The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. The improved Conservative position in voting intention was echoed by improved ratings for David Cameron – his approval rating is now neutral, with 47% thinking he is doing well, 47% badly (the first time he’s been out of negative territory since January).

On the specific budget questions, people were pretty evenly split on whether the budget made the right or wrong decisions for the country (34% thought it was right, 37% wrong) but tend to think it would be bad for them personally – 41% though it was wrong for them, only 25% right.

Only 15% said it made them more confident about the future, compared to 43% saying it made them less confident. There isn’t actually much change to overall economic confidence compared to last week (last week only 11% expected their financial position to get better over the next 12 months, now only 10% do), but people are generally a lot more pessimistic than last year about whether the government’s policies will help. Most people (59%) think unemployment will increase in the next year or two, 57% think inflation won’t come down, 59% think poverty will increase. Only 27% think the government’s measures will make the economy grow faster in the long run…

That said, people still trust Cameron and Osborne to run the economy more than they do Miliband and Balls (39% for Cameron & Osborne, 30% for Miliband & Balls).

On the cuts, 29% think the cuts are right (25%), or not deep enough (4%). 29% think the size of the cuts is correct, but they are being done too fast. 15% think the cuts are too large, and there should be tax rises instead, 14% that neither large cuts nor tax rises are necessary.

Amongst Conservative supporters, 70% think cuts are right or too small, 23% think they are right but too fast, only 3% think they are too large. Amongst Labour supporters only 3% think they are right or too small, 32% think they are right but too fast, 30% would prefer smaller cuts and more tax rises, 27% don’t think either large cuts or tax rises are necessary.

On the specific issue of petrol prices, the majority of people (54%) put the blame for high prices on the government for the high level of tax, followed by 21% who blame the instability in the Middle East. Comparatively few people (11%) blame oil companies themselves.

Turning to the issue of Libya 50% now think David Cameron has responded well to the situation in Libya, 35% badly. This is considerably up on last week when 37% thought he was doing well and 44% badly. 45% now think we are right to take action in Libya, 35% wrong. 30% of people think it would be legitimate to deploy ground troops in Libya. Of course, that’s not the same as actually doing it – only 23% think it is worth risking the lives of British servicemen.

Note that while YouGov are consistently showing more people supporting than opposing the action in Libya, ComRes are still showing the opposite, this week they found 35% in support and 45% opposed. One of the reasons for the difference is probably the wording – ComRes ask if it is right for the UK to take action, YouGov ask if it is right for the UK, USA and France to take action. Another one may be question order – YouGov ask the right or wrong question about Libya by itself, ComRes ask it as part of a grid along with the other four questions they ask on Libya, with the order rotated – hence the majority of people would answer the question about British armed forces risking death or injury before answering the question about whether the action is right or wrong.


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

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  1. Poll of Polls on Libya last time was 40% for.. 39.5% against..

    42.5% for.. 40% against…

    So those opposing very slightly up 0.5%..
    Those supporting up 2.5%

  2. I like it when we get differently worded polls on the same subject so close together.

    It’s a timely reminder of just how manipulable the voters are, and just how careful we have to be about trying to ascertain their views (and indeed just how poorly thought out those “views” often are).

    I think the clincher here is the “UK” vs “UK, USA, France” dimension. People’s approval for this action seems to be very closely tied to the legitimacy it has from the UN and the spread of countries backing it. There isn’t much appetite for UK adventurism, but still plenty of belief in the international community stepping in, even if they are stepping in to the “internal” affairs of other countries.

  3. NEILA

    Yep-I think that’s it.

    As it should be too.

    Also , as towns are freed from Gadaffi seige, and the stories hit the news, I think support is gained.

    It is no surprise to me that doctors have been at the heart of these uprisings-in Cairo & Benghazi-yesterday in Adjabyia-also now in Syria.

    And there stories are bound to attract support.

  4. So it is Libya and not the Budget/Economy that is boosting government approval.

    29% support current cuts or greater
    29% support cuts but at a slower pace
    29% do not support cuts

    Split down the middle or what?

    But that’s 2:1 in favour of “these cuts are too deep and too fast”.

    And on another question, 35% “support the need for the government’s cuts” and 56% oppose (including 11% prepared to demonstrate).

    So EM on fairly solid ground when declaring to the massed crowd yesterday that “We stand today not as the minority, but as the voice of the mainstream majority in this country.”

  5. Woodsman,
    So much depends on one’s own viewpoint. Those figures could just as easily be interpreted as meaning that 58% are in favour of cuts, thereby putting the protestors in a minority. I didn’t notice many protestors chanting
    “What do we want?” “Cuts!”
    “When do we want them?” “Later!”

  6. These polls showing the gap narrowing or even being reversed are very significant.
    I would surmise that the public are venting their frustrations about the cuts most of the time, but they know only too well why they are necessary and this shows when budgets are delivered, and most probably it will show by 2015.

  7. Woodsman, there’s a strong tendency, when people are given three options in a poll, to plump for the centre ground.

    Emotionally, I don’t think that most of yesterday’s demonstrators were motivated by a desire to see cuts take place over 6 years, rather than 4.

  8. Woodsman: “But that’s 2:1 in favour of “these cuts are too deep and too fast”.”

    It’s also 2:1 in favour of the cuts so far announced, though a third would like these cuts administered less quickly. You can view these poll results with multiple “personalities”. Which is the right way is probably a blend of all possibilities.

  9. @Woodsman

    “So EM on fairly solid ground when declaring to the massed crowd yesterday that “We stand today not as the minority, but as the voice of the mainstream majority in this country.”

    I think you’re right and that’s why I think that the Coalition supporters are actually misreading what took place yesterday and, in so doing, are making a political mistake. Not necessarily a short term mistake, and they may actually get some favourable instant poll reactions, but certainly a long term one. Now, a lot of the instant criticism of Miliband and attempted debunking of the yesterday’s march has been wholly predictable partisan knee-jerk stuff, probably prepared and written before it took place. The “rubbishers” have been assisted by some of the usual anarchist nonsense that went on at the fringes yesterday and have dutifully regurgitated the Coalition line of attack on the cuts. They’re all Labour’s fault, who have no alternative plan of their own, and they have to be done at the speed and in the manner that is now being implemented. There is no alternative. So far so party political and so well rehearsed. Ditto Labour’s rebuttal and, to that extent, the debate is sterile, soundbite-ridden and depressing.

    What we saw yesterday however was genuinely interesting and I can see why the Coalitionists have moved so quickly to try and debunk it. This vast, diverse and genuinely multi-faceted group of people weren’t at all the usual suspects and bogeymen so beloved of right wing demonology. They looked, felt and sounded like the Britain I know, love and encounter virtually every day of my life. Decent, public spirited and, to a very large extent, the very sort of people who make our local communities tick. They weren’t trade union activists protecting a narrow vested interest; the concerns they were voicing go to the very heart of what makes our society decent. Care for the sick, the old, the young, the unemployed, the voiceless and powerless.

    Ed Miliband may not have soared any great oratorical heights yesterday, and may take some short term hits from the Coalitionists in Parliament and in the press but, in the long term, he’s pinned his colours to exactly the right mast in my view. The political capital may be a long way down the winding road he must now navigate for himself and the party he leads, but I’m convinced it will be there for him one day.

  10. Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links – Telegraph http://t.co/HM6SqCu

  11. The current weekly averages (36-42-10/-24) are almost exactly the same as the weekly averages on the same dates in Feb (37-43-10/-24) and Jan (37-43-10/-23). All we have seen in the last 2 months are temporary moves in response to the prevailing news agenda. A lack of movement in the polls fits with the levelling off of the LD vote share since the turn of the year.

    It seems absolutely clear to me that all we are seeing is variation around a consistent position according to the news headlines. There was a great deal of uncertainty about what was going to happen, tied in with a general feeling of doom-and-gloom from the Japan earthquake-tsunami-meltdown news. Things are settling down, and we are returning to where we were beforehand.

    @AW

    “hence the majority of people would answer the question about British armed forces risking death or injury before answering the question about whether the action is right or wrong.”

    Surely if the 4 questions are rotated, then it will be 50:50 which question comes first?

  12. @ Éoin

    You are wasting your time putting up the link to the Telegraph. Those who support the ‘rebels’ either aren’t going to read it; or if they do read it, they aren’t going to aknowledge having read it.
    8-)

  13. Amber, Correctamundo :) BTW Rans Lanuf/Brega have fallen into rebel hands.

  14. My point being that whether you are part of the 58% anti-cut/cut slower brigade or the 56% opposed to some/all of the government cuts, in England you only have Labour and the Greens to represent your viewpoint and it is this that EM seeks to tap into.

  15. ” thegreenbenches

    Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links – Telegraph http://t.co/HM6SqCu

    Now this is truly worrying. Says a lot about Cameron judgement!!

  16. It is understandable that those in the public sector who fear they may lose their jobs protest. However, I suspect that most people will view the Union/Labour led demonstrations as politically motivated and the militant groups that cause so much costly damage will further undermine the legitimate and non political protesters’ cause.

    On the TV politics programme today the were politicians from the three main parties and both the LD and Tories attacked Labour for saying they would cut and yet refusing to back any cuts proposed by the Coalition. What impact will such discussions have when two politicians can squeeze the third. In 2010 GB talked up the LDs in the three way debate, and this possibly damaged DC. EM could find that he is subject to a two pronged attack from NC and DC.

    It is interesting that the Tory share of the vote has not as yet dropped below the GE. If they can maintain this in the bad years and then the economic situation upturns they could easily pick up 5 or 6 points and romp home. Furthermore the LDs that are punishing their Party now for perceived wrongs may well return to the fold if things look up, making Labour’s support possibly worse than in 2010.

  17. Returning to one of the issues discussed on the previous thread – that of Ed Miliband’s speech to yesterday’s anti-cuts rally – may I make these points:

    Some have suggested that his poor oratory may have damaged him. In fact, it is unlikely that his appearance will make a significant net difference either way, especially in the short term.

    By way of comparison, one of Neil Kinnock’s worst ever parliamentary performances came during the debate on the Westland crisis in the spring of 1986. He bombed so badly that it was widely regarded to have let Thatcher off the hook. Yet it did not cause even a tiny blip in the polls, and Labour went on to win a convincing victory in the by-election that was held in the previously Tory-held seat of Fulham on April 10.

    However, Kinnock’s poor debating performance on that occasion probably did, over a long period of time, contribute with other mistakes to the public perception that he was not up to the job of being premier.

    It is possible that a similar process is happening with Ed Miliband. At the moment the polls probably tend to reflect people’s verdict on the incumbent government rather than the (lack of) credibility of the opposition, but as the next general election approaches voters will start to focus more on the viability of the alternative.

    Of course, being a good orator is not everything, and it is possible that EM may be able to make up for his shortfall in this area by projecting himself as having other strengths (e.g. being seen to be a ‘safe pair of hands’).

    A Labour supporter on the previous thread also made reference to the fact that yesterday’s march attracted a quarter of a million people from different walks of life who would have been impressed that EM had addressed them. But remember there are 60 million people in the UK – which means that only about one in 240 attended the demo. Rallies like yesterday’s – no matter how large they may be – do not necessarily reflect public opinion. Rather, they tend to reflect the determination of the already politically committed.

    On November 24 1981 London saw what had been, up to that point, its largest ever demonstration. It was on behalf of CND. Yet only two days earlier, the unilateralist Labour Party came a poor third in the Croydon North West by-election (a seat they had come within a few percentage points of winning in the previous 1979 general election). The moral is: big demos do not necessarily equate to large ground swells of electoral support.

    As a Labour member I am still glad that EM addressed yesterday’s rally, if only because it would be good for party morale and help to close the book on some aspects of the new Labour years. But please, let’s not kid ourselves that it was a game changer (in either direction).

    NB: Croydon North West was the first parliamentary by-election victory for the fledgling Liberal/SDP Alliance. Did anyone on this blog realise that yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the SDP’s launch (March 26 1981)? Try googling that date for a refresher. The social democrats’ successor party, the Lib Dems, are performing badly in the polls but personally I think they should stop panicking and think about how they can forge a new electoral base (one that is left wing on civil liberty issues but right wing on economic matters). However, that’s a debate for another thread.

  18. @ hENRY

    they could easily pick up 5 or 6 points and romp home
    ________________________________________

    They could also produce a euroscptic manifesto offering for example a referendum on the ECHR if not the EU. This could easlly cream off 3% of the current 6% UKIP vote. Of course if they are again the largest party but without an overall majority they could again form a coalition with the LD’s and conveniently drop these promises as part of the price of coalition.

  19. Observer, I would not attribute such lunacy to one character. Neo-Cons/Neo-Libs and the Liberal Left are equally guilty.

  20. @John Fletcher

    “the current 6% UKIP vote”

    Except that this doesn’t exist. All current polls show Con/Lab/LD with a similar vote share to the last election, at which UKIP polled 3.1%. Defections to UKIP at by-elections is no indication of how a general election will go.

    Where I would agree, however, is that under AV UKIP second preferences will favour the Tories.

  21. @ Robin

    Exact percentages aside, it is difficult to argue that currently, especially with the problems within the eurozone and the stupid decisions of the ECHR, a more Eurosceptic stance would not hoover up some more votes from UKIP without harming the existing vote.

    Some estimates suggest that the Tories lost up to 30 seats last time because of the UKIP vote.

  22. @JF

    “it is difficult to argue that… a more Eurosceptic stance would not hoover up some more votes from UKIP without harming the existing vote.”

    You might not agree with such arguments, but it doesn’t make them either difficult or wrong.

    There is a substantial Europhile section of Tory support. The extrent to which they might or might not be dissuaded from voting Tory by UKIP-friendly policies is difficult to judge, but it is far from clear that there would be no downside for the Tories. A manifesto based on Daily Mail distortions of the facts would be wide open to ridicule.

  23. @ Observer

    I think Libya could become a big problem for David Cameron later in his premiership.

    For now, the Tories appear to have lost objectivity. They appear to be actively supporting the ‘rebels’ – pace Dr Fox’s interview with the BBC where he seemed very pleased about the ‘rebels’ having taken control of some of the oil towns & ports.

    Libya may turn into another war for oil, possibly against the ‘rebels’, were it to transpire that the military coalition handed East Libya to al-Qaeda supporters.
    8-)

  24. @ robin

    A manifesto based on Daily Mail distortions of the facts would be wide open to ridicule.

    _________________________________________

    All they have to do is offer a referendum. Its difficult to argue against giving the people a say, particularly when opinion polls suggest that the bulk of the population are eurosceptic themselves.

  25. @ John Fletcher

    David Cameron promised you a referendum on Europe. And he promised Nick Clegg a referendum on AV.

    UKIP are not getting their referendum but Nick is getting his. Why are UKIP supporters going to give their AV support to the Tories? The Tories prefer the Europe friendly Dems to UKIP, John.
    8-)

  26. An action or effort subsequently hijacked by a violent minority for their own ends.

    Those that criticise EM for speaking at yesterday’s demonstration might just as well criticise military intervention in Libya for the same reason.

  27. The majority of the population are eurosceptic (see the results in today’s YouGov about the European parliament). This is hardly surprising given the way most of the British establishment has used it for decades as a convenient scapegoat for anything that has gone wrong – irrespective of whether this is true or not (or even if it has the slightest connection with the matter in hand).

    However the last thing that any of them actually want is for the UK to pull out. Not only would they lose their useful whipping boy, an awful lot of what big business (in and out of the City) does depends on membership. Could Mr Murdoch send his profits to hide in Luxembourg any more?

    Equally well, reform to make the institutions more efficient and less corrupt is against the establishment interest. Not only might the improved EU show them up (imagine if it had German efficiency and Italian style, rather than the other way around), many of the solutions best carried out at multinational level (banking reform comes to mind) might actually happen. Far better to allow things to go on with reform dictated by the slowest member (often the UK); for even if the results may be bad for the country, they keep the establishment in the manner to which they are accustomed.

    So the anti-EU grandstanding will continue, but if anyone thinks that there will be any effective change, they are being naive.

  28. Amber Star
    David Cameron promised you a referendum on Europe. And he promised Nick Clegg a referendum on AV.

    DC promised a referendum on the Treaty, subject to no ratification before his election, which is why ratification was rushed in.

  29. @ Henry

    My team have gone from +11 to +3 in the polls. It’s Sunday & I am having a chuckle at the idea of the Tories saying, “Britain is open for business but we’re closing the door on Europe.”

    Cut me some slack. ;-)

  30. Roger Mexico

    However the last thing that any of them actually want is for the UK to pull out
    __________________________________________

    I agree however my point is not about the rights and wrongs of Europe but tactics (some might say cynical tatics) the tories might use to remain the largest party after the GE, if not win outright.

    By including some form of referendum on Europe in their manifesto they can probably, at little or no expense to their existing vote, pick up quite a bit of the UKIP vote as well.

    If they have to form a coalition again then they can drop it and claim it is the price of coalition.

    If they win outright then they simply hold the referendum and then enter into (protracted) negotiations to implement the decision.

    If asked during the election why they did not do any of this over the term of this parliament than they simply again claim it as the price of coaltion.

    I can’t see a downside for them

  31. @ amberstar

    “Britain is open for business but we’re closing the door on Europe.”
    ________________________________________

    Remain part of a free trade zone and ditch the rest. ECHR, CAP etc etc etc

    Simples :D

  32. @JF

    “Its difficult to argue against giving the people a say”

    The people already have their say, every 5 years in a general election. Proposing a referendum would rightly be seen as being in favour of such a lunatic change, but trying to dodge the responsibility for implementing it.

  33. @Robin

    “But please, let’s not kid ourselves that it was a game changer (in either direction).”

    I don’t think I’ve seen anybody claiming that yesterday’s march and rally was a game-changer and I certainly didn’t do so in the post to which you referred. Politics very rarely comes up with isolated events that are game-changers; the weather usually changes gradually and, quite often, imperceptibly as impressions and perceptions form over lengthy periods of time. In fact, I can think of very few single events in British politics that have of themselves changed the political weather. The Falkland War, possibly, Black Wednesday, almost certainly and the first Leadership TV Debate in 2010, without doubt. After that list, I’m struggling.

    However, what yesterday’s events signalled was the first glimpse into how opposition to the Coalition Governments economic policy may be coalescing around hitherto disparate groups of people who, up to now, have rarely found common cause. That’s its real political significance in the long term and, in my view, therein lies the unique opportunity for a Labour Leader who now finds himself, maybe even unwittingly so, at the head of a nascent and extremely interesting political movement.

    Anybody who thought yesterday’s march and rally was some re-creation of bygone Trade Union single issue marches that were pre-occupied with the protection of a vested interest ( eg “Kill the Bill” March in 1971) is seriously misreading what yesterday was about. What I think I saw in Hyde Park yesterday was a vast congregation of individuals and their families, from all over Britain, campaigning to protect public services that they felt crucial for the preservation of a decent and fair society. That is a cause and issue that could well change the game when the cuts start to bite. Miliband was right to associate himself with it and to lend it his support.

    Whether his speech was any good, at this stage, is a matter of supreme unimportance!!

  34. @ John Fletcher

    Remain part of a free trade zone and ditch the rest. ECHR, CAP etc etc etc

    Simples
    ——————————————
    When did Germany & France give us that option, John?

    I think simples would quickly become complicateds, if the UK tried to take that approach.
    8-)

  35. Oil to start flowing again from Eastern Libya within a week.
    Qatar has agreed to market it.

    THe Interim Government :-
    h ttp://ntclibya.org/english/

    says proceeds will go into an escrow account until the whole country is liberated. They will take out loans to finance Free Libya till then.

    ( Reuters)

    These guys are on the ball.

    To the extent that Libyan output was a factor in oil price spikes, this should have a beneficial effect on inflation.

  36. Robin, it’s the difference between rotating and randomising statements.

    Randomising, 50% will see it before, 50% after.

    Rotating there are only five arrangements of the questions

    1-2-3-4-5
    5-1-2-3-4
    4-5-1-2-3
    3-4-5-1-2
    2-3-4-5-1

    So 80% of respondents will see question 5 before question 1.

  37. @ Crossbat – “campaigning to protect public services that they felt crucial for the preservation of a decent and fair society. That is a cause and issue that could well change the game when the cuts start to bite. Miliband was right to associate himself with it and to lend it his support.”

    Well said indeed Nick. It’s also why EM linked the heart and cause of yesterday’s protest to other protest movements such as universal suffrage and anti-apartheid imo.

    @ John Fletcher/Amber Star

    Like Godwin’s Law, should there not be a new law to invoke whenever the spirit of the Meerkats are drawn upon in support of an argument? What should it be called though? ;-)

  38. @AW

    “it’s the difference between rotating and randomising statements.”

    Ah, I understand. Then again, I don’t. It seems a bizarre way of permuting questions – as you pointed out, it precisely does *not* achieve what I presume to be the supposed purpose of the exercise, to avoid (or to identify) bias due to the order in which questions are asked.

  39. @ Colin

    Oil to start flowing again from Eastern Libya within a week.
    Qatar has agreed to market it.
    ————————————-
    Excellent, so the ‘humanitarian’ aims of the mission have been achieved (aka the oil is flowing), everything is business as usual & we can stop bombing & killing people. Good to know.
    8-)

  40. Amber

    Sadly no.

    THe people of Ajdabyia have told eloquently of their humanitarian plight under Gadaffi’s seige, and murderous snipers.
    The first thing that the liberators did was turn the water supply back on-Gadaffi’s men had switched it off.

    At present the residents of Misrata are being shelled by Gadaffi for saying they don’t want him.

    So there is still plenty of suffering to stop yet.

    Of course Gadaffi could stop it instantly by complying with 1973.

    The sooner he sods off to Chad the sooner the Libyans can choose a government, and our military can come home.

    At least oil revenues are going to be in a bank account marked “Libyan People” now rather than ” Property of the Gadaffi Gang” ;-)

  41. @Robin
    “Where I would agree, however, is that under AV UKIP second preferences will favour the Tories.”

    I’m not so sure. There are plenty of natural Labour voters (such as Gordon Brown’s ‘bigoted woman’) who are concerned about such things as unfettered Eastern European immigration. If they think about their vote, they might well vote UKIP in European elections at least.

    The idea that UKIP popular support is made up of swivel-eyed Tory backwoodsmen is at best only partially true.

  42. The worst-case scenario becomes reality for Frau Merkel. According to both exit polls, in Baden-Wurttemberg State Election incumbent center-right coalition gets 43% (38 CDU + 5 FDP) and Red-Green alliance 48% and OM. (Green 24,5 and Red 23,5). Very probably the first Green-led government in a German State, the second more powerful center-right stronghold after Bavaria, which had never seen a center-left administration before.
    In Rhenania-Palatinate, Red+Green are beyond the 50% mark (36 + 16) and Liberals are evicted from Parliament. (CDU 35 + FDP 4). Deception also for the Left party (Linke), failing to enter either parliament. It seems that the anti-Merkel vote concentrates on Red-Green alliance, with major gains for Greens and relatively good results for Reds after the 2009 GE debacle.
    Gute Nacht, Frau Merkel!

  43. Anthony have we any more AV referendum poll results to chew over? It might be interesting to see if these track in one direction with the rise in support for the coalition.

    Clearly the 1p off petrol was resonant with the electorate and I was wrong, wrong, wrong….

    I think its inevitable that the ‘rioters’ will take the lead on the story of the demonstration…they always do…but it isn’t without its significance that maybe towards half a million peple thought it was worth coming out to register their feelings…

    I still think, probablty also wrongly, that it’s way too early for the public to have made its mind up one way or the other about the cuts because practically they’re still other peoples’ cuts…. still…theoretical cuts…

    Similarly, the politics of cutting benefits may be nasty but there’s nothing necessarliy wrong with its politics….these people weren’t voting or at least voting for the coalition before all this started.

    Polls don’t define the logic of political argument merely reflect its salience amongst the voters…and that often means the winning argument isn’t necessarliy the right or best argument.

    After all my life it still astonishes me that it’s widely beleived that making richer, privileged people richer and more privileged will enable us all to own a share of their lifestyle.

    It’s been one of the most interesting myths of my political lifetime and its endurance despite evdience to the contrary is an astonishing reflection upon the best educated society mankind is ever meant to have made….

    But then again, looking at it another way, the things human beings chose to believe in and give money and time to… often beleifs without verifiable evidence …are no more outlandish than this particular commonplace.

    If to everything there’s a season and a time appointed….our government will surely effect to forget to remember that all political careers are doomed to end in failure…but all parties are filled with optimists who beleive this will not be true for them…..as stock markets are full of those who beleive there’ll never be another crash!

  44. I was at yesterday’s march and I would firstly say that I think the breadth of people involved should be a bit of a worry to the coalition and secondly that the police did a great job, and that is in part a testament to the collaboration between police and the TUC. I was only on the march and not down Oxford Street or Picadilly though so can’t really comment on that. It was all very jolly! :D

    I really like Ed…I must admit I found his speech a wee bit cringey, but I really don’t think that’s important. That he attended IS incredibly significant, probably the most significant thing. What a difference to Blair! It felt so un-New Labour! What that all means I don’t know. Yesterday was not a game changer, but it was, I think, a bit of a turning point and spells out exactly how much, and how quickly, the political landscape could well change.

  45. @ Woodsman: You are right. A soon at the meerkats are invoked, its time to change the subject.

    The blues are now looking competent as they are focusing on core issues and not trying to change 57 different policy areas at the same time.

    @Nick ok. ” What a difference to Blair. The whole thing felt so un-New Labour”. As a mild red sympathiser I find this statement worrying. That to me reads like: ‘Back in the comfort zone of enjoying opposition’

  46. @ Nick OK

    I was at yesterday’s march and I would firstly say that I think the breadth of people involved should be a bit of a worry to the coalition
    _________________________________________

    Not at all. March of the usual suspects looking after their vested interest IMO.

  47. @ John Fletcher

    ‘Not at all. March of the usual suspects looking after their vested interest IMO.’

    The same aphorism might easily be apply to the coalition as to its opponents….

  48. @ Johnmurphy

    The same aphorism might easily be apply to the coalition as to its opponents
    __________________________________________

    Of course it can. This is politics not altruism :D

  49. John Fletcher

    I’m not sure that promising an In/Out EU referendum is a trick the Tories can pull at the next election. In perception they will be seen to have form in refusing to call the referendum they previously promised (actually on terms of the Lisbon Treaty of course).

    However they also come up against the problem in reality. Because the Lib Dems said if there was going to be a referendum, they wanted it to be on EU membership itself. So the Conservatives can hardly claim that they wanted to put it to the people last time but the Lib Dems stopped them.

    Though these problems pale before those that actually reviving the EU debate would cause within the Conservative Party. At the moment they can all unite behind the policy of ‘talk loudly and carry a twig’ – indeed can exploit it. However a referendum campaign and its aftermath (whatever the result) would reopen old wounds and cause lots of new ones. ‘Be careful of what you wish for’ is a cliche because it’s true.

    And it’s certain that any exit negotiations would be a great excuse for the French and the Germans to give les Rosbifs a good going over. Partly in revenge for forty years of whinging and partly to discourage anyone else from getting ideas, but also to encourage as many firms to flee the UK as possible.

    As far as the ECHR (technically different from the EU of course), the irony about it is that the complaints have only happened since the decisions have been made in the British courts after the Convention was incorporated into British law. Everyone is now demanding that the Convention be replaced by a BRITISH Convention (I think a YouGov poll showed only 4% support for abolition and no replacement) – though no one is saying how it should differ from the European one. And the decisions could then be made by BRITISH judges. Er just like at present.

    The truth is that the attitude of most of those complaining seems to be that they should have unlimited human rights themselves and people they disapprove of shouldn’t have any. It is rather difficult to enshrine this as a universal principle; at least in a universe with more than one person in it. Trying to promote such a policy as anything more than mood music will lead to it being examined properly and being shown to be stupid at best and sinister at worst.

  50. John Fletcher

    Given that Nick OK was at the march and you weren’t, it’s a bit much to overrule him and claim it was just ‘the usual suspects’. ;)

    Actually one of the interesting points from today’s YouGov was that 5% of all respondents are claiming Yes, I have taken part in protests or
    demonstrations against the cuts
    . And that includes 2% of all Tory voters (4% of Lib Dems; 8% of Labour).

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