Elections

Nigel Farage is right – after Rochester all general election bets are off

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the The Guardian

 

It is not often that Nigel Farage finds himself at the centre of a political consensus, but he spoke for Westminster in his analysis of what Ukip’s Rochester victory meant for the general election. “All bets are off,” he declared. “The whole thing’s up in the air.” This has not stopped the political classes fretting over the weekend about What It All Means. (more…)

Don’t blame it on the coalition – how the parties have failed the test set in 2010

PoliticosGuide

By Lord Ashcroft

This essay appears in The Politicos Guide To The 2015 General Election

 

Let’s start with a quiz. Shortly after the last election, which clown wrote this?

“Even if the stars had aligned in such a way as to make a minority Conservative government a real possibility, the choice David Cameron made to enter a coalition would still have been the right one, both for the country and for the Conservative Party.”

(more…)

What I told the ConHome conference about my battleground poll

ConfPic

By Lord Ashcroft

Here is the text of my speech to the Conservative Home Spring Conference this afternoon in which I discussed the detail of my latest battleground poll. The slides from my presentation are here.

—–

Good afternoon, and as the proud proprietor of Conservative Home let me add my welcome to our second annual Spring Conference.

As you will know by now, I am here to tell you what is really going on. (more…)

UKIP’s Euro-voters are now up for grabs

By Lord Ashcroft

Tomorrow night’s European Parliament election results will bring a frenzy of analysis and speculation. Why did so many people vote UKIP? Who did they support before? What do they care about? And most of all, what will they do when it comes to the next election?

As we pollsters say: you can guess, or you can find out. In the 12 hours after the polls closed on Thursday night I surveyed over 4,000 people who took part in the Euro election. My poll doesn’t try to predict the result – that would be illegal before voting has finished in all European countries – but it helps explain why voters did what they did, and what they might do next. (more…)

One year to go

Basic RGB

By Lord Ashcroft

Towards the end of the last parliament a cartoon showed a lady asking her husband, “Is it possible to be sick of an election before it’s started?” Many will have the same thought long before – 365 days from today – we choose our next government. (more…)

Not being a party of government helped UKIP yesterday. Will it in 2015?

By Lord Ashcroft

Well that could have been worse. A lot better too, certainly, but let’s keep things in perspective. The UKIP performance is by far the most striking feature of the local election results, and I will come to that, but there are other things to observe.

First, there is nothing remarkable about a governing party losing ground (though there is also no guarantee that it will be regained in time). The overall result, if not the precise losses, could have been predicted the day after the 2010 election. (more…)

Britons still don’t believe that the Tories are on their side

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in the Financial Times

There is a ritual, and even a specialised vocabulary, for midterm local elections in the UK. In advance, they are always a “crucial test” of the government’s popularity, and the opposition’s ability to turn poll ratings into votes. Next comes expectation management, when incumbent parties brief that they will lose practically all their councillors, and the challengers claim they expect to gain hardly any, in the forlorn hope of bamboozling political reporters.

(more…)

1992. The last elected Conservative government

By Lord Ashcroft

The past week has been one of great loss for Britain. It has also contained an anniversary which has, not surprisingly, gone unremarked: it is now 21 years since the Conservative Party last won a general election with an overall majority.

Some will recall 9 April 1992 more clearly than most – not least the man who then headed the Conservative Research Department’s Political Section. Can that 25 year-old aide to John Major have imagined that despite its fourth consecutive victory and 14 million votes (a total which remains a record), his party’s standing with the public would be reversed within a year – and that the next Conservative Prime Minister to enter Number 10 would be him?

(more…)

Words matter. Don’t choose them too carefully

By Lord Ashcroft

Nobody who listened to George Osborne’s Budget speech could have been in any doubt about what he was trying to say. If anyone missed the message about “aspiration” at the first mention, or the second, they would surely have picked it up by the sixteenth.  Yawn! The aim of building an “aspiration nation” and helping “hard working people who want to get on in life” was reinforced days later by David Cameron in his immigration speech, in which he also found three opportunities to remind us that Britain was in a “global race”, a theme he first introduced at last year’s Conservative conference.

(more…)

The odds are (literally) against us – but is it over yet?

roulette

By Lord Ashcroft

Every pundit has a theory about the next election, and the New Year has brought a flurry of them. Some believe a Conservative victory is impossible; others think it is the most likely outcome. Unlike the commentators, the bookies have to back their theories with cash. Their expectations are clear. For them, an overall majority for Labour is the most likely result in May 2015 – Ladbrokes will give you only 11/8, and Paddy Power 5/4 on this outcome. A hung parliament looks to them less probable than a Labour victory, with the two firms offering 13/8 and 7/4 respectively on no party winning outright.

(more…)