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. LEFTY

    “It’s a facile argument put forward by those whose answer to everything is “smaller state”.”

    The Canadian project was as much to do with “who delivers public services “as , “which public services does the State fund.”

    Canada’s total public spend as % GDP is about the same as Norway.

  2. Just to inject a bit of humour into the Canada debate

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zey8567bcg

  3. @COLIN

    “Every department had to ask -does this serve the public interest-if yes why does the State have to provide it-if yes which part of the State-federal or provincial.”

    Sounds sensible. Lets make a start on public sector management.

  4. @Nick Poole

    ‘the money rasied is in the pockets of the traders’

    This is only partly true. The original borrower for a sub-prime mortgage would have used that money to buy his over-valued house. This money went into the pocket of the fortunate vendor to do with whatever they chose. The original lender to Greece, at the wrong rate on closer analysis, saw their money spent on the Greek public sector.
    The original lenders put money in their pockets from arrangement fees. In this respect they did the borrowers proud by arranging loans at ridiculously low rates however they failed the lenders by ignoring the repayment risk.

    Some banks then put money in their own pockets by trading and re-packaging these loans. However the nature of trading is that there is a buyer and a seller and therefore a winner and a loser. Much of the subsequent activity resulted in the transfer of funds between trading firms.

    The problem goes back to moral hazard. The winners took their cut home but the losers left their loss at work. This is really just a variant of a Ponzi scheme and is doomed to fail. Just like a Ponzi scheme everything looks fine until the proverbial hits the fan. A true market has genuine risk and reward and therefore needs personal and corporate sanctions as well as rewards.

  5. @Top Hat

    As you seem to be asking for life advice, here is the following.

    1) If you don’t know what subject to do, enter a profession (doctor, lawyer) or a trade (plumber, electrician). By your mid/late twenties this will enable you to become self-employed and hence take a career break to find out what you *really* want to do.

    2) Buy a house/flat as soon as you can (even if house prices are falling) and get a lodger in (more than one if you can). This will increase your income *now* and enable you to remortgage in your 40’s, giving you access to tens of thousands of pounds that you will not otherwise have.

    3) Open up account(s) in a foreign bank(s) (US, Australia) and start saving money in currencies other than sterling. The relative values of currencies will change over the next fifty years and you don’t know which will come out on top, so spread your risk.

    4) Start a pension *now*. Even if it’s only £1 a month, just do it and don’t argue.

    5) Visit your Mum and Dad regularly. One day you will have to bury them.

    Regards, Martyn

  6. Chrislane1945
    ‘A winner he was’
    I see liitle point in a so-called Labour leader winning elections simply to carry out Tory policies.In office he sought to cement Thatcher’s neoliberal policies into an orthodoxy rather than seeking to reverse them – only now are wider economic events – perhaps – beginning to destroy her malign iegacy..
    I am left of centre and had always voted labour up to and including the 1992 election.Because of Blair I have not voted Labour at any General Election since.. I would much prefer to have been governed by a Macmillan or Heath Tory Government – or indeed by any pre-Thatcher Tory Prime Minister of the last century. People such as Baldwin, Chamberlain and Balfour were well to the left of Blair.. His action re Iraq made him a war criminal and thoroughly odious human being who deserves to be on trial at the Hague.. Failing that , I share the feelings of those who would be very content to see him share the fate of Bin Laden.

  7. Some questions for you then, Colin.

    Do you believe that introducing artificial competition into the state monopolies of telephones, gas, electricity and water have provided a better and/or cheaper service to the households affected?

    Do you think the railways are more efficient and/or cheaper than pre-privatisation either for the user or for the taxpayer?

    Can you give an example of any public service privatised in the 80s which costs the taxpayer less than it did before?

    Do you think the Royal Mail will provide a better/cheaper service if privatised?

  8. “The UK unbundled generation, transmission, distribution and retail, privatised the companies, and, later,
    created markets for wholesale electricity and for retail sales.
    Following privatisation, electricity prices in the UK performed no better than in other countries, such as
    France, which did not privatise. The only significant price benefits were for the largest industrial consumers.
    Although there was a reduction in costs after privatisation (about 5%) this was more than offset by the
    increase in profits. The distribution of benefits has been unequal, with shareholders gaining most: companies
    have been able to make excessive returns, despite regulation (de Oliveira and Tolmasquin 2004, Buckland
    and Fraser 2002). Studies estimating what would have happened without privatisation concluded that
    electricity prices in the UK are between 10% and 20% higher than they would have been without
    privatisation (Branston 2000; Newbery and Pollitt 1997).”

    Public Service International Resarch Unit report

  9. @Nick Poole – to clarify, I’m not calling for an end to ‘austerity’, whatever that means. I do think there is a clear case to extend the glide path for the spending reduction, but only if we have a clear and credible end point.

    Where I do diverge from government thinking is that far too much of the spending cuts have been ill thought out and are having immediate damage to the economy, while other areas have not been cut that could produce up front savings with much less severe impacts on short and medium term GDP. Essentially I want to see a far more nuanced spending round, with switching of spending to growth boosting measures getting a much higher priority.

    @Colin – I agree, the root cause is debt in all it’s forms, but the immediate cause of Crisis Round 2 is the slump in growth caused by conventional austerity measures. This is what we need to address today, but I should have been more specific.

    On Canada – this is a pointless example to highlight and there is no comparison whatsoever with our current crisis. It is a worthless myth trotted out that carries no significance in 2011.

    From 1994 – 97 the US economy grew by a total of 15% in real terms (using inflation adjusted figures) so if inflation was ignored the growth in purely dollar terms was far greater.

    During the Canadian austerity period the exchange rate moved in favour of Canadian exporters very substantially, which, when allied with rapid growth of their immediate neighbour (the world’s biggest economy and part of the North American Free Trade Association, lets not forget) meant that the Canadian private sector got a massive boost. This offset the impact of state austerity, and it was growth, not austerity, that was largely responsible for rectifying the Canadian budget crisis.

    Austerity in isolation has never been successful in rectifying sovereign debt crises. As it depresses aggregate demand, this is blindingly obvious. It is part of the solution, but will only produce any results if it allied with a growing regional or global economy and/or sharp devaluations. Argentina might be a more appropriate case study. Austerity led to more austerity, then finally to default before the situation recovered. Pointless. May as well have defaulted up front and got it over with.

    If you want to take any lessons from Canada in the 1990s, take the lesson that growth is the only way we solve budget crises.

  10. @ Nick Poole

    The issue re private or public is purely political in some peoples minds and you won’t change their view.

    Personally I don’t care who provides a service, provided there is relevant choice, it is regulated, the public have confidence over cost/service levels which are audited with info provided, and are properly accountable to parliament.

    My concern with some of the coalitions changes, is that they are being implemented for political reasons and not for cost/quality reasons. I am not keen on some of the NHS changes because I believe they are designed to pass on more work to private companies. If this leads to finance issues with NHS local hospitals, this could cause them to close wards and to make staff redundant.

  11. @Nick Poole – re the national grid, I’m something of an expert in this as I deal with grid issues from a consumer point of view constantly.

    One thing you’ve failed t mention is that much of the distribution network is falling apart. Since privatisation the level of planned maintenance has been slashed, and DNO’s now only do local upgrades when there is a problem – either outages or more usually excess voltages. This is particularly prevalent in rural areas, but is also a difficulty in some high development areas development.

    DNOs are routinely trying to offload as much of the cost of these upgrades onto developers, and the negotiations around contestable costs for grid connections is very illuminating – I’ve had cases where connection charges of £400K have been negotiated down to £50K as we discovered the DNO was hoping to charge us for a general area upgrade rather than our specific connection, and trying to hide this from us.

    Look around and see how many 50 year old substations and transformers you can spot. It’s all part of the wonders of privatisation that take 25 years to see clearly.

  12. alec

    What you say is more worrying still then. And yet we were told that privatisation would provide the much needed upgrade and investment in infrastructure.

    Course it will. Course.

    Why would a private firm cut corners on spending, after all?

  13. @Nick Poole – the level of investment depends almost entirely on the regulatory background. Water quality has advanced in leaps and bounds since privatisation, but only due to legal requirements arising from EU regulations. The water industry is now in the next phase of this to try and meet the next round of legislation coming into force in 2015. In environmental terms this is a big success story, but without the EU I can’t see why the privatised industry would have bothered with it.

  14. But why wouldn’t a state run water service have delivered just as well?

  15. Billy Bob,

    No, I don’t think it should.

    As for railways, maybe the Netherlands could tell us how to run Network Rail (a not-for-profit monopoly) more effectively.

    Nick Poole,

    Where did I say that no-one is starving? However, it is notable that the vast majority of lethal hunger today is due to war and government mismanagement. In Europe, for instance, the last non-man-made famine (i.e. excluding famines due to socialism, war and such) was in Finland in the late 19th century. The fact that you and I eat well every day is one of the untold miracles of human history.

  16. Apparently Liam Fox has ordered an investigation into claims surrounding the role of Adam Werrity.

    I supposeordering an enquiry into himself makes sense as it prevents his top civil servant from forcing one upon him.

    Will this damage any hopes LF has of leading the Cons at some future date?

  17. Margaret Curran is the new Shadow Scottish Secretary. Got to be an improvement on the utterly invisible Anne McKechin.

    All action today on the Next Tory Leader market, probably due to the (ill-considered) Jackson ramping going on over at Politicalbetting.

    Paddy Power withdrew their prices very soon after the PB post, and both SJ and Hills have now shortened Jackson prive to 5/1.

    Current best prices (yesterday’s prices in brackets):

    Ruth Davidson 4/5 Hills (n/c)
    Murdo Fraser 7/4 Stan James (6/4 Stan James)
    Jackson Carlaw 5/1 (SJ and Hills) 10/1 Paddy Power
    Margaret Mitchell 20/1 (SJ and Hills) 25/1 Paddy Power

    I got another packet on Davidson this morning, after I saw the daft PB ramp. I’ll buy a little Fraser at some point, but I’m steering clear of Jackson.

  18. @Mike N

    The strange rise of Dr Liam Fox has always been a bit of a mystery to me. During the long Tory opposition years, I always found him to be one of their least impressive spokesman, poor under interview and unappealing when participating in discussions like Question Time.

    Another one of those mediocre politicians who seems to have risen without trace.

  19. @ crossbat11

    Liam Fox is very popular with right wing politicians, not just here but in the US.

    Someone I know used to work for him and from what I understand people are very loyal . So perhaps he has very good people skills. This may be why he has asked the top civil servant at the MOD to look at the allegation, rather than the cabinet secretary.

  20. Crossbat11
    “Another one of those mediocre politicians who seems to have risen without trace.”

    Lol.

    LF has been a bit of a nuisance to DC since May 2010. I imagine the latter would not be unhappy to see see LF suffer some ignominy/embarrassment.

  21. Nick Poole

    “Do you believe that introducing artificial competition into the state monopolies of telephones, gas, electricity and water have provided a better and/or cheaper service to the households affected”

    Better-yes.

    I remember the days of Gas Boards , Electricity Boards & The POst Office.

    I wouldn’t want to go back to the appalling service levels & neanderthal product range then on offer.

    “cheaper” -how can we tell? . We don’t have State run equivalents today. Anyway “cheaper” means nothing unless you compare price with service as well as product.

    I think there is more work to do to increase competition in Gas & Elec. I don’t really believe we have it -and the deliberately confusing tarrifs are a disgrace. I would rather see Huhne working on this than loading more green price increases on us.

    I think BT is a good company with global credentials & a decent service level.

    Water is unsatisfactory.

    The old Water Boards were havens of innefficiency & jobs for the boys. But I don’t think the new set up provides real competition because there is no nationwide transmission system.
    I still see these as “local” monopolies. I don’t know what the answer is though.

    But it isn’t going back to cosy state run outfits.

    I believe in the power of competition-but recognise the need for regulation to protect consumers rights & interests.

    I don’t think you ever get the latter when The State runs companies-no one cares about the customer because they don’t decide the income of the organisation. The Treasury does-and when times are tight , the Treasury will just stop all investment -regardless of the interests of consumers.

  22. A small but illuminating example of provision of public service by the private sector.

    Bus fares for my journey to work have increased at an annual rate of just under 10% in the last 13 years. Fares for 5-16 year olds have increased at an annualised rate of 14% over the last 25 years, including a 25% increase this year.

    A cursory look at investment advice websites uncovers numerous links highlighting the investment potential of the two main companies who run the buses in my city. For example: “XXXXXXX has been called “the worst company in Britain”. Questor completely understands this point of view but beleives from an investment point of view, there are compelling reasons to buy the shares.”

    Quite.

  23. NICK POOLE

    ” I believe in welfare and public services and the NHS per se, I believe we should have them and they should be first class.”

    I should hope so too. Are there some on here who don’t? Shame your party failed so utterly in the ‘first class’ bit when they poured all htat money into the bottomless pit. :(

  24. bt says…

    I would argue that Labour (despite being neo lib Tories as somebody already said) still managed to improve the NHS, schools, reduce unemployment especially youth and generally revived public service from the decrepit moribund state they were in by 1997.

    Most assessments would agree with me. Unless you are part of the drivel producing “Labour mess” propaganda machine that’s been pumping hot air for the last year or two.

  25. @ Nick Poole

    @”reduce unemployment especially youth ”

    Could you produce youth unemployment figures for 1997 & 2009 please ?

    @”schools,”

    Yescertainly-but not the educational outcomes from them………..and you don’t mention value for money.
    Do you think the Labour School Building Programme provided value for money?

  26. No idea about 2009, sorry. Were we just coming out of the crash recession?

  27. Nick Poole,

    Actually we were going into one.

  28. Youth unemployment. Lots of good graphs and discussion on this article from Feb this year:

    http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/youth-unemployment-bad-or-very-bad

    Best illustrative one is probably the claimant count at the bottom.

  29. “Do you think the Labour School Building Programme provided value for money?”

    It provided schools.

  30. Nick Poole

    @“Do you think the Labour School Building Programme provided value for money?”

    It provided schools.”

    I think Ed Balls saw it in those terms as well :-)

    Nice graph on youth unemployment.

    It is quite uncannily reminiscent of GB’s Public Finances outcomes-

    Budget surpluses till 2001-then deficts right through the rest of the 1993 to 2007 economic boom.

    ie-Youth unemployment falls from 1993 to 2001-and then climbs back to where it was in 1997-through an economic boom -& just in time for the recession to clobber it.

  31. Top Hat

    My career advice to Top Hat is to emigrate to Scotland where there is a parliament fit for purpose. You should do that before independence and get ciizenship.

    Socal Liberal

    Had it not been for the SNP gaining more list votes than anyone expected, the Greens might well have had several times their 2011 2 MSP’s as it was predicted they would. If they had equalled their previous best result they might have been potential coalition partners with SNP or Lab.

    That outcome is possible next time if Murdo Fraser’s new party draws some voters from SNP which it might as the focus on the referendum increases, and formerly loyalist left-Labour defectors finally give up on NewLabour and vote Green.

    These things will certainly happen to some degree, and what is important is to recognise that only very small numbers of voters moving are required for either.

    Of course it is also possible, even likely, that one or other of two much larger movements will overwhelm these minor elements of voter churn.

    Scottish conservatives may reject Bavarianisation and with the help of a UK government that does not understand Scotland or devolution, and is focused on other issues and regions, continue on the present path and cease to be a parliamentary party of significance.

    SLAB is capable of getting the wrong leader and continuing to be seen as taking instruction from London. They can continue to be negative about everything the SNP does. (Twice they have blamed the SNP for the weather) The London leadership may well complacently assume that those 2010 Labour voters who defected to the SNP in 2011 will return in 2015 (Maybe they will. Nobody knows) . There are rumours of Labour scandals in Glasgow.

    SLAB can surprise us with incompetence in ways that are beyond my imagination.

    To a large extent this has nothing to do with the SNP. All they need to do is aviod the big mistakes, backtrack on little ones and try not to be too clever.

    Elections are lost, not won, aren’t they? If SLAB and a non-Fraser led SCON both shed votes at the same time many people, not least the SNP and the UK government will think independence is on its way sooner or more surely than it is or need be.

    My own view is that, although there is no need for independence to govern these islands competently, that the ignorance of Scotland displayed by post-war governments of both parties, together with almost weekly slights to Scottish sensibilities and values, and the unfit for purpose Westminster parliamentary system will soon persuade Scots to take the option offered to walk away from it all.

    It is a leap into the unknown, but it could be better, and is hardly likely to be worse.

  32. As Frazer from Dads Army said ” we’re doomed, I say we’re doomed”.

    George Osborne indicating that the government would not bail out the banks again, is either clever or stupid. I don’t know which. Does he know something we don’t know ?

    I get the feeling that within the next few weeks, a number of banks in Europe will go bust and this will impact on some in the UK.

    Perhaps someone from Goldman Sachs can chair a meeting of all the heads of G20, plus all the CEO’s of worlds main banks, IMF, rating agencies etc to sort this mess out. I just don’t think the politicians can deal with this alone and need to get buy in from the leading finance companies and agencies.

  33. @chouenlai

    From the Comments Policy: ‘Treat other commenters who don’t share your views with respect’.

    I respecfully suggest that ‘rubbish flecked with damned cheek’ and ‘I don’t suppose anybody gives a tinkers cuss about your opinion’ aimed at Crosssbat at 1.46pm is not in keeping with the spirit of the site. We all have our views, but this kind of language seems to just want to shut other people up and can be seen as pretty offensive. A short while ago I thought counting to ten before pressing ‘submit’ would work. Could I repeat the request to tone down the language?

  34. @JOHN B DICK

    “That outcome is possible next time if Murdo Fraser’s new party draws some voters from SNP which it might as the focus on the referendum increases, and formerly loyalist left-Labour defectors finally give up on NewLabour and vote Green.”

    The way the SNP are promoting renewables and recycling, I have a feeling the Greens will struggle to impact on the SNP’s share. SNP are also very anti-nuclear weapons and pretty anti-nuclear energy (publiclty at least). More Green voters.

    If the Scottish Conservatives can regain their losses from the SNP (tactical voters, as opposed to defectors) and wipe out UKIP North of the border (2500 constituency, but more importantly, 18,000 list vote), they will stand a better chance.

    Personally I believe the people will fall out of love with Salmond eventually, and the majority will return to Labour, as is their nature. Even if Independence happens, it will be Labour or…?

    That’s why I’m sitting on this fence, hedging my bets and counting my chickens. Any other metaphors are welcome.

  35. @R HUCKLE

    “George Osborne indicating that the government would not bail out the banks again, is either clever or stupid. I don’t know which. Does he know something we don’t know ?”

    Probably. I noticed last night on QT that when Baroness Warsi tried to explain fiscal levers and monetary levers, David Dimbleby interrupted, as per the Beeb’s dumbing down of the populace. Let the politicians explain if they can. If they can’t, the people will vote accordingly.

  36. Just glad this whole public vs private debate isn’t almost purely ideological.
    Otherwise we might end up making a tragic mistake.

    Now if you don’t mind I have some screws to deal with. I have selected the hammer as it worked well on the nails.

  37. Remember all the discussion about Coulson and how his appointment reflected upon Cameron’s judgement.

    Things are taking a strange turn now. Osborne has been put “in the frame” for Coulson’s appointment, he “owns” the austerity and no plan B defecit reduction plan and now we are seeing him appear at last at the economic chickens start to be born dead.

    If the question becomes one of Cameron’s judgement in appointing Osborne (Fox and Gove and Lansley and Hunt we’ll let go, they don’t really matter), can Cameron survive sacking Osborne?

    I think the two are too closely linked.

  38. @TARK
    Why has it taken another gentleman in red to complain about this ? Frankly, it was meant to be offensive. I am a retired soldier and the father of a serving officer, with two Afghan tours behind him, 16 months in all. Partisan clap trap about Defence Ministers is uncalled for, with your party’s record in Afghanistan and the after – thought politicians which Brown saw fit to appoint.
    I can tell you or Crossbat , I feel a lot easier with Dr Fox as my son’s political boss than I did back in 2008/ 09.

  39. Fiscal levers = Government spending increase/decrease or taxation increase/decrease,

    Monetary levers = Interest rates, money supply, exchange rate

    I can understand a politician being interupted because when the try to answer using such terms, it comes across as them trying to fool people they know what they are talking about.

    Better for a politician to use language that people understand to explain the economics the government are following and to give examples. They can’t answer the question as to whether government policies will work.

  40. @TARK
    BTW, a gentleman called Wells decides what does and dose not go on this site, not a politically motivated individual, who does not like his own side being brought up short.

  41. Shadow Cabinet reshuffle in fill. Very interesting and definitely stronger than the previous line up.

    My boy Chuka has got a major promotion: now we’ll be able to see what he can do (or can’t do- thought I beat you to the punch Colin :D )

    ***

    The new Shadow Cabinet is:

    Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party
    Ed Miliband MP

    Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Party Chair and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
    Harriet Harman MP

    Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Ed Balls MP

    Shadow Foreign Secretary
    Douglas Alexander MP

    Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities
    Yvette Cooper MP

    Shadow Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
    Sadiq Khan MP

    Shadow Chief Whip
    Rosie Winterton MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Health
    Andy Burnham MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Education
    Stephen Twigg MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
    Chuka Umunna MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
    Jim Murphy MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
    Hilary Benn MP

    Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
    Angela Eagle MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
    Caroline Flint MP

    Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
    Rachel Reeves MP

    Shadow Minister for London and the Olympics
    Tessa Jowell MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
    Maria Eagle MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Policy Review Co-ordinator
    Liam Byrne MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
    Ivan Lewis MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    Mary Creagh MP

    Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
    Jon Trickett MP

    Labour Party Deputy Chair and Campaign Coordinator
    Tom Watson MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    Vernon Coaker MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
    Margaret Curran MP

    Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Chair of the National Policy Forum
    Peter Hain MP

    Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
    Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

    Lords Chief Whip
    Lord Bassam of Brighton

    Also attending Shadow Cabinet:

    Shadow Minister for Care and Older People
    Liz Kendall MP

    Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
    Michael Dugher MP

    Shadow Attorney General
    Emily Thornberry MP

    Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
    Lord Stewart Wood

  42. Shadow Cabinet reshuffle is out.

    http://labourlist.org/the-new-shadow-team-in-full?utm_source=taomail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Campaign-115617

    Very interesting and definitely stronger than the previous line up.

    My boy Chuka has got a major promotion: now we’ll be able to see what he can do (or can’t do- thought I beat you to the punch Colin :D )

  43. oops- sorry for repeat: initial list went into moderation.

  44. @ ROB SHEFFIELD

    “My boy Chuka has got a major promotion: now we’ll be able to see what he can do (or can’t do- thought I beat you to the punch Colin ”

    :-) :-)
    Thought of you when I saw his promotion. !
    Actually I quite like him Rob. He has a thoughtful & unshouty manner. I think he will do well. VC has had a difficult job , but he could struggle when Chuka attacks him on industrial policy .

    Rachel Reeves might make Danny Alexander blink a little more-can’t wait for their clashes.

    Burnham is better at Health than Education-but I think Lansley has too much in depth knowlege of it all for him. But AB will be good at picking up problem areas.He always sounds full of conviction, if not always of facts.

    I’m surprised at Twigg to Education-I gather he was a Schools Minister way back. He always seemed a little too nice-a vulnerable sort somehow. But maybe I am wrong. My first thought ( & I know you will shoot me down on this ) was that this appointment indicates EM is pretty much in line with the Government on this policy area.

  45. @Bill Patrick

    I’d credit the green revolution and petrochemical fertilizers for our food abundance before anything else. Even then food production needs big subsidies to be viable.

  46. R Huckle

    You said “…Perhaps someone from Goldman Sachs can chair a meeting of all the heads of G20, plus all the CEO’s of worlds main banks, IMF, rating agencies etc to sort this mess out. I just don’t think the politicians can deal with this alone and need to get buy in from the leading finance companies and agencies…”

    …and the new head of the ECB from November 1st, Mario Draghi, used to work for…no, go on, you’ll never guess… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  47. What about the missing 13%???????

    If this poll totally ignores the missing 13% it is worthless, in fact, why even bother to show the Liberal Democrats 9%?

  48. If I’m honest Colin, I think the opposition is pretty much in line with the Government on most of its policies.

    That’s the problem.

    What’s the point of voting for a change of face but the same policies?

    Where is the clear blue/red water?

    One of the laughable things about the blue attacks on Brown is that he was basically doing exactly what the Tories would have done. Neither party believes in what I believe in, at all.

    The only difference is “we wouldn’t have cut so fast or raised VAT or sacked so many”, but I suspect there wouldn’t have been much difference. Maybe we wouldn’t have seen the two year pay freeze and major hassle of public service pensions, but even that looks easily resolvable, unless the Government just want a fight.

    But at least we’ve seen the back of Murdoch, at least for the time being.

  49. @Colin – “I think BT is a good company with global credentials & a decent service level.”

    Really?

    After being quoted £50,000 for a broadband connection, with a £1,000 discount as it was for a business (no joke – this was in 2008) I then spent the next 6 months periodically trying to get to the bottom of this by phoning the BT freephone call centres numerous times.

    I live 950m from my local exchange, and I even offered to dig the trench for the cable my self, as this seems to be the reason for the exhorbitant costs.

    In the end, one afternoon I took the decision to stay on the freephone merry go round until I recieved a satisfactory answer. This involved – wait for it – staying on the ‘phone constantly for 7 hours and 43 minutes, including going to the toilet, eating and doing various other essential tasks while having the cordless phone set with me constantly as I was put on hold, bounced to an from call centres in India, Liverpool and Glasgow, and then put on hold again. I got through three batteries on the hands free during the marathon.

    It worked – and I got my broadband line installed about three months later for no installation cost.

    But I really would struggle to claim BT has good service levels.

  50. @ Rob Sheffield

    I meant to say that CU could hardly do worse than Denham.

    And I think Healy will be missed-intelligent & a good communicator I thought. I read that he was upset about tobacco company sponsorship at the Labour Conference ??

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