ICM have a new poll out for the Electoral Reform Society about the AV referendum (full tables here). Asking about voting intention in the referendum 35% say they will vote yes, 22% no, 9% would not vote and 35% don’t know.

Regular readers will no doubt notice the stark difference between this and the regular YouGov tracker poll on AV voting intention, which on it’s last outing a week and a half or so ago had the NO vote ahead by 41% to 35%, with 7% not voting and 17% don’t knows.

The big differences are in the level of don’t knows – ICM has twice as many as YouGov – and in how Labour supporters say they will vote. In ICM’s poll Labour identifiers (they didn’t ask voting intention) are in favour of AV. In YouGov’s polling Labour supporters, initially supportive of AV back in May and June, have gradually changed their opinion and are now against it.

The contrast definitely won’t be down to the differences between telephone and online polling, which is one of the things I’ve seen floated, since the ICM poll was also conducted online, presumably using their own panel. The difference is more likely in the wording of the two questions – there are three possible differences here:

1) The big difference is that YouGov have introductory text explaining briefly what the two systems are (the actual explanations YouGov use originate from a a survey for the Electoral Reform Society back in November 2009). ICM’s poll doesn’t tell people anything about the systems.

2) ICM actually don’t mention FPTP at all in their question, it asks if people would vote for a new system called the alternative vote, or to keep the existing system. YouGov present it as a choice between two systems.

3) In their preable YouGov mention the referendum as something the coalition government are doing, while ICM just say it is due to happen in 2011.

Now, we know from various other bits of polling that many people have very little knowledge of what AV is – the Electoral Commission’s qualitative research commissioned as part of their evaluation of the referendum question found people thinking the alternative vote meant being able to vote online or by post, referred to an unspecified alternative, or was a proportional system. I think it’s reasonable to assume that a lot of the reason for a lower level of don’t knows in the YouGov poll is that respondents have been told what they are voting on.

I’m more intrigued about the second difference – how come ICM’s Labour identifiers back AV but YouGov’s Labour voters oppose it? Perhaps it’s because YouGov mention that the referendum is a coalition policy that makes Labour voters less supportive.

All that aside, the question people will probably be interested in is which one will give the right steer to the result. Normally my instincts are to give respondents the absolute minimum level of information they need to respond to a question, so an ICM style question has its attractions (I wouldn’t actually use the same question ICM did, but that’s neither here nor there). The big difference wording would appear to make suggests public opinion is still unformed on the issue, and ICM’s finding that 35% of people don’t know how they’ll vote if you ask them straight out tells us something important about how many people don’t know about this.

Equally the fact that when YouGov ask people’s intentions having told them what AV is they are far more negative doesn’t bode well for the YES campaign. As the referendum gets closer people will become more aware of the choice and telling people about FPTP and AV should make less and less difference to their answers. Nevertheless it would be naive to assume that by the time of the election everyone voting will know what AV and FPTP is – the electoral Commission will send all voters a booklet before the referendum telling people what AV and FPTP are – but that doesn’t guarantee everyone will actually read it.

I’d also expect it to be seen as more of a choice between two system, and the political context of the coalition being an important factor – so my guess is that the YouGov question gives a better steer to how things will actually turn out… but my experience is that most people will want to believe the poll that tells them the result they’d like, so feel free to do so. The lessons I’d take away from the polling is that lots of people don’t know, increased awareness appears to help the NO campaign (something YouGov polls prompting people with pro- and anti- arguments and reasking VI have also shown), and that the YouGov trackers suggest that the trend so far has been towards no (probably due to increased animosity towards the coalition government).

Going back to the ICM poll there are also questions on whether people would be more or less likely to vote Labour or Conservative if they backed AV. Regular readers will know my general disregard for questions like this (I have the full old rant here). They give issues of little salience false prominence, respondents tend to use them to indicate approval or disapproval for a policy regardless of whether it will actually change their vote, and people saying it would make them more likely to vote for X are invariably mostly people who are already voting for X.

In this case, 13% said backing AV would make them more likely to vote Labour, 10% less likely. ICM didn’t ask voting intention – but they did ask party ID. The majority of people who said they’d be more likely to vote Labour if they backed AV are Labour identifiers anyway, the majority who said it would make them less likely to vote Labour are Conservative identifiers anyway. Turning to the Conservatives, 8% said they’d be more likely to vote Conservative if they backed AV, 13% said it would make them less likely. Just as meaningless as the Labour question, but kudos to the ERS for releasing questions that probably didn’t get the answers they’d have liked. I admire pressure groups that do that.


247 Responses to “ICM show YES campaign ahead in AV vote”

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  1. @Roger Mexico
    ““The Duchess, 63, was said to be recovering well from her ordeal yesterday”, which is probably better than most of us would manage after having to sit through the Royal Variety Performance.”

    LoL.

  2. On the student ‘riots’….

    These are being exploited by the gov, IMO. They are preparing for the real riots that will occur in 2011 when the cuts actually bite. Public opinion is being manipulated now so that ‘we’ condemn (no pun) demonstrators protesting against those cuts.

    The ‘demonstration’ by the police will also have been noted in gov, IMO. They have used violence too. Will the police achieve their aim of avoiding the worst of the cuts so that there are enough police officers to control the protests in 2011?

    For those who remember, the miners strikes etc in the 1980s were portrayed as awful by the media. We are heading for similar scenes and media manipulation.

  3. @Amber
    @ David

    If you go on a march where you know there is going to be trouble, then that is the risk you take.
    ——————————————
    You meant to post on IRAN POLLING REPORT, didn’t you?

    This country allows protest & demonstrations & groups of people assembling in public places.

    And both Parties to the Coalition stood on that platform prior to their election. This is the UK, not Iran or similar.

    Amber

    I agree with the right to protest, but many of those students went on that protest with intent on causing trouble and those intent on peaceful protest should have used their common sense and realised the likeleyhood of getting caught up with it.

  4. @Garry K,

    The reason PC Harwood wasn’t prosecuted over Tomlinson was a ballsup over forensic evidence, not a lack of political will. If you’re suggesting that politicians should use their “muscle” to overturn legal decisions they don’t agree with that would make me very uncomfortable. Using that “muscle” to ensure that an investigation is given priority and resources also concerns me, but not nearly to the same degree. I suspect Cameron perceives a weakness to the “failure to protect the Royal Family” attacks and wants to shore up his position with rhetoric.

    If someone is arrested for an offence related to the Duchess I’d want them to be treated like any other suspect. If faulty CCTV or contradictory witness evidence means they are acquiited (or not charged) then so bit. There should be nothing any politician can do about it.

  5. @David
    “I agree with the right to protest, but many of those students went on that protest with intent on causing trouble and those intent on peaceful protest should have used their common sense and realised the likeleyhood of getting caught up with it.”

    I’m sure Amber will reply rather more articulately than I can, but I humbly suggest you need to reconsider this.

    I infer from your comment that you feel that ‘peaceful’ students should not attend any demonstration simply because there is a chance of it turning ugly. I suggest that it is reasonable for peaceful students to rely on the police to prevent violence etc so that they can rightfully demonstrate.

    You also imply IMO that most of the students were intent on rioting etc. What proportion? Any supporting evidence, other than the impressions you’ve gained from the media?

  6. @David B

    “Can I join the local by-election appreciation society please!”

    Consider yourself a fully signed up member! I know they’re no great guide to subsequent general, or even local, elections, but they’re real votes for real candidates in real elections and anybody with an interest in democratic politics can’t avoid being fascinated by them. That said, notwithstanding low turn out and ultra-parochial issues coming into play, they do offer an insight into the way opinion is flowing, certainly in terms of launching the odd stray straw into the wind.

    @SocialLiberal/Amber/Alec/NeilA/Mike N etc

    I’ve only just caught up with the fascinating debate you continued long into the small hours about the recent student protests. I’m afraid I parted company fairly early, not due to disinterest I might add, but because I needed an early night to prepare for the expenditure of nervous energy I will undergo at this afternoon’s Villa v Albion local derby. I’m attending with quite a few Albion fans and, as a Villa man, I’m in for a very trying afternoon!

    As for the debate, I think there were excellent points made on both sides. I shade slightly with SocialLiberal on the general balance of the argument, fearing, rather like Mike N, that the politics of violent protest tend to play into the hands of the right wing and pro-establishment interests. We are already seeing some of that with the way the protests in London on Thursday are now being treated and never forget, although it’s easy for us politicos to do so at times, how disengaged most of the public are from the nitty-gritty of these issues. Accordingly, they are very susceptible to tabloid headlines and TV news clips and soundbites. I can almost hear Mr and Mrs Angry in pubs across the land, spitting into their respective beers, “I’m no great fan of Prince Charles and Camilla (they probably are in truth!) but what have they got to do with all this student nonsense? I felt really sorry for……” A travesty, I know, but public sympathy for important causes hangs on such media nurtured perceptions, you know. And what’s more, the cleverer and more cynical politicians understand this all too well.

    To make my point, did you hear the BBC news report of the Prince Charles and Camilla incident on their Friday night bulletin? They described how they’d been driven into a “full blown riot”. Really? A full blown riot? If the normally balanced BBC is indulging in this, what do you think rather less sympathetic media outlets are going to get up to in the months to come?

  7. The key issue that the government has mis handled here is proper communication, particularly to students, at an early stage, so that they fully understand the policy and the fact that the policy is progressive and that most will pay less & NO ONE has to pay anything, until they earn a salary of over £21k. At which stage they can reasonably be considered (as a single person) to be well off. And it’s written off after 30 years!
    The fact that ministers did not do this, by touring the universities for months beforehand, has allowed the smug Aaaron whatshisname, head of the NUS, to mis represent the policy at every level & so brainwash the great mass of students who now, have no interest in letting the facts get in the way of their prejudices. How easy it is to whip the audience up, as he did on Question Time by totally misrepresenting the facts.
    The same lackadaisical management of communication resulted in the Poll Tax riots and the scrapping of what was a very fair tax. ie one that every wage earner paid. If it had been handled properly, the ‘rent a mob’ brigade would never have been able to whip up public opposition as they did.

    I am amazed, but perhaps not surprised, at the flippant comments on here from some, regarding threats to the future King & Queen of England. The stick that prodded Camilla could easily have been a sword & if the guard had drawn their weapons & shot the protester dead, he would have got his just desserts in my view.

    The Times today reports that the march was hi jacked by 4,000 anarchists, many of these will be people who go to G20 marches etc. They must be identified & weeded out of future marches before they can cause mayhem. As a start, in future, anyone covering their face on these marches, should be arrested immediately because they are the ring-leading troublemakers. Take them out & you will have peaceful marches, taking the route pre-agreed by the police and without any need for kettleing, water cannon or tasers.

  8. NICK HADLEY

    The best clip of the Charles and Camilla incidxent had a guy shouting ‘off with their heads, off with their heads’ which I thought was very good for a spur of trhe momentr comment!

    I can well understand that this was a briefly frightening experience for the ‘royal couple’ made even more so in that they are so totally insulated from the rough and tumble of day to day life.

    The worst thing abouit this incident is that it is taking attention away from the key issues behind and around Thursday’s events. I notice this morning that there is a new report questioning statisticallyu the value of trhe latest concessions for young people who have been on free school meals and with further votes to come around fees in the new year this issue has a lon long way to run.

  9. I’m not sure how much the riots had to do with tuition fees.

    They weren’t just about one single issue. Perhaps we should see the riots as a symptom of the deteriorating social conditions of young people.

    This is the first generation since the War which will be significantly poorer and with fewer life chances than their parents. Indeed, much of the violence came, not from university students, but from younger teenagers.

    There will always be a permanently dissatisfied small number of people we like to call ‘anarchists’. The danger signal for society as a whole comes when those few hundred are assisted by thousands who join them or tacitly support them. That’s what is now happening.

    We can always water cannon, tear gas, and jail teenagers, even bring in the troops – the State always has the resources to crush street protests.

    But is that a society we want to live in? A sullen, dangerous, unequal and violent place where the Police always wear body armour and resort to physical force to control communities, because that’s all they can do once consent breaks down. When our housing estates become poorer, drug use and crime, and resentment of the authorities will increase. Many small towns have had riots in the past and we shouldn’t be confident they will not do so in the future.

    I have family in the Police and they are just as worried that they may be seen as the enforcers of government policy. They know how the involvement of outside police officers poisoned relations with the community during the Miners Strike.

    Demonstrations, mass riots and the return of the Mob are symptoms, and a barometer of deeper social alienation.

    We shouldn’t write the last few weeks off as the actions of ‘a minority of mindless thugs’.

  10. @SL

    “Was the abolition of the Poll Tax because of the unpopularity, or the threat (and reality) of violence?”

    The immediate reason the Poll Tax was abolished was because of the government’s unpopularity. But a significant contributor to that unpopularity was the violence of the protests. So while not endorsing violence, I would certainly agree with those who are arguing that it can be effective.

    What I think is important is that, this early in the parliament, a pattern may already have been set. When large-scale job losses and benefit cuts start to take hold next year, a model has been established for effective protest – ‘effective’ because it brought the issue to the top of the news and (according to LDs) produced concessions. What long-term effect on government popularity will repeated violent protests have?

  11. @Robert in France

    “The stick that prodded Camilla could easily have been a sword & if the guard had drawn their weapons & shot the protester dead, he would have got his just desserts in my view.2

    But the stick wasn’t a sword, was it? Your comparison reminds me of that famous phrase “If my Aunt had a pair of whotsits she’d be my uncle!”

    What next, if the protesters had armed themselves with rifles it would have been a massacre! If the protesters had garrotted Prince Charles, he’d have been dead. They didn’t and he isn’t.

  12. NICK HADLEY

    I think Robert in France has made some very good points but I fail to understand your response.

    In my view and I think in law a reasonable response by the police to a stick (or whatever it reasonably seemed to be at the time) to be) prodding Camilla would have been for a police officer to have drawn a weapon with intent to use. In fact if Camilla had been significantly injured the police would probably have been subject to major disciplinary action for not adequately defending her.

    I also wholly agree with Robert’s final paragraph.

  13. Presumably there will now be concerns about the Royal Wedding. The Army will have to take control of London in order to secure the capital against terrorists.

  14. WOLF and others

    The Royal Wedding will obviously be an excellent opportunity for high profile demos especially as it as a bank holiday.

    However it is equally obvious that major demos and the security and policing connected with the wedding will seriously conflict with each other and I would expect emergency legislation to be enacted to ban demonstrations on Friday April 29th 2011. Mind you this will probably lead to a mega demo on Thursday April 28th 2011 which could seriously hinder preparations for the following day – all in all it,s going to be interesting!

  15. @ Robert in France

    “NO ONE has to pay anything, until they earn a salary of over £21k. At which stage they can reasonably be considered (as a single person) to be well off”

    Do your calculations – it’s less than £10 an hour. The minimum wage is 6 – is it well off?

    Give you an other one. Two gratuates marrying, setting up the family, wanting a mortgage having this debt…

    I’m not surprised that Labour did not bring up that the argument of 21 th is nonsense (it’s more or less the starting salary for a graduate if he/she can get a job), but more surprised that the NUS does not use it either…

  16. @ Robert in France

    “They must be identified & weeded out of future marches before they can cause mayhem. As a start, in future, anyone covering their face on these marches, should be arrested immediately because they are the ring-leading troublemakers.”

    What an unwarranted claim! How do you know this?

    Can I suggest, along the lines you made that any police officer who covers up their badges should be immediately arrested.

    Anybody who listen to loud music.

    Anybody whose skin colour does not come from this year’s Sun, because they are proportionally commit more crimes.

    Anybody who wears expensive clothing, because they entice social envy and probable criminal action…

    I know that these are ridiculous, but where do you stop once you go down on the route you suggested?

  17. DAVIDB

    “The Royal Wedding will obviously be an excellent opportunity for high profile demos especially as it as a bank holiday”……….. “all in all it,s going to be interesting!”

    The way you write indicates to me that you are hoping for major aggro / violence at the Royal Wedding.

  18. The attack on that particular car was a criminal act and that’s it. The passangers are quite irrelevant.

    Had the guards at that point used their guns with aimed shots, they would have been tried for murder (but may be acquitted).

    Check the law of this country rather than newspapers.

  19. @ Mike

    Rare occasion, but I agree with you.

    Having said that, if there are series of demonstrations in the spring (which I doubt), there could be demonstrations on that particular day.

  20. @ Robert in France

    As a start, in future, anyone covering their face on these marches, should be arrested immediately because they are the ring-leading troublemakers.
    ———————————————————
    LOL – The temperatures were below freezing. Anybody with common sense would have their face covered.
    :-)

  21. Of course there could be demonstrations on the day of the royal wedding, if that’s what people want to do on their day off.

    We are supposedly deep in the economic mire but everybody can afford a day off to watch mega-bucks being spent on a royal wedding.

    Tell me again, how many of the Queen’s children haven’t been divorced from their “big wedding” spouse?

    Therefore, I think the majority of her more sensible subjects will be unable to get very excited about the wedding.

    So, it may well be seen as an excellent day to demonstrate about the public sector cuts. Any refusal of the right to demonstrate on that day will likely be ignored, IMO.
    8-)

  22. @Mike N

    “I infer from your comment that you feel that ‘peaceful’ students should not attend any demonstration simply because there is a chance of it turning ugly. I suggest that it is reasonable for peaceful students to rely on the police to prevent violence etc so that they can rightfully demonstrate.

    You also imply IMO that most of the students were intent on rioting etc. What proportion? Any supporting evidence, other than the impressions you’ve gained from the media?”

    Mike N. It’s just an observation from the previous protests – they have ended up being ugly and students know the risks. The police have a difficult job to do as it is – they are either accused of being too heavy handed or not doing enough. To get the balance right only comes from experience. No doubt the evidence as to whether they are students or not will come out in the CCTV evidence.

    I actually think the tuition fees are fair. I suspect most fees will be around £6000 as each university will compete on price which is still cheaper than a lot of countries. We simply cannot afford to support so many students going to university, particularly some of the pointless degrees that are offered.

  23. @Laszlo

    “Can I suggest, along the lines you made that any police officer who covers up their badges should be immediately arrested.
    [snip]
    I know that these are ridiculous, but where do you stop once you go down on the route you suggested?”

    All the others were ridiculous, yes, but this one? I would argue that covering of identifying mark by police should be an immediate sacking offence. What reason is there to do this, other than to attempt to evade responsibility for criminal acts? No police officer acting within the law should have any cause to hide their identity.

  24. @Laszlo
    Some of your comments above do your intelligence little justice. People only cover their face up at these events because they do not want to be recognised, perhaps AMBER one or two do it because they are cold but I doubt it.
    I’m not really sure why you are arguing with me unless you support mindless violence. 90% of the marchers were law abiding but there is always 10% who want to cause trouble. Take them out and the balance of probability says that they are likely to be the people with faces covered, or golf balls in their pockets etc.

    As for demonstrations around the time of the Royal Wedding, I would simply not allow any for a week beforehand or on the day. A few thousand troublemakers should not be allowed to spoil anyone’s wedding day, including theirs, nor spoil it for the millions around the world who want to watch it. Not everyone is a ‘chip on the shoulder’, left wing republican you know.

    Finally, if someone had made an attempt on Camilla’s life & the assailant was shot, the criminal charge would not be against the police, as the attack could be regarded as an act of treason.

  25. A poll needed I think. I don’t know what interests Robert – he’s in France.

  26. @Laszlio
    Do YOUR sums. £21k pa is in fact £11.54 per hour, which is nearly twice the minimum wage and as such, for a single person aged say 23, is a very good income. The national average wage is only about £26k.

    In 1973, when I was 23, I was earning £1,374, which in today’s value is £13,341 (Thisismoney.com inflation calculator) which is not much more than today’s minimum wage. We had still been able to get married the year before, though, put a deposit on a house & run a ten year old car.

    So kids nowadays are massively better off than their parents but the flip side is that they are massively better than their parents at wasting their money as well. Someone commented earlier that this generation will be the poorest since the war. What absolute garbage. The young generation today is the most featherbedded in history.

  27. @ Robert in France

    It seems that you don’t need to cover up your face, it’s enough if you have a white back pack or you are angry, because a horse bolts – not for arresting, but to beat people.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z028o7EztE0

    As to taking out troublemakers in advance, is naivity.

    Then you will have another 10%, this phenomenon is quite well known by the police and they also know that only peer pressure can deal with it peacefully, police cannot. Actually, considering the level of vandalism and the agression among the protesters, I would put that there was a significantly higher proportion who actively agreed with the troublemakers, but it’s besides the point.

  28. Howard – I’ve got a poll… but I think you’re going to HATE the (non-political) topic ;)

  29. @ Robert in France

    The average working week in the UK is 50 hours (after allowing for paid holidays), that’s 216 hours per month not 178 as the Continental average.

    My point was: “you will pay only if you earn 21,000” is a false argument as those graduates who can get to a job that requires graduation would earn above it.

  30. @ Howard
    Yes I live in France & have done for 6 years. My work pension is paid in Sterling so I have an interest in the exchange rate, which means I want a sound government, which knows what it is doing. My children & grandchildren live in England and I have the right to vote in UK elections for the next 9 years, although we will probably return to England when I finally retire at 65. (I cannot vote in French national elections, without becoming a French citizen.)
    Those are some of the reasons why I am interested in UK politics.

  31. @ Howard

    I would also like a poll – there can be some dialogue there. On the Thursday events – it seems to me, there cannot be.

    So, I fully agree your suggestion.

  32. ‘So kids nowadays are massively better off than their parents but the flip side is that they are massively better than their parents at wasting their money as well.’

    I think the point is that house prices have also risen above inflation, so they are not better off (nor do they waste it more than previous generations). I’d be on the street rioting if I was told I had to have a debt of what £50,000 including living costs before I started work. Wage slavery is certainly the word for it; it’s the indentured labour of the 3rd world salves coming to the western world.

    We can easily afford free university education for all; how much have we wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, on pointless aircraft carriers and on Trident? I’d prefer my money to go on future generations not grandstanding on the world stage.

  33. For more high brow political polls you’re going to have to wait till tonight Laszlo!

  34. @ Robert in France & Laszlo

    It depends on the denominator(s).

    Say, e.g., the person is working the ‘max’ 48 hour week for their 21k; it is £8.41 per hour – all at basic rate over 52 weeks.

    So, I’d think that you are going to have to define hours, over-time/ holiday pay criteria before you trade calculations.
    8-)

  35. @ Anthony

    X Factor – gosh, I can hardly wait. ;-)

  36. ‘Not everyone is a ‘chip on the shoulder’, left wing republican you know.’

    Oh the stereotypes here. I’m a believer in democracy, this makes me a republican as I believe all people in power in a state should be able to be voted for or at least nominated by people I vote for. Chip on the shoulder? No. Logical, yes. I’m tired of the fact that we live in a non-democratice country whose equals are Brunei, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait Qatar and Saudi Arabia (I may have left out one or two). We have a part democracy only; it would be nice to join the modern world.

  37. @ Laszlo

    You defined the denominator & holidays already. So just ignore my comment. :-)

  38. Amber – yeah, I knew you cynical old souls would be like that :)

  39. @ Anthony

    I can wait for that. I cannot go for the X factor, as I have not seen it…

  40. @Laszlio & Amber
    Most office staff work from 9-5.30 which is a 7.5 hour day (allowing for an hour for lunch) That is 37.5 hours for a 5 day week or 40/42 hours if you work Saturday morning as well.
    Also don’t confuse, hours at work, with hour of work. Productivity is all.
    @Jack
    You must have had your tongue firmly in your cheek, writing that! I will assume you were introducing a little humour to cool the temperature!

  41. @ Robert in France

    Most office staff work from 9-5.30 which is a 7.5 hour day (allowing for an hour for lunch) That is 37.5 hours for a 5 day week or 40/42 hours if you work Saturday morning as well.
    Also don’t confuse, hours at work, with hour of work. Productivity is all.
    ————————————————
    RFLOL. :-)

    As a newly graduated auditor with a big 6 firm, I worked 60 hour weeks without being paid over-time. As do most graduates who work in the professions.

    As to productivity, at least 90% of those hours were fully chargeable to clients.
    8-)

  42. The thread is about AV, but everybody has been posting about higher education, student protests and “kettling”.

    Polls on AV are unlikely to have good predictive validity if nobody is actually thinking about AV yet.

  43. @ Nick Hadley

    I hope Villa wins.

    It is a fascinating argument. I side with the protesting students against the tuition increases. Education is the great leveler in society and if you block public education, you harm those seeking to move upward. But if you react by using violence and vandalism, you help to discredit your movement and you lose the sympathy and support of those who might not be directly affected but were supporting your cause anyway.

  44. Jack,

    I note you chose to pick examples which you believe would support your argument, and ignored others which would not.

    So Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden are not part of the modern world ?

    Such selectivity indicates a lack of philosophical integrity.

    Someof those countries even have full PR – one step beyond AV which this thread is supposed to be discussing.

  45. @Laszlo,

    Do you know if there is a longer clip available anywhere of that police horse incident? As usual the “action” starts exactly where the agitators want it to start. Without seeing how it started it’s hard to comment, but I’d make the following observations;

    1) All of the horses present are stationary. This wasn’t filmed during a charge, or even whilst the mounted police were doing anything in particular.

    2) Two demonstrators are right next to the police horse, and somehow the horse is terrified and the saddle slips off, tipping the officer into the gutter.

    3) The nearest officer reacts by furiously beating one of the two demonstrators, whilst the other (in the white backpack) tries to shield him/her.

    Is there a chance that the previous 5 seconds of footage shows the other demonstrator (the one being beaten) doing something to the horse, it’s rider or both? I’m not saying that he did or didn’t, but I’d certainly like to see those 5 seconds before condemning any of the officers present.

    Something similar was posted on FB by a friend of mine recently. It was a video clip of a police inspector allegedly saying “I’ve just punched somebody”. In fact he was clearly saying “Before I punch someboday”, presumably at the end of a sentence that started with something like “let’s get back to the van” or “let’s go and get our packed lunches”.

    We shouldn’t be under any illusion that the taking and distributing of video clips is frequently part of a very partial attempt to undermine the authorities, rather than “citizen journalism”. I often wonder if sometimes demonstrators deliberately provoke an incident whilst allies wait with cameras ready.

  46. @SocialLiberal

    “@ Nick Hadley
    I hope Villa wins.”

    They did; 2-1, if somewhat undeservedly. Our Chairman and owner is Randy Lerner, a fellow countryman of yours. He owns the Cleveland Browns NFL team too and made his fame and fortune from the old MBNA credit card company. Do you know anything of him in the States and, if so, what’s his reputation? I gather the Cleveland Browns aren’t pulling up any trees and, sadly, Mr Lerner, once seen as Villa’s knight in shining armour and saviour, is starting to gather a tarnished reputation over here too. Not as bad as the Glazers at Man Utd or Hicks and Gillette at Liverpool though!

  47. Neil,

    In a way your comment touches on the same issue as mine. The propensity for so-called “progressives” to be highly selective in the evidence they present.

    Horses, even highly trained police horses, can be easily frightened. No doubt the protesters in question knew this and chose to do so without regard to the safety of the horse, its rider, or any bystanders who may have been in the path of the terrified horse.

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