Thanks to the English and Welsh party for their help with this.
April 2010 Archives
Apparently there's an election on, and this has rather got in the way of blogging. But today we got the best editorial I can remember, and it was in the News of the World.
They reported our plans to bring a vote to Holyrood on Thursday calling for a living wage of £7 an hour, up from the current £5.80. The national level is set at Westminster, but Scottish Ministers can start right now with the public sector here, where 20% of staff still get less than this living wage.
I will leave the analysis to the News of the World.
Greens north and south of the border are making the case that in a Parliament without a majority, even a few Green voices can make more of a difference than another Labour, Tory, Lib Dem or Nat member.
This is the sort of issue we mean - just close your eyes and try to imagine Nick Clegg or David Cameron arguing for a pay rise for the lowest paid in society.
At first I thought His Daleness had fallen through some kind of April Fool wormhole, but no, it really looks like Labour think that comparing "Dave" to Gene Hunt is a good idea.
Bear in mind I've only seen Life on Mars series one, but I understand it's the same character. I'm a tofu-eating former roads protester, and this is not a damaging comparison. I liked 1970s bad apple Gene Hunt a lot more than his do-good time-travelling colleague.
Second, it's a working class role, or it was. It's undermining all those "can't trust a posh boy" pseudo-class war messages Labour are trying to run in the background.
I may have missed the point, and there may be nothing whatsoever left to like about Gene Hunt by the time we get to Ashes to Ashes. But this looks like some kind of weird dummy, like Labour have designed a notionally people-led campaign to go wrong simply so Cameron's face can be everywhere for four days.
I can see no other explanation. If they wanted to tie Dave into the dark days of Thatcherism and remind us of how dark they really were, they'd surely have used a version of this image instead:
.. and checked how the parties matched up to their views, we'd be doing rather well. The gorgeously-coded Vote For Policies has been running a week or so now, and more than 25,000 people have picked blind from six parties' policy positions - Labour, Tory, LibDem, Green, BNP & UKIP.
Despite the caveat that this is a self-selected group who've visited the website, the headline position is inspiring enough at the top end:
And it's not just the Green membership voting - Twitter is full of people who've taken the questionnaire and are surprised about how Green-minded they are (examples 1, 2, 3)
During the week the founders then added breakdowns for the nine policy areas chosen, where obviously there's a lot of Green going on. In fact, we come top on seven out of nine areas, including areas where one might not expect us to: crime, immigration, health & education, for instance. Labour are currently squeaking past us on Europe policy, and the Lib Dems put us into second on the economy.
Last place in each policy area is always the BNP or UKIP (bear in mind it's just policy text people see, so theoretically stripping away preconceptions). On immigration, pleasingly, the BNP have the least popular position, followed by UKIP and the Lib Dems: it transpires these people actually want Britain to welcome immigrants and asylum seekers!
On democracy (really reform, I suppose), there's another interesting split. There's three generally popular positions: ours, then the LibDems', then Labour's, scoring just over 30% down to just below 25% in that order. Then there are three notably less popular position: the BNP's, the Tories' and UKIP's, from just over 7% to just under 6%. No wonder the public haven't been trusted with a PR referendum yet.
Those positionings in full..
Green. 1st = 7, 2nd = 2
Labour. 1st = 1, 2nd = 2, 3rd = 3, 4th = 2, 5th = 1.
LibDem. 1st = 1, 2nd = 2, 3rd = 3, 4th = 1, 5th = 2.
Tory. 2nd = 3, 3rd = 1, 4th = 1, 5th = 4.
UKIP. 3rd = 1, 4th = 3, 5th = 2, 6th = 3.
BNP. 3rd = 1, 4th = 2, 6th = 6
Tory strategists will probably like this least - it's pretty clear that, at least as far as respondents to this questionnaire go, their actual policies aren't very attractive. On crime, education and health, though, I'm sure they'll be pleased to be ahead of Labour and the Lib Dems, even if behind us on all three issues.
Leaving aside the partisan pleasures these numbers afford, it reinforces one obvious thing: people clearly don't vote on policies, otherwise we'd have won already. It's a mix of other factors like personality, narrative and visibility. We need to work harder on visibility in particular, and we need to avoid the temptation of publishing leaflets which are just laundry-lists of these policies to woo people. That's not the lesson of this exercise.
So go do the survey if you haven't. You may be surprised: I wasn't.