The full tables for the Sunday Times poll are now up here – as already mentioned last night, the topline figures are CON 36%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, Others 16%. The “others” include UKIP at 7%, a figure they also hit once during the week for the Sun, so they certainly seemed to have recieved at least a temporary boost from the issue of Europe returning to the agenda.

Economic optimism remains extremely low. 9% of people expect their financial situation to get better over the next year compared to 57% who expect it to get worse, a net “feel good factor” of minus 48. While this is extremely negative historically, it is fairly typical of 2011 so far, and actually an improvement from the last few weeks when it has been below minus 50. Hardly anyone (3%) expects the present economic problems to be over within a year, 21% think they will pass in the next one or two years, 32% expect them to last three or four years, 24% expect them to last five to ten years.

The bulk of the poll is questions on Europe. Only 5% of people think that Britain has a lot of influence in the EU, 32% think Britain has a little influence, 41% not a lot and 15% none. 34% of people think that Britain has less influence than we did under Tony Blair and 45% think we have less influence than under Thatcher.

41% of respondents thought that Britain would be better off if we left the EU, 29% think we would be worse off and 30% neither or don’t know – a familar pattern of Euroscepticism. 41% of people think that David Cameron should use the current problems in the EU as an opportunity to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe, 27% think Cameron should wait until the present crisis has passed to renegotiate, 15% think no renegotiation is needed. 59% of people think that Conservative rebels were right to vote for a referendum, compared to 22% who think they were wrong.

On the wider Eurozone crisis people are evenly split about whether the EU should be attempting to save the Eurozone – 36% think it is right to spend money on trying to save it, 39% think it is wrong. A majority, however, think that countries like Greece who are unable to pay their debts should be made to leave. Respondents do have considerable confidence in Angela Merkel to make the necessarily decisions to solve the crisis – 56% of people said they had a lot or a little confidence in her, compared to 36% who have confidence in Nicholas Sarkozy and just 8% for Silvio Berlusconi.

82% of people think it is important for Britain’s economy that the crisis in the Eurozone is solved. However, a good majority people remain opposed to Britain contributing money to any Eurozone bailout – only 24% think Britain should contribute, with 58% opposed.

Turning to the employment questions, 38% of people would back laws making it easier to sack unproductive workers. 19% think that workers’ rights are not protected enough and there should be greater protection from dismissal, 31% think the current balance is about right.

On maternity and paternity leave, 39% think current maternity provision is about right, 29% think it is too generous and 18% not generous enough. 31% think paternity provision is about right, 24% too generous and 31% not generous enough. Men are more likely than women to think that both maternity and paternity leave is too generous.

On staying at home to look after children, very similar proportions of men and women would stay at home to look after their children if their partner earned enough. 65% of men with children and 62% of women with children said they would stay at home to look after the children. However, attitudes are different when we asked about respondents’ spouses – 82% of men would be happy for their spouse or partner to stay at home and look after the children, however only 56% of women would be happy for their spouse/partner to stay at home.

On the Royal questions, 76% of people supporting giving female children equal rights to succeed to the throne with only 13% opposed. There was less support for ending the ban on a Catholic becoming monarch – 48% thought it should be allowed, 33% thought it should not.

Finally on the London protests, while people are sympathetic to the aims of the protestors, they would tend to support legal action to remove them from outside St Pauls. 39% say they support the aims of the protesters, 26% do not and 35% are unsure. 47%, however, would support legal action to remove them with 39% opposed. 53% of people think St Paul’s Cathedral was wrong to close its doors (31% think they were right), while 42% of people think that Giles Fraser was wrong to resign (31% think he was right).


240 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times: full report”

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  1. @Smukesh

    “I am not sure about choreographed…I think there was genuine rapport between Cameron and Clegg,which is what shocked the Lefties,as the Liberal Democrats were lefties too as far as they were concerned”

    I think the mistake is to think that a personal rapport between Cameron and Clegg is the same as a genuine coming together of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties that they lead. As you go on to point out, recent events suggest that ancient and ideological antipathies may prevail over cosmetic pragmatism forged at leadership level.

    @Rob S

    Very interesting figures suggesting that at a time when other pollsters were hitherto showing narrow, or non existent Labour leads, as opposed to much bigger ones recorded by YouGov, we’ve now moved to a situation where that divergence has reversed. YouGov showing a narrowing, others a slight widening.

    A rum situation indeed.

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  2. Mathew D’Ancona in the Telegraph is reporting that Whitehall sources are telling him that they are preparing for a 2014 end to the coalition and a shift to a supply and confidence agreement. If true this is rather interesting. It scotches the nonsensical talk of a joint election campaign and would be a sensible way for the coalition members to prepare for the GE in 2015, being free to assert their individuality.

    I suspect this would be good for the Lib Dems but not so good for Cameron. It’s clear that as was predicted, the 2010 Tory intake was significantly right wing, and once the coalition is dropped Cameron won’t have a centrist bulwark to put against his right wing. I don’t think Tory strategists would fancy having to find a way to placate their vociferous right flank while persuading voters they are still hoody hugging greens.

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  3. Valerie

    Heaven forfend that I should omit an appropriate apostrophe!

    ” if Scots Tories agree with him” uses “Tories” as the plural of “Tory”, so no apostrophe is required.

    Had I said “Scots Tories’ despair at being a political irrelevance”, I would have (as I did) include the apostrophe!

    Don’t tell me that you went to the same school as Anne and Mandy!

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  4. @Dangann

    Welcome back to these pages. I enjoy your sporadic contributions, warming, as they always do, the cockles of my political heart!!lol

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  5. @Alec – the Tory right wing is a largely useless body which has utterly failed to take any meaningful action against the left-leaning governments of MacMillan, Heath, Thatcher (in terms of social policy) and Major/Cameron.

    The only true option to themselves that they have left is to leave the Party and pull the rug from under the Conservative and Unionist Party.

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  6. @Crossbat, thank you for your kind comments! :)

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  7. @Chris1945

    Well in your earlier post you did say you were 56. But hey at 66 you are older than Rolando.

    I’m 59 on Tuesday. Not sure if that makes me an old git or whether I’ve got another year to go! :-)

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  8. ALEC
    `Mathew D’Ancona in the Telegraph is reporting that Whitehall sources are telling him that they are preparing for a 2014 end to the coalition and a shift to a supply and confidence agreement. If true this is rather interesting. It scotches the nonsensical talk of a joint election campaign and would be a sensible way for the coalition members to prepare for the GE in 2015, being free to assert their individuality.`
    I think Labour have to put some distance between themselves and the coalition by then,as this arrangement might enable Lib Dems to take votes off Labour…Whether voters would still vote for them with Clegg as leader is doubtful!

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  9. @Alec,

    I don’t think it’s a huge surprise. We know the election will be in May 2015. I have always said that the parties will fight it as opponents. If they were to decide the best way to do this was to switch to supply and confidence 6 months before the election date that would seem a convenient arrangement.

    I rather suspect no important legislation is going to be slated for late 2014 in any event. One consequence of having fixed term parliaments is that, like the poor Americans, we are likely to be subjected to very, very long election campaigns.

    Will it harm Cameron? I’m not so sure. The whole purpose of it would be to allow space for LibDems to slag off the Tories and Tories to slag off the LibDems, without allegations of “cabinet ministers at war” etc. If the ability to slag off the LibDems, particularly over Europe, wins more UKIP votes to the Tories than it loses Europhile centre-right votes, then no harm done.

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  10. I wonder if the media are shiftng, certainly there is a general disgust in the populace for all foms of “greed is good” now.

    Do the press follow the public or vice versa?

    Ed Milliband seems to be an old fashioned, moralistic Labour man. As far as we can yet tell. I wonder.

    Cameron’d populist instincts will soon be at odds with his party, I think.

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  11. Crossbat11
    @Dangann

    Welcome back to these pages. I enjoy your sporadic contributions, warming, as they always do, the cockles of my political heart!!lol

    Eeh, doesn’t it just warm one’s left-sided heart eh? The thought of a genuine right-wing internecine war to match the ones that the Left has usually had copyright on.

    Please God. Please Baby Jesus. Give us a strong and credible UKIP.

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  12. @ Roger Mexico

    “Mind you I’ve always seen Roland more of a volta man”… the poor boy isn’t that backward; he’s now a burkina faso man ;)

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  13. @OldNat
    Specifically, I had in mind two cases, where the SNP had recently demonstrated centralising tendencies in local government, as follows:

    The first is the removal of any independent local council revenue raising through the SNP’s freezing of council tax. I’d picked up on the announcement that this is now due to remain in place for another 5 years, having already been in place since 2007. As you’re no longer a minority government, you don’t have the excuse that the unfair elements of council tax mean it has to be frozen, since the SNP has it within its power to put in place something better if it chooses to.

    The second is the announcement by the Scottish Government that it would to remove funding for the Edinburgh Tram if it were terminated short of Waverley Station, in response by a decision by Edinburgh Council to do just that. An offer that the Council couldn’t refuse, so a few days later they changed their decision. Effectively the Scottish Government dictated that decision.

    On ring fencing, I cannot comment upon what is happening in Scotland. But I can draw upon personal experiences in England, which is that ring fencing and promises of its removal don’t necessarily amount to very much. It all depends on how strictly the criteria for funding were drawn in the first place (in other words, was the ring fence effective or not), and whether removal of a ring fence on funding was accompanied by any linked relaxation of constraints on the actions of councils. But there is a more cosmetic threat too. Governments are also very willing to remove ring fencing in a context of financial retrenchment, because it helps to hide the responsibility of central government for cuts.

    So the LGA (COSLA’s equivalent here) reached concordats in the later years of the last Labour Government which did, on the face of it, cosmetically point to a scaling back of ring fencing, but in practical terms meant relatively little because most of the constraints were fairly loose in the first place. More recently, we’ve seen a much more substantial removal of ring fencing of funding by the coalition government but the context is all important, because of the scale of overall cuts they accompany. But the motive is to shift blame to the local authorities. The Government maintains notional amounts allocated to specific programmes within a rapidly shrinking overall pot. It can then just about argue that it hasn’t cut any specifically funded programmes, but they know damn well that they will almost certainly share in the pain.

    So I just hope that the context in Scotland is different to that in England.

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  14. NickP
    `I wonder if the media are shiftng, certainly there is a general disgust in the populace for all foms of “greed is good” now.
    Do the press follow the public or vice versa?`
    A bit of both,I think…I think the media are at present undecided and so are the public…Unlike the situation with Brown,when everything he did was bad and his achievements(which are considerable) were derided…We have a few interesting months ahead

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  15. @Old Nat

    No, I went to the same scool as Christine. A very nice girl!

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  16. Slightly off topic. AW hasn’t put his clock back yet. ;)

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  17. Old Nat,sorry,it was all a bit dull and boring really.Perhaps
    that was why Mandy kicked over the traces!

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  18. Ann (in Wales)

    I think I added an extra “e” to your name previously. Sorry.

    I’m relieved to hear that your curriculum was dull and boring. No reason that you should have been privileged above everyone else! :-)

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  19. Smukesh,I wonder how much of a difference it will make
    to the Guardian,now that the(odious)Julian Glover has
    left.Already there does seem to be a difference in tone.The
    Andrew Rawnsley article today was very unusual.

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  20. Glover leaving is good news for the Guardian as he was generally sneered at (as much for the paucity of his thought as his free market championing), and I have a feeling it is very bad news for his new employer(s).

    Julian Glover and Steve Hilton.

    No wonder they bent the rules to keep Coulson.

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  21. Phil

    Before I answer your points, maybe you can clear up a point about English Local Government funding for me.

    As I read the press reports about Pickles offering additional funding to English LAs for weekly bin collections, that funding was contingent on being used for that purpose and no other.

    Have I understood that funding stream correctly?

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  22. I do not believe that moving to a Confidence & Supply arrangement in 2014 would help the LibDems one iota.. Unless they are prepared to bring the Tories dowm Labour will accuse them of propping the Tories up – ie a LibCon Pact.

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  23. Concerning the potential Coalition split, I think Peter Hitchens had it spot on. That the two parties, who are exactly the same, will stage a faked disagreement over a carefully chosen issue.

    This will be intended to please Conservative voters who tend to justify themselves with ‘Dave is finally standing upto those pesky Liberals who have stopped him implementing a right wing government’ and the same with Liberal Democrat supporters ‘Finally those right wing Tories are gone’.

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  24. ANN (IN WALES)
    NICKP
    I agree Rawnsley`s article was a turnaround but the Guardian itself changed it`s tune since it broke the phone hacking scandal…Rawnsley played a big part in destroying Brown by portraying him as a bully and there was no way back for him from there…He`s now comparing Cameron to Berlusconi!…I wonder how Julian Glover went down on the Tory right wing”And now his speechwriter is from the Guardian etc”

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  25. @Graham

    If the rumour is true, I don’t believe it is intended to represent the LibDems “breaking” with the coalition. I think it is simply to arrive at a position where Tory and LibDem candidates in areas (like the SouthWest) that involve straight Tory-LD fights can have a sensible campaign against one another.

    It may not have that great an effect on LD-Lab waverers, but it will at least allow the LDs to develop their own manifesto (presumably some of it counter to Coalition policy) and present/argue for it over what will probably be a protracted campaign. It will do the same for the Tories.

    The fact that the rumour has circulated so long in advance suggests to me that this is sober pre-planning, rather than any kind of reaction to events.

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  26. @OldNat

    Re: Pickled garbage. We don’t get the Scotsman down here but I’m sure you’re correct. But because half the funding still has to be found locally I suspect few councils will take it up and the eventual bill to the Treasury will be small. Lots of nice headlines for little eventual cost.

    The context is this. Governments like ring fencing when they’re announcing new initiatives, as it allows them to be associated with popular stuff. Governments end ring fencing when cuts are in the offing, because it lets them leave the difficult decisions on how to share out a shrinking pool to local authorities. And we’re seing huge cuts in England, believe me.

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  27. @ Neil A
    To be successful in seats such as Bath , Cheltenham et al the Lib Dems need tactical Labour votes.Moving to Confidence & Supply will not make it any easier for them to achieve that.

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  28. Phil

    Yes. When I read the English press (isn’t this internet thingy wonderful) I’ve seen that English councils have suffered much greater cuts in central funding than has happened with Scots LAs.

    Fortunately, the funding of Scottish LAs isn’t done in that silly way, any more.

    Shame for me, as I made quite a reasonable living up to 2007, out of funds that could only be spent on initiatives that I was expert in, as opposed to what the LA actually needed to prioritise.

    Seems like Whitehall could actually learn something from the Concordat agreements – but I won’t hold my breath for that occurrence.

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  29. Oldnat
    .
    I knew a hospital consultant who had a ring fencing problem. There was a bit of extra money for bringing down waiting lists. His problem was that none of his patients waited longer than it took to arrang an appointment.

    So to get the ring fenced funds, he first had to create a waiting list so that he could reduce it.

    Which wasn’t difficult.

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  30. John B Dick

    Great story!

    Unfortunately, so replicable across so many sectors of centralised public spending decisions.

    I’ll actually praise Michael Forsyth in this regard.

    While pretending to Thatcher that devolving funding to schools was being done on the English model, he created a uniquely Scottish variant which worked pretty well.

    The classic example is the firm that was used to undertake the Health & Safety analysis of PE Departments by many Scottish LAs. In the centralist Labour days, they also had the contract to make the relevant repairs – at the cost that they had quoted. These were automatically signed off by the LA.

    As soon as the finances were devolved to schools, we got to see what we were being charged. At £100 to replace each rubber stop on a gym bench (No, I’m not exaggerating!) I, and every other school, refused to allow them to have that contract.

    The firm went bust within months.

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  31. Oldnat,

    I think that most people would acknowledge that, whatever they think of the cabinet as a whole, many of the most competant Tory ministers in the 1979-1997 period were Scottish: Forsyth, Rifkind, Lang, and Younger. John MacGregor doesn’t fit that model, though!

    Perhaps the Tory party would have better adapted during the 1997-2001 period if it hadn’t lost its more level-headed and non-cannibalistic members.

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  32. * non-cannibalistic members from Scotland, that is. It retained one or two in England, though I struggle to name any…

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  33. Bill Patrick

    I think that “most people” taking that view would only be “most” of a very small group – Scots who are prepared to look back at those days and compare the Scottish Office Ministers favourably with the rest of the Government while managing to look at that period with a degree of disengagement.

    So there’s me, and you and ?

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  34. @ Nick Palmer

    “Anusing that Angela Merkel outpolls every British politician among the Eurosceptical British public! The Vprsprung Durch Technik factor?”

    Nah, I doubt it. UK Prime Ministers are often more popular among Americans than they ever are among Brits. See, e.g., Winston Churchill; Tony Blair. But I don’t think anyone in the U.S. wants to return to British rule. :)

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  35. VALERIE

    Well: I am 56, 1945 in my UKPR name recalls the Election Result of 26 July 1945, when a lady at Claridges exclaimed:

    ‘They have voted for a Labour Government. The country will not put up with it’

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  36. LEFTYLAMPTON

    I love your prayer!

    Are you the first person on UKPR, ever, to mention that particular Baby?

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  37. @ Chris Lane

    “So 1945 was when our people were given, and had won, the welfare state, although the outgoing PM had compared my people to the Gestapo. Fancy saying that about Mr Bevin (Ernest) and Major Attlee!”

    I would love it if I could watch that election night (though I wonder if it was even televised back then….). I can just imagine the excitement, the energy, and the enthusiasm of the Labour volunteers. I wonder what it would have been like to have been a Labour canvasser on that day….you come home from a day of doorknocking or phonebanking, you’re exhausted, dirty, sweaty (from the summer humidity), hungry but perhaps too nervous to eat……only to find out you’ve not only won but done better than your wildest expectations. I also can only imagine what the reactions were like from joyous Labour supporters.

    I think when you call your opponents the “Gestapo” or any other names such as “godless” or “terrorist”, your campaign has gone off the rails and it’s a sign that you’re going to lose.

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  38. @ Old Nat

    “However, you will have noted that 65% of Scots do support such a change.

    You may never become King of England, but King of Scots might still be a position you can aspire to.”

    Do you really want to bring back a royal family of Scotland if you become independent? I kinda enjoy not having a royal family (though selfishly I kinda like that you guys have yours so I have something to compare to and occassionally complain about). In fact, I don’t like any candidates who bill themselves as having political royal families or act entitled to office because of their political dynasty. In fact, I think that’s the biggest difference between east coasters and west coasters. East coasters are more open to that sort of thing and west coasters will have none of it.

    One time I was talking about this to this snooty, preppy, elitist guy in college from Philadelphia about political dynasties. He flippantly said “well if their father was good in office, they deserve to get elected on family name alone. They’re entitled” My response: “Are you out of your f***ing mind?”

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  39. I just finished watching this week’s PMQs, which I’d DVRed. I need a Sunday night treat. It was kind of like ladies night at Parliament last Wednesday with a lot of prominent female Labour MPs asking questions: Luciana Berger, Alison McGovern, Debbie Abrahams, Gloria De Piero, Karen Buck, and Sandra Osborne. There was one other young prominent female Labour MP but I forget her name. Only ones missing were Stella Creasy and Heidi Alexander. And Nadine Dorries made an appearance for the Tories.

    I kinda like Dorries. I think I know why. If you took Nadine Dorries and matched her up against prominent right wing Republican female politicians like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Mean Jean Schmidt, Marilyn Musgrave, Thelma Drake, Katherine Harris, or Anne Northup in an IQ competition, Dorries would win hands down. Of course, Dorries kinda looks like Helen Caldicott compared to the few I mentioned.

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  40. My dream of Obama winning all 50 states (or at least 49) is fading.

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=9BF98DF6-86A6-4B3B-BB63-1E4E3AA9FD97

    :(

    “Turning to the employment questions, 38% of people would back laws making it easier to sack unproductive workers. 19% think that workers’ rights are not protected enough and there should be greater protection from dismissal, 31% think the current balance is about right.”

    You guys don’t have at-will employment right? Or do you?

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  41. SOCIAL LIBERAL.
    Good Morning, and yes, my Mum’s Dad was involved with the 1945 Election Campaign. As I have shared on here recently, he cried on 26/27 July 1945 and said it was what he had worked for all his life. He was 50 then, and he wept with joy.
    Came to Cardiff from west cork when he was 5. Lost a foot at Mons. Survived the Means Test, when this war veteran and his wife, my Gran McCarthy had to sell furniture and his medals for food stamps. My Mum was born in 1931, the depth of the slump.

    The then Coalition Government’s policy was to deflate the economy at a time of recession. Macdonald had left Labour to lead this Government, succeeded by Baldwin and then Chamberlain (Neville). His policy was to ‘find out what Hitler wanted, and then give it to him’ according to Michael Foot in ‘Guilty Men’

    Dark times in England. (And Wales, and Scotland). Never forgotten, or forgiven-here.

    Yes Winston, who had done so much sullied his reputation with the Gestapo speech about men and women who had fought the Nazis. When he said the founder of the NHS was the Minister of Disease, his reputation was lower still.
    You may know about the Tonypandy (Rhondda) controversy.

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  42. As much as I hope that UKIP continue to increase their vote share – largely to prove that FPTP is a complete farce (imagine UKIP on 10% but with no seats) – but I think FPTP will reinforce the ultimate problem of FPTP.
    ‘I have to vote for X even though I prefer Z because I don’t like Y’.

    If we had a better electoral system, UKIP would probably be far above 7%.
    But as Tories like to point out – UKIP voters have to vote Tory, otherwise you get that dastardly Labour.

    Which, in any other context, would probably be classed as some form of coercion – which is largely illegal in most contexts.
    But we need FPTP because then we have a strong centralised government and then those dastardly extremists won’t get in – etc, etc
    Which sounds vastly undemocratic and authoritarian, but oh well.

    So we can expect at least some of that UKIP vote to go back to the Tories.
    But, how about the european elections, held under a slightly more sensible system?
    In 2009, UKIP got 16.5% – making them the second largest party. Now that Tories know that Cameron is ‘weak on Europe’, could we see UKIP becoming the biggest party?

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  43. “The opinions which come out of this poll, if they are to be believed, are showing a centre right attitude in most area’s. ”
    Can you define centre-right?

    A majority of people think that laws protecting workers from unfair dismissal are fair – even given the wording that employers would only sack ‘unproductive’ workers.
    A majority think that maternity rights are right or not generous enough.
    A majority think the paternity rights (even more workers becoming unproductive!) are right or not generous enough.
    A plurality support the aims of the occupy london protesters (and if plurality is good enough for FPTP, it’s good enough for me ;) ).
    The centre-right position (as evidenced by the Tory voters) is in opposition to these things.

    Polls show that a majority are against the scrapping of the 50% tax, for a drop in VAT, etc

    The polling, where the ‘centre-right’ are with the public, tend to be in authoritarian/traditionalist polling – completely unrelated to the economic polling.
    (Benefits polling tends to be harsh against benefit cheats, but not the actual benefit system per say – an authoritarian/social reaction, not an economic argument).
    The same goes for the EU polling – which is traditionalist, rather than economic.

    And as we’ve discussed before, the left can have just as many authoritarians and traditionalists as the right.

    Which is where I agree with half your point – this whole ‘there’s a left-wing majority’ or ‘there’s a right-wing majority’ is pure projection.
    I’d suspect ideology would fit on a bell curve – with the extremes being minorities and moderates a majority, with shifts-left/right and authoritarian/libertarian depending on context.
    There’s riots and the public swing authoritarian, etc.

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  44. @tingedfringe – “In 2009, UKIP got 16.5%”

    That was a 0.3% increase on their 2004 vote. Con increased their vote by 1.0%, LD support dropped by 1.2%.

    It was the Labour fall in support (- 6.9%) which allowed Ukip to take second place.

    The biggest increases were for the Green Party (+2.4%), and the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship” (+1.6%)

    Turnout was significantly down on 2004.

    With European elections coming in 2014, I expect them to be a more ‘policticised’ event.

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  45. Alec
    ‘Mathew D’Ancona in the Telegraph is reporting that Whitehall sources are telling him that they are preparing for a 2014 end to the coalition’

    In my opinion this is just an attempt to undermine the Coalition, based upon a strong dislike of the LDs, Nick Clegg and David Cameron. There is no way that the LDs and Tories will end the Coalition before 2015.

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  46. Tinged Fringe
    ‘Which, in any other context, would probably be classed as some form of coercion – which is largely illegal in most contexts’

    I do not understand your statement. As far as I am aware there has been no illegal act. Of course as a LD I recognise that tactical voting to keep Labour, Tory or LD out is quite common, although upto now I did not realise it was illegal.

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  47. Re the Royals…the Grauniad carries this:

    “Ministers have been forced to seek permission from Prince Charles to pass at least a dozen government bills, according to a Guardian investigation into a secretive constitutional loophole that gives him the right to veto legislation that might impact his private interests.”

    So, the monarchy has some greater role in the ruling and running of our affairs than perhaps people have been lead to believe.

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  48. Oldnat,

    That’s an overwhelming majority of people in this conversation.

    Re: ministerial positions, I think that the government is in a bind. With the government spending nearly half of national income, MORE ministers are needed. Yet deficit reduction looks very silly with so many ministers and the large number of ministers is weakening the independence of parliament.

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  49. @TingedFringe

    “Which is where I agree with half your point – this whole ‘there’s a left-wing majority’ or ‘there’s a right-wing majority’ is pure projection.”

    I think you’re spot on. To conclude one way or the other is usually self-serving nonsense. What tends to happen, and I can be as guilty as anyone else, is that if you’re from one end of the political spectrum you’ll cherry-pick poll findings that fit into your political view of the world. It’s a terrible mistake to think that because, at any given time, a majority of people favour cutting welfare benefits that the world is a Conservative-voting paradise, just as it is mistaken to interpret that overwhelming support for the NHS means that everyone is a closet socialist.

    The truth, as my old mate used to say, always lies somewhere in the middle, just like most people’s political views in fact!!

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  50. Some Greek polling:

    “On the ground, economists, politicians and ordinary Greeks believe the latest plan to address the country’s debt crisis – writing off the debt load by 50% and handing yet more (approximately €130bn) in rescue loans – will mean further austerity and condemn the nation to deeper recession.

    A Kapa Research poll published in the authoritative Sunday Vima showed that 58.9% of Greeks judged the new European accord to be “negative” while two–thirds felt “rage” at the decision. A majority (54.2% percent) thought the new financial package should be put to popular vote.”

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