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Taking The Pulse: Pendle

Nick Robinson | 17:58 UK time, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

It's grim up North. At least, if you've been a Conservative in recent years.

Taking The PulseThe next stop on my tour of marginal constituencies taking the pulse of the electorate is Pendle, a seat that the Tories have not won for 23 years.

Yesterday, in Cardiff, I asked voters whether they wanted five more years of Labour. The answer was expressed with quite a lot of anger.

Today's question for the voters is: Do Conservatives understand people like you? The emotion this time was uncertainty.

Some electors here in the North insist that the Conservatives have never understood what they call "working people". Others can't forgive what they think Margaret Thatcher did to the North. Still others liked their fellow Northerner William Hague, and would vote for him if he were leader, but don't warm to David Cameron.

We've also been speaking to voters who do think the Tories are changing - and beginning, in fact, to understand the working class.

One theme came up with women we spoke to, including, tellingly, a single mother. They liked what Mr Cameron has had to say about the family. The same goes for some of those among the nearly one-in-seven voters in this constituency who are Asians and mainly Muslims. Equally tellingly, though, many say it is all they really know about what the Tories stand for.

As in Cardiff, electoral statistics tell a story of Labour decline and of Tory failure to take advantage. Between 1997 and 2005, Labour's vote-share here fell from 53% to 30%. However, the Conservatives lost votes: 165 of them in those eight years - though, thanks to a low turnout, their vote-share did creep up.

What gives Tories hope here is that they gained control of Lancashire County Council for the first time in almost three decades.

The message I detect on this part of my tour is that it is simply not enough for voters not to want five more years of Labour; the Tories have to do a great deal more to convince voters that they stand for something better instead.

Our next stop is Dudley, and the question: Do you favour spending cuts, and do you favour them now?

You can also see my film from Pendle on tonight's Six and Ten O'Clock News and we will add the video to this post.

PS. Thanks to those who pointed out that my figures for city councillors in the Cardiff North constituency were out of date. The current figure is 13 Conservatives, five Lib Dems and three Independents. And sorry for the error on the Pendle dates - now corrected.

Update 10 Feb: Here's the Pendle package.

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Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Only a GE will sort out these questions, until then it is all pie in the sky. One thing though, to my mind, William Hague remains one of the better people in opposition, shame he was lamb to the slaughter 13 years ago, his time will come again I'm sure

  • Comment number 2.

    The Tories hoped they could say as little as possible before an election and then decide what they were going to do after it.

    It’s not going to work like that IF the media do their job properly. Where are the cuts going to fall? Why should massive tax cuts be handed to the wealthiest in society? How exactly would their marriage (and civil partnership) subsidy work? And does every Tory peer pay their taxes?

    Every time the Tories have had to answer one of these questions they have floundered horribly – see George Young like the proverbial rabbit at link below. Are the Tories really ready for Government? I don’t think so.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8506284.stm

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Nick, hope you're enjoying your tour. Nice blog too, and quite interesting, but rather odd wording here ...

    "Others can't forgive what they think Margaret Thatcher did to the North."

    ... Think?

  • Comment number 4.

    Come on Nick, get your facts right.

    Gordon Prentice won the seat for Labour in 1992 from the Conservative John Lee. So, not 27 years since a Tory held the seat; a mere 18.

    Basics my dear Nick. Now you know the history of the Pendle seat care to review you assessment?

  • Comment number 5.

    Nick:

    I hope that the team is doing a fair job on Taking The Pulse from Pendle...And, I am glad; that the information is being gathered....For the People in the forthcoming election.

    NB: I am not a advocating any elections in the United Kingdom.

    -Dennis Junior-

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally agree with Nick's observation. Us Northerners will back Cameron and even more so if he shows some true Northern grit and spells out the harsh facts of our national situation and the hard remedy's needed. Thatcher did and we loved her up here!

  • Comment number 7.

    "The message I detect on this part of my tour is that it is simply not enough for voters not to want five more years of Labour; the Tories have to do a great deal more to convince voters that they stand for something better instead."

    ===

    Nick, you didn't need to leave the cosy confines of Westminster to find this out, you could have broken the habit of a lifetime and read your own blogs to discover much the same thing.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nick, you say "It's grim up North. At least, if you've been a Conservative in recent years"

    Actually, it's pretty grim everywhere.... thanks to Gordon's tax-and-waste policies.

  • Comment number 9.

    Phillip - Nick said the Tories were last elected in Pendle 23 years ago. This is true: 1987.

  • Comment number 10.

    Lancs Observer - I think you will find that Nick has edited his blog since I made my comment. Originally he stated 27 years since the Tories last won Pendle.

  • Comment number 11.

    6. especially the miners?

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick, what you need to ask in all the places you're visiting is how people would vote if Anyone But Gordon Brown was Labour Leader. He's just not a credible leader of the Party or the country. We need a real Election contest with credible leaders for all the parties - give us Anyone But Gordon Brown - vote for ABGB.co.uk

  • Comment number 13.

    There is only one way to sort these jokers out - whichever party came second in your relevant constituency, vote for them this time round. Doesn't matter what party it is or what party you normally vote for - just vote for the one that came second last time.

    If just one voter in ten did this in every Constituency in the country did this then two thirds of the current MPs would lose their seats.

    Pass iton and write to your local papers - lets make a cause of it - The Vote Second campaign

  • Comment number 14.

    Nick. Just a thought for tomorrow as you are in Dudley.

    Both of Dudley's MP's happen to be Junior Ministers and both are close to Gordon Brown. They are both defending majorities of less than 6,000. Whether people there look like they want five more years of Gordon Brown could well be the crucial question you need to ask all week.

    If Dudley abandons Labour then Gordon is in the deep doo doo?

    There are a number of labour marginal seats around the M5, M6 & M42 necklace of Birmingham including these two in Dudley, Jacqui Smith in Redditch, Mike O'Brien in North Warwickshire as well as Liam Byrne in Birmingham Hodge Hill.

    Ally this to Mr Harriet Harman trying to retain Birmingham Erdington for Labour next door to Liam Byrne's constituency.

    If the Tories make a reasonable increase on their current one out of twelve seats in Birmingham, if you include Redditch which stretches into the fringes of South Birmingham as a Birmingham seat, then Labour is in real trouble.

    I hope you find tomorrow interesting. One thing is for certain they will tell it like it is in Dudley.

  • Comment number 15.

    Post 11. lefty 10.
    Especially the Miners...you're right. Their kids aint working down the mines 30 years later are they? They've all been better educated then their parents and most have good decent (above Earth) jobs. All of this has been paid for by the taxes generated by the private sector whose talent Thatcher finally unleashed. It's called progress!

    I hope you weren't implying that had Thatcher done nothing in the 80's then the Miners children would have had a better quality of life following in their fathers footsteps?

  • Comment number 16.

    Are we really learning much from these exercises that we didn't know or suspect already?

  • Comment number 17.

    16 ARHReading

    Perhaps not learning much but I find it comforting that Nick's vox pop is confirming much of what "our" little closed blog community is saying.

    Perhaps the people aint as daft after all.

  • Comment number 18.

    15. apologies. i forgot the miners srtikes were about health reasons. manufacturings dead too. better to all to go to uni, perhaps an economy based on banking...the future...

  • Comment number 19.

    11. At 7:35pm on 09 Feb 2010, lefty10 wrote:
    6. especially the miners?

    ===

    Absolutely.

    Mining output has fallen more under Labour (64%) than it did under Thatcher (33%)

    So, Labour has hardly been the friend of the mining communities.

  • Comment number 20.

    Fry's Chocolate Cream, the Double Decker, Dairy Milk, Chocolate Buttons, Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs, Cadbury's Fudge, Chomp and the Crunchie.

    Nick what do they have in common,

    Cadbury products made at Somerdale near Bristol, well Kraft just announced closure of Cadbury plant near Bristol, they are off to Poland, maybe you want to run down to there and ask the 400 workers that Mlud Mandelson said jobs were safe if they want 5 more yrs of GB.

  • Comment number 21.

    Is the tour of these marginals trying to find a seat for you to be parachuted in at the last minute for whatever party you want to stand for. Nick I have never felt that you are a supporter of the Labour Party - all your reports are objective and to the point, posing the right type of questions for the public to consider.

    Rapid Viking

  • Comment number 22.

    Mr. Robinson,

    While you're around the country, "taking the pulse", there is a minor coup going on here in London...actually at the BBC. Your erstwhile rival, Mr. Peston has written a blog today on "Why Sants' exit is embarrassing for the Tories". He is obviously muscling in on your territory now that you're away from Westminster.
    I think you should hurry back, post-haste. You can also take the pulse closer to London. It is the same thing. Or you can always read some Northern-based newspaper or blogs from the people there. Or better yet, send some email...it STILL works!
    And if you need some help in dealing with Mr. Peston...no, I think you'll be ok on your own.

    Yours helpfully

  • Comment number 23.

    re northen thatcherit,you are right she made sure we made nowt except big macs,kfcs,and any other none skilled jobs,we now have to go over seas for most of our needs ie our gas, eletric and water companies are in over seas hands,the lucky french had no maggie and are now streets a head of us kept there vital industries public,ie railways far a head of our private ones that still need public money!i was contracted to do council maintainance told by there engineer he had to pick the cheapest not the best,rate payers to foot the bill for maggies follies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    For the benefit of the labour party trolls.

    The answer to the question of inheritance tax. Under the Conservatives ONLY MILLIONAIRES WILL PAY!

    Not quite the lies that James Brown has been spreading.

    Labour are dead.They will lose despite the best efforts of the BBBC and the massive postal votes fraud taking place.

    A clear benefit will be all the trolls being unemployed and absent fom the office computers. Good riddance and enjoy the scrapheap.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick, Are you following in the steps of Gordon Brown and his cabinet.

  • Comment number 26.

    i was more concerned with the question nick asked:

    Do Conservatives understand people like you?

    people like "you" is offensive, it implies that people in the north west are somewhat different from people elswhere... explain yourself nick

  • Comment number 27.

    Nick, As a Pendle resident I was dismayed at your piece. Why is it that you seem obsessed with presenting the stereotype of cobbled streets, terraced houses, views of run down areas and nothing positive?
    Sure, Pendle has all of those, but also much else - glorious country, attractive villages, some wonderful civic buildings, a stunning retail store and regeneration of worn out homes.
    It might not make any difference to the results of your survey, but at least it would show our area in a more balanced way.

  • Comment number 28.

    Unfortunately Nick,

    You are asking the wrong question.

    Until the voter understands that only by knowing the true nature of politics can you determine who you should vote for in any election, this country's future will be mapped out by those that don't know their politics, not by those that do.

    Until the voter understands that (tragically) the question should be which party and leader will do least damage to our green and pleasant land (ironic nostalgia), should determine where their vote should go, we are doomed to end up a nation that is still being run by a half wit, leading (?) a party so misguided they think people will still vote for them, after everything!

    You gave a wonderful picture of the true nature of politics in your coverage in Pendle this evening, when you said that the Conservatives must 'woo' the asian population, making up roughly 1 in 7. This embodies the truth that politics serves itself, ie. unless it adapts to gain the votes of the population in question it doesn't get enough votes to get re-elected / elected, and hence downgrades itself and its beliefs to appeal to the widest audience.

    This is why the voter needs to be aware of pre-election bribes, ie. what is this party going to do for me that the other won't. Going on Labour's record of zero manifesto pledges delivered on, people are going to be very disappointed if that is how they vote.

    To summarise, as a political commentator, you need to empower all voters to make their choice for the right (very tragically) reason.

  • Comment number 29.

    So we now hear that MPs' have Voted to change the way we Vote at future General Elections, NEXT YEAR after the upcoming G.E.

    This is just typical of our Muppet MPs' to be putting things off in their usual Jam - Tomorrow approach style by being unaccountable to everything with regarding too any important matters.

    With atleast half the current incumbants at Westminster stepping down due to being caught out having fiddled their Expenses Claim, and the other half having been fast asleep on the Job, so therefore Voting for any excuses to delay anything really comes as NO surprise to anyone, and perhap Pigs might Fly, or are they still classed as MPs' until they take their Golden Handshakes and flee.

  • Comment number 30.

    Post 23
    No! No! Noooooooooo!
    MaccyDeez and KFC's are a phenomenon of New Labour's era actually! Thatcher was overwhelmingly patriotic and would never have allowed foreign owners of our national assets! Remember her placing her "hankie" on the tail of a model BA plane?

    Oh and when I refer to "New Labour" I refer to the period 1990 todate!

  • Comment number 31.

    Post 27
    Nick. Don't take any notice. Pendle is a ****hole from where witches come from! Check out the history of the hill!

    I know because I come from nearby!

  • Comment number 32.

    re 30 there is no diferance between new labour and maggie,to there shame they did not put right what she did,all i said early was done in her term in office,sold all our gas,electric,water,railways to the highest bidder this is still going on,oaps to sell there homes to pay for care maggies ideas labours shame,remeber NorthenThatcherite she did more damage to us workers and our jobs and wefare at work than any body,we still have the legacy of agency workers with no rights but to be sacked at a moment back to the good old prewar days we are now the coolies of europe,eu membership with out the rights (good old maggie)

  • Comment number 33.

    Moscow Next?

  • Comment number 34.

    One thing I don't get up here is the love for Labour, they've been every bit as London-centric as the Tories. Oop North is where they occasionally condescend to visit before heading back to the metropolitan bubble.

    The only time they've ever favoured the north is when votes were needed, we get bribed with the crumbs the south-east can spare.

    Plus I recall when Tebbit came up here just after the IRA decided to bomb Manchester, and the Tories went all out to help us. Every time Labour has offered us something, it came with strings attached and tended to be something of a moving target.

    Where I live we've had cracks between communities, but Labour have stuck crowbars in those cracks and heaved - creating fractured communities across the north west. Oh the Tories had their riots in the 80's, but genesis of the ones that hit the likes of Oldham and Bradford came from the foundations. No pointing at thuggish, racist police this time, and the dregs of the far-right have frequently found their equals and opposites in their targets.

    I doubt I shall be voting Tory, but I know with concrete certainty Labour won't get my vote.

  • Comment number 35.


    Do Conservatives understand people like you?

    A plain stupid question!

    No party 'understands' anyone, but themselves.

    Politics has no principle, only cynicism angling for a few more votes. They are all one 'class' the new Bourbons. They NEVER do what the public want like the EU referendum, and will lie and cheat their way round doing anything right. Or at least too late, like immigration minor restraints.

    Give us back the proper hereditary Lords, the only bit of the system that came from an honest point! Any politician and appointee is in hock to the Parties, who are self interested, with no concern for right and wrong.

  • Comment number 36.

    I come from Pendle -- Nelson in fact, great place to grow up in the 60s left for University at 18 and never went back except for short visits. It was the 1944 Education act and the expansion of the Universities under Harold Wilson that did so much for me and the others who left Pendle for good. Had a great career in computers but left the UK, in disgust, in 2002 after IR35 was introduced, so hardly likely to be a great friend of Gordon Brown. Should have liked to view the report -- but I'm far to foreign to view BBC video, shame on you BBC by your own figures there are 5 million expats. I will be back in the UK and in Nelson in April for the first time in four years it will be interesting to hear what people have to say.

  • Comment number 37.

    As mildy interesting as these investigatory provincial jaunts perhaps are to some, they are unfortunately wholly meaningless, and one cannot help but become suspicious that the writer of them is perhaps just rambling off his own musings.

    And the title of the "series" of blogs also sounds dangerously similar to another common phrase..

  • Comment number 38.

    13. At 8:14pm on 09 Feb 2010, Red Lenin wrote:
    There is only one way to sort these jokers out - whichever party came second in your relevant constituency, vote for them this time round. Doesn't matter what party it is or what party you normally vote for - just vote for the one that came second last time.

    If just one voter in ten did this in every Constituency in the country did this then two thirds of the current MPs would lose their seats.

    Pass iton and write to your local papers - lets make a cause of it - The Vote Second campaign

    =============
    Excellent, I've been pushing for "Anyone but the sitting MP" for years, there was a website

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    that first go me interested, it was also aimed at Councillors too, but its disappeared now. That would also be highly entertaining on election night. I'm for it!

    Whilst I'm on hobby horses,

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/index.htm

    Above is the link to the tax man, all you people who want to raise taxes can simply find the number from this site, give them a call and get their Bank details and you can voluntarily pay as much as you want.

    If you all do that today, then you could all post how much you have volunteered.

    Who is going to be first? We could have a Roll of Honour, and have them mentioned at the start of every post, OK there are so many of you it might not be possible every post. Maybe we can have a league table, we could publish the top 3.

    Gosh, how exciting, I can't wait to read the blog tomorrow night and see how many have volunteered and how much they have paid! It makes one proud to think that Britain has so many dedicated Socialists! It will be like our own Pudsey Bear! We could have an totaliser, what with the comedy and this, who wants to watch telly, Nick's Blogg could be the Place to hang out!




  • Comment number 39.

    #29 LondonHarris

    "So we now hear that MPs' have Voted to change the way we Vote at future General Elections, NEXT YEAR after the upcoming G.E.

    This is just typical of our Muppet MPs....


    I think you mean typical of Labour MPs, supported as usual by the LibDems.

    How Ironic that Labour in its dying days suddenly wants a constitutional referendum on an issue that they have not raised in 13 years of mis-rule, and was certainly not mentioned in their last election manifesto.

    Yet, on the big constitutional issue (the European constitutional treaty), Brown denied us a referendum even though it had been promised in their election manifesto.

    No surprise that the LibDems support Labour on this. They also reneged on their manifesto promise and supported Brown in bulldozing Lisbon through - without putting it to the people.

    Labour and LibDems have no concept of democracy.

    Any change to our constitution must be a matter for a new government to consider - not this bunch of discredited MPs who are about to be booted out of office.


  • Comment number 40.

    After seeing your interesting report tonight there is one question I wonder about - when the voters you talk to say they are "fed up with Labour" why do they go straight to the Conservatives without even a thought for the Lib Dems? Why is that party seemingly invisible to voters?

  • Comment number 41.

    #40 FifthDecade

    "Why is that party seemingly invisible to voters?"

    Because LibDems, like Labour, cannot be trusted.

    Both parties broke their own election manifesto promises on holding a referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty - but now conspire together to change the electoral system.

    The Lib Dems obviously can't win, but hope for a hung parliament where they will support Labour (as they always do in the end). Remember the Lib-Lab pacts of 1903, 1924, 1929 and 1977....

    A vote for LibDems is a really vote for Gordon Brown.

  • Comment number 42.

    No real surprises there Nick, general disgust at this mendacious and incompetent government riven by careerism, in fighting and spin, but no real enthusiasm for Blairlite Cameron.

    He just gets the nod for me over Brown, but my vote's likely to go elsewhere.

    Haven't quite decided yet...

  • Comment number 43.

    If anyone in the BBBC thinks they are genuinely taking the pulse of the nation I will eat my hat.

    The BBBC has its own agenda . Mr Robinson it is NOT a two horse race.

    There are several small parties who may find they have MPs at the end of the general election and they could very well hold the balance of power.
    Now would'nt that be fun!

  • Comment number 44.

    39 Distant

    It is no surprise the Lib Dems supported this as voting reform to a true proportional representation is a longstanding policy of the party. To have not supported it even though they know and freely state this specific vote is a cheap gimic tactic would have been hypocritical.

    ATV is more favourable to Labour as they calculate that most non-tories will select them second as the report provides, it is assumption but backs their case.
    Lib Dems prefer a system which results in truly representative share of MPs for the votes cast (i.e. you get what you vote for however good or bad that may be), and which it appears is likely to disadvantage them since it is expected that their core vote is very low and most MPs they have are due to tactical voting in the anyone but them style.
    Under the current system the majority can rightfully moan that when it all goes wrong they were not to blame - but under true PR if it goes wrong then they cannot claim they were not - this in my view would make people think more carefully about the choices they make and the effects they have.

    However it is never going to happen, even if the vote is made law before the election Cameron will have it repealed and the vote will never happen.

    So if you made the stretch to believe that Labour actually meant it, which may be true (they are responsible for the various PR forms used in the London Mayor, devolved assemblies etc) - then by objective means only those who voted against any form of PR could be classed as undemocratic.
    Both Labour and Conservative voted down the Lib Dem amendment on STV which is a more proportional system than ATV.

    Guess that means Conservatives also are anti-democratic doesn't it?

    They aren't just that they prefer a system of democracy which helps them usually. Strange given that in PR elections such as in Scotland where they have more MSPs than FPTP constituencies won, purely due to the PR used there.

    Also any change to the voting system is not for any government to consider, which ever flavour we have will only look at it if it advantages them - it is for 'us' to consider via a referendum on the matter. I hope we get the chance.

    When there is considerable apathy in the country as a whole to politicians in general largely becuase in many many places you may as well put your vote in the bin as bother to vote because it counts for nothing (the it's a safe red/blue seat so why bother voting becuase I can't affect the result thinking), a system where every vote actually means something may help to bring some credibility back to the whole edifice of parliament.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nick,

    before you put the box out you do realise that you are asking 2 separate questions and that if you phrase a single yes no answer in that fashion you are confusing the issue.

    Also for once when looking at the current landscape please get the figures and local council election stuff right. 2/2 failures on basic stuff you could get a researcher to find in 5 minutes flat is a pretty poor showing.

    Following the reports I guess the conclusion so far is blue 2 red nil.

  • Comment number 46.

    29. At 11:05pm on 09 Feb 2010, LondonHarris wrote:
    So we now hear that MPs' have Voted to change the way we Vote at future General Elections, NEXT YEAR after the upcoming G.E.

    =======================

    They haven't done that at all - they have voted to offer a referendum on whether to change the voting system i.e. to let 'us' have a vote on ATV or remain with FPTP.

    It is never going to happen though since it is unlikely to become law before the election and I reckon Cameron will repeal it should it actually by some miracle make it that far, since it is thought that ATV is unfavourable to the Conservatives chances generally.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick

    As a Lancashire lad I think your piece does highlight something that I have seen in my friends who voted for Labour in 1997 and in other elections.

    I can't think of one that is now going to vote Labour.
    Its usually expressed as

    I'm not voting for that lot again.

    The problem though is that the ones who are in the building trade and other manual jobs say they are thinking of voting BNP due to immigrants taking jobs and undercutting their pay rates.

    It seems the Labours open door policy to immigration because they believed that immigrants will vote Labour has backfired as they are loosing many of their core vote.

    I have a friend who is a local councilor who won a seat on what I have always thought of the strongest Labour council estate, for the Tories.

    No one knows what is coming at the next election but one thing is for certain Labour have lost a massive amount of support in my area of Lancashire.

  • Comment number 48.

    42. filipinomonkey wrote:

    "He just gets the nod for me over Brown, but my vote's likely to go elsewhere.

    Haven't quite decided yet..."



    Vote Green fm, it'll make you feel better.

  • Comment number 49.

    27. Pendlelad wrote:

    "Nick, As a Pendle resident I was dismayed at your piece. Why is it that you seem obsessed with presenting the stereotype of cobbled streets, terraced houses, views of run down areas and nothing positive?
    Sure, Pendle has all of those, but also much else - glorious country, attractive villages, some wonderful civic buildings, a stunning retail store and regeneration of worn out homes.
    It might not make any difference to the results of your survey, but at least it would show our area in a more balanced way."


    That wouldn't fit the narrative, Pl. This is political TV. It's a world of stereotypes and soundbites so the masses can understand it more easily.

  • Comment number 50.

    Interesting to note that the BBC appears to have decided to pursue its own agenda at the election...even down to making up the questions it wants the electorate to ask themselves and answer. Where did it get this idea from, one wonders?

    Shouldn't the BBC be pursuing the dual newlabour stories today that Gorodn Brown's promise of home care for the elderly is unfunded and will mean cutting other NHS services, and that newlabour relentlessly encouraged immigration because immigrants and their future descendents were more likely to vote newlabour?

    Isn't the more pertinent question to answer for sagamix and his merry band of newlabour apologists the one that starts; how does a party that has been so effective, spent so much money in public services and fought the recession with such skill and determination, only manage to poll at 30% or below for the last three years? It beats me. They surely deserve better treatment if their ideas and policies have been so successful.

    But they haven't have they?

    Call an election

  • Comment number 51.

    1. At 6:09pm on 09 Feb 2010, oik_oik wrote:
    Only a GE will sort out these questions, until then it is all pie in the sky. One thing though, to my mind, William Hague remains one of the better people in opposition, shame he was lamb to the slaughter 13 years ago, his time will come again I'm sure

    --------------

    I'd like to think so also, a sharper mind you'd be hard pressed to find in the house at the moment.

    He has ruled himself out for the highest post, but I suppose we all know that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

  • Comment number 52.

    Tories not ready for Government? What have Labour done to assure themselves of another go? Wrecked the economy, socialy engineered the population with their immigration non-policy lied about a referendumm on the Lisbon Treaty and on and on.....

    Instead of screaming for numbers from the opposition would it not make more sense to ask the encumbents to explain their policies and costings....

  • Comment number 53.

    47 portcullisgate.

    The trouble with disaffected voters is that they are likely to be easily swayed if the alternatives are not very impressive. At that point, presented with a voting paper, the cross goes in the familiar box.

    As to Nick's trippette around the more colourful and farther reaches of the UK is concerned, looking out for the best ice cream (Garstang) and the best chippy (Harrogate) and the best cobble stones, (Guildford) together with the best pargeting (St Neots), best local market (Higham Ferrers), best road for motorcycles (B660) best historic university town (Cambridge)best seaside (Overstrand)best yacht club (Chichester) most impressive church (Fotheringay)etc etc.

    However, all of these nostalgic tangible assets of the UK will not give a realistic view as to anyone's intended voting as there is time for a lot to change, and Broon is doing his best to bring on daily initiatives which spend more money but won't deliver - just like all the other initiatives he has spouted about since 1997, when he set the course for the UK to be in such a parlous position financially.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    'Others can't forgive what they think Margaret Thatcher did to the North.'
    There are people who think think that Margaret Thatcher was the best thing to happen to this country for a long time.
    I forgive them for thinking that.

  • Comment number 56.

    52. At 09:16am on 10 Feb 2010, Exiledscot52 wrote:
    Tories not ready for Government?

    -------------

    Its probably we true.

    But we know, for a fact (don't we?) that after 13 years, Labour are definately not ready. They never were. And we can't afford to find out if they ever will be.

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick

    You may have to take the pulse of BBC license holders with more revelations on salaries and expenses due to come out.
    On second thoughts, perhaps you're not the most suitable person for that.

    (Hope you're keeping an eye on your trip's expenses. Is that Astra Estate the most economical in its class?)

  • Comment number 58.

    2#

    Christ, you're like a record with a scratch in it. Hasn't that Nice Mr Whelan given you a box of any other slogan cards, for gods sake??

  • Comment number 59.

    50#
    Spot on. Front pages of the Telegraph, Sun and Mail.. Nothing on the BBC or SKY. I wonder why? The two biggest stories and..... nothing. Turn this around and if it was the Tories claiming unfunded policies or gerrymandering via immigration and the BBC and SKY would have been beaming it around the world. This is a scandal.

  • Comment number 60.

    14#

    Hear hear. Considering how much of a kicking the West Midlands has taken under NL in the last 12 years...

    LDV
    Rover
    Jaguar leaving Browns Lane
    Cadburys
    Peugot leaving Ryton

    And NL just stood by and watched it happen.

    I sincerely hope that Birmingham gets to administer the coup de grace to this fetid administration. Dont really care who they put in place of them, just get Brown and his mob OUT.

  • Comment number 61.

    "It's grim up North. At least, if you've been a Conservative in recent years...[the Tories] gained control of Lancashire County Council for the first time in almost three decades."

    So it's not THAT grim then is it?

    Rather depends on what you ask and who, I'd have thought. I mean, if you go up to some shambling cloth capped, string vest wearing 1960's class-war warrior throwback and ask what he thinks about the Tories and it's pretty obvious what answer you're going to get. Still stuck in their world where all working class people are heroes (although oddly seemingly without aspiration) and all middle class and upwards people drive around in horsedrawn carriages knocking over orphans as they go, they're hardly going to support the Tories are they?

  • Comment number 62.

    50/59#

    Yep, this time they've managed to get hold of the unredacted version of the Neather report. Might have a toddle over to Migrationwatch and see if they've got a copy of it on there.

    Bound to get Saga in a lather once he wakes up... it usually does.

  • Comment number 63.

    So the labour limousine is backfiring and has all sorts of mechanical problems. people don't want to get in it anymore, its evidently unreliable, unroadworthy and has cost enough money already. so they look to the conservative bentley. although it has a very questionable reliability record itself.. it has a new paint job and evidently the engines been fixed. how strange that everyone seems to want to drive this now without looking under the bonet, checking the service history and not even any questions for the mechanic. Unbelievable, unwise and dangerous!

  • Comment number 64.

    I see NuLabour have again showed their guile and sophistication when it comes to dealing with the business world. A bank the UK have a large part of has lent money to Kraft to buy Cadbury after a 'promise' to keep the Keynsham Cadbury factory open and then a week after the deal goes through Kraft announce they are closing it down.

    Still, I'm sure it will come as comfort to the 400 workers that Peter Mandleson is disapointed. I expect his next cocktail won't taste quite as nice.

  • Comment number 65.

    Good series Nick, I'm looking forward to the rest of it. It's a pity you didn't linger
    in Cardiff a bit longer, you missed the annual Lib Dem Cardiff restaurant punch
    up. It's only natural I suppose, what with them being in bed with the BNP on
    electoral reform, to adopt the social mores of that organisation. Regards,
    RWWCardiff.

  • Comment number 66.

    Lefty 10 taking your metaphor

    The labour car is clapped out failed it's MoT has 4 bald tyres and fails the emission test....

    Needs to be scrapped

  • Comment number 67.

    Andy

    didn't Gordon Brown say he would make sure that Kraft kept jobs in Britain? Or did I mishear that? Was he mumbling to hear his own voice? I certainly did not think that he would be able to do anything. Typical Brown to full of his own importance and muttering plattitudes? A waste of rations.

    So Kraft ignore Brown, why do we have to listen to him?

  • Comment number 68.

    Nick, What time does your stage coach leave for your next destination. I hope the working class people doff their caps as you pass by.

  • Comment number 69.

    "66. At 10:15am on 10 Feb 2010, Exiledscot52 wrote:
    Lefty 10 taking your metaphor

    The labour car is clapped out failed it's MoT has 4 bald tyres and fails the emission test....

    Needs to be scrapped"

    You've missed the point there, Exiledscot. I'm sure to Lefty, a clapped out car that has failed its MOT, failed its emission test and has 4 bald tyres IS a limousine. It's all relative, you see.

  • Comment number 70.

    20. At 9:12pm on 09 Feb 2010, alhjones wrote:
    Kraft just announced closure of Cadbury plant near Bristol, they are off to Poland, maybe you want to run down to there and ask the 400 workers that Mlud Mandelson said jobs were safe if they want 5 more yrs of GB.

    I think you'll find Cadbury's were already closing it (more profit), the workers were hoping for a change of heart. Some chance cash wins out again, institutions forced through sale to Kraft for additional profit.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick,
    “It’s grim up North”

    Your attempt at an alternative Coronation Street made for interesting viewing last night. But you may have to increase your factual content if you are to compete with the real thing. Let’s take for example your overriding theme that it’s grim up North, presumably when compared with the idyllic existence we all ‘enjoy’ in the other regions of the UK?

    Here is an excerpt from today’s Independent:
    “London has failed to make the top 50 “most live-able” cities, according to worldwide analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    Canada’s Vancouver scooped the top spot having met an impressive 98% of the criteria set by the surveyors, including the quality of healthcare, culture, environment and infrastructure.

    Vienna in Austria is ranked second, closely followed by Melbourne, Australia. The top 20 includes five Australian cities, three Canadian cities and two German cities.

    Manchester is the only UK city to make the top 50, coming in at 46th place and beating London’s ranking of 51st place. “

    Where each of us finds “most live-able” is a highly subjective thing, but this nicely timed article does put some perspective on the nonsense you broadcast last night. It was both condescending and unhelpful.

    Do you ever wonder why so many people are concerned about Auntie’s objectivity?

  • Comment number 72.

    67 - Yes, here's what good old Gordon had to say on the Kraft takeover....(courtesy of Sky News)

    "The Prime Minister has moved to reassure Cadbury workers that their jobs are safe, after the company agreed to a US takeover...."We are determined that the levels of investment that take place in Cadbury in the United Kingdom are maintained," he said. "We are determined that, at a time when people are worried about their jobs, that jobs in Cadbury can be secure."

    So, there you have it, the 400 worhers in Keynsham have nothing to worry about because they have Gordon on their side.

    I'm looking forward to see how Brown's apologists spin this one.

  • Comment number 73.

    66. no mention of the bentley though i see. point made.

  • Comment number 74.

    2 things:

    1. Time to clean that car - filthy! What a state! Standards dear boy!
    2. Why go from Cardiff to Pendle and back to Dudley? What about petrol consumption and the environment Nick?

  • Comment number 75.

    63#

    Ooooh, look the proles have discovered similies! How entertaining!

    Can we trade the Labour ZIL in under the scrappage scheme? Mind you, I think Obama got there first didnt he? "Cash For Clunkers"?

    ps... you could possibly have chosen a better example than Bentley... sold to the Germans in 1998.... on your watch.



    A lot of things that have been maybe deemed as British institutions have been sold off to continental owners since 1997 havent they lefty? What happened to "not in the public interest?"

    The same thing that happened to the unfettered social engineering unlimited immigration policy that your lot tried to keep secret for 12 years as well... anything to add to the unredacted Neather report emerging today?

  • Comment number 76.

    "DistantTraveller wrote:
    #29 LondonHarris

    "So we now hear that MPs' have Voted to change the way we Vote at future General Elections, NEXT YEAR after the upcoming G.E.

    I think you mean typical of Labour MPs, supported as usual by the LibDems."

    The stupid thing is that the Lib Dems voted for the Labour proposal in the hope that Labour would support their proposal on STV (which is actually much fairer than AV) but the Lib Dems were screwed over again.

    How many times must the Lib Dems learn the lesson that they can't trust Labour to support them?

  • Comment number 77.

    69.
    good morning Zacchaeus. look forward to more of your inverted ramblings today.......

  • Comment number 78.

    #71

    Totally agree about this rubbish series by the BBC.

    next news they'll be making up the questions on the ballot pare for newlabour....

    Please tick for for Gordon Brown to sensibly manage the british Economy for the next five years.

    Or please tick here if you would like to see David Cameron beaten by Grodon Brown.

    or please tick here if you would like none of the above but still think Gordon Brown should stay in charge.

    Never seen such a fatuous, simplistic attempt to hoodwink people into saying they either remeber the nasty tories or don't know what David Cameron stands for except he's ever so rich.

    How about asking these questions...

    Would you like Grodon Brown to continue for another five years destroying the value of your pensions/savings/earnings/investments?

    Would you like Gordon Brown to go on raising taxes for the next five years?

    Would you like Gordon Brown to continue to increase the deficit so that even your grandchildren will still be paying for it?

    Would you like Gordon Brown to continue to shower the public sector with cash and treat the rest of us like a milking cow?

    Would you like Gordon Brown to promote his henchman Ed balls to Chancellor so he can increase all your taxes again?


    I think we know what answer we might get to these questions.

    So go on, BBC. Ask them.

    Call an election

  • Comment number 79.

    75. good morning waldorf. again confusing me for a new labour apologist..sigh. looking forward to more of your sideshow today....

  • Comment number 80.

    72.
    just a shame alot of the manufacturing jobs have gone... trying to think of where that trend started???

  • Comment number 81.

    "lefty10 wrote:
    So the labour limousine is backfiring and has all sorts of mechanical problems. so they look to the conservative bentley. although it has a very questionable reliability record itself."

    Well given the choice between a car that has already lost control and crashed once and a car that has just come out of the garage after an earlier crash I would chose the one that has just came out of the garage.

    The strange thing is that the left winger posters try to convince us that Cameron and Osbourne are novices who have no experience, yet keep referring back to the Tory parties of the past and Cameron being the power behind Lamont's throne during black wednesday.

    Can't really have it both ways - either the Tories are all new and inexperienced or they are the same old Tories from the past.

  • Comment number 82.

    prod @ 59

    "Front pages of the Telegraph, Sun and Mail.. Nothing on the BBC or SKY. I wonder why?"

    Best to ask that the other way around. Nothing on the BBC or SKY and yet stuck on the front pages of the Telegraph, Sun and Mail. Wonder why? Want me to tell you? Because it (the immigration thing) is right wing rabble rousing of the most reprehensible variety. It's not news, it's pandering to prejudice. Food for fools. The day this sort of stuff is let out of its box and taken seriously in this country is the day the music dies.

  • Comment number 83.

    "69.
    good morning Zacchaeus."

    Oh dear, you've clearly not been paying attention. Zacchaeus was a tax COLLECTOR, I am a tax ADVISOR. My job is to give tax collectors as little as possible to do.

    How's Twaddle Island doing today? Has the strike 'magiced up' those missing coconuts?

  • Comment number 84.

    "Exiledscot52 wrote:
    Lefty 10 taking your metaphor

    The labour car is clapped out failed it's MoT has 4 bald tyres and fails the emission test....

    Needs to be scrapped"

    Only problem is that we won't get the £2000 scrappage allowance - not sure why though. The banger IS more than 10 years old.

  • Comment number 85.

    c555 @ 61

    "if you go up to some shambling cloth capped, string vest wearing 1960's class-war warrior throwback and ask what he thinks about the Tories and it's pretty obvious what answer you're going to get."

    Useful glimpse into the interior of a small minded bigot.

    Thank you, Andy.

  • Comment number 86.

    70. At 10:24am on 10 Feb 2010, telw wrote:
    20. At 9:12pm on 09 Feb 2010, alhjones wrote:
    Kraft just announced closure of Cadbury plant near Bristol, they are off to Poland, maybe you want to run down to there and ask the 400 workers that Mlud Mandelson said jobs were safe if they want 5 more yrs of GB.

    I think you'll find Cadbury's were already closing it (more profit), the workers were hoping for a change of heart. Some chance cash wins out again, institutions forced through sale to Kraft for additional profit.

    --------------

    This much is true.

    The issue is Labour trying to take credit for saving jobs when it looked like it might possibly happen, and then slinking off with their tail between their legs afterwards. "Nothing we could do, honest".

  • Comment number 87.

    82 - "Because it (the immigration thing) is right wing rabble rousing of the most reprehensible variety. It's not news, it's pandering to prejudice."

    It's because of your approach (taken by Labour as well, until very recently) that the loathsome BNP have gained support. If every time someone so much as suggests that maybe immigration ought to be looked at you screech "RACIST, RACIST" at the top of your voice, is it any wonder people (mainly traditional Labour voters) move to the BNP?

    And no, I don't support them, see my use of the word "loathsome".

    And no, I don't have any particulalry strong views on the subject myself, except that I hate to see the rise of a party like the BNP.

    And yes, it's an indictment of the whole situation created by Labour that I have to suffix my point with a whole raft of clarifications, lest someone screech "RACIST, RACIST" at me.

  • Comment number 88.

    85. At 11:08am on 10 Feb 2010, sagamix wrote:
    c555 @ 61

    "if you go up to some shambling cloth capped, string vest wearing 1960's class-war warrior throwback and ask what he thinks about the Tories and it's pretty obvious what answer you're going to get."

    Useful glimpse into the interior of a small minded bigot.

    Thank you, Andy.

    -------------

    I don't think shambling cloth capped, string vest wearing 1960's class-war warrior throwbacks are necessarily small minded bigots.

    How very unprogressive of you saga.

  • Comment number 89.

    "telw wrote:

    I think you'll find Cadbury's were already closing it (more profit), the workers were hoping for a change of heart. Some chance cash wins out again, institutions forced through sale to Kraft for additional profit."

    True, but Kraft promised to save the factory if it took over the company. It took over the company but decided to go ahead with the closure anyway.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    82#


    Ah, Saga....

    You didnt disappoint.

    Just like one of those embarrassing, oversoaked middle aged dads at a wedding when the DJ puts on Blame It On The Boogie or YMCA, who has to get up and show all their signature moves on the floor... Its a Pavlovian reaction.

    You can be in denial all you like mate, but the cat can see daylight, has got its claws out and is scrabbling like hell to get amongst those pigeons. The original document we referred to last year has been in the open for some time, now the unredacted one has been obtained under FOI.

    You can deny it all you like, but it will out in the end. How NL sold out the voters and rammed multiculturalism down their throats for their own political ends, allowing in not just the professional immigrants that any developed economy such as ours will always need, but also half the worlds detritus as well.


    As if we cant breed and sustain enough of our own.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hi Lefty,

    There's a good post (don't recognise the writer) at 44 on Andrew Neil's "Much ado about nothing" blog. It's about one of the worst and most worrying aspects of current political debate - the demonising of poor people on benefits c.f. the drooling admiration for rich people who dodge tax.

  • Comment number 93.

    85 - Since a bigot is defined as someone with strong opinions (on for example politics) who refuses to accept others' opionions, I'd say that applies to lots on here, including, indeed especially, you.

    As for small minded, hardly, have you any idea of much tax legislation I need to keep in my head? It's all very well if the only thing you have to remember each day is to get up and turn the computer on but some of us need far more active minds than that.

    Besides, you've missed the sub context of my post.

    Besides (besides) are you saying there are NO 1960's throw-back class war warriors left in the UK? Are they all chardonnay sipping inteligensia socialists these days?

  • Comment number 94.

    86. haye.
    try attacking the system in which all political parties operate. want to hear your positive suggestions for a change in system? if you have any?

  • Comment number 95.

    No6 Northern Thatcherite,
    Claims that the people in the North loved Thatcher.That may, or indeed, may not be true. However,I am sure he will recall that the Tories at Westminster, the people that knew her best, cared very little for her.They stabbed her in the back, booted her out and stamped her out like a beetle.
    Some people think it was their 'Finest Hour'

  • Comment number 96.

    86. At 11:09am on 10 Feb 2010, greatHayemaker wrote:
    This much is true.

    The issue is Labour trying to take credit for saving jobs when it looked like it might possibly happen, and then slinking off with their tail between their legs afterwards. "Nothing we could do, honest".

    -----------------------------

    But was he talking about saving future jobs, not losses which were already decided in 2007.
    I don't know, because I have not seen relevant footage, have you.

  • Comment number 97.

    90 - No, I was a Tax Inspector, not a tax collector. Entirely different branch of the (then) Inland Revenue. I have explained this before, do try and keep up.

    Now, already told you once, it's YOUR island, I'm not there. There won't be a private sector for you to come whining to for hand-outs and help when it all goes wrong.

  • Comment number 98.

    RE: 76 Mark_WE

    The stupid thing is that the Lib Dems voted for the Labour proposal in the hope that Labour would support their proposal on STV...

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    STV, or Second - Hand Television as it could be referred to now, due to the overload of repeated TV Programmes being shown during Prime - Time Hours along with second rate Films because of the high rate they say that they would have to pay to show what is available on the rest of the ITV Network, and they still further claim that they are being over-charged by the much larger ITV Network as Scottish Television is privately owned and run out-side and apart from the rest of the Independent Television Network.

    It is interesting to note that in the future, News gathering and also Broadcasting of STV News will be undertaken by BBC Scotland, also it is a complete mystery to me why BBC Scotland has not been given complete independent control of its own News Services so that it can put out a Scottish version of the 1, 6, and 10 O'Clock News Bulletings.

    It therefore seems to me that the above needs to be sorted out before Scotland gets another TV Channel that as yet like in the Case and in the current position of STV they cannot afford to run or show up todate TV Programmes.

  • Comment number 99.

    90. At 11:17am on 10 Feb 2010, lefty10 wrote:
    83.
    u used to be a tax collector and its all peter to pay paul anyway...
    anyway twaddle island is fine. hows it on the west side of the island in your mansion. i hear you have planted some more palm trees as to block out the view of the great unwashed on the east side lol?

    --------------

    Its rather sad to see when someone loses the ability to debate on an intellectual level and descends to mindless ad hominem believing it to be a substitute. Since this is the second time in 24 hours you have done so, I suspect it will come to represent a trend.

    Don't think I shall waste any more time reading your posts. Can I suggest others extend the same treatment, perhaps if no attention is given, the bland pejorative attacks will go away.

  • Comment number 100.

    Can anyone please tell me why an unelected disgraced ex politician has come to run, oh sorry advise on running the country?

    You have to admire Mandy he couldn't do it through the front door so he went around the back so to speak.

    Sorry for the rant but I thought we were in a democracy where we actually voted in our Government!

 

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