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. Ivan – please do some research on the difference betrween gross external debt and net debt, it might lower the temperature of the debate if people used facts.

    BTW Evan Davies’ programmes o the crisis are well worth a look – some of the pundits are media tarts, but some really do explain it clearly.

  2. M –

    “Jim Rogers: Oil Bull Market Has Years to Go ”

    Thursday, June 12, 2008 5:18 PM

    I hope you didn’t believe him then – you’d have lost your shirt.

    Is Jim Rogers related to The Oracle? (Good to see you’re not banged up in South Korea, Mike)

  3. I’m not old enough to know for sure but I recall that the last Tory administration wasn’t exactly afraid to use very high interest rates to cool the economy in the past.

    Who’s to say they might not have hiked them a few years ago and, with much less government spend a given, reduced the size of our cumulative debt at this point.

    That would have put us in better shape to weather this period of turmoil. Just a thought.

    Given the news over the past few days I get the impression we may see a big reduction in Labour support in any upcoming poll. Even the Beeb seems to be sticking the knife in!

  4. John,

    “Ivan – please do some research on the difference betrween gross external debt and net debt, it might lower the temperature of the debate if people used facts”.

    I admit it. I was ‘selective’ in my use of data to make my point. I’m in training to go into politics one day! ;-)

  5. In that case you won’t need to research facts :)

    You might be right to say one thing or another would have made a difference, but the point is that you can’t say that the Tories were advocating higher interest rates, or tighter supervision of all those weird financial instruments. They didn’t understand them any more than the bankers and traders.

  6. Ivan,

    ” I’m in training to go into politics one day! ”

    It’s not training you need it’s therapy”……..


  7. Interesting that the word social*st has the word cial8s in it and therefore hits the spam blocker!

    There must be a joke or too in there about the Brown bounce finally deflating, or social8st fiscal stimulus!

  8. @Ivan the Terrible

    “Given the news over the past few days I get the impression we may see a big reduction in Labour support in any upcoming poll. Even the Beeb seems to be sticking the knife in!”

    Could we have examples please

  9. Re the discussion on whether things would or would not have turned out better had we had a Tory Government for the last few years, I entirely agree with those that say we cannot know, however so what.

    Interesting as such debate may be, surely the key question is whether Voters percieve this to be true.

    If they agree or disagree (however well founded or otherwise their view may be) that the Tories would have been less likely to have got us into this mess then it would be likely to influence their voting intention.

    It would in my view be less of an influence than the question of who is best able to get us out of the mess, but if they cannot make up their mind or are neutral on that point, then their view on how such an alternative historical scenario might have played would be important.

    Of course such considerations would not influence the population as a whole, but does I would conjectuire influence at least some voters. The degree of the impact depends on how many, and on that point I am afraid I have no opinion.

  10. Talking about alternate scenarios, we have already had the “Labour ejects Prime minister as least bad alternative in the autumn and runs for late 2009 general election under new leader”

    How about “Stirling crisis develops into a full blown Icelandic style economic collapse but with a long row of extra 0’s at the end, – Government implodes and crisis so severe that Govt collapses and new Labour joins Lib dems/Tories in a Govt of national unity a la 1930’s with old Labour rump disapearing leftwards

    Probably PM Cameron, C of E Cable, Labour posts depend on size of new Labour rump that joins Govt of national unity

    Govt of National unity elected in crisis 2009 General election and all bets off on political re-allignment in subsequent 2012 General election”

  11. Keir,

    “Could we have examples please”

    Of the bad press?
    Various bad reaction to the second bank bailout, both by the city and the media. Also some bad press on crime figures and the U-turn on MP’s epenses to name but a few.

    On the BBC coverage I’ve been under the impression that their traditional bias for Labour has wained of late.
    Just take a look at their news front page; no more ‘Superman Brown’, instead we have higher knife crime and various sleaze allegations against Hain et al.
    Yesterday they even broadcast an interview with Jim Rogers of “The U.K. is finished” fame!

    I just get the feeling that the government is doing so badly that even it’s supporters are finding it hard to paint a rosy picture any more.

  12. Ivan – the BBC has been against the Govt for as long as I can remember. Their stance has been well to the left of Blair, which meant that they were even more against the Tories, with the result that you might think they were pro-Labour.

    There are two things going on with BBC news journalism – one is that they try to reflect the views of the public, and the other is that they always emphasise what suits the current narrative best.

    Neither leads towards balanced reporting (hence Jim Rogers’ view that the banks should be allowed to collapse passed unchallenged during PM).

    Indeed, any BBC policy makers reading your comment followed by mine would assert that they must have the balance right because I’m convinced they are anti-Labour, and you are convinced they are pro-Labour. Utter rubbish, of course.

  13. @ JohnTT – you make a persuasive argument. It seems to me that the BBC has a very clear political agenda all of its own – broadly leftwing and emphatically internationalist – and attacks (sometimes explicitly and sometimes subtly) any party or politician it regards as contra the BBC’s own party line.

    I disagree though that the BBC tries to reflect the views of the public. Rather, I think it tries to present its own views *as if* they are the views of the public. On programmes such as BBC Breakfast, there’s a very blatant assumed chumminess and shared value base with viewers, one that emphatically attempts to make viewers complicit with the BBC’s chosen line on any particular issue.

    Personally I think this is a significant problem. For one thing, it presents journalists and other commenters as if they are public representatives (which they are not) while positioning politicians (who actually ARE our elected representatives, whatever one thinks of their performance) as “the enemy”.

  14. James – thanks for the correction and I agree it’s more accurate.

    I think it got worse when Greg (spam filters prevent?) youknowwho took over and called for more dramatic coverage.

    Which makes it all the more frustrating that talented interviewers had to become more and more adversarial and less subtle. It allowed the politicians to engage in blow-for blow argument (which they’re trained to do), rather than detailed (more boring) discussion.

  15. John TT said:
    ***“Jim Rogers: Oil Bull Market Has Years to Go ”

    Thursday, June 12, 2008 5:18 PM

    I hope you didn’t believe him then – you’d have lost your shirt.

    Is Jim Rogers related to The Oracle? (Good to see you’re not banged up in South Korea, Mike)”***

    Actually John, if Id have listened to him, maybe I would have been a billionaire too. But nice cherry pick when absolutely everything has dramatically fallen (save perhaps gold) given massive de-leveraging and freeze up.

    I see you ignored the fact he said the bull market has “years” to go. If you look around more youll see he means 10 or 15. Long term. Not “now now now, gotta have it now now now.” Long term. A novel idea for some. I wish Gordon Brown had been familiar with the idea of the long term. Talk about sending the country right back to the 70s. Bankrupted by Labour twice in 25 years.

    And in addition, Jim Rogers has said in the past that oil has corrected by 50% or more two or three times on its way up and it probably will again.

    Guess what Jim Rogers is buying as much as he can get his hands on at the moment. Lets see where oil is in two or three years. And lets see where the UK is.

  16. M It didn’t so much correct as fall off a cliff. Anyone following his pronouncements on oil in June would have picked up his signal and piled into it as far as they could. His pronouncements have one purpose – to make money. Good for him, but don’t pretend he’s an independent expert with no agenda.

    Why are there do few leading Tories advocating that the banks should be allowed to collapse? Perhaps they are a bit more savvy than Rogers.

  17. John, being on the left like Brown, you just arent going to ever get it. Its called the “long term.”

    Cherry picking one call at a time as crazy as this reminds me of the desperate thrashing around, gasping for political life, that Gordon Brown is doing at the moment. And its one call that will rebound to terrifying levels for anyone that wants to heat their home or run their car. They havent found a decent oil field in 40 years. And guess what, to Gordon Browns despair, the BoE cant print oil.

    And no, there are not any Tories as savvy as Jim Rogers. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Tories will not go nearly far enough with the slashing of red tape and public sector employment. And the Tories will continue to manipulate the price of money (interest rates) and supply of money just like both parties have for so long.

    However, despite my criticism of them, I know one thing for sure: the nation would not be on the verge of bankruptcy like it is now. No way.

  18. He was quoting short medium and long term when he said that oil was going up. It then plummetted.

    Wherever one is positioned doesn’t determine how far one “gets it”

    The tories presumably want a stab at running the country. As some-one who doesn’t yet trust them to rein in free-market capitalism, i hope they seriously consider hiring Rogers (and you for that matter) to explain their politics to the electorate. I have a feeling the polls would be affected quite a lot.

  19. @ KEIR

    Yes my cut & paste from Peter went awry-then my home power supply went off for most of the day!

    I meant to say that Peter lacks a degree of logic in pronouncing the Tory economic policies which would have been in place had they been in power….and then claiming on another issue “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 am amused by the trawling for evidence that Ken Clarke would have made the same errors of Banking oversight as Brown.

    Actually KC was against BoE independence , which would certainly have obviated FSA- arguably the epicentre of failure.

    However-as ODDJOB observes, all this vicarious blame for the Banking Crisis is irrelevant if-as seems likely-the public are focussed on who is best to get us out of this mess.

    That is the battle ground-and if the public do refer to past performance in reaching a judgement, then as James has said-Brown will probably score badly now.

    His only hope is a sudden & dramatic improvement in the economy during this year. Whatever the reason for such an outcome-he would get the credit.

  20. John,
    Free market capitalism doesnt need to be reined in. Government does. Free market capitalism is what has brought millions out of poverty in China. Government and socialism is what had kept them in poverty all that time. Government and socialism is what is taking this country back to poverty, and what is going to dramatically reduce the standard of living in the USA. (Bush was a socialist-look at his actions not his label. Obama is more of the same, economically.) You may not like to it, but I promise you, you just dont get it.

    And I agree, me or Jim Rogers speaking on behalf of the Tories would be bad for the Tories. You see, these days we have more spongers than workers and entrepreneurs. And they vote too. More people that cant look after themselves than ever before. More people than ever before demanding to take what other people have rather than creating that wealth for themselves.

    And with the encouragement by Labour for these spongers to enter the very lucrative baby manufacturing industry, whilst the people that provide the wealth for this country only have one or two, the situation is only going to get worse and worse.

    I dont go in for political correctness, btw.

    It still hasnt become apparent to people in the UK just how dire the situation is. There is nothing… nothing in the future for the UK.

    I dont know where this is going so lets just meet back here in two years and take a look at how oil is doing and take a look at how the UK is doing.

  21. Poll numbers are still a negative for Labour not a positive for the Tories and different ,therefore, from 1995-97.
    The shadow shadow chancellor line was the best from Brown for ages, I wonder who came up with it? Expect more out of depth remarks and some will stick.
    Cameron got lost on PMQ’s when Brown asked him for an alternative to re-capitalising the banks, first time for a few weeks.
    It shows that whilst the Tories are now getting some good advice and a stronger position on the financial turmoil Cammo and Osborne still struggle when debating.
    Reckon still Tory victory but not 97 style Labour wipe out whenever the GE, partly due to FPTP vaguaries.
    Re the media Steve Richards was a guest Radio 5 with John Piennar for PMQs and compensated for the anti Labour narrative (perhaps over compensated) that comes every week from Piennar.

  22. I’d rather not if you don’t mind M!

    One thing we agree on though is that systems of govt do have an enormous effect on the standards of living/progress of that country. If they’d innovated in style of government as brilliantly as they did in hydraulics/explosives/astronomy etc, we’d have been conversing in Mandarin for centuries by now.

    I stand by my assertion that a bull market in a commodity stops being a bull market when that commodity sees its price reduce by 70% in nine months. If Jim had worked as a trader in the City and held on “for the long term” he’d have lost his job.

  23. Colin.

    Sorry but my logic is sound.

    You can’t say if it wasn’t X it would be Y, but what I wanted was evidence from Tory policy or statements that the Tories had markedly different policies from Labour with regards to the city and the Housing market.

    You do make a valid point about BoE independence and the way Brown reorganised oversight and financial regulation, so in some respect the Tories might have done things differently.

    However I just don’t see the Tories having taken a tough line with interest rates and the housing market for the greater good of the nation and risked getting booted out of government.

    I just think that the Tories were as likely to follow Labour and give the city what it wanted as Osborne and Mandelson were to be found on the same yacht.

    I have no problem blaming Brown for his mistakes but I can’t go along with those Tories who post here attacking all things Labour and suggesting that none of this would have happened under a Tory government.

    Equally I think it’s fairly probable that if Scotland had been independent since the 79 referendum we would probably be in much the same situation that Ireland is in now, or indeed the situation Norway faced ( I wouldn’t draw parallels with Iceland because it really is a micro economy).

    How we would fair is hard to say, but the one think I am sure of is that just as Ireland hasn’t asked to rejoin the UK or Norway Sweden, we’d be staying an Independent country.


  24. Peter

    I think the Tories could reasonably claim to have flagged concerns about debt-as did Cable.( Cable in November 2003 & Letwin in 2005)

    The record , I think , shows that these concerns were dismissed summarily by Brown .His speeches at Mansion House in June 2007, (… Britain needs more of the vigour, ingenuity and aspiration that you already demonstrate that is the hallmark of your success. ) , and CBI in 2005 (…. “no inspection without justification, no form-filling without justification, and no information requirements without justification, not just a light touch but a limited touch”. ) show the mood he was then in.

    Adair Turner has said today that “governments, regulators and institutions around the world had failed to respond to a credit binge fuelled by low interest rates and a dangerous boom in credit securities.

    He urged regulators to take a far more active overview of the world, rather than taking a institution by institution approach to their work.”

    Clearly there was an international dimension to these failures. But the exponential growth of Northern Rock & RBS took place under the gaze of UK authorities.

    Brown would gain much more support for his attempt to maximise the international aspect if he would – just once- concede that his creation the FSA was understaffed, underskilled & focussed on process rather than outcomes( a common criticism of this Government’s approach)

    Would a Ken Clarke-still in control of BoE-have used interest rates to control the credit bubble ?-who knows.
    Would such an incarnation of the HushPuppied One have acted to stop NR & RBS gearing up in the way they did-who can say?

    I really think these questions are of interest only to Labour apologists who want to tar the opposition with their own dirty brush.-the public are thinking about their future-not the Tory’s putative past.

    Your admission about an independent Scotland is very fair-especially given your leader’s admiration of Goodwin.

    I’m sure Ireland will wish to stay independent-whether it’s awfull financial situation in the wake of it’s own banking crisis will help “Yes” or “No” in the second referendum is an interesting thought.-as is the position of the Euro-which judging by the widening bond spreads for Member States appears to question the very status of the “currency union”.

  25. “I really think these questions are of interest only to Labour apologists who want to tar the opposition with their own dirty brush”

    They should be of interest to Tory “apologists” as well. Why wasn’t the shadow chancellor speaking out against the limited, light touch of regulation? Would they keep firmer control when the sector recovers?

    Questions very much for the future.

  26. @Colin

    I agree with you in general, but I believe the battleground is wider now than before. The public (I included) are weary of the economic woes of the country and will probably fall into a state of apathy regarding the issues, if not already then very soon – I am not suggesting their strength of feeling will deminish, only their belief that nothing can be done.

    Which is why I belive issues such as lack of transparency regarding reciepts will have more traction thatn last month

    The issues around statistics not being published will have more traction than last month

    In fact anything this government do which seems to either make MP’s different from us JOE BLOGGS of the worl or where they seem to be covering scandle/politically sensitive information will have much more traction than at the end of last year.

    What the Tories have to do is not try to get too involved in making these issues flare up that may see the government being able to divert to critisim onto them.

    I may be completely wrong about all this, but people are looking for fresh meat and they want to spend some anger at someone (the current government seem the likely candidates as would any incumbent governing body)

    PS If anyone believes that my comments are partisan then I apologise, I am simply trying to show what I beleive will make a big difference in the polls over the coming weeks.

  27. As to the future john, you can read the policy statements-though whether you trust them is of course a personal matter.

    As I understand it they include the Bank of England taking a broader responsibility for debt.and giving FSA it’s regular assessment of the extent of risk in the market.

    An independent office of budget responsibility is proposed which would evaluate & comment on the nation’s debts, including liabilities currently not counted on the balance sheet such as major PFI projects.

    I presume the Cons would broadly support & encourage international co-operation-they would have to if monstrosities like Fed Goodwin’s RBS are to be effectively regulated-or even avoided in future?

    I have a feeling that GB has a rather prescriptive form of Globally imposed regulation via say the IMF in mind.

    Whether this -as opposed to international co-operation of national regulators-will meet with USA support-or is indeed practicable remains to be seen at the upcoming London G20

  28. Colin,

    I don’t see why widening Bond spread question the “currency union” as you see exactly the same thing with regards to bonds issued by US states and that isn’t being seen as a reason for the dollar to collapse.

    Osborne and cable may well have criticised Brown on debt as opposition spokesman, but just as Brown and Cooke attacked Tory policy and then adopted it, If the Tories were in power I doubt they would have done that much differently.

    I certainly can’t remember a Tory election manifesto saying;

    “We will reintroduce credit controls”
    “We intend to raise interest rates to cool the Housing sector”
    “We must restrict the expansion of the Financial sector”
    “We will take the bank of England back under direct treasury control”
    “We need greater regulation and less innovation in financial products”


  29. Peter-I’m not at all sure that “greater regulation” is the alternative to the failures at FSA/BoE.

    It seems to me that there were plenty of warnings & data available, from IMF down-including from BoE itself. !!
    What was needed was two things which didn’t happen:-

    * More effective regulation through clearly defined responsibilities as between BoE & FSA

    * Appropriate counter-cyclical policy response from Government.

    With regard to the Conservatives-they called for the former of those two-in terms-in the “Redwood” 2007 Competition Report.

    Whether they would have met the second requirement-who can say? There doesn’t seem to have been a single global example of an administration which did-though Merkel made all the right noises at one time.

    These politicians can talk the talk about better regulation till the cows come home-but unless they give theire regulators teeth-and respect, it’s all hot air.

    Maybe the Cons would have been beguiled by all that tax revenue too?

  30. Keir-I agree.

    The public must be weary of economic minutiae by now.

    If Cameron can just keep smiling that should be enough to get him elected!

  31. @Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

    Yes but there are statements that say that tories would (and have been proven too in the past) spend more within their means.

    So no they may not have done something different, except they would not have started from the same place and therefor would have had more options.


    “Maybe the Cons would have been beguiled by all that tax revenue too?”

    I struggle with this as it’s the same argument about old money new money people. Those who have grown up with money physically/metaphorically (or business experience at a high level) are less likely to be overly effected when that money (or position) is thrust upon them.

    For example Gordon Brown with a protestant minister for a father probably had a very reserved and spend thrift upbringing. This does not mean to say that Gordon caused this or that he shares the same values. In fact if phycologists are to be believed (and you’d be mad if you did) then it is more likely that when given the almost unlimited sums of money Gordon was faced with and the investors who had his ear, that he would be more likely to splurge and show favour rather than follow the father.

    The one thing I will say is that just as with Labour, the conservatives had been in power too long and would have made other possibly more damaging mistakes had they continued (one reason people argue for a maximum government term).

    To add to my previous statements about what has more traction, then I believe we will also see a marked increase in the call for change (that was around prior to the credit crunch) rear it’s head again and I do not think recovery in the economy with have much bearing on that.

    Sorry Anthony but I think this goes against your economy tracking argument (that I have agreed with during the crisis)

  32. I’m finding all this speculation about what the Tories “would” have done rather weird. We don’t really know what they’d have done because there are so many possible variables. How big would their hypothetical majority have been? What would their cabinet and reshuffles have been like and how might they have affected policy? Would they have changed tack when presented with certain facts or indicators? Who would have been prime minister, bearing in mind that Cameron only became leader in 2005? We just don’t know.

    I agree with Keir re: governments in power too long. If Labour has one almost defining characteristic right now, it’s that sense of having run out of ideas, energy, confidence, and talent – much like the Tories in the mid-90s. Time for a change indeed.

  33. I have heard recently that Britain may agree to take more non British nationals from Guantanamo Bay after Obama`s announcement to close the camp
    This may be a deeply unpopular desision ( there maybe a poll in the future on this subject)

    Why would a Government that is trying to get the public on their side and an election looming make this kind of decision especially if it doesn`t have to?
    The Government are saying they are trying to make other EU countries to take some of the inmates as well
    But this may be seen as allowing these people in from the back door if they wish to do so
    The press and the Tories will have a field day
    So why shoot yourself in the foot?

  34. @Glenn Benson

    It’s another article that can be attributed to being in power too long. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    A lot of issues (like Heathrow) are just vote losers – they do not make people vote for you only against no matter what decision you take.

  35. Keir,

    Very true but I bet Blair would have been better able to spin it his way.

    Sitting, slight lean forward, hands clasped with a fake tear in the eye. Talk of ‘Future’ and ‘Investment’ and a ‘new’ and ‘Green’ way forward blah blah…

    Brown, with his jowly jaw, ‘angry’ hands and gruff monotone just can’t pull it off with the susceptible moron masses the way Blair did. Thank God!

  36. You miss the point Ivan – it’s the “no-win” that’s intractable. If they ‘d cancelled the third runway it would have lost as many votes as if they proceeded with it.

    I agree that looks count an awful lot amongst the masses, but Keir was correctly pointing out that the longer a govt stays in, the more people will respond to issues with “that’s the final straw, I’m changing my vote now”, no matter that there is no great ideological move away from the govt. (If anything the masses are becoming more protectionist and less “free-market”)


    To repeat what you state in your post above:

    “Very true but I bet Blair would have been better able to spin it his way.

    Sitting, slight lean forward, hands clasped with a fake tear in the eye. Talk of ‘Future’ and ‘Investment’ and a ‘new’ and ‘Green’ way forward blah blah…

    Brown, with his jowly jaw, ‘angry’ hands and gruff monotone just can’t pull it off with the susceptible moron masses the way Blair did. Thank God!”

    What exactly does this comment have to do with Opinion Poll analysis. It is nothing short of PATHETIC PERSONAL INSULTS. They seem to again confirm the insulting hysterical attitude many Conservatives have.

    With regards to you insulting the electorate describing them as “..the susceptible moron masses..” is contemptable nonesense. Sort it out!!

  38. “They seem to again confirm the insulting hysterical attitude many Conservatives have”

    So we’re both capable of it then!

    A display of mild irritation at a party (and to a certain extent those who voted for them) that is intent, it seems, on wrecking my country is not hysterical.

    Also Browns inability to ‘relate’ in comparison to his predisessor has a bearing on the polls. I was simply pointing out that perhaps Blair would fair better.

    GDP figures out today. As bad as could be, are you not becoming mildly irritated too?

  39. This is no place for irritation, mild or otherwise.

    Are the voters irritated with “Brown’s recession”, or can they be persuaded to be even more irritated with the people who played with the dangerous toys created by rocket scientists without understanding the instructions on the packet, and without the benefit of a “this may explode” warning?

    Again, where is the evidence that voting tory in 1997, 2001 or 2005 would have led to anything better than a few more billion in the current account to pour into the failing banks?

    The voters were not presented with an alternative that would have prevented it.

    That’s not a “hypothesis” but a real fact – there is no evidence that Cameron, IDS, Howard or Hague would have instigated a regime that would have prevented it.
    If there were evidence, Cameron would have waved it at the despatch box every Weds since NR threatened to go pop.

  40. Bloody hell – give us another poll quick!! This is descending into sub-HoC yah-booing of the worst extremes.
    UK – bankrupt? Show me the proof – recession does not equal bankrupt
    BBC – pro-Labour? Again, the proof rather than just invective (come on – the dodgy dossier anyone?)
    Electorate – susceptible moron masses??

    This is meant to be a site which looks at the polls and the evidence behind the polls – not a forum for some of the crudest politicking I’ve seen since schoolday debates

  41. Whilst some of the language is colourful the debate about a hypothetical Tory Gov’t in recent years is in my view valid on this site.
    I think most posters (even strong Tories) agree that most of the polling numbers are as a result of Labour regaining some unpopularity (I like that). At the same time the Conservatives suffered last Autumn from a lack of clear narrative and have sharpened up. Colin is right that Cammo probably needs to just keep smiling to win but this is by no means certain and he clearly is a little worried or else why risk bringing Clarke back.
    The debate then is to what extent the Conservatives need to set out their own agenda in the months ahead in order to not just win due to protest and ‘time for change’ which may or may not lead to a narrower popular vote victory and even closer for seats.
    The discussion then around Conservative policies in opposition is a pre-curser to what many of us see as greater scrutiny of the conservatives in the next 12 months.
    In this context speculating about whether things would have been substantially different is valid as the Cam, Osborne etc will be asked just this.
    The back-drop then is that some of us believe that the lead will narrow as the year goes on (may be widening first) as this scrutiny takes place whilst others don’t.
    All legitimate stuff.
    FWIW I am with Peter Cairns, with a Tories govt in recent years we would be where we are now Macro wise but probably with less public spending and lower taxes.
    I genuinely don’t think the vtoing public will buy the suggstion that the Cons would have reulated more effectively. It was Thatcher and Raegan who started the de-reg trend.
    Of course the desire to punish Labour may well be so strong as to make little difference.

  42. Well, I’m with you there Jim Jam if we’re talking about a reasoned discussion.
    The problem, of course, is that there is nothing that the Conservatives have said or done over the last decade which would have indicated a radically different response at the macro-economic level. It’s also likely that they would have had less regulation (if that’s possible!) – cf Osborne in 2006:
    “In an age that demands a light touch, [Brown] offers that clunking fist. He has clobbered business with £50bn of regulation, when we should be
    liberating our economy to compete.”
    To be fair, he also said: “An economy built on borrowed money is built on borrowed time” but cutting public expenditure and lowering taxes wouldn’t necessarily have done much about the PSBR.
    So – we’d’ve still been in the same situation with – I agree – probably less public spending and lower taxes.
    The question is: where does this hypotheticating get us? Nowhere really.

    The point for me is can – or even should – Camoron (I picked that up from a Tory poster on this site – tsh, the state of education today!) move away from the ‘you got us into this mess’ line (the natural retort, of course, being ‘well, then, we’ll get you out of it too’) and move onto a more forward-thinking platform where he proposes readily identifiable and viable alternative economic policies?
    I’d suggest that the fact he’s brought in Clarke is a recognition that up until now, he hasn’t been able to do that (Clarke of course promoted the idea of a VAT cut in the first place, so harping on about the past is probably not going to be in the big man’s lexicon). Can Clarke help the Tories articulate a new deal – hmm. What do you lot think?

  43. @OSBAK

    “This is meant to be a site which looks at the polls and the evidence behind the polls – not a forum for some of the crudest politicking I’ve seen since schoolday debates”

    Glad to see you don’t add your bias on this … oh no wait a minute you did.

    I must agree with IVAN that in the modern “Global” era more people work on face value. It’s well known that we each form a lasting, difficult to change veiw of a person based on our first veiw of there appearance. That’s why it counts so much in interviews etc. Second to this is the current soundbite 10 second slice we see of a person. Tony Blair was and still is a master of this. Gordon is not. DC is better but still not Blair (and I vote Tory). Rarely have we seen a politician who could through words and gestures change the way a country thinks. I’m not putting Tony in the same league as Obama as I think they play different games, but Tony was deffinitely up there as one of the great media manipulators (postive and negative) of all time.

    PS OSBAK – some polls indicate that they would rather not have proof that we are bankrupt (because then we would be) but increasingly feel that we are. Even the treasury (mainly labour) are asking for more transparency on current spend.

    The BBC have always been left of center and therefor have always had labour bias within it’s programming. The mandate is not to be unbiased, but to present balanced argument (not neccesarily in the same program) – I previously complained and this was the response (i’ll send you the actual email if you would like) – if they counld not have biased programming then they could not air Party Political Broadcasts – This is why the narative at the moment is that people are amazed to see the Beeb actually reporting on items that the government find embarrassing (although still nothing about yachts and oligarchs)

    Electorate – susceptible moron masses – yeah ok I’ll give you that one, maybe the masses bit was a bit off :-)

  44. @Keir

    Your spelling is really bad…please improve

  45. Cheers Keir – totally agree that we’re in a media age and that DC scrubs up well! I try not to actively politick but – as you cleverly note – it sometimes slips through

    I still dispute the line that the BBC “has always been left of centre”: can no-one remember the joys of old Marmaduke Hussey or (granted, this goes back some years . . .) Auntie’s treatment of the General Strike? Sure, this may seem to some as ancient history, but it’s all to easy to say sweepingly that the Beeb is ‘always’ left-leaning. It’s not.
    What I’ll give you is that the Beeb is the only UK-based organisation with the clout to set certain agendas and so it needs to be closely scrutinised, but I’d put Strictly Come Dancing, Eastenders, The Proms and Waterloo Road into that pile just as much as the Today programme and Breakfast!!

  46. @OSBAK

    Interesting for me is that until recently I have not been partisan, but I find it harder and harder as the years go on. It’s one of the questions I asked in a prior blogg about which polls reflect not just voting intention, but depth of feeling. I truly believe that labour will be met with a huge wave of apathy from it’s core vote similar to the Tory destruction during their last government.

    I also wonder if governments suffer from having too much of a figure head – following the “hard act to follow” line. I for one consult on IT policies and management and am always happier when fixing someone elses mess than trying to improve on excellence (although I still manage it :-) )

  47. I don’t think Cameron is really worried about whether he will win the next election (the Spread Betting odds are 75%) but I think he is seriously concerned about the state of the economy and public finances when he does come in. International investors have almost completely lost confidence in Gordon Brown (who didn’t even know the name of ABN Amro), hence the collapse of Sterling and the fact that UK Government Debt Credit Default Swaps are trading at 136bps – ie the expected loss from a default in the next 5 years is thought to be about 6.8%. Since in a default investors would get about 75% of their money back, this suggests the markets now think the probability of a default is about 25%.

  48. The blanket use of the word “regulation” to somehow encapsulate party attitudes is far too broad brush.

    ” Business regulation” encompasses a whole range of stuff from Employment regulations, through Statistics gathering, Health & Safety, Human Rights & God knows what else.

    Some of it is of questionable value & definite disadvantage to Business, & any Political Party with aspirations for an entrepreneurial economy should be constantly weeding it out.

    The current & overiding “Regulation” issue is Banking & Credit Regulation-and perhaps more importantly , Oversight ( just ticking boxes is useless as the FSA found out )

    On this issue the Conservatives-like Labour know that the tripartite system set up by Brown failed.

    They are entitled to point out that Redwood’s Competition Commission Report -which looked at Business Regulation, specifically identified that weakness in 2007 :-

    “…..We are concerned about the division of responsibility between the FSA and the Bank over banking and market regulation. Fortunately, conditions in the last decade have been benign internationally, with no serious threats to banking liquidity.
    We think it would be safer if the Bank of England had
    responsibility for solvency regulation of UK-based banks, as well as having an overall duty to keep the
    system solvent. Otherwise, there could be dangerous delays if a banking crisis did hit, with
    information having to be exchanged between the two regulators; and there might be gaps in each
    regulator’s view of the banking sector at a crucial time, when early regulatory action might have”

    It is reasonable to note that the Conservatives 2005 GE Manifesto provided no indication that Banking & Credit regulation was considered a risk.

    Equally it is reasonable to note that the 2007 document I quote did identify the very risk which allowed NR, RBS et al to slip between the cracks of the regulatory regime, at a time when Gordon Brown still believed that his system was adequate, and was dismissing all concerns about the bubble in Debt & Property values.

  49. Any chance of this site returning to talk about the polls instead of some using as their own political debating society? Some of you might be better off on PB.com, Conhome or Labourlist (god forbid!)

  50. If the Polls are to be entirely divorced from their Political context, there is very little to discuss.

    Anthony provides an analysis of National current opinion, pointing up the implications for the main parties and reminding us that one Poll on it’s own means nothing.

    Peter Cairns invariably does the same for Scotland.

    Then follow the usual caveats about relying on sub-sets.

    Pollwise-there is nothing much more to add -except the rather pointless exchange of personal forecasts for some time in the future.

    Surely the Political Opinion Polls are a function of people’s perceptions about the Political Parties-and it is this aspect which the majority of us like discussing.

    By and large it is not too partisan, for fear of Anthony’s wrath-& speaking for myself I find the discussions most informative & stimulating-particularly from those who have a different political outlook to me.

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