YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%.

The four point lead is probably on the low side due to normal random variation, but YouGov’s daily poll does seem to be showing the Labour lead down a bit from that earlier in the month. For a short while YouGov was showing a Labour lead consistently at 7 or above, and showed two 10 point leads within a single week. In the past week only one poll has shown the lead above 6 and we’ve had two polls showing 4 point leads.

My guess is that it’s down to a change of the news agenda. Go back a week or two and political news was largely dominated by stories about cuts – about the state of the finances, closing libraries, cutting local services, selling forests and so on. In the last week the political news has instead been about AV, Libya and David Cameron being rude about European judges.

I would caution Conservatives against taking much cheer from it though – the tide hasn’t turned, spending cuts and the state of the economy will certainly be back at the top of the news agenda soon enough, and will likely get right back to sapping government support.


90 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 38%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%”

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  1. @AW

    I’d agree with pretty much every word…

  2. Surprised at this result as there has been negative news like the evacuation of Brits from Libya which didn’t go smoothly.

  3. Liz
    ‘Surprised at this result as there has been negative news like the evacuation of Brits from Libya which didn’t go smoothly’.

    There was a programme on this yesterday on radio five. Unexpectedly, at least to the presenters who probably felt it was an opportunity to further criticise the Government, here appeared to be quite a strong view expressed that responsibility of rescuing the Brits in Libya rested with the oil companiesand other employees and not the british tax payers.

    DC and WH were clearly embarrassed by the tardiness of the rescue response. However, I am not sure they lost many votes.

    It is interesting that a few new stories (such as blocking prisoners voting rights) that drive the economy off the front pages have resulted in a boost for the coalition. Raises the question about the extent to which the criticism of cuts and whether it is too much and too early is media led rather than the electorate’s own experience. The coalition have recently received poor press not only from the Mirror and BBC, but also from the right wingers such as Mail and Telegraph, who do not like DC but may warm to recent Euro bashing.

  4. Just a quick anecdote:

    I Chaired a support meeting today for Carers of Adults with Learning Disabilities. This is in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country.

    These were mainly Mums and Dads, many in their 70s, some in their 80s, who look after adults who still live at home. Some of their adult children are profoundly disabled.

    They have just been told that their funding support has been reduced by a uniform 10%, regardless of need.

    As one elderly Dad said at the meeting: “When they said they were going to sort out welfare, I thought they meant the scroungers… not us. We’ve done everything. We’ve played the game”.

    This is only beginning, and this sense of betrayal from ordinary (often Conservative voting) people may well start to have a real effect on the Polls.

  5. Wishes to our Irish Labour friends for a good result tomorrow.

  6. I would give this rather more credence than the previous Mori poll, possibly a 4% lead is a little low considering that the government have had only a reasonable week, not a fabulous one.

    The current government approval does seem to have levelled out for the moment. No doubt more bad news is coming soon, I fear.

  7. I do feel that DC has suddenly seen a short term solution for the polls, by saying sorry a lot. He has apologised twice in as many weeks. One for the proposition selling of public owned forests, and secondly for the hash up of helping Brits in troublesome Libya.
    It does work to a certain extent, but if he does it too much people will start to think he knows hes doing wrong and that saying sorry all the time will make up for it.

  8. The Tories halted their slide in the polls when last week they successfully got the media to turn the blame for the cuts onto the councils.

  9. @Alex,

    Or alternatively we may finally have politicians that accept that the buck stops with them.

  10. I make my usual observation. A daily YouGov poll has the Tories 5% ahead of a Mori/Reuters poll published more or less at the same time. Labour’s ratings, circa 42-44% seem consistent across all the polling organisations at the moment, yet none seem to be able to agree on where the Tories and Lib Dems are. Could a pattern be developing that suggests that support for the coalition is oscillating between the Tories and Lib Dems whilst opposition to it is coagulating around Labour?

    My view is that Labour might have exhausted the Lib Dem defections and their next significant move may come, if indeed it comes at all, from a further erosion in Tory support. I think Labour support appears solid and it’s difficult to envisage a set of circumstances where it drifts elsewhere, but the the Tory support may be softer than we think. The intriguing question is this. Are YouGov right or are all the other pollsters showing the Tories somewhere between 33-36% nearer the mark? We may have to wait until May to discover the answer.

  11. I think it’s more straight-forward than that.

    Domestic politics has been off the agenda.

    The uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt & Libya together with the earthquake in New Zealand have been filling the news cycle.

    IMO, It’s polldrums until the agenda shifts back to UK politics.
    8-)

  12. It is, at any rate, interesting to observe how the polls themselves my influence political perceptions. For instance, in tomorrow’s Irish GE, if Labour obtains, say, 18%, many will consider it as disappointing result, despite the fact that it would have almost doubled its 2007 score (10%). And why is this? Simply because in some polls several months ago it attained 30%, a score hardly realistic and supported by no concrete electoral evidence. So they compare the 18% to this illusory 30% and say it is a poor score, whereas the only real comparison should be with last GE, or, at least, with intermediary elections (regional, European etc.).

  13. Of course I wanted to write “may influence” in the first line.

  14. Has YouGov asked any questions (particularly in Scotland) over the whole DST time changing story, and the wide claim that it is wholly opposed in Scotland ? Would be interesting to see peoples real oppinoin on it.
    Jon

  15. Alex/Neil A

    Call me cynical, but I think that Cameron is a lot like his role model Blair. He only apologies for things that obviously aren’t his fault. (Though, as a PR man, Cameron will have have long practice in the non-apology apology anyway).

    crossbat11/Nick H

    If you look at the daily polls, you’ll see that regularly about 25% of May Lib Dems and 15% of May Tories are non Voters. I suspect this is where a lot of the variability is coming from as voters join or depart from this pool of uncertainty.

    Labour, while it has been low on the radar the last couple of week (edbe*), probably hasn’t suffered much, but will need to get its act together when the economy becomes centre stage again.

    Virgilio

    It’s even more difficult to predict how the Irish electorate will go than usual – I wonder if they know themselves. There some interesting tables in the RedC/Paddy Powers poll:

    http://redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Paddy-Power-23rd-Feb-Political-Poll-2011-Vote-Intention-Report.pdf

    but it still doesn’t resolve for me what I think will be the central question. That is how will the voters react to the prospect of of a Fine Gael overall majority? This might be an absolute one or with the support of a handful of sympathetic independents. They might give a winner’s bonus or they might pull back at the though of one Party having effective full power (wasn’t that how they got in this mess?).

    The campaign has certainly been a triumph for FG and Enda Kelly in particular (I do hope Anthony is getting well prepared for the mortgage rate rise with all these epp.eu ads) but FG and FF still have the highest percentages of doubtfuls and it remains to be seen whether more voters will decide to abandon the Old Firm or decide to stick with what they know.

    * Events, dear boy, events.

  16. @ Crossbat11/Nick H

    “Even though Labour hasn’t always boasted the coolest of either leaders or politicians, and Ed Miliband is probably another in the noble line of the deeply uncool, they have nearly always held leads, usually quite significant ones, in the 18-25 age category. Some time ago I trawled through some polling data and found that in all elections since exit polling information became available in the 1970s, Labour only once lost this lead, in 1983, and even squeaked a 1% advantage in the May 2010 debacle. In most elections, whether lost or won, their leads in this age group have been substantial.

    Why might this be? Well, there appears to be an innate aversion to Conservative politics against most of the young who express an interest, although we have to acknowledge here that those who are genuinely interested in politics amongst this age group are worryingly few and far between. Apathy, disillusionment and genuine disinterest tend to win the day and the young now form a high proportion of the 35-40% of the country’s adult population who no longer participate in our elections. Still, those that do tend to side with the left and this may be the temperament of exuberant and optimistic youth rearing its head coupled with the perception that a certain naffness surrounds the Tory “brand”. Not many young people are naturally drawn to the establishment party.

    An intriguing thought as our politics, thank God, continue to defy the so called inalienable laws of endless repetitiveness and the rules of orthodoxy. What if the young became truly politicised again and start to get actively involved? What could the consequences of that reawakening be and who would reap the benefits? Could the coalition government be inadvertently gifting Labour their biggest political fillip in a generation; a reunited British Left and a re-politicised youth?

    More questions that make the current politics as intriguing and unpredictable as they’ve been for 40 years in my opinion.”

    Sorry I was not able to respond to your post earlier. I find it surprising actually. I greatly appreciate your well thought out explanation of voting patterns.

    There is an old maxim that people get more conservative as they get older. That is not actually true in the U.S. though. During the 1980’s and intermittently throughout the 1990’s, young voters voted for Republicans. I remember when a poll published in late 2003 had Dubya leading in his reelection bid with strong support from younger voters (with him only losing the elderly demographic). This collapsed of course but it serves to show that voters don’t neccesarily get more conservative.

    I’ve often found it interesting that when the electorate is broken down into age demographics, (Millenials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, and the elderly). Usually, Millenials tend to vote the most liberally. But who votes the second most liberally? Not the immediately preceding generation of Generation X but the Baby Boomers who are far older. Usually, elderly voters tend to be the most conservative but not always. Generation X often votes even more conservatively than the elderly voters do. It can depend on the state and the issue.

    The reason I thought it odd that the youngest voters appeared most supportive of Labour is because these voters did not grow up under Thatcher and probably don’t remember her. If her legacy is the one that harms the Tories, I find it hard to see how it drives these voters to vote in favor of Labour. But if, as you argue, Coalition policies are driving these voters to vote Labour, the numbers make more sense.

    As for a few of the points you mentioned, Ed Miliband seems uncool but I’m not sure David Cameron would really count as cool either. So I think it’s a wash between those two.

    If the Coalition policies are driving Millenials to Labour, Labour would be smart to work hard to cultivate this vote and not look a gifthorse in the mouth.

    Politics always seems to defy repetitiveness, that’s what makes it so fun and enjoyable (most of the time anyway).

  17. @ Amber Star

    “Domestic politics has been off the agenda.”

    That’s almost always the desire of political leaders. :)

  18. Most interesting aspect of all the recent polls is the revival of the Lib Dems into double-digit territory. This may be due to the tuition fees issue dropping out of the news. Whether Clegg’s recent comment about forgetting he was in charge while Cameron was away will affect this remains to be seen.

    However I think he has calculated quite rightly that he is a currently a liability both to his party and the Coalition and he would do best to keep a low profile. despite the variation in the Labour lead over the Conservatives all polls consistently show Conservative & Lib Dem support when aggregated (and it is a Coalition remember) in the high 40s while Labour support is in the low 40s. This may prove significant if AV is adopted.

    In any event the comparison between Labour and aggregate Con-Lib support rather than just Conservative support shows that the party is not doing as well as it thinks it is or needs to do.

  19. @SoCalLiberal
    I’ve often found it interesting that when the electorate is broken down into age demographics, (Millenials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, and the elderly). Usually, Millenials tend to vote the most liberally. But who votes the second most liberally? Not the immediately preceding generation of Generation X but the Baby Boomers who are far older. Usually, elderly voters tend to be the most conservative but not always. Generation X often votes even more conservatively than the elderly voters do. It can depend on the state and the issue.
    This is often the case YG polls too – 40-59 are consistently more pro-Labour/anti-Tory than 25-39 are; I suspect it’s the environment they grew up in – the former when the Left was still an active force, Labour still had some achievements to show to its voters and there was an ideological battle still raging etc, whereas the latter have only ever experienced Thatcherism, so it’s their norm?

  20. I don’t know why but You Gov seems to work a few days behind events, as though the people polled take a few days to think about things and then move.

    It’s still welfare scrounger on YG but soon it will catch up with privatise everything…and then we will see.

    DC accompanied on his “peace mission” by arms dealers reminds me of the days of Mark Thatcher and his mum being best friends with Pinochet. Loooks like, whatever the hue of the UK Government, overseas policy will remain as cynical as it always is. I don’t excuse Labour from that.

  21. Is the econonmy stupid.

    And right now the whole world economy it teetering on the spike that is the oil price.

    If Saudi falls the results will make the financial crisis look like a walk in the park.

    Gird your loins folks we could be in for a very bumpy ride.

    Oh and Cameron might come out of the Libiyan business quite well as it will appear that all was chaos until he returned from his jaunt and got a grip of the situation.

  22. Craig,

    Re 40-49 imo the main reason is that this group was 20-30 during Thatchers reign, still the most polarised period politically since the war.
    Many people a similar age to me (47 now) will find it extremely difficult to ever trust the conservatives again and as we get older a higher %age of us vote. People 20-30 in the 90’s who weren’t politically active may recall Black Wednesday, some sleeze, arguments over europe and illiberailsm on social issues as reasons not to vote con in 1997 etc but these are matters the current conservatives can have a good chance of de-toxifying.
    The feeling that Thatcher/Howe etc simply did not care much about the devestation their policies caused in the view of many in the 40-49 group is much harder to shift.

  23. 15% of the ROI voter base went into today undecided with precious little research as to how they’ll break.

    the polling consensus seems to be

    Fine Gael 38-9%
    Labour 18-20%
    Fianna Fáil 14-6%
    Sinn Féin 11%

    This would leave FG very close to an overall majority. It would give them the choice of a) forming a coalition with independent [in much the same way DC could have cobbled together unionists and the like] or b) forming a “strong and stable government” with Labour..

    ideologically a FG/Lab coalition will be very similar to a Con/Lib coaltion… the former are fiscaly prudent the latter are the politically correct centrist progressives of Irish politics…

    That will be the outcome so expect a light blue government in ROI, very very pro England as it happens so you’re in for 5 years of your next door neighbour liking you, not that that is important in the bigger scheme of things..

    My own hunch on the polling is that it is showing SF, FG, LB all slightly higher than hat they will get.. maybe to the tune of a 1% each.. I might have it at 37% FG, 17-% Lab, 9-10% SF.. I think the biggest beneficiary of this will be FF who will push Labour very close indeed for second place…

    The most recent polls however show FF going backwards so I may be wrong.. either way, counting is tomorrow. in Ireland they liek to take their time about these things

  24. Jon92 –

    Since you ask, here’s that question asked just this week: http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Life-YouGov-Clocks-230211.pdf

    A majority of people in England support putting the clocks forward an extra hour, a majority of people in Scotland oppose it.

    SoCaL – in the US there seems to be a strong cohort effect, and an obvious link between people’s party ID and the politicial situation at the time they came to maturity. I remember seeing a graph of people’s party ID against the year they would first have been eligible to vote that had some remarkable correlations.

    There is not the same strong pattern in the UK, it’s closer to just being younger=Labour, older=Tory. Just one of those things where the two contries *aren’t* that similar.

  25. GDP news – Q4 revised DOWN to -0.6%

  26. If memory serves, there used to be a UKPR “rule” that when DC was on TV a lot, their polling results improved.

    DC has certainly been doing his bit during February.

    Berlin speech on multiculturalism & security.

    Welfare reform launch.

    Votes for prisoners & ECHR

    No to AV speech

    MIddle EAst tour.

    Libya.

    THey should be 5 points ahead now ;-)

  27. @Colin – I do wonder whether there is a ‘crisis’ effect. There is a general sense that when there is a major international crisis, governments tend to improve their standing (or at least do less badly). It certainly helped Brown mid banking crash, and perhaps the Middle East revolution is shifting attention to global events a little more.

    Oil at $120 will be more of a worry for Cameron though, especially if it lasts for more than a few weeks. The big issue is eastern Saudi Arabia. Lots of discontent there, so much so that the Saudi government has announced £11b of welfare spending to try to calm things down.

    Its a sorry indictment of the Arab world that their people have had to endure such crassly corrupt and incompetant governance for so long, but it’s an equally serious flaw in western geopolitical policy making that we’ve consistently sided with the dictators because we thought it was in our long term interests. Lots of chickens heading for their roosts.

  28. @ John Fletcher

    “If Saudi falls the results will make the financial crisis look like a walk in the park.”

    Not much sign of it whilst The House of Saud has just showered it’s subjects with $37 billion .

    One could almost begin to wish UK was un unconstitutional Monarchy !

  29. Alec,

    Very interesting and this confirms that one of the main drags on the coalitions support was a poor Econ performance in Q4 which carried over in to Jan 2011.

    I do think there has been some stabilisation and recovery which is one of the reasons the poll numbers have settled (slight improvment even for Governing parties).

    On the ground things do seem a little chirpier but with IR rises on the way the compensatory lower mortgages which has increased disposable income for many will eat in to demand and government support.Of course with annualyl adjusted mortgages the effect can take 18 months to roll out.

    Plus Public Sector redundancies (or lower earnings to cut job losses) start rolling out more in the autumn after ‘consulations’ drag the process out.

    Reckon decent next 6-9 months for Econ figures and Gov’t support holding up but Q4 ’11- Q3 ’12 could be difficult.
    Lab lead to grow during this period but key question is by how much.

  30. (edbe*)

    Is this another “Crisis, what crisis?” type of ‘quote’?

    The nearest I can find is “The opposition of events” in answer to a journalist’s question “What is your [a politician’s] biggest problem?”

    Is it a ‘boy’ thing perhaps?

  31. Jimjam

    “Many people a similar age to me (47 now) will find it extremely difficult to ever trust the conservatives again…”

    That’s just partisan nonsense based on your personal view/upbringing, only did Thatcher get solid support in elections and it was 7 years after her departure that the then sleazy Tories got justly annihilated.

    Roger Mexico

    Just remind me when Tony Blair actually said sorry for anything. I see a world of dofference between the last government and the Tories currently, who not only consult and listen but take responsibility for government including saying sorry from time to time.

    It doesn’t mean they are perfect by any stretch of imagination, but it’s very refreshing compared to the obsessive Labour spin machine which justified everything and tried to chase away every negative headline like their lives depended upon it.

  32. KEVIN

    I too live in a very Tory area (Redwood’s seat) and whilst,as a Labour activist, my experience of local Tory activists is very limited I’ve noted in the local paper similar concerns amongst carers, users of day centres etc.

    I don’t think this Conservative lead government has any real idea about the degree of opprobrium that is going to be heaped on them as the cuts are actually implemented.

    Neither do they seem to realise the amount of seething anger brewing up amongst public sector workers (most of whom, remember, are not well payed) about pay freezes, pay reductions, pension contribution increases and even proposals to change the ‘fairness’ rules regarding conditions of service and pensions where the private sector contracts to deliver public services.

    People might appear to be sanguine but I think this anger will increase as more and more details about bankers’ bonuses are rcome to the public’s attention.

    I also suspect that sooner or later the media is going to focus on some of the other perks that MPs get such as generous pensions, golden goodbyes if they lose their seats and so on and there will be demands that if ‘we are all in it together’ MPs better be ‘in it’ as well.

  33. AW
    A majority of people in England support putting the clocks forward an extra hour, a majority of people in Scotland oppose it.

    Seems fairly logical to me, but has there been any polling on moving the UK to split time zones?

    On the European mainland, there are naturally time zone changes as you move west or east, but it seems fairly logical to have them as you head north, too, thanks to the facts of vanishing winter days and summer nights as you travel far enough.

    Arguably off-topic, I have noticed no confusion, complaints or demands for a change back to CET by Portugal [runs WET=GMT/BST], which is in Schengen and so has a virtually uncontrolled land border with Spain [runs CET].

  34. PS to my previous post, I note that the BBC today ask the same question with their new Could the UK work with two different time zones?

  35. Alec

    I do think DC comes over well on TV-but there doesn’t seem to have been much payoff recently in the Polls.

    The Cuts hangs over all I suppose.

    Do you happen to know how much extra tax ( not Duty) GO gets with a given rise in pump prices? I was wondering if he has a windfall in prospect.

    Though if Gadaffi falls it will all calm down.

    I can only agree with you last para. When you watch the man speak, you begin to realise what fawning our leaders have done around this murdering terrorist. Every day the list of his crimes grows in the papers. I had no idea he was involved in Sierra Leone.

    PLease God he can be toppled without murdering too many more of his own people. The airport where he flies his Sub Saharan black mercenaries in was shown on TV this morning.

    I really think Egypt is the key to all this now.
    There was a good prog on TV last night about it-a wonderful young Egyptian lady spoke eloquently of rediscovering her pride in being Egyptian , and described the country she wanted- FRee, Democratic, outward looking, State & Religion separated……just like you she said.

    We have to trust such young people now & stop worrying that they may do something we don’t like.

    THe payoff in Peace & Trade will be enormous.

    I hope UN & whoever can get their skates on to protect the FRee Lybians. THe sooner Gaddafi is behind bars in the Hague the the sooner a message will be sent from “The WEst” to that young Egyptian woman.

    Nice to hear from you again :-)

  36. Sorry,I meant Liz not Val.

  37. BT – Partisan nonsense or an attempt to explain why Labour outperforms it’s average considerbly in that age group.
    What is your explanation?

    I normally get compliments from righties forn my reasonableness. :-)

  38. Several posters have commented on Thatcher’s unpopularity. While highly unpopular with the left she commanded enormous support in the country.

    Both Thatcher and Blair have impeccable records in terms of three victories and no defeats in GE. Both carried a minority but sizable minority support.

    To suggest that either Thatcher or Blair did not capture strong popular support is to re-write history. The left, via influence over parts of radio/television and educational establishments has been very successful in doing this in recent years. Perhaps cameron as a PR man will attempt to address the inbalance in these areas.

    As a Liberal, I was not a supporter of Thatcher, but I was always honest enough to admit that for many years she carried much more support than the Party I supported or Labour.

  39. @Colin – fully agree. I’ve often felt that the west in general has degraded our long term world position by our enthusiastic engagement in ‘realpolitik’. We’re incapable of seeing things in terms of decades and get far more obsessed with the next oil field development or defence contract.

    If we really believe in democracy as the best way to manage the world (which I do) we should have been making our position clear in the Middle East for the last 40 years. I’m just imagining how the UK might be place now if the millions of unemployed young Arabs were rising up against their rulers knowing that they had the full and unequivocal support of the British people.

    “Nice to hear from you again”

    You too. I’m snowed under at work so have been/will be a bit sporadic on here for a bit. That and the fact that I got very depressed when I heard how badly the greens were doing in Libya, until I realised…..

  40. Billy Bob

    “Events, dear boy, events” – don’t you know all the best quotes are apocryphal?

    BT SAYS…

    A quick google shows Tony Blair apologising for the Potato Famine, the Guildford Four and slavery, none of which, I believe, he was directly responsible for. Getting any sort of apology from him about Iraq has proved harder.

    While Cameron has at least apologised for things done (or not done) by his government, they were not decisions that anyone would hold him personally responsible for.

  41. Thatcher got record low poll ratings, and her wins were because of a fractured left, supported by the same 40-odd % Tory voters; she never once got above 50%+ of support for instance.

  42. Davey,

    Agree Thatcher was very popular with ceratin groups in society and certain parts of the country. (although Major got more votes of course).
    My point is that in those groups she was not popular with (18-30s in the ’80s and Scots) the strength of feeling was so strong it carries forward to this day as an anti-Tory sentiment.

    Hence the strong Lab perfromance in the 40-49s now and very weak con performace in Scotland.

    Not partisan I think as an obseravtion.

  43. Davey

    Both Thatcher and Blair have impeccable records in terms of three victories and no defeats in GE. Both carried a minority but sizable minority support.

    Good point but you won’t get much support from the majority (ultra red) who post here. I suspect the Thatcher bashing will continue unabated.

  44. Alec

    “That and the fact that I got very depressed when I heard how badly the greens were doing in Libya, until I realised…..”

    So there are Bad Greens & Good Greens eh-must remember that ;-)

  45. @Jimjam – “Reckon decent next 6-9 months for Econ figures and Gov’t support holding up but Q4 ’11- Q3 ’12 could be difficult.”

    I’m not so sure. My gut feeling is that the bounceback from Q4 has been overstated and that most of the evidence for this has come from survey data rather than hard facts. Employment prospects look poor and private sector recruitment appears to have seriously stalled according to the latest figures, with vacancies at very low levels if you take out the one off temporary jobs involved with next months’ census. Mortgage figures are the worst they have been since the depths of the crisis and confidence is very low.

    I’m sticking my neck out and disagreeing with the markets and most observers – I think we will have another GDP shock in April when the next figures come out. The (hopefully) temporary spike in oil prices along with talk of interest rate rises won’t help – these will add to concerns for firms considering much needed capacity investments, an area that so far have moved along nicely and has helped overall growth. A slow down here would be potentially serious.

    I always feel that negative expectations lag behind reality – we collectively want to whistle in the dark to keep our spirits up. We all did it par excellence in the immediate aftermath of the crash, when everyone predicted a modest GDP reversal and no one predicted the worst recession in 80 years. I suspect people are doing something similar now and are simple assuming we will see a return to growth because that’s what normally happens. I don’t think the numbers support this, at least not yet.

  46. Roger M

    “BT SAYS…

    A quick google shows Tony Blair apologising for the Potato Famine, the Guildford Four and slavery, none of which, I believe, he was directly responsible for. Getting any sort of apology from him about Iraq has proved harder.

    While Cameron has at least apologised for things done (or not done) by his government, they were not decisions that anyone would hold him personally responsible for.”

    You’ve just proved my point. It’s easy to make symbolic apologies for infamous events way back in history which no-one’s going to blame you for.

    Cameron, on the other hand, recognises that the buck stops with him even though he’s not personally the one to blame, possibly leading people to think it’s his fault. He’s not desperately chasing good headlines obsessively like Blair – which may help to reduce voter turnoff/apathy as they have got utterly fed up with a decade of non-stop spin and may become re-engaged a bit now DC and others are speaking in ‘straight up and down’ language.

    If it lasts, voter turnout may again increase at future General elections.

  47. Craig

    Thatcher got record low poll ratings, and her wins were because of a fractured left, supported by the same 40-odd % Tory voters; she never once got above 50%+ of support for instance.

    True but then no Government, at least, since the war has.

    JimJam

    In my view, the Tories under Thatcher failed miserably in Scotland. I would be really interested in reading a full and impartial analysis on this bearing in mind at one time the Tories were more popular than Labour in Scotland.

    You may be right about those of a certain age voting labour. The reasons for this may have less to do with Mrs T herself and more to do with some effective labour propaganda at the time.

  48. “Cameron, on the other hand, recognises that the buck stops with him even though he’s not personally the one to blame”

    I’m referring to actions by his administration, of course – sorry this was not clear.

  49. @Roger mexico – “Getting any sort of apology from him about Iraq has proved harder.”

    And it will be all but impossible now that there is a wave of democracy sweeping across the Middle East.

    Perhaps surprisingly, I wasn’t signed up to the anti Iraq war movement at the time. I did want to see more UN involvement, but I have also long accepted the fact that as an individual country can block UN resolutions, the UN is more often than not useless at addressing international problems of rogue nations.

    While I did feel that the justification given was false and that the war was probably illegal (quaint idea – wars can be legal) I could still see valid reasons for invading. At the time I was telling anti war friends that they might need to wait 20 years before we can make a reasoned judgement as to the rights and wrongs of the decision.

    Now I think we are seeing some of the positive results. I am convinced that for millions of poverty stricken Arabs living in fabulously wealthy countries, whose leaders have steadfastly refused to engage in decent government and develop their economies for the wider benefit of their own people, seeing democratic elections in Iraq and Afghanistan broadcast on Al Jazeera has been instrumental in lifting the lid on what they have to put up with.

    The Arab world has suffered from Outsider Syndrome for far too long, blaming Israel/US/UK for all their problems, when in reality we are providing massive inflows of oil revenue for them that their own leaders have abused. If the wash out from the Iraq war helps them to see this then the historical judgement will be much kinder.

  50. I think the Tories polling could be hit next week, judging by the adverse media comment over recent events and gaffes. Plus also the economy in Q4 2010 shrank by more than was previously estimated.

    So far 2011 has been very poor for the coalition. Some are aleady seeing them as incompetent. Will Cameron go for a reshuffle now or wait until May as some on here predict?

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