A new Ipsos MORI poll in Friday’s Sun apparently has identical figures to the last YouGov poll, showing a big swing towards the Conservatives since their conference and putting them slightly ahead of Labour. The topline figures with changes from the previous Ipsos MORI poll, taken shortly after Gordon Brown’s conference speech, are CON 41%(+7), LAB 38%(-3), LDEM 11%(-5).

There is no confirmation of the dates for this poll, but presumably it is the first poll carried out entirely after Gordon Brown’s announcement that he would not be calling an election.

While the lead has varied from poll to poll, with Populus showing Labour ahead and MORI and YouGov showing the Conservatives ahead, all the recent polls have shown a pretty consistent picture – the two main parties close to one another in the high thirties and low forties and the Lib Dems mercilessly squeezed down to 11 or 12 percent.

UPDATE: The full details of the poll are here. It was conducted entirely on Wednesday afternoon after 2 o’clock, with all the caveats that implies (snap phone polls don’t give much time to phone back people who aren’t in, increasing the risk of non-contact bias. It doesn’t mean the poll isn’t valid, just that the sample won’t be as high a quality as one done over several days). It does mean that this poll was conducted entirely after both the decision that there was not to be an election and the announcement of the new inheritance tax arrangements.

Overall a narrow plurality of people supported Gordon Brown’s decision not to call an election, by 47% to 42%. Looking at changes to perceptions of Gordon Brown, in MORI’s polls last month he had a towering lead over David Cameron as the man more likely to be a capable Prime Minister, 58% to 17%. While Brown retains a large lead, the figures have narrowed sharply, down to 45% for Brown and 29% for Cameron. Brown’s trust ratings have also fallen – in August 54% thought he was trustworthy, 37% disagreed – a net score of +17. Now 48% think he is, 43% disagree, a net score of +5. There has been an even more noticable change in the other direction in David Cameron’s trustworthyness ratings – his net rating was -14 in August, now it is +4, pretty much the same as Brown.


46 Responses to “Ipsos MORI also shows a swing to the Tories”

  1. Anthony,

    Just logged on while on holiday,

    Any details of the YouGov SNP poll from last week. I caught news of it justbeforeI left and I think ithad the SNP on 27%.

    Peter.

  2. Although not good for Labour, this poll is far from a disaster. The polls might get worse for them, thouygh. I think if they can avoid slipping below 7 or 8 points behind they will be doing well. I say this chiefly because of the press the government has recieved over the last week. It’s been pretty terrible.

  3. I agree Luke its not a disaster and 2 1/2 years is a long long time. The press has been savage, but i think fair also. This was an avoidable gamble. If you want the praise for your successes, you take the critisism for your mistakes.

    Fos us mere mortal anoraks, it has at least been fast moving, exciting and damn engaging.

    Nothing like a good political scrap

    Roll on the next polls

  4. Yes, the press coverage has been terrible for Labour. And only on ‘flight tax’ is there any real justification for it. Brown never said there would be a general election; while the only Tory (was it Tory or, actually, Lib Dem?) ‘nicked’ was the ‘flight tax’. Too much emphasis on this wrectched ‘green’ taxes if you want my honest opinion. What are planes supposed to run on? Fresh air!

  5. Massive swing! But to be expected really, in fact I’m impressed how high the Lab count has stayed up. Will it stay in the high 30s or will we see middling to low 30s soon.

    Again the Lib-Dems are only narrowly pipping out Others, 11-10. I imagine the Lib-Dems are getting squeezed due to the fact we now have a competitive 2 party politics environment, but Others should surely be getting squeezed too. It seems that the Lib-Dems are getting squeezed much more than the general Others though – anyone got an explanation for that?

    Last election we had: Con 33, Lab 37, Lib 23, Others 8. So a change of: Con +8, Lab +1, Lib -12, Others +2 (numbers don’t add up due to rounding)

    Amusing to have YouGov and IPSOS-Mori on an identical topline. That’s not very common is it?

  6. Correction: Lab were on 36 so are +2. Numbers do add up though (but have been rounded)

  7. Well this was a telephone poll conducted on the 10th which means that most of the respondents will not have seen the PMQ and none of them will have seen the press coverage. So the 10pt swing to the Conservatives in the 12 days since the previous Ipsos/Mori poll probably has some way to go. FWIW the Weighted Moving Average is now 38:39:14 but as noted before this is a lagging indicator and it’s equally interesting that the BPIX poll on the 6th, which appeared to be over-estimating C support by 3, now appears exactly in line with the 5-poll average (2 before, 2 after). I/Mori under-estimates C leads by 1.4% on average and has on 2 occasions under-estimated them by 7.6%.

  8. I agree with Philip that the Lib Dems are being squeezed by the competitive 2-party environment. I’m sure there will be mutterings about Ming, but I’m not sure changing their leader would really make much difference. To my mind, the reason the Lib Dems are suffering a lot more than the “Others” is because a large part of their vote is soft – either a protest vote, or a tactical one to keep either Labour or the Tories out in their seat. When voters are presented with a close contest between the two main parties, I think a lot of these soft voters rally to the main party they like most (or dislike least!)

    The “others” (presumably SNP, Plaid, Green, UKIP and BNP) all stand for (or against) something more identifiable than the Lib Dems. Their supporters presumably strongly identify with these causes to such an extent that they’re not tempted to back either the Tories or Labour in a close contest.

  9. i think Labour will be pretty pleased with this. Their coverage could not have been much worse for them this week and yet the Tories have not built a material lead. What it shows I think is that Labour would have won a November election. Maybe Gordon will live to regret his decision if the lead starts to grow.

  10. I think the LibDems need a change of leader to get their poll % up, but when/if they do change leader where will their votes come from? Does anyone have any opinions on this? I don’t think a change of leader will help them very much, they might get a very small boost, but not much more than that.

  11. Paul – A November election vicory for Labour would have weakened Brown if the margin had left him with a reduced majority. At least now he has time to re-group, and re-position himself to put forward “his vision” over the next year or two. Even if he waits for the full five years to elapse, it’s still his to lose. Blair spent years benn kicked by the left and by the right.
    I wonder if Brown and Darling have headed the same way, and whether Brown has the skills to rise above it and remain true to his beliefs.
    I’m glad there hasn’t been an election, and that the Tories have re-invigorated themselves. It’s the end of the beginning of the debate between Cameron and Brown (and Ming!)

  12. I’ll clutch at straws here…..the Labour percentage is 2% up on when it won an election,strange old world.This after the press has done a hatchet job.

    Not that bad really,when all things considered.

  13. Not that “true to beliefs” has anything to do with it!
    gary, I don’t know. Not a clue, but I’d like to. Can a LibDem watcher help?

  14. The poll gives comfort to the Tories in that it confirms that their recovery is not a short blip. It could be an extended blip but I think it’s fair to say that it is now unlikely that Labour will return to a lead of 7 points plus at least until something new happens. On the other hand, this has been a truly terrible week for Labour and they will be very heartened that their support is still at 38%. We will now have to see how the polls develop over the weekend and the week after to see what longer term effect this has all had. My suspicion is that while Cameron has improved his standing, people will still err towards Brown when it comes to choosing a leader and that that will reflect itself in a small to medium Labour lead of 3-5 points. Pure speculation of course.

    The LibDems rating is truly abysmal. To be fair to Ming he has been squeezed by the press coverage and his very worthy contributions in parliament during the Iraq and Budget debates were completely ignored by the media in favour of Cameron’s personal attacks which made for good TV. C’est la vie Ming. I actually think the LibDems are in a bind here and cannot credibly change leader twice between elections. There is also insufficient time till the next election for a new leader like Clegg or Huhne to establish themselves and overcome what would be the clear perception if they did commit regicide again, that the LibDems are a total shambles.

    By this weekend the papers will have returned to reporting about Diana and the McCanns, in fact it seems they have already. Both main parties must now refocus and work out where they are going.

  15. Interestingly large differences by turnout – Labour actually 6% ahead on the ‘all voters’ measure but 3% behind on the certain measure. Is some of this change coming from increased turnout & happiness among Conservative voters?

    Also interestingly a big increase in Ming Campbell’s trustworthy rating.

  16. Anthony

    I gather Labour were 6 points up on overall support in this poll which is a 9 point difference from the headline finding.

    One reason seems to be that only 57% said they were ‘certain to vote’, compared with 62% in MORI’s last poll.

    Any idea of assessing how much this factor will have contributed to the change in the headline figures of the two polls?

  17. Rob/Blue moon – it is very much the norm. MORI’s filtering by likelihood to vote normally reduced the Labour lead by between 7 and 10 points.

  18. What I find very interesting about this poll is the fact that GB is still quite comfortably ahead on personal ratings and, thus, ahead of his party while the reverse applies to DC. Yet on PMQs and in the press this week DC has had a very favourable media narrative. I cannot see how either party can feel confident about success at the present, but perhaps the government will be consoling itself that this poll is not significantly worse. It is still clear that the Conservatives have a long way to go. GB will surely learn from the drubbing he has endured this week and return to the calm gravitas he was showing earlier. Although the preess generally had DC having a victory at PMQs I wonder how many of the general public watch this weekly joust.

  19. Since the poll was apparently a telephone survey on the 10th the effect of the very negative press coverage would not have shown up. If in another week there hasn’t been a significant further swing to the tories I’ll eat my hat.

  20. The discrepancy between those certain to vote and all those indicating a preference is a familiar feature of MORI. Typically when Labour were 5 points ahead among all certain to vote, they were 15 points ahead amongst all indicating a preference. This reflects the sad reality that the Tories are often better at getting their vote out and it also helps to explain why the Tories do better when it comes to actual elections compared to the polls.

    It must however make Labour wonder whether following the Australian example of making voting compulsory might help them immeasurably!

  21. I think one reason why the libdems are getting squeezed is because they didn’t have a reserve of disgruntled ex-voters/supporters to draw on, unlike Labour and Conservatives, who have returned because Gordon Brown took over and tax cuts were floated respectively. Or else perhaps people have become more likely to vote for both of them and this has filtered through the various methodologies used.

    And please, we don’t want compulsory voting here!

  22. Anthony: If MORI’s filtering reduces Labour’s lead by 7-10 points, and YouGov don’t filter at all . . . then how come YouGov are not consistently reporting a Labour lead 7-10 points higher than MORI does?

    Is there a systematic difference between YouGov’s and MORI’s “all reporting” figures – and if so, any idea why? What about ICM? How do they filter and is there a systematic difference with them between either the “all reporting” or topline figures?

    Also if this is another “snap poll” do we have any evidence whether “snap polls” overestimate either Labour or Tory votes? Does non-contact bias help any party?

    ————–

    As for the Lib-Dems not having time to commit regicide, if they need to then they may not have the time not to. Lets not forget that the Tories last parliament changed leaders twice: from Hague to IDS to Howard. Is there anyone proposing that we’d have done better in the polls and the election if we’d kept IDS and not Howard. Of course its not directly comparable as Hague left immediately and voluntarily while Kennedy left after a delay and was forced out.

    OTOH I firmly believe that Brown character and situation means that we won’t have an election until 2010 anyway. The problem is that I think most of the fall in support is not due to Ming anyway, its due to 2 party politics and I don’t think there’s much another change of leader will do to help that, aside from possibly bringing publicity in a leadership contest.

  23. John H – always be careful about comparing the figures from voting intention and figures like approval of party leaders, you aren’t comparing like and like. Remember that voting intention often excludes those with a low likelihood to vote and those who say don’t know, etc.

    So if 33% of people are saying they’ll vote Tory but only 25% of people say they think David Cameron would be best PM he probably isn’t polling below his party…that 33% of people who are giving voting intentions is probably pretty much the same as 25% of the wider sample.

    That said, ever since he became PM Brown has been polling significantly ahead of his party. Compare his approval figures with government approval figures for starters, they are comparable and have been showing good positive figures for Brown, but strongly negative figures for the government he leads.

  24. Interesting post Philip.

    I think the only possible Lib Dem leader who could counter balance the hit they would take for canning Ming Campbell would be Charles Kennedy. The public would greet Huhne or Clegg with a collective “who he?” Kennedy’s problem would be that while his opponents would say nothing in public they would repeatedly brief to friendly papers as to his sobriety and reliability.

    The real problem for the Lib Dems is that on the left, Iraq is now a dead issue and liberal voters simply do not blame Brown for it. On the right, Cameron is simply not a cartoon hate figure who speaks the kind of nasty language that sends One Nation Tories running for cover. Sure, the Lib Dems will benefit from some tactical voting but their own core vote has been badly eroded. I suspect the Lib Dems will have great difficulty doing much better than their 1992 showing (i.e. 18%) with Labour recovering their 2005 Iraq protest losses and the Tories recovering much of their 1997 rural losses.

    As to the timing of the next election, Brown will not forget the beating he has taken by turning away from an election. Come early 2009, the media speculation will be running high and he will swiftly have to decide whether or not to kill it off. While he may be scared of taking a risk, I suspect he considers the biggest risk of all to be to hold on till the last moment because it would be widely perceived by the media and the public to be proof that he is scared of facing their judgment. All his planning will now be directed towards May 2009.

  25. Philip – that all really deserves a far longer post. Here’s teh very simplified version – there are three relevant differences here, the way the three companies sample, the way they weight and the way they filter by likelihood to vote (there are actually other differences as well, like how they handle don’t knows, but we’ll ignore them for now).

    MORI include only people 10/10 certain to vote, this strongly favours the Conservatives. ICM include people 7/10 and above likely to vote, this favours the Conservatives, but not by as much (taking the last 6 ICM polls, filtering by likelihood to vote has on average reduced Labour’s lead by 3 points, as compared to MORI whose stricter filter has served to reduce Labour’s lead by an average of 8 points. YouGov do not filter by likelihood to vote at all.

    If the only difference between the three companies was the way they dealt with turnout, then you would expect that, over time, YouGov would tend to show the biggest Labour leads, with ICM showing leads on average 3 points lower and MORI showing Labour leads 8 points lower (in reality it would change of course, because its not set in stone that Conservative voters are more diligent!).

    In reality though that isn’t the only difference. Firstly there is political weighting. ICM and YouGov both weight their polls politically to make sure the sample is politically as well as demographically representative of Great Britain, MORI do not. In the case of ICM this invariably favours the Conservative party (in the case of YouGov it doesn’t make much difference, since their samples are designed to be representative to start with, weighting just corrects any errors from differential response rates). MORI’s figures without likelihood to vote filtering have shown Labour leads of between 6 and 20 points in the last couple of months. If ICM’s polls didn’t have likelihood to vote filtering they’d have shown Labour leads of between 3 and 11 points – so the political weighting is also making a huge difference, and in this case the absence of it in MORI’s methodology is greatly benefiting Labour.

    Finally there is the sampling, ICM do it randomly, MORI do it randomly by phone, and using quota sampling door-to-door, YouGov have computer generated samples from a panel of volunteers with known demographics. Firstly that means YouGov’s panels have a known political make up, their weighting won’t make a big difference like it does with ICM, but only because they are effectively pre-weighted, the samples are already designed to have the correct proportions of Labour identifiers, Conservative identifiers and so on. The fact that it is a panel of volunteers probably has an effect as well…people who are never going to vote are probably also less likely to join an internet panel, hence YouGov have fewer non-voters to weed out. (There’s also the absence of interviewer effect – it’s not seen as socially desirable to say you don’t bother to vote, so some people might not admit to not voting to an interviewer, but admit it to a YouGov computer screen)

    The big difference is really the political weighting. The fact that MORI don’t use any political weighting would result in polls that are far more favourable to Labour than polls from companies that do. However, MORI also use a strict filter by likelihood to vote that all things being equal would result in polls that are far more favourable to the Conservatives than those from other companies. The two cancel out, and they end up producing figures that are pretty much in line with everybody else.

  26. Should we be adding 3% to the Tory lead from now on to give us an idea of what is going on in the marginal seats?
    That constituency poll last week was far more in-depth and goes against the presumption of uniform swings, which tend to benefit the governing party.

  27. I don’t think comparing party leaders in polls is anything near as significant as voting intentions.
    Callaghan regularly scored far higher than Thatcher from 1976-1980 but we know who won the general election.

  28. If there’s one thing Ipsos-MORI invariably shows it’s the difficulty Labour have come a general election and that’s getting its vote out.The more tightening of the polls between Labour and the Conservatives is good but only in so far as it guards against complacency on the part of Labour activists. The party seems to have a ‘natural’ advantage in voter identification, and I’d guess it has been like this pretty homogenously since the mid-1990s, and efforts must be made to ensure these voters actually do vote.

    As of now, Conservatives are feeling more upbeat than Labourites.

    Gary,

    Apparently the Lib Dem president Simon Hughes will say in a forthcomimg interviews that Ming “has to do better”.

  29. Thanks for the long and detailed response Anthony. So basically MORI has two effects, one strongly advantageous to the Tories, the other strongly advantageous to Labour, so the two cancel each other out?

    A follow-up question: Why does an absence of political weighting benefit Labour? I know it does, but any idea why? Theoretically at least if you poll a random sample then you should on average get the right result – so why is there a systematic pro-Labour deviation in the raw figures that needs weighting against? Is it entirely due to people not saying “Conservative” when they are (the silence effect), or is there another factor?

  30. Phillip- I think the unweighted polls exagerate labour support because people who are less likely to vote, and who are more apathetic, are more likely to say labour if they are pinned down. I have found that most people who say they are conservatives have either a.) an above-average knowledge of politics, or b.) feel strongly about one political issue like Europe, Immigration, or Tax. They are seldom apathetic. I do not find that to be so overwhelmingly the case with people who say they are Labour.

    Apateitc people usually have only one political belief- which is that they don’t like Tories- hence, they will probably say Labour when poked.

    I also think that admitting to be a Conservative is still something of a taboo, because they are seen as being pessimistic about human nature and grumpy and nasty. Hence, many conservtaives lie about their convictions. How many times have you heard conservtaives descrivbe themselves as libertatian or say ‘with a small c’ after saying the word. They therefore also lie to pollsters.

  31. I don’t like the name Conservative as I’m not really “conservative with a small c”, not socially at least, just economically. EG libertarian is my philosophy, not conservative. I am a Conservative with a capital C. Or my preferred personal description, I am a “liberal Conservative”. If asked whether philosophically I am either “liberal” or “conservative” I’d say liberal. Easier to say in Australia, I’d be a “liberal Liberal”.

    That’s the problem with having a name of a party that is also the name of a philosophy.

  32. Look, and Fillip, to play on your names!
    Statistical analysis should reveal the parties’ bedrock support.
    Labour sounds like it should be associated with “bedrock” , and conservative with “jam-making”
    Another truism is that some people fegine themselves by their dislike of others (footie/soccer fans, etc. as well as politically awake people), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t enough discrening, educated floaters out htere to make life entertaining.
    I often say to my amtes, I might be a lefy sanctimonisus idiut, but at least it’s because I’m under-educated, rather than over-educated. That shuts tehm up!

  33. Define, not gefine

  34. Philip Thompson
    You are confused because they have confused you.

    Democracy always was a con and a perfectly silly way of arranging any type of free government. It was devised by the powerful to help retain their power along with some kind of public consent. If it were NOT only this, we would never have been allowed to have it. Never mind keep it for long.

    Democracy works on the dangerous assumption that the governing party’s are in dialectic positions. Which if you think about it, lets face it, they never really have been.

    Polls are a measurement of the effectiveness of media propaganda, not what people want. Politicians KNOW exactly what we want. Which is why they know so well what NOT to allow us to have too cheaply, if ever.

  35. PHILIP THOMPSON :-

    Says – “I don’t like the name Conservative as I’m not really “conservative with a small c”, not socially at least, just economically. EG libertarian is my philosophy, not conservative. I am a Conservative with a capital C. Or my preferred personal description, I am a “liberal Conservative”. If asked whether philosophically I am either “liberal” or “conservative” I’d say liberal. Easier to say in Australia, I’d be a “liberal Liberal”.

    That’s the problem with having a name of a party that is also the name of a philosophy”

    I was always suspicious of your Conservatism !! The waffle on party name bears that out – Conservatism means simply “FREEDOM FOR THE INDIVIDUAL” – forget all the philosophical clap trap in a name !

    _________________________________________________

    Very good POLL from Ipsos MORI for the Tories – up 7% on their last POLL and sitting the 40%’s – this can only get better as we approach the next POLLS / they will certainly take in the Postal Strike / PMQ’s / Cameron still getting into the main headlines – this time in LA looking at gang violence & the solutions for the UK – A PRIME MINISTER IN WAITING i would say !!!

  36. The word liberal is very confusingly used in this country. I used to say I was a Liberal, because in a nineteenth century, millite sense, I am. But people think of so-called ‘wooly liberals’ as being socialistic guardian readers obsessed with political correctness, which I am not.

    Furthremore, the Conservative party is economically Liberal and socially conservative. It is more economically liberal than the liberal party is.

    But in Japan and Austrialia, Liberal is right wing.

  37. Before another poll comes out to contradict me -always the fear when making a comment-it does begin to look as if the trends may have changed. The Labour vote has despite all the alleged disasters of the last fortnight held up remarkably well- about 2 points better than in 2005 which I suspect is the anti war brigade returning from a protest vote through the Lib Dems and Respect. I do not believe that the Labour vote will now slip back to 31% where it was earlier this year but instead erode a little as the downturn bites before settling at around 34% only to recover to 37% at the next General Election.
    As for the Tories currently on 41% they have hoovered up as much of the Lib Dem vote as they are ever likely to get so to get up to 45% to put victory beyond doubt they need to make converts from Labour and take about 2 points off ‘others’ namely UKIP and BNP.Not impossible but clearly not easy. Some right wing voters remain unhappy with Cameron and Labour converts will not take kindly to any pandering to the right. Tricky.
    The Lib Dems believe that the voters will drift back to them noe that the conference season is over. I doubt that. The May 3 elections showed how vulnerable they were in the South to a Tory revival and I feel that they face meltdown-the mood in the south has changed . They also face disaster north of the border( SNP) and even in Wales ( Tories again).
    It is I think back to two party politics at least in England.

  38. Just found this poll hidden in todays Telegraph between the horse racing page and the deaths(that was a joke by the way)for obvious reasons.It states that a poll in the 113 most marginal seats.Marginal being those where Conservatives could have won off either Labour or Liberals.It profoundly calls it Battleground Britain(a bit over the top).Anyway,the polls figures show Brown would have won the election by a similar ammount of seats he has now.The only significant changes being some would have moved from Liberal to Conservative.Not one from Labour to Conservative,which even I find hard to believe.
    They even take into consideration the figures pre and post conference so obviously a long term poll.

    The figures can be found here:

    link

  39. Atlas shrugged-I disagree with your comments on Democracy-though I’m afraid didn’t really understand your post.
    But it did make me try to understand “Dialectic” (yet again !)-and that started a train of thought.

    Karl Popper criticised Dialecticism because of it’s “willingness to put up with contradictions” .

    This prompted thoughts of The Third Way-surely New Labour’s only real claim to a political philosophy… The Big Tent-Government of all the talents-pragmatic socialism without the “ism” & without the unions, wedded to the free market economy.
    It was an idea that I ( to my eternal regret) and many other disillusioned Conservatives turned to in 1997.

    In the last few days this “philosophy” has resulted in a Government Three year Strategic review of the Public Finances being re-written at the eleventh hour,as a tactical and opportunistic attempt to incorporate the policies of two opposition parties , simply because they appear to be popular.

    This really had me struggling between partisan outrage and relief that policies I believe are sensible should be introduced by the Government of the day.

    Last evening Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury signalled yet another such move by stating that there is a “moral case” for promoting the traditional family through the tax system. “I think marriage is best for kids,” he says. “It’s not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage.”

    …Now I remember Gordon Brown’s second(?) Budget as Chancellor- because it cost me when he removed the Married Person’s Tax Allowance.

    I remember too the same man, who as Prime Minister, said at the recent Labour Conference-” We all remember the biblical saying-suffer the little children to come unto me-.No Bible I have ever read says -bring just some of the children.”

    This remark was an oblique reference to Conservative plans to re-instate tax relief for married couples-an idea Labour roundly condemned because they said it would discriminate against children of those who aren’t married.

    THe question surely is-if Political parties have no philosophical differences what is the point in having them?
    Why not simply let the Civil Service govern by Referendum? Why do we need to pay for hundreds of MP’s-at least on the Government benches- who appear to be saying “we have principles-but if you don’t like them we have different ones”.

    I believe that David Cameron set out very clearly in his Conference speech, what his political philosophy means, and how it would be introduced in practice.
    This is all the voter needs in order to make his mind up.(I am bound to say I have been waiting some time to hear it-but am content now that I have!)

    Is it not now incumbent on our Prime Minister to treat the public with similar honesty and do the same?
    Is his “Vision ” for the country to be found in the policies and actions of the last ten years-or has it changed? And if it has changed what is it now?

  40. “Freedom for the individual” (whether socially or economically) is what libertarianism means and is what I believe. “Conservatism” is defined as “supporting what is traditional and opposing change”.

  41. Philip – At least you don’t call yourself a Tory.This is alledged to have come from the Irish word for outlaw.Would this explain why so many end up behind bars?

  42. Nothing alledged about it, Tory and Whig both orginated as insults: Tory from the middle Irish tóraidhe for an outlaw, Whig from the Scots gaelic whiggamor for a horse or cattle rustler.

  43. Colin,

    As far as Burnham’s comments re-married couples go, I’m just going to say this. Labour must make it’s OWN (like it did with IHT and non-doms)pro-family tax proposals, whether married, cohabiting or single parent. A family is a family.

  44. Dave Hawk

    “A family is a family”

    I am sure that you mean that sincerely Dave.
    I think I might have agreed with you until recently.

    Sadly I no longer believe that it is that simple.Nor is family breakdown to be “solved” purely by tinkering with tax allowances

    The Centre for Social Justice has convinced me of this.

  45. The Conservatives began the erosion of the married couples’ allowance, and had they won the 1997 GE there is little doubt that they would have, in time, abolished it altogether. It is surely morally indefensible to discriminate against children simply because their parents did not attend a ceremony at a football ground or a Miami beach or casino in Las Vegas and thereby do not possess a piece of paper confirming that they are married. For better or worse, society is a very differently structured entity from what it was 30 or more years ago and governments should recognise that reality.

  46. Government should recognise the social fracture & family collapse which is occuring now . The Centre for Social Justice have identified the causes & have proposed solutions which build up from the heroic work of voluntary sector groups -not down from Whitehall.
    A key problem area is families without fathers.
    I favour any measures which try to reduce that factor.
    That does not mean that I favour discriminating against children who are in such a position-merely that I accept the evidence that their life chances would improve if they were not.