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. AnnaG, AW and Amber
    Thanks for your first page answer on IE.

    This belated reply is due to my only being able to delve here occasionally at present.

    I gather nobody here knows or cares much about Planning any more than those polled.

    We’ll end up with bungalows on Beachy Head one day. Actually there are already some nearby, but that was before we started a planning system.

    ‘Come friendly hurricane and destroy the caravan sites’.

  2. OldNat
    Prior to the publication of the MORI poll, it’s difficult to predict Scottish elections to Westminster, but it’s worth noting that 19% of the current LD MPs are from Scottish constituencies (more than twice our proportion of the population).

    If Scots LDs take a disproportionate hit (as seems entirely possible) then Tories will have to gain additional seats just to stand still in terms of Coalition numbers.

    It would be interesting if the Tories managed a small overall majority whether they would still link with LDs. I think DC may favour this, so long as the left of the LD Party to not dominate. Tax changes proposed or already introduced associated with mansion taxes, wealth taxes, capital gains tax, inheritance tax are unacceptable to most of the Tories. However, it is possible that LDs will split perhaps back to Lib and SDP, and that Clegg would lead his group and link with the Tories initially. I would see NC supporting decentralisation, local democracy, as well as considerably raising the tax threshold for lower incomes. All these I would think would be acceptable to most Tories.

  3. @ Roger Mexico

    “babies born each year who will either be damaged in some way or born to mothers who feel unable to cope with them. ”

    1) What is your definition of a “damaged” baby-and why should a life be denied to it because of your requirement for being ” undamaged” ?

    2) Why should mothers who decide that the human being they created is going to be as inconvenenient as a difficult puppy be allowed to kill it? Why not decide they cannot cope before conception?

  4. @ HENRY

    “It would be interesting if the Tories managed a small overall majority ”

    I distinctly remember a thread recently which concluded , after much thought , & lots of numbers, that Cons could not & would not gain a GE majority.

    I forget the details-but it all looked convincing-it was certainly enthusiastic :-)

  5. “I distinctly remember a thread recently which concluded , after much thought , & lots of numbers, that Cons could not & would not gain a GE majority”
    There’s a difference between ‘unlikely given the current course’ and ‘impossible’.
    I think that most of us would conclude that the Tories have a chance at an overall majority, if they change course/tactics.

    While the whole authoritarian/law & order thing would cause tensions within the coalition between liberals and conservatives – if Cameron pushed *hard* on that angle, I think it’d *massively* improve Tory chances of a majority at the next general election.

    Also if they Tories pushed hard for policies which massively benefited the Midlands region – as they’ve got the SE/SW/E regions in the bag and *need* the Midlands to win.

    But just putting your heads down and saying, ‘The economy will improve and we’ll cut taxes and everybody will flood to us!’ is as dangerous a tactic as saying, ‘The LibDems are collapsing in Scotland, the ex-Libs will flood to us!’, because we all know how that strategy went for Labour.

    But the simple fact is, that if the Tories lose the Midlands as an electoral region, they cannot win an overall majority.
    If they cannot cause another split in the left, while having a split-right, it becomes increasingly difficult to win an overall majority.

    Those are the challenges – there are solutions, but just mocking the challenges the Tories face will not win them elections.

  6. @Henry

    You said “…It would be interesting if the Tories managed a small overall majority whether they would still link with LDs. I think DC may favour this, so long as the left of the LD Party to not dominate…”

    If Cameron does pull that off, it’ll be an enormous tribute to his party-management skills, but I don’t think he’ll be allowed to. If Blue get a small (<10) majority (my long-standing prediction, incidentally) and he attempts to form another coalition, he will be deposed as leader of the Conservative Party and a new leader installed before the Queen's Speech.

    Regards, Martyn

  7. “If Blue get a small (<10) majority (my long-standing prediction, incidentally) and he attempts to form another coalition"
    Would the LibDems also allow *their* leader to form a coalition?

    At least the LibDems currently have the talking point of having no choice (due to seat and economic issues) but to form a coalition with the Tories – if they were to form one out of *choice* it could lead to a huge party fracture (I'm thinking Liberal/National Liberal fracture).

  8. @TingedFringe

    I don’t think they’d split pre-election, although I do have to point out that I don’t know how LD party members think. I know from comments made that some of the Yellows have found it difficult to cope with coalition but, even so, I don’t see them splitting beforehand.

    As for after the election, Cons will either have a majority or they won’t. If they have a majority, then they won’t offer a coalition to the LDs, so the problem does not arise and the LDs will not split. If they don’t, it’d be in all LD MPs interests to accept a coalition, so – again – they will not split.

    However, that latter course does depend on the LDs acting rationally, and they simply may not do so. On this, your guess is as good as mine.

    Regards, Martyn

  9. Three reasons for a Tory to be cheerful. :)

    Is this poll along with the recent ICM poll might well showing a real narrowing of the margins between Lab and Tory. Cameron definitely did better than EdM on the riots. The public have moved decisively to the right on Law and Order now, as well as benefits and immigration.

    The Tory party will make the best of the conference season. Clegg will have a torrid time with his awkward squad. EdM has simply not got the presence or voice for effective oratory. Cameron, buoyed by the Libyan situation stabilising and having weathered the riots and the NOTW, will be confident and performs very well on the conference stage.

    All other countries are now catching up and implementing deficit reduction. Defending the “cuts” has now become far easier.

  10. John Fletcher

    Defending the cuts may have become easier, but if we don’t see a change from austerity only it might be defending of property that becomes an issue.

  11. Colin

    It’s not for me to define what is ‘damaged’, it’s for the pregnant women assisted by the best possible medical advice. That’s why my sentence was deliberately worded vaguely to cover the vast majority of cases (you could probably construct exceptions, but they’d pretty rare).

    And I don’t think that foetuses are ‘human beings’ (or for that matter ‘babies’ or ‘children’). If they were abortion would be (usually) wrong, but I don’t don’t think they are and neither does the vast majority of the British public.

    Foetuses are potentially such things, which is why women can find it a difficult decision to make. But it’s a decision about the future not the present.

    Of course a lot of abortions are the result of a failure of contraception. Would you allow an exception for those, or would women just have to consider it the luck of the draw? Should we ban heterosexual intercourse altogether as apparently some people are engaging in it without any forethought?

    Obviously you are very concerned with the fate of the ‘human beings’ who you want to be born to mothers who will consider them as ‘inconvenenient as a difficult puppy’. So you will be wanting to provide these women with every financial and practical help as well as a lot of monitoring and assistance from local councils and charities. That’s why you have been calling for increases in benefits and an expansion of local authority services. It will mean income tax going up, but we know you’re happy to pay more of that,

  12. Pete B

    I suppose in theory the Queen could refuse Royal Assent to a bill replacing her, though I doubt in practice that she would.

    I know the constitutional position may be different in Scotland, but I remember someone pointing out that, in England, while she would be obliged by precedent to sign, she could preempt it by having all those involved arrested for treason.

  13. @ Nick Poole

    Ref Austerity.

    We in the West have been over consuming on borrowed money for too long.

    I appreciate that for a few the austerity over the next couple of years might mean some suffering, my next comment is not intended to belittle their situation.

    However for most people this austerity means things like not changing the car every 2 years, not buying the lasted electronic gadget as soon as it comes on the market, one less holiday abroad each year, shopping in Aldi instead of M&S.

    In short for most people it will mean living within their means, not suffering a catastrophic crash in their standard of living.

    Oh and an anecdote on youth unemployment. My daughter starts another job tomorrow. She is now working two jobs a total of 50 hrs a week. The employment is there for those who want it badly enough.

  14. Roger Mexico.

    I have a different view on abortion to you, & the status of a foetus-and I have a personal experience which informs my view of what constitutes “unnacceptably damaged” babies.

    I recommend this mornings R5 Live phone in on the subject. Particularly interesting were :-

    The role of abortion clinics licenced by the State,

    The views of women who had aborted babies, about the influence in their decision of the all pervasive priorities of the biological father.

  15. “I’m interested in seeing how the “make abortion harder to get” agenda fits snugly with the anti-single parent, broken families agenda.”
    And
    “So you will be wanting to provide these women with every financial and practical help as well as a lot of monitoring and assistance from local councils and charities. That’s why you have been calling for increases in benefits and an expansion of local authority services.”
    There isn’t, psychologically, a contradiction here.

    “Abortion is wrong” because it gives women the choice to have sex without consequence – the foetus (or pre-foetus, in the embryonic stage) can just be aborted.
    (Hence the invention of the myth that embryos are people too and the use of ‘child’ rather than any sort of scientific category).

    But, due to the ‘Just World’ idea, those who’re in a certain negative position must be in that position through their own actions – so poor people are poor because they’re lazy, people turn to crime because they’re evil, women are often raped because they dress provocatively, etc
    This is because the world is fundamentally Just – ultimately good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
    This is a psychological coping mechanism to deal with the fact that the world is a cold, harsh, uncaring place.
    (Note the reason many people believe in God – because the idea of a cold world is ‘too depressing’).

    So there is no contradiction or ‘doublespeak’ – abortions are bad, but those women who’re in poor situations are there because of their own actions and should ‘have to live with the consequences’.

  16. Roger Mexico

    “So you will be wanting to provide these women with every financial and practical help as well as a lot of monitoring and assistance from local councils and charities. ”

    Actually I will be wanting to get UK moved down the league table for teenage pregnancy rates, and to foster responsibility & forward thinking in young girls on the subject of creating babies.

  17. Debate on this board will not change anybody’s opinion on abortion, pro or con. It would be more productive to consider whether an antiabortion stance would be electorally popular.

    If it is true that the post-riots country is becoming more authoritarian on law-and-order, then I would assume that an pro-life stance would be electorally unpopular (pro-choice advocates can just point out that an increase in the abortion rate results in a drop in the crime rate sixteen years later). I also note that a transposition of US political debates (where abortion is an electoral issue) to the UK (where it isn’t) usually have mixed results. But these are just ,my assumptions and I may be wrong.

    So I’m wondering if there is any polling on this subject. If only there was a handy-dandy organisation that could do a quick poll. Now where could I find such a thing… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  18. “If only there was a handy-dandy organisation that could do a quick poll. Now where could I find such a thing…”
    Yougov/Cambridge to the rescue!

    13th-22nd April 2011

    Abortion –
    Is ALWAYS morally wrong – 7%
    Usually morally wrong – 13%
    Total wrong – 20%
    Usually morally acceptable – 28%
    Always morally acceptable – 19%
    Morally acceptable – 47%
    It depends on the circumstances – 28%
    Don’t Know – 5%

    Blasphemy, Wrong 46% (26/20) is seen as morally worse than abortion and Smoking, Wrong 18% (6/12) is not far behind abortion.

    It’s actually the north where abortion is seen as wrong (21%) the most, and the south (18%) the least.
    Which is ironic for the Tories (if anti-abortion politics becomes official policy) as their electoral base is in the south and (in England), they do worst in the north.

  19. @TingedFringe

    Thank you for your quick reply. Looking at those numbers, they’re:

    * 20% always/usually unacceptable
    * 47% always/usually acceptable
    * 33% don’t know/don’t care/depends

    So that’s quite a lot of wriggle room (33% dk/dc/d), but pro-life would be swimming *against* the tide with those numbers – they could win the argument but they’d have to spend a lot of time and effort to do it.

    Is abortion something the Conservative party or the Coalition Government would go to the mattresses for? Probably not, really, especially when you factor the differential geography – why spend time pursuing an policy that is electorally unpopular in areas where you need to do well?[1]

    Regards, Martyn

    [1]: of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t do it: the LDs did *exactly* that on tuition fees…

  20. I think it might not be too wise to assume that a lurch to the right after a well publicized series of riots means a permanent shift. After all, riots have happened before, and authoritarian legislation buoyed by popular sentiment has happened before too, but how many times has popular sentiment collapsed once that legislation becomes law and it’s consequences become felt?

  21. “Why spend time pursuing an policy that is electorally unpopular in areas where you need to do well?”
    I think that’s the problem with two-party politics.

    Let’s say that you have a left-wing party that is socially liberal and a right-wing party that is socially illiberal but the nation is left-wing illiberal or right-wing liberal.
    So the nation believes strongly in capitalism, but is pro-choice, etc – but the party on offer is pro-capitalism but also anti-abortion.
    The party, who you elect for their economic policies then enact social policies which are hugely unpopular.

    In this case, I don’t think that the majority of Tory MPs are anti-abortion, but that Cameron may have to give concessions to the arm of his party that are – or risk losing their support on other issues.

    If only there were an electoral system where seats were given proportionally to the percentage of vote obtained and a pluralism of parties was encouraged. ;)

  22. Colin

    Actually I will be wanting to get UK moved down the league table for teenage pregnancy rates, and to foster responsibility & forward thinking in young girls on the subject of creating babies

    I couldn’t agree more. That’s why it’s a pity that the Teenage Pregnancy Coordinators are being cut. It’s a dreadful name, but they’re the people in each health authority who worked to lower teenage pregnancy rates – with some success it seems.

    But such posts always seem to be the first to go No doubt because they are seen as ‘non-jobs’ and there are also technical reasons for them being easier to cut. But according to the Guardian earlier this year over half of councils are getting rid of their TPCs.

    But as I said, no contraception is 100% effective and equally no teenage girl is 100% perfect and never will be, even with all the best help. That’s why we also need to have easy, safe, non-judgemental and free abortion offered as early in pregnancy as possible.

    What annoys me about the proposals, which the government is now so foolishly backing, is that they are attempting to remove counselling from charities such as the Brook Clinics and Marie Stopes which have a record of unbiased advice and as important will discuss contraception etc. Instead they want advice to be given by groups such as Life who are definitely biased and whose main object is the continuation of the pregnancy, rather than the long term welfare of the woman and her potential child.

    Obviously we will have to disagree about the status of the foetus, though as I pointed out yours is a minority view. Because of that I think that what does or does not constitute damage is a matter for the pregnant woman with whatever advice she requires. I didn’t hear the R5 phone-in, so I can’t really comment on your other points.

  23. TINGEDFRNGE

    The sort of changes the Tories need to make to have a chance of winning the next GE would split their party and consign them to oblivion for a gneeration [snip partisan comment – AW]

    The future of the Lib Dems relates entirely to the success or otherwise of GO’s deficit reduction strategy. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that Clegg and friends hitched their wagon to an outfit (Cameron and Osborne’s Tory party) which they must have known was potentially a right wing neo-thatcherite operation economically.

    Double dip could be curtains for the current LD party both locally and nationally – will we see the Owenite rump arise from the ashes?

  24. Tingedfringe

    The figures I quoted were actually from a survey YouGov did for Prospect back in November:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Prospect-SocialMoralIssues_101026.pdf

    I preferred it to the Cambridge one because it was about what people thought should be legal, rather than morality, so it seemed more appropriate in this case. The regional breakdown is slightly different from the one you quoted so I suspect there is very little difference in practice across the country (except perhaps for London). What is noticeable is how little variation there is even by age.

  25. DAVIDB,

    Clegg and the other Orange Bookers who make up the current Lib Dem leadership are, themselves, inclined towards right-wing Thatcherite economics. That’s why they felt comfortable hitching their wagon to Cameron and Osborne’s.

    And on the general debate about abortion, there are Leftie pro-lifers as well. We just don’t get as much press as the right-wing variety.

  26. I see in the weekend’s YouGov poll that the respective leadership approval ratings were as follows: –

    Leadership approval –
    Cameron -10 (+1)
    Miliband -23 (-2)
    Clegg -45 (+2)

    It’s still an Ugly Contest, isn’t it, and I was wondering when the last time was that the leaders of our three major parties were held, simultaneously, in such low esteem?

  27. @Roger Mexico
    I completely missed your quote of statistics earlier.
    It’s interesting that enough people are libertarian enough that although they think something is morally repugnant, they also think it should be legal.

  28. David B

    Double dip could be curtains for the current LD party both locally and nationally – will we see the Owenite rump arise from the ashes?

    Could do; there is certainly a huge difference in political opinion between the likes of Clegg and Laws, and the left of the Party.

    The Party that split from Labour however did it on the basis of massive differences on areas such as Europe, Nuclear power and Unions. The SDP objections have been addressed and so in the long term the newly formed SDP could integrate with Labour, with hardly any compromise needed from either side.

    Nick Clegg’s Liberals could in the short term align with the Tories but ultimately revert to being a Party of the centre in terms of left and right but also a party of the individual and the vulnerable pressing for decentralisation and promoting personal freedoms.

    While initially they would probably hold about 6-8 seats, in the longer term they would start gaining support and winning seats from votes of those fed up with the left and right.

  29. Crossbat

    It’s still an Ugly Contest, isn’t it, and I was wondering when the last time was that the leaders of our three major parties were held, simultaneously, in such low esteem?

    I think that leaders these days are demonised, whichever Party. It is a political game; the best way to bring down the party is by attacking the integrity of the leader.

  30. Henry, that’s an interesting proposal – but would they keep those 6-8 seats if they reverted to being a traditional liberal party?

    Surely there are enough free-market liberals within the Tory party already, so if the SDP-wing were to merge with the Labour party, why wouldn’t the Liberals merge with the Tories?

  31. Roger Mexico

    I particularly liked this from your original post on abortion –

    “It is being pushed by something called the “Right to Know campaign”. Dorries claims not to know” ?

    “abortion is actually a retained power under devolution – Westminster still makes the decisions. But would any changes inserted in the Health Bill apply? Would changes made in DoH rules apply other than in England?”

    The Health & Social Care Bill applies only to England. Any alteration to procedures in the devolved nations would have to be the subject of specific additional clauses in the Bill. Makes a bit of a nonsense having abortion as a reserved power, though, if they aren’t going to apply rules equally across the UK – including Northern Ireland.

    Colin & Roger

    “forward thinking in young girls on the subject”

    Unless we are back on the religious theme again with virgin births, young males need to do a bit of forward thinking as well.

  32. TingedFringe

    “why wouldn’t the Liberals merge with the Tories?”

    Orkney & Shetland tried having a Tory –

    Once in 1835, and again once in 1935. It wasn’t a success. Maybe in 2035?

  33. @Henry

    “I think that leaders these days are demonised, whichever Party. It is a political game; the best way to bring down the party is by attacking the integrity of the leader.”

    The all conquering Australian cricket team of the 90s and 00s used to target the captain of the opposition, believing that to destroy the credibility and effectiveness of the leader was the quickest way to demoralise the rest of the team. In that sense, the tactic is an old one and I would be very surprised if it didn’t go on in the antagonistic world of party politics.

    That said, when the leader is strong, resilient and resourceful, the tactic can be counterproductive and I always thought that Labour in the heyday of Thatcher, and the Tories when Blair bestrode the political stage, were largely whistling in the dark in their futile attempts to demonise those two figures. You can fool some of the public…….etc etc

    I rather think that the negative approval ratings for the current party leaders may be more to do with the inadequacies of the personalities involved rather than the effectiveness of the personal attacks waged against them. We may have to face the prospect that large and charismatic political figures only come along once in a very long while, and that the current crop might, I fear, be fairly underwhelming.

    That’s the crumb of comfort for Miliband, I guess. His ratings have improved fairly steadily, but are still quasi-dire, but he’s running against other party leaders held in similar disdain. The outcome of a race between the evil of three lessers is always more open to doubt than that between a donkey a thoroughbred!

    I see no political thoroughbreds out there at the moment, I have to say. The stable looks pretty bare.

  34. hey, good to see some old names here, Howard and OldNat… But what does Howard have against caravans?
    Thik this YouGov is a bliplet.

  35. Crossbat – the only unusual part is the ratings of the Lib Dem leader – normally pretty positive. This is presumably down to them being in government, rather than being a rather inoffensive third party. Ming Campbell obviously had negative ratings before he was defenestrated, but not to the degree Clegg has.

    The ratings of Cameron and Miliband are pretty unextraordinary. Obviously there have been Prime Ministers with much, much worse rating… and while this is sometimes accompanied by more positive ratings for the leader of the opposition, it isn’t always the case. Towards the end of Blair’s premiership there were some marginally negative ratings for Cameron (and Campbell, so all three were rated negatively). It was commonplace for Blair and IDS/Howard to both have very negative approval ratings at the same time.

  36. Poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (never heard of them, but there you go) – it looks like they mainly do US polling.
    But it’s about the riots –
    2001 respondents, Aug 19-21 – 431 left-wing, 509 right-wing
    “Which TWO of the following do you think best explain the recent riots in Britain?”
    Greed and a culture where people get status from having the latest gadgets and trainers – 55% (Left-Wing 55%, Right-Wing 63%)
    Lack of a sense of responsibility and failure to understand that you need to work hard to get things – 54% (51/68)
    These people were already criminals, and they took advantage of the opportunity to loot shops and cause mayhem – 37% (29/42)
    Lack of job opportunities and a sense of hopelessness for the future – 23% (37/13)
    Anger over government cuts that affect young people – 11% (15/3)
    Other – 3 (4/4)
    DK – 3 (1/0)

    And which cause BEST explains the recent riots?
    Lack of responsibility – 35 (29/47)
    Culture of greed – 24 (26/24)
    Criminality – 22 (17/20)
    Lack of jobs – 13 (22/4)
    Anger over cuts – 3 (3/1)
    Other – 2 (3/3)

  37. @ Amber Star

    “I would not have allowed Al-Megrahi to go back to Libya, I would’ve had him under house/ hospital arrest in Scotland & allowed his family to come here.

    I guess that could have raised security issues though, if somebody tried to seek revenge against him or his family.

    I am of the opinion that the ‘hero’s’ welcome given to Al-Megrahi played more than a small part in the Uk & US decision to back Sarkozy’s intervention & breech the UN resolution in order to pursue regime change.”

    He’s been tried once and convicted. Although not double jeopardy in the strict and technical legal sense, the U.S. would be essentially trying Megrahi twice for the same crime. And we’d essentially be doing it just so that he could be given the death penalty. I don’t see a point to doing that.

  38. OLD NAT
    ” young males need to do a bit of forward thinking as well.”

    They do-but it seems evident from their absence in such a large number of single mother households-that just buggering off is easier than forward thinking.

    And judging by the R5Live phone in this morning, those who hang around to think about the consequences can & do put considerable pressure on their sexual partner to abort……………a pressure which has left some of those who phoned in this morning with long term emotional scars.

    Ultimately it is the pregnant womanwho faces this dreadful decision-and I think Dorris is quite right to highlight the absence of a balanced suite of advice & guidance for her at a time of such emotional vulnerability.

    The unborn child needs a voice too.

  39. SOCALIBERAL

    “He’s been tried once and convicted”

    He has -despite which a not inconsiderable group of people believe him to be innocent.

    Tam Dalyell MP is one such, as is the Doctor father of one of the victims, who has followed the evidence with great diligence it seems.

  40. Tinged Fringe
    Surely there are enough free-market liberals within the Tory party already, so if the SDP-wing were to merge with the Labour party, why wouldn’t the Liberals merge with the Tories?

    Because I think the SDP, which split from the Labour Party in the first place, may now feel at ease with Labour. However I doubt if the Liberals would want to join the Tories, and would hope that there is enough voters out there(plus personal votes) to give them their 6 seats.

    Of course one problem is that there already is a party calling itself Liberal, but I believe there is little Liberalism in its policies. There is IMO a need for a ‘Liberal Party’, in UK politics.

  41. Pam F

    Hi!

    Colin

    I’d respectfully suggesst that “buggering” would produce fewer unwanted children! :-) Perhaps a different phrase would be more aposite?

  42. I hate this fad for importing wedge issues from America. Supposed we can look forward to party leaders attacking each other with the suggestion that the other guy believes in global warming and evolution!

  43. Henry,

    I’d vote for a new Liberal party (we could call it the National Liberal party: no-one has done that yet, have they? Or how about Independent Liberals?) if they were along the lines of the Free Democrats in Germany, the Conservatives in Norway or the Swedish Moderate Party.

    I almost always find myself having to either choose a party that is economically too far to the left of me or a party that is too socially conservative for me. Being in Scotland (a social democratic country with generally socially conservative politicians) doesn’t help, of course.

  44. Women are biologically designed to get pregnant super-easily when they are in their teens & very early twenties. It’s a fact. And physically, that’s the best time for them to become parents.

    Women should be pushing back against the trend of politicians condemning young mothers & praising those who have children in their mid-thirties.

    Of course, go a couple of years beyond the mid-30’s & women are given a hard time for waiting until they’re really a bit past their sell-by date! NHS Fertility services are under severe financial pressure & being rationed, apparently.

    @ Anthony,
    Does YG have any polling on the public’s perception of what the right age to start a family is? Or is it purely a matter of economics? In which case, people now in their late twenties may well have to shove their granny under a bus & inherit her house before it’s too late!
    8-)

  45. @TINGEDFRINGED
    You say up thread that the Tories could win an overall majority, conceivably, as long as they change their policies. I say that is the one course of action which will lose them the next GE.

  46. “I say that is the one course of action which will lose them the next GE.”
    Four years is a long time – five year plans may work in totalitarian dictatorships, but in democracies you need to adapt to changes over time. ;)

  47. Bizarre as it may be for me to be agreeing with Amber, the contention that women having babies in their teens or twenties is in some way a *problem* has always struck me as odd, and possibly anti-human. My sisters were mortified when, pregnant in their late twenties/early thirties, they were categorised as “older mothers”. I can see the sense in not starting a family until your early twenties, and I understand the irritation of people whose taxes go to pay benefits for people who cannot afford to have children but stupidly have them anyway. But to conflate that into “teenage mothers are bad ex-officio” is a bit silly. Some teenage women will have babies, not as part of some big liberal conspiracy or Decline of Western Civilisation, but because that’s what human females *do*.

    Regards, Martyn

  48. RE BABIES
    Surely nature decides about the fertility of women. For round figures 16 to 45. It should not matter what age a woman is, as long as she has a partner who who cares for her and will also love her baby. On the other hand, if baby is the fourth at age 17 by yet another father, who does a runner, just like the other 3, then something is wrong. I await the howls of anguish from the usual suspects, for my middle class Victorian, Tory attitudes.

  49. Amber

    I know a man who when he was in his mid 70’shad a granddaughter who was a grandmother.

    Quick work, and not all of it legal in this country perhaps.

    Wen God wrote the Schedule of Operating requirements for female animals, what do you reckon was No,1 on the list?

    Young women get pregnnant that is what they are for.

    It may be socially or economically a bad idea, even life threatening for eiter social or medical reasons, but some part of them wants to get pregnant.

    Even in early American religious communities where there were severe social sanctions there were a lot of marriages followed by inceredibly healthy births.

    Historically, there is only one certain way to reduce the incidence of unwantd early pregnancy in a population:

    Malnutrition.

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