The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here.

The regular economic trackers have fallen even further since last week, before the GDP figures, when they were already dire. Since then the percentage of people thinking the economy is in a bad state is up to 80% (which I believe is the lowest since the height of the credit crunch in 2008, when it got up to 90%). The “feel-good-factor” – the proportion of people who think their financial situation will get better in the next twelve months minus those who think it will get worse – is down to minus 56, equalling the worst since the bank-bailout in September 2008.

Asked specifically about the drop in GDP, 9% think it was entirely down to snow, 53% think the snow was a factor, but there were other underlying problems too. 30% think the snow was just an excuse. YouGov then asked if people thought the figures were a sign that the government’s policy was failing and they should change course, or if they were on the right course and shouldn’t be put off by one quarter’s bad figures – respondents were split down the middle – 36% to 36%.

Asked about some specific measures, 49% think the top rate of 50p should be made permanent, 33% think it should eventually be brought down. 51% would like to the see the threshold for the top rate brought down to £100,000, 29% would oppose this. 85% thought the planned rise in fuel tax should be cancelled.

There were also a couple of question on the phone hacking scandal. Unsurprisingly 85% thought the behaviour of the journalists concerned was illegal. Asked if there were any circumstances where it would have been acceptable, 71% said no, 21% thought it would be acceptable for journalists to hack into voicemail in some circumstances, such as investigating corruption. Just 1% thought it was legitimate anyway. 60% thought that the phone hacking scandal was an important issue that the police should be spending time investigating.

Finally there were a group of questions about the Sky Sports sexism row, which actually showed a fairly substantial minority thinking Andy Gray and Richard Keys had been ill treated. While an overall majority thought it was right that Gray was sacked (51%), and that Keys was right to resign (53%), a third of people thought that Gray had been treated unfairly.

163 Responses to “More from YouGov’s Sunday Times poll”

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  1. NeilA @ 11.48pm

    I agree with you-particularly your last para.

    The current spike in food prices has certainly been affected by dietry changes in countries like China ( burgeoning middle class consuming western type foods-including a huge increase in meat consumption).

    La Nina driven weather events pressaged the problems with wheat production following drought in Russia ( 25% of the crop lost) & floods in Australia.

    Another , little discussed elephant in the room is the role of biofuels.A 2008 report by World Bank suggested that biofuel cropping had pushed food prices up by 75%
    Our own Proff. David King said “”It is clear that some biofuels have huge impacts on food prices,all we are doing by supporting these is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change.”

    No doubt commodity markets will react to shortages & enhance price spikes-but it is increased consumption & lower output which are the current problems.

    The former will never abate.

    Whilst local bread prices were certainly a factor in the Tunisian uprising, the excellent Bronwen Maddox in today’s Times explains the two reasons for the Egyptian uprising :-

    Unemployment amongst young people.
    IMF have praised Mubaral over the last seven years for his infrastructure & market orientated investment reforms. But these have resulted in productivity gains, pushing up unskilled unemployment.
    She says that an Egyptian oddity is high unemployment of educated young men , not skilled enough for the most technical jobs, but not inclined to take unskilled labour ( I think we have echoes of this in UK)

    – watching the brilliant coverage on Al Jazeera, it seems clear that this is a huge factor amongst the middle classes on the streets.

    Freedom & jobs-a potent force , which I hope will sweep Mubarak from power unless the Army really do decide to supress the people by force.

  2. Alec

    Goldman Sachs, among others, persuaded them to deregulate as they insisted food could be traded with better (cheaper) results yet with more profit for the financial industry. As with most things, they were wildly wrong.

    I don’t know – in the second part of their statement they seem to have been wildly right.

    Actually this isn’t just cynicism. It’s part of what has gone wrong with financial markets over the last few decades. More and more schemes have been set up with no more purpose than making money for those operating them, rather than providing a genuine service and then charging a fee for doing so. In part this has been driven by an excess of money requiring investment.

    The trouble is that this is, to some extent, financially beneficial. it’s the posh equivalent of digging holes and filling them in. And it does generate tax revenue, consumer spending etc. The result is that governments, even if it weren’t for the tremendous political power these people have, are unwilling to tackle it for fear of what would happen if you start trying to unravel what is going on.

    But something does have to be done, because even those who designed these rococo money palaces have no idea how they operate; where things would fall if you started to dismantle them. You see this in the efforts to try to untangle the credit default vehicles that, in part caused the last crisis.

    The paradox of markets is that they require constant regulation to make them work properly. Otherwise, as Adam Smith was well aware (though his modern-day followers conveniently forget), they get to be far from ‘free’ with the development of monopolies, cartels etc.

  3. AW
    I agree the Lords debate on the reform Bill is fascinating.

    Is a constitutional crisis in the offing if there is an attempt to implement a guillotine?What is the point of keeping the Lords in existence?

    [There will be a big fuss about one, but the Lord’s value as an amending chamber doesn’t *depend* on the lack of a guillotine, it’s more the non-partisan culture of the House, the relative lack of power of the whips and – ultimately – the Lord’s lack of legitimacy. Because the Lords know they have no democratic legitimacy, they don’t generally get into fights with the Commons they will lose and instead take on a role of constructive legislative scrutiny. The lack of a guillotine does mean that the Lords can guarantee full scrutiny of any Bill that comes before it – a bill that has been guillotined in the Commons may arrive at the Lords with only some of it’s clauses having been scrutinised in committee in the Commons, with no guillotine we know the Lords will get through them all.

    Having a guillotine once will set a precedent that damages that side of the Lords, but equally, it wouldn’t mean that the government would be able to use a guillotine at will on future Bills. They’d still need to win a vote on imposing a guillotine each and every time they want to impose one. Personally I’m somewhat doubtful they’ll get support for it this time, and that’s in the face of an extreme case of filibustering that will have driven some Lords to support a guillotine who would never have considered doing so in the past. I can’t imagine they’d ever get the support to impose a guillotine on a Bill where there had not been this degree of filibustering.

    Of course, the threat to the current character of the Lords comes from both sides. On one side, the threat of a guillotine, on the other side, the use of Parliamentary tactics more akin to the partisan nature of the Commons. The reason the Lords doesn’t have a guillotine and the Commons does is, remember, that the Lords has never previously needed one. Previously the timetabling of bills has always been agreed on a consensual basis – AW]

  4. Thanks for the compliment, Barney.

    I would agree with NickP that Kenneth Clarke has more experiencethan Osborne to be Chancellor – although how far his previous tenure of the office would be an advantage given the UK’s lamentable economic decline is debatable, even though Clarke was probably one of the better Tory holders of the office.

    One might add that Cable might be better as Chancellor too, where his economic expertise would be more useful and there could be less opportunity for the political gaffes he has made as Business Secretary. But does one promote to such an important post somebody who has not done well elsewhere? No.

    And David Laws could be brought back into Government.

    There was actually debate on this site about Osborne’s suitability before the election. Osborne never looked like having the exertise and experience, and his track record does not now suggest anything different. I recollect it being pointed out that Philip Hammond has better credentials to be Chancellor than Osborne, and he would be a credible replacement. Although he has not been a star performer so far – come to think of it, few of the “rank and file” caninet ministers, if that is not an oxymoron, have particularly stood out.

    Incidentally, I have recently posted on the threads for the two unpaid Government whips, Philip Dunne of Ludlow and Brooks Newmark of Braintree, both of whom (perhaps particularly Dunne) appear to have a background, purely from their website profiles as that is really all I know about them, that would be more appropriate as a middle ranking financial minister. I am not happy about unpaid ministers as a result of the (insufficiently stringently) capped Government payroll precisely because it could lead to appointment of the wrong people or the appointment of people to the wrong posts.

    The trouble is that Cameron appears unlikely to replace Osborne because of their personal friendship/ political alliance, not least because of the high profile this relationship has been given. In this he is getting into the same situation as Blair, who for very different reasons never sacked Brown, as he should clearly have done for his, Blair’s, political advantage. Being unable to get rid of the Chancellor if necessary is a very dangerous place for a Prime Minister to be.

    There is a more general point that we are beginning to get towards time for the next unforced Government reshuffle (presumably in the Summer). It is inevitably the case for a party, or in this case parties, coming into Government after a long period in opposition that there are a number of ministers who are not coping with the job or are in the wrong place. Although Cameron can’t do much about the limited experience and talent available on the LibDem benches. Conversely, the Tories did well, whatever one thinks of their policies, in selecting able candidates to come into the Commons at the last election, and several of them need early advancement. I wonder when the speculation on this will get going.

    Osborne could yet prove to be Cameron’s Achilles’ Heel.

  5. Frederic Stansfield
    A week or so back I posted commenst about the DC/GO relationship and similarly questioned whether DC is too weak to replace GO.

    I sugegst that the more one analyses DC’s position as PM the more one begins to see just how weak it is. All IMO.

  6. You are right, Cameron cannot sack Osborne. Or rather, if and when he does, he is admitting that his whole deficit strategy is wrong. I don’t suppose he can sack any Lib Dems.

    Pickles and Lansley look like good candidates for sacking. But that might just be me.

    Bringing in Laws after his expenses fiddle would be subject to criticism to. Especially from me.
    What happened to clean Government?

  7. I’m one of those fascinated by the Lords Filibuster.

    I don’t think a guillotine will get voted through. And if Cameron pushes it and he loses…what then?

    I don’t think the Labour Lords will agree to discussion after the bill is passed about numbers, percentages and public debate. These are all the things the bill is being rushed through to change.

    They would have to trust Cameron to keep his word. Look at the NHS being ringfenced and not reorganised. VAT not being increased etc etc etc

    I think Cameron is expecting the parliament not to last and he wants these boundary changes FAST.

    [Nick – sorry, I must have worded it badly the post-legislative bit was just on the MP numbers, not the consultation process which will be presumably be a change to the current bill.

    The boundary changes can’t be speeded up that much – the current Bill provides for a report by Oct 2013 at the latest. My reckoning is that their declared timetable seems to have some wiggle room built in – the Boundary Commissions are aiming at publishing provisional recommendations in Sept 2011. Consultation will then take place until January 2012 (or possibly February 2012, depending on what amendments are accepted). If the Commissioners take about the same time to review the consultation responses as they did to come up with the provisional recommendations that would still only take us to September 2012 for final recommendations. Give a couple more months for legal challenges and judicial reviews (boundary reviews *always* result in some legal challenges, or at least, the last three have), and we’re into 2013, though it should still hit the timetable – AW]

  8. In effect, Cameron has given a certain number of positions to the LibDems. Cameron cannot sack the LibDem ministers, but Clegg will probably have to change one of the LIbDem ministers almost for the sake of participating in the reshuffle. At the moment this makes Vince Cable’s job look very insecure, although none of the LibDem Cabinet ministers have in my view done particularly well.

    Of course there is a problem in finding good LibDem ministers because, compared to the Tories, such a large proportion of their MPs are already holding office. If ministers were being appointed solely in terms of actual or potential performance, I suspect most people – even ant-Conservatives – think that a larger proportion of them would be Tories (Is there any polling evidence on this?).

    Of course, what Cameron really cannot do anything about is Clegg’s performance, even if he wants to. (Is Cameron another Blair-style leader who sees friendships and alliances rather than in/effective performance? His first big reshuffle will reveal much about this) Presumably Clegg’s performance would (will?) have to be addressed either by a LibDem backbench rebellion or, more likely given the lack of ruthlessness amongst discontented LibDem MPs, a grassroots challenge to Clegg at their Annual Conference.

  9. @ Old Nat and Alec

    I’m not sure I go as far as you guys on the value of the market. I think that on a whole, markets have value and do distribute things effectively. With that said, I don’t worship the markets nor do I believe that the market is the solution to every problem. And I think when it comes to global food prices allowing for starvation around the world, the market does not provide a solution on its own.

    This stance of mine seems to make me a “raging leftist” to some (my non worship of markets) and a “conservative” to others (my belief in the general effectiveness of market solutions on a whole).

  10. oldnat

    Thanks for the newsnet link re the May count, which has a wonderful quote from dour Iain Gray which mirrors an earlier thread here:
    There must be no delay in counting the ballot papers. That is the law for general elections, and it must be the law for Scottish elections too.

    If the Labour party’s leader of their Holyrood contingent is unaware of the terminology of the Scotland Act 1998, perhaps it should be no surprise that Labour affiliates posting here are equally unaware of it.

  11. @ Billy Bob

    “It has been said that after their first meeting in the UK, Obama laughed and turned to an aide saying “I don’t believe it, he is such a lightweight.” (Not an uncommon first impression, but perhaps Etonians unconsciously try to wrong-foot with first impressions.)

    As PM, Cameron prefaced his meeting with BO in Washinton with a punchy speech criticising over-sentimental aspects of the special relationship, asserting his independence. The rest of the trip was spent pandering to the domestic news agenda of one or two senators concerning Lockerbie.

    Laszlo made a point some time ago about a study which showed interpretations of ‘body language’ were very much in the eye of the beholder, that said, you do have to trust your own judgement.”

    Yes, body language interpretations are definitely in the eye of the beholder. I have to go with my gut instinct. The thing is that not everyone demonstrates how they feel through body language. But some people do and Obama seems to be one of them. And to me it seems that you can tell when he likes someone, when he doesn’t, and when he’s feeling them out and hasn’t formed an opinion.

    If that story is true, I would note that Obama didn’t say “snooty” or “arrogant” or “haughty” but instead used the term “lightweight.” There is a difference.

    I’m not sure that the blue blooded Etonian Cameron thinks highly of Obama either. Some PMs and presidents seem like natural fits for each other, like long lost twins separated at birth or soul mates who finally find each other. Roosevelt and Churchill were that way. LBJ and Harold Wilson seemed that way. Ditto for Reagan and Thatcher. And for Blair and Clinton. Obama and Cameron, at least not yet, don’t seem to be this way.

    In this way, it’s not surprising that Hillary Clinton has a crush on David Miliband as they’re both soulmates though both are likely to never be president and PM respectively. They were both favorites who got weighted down by the bad acts of past predecessors who supported their candidacies and lost to younger opponents who they liked tremendously but thought should have waited their turn in line.

  12. “And David Laws could be brought back into Government.”

    I hope this happens. In some capacity or another.

  13. SoCalLiberal

    The failure of the market with regard to food isn’t new.

    In 1847, the (gloriously named) Poor Law Commissioner Sir Edward Pine-Coffin was organising some limited relief for Highlanders, starving during the potato famine, via naval vessels.

    Meanwhile, the market was buying up the oats and barley from the Eastern Highlands and shipping it out from Wick, Cromarty and Invergordon, where the riots needed troops to keep some order.

    (Had the government of the day had fighter jets, they would no doubt have had them flying over the square in Wick to quell the population. :-) )

  14. Cameron seems to be happily tying himself up in knots this morning over the NHS changes. He has apparently admitted his brother in law (hospital doctor) told him the changes give too much power to GPs and disadvantage hospitals, while his ‘use it of lose it’ view of what people should do to keep open their local hospitals seems to fly in the face of his election pledge to have a moratorium on hospital closures – it’s up to us to keep hospitals open.

    On the GPs point, I think his brother in law is dead right. GPs are the least expert and least trained part of the NHS, and the most easily influenced by medical industry business lobbying. A GP friend of mine admits that her job is basically to take ten minutes to decide if a patient is in danger of imminently dying. If no, then select a treatment largely on the basis of trial and error. If there is any possibility of a ‘yes’ then get the patient to someone who knows what they’re doing fast. Cameron has placed an unwarranted store in the ability of GPs.

    I’ve also often criticised him for an unwillingness/inability to grasp policy detail and I think we’re seeing it again here. He really doesn’t seem to know what his own policies actually mean.

  15. There have been various comments on this thread about Cameron being a lightweight and poor on policy detail.

    [Snip – not really non-partisan comment David. “Labour supporter in thinking Conservative ministers are really rubbish shocker” – AW]

    Regardless of one’s political persuasion, decent government from whatever quarter should be applauded but I fear that the current administration is going to go down in a confused heap which will be bad for ll of us.

  16. ‘none of the LibDem Cabinet ministers have in my view done particularly well’

    FS wrote the above. I just wonder how one does ‘well’?

    The job of ministers is to propose legislation or to amend it or repeal it,

    That’s it. I can’t think of anything else except delegated powers through orders and instruments, and these are sensibly only invoked after considered advice from officers. Pickles not doing well (if fair comment) is based on his announcing that RSSs were abolished when in fact they could not be, as the High Court had to remind him.

    So I will go along with the latter case but not much else. Cable’s indiscretion ruled him out of the \Murdoch monopoly case but I would dearly love to know who otherwise could not be assumed to be biased. The Blair and Iraq case is clearly, anticipating the Inquiry Report, more the fault of his Cabinet being content to be patsies, rather than Blair’s opined meglomania.

    Why are we entering captcha codes again? At least my screed was not lost though as in the past..

  17. BTW I am not golden any more. Is this a subtle comment on my perceived lack of partisanship (but see DavidB’s non partisan contribtion, also light blue!!).

  18. @Socal Liberal

    You’re a liberal; if the Western left weren’t so emasculated that now “Liberal” can mean leftist, it’d be easy to show you’re no leftist. Liberals have always been pro-market – moreso than our Conservatives at various points (I know, hard to believe in these days of Conservative parties of being entirely made up of free-market fetishists).

  19. Howard – if you see the Captcha again it means you are logged out of the site. Log back in and it will disappear again.

    I think there must be a time limit on the cookie that remembers your login (probably 28 days or so, given I rejigged the site about 28 days ago, and lots of people are suddenly commenting that the Captcha has re-appeared)

  20. Oh I see you have AW!

  21. Alec
    “…an unwillingness/inability to grasp policy detail…He really doesn’t seem to know what his own policies actually mean.”

    Not the best of ways to launch fundamental change to such a key plank of our society, by the sound of it.

    The NHS reforms are goinf to really hurt DC and the Cons. No idea what it will do the LDs.

    But was NHS reform (to this extent, if at all) part of the coalition agreement? Is this the opportunity for the LDs to end the coalition and gain support from the public by it?

  22. @ Socal Liberal

    Roosevelt and Churchill? The men were polar opposites in terms of policy direction; I suspect it was just Churchill’s all encompassing pro-Americanism, and a very dire need for America’s aid bringing that about. Reagan & Thatcher/ Clinton & Blair was made much easier, as the latter were essentially carbon copies of the former, but Reagan can’t have been that enarmoured with Thatcher if he was willing to invade Grenada against her wishes.

  23. @OldNat

    Gloriously named indeed. Thanks for brightening up my day – just the name, of course, story itself sad but not surprising.

  24. Mike N
    Clearly hope springs eternal on this coalition break up possibility business, in your case anyway, and I fail to understand why all you partisans cannot get out of the self-made mental imprisonment on this issue.

    I saw Paul Burstow vigorously defending the policy on Newsnight so i assume the whole government backs it. Have you looked at the Agreement?

    It says
    ‘The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the
    Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision would have on other departments.’

    That’s it. Nothing else.

  25. Howard
    “it [the coalition Agreement] says ‘The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision would have on other departments.’
    That’s it. Nothing else.”

    Yes, exactly, Howard. Where within this is there scope for the reforms now being proposed?

  26. But surely Howard the Coalition agreement should have been based around the two manifestos, with the policies being mixed and matched and tweaked to get some of what each party “sold” to the electorate?

    Instead of that they seem to be galloping ahead with a privatise everything, huge cuts, vat rise, NHS sell-off, forest sell off which bears no relation to the “no vat rise, no reformation of the NHS, no tuition fees rise, cut waste not front line services etc etc” which we were the sales pitch.

  27. I can’t seem to get through. If it’s not in the agreement it’s not necessarily against the agreement. (see tuition fees). The coalition has to support it where legislation is required. if it fails in the Commons, then something else would have to be agreed. That could have happened with tuition fees. It doesn’t mean the Government falls, that needs a no-confidence motion which would not succeed (at least not on NHS administration, about which most of us don’t give a fig) I opine.

  28. ‘In 1847, the (gloriously named) Poor Law Commissioner Sir Edward Pine-Coffin’…

    Marvellous, made my day that name. Wikid it; the family continues. How many jokes has that family suffered during the years? I thought my extended family was bad enough with SWEARS (Devon) being a family we married into.

    Ooops, I know this should be about politics, sorry…

  29. Howard

    I don’t know if this helps you-or even if you wish it to?

    But here goes anyway:-

    From Lib Dem 2010 Manifesto

    P 21 “scrap Strategic Health Authorities”

    P22 “Empowering local communities to improve health services through elected Local Health Boards, which will take over the role of Primary Care Trust boards in commissioning care for local people, working in co-operation with local councils.”

    “Giving Local Health Boards the freedom to commission services for local people from a range of different types of provider, including for example staff co-operatives, on the basis of a level playing fi eld
    in any competitive tendering – ending any current bias in favour of private providers.”

    From Conservative Manifesto 2010.

    from “Health”

    “We will cut the cost of NHS administration by a third and transfer resources to support doctors and nurses on the front line”

    “We will strengthen the power of GPs as patients’ expert guides through the health system by enabling them to commission care on their behalf. ”

    “We will establish an independent NHS board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidelines”

    “We will give every patient the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, “

  30. Phil,

    Sorry I am only getting back to you.

    Regarding the potential outcome of the ROI election there is almost a zero chance of a Sinn Féin – Labour coalition.

    The main barrier i snot ideology but personality.

    In Dec 1969 Sinn Féin split into two sections..

    The officials and the Provisionals. There were many reasons for this, but they would take me forever to explain to you.

    The net result was the Officials in time pursued a peaceful Marxist strategy, whilst we in the Provisionals chose a mixture of terrorism and subverisve politics.

    Many of the officials ended up joining the souther Irish Labour Party.

    The party’s current leader was once a member of this marixist faction.

    Since July 1977, the Provisionals in the meantime have been pursuing a gradaul political re-alignment that has gradually brought them closer and closer to the Officials.. and consequently Labour…

    So today the two parties have “some ” common ground.

    So what is the problem?

    Well in October 1975, there was a feud between the Officials and the Provisionals that led to a significant no of fatalities…

    The Officials have never really forgiven the Provisionals for this action.

    So you see al these years later, it is the old rivalries and disagreements that keep them apart…

    If at any stage in your life you were a member of either faction, you are likely to hold a life long grudge against the other faction…

    Eamonn Gilmore could be the new PM of Ireland if he was prepared to to a dteal with Adams but his disdain for the Provisionals, and in fairness to him a healthy disrespect for SF’s militant past, renders him on a personal level permanently opposed to a coalition…

    When that crop of people eventually die, perhaps the new generation of Irish leftists can unite….

    But somehow I doubt it will ever come to pass..

  31. Howard and Colin

    The full details of the Agreement for the NHS can be found on page 24 of the following:


    It will be interesting to see the extent to which the Cons and LD share of VI is affected by the NHS proposals.

  32. One of the first and most irritating things that Lansley did on appointment was to get rid of the power of NICE to control which drugs could be used on the NHS. As a result we can expect the drug bills to soar as GPs become prey to (and lose their shield against) the drug reps, while patients clamour for whichever mega-expensive wonder drug the Daily Mail is promoting this week.

    NICE is a genuinely important British innovation in making sure that pharmaceuticals are both effective and cost-effective. Of course that made it enemies and led to (usually baseless) sob-stories in the Press. That Cameron and Lansley were willing to prefer temporary PR gain over evidence-based medicine was indicative of of some of the more arbitrary decisions we have seen since.

    By the way the two Irish polls in yesterday’s papers are now up. RedC for the Sunday Business Post (phone 50% mobile) is here:

    ht tp://

    and Millward Brown for the Sunday Indo (face to face) here:

    ht tp://

    as usual in Ireland both are in the form of presentations rather than tables.

    Incidentally those celebrating at the fall of the current UK government’s approval ratings to -24% as being catastrophic, should look at that of their Irish counterparts. It’s -91% (95% against, 4% for, 1% D/K). This may be a record of some sort. Anthony?

  33. This should put the Cat among the pigeons – an article that Peter has put up on the YouGov website today:

    (Personally I don’t like arguments of the “the Conservatives should be doing better than this”, “Labour should be doing worse than that” – they tend to get bandied about in a very partisan fashion, though clearly in this case PK isn’t an anti-Labour partisan!)

  34. Anthony,

    Good article indeed. I agree with PK 100%.

    How is that MORI post coming aong? I have to say I am sightly embarassed to admit that I am very excited about it.

  35. Haven’t even started writing it!
    Something else to come later this afternoon.

  36. OLDNAT

    “Like every other people, we have likeable and unlikeable people. Just why someone would like or dislike all of a nation, just because of that nationality is something I have never understood.”

    We can admire the common values of a people and these have their roots in their common geography and environment or their history. Henry George could enlighten nationalist thinking.

    Scotland’s reformation history and population sparsity are hugely significant in Education policy. The certainties of ignorant metropolitain Oxbidge and privately schooled policy makers take no account of embedded Scotish values supporting public provision of education.

    Likewise, public support for the NHS in Scotland can be traced to the response of burgesses to the success of the measures from 1856 onwards to combat cholera. Reformation education and egalitariaism and its direct consequence, the Scottish Enlightenment, including the values expressed by the national poet, also played a part in the pre-1947 support for public health.

    You can characterise egalitarian values and support for free public provision of Health and Education as “Socialist” ifyou like, but that cannot be right for it is centuries older than Socialism. When the party of the right who were Presbyterian Christian Democrats (elsewhere they would be one-nation Conservatives) were marginalised by non-indigenous factions they failed as political grouping. NewLabour made the same mistake.

    Now we have a Health Secretary who says: “PFI? It’s wrong. We’re not doing it.”

    This isn’t like TB’s tough decisions. It’s the opposite. It’s an easy decision. Note the new political principle: the reason for not doing it is because it’s wrong.

    I think that idea could go further.

    It’s silly to suppose the UK needs to be broken up because its too big or too diverse. Bruce and Wallace have nothing to say to us today, still less Mary Queen of Scots or Bonnie Prince Charlie.

    If we have to chose betwen Scottish values and either Thatcherite selfihness and greed or NewLabour infatuation with and deference for power, money and fashionable image, then I’m glad I live where there are other people with Scottish values.

  37. I was expecting a bigger lead to open up too.

    Let’s wait for this week’s polls now that people have had a weekend to catch up on the papers etc.

    NHS and Coulsongate have still got lots to run too. Coulson is still working his notice with Cameron (they must be mad).

    I expect upper 40s soonish for Labour and low 30s for Con with ATTAD behind too.

    Am I blinded by bias?


  38. AW

    PK’s article seems reasonable to me.

  39. AW
    Thanks for great reply to my 10.17am post.

    It’s an interesting constitutional issue.

  40. @Mike N

    “PK’s article seems reasonable to me.”

    It’s a reasonable take on matters, but a partial and YouGov centric view, nonetheless. Peter Kellner poses the question, “Should Labour be doing better?”, and goes on to suggest, on YouGov’s figures alone, that they should, but if you look at a lot of other polls, they are!! Recent polls such as Angus Reid and IPSOS/Mori have them 11 points and 10 points ahead respectively; the very double digit leads that Kellner suggests are proving worryingly elusive for the party.

    I’ve always been an admirer of Peter Kellner, going back over many years, and I still respect his views, but the article that Anthony has pointed our attention to smacks just a little to me of a dodgy metreologist telling us what the weather is going to be like on the basis of his data alone. Would you invest in a set of waterproofs and an umbrella on one forecast or maybe, wisely, would you look for some other opinions first?

    Stretching the metreological metaphor to breaking point, I wonder if YouGov will prove to be the Michael Fish of opinion pollsters??!! Peter Kellner on election night: ” A dear old lady called Angie Reid called in a little earlier this evening, plus a nice old Greek chap called Ipsos Morri, saying that there was a Labour victory in the offing. Don’t worry, we’ve studied all the data in the You Gov Nerve Centre and there’s absolutely no likelihood of that destructive event happening at all. Sleep easily in your beds good people of Southern England!!” We all know what happens next!

  41. Crossbat11

    I’m somewhat dubious of the ten or 11 point L lead over C suggested by some pollsters.

    I do think the Con share of VI with YG is remakably resilient, but this is early days still and we have a quite exceptional situation with there being a coalition gov to confuse things and people.

    I’m content with the way VI etc are moving for Lab and EM. But I have to say if there were a GE soon I’m not convinced that Lab would win it.

  42. This graph is my favourite UKPR graph. I find it is a useful arbiter on certain matters…

    It shows unequivocally that yellows have stablised, and are now gradually improving.

  43. thegreenbenches

    Do you still hold to the view that a pickup in LD support will mean a decline in Lab support?

  44. John B Dick

    You won’t be surprised to know that I also agree with that self same set of values. They are by no means uniquely Scottish, but most of them have been around for long enough in “civic Scotland” to influence what we think of as “right”.

    However, that is a very different thing from “liking a nation” – as racist?/ethno-centrist?/nationist?Some other kind of ist an idea as disliking people for the group they are part of.

    I’m always chary of the phrase (being much more cynical than Amber – or less disarming in my response). How many times have you heard people say “I like Americans, BUT ….”

  45. I like Yanks too.

    I’m an equal opportunities “liker”.

    Is there a nationality I don’t like?


    I don’t think Tory counts, does it? And I even like some of them misguided souls.

  46. Regarding Peter Kellner and Labour’s potential poll rating.

    It’s all Anthony Wells’ fault.

    Because since the election he’s been tempting the Sun/Sunday Times with all these extra polls, there have been so many more YouGov polls than normal. As a result, even though it’s less than nine months since the GE, we’ve had about 12 years’ (I’m not exaggerating) worth of polls. Used to the stately pace of one poll per month, it feels like forever to poll geeks and we all think more should have changed.

    But for the voters it’s still under three-quarters of a year. They are still giving the coalition a bit of the benefit of the doubt, especially as they feel the economic situation is so dangerous. So they haven’t gone over to Labour yet, though I suspect the number uncertain may be higher than it usually is at this time in a government’s life.

    So blame Anthony Wells. I always do.

  47. John B Dick

    Did you see the article in the journal “Public Finance” by the Cuthberts?

    h ttp://

    While it concentrates on PFI contracts for schools, I imagine the same will apply to hospitals and other medical contracts. Their report demonstrates the lack of wisdom in moving away from certain traditional values – like spending money wisely (and not believing central government spin).

    “In their final business cases, none of the authorities had looked at the implications of inflation being any more than one percentage point above this [2.5%] target. Given past experience on inflation, and also given that RPI is currently running at close to 5%, this appears astounding……

    Four projects will continue for longer than the agreed funding period from central government including one with a shortfall of more than £60 million at today’s prices. In two cases local authorities made over-optimistic assumptions about proceeds from land sales.

    One council used a temporary funding sources to help pay for the contract in its first year, with no indication of how this would be funded in future.

    Five local authorities planned to use increases in council tax to meet PFI costs. One of these proposed annual increases amounting to 13.5% in council tax over a 12-year period and continuing at that higher level for the rest of the contract, to pay for the deal.”

    Those outwith Scotland should not imagine that their position is any better, of course.

  48. @AW,

    As you’re obviously very interested in it, and I don’t have time to work it out for myself, do you think there is any way the government could delay the AV referendum for an entire year (and the legislation on boundary reform with it) and still get the results in place for a 2015 GE by truncating the process for implementing the reforms once passed?

    I just wonder whether it might be a something they’d consider to spike the guns of the filibusterers, and also to answer the concerns about the Scottish and Welsh elections?

  49. Mike N,

    I am reluctant to respond, since what I think seems to provoke a threadful of vitriol that would clog up poor Anthony’s thread. I hope you understand.

  50. Nick Poole

    “I’m an equal opportunities “liker”.

    I think that makes you a lover of mankind. The nation bit is redundant.

    Alternatively, you are a (Charles M) Schultz-ist

    “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.”

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