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Politics Prof "The British General Election of 2019"
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30 Nov
Will have to check but I think last time we had this pattern - Labour narrowly ahead on imm, but most voters thinking neither party good on the issue - was in 1960s pre-Enoch Powell. Cons had massive lead on the issue from Powell to Cameron, May's net imm target destroyed that
Cons then remained ahead, but by narrower margin, because Labour figures were extremely low having fallen from a low base during new Labour years (when imm rose to the top of the agenda). Cons return to govt, and fading of Brexit, looks to have finally ended that advantage.
But this is not a return to 1960s, pre-Powell immigration politics because several things have changed fundamentally, making the issue v different now:
1. For first time ever,many people see *not enough* imm/overly restrictive controls as a problem (never before seen in polling)
Read 9 tweets
26 Nov
A quick thread with some of the slides/key messages from my presentation at the launch of The British General Election of 2019, in particular for those unable to see the presentation live due to technical glitches
The context of the election: both parties collapsed in the polls in the wake of Theresa May's repeated failures in the Commons in Spring 2019; frustrated Leave voters defected to Brexit Party, frustrated Remainers to Lib Dems and Greens
The conclusion Conservative MPs and members came to was that of Prince Falconeri in Di Lampedusa's classic "The Leopard" - "If we want things to stay as they are [i.e. Con govt leaving the EU], things will have to change." @briancartoon here illustrates the political maths
Read 16 tweets
24 Nov
Very excited to come to London and launch "The British General Election of 2019". Exactly two years ago, the Conservatives launched their manifesto (on a Sunday) - a crucial turning point for the party, which was scarred by the disastrous reception to its 2017 manifesto
Given the central importance of manifestos in the last election (and the one before that) it is a great pleasure to have central figures from both parties' manifesto processes - @rcolvile (Con) and @FisherAndrew79 (Lab) joining us for a discussion of the election this evening
@rcolvile @FisherAndrew79 You can tune in live - see the link on the @UKandEU tweet. And if you'd like to learn more, there lots more on manifestos and much else besides in the book, now available in hardback, paperback and Kindle edition here:…
Read 5 tweets
23 Nov
With the government staggering from crisis to crisis its worth remembering there's a by-election coming up in just over a week. Old Bexley and Sidcup would normally be safe, but things aren't normal.
Richard Tice, leader of "I can't believe its not UKIP/Brexit Party" ReformUK, could provide a lightning rod for disaffected Con Leave voters, while disaffected middle class professionals (few in these parts, though the seat leans a bit Leave) may swing to Labour
The seat has a nearly 20k majority, but the Chesham and Amersham majority of 16k was easily cleared earlier this year, and massive by-election swings against struggling governments were once a pretty standard event - Cons didn't win a single by-elec from 1988 to 1997.
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
Stephen's take on the London vs Manchester (Blur vs Oasis?) Labour infighting is, as usual, the best take
My own inferior take is that "the Tories have failed to invest in the (Midlands and) North, we will deliver" is a useful message for a party trying to win an election where many of the recently lost marginal seats are in the (Midlands and) North.
Whereas "Yes, London has had a shed tone of transport investment since forever, but the Tube is in trouble and actually lots of it is poor" is not so useful, regardless of its inherent merits, because there are just less votes/seats to be had in places that would benefit
Read 5 tweets
21 Nov
It’s ok to spread lies if it’s “emotionally true”
Depressingly large number of replies pointing out its fake and have been ignored.
Instead our populist author doubles down on his falsehood. After all, what harm could come from spreading lies which stone hatred of politicians? Not like they face abuse, credible death threats etc every day is it?
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov
Got to hand it to Dominic Cummings - he does have some great lines. Here's an example: "Want to understand how swing voters watch the news? Watch with the volume turned off for a while and imagine what the audience at Wrestlemania will think."
and indeed this: "Nobody is easier for a propaganidist to fool than an elite graduate confident in their own moral superiority, because if you get your mesage right they do most of the work for you."
and this: "Stop attacking ‘levelling up’. It’s a bad slogan but it’s also inoffensive. Attacking it is punching smoke, a pointless waste of time. Instead focus on clear specific failures."
Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
Working families lose 75% of their assets, millionaires keep 75% plus of their assets.

Sir Humphrey would call this a "bold" reform.

Guess the question is - will voters understand it? And if they don't: can Labour get them to understand it?
Leaving aside the fact this is awful policy, as Dilnot observes, its fascinating politics. The big winners from this new policy are traditional Tories in traditional Tory seats (people with expensive homes and other wealth in the wealthy bits of S England)....
The big losers are new Tory voters in newly Tory seats - older, often home owning voters with modest levels of wealth in poorer bits of England. This policy absolutely throws them under the bus. Massively screwing your new voters to protect your old voters is an interesting move.
Read 5 tweets
15 Nov
"The British General Election of 2019" is now available on Amazon. A quick thread of reviews... @stephenkb calls it "An exhaustive, well-researched, informative and highly readable account. A must for anyone who wants to understand British politics"".
Sky's @adamboultonSKY calls us "the experts we – and the nation – need to tell us what really happened and to explain why" and says our book "Painstakingly and perceptively...exposes the sources of what is going on in British politics today.”
ITV's @AnushkaAsthana calls our book“A fascinating take on this unprecedented period of politics - boiling down the madness of the past few years of British politics into clear, concise and insightful analysis.”
Read 19 tweets
8 Nov
The general trend in the polls is quite clear if you take the averages (thus ignoring the noise from sampling variation and ST effects) - slow but steady decline in Cons since "vaccine bounce" peak in early summer, and slow but steady rises in Lab and Green numbers
To me the most interesting polling story that no one is talking about is the rise of the Greens - they were polling at record levels even before COP26, and had a very strong local elections performance in May too. Double digit Grn shares now common.…
Strong Green polling is a bit of a double edged sword for Labour - probably comes from voters who would be Lab rather than Con if forced to choose, so weakens Lab position. But in the harsh climate of a FPP GE with few Grn targets many of these votes may end up in the Lab column
Read 4 tweets
4 Nov
And another scandal driven by-election on the way soon, it seems. Super-interesting one too, given controversial circumstances in which Webbe got the seat, the massive swing against her in 2019 and the open ambitions of her predecessor Keith Vaz to recover seat he held 1987-2019
A whopping 15 point swing against Labour in Leicester E in 2019, by a country mile largest swing against the party in a highly diverse seat. Leicester E's predominantly British Indian community really did not like the late imposition of Corbyn ally Webbe…
As for Vaz, who is chair of the local party, he has been on manoeuvers for a while - either for himself or a family member...…
Read 4 tweets
4 Nov
"Its a safe seat. A rabbit with a blue rosette would win there".…
"Its a safe seat. Massive Tory majorities for decades".…
"Its a safe seat. They don't count Tory votes there, they weigh them."…
Read 8 tweets
4 Nov
Lets review the last 24 hrs:
Govt whips vote to gut standards oversight, barely wins
Opposition refuses to participate in new kangeroo court
Cabinet ministers make fools of themselves defending kangeroo court
Govt abandons kangeroo court and MP it was created to save
MP resigns
(I should add MP resigns after finding out the govt has abandoned him when a BBC journalist phones him while he is out shopping. No one from the govt thought to let him know).
Coming opposition by-election campaign will presumably be months of telling North Shropshire voters exactly how and why they have to elect a new MP. Not really much need to do anything else.
Read 4 tweets
3 Nov
Interesting thread - a couple of thoughts it prompts. Firstly, if the "nothing matters" scenario is defined as "one party is dominant in the polls and nothing seems to shift this" then there are several long periods of this being the case in last 40 yrs or so
1983-1989: "Nothing matters, Cons have big poll lead and majority"
1993-1997: "Nothing matters, Lab has huge poll lead, Cons are doomed
1997-2006: "Nothing matters, Lab has big poll lead and majority"

That's 19 years in the last 38 - or 50% of the time
However, most of the last 15 years has been in the alternative "stuff might matter" scenario - either polling is tight, or Commons balance of power is tight, or both. So a whole political generation has come of age with that as the norm. Political dominance is unusual to them
Read 7 tweets
2 Nov
I don't think this problem is limited to climate change - miserablism handicaps all sorts of progressive campaigns. Telling people everything is awful and going to get worse is a great way to motivate your core activists, but a terrible way to motivate anyone else.
I have noticed this time and again on imm and race, two areas I research. Any time I post some of the wide range of evidence showing that racial prejudice is in steady, LT decline, or that immigration attitudes are improving, my replies fill up with progressive miserabilists.
It is a curious mentality I still rather struggle to understand (being by nature a cautious optimist). I think part of it is an Eeyorish wallowing in the awfulness of things, but a bigger part is status signalling - "I am smart &virtuous because I recognise the horror of it all."
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
"The British General Election of 2019", with @drjennings @ProfTimBale and @p_surridge , is out today! To celebrate, and hopefully encourage your interest, here's a thread of threads.…
A thread by @ProfTimBale picking out his favourite cartoons from the book. Britain really is blessed with some outstanding political cartoonists, and their generously shared images really help us tell the story
A thread from me live tweeting the election campaign events day by day - this one will continue all the way to December 13th...
Read 5 tweets
26 Oct
Maybe that should read "Therefore, Facebook's algorithm rated "angry" reactions as more valuable
Outgroup hate drives anger
Anger drives engagement
Engagement drives content algorithms...
Therefore, facebook's algorithms actively promote outgroup hate, & will likely continue to do so, because outgroup hate delivers the outcome facebook wants (engagement)
I'm honestly not sure this is a problem any social media company is going to resolve so long as the services continue to be free to users (i.e. advertising and hence engagement driven).
Read 6 tweets
25 Oct
ELECTION 2019 - Last night PM Johnson once again called for a December 12th general election. "If [Parliament] genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal they can have it but they have to agree to a genreal election"
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to be drawn: "“Tomorrow the EU will decide whether there’s going to be an extension or not,” Corbyn told broadcasters this evening. “That extension will obviously encompass whether there’s a no-deal or not. Let’s find that out tomorrow.”
Corbyn has previously said Labour will back an election as soon as the EU agrees an extension to the looming Article 50 deadline. Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, an early election bill requires a two thirds majority in the Commons, and therefore needs Labour support
Read 13 tweets
25 Oct
"The British General Election of 2019" arrives in all good book stores on Nov 2nd - just over a week from now. Stay tuned for lots more about this landmark election from myself & fellow authors @drjennings @ProfTimBale @p_surridge……
@drjennings @ProfTimBale @p_surridge Be sure also to follow some of our outstanding contributors - @anandMenon1 and @DrAlanWager have written the definitive account of the Brexit negotiations (round 1); @chrisbutlerpol @ProfRosieCamp and @J_A_Hudson have run the rule over the MPs of the 2019 Parliament...
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
Its one year since Brexitland was published! In case you aren't familiar with the arguments @ProfSobolewska and I make, here's the "graph of the day" thread I did summarising some of the key data driven points

@ProfSobolewska And here's @ProfSobolewska 's "quote of the day" thread picking out some of the most important arguments made in the book text

@ProfSobolewska Identity divides between graduates and school leavers, ethnic minorities and identity conservative white voters, have continued to reshape our politics since the book came out.
Read 10 tweets
17 Oct
Good thread. As it is likely impossible to end online anonymity, we need better social and institutional mechanisms to address its disinhibatory effects. That is hard to do, but it needs doing.
I feel this will have to be a collective effort. We need to build a social media "immune system", with multiple lines of defence, to shut out toxic actors and violent, prejudiced and hostile discourse. Ultimately, its going to be a job for all of us.
Of course, social media platforms should reforms systems which promote toxicitiy. But there are also many ways we are users could help marginalise bad actors ourselves. What happens to people who behave offline like bad actors behave online? They are socially shamed & shunned
Read 13 tweets