Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topine figures of CON 37%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%. The four point lead is well within the margin of error of the six point Labour lead YouGov have been showing of late, so it is far too early to suggest any sort of conference boost for the Tories. If there is any conference effect, we would expect it to show up after Cameron’s speech, so watch for the figures tomorrow night and in the Sunday Times.


532 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 37, LAB 41, LDEM 9”

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  1. It’s not fair to pick on just your links, Colin, I’m always posting links that favour my point of view.

    But you seem to have a range of knowledge on these matters and if you can see how there is absolutely no logical progression between the outline of the perceived level of debt and the wish list of solutions the then prescribes, I suspect you are not being as rigorous as you should.

    You might agree with what he is suggesting, but it is hardly an exhaustive look at options nor any sort consideration of solutions.

    Frankly all these financial experts who now see the whole crisis as stemming from welfare spending or (even stupider) pension liabilities that haven’t even accrued yet, probably have a hell of a lot of guilt to hide about the real causes.

    Explain to me how cutting my pension I can’t even take for ten years will reduce the level of debt or deficit right now?

  2. @ BERIOUS

    “Going vegetarian is a very simple solution to that problem”

    Provided your vegetables don’t need fertilisers, can all be planted & harvested by hand, and transported by rickshaw.

  3. “Provided your vegetables don’t need fertilisers, can all be planted & harvested by hand, and transported by rickshaw.”

    Don’t be silly oil isn’t going to turn off like a tap. Raising meat requires a hell of a lot more water & grain than just eating the grain you were going to feed those animals with in the first place. It makes sense to keep a very few animals in places you can’t grow food but the majority of meat we eat today was grown with food we could’ve eaten ourselves.

  4. Let’s identify the real problem and look at current policies and possible better solutions.

    There is an urgent, repeat URGENT, need to restribute wealth both in the UK and in the world. Too much is owned by a tiny percentage of the population. The only thing they don’t seem to “own” is bank bad debt.

    Current policies…raising VAT, reducing welfare and employment regulations etc do not not redistribute wealth from the rich to poor. Quite the contrary. Income tax does not tax wealth either.

    So we need a wealth tax, or property tax, or some other way to get some of the wealth away from those who have far too much and and use it for the common good.

    Can’t see any such suggestions in any of the current “thinking”. Putting retirement age up ever higher doesn’t get any wealth of the rich does it? Neither does reducing state and/or public service pensions in the future.

    Redistrinution of wealth downwards NOT upwards.

  5. NICKP

    Thanks-much appreciated post.

    To be honest I haven’t yet assimilated it all-tend to read the numbers first!!

    Its the central message-at least what I think is the central message-that shocked me-I perceive this to be that the “growth” came from sectors which can no longer provide it :- ie Financial Services ( asset bubble based tax revenues gone down the plughole). Public Sector spending ( years of deficits added to debt which we can no longer add to without the specified effects). Private Sector Consumption ( years of debt fuelled spend on things which provide no return -houses & consumable stuff-debt now unsustainable as recession squeezes incomes)

    THese three sectors were a huge proportion of the growth that the hole is almost impossible to fill.

    At least I think that’s the message.

    It is very bleak-and criticises all politicians for timidity with the truth.

    It focusses on low productivity which is something I feel is not identified enough in EZ country problems .

    I haven’t really read the “solutions” in detail & missed the pensions point you raise.

    But the author was certainly saying that if you segregate that part of Total Public spend which is really transfer/redistribution of tax revenue ( ie welfare costs & pensions) from State spend on “things” , you have very little to play with in terms of cutting public spending———–ergo-you have to cut transfer payments just as hard.

    The problem here is it flies in the face of both IMF & GO stating that “automatic stabilisers” ( ie welfare payments) must be allowed to compensate if growth disappoints.

    So-more reading to do-but its a bleak message alright.

    THe central one being that the “age of entitlement” is over-thats very hard for a population ( hence riots in Greece) -and for a politician ( hence EM’s “promise of Britain” & DC’s brighter tomorrow etc )

    Don’t have the answers-don’t think anyone does-but I really believe Debt is the core problem-too much of it that is !

  6. BERIOUS

    Nice idea

    Not going to happen.

    Look at meat consumption trends in China.

    Developing economies make people want what we have-& give them the money to buy it.

  7. Colin
    “…really believe Debt is the core problem”

    Maybe, but it’s simply solved by a wealth tax. It has got to happen, or we are left with IMO the inescapable conclusion that we are slaves.

  8. Colin

    “THe central one being that the “age of entitlement” is over-thats very hard for a population ( hence riots in Greece) -and for a politician ( hence EM’s “promise of Britain” & DC’s brighter tomorrow etc )”

    That’s his central message and possibly yours too. But it ain’t truth. I happen to think there is plenty of wealth to go round it’s just that some individuals have more than can be produced by a country in a year or more and they are using that wealth to hoover up any they haven’t got yet, an telling us it is all because we have been too greedy in the past.

    Well I haven’t…you can tell the greedy dishonest ones because they are two things:

    1 Rich
    2 Blaming the poor for, well, everything

  9. @Berious – “Going vegetarian is a very simple solution to that problem.”

    Oft quoted view and somewhat misguided, although contain a grain of truth (along with a bean and a seed or two).

    I’m not a vegetarian – I don’t have any moral issue with killing animals to eat so long as their lives are happy and their deaths are as painless and stress free as possible. I don’t go for battery and intensive farmed meat and I don’t eat a great deal of any kind of meat – no more usually around once a week, with a bit of dairy produce thrown in, just so you know my personal stance.

    Yes, vegetarian diets require less land to produce an equivalent amount of calories, but….Animals can be very effective scavengers on land that is not fit for cultivation. You won’t grow a single lentil on British upland moorland, and very little else edible to humans other than a few bilberries and the odd hazel nut in sheltered gullies. But sheep will graze very effectively, as will grouse, rabbits and deer, so long as numbers are well controlled. Let them convert sedges and heathers into protein for us.

    So I’m perfectly happy to eat extensively reared animals such as these. If I didn’t, large areas of land would not be able to produce any food.

    The seas have plenty of fish, and while there is some vegetable matter washing about in the oceans, I wouldn’t see that as providing a huge source of protein.

    Animals are also very good for waste recycling. Pigs and chickens are highly effective at converting human waste into protein, and in developing countries in particular this is a critical role. We’ve got a bit prissy about this since BSE, but our guts are not very efficient and there is plenty of usable fat and protein in human effluent. If it’s treated well, I’m happy to eat meat from well reared animals feasting on my waste.

    There are also health reasons for eating some meat and fish. There’s clear research showing babies and young children suffer from limited brain development if living on an exclusively vegetarian diet in particular, although my understanding is that adults are more able to live as pure vegetarians, although it can make it harder to get a balanced diet from within a fixed geographical area if you exclude all animal products.

    I think it’s perfectly valid to argue for less meat consumption for environmental reasons and I would agree with that, but there are very sound environmental
    and ecological reasons for allowing some meat eating if it is in the correct quantities and the correct type of rearing.

  10. MIKEN

    I can see where you’re coming from on wealth tax.

    THat certainly wasn’t featured in that report-unless I missed it .

    Thing is -how does a wealth tax stop it all happening again ?

    How does it encourage productivity & cost control to retain competitiveness?

    How does it push spendaholic politicians in the direction of prudence & value for money?

    I mean-in Greece-just collecting the taxes in the Tax Code would be a start. THey can’t even do that.
    THey try to impose a land tax via the ( State owned ) Power company billing system & the unions refuse to operate it .

    A wealth tax isn’t going to help Greece at all-unless their population accept the message in that report-the age of Entitlement is over-and they don’t want to hear it.

    So Greek DEbts will have to be paid for by someone else.

  11. NICKP

    “Well I haven’t…you can tell the greedy dishonest ones because they are two things:

    1 Rich”

    But not necessarily vice versa Nick.

  12. “THe central one being that the “age of entitlement” is over-thats very hard for a population ( hence riots in Greece) -and for a politician ( hence EM’s “promise of Britain” & DC’s brighter tomorrow etc )”

    You might be able to sell that to the public if they saw the telephone number salaries and the huge bonuses for failure actually reined it rather than just the politicians wagging their finger and then doing nothing. What they won’t accept is “The age of catching crumbs off my table is over – I want the lot!”

  13. @NickP – “Too much is owned by a tiny percentage of the population. The only thing they don’t seem to “own” is bank bad debt.”

    I have to say that this is one of the best lines I’ve heard for a long time.

    Have you considered a career as an author? I would suggest ‘Soundbites of the Revolution’ as your first publication. [Cue smiley thing].

  14. @colin – I suspect that in the UK if a wealth tax could eliminate the deficit, the ensuing loss of interest payments would exceed the structural deficit, ergo problem solved.

    Of coure, whatever the one off situation after any kind of wealth transfer, governments would have to avoid going into serious deficit again to avoid wasting the benefits of a clean slate.

  15. Let’s nail a couple more lies, shall we?

    The Government has no borrowing requirement. Why? Because it prints its own money. See £75bn for the banks, more than the year’s welfare bill.

    So if we can print our own money whay are we afraid of the money markets putting up interest rates?

    ummm

    No we must be afraid of…I know! The bamks not getting back the money they have lent!

    Who cares about that? They are banks. They knew the risks.

    Unless the Government are in fact running the country on behalf of the banks, instead of the electorate and the citizens.

    Perish the thought.

  16. Alec

    “governments would have to avoid going into serious deficit again to avoid wasting the benefits of a clean slate.”

    Isn’t going to happen though-thanks for the dosh chaps-debt gone away…………..now how can we get re-elected?

  17. Colin
    You’ve posed several questions to which I confess not to having the answers. But the current situation is IMO totally unacceptable – almost anything else would probably be better.

    As regards “how does a wealth tax stop it all happening again?” …. it might not but it would prevent the impoverishment of our society and people that is now occurring. The UK has one of the most advanced and effective tax collection systems in the world – it can and IMO should be utilised to impose and collect some kind of wealth tax.

  18. Colin

    I got to page 23 before giving up. Most of it was stuff that I’ve been saying for years, but the extreme partisan nature of that report was disturbing and has no place in a serious policy discussion paper. What was most worrying was their inability to look beyond the brown years for the roots of our present predicament.

    Ok I’m a masochist(wrong spelling, help) but I will go and read the rest. But really they have ruined what should have been a good report by being very obvious about the axe they have to grind. The childish attacks on brown without any attempt to explain his motives or how his choices were limited by political considerations detract from their central arguments.

    However it occurs to me that you said this report was terrifying(I think its optimistic our problems are much worse) you didn’t say you agreed with it.

  19. Well we certainly need to discuss a system of Government and economics and living together that allows:

    wealth to remain in circulation instead all going in one pocket

    encourages people to actually do something useful

    It seems to be that we aspired to that with the post-war consensus, but the “greed works” philosophy of the eighties broke that and until the post-Thatcher and Reaganites and Tea Baggers and “no more free lunch” accept that greed doesn’t work and forcing workers to work ever longer for ever less pay to feed that greed is not just immoral but also does NOT work, until then we won’t get that consensus back.

  20. ” I suspect that in the UK if a wealth tax could eliminate the deficit, ”

    If you really mean “deficit”-it will not be a one off Alec.

    It will have to be repeated -at decreasing levels-every year until the current fundamental imbalance between State Spend & Revenue disappears.

    On last years Budget that will be another four years.

    On this years Budget it will be for longer than that.

    On Tim Morgans basis it will be for a very long time indeed.

    So you still have to get Tax Revenue in line with State Spend by cutting costs & improving competitiveness .

    If you don’t your wealth tax becomes an annual charge to balance the books-ie a permanent addition to Taxes

  21. Colin

    Which in your opinion would be worse:

    a permanent wealth tax; or

    abolishing welfare and making slaves of workers?

  22. NICKP

    THat a “when did you stop beating your wife ” question.

    My literal answer is a permanent wealth tax.

    My real answer is-if a permanent wealth tax is necessary to support state expenditure , then this economy is not generating enough in Taxes and/or its welfare spend is too high.

    ……but of course it all depends on the level of wealth tax required.

    I might be persuaded at a modest annual rate, but if it includes taxes on iliquid assets like property, then it should replace all existing taxes levied on property values .

  23. Colin

    Oaky. Now we are talking about it. Good.

    So a property tax ..okay. The idea isn’t to force people to sell just part with wealth.

    So we will come up against the “little old lady” defence. What about people who are rich in property but with low fixed income?

    I suspect the answer IS that they will need to either get a lodger or move somewhere smaller.

  24. R i N

    @” but the extreme partisan nature of that report was disturbing ”

    Not to me. It was based on analysis.

    If you are saying that analysis is wrong-fair enough.

    If you are saying-hey that period was GB’s Chancellorship-you musn’t criticise it-then I say you are being extremelty partisan.

    @”you didn’t say you agreed with it.”

    I can only really asimilate it via the numbers & I haven’t absorbed them all yet.

    I don’t want it to be true that UK economy is so unbalanced now , that defict funding of even the most basic services is inevitable. That is too frightening to believe.

    But the observation that the 2% to 3% annual growth rates which everyone says we must ” get back to ” included significant components that are no longer present is a very sobering one.

    As I say-its that message-the age of Entitlement- 3% growth is not an entitlement-it wasn’t even real.

  25. NICKP

    “So we will come up against the “little old lady” defence.”

    We will come up against all sorts of “defences”-some of them real-some of them avoidance devices.

  26. In fact a tax on property would be easy because we already have a near complete property register and we could easily enforce collection…pay up or forfeit. And trying to hide ownership in a labyrinth of companies wouldn’t matter cos whoever owns it pays up of forfeits.

    But waht about me? I’ve got a 3/4 bed semi in Surrey. I’m not rich and my pay is frozen too.

    Well I’d expect to pay something. Naturally I’d rather the real rich paid the most, but as they will have loads of property of much higher value (and they’ll be no cap on this tax) they WILL be paying more. People will have to take it into account when they buy property.

    The devil will be in the detail, cos this won’t relate to earnings at all.

    I don’t think this will ever happen though…cos the law makers own half the property in the land.

  27. @RiN – “Ok I’m a masochist(wrong spelling, help)…”

    I think you mean ‘masochrist’ – that’s someone who enjoys nailing himself to a cross.

  28. “So we will come up against the “little old lady” defence. What about people who are rich in property but with low fixed income?”

    I’d hope for your first house you’d be able to defer payment until you move or die. Solves the little old lady / low income problem without making anyone homeless.

  29. Alec

    Very funny

  30. berious

    I don’t think you can have any exemptions. If you do we will suddenly find MPs and city dwellers don’t ever have anything but “first houses” in a thousand difefrent guises, like they don’t have any “income”.

    Every property in the land is taxable and the owner pays of forfeits.

    What you could do is make values regional and properties (or land?) exempt if worth less than a percentage of average value.

  31. I see that the PM has asked the cabinet secretary to examine the findings of the internal Ministry of Defence’s investigation into Liam Fox’s links with his former flatmate and close friend.

  32. I suspect Fox will be reshuffled.

    I wonder how much each resident taxpayer in the UK would have received if the £75bn quantative easing loot had been divided equally amongst them?

  33. About the catflap…

    You have to laugh…apparently Theresa May’s claim that a Bolivian student was saved from deportation by the existence of a pet cat appears to have been lifted almost word for word from a specch Ukip’s leader, Nigel Farage, told an audience at the Eastleigh Railway Institute in July.

  34. “I suspect Fox will be reshuffled.”

    Perhaps this will be the catalyst [I should have saved that for an anecdote about catflaps] for DC to have a reshuffle.

  35. Alec

    “The biggest impact of reduced oil supplies won’t be on energy – it will be on food production. A vast proportion of oil production is devoted to fertilizer production, as well as the obvious need for on farm mechanisation.

    Food supplies will be the biggest problem in an age of declining oil.”

    With what the Scottish government is doing for conservation of fish stocks and promoting quality, local, fresh often organic, food, with more rain from global warming and enough renewables to run Germany, you can have “Scotland’s Oil” as a sweetner when we go.

    An independent Scotland may be short of many things, but nobody would believe that water is one of them.

  36. Why is it the Labour supporters on here seem to be, by far, the most tribal?

    Insecurity?

  37. Colin

    I’m not saying the analysis was wrong, I’m saying that what little analysis there was, was incomplete and driven by political axe grinding. Other stuff which I have read which has the same basic viewpoint includes graphs which go back to the 70s and explores the wave of credit easing in the early 80s. In this report only the labour years are looked at. Also the report fails to mention the federal reserve’s policy of easing which forced all other nations to follow the same path or suffer from massive currency appreciation. Nor does it mention the financial industry’s incessant demands for less regulation and threats of leaving the UK if their demands were not met. It ignores the fact that brown inherited an economy which was already dominated by financial services and that because of this he had little room for maneuver. It says nothing about the deindustrialization in the late 70s and early 80s which is at the heart of our current problems. We don’t produce enough real wealth, we produce fake wealth in the city which is now evaporating in the harsh light of reality. That Blair/brown could have changed this if they had had the guts to challenge the accepted neoliberal consensus is true but I think that already in 97 it was too late and it is certainly too late now

  38. The thing is what we actually need is a revolution.

    One of those rare things when a party is formed and voted in to represent the actual worker, and changes the economic, legal and political structures of the country to allow the worker/voter a chance to share fairly in the wealth of the country rather than have all the wealth spirited away somewhere.

    What would we call such a Party?

    Is it really too late to get the country making things again? To get workers on boards? To break the grip of the ideology that can’t even SEE the unfairness of cutting welfare (because we can’t afford it) at the same time as printing £75bn to give to banks?

  39. Nick

    My best guess is that in order to produce in the UK all the crap we import from China, we would have to have every construction worker working nonstop on building factories for the next 5 years.

  40. richard

    we’d better start printing money to pay their wages then. Better than giving it to banks to blow up an investment bubble.

  41. MikeN

    You have to laugh…apparently Theresa May’s claim that a Bolivian student was saved from deportation by the existence of a pet cat appears to have been lifted almost word for word from a specch Ukip’s leader, Nigel Farage, told an audience at the Eastleigh Railway Institute in July

    Maybe UKIP will join the Coalition, except of course they have no MPs.

    I am not sure how serious T May’s half truth (there was a jointly owned cat that was used in the defence but it was not the only reason he was allowed to stay), was.

    But they all do it don’t, with Labour it was a dodgy dossier, that resulted in the illegal invasion of Iraq and death of 100s of soldiers and 10s of thousands of innocent Iraqi’s and probably cost almost as much as the financial mess.

    Against that T May’s little joke perhaps is not too serious. However if that is the only thing the Coalition is doing that you can criticise, you better use it.

  42. @ Colin

    Don’t have the answers-don’t think anyone does-but I really believe Debt is the core problem-too much of it that is !
    ———————————————
    There’s a simple solution, then. Write it all, & I mean all, off & start again. Those who leant to those who can’t pay ought to suffer for their profligacy & lack of prudent foresight.

    I reckon I’d suffer in the write-off because I have more savings & private pension than I have debts but I still say: Write it all off & start again.

    What about those who benefit from the debt free assets? As most will be businesses & young house buyers with huge mortgages look on it as redistributing the wealth from huge, arthritic institutions into the hands of entrepreneurs & hard-working families. ;-)

  43. NickP

    Well I’d expect to pay something. Naturally I’d rather the real rich paid the most, but as they will have loads of property of much higher value (and they’ll be no cap on this tax) they WILL be paying more. People will have to take it into account when they buy property.

    Well actually that’s what the politicians always tell us when they impose yet another tax on the middle and lower incomes. It would not happen. The rich would be exempt and we hard working ordinary folk would be paying even more tax this time not just on our earnings, savings and spending but on our homes.

    With the massive stamp duty rise in recent years you would have thought that people’s homes were taxed enough.

    Anyway it won’t happen, unless the Coalition goes down and the Labour Party is fully controlled by closet communists.

  44. NICKP

    @” printing £75bn to give to banks?”
    @”if the £75bn quantative easing loot had been divided equally amongst them?”

    There is an implication in the above that you think of QE as some sort of gift -gratis-to “the banks” from the taxpayer-a gift which could as well have been made to selected taxpayers .

    When Mervyn King was interviewed the other evening after QE2 was announced I was struck by something he said to the Sky interviewer.
    He said he didn’t use the term Quantitive Easing-it is “Asset Purchases”.

    The point being that the money created electronically by BoE is exchanged for Bonds-mostly UK Government Bonds-but conceivably Corporate Bonds as well.

    This is an excercise in making improving Bank liquidity by exchanging dated securities for cash.

    It isn’t in any way a “gift”.

    At some point BoE will have to place those Gilts back in the market place & cancel the cash it receives for them.

  45. Colin.

    No, they will never “cancel the cash”. How can they do that?

    if you think they are going to sell assets and effectively burn the proceeds then you are kidding yourself.

    Besides what are the bonds they are buying? Government bonds they issue themselves to raise cash? Of more toxic assets?

    Personally I don’t believe it is to provide liquidity anyway, I think it is because the banks are really bust already, as most of their assets are unsaleable. They are keeping bankrupt businesses running (and the bonus pots paid out at the end of the year).

  46. Colin

    I might be persuaded at a modest annual rate, but if it includes taxes on iliquid assets like property, then it should replace all existing taxes levied on property value

    Such as stamp duty and Council tax, possibly capital gains and inheritance tax I assume.

    Perhaps; it seems to me that we are asking the thrifty to pay for the greed, stupidity and wastefulness of others.

  47. Mike N – “… DC to have a reshuffle.”

    Benedict Brogan was saying a few days ago that Cameron’s intention is no reshuffle until next April. That may change… but just bringing in a new right-winger to replace Fox would be a balancing act in itself.

  48. @ Kozzy 06

    Why is it the Labour supporters on here seem to be, by far, the most tribal?

    Insecurity?
    —————————————-
    Yes, but not in the way you mean. Insecurity is the ‘evil’ which we struggle against.

    We have a core belief in working towards a better society that knows the value of everything & the price of doing nothing to help one another.

    Citizens should feel secure from poverty, ill-health, homelessness & exclusion.
    8-)

  49. @ Amber

    “There’s a simple solution, then. Write it all, & I mean all, off & start again. Those who leant to those who can’t pay ought to suffer for their profligacy & lack of prudent foresight”

    Those who lent to those who can’t pay are suffering.

    Bank shareholders have seen the value of their shares collapse-some have lost 100%.

    Thats what the the FHFA lawsuit is all about.

    Commercial holders of Greek Sovereign debt have already conceded 21% impairment. They are staring at 60% now-which is why EZ governments are discussing ( arguing actually) State recapitalisation to stave off a Banking collapse.

    Now you want all holders of Greek Debt to take 100% loss-and Spanish DEbt ? and Italian DEbt ?

    So no moral hazrd whatsoever for your poor abused borrowers?

    Yes-I know-you weren’t talking about sovereign debt-you meant mortgages.

    But the same comment applies.

    The first time UK government says anyone who can’t repay their mortgage can have it written off, my son will be at the front of the queue.

    He does 2 jobs + freelance work to keep two of his children at University.

    He “can’t afford to repay” his mortgage either right now.

  50. Chrislane1945
    ‘John Smith would not have won in 1997 with a decent majority.’
    I really do think that is nonsense. John Smith would not have won by 179 but I believe he would have managed 79. Neil Kinnock would have won that year even on a rerun of the 1992 manifesto.. It also needs to be remembered that there was nothing inevitable about Labour’s defeat in 1992 – Had Kinnock not lost control of himself at Sheffield a week earlier the Tories would not have won a majority – a 2010 type result would have been likely.

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