Centreground Political Communications

Author archives: Steve VanRiel

The pessimists

If I were a billionaire member of the House of Lords, I would commission polls that involve 20,000 people, just like Lord Ashcroft. Partly, this would be so I could say “Silence!” like Darth Vader when my chosen pollster said, “but my Lord, we only need to poll 1,000 people to get a representative sample?” But mostly it would [...]

Leveson, “Labour for Democracy” and Lib-Lab cooperation

Imagine a political version of a Turing Test: you sit at a computer and type in questions, trying to guess whether the responses that come back from behind a screen are being produced by someone from your political party or from an opponent. It would be easy to tell David Cameron and Ed Miliband apart. [...]

Centreground Political Communications’ head of research contributes to new report on the policy challenges facing Britain

This week the pressure group Progress published a report on the difficult policy questions that will face an incoming British government after the next UK General Election, as reported in The Guardian. The full report is available here, with summaries of the chapters by Steve Van Riel, Centreground’s head of research, set out below. The [...]

Twenty Twelve and 2012

In the weeks running up to the Olympics, the BBC has been showing a farcical satire on the games’ organisation: Twenty Twelve. The humour is based on the idea that the public sector is a chaotic interchange between management sloganeering and staff indifference. But watching the final episode when it was repeated last night, Twenty [...]

Comedians and commissioners come to Britain

Last November, Mario Monti was made a lifetime member of Italy’s upper house. Former EU commissioner Monti spent a week as Senator Monti before becoming Prime Minister Monti, head of a government of economic experts who could get Italy through its current economic crisis. All the major national parties supported the move. In the nine [...]


26 June 2012 A majority of voters believe restrictions on housing benefit and disability benefits are necessary according to a poll published today, commissioned by Centreground Political Communications and undertaken by pollsters YouGov. Housing benefit, disability and child benefit cuts deemed necessary – but 50p top rate cut not thought necessary – A majority (51 [...]

London without Livingstone

Ken Livingstone has dominated London Labour politics since before I was born.   Ed Miliband was eleven when Ken Livingstone became the leader of the Greater London Council. Today, Kennism (to rhyme with Bennism) stands twice-rejected by the voters. Labour members in London, for the first time in thirty years, will now have to reinvent what [...]

We don’t want to all be in it together

Nearly two weeks on and the Budget is still niggling. George Osborne doesn’t just walk out into the political motorway without looking left and right and Britain doesn’t spend weeks debating pasties as if we’re all in Carry On Class War. And yet, here we are and the only explanation I can come up with is [...]

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