Saturday, August 15, 2015

Power for a porpoise

Congratulations to Kezia Dugdale on becoming the sixth Scottish Labour leader since the party lost office just eight years ago.  I think I've counted that correctly - the six are Jack McConnell (who stayed on briefly after his defeat), Wendy Alexander, Iain "the Snarl" Gray, Johann Lamont, "Jackanory" Jim Murphy, and Kezia.

Her first year in harness is going to be intriguing, to say the least.  Regardless of what you think of Jeremy Corbyn's potential appeal to Scottish voters, there is a golden rule in politics that generally holds true in most circumstances -

"The electorate does not vote for a divided party."

That means for the next nine months, Kezia's self-interest is going to diverge massively from her natural allies south of the border.  She has an election to fight, they don't.  They can afford the indulgence of tearing the party apart for a year or two to undermine Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, she can't.  If she follows her self-interest, and that of the party she leads, she'll incongruously find herself urging loyalty to Corbyn and slapping down the 'modernising' plotters.

If she doesn't follow that self-interest, it'll be a sign that her true ambitions within Labour lie beyond Holyrood.  Either that, or her first loyalties aren't with Scottish Labour, in which case people will rightly ask why she actually put herself forward as leader.

*  *  *

There's a new poll today that turns conventional wisdom on its head by suggesting that Corbyn is now the most popular of the Labour leadership candidates among the general public.  He's even practically drawn level with Andy Burnham on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister.

If it's true, as the Guardian are reporting, that Corbyn's opponents have cast doubt on the findings by suggesting that opponents of Labour may have deliberately lied to skew the results, then they really are losing the plot. It's one thing to think that supporters of other parties may be trying to infiltrate the election itself, but to imagine that random  respondents to a Survation poll are plotting Labour's downfall is utterly paranoid.

Much more likely, the explanation for the unexpected result is that respondents weren't interviewed "cold".  They were shown clips of the four candidates, and they probably just found Corbyn the most impressive - simple as that.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Challenging the revisionist history of referendum polling

There seems to be a mythology springing up about the polls in the run-up to the referendum last year.  This is from Andrew Rawnsley in the Guardian, setting out why he thinks the SNP may be cautious about rushing into indyref 2 -

"They did lose last time and just one poll in the entire campaign put Yes ahead and then only by a nose. There has not been a poll since showing a sustained majority for independence."

That's eerily close to what Lallands Peat Worrier said in a blogpost the other week (parts of it are almost word-for-word identical), so I don't think there can be much doubt where Rawnsley is getting it from. But it was factually inaccurate when LPW said it, and it remains factually inaccurate now.

There were in fact at least TWO polls that put Yes ahead during the campaign, and arguably there were as many as four, depending on how you define the words "campaign" and "ahead". The two definites were -

1) YouGov poll on Saturday, 6th September 2014, showing : Yes 51%, No 49%

2) ICM poll on Saturday, 13th September 2014, showing : Yes 54%, No 46%

The latter seems to have been edited out of people's memories, perhaps because ICM's Martin Boon cast doubt on its findings almost as soon as it was released. But nevertherless it was a real poll, it was properly weighted, it was published in a major Sunday newspaper, and John Curtice considered it credible enough to include in the What Scotland Thinks Poll of Polls.

The other two possibilities were -

3) TNS-BMRB poll on Monday, 8th September 2014, showing : Yes 50%, No 50%. (That could be said to have shown Yes in the joint lead.)

4) Panelbase poll on Monday, 2nd September 2013, showing : Yes 51%, No 49%.  (This one should be included depending on when you interpret "the campaign" as having started.  Professor Curtice invariably dismissed it as "a much-criticised poll from Panelbase" due to the use of an unusual question sequence.  But there was always a double-standard there, because ICM once did something very similar in a poll that was more favourable to No, without Curtice raising any objections.)

These are just the public polls - it's an open secret that what really spooked the No campaign was a private poll showing Yes 53%, No 47%.  And of course there were several public polls during the closing two weeks of the campaign that were 'statistical ties', ie. it was impossible to tell whether Yes or No were ahead due to the standard 3% margin of error.  In my opinion the most sensational public poll of the campaign was not the online YouGov poll on the 6th, but rather the two telephone polls from ICM and Ipsos-Mori that both pointed to a dead heat with figures of Yes 49%, No 51%.  The Ipsos-Mori poll was published by STV on the night before the referendum, and was bang up to date.

I presume the purpose of the "just one poll" myth is to promote the idea that the YouGov poll was a freakish outlier, and that there was never any serious evidence that Yes were in contention.  That argument simply doesn't stack up.

As I said in response to LPW, I'm also puzzled by this curious claim that "there has not been a poll since showing a sustained majority for independence". Clearly that implicitly acknowledges the reality that some polls since the referendum have indeed shown a majority for independence - but how can any individual poll show a "sustained" majority? Is the argument that there haven't been consecutive polls from the same firm showing a Yes lead? If so, even that isn't true.

SNP wangle a wondrous win in Wishaw - and bag a by-election belter in Banknock

Well, we certainly haven't had to worry about election withdrawal symptoms over the summer - not only have we been treated to the most bizarre party leadership contest in recent history, we've also been working our way through a succession of Scottish local government by-elections, mostly brought about by the elevation of SNP ex-councillors to the House of Commons.  We have two more of those tonight.

Wishaw by-election result :

SNP 51.1% (+16.6)
Labour 32.8% (-24.9)
Conservatives 10.3% (+2.4)
SSP 3.1% (n/a)
UKIP 1.8% (n/a)
Liberal Democrats 1.0% (n/a)

Denny and Banknock by-election result : 

SNP 69.1% (+30.1)
Labour 14.7% (-16.0)
Conservatives 11.6% (+7.9)
Greens 4.6% (n/a)

As Angus McLellan has pointed out in the comments section below, the Denny & Banknock result has to be treated with caution, because Labour suspended their own candidate a couple of days ago after he was alleged to have made sectarian comments.  It's difficult to know how much effect that sort of thing has, because many voters may not even be aware of what's going on.  For what it's worth, the average swing from Labour to SNP in the two by-elections is roughly 22% - that's 3% higher than in the bumper crop of results last week, and is even a touch better than the 21% recorded in the Aberdeen double-header a couple of weeks ago.  Adjusting for the fact that the SNP start from a higher baseline in local elections, it's the equivalent of a 33% or 34% swing at the general election.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Name That Pundit

I'm sure we're all agreed that it's been far too long since I offended the sensibilities of Commentor/NaebD with an "internet drama post", so here's one to make up for lost time.  I was unexpectedly assailed by Kevin Williamson on Twitter yesterday about a blogpost I wrote almost three months ago, on the hoary old topic of "tactical voting on the list" (sic).

Kevin Williamson : ScotGoesPop all over place here. SNP at 62% now in Constit vote! 2nd Vote SNP will bolster Lab MSPs #ListVoteGreen

Me : "All over the place"? Do you mean I've contradicted myself? In what sense?

Kevin Williamson : You've consistently refused to acknowledge SNP are on course to win 65+ Constituency seats - enough to form Govt

Me : Exactly, I've consistently argued against that notion. How is that "all over the place"?

Kevin Williamson : because to argue against it is to deny the reality of consistently good opinion polls for SNP now at 62%

Me : Ah, now we're getting somewhere. The opinion polls are NOT showing the SNP consistently on 62%. Panelbase say 53%.

Kevin Williamson : almost every non partisan pundit forecasting SNP winning almost all of the Holyrood Constituency seats in 2016. Why not you?

Me : Not good enough, Kevin, justify that. Who are these pundits and when did they say it?

Kevin Williamson : I'm beginning to think you're either not paying attention to Scottish politics or in denial to make a party political point

Me : For clarity, have you ignored my question because you're unable to answer it, or for another reason?

Kevin Williamson : okay lets clarify things. How many Constituency seats do you think SNP are on course to win? Give us a ballpark figure?

Me : They are not "on course" for any particular figure. There is a 9% divergence between the pollsters, with NINE MONTHS to go!

Me : By the way, I'm still waiting to hear who these "non-partisan pundits" are.

Kevin Williamson : come on James! Is that the best analysis we're going to get from you on Scot Goes Pop? "Mibbes aye mibbes naw"

Me : This is pathetic, Kevin. Give me the names of the pundits you've cited, and direct me to what they've said.

Kevin Williamson : google the articles in wake of last couple of polls James. There are NONE suggesting SNP arent on course to sweep Constit seats.

Me : If it's that easy, you should be able to give me a couple of names so I know who you mean?

Kevin Williamson : An opinion poll analyst who refuses to project no. seats from opinion polls? Heard it all now. What you afraid off?

Me : Woah, woah, woah. What does "project" mean? You do know that opinion polls are snapshots not predictions? Perhaps you don't.

Kevin Williamson : You're just being pedantic. Every month Scot Goes Pop refuses to project no. of SNP seats its credibility will sink.

Me : If helping people understand the limitations of opinion polls will somehow harm my credibility, I'll have to live with that.

Kevin Williamson : Lets leave it for now. I'll try again after summer when next set of OPs come out.

Me : OK, but if at any point BEFORE THE END OF SUMMER you can remember the names of these mysterious pundits, do let me know.

Kevin Williamson : will do. This not personal as sure ye ken. This is about best way of keeping SLab seats to a min & maximising Indy/progressives.

Me : The electoral system does not lend itself to that kind of strategising, unfortunately.

*  *  *

Answers on a postcard if anyone can help Kevin out here with the name of a pundit or two.  Needless to say, his suggestion of a Google search proved entirely fruitless - there were plenty of examples of journalists and analysts pointing out the bleedin' obvious that if such and such a poll were replicated in the actual election result, the SNP would win X number of seats.  But I couldn't find any "non-partisan pundit" saying what Kevin claimed - ie. that it's possible to "forecast" on the basis of what the opinion polls are showing now that the SNP will definitely win a minimum of 65 out of 73 constituency seats in nine months' time.  Hardly surprising, because there are several reasons why that isn't possible -

1) Polling inaccuracy.  You'd think in this year of all years, the flaw in a strategy which totally depends on the accuracy of opinion polls wouldn't need to be pointed out, but apparently it does.  This isn't even a matter for speculation - we already know for a fact there is a degree of inaccuracy in the Holyrood polls, because the lowest post-May TNS figure for the SNP is not reconcilable with the Panelbase figure, even when the standard 3% margin of error is taken into account.  At the very least, either Panelbase or TNS must be getting it wrong (unless the Panelbase poll was an outright rogue - ie. one of the 5% of polls you'd expect to fall outside the margin of error).

2) Polls are snapshots of public opinion at a particular moment in time, not predictions of future election results.  Even if you take a leap of faith and assume that any given poll is providing an accurate snapshot, basing a tactical decision about the May 2016 election on the result of a poll conducted in August 2015 is a bit like turning up at Dunblane Cathedral tomorrow and expecting to see Andy Murray get married.  Kevin's got his dates mixed up.

3) The honeymoon effect.  As I alluded to in my short piece in The National the other day, it's pretty routine to temporarily see extreme poll results in the immediate aftermath of a landmark election.  Six months after their 1997 landslide, Labour reached a ludicrous 63% share in an ICM poll.  One month after winning a relatively modest majority in the 1979 general election, the Tories utterly annihilated Labour in the European elections.  Something very similar happened in the local elections a few weeks after the surprise Tory victory in 1992.  All of those examples have got something in common - the trend didn't last long.  The absolute most that can be said about the SNP's current 60%+ showing in TNS polls is that the longer it goes on, the less impossible it looks that it might prove to be something more significant than a normal honeymoon effect.  But anyone who thinks that it is more likely than not that the current state of play is going to persist until next May is, to be blunt, deluding themselves.  Anyone who tells you that it is certain to persist that long is just plain daft, or a chancer.

And of course apart from all that, even if you did know for sure that the SNP were going to secure an overall majority without requiring a single list seat, 'tactical voting' still isn't viable, because the SNP would always be in contention for at least one list seat in any given region, and smaller pro-independence parties would always be in danger of missing out on a list seat in any given region.  There is simply no way of knowing for sure which choice of party on the list is more likely to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs (barring the invention of that elusive mind-control ray that will somehow persuade hundreds of thousands of non-Greens to vote Green upon demand).

I don't want to be unkind to Kevin, but I think I'm right in saying that he also had a degree of involvement the last time there was one of these wildly over-optimistic "let's hack an election with an internet campaign" wheezes.  Back in the autumn of 2010, I received an email out of the blue from Bella Caledonia, "announcing an independence referendum".  It wasn't, of course, a real independence referendum, but a plea for people to abstain in the AV referendum by the bizarre method of scrawling the word "INDEPENDENCE" on the ballot paper.  As someone who has been committed to electoral reform for even longer than I've been committed to independence, I wasn't even remotely tempted to go down that road, so I just forgot about it until I saw a sarcastic comment from Bella castigating pro-independence bloggers who were supposedly sitting on the fence on the subject of the spoilt ballot masterplan.  (Jeff Breslin and James Mackenzie were probably the main targets of that complaint, because Better Nation was the most popular blog back in those days.)

A heated debate ensued, and those of us opposed to the idea were subjected to many of the same taunts that will be familiar to anyone who has followed the recent "tactical voting" exchanges - ie. we weren't really serious about independence, we were grossly underestimating the potential of a word-of-mouth campaign, we were failing to think outside the box, etc, etc.  Well, not to put too fine a point on it, those of us thinking inside the box were proved totally right, because anyone who did actually write 'INDEPENDENCE' on the ballot paper was wasting their time - their numbers were far, far, far too tiny to achieve the desired impact (as was always entirely predictable), and they might as well have just expressed a view on AV.  Now, to be fair, probably anyone in that position doesn't really have any regrets, because they're unlikely to give a monkey's about AV one way or the other.  But people who throw away their vote next year after being seduced by another of these harebrained schemes may end up feeling rather differently, especially if the price they pay is an anti-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The scenario in which a Corbyn win would harm, not help, Scottish Labour

It somehow seems to have become the conventional wisdom over the last couple of weeks that there will be no breakaway from Labour if Jeremy Corbyn becomes the leader.  But then it was the conventional wisdom not so long ago that Corbyn was just making up the numbers in the leadership contest, and was doomed to finish fourth.  So conventional wisdom has its limitations.  When Tony Blair claimed that he would never walk away and that he was Labour through and through, some people with long memories were probably recalling Shirley Williams saying much the same thing in 1980, just months before she left Labour to found the SDP.

I'm a bit young to remember the SDP split, but judging from what I've read, there were three broad reasons why the Gang of Three (which became the Gang of Four after they joined up with Roy Jenkins) quickly changed their minds and decided their position within Labour was untenable.  The first was the introduction of the electoral college, giving 40% of the vote in leadership elections to the trade unions.  The second was Labour's drift towards supporting withdrawal from Europe without a referendum.  And the third was the return of a full-blooded commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament.  (The latter reason was ironic because the new party immediately went into an electoral pact with the Liberals, who were scarcely any more keen on nuclear weapons than Labour left-wingers.)

Although some Blairites are hopping mad about the way in which the new leadership election system has worked in Corbyn's favour, it's going to be a tad difficult for them to use the democratic outrage of a one person, one vote system as a pretext to leave.  And Corbyn has also neutralised the European issue by clarifying that he will campaign for a Yes vote at the forthcoming referendum (albeit perhaps with considerable reservations).  But as on so many previous occasions in Labour's history, that still leaves unilateralism as an intractable problem.  Although Corbyn has shown himself to be collegiate, it's surely inconceivable that any party he leads will not have the abolition of Trident and withdrawal from NATO as official policy.  And it's surely equally inconceivable that "mainstream" MPs, who make up the bulk of the parliamentary party, will be able to live with that - even for the two or three years they might think would be sufficient to give Corbyn "enough rope to hang himself".  So something will have to give.

I'm wondering if Blairites and other right-wingers may attempt a variant of the ruthless tactic that the Orange Bookers successfully used to displace Charles Kennedy as Liberal Democrat leader in early 2006, when they toured the TV studios making clear that they would refuse to serve until Kennedy stepped down.  In a stroke of genius, Kennedy agreed to their terms - but then added that he would be standing again in the subsequent leadership election.  Everyone knew he would win, and that any attempts by the Orange Bookers to use his alcohol problem against him would be counter-productive.  So they then started touring the studios all over again, this time outrageously insisting that nothing less than a commitment from Kennedy not to put himself forward as a candidate would be sufficient for them.  He could still have faced them down, but at that point his unselfish nature took over, and he fell on his sword in the interests of party unity.

To have any chance of displacing Corbyn, I don't think it will be sufficient for the right-wingers to refuse to serve - he'll be able to put together some sort of Shadow Cabinet.  The threat might have to be that a new party will be set up unless Corbyn steps down.  Unlike the SDP, the threatened split would have to be big enough in scale that what remained of Labour would no longer look credible as the principal opposition to the Tories.  That's a tall order, but if the right-wingers did put up a united front it's fascinating to ponder what Corbyn's response would be.  He's every bit as much an honourable party man as Kennedy was, but he might have very different ideas about what the most honourable course of action would look like.

If he did stand his ground and a formal split occurred, it would be an unmitigated calamity for Scottish Labour.  The Holyrood group would probably fragment, and if by any chance the new party was numerically stronger than official Labour, the SNP would no longer face a serious opposition.  It wouldn't matter whether the London media recognised an Alan Johnson-led Progressive Party (or whatever) as the true opposition.  There is one reason, and one reason alone, why Labour attract considerable support in Scotland, even after their recent collapse - it's the connection to the past associated with the Labour brand.  Stephen Daisley's granddad and all that sort of thing.  Strip that away, and Kezia Dugdale might find herself leading a party that gets 10% of the vote next year, not 25% or 30%.

*  *  *

Labour activist and blogger Luke Akehurst finally lost all dignity when he wrote this on LabourList yesterday -

"Some of us, including me, had grown complacent and soft in our assessment of the Hard Left, and advocated Corbyn being helped onto the ballot because we had come to see them as an eccentric minority to be tolerated rather than an existential threat to Labour’s electability...

We now have the ludicrous and perverse situation where a newly signed up member or supporter has the same say in picking Labour’s leader as an MP who has served for 30 years."

So in the space of a couple of months, Luke has gone from saying 'I want Corbyn on the ballot paper because I know my arguments are superior to his, and he should be defeated in a fair and open contest', to saying 'actually, he can't be beaten in a fair and open contest, so it would have been better if we'd kept him off the ballot paper, or ensured that each right-wing MP has several hundred times as much voting power as a recently signed-up left-wing member'.

This is what the self-styled Labour 'modernisers' have been reduced to after all these decades of noble struggle against the union bloc vote - they're now arguing, without any intentional sense of irony, that democracy is the problem.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A little more on that record-breaking TNS poll

Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new article at The National, with more analysis of yesterday's TNS poll, which gave the SNP an unprecedented 62% of the Scottish Parliament constituency vote.  You can read it HERE.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Corbyn for glory : YouGov poll suggests the left's candidate will win outright in the first round

In a contested Labour leadership election, the last person to win on the first round without requiring any help from lower preferences was Tony Blair, when he defeated John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in 1994.  It seems rather fitting that a YouGov poll is suggesting that the next person to do it may be the arch-nemesis of the Blairites.

Labour leadership election first round (YouGov) :

Jeremy Corbyn 53% (+10)
Andy Burnham 21% (-5)
Yvette Cooper 18% (-2)
Liz Kendall 8% (-3)

This is only the second bona fide public poll of the campaign.  The first, which stunned us all by projecting a narrow 53-47 victory for Corbyn in the final run-off, was compared at the time to YouGov's famous poll on the penultimate weekend of the referendum campaign.  Like that poll, the big imponderable was how the electorate would react to the discovery that the unthinkable might be about to happen - would they be emboldened, or would they pull back from the brink?  Sadly for us, it turned out to be the latter in the referendum, but this time it appears the opposite has happened.  The momentum behind Corbyn looks unstoppable.  He can even afford to slip back a few points in the closing weeks of the campaign, because he should get enough transfers to win if he has at least 45% of the first preference vote (and probably even if he has a little less than that).

The only way he is going to lose is if YouGov have their methodology catastrophically wrong, much more so than even at the general election.  That's certainly possible, because internal party elections are much tougher to poll accurately.  But it has to be said that almost every scrap of information has been pointing in the same direction - with the possible exception of the betting odds, which have been bouncing around unpredictably, although I expect they'll now fall firmly into line with the polls.

Songful joy for Sturgeon as SNP reach 62% in melodious TNS poll

This month's TNS poll of Scottish Parliament voting intentions is out today, and there's no sign of the SNP's honeymoon ending yet.  If anything, the marital bliss is just growing stronger.

Constituency vote :

SNP 62% (+2)
Labour 20% (n/c)
Conservatives 12% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 3% (-2)

Regional list vote :

SNP 54% (+3)
Labour 20% (-1)
Conservatives 12% (-1)
Greens 8% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 4% (-1)

This is the third TNS poll since the Westminster general election in May, and it's comfortably the best showing for the SNP so far - on the constituency vote they were on 60% in both of the previous polls, and on the list vote they were on 50% and 51% respectively.  The increase could just be an illusion caused by sampling variation, but if so that would require us to revise upwards our 'central estimate' of the party's support over recent months.  Alternatively, the SNP may genuinely have become even more popular since last month's poll, although I can't think of any obvious reason why that would have happened.  It would be easy to blame it on Labour's antics (the welfare abstention and so forth) but in fact Labour's support hasn't really dropped any further - they've slipped 1% on the list vote, but that still leaves them 1% higher than where they started two months ago.

Weirdly, the record-breaking SNP numbers have come about in spite of TNS having to massively weight down respondents who say they voted SNP in the general election - they've been reduced in number from 456 to 366, which in turn has led to respondents who plan to vote SNP next year being weighted down from 434 to 366.  Among the raw unweighted sample, the voting intention numbers were : SNP 67%, Labour 17%, Conservatives 10%, Liberal Democrats 3%.  Of course the adjustment made is entirely appropriate, but it's disconcerting that it had to be done, because prior to the general election TNS typically had to do the opposite - ie. downweight people who recalled voting Labour in the past.  Are Labour voters suddenly keeping their heads down when pollsters come chapping on their door?  Or are some of them following the prevailing fashion and falsely claiming to have voted SNP?

We should count ourselves lucky that TNS are persevering with their monthly polls.  Since the humbling of the polling firms in May, voting intention polls have become unbelievably scarce, to such an extent that the TNS series alone could almost be enough to leave us with as many Scottish voting intention polls as Britain-wide ones.  (That's an exaggeration, but not a huge one.)  The snag is, though, that TNS and Ipsos-Mori seem to have established themselves as the most SNP-friendly firms in recent months - an ironic turn of events, given that they were both among the most No-friendly firms during the referendum campaign.  So if we become too reliant on TNS to track the Holyrood race, we could easily end up with an over-inflated sense of how well the SNP are doing.  But with a bit of luck we might at least get semi-regular Survation and Panelbase polls to provide a little balance and perspective.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Outrage as Corbyn suggests removing the word "socialist" from Labour's constitution

Another low for the press this evening, as a headline in the Independent claims that Jeremy Corbyn has firmly pledged to bring back the original Clause Four of Labour's constitution, even though he in fact only said that was one possibility. I was also intrigued to see them claim that the rewording of Clause Four under Tony Blair marked "an end to nearly a century of Labour’s commitment to socialism", because in a literal sense it actually introduced a commitment to socialism for the very first time. See for yourself...

Pre-1995 wording : "To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service."

Post-1995 wording : "The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect."

So Labour put the word "socialist" in their constitution and instantly ceased to be a socialist party. Presumably they will revert to being socialist as soon as Corbyn removes the word. Amusingly, Blair also said the following in his first conference speech as leader in 1994 : "These are our words, this is my socialism. SOCIALISM. And we must stop apologising for using the word." Twenty years on, Blair has a great many things to apologise for, but over-use of "socialism" isn't one of them. Maybe that's what he meant.

Apart from its sheer vacuousness, what bothers me most about the current constitution is the phrase "the many, not the few". That seems deliberately designed to mean something other than "everybody" - in other words, the persistent existence of a minority underclass is now entirely consistent with Labour's stated values.