The latest monthly Ipsos MORI political monitor for Reuters is out, and ha topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 39%(-3), LDEM 11(+1). Changes are since the last MORI poll in May.

On leader ratings there is once again a drop for Ed Miliband, following the pattern we’ve seen from other pollsters in the past few weeks. Miliband’s net approval stands at minus 14 (34% satisfied, 48% dissatisfied), down 6 from a month ago (the reason he gets a higher rating here than some other leader trackers is probably because the wording is “satisfied”, rather than “good job” or “doing well”. Only 9% of Conservative voters tell YouGov Miliband is doing well, but 25% of Conservative voters tell MORI they are satisfied with the way Miliband was doing his job. I suspect they don’t all mean that in a complimentary way…)

MORI found people evenly split on whether or not they supported public sector strikes against job cuts, pay levels and pension reductions – 48% said they did, 48% said they did not. they also repeated a question they’ve asked in the past about whether trade unions have too much power – 35% of people agreed, higher than when last asked in 1995 when it was only 24%, but much lower than the 75% who agreed in 1975. 76% agreed that trade unions were essential to protect workers’ interests, little changed from 1995 or 1975.

Full tabs are here.


118 Responses to “Ipsos MORI – CON 37, LAB 39, LDEM 11”

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  1. The interesting divide between YG and the other pollsters continues…

    On the “Trade Unions have too much power” point, I imagine people view “too much power” as being the ability to wield control over the policies of the elected government. That was certainly far more of an issue in the 1970s than it is now. The Unions in 2011 have the power to seriously inconvenience people but I don’t think very many people on either side genuinely think they have the ability to control the country any more.

  2. Neil A – as far as I can tell the difference is mostly due to YouGov’s figures not being weighted or filtered by likelihood to vote (in the particular case of MORI it isn’t, but that’s but a single data point!)

    I should do a proper post on house effects (the party differences produced by different pollsters different methods) at some point, it’s been too long.

  3. These figures challenge the presumption that the public will all be anti-public sector, anti-strike and anti-union.

    Split down the middle with a leaning towards the worker, I’d say.

    Of course that could all change if voters are actually inconvenienced by strikes. But as it stands, all to play for.

  4. It does appear YouGov are out on a limb compared to the other serious pollsters, and indeed the local election results.

  5. Paul Johnson (IFS) saying that Cameron wiil contine to “… balk[ing] at the consequences of the cuts” [at least where those affected have a loud voice]:

    h
    ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8593383/David-Cameron-may-have-to-rethink-radical-cuts-says-forecaster.html

    One economist on R4 Today was saying better for the Treasury to benefit (rather than those on the electoral roll) from bank sell offs – because the resulting revenue “would halve the defecit”.

  6. @Sergio

    Well, last election, everyone very slightly under-estimated Labour. With even the best performing firms under-estimating by at least 0.2 percentage points that meant they rounded down to 29 when they got 29.7. (Someone getting it right would have reported 30% with rounding.)

    Last day reputable polling ranged 27-29 for Labour, 34-37 for Conservative. The range is around the normally quoted 3% sample error margin, which suggests the average offset was the error between what was being polled and actual voter intent.

    Of course, we can’t say that the same offsets will occur this time, they probably wont. Nor can we say that the polling firm closest to the last result is going to be right this time either.

  7. @JB

    Well, I don’t disagree. I would suggest that if there were a GE today the numbers would probably be 37-39.5-10, as suggested by the UKPR average. Not 36-42-8 as we hear from YouGov every night.

    As I also always say, there won’t be a GE today so it’s all idle speculation anyway, even if it is mildly fun in a pub conversation sort of way..

  8. Sergio – ” …and indeed the local election results.”

    YouGov did do an eve-of-poll question asking about voting intention in the local council elections (tabs here), and had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15% (pretty much the same as the BBC projected national share, but slightly off the Rallings & Thrasher National Equivalent Vote).

    Comparing local election vote shares with polls of Westminster voting intention is silly – people vote differently in local elections, and more to the point, give pollsters different answers if you ask about different elections. It would be like judging accuracy of Scottish Parliamentary polling by looking at Scottish Westminster voting intentions, or comparing London’s Westminster voting intentions against the mayoral result, etc.

  9. @ Nick Poole

    There’s actually more support than opposition by the slightest fraction (3 responses), but the more interesting figures I think are where the main two’s party supporters are:

    Con: 21% sup. | 77% opp.
    Lab: 75% sup. | 21% opp.

    Suggests it’s an ideological divide rather than public-private that we’re led to believe.

  10. Craig

    Suggests it’s an ideological divide rather than public-private that we’re led to believe.

    Not necessarily so, if the actual support for each party itself reflects a private sector state sector divide, which I believe it does.

  11. Socal L
    Will it pass? Well anything the SNP now want will pass. Their MSPs strictly do as they are told. Critics have pointed to the pitfalls inherent in this type of legislation. However the leader may be delighted to spark off another argument focussed on the existence of the UK. SNP minister R Cunningham seemed to suggest in committee that singing the national anthem or Rule Britannia could be imprisonable in a football context.
    On the gay issue you raised earlier about the SNP, I’m afraid you were well wide of the mark.
    The SNP’s principal funder is most famous for his hostility to gay rights. He has spent over £1000000 on campaigns on this issue (as well as giving £1000000+ to the SNP). It would be very difficult for either Labour or Conservatives to take money from BS. There is a facebook campaign to disrupt his award of a knighthood which you can check for fun.
    Also check comments of Kenneth Gunn and also BYU at the Scottish Parliament.
    As you found yourself there is no rush to come out in the SNP.

  12. @Sergio

    It is important to remember that Coalitions can and do collapse, particularly when they a strained by fundamental policy differences and against a background of national problems. There continues to be a strong chance that there will be elections well before 2015, and I wouldn’t entirely rule out elections this year.

    If elections happen before the parliamentary reapportionment*, then even by the most Conservative leaning polling (ComRes) they still end up out of government because they won’t have enough seats to form a coalition while Labour will. While Labour could do with making DM more appealing to boost their figures, the DC has to pull his party out of a hole just to be returned to coalition government in a snap election.

    (*I think we should stop calling it ‘boundary changes’, since it’s not tweaking and adding/dropping a few seats, but total reapportionment.)

  13. @Henry

    There’s a private/public crossbreak as well, with private being roughly 60:40 in opposition and the public sector being closer to 70:30 in support.

    In the voting intention tables, Tory support is only 5% more than Labours amongst the private sector (Yougov’s Sunday Times crossbreak also shown more private sector voters for Labour than Tory) .

  14. @Barney

    One thing that could well bring down the SNP is if they become publicly associated with social-conservatism. So I’d expect them to be very very careful about that. But I could also see them having problems with rogue MSPs, egged on by Souter, pushing “Family Values” policy with anti-gay tones.

  15. Also, our employment would need to be 50:50 private-public if it were to correlate with the 48%-48%/ evenly divided finding.

  16. Craig – remember there are also lots of people who are neither private nor public sector (retired, students, unemployed, voluntary sector, etc)

  17. Indeed – although my point was there’s not an equal amount in both sectors, rather than they both take up everything.

  18. “One thing that could well bring down the SNP is if they become publicly associated with social-conservatism. ”

    It could also sustain their rise, depends how it’s played. There are different sides to this argument, and be careful about implying the ‘socially conservative’ side is in the wrong. NB Those who hail tolerance as their watchword are often very intolerant of other’s very sincerely-held views.

  19. “Comparing local election vote shares with polls of Westminster voting intention is silly – people vote differently in local elections, and more to the point, give pollsters different answers if you ask about different elections. It would be like judging accuracy of Scottish Parliamentary polling by looking at Scottish Westminster voting intentions, or comparing London’s Westminster voting intentions against the mayoral result, etc.”

    There is one important difference though. The Scottish Parliament election and London Mayor election are heavily influenced by what voters think about one single executive body. The local council elections can also be influenced by how voters think that their local council is doing, but with hundreds of local councils at stake the performance of individual councils is more likely to cancel out. Certainly prior to 2010 the projected national share of the main two parties went up and down with the Westminster opinion polls reasonably consistently.

    This is an important question: the Lib Dems got about 5% more votes on projected national share than the opinion polls said they should. Yes, the Lib Dems traditionally did well in local elections, but that was when they were an opposition party. So: is there still a factor in play favouring the Lib Dems in local elections, or have the pollsters got it wrong and underestimated a new “Lib Dem Shy Factor”?

  20. @BT

    Nope, going to have to say that any ‘socially conservative’ side of the argument that pushes back on Gay Rights is very firmly on the wrong side. Both in terms of being wrong, and also being out of step with the changing electorate.

    I strongly disagree that being ‘tolerant’ of Gay rights means we can’t say that people who preach intolerance are wrong. We could, and should, say that people who are wrong, are wrong.

  21. @Chris Neville Smith

    But the poll that Anthony linked to shown that the Local election poll didn’t underestimating the Lib Dems? They polled 15% – which is something they’ve not seen in VI for a very long time, and it’s not hard to believe considering there are areas around the UK which are more or less straight Tory-Liberal battles, something you don’t get in Westminster elections.

  22. underestimate*

  23. The trouble with using a local election VI poll as evidence of the polls’ accuracy is that – I suspect – comparing eve-of-election polls to mid-term polls is like comparing apples and oranges. The day before local elections, most people who are going to vote will have made up their mind who they are going to vote for. However, the question of who to vote for in a Westminster election is a far more hypothetical scenario and most people who state their voting intention will only have given a fraction of the thought they would have put into a real election. This gives shy factors for individual parties the more room to run riot, especially if it’s a situation pollsters previously haven’t had the chance to consider.

    In short – the weakness of the questions that begin “If there was a general election tomorrow” is that there isn’t a general election tomorrow. If there was, respondents would think more carefully, and that effect is harder to predict. And there’s not much pollsters can do about that, because it’s impossible to tell if shifts in the polls close to an election are real swings in public opinion, or just the public adjusting their responses to how they’re really going to vote.

  24. Anthony

    “It would be like judging accuracy of Scottish Parliamentary polling by looking at Scottish Westminster voting intentions”

    …or asking about Westminster recall as a prompt to SP VI.

  25. Discrimination against gays is against the Founding Principles of the Scottish Parliament.

    There are gay SNP MSP’s and others who are strongly against social Conservatism, as are, on the whole, the Scottish electorate.

    Barney is too familiar with NewLabour opportunisim and imputes such motives to others. It should work the other way in Scotland anyway.

  26. Nick Poole,

    I think asking about strikes in advance is a bit like asking about spending cuts in advance: we are often in favour until we face the inconveniences. It’s one thing to say you’re in favour of spending cuts, until your bus in to work gets axed. Equally, it’s one thing to say you’re in favour of public sector strikes, until you’ve got to find someone to look after the kids because the teachers are on strike.

  27. There must have been some worries about Scottish social conservatism though when the Scottish Parliament was set up. Possibly due to fears of the influence of Chapel and Kirk (ie Roman catholic and Church of Scotland or Evangelical). Remember that it took an extra 13 years before Westminster extended the decriminalisation of gay sex north of the border.

    More significantly control over abortion law was made (and remains) a power reserved to Westminster when Holyrood was set up.

  28. A welcome, and long overdue, return to form for the Guardian today, I thought. After weeks of wading through seemingly endless Telegraph-lite drivel from the likes of Simon Jenkins and Martin Kettle, and then more coalition-phile outpourings from Julian Glover, today’s edition was full of welcome and interesting articles that challenged the current orthodoxy; something I always thought the Guardian was in existence to do until recent evidence suggested otherwise. I’ve also detected a more sceptical and critical editorial line on Coalition economic, foreign and law and order policies which suggests that their post election crush on Cameron and Clegg may well be on the turn.

    However, back to today’s edition. Zoe Williams writes about the short-sightedness of the impending cuts to legal aid, referring to some very powerful evidence from the Howard League for Penal Reform who argue, beyond the inherent natural injustice involved, that limiting access to legal aid will actually have the effect of pushing up costs in other public spending areas. There is also an article from Mehdi Hasan about Ed Miliband’s leadership, arguing that it would be a grievious mistake for the Conservatives to understimate him, but the piece that really caught my eye, was an article by Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University.

    Sen writes about the Greek economic crisis, but uses it as an example to bring our attention to how Europe’s democratic governance could be undermined by the hugely heightened role of financial institutions and rating agencies, many of whom have appalling records of incompetence and failure themselves. He says this about rating agencies: –

    “It is worth remembering that the record of rating agencies in certifying financial and business institutions preceding the 2008 economic crisis was so abysmal that the US Congress seriously debated whether they should be prosecuted.”

    Wow, and these are the people forcing draconian austerity packages on fragile economies in return for not imposing credit ratings that force punitive and unpayable interest rates upon them. Sen goes on to say how economically illiterate it is to pursue deficit reduction and debt repayment to the exclusion of all else, repeating the Keynsian line that economic growth stimulation should come first. He cites Clinton in 1992 who inherited a horrendous budget deficit from George Bush Senior but, instead of introducing massive public spending cuts, he went for speedy economic growth policies and the deficit melted away.

    I won’t go on, because if anyone wants to read more it’s all on the Guardian website, but I’ve rarely seen the alternative economic case so elegantly and articulately put by someone with such impeccable credentials. I was most struck by his arguments about how the unbridled and unaccountable power of vast financial institutions are slowly subverting our democratic governance. I leave you with more wise, and worrying, words from Sen: –

    “Europe has led the world in the practice of democracy. It is therefore worrying that the dangers to democratic governance today, coming through the back door of financial priority, are not receiving the attention they should.”

    Maybe bankers are the Masters of the Universe after all! A scary thought.

  29. The perceived risk might have been the other way.

    Scotland welcomes tourists but I don’t think abortion tourism is what we particularly want.

    The Scottish parliament is able to process leislation more quickly; there is a far, far higher proportion of women in the parliament, and it is designed so that members bills actually get passed. Coincidentally, David Steel was the Presiding Officer.

    Some of the women MSP’s were and are quite fearsome. On an issue which they see as their business it might be prudent for a male MSP not to interfere.

  30. Jay Blanc

    I’m sad to say this, but you speak like the classic intolerant. No wonder free speech is under threat in this country with such vehemence (usually leading to hatred) being directed at Christians for nothing more than sincerely believing their bible.

    The big mistake people like you make is to think that their deeply-held views are representative of some (imaginary) hatred against, to use the group of people you referred to for example, gays. The vast majority of Christians (for Christians it usually is) hold no such malice, that belongs to the fascists. They just want to maintain the right to hold those views, for them based on timeless truths that cannot change, without fear of retribution or the venom that so often comes their way from those who are, ironically, preaching tolerance.

    Some gays such as Matthew Parris (incidentally I have no time for the rubbish he writes but I don’t hate him for it!) accept this quite cheerfully, others get seething anger attacks just from the polite attempts of some to explain the true situation a little bit (such as I trust this post is doing).

    Regards, BT Says

  31. Crossbat

    ” I was most struck by his arguments about how the unbridled and unaccountable power of vast financial institutions are slowly subverting our democratic governance.”

    All very well, and I asked the other day who was in charge, democratically elected governments or the priesthood of the Church of Adam Smith which caused the financial mess, but what are the solutions?

    On these pages right-wingers look forward to a re-match of Thatcher’s victories against the unions with no evidence that the left are going to put a team on the pitch, or follow the strategy of the 1980’s if they do. More detatched observers think that it is less than certain.

    So who is up for a confrontation with the financiers, not here of course, but perhaps in Greece?

  32. @BT

    Freedom of speech means people can say stupid stuff. (Within bounds that don’t include threats or incitement.)

    And freedom of speech also means they can be called stupid for saying it.

    Isn’t it great how that works.

  33. @John B Dick

    You said “…I asked the other day who was in charge, democratically elected governments or the priesthood of the Church of Adam Smith which caused the financial mess…”

    @crossbat11
    You said “…Maybe bankers are the Masters of the Universe after all! A scary thought…”

    I hate to point this out, but it’s becoming invidious to pretend that the bankers are not in charge. In the UK, the previous Labour government gave country-sized amounts of taxpayer money to the bankers. In the US, ditto. The Euro-16 and ECB are currently doing the same (indirectly) despite the express disapproval of German and Greek taxpayers. During this crisis, every time the bankers have demanded money, the governments have given it to them. The governments do what the bankers tell them to. The bankers are in charge. Haven’t you been watching the news?

    Regards, Martyn

  34. Run by banks?

    from Wiki:

    David Cameron is the younger son of stockbroker Ian Donald Cameron. Cameron’s paternal forebears also have a long history in finance. His father Ian was senior partner of the stockbrokers Panmure Gordon, in which firm partnerships had long been held by Cameron’s ancestors, including David’s grandfather and great-grandfather, and was a Director of estate agent John D Wood. David Cameron’s great-great grandfather Emile Levita, a German-Jewish financier (and descendant of Renaissance scholar Elia Levita) who obtained British citizenship in 1871, was the director of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China which became Standard Chartered Bank in 1969. His wife, Cameron’s great-great grandmother, was a descendant of the wealthy Danish Jewish Rée family on her father’s side. One of Emile’s sons, Arthur Francis Levita (died 1910, brother of Sir Cecil Levita), of Panmure Gordon stockbrokers, together with great-great-grandfather Sir Ewen Cameron, London head of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, played key roles in arranging loans supplied by the Rothschilds to the Japanese Central Banker (later Prime Minister) Takahashi Korekiyo for the financing of the Japanese Government in the Russo-Japanese war.

  35. @Anthony Wells

    “Comparing local election vote shares with polls of Westminster voting intention is silly”

    That did not stop a large number of regulars on your website imputing Westminster VI to the local elections prior to 5 May.

  36. BT Says…@ Jay Blanc

    “They just want to maintain the right to hold those views, for them based on timeless truths that cannot change …”

    Except that they are not timeless if you look back and see positions that have been progresssively abandoned, first by Unitarians and Quakers, then by the Established churches, then by Congregationalsists, Baptists, Methodists and Salvationists and finally by the further reaches of presbyterianism schism and the Catholic Church.

    I was fortunate to observe at first hand, over a period of 30 years, how this worked in relation to Sabbath Observance in the Western Isles.

    At the beginning of the period, the Health Board Chairman rather daringly enquired to establish (with grreat relief) that maternity patients in private rooms were allowed to watch “Songs of Praise” on Sunday. At the end of that time, there were more people assembled to welcome the first regular plane to land on the Sabbath than came to protest.

    What is a “timeless truth” and what is not, depends on where you are on a continuum depending on which brand of Christianity you adhere to, which part of the country you live in, and which decade you reached puberty.

    We know of a couple denied a church wedding because the woman was pregnant. The service was in the vestry, though it has to be by law in a “public” place. Some of those in the south will know of token church attenders with aspirations to have their children accepted for church schools, who are divorced, or worse, “living in sin”.

    So when did you last hear that expression? Or “born out of wedlock”? I havn’t heard or seen the word “illigitimate” since ex-teacher Jack McConnell said it had “no place in a modern Scotland.” He meant it as an affirmation of an opinion, but it has proved to be a statement of fact.

    Within living memory large numbers of people believed that if you were born out of wedlock, you would have inherited the moral turpitude of your parents and were therefore untrustworthy. For the same reason a “half-caste” was not to be trusted, but a pure bred black man might or might not be trustworthy.

    These were “timeless truths” in their day. One of the few good things about being old, is that you remember what nonsense “your elders and betters” told you when you were young.

  37. @JB

    I would only disagree with two of your points:-

    1. I don’t think there is any chance of an election this year, and I’d be happy to take bets on that

    2. I predict that once a GE is called, the Conservatives will claw back 5 points or thereabouts before polling day. If one was called (as opposed to being held) today I think the result would be too close to call, and would almost certainly be a coalition of some sort.

  38. @ Roger Mexico

    “There must have been some worries about Scottish social conservatism though when the Scottish Parliament was set up. Possibly due to fears of the influence of Chapel and Kirk (ie Roman catholic and Church of Scotland or Evangelical). Remember that it took an extra 13 years before Westminster extended the decriminalisation of gay sex north of the border.

    More significantly control over abortion law was made (and remains) a power reserved to Westminster when Holyrood was set up.”

    Well, in fairness to Scotland, they didn’t have a Parliament then and presumably they didn’t have a great deal of control over when the repeal of sodomy laws would take place. I wonder why decriminalization wasn’t extended to Scotland when it was enacted in England. Was it part of some sort of experiment? Or was there some broader unwritten reason? Makes me proud to be an American knowing that gay sex is a constitutionally protected fundamental right.

    Also, the Scottish Parliament repealed Section 28 prior to the rest of the UK. So they can’t be that socially conservative (or maybe they are but their politicians don’t listen to their own voters).

  39. Nick Poole

    One for for certain is that DC and the Coalition played no part in creating the present financial crisis or the nation’s huge financial debt.. The lax regulation over the banks grew under previous governments.

    Either way, I do not understand the relevance of DC’s great grandfather’s job or his ethnicity; fortunately we do not live in Germany in the 1930s where these things mattered.

  40. @ Roger Mexico

    “More significantly control over abortion law was made (and remains) a power reserved to Westminster when Holyrood was set up.”

    I wonder if this sets up any unintended consequences where Scots would enact more liberal abortion laws than the UK currently has but can’t because of Westminster control.

    Roe v. Wade is constantly under attack over here. And I don’t like the “undue burden” test set up in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. But even if Roe v. Wade was to be overturned, it wouldn’t actually end all abortion in the United States. There are a number of states that actually have constitutional protections of the right to choose in their state constitutions. And even under the current “undue burden” test, Californians have far greater rights to seek abortions than they do outside of it.

  41. Sergio @ GB

    It would be quite normal for an incumbent government to recover a few points just before an election. What matters is how much support they lose between now and “before”.

    Since we are half way through the year already, your first prediction is getting safer by the day as neither a crisis in the coalition or obvious strategy advantage is apparent.

    The first sign is usually ministerial visits to constituencies that do not warrant an election campaign visit at party expense. Things being what they are, if we had three ministerial visits in a month for speaking engagements anywhere in Scotland, then you can be sure that planning has commenced.

  42. Henry

    The question is, will a creature so much a part of the banks, descended from, married to, living and breathing banks, running a party FINANCED by banks and the City, seek to regulate future behaviour or wrest some of the money spent bailing out back from, when he is so obviously their creature, heart and soul.

    He thinks banks are good, per se, each and of themselves, simply by virtue of being banks.

  43. Roger Mexico @ SoCal Liberal

    “…. an extra 13 years before Westminster extended the decriminalisation of gay sex north of the border.”

    If it requires a separate Scottish act, that may have been a reason. The first session of the Scottish parliament enacted five times as much legislation as would have been done at Westminster. It had been prepared to some esxtent but parliamentary time had not been prioritised. The fact that there was a backlog was part of the case for devolution.

    There are problems in the Cof S regarding gay ministers, but there is no doubt in which the tide is flowing and as with hanging, colonies, race, women clergy and all the rest, the Cof S is 20 years ahead of the C of E.

  44. Not sure it’s been said yet, but this poll shows that Labour now have a 16 point lead on the NHS, up from 9 points in March. Definitely underlines that the Conservatives have done nothing to boost their NHS popularity with the latest NHS relaunch.

    I wonder whether that would give Lab and some LD rebels confidence to challenge the new bill when it comes back again.

    On VI this poll shows Lab falling back slightly against both Cons and LDs. Slightly in contrast to YG. I wonder if this is just sample variation or are they picking up Lab VI being affected by the negative EM stories?

  45. Jay Blanc 2.51 – Agreed! :)

    John B D 3.24

    I must admit I found your comments re ‘timeless truths’ rather complicated, although I think I see what you are trying to say.

    A ‘timeless TRUTH’ as I spoke of it is just that, i’e not altered by changing times/fashions or different individual’s/ sects’ interpretation of it. To some it can be very precious, albeit it makes them very unpopular.

  46. @ Barney Crockett

    “Will it pass? Well anything the SNP now want will pass. Their MSPs strictly do as they are told. Critics have pointed to the pitfalls inherent in this type of legislation. However the leader may be delighted to spark off another argument focussed on the existence of the UK. SNP minister R Cunningham seemed to suggest in committee that singing the national anthem or Rule Britannia could be imprisonable in a football context.
    On the gay issue you raised earlier about the SNP, I’m afraid you were well wide of the mark.
    The SNP’s principal funder is most famous for his hostility to gay rights. He has spent over £1000000 on campaigns on this issue (as well as giving £1000000+ to the SNP). It would be very difficult for either Labour or Conservatives to take money from BS. There is a facebook campaign to disrupt his award of a knighthood which you can check for fun.
    Also check comments of Kenneth Gunn and also BYU at the Scottish Parliament.
    As you found yourself there is no rush to come out in the SNP.”

    Well, I don’t want to be too harsh and preachy in my criticism of hate speech prohibitions. For one thing, I don’t want to be obnoxious or a stereotypical loudmouth American. I also want to understand the rationales for prohibiting these laws and learn about the extent of the laws (what they prohibit and what they don’t). You can’t learn that if you start attacking them.

    As for gay rights, I think that the role played by Labour in advancing sexual orientation equality in the United Kingdom (including Scotland) is undeniable. I don’t think there’s been a single advancement of LGBT rights in the UK that hasn’t come from Labour. I think that it’s a great tribute to the Labour Party and one of Labour’s greatest accomplishments and it’s an area where Labour has permanently moved the political spectrum far to the left. I would not minimize this or deny it or ignore it or pretend that other parties were responsible.

    I don’t think though that the SNP can be regarded as a party that opposes gay rights simply because some of their biggest donors and fundraisers are. I think you can’t impute to a party the beliefs of some of its members. In light of Alex Salmond’s public support for same-sex marriage, it’s clear that the views of those donors are not impacting the party. If anything, it suggests that Salmond is gutsy for going against the will of some of his biggest donors.

    Now, I think that if 4 years comes and goes and the Scottish Parliament doesn’t enact same-sex marriage (provided that it’s not unable to for other reasons), then I think you could say that Salmond is merely pandering. He has no intention of enacting same-sex marriage because he knows he will lose campaign cash and has only declared support for it because it will gain him votes. That hasn’t happenned yet and it’s too early to say.

    I have a feeling that there are closeted politicians in every major party (that’s probably true everywhere). Perhaps some more than others but still I don’t think any party is free of this. I had noticed that the three major parties in the UK (the “unionist parties” as Old Nat would say) all had websites for their LGBT wings and the Nats didn’t. I didn’t mean to make any generalized comments about the SNP as to their support for LGBT issues or sexual orientation equality. Just a thought that they didn’t seem to spend much time appealing to LGBT Scots.

  47. SoCalLiberal/John B Dick

    Thinking back, I suspect the reason for both the delay in extending the 1967 Act and the reserving of abortion laws, was a feeling against within Scottish Labour. Some of this was from individual MPs, but the main worry was of offending the churches, particularly the Catholic Church.

    Labour long benefited from the tacit support of the RCC, especially within its Glasgow and surrounds heartland. Supporting liberal social policies might lead to the RCC issuing instructions to the faithful to take their votes elsewhere. The Scottish RCC has always been more vocal politically than its English counterpart and would have had no scruples in doing so.

    This might have been a particular worry in 1967, the year of the SNP winning a famous byelection. But even in 1997-9 when Holyrood was being set up, there could well have been worries on the abortion issue, particularly as the RCC would ally itself with other religious groups around that issue.

    John B is right, we do tend to forget how quickly public opinion on social issues swung round (except perhaps abortion). Homosexuality is the classic case, but divorce, illegitimacy and related issues saw the stigma drop from them as quickly if earlier. In all cases it mainly happened not for the usual reason of an older, more conservative generation being replaced, but because of people actually changing their minds.

  48. @ John B Dick

    “There are problems in the Cof S regarding gay ministers, but there is no doubt in which the tide is flowing and as with hanging, colonies, race, women clergy and all the rest, the Cof S is 20 years ahead of the C of E.”

    By of C of S you refer to Church of Scotland and by C of E you refer to Church of England right?

  49. @AW,

    It’s not so much the difference in the actual figures between YG and the others that interests me, so much as the slight difference in the trend. YG has Labour widening their gap in the last month, whereas the others generally don’t. The sampling dates don’t really explain it. In the past I’ve vaguely noticed that YG seems to lead the trend and others eventually follow it, but it’s still odd that such a thing should happen.

  50. @ SOCIALLIBERAL

    “Just a thought that they didn’t seem to spend much time appealing to LGBT Scots.”

    Perhaps they, like many Scots feel that’s a private matter, that should not be overtly politicised. Should they also start directly trying to appeal to Hetrosexuals?

    I think there’s a danger that some perceive a lack of ‘pro-LGBT’ politics as anti-LGBT politics, which isn’t the case at all. Politicians don’t single out individual religeons or football teams either. They can’t win in such situations so avoid them. IMO it’s a good thing if they do. They can’t be anti-something (as a party) if they never talk about it.

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