Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9% – pretty much par for the course for YouGov’s recent polling.

Along with the reprivatisation of Northern Rock, the biggest political story today seems to be the teaching and civil service unions voting for strike action. It’s too early to have any polling on it yet, obviously, but there have been some previous polls. In May ComRes asked if people agreed or disagreed with the statement that “In most cases I have sympathy for people going on strike against public spending cuts”, and found 48% agreed, and 37% disagreed.

However, sympathising with people whose jobs are at risk from cuts is not necessarily the same as supporting what action they take – a much older YouGov poll from September last year asked if people would support or oppose strike action in protest against public sector job cuts – 34% said they would, 45% would not (of course, the difference could be as much passage of time as wording… but I would expect a support question to show lower support than a sympathise question!)

The public are also likely to take different attitudes towards different professions striking – YouGov have not asked questions specifically about whether people would support strikes against cuts amongst various professions, but they have asked about whether, in principle, particular groups of workers should have the right to strike. Generally speaking a majority of people support the right to strike amongst most professions, with the expected exceptions for things like the police and the army. A healthy majority think transport workers, refuse collectors, etc should have the right to strike. However, it’s pretty close in terms of teachers, where only 52% support their right to strike (40% think they should not), and while it is not on the cards at present, a majority oppose doctors or nurses having the right to strike. In this context we’re not talking about the right to strike, but it may be a pointer as to whether the public may be less sympathetic to some occupations than others.


358 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 36, LAB 42, LD 9”

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  1. Lord T
    Again your example of a local authority scheme mentions employee contributions of 3% This is just below the civil sevice contribution of c3.5% for an unfunded and essentially non-contibutory scheme (the 3.5% is to pay for additional demands for dependants brought in by legal case law). In fact for funded local authority schemes the figure would be about 9% I think. The level of employer contribution has gone up and should give concern but top-ups which some English authorities have made and have received much publicity will be caused by the out-sourcing of services with consequent loss to the fund of anticipated future income

  2. @SoCalLiberal

    No probs: I can’t speak so much for the Fed, ‘cos I’m too busy looking at BOE & ECB from between my fingers, behind the sofa, and trying not to wince… :-(

    @Amber

    I used the wrong words: by “government” I didn’t mean “the group of less than 100 people that constitute the current Greek Cabinet and Prime Minister”, I meant “the thousands of police, judges, civil servants, prison officers, solidiers, tax inspectors, etc that administer the Greek State”.

    Let’s go thru it step-by-step.

    Even a small-state advocate like me acknowledges that you can’t have a zero-size State. So you need judges, prison officers, police, customs, army etc to enforce the will of the State. But those people have to be paid. So you also need taxgatherers to collect money from the people and bondsalesmen to collect money from the markets. Then you can pay the civil servants, they do State-ey things, and – hey presto – you have a State. So far, so unremarkable: an everyday story of Governmental folk.

    But what happens if you can’t raise the money? What happens if you can’t raise tax from the people, and can’t sell bonds to the market? When this happens, civil servants go unpaid, law and borders stop being enforced, criminality grows exponentially, the State ceases to function as a State.

    And this is the position Greece finds itself in. It can’t sell bonds because nobody wants them, and it can’t collect taxes because of corruption and underpaid civil servants. The EU/IMF “loans” aren’t “money”, they’re “loan guarantees” that enable Greece to sell bonds and so pay its civil servants. If it defaults (can’t pay interest to bondholders or EU/IMF), then it can’t sell bonds. If it can’t sell bonds, it can’t pay its civil servants. If it can’t pay its civil servants, it can’t enforce its will. If it can’t enforce its will, then the State has collapsed – a government that can’t govern isn’t a government.

    So soon after Greece announces it can’t pay the interest (the “default”), the Greek State will effectively cease to exist. It’ll still be there, there’ll be a big house, Important People will speechify, it’ll still take part in Eurovision, but it’ll be a Potemkin State – orders will be given, but nothing will be done…

    This has happened before: arguably, this is what happened in Yeltsin’s Russia – which why we have Putin’s Russia now. And bear in mind, it wasn’t that long ago that Greece was a military dictatorship… :-( So everybody’s kinda scared…

    Please don’t think I like this – I *strongly* object to the socialisation of private losses. But I’m not in charge… :-(

    Regards, Martyn

    PS Oh, if you think Greece resurrecting the Drachma is a cure, bear in mind the bonds it’s already sold have interest payments denominated in Euros. And if it can’t pay those interest payments…well, you know how this ends

    Now if you’ll to excuse me, I have to watch “Kung Fu Panda”…:-)

  3. “So soon after Greece announces it can’t pay the interest (the “default”), the Greek State will effectively cease to exist.”

    The British state defaulted on it’s loans from the USA in the 1930’s. And still continued to be a state. Of course that was a sign that empire was ending.

    But nevertheless, there was still a state.

    And didn’t Argentina default on it’s debts in the 1990’s? It sill remained a state.

    It’s a state as long as the citizens think it is a state.

    Russia is an exception for many many reasons.

  4. @barney crockett
    The whole problem with defined benefit schemes is the complete uncertainty from an employers viewpoint regarding funding. I am not specifying civil service or local govt schemes when I say this, but funding up to 19 or 20% are not uncommon when investment returns are poor.
    Obviously, the Tory point of view about all this is as follows, Regional Director of Megabank needs his pension topping up, it comes out of their profits, senior civil servant needs topping up, its down to Joe Bloggs, and Jock McBride. Of course some would say Mr Bloggs & Mr McBride have had to cough up for Megabank also, but we trust that was a one off matter. The funding of pensions beyond the dreams of ordinary people just go on getting funded by ordinary people.

  5. Apparently there’s going to be a ComRes poll out tonight for Ind/Mirror with ‘interesting’ (they would say that) results for Ed M, Nick Clegg and the NHS.

    My guess- Lower approval for Ed M, possible historical low approval for Clegg and people saying they want NHS reforms but not these reforms.
    That’s what other recent polls have shown IIRC and that’s what I could see would be ‘interesting’.
    Guess we’ll see tonight/tomorrow.

  6. @Izzy

    Good point: I assume you’re right in your counter-examples (and may be right in your general thrust – default doesn’t destroy the state). But it does raise the question of how to run a state, and what level of damage it can absorb before the state effectively disappears. If the Greek state can’t sell bonds, can’t raise tax, can’t print money, can’t pay its civil servants…does it still exist? If if defaults…what will it pay its civil servants with? Cowrie shells? Hugs? Sarcasm aside, it’s a genuine question and Greece may have to come up with an answer, albeit involuntarily.

    Regards, Martyn

  7. Alexander might be in the dog house regarding pension reforms. The Guardian is reporting that “the Treasury has backtracks on pension reform plans”.

  8. colin @ AMBER

    “I feel sure that the NHS managers who negotiated it will have covered the matter of equipment & facilities to their own satisfaction & that the whole deal provides better value & better service………….otherwise they wouldn’t have done it .”

    If it was on someone’s PRP to progress the deal to completion, the figures would have been fiddled to suit.

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