The ‘Favourability Index’: the Tories and Cameron lead, Lib Dems half as popular as Ukip

by Stephen Tall on August 24, 2014

I’m a fan of polling firm ComRes’s ‘Favourability Index’ which asks of political parties and their leaders ‘How favourable or unfavourable are you to X?’ For sure it’s a simplistic binary. But, then, so’s voting.

It gives a much more accurate read-out of perceptions, I think, than asking (for instance) if people think X is doing a good job as leader of Y. After all, it’s quite possible to think that Nigel Farage is doing a pretty good job for Ukip while still never, ever wanting to vote for him.

The latest index has been published today across the Independent and Mirror. The (perhaps) surprising result is that the winners are the Conservative Party and David Cameron, both viewed more favourably than their rivals.

The bad news for Lib Dems is that the party is viewed favourably by just 13% of voters, half the proportion which view Ukip favourably.

Interestingly, all four leaders trail their own parties in the UK (and Alex Salmond trails the SNP too).

I’ve re-sorted the data to arrange the parties and their leaders ComRes asked about in descending order of favourability. Those Lib Dems wanting to avoid the results should look away now…

comres favourability index - aug 2014

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Safe standing at football grounds: “an idea whose time has come,” say Lib Dems

by Stephen Tall on August 23, 2014

I can still remember my first ever live football match. It was a glamorous encounter between Everton and Newport County in the second round of the League Cup on 24th September 1986. A big part of what made it memorable was the electric atmosphere of the Gwladys Street stand at Goodison Park. I was nine, so everything seemed huge but the big scousers around me, shouting and cheering, made sure I could always get a good view of what was happening on the pitch.

I was reminded of all this by the headline in the The Mirror yesterday reporting Lib Dem plans to allow football clubs to introduce ‘safe standing’ areas at grounds:

mirror safe standing

Fans would be allowed to stand at top-flight football matches under plans put forward by the Liberal Democrats. The party has pledged to bring back standing areas at Premiership and Championship grounds. All-seater stadia were introduced more than 20 years ago after the Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster which killed 96 Liverpool fans. But the return of safe standing areas is backed by 92% of fans and the majority of Football League clubs, who claim it would create a better atmosphere. The Lib Dems’ general election manifesto will contain a commitment to allow clubs to introduce Euro-style “rail seating”.

Manchester Withington MP John Leech has backed the move:

“The Liberal Democrats believe football clubs should be allowed to introduce safe standing areas where there is a desire to do so. Safe standing is allowed in many other sports and we do not believe that the top level of football should be an exception.

“We are not calling for a return of the terraces of the 1980s. Modern safe standing areas using ‘rail seating’ operate very successfully in top tier football across Europe. When clubs & fans are in favour of safe standing and it can be done safely, then the Government shouldn’t get in the way. That is why Liberal Democrats want to change the law to let clubs introduce safe standing.

“Safe standing offers supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets. It is an idea whose time has come and I am proud that it is the Liberal Democrats who are the first political party to commit to delivering this.”

The party has also issued a handy guide to how safe standing can be introduced without going back to the bad old days of over-crowding and crushing:

Options

There are several options for safe standing areas. The most commonly used one, and the one most likely to be used in the UK, is ‘rail seating’, a system where a safety barrier and flip down seat is equipped on every other row or step, so the areas can be changed from seats to standing areas depending on the event requirements. Rail seats also mean that clubs playing in Europe, where UEFA require all seater stadiums, could convert to seating if required.

Bristol City have recently installed rail seating at Ashton Gate which will be used for standing at rugby & seating at football. You can read more about rail seating here: http://www.safestandingroadshow.co.uk/home

Safe Standing Facts

Safe standing areas improve the atmosphere and contribute to a better match day experience. When asked in a recent poll by the Football Supporters’ Federation, over 70% of fans stated that they liked to stand because it created a better atmosphere. – http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing/safe-standing-facts/#BENEFITS

The majority of football fans want the choice. Some fans like to stand, some fans prefer to sit, we want to give all fans the choice. And we have the backing of supporters with nine out of ten fans wanting to be given the choice according to the Football Supporters Federation http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing/why-does-the-fsf-back-safe-standing/

Allowing clubs to introduce safe standing areas gives them more flexibility and could lead to a reduction in ticket prices. Watching football is expensive. Safe standing areas allow clubs to accommodate a higher density of supporters safely which can mean cheaper ticket prices for all. In both England and abroad ticket prices for standing areas are typically lower than in seated areas making the stadiums more socially inclusive. For example, standing tickets at Bayern Munich begin as low as £150 – http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing/safe-standing-facts/

Legislation

This change requires no new primary legislation, but simply requires an amendment to the Football Spectators Act 1989.

The rules governing sporting grounds are covered by the Sports Ground Safety Authority. This change to safe standing would apply to clubs in England and Wales.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Safe standing at football grounds: “an idea whose time has come,” say Lib Dems

by Stephen Tall on August 23, 2014

I can still remember my first ever live football match. It was a glamorous encounter between Everton and Newport County in the second round of the League Cup on 24th September 1986. A big part of what made it memorable was the electric atmosphere of the Gwladys Street stand at Goodison Park. I was nine, so everything seemed huge but the big scousers around me, shouting and cheering, made sure I could always get a good view of what was happening on the pitch.

I was reminded of all this by the headline in the The Mirror yesterday reporting Lib Dem plans to allow football clubs to introduce ‘safe standing’ areas at grounds:

mirror safe standing

Fans would be allowed to stand at top-flight football matches under plans put forward by the Liberal Democrats. The party has pledged to bring back standing areas at Premiership and Championship grounds. All-seater stadia were introduced more than 20 years ago after the Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster which killed 96 Liverpool fans. But the return of safe standing areas is backed by 92% of fans and the majority of Football League clubs, who claim it would create a better atmosphere. The Lib Dems’ general election manifesto will contain a commitment to allow clubs to introduce Euro-style “rail seating”.

Manchester Withington MP John Leech has backed the move:

“The Liberal Democrats believe football clubs should be allowed to introduce safe standing areas where there is a desire to do so. Safe standing is allowed in many other sports and we do not believe that the top level of football should be an exception.

“We are not calling for a return of the terraces of the 1980s. Modern safe standing areas using ‘rail seating’ operate very successfully in top tier football across Europe. When clubs & fans are in favour of safe standing and it can be done safely, then the Government shouldn’t get in the way. That is why Liberal Democrats want to change the law to let clubs introduce safe standing.

“Safe standing offers supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets. It is an idea whose time has come and I am proud that it is the Liberal Democrats who are the first political party to commit to delivering this.”

The party has also issued a handy guide to how safe standing can be introduced without going back to the bad old days of over-crowding and crushing:

Options

There are several options for safe standing areas. The most commonly used one, and the one most likely to be used in the UK, is ‘rail seating’, a system where a safety barrier and flip down seat is equipped on every other row or step, so the areas can be changed from seats to standing areas depending on the event requirements. Rail seats also mean that clubs playing in Europe, where UEFA require all seater stadiums, could convert to seating if required.

Bristol City have recently installed rail seating at Ashton Gate which will be used for standing at rugby & seating at football. You can read more about rail seating here: http://www.safestandingroadshow.co.uk/home

Safe Standing Facts

Safe standing areas improve the atmosphere and contribute to a better match day experience. When asked in a recent poll by the Football Supporters’ Federation, over 70% of fans stated that they liked to stand because it created a better atmosphere. – http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing/safe-standing-facts/#BENEFITS

The majority of football fans want the choice. Some fans like to stand, some fans prefer to sit, we want to give all fans the choice. And we have the backing of supporters with nine out of ten fans wanting to be given the choice according to the Football Supporters Federation http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing/why-does-the-fsf-back-safe-standing/

Allowing clubs to introduce safe standing areas gives them more flexibility and could lead to a reduction in ticket prices. Watching football is expensive. Safe standing areas allow clubs to accommodate a higher density of supporters safely which can mean cheaper ticket prices for all. In both England and abroad ticket prices for standing areas are typically lower than in seated areas making the stadiums more socially inclusive. For example, standing tickets at Bayern Munich begin as low as £150 – http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing/safe-standing-facts/

Legislation

This change requires no new primary legislation, but simply requires an amendment to the Football Spectators Act 1989.

The rules governing sporting grounds are covered by the Sports Ground Safety Authority. This change to safe standing would apply to clubs in England and Wales.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 1

by Stephen Tall on August 22, 2014

Congratulations to Sam Barnett, Mike Matuszczyk and George Murray, who lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after its first full week, each scoring 70 points or more.

There are 122 players in total and you can still join the league by clicking here.

I merely mention in passing that two of the LDV team — Ryan Cullen and me — are in the top 10. That I mention it at all is because, at least in my case, I suspect it may be the only time I can make the boast…

ldv league wk 1

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

My recommended reading for today August 22, 2014

by Stephen Tall on August 22, 2014

Here’s some of the articles that have caught my attention in the past couple of days…

Rennard’s suspension lifted today – but the Lib Dems lost control of this situation years ago

by Stephen Tall on August 19, 2014

Tonight’s news that Lib Dem peer and former chief executive Chris Rennard has had his membership un-suspended is unsurprising.

The plain fact is the grounds on which the party had withdrawn his membership – that by declining to apologise to a number of women who have made allegations against him of sexual impropriety when requested brought the party into disrepute – simply wasn’t tenable. (Former Lib Dem MP and lawyer David Howarth explained why here.)

His un-suspension solves nothing, though. The inquiry into Lord Rennard’s conduct by Alistair Webster QC found “the evidence of behaviour which violated the personal space and autonomy of the complainants was broadly credible”. But it failed to pass the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ threshold the party (ludicrously) sets for investigations under its own rules. As a result, there was no possible due process under which Lord Rennard’s party membership could be revoked.

In reality the party lost control of the Rennard situation many years ago – the moment it decided not to act on the allegations when he was chief executive. As I wrote here in January:

Most of the complaints that have been made public were first raised privately while Lord Rennard was an employee of the Lib Dems. The key failing of the party’s processes is not, in fact, what is happening now: it is what didn’t happen then. Too many people at the top of the party simply wanted a difficult problem to go away, and some at least of the women who made the complaints were understandably very reluctant to push their complaints in order to spare the party embarrassment. As a result, the outcome was fudged. Lord Rennard resigned as the party’s chief executive in 2009 on grounds of ill health without the allegations being resolved. From that point on, the only disciplinary action he could face was as a member (beyond reasonable doubt proof required) not as an employee (balance of probabilities suffices). And, of course, the more time that lapses, the harder it gets to substantiate allegations to that higher threshold. 

Today was the inevitable and uncomfortable conclusion of the party’s failure to act properly at the time.

My recommended reading for today August 17, 2014

by Stephen Tall on August 17, 2014

Here’s some of the articles that have caught my attention in the past couple of days…

In the next month 39 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

by Stephen Tall on August 16, 2014

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications. They include Watford, on paper the 6th most winnable Tory seat for the Lib Dems, needing a swing of just 1.39%, as well as Redcar, where incumbent MP Ian Swales, whose majority over Labour is 5,214, is stepping down. And if anyone fancies taking on health secretary Jeremy Hunt, his South West Surrey seat is also up for grabs.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

    Hackney North and Stoke Newington, 16th August
    Hackney South and Shoreditch, 16th August
    Batley and Spen, 18th August
    Watford, 19th August
    Skipton and Ripon, 20th August
    Ludlow, 22nd August
    Meon Valley, 22nd August
    Stretford and Urmston, 22nd August
    Weston-super-Mare, 22nd August
    Stroud, 27th August
    Edmonton, 29th August
    Enfield North, 29th August
    Enfield Southgate, 29th August
    Garston and Halewood, 29th August
    Liverpool Riverside, 29th August
    Liverpool Walton, 29th August
    Liverpool Wavertree, 29th August
    Liverpool West Derby, 29th August
    Manchester Central, 29th August
    Redcar, 29th August
    Workington, 29th August
    Stockton North, 3rd September
    Stockton South, 3rd September
    Clacton, 6th September
    Harwich & North Essex, 6th September
    South West Surrey, 9th September
    Aberdeen South, 25th August
    Banff & Buchan, 12th September
    Moray, 12th September
    Na h-Eileanan an Iar, 12th September
    Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, 12th September
    Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, 12th September
    Falkirk, 12th September
    Airdrie and Shotts, 12th September
    Motherwell and Wishaw, 12th September
    Lanark and Hamilton East, 12th September
    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, 12th September
    Linlithgow and East Falkirk, 12th September
    Livingston, 12th September

In addition, applications for Scottish Parliament Regional List Selections are also invited:

    West of Scotland, 21st September
    Glasgow, 21st September
    Central Scotland, 21st September
    South of Scotland, 21st September
    Lothians, 21st September
    Mid Scotland & Fife, 21st September
    North East, 21st September
    Highlands & Islands, 21st September

Further information, including Returning Officer contact details, can be found on the Lib Dem members’ website: http://www.libdems.org.uk/forms/user_sessions/new and then once you have logged in by following the links: Our Party > Selection Adverts – Latest News. Note you will need to register online and login in order to access the advert webpage.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Quote of the Week: Lauren Bacall – “I’m total, total, total liberal and proud of it.”

by Stephen Tall on August 16, 2014

Lauren BacallHere’s Lauren Bacall, who died this week, aged 89, being interviewed by Larry King in 2005:

KING: “Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?”
BACALL: “I’m a liberal. The “L” word!”
KING: “Egads!”
BACALL: … I love it. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind… I’m total, total, total liberal and proud of it. And I think it’s outrageous to say “The L word”. I mean, excuse me. They should be damn lucky that they were liberals here. Liberals gave more to the population of the United States than any other group.

(Hat-tip: Vote Clegg, Get Clegg Facebook group.)

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

photo by:


Quote of the Week: Lauren Bacall – “I’m total, total, total liberal and proud of it.”

by Stephen Tall on August 16, 2014

Lauren BacallHere’s Lauren Bacall, who died this week, aged 89, being interviewed by Larry King in 2005:

KING: “Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?”
BACALL: “I’m a liberal. The “L” word!”
KING: “Egads!”
BACALL: … I love it. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind… I’m total, total, total liberal and proud of it. And I think it’s outrageous to say “The L word”. I mean, excuse me. They should be damn lucky that they were liberals here. Liberals gave more to the population of the United States than any other group.

(Hat-tip: Vote Clegg, Get Clegg Facebook group.)

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

photo by:




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