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. Roger,

    Interesting wording on that question

    “Which of the would make the best leader of the Labour

    In answer to that I might answer


    If I was asked, “who do you want as leader of the party”

    I would answer


    If I was asked “who will you vote for as leader of the party”

    I would answer

    With no second, third, fourth or frith preference.

  2. @Eoin

    I would be interested in your reasoning for voting solely for AB, with no preferences. Instead of voting your real preferences of EB, AB, EM…

  3. Thanks Roger M for picking up this poll before AW tells us about it (even).

    How interesting that the general impression is that the British electorate are well and truly politically asleep (see don’t knows – could be don’t care)..

  4. Jay, (alright but it is a bit of a ramble- forgive me).

    imho :)

    Ed B will not unite the party. he might well share my passion for children and education (as well as cooking but we wont go into that), but for part of the Labour party he is like marmite…. He carries too much baggage. His policies I like (hell I love), but I am not convinced of his leadership ability. Would he make a better minister? I think so. I hope he continues in front line politics.

    On immigration, Europe, Tax and Education I think he has a vision for the Labour party, which would see it recapture a significant portion of the stay at home vote.

    But the bottom line is that I want a united party not a marmite leader. Thus, he will not get my vote.

    AB represents a break from politics since Thatcher. He is an ordinary fella with a huge likeability factor. His moral compass is self evident. I think we could be proud of Labour with him as leader. He would empathise with the poor and disenfranchsied better than any leader we have had. His gender politics would be an improvement from Gordon’s. I think the party still has huge strides to make in terms of policy towards the aged. He seems to get thatmuch better than our previous leaders. I think the word cool is an anethema to him. I like a serious politicians (no gimmicks, PR or cool baseball caps). How he manages to link caring with his serious demeanor is impressive. Most of all, he has no appetite for belligerance. My biggest worry with Ed B is that he seems to want a tussle with anyone alsmot before he is elected. Compassionate politics are important and AB is best placed to represent the new face of Compassionate Labour. My mum taught me that you can always tell the mark of a man by how much he is willing to tell you. AB strikes me as very open book. He is not “I am too clever for you to understand so you will just have to trust me to conceal my box of tricks until election day”. he is up front about his care service. You see if you beleive in a policy, what does it matter if the other party steal it, hell they are welcome to it. As lon gas the policy becomes law. If blue want to snatch the care service idea, I’ll applaud them. Andy B can unite us.

  5. I’ve just looked up Ed Balls on Europe. All I could find was that he wants to keep out accession nation’s employees (too late) and wants to stop them sending money home. I don’t find anything of his remonstrances of that kind at the time they could have been relevant.
    What European policy Eoin, of Ed Balls, was it that you so admired?l

  6. Howard,

    re-read what I said. It would ‘capture the stay at home vote’….. Admired – no not on europe I am afraid.

    We have to be honest why we lost votes. Europe/Immigration was one of the reasons, thus a pause button is desireable. Turkish entrance being a good starting point. No European defence force being another. I admire Ed Balls policies on children and education. My own personal views on immigration are widely known: the more the merrier.

  7. Eoin
    Thanks,. I had a good scan of his leadership web site and there was nothjing on foreign affairs whatsoever.

    Bad ommission for someone tryting to attract votes of the faithful members like you, rather than the ‘don’t cares’ or antis of which you have written.

  8. @Jack -“… those in the Parliament… are the only ones who really know what is required”

    I doubt if that is a popular view, but I tend to agree.
    In the business of politics as carried out in the HoC, one’s peers are best judge of intangibles such as: ‘presence’, reactions to day-to-day events (and whether they proved to be the right ones), the interpersonal skills required and the confidence a leader must inspire especially from the dispatch box.

  9. Howard,

    These three (in order or relevance) might help illuminate Mr Balls. When It comes to immigration I have always tended to be a champagne socialist. Let’s face it, no Turkish immigrant is likely to steal my job as a junior lecturer in women’s history. Ed Balls makes a very storng argument as to why my ivory tower is a selfish one.

    h ttp://

    h ttp://

    h ttp://

  10. @ Sue

    I’d like to understand your ‘actions speak louder than words’.

    Andy Burnham
    1. Issues a min-manifesto jam packed with policy;
    2. Follows it up with the tax regime that would be needed to pay for it;
    3. Promotes anti-cuts petitions on his website;
    4. Robustly defends the NHS* in HoC**, on QT***, Newsnight etc. etc.;
    5. Gets out on the road, talking to people; e.g.
    6. Joins the campaign team, door knocking, for the Edinburgh council by-election.

    That seems like a lot of action to me. I’d genuinely enjoy seeing your list of actions by the other guys. I am obviously biased in Andy’s favour & may have missed what the other chaps have done. 8-)

    * NHS = National Health Service ;-)
    ** HoC = House of Commons
    *** QT = Question Time

  11. @Eoin Clarke

    “david miliband has nether loyalty to his colleagues or his party. he briefed against G Brown, failed to back Purnell and then intimated he would leave politics if he wee bro beat him. In my eyes that makes him self serving and unscrupulous…etc etc etc..”

    Don’t be such a sensitive old thing! Cliques and plotting within political parties are de rigeur and you show me a politician who is non-conspiratorial and we’ll probably find that he’s not a politician at all (or not a very successful one!!). I’m sure, as you say, that David Milliband thought about running against Brown in 2009, and was probably urged to do so by despairing colleagues, including James Purnell. Purnell, by the way, strikes me as a very thoughtful politician, who sacrificed a promising political career to get into the community and civic based politics that he truly believes in. Now, we can deride his politics if we wish, but I rather admire a politician who puts principle ahead of career. He’s one of the relatively few genuinely interesting politicians in centre left politics at the moment (Cruddas is another), but I suppose because of the knee jerk labelling that goes on, he will be forever condemned as a Blairite. Labelling and stereotyping, the enemy of intellectual thought and analysis, and one of the classic weaknesses of left wing politics.

    By the way, pray tell me the last socialist to lead the Labour Party? If you name anyone after Clem Attlee, I’ll know you’re not serious!! Incidentally, it’s no bad thing that a post war social democratic, centre left party is led by a non-socialist. Socialism is only one strand of what should be a very broad church, unless of course by socialism you mean Marxism. If so, I think you may need to look towards the party that Scargill formed a few years back.

  12. @ Nick Hadley

    Here’s the deal. When Obama was running for president, I couldn’t find a single political accomplishment he had under his belt (aside from manipulating an inherently flawed primary system). That’s not to say he hadn’t done anything in his life or wasn’t smart. He is smart, very smart, and he’d been a successful author. But I had some major reservations about what he’d acheive as president. His supporters, many of whom were simply obnoxious, seemed to have almost no idea of how our system of government worked. To them Obama would simply waltz into the Oval Office, snap his fingers, waive his magic wand, and everything would become perfect again.

    But now that he’s in office, I am viewing him from an objective perspective. He has had some major acheivements, the nuclear energy summit for one thing. He has helped stave off a second Great Depression. He has gotten through healthcare reform which no U.S. president has ever been able to push through before. He’s gotten the combat troops out of Iraq. He pushed through financial reform. He signed the Matthew Shephard Act into law. He’s made some stellar appointments to the courts. And his handling of the BP spill while a bit lacksadaisical at first has greatly improved. In fact if you want to compare Obama’s first two years to Clinton’s first two years, Obama has done a far better job. Also, as bad as the first Bush was, he didn’t leave massive messes for his successor to clean up unlike Dubya who left behind massive messes for Obama to clean up.

    Obama does have a higher approval rating than both Clinton and Reagan at this point in his term. What will be key is if there is significant economic growth in his final two years in office and if there is some progress in Afghanistan.

    I don’t think Palin will be the Republican nominee in 2012. I’m not even sure she’ll run but we’ll see.

    As for the teabaggers, there’s an old adage attributed to Richard Nixon that the louder a group screams, the smaller they are in numbers. I think that’s true for the teabaggers. Obviously we’ll find out what happens in November but in some cases the teabagger votes and the radical right wing Republican votes in primaries are nominating some truly horrendous candidates. I’m talking about candidates who give the appearance of being off their meds. And that itself may gift the Democrats some seats they should otherwise lose.

  13. nick, D Miliband should have running his campaign. You would do a better job than the Darling’s or Mandy’s of this world. :)

    Political policy fascinates me. I do not even have to agree with it to appreciate it. The ones below matter to me. (Economics omitted)

    1. Free nursery school for all (means tested).
    2. Graduate tax with tuition fees abolished.
    3. 1 year maternity on full pay.
    4. An end to PFI.
    5. 50% women candidates
    6. Employment tribunals to have juries
    7. Foundation hospitals, beacon schools, academies to be abolished.
    8. No more privatisation.
    9. No Turkish entrance to the EU.
    10. Income Tax rise.
    11. National Care Service (means tested).
    12. Family courts to have juries.
    13. Societal culpability report to be submitted before sentencing.
    14. A children’s automatic right to trigger intervention in their care.
    DM has no more an interest in most of them.
    EB has, AB has to an extent. Ed M has to some extent

  14. Do Lab leaning contributors belive this site is read by others who could be influenced or who are influential.
    Such never occurs to me when I contribute (Alright I know we are thin on the ground just now anyway).

    How soonm can we be done with this – I mean, when is the election?

  15. Eoin

    If half of what you say about DM is accurate and he beomes the leader that is very good news for the SNP.

  16. Howard,

    I sympathise. We will try to refrain from it since it is still a long way off. (25/09). I think Dm could be something of a saviour for you yellows. Progressive majorities would be part of Simon Hughes vocab from then on in.

    John B,

    Yes i expect t’will.

  17. @Amber Star – “… a min-manifesto jam packed with policy”

    He may rob D Miliband of the ‘policy wonk’ reputation that he has earned over the years. ;)

    Possible that DM is not pushing his own platform so much because he intends to be the leader of the party as a whole and coordinate policy.

  18. Socalliberal,

    You might be correct about Palin: h ttp://

  19. @ Howard

    Do Lab leaning contributors belive this site is read by others who could be influenced or who are influential.
    No, we simply like to gossip amongst ourselves. 8-)

  20. @ Howard – all done, dusted and the result announced on Sept 25. Phew!

  21. @ Billy Bob

    David Miliband’s policy statement – courtesy of today’s Guardian:

    “…which of Miliband’s policies offer a clean break with the past?”
    “Straight off the top, I’ll give you three examples,” he says –
    “I’ve said some of the proceeds of the bank shares should go to a British investment bank to tackle the lack of investment in the private sector, especially in small- and medium-sized enterprises and new business.
    “I’ve said that rather than cut capital allowances for British industry, we should double the bank levy. Because it’s 0.07% of the balance sheet, which is too low.
    “And I’ve said in education, we should have done the Tomlinson reforms on 14- to 19-year-olds.”
    No clunking fist from David M*; you’d need a scalpel to insert those policies into the minds of potential Labour voters. 8-)

    *M = Miliband

  22. Amber,

    In fairness to him, the Tomlinson reforms would be an improvment. The first two are piecemeal.

  23. Howard
    IMO the Labour leadership contest has been too drawn out and I would much preferred if there had been a temporary leader to see how they all performed. Policy distinctions have been blown out of proportion. They are all very similar. They will all have to take one another along. The unions less than even everybody else can afford to have a divided difficult to elect party. All but the biggest are fighting for their lives. There is absolutely no evidence that the election of any of the non-Abbots would be good news for Alex Salmond only the hopes of snp supporters desperate for any good news of any kind. Media very harsh on Salmond today

  24. @ Éoin

    It’s the way DM* mentions a specific age group, rather than saying we should’ve implemented the Tomlinson recommendations…. Hence my ‘scalpel’ remark. 8-)

    *DM = David Miliband (this is such a chore).

  25. Amber

    :( Yes, I see what you mean. – more of a clutching claw

  26. Barney/ John B Dick,

    Roger Mexico posted a link to two polls on the ideological position of red members vis a vis the candidates. It is well worth a review.

  27. barney crockett

    “Media very harsh on Salmond today.”

    Oohh!! What a surprise! I wonder how that could have happened? :-) :-)

  28. @Amber Star – Personally I don’t see the General Election as a wholesale rejection of Labour’s program. There were other factors. If the election had been held today, they may well have been returned.

    My stance at the time was keep the leader and front bench team in case of an early collapse or snap autumn election. Not so likely now perhaps, but from what we have seen of the coalition people may favour a return to business as usual (pre May 7).

    Gordon Brown was universally derided in the press, but dispite the puff, Cameron was not endorsed.
    Therefore, a reassessment, continual development, not a wholesale transformation is required at this point.

  29. I agree with Billy Bob. I think that all this Mea Culpa is wearing a bit thin. Do the Torries ever apologise for being Conservatives?

  30. Ann (in Wales)
    Too true

  31. (Billy Bob falls off his chair.) Thank you Ann (in Wales). :)

  32. Billy Bob

    “Gordon Brown was universally derided in the press”.

    I suspect that you are talking about the press that circulates mainly in England. The press here take a different view (see my response to Barney above).

    As Deep Throat so wisely observed “Follow the Money”. (While I was referring to Mark Felt, the same dictum was probably true for Linda Lovelace as well!)

  33. Interesting article just appeared on Grauniad website about breakup of NHS and back-door privatisation of it. Andy Burnham has challenged LibDem MPs to oppose the breakup.

    The article quotes senior backbencher John Pugh, co-chairman of the Lib Dem policy committee on health, who said it would be “unthinkable” if the white paper was not extensively debated at the party conference – and if an emergency motion was blocked it would dominate fringe events.

    Hmmm – now why would anyone want to block such a debate ?

    h ttp://

  34. Ann (in Wales)
    and in brackets, do we have another Ann? Welcome from me anyway.

    We need a leftish Welsh contributor.

    Don’t mind me everyone – I like to read your musings on lab leadership. What will happen to Hattie after the election?

  35. Old Nat

    Are you saying the better performance of Lab in Scotland was due to a lack of Brown attacks in its press?

    That would seem to indicate that which we tend to deny, namely that the Tory press is influential.

  36. Barney Crockett:

    “There is absolutely no evidence that the election of any of the non-Abbots would be good news for Alex Salmond only the hopes of snp supporters desperate for any good news of any kind. Media”

    So they are all Blair clones after all? Do any of them not wear makeup?

  37. @ Old Nat

    My ignorance again, are people less plugged into Sky on your side of the border? (Though even if they are, it is less of a continuum with the rest of the media I suppose.)

  38. @Social Liberal

    ” the radical right wing Republican votes in primaries are nominating some truly horrendous candidates. I’m talking about candidates who give the appearance of being off their meds. And that itself may gift the Democrats some seats they should otherwise lose.”

    I think you’re right and one of the hallmarks of a successful politician is to be lucky with who your opponents turn out to be. In the UK, Thatcher was blessed by not one, but two, unelectable Labour leaders and Blair, similarly, by three Tory leaders who had about as much chance of becoming PM as Basil Brush. Sure, Thatcher and Blair had other things going for them, but they were extremely fortunate with their contemporary political opponents. Interestingly, Tory insiders knew the game was up for Major when Blair became Labour leader and, as I understand it, Blair predicted, quite accurately, that Brown could never beat Cameron. Major and Brown were unlucky politicians
    Obama is similarly fortunate that, whatever happens in the Congressional mid term elections, he is likely to be running against an unelectable Republican candidate in 2012. I take your point about Palin probably not running, but I rather suspect that the eventual candidate, whoever it turns out to be (Romney?) will be in thrall to the Palin and Tea Party tendency. I can almost see Barak’s famous smile breaking out already!

    By the way, I guessed from the diction in your post that you’re probably a US citizen. I studied US politics at University in the 1970s and have been fascinated by it from a very young age.. I may well have been the only 16 year old in Britain to have stayed up until 3.00am to hear Nixon’s resignation speech on TV!! Caucuses, conventions, primaries and pork barrels. Deeply flawed, but a wonderful, vibrant democracy all the same.

  39. as I understand it, Blair predicted, quite accurately, that Brown could never beat Cameron.

    Well he certainly did his best to make sure of it

    (IMHO as a bystander)

  40. Howard

    “Are you saying the better performance of Lab in Scotland was due to a lack of Brown attacks in its press?”

    Not wholly. But it is an undoubted benefit to Labour that the dead-tree press here are “largely” (actually totally!) Labour supporting.

    “That would seem to indicate that which we tend to deny, namely that the Tory press is influential.”

    Now that is an interesting idea – a country in which different papers support different parties. :-) Where you have major papers supporting different parties, then supporters of each party is likely to read the paper which best chimes with their views.

    In Scotland, the Tories and LDs are minor parties and there are insufficient to influence editorial policy. All our major papers are owned/controlled from outwith Scotland. so it’s hardly surprising that with one of the two major parties wanting Independence, that they support the only significant Unionist party. The dynamics are wholly different.

    Billy Bob

    Sky – even more than the Beeb and ITV – report London news. It does confuse some here when they hear that “the” NHS is being changed in some way (and they don’t bother mentioning that it is England only). However, my guess is that anyone who regularly watches a News channel here is probably more politically aware, and recognises that they are watching an “international” news channel.

  41. Old Nat
    Many thanks for that. I hope AW reads it and also the comment about Sky because it seems to me that the pollsters are wasting their time (and ours) including Scottish voters in ‘national’ polls since the mindset and politics are as different as they are in NI (which they exclude). Same goes for Wales.

    This is patently true even of Westminster elections and it would be far neater if they just stuck to England, Wales and Scotland separately in future.

  42. Howard

    “the pollsters are wasting their time (and ours) including Scottish voters in ‘national’ polls”

    I have made that point “many many times” (Betty Marsden – Round the Horne : only older readers will remember that!) to AW.

    His response has always been “that’s what the clients ask for”.

    Which begs the question – why do the clients ask for that distorted picture? My assumption has always been that they are either ignorant/stupid or that they actually have an agenda in promoting a sense of British political identity.

  43. Old Nat
    I rather fancy the frst – a form of arrogance behind it that is peculiar to the English. I think it started with Nelson’s exhortation..

  44. Howard

    “I rather fancy the first – a form of arrogance behind it that is peculiar to the English.”

    I’d disagree. I don’t think that the English are particularly arrogant. The ruling elite in the South-East, however, are a totally different matter!!!

  45. @Howard

    “as I understand it, Blair predicted, quite accurately, that Brown could never beat Cameron.

    Well he certainly did his best to make sure of it

    (IMHO as a bystander)”

    Blair can, and is, accused of a lot of things, but I’m intrigued by your comments here. In what way, after handing over the reins to Brown in the famous bloodless coup, did he then make life difficult for Brown thereafter? I thought he withdrew almost totally from British politics immediately after resigning and I don’t remember any significant interventions from him after that. Indeed, he gave up his Parliamentary seat in Sedgefield and, as I recall it, only featured in the 2010 election campaign when asked to do so by Brown. I don’t understand your comments, to be frank.

    You don’t believe all that nonsense about him orchestrating anti Brown plots from outside, do you, like some King over the water? His most ultral loyal supporter Mandelson, was one of Brown’s staunchest and best political friends over the last 18 months of his Premiership and I tend to take the view that Blair showed much more loyalty to Brown then he ever got in return.

    By the way, I think his comments that Brown could never beat Cameron were made more out of sadness and resignation than any other baser sentiments. And as so often with Blair’s political instincts and antenna, he was absolutely right.

  46. Is there a Yougov daily tracker tonight?

  47. First, Nick H

    I should have inserted ‘unconsciously’ in my statement.

    By merely reminding us of his existence (middle east envoy news items, multi millionaire stories, ghastly memoir items, Rory Bremner, Iraq revelations, RC conversion; need I go on), finally arriving like a bad smell in the middle of the election) he pasted into our minds all that was bad about his New Labour, thus detracting our minds from all that was good about it (GB),.

    I don’t think some people realise what an appalling
    effect he has on liberal minds.

    Second Old Nat.

    How right you are – it’s the 0820 Tunbridge Wells passengers who dominate our country (mine that is).

  48. Howard

    “it’s the 0820 Tunbridge Wells passengers who dominate our country (mine that is).”

    Unfortunately – mine too! Still, Barney and Amber like it that way!! :-)

  49. Scottish Press
    Support Labour?
    Untrue. Daily Record does but other than that? The Sun at the UK election bizarrely told its readers to vote tory where they might win and whoever might beat Labour anywhere else. The largest media group in Scotland, the DC Thomson group has never supported a Labour candidate anywhere in the last century. Indeed they supported an abstinence campaigner to get rid of the radical Winston Churchill!
    All main papers owned outwith Scotland
    Untrue. The most influential media operator in Scotland is the DC Thomson group entirely run from Dundee.
    CF Northern Ireland
    At present he mindset in Scotland is not as distinctive in Scotland as in Northern Ireland but I think that Northern Ireland will move more closely towards the rest of the uk in political thinking (eg Eoin’s party standing!) which may mean that polling will have to be looked at to include NI
    Press comment?
    The most interesting comment in today’s Scottish press was from off-meesage (sometimes) tory Brian Montieth who as well as pointing to thobvious: total tory desperation, snp weakness, also pointed to the possibility of the Lib Dems attempting a daring escape by throwing themselves at Labour regardless of what price Labour ask as the price of coalition.

  50. OldNat/JohnB/Howard,

    I typed a humungous post to you guys and lost it. i really enjoyed all three of your inputs into the labour leadership….

    The johari window is a cognitive tool (google) . It states that there is 4 faces to any thing/individual.

    1. What it sees that nodoby else does
    2. How it wants to be viewed (portrayed)
    3. How we know we are perceived
    4. Most importantly, – A part we will never know for those who perceive it, keep it to themselves (for example, my best friend is a noisy eater- he doesnt know).

    Your three inputs on the Labour leadership are greatly appreciated, since they are the face of Labour that we cannot see ourselves. Arguably your opinions matter more than all red opinions put together, since you are the guys that did not and would not ever vote for us.

    Keep them coming. :)

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