If you are looking at voting intention or best Prime Minister figures to judge how well an opposition leader is doing, the first thing to note is that they are relative. It’s not just about how well the opposition are doing, it’s about how well the government are doing. Indeed, it’s probably mostly how well the government are doing – I am a great believer in the old truism that oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them. A really good opposition leader can pick holes in a government and force them into political errors, but primarily it’s a job of waiting for them to make a mistake, and making sure that when they do, you look like a plausible enough alternative for the public to place their trust in you.

Many of Starmer’s internal Labour party critics start with the absolute assumption that the Government are incredibly unpopular and that Labour should therefore be ahead of them. The reality is the Government’s figures really aren’t that bad and, on corona vaccination – the issue that currently dominates the agenda – are strikingly good. Looking at the Ipsos MORI polling this week, 38% think the government are handling corona well, 46% badly (negative, but not overwhelmingly so). 86% think they are doing well at securing vaccine supplies, 78% that they are doing well in rolling it out. For better or for worse, Boris Johnson has also delivered on his main election promise – getting Brexit done – and his own approval ratings appear to have bottomed out at the end of last year and have improved slightly since then.

As such, we’ve seen the Conservative party creep back ahead in the polls over recent months. At the tail end of last year the polls were broadly neck-and-neck. The Tories now clearly have a small lead again. Opinium and YouGov’s polls this week show a 5 point Tory lead, Survation a 6 point lead, Ipsos MORI earlier this month a 4 point lead. This is likely more a reflection of the Conservative Government’s recovering fortunes than anything Labour have or haven’t done. If we want to get a decent measure of public attitudes towards Keir Starmer, we need to look at figures asking directly about Starmer himself, rather than his relative position to the Government.

If we do that, then on the whole, Starmer’s ratings are at least acceptable. During the early part of his leadership there were very solid indeed, but over the last few months they have declined. His approval ratings are fairly neutral (Opinium’s last poll had 32% approving, 30% disapproving; Ipsos MORI has 40% satisfied, 35% dissatisfied; YouGov 39% good job, 37% bad job). These are significantly better than Boris Johnson’s current ratings, and better than his predecessors Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

Looking at polling on perceptions of Starmer, YouGov gives him positive ratings on being strong, likeable, decisive and – especially – competence (42% see him as competent, 21% incompetent). Ipsos MORI finds strongly positive ratings for him on being decisive, and moderately positive figures on leading opinion and demonstrating a clear vision.

MORI also ask a regular question on if the opposition leader looks ready to be Prime Minister. 33% of people think Starmer does, 37% think he does not. Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband got figures ranging between 17%-31% thinking they looked ready to be Prime Minister, but consistently got in excess of 60% saying they did not. The positive figures may not be that different here, but Starmer’s negatives are far, far less than his predecessors. YouGov have a similar question, and found 33% think Starmer looks like a Prime Minister in waiting.

It is clear from the polling that Keir Starmer is seen by the general public as much more of a competent, plausible Prime Ministerial figure than his two predecessors. Whether that is enough is a different matter. I’ve frequently compared Starmer’s figures in this article to Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. By that yardstick they’re not bad at all. But compare them to Tony Blair, or even to David Cameron, the last two leaders of the opposition to actually go on and become Prime Minister, and they look less positive.

It’s also worth underlining that the direction of movement for Starmer is currently negative. Lots of leaders have positive ratings to begin with (think of how positively rated Theresa May was to begin with, for example). At the moment it looks as if the way that Keir Starmer presents himself has chimed enough with the public for them to give him a serious hearing and to remain open-minded on whether he’d make a good Prime Minister. It looks as if Starmer has managed to win the opportunity to be heard, but having that opportunity doesn’t mean he won’t fluff it.

Obviously Keir Starmer is not yet in a position to win a general election. We won’t know until after the boundary review exactly what sort of lead the Labour party would need to win an election, but to get an overall majority on a uniform swing then without some degree of political realignment they’d need a very substantial lead indeed and at this point, Starmer has no lead at all. I suppose for those within the Labour party, it depends exactly how much one can reasonably expect from leader who inherits a party that has just suffered one of its worst ever general elections, its fourth in row, and has spent the last five years busy in internecine warfare.

2,990 Responses to “How well or badly is Keir Starmer doing?”

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  1. JIMJAM and others

    “TOH posts under he real name by accident occasionally and did so on the last thread for one post, this is what people are commenting on.”

    Exactly so

  2. Old nat

    How could you accuse me of making it up!

    Thanks for reminding me of the name and I readily concede that he’s a British nationalist not a Scottish nationalist.


    I am afraid i have had to give up on being a county recorder last year as the allotment takes most of my time (and reduced energy due to my cancer treatment).

    My specialism is bryophytes and i still help people out who send me specimens and send in the odd interesting record. So I still add a little value

  4. On the anonymous or named posting, I weighed the pros and cons of this before I started posting, and decided that being open about my identity was preferable, largely on the basis of what @Peter Cairns just said – nothing to hide, and it helps to ensure that the individual poster behaves themself. However, I opted to test the waters anonymously, just in case, with a view to a big reveal if it went well.

    That never happened, largely because of a business related incident. Some years ago I experienced one of those bizarre online anxieties, where a project I was involved with, for a community charitable group, got caught up in an aggressive and utterly misguided online campaign.

    The truth became deeply twisted, with a group of animal rights activists claiming that the project we were working on was forcing an animal sanctuary out of business. This was totally bogus. The owner was being pursued by unconnected bank creditors for bankruptcy, and we were trying to negotiate a lease deal that might have saved the sanctuary.

    The upshot was that public meetings were invaded by chanting activists, filming those present and making legally actionable accusations and threats against the client group, me, and my company. These interventions were videoed and are probably still available online if you know where to look.

    My role in such circumstances is to take the flak, and the job of lightning rod and conciliator is partly what I get paid for, so I took the group on head on to try and shield the community group. I considered court action, but decided against that course, and as events proceeded, the protest group gradually realised they’d made fools of themselves, and while there was no apology or retraction, eventually it all passed into history.

    However, it left me feeling uneasy, and given that it is easy for people to trace my home address through my work activity, and target my company for abusive treatment that could affect my living, I opted for anonymity.

    I do have my own rule never to say anything untrue about myself, and would prefer to be honest about my identity, but my real world experience suggests that for now at least, keeping my name largely hidden is the right choice for me at this time. It’s business, not personal, as someone once said.


    You’ve just spent a whole post moaning about people who moan about people. And I’m now moaning about you moaning about people who moan about people. If this carries on the whole population of the planet will be moaning about………until we get back to the first person, who will have moan about themselves.

    Maybe it would be better just to concentrate on the content of what people say.

  6. Speaking to broadcasters in Kent, the prime minister said:

    “If we possibly can, we will be setting out dates. And just to help people think about what we’re trying to do on February 22, remember what we did around about this time last year, or a little bit later – we set out a road map going forward into the summer looking a little bit beyond, that’s what we’re going to be trying to do. ”

    Was there an alternative reality early 2020 that we all missed otherwise this appears to be an out and out l!e.


    ‘Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face’

    Couldn’t agree more; it’s the only civilised way to be online.

  8. Jim Jam

    Thanks for the background on BristolianHoward. I found his views interesting though I think he got disillusioned with the discussion here in the end or with politics I can’t remember which.

    I noticed that The Other Howard also sometimes comes up with a different name but I don’t think he pretends to be two different people its just an innocent thing.


    Now Bristolian Howard is gone I think you are the main Howard these days and not “the other one” any more :).

  9. @Steve – I think it will be a very big mistake to bow to the pressure from very stupid people like Steve Baker MP and set out dates.

    All the scientists are saying this should be data driven, not date driven.

    We need to know the disease metrics that will trigger different stages of release, and go from there. Only once we get close to the trigger points should provisional dates come into it.

    That, in turn, helps create the idea of responsibility in the public mind. If someone tells you that you’ll be able to have a drink in a pub by April 15th, you’ll count the days down and wait for the date. If someone tells you that you can have a drink in the pub once national confirmed cases seven day average is less that 750, you go away and think about how you can help keep infections down.

    “Wear a mask, because I want a drink” becomes the dynamic.

  10. @Petercairns

    I continued to post on that site in my real name ( one of only 2 or 3 people still doing so, where there used to be 100s) but I took the threat to my family seriously (as they mentioned the locality where i lived) , so did not post on sectarianism again.

  11. “ ‘cautious but irreversible’,”

    Overtly Irresponsible more like!

    We do have a PM who loves to treat us to unbounded optimism, like “Oven Ready Deal”, only to be brought abruptly down to earth by harsh reality or just the unrealistic nature of his predictions.

    If we have learned anything from COVID it should be that it is inherently unpredictable and if the Government is capable of learning anything, then it should after having had to reverse its plan to ease at Christmas, know saying something related to COVID is irreversible is a hostage to fortune.

    The full statement may be more cautious and have caveats but these headline grabbing almost Jingoistic claim just keep coming back to bite them.

    Johnson’s credibility is already starting to weigh on the Tories even if they are ahead in the polls and as Mike Smithson on PB has repeatedly claimed leadership readings are often a better indicator of electoral success than Party ones.

    You’d have thought with a new Comms team in Downing St. they’d have told him to stop leading with his chin! He again unnecessarily risks looking like he either doesn’t know what he is doing or deliberately making it up!



  12. As there has been some mention of multiple posting names, I think it’s worth reminding people that Andrew Williams previously posted as ‘ADW’ , and may have had other monikers here (‘Andy’?).

    It makes me wonder if CBX 1985 might resurface under a new name.

    (Incidentally, must agree with JimJam that TOH’s occasionally-used other name is not any sort of deception).

  13. More on differential vaccine take-up.


    Lower proportions of black and Asian staff at a hospital trust have come forward to have a Covid-19 vaccine, according to a study.

    The analysis looked at 19,044 staff at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust who had all been offered jabs since mid-December.

    It found 70.9% of white staff had come forward, compared with 58.5% of South Asian staff and 36.8% of black staff.

    Further analysis of the South Asian group found a much lower take-up among Pakistani and Bangladeshi healthcare staff (43.2%) than the Indian cohort (60.3%).

    However the rate between Black Caribbean and Black African staff was quite similar.

    The study also noted a lower take-up among staff under 30.

    Staff in this age range made up 18.7% of the vaccinated group compared with 31.7% in the group who had not come forward for vaccination.

    With less than 65% of NHS staff taking up the offer of vaccination, that suggests their might be a significant reduction in the efficacy of the vaccination programme in building herd immunity.

    Not an easy problem to solve, I imagine.

  14. Alec

    While I in principle agree the problem with data driven is that the required figure can be subject to media influence and internal Tory party politics.

    For example if we selected a figure of 2% from the most recent peak so around 1500 a day and 20 deaths , a figure in current projections we might well reach by the end of March and got there. What’s to stop.covid hysteria aided and abetted it has to be said by the leader of the opposition demanding its 150 and 20 a week.

    There’s no end in site and those businesses that are on the cusp of folding go permanently t!ts up.
    If we could trust this regime to stick to a plan base it on data and implement accordingly it would be fine . But I am sure I don’t have to remind you this is the Spaffer regime of inept snake oil salesmen we are talking about.

    At some point people have to come to terms with the fact that we can’t stop people dying and the very elderly will continue to do so regularly however long you make young people put their lives on hold.
    Baring significant changes around the start of May seems about right for most, not all of the legally enforceable restrictions to go.

  15. @Colin (aka Mr Poot).
    “Disappointed with the depth of your literary references for me though. I rather think a Winston Smith fits the bill, in this Oceania here on UKPR.”

    I read everything by Orwell in my youth. Decades since I read the rather dreary 1984, but I recall Smith began as a rebel and ended betraying his lover & his cause & becoming a zombified adulator of Big Brother. If we substitute Brexit propaganda for Newspeak, & Johnson, Gove, etc for Big Brother, than I suppose Smith’s fictional career provides an adequate description of yr own “political journey”.
    Orwell these days is condemned as anti-Semitic, sexist etc, tho his critics seem to forget he began writing over 80 years ago. I admire him for the breadth of his intellectual interests, his independence of mind, his refusal to follow any “party line” & the unrivalled clarity of his writing. For me was the conscience of his age.
    If I were to recommend one of his writings it would be (despite its quirks) his “Politics & the English Language”


    For one thing it refutes the mistaken view, often expressed on here, that “language is a natural growth” rather than, as he says, “an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.”


    “ ‘Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face’, Couldn’t agree more; it’s the only civilised way to be online.”

    Mind you, being from Glasgow this gives me considerable leeway!

    If someone feels that others will suffer for what they say on line, I can see why the would choose anonymity and I have no quibble with that. I can take care of myself and think the risks are small to negligible for me.

    It might be different for others.

    However I also feel that those of us who genuinely support free speak and use it responsibly also have an obligation to challenge those who don’t.

    Looking at the U.S. the First Amendment has almost become the Right to Lie! a place where you can believe anything is true and where if you believe it it is.

    Too many people seem to be able to switch effortlessly from bemoaning cancel culture if their views are challenged to labelling others “Enemies of the People” to challenge their views!

    Anonymity allows those, on right or left, or fixed on a particular issue, not just to state a view, but to vent their frustrations and worse still belittle, denigrate and indeed threaten others.

    Free speech isn’t just the right to speak it should carry the duty to listen. Far too much of internet debate isn’t debate at all, it’s a shouting match between two deaf people.

    It will prevail if we do nothing and all it takes is for the good who care to say nothing or shy away.

    Social media was supposed to connect us not divide us, bring out the best in each of us, not the worst in us all!

    I’ve been accused on here of attacking people on Independence, I haven’t, I’ve pointed out errors and made my case, I’ve held my ground when I thought it needed to be done.

    I make no apologies for any of that, nor should anyone.


  17. @ Howard

    I am sorry to hear you have given up your bryophyte responsibility, but do keep up on helping the new person by handling some queries. Mukti-tasking is good for our souls.

    Besides the slowing-up as old age creeps up, there has been a significant change from one-person functioning to sharing in these recording jobs. So I too am now sharing, and the new younger person can do the rough, hard and long walking whilst I do more desk work. And I can enjoy the new insights and pictures coming from a flow of new publications.

    In Ireland, they have developed a “Rough Crew” for coping with bogs, crags, loughs, etc, and I reckon in GB we are heading that way on angiosperm and gymnosperm botany.

  18. Vaccine supply data

    Sturgeon announcing that UKGov have finally agreed that the number of doses already delivered to the 4 nations (not future plans) will be published weekly from next week.

  19. I seem to recall that last years road map said we would open up when in level 3 but then relaxed measures while still in level 4.

    I hope that any timetable is adhered to this time.

    Would like to see the Furlough scheme extended at least a month to stave off a round of redundancies in early March.

  20. @ CARFREW – JLR picking up a bit press (Times, Torygraph paywall). Autocar version:

    “. The Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Velar would all be natural choices for hydrogen power, given their large size and need for a long range and flexible usage.

    Hydrogen power could also be a strong option in regions and countries with limited BEV charging infrastructures where rugged off-roaders are popular”


    PS Also some ‘techy’ stuff in the link about solutions to the known problems, eg:
    “‘metallic organic framework’, that will allow much greater volumes of hydrogen gas to be stored in a given space and, importantly, at a much lower pressure”

  21. @ JJ – It already has. From 17Dec:

    “The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021”


  22. Finding literary parallels to the site’s posters is harder than it looks.
    I see Charles (where is he?) in his youth as Sydney Carton in Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities, ready to sacrifice himself for a friend, &, in his older self, as the widowed Reverend Septimus Harding, the eponymous hero of Trollope’s The Warden. Harding is intelligent, gentle & calm, in a world of self-seekers & charlatans, but takes criticism too much to heart & is too conscientious in his soul-searching for his own good.

    In the novel that follows The Warden — Barchester Towers, we find the most oleaginous character in fiction, Obediah Slope: wonderfully played by Rickman in the TV series.
    “His hair is lank, and of a dull, reddish hue, lumpy masses, cemented with much grease . . His face is not unlike beef of a bad quality. A cold, clammy perspiration always exudes from him, the small drops are ever to be seen standing on his brow” etc.
    A modern description. “Slope is a particularly poisonous example of the kind of cr–p that haunts almost any organisation or social group.”

    Does that bring any (prolific) poster to mind?

  23. JAMES E

    Thanks, I made myself TOH because there were are are other Howards, like Professor Howard.

    I have no problem posting under either TOH or my real name (Howard Wallis) which I do by accident on occasions.

  24. DAVWEL

    Many thanks for your post. Yes I fully intend to do what I can to help the new recorder who I know well, and others who still send me samples. There is quite a bit of microscope work involved with the bryophyta, especially the smaller liverworts and some mosses. Some liverworts for example can only be identified at the species level by the spore structure and I really enjoy microscope work.

  25. I don’t have any problem with my real name being known on here, and indeed have linked to forum posts elsewhere which have had that name on it (Scott Herbertson if anyone’s bothered) .

    I do agree that it would make for more open and honest debate if everyone posted under there own name. Would probably lead to a decline in insults too – I know on other forums where I use my real name it does have the effect of making one more inclined to think about what one says before posting.

    However on certain forums (eg football ones) that can be quite restrictive. I also have a musician brother who has to be careful what the says on forums for commercial reasons, for example

  26. @TOH – didn’t know you were specialist in bryophytes. Often have to bring in experts to look at these on hydro projects.

    Any tips on a decent microscope for the amateur? (Dr A on lichens again).

  27. ROBBIE O’Brien

    @” I admire him for the breadth of his intellectual interests, his independence of mind, his refusal to follow any “party line” & the unrivalled clarity of his writing.”

    Me too :-) :-)

    THanks for the link . the matter you highlight in @”it refutes the mistaken view, often expressed on here, that “language is a natural growth” rather than, as he says, “an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.”. is a fascinating one.

    I read Daniel Everett’s ” Language the cultural tool” and followed his disagreement with Chomsky.

    I am very much with Everett……….and Orwell now you have alerted me .

    Of course Left Wing Socialists like Chomsky cannot stand the idea of the individual as tabula rasa.

  28. ALEC

    “@TOH – didn’t know you were specialist in bryophytes. Often have to bring in experts to look at these on hydro projects.”

    I wonder if you have ever used Dr Martha Newton, one of my old teachers and a friend of long standing who sadly died last year. She was a great bryologist and teacher. I did many FSC courses with her and subsequently corresponded for years.

  29. Trev – thanks for the below I must have missed in the run up to xmas, think I was somewhat disillusioned at the time!

    ”The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021”

  30. To all (RE: Anonymity)

    If we’re focussing on playing the ball, i.e. the content, and not the (wo)man, i.e the poster, then the identity of anyone should not matter.

    Yes, there are some who post with an agenda/interest, but it’s usually very easy to spot, and very easy to filter. Pretty much everyone can guess I’m pro-Indy. It’s not secret. They can also take the data I post on anything as posted in good faith. I, like anyone might pick and choose what I post about, but I would never (knowingly) post false data.

    I chose to be anon from the get go for two simple reasons:

    1) It’s my choice. That choice is very important to me. I got banned from Facebook very early on for creating an account that wasn’t my own name (at the time, I wasn’t aware that was a thing). So I don’t use Facebook. Simple. Outside of legal or financial transactions or communications, I never post anything on the Internet in my own name.

    2) I got into Internet stuff at the end of the 90s. And having worked in an IT security role, I’m aware of the DPA, personal data and all that guff (read – important stuff that you ought to protect). I get next to no spam on all but one of my e-mail accounts (the one is designed to be the spam catcher), and get zero junk mail, other than random mailshots to all addresses.

    I have never been, and hope to never be a member of any political party, never gamble, so equally never gamble on political outcomes, and other than occasional passing interest in other nations’ elections (e.g. US 2020), have zero interest in politics outside my polity (which is sometimes Scotland, but sometimes the UK).

    If some choose to be ‘open’ and post as themselves (we only have their word for that – IT security 101), that’s their choice. They get no more weight than an anon poster of similar reputation. The only exception to all this is when anon posters use their anonymity to their advantage.

    I suggest those who abuse their anonymity be ignored, as one might ignore a bog-standard Internet troll. Or simply play the ball, and see how the debate plays out.

  31. Alec

    Re microscopes, it depends what sort you require. I use two, a dissecting microscope for working with my samples, dissecting out leaves, capsules etc and a high power microscope for looking at fine detail such as leaf cells, spores etc.

    As it happens i have just replaced my binocular dissecting microscope and I bought a Euromex Edublue ED.1805-S which I bought from Amazon for £234 .The eyepieces are x 10 and there are three pairs of achromatic objectives mounted in a revolving objective changer. These are x 1, x 2, x4, so greatest magnification is x 40. I am very happy with it.

    My high power binocular microscope is quite old and I have lost the detail. There are so many to choose from that i would hesitate to give advice. The Lichen Society may be able to advise. They are quite expensive £500 – £1500 for a good one. If she wants to do lichens seriously she will need one but if she has just taken up the interest I would delay buying until gets into the detail of looking at small fruiting bodies and spores to aid identification. As a beginner you can build up quite a list of species with just x 10 and x 20 hand lenses and a few chemical droppers in a testing kit.

    Hope that helps. I did do Lichens for several years in the 80s but have now forgotten most of it.

    Hope that helps.

  32. “Australia has suspended its quarantine-free travel arrangement with New Zealand after the discovery of three new coronavirus cases in Auckland.

    New Zealand’s biggest city was put into a three-day lockdown over the cases.”


    “Germany said on Monday its decision to impose border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria is a temporary measure of last resort and it defended a lockdown extension against business demands for a roadmap to reopening.
    The new restrictions along the normally open borders were prompted by alarm over outbreaks in the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region of strains of the coronavirus that spread faster and cause more illness.

    Germany installed frontier checks on Sunday, drawing protest from Austria and concerns about supply-chain disruptions that could damage the country’s export-oriented manufacturing sector.

    “We have a situation in which we had to take all the necessary steps to prevent the virus variants…spreading as quickly in Germany as they are doing unfortunately in neighbouring countries,” Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, told a news conference.”


  33. @COLIN

    ‘Of course Left Wing Socialists like Chomsky cannot stand the idea of the individual as tabula rasa.’

    IMO the opposite is true. Socialists since Marx have usually argued that individuals are tabula rasa, i.e. have no inherent human nature. This means that we, as individuals in groups have the power to construct whatever kind of society we like, and there are indeed a lot of different ‘experiments’ in the world.

    Marx also thought that the important thing about us is our need to depend on each other in society and that, over time, societies would tend to become more democratic as we recognised that interdependence.

  34. An interesting LD view of the return of Mandelson in the LP.


  35. ComRes Scottish Political Tracker tables now out


    As well as VI questions, a significant set were on favourable/unfavourable attitudes to ScotGov, UKGov and a range of Scots and UK politicians.

    I have ranked these by net favourability, but included the “DKs” as knowledge of them is clearly an important factor.

    Name : Fav : Unfav : Net : DK
    Sturgeon : 56% : 30% : 26% : 2%
    ScotGov : 49% : 25% : 24% : 6%
    Sunak : 34% : 30% : 4% : 10%
    Starmer : 28% : 28% : -1% : 15%
    Harvie : 17% : 22% : -5% : 33%
    Slater : 7% : 12% : -5% : 50%
    Rennie : 17% : 24% : -7% : 25%
    Sarwar : 14% : 21% : -7% : 32%
    Cherry : 15% : 23% : -8% : 33%
    Ross : 17% : 27% : -10% : 27%
    Lennon : 7% : 18% : -11% : 43%
    Leonard : 9% : 31% : -22% : 29%
    UKGov : 26% : 52% : -26% : 4%
    Johnson : 23% : 58% : -35% : 3%

  36. Statgeek

    I don’t think many people have a problem with the anonymity of people choosing not to use their real names. It’s more of an issue when we get people posting under a false persona, or being dishonest about which way they vote (or have voted).

    We’ve had a few examples of that sort of thing on UKPR, including one or two who continue to post here.

  37. @Oldnat

    Slater? Is that the Green co-leader? I keep forgetting.

  38. Statgeek

    Yes. When her name started appearing in these lists, I had to check too!

  39. Robbiealive

    Well, Orwell also reported on leftists to the intelligence services – the documents were released in 2003.

    Also, if I may add, contrary to the linked piece – if you read 1984 you will see he writes that the ball pen gives a scratching noise on the paper (as it belongs to the inferior classes) unlike fountain pen (Asimov’s critique of 1984 shows Orwell’s linguistic snobbery pretty well)

    In a way it is related to Chomsky brought up by Colin as in his time as a linguist (and a leading one) he worked hard to bring back a version of Marr (the Georgian linguist) who argued that language is class related (which is wrong as JVS pointed out in “Marxism and the problem of linguistics” :-) ).

  40. @Oldnat

    Cheers. Logic suggested that 50% DK made it so, but it equally made it likely that it could have been any lesser-known politician.

  41. @ JJ – They do need to make a decision on UC tho. Background piece on options and the cost:

    “The temporary benefit uplift: extension, permanence, or a one-off bonus?”


    A one-off ‘bonus’ seems a daft idea IMO. Permanent is very expensive so maybe a ‘can kick’ extension and reconsider in Autumn?

    As you mentioned earlier then UC could be one area that Starmer can find some ‘Red water’ between LAB and CON. However, the Weds thing we can’t mention has been a bit tricky on that for Starmer recently.

    To demand a permanent extension for something that LAB want(ed?) to scrap seems fair enough to me given LAB can’t scrap it up they get into power but Starmer needs to come out with something ‘fully baked’ if he comments on UC again.

  42. @Steve – indeed.

    I rather liked Cummings defence as quoted from his statement.

    Basically that his friends should get the contract because he knew they would do a good job. That’s the definition of corruption, really.

  43. Sturgeon has been leader for so long its pretty amazing how enduring her popularity is.

  44. Alec,

    Regardless of probity that defence will work with the voters if they did indeed do a good job.

  45. @Prof

    Not correcting you in the slightest, but is it that long?

    She took over at the end of 2014, and her first Holyrood election as leader was 2016, so she’s really fighting her second election. Cameron did better in 2015, as did Thatcher in 1983 and 1987, while Blair equalled his 1997 efforts in 2001.

  46. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-56068503

    The more of these videos I see the more I wonder if we are being attacked by Aliens but they’re just not very good at it!

    Boris in Space!


  47. BAME staff and vaccinations? Could we have the figures by wages rather than race? I bet it’s those at the lowest paid level – white and BAME – who are most reluctant to have vaccinations. Education level comes into play…

    The focus on BAME in this sort of instance is woke / diversity rubbish – there is no reason why one should focus on vaccine takeup by race, one should look at it by education. There we have a cause and effect correlation.

    Otherwise we ignore the white working class…

  48. “ We want this lockdown to be the last!” Says Boris.

    No S#£t Sherlock!


  49. @ JACK – Vaccine hesitancy amongst BAME is not a woke issue.

    Repost from SAGE minutes released 15 Jan (See Fig1 page 5)


    Also see the NCP polling (also a repost), big improvement but still a significant level of ‘hesitancy’


    Also see OLDNAT post from earlier today (not his comments on last thread!) or use google to find BBC link for “Covid: Lower jab take-up by BAME NHS staff ‘a concern'” or look at the London data on vaccines (40% of London is BAME) that many commentators including myself have repeatedly mentioned.

    There might well be a ‘correlation’ with other socio-economic factors but there is a serious problem with significantly lower take up in mostly Black, also Pakistani and Bangladeshi folks. There have also been issues with u!tra-Othordox Jews and some religious groups on ‘hesitancy’

    Hopefully the ‘hesitancy’ issue will continue to be tackled as it is a serious problem for London and (mostly English) cities due to the high % of BAME folks in those places.

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