Labour’s love lost

Just as it seems that Labour has reached the bottom of the abyss, Jeremy Corbyn and his party somehow manage to find a new low. The latest nationwide poll puts them at 24 per cent, trailing the Tories by 16 points. No wonder Labour MPs look so boot-faced around Parliament, and an increasing number are hunting for jobs elsewhere. If a general election were called now, the Conservatives would win a huge majority. Labour would be further than ever from power, arguably even finished as a major parliamentary force. Polls are not rock-solid indicators of future electoral success or failure, but Labour’s ratings are so abysmal as to suggest a

Why I lie about voting Leave

There are lies, damned lies and pretending to back Remain. I lie because I am a coward. I hug friends who burst into tears, petrified by life without the European Union. I sympathise with strangers, who act like Lady Di just died and there’s nowhere to lay flowers. I obfuscate, I mutter, I am evasive. And I am not alone. There are hordes of us who’ll not admit we voted Leave to our best friends, our next of kin. We learned to keep schtum a long time ago — thanks to social media — since they’d defriend us if said we’d vote to leave. Now they are outraged, deeply confused

Students against abortion

In November 2013, the campaign group Abortion Rights announced their first-ever student conference. It was, they explained, in response to ‘many student unions reporting increased anti-choice activity on campuses’. Societies such as Oxford Students for Life, which I’ve been part of for the last couple of years, don’t tend to think of themselves as ‘anti-choice’, but it’s true there are more of us around. The number of young people who are opposed to abortion, or at least worried about it, is growing — this despite the usual hostility from student unions. Just look at the results of a ComRes survey conducted in April. Asked whether the abortion limit should be

Lord Ashcroft jets off into the sunset

So farewell then Lord Ashcroft: well, not quite. The former Tory Party treasurer has announced today that he has resigned his life peerage, yet will be able to keep his title for life, under changes to the rules passed in 2013. Having fallen out with Cameron in 2010, the billionaire one-time Tory backer and in-house pollster is said to have been severely put out that there was no job forthcoming after having kept the party afloat for the wilderness years. Since then, he has rebranded himself as an independent pollster, though there is still some bad blood with No 10. The row about Ashcroft’s non-domiciled tax status that blew up just before

Nigel Farage’s birthday message for Lord Ashcroft

As Lord Ashcroft turned 69 this week, the international businessman celebrated with a polling event on his birthday to announce the impending Labour bloodbath north of the border: ‘Good evening and welcome. If you have ever wondered what a pollster does to celebrate his birthday, now you know. Somebody kindly asked me this morning if this was the big “four-O”, and I was compelled to admit this estimate was outside the margin of error.’ Curiously, Mr S hears that the only party leader to wish the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party a happy birthday was Ukip’s Nigel Farage. With Ashcroft’s polls currently putting Ukip slightly behind the Tories in South

No one wants to fight a national campaign. This will be the least general election in years

[audioplayer src=”http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/the-snp-threat-to-westminster/media.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman discuss the not-very-general election” startat=780] Listen [/audioplayer]There’s normally an easy way to tell which party is losing a general election campaign. Whenever one side starts telling you to ignore the national polls and look at what is happening in certain key seats, it is a sure sign that they are in deep trouble. In this election, however, all the parties are arguing that what’s going on in their target seats matters more than the national polls. No one is keener to dispute the relevance of the national polls than the Liberal Democrats. To demonstrate that they’ll still matter after the next election — particularly

How Labour lost Scotland (and could lose the Union)

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_5_Feb_2015_v4.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth and Alex Massie discuss Labour’s problems north of the border” startat=1118] Listen [/audioplayer]Just four months ago Scotland was the scene of great cross-party co-operation — unprecedented in peace-time politics. Gordon Brown was offering advice on David Cameron’s speeches, Douglas Alexander and the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson turned themselves into a formidable debating duo, and Charles Kennedy was being hailed by Labour strategists as the man who would save the Union. Even George Galloway got in on the act. One of the oddest sights I have witnessed in politics was the Respect MP gushingly introducing the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, at

Secret oil fields! Skewed polls! The Yes campaign is losing the plot

 Edinburgh When the histories of the Scottish independence debate are written, 13 February 2014 will be seen as a crucial date in the story. It was then that George Osborne suggested that no Westminster government, of any party, could countenance a currency union with an independent Scotland. Such an arrangement might be good for Scotland but it would make little sense for the rump United Kingdom. And with that observation, boom went much of the nationalists’ economic credibility. Osborne and his accomplice Alistair Darling might seem an improbable double act (though Osborne’s record in office bears a passing resemblance to Darling’s plans had Labour won) but together they might just

Old Labour, New Danger

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_24_April_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Dan Hodges and Marcus Roberts debate the state of Milibandism” startat=47] Listen [/audioplayer]A cruel new joke is doing the rounds about Ed Miliband: that the Labour leader is like a plastic bag stuck in a tree. No one is sure how he got up there, but no one can be bothered to take him down. It’s one of many unfair gags, made on the premise that he is a laughing stock and, ergo, doomed in next year’s general election. Many a Tory comforts himself with the idea that Miliband is just too implausible, too weak, too trivial a figure to make it to 10 Downing Street. Yet anyone