The Parties

Harriet Harman holds a baby.
Issues & Ideas, The Parties | 15th April 2015

Labour women’s manifesto launch: more than just a pink bus?

The pink bus. It’s almost a triumphant image, driving off into the Stockwell sunshine as it departs the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto in south London. The story that snatched notoriety from the jaws of obscurity. The gaffe that owned itself.

But what does the women’s campaign actually consist of, policy-wise? That’s what the Labour laydeez fronting the campaign – Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Gloria De Piero – gathered supporters and the press to hear about, at Labour’s women’s manifesto launch in a south London nursery.

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Ukip has launched its manifesto.
Issues & Ideas, Need to Know, The Parties | 15th April 2015

Ukip manifesto launch: out with the “drivel”, in with the “serious”?

Ukip is launching its manifesto, which it claims contains “serious, fully-costed policies”.

Its last effort, dismissed as “drivel” by Nigel Farage, included a number of enjoyable proposals such as returning the London Underground’s Circle Line to going around in a circle, restoring the original larger size of British passports, “proper dress” for the theatre, and a dress code for taxi drivers.

In contrast, the top lines of its new programme for government are:

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Conservative MP James Wharton, who is set to hold his seat.
The Parties | 20th November 2014

Why is Labour losing to the Tories in ultra-marginal Stockton South?

Labour strategists have long drawn comfort from their party’s polling performance in the marginal seats they need to win in 2015. But a new survey by Survation (commissioned by Unite) of north-east constituency Stockton South, where the sitting Conservative MP James Wharton has a majority of just 332, makes unhappy reading for them.

It puts the Tories in front on 39 per cent (unchanged on 2010) with Labour two points behind on 37 per cent (down one), Ukip on 18 per cent (up 15), the Lib Dems on 3 per cent (down 12) and the Greens on 3 per cent (up three).

Support for Nigel Farage’s party has surged and support for Nick Clegg’s has collapsed but Ed Miliband’s has failed to benefit.

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We don't vote for our leaders as we used to.
Featured, The Parties | 14th November 2014

The Disillusionment Index: Detailing the demise of the Big Two political parties

One of the main advantages of the First-Past-the-Post electoral system is supposed to be its ability to deliver strong, one party government. It doesn’t always work (just ask Norman Baker). But most of the time, in a two party system, it should turn a slight difference in votes into a big difference in seats, and produce a clear winner. It trades proportionality for stability.

The problem is, we don’t really have a two party system any more. And the further we drift from it, the more broken our political system seems to become. Sixty years ago, nearly eight in 10 possible voters were opting for one of the two main parties of government. For the last few elections, it’s barely more than half that.

In 2010, in fact, just 43 per cent of the available electorate chose to vote for a party which could plausibly have provided the next prime minister. That’s not the share that voted for David Cameron. That’s the share that, taking turnout into account, voted for Labour and the Tories combined.

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