU-speak for what is required.

          • Denis_Cooper

            What do you think would stop them getting away with it?
            The point is that it would be much easier for the government to win an “in-out” referendum where “out” meant “out” and “in” meant “in” meant “in with the euro as our currency” than it would be to win a referendum just on joining the euro where we would still be in the EU whichever way the vote went.
            In Greece any possibility of assembling a majority in favour of leaving the euro evaporated when it was made clear to the Greeks that under the present EU treaties leaving the euro would mean leaving the EU altogether.

            • Conway

              If anybody voted for joining the euro despite all the evidence that it has been extremely bad for everybody except Germany, one would have to question how closely they had examined the evidence.

              • Denis_Cooper

                You miss the point: they wouldn’t be asked whether they wanted to join the euro, they would be asked whether they preferred to leave the EU rather than stay in the EU with the euro as the new currency. So the evidence wouldn’t be just about the effects of having the euro but about the wider effects of leaving the EU. It would be very difficult for a government to win a referendum which was just about joining the euro, but much easier to win it when the only alternative offered was leaving the EU. That is obvious because at present only about a quarter of the electors are dead set on leaving the EU, while maybe three times as many are set against joining the euro.

                • Conway

                  At present, but a week is a long time in politics. Lots of time for Reding and all the other EUcrats to keep pointing out the disadvantages to staying in (although from their point of view they think they are extolling advantages).

                • Denis_Cooper

                  It’s been like that for a long time and I honestly don’t expect that it will change very quickly.

                  There’s a survey here from last month:

                  http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/pv0teijo60/YG-Archive-140221-OpenEurope-British.pdf

                  which shows that public opinion is split as follows:

                  “”A more politically and economically integrated Europe, with substantially more decisions taken at the European level: 10%

                  “The situation more or less as it is now”: 15%

                  “A less integrated Europe than now with substantially more decisions taken at a national or local level”: 37%

                  “Complete British withdrawal from the European Union”: 24%

                  “Don’t Know”: 14%.”

                  The numbers vary over the years but the overall picture hasn’t altered much for some time.

                  So if there was a referendum now with the choice being between a) staying in the EU and adopting the euro, or b) staying in the EU but not adopting the euro, a) would only attract support from the first two categories plus maybe a few of the third and some of the fifth and so would almost certainly lose; but if there was a referendum with the choice being between a) staying in the EU and adopting the euro, or b) leaving the EU, then a) would have a much better chance of winning.

          • Conway

            We help bail out the other EU members (the EU doesn’t like the idea of states) even though we aren’t in the euro.

        • HookesLaw

          It might be possible to frame a ‘join the Euro’ referendum with a ‘leaving the EU’ as an alternative – and of course we would all vote to leave the EU.
          So not very clever from Milibands point of view.
          Especially since such play acting would undermine the UK economy.
          We can of course safely leave the EU and join the EEA since it would not be much different to being in the EU. If that was the option offered by a Tory govt I might vote for it.

          • Wessex Man

            Hooky Hooky, you’ve seen the light at last so pleased to see that you agree we can safely leave the EU. Did our exhaustive presentation of the real facts finally make you see sense?

          • Denis_Cooper

            I will explain it to you carefully so that you can pass on the explanation to your bosses.

            The present “referendum lock” law designed by Hague has numerous defects, but at least it has the merit that if a referendum was ever triggered it would just be on the issue that triggered it. So for example if it happened that Merkel insisted on treaty changes which made a UK referendum inevitable under that law then the referendum would just be on whether or not we accepted those treaty changes, and we would be free to reject them in the knowledge that there was no legal requirement for us to then leave the EU because we had rejected those proposed changes.

            The alternative “referendum lock” proposed by Miliband would not work like that; irrespective of the issue which triggered a referendum it would never be a referendum on just that issue but would always be an “in-out” referendum. The electorate would not be given the option of rejecting the proposed changes but nonetheless staying in the EU, it would always be a case of the British people being told “Agree to this or leave”. It should be self-evident that the chances of the changes being approved in the referendum would be greatly enhanced by making withdrawal the only alternative on offer on the ballot paper.

            If the immediate trigger for a referendum did not come from changes which were being demanded by other governments but from the desire of the UK government to make some change the same would apply. The obvious and crucial example would be joining the euro, but there could be others as well.

            So far the Tory party has dismissed Miliband’s proposal as a meaningless fudge, but if its leaders were to look ahead they could envisage the situation of a referendum where one of their own fudges, the official policy of staying in the EU but not joining the euro, supposedly the best of both worlds, would be excluded from the ballot paper by law.

            What would they do then?

    • Makroon

      If the LibDems continue to vote Labour in cabinet, Osborne is strictly limited. It is rumoured that the LibDems have vetoed any easing of the 40% tax threshold, for example.
      So Osborne will be limited to promising what a majority Conservative government would do (and the electorate don’t believe politician’s “promises”), and bigging up the economic developments.
      So far, Osborne seems to be more interested in talking down the economy, which is a very strange strategy indeed – it certainly won’t persuade Labour to hold off on a new tax, borrow and spend splurge, if they are elected.

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