YouGov’s voting intention figures for the Sunday Times this morning are CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%, so pretty much stable. On the regular trackers, leader approvals are Cameron minus 4 (from minus 6 a week ago), Clegg minus 46 (from minus 49 a week ago), and Miliband minus 32% (down from minus 23 a week ago, and easily his worst ratings so far).

There is also negative news for Ed Balls on the question of who would make the better Chancellor. YouGov first asked the question straight after Balls’ appointment, and found him neck and neck with George Osborne, 27% a piece. Osborne now leads Balls by 29% to 22% (48% of people said they don’t know). The poll would have been only just after Balls’ speech calling for a VAT cut… but I wouldn’t necessarily expect most people to notice a speech by the shadow chancellor anyway, such is the nature of opposition. More generally YouGov asked whether or not the last Labour government spent money wisely – 27% thought it did, 56% that it did not.

On the subject of the economy, 55% of people said they thought the worst was still to come for the financial crisis and the effect on the economy, with only 22% disagreeing. 37% of people think the government is managing the economy well, 53% badly (slightly up from last week, when it was 35% well, 58% badly). Overall the “feel good factor” stands at minus 48, with 10% expecting things to get better for them over the next 12 months, 58% to get worse.

Most interestingly though we have some questions on the public sector strikes and pensions (though sadly not any direct questions on whether people would support or oppose strike action on cuts, or by teachers. I’m sure some will turn up soon!).

In terms of strikes, a majority of people continue to think teachers should have the right to strike, but don’t think doctors or the police should. On the whole people do have sympathy with the idea that there should be a turnout on strike ballots – only 24% think a strike should be allowed on a simple majority, 7% that there should be a relatively lax 25 percent turnout threshold, 24% a fifty percent turnout threshold, 24% an exacting seventy-five percent threshhold. 11% simply disagree with the right to strike altogether.

Turning specifically to the issue of public sector pensions, 38% of people think that public sector pensions are too generous, 14% not generous enough, 25% about right. This means people are evenly split between thinking public sector pensions are too generous, or about right/not enough, and indeed when people are asked if they support the recommendations in the Hutton report there is a broadly even split, with only slightly more opposing than supporting – 38% support them, 43% oppose.

The YouGov tables also have cross-breaks by public/private sector workers and by whether people are trade union members. These are interesting in themselves. To start with the caveat, these are cross-breaks, the poll is weighted to be representative overall, not necessarily of trade unionists or public sector workers – it can only be indictative of those sub-groups. That out of the way, Trade Union members are, as one might expect, overwhelmingly Labour supporters – Con 15%, Lab 68%, LD 4%. Public sector workers are also more Labour than people in the private sector, but the contrast is not as large as think some people imagine – Labour lead by 11 points amongst public sector workers, compared to 2 points amongst private sector workers.

Turning to the pension questions, public sector workers are unsurprisingly less likely to think that public sector pensions are too generous (though 18% do!), and only 21% support the Hutton Report’s recommendations, with 66% opposed. Amongst private sector workers 46% support Hutton’s recommendations, 33% are opposed. It’s worth remembering that people’s opinions are not entirely selfish. While clearly self-interested, there are people who support policies that may be detrimental to their own interests, and people who oppose policies even though they personally benefit from them.


100 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 37, LAB 42, LD 10”

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  1. @ Crossbat
    “It’s true that there are similar antagonisms between Labour and the Lib Dems, particularly in Northern marginals, but there is more common ground between the two parties, certainly amongst members, party workers and voters.”

    I agree with what you say, but would emphasise that the antagonism between Libs & Lab in the north, if Manchester is anything to go by, is venemous, In the recent elections the Lib-Dems continued their 30-year old strategy of castigating the Labour Council bui it didn’t wash. They need a new strategy but given what is coming out of London it’s hard to see what that might be.

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  2. @ Pete B

    “There’s something to that theory too. Not only are there far more media outlets than years ago, but there is also less respect shown by them. It is quite an eye-opener to see old videos of political interviews.

    The saturation coverage that makes us see all politicians’ foibles, also makes us think that there are more natural disasters than there used to be. There aren’t really, we just hear about more of them.”

    I find the British news media to be shocking in their coverage of politicians. You watch interviews and you see this extreme level of disrespect, rudeness, and partisan attacks by journalists. I have many complaints about U.S. journalists (a LOT of complaints) but one thing they do seem to have going for them is that they show some level of respect to politicians and some deference to their answers (you know like letting elected officials answer a question before asking another one). That’s not to say that they don’t ask difficult and probing questions and insist on answers (well the good ones anyway) but it’s not done in the Jeremy Paxman manner.

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  3. @ Crossbat11

    “I don’t know about the Mary Whitehouse thing, but the antipathies are natural ones, arising from different political traditions and views. It may seem difficult to believe now, especially when you see the current Lib Dem leader nodding like an obedient dog alongside Cameron at PMQs, but the two parties have a history of fighting like cat and dog at local level and these battles, and the antipathy and distrust they obviously generate, lead to deep antagonisms. In the South West of England, outside the urban concentrations, it’s a straight Tory v Lib Dem fight and both parties have indulged in some pretty brutal bare-knuckle fighting over the years. It’s true that there are similar antagonisms between Labour and the Lib Dems, particularly in Northern marginals, but there is more common ground between the two parties, certainly amongst members, party workers and voters.

    I never thought I would see a coalition between the Conservatives and Lib Dems in Westminster and the fact that one has materialised has gone a long way to enfeebling, probably terminally, a once vibrant and left leaning political party. They have been grievously betrayed by a craven leadership and used ruthlessly by their senior coalition partners who, I suspect, still rather despise them.”

    I don’t think they’ve been permanently enfeebled though they may be temporarily. I don’t think their leadership was craven to go into a Coalition, just being resasonable. And frankly, I don’t think Labour should complain too much since Labour has been the biggest benefactor of the Coalition. It’s the best of all worlds. The Tories are pretty much in control so Labour can blast away at the Tory government and their decisions. Because it’s a majority and not a minority government, Labour doesn’t have to be accountable for votes taken and Cameron doesn’t get credit for being a leader who steers the right way. Meanwhile for those dissatisfied with the government, Labour benefits by being the only opposition party. Oh and as we see, all the left leaning Lib Dems have abandoned the party (mostly in favor of Labour). The old adage for GOTV that John Prescott (and presumably other Labour leaders) used was if you vote for other parties instead of Labour, you get a Tory government. That adage is now completely true and that much more effective.

    So what does Labour have to complain about? They should have sent Clegg heart shaped boxes of Prestat chocolates for Valentine’s Day. This Coalition is like the best thing to happen to Labour politically since Tony Blair became your leader in 1994.

    As far as the dislike between the two parties, it is surprising because they’re supposed to be a middle ground ideologically between Labour and the Conservatives. Yet, in terms of animosity, I always imagined that the differences were cultural and perhaps social where Tories were traditionalists and Liberals were the radicals. Wasn’t it a Tory government that banned the song Monster Mash for 10 years? And isn’t it David Cameron who thinks the government needs to be involved in picking out what kind of clothing kids should wear? Radicals and believers in individual freedom probably don’t go for that sort of thing (or those who believe in Constitutional rights).

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  4. @ Crossbat11

    I brought up Mary Whitehouse because the woman seems like she was just a Republican. She believed in enforcing her own abhorent beliefs and views on the rest of society and believed it was justified by god. I would guess that there are more people like that in the U.S. than in the UK. But the difference is, we have a Constitution and a court system that can protect citizens from people like that (admittedly, not always). Without a constitution and without free speech and without an independent judicial branch, you would have to rely on politicians and political parties to protect citizens. So if the Lib Dems are the political party that believes in protecting individual freedom, I could imagine there would be animosity between them and those who believe in restricting individual freedoms.

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  5. @ Billy Bob

    “Brown’s little catchphrase “this is no time for a novice” perhaps?

    His last contribution in the leaders debate was ” … these two [Cameron and Clegg] are not ready for government.

    My own feeling immediately after the GE was that it would have been better for GB not to stand down (though I understand the reasons) partly as at the time, an October election seemed to be a real possibility.

    The prospect of Cameron slinging “Labour’s mess” taunts in his face across the dispatch box, (and the reponse) would have been something to behold.

    We now have party leaders, a chancellor etc all barely into their forties, whereas imo Barack Obama (49 going on 50) just about qualifies in terms life expirience for the top job.

    Although I find myself agreeing with Rob Sheffield on a good many things, his notion that in the unlikely event of Labour deciding to change leader, they should skip another generation and choose their leader fron the 2010 intake would be stretching things too far.”

    I think it’s not so much about age but about acting and playing the part. If there are a significant number of voters out there who look at Cameron and Clegg as amateur hour, I don’t think Ed Miliband inspires confidence of that strong, steady, reliable hand to lead.

    I’m not sure Brown could stomach standing at the dispatch box looking at Cameron as PM.

    I think skipping to your most recently elected MPs is a bad idea. Politicians need time to season and mature and gain some knowledge before they can lead a party. It’s great to have fresh faces but you can’t rush people to leadership. Also, I think the obsession with Chuka Ummuna is kinda silly. Every party (well those on the left) is looking for their Barack Obama these days. It’s a faulty plan. You just can’t imitate Obama,
    sell yourself as like him, and hope the electorate follows. Those who do that tend to do very poorly in elections. It’s phony, it’s silly, and it turns off voters. It also fails because those looking to be their country’s Obama demonstrate their complete lack of understanding as to why and how Obama won.

    The one exception to this rule may be Kamala Harris who’s often described as the “female Obama.” But she doesn’t give herself that title or promote herself as being like Obama. And electorally and even politically, she’s been fairly different from him.

    I should note that when Obama was elected, he’d been elected office for 12 years. No, he hadn’t been in the Senate that long and his inexperience has hurt him in office. But he had had time to mature politically. Also, he seems fairly unique in his ability to adapt and face adversity.

    You have some great new MPs including those elected in special elections this year. Stella Creasy, Heidi Alexander, Dan Jarvis, Chuka Umunna, Alison McGovern, Tristam Hunt, John Woodcock (kinda), Alison McGovern (kinda), Gemma Doyle (maybe), etc. But you can’t just put them in charge right away, they need time to season and develop politically.

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  6. @ Billy Bob

    “We now have party leaders, a chancellor etc all barely into their forties, whereas imo Barack Obama (49 going on 50) just about qualifies in terms life expirience for the top job.”

    Imo, Jim Murphy is probably the best potential Labour leader available. Of any of your MPs, he has the most Obamaesque and Clintonesque qualities but he’s not faking them or trying to come off that way, he just naturally has those qualities. Labour has to figure out what its economic vision is going to be. But that’s not the job of a leader, the job of the leader is to be able to take the vision and effectively communicate it to the policy in good soundbite form. I think Murphy could do that far more effectively than either Miliband or Ed Balls or any of the others even if he couldn’t come up with it himself. Of course he’s only 43 but I’ve seen him in a few of the Scottish Questions debates and a few in his role as shadow defense secretary and he comes off as far more steady than Miliband does at PMQs.

    However, Amber tells me the unions would never go for it. I think Amber’s assessment is probably far more accurate than mine.

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  7. OldNat,

    – “It amazed me that the UKLDs were so daft as to go for a referendum on AV for Westminster (which they didn’t want anyway) instead of STV for local elections in England – where there isn’t an “SNP equivalent” for them to lose to.”

    Indeed.

    The few days of the coalition negotiations, post UK GE 2010, struck me at the time as simply surreal. And I just could not fathom why the Lib Dems were so pleased with themselves at “extracting” the AV Referendum from the Tory side, as AV was not something any Lib Dem wanted. Surely they should have at least “extracted” something meaningful that they really really wanted?

    We will look back on those days as one of those very rare things: a true “turning point”.

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  8. Looks like some in Europe have woken up to the fact that Greece has to default. Osborne will be put into a very awkward position by his own right wing if he accedes to the new bailout and contributes towards this, when it’s patently clear that Greece couldn’t be bailed out in the first place and that the only reason for doing so was to protect the Euro and the political reputations of those who said it was the best things since sliced bread. The previous bailout has only meant Greece now owes more money and it done nothing to solve the problems.

    Default can either happen in a staged, supported manner, or it can just happen in an unregulated panic. The longer they dither, the greater the chances of the latter, and the greater the chance of major banking system contagion.

    Italy has been put on a ratings watch by Moody’s over fears of slow growth and inability to service debt. OK – the rating’s agencies have been proved to be serially clueless, but these things still have a market effect.

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  9. Colin
    I had a look at electoral calculus on D Alexander and he is predicted to be third which is the pattern for most LD incumbants across Scotland with the exception of C Kennedy. There is also an expectation of 40+ lost deposits.
    Bearing in mind Old Nats comments on STV in Scotland, it is perhaps surprising that the Lib Dems knew the main beneficiaries of change would be the SNP, FPTP serving the Lib Dems well in Scotland. The belief presumably was that the SNP would undermine Labour dominance in areas they did not challenge and povide allies with whom to share power locally. Such indeed was the case with Labour losing 500 councillors and Lib Dem/SNP coalitions becoming the most common shape of administrations in Scotland.
    What has then happened however is that regardless of the maths, the SNP have dominated these coalitions whilst escaping blame for unpopular decisions laying the blame at the Lib Dem door. A by election in my own city on Thursday will provide evidence for this. Local elections like all other Scottish elections have threatened to become 2 party affairs and the coming local elections in May will have a strange outcome for proportional elections in that whichever of Labour or SNP receives the most votes will get a very dis-proportionate share of the seats.
    This is because with most seats decided in 3 seat wards, the winning party will take a host of two seat wins.

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  10. This is interesting; h ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/8585598/UK-household-finances-suffer-steepest-decline-since-recession-as-more-borrow-to-pay-bills.html

    The apparent significant worsening in household finances is in line with general economic data but appears diammetrically opposed to two recent surveys showing a sharp increase in consumer confidence – measures that are often taken to be the harbingers of VI poll shifts.

    As the article points out, this survey also tends to support the notion put forward by the OBR (and criticised by many others) that households would go into deeper debt to maintain living standards.

    Those consumer confidence numbers stand out even more now and it raises an important question as to what is actually going on in the minds of shoppers.

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  11. It seems to me totally unfair to impose further austerity measures upon the citizens of Greece, Ireland, Portugal etc

    The pain needs to be spread and it is the well off/ comfortably off that nneed to bear the burden. We in the UK need to quit the blame the poor, divide and rule politics and encourage the EC to put their heads together, impose rigid controls on the banks centrally and plan growth for the whole of Europe.

    Enough self interest. If you try to make certain countries take all the pain, watch the whole house of cards collapse.

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  12. A Cairns

    Thanks for the URL on the previous thread.

    After nearly 30 years in a community where strong Authoritarian Followers (as Bob Altemeyer has called them) were in the Free Church, the Free Presbyterian Church and at least two smaller recent splits, I can understand were this writer is coming from.

    The far left’s focus on class is a matter of faith. The Beckhams have a spare shilling or two which is no doubt managed by some fund manager on a seven figure income. To describe such people as “Upper Class” when culturally they are anything but, is unhelpful.

    Old money are able to benefit too, but they are not the drivers of inequality, merely the beneficiaries.

    Considering the scale of disruption resulting from the speculation of the financial sector rangning from cuts in local government services to the possible failure of the Euro, one would think that somewhere on the left there would be a solution gathering increasing support. The far left prefer to seek comfort in their sacred texts, argue among themselves about purity of faith, and await the second coming of the prophet.

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  13. Nick Poole

    “We in the UK need to ….encourage the EC to put their heads together, impose rigid controls on the banks centrally and plan growth for the whole of Europe.”

    You’re surely not suggesting that national Governments should be influenced by the self interested demands of the people who elected them and interfere with the free market?

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  14. It’s religious faith that is the problem isn’t it?

    Both the impotence of the fundamentalist left and the failure of capitalism are the result of applying the precepts of a dogmatic faith while ignoring problems of practical application and the new problems caused by unimaginative application of the tenets of the faith.

    The answer to any criticism is always to bleed the patient more.

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  15. John B Dick

    It certainly appears that we have a failure of ideas AND a ludicrous clinging to out-dated and disproved ones.

    On both sides.

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  16. It seems to me to be totally fair to inflict further austerity measures on the likes of Greece & the rest of the’PIGS’. They have happily lived the high life for years, spent more than they have earned, retired on pensions that cannot be afforded & in Greece’s case, claimed salaries for jobs they didn’t even do.

    HELLO, wake up and smell the coffee. If you want some benefits, then put in some work first. The idea that the German/French/UK people’s should forever be bailing out the free loaders, has to stop. Germany has become the rich country it has, after being brought to it’s knees by Hitler, through hard work. The people of Greece et al, should note that and do something about it, rather than expecting to be bailed out yet again because they refuse buckle down and take their medicine. They should be released from the Euro, then they can devalue & go back to ‘banana republic’ status.

    The initial mistake was not tstrictly o enforce the rules of Maastrict on ALL member states from day one. If we had, then we might not be in the current predicament.

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  17. Robert Newark

    That’s a tempting approach but it probably means we all go down the pan as banks collapse as payments are not met.

    Deals need to be done and the pain spread.

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  18. @Alec

    “Italy has been put on a ratings watch by Moody’s over fears of slow growth and inability to service debt. OK – the rating’s agencies have been proved to be serially clueless, but these things still have a market effect”

    Italy is going to be an interesting country to watch over the next few months. Berlusconi’s spatchcocked centre right coalition is finally starting to unravel and it would appear that his far right partners, the Northern League, are urging him to make tax cuts to regain lost popularity. He’s so weakened that he might be prepared to cede to their desperate advice, thereby plunging his country into a likely sovereign debt crisis.

    If one of the Europe’s major states and economies joins Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal in the economic ordure, where does all this end? Are there wobbling dominoes, started by the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008, still to fall some three years later.

    Or was it all Gordon Brown’s fault, after all? lol.

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  19. N Poole/ J B Dick
    Left solution?
    G Brown mapped this out at the G20 and elsewhere. If only he were still….
    R Newark
    That is a fair summation of the views of the German electorate but in fairness we should also remember that the huge German export boom has been fueled by the weak Euro which is only made possible by inclusion of the weaker southern economies (and Ireland). Part of the deal was meant to be German support for those weaker economies but this was never explained to the German people and if it had been explained they would probably have rejected the Euro.
    One political warning for the UK is that serious instability in Greece will probably see large numbers come to the UK. In examining the options for squeezed small nations, bond dealers are becoming aware of the possibility of populations just moving. Already large proportions of Greeks, Portuguese and Irish live abroad

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  20. Well, it seems that we must wait until tommorow’s vote of confidence in the greek government before we can start to breathe a sigh of relief, then we worry about the 2nd bailout, then as above wonder about Italy and Ireland.

    It just seems that all this uncertainty is going to seriously dampen any hopes of confidence-related growth, that thing that Conservatives need to get a OM next time, unless Ed Miliband fluffs it (that’s entirely possible). Stand by for some Ed Balls “comments” if the economy stays flat for much longer.

    Gordon Brown must be glad he didn’t win.

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  21. BTW
    I don’t think Spain and Italy are as near the brink as the stats would indicate. Put bluntly there is still a lot they can do if they need to.
    There is nothing Greece can do to avoid crashing. They can only demonstrate good will. Someone on the radio said that to pay off their debt through economic growth, they would need to have 25 years of Chinese growth rates.
    There is not much more the Irish people can do. If pressure on the population was increased further they would just come to the UK. Portugal will be put under more pressure but if it gets much worse the people will do the same.

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  22. KeithP
    G Brown isn’t like you or me. He would be in his element if he was in power.

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  23. Before I retired I worked for a UK company with a German parent. I can indeed confirm that the whole enlargement thing was never explained to the German people, who were, in fact, just as Euro sceptic as the UK. The problem in Germany was (is?) that all the media was in favour, so there never was any balanced discussion. There was no Bill Cash or Nigel Farage to argue the case for the other side and of course there is no tabloid ‘populist’ press.

    No, whilst I never liked GB, this can’t be blamed on him. At least he kept us out of the Euro, when AB would have had us enter. If only GB had not fallen out with boring Prudence in 2001, then he might have more of a positive legacy. Getting in to bed with Profligacy gave him all the thrills at the time, but eventually she proved his undoing. A financial version of footballers wives really, with access to a super injunction to hush it up!

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  24. My last sentence should have read, ” without access to a super injunction to hush it up”.

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  25. @Robert Newark – while you have a point about the PIGS needing to face up to their responsibilities and accept the bad times as well as the good, it really is far more complex than this.

    The point has already been made with regard to German exports – the northern European economies have also done very well out of the Euro themselves, largely by swamping the PIGS countries with exports as there was no currency flexibility to encourage import substitution and the development of the poorer economies. Essentially, this arrangement suited everyone – for a while – but now you say that only the Greeks should pay.

    Secondly, there is a strong case to show that ordinary Greek voters were kept largely in ignorance by their various governments, and by the EU and ECB who all shut their eyes to the clearly deficient rule breaches. Similarly, the failure to effectively police the Mastricht criteria as also previously mentioned puts other countries (notably France and the UK) partially in the dock also.

    Finally, you then have the issue over who lent the money. Why did financial companies take risks with an economy they knew to be falsely reporting income and spending? It was common knowledge if you cared to read the finance pages of the UK broadsheets, so why did international banks persist in lending them money by bond purchases and should they not also take some responsibility for the losses? They also charged higher rates to reflect the risk. You could argue that they have already been paid to accept the risk levels, but now want full repayment of the capital as well. This is an exact parralel for an insurance company taking insurance premiums from you but then refusing to honour a valid claim when your house falls down.

    In fact, the only reason they continued to lend was very, very simple – they assumed that when the Greek economy went pear shaped, taxpayers from other, wealthier countries would bail them out. Without question much of the lending was irresponsible and, in my view, if you make poor and irresponsible decisions in business you need to shoulder your share of the fallout.

    This last point is the central issue facing western democracies now as we wrestle with debts, public service cuts and calls for more private management of public services. Market based economics only works when failure is allowed to happen, but when markets get involved in areas where failure cannot be allowed to happen, we see the situation where the profit is privatised and the losses socialised.

    This issue is the single biggest issue we need to resolve to prevent the complete undermining of democracy by business, and making the Greeks pay for everything is not going to provide us with the answers we need I’m afraid.

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  26. Deutschmark, Deutschmark über alles, über alles in der Welt.

    The original was about the overarching importance of the larger union compared with the narrow interests of the component states too.

    Isn’t it remarkable that Germany has survived while failing to recognise the superior effectiveness of the Anglo American model of capitalism and labour “flexibility” that we used to lecture them about a few years ago, and they have not have had the advantage of the London financial sector either.

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  27. Alec

    Democratically elected governments can envisage no alternative to enforcing sacrifices on their voters to appease the false God of the market.

    They sometimes focus on constructing a regulatory regime, hamstrung by compromise with those to be regulated. This is in itself an additional unproductive cost, and the less that is spent on it, the less effective it is. Regulation is cranked up when disasters happen but there is no end to the potential for expansion of regulation, centalisation of standards, inspection reporting, incentives and audit.

    In the end, the result is much the same as the failed communist model: reliance on fraudulent data, suppression of critics and whistleblowers, a flourishing administrative superstructure, low productivity, poor morale and failure to meet the original objectives.

    We need to break the power of the priesthood of capitalism. Their counterparts on the left (as exemplified by the URL sent to me on the previous thread) are no threat, having been reduced to the point of ridicule.

    It just needs a critique of the Emperor’s new clothes.

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  28. There’s talk beginning to start in campuses, schools etc that 30 June is going to be a big day of action.

    The argument seems to be changing from “we don’t like your attack on our terms and conditions” to “we don’t like anything about the cuts agenda, and austerity, at all.”

    I think Labour are going to have a problem. How can they line up with the worker if they are promising more of the same?

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  29. So in Summary, Capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best model we have. (I think someone said that previously)

    Alec I agree that it’s not a simple solution and maybe a bank just has to be allowed to fail to send a message for the future.

    The banks have been here before of course, remember the billions that they lost lending to South America in the 1970’s? No body picked up the tab then, they had to write much of it off. On the other hand, is it not true that the borrower has as much responsibility as the lender? The Greeks (& others) have had their party, now they have to pay the bill. We are having to do it, why shouldn’t they?

    As for the corrupt reporting being well known, that is perfectly true & yes, I agree, the banks foolishly, still lent & they should therefore pay for that. But that still goes on. It will only stop when governments stop providing bail outs.

    As for the EU as an institution and the fact that, Greece leaving the Euro might somehow collapse it, well it is well known that the EU is corrupt from top to bottom & that the accounts have not be signed off for over a decade. (Yet what happened to the whistleblower? She was sacked by one Neil Kinnock, when she should have been promoted.) So, let the EU collapse as well & northern Europe can return to a European Free Trade Area (EFTA), (which is where it would have stopped had not one E. Heath not lied about his intentions in 1970).

    The worlds problems are always caused either by Religion, or by meddling politicians, with delusions of self grandeur. In the grand scheme of things, there is probably little we can do about either.

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  30. I don’t doubt that there will be lots on the marches on 30th June. I also don’t doubt that there will be little sympathy from the workers in the private sector, who have already had their jobs & pensions cut & also have had little or no payrise & so are already feeling the squeeze.

    If the unions are picking a fight on the revised terms suggested by Nick Poole, then they are on a hiding to nothing and the coalition, which has a large majority, even if Labour backed the unions (which they won’t) will relish the opportunity to put them in their place.

    There is something ironic about teachers going on strike just before they go on their lengthy summer hols. You would have thought that they would have taken a lesson from Mr Scargill on the effective timings of strikes!

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  31. @ Robert Newark

    “So in Summary, Capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best model we have. (I think someone said that previously)”

    I would agree.

    @ Alec

    “This issue is the single biggest issue we need to resolve to prevent the complete undermining of democracy by business, and making the Greeks pay for everything is not going to provide us with the answers we need I’m afraid.”

    Also agree with this.

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  32. I’m not entirely sure, Robert.

    People can see what’s going on in the streets elsewhere in the road and the Governments in Syria blaming everybody but themselves. They may not make a direct connection but they will know they are being asked to support some protests somewhere in the world and condemn binmen and librarians and school teachers.

    i don’t think the polling supports your view that the overwhelming majority thinks the public sector have it too good.

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  33. @SoCalLiberal

    Thanks for your reply to my post yesterday.

    One to add to your list of the 2010 intake… Rachel Reeves, an ex-Bank of England and Washington embassy economist, here is one of her articles:

    h
    ttp://www.renewal.org.uk/articles/the-politics-of-the-deficit/

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  34. @ Billy Bob

    “Thanks for your reply to my post yesterday.

    One to add to your list of the 2010 intake… Rachel Reeves, an ex-Bank of England and Washington embassy economist, here is one of her articles:”

    You’re welcome. I will read the article in a bit. Debbie Abrahrams is talented too.

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  35. Nick Poole

    1) “talk on campus that things are going to be big on june 30″

    Not at my University there isn’t! Even the two fellow staff who are paid up AWL cadres are downbeat…..

    2) “labour have a problem…..how can they line up with the worker…”

    Well for a start they can join the 21st century and refer to people as ‘employees’!

    Ed B is right: this is a trap that both the soft and hard left are walking straight into.

    Time for the centre right of the party to speak out and back up Ed B.

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  36. That artice by RR…basically that should be Labour policy. Growth, growth, growth, spend on infrastructure and jobs, grow our way out of trouble.

    Time that Labour started driving the agenda instead of playing silly b*ggers arguing pro-Tory hogwash about immigration and welfare reduction.

    Growth and job creation.

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  37. SoCalLiberal @ Robert Newark

    “Capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best model”

    The part that works is small capitalism that is not too big to fail. In Tito’s day, the Yougoslav communists allowed small businesses to employ seven employees in addition to members of the owners family.

    Big enterprises, banks and railways, if they have to be taken over by the state when they fail should be ought out for £1.

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  38. Big enterprises, banks and railways, if they have to be taken over by the state when they fail should be ought out for £1.

    John B Dick

    Hmmm, I have sympathy with your motive but it’s a bit hard on the retired who have investments. Mind you, isn’t that exactly what Steven Byers did..Rob the old ladies & pension funds?
    What I would have more sympathy with, would be a root & branch examination of every penny earned by the Directors in the 5 years previous to being taken over/going bust. (I have MG Rover in mind)

    Nick, I think growth is a bit like inflation, you need a bit but not too much at once. I would rather have a steady 2%pa growth rather than 4% one year & none the next. And growing your way out of trouble can only come from the private sector with the creation of real jobs. There are obviously real jobs in the public sector but the creation of non jobs is a waste of time. Paying people to dig holes & paying others to fill them in does not work.

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  39. Robert Newark

    What about paying people to dig holes then filling them with the foundations for new schools and hospitals? And oddly although this is Public expenditure the people digging and building tend to work for private companies…

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  40. Rob Sheffield
    “Ed B is right: this is a trap that both the soft and hard left are walking straight into.”

    Am I being too Machiavellian when I wonder about Balls’ motives for this intervention? Could it be an attempt to undermine Ed Miliband because he became leader via Union votes?

    I foresee a period of plotting and internal turmoil for Labour which will ultimately have an effect on the polls. Putting my money where my mouth is, I expect this to come to a head during Labour’s next conference, tough i can’t predict a winner.

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  41. The Sheep
    That’s fine if the schools & hospitals are actually needed & can be afforded. It’s pointless building them just for the sake of it.

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  42. I agree, Ed Balls does seem to be taking a considered stance, however EB would only do anything that was right for EB so I also agree with Pete B’s comment and conclude that it is coincidental that he seems to be taking a considered approach. His real long term agenda is to have the crown. It’s GB v AB all over again.

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  43. Barney

    You are exactly right about 3 councillor wards producing very disproportionate results.

    Parties need to be pretty accurate in calculating how many seats they are likely to win, in order to judge how many candidates to put up in each ward to maximise the effectiveness of every vote.

    In wards like mine (semi rural, based around two small towns with a long history of rivalry) it becomes even more complicated as votes are just as likely to be transferred to another candidate from the same town as to a candidate of the same party!

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  44. “Paying people to dig holes & paying others to fill them in does not work.”
    How about employment subsidies for small businesses? (i.e a small subsidy for each employee they hire).
    So investment via redistribution to encourage employment in the private sector.

    Small and Medium size businesses employ (start of 2009 figures) 59.8% of all employees but have 49% of total turnover.
    Small businesses employ 48.2% of all employees but have 35.7% of total turnover.
    So you tax the large companies, that benefit from the economics of scale and give, in employment subsidies, to smaller companies.

    Encouraging competition (which promotes economic health), small so British businesses and employment (which obviously adds to economic stability and decreases crime, etc).

    So perhaps spending on jobs and focusing on growth isn’t always such a bad thing?

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  45. By comparison with the shrinking of the bloated & ineffective Greek public sector, the privatisation programme required by ECB/IMF hardly gets mentioned.

    The things which the Greek State owns are bizarre & instructive:-

    A stake in OPAP-Europes’s biggest gambling firm.
    10 percent of the state’s telecommunications company OTE .
    Prime seaside real estate owned by Hellinikon airport.
    DEPA-the state gas company.
    PPC-the utility power company.
    ATE Bank.
    Hellenic Horseracing.
    12 national ports includingPiraeus Port.
    National Rail company.
    National Lottery……………

    THe touted target sale proceeds of 50 BN Euros is thought to be pie in the sky-15 to 20 Bn Euros being considered nearer the mark. Greece’s private sector operates in large part in a Black Economy where tax revenues are uncertain. State businesses which rely on domestic consumption will not be attractive to foreign buyers.

    Greek public sector employment is 35% of total employment ( 24% in UK) . Its pay scales, jobs for life & pension entitlements are legendary.

    Greek workers are going on strike to stop the privatisation programme.

    Greece was accused of trying to cover up the extent of its massive budget deficit in the wake of the global financial crisis. This resulted from the massive revision of the 2009 budget deficit forecast by the new Socialist government elected in October 2009, from “6-8%” (estimated by the previous government) to 12.7% -later revised to 15.4%..

    Socialist rulers expanded the Greek public sector in the 1980s partly to bring leftist citizens back into the mainstream after decades of exclusion and repression by the right.

    THis is the Socialist State par excellence-it is what the far left in UK would have us move to.

    And it has to be dismantled if Greece wants a viable economy.

    But the solution being urged on Greece-austerity & a growth requirement which is totally unachievable is manifestly unfair.

    It was Amber who asked a while ago , why the lenders who are taking a huge risk premium in their returns on Greek Debt, are not being asked to bear that risk now that it has effectively chrystallised-Greece is bust & will never repay its debts as they stand.

    Robert Peston gave three reasons for this :-

    First, in Germany, it is politically more acceptable to provide rescue finance to Greece directly than to rescue German banks that foolishly bought Greek debt for its relatively high yield.

    Second, a Greek debt restructuring would be a severe blow to eurozone pride in the strength of the currency union.

    Third, a Greek haircut might be the thin end of a large wedge. If it created a precedent for haircuts in Portugal and Ireland, the losses for the eurozone’s banks would begin to look serious. .

    Peston went on to assert that whilst a haircut would be a disaster for Greece’s banks, (a 50% writedown of Greek sovereign debt would wipe out more than 70% of their equity capital.), in the context of all other banks involved, it would not neccessarily be terminal.

    But the pain would be felt most in Germany & France which is where the largest banking exposure to Greek debt lies.

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  46. New ICM/Guardian poll –
    Apologise if anybody’s posted it so far.

    Lab 39 (+2), Con 37 (+1), Others 12 (+1), LibDem 12 (-3)
    This is the lowest LibDem score since September 1997 for ICM (according to the press release-y article on the Guardian).
    Phone poll, sample size 1000, Dates 17-19 June.

    Also Cameron’s approval has apparently dropped (can’t find the figure) and Ed M’s approval has massively dropped.
    So this tallies with the same trend for all other (IIRC) polling companies.

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  47. TingedFringe

    Mike Smithson gives the approvals as

    “Only 28% of voters – and just 45% of Labour ones – think Ed is doing a good job. His net negative is -21, down 8 points since March. This is one point worse than Clegg’s and 16 points worse than Cameron’s. “

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  48. Very interesting ICM poll.

    It seems as though the EdM decline continues apace but that DC also has been dropping. Something that does not square with the ‘zero sum game’ explanation of leaders ratings proposed by some posters on here the weekend before last…..

    But by far the most significant element of this and other recent polls is the tanking the Lib Dems are taking.

    Surely the only valid explanation is that there has been no “NHS premium” for them. Far from it- the voters are not convinced and so they are not reaping any reward. I wonder also whether Huhnes SDP speech attacking those ideological Tories” at weekend has led to a small centre-right leech to DC?

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  49. “His net negative is -21, down 8 points since March. This is one point worse than Clegg’s ”

    Worse than the very man who he is trying to portray as a busted flush-how ironic is that ?

    The question is -can he improve & if so by what means ?

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  50. The problem is that Ed M comes across as being a bit of a geek, without much of a sense of humour. People do go on impressions and Ed is just not doing a good job of presenting himself. He should go around the country and talk to ordinary people, not selected Labour party or think tank events. He almost needs to become the anti politicians politician, where he speaks about ordinary peoples concerns. When he can’t make a pledge, he should be straight with people and explain the issues which might prevent him adopting a particular policy.

    I suppose in some ways, he needs to be opposite to Cameron, who was and still is all about the PR and not substance. I cannot remember a PM who lacked knowledge of their own governments policies as much as Cameron. I am suprised that Cameron ratings are not lower, but then perhaps people are seduced by the PR.

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