Daily catch-up: fictional buildings, Miliband’s fightback from Labour’s slump

Favourite things, including fantasy, zapping rain drops with lasers and polling analysis

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1. Another chance to disagree with my selection of the Top 10 Fictional Buildings, now posted on the Listellany website, including the Pleasure Dome decreed by Kubla Khan.

And no, the list does not include Castle Gormenghast. Sorry about that, but I haven't read those books and abused my power as curator of the lists to stick to what I know.

Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top 10s, from Politics to Pop is published by Elliott & Thompson and you can buy it from places other than Amazon. Or you can win a signed copy by suggesting a new Top 10 for me to compile.

2. Zapping rain drops with lasers: really stupid* What If?  

*High praise.

3. The BBC recently ran the whole of the 1964 election coverage, close to its 50th anniversary. Paul Waugh and Philip Cowley drew attention to this "wonderfully pithy" exchange between Clement Attlee and Robin Day.

4. Philip Collins is very good in The Times today (pay wall) on Ed Miliband's fightback speech yesterday:

"Slowly, a truth is crystallising, a truth the Labour party is always slow to learn. Mr Miliband’s speech at the Ministry of Truth [the Senate House at London University], contained nothing for anyone on middle income or above and there is no majority to be assembled in this country for a campaign aimed only at the bottom third of the income scale. That may be a regrettable fact but it is a fact all the same. The plan to win a left-wing mandate on core support is cracking under pressure from the SNP in Scotland and UKIP in England."

I only disagree with his suggestion that Labour at 29 per cent in some opinion polls is back to the level achieved in the 2010 election. That was 30 per cent in Great Britain (Labour doesn't field candidates in Northern Ireland).

My assessment for the Independent website yesterday was that he had re-done his party conference speech properly, reading it well from autocue and therefore remembering to mention immigration and the deficit. But the content was still rhetoric, guff and slogans, with nothing to offer the aspirant working class who feel they have just made it through the last few years unscathed and worry that a Miliband government would damage the recovery.

Video: Can Labour win in 2015?

5. Polling news. The Polling Observatory team say that the recent dip in Labour support is one of the biggest changes in opinion since the 2010 election. Not shown on the chart is the Green Party, which has gained from Labour's slide, and is now at an average of above 5 per cent. The academics' analysis of the uncertainty surrounding estimates of UKIP support – which is why the dotted lines showing confidence intervals splay out on this chart – looks at the "house effects" of different pollsters' methods.



6. And finally, thanks to Tim Wakefield, in Viz comic:

"These so-called speed humps are a joke. If anything they slow you down."