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. RobbieAlive

    ‘I agree, esp. with the comparison between health & “tick-boxing” education. The Coalition knows that their cuts will lead to a poorer NHS service: of course they curtail targets, as this allows the deterioration & comparisons with Labour’s era to be disguised.’

    The Coalition have ringed fence the NHS spending; something that Labour did not promise. I am sure you have no authority to speak for the Coalition and IMO the reason for the removal of targets is that to meet a target results in other equally important routines being neglected. This has been stated on numerous occasions.

    While all political parties appear committed to maintaining and improving the NHS, their solution and approaches will differ and one approach may be more effective than other. To suggest that one party is cynically manipulating statistics to hide the result of their actions says more about your political bias than Tory or LIB Dem or Labour health policies.

  2. Nobody minds 17 – 19 year old women having babies – if they are wealthy. Society’s disapprobation has little to do with the mother’s age or her ability to physically & emotionally be a good parent. It is all about money.
    8-)

  3. Socal Liberal

    ‘I once had a coworker and friend who had been a young mother (I think she first gave birth at 15) and she had three kids, all of them by different fathers. I’m not sure I would have made that decision if I was her but she was able to take care of her kids and raise them’.

    This may be the case in one instance, but it is unfair on children to be raised by inexperienced single parents. Both accidents and unfairness happens, but the problem is the more deprived white and carribean kids are suffering both in exam results, and also it appears in opportunities to attend University. Those from poorer backgrounds with strong family and community support, such as UK citizens from Indian and Chinese backgrounds, appear to have a much better start in life and are not held back by poor examination results or lack of aspiration.

  4. Amberstar

    Nobody minds 17 – 19 year old women having babies – if they are wealthy. Society’s disapprobation has little to do with the mother’s age or her ability to physically & emotionally be a good parent. It is all about money.

    Of course it is possible to be about both.

    When most 17-19 year olds were in a stable relationship, with support from not only her partner, but her parents and those of her in-laws, the kids probably had a reasonable chance. At the same time their partner was probably in a steady job, which is why they felt they could afford to get married and have children, and so they took financial responsibility for their family choices. I do not remember seeing pregnancies at say 18 being highlighted because it was not perceived to be a problem.

    In the office where I worked in the early 70s most of the girls were in their teens and they were all married. Around the age of 17 or 18, depending on family circumstances they left to have a family; some waited until their early or late 20s. I am aware that most of them gave considerable thought to family planning. No one ever suggested that those who had children earlier were any worse, probably because there would have been no basis for making such suggestions.

  5. Amberstar

    However, I remember my grandma singing me a song, which included something about ‘Its the rich wot gets the pleasure, its the poor wot gets the blame’. Mind you she was singing about a bygone age many years before.

    Or perhaps you don’t think so.

  6. No one seems to have mentioned the collective imapct on population dynamics. We really do need people to delay having children as this helps moves us towards a gradual and sustained reduction in population to a more reasonable level. For as much as everyone has rights to bear offspring, they also should have obligations as to the wider impacts of their actions.

    I posted yesterday that if the supporters of this change in abortion regulations are correct in their projections of 60,000 fewer terminations a year arising from the change, then they have to explain where they will put the town around the size of Weymouth that we will need to house these people every single year. This is on top of the need for one extra Southampton required year on year to house the net inflow from migration.

    These aren’t one offs – this is the scale of development we need every single year until we get to grip with controlling rising population.

  7. HENRY
    Yes, a bygone age in which that song was sung.

    Sung first in early Edwardian England I think.

    Then it became very popular in the post 1918-1939 years of coalition governments (with two short lived minority Labour Governments under Ramsay Mac)

    To deal with the deficit the coalition governments cut the benefits for the poor and cut government spending on infra structure, which increased unemployment claims. So the ‘dole’ had to be cut.

    Men without a leg due to fighing on the western front had to have food stamps, in return for family furniture.

    Then the banking crisis 1929 made it worse.

    Stanley Baldwin himself said of these public school boys that they were hard faced men who looked as though they had done well out of the war.

    Good to know that governments now would never target poor people to pay for mistakes made by bankers.

  8. Interesting chat about targets.

    I had a bit of a chinnwag with my brother who works in private industry (I’m a Civil Servant). We were talking about the relative levels of sickness absence in public and private employment.

    In the public service (certainly in the Civil Service), efforts to reduce the much publicised percentages of sick leave tend towards scrupilous record keeping…prompt “back to work meetings”, full records of contacts, trigger point s for warnings. Everything is about having all th info to both record who is off with what and when, and to provide the details needed if ever a case were to arise.

    Now, my brother says things work differently where he works. If people are occasionally sick, they ring up and return whenn better…they get full pay annd no records are kept. Things only get recorded when a perception of taking the p*ss arises. And then they record for a very short time and sack the person.

    A very different approach. But a side effect of it is that when the Daily Telegraph or Mail report that the private sector has a 10% sickness absence rate compared to the publc sector which is much lower, they are not comparing like with like. The public sector keep scrupulous records in case they are asked…the public sector don’t. they don’t have to answer a Parliamentary question about levels of sick leave so they don’t waste their time recoding it in most cases.

    Which takes me back to targets. Proving how you do against the old charter mark or the new business excellence is all very well, but how good are private sector call centres?

    The answer? Some are better than others.

  9. Henry

    “‘Its the rich wot gets the pleasure, its the poor wot gets the blame’. Mind you she was singing about a bygone age many years before”

    Do you really believe that ?! All you have to do is look out your lounge window to see manifestations of that adage all around us!

  10. On babies and people (female) having them.

    Do we really want to go back to the days where single mothers were stigmatised and sneered at? I don’t think that will happen even if some are trying to engineer it.

    So what rules should there be about who should have babies and when?

    I vote it should mostly be confined to females.

    What about the ability to bring them up without resort to state funds? to afford to send them to a goos school perhaps?

    Well, two points. First, as my wife once pointed out, if we wait till we can afford kids, we’ll never have them. So we didn’t.

    Second, circumstances change. A perfectly “respectable” wife and mother with two kids or more could (and do) find themselves without a husband to help pay the bills. Either dead or just done a runner (maybe helping another feckless female exercise her biological function).

    The poor have more kids than the rich, as a rule. They do it as a defence against losing some and to provide support to each other later, a built-in tribe if you like.

    If you want strong “family” encourage lots of kids and extended family support for young and old. But that doesn’t fit in well with the new “flexible” attitude to mobile employment and grasping approach to ownership.

    Share, share, share instead of me, me, me?

  11. On the waiting to have kids till we could afford it.

    We didn’t wait rather than we didn’t have them. Lovely pair of girls. Currently trying to discourage the 14 year old from exercising her biological perogative to get cracking with her own.

  12. Good Morning Nick Poole.

    Well spoken.

    Crown Point Comprehensive school may have handed on some good values then.

  13. Alec

    “For as much as everyone has rights to bear offspring, they also should have obligations as to the wider impacts of their actions”

    Problem with that is it will be the rich who are allowed as many kids as they want and the middle and working class who get controlled.

    Look up the 1970’s (the last time the notion of global environmental catastrophe allied to mass population controls had any real populist traction) speech by the ‘mad monk’ Keith Joseph which led to him being given the moniker ‘Sir Sheath’ by Private Eye!

    In a nutshell he said the poor were responsible for most of societies ills; that they were breeding too much and this breeding should be curbed.
    In those- perhaps more thoughtful- days his ideas were quickly allied to Eugenics and were rapidly dropped as utterly unsound and -to some- totally amoral..

    Or you could listen to “kill the poor” by the DK’s which satirises the same line of thinking:

    “The sun beams down on a brand new day
    No more welfare tax to pay
    Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light
    Jobless millions whisked away
    At last we have more room to play
    All systems go to kill the poor tonight;

    Behold the sparkle of champagne
    The crime rate’s gone
    Feel free again

    Gonna
    Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight”

  14. ….and anybody who can’t see any connection between the sneering of the rich about the poor (chavs) and the recent riots better make sure they get some guards for their ivory tower.

    Cuts cuts cuts ain’t gonna work. It didn’t work in the thirties…and that was a time when there was far less information available and far more deference.

  15. Does anyone agree with me that a development of increased populism in our politics is unlikely to be helpful to the Liberal Democrats, over and above the 10% of polled departure of champagne socialists back to Labour.

    I opened my BBC news page this morning and I believe hanging drawing and quartering of the city looters is not far off being proposed.

  16. Nick Poole

    ‘Now, my brother says things work differently where he works. If people are occasionally sick, they ring up and return whenn better…they get full pay annd no records are kept. Things only get recorded when a perception of taking the p*ss arises. And then they record for a very short time and sack the person’.

    Your poor brother. My own experience and that of my friends and relatives who have worked in the private sector, find that health is of utmost importance and the firms keep scrupilous records that are regularly audited. When I worked in the public sector, similar records were kept.

  17. Howard – I wouldn’t assume there was ever a golden age of non-populist politics…

  18. On the abortion counselling issue. Such counselling exists at present and is offered by trained professionals – if this were about counselling then this development would be entirely superfluous. The definition of “independent” and Nadine Dorris’s avowed target of reducing abortions by 60,000 gives the game away.

    Any real attempt at “independent” counselling of pregnant mothers would involve not just those who have chosen a termination but also those who have chosen to continue with the pregnancy – possibly in dangerous or damaging circumstance. This process could not have any target for reducing or increasing the number of abortions. The women involved would be making more informed and considered choices and we don’t know, and should not guess, what effect a properly funded and resourced system of counselling would have on the number of abortions.

    I suspect by “independent” they mean not linked to family planning or abortion services – and the only funding for such organisations would almost certainly be by anti-abortion organisations.

    In other words this apparently positive focus on giving pregnant women “independent” counselling is clearly an ideologically based attempt to reduce the number of abortions and actually limit the freedom of choice of women.

    I am perturbed and genuinely surprised by Caneron’s support for this. I kind of view him as a fiscal Tory with a reasonable sense of the diversity and complexity of our society – For a Tory I did see Cameron as their most enlightened and forward looking leader. This stance hints at a return to the rather unpleasant Tory social judgemental values of the 80’s. Coupled with the knee jerk right wing lurch after the riots and perhaps we are seeing Cameron not so much as “heir to Blair” but more like “Thatcher 2”.

    Electorally this return to “basics” and traditional valued may become a more coherent theme of the Tory side of this government and place consequential stresses on the coalition. There may be “value” fault lines emerging rather than economic policy ones which fracture the coalition in the medium term.

    A direction to be explored and followed in the months to come perhaps

  19. henry

    My “poor brother” like most of my siblings, earns considerably more than me.

    In fact one sister retired to Spain at 50 with a pension pot approaching a million the others are doing very well thank you. In fact of 6 siblings I am:

    the only one still paying off my mortgage, the rest all own properties outright; and

    the only one working in the public sector

  20. Nick Poole

    ‘Do we really want to go back to the days where single mothers were stigmatised and sneered at? I don’t think that will happen even if some are trying to engineer it’.

    I don’t – do you? More importantly I do not want to see kids stigmatised for the actions of their parents.

    However, I want as many children as possible to have a stable and secure homelife and those wishing to have babies have a duty to provide this. The state should and does fund people who cannot afford to look after their kids.

    My wife was a teacher (not head of this or that) and I was earning less than her when we decided, having saved a bit of cash to start a family in the 70s. Not everybody I knew bothered to save. Unlike previous generations of my family my children grew up with free health, free education and a children’s allowance.

    I think we can really learn about responsibility from many of those who choose to settle in this country and who undoubtedly put family and children first.

  21. Nick Poole

    I am glad your family is so rich. Fortunately I am not envious of people who succeed through hard work. I do not play class warfare games; perhaps that is reserved for the champagne socialists and liberal elite.

  22. Rob Sheffield

    ‘In a nutshell he said the poor were responsible for most of societies ills; that they were breeding too much and this breeding should be curbed’.

    I am not a fan of Sir K as he shut our local prospering school because it sat on a valuable building plot. However, while not douibting you for a moment, I do not recall him saying that and certainly it seems most unlike the way he spoke. Do you have a reference to the speech.

  23. I’m not sure what a champagne socialist is. I’m pretty sure I’m not one though.

    Is it some sort of jibe?

  24. Howard

    I opened my BBC news page this morning and I believe hanging drawing and quartering of the city looters is not far off being proposed.

    I expect like me you read historical novels; people really did have a hard life and the way we treated each other was atrocious. Of course atrocities continue in many parts of the world.

    No. We will never return to such an uncivilised time. However, it is disappointing that some of those living in this liberal democracy, abuse their freedoms by threatening the safety, livelihood and lives of the rest of us by rioting and looting.

  25. Nick Poole

    Is it some sort of jibe?

    No.

  26. @Rob Sheffield – I’m well aware of the history of birth control politics and I have for many years been a strong critic in more general terms of the middle class dominance of the environmental agenda. one of the main reasons in my view, that environmentalism has failed to make significant progress in mainstream politics.

    I would counter your point that just because Keith Joseph made a bad speech about population control in the 1970s it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss this critical issue now.

    Indeed, in a complete reverse of what he said, I argue very strongly that while we need to slow and reverse global population control overall, the urgent priority for population control is within the rich nations rather than places like China, as the per capita environmental damage caused by western babies is 5 times greater than on Chinese or Indian babies.

    Sadly the history of population control is littered with right wing nonsense, racism and imperialist attitudes to foreigners. This is largely the reason that left leaning green movements have barely touched this critical issue in the last thirty years.

    Likewise, politicians will spend entire political careers arguing over pensions, education, health and every other aspect of public service, without spending a second considering the central issue that defines the overall demand for these services.

    Like I said before, find me the space to build four new Southhamptons before the next election. Or alternatively, lets start developing an equitable and morally acceptable solution to population growth in one of the most crowded countries on earth.*

    *@Oldnat – I’m not talking about your country here.

  27. NICK POOLE

    @”I’m not sure what a champagne socialist is. ”

    It’s a pejorative term to describe someone who claims to be a socialist while living in a way that contradicts socialist values.

    Hypocrite would be a reasonable approximation.

    According to Wiki it has international usage :-

    Chardonnay socialist, Australia and New Zealand
    Toskana-Fraktion, Austria and Germany
    Rosedale socialist, Canada (Ontario)
    Shaughnessy socialist, Canada (British Columbia)
    Gauche caviar, France
    Radical chic, Italy
    Limousine liberal, United States
    Esquerda caviar, Portugal
    Gauche divine, Pijo-progre, Spain
    Rödvinsvänster (red wine left), Sweden
    Cüpli-Sozialist, Switzerland
    Caviar left, Peru
    Smoked Salmon Socialist, Ireland

  28. Nick Poole

    ‘The poor have more kids than the rich, as a rule. They do it as a defence against losing some and to provide support to each other later, a built-in tribe if you like’.

    Yes I think you are right and in countries where the norm is absolute poverty for the many, they regularly have large families, unfortunately losing many children to starvation, disease and even war.

    We are lucky to live in a country such as ours.

  29. “Living in a way that contradicts socialist values”?

    I didn’t think it was a religion. I thought it was about public ownership, planning and co-operation, not whether you happen to be rich in a capitalist society.

    On that basis, what shall we call a person who is poor but votes Conservative?

    A fool?

  30. Nick Poole

    On that basis, what shall we call a person who is poor but votes Conservative?

    A fool?

    I expect they would call themselves aspirational. However I would hope such people voted LD.

  31. @ Alec

    “Sadly the history of population control is littered with right wing nonsense, racism and imperialist attitudes to foreigners.”

    How can it be anything else? Population control would affect different social classes and countries differently.

    It is primarily an ideological question.

  32. So, a poor man who is a capitalist believer is aspirational, but a rich man who believes in redistribution is hypocritical?

  33. @ Anthony Wells

    Anthony, I understand that it was commissioned, but wasn’t the tax deal question premature a bit? Considering that it does not come into force until 2013, nobody has any idea if any money would be raised from it.

  34. Is it just a coincidence that we have had the worst summer in the UK since 1993, when the Tories were last in office.

    Vote Labour, have decent summer weather ?

    Go for it Ed. If you can prove the UK has better summers under Labour, you are on to a winner. See if can sign up Michael Fish.

  35. A really long hot summer might be a disaster for the Tories. There just aren’t enough prisons.

  36. @R Huckle – “Is it just a coincidence that we have had the worst summer in the UK since 1993, when the Tories were last in office.”

    And the worst winter for three decades don’t forget.

    Unfortunately it’s more to do with solar activity levels. We’re in a significant solar minimum which, according to three different research groups using different research methodologies, looks set to last for 20 – 30 years. Although none of the groups suggest it will be that bad, they all predict that it will be the most sustained and lowest period of reduced solar activity since the Maunder Minimum of the C17th when the Thames regularly froze over, although at present no one is predicting it will be that cold.

    Elsewhere, researchers have found evidence of a causal link between reduced solar activity and the track of the northern hemisphere jet stream, which is the immediate cause of last winter’s cold weather and the poor summer we’ve just had, so solar activity could have a major impacts as I head into my retirement and old age.

    Is this the fault of Cameron’s Conservatives? On the face of it, probably not, but he did say ‘Let the Sunshine Through’. At best, it’s another case of overblown PR outstripping the detail policy framework. He really needs to think things through more carefully.

  37. Nick Poole

    No.

    The only difference of opinion I have with Colin on this is that he says a CS claims to be socialist. I would say preaches socialism. In the last govt Labour ministers were making a mint plus expenses while increasing taxation in the name of the poor. Tory MPs of course preach lower taxation and a capitalist society. There are not many poor Tory MPs, so I suppose they are being consistent.

    I expect there are many people above average income who happen to vote labour and many others who believe in Tory principles even though they earn under average pay. I do not see why either should be criticised as they have every right to vote the way they prefer.

  38. Henry

    http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/101830

    There you go mate ;-)

    Joseph said- amongst other things-

    “The balance of our population, our human stock, is threatened.” i.e. society- and its composition- is threatened

    A recent study had shown “a high and rising proportion of children are being born to mothers least fitted to bring children into the world and bring them up”….that we should discuss contraception/ reproduction i.e. their breeding should be curbed.

    Private Eye did a cover with a photo of him and the heading “SIR SHEATH” :D

    It is mentioned in the following reports that were concerned with Howard Flights “over breeding” diatribe last autumn.

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11845363

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/wintour-and-watt/2010/nov/25/conservatives-davidcameron

    The complete relevant passage from the 1974 speech is as follows:

    “The balance of our population, our human stock is threatened. A recent article in Poverty, published by the Child Poverty Action Group, showed that a high and rising proportion of children are being born to mothers least fitted to bring children into the world and bring them up. They are born to mother who were first pregnant in adolescence in social classes 4 and 5.

    Many of these girls are unmarried, many are deserted or divorced or soon will be. Some are of low intelligence, most of low educational attainment. They are unlikely to be able to give children the stable emotional background, the consistent combination of love and firmness which are more important than riches. They are producing problem children, the future unmarried mothers, delinquents, denizens of our borstals, sub-normal educational establishments, prisons, hostels for drifters.

    Yet these mothers, the under-twenties in many cases, single parents, from classes 4 and 5, are now producing a third of all births. A high proportion of these births are a tragedy for the mother, the child and for us.

    Yet what shall we do? If we do nothing, the nation moves towards degeneration, however much resources we pour into preventative work and the over-burdened educational system. It is all the more serious when we think of the loss of people with talent and initiative through emigration as our semi-socialism deprives them of adequate opportunities, rewards and satisfactions.

    Yet proposals to extend birth-control facilities to these classes of people, particularly the young unmarried girls, the potential young unmarried mothers, evokes entirely understandable moral opposition. Is it not condoning immorality? I suppose it is.

    But which is the lesser evil, until we are able to remoralise whole groups and classes of people, undoing the harm done when already weak restraints on strong instincts are further weakened by permissiveness in television, in films, on bookstalls? “

  39. I’ve no desire to be a social pariah here for my unlawfully unliberal views, but in defence of Sir Keith he was a very smart man and I broadly agree with his analysis. I do accept that his was not a new complaint, though and that similar diatribes could probably be found going back centuries.

    As for the idea that the “Rich” have lots of children, they simply don’t. Some rich men do, aggregated over the number of women they may juggle throughout their pampered and gilded lives, but it pales into insignificance compared to the number of children some of the more evolutionarily successful “poor” men. RIch women rarely have more than three or four, and frequently have only one.

  40. Was Sir Keith proposing the use of contraception or abortion, or sterilsation?

    It’s not clear.

    He doesn’t seem bothered about addressing the root problem: poverty.

  41. My notion of a champagne socialist is someone who has been educated and left his or her working class background, but feels guilty about it.

    The Lib Dems were thought by such people to offer an alternative to the brash pushy New Labour movement but the Coalition Agreement put paid to that flirtation once and for all.

    I take Anthony’s point but I do think the 1945 election was a genuine desire for welfare (socialist?) policies, rather than a populist reaction.

    Likewise I think that the 1979 election was a similar genuine desire to reduce corporatism in both capital and labour markets.

    I would scratch around for any sense of genuine political direction from current polling.

    Apart from ‘me, me, me’ answers as always.

  42. “RIch women rarely have more than three or four, and frequently have only one.”

    Poor women rarely have more than three or four children- unless you are referring to certain specific cultures.

    My point: if we are going to sterilise women (and only women can have children- sterilising men won’t hack it) after two or three children then we should do so with EVERY woman no matter what the lucky fortune of her birth/ her partners birth.

    But that is NOT what Sir Sheath was proposing is it!?

    As far as he was concerned the rich women could have as many little darlings as they wanted: indeed probably SHOULD have (in order to balance the population composition). Stem the tide of ‘degeneration’ etc etc

    He was concerned solely with what some posters on here- and not an insignificant amount of media commentators- would deride as “chav females” who are the ‘material of the future chav descended population’ (to misquote Enoch- who when using this phrase was referring to coloured immigrants and the future mass immigrant descended population- rather than the domestic white poor).

    Joseph- like many wealthy extreme right wingers with big brains- was seeking to find a modem day (back then) justification for Eugenics.

    As- increasingly- are the right wing ‘anti state’ libertarians on both sides of the pond today seeking to find ‘intellectual’ reasoning for that which was extremely popular prior to the the second world war.

  43. “He doesn’t seem bothered about addressing the root problem: poverty.”

    Absolutely!

  44. Great to see a revival of interest in Keith Joseph a man of the 70s who we would have done better without.

    I occasionally wonder what this country would be like now if Callaghan had gone to the country in October 1978 and won – perhaps not quite so affluent but definitely more egalitarian and certainly with a larger stock of social housing. Probably no privatised railways costing twice as much as the old BR equivalent and [snip descent into attacking current government’s policies- AW]

    Incdentally, if anyone is interested in some 80s-90s nostalgia try and find a copy of ‘Not inconsiderable…..being the life and times of John Major’ by Patrick Wright (Andre Deutsh 1996 ISBN 0 233 989958 7). This is a cartoon book covering John Major’s life from birth to PM and is very funny if rather cruel) and I got it for £0.50 in a second hand bookshop.

  45. NICK POOLE

    “didn’t think it was a religion”

    I think the phrase is intended to apply to people who urge socialist values on others , but fail to practice them personally.

    This is less to do with the ordinary citizen than with politicians, academics, polemicists-those who “preach” but do not “practice”

  46. Oh, Lord…

    Politics is about the allocation of power to competing people. There are many views on how this should be done, and the best course at any given moment is heavily dependent on the circumstances at that moment. It is difficult therefore to discern invariable truths. But I have noticed one thing that is reasonably constant, and it’s this…

    …if you want your nights to be sleepless and your days to be full of frustrating argument…
    …if you want your career to be pointless and your actions to be widely ignored…
    …then make rules about who can, and cannot, have children.

    Regrds, Martyn

  47. @Colin

    I don’t see an innate conflict in the notion of “champagne socialists”. Some, like Tam Dalyell do actually donate significant portions of their wealth to the stae ( Tam gave up the family estate “The Binns” to the nation)I think “urging socialist values on others” is not the point.

    There are many wealthy individuals who understand the perils and potential societal breakdown brought on by wealth inequalities. They don’t want to live like the rich in Brazil, Russia or even the states where their own wealth has to be protected from a poverty stricken populus by gated communities and armed guards. In many parts of the world wealth itself imprisons individuals.

    Thus champagne socialists are acting logically, happy to contribute more to society and see their own personal wealth decline somewhat, not just for the greater good but for their own self interest and well being.

    Were we to look for real hypocrisy then it is in so called philanthropists whose contributions to charity are used as means of tax avoidance and who seek to use every legal means available to avoid contributing to the public purse.

  48. @ Howard,

    But in 1945 the welfare state, the NHS and homes fit for heroes were all very popular policies, because many people were either coming home from fighting or knew people who were.

    I’m not sure the environment is that helpful to the LDs at the moment, but then the LDs are not entirely blameless for that.

  49. HOWARD

    “My notion of a champagne socialist is someone who has been educated and left his or her working class background, but feels guilty about it.”

    Surely the whole essence is the lack of guilt.
    Leaving ones class is not really relevant-.

    Re Keith Joseph.

    He may have had avalid point to make-but he was never ever going to communicate it.

    He had a good record in government on council house building & did sterling work in supporting carers.

    But my memories of him are wild eyed academic. The mournful mode of speech was very offputting-I found him quite scary and the epithet Mad Monk certainly chimed for me.

  50. ICEMAN

    Words sometimes mean what we want them to mean-so even a dictionary fails to assist communication:-)

    You imply that “philanthropists” would not be socialists-unless I misunderstand you.

    I am in favour of philanthropy-particularly among the very rich :-)-it can & does change lives on a global scale.

    We are put to shame in UK by US philanthropists.

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