Was pretty much the gist of what Chris Huhne said on the Marr programme yesterday. I rather like that response – I hate it when politicians resort to the cliches of “I never pay attention to polls” (course you don’t, just like all the other politicians don’t) or worse “the only poll that counts is election day”. Huhne’s response rather charmed me since he does at least know about * signifying less than 0.5% but more than 0 in a poll.

Sadly, I can’t actually find any historical incidents of the Lib Dems getting poll ratings of an asterisk. The lowest the Liberal Democrat party has ever polled seems to be 4% in MORI’s polls between June and August 1989, when their support was being split by the continuing SDP. Looking at their predecessor, the lowest Liberal party score I can find in a poll was 1.5% in a Gallup poll in 1955.

Of course, historical polls from before 1997 or so are tricky to find online – MORI and ICM have their archives up, but it’s trickier to find historical polls from companies who no longer regularly conduct them. It could be that at some point in the distant past the Liberal party really was just an asterisk, but I expect Chris Huhne was just exaggerating a bit. Either way, in the past the Lib Dems have indeed had much lower scores than 12%.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Boothroyd in the comments who has managed to find an ICM poll from the Sunday Correspondent in 1989 that had the Lib Dems at 3% (ICM have their Guardian series on their website back into the 80s, but only have polls for other clients back to 1990). Can anyone beat that?

UPDATE2: There is a System Three poll in Scotland in 1988 that had the Lib Dems at just 2% (see here). A Scotland poll isn’t quite the same thing as a GB one, but what the hell. Rob Blackie in the comments reckons there was a Scottish poll (presumably from a different company) that had them even lower. Can anyone track that one down?


441 Responses to “When I were a lad the Lib Dems were just an asterisk…”

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  1. “If-as I hope & expect- however, the spending review is based on a more specific assesment of state activities & functions, then I expect the % cut in each case to be uncontroversial.”

    Serious question here Colin. Do you HONESTLY believe that 25% cuts could be achieved in any department and not be controversial? Honestly? I’m not making a partisan point, I’m just asking. It’s never been done before.

    Is it the case that you truly believe cuts of around 25% could be achieved from making things more efficient, but that the public will not need to feel the impact.

    I am genuinely interested in your opinion.

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  2. “We on the right are determined this will not happen in our lifetimes again”

    Shall I respond with what those of us on the left are determined about or do you think that might be inappropriate on this site?

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  3. Sue,

    They are a good three…. Benn could have gone far- much farther in 1981 had he plyed his cards right. Mandleson is also a good choice, since without him i do not think we would be looking at 258 MPs.

    Needless to say GB would be up there on mine :)

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  4. Sue

    “Do you HONESTLY believe that 25% cuts could be achieved in any department and not be controversial?”

    Controversial?-no-of course it will be controversial. The “we have always done it that way” brigade is ubiquitous.

    Achieved?-why should I not believe it?. In business, all activities are reviewed constantly. Why should 25% be a magic number? 25% will be too high-and too low-it depends on which functions/activities you are refering to.

    As I say-we must look for the effects that result from the actual announcement.

    Is it going to be tough?-undoubtedly.

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  5. @ Sue

    Shall I respond with what those of us on the left are determined about or do you think that might be inappropriate on this site?

    __________________________________________

    It is no great secret that we disagree.

    What I am hoping we can agree on is that the cuts are not the real battle, they are just a symptom of the battle.

    What the real political debate is all about is the size and responsibilities of the state going forward for the next 2 decades.

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  6. Sue/Colin

    GB increased education and health spending by c.300%.

    It is this statistic that probably makes 25% achievable.

    for 5 years we will not notice much adverse effects… But if those types of cuts lasted for 10 years then I would forsee that issue of ‘underinvestment’ creeping back up the agenda..

    British politics appears to work in something of a pendulum fashion. A period of dare I say it over-investment ‘corrected’ by a period of underinvestment. It seems to go in that cycle.

    Thus, lamenting the cuts dues 2010-15 is probably futile. If in 2018/19/20 the pendulum has not swung back the other way, then labour could indeed capitalise on this politically.

    An age old mistake made by reds is not knowing when to turn the tap off..

    An age old mistake made by blues is not knowing when to turn the tap on..

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  7. The Tax Research UK blog this morning comes up with effective studied reasons as to why we are likely to enter a double dip.

    [Rob – please don’t cut and paste long articles from partisan blogs that have nowt to do with polling. If nothing else it immediately produced an eqaully partisan rebuttal from another poster, hence demonstrating why things like that aren’t allowed under the comments policy. If you must, just put a link, but really “articles I saw elsewhere that agree with my view on the government’s failings” are not in the spirit of non-partisanship -AW]

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  8. The Liberal Conspiracy blog this morning comes up with effective studied reasons as to why social housing is so important 9and should matter to Conservatives as well as others).

    To Summarise:

    (a) The most obvious, of course, is cost; even if you did have the resources to find yourself private accommodation, you might prefer living in social housing if it leaves you with a little extra money for food, clothes, transport, a night out and the odd holiday.

    (b) The second is the security that social housing can offer. Not every private landlord is as scrupulous as a local housing association, and the further down the price scale you go, the less security you’re likely to have. Social housing can offer considerably more peace of mind for tenants.

    (c) The third reason is community. People might just prefer the part of the world they’re staying in: they’re on good terms with the neighbours; their parents live up the road; their kids go to the local school. Why would they want to leave those social networks – that familiarity – behind?

    Although the first two reasons will be most commonly cited by those concerned about David Cameron’s social housing announcement, I think the last one is most significant.

    A ‘Big Society’ is no substitute for an understanding of how society actually works.

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  9. [Rob – please don’t cut and paste long articles from partisan blogs that have nowt to do with polling. If nothing else it immediately produced an eqaully partisan rebuttal from another poster, hence demonstrating why things like that aren’t allowed under the comments policy. If you must, just put a link, but really “articles I saw elsewhere that agree with my view on the government’s failings” are not on topic -AW]

    I cited it and added to it !!

    Perhaps you might consider moderating the longer posts of other persuasions as I think you’ll find- if you googled tif you could be bothered to and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be)- they have been pasted in (from some right wing think tank or blog) and NOT cited :-)

    [Apologies Rob – you did on the second one and it was very much in line with the rest of the discussion. I’ve brought it out of moderation – AW]

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  10. @WAYNE
    I wish to remind you that Mozart, Darwin, Churchill to name only 3 approaching your league, had many detractors in their own lifetime. Jealousy is a terrible emotion. However, have a care, a Mr Choudry of Slough, a former Labour councillor who has defected to the Tories, has been jailed for bigamy. The “enemy within” Rob, Jay, various Davids and the two beautiful but dangerous left wing Mata Hari’s will pounce on this “game changing” event. Beware.

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  11. @Sue, Colin and John F – I think what’s really lacking in the broader debate is the overarching view of how everything fits together. I like JF’s line that the cuts are the tactics, not the battle itself.

    Cameron has made a somewhat half baked attempt at this with the Big Society, but it really hasn’t been developed and even his own MPs see it merely as an excuse for cutting the functions of the state (see David Davis’ comments). To date, Labour haven’t even tried to address the philospohical issues, but this is understandable as parties fresh to opposition do need time to reassess and get away from the pressure of governance and do some deep thinking.

    Yesterday’s debate on housing was a classic case in point. Cameron and Osborne have come up with two key proposals on social housing intended to save money, but in a huge policy vacuum where many issues such as those raised on this forum are ignored.

    In Saxon times our forebears believed in the ‘web of wyrd’ – a kind of fate where actions in one place and time tugged at an interconnected universal web to produce strange impacts in unexpected places and times (a bit like modern ecology, but that’s another story). By tugging at one limited area of policy with an ideological intention to save money and shrink the state, the Tories will store up huge problems elsewhere – much as the right to buy has already done.

    So if cuts come in the absence of well thought through, comprehensive policies, as we are currently seeing, it won’t work. There’s a big message here for Labour also, as they have to combine some level of cuts with an equally cogent programme for government.

    In recent years UK politics has been criticised for a lack of principles. I think now more than ever we desperately need clear and cogent political philosophies – on both sides.

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  12. Colin – Oh, I asked because of the line “then I expect the % cut in each case to be uncontroversial” Thanks for the answer though.

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  13. ALEC
    The right to buy has stored up up big problems which are now biting our bottoms. That is your contention.
    I was very involved in the Right To Buy in the 80s. It gave ordinary working people the opportunity to own a house at a very very cheap price. Millions of people are now home owners thanks to Right to Buy. The original council stock in the area I live in is almost entirely privately owned now and has been for years. What is distressing for the left about this? A bit to much independence from the state is it. People might get a bit to much above their station a . Whatever next, private schools, private health care, private dentist?

    Lenin would turn in his grave.

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  14. @roland – “What is distressing for the left about this? A bit to much independence from the state is it. People might get a bit to much above their station a . Whatever next, private schools, private health care, private dentist?”

    Don’t be silly and read my posts. I’ve no problem with the principle of right to buy, in conducted as part of a comprehensive housing policy. Instead, councils were legally prevented from using the income from discounted sales of council homes to build replacement social housing and when added to the lack of private house building/increasing population/smaller household size it ended up being a good policy that helped create a housing crisis.

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  15. Roland – I think RTB was a tremendous thing. It was indeed a brilliant attempt to improve social mobility and aspiration. My parents too, bought their council house after living n it for 20 years, and are now so proud that they will have such an asset to leave to their children.

    The only problem, IMO (and this backs up, what Alec was saying as I understand it) was not building replacements.

    In this way, lack of affordable housing led to ghettoes, ghettoes , led to increased alienation and problems of crime, drug abuse etc. The initial idea was good, but as often happens, it affected other issues, balancing things out.

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  16. @Sue Marsh / Colin

    ‘ Do you HONESTLY believe that 25% cuts could be achieved in any department and not be controversial’.

    I would suggest that the govt advertising/marketing budget is a candidate. The spend in 2004/05 was £344m rising to £532m for 2009/10. This is a rise of 55% whereas inflation for the period rose 15%. That is a staggering increase in marketing. The coalition seems to agree and has already announced 40% job cuts in the COI.
    This will be painful for the individuals but will it qualify as controversial? Not going by the distinct lack of furore in the reporting so far.

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  17. @SUE AND ALEC
    Of course this view you both hold is fine if you believe building nice new council estates and putting the kind of people who have become our biggest source of criminals and social lepers into them, would have solved anything. As has been proven over and over, the new estate becomes a hell hole within 5 years.

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  18. @Roland – “It gave ordinary working people the opportunity to own a house at a very very cheap price”

    I’ve also just picked up this from your post. In effect you appear to be admitting that there is a case to argue that council houses (state assets) were sold off to individuals at below market prices. There are plenty of balancing argments to support the policy for sure, as Sue suggests, but I do wonder whether if Labour had invented RTB and sold off large amounts of government assets at below market prices the Tories might have complained about poor taxpayer value?

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  19. @ Roland Haines

    “As has been proven over and over, the new estate becomes a hell hole within 5 years.”

    Could you point me towards sources of this proof, as I’m interested in this phenomena.

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  20. Michael V,

    This is the most recent Eire poll I could find. Changes in brackets are changes from the last election.

    Fine Gael 33% (up 6%)
    Labour 27% (up 17%)
    Fianna Fáil 24% (down 19%)
    Sinn Féin 8% (up 2%)
    Greens 2% (down 3%)
    Others 6%

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  21. Roland

    It used to be said about the Vatican that everything was either forbidden or compulsory (looking at the current Vatican you might think a lot of thing are both, but that’s another story ;) ). However as far as I know this doesn’t apply in the UK.

    It’s irrelevant whether you think the Right to Buy a Good Thing, a Bad Thing or something that had both good and bad consequences. The truth is that the way it was carried out did cause problems further on down the line.

    If you look at house building figures: up to 1979 local authorities built at least 100,000 properties a year, much more in good years. Since that year that figure has never been reached and now LA building is down to very little. Neither the private sector nor other social housing providers (mainly Housing Associations) have expanded enough to fill the gap. This is the real reason that there is a housing shortage in the UK.

    Like Alec I’m rather cynical about responses from the Right to RTB. After all, surely this is the ultimate in the “something for nothing” society? :D

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  22. One of the concepts behind the Right to Buy scheme that has been lost in the discussion here is the stakeholders society.

    The idea that if everybody had a stake in society, then as a consequence they would have a vested interest in societies success.

    Hence give a w-class person a home and watch them take pride in their estate, and neighbourhood watch, and community organsiations, and law and order and so on…

    At its most basic level Thatcher demonstrated the theory to be correct.

    Two problems arose from it that I am not sure were adequately catered for. 1. The turnover in estate memebrship due to people constantly moving home actually had the reverse effect on society. Estates became an amalgmation of migrant workers, students and pensioners, with the occasional young family remaining. 2. The second problem is that is contributed to the over cooking in the housing market. This was partly caused by selling the properties to the redisents at a knock down price only for them to capitalise on the profit.

    RTB is a good idea. Perhaps as someone suggested yesterday, fixed term residencies should be enforced or something to that effect. It is a pity that a basic human necessity has become the main currency of speculation for the profiteers. Of course, the word profiteer as a result of RTB transcends every social class.

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  23. Eoin

    “RTB is a good idea.”

    Agreed.

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  24. This got lost in temporary moderation so I am pasting in here- my summary of a bloG article
    ********

    The Liberal Conspiracy blog this morning comes up with effective studied reasons as to why social housing is so important (and should matter to Conservatives as well as others).

    To Summarise:

    (a) The most obvious, of course, is cost; even if you did have the resources to find yourself private accommodation, you might prefer living in social housing if it leaves you with a little extra money for food, clothes, transport.

    (b) The second is the security that social housing can offer. Not every private landlord is as scrupulous as a local housing association, and the further down the price scale you go, the less security you’re likely to have. Social housing can offer considerably more peace of mind for tenants.

    (c) The third reason is community. People might just prefer the part of the world they’re staying in: they’re on good terms with the neighbours; their parents live up the road; their kids go to the local school. Why would they want to leave those social networks – that familiarity – behind?

    Although the first two reasons will be most commonly cited by those concerned about David Cameron’s social housing announcement, I think the last one is also significant.

    A ‘Big Society’ is no substitute for an understanding of how society actually works.

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  25. An interesting poll from the ICm archives was a 1985 one.

    15-09-1985 blue 31% Red 32% (yellow combined) 36%

    From this can we say the creation of the LDs was in itslef a marriage of convenience?

    If so, when it ceases to be ‘convenient’ will it end?

    The earliest I can see any real development on this front will be Sept. 2011 but I do think one of several possibilities is that the Liberal Democrats will cease to exist….

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  26. On the same topic (LD demise) it is worth looking at the % breakdown between the Liberal and SDP wings of the LDs. The Left was very much a junior partner in the coalition… proportionately maybe a third of the strength of the Liberal faction…

    Is it that same proportion this time round which will pull the plug?

    In particular Hughes, Pugh, Kennedy….?

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  27. Michael V

    The two main opinion pollsters in (the Republic of) Ireland are Red-C who are used by the Sunday Business Post. Red-C’s polling archive is:

    ht tp://www.redcresearch.ie/results.html

    and IPSOS-MRBI, whose site is “under construction” so you’re best getting results from the Irish Times, who they poll for:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/

    There may be others, but it’s a start.

    Two warnings: the last IPSOS-MRBI poll on 12 June was much attacked, mainly by Fianna Fail who did very badly in it; also how the percentages convert into seats is more an art that a science, because of STV with its surpluses, second etc preferences and so. Differences between seats and support for individual candidates also makes much more impact than in the UK.

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  28. (pricks up ears at sound of polling controversy) – what grounds did Fianna Fail criticise it on Roger (other than general, “we don’t like the result so we’re going to poo-poo it”)

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  29. On the assumption that the government could build pleasant, attractive, sturdy homes for around £60,000 per unit, that would make the average repayments around £320 a month.

    I currently pay £1000 per month on housing costs including Council Tax so there is certainly a gulf between house builder’s profit and their costs. Private landlords also do tremendously well out of the situation as it stands

    Hypothetically then, if politicians waded into the housing issue with real commitment, knocked down all the nasty sink estates and tower blocks and built council houses like those built in the 50s, homes people can take pride in, then Roland’s point about pleasant homes rather than ghettoes would be seen again.

    The councils could actually make a pretty profit on the rents, say, to £600 per, there would be plenty of affordable housing and we might finally start to address the problems of ghettoes and the underclass.

    If we stopped seeing Council Housing as handouts to benefit claimants and saw them as homes for hard working people on low wages, the debate could change entirely IMO.

    Remember, many council house tenants pay for their houses several times over in rent.

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  30. @SueM

    if politicians waded into the housing issue with real commitment, knocked down all the nasty sink estates and tower blocks and built council houses like those built in the 50s, homes people can take pride in, then Roland’s point about pleasant homes rather than ghettoes would be seen again.

    This is what partnerships of developers, councils, community groups and housing associations have been doing for a decade- ‘urban regeneration (in city centres) and ‘neighbourhood renewal’ (in the peripheral and district estates).

    Major improvements have been made- especially in the midlands and the north of England- all city centres got a major facelift and their most deprived estates serious bucks invested in them. The downside was that upwards of 50% of the refurbished/ rebuilt provision was for owner occupation and in a not insubstantial number of projects the ‘affordable-social housing’ was allowed to be provided “off-site” i.e. the new build in the prime location was all private- the new social housing then migrated to another peripheral less prime location. Yes this was criticised as ethnic cleansing by some- certainly socio-economic class cleansing at the least.

    What we really need is major local authority house building to replace the underlying stock deficit left over from the RTB era but utilise tools such as shared equity (tenant starts with 10-20% of the mortgage the council the rest) and asset-based renting in order to give social occupiers a sense of ownership and responsibility for the building and its environs. Classic Cameroonian ‘Big Society’? Yes but actually a Blairite proposal from the mid noughties (squashed by Brown)….

    Other than that the wider problems of the economy and society- unemployment, poverty, crime will continue to impact in an ever more severe way on the geographical spaces of towns and cities where the poor and less prosperous live. Something which occurred before the second world war but that had been significantly reduced in the post war social democratic ‘Butskellite’ heaven that was the UK until the mid- late 1970’s.

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  31. @SUE
    Exactly, council tenants paid rent for many years and were as a result of discounted prices.

    @ Alec
    The above statement covers the reasonable prices tenants paid to become owners.

    @MICHAEL V
    If you seek their monument look around.

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  32. @Roland – I don’t disagree – as I said there are perfectly valid arguments for selling at a discount related to length of tenure. It’s a good wealth redistributive measure in many ways. I did say I don’t have a problem with RTB in itself but you don’t seem to want to listen to that bit of my posts.

    What is clear is that we have a chronic shortage of housing, social and private, with roots going back many years across both governing parties. No one has yet come forward with a clear and thought through housing strategy.

    One alarming prospect of the current governments approach is that in their rush to empower local communities they have talked about giving local residents the power to decide on housing developments.

    Experience from up and down the country suggests that when asked via surveys communities nearly always cite ‘affordable housing’ as a key issue, but when housing developments are proposed they more often than not oppose. Its a classic case of where we need a planning process to resolve national/regional/local/neighbourhood disputes. If the Big Society philosophy does mean the planning system becomes skewed in favour of one end of the geographical spectrum this is likely to mean housing supply becomes an even more distorted area of policy.

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  33. @Alec

    One alarming prospect of the current governments approach is that in their rush to empower local communities they have talked about giving local residents the power to decide on housing developments.

    Ah- the so-called ‘nimby referendums’- proposed as a part of the oxymoronic ‘community right to build’. A silly idea if the strategic objective is to get more houses built. A tiny minority of these proposed developments will proceed via these micro plebiscites: the overall impact being less houses are built at a time of desperate need to build- especially in the east, south west and south east of England.

    The Conservatives are also now toying with the idea- similar to that in Ireland- of direct financial compensation to objectors/ neighbours/ community groups etc in order to get development completed (see ‘Liberating the Land’ by Mark Pennington).

    Anyone- however long ago- who has ever had to deal with neighbour and neighbourhood objections to ‘a house next door’ or a new estate (however small) at the edge of the settlement knows that this is one of the very silliest of attempts at social engineering- including some of those proposed by Mr Benn between 1974 and 1983.

    This is really just an attempt at engineering a society away from a perceived ‘collectivism’ to enshrining incentivised individualism amongst our supposed non-dynamic and state-reliant citizens.

    This kind of sleight of hand (ideology masquerading as practicality)- based essentially on financial bribery- will appeal to maybe as much as one-in-ten objectors.

    Planning legislation and LPA’s will still be needed in the other 90% plus of cases in order to act as neutral third party arbiter between individual interest (whether pro or anti development) and the public interest (whether social, economic or environmental).

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  34. @ Eoin Clarke & Roger Mexico

    Thanks for the Irish Polling Info.

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  35. Anthony re Irish polling controversy:

    Original poll analysis is here:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0611/1224272271226.html

    and note on methodology here

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0611/1224272271214.html

    Apart from the usual sulking, the main objection seems to be that IPSOS-MRBI have tended to apply an adjustment that reduced the FF vote. I get the impression it was originally a smoothing factor based on the belief that most Irish people voted the way the Pappy and the Mammy had; but it was unsuited to the more frenetic (if not chaotic) political atmosphere of recent years. Actually I think this was corrected in the last poll (actually 11 June with some commentators getting a sneak preview), but of course some still feel it’s not enough.

    There’s a good discussion in the notes here:

    http://politicalreform.ie/2010/06/11/todays-opinion-poll-perhaps-as-much-good-news-as-bad-for-the-government/

    and some further number crunching (again presumably based on privately communicated data) here:

    http://politicalreform.ie/2010/06/11/the-irish-timesispos-mrbi-poll-a-geographical-dissection/

    I don’t know why they keep on referring to it as ISPOS-MRBI – made it problem to find it again.

    Try not to think of sample sizes for individual constituencies. ;)

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  36. Thanks Roger –

    MRBI will stand for something like Market Research Bureau of Ireland or something. Ipsos MORI is presumably a British brand for the larger Ipsos company.

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  37. @Eoin,

    Re your post on the Lib-SDP divide, its worth noting that when they were still being elected under the two different parties Kennedy did indeed enter under the SDP banner, but Hughes won as Liberal candidate.

    There was discussion much earlier in this thread about the possibility of Hughes challenging Clegg if current trends continue. I don’t think this likely – I think he’s trying to hold things together. If a challenge will come I reckon Farron will be the man to watch, but he’ll bide his time for the moment.

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  38. Tony,

    Thanks for this. I must confess I do not know much of Farron. I must track down his bio.

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  39. “There was discussion much earlier in this thread about the possibility of Hughes challenging Clegg if current trends continue.”

    What would the basis of the challenge be though?

    …To leave the coalition because it is not left wing enough?-well why not just leave and join the Labour Party?

    ..To leave the coalition to become “independent” again?-and re- embrace permanent political obscurity ?

    …To leave the coalition so that LibDem can coalesce with Labour?-so what is the point of LibDem as an independent party at all?

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  40. @Alec

    You said “…Experience from up and down the country suggests that when asked via surveys communities nearly always cite ‘affordable housing’ as a key issue, but when housing developments are proposed they more often than not oppose…”

    * Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.
    * Everybody wants their son to go to a mixed-sex school and their daughter to a single-sex school.
    * Humans are weird.

    @Sue Marsh

    You said “…On the assumption that the government could build pleasant, attractive, sturdy homes for around £60,000 per unit…”

    I looked into self-build six years ago. By using Structural Insulated Panels, timber frames, or other techniques, two-bed houses can be erected on a green/brownfield site, plumbed, wired, wind- and water-tight in a matter of weeks for ~£50K. House construction is easy. The problem is planning permission – the UK is a NIMBY country, period.

    If you really want to revolutionise society, try this: on their wedding day, give a married couple the right to build a two-bed house with garden on any patch of land they can buy within 5 miles of one of their parents, no questions asked. Tweak it for civil-partnerships and so on, and voila! Huge increase in happiness for zero government outlay.

    @Roger Mexico

    You said “…Like Alec I’m rather cynical about responses from the Right to RTB. After all, surely this is the ultimate in the “something for nothing” society?…”

    There is a case for saying any central/local government asset should be given to the taxpayer for nothing (it was them who paid for it in the first place). In practice this is impractical (what do you do if two people want the same asset?) but you get the point.

    @Eoin Clarke

    You said “…An age old mistake made by reds is not knowing when to turn the tap off. An age old mistake made by blues is not knowing when to turn the tap on…”

    Two-party system probably not such a good idea then… :-)

    @Michael V

    You said “…On the subject of Ireland, does anyone know of a similar site to this one which shows polling data for Eire?…”

    I can’t speak for the verisimilitude of polls in the Republic, but I can speak for their (lack of) frequency: this was horribly noticable during the Lisbon I & II referendums.

    [Snipped reply to snipped comment – AW]

    @Colin

    You said “…Controversial?-no-of course it will be controversial. The “we have always done it that way” brigade is ubiquitous…”

    It doesn’t work like that, Colin. If the Minister asks for plans to reduce budgets by 40%, then that is what the Minister will get. Setting departmental budgets is a political decision within the Minister’s remit.

    @Roland Haines

    You said “…Lenin would turn in his grave…”

    You probably already know this, but Lenin was not buried per se, but embalmed and displayed.

    Regards, Martyn

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  41. Tonights YouGov:
    C44 L36 L13
    Despite the wishes for the Torys to be unpopular … It ain’t the way the voters are currently seeing it!!… Just goes to show: “what you wish for, you don’t always get”!

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