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. Eoin,

    I think that Blair would not have made that much difference really. He was and always will be a better communicator than Brown, but that only helps so far. Gordon’s handling of the economic crisis was solid and resolute, and I’m not sure Blair would have been better. To keep in power TB would most likely to have replaced Brown as Chancellor, which would have been difficult.

    In terms of anti-terror legislation the timing is the key. Immediately post 9/11 or 7/7 much stronger laws could have been put forward. This far out from the same events, it is less likely.

    TB would have handled expenses and datagate better, due his superior ability to know what people want to hear. Any occasion requiring such communications would always come across better.

    Across the board GB was the detailed Operator behind New Labour. He could be tough, but he got things done. He knew policy details and how to implement things. TB was the person required to front this, the media face.

    In truth, the relationship was symbiotic. They needed each other, and working alone both would (and Gordon did) achieve less.

    PS

    My Leader Nomination:

    1. AB
    2. DM
    3. EB

    What will everyone else’s be??

  2. @ Eoin

    I’d say yes to most of those, however on the economy it’s a tricky one, namely would Brown have still been Chancellor, if not then who? I think the result may have been closer if Blair manage to slightly improve his standing, but equally it could have been worse.

    @ Roland

    Maybe once the boundary changes have been enacted and perhaps remove 10-20% of Labours” advantage”, the Tories will realise that they need to win votes in areas of the country where their name is effectively dirt before they can get anywhere near Labour in terms of vote distribution. Conservatives may not like this, but it is not unfair, it is simply a reflection of voters views in specific areas. Or the Tories could campaign for a system like they have in Israel?

  3. Eoin,

    I think that Blair would not have made that much difference really. He was and always will be a better communicator than Brown, but that only helps so far. Gordon’s handling of the economic crisis was solid and resolute, and I’m not sure Blair would have been better. To keep in power TB would most likely to have replaced Brown as Chancellor, which would have been difficult.

    In terms of anti-terror legislation the timing is the key. Immediately post 9/11 or 7/7 much stronger laws could have been put forward. This far out from the same events, it is less likely.

    TB would have handled expenses and datagate better, due his superior ability to know what people want to hear. Any occasion requiring such communications would always come across better.

    Across the board GB was the detailed Operator behind New Labour. He could be tough, but he got things done. He knew policy details and how to implement things. TB was the person required to front this, the media face.

    In truth, the relationship was symbiotic. They needed each other, and working alone both would (and Gordon did) achieve less.

    I really think that Labour was sunk in 2010 regardless. When time for a change knocks on your door, that’s it!!

    PS

    My Leader Nomination:

    1. AB
    2. DM
    3. EB

    What will everyone else’s be??

  4. @ Garry K

    1. DM
    2. AB
    3. Possibly EB
    No 4th or 5th prefs.

  5. @Roland Haines
    “However, in our somewhat older democracy, constantly, election after election, needing to capture 100s of thousands off votes more than Labour, just to break even, is not something we intend to go on with indefinitely.”
    __________________
    Very honest of you to concede that the main reason for the rejig is for the Tories to improve their electoral chances. ;)

  6. @Garry K
    “If plan 1 fails”
    ____________
    Seems that way. Other posters have said many times that the apparent imbalance is because blue votes are stacked up in huge makorities in some seats, wheras Lab votes are more effectively spread. Time was when the imbalance favoured blue but this never gets mentioned, can’t think why.

    Back in 1951 Lab won more votes than blue but got fewer seats – and they were out of office as a result. Whatever the excuse, there is something unsavoury about meddling with the work of the independent Boundaries Commission , which has been respected by all parties for decades.

  7. I think you are unfair to Roland (not that he will care, apart from our politics we have a lot in common).

    You are unfair to R because I cannot remember any contributor (except Roger M IIRC) looking at the issue of seat allocation without approaching the subject on the basis of who possibly gains.

    I said that I thought Blair had gone potty which i thought was self-evident and had not mentioned Vatican envoy and the like. I assume Mrs Blair handles the cash (most successfully it would appear) so he’s laughing at such comments ‘all the way to the bank’ as Liberace said.

    .

  8. oops! – makorities = majorities :(

  9. Cozmo
    I don’t see that the boundary proposals do ‘interfere with the BC’.

    Their work contiunues as usual. How else can the number of MP’s be reduced unless the number is reduced?

    The BC exists merely to achieve an equal number of electors in each seat. achieving political balance is not in its remit.

    The only way we will achieve that is with sub-regional STV or a one constituency election.

    I have thought of a way to do the latter that would respect regional representation.

    . i

  10. @Roland Haines
    I don’t dismiss your points at all actually. You have every right to make them. Please see my previous post to Howard. Will you now join us in lobbying for full PR ??

  11. @ Roland

    Hi Roland. What do you think of the Defence Review proposals that are being trailed .

    There are going to be some very unhappy soldiers, sailors and airmen methinks.

  12. @Howard
    “I don’t see that the boundary proposals do ‘interfere with the BC’. Their work contiunues as usual. How else can the number of MP’s be reduced unless the number is reduced?”
    _________________
    There is a counter-argument to reducing the number of MPs. Since the 50s and 60s the population has grown by an extra 8 million or so with the addition of only a few MPs. Let’s go for full PR and have something we can all agree on.

  13. @JOHN FLETCHER
    Good to hear from you, hope the IOM was up to scratch.

    Never fear, on board the HMS Napoleon Buonaparte
    all will be well. As 2me Fusilier de Marin exercise in flambe making and the Armee lAir discuss their winning tactics in the battle of France and in Indo China. The only concerns will be the numbers of Royal Naval and Royal Marine personel jumping into the sea.

  14. @Roland

    As we are of a similar age, I’m sure you must also remember a spell in the 1980’s when pundits declared that constituency boundaries meant Labour would never ever be able to win an overall majority.

    I was going to say that altering constituencies to stack up more seats is bad form and just not cricket – but maybe it is!

  15. @COSMO
    So the only alternative to Labour continuing to receive substantial favoritism, is PR is it ? Well I dont think it is.
    I think something along the lines of the Tory proposals will do just fine.

  16. GaryK,

    Thanks for your post.

    I’ll be voting AB and only AB. I dont need a ‘preference’ whatever that is (deliberately flippant).

    Blair was seriously better communicator. He would certainly have charmed a few Worcester women into one last hurray.

    I think it was the best thing for Labour, ‘if’ not the country, that they lost in 2010. By 2015- the country could have turfed them out for 15years. At least Gordy left them in good nick for a decent opposition.

  17. @ Roland

    IOM excellent thank you. I have a lot of family there.

    I can’t help chuckling at what the writers of the Navy Lark could make of such a farcical situation of sahring aircraft carriers.

    If I was a Falkland Islander I would be busy packing my bags and looking for alternative accomodation.

  18. Sue,

    I have deduced your test, and I must say it was a good test to. I reviewed archives some years back and measured there customer service skills in a manner similar to yourself.

    This time round we Belfast Labour) were promised Balls and Abbot- thus far, we have got neither.

    But that Dm has been kind enough to respond to your email, I commend him- he has gone up in my estimation for that.

    Keep me posted.

    (Did you know Gordy replies to ever letter?) :)

  19. Full PR is dangerous as it leads to the rise of extremist right-wing parties. It helped the rise of the Nazis in pre-WW2 Germany. In Israel it has led to the rise of right radical parties (Kadima, Likud, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu) that now dominate the Knesset, with only 16 out of 120 current Knesset members from left-of-centre parties (excluding the Arab block). In England, regional PR for the European elections led to the election of 2 BNP MEPs in the NW and Yorkshire. If England was 1 single constituency for the Westminster parliament, there would probably be 30-40 BNP MPs (and more in subsequent parliaments).

  20. @VALERIE
    It was wrong in the 80s and it is wrong now. I genuinely would not wish to win a GE by default or “dodgy democracy”. It seems most Labour supporters on this board wish to hang on like grim death to the present unfair system. The Tory proposals which AW and others have described, will not give them an advantage, just less of a disadvantage. Can freedom loving “workers” not stand the thought of such a situation.

  21. Dao,

    I am currently writing a book on Gender politics in the middle east.

    I must point out that kadima (look up a translation of the word) are not right wing :P

    Also, the people must always have their right to be represented. Those who fear pure democracy are not pure deomocrats.

  22. Eoin

    To vote as you state you will, is to disenfranchise yourself, unless you think if AB does not win, then it does not matter who does. I cannot believe someone as committed to the issue, as you are, could possibly not consider who you would like if AB failed. You mean it does not matter to you who wins out of DB, EM, AB and DA?

    I find that very difficult to accept, coming from you..

  23. Navy
    Good of J Fletcher to raise it. I somehow think if it had been G Brown’s idea, there might have been some angry comments earlier.

  24. @Roland Haines
    “Labour continuing to receive substantial favoritism”
    ———————————-
    This is perhaps the point which divides us most. Your posts suggest that the imbalance is something engineered by Labour when in fact it was something produced by voters themselves.

    it was entirely up to each individual voter to decide whether to visit a polling station at all, and then to decide which party to vote for.

    There is an even greater unfairness – the fact that countless votes are “wasted” in seats which are very safe for one party or another. Only the votes in marginals decide who governs. No point in me voting at all really as I live in a safe Lab seat .

    The changes currently proposed are not aimed at eliminating voting unfairness in all forms. They selectively aimed to suit a very narrow aganeda. Which is no doubt why blues do not want PR – as perhaps it is “too fair” for their liking. Very odd.

  25. Howard,

    Good question.

    Ed Balls aint gonna win. Neither is Diane.

    I am a conscientious objector of the current Miliband tiff. They are like two crazed egomaniacs.

    DM would do a competent job with dodgy policy
    EM would do a dodgy job but with competent policy

    How am I supposed to figure than one out? I dont want you lot laughing at Labour.

  26. @ Barney Crockett

    I somehow think if it had been G Brown’s idea, there might have been some angry comments earlier.
    ___________________________________

    Only the tories could get away with Defence cuts like this.

    I actually agree with some of the cuts an force realignment however “sharing” an aircraft carrier does seem to be going a bit too far. And with the French of all people !!!!!!!

  27. Boundary CommissionThe main political pressure on the BCs will be the lack of dormal appeal hearings. However the Scottish one has been left with a peach of a political decision. They must decide if it is feasible to split up CK’s seat presumably creating three seats near the nominal maximum area or deciding it is not “feasible” which would entail having two further small electorates currently with Lib Dem incumbants. the plot will get thicker

  28. DAO

    The BNP poll max 3% nationally on a very good day.

    That would give them 15 MPs. That also assumes no minimum %. It’s 2 – 5% in PR countries.

  29. @BARNEY CROCKETT
    This story is in the Times and may be a load of horlicks. If there is any truth in it, no Labour politician would have dared to suggest it even when drunk. It would be tantamount to a Tory suggesting forced repatriation.
    If the Government do push anything remotely like sharing ships with the French, then the little spats from sandaled socialists will seem like nothing.

  30. @Howard

    People don’t tend to “waste” their votes on minor parties in FPTP elections. In the European Parliamentary elections with regional PR, the BNP achieved approximately 8% of the vote in the Midlands and North of England, which would pass a 5% threshold.

  31. @EOIN –“I think it was the best thing for Labour, ‘if’ not the country, that they lost in 2010. By 2015- the country could have turfed them out for 15years.”
    I agree. That’s why I wasn’t unhappy about the result of the last election. Our blue friends here sometimes wonder out loud if we reds are in denial but the fact of the matter is, it wasn’t the prospect of a rerun of the 1997 election with the parties reversed which was the biggest danger. It was the prospect of a 1992 and then a 1997.
    Getting older helps. When I was younger, 5 years was an eternity. Now, 5 years sails past. When looking at things in the longer term, Labour are in a very good position.

  32. @COSMO
    There is no point in continuing this argument as my comments have been moderated.

  33. @Roland

    The point I was trying to make is that perceived unfairness gets ironed out over time. Swings and roundabouts are words that come to mind..

    As I’ve said before, it’s clear Labour need to work to get people registered to vote.
    To me, that has echoes of the US Civil Rights movement in the 60’s and 70’s. I never imagined I would say such a thing about dear old Blighty!

  34. Julian,

    Quite tribalist of us- or do we think blues will do ok?

  35. @EOIN – “..do we think blues will do ok?”
    I have every faith in the Tories going off the rails. Europe, defence, no tax cuts, party funding, I could go on. Not to mention the little problem of a coalition partner suddenly waking up.
    DC has proved me wrong so far though. But don’t worry. I have enormous faith in their backbenchers to do the ‘right’ thing. ;)

  36. @Roland Haines
    “There is no point in continuing this argument as my comments have been moderated.”
    ——————————
    OK – can we call it a draw ? Or would that be too much tilted my way ? :)

  37. Julian,

    Well you know my views on Simon Hughes. They are on record before he was even elected.

  38. I’ve pruned what was becoming a rather silly partisan debate. This isn’t a debating forum, so no “why don’t you support PR?” challenges and so forth, people have different views – accept it.

    Valerie – people did indeed say thing like that in 1983, but they were hardly justifiable. On the boundaries used in 1983, if the two main parties had got an equal share of the vote the Conservatives would have got 5 seats more than Labour, so a very slight bias in the system towards the Conservatives (the Conservative bias peaked at 6 seats in 1987, the Labour bias becoming strongly established after 1992 as tactical voting against the Tories emerged)

    On the current boundaries if the two main parties got the same share of the vote Labour would get 53 seats more than the Conservatives, so we are talking about a whole different scale.

  39. Thank you for that Anthony.

  40. I have looked at GEs 1945 to 2010, and here are the breakdowns per party, Votes per seat:

    Conservative

    Mean

  41. @ Sue

    If your test is e-mail response, then DM will win your competition. He has much more money – & therefore many more [paid] campaign staff than the others.

    For the record, I sent David Miliband’s team a very polite e-mail with a few ideas & questions about the community activist training (e.g. were local councillors & MPs involved in the selection process?). That was over a month ago. His team have yet to respond. 8-)

  42. I have looked at GEs 1945 to 2010, and here are the breakdowns per party, Votes per seat:

    Conservative

    Mean 41,556
    SD 6,324

    Labour

    Mean 37,654
    SD 6,444

    LIb Dem

    Mean 256,498
    SD 122,171

    So over time Labour and Conservatives have crossed over at times,but are very similar, and the Lib Dems are aggrieved..

    I hope this is non-partisan :-)

  43. Is anyone perplexed this week?
    Did I dream the massive floods that recently decimated the Pakistan, killing over 100,000 people and ruining the lives of mllions?

    Only, I keep seeing 10, 15 minute news bulletins talking about the obviously more pressing question of whether their cricketers stepped a little too far over a line?

  44. Having effectively abandoned STV for the foreseeable future, the Libs may continue to feel aggrieved in subsequent elections.

  45. Sue,

    Quite clearly the current exchange rate for the death of Foreigners per minute of news it demands has gone up to about 10K per minute.

    Now you normally get about 100 Europeans for that minute, 2 British people, or 1/100 of a member of royalty.

  46. Garry K –

    Taking votes per seat tends to pick up more the innate FPTP bias towards the winning party (and heavy bias against third parties). Nothing boundaries can do about that, it’s an innate part of First Past the Post that only a proportional system would cure.

    It doesn’t illustrate very well if it is impacting unequally on different political parties.

  47. @Sue Marsh

    Thanks for posting the link to Peter Kellner’s commentary – all the agonising about ‘core vote’ seems a trifle ill informed now.

    Confirms my subjective impression that it was concern for social cohesion, and not income or social class that determined likely Labour voters. I expressed the unpopular opinion that a significant proportion of those most in need of the support provided by Labour will *not* vote and are in some sense immune to all appeals. The good news is that Kellner makes clear a sufficient number of voters are immune to the narrow appeal of self interest.

  48. @ OLD NAT

    Why “independence within Europe”?

    Why not independence within Britain?

    The point I’m trying make is that, to me, independence within Europe is a slogan. What would change, if Scotland was “independent within Europe”?
    Not much, IMO.

    Scotland has its own parliament & within the existing legislation there are ample opportunities for Scotland to control more of its own affairs. 8-)

  49. @ DAO

    If you are a Labour Party member, you can now vote for whomever you like.

    How cool is that? Anthony did all the hard work for you.

    I’m voting for Andy Burnham – if he wins, Her Majesty will have to rely on the Archbishop for advice. IMO, The Archbishop seems a more suitable person than the PM, anyway. 8-)

  50. Have I missed much?..
    I’ve been most unwell for the last week and haven’t posted much!

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