Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%. We are perhaps seeing a few more polls with small Labour leads than ones with small Tory ones, but for all intents and purposes the two main parties remain pretty much neck-and-neck.


372 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 39, LAB 40, LDEM 9”

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  1. NickP.Taking on hundreds of thousands of unnecessary public sector workers in the first place,primarily for political and ideological reasons, was the cause of the country’s problems. Many of those involved could now have been usefully employed. As you rightly say – “They never learn” indeed.

  2. @Paul H-J

    You said “…It is a common, but nonetheless lazy and erroneous, assumption that the global sovereign debt crisis was caused by bankers. It was not…”

    That statement does not reflect reality. It went like this. The banks got their sums wrong and were collapsing. They passed the debts up the chain to the only entities that could: the nation-states. The nation-state governments took on those debts and are themselves collapsing. To prevent that, they are passing the debts up the chain to the next stage: the transnational institutions (ECB, IMF). The ultimate payer will be the global taxpayer.

    You then said “…Stephen Hester was charged with bringing RBS back from the brink to a more stable condition. He was the nurse put in to take care of the patient. The diagnosis was high blood pressure due to obesity. The patient has clearly lost weight – but the hospital authorities keeping scaring the patient causing undue stress, and so blood pressure is still high. Nonetheless the nurse has kept the patient alive, and, it it can be allowed the peace and rest it needs, it will be on the road to recovery…”

    The analogy is inaccurate. RBS got its sums wrong. It was bailed out by HMG at the UK taxpayer’s expense. For the patient (RBS) to complain that the authorities (HMG) are scaring him is chutzpah.

    You then said “…Unless the government allows banks to get on with their proper role in the economy, business cannot regain confidence, invest, and create the jobs the country needs…”

    Governments are not preventing banks from functioning. Goverment gave trillions in the form of QE and bailouts to the banks and will be taking the money from taxpayers for decades to come.

    You then said “…Attacking the people who provide the resources for welath creators…”

    We did not attack the bankers. We gave them trillions. Bankers did not provide resources in 2007/8. Bankers destroyed resources in 2007/8 in their trillions.

    Regards, Martyn

  3. @Paul H J – “The clue is that it is a crisis relating to SOVEREIGN debt.It was not. ”

    A neat, but ultimately futile attempt to re write history. While I would agree with you that to blame the bankers in entirety would be wrong, you are laughably off the mark if you think this was created purely by sovereign debt issues.

    Uncontrolled lending by the banks is the reason we are in this mess, with banks being unwilling to accept this as the root cause being one of the reasons why we can’t get out of the mess. [Please note – ‘uncontrolled lending’ has implications of blame on those who did the lending, those who did the borrowing, and those who were watching over the system]. They have been beating the drum that it’s state spending that is the issue, while insisting that they be allowed to continue as before.

    Like you, everyone has settled on the wrong cause, and that is why the cure isn’t actually working.

  4. @Ken

    You said “…Stephen Hester will be everyone’s favorite banker when he hands over a thriving institution to his successor…”

    I am reminded of Branson’s(?) maxim that it’s easy to make a million from an airline: just start with a billion. Given the amount of money that has been lost at RBS, it’ll be easy to produce a working institution. But not one that will ever come close to paying back the money it consumed.

    If you gave me hundreds of billions, I could produce a bank worth tens of millions too… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  5. ALEC…………..When you have political leaders insisting that there will be no return to boom and bust, it’s no small wonder that everyone joined in the rush to take advantage of infinite growth. Human nature. :-)

  6. MARTYN………..Stephen Hester’s job is to manage the bank back to safety, a job he is currently doing successfully, seems reasonable to give him time to complete the task.

  7. @Ken

    Your point is valid. Unfortunately for us all, so was mine… :-(

    Regards, Martyn

  8. MARTYN…………. You’ll turn hundreds of billions into tens of millions……. you’re obviously a graduate of the Gordon Brown school of economics. :-)

  9. Stephen Hester is doing a good job…So are millions of public sector workers…They are getting a pay freeze,probably into 2015…With the economic gloom,the enormity of the bonus doesn`t sound right

    It didn`t sound right when Brown was PM and it doesn`t sound right when Cameron is PM

  10. @ Billy Bob

    “Salvador de Madariaga characterised the English as people of action, the French as people of thought, and the Spanish as people of passion.

    He made any number observations:
    “The three most intelligent nations of Europe are the French, the Germans and the Italians… The three maddest nations of Europe, England, Spain and Russia.”

    One of his therories was that most Europeans generally feel some degree of inferiority when contemplating French culture.”

    Interesting. I’m not sure I agree. I’ve seen that a bit in a few nationalities but I think it overstereotypes and overgeneralizes. I think you can like French culture without feeling inferior to the French (as I do). I wonder what this guy thought about Americans.

  11. SOCALLIBERAL

    I saw last night`s debate highlights on CNN…Mitt Romney was really strong and on the basis of that performance,I think he can give Obama a run for his money…What do you think?

  12. @Ken

    Lol!

    @Smukesh

    Amen.

    Regards, Martyn

  13. @ Martyn

    “That statement does not reflect reality. It went like this. The banks got their sums wrong and were collapsing. They passed the debts up the chain to the only entities that could: the nation-states. The nation-state governments took on those debts and are themselves collapsing. To prevent that, they are passing the debts up the chain to the next stage: the transnational institutions (ECB, IMF). The ultimate payer will be the global taxpayer.”

    Thank you for clearing that up. :)

    @ Alec

    “A neat, but ultimately futile attempt to re write history. While I would agree with you that to blame the bankers in entirety would be wrong, you are laughably off the mark if you think this was created purely by sovereign debt issues.

    Uncontrolled lending by the banks is the reason we are in this mess, with banks being unwilling to accept this as the root cause being one of the reasons why we can’t get out of the mess. [Please note – ‘uncontrolled lending’ has implications of blame on those who did the lending, those who did the borrowing, and those who were watching over the system]. They have been beating the drum that it’s state spending that is the issue, while insisting that they be allowed to continue as before.”

    Thank you as well for bringing this up. I don’t place as much blame on those who did the borrowing. When people are enticed with the prospect of a brand new shiny home and are told by banks that they qualify and given loans that they can initially pay, I can’t find that much fault with them. Finance is extremely complicated.

  14. @Smukesh

    The point here is that the Tories lied about the fact they could not intervene for UKFI to veto the bonus. They initially said the framework agreed to by Labour when agreeing to purchase 83% of RBS provided that UKFI had to sign off on anyrenumeration agreed by the RBS Board. This was poppycock, as confirmed by Lord Myners, who negotiated tge deal with RBS Of course they had the right as 83% shareholder to veto the deal (or otherwise refuse to.approve it) at a general meeting.

    So now the Tories have disingenuosly argued that they COULD HAVE stopped the bonus but could only do so if they nationalised the bank. Another lie. pay deals can be voted down by shareholders. It’s as simple as that.

    I can’t believe the Tories have so completely messed this up. It’s not DC’s way.

  15. I think it’s amusing the way Blues on this site are so keen to
    stick up for Stephen Hester and his wretched bonus. Why do you think the rich are in need of your support and sustenance?

    Do any of you honestly think the mega rich would lift a little finger to protect your income or savings?
    Get real!
    8-)

  16. SOCALIBERAL………If you really want to source the banking breakdown, check out Jimmy Carter’s 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, (CRA ) gold plated by Bill Clinton. Democratic social engineering at its finest. :-)

  17. @SoCalLiberal

    I think Salvador de Madariaga had a lot of fun with national sterotypes… his role in the League of Nations, as a diplomat, and long time exile made him quite an acute and humourous observer.

    He wrote extensively on the Spanish-American empire, but I did find this… make of it what you will ;) :

    “First, the sweetheart of the nation, then her aunt, woman governs American because America is a land where boys refuse to grow up.”

  18. RAF
    ` So now the Tories have disingenuosly argued that they COULD HAVE stopped the bonus but could only do so if they nationalised the bank. Another lie. pay deals can be voted down by shareholders. It’s as simple as that.
    I can’t believe the Tories have so completely messed this up. It’s not DC’s way.`

    Ofcourse they are lying…The Independent ran a story a few days ago regarding how the government`s claim that Labour was to blame for being unable to stop the bonus was false and they are still carrying on with the same claim.

    As recently as last Thursday,Cameron after his speech on moral capitalism said he expected the bonus to be a lot less.Also Sayeeda Warsi on the same day on Question Time said Mr.Hester shouldn`t get a big bonus.And when David Dimbleby asked her about the news that he is likely to get a big bonus replied `We shall see`.Clearly something has gone wrong.

    They should learn from the Bombardier debacle that trying to blame Labour for their own failures doesn`t always work

  19. VALERIE…………Stephen Hester is not mega-rich, get real ! :-)

  20. Paul HJ

    You said

    ” Banks are required to mark to market their assets”

    If that were true then most if not all banks would be insolvent, the rules were changed in 07/08 to allow banks to hold assets to maturity at face value

  21. “Stephen Hester is not mega-rich, get real”
    Given that to be in the top 1% you have to have an income of over about 150k (2007 figures is the latest HMRC has), getting a £1million salary with £1 million bonus puts him well within the category of the top earners.
    How rich do you have to be to be mega-rich?

  22. TINGEDFRINGE……….Comparisons are odious, but I’ll have a go, billionaires are mega-rich……..compared with Bill Gates, Stephen Hester is a simple salaryman. :-)

  23. @ Smukesh

    “I saw last night`s debate highlights on CNN…Mitt Romney was really strong and on the basis of that performance,I think he can give Obama a run for his money…What do you think?”

    I didn’t watch the debate. Had more important things to do as usual. I heard Romney was strong but it’s relative. He had some major stumbles in the debate that I saw in the analysis of it. When you say that you don’t know what’s in an attack ad running against an opponent. He was exposed as outright lying on several occasions (things he wouldn’t get away with in a general election debate). What really hurt him too is the defense of healthcare reform in Massachusetts. His argument, let’s be honest, really doesn’t carry much weight beyond a bunch of constitutional law scholars (and that’s a big if…because they would understand but it probably wouldn’t mean much).

    Romney actually prepared for the debates unlike the others. But that doesn’t make him a good debator.

  24. SOCALLIBERAL
    `Romney actually prepared for the debates unlike the others. But that doesn’t make him a good debator.`

    Parts of the debate which I saw made him look good…He showed some emotion which was good to see…He certainly neutralised Newt very well…He knew Newt was his competitor,so used it to confront him while ignoring the other two.

  25. @ Ken

    “If you really want to source the banking breakdown, check out Jimmy Carter’s 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, (CRA ) gold plated by Bill Clinton. Democratic social engineering at its finest.”

    Again, what are you talking about? You say things sometimes that make my head spin.

    Redlining is something that many of you Brits may not be familiar with but it’s a racist practice and caused great harm to communities nationwide. The CRA, has helped rejuvenate run down communities and helped promote economic and business growth for decades. It has also allowed millions of people to become homeowners for the first time regardless of their skin color. It is not social engineering and it passed with bipartisan support and continues to retain bipartisan support. However, if enacting laws that prohibit and combat racist practices is “Democratic social engineering,” then count me in as a proud supporter of “Democratic social engineering.”

  26. SOCALIBERAL……….Identifying areas of high risk to lenders, has nothing to do with race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, defining risk is part of a bankers job, take that away, as Carter did, and you get chaos.
    The sub-prime market is what you are talking about…….it’s obviously a question of interpretation.

  27. SoCalLiberal @ Richard in Norway

    “I watched your heartthrob, Elizabeth Warren, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show tonight. What I worry about with her candidacy ……..”

    Is that she might end up like Gabrielle Giffords or worse.

  28. @ Smukesh

    “Parts of the debate which I saw made him look good…He showed some emotion which was good to see…He certainly neutralised Newt very well…He knew Newt was his competitor,so used it to confront him while ignoring the other two.”

    I don’t think showing emotion makes him a better debator. I don’t think that’s his problem with the electorate is that he is the embodiment of corporate America that people resent and strongly dislike. Simply showing more passion isn’t going to help him.

    What works in a primary isn’t what neccessarily works in a general. The same is true of Gingrich. Race baiting and attacking the moderator and making nasty statements about others is not going to help him with the general electorate.

  29. @ Valerie

    Why do you think the rich are in need of your support and sustenance?

    Do any of you honestly think the mega rich would lift a little finger to protect your income or savings?
    ————————————————-
    You are absolutely correct; I find this utterly baffling.

    And Hester in particular, saving money by laying people off is hardly rocket science.
    8-)

  30. @ John B Dick

    “Is that she might end up like Gabrielle Giffords or worse.”

    That’s just a tragedy. Thank god she survived and thank god she’s getting better and improving in her health. She says that she will return and I believe her. This is someone who has always been hardworking and determined. I think she will recover and she will return to politics. I hope it’s sooner rather than later.

    Of all the people in Congress, Giffords is the last person you would ever think of as the target of an assasination attempt. She is this lovely, friendly, perky, moderate, centrist who had this sweet, almost girlish voice. When she won her seat in 06′, on election night her predecessor (who was a Republican and who had not endorsed her) showed up at her election night headquarters, went up on stage, and gave her a hug. That shows you what kind of person she is. And as a Congresswoman, she had been a workhorse, not a showhorse. Just the LAST person you would think of as being a target.

    I remember talking to a Democratic State Senator from Arizona about her in December 2010 (right before she was nearly killed). He was singing her praises not just as someone who had won reelection in a tough year when everyone else had been swept out of office but as someone who was truly “a good person.”

    I don’t fear Warren being the target of an assasination attempt. The teabaggers have not been violent (nor have the birthers) because even though they’re borderline psychotic, they have an outlet for their views and political stances. They engage in violent rhetoric and sometimes violent political expression but not in actual targeted violence against politicians and others. The guy who shot Giffords was not a teabagger, not even a Republican. He’s an independent who didn’t even vote in the last few elections and developed a personal obsession with Giffords. He’s too mentally ill right now to even stand trial.

  31. @ Valerie

    “Do any of you honestly think the mega rich would lift a little finger to protect your income or savings?
    Get real!”

    Not too many. There are a few I’m sure. Most of the mega-rich I’ve met care about themselves and maybe some pet issues.

    @ Amber Star

    “You are absolutely correct; I find this utterly baffling.

    And Hester in particular, saving money by laying people off is hardly rocket science.”

    I had to look up this Stephen Hester guy cause’ I hadn’t heard of him before. Corporate pay is out of whack. I think that people are entitled to make lots of money and live in the lap of luxury if they so choose (I know some mega rich people who live like quasi-hippies and forgo the luxurious lifestyle). But I don’t think it’s right that people get massive bonuses when their companies have dramatic losses and do poorly. What are they getting their bonus for? And laying off people and using what you save in salary in order to give yourself a bonus…..that is just grotesque. Absolutely grotesque.

    I don’t want overregulation of businesses by the government. But if you lay off workers and you would otherwise be profitable, you should be required to reinvest 100% of that money back into your company. Any of that money that is used for executive pay should be taxed at 100%.

  32. @ Ken

    “Identifying areas of high risk to lenders, has nothing to do with race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, defining risk is part of a bankers job, take that away, as Carter did, and you get chaos.”

    That is absolute bullsh*t. Your ignorance as to the history of racial discrimination (let alone gender discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination) in the United States and the systemic discriminatory practices engaged in by the finance and real estate industries is astounding. I suggest that you either educate yourself or you refrain from criticizing federal U.S. laws that prohibit discrimination and combat discriminatory practices.

  33. Re: Stephen Hester
    Apparently his bonus this year is half what it was last year. And I would also like to know what the CEOs of other banks earn. Here’s a link that sheds some light:

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/22/bob-diamond-pay-deals-complexity

    Also, fo Socal’s benefit, this man was brought in after the collapse and was given the task of rebuilding the bank, and is apparently being succesful.

    I hold no special brief for bankers, but I think we should be fair.

  34. @Ken
    “TINGEDFRINGE……….Comparisons are odious, but I’ll have a go, billionaires are mega-rich……..compared with Bill Gates, Stephen Hester is a simple salaryman. ”

    Set against the Bill Gates giga-rich bar, who isn’t?

    Nonetheless, on your “billionaire” criteria , taking Hester’s potential to accumulate wealth at the rate of £2m+ a year, he’ll fall short of the billionaire tag by a single power of 10 over a lifetime. So yes, just a simple salaryman.

    But with an annual income some 90 times (ish) UK median earnings, ask your typical YouGov panellist to describe that income in qualitative terms, and you’ll quickly be into f***ing this and f***ing that territory, I guess.

  35. @ Pete B

    “Also, fo Socal’s benefit, this man was brought in after the collapse and was given the task of rebuilding the bank, and is apparently being succesful.

    I hold no special brief for bankers, but I think we should be fair.”

    I think there’s a certain balance involved. If he’s running a state owned bank, I think people should question his high salary and high luxury lifestyle. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize that. There’s a certain level of discretion and sensitivity involved. Of course, if he owned all those nice properties before he was put into the position he was, then I don’t think it’s fair game.

    Frankly, I think people often get a little too up in arms over rather small expenditures in the scheme of things.

  36. @ SoCaL

    I’d be all in favor of protectionism but protectionism has been shown not to work.
    ——————————————-
    When, how & by whom? Just asking……
    8-)

  37. @ SoCaL

    I don’t think banning trading on derivatives is a good idea. A tax on financial transactions I oppose. I mean, that sort of tax doesn’t do anything to stop the banksters and the Romney types. It just punishes the middle class and working class who own stock (though I’ve heard of proposals for such a tax where the tax only kicks in after a certain high number of transactions).
    ———————————————
    It’s to discourage ‘churning’, short-selling & playing the markets with regard to currency.

    Middle & working class people who own stock don’t do that sort of thing. Nor is it done on their behalf. They suffer from the consequences, they do not reap much, if any, of the ‘rewards’.
    8-)

  38. Good Morning, as is so often the case I wake at 2.10 am!

    MEGA RICH: who are they?

    As I write here I am mindful that millions of children will die in the next seven days owing to bad water and lack of food. In our own country many children are living on food handouts from churches and other voluntary groups.

    Therefore I and my wife/four children are mega rich- especially relative to the starving and malnourished.

    As to the context of western liberal capitalist democracy like the UK, I am surprised that men like Mr Hester are not regarded as mega rich by people on UKPR. I notice the paper founded in Manchester is saying he should keep the bonus.

  39. @ Amber Star

    “It’s to discourage ‘churning’, short-selling & playing the markets with regard to currency.

    Middle & working class people who own stock don’t do that sort of thing. Nor is it done on their behalf. They suffer from the consequences, they do not reap much, if any, of the ‘rewards’.”

    I agree with your premise but any financial transaction tax has to be limited to those who are doing the churning.

    “When, how & by whom? Just asking……”

    We tried protectionist trade policies in the 70’s and 80’s to protect the American auto industry and a couple of other manufacturing industries and that ultimately didn’t protect jobs from being shipped overseas and from those companies declining.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the Smoot-Hawley Act (it’s an extreme example) which greatly excaberbated the Great Depression by throwing up trade barriers.

  40. @ SoCaL

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the Smoot-Hawley Act (it’s an extreme example) which greatly excaberbated the Great Depression by throwing up trade barriers.
    ———————————-
    I’m Krugman – but more so – on Smoot-Hawley. I don’t believe it caused the depression; & I go further than Krugman, I believe that ordinary American’s would have suffered even more following the 1930’s crash without it than they did with it.

    Blaming Smoot-Hawley was a similar tactic to that which the open market fanatics are using now: Scapegoat government for a problem which was caused by the banks.
    8-)

  41. @ SoCaL

    We tried protectionist trade policies in the 70?s and 80?s to protect the American auto industry and a couple of other manufacturing industries and that ultimately didn’t protect jobs from being shipped overseas and from those companies declining.
    ——————————————–
    And yet the bail out of the auto industry this time – which is a form of protectionism – has been quite a success, from what I hear.

    The last time around (70’s & 80’s) it didn’t work out so well: Partly the energy crisis, partly bad management, partly vindictiveness towards unionised labor, partly the workers response to that attitude etc.
    8-)

  42. @Amberstar

    I seem to recall that the Corn Laws weren’t our proudest moment. And slightly further back the Tea Act (1773) caused a bit of a kerfuffle that SoCalLiberal could remind us about (and indirectly spawned an odious political sect)…

    Of course the irony is that we were keen to enforce free trade on others, hence the first, second and third Opium wars. Dang those Chinese for trying to ban our good old fashioned British drugs…

  43. MARTYN

    @”The analogy is inaccurate. RBS got its sums wrong. It was bailed out by HMG at the UK taxpayer’s expense. For the patient (RBS) to complain that the authorities (HMG) are scaring him is chutzpah.”

    You need to distinguish between the patient (RBS) -& the Doctor ( Hester)

    We need the patient to recover or it will occupy this bed forever.

  44. AMBER STAR

    @”And Hester in particular, saving money by laying people off is hardly rocket science.”

    What a ridiculous comment-sorting out the monstrous mountain of disparate companies & debt which Goodwin built to the cheers of Brown & Salmond is “hardly rocket science”.

  45. “Do any of you honestly think the mega rich would lift a little finger to protect your income or savings?”
    Also – for the sake of balance, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates both would. They’ve both called for higher taxes to deal with deficit problems.
    And they are two people who definitely cannot be accused of jealousy of the mega-rich. ;)

  46. “The prime minister has abandoned his pledge to block the eurozone from using common EU institutions to police a new regime of fiscal integration and stiff German-style rules for the embattled single currency.”
    Interesting given he signalled that he’d block it. Given that he’s in his full stand-up-to-Europe mode, I wonder what concessions he got for the UK as part of the agreement.
    Opt out of the financial transactions tax?
    I guess we’ll have to wait for the treaty to see.

  47. @ COLIN

    RBS were basically a small bank who thought that they could takeover the world, following the takeover of NatWest in 2001.

    They were buying so many assets with borrowed money, it was absolutely ridiculous. Buying ABN Amro was the nail in the coffin, as they did not carry out sufficient due diligence. ABN Amro also had loads of dodgy assets.

    In regard to Hestor and the current RBS situation, he is trying to sort out the mess left by Goodwin. I am not sure whether he doing a good job or not, as I don’t know what his performance targets were and what results were achieved against these.

    In regard to investment banking and the various issues, yes I think that the way the markets work, should be subject to a worldwide review. I am not sure capitalism works, if it involves very high risk (gambling) activity, which are not in the interests of the majority of people.

  48. SOCALIBERAL………….I’ll put your ludicrous comments down to your youth and inexperience. :-)

  49. To me, all executive pay looks completely bonkers. I am sure the government would have preferred Hester’s bonus to be lower, or to be waived. The £1m bonus that has been declared is certainly an Achilles’ Heel for the Coalition and there is some scope for Labour to shift the agenda, regain their poll lead and protect Ed M’s position for a while.

    All I would say in defence of the government is that there are procedures and processes for determining these things, and whilst I don’t pretend to understand them, I don’t think it’s quite so simple as “the government owns the bank so the government gets to veto the bonus”. I imagine there would be a degree of litigation involved, and other disruptions to the management of the bank which might in the long run amount to a bit more than £1m.

    Perhaps if Ed M were PM he might veto the bonus (I am not at all sure he would, though, and we’ll never know). I suspect that if he did it might turn into one of those slow-motion own-goals that governments sometimes score (although Labour don’t really have to worry about that, because again we’ll never know).

  50. I am not so sure that the Hester bonus situation is quite the big problem for the coalition as it first appears. It seems the bonus formula arrangement was made during Labour’s recent time in office. This shows we’re not at the point where everything can be blamed (fairly or not) on the current government.

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