Full tabs from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, asking about the normal sort of grab-bag of subjects that the Sunday Times normally choose when the news agenda hasn’t been eaten by a single topic like the riots!

There is very little support for putting British troops on the ground in Libya, even post-Gaddafi. Only 22% would support troops being deployed to help the new regime. Neither is there much support for any intervention in Syria – only 21% of people would support a Libya-style intervention in Syria.

On taxation, YouGov asked about various tax cuts (and in one case, tax increase) that have been mooted. The most popular proposals were cutting VAT and fuel duty, both supported by 86%. A married couples tax allowance was supported by 66% of respondents. Abolishing the 50% rate was only supported by 23% of people, with 59% opposed. The Lib Dem idea of a “mansion tax” was supported by 63% of people.

On petrol prices, YouGov asked whether people thought the oil companies themselves were taking advantage of the public with high prices – 52% of people thought they were, 36% thought the fault lay with world oil prices and the government’s taxes.

The recent deal with Switzerland on taxing private bank accounts was seen as a good deal for Britain by almost two-thirds of people (65%), with 11% thinking it was a bad deal. 40% of people thought it was acceptable for British people with Swiss bank accounts to still remain anonymous, 45% thought it was not acceptable.

In the benefit questions, people are evenly split on whether cuts to benefits are too large (28%), about right (26%) or not large enough (27%). On the specific policy of capping housing benefit, 75% supported it “even if this means people are forced to move house if they live in an area where the rent is high” (broadly comparable to when YouGov asked a similarly worded question last November for Channel 4). 56% of people think that EU citizens should not be allowed to claim benefits in other countries, 30% think they should.

Finally on planning, people are evenly split over whether current planning laws are too relaxed or too restrictive – 23% think it is too easy to build, 20% too difficult, 33% that it is about right. On the principles of the government’s proposals to simplify central planning rules, give more power to councils and have a presumption in favour of development, 54% support and 21% are opposed. However, asked about the National Trust’s criticisms of the proposals, 44% back the NT and think the change will pose a risk to the countryside, compared to 25% who think the NT are exaggerating.

This is broadly what I would expect on a subject where most people will have little or no detailled knowledge – neutral options on the status quo, a broadly positive reaction to things that sound good on the surface like simplifying and devolving power, but when faced with opposing claims from the government and a charity, people are going to tend to back the charity over the politicians.


375 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times polls”

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  1. Robert C,

    – ” the 9% from Yougov (who always underestimate the Lib Dems)”

    If there is one thing I find it very hard to accept on blog comment threads it is plainly erroneous statements. I don’t know why posters even bother telling porkies on matters easily checked in published records. It totally undermines their credibility.

    As I stated in my post which you tried to ridicule, the final YouGov poll prior to the May 2010 UK GE measured the Lib Dems at 28% (fieldwork 4–5 May YouGov/The Sun), whereas one day later they only achieved 23% at the polling stations. So much for “always underestimating the Lib Dems” (sic).

  2. The marriage tax allowance being welcomed by 66% is a change from the time YG asked about the government incentivising marriage, or am I not remembering the previous polling correctly?
    8-)

  3. Anthony,

    A very welcome innovation to see YouGov presenting a break for English VI:

    Westminster VI – England
    (+/- change from UK GE 2010)
    sub-sample size = 2,326

    Con 40% (n/c)
    Lab 40% (+12)
    LD 10% (-13)
    UKIP 5% (+1)
    Grn 3% (+2)
    BNP 1% (-1)
    Res 0 (n/c)
    oth 0 (-2)

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-st-results-26-290811.pdf

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/election2010/results/region/48.stm

  4. typo – should be:

    LD 10% (-14)

  5. Net UK government approval:

    Rest of South -9
    London -15
    Midlands/Wales -22
    North -44

    England -22
    Scotland -47

    Great Britain -24

  6. I support your last paragraph AW.

    I recently responded to a planning application quoting the Local Plan (which contained a policy ruling out the application). No other respondent did, and on contacting my neighbours, I discovered that none knew, eben, what a Local Plan was.

    Worst still I discovered that the Planning Policy section of the Council had failed to point out to the planning officer the clause at that stage. In fairness, they admitted their omission and apologised and remidied it.

    The application has now been withdrawn.

    Those of us engaged in these matters know that the total ignorance of the public has to be countered by the specialist societies (NGOs).

    It opens the wider discussion of public opinion and whether we can collectively afford it.

  7. @ Anthony,

    I cannot get the YG pdf to open. It’ not your link because going to the YG site doesn’t solve the problem. If it’s not just me that’s having a problem, could you have the file reloaded to the YG archive, please.

    Thank you.
    8-)

  8. Can it be that the (presently) “good” outcome in Libya has boosted the Tories a smidgen ? I doubt it actually. It gives the cruelly deprived masses no benefit whatever. As an example, the unemployed who now enjoy a lifestyle my very hard working grand parents could only dream of , are no better of with the fall of the misunderstood Colonel.

  9. Apologies for typos. I have resurrected my Google checker, which will only work with IE,, not FireFox.

    On that subject, I am getting this funny message about ‘web page not found’. Is this just me?.

  10. SD –
    Thanks for pointing that out, I somehow completely missed that it has separate English VI.
    Hopefully it’ll be a regular occurrence and one to watch.

    No surprise in the figures though – Con about the same, Lab up about the same as the Lib drop.

    The big question in this though – what about the other nations?
    If we replicated a neck-and-neck result in England, surely it’d be the seats in the other nations which would decide the make-up of the government – SNP coalition (either way) or Lab majority.

  11. TingedFringe,

    An “SNP coalition (either way) ” is an impossibility at present. We explicitly forbid coalitions with the Conservatives at legislature-level (Westminster + Holyrood).

    Although we are allowed to form coalitions with the Tories at local govt level, we do not do so, whereas it may surprise non-Scots to discover that Lab-Con coalitions are quite common in Scottish local government:

    Angus Council Ind/Con/LD/Lab Coalition
    East Dunbartonshire Council Lab/Con Coalition
    Falkirk Council Lab/Con/Ind Coalition
    Inverclyde Council Lab/Con/Ind Coalition
    South Lanarkshire Council Lab/Con Coalition

    http://www.cosla.gov.uk/councils/political-control

    … and up until recently even Dundee had a Lab/Con/LD pact, but it didn’t survive by-election losses.

  12. @ Howard

    On that subject, I am getting this funny message about ‘web page not found’. Is this just me?.
    —————————————-
    It’s not just you – everybody using Internet Explorer (IE) has this issue. Anthony’s tech team are trying to resolve it.
    8-)

  13. I dunno why folk keep on using IE.

    Google Chrome is the bees’ knees. Especially now that I have dumped PC for Mac.

  14. Amber – the last question asked about the principle of whether governments should incentivise marriage… people don’t think that. The logical conclusion of those contradictory findings is that people like an extra tax break for married couples… but don’t like the reasoning behind it (a sort of “well, they are doing it for the wrong reasons but what the hell, less tax!” response).

    (And the link works for me – so I don’t know what’s up!)

    Howard – it is a problem with the adverts in the sidebar, that only seems to affect Internet Explorer users. My advertising guys are looking into it.

  15. SD-
    I find that interesting.
    So if it were the case that it were Lab and Con both having the possibility of forming a government, but with SNP taking the place of the ‘king makers’, it’d be a choice between SNP-Lab and a minority administration (supported by SNP)?
    (Assuming Scotland remains in the union).

    Is this purely ideological anti-Tory, or tactical anti-Tory (to not lose ex-Lab and ex-Lib voters)?

  16. TF,

    – “So if it were the case that it were Lab and Con both having the possibility of forming a government, but with SNP taking the place of the ‘king makers’, it’d be a choice between SNP-Lab and a minority administration (supported by SNP)?
    (Assuming Scotland remains in the union).”

    Correct. We would accept a Lab/SNP coalition, but I very much doubt that Murphy, Alexander, McKechin, Harris & Co. would! ;) They might accept confidence n supply though?

    – “Is this purely ideological anti-Tory, or tactical anti-Tory (to not lose ex-Lab and ex-Lib voters)?”

    I could write an essay in reply to that question. The answer really lies long long back in Scottish social history, way back to the Hanoverian succession, the Enlightenment, to Victorian Scotland, and to the suicide of the Scottish Unionist Party in 1965. However, I don’t want to try Anthony’s patience too much. :)

  17. @ Anthony

    Thanks, I’ll re-boot & try YG again later.
    8-)

  18. My instinct about the polling data is that some people appear to prefer the Tories response to the riots more the Labour. As a result some that were flirting with Labour have swapped.

    As this question is not raised in the polling, it is just a gut instinct.

  19. I’m a lurker, not a poster, but the annoying Web page not found can be got rid of by clicking on the compatability view button next to the page refresh (lots of hunting from Google produced this result for me)

  20. The Tom Harris bandwagon is picking up speed:

    ‘Cash boost for Labour leadership contender’

    – “I now believe that I am no longer just in this contest as a kite-flying exercise,” Harris told Scotland on Sunday.

    “I certainly did want to test the water and I will not be making a formal announcement yet, because there won’t be a contest until after the party’s internal review. But, yes, I am serious about this.

    “We have finally got to have a debate within the party, not just about who should be leader, but about what Labour is for.”

    The Glasgow South MP and former transport minister added: “Ordinary party members have welcomed my intervention. They want to know who wants to do this job and I certainly want it.”

    Murphy and Sarah Boyack, the Edinburgh Central MSP, are currently conducting a review into the Scottish Labour Party following its disastrous defeat in last May’s Scottish Election.”

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/politics/Cash-boost-for-Labour-leadership.6826564.jp

    Keep your eye out for the Henry McLeish quotes tomorrow! :D

    I wonder if Cayman Islander Brian Dempsey is the mystery “businessman”?

    I do hope that Tom doesn’t fall into the Wendy Alexander fundraising beartrap.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/2200937/Wendy-Alexander-suspended-from-Scottish-Parliament-for-one-day.html

    If Tom Harris becomes the new Scottish Labour “leader” will he refuse to accept the Labour Whip at Westminster? After all, you cannot whip a “leader”, can you? This has all the makings of a West Lothian Question horror story.

  21. The Con’s poll rating is going to suffer as the economy worsens and if o get a double dip (Q3 and Q4 or Q4 and Q1 2012perhaps) the coalition wil be in real trouble and all bets are off.

    I would not be surprised to see a GE next May and believe that the Labour party is taking that contingency on board in policyt developments terms, and this may become moe apparent at the Conference.

  22. “R HUCKLE”
    I would disagree – the post-riots polling doesn’t show much of a movement toward the Tories and Labour, at that point, was still trending upward.

    It’s only been since the events of Libya, over the past few days, that Tory VI has started to move up and Labour VI down.
    Same with approval – it’s only really moved upward since Libya, whereas it was stuck around -27 beforehand.

    Perhaps the riots made people waver and then Libya was the ‘jumping point’, but I can’t see any indication that post-riots led to much of a rises in Tory support.

  23. Although, I would agree that the Tory response to riots is more in-tune with public perceptions of the correct response.

  24. Quite interesting questions in this poll.
    I think the NT probably are exaggerating, but no harm in looking at it again to make sure we have proper safeguards in place.

    It is an example perhaps where robust opposition is important even if the proposals are correct, to make double sure we have them right.

  25. Tingedfringe @ Stuart Dickson

    “The big question in this though – what about the other nations?

    If we replicated a neck-and-neck result in England, surely it’d be the seats in the other nations which would decide the make-up of the government – SNP coalition (either way) or Lab majority.”

    That may indeed be the big question or it may be a non-event altogether. We do not have enough polling to inform us, and I do not even have any impression which could support a guess.

    SP coalition is unlikely but C&S would be available – at a price – and anyone hoping to be in government after the election needs to be working now on an option appraisal for a range of outcomes and reviewing it till the day before the election.

    If they don’t, and there is a big surprise, then the unprepared will be at a disadvantage.

    You can be assured that the SNP will have a plan for all contingencies, and even if they didn’t, it would in most circumstances be easier for them to decide on the spot.

    They could be in a relatively unchanged position, or have a majority of the Scottish seats 30+ and the gains could deny Labour a majority or the existing base (with PC) give Labour a majority. In either case the price would be high and only acceptable under duress.

    The word that will be used to describe it is “blackmail”.

  26. That England breakdown is very interesting. There was some discussion on here a while ago about Scottish independence being a godsend for English Tories with speculation that Cameron was secretly hoping to engineer independence in order to secure a permanet Tory hedgemony throughout England.
    If this poll breakdown is anything like correct, it would appear to scupper this notion.

    Even if we moved to a more or less permanent Tory/LD coalition, it would be very difficult to exclude a party polling 40% from any chance of government, even before we start dicsussing whther an English parliament on FPTP is an acceptable solution.

    The idea of English Tories being for Scottish independence was always a bit fanciful, but thiss breakdown shows that the electoral numbers really shouldn’t be taken for granted.

  27. “even before we start dicsussing whther an English parliament on FPTP is an acceptable solution.”
    I think that it would be seen as an acceptable solution, to the public, until we started to see geographical problem causing issues.
    Then we might end up seeing quite a few more nationalist (Cornish, Northumbria, Mercia, etc) parties. ;)

  28. It’s like one of those nature documentaries. A shower of Conservative rain in the form of a mildly better poll, and suddenly the desert blooms blue as all the Tory commenters come out. :)

    Looking at the details there’s not much movement apart from the VI and I suspect that we’re seeing the result of the government being in the news a lot and Labour less so. How long this will last is another matter, it may depend if international affairs continue to dominate. Still the conference season is coming in three weeks as has already been pointed out, so if nothing else that will give Labour coverage.

    I assume the ‘England’ column is not to please the light yellows, but to look at a section Anthony didn’t discuss about tuition fees at Scottish universities. Currently Scottish students don’t pay, but those from elsewhere in the UK do. Other EU students apparently can’t be charged fees if Scottish ones aren’t. The poll shows 80% (v 9%) of English voters want to see a change in the law to force Scotland to treat students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the same way as students from other European Union countries?. More surprisingly so do 45% (v 41%) of Scots.

    Incidentally I’d be curious to know from Anthony if the Scottish (and English) samples were reweighted to their national profile for the figures this time.

    Apart from all sorts of ironies, such as the current Scottish system being set up by a Labour-Lib Dem government and now being defended against them by the SNP, this shows the unintended consequences of economic “liberalisation”. Another one cropped up locally this week.

    Manx and Channel Island students are technically ‘overseas’ students at UK universities – even though EU students aren’t. In the past the UK universities have negotiated special ‘Islands’ tuition fees collectively and all charged the same. This has now been ruled anti-competitive from when variable fees come in next year and negotiations will have to made with each individual university. You wonder what other similar changes will have to be made to avoid breaching competition rules.

  29. @ John B Dick

    In either case the price [of SNP support for a Labour minority government] would be high and only acceptable under duress.
    —————————————
    This ‘promise’ to hold Westminster hostage was made by Alex Salmond in 2010, when he said the SNP could take 20 Westminster seats. How many seats did the SNP actually get at the last GE?

    But by all means, propose the same strategy for the next election… it worked out pretty well for Labour, in Scotland at least, the last time around.
    8-)

  30. @ Roger Mexico

    The poll shows 80% (v 9%) of English voters want to see a change in the law to force Scotland to treat students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the same way as students from other European Union countries?. More surprisingly so do 45% (v 41%) of Scots.
    ——————————————————
    I am not surprised that 45% of Scots believe it’s wrong to charge UK students more than EU ones. If Alex Salmond really wants “Independence in Europe” should he not begin by treating the other regions of the UK as fellow Europeans?

    Alternatively, it may be that basic fairness – which underpins Scotland’s claim to being a nation of social democrats – is the reason why a plurality think that charging Uk students more than EU ones is unfair.

    Actually, rather than being surprised that a plurality think it’s wrong to charge more, I am rather surprised that as many as 41% regard it as being acceptable!
    8-)

  31. TF @ SD – “Is this purely ideological anti-Tory, or tactical anti-Tory (to not lose ex-Lab and ex-Lib voters)?”

    It is an option that is not worth thinking about for practical reasons.

    I think the SNP and Annabel Goldie could work out a modus vivendi if they were forced to look for one but otherwise there are other things to think about that are easier to find solutions for and politicians don’t have the time to think about really difficult challenges that have a low chance of coming to fruition and almost as low a chance of long term success if tried.

    There are other, more immediate things to do and think about when you waken up in the morning.

    If it were thought on either side that the price were right, that would be another matter.

    Bernard Shaw asked a woman if she would sleep with someone for money. She said not.

    “What, not even for a million pounds?” [£100m today?]

    “Well, that’s different….”

    “Here’s five pounds.”

    “Don’t be disgusting. What sort of woman do you think I am?”

    “We’ve already established that, what we’re doing is negotiating the price.”

    As I said, if the SNP are in a position to decide the party of UK [aka English] government the price of SNP support is going to be extortionate.

    Supposse you were DC/EdM what is the minimum you could get the SNP to accept to put you in government; what could you get the elected members of your party to accept, and what would you supporters in England accept.

    Scottish supporters, whether Lab or Con wouldn’t be problem, nor would Con MSP’s (who could see advantages for themselves), but your opponents would see you imposing a government which English people did not vote for, with SNP support.

    Of course that has been usual in Scotland with Conservative governments for more than a generation but it neither that nor logic and lack of consistency would inhibit ostensible “Unionists” complaining.

  32. It’s nice to have a random range of questions on different subjects again, but as Anthony says if people don’t know much about something (and yes, I know YouGov do try to put neutral context into their questions) you just get an echo chamber.

    This reaches its apogee with one of the Libya questions about [is] the British government is doing enough to help British companies gain contracts from the new Libyan regime which achieves a magnificent 57% Don’t Know (surely a record). This tells us nothing except that 43% of the YouGov panel will give a definite answer to anything

  33. Anyone using Internet Explorer – note AnnaG’s comment above!

  34. @ Annag

    …but the annoying Web page not found can be got rid of by clicking on the compatability view button next to the page refresh (lots of hunting from Google produced this result for me)
    ————————————————
    It worked for me too, thank you. 8-)

  35. @ John B Dick

    I think the SNP and Annabel Goldie could work out a modus vivendi if they were forced to look for one…
    ———————————
    I thought Annabel Goldie resigned as leader of the Scottish Conservatives…
    8-)

  36. ANNAG

    ” the annoying Web page not found can be got rid of by clicking on the compatability view button next to the page refresh (lots of hunting from Google produced this result for me)”

    Thanks for this -excellent piece of research.

    It is indeed very annoying-partic. when the post partially obscured looks interesting!

  37. Amber

    “I thought Annabel Goldie resigned as leader of the Scottish Conservatives”

    That’s what would make it much easier to reach agreement! :-)

    interestingly, the campaign for the SCON leadership seems to be developing a constitutional angle.

    Jackson Carlaw – “will stand as the “this far and no further” candidate, arguing that the current mix of powers between Holyrood and Westminster is the right one.”

    Murdo Fraser – “a long-time advocate of more powers for Holyrood”

    Ruth Davidson “open-minded”

  38. @JOHN B DICK
    George Bernard Shaw was the Paul McCartney or Bono of his time. They wrote catchy tunes, Shaw wrote some reasonably entertaining plays. In neither instance does it mean that the pontifications of these luvvies is worth a twopenny damn. Shaw was sure during the 30’s that Stalin’s Russia was vastly superior to the USA.

  39. Chouenlai

    To the Editor of the Manchester Guardian, (2 March 1933)

    Sir – Increasing unemployment and the failure of private capital to cope with it throughout the rest of the world is causing persons of all classes and parties to watch with increasing interest the progress of the Soviet Union.

    Any yet this is precisely the moment that has been chosen to redouble the intensity of the blind and reckless campaign to discredit it. No lie is too fantastic, no slander is too stale, no intervention too absurdly contrary to what is now common knowledge for employment by the more reckless elements of the British press. A manifest lunatic assassinated the President of the French republic. He must be a Bolshevik. A child of Colonel Lindbergh is kidnapped and murdered; certain of our newspapers are not ashamed to mock its parents’ distress with the same senseless cry. It is ascertained that the Russians have to work daily for their living under the Five-Year Plan and immediately a British duchess leads the protest against Bolshevik slavery.

    Particularly offensive and ridiculous is the revival of the old attempts to represent the condition of Russian workers as one of slavery and starvation, the Five-Year Plan as a failure, the new enterprises as bankrupt and the Communist regime as tottering to its fall. Although such inflammatory irresponsibility is easily laughed at, we must not forget that there are many people not sufficiently well informed politically to be proof against it, and that there are diehards among our diplomats who still dream of starting a counter-revolutionary war anywhere and anyhow, if only they can stampede public opinion into the necessary panic through the press. The seriousness of the situation is emphasized by the British Government’s termination of the trade agreement with the USSR and the provocative questions and answers in the House of Commons.

    We the undersigned are recent visitors to the USSR. Some of us travelled throughout the greater part of its civilized territory. We desire to record that we saw nowhere evidence of such economic slavery, privation, unemployment and cynical despair of betterment as are accepted as inevitable and ignored by the press as having “no news value” in our own countries. Everywhere we saw hopeful and enthusiastic working-class, self-respecting free up to the limits imposed on them by nature and a terrible inheritance from tyranny and incompetence of their former rulers, developing public works, increasing health services, extending education, achieving the economics independence of woman and the security of the child and in spite of many grievous difficulties and mistakes which or social experiments involve a first (and which they have never concealed nor denied) setting an example of industry and conduct which would greatly enrich us if our systems supplied our workers with any incentive to follow it.

    We would regard it as a calamity if the present lie campaign were to be allowed to make headway without contradiction and to damage the relationship between our country and the USSR. Accordingly we urge all men and women of goodwill to take every opportunity of informing themselves of the real facts of the situation and to support the movements which demand peace, trade and closer friendship with an understanding of the greater Workers Republic of Russia.

    Yours etc.

    Bernard Shaw [and twenty others].

    Well what do you expect from imperialists who confuse the “USSR” with “Russia”? :-)

  40. “The most popular proposals were cutting… fuel duty, … supported by 86%.”

    I thought the moral reason for the very high charge was to dissuade car use. And that it seems it is doing reasonably effectively. So the only way to get people out of their cars is to force them via their pockets.

    I suppose to say that openly may not be the most politically sensitive thing to say, especially as public transport options only ever seem to be discussed half-heartedly.

    But then, doing the right thing is generally unpopular, and so not high in any politician’s toolbox.

    Another such area is the National Trust and house building — there must be a VI involved here somewhere otherwise it is just shooting themselves in the foot. (Young people can’t get on the housing ladder and pay extortionate rents, but they don’t vote so who cares?)

  41. @rogermexico
    “It’s like one of those nature documentaries. A shower of Conservative rain in the form of a mildly better poll, and suddenly the desert blooms blue as all the Tory commenters come out.”

    This is your little joke, right. If it is not then you clearly do not read anyone else’s comments. Until AW enforced a few rules a week or so ago, it was pointless a Tory coming on this board.

  42. @ Charles Stuart

    “Yes, I had heard of Jack Layton’s death. My sister and her husband were visiting when he gave up leadership of the NDP, so I was able to get a first-hand Canadian perspective. They both liked Layton a lot, thinking that he was a good man, even though both of them are Liberal voters.

    My sister and her husband were of the view that the NDP did well in the recent election for two reasons, one that Jack Layton was a good leader and well liked across the political spectrum and the other being the Michael Ignatieff was an absolutely dreadful leader. I think that they thought that Ignatieff was more responsible for the Liberals’ failure than Layton was for the NDP’s success.

    What happens in the Canadian polls next will be interesting. It will be interesting to see if Stephen Harper has transformed the Conservatives from a primarily socially conservative party to a primarily fiscally conservative party. As a whole, Canadians, like the British, are more likely to support the latter. The kind of fundamentalist Christian social right-wing agenda of the Tea Party, that has more or less taken over the Republican Party, gets no truck in any of the UK’s mainstream parties or the UK’s electorate and very little with the Canadian electorate, though the Canadian Conservative Party was largely built from that small minority of ultra-right religious conservatives.

    Stephen Harper seems to have realized that such ultra-right policies scare 85% or more of the Canadian electorate and he’s steered the party away from that course. Has he shifted the party sufficiently? Observe the next few years and the election due in 2015.”

    Thanks for that. I think the Canadian Liberals have deeper problems than their leadership. I think they’re ideologically rudderless, look completely opportunistic, and got squeezed in the election…..by voters going to the NDP to stop Harper and voters going to the Conservatives to stop Layton from becoming Prime Minister. At least that’s how it appears to me (and I’m not a close follower). I don’t know how you recover from that.

    Of course Canadian politics is mildly entertaining just for its uniqueness. The Conservatives are progressive, the Liberals aren’t really liberal, and the Socialists don’t really like the state. :)

    And speaking of poor political leaders, last night I was at the Hollywood Bowl and during intermission as I was simultaneously walking quickly and texting (something one really shouldn’t do), I nearly walked right into the ex Governor! It’s funny cause’ normally I hate people like me and I try not to be that oblivious but of all the people I could walk right into while doing that….:)

  43. @old nat
    What a cogent piece. The Russians produced better left wing gangsters than us. Now they produce better capitalist gangsters than us. But we are learning fast it seems to me.

  44. “Shaw was sure during the 30?s that Stalin’s Russia was vastly superior to the USA.”
    Does it really detract from the point made by the quote?

    Churchill was a big fan of Mussolini [1] and praised fascism [2] – but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t right about Democracy [3], or about Hitler [4].

    Or shall we continue to play this game of, ‘Let’s not judge the words but the speaker’ – because I’m sure people would be happy to drudge up dodgy links of any of your side’s favourites.
    No? So maybe we should stick to the non-partisanship? Okay then.

    [1] “I have lost my heart!”
    [2] “Fascism has rendered a service to the entire world”
    [3] Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
    [4] “Hitler is a monster of wickedness, insatiable in his lust for blood and plunder.”

  45. @tinge fringe
    At least Churchill was a politician who was Home Sec, Chancellor, Minister of Defence and PM at one time or another. Whatever horlicks he talked, it came from a deeper understanding than pop singers and leftie playwrights.

  46. @ Amber Star

    “It’s not just you – everybody using Internet Explorer (IE) has this issue. Anthony’s tech team are trying to resolve it.”

    I’m getting it too.

    @ Old Nat

    Cool letter. You ever heard of http://www.letterberry.com?

  47. @Chouenlai,
    Again, does it detract from the point of the quote?

    Jesus was a carpenter’s son, does that mean that we shouldn’t listen to what he had to say?

  48. I note that Northern Ireland are considering adopting a similar policy to Scotland’s on University funding, as we all have to adjust to the consequences of England’s withdrawal of public funding for theirs.

    I wonder what the responses would have been if the Sunday Times had commissioned realistic questions? (Aye! Right!)

    Like “Who should pay for the education of University students? – The country in which the University is located, or the student’s own country?”

  49. TingedFringe

    “Jesus was a carpenter’s son”

    So, you’re not a Christian then? :-)

  50. “So, you’re not a Christian then?”
    No, but I think his and the early church’s brand of socialism was spot on. ;)

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