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frankPodmore

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London-based writer. Often climbing.

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frankPodmore , (edited )
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We're going to get a lot of polls, I'm sure, during the campaign so I just want to give some hot tips for reading the polls to people who haven't followed a GE that closely before.

  • Changes within 3 points or so aren't statistically significant on their own. The thing to do is to look for overall trends. If this company does another poll tomorrow showing Labour on 42% or 47%, that really wouldn't mean anything much.
  • This also means that, if a poll the day of the election looks like this, then any actual election result with Labour between 42% and 48% would mean that hypothetical poll was accurate - or no more inaccurate than expected. Obviously, that is a very wide margin, which should tell you something about the predictive power of individual polls this far out from election day!
  • Don't look for whatever headline caught your eye lately as the 'cause' of the any shift in the polls. Almost nothing makes much of a difference to polling and it's almost certain that large chunks of the population missed whatever you thought was important. Things like partygate and Trussonomics really did move the dial: it's stories of that kind of magnitude that have a real impact.
  • A corollary of the above is that almost nothing parties do during election campaigns makes a difference - 2017 was very unusual in that respect. Generally, voters have made their minds up already.
  • You can't straightforwardly compare polls by different companies. If some other company releases a poll tomorrow with Labour on 41%, that does not mean Labour's lead has in any sense fallen over that 24-hour period. Again, you need to look at overall trends to have any understanding of what's going on.
  • Relatedly, always look at the dates of the fieldwork and the dates of the changes (which OP has very rightly posted here). Some companies publish polls more often than others. Sometimes you'll see a poll with a massive change, but it turns out to be comparing with the last election, while many of the very frequent polling companies are comparing with last week.
  • On a similar note, look at where the polling was done. Polls of, e.g., just London, which some companies do, tend to show massive Labour leads, which people sometimes get very excited about because they wrongly think they're national polls.
frankPodmore ,
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Definitely, it's a good marker to compare future trends with.

frankPodmore ,
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Makes sense since somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of voters think it's time for a change of government!

frankPodmore , (edited )
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I wish he wouldn't, but can't really blame him for trying. He might well win, after all.

EDIT: There's precedent for this, it turns out! Last time an incumbent, independent former Labour MP in Islington North ran for re-election was in the 1983 GE, when some guy called Jeremy Corbyn won easily for Labour. I don't think there's much read-through to the current situation because, firstly, the incumbent in 1983, Michael O'Halloran, obviously didn't have Corbyn's national recognition and, secondly, O'Halloran not only had defected (not been expelled), but had effectively defected twice: from Labour to the SDP, then from the SDP to 'Independent Labour' (in reality, just him) when he wasn't selected to fight the seat for his new party.

frankPodmore , (edited )
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Now, this is an absolutely terrible idea with no redeeming features whatsoever but before we dismiss it just because of it's total lack of merit, we should also consider that it would be really, really funny.

frankPodmore OP ,
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If you're already registered for a postal vote at your current address, you should be fine!

frankPodmore OP , (edited )
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I mean, it should get sent in plenty of time, without you having to do anything! There should be more info on precise timings on gov.uk.

frankPodmore OP ,
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You do. I don't know why, really. Sounds like the German system is better!

frankPodmore OP ,
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Too late, I've already changed it to say VOTE BINFACE.

(I am, of course, kidding.)

frankPodmore ,
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Y'know, I understand why the Canary publish this kind of misinformation. Their whole business model is based on inciting directionless outrage. What I can't understand is why people, like everyone else in this thread, keep falling for it.

frankPodmore ,
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Yes, it's like some sort of horseshoe theory of spin. The Tories say Starmer breaks all his pledges and some people on the left reply, 'Yes, Tories! Please tell me more!' As though that's... helping?

frankPodmore ,
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Sunak is still saying 'second half of the year'. There's some procedural stuff that I think means he has to give notice six weeks before the date, so in theory it could still be as soon as July.

frankPodmore ,
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He could, but it would be mad. But he is mad. So, maybe?

frankPodmore ,
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Yeah, Tories have definitely given up winning. I wouldn't put too much faith in their ability to mount a nefarious scheme, as you describe. They're flailing around, it's pure panic.

frankPodmore ,
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This is just the first steps. It's in addition to the existing pledges on climate change!

frankPodmore ,
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The situation has changed, so he's changed his policies to match. Most people recognise that, which is why he's gone from 20 points behind in the polls to 20 points ahead.

frankPodmore , (edited )
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You're partly right, of course. Everything is always down to multiple factors.

However, Starmer clearly deserves some credit for Labour's success (and, I think, some credit for the Tories' failures). It's perfectly possible for the Tory vote share to fall and for Labour's to fall, too, which we saw happen under Corbyn, or for the Tories to have an unpopular leader and to still win because the Labour leader makes themselves even more unpopular (as we also saw under Corbyn and Miliband). Those things aren't happening now, so Starmer must be doing something right.

frankPodmore , (edited )
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He didn't cancel all the pledges. This is Tory misinformation that some people have swallowed. Here are the pledges. In fact, looking at the headline of each pledge, he's still promising the same broad directions for all ten of them.

Some policy details have changed (justifiably, I think). But not completely. For example, under pledge 1, they've found other taxes to raise instead of income tax: different policies, same overall goal. Is that a broken pledge? Maybe, but it seems a bit much to say he has not only to to tax the rich but do it in the exact way he promised five years ago lest he be accused of lying.

Others, like pledge 3, on climate justice, are still entirely in place, as are 7, 8 and 10.

Some have changed a lot. I don't think the foreign policy or immigation stuff really resembles his current policy positions. But I also don't think he should let himself be dragged down by unpopular positions once their unpopularity is clear.

I don't personally think that shifting specific policies, but keeping the clear overall direction, is such a big deal. Your mileage may vary, obviously, but we should at least talk about what has actually happened, not repeat Tory propaganda at each other!

frankPodmore ,
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Or just stealing Labour's ideas when they do promise things!

frankPodmore ,
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I don't know how you can look at the five pledges, particularly on house building, the Green New Deal and the New Deal for Workers and say, 'Nothing is going to change' if Labour are elected.

frankPodmore ,
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That doesn't follow. The 10 pledges, many of which in fact still stand, despite what the Tories would have you believe, were not the only possible way of changing things.

frankPodmore ,
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Best to look at primary sources. Here are the 10 pledges.

Now, there's not a conveniently straight forward answer to all of this, so bear with me. But for my money, in terms of the headline of each pledge, all of them still stand. If things were simple, I'd be 10 for 10. Unfortunately for my argument, things are not so simple.

Starting at the top, with pledge 1: Economic Justice. Starmer is still pledged to economic justice, it's the raison d'etre of the Labour Party, but the devil is in the detail:

Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations.

The only one of those three policies that still stands is the tax avoidance clampdown. However, things are, again, not so simple. The income tax pledge has been dropped, but the money that was going to raise has been replaced with a different tax on the rich (VAT on private schools and, till the Tories nicked it, abolition of non-dom status). So, is that a 'broken pledge'? Or has he found a better way to achieve the same goal? Should he really be held to a policy if he thinks it won't work and he can do it better in a different way?

I'm not going to go through all the pledges like this. But, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 all still stand, I would argue in pretty much every detail. That's 5 out of 10. For the others, #2 and #5 has been scaled back, but replaced with I would argue similar policies that achieve similar goals. #4 and #6 are very different in all but the headline. I think the changes are justifiable, but it's perfectly understandable if you don't.

Now, my questions to you is: Should Starmer stick to promising to deliver all ten things in every detail, even if: he sincerely changes his mind (which people do); the circumstances genuinely change (which they have); or he sincerely thinks some of those things, good ideas or not, will lose him the election? Should he keep promising ten things at the risk of delivering none of them? Or, should he stick to five of them, and modify the other five, in order to deliver some of them?

For me, not getting elected would actually, definitively break all ten pledges, because it would mean he'd categorically failed at his job.

frankPodmore , (edited )
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I did mention all of those things indirectly, because they were all in the pledges, and I mentioned all of the pledges. Those changes were all contained within the changes I acknowledged. Your argument was that the 10 pledges had been all but scrapped. I've shown that 5/10 still stand exactly as they were. Of the five remaining, three of them at least partly stand. So, at least half, at most 8/10, still hold up. In either case, they haven't been all but scrapped, which is what I was asked to show.

frankPodmore OP ,
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Indeed. Even as someone who's going to vote Labour pretty much regardless, I do need some actual, y'know, policies from time to time.

frankPodmore OP ,
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Key line from Dave Ward on what these proposals will do:

We need to shift the balance of forces in the world of work back towards working people, that’s the only way you’re going to grow the economy.

frankPodmore OP ,
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Shows what you can achieve when you Labour Together.

frankPodmore ,
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This worries me, too. They do have some examples of what to do and not to do from other contemporary progressive governments, so I hope they can learn from others' mistakes.

frankPodmore ,
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So, he's saying 'Scrapping that limit would be expensive and we think there are better ways to spend the money.'

I just don't think this is a particularly bad position to hold. It might be wrong as a matter of fact, but it doesn't strike me as wrong morally.

frankPodmore ,
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Wes Streeting also ruled out Liz Truss joining.

Interesting question, though: would they accept Humza Yousaf? The people must be told!

frankPodmore ,
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This is the sunk costs fallacy. If a policy is bad, you scrap it, you don't stick with it just because it's there already.

frankPodmore ,
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True, but they do move money through here, not just people. Plus, the plans include actually working with France and the EU, not just picking arguments to keep the europhobes happy.

frankPodmore ,
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Bizarre day where both Kate Osamor and Natalie Elphicke (re)join the PLP.

frankPodmore ,
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Apparently not, as she's not standing again! Says something about how much Sunak's own MPs hate him that, rather than quietly quitting in a few months, they're knifing him on the way out by defecting.

frankPodmore , (edited )
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Yes, the principle is 'Labour governments are good, do things that make Labour governments more likely.'

Think about it: the message Sunak is trying this week is: 'voting Labour will lead to chaos'. Yet another Tory MP defecting totally undermines that argument, because it paints the Conservatives, not Labour, as being out of control. That's a win for Labour.

Secondly, what has Labour's message been since Sunak took power? It's been: 'Sunak is weak'. This makes him look weak. Another win.

Sunak is convinced banging on about small boats will save him. A Tory MP quitting because he hasn't stopped the boats undermines one of the few lines he thinks works. That leaves him with nothing to say, making him again look both out of control and weak.

The downside for Labour is that Natalie Elphicke is clearly a nutter. But, that doesn't detract from any of the above. Most people have never heard of her. She's only going to be a Labour MP for a few months. So, overall it's a win for Labour.

frankPodmore ,
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People have said exactly this about every Labour government, right down to the cliche about the ties. And yet, somehow, despite being Tories, all those LABOUR goverments somehow did a whole load of very Labour things! Amazing!

frankPodmore ,
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This is nothing but arrogant posturing. Who put you in charge of what the party of the workers should and shouldn't do?

frankPodmore ,
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So, your position is... what? That the government should stagger on? That they can be trusted to deal with immigration?

frankPodmore ,
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You are hearing dog whistles where there are no dog whistles.

frankPodmore ,
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What is an 'anti worker view'?

frankPodmore ,
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My main worry is that she's just so mad that she might cause trouble for us even in the limited time she's going to be in the PLP. If I were in Starmer's shoes, I'd have had her sign some sort of contract promising not to speak to the press, at all, ever.

frankPodmore ,
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That's not an anti worker view, it's a description, either accurate or not, of a few shouty people at a protest.

frankPodmore , (edited )
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Starmer isn't condoning her message; it's the other way around. She's been a critic of the Conservative immigration policy, and now she's effectively saying 'Labour's immigration policy is better' - which it is. There's not the slightest hint that Labour's policy, which is much like what you've said you'd like to see, has changed.

frankPodmore ,
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There you go, some actual facts! Much easier to have a conversation when we talk about those instead of grandstanding, isn't it?

I don't agree with her votes on union issues, of course. But now she's joined the party promising to reverse those, she's implicitly endorsed reversing them. I assume she voted with the Whip. Maybe she's changed her mind on that stuff, maybe not; maybe she never believed it and just did what the Whips said. I guess we'll see if and how her voting record changes now she's joined Labour.

She's also campaigned for rent controls, which puts her to the left of current Labour policy. So, where does that leave us? She's anti-worker but pro-renter? She's left of some MPs, right of some others, so... just like every MP, then?

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