Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has topline figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 44%(+5), LAB 30%(-5), LDEM% 17%(+2). The poll was conducted between the 16th and 18th of January.

Clearly it shows a very substantial shift in support from Labour to the Conservatives. Normally I’d advise some caution in any poll showing a big switch in voting intention and advise people to wait to see it confirmed in other polls, but in this case, while the extent of the switch in support is rather larger, the trend is the same as we’ve already seen from Populus, YouGov and ComRes. The boost in Labour support we saw last year appears to have gone into a sharp reverse.

UPDATE: Full tables are here. Interestingly enough, while Populus, ICM and TNS have all shown economic optimism heading back down this month, the MORI poll shows it continuing to rise: net optimism is up to minus 40 from minus 48 last month. In contrast, optimism about how it will affect them personally doesn’t seem to increasing, 49% of full-time workers said they were worried about losing their job, compared to 43% last month.

181 Responses to “MORI show decisive swing back to the Tories”

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  1. I would actually rather have less of the partisanship :)

    At its worst it doesn’t give us much insight beyond silly insults, recitation of tired party lines and yah-boo-ery. The comments are supposed to be about politics, not a venue for politics.

  2. Anthony,

    Well said,

    I get rather tired of the;

    “This poll means eternal sunlight for my party and doom for all others” , predictions.

    I am clear about my allegiances and what I’d like to see happen, but I do try to say what I think is likely rather than what I’d like to see and I don’t have much time for those who try to use this site to promote a particular line.

    Having said that, as I have commented before, I do have a tendency to defend the SNP if I think our position is being misrepresented, intentionally or otherwise.


  3. John – I don’t think it’s tiredness (eventhough 11-12 years is a long time) – it’s mor ethe feeling that the Govt is being taken for a ride by the banks.

    Although it’s not particularly well thought-out (eg”They paid their debts off, what about bailing me/my company out), there’s a powerful attraction to the notion that they could do more to help the man in the street.

    The tories don’t have to say anything, or come up with anything. If latest plan “works” they can say theirs would have worked better, without even necessarily explaining the alternative in any detail.

    I had a partisan rant in amongst that, but I deleted it before hitting the submit button.

  4. “I had a partisan rant in amongst that, but I deleted it before hitting the submit button.”

    Gold star for that man!

  5. I appreciate that Anthony, but if Chris Newey’s rant of 11.28 am 20th Jan is non-partisan, then I dont know what you call partisan.

    My comment which was edited out was simply a response to another poster who had put up one view of why GB was taking the blame for the economy. I replied with an alternative, and in my view more accurate view, which was edited out. There may have been partisan undertones I suppose – I make no bones about the fact that I am a Conservative supporter (and party member), but I think the main point being made was very pertinent and unpartisan.

  6. Ever since i joined in the discussions on this site we have had to be continually hauled back into line by Anthony and reminded that this is a debating society about politics or rather the impact of politics and not a party political broadcast.
    I am as guilty as anyone. Sometimes my anger at what I consider to be stupidity on the part of the government eg the VAT cut gets my goat to such an extent that I find it very hard not to say something partisan so I do say to you Anthony that you can’t expect us to be choirboys and I think you should cut us a little slack now and then!
    As for the latest opinion polls why is anyone surprised at the latest trends? Time and again I have pointed out that the underlying fundementals that gave rise to the unpopularity of this government had NOT changed but some people simply could not see the wood for the trees and read far more into the “Brown bounce’ than was wise.
    Finally a word to Mike ‘the oracle” Richardson. I mean this nicely Mike but you are one of those guys who likes to crow when the polls are in your chosen party’s favour but as soon as they are not or when you get windy on the eve of a by election as you did last summer then you come over all shy. Strange that…

  7. “Gold star for that man!”

    What… you can get Gold stars, no one told me that……


  8. Neil – I didn’t actually put yours in moderation, the spam filter did!

    The word socialist triggers the spam filter as it has the word cialis (some form of viagra apparently) inside it.

  9. Anthony,

    So we can have; George Galloway the man who put ****** in So*****t.


  10. I enjoy this blog. It’s one of the best in politics. The comments (partisan or not) which are germane to the post add to it’s value. As a Conservative I enjoy some of the others, but I should be reading them on Guido or Iain Dale, not on Polling Report. If I want to be told what I want to hear I’ll read the Mail or the Torygraph. If I want to be annoyed I’ll read the Grauniad or the Mirror. So please keep the PPBs out of this blog, and help to keep up it’s outatanding high standards. Sounds very priggish, but that’s how I feel.

  11. Mike S on PB said the much awaited ICM poll will be out on Monday.

  12. A quick question about the issue of why Labour seem to do slightly worse than the polls predict in most local elections.

    How much might the Scotland factor be responsible? (forgive me if this has been discussed before).

    Namely that a national opinion poll showing Labour, say, five points behind the Conservatives will include Scotland, where Labour support is higher and Conservative support lower than the rest of the country.

    A subsequent round of council elections in England and Wales then produces a result with Labour seven or eight points behind.This seems to be a common occurence.

    Surely the exclusion of the Labour-friendly figures could account for this?

    Has anyoen looked at the polls in the run up to last years local election, excluded the Scottish subset, and then compared how accurate the polls actually were for England and Wales?

  13. @everyone who’s for none partisanshipingthing

    I agree

    Come on you tories :-)

    Should be interesting to see the polls over the next few weeks (monday may be too early) to see the Obama effect or is it more affect on HM’s GOV.

  14. anthoney wells- unlike some comments from rude posters like (BS seaker) i keep my-self to the polling data and what it means

    the govenment seams to be heading for a blood bath yes, but what about the lib dems or for that matter the BNP or UKIP who both could feature in the county’s this time round, and hear in leicestershire, i am exspecting big changes and a likely wipe out for labour, they are not very popular in NW LEIC or charnwood for that but in harborugh this is where some of the big changes could happen, in my patch (melton BC) there should on this polling be no LAB reps at all, on the bigger picture its looking real bad in seats where labour are in control and the CON’s are second, out of the 27 county councils up for election i see non of them being labour, the only area where labour could hang on is lancashire but not much chance, small gains for the lib dems, odd single seat gains for labour where the lib dems or others are first, but other than that not much hope at all.

  15. I think what any UK administration should do to any US president is – have a good relationship with him, but don’t be afraid to stamp on his toe if necessary. Most PMs find this a difficult balance to strike. GB was just too rude to GWB, whatever you think of him, and I cant see him stamping on BOs toe.

    Even Churchill, our greatest PM ever, couldnt give FDR a red nose, it is a major failing of most British PMs and I dont think the public like it.

    I dont think it will have much effect on the polls, because both GB and DC will be falling over themselves to agree with everything Obama says, which is a great shame.

  16. i think it would be unrealistic of our Labour-supporting friends here to suppose that a General Election campaign would somehow improve Labour’s position.

    Even under Blair, who was a talented speaker and an outstanding campainer, presiding over a booming economy, Labour votes in the GE were significantly worse than the polls. And whatever Gordon Brown may be, he is surely not a more talented speaker or campaigner than Tony Blair.

    (see also Robert Peston on Brown’s international credibility)

  17. Jim,

    My answer would be I doubt it can have that much of an effect really no more than 1%, although that could be the difference between 5% and 7%.

    If the UK poll is;

    Tory 40%, Lab 30%, Libdem 20% and others 10%,

    and Scotland;

    Labour 36%, SNP 32%, Tories 16%, libDems 12% and others 4%,

    then as Scotland is only 8% of the UK electorate it works out that if you strip out Scotland the rest of UK figure ( although you could take out NI and Wales too) would be;

    Tory 41%, Labour 29%, LibDem 20% Others 10%.

    One of the interesting things about the Euros will be the results for the various regions as these may give us good data for looking at regional swings. If it hasn’t been altered the Uk is twelve regions, nine in England plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The English regions are; East Midland (5), East of England (7), London (8), North East England (3), North West England (8), South East England (10), South West England (6), West Midlands (6) and Yorkshire and Humberside (6).

    Scotland still 6 MEPs, Wales 4 and Northern Ireland 3.

    I think the regional swings we see in these results in June could well give us real insight in to what the relative swings will be come the next general election.


  18. @Neil

    We can but hope.

    Do we have any data on polling figures versus a council election and any bounce the tories/labour can traditionally expect? I appreciate normal GE figures rise for tories and drop for labour, but I have nothing re council elections.

  19. I hate to have to say it but I belive our economic problems are just begining its just the tip of the iceburg.

    I am an electrical engineer and been out of work since November ( my first experience of this)
    I have always been self employed and in previous recessions of the 80`s and 90`s companys carried on recruiting freelance staff for short term contracts as
    that was benificial financially rather taken on full time staff as they didnt know how their situation may be in 6 months time.
    It has become apparant to me after never ending telephone calls and job aplications that even employing freelance workers was definatley not on their agendea.

    A number of companies even told me that taking on freelance workers was a last resort because of goverment regulation on time which a freelance employing can work for a company ( I didnt understand that one).

    I think what im trying to say here is things out their are not good and worringly different from passed recessions and employment regulation and law which has no doubt increased under the Labour government may be its downful.

    Because cant if you get back to work quickly the people who may except that this is not a recession caused by this government will start to doubt that if its own policies are preventing them obtaining work.

    Hope I havent bored you all with my owm woes!! really enjoy this Anthony site love the statistics and comments from all sides.

  20. Good luck Glenn

  21. Yeah, very sobering post Glenn.

    Lets just hope, whoever is in power, that we get out of this mess as soon as possible. Good luck.

  22. Thanks Colin
    Fortunately for me I have been a saver rather than a spender over rhe years and have something, (not a lot) to fall back on when times are tougher and something usually turns up!!

    I was one of those who did “Get on their bike” in the 80`s I lived and worked in Germany for 6 years and made a good living whilst people suffered in the UK But even that option seems to be fruitless today (anyway im a bit to old to move sticks today)
    I just fear there may be a far more number of people and from a wider sector badly effected by this recession

    I think only when we have time to analize and compare how better or worse other countries start to come through this recession can we really see if Gordon Brown and his Government were correct in saying that “we are better placed than other countries to get through the downturn”
    This time next year should be about that time!

  23. I think Obama’s presidency will have some impact on the polls. I’m trying to avoid sounding partisan here but watching yesterday’s inauguration, with all its energy and hope, it struck me more than ever how tired, glum and uninspiring Brown is. The contrast between American politics and our own right now seemed very stark indeed.

  24. For those who feel any anti-government comment is too partisan I would suggest you read the vitrioilic anti-Brown comments on the Labourhome blog.

    During the Crewe and Nantwich byelection the comments on there were similarly negative on the Labour party which made me realise that the Conservatives would win with ease.

  25. Thanks Ivan
    Im with you on that
    The biggest problem is I have`t got any excuses for doing all those”little jobs around the house” my misses wants doing!!
    Gizza job pleeeeeease!!

  26. For all the enthusiasm about Obama, it takes more than hope and speeches to turn round an economy and the US economy is in a mess. The US plan is essentially the same as Brown’s, to borrow there way out of it.

    The US is in some respects worse than us in that it’s debts are truly terrible. All that keeps it afloat is the fact that as a reserve currency in times of crisis people move to the dollar.

    In some respects that is way the US doesn’t like the Euro, if an alternative reserve currency emerges then the dollar might lose it’s ability to prop up the US economy.

    Obama set the right tone in saying that the US couldn’t go on as before, but that doesn’t mean that the US public will be willing to take the medicine that goes with the cure.

    We haven’t got the debts of the US but we don’t have a reserve currency either so when we get in trouble the pound takes a beating. The issue that is now worrying the markets is who will buy UK debt through bonds if the currency they are in us under pressure.

    The way to counter that is to offer more interest that other nations but then the tax payer has to foot the bill and markets still worry if we can afford it.


  27. “We haven’t got the debts of the US ”

    I’m not convinced & would like to see an authoratitive update of UK State Debt vs GDP-including those of RBS for example, 70% of which now fall to the taxpayer.

    We know what the debts of these “State” Banks are-but we seem to have no idea what the real value of their assets is.

    The Budget will hopefully be instructive on these points-well we can hope!

    The USA has key advantages over EU countries:-
    It’s vibrant entrepreneurial spirit , it’s “can do” attitude in business, and it’s natural resources. It’s lack of stultifying bureaucracy, and a real local democracy.

    It’s people too are different-they identify with their country & flag regardless of their personal creed & religion . If Obama’s election has done anything positive so far it is to cement that credo of “Americans”.

  28. I should have mentioned the forensic examination which US politicians are constantly subject to.

    Beside the accountability of their political class, the miserable grubby attempts of our MPs to keep their expenses from the gaze of those who pay them is stark.

  29. @ Peter – of course it takes more than speeches, but I’ll take a lot of convincing that a demoralised population with a deadbeat miserabilist leader is going to fare anywhere near as well as a hopeful, energised population with a dynamic leader.

  30. Colin
    I think you are probably right

  31. Mike “The Oracle”‘s absence is puzzling – is he attending the McCain inauguration, or has his cover been finally blown ?


    A cautionary tail, if ever there was one.

  32. Peter, “We haven’t got the debts of the US”,

    Maybe in terms of public debt we’re a little behind but in terms of what we owe foreigners (mostly in the rapidly appreciating Dollar unfortunately) each person in the UK has been saddled with over FIVE TIMES as much as an American.


    I appologise if this sounds partisan but I do object to the idea that we all (the countries of the world) start from the same base with this reccesion. The UK is UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE LEAST prepared in terms of debt levels.

    One can argue if it was worth such spending for better schools, hospitals, lower crime etc if you believe they have improved at all, but to say that others are all in the same boat is incorrect.

  33. The losses are most keenly felt in the economies most exposed to the banking collapse. If Frankfurt had become the world’s financial centre at the end of the 90’s and not London, then Germany would be suffering more from the disappearance of tens of billions of tax revenue, and UK plc would be suffering less.

    Any excessive amounts of money spent on NHS,education, police in the last ten years would not be much help to us in the face of the sheer scale of the bad debts.

    Of course, that will have very little effect on public opinion, as it’s much too difficult to get a full grasp of what’s going on, and much too easy to blame it all on the man at the top (who’s been there throughout and should have known better, etc) I

    don’t mind Ivan et al thinking Brown’s made poor spending calls , but it would be a stronger position if it took proper account of the scale of the poor lending calls by the banks

  34. Ivan – your link is to a list of countries’ gross debt. It takes no account of money owed to the US or UK, and puts a the top of the list , naturally, the world’s financial capitals where trades happen. It’s not money which has been “saddled” on anyone.

  35. Thank you JOHN T T for noticing my absence in this particular POLLING result – I know many of you wait for my precise forecasting.

    It’s hard to make a comment on something I predicted during the mini Brown bounce – you will see more to come of these sort of POLLS – it is sort of historic for all of us to see our country destroyed by a group of our own citizens rather than an invading force from Europe – oh yes, I forgot – this regime also favour the forces over the channel.

    Enjoy the POLLS – you will see a lot more contributors on here as the weeks go by as more and more have extra free time after losing their jobs.

  36. Per head my country owes, to the rest of the world, a massive sum of money. More than almost every other developed country in the world. As my currency depreciates in value to other currencies this money owed becomes greater.

    I admit that not all, by any means, of this debt was the result of Labour being profligate in public spending alone.
    However, by allowing us to borrow at lower rates than ‘prudent’ and with little regulation or oversight of our financial institutions over many years, our government must hold some of the blame.

    “It takes no account of money owed to the US or UK”

    You think the world owes us?!

    Brown dumped most of our foreign currency and gold reserves many years ago and if the banks had any overseas capital left that they could liquidate they would have done it by now surely.

    I personally didn’t borrow more than I could pay back but I bet I’ll have to pay higher taxes for this mess in the coming years. Therefore I stick by the use of the word ‘saddled’.

  37. ***Government Owned Northern Rock Employees Get 10% Pay Bonus***

    This is how the government spends your money, people. At a time when everyone else is either losing their job or just delighted if they dont have to take a reduction in income, government staff at Northern Rock are getting a 10% pay bonus. Northern Rock being the company that performed so badly it had to be bought by the government for it just to survive. Just remember that 10% is coming out of your salary.

    Arent we all looking forward to increasing out stakes in RBS and Lloyds etc?

  38. Jim Rogers: “The UK is finished.”

    I dont think anyone with any sense can really argue against that. As he says, the UK had two things supporting it: North Sea Oil, and the financial centre in London. Both are now gone.

    The UK really has had it. I dont think the vast majority of people really understand just how dire things are for the UK. Or they just want to bury their heads in the sand.

    Even if the Tories win next year there are two problems. First is that so much damage will already be done it will take a decade to find our feet again.

    Second is that I have my doubts about just how great the Tories will be. I fear they will go not nearly far enough. The UK is so far out of whack structurally. The public sector needs to be utterly decimated. GOVERNMENT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SPEND MONEY WISELY. Because it doesnt earn it, it doesnt care about getting value. When it runs out it just takes some more from your pocket. But when they take it from your pocket and spend it inefficiently, it prevents YOU from spending it in a way that DOES get the best return. For an economy as a whole that translated to lower growth. Less prosperity.

    In addition, ridiculous red tape and regulations that get in the way of anybody doing anything in the UK need to be slashed too. People wonder why no company wants to do business in the UK any more. The answer is they simply cant do business in the UK. Its too expensive. Companies dont just leave a country because it rains too much you know.

  39. With this rancid economic climate, i really think Labour should count their losses, and start thinking strategically as a collective rather than be dictated by Brown all because of an out-of-date ruling.

    Labour really should call an election in May/June 2009, as prolonging it till 2010 will only play into Tory hands. There is no evidence to suggest things will get considerably better in 2010. It could be that the difference between Labour holding an election in 2009 & 2010, could lead to another 1 or 2 terms out of power, not just the one term.

  40. The most worrying thing for Labour is that it is still another 5 months before the estimated time when the economy will be shrinking at the most.

  41. “The most worrying thing for Labour is that it is still another 5 months before the estimated time when the economy will be shrinking at the most.”

    Yes, it is worrying for Labour, but it is even more worrying for us, the public, who have to foot the bill. In 5 or 6 months I will be finished my 3rd year at university, and although I hope to do 4 years and gain an honours degree, I need a summer job for 2 reasons.
    1) to keep me afloat financially over the summer
    2) if I want to become a solicitor, I need to find my traineeship this summer.

    With the way things are going, very few law firms are recruiting, and those that are seem to be flooded with applications – the competition is cut-throat.

    Politics is only part of this, it is the first time that the younger amongst us (those of us just finishing our degrees) have experienced such worrying financial times.

  42. “If Frankfurt had become the world’s financial centre at the end of the 90’s and not London, then Germany would be suffering more from the disappearance of tens of billions of tax revenue, and UK plc would be suffering less.”

    Well yes john-but you make the crazy growth of some of our banks under the gaze of Chancellor Brown, sound like some sort of natural phenomenon.

    It wasn’t-as indicated in a piece in the FT by Willem Buiter which draws interesting parallels with Iceland-now under the tutelage of IMF.

    :- “.. …. The excesses in Iceland during the past decade were greater than in the UK, but not qualitatively different. In both countries, the regulation of banks was laughably lax. The UK’s much-touted light-touch regulation turned out to be soft-touch regulation. Relaxation of regulatory norms was consciously used by the British government as an instrument for attracting financial business to London, mainly from New York City. Fiscal policy in both countries became strongly pro-cyclical during the boom years preceding the financial crisis. Households were permitted, indeed encouraged, to accumulate excessive debt – around 170 per cent of household disposable income in the UK, over 210 percent in Iceland……..

    The article draws attention to the size of RBS-Balance Sheet totals of £1.9 trillion-or127% of UK annual GDP.
    Equity of £70bn-Geared by X 27 where a 4% fall in Asset values destroys all Equity.

    LLoyds TSB is geared X 33, Barclays X 41.

    The FT article observes that :-

    “…………….Both countries pay the price for the hubris of policymakers who believed that they had engineered the end of boom and bust and replaced it with perpetual boom. The risks associated with asset market and credit booms and bubbles were dismissed . In neither country have the responsible parties (the prime minister, the minister of finance, the governor of the central bank and the head of banking regulation and supervision) admitted any personal responsibility for the disaster. ”

    -and concludes by discussing the likelihood of a Sovereign Debt Crisis for UK.

    Brown’s Chancellorship will be written in the history books, for it is the reason behind his nightmare Premiership-Four years of Prudent Mr Hyde, using Ken Clarke’s legacy to pay down Debt-before the manic Jekyll takes over creating the conditions for an unsupervised explosion of Banking, Credit & Debt ,for which he takes the plaudits-and the tax revenues-and spends the lot, before the Bubble bursts.

  43. I too think from a Labour point of view they are better off calling/losing an election right now instead of waiting. Things could easily still be terrible in four or five years and they could come back and say “look, the Tories have had five years and done nothing.”

  44. Debt to equity ratios for banks of 20 or 30 to 1 are extremely unhealthy but is anyone seriously arguing that if the Tories had been in power they wouldn’t have let the same thing happen.

    The growth of the city through exotic financial vehicles drove the housing market and share prices and through them public spending in the last decade. The public wanted higher spending and if it had elected a Tory government that is what it would have got.

    Almost certainly the Tories would have spent less but they would also have cut taxes so we wouldn’t have put aside any more money and there is good reason to think that the city consumer spending and even house prices would have been higher.

    The other alternative would have been to try to slow it with interest rates 2 or 3% higher than they were under Labour.

    Which would you rather have to slow the consumer boom higher taxes under Labour to employ nurses police and build schools and hospitals, or higher interest rates under the Tories with the interest going to the banks so they could borrow even more and give themselves even bigger bonuses.

    I am not taking a swipe at both just because I am a nationalist, it’s just that those here pointing out Browns mistakes seem to skirt over the fact that looking at their policies over the same period the Tories would probably brought us to the same place.

    The growth of the city, rising house prices and easy credit was the orthodoxy of the last two decades up to and including my party’s calls to emulate the Celtic tiger or the arc of prosperity.

    Some of the comments here remind me of things like;

    “If it wasn’t for America we’d all be speaking German”

    The fact is you can’t say that. You can say if things hadn’t been the way they were they would have been different, but you can’t say exactly what that difference would be.

    There are numerous possibilities, some more probable than others and on that balance of probability I just don’t see much from the policies of the different parties that would have the UK right now in much better shape to ride out this crisis.


  45. Neil,

    I respect your concerns over your personal future. My remark was an attempt to keep within the purpose of this website which is to assess the political meaning of polls.

    I wish you well. And I wish that the probable winners of the next election, the Conservatives, will serve this country well.

  46. Philip,

    Thanks, I wasn’t disagreeing with what you said, I think you were absolutely right; the point I was wishing to make was that most of the public couldn’t really care less about what happens to the Labour party as they are more concerned about the personal effects of the recession.

  47. @ Peter – you may be right but a fictional alternate history imagining that the Tories rather than Labour had been in power for the last 11 years doesn’t alter reality. And, as a scenario, it doesn’t have the bestseller punch of Robert Harris’s Fatherland.

    We are where we are and the government of today is led by the man who really has been in charge of the economy for the past 11 years. To get back to the polls – it’s pretty clear that much of the public has lost confidence in Brown and perceives the boom years under Labour as something of a confidence trick that has now been exposed.

    What can Brown (or rather Mandelson) do to restore that confidence? I just can’t see how it’s possible now. He enjoyed a honeymoon period in which the public was very willing to give his premiership a chance. He pi$$ed that away and the polls reacted accordingly. He then enjoyed his “bounce” for a while, though it was never all that impressive (as I’ve pointed out many times before, even at its height Brown didn’t manage to actually overtake the Tories). Now it’s over.

  48. “if the Tories had been in power they wouldn’t have let the same thing happen.” :-

    I don’t agree Peter.

    “The fact is you can’t say that. You can say if things hadn’t been the way they were they would have been different, but you can’t say exactly what that difference would be.” :-

    I agree Peter

    “the public has lost confidence in Brown and perceives the boom years under Labour as something of a confidence trick that has now been exposed. ”

    I think that is true James.

  49. @Colin

    “if the Tories had been in power they wouldn’t have let the same thing happen.” :-

    I don’t agree Peter.

    “The fact is you can’t say that. You can say if things hadn’t been the way they were they would have been different, but you can’t say exactly what that difference would be.” :-

    I agree Peter

    “the public has lost confidence in Brown and perceives the boom years under Labour as something of a confidence trick that has now been exposed. ”

    I think that is true James.

    Well I for one am glad you cleared that up.

  50. An easy way of telling whether it would have been different would be to point to the speeches by Ken Clarke, which warned against excessive securitisation, cds etc. I’d settle for any anecdotal memories of him or any other Tory politician doing so.

    What i remember very clearly is Clarke urging fiscal relaxation in 98-00 as his own plans were being carried out too stringently in his view at the time. I distinctly remember laughing at his nerve.

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