The full tabs for this week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, as usual, it covered a range of different subjects. On the regular leadership trackers both Cameron and Miliband are largely unchanged – David Cameron’s approval rating is minus 9 (from minus 10 last week), Ed Miliband’s is minus 24 (from minus 23 last week). However, in both cases this is a continuation of a slow trend as the effect of hackgate fades – hence it is Cameron’s highest rating since June, and Miliband’s lowest since hackgate.

On Libya, 48% of people now think Cameron has handled it well, 31% badly. Unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority of people (71%) would like to see the suspects in Yvonne Fletcher’s murder extradited to Britain, but opinion on al-Megrahi has now swung against his extradition (presumably given he is semi-comatose and close to death). 29% still think he should be returned to Britain, 55% now think he should not.

On the economy, people are now more likely to have confidence is Osborne than Balls to make the right calls on the economy. 30% have a lot or a little confidence in Osborne, 24% in Balls (when YouGov asked the same question in February both were on 31%). 28% have confidence in Ed Miliband, 31% Vince Cable. David Cameron scores the highest, with 41% saying they have a lot or a little confidence in him making the right decisions on the running the economy.

45% of people think that taxes on the wealthy should be increased, compared to 35% thinking they should be kept as they are and 11% who think they should be cut. Amongst Conservative voters, 30% think they should be increased. On the specific case of the 50p tax rate, opinion seem to broadly think it is about right as it is – 21% think it should be higher than 50p, 24% think it should be lower, 48% think it is about right. Public opinion towards the banks remains extremely harsh. Hardly anyone (3%) thinks they have reformed their bonus culture, only 14% think they have reformed their practices. 77% think the government have been too soft on them and 59% of people would support separating retail and investment banking, with only 9% opposed.

Looking at the other subjects in this week’s poll, opinion on free schools is still quite divided – 35% support them, 38% oppose them. There’s a similar division on whether people think Labour should support or oppose them – amongst Labour’s own supporters, 49% think the party should oppose free schools, 20% think they should support them, 31% say neither or don’t know. On roads, 39% would support increasing the speed limit on motorways. Half of respondents support building more motorways at taxpayers’ expense, 36% would support building new toll motorways. 40% of people perceive the government as too anti-motorist, with 24% thinking they get it about right and 8% thinking they are too pro-motorist.


232 Responses to “More from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll”

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  1. @Neil A – “Interesting that your twin tracks of argument are basically A) Austerity is the wrong path, we should borrow and spend heavily …..”

    I always get this thrown at me and I tire of answering it. Please name one instance where I said we should borrow and spend heavily. I have said we need a strong plan for growth, here and globally. Where do I say spend lots more?

    I constantly raise proposals for moving spending into more immediately productive areas, while maintaining or reducing the overall spending envelope, and in other cases I suggest cutting spending in areas less likely to negatively affect growth in favour of those areas that will generate future revenue.

    Two examples I often talk about; don’t increase the deficit by cutting corporation tax rates for multinationals and allowing them to offset losses made overseas against profits made in the UK. This may encourage some to maintain their HQ’s in the UK but won’t encourage them to invest in actual production here, and this is what we need as taxes on labour and the resulting spending vastly outweigh taxes on profits. Instead, use the same spending to encourage investment, research and job creation.

    Secondly for an immediate emergency stimulus, abolish pension contribution tax relief for a time limited period (2 years max) and use all the money to provide time limited tax incentives for investment. When you reinstate the pension reliefs, cut the payments to those with large pension pots and use this money to pay for state pension liabilities. This would both create jobs today, expand the size of the future economy and demonstrate future spending reductions.

    I’m afraid too many people fall into a rather childish trap of assuming it has to be austerity or spending fueled growth.
    We need to cut and spend much smarter, but the mindless austerity we have seen should now be universally condemned.

  2. @Alec
    “I would bet my mortgage that we won’t have a single European currency for much longer. We might still have a Euro, but it won’t be this Euro.”

    Although I doubt if they’d accept your mortgage, William Hills are offering 5/2 that the Eurozone will “break up by the end of 2012”, as opposed to “stay intact”.

  3. @ RAF

    And allow the smartest kids to reach their dull potential.
    ——————————————
    Freudian typo or real equality for all? ;-)

  4. Billy Bob
    “In all likelihood Labour would pick up more LD seats than the Tories, however, those would be greatly outnumbered by Con/Lab marginals falling to Labour.”

    (This was in the context of a discussion about Lib defections to Lab next time)

    In Con-Lib marginals, Cons would either increase majorities or gain Lib seats. In Con-Lab marginals, I don’t think Lab will gain all that many because the Lib vote will not be ‘anything but Tory’ because if it was, rational voters (yes I know, how many are there?) would already be voting Lab.

    What I was trying to say was that there is a soft and hard Lib vote, and the soft vote will largely be concentrated in Con-Lib marginals.

  5. @ Alec

    “BTW – Italy needs to redeem a record £62b bonds this month, the Italian’s have reneged on the bail out deal by abandoning some of the promised tax measures, the German Bundesbank is saying the ECB’s bond purchasing program is illegal and on Wednesday the German Constitutional Court will rule on the legality under German law of the whole Euro bail out mechanism.

    My guess is that by the end of the week we probably won’t have a functioning Euro and by the end of the week after we’ll be missing a few EU banks as well.

    It’s about to hit the fan.”

    Yeah, that sounds like a major mess. Heartburn inducing to be sure.

    @ Raf

    “I’ve just noticed that Anthony has finally found you a donkey!”

    He did! Made me very happy. :)

  6. @ Alec

    “Now why didn’t they say that a year ago?…….”

    Maybe because they don’t really know what they’re doing and they’re just sort of wingin’ it as events take place.

  7. A poll in tomorrow’s Herald will show a majority for Independence, according to their Chief Political Editor, and the SNP have clearly been shown the poll, as they have an intial comment on their website.

  8. Neil A

    Oh I’m well aware of who Toby Young’s father, if only because if he had been a car mechanic in Bedford we’d never have heard of young Mr Young. The latter has become byword (self-admitted, even) for the sort of person who has got where he has mainly because of connections rather than any particular outstanding talents. He seems to be type of person who believes that, as he is the pinnacle of creation, the education he received should therefore be replicated everywhere for all time.

    I understand the attraction of the idea of ‘free schools’, but I think the reality is going to be different. In particular I’m worried that it will be used to encourage religious separatism. We’ve already seen a situation over the last few decades of the number of Jewish children educated in Jewish schools going from 50% to 90% (and there are more Jewish schools in the first list of ‘free schools’. I’m afraid we will see similar moves from Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, various evangelical Christian sects etc.

    As far as fee-paying schools becoming available to a wider public, I’d be more convinced if I saw Eton and Westminster lining up to join the scheme. In reality most of those who do will be lower tier schools looking for an easier life. At best the taxpayer will end up taking on the costs from parents otherwise willing to pay. I thought we were trying to cut government spending?

    I think what really annoys me is that this is the umpteenth time we’ve seen another ‘new’ type of school being touted as the solution to educational problems, when yet again what is really desired is somewhere to keep the offspring of the London-based chattering classes, including MPs, away from the plebs. Every time loads of money and attention are expended and indifferent results achieved at best. Meanwhile the problems and successes of education for the remaining 99% of the country are ignored

  9. @Alec,

    You said “…I’ll ignore the Freudian slip, but I would bet my mortgage that we won’t have a single European currency for much longer. We might still have a Euro, but it won’t be this Euro…”

    You also said “…My guess is that by the end of the week we probably won’t have a functioning Euro…”

    I said in previous posts that Germany and Greece will still be in the Euro on January 1st 2012. I’m sticking to it… :-)

    @Phil

    You said “…William Hills are offering 5/2 that the Eurozone will “break up by the end of 2012”, as opposed to “stay intact”…

    OK, my interest is piqued. If I wanted to bet that the Euro will still be intact (i.e. will have all its current members still in it) on January 1st 2012, how do I go about it?

    Regards, Martyn

  10. Alex

    Everyone keeps saying that the euro is the problem, everything is the fault of the euro. But true reality is that this is just a continuation of the banking crisis, sure the Greek govt borrowed lots of money which it couldn’t afford but the stupid banks lent them the money at silly(low) rates. A lot of that money was spent propping up Greek banks as has been the case in many/most countries, the Greeks didn’t expect a global economic meltdown and they didn’t cause it. Would the situation for the PIIGS been any different if they had not have joined the euro? No it would not have been much different their banks would have still been badly damaged heir economy’s would still be in tatters but they would have been able to devalued, hurm has anyone been following the fortunes of Belarus who devalued earlier this year and are now being ravaged by severe inflation, there is no food in the shops because the shopkeepers only want hard currency and the Russians know a bargain when they see one and are flocking over the border to stock on the cheap. Of course most of the Piigs have a long history of devaluation followed by inflation followed by more devaluation………………….. They didn’t like it very much, which is why they were so eager to join the euro. Of course there are counties in the European periphery that have their own currencies like Hungery and romania

  11. @ ALEX
    “Secondly for an immediate emergency stimulus, abolish pension contribution tax relief for a time limited period (2 years max) and use all the money to provide time limited tax incentives for investment”.

    A good idea which has come up on these threads before. But why not limit it to tax relief at the higher rate, which accounts for the bulk of the £40 billion???involved, & which benefits only a tiny proportion of those claiing relief. Such a move was a central plank in the Lib-Dem 2010 manifesto, although they dumped it straight after the election. The problem is that Osborne would rather choke than eliminate this massive state subsidy to high income earners.

  12. Alex

    Hit the submit button by mistake, as i was saying………….and Romania and things are nor exactly going well in those countries, where a large part of their debts are denominated in “hard” currencies like the swiss Franc which has almost doubled in value. So their debts are getting larger while their income is getting smaller and everything in the shops is getting dearer. No wonder the Romanian finance minister is affectionately known as dracula

    Anyhow goodnight or good morning

  13. Robbiealive

    It not just the highearners that osborne is worried about its also the stockmarket, all the tax relief should be abolished for good because I distorts the market causing it to be overpriced, and as we now the higher they are the harder they fall

    It seems to me that a lot of policy in the last 20 years has been about keeping the markets going up both housing and stocks, I have always thought it was insanity

  14. ROGER MEXICO

    The Free Schools initiative is not about the plebs being kept away from the middle classes.

    What is being done is to do something about the fact that the ‘plebs’ are being given an awful deal in many working class areas.

  15. @ Old Nat

    “A poll in tomorrow’s Herald will show a majority for Independence, according to their Chief Political Editor, and the SNP have clearly been shown the poll, as they have an intial comment on their website.”

    That’s good news for your side. It also marks quite a change from current polling. I wonder if it’s an outlier or picking up on a new trend. Also, I wonder if it’s a poll of just Scots or of the entire UK (the last few polls showed support for Scottish independence higher in England and Wales than in Scotland).

  16. ROGER MEXICO, ALEX, SCOT NAT.

    Good Morning. Some mention on here about the ‘plebs’. The PLEBS are denied by society vital elements of a decent education. This has to stop, and Michael Gove, with the PM’s support is making an attempt to address some of the issues. Blair wanted to, but backed down.
    In many areas, urban and rural, the working class pupils are denied top class education and Free Schools and Acadamies are attempting to remedy.
    In my area a top Public School is sponsoring and running an academy in a formerly failing working class state secondary school.
    The Fabian Socialists had the same lofty aims for working class education which this Government is attempting to facilitate, and I write as a non-government supporter.
    As with welfare/social security provision, the post 1944/45 Education setttlement is just not good enough- for the children of the deprived in particular.
    As has been said before, left of centre poltiicians know this, as evidenced by the choice of education for their own offspring, from Benn to Williams to Abbot, Blair, Harman and Clegg. It is the same in my own case.
    And we should avoid any patronising stance which says that poor people must expect a poor education. It is bad for them and bad for society.
    As another poster here has said, (not a member of the ‘Right’ I think, a school should not be a war zone
    Time for me to go to school soon, for my 97th term.

  17. ‘Yes voters take lead in new independence poll’

    “SUPPORT for independence has moved ahead of opposition to Scotland’s breakaway from the UK for the first time in more than three years, and for only the second time since a series of polls on the issue began exactly four years ago.

    The latest TNS-BMRB poll, published today by The Herald, shows those who would vote Yes for independence ahead by 39% to 38%

    The last time those who back Scotland going it alone were in front was a one-off lead for independence supporters in spring 2008.

    They had trailed those who would vote No in a referendum by 15 points in August 2007, and the 15-point gap had opened up again by November 2009.

    … In each of the 10 polls, TNS-BMRB has asked the same straight agree or disagree question on the premise “that the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state”.

    The latest sample of 1007 adults in 69 constituencies took place on doorsteps between August 24-31.

    Mr Eynon said: “It does provide a stark measure of how attitudes towards independence per se have moved since the SNP first came to power in 2007.” He added: “The decline in opposition is reflected more in a shift to ‘undecided’ than to ‘support’, which is perhaps not surprising. It would be a major change to move from opposing to supporting independence over a short period.

    “What this does suggest is that resistance is being challenged and more people are being encouraged to reconsider their opposition to independence.”

    Ipsos Mori, polling last week, had Labour adrift of the SNP at Holyrood by 21 points (49% to 28%) while even for Westminster the SNP led Labour by 42% to 33%.

    On Mr Salmond’s personal performance 62% were satisfied, while 28% were dissatisfied.

    An aide to Mr Salmond said: “Clearly, the attacks on independence in recent days from the Tory and LibDem UK Government – far from making a positive case for the Union – have backfired badly.””

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/yes-voters-take-lead-in-new-independence-poll-1.1121712

  18. “William Hills are offering 5/2 that the Eurozone will “break up by the end of 2012?,

    ……………..and 2/5 that Alec will post “.. as I have been saying for four years…” at some point within any period of 24 hours.
    :-)

    @ CHRISLANE1945

    You seem to be the only teacher ( of the many) here who argues for Free Schools. That you do so from criteria based on the quality of education , rather than preferred structures & ideology does you great credit in my book.

    It’s not as if the educational record of the last decade has done our schoolchildren many favours is it ?

    Hope your 97th Term is fulfilling for you & your students.

  19. So…if a school is bad the answer is to build another one nearby so all the middle class puils can go there and the bad school gets worse?

  20. I think free schools are a good idea *in theory* but the devil is always in the details.

    Example – I’m glad that Clegg has blocked free-schools from making a ‘profit’.
    ‘Profits’ for free schools would be a portion of the state-funding being taken and not going to education.

    So my criteria for free-schools is this – 1) Non-Profit, 2) Properly regulated to provide non-ideological, secular and ‘science-based’ education 3) Equality of access 4) Free at the point of use

    It seems to me that Gove wanted to violate criteria 1, but was blocked by Clegg and that criteria 2 will be broken by the ‘free’ part of the free schools idea – outside of regulation and outside of OFSTED.

    Similarly, I support a ‘privatisation’ of the NHS but meeting the 4 criteria- replacing ‘science-based education’ with ‘science-based healthcare’.

    On that note – LibDem MPs have tabled amendments to the NHS bill to remove all of the aspects of marketisation.
    Nick Clegg is reported as telling them that they *must* back the government’s bill as they’ve already ‘used up all their political capital’.
    This leads to two awkward problems for Clegg –

    First, he faces a rebellion in the party, which could make a big showing at the party conference.

    Second, he and Cameron have made public statements that the NHS reforms are not privatisation – if they aren’t privatisation, then surely the LibDem amendments should become part of the bill?
    If they aren’t backed, it undermines the narrative that it’s not privatisation and gives the strong impression it is, undermining the government.

  21. Actually, the full quote from the Clegg ‘source’ is –
    “We expect MPs to vote with the government. Otherwise we won’t last very long [in power].”,
    Could that be an implication that Cameron’s warned Clegg that he’ll no longer be undermined by the LibDems?

  22. @ Pete B – “… the Lib vote will not be ‘anything but Tory’ because if it was, rational voters (yes I know, how many are there?) would already be voting Lab.”

    It would be good to see polling in marginal constituencies to test this.

    My guess is that during Blair/Brown years many LD voters were asserting a distinctive left of centre identity, and the very idea of a Tory/Liberal accommodation (as opposed to a Lib/Lab pact) had been relegated to the mists of history.

    Even Con/Lib marginals may not be entirely beyond the reach of Labour: There are examples where Labour has come from third to win a seat when it has been shown in local opinion polling that the vote was in collapse.

  23. @RiN – “But true reality is that this is just a continuation of the banking crisis, sure the Greek govt borrowed lots of money which it couldn’t afford but the stupid banks lent them the money at silly(low) rates……. Would the situation for the PIIGS been any different if they had not have joined the euro?”

    Yes it would have been. I take your point about devaluation not necessarily being an easy solution once you are in the crisis, but the point of the malfunctioning of the Euro is that it effectively caused the crisis in the first place, while simultaneously closing down one of the key safety valves that could let off the pressure at a much earlier stage.

    ‘Stupid banks’ lent them money at ‘silly’ interest rates only because of the Euro. The rates were set for Germany, they were far too low for the PIIGs and there was no compensating mechanism through currency movements or capital transfers to counter this. No Euro would have meant a far more controlled lending environment.

    @Robbie Alive – I was actually talking about the complete suspension of pension tax relief and switching this to investment and growth stimuli for a defined period, with the action you describe on the higher rate reliefs when the payments are reinstated.

    I think @RiN is also correct in suggesting that defence of the markets (or at least defence of asset valuations)seems to be a key policy objective for governments. As part of the pension relief reform I would also like to see action to limit the charges levied by any investment vehicle that is subsidised by the Exchequer(pensions, ISAs, corporate loans set against profits).

    With paticular relevance to pensions, we could increase the final value of pensions by around 30% if we introduced a Dutch style cap on management fees, which would mean a huge uplift in pension payments without the need for savers to contribute anything more. In effect this would be taking some of the banker bonuses and putting it back into savers pockets in an attempt to control what is the worst value for money finance sector anywhere in the world.

    @Colin – four years ago I said I’ve been saying this for four years, and, as I said, that was four years ago.

  24. Richard in Norway

    It seems to me that a lot of policy in the last 20 years has been about keeping the markets going up both housing and stocks, I have always thought it was insanity

    I think demand has kept the housing market buoyant, although part of this has been buy to let. Certainly to allow the rich to buy multi million pound property through a company and pay no stamp duty is wrong and needs to be addresssed.

    In terms of shares if it has been the aim to keep the shares up it has failed miserably, particularly over the past 14 years.

  25. Chris Lane

    And we should avoid any patronising stance which says that poor people must expect a poor education. It is bad for them and bad for society

    I agree with your post. I think the approach now being considered may well result in much more upward mobility as kids, who have been deprived decent education, have an opportunity to learn if they want to.

  26. Nick Poole
    So…if a school is bad the answer is to build another one nearby so all the middle class puils can go there and the bad school gets worse?

    Alternatively the middle, working and deprived classes go there, get a better education, while the failed school is closed as no pupils attend.

  27. Alec
    Secondly for an immediate emergency stimulus, abolish pension contribution tax relief for a time limited period (2 years max) and use all the money to provide time limited tax incentives for investment.

    There is a really problem in that people are not saving enough for retirement. To tax pension contributions would be a major disincentive for saving for retirement and IMO damage our pension system beyond repair.

  28. Alec

    The long term problem faced by UK is that we spend far more than we earn, whether as private individuals, national debt or balance of payments.

    There are many things we should be doing to correct this, including encouraging companies that export, encourage companies who produce goods which we would otherwise import, where we face an export tariff against our goods, such as China, impose our own on their exports to us; make sure that Govt tenders have a heavy but fair bias towards UK companies; and particularly important ensure that anyone we import from meets the same health and safety, maternity/paternity and other employment legislation faced by our own companies, or either refuse to import; or an alternative may be to allow imports but to have a compensating tariff to even the playing field.

    To encourae home demand will only increase our debt and problems which have developed over recent years.

  29. @Henry – “There is a really problem in that people are not saving enough for retirement. To tax pension contributions would be a major disincentive for saving for retirement and IMO damage our pension system beyond repair.”

    Agreed, but that’s why I state clearly that thiss is a time limited measure (except for the wealthy who don’t need government help for their massive pension pots) and why I also say that restrictions on charges should be brought in to make private pensions much better value.

    The other side of the pensions argument is the idea that keeping people in work is one of the best ways to ensure good pensions. By preventing a deflationary slump, which is now a real possibility, we will be protecting pensions for the future, even if that involves a short term raid on pension contributions today.

    As I said four years ago, it’s all about balancing risk.

  30. chrislane1945

    The Free Schools initiative is not about the plebs being kept away from the middle classes.

    Well in practice that’s what it is. If you look at the existing examples, that’s what’s happening. And where separation isn’t on class grounds, it’s on religious grounds. Of course the vast majority of local working-class parents will want their children to go to the best schools as well, but most won’t get in, as these schools are able to have wide catchment areas.

    You’re right about children in many working class areas getting a bad deal, but these will only make matters worse by diverting attention, good teachers and cash away from the schools they have already. And of course providing nice little bolt holes where those in power can send their kids and so not worry about the rest.

    If schools are a war-zone the solution is to stop the war, not set up the scholastic equivalent of Switzerland and sit there going”isn’t it awful?”. The list of Labour grandees who did exactly that rather proves the point – though I think Benn did send his children to a comprehensive. Indeed one of his daughters has a book on education just published.

    And I wish you all the best for your 97th Term and hope you will find it rewarding.

  31. Alex

    “No euro would have meant a more controlled lending environment”

    So all those non euro countries with huge lending bubbles is just a statistical error

    The banks didn’t want a controlled lending environment they wanted to make lots of money very fast, with lots of big fat bonus checks and dämm the consequences. They have pushed for a reduction in regulation and in the reserve requirement and govts went along with their free market mantra, the reason so many banks are facing without from a PIIGS default is because they used 30 to 50 times leverage, that is they lent out 100 euros for every 2 they actually had, which means that even a 5% default is enough to wipe out their “investment”

    You say that one interest rate is a straitjacket for the weaker euro economy’s and I would agree if that it is the only tool being used to regulate the economy, but there are other tools available but today’s orthodoxy does not allow their use. In short I would argue that the problem is not the euro but the Milton Friedman orthodoxy and the inability of elected officials to stand up to powerful interest groups(I’m sure that many of these officials go on to “work” for these interest groups and “earn” mega bucks is purely coincidence)

  32. @Colin

    “That you do so from criteria based on the quality of education , rather than preferred structures & ideology does you great credit in my book.”

    I think you get to the heart of the point here and it’s one that dogmatists of both right and the left often miss. A good school usually has the following key elements; a capable and motivated teaching staff, behaviour and discipline standards that are condusive to learning, a varied and stimulating curriculum, good facilities and equipment, good pupil and parent support, close links with its local community and adequate funding. Now, there are other elements too, obviously, but the ones that I have listed are essential boxes to tick, in my view. To some extent, the structure that ensures that they are in place is less relevant, although the selection of pupils and private (fee-paying) funding that tends to lead to what many regard as “better schools” obviously reduces the ability of a nation to provide an excellent education for all its citizens. This requirement and obligation formed an essential part of the post-war settlement, as did the provision of a universal health service, and it’s one that we’ve failed to deliver as well as many of our European counterparts.

    The key question is why. The reasons are diverse and complex, but human nature being what it is, a lot of people think that paying for something, ipso facto, is superior to a public, universal provision. Some of this involves pure snobbery and the lure of a perceived purchased exclusivity, although there is no doubt, as Anthony Seldon observed, some of our top public schols provide an excellent academic education for those who can afford to be there. In terms of providing a more rounded education, I’m less sure, but the academic head start that their pupils obtain leads to privilege that accentuates our social divisions. The new Free Schools may play into the same problem and, rather than help us improve our education system, merely provide an escape from state education for sharp elbowed parents. Again, in terms of the flow and allocation of resources, this will damage education for the majority of our children.

    Maybe I’m naive, but why can’t we have an excellent comprehensive state education system that serves all our children? Why the obsession with segregation, tiering and purchased exclusivity? I fear Gove may be leading us down a path that offers the illusion of an “excellent education for all” but, in fact, surreptitiously leads us back to the 50s where we educated an elite rather well and the rest rather badly.

  33. Henry

    So…if a school is bad the answer is to build another one nearby so all the middle class pupils can go there and the bad school gets worse?

    Alternatively the middle, working and deprived classes go there, get a better education, while the failed school is closed as no pupils attend.

    But isn’t that a bit excessive? It’s a bit like spring-cleaning by burning your house down and building another one.

    Of course this has already happened a lot under Labour. But the old schools did stand on some very tasty development land. And the new ones were build with PFI, so that means they never have to be paid for, right?

  34. @RiN – I accept that the Euro certainly isn’t the only cause of the crisis and what you say regarding banks is correct, but in the context of the PIIGs, the Euro structure was the single biggest problem. In essence we would have seen stresses in the system much earlier had their been floating currencies and I very much doubt that the crisis would have been anything like this bad were it not for the Euro.

    I think the bottom line is that we have had two global scale crises hitting us simultaneously – US sub prime and a defective Euro zone – both creating unsustainable bubbles. There is a case to argue that both were largely helped along by Chinese economic policy over the last 10 years which effectively subsidised and hit the credit crisis in all areas of the western economies, but with US and Eurozone being particularly vulnerable to the inevitable crash.

    As I said in Blackpool in 1957, Alan Greenspan has a lot to answer for and you can’t trust the Chinese.

  35. Tinged Fringe

    “Could that be an implication that Cameron’s warned Clegg that he’ll no longer be undermined by the LibDems?”

    I sincerely hope so-if so-about sodding time.

  36. TINGED FRINGE

    Come the next Labour government, Free Schools will go the way of Direct-grant schools in the 70s – they will be offered a choice (1) become fully independent and pay back any loans you have had from the state or (2) be fully absorbed into the local state education system and be managed by a local authority. There won’t be much scope for special pleading from the likes of Toby Young.

    On Toby Young, he’s written some amusing stuff about his time with Julie Burchill and others running the New London Review in the early 90s. They had a weekly meeting somewhere in Bloomsbury and each person’s place around the meeting table was identified by their name ‘written out’ [snipped potentially libellous comment – put it on someone else’s website – AW]

  37. Roger Mexico

    Of course this has already happened a lot under Labour. But the old schools did stand on some very tasty development land. And the new ones were build with PFI, so that means they never have to be paid for, right?

    I think Labour’s aim, to be fair to them. was to produce better more upto date school buildings.

    I am sure that in some areas it would be useful to have more school buildings. However, as a school closes the building will be released and can be used by the free school.

  38. @ ALEC

    “but the point of the malfunctioning of the Euro is that it effectively caused the crisis in the first place, ”

    It did because :-

    It assumed that every member state was as fiscally prudent as Germany.
    It allowed membership for countries like Greece with an unreformed, statist, economy & a bloated privileged public sector.
    It allowed Germany & France to flout EU rules on prudent public finances, thus rendering those rules inoperable.
    It imposed a single monetary policy on countries with disparate fiscal policies .
    It attempted monetary union before political union.

  39. Those who think the Euro will survive unscathed should read this – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8740389/German-endgame-for-EMU-draws-ever-nearer.html

    The Telegraph is often quite rabid, but this analysis of German attitudes is highly informative. The German President no less has accused the ECB of subverting Article 123 of the Lisbon Treaty – effectively accusing it of illegality. Other voices from the head of the Bundesbank to one of the key founders of the ECB have made very similar pronouncements.

    It looks increasingly like we’ve reached the point when the German people and constitutional institution’s patience with the EU finally snaps and they pull the rug from the ever closer union and assert national democratic sovereignty over financial affairs.

    As I said in Brighton in 1964, you can only push Jerry so far.

  40. @Henry – “I am sure that in some areas it would be useful to have more school buildings. However, as a school closes the building will be released and can be used by the free school.”

    Hmmm – if this did happen, free schools would be free for very long. Just wait until they need to pay for the asbestos control measures….

    The reason new schools were required was that the old buildings were collapsing. The 1950s and 60s ‘CLASP’ buildings were awful, with monstrous heating bills and packed full of dangerous asbestos that meant bills of tens of thousands even to carry out simple repairs or renovations. If I were wanting a free school in my area I wouldn’t take on one of these buildings unless I got indemnities from the local authority.

    As I said four years ago……[oh do shut up – you’ve worked that one to death. Just like in 2007].

  41. HENRY

    “I think Labour’s aim, to be fair to them. was to produce better more upto date school buildings”

    It was-overengineered & unuseable ( literally) in some cases.
    Over priced & appallingly financed in all cases.

    …..none of which addressed the problem of educational outcomes-the thing which actually matters to children & their parents.

  42. DAVIDB

    “they will be offered a choice (1) become fully independent and pay back any loans you have had from the state”

    I thought the point of them was that they provide their own infrastructure from the per capita grant provided by the State.

    There aren’t any “loans from the state” are there?

  43. Free schools are just more cherry picking of the pupils from better off families.

    I assume the existing schools will be somewhere where Cameron’s 120,000 problem families can send their children.

  44. Colin,

    The ERM should have been given longer to iron out the weak economic links. It only had to deal with one major recession before the Euro was launched, so was not thoroughly tested.

    Also, the ERM structure itself was highly flawed as it paid very little attention to economic and fiscal performance and more to the volatilities of the foreign exchange markets.

  45. Nick Poole,

    If schools had the power and will to enforce behavioural standards on pupils, then this would be a far smaller problem.

    However, with unruly kids continuing to disrupt with considerable impunity, the net result is everyone’s education is negatively affected.

    Put the vast majority of children in a positive environment then not only will their education improve but, with a little luck, so will their social values.

  46. Alex

    1957? 1964?

    I have always pictured you as a young man ie mid 30s

    Or are you pulling my leg

  47. STEVE

    Ah-the ERM-happy days :-)

    I never did buy that whole “convergence” thing.

    How was it ever going to occur in the absence of a single fiscal & economic policy-ie political union ?

    The whole Greece debacle is very sad-it was like giving unlimited Coca Cola & Chocolate to an obese child.

  48. @ STEVE

    “If schools had the power and will to enforce behavioural standards on pupils, then this would be a far smaller problem.”

    Indeed.

    This is from a report on Gove’s latest initiative :-

    “We have overhauled the rules on physical contact to make clear that schools should not have a no-touch policy and it is right to intervene physically to maintain order. Or indeed to comfort a child in distress,” said Gove.
    “I cannot proceed with rules the last Government put in place, which would have required teachers to go through an arduous bureaucratic process to record the details of every instance they do have to physically restrain children.
    “The last thing teachers need at this time is another piece of regulation inhibiting their judgment, undermining common sense. The National Association of Head Teachers and the Association of School and College Leaders have both warned that this new regulation increases the burden on teachers. And I have listened to what they, and other rofessionals, have said.
    “So let me be crystal clear – if any parent now hears a school say, “sorry, we can’t physically touch the students” then that school is wrong. Plain wrong. The rules of the game have changed,” warned Gove.

    Gove is really at the centre of the cultural change which we need .

    How long before the Police join it -and we see less of the in your face eleven year old , sneering “you can’t touch me” when you suggest politely that they stop kicking the s***t out of someone elses property.?

  49. Alex

    So now you wheel out the other whipping boys, it’s China’s fault or the Germans or Alan Greenspan or maybe it’s the fault of overspending socialists, the search for plausible scapegoats continues!!

    But it’s quite simple the causes are the same as in 1929 and the results will be more or less the same with the main difference being the lack of cheap and abundant energy

    The 1929 crash was preceded by a massive explosion of credit, insane levels of leverage and the highest income inequity in many years

    In 2007 income inequality in the developed world reached levels not seen since before the depression, the expansion of credit was also it’s highest since then and leverage returned to their pre depression levels. All the safeguards set in place after the depression have been removed with predictable results

  50. @RiN – Some of the content of my recent posts were half in jest…

    On Greenspan – he has personally admitted he got things wrong and mistook the Chinese effect on driving down prices as the achievement of sustainable low inflation growth, saying he allowed credit to be too loose for too long as a result.

    There has been a removal of many of the controls as you say, but this was in itself a result of our own hubris. We didn’t think inequality mattered, we thought markets worked and we thought the long period of growth without inflation was because we had cracked the economic cycle and was nothing to do with subsidised Chinese sweat shops.

    At heart, it’s all our own fault as we believed we knew best and had created economic nirvana. We defrauded ourselves.

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