The Telegraph has a new Scottish poll from YouGov. Looking at topline voting intentions first, Westminster support (with changes from way back in August) stand at CON 18%(-2), LAB 39%(+9), LDEM 12%(-6), SNP 24%(-2). As with the recent TNS-BMRB poll, it shows a real strengthening of Labour’s Westminster support in Scotland.

Comparing this to the last General election, Labour’s vote is unchanged, the Conservatives up just 2 points. The SNP are up by 6, the Lib Dems down by a crushing 11. On a uniform swing at a general election, that would result in the SNP gaining Ochil & South Perthshire from Labour, and Labour gaining Dunbartonshire East and Inverness,etc from the Lib Dems. The Conservatives wouldn’t gain anything.

Holyrood voting intentions CON 15%, LAB 33%, LDEM 14%, SNP 32%. The Telegraph doesn’t make clear if this is constituency or regional voting intention, but the changes from the 2007 election quoted in the article imply it was constituency voting intention, in which case it would represent a small swing back to Labour since YouGov’s last Holyrood polling in October when the SNP led Labour 34% to 31%.

Voting intention in a referendum on Scottish Independence stands at YES 29%(+1), NO 57%(nc), practically unchanged from the last time YouGov asked in October. The Telgraph compare the figures to an earlier poll back in October 2008 when the figures were Yes 31%, No 53%… but even then, their claim that “Support for Scottish independence has plummeted” is stretching things a bit!

UPDATE: The tables are now on YouGov’s website here. The regional figures for Holyrood stand at CON 14%, LAB 30%, LDEM 14%, SNP 29%, GRN 6%. The fieldwork dates are the 18th to the 20th November, so only a week or so after Glasgow North East.

139 Responses to “YouGov shows Labour support rising in Scotland”

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  1. Sorry if this has already been mentioned (I couldn’t find anything) but does anybody know when we will find out the results of the ComRes poll?

  2. Paul H-J

    Your regional division is a valuable aid to understanding. I don’t just want Scottish Polls, I want regional Scottish polls.

    I agree with nearly all of what you say, many of these other changes are possible, and indeed I made some allowance for them in not counting all the Con and SNP eggs which might or might not hatch. I do think you should have added in the speaker at the beginning though.

    I also agree that bye-election reversion should not automatically be assumed as it was in the 1950’s. We don’t hear much talk of the “protest vote” these days and class loyalty and getting out your vote on the day is not all that matters. I would pick the other one of the two, but It wouldn’t surprise me if you were right or if we both were despite the fact that outwith the Highlands the LibDem vote is crumbling.

    It’s all very speculative, but essentially I just don’t think that the number of constituencies changing hands will be as great as you are counting on.

    I can see the possibility of Lab and LibDem gains you mention, but they are long shots, little surer than the Con hold we are are all assuming which would hardly be considered safe were it not that the focus is on Labour losses. If the SNP or even the LibDems were within reach, we might be looking at that more carefully.

    As I acknowledged, Cons have prospects beyond the one probable gain I allowed for, but partisan optimism in the counting of chickens needs to be discounted and that applies to the SNP too.

    I am encouraged by your and others comments which show that my basic point is accepted. National projections of majorities need to take account of several factors important to the interpretation of Scottish churns. That there could be up to a surplus of up to 33 Labour MP’s from Scotland (a majoriity of the Scottish MP’s) has important consequenses, beyond Scotland, and for all parties.

  3. Neil

    Wikipedia had CofS 42% + RC 16% = 58%

    The Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office is a significant influence in that it draws issues to the attention of clergy and laymen engaged in management or responsible for producing communications to the members of most Christian congregations and those of other denominations.

    Denis Donoghue

    As a retired NHS Chief Financial Officer I can say that I would protest any suggestion that my appreciation of the Health Secretary is second to that of any of the SNP members on these pages.

    You will note that that in general nobody but Labour ever wins in Glasgow, but that Govan has fallen to the SNP before. In each case it has been to a high profile candidate. I know nothing of the PPC, and the Euro vote shows what is possible as you say, but Scottish voters have taken to split voting and we know that many won’t vote for the SNP for Westminster.

    It’s not relevant in England of course, but the fact that the SP elections give the voter the chance to split the vote on a single visit to the polling station, trains them to consider negative voting (aka tactical voting) at other elections. Together with the loss of class loyalty (except in Glasgow), that makes for uncertainty.

    Jim Mather in Argyll is also shadowed by his PPC apprentice, and he may well win against a LibDem. I’d agree that if you were trying to get elected in Glasgow on nothing much more than that you couldn’t be in a better place than Govan or have a better mentor than Nicola Sturgeon.

    I just don’t think it’s enough.

  4. Neil

    “The Primus of the Scottish Epis­copal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, said that the decision sent the world “an important and positive message about our values”, and was “a brave political choice taken in the face of strong pressure from outside Scotland.”

    But you are right that it wasn’t a unanimous Kirk view – just the view of the 3 kirks which cover most of Scotland’s religious community.

    The Wee Frees took a different line

    “The release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Megrahi, brings the British judicial system into further disrepute. If Megrahi is guilty of the murders he should have been put to death, not released: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man” (Gen 9:6).

    But is Megrahi guilty of the murders? It is a feature of our judicial system at present that high profile murder cases all too often lead to unsatisfactory convictions, which are then appealed, or debated, for years to come. Often the discussion centres, not on whether the person concerned is guilty, but on whether the correct procedures were followed – as if justice were some vast and expensive game, the rules of which were more important than the crime itself. With God’s blessing, one would expect simple, clear-cut convictions in cases leading to the death penalty, as with Achan (Jos 7). But our rulers, by abolishing the death penalty, have implicated themselves in the blood of those who are murdered, and now God is entangling them in their errors and making them a laughingstock to other nations. “Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed . . . therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries” (Ezek 22:4).”

    Feel free to agree with their stance (it won’t make any difference to the SNP holding Na h-Eileanan an Iar)


    I hope you are right. Sunday ferries will work to your advantage now.

    One of the two things we miss having left there is observing the process of social change in respect of the decline in Sabbath Observance and thus the opportunity to better understand how such changes come about and are eventually accepted.

    The other thing we miss is Charles MacLeod’s Black Pudding. Do not miss any opportunity to obtain some.

    Before the 1997 general election there was a public debate promoted by an evangelical Christian organisation at which the Labour MP seeking re-election, Calum Macdonald, and the serial candidates Jamie McGrigor (Con) and Mitchison (ScotlLibDem) were present as was the SNP’s Anne Lorne Gilles.

    The topics discussed included ALL the liberal issues which for most people had been settled in the 1960’s when Roy Jenkins was at the Home Office: Divorce, Abortion, Hanging, Homosexuality, and Religion in education etc. The candidates were even asked if they were in favour of an Established (state supported)Church.

    I was impressed with the imaginative way in which the Labour and Conservative candidates sidestepped the questions without giving offence, and the fact that, the LibDem recognised, as did the audience that there was no point in him pretending that his views were not at odds with those of the audience.

    Anne Lorne Gilles, herself divorced, who had been presenting herself as imbued in Gaelic culture and had made the most of her West Highland connections, caused great offence by her frank and unequivocal defence of liberal values.

    That was to be expected from the easily ignored and fourth placed LibDem, but the perceived incongruity from “one of our own” was too much for some members of the audience. Several were hyperventilating, one was barking like a dog. Only then did I fully understand the meaning of the expression “barking mad.”

    I took note of the position of the fire escapes and considered the risks of personal injury and to employment security as well as the prospects of success if I chose to intervene to protect ALG in the event of violence and the loss of my self respect if I let that cup pass from me.

    In the lobby afterwards, Winnie Ewing likened the event to “Christians and lions,” but of course it was the lions that got eaten.

    The following evening, at her own election meeting attended mostly by SNP members, ALG was still visibly shaken from the experience and her hopes of election were receding.

    You may know, thoug I do not, whether and if so in what way that was the end of her political ambitions.

    I mentioned values in an earlier post. I’d vote for Anne Lorne Gilles whatever party she stood for. I’d vote for her on TV shows I don’t watch.

    The record of the SNP in the constituency is not beyond reproach.

    For many years until he was replaced by Donald Stewart the sole Labour MP in the North and West was Malcolm Macmillan. His daughter, who is active in the Labour Party on the mainland, still bears a grudge on account of the campaign tactics in the election in which her father lost his seat. She claims he lost because the Labour government was unfairly held accountable for liberal legislation, notably David Steel’s Abortion Act.

    On the day before the 2003 Scottish Parliament election I was canvassed by an SNP councillor who knew that I had voted for ALG. After claiming that the SNP were not indulging in negative campaigning, he contradicted that by focusing on the Labour MSP’s record on “family values” issues (Clause 2b).

    Although I had intended to vote for the SNP candidate, whom I knew personally and respected, your councillor had managed to persuade me to vote Labour.

  6. OldNat

    Actually, the full text might me more appropriately be noted by the Iraq inquiry and Tony Blair, if you regard Trident as an idol.

    1.[4] Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.”

  7. John B Dick


  8. OldNat

    Though nothing is more appropriate for Megrahi than Matthew 25

    [36] ….I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
    [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord,
    [39] [Or] when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    [40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    If Megrahi had been able to stick around a bit longer he might have been better off. The Beatson Hospital in Glasgow has developed a promising treatment.

  9. John B Dick

    I’m certainly not going to trade Bible quotes with someone whose memory of Bible Class is so good. :-)

  10. Oldnat & John B Dick:

    With all this old-timey religion mixed with politics, I almost feel like I’m back home in Northern Ireland!

  11. John,

    I know that Christian values still have traction in the Hebrides – this is often the case in remoter / harsher environments where one is daily brought face to face with God’s creation.

    But do the Churches still have influence with the voters on the mainland ? Glasgow used to be a prime example of tribal political (and football) following based on religuous belief, with Catholics voting Labour and Protestants Tory – a similar situation also existed in Liverpool.

    I believe one factor which may have damaged Labour in the 2007 SP elections is that they had managed to upset the Cardinal. Could a similar fate befall them again ? I doubt the church is bothered much by by-elections, but at a general election, if there are sermons on the inquities of “modern” morality, will this not have some affect ?

    One factor that could spark such an attitude from teh churches in general could well be the Chilcot enquiry if it makes increasingly clear that the country was taken into an unjust war on the basis of deceit.

  12. ‘John,
    I know that Christian values still have traction in the Hebrides – this is often the case in remoter / harsher environments where one is daily brought face to face with God’s creation.’

    Having recently come back from another Western Isles holiday I like the word ‘traction’; yes, the fundamentalists are still there but I enjoyed using the Sunday Ferry with many other people. The first Sunday Ferry I note was greeted by a handful of protesters against the Sunday sailing but a lot more was there to greet it. It’s a battle up there but slowly civilisation is creeping in (even had nice meal with alcohol at Leverburgh on a Sunday…)

    I an bound to say that after drinking in the very considerable cultural differences between Saxon, Celt, Pict, Northern Irish Scot, Viking, Jute and Dane, the need for further social experimentation seems to be unwarranted.

  14. OldNat

    Or a Unitarian atheist

    Paul H-J

    Religious influence is even more regional than the LibDems. There are three significant groups and otherwise religion is not important in society or politics.

    That does not mean that the churches are not influential when they articulate the values of society, and their contribution to the Constitutional Convention was significant and hugely important.

    Firstly, there is the tribalism of the working class Catholic/Labour or Protestant/Tory division you mention. This is disappearing like snow and a few concentrated areas remain in the West in places like Glasgow North and in Lanarkshire. It has more to do with local/family tradition and football than paying attention to what religious leaders have to say.

    Fifty years ago when you applied for a job – not only your first job – you would be asked in most companies “What School did you go to?” If you went to the wrong kind of school you wouldn’t get the job.

    That still happens, but it isn’t as common as it was. The debate now is that we will have to have Islamic schools if we retain Catholic schools, and whether or not the division encourages football viiolence. The Catholic schools are not as English denominational schools are, they are within the state system.

    The issue of “Choice” as in England could hardly be less relevant to Scottish demography, geography, religion, and educational practice.

    A petition from an 11 year old who attends a Roman Catholic school is currently being processed by the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee. It seems that the school’s religious education is narrower than it should be. I doubt if any legisative change is necessary, but the inspectors may send the headmaster to the naughty corner.

    The second group is some 15000 members of small Sabbatarian presbyterian denominations in four or five constituencies in the Western highlands and Islands. The Reformation didn’t reach the Uists and Barra, and The Enlightenment didn’t reach the highlands and islands.

    Thanks to the Irish experience, religious leaders on both sides are determined that there shall be no inter-community conflict. The other lot are going to suffer in the next world, so there is no need to make them suffer in this.

    My home in Stornoway was built C1920 as the first RC church there but never consecrated. It was set on fire at the altar and not by teenage vandals but by leaders of the community. The replacement was a wooden hall without road frontage till about 30 years ago.

    At some point in the last two decades, those who are opposed to sabbatarianism have realised that they are in the majority and have “come out” Support for the traditionalists is fading and they are less and less shown respect. The Sunday ferries issue in Lewis signals the defeat of the traditionalists and they know it.

    The Lewisman still thinks he should be entitled to apply for a job anywhere in the world, but only locals should get better paid jobs in the Islands. It isn’t racial.

    There is no political significance. Some years ago the Western Isles Conservatives opportunistically selected a Christian fundamentalist candidate from outside the area who had bizarre views on a number of issues. After the intervention of a senior party official he was deselected and stood as an independent garnering only a handful of votes.

    The third and last group is where religion and values do matter in politics.

    The respectable, comfortably off, probably elderly burgess in Edinburgh or Glasgow used to be solidly Conservative. Driven by a sense of duty to make a contriution to society, all of them participated in charitable, Church of Scotland or local Conservative party activities and they were guaranteed to vote. These were not fundamentalist free marketeers, still less UKIP English nationalists, but one-nation Conservatives. In a two party class based system, they clearly didn’t fit in to the Labour Party pre-NewLabour.

    For these people, Thatcherite selfishness and greed was not just repellent and unchristian. It was worse than that, it was in bad taste.

    I knew one elderly widower for whom the unlooked for benefit of the polltax, contrasted with the effect on his houekeeper’s household, brought to an end a lifetime political loyalty. The thought that his vote could be bought was offensive.

    This group are dying off, but there are more of them left than vote Conservative. The LibDems get there share in Argyll and Edinburgh, Labour in Milngavie and Bearsden and Kelvinside. North of the central belt the SNP will pick up what the LibDems don’t. If the Cons could attract these non-doctrinaire former supporters they could double their vote perhaps, but FPTP would see to it that the electoral benefit was much less.

  15. King Harold

    That’ll be Gin, Whisky, Whiskey and Vodka, then?

  16. John,

    Well this Catholic Unionist has visited the chapel in Barra, but not that in Lewis, as well as many others in Scotland (not to mention large chunks of the globe). I recall a lovely church in Campbelltown – your neck of the woods I believe ?

    It seems that the Patrician wing of the party in Scotland were more affronted by the arrivistes of the 1980s than their counterparts in England, notwitstanding Scotland producing some af Mrs Thatcher’s most ardent acolytes. But from my experience, the Scottish aristocracy were always “wetter”, hence the number of noble-born Lab and LD MPs / candidates – unheard of in England. My family were shocked when a friend’s neighbour stood for Labour in Berwickshire – and that was when Heath was still leader.

    One factor you may not have taken into account is that – despite the failure of the Tory Toffs campaign in Crewe – Cameron represents an Etonian recapture of the Tory party from the bourgeois. The true significance of this is in the emphasis on social values rather than pure monetary measures. These are old Tory values, but many people whose memories do not go beyond the 1980s may never have associated them with the Conservative party.

    This may explain elements of the Tory resurgence north of the border. I don’t expect an earthquake, but there are signs that the type of folk whom you depict as having drifted to LDs in particular may well be coming home.

  17. Paul H-J

    I can’t say I have seen any sign of the Tory returnees yet, and as these people are cautious by nature (you could describe them as conservative) I wouldn’t expect to until they saw a Conservative government in action and liked what they saw.

    That is certainly something we should watch out for.

    There is a role in Scotland for a party of the right, where the opportunity for parties other than the largest one to influence – or even particpate in – government, is significant whereas at Westminster it hardly exists at all.

    Bavarianisation and rebranding would be a solution, as would would independence. The factors you mention also need to be recognised and much depends how the competition is positioned in the market.

    The SNP are the inheritors of the pragmatic non-doctrinaire Butskillism of the time when we had Health Ministers like that radical leftie Enoch Powell, and a Deputy PM such as Denis Healey, CND opponent ready to press the nuclear button. That niche was vacant, and sooner or later some party was bound to fill it.

    Large parties hold together wide coalitions. Small ones don’t get elected to government. Sadly, party discipline is seen as a virility test for leaders in the Westminster culture. TB thought he could take any client’s brief, (from Formula 1 to Iraq) and present it in a way which would persuade his own party and the nation to find in favour of his client.

    DC has castigated GB for being “not in control of his party.” Does that mean that If I vote for a Conservative MP someone else is “in control” of his actions, and the same would be true of Labour if GB could only get his act together?

    If so, why bother voting.

  18. ‘@PAUL HJ
    I come from the lower middle class southern English Tory background which cherished Thatcher. I must confess I do believe the lady had her place in history at that particular time.
    However, the spiv and estate agent class which became strong within the Tories has done the party no favors at all. Tory leaders from very patrician and wealthy backgrounds have frequently been the best PMs in the One Nation tradition. One does look to Cameron and Bullingdon buddies to restore this.
    I cannot abide inverted snobbery from these lefties who bang on about Eton but make nothing of Fettes or Loretto, probably because they have never heard of them. Anyway, it would be a real pleasure to see some support come back north of the border.

    Andrew Grice has just blogged COM RES poll in tomorrows Indy give Conservative 16 point lead. No other figures.
    This on top of Angus Reid does not leave Ipsos Mori with egg on its face, more like an omlette I think.

    Sorry Anthony I should have cheched the date its about 3 months out of date. Its me with the eggy face.

  21. “I cannot abide inverted snobbery from these lefties who bang on about Eton but make nothing of Fettes or Loretto, probably because they have never heard of them. Anyway, it would be a real pleasure to see some support come back north of the border.”

    I like to bang on about how both types of school are bad. Is that OK?

  22. No it is not. Parents have the right to spend their own money on their childs education and future.
    If on the other hand they critisise private education and yet send their own kids to such a school, they are hypocrits of the worse kind. A number of Labour MPs fit into this category.
    Does this answer your question?

    Just in case you are in any doubt, I mention the 2 excellent Scottish schools because Blair and Darling (amoung other Labour “toffs”) attended them. How different is this in terms of privilege to Eton?

  24. King Harold

    The “spiv and estate agent” tendency is certainly what wiped out the Scottish Tories. They respected the values I mentioned further up this page and also a sense of duty to serve the community. They were slow to accept change, but on many issues were ahead of their English counterparts for all that.

    That Harold Macmillan and patricians of his era could keep them happy and thole the Primrose League and the Monday Club at the same time is a much underrated political achievement, and they also, not so long ago, garnerd the majority of the popular vote, the only party ever to do so in any part of the UK.

    TB didn’t ever do that and nor did MT for all their large majorities did they? How come succesive Conservative leaders let it happen?

  25. @JOHN B DICK
    I think the reason for the Tory slide to Jeffrey Archer ect was simply the grammar school kid on the make. I should be careful here as I am one of them, however never a Tory politician.
    The reason I stated my own background to Paul was to make it clear that I am not the Winchester educated son of an Admiral or some such. This class thing which seems to afflict Labourites so much shows me that being able but from a humble background does not guarentee a good politician, or indeed a decent human being. Further, being able from a privileged background does not guarentee a “wrong un” either.
    Supermac, being the prime example.

  26. @John,

    There we go with the “wiped out” Tories thing again. The Tories are significantly down on where they were in Scotland 30 years ago, but they are by no means “wiped out” on 15-20% vote share, any more than Labour would be “almost wiped out” on 20-25% vote share in England. FPTP exaggerates the difficulty of the Scottish Tory position but they are the third largest party in Scotland.

    I can’t claim any special insight but I suspect the animosity many Scots felt/feel towards Thatcher had everything to do with her policy toward loss-making state owned industry. Parts of Scotland had “more than average” amounts of such industry and the pain they felt, although no different to the pain felt everywhere from Bristol to Swansea to Wigan to Tyneside, was portrayed as some sort of deliberate wound inflicted on Scotland by some malicious English Tory cabal.

  27. King Harold,

    Your comment about Fettes and Loretto was proved most deliciously right by Jack Cornish – “I like to bang on about how both types of school are bad. ”

    Either he meant both English and Scottish public schools are bad, or more probably, he demonstrated the gaping hypocrisy at the heart of New Labour – for example you did not mention Westminster or St Pauls, whose alumni sit on the front benches of all three parties.

    From experience, one of the key distinctions between a good grammar school and a great public school (and by no means all private schools fit either category) is that the latter focus on producing pupils with all-round abilities and character – in particular self-assurance and true leadership – rather than blind adherence to academic league tables.

    You do not need to be fantastically clever to be a great leader. But you do need to have a much broader understanding of how the world works and the limitations of one’s own abilities.

    We ensure our children see all sides of life, from grim estates to grand estates, so that they can appreciate not just how fortunate they are, but also that they have a responsibility to use their position properly. That after all is what noblesse oblige always meant.

    As to inverted snobbery – I have an anecdote from my youth in which I first encountered this malign facet of the English class system. I had uttered but two words, yes and no, to my TA sergeant, and the whole platoon were told they had a Toff joining them.

  28. King Harold,

    I should point out that I am neither rich nor titled, but my father, who was a grammar school boy, firmly believed that the best inheritance he could give us was a proper education.

    Personally, I don’t blame the grammar school PMs for our country’s decline. It has far more to do with individualism and the atomisation of society. That began in the 60s. That it apparently had its heyday under Mrs Thatcher in the 1980s has more to do with generational changes than “Thatcherism”. Many forget the direction this country was heading when she first put a brake on the ratchet effect of socialism.

  29. Strange, but I never realised quite how strongly felt class divisions were on the right of politics – grammar vs public, ‘spivs and estate agents’, ‘lower middle class’, ‘sons of admirals’….when does it all stop? Personally, I have absolutely no idea what class I am, nor do I care.

    As we’re on the 130th post on a dying thread, I thought I would flag up this interesting quote from yesterday by Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and head of the Conservative councils’ innovation unit.

    ‘My mates are all in the shadow Cabinet, waiting to get those [ministerial] boxes, being terribly excited. I went to university with them, they haven’t run a piss-up in a brewery,’ he said. ‘They’re going to get a department of state, in one case running the finances of the nation.’

    Apparently he is unimpressed by the quality of our likely next government.

  30. Neil A

    The scenario you describe is a comforting myth believed only by English Tories. Few of those who lost their heavy industry employment (far from all of it nationalised) and found it difficult or impossible to get other work had voted Conservative at least in the immediately pre-Thatcher decades.

    If it was a such a good idea to put all these people out of work, how is it that the Thatcher government didn’t manage to fix them with alternative employment? Did they try and fail because they wern’t as smart as they thought they were, or because their theories didn’t fit the real world? Either way, they failed.

    The developments described by King Harold were what caused the decline of support and membership of the Conservative Party in Scotland.

    Cons may be the third party in Scotland, but have you seen what FPTP did to them last time? I’ve never heard the LbDems say “Oh well, things aren’t so bad, we are the third party in England/UK”

    To go from being the usual party of government and the only party to get more than half of the vote to being less popular than the rebranded DDR Commuunists needs some explanation.

    Did nobody in the higher levels of the party notice because they were focused on England? If that is so, how well informed was their management of the Scottish economy and other issues? Is that why the SNP have grown from 2% (as was quoted here) to be on the brink of the FPTP breakthrough in the election after next?

    Have lessons been learned? So what initiatives are planned to reverse the decline? I’ve explained how it can easily be sorted.

    This is a management issue, not a political issue. The fact that the politics is crap is no excuse for not being elected. Lots of elected governments are crap aren’t they?

    PaulH-J/King Harold

    Schools are a totemic issue in the Westminster playground and a world away from Scottish schools outside big conurbations which were of necessity comprehensive in both ability and social class centuries before the term was invented. In the real world the only predictor of academic success is the level of parental education.

    I’d better declare that I was at a Private School (in England that would be called a Public School) and in my year and the year above four boys who would become MPs in different parties, two murderers, a spy, …

  31. They aren’t really the third party in Scotland though, at least, not at Westminster elections. The Conservatives are the fourth party in term of support there.

  32. Anthony Wells

    “The Conservatives are the fourth party in term of support there.”

    Not according to the latest YouGov poll – Con 18% LD 12%.

  33. “I have absolutely no idea what class I am, nor do I care. ”

    Alec, that means you, whatever class you are, are not of the Ruling Class. You are precisely where The Ruling Class would want and expect you to be.

    The Ruling Class is not necessarily, and hasn’t nessarily been Conservative, or elected by the people.But it has largely been educated in the private sector, ironically known as “public” schools.

    I myself am a product of such an education (though with the benefit of a direct grant-funded scholarship, free travel and meals etc)

    What irritates me is that lessons in communication skills and leadership tools are eminently learnable. I mean, if a twelve year old can learn it… (and that’s when those lessons start in the private sector, if not before)

    Hope that passes the Comments policy test – even at post number 13something

  34. Telegraph poll, national figures:

    Tories 39 per cent, Labour on 29 and the Lib Dems on 19.

    it is spun as a great poll for Conservatives, showing better support in marginals, but national lead is down 4% on last You Gov survey.

  35. And apparently great news that Labour’s lead is down to 2 points among the “working class”, voters who presumably know their place well enough to self-identify. Or is there some way of grouping people objectively in the “working class” by asking pertinent questions (such as what sort of school did you attend, how well off were mummy and daddy, are you good with your hands, how much do you earn, etc)

    Perhaps Alec could familiarise himself with the questions so that he can oblige the Telegraph by identifying where he thinks he should belong.

  36. John TT,

    “.. communication skills and leadership tools are eminently learnable. I mean, if a twelve year old can learn it…”

    I believe the Jesuits used to ask for the child at 7 in order to shape them.

    Actually, it’s all about self-belief. Like languages, if it is not taught at a young age, it becomes an increasingly harder skill to acquire in later life.

    While parents are inherently important to the process, it is true that if you put a child of whatever background into a good public school early enough, it will be difficult to tell them apart at 18.

    The sad reality is that most (but not all) state secondary schools do not even try to address these skills, while certain educational philosophies prevalent among state primary schools positively discourage it – because it does require pitting children against each other to find those innate skills.

    And, with the best will in the world, not everybody is cut out to be a leader – just as not everyone has a flair for art or music or science.

  37. Paul – I’m sure we could have a long and interesting conversation on the subject of how leadership, confidence can be learned.

    Sure, it’s easier for a young brain to take it in. If the first thing you hear at the age of 11 is that you are part of an elite, then self-belief/confidence will grow much better than if you are told that you are the same as everyone else and have no divine right toi think well of yourself.

    There are state schools whose ethos allows kids to grow, whose sense of competition feeds leadership learning. They are few and far between and distort the housing market!

    My view is that any-one at any age can learn the very simple techniques that can level the playing field a bit.

  38. John

    Everyone has a “divine” right to think well of themselves. That is one of the central messages of Christianity !

    My dig at educationalists is at those who breed defeatism by telling those from poorer backgrounds that they are victims of the system and should have no hope.

    But we are a long way from Scottish polls – the only even tenuous link I can find to bring us back on track is that for nearly twenty years Tories in Scotland have been taught to believe that they are hated and should not entertain hope of electoral success. Recovering from a generation of defeatism requires a level of character and self-belief which cannot be learned overnight, so it will perforce take time for the party to rebuild its position. But the first steps have been taken, and I am sure that an important further step will be taken at next GE. Even 3 MPs is distinctly more successful than just 1.

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