The Sun politics team have tweeted tonight’s YouGov voting intention. Topline figures are CON 38%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9% – so Labour’s lead down to 3 points. Changes may well just be sample error like the 2 point poll we saw earlier this week, but certainly there doesn’t appear to be any boost for Labour from their party conference.


288 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 38%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%”

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  1. Apologies to the Scots for provocative post. It was obviously not comfortable at all.

    Well played, neighbours.

    (was that better?)

  2. And back to the riots…

    I await with bated breath a coalition comment on the failure to prosecute a Premiership goalkeeper for nicking a £1.19 doughnut from Tesco. I thought the going rate for such an offence was 6 months?

  3. @ CROSSBAT 11

    ” Were they mad and/or superficial in their love (translation of Greek word “philia”) of Europe?”

    Heath-YES
    Clarke-YES-but sounding more realistic on occasion.

    “How right he was, although it appears we had more like nine years. ”

    We did-despite his warnings on the Euro.
    I agree that the baseball cap rather got in the way of the message …………..at that time.

    But whatever head furniture he besports today-he could just say-told you so.

  4. My respect for Gisela Stuart has only increased in the years since I swallowed hard & helped vote her into Parliament for the first time.

    She is a EU realist.

    After sitting on the European Convention’s presidium or steering group, to draft the “constitution”, she stated that it had been drawn up by a “self-selected group of the European political elite” determined to deepen European integration.

    Today in The Times she writes a scathing criticism of EU politicians-particularly in Germany ( the country of her birth) .
    She contrasts the doubts of German voters about Greek bailouts, with what she describes as “transfers in perpetuity not unlike those made to East Germany after reunification, but on a far larger scale” which politicians are about to implement.

    She says this will ruin Germany’s economy.

    The reason she gives for her “in perpetuity” judgement is that Greece, together with Portugal & Spain have become internationally uncompetitive as a result of joining the Euro-and will remain so whilst they are in it.

    THis point about the structural economic problems in PIIGS, which is so often ignored in commentary was echoed in an article I linked to here last evening.

    IN that article the next batch of Euro entrants are seen to be already destroying their competitiveness even as they peg to euro ( or even float) & introduce all the panoply of measures for entrance to EZ.

  5. DC & GO may not be too pleased with the timing of Andrew Tyrie’s remarks.

    He was speaking before the release of a report he has written for Centre for Policy Studies, rather than as Chair of the Commons Treasury Select Committee.

    But that position, and his objective & forensic approach commands respect.

    He is a top bloke-they need to listen to him.

  6. colin

    “…his objective & forensic approach commands respect.”

    And all those nobel prize economists who said austerity would be a disaster and growth was the major imperative? Now you want to hear it when we are sinking like a stone?

  7. @ Aleksander

    “IMHO it is the fools who lent the money rather than the recipients who should be liable for any subsequent losses.”

    But isn’t that what is happening?

    It is reported that Banks have written off over $1 Trillion in bad debts since the crash.

    In one single lawsuit in USA ( FHFA) banks are being sued for loss of value amounting to $30bn

    That is why their balance sheets have been destroyed and they have recapitalised.

    Holders of risk capital have seen their share prices decimated-and now their equity holdings are being diluted as additional capital is sought by Banks-some of it from their own governments.

    On the Sovereign front, commercial holders of Greek debt have already conceded 20% effective haircuts in the maturity date extensions imposed on them.
    Now we are talking of 50% to 60% default by Greece-and IMF are totting up the balance sheet impairment which will follow-hundreds of billions of dollars for French & German Banks-their shareholders will pay the price.

    I agree that this falls short of the pristine capitalist outcome, which would have been instances of Bank failure, resulting in 100% loss of investment for holders of equity capital.

    But the world doesn’t dare allow capitalism to operate it seems.

  8. NICKP

    ” Mr Tyrie said many government policies “reflect the priorities of the middle of the past decade-but the age of abundance has been replaced by the age of austerity. Current policy does not adequately recognisde that fact.

    He said it was crucial to distinguish between policies to handle the immediate crisis-where he strongly supported the Government line-with policies for securing better long term economic performance” ”

    The Times.

    He is not calling for an end to the attack on current overspending , but wants policies to encourage long term economic growth.

    That can only mean one thing-strategic capital projects.

  9. John Redwood commented:
    “If we’re going to tax the rich more and get more money in from a growing economy we need to set competitive rates.”

    Obviously from another planet…

  10. colin

    To be fair (I always try to be so), I don’t think there are many choices left. I’d like to see Europe/ USA and UK make a big (Socialist) plan, but they just want to keep pouring money into the black hole of the banks. But I must admit I have no idea exactly what they should do or whether it would work.

    It’s pretty much no win for us all.

  11. xttp://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2011/09/liberal-democrat-conference
    Interesting economist piece (half a month old, apologies if everybody’s seen it).

    It’s something that a lot of us have been saying for a while and that the LibDems can’t escape, and something that Tories are becoming far more aware of – the LibDem classic liberals and social democrats are fundamentally divided by the economic implication of those two ideologies.
    Both wings may be liberal, but you cannot avoid that fundamental conflict of ideas.

    And we’ve started to see the frustration of classic liberals and Tories who see each other as natural partners but are held back by the social-democrat wing.

    Nick Clegg seems to be taking exactly the same stance as Blair – push through pro-market, fundamentally right-wing policies (the market-education, NHS, etc policies which the Tories are now pushing to their logical conclusions) but throw some left-wing scraps (minimum wage, etc) to keep your party in line.

    This is probably where the Tories rethinking PR would probably be a massive benefit to them –
    A permanent UKIP/Con/Liberal coalition would probably be able to hold most of England with the Tories as the major (and thus most powerful) partner.

  12. PR would surely mean that the Social Democrats, Labour and the SNP would keep the Tories out forever? If the SDP decided to keep Tories in Westminster you would see the defection to Labour that LD has seen.

    But, I’m all in favour of PR. Let’s do it.

  13. ‘The reason she gives for her “in perpetuity” judgement is that Greece, together with Portugal & Spain have become internationally uncompetitive as a result of joining the Euro-and will remain so whilst they are in it.’

    AS a result of borowing money surely, it’s not the Euros fault. Otherwise why is Germany doing so well? It’s the polices which matter, not the E.

  14. Mike N

    Not really from another planet, increasing tax revenues can be done by having more rich people rather than taxing the few rich people we have harder.

    Unless you are advocating uncompetitive levels of corporation tax and highest rate of personal taxation just to hurt companies and entrepreneurs in the name of “fairness”?

    I’d regard that as “from another planet”

    Taxation should be set at a rate to generate the most revenue, if that mean bringing forward planned cuts in corporation tax to encourage growth, that seems eminently sensible.

    The other side of the coin is “increase taxation to the point just before they squeal” (or even ignore the squealing and carry on going in the pursuit of “fairness”) and hope that these uncompetitive rates don’t impact on growth too much.

    It’s a pointless debate as neither side will shift their philosophy toward taxation.

  15. @Colin

    ‘But the world doesn’t dare allow capitalism to operate it seems.’

    There used to be a saying during the Latin American debt crisis in the 80s that ‘ if you owed the banks £100 then you were in trouble but if you owed them £100m then they were in trouble.’
    It seems today that if you owe the bank £100 then you benefit from very low interest rates but if you owe £100m, looking like £200m, then ultimately some poor taxpayer is in trouble.

  16. @ Tingedfringe

    “Nick Clegg seems to be taking exactly the same stance as Blair – push through pro-market, fundamentally right-wing policies (the market-education, NHS, etc policies which the Tories are now pushing to their logical conclusions) but throw some left-wing scraps (minimum wage, etc) to keep your party in line.”

    If he does that (I’m not sure), he’s making a big mistake. Blairism (OK, with some caveat to the “ism”) was very time defined – coming on the wave of market rises (businesses had their Blair – Messier for anyone?) due to massive liquidity flooding in, the recession that never was in 2001 and then some readjustment in the non-financial corporate sector from 2005 onwards counterbalanced by madness of the investment banks (retaining dubious SIVs in the hope of making money on them rather than selling them to suc…. hm international markets) and finally public money pumped in to avoid the impending recession.

    I think we are in a very different era and Clegg cannot sell what you suggest (although I heard of a lovely new financial product that involves mortgaging children and grandchildren).

  17. NickP,
    Unless the Tories, who’ve essentially abandoned Scotland gave the SNP an independence referendum to remain in power.
    If independence won, the Tories wouldn’t be too upset – they’ve already lost Scotland. But if independence lost, the Tories would still hold power.
    Win-Win.

    There could also be a situation like in Canada, where bloc quebecois refuse coalition (despite being left-wing), allowing in a minority Conservative government.

    Labour might also have to worry about the rise of the Greens, Respect who may refuse to work with Labour or the rise of an authoritarian-left party, who refuse to work with liberals.

    But a Con/Lib/UKIP coalition would work easily together – especially if they offered a referendum on EU membership (much like the SNP referendum, it’s win-win for the Tories).

  18. “Taxation should be set at a rate to generate the most revenue, if that mean bringing forward planned cuts in corporation tax to encourage growth, that seems eminently sensible.”
    As someone on the far-left, I agree.
    So why can’t we have an independent review of tax rates each year to sustainably (and thus not drive-off rich people) maximise tax revenues?

    In fact, I’d go further – give the BoE independence to set base tax rates (ignoring all social consequences) and allow parliament to spend revenues to make tax cuts.
    All tax cuts, therefore (whether to rich or poor), would be seen as purely ideological.

  19. Alan
    “Taxation should be set at a rate to generate the most revenue, if that mean bringing forward planned cuts in corporation tax to encourage growth, that seems eminently sensible”

    I don’t want to engage in that tired old argument about whether tax cuts generate more tax revenue but I suggest that the ultimate result of your proposal leads inevitably to the conclusion that tax rates should be almost zero.

    But I would aslo recommend you read JR’s comment again asI suggest it is utter nonsense – and non sequitur.

  20. @ Colin

    “But the world doesn’t dare allow capitalism to operate it seems.”

    Happen to agree :-). There is no mainstream party that would do that (some probably hopes the second coming of the recession so that it could be blamed on others or on the invisible hand).

    It would be possible (in theory and not in practice) to allow firms and banks to negotiate a harmonic depreciation of the asset base (inevitably including loans) and hence restoring the rate of return, but it would be far too much to stomach too…

    So, I think the most likely scenario a nice long depression or at least oscillation around 0-1%. The whole thing could change of course if China happen to loose its pillows needed for a soft landing.

  21. @Jack

    ‘Otherwise why is Germany doing so well? It’s the polices which matter, not the E.’

    The level at which a country joins the Euro is very important as we found to our cost when we joined the ERM. The level is fixed on entry and ignores future differences in economic performance.

    If Greece left tomorrow then the new Drachma would fall until Greece became competitve again. Similarly if Germany returned to the DMark then this would appreciate against the Euro.
    The latter is a serious alternative to the PIIGS leaving the Euro however the Germans are not keen as it would hurt their export led industry. As the debts are denominated in Euro then the value of these loans would fall in DM terms which the Germans wouldn’t like. It is also unpopular
    in Brussels as it would be an attack on thewhole euro project.

  22. @ Aleksandar

    While I agree that Germany wouldn’t like to hurt their export-led economy, I doubt if the Drachma could be devalued to the degree that would make the Greek economy (without significant investment resources) competitive.

    One of the lessons from the 1980s was that inflation reacts to devaluation quicker (in most cases) than exports and imports.

  23. The euro is just one of many components of the overall plan for closer European Union and the movement of labour or the price of wine are just other smalle pieces of the jigsaw that makes up the big picture.

    For the first time in history, two generations of European mothers have given birth without a thought or the prospect that their sons may be called upon to fight in a war in Europe.

    That’s what it’s really about: to make a war between France and Germany unimaginable.

    However long it takes to get te EU working as it should, whatever the economic cost, and however much taxpayers money it takes to genetically engineer straight bananas, it has already been worth every cent.

  24. @ NICKP

    “It’s pretty much no win for us all.”

    Yep-well most of us !

  25. JOHN B DICK

    Unfortunately, we may be the last generation to think of European Union in that context.

  26. @ JACK

    “AS a result of borowing money surely, it’s not the Euros fault.”

    Accepted-“Euro” has become shorthand for “Eurozone “which is where the fault lies-and as you say overborrowing.

    But the common currency, with common monetary policy but disparate fiscal policy & economic fundamentals is at the heart of it.

    And it is being repeated right now in Latvia, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary & Poland. ( with the possible exception of the last three)

    FRom this study :-

    h ttp://eurodialogue.org/osce/The-Euro-Crisis-Is-Bigger-Than-You-Think

    I highlight the following :-

    “The process through which the EU newcomers lost competitiveness was largely similar to the one in the GIIPS: lower interest rates and their expectations of rapid convergence to Euro area members’ economic fundamentals led to a boom in domestic demand. Deepening financial integration and low barriers to incoming capital, as well as reduced perceptions of exchange rate risk, particularly among the peggers, helped attract capital inflows. This furthered the demand surge, which saw domestic demand grow by more than 10 percent annually in the three Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and by nearly 9 percent annually in Bulgaria from 2002 to 2007. The price of non-tradables rose compared to tradables and labor markets tightened—inducing wage increases well in excess of productivity. The deterioration of competitiveness soon resulted in large macroeconomic imbalances. Economic activity was pushed above potential, and the output gap (the difference between actual GDP growth and potential GDP growth as a percentage of potential GDP) in the three Baltics grew to be very large. The phenomenon was less pronounced among the floaters, but Romania and the Czech Republic also observed rapid output gap growth.
    Real effective exchange rates, based on unit labor costs, appreciated significantly in most of the newcomers, particularly in Latvia and Romania. This was reflected in the deterioration of their export performances, especially among the peggers. The external trade balance widened by 10 percent of GDP in Bulgaria and 14 percent of GDP in Latvia, from 2002 to 2007.
    After joining the EU, the peggers saw wages grow at double-digit average annual rates from 2004 to 2008. The average rate reached about 25 percent a year in Latvia—more than ten times the Euro area average. Unaccompanied by matching productivity increases, this led unit labor costs (in euros) to nearly double in Latvia and grow 45-60 percent in Estonia and Lithuania—significantly faster even than in the GIIPS. While unit labor cost increases were generally moderate among the floaters, Romania saw an increase of about 90 percent.”

  27. ALEKSANDAR

    “if you owe £100m, looking like £200m, then ultimately some poor taxpayer is in trouble.”

    If you can’t repay it then someone has to bear the cost.

    And if the “you” is a government , then I suppose the taxpayers who voted “you” in should do so.

    In the case of the EZ , it seems that whoever “you” is-the German Taxpayer will pay.

  28. Are the Tories split ?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2043945/Forget-conference-smiles-The-Tories-deeply-split.html

    My take on this, is that there are enough new MP’s who are keen to support Cameron, to overcome any dissention by the usual suspects. There are also some Lib Dems that have more in common with Cameron than many Tory backbenchers.

    In regard to the Tory party delegates, their conferences are normally so well organised that you don’t hear any speeches that are negative about the party.

  29. @Laszlo

    I should have said that the Drachma would try to find a competitive level. As you said the inflationary implications may derail that so the departure of Germany seems a much better strategy. There is more chance of success if strong economies have to make the adjustment rather than weak ones.

  30. I think given the choice, the SNP would prop up a Labour goverment in Westminster to stop the Tories getting in.

  31. @ Aleksandar

    Without any intention of restarting the earlier discussion on euro (although a lot depends on the euro – unfortunately not on the discussions here), I really cannot see any hope for Greece. Yes, OK, it can cut back on all the acquired rights of the population and go back to the early 1970s in living standards (I really doubt if a democratic Greece could do that – there would be an uprising, RiN in an indirect way hinted at it earlier this week), can balance the budget, so what? Productivity is relatively low, exportable service sector is nowhere (minus tourism).

    It is essentially a local distribution centre of foreign goods for the country – they aren’t competitive even in agricultural goods (a devaluation would help for a moment or two in this). It is a real question if a distribution based economy could maintain 15 million people and would it have the economies of scale (it happens in small scale) to be that for the neighbouring countries (including Turkey).

  32. Mike N

    ‘I don’t want to engage in that tired old argument about tax…’

    You have and quite rightly to as the correct setting of tax rates is critical to getting out of this financial mess.

    ‘but I suggest that the ultimate result of your proposal leads inevitably to the conclusion that tax rates should be almost zero.’

    I think the MT income tax rates were set at a level where it was felt that income was maximised. Possibly it now needs to be reviewed as tax allowances need to be significantly increased, both for basic and 40% rate.

    I do not think the 50% rate will necessarily raise more money, although I do not think that is certain. However, it is an essential sop to those on modest income of say twice the national average and paying 40% to see those earning 10x their income paying a slightly higher rate.

    If the Govt really wants to encourage business growth then the best way is to reward small and growing businesses, perhaps with a 15% Corporation tax and the scrapping of empoyer’s NI contributions.

  33. @ Henry

    “If the Govt really wants to encourage business growth then the best way is to reward small and growing businesses, perhaps with a 15% Corporation tax and the scrapping of empoyer’s NI contributions.”

    I think it has to be much more targeted. Otherwise it’s just the fiscal version of the undiscriminate monetary policy. Firstly, a large proportion of these would disappear as dividends and as personal income (in private ltds). Employers’ NI”s scrapping would require an increase in wages (except if you are saying that wages have to come down for more competitiveness).

    I think things like making interest paid tax deductible (that is firms that could convince banks to get working capital loans would be benefited), perhaps increasing tax allowable depreciation (changing capital gains tax rules for businesses), perhaps subsidising some wages (through taxation) providing that here is a UK qualification, etc. would make a better outcome. At the same time, the danger of all these is that they would increase inflationary pressure (I think – I don’t know because I cannot make head and tail of the figures on the real free capacity in the UK economy). You could use these measures to redirect capital investment across sectors – I also have to say that unlike US “market liberal” administrations at various times, I cannot see a UK government embarking on structural policies…

  34. @Colin

    ““IMHO it is the fools who lent the money rather than the recipients who should be liable for any subsequent losses.”

    But isn’t that what is happening?”

    No. The fools who lent the money are either still in their posts continuing to pay themselves obscene bonuses or are sunning themselves in their gardens with big fat pensions.

    Those who run big business (not just the banks) have managed to structured corporate governance in such a way as to complete insulate themselves from any sort of censure or penalty by shareholders, who are the ones who really lost out.

    As well as increased external control, which is certainly needed for the banks, we should be looking to ways to support and enhance shareholder democracy.

    An excellent start would be to outlaw the proxying of shareholder votes to anyone on the board or in the pay of or with a commercial relationship with the company. And to enable the establishment of nominee organisations who can act for groups of small shareholders, including having the right to nominate one or more directors.

  35. @Colin @Alekandar Robib etc

    “IMHO it is the fools who lent the money rather than the recipients who should be liable for any subsequent losses.”

    My limited knowledge of financial history would suggest that there are ALWAYS people willing to borrow money if someone is prepared to lend it to them. I’m sure most people on this site will remember that before mid-2008 one’s letter box was stuffed with offers for new credit cards, loans, equity loan drawdowns, etc, etc, a flood of correspondence that abruptly ceased. Credit was thrust at one by a host of financial institutions, many of which are now defunct.
    It must be the responsibility of the lenders to control the flow of credit: to depend on the borrowers’ capacity for self-assessment is a system that is bound to come unstuck.

  36. LASZLO
    Firstly, a large proportion of these would disappear as dividends and as personal income (in private ltds). Employers’ NI”s scrapping would require an increase in wages (except if you are saying that wages have to come down for more competitiveness).

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I think you have some interesting ideas to help small business.

    Personally, I am not worried about some of the benefit going in increased return to the owner through dividend, so long as the company is encouraged to expand to make even more profit and employ more staff. Small business rewards in my view do not take full account of the massive extra unpaid work required of entrepreneurs compared to larger organisations.

    I do not think that removal of empoyer’s NI contribution should result in a significant increase in pay, although it will allow some. The idea is that the cost of employing is significantly reduced making it profitable to employ more people.

  37. @ ROBIN

    I agree with much in your last two paragraphs.

    .

  38. “I don’t want to engage in that tired old argument about whether tax cuts generate more tax revenue but I suggest that the ultimate result of your proposal leads inevitably to the conclusion that tax rates should be almost zero ”

    Likewise, it follows that extreme lefties such as yourself believe more revenue would come in if they were set at 100%.

    The returns diminish if you go too far to the top or the bottom of the scale,
    just as any businessman (or woman) has to judge when setting a price.

    Tax cuts usually bring in more revenue, and I’m strongly in favour of having more as soon as we can.
    It doesn’t mean, however, we don’t have to clear up the shocking mess the previous government left,
    and that unfortunately will mean keeping some taxes until we can afford to reduce them.

    I think I do probably favour cutting the top rate though, although it’s difficult for political reasons.

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