Historical polls

After hours of slaving in the library Mark Pack has put up a spreadsheet of all the polls he’s been able to locate since 1943 – you can download it from Mark’s site here. It’s relatively easy to find polls back into the 1980s when MORI and ICM’s predecessor Marplan were active. It becomes more difficult as you go back into the 1970s and before, when increasingly one can only find the regular Gallup polls, and polls from the election campaigns, with mid-term figures from NOP, RSL, ORC and in-house newspaper polls not easily accessible.

Guilt tripped by Mark’s hard work, I’ve updated the historical polls listed down the right-hand sidebar of the site to go back to 1970 (pre 1992 data is mostly courtesy of Mark!). I shall try to add some nice graphs to them all… assuming I don’t get sidelined and forget about them like I did last time.


231 Responses to “Historical polls”

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  1. @ John B Dick

    That was then.This is 2015. Not if the door is open and we are on the way out.
    ——————————————
    That’s not a very unlikely scenario, though, is it?

    I might as well propose a scenario which includes the SNP losing the referendum by a mile. With it goes their credibility & Labour win every seat in Scotland come 2015.

    Which is not a very likely scenario either but it’s every bit as valid as yours, given polling has never put independence above 40%, even on its best day.
    8-)

  2. Amber

    I think you should consider that there just might be a result for the SNP in the referendum.

    It is possible that Scots may not wish to go “all the way” but it wouldn’t make any difference to 2015 except that the SNP would be disappointed. The Scottish voter is perfectly capable of voting against independence in 2014 and giving the SNP a majority of the Scottish seats in 2015 and 2016.

    On their side, they have rehearsed all the arguments for decades. The have a fully worked out plan and have begun implementing it already. They have the members and the money.

    If the usual campaigning work, then they should do well.

    On the Unionist side,

    There is no unified lead or strategy. If funds for the campaign are raised by large donations from Tory supporters with no connection with Scotland that will be counter-productive.

    Some of the more foolish arguments that are raised on the Unionist side will be turned against them:. If they say Scotland is subsidised by England, then the English nationalists in UKIP will hear that message too.

    All the SNP’s opponents in Scotlsand (except the tiny Greens) in the Scottish parliament are in disarray waiting for their new leaders to tell them what they think. Labour are in denial about the scale of their loss in 2011 as well as the causes and stilll as negative as ever.

    Council elections in Glasgow may give an indication of coming catastrophic collapse of Labour.

    The anti campaign may not be co-ordinated. It will be negative and put people off.

    There will be difficulties if English MP’s DM among them are sent to tell Scots what to do. There are divisions between Lab MPs and MSPs. What can the Conservatives do? The Highland LibDems have probems of their own in their constituencies.

    The positive case for independence is not heard, has never been heard. Possibly some of it cannot be spoken about in the hearing of English Conservatives.

    My expectation is that the Unionist campaign will be badly led, badly organised and there will be four or five Underground-type embarassments.

    Is there any chance that Tony Blair gets involved without the SNP having to pay him £200,000?

    That could be the clincher. Talking about how much we need WMD.

  3. CROSSBAT11

    Anyone who lived near Longbridge in the 70s needed no reminding of why Margaret Thatcher was elected to power.

    Anyone who had to run a business in the Kafkaesque world of Brown’s National Plan, and Wilson’s administrations breathed a sigh of relief in 1979.

    I was in both categories.

    As for those “Crown Jewels”-the state owned British Gas?-British Steel Corporation?-British Leyland?

    Complacent management, all-powerful Trades Unions, obsolescent plant ,outdated technology; ; lack of capital investment funds; -all supported by price controls to compensate for their chronic lack of competitiveness at home & overseas.

    Thousands of workers turning out products & services which wouldn’t stand a cat in hell’s chance of surviving today.

    I remember the Morris Ital-it will always evoke the pre-Thatcher era for me.

    The Financial Services Industry ( the Crown Jewels of Gordon Brown’s economy) in UK has lost tens of thousands of jobs recently because they were “producing” nothing of value. I don’t hear screams of protest from you about this .

    That’s what Thatcher had to deal with in the 80’s when she was confronted by the Crown Jewels of her day.

  4. JOHN B DICK

    @ou will live in a permanent Tory failed state with a non-voting impoverished uneducated underclass”

    No

    We have lived in a Labour failed state with a non-voting impoverished uneducated underclass.

    Michael Gove is addressing this appalling legacy-though the uneducated will sadly suffer for it throughout their lives.

  5. @COLIN

    The Morris Ital was released in 1980 – firmly in the Thatcher era. You may be misremembering both Thatcher and pre-Thatcher eras.

  6. The Sheep.

    It was-July 1980. But MT could hardly have done much about it by then.

    It was a continuum from the Austin Allegro ( which I might also have mentioned) -launched in 73.

    The Allegro was voted “the worst British car ever” in 2008-the Ital was second.

    Both wonderful examples of the finest which Red Robbo & Sir Michael Edwards could turn out from their Crown Jewel of a company.

  7. @John B Dick

    Your scenario depends on a vote for independence in 2014. As Amber points out, that is a huge “what if”.

    The irony is that you simultaneously claim that the SNP is to the left of Labour yet declare the SNP’s willingness to deal with Cameron in 2015 if the opportunity presents itself. I’m sure that the Scottish Labour Party will assist you in getting that latter message across.

  8. @COLIN

    No – it was a continuation of the Morris Marina, designed under the Conservatives! It wasn’t built in Longbridge, it was built in Cowley.

    For the “worst british car ever” they sure sold a lot. Lets not forget that however bad they were, the competition wasn’t much better. France, the US, Italy were all producing very very bad cars at the time.

  9. Britain makes lots of good cars today, but not by British firms. Which just goes to show that…

    British workers are the best in the world when led by Japanese managers :smile:

  10. @Colin

    MacMillan was referring to the”family silver” not the “crown jewels” when he criticised the Thatcher government’s mass sell-off of publicly owned industries and assets, and I think he had the public utilities like water, gas, coal, telecommunications and electricity more in mind rather than the tabloid/ music hall joke easy targets that you listed like the steel and car industries.

    Your reference to Longbridge is an interesting one and while your living in close proximity to the plant might have given you some insight into it’s innermost workings, I actually worked for BL Cars during the period that you refer to and was there when it transitioned from public to private ownership in the mid 80s. You may not be surprised to know, therefore, that I have quite a bit of knowledge about what went on during those momentous years. I joined straight from university in 1977 when it was known as British Leyland, later to become Leyland Cars and then BL Cars. It employed 125,000 people throughout the UK, was one of the country’s leading exporters of manufactured goods and, yes, unbelievably, actually made a profit. Not a great profit in relation to turnover, but a profit none the less. It wasn’t the loss-making parasite on the public purse as demonised in the right wing press, nor was it the maker of atrocious cars that nobody wanted to buy; again an image created by our self-loathing tabloid press and right-wing commentariat. Sure, some models were better than others, and parts of the business (eg. Coventry Climax, Leyland Bus and Truck, Alvis) shouldn’t have been stitched together into the conglomerate, but it was a motor company that comprised some of the great names in the British car industry; Jaguar, Triumph, MG, Land Rover, Morris, Austin; private failures saved by public ownership. Do you think Jaguar Land Rover would exist today, or be the success it now is, had BL Cars not absorbed it and injected public money into what were essentially two bankrupt businesses? Even Ted Heath intervened when Rolls Royce neared insolvency in the early 70s and thank God he did.

    You refer to the Morris Ital (a face-lifted Marina and, as Sheep quite rightly says, launched in 1980 not, conveniently for your analysis, in the benighted 70s) but it was a facelift that breathed fresh life into an ageing product without incurring the massive launch costs associated with an entirely new model. You ridicule it, but it was a car that sold quite well, was liked by it’s owners and kept many people at Longbridge in jobs and their families in prosperity. Ditto the Austin Metro, a hugely successful car that morphed into the Rover 100, selling in its hundreds of thousands until killed off by BMW in the late 90s.

    I accept that there were problems with industrial relations, restrictive practices, product quality and outdated designs, but these problems were down as much to poor management as the detail of ownership, and they existed in both the public and private sectors. However, with intense competition coming from Japan and Europe, the British car industry was particularly vulnerable. British Leyand, BMC, Leyland Cars or BL Cars, call it what you like, was a well intentioned, and largely successful, attempt to save what was left of the British car industry in the 1960s, using public money and the economies of scale to keep us manufacturing great car brands that could be sold in their millions both at home and abroad, earning the country money and employing, indirectly, millions of our fellow citizens. It wasn’t a perfect business in many ways, and some may argue that it was a was deeply flawed concept, but I was proud to be part of it during an immensely challenging period for both the car industry and our national economy. We kept the flag flying and the wheels of industry turning. The alternative was a chain of business failures and the disappearance of great car brands, not to mention the probable implosion of the West Midlands economy. These were high stakes with millions of livelihoods at risk; circumstances that don’t lend themselves easily to tabloid defamation and lazy labelling.

  11. @Colin

    You make it sound like Sir Michael Edwards was part of the problem as far as Thatcher was concerned, though in her own words words – “People simply would not understand liquidation of the company at the very moment when its management was standing up to the unions and talking the language of hard commercial commonsense.”

    “Closure would have some awful consequences. But we must never give the impression that it was unthinkable.”

    It could be said that ideological warfare against nationalised industries took precedence over the national interest at this time.

    Meaningful taxpayer’s support was withheld until morale was at an all time low, and a break up could be arranged with profitable parts being sold off.

  12. CROSSBAT 11
    @”I accept that there were problems with industrial relations, restrictive practices, product quality and outdated designs, but these problems were down as much to poor management ”

    I agree.

    “British Industry” was a mess.

    @”You ridicule it”

    I do-with reason. I made the huge mistake of switching part of our fleet to Itals.

    Our sales reps never forgave me .

    BILLYBOB

    You & I will have, I feel sure, fundamentally different views on the pros & cons of State owned Industries.

    :-)

  13. @Colin – I think you might be guilty of over stating your case for an ideaological reason for British Leyland’s decline. A big factor, unmentioned by anyone, was the global movement of manufacturing into developing countries as this sector declined in the west. This is a huge historical shift in global economic structures, and many private sector firms with lower union involvement have also suffered this fate.

    On other matters; Somewhat oddly, I find myself in agreement with John Redwood this morning on the issue of care for the elderly. The Telegraph quotes this from him –

    “Looking at the Dilnot report, which is a very good, detailed report, it had a bit too much on trying to protect the inheritance of the children of the elderly people concerned and not quite enough on what I think is the bigger issue: how we make sure no elderly person is faced with inadequate or inappropriate care,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ”

    Bang on, in my view. Comes back to the issue of taxing incomes of the working age population in order to preserve the wealth of the asset rich non workers. Redwood very neatly encapsulates the ideological incoherence of the Tories on this matter, where they seem much less keen on people standing on their own feet and relying less on the state than in other areas.

    A simple system, where care costs are deducted from estates on death, shared out in a manner similar to Labour’s ‘death tax’ proposal, with the quid pro quo being that everyone is guaranteed good quality care if they need it would seem the most obvious and cost effective solution, and would remove the fear from ageing.

  14. RiN

    @”Which just goes to show that…
    British workers are the best in the world when led by Japanese managers”

    ….and when trades unions are not politically motivated….and when investment in leading edge technology & up todate plant is subject to the criteria of sound business case & is not at the uncertain whim of the UK Government Treasury ,Public Finances constraints, and Government Taxation policy-and decided by civil servants who know nothing about running competitive industries.

    Yes-I can agree on that :-)

  15. phil

    On the contrary, if the SNP contrived to bring down or frustrate the formation of a Labour minority government in 2015, it would probably offer the best opportunity of turning that minority into an outright majority by recovering votes in Scotland.

    After all that was such a successful outcome for Labour in 1979. ;) Be careful of what you wish for. I think though that this time the common Labour attitude that all non-Tories should immediately declare vassalage to them will not necessarily even impress the Scots.

    For what it’s worth I think it will be very difficult for the separatists to win a referendum on Scottish independence. Referendums are inherently conservative, people will vote against change unless they have a good reason otherwise, no matter how many romantic anniversaries are involved.[1]. In addition there are too many ‘known unknowns’, never mind ‘unknown unknowns’ involved for a lot of Scots to want to make a leap in the dark.

    That said, if Scotland does go it alone, one cause will be to get away from Labour’s undemocratic centralism (with the implicit centre being London). The irony is that this tradition seems to be still strongest among Scottish Labour.

    [1] Actually these might work against the SNP, giving rise to the reaction “If they’re going to waste this amount of money when we’re not even a country…” (Translate into the Scots of your choice, probably involving the word ‘pish’)

  16. An interesting look at some Scottish renewable hot air.

    h ttp://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arts-blog/brian_wilson_snp_s_100_renewable_energy_talk_just_hot_air_1_2034141

    His point about a post independence Renewable Obligation income stream from “English” consumers is a nice one. Hadn’t thought of it before.

    I wonder how many more annoying little nooks & crannies there are in the business of separation.

  17. @Roger M

    All that’s relevant about 1979 is that the SNP went from 11 to 2 seats following their decision to pull the plug.

    No one is demanding vasselage here, other than perhaps the person who earlier asked “What price the Danegeld” – not me! All I’m doing is reacting to that comment. If Labour is just short of a majority, the one thing it can’t be seen to do in negotiation with the SNP is to offer any special privileges to Scots, financial or otherwise, at the expense of the rest of the UK.

  18. Colin

    British workers are the best in the world when led by Japanese managers, under a German govt :smile:

    Is that better??

  19. Thinking back to old polls I remember distinctly and clearly that in the week after the Liberal Assembly of September 1973 there was an opinion poll in one of the red tops that was 33/33/33 – it caused quite a stir as it was the first time in living memory that the Libs achieved parity with the major parties in an opinion poll. Yet, I don’t see that result in the data? Perhaps even in those days it was a voodoo poll in that red top? – oh well, plus ca change!

  20. @Colin
    We have lived in a Labour failed state with a non-voting impoverished uneducated underclass.

    Michael Gove is addressing this appalling legacy-though the uneducated will sadly suffer for it throughout their lives.”

    This is partisan stuff of the lowest grade. All it amounts to is Labour is Bad, Tory is Good. No evidence, no debate, no discussion. [And you have admitted more than once your own inability to spell correctly!] Dearie me.

  21. Making predictions regarding Scotland is a dangerous game. Look at where we are now, and find anyone who predicted this.

    In my own mind, when I ponder possible separation, I keep coming back to the fear factor. A huge number of popular votes of all descriptions are won on the basis of fear, with fear of the unknown being a key factor, as @Roger Mexico points out.

    In the current economically straitened times, I’m sure this will be a factor in any referendum, and I’m not wholly clear that the SNP have the necessary answers to assuage such deep and potentially nebulous concerns as would be thrown up in a negative campaign. The SNP previously had the shield of the EU to shelter behind in terms of economic protection, but this is far less of a guarantee for voters now than it was, and will probably increasingly raise more questions than answers in the next few years as the crisis unwinds.

    Of course, @Old Nat and others on here will be insistant that Scots have nothing to fear, and they may be correct, but these are the true believers, not the voters any campaign must win over to be successful.

    I’ve pointed out previously that the ‘Scotland’s Oil’ argument is helpful, but only up to a point. Most of the positive analyses of potential oil revenues are based on a single year of high revenues – most of the time the revenue stream is less than required to prevent economic contraction, and basing their hopes on oil would leave the Scots dangerously exposed to currency and commodity fluctations, as well as other factors like maintenance shut downs, blow outs and the scheduled run down of operations as reseves dwindle. All these factors affect the current UK economy, but the relative influence is far less as the economy is much bigger.

    In short, I don’t believe anyone can argue honestly that independence is not an economic risk. [For balance, continuing in the UK is also a risk, as any plan for an unknown future must surely be]. Where risk becomes dangerous for polling is that it introduces an uncertainty that your opponents can exploit. It would be more difficult for the SNP to promise a better economy under separation that for unionists to implant suggestions of dangers under independance, and I suspect that this will be the key battleground of the campaign.

    Despite what I am insistently told by the nats on here, I personally still maintain that an SNP without Salmond will be a weaker beast than it is today. The effect would be less pronounced than a decade ago, but he is such a dominant character in UK politics it would be churlish of SNP supporters to claim they can carry on unscathed after his departure.

    So in terms of winning a referendum, I still feel the SNP is up against it. I don’t rule anything out by any means, but the problem many nats will be addressing is what their future would be after a failed independence bid. Could Salmond continue after such a rejection, if yes, what happens when he does eventually step down, and how does the SNP deal with the transition to a party of government devoid of their main selling point to the electorate?

  22. phil

    I was merely trying to make the point that even if the SNP pulling the plug on Labour had the same electoral effect now as in 1979 (I don’t think it would), it wouldn’t benefit Labour generally. Actually it didn’t even benefit Labour much in Scotland, the Conservatives got most of the gains there as well. Schadenfreude may be fun, but it doesn’t beat winning.

    I certainly wasn’t accusing you of demanding vassalage, you’re always very even-handed. But you must admit that there was a fair bit of that attitude flying around after the last election at all levels in the Labour Party. Directed mainly against the Lib Dems, but with the assumption that SNP, PC, Greens etc should also pay obeisance.

    You may be right that Labour would have problems making concessions to the SNP in that situation – John B Dick pointed out the dilemma they would be in earlier. Personally I think Labour should be less sensitive about what the Press might say as most of them will give Labour a good kicking whatever they do. Does anyone really think that if David M rather that Ed had been elected there wouldn’t have been the same attacks? Including the ‘funny looking’ one[1] given that for some reason they do look rather similar. But that’s another story.

    [1] I’m referring to the general ad-hominems here rather than the barely hidden “looks Jewish” ones you sometimes find crawling around in places like the comments on Telegraph website.

  23. Tony Dean

    I suspect the poll you are thinking of might have been of the form “If the Liberals had a chance of winning in your area how would you vote” (I vaguely remember some like that in the 70s). As such it wouldn’t have be include in the general run of standard question VI polls. So it might not have been voodoo, just non-standard.

  24. When’s the first New Year poll?

    My money is on 6 point Lab lead.

  25. Tony Dean – it’s feasible given there is a 29.5% from NOP there from Autumn 1973. Data that far back is very patchy (basically only NOP and Gallup can be found, but there were other companies operating at the time whose figures are not so easily located). I think some of those NOP figures are actually monthly averages to, so that 29.5% could actually contain a 33%.

  26. Tony –

    Aha, having had a brief google. I think I’ve found the poll in question (though I think you may be confusing two different ones).

    In Oct 1973 there was an ORC poll that had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 34%, LIB 32%.

    Though an NOP poll from March 1962 (after Orpington) better matches your recollection, with CON 32%, LAB 33%, LIB 33%, as it would have been the first time in living memory (as opposed to the 1973 one, where it was only the first time for 11 years)

  27. @Colin – re the Brian Wilson Scottish renewables point. I do find the idea of who pays the RO (and the Feed in Tariff) an interesting one in the context of separation and I think Brian has a very strong point here.

    Set against that, the retort must be that if Scotland is a net exporter of energy, clearly England would be the biggest beneficiary. If so, it would be reasonable to expect market forces to enable the Scots to increase the price for exports, partly offsetting the potential loss from renewable support payments.

    However, given the scale of these subsidies, I doubt that the additional income would be enough to compensate. Then there is also the issue of the payments already made. In effect, English consumers have already paid a good proportion of these subsidies for Scottish installed renewables, so it would be logical to argue that part of them remains under English ownership, or at least eligible for compensation.

    Incidentally, I know you are not a big fan of subsidies to renewable energy, but I learned this week that there is a squadron of RN minesweepers permanently stationed in Bahrain, with the specific task of ensuring the Straights of Hormuz stay open. Clearly, it’s not a direct subsidy to the oil industry, but I suspect if you add together all the military and Foreign Office costs that are incured in seeking to protect conventional fuel suplies to the UK, my guess is that renewables would appear significantly better value for money than they do at present.

  28. ‘@NICK P
    Do you never tire of predicting 6 point Labour leads,
    Tory disasters and breakthroughs for Miliband ? I suppose its harmless enough, but I think it would be easier to respect the opinions of our Labour posters, if a bit of self doubt crept in.

    We have recently seen, an improvement in Tory fortunes and a lift in Cameron’s personal ratings. The predictions of people of your blood group, were for the complete opposite to happen. And yet, not one of you has had the humility to say, “well we got that wrong”. The same applies to the canonization of Sarkosy and the crucifixion of Cameron. Of all the rubbish talked about the outcome of their little upset a few weeks ago, not one adverse thing has afflicted this country as a result, nor will it. As I said at the time, Sarko will be long gone by this time next year, while Cameron is now stronger than ever.
    Please wake up to reality, living in a dreamland of what you would wish, rather than the way it is, seems childlike.

  29. chou

    it was just a holiday wobble. You wait and see.

    Six points. Probably.

  30. @ John B Dick

    I think what is missing from your separatist analysis is some basic facts: Any referendum held by the SNP is consultative only. So your timescale is not correct unless the Uk government immediately ratifies – which is doubtful unless the SNP is willing to concede every negotiating point!

    I think there may not even be an SNP referendum unless the polling improves significantly or the UK puts a 3rd option on the ballot.

    Assuming the SNP do hold a ballot, the outcome is not immediate independence even if the majority of Scots vote for it; the referendum is to give the Scottish Parliament a mandate to negotiate the terms of separation with the UK government. There will be a 2nd referendum, held by the Holyrood government &/or the UK government to obtain approval for the separation on the negotiated terms.
    8-)

  31. CROSSBAT
    I know we do not see eye to eye about politics, but I do not believe you wish me physical harm. However you should know, that I have fallen out of my Lazeeboy chair with laughter, all due to your description of British Leyland and British Steel as, Jewels in the Crown. This has resulted in a bruised leg.

  32. @ Chouey

    Sarko will be long gone by this time next year…
    ——————————–
    I do hope so. A left of center government in France would be an improvement.
    8-)

  33. @JOHN B DICK

    “you will live in a permanent Tory failed state with a non-voting impoverished uneducated underclass”

    I guess you should know. Having lived in a failed state with poverty and a brutish underclass since the dawn of history. Regarding the Tories, we will take our chances.

  34. I was having a chat down the pub last night (I don’t go often) and the consensus amongst the assorted quaffers was that there is no difference whatsover in what the Coalition is doing and what Labour would do if in power.

    There is no enthusiasm for what’s on offer, but nobody is offering any alternative.

    I don’t think may people buy into the idea of either a Tory or a Labour failed state. They think both parties are the same now.

  35. It is noticeable that Labour have started 2012 with renewed energy after the year end criticism…They complained to the BBC about their coverage,then changed their position on welfare and Milliband has been doing interviews with the Mail…If this and similiar such initiatives in the future do not improve things in the next 6 months,then Ed might find it difificult to ignore the calls to go…I think critics also sense that these are make or break times for Milliband as there is renewed criticism and calls for Yvette Cooper to step in

    NICKP
    If it is indeed a 6 point Labour lead,it will be a bitter blow for the Tories and Cameron,as it shows that their bounce was very short…I think a 1 or 2 point Labour lead is more likely

  36. I have no idea whether there will be a lead at all, and if so, who for.

    Is there a poll due tonight?

  37. I would think there will be a poll tonight, will be interesting.
    RIN:
    I had a Morris Ital. It was yellow.

  38. The Yvette thing is Ed, Ed & Yvette’s way of saying: You are not getting a Blairite. Give up briefing the press about changing the leader, it’s not going to happen this side of the GE.
    8-)

  39. There was a poll yesterday. The Indie/Prof Curtice poll of polls. The Tories lead by 1point. Quite interesting stuff from the Prof. See it on the Indie blog.

  40. @pam f
    When you were out canvassing for your Great Party, with red stickers on a yellow car, you must have looked like a mobile boil.

  41. CHOUENLAI
    The obvious thing I am sure you would agree is the poll of polls is a reflection of the post-veto polls…One wants to see what the trend is in the new year when the veto effect would have started to diminish

  42. @Roger M
    Fair enough. I can accept that some in the Labour camp displayed the attitude you refer to, although FWIW I have always been in the camp that accepted from day one that Labour had no choice but to go into opposition. The antipathy towards the LDs is not that they have sustained a Conservative government, but that they have done so at far too cheap a price and have boxed themselves into an electoral cul-de-sac to boot, such that they no longer have any effective bargaining chips with which to hold back Cameron. Cameron and Clegg both know that, but it’s in neither”s interest to shout about it.

    John referred to the Scottish seats on the current Electoral Calculus, the net changes on which are SNP 36(+30), Lab 22(-19), LD 1(-10), Con 0(-1), leaving Labour slightly short of a majority at Westminster. If the SNP chose to precipitate an election rather than work with a Labour led minority government, all that I am saying is that much of that 19 seat gain from Labour could quickly reverse itself, and that prospect would in turn influence the strength of the bargaining hands any negotiations.

  43. Alec

    “Of course, @Old Nat and others on here will be insistant that Scots have nothing to fear, and they may be correct, but these are the true believers, not the voters any campaign must win over to be successful.”

    I’m not aware of having suggested that there is no risk in independence. As you evenly handed point out, there is also risk in continuing with the current Union(s).

    The “fear” argument has been used against any extension of Scottish autonomy since I first became involved in politics 50 years ago. It worked pretty well up until the 1990s.

    The problem with it is that those opposed to increased autonomy (like Brian Wilson and other constitutional conservatives) predicted dire consequences from the existing devolution settlement. They didn’t happen.

    Polling suggests that a huge majority of Scots want to move towards much greater autonomy (short of full independence), and trust whoever they elect to Holyrood to handle such powers competently. If SLab move their abler politicians to Holyrood instead of Westminster, they might be in with a shout of being the Scottish Government in 2020.

    The question, for those who wish to keep Scotland in the Union, is “What kind of Union do you want?” and “How far are you willing to accommodate the wish of most Scots for greater autonomy?”

    My expectation is Westminster/Whitehall will delay any accommodation until Scots opinion has moved too far for them to keep the Union as it is. A last minute offer of “We’ll set up a Commission” won’t persuade anyone.

    However, W/W can be wily folk, and they may yet surprise us.

  44. @smukesh
    Yes, but will the kick @rse in Europe effect have worn off?
    A number of things went very much Cameron’s way. The majority don’t get off on Europe, the French acted like over grown school girls (again), then had to eat crow. In the meantime Frau Merkel wanted Dave’s babies. All this far out weighs what Guardian reading Europhiles were chattering and blogging about.

  45. CHOUENLAI
    One shall ignore the tinge of exaggeration in your comments while even a famed euro-sceptic as Daniel Hannan says the veto didn`t achieve anything…Cameron got a lot of free publicity over this,which could take some time to wear off but one can but one is sceptical that this alone could turn things on their head in the long run unless followed by other similiar measures

  46. Richard in Norway

    @”British workers are the best in the world when led by Japanese managers, under a German govt
    Is that better??”

    Dunno-what does it mean ?

  47. ROBBIE ALIVE

    @This is partisan stuff of the lowest grade. All it amounts to is Labour is Bad, Tory is Good. No evidence, no debate, no discussion. [And you have admitted more than once your own inability to spell correctly!] Dearie me.”

    You need to address all that to Mr Dick *-to whom I was responding with his own phraseology.

    He provided no evidence & no debate-so I was just putting it in a different light.

    Spelling?-can’t do it -tough if it upsets you.

    *-who , according to Dickens, “puts us all right” :-)

  48. Alec

    @”Incidentally, I know you are not a big fan of subsidies to renewable energy, but I learned this week that there is a squadron of RN minesweepers permanently stationed in Bahrain, with the specific task of ensuring the Straights of Hormuz stay open. Clearly, it’s not a direct subsidy to the oil industry, but I suspect if you add together all the military and Foreign Office costs that are incured in seeking to protect conventional fuel suplies to the UK, my guess is that renewables would appear significantly better value for money than they do at present.”

    NIce try :-)

    Don’t buy it though .

    We have to have a Navy anyway-& they would be doing something somewhere. The sunk cost is………sunk. The marginal cost of the excercise is the relevant bit.

    It isn’t subsidy per se I object to-it is the grossly out of proportion scale of the value of ROC’s for wind power , and the environmental damage they cause, compared with the tiny amount of energy they can extract from a narrow band of wind speeds, and the unpredictably variable nature of the supply.

  49. Chou

    @”I know we do not see eye to eye about politics, but I do not believe you wish me physical harm. However you should know, that I have fallen out of my Lazeeboy chair with laughter, all due to your description of British Leyland and British Steel as, Jewels in the Crown. This has resulted in a bruised leg.”

    :-) :-) :-)

    Remember the Ital & the Allegro Chou?-wonderful cars .

  50. Does this qualifiy as a Voodoo Poll:-

    ht tp://labourlist.org/2012/01/average-at-best-from-miliband-in-2011/

    It seems to indicate that EM could do with a little voodoo himself.

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