Tonight’s YouGov voting intention figures for the Sun are CON 36%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%. Despite the political upheaval of the riots, there is very little change in voting intentions – a 6 point Labour lead is at the low end of YouGov’s recent range, but the underlying Labour lead still seems to be about 7-8 points.


129 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 36, LAB 42, LDEM 10”

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  1. @Ronnie

    “I think we need to look at the Nordic countries as they seem to have more inclusive societies where they do not have the type of disfunction in their society that we do (I am talking trends here rather than ‘nutty’ Norwgeian gunmen) – where they have had a lot of success at keeping the gap between rich and poor relatively low while at the same time not stiffling economic development.”

    It’s called social democracy, Ronnie, and we really should try it some time!

  2. So, so far, 40% of those in court had no previous convictions.

    75% had no gang affiliations.

    Add to that about 80% were adult.

  3. @ The Greeny

    All I can tell you is what the study says.

    It’s distinction seems to be
    Single never married -as opposed to Divorced, separated or widowed.

    The implication is therefore Single in its literal sense.

    Source of the data is given as “Social Trends, Office for National Statistics”

  4. @Neil A – “what’s the practical solution?”

    Firstlly, as ever, it will be to correctly identify the problem(s). The evidence that family breakdown is ‘the’ cause is extremely flimsy, but it will be a factor in some individual cases. We’ve only actually had the notion of the nuclear family for a few short decades from the 1950’s or so – it’s a very recent social construction and doesn’t in itself link to any long term evidence of social or moral benefit.

    Where I do think there is an impact is on household incomes. It’s much easier to maintain good levels of income with two adults in a household, and there is solid evidence that income levels affect child outcomes. Indeed, rather than family breakdown being the root cause, its quite likely that the causality flows the other way, with low incomes leading to family breakdown. Sometimes the old adages have the ring of truth – love flies out the window when debt comes in the door.

    However, I’m falling into the trap set by the media – the figures clearly suggest that ‘young people’ are not the problem, as the proportion of youngsters involved in the riots is lower than the proportion of young people in the population as a whole, suggesting that we need to take a more rounded view.

    What to do about it? In the current context, we need to mix encouragement with enforcement. We need to alter the odds of the gamble people take when opting for criminality. That means making work easier to find and more rewarding, while also making criminality less attractive and more risky.

    Work is good – we need more of it, so plenty of investment and training. I’m bemused that we have new Enterprise Zones in West Oxfordshire and Cambridge (unemployment 6.5%) but not places like Easington, Co Durham (30% unemployment). But the principle of jobs growth is sound.

    There is much to be done to make work pay, and I’m glad IDS is trying to deal with the benefits trap. Once realistic options open up for people I would then also take a tougher line of entitlements. I’ve previously favoured time limiting employment benefits so that claimants might only get 5 years of benefits in any 10 year period – sitting permanently on benefits simply must not be permitted to be the default long term option.

    Finally, criminality needs to be made much harder. As I see it, it’s a means to an end – people want income. I would like to see anyone convicted of a crime for financial gain have no rights to retain any wealth or assets that cannot be proved by them to be legitimately earned. If they can’t prove they have some form of legitimate earnings record or other legal income source the state can potentially remove anything and everything they own, including assets from related parties if they also fail to produce evidence of legal earnings. It would almost certainly breach human rights legislation, but do I care? Not a lot.

    To fund the undoubted upfront cost of such initiatives we would need to tax wealth and assets to reduce the debt and provide some leeway for the spending needed, but the bottom line is that society has to provide the conditions where there is work and it is worthwhile, while ensuring that the risks of declining this offer are great.

  5. @ RONNIE

    ““I think we need to look at the Nordic countries as they seem to have more inclusive societies where they do not have the type of disfunction in their society that we do”

    Could you provide the comparative data to support that claim please.

    In searching for it you might like to consider the following :-

    Suicide rates.
    Alchoholism
    Drug addiction
    Foster children rates

  6. There does seem to be the start of a turn against the harsh sentencing coming out for the lesser offenses, as apparent collective punishment for the whole riots.

    The Facebook ‘incitement to riot’ sentences appear out of all proportion to the actual acts of the people sentenced, and I hope will be promptly appealed. And nearly everyone is putting some distance between themselves and the councils evicting family members of those who haven’t even received a conviction, except the usual suspects in the Daily Mail crowd and Eric Pickles.

  7. Some pretty poor employment statistics this morning that confirm the general economic situation has turned down. Unemployment and the claimant count have both increased, while there has also been an increase in redundancies (biased towards females) and a reduction in vacancies.

    The figures are poor but also don’t contain much joy for the near future either.

  8. @Jayblanc – “The Facebook ‘incitement to riot’ sentences appear out of all proportion to the actual acts of the people sentenced, and I hope will be promptly appealed.”

    I’m not a legal expert so I don’t know what to compare this against, but of all the sentencing stories I’ve read so far this one appears to have the most merit in my view.

    The two were actively organising meeting times and venues with the clear intention of gathering people for violent disorder. To me, that warrents a serious punishment.

  9. @ Nick Poole

    So, so far, 40% of those in court had no previous convictions.

    So 60% had previous convictions. Conclusion. The penal system does not work. Far too soft IMO

    75% had no gang affiliations.

    25% of those caught did have gang affiliations. 1 in 4 of those caught we gangsters.

    Add to that about 80% were adult.

    So all this rubbish about youth unemployment and no EMA being the cause, is just so much thin air.

  10. Were these the people who were going to burn down the Olympic Stadium?

  11. Nah Alec, it’s moral panic. people write stupid things on facebook all the time, especially when the pub shuts (“the revolution starts at closing time!”). One of them woke up next morning and deleted it and apologised.

    The police showed up and the meeting place but no rioters. Do them for wasting police time maybe, but 4 years?

    You gotta be joking. Two criminals created out of tw*ts.

  12. @ CROSSBAT 11

    “It’s called social democracy, Ronnie, and we really should try it some time!”

    Having tried it for sometime themselves, voters in the Nordic countries appear to have decided in recent years they have had more than enough of it

  13. @John Fletcher – “So all this rubbish about youth unemployment and no EMA being the cause, is just so much thin air.”

    That’s a very good point. You can’t have people like me defending the mass of young people by pointing to the numbers of arrests but then still blaming cuts and economic pressures on those same young people as a causal factor.

    @Nick Poole – as I say, I’m not a legal expert, nor have I looked at the court transcripts (as I suspect few commentators have). Without these we really aren’t in a position to judge if this sentence was fair or not.

  14. I don’t think we should blame anything without some sort of evidence. Yet Cameron gas alraedy sele cted the 120,000 families who will be scapegoated…I assume they will all have no dad present, be on benefits and have criminal records, drink or drug problems and social workers already aware.

    But how many of the rioters actually fit that profile or are part of the nominated 120,000 families?

    Who are they, these lawless b*stards?

  15. I think these riots may prove to be a positive event in the long run. Atleast there is now a debate on the many issues that have been a sore that has been gradually eating away at the flesh of the moral fabric of life in Britain. As has been pointed out, rioting and looting are nothing new. If you look back through the news archives in any country, you will find evidence of occasional outbreaks taking place. This is not British issue and other countries looking at recent events should not be complacent about their own situations.

    I have seen documentaries about street gangs in LA where Bratton is supposed to have been a supercop. In some areas of LA, the Police rarely venture into them, as the local gangs have taken over control of them. It is true that in New York Bratton had more success, but that involved investment in extra Police, with many initiatives being taken. In New York there has also been some change to the way some crimes are reported in terms of statistics. NY claims to have less violent crime overall than London, however the reason for this sudden change is that NYPD no longer count common assault as a felony statistic, instead it is put under petty crime stats, thus they cut over 50% of the their violent crime off the official stats.
    So you have to question how crime statistics are arrived at to make a comparison. It can be a bit misleading to look at statistics and to start drawing conclusions that the UK is any worse than any comparable country.

  16. Isn’t there a risk by declaring that gangs are a big problem and declaring war on them, you make them seem glamorous and dangerous and in effect do their recruiting for them?

    I think gangs are not a widespread problem now. But if you give them credence as a force they might well become widespread.

  17. Even during the 70s I don’t remember things being as depressing in this country as they are now. Cameron’s legacy may be to leave the UK in a much more miserable state than when he took over – [Snip. I think we have established that as a Labour supporter you don’t like the government. Neither do most or all Labour supporters – AW]

  18. wolf

    Were these the people who were going to burn down the Olympic Stadium?

    Nope Northwich and Warrington. Unless someone’s moved the Olympics to Cheshire, that’s way too far to go on your pushbike.

    Actually I’m highly cynical about the Met’s claims Scotland Yard stopped attacks by rioters on sites across London hours before they had been due to take place. I suspect they are worried that the public will find out how many police were held back protecting high profile sites on the Monday night of the riots, while many of London’s less glamorous high streets burned.

    What, I hear you cry, the Met brief the Press with incorrect information to make themselves look better. Who would believe such a thing could happen? :D

  19. @Nick Poole – “Isn’t there a risk by declaring that gangs are a big problem and declaring war on them, you make them seem glamorous and dangerous and in effect do their recruiting for them?”

    I had very similar concerns, I must admit. While I understand policing is almost as much about reassuring the public as about dealing with actual crime, I do feel that the constant need for politicians to make big anti crime announcements might be counter productive.

    If I was operating a gang right now, I would be busy planning all sorts of defensive strategies, tightening up my security, training my members in how to deal with interrogations and how to provide either no or misleading information and reorganising my communications lines to make them less susceptible to attack by powerful state security forces.

    It may have been far better for the police to go to war on gangs unannounced and without the big political fanfares. At least they might have had a few weeks grace to operate within before the wider gang membership realised they were at war.

    @DavidB – “Even during the 70s I don’t remember things being as depressing in this country as they are now.”

    Well you memory is probably wrong. As someone pointed out previously, every Saturday in the football season in England and Scotland there was probably more street violence than we saw on any one day last week, and there was a general air of nihilistic fatalism among young people. I’ll grant you that the music was much better, but the fashion – oh God, that really was depressing.

    Having said that, I’m still trying to weigh the balance of awfullness between 1970s flares and kipper ties and 2011 low slung trousers and knee length crotches. I saw a video of a rioter unable to run away from the police fast enough as his trousers were slung so low he fell over. At first I thought he was making a political statement by showing his *rse to the police lines, but no – it was just a fashion statement.

    I get very fascist about this. I should have the right to cleanse the street of inappropriate fashions, with lengthy prison terms for anyone with a trouser crotch level with their knees and anyone (male or female) showing their pants above their waist band.

    Wha’appen? Talk about moral disintegration!

  20. Interesting piece in today’s Private Eye (not on-line so I have to transcribe it for you, you lucky people):

    “Youths armed with glass bottles, bricks and stones turned a high street into a warzone”, reported the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal – not this month, but back in March.

    Riot police took until 5 am to restore order as around 200 youths aged between 14 and 20, rampaged along Hornsey High Street. Police vehicles were damaged, people were arrested for violent disorder and one bar was stripped of its licence after the incident. Police Sergeant Michael Tisi told the local paper that even after he was joined by several marked police units: “I felt it was not safe for officers to intervene as we were massively outnumbered”.

    Oddly enough this incident wasn’t even covered by London’s Evening Standard and it completely failed to spark copycat violence and moral panic across the country. Could this possibly be because the riot kicked off on 12 March while rolling TV news and social media were otherwise engaged following the Japanese earthquake and unfolding nuclear crisis?

    I’m always dubious about claims that ‘the media’ are responsible for things. But it does make you wonder

  21. John Fletcher

    […]So 60% had previous convictions. Conclusion. The penal system does not work. Far too soft IMO

    […]25% of those caught did have gang affiliations. 1 in 4 of those caught we[re] gangsters.

    Was that ‘we gangsters’ a Freudian slip. ;)

    You need to be slightly cautious about these figures. Those caught are those who could be identified. Now those who already convicted will have their details in police files and so be easier to identify and catch. In fact you can bet that when the CCTV discs came in local police spotted a lot of people they expected to spot without even looking up the files. So it doesn’t mean that 60% of all rioter/looters will have had previous convictions

    You’ve also got remember that an awful lot of people do have a criminal record. They don’t seem to have central records, but according to this report on various age cohorts:

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hosb401.pdf

    by the age of 45 32.6 per cent. of males and 8.7 per cent. of females born in 1953 had a criminal record in England and Wales.

    So if a third of men are going to have a criminal record (mostly from their teens/twenties) those before the Courts are looking more and more like the rest of the population.

  22. It’s a political risk for Cameron to be the one saying Gangs are to blame, when people can point out he was a member of what amounts to an upper-class gang when at Oxford. I suspect he wants to get this ‘delegated’ off to someone as quickly as he can, and that appears to be Bratton.

  23. @ Roger Mexico

    I think you raise a very good point. The media can fuel events with their coverage.

  24. Sentencing seems about right to me, an incitement to riot must surely be in the same category as mutiny on a ship?

    That the two convicted look like they haven’t got 2 brain cells between them, is neither here nor there.

    Of course it would be too much to hope that this is ushering in a new dawn on realistic sentencing? Still too many apologists for criminals in positions of power, sadly.

    ALEC

    “I get very fascist about this. I should have the right to cleanse the street of inappropriate fashions, with lengthy prison terms for anyone with a trouser crotch level with their knees and anyone (male or female) showing their pants above their waist band.”

    If you ever mount a coup d’etat & take over the Green Party as it’s leader, I’ll switch from blue to green. lol

  25. @ Robert Newark

    “Sentencing seems about right to me, an incitement to riot must surely be in the same category as mutiny on a ship?”

    No if it was a case of mutiny they would be put in front of a firing squad or given the chop (literally).

    At £40k a year prison is a pretty expensive option and that does not take into account the costs of dealing with them when they come out.

    Perhaps if we can’t shoot or guillotine them, we can transport them to US or Australia like we used to several hundred year ago.

  26. R Huckle

    ‘At £40k a year prison is a pretty expensive option and that does not take into account the costs of dealing with them when they come out’.

    It all adds up, if we say have 100,000 in prison, that comes to £4 billion, if my sums are right.

    However, I do think in the past some people have tried to quantitfy the cost of these criminals not in prison. Obviously for someone who does not repeat a crime the cost is nothing, but many of those in prison are serial criminals, who constantly commit crimes, and the cost to society not just in suffering but financial is enormous.

    Do you have any details?

  27. @ Roger Mexico

    “Could this possibly be because the riot kicked off on 12 March while rolling TV news and social media were otherwise engaged following the Japanese earthquake and unfolding nuclear crisis?”

    It could be.

    It could also be because no shops were burned to the ground, costing livelihoods & jobs; no houses or flats were burned out, forcing people onto the streets with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, no one was killed by rioters, Mark Duggan had not yet been shot by The Met, and Blackberries were not used to incite the same stuff in other areas.

    Who knows?

    The Police do presumably .

  28. Jayblanc

    ‘It’s a political risk for Cameron to be the one saying Gangs are to blame, when people can point out he was a member of what amounts to an upper-class gang when at Oxford. I suspect he wants to get this ‘delegated’ off to someone as quickly as he can, and that appears to be Bratton’.

    And if he, David Dimbleby, Boris or any other members of the gang, have driven people from their homes, burnt down people’s business and livelihoods with it, chucked rocks at police, or murdered innocent civilians then they should be serving long sentences in prison too.

    However, I think you may have just been making a point that the sort of University club DC belonged to, and the way he sometimes dressed makes you feel uncomfortable, I can understand that. My University in Belfast did not offer such things, as if they had, I don’t think I would have wanted to join.

  29. Interesting isn’t it how our PM now has such a black & white attitude to lawbreaking and sentencing.

    Given that, when asked a direct question about his own alledged previous misdemeanours (which could have resulted in a seven year stretch) he said “What’s private in the past should remain private.”

    But then as a certain politician once said, we all do things in our youth that we regret. And of course, everyone deserves a second chance.

  30. Henry

    In 2000 the estimated cost of crime was £60 billion, so I guess the cost would be a lot higher than that. But you would have to breakdown the amounts to see how it is made up.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1083212.stm

    In 2009 the estimate rose to £78 billion according to another report.

  31. Roger Mexico

    ‘You need to be slightly cautious about these figures. Those caught are those who could be identified. Now those who already convicted will have their details in police files and so be easier to identify and catch. In fact you can bet that when the CCTV discs came in local police spotted a lot of people they expected to spot without even looking up the files. So it doesn’t mean that 60% of all rioter/looters will have had previous convictions’.

    Unfortunately, probably those who plotted the riots, particularly building on the ill feeling following Duggan’s death, will never be caught. They are not only more dangerous but also much more clever and devious than the average rioter and looter. There has been alot of chat about rioting the moment the Coalition was formed, and obviously some people were just waiting the opportunity.

    This why I believe, that anyone caught inciting riot will suffer heavy prison sentences.

  32. @ Henry

    “many of those in prison are serial criminals, who constantly commit crimes, and the cost to society not just in suffering but financial is enormous”

    CBI produced a Report “Getting back on the straight and narrow -A better criminal justice system for all”
    in April 2008.

    The Executive Summary contained these statements :-

    “the overall cost of crime in each year in the UK is £60bn, the equivalent of 5% of GDP”

    “We spend almost £15bn on public services related to
    criminal justice, a third of which is ‘offender management’ – the prison and probation services.”

    “Reducing the re-offending rate for ex-prisoners from its current rate of over 65% by just 10% would save over £1bn”

  33. Henry.

    Of course there WAS a lot of comment about potential riots back in spring 2010. Are you suggesting that Clegg should be charged with incitement?

    More seriously, you seem to take it as read that there were evil geniuses masterminding the riots. Is it beyond possibility that the riots may have been spontaneous?

  34. LeftyLampton
    … when asked a direct question about his own alledged previous misdemeanours (which could have resulted in a seven year stretch) …

    If he has done a crime that deserves a 7 year penalty for a first time offence, it must be bad, as you only get four years for inciting a riot and a drug dealer yesterday got 11 months.

    I think it is a matter of put up or shut up; if he has done a serious crime then he should be prosecuted, if not then the rumour mongers should keep their mouths shut. It might seem a good way to win a few votes, but will cause tit for tat and is more likely to turn the voter against all politicians.

  35. LeftyLampton

    “And of course, everyone deserves a second chance.”

    As I undrstand it 60% of those arrested so far have had at least one chance.

    In one instance 144 prior offences were cited :-)

  36. Leftylampton

    ‘Of course there WAS a lot of comment about potential riots back in spring 2010. Are you suggesting that Clegg should be charged with incitement?’

    No because he did not, but I expect he regrets unwise words on this, tuition fees, etc. He is learning a new experience now in Govt that ‘unwise words come back to haunt you’

    ‘More seriously, you seem to take it as read that there were evil geniuses masterminding the riots. Is it beyond possibility that the riots may have been spontaneous?’

    No.

  37. Henry.

    But Cameron himself has had ample opportunity to refute the allegations. Times many he’s been asked direct questions on the matter. Times many he’s dissembled. Why on earth would any politician NOT categorically refute such a slur?

    This is not about party politics by the way. It is about the rank hypocrisy of a politician, any politician, applauding a four year sentence for a couple of idiotic kids pour encourager les autres, whilst claiming that his own (alleged) criminal activity was “merely something that I shouldn’t have done.”

    I’ll be honest. If my kids were starting a four year stretch for posting some stupidity on the internet, after giving them the bollockings of their lives, I’d be camped out on Westminster Green demanding that Cameron give a straight answer about his own record, and face the judicial consequences.

  38. Colin

    “the overall cost of crime in each year in the UK is £60bn, the equivalent of 5% of GDP”

    Thanks I will look up the document.

    Investment in prison reform to reduce the rate of re-offence is a very sound investment .

    However, I do think it would strengthen the arguement of those opposed to prison to be able to say what it costs to keep people in prison and what it costs for the same people to be on the streets. Unless of course it is cheaper to lock them up then let them walk free.

  39. Leftylampton

    I’ll be honest. If my kids were starting a four year stretch for posting some stupidity on the internet, after giving them the bollockings of their lives, I’d be camped out on Westminster Green demanding that Cameron give a straight answer about his own record, and face the judicial consequences.

    One hopes that one’s kids remain honest and do not do wrong. As a parent, one accepts that children make mistakes or are tempted, but I would be pretty devastated if my kids were to show such contempt for other UK citizens, as to try to incite riot, that might and usually does result in people losing their homes and all their possessions, their business and livelihood or being robbed or even being murdered.

  40. Henry,

    And I’d be horrified if my kids grew up to be the sort of hypocrite who condemns one crime out of hand and turns a blind eye to another. If we are to have a bninary approach to crime, morality and punishment, then let it apply across the board.

    The political class and their apologists seem oblivious to the rot. The kids at street level may not have their analytical intellectual skills, but they sure as hell know bulls**t when they smell it. How are politicians to be taken seriously preaching a creed of respect for the law when they don’t apply it to themselves?

    The attitude that YOU are a criminal threat to the fabric of society whilst WE are people who slightly overstepped the mark once or twice as kids is utterly corrosive.

  41. Leftylampton

    ‘And I’d be horrified if my kids grew up to be the sort of hypocrite who condemns one crime out of hand and turns a blind eye to another’.

    I, for one condemn all crime, and hope that as many criminals as possible are caught, convicted and hopefully reformed.

    ‘The attitude that YOU are a criminal threat to the fabric of society whilst WE are people who slightly overstepped the mark once or twice as kids is utterly corrosive’.

    I feel uneasy about these comments YOU/WE – either condemning me or general members of the public who have done little wrong. OK they may pick up and pay the odd parking fine, and some get caught speeding, and then pay the penalty according to the seriousness of the offence. A surprisingly large number of people work hard, pay their taxes, only claim expenses they are entitled to, and try not to break the law.

    True over recent years Parliament had got very lax, and the controls that help ensure expenses are reasonable that exist in most organisations outside Parliament (including top civil servants) just were not there. Also the bankers got away with things that would have been difficult under better regulation.

    I condemn both MPs and bankers, who did wrong, and also the lax regulation that had seeped in and made it all possible.

    ‘The political class and their apologists seem oblivious to the rot. The kids at street level may not have their analytical intellectual skills, but they sure as hell know bulls**t when they smell it.’

    Actually I disagree with your view on ‘analytical intellectual skills’, I do not beleive there is a great difference between people in skills, but more lack of fulfilling potential.

    This is why I am glad at least one politician (IDS) at last is really trying to tackle the idea that people with such a poor start in lives can achieve alot, but even more important to tackle the environment and culture that is so damaging.

    I don’t agree that young people ‘sure as hell know bulls**t when they smell it’. I am afraid that too often slick speakers and devious people lead innocent kids, particularly from poor backgrounds into a lfe of crime.

  42. Just watched a clip of Nick Clegg, on YouTube during the GE campaign, warning there would be riots if a Government, with a only thin mandate, introduced savage cuts.
    He must have had a crystal ball! 8-)

  43. LEFTYLAMPTON

    I fully agree with the sentiments of your post at 3.48pm.

    ……………………………

    On the matter of the strength of LD opposition to the kneejerk reactiosn of DC and the Cons to the riots.

    How serious is this? Will NC and the LDs swallow their pride and forget their principles and accept the knnejerk reactions and responses? Or will they dig their heels in and seek to compel DC to relent?

    Indeed, how can DC do a u-turn (again) on an issue which will invoke Tory party anger? (DC has adopted a rather rightwing reactionary position that he cannot easily move away from.) And, how can NC not insist on a more reasonable stance by DC?

    Is this an issue which could fracture the coalition?

    I’ve always thought that something unexpected (of course!) would arise that revealed the ideological differences between the two parties and which would severly test the coalition bonds..

  44. Ha! Unintentionally I wrote ‘severly’ rather than ‘severely’.

  45. @Mike N

    LibDem Conference starts September 17th.

    Isn’t that going to be fun.

  46. Jayblanc
    I’m sure a great time will be had by one and all.

    Do you think DC’s agreeing to an enquiry into the riots will suffice for the LD party?

  47. @ Valerie

    Just watched a clip of Nick Clegg, on YouTube during the GE campaign, warning there would be riots if a Government, with a only thin mandate, introduced savage cuts.
    _________________________________________

    Does not make the cuts wrong however. Its just means the kids don’t like having their sweeties taken away from them.

  48. john fletcher

    If you take “their sweeties” out of your sentence and replace with “any hope for their future” I will agree with you.

  49. Valerie

    That would be Mystic Clegg?

  50. Henry.

    The YOU/WE was absolutely not aimed at you. Nor were the comments on hypocrisy. They were aimed at a political class that is quick to moralise and slow to self-criticise. If we are to fix our allegedly broken society with more than the bull-whip and threat of utterly disproportionate custodial sentences then we must have a political class which is an examplar of morality.

    Unfortunately, that is precisely what we HAVE had in recent decades. The sheer cheek of a PM who has skirmed and dissembled when asked a straight question about his alleged criminal activity, pontificating about the sanctity of law is breathtaking.

    If Cameron was serious about respect for the law, he could do the whole country a service with a little mea culpa. And then letting the law take its path.

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