What don’t the “Don’t knows” know?

All the parties are reporting large numbers of people canvassed who say they don’t know or have not made up their minds. The polls are also wobbling about a bit, implying some people are changing their minds.

In recent years I have found it more difficult to canvass accurately than it used to be. I suspect those who say “I haven’t made up my mind ” or “I don’t know” could belong to several different camps.

Some probably have decided exactly who they want to vote for, but do not intend to tell the other party canvassers – or even their chosen party – how they are going to vote. It avoids further discussion on the doorstep. They may think it avoids further contacts, but of course it may not as parties these days have “strategies” for following up on “Don’t knows”.

Some of the Don’t knows will not vote. Very few people tell canvassers they will not vote, though to do so would probably guarantee them peace for the rest of the campaign. A typical canvass suggests less than 5% will fail to vote, yet in recent General Elections it has been more than a third come the day.

Some of the Don’t knows will be people who are genuinely undecided, people who do want to hear the campaigns and even read some literature. They seem to be a minority of the “Don’t knows”, as relatively few want to talk on the doorstep, or have a doubt or an issue they wish to think through before deciding.

Many of the “Haven’t made my mind ups” are Lib Dems, as most of their voters, leaving aside the activists, are reluctant to admit to voting for them.

It would be strange if everyone already knew how they are going to vote. What would be the point of three weeks more campaign if everyone already knew. The parties should in a way be glad there are people who say they have not made up their minds. It means not all the next three weeks of door knocking, leaflet dropping and media performances will be in vain. Some people seem to me to be waiting for something more substantial or earth shaking than they have been offered so far by the main party debates.

Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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42 Comments

  1. Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    When power might change hands, people are concerned about taking the risk. We saw this in 1992 when it seemed Labour would win. The Conservatives had been in power and nobody quite knew what it would be like with a Labour government. Gradually, over the campaign, more people felt comfortable with taking the risk. Then Labour "blew it" with their big rally and the electorate decided the risk was too great.

    The same is happening now. Although many people are unhappy with Labour, a lot are wary about a change. So long as the Conservatives don't do or say anything silly, people will get more comfortable with voting Labour out.

    So, I don't think it's so much about voters making their minds up. Most of the "don't knows" don't need to know more. Everything will depend on how they feel in three weeks time.

  2. Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence is correct.

    When you are offered plain vanilla ice cream with either blueberry, orange or redcurrant sauce you either don't care which you are given, or you wait to see whether a different tastier flavoured ice cream might appear later on the menu.

  3. Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    "What would be the point of three weeks more campaign….." Good question. In my case it's a chance to find out what some of the minor candidates I might be interested in have got to offer, as there has been so much coverage these past weeks of the three main parties that I don't feel that I need to know any more about them.
    I'm still a don't know. It's not so much that I don't know what I want, I do, but that I don't see anybody offering it. Conservative is my natural choice, I've voted for them since the late 70's, but despite getting LibDem literature twice a day sometimes, I've not had a single leaflet from the Tories yet, so I know little about the candidate, and as I've said before, I think that the party's election performance so far has been unimpressive.
    Every day for the past two weeks my recycling bin has taken a pounding from piles of election literature. NOT A SINGLE SHEET OF PAPER in this mountian has come from the Conservative party. The candidate has not had a single mention in the local paper in the last month that I've seen. I thought that the party really wanted this election, but on this performance at local level, no chance.

  4. Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    "What would be the point of three weeks more campaign if everyone already knew?" Has it only been a week so far….? Seems like years!

    I've Googled the Party candidates for my constituancy (only the Tories have posted literature so far). None of them inspire me. Nor do the Party Leaders make me prepared to overlook the deficiencies of those candidates in order to vote for the Party.

    What vote can I cast when I don't want either Mr Brown or the encumbent Tory MP to represent me? I did try to explain this to the canvassing encumbent, but as this is a safe Tory seat, he wasn't especially interested.

    I'd vote "John Redwood" any time, but he is not asking to represent this area, nor does he appear to have sufficient influence within his Party to persuade me to support them.

    Ultimately, this being a safe seat for the Party expected to win power, I have been disenfranchised.

  5. Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I genuinely don't know who to vote for at the moment. Not living in a marginal seat I haven't really seen much in the way of campaigning, which only reinforces the image that the parties are only trying to get themselves elected to government rather than listen to the people.

    Not that I'd openly state who I was going to vote for on a public forum, but I am waiting to see some clear blue water between the different parties, and ideally for one of them to come up with a decent policy on housing (in my opinion none of them have so far).

    • Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Many of these 'non-marginal' seats would in fact become 'marginal' if sufficient of the 'dont knows' bothered to vote.

      We expect 35% of people not to vote. How many seats have a >35% difference between the incumbent and the next party? 50?

  6. Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I do not know what is asked in these daily polls but recall that in full opinion surveys, an added number of "control" questions included something like "How did you vote in the last General Election?". This allowed a much better forecast of how and if "Don't knows" would vote (and whether those saying they would vote for a particular Party, will actually do so).

  7. Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I wish somebody would canvass my vote — I live in one of Labour's safest constituencies (Caerphilly, Labour majority 13,000) and you'd hardly know there was an election on.

    Presumably, there is a Conservative candidate. I seem to remember seeing a mention of the selection on ConHome — a woman, I think. I've seen nor heard nothing of her. Or of the Lib Dem candidate, although that doesn't bother me.

    We got a small, photocopied leaflet from Plaid Cymru on Easter Sunday (prompting my wife's outrage — "Has he really nothing better to do on Easter Sunday?") , and a piece of red paper telling us not to vote for all those dreadful toffs. And that's been the sum total of electioneering that I've seen so far.

    I wish a few candidates would actually come knock on my door. Correction: I wish the Labour candidate would come knock on my door. I'd tell him a thing or ten. I've been unemployed for eighteen months. I'd tell him exactly why he hasn't a paper bag's chance in hell of getting my vote, before taking great pleasure in manhandling off my property.

  8. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The sad fact is that very few people take a real interest in "politics" and know very little of what the parties are proposing. A poll has recently disclosed that, after all the publicity surrounding the Conservatives' plan to cut Labour's proposed increase in NI contributions, they thought it was in fact Labour's policy. Despite (or is it because of?) all the PR consultants and spin doctors employed by political parties the politicians are failing in the basic process of communication.

  9. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, what you don't say and can't say, is that the majority of the electorate are foggy-minded when it comes to politics and, if they vote, go on gut instinct or vote for the party that suits them best, irrespective of GB's interests.

    Come to think of it, that describes me …

  10. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I'm a don't know, because I don't know. A strong believer in conservatism – based on the evidence of a middle-aged lifetime – I have the choice of Tory or UKIP. The Tory candidate I have been 'given' is a disgrace. He will not answer questions, he's a flip/flopper and he thinks Britain has 'gained' from EU membership – I don't think he has a brain, only a desire to be an 'all expenses paid', politician: his track record supports that view. If I vote for him (and he wins), he will vote for things I am passionately against.

    So, what of UKIP, a 'grey man of whom I know little.

    Little wonder that the more charasmatic, but now retiring Labour man was won every time since 1997.

    What a choice !! And I live in a marginal.

    (Oh,and the new Labour man? Apart from his political ideology, wasn't there a member of the seven dwarfs, fondly called Dopey?)

    I suspect I may well not make up my mind until the last moment, and my decision will be made on the basis of greatest good, least harm.

    • Posted April 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Pretty straightforward then Amanda. If you're happy with the EU vote for your flip-flopper with no brain (he won't need one anyway with Brussels in charge). if you're not happy with the EU, I think you know who you should vote for….

      • Posted April 16, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Secret Diary of a ‘Don’t Know’

        No, not really Jim. If you mean UKIP then their candidate is almost ‘invisable’ – the better man was sent to a more winnable seat in the last few weeks. If you’ve got good resources put them in the best place. UKIP know that Mr Flip-Flop has the best chance of ousting a very undesireable Labour candidate.

        I’d vote for Nigel Farage, a recent interview of his with a BBC drone was masterly, however my candidate is not ‘quite’ of the same calibre.

        A war has to be won battle by battle, maybe the first objective is to oust Labour from here, rather than raise a protest vote – a real ‘prisoners dilemma’ !! I’ve done a lot of quite concrete protesting against the EU, and I can contine with that.

        Then the second objective would be to get more involved with Mr Flip-Flop: so that he knows he may not get my vote again if he takes certain lines. Democracy is not, after all, a spectator sport !!

        Of course I could ‘not vote’ and be classed with the uninterested; so a UKIP vote is better. I could spoil my ballot paper with ‘none of the above’ – is that going to do any good? Do they even get officially recorded and publicised?

        Britain faces many dangers, many enemies without and within – maybe the wise course is to crush one monster at a time; then gather our forces for the onslaught against the next, whilst contunuing with ‘gorilla/Ghandi’ tactics. I don’t think there is a path open to us for a quick win!!

        I’d like to look back and see this as El Alermain, not the Titanic moment where we had to choose ‘life-boats’ or drowning, as the ‘unsinkable’ great ship goes down.

        I’m still a Don’t Know.

    • Posted April 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      “The Tory candidate I have been ‘given’ is a disgrace”

      I know the feeling, the tory candidate I have, can’t quite bring herself to agree with me that the government should not buy stolen goods off criminals! I kid you not.

  11. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I've sometimes ended up not voting simply because I ended up having to be out of town that day for work or similar, I think with mobile jobs this is the case more often these days than in the past

    Simple stuff needs explaining like how exactly the Conservatives will cut immigration

  12. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I will answer 'I don't know' because I am yet undecided on which fringe party to put my cross by. I would prefer a 'none of the above' option to make clear that my spoiled paper was not an act of mindless vandalism but one of political activism. If you gave us that option you'd see record turnouts; I suspect there isn't a 'none of the above' choice because the political class don't want to be confronted with the truth – that they are not wanted.

    By now we should be clear what all parties stand for but we aren't and an 'earth shaking' offering at such a late hour would so obviously be a gimmick.

    Cameron's cap on immigration 'from outside the EU' is but one issue on which he shows how disingenuous are Tory politics and how disasterously out of touch he is with millions like me who used to vote Conservative but who are now without voice.

    Yes. Five more years of Brown. That should bring down the edifice in quick time rather than the perpetual drip-drip erosion brought by the cosy bi-party system which serves the politicians. It should hasten the bankruptcy of the welfare state which is doing so much damage to us all and force the tough decisions which have been such a long time coming.

    We can't go on as we are. But going on as we are is more or less what Cameron is offering.

    • Posted April 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes Cameron's promise begs the question "What of Turkey?"

      • Posted April 16, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Cameron wants to restrict immigration into GB for a given time from any country joining the EU. Isn’t that OK? What more could be done within EU rules?

        • Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          "…within EU rules "

          You hit the nail on the head. We no longer have control of our own country and look what a mess it's becoming. This is not a General Election but the selection of a Regional Supervisor.

          By voting for Cameron (or any of the three) you will be endorsing further integration. And yes. He seems to think that uncapped immigration from within the EU is 'OK'. So our border control is only as good as the weakest link.

          I want him to be honest about this. At the moment he's flitting over the issue and his promises amount to nothing.

          Reply: Conservatives do not think it is OK that we cannot control EU migration. We always kept border controls out of EU meddling when in government, and opposed the surrender of these power by the Labiour government. We need to start getting powers back from the EU.

        • Posted April 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes, precisely, “within EU rules”.
          Compare this mealy mouthed, vaguely possible, temporary approach with Farage standing up in an immigration debate and saying “no net immigration for 5 years, period”. It would have been a debate winner last night. Cameron said nothing about any plans to change immigration from within the EU. It can’t be done.

  13. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I think people are a lot more sophisticated about polls than they used to be 10 or 20 years ago.

    When polled people don't give a genuine answer, but they give the answer they would most like to see in the headline reporting the poll.

    So if I am polled in th next three weeks I will say 'Pirate Party' because I would like to see them paid more attention than they are (in fact there is no PPUK candidate where I live).

    Other voters might say
    BNP = meaning 'I wish the main parties would address immigration'
    UKIP = 'I wish the Tories would be more Eurosceptic'
    Don't know = 'I'd like to keep politicians on their toes. Preferably panicking'

    and so on.

    I call it 'tactical polling' and I think that this – combined with the effects of fraudulent postal votes, are going to lead to some unexpected and strange results in many constituencies.

  14. Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I'd say "don't know" if a canvasser knocked on my door – so I could have the fun of letting them try and persuade me.

  15. Posted April 15, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I have voted in every election for the past 50+ years with no doubts whatsoever about the (same) party I voted for.

    This time is different. Each of the main parties now invoke "climate change" as a problem that must be "solved" by huge increases in taxation and the 21stC euivalent of digging holes that others may then come along and fill them up. I refer to offshore wind farms and other conceits that, supposedly, will provide employment and get factories, even shipyards, working again.

    This is a false prospectus. It is peddled by all the main parties.

    I now feel unable to vote for any of them. The best I can think of right now is to write "None of the above" on my ballot paper.

  16. Posted April 15, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Or is it that many want to be able to meaningfully participate in democracy not be dictated to by "the powers that be" for their own ends. I am over 60 and have always voted Conservative but this time I will vote UKIP because only they offer any hope of a return to a decent country living within its means and prepared to tackle leaving the EU, immigration, yobbery, repealing 13 years of rubbish legislation, fighting illegal wars and radically changing how parliament works. None of the main parties are prepared to say how bad the finances actually are and what it is going mean for us all. I am sure many know that if the debt situation is worse than after the last war, as stated by Darling, correcting the situation is going to be necessarily very, very painful and difficult. Why not tell us the truth now and stop treating us as idiots. If you want respect you have to earn it and telling the truth is the first requirement.
    If my vote helps Liebor so be it as in many respects I would like to see them forced [by the IMF] to sort their own mess.

  17. Posted April 15, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I'm a "don't know"

    I haven't noticed anyone trying harder to canvass my vote

    I will say I have voted in every election that I've been able to

    I remember in 1997 there was a "vote anything but tory" campaign, but a similar "vote anything but NuLabour" has not gained any ground. I daresay that the prospects of the Lib Dems requires that kind of momentum to allow them to win some of the seats where the electorate has never voted Tory

    I will decide on the day who to put my cross against once I have listened to the arguments put forward and seen which one chimes with my own beliefs

  18. Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    John

    If after 13 years of the most undemocratic, arrogant and incompetent government, if people do not know who NOT to vote for I would give up.

    Clearly for many, it is anyone else but Labour.

    The reluctance of people to give an honest reply to a simple question is not confined to politics, as many a domestic salesman will tell you.

    When responding to a sales enquiry about any form or sort of home improvement, (extension, kitchen, conservatory, bathroom, garden project) when asked about what budget they have in mind for that project, people will often say, I don't really know, or I have not thought about it.

    Clearly this is in most cases untrue, they simply do not want to tell you, in case your design goes to that buget (they hope it is less than they have planned for) much questioning then has to take place in order for the salesman to get any sort of idea of the budget and specification (if there is one) within which he is supposed to work, or simply has to have an educational guess.

    Clearly there is no point in a Company spending time effort and money working on a design, if the cost is going to be out of the question, but you would be amazed how many people simply will not tell you the truth.

    The result a lot of wasted time, energy, and expense, with people playing games, instead of concentrating on their real needs and desires, with a sensible discussion and a given target budget (with perhaps options).

    You would not believe the number of times my own Company has, after an initial discussion, given an educated ball park figure for a particular project, to be told yes that is about right (thats about what we thought), only to be told after days of design, costings and production of drawings, that its far too much, when the final figures are very similar to the original ball park outlines.

    Conclusion after many years in business. You can never believe much you are told by the general public on a first or even second visit.

    Possible reason, they do not wish to embarass you, or themselves with the truth.

    A sad reflection on todays society.

    I think your canvassing shows very similar traits.

  19. Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    A follow up to my earlier post. In the Conservative manifesto it says on page 113:
    "In future, the British people must have their
    say on any transfer of powers to the European
    Union. We will amend the 1972 European
    Communities Act so that any proposed future
    Treaty that transferred areas of power, or
    competences, would be subject to a referendum
    – a ‘referendum lock’."

    Will the Conservative party provide a similar `referendum lock` on the legally binding World Government Climate Treaty which the UN plans to be signed in December 2010?

    I read (on the Whats Up With That blog):
    "There will also be a meeting of Heads of Governments at the Peterberg Hotel, near Bonn, in June. The purpose of that meeting is to allow the UN to identify potentially recalcitrant heads of government and mount a charm offensive in their direction between June and December."

    We already know that Brown or Clegg will do. They will sign up. As for offering a referendum we all know that they have form – witness the failure to provide a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty despite their promise to do so.

    My question is this. Would a Conservative government hold a referendum on a Cancun World Government Treaty? After all, if it is good enough for EU issues then it should be good enough for World Government issues. We should be told – and before election day.

    • Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Good question, they will sign up, no doubt about it. As to the first part, nor will they do anything about the EU, their words are hollow. Face it, Cameron has already said several times that he believes in the EU, as indeed has Hague. They will not change a thing.

  20. Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I suspect a lot of the "don't knows" are actually, "Not you buster but I'm too polite/embarassed to tell you."

    It's interesting that the Lib Dems are the most reluctant to reveal their affiliation. I wonder why that is? (Maybe the long littany of sex scandals has tarnished the party.)

    Personally I've already decided who to vote for. I can judge Labour on their 13 years in office and the Conservatives on their 13 years of opposition. Nothing that happens in the next 3 weeks will change my mind.

    (Which makes the wall-to-wall news coverage very tedious for me.)

  21. Posted April 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Nearly everyone in my close family are genuine 'don't knows' at the moment – and want to discuss the issues that effect us however we have only met one activist (well the candidate himself – an independent for the local council) since 2001 on our doorstep. It's a shame as I fully expect that only 3 out of the 10 of us will vote in this election as we are the only ones who've gone out of our way to research the candidates online (we throw the election propaganda in the bin without reading it, since we can't expect to hold MPs to it).

    Co-incidentally they were all massive fans of Mrs T, and struggle to find any support for Call Me Dave bar the fact that he isn't GB. And they have no idea who that Nick fellow is that stands in the corner.

  22. Posted April 15, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    There is tremendous frustration at the point blank refusal of the three main parties to even discuss let alone suggest solutions to some of the major concerns of the electorate:
    immigration, bureaucratic zealotry in enforcing political correctness and health and safety, failing policing and the judicial system, the European Union, its expense and undemocratic nature, the steady undermining of free speech and parliamentary democracy.
    This probably accounts for large numbers of people who "don't know" and will probably not vote. They will be thinking "what is the point if in a so called democratic election there is a conspiracy of silence on our main concerns and most of our laws come from Europe anyway"

    Reply: That's why Conservatives are proposing new strict controls on non EU immigration, a different style and method of controlling policing, powers back from the EU and a UK sovereignty Act, and cuts in political correctness and the quangos that impose it.

  23. Posted April 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I haven't not made my mind up because I don't intend to vote.

    I want a vote on this country's membership of the European Union and if Dave had any balls he would promise one and get my vote.

    Whatever the result I would accept it. I might not like it but that's democracy.

  24. Posted April 15, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I think that perhaps more people realise that their vote doesn't matter. Whoever you vote for, wealth will continue to be concentrated in an ever smaller number of hands. Also power will continue to be transferred to a smaller group of unaccountable people.
    Nothing will change this process until the state goes bankrupt. At that point people will either demand a return to our democratic roots or we will become a banana republic. In many ways we are already a banana republic, here is the definition of one:
    A collusion between the overweening state and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the profits can be privatized and the debts socialized.
    Devalued paper currency in the international community.
    Kleptocracy — those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it.
    There must be no principle of accountability within the government so that the political corruption by which the banana republic operates is left unchecked. The members of the national legislature will be (a) largely for sale and (b) consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions have already been made elsewhere.

  25. Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I like the reply….but can/will Cameron do it. He is big on words, it's the doing that he lacks. And, sorry, I reiterate what I said before, Cameron likes being in the EU, he says so clearly, as does Hague. As they also believe in AGW in concert with the EU, that is not going to change. I am sorry to have to disagree with you as you seem to be an honest politician, but the facts are against your reading of them.

  26. Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of things that folk are bothered about that don’t make the election debates.

    1) Globalisation – much manufacturing has gone to China. Many towns and cities having lost their traditional employers face an uncertain future.

    2) The High Street – most of us are to blame for shopping at the big supermarkets – but somehow most would like our High streets to be prospering.

    3) Housing – (as you mentioned the other week).

  27. Posted April 15, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I hope that in Oxford West & Abingdon that the ‘Don’t Knows’ vote Conservative because Nicola Blackwood is proving to be a fine candidate.She has demonstrated that she has the potential to be a first class MP by taking the fight to the Lib Dem’s.Her constant stress on green issues,education and so forth prove that Nicola cares about what we voters care about.As such it will be a pleasure to deliver leaflets on her behalf over the next three weeks.Trying to help a fine politician like her into Parliament could never be considered ‘in vain.’

  28. Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    May I suggest three reasons for the large amounts of don't knows?
    1. The years of political spin, with shallow opinions or dodgy research used to justify major policy initiatives. Along with the announcing of many new policy initiatives as though they are going to happen – then don't.
    2. The huge negativity that is around and evasiveness around. Any question on Government policy that has been asked of a Government Minister in the past ten months has been turned into an attack on the Tories. By ducking answering legitimate questions, and making difficult choices (such as the necessary spending review), the public is getting a highly negative view of all politicians.
    3. The expenses scandal, that has confirmed a belief that Politicians are all on the take for themselves.

    For myself, I live in a Lib-Lab Margina. If I and other don't vote Lib-Dem then Labour may get in. But I like to have a positive reason for voting.

    Both the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems try to project a positive vision in their manifestos. (Labour makes do with a Tory Manifesto cover from the 1930s) If they can use the campaign to project these visions, maybe some of the don't knows will be encouraged to vote.

  29. Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I posted a reply to “oldtimer” recommending he look at UKIP’s manifesto to help him decide if it’s worth voting and it appears that my comment was deleted.

    Was it intentional?

    Reply: I probably deleted it because I do not accept posts that just refer to another site. For this site to work we need to see the arguments in a contributor’s own words. I have been more than generous to UKIP in the circumstances.

    • Posted April 16, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      I suspect it was deleted because I do not usually accept posts that say nothing other than refer to another site. For this site to work we need to see the arguments and viewpoints in people’s own words.

  30. Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Some elections are won and lost by late swing in the final week.

    For example:
    1970 (Enoch Powell on immigration)
    Feb 1974 (Enoch Powell on Europe and Prices & Incomes policy)
    1992 (Neil Kinnoch behaving like a complete prat)

    So who is going to cause late swing this year?

  31. Posted April 16, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Alternatively the don’t knows are just in despair about all politicians and are wondering if there is any way to actually register their concerns.

    One of the joys of the increased on line analysis is the rigour with which people analyse political statements and the manifestos. All the major parties have spun statistics in their manifestos – some to the point of clearly misleading to try to gain advantage.

    It highlights the fact that politicians have not learnt from the expenses debacle and continue to treat the public like idiots.

  32. Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    As others have said, the last sentence provides the reason.

    Labour cannot be allowed to win again, although my thoughts on this are mangled as I want them to win if only for the subsequent chaos and social obliteration this would bring about, followed by rioting, mass unemployment and probably public lynchings. Something radical is needed to drive Labour into a political black hole they can never, ever be allowed out of again.

    I want to vote Conservative. I really do. The reason I only want to, instead of am going to is because I don’t see that they will properly change this country in the way it needs to be changed. Education won’t improve – there’s no mention of scrapping the endless, miserable exams or strategies. Red tape won’t be removed from businesses.

    We won’t withdraw from the EU’s bungled mismanagement of laws and monies.

    Crime won’t be tackled by bringing back much harsher justice schemes for repeat offenders – a man who commits three offences should not be on the streets, let alone one who has committed over a hundred – the justice systems under Labour have singularly failed in their basic function, and people no longer trust the police or judiciary to protect them.

    Taxation will not reduce – the *only* way to actually increase the tax take and promote growth.

    There will be no shredding of pointless quangos. Local council chief executives will still be overpaid, council tax will still rise – mine’s gone up by £7 in the last two years – only 22p of that towards the police.

    Young single mothers will still be given oodles of cash instead of real support – by making them live with their parents. Benefits won’t be replaced with food vouchers and radically reduced.

    We will still have hundreds of thousands of economic immigrants pouring into the country…. the list really does go on.

    I appreciate to be radical means risking losing and facing not being able to make any of these necessary changes but until someone, somewhere whispers “Yes, we’re going to do it. We need to sort things out permanently” in my ear off the record and quietly so as not to alarm those affected I cannot summon up the enthusiasm I so desperately want to feel.

    As it is the feeling is more of euthanasia on a national scale as without significant, radical change the country’s stuffed.

    Sorry for waffling.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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