The monthly Populus poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 39%(+2), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2). This is the lowest level of Lib Dem support that Populus have shown so far, and the first time they’ve shown them dropping into single figures (YouGov have regularly shown single figure Lib Dem scores, but Populus have tended to show them a couple of points higher).

Populus also asked whether people trusted Miliband & Balls or Cameron, Osborne & Clegg to run the economy better. Cameron, Osborne and Clegg led Miliband & Balls by 41% to 23%, a significant shift from when Populus last asked the question in March when the lead was 44% to 33%.


258 Responses to “Populus/Times – CON 39, LAB 40, LDEM 9”

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  1. ICEMAN

    “it is entirely affordable within present contributions unrtil 2050.”

    If that was the conclusion of the last Actuarial Valuation-all it means is that the COMBINED E’ee + E’er contributions will fund the liabilities when they arise.

    Whether the current allocation of that total funding between Employee & Employer is “affordable” for the Employer is another matter entirely.

    The Private Sector has been deciding that the cost to employers of salary related pension guarantees with associated enhancements like indexation & family benefits are largely no longer affordable.

    Membership of defined benefit schemes in the Private Sector has fallen to around 13%

    Money Purchase/ Defined Contribution Schemes are the norm in the Private Sector. These transfer the investment risk to the employee from the employer.

  2. PHIL

    “the deferred element of my pay (my pension) ”

    That’s the first time I have ever come across that description of a pension entitlement.

    Its certainly a novel way of looking at it.

  3. And turning back to discussion of polls, I’m surprised that the Yougov gap didn’t narrow tonight.

    We’ve had two days or more of sustained spin from both coalition parties about how wonderful the ever-so-slightly reformed NHS bill is now that the Government’s listened to the minor proposals of the first GP to champion it in its original form.

    If Labour does eventually get its act together in response, that may change. I say if, not when, because I fear it may not happen. To mount a coherent response, free of the charges of hypocrisy, Miliband would need to repudiate the role of markets in health care and the charges that what we’re seeing is the logical extension of New Labour’s reforms.

  4. @Colin

    I’m not trying to be original. “Deferred pay” is what unions typically call pensions. And I think they’re right. An employer contribution to my pension is part of my remuneration package, just as much as a company car or BUPA membership might be part of the package in the private sector.

    However, having just seen 15% worth of 25 years contributions eliminated at the stroke of a statutory instrument in parliament, I am starting to wonder what will be left of this deferred pay by the time I retire.

  5. Phil

    “by the time I retire.”

    Dream on!

    My generation screwed successive generations by taking all the advantages, and leaving the chaos and misery to our kids and grandkids. Of course, those of us who bought houses during the rampant inflation of the 70s, effectively stole the savings of our grandparents too.

    However, we are now burdening you with the costs of our care during the increased longevity partially caused by the best food profile during the rationing in our childhood. You guys we fed on cheap burgers.

    We really have not been very nice people.

    Generational theft

  6. Has the NHS inadvertently discovered its latest hero? Did anybody see the hilarious intervention of the Doctor/Clinician in Cameron and Clegg’s photo opportunity in the hospital they’d chosen, along with Lansley to relaunch their relaunch of their revised NHS Reforms? Just as they were gazing, probably disinterestedly, but with all the sincerity they could muster, in the general direction of a patient in bed, surrounded by the obligatory TV crew, in burst our hero, shouting loudly and angrily about the cameramen intruding into the patients space. He showed no awareness, or interest, in the presence of our Great Leaders, preoccupied as he was, quite rightly in the care of his patients. Having berated the cowering TV crew in the manner of a headmaster dressing down his class, he stormed off, erupting again in the corridor saying he “wasn’t going to have it”.

    What was hilarious though, was the look on both Cameron and Clegg’s faces as the Doctor approached, off camera, shouting for the crew to move. It was one of total horror as it dawned upon them that their stage managed photo-opportunity had been sabotaged. Mind you, while you can take the man out of PR, you can never take the PR out of the man, and Cameron quickly put on the smooth charm to limit the damage as best he could. He was heard to say to the Doctor that he “agreed with him” and ushered the cameraman away. He hadn’t given a toss before but, like the smooth operator he is, his antenna quickly picked up the PR disaster that was developing.

    Priceless stuff and buy that fine Doctor a pint of your finest, I say! Splendid fellow indeed.

  7. @OldNat

    You’re old. I’m nearly old. We’re both partners in crime.

    It’s todays kids who are being fleeced.

  8. Incidentally….

    Just noticed that approval fell to -28% tonight. Worst since the locals by a mile.

    Reasons?

  9. Phil
    “It’s todays kids who are being fleeced.”

    How can that be? If it is the older generation who are somehow fleecing the young, then surely they will eventually pass the ill-gotten gains to their descendants anyway?

  10. Crossbat,

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/video/sky-news-video/Video/201106216011842

    Not quite as you describe it but nonetheless amusing!

  11. Pete B

    “surely they will eventually pass the ill-gotten gains to their descendants anyway?”

    Nope. Haven’t you heard of SKI holidays? (Spending Kids’ Inheritance) Or reverse mortgages, whereby we take all the equity out of our homes to pay for our care?

  12. @ Colin

    “That’s the first time I have ever come across that description of a pension entitlement.
    Its certainly a novel way of looking at it.”

    It could be your view of angle. Pension is an integral part of the salary – salary being the cost of living, of dependents, surviving when not working and training. Any of these paid for by the government is a direct subsidy to the private sector. Without it, the wage would have to cover these costs (otherwise you wouldn’t have the workforce or the skills).

    Any cut in pension is, by definition, is a wage cut. I don’t say that current wage and future wage are completely substitutable, merely that the government’s acting as employer when cutting pension entitlement is a cut in the wage.

  13. The whole argument about non-affordable pensions and generations fleecing the next generation is valid only with “ceteris paribus”. And ceteris paribus in social science (and this is what we talk about) is the belief that Earth is flat.

    The current productivity levels would allow anyone in the UK to live a decent life (including a couple of holidays a year and a nice summer frock as my mother-in-law use to say) – it is the way in which the economic system translates these productivity levels to income distribution is the issue. Currently, every employee in manufacturing, agriculture and a few service sectors maintain the employment of 17 other people from their work (it may be fully justified, but they actually consume the available resources even if in the GDP figures they appear to add to output (like when you buy your sandwiches instead of making them yourself), but this is the reality) – through market redistribution mechanisms.

  14. Laszlo

    No money pal – Brown stole it

  15. @ Wolf

    “No money pal – Brown stole it”

    Funny :-).

    Back in the 1970s and early 1980s there were lots of paperbacks around the subject of inflation and how some people made money of it and from this inevitably the conspiracy theory: those who made the money must have engineered the inflation.

    Now we have endless nonsense about greed causing the 2008-09 financial crisis, incompetent (or greedy) politicians engineering economic policies that somehow cause economic catastrophes for many and gain for themselves. It’s quite refreshing when mildly thoughtful analyses are done on BBC or CH4 (not to mention some foreign channels) that point out that there are really deep structures and mechanisms that makes these things inevitable. Just humans have minds that seek patterns, but only those patterns that are easily recognisable (and greed and incompetence are things we frequently meet) and forgetfulness (useful selection of events – also called regression fallacy).

  16. @ Bill Patrick

    “He’ll triangulate. Obama wants to be Bill Clinton, not Jimmy Carter, and he knows that Democrat voters are in the bag already. Why should he pander to them? It’s the independents and moderate Republicans that Obama will be interested in. It’s not like the Democrats aren’t going to re-nominate him or vote for any Republican 2012 candidates!”

    Triangulation would be the absolute stupidist thing he could do right now. First of all, he doesn’t have all the Democratic voters in the bag. And many will stay home in 2012 as they did in 2010 if things don’t improve unless the GOP becomes extremely threatening. More importantly though, the independents aren’t looking for triangulation. They are looking for economic competence and jobs. They don’t want someone to sit around talking about conservative values.

  17. @The Iceman
    @Phil

    I agree, I to have had enough of your point of view as well. We disagree lets leave it at that.

  18. @ David B

    Please feel better and stay strong.

    If you need a laugh about the alternatives for treating the sick in societies without public healthcare:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOrMyi2m_4E

  19. @ Old Nat

    “Dream on!

    My generation screwed successive generations by taking all the advantages, and leaving the chaos and misery to our kids and grandkids. Of course, those of us who bought houses during the rampant inflation of the 70s, effectively stole the savings of our grandparents too.

    However, we are now burdening you with the costs of our care during the increased longevity partially caused by the best food profile during the rationing in our childhood. You guys we fed on cheap burgers.

    We really have not been very nice people.

    Generational theft”

    Well what generation are you exactly? All generations have faults and have made mistakes. Also, I think it’s dangerous to fault entire generations for certain actions, it can lead to overgeneralizations. I’m sure you’ve experienced this a number of times but I’ve noticed in a couple of elections (primary elections), I didn’t vote the way that the media and pollsters suggested I should vote based upon my age (and other factors).

  20. “The government have made clear that they will put in place emergency legislation if there really is a threat to the UK economy from irresponsible strikes by Public Sector workers.”
    And the easiest way for Labour to spin this would be to-
    -Back the union ‘right to strike’ but talk about only backing ‘responsible strikes’. Which is the current Labour line on strikes. Allowing them to play both sides.
    -Get their media tentacles (what’s left of them) to subtly run stories of dictators who’ve used ’emergency legislation’ in the ‘national interest’ to get their own way when justice fails them.
    -Point out how illiberal both a ban on strikes and rewriting the law to suit your own purposes are. Just keep plugging the word ‘illiberal’ – adding pressure to Clegg from in his own party.

    It almost writes itself.

    Also – on to the actual polling –
    Since we should expect, when the ‘actual figure’ for the LDs being 9, the LD figure to range from 8-10 (as we’ve seen by a few 8s recently), it usually accompanies the Lab figure going down (IIRC) but since the Lab figure is static, surely LD gains are from ‘Others’.
    But which party would they be gaining (possibly back) from? SNP, Greens?

    Or should I just put it down to natural variation, within the range of 8-10, in the polls?

    Also, Lab’s lead is now definitely back to +5. This is down to the recovery of the Lab score – but it would have been higher if Con score had dropped back to pre-local election levels.
    So the Tories have to hope that nothing goes wrong to upset things – or hope that Eurosceptic Cons aren’t reminded of Cameron’s ‘failings’ (in their view) over Europe, or we’ll probably see Tory>UKIP transfers.

  21. On the gov (dis)approval figure…is the sudden drop of 5% genuine truly reflect prception or is it one off blip? My guess is the latter, but the overall trend has been a gentle increaes in disapproval since early May.

    As regards strikes by public sector workers over changes to their pension scheme entitlements. It is worth remembering that it would have been a breach of contract to reduce/withold bonuses from those in the finance industry sector yet it’s ok to impose a breach of contract on public sector workers as, well, we’re only dealing with publci sector workers who obviously do non-jobs and add nothing worthwhile – unlike the bankers and finance wizards who managed to bring the world economy to its knees.

    The workers in the public sector have my total support.

    And if legislation is introduced IMO we are approaching a right wing state. After this all the employment laws will be scrapped.

  22. Two other observations –
    The government’s narrative of being the government of the ‘big society’, small government and the free market continues to unravel.
    This is shown in the ‘We will protect your right to protest.. unless you use it’ and ‘We will protect the free market.. unless you sell anything ‘sexy”.

    This is a very novel way of making enemies of your friends.
    The interesting thing about many of the Tory media friends (Murdoch, Richard Desmond) is that they play both sides – their newspapers write about the degradation of society caused by ‘excessive sexualisation’ and then the Murdoch prints Page 3.
    So what happens when the legislation starts to target them?
    It wasn’t long ago that these ‘Tory media allies’ were ‘Labour media allies’ and it’s been reported that Murdoch likes to ‘back the winner’ (which is why he was reportedly furious over being convinced not to back Obama).
    So if the Tories lose those allies, what then?

    Which brings me to my second observation –
    David Cameron, in his attempt to chase the 2.4 children married couple middle-class vote, he is happy to make enemies of everybody else on his way –
    Nurses, Teachers, Doctors, Students, Unions, Anglicans, Economists, etc, etc

    While this was a strong attribute of Thatcher – he doesn’t have her resolve when pressed.
    So not only is he rapidly making enemies – he is rapidly making enemies who’ll not see themselves as powerless (as under Thatcher), but having equal power with the PM.
    Which means that he’ll have to legislate – which means risking his partnership with the LibDems.

    This doesn’t really mean Labour’s automatically in a good position by Cameron’s burning bridges because Labour has the opposite problem – it’s very reluctant to make ‘friends’ with Cameron’s new ‘enemies’ because Labour’s chasing exactly the same 2.4 children married middle-class families.
    And while the groups (unions, students, etc) may back Labour by default – if they were to form their own ‘party of the damned’, Labour would rapidly find itself without support and without finances.

  23. PHIL

    ” “Deferred pay” is what unions typically call pensions”

    Yep-that figures .

    So todays employees need to start “deferring” a bit more-people are living longer & the cost of retirement benefits is rising.

    Private Sector Employers decided years ago that this trend meant they could not afford the open ended guarantee that whatever indexed linked, salary related pension costs rise to -they would pay it.

    First there was a trend to increase employee contributions, then an avalanche to switch from defined benefits to defined contributions.

    Approaching 10% of Private Sector workers now enjoy defined benefits pension guarantees-and falling.

    It is over 90% in the Public Sector.

    Public Sector employees will have to pay more for their salary related/indexed pension rights.

    They will still be getting a pension guarantee free of all investment risk.

    There will come a time when the Taxpayer will decide that is unaffordable too.

    ” 22.5% of income from council tax in 2009/10 went on pensions for council employees – up from 19 per cent in 2005/6.

    Employers’ contributions to pensions – the amount of taxpayers’ money that councils give to the pot – totalled £5.8 billion in 2009/10. That’s up seven per cent on 2008/9.

    Fom 2000/1 until 2009/10, employers’ contributions have more than doubled, increasing at a far greater rate than the amount contributed by council workers.

    In 2000/1, employers contributed £2.273 billion compared to the employees’ contribution of £1.060 billion. That rose to £5.579 billion for employers in 2009/10, and £1.974 billion for employees.”

    Sky News.

    It can’t go on like this.

  24. @ Mike N

    I see you back public sector workers who plan strikes this summer and autumn.

    I have three children, two of whom work in the Public sector as do there spouses. I am close to all four and they know my views on the need to reduce the size of the Public sector and my views on Public sector pensions. Two share my views and the other two do not, but all four agree from their own experience that there is massive inefficiency and waste in the Public sector and a lot of totally ineffective management. All agree that the proposed strikes are totally unacceptable.

  25. @Colin

    You last post makes my point very clearly. It just cannot go on like this. I just hope the government holds firm.

  26. I shudder at the very thought of it, but if there was a massive and coordinated public sector strike, it might very well boost the Tories and damage Labour in the long run.

    The last thing Labour needs is the spectre of union militancy, or the danger of being associated with it. The leadership will probably try and distance themselves from it, causing internal tensions with the bulk of party members (including every Labour supporter here who has expressed an opinion) who will be pro-strike.

    As for my mob, they are rubbing their hands in the hope that if the government has to rely on the police to keep the country in one piece, it may result in some concessions in our own reforms.

  27. THE OTHER HOWARD

    “All agree that the proposed strikes are totally unacceptable.”

    I think they will be seen as such by a majority.

    What are working lone parents of young schoolchildren ( like my daughter) supposed to do when the schools close?

    If the BMA decides to join the fray-that could prove very interesting .I would love to see an OP on attitudes to Doctors in UK-particularly Hospital doctors.

  28. @Colin

    I agree, I am sure we are in the majority.

  29. @Neil A – “… to keep the country in one piece”

    Public sector workers must be punished because the private sector fleeced its workforce out of their pensions, and all must work longer hours for less?

    Unions over the last the last quarter of a century do not have a reputation for militancy, far from it.

    There has always been an element of envy to be exploited among those who are powerless in their negotiating position wrt employers… if unions play their “day” of action skillfully we could see the a turning point where that useless envy becomes an aspiration to safeguard acceptable employment practices across the board.

  30. Naturally I don’t think mass organised strikes would help anyone. It could prove to be a really important period of this government is the unions do start to take mass coordinated action.

    Of course it would hurt the countries economy if the unions were to take prolonged coordinated action, so in that regard it is potentially harmful to the government.

    I also think it may give Cameron the opportunity to play a strong hand. I think Cameron would be forced into some action against the unions, to protect the economy. With the many calls for a minimum turnout to implement a strike being a real possibility, if the unions declare war on the government (and the rest of us) it could end up bad for them.

    Politically, it would be a huge gamble for the unions. If they fail and Cameron still provides a recovery, that is a powerful message going into the next election. I also think Cameron would be very good at selling the line that he had to take reasonable action to protect the country from unreasonable action.

    It also would make things very tough for the Labour party, how should they position themselves? On one hand the can’t be seen to support the unions if they start posing a risk to the economy (a real risk is for the “union appointed leader” narrative to rise up during a period on militancy). On the other hand they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. I can see a lot of internal discomfort.

    As for the Liberal Democrats, I suspect this may be equally uncomfortable, especially in the spotlight. I suspect they will be consistent and act in the national interest if militancy gets to the point it threatens the recovery (politically the recovery is critical to the LDs as well.) I also suspect they they will act as a moderating force when it comes to any legislation. I’m sure many on the right of the Conservative party would see a rise militant unions as an “excuse” to cripple them.

    I’m not sure it’s wise for the unions to try throwing a spanner in the works of the economy at this point, that doesn’t mean to say they won’t.

    I think the adage “may you live in interesting times” may play itself out. Whether this is a curse or a blessing for Cameron time will tell.

  31. Could we please decide whether public servants are useless spongers, who could we could sack 75% of without noticing, or vital workers, who will bring the country to its knees by striking?

    I’m getting confused.

  32. Roger Mexico

    I suspect many fall into both of your categories. (Although I wouldn’t go as far to label anyone with your extremes, there probably are plenty of hard working people doing an entirely worthless job,)

    I can recall a few months of casual work in a tax office where 4 temporary but full time workers were literally putting tax returns into alphabetical order before filing them, no matter how hard someone in a job like that works, the job is worthless and so inefficient they cannot add value to the system. In my naivety, as a bright young man, I thought I could help by working out how the system could be improved, seeing how many people must be employed on a temporary basis each year doing the same worthless job. Of course, it was my first experience in the public sector!

    The lesson I learned. Don’t try to improve things in the public sector. People are comfortable with the way things have always been done and there is no appetite to save money. (Either that or get rid of everyone with this attitude, perhaps those are the 75% you speak of? :D)

  33. Let us be quite clear…the ‘absolutely essential need to eliminate the deficit’ provides the gov with the opportunity to put in place and justify other measures that really have no relevance.

  34. @Colin – “That’s the first time I have ever come across that description of a pension entitlement.
    Its certainly a novel way of looking at it.”

    Don’t agree at all. Workers have agreed to forego pay today for a pension tomorrow. ‘Deferred pay’ is a very normal way to describe pensions.

    I view it as basic theft to remove or reduce already earned pension entitlement – it was part of a contract freely entered into by both sides and should, under any moral code, be honoured to the letter.

    I am very relaxed about changing future pension entitlements – that is a matter for negotiation and agreement, and if workers find it unacceptable they can strike or leave to find a better deal elsewhere.

  35. It should be remembered with those reds getting hot under the collar about pensions reform in the public sector that the recommendations are based on the Hutton Report and if I remember rightly Lord Hutton is a Labour Peer.I also quote him “Pensions change is about fairness”.
    No doubt Ed M. will be supportive.

  36. Last week I think there was a discussion on a thread here about the state pension age and the differences in life expectancy in some regions/areas of the UK.

    Interestingly, I understand a Green Paper recently published by the DWP proposes an option for the SPA to be regularly reconsidered and allow for considerations such as healthy life expectancy, and mortality variations between different socio-economic groups.

    I’ll say no more on this.

  37. ALEC

    “Workers have agreed to forego pay today for a pension tomorrow. ”

    Don’t agree at all.

    None of the organisations I worked in had employment contracts which said that.

    It is a concept I do not recognise.

    The question of how the funding of retirement income whilst working , should be shared between employer & employee is an open one in my view.

    It is for the employer to specify what sort of pension fund it offers , and what proportion of its cost it is prepared to bear.

  38. THE OTHER HOWARD

    “the Hutton Report ”

    Persona non grata now Howard-cast into utter darkness by the Labour Party-airbrushed from the Kremlin photographs along with all the other Blairists
    :-)

  39. @DAVID B
    I am sorry to hear you are currently unwell. However, I think the Tory attitude to public service should be clarified.
    We are not against it in principle, we just think it should be much smaller than it is. Tories are very pro armed forces and police, Tories are not against the NHS, we just think the level of expenditure is unsustainable in its current form. Tories are not against state education, but reserve the right to privately educate as well [snip]. Therefore, your comment that “there are people on this site, who would scrap public services,” is very wide of the mark.

  40. @mike n
    Well I will say some more on that.
    Mr Jones of South Oxfordshire, your father died at 89, your mother died at 94, you don’t smoke and drink 30 units a week. Pension age 75.
    Miss Magillacuddy of Glasgow North East, your father died at 47 with cirrhosis of the liver and your mother died at 53 with a massive myocardiac infarction. You smoke 40 cigarettes per day, drink 84 units a week and you already have sugar diabetes. Pension age 48.
    That looks like a well popular idea [snip]

  41. @ The Other Howard

    “Two share my views and the other two do not, but all four agree from their own experience that there is massive inefficiency and waste in the Public sector and a lot of totally ineffective management.”

    You could as easily be referring to the banking sector or any other industry.

    I think the mantra of public sector badprivate sector good is simplistic. Things are a bit more complex than that,you know!

  42. @ Neil A

    “The last thing Labour needs is the spectre of union militancy”

    Does that include the Police Federation?

  43. Well Alan, I can remember,as a student, doing temporary job filinog in a barristers’ chambers. I was amazed by the opoulence of the

  44. VALARIE
    The Other Howard

    “… there is massive inefficiency and waste in the Public sector and a lot of totally ineffective management.”

    You could as easily be referring to the banking sector or any other industry.

    I think the mantra of public sector bad private sector good is simplistic. Things are a bit more complex than that,you know!

    I agree. For a start global organisations do not need to be efficient as they usually hold a monopoly or near monopoly and the individual customer can do little. This of course is the same with most of the public sector.

    Inefficient small and medium companies simply go out of business losing their owners money and their staff jobs; however, this does not occur in the public sector as the tax payers always stumps up. They also paid for the banking sector greed and inadequacies, and the government’s lack of suitable regulation.

  45. @ Valerie

    I agree with you. I am sure there are very good parts of the Public sector and many badly managed private companies.

    When I worked one of the jobs I took on was MD of a transport company that was inefficient, badly managed, and union dominated. When the company was sold eight years later it was very efficient, very profitable, with a happy workforce. There was still a union, but interestingly membership was about half what it had been initially. Of course I do not claim all the credit, most of that was down to a workforce who responded once motivated and managed correctly and a small group of managers I brought with me. When the company concerned was sold I managed to write “no compulsory redundences for 5 years” into the contract.

    In fact most of my working life was spent restructuring operations.

    What I was reporting in my post was what my children see in their work places in the health service, Universities and schools.

    The difference with the private sector is that if a company fails it goes bust (the banks are an obvious exception to this generalisation). The proposed changes to the banking system which Osborn is talking about at the Mansion House tonight will hopefully resolve that option.

  46. @Alan

    oops! 8-)

    I was trying to say that I had experienced waste and idleness in the legal sector but that didnt stop them charging big fees for their services.

    I’m not going on to argue that barristers should be nationalised.

    I think I’ll make that my last rant for today!

  47. So Cal Liberal,

    “Triangulation would be the absolute stupidist thing he could do right now. First of all, he doesn’t have all the Democratic voters in the bag. And many will stay home in 2012 as they did in 2010 if things don’t improve unless the GOP becomes extremely threatening. More importantly though, the independents aren’t looking for triangulation. They are looking for economic competence and jobs. They don’t want someone to sit around talking about conservative values.”

    Maybe, maybe not, but he WILL triangulate. That’s Obama’s fundamental approach. He’s willing to make any compromise to get his key policies through and he knows that getting a big win in 2012 will require doing what Clinton did in 1996.

    Obama’s already triangulating e.g. on the Bush tax cuts he’s found a middle ground. Whether tax cuts (which entail deeper spending cuts in the long run) are a conservative value is perhaps a matter for semantic debates, but regardless Obama thinks there is political mileage (presumably with independents) by offering to continue Bush’s tax cuts for most Americans.

  48. And I very much doubt that Democrats would sit at home with Obama vs. Pawlenty or even Obama vs. Romney.

  49. @the Other Howard –

    I actually agree that there is significant and unacceptable waste in the public sector – many jobs are duplicated and the roles of various layers of government need to be clarified. The start made by reducing number of MP’s could be furthered by reducing the number of councillors and by government actually taking Education on board wholesale from Local Authorities – vast waste exists in town halls – but not mainly by deliberate wastefulness – there is some – but more by their structural functions.

    The “non-jobs” are there but make up relatively little of the whole. It is directors – with six figure salaries – of services that largely don’t need direction, and the corresponding provision of supposed support services, authority by authority with varying and haphazard levels of support for front line services which is a gross waste of money.

    I believe that the tackling of “back room” waste could be made much more efficiently in a centralised management structure with schools largely self managed.

    The one group who should never be allowed near a school management are, of course, parents. Each parent, by definition has a vested interest in their own child, and they are thus incapable of managing schools in any way fairly or effectively.

    I would sooner my local school be governed by inmates from the local prison, than any group of parents. They would have more time to devote to the task and would be impartial in their judgements. As a parent, were I to take on any management role in my children’s school, then I would be catastrophic , brininging in my own prejudices and protecting my children’s interests as my primary motivation. Best leaving school management to trained professionals within the school and holding them accountable directly to the government department involved.

    This would be relatively simple in Scotland. More complex, I imagine, elsewhere.

  50. @ Iceman

    I may surprise you but I find it hard to disagree with your post including your comments on education. I can just see my youngest daughter pitching in and the fur flying. her kids would get smashing education but I am not sure about the rest!

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