The full results of the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. On the regular trackers there is a further drop in Ed Miliband’s approval rating, down to minus 21. Clegg (minus 30) and Cameron (zero) are pretty much unchanged. There are also further drops on the proportion of people who think the government are running the economy well (down from 40% to 38%) and people who think the coalition will be good for them (down to 21% from 26%).

To pick out some other interesting findings, YouGov asked what people’s reaction would be to a Con/LD pact at the next election. Only 12% of Conservative voters would be in favour and only 21% of Liberal Democrats. A full merger between the parties was even less popular, only 8% of each party’s voters backed the idea.

The public continue to be opposed to the VAT rise. 23% support the rise with 66% opposed. Asked if they’d rather have a VAT rise or a National Insurance rise as Alan Johnson suggested, people are more evenly split – 41% would prefer a NI rise, 36% would stick with the VAT rise. 22% of people say they themselves will have to make significant cut backs to cope with the VAT rise.


95 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. Amber said:

    The Conservatives are increasing employees’ NIC to the same level as Darling’s budget proposed.

    They have cancelled the employers’ NIC rise.

    I’m getting very confused about this because everyone in the media seems to saying something similar, but it doesn’t seem to fit the facts. If you look at the NI information page on HMRC’s website:

    ht tp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/nic.htm

    Employees class 1 rates are going up from 11% to 12% and employers rates from 12.8% to 13.8%.
    What is also happening is that the thresholds, that employers and employees start to pay NI at, is going up by around 25%. I reckon this means that those on salaries under around £24,000 pa both employees and employers will pay less NI next financial year. Above that figure (which is slightly different for each) gradually more.

    I’ve spent ages checking this and I think I’m right, but can’t see why everyone else is saying something different. Mind you when the Shadow Chancellor doesn’t know the rate either …

  2. @ Old Nat

    “Hence the value of Nixon’s joke (?) “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.””

    Nixon had some great lines though I’m not sure he was joking when he said that. :)

  3. Ian C,
    Of course the fuel protests were politically motivated,one
    of their big cheer leaders were the countryside aliance,who as Andrew pointed out not long ago should
    not have been that concerned as farmers can use cheaper red diesel fuel.

  4. @ SoCaL

    But there seems to be some animosity against him. Maybe Brits pay more attention to politics and he was well known as a cabinet secretary but given that he’s not been leader for that long, I can’t understand the dislike.
    ——————————————————-
    IMO, not likely Ed was well known as a member of the previous government. My son is a Labour Party activist & he had almost no idea who Ed was prior to the leadership contest. ;-)

    Generally speaking, I think a lot of Labour & ex-Dems were hoping for an attack dog – somebody who would really get up in Cameron’s face. They don’t realise themselves how quickly such ranting would become ‘old’ & that it would be a sign of weakness rather than strength.

    Conversely, because (as you say) the Coalition voters are still liking David Cameron, the better Ed does against him, the more they will disapprove of Ed (regardless of the fact, that’s not supposed to be how they are measuring Ed’s well/ badly. Some will try to evaluate him in a non-partisan way, but others will dislike him for doing well against Cameron).

    Ed is correct to bide his time until DC’s ratings begin to soften or even fall. In politics – as in comedy – timing is everything. :-)

  5. SoCalLiberal

    “Therefore, it’s hard to see Tory voters deserting the party. ”

    Note the discussion between myself, Stuart and Amber above.

    Over here “Tory” (or any other kind of) voter isn’t like someone who is a registered Republican or Democrat. There is no requirement to have any interest in politics to bother registering (even as an Independent).

    Also despite people on here occasionally talking about Labour as being “Socialist”, it is no such thing. While all our main parties in any part of GB (there are creationists in government in NI) are well to the left of yours, as in the US the actual doctrinal differences are fairly small between them on most issues. Voters are, of course, entirely another matter. On all spectra they range from one extreme to the other, but have to select somebody to vote for at the end of the day – or just not bother.

  6. Chris N,
    I find these Milliband approval ratings very very strange.He
    is apparently as disapproved of as Clegg.Why?There is
    absolutely no sense in this .

  7. @Ann – I agree. To compare Clegg’s conduct against Milliband’s but yet personal ratings aren’t a million miles off.

    I don’t think it’s panic stations yet as there are a huge number of don’t know’s out there but it must be worrying that those who have made their mind up are so negative towards to Milliband, especially as he carried so little backage from the Brown administration.

    Still the voting intentions are very positive and all you can assume there’s a fair chunk of don’t knows in there.

    Even the personal ratings in O/S polls were worryingly poor for Milliband, despite the excellent results for Labour.

  8. The Conservatives’ ratings are still quite good.
    But they will need to re-open a lead against Labour at some point.
    The Tories seem to have stopped making the Government’s case.
    They do need to put that right – but not have the kind of permanent election campaign a la New Labour.

  9. Ann (in Wales)

    I think the difference is due to the large number of don’t knows re Milliband. Many supporters, of all parties, haven’t made their minds up yet about him.

  10. @Richard in Norway – “if the truckers do protest, the dems will get the blame again”

    I doubt it. This one sits firmly with the Tories. They had an implied promise on fuel duty in their manifesto and Cameron is already being attacked for his stance. It will be another story about failing to deliver on promises, and these are the kinds of themes that quickly undermine governments – once lost, it takes an awful lot to get trust back again.

  11. Total badly:
    PM 46%, Leader Lab 49%, Leader Lib Dem 60%
    Dont Know:
    DC 8%, EdM 24%, NC 9%
    Total well: 46% 28% 30%
    Very badly: 20% 18% 35% etc

    I think AW pointed out on a previous thread that these figures mightbe a bit skewed for certain reasons. (EdM not known/not in job long enough to get a positive recognition, thereby balancing inevitable anti-feelings perhaps?)

  12. About six months ago(?) in a lighthearted post, I put forward the following scenario.

    Facing certain defeat at the forthcoming GE, Cameron in ‘bold and daring’ mode announces the formation of an all new Liberal Conservative Party with a 100+ MPs, and invites remaining Tories/constituency organisations to join him.

    From a weekend’s reading of the Telegraph (Janet Daley, Fraser Nelson etc), there seems to be plenty of concern that something less overt is indeed brewing (even though YouGov currently shows little support for an innovation of this kind).

  13. This website didn’t seem to be available a few hours ago. I don’t know if it was just me or a general problem.

  14. @Andy JS – I too had a problem – “remote firewall” message.

  15. Stuart Dickson @ Old Nat

    “The problem for the Scottish Lib Dems is that their true core vote is absolutely miniscule.”

    You are right. The SNP in this LibDem constituency claimed in a past election that they found anti-Cons, anti-Lab, anti Lab+Con and anti-SNP but no actual LibDems.

    In Scotland that’s not a bad strategy. If you can combine it with effective constituency work and a reputation for independence, you can build up a sizeable personal vote, but it can easily be fittered away. (Argyll and Bute) or if another party competes as the SNP have in Ross Skye an Inverness West with a regional list MSP making shadowing the incumbent.

    The LibDem would need to have a plausible successor ready, which is very dificult.

    I think the ABT’s could be more numerous than any party, maybe all parties in Scotland together, and they easily move from LibDem to SNP or Labour too if they were in contention in the Highlands.

    Have you studied the regions a whole as shown in the ALBA tables? It sems that a constituency change nearly always follows when an MSP is more popular than his party, and another party wins the list vote.

  16. Anhony:

    I noticed tt in 2007, all four candidates in Edinburgh Central were women.

    as that ever happened in HoC elections?

    I know that in 1999 there were more women elected that had been sent from Scotland to the UK parliament in total since 1707.

  17. @ Old Nat

    “Over here “Tory” (or any other kind of) voter isn’t like someone who is a registered Republican or Democrat. There is no requirement to have any interest in politics to bother registering (even as an Independent).”

    There are some states that are like that (makes redistricting harder). I should note though that in the U.S., self identification polls are often more useful than just party registration statistics. You could be a member of any party in the U.S. by simply registering as a member as opposed to the UK where you pay a fee to join. But you also have polls asking how people self-identify. So what I mean by “Tory voter” or “Labour voter” is someone who self-identifies as being a member of the party.

    “Also despite people on here occasionally talking about Labour as being “Socialist”, it is no such thing. While all our main parties in any part of GB (there are creationists in government in NI) are well to the left of yours, as in the US the actual doctrinal differences are fairly small between them on most issues. Voters are, of course, entirely another matter. On all spectra they range from one extreme to the other, but have to select somebody to vote for at the end of the day – or just not bother.”

    I always vote and I try not to look for perfection in candidates. I guess I’ll blame the creationists in Congress on the Irish then. :) I’m not sure I buy the idea that your parties are more to the left of ours….maybe more mentally balanced.

    There are areas of public policy and governance where I think Democrats are probably to the left of Labour (if such a comparison can be made) and some areas where Republicans are not really to the right of Tories….just you know, completely insane.

  18. @ Old Nat

    “Partisans for parties like to portray all voters who have voted for them as part of their “tribe”. If that were true, then levels of party support wouldn’t change!”

    I get what you’re saying. And it makes perfect sense of course. In the U.S., where people register by party, it is a rarity if candidates running for office receive the exact percentages of the vote as is shown by their respective party’s registration figures. Lots of people who register with one particular party don’t neccessarily strongly identify with that party and sometimes even forget their registration. Similarly, there are plenty of registered decline to states (independents) who associate with one party over another.

    So maybe the better question to ask of self-identifyers is whether they lean in favor of one party or another or whether they’re strong partisans for one party or another.

  19. @ Amber Star

    “IMO, not likely Ed was well known as a member of the previous government. My son is a Labour Party activist & he had almost no idea who Ed was prior to the leadership contest.”

    Do you ever have those conversations with other party loyalists or like minded political thinkers where you can’t decide whether to be frustrated or ecstatic over the fact that you’re gushing over some elected official and they have no clue who you’re talking about?

    “Generally speaking, I think a lot of Labour & ex-Dems were hoping for an attack dog – somebody who would really get up in Cameron’s face. They don’t realise themselves how quickly such ranting would become ‘old’ & that it would be a sign of weakness rather than strength.”

    This is my obnoxious know-it-all Yankee side coming out but I think that after an election, you have to give some room and space to the winners. Just out of respect for the electoral process. Let them have their honeymoon, wait for them to have a cockup, and then go after them. Otherwise, you’re just disrespecting voters.

    “Conversely, because (as you say) the Coalition voters are still liking David Cameron, the better Ed does against him, the more they will disapprove of Ed (regardless of the fact, that’s not supposed to be how they are measuring Ed’s well/ badly. Some will try to evaluate him in a non-partisan way, but others will dislike him for doing well against Cameron).”

    I don’t think Coalition voters like David Cameron. I think self-identifying strong Tory voters still like him. I think that self-identifying leaning Tories and leaning Labour still like him (leaning Labourites may like him but may not intend to vote for him).

    “Ed is correct to bide his time until DC’s ratings begin to soften or even fall. In politics – as in comedy – timing is everything.”

    I think you’re right on his strategy.

  20. @ Old Nat

    “Voters are, of course, entirely another matter. On all spectra they range from one extreme to the other, but have to select somebody to vote for at the end of the day – or just not bother.”

    In light of tragic, shocking, and horrifying events yesterday, a friend of mine said “The political spectrum is not linear, it is circular. Each far end of the spectrum meet together at the point called ‘batshit crazy.'” I think she might be right.

  21. @ Roger Mexico

    From PwC Budget Briefing

    “The NIC threshold changes were a welcome mitigation [for employers] of much of the impact of the NIC rate increase.”

    8-)

  22. @ Old Nat

    “Also despite people on here occasionally talking about Labour as being “Socialist”, it is no such thing.”

    Hmmm. I think it all depends on the definition. Old Labour seems more socialist. New Labour seems more liberal (in the American sense of the term). I’ve been called a “socialist” by some people even though I don’t think I am one.

  23. Andy JS/ BillyBob – the server was down for a bit while they updated some drivers.

  24. Re the discussion on why people seem to “like” DC-but less so EM.

    I read these remarks from Helen Bonham Cater -she was a recent guest of the PM at Chequers & was in that photo of the group out walking, taken by another rambler :-

    “They are very unbelievably down to earth and you would not know that he was Prime Minister and she was Mrs Prime Minister if you walked in, that’s how down to earth they are.”

    I think this perhaps gets nearer to the truth about Cameron’s popularity.

    By contrast -is the North London, wealthy , middle class socialist academic persona of EM quite so “accessible”?

    I think the difference between the two might just be something like :-

    Charming toff & Geeky proff.

    :-)

  25. Colin-

    Helena Bonham Carter, Hollywood luvvie, daughter of merchant banker who worked for IMF, great-granddaughter of another PM in HH Asquith telling me how “unbelievably down to earth” the current Prime Minister is…….Hmmmm, forgive me if I don’t buy it ;-)

  26. Colin-

    You are right though in that charming is the word.
    I was at university with DC’s older brother Alex who was disarmingly handsome, quick witted and clever and would charm the pants off anyone who came within his orbit. He was most certainly from quite another social world to the rest of us though! I imagine DC is cut from the same cloth.

  27. Amber

    Thanks for convincing me I’m not going mad. So what you said before (and everyone else continues to repeat) isn’t really true. Labour’s NI changes have been put through for employee and employer, but have been mitigated for the low paid, and those who employ them, by a rise in the threshold. Effectively everyone’s ignored the facts and repeated what the Tories said they were going to do before the election.

    I assume the change is under the influence of the Lib Dems, which makes it even odder that they’re not mentioning it. Clegg was doing his usual “agonised doe-eyed apologist” act on Today this morning and though he mentioned the income tax threshold rise he didn’t say anything about this – even though it would have given him a chance to knock Labour. Maybe he’s worried about the Tories being upset, but frankly that isn’t his job.

    Colin

    I’m not sure that being described as “down to earth ” by a notoriously eccentric and posh actress (and great-granddaughter of Asquith) is quite the same as it would be coming from thee or me. It probably just means they take off their own wellies. :)

    [Oh b****r Woodsman’s made that joke already]

  28. Woodsman

    I had all luvvies down as lefties.

    But thanks for the tip-merchant banker & IMF in the family certainly does it.

    I must say I did wonder how any self respecting lefty luvvie could be found standing in the rain on a hilltop after an invigourating walk :-)

    Ah well.

  29. Colin
    This reminded me of when Con Central office tried to tell us that Margaret Thatcher was a working class northern girl. I was in the Grantham area some time ago and failed to see many dark satanic mills.

    The other example that always brings a chuckle is when the ex-Lord Stansgate goes on about the workers’ struggle.

    Even though it has made him the butt of jokes, I do admire W Hague for not trying to lose his yorky accent.

    We’ll have Simon Hughes wearing a pearly coat next.

  30. There’s been some discussion of the real nature of Ed Miliband’s popularity (or not) and I’ve been looking more closely at the figures over the 15 weeks since he was elected (yes, a whole 15 weeks – he should have at least overthrown the government and brought about world peace by now).

    Amber reckoned that he was wise to keep a low profile at the moment. As usual with these things the answer to that is yes and no. Certainly a lot of the increasing antipathy to him is actually from confirmed Conservative and Lib Dem voters. As those initially undecided in these groups have hardened against him, his rating has gone from around -10 in October to -55 now for Tories and -2 to -38 for the remaining Lib Dems. A lot of his fall in popularity is due to this.

    However, even among Labour supporters he’s not doing wonderfully. In October his rating was around +50 with them. It fell to around +40 in late November and December and is only +33 in the latest poll.

    Even worse among those who voted Labour back in May his rating went from +40 in November to +21 now. Lib Dem voters in the GE now rate him -18 – better than the third of them who still support the LDs, but still pretty poor.

    Put simply, it’s not as bad as it appears at first sight, but Ed Miliband has to more to retain and build on current support. I appreciate that the current policy review is more to do weaning the Party from New Labour dogma (it’s a ma so you can wean from it – and it’s certainly a dog) and that Ed is more than capable of coming up with coherent alternatives on his own. It’s just that he does not have the time.

    Even if the coalition doesn’t pull apart this year or next and/or precipitate an election, Labour needs a more coherent strategy than “no to cuts” or “we’ll think about it”. Miliband is right to try to pull policy-making away from the Westminster bubble, the think tanks and the lobbyists and consult with the people who are actually on the receiving end of what government does. But has to start with something new now and maybe refine it as he goes. Otherwise he will be stuck with the old policies which are too close to what the coalition is implementing to be comfortable.

  31. WOODSMAN

    My son was one of those rare things a comprehensive school lad at Oxford University and came across hordes of public school folk most of whom saw being at Oxford University as a sort of extension of school life.

    Some of these young people were really quite nice and one or two of them did have wider horizons – my son has kept in touch with some of them over the past 8 or 9 years.

    I well remember having a long chat with one of the parents of a charming young lady from a school very high on the list of best publc girls schools. He was a partner at an international investment bank and had a large villa in a top London location and didn’t seem to have any idea how the other half lived. He was good enough (!) to invite my son to spend some time with them in the villa they rented in the South of France for the summer with the general request that my son talked to him about English Literature and modern theatre from time to time!

    On the wider issue of what to do about the gap between state and private education there’s an interesting article in the current edition of the Fabian Review suggesting that VAT should be applied to public school fees and the revenue used to create a really useful pupil premium in the state sector.

  32. In Kent, anyway, the major fiscal anger just now is at the Government encouraged huge hike (over 12% from Canterbury to London) in rail fares, along with petrol price rises exaccerbated by the VAT increase.

    Labour kicked poorer parts of the South East in the teeth, and unsurprisingly found that its vote declined to 1980s levels. But the Tories are turning out to be quite as anti-South East (and particularly anti-Kent, which used to be full of marginals) – perhaps because Cameron is buying off a LibDem vote which looks as though it may fall to the extent that the LibDems will become mainly a Celtic fringe party again. If the Government is not careful, further right parties will become a serious force in poorer parts of the South East and/or right-wing (e.g. anti EU) MPs will find a need to rebel repeatedly if they are to save their seats.

  33. Howard

    you invite all sorts of images ….

    Ed Miliband doing karaoke at his own wedding.

    George Osborne shopping in Argos.

    …..which reminds me -story of the week was that sighting of NC buying toys in Argos just before the VAT rise.

    He got a few brownie points on my wall chart for that :-)

  34. Speaking of countries that may (or may not) have a General Election this year, there’s a new poll out by RedC for Paddy Powers on voting in a potential Dail election. Details are here with lots of pretty pictures but not full tables:

    ht tp://i.ppstatic.com/content/irish-election-betting//pr/Paddy%20Power%20-%20Vote%20Intention%20Report%20-%20Jan%202010.pdf

    Fianna Fail drop yet another 3 points to 14% and Sinn Fein retain last month’s big gains to stay at 14%. Fine Gael remain in the lead at 35% with labour dropping again but still at 21%. The main gainers are the Greens up to 4% and Independents up 2 to 12%

    There’s clearly though a lot to play for. Only half of FG supporters will definitely give them first preference and less than two-thirds of FF’s. And 51% say I will never vote Fianna Fail again after the last year – plus another 22% unsure.

    Even more astonishingly 45% to 28% agree with We should have defaulted on loans rather than bring in the IMF and EU, a more radical position than the traditional big three parties.

    There’s exhaustive analysis by dotski at Irish Polling Report. He reckons this gives a Dail of:

    FG 35% – 64 seats
    LP 21% – 46 seats
    FF 14% – 16 seats
    SF 14% – 23 seats (yes, yes, I know….says dotski)
    GP 4% – 2 seats
    OTH 12% – 15 seats

    Based on regional breakdowns politicalreform.ie gives:

    Fianna Fail 20, Fine Gael 73, Labour 36, Sinn Fein 17, Green Party 1, Others 19

    With a sample of 1000 (4-6th January) MoEs can obviously get biggish for some of the regions, which when you combine with the intricacies of STV and big personal votes makes sea prediction an art rather than a science. Incidentally RedC use mobile phones for half their sample – the rest landlines.

    RedC also asked about this year’s election for the (mainly ceremonial) President of Ireland, and the resolutely independent David Norris is in the lead with 27%. Details here:

    ht tp://i.ppstatic.com/content/irish-election-betting//pr/Paddy%20Power%20-%20President%20Poll%20Report%20-%20Jan%202010.pdf

  35. @Roger M

    If you keep being this good on Ireland, I’ll stop missing Eoin so much.

    So it’ll be a Fine Gael/Labour coalition, with Enda Kenny as Taoiseach and Eamon Gilmore as Tánaiste then. (Virgilio, please note: I think previously you said Gilmore would be head of government. No he won’t). Other than the collapse of FF and the oh-mi-gawd-how-many support for Sinn Fein, there’s nothing here that isn’t widely expected. Although it has to be said that’s a heck of an “Other than…”

    Regards, Martyn

  36. Isn’t there a danger of “Clegg Effect” happening to Labour and Fine Gael? After all, they’re not going to be able to offer anything substantially different to the current government. Sackcloths, ashes and hairshirts for their entire term. Sure, you can blame the old government for “getting us into this mess” but when your remedy is much the same as theirs it doesn’t resonate very long.

  37. @Howard

    “This reminded me of when Con Central office tried to tell us that Margaret Thatcher was a working class northern girl. I was in the Grantham area some time ago and failed to see many dark satanic mills.”

    Ah, the Blessed Margaret; the housewife’s choice. Grammar school and Oxbridge educated and married to a millionnaire oil Company executive. She knew what it was like to make ends meet on an average housewife’s budget, didn’t she??? She got away with it though; elocution lessons to sound less posh(lol) and schooled expertly by Bernard Ingham and a host of spin doctors (she more or less gave birth to this now derided breed). Very effective but her “ordinary housewife” image was one of the great confections ever cooked up in British politics.

    As for the Cameron and Miliband popularity stakes, I’d be careful to start hatching theories this early in either of their cases. Cameron’s ratings aren’t terribly impressive anyway when you look at them in detail and were pretty poor in the early days of his leadership too. A lot of Miliband’s “unpopularity” is down to large numbers not expressing an opinion and, in my view, the respective ratings for both of them could turn around quite quickly as events unfold. Cameron has made a decent fist of looking Prime Ministerial and he’s getting some kudos from that. Personal likeability and popularity? I’m less sure about that, I have to say.

    However the toffs and geeks namecallers will carry on regardless, I expect. Let the stereotypes roll!

  38. martyn

    eoin has a special bit on ireland

    goggle him, he is in a green place

  39. @ Nick Hadley

    “Ah, the Blessed Margaret; the housewife’s choice. Grammar school and Oxbridge educated and married to a millionnaire oil Company executive. She knew what it was like to make ends meet on an average housewife’s budget, didn’t she??? She got away with it though; elocution lessons to sound less posh(lol) and schooled expertly by Bernard Ingham and a host of spin doctors (she more or less gave birth to this now derided breed). Very effective but her “ordinary housewife” image was one of the great confections ever cooked up in British politics.”

    Both Ronald Reagan and Dubya copied her to perfection in terms of learning to craft personal narratives that were far more appealing and very different from reality.

    “As for the Cameron and Miliband popularity stakes, I’d be careful to start hatching theories this early in either of their cases. Cameron’s ratings aren’t terribly impressive anyway when you look at them in detail and were pretty poor in the early days of his leadership too. A lot of Miliband’s “unpopularity” is down to large numbers not expressing an opinion and, in my view, the respective ratings for both of them could turn around quite quickly as events unfold. Cameron has made a decent fist of looking Prime Ministerial and he’s getting some kudos from that. Personal likeability and popularity? I’m less sure about that, I have to say.”

    I like Cameron though I probably wouldn’t vote for him if given the opportunity. Also, whatever some in the media say, he and Obama are not kindred spirits (and I don’t think they like each other either).

    “However the toffs and geeks namecallers will carry on regardless, I expect. Let the stereotypes roll!”

    Ah, name calling and stereotyping. Would politics be complete without it?

  40. @SocalLiberal

    “I like Cameron though I probably wouldn’t vote for him if given the opportunity. Also, whatever some in the media say, he and Obama are not kindred spirits (and I don’t think they like each other either).”

    He’s obviously a decent fellow and there’s not a lot to dislike about him once you get past his almost impossibly privileged upbringing. Of course, that can’t be held against him, and some may argue that it is actually a very good thing, but therein may lie a source of potential difficulty for him as political and economic pressues crowd in. There’s a blandness and, dare I say, dullness about him that may grate in time and how sympathetic a figure he may cut as a leader of an economically hamstrung and socially divided country, I’m not sure. I have a sense that he may become one of those political figures that the public grow bored with surprisingly soon, like a Major or Heath perhaps, rather than a reviled one, like Thatcher and Blair, although in fairness to those two, the revulsion took quite some time to set in!!

    This is pure speculation on my behalf and only my personal opinion, I have to add and I could well be proved very wrong. Time will tell.

  41. Frederic Stansfield- – “Labour kicked poorer parts of the South East in the teeth… ”

    My expirience of two areas of the SE with some of the highest statistics for socal deprivation which saw significant progress under Labour (and which had suffered severe setbacks during the Thatcher years) is totally at odds with your assertion.

    The fact that voters chose not to reward Labour at the last election is another matter. Whether Tories can hold on to these marginals at the next election is yet another matter

  42. @ Nick Hadley

    “He’s obviously a decent fellow and there’s not a lot to dislike about him once you get past his almost impossibly privileged upbringing. Of course, that can’t be held against him, and some may argue that it is actually a very good thing, but therein may lie a source of potential difficulty for him as political and economic pressues crowd in. There’s a blandness and, dare I say, dullness about him that may grate in time and how sympathetic a figure he may cut as a leader of an economically hamstrung and socially divided country, I’m not sure. I have a sense that he may become one of those political figures that the public grow bored with surprisingly soon, like a Major or Heath perhaps, rather than a reviled one, like Thatcher and Blair, although in fairness to those two, the revulsion took quite some time to set in!! ”

    Do you think Blair is really as reviled as Thatcher? He certainly took some hits for the Iraq War and has done somethings that have raised eyebrows but I never thought there was a true sense of revulsion against him.

    I think it’s possible to dislike politics without disliking the man. That may be true of Cameron. I think he’s intelligent and clearly well educated. I think he might be naive when it comes to economic policies. If there’s a whole world of hurt for the working poor and the middle class, his privileged upbringing will become an issue. Here’s someone hurting the poor because of wild right wing economic theories (that don’t work) he learned in college at the expense of people who have problems and challenges that he’s never had to face in his life.

  43. SoCalLiberal @ Nick Hadley

    “Do you think Blair is really as reviled as Thatcher?”

    What’s the Scottish perspective OLDNAT? Would you agree:

    1 Thatcher
    2 Duke of Cumberland
    3 Blair

    It’s very close in’t it?

  44. Socal Liberal
    Tony Blair is both deeply reviled by a minority and liked by a larger group. His memoirs are still selling while most politicians see theirs remaindered in a very short time. I was saddened that Gordon Browns recent book was half price from day one in my local Wal-Mart (sic) while Tony Blair’s book was still £2 off. For Christmas I was interested to see that my local bookshop had more than 1000 copies of TB’s memoirs for sale. Under his leadership Labour won huge majorities in Scotland.
    I was never an admirer myself

  45. @ Barney Crockett

    “Tony Blair is both deeply reviled by a minority and liked by a larger group. His memoirs are still selling while most politicians see theirs remaindered in a very short time. I was saddened that Gordon Browns recent book was half price from day one in my local Wal-Mart (sic) while Tony Blair’s book was still £2 off. For Christmas I was interested to see that my local bookshop had more than 1000 copies of TB’s memoirs for sale. Under his leadership Labour won huge majorities in Scotland.
    I was never an admirer myself”

    I bought Gordon Brown’s book (haven’t started it yet but will soon). I did get it marked down but that was because of a coupon I had, the book was selling for full price. I figured that was one small way in which I could show my appreciation for the man.

    I’m an admirer of Blair but he was completely mistaken on the Iraq War and the excerpts of his book containing effusive praise of Dubya either demonstrate how naive and susceptible Tony Blair is to certain individuals, how sociopathic Dubya is, or a combination of both. I’m surprised you have Wal-Marts in Scotland (I hope it’s not destroying the local economy).

    Btw, you were right before on Saturday’s news. One of Gabby Giffords’s staffers, her local community outreach coordinator, was killed. His name was Gabe Zimmerman and he had recently gotten engaged. Very tragic. As for Giffords, her life was quite possibly saved by her quick thinking 20 year old intern, Daniel Hernandez, who rushed into gunfire to protect her and began triaging her wounds.

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