The full tables for YouGov’s Sunday Times poll are now up on the YouGov website here.

The questions on the spending review have results very much in line with YouGov’s poll straight afterward Osborne’s announcement – time to digest newspaper reactions and an extra day’s new coverage don’t seem to have changed opinion as they sometimes do. 43% thought the announcements the government made were right, 43% wrong, 45% thought they went too far, 43% thought they got the balance right or didn’t go far enough (33% and 10% respectively). 51% thought they were unfair, and 45% continue to blame the last Labour government the most compared to 17% blaming the coalition.

One notable change from last week is to perceptions of who will suffer most from the cuts. A week ago YouGov found that 48% thought middle income households would suffer the most, ahead of low-income households on 35%. Presumably this was the result of the child benefit announcement and, perhaps, the tuition fees announcement. This week YouGov repeated the same question and people saw the poorest as likely to suffer the most by 48% to 36% (only 6% think the rich will suffer the most).

Looking at the polls on the spending review as a whole there seems to be a pretty coherent pattern. People are either evenly divided or positive about the cuts themselves, evenly divided over their size, and continue to see them as both unavoidable and more the fault of Labour than the Conservatives. However, they also tend to see the way the coalition have carried them out as unfair, and expect the poor to suffer more than the rich.

On other questions in the YouGov poll, the majority of respondents supported the decision to protect the NHS and schools from cuts, but opposed the decision to protect international development. 70% expect to be worse off from the changes.

There was little sympathy for the BBC – 48% thought the freeze on the licence fee and the end of government funding for the World Service got the balance about right, 31% thought the BBC should face larger cuts, with only 13% thinking the cuts went too far.

There is a continuing appetite for banker-bashing. We asked people if they thought George Osborne had succeeded in getting right what he called the balance between making the banks pay their share and not driving them abroad. Only 5% thought Osborne had gone too far, 31% thought he had got it right, a majority (52%) thought he had not gone far enough and taxes on banks should be even higher.

There was also a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday. The quoted shares of the vote in the paper are CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%… but this implies others at 18% which would be a sharp contrast with other pollsters. In the past the Mail on Sunday have published figures from BPIX that weren’t repercentaged to exclude won’t votes, so this could be the case here, meaning all three parties are actually higher. BPIX don’t publish tables so we’ll never know.

349 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times post CSR poll”

1 4 5 6 7
  1. To be fair, the q2 GDP numbers were seen at the time to be a slightly ‘artificial’ spike, driven in part by +8.5% growth in construction, which was widely recognised as a roll-forward from q1 when the harsh winter, snow, etc had delayed such activity. So there is an element of context for q3 thT is important rather than a straight 1.2% v 0.4%, but equally prepared to accept that the measures taken or announced by coalition govt will have/have had a dampening effect in Q3, Q4 and Q1 next year.

  2. @ Colin

    I am staggered by what the CBI have said about our poor credentials for attracting manufacturing to UK.

    A poor skills base !!.
    I am surprised by your surprise. I will assume that it is not a narrative device & proceed accordingly.

    I have often commented on these pages that since the last Conservative government allowed the close down of manufacturing in the UK, there has been an increasing skills shortage.

    New Labour (see the New, I am hair splitting), did nothing to address the issue because the financial, housing & service sectors were soaking up employees as fast as our colleges & universities could turn them out.

    The manufacturers we do have, for the most part, are very successful at making FMCG (fast moving consumer goods – usually food & beverage related), pharmas & some very high end engineering of complex parts. But there aren’t many of them, that’s for sure.

    Successive governments have done nothing to fascilitate modern manufacturing or instil any pride in our citizens about Made in UK goods.

    Calls for investment & encouragement for UK manufacturing have fallen on deaf ears. Successive governments, Thatcher & Blair’s, have dismissed such exhortations as being the Unions & the Left whining at the loss of their ‘power’ base.

    Loss of manufacturing was a price worth paying to break the unions & make us all a “Nation of Shopkeepers”.

    Frankly, Colin, to be genuinely surprised that the UK has almost no manufacturing skills base, you’d need to have had your head in a bucket for the past 25 years. ;-)

    I know you are having a larf Amber (your post 1.04,) but are you ? The policies and language of your party of choice seems to think that simply spending money on these issues is the answer. Trouble is we dunderheaded Tories, dont see it like that.

  4. RE: feckless parents

    Are generally, but not always, from teh less well off as I said my rough guess is 70/30.

    Wealth is not required to sit with your kids in the evening and listen to them read for 10 minutes. My take is that it is a culture of dependance that is the cause. A lot of people beleive its someones elses responsibility to support thier children.

    So i don’t think any amount of cash helps, regardless of where the cash comes from.

    The teachers at my wifes school beleive the middle income feckless parenting issue is a relativly recent thing, over the last 10 years it has just got worse.

    So why ?

    1) Larger state dependency breads dependancey full stop ?

    2) More wealth ?

    in truth no one knows. But my observations on developing young people is that if you make them think for themselves they develop if you tell them how to do something they don’t and expect you to just tell them things ( complex issue, simplified )

  5. @ Roland,

    Yes, I was playing a joker card.

    Simply dishing out money is not a long-term solution, if you want to improve the situation of people with poor impulse control & a very short-term view of their life. Most of the time, most of us are happy to pay some taxes to have them kept out of our way. It is only when the pennies are tight &/or an election is looming that they are suddenly forced into our collective consciousness.

    “If a neat soundbite, like Broken Britain, can be deployed to ensure they do not become too real & a scrounger tag firmly attached to them, this is a good strategy.” From the Handbook: How to play politics with the poor*. 8-)

    * Okay, for the avoidance of doubt, I made that up.

  6. @Amber

    ‘You need to consider the relative market sizes.’

    That is a valid point re US vs UK however my statement was ‘ one would expect an outperformance of non-dollar bonds over US Treasuries. This hasn’t happened.’ I didn’t specify gilts but all non-dollar bonds. As of 2009 outstanding US was $31bn with outstanding non-dollar at $51bn.

    Secondly why does your Asian investor choose the UK rather than Germany or France? The 50bp outperformance of the UK suggests that there has been a preference shown irrespective of any US factor.

  7. Re: Poor skills base

    I work a plastics company employing around 150 people, with a TO of around £80 m.

    My own job is based on implementing Quality Improvement Initiatives. I acn confiorm that the skills base is very low indeed. A few years ago the company tested all Shop Floor people for numeracy, literacy and problem solving skills, and many of the workforce are at a level that if your child at 11 was at, you would be breaking down the Headmaster’s door to find out what on earth they were doing.

    My job is really hard when trying to explain things like Statistical Process Control (an essential part of modern machine running) and many have the mathematical skills of an 8 year old.

    The workforce is older (50+) and made up of ex-miners etc. We just can’t attract young people, and the older ones, to be hinest are coasting to retirement. Telling men of 50 that they have such poor basic skills that to move the company forward, they need to be trained in GSCE level maths and english isn’t easy.

    So, I support Amber here. The skills base of much of UK manufacturing is very, very poor.

  8. @ Hooded Man

    It is good to have the GDP numbers put in context – but it should worry everybody that construction, having buoyed up Q2, has apparently fallen off a cliff in Q3.

    Q3 is usually a good quarter for construction; & are the coming Olympic Games projects having no tangible effect? I find it increasingly likely that there will be zero, or even negative growth, in Q4; & Q1’11 could certainly be negative, given the impending VAT increase.

    The dearth of even temporary job vacancies is particularly chilling, given the run up to Christmas, & this does not bode well for the next 6 months. 8-)

  9. Sorry for the poor typing…very funny considering the subject :-)

  10. @ Aleksandar,

    Okay, you have conceded that I have made two valid points:
    1. Foreign investors (Asian for the most part) have increased their uptake of Uk gilts in prefernce to US denominated, long-term bonds.
    2. The relative market size of UK & US denominated bonds defies easy comparison between the two.

    Now you want a drill down about why different types of US denominated bonds are behaving slightly differently to your expectations; also an analysis of the Eurobond market.

    That the CSR has had an impact, obviously means a lot more to you than proving the opposite does to me. So enjoy yourself. Keep believing it was the budget/ CSR what done it. I will no longer stand between you & happiness. ;-)

  11. RE Skills Base

    I posted on a thread the other day, that we had all but given up on IT graduates due to their lack of basic skills… that includes IT skills !!

    So we try to get them younger so we can manage their skill growth before they want £35K for swicthing on a computer and ask for “training” for things such as mouse cleaing ( i kid you not )

  12. @Amber

    I’m sorry that you feel like that. Subject closed.

  13. @ Garry K

    The saddest thing in relation to your comment, there was EU money available to finance literacy & manufacturing skills training when the UK lost its heavy industry; & again when the major semi-con companies pulled out of the UK.

    A political decision was made, that the UK would not focus on manufacturing, therefore just shove the ex-manufacturing workers on disability benefits & forget about them. Their (our) children learned that a job/ career in manufacturing could well be a road to nowhere. Now the politicians are full-on for manufacturing – as if a magic wand can be waved to undo 25 years of neglect in less than 5 years.

    It would be wonderful if that was possible. I have heard a little about a $200bn ‘package’ for growth & investment – but I believe it is for science & technology – absolutely zero for investing in the people who will actually make things. :-(

  14. @ Aleksandar

    I meant it in a nice way. :-)

  15. Anthony,

    There is an error in the YouGov / Sunday Times tables in the following question:

    Do you think this coalition government will be good or bad for people like you?

    If you look at the cross-breaks with voting intention, they must be wrong.

    Will a new version be posted?

    [I’ll have a butchers and get it corrected – AW]

  16. @Amber

    Thank you. I still think that it is best to close the subject for the benefit of all.

  17. Amber,

    Construction accounts for about 6% of all GDP, so +8.5% growth last time translated to 0.5% of the 1.2% movement. I think that the Olympic construction budget of around £5bn spread over 3 years probably doesn’t register beyond 0.00s….
    On temps, anecdotally of course, in retail we are entering the festive period in positive mood, but perhaps leaving it later to commit and recruit. No need to dive in too early too confidently, and there are more (good) candidates available than normal, so perhaps there is a bit of hold-back this year.

    The matter of skills shortages has as you say, been coming for many years. Take me, when younger, I was very skilled at garroting sentrys and blowing up trains.
    There is very little call for it at my current age, however.

  19. I can remember more than one time at work when a colleague sent their child to school when they were not perhaps well enough to go. The parent, ok the mother, would keep their fingers crossed that their child would pick up as the day went on.

    Usually they did, but I can remember my manager cursing when the school phoned and rather pointedly asked her to collect her child as she had a temperature and a cough.
    Would this constitute ‘feckless’ parenting?.

  20. Re Manufacturing.As 30 + years of decline starting in the mid 70’s when strikes and more strikes,caused the beginning of the malaise.Surely we must realise just sending cannon fodder to University ,in order to satisfy fashionable targets and make ourselves feel better has not worked.I am all for opportunity for all,however regardless of ability a large percentage of students do not finish their course or change .There are subjects tought where a career at the end in that field is simply impossible.Why not cut these courses/places and replace with apprentaships,where companies can train people in the skills they need. Just sending people on a 3 year jolly which is what a lot feel it is ,then see them come out with no hope of a job is plain daft.How else without this kind of training will we ever get the people needed,without bringing in more and more people from abroad and all the issues that brings.There are record amounts of young people out of work a very very sad state of affairs .

  21. Mike N

    ” I don’t understand the basis of your comment.”

    Mainly based on Stephanie Flanders’ comments at the time.

    Q2 Construction component ( a small part of the economy) registered +9.5% growth in Q2.( ONE quarter!)

    This component represented 0.4% of the total +1.2% GDP growth.

    SF said that 1.2 was double what was expected-ie without the large Construction number growth would have been around + 0.8%

    THere are other comments in the Press at that time about phasing on Construction from Q1-but no one is certain.

    SF said no one should think the economy was growing at that rate in Q2.

    You can Google for all this.

    Q3 is down certainly-but probably not as steeply as it appears.

  22. @VALERIE

    Of course not.

    the kid throwing up then maybe. The parent sat at home watching Jeremy Kyle, definatly.

    Sorry played to the stereotype.

    Seriosuly, it depends, you can understand it with people working, and with minor ailments.

    Only last week a child threw up as teh mum brought the kid into the class, mum refused to take the kid home and scarpered. Mum was not working,

  23. Colin
    Thanks, I now understand what you were referring to.

  24. “Frankly, Colin, to be genuinely surprised that the UK has almost no manufacturing skills base, you’d need to have had your head in a bucket for the past 25 years”

    I was refering to the skills shortage described by CBI.

    THis is the quote :-

    “Despite the huge investments made by the previous government on a range of schemes designed to educate the workforce , this scattergun approach to skills training may be the main reason for the erosion in perceived availability of skills.
    It’s provision has been very inefficient. Private Companies are just getting on with training their own people because the public schemes are just too complicated”.

    It links too with a bit of research I did on Chinese stidents at UK Universities. Given that countries growth record & committment to higher level technology products, I wondered what subjects their many students here tend to study.

    And I found this :-

    So-if you are Chinese & serious about studying science you go to a USA university.

    I am therefore mightily relieved that the Government intends to prioritise the teaching of science & other related subjects in UK UNiversities.

    I am as aware as you that our manufacturing base has been eroded for some years- 1m manufacturing jobs were lost under the last Government alone.

    But that is not a reason for UK’s education systems to be be producing a shortage of technological skills-quite the reverse I would have thought..

  25. Hmm, interesting juxtaposition between the “skills shortage” debate and the “school improvement / university places” debate.

    The same people seem to be arguing that our schools are fantastic, producing millions of brilliant young people who need university places to reach their potential, as are also arguing that we need mass immigration to plug our skills gap.

    Surely it’s just more proof that we should be redirecting money from History of Art degrees and Drama Interpretation courses into Engineering places and apprenticeships?

  26. @ Neil
    Surely it’s just more proof that we should be redirecting money from History of Art degrees and Drama Interpretation courses into Engineering places and apprenticeships?

    my point exactly,my wife’s niece did drama make up course,she then changed to two other courses,she packed up and works in a bar 3 nights a week now 22.
    Her two other nephews,one did 2 different courses and now at 27 is training to be a nurse,just given that up to work for a charity,the other did sports science and failed.At 22 he is just got a job as a junior in a transport firm.I dread to think how many other examples there are of this kind of thing.I am sure there are success stories,I just wish I knew some .

  27. Valerie
    You wrote:
    The parent, ok the mother, would keep their fingers crossed that their child would pick up as the day went on

    Yes it’s funny that it always is (the mother whose number is deposited with creche) – reinforces ‘less important job’ syndrome. They did this with my daughter, even though she could be with a client, whereas my son-in law could be with a computer.

    Can somebody tell me why this and all the other subjects are being discussed? I cannot perceive the relevance, but it is tea time and time for a chat possibly.

  28. Tonight’s YouGov (my guesstimate)

    Blue 43%
    Red 39%
    Yellow 10%

  29. At this moment, (although the data will take many months to show it) I think we are 25 days into the beginnings of what will be known as a double dip recession. (another guesstimate). I have been gathering housing, sales, PMI, mortgage lending, inflation, and borrowing figures… and making a direct comparison with the data the last time we went into recession.

    It looks the same, and smells the same. Unemployment as a lagging indicator is almost irrelevant for now, but it will bite. I must say, I had hoped we would avoid this, and back in June/July fancied our chances of doing so.

  30. 1. The last time we entered recession officially at least was week three of Q1 (2009) [see article]

    h ttp://

    2. Official estimates show that were probably into recession 21-2 weeks beforehand but had no data to show it. [See article]

    h ttp://

    A once useful indicator was house prices but this is declining as an indicator. Car sales were once a very useful indicator but are also declining. The reason for this is that we are coming of a low base so figures will be low anyway. Ironically, without Brown’s efforts last year a double dip might have been avoided. Paradoxically, this is because we might never have come out of recession in the first place (remember how we clawed out of in officially in Jan 2010. Was it a 0.0% figure of growth, later revised upwards, I think?). The ending of the VAT holiday and the threat of more VAT effectively means a 5% increase in VAT from those heady days of 0.0% growth.

    • My own opinion, though I admit informed by trusting the opinions of others, rather than fully understanding them myself is that we cut too soon. The Deficit Deniers among us are growing in umbers, even in the most unlikely to quarters (to quote a learned colleague ;) ).

    • Politically, and polling wise, I have as yet no idea how this will pan out. Perhaps the double dip will be very shallow, for now it potentially looks that way. Still, stagnation is no triumph is it?

    Nevertheless the growths on hosuing

  31. @ Roland

    The matter of skills shortages has as you say, been coming for many years. Take me, when younger, I was very skilled at garroting sentrys and blowing up trains.
    There is very little call for it at my current age, however.
    ROFL :-) There’s no need to blow up trains anymore, Roland – just throw some wet leaves on the line. ;-)

  32. @EOIN
    As you know comrade, I have been out of circulation lately. Therefore, do fill me in regarding the growing numbers of DDs. This is not some loaded Tory trap, I am simply wondering why those who once believed there was a deficit, should now doubt its existence.
    As for the Double Dip, I would say that now CUTS CUTS and more CUTS has been exhausted by the BBC ( with much support from the coalition,) Double Dip and Wayne Rooney are the latest obsessions.

  33. Having digested the polls and the plethora of news coverage about the cuts (in themselves an illusion because government expenditure is going to rise anually for the duration of this parliament) I have come to the concusion that the Lab party are not only totally out of touch with economic and arithmetic reality, but ae also totallyy out of touch with the British electorate.

    The over 50% people have made up their minds that the defecit is the fault of Labour and they have also made up thier minds that the structural defecit needs to be terminated. They are not going to budge from this.

    The more that Lab and its allies in the BBC, Guardian and Unions bleat on about it being the end of the world and it being unfair (life is unfair from the day you are concieved for pitys sake) the more they sound like Private Frasier in Dads Army crying at every available opportunity “Weer aal doomed”.

    While the rest of us get on and get the country back on track they just come over as irrelevant defeatists.

    All IMO of course

  34. Roland, :)

    I posted you a welcome back yesterday but I think you missed it. It is very good to see you return :)

    Deficit Deniers is supposed to be a term of abuse for those who favour very limited, or dare I say it, no cuts. It was first a term used by blue to insult the then thought of as ‘Brownites’. But since the prospect of cuts nears, and Darling, Mandleson, and others leave the stage.. mainstream reds are listening more to us ‘deficit deniers’. Ed Balls perhaps the foremost remaining advocate of Deficit denial.. (not that it exists but that it is an urgent problem). He has resorted on occasion to replying to his critics that they are growth deniers. As growth seem sever more threatened, some of the, once opponents or deficit denial, are looking again with interest. As is typical of me, I raise this a month or two before everyone else considers it newsworthy. For a more informed debate on Growth Deniers v Deficit Deniers, you are probably best keeping a wee eye on the mainstream media as this is about to explode as a major dividing line.

  35. Roland,

    For the record, I always refused to enter into a petty squabble between Darling cutters and Osborne cutters. I have patiently waited about 8 months for the day that the deficit deniers would be heard. Every passing day, brings that moment closer. This does not give me cause for satisfaction at all, since it means our economy is in trouble. For if growth was assured, I would be slapped down not just by blue, but by some in the left. It is their increasing silence that is giving Ballsian economics the light of day.

    As usual, like yer style. You made me think of an article mentioned on Politics Home this AM. A journo from the Guardian or Indy wrote ” how pensioners are suffering under the coalition”. Well, as you know I have been retired for 6 years and draw my OAP next year.
    I don’t know what this guy is talking about. Its alright an anti coalitionist saying “well Roland you are well off, its alright for you”. I am not a millionaire by any means and in any event, is it not the middle class which are supposed to be hammered. The fact is, I and the people I know, have yet to feel a thing.

  37. @ Colin

    I am as aware as you that our manufacturing base has been eroded for some years- 1m manufacturing jobs were lost under the last Government alone.
    And at least 2M under the government before the last.
    But that is not a reason for UK’s education systems to be be producing a shortage of technological skills-quite the reverse I would have thought..
    !?! Of course that is the reason for the UK education systems not producing people with technological skills.

    Why would students wish to study a subject where there are no career or even job prospects? Why would FE students wish to learn e.g. machine shop skills when they are constntly hearing that they will be competing with Chinese factory workers earning USD$300 per month (you, yourself, have been posting such data on this site!)?

    If there is no demand from UK students for such courses, why would the colleges & universities have them? 8-)

  38. SimpleSimon (1:54)

    With regard to parenting, you can feel sorry for some, especially in the lower economic groups, who may not have had the chance to learn the rights skills from their own parents. Or they may be using anger to cover up their own lack of self-confidence or missing knowledge; for example they may be functionally illiterate. Certainly there is a great desire among teenagers for things like parenting classes. However you are right that it doesn’t explain everything.

    I think the deeper problem isn’t about dependency but entitlement. people have been encouraged to have a consumer-like relationship with the state and therefore feel they can demand things from its various branches, the way a consumer can from a shop. But unlike a commercial transaction, there is no formally set out contract that covers everything – despite attempts to do so in some areas of service. So some people feel that they can write their own terms and demand what they want.

    Ironically these attitudes are encouraged and developed by those who then denounce the results. People are made to think of the functions of the state (schools, hospitals, etc) as being “them” rather than “us”. This has been encouraged by successive governments who, by making various bodies “agencies”, have both freed themselves from responsibility (though not ultimate control) and removed the bodies from any local democratic pressure (abolishing CHCs, various non-local authority schools etc).

    The belief is that the more something imitates the private sector, the better it will be. The result is that these bodies too often end up being run for the profit and convenience of those in charge – which of course is exactly what happened with those paragons of private enterprise, the Banks.

    The governing classes have also spent the last 30 years disparaging those who work in the public sector – except for various Forces as and when needed and of course themselves. We are constantly told that those in the public sector are lazy, over-paid, over-pensioned and generally a waste. Various examples of high-level public excess are cited, usually ignoring the way in which these were caused by public institutions following the “market” as they were ordered to do. Those in the public sphere are constantly urged to behave like private business, often by outside consultants, and then attacked when they do.

    The political classes are supported in these attacks by the Press, which interacts with the politicians to increase the disparagement. As a result the traditional authority figures of the State – teachers, doctors, police, the judiciary – are undermined and now seen as mere service providers rather than professionals with their own expertise. If the service fails to meet with expectations (no matter how unrealistic) then it is seen as reasonable to attack the providers for that failure.

    Whereupon, Press and politicians, who have been encouraging the changed attitudes, complain bitterly and blame it all on liberalism and The Sixties.

  39. @ Colin & Neil A

    The CBI are now trying to do what? Score political points, IMO

    Their interest in UK manufacturing has been virtually zero. Their non-contribution has been to lobby government to focus education on the needs of the majority of their members: Retail, tourism, service providers & supply chain management (sourcing, importing & distributing goods) etc.

    I challenge you to find any significant articles/ pressure/ pronouncements from the CBI calling for a major government investment in manufacturing skills that pre-dates the credit crunch. If there were [m]any, I managed to miss them all. ;-)

  40. @ Roland

    What really gets my goat is this rubbish about everything being fair.

    Nothing is fair nor should it be.

    Its not a case of being defecit deniers its a case of being Darwin deniers.

    Its called surviival of the fittest.

    If we don’t get this country back on its feet with people working instead of living on benefits then “welcome to the third world for us ” and PDQ.

    We have got to work harder, smarter and faster that the rest insead of going on about what is and isnt fair for every individual.


    Suck it up and Tab on.

    All of course in my opinion. :D

  41. John F,

    Howdi :)

    Do you think your view is a majority one?
    If yes, what poll informed you of this opinion?
    If not, are you a democrat?
    If no, fine :)
    If yes, do you accept that the electorate having considered your viewpoint, prefer a fairer society, or at least aspire towards one?
    If yes, how do you reconcile that your views are out of touch?

  42. Sorry this is off topic.


    Would that have been yourself on the Scottish news tonight?

  43. John F,

    Your good lady friend Baroness Thatcher, thought that fairness was equality of opportunity. That probably means equal access to public services, education, employment regardless of class, race or creed.

    Fairness crops up in polls quite a bit. It is less important that some reds would wish, that is true, but equally, voters do tend to give a preference for fairness. They seem to care that cuts are evenly distributed, as a method of fairness. Do you agree with them?

    I think this is the nub of right and left, in our own fair land, Labour and Tory. I very much like Johns comment “Darwin Deniers”. I have made the same point many times, typically whom GOD (or whatever) decides should have an IQ of 135 and who should have an IQ of 95. Whose Mater & Pater decide to spend their after tax money on private education. Whose mum and dad spend their after tax money on a time share in Majorca and the kids go to crap schools. Labour think they can control these things, they cannot.

  45. Accepting, as I do, that life is unfair, the party that gets my vote is the one that works towards providing equal opportunity in life. The lottery of birth means that two children, of equal ability, born into different families, have vastly different opportunities. Because a good education can be bought, one child may go to Eton and Oxford, with all the connections that leads to, and perhaps even become prime minister. The other, born into a family without books, attending an underfunded school in a poor district, has, in effect, no such opportunities. This unfairness will, I know, never be resolved in full, but it should nevertheless be an aspiration. Of course fairness is important.

  46. Two couples are given £50,000 each. One spends it on a couple of holidays in the Dominican Republic, a snazzy new car that they smash up by driving recklessly, and a series of drunken nights out.

    The other spends it on a computer, some tuition and driving lessons for their kids, paying £20,000 off their mortgage and a trip to London to tour the museums.

    A year later, is one family is it fair that the state gives them and their children exactly the same treatment? Or is it fair that the state demands money from family B to give to family A on account of how much more disadvantaged they are?

    That’s the nub of the “fairness” argument.

  47. is one family is it fair = is it fair

  48. Neil A,

    That is in no way the nub of the argument. There are a million children in Britain born into families with an income of less than £16k. Conflating them with the characters you have desribed, obscures the ‘nub’, it certainly brings us no closer to it. Men in Glasgow had a life expectancy of 54, in Surrey it is 79, surely that is the ‘nub’ of the argument.

  49. @ Eoin,

    Bless you Eoin.

    I feel the same way about fairness as I do about God. Niether exist IMHO and every piece of evidence I have ever seen confirms that conclusion for me.

    To try to make the cuts equal is just intelectual rubbish.

    If you want to make a millionaire equal or fair by way of cuts to a pensioner then you would have to take all his money from him and make him live on the state pension.

    Anything else would be unfair because the millionaire would be advantaged.

    Clearly that is not going to happen, hence my opinion that the whole arguement about fairness is sterile.

  50. @ Craig
    I’d love to see the Tories repeating that rhetoric, instead of pretending they’re about fairness


    So would I. But I guess Camaron is a lot smarted that I am. :D

1 4 5 6 7