Thursday 7 May 2015

Polling station, then pub

Well, here are the results of the Mudgie opinion poll for the 2015 General Election. I made a point of not sharing or promoting this anywhere else and so the results are more representative than the last one.

As I said in the comments, there’s a clear dichotomy between the two contrasting demographics that the blog appeals to:

  1. Smoking ban opponents and general advocates of “lifestyle liberty”, who are likely to be predominantly UKIP

  2. The CAMRA/beer blogging community, who mainly have left-wing sympathies, either Labour or Green
There does seem to be a something of a cognitive dissonance on the last point, given Labour’s support for various anti-pub and anti-drink measures, such as the smoking ban and the duty escalator, and the Greens’ expressed desire to considerably increase alcohol duty. Obviously it’s a rather narrow view to cast your vote purely on the basis of the interests of the beer industry, but I do wonder how many genuinely believe that a Labour government would improve its prospects, and how many still vote Labour for other reasons despite that.

I’m not going to launch into a lengthy political diatribe, but I’m sure it will come as no surprise that locally I will be voting for this chap, who is an excellent candidate. I will make a couple of further points, though:

A survey shows that the key feature distinguishing UKIP supporters from those of other parties is opposition to “lifestyle regulation”, something that goes much further than the smoking ban and represents a genuine undercurrent of anger and frustration at the ever-growing encroachment of the Nanny Bully State.

Last month, the Morning Advertiser carried out a Q & A session with Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins and his shadow Toby Perkins. Read it and see what you think. But it takes a bit of brass neck for Perkins to say “we want to see a higher proportion of Britain’s alcohol drunk in pubs” when the last Labour government did more than any since Lloyd George to achieve the opposite.

As a general rule, most of what politicians say about pubs is self-serving, hypocritical bollocks. The best thing they could do is just to leave them alone, rather than indulge in misguided attempts to “save” them which may well end up having the opposite effect.


  1. Impressive that all of UKIPs voters read this site.

  2. Come on then, let's hear how many seats you think UKIP will win.

  3. I'd be surprised if UKIP win any seats, but they may well tip the balance in marginals. The true destruction will happen in local elections. In my local authority - North Tyneside - UKIP have a candidate in every ward, many of which are marginal and just a few votes going to the kippers from the other parties will make a big difference.

  4. I'm a mid-lefty libertarian so can't really see anyone who represents me.

  5. @Jeffrey Bell - dunno, maybe between 4 and 6. But they'll get over 3 million votes, so the result will be an indictment of the FPTP system.

    @electricpics - I'd say Carswell is a nailed-on certainty in Clacton, so the absolute minimum figure is 1.

    Specific seat predictions are difficult to make because there are so many local factors at work and it remains to be seen how accurate the pollsters' predictions of UKIP support are.

  6. You're kidding yourself. There's no way they'll win more than 4. Where are these seats? They're only in with any chance in Clacton, Thanet South, Thurrock and Rochester. I'd say they'll manage 2 of those - or 3 if they're lucky - but if they just hold Clacton and lose the rest it won't be a shock.

  7. On the pub question, your stance on Labour seems to be "don't believe what they say now, look at what they did last time". Which is fair enough, except that you're comparing them with UKIP - who by definition have no record to compare with. We have no idea what UKIP would be like in office; I suspect they'd represent much less of a break with the last 20 years than their supporters imagine.

    With you - and Rob - on lifestyle bullying, though. Where are the left libertarians?

  8. Of course, its quite difficult to get to the pub now all the bus services have been stopped due to pointless and counterproductive austerity measures.

  9. Well I don't want my hard-earned money being spent on subsidised buses for leisure activities.

  10. Don't complain when your favourite country pub shuts because no-one can get to it then.

  11. Buses don't get within two miles of my favourite country pub. And I seriously doubt whether many pubs are critically dependent on bus passengers.

  12. @Phil - I don't think the leopard changes his spots. Labour have consistently shown themselves somewhat more willing than the Tories to accept the claims of the public health lobby at face value and support further controls and restrictions on food, alcohol and tobacco.

    They would probably revive annual duty increases and revisit the idea of cutting the drink-drive limit which, as we have seen in Scotland, would have a severely damaging effect on the pub trade. A Labour government might have scrapped the duty escalator, but probably wouldn't have gone any further.

    No doubt a Labour government would make soothing noises about pubs which CAMRA would happily swallow, but in reality they would create a cold house for them.

    A UKIP government isn't really on the cards yet, and I accept that if they gained power they would come up against the same unforgiving reality as their predecessors. But there are some areas (such as the smoking ban) where they could make an obvious and immediate difference.

    The old Liberal Party had a distinct libertarian element, but that is much reduced in the LibDems, which are a merger with the Social Democrats. Labour has never had many libertarian instincts, and it's worth pointing out that the signature legislation of the 1960s on homosexuality, divorce and abortion originated from private members' bills.

    I've always rather struggled with the concept of a "left libertarian", as surely it isn't very libertarian to allow various activities but prevent making private profit from them. There can be no true freedom without a large measure of economic freedom.

  13. I agree that most beards are dangerous socialists that need to be stopped, uncertain as to why you think most kippers are libertarian? You might be, but most kippers simply think that sucking cocks makes the Gods angry and causes floods. Not even sure they care much about the EU anymore other than as a bogeyman to scare the kids. It would be self defeating to slay that bogeyman.

    I assume Poseidon would be the God causing floods. Off to see if wiki documents whether this God had an opinion about sucking cocks. See you on the other side, when we might know the result.

  14. To quote from the linked article:

    Kellner then looks at a number of issues that fall under the heading of ‘lifestyle regulation’ – such as smoking bans and restrictions on the advertising of junk food. Generally, he finds strong public support for the so-called nanny state, but not among UKIP supporters:

    “Take smoking. The views of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem voters are almost identical, with big majorities backing the current laws. But as many as 48 per cent of Ukip voters think the law has gone too far, while 49 per cent disagree.”

    Kellner sees this as evidence of the “anti-state, low-regulation instincts of many Ukip voters.”

    Not libertarian as such, but thoroughly pissed off with being told by a bunch of patronising twats how to live their lives.

    Btw, I didn't get a single Tory leaflet through my letterbox. A feeble performance from the party that came second in the seat last time and hopes to form the next government.

  15. That's stuckpit for you. Have a look at this and enjoy your Milliband government.

    when you all finally give up on the kippers and return, leave the bongo bongo nutters where they are yeh?

  16. Crikey, that was a turn up. Thank Christ eh?

    Figuring out what the point of the kippers will be after 2017?

  17. You mean like what is the point of the SNP after last year's referendum?

    UKIP result obviously disappointing in terms of seats, but a big success in terms of votes, convincingly beating the LibDems for third place and exceeding what most of the final opinion polls predicted.

    Having said that, Dave back in No. 10 is a lot better than having Ed there.

  18. If the kippers were a regular party I'd agree they have something to build on. Paddy Pantsdown built a plan years ago which suits minor parties looking to gain seats which erm, worked until last night. The Greens have been using it. UKIP would under normal circumstances do the same. Build strong local associations, gain councillors, establish yourself in second place as the defacto tactical vote against the incumbent. Be left or right depending on where you are and who you are up against.

    The SNP were left with a purpose even after losing a referendum. With the promise of devo max or a federal UK their point is to see it implemented.

    However after 2017 the UK will have decided its relationship with Europe. The Tories may or may not get meaningful changes from Angela, we may stay in or leave, but the point of the referendum is to kill the kippers. It has to straightforward and fair to ensure the result is accepted.

    After that where you guys going? A general party of protest and dissatisfaction?

  19. "Build strong local associations, gain councillors, establish yourself in second place as the defacto tactical vote against the incumbent. Be left or right depending on where you are and who you are up against."

    Surely that is precisely what UKIP have been doing, although they have much to learn and their "ground game" still remains poor. But 120 second places, mostly in Labour seats, gives them a good springboard for further advances.

    And the party has a wide appeal to people who don't feel that any of the Lib/Lab/Con really speak for them. It's not just about Europe.

  20. I can't speak for all Labour/CAMRA supporters but I think that they think Labour won't be generally any worse for the industry than any one else. The smoking ban is very popular in those circles and Labour's relaxation of the licensing laws was the biggest, and possibly only, direct benefit I've had from any government in the last 30 years.

  21. So you gained no benefit from allowing pubs to open all day in 1988? And, while I don't know your personal circumstances, have you not benefited at all from increasing the income tax personal allowance over the past five years?

  22. The relaxation of afternoon drinking was more of a theoretical gain. These days it would be different but back then it meant little to me. Whilst the abolition of the need to search for after time drinking had a major positive impact on my drinking habits.

    As for the increase in personal allowance, no, I have gained nothing from that. I'm happy to admit to being not just a theoretical socialist but a practical one. Improve the social fabric of my life or those of my loved ones and I will gladly vote for you.

    However, The fact is that a conservative government not only never offers financial or social reform that benefits me; its policies always seem to hurt me. So while I understand their appeal for the Jeremy Clarkson set: Fox hunting, gun toting petrolheads etc, I'm afraid there will always be only one real choice for the poor and disenfranchised who ride the bus every day.

  23. Its amazingly pleasant to be able to sit in a pub drinking decent beer until 2am, rather than getting kicked out at 10:50 and having to either go home or to a crappy nightclub.

  24. Professor Pie-Tin14 May 2015 at 18:43

    It's even more amazingly pleasant to sit in a great pub till 6.30am watching the election results coming in and sampling 11 great beers and ciders.
    Thanks to Jeff and his team at The Finborough Arms for an excellent night of cheering and harrumphing.

  25. @Prof - no doubt there were some jubilant Tories and crestfallen Labourites in the pub that night


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