YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun yesterday had topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9% – nothing out of line with the recent YouGov averages. Crime had predictably shot up the list of what people thought were the important issues facing the country, 48% of people picked crime (up from 23% a fortnight ago), making it the second most picked issue after the economy.

There were also a series on questions specifically on the riots. While 91% of people thought it was right that Cameron & Boris Johnson had returned from their holidays, they were generally seen as having handled the riots badly so far. Only 28% thought Cameron & May had handled them well, 24% thought Boris had handled it well (though of course, much of the fieldwork was done prior to Cameron & Johnson having done anything but get on a plane!). People were on balance positive about how the police had handled the riots- 52% thought they had handled them well, but a large minority (43%) thought they’d done badly.

Asked if the police should be able to use various tactics in response to riots provoked some pretty gung ho responses – 90% of people thought they should be able to use water cannon, 84% mounted police, 82% curfews, 78% tear gas, 72% tasers, 65% plastic bullets, 33% live ammunition. 77% thought that the army should be brought in.

People also tended to feel that most of those rioting would get away with it. Only 13% thought that the majority of most of those rioting would eventually be prosecuted and punished, 67% thought that the majority would get away with it, 18% that most or all would get away with it.

346 Responses to “YouGov poll on the riots”

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  1. Then again those countries are only based on offical statistics so who really knows hey lol

  2. @ Peter Bell

    “watching Sky news which is currently showing CBS news. You will be pleaseed to know that Mit Romney suffered severe heckling in Iowa. Also reported that Obama has come out fighting against Congress today. Hopefully the tide is turning against the Republicans.”

    Is it just me or is Sky News a major rag? I was watching it in Italy and Spain and actually thought positively about American journalism (just for a few seconds).

    I’m only so pleased. I think that the GOP has gone off the rails and I’m starting to feel like even rank and file Republicans know it, it’s just the hardcore activists who don’t and continue to live in a bubble. That’s dangerous for their party.

    What makes me sad is that (1) Obama blew his opportunities to revitalize the economy and improve the country for the better, (2) the GOP is hell bent on destroying the country for political gain, and (3) people are starting to give up. So I’m only so pleased. Messing with the full faith and credit of the U.S. is one of the most irresponsible things the GOP has ever done.

    You know, let’s say your country is at war and you oppose the war (as you and I both did in the case of Iraq and my dad did with Viet Nam). You have a right to protest the war, to write articles and blog posts sharing your opposition, to lead peace rallies, to organize politically to elect anti-war candidates, to lobby Congress (or Parliament) to stop the war. But you do NOT have the right to go out and attack your own country’s soldiers just to make a point that you oppose the war. That you cannot do.

    I find it kinda irritating as well to have to educate people abroad that the U.S. is not actually bankrupt.

  3. I actually found the Question Time auidence pretty quiet tonight than the usually opinionated, roardy people I have come to respect. Whether this be out of polietness, to show respect or people just genuinely we’re rather mixed on their views or held extreme view concerning it.

  4. @ Peter Bell

    One final point before I go to bed. The 2012 election is just around the corner but politically, it’s a long way off. A lot of different factors could change things in the blink of an eye.

    The public is frustrated and generally unhappy. If you look at polling, it’s actually interesting to look at Virginia and North Carolina. Virginia was taken by Obama in 08′ by a comfortable margin but was taken by a Dem for the first time since 1964. You would think that would be at the top of Republican targets for 2012 yet Obama beats any GOP nominee there by a wide margin. Obama is holding his ground in North Carolina, leading all GOP nominees, a state he won by only about 24,000 votes in 08′ that was pretty much an upset. Yet Obama seems to be declining in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and numerous other states he won comfortably.

    Why is this? Their respective economies are actually doing well. That is the difference.

    The Republicans have done nothing to improve the job situation and offer no positive solutions, instead choosing to take various peices of government funding hostage whenever they please. It’s wearing thin and essentially pushes a reset button for 2012. If I’m right, then the winner of 2012 is going to be the one who focuses on the best plans going forward on economics….for job growth, for business expansion, for staying ahead of China.

  5. John Murphy

    There’s little moral difference between those city bankers whose incompetence led them to take more and more from the institutions they mismanaged and then when exposed as culpable so arranged matters that they could retire on vast pensions effectively paid out of the public purse and those looting flat screen televisions from the vandalised shops of our city streets. Both are taking something which isn’t theirs but to which they feel entitled

    Actually I think there’s quite a big difference. The looters are acting more or less on impulse. Obviously I’m not talking about the people turning up with vans and crowbars here, but the vast majority. Whereas those in the ‘powers that be’ have made a career of it. Both argue that everybody else is doing it, but the first really know what they are doing is wrong, while the second demand that this is legal justification and expect praise as well as reward. The second do more damage but the first are the ones who are prosecuted.

    Neil A

    Welcome back – that’s why the rioting stopped.

    I’m not sure though that there are “10,000s of amoral individuals who would gladly help themselves to a free iPad once the windows were broken”. Tens of millions surely, if they thought they could get away with it.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed some of my earlier comments when I was worrying away at the possible reasons for the furious (to the point of insanity) reactions of a pretty big portion of the British public. Yet many of the same people would happily make ‘adjustments’ to their expenses, omit things from their tax return, ‘enhance’ an insurance claim or cheer the destruction of a speed camera – the profits from any of which might pay for quite a few iPads.

    I think one of the successes of recent years has been the construction by the ‘powers that be’ of an imaginary underclass. Of course there’s always your “1,000s of immoral individuals in this country” – we all know the names and the streets that crop up in the courts reports week after week (“Heather Crescent again!”). But there aren’t very many of them (compared to most times in the past) and even then there are people who manage to escape from this background or only revert to it in times of extreme need.

    But over recent years whole groups, previously thought merely unfortunate, have been assigned to such groups: single parents, the sick, the disabled, the long-term unemployed. Mockery of the working class has become respectable, the despised characteristics (often requiring money) transferred to the underclass who are then seen as crooked because they have been given them and those things require money.

    This has allowed politicians to denounce the ‘broken society’ without realising that there can only be one society and if part of it is broken, then all of it is.

    I can’t help wondering if some of this fury is because the riots and looting remind some people of their own double standards and that they are all part of the same society with these people they have been trained to so despise.

  6. Roger Mexico

    Perceptive comment as usual.

    As to your “I think one of the successes of recent years has been the construction by the ‘powers that be’ of an imaginary underclass”, it’s important to recognise that this isn’t just an invention of another stereotype – “the right wing media”.

    I remember hearing Lord Ffoulkes (OK, I know he doesn’t have a double “F”, but it seems so appropriate :-) ) describe the voters of Glasgow NE as “all underclass”.

    If Labour politicians can use such language (and in such a breathtakingly appalling way to describe an entire constituency) then the creation of the myth has been truly “successful”.

    However, it isn’t particularly new. Similar language can be found throughout history as ways in which the “haves” describe the “have nots”.

  7. “invention of” = “invention by”

  8. OldNat

    Oh quite. That’s why I used the old-fashioned phrase the ‘powers that be’. New Labour’s (and Blair’s in particular) distaste for the manual working class was visceral. I always wonder if part of the reason for the decline of manufacturing was because of this dislike.

    The recent success of the doing-down of the ‘underclass’ though was in assigning large numbers of ‘unwanted’ groups to it, and making hatred/fear of it not just a feature of the upper and middle classes, but near universal.

  9. However if I did have to assign people to the criminal underclass, I have to say that George Foulkes would be pretty high on the list.

    (On looking up Wikipedia I discover to my amazement that he went to an English public school. Though he does have a criminal record (possibly now spent). And enormous expenses claims)

  10. Roger Mexico

    What was particularly revealing about Foulkes comment was that he made it (rather loudly) to his companion during the interval at a performance at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow.

    Given the price of the tickets, I doubt that there were many traditional “working class” voters present!

  11. SoCalLiberal
    Is it just me or is Sky News a major rag? I was watching it in Italy and Spain and actually thought positively about American journalism (just for a few seconds).
    It’s Europe’s version of Fox News, so you might want to rethink that!

  12. @ Alec

    “absolutely does not represent net wealth”

    THe data I quoted is described thus :-

    “Total net worth of the UK, including financial assets, at the end of 2009 was £6,669 billion. This was a decrease of £94 billion on the previous year.”

    @” stick to my point. There really is a vast resource of wealth out there that could be taxed to reduce the debt and help us reduce the deficit by reducing interest payments.”

    Of course you do-and may I say how reassuring it is to see you making it under your true colours-all is right with the UKPR world again :-)

  13. Good Morning John B Dick.

    I have been thinking about education again. I have been a teacher in the state sector since 1979.

    The ‘kids’ who rioted will be in school soon, with just about three weeks of holidays to go. They will be behaving badly there as well…if they are at school.

    The proportion of pupils not achieving basic standards (5 GRADE C’s ) is high.

    There are more students achieving three grade A’s at A Level in the ‘facilitating subjects’ (Russell Group words) in the private sector (7%) than in the state sector.
    There are boroughs where very few pupils do actually even achieve these grades. Knowlsley, I think, last year saw one pupil achieving three A level Grade A’s.

    In my town in southern England, the ‘choice’ for parents outside the grammar schools and the Catholic comprehensive school is very mediocre.

    Here the ‘middle sets/bands’ contain endemic disorder, what is called ‘low level indiscipline’, where pupils frequently say hurtful things, bully the staff and where all sorts of reasons are posited as to why they are unable to behave, do homework or complete a lunch time or after-school detention.

    So the ‘culture’ is being formed for the next phase of our nation’s development.

    There are many heroic examples, of course, where success is achieved

  14. Roger Mexico,
    This isn’t a particularly new thing (as you later make clear, you already know), but it’s not just when talking about the ‘underclass’ but everywhere.
    It’s interesting reading about the various validating myths (that exist on both sides of the political spectrum) because they always have the same construct.

    I am [identity]. They are [other identity]. There is something about [identity] that makes me [somehow superior]. They have [attribute] that makes them [somehow inferior].
    You also see it from ‘subordinate’ classes who have validating myths to justify their inferior status and the superior status of the other groups.

    You can see it in the myth of those who’ve ‘worked hard and made it to the top’ – while it is true that individuals have made it to the top, through hard work, it’s often down to other factors and is impossible for most (intelligent, hard-working) people to achieve.
    But it then becomes a myth that justifies the dominant economic position (obviously they’ve worked hard for it) and justifies the subordinate position of everyone else (well, if they just worked harder…).

    There were similar validating myths to do with race, gender, nationality, etc which work in exactly the same way.
    It’s a way of dealing with the complexity and absurdity of life – rather than accepting that, the validating myths become articles of faith.

    See also – Capital Flight, Greedy Bankers, Corrupt Policemen/Politicians, etc

  15. And on polling – while it isn’t completely clear (nothing ever is with trends, except in hindsight), we may be seeing (after a slight recovery post-hacking) a ‘double-dip’ in government approval.
    (Again – still unclear, we’ll know over the next few weeks).

    But this should be worrying for the Tories, as government approval broadly correlates with Tory VI (for obvious reasons) so a structural drop in approval would lead to a structural drop in VI.
    Unless, of course, the drop in approval has come from LibDems – which would be something that the LibDems would have to worry about more, as structurally they can’t really sink much lower. If they sink to averaging at 7%, it could cause serious trouble at the party conference next month.

    (By ‘structural’, I mean where the trend is – so the LibDem VI could be 9, 9, 9, 10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 7, 9, 9, 9 so their ‘structural’ VI would be 9, but the 7 would be a temporary dip).

  16. That bastion of hard work and law-abidingness Joey Barton had this to say about the rioters:

    They all think they have a god given right, to have certain things in life, only problem is their not prepared to work hard for anything.

    Didn’t he stub a fag out in some kid’s eye?

  17. @Colin – “Total net worth of the UK, including financial assets, at the end of 2009 was £6,669 billion. This was a decrease of £94 billion on the previous year.”

    I know you read this, but not everything you read is true. I’m not sure where you saw this, but I noted a great deal of very poor media reports of the actual ONS release. If you go back to the source material you will see quite clearly that this is a capital wealth assessment only that expressly excludes financial assets – cash, stocks and shares, trust funds etc. You really have got this one wrong.

    Household wealth alone is assessed by the ONS as £9,000b (2008) and then you can inflate this by institutional financial holdings. On it’s own, the domestic wealth is 9 times the entire national debt, with the vast majority of this held by the richest 1%.

    Up to date information is a little hard to come by, but the ONS show that in 2003 the richest 10% own 73% of the total ‘marketable wealth’ which at that time equated to around £3000b – three times todays deficit. Of course, the figure is 8 years out of date, so will be much higher now.

    ‘Marketable wealth’ is tradeable wealth – it doesn’t include housing. So on these figures, if we so wished we could levey a 30% wealth tax on the richest 10% and clear the entire national debt. A bit radical, but what the hell – it’s Friday.

    We then come to the deficit. You are absolutely right that clearing the debt just to keep wracking up an annual deficit wouldn’t be sensible. But clearing the national debt would save around £40b a year in interest payments, which is, with magnificent coincidence, just about what Osborne thinks is the level of the structural deficit.

    Therefore, a 30% one off wealth levy on the non housing assets of the richest 10% in society would mean the country has no national debt and there would be no need for spending cuts to balance government spending over the full economic cycle.

    It all depends on what society you want and how bold you are prepared to be, but the money is out there.

  18. Sir Hugh Orde delivers a slap in the face to the political class, saying that their coming back from holiday was irrelevant to bringing the streets under control…. also budget cuts would “inevitably” lead to fewer police officers – and therefore make the job more difficult reducing public safety.

    Does Boris have more say than Dave in the event that Sir Hugh goes for the Met job?

  19. The aforementioned Toon paragon is well-known to be a huge Smiths fan, with his favourite line from “Still Ill” quoted on his Twitter profile

    “I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving. England is mine and it owes me a living.”

    Of course, he obviously does a nice line in ironic social commentary……….

  20. @Neil A – glad you’re back, and agree that we have a rich tradition of riots, but we can’t just sit back and say it’s OK as it’s always happened.

    As with crime rates in general, here and elsewhere, riots have always been more prevalent when the wealth and incomes gap between rich and poor is wider. There are lots of other factors overlying this fundamental relationship, but this is the big one.

  21. Incidentally, Mrs A made a rare venture into political commentary the other day with an observation that in her view the problem stems from the tyranny of the family.

    The ‘hard working families’ mantra has allowed selfish individualism to extend to cover the family unit, with parents claiming they have rights over teachers, neighbours, policemen etc and the oft seen ethos of ‘they’re my kids and it’s up to me what they do’.

    This isn’t in any way restricted to any particular social class. Parents think it’s OK to lie on school entry forms and you can often watch middle class brat kids misbehaving in restaurants etc while the ignorant parents think it’s fine for their children to ‘express themselves’ and to pull them up on it means you are not ‘family friendly’.

  22. @Roger Mexico

    I take your point but I was not aware the many bankers…Goodwin comes to mind have been prosecuted for anything. Their Titanic pensions survived the sinking of their cruise liner pretty much in tact….even if it was the general taxpayer who funded RBS’s liabilities.

    But I’m must apologise to all for drifting myself so far from the business of polling.


  23. ALEC

    Brilliant post. Totally agree. On the same theme, Peter Oborne writes in today’s Telegraph. I read it on line this morning, all about the upper middle classes and the westminster village.

    Many parents will think nothing of coming to school in response to a blackberry message, when ‘upset’ by a rebuke from a teacher.

    Has Sir Hugh Orde has just failed his interview for the MET post, by contradicting Mrs May and Mr Cameron on policing strategy and police numbers?

    There was a very good TODAY discussion at 8.30 am ish

  24. Iceman:

    Thank you for your comment. I missed the debate and highlights seldom shine much light on Parliamentary debates…not that the debaters themselves do that often!

  25. @ Roger Mexico

    “Someone earlier was asking about articles on the experience of dealing with gangs in Glasgow.”

    It was me-thanks for the links.

    No wonder DC mentioned it .

    Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) resulted in a 50% reduction in violent offending by those taking part.

    Even among gang members who refused to participate, data indicated a 25% fall in the number of offences committed.

    CIRV has been focused on the north and east of Glasgow. 400 gang members have signed up for the programme.

    It works with the gang as a unit, rather than just as individuals. &offers them a range of personal development and employability programmes, if they continue not to offend.

    A key success of CIRV has been to reduce the prevalence of weapons. Among those taking part, there has been a 59% decrease in knife carrying.

    One former gang member explained how he spoke to young men about their involvement in violence.

    He said: “The best way to get these kids to open up is to share your own experience, to open yourself up to them.

    “That honesty is infectious. They reveal themselves to you.

    BBC News

    The project is based on the Boston Operation Ceasefire.

    DC mentioned the Police Chief involved there-they intend to consult him too.

    All looks encouraging stuff.

  26. Not very often that I agree with Peter Oborne.

    “The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom”

    But I would have to say that the UK is not unique, as moral corruption is part of humanity anywhere in the world and always has been. I don’t think it is something that has suddenly happened in the last 20/30 years due to rampant commercialism of every aspect of our lives.

    What people should not be doing is looking to politicians for leadership. Today for example is a battle for the photo opportunities, with Cameron holding a reception at no.10 for a youth group and Miliband is attending a meeting in Brixton. I am not questioning the value of such meetings, but they must be more than a photo opportunity to show they are engaging with people. They should both be setting up permanent forums for people to take the leadership themselves, with the politicians adding their support when required. The problem for people who look for politicians to take the lead, is that they tend to only be interested while the media is interested. Once the spotlight is off a particular issue the politicians will disappear.

  27. Alec
    “I’m not sure where you saw this”


    h ttp://

    “It all depends on what society you want ”

    It does indeed Alec.

  28. “Therefore, a 30% one off wealth levy on the non housing assets of the richest 10% in society would mean the country has no national debt ”

    Even if your numbers are right Alec-& I am yet to be convinced -this proposal is …… can I put this delicately ?—-misguided.

  29. R Huckle

    Just read the Oborne article. can’t argue with a word of it!

    Is he really the telegraph political correspondent. if so perhaps we are beginnig to see a bizarre realignment of old fashioned Union based community centred Labourites and patrician obligation filled Tories! Or maybe not!!!

  30. Colin

    Re CIRV

    Classic ‘community safety’ based “multi agency approach”- the sort widely introduced by new labour and suffering (in England) from cuts to police and local authority and charity budgets.

    I predict another bout of U turns from the government.

  31. Rob Sheffield

    “I predict another bout of U turns from the government.”


    I think the recognised terms are “listening” & “resonding”.

    Re LA charity budget cuts it seems that Labour Councils are responsible for 75% of them.

  32. John Murphy

    Sorry I was obviously even convoluted than normal. I meant to imply that such people suffer few consequences. There are few laws to catch them out and little enthusiasm to prosecute them when laws have been broken. Even when that happens, the legal system and judicial prejudice make conviction difficult.


    Mrs A should venture more often. I’d add that the privileging of parenthood has been accompanied by a thirty years war against the professionals who actual deal with children, while expecting them to take more responsibility for them.



    The late 70s/early 80s have provided a splendid soundtrack for the last few days. Though mercifully no one’s been using the Clash’s “White Riot” – silly even by their standards [ducks].


    Thanks for the tip on the Oborne article, which is typically brilliant – he’s been the sharpest critic of the ‘powers that be’ for some time now. Even more astonishing are the comments. While Guardian commenters are all ‘hang the chavs’ the Telegraph’s are the Jacquerie* reborn.

    I thought this comment out to be preserved though. From david_sparkes:

    Perhaps, Mr Oborne, you could start by asking your employers, the Barclay brothers, to pay one penny in UK tax on their earnings from the Telegraph and the London Ritz.

    Then you might ask Benedict Brogan why he stifles all debate in the Telegraph on non-payment of tax by big business, presumably totally unrelated to the fact that his wife is Director General of Business Taxation at HMRC.

    Only then can the pious and self-righteous Telegraph even begin to throw stones at others.

    * I thought this had something to do with the French Revolution. It doesn’t but it still seem appropriate.

  33. @iceman

    You said “…if so perhaps we are beginnig to see a bizarre realignment of old fashioned Union based community centred Labourites and patrician obligation filled Tories!…”

    There is a realignment going on, and it’s beginning to become noticable.

    * During the Lisbon II debate in Ireland, there was an intervention attempt by then-Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague. It died in a ditch because Conservative politicians in Ireland are about as popular as anthrax, but even so I was struck by the similarity of the Conservative position and the Sinn Fein position on the EU.
    * Right-wing commentators (Peter Oborne) are beginning to state that globalisation (whether industrial – business – or governmental – EU) is not necessarily useful
    * Left-wing commentators (Simon Jenkins[1]) are beginning to state that liberal interventionism (the capacity of the UK to alter the world to our benefit) is not necessarily useful
    * Right- and left-wing commentators are beginning to define an “us” (consisting of the employed working-class and middle-class) and a “not-us” (globalised/transnational entities, the benefit classes, other countries) and politics is beginning to become a question of how this new “us” deals with the “not-us” – fight it, manage it, negotiate with it, run from it, what? How do we cope with the world?

    How this is going to end up. I don’t know (and I suspect I won’t like it)… :-(

    Regards, Martyn

    * [1] OK, left-wing ish… :-)

  34. Colin @ Roger Mexico

    “Someone earlier was asking about articles on the experience of dealing with gangs in Glasgow.”

    Thanks for that. As possibly the poster living nearest Glasgow, although I was aware that the programme was about to start, I hadn’t heard the evaluation.

    Which shows that you learn things on this website that you don’t learn from the national press. This particular thread has been particularly fruitful in that respect and it has been a source of satisfaction to contribute.

  35. Neil A
    Just popped in to comment on your evaluation of the growth of internet comms in various social sectors.

    One imagines that political activists will have taken note of the new (new to GB) of these facilities. 2015 GE campaign may have a very different character to the 2010 one.

    I read this morning that German police in Hanover are now using Facebook for ‘wanted’ appeals. They discovered that local regional newspapers were only read by 50 plussers. The change has solved one disappearance, two rapes, two assaults and a robbery in short time.

    It seems youngsters are willing to shop their peers quite readily.

  36. Just read the Oborne article, and it is so in tune with the sentiments expressed on here by various posters (including myself) over the last few days.

  37. Alec

    Here is the Halifax assessment of household wealth:-

    £6316 bn in 2009-of which £2400 bn is housing wealth.

    Wealth is calculated net of outstanding debt balances , including in the case of housing, mortgage debt.

    Halifax issue this note with the assessment :-

    “The Halifax measure of household wealth includes the value of residential buildings and financial assets held by UK households. The amount of outstanding household debt has been deducted to calculate net wealth. The Halifax estimates differ from the household wealth figures published by the ONS in the National Accounts. The ONS measure of the household sector – and therefore household wealth – is broader as it includes non-profit institutions serving households such as charities and unincorporated enterprises where the finances of the business are linked with the families that run them. On average, the Halifax estimate is approximately 10% lower than the ONS figure.”

    h ttp://

  38. @Colin – the link you posted (h ttp:// appears to show that the ONS website is wrong. According to other releases they have issues and the detailed reports etc, the figure quoted here is for capital values excluding financial assets.

    This would intuitively appear to be the case, as with a total economy size of £6,669b and a GDP (income) of around £1,600b, this would suggest we are getting an annual return of 24%, which is simply not credible.

    Regarding the Halifax figures, again you are misinterpreting what they actually mean. Net household wealth calculated to include debt balances means that the total obviously will be lower – commensurate with the total mortgage and unsercured loan and credit card finance amount within the country.

    The total net wealth isn’t the question we are asking. What we are asking is the total net wealth of the richest 10%. Broadly speaking, these people don’t have debts – that’s why they are rich.

    If you add the entire stock of UK household debt to the figure produced by the Halifax and then take about 75% of that figure, you’ve probably got the wealth of the richest 10%.

    In general terms though, I do find it funny that people jump up and down and say how terrible it would be to take a relatively modest chunk of wealth away from supremely rich people to help rectify the nations poor finances, while those same people think it’s OK to tax the wages of someone on minimum wages at a marginal rate of 32%, take 20% off them whenever they spend on ‘non essentials’, ask them to pay £1,000 a year just to live somewhere and then also expect them to put up with shrinking public services as well.

    It’s a funny old world.

  39. Oldnat, Foulkes may have said it in private (albeit overheard) but wasn’t it an SNP activist who tweeted on the net that he would need jabs after leaving one Scottish constituency?

    Or did you forget about that?

  40. @ Craig

    “It’s Europe’s version of Fox News, so you might want to rethink that!”

    They had on this one segment about Elizabeth Hurley’s newest boyfriend, a former professional athlete, and whether she was making him look too effeminate. This was followed by a commentary from some reporter telling the world what women really want in a man and how this wasn’t it.

    I was like:

    1. How dare you speak for all women around the world?

    2. He doesn’t look all that different, just a little bit lighter (which is good for an athlete).

    3. This is a lot of sexist crap.

    4. Finally, why is this news? Are there no other stories in the world you have to talk about other than why Elizabeth Hurley is emasculating her boyfriend? Seriously.

  41. chrislane1945 @ John B Dick.

    “In my town in southern England, the ‘choice’ for parents outside the grammar schools and the Catholic comprehensive school is very mediocre.”

    There is much to be leaned from a comparison between England and Scotland. Unfortunately any straightforward comparison would probably be misleading because so many things are different.

    For a start the exam system is different so results cannot be directly compared. A reckless use of satistics could show that there are even more permanent exclusions than in England, though in some areas there are none at all.

    “Choice” which English Conservatives are so keen on, is something which over most of Scotland for many generations we have never had and do not ever expect to have because of population sparsity. That is one reason why Conservatives are marinalised in Scotland: their obsessions with choice in Education or Health are bizarrely irrelevant.

    The private sector is smaller and heavily concentrated in Edinburgh. Independent religious schools are few, small, non-Christian and inaccessible to virtually all by the combination of selectivity, location and cost.

    Catholic schools are within the state sector. The issue is not how the middleclass unbliever can get access, but whether they perpetuate sectarian divisions and and footbll violence and should be secularised.

    The biggest difference is that over huge areas of the country the issue is not which school do you send your child to, but whether the local school will be closed because of falling rolls and whether economically active adults will leave the area if it does.

    Then there is the free tertiary education that Amber referred to, and a tradition, rooted in the Reformation, of respect for education giving rise to the aspiration that it is possible to rise from a Glasgow tenement and state school education to be a university professor with a peerage.

    Part myth perhaps, (Lord Kelvin) but I personally knew an 11 year old schoolboy brought up a single mother in a Glasgow tenement, whose study was an under-stair cupboard, and who is now on the brink within months of the exactly the same achievement. You know his name.

    The Butskillite consensus is still thriving in Scotland where the visible Conservatives are still Christian Democrats, and not only the SNP but much of the Labour membership and a few their out of favour MSP’s are well to the Left of NewLabour.

    Amberstar pointed out that (by American standards) anyone in favour of the NHS is a “Socialist”. If you accept that definition, then not only in Health, but also Education, Scottish Conservatives are mostly Socialists too, though they bravely aver that they are in favour of tuition fees.

    It is some time since I was at school but thee was violent and disruptive behaviour in the private schools too.

    An elite group in my history class were offered special attention by the teacher to coach them for the exam. They regularly spent the whole class playing pontoon with the cards and money on the desk in front of them immediately next the door, where anyone entering could not even pretend not to see them.

    I managed to negotiate a deal beween them and the teacher (who became distressed) and they re-located to the back of the classroom. One fine day they took the teacher’s chair for a card table and exited the window onto a rooftop so that they could sunbathe on the roof while playing pontoon.

    The only person who passed the exam was a pupil who bcause of a higher level of disruptive behaviour the year before was prevented by force from entering the classroom on the first class of the year and who spent the time in a spare music practice room reading the textbook from cover to cover again and again.

    There was violence too. A mistakenly supposed homosexual was marched off in tears at lunchtime day after day and forced to publicly masturbate to ejaculation. The staff knew about it.

    I was often beaten up, once by a psycopath who went on to murder two policemen. There was another double murderer in the year above, but that was a crime of passion.

  42. Alec

    “This would intuitively appear to be the case, as with a total economy size of £6,669b and a GDP (income) of around £1,600b, this would suggest we are getting an annual return of 24%, which is simply not credible.”

    You would need to add in the net assets of all businesses to make sense of that relationship.

    “Regarding the Halifax figures, again you are misinterpreting what they actually mean. Net household wealth calculated to include debt balances means that the total obviously will be lower – commensurate with the total mortgage and unsercured loan and credit card finance amount within the country.”

    Exactly-you wouldn’t want to levy tax on gross asset values which were subject to a debt charge would you?

    “Broadly speaking, these people don’t have debts – that’s why they are rich. ”

    Proof of that would be helpfull-or do you just want it to be true :-)

    “a relatively modest chunk of wealth ”

    If you want to have the top 10% pay off the national debt -or even a good chunk of it ( not sure what you propose actually) -it will not be “modest”.

  43. @Colin – “If you want to have the top 10% pay off the national debt -or even a good chunk of it ( not sure what you propose actually) -it will not be “modest”.”

    According to all the evidence, it actually would appear to be pretty modest. In terms of the numbers we’ve discussed, a levy of between 15 – 30% of the wealth of the richest 1% would clear the full national debt and still leave this group with control of 50 – 60% of total household wealth, although there are certainly large areas of uncertainty in the detailed figures.

    I would actually not propose to clear the full national debt – we don’t need to. If we could reduce it to 30% of GDP that would be excellent, but the principle I am discussing is quite clear – hugely wealthy owners of massive asset resoirces should be expected to pay a substantial sum (although a very small proportion of their wealth) to help the nation through this crisis.

    Loading the cost onto deflationary spending cuts, pay cuts and tax rises for the less well off and service cuts for everyone is not a credible or sensible way to proceed.

  44. Good Evening.

    Just re read ASA BRIGGS= ‘Victorian Cities’ Page 329

    on the ‘Bloody Sunday and Bloody Monday riots in London in 1886 and 1887. Well worth a look.

    I think we need a new Rowntree and Booth-type analysis of society, looking not just at economic causation of the riots.

    I see ED Miliband is saying he will lead an enquiry. It could lead somewhere, and open up a flank for the BLUE LABOUR idea of fatih, flag and family, which Mr Glassmann is positing

    Disraeli’s famous TWO NATIONS quotation (SYBIL) is also worth a look, as is the Chief Rabbi in the TIMES today.

    JOHN B DICK: Thank you for your response. I find it very interesting to see where Harriet, Tony, Diane and Nick send their children. They know the truth about what schools for the ‘ordinary’ children are like.

    The eleven year old girl in court yesterday (TIMES) who refused to apologise even when her parents asked her will be a pupil in three weeks time in a Year 7 class.

    Having said all this, I also remember quotations from Plato’s time lamenting the corruption of youth. Thus my History teacher always used to say: ‘Every generation is equidistant from eternity’

    Also: I was listening in the car to Lennon’s WORKING CLASS HERO. Not a man i normally quote, but powerful at this stage.

  45. Steve

    The comment was by a new SNP MSP in his role as a St Mirren supporter commenting about Greenock (Morton) on a football site.

    A stupid thing to do, of course, and he has been duly eviscerated by the Chief Whip, for giving ammunition to such as you who seem to confuse politics and football (twice on the same thread, suggests that you are struggling to find things to support your relentless negativity).

  46. Oldnat

    The SNP have got it wrong.

    Stop sectarianism and football violence.

    Ban football.

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