UKIP just two points behind the Tories in new poll

Support for UKIP surges to a record high of 22 per cent in the latest Survation poll, with the Tories down five points to 24 per cent.

It just gets worse for David Cameron. A new poll by Survation has put UKIP on 22 per cent (up six points since 1 May), the party's highest ever rating and just two points behind the Tories (down five to 24 per cent). Before adjusting for don't knows, the two parties are level pegging on 23 per cent.

One should always avoid drawing any conclusions from a single survey, but the significance of such polls lies less in the numbers themselves and more in the panic that they will induce on the Conservative right. It is no longer unthinkable that at some stage we will see a poll with UKIP ahead of the Tories. The likelihood remains that most Tory defectors will return to the Conservative fold before 2015, but the challenge for Cameron will be keeping control of his party in the meantime. The more the polls show UKIP eating into the Tories' vote share, the greater the temptation will be for Conservative MPs to follow Nadine Dorries's lead and seek to establish electoral pacts with the Faragists

Labour is on 35 per cent (down one), 11 points ahead of the Conservatives, with the Lib Dems on 11 per cent (down one), 11 points behind UKIP. If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, those figures would give Labour a majority of 104 seats.

Survation also asked respondents how they would vote in next year's European elections. Labour leads on 31 per cent, but this is just a point ahead of UKIP, support for which has risen by eight points since January. The Tories are in third place on 20 per cent (down four points), with the Lib Dems in fourth place on 8 per cent (down three) and the Greens in fifth on 6 per cent (unchanged). With UKIP already neck-and-neck with Labour, anything less than first place for the party next May will now be viewed as a failure.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage with omnipresent pint. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The most terrifying thing about Donald Trump's speech? What he didn't say

No politician uses official speeches to put across their most controversial ideas. But Donald Trump's are not hard to find. 

As Donald Trump took the podium on a cold Washington day to deliver his inauguration speech, the world held its breath. Viewers hunched over televisions or internet streaming services watched Trump mouth “thank you” to the camera, no doubt wondering how he could possibly live up to his deranged late-night Twitter persona. In newsrooms across America, reporters unsure when they might next get access to a president who seems to delight in denying them the right to ask questions got ready to parse his words for any clue as to what was to come. Some, deciding they couldn’t bear to watch, studiously busied themselves with other things.

But when the moment came, Trump’s speech was uncharacteristically professional – at least compared to his previous performances. The fractured, repetitive grammar that marks many of his off-the-cuff statements was missing, and so, too, were most of his most controversial policy ideas.

Trump told the crowd that his presidency would “determine the course of America, and the world, for many, many years to come” before expressing his gratefulness to President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for their “gracious aid” during the transition. “They have been magnificent," Trump said, before leading applause of thanks from the crowd.

If this opening was innocent enough, however, it all changed in the next breath. The new president moved quickly to the “historic movement”, “the likes of which the world has never seen before”, that elected him President. Following the small-state rhetoric of his campaign, Trump promised to take power from the “establishment” and restore it to the American people. “This moment," he told them, “Is your moment. It belongs to you.”

A good deal of the speech was given over to re-iterating his nationalist positions while also making repeated references to the key issues – “Islamic terrorism” and families – that remain points of commonality within the fractured Republican GOP.

The loss of business to overseas producers was blamed for “destroying our jobs”. “Protection," Trump said, “Will lead to great strength." He promised to end what he called the “American carnage” caused by drugs and crime.

“From this day forward," Trump said, “It’s going to be only America first."

There was plenty in the speech, then, that should worry viewers, particularly if you read Trump’s promises to make America “unstoppable” so it can “win” again in light of his recent tweets about China

But it was the things Trump didn't mention that should worry us most. Trump, we know, doesn’t use official channels to communicate his most troubling ideas. From bizarre television interviews to his upsetting and offensive rallies and, of course, the infamous tweets, the new President is inclined to fling his thoughts into the world as and when he sees fit, not on the occasions when he’s required to address the nation (see, also, his anodyne acceptance speech).

It’s important to remember that Trump’s administration wins when it makes itself seem as innocent as possible. During the speech, I was reminded of my colleague Helen Lewis’ recent thoughts on the “gaslighter-in-chief”, reflecting on Trump’s lying claim that he never mocked a disabled reporter. “Now we can see," she wrote, “A false narrative being built in real time, tweet by tweet."

Saying things that are untrue isn’t the only way of lying – it is also possible to lie by omission.

There has been much discussion as to whether Trump will soften after he becomes president. All the things this speech did not mention were designed to keep us guessing about many of the President’s most controversial promises.

Trump did not mention his proposed ban on Muslims entering the US, nor the wall he insists he will erect between America and Mexico (which he maintains the latter will pay for). He maintained a polite coolness towards the former President and avoiding any discussion of alleged cuts to anti-domestic violence programs and abortion regulations. Why? Trump wanted to leave viewers unsure as to whether he actually intends to carry through on his election rhetoric.

To understand what Trump is capable of, therefore, it is best not to look to his speeches on a global stage, but to the promises he makes to his allies. So when the President’s personal website still insists he will build a wall, end catch-and-release, suspend immigration from “terror-prone regions” “where adequate screening cannot occur”; when, despite saying he understands only 3 per cent of Planned Parenthood services relate to abortion and that “millions” of women are helped by their cancer screening, he plans to defund Planned Parenthood; when the president says he will remove gun-free zones around schools “on his first day” - believe him.  

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland