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. One of the ships was an Irish chartered vessel “the rachael corrie”. There are now 12 confirmed Irish passport holders.

    I have tried to get info on potential English casualties but thus far the foreign office is proving elusive on the detail

  2. Eoin

    That goes for Liam Fox too Eoin, as he says that any enemy of Israel is an enemy of UK. Suddenly a whole raft of dangers for us open up!!

    So he will be muzzled too. It’s part of the deal.

  3. EOIN
    Perhaps Ming The Liberal should speak to his Lady wife about what life is like when you are cut off and surrounded by deadly enemies. Lady Campbells father was Maj-Gen Roy Urquart, who commanded the British 1st Airbourne Div at Arnhem. Those para’s the flower of the British army, were for a few weeks in the same boat that Israel has been in since 1948.

  4. My |west country news gave out two from whom nothing has been heard (from Bristol).

  5. @Roland,

    Whilst I find myself reasonably well disposed to your historic anecdote, forgive me if the ‘same boat’ analogy fails to resonate. :) – Pun unintended I trust.

  6. Howard,

    I’ll run a scan on the news and see if the honourable doctor has had anything to say….

    I actually have some time for him- principled character, which you always have to respect if not agree.

  7. Howard,

    Menzies has spoken but Fox has kept strum

    (BBC) Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said only an “independent, international inquiry” would do to find out what precisely happened.

  8. @EOIN
    “Found themselves in a similar position since 1948” re-phrase.

  9. @Roland,

    A frontier settlement it is. And you know a bit about them I accept ;) You will also agree that two wrongs do not make a right :)

  10. A little tag has appeared onthis post saying it is awaiting in vestigation. Presuming its my language rather than politics, lets try a re-post.

    @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 london flat, a week away 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 the garden tidied, thats fine. If they want to hire videos, 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 expenses fsaga? Expenses are fundamentally corrupting. The corruption is not just about personal honesty but also about destroying the system.

    I bet the Israeli’s are terrified, what a bloody old fool Campbell is.
    A typical useless toothless wimpy Lib Dem comment.

  12. Good afternoon.

    I guess DA’s problem now is perfectly cleaned bone (like my puli did with his lunch). I have no doubt he (DA, not my puli) was advised that on his tax return he declared the tax avoidance scheme.

    The Telegraph remains a political problem – not because of the revelations (these are known to MPs or a proper due diligence easily could find them), but because of uncertainty around it. It also keeps on interfering with the government’s agenda (in fact, currently the Telegraph dictates it). OK, Cameron’s speech was mainly rhetoric, but, nevertheless it was a speech by the PM and – no reaction. It seems that the coalition was caught unprepared. Happens.

    I kind of agree with Xiby, that it could be used a general attack on “government/civil service infringement” on the society. Though it has not yet happened.

  13. I have visited Israel many times [btw I am not Jewish].

    I would have difficulty discussing this in a non-partisan way. Suffice to say, most of Israel’s people want exactly the same as we do. Peace, prosperity & to be allowed to get on with their lives.

  14. I shall refrain from discussing Israel in any way, as my emotions start to run way too high. I am completely in favour of a secure Israeli state, but am vehemently anti Zionist. The Israeli Military is a Zionist political wing in its own right. I see them as a fascist anti-democratic political movement which must be opposed at all times by all means possible.

    It is because of the military that no progress can be made as they hold the Israeli state hostage to their political ends.

    Now you see how my blood starts to boil over this, so I will refrain from joining this discussion.

    Excuse me if I don’t reply anyone who reacts to this post.

  15. @ Roland Haines

    What did you expect (“international” inquiry)? This will be not much different from the government’s response (I guess it will be even weaker).

    In general

    I guess it’s mainly a play with diplomatic counters, in which people die :-(. Does not change much about the situation, but the counters are marginally differently distributed.

    This, and the rejection of the Nuc. free Middle East is a response to the WH’s changed rhetoric. Trying it… For Israel there is not much too loose in public opinion (very little positive left), so these actions make sense (to them) – i.e. testing.

    Can have some old fashioned foreign policy problems – Turkey becoming less willing, hence Russia having more freedom in the South, etc. But these are transient.

    Sorry. Did not want to be so cold, considering the circumstances, but have seen it so many times…

  16. @ Xiby

    No, I don’t expect you to respond, but it was quite moving, so I must respond.

    It’s a very good starting point, but I definitely think that it needs to be extended. The share of guilt in stealing the land and more importantly the water and the rest is not only with the military.

    I’m not a religious person, but to take it from the old book: if there was one true man/woman in Sodome, then everybody else is guilty. And there are true people there.

  17. I understand that American presidents get confused as to which is the client state, the USA or Israel.

    Small wonder that Israelis can behave exactly as it suits them. Presumably Roland now classes Hague in the same category as Campbell, by the way.

  18. I suppose the polling organisations are licking their wounds but there are a number of subjects, revealed in today’s correspondence, that could help them to seem relevant again.

  19. I have no particular feelings about the matter. I largely support Israel and admire her resolution not to be destroyed by the Arab and Persian nations. However the kind of weak comment that people like Campbell make when these things happen has in my veiw no value at all.

  20. @ Howard

    I think you are right. But they have the excuse (bank holiday), we will see the questions.

  21. What is required in this instance is for the UN to accompany convoys in as long as the material is delivered to a UN compound nad inspected so that it is free of arms.

    This 10,000 tonne consignment had 500 wheelchairs and windows and concrete… under the current Gaza embargo these are not allowed in. Of course, that must change.

  22. @ Laszlo

    I accept that the situation is a million times more complex then the way I put it, and I can list a million of them having been at times engulfed by the conflict. But I have come to realize that the injustice is so grave and the human tragedy so real that I simply can not maintain rationality.

    There are very few circumstances when taking up arms is justified, the 2nd world war was one, the massacre in the middle east unfortunatly I feel is another.

    Many humble apologies if I have offended anyone by my statements. I accept that the human tragedy is suffered on all fronts. But I simply can’t stomach it.

  23. Roland
    Thanks for that – so a non partisan comment would have included Hague and without reference to anyone’s age.

  24. Xiby

    Good post – I think we should all demonstrate we are not incorrigible cynics occasionally. All the more impressive when hyperbola is avoided.

  25. @ Roland Haines

    “not to be destroyed by the Arab and Persian nations”.

    Not only partisan, but ignorant as well…

  26. @ Xiby


  27. @LASZLO
    I have no interest in this matter but, why have I got it so wrong about Arab states and Iran wishing to destroy Israel. Did I dream it? Is it all Zionist/Rupert Murdoch/Daily Telegraph/Tory lies?
    Please do tell me.

  28. @ Roland Haines

    Since you have no interest in the matter, there is no need.

    I also strongly detest your deliberate fallacy in the logic of jumping from what I said to “lies” by whoever.

  29. @LASZLO
    You called me ignorant, explain why, what I stated about the Arab and Iranian desire to totally destroy Israel is ignorance. Which one of the organs I mentioned has filled my head with untruths about the matter and made me “ignorant”.

  30. International relations is all a matter of achieiving a balance of power.

    Given half a chance some of these nations would destory each other not to name further countries on the sub-continent.

    The imbalance in the M. East is quite obviously that one nation has a carte blanche in terms of weapons and unilateralism.

    Until that imbalance is rectified we are all in difficulty.

    needless to say, unilateral disarmament would aid things consdierably.

    Likewise would a UN peacekeeping force.

    Th eunfortunate thing for Palestine and Israel is that they are the epicentre between east and west and have been for 1400 years.

    If the epicentre was on the polish border then hostilities would be prevalent there. Unfortunate twist of history really but one we all have a vested interest in not just Is and Pal.

    Two viable states with a nuclear free area upheld by a UN peace keeping force and democratic elections verifiable as open and fair.

    The UN should (if USA removed its veto) impose this on both nations.

    Of course, it could only go ahead if we were sure that Iran had no chance of achieving WMD. For now, that assurance is not in place. Hence a viscious circle continues.

    For what it is worth, the Eygptian, Syrian and Jordian govs. deserve a lot of credit for ensuring even at the height of 2003 that this did not boil over.

    Of course, that Turkey is now radicalising is unfortunate…

    The wall is probably here to stay.

  31. Eoin
    The UN should (if USA removed its veto) impose this on both nations

    There you have it – the ostensible super power is as ‘mamby pamby’ in this situation as a bar fly would describe anyone who suggests international law and diplomacy as a possible method of resolving international problems.

    Obama is not master in his own house.

  32. @Howard,

    He certainly is not that is for sure! The Senate Oversight Committee would tear him to shreads. But it is unwise to excpet Israel to move as long as iran pose a threat.

    Palestine has yet to grasp one important fact. Big brothers such as Syria Iran et al use Palestine as a pawn. It would make much quicker process if it shunned the interference of its arab partners. It is clear the new Turksih government use the cause of Palestine to boost their popularity. Everytime the polls show support flagging a quick stirring of Israeli tensions soon rectifies that. Of course, the $2bn from Israeli tourists is gratefully accepted.

    Whilst all this is raging a UN peace keeping force (preferabbly of Buddist make-up) is desperately needed.

    He certainly is not that is for sure! The Senate Oversight Committee would tear him to shreads. But it is unwise to excpet Israel to move as long as iran pose a threat.

    I c and p’d the above A because I agree and B because I can read your comment about Iran being a treat to Israel. The spat above with Laszlo left me doubting my sanity. My contention that Israel was always in mortal danger was described as ignorance on my part. Thank you for confirming my sanity.

  34. @EOIN
    My typing is getting as bad as yours. A threat to Israel, NOT a treat to Israel.

  35. Roland,

    Several Arab states are on record as saying they would prefer the non-existence of Israel. What was 1967, if not the attempt to remove it?

    Of course, Israel would hardly ‘deplore’ the non-existence of Palestine, or India- kashmir.

    every state has its preferences as to how they would re-shape of fit a map of the world to suit their own politics.

    I have saw maps of worlds splashed in Britannia’s pink or mpas of the world with the Island of Great Britain not even on it.

    A map in London underground by the Irsaeli tourist board neglected to include Palestine.

    We are all as bad as each other.

  36. @ Roland Haines

    Israel has had particular types of relationships with particular types of regimes and not with nations. The history of the Middle East, in spite of the appearance, is not continuity.

    For example, one of the cited countries, Iran, in december 1961 signed a military collaboration agreement with Israel. OK it was 50 years ago, but it causes problems with the argument.

    1948 – it was what you said, the monarchist Arab League attacked Israel to wipe it out. Oddly at this point both the East and the US supported Israel.

    From then on, with ups and downs, until Camp David or more till the collapse of the Soviet Union, the relationship between Israel and various Arab countries is a derivative of the Soviet-US relations (with the exception of the 1956 war, which cannot be described by self-defense by Israel by any means and neither the Soviet Union or the US got involved until the 4th of November. The US then took over the middle east from France and the UK, the Soviet Union demonstrated that certain status quos have to be maintained). One could argue that the 1967 war was preemtive from Israel (to break the alliance between Egypt and Syria), but its implicit aim to achieve regime change in these countries failed (hence the question is the relationship between Isreal and other countries as regimes and not Israel against some abstract alliance between varous Arab countries plus Iran).

    Originally the 1973 war was for internal politics in both Egypt and Syria (in the case of Egypt it was related to the breaking of the relations with the Soviet Union after asking for “special” weaponry in 1972, kicking out the Soviet military advisors in the same year, recognition of South Vietnam, breaking with Libia, warming to Saudi Arabia) and not about removing Israel. It was important though because the Israeli superiority was a bit damaged.

    Then comes Camp David – and from then on there is an inherent interest of Egypt in the (controlled) conflict between Israel and the surrounding countries (to maintain influence). So, Egypt is interested in the maintanance of Israel.

    Whatever Jordan wants is irrelevant, they are so dependent on the US. Lebanon is a playground :-( between Israel and Syria and the nationalist/patriotic forces. Syria itself is in a foreign policy problem – the last thing it wants to be in conflict with Israel, if anything, it wants a pretext to have a close relationship with Israel.

    Iraq has been knocked out. Iran has many problems, the last one is to pick a fight with Israel. The president’s remark from the point of view of “they want to wipe out Israel” is quite irrelevant. Just look at the context of the speech. Nevertheless they do have a bridgehead in the region (and in Iraq), but then Isreal is in constant search with some puppet regime as well. It’s old fashioned foreign policy and not the question of life and death. It is horrible that so many people die in this, but it’s in effect a rather standard foreign diplomatic game.

    The same applies for the Palestinian question: have you seen how many times various Arab regimes used the Palestinians for their own purpose and dropped them when it suited? None of them really want the highly militant (politically) and competitive (economically) Palestine lower classes/middle classes respectively.

    They thread very carefully with Israel for domestic political reasons and because of the struggle for influence. And Isreal supports various political movements in these countries that suit its interests (this gets less limelight – Israels problem is with various regimes but it pictures it as a race question). In the Middle East on the side of the Arab countries/regimes has long ceased to be the question about the right of existence of Israel. Its just the same symbol as the Great Israel in the Likud’s programme.

  37. Sorry, having some food and typing takes some time.

    Roland, I have not doubted your sanity :-)

  38. @ Eoin @ 6:26

    Well, this means that the change in the Middle East would require quite a bit of change in all the involved parties…. Without mass pressure, how could the UN do anything about it (apart from the very important mission of reducing the number of casulties)

    Actually, when Saudi money went into Eurodisney, the capital of the Israel on the map there became TelAviv and not Jerusalem (I know it is debatable, anyway), politics, even in banal things works in mysterious ways.

  39. I am still trying to work out what a British Foreign affairs spokesman is expected to say about the ‘raid’ on the ships.

    Haven’t heard anything from Lab. Looked up their web site – not a dicky bird.

    Note that Ed Milband usiung Con-Dem – no original thought (assuming Rob S was first)

  40. @LASZLO
    Thank you for your report on the Arab World, you clearly follow this matter closely. I am Anglo Saxon not Jewish, however I always (right or wrong ) am mindfull of recent Jewish history when considering the state of Israel. Whatever the military reality, the intent is very much in evidence and frequently stated, that Israel should not exist and indeed that Adolf Hitler was right.
    With this threat on top of the recent Holocaust instigated by Hitler, I can easily understand why the Jews are trigger happy.
    As Eoin has said today the Arabs of Palestine are everybodies pawn.

  41. @ Roland

    It was long, because of the question and because of my rather short response to your point, for which I kind of apologise :-)

    I do think that rhetoric and actions need to be separated. I don’t see the parallel with the Holocaust and the Middle East, but I can see how it can be used for legitimacy (on both sides – really horrible).

    The Palestinians are pawns… And what I can see – Europe, the international community (whatever it means in the context) are also pawns… or becoming those.

  42. Roland

    There are two possible Irani ‘final solutions’ for Israel

    one is that the state of Israel ceases to exist
    second is that Israeli human beings cease to exist, at least in Palestine.

    Apologists for the Irani president say that he meant the first, others that he meant the second, others that he didn’t give a damn either way.

    These kind of statements are usually intended more for home consumption and point to an unstable regime (see North korea0

    I am sure you and i will agree the nuance does not diminish the threat they pose

  43. @ Howard

    I don’t think that it will beyond: regrettable, our thoughts with the dead (if victim, then quite strong), we need evidence to understand, it underlines the importance of the ME peace etc. I’m sorry, it sounds cynical. I’m not, honestly.

    I don’t think Labour can say anything else – just as the Tories, except for some situations, did not diverge from the government’s line in sensitive foreign policy questions (minus EU). In any case, I don’t think the FO would like any politician to step out of the line.

  44. Laszlo,

    1. The UN could impose a demilitarised corridor for releif tonight. (US would veto).

    2. All aid should be inspected for arms by the UN.

    3. The wall should be allowed to remain but raffah reopened.

    4. Settlements should be frozen at 2007 and any post that date should be removed.

    5. the UN should construct a nuclear power facility in the black sea for Iran (Similar ot the one proposed by Brzil/Turkey but under UN control).

    6. China and Russia need to do a straight trade Korea condemnation in return for removal of US veto.

    7. A fresh resolution promising economic sanctions on Israel should it be found to act disproportionately henceforth.

    8. Fresh independant elections in P- territories handled by the UN so that they are free and fair but if Hamas is returned then they should be entitled to interlocateur status and embassy representation.

    The sad thing is that a bit of foresight would have solved this…

    1948 could have been handled better- Britain and US were not even singing of the same hymn sheet then.

    The Anglo US 1979-88 Persian policy was an unmitigated disaster..

    On both matters we ahve been trying to clean up ever since…

    The creation of India and Israel was so hurried than the primary focus was financial not stability..

  45. @ Eoin

    This is very sensible and very rational. Don’t know how the people concerned would perceive it.

    I think Russia would sign up for your 6th point. I’m not sure about China (would depend on its relationship to Pakistan and Afganistan).

    Your 7th point is highly problematic (sometimes Israel’s reaction is quite proportionate (minority of the cases), yet it is described as disproportionate). Too much leeway there.

    I really liked your 5th point. Very neat.

    Yes. If there was political will in the “great powers” this could be achieved.

  46. Roland – I have always doubted your sanity, which is why I like you :)

    Whas’appened? Been out all day…

  47. @Laszlo,

    If the quartet leader cared less about his tan and Korean oil contracts and more about fulfilling his job description maybe we would be a bit further on… and the minute his efforts there have about as much impetus as an impotent lion

  48. Oh and Howard – interesting fact : ConDem Nation was coined on Twitter by an ordinary lass the night the coalition was formed.
    She has become a minor celebrity for such a pearl of wisdom.

  49. @ Eoin

    A very nice description of O. :-)

    I think the question is: when he would recognise that it is important to him. I don’t think he sees it important. Hopefully by the time he can see it, he won’t be completely neutered.

  50. Sue
    ConDem it is then – pity about the missing final ‘n’ though. Perhaps as a mere ‘lass’ who indulges in Twitter it’s to be expected

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