ComRes’s monthly poll for the Independent is out, and shows topline figures of CON 45%(+5), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 17%(-1). Changes are from the last ComRes poll, carried out at the end of March.

The figures are almost the same as yesterday’s YouGov poll in the Sunday People. We haven’t had any post-budget figures from ICM, Populus or MORI yet, but so far it is looking as if, between the rows over MPs expenses, “smeargate” and the budget, we have seen a further shift against Labour and we are back into Tory landslide territory. Obviously there is a long way to go until a 2010 election, but the June local and European elections aren’t looking pretty for Labour.


355 Responses to “ComRes show 19 point Tory lead”

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  1. Or realistically hope to in the future.

    Isn’t it the same re the IHT? Very few will get the benefit,but most applaud the policy of virtually abolishing it.

    Maybe it’s just one of those things that sounds wrong to people, even if they’re not affected.

    At the other end, there’ll be many who support the idea of a minimum wage – out of a sense of what seems right rather than out of a financial calculation of what might affect them.

    I still think Cameron will get in more because of his nicer smile than any thing to do with policies.

    Perhaps the electorate knows that our choice of govt will have only a peripheral effect on outcomes for each of us. I know in my case that success depends on a combination of my actions and those of the USA.

  2. Sorry, that last was to Mark M

  3. @ John TT

    I am afraid that whilst a few people are not driven by money and self interest the mass of society is. That is why Adam Smith was right when he said:

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

    He was not saying he liked this, that it was fair or good but that it was th reality and any system of government and taxation needed to work with this in mind.

    It is why Robert Owen and St Simon’s socialist projects worked on a small scale but collapsed afterwords when they tried to launch more/grow them.

    It would be fantastic if people would work to their ability but only consume to their need. But such utopias always fail and any policies based on these ideals fail.

  4. johntt @ :-
    “… it begs the question “what do they stand for now?” ”

    Yep.

    NigelJ @:-
    “Unfortunately I think the decision was more motivated by the baser instincts (envy) of the labour party, trying to wrong foot cameron, and trying to shore up the increasingly flaky core vote.”

    Yep.

  5. @John T T

    I apologise for my ad hominem attack, it was unfair. I had hoped it would be moderated out as soon as I’d posted it.

    In general, though, I think we’ve all gone off the debating the poll results, me included!

  6. At the beginning of this thread, I had pointed out that Brown had managed three blunders in rapid succession. In the following two days, we have seen the Polish PM lecturing Brown on budget deficits and his defeat on the Gurkha veterans. I don’t think that even Major at his worst managed so many embarrassments in such a small time.

    Tomorrow, one major line of media reporting will be on the Gurkha vote, and if the government continues the line that they spun (we’re ignoring the vote), the story will continue to run. Has the Brown “brand” been damaged beyond recovery?

  7. The Gurkha vote is fantastic – happiest bit of politics in a long long time. My grandfather served alongside them in WWII – he’d be delighted by this long overdue result and I’ll raise a glass to him and his comrades tonight.

    Interesting to see how that and tomorrow’s vote on expenses affect the polls. Can Labour plummet even lower than 26? Will Brown survive the week?

  8. John TT,

    “The Tories are as vulnerable to their own “extreme” though. They do have an opportunity to occupy the centre – I have a feeling they might just still blow it”

    I hope so!

    I haven’t waited 12 years for more of the same. Big cuts to waste and, in the long term, big cuts in tax. I wan’t carnage! :-)

  9. want

  10. I hope that the public will come to their senses and vote Labour at the next election, although right now, it seems very unlikely.

  11. Don’t worry Ivan. That’s not the worst apostrophe abuse I’ve seen recently

    “Changing room allocation for today’s matche’s”
    (Seen on a sign in a rugby clubhouse)

  12. I am to the left of British politics in many respects; it will take me an awfully long time to forgive the Tories for the 1994 Railways Act as an example.

    I am not a professional poll watcher either. But my gut feeling is that Brown has totally cooked his goose. And if they lose on Thursday then do the honourable thing and fall on your own sword.

  13. Of course apostrophes of omission used not to exist at all if you go far enough back in the language. Let’s also be aware that Shakespeare spelt his own name in several different ways.

    ‘Apostrophe abuse’ merely reflects that it does not reflect the reader’s position. Normally what is meant by ‘apostrophe abuse’ is that a particular use of the apostrophe does not match the reader- normally a middle class, conservative person educated in say the 1960s rejecting an alternative which they see as lesser.

    Language is (bar Latin) a live subject and changes; any attempt to set it in concrete is wrong. AS said, go far enough back and no apostrophes of omission exist. Re language change; go and read Chaucer in the original; basically unreadable for the normal human. Why? Language changes.

    The issue is really whether one understands what is said. Would it really matter if apostrophes of omission disappeared. No. Why. Does it alter comprehension? No.

  14. Interesting usage of the word waste by some here….I know what ya mean, but it does seem a bit of a broad definition…..some of us may think the govt shouldn’t be spending money on certain things/projects that we think it shouldn’t bother spending money on (ack, circular logic I know :/) but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s waste, just a difference of opinion….left wing v right wing.

    I doubt this govt, or many left wing govts, has been intentionally wasting money*…they’re just….legitimately further left…..and I don’t reckon it’s sensible to claim that left wing parties are by default less efficient than right wing…….along the same lines, I recall someone saying that the level of support for the 50% tax was a sign of brainwashing (or something like that)….move to suggest that some people just have genuinely more socialist views than those opposing the tax…

    On apostrophes I must admit I’m more one for usage than the dictionary as king, and an occasional tendancy for fancy language and loose interpretation of the rules led me to send the word(s?) she’ll’nt’ve to a bemused american a few weeks back.

    *Of course there’ll be some waste in any govt, impossible perfection….

  15. John TT,

    “The Tories are as vulnerable to their own “extreme” though. They do have an opportunity to occupy the centre – I have a feeling they might just still blow it”

    I’ve never understood this idea of parties trying to win the ‘centre’. The centre is movable. In the 70s both the main parties vied for the centre, with disastrous results. Then along comes Mrs T and effectively said “This is where I stand, this is the new centre”.

    She temporarily changed us from a nation of state-dependent whingers into self-reliant home-owning capitalists – Remember council house right-to-buy and Sid the shareholder in Gas? Whether you agreed with her or not, she moved the political centre to the right – hence Blair’s dropping of Clause 4 etc. This couldn’t have happened without Mrs T.

    The leaders of both parties should show leadership and stand for what they believe in (if anything) rather than chase a mythical centre-ground.

  16. @Wood – with regards to waste, what you seem to miss is that although no government can ensure that nothing is wasted and in fact there is a school of thought that says policing wastage must be proportionate to the sum and the task or it too become waste, this government has a culture of waste, a culture of throwing money at a problem and hoping that it will get better. In any efficiency report you will find on any government department, a lot of maoney and time and resource is wasted on an inability to make decisions (for example) another is the high level of paperwork abd the dreaded B word (again back to appropriate policing). Most of this is due (IMHO) to the fact that the majority of labour cabinet ministers have never run their own company and have little to no financial training in real world economics. I’ve even heard people to be overwhelmed by the numbers that they are dealing with and forget that each penny they are spending is coming from the taxpayer. They do not see the connection – whereas someone with some business knowledge and experience can relate all the money spent to the money recieved (those that can’t go out of business very quickly)

  17. When is the next poll due – sorry if someone already asked

  18. @Cogload I agree that if they lose the vote on Thursday Brown ought to realise his time is up. It should already be dawning on him that the best thing he can do for his party is to step down. But its not something I would bet any money on. I can’t see him resigning until he absolutely has to do so.

    The problem for Labour is that Brown has filled the cabinet with like-minded, like-standard people and there is a strong possiblity that a bunker mentality will develop. The only way for them to be driven out before the GE is by a full scale mutiny by Labour MPs and the party.

    I do hope the party can purge itself of the Brownites. Speaking frankly, in my view and suspect of many others, these people are so far up their own arse they are unable hear the electorate let alone respect us. The only thing they respect is power and people like themselves who have power e.g. leading bankers and investors, officers of the Gurkhas but not the ‘ordinary’ soldier and not the ‘ordinary’ public.

    I grew up in a working class family thinking that all Conservative MPs are snobs and I still think a lot of them are this. But this is almost nothing compared to the arrogant, self-righteous, self-deluded power worshippers that are leading Labour at present.

    I do hope that Labour can purge itself soon and achieve balance and humility providing a healthy opposition to what appears to be soon a Conservative government.

  19. The thing about the Gurkha situation that bothers me most is that it suggests somebody in government thought sending them all back without a penny might have got more votes than being decent to people who have fought and died for our country. It indicates that the government is getting things so inside out and upside down they can’t tell good from bad policy anymore. Goodness knows what we’ll see in the next Labour manifesto if that’s the case.

  20. Keith, based on comments the Labour guest made on the Daily Politics today, they totally misunderstand public sentiment about immigration. They think we’re all bigots who don’t want anyone foreign coming into our country, and they think if they let the gurkhas in, we’ll all go and vote BNP.

    Er, no Gordon. Not really. We just think your immigration policies should be more selective. The gurkhas are fine with us.

  21. @ Kevin T – yes, exactly right. Brown really doesn’t get it at all.

  22. Thank-youi Richard Mann! I don’t think it’s off topic to talk about where “the centre” is.

    The comments re self-interest, if they are made by Cameron supporters, rather squash his theory that charities and co-ops will step into the breach left by a dwindlind state.

    Doesn’t the moving of the centre to the left a little over the last 15 years simply reflect that we recognise that self-interest prevails too much, and that collecting taxes is a fairer way of raising funds for services than asking people to pass the plate around?

  23. Pete B. Good question on what constitutes “the centre ground”, and as you say it is a shifting concept. I think it is fundamentally defined by which party is seen as the more considered and moderate by the bulk of the electorate and media, and is often defined by the party that is behind in the polls that is viewed as the more extreme.

    Strange though it may seem now, it could be argued that Mrs T was more moderate than the very fractious and very left wing (CND suppporting) Labour party of Michael Foot. Even though I loathed him, I have to admire Alastair Campbell’s description of the Tories “lurching” to the right. This “lurching” was seen as very unattractive by the electorate as was regarded as the behaviour of those on the political extremities. So even though many voters are Euro sceptic in opinion polls, they were very uncomfortable about the Tories continual navel gazing on the subject. Equally I believe that whilst opinion polls may suggest that they support 50p tax, they will see it as further Brown “lurching”. He has fallen into his own elephant trap!

  24. Will Brown stand down before election?
    Surely too proud/stubborn!
    Who will want to replace him at this point in time?

    Do any of you see this happening?

  25. Nick

    Replace Gordon Brown? Nobody in the Labour party has the guts.

  26. John TT,

    Common socialist misconception that social goods can be better achieved through government action than by voluntary agencies, and therefore all social services should be centrally provided and funded through tax..

    There are some services that it is right that Government should fund.

    Equally, there are a large number of services which may well be better provided locally through voluntary organisations, but in the past fifty years the state has crowded them out.

    There are also a large number of government activties which provide no services to anyone and which do not assist the productive economy. This is where the real “waste” is.

    Where we are agreed that Government should fund a service for the public good, there is a separate debate as to how those services should be provided and at what cost.

    Some methods of service delivery are inherently less efficient than others. In general terms, the more responsive a service is to its end users, the more likely it is to be efficient. To be responsive, it is important that strategic, as well as operational decision, can be taken close to the service user rather than centrally. That will inevitably lead to diversity rather than uniformity in the provsion of services.

    Finally, and, in the current fiscal environment, most importantly, we need to move away from the Government saying: “these are all the things we want to do, now give us the money in taxes”, and to a more prudent approach where the government looks at what the country can afford, then prioritises the services it wishes to provide to keep spending within its income. If that means that certain “services” can no longer be provided, then so be it. That after all is what every individual up and down the land has to do when asessing their own spending priorities (apart from the idlers who imagine that the “state” has a duty to provide for their profligacy).

  27. @cynosarges

    Yep momentum is building. The surprisingly large Gurkha vote defeat will only embolden Labour MPs to rebel against Brown’s authority. 28 voted against and a large number abstained as well.

    Brown’s problem is he is psychologically incapable of being politically flexible when faced with dissent.

    If he loses the vote tomorrow, a vote that he has staked a lot of political capital on, then it will almost certainly be ‘open season’ on him after the euro/local elections.

    He’s obviously decided that he has to fight his corner now.

    On a personal note, I want to congratulate the Commons for making the right decision on the Gurkhas. It is shameful the way Britain has treated them over the last 200 years.

  28. @ JohnTT – there are not many people who advocate zero taxation, just as there are not many people who advocate 100% taxation with people’s needs assessed and catered for by government. Outside those two rare extremes, the rest of us are simply arguing about how much taxation, from whom, and how. Absolute self-interest is as rare a stance as absolute State dependence.

  29. KEVIN T
    A very interesting observation.

    There is the increasing impression of “ivory tower” about this administration. Perhaps it’s because they are so beleagured now, they don’t get out much; perhaps they rely too much on special advisers & focus groups; perhaps this happens to all ageing governments.
    In any event they begin to look completely out of touch with the public mood.

    johntt @

    “charities and co-ops will step into the breach left by a dwindlind state…..collecting taxes is a fairer way of raising funds for services than asking people to pass the plate around?”

    This is a characterisation of Tory policy which you have used often john.

    I just don’t think it is accurate.

    For me the only-and absolutely key-area where you might have gained this impression was IDS’ Conference presentation on Social Justice.

    He platformed a number of third sector organisations & asked them to explain the problems they faced each day, the way they tackled them, and how that compared with State provided services & initiatives.

    Some dealt with drug addiction, some with children’s social problems etc etc.
    What they said & were achieving impressed me greatly-as they obviously did IDS.

    BUT-I am sure that the intention is not to close down DSS and all State initiatives on Social problems, and then “leave it to charities. ” The intentn, I believe is to identify those third sector organisations which are achieving results from the bottom up, and replace their centrally provided, top down counterparts with them….funding them from taxes.

    This is a strategy about best provider & value for money.It embodies the idea that social problems are most effectively tackled from within the community-not from Whitehall.

    Tom @:-
    ” would like to thank all those who voted for Labour in 1997 under the banner ‘things can only get better’ because you were conned and things have got worse within the last 12 years.”

    Mea culpa Tom. But don’t blame me for Brown.

    I lived & worked through Wilson’s & Callaghans administrations & should have known better-but the Tories had become so depressingly awfull.

    I will never believe the Labour Party again -whatever it calls itself.

    An interesting piece on pb , highlighted from the last ComRe Poll, that half of declared 2005 Labour voters said they would no longer vote Labour.

  30. I want to pay for those in need to be helped. That is the default position, I think, for anyone who believes in a democratic society.

    Why though do Labour supporters always defend every single penny of government spend when it is clear that at least some is ‘wasted’? It makes me suspicous of their aims.

    Do we really need befriending co-ordinators, street football co-ordinators, toothbrush advisers for infants, billions spent on ‘consultants’, Id cards?

    Maybe some people would like them, so let them set up a bloody charity for it if it’s so important. I do not wish to pay. In the same way that I would not like to pay for cotton wool to be placed around all lamp posts just in case somebody walks into one!

    The trouble is that all these expenses can be justified as ‘useful’ to somebody. The trick is to concentrate on the core aspects of running a society.

    That way you don’t run out of MY money after a decade or so and you don’t run the risk ( as you doubtless see it) of a state ‘destroying’ period of Tory rule.

  31. James – I agree. Most here argue for less reliance on state and more on the individual. In other words lower spending and lower taxes. Yet will this really lead to the increase in volunteering that Cameron/Conservatism believes will happen? I don’t think so.

  32. Colin, I’m sure I’ve heard Cameron bangin on about the great untapped resource of volunteers that are going to be at our disposal. I just don’t expect enough to come forward.

    If a toothbrush adviser saves the NHS ten times their salary in reducing the need for children to be hospitalised with oral disease, then that’s worth it, Ivan. I know it’s the parents’ fault, but the kids shouldn’t be the ones to suffer.

  33. Ivan who’s run off with our money? And have they no conscience? Is there no recourse other than to take it out on the benighted? No teven the removal of an honour given for services to The Market?

  34. “I know it’s the parents’ fault”

    Yes of course it is.

    At some point the State has to decide that it is the “parent” problem which has to be tackled-not the lack of toothbrushes.

  35. Colin, I think that’s what the tootbrush consultant does – paid by the state to educate parents and get kids to brush their teeth. That will save us money.

  36. “I’m sure I’ve heard Cameron bangin on about the great untapped resource of volunteers that are going to be at our disposal”

    Ah I understand now john.
    They may or they may not-but where service delivery is being funded by the taxpayer, the third sector provider will , as I say, have to be funded by reference to outcomes-that’s the key thing.

    If they can continue to draw on volunteers & charitable income great-but in the circumstances IDS was describing, their income would flow from their performance.

    I recognise that you could cross a line here, and change a succesfull formula for localy based services, provided by highly motivated people, in close touch with their “clients” to just another government quango with more money than purpose.

    They must not let that happen.

  37. “paid by the state to educate parents and get kids to brush their teeth.”

    Erm……isn’t that what we pay dentists to do?

    And everyone has access to an NHS dentist don’t they?

  38. You’re not usually sarcastic Colin!

    The point is, the outlay on questionable services is as nothing compared to the billions squandered by the bankers. Yet it’s the kids who are denied a proper toothbrush to pay for their “entrepreneurism” and “talent”

  39. @ JohnTT – it’s all very well raging at the bankers but the bottom line is that it’s the government’s job to regulate the banking and finance industry. And the government manifestly failed to do so adequately. And while it’s true that the preceding Tory govt. didn’t do it either, Labour has been in power for eleven very long years and is way past the point where it can reasonably blame its predecessors for its own failings.

  40. Ah, so now we are reverting to the nonsense that “it’s all the bankers’ fault” – what a lot of cobblers. The reason we are in the mess we are in is because of government fiscal policy – tax, borrow, spend, waste – and a failure of regulation, not because of all those evil bankers with red eyes, little horns and arrowed tails.

    The financial services sector is the main source of wealth creation in the UK, and while we have seen some pretty stupid activities from banks – not least in terms of lending (which again points to a failure of regulation), the economy depends on them entirely.

    It astonishes me that you are willing to defend such frivolous wastage as “toothbrush advisers”, while attacking any investment in entrepreneurism and talent – the mainstays of the economy.

  41. James , I agree (again!)

    However, the raging against the Govt for not saving £20bn (or whatever figure you like) is a bit like complaining about the water rates, when you’ve just found out your house has been demolished.

  42. Neil – I think the polls suggest that most people blame A the bankers for blowing us sky high, and B The Govt for not stopping them.

    Who do you blame for crime? The criminals, or the Govt for not stopping them?

  43. “Yet it’s the kids who are denied a proper toothbrush to pay for their “entrepreneurism” and “talent””

    I think you (we!) need a new Poll quickly !.

  44. Colin -I agree! I’m obsessed with the idea of the country going to the dogs because we’ve spent all our cash on 20 million toothbrush advisers. At £3k a pop.

  45. John,

    I blame criminals for crime (I also blame the government for not stopping them, but that is a separate issue from the blame for the crime itself). The analogy is not a good one, because it is not the bankers who have blown us sky high – they may have helped, but they are not the main culprits.

    The financial markets are in essence a confidence game. If confidence remains high then all is well – of course there still needs to be some common sense applied. The FSA has 4 statutory objectives, all of which it has failed miserably to meet, the most important being to maintain market confidence. Is this the bankers’ fault? Perhaps in a small degree, but in general it is due to the outrageous lending policies which were ENCOURAGED – not just approved or overlooked – by the FSA and the Treasury.

  46. This must be one of the most commented on polls ever on this site!

  47. @John T T – at least we now accept that what happened was a crime. In terms of an individual crime I would blame the criminal. However when there are a series of crimes within and organisation, then I would blame the perp and the organisation for having that culture. When that culture is endemic across a sector I would blame the Authorities that are in place to regulate it (in this case the tripartate system of regulation setup by GB) –

    To see it a different way, who do we punish for war crimes? the soldier or the commander.

  48. Neil and Keir – I don’t disagree with any of that. It’s just a bit rich that “self-interest” is not only accepted as a fact of life, but also encouraged by the same people who blame the Govt for encouraging mis-placed confidence.

    The individual bankers would have been fired if they hadn’t done what they did (I think some actually were fired for sounding alarm bells)

    Brown argues (or at least Blair did so for him) that he’d have been fired if he’d proposed the sort of changes that would have prevented the catastrophe.

    It really is a tragedy for Brown – who could have believed he’d be brought low by his own confidence in the free market? He should have encouraged not self-interest, but an interest in collective activity. That would have been more in tune with his roots on the left of centre.

  49. John,

    I think we are getting some more common ground on this issue – but I still think you are rather missing the point.

    It is difficult to say anything other than that it was Brown’s changes that actually caused the catastrophe. The Treasury is responsible for the FSA, not only politically, but practically and legally under schedule 1 of the Financial Services and Markets Act.

    My view of matters is that taking regulation away from a professional body within the sector (the Bank of England) and giving it to a centrallised super-quango (the FSA) is rather more “left of centre” than “free market”, wouldn’t you agree?

  50. House prices fell 0.4% in April, the Telegraph is reporting. Chris Newey will be disappointed :)

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