The FT’s Robert Shrimsley joined Clive Anderson yesterday for the BBC’s weekly election show, The Heckler. Click here for a link to the broadcast, in which philosopher Alain de Botton, football pundit Hunter Davies and TV soapwatcher Gareth McClean discuss the campaign so far – and look ahead to the leaders’ debate later this week.
A unanimous consensus is always something to be wary of, particularly when it doesn’t quite reflect the evidence available.
So when eight of Britain’s top pollsters all predict a Conservative majority — in spite of current polls indicating there’s a strong chance of a hung parliament — it is worth unpacking their hunch.
Given all the uncertainties in this election campaign, why do all eight forecasts fit in a range of about 40 seats? Is there something they know that we don’t?
National Insurance: 46 per cent back Tory plans to reverse National Insurance rise. But, if a tax has to go up, 55 per cent prefer to raise National Insurance rather than VAT (YouGov/Sunday Times)
Marriage tax break: 19 per cent are more likely to vote Tory because of marriage tax break (YouGov/Sunday Times). But 59 per cent think the tax break should go to unmarried couples too (ICM Sun/Telegraph)
Just picked up a first edition of The Observer and it’s leading with Nick Clegg warning that Britain faces “serious social strife” if a government without a popular mandate starts wielding the public spending axe.
It’s certainly a novel twist on the standard arguments about a hung parliament. Clegg’s pitch is basically that a minority government would be good for the country because it better represents the split of the popular vote.
A narrow victory for the Tories or Labour would wreak havoc because they would be sacking public sector workers, slashing programmes and freezing wages after having secured as little as a quarter of eligible votes.