Ipsos MORI have a new survey for the Economist, exploring attitudes to several areas of the new government’s programme.

On nuclear power stations, 59% supported the building of new nuclear power plants to replace those at the end of their useful lives. This was a question that MORI had asked regularly in the past, and was the highest level of support for new nuclear power stations they’ve found so far – the first time over 50% of people supported it. The national citizen’s service programme also met with support. 82% supported a voluntary programme, 80% a compulsory programme (MORI used a split sample to compare attitudes towards whether it should be voluntary or compulsory, but given the sample size the difference is not significant). A majority (60%) also supported the idea that people who refuse a job offer should not be allowed benefits.

MORI also asked about a series of possible ways of saving money. The most popular was ending tax credits for those earning over £50,000 a year, which was supported by 68% – not a hugely surprising finding, taxes (or cuts) that only affect people richer than the respondent are eternally popular. 55% supported the idea of getting voluntary sector organisation to run more training programmes, and 50% supported outsourcing them to the private sector. Much less popular was raising the state pension age (opposed by 60%) or increasing tuition fees (opposed by 62%). On Child Trust Funds, 28% thought they should be abolished altogether, 42% that they should be restricted to only the poorest families.

Perhaps most interesting though were attitudes towards the “big society”. For the actual phrase “Big Society”, 42% of people said they heard about it, but of that 42% only 31% said they knew a great deal or fair amount about it. A third said they’d heard about it, but knew nothing about it. Questions about the thinking behind it revealed divided feelings, 64% of respondents agreed with the statement that the government had tried to do too much, and people should take more responsibility for themselves. However, they also feared that the government may end up doing too little – 50% agreed with the statement that “I am worried that government and public services will do too little to help people in the years ahead”.

People were also less than happy with some of the inevitable consequences of devolving more power to local communities. Asked if NHS services should be same everywhere in Britain, 81% agreed with only 18% thinking people should be able to decide themselves how they are delivered in local areas. This is a paradox we often see in polls on devolving powers locally – ask people if they want more power devolved to local areas, they say yes. Ask if they want the services to be different in different areas – the natural conesquence of this – they say no. It isn’t just because of the unique importance of the NHS either. MORI asked the same question about recycling, and 70% still thought it should be the same everywhere in Britain, with only 29% saying people should be able to decide how it is delivered in their local areas.

MORI also asked directly how many people would like more involvement in how their local schools and hospitals are run. Only between 9-13% said they were actively involved or would like to be, with between 12% and 22% saying they would like more of a say. This seems small, but it’s worth remembering that the concept doesn’t actually need everyone to be a school governor, etc, they just need enough people to get involved to make a difference. The question isn’t whether everyone wants the hassle of involving themselves in decisions over local public servivces – it’s whether they are happy or not for those decisions to end up in the hands of other local people, organisations or businesses rather than Whitehall and Westminster.


897 Responses to “Ipsos MORI on the Big Society”

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  1. EOIN

    “HArdly a good choice to flagship a 40% tax of second homes when he avoided his allbeit technically correctly so.”

    If he evaded paying CGT he deserves to be criticised-like any other MP.

    If he has no liability to CGT because he used the HMRC reliefs available-he is in the same position as any other citizen.

  2. At 9.31 am yesterday I posted: “Danny Alexander – I fear for him. I doubt that he has the ability to handle the media when pressed on the cuts that he will be recommending.”

    From what I’ve heard and read he’s done nothing wrong…so far. I feel sorry for him.

  3. One other thing…sexual orientation is a trait that all people possess just like race, gender, and ethnicity. It is not some sort of lifestyle choice.

  4. Alexander did not act illegally.

    The two problems seem to be: “Telegraph said Mr Alexander designated the property in south London as his second home for the purpose of claiming parliamentary expenses but described it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as his main home.”

    But the only reason it really matters at all is :

    In the first televised leaders’ debate, Mr Clegg said: “There are MPs who flipped one property to the next, buying property, paid by you, the taxpayer, and then they would do the properties up, paid for by you, and pocket the difference in personal profit. No LibDem did that by the way’’

  5. Well Danny has done nothing wrong technically. But it doesn’t look good at all for the following reason.

    He claimed his London Home as his 2nd home in order to be able to claim expenses from Parliament, but then listed it as his primary home when he decided to sell it to avoid paying CGT. This is pure tax avoidance, and not tax evasion. The latter is illegal, the former is reprehensible.

    If he was a common man then no harm done, but it does tend to undercut one’s authority in forcing through austerity measure and regulation against abuse of legal loopholes, when you are the beneficiary of the same abuses. Its the fact that he is at the Treasury that makes it an issue. If he was still the Scottish Secretary there would also not have been much of an issue.

    How can you look anyone straight in the face and tell them that CGT needs to go up especially on 2nd homes, even if this was party of your retirement scheme, (which is a major LibDem policy btw) when you yourself did everything to avoid paying even the reduced rate?

    This complicated life for the coalition especially considering that there where many other candidates for the post. Those left out will now have a reason to justify their grief, making infighting more probable, then simply possible. It definitely shows a deep lack of political maturity and know-how, especially with regards the Dems.

    Any bets on Danny being moved around within the next months? (If this happens, it would not exude much confidence to the markets seeing as this post would have been thus far the deadliest post in the cabinet)

  6. What is also worrisome for the coalition is that they are spending precious political capital on such matters. The public’s general good will is lost a little every time such scandal is exposed. Even more is lost per resignation. The fact that the Coalition is not starting at such a high point as is general to new governments, and having to spend some of that already smaller capital on these issues, means that they will have much less capital to bank on when trying to push through controversial but necessary reform.

    To understand better, simply look to Obama, who one could have argued had a limitless fountain of political capital and legitimacy to be transformative, yet is already looking spent after one fight (astronomical though the Health Care bill was). His early debacles in attempting to appoint people who had not been entirely forthcoming with the tax man, made his later battles much harder. (Not the best analogy I agree, but shows you how precious a political commodity general public goodwill is).

  7. Colin/Sue,

    As I say technically he has done nothing wrong. it is not a resigning matter that is for sure. But since he is not going to be as competent as Laws the amount of authority invested in him must be weakened as a result. the LDs are quite rudderless. Clegg strikes me as a De Valera type character- he really is unwilling to accept a portfolio with consequences.

    Sue’s point about Clegg’s holier than thou pronouncements regarding flipping during the campaign and his statements about CGT ring quite hollow now.

    All in all GO and DC as a brand are strengthened.

    @Social Liberal-

    I am going to make breakfast for my bambino- I will reply in a bit :)

  8. Perhaps the revelations about DA’s CGT avoidance could help the argument that CGT be extensively overhauled e.g. to make profits on main home sales liable?

  9. Could be Mike N but Danny would hardly be the best mover of such an argument don’t you think?

  10. Social Liberal,

    If you google my name with “why gender”, you will find an extended piece I wrote some years ago on gender and essentially why it has no place in politicking.

    It is very convoluted, for that I apoligise but the theories contained therein are eminently applicable.

  11. Xiby, yes I take your point. So, does this mean that the revelations make it more difficult for DA to make any proposals on CGT?

    If so, has the Torygraph achieved another ‘success’?

  12. SOCIAL LIBERAL

    ” One’s sexual orientation is a defining characteristic and trait that is integral to personhood and identity. For that reason I can’t fully agree that sexual orientation is only a private matter.”

    My God.

    No wonder Laws “aim was to reclaim Liberalism from one strand of it’s philosophy, social liberalism, which eclipsed all others and made Lib Dem instincts overly left -wing: less Asquith , more Gladstone”

    ( THe Times today)

    If your post describes what “Social Liberalism” means Social Liberal, I can understand David Laws’ purpose.

    I can hardly believe what you have written Social Liberal-and have read & re read it .

  13. Mike N I would tend to agree with your last statement.

  14. Colin,

    Yes- I was speechless. An Oxymoron or a sick joke I was not sure

  15. @ XIBY

    “How can you look anyone straight in the face and tell them that CGT needs to go up especially on 2nd homes, even if this was party of your retirement scheme, (which is a major LibDem policy btw) when you yourself did everything to avoid paying even the reduced rate?”

    In principle this is correct-with two caveats :-

    a) You do not yet know what CGT changes will be proposed. If tapering relief & other measures alleviate med/long term asset holding for investment, then one can hardly imagine a hue & cry .
    b) DA should be able to look a number of Labour ministers in the face-included that flipper extraordinaire-the Shadow Chancellor.

  16. I must say that DA seems to have done no more than many others. It`s just something of a shame that Clegg and most L.D.s were very puritanical about expenses all through the last parliament and during the general election. I doubt whether the coalition is in any real trouble…in the short term, but it is surely difficult for a minister to advocate that everyone else pays higher C.G.T on their second homes when the minister didn`t pay anything at all. It took a wee while for the expenses scandal to really hit the Labour government. I wonder how long the coalition can continue with this drip drip news especially if it occurs within one party only.
    How ironic that it was the U.K`s best known right wing paper which probably denied Cameron an overall majority !
    Whilst I had hoped that Cameron would be a breath of fresh air I am saddened to see that , perhaps despite Cameron`s own efforts, his government is already looking much like the last one.
    Finally, does anyone have a view on the fact that UKIP said that if Cameron promised an E.U referendum ( L.D. policy by the way ) they would stand down. The failure to reach an agreement probably cost Cameron his overall majority.
    Whilst Cameron had an enormous mountain to climb he was seen as far ahead not so long ago and he seems to have grasped defeat from the jaws of victory and then gone on to try to share the problems of the next few years with a party with no more integrity than his own. Sometimes one might wish not to be British !

  17. @ Pete B – I know we’re all supposed to consider homosexuality as just a normal lifestyle choice these days, but does anyone else think that they are over-represented in Parliament compared to the proportion in the population as a whole?

    As mentioned, statistically probably not but since they’re not telling, who knows. I recall hearing that entrepreneurs and generally people who go out and get things done tend to have some traumatic experience in their background. Presumably motivates them. Self mad millionaires are disproportionately orphans. Might also explain gays choosing to get into politics despite the obstacles.

  18. But really, we all agree broadly that Laws was “a bit silly” but almost certainly had no criminal intent.
    DA has “Done nothing illegal” though may look a bit shame-faced.

    How long are we going to let the [Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, Sun, Sky News, ITV, etc – AW] run these agendas?
    The [Telegraph] et all did their best to decide the outcome of the election, now they are doing their best to discredit all the prominent Libs in the coalition.
    I’m sure there are Tories and Labour politicians with similar technicalities in their closets, but the [Telegraph] decide when to release these things for maximum political gain.

    I know many blues loved every minute of this when it was Labour, but surely this must make you question whether the stories that outraged you so, were actually any better or worse than these and just how comfortable you are with our media trying to control our agenda so completely. Someone pointed out that there was not even one question or comment on the NHS in any of the three debates. The things Labour did well were totally swamped by the mistakes magnified 100 times by the media.

    Surely this has to stop? When can a government possibly find time to govern when they spend all their time dealing with the latest media storm in a teacup?

    [Call them by their proper names – it’s really not conducive to grown up conversation to call newspapers names, even if some thoroughly deserve much worse ones – AW]

  19. Sue,

    good post- i agree.

  20. (Oh ITV by the way, Intensely Troubling Viewing)

  21. Am I being just a little too conspiratorial, maybe even cynical, here when I pose this question. Do you think, following these revelations about first Laws and now Alexcander, that the faintest little glimmer of a smile isn’t starting to play on the faces of David Cameron, George Osbourne, Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton? If you were a tribal Tory, which these individuals all are down to their very bootstraps, and using the Govian vernacular, what’s not to like about this in terms of long term political strategy? The holier-than-thouests, and your unwanted coalition partners, slowly rotating on a roasting media spit. Why, I can see the green uplands of an ouright Tory majority (the promised land of 90% of the media, by the way) looming pleasantly on that glorious political horizon.

    Mr Clegg et al, my message is this. Prepare to be ditched, maybe not now, but some time fairly soon, at a time of your master’s choosing. I think you’ve been a silly boy deciding to ride on the back of this particular tiger! A Tory party, hungry for outright power, with a rampant media force in their sales, is a very, very dangerous beast.

  22. @Danny
    @ Pete B – I know we’re all supposed to consider homosexuality as just a normal lifestyle choice these days, but does anyone else think that they are over-represented in Parliament compared to the proportion in the population as a whole?

    Well Robert Mugabe does

  23. Taking AW’s point, the ITV Debate was the best run one by Alistair ????. We call ITV Tabloid TV in this house but the above was a welcome exception.

    No it had nothing to do with NC coming over well (I thought his performance was trite, so what do I know).

  24. Nick hadley,

    I can think of a hundred adjectives to describe DC and SH but none of those adjective come remotely close to ‘tribal’. Time to think again.

  25. @Xiby – “How can you look anyone straight in the face and tell them that CGT needs to go up especially on 2nd homes, even if this was party of your retirement scheme, (which is a major LibDem policy btw) when you yourself did everything to avoid paying even the reduced rate?”

    I don’t particularly like DA , but I I think you are wrong on this case. The rules are quite clear, in that if the second home was your main home for any time in the three years preceding the sale, even if it became a second home at some point in that period, no CGT is due. This rule is there precisely to protect people like DA who get a new job (he was elected in 2005) that requires a new home but where rearranging domestic arrangements may take some time. The implication of this story is that MPs should pay more tax than legally required just to keep the press happy.

    Yesterday I showed little sympathy for Laws. Today with Alexander I am prepared to say he has done absolutely nothing wrong, has suffered no loss of credibility, and I now think it’s clear the Telegraph has its own agenda. This piece of journalism is a shoddy and weak attempt to manufacture a story. It does the Telegraph’s reputation no favours at all.

  26. NH asked the question so my answer is no, demonstrably. I think we should realise that the job of newspaper editors is to sell newspapers. They know that their readership likes scandal stories about ‘the sandal wearers’ and would probably appreciate a few about conciliatory politicians in the coalition like DC and OL. We’ll get them if they’ve got anything on them.

  27. @ Nick Hadley

    Smiles may be forming on some Tory faces, but not I think the ones you mention. Cameron and his supporters probably still need the Lib Dems more than they need the Tories.

    There is a substantial minority on the Conservative benches who believe that Cameron and co are are not true to the Tory cause. If only the Party was to go for a tax-cutting, socially conservative agenda, it would be become immensely popular and march onwards to the blue-lit uplands.

    In this they have the support of most of the Press: some explicitly like the Telegraph; some in a more nudging fashion such as the Times.

    Of course a Conservative party with such a policy programme would have no more success than Hague did in 2001, when the appeal to Essex Man led to the Tories gaining three seats in Essex – and nothing else. Despite all the favourable circumstances, the Conservatives could only get to 38% this month – and it wasn’t because they weren’t right wing enough.

    This however isn’t going to stop the right wing’s friends in the Press trying to destroy the coalition and then ditch the Cameron leadership. But they have to act fast before the various constitutional measures become law.

    (Reposted because held in moderation due to inflammatory word and if AW isn’t out in the sun ignoring all this, he should be)

  28. @Eoin Clarke

    “I can think of a hundred adjectives to describe DC and SH but none of those adjective come remotely close to ‘tribal’. Time to think again.”

    You may be right, but I’d be wary about ascribing too much nobility to Mr Cameron’s motivations and behaviour just yet. He’s where he is politically not by choice but by circumstance and is behaving accordingly. His retrospective justifications for the coalition are just that; retrospective arguments for something, in his heart, he would never had countenanced had the electoral arithmetic played differently. His stance is born of expediency, addressing the current political reality. That’s very different from actually believing in it. That goes for most of his colleagues too and, unless I’ve totally misread him and misconstrued his political past, Mr Cameron strikes be as a Tory Part y man to his very core. Born, bred and brought up in it. Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong with that, and he may sit somewhat centre left on the Tory political spectrum, but what makes you think his instincts aren’t primarily tribal and that he isn’t yearning for this tribe/party to eventually prevail?

    He’s a pragmatist, I agree, but you can be both pragmatic and tribal in politics as Harold Wilson once taught us all those long years ago.

  29. @Nick H,

    Yes that is a fair point. :)
    ___________________________________
    My reading from Cameron derives from having been proving entirely wrong about him. I never bought his hug a hoody speech his hug a huskie stunt his protect a prostitute speeches or his dry out a druggie ovetures.

    Three weeks in, all the signs are that he believea and intends to implement all of this.

    _______________________

    I beleived his cast iron guarantees on Europe. I listen intently to his 2006-7 criticisms of CTC & WTC with dread. I watched his volte face on Committing to Labour’s spending committments. But it seems that he is willing to pause on Europe rather than reverse. It seems he now accpets emans testing (phew) and he is by an large accepting that state has a part to play in alelviating health and educational inequalities as well as poverty.
    ____________________________________

    With the exception of his power consolidation, which frankly has more relevance in the 1930s, I am wiling to give DC the benefit of the doubt.
    _____________________________________
    If the man is not given a fair chance then how can he be expected to govern?

  30. Hague’s first foreign policy statement is quite a clue as to how the UK intend to progress. It is somewhat out of step with the rest of the International statements so far (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Belguim for example)

    France and US’s responses will provide a big clue as to where the UK lines up.

    With UK citizens on board it was very brave of him not to condemn. OF course Liam Fox is one of the foremost pro-Israeli figures in UK politics.

  31. @Alec
    It has nothing to do with “doing something wrong”. Politicians, unfortunately are held at a higher standard, as if they are demi-gods which they are not. But DA cannot claim legitimacy in that argument anymore, hence his problem. His image and narrative is tarnished by it and makes his position over this issue untenable. As I said, its the fact that he is in the Treasury that is the issue not that he is the cabinet at all. His hand has been weaken – political capital spent – and therefore he can’t reach the ambitious targets set.

    The irony that all of this is a consequence of their own political posturing for the last few years. Exactly the same as the Obama effect on the Democratic congress.

    @Eoin

    Agreed re Cameron given a chance to govern. But he must decide to abandon the love-fest and trying to be liked. He is a PM and as such by job description is to be hated yet trusted with the countries administration. He is the leader so has to lead. He has to abandon the populism of opposition and get down to the nasty business of governing. He too is suffering the political climate he created. He didn’t set the standards too high, he simply set the wrong standard for government., like the banal public transport for Ministers. This is token politics, which in reality causes more harm then good. I don’t want my ministers close, but I want them to deliver. Taking their jag does not help with the latter.

  32. Been thinking about this expenses issue. I dont see the problem over expenses ever going away. I see only one solution, which is to abolish all personal expenses for MPs. It wouldnt cost the taxpayer anything to simply pay them the average they are claiming now. If they want to have additional money for those living a certain distance from westminster, thats fine, just so long as it is a simple flat rate for an MP which does not involve any claiming. Obviously none of them is keen to publicly up their basic salary 20K or whatever even though it is what they are already getting, but now seems as good a time as any to finally kill this expenses problem which is undermining parliament and will just go on and on. So pollsters, good time, how best to present it, will they do it?

    And once again to those arguing Laws is being unfairly treated, maybe the BBC is biased, but the vox pops are all on his side.

  33. Maybe I am the only one to think this, but I never had a problem whatsoever with the expenses issue. Taking them away now as an answer to this truly non-issue will be a great blow to democracy. We’ll end up with only millionaire MPs – imagine such a parliament attempting to understand our mere mortal concerns.

  34. @Alec

    Btw the wrong doing was in the false claims. He claimed his London flat as a 2nd home in order to get the parliament benefits, but described it as his primary home in regards to CGT. Tax avoidance par excellence.

    He either had to pay CGT or he was not to receive the parliamentary benefits, but not enjoy both. This is like the Dems wanting to be in government but still receive the funding for opposition parties. Hypocrisy anyone?

  35. @Xiby – can’t disagree more on DA. Quite simply, he followed the letter and the spirit of the law. There is just no case to answer, unless you believe MPs should pay tax at different rates to everyone else?

    Why aren’t you getting upset that some MPs used their personal allowance ‘to avoid paying income tax’ like they are permitted to do? It’s exactly the same thing. He didn’t flip – he just moved into his constituency after he got elected – a good thing in my book. There was no tax liable, and all we ask of our politicians is that they stick by the rules, as he did.

    I’m not a supporter of this coalition, and where I see abuse I’ll say so, but this is a childish piece of journalism by a declining paper to justify it’s own campaign against CGT – the report authors explicitly state this campaign in the article itself.

    While we all need to take politicians statements with some caution, I would suggest a similar approach is applied to anything you read in the press.

  36. @ DANNY

    And once again to those arguing Laws is being unfairly treated, maybe the BBC is biased, but the vox pops are all on his side.
    —————————————————-
    It depends which ones you read.

  37. @Xiby,

    Yes the issue is a red herring. The committee costs more than the entire expenses. My sister earn’s more than the PM that just is not right.

  38. @Xiby – “but described it as his primary home in regards to CGT. Tax avoidance par excellence.”

    At the time there was a regulation that stated if the property had been your main residence during the three years prior to sale it would quailify for complete CGT exemption. He will have described it to HMRC as his residence on the basis of this regulation – quite fairly and quite properly.

    Had DA flipped homes during the three year period and then flipped back you could claim he was using a regulation (although quite legally) to avoid CGT. he didn’t – he simply moved after his election.

    My rule is always whether in the circumstances I would have done the same thing. With DA I am absolutely sure I would have done. With Laws, I am absolutely sure I would have realised it was fraud.

    Move along please – nothing to see here.

  39. For anyone who is interested, six irish citizens were on one of the boats in the Gaza humanitarian project. One is Mairead Corrigan a noble peace prize winner for her attempts to bring peace to NI.

  40. @xiby I dont understand. How will abolishing expenses and having salary instead keep people out of politics? The effect, if anything, ought to be the honest ones who were claiming little will now get more and those claiming the maximum they could will get less. Everyone will be able to use the money they do get in the way they think best, whether on a flash London flat, a week away with the mistress or getting the garden sorted. The whole point is to get the controversy out of it.

    @Amber. I expect it does. But the principle isnt just about Laws and how he chooses to run his life. If people want a Moat, thats fine. If they want to hire porn, thats fine. If they want to subsidise their family, thats fine too. Just give them the money and make it their choice. Didnt the election rseult give a clue that everyone is heartily sick of this stupid expenses fiasco? Expenses are fundamentally corrupting. The corruption is not just about personal honesty but also about destroying the system.

  41. Yes I am interested; I still find Israel’s typical over reaction to be evil. Land on a ship in international waters? Of course. Collectively punish the people of Gaza against international law? No problem. Sit on land conquered by violence (Israel only has right to exist inside the 1948 borders) and wonder why people try to use violence to get the Israelis to return to their legal boundaries. No worries. Pretend not to have nuclear bombs and complain when others vaguely think of having them? Obvious. Gaza is now nothing more than an open jail far worse than the homelands of the aprtheid era.

    Israel, you should be ashamed and you desperately need new policy. I’d suggest making a Palestinian middle class which wants consumer goods is a a better way. Driving people so they have less than nothing is the surest way to ensure further – and deeper hatred.

    And this is from someone who 30 years ago was s strong support of you, now I see you as the enemy…

  42. @ Alec

    As i said I never had any qualms with the expenses issue as such, so I am not particularly bothered with what DA did. Its a question of legitimacy. Since when the standard of political wrong doing was illegality? If so why did Madelson have to resign?

    Anyhow, lets agree to disagree on DA. Point still remains, that, at least in my opinion, DA has lost legitimacy over the CGT issue, making the Tory backbench lobbying against it being raise easier. If that is the case, the Gov will have to look towards a new source of revenue more palatable to the Tories ie VAT.

    So you see how DA’s appointment becomes a problem for the coalition. Hence, again, why I argue such appointment shows Clegg’s political naivety. Not to say that it further tarnishes the coalition, expending more of their scarce political capital.

    That fundamental is my argument, not the CGT issue itself. TBH i could give two hoots about it otherwise.

  43. @Xiby – I appreciate what you say and there is some truth in it – this is after all why the Telegraph ran this story. In simple terms though, I don’t see why DA should be at all politically compromised. He seems to have acted within the spirit and letter of the law. He fulfilled his duties as an MP admirably – moving into his constituency, not repeatedly flipping to reduce his tax liability. There is simply no issue here, legal or political. In your world, I just don’t know how MPs are meant to live. Presumably they have to voluntarily pay extra taxes just to give them credibility? That would be a daft world.

  44. @ Alec

    In my world it would be quite the contrary. I always found the expenses crusade despicable. Our MPs could all be given castles for all I care. All I am interested in is a strong sense of public duty, delivery of the goods promised, and leadership. As I said in a previous post, most hold politicians at a higher standard expecting them to act like demi-gods not capable of fault. I don’t subscribe to that view at all.

    However its the Cons and the Libs which have insisted on this higher standard so vehemently for the past few years, with the Libs being especially pious about the whole expenses issue. So you see, they have created the climate and are now paying the consequences.

    Moreover whether you like it or not, fact remains that no one will take kindly to a Cabinet member telling the public they have to pay higher CGT when he used the law in his favor not to pay any himself. No one likes his pocket being touched. Couple this with the anti-Whitehall vibe around the country created by the gov members themselves and egged on by some elements of the media, and you see the essence of the problem.

    Also there where others who had easily better qualifications for the job but where passed over for political reasons. This appointment can only help vent the flames of discontent within the coalition partners (the right of the tories and the left of the dems – both factions being shunned).

    For these reasons and many others, this appointment was a political mistake. Hate to insist, but it spends political capital which should have otherwise been used for other more important changes. So far, this gov has been a lot about posturing and little about policy.

    Rob S. was also making the point that these issues will come back to haunt the gov. I agree. Not as stand alone issues, but when compounded. They tire the troops defending none issues, rather then fighting the proper political battles. It distracts the cabinet. It diminishes the image of the PM and the DPM. It reduces public trust and increases discontent. etc etc etc.

  45. To sum it up, DL was a natural choice for the position, DA is not. The CGT issue accentuates this fact.

  46. @JACK
    Well with your solid Labour outlook no one would expect you to support Israel. I often wonder how come so many Jews are Labour supporters when one sees the intense Labour distaste for the Israeli state.

  47. Roland
    There are a fair number of Lab MPs critical of Israel who would say they were Jewish.

    Start with Kaufmann and go on with Milibands and so on.

  48. @HOWARD
    Of course there are, thats exactly what I mean.

  49. Howard,

    It must be a source of some fustration for yellows that you are now muzzled on these issues?

    Surely M Campbell would have gone further than to ‘deplore’ what happened

  50. Yes, indeed Roland, sorry.

    Beginning with the cliche ‘some of my friends are jewish’ I have always been surprised that some of my jewish friends (not all) will change their nation as it suits them. Some of them go all patriotic about a country they have never visited, let alone were born in!

    Come to think of it, since 1948, that probably goes for most of the inhabitants. What a mess and chiefly our forefather’s fault as I see it.

    Like other issues, one raarely sees UK opinion tested on the issue.

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