There is a new YouGov welsh poll for ITV Wales, full tables are here. Topline voting intentions with changes from YouGov’s poll last month are.

Assembly constituency: CON 22%(+2), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 10%(-3), PC 23%(+1)
Assembly regional: CON 21%(+1), LAB 39%(+2), LDEM 9%(-5), PC 23%(-3)

UPDATE: By my reckoning, on a uniform swing this would give the Conservatives 12 assembly seats (nc), Labour 28 (up 2), the Liberal Democrats 5 (down 1), Plaid 14 (down 1) and 1 Independent.

359 Responses to “Latest Welsh voting intentions”

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  1. @colin – with the caveat that its really great to think that UK universities are considered good enough for thousands of foreign students to want to attend, I do think you have a point.

    One of the additional difficulties, certainly once you get into masters and PhDs in the sciences, is that UK educated students are increasingly not cutting it educationally.

    At risk of being labelled a silly old grumpy man by Eoin again, it’s clear to anyone who knows anything about higher education that the ability standards of 18 year old school leavers is way inferior to those of 20 or 30 years ago and universities are having to do things like reduce the maths content of science degrees or provide remedial courses to first years to bring them up to speed. The people providing education can’t say this out loud, but A level changes have been a car crash and standards have been hugely devalued. This means foreign students are often far better academically and it may only be a matter of time before the slipping of standards works through the UK universities.

    A lecturer relative of mine tells me that he realised things were going wrong with A levels a few years ago after he had given his first lecture of the new year. Virtually the entire intake stood around him at the end of the lecture, and when he asked them what they doing it turned out they were waiting for the printed lecture notes. The idea of independent learning has been all but crushed by the educational ‘reforms’.

  2. @Colin & academics various
    “In order to compete at the technological cutting edge , in a world which sees China & India as the motors of its global economy, we educate more of their students, and leave more of ours on the dole.”
    Powerful stuff, really made me think. My memories of changes to uni funding over the years are foggy. Was it the case that governments of all colours have gradually reduced their contributions and left unis to raise more and more of their own funds? Or maybe I am wrong? If indeed the tap has gradually been turned off then have unis been obliged to sell their wares to those who could best afford to pay, leaving UK youngsters at a disadvantage? I am really seeking enlightenment here.

  3. Alec


    It not an academic point ( ;-) )

    Our economic future is at stake.
    I really begin to fear that some of these adverse structural changes will prove impossible to reverse-or be so intractable that they will take years, which the voters may not grant, and the world economy will have moved on & away from us.

    A highly educated elite corps of young people entering business & commerce, industry, research -here -is vital for our future.

    re A level changes :-

    “Cynthia Hall, head of £29,250-a-year all-girls boarding school Wycombe Abbey, warned that pupils risk being penalised for showing originality and intelligence in their A-levels.
    She said her school – which tops the national league tables for A* grades was ‘keeping an eye’ on the rival Cambridge Pre-U exam, brought in two years ago to encourage more in-depth studies.”

    I hope Gove & Willets are on top of all this.

  4. COZMO


    I was trying to think back too…………..but it was another world………..almost another planet.

    I don’t know what has happened-but the result looks pretty bad to me.

  5. @Alec – Even when at secondary school I realised that there was often a student I could learn from. A chemistry student who knew every detail of NASA propulsion, a particularly well-read English student, my friend with the French mother to whom the master deferred on niceties of pronounciation.

    The high standard of overseas students must be a good thing.

    Rector of University in Maastrict says there are 1000 places open, English is the main language, tuition/living costs comparable, even part-time employment opportuities can be found.

    Julian Gilbert and I exchanged upthread on disregard for intelligence/academic achievement in the wider culture of these isles. Big up our fine students and institutions. :)

  6. @Billy Bob – “Big up our fine students and institutions”

    Absolutely, and that is what I have done by saying it is a good thing so many overseas students want to come to UK universities. That doesn’t mean to say that UK A level standards aren’t slipping.

    @Colin – absolutely agree. In my view, 14 – 18 education started to go wrong under the last Tory government and Labour went along with the disaster as it is too politically difficult to reverse the rising trend in pass rates. I see this as Labour’s biggest error in domestic government (bigger than the financial situation).

    There is very little objective research into GCSE/A level standards (largely because governments don’t want to fund it as they are frightened of the results) but where there are properly conducted studies it is abundantly clear that equivalent standards have dropped. While student skills have increased markedly in some areas, particularly the ability to use technology and different communication formats, the core academic knowledge and skills levels have been falling. Like you, I see this as a real threat to economic and scientific development.

    I read an A level history text book on the Russion revolution a couple of years ago as I knew a student doing the A level. I was astonished to see the ‘summary questions’ at the end of each chapter – both the fact they had summary questions in the first place (when I did history A level you just read history books – there weren’t any simplified A level texts) and the fact that the questions were laughably simplistic – the kind of stuff I would have expected 5 or six years earlier in the academic calendar.

    Something has gone badly wrong with A levels – schools know it, universities know and employers know it. Earlier this year Boots were trying to fill 25 graduate trainee places – they got 600 applicants but could only find 6 they felt they could offer the job too as the rest were so bad. These were people with UK degrees.

  7. Alec

    “(when I did history A level you just read history books – there weren’t any simplified A level texts) ”

    My wife & I were talking about this after seeing a teacher on TV describing the way the A level syllabus is taught-crammed & memorised might be a better description.

    We both had the recollection you have.

    You went to classes-read the books-did the homework.

    The exam was a lottery -you had no idea what the questions would be, and you answered in your own words, devised on the spot.

    Standards must have plummetted since then.

  8. @colin – at risk of sounding like a pair of silly grumpy old men to coin Eoin’s phrase, I agree. Another experience I have was being asked to help a neighbour’s daughter complete her A level geography course project.

    As it forms part of the final assessment I said I wouldn’t tell her what she should write – as in my book that would be cheating – but I would read through it and raise some points for her to think about.

    She submitted the work, and got a B. I was surprised at the mark being so high anyway, but even more surprised when her teacher told her what she needed to do to get an A and then she resubmitted, getting the A grade.

    I suspect a large part of the problem also lies in school league tables and the competitive pressure on schools. As you say, it’s parrot fashion learning for the sake of grades rather then a real education we are getting now, and the system is clearly to blame rather than teachers or examiners, for which governments need to take responsibility.

  9. Alec,

    You are once again incorrect. History is tasked with delivering the citizenship element of the curiculum. In addition we examine skills not content. If it appears to you content light it is because we test their use of interpretations, synopticity. I did the old A-lelvel in the 1990s. I taught the new A-level in the 2000s. I have marked the new A-level for seven years. I can with all honesty that the skills of balance, impartiality, judgement, evaulation were not really testing to the same degree in the old A-level. It was simply good enough to fill your head full of facts and rhyme them off.

    As for undergraduate.. In QUB we have given out 3 first class honour results out of 600 pupils in the last 5 years.

    I suppose that is getting easier too?

    The words of Socrates come to mind

    “Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.”

    Unfortunately for you Alec: that quote was said more than 2300 years ago.

  10. @eoin – so you say. Many others (very many others) disagree, and on balance I tend to side with them. Your experience doesn’t go back very far and the devaluation of A levels pre dates the new version relatively recently installed.

    “It was simply good enough to fill your head full of facts and rhyme them off.”

    If you really think that about A levels in days gone by then I’m afraid you really don’t understand what has happened. Merely trotting out facts wouldn’t have got you a very good result back than at all.

    As I say, every objective peice of well constructed research is clear – exam standards have go significantly easier over the last 20 – 30 years.

  11. Alec,

    I am heading ot my office, where such studies exist in hefty proportions.. I look forward to citing you their findings. Studies do not conclude what you say.

    aside from devaluing my expereince (which I must say is very typical of you), I cam second in the UK on the old A-level system so I do think that qualifies me to speak on it. Also we teach sometimes by ast papers… I could probably quote you every question in the last 30 years.

    The skills (or KSUs as teachers would know them) are significantly more challenging now.

  12. ‘As I say, every objective peice of well constructed research is clear – exam standards have go significantly easier over the last 20 – 30 years’

    The above may or may not be true, but it’s totally irrelevant. It just doesn’t matter whether exams are getting any easier.

    Why? The sole purpose of exams is to put students in rank order for Universities and employers. So the only question which matters (and which is never asked) is has this exam placed students more accurately in rank order than the preceding exam? yes/ No.

    It doesn’t matter if everyone gets c and above or whatever if universities and employers get a better rank order.

  13. Alec,

    I have surveyed quite a number of studies. Your claims are tenuous. I like these conclusions: “It is a very simple question – are public examination standards rising or falling? But it is
    also one of those tantalising questions which we’ve all encountered in educational
    research which are not just hard, but probably impossible to answer. My solution is to
    change the question.”


    h ttp://

    Adrian Elliott is the author of ‘State Schools Since the 1950s: the Good News’ There is a moderate review of this on TES see h ttp://

    I found one which comes close to your line of argument (although by the author’s own admission is fraught with comparability issues. I’ll be a sport and post it too.


  14. @Eoin – “aside from devaluing my expereince (which I must say is very typical of you), ”

    Not sure where you get this from. I said earlier that I enjoy you posts and find them challenging and thoughp rovoking, while not necessarily agreeing with them. It reads to me like you want peole to accept what you say and get a bit touchy with people who don’t.

    As I said in my last post, the shift in standards has been occuring for a considerable time, and predates the new A levels. You’re experience is perfectly valid, but quite limited. You need to explain why there are numerous reports from universiites, schools, employers and independent studies all highlighting a disturbing picture in student attainment not being adequately recognised by student results.

    @jack – “The sole purpose of exams is to put students in rank order for Universities and employers”

    I understand what you say, although there is also the point that results should demonstrate effective learning. The other point is that increasingly universities and employers are saying that A* results do not differentiate good students sufficiently – that’s the problem.

  15. alec & eoin

    where are all the plumbers

  16. @Eoin – the Five Decades Challenge by the Royal Society of Chemistry got 1300 (self selecting) students to sit O level/GCSE tests from 1960 – 2010. Pass rates rose from 15% in the 1960’s tests to 35% in the recent GCSE tests, but with most of this increase coming after the introduction of GCSE’s. They found a fair degree of syllabus questions being removed from old O levels and into A levels. Their study is interesting, but could reflect curriculum changes so isn’t conclusive.

    Durham University have been running the Test of Developed Abilities (TDA) for the Office of National Statistics, From 1988 – 2007 they tested thousands of children each year on a standard test. They found a small decline in the 1990s followed by a flat line. They then compared individual TDA scores with A level results and found a consistent pattern of rising A level grades for the same TDA score. From 1988 – 2006 average A level results increased by 2 grades for the same TDA score. Teaching might have improved, A levels may rely less on skills tested by the TDA. We don’t know for sure, but such results look highly suspicious.

    The Engineering Council published a report in 2000 with the results based on annual tests on basic maths skills of new undergraduate at 60 departments of maths, physics and engineering. They found a steady and progressive decline in abilities over the previous decade. They didn’t cross reference the results to A level results, so it may be that the best maths students are no longer applying to do maths, physics and engineering, but again, this seems unlikely on such a consistent scale and the results have to raise a significant question mark over A level standards.

    None of this is conclusive, and more research is needed. But for all the caveats the results point up a worrying potential issue. I don’t claim to be right on this, but rather would state that these results back up my experience of current educational standards that is shared by many teachers, lecturers and employers that I know.

    I’m really not making any personal points here and this has absolutely no reference to your own achievements. Its just a discussion of relative academic standards over time.

  17. Alec,

    1. Poverty and attainment are linked. There are more educated and wealthier adults out there to create better learning environments for their children and impart some of their own knowledge upon them. The environment of a child is more structured and conducive to learning.

    2. We also understand how children learn much better. Phonetics is just one example. Testing for Dyslexia is another. We thought that my Brother was a Russian in his past life because he wrote everything back to front. Now at the age of four my own son was diagnosed with dyslexia. How different would the former’s life chances had been if only we had known.

    3. More children enter exams. Only the very very brightest used to sit Maths A-Level. When that was the case and you were ranked fairly low down that you get a poor grade. Now kids of all abilities enter and the examiners are more appreciative of the varying standards. Hence they are less readily inclined to consign some average kid to failure. Average is not a term of abuse.

    4. You should check out the Institute of Educational assessors. I have been a member since it was founded. Assessing a child is not an art, it is a science. We are much better at it than we used to be.

    5. Marking is done online now mostly. As I mark a script (through the internet) someone else marks it to. If my mark is out by more than one- I would be contacted immediately and discontinued from assessing. Examiners are graded every year for every paper they assess. I will receive 6 separate grade awards on Monday. If any of them are below B, I would not be allowed to mark again

    6. The last point is a gendered based one. Men mark much tougher. There have been many studies done which show that a culture of machismo and ego permeates a man’s mentality when he is marking a piece of work.

  18. @ Alec

    Regarding the A-level textbooks – is it not that these are used for a basic and general understanding, which is then supplemented by other books, historiography, and whatever information the student digs up in his or her own time?

  19. @Billy – it could well be, but a regular complaint of university lecturers is that students today expect to have a lot more done for them than in the past when independent learning was more prevalent.

    @Eoin – everything in your last post seems very sensible but doesn’t really get us towards an answer to the issue. One thing di strike me though in your third point –
    “3. More children enter exams. Only the very very brightest used to sit Maths A-Level…….. Now kids of all abilities enter and the examiners are more appreciative of the varying standards. Hence they are less readily inclined to consign some average kid to failure….”

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by this, but it could read as the fact that while many more students from a much wider ability range are taking exams, pass rates are rising. Intuitively one would expect pass rates to fall if the ability range of entrants is getting broader, but it patently isn’t. I’m not sure what being ‘appreciative of the varying standards’ means for examiners, but the last sentence I quoted does suggest that it is getting easier to pass exams.

    I need to get on so will make this my last post, but when I sat school exams no one seriously thought D and E grades were passes – it’s why I still count myself as having 7 O levels with another two D’s. That fact in itself is a reflection of the modern need to make sure everyone passes.

  20. Pete B
    Its a fair cop. I don’t have statistics. But I chanced my hand based on the three universties and one college I know best. Plus some knowledge of immigration. The situation is that in our flexible , globalised work-force which continues to be working well (evidence of OBR and independant economists to last week’s select committee), capable mechanical engineers continue to be in very strong demand. They are critical for the private sector so the wages are much higher than universties can offer. Therefore when university posts are advertised only those without residence apply.
    An interesting and illustrative twist is that in this area there was a vogue for Serb and Montenegran women to apply for this type of job. Their presence in the UK was dependant on that job.. but their partner (usually with a similar intellectual background) could enter and work without restriction.
    Students from abroad in mechanical engineering often complain that they were expecting to work in a British environment but discover that the bulk of the students and lecturers are also from abroad, often from the same countries as themselves.
    Abroad this is not seen though as a British problem but a key advantage of which there is jealosy.
    I can honestly say I have never heard of the determination to return home listed as a problem. Rather the opposite. Few Africans return home and I saw research claiming that 750k highly qualified Africans were working in menial jobs in Europe. the previous Labour administration in Scotland tried to make it easier for graduates to stay in Scotland.
    Put simply, Britain’s greatest opportunity and one of its biggest problems is that everyone would like to live in London

  21. If anyone is interested I have a blog post on this very issue:

    In my view, so called ‘grade inflation’ reflects more upon an inflation of the stakes for both schools and young people over the last thirty or so years.

    If people understood the amount of pressure schools of all types are under to produce results and (dampen gag reflex) ‘add value’, they might begin to see why teachers and students are so much better at working and teaching to the exact demands of whichever assessment model is employed.

    The issue only really becomes political when you peel back and examine the motives many have for their distaste at increased pass rate. Conservative minds hate the idea of an increasingly successful and skilled population. As they become better at answering the questions, they might one day become better at asking the right ones too!

  22. Alec,

    You raise two very important points. I’ll deal with the second first.

    A child (unnamed) in a school (unnamed), had been through an event of serious trauma relating to child protection issues surrounding the case. He sat GCSE history very ill prepared. Of course the examiner could not have known this.

    The child got an E. The examiner wrote on the script “This is a deserved fail”. Or something to that effect. The child had targetted an e-grade. His own to one support had spent months working on his psychological comeback & confidence to try and get him out of the paradigm his previous trauma had so rigidly set him in.

    Needless to say when the script came back with those words on it the child was shattered. The male examiner to say will not mark again. An E can be a fantastic achievement for certain children. The effect of the stigma of receiving a letter through the post with the word ‘fail’ on it when for you represents such a gain is for some children heartbreaking. It is not our place to judge other’s ambitions. My partner’s sister got results last week that she felt merited a celebration. If I had got them I would have cried but surely it is her perogative not mine.

    It is indicative of older male teachers, in particular, to take the line that you do. So what the kid got an E call it a fail call it a pass, is there some kick to be had from putting a dunce hat on the child.


    the first point….

    In 1977 if 100 A-Level maths students of high ability at an A-level approx 25% got As. No matter how good the 26th kid was, the Exam board would not award an A. Consequently the weaker candidates stayed clear of maths for risk of certain Us. The kids ending up with the low scores were of ‘good’ ability just not ‘high’ ability. An ‘average’ kid would stand out like a sore thumb. In 2007 a lot more kids sit the A-level Maths. The 100 kids of ‘high’ ability almost always get their deserved grade. Even the ‘good’ candidate now has a chance of an A. An average kid now gets an average grade and the weaker candidates get the weaker grades. Higher intake of students widens the spectrum of attainment allowing pupils to get grades broadly reflective of their ability. If you look at the intake %s. The % getting As has not changed ‘very’ significantly. The intake has simply grown.

  23. Barney,

    This is the link to PostGraduate . com. If you click the link “after your studies you will see the following excerpt. “Most international postgraduate students return to their home country very soon after finishing their programme.” (see for yourself)

    h ttp://

    I agree with you on the point about the Scotish gov. A PGCE in Scotland requires that you teach there for a year after you graduate… On my PGCE intake (Notts) There were 36 of us. 7 or 8 of us left England fairly shortly aterwards (I stayed for two years). Some went as far as Indiana, St helena and La Rochelle.

  24. [Alec – you can libel people by implication you know (well, you can’t on my blog, but in theory people can). I know the cabinet minister in question has only said he would take legal action against any print media, not blogs, but I really don’t like it in principle.

    Generally speaking, I expect it will be a story tonight and as Eoin would say, the dogs in the street know exactly which cabinet minister it refers to, but it people could refrain from going the whole hog and just writing stuff that would elicit legal action if a newspaper printed it – AW]

  25. Ffion wrote a book about David Lloyd George’s extra-marital affairs and hiscomplicted domestic arrangements. :( Commiserations

  26. I drifted through the extensive exchanges on education and came to the conclusion that we don’t seem to be able to agree whether the system is to decide who gets to sit on their bottoms for the rest of their life and who has to exert themselves physically, or whether it is to educate.

    Richard in Norway asked where are the plumbers? Where there’s one in America called Joe and there are a lot in Poland but neither are welcome here it seems.
    My post graduate biologist son, who is now working in a bar, has now considered going on an artisan course. It could be a good move, seeing what I have just paid to have my CH boiler serviced. I understand however that their knees give way at 50, crawling around lofts and cellars.

  27. Crispin Blunt, prisons minister has made an announcement… this is a separate story Alec?
    Telegraph make the point that this follows Laws and Huhne (I’d forgotten about him).

  28. @ Éoin & Alec

    I love education & I was a dab hand at last minute cramming for exams; I passed higher economics (Scottish 1 year equivalent to England’s A level) having attended about 3 classes. Therefore, I have no personal axe to grind.

    So here is my opinion for what it is worth: Education that’s objective is testing, to separate the wheat from the chaff & to rank people for University or Employment; what a waste! What a dumbing down – not of education but of the whole idea of what an education could be. 8-)

  29. Hello Amber. You echo my thoughts perfectly.

    We must not forget that this competition for the glittering prizes benefits those with pushy parents, as Eoin pointed out a while back (sorry ‘responsible’ parents).

  30. @ Howard

    I understand however that their knees give way at 50, crawling around lofts and cellars.
    Only the ‘macho’ ones. Two of my son’s ice hockey team mates are now plumbers. They wear knee & elbow guards (a ‘trick they learned from their hockey days) thereby avoiding the physical consequences of their profession.

  31. @NIGEL
    I fully intended to post to Sue Marsh today, to point out that there are ordinary soldiers in my sons regiment,
    which is the toughest infantry regiment in the British Army, not the Education Corps or Judge Advocates Corps, who have good degrees. Not many men in that category but they certainly exist. In general terms however, those who come from poorer backgrounds (and many do) are hardly educated at all. For those who are accepted into for example the Corps of Royal Engineers, a higher standard is and always has been required. As for the statistics you discuss, if they have been provided by the previous government then I have no faith whatever in their accuracy.

    It is clear that your map of the world and mine are very different. You inhabit a world which is far better for the last 13 years in terms of education, immigration and just about everything else. I most certainly do not. Your assertion that my concerns regarding immigration are actually very much in line with Labour policy is ridiculous, in my view they have created the problems and dangers. In terms of education, I am a daft old man who thinks everything was better in his day. What I am saying is, the evidence of my eyes and ears, in addition to the concerns of employers, tells me that despite the vast sums of money spent, the results are nowhere near commensurate. Of course the advance in technology has opened up new worlds for young people to study and large numbers of bright kids do well. These do not concern me, its the far to bigger number who spent 12 years at school and still cannot read and write. I reiterate my point which I made to NIGEL the late governments stats are things I have no trust in.

  33. Welcome to 111 NHS cut-price health advice. Sponsored by Rupert Mudrock . Yes I know we were going to be ring-fenced but the election is over now isn’t it so who cares ?

    “your call is in a queue, tiz about a fortnight long, please hold “

    “we really really do value your custom, you are now number 93 in the queue “

    “you are getting there – honest ! “ – – [ Greensleeves ]

    “press 1 if you are on your last legs”

    “press 2 if you have difficulty breathing “

    “press 3 if you have pains in the chest”

    “press 4 if you are turning blue”

    ”If you need transport to A&E please call a taxi”

    “ if you are still breathing press 4 and we will connect you to a human who has had at least sixty hours training and has access to a first aid box [ £5.99 fro Argos ] ”

  34. @COLIN
    Picking up on your reminiscence’s regarding A’ levels.
    Through my son who was at uni 5 years ago, I met a young lady reading English literature who thought Lewis Carol wrote the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Better yet a girl who missed a first by 1 point and read 20th century history, had never heard of Marshall Petain. BTW, this was a good old red brick not some ex college of further ed.

  35. @COSMO
    Hilarious, are you going to do a similar thing regarding cut price soldiers in Afghanistan. A few tips, no bullet poof vests, old Land Rovers with no protection, dodgy old Russian ammo which jammed the weapons after 5 rounds. Insufficient helicoptors and far to old helicoptors continually breaking down preventing casualty evacuation. Wounded men in standard hospital wards, in some cases abused by visiting Muslims. Do a little thing on that Cosmo.

  36. Roland,

    C S Lewis and Phillip Larkin both used an office that I had the pleasure of working in.

    I have a good friend who is an historian (funny that). He lives in a wee village in Tyrone. Every time he goes home at Christmas he goes to the local pub to celebrate xmas drinks with ‘the locals’. There is an annual ritual whereby he is not allowed a pint unless he answers a question on historical fact asked by public alcoholic. Every year since 2003 he has failed to get the question correct.

    We collectively know 0.01% at the very most. Did it ever occur to you that the lady reading 20 century history perhaps specialised in gender history? or black history? or oral history? Professors of French history are about as common as Uni departments teaching french.

  37. Howard/Amber

    Both of your posts are very pertinent. We test too much and too much of what we learn is pointless.

  38. @Billy Bob – no, it’s a separate story.

    I laughed when I read this is the Telegraph – “The minister, who is married, has been accused of having an affair with a Whitehall official and of having a long-term relationship with a journalist. He has strongly denied the allegations. Senior Downing Street aides are braced this weekend for “suggestive” reports to begin surfacing over the Cabinet minister’s private life.”

    Err – like this one?

  39. @ROLAND
    You seem to think that cuts should be for all public services except the armed forces.
    Ask a nurse (or an ex nurse) and they will probably want cuts in all public services except the health service..
    Ask a teacher and they will probably want cuts in all public services except t education.
    Cuts are cuts.
    You can’t have it both ways.

  40. @Roland Haines

    Good day my fine gentleman. It’s your old Pol Pot admirer, here. What are we to me make of this chap Crispin Blunt, do you think? He seemed to be from fine stock, married to a lovely gal and with an excellent army career behind him. He even voted the right way in the debate on whether gays should be allowed into the armed services, saying quite explicitly that it would be a bad thing, and he seemed to all the world to be an exemplary Englishman and Tory. Nothing dodgy, liberal or remotely Guardian-reading about him at all, but now we find him to have been a secretly gay man for over 20 years.

    Is the world going mad and is there nothing sacred anymore? I must admit I’m losing my way in these matters and I crave your moral certainties and eternal verities. Can you help me plot my way through this moral confusion?

  41. EOIN
    Forgive me I should have made it clearer. This lass studied and very successfully based on her results, The World Wars and the Dictator’s.

  42. Roland,

    Ahh that does make it clearer. Well then it that case your story stands. Please forigve me. :)

    Yes I believe defence of the realm is THE number one priority. Especially in these days of involvement in a war which the Muslim world find most upsetting.

    My post to the Hilarious Cosmo is past tense. The conditions which I describe are no longer as severe.
    However they log the situation which the government of the day was prepared to expect the British Armed Services to put up with. When it reached a head of course deceit and denial was the order of the day.

    This guy is not the first Tory homosexual. It is my understanding, that these days, finding a person of the same gender so attractive and enticing, that one wishes to have fully intimate sexual intercourse with them is perfectly healthy and normal. This is hardly my view point, but what do I know. For it has been decreed by New Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties. The obnoxious bigots in the Tory party (like me) have had to give way and get on message.

    PS although full of obnoxious bigots there has never been a shortage of those prepared to practice within Tory ranks. I must say it seems very popular with all politicians

  45. @ROLAND
    Fair enough, but there is a contradiction, is there not, in criticising the last administration for spending too much money on public services on the one hand and not spending enough on the other.
    Personally, I think a civilised country should be prepared to invest in all the most important public services, eg. health, education and defence.
    Whether the money that has been spent on public services has been invested wisely, is of course another matter.

  46. I am in the grip of indecision.

    Alec posted an appeal for opinion, but nothing more was said. I don’t want to stir up slights forgotten, but I don’t want Alec to think everyone ignored him. Maybe there was moderation-age that I missed. As there is now a new thread though….

    FWIW Alec, I always find your posts extremely helpful and have never read anything from you that seemed offensive in any way. Please do keep posting.

  47. Roland @ 5.40 pm

    Thanks for your memories on exams.

    Seems we are in a time warp you & I !!

    My eldest grandaughter has just sat four A levels, one grade being an E. I was comiserating with her dad, because she needs a higher grade & he explained that she will do them again next year and can lift the overall grade by doing better next time.

    He took 5 A levels after two years study-all together-once.

    When I read the views of Amber & Howard on the the purpose & relevance of an education,to the individual & to the country , I realise why those Political Compass scores were so different to mine.

    c’est la vie Roland ;-)

    Seems that the “keep throwing money at it” school are struggling somewhat over the pond.

    I see the unions have demanded Ed M. be enthroned-well that’s good news at least. ;-)

  48. Colin – This article reminded me of a debate on here a while ago.

    If only she hadn’t included the words “the poor” eh?

    h ttp://

  49. Eh Up Colin! I’m in the time warp with you and Rolly on the A levels memories, although my Political Compass scores are radically different to yours.

    Call me a left wing old f*rt, but I feel an honest assessment of your abilities and occasional failure is often a far better way to get the best out of life. ‘It certainly didn’t do me any harm’, to coin a phrase.

    @Sue – many thanks.

  50. Alec


    I obviously realised that after our earlier exchanges-but didn’t want to include you lest you lose browny points . ;-)

    Won’t comment further-there is no point-and it just drives my blood pressure up !

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