The monthly Ipsos MORI political monitor for Reuters has been published. Topline figures are CON 34%(+2), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 15%(+4). All the main parties are up, and other parties sharply down, but this will be largely a reversion to the mean after a rather odd MORI poll with a unusual sample last month. The Lib Dems are up to 15% – whereas we expect high Lib Dems from ICM, this is unusual for MORI, who for the last five months have had them between 9% and 11%. I’ll add my usual caveat about any unusual shifts in the polls – it may be the sign of something, or may just be a blip. Wait and see if it is reflected in other polling. Full tabs are here.

Incidentally, given I’m normally so ready to be rude about poor newspaper reporting of polls, I should give credit where it is due to the measured and reasonable reporting of the poll by Reuters, which correctly says that the figures are broadly unchanged and that it is too early to say whether the Lib Dem increase indicates a sustained shift in attitude. Entirely correct!

The YouGov/Sun daily polling results yesterday are here. Topline results are CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. On Libya, the proportion of people thinking the intervention is going well has crept further up: 54% think it is going well, 25% badly. However, suport for the intervention has returned to being pretty evenly split – 39% think it is right, 40% think it is wrong.


251 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Reuters – CON 34, LAB 40, LDEM 15”

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  1. Roger Mexico

    Since Na h-Eileanan an Iar is SNP/Labour, Sunday polling might allow the LDs to gain a toehold!

    Alternatively, postal votes would allow Christian, Jewish or Muslim fundamentalists to vote on the non-holy day of their choice.

  2. @ Old Nat

    The SNP Councillors in Edinburgh abstained from voting to extend the trams, thereby hanging out to dry their LibDem ‘partners’. Labour’s emergency motion to stop it in its tracks ;-) succeeded.

    And FWIW it was on time & on budget when Labour left office blah blah blah, we’re not listening because it was a naive & optimistic/ stupid (delete as appropriate) idea from the off.

    Now, we just need to get your team voting with mine to stop the privatisation of our services & all will be :-) sunny smiles from me; for a weeka t least – I might even stretch it to a fortnight.
    8-)

  3. @ Old Nat, Roger,

    Alternatively, postal votes would allow Christian, Jewish or Muslim fundamentalists to vote on the non-holy day of their choice.
    —————————————
    Old Nat, You’ll have spolied Roger’s image of Scotland by telling him we have a postal service up here in the ‘Highlands’… & then you only go & tell him we have Jews & Muslims too. ;-)

  4. Amber

    Yes, I saw that tram decision reported. It was unforunate for Edinburgh that the opposition parties decided to combine at Holyrood to overrule the minority Government on that project to begin with. (However, such things happen in a new political environment. They didn’t even get free cases of Peroni as a reward! :-) )

    What’s going to happen with the tram lines on Princes St? It would seem sensible to keep the damn things in place so that an eventual link from Haymarket to Leith could be put in place later to allow the project to become self-financing at some point.

    Presumably the Airport-Haymarket tram will be as loss making as GARL would have been?

  5. Tonight’s YouGov:

    Con 37%
    Lab 42%
    L/D 9%
    UKIP 4%
    Nats 3%
    Grn 2%
    BNP 1%

    Approval 31-54 = -23%

    Libya back in the ‘Right’ column (42% v 36%) and obviously an increase in going ‘well’ now 58% v 22%.

    Tables are here:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-results-250811.pdf

    Slight improvement for the Conservatives on the tracker questions on how people view the political Parties, the only significant one being “Its leaders are prepared to take tough and unpopular decisions” for which their score goes from 45% to 49%.

    So maybe a goodish night for the Conservatives, but not really anything more than could be explained by the luck of the draw.

  6. Oldnat
    Thanks for the response but it must be me, I can’t see an ‘extended profile’ link anywhere. If I click on my name just above the Catchpa I get the following message:

    “You attempted to access the “UKPollingReport” dashboard, but you do not currently have privileges on this site. If you believe you should be able to access the “UKPollingReport” dashboard, please contact your network administrator.”

    Is this where the extended profile page should be.
    Anthony guidance please.

  7. Amber

    As a registered heathen, my holy day is a Thursday. no one gives a damn about my sensibilities! :-)

  8. Robert Newark

    At the top of the page, do you see your name to the left of “Dashboard”? If so then selecting “Edit my profile” should take you to a page where “My Extended Profile” is one of the options on the left of the screen.

  9. Yougov also ran another poll about trust. In regard to MP’s, people say they trust their local MP more than when asked about MP’s representing a particular party. 25% trusted Labour MP’s, 22% trusted Tory MP’s and 18% trusted Lid Dem MP’s. In regard to Lib Dem MP’s in 2003 36% trusted them, down to 18% in July 2011.

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-trackers-trust-220711.pdf

    This may be an old one, but I thought I noticed it had come out today ?

  10. Labour have won the Saltcoats/Stevenston by election – no details yet.

  11. Robert Newark –

    Thanks for letting me know about the error message – I’ll look into it (the basic problem is I’m using a very antiquated WordPress plugin for the extended profile, which doesn’t work very well with the updated software… but I’ve still not found anything suitable to replace it with).

    In the meantime, if anyone has a similar problem and wants to set their background, just let me know and I’ll do it manually.

  12. @ Old Nat

    For now we are keeping the tramlines, so that women in heels can, once again, lose their shoes in Princes Street, as my granny often did when she was a lass!
    8-)

  13. @ Old Nat (I think)

    “Alternatively, postal votes would allow Christian, Jewish or Muslim fundamentalists to vote on the non-holy day of their choice.”

    I vote absentee in almost every election. I’m not a permanent absentee voter though I know many (including my parents). I see nothing wrong with those types of ballots. And I like the fact that they are available to any voter without needing any reason or excuse to get one. They help reduce lines at polling stations, help boost voter turnout, help ensure individuals can vote even when they know they will be away or busy, and have been proven to be safe at preserving the vote.

    My feeling is, most of the time, the voters who are committed to voting for certain candidates or parties are going to vote absentee or vote early. So it’s rare (though it has happenned) where a voter votes for a candidate and then changes their mind. But if a voter wants to wait until the last minute to decide and then vote, they can do so by simply waiting until election day and dropping it off at a polling precinct (or in Oregon and I think much of Washington, there are no more polling stations at all and there are designated drop off boxes).

    The only problem I see for permanent absentee voters is that you might forget to vote in local elections if you live in certain jurisdictions that have their own election divisions. For example, my mom always votes in statewide, county, and federal elections. She’s a permanent absentee voter and always gets her ballot mailed to her. But she forgot to vote in the mayoral election because the mayoral election was being run by a different agency (which does not send out ballots to PAV voters) and so didn’t vote because she didn’t realize there was an election going on. But that’s a small technical issue.

    Frankly, I’ve never understood the opprobrium against absentee votes (or postal votes as you call them) by Brits. Also, it seems like Aussies aren’t afraid of them in their elections but look down on them. I won’t pretend I can understand the Aussie mindset but a vote is a vote and it counts equally (and you only get one) regardless of whether it’s mailed in or cast at the precinct.

  14. @ Amber Star

    “Old Nat, You’ll have spolied Roger’s image of Scotland by telling him we have a postal service up here in the ‘Highlands’… & then you only go & tell him we have Jews & Muslims too.”

    Lol. Could one have a traditional Jewish-Scottish wedding consisting of kilts, kippahs, and a huppah? (The image is funny to me and I could see a Presbyterian Minister I am very close to actually conducting a wedding ceremony like that).

    @ Old Nat

    “As a registered heathen, my holy day is a Thursday. no one gives a damn about my sensibilities! :)”

    Nancy Pelosi does! Whether you’re a Wiccan Preistess, Druid, Tantric Buddhist, Servant of Molak: Lord of Fire, a Presbyterian, or member of the Cult of Colley, she respects your religion. :) (And I do too).

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/4264/saturday-night-live-nancy-pelosi

  15. @ Amber Star

    “For now we are keeping the tramlines, so that women in heels can, once again, lose their shoes in Princes Street, as my granny often did when she was a lass!”

    That was the only thing that seemed missing from Edinburgh, a largescale mass transit system. I am a train enthusiast (I especially love subways). To me, you really learn a city, understand its rythms, feel its soul and character by exploring its subway system. And the way that the system is designed and the way that it’s developed will really tell you a lot about the city’s population. And when a major city lacks a subway system, it sometimes feels almost soulless. Not Edinburgh of course.

    Though when you think about how small Edinburgh seems, I can kinda understand why there has not been a rail mass transit system in place. There doesn’t really seem to be a need for one.

  16. Amber

    Wow! £1bn pounds just to force Edinburgh wifies to wear flat shoes! :-)

    Actually, I remember my Mum complaining about the tram lines in Aberdeen for that very reason – I’d forgotten about that!

  17. SoCalLiberal

    Concerns about absentee/postal voting in the UK tend to concentrate on the ease with which it can be corrupted if adequate measures aren’t in place – not about the principle of the process.

    There’s also a nostalgia about the process. There’s one old lady I see at every election at my polling station. It’s her proud boast that she has turned up and voted at every election since 1945. She could have a postal vote, but last time I spoke to her she said she would carry on turning up as long as someone would carry her in.

  18. My son & I like going to the polling place to vote. I think it may not be long until polling places are done away with & there will only be postal & interweb voting.

    I’m feeling nostalgic already & they’re not even gone!
    8-)

  19. @ Old Nat

    “Concerns about absentee/postal voting in the UK tend to concentrate on the ease with which it can be corrupted if adequate measures aren’t in place – not about the principle of the process.

    There’s also a nostalgia about the process. There’s one old lady I see at every election at my polling station. It’s her proud boast that she has turned up and voted at every election since 1945. She could have a postal vote, but last time I spoke to her she said she would carry on turning up as long as someone would carry her in.”

    I understand the nostalgia. I remember my grandmother used to work every election day at the precincts. She felt it was the least she could do as part of her civic duty (she may also have gotten paid something for it) and I think she enjoyed it even with the long hours. I remember as a kid, I would always walk with one of my parents to our precinct, which was always located in someone’s garage in the neighborhood. I would never want to get rid of polling precincts altogether.

    As an adult though who’s busy and constantly moving, it just helps to get an absentee ballot (especially in those elections where I’ve worked for a campaign or been busy volunteering, always helps to have voted before hand).

    I think fraud can happen at any step, whether through absentee voting or at precinct voting or in the central tabulation areas of voting. I don’t think non-precinct voting has been shown to be any more prone to fraud. And since Oregon switched to all absentee voting, there have been no cases of fraud. There are definitely procedures that prevent fraud.

    I’m fortunate though because there is a basically a professional class of election officials who are full time government employees and they do nothing but supervise elections. At least the ones who work in California take their jobs very seriously (regardless of their individual party politics) and routinely ensure that the elections are clean and honest. Elections conducted by mail and absentee voting are as clean as any other kind of voting.

    And if your friend has been voting since 1945, that’s pretty amazing. If she’s voted in every single election, that’s an amazing record.

  20. @ Old Nat

    “Wow! £1bn pounds just to force Edinburgh wifies to wear flat shoes!

    Actually, I remember my Mum complaining about the tram lines in Aberdeen for that very reason – I’d forgotten about that!”

    Believe it or not, I am not a fan of light rail. I don’t like streetcars or their modern descendants. I like heavy rail, especially when it’s underground. :)

    @ Amber Star

    “My son & I like going to the polling place to vote. I think it may not be long until polling places are done away with & there will only be postal & interweb voting.

    I’m feeling nostalgic already & they’re not even gone!”

    If you live in Oregon (and I think most of Washington) and some counties in California, there are no more polling stations.

    Absentee voting I’m fine with. Voting over the internet is a different story. I’m not saying I’m opposed to it for all time but I would want to see security measures in place that demonstrated the security of internet voting before we embark on that journey.

    I know we have fought huge battles in the U.S. just to ensure paper trails for electronic voting.

  21. SoCalLiberal

    We aren’t actually in disagreement. Absentee/postal/alternative method voting is all fine – just as long as it is as secure as it can be from fraud.

    Unfortunately, the legislation introduced in the UK by the previous government was essentially incompetent. The safeguards which should have been in place weren’t, and the guidelines to political parties are so poor that they almost encourage fradulent behaviour. Parties here are allowed to have postal votes returned to the party, in the pious hope that they will then be duly forwarded by the party to the Returning Officer.

  22. @ SoCaL

    I am a train enthusiast (I especially love subways).
    ———————————————–
    It’s not mass transit, but if you’ve watched Harry Potter the actual train & the landscape filmed for the first movie is right here in Scotland. The train leaves from Edinburgh every day during the summer.
    8-)

  23. @ Old Nat

    “We aren’t actually in disagreement. Absentee/postal/alternative method voting is all fine – just as long as it is as secure as it can be from fraud.

    Unfortunately, the legislation introduced in the UK by the previous government was essentially incompetent. The safeguards which should have been in place weren’t, and the guidelines to political parties are so poor that they almost encourage fradulent behaviour. Parties here are allowed to have postal votes returned to the party, in the pious hope that they will then be duly forwarded by the party to the Returning Officer.”

    Strange.

    It seems to me that we have a very good system of protecting the vote. First of all, tampering with the mail is a federal crime and one who does it is subject to imprisonment. Also, in an election, it’s an extraordinarily ineffecient method of committing fraud. Next, you can only get an absentee ballot if you’re actually registered to vote. Then, when you get an absentee ballot, you must sign an affidavit on the back of the ballot (again, it’s a felony to swear a false affidavit) that you are the person who you claim to be and that you are only voting once in the election. You also have to print your address and date the envelope so that it can be verified. So you can’t just have a bunch of fake ballots placed in the mail to swing an election. You can’t get a ballot unless you’re registered (often you can’t get one until you request one).

    Your absentee ballot must be received by the registrar (or dropped off at your polling precinct) no later than 8pm pacific time, which is incidentally when polls close. Anything received after that time is automatically rejected. That’s why a number of days before the election, you are no longer allowed to request an absentee ballot. Now, country registrars and county clerks will not begin to count ballots until 8 pm. And when they do, they begin to go through and verify the absentee ballots and check them against the precinct rolls to make sure that no one has voted twice. If the back of your ballot envelope is not signed, it will be discounted (it can’t be verified as a legal vote). But by going through this process, it can be verified that you’re not voting twice and that you actually exist and actually either requested an absentee ballot or are signed up as a permanent absentee voter. This process is done fairly quickly (it’s the late arriving absentees that are the problem) but it ensures that there’s no fraud (or minimal fraud at most…not enough to change the outcome of an election). Precincts are sent updated information on who has already voted (who’s registered within that precinct) so that people are prevented from voting twice during the day. But the verification is just to catch anyone who slipped through the cracks and make sure that the ballots counted are in fact genuine.

    After a ballot has been verified (via the envelope), those envelopes that will be allowed to count (and most of them are) are segregated out. They are then opened (when you put your ballot in the mail, you place it in a special card that you would normally place a ballot in at a polling precinct before dropping it with the polling officials). This ensures that there is still a secret ballot. Now I suppose at this point, someone could just dump a few thousand ballots marked for one candidate into the pile. But they could really do that anyway, even without absentee voting.

    Absentee votes are usually the first to get counted and the first to get reported on election night (a fact that so many people are ignorantly unaware of). It actually takes longer to get precinct ballots tabulated because they have to be transported long distances to the main tabulation center from the precincts. That’s one of the cool features about election night in LA, the sound of non-stop helicopters flying overhead on election night transporting ballots from outlying precincts.

    Anyway, the point here is not to give a civics lesson but to point out that this s**t ain’t rocket science. It’s pretty easy to ensure a fair and fraud free election with absentee ballots. If anything, I almost trust them more than ballots cast at precincts. The fretting over it is completely unwarranted.

  24. @ Old Nat

    I apologize for being so long winded but the way absentee voting is set up, you really can’t commit fraud with it. And the safeguards needed are pretty minimal.

    Of course, I was shocked that people who were legally entitled to vote and were in line to vote were turned away from polling precincts in the UK in May 2010. I mean, to me that’s true fraud.

    It’s so simple in the U.S. Anyone here who is in line to vote at the close of the polls is allowed to vote. If there are long lines, precinct workers know to go out about five minutes before poll closing time literally with a measuring tape and see where the line ends. Whoever is at the end of the line at the close of the polls gets to vote. No ifs, ands, or buts.

  25. @ Old Nat

    And frankly I have a lot of confidence in most of our elections officials to conduct clean and fair elections. Why if they didn’t, Republicans wouldn’t have to rely on alternative methods of fraud. Things like having volunteers impersonate federal INS agents to stand guard at polling stations (to scare of Latino voters), leafletting neighborhoods with notices that the election is on Wednesday (just to confuse people), challenging every single African American voter who attempts to vote as not entitled, harrassing voters, attempting to distract precinct workers from doing their jobs with frivolous complaints and made up problems, using technology to jam the phone lines of Democratic campaign offices (to prevent GOTV), or (in the case of Christine O’Donnell) having your supporters block access to polling stations. You know, good electioneering fun stuff like that.

    You really wouldn’t have to do all this if you could just cheat with absentee ballots.

  26. @ Amber Star

    “It’s not mass transit, but if you’ve watched Harry Potter the actual train & the landscape filmed for the first movie is right here in Scotland. The train leaves from Edinburgh every day during the summer.”

    I have not watched any of the Harry Potter movies except for the first one. But if I ever do, I will know that now.

    Have you ever seen ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’

  27. If these pollster variances were being experienced in the lead-up to a GE, they would be suffering severe ridicule similar to that given to AR at that time in 2010.

  28. Stock markets took another tumble yesterday – although I’m not sure whether the FTSE is stabilising at it’s lower point, we’ll have to see.

    Let’s hope that Ben Bernanke has some good news.

    It’s interesting that the market wants to be free, except when it’s in trouble. Then it demands a big-state response.

    Surely that points to big/small state arguments essentially being nonsense – both sides of the political side want a big version of *their* state, not the other side’s.
    (I’ve thought this for a long time – the left is largely small-state in military, big-state in welfare. The right is largely big-state military and small-state welfare. Opposition to ‘big state’ is almost always opposition to ‘welfare state’.)
    So a point? Politics is largely a game of *rationalisation* of already formed beliefs. So justifications after the fact.

    It’d be interesting to see a poll on how many people say that they supported the war in Libya a month ago – I’d imagine the poll figure would be a lot larger than the figure then.
    Anybody know how much polls differ when people are asked if they *did* support something?

  29. A while back there was some level of discussion around whether the cuts had really started to bite and what this might mean for the polls.

    Well yesterday the CBI Distributive Trades Survey found retail sales fell at the start of August at their fastest rate for a year and retailers from the CoOp to tile suppliers announced poor figures. The CoOp boss said it was the worst trading conditions in 40 years and for the first time his sector was seeing falling food sales.

    Whether it is cuts related or not is another matter, but it does feel very like we are dipping again. Bernabank’s speech today is going to be critical, but many voices are saying he can’t go for QE3 – this would trigger action elsewhere to protect currency levels from the effects of a US devaluation that QE3 would cause, and could start a retaliatory devaluation game similar to the 19302 as states compete for advantage.

    One possibile solution mooted is for the Fed to buy Euro bonds to keep the dollar down, the Euro up and prevent a European bank crash. But as with Germany, quetions are being asked about just how much firepower does the US have left to burn.

  30. @Tingedfringe – “….although I’m not sure whether the FTSE is stabilising at it’s lower point, we’ll have to see.”

    I suspect using the expressions ‘FTSE’ and ‘stablilising’ in the same sentence will not be appropriate for the next few months.

    Incidentally – on Wednesday Greece had to activate the Emergency Liquidity Assistance scheme for the first time, demonstrating they are even deeper in trouble. Its a mechanism where the national government can lend to its own banks once they’ve run out of collateral of sufficient quality for the ECB, but as Greece is being bankrolled by the Eurozone, it effectively means low quality assets are being shifted onto Eurozone taxpayers. This simply can’t go on – taxpayers no longer have the ability to service these debts and selective and ordered defaults have been the only realistic course for months.

  31. “Well yesterday the CBI Distributive Trades Survey found retail sales fell at the start of August at their fastest rate for a year and retailers from the CoOp to tile suppliers announced poor figures. The CoOp boss said it was the worst trading conditions in 40 years and for the first time his sector was seeing falling food sales.”
    The bit about the co-op worried me the most as IIRC they grew fantastically well during the financial crisis, as did a lot of co-operative/mutualist businesses – in the opposite direction to general business performance.

    So a drop for the co-op would, in my flawed estimate, point to big problems elsewhere.

  32. I saw that Greek railway drivers make 5 000 Eur / month which is a lot of money.
    The national Co-op overpaid for a lot of Somerfield stores which have not come up to expectations.

  33. @Amberstar

    “It’s not mass transit, but if you’ve watched Harry Potter the actual train & the landscape filmed for the first movie is right here in Scotland. The train leaves from Edinburgh every day during the summer.”

    Speaking of which, in the final bit of HP&tDHpt2, how many people felt like standing up and screaming “No, you idiots, that’s St. Pancras!”

  34. So it seems the only solution on offer is money printiing and devaluation of the value of everybody’s wage and savings. Which is why people with capital are seeking gold.

    I wonder what would happen to the world economy if fusion every provides the limitless cheap energy that has been suggested?

    Would it make half a dozen people very rich and put hundreds of thousands out of work? Would it actually benefit the poor on the planet one jot? Or would it be like breakthroughs in medicines…those who can afford it get it.

    What happened to the company that wanted to patent the human genome? Did it succeed? Does some multinational now “own” the human blueprint?

  35. @NickPoole
    “What happened to the company that wanted to patent the human genome? Did it succeed? Does some multinational now “own” the human blueprint?”

    My husband tells me that as they were using academic data to construct their genome assembly, Academics were able to restrict commercialisation and the standard now is that any data like that has to be released freely.

  36. There was a very good economic feature on the BBC World Service earlier, with some very insightful commentators. One of these stated that the western economies were going to be in period of stagnant growth or even slight recession during some years, for atleast the next two decades. He made the comment in terms of strength in world trade, the 19th century was good for UK, the 20th century the US and the 21st century would see China dominate. He said that if he was going to invest he would become a farmer in China or trade in commodities. Due to increasing demand for commodities, the prices of these are likely to rise and producers will have difficulty meeting demand.

    In regard to the cures for western economies, one economist suggested that they had no choice but to apply a chainsaw to spending. This was because of the debt situation in the context of the world economic outlook, would eventually lead to bust. Cutting spending drastically and not relying on debt, provides the opportunity to invest in infrastructure and science/new industries to produce growth for the future. The other view was to have another round of QE, to build up a little more debt and to invest.

    What is for sure, is that whatever the governments of the western economies do, there will be a period of stagnant growth. The next UK election will be fought against a background of a failing economy, with debate about what policies each of the parties are offering to help the economy. I would be surprised if by 2015, there had been a significant upturn in the economy. The government do not appear willing or able to implement policies that would help stimulate growth, because they could potentially mean more debt in the short term.

  37. Thanks Liz.

    Doesn’t matter to me how they mapped the genome, even if they did it from scratch.

    They might as well patent the human skeleton.

  38. Oldnat
    When I click on my name at the top left, I only get ‘Edit my Profile’. Clicking on this only allows to set a background colour of blue or grey, change name, reset password. I have no Extended user link option anywhere.
    From what Anthony replied it sounds a technical problem, I will wait for a fix & stick with grey. If it’s relevent, I’m using a 64 bit laptop with Windows 7 & Google Chrome as the browser. Many thanks for your input.

    The discussion on trams brings to mind the new tram system in southern Spain which runs from Velez Malaga & some way along the coast. It cost millions (EU money of course), looks fantastic but no body uses it, so runs at a massive loss. I’m old enough to remember the old trams in Leeds, I love them & wish they could be re-introduced profitably everywhere. But it’s all nostalgia and as someone once said, ‘Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’.

  39. Thanks Robert – I don’t think it’s relevant what system you are using. I think it’s people who registered after a certain upgrade to wordpress are being recorded differently in the database, and hence aren’t seeing the extended options.

    I need to find another up to date plug-in to do the extended profile!

  40. I don’t think anybody could argue that, sooner or later, with tax receipts much lower, spending has to fall overall.

    But that doesn’t mean no spending. The Government should continue to soend on infrastructure and also be a major employer as well as regulator.

    I think taxes will have to rise too, for all of us. I can see the pay freeze becoming a sort of “hardly going up at all” for a few years. The consumer boom will not be back any time soon.

    And now is not the time to be cutting back on education or reducing its availability or discouraging teachers by slashing their terms and conditions.

    Education, training, infrastructure, people kept in jobs doing stuff not dumped on benefits, government thinking about all the people instead of just its backers.

    And it needs heads of states to agree…and what they need to agree is NOT an austerity programme which will lead to them all getting voted out. They need the people on board.

  41. @Nick Poole – as I understand it, the human genome (the DNA that makes us humans) cannot be patented but specific genes can be. The act of isolating and identifying genes is taken legally to mean that these are liable to patent, although interestingly there was a US court case in the last couple of years that threw out a number of gene patents that could have wider implications, although I don’t know what happened to the case.

    The argument is complex. Open access science is great in many ways, but drug companies argue that development of very expensive treatments is entirely contingent on patents allowing them to commercialise the results as a means to pay for the research costs. It’s arguable that if we didn’t permit things like gener patents we might gain more theoretical knowledge but have fewer effective actual treatments.

  42. Saltcoats/Stevenston by election

    Turnout 25.42% (higher than Edinburch City Centre! :-) )

    Lab win at Stage 5 (though nearly won it at the 1st stage)

    1st Pref votes (change from 2007 in brackets)

    Lab 49% (+14)
    SNP 33% (+1)
    Con 7% (-0.4)
    Pensioner 5% ()
    Ind 3% ()
    LD 1.4% ()
    Socialist 1.1% ()

    So the LDs avoided coming last this time!

    Transfers of preferences (as % of transferrable votes) to –
    Lab 38% : SNP 36%

  43. @ Old Nat

    Thanks for the result.

    LD’s have vanished from urban Scotland entirely taking this one and last week’s result.

    Encouraging for Labour party. Perhaps for Labour worryingly so.

    They may, with this and Inverclyde and generally restored Westminster VI that their predicament in Holyrood is not really so grave – and carry on as normal. They could then elect Jackie Baillie with Johann Lamont as some kind of sidekick and prepare for further disintegration!

    I still think Lewis MacDonald is the man for SLAB. he is personable, engaging, intelligent and consensual. Not a word anywhere about him though. Maybe he lives too far north!!!

  44. Iceman

    Agreed about Lewis MacDonald about being personable etc. Mind you, Iain Gray is a nice guy too only came over badly when he was trying to front the party.

    As to Saltcoats/Stevenston, it’s now clear that the large Independent vote there (and in neighbouring Ardrossan) were essentially Labour votes turned off by NAC’s PFI scheme and voting for the anti-PFI campaigners.

    Always difficult to tell anything from such a low turnout, of course, but in party terms it looks like little change from 2007 – at least among the older voters who seemed to considerably in the majority!

    btw the LD did get 1 (one) 2nd preference transfer from the Socialist Labour party. :-)

  45. My 2nd para refers to 2007.

  46. Well that was quite a result in the Saltcoats and Stevenston by election – the FTSE has fallen by nearly 1.5% as the news filtered through to the markets.

    In other news; The Q2 GDP figures were left unchanged at 0.2%, but within the figures sector by sector alerations paint a worse picture than at first thought. Manufacturing fell by 0.5% rather than the 0.3% initial projection. Services grew by 0.5% (unchanged) but were down by 0.1% in June, potentially indicating a slow down here as well.

    Within services the main driver seems to be business to business services rather than consumer spending. This matches my anecdotal experience up here, where business service companies I know were seeing a pick up in the first half of the year. However, as consumer spending and exports both stall, the same companies are now saying that things are tightening up again.

    On the brighter side, the ONS think that one off events might have supressed growth by up to 0.5%, with things like warm weather and royal weddings reducing demand. I’m not sso sure about this. We only had two extra holidays and warm weather benefits many sectors as much as hurting others. It’s also significant that June was a poor month all round, and none of these factors applied then.

    Whatever Q3 brings, it really looks less and less likely that manufacturing will come to the rescue, leaving open the question of how much we need to rely on the good old British consumer.

  47. There’s a clear divergence between the results of monthly pollsters and our daily friend.

    Does this suggest YouGov are reinforcing opinion by asking the same people more regularly?

    Or does it suggest the monthly pollsters are asking people who are out of touch with current debate?

    A technical clarification needed please.

  48. Oranjepan –

    It’s most likely more technical differences in how pollsters sample, weight the data and deal with things like people’s likelihood to vote and people who say don’t know.

    See the original post about the ICM poll here:

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/3905

  49. @ Alec

    “Whatever Q3 brings, it really looks less and less likely that manufacturing will come to the rescue, leaving open the question of how much we need to rely on the good old British consumer.”

    Er, with £1.5 trillion in consumer debt, basically we can’t/shouldn’t – we will just be building up even more trouble for the future, just as with government spending. The only sources of growth can be exports or business investment. Until or unless those get going again, nothing can be done.

    The hard graft of finding growth that isn’t based on borrowing is only just starting. People want to be told that it’s OK and we can just start building up debt again. We can’t. That is the reality check that some (not naming any parties here) have still yet to make.

    I reckon we will be lucky to make 0.5% per quarter in the next few years, given the debt hangover.

  50. I love this. It’s from the Telegraph report into the Swiss tax deal, as it has emerged that UK residents registered as non doms won’t be affected by the deal.

    “One expert said: “It’s no secret that Switzerland houses non-doms’ cash and this immunity looks very unfair for everyone else.”
    However, other lawyers said the allowance will leave non-doms at a disadvantage. Justine Markovtiz, a lawyers at Withers, said: “While this will mean that so-called ‘non-doms’ will not be affected by the withholding taxes to be introduced, it will also mean that they are not able to take advantage of the opportunity to regularise their tax affairs where this is needed.””

    It’s the bit about ‘not being able to take advantage of the opportunity to regularise their tax affairs’ bit that tickles me.

    I think what she is saying is that these filthy rich tax avoiders will have to continue to break the law to retain their wealth. Lawyers have great ways to describe things sometimes.

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