Make it a real conscience vote. One thing that most elected politicians really dislike is fair dinkum democracy. When they talk about “a conscience vote” they certainly do not mean that your opinion and mine should decide an issue. No. The only so-called “conscience” that counts for members of parliament is their own after they weigh up the potential electoral implications. And where that analysis regularly leads them is to avoid making decisions that upset a militant minority that might change its vote if angered by an outcome.

So, it is that the Labor Party at its forthcoming federal conference will opt, most probably, to allow federal MPs to play their conscience vote game on changes to the Marriage Act knowing that the outcome of a free vote will be to continue the ban on same-s-x marriages

Real conscience votes on this question — and others like euthanasia and abortion — would come from endorsing the introduction of referendums where the people can give a verdict.

Suspicious of internal party polling. Having made up in my time a few Labor Party internal polls to give to the press I am hugely suspicious when I see headlines like this one on page one of this morning’s Brisbane Courier Mail:

“Queensland’s newest political force,” the story told us, “is poised to wreak havoc at the looming state election and could rival One Nation’s 1998 efforts. Labor polling obtained by The Courier-Mail shows Bob Katter’s Australian Party has snared 22 per cent of the vote in the seat of Mulgrave. The ALP was on just 32 per cent and the LNP polled about 36 per cent.”

Now I have written before that I expect the Katter team to do well in the forthcoming state election but I have to think that this so-called Courier Mail exclusive is really just some mischief making by the Labor Party campaign team.

The whole tenor of it is to cast doubt on the wisdom of Liberal National Party leader-in-waiting Campbell Newman’s “Just Vote 1” strategy. Knowing that its own primary vote will be well down, Labor is desperate to try and find a way of getting Katter preferences.

A one party race. Sunday’s Spanish election looks like being a one party race with the People’s Party clearly favoured to emerge as the government.

You will find updates of the other Crikey election indicators on The Stump website.

Coming soon to a school near you. It might not turn me off my Christmas turkey but this latest billboard from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals did encourage me to read their description of how the birds are raised.

“In nature, turkeys are protective and loving parents as well as spirited explorers who can climb trees and run as fast as 25 miles per hour. But most turkeys slated to be killed for food are crammed into filthy warehouses, where disease, smothering and heart attacks are common. Turkeys are drugged and bred to grow such unnaturally large upper bodies that their legs often become crippled under the weight.”

PETA plans to run the ad near schools in the hope that it will spark a dialogue between kids and their parents.

Happy Greens on uranium. If there really has been an improvement in federal Labor’s primary vote, as the recent opinion polls would have us believe, then it may well decline again with the decision by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to get party policy changed to allow uranium exports to India. This is just the kind of totemic issue that will see more left leaning Labor voters deciding to move over to the Greens as the party better representing their views.

Not that the PM will worry too much about that because most of their votes will return to the government on preferences.