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. BillyB,


    I admire strategy and I understand where the DM appreciation society forsee’s him going with it.

    Objecitvely, I do not buy it. I think the public are wise to middle ways, third ways, heirs, cast irons, hands of history, 45minutes, extraordinary renditions, bridges to the 21st century…, It is my honest opinion.

    Put it this way. Obama is the coolest dude we are ever likely to get running a country. The guy smoozes charm. So did slick willy. So did Blair. cameron aint bad at it… DM aint that good at it.

    Cozmo called it Russian Dolls. I invite you to track down a movie entiteld multiplicity, DM is copy no.4. If what he has is charm, gees you lot must be starved of it. We bottle charm over here and I aint seen an ounce of it in him. Just my personal point- and I respect you have yours.

  2. BillyB,

    One other side issue. His two best qualities you share. He is an old fashioned libetarian in the sense that he aint gonna strap a CCTV camera to us all and tell us how to live our lives. I also strongly suspect he would never dream of interfering in other country’s business. He is a non-interventionist, which I venture to say you are too. It is an admirable quality, which will save a lot of Asian lives should he ever become PM.

  3. Appreciate the sentiment Eoin, thank you.

    I see good qualities too; serving in cabinet is not, as someone suggested the other day (about AD), failing to realise potential, not blossoming. A case can be made that some ministers have been more influential than the PMs they served.
    I don’t agree with TB and Ali C on all that much, but I just don’t see EM being PM.

    PS. I liked the Russian Doll metaphor a lot, but I don’t let it determine my perceptions.
    Also BO does cool… charm not so much (that is something the public do get wise to in the end).

  4. I’ve got a good idea! Why don’t we all talk in code, so as to make this our own cosy little club, and as inaccessible as possible to the general reader!

    I propose that BB should be the prime proponent of this. I am sure that we all agree it makes the site so much more interesting when it is almost incomprehensible.

    PS Just in case anyone hadn’t realised, I’m being sarcastic.

  5. PETE B

    Disagree – think the acronym game is rather fun (IMHO of course!) and apart from the ref: to Ali C, which I’m still puzzling over, I haven’t had any deciphering problems.

  6. DavidB

    allaister camp. :)


    Healthcare, Geithner’s stimulus, and the Prague accord on Nukes make this presidency much better than I thought it would be. I was a Hilary fan but I was wrong about Obama. Maybe I’ll be wrong about Dm too lol.

  7. Ali C = Alistair Campbell? It’s worse than the b—-y Telegraph Crossword.

  8. Pete B

    It’s not that hard. According to Billy Bob, someone doesn’t appear to be post-menopausal, and he’s really keen on having body odour.

  9. OldNat,

    BO- Obama :)

    BillyB tut tut… :)

  10. Apols Pete B, it took me a while to understand the abbreviations people use in this site, now I routinely use initials to denote the politicians who regularly crop up in discussions. It must look crazy.
    Sorry again, just filling up space… it’s quiet… I’ll shut up. :)

  11. Oldnat – Laugh Out Loud (I daren’t abbreviate it after my moan).

    Billybob – You’re not the only offender, just the most recent. I’m just aware that this is a public site, and we should be mindful of casual visitors (or politicians, who are generally dim).

  12. (Eoin, me too on Hillary and Barack, exactly. She is still doing a good job, and they handled the rapprochement in an admirable way.) May we live and learn :)

  13. BillyB,

    Yes she did- didnt she. Great woman! :) (Hilary clinton casual reader) ;)

  14. i can’t understand why danny’s warning on no tax cuts for the next 5 years is not a bigger story

    he hasn’t been slapped down yet and he appears to suggest that there won’t be any sweeteners for middle england before the next GE

    i had expected more talk about it here, as i mentioned earlier the dems are unlikely to benefit from a giveaway budget but DC will get crucified if he doesn’t cough up

  15. Richard,

    He is not george osbourne
    In 12 months he wont even be chief sec to the treas.
    It is a tempoary stop gap statement…
    As far as strategy goes, if you make someone believe there is a chance you will do something for them and then don’t- it will breed resentment. Vice versa, if you say you will not do owt and then do! – you’re everybodies hero.

    With david Laws and George Osborne stewarding the ship- exect a March 2015 19% Income Tax.

    I was impressed with Danny Alex’s interview. But I was equally unconvinced by his content.

    That’s my penny’s worth.

  16. eoin

    i would tend to agree but a giveaway budget is no good for the dems if it gives the blues a majortiy

  17. Richard,

    Yeah good point…

    perhaps, if the identical budget ie march 2015 completed the journey to the 10k threshold for PTA (personal tax allowance) Then the yellows on the exact same day as 19% Income could share the headlines with their manifesto committment being reached.

    For the upcoming Prime minister;s debates it would help counter red accusations that ‘yellows got nothing’.

  18. @Eoin & Richard in Norway
    “It is a temporary stop gap statement…, russian dolls etc”

    “i can’t understand why danny’s warning on no tax cuts for the next 5 years is not a bigger story”
    Just got home. Eyes beginning to glaze over due to over- long stream of announcements and sermons from ConDems over many weeks. Feels a bit phoney, mass brainwashing preparing us for Armageddon ?

  19. Cozmo,

    There is a lot of announcements and they are all negative. If we heard more about the big society or the voluntary corps or what this international aid is spent on it might cheer us up a little. But no- nothing- zip.

    Look on the bright side of life- We have a serialsiation of Tony Blair’s biography all next week. Prepare to hear Gordy’s name dragged through the dirt and his troupe of psycophants eulogised as if they were the Táin Bó Red Brnach Knights.

  20. Cozmo


    i’ll learn one day how to multi-task. :(

  21. Eoin

    There isn’t a middle Scoland, because it is so regional. Maybe it would need to be Charles Kennedy in the highlands and somewhere on the Old Labour right in the central belt. Nicola Sturgeon for example, but she’s in the SNP.

    NewLabour is pretty irrelevant in Scotland except to party loyalists. The members are Old Labour left and some have done just that,- left.

    Those who do not identify with any party are probably against Trident, bankers. closing post offices, privatisation, possibly Iraq, so somewhat to to the left of NewLabour and therefore while they might prefer GB to DC or TB would much rather have John Smith or Donald Dewar or Robin Cook and they would miss them more than those you mention.

  22. “The British Chamber of Commerce has today issued a surprising report in which the association has increased its forecast for UK economic growth in 2010 from 1.3% to 1.7%. The forecast for 2011 has also been increased from 2% to 2.2% although rather surprisingly the British Chamber of Commerce has also signalled its concern about the medium-term outlook for the UK economy.

    Over the next five years the Chamber of Commerce believes that UK gross domestic product growth will average around 2% growth per annum against an average of 3% between 1993 and 2007. This is also well down on the UK government’s Treasury forecasts and would seem to indicate that the British Chamber of Commerce believes there are more problems in the medium-term than the short term.”

    Financial .Uk

    This is a gathering trend view-better than anticipated growth this year , but peaking & flattening next year.-ie not double dip but low growth levels.

    To the extent that the current economic focus of the coalition is get the bad news out quickly-reap the rewards in the last few years of this parliament, they may have to revise it.

  23. @Eoin

    I was wrong about Obama too. I knew he’d be an improvement over Dubya and better than McCain but he’s done a far better job than I expected and I’ve been very impressed. Not everyone shares that view (I think I might be the only one).

    His approval ratings are remaining steady because of the stock market improvement and the economic growth. The upper middle classes and wealthy still strongly support him. There was great fear in late 08′ and early 09′ from these groups about their financial well being. The group that never had to fear or worry before suddenly was. But things have gotten much better under Obama and so he reaps the rewards.

    Hillary has made a great Secretary of State. She had to spend a lot of time working to get her supporters behind Obama during the general. But I think she and Obama always got along and liked each other personally. It was Bill and Obama who did not like each other. But aside from hurt feelings, bruised egos, and heated battles during the Primary, I don’t think that they ever disliked each other.

    I wonder if David Miliband has the same problems as Hillary did in the primary…..seen as an establishment candidate too willing to compromise and move towards the Third Way and not someone who can relate to the grassroots activists.

  24. @ Eoin

    Also, I was curious about British educational policy. Are parents not allowed to send children to the schools of their choice? And can you not send your children to a faith school if you don’t belong to that faith? Who makes the ultimate decision?

  25. Pete B – Good point about the acronyms etc.

    Eoin – May I ask how old you are?

  26. @Eoin
    Thanks. I will give the Blair biography a miss! I am not impressed by any of the leading lights trying to rubbish the last government, with the exception of criticisms that they lost touch somewhat with grass roots. I put this down to the fact that too many of them had comfortable and priveleged upbringings.

    Those MPs who now belatedly criticise the last 13 years had their chance to speak out if they were not happy. My leadership vote is up for grabs and I really don’t know who to support. Not sure whose utterances to believe actually!

  27. Lab 79 – Go MORE left wing, totally unelectable
    Lab 83 – Go MORE left wing, totally unelectable
    Lab 87 – Go MORE left wing, totally unelectable
    Lab 92 – Go MORE left wing, totally unelectable
    Lab 97 – Choose Blair, move to centre – BINGO! Landslide victories.

    Tories 97 – Go MORE right wing, totally unelectable.
    Tories 01 – Go MORE right wing, totally unelectable.
    Tories 05 – Go MORE right wing, totally unelectable.
    Tories 07 – Choose David Cameron over David Davis – BINGO! Electable.

    Demonstrates rather clearly why comfort zone politics isn’t very clever.

  28. Cozmo – I hear you, brother!!

    One might begin to forget that Lab were the party of the minimum wage, WTC, Winter Fuel, etc etc (I won’t complete the list in respect of Colin Roland et al). Sometimes feel like an apologist for Pol Pot when reading some of my “comrades” comments around the blogosphere.

    DM and EB seem most passionate about defending the record before they highlight the mistakes.

    I prefer this approach.

    (Casual reader:
    WTC = Working Tax Credit
    DM = David Miliband
    EB = Ed Balls )

  29. Cozmo,

    Yes I am inclined to agree. If one is being given the benefit of the doubt it is simply that. I do not see any ‘clunking fists’ that is for sure.


    England works on Catchment earea basis.. Take Arnold Notts. For example. It has three secondary schools one of which is faith all in the one area. They have feeder primary schools, where the consensus is if you go a certain primary you will most likely go to the certain secretary. Some parents wish to send their child to the faith school even though they have not experience of that faith. For example, the school has only about 50% of its pupils sharing the faith of the school. the other two schools are comprehensive schools. They accept sutdents of all abilities and with all needs. All three have roughly similar pass rates of 50% 5 A*-C grades, which is 20% below the national average. (That is to say there is no ‘good school’ as such.

    In neighbouring Lincolnshire it works differently. There are Grammar Schools and Boarding Schools. Take Skegness for example. Two Schools side by side. One baording/grammar where an entrance exam in required (11+). If you fail it you can only go to the school if you agree to pay boarding fees. It has a high attainment rate. Next to it the other school is largely a ‘failing school.

    I hope that explains it for you.

    Regarding your point about DM. yes he and Ed Balls would fall intot hat category and I think it has limited them both.

  30. Eoin – I would understand if you didn’t want to say how old you are, but the wider info highway implies around 26?

  31. @Sue Marsh
    Many thanks for that. It does help. I am not normally so indecisive ( but as they say, I used to be indecisve – but now I’m not so sure :) )

    I have met DM and he answered my questions very well, and came across as Prime Minsiter material. Real gravitas and intellect. I accept we cannot surrender the centre ground so I agree with him on that, but I don’t want an elitist team which is out of touch with grassroots.

  32. Cozmo – I worry too (greatly) about an “elitist team out of touch with the grassroots”

    I set out on a little experiment 10 days ago to see which would match rhetoric with action and depressingly not one of the candidates “put his money where his mouth was” to put it colloquially.

    I think Ed Balls is closest to my own heart, politically, but if I am to be forced to choose between two brothers, then I would not hesitate to vote David over Ed.

    Electability, Electability, Electability, to mangle a quote!!!

  33. Sue,

    I believe I am three years your junior. I was born in ’79.

  34. @Sue Marsh
    Yes DM just edges it for me. I agree on electability. Get the label on the tin right, even if the contents leave something to be desired. Just like DC and NC ! In any case, I don’t have heroes and I am much more concerned with the team as a whole. I would run it all like a co-operatve if I could!. I do like EB but think he needs to improve his public speaking style.

  35. Sue – I think you are unfair on Kinnock in 1987 and 1992. The Labour party was more centrist in 1987 than in 1983 and more centrist still in 1992… it just had a very long way to go from 1983.

  36. Cozmo – I think on balance I will go DM, EB, AB and not put a preference at all for the other 2.

    I wish in a way, the leader got to choose his shadow cabinet. IMO, we would quickly get an idea of what kind of leader they would be then. Shame we can’t get them all to draw up their ideal list before the vote. I have a sneaking suspicion that DMs would be the broadest church, the most inclusive, but AB might run it close.

  37. Sue,

    Comfort Zone- a phrase recently promulgated by D Miliband and Peter Mandleson (Today) Is not one I readily recongnise. The rationalist in me asks two questions: when were we last in this Zone? How comforting was it?

    Regarding Blue electability from the centre ground. I agree that DC moved them to the centre. So did Heath and so did Chruchill (see blue 1945 manifesto). Thats three good old fashioned wallops at centregound politics. Electorally, it might require a lot of synthesising before one could comment on how successful Centre Ground Politics have been for them. Nevertheless, it heartens me greatly that that is where they are. Furthermore, I respect your intelligence and thus it heartens me that that is where you think they are.

  38. Anthony – I thought that after I posted it. I meant to imply “MORE left” than centre/MORE right than centre, but realised it looked like I was saying Lab slowly moved more to the left as time went on.

    I nearly changed the 92 one actually, to read “moved a little to the centre, nearly electable” but it spoiled the pretty table ;)

  39. Eoin – That’s why I was wondering how old you were. (30 max?) Anyone post 35 remembers the constant head in hand moments all too well.

    Labour’s comfort zone is definitely EMs position, DMs doesn’t make Labour very comfortable at all.

    To answer your questions, we were firmly in that zone from pre 79 to 94. We were so far in the zone we needed binoculars to see the centre. It was so comforting, it led to lobotomy polices like 98% tax.

    It is not somewhere I ever want to be again.

  40. I’ve been wondering why the LDs seem to be performing better in voting share in recent I’ve been wondering why the LDs seem to be performing better in voting share in local council elections than the national opinion VI polls indicate.

    Can someone provide a reason for this apparent disparity/anomaly? (Sorry if I’ve missed an explanation sometime, somewhere.)

  41. Aha Eoin, thanks. Sadly for me, that is six years. I suppose I have clearer memories of Labour in the eighties.

  42. Sue,

    Discourse analysis studies the choice of language used and asked reasons for its deployment.

    Comfort Zone is a derogatory term, evoked to imply a yesterday lacking bravery and imagination.

    If is by implication that D Miliband’s campaign is brave and imaginative, then I am interested as to where that imagination takes us by way of policy.

    Bravery to me is a term used in politics to describe an unchartered journey. One, which is not oft travelled. One, which requires compromise and new strategies.

    Thus, it is with some irony that I few D Miliband’s proposition that we travel the same road that we have travelled since 1984. The continuation of a journey along a 26-year-old route is many things…


    Brave or imaginative are not two words I would use to describe D Miliband’s route…

    Try this expression for me: Wouldn’t it be fair to describe D Miliband’s route as comfort zone politics? Given that, we have been there for a generation?

    Now for a personal lesson my mother taught me. She said that if anyone is every calling you names that it is because either a) they are jealous b) the name they call you is perhaps their own Achilles heel.

    Thus, it was never the rich kid in the class who called me a tinker… It was the kid one notch above me on the poverty ladder.


    Which begs this question: Why do we think D Miliband would want to levy implied accusations of comfort Zone politics that lacked bravery and imagination at his little brother? Hmm… Pot-kettle?

  43. Comfort zone: I have a purely subjective impression that Ed Miliband enjoys a cosy bubble of approbation within a clique of youngish admirers. It is easy to say the things they like to hear. (Martin Rowson’s cartoon in The Guardian August 28, illustrates what will happed to him in the real world)

    Somone this morning suggested he was influenced by the Tony Benn of the eighties (his teenage years).

    Mandelson today. Marr interview with Blair to be broadcast on Wednesday. He will be questioned about the Milibands.

  44. BillyB,

    Let’s hope Blair declines to give a preference. Kinnock should have done so also. He owed a lot to Ralph Miliband’s support back in 1983, which I suspect is why he has taken Ed M under his wing.

    Regarding Ed M’s youth, I too count it against him. It does not rule him out but it makes him more of a risk. Occasionally risks pay off but if we are going to take that kind of risk I think Andy B is a better one.

  45. Good day all. Back from my hols.

    I was please to read that the priority for overseas aid spending will be its contribution to our own national security.

    I was dismaid that it was ever different. Clearly if we are going to help countires less fotunate than ourselves, and as we cannot help all countries, it makes complete common sense to supply help where it can also have the sipn off of assisting our national security.

    I can see this being a popular coalition policy.

    Since this is now to be the new policy one has to question the existance of DFID as an independent ministry.

    Surely it would be better to bring it back a a department of the F.O. and save lots of money on civil servants, buildings etc.

    Even better foor the coalition. IMO.

  46. @Social Liberal

    “I was wrong about Obama too. I knew he’d be an improvement over Dubya and better than McCain but he’s done a far better job than I expected and I’ve been very impressed. Not everyone shares that view (I think I might be the only one).”

    Andrew Rawnsley in yesterday’s Observer did an interesting piece on this and it was nice to see an essentially fine political journalist back on form and recovering from his skewed Gordon Brown obsession. He gave a balanced view of Obama’s first two years, making the point that such were the stratospheric expectations, he was bound to initially disappoint (unless he really could turn water into wine!), but he had some impressive legislative and foreign policy achievements already to his name. Healthcare, financial sector reform, major economic measures to reflate the recession-wrecked economy he inherited, bail outs to the two big US car companies (now restored to profitability), withdrawl from Iraq, deadline for same in Afghanistan and a resumption of the stalled Palestine/Israeli peace talks. Not bad at all in 24 months.

    Of course, the economy is still struggling and job losses continue and this will manifest itself in mid term Congressional losses for the Democrats, but Rawnsley makes the telling point about Obama being no worse off, even better in some cases, than most of his predecessors in terms of personal approval ratings at this stage in the first term electoral cycle. They all suffered mid term setbacks, only to recover and go on to comfortably win second terms. Clinton and Bush are the two most recent examples. There may even be a silver lining in the current political clouds for him with the Tea Party popularity bubble. The Palin tendency is causing centrist Republicans to tack sharply right to save their Congressional skins and, in some cases, Tea Party candidates are transplanting moderate Republican candidates. Sure, they’re translating short term discontent with Obama into electoral support, and also harnessing the Obama hating far right, but in the long term it’s a disastrous strategy and direction for the Republicans to take. The expression political suicide springs to mind and by 2012 they will be a hollowed out right wing shell with very limited electoral appeal

    Watch out for an Obama v Palin race in 2012 and, if I’m right, I’d love to book front row seats now! Obama to win by an absolute mile. He’s playing the long game and like all good politicians who play that game, he’ll win out in the end.

  47. John Fletcher

    Are you really saying there are no times when common humanity to help people in major crises are important? I hope not.

    An example. Haiti earthquake. I doubt any help given there has anything but the most minor impact on UK national security. Are you really saying we should not have helped there?

  48. “Ed Miliband: New Labour comfort zone cannot win us the next election”.

    What is that theory in research? Never start from the conclusion you hold and try to make the facts prove it is true.

    Look at the facts and only then can you draw a conclusion.

    Such obtuse posts can be very annoying though can’t they?

    Perhaps we should be more plain.

    If you dislike someone intensely you will always make the facts support your dislike. If you admire someone, you will be blind to their faults. I am sure we are all guilty at times, of trying to convert others to our opinions as we are so convinced we are right, we believe we know better than they.

  49. @ Jack

    No I am not.

    I believe there is a diferentiation between general overseas aid given as a matter of policy over the longer term and for specific projects, and emergency aid given in the event of crisis.

    I was refering to the former.

  50. JohnF,

    Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed Brazil (it was Brazil wasnt it?). Your reamalgamation of DFIF smacks of common sense.


    Thanks for the Ed M quote it seems they are both at it. I am glad Amber warned me off Ed M quite early on. She has her head screwed on that is for sure. To my mind there has been 11 good policies to come out of Labour’s search for a new leader. 7 from Andy B 4 for Ed B. It is a pity the other three have nothing but empty words.

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