The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are up on their website here. Questions today are, unsurprisingly, largely about the two cabinet politicians under clouds – Ken Clarke and Chris Huhne. The most interesting (and worrying for the government) finding however is about crime.

Asked whether the current government is more tough or less tough on crime than the last Labour government, 30% think the coalition is less tough on crime than the last government compared to only 9% who think it is tougher (43% think they are much the same). Even amongst Conservative supporters only 20% think the government is being tougher on crime than Labour were.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Labour have become the public’s perferred party on crime. YouGov regularly ask people which party they would best handle the main issues, and the Conservatives retain a strong lead over Labour. There are various ways to explain this apparent paradox, but my guess is that the difference is between the Conservative party’s long-term reputation for being tougher on crime, and people’s short-term opinion of what they’ve seen of the coalition so far. Right now people are saying that generally speaking they trust the Tories more on crime… but that the coalition so far has been weak on the issue. If that perception persists, then it will start to eat away at the Conservative party’s reputation on crime.

On crime policy itself, there is widespread opposition to the idea of increasing the maximum sentence discount for pleading guilty early to 50%. Only 26% of people support the idea, compared to 62% opposed. There is even less support for reduced sentences for people who plead guilty to more serious crimes like rape, where sentence discounts are supported by only 13%.

Notice, however, that public opinion is not always blanket opposition to anything that reeks of shorter sentencing. YouGov found more a more balanced split in opinion over whether there should be more use of community sentences rather than short prison sentences for minor crimes (41% supported it, 45% opposed).

That brings us to the first of our politicians in trouble – Ken Clarke. 64% of people thought that Ken Clarke was wrong to draw a distinction between different types of rape, however, only 32% of people thought that he should resign over his comments. Note that this is significantly lower than when YouGov asked should Ken resign earlier in the week for the Sun – perhaps as a result of Clarke apologising and the media narrative become somewhat less opposed to him in the 24 hours between the two polls.

Turning to Chris Huhne, 62% of people think that the allegations against him are probably true, 58% think it is reasonable to investigate them despite the passage of time since 2003, 79% think that getting someone else to take points on their licence is a serious offence. However, despite all this people are broadly evenly split on Huhne’s future – 37% think he should resign, 35% think he should not.


295 Responses to “Coalition seen as less tough on crime than last Labour government”

1 2 3 6
  1. As a small-l liberal, I think Ken Clarke is a better Minister than any of his Labour predecessors, much as I disapprove of this Tory administration.

    I was polled, and said yes, this government is “less tough on crime”, given that “tough on crime” is nauseating tabloid code for counterproductive measures on justice. And then I said I rated this government more highly than its predecessors on this issue.

    Does that help explain why it’s not a paradox?

  2. Anthony, why on earth do YouGov persist in asking Scottish respondents to assess criminal justice policy in England & Wales? Scottish respondents are highly unlikely to be aware of the English criminal justice situation, so any responses will be largely meaningless.

    YouGov/Sunday Times
    Westminster voting intention – Scotland
    Sub-sample size: 300
    Fieldwork: 19-20 May 2011
    (+/- change from UK GE 2010)

    Lab 35% (-7)
    SNP 34% (+14)
    Con 16% (-1)
    LD 7% (-12)
    Grn 6% (+5)
    UKIP 2% (+1)
    BNP 0 (n/c)
    Respect 0 (n/c)
    oth 0 (-1)

    Net UK Govt approval

    Rest of South -8
    London -17
    Midlands/Wales -28
    North -37
    Scotland -39

    Great Britain -23

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-st-results-20-220511.pdf

  3. Re: Huhne. The fact that a substantial number of people don’t think he should resign does not contradict thinking the offence is serious. It would be prefectly consistent thinking he need not resign unless charged of an offence. Presumably “should resign later” wasn’t an option on the survey.

  4. English respondents are in favour of Scottish independence. Scottish respondents are not:

    Net support for Scottish independence:

    North +6
    Midlands/Wales +4
    Rest of South +4
    London -4
    Scotland -21

    Great Britain +1

  5. I was hoping AW would comment on the LDs being down to 8%: it looks like there has been a real drop from the 11% ComRes on th 14th or YouGov on the 4th (and shown in the UKPR ‘average’ as I type). Now, whether the 8% is just routine variation within the MoE compared with 9% for the LDs in other polls recently, or is a sign of a continued decline we will have to wait and see, but what is clear is that they really have dropped back into single figures. Perhaps it is the Huhne effect, perhaps the bad publicity after the May 5th elections, or perhaps it is just a continuation of where they were in Mid-April before all of their local election campaigning gave them a short-term boost.
    Something else I noticed from the full tables: less than a third of 2010 LD voters currently give LD as their voting intention.

  6. If the coalition continue as they are, the Tories will lose their reputation as “tougher on crime” for ever. There has been no change in the established view that the criminal should have 90% of the consideration and the victim 10%.

    I absolutely understand Camerons modernisation plans and the strictures of working with the LDs, but he needs to be very careful on this matter. It is not just “hang um and flog um” Tories who have major concerns about crime.

  7. The Lib Dems should be very concerned by some of the polling. They are down to 6% in various groupings, particularly the over 60’s. This is the group that is most likely to vote, so if reflected in GE they could lose seats anywhere.

    It would be interesting where the LD’s would be in terms of seats, if the regional polling in the survey was applied.

    From what I can see, the LD’s would be down to having less than 20 seats.

    If the LD’ s are gambling on the economy coming around for them, they will not have liked Cables recent warning that times will become much harder over the next few years, as the worlds economy is fragile.

  8. I agree that the Coalition appears to be very soft on crime. I wonder what the proportion of prison inmates were born abroad compared to the proportion in the general population?

    If it was found to be the case that the proportion in prison is higher, then crime could be reduced by having much stricter immigration and deportation procedures.

    The corollary to this of course is that if the proportion is lower, we should open the doors even wider if we are to reduce crime. :)

    Does anyone have access to the actual figures?

  9. Sapper,

    – “… If the coalition continue as they are, the Tories will lose their reputation as “tougher on crime” for ever”

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much if I were you. Kenny MacAskill, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, received dog’s abuse from the Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Baker for being “soft on crime”.

    The electorate took MacAskill’s side: SNP landslide nationally, a 4.5% Lab to SNP swing in Edinburgh Eastern:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/constituency/html/36096.stm

    … and Richard Baker was sacked as Shadow Justice Secretary a couple of days ago.

    What a difference a year makes! ;)

  10. STUART DICKSON
    English respondents are in favour of Scottish independence. Scottish respondents are not

    Stuart, I know you put a caveat re the Scottish sub-sample in your previous post, but I would take all of the Scottish responses with a very large pinch of salt, as it looks as though this one may have had the “wrong” invitation profile for Scotland.

    Two of the weighting downs on the last page of the PDF are particularly large:
      Region – Scotland: 300 unweighted 234 weighted
      Party ID – Others: 204 unweighted  81 weighted

  11. For those who missed it, the new shadow cabinet is:

    Iain Gray – Leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament
    Johann Lamont – Deputy Leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice
    Richard Baker – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth
    Jackie Baillie – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy
    Malcolm Chisholm – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning
    Lewis Macdonald – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment
    Paul Martin – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business
    John Park – Opposition Chief Whip
    Michael McMahon – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government
    Sarah Boyack – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment
    Ken Macintosh – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs

    … and every single one of the 5 SLD MSPs is now a “spokesperson” (not that anyone will be listening):

    Willie Rennie Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
    Liam McArthur Education and energy
    Alison McInnes Health and justice
    Jim Hume Rural, environment, housing and transport
    Tavish Scott Business and the economy

    (I think the Tories had a re-shuffle too, but it seems to have gone under everyone’s radar.)

  12. R Huckle,

    – “… particularly the over 60?s. This is the group that is most likely to vote…”

    Indeed.

    If I remember correctly, the pre UK GE “Cleggasm” was primarily among young people, especially first-time voters. As we all know, a vast percentage of these people simply never fill in a ballot paper.

  13. BARBAZENZERO,

    I put more trust in sub-samples than many other commentators (for very good reason: they are astoundingly good predictors if one looks at their track-record over many elections).

    However, I am not alone in thinking that YouGov’s weightings are, quite simply, daft. Their down-weighting of ‘Others’ (incl SNP) is simply unjustifiable.

    This is not a partisan point. I have seen people from throughout the political spectrum concur on this point.

  14. Sapper
    (from previous thread)
    Thank you

    Old Nat
    The move of R Baker from Justice portfolio to Finance is probably not best interpreted as a sacking.
    I know Johan Lamont and ti is interesting in the context of this thread to note that while she is on the left of the Labour Party, she has strong views on the need for tough law and order in our poorest areas.

  15. STUART DICKSON
    However, I am not alone in thinking that YouGov’s weightings are, quite simply, daft. Their down-weighting of ‘Others’ (incl SNP) is simply unjustifiable.

    I agree entirely and have said the same on these threads. In Scottish polls, YouGov do recognise the SNP as a separate entity, but perhaps for their GB polls it would be more logical to have two “others” categories: Other unionists vs Other home rulers.

    The first category would obviously include UK & the BNP, whilst the second would include the SNP, PC, both lots of Greens, EDP, MK and the Liberal Party.

    For all we know, the 300 Scottish electors polled could all have been amongst the 15,580 (0.78%) who voted BNP for Holyrood on May 5.

  16. Who is getting your vote Barney? Baker? Lamont?

    Bookies’ best prices – Next leader of Labour parliamentary group

    Jackie Baillie 7/4 (Lad, WH)
    Ken Macintosh 3/1 (PP)
    John Park 9/2 (PP)
    Johann Lamont 7/1 (PP)
    Sarah Boyack 8/1 (SJ)
    Malcolm Chisholm 9/1 (PP)
    Hugh Henry 10/1 (PP)
    Lewis Macdonald 10/1 (SJ)
    Elaine Murray 12/1 (SJ)
    Michael McMahon 20/1 (SJ)
    Jim Murphy 20/1 (PP)
    Richard Baker 25/1 (SJ)
    Kezia Dugdale 33/1 (SJ)
    Jenny Marra 50/1 (SJ)
    Graeme Pearson 50/1 (SJ)
    Gordon Brown 200/1 (PP)

    IMHO if you don’t pick Chisholm then you are all barking mad. He is he only one with a decent chance of leading a coherent and competent ‘No’ campaign.

  17. Correction – for UK read UKIP in my previous post

  18. Barbazenzero
    That would make sense if the only issue of importance was the continuation of the ‘union’, and there might be decision on a UK basis about it. As it is, I can’t understand why all the ‘others’ are lumped together: I remember back in the 1980s/1990s where if a party was over 0.5% UK-wide in the polls, they would be reported individually.

  19. I’ve just found the Tory re-shuffle. I’d missed it cos it was so soon after Polling Day, and so much else was going on:

    Scottish Conservative front bench in full:

    Leader: Annabel Goldie (outgoing)
    Deputy leader and health: Murdo Fraser
    Economy: Gavin Brown
    Justice: John Lamont
    Education: Liz Smith
    Health: Mary Scanlon
    Public health and sport: Nanette Milne
    Housing and communities: Alex Johnstone
    Environment: Jamie McGrigor
    Rural Affairs: Alex Fergusson
    Culture: Ruth Davidson
    Business manager, chief whip and constitution: David McLetchie
    Transport, infrastructure and climate change: Jackson Carlaw

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-13380612

    Therefore, the only 2 Tory MSPs without an (ahem) “frontbench” role are Margaret Mitchell (Central list) and John Scott (Ayr). Unsurprising omissions both.

    The weakest link in the 13 spokespeople is Johnstone. How on earth he keeps getting a place high up on the Tories’ regional list I’ll never fathom.

    And Jamie McGrigor at Environment is no genius either.

  20. Personally, I think there is little difference between the last administration and the current one on crime. It’s all perception. Labour is still seen as tough as they talked the talk but they didn’t walk the walk. The tories are currently seen as soft as Ken Clarke is talking soft.

    What happened to Blair’s, 3 strikes & you are locked up? What happened to his announcement about marching miscreants to the cash dispenser for on the spot fines.
    What happened to the sentence delivered being actually served in full, or to, life means life?
    All these initiatives create the vision of Labour being tough but they were all quietly dropped soon after being announced. But the perception was created.

    I also remember one Ray Mallon who with his team, cleaned up crime in Middlesborough. For 5 minutes he was feted by Blair as Robocop. He knew that most of the crime was caused by a very few crime families, so he targetted those families, got them locked up and hey, ho, crime fell like a stone.

    Unfortunately this upset the liberal namby pambies (including the then Chief Constable) & he was set up by the police establishment & discredited. The same happened to John Stalker when he upset the establishment by getting results.

    If one section of society is through statistics, known to cause most of the crime, they should be heavily targeted & locked up for even minor crimes. That way they can’t commit the big crimes.

    The problem with the police force is that it is a totally ‘political’ environment with many senior officers prepared to stab their colleagues in the back for their own career benefit, at the drop of a hat. Chief constable want hassle free, they don’t like mavericks who get results, as they create controversy and put their ‘gong’ at risk. Roll on elected police commissioners .

  21. BEN FOLEY

    As it is, I can’t understand why all the ‘others’ are lumped together: I remember back in the 1980s/1990s where if a party was over 0.5% UK-wide in the polls, they would be reported individually.

    So do I, and agree that they should be shown separately in the VI results.

    That would make sense if the only issue of importance was the continuation of the ‘union’, and there might be decision on a UK basis about it.

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself adequately clear. I’m not suggesting lumping them together in these two groups for VI display purposes, but separating them out for party ID weighting. As well as being very similar in their constitutional views, the Other unionists have much more in common with the reds and the blues on most other issues than the Other home rulers, who are largely left of both reds and blues both socially and economically.

    I don’t suggest that it would perfect the weighting process, but it would make it slightly less daft.

  22. @ SAPPER

    “I absolutely understand Camerons modernisation plans and the strictures of working with the LDs, but he needs to be very careful on this matter”

    I agree .

    Have you seen the Yellow B**stards League Table on Con Home?

    The Cameron Coalition balancing act is becoming more & more problematic-it will test DC.

  23. Bringing together the issue of differents sorts of rape and the ignorance of London media and pollsters of Scottish issues is the case of the 25 year old man admitting molesting a five year old girl but who didn’t go to prison.

    Why not? because it’s not as simple as that, of course.

    Lallands Peat Worrier has an analysis of BNP voting in Scotland. They could be comforted by the thought that they had a more satisfactory outcome than the LibDems.

  24. Stuart Dickson

    Anthony, why on earth do YouGov persist in asking Scottish respondents to assess criminal justice policy in England & Wales? Scottish respondents are highly unlikely to be aware of the English criminal justice situation, so any responses will be largely meaningless.

    Because you’re a bunch of opinionated ******s and going to give your views like it or not. Actually that does explain the usual down-weighting of the Scottish sample by size, presumably you’re more likely to reply to YouGov’s e-mail.

    I don’t the down-weighting of ‘Others’ is anything to do with the SNP. They seem to ask more ‘Others’ so the figures for individual Parties don’t vary too wildly from poll to poll with chance. They then have to reduce the numbers to get the true proportions. I think they must actually weight the (named) individual Parties separately or we would never see say a UKIP surge.

    The Scottish figures must be weighted separately, otherwise the SNP figures would be overwhelmed. (how they are weighted is a different story).

    The fact that the region most opposed to Scottish independence is Scotland is highly amusing. In truth, if there had been option of ‘Yes if the Scots want it’, I think that would have been the most popular choice in England and Wales. The danger of polls such as this is that they enable the ‘Velvet Divorce’ that some of the new Right are so keen on.

  25. Anthony

    Is the Under/Over 40 split within Gender going to be a regular feature or was it just done because of all the rape-related questions in this survey?

  26. Stuart

    “The electorate took MacAskill’s side: SNP landslide nationally, a 4.5% Lab to SNP swing in Edinburgh Eastern:”

    …as I expected. There are places where that would be less likely, but this constituency is one where many would support him even if they would have made a different decision themselves.

    Donald Dewar said that Integrity, Wisdom, Compassion and Justice were what the people of Scotland expected of their MSP’s. The decent respectable middle class retired dog-walking certain-to-vote Presbyterians of Edinburgh would know their own MSP better than those who watch Fox News in Texas.

    I must acknowledge though, that I didn’t predict the size of the SNP majority though I was sure they would at least double the majority over Labour in the previous parliament.

    Who did predict it? Certaily not Patrick Harvie (untl he arrived at the count) or anyone any pollster.

    I recognised OLDNAT’s point that in theory it was possible to pass the point where the list would not compensate for constituency losses. I just couldn’t imagine it happening, or that anybody anywhere in Glasgow (other than NS in Govan) could take votes off Labour.

    Scottish UK voting intention is the thing to watch. In 2010 LibDems and Lab seemed the best buy to many anti-Cons. In 2011 for the SP may of them opted for the SNP. The question is whether they still see the SNP as incongrous or irrelevant for Westminster, and indeed whether other 2010 and 2011 Lab-voting anti-Cons bandwagon them.

    It won’t take much to get to the FPTP tipping point for Scottish seats and you can see what that would be like if you take the 2010 FPTP constituency result only.

    The bloc of Scottish Lab lobby fodder would be replaced by a similarly large body of SNP MP’s replacing LibDems as the third party.

    If Gordon Brown thought the LibDems were driving a hard bargain, then 30-40 SNP MP’s would be far more trouble.

  27. Out of curiosity, when exactly does a party move to and from “Others”. We’ve seen UKIP on as high as 6% without moving up, and the Lib Dems as low as 8% without moving down, so presumably you need either 7% or 8% to become listed separately from Others. If so, which one? And does anyone think either the Libs or UKIP may ending up crossing groups?

  28. @ Stuart Dickson

    English respondents are in favour of Scottish independence. Scottish respondents are not:
    —————————————————
    This is the reason why I dislike Alex Salmond. He represents a minority of Scots on this subject but his constant, high profile, carping about it has alienated our neighbours & made them think of Scotland as less of a partner in the Uk.

    Okay, in a democracy the voters are always right. But it really upsets me that they exercised their right to be foolish by electing Alex Salmond; a man whose main objective is to achieve something they don’t want; & they seem not to have realised how that would sour Scotland’s relationship with our closest neighbours.
    8-)

  29. Barney

    “Old Nat
    The move of R Baker from Justice portfolio to Finance is probably not best interpreted as a sacking.”

    I’d agree with that, but I don’t why you are telling me.

    If we are swapping irrelevant bits of information then I’ll let you know that we just had a very heavy rain squall.

  30. Being less tough on crime will be fine for the Coalition, until either there is a rise in crime or there is a couple of high profile cases that convince the public that the majority were right all along about soft sentencing allowing criminals to offend when they ‘should have been in prison’.

    I haven’t made up my mind. I read stats that ex-soldiers & children who’ve spent time in care & people with mental illnesses are more likely to go to prison; that makes me think prison is a bad thing. On the other hand, I loathe violence. I feel that violence should trigger relentless efforts by society to control & rehabilitate those who use violence.

    That is a particular dichotomy when it comes to soldiers, who are trained to use directed violence to achieve ‘our’ aims then return to society with few resources & very little support.

    I’m am definitely not saying all returning soldiers are prone to being violent or going to prison. My two brothers adjusted well when they left the army but thers, it seems, do not.

    Okay, I rambled a bit there. But perhaps I am representative of society; our views on crime & punishment are quite nuanced. I think we focus on outcomes, most of us being quite liberal until some particularly despicable crime happens which we believe could have been avoided. Then our liberal pretensions vanish like scotch mist.
    8-)

  31. @ Barney

    I’m interested, even if Old Nat isn’t. :-)

  32. Amber

    Disliking people because you disagree with their politics is a shame.

    You want to keep the UK, but I don’t dislike you because of it.

    As to souring relationships, you may like to consider the effect of successive UK Governments deciding to publish their economic data in a form which allows simpletons like the Daily Mail journalists to suggest that Scotland is a subsidy junkie.

    While the original decision to do that was based on persuading Scots that they were too poor to be independent, it was political foolishness not to understand that that would be picked up by the English media and used to demonise the Scots.

  33. Amber

    I didn’t say I wasn’t interested, just that I had no idea why he was telling me.

    As someone who might understand his thought processes, perhaps you could explain.

    I’m always happy to chat, but I’m surprised that Barney would select me to deliver his random thoughts to.

    As a courteous chap, I passed on one of my random thoughts to him in return.

    It’s nice to be nice. :-)

  34. Amber

    People did not vote for Alex Salmond. It was a real election for a government and constiuecy MSP, not a TV popularity contest.

    Still less did they vote for independence. They know they may get a chance to do that some other day, but it wasn’t an option on the ballot paper.

    They voted for what Christian Schmitt described on these pages three years ago as “bog standard competent government and a few minor gimmicks” and they knew that they would not get that or better from Labour.

    They thought that was better not to vote for a party that accepts money from supermarkets and brewers and votes against minimum pricing.

    They thought that it was better to support a government with ministers of integrity than those who opposed a quasi-judicial decision as Mr MacAskill said “only after I made it”.

    They thought that it was better to avoid voting for a party that chose to overlook, out of misplaced loyalty, the misdemeanors of some of its elected representatives.

    They were insulted by being asked to set aside the purpose of the election (to elect a government for Scotland) and instead use it to “send a message to Westminster” or to deny themselves the opportunity to vote for or against independence in case they might be persuaded to vote in favour after a campaign in which the actual question and the arguments in favour or against were properly considered. In effect they were told they couldn’t trust themselves to make the right decision when the time comes and to vote to make sure they wern’t asked. That’s like trying to sell a chastity belt to a teenage girl.

    They thought it was right to vote for a party that would vigorously oppose the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Scottish waters. Labour doesn’t do that any more.

    They voted for the two partes of the left (though one did not benefit in seats) and against all the parties of the right including the BNP (see above). Labour used to be a party of the Left but isn’t any more according to Scottish Voting Compass.

    They voted for an unprecedentedly hard working and imaginative administration rather than one whose best talent has either left politics or sought career advancement at Westminster.

    They voted against an opposition in the last parliament which demonstrated that they were bereft of ideas and focused on an unremitting negativity in the manner of the Westminster playground designed for Oxbridge graduates to compete in their pretendy arguments and point-scoring. That is not what the Scottish Parliament is designed for, and conduct of this sort diminishes it.

    Labour brought it into being, but now they are trashing it. I despise them for that.

  35. Amber

    “Okay, I rambled a bit there. But perhaps I am representative of society; our views on crime & punishment are quite nuanced. I think we focus on outcomes, most of us being quite liberal until some particularly despicable crime happens which we believe could have been avoided. Then our liberal pretensions vanish like scotch mist.”

    I don’t think that’s rambling. It’s a rather accurate description of how most of us react to a heinous crime – especially one that we can personally relate to.

  36. Amber

    To be honest I don’t think it matters what Alex Salmond says. The London-centrism of most of the ‘national’ media means that such things don’t get covered outside Scotland. Though it may still get more coverage than something in Newcastle of Bristol or even Croydon – if English Nationalists are so worried about being ignored, they should look to their own country first.

    The reality is that if the question was asked differently it would have got a different, more laid-back answer. The English isolationists are a small bunch, if influential.

  37. Amberstar

    You loathe violence.

    What is Trident for? Wouldn’t using that be pretty violent?

    I cannot imagine any circumstances in which its use would be justified, or even circumstances in which any British government would use it.

    Clearly that must be due to the paucity of my imagination.

  38. Ha, old age catching up…On a new computer I signed in using my old email address & without my full name, so I got lost in moderation. So I repost on the law and order issue fww.

    Personally, I think there is little difference between the last administration and the current one on crime. It’s all perception. Labour is still seen as tough as they talked the talk but they didn’t walk the walk. The tories are currently seen as soft as Ken Clarke is talking soft.
    What happened to Blair’s, 3 strikes & you are locked up? What happened to his announcement about marching miscreants to the cash dispenser for on the spot fines.
    What happened to the sentence delivered being actually served in full, or to, life means life?
    All these initiatives create the vision of Labour being tough but they were all quietly dropped soon after being announced. But the perception was created.

    I also remember one Ray Mallon who with his team, cleaned up crime in Middlesborough. For 5 minutes he was feted by Blair as Robocop. He knew that most of the crime was caused by a very few crime families, so he targetted those families, got them locked up and hey, ho, crime fell like a stone.

    Unfortunately this upset the liberal namby pambies (including the then Chief Constable) & he was set up by the police establishment & discredited. The same happened to John Stalker when he upset the establishment by getting results.

    If one section of society is, through statistics, known to cause most of the crime, they should be heavily targeted & locked up for even minor crimes. That way they can’t commit the big crimes.

    The problem with the police force is that it is a totally ‘political/politically correct’, environment with many senior officers prepared to stab their colleagues in the back for their own career benefit, at the drop of a hat. Chief constable want hassle free, they don’t like mavericks who get results, as they create controversy and put their ‘gong’ at risk. Roll on elected police commissioners .

  39. Roger Mexico

    “The English isolationists are a small bunch, if influential.”

    Scottish isolationists are also a small bunch, but fortunately not influential.

    This article resonates rather well with mainstream thinking in the nationalist movement

    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/speakers-corner/2526-scotland-international.html

    Siol nan Gaidheal will hate it.

  40. OldNat,

    Scotland a subsidy junkie? Shoorley not ;)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10389974

    By the way, I mentioned John Scott (Con) the Ayr MSP upthread. I’ve just had a look at the actual result, and was shocked to see that we nearly took that seat from 3rd place:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/constituency/html/36075.stm

    Ayr is actually a great example of how the SLAB spin about the SNP victory was just down to the collapsing SLD vote is a load of pants. Look closely at the Ayr result, and one sees that the Lib Dem vote only dropped 3.7 points, whereas the SNP vote rose 9.3 points. Labour actually dropped MORE than the Lib Dems in that seat.

  41. OldNat,

    Scotland a subsidy junkie? Shoorley not ;)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10389974

    By the way, I mentioned John Scott (Con) the Ayr MSP upthread. I’ve just had a look at the actual result, and was shocked to see that we nearly took that seat from 3rd place:

    ht tp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/constituency/html/36075.stm

    Ayr is actually a great example of how the SLAB spin about the SNP victory was just down to the collapsing SLD vote is a load of pants. Look closely at the Ayr result, and one sees that the Lib Dem vote only dropped 3.7 points, whereas the SNP vote rose 9.3 points. Labour actually dropped MORE than the Lib Dems in that seat

  42. Robert Newark

    “Chief constable want hassle free, they don’t like mavericks who get results”

    I don’t get that impression here. Strathclyde Police for example have been undertaking a number of initiatives which have had a significant effect on crime levels.

    The latest one is described here

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/news/Alcohol-ban-for-violent-thugs.6772331.jp

  43. Oh, how I miss Forsyth. The man was a walking advert for independence:

    – “Research shows that an independent Scotland would find its bills exceeded by its revenues by £8 billion. That is the price Scotland would have to pay for severing its connections with the United Kingdom. That would be its admission fee to the Third World.”

    — Michael Forsyth speech in reply to the debate on the constitution at the meeting of the central council of the National Union, 30th March 1996

  44. @ AMBER

    “He represents a minority of Scots on this subject but his constant, high profile, carping about it has alienated our neighbours & made them think of Scotland as less of a partner in the Uk.”

    I do think you are right about this.

    I think he has produced a feeling of ” I wish they would just get on with it then ” outside of Scotland.

    I don’t dislike him for it though-I admire his political skills in fact. But if I were a Unionist Scot like you Amber, I can understand why dislike might be engendered.

  45. Robert Newark

    ” Roll on elected police commissioners .”

    Not sure how quickly they will roll-now that LibDems have decided they would be too democratic.

  46. @ John B Dick

    What is Trident for? Wouldn’t using that be pretty violent?
    ——————————————————
    Again, my thinking isn’t 100% for or against. I loathe violence, but it is out there. Therefore, I think we need some protection, some deterrent. Trident is like prison; my liberal, optimistic, pacifist soul wants prisons & Trident to be unnecessary. My head isn’t entirely convinced. And, for those who make a financial case against it, that doesn’t chime with me. Because I’m willing to pay for almost anything that deters violence.
    8-)

  47. Colin

    “I think he has produced a feeling of ” I wish they would just get on with it then ” outside of Scotland.”

    All the more amazing then that the UK leaders didn’t instruct their Scottish branches to support a referendum. Indeed when the SLAB leader made her famous “Bring it on” speech, she was promptly slapped down by her party leader.

    Motes and beams come to mind, together with stones and glasshouses.

  48. @ Old Nat

    Disliking people because you disagree with their politics is a shame.
    ———————————————
    Of course, I should have been more accurate & said I dislike Alex Salmond as a politcian. My apologies for not being clear; I did not mean to cause offence.
    8-)

  49. Amber

    “I’m willing to pay for almost anything that deters violence.”

    How about non-financial payment?

    Eroding human rights? Withdrawal from the ECHR?

  50. John B Dick,

    – “That’s like trying to sell a chastity belt to a teenage gir.”

    You really ought to start your own blog. You are a far better writer than most of the clowns in the game.

    That letter you sent to Rice (and published on UKPR) was a work of beauty. The most powerful exposition of Labour’s failings I have ever read.

    Very, very few people have the ability to cogently explain why they vote one way or another. You possess that gift.

1 2 3 6