Category Archives: Labour

Popular Hashtags in the 2010 UK General Election Campaign #GE2010

 

This general election has been the first in which Hastags have played a part, they are used in social networks and most commonly in twitter, as user-generated meta data.  Put simply they are a way of identifying and therefore following tweets that cover the election or an aspect of it .  Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular ones

#GE2010  –  This is the default tag for posts that relate to the 2010 general election.  There are others but this has emerged as the most popular because it is economical in its use of characters.

#GE10  –  A shorter form, but less used than the above.  Useful if you have run out of characters but likely to be seen by fewer people.

#Vote  –  Has been used both as a short generic hashtag for the election but was also popular in encouraging voters to register before the deadline.

#UKElection  –  More instantly recognisable than #GE2010 but not quite as popular because it eats up more characters.

#LeadersDebate –  One of the most interesting because it was part of a phenomenon that TV programme makers call “two-screen”, using a laptop or smart phone to comment on live television.  It mean that social networks rather than conventional media were the first to pass judgement on the performance of the part leaders during the TV debates.

#iagreewithnick –  Echoing Gordon Brown’s famous utterance during the first TV debate and used primarily to show support for the LibDem leader during the bounce his party received after the first debate.

#NickCleggsFault  – Widely employed to mock the print media’s ‘assassination’ attempts on Clegg.  It was a meme that lasted a few days as Clegg was accused of all manner of spoofed wrongdoings.

#paxo   – Similar to the #LeadersDebate but employed for the Paxman leader interviews.

#LibDemFlashMob  – The hashtag used to organise the Liberal Democrat gatherings in Trafalgar Square and other UK cities on Bank Holiday Monday.

#InVinceCable  – Used by a group of digital marketeers and PR people, and their fellow travellers, to promote Vince Cable as Chancellor in the event of a hung or balanced parliament.  (FD  Election10 endorses the objectives of the #InVinceCable campaign).

#Labourdoorstep – Used by Labour candidates and activists to emphasise the fact that they were taking the campaign directly to the voters.

I’m going to venture another one that might become popular in the next few days. #Hung10 anyone?

Labour and Conservative Decline Traces Back Over Half a Century

This morning I posted about the decline in the overall share of the two “major” parties and how this pointed to a certain hung parliament.

The post attracted a lot of traffic and several comments not least from one Ben Goldacre, journalist, doctor and author of the Bad Science blog.  I used ICM/Guardian data and plotted a graph showing the decline in votes over the last 20 years for the two major parties. He accused me of bullshitting and repeatedly called me a twat because I had omitted data from 1984-1990 that was available from the Guardian.  In fact the reason for starting from 1990 was because 20 years seemed like a good length of time to support the argument and there was a blip in the early eighties caused by the split of the SDP from Labour and their alliance with the Liberals.  I ought to point out that I wasn’t entirely blameless in the exchange in that I suggested he’d had a drink or two. Sorry Ben.

I am now posting using election data from the last 50 years and the latest poll data for 2010.  I think the picture is pretty clear and undistorted and supports the earlier hypothesis.  The combined support for the two main parties has been falling for 50 years.  If that continues and there is no proof that it will then two-party politics is on the way out.  The defining moment might just be on Thursday.

‘Hung’ Parliament Guaranteed by Labour and Conservative Decline

The TV debates aren’t responsible for the Hung Parliament that will follow Thursday’s election as surely as night follows day.  A quarter of a century of decline in the combined Labour and Conservative share of the vote means that the two party stranglehold over UK politics is on its way out and Clegg’s TV performance was just a tipping point.

One of the wonderful things about the web is the accessibility of data.  The Guardian has published all of the Guardian/ICM polling data since 1984. At Election 10 we took the combined Labour and Conservative share for every poll and created the graph above.  In 1990 the two parties were claiming almost 90% of the vote between them this has shrunk to a little over 60% and it has been a steady consistent decline.   A continuation of this would mean a government taking power that was opposed by around 65% of the population.  Even our bizarre electoral system can’t sustain this.

To predict the future we must delve into the past.  In this case the past is telling us that the party is very nearly over for the reds and blues and the voters will be calling time this Thursday.

How the 2010 Election Gap has Narrowed in Red, Blue and Gold


There’s a brilliant web site, independently run by YouGov political analyst Anthony Wells, called the UK Polling Report.  Along with lots of other election data is brings together all the opinion polls every day.  It also has data going back to the last election.  There is perhaps no better representation of what has happened in the last couple of weeks than this graph taken from the site.  Between 2005 and 2008 the Labour and Conservative shares were much of a muchness, whilst the last two years saw unbroken Tory dominance, albeit with a steady narrowing of the gap since last summer. Then wham bam thank you mam the three parties collided after the first TV debate and that look very much like where we’ll be in just over a week’s time.

Was YouGov’s Flawed Leaders’ Debate Poll Deliberate or Merely Inept?

Since we posted on the Leaders’ Debate Poll conducted by YouGov on Thursday there has been an extraordinary revelation.  YouGov says their internet poll on the TV debate was conducted between 9.27pm and 9.31pm, so the majority of responses were taken during the debate not after it.

This is critical because it means the poll was taken during the summing up speeches.  The speeches took place at the following times:

Brown          9:26:30  – 9:28:05

Cameron     9:28:08  – 9:29:17

Clegg            9:29:18  – 9:30:47‬

That means that over half of the polling would have been done before Clegg summed up in the debate.   It also meant that up to half the responses were taken whilst Cameron was summing up and had sole command of the floor and the cameras.  That’s a serious flaw in the process and is either incompetence or intentional distortion.  You decide which you think it was.

Did Leaders Debate Damage YouGov Brand Value?

The YouGov/Sun poll gained an enormous amount of exposure on Sky TV last night when it appeared minutes after the TV debate wrapped up.  It put Cameron clearly in the lead and fired up an already excitable Kay Burley.   When other polls appeared the tale was somewhat different as ITV/ComRes, the Guardian/ICM and The Mirror all put Clegg first, with The Mirror even reporting that Cameron had come last.  So what was going on.   A quick look at twitter confirmed a broader sense of astonishment at the YouGov findings.  The tweet…

YouGov Poll: Earth round 23% Earth flat 64% Earth other-shaped 13% #LeadersDebate

..was posted by hundreds of voters. A Twitpic that has been viewed over 18,000 times suggests that YouGov has been polling on behalf of  either the Tories or Labour to elicit voter fears in the event of the Liberals gaining a big share of the vote.

Twitter posts also pointed to the extraordinary fact that the founder and (until the start of the campaign) CEO of YouGov is a Conservative candidate. It isn’t much of  stretch to question the independence and therefore reliability of a polling organisation that may be commercially and politically aligned to one of the major parties.   In this game value and reliability are very closely linked.

Roger Godsiff MP and How the Web Roots Out Dirty Tricks

After the TV debate turned the election into a three way contest it was widely predicted that the campaign would enter a tougher phase.  Step forward Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham, Sparkbrook & Small Heath MP.  It appears that the MP defending a three way marginal seat is not averse to a dirty trick or two.  

Birmingham blogger Anthony Herron revealed that since the TV debate Godsiff’s campaign has descended into accusing the LibDems of promoting the interests of a series of paedophiles and murderers. This leaflet is so breathtaking that one can only imagine it to be fake, but if we turn to the really rather brilliant TheStraightChoice.org a website that publishes election leaflets on the web, nearly all of them in fact, it publishes the same leaflet with details showing it was delivered today.  

So who is this MP, that is so desperate to take the gloves off?   Well the web tells us that too and if we look at his entry on They Work For You we’ll discover that he had the 2nd biggest expense claim of the 2008/09 session at a whopping £189,338.  Nice chap.

Mail on Sunday Poll Puts LibDems First

A poll in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday puts the Liberal Democrats in poll position with two and a half weeks to go before May 6th and the real vote.  The breakdown of the BPIX – Mail on Sunday is as follows:

Liberal Democrats 32%
Conservatives 31%
Labour 28%

The other polls published in the national press tomorrow have the Tories in first place but with a much reduced margin and the LibDems are second in one with Brown’s Labour party hanging on to second place in the Telegraph/ICM prediction.

The Sunday Mirror/Independent on Sunday/ComRes poll has the Conservatives on 31% (-4), Labour on 27 per cent (-2) and the Liberal Democrats on 29 per cent (+8).  The Sunday Telegraph/ICM poll puts the Tories on 34 per cent (-3), Labour on 29 per cent (-2) and the Lib Dems on 27 per cent (+7).  YouGov and the Sunday Times have the Conservatives at 33%, Labour 30% and Liberal Democrats 29%.

Sarah Brown Is Going To Keep On Tweeting To Election Day


Back in February we speculated as to whether Sarah Brown’s twitter account might form part of Labour’s social media election strategy.  It is difficult to see how it can play a major part but it will continue help to soften Gordon’s image and it is likely add significantly to its 1.1 million followers in the next four weeks.

There is no doubt that this is Sarah’s account but it does show significant signs of being ‘managed’.   Her follower numbers have been in steady decline this year – possibly bots being removed – but went into increase yesterday on the eve of the election call.

Either way,  if you check the video above Sarah has made it clear she’s going to keep on tweeting.

Gordon Brown •••••••• Calling the General Election Tomorrow

It’s still the view at Election 10 that the vote will be on May 6th but the idea that Brown will go to the Palace tomorrow to seek a dissolution is frankly a load of toss. Why? Because he doesn’t have to.

The last date for calling an election to be held on the 6th of May is next Monday (12th April) and that is when it will most likely happen.  Any sooner and that will mean that the phony war is over and the campaign will be stepped up several gears. The shorter the campaign the better as far as GB and the Labour Party are concerned.   The Tory party coffers are much deeper than Labour’s and that means more money for campaigning and costly advertising.  Calling the election tomorrow will put the socialist fighting fund at risk of running out before the plebiscite. That, quite simply, is why it won’t happen.

Note: this article made a bold and perhaps with the benefit of hindsight foolhardy claim about the date the election would/would not be called. It was amended late on Monday 5th April but the original is intact as you can see for your (and our) amusement.