I don’t usually comment much upon the “others” scores in regular voting intention polls – there’s various reasons for that: support for them is so low that movement from month to month is hidden away by rounding, for the SNP and Plaid you really need proper Scottish and Welsh polls to get anything meaningful, and for minor parties like UKIP, the Greens and BNP their support has little impact, whether any of them breaks through to win seats at Westminster depends far more upon them getting concentrated support in particular constituencies (as Caroline Lucas did in Brighton) than their overall support.

Nevertheless, the comparatively high levels of support for UKIP last week produced some comment, so I thought it time to have a better look at the figures. The graph below shows a four-week rolling average for the others in YouGov’s Sunday Times polls (obviously a rolling average of all YouGov’s daily polling would be better… but would take 7 times longer to type into a spreadsheet!)

graph

As you can see, there is an overall upwards trend, but different patterns for the different parties. The BNP’s position is largely unchanged from last Summer, with no obvious trend up or down in their support. The SNP & Plaid (YouGov do not separate them out in GB polling) have a rise in support, particularly in the run up to the Scottish and Welsh elections last May – very much in line with the increase in SNP support that we know happened at the time from Scottish polling.

The Green party have a clear upwards trend in their support, though total levels remain very modest. By far the biggest increase is for UKIP, who have gone from around 2% last July to around 5 or 6 percent.

One can only speculate about the reasons. It seems a fair assumption that the increase in the last week is due to the issue of Europe moving up the agenda (though it’s worth noting that UKIP’s support is not always based on the issue of Europe – in past polling we’ve seen that issues like immigration are more important). I’d suggest other factors could be support from the disgruntled right of the Conservatives, and perhaps more significantly, the Liberal Democrat entry into government meaning the Lib Dems are less available as a vehicle for protest votes from those opposed to the main two parties, and that other parties have the opportunity to pick up these votes.


258 Responses to “Growing support for “other” parties”

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  1. The hardest thing for UKIP is how to get the political message across when many media organisations refuse to give air-time
    to the party.

    Alongside the recent parliamentary vote about the referendum
    about EU membership the BBC gave almost no coverage at all to the party. No doubt based upon the fact no Westminster MPs have so far been elected and House of Lords support does not figure in the calculations.

    The YouGov/Sunday Times poll figures for ‘other parties’ offers encouragement to UKIP supporters. A 10% figure is within the compass of the party in the near future. Local elections in council wards up and down the country, with the Great Horton ward (Labour last time) in Bradford taking place on 24 November.

  2. @nick p
    I don’t want to strike. I just want my already modest pension.

    The problem is, most people have an even more modest pension. And, in millions of cases, apart from the state, have no pension at all. However, they are paying for yours.

  3. Initially I though George Papandreou’s referendum announcement was simply a cynical (but effective)tactic to help ensure the terms of the bailout deal were as favourable as possible, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it is actually the honourable thing to do.

    Imagine if it were the middle east with a single currency and (say) Jorden was in a finanical mess. Then our news channels report Saudi Arabia and Iran have led the way in cobbling together a deal to bail out the Jordanian economy, but there is outrage at it’s terms and implications in Jordan, with strikes and demonstrations paralyzing parts of the country, all graphically brought to life on our screens. We’d be among the first calling for the Jordanian authorities to heed the will of the people, to listen to the voices of their citizens rather than caving into the demands of the regions major players.

    However much Greece might be responisble for the hole they are in, the Greek public deserve a say in how they get ou tof the mess – even if the rest of us might not like the path they choose.

  4. AW
    Thanks
    ……………………………..

    If December for the referendum that’s just enough time to allow /compel the EU to come up with something better.

    Papandreou has been quite clever, me thinks

  5. Choulenlai – google work by Rob Ford and Matt Goodwin (of Manchester and Nottingham Universities respectively), both of whom have done good stuff on examining the drivers of the BNP and UKIP vote.

  6. Anthony,

    For the record I have no problems with the way you handle the SNP in polls. It’s not how I would like it, but it delivers what most of your clients want and at the end of the day your are a business not a charity.

    On CHOUENLAI’s comment;

    “makes my previous comment , “the middle class BNP” seem more correct ”

    There does see, from the graph, that with a slight lag, UKIP rise when the BNP fall.

    I wouldn’t describe them as CHOUENLAI’s has, but it may be that a perceived strong stance on immigration is attractive to people who have it as there number one issue and those people may also consider the BNP at times.

    Peter.

  7. I suspect Papandreou’s calling of a referendum is partly because he realises the EU strategy of doing exactly the same as last time but twice as loud isn’t going to work – either for Greece of the rest of the EU. But I think there are also internal reasons as well.

    Remember that, despite his paternal heritage, he’s a bit of an outsider in Greek politics and spent a lot of his formative years outside the country. He probably feels alienated from and impatient with the Greek establishment. Colin pointed out an article in the Guardian by Nikos Dimitriou which described this:

    On paper a parliamentary democracy, Greece is a de facto oligarchy, ruled since 1974 by a faux aristocracy ensconced in a ghetto of self-awarded privilege. Often sharing the same private schools, foreign universities and blood ties, they have insulated themselves from the contagion of citizenship by altering the constitution, effectively placing themselves above the law.

    This thuggish minority functions in splendid isolation from the people who must depend on them for responsible leadership.

    You could probably add to that description a professional class linked to the political elite by ties of clientism and a common attitude towards taxation and so on. While I don’t necessarily believe all the things that have been related about the Greek economy, it’s clear that this combined elite has a culture of impunity.

    I wonder if Papandreou is using this call for a referendum to appeal over the heads of this elite (including his own Party) to the Greek people. When he came in it was certainly with the intention of changing the way things operate in Greece with regards to things like paying taxes Maybe this is part of trying to get the Greek people to take both power and responsibility.

  8. @ Alec: “re the Green party question – I don’t speak for them, but certainly the government record so far is poor.”

    Belated thanks for your comments. My local S. Manchester MP — Lib-Dem “left-winger” — is always boasting of the Coalition’s Green credentials, including Carbon Recap, in a constituency where interest in these matters is v. high. I have always understood that Carbon Rec. is expensive nonsense, rejected by other countries.; but I was interested in yr alternatives to it & I shall ask for his opinion.

  9. The revised offer on public sector pensions ain’t at all bad. Specially if you are within 10 years of scheme pension age, which I am.

    Any movement on contributions rates or timing might get them a deal. certainly it is a dramatic change of stance and shows the Treasury are willing to talk.

    I’m pleasantly surprised. I would have preferred the offer made to the unions and talked about first though.

  10. Maybe NickP will vote tory after all :p

  11. @Neil A – “… each partisan statement.”

    The Archbishop of Canterbury an officer of the State

    As a Lord of Parliament he sits on the government benches and has a constitutional duty to offer his counsel.

    I don’t remember him offering support for any specific policies put forward by the different political parties at the General Election, unlike “business leaders” who so evidently backed Osbone’s tax proposals.

  12. Anthony

    I vaguely remember YouGov doing a report (about a year ago?) on its panel members who identified with UKIP, BNP and so on and their attitudes. I can’t find it at the moment (I can’t find anything at the moment) but I’m sure it’s there.

    On a similar topic, Demos have just produced a report on the EDL here:

    http://www.demos.co.uk/files/Inside_the_edl_WEB.pdf?1320079341

    Apart from the political conclusions, it’s got an interesting methodology in that it recruited via the EDL’s Facebook page. However the report does seem to have been produced with some rigour in those circumstances (rather than just going “Wowee! Facebook! Aren’t we zeitgeist!”).

    Hopefully we will get sensible tracker information back at some point – I realise the current situation is a byproduct of the way the automatic conversion of the archives was done.

  13. @ Neil A, Billy Bob.
    “I don’t remember him [ArchBish] offering support for any specific policies put forward by the different political parties at the General Election, unlike “business leaders” who so evidently backed Osbone’s tax proposals.”

    Yes business leaders who posed as, and were reported as, being “neutral” in 2010, but who were too craven to go on radio & TV & debate their advice! The business leaders who always exaggerate the country’s economic prospects before an election, then tell the truth afterwards. The business leaders who have increased their incomes by 50% this year.
    In fact business leaders do far more moralising about public culture than Church leaders in this country & yet always pose as disinterested spectators of it. Weird or what?

  14. Can anyone explain why the Labour lead over the Conservatives was 6 points last night and only 2 points the night before.

  15. ALEC

    @”I could be mistaken but I’m sure I recall you suggesting it was fine for religious leaders to comment on government policy when Labour was in power.”

    I’m happy with religious leaders commenting on social policy & it’s perceived effects. This would certainly include things like income disparities -a key issue as I understand it, for the protestors.

    But Tax policy per se is not something I think they are qualified to comment on-particularly where it involves factors like international competitiveness for example.

    So I am happy to see the Archbishop say things like -Their is too great an income disparity between this group & that group-these business activities impact unfairly on these people in this way , & so on ( perhaps if he had been saying such things a little louder, he wouldn’t have had to shut a Cathedral)
    It would be good too, to hear him putting these matters in the context of the faith which he allegedly leads.

    But I’m not happy to see him saying things like -this tax rate should be x%-a tax should be raised on these activities or assets & so on.

  16. ROGER MEXICO

    @”Maybe this is part of trying to get the Greek people to take both power and responsibility.”

    I think it is exactly that-plus some attempt to “do an Ireland” and use the urgency of winning the referendum from Merkozy’s point of view , to try & get some relaxation in the austerity package.

    But presumably he know better than any of us, what it would mean for Greeks to see funding streams from IMF/EU & the markets stop dead. I imagine that he will be reminding public sector workers where the cash for their pay & pensions comes from right now-something that reneging on past debts isn’t going to help with at all.

    But he might , by the same token, be impressing on Merkozy the potential for rolling bank failures in Europe and a 100% loss of ECB’s current holding of Greek debt , if Greeks reject the bailout / 50% default/austerity package …and that a sweetener or two might help.

  17. Lin – sample variation (what we normally refer to as the margin of error).

    Basically, in a poll of 1000 people, 95% of the time each figure will be within 3 percentage points of the “real” figure you’d get if you surveyed the whole population. So if the Labour party were really at 40%, then from day to day you would expect to get figures ranging from 37% to 43% (though not evenly distributed – 39s, 40s and 41s would be more common than 37s and 43s).

    Hence the 2 point and 6 point leads aren’t particularly relevant – the underlying average still appears to be about 4 points.

  18. It’s very hard to make a legitimate case against the referendum in Greece without sounding grossly undemocratic – however, Greece’s action is threatening to blow the Euro zone to bits even though they have been given very generous terms. I assume this is happening due to internal cabinet discussions, and this is the only way Papandreou can get it through without a dissolution of parliament and general election which would be even more destabilising.

    @Socalliberal

    Btw, how does your wife compare snow storms between where she grew up and where she lives now?
    – She just laughs every time 1inch of snow grinds London to a halt

    Btw, Attlee was far more prepared at Potsdam than Truman was, who was also a new leader at that time. I’m still not sure why FDR picked him (he had to replace his VP in 1944 for being too communist friendly). But Truman was completely unprepared to be the president and had no real involvement in the Roosevelt administration. So he walked into Potsdam a complete rookie.

    A couple of years ago I spent some time researching at both of their Presidential libraries for my doctorate – while at Hyde Park I felt more at home and Independence felt culturally alien to me; however, I have to admit to having a large soft spot for Harry. His background was very much Domestic Democrat Party fixer – but arguably in foreign affairs he had a much bigger influence on the shape of world than FDR did.

  19. If anything the UKIP support shows that people want a more right wing government not a watered down Tory party with the LD’s behind.

  20. @ pjlatham20

    The hardest thing for UKIP is how to get the political message across when many media organisations refuse to give air-time
    to the party.

    For smaller parties to ‘break-through’ in FPTP their either has to be a major specific event lading to a political realignment, and/or long term social changes/econ changes influencing politics. WW1 and the upheavals in the post war period allowed Labour to displace the Liberals. For UKIP, continued disruption in /breakup of the Euro zone and European econ decline is more likely to lead to a break-through than just more media exposure.

  21. I’m not sure the terms of the Greek deal are very generous to Greece. If they are, then the Greeks will vote for them.

    And if the Eurozone can only be saved at the expense of the Greeks, then the Greeks would be fools to vote for it, and the President would be failing in his duty if he signed up to it without agreement.

  22. Lin Rees

    Can anyone explain why the Labour lead over the Conservatives was 6 points last night and only 2 points the night before
    _____________

    All depends when Coronation Street is on. If they take the the poll during coronation street then the softer the Labour vote. Exclusive info from Youguv shows when the soap is on, it tends to be the male who answers the phone rather than the woman and we know woman are more inclined to vote Labour. ;)

  23. Anthony

    Thanks for the response. I don’t feel neglected now! :-)

    Quite fascinating to see all this Scottish polling going on, and everyone keeping their mouths firmly shut about the results.

  24. @Nickp

    I’m not sure the terms of the Greek deal are very generous to Greece. If they are, then the Greeks will vote for them.

    If someone offered to write off half my debt I would bite their arm off ;-). In terms of cuts etc – no more than we are seeing in other European countries atm. Objectively they have been offered a good deal in the current circumstances. Personally I think the Greek people will reject the deal but practically there is no better option than the deal that’s currently on the table.

    And this isn’t’ just at the expense of the Greeks, as one way or another we will all pay for the banks writing of this debt as they will pass it on to us.

  25. redrich

    I don’t see how the banks can pass any more debt on to me when they already owe me several trillion pounds.

  26. The whole Greece problem is that this is a country that does not want to see a cut in their public services which in comparison to most European countries that are in the meditarianian and none-Western are pretty generious but also this is a country in which it’s people do not want to pay more in their taxes for it.

    Unlike the UK, US and Western European countries I do not hear from the Greek protestors a call for the rich, financial elite and bankers to make them pay more in taxes. I do not hear that. As far as I am concerned this is a country that does not want to take it’s own responsibility.

    If the Greek Protesters called for a plan in which the rich and banks paid more in taxes I think, personally, they would have more public support within Europe and the US. But sadly they are not calling that or calling for any plan other than we do not take responsibility. But even still, a reasonable hike in taxes on the rich (even going as far as Denmakrs 60% top rate of tax) and banks would not be enough to cover the debt. The greek people are going have to bear the brunt of this terrible burden caused by the banks as well. It’s principally not fair but it would have to happen.

    Also, I think the greek problem, the more that contines I would not put it past them that this could potentially backfire the whole 99% and Occupy protestors because the “public” who do not have time to study the news as in depth, 24/7 and as detailed as say we “political junkies” when they see this and think that’s a country that wants, wants, wants and think it’s fine to “live on the state” and look at the mess they are in it deviates the message by Occupy.

    I say this as someone who was at the occupy protestors me and a group of friends who go Church (yes surprisenly under 25’s can be religious as well as political and not sitting at home watching t.v. lol) went up with a sign calling ourselves Christains Against Greed (because we wanted to show that not all Christains are like the ones in St. Paul who stick up for the rich). It was our own little protest, meet up with some other Christains and the Occupy protesters, few athesists but still admire what we were doing. Was only for that one day.

    But even being there with the Greek problem I still feel that will paint a backdrop in how the public’s mood and attitude will reflect their perspection on the protests, the economy etc. etc. Even when there I spoke to oridaniary observers and I asked them what they thought of this most did have our sympathy with the principals of making those who caused the mess pay but did say they were confused whether this group was against wealth per say (which surprisenly most people weren’t – they didn’t mind people being wealthy and mainly blamed the banks rather than business or wealthy people), didn’t like the idea that this could be turned into a capitalism v socialism message and greek came up many times in people’s mind when they said “well if you depend too much on the state you end up like greece”. So the protests do have a message issue but greece does linger on people’s minds as a “what if” question.

  27. @Nickp

    I hope the banks take in to account their liability to you when they recapitalise ;-)

  28. REDRICH

    @It’s very hard to make a legitimate case against the referendum in Greece without sounding grossly undemocratic ”

    Indeed.

    Almost as undemocratic as making a legitimate case for German taxpayers bailing out Greek public sector workers/pensioners, when a majority of the former are unhappy about doing it.

    One can hardly object to a small dose of democracy in the increasingly undemocratic institution which is the EU.

  29. @LBernard

    No, it shows a small minority do.

  30. Yes, I wonder if the German voters would vote for even the existing bailout?

  31. @NICKP

    If its percieved as necessary to keep the Euro then probably yes – the political capital in Germany behind the Euro currency is very very strong

  32. @ Redrich

    “A couple of years ago I spent some time researching at both of their Presidential libraries for my doctorate – while at Hyde Park I felt more at home and Independence felt culturally alien to me; however, I have to admit to having a large soft spot for Harry. His background was very much Domestic Democrat Party fixer – but arguably in foreign affairs he had a much bigger influence on the shape of world than FDR did.”

    I’ve been to neither presidential library (sadly). Don’t me wrong, Truman did some very good things as president (George Marshall for one thing) and he did have a large influence on foreign affairs. Bigger than Roosevelt? It’s possible. Ot, conservative criticism of the Yalta Conference is so off-base btw.

    “She just laughs every time 1inch of snow grinds London to a halt”

    Really? It seems like one or a few inches of snow grounds Washington to a halt. But my perspective is that this amount of snow would not ground Los Angeles to a halt but instead require an emergency and armed forces response. So I give credit where credit is due. :)

    Snowmageddon was one of those unforgettable experiences. I’ve never seen a supermarket run out of staple products before such as milk and meat. I thought that’s not supposed to happen in the U.S. but only in foreign countries you see on the news. But the night before the storm, at the Whole Foods the aisles were clear except for really bad looking parts of the meat and Whole Milk (I bought as gallon of Whole Milk). Strangely enough though, the bread and gourmet cheese aisles were completely stocked. So before getting in the over hourlong checkout line, I went over there and got what I needed. My feeling was, the French live off of bread and cheese! Plus, if the power went out at all, you can make yourself dishes from that don’t require heat.

    Here’s the thing though and this got me thinking about the economic impact of this. After the apocalypse style lines at drug stores and supermarkets where people bought WAY more than they actually needed, a lot of restaurants and bars remained open. So people were busy getting food by ordering all these pizzas (and these pizza delivery guys, they’re hardworkers and hungry to make extra money and they’d go out in a blizzard just to make an extra buck). Then after the blizzard stopped but there was too much snow to do anything, a lot of bars opened up and all these pent up people suffering from cabin fever went out and got drunk (adding to how much the restaurants billed). Then all these people, who are normally unemployed or underemploymed went out and made more money by clearing sidewalks and streets of snow and fallen trees as well as shoveling people’s walks. The damages incurred from the blizzard increased costs for people in terms of repairs but were offset by the additional employment created to do repairs. To conclude, when people say that blizzards harm the economy, I simply don’t believe them.

    As for me and snow though, I don’t like it. I find it unnatural and inconvenient.

  33. ANDYC

    @”The greek people are going have to bear the brunt of this terrible burden caused by the banks as well. ”

    The Greek state debt was not caused by their banks.

    Greek Banks lent to their government & will now be nationalised as they see those debts written down.

    Greek State Debt was caused by the borrowing of it’s government.

    In Ireland on the other hand, the current state debt ( which has also been supported by an IMF/EU bailout) did derive from bank borrowing.
    Three Irish banks indulged in binge lending in the real estate market , and when property prices fell, their liabilities -including , critically , those to bank bond holders-were guaranteed by the Irish State .

    Interestingly, the austerity package in RoI has been accepted with little organised protest from it’s people-who bore no responsibility for the Bank debts they now own.

    In Greece, however, citizens are protesting violently, and seek to blame anyone other than themselves for the debts which their elected politicians incurred in providing those citizens with the lifestyle they can no longer sustain.

  34. @ Redrich

    “It’s very hard to make a legitimate case against the referendum in Greece without sounding grossly undemocratic – however, Greece’s action is threatening to blow the Euro zone to bits even though they have been given very generous terms. I assume this is happening due to internal cabinet discussions, and this is the only way Papandreou can get it through without a dissolution of parliament and general election which would be even more destabilising.”

    I’m not sure he’s going to be able to get a referendum through with members of his own party defecting. I think Papandreou surprised his own Parliament by calling for it. I’m not sure a referendum is wrong but certainly calling for one now kinda is because he never mentioned it before and the negotiations have already happenned. It seems like this was done in bad faith.

    I’m not sure referendums by the people are such a good thing. We have elected representatives for a reason. I have seen first hand that when you give people an option to vote on their own legislation in referendums, they will (1) increase government spending, (2) cut their own taxes, (3) at the same time. And they’ll also vote to bond into debt. When voters vote on legislation, there’s no room or ability to compromise either.

  35. @Socalliberal

    Ot, conservative criticism of the Yalta Conference is so off-base btw.

    With the benefit of hindsight, FDR’s strategy of distancing himself from Churchill and trying to buddy up to Stalin was an error. However, at the time it was the logical thing for him to do.

  36. Colin

    You are right the Greek debt crisis was not casued by the Greek banks, which behaved pretty well. But the other banks (ours?) were pretty well implicated:

    “Members of the European Union signed an agreement known as the Maastricht Treaty, under which they pledged to limit their deficit spending and debt levels. However, a number of European Union member states, including Greece and Italy, were able to circumvent these rules and mask their deficit and debt levels through the use of complex currency and credit derivatives structures. The structures were designed by prominent U.S. investment banks, who received substantial fees in return for their services and who took on little credit risk themselves thanks to special legal protections for derivatives counterparties. Financial reforms within the U.S. since the financial crisis have only served to reinforce special protections for derivatives–including greater access to government guarantees–while minimizing disclosure to broader financial markets.”

  37. REDRICH.
    Truman knew that FDR was wrong, and that Churchill was wrong to betray the country for which we went to war, and to betray the Whites and the Cossacks.

    On another theme: some time ago people protested when I said the economy may have bottomed out. Mr Kaletsky says the same thing today in his article.

    The new pensions policy seems very moderate as well, and all Mr Burnham was able to do on radio 4 was to criticise the process of policy formation

  38. And yet, German business and voters were happy with the Eurozone when it gave them what appeared to be a strong and vibrant market for Audis and Bosch washing machines.

    Bailing out the weaker nations who consumed but couldn’t compete with German business is surely the flip side of that.

    Germany is at a crossroads here. As Willem Buiter said on R4 this afternoon, the EZ problems could be substantially reduced in magnitude if the ECB was given the mandate to cover sovereign debt, with all EZ countries jointly taking on the debt burden.

    Which would mean in practice, German taxpayers paying for the consumption of Italy, Greece etc. Harsh for sure but that seems to be the logical conclusion of the EZ experiment.

  39. LIn

    What makes it more complex is that (of course) we don’t know what the theoretical support percentage is. So in a sense we are working backwards: given that the polls recently have shown support of X% Y% etc, what is the most likely “real” value that would account for these numbers.

    In practice, even with daily polls from YouGov, and excluding systematic errors, there aren’t enough data points to be certain. Or even confident. This is shortened into the famous phrase “margin of error”, which hides a multitude of sins. The best bet is to take the current poll at face value, but to (calmly) reserve comment until a few more polls agree. At least that’s what commentators on this site seem to do ;-)

  40. thesheep

    nah, what we do is big up the polls we like and mutter “outlier” when it goes to the other side

  41. @Chou

    @NickP
    The problem is, most people have an even more modest pension. And, in millions of cases, apart from the state, have no pension at all. However, they are paying for yours.
    _____________________

    I know you worked in the Pensions’ industry before retiring Chou.

    I’m curious. Woulld you describe your own pension arrangements as “modest”? 8-)

  42. @AW
    Thanks re Ford & Goodwin.

    @Valerie
    I maximised my final salary pension as much as I could afford to do. When I retired at 58, 7 years ago, I felt it was adequate (based on the fact that I have a half pension from the army). Shame on the pension situation in this country, I now find that whilst not quite in the Fred Goodwin league, I am one of the more well funded pensioners.

  43. The thing is my pension is part of my pay package all of which is funded by the taxpayer.

    So in fact people on a modest wage but paying tax are contributing to the pot that pays my salary and will fund my pension (and everybody’s state pension).

    It is true that private pension provision is woeful and that many people will depend solely on state pensions and benefits. All of which will also be funded by the taxpayer.

    Chou’s point is true but a red herring. Although I’m sure he’d like the whole public sector either sacked or pay drastically reduced, I’m sure he won’t mind if the Unions and I fight to prevent that happening.

  44. So my taxes fund your army pension, Chou?

    No need to thank me. I don’t mind at all. No really.

  45. NICKP

    @”But the other banks (ours?) were pretty well implicated:”

    What I meant was that , unlike RoI , where bank debt in the property sector was adopted by the state, Greek State debt derives from the tax & spend policies of its governments over time. Not forgetting that it fraudulently manipulated the scale of its deficit to get into the eurozone.

    It has had an average current account deficit from 1992-2008 amounting to near 6% gdp;

    Greek governments have been profligate & corrupt for years. Its population is fundamentally engaged in tax evasion & avoidance. It is internationally uncompetitive & has a current account deficit of 14%gdp

    Its state administration systems are ineffective & inefficient.

    It is a fourth division outfit trying to operate in the premiership.

  46. @NICK P
    Well until we get a private army, or pay the Gurkhas to do everything on a piece work basis, the Armed Forces will get government pensions. From what I saw in the Gulf and Northern Ireland, they mostly earned every penny.

  47. @Tinged Fringe

    Your argument that the weakening of the Conservatives is good for the Neo-Liberals, is significantly flawed. You argue that it will better place them to form the center of a new coalition, but this is predicated on there still being sufficient Neo-Liberal leaning conservative. But this dismisses one important thing, UKIP don’t contest Eurosceptic Conservative MP’s seats. The UKIP threat is *not* to the right wing Conservative MPs, but to their more moderate ones. And the more moderate ones are in the marginals because they’re more likely to be picked by movement from the centrist swing vote. So a rise in UKIP popularity results in the Conservative Parliamentary Party becoming more right wing, not less!

    This could be toxic to them in the long run, if it puts them further and further from appealing to centrist voters. Which could then trigger a spiral effect of more moderate Conservatives losing their seats and boosting their right wing thanks to UKIP’s ‘support’.

  48. chouenlai

    I don’t begrudge you your tax-payer funded pension. I just don’t know why you begrudge me mine.

  49. As this parliament is currently expected to last around the same duration as the previous one, it is possible to compare what the voting intention polls were saying exactly five years ago to what they are saying today, and project the next general election result if it is indeed to be in May 2015. Unfortunately it is hard to make a projection until the new boundaries are confirmed, but it is very interesting.

    Of course, in October 2006 there were only six polls compared with twenty eight in October 2011, but this is how the averages compared.

    October 2006: C 38, Lab 33, LD 18, Oth 11
    October 2011: Lab 40, C 36, LD 9, Oth 15

    So that’s main governing party +3, main opposition party +2, LibDems -9 and others+4.

    Make from that what you will, but personally I reckon if we carry on the way we’re going the shares of the vote in May 2015 will be something like C 39, Lab 31, LD 14, Oth 16 which under present boundaries would deliver a very small Conservative overall majority.

    Not a perfect way to make a prediction I know, but I would be interested in your thoughts. If you like I will come back at the beginning of each month and update my projections, though it’s not too difficult to work out if you wanted to do so yourselves. :)

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