At the weekend the Sun had some YouGov polling for the conference, that I said I’d come back to once the tables appeared. Most of the questions were repeats from the same Sun pre-conference polling a year ago, and show some interesting changes in attitudes towards the party. It’s not necessarily good or bad for the party… just that the challenges they face are changing.

The changes from last September are predictable, given how the Lib Dem poll ratings have continued to decline since then – Clegg’s approval rating is now at minus 29 compared to plus 8 a year ago, the proportion of people who support the coalition agreement is down to 34% from 43% a year ago. Asked to pick from a list of positive contributions the Liberal Democrats have made to the government, 40% say nothing at all, compared to 34% a year ago.

The more subtle and interesting movements come in the list of statements about the Lib Dems that were repeated from January. YouGov asked if people agreed with various statements about the Lib Dems, 5 broadly positive for them, 5 broadly negative.

Two of the statements sought to measure perceptions that the Lib Dems had broken people’s trust or betrayed their supporters – agreement with both of these fell. The statement that people “could never trust the Liberal Democrats, even if they left the coalition” had net agreement of +13, down from +25 in January. Net agreement with the statement that the Lib Dems have “broken their promises and betrayed their supporters” was down to +32 from +43. There was smaller movement on the statement that the Lib Dems had sold out their principles, or were propping up an extreme government, but nevertheless, it suggests some of the public are starting to view the party through less of a prism of betrayal, some of the hostility is starting to fade.

Less good news is on how distinctive they are. “I’m no longer sure what the Liberal Democrats stand for” was the most agreed with statement (63% agreed), and its net agreement was up from +29 in January to +41 now. Tempering that slightly, 30% agreed with the statement that the Lib Dems offered “different and distinctive policies from the other two parties”, up from 25% in January.

Looking at agreement with the more positive statements, 26% of people agreed that by entering coalition the Lib Dems had managed to get “real Liberal policies put into action”, 36% agreed that they had made the coalition more moderate and centrist (up from 33% in Janary), 41% agreed they had done the responsible thing by entering government at a time of crisis – the most agreed with positive statement, but marginally down since January.


411 Responses to “Attitudes to the Lib Dems – less anger, but less clarity”

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  1. @ BT

    “Well there’s plenty of Tories who have a lot of time for Darling”

    I always did.

    He was a formidable opponent because he was always calm , polite , reasonable & thoughtful.

    He really was able to take the yahboo out of politics.

    And any man whose idea of relaxation is a croft on Lewis deserves respect.

    A good leader lost to Labour-though he would not have put up with the internicine warfare for long before chucking it.

  2. Iceman: From where I stand the tory loathing of Brown smacks of a racist intolerance of Scots..

    While oldnat may happily admit such intolerance of ‘English’ [sic] parties and MPs among many Scots, as I said before, I think you’ll find that there was considerable support among floating English blues for Blair (Scottish) and Brown [Scottish] during Labour’s first two terms.

    Even when Blair stood down, Brown moved up and brought Darling [Scottish] into the Treasury, there was still considerable support for Labour from traditionally blue areas. So much so, that if Brown had gone to the country in ‘the election that never was’, he would have romped home with a significant majority and would still be in office now.

    It was Brown’s failure to prevent economic collapse that lost him support and the election.

    As for Kinnock, once again there was considerable support from blue areas despite his Welsh background right up to election eve. It was Sheffield when his centrist mask dropped away in the most public way, and a last-minute pro-Tory media blitz, that cost him an election victory.

    So to accuse the Tory demographic of refusing to support a politician due to some inherent racism is entirely wrong (and also offensive).

  3. @ Richard in Norway

    I posted a reply to you a few threads back about Tim Farron and the dymanics of his (at first sight) healthy majority in Westmoreland and Lonsdale, and why a left-lurch is essential to many LDs like him.

    The general conference noise in reponse to his “divorce” speech suggests he does not have the momentum for a leadership challenge any time soon.

  4. Colin: TV news reports JD Sports was relieved of £700k of stuff from 16 stores during the riots.

    First thought-that’s a helluva lot of hoodies & trainers.

    Second thought-what a great advert for the store.

    Third thought-the preferred shop for the criminal classes.

    That reminds of me of a scene in the ever-hilarious Family Guy when the men stumble upon a lesbian night club. Upon realising the orientation of the many attractive women in front of them, as one…

    1st thought: Oh.
    2nd thought: Oooh!
    3rd thought: Oh.

  5. I don’t know why the Blues/Bluey Yellows are getting so worked up about Tim Farron’s speech about divorce from the Coalition in 3/4 years time which is close to the next GE. We have always been told that the Coalition was only for this term and the next GE would be fought as separate parties. Are the Blues worried they wont get a majority if they go it alone in the next GE inspite of the BC?

  6. Steve

    :-)

    Agreed with your response to Iceman.

  7. LIZ

    ” Are the Blues worried they wont get a majority if they go it alone in the next GE inspite of the BC?

    Are Reds worried they won’t get a majority if Yellows don’t commit to them?

    Danny Finklestein in The Times has an excellent article about the Lib Dems today.-title ” For the Lib Dems there’s no turning back”.

    Tim Farron please note :-)

  8. The Times speculates on LDs in a possible reshuffle :-

    Down/Out

    Jeremy Browne.
    Lynne Featherstone
    Sarah Teather

    Up/In

    David Laws
    Ed Davey
    Norman Baker
    Norman Lamb

  9. Billy bob

    Sorry I didn’t reply but I didn’t know what to say and there seemed to be a few very anti Tim comments and unusually for me I wasn’t in the mood for a full turf war.

    I didn’t think that Tim was making a pitch at leadership, it seemed more like positioning for deputy leader. I’m not sure that his speech was a “left lurch” he didn’t say anything about ownership of the means of production etc. But it was a bit rabble rousing. He probably persuaded a few members to stay with the ship. I did like it, it seemed an honest speech if not particualy well crafted, but I think his delivery was probably spot on, but I don’t know because I only read it. That he has been slapped down a bit is not surprising, it does seem clear that the leadership are not ready to throw in the towel just yet, and his divorce comment might encourage folk who are eager to leave. Oddly enough his speech made me more optimistic about the project, in fact the entire conference with the exception of Danny has been a good PR job on the waverers.

  10. Colin, it helps that I am one of those ‘floating blues’.

    I never fell for Kinnock’s faux-centrism but I did support Blair/Brown to the end (incl supporting the removal of Saddam but for his decades of human rights crimes, which I investigated during my MOD career, as opposed to the claimed ‘WMD threat to the West’ – even though he was known to have a chem weapon programme…) and even Brown/Darling before the true extent of the economic disaster unfolded. It was the moment in the HoC during Darling’s pre-Budget when he reported forecast borrowing would be “£175bn” that my support evaporated.

  11. @Colin

    I wasn’t trying to make a partisan comment and sorry if it came across as such. All I was saying was that he didn’t say anything new at least to an ordinary voter like me. I just understood Tim’s divorce to mean that the Coalition would separate as independent parties at the next GE.

  12. I previously wrote: “The SNP have also brought forward £2.5bn in capital spending from their 2012-2014 budgets. But what happens when 2012 comes along and the pot is empty? Blame the UK Government for “unfair spending cuts”, I expect…”

    Yesterday, Mr Swinney said: “What [the UK Government] have done is cut our capital budget by 36% over the spending review – now, that is a malicious reduction in capital expenditure and the Scottish government will be doing everything in its power to try to counter that.”

  13. Steve

    “Colin, it helps that I am one of those ‘floating blues’.

    I never fell for Kinnock’s faux-centrism but I did support Blair/Brown to the end (incl supporting the removal of Saddam but for his decades of human rights crimes, which I investigated during my MOD career, as opposed to the claimed ‘WMD threat to the West’ – even though he was known to have a chem weapon programme…) and even Brown/Darling before the true extent of the economic disaster unfolded. It was the moment in the HoC during Darling’s pre-Budget when he reported forecast borrowing would be “£175bn” that my support evaporated.”

    Thanks.
    I am Conservative at heart, but never a party member, and always prepared to vote elsewhere if it seems appropriate.

    I did so in ,97. It was the internal warfare that finished me-& that dreadful Gorman woman.

    I agree on Kinnock . The Militant Tendency speech was his finest hour. But he was always far too verbose for me. I can’t really listen to him at all now.

    I supported Blair in the early days-thought him a breath of fresh air. I liked his ability to self mock & a sense of not taking himself too seriously. But I came to see that he got stuck on a huge ego trip abroad. He stopped thinking about UK.

    I began to suspect Brown when I saw how often he :-
    Repeated spending policies so that they seemed like new ones-but never were.
    Repeatedly got his borrowing forecasts wrong-and used “the economic cycle” as a moveable feast to justify his performance.

    He did well till 2001 ish , but when he abandoned “prudence” and started running budget deficits in a period of growth, I think it all got out of control.

    In the end I came to see him as a very divisive character………….back to Major’s “bastards”

    plus ça change

  14. LIZ

    Sure thing. :-)

  15. Liz Hancock
    I don’t know why the Blues/Bluey Yellows are getting so worked up about Tim Farron’s speech about divorce from the Coalition in 3/4 years time which is close to the next GE.

    I agree that the blues should not be worked up. The LD leadership gave him a mild reprimand and then Andrew Neil wiped the floor with him; he virtually agreed that he was playing to the gallery and he said he meant by divorce the actual election in 2015. He basically ate his words (thanks again for the link Colin).

  16. Blimey now the MPs have summoned the Met again to explain their pursuit of the Guardian.

    The Met really are inflicting wounds upon themselves. The new boss has only just sat in his new chair.

  17. colin

    I can’t see how bringing Laws into the cabinet would be anything but a howler.

  18. ICEMAN

    Iceman: From where I stand the tory loathing of Brown smacks of a racist intolerance of Scots..

    There is really no evidence of that at all. Given the failed policies and lack of charisma he did remarkably well in the election, perhaps demonstrating a pretty effective election machine and certainly no antipathy towards the Scots.

  19. I don’t think the Scots qualify as a different race. If some people don’t like (some) Scots, it could certainly be intolerance but it ain’t racial.

  20. Colin

    “The Times speculates on LDs in a possible reshuffle :-

    Down/Out

    Jeremy Browne.
    Lynne Featherstone
    Sarah Teather

    Up/In

    David Laws
    Ed Davey
    Norman Baker
    Norman Lamb”

    Let’s hope so- that is going to go down well (not) with the majority of the membership :D

    A very interesting conference. Almost- as someone once said about a completely different topic- ‘a psychotic aura of well being’.

    Could be the fact that we have Plan B, er sorry I meant Plan A 2.0 ;-) just around the corner.

    If you undermine economic demand and the public’s confidence (and have predictably over-confident notions of public sector jobs being replaced by private sector ones at a more than 1-1 ratio) then you will *never* eradicate the deficit.

    Alistair Darling knew that all along- his plan was to halve the deficit and over a slightly longer period. But more crucially, when the facts changed- as they have done this last 3 months- he would have changed tact.

    Is Osborne statesman enough to do the same or will the little ‘Tory boy’ tactician always get the better of him

  21. @ Rob Sheffield

    “Alistair Darling knew that all along- his plan was to halve the deficit and over a slightly longer period. But more crucially, when the facts changed- as they have done this last 3 months- he would have changed tack.”

    The only fact that changed was that he wasn’t in government any more.

  22. @Richard in Norway – Thanks, just wondered if you had missed it.

    Farron sounded quite contrite on the Today programme this morning.

    Clegg’s targeting of the Liberal Tory vote is a move to entrench on the centre/centre-right territory, while Huhne’s Tea Party jibe yesterday suggests LDs are positioning themselves as the opposition in government, thereby attempting to squeeze Labour out of the debate altogether.

    Meanwhile Vince continues to tie himself in verbal knots over the pace of cuts, and puts us on a “war” footing.

  23. I’m wondering about Labour vs Coalition on the economy.

    At the moment the only stated difference is that Labour would not cut so far or so fast because it risks the economy going back into recession.

    The Government say there is no alternative.

    Here many of us ahve called for Labour to say what they would do differently, but that actually is irrelevant. They’ve already said, they’d cut less and not so fast.

    When (if) the economy tanks, the Government loses the argument. They might well scream “what would you do?” or even “it was your fault” but Labour can just say, we would have cut less and slower, we told you, and we passed you over a recovery.

    Fair or not, if the economy goes into the red and hangs around there and the Government keep cutting, they will lose the argument.

    But will that lose them actual votes? Dunno, but I really don’t see how thay are going to gain any.

  24. @ Nick Poole

    “but Labour can just say, we would have cut less and slower, we told you, and we passed you over a recovery.”

    Close analysis of what GDP growth there was in 2010 does not support that in any meaningful way. What was astonishing was how much one-off, unsustainable (even on Labour’s plans) spending there was in the first two quarters of 2010 as a massive bung to stave off electoral disaster. In terms of sustainable growth in the real economy, there was virtually none.

  25. Billy bob

    It’s hardly surprising if govt ministers are running around like headless chickens, the IMF are doing it and the ECB and the fed is also sending out mixed messages while the markets don’t if they are coming or going. And the word on everyone’s lips is “Lehmans” it looks like a least one of the French banks is going to go in the near future, it full panic mode out there. And while all that is going on the lib dem ministers have to calmly and rational decide the best electoral strategy going forward, good luck with that!! And of course the turmoil was unexpected for them, see they should have been listening to me. BoE made very strong hints that more QE will be announced in Oct and the fed will make an announcement later, will it be QE or another promise of QE later on.

  26. robert c

    I’m sure you are right, but whatever the rights and wrongs, the way things are heading all that Labour need to do is persuade enough people that “we wouldn’t have done that.”

  27. Robert C

    While I agree with you that there never was a real recovery, its a bit late to point that out now when for the last 16 months govt ministers have been running around talking up the recovery. As in ” due to our timely action to cut the deficit the recovery is continuing and growing deeper” kind of thing. Of course I’m howling with laughter everytime I hear that stuff on the radio. The comments from labour are equally hilarious.

  28. Nick Poole,

    In the event of a recovery, the Tories can say that the UK would have lost its credit rating earlier in 2011 when Labour cut VAT as a knee-jerk response and had no credible long-term deficit reduction plan. That would have forced Labour to cut too far, too fast during the current period of global debt crisis that looks like it will last a few years.

    I’m not saying that that is right: just that there is always a response and there is no such thing as the safety of opposition, as David Cameron and George Osborne found out.

  29. ROB SHEFFIELD

    “Alistair Darling knew that all along- his plan was to halve the deficit and over a slightly longer period. But more crucially, when the facts changed- as they have done this last 3 months- he would have changed tact.”

    I think I am correct in saying that Darling’s plan was to half the deficit( all of it-though numbers unquantified) in four years.

    GO’s plan-I think-was eliminate the structural deficit ( numbers unquantified-but clearly less than the total deficit) over the Parliament of five years.

    So in fact there was never a very significant difference betweeen the two plans in terms of total tightening.

    Did Darling ever specify how miuch by spending cuts/how much by tax rises?-not sure.

    Clearly there would have been different priorities within the total fiscal tightening.

    AD’s last Budget had growth forecasts of 3% going forward-so he would certainly be facing a similar series of holes in his plan to GO.

    There appears to be a debate about a £5bn capex programme-though it may only be Press speculation.

    I hope that GO thinks long & hard before committing to more borrowing to spend on projects which may just produce more employment for foreign workers , leaving the wefare bill for our less “motivated” unemployed unchanged.

    One of the thhings which has impressed me about the LD Conference is the acceptance of & ownership of the idea that the deficit reduction plan has secured immunity from Eurozone like afflictions.

    When you look at EU sovereign credit ratings, and gilt yields , LDs would seem justified in their views.

    But it could all be destroyed very easily-as witness the fallout for Greece & Italy after the slightest equivocation from their Prime Ministers.

  30. Really bad borrowing figures out today, with particular worries that tax receipts are down sharply – this suggests we are beginning to see the impact of the economic slump on government finances. Tax receipts always lag economic performance and I did warn not to take the good July figures as any kind of comfort.

    There is now talk of more QE but if they repeat what they did last time it will be a disaster. QE1 was needed primarily to save the banks, which it did. It did this at the cost of an asset bubble and consequent serious problems in China and India, which are increasingly likely to end in an uncontrolled slump in those economies.

    The need now is for growth stimulating measures, so QE2 that just gives money to banks to invest on the markets would be completely missing the target.

    If we are to see QE2 it needs to be part of a concerted action between the BoE and the Treasury, with Osborne needing to rectify some of his bigger mistakes.

    Bringing forward infrastructure investments is only a minor part of the solution if the whole policy structure around private investment is wrong. Companies are sitting on large cash piles but lack confidence to invest. Osborne needs to access this cash and make it start working for the broader economy. He can’t just pump demand, as this risks inflation and rising imports, and wouldn’t fundamentally improve the overall economic base in the long term.

    He needs to forget about Corporation Tax reductions and reduction of investment allowances – these only encourages profit taking, just what we don’t need, and instead dangle juicy carrots to encourage investment – the precise opposite of what he has done so far.

    QE2 should be structured to provide cash to companies for investment within the UK, with the companies expected to provide some proportion of the finance themselves from cash reserves.

    If we’re going to spend another £200b in QE I would also look to buy up mortgages of domestic householders, particularly in those sections of the population struggling to meet payments. This would help recapitalise banks by injecting cash onto the books as well as via reduced distressed assets held, as well as increasing long term total demand via redirected interest payments.

    We are potentially going the way of Greece, where austerity has yielded nothing but increased deficit levels and a shrunken economy. We were never remotely as bad as Greece was/is, but the principle is the same. In the long run, the only way in which any deficit crisis has ever been solved is through growth, and when appropriate through growth linked with varying degrees of austerity.

    The world elites have been utterly niave and completely hopeless in their approach to this, and anyone with a basic level of economics knowledge (A level grade would do) and the ability to read history books would have made a better job of this than they have done. It’s laughable how inept they have been, and now the global populations are paying the price.

  31. @Colin – “One of the thhings which has impressed me about the LD Conference is the acceptance of & ownership of the idea that the deficit reduction plan has secured immunity from Eurozone like afflictions.”

    Except that it hasn’t. It’s all about timing. Osborne’s growth strategy was to rely on a weak pound and exports. They have now dried up, such that the manufacturing export is one of the fastest declining parts of the UK economy.

    His strategy did nothing for long term investment and preparation for increased demand when it eventually recovers, meaning that on all the projections the UK will be the slowest economy for years after the recovery sets in.

    He’s going to miss his deficit targets, he will see slower or no growth, these two will combine and self feed, and because of the failure to develop an investment led growth strategy he will have to face the markets at some future date.

  32. ALEC

    “Except that it hasn’t. ”

    I was talking about gilt yields.

    The evidence seems clear.

    GO can borrow new money at around 2%-and he hasn’t got foreign suits in the Treasury telling him what to cut next week.

    It could change I accept-but at present it’s a plus-about the only one we have.

  33. @Colin – understood and agreed. I think there is a case to be made that an public approach closer to Osborne’s than Brown’s was required a year or so back to avoid a needless feeding frenzy on the markets.

    But conditions readily change, and it’s now the impacts of low growth that are frightening the suits. The ‘safe haven’ status of the UK is not worth the paper it’s written on in reality, as it’s only that money has to go somewhere and we are one of the least worst options, but investing where the interest payment is below inflation isn’t a viable long term strategy – it will turn round extremely rapidly once an alternative hoves into view, and at that stage if we haven’t secured growth then were done for.

    What first Darling and latterly Osborne did achieve through low gilt rates can be part of the solution though. Osborne can meet his deficit targets (based as we know on the structural deficit, not the actual deficit) by borrowing long term gilts at ultra low rates today to fund investment measures that will yield growth higher than the interest payments and also help reduce the structural deficit by increasing economic capacity and productivity.

    My grave concern is that since achieving office he has shown little grasp of the real economy and seems absorbed by the demands of global financiers and multi nationals, whose primary concern is the trade in capital. We need a government more attuned to the demands of labour, production and investment. The tax take from labour and spending is vastly more significant than that from corporation tax, so this is where the growth measures have to be targeted.

  34. @ALEC

    “The world elites have been utterly niave and completely hopeless in their approach to this, ”

    They are just politicians Alec.

    They want to stay in power-& that means seeing how thw wind blows.

    If the Greek Power Company unions refuse to enact Papandreou’s land tax via electricity bills-he just has another strike on his hands if he confronts them.

    If Merkel refuses to take note of German voters’ attitudes to paying for Greek public sector excess-she will be out of office.

    Berlusconi ditto-powerful left wing public sector unions who want to continue living in fairy land.

    There is a sense in which we-the public-are driving some of these outcomes. Most politicians are too weak to say no to us.

  35. @colin – “They are just politicians Alec.”

    Not they’re not. They are top flight economissts like the IMF, the OECD, heads of global finance companies and government Treasury departments the world over.

    These people should really be able to see what the consequences of their actions would have been, but just like in the run up to the original banking crisis they engaged in delusional groupthink, inflated their own egos, believed their own rhetoric and dismissed out of hand any objections to their path, which was based on a previously discredited financial model that they themselves had created.

    It’s lions and donkeys again, but the donkeys have most of the dosh and all the power.

  36. On the matter of the deficit and the difference in the approaches of Lab and Cons…

    The last Lab gov enacted a low requiring the Treasury to cut the deficit by a speific amount over the period to 2015. The purpose of this law was essentially to convince and placate the markets and demonstrate to the voters Lab’s competence and commitment.

    The Cons convinced the LDs to accept GO’s plan to eliminate the deficit in oone Parliament. They also accepted that the £6bn in cuts announced by GO in July 2010 were needed to placate the markets.

    It is quite clear to me that there was and is a fundamental difference between the two parties on the economy.

    [Snip – AW]

    All IMO of course…

  37. It’s also taking orders from the stock market, if the fed announces more QE later on today the stock market will soar and most people would think that it must be a good policy if the stock market approves. But the truth is that the market thinks short term, very short term, most of the time they can’t even remember last week. For instance the markets sell off due to bad jobs data from the us and the next week rally higher because Greece is saved. So far this year the market has gone down 200% on bad economic data and rallied 170% on Greece is saved headlines, sometimes its the same headlines over and over. Anyone who says the markets are rational is a crackpot. To make matters worse because of

  38. @Mike N – I think you are mistaken. This – “The Cons convinced the LDs to accept GO’s plan to eliminate the deficit in oone Parliament. ” is factually inccorrect.

    Osborne plans only to cut the structural deficit completely by 2015. He will still be in deficit, but it won’t be structural, and this is the fundamental point. Labour said they would cut the total deficit in half by 2015, and this is why @Colin quite correctly points out that at the time the difference in approach (in terms of the deficit numbers) was actually quite small.

    Where the difference probably would have come was in the preferred route to the end point (the balance of cuts or growth, investment decisions, the timing of cuts, cuts against tax rises etc) and any adjustments to Plan A in light of circumstances.

  39. Continued from last

    ……..and to make matters worse because of derivatives and HFT(high frequency trading) banks and other large financial institution’s can manipulate the markets, not for long but for long enough.

  40. Alec

    You are right to warn about one month’s figures as there have been major revisions.The 2010-11 deficit has been revised down by £5.9bn. This year’s April to July data has been revised down by £4.6bn after changes to local govt data and income tax accruals. The good July borrowing figures that you mention were revised from a £0.2 bn deficit to a £2.4bn surplus.

    Current expenditure so far this fiscal year is broadly in line with OBR forecasts of 3.7% growth. Tax receipts have actually grown at 4.6% but they were forecast for growth of 6.9%.

  41. @Alec

    “Not they’re not. They are top flight economissts like the IMF, the OECD, heads of global finance companies and government Treasury departments the world over.”

    And you could of course include the Credit Rating Agencies too who adjudicate on the credit worthiness, or otherwise, of a nation’s economy. They quite arbitraily downgrade a country’s credit rating, forcing it to repay debt and borrow at ever more punitive rates of interest (a little like treating someone suffering from anaemia with a course of blood-letting), and urge them, as the IMF often do, to impose every more crippling austerity measures. The insane race to the bottom then unfolds, the ultimate vicious circle if you like, as we’re seeing in Greece, Spain and Italy

    Madness, and it isn’t as if they have any great track record in their specialist trade. In the US, credit agencies like Standard & Poor were almost indicted by Congress for their serial ineptitude and professional incompetence, quite often tipping businesses that were basically healthy, but experiencing short term cash flow problems, into bankruptcy by giving them junk stock ratings, forcing them to borrow at exorbitant rates on the financial markets. They threatened to cripple companies the size of Ford in the middle of the last decade. A classic case of the money handlers calling the shots over wealth creators; the real definition of an unbalanced economy.

    Sometimes I think the lunatics have taken over the asylum and even old Silvio B in Italy seems to agree now!!

  42. I think the real clue is what the IMF is insisting Greece do.

    It’s not just cuts in spending but selling off assets and privatisation. It’s raising money by selling stuff owned by the Greek people to the banks, to pay off the banks. The assets will be stripped and when they are gone, what then? The Banks will have th assets and still be asking for more.

    Privatisation never saves taxpayers money. It’s a scam.

  43. Well I thought that was impressive.

    He gave a pretty clear idea of what he is there for.

    Whether the Party at large agrees with him remains to be seen.

    I loved the ” too little too late” resonse to Balls-and “no time for the backroom boys”.-but I would wouldn’t I.

    Question is -will such a clear anti-Labour stance retrieve any of the lost VI?

    Got to hand it to him for defiance.

    We will see if the Polls indicate that anyone was listening and/or agreed with him.

  44. Nick

    The thing about Greece is their are a lot of people who are making bucketloads of cash betting against them and the longer it goes on the more money they make, indeed some of them bought Greek bonds to prevent a soft restructuring of debt. Of course their are also a lot of people who stand to lose bucketloads but they will get bailed out, so no worries. Added to that we know from the sub-prime(I hate calling it that cos its inaccurate propaganda) that the rating agency’s were paid to give good ratings to the CDO’s at the heart of the meltdown, employees of the ratings agency’s have said that their initial ratings were overruled by senior management. Plus the banks that sold them bought insurance known as credit default swaps knowing that the products they sold were going to explode. It would not be unfair to ask who is paying the rating agency’s to downgrade the piigs. Not that the piigs don’t have problems,

  45. That’s what I mean Richard

    One great big ongoing scam which we are all now printing money to keep going.

  46. @ Billy Bob

    “Laundry, i.e. Canadian town dwellers must not hang out clothes to dry in the yard, presumably because it is unsightly (then of course there are the unmentionables)… best “green” way to do it though.”

    Huh. I didn’t know that. I guess it is unsightly but it doesn’t have to be.

    “For a humourous slant on internal American (NYC/Alabama) antagonisms “My Cousin Vinney” is a favourite.”

    Actually, this made me wonder. There are certain British accents and dialects that are intelligible to Americans. We understand the proper, Home Counties, BBC, Queen’s English (like the kind of English that Tony Blair and David Cameron speak). But then there are some Brits who say things like “Don’t you go rounin’ roun’ to re ro” and subtitles are needed. Do you guys need subtitles when talking to or listening to Americans with thick southern drawls?

    I was watching an election clip of 1992 on Youtube where they were reporting on Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) and his reelection bid and they talked about how Ted Kennedy once said Hollings was the only “Non-English speaker in the United States Senate.”

  47. SOCALIBERAL

    ” But then there are some Brits who say things like “Don’t you go rounin’ roun’ to re ro” and subtitles are needed.”

    There are no inhabitants of these islands who say anything which resembles that phrase.

    ” Do you guys need subtitles when talking to or listening to Americans with thick southern drawls? ”

    No-we know what Americans sound like through being served up far too much US TV.

    “”We understand the proper, Home Counties, BBC, Queen’s English ”

    They probably sound “proper ” to you because that is an American’s idea of how English is spoken in it’s native land.

    In fact the great joy of our language in our homeland is the diversity & richness of local dialect. Much of it has been lost-and BBC “received pronunciation” played a dishonourable part in censoring it-along with some appallingly prejudiced teaching practices.

    Fortunately those days are gone & dialect is freely heard on BBC & other media these days.

  48. @ROGER IN MEXICO
    You really think you are the business don’t you. Please desist from preaching history at me. Surnames only came in “at about the time of the Tudors” did they. How would you explain Perkin Warbeck, John Chandos, Thomas Grey, and Jack Cade. These all lived way before Henry Tudor came on the scene, as did thousands of others with surnames. In any event, your ridiculously pedantic comment takes no account of Alice, wife of Seth of Windsor as a description of a married woman going back to Norman times and beyond. Even if you are right about surnames and the Tudors, is 600 hundred years not long enough to establish a British custom that does not need breaking on the whim of a few “international socialists”.
    Finally, Erik sighted or landed in Vinland on an excursion from Greenland in about 985, he reported this to his King. My reference to that land, was to an American, so it is obvious even to you why I made it. I was not giving a lecture on Norse history.

    Please desist from trying to treat me like an idiot. I am not one and I dislike pedantic gits.

  49. Evening Chou.

    Hope you are well.

    It’s feathered dinosaurs on Planet Dinosaur tonight.

    Really up to date stuff-many were very recent finds.

  50. @ – SoCalLiberal – Do you guys need subtitles when talking to or listening to Americans with thick southern drawls?

    No way, no how!

    Many American accents have a close resemblance to archaic English accents – it is us who changed in the intervening years.

    There was a program about a small fishing island on the US eastern seaboard and it could just as well have been Cornwall.
    William Gibson has a nice cultured drawl, he lives in Vancouver now but I assume it came fronm the South.

    The reason you need subtitles is not so much the accents (ok some are weird) but the fact that many sloppy people here don’t bother to *enunciate*.

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