Here are some bits and pieces from polls you may have missed.

ICM did a poll on Faith schools for Channel 4. On the principle of faith schools, 37% thought there should be faith shools, 59% disagreed (although the wording was a bit harsh – the anti-faith school argument said “schools should be for everyone regardless of religion”, so it’s possible some people who picked that option may have supported faith schools if they were not allowed to select on the basis of religion). On the subject of admissions, 37% thought it was understandable the lengths some parents went to get their children into their preferred school, with 60% saying it was wrong for parents to pretend to belong to a religion to get into a school. People were split on whether or not schools should have a daily religious assembly – 45% agreed they should, 44% disagreed.

Moving on, there was a short YouGov poll commissioned by the Ed Balls leadership campaign and the CWU on whether the post office should be privatised or not. 60% thought it should remain wholly in public ownership, 13% that is should be part-privatised and 15% that is should be privatised completely.

Interestingly enough, we used pretty much the same wording for this poll as for this poll of Labour members for Compass back in 2009 – back then 66% of Labour members opposed privatisation, 24% supported part-privatisation and 5% complete privatisation, giving us the rather surprising result that Labour members are marginally more likely to support privatisation than the general public. The reason for this odd answer is straightforward – back in 2009 it was Labour party policy to support post-office part-privatisation – I suspect Labour party members would be much less supportive now it is the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government doing it! On the subject of party supporters becoming more positive towards a policy when their own side puts it forward, there’s a good article here (hat tip to Paul Goodman at ConHome).

Finally, here’s some interesting bits and pieces from the YouGov daily polls. Following Eric Pickles instructions to councils to have less road signs and clutter, 43% of people agreed there were too many road signs on Britain’s roads, 10% too few and 37% that the balance was about right. (here). And finally, on THE BIG ISSUE of the last week, 84% of people said they though the cat-binning lady should be prosecuted for animal cruelty. (here).

The only poll I’m aware of tonight is the regular YouGov/Sunday Times figures at 10pm.

420 Responses to “Things you may have missed”

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  1. @Nick Hadley

    Interesting post. The Tufton-Bufton of whom you speak is an effective bromide for the more erudite contributors who can be equally scatter-gun in their approach at times.

    I predict a thought provoking piece in the once serious Guardian about Sam Cam’s choice of name, and that sixities drug-culture inspired cult sensation The Magic Roundabout.

    We are all too human though. Ed Miliband (even his most trenchant advocates admit he is the unfinished article) seems very driven at the moment. How much of that has to do with his own development vis-a-vis an older sibling I wonder.
    Our own allegiences are as fiercely determined by an appraisal of personal potential as the day-to-day policy options.

    Interestingly the Egyptian youth are petitioning via facebook for a 67 year-old to eventually replace Mubarrak.

  2. Is it just me ?…

    …or is there something seriously weird about the reported battle between the Milli. brothers?

    I find it bizarre-and if the press reports of a serious rift after the decision , are correct, the whole thing is going to look a bit distaseful isn’t it?

  3. Colin,

    Hypothetically, if you both seek to follow in your father’s footsteps but disagree over what or where those foosteps lead, conceivably the potential fall-out is infinite. To their credit/detriment (delete where approp.) they are two proud daddies boys… After 1956/68 British marixsm suffered an identity crisis it has not yet figured out (see E. P. thompson & Erice Hobsbawm). DM thinks that a post-moderinist realignment of the centre is the best solution to marry socialism to capitalism. But EB is quite an old fashioned social democrat. Age could be something to do with it. Stalin and authoritarian socialism is a distant memory for EB but perhaps DM experienced some of his father’s disiullusionment with scientific socialism. It is all very complicated I accept but the differences are very real.

    Have you a link on the recent rifts?

  4. AW
    ‘to have less road signs’

    Er – fewer Anthony.

    On your first article, I think you might have pointed out that the wording does not differentiate between one faith and another. Some voters will not consider C of E schools as ‘faith’ but will be brainwashed by news media to think it means Muslim.

    I don’t think we can get much out of that one – please try harder ICM (if it has a choice – these things are dictated by the customer I know.

    As always, thanks for all these polls.

  5. The Pickles poll is tending to push an open door. It puts the polled in a position to assert their feelings of freedom and resent big brother who knows best.

    Populist politicians always get caught out eventually and I savour the day when the public will wake up to him. At the moment i imagine he is invisible, (which takes some imagining).

    If the voters were asked individual questions about each road sign, i doubt if many would get the thumbs down.

  6. Lily allen tweeted a political joke to DM’s twitter yesterday. It is to be taken with a pinch of salt (please) but it is funny.

    Lily: “Why did David Miliband cross the road? To get to the middle. Vote Ed.”

  7. Eoin, I agree, but there is also the question of having some limited influence to tame capitalism and ameliorate its downside, while watching for transformative events (collectively at the G8/20 level that opportunity has been largely spurned so far), or sacrificing influence altogether. Positioning is everything.
    Amused to see the union which threatens to abandon Labour if it does not elect EM cites DC to counter the notion that EM is as yet unformed.

  8. On the post office privatisation, there is another problem potentially with this one.

    On TV discussions and vox pops on this subject, I have noted that many voters mix up the Post Office with sub post offices, the latter of course already privatised and were never anything else AFAIK.


  9. BillyB,

    Perhaps. It is for the voters to decide and I am sure they will.

    There is also a strain between them on emphasis. Ralph went through phases were he was obsessed with International relations before (towards the end of his career focusing more on domestic). I detect that same “crisis of emphasis” between these two. They certainly have different passions.

    Taming capitalism? There are ‘corrective forces’ built into capitalism (arguably boom and bust is one). Mitigation of its downsides comes into play- I do wish to comment of how these two envisage ‘ameliorating’

  10. test

  11. Can’t think of a Tory equivalent to Lily Allen, but “vote David not Dave” in 2005? ;)

  12. keith

    Apparently Danny Alexander has ruled out tax cuts for the middle class before the next election. It seems to me likely this might need to change in future if the coalition is hoping to survive beyond that. Another Falklands war or similar might not go so well a 2nd time around.

    this is welcome news but i doubt that this has been cleared with high command, of course he is not ruling out a giveaway budget entirely. i wish he was.

    it seems to me that every pre election budget i can remember has been tax cutting and every post election budget tax raising. i think one classic example is 1979 but even when the same party wins they tend to claw back pre election tax cuts

    i know that the problem is not confined to FPTP countries but it is true that the stakes are so high in FPTP that it is almost inevitable that the ruling party will try to cheat with irresponsible tax cuts. the problem of course is economic damage done by this start stop and occasional tax cut booms. economic policy should be decided on economic grounds rather than political ones, but of course it almost never is

    another problem is that these tax cuts educate the public to expect reduced tax and to the belief that tax cuts are good while tax rises are always bad. this makes it almost impossible for politicians to pursue a responsible economic policy

    by responsible i mean……..raising taxes in the boom years and setting this money aside to pay for tax cuts and increased spending in downturns. and above all else keeping interest rates stable at around 2% above inflation. i’m not sure which economic camp this kind of policy falls into probably the hopelessly naive camp.

    we might be lucky at the next GE because it could be that a give away budget would not be in the political interest of the dems, if the polls suggest a hung parliament then a give away budget could result in a blue majority and no need for libdems in govt. perversely a give away budget could see the dem increase their vote but see them out of govt. but it would be difficult to publicly argue against tax cuts almost suicidal, i can’t see a slogan of “no to irresponsible tax cuts” going down well

  13. howard

    are you not talking to me anymore?

  14. Richard in Norway
    I am just now getting ready for Francorchamps but Richard, what have I to say? Is it something from the previous thread?

  15. howard

    sorry just being oversensitive, i was referring to coalition ministers instead of libdem ministers about 50 posts back

  16. Colin – “In the Labour leadership campaign….any aide who utters an unfavourable word about either brother will be met with a glower.
    This unwritten rule is a telling illustration of this strange contest for the Labour leadership, now a two horse race between brothers, who, when not competing with each other are genuinely warm and loving. Friends say that when the race is over they will regain their fraternal closeness.”

  17. Eoin:

    ” People will be nervous about giving us a mandate, they’ll think we are a risk, inexperienced or not able administrators. Thus, ‘we’ must make good our first shot at it.”

    You can’t fault the SNP leadership for effort on that, but is it enough?

    The late Labour swing in the UK election is probably not transferable. Labour’s unremitting negatiivity is to the SNP’s advantage. If Labour has anything else to say, it isn’t noticed. They are on their fifth leader in eleven years, each one distinctly less effective than the last.

    The AS statement mentions the gap closing. That’s probably the constituency vote compared with Westminster, but it is the list which will determine which is the largest party.

    I speculated above on why the list vote question wasn’t published

    I don’t see AS quitting if they lose. They won’t lose badly. He quit before and he was persuaded to change his mind. Now he sees the possibility of being in charge when independence is achieved.

    There is a risk in puting the emphasis on independence in the campaign. It’s not a vote winner in itself. People know its SNP policy, not least because Labour keep reminding them.

    Linking it wih the economy is safer. Judging by reactions at last week’s meeting, the SNP are on to a good line on renewables and quality food prduction.

    Looking ahead at the economy for the next 50 years as AS has lately been doing is serious politics. I wonder if people will take note. The press are more concerned with personalites.

    This is a food and tourism island and the potential is well understood. The tourist industry wants to link the two for high value short stay tourists rather than Ma, Pa and the Broons on fish and chipsand ice cream.

    It sems very open to me since even one Labour gain from SNP could change the government.

  18. john B

    would an independent Scotland include Corby

  19. John B,

    Yes I agree with you. SNP are probably one of the most united parties in these isles. I admit I envisaged the May 2011 being a gimme for Reds due to blue being back in down in London. Split ticket voting- might not happen in the way I envisage if the SNP can convince the voters it is better placed to face down blue cuts…

    The Express article very interesting pointed out the exit of GB/AD/JM from the red leadership. I have been pondering this myself and i do think it will be a contributor. They say middle England turned their back on Brown. Is there such a thing as ‘middle Scotland’ in these methophorical psepological sense? I dont know but I reckon some posh Englander might not be so appealing.

    That said, Scotland Labour will tell you it is all about Iain Gray. The Express had some interesting thoughts on that.

    I hope more pollng occurs. Regarding the list vote, Anthony tells us it is very unlikely results of a poll would not be published so I cannot say I know much about that…..

  20. Contacts tell me that Simon Hughes is close to a ‘breaking point’ whatever that may mean – we shall see!

  21. @ Richard in Norway

    would an independent Scotland include Corby?
    It would include everything North of Watford within 25 years of independence, IMO. ;-)

  22. DavidB,

    It is a matter of when and not if with Simon. I have always suspected, he will want to be seen to have given the coalition a fair chance first. If that is the case, his timing will have to be perfect…

    Are the left of the LDs further left that say Tony Blair? If so, to what extent does it matter who wins on 25/09/10? They wont want a Union Man will they?

  23. EOIN

    Picked up a bit more on this and whilst I can’t vouch for it’s veracity it has the ring of truth – apparently Simon got a roasting at a closed meeting of his constituency party sometime in July, the LibDems have been making desperate efforts to hush up the whole thing and Simon is very unhappy – as the only Lib Dem MP representing a truly working class urban area he’s got a problem which he’s not going to be able to solve as long as he sticks with the coalition.

  24. DavidB,

    Ta for that. I do not often post the articles on yellow disention but I think you might find this one worth a read.

    h ttp://

  25. amber

    too true, but south of watford they won’t be too bothered

    i heard a comment from a RH kind of person once

    “barbarians north of watford wøgs start at calais”

    i thought if corby was included it might be interesting and kinda fun to have passport controls in the middle of northamptonshire

  26. Eoin


    No links-it was just stuff in today’s Sun. Times.

    EM railing against the evils of “American type” capitalism. Speculation about whether either would serve under the other. etc etc.

    I really hope EM gets it-that will be a fun time.

  27. “i heard a comment from a RH kind of person once
    “barbarians north of watford wøgs start at calais””

    Only a Richard in Norway kind of person would write that.

  28. Eoin

    found it :-

    “”If Ed Miliband wins the Labour leadership, his older brother is likely to quit politics altogether and the party would lose one of its brightest stars.” – The Sunday Times today

  29. @Colin

    You and DC both. The Guardian yesterday reported his private fears of DM.

    Inner thoughts of GB predictably that he considers DM disloyal, but has doubts about EM’s political skills. More surprisingly Blair never happy with DM’s political orientation and tried unsucessfully to oust him before 1997, eventually appointing Adonis as special policy advisor when DM entered parliament.

  30. Amber,

    I live in Yorkshire, and my Wife has Scottish ancestry. I have always felt we have more in common with our Celtic cousins that the South of England.

    We would love to move to Scotland. We fell in love with Drumnadrochit, and also liked Glengarry (her clan’s Ancestral home). An independent Scotland with a near certainty of never having a blue Government would really seal the deal for us….

    Room for a Six Sigma Black Belt up there??

  31. @Garry K & Amber Star – why stop at Watford? Large chunks of Canada, and the more up-market arrondissements of Paris are ripe for the picking.

  32. Billy Bob,

    Have you got the number handy? ;-)

  33. EOIN

    Thanks for that link – very interesting indeed and odd that it hasn’t been picked up by mainstream media – maybe they are all biding their time?

    Musing about a possible LibDem split down the line, this could be incredibly messy, with LD members of the government possibly sticking with the coalition (a bit of power can be addictive) andthe rest maybe tending to vote with Labour. DC won’t be too worried if he can hold on to those LDs in the government as he’ll still scvrape a majority but I suspect the corrosive inpact of a split like this would see the coalition falling apart soon after.

  34. DavidB,

    As far as interested news outlets go- the Daily Mirror is the only one that would be interested. They aint noted for their high brow investigavtive journalism.


    I can understand blues fancying their chances with Ed M in charge. Ideologically he would be much easier to pin down. In pugilist terms it would be like fighting the big guy (easy target- harder they fall etc. etc.).

    I like to look at it differently.

    The last two elections were fought with pragmatists leading the winning parties. They both got c.36-7%. Not a great return I’d say.

    I forsee 2015’s landscape being more amenable to principled politics. This does not take away from DC’s principles but I think you would agree the public were not ready to trust he had them pre-election. Thus, he was pigeon holed as a pragmatist whether he liked it or not (I like he liked it).

    Dm in pugilistic terms is a ducker and diver hard to pin down and maleable to whatever way the wind/climate goes. He will fight the election on the same turf as DC/NC (what a crazy election that would be).

    I read the Telegraph and occasionally the mail. They spit blood over Cameron (hitchens latest is worth a survey). I think they have given up on calling him David Cameron and replaced it with Cameron’s Blairism. I’d ask you to ponder this: How would a Boris Johnson character fancy his chances of rousing the rabble if Left’s flank was wide open and the blue’s right flank was a gaping hole. (Oswald Mosely would fancy his chances that is for sure). I think that the 2015 prize will go to the party who can best conceptualise the 2015 post-cuts landscape. If the choice was between DC or DM I am not sure who I would prefer? If life is a journey, where will both those two be in 5 years time? I might be tempted (if I was a floating voter) to stick with the David I know.

    If it was a contest between Ed and Dave – I would struggle to envisage that narrative. I was not around for Heath’s era and by then we had Wilson. Would it be some akin to a Heath v Kinnock?

    I don’t know enough about Ed M to answer that.

  35. Eoin

    Interesting thoughts-thanks.

    I think so much obviously depends on the economic outcome.

    If the fiscal tightening leads on to economic growth & private sector job creation , then I think DC has a chance of portraying EM as the way back to a failed philosophy.
    Indeed if that growth is achieved despite active union resistance to government policies, and overt support for “their man” , DC will have all the amunition he needs.

    If the economy doesn’t deliver, EM will have a more strident, simple , and less nuanced message than his brother, and it may appeal.

    Meantime Labour just have to keep trying to break the coalition up before the answer to the economic outcome is known-just in case DC gets it right.

    Boris is interesting. I am reading that he intends to “die in a ditch” for Crossrail & Tube funding.I don’t think he has any alternative -if GO chops Boris’s funding too much, then KL is waiting in the wings .
    GO’s Treasury have Boris’s future prospects in their gift-do they really want him back in HoC ?…………..indeed, as you perhaps imply, given an EM Labour leadership, a Con loss of London in 2012, Boris back as an MP, the closing years of a DC administration could get uncomfortable……………unless he delivers on the economy.

  36. Ministerial nomenclature
    Richard, I found the post you sent (I missed off the first page of the thread when logging in)

    In coalition countries, Ministers are referred to as just that. Sometimes when there is a debate within a coalition their affiliation will be reported in brackets after their name so:

    Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Lib Dem).

    This seems to me to express the situation in appropriately neutral style.

    But the press are soon fixated. They still refer to the Euro as ‘the single currency’ as though it were possibly divisible in some way. Their mind set is that it will fall apart one day, hence the expression.

    Another example is the pronunciation of 2001 – 9.

    They got stuck on ‘two thousand and 1’ etc instead of ‘twenty oh one’ (how do you say ‘1903’).

    There, I think the psychology is that there is something new and dangerous about the new century (space odysseys and all that – they’re children really, like Mr Charndyce’s friend).

  37. Sorry Jarndyce.

  38. Colin,

    I typed you a rather long post on Boris only for it too be eaten by that code thing I always get wrong. I cant multi-task so I will type it up a li’l later.

  39. Eoin

    Its like that old road safety thing -look left , look right, then step out.

    Copy to Paste it ,Captcha Code it- then Submit it. :-)

  40. Colin,

    Hmm… I’ll try that in future. Thanks.

  41. Eoin,
    This happens to me too if I do a long post. The answer is simply to hit the ‘Back’ button of your browser, and then type the new captcha code, and then submit again.

  42. Pete B

    You must do right click then copy first in my experience. |Sky News site has the decriptiomn of Danny A exactly as I wrote about favourably earlier – good on ’em.

  43. Of course running the spelling checker first is also advisable – excuses!

  44. Refreshing the captcha code with the little curly arrows before posting also helps. Do it everytime, it quickly becomes a habit. 8-)

  45. Colin,

    Another attempt…

    Boris’ budget is £7bn p.a.? Am i correct?
    He wont be able to guarantee his C.T. freeze for 2011-2 will he?
    I know he done well to drive the costs of the Underground down but with Crowe’s shenanaghans and reports that fares have climbed by as much as 25% it looks set to trouble him..
    He has already been on an efficiency savings drive since ’08.
    If on top of that GO hits him with more cuts then KL/OK must have a good chance….

    Saying that if he wins and then makes a good fist of the Olympics he will be well poised for a 2016 leadership bid…
    Mind you Rudi Guiliani had a tought time with his Reublican launch so it is not as straightforward that a stint at local level is a spring board… I wonder if the Republican primaries will have any effect our our Mayoral Campaign. With Mit Romney and Palin going head to head – it will be interesting to see the appatetite for the latter’s Cavalier approach…

  46. i have a bad habit of hitting the refresh button instead of the spell checker, tis very annoying, why is the CAPTCHA code necessary

  47. @Eoin – “conceptualise the 2015 post-cuts landscape”

    Was something thinking along the same lines this afternoon: if the cuts are really that deep then it is possible the public might look more favourably at a Brownite (EM led) reinvestment in public services.

    However, it would truly be a triumph of PR for “Cameron’s Blairism” (as opposed to actual coalition policy/personel over the previous five years) to be percieved as indistinguishable from a DM led shadow cabinet containing Balls, Cooper, Crudas et al.

  48. eoin

    the US reds must have something better than palin V romney, if not they are in trouble

  49. BillyB,

    Interesting take.

    What Portfolio do you envisage JC (Cant spell his second name) doing? In this era of politics, parties are defined by their leaders i am inclined to say…

    Thus, as appetitising as Balls and Education and Yvette as the Treasury would be, I think it will be a straight shoot out between the to Dave’s…. DM will be 50 at the next election (a nice age in my opinion for a leader) but equally, he cannot claim to be the young fresh alternative… that accolade would still be DC’s. I shudder at the personality stufff such as that but I am told James Murdoch does not.

  50. @ Eoin – “young fresh alternative…” lol
    Simon Hoggart is charting the progress of male pattern baldness by the day.
    Young Jimmy Muroch’s take on things will be pertinacious though… best not to play into his hands.

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