YouGov’s daily poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11% – it’s a lower lead for Labour than we’ve seen in YouGov’s recent polls, but I’ll just leave that with my normal caveats about not reading too much into a single poll. It may be Labour’s increased hackgate lead receeding… or it may just be margin of error, and we’ll find Labour’s lead back to around 8 points tomorrow.

There is not much change from last week in how the political leaders are perceived as having responded to the riots – 45% think Cameron has responded well, 49% badly (from 45% to 49% last week), 42% think Miliband has responded well, 41% badly (from 40% to 40% last week). The standard leadership ratings for Cameron and Miliband remain largely unchanged too.

Most of the questions are still riot related – Almost half (48%) of people think the sentences for rioters are about right, with the remainder more likely to think they are too soft (31%) than too harsh (14%). On the specific case of the two men given 4 years a piece for failing to incite riots through Facebook, 32% think the sentences were too harsh, but 50% think they were right and 13% too soft.

Looking at further measures that have been suggested, 95% would support making those involved help repair the damaged caused, 81% would support naming and shaming those under 18s convicted, 81% would support making those convicted apologise to their victims. 68% would support stopping the welfare benefits of those convicted. On the question of evicting people who are convicted of rioting from council accommodation, 62% of people would support evicting tenants themselves if they involved in the riots, but this drops to only 34% when asked about evicting families whose children were involved in the riots.

Looking at longer term responses to the riots, 56% of people would support the re-introduction of national service, with 32% opposed (there is a strong correlation with age here, two-third of over 60s would support it, under 25s are marginally opposed to it). A national citizen service, requiring compulsory community work for all young people, is more popular – 77% would support it with only 14% opposed. There is less support for the government promoting marriage in the tax and benefit system – 39% think it should, 48% think it should not be the government’s place to promote marriage.

Moving to the topic of tuition fees, only 29% of people think that a university education is worth £9000 a year. However, they are evenly split on whether this means people will be better or worse off financially from going to university. 40% think graduates will still be better off as increased salaries will outweigh the costs of going to university, 42% think graduates will end up worse off.

Finally, on trains 79% of people think current fares represent bad value for money. 47% think the government should maintain rail subsidies, even if this means larger cuts elsewhere. 24% think that the government is right to cut subsidies.

Full tabs are here.


157 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36, LAB 40, LDEM 11”

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  1. “There is less support for the government promoting marriage in the tax and benefit system – 39% think it should, 48% think it should be the government’s place to promote marriage.”
    39% think it should and 48% think it should?
    And I thought I needed to proof-read my posts. ;)

  2. I don’t need to – I have you all to do it for me :)

  3. YOUGOV
    56% of those polled, including 40% of those aged 18-24 & 40% off Labour voters!, answered “support” in response to the following YouGov proposition.

    “Would you support or oppose re-introducing
    “national service” – a compulsory period within
    the armed services for all young people?”

    Is there much point in having selective questions like in opinion polls when all they do is elicit such brain-dead responses. I suppose they tell one something about how the public thinks, but surely even the most committed supporter of this proposal would, after a few moments reflection, become aware of its its total impracticality. All it amounts to is: “something should be done”.

  4. YOUGOV

    Should have read “… 49% of Labour supporters” My eyesight is not what it was: presumably why I won’t be conscripted to appear in “Carry on Sergeant”

  5. “Is there much point in having selective questions like in opinion polls when all they do is elicit such brain-dead responses”

    Actually I don’t think the response was “brain dead”-there was a second question in which non-military citizenship service was substituted. Support was considerably higher for this option…………..indicating brain active responses to both options .

  6. AW
    Finally, on trains 79% of people think current fares represent bad value for money. 47% think the government should maintain rail subsidies, even if this means larger cuts elsewhere. 24% think that the government is right to cut subsidies.

    Its easy thing to say ‘government should maintain rail subsidies, even if this means larger cuts elsewhere’, but would this not be true of almost everything the govt is spending money on? I suspect it may not apply to ‘benefits’ and ‘foreign aid’ (and that’s about all) but I am just guessing.

  7. There’s a guy called Ron Paul running for the Presidency in America. What are his views you ask? Well….let’s just say….if these numbers are accurate, then he wouldn’t have the slightest chance of becoming Prime Minister over here.

  8. @ Colin
    “Actually I don’t think the response was “brain dead”-there was a second question in which non-military citizenship service was substituted. Support was considerably higher for this option…………..indicating brain active responses to both options .”

    Yes, 85% of Tory voters responded “support” to the following proposal.

    “Would you support or oppose introducing a
    “national citizen service” – a compulsory period
    of community service (such as helping
    community or charitable projects) for all young
    people?”

    These are the same voters who think the cuts are not deep enough! Their “brain activity” apparently does not encompass political consistency or any notion of how such a billions-costing national service would be financed. I’ve been reading this kind of dross since the early 1960s. Why does British political culture never move on? Still, it would bring down the [rising] youth unemployment rate: perhaps the idea will appeal to the Bullingdon Boys on those grounds.

  9. When you look at the actual poll data, it is a very mixed picture for all parties. I think over the next week or so, we could see some odd polling, with one day labour leading by 4 and then a few days later leading by 10.

    Just my gut instinct looking at some of the breakdown of the polling. e.g Labour showing a large lead in London, the LD’s picking up 2-3% for no particular reason, unless seeing Simon Hughes on TV more than Clegg appeals to people. Perhaps some who have voted LD before, who have been flirting with Labour, have been swayed by Hughes. If this is so, this begs the question as to whether people would be more likely to vote for the LD’s if they changed leader.

  10. The Tories shouldn’t be dancing in the streets yet (apart from anything else they might get locked away for years). The Sunday Times polls can often have a slightly rogue-ish feel: they often have very few under-25s in the original sample for example and the sample size is a bit lower that normal. We need at least a couple more polls to see a trend and any post riot effect should already have been showing in the polls.

    Those who are hoping for a massive Libya boost are definitely indulging in wishful thinking. It hasn’t really registered on the political scale and support/opposition has been astonishingly evenly spread across voters of all Parties (even now). If you want some context on the attention Libya has had among the public, YouGov’s panel (probably more politically aware than average) thought it was going Badly v Well 48% v 26%. Admittedly this was taken Thursday night/Friday day, but even then the rebels were doing well.

  11. @ Roger Mexico

    YouGov’s panel (probably more politically aware than average) thought it was going Badly v Well 48% v 26%. Admittedly this was taken Thursday night/Friday day, but even then the rebels were doing well.
    ———————————————-
    I don’t remember a poll which showed that all, or even the majority, of the YG panel support the rebels, Roger. Perhaps they don’t consider the current state of affairs as things going well…
    8-)

  12. R HUCKLE

    I don’t there is much doubt that the LD’s would do better in the polls under a different leader. I would encourage them to go for Simon Hughes as soon as possible as Simon and DC are unlikely to get on and a new GE would come round quite quickly.

  13. DavidB
    “I don’t there is much doubt that the LD’s would do better in the polls under a different leader”

    Surely the important thing is whether they would be more or less likely to form part of the next government? This would be a very difficult political calculation.

  14. I’m not sure how well the LDs would do in polls, with a new leader, without a clear intention of coalition preference.

    I’m not sure Lab-Lib swing-voters would trust the LDs unless there was a clear ‘no Tory coalition’ message – and even then, it’d have to be clearer than Nick Clegg’s anti-Tory messages pre-election.

  15. David B

    I don’t there is much doubt that the LD’s would do better in the polls under a different leader. I would encourage them to go for Simon Hughes as soon as possible as Simon and DC are unlikely to get on and a new GE would come round quite quickly.

    I voted for Simon as leader once, but there is little chance now. The last thing the LDs want or need is a GE, both in terms of finance and also political expectation. They will wait until 2015; if there is an upturn they may benefit. If not their political standing will not be much worse than their polls indicate now.

  16. One factor that is being overlooked is the highly probable imminent royal assent of the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill. Once that comes into law, a Lib Dem exit from the coalition will NOT result in a general election unless a 2/3 majority in Parliament wants one. In effect, that means a general election will only be possible if both the Conservative and Labour parties want one at the same time, and I can’t see the Tories agreeing to a GE that Labour thinks it will win, or vice versa.

    Make no mistake, the Lib Dems will be weighing up the option of withdrawing from the coalition and reverting to Confidence and Supply until a 2015 election. And if the rank and file decide this is the better political option, Nick Clegg will be out on his arse before you can say “Who buggered up the AV referendum?”

  17. There is less support for the government promoting marriage in the tax and benefit system – 39% think it should, 48% think it should not be the government’s place to promote marriage.
    ————————————–
    At least 48% are not ‘brain-dead’ then. ;-)

  18. AmberStar @ Roger Mexico

    “YouGov’s panel (probably more politically aware than average) thought it was going Badly v Well 48% v 26%. Admittedly this was taken Thursday night/Friday day, but even then the rebels were doing well.”

    What do people mean by “Going badly”, and is it always the same thing? Even if we are sure that it is “going bady” then, is it a reflection on the approval of government, the military or neither?

    Take your pick

    1. This government are totally incompetent and mess up everything but fortunately the military are not and are winning the war.

    2 Despite the heroism of our forces and the brilliance of our political leaders due to the failure of the previous government to provide traning and manpower we are struggling in a hostile terrain to achieve unrealistic goals.

    3 Due to the brilliance of our political leaders and our well trained forces we are certain to succeed but these things take time and there are temporary reverses.

    4 We are losing because the forces are held back by a reluctance of politicians to pursue the war because of the left’s squeamishness regarding using land mines and tactical nuclear weapons.

    What do I think?

    The old cliche in hospitals used to be that the patient was “doing as well as could be expected”. That leaves open who expected it, whether that person is an optimist or a pessimist, and what was expected.

    I’m sure we are “doing as well as could be expected”. That says nothing about the prognosis, winning or losing, or who is responsible for the result.

    There is new information about the key factors of the Battle of Bannockburn that suggest the English side have been unfairly judged to have been feart and run away, opposed by a much smaller force whereas it wasn’t like that at all.

    They still lost, though.

    http://elenkus.co.uk/

  19. @ John B Dick

    You forgot option 5:

    5) We are losing because we’re measuring success entirely on the progress around the eastern front which has been a stalemate around Brega for months and please don’t bother me with tedious details about the progress that the rebels are making in the mountains around Tripoli – it’s not like that’s going to result in the capture of the key towns around the capital or anything, is it?

    I suppose there’s option 6 which is that the real fight begins with the establishment of a post-war government, and there’s reasons to worry about the behaviour or stability on the TNC, but that would involve crediting people with intelligence, and my faith in that has been shaken by the hordes of people claiming that Gadaffi is Libya’s beloved little fatherkin who was only joking when he threatened to massacre the eastern half of his country.

  20. Some interesting attitude changing on responses to the riots. No real change on general sentencing – you wouldn’t expect it with only a day’s difference in fieldwork. But the Facebook ‘rioters’ question over the same period had ‘too harsh’ go from 25% to 32%. I can’t see any reason for change in the wording, except possibly the later question describes them as ‘young’.

    More significantly support for evicting council tenants who rioted has dropped from 74% v 16% to 62% v 24%. Again there are some wording changes, the first is ‘convicted of’ the second ‘involved in’ – let’s have some consistency here, Anthony – but a change none the less. Similarly evicting rioters’ families has gone from 46% v 40% in favour to 42% v 34% against. Again wording changes (Anthony!!) but none that should make much difference.

    This seems to indicate a certain rethinking of their bloodlust on the part of the public. Note that in the family question most of the movement is to ‘not sure’. Though change on the benefits question seems minimal, the government should be careful to move even here in case public support melts away here (and fickle that they are, they won’t remember they supported it originally).

    Of course the fact that large numbers of homeless, penniless and aggrieved people will end up on the streets and this might not add to general well-being could also be taken into account.

  21. Amberstar,

    – “I know of at least one other person who is considering standing for the leadership, so we shall see.”

    Good. For all our sakes, I hope that it’s Malcolm Chisholm. He is probably the only Labour MSP with the status and the integrity to drag the party back to its feet by the scruff of the neck. The other names speculated about in the press are surely japes. Baillie or Macintosh would suffice at a pinch, but Johan Lamont would be an utter tragedy, both for your party and for the entire parliament.

    Good government is far more likely when a legislature has a sound, effective and competent opposition. Which is one of the reasons the UK has been governed so poorly since 1997. My own party would greatly benefit from a more competent opposition. I do not hold my breath. Willie Rennie is a standing joke, and I dread to think who the Tories are going to pick. So, Chisholm is the oppositions’ best chance of winning the referendum for the ‘No’ side.

  22. Amber

    As you know full well, the question is Overall do you think the coalition’s military action in Libya is going well or badly?. (Yes I know ‘Coalition’ is ambiguous here and have pointed it out before, we can assume that most people will take in the context of the previous question to mean “Britain, France, the US and other countries”. OK?). Given that action is backing the rebels against Gaddafi, most people would take success by those rebels as proxy for success by the aforementioned Coalition.

    At least 48% are not ‘brain-dead’ then.

    Or alternatively 48% are not married :P

  23. A couple of tidbits from Sweden:

    – the Left Party (the renamed Communist party) leader Lars Ohly resigned this week. That means that 4 of the 8 parliamentary parties have lost their leaders since the 2010 GE (Greens, Social Democrats, Left and Centre). The Christian Democrat leader looks like he might survive after a very shaky post-election onslaught. The Greens and the Social Democrats already have new leaders (the Green guy is very good) and it looks like the Centre Party are going to pick the bright 28 year old Annie Lööf.

    http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=99&artikel=4653338

    – … and there was a Swedish VI poll published today:

    SIFO / GP
    Väljarbarometern augusti 2011
    Respondents: 1913

    Left Block Opposition: 47.2%
    Social Democrats 32,8% (-2.4)
    Green 10,1% (+1.0)
    Left (communists) 4,3% (-0.2)

    Centre-right Governing Coalition: 45.8%
    Moderates 30,1% (+1.1)
    Peoples’ Party (lib) 7,4% (+1.2)
    Centre (lib) 4,3% (-0.2))
    Christian Democrats 4,0% (+0.4)

    Other:
    Sweden Democrats (BNP lite) 6,0% (-0.8)
    Other others 1,0% (-0.1)

  24. I think the haste with which so many were arrested and imprisoned after the riots will eventually have a negative effect on the government if more stories like this come out. I thought the police arrested people after finding evidence on CCTV that they had committed a crime. But obviously that is not the case in this incident. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/21/dane-williamson-cleared-manchester-riots

  25. I forgot the link to that VI survey:

    http://www.gp.se/nyheter/sverige/1.703646-fortsatt-jamnt-mellan-blocken

    Also forgot to mention that the Green Party have been in talks with the governing Centre-right coalition to support them on key votes, in order to freeze out the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who actually hold the balance of power in the hung parliament. Since the Red-Green opposition coalition self-destructed in their trauma over the election result, the Greens have been steadily drifting away from the crippled Social Democrats. This re-positioning was greatly assisted by the change in Green leadership, and the fact that the new Social Democrat leader seems determined to drage his party back to the left. I think we all know how that kind of tactic usually pans out…

  26. HENRY

    How the LDs would do in an early GE is very difficult to assess. They might get credit for deciding that a very unpopular government had run its course, they might do better than their poll rating would indicate in some regions, they might therefore only lose half their seats. Overall, they would probably do better under a new leader who needs to be different from Clegg and whilst I agree that Simon Hughes is an unlikely leader who else have they got with a bit of carisma.

    There will still be people in ther LD partyy who are still hankering after a rainbow coalition and I wonder if some conversations are going on in the background?

  27. Anthony, there was a Scottish poll published last week. Not VI though:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hB4Lms5kSWodotiFmvb5qPIRiFPA?docId=N0459111313667745472A

    Here is some fascinating analysis of the big by-election in central Edinburgh on Thursday. Scottish local by-elections have a much larger electorate than English ones, due to the huge multi-member wards. If you are a Lib Dem, probably best to not follow these links (“The Lib Dems are in perhaps even more of a pickle than they thought. They lost almost two thirds of their first preference votes, and from being elected first in 2007, they were ejected first this time.”):

    http://local.stv.tv/edinburgh/news/22978-the-edinburgh-city-centre-by-election-what-have-we-learnt/

    By-election aftermath: ‘The Lib Dems may lose half their seats’

    ht tp://www.scotsman.com/opinion/Byelection-aftermath-39The-Lib-Dems.6822064.jp

    But this could be the day’s biggest Scottish story: could this kind of thing spark off the West Lothian tinderbox?

    ht tp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-14607122

  28. Anthony, there was a Scottish poll published last week. Not VI though:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hB4Lms5kSWodotiFmvb5qPIRiFPA?docId=N0459111313667745472A

    Here is some fascinating analysis of the big by-election in central Edinburgh on Thursday. Scottish local by-elections have a much larger electorate than English ones, due to the huge multi-member wards. If you are a Lib Dem, probably best to not follow these links (“The Lib Dems are in perhaps even more of a pickle than they thought. They lost almost two thirds of their first preference votes, and from being elected first in 2007, they were ejected first this time.”):

    ht tp://local.stv.tv/edinburgh/news/22978-the-edinburgh-city-centre-by-election-what-have-we-learnt/

    By-election aftermath: ‘The Lib Dems may lose half their seats’

    ht tp://www.scotsman.com/opinion/Byelection-aftermath-39The-Lib-Dems.6822064.jp

    But this could be the day’s biggest Scottish story: could this kind of thing spark off the West Lothian tinderbox?

    ht tp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-14607122

  29. It’s funny how the one time beliefs of a stable, two parent family (supported by the tax system if need be) and the concept of instilling some notion of social discipline & responsibility in the young (supported by national service), are now deemed to be the policies of the ‘brain dead’.

    No wonder the country is in a mess, all everyone is interested is their rights & b ugger the concept of responsibility.

  30. @DAVIDB
    “who else have they got with a bit of charisma”

    I still like Vince Cable. Sure he couldn’t help boasting to pretty young “constituents” about going to war with Murdoch but still he was dead right on the credit crunch.

  31. Stuart Dickson @ Amberstar,

    “Good. For all our sakes, I hope that it’s Malcolm Chisholm. He is probably the only Labour MSP with the status and the integrity to drag the party back to its feet by the scruff of the neck.”

    For the very same reasons as you list, he won’t stand and wouldn’t be elected, and if elected he would be briefed against by the UK party and marginalised or worse.

    He was an acolyte of Donald Dewar’s and they don’t make them like that any more.

    When Health Minister answering in the parliament he said the words no English Health Minister could ever say.

    “I am on a waiting list.”

    How Old Labour, how Butskillite. How Scottish.

    We are too far down the slippery slope to independence to stop it now, and I doubt if MC would be allowed to Bavarianise and sort out Lanarkshire jobsworths and sleaze.

    He would be the best person – probably the only one – to lead a competent and effective opposition. Patrick Harvie does very well considering there are only two Greens but the Cons and LibDems have just sacked the most credible leaders they have.

    What they need first is a short sharp shock from a dominatrix – Susan Deacon, but she is gone having given up SLAB as hopeless. It is not for me to say she’s wrong.

  32. Vince Cable as next LD leader might not be a bad idea. He was perceived to have done a good job as caretaker leader after Ming resigned, and he is the only one with ministerial expirience who has at least voiced concerns about the Tories (one presumes Huhne is now out of the running no matter what happens with his case).

    Would anyone from the next generation (Farron?) want to take over and be the leader who (no matter what new direction they give) presides over a decimation of the parliamentary party at the next GE, as seems likely.

  33. ROBBIE ALIVE

    “Their “brain activity” apparently does not encompass political consistency or any notion of how such a billions-costing national service would be financed.”

    £60m over two years I think- 11,000 teenagers involved in twelve pilots this year, and 30,000 in 2012.

  34. In “riot lynchmobs are out of control” news; a lad was falsely accused of rioting and setting fire to a Miss Selfridge in Manchester, abused by prison staff and inmates while on remand and had his flat torched, presumably by vigilantes.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/21/dane-williamson-cleared-manchester-riots

  35. It’s funny how the one time beliefs of a stable, two parent family (supported by the tax system if need be) and the concept of instilling some notion of social discipline & responsibility in the young (supported by national service), are now deemed to be the policies of the ‘brain dead’.
    No wonder the country is in a mess, all everyone is interested is their rights & b ugger the concept of responsibility

    What on earth make anyone think that stable two parent families and instilling social discipline and responsibility are linked?

    I know feckless two parent households, and brilliant one parent ones.

    I don’t believe there is a causational link between the two at all. It is far more complicated than that.

  36. Liz Hancock

    “I think the haste with which so many were arrested and imprisoned after the riots will eventually have a negative effect on the government if more stories like this come out. ”

    I posted yesterday that the trials seemd to have occurred far too quickly. How can defence lawyers have properly considered the cases. Did the accused receive valid legal support/advice?

  37. Stuart:

    The SNP can’t lose.

    If they are right, Scottish voters will admire their “knavish tricks”, and vote for them.

    If they are wrong, and are forced to introduce fees for Scottish students, then they may have an opportunity to mention the potential advantages of independence.

    They will also mention that compulsory education (albeit only for the first sons of the nobility) was a Scottish first and that we had four universities for several centuries when England had only two (and made significant use of two in Holland) despite the difference in population.

  38. If you’re in need of a good chuckle see this:

    “The Tory right’s shopping list – cartoon – Chris Riddell on Conservative policy”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/cartoon/2011/aug/21/chris-riddell-tory-right-cartoon

    On the other hand you may think it’s not a laughing matter…

  39. It seems the LibDems have no more anti-cons to pass to the SNP and possibly also Labour but they are so few now that there is no point in mining in an exhausted seam.

    “Anoraks will be intrigued to see that almost a third of Labour voters prefer the Tories to the SNP.”

    They must put unionism before right-left choices, or Edinburgh Cons could well be further left socially than NewLabour, or they are new labour activists who hate the SNP beause they see the SNP as turncoats or Tartan tories, or its the candidates.

    Amber?

  40. “If they are wrong, and are forced to introduce fees for Scottish students, then they may have an opportunity to mention the potential advantages of independence.”

    They could try that, but they’d be rumbled. Assuming that the SNP still want Scotland to be part of the EU, they would have even more trouble charging different fees to English students, because EU rules prohibit treating citizens of different member states differently. I think it’s ludicrous that you can discriminate against people in your own country but not other EU countries, but that’s the way it is.

  41. @ Roger Mexico,

    What you forget is once there is a successful campaign, and Gaddaffi is toppled, it will be amazing how quickly the numbers will change and 70% of people will say “it was the right thing to do” all along.

    And then when sectarian strife rips the country apart 6 months later, 70% will say that military action should never have been taken.

    This is exactly what happened with Iraq (although because there is no WMD issue, even if things went really bad after Gaddafi was toppled it wouldn’t be quite so toxic for DC).

  42. @Chris Neville

    Yes, there was a good article on better nation here:

    http://www.betternation.org/2011/06/education-education-bugger-were-independent-wheres-the-money-gone/

  43. Chris Neville-Smith @ JBD

    JBD

    “If they are wrong, and are forced to introduce fees for Scottish students, then they may have an opportunity to mention the potential advantages of independence.”

    CNS

    “They could try that, but they’d be rumbled. Assuming that the SNP still want Scotland to be part of the EU, they would have even more trouble charging different fees to English students, because EU rules prohibit treating citizens of different member states differently.”

    That’s after independence, and they could try some other way, but isn’t England going to leave the EU after Scottish independence?

  44. “That’s after independence, and they could try some other way, but isn’t England going to leave the EU after Scottish independence?”

    Selling a benefit of independence that is dependent on a) attempting to circumvent EU rules, b) leaving the EU completely or c) an assumption that England will leave the EU is going to be a weak argument.

  45. Adrian B

    What you forget is once there is a successful campaign, and Gaddaffi is toppled, it will be amazing how quickly the numbers will change and 70% of people will say “it was the right thing to do” all along.

    I don’t doubt it at all – see my comments on the riots. Ungrateful b****rs the public. :D

    Luckily I don’t think there’s much sectarian conflict in Libya. Tribal though … I don’t think the aftermath will be pretty.

    The only thing that might help is that most people will be implicated in the previous regime in some way and, providing the Americans don’t decide to step in and decide who are the good guys, mutual guilt might prevent some of the worst effects. Gaddafi’s leadership was too personal to have a genuine separate Party structure, like the Baath Party in Iraq (and Syria) so that might help too.

    John B Dick

    I think Amber said the Conservative in the Edinburgh byelection was a nice person and a good candidate so the vote might be mainly personal – as STV tends to encourage. I’m just amazed there was anyone left to vote in the city – I thought they all let out their flats at enormous rates during the Festival and went somewhere else.

  46. Just a second. I’ve checked the figures, and the Conservatives have lost an election under Alternative Vote (which is what STV is in a single-member constituency) when they had the most first-preferences votes. So, will David Cameron now stick to his guns and complain they unfairly lost under an unfair voting system?

  47. Chris Neville-Smith

    Selling a benefit of independence that is dependent on a) attempting to circumvent EU rules, b) leaving the EU completely or c) an assumption that England will leave the EU is going to be a weak argument.

    I’ve heard others make weak arguments from time to time. It doesn’t inhibit them much.

  48. Just two comments.Regarding a putative leader of the lib
    dems,I know she would not want it,except in a caretaker
    role, but Shirley Williams is hugely respected and has a
    lifetime of experience in politics.Okay she is not charismatic,but like charm, I believe this to be a very
    overated trait.
    As regards Libya there are apparently 67000 fighters in
    Tripoli waiting to defend Gadaffi.What will follow no one
    can say but if NATOs mission was to prevent civilian casualties they have a very odd way of going about it.

  49. @ Roger Mexico

    At least 48% are not ‘brain-dead’ then.

    Or alternatively 48% are not married
    ——————————————-
    Isn’t that the same thing? ;-) Just kidding…

  50. @ John B Dick

    “Anoraks will be intrigued to see that almost a third of [Central Ward] Labour voters prefer the Tories to the SNP.”

    Let’s say the Labour folks who voted for Ian were probably evenly split along the lines of:
    1. Ian McGill is popular & well known locally; &
    2. The Union thing; &
    3. Tactical voting to oust the SNP. We are furious with the SNP councillors because they are voting with the LibDems to privatise council services despite claiming to be a left of center party.
    8-)

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