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Day: March 26, 2015

On comparing Lord Ashcroft, Iain Dale, Lib Dem Polling & Odds – Hornsey & Wood Green Edition

Lynne Featherstone. Known to most as a fantastic grass roots campaigner and a passionate women’s rights activist. Known to me as someone who stopped following me on twitter (boo…). Yet still I’m not bitter, a load of Lib Dems have stopped following me on twitter including the DPM and the @LibDems account themselves. What have I done to you guys…?

Still lets not talk about the distinct dislike that other Lib Dems have for me on social media, lets look at Lynne Featherstone and whether she’s going to be representing the people of Hornsey & Wood Green for another term.

First things first, look at the way she has improved her vote since she first fought the seat in 1997. 5,794 people put an x next to her name that year, just 25,998 behind the victorious Labour candidate. Four years later and she had doubled her vote total to 11,353 and elbowed the Tories into a distant second and had ate into Labour’s lead, which now sat at just over 10,000.

After the Iraq war the Lib Dems took the seat with a 5% majority and another 10,000 votes before extending that lead in 2010 to 6,600 odd. The thing to note here is the Labour vote didn’t drift in 2010, the extra votes for the Lib Dems came from the 8,000 more votes cast.

So Lynne’s grass roots campaigning has been first rate to turn what was a pretty safe Labour seat into what was a relatively safe Lib Dem seat. Yet the coalition issue is glaring and in Labour facing seats, certainly those in London, that is a big issue. Outside of London the UKIP factor is far more significant but in London less so. So we know Lynne’s qualities.

Lord Ashcroft polled the seat in September 2014 and had Labour ahead by 13%, which pretty much went with the conventional wisdom in this seat. Still the Lib Dems grasped on to the notion that Lord Ashcroft’s polling didn’t name names and in certain seats, this would keep the seat in play as it were.

Iain Dale wasn’t confident about Lynne’s chances:

Sitting MP: Lynne Featherstone (LibDem)
Prediction: Labour gain

Labour has a massive majority to overcome here, but they are pouring huge resources into this seat to win it back. Lynne Featherstone is a doughty campaigner and won’t be easy to shift, but if she is beaten it will be because of the collapse in LibDem support nationally.

So things are looking grim for a well-liked and well-respected MP. Yet news came out earlier of this month that the Lib Dems had done some internal polling in the seat and things weren’t so bad, in fact they looked rather promising. The headline numbers put the Lib Dems 1% behind Labour (despite the headline calling it a dead heat – that was cheeky).

Some of the other key things to note from this piece of polling is that Lynne has been heard of by 84% of those asked with a +34 favourability rating. The Labour candidate has only been of by 34% of voters with even 49% of those who say they are going to vote Labour admitting that they are voting for the party without even knowing who the candidate was.

The last key piece of information is that amongst those key undecided voters (and if this polling is to be believed then the undecided’s are very much in play) then Lynne’s favourability is +33% whilst Labour’s Catherine West is at -8%.

The excellent new Betfair Predicts website says that Labour are going to win Hornsey & Wood Green. They give Labour a 56% chance to win the seat with the Lib Dems at 25%. The weird thing is they give the Green Party an 18% chance in this seat and that quite simply isn’t going to happen. So the statistics in this seat seem a bit skewed. It isn’t even on their target list and they may only win one of their target list so to give them an 18% chance to win this seat, nah…

Hornsey & Wood Green is a two-horse race (and I hate that term but it is). The Lib Dems are just shy of 2/1 on the exchanges whilst Labour are 1/4. If you like to roll the dice then that is a great price. Headline polls and conventional wisdom say that Labour will win this seat back after losing it ten years ago but the peripherals hint that it is a much tighter seat to call.

I’d have the odds much tighter and Lab at 4/6 and LD at 5/4 which be a far better representation so the value bet is on a Lib Dem hold. Lynne needs to squeeze that 9,000 Tory vote to win and that will be the key to this particular constituency. If she squeezes 3,000 of those voters then she will hold on, if she doesn’t then she’ll be fighting a very tough battle.

A Lynne loss wouldn’t be a shock but a Lynne win most certainly wouldn’t be either. This is a classic seat of a popular incumbent being an MP of an unpopular party nationally. We’ll see if party or person wins out. I know I expect to see more of Lynne on the green benches, even if her (or her social media team) aren’t big fans of me any more…

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On giving off a bad first impression…

I give off a bad first impression. I always have, I suspect I always will. If you were ever to somehow source my school reports then they all follow the same pattern, teachers generally thought I sucked and was lazy in the first half of the year but by the end of the year they would lax lyrical (well maybe not that far) but they would say I was much better than they had written a few months before.

Why this is I have no idea but I have always been slightly individual. I have rarely cared how I come across as I’ve been pigheaded and thought that how I come across shouldn’t matter. What clothes I wear shouldn’t matter and the like, of course the reality is significantly different. How you look and how you come across in those first few moments is actually really important. Not just in the dating scene or a work scene but in every day life.

On Saturday I was down in Guildford doing some politics stuff but I would only do delivery and I wouldn’t canvass. The main reason is ideally I want to help get Lib Dems elected and not vice versa and if I knocked on a strangers door, dressed in a hoodie, with orange headphones around my neck and what some would say garish (I wouldn’t, they are awesome) sunset coloured trainers then I think people would straight away go on the defensive and think that I was there for reasons other than what I was. As an aside to this I noticed how many stickers from Surrey Police were on doors in Guildford telling people that they wouldn’t buy anything off of cold callers and if they came twice then they were breaking the law, I thought this was a good idea. Anyway I digress.

Being defensive is not going to be a good start to any potential conversation about who someone is going to vote for so I remove myself from that situation. I get some stick in some quarters because I don’t canvass and that means that I apparently don’t know anything but we all have different strengths and weaknesses.

So because of how I come across I limit myself. Many moons ago my mum said I’d never get anywhere in life if I didn’t drive or if I refused to wear a shirt and tie/suit. Well here we are, I’m in my 30s and my clothing choices are still pretty bum like. I don’t own a coat and haven’t for a decade or more. I do own a pair of shoes but I only ever war them to walk over to my local shops (as they are slip on so its quicker and easier than putting on my trainers). I wear what have been described as ‘tatty’ jeans when the need arises but I’m very much a jogging bottom guy. I wear glitter in my hair. Basically I look like a strange combination of a bum and a weirdo. I think that sums it up rather nicely.

This is why I’ll never make it as a Liberal Democrat politician to any significant level. To be a success you have to not only work hard, be passionate, be all around amazing but you also have to be impressive and I’ll say this about me – I’m not an impressive individual. Give me time and I can impress but you often only have a few seconds to make a first impression and the current version of me doesn’t have that. It would need quite the turnaround to be able to project this.

I’d like to think in this era that we live in that first impressions aren’t as important as they were in bygone days but I think that is very much not the case. We are more impatient as a society. We make snap decisions and don’t give others as time as we might in previous generations. So giving off a good first impression is going to be all the more important for our children and our children’s children.

I’ve said all this but yet in previous guises I have done shop work where people said I gave off a good first impression. I used to volunteer at Hospital Radio where I’d interact well (I thought although others apparently disagreed) with patients and staff but politics and interviews are a different scenario entirely. You have to project a version of yourself that you want the other person/people to see and not the real you and that my friends is the key.

That is why all my political endeavours these days are done behind the scenes and come election day I’ll be holed up somewhere with a computer helping to coordinate that side of things. Sometimes you have to play to your strengths but even more importantly whilst working on your weaknesses as a person is all well and good, when you are doing things for other people and your weaknesses could affect them, then you have to avoid your weaknesses instead of working on them, at least in the short-term.

I would love to meet strangers and impress them within a few minutes of meeting them but alas that just isn’t my forte at this very moment (nor indeed has it ever). Will it ever change? Who knows but whilst it doesn’t cause me any real issues in my life, if I could go back and tell my teenage self to adjust how he thought about these things then I would. I know I could change now. I could buy a suit, I could wear shirts, I could wear proper shoes. I could go glitterless but you know what, that just isn’t me. It is hard to reinvent who you are and would I really want to at this point?

So the bum/weirdo hybrid combo will stay. No doubt the slight awkwardness will as well. I make myself sound awesome don’t I? Well give me time and you may well be impressed but make a decision early and I’ll just be a person you’ll forget about without blinking.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.