Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, a one point Conservative lead. This follows yesterday’s poll which had a four point Labour lead. The two main parties still appear to be pretty much neck-and-neck in YouGov’s daily polling, but the fact that we’re getting slightly more Labour leads than Tory ones, and slightly bigger Labour leads than Tory ones, suggests that the underlying position is probably a small Labour lead – perhaps a point or so.


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

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  1. Peter Cairns is quite right about the euro and the illusion of devaluation. Incidentally, I think the Prime Minister’s latest swerve against the euro (the Davos speech and continuing possible obstruction over the new treaty) may have a lot to do with Scotland. A credible euro makes Scottish independence more plausible, whereas continuing to be able to present the difficulties of the UK economy as due to the eurozone crisis helps the Conservative poll position.

  2. Anthony

    I’m hoping for gun-fights at least (what better way to demonstrate your commitment to the Second Amendment?).

  3. Roger Mexico,

    “I’m hoping for gun-fights at least !”

    You’ll be lucky to get a bun fight…

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  4. @Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)
    @R HUCKLE,

    “They need to convert back to their own currencies, so they can devalue their currencies and have fiscal control.”

    In a way you are both right.

    The problem with the PIGSC (C is for Cyprus) is that they were never ready economically for conversion to the Euro. Their whole economic infrastructures and concepts were not in line with that of the Euro powerhouses especially Germany. In addition they all too often converted their individual currencies at far too high a rate. The original intention was for countries to let their currencies float against the Euro to find a ‘natural’ conversion rate. This rate was to be worked out three years before conversion when countries then had to show that WITHOUT intervention/support that the rate was stable. Initially it would be within a wide margin 3% – 6% and then in the last few moths stable within a much narrower margin. That just did not happen. Countries set their own conversion rate and then financially manipulated the markets by supporting that ‘fixed’ rate to stay within the margins. As a result when conversion came the selected rate was basically unsustainable. Add to that the differences of fiscal control and fiscal attitude, throw in that countries basically lied about their economic stats. So where to go now!

    It is like being in a race with some competitors much weaker than the front runners. Soon the weak will fall behind. There is absolutely no point in pretending the weaker ones will ever catch up by threatening them or yelling encouragement. The only way for them to catch up is for the stronger ones to slow down! Then once they have caught up, for the new pace of the race to be that of the WEAKEST, not resume being the pace of the strongest, otherwise they will drop behind yet again and again.

    There is no sign that Germany especially is prepared to slow down, let alone accept that its future economic pace will be dictated by the weaker countries. Thus weaker ones will continually fall behind. No amount of austerity measures will enable them to catch up, no amount of fiscal control, no amount of personal suffering by the weaker nations. The only way to break the inevitable cycle is for the weaker nations is to drop out of that particular race. To then retrain towards eventually what is the best speed they can reasonably obtain. They might even improve sufficiently to eventually feel they can re-enter the main race again, but I doubt it.

    Yes, it is going to be pretty horrid to leave the Euro, but in the longer term for that particular nation it is probably the only viable alternative for that countries people. Yes, it is going to cause problems for other nations to whom debts are owed. Solely from the point of view of the weaker countries – so what! Their priority must be the welfare of their own people, not the welfare of other countries’ investors. It is not about a reluctance to ‘give the centre power to intervene’, it is just that the central power has a different economic priority for such an intervention. It wants to protect its own economic strength, economic cycles and the financial institutions of the stronger countries, at whatever cost to individuals or institutions in that weaker country.

    Perhaps in the longer term the weaker members will be able to join in a weaker currency as a Euro 2nd Dicion, but they are not up to the Euro 1st Division or Premier League.

  5. @Anne Miles

    Aye I think new specs might be in order for me. Or maybe a magnifying glass! 8-)

  6. @FrankG

    Good post. I think you summed up the situation facing the weaker countries in the Euro really well and in language a lay person can understand. Thanks 8-)

  7. SoCalLiberal

    Keith Moon was the highly eccentric drummer of The Who

  8. @FrankG

    But didn’t the German economy decrease by 0.2 % in the last Q. How does that equate with “powering ahead”? 8-)

  9. @ Frank G

    I don’t think it’s partisan to comment on an intraparty war. (Do Brits have a different usage of the term “partisan” than Americans do?)

    All of these candidates would make horrible presidents and are personally detestable so I really don’t care who wins. I just make an observation. It seems to me if you won’t count valid vote results for specious reasons, there’s probably a real reason for doing so.

  10. @ Jim Jam

    “from over here it all looks good for Obama unless a late Electable compromise candidate emerges at or prior to the Republican convenmtion. Either Obama will face a deeply flawed Romney (who is also quite right wing by hisotical standards) or a very right wing candidate with little appeal to the middle ground.
    Paul seems to be more complex with his isolationist stance no doubt having some cross appeal but still too right wing socially.”

    If the election were being held next week, I’d feel very good about Obama’s chances. There’s a long time though before the election and I don’t think anything could be taken for granted. What will determine his reelection, continued high job growth, is pretty much out of his hands.

    In terms of a brokered convention candidate, I don’t think it’s an option. That candidate would only have a few months to introduce himself to the American public. They’d have to raise a huge amount of money in a very short period of time. Plus, the hardcore supporters of the candidates who ran on primary and caucus ballots would be extremely unhappy. So I’m not sure there’s a waiting white knight for them.

  11. @ Roger Mexico

    “I’m hoping for gun-fights at least (what better way to demonstrate your commitment to the Second Amendment?).”

    Lol.

    That reminds me, I find it outrageous and scary when any politician talks about “Second Amendment Remedies”. But didn’t a small handful of militant Labour candidates say similar things at points in the 1980’s?

  12. FRANK G,

    I don’t really accept the strong needs to slow down argument. If its a race then it’s a team event and it’s team performance that matters.

    Some players may be better than others but I think your chances of winning are a lot less if you are playing with eight men than eleven even if three are duff.

    I can’t accept the idea that countries currently struggling are permanently structurally deficient and will never catch up. If that were true then the current state of and the prospects for the Turkish economy would be the same as Greece’s.

    Countries can transform themselves and if they are to prosper in the long term they must. The question is how best to do that starting from where they are now.

    I have no problem with your discription of the litany of the mistakes that have been made in the past, but it’s the future that we need to face and how we do it that matters.

    Do we keep playing as a team and try to improve together or do we get rid of the weaker players.

    If I see a problem with cutting the weak free is is that they may leave the Euro but they won’t leave Europe. Even if they left the EU, Spain would still border France, we can change treaties but not geography.

    In a way it mirrors in part the Independence debate. Scotland would be free to make more of its own decisions, but we’d still share the same Island and our fates would always be linked.

    I’d still warn Greece, that the easy way out now, would almost certainly lead to a longer harder road ahead.

    Cllr Peter Cairns ( SNP).

  13. @StatGeek

    Yes, I said “boards” when I should have said “threads”/”posts”. My bad. As for the rest of your response: fair point well made: I should have thought before I spoke.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_absolute_deviation

    Regards, Martyn

  14. @StatGeek

    Yes, I said “boards” when I should have said “threads”/”posts”. My bad. As for the rest of your response: fair point well made: I should have thought before I spoke.

    Regards, Martyn

  15. @R Huckle

    You said “…By keeping them [Greece and Portugal] in the single currency, this could arguably cause the whole EZ to collapse…”

    There is a commonly-held belief that Greece is in the Eurozone involuntarily and is prevented from re-establishing its own currency by the Germans. There is no actual mechanism for Eurozone exit (it’s supposed to be impossible…whoops… :-) ) but it is difficult to prevent Greece from recreating the drachma and making it the sole legal tender in Greece, and it is impossible to prevent Greece from recreating the drachma and making it legal tender alongside the Euro. It’s not a case of Greece being kept in the Euro against its will: quite the reverse, in fact. Interpretations of Greece’s undead status need to take that into account.

    Regards, Martyn

  16. @ Crossbat11

    Thank you for that education. I like the Who. I remember I once saw a musical featuring all the songs by the Who.

    @ Rob Sheffield

    “I could not agree more.

    It is interesting to note that faux news (whose presenters and ‘analysts’ have been split down the middle the last months between Mitt-is-only-one-to-beat-Obama camp and we-need-conservative-purity camp) have begun noticeably in just the last week to talk up a brokered convention and Christie/ Rubio floor-nomination etc.

    The way the GOP nomination race has unfurled- combined with recent economic data- makes a GOP win with the current nomination candidates very unlikely IMO.

    But a late entrance from the populist straight shooter Christie or the telegenic and Latin vote securing Rubio could completely turn the race upside down”

    The problem for a late entrant is that they have to raise a huge amount of money in a very small period of time and they have to introduce themselves to the public in a very small amount of time. That’s going to be difficult to do.

    I’m not sure Rubio secures Latino votes. I think Chris Christie would turn off a lot of voters.

    Faux News is starting to realize that Romney has some serious electoral liabilities and as a result, they’re starting to like him less. They’re only willing to make a deal with the devil if they think they’re actually going to win.

    Btw, how do you stomach watching Faux News? I can’t do it myself.

  17. SoCal

    “Btw, how do you stomach watching Faux News? I can’t do it myself”

    I find it fascinating.

    How they are able to get away with defining themselves as fair and balanced: the panels where one inarticulate democrat is up against 2-3 conservative republicans AND the host; the morning show with the mini skirted conservative Christian chick sits in between two drippy-preppy guys and where almost every story is ‘yet another reason why Obama is failing’; ‘the country is going communist’; ‘we are doomed unless we can elect a republican president’; ‘the USA is exceptional’; ’the poor in the USA are not really poor-t hey should try being poor in Zimbabwe’ etc etc all with furrowed brow and straight face. Hysterical.

    Simply fascinating: makes Murdoch’s Sky News seem very balanced by comparison.

    Though I guess if FN was actually commenting on UK events/ was a UK channel I would feel the same as you do.

    But as it’s a USA channel it is more of an academic exercise.

    I’d love to be able to watch MSNBC as the other extreme- but the only other option I have USA-wise is CNN (and that is the international version which only covers/ uses about 30% of the CNN USA output).

    **
    I think Christie sows up the blue collar and independent vote = that with the libertarian ,conservative and mainstream GOP vote “is an election” as the phrase goes IMHO…just.

    Rubio- well yes it depends on whether he can get Latino blocks who would normally vote democrat (so non Florida Cubans and some other lineages) but cannot resist the notion of the first Latino president.

  18. Ref analysis of recent U/G polls. Taking the reports listed over the previous four weeks, 19th Jan to 14th Feb ie 13 reports in total. The average for Conservative is 39.46, Labour 39.30, L/D 9.76. I am not sure of the statistical correctness of this but it does show a very slight conservative lead, rather than your perceived or estimated Labour lead of one point or so ????.

  19. @ SoCalLiberal

    “I just make an observation. It seems to me if you won’t count valid vote results for specious reasons, there’s probably a real reason for doing so.”

    There you have spotted the crux of where your argument fails: namely: VALID vote results. The votes to which you refer were due to be submitted after the close of polls; not due even to be taken, let alone counted until well after the ‘final result was published; some are even not due to be taken still for nearly a month’s time. They are therefore INVALID votes.

    The fact that they are votes is immaterial. The close of polling time was very well known and was deliberately defied by a very small number of the precincts. My previous post makes it clear that there was ample opportunity for most, if not all to vote within the polling period. It is immoral to count ‘alleged’ votes submitted after the end of the voting period, otherwise it makes a mockery of a ‘close of polling’ time and elections would drag on…… and on….. and on. Imagine the complaints if Paul had won on the night, but ‘late’ submissions of votes meant that Romney could in fact end up with more votes. Laws and rules are meant to govern elections not sentiment.

    “I don’t think it’s partisan to comment on an intraparty war”.

    If you actually believed the above protestation, why did you comment in the first place?

  20. @ Valerie

    ‘But didn’t the German economy decrease by 0.2 % in the last Q. How does that equate with “powering ahead”?’

    And by how much did the Greek, Irish, Spanish, Cypriot and Italian economies shrink by? In comparison to them German is certainly “powering ahead”. Every % that GDP Germany exceeds the weaker nations means just that bit more that the weaker nations have to catch up. You have illustrated my point exactly. Unless Germany slows down so the weaker nations can close the gap, then there is no chance of achieving the economic convergence which was meant to take place before the weaker countries converted to the Euro in the first place.

  21. Peter Cairns

    @” that the easy way out now, would almost certainly lead to a longer harder road ahead.”

    It wouldn’t be easy-the Greek PM had to write a description of the effects of uncontrolled default for his colleagues, in order to get them to vote the austerity package through.

    It would be terrible for Greeks.

    But then, so will years & years of trying to balance the Greek Budget & pay back IMF loans.

    At the moment it looks like EZ finance ministers simply don’t believe that Greece will achieve the latter-or even try to do so-and throwing good money after bad is not a good thing to do.

    After all-either way, holders of existing Greek Debt are going to take a loss-so its just a case of deciding whether the IMF/EZ really wants to do it all over again with more money.

  22. FRANKG

    @” economic convergence ”

    Of all the misconceived ideas about the Euro-that was probably the worst.

  23. “And in an interview in Manager Magazin to be published on Friday, the head of Germany’s engineering and electronics giant Bosch calls for Greece to be ejected from the EU.

    In a transcript acquired by Reuters, CEO Franz Fehrenbach says: “This state with its phantom pensioners and rich people that don’t pay taxes, a state without a functioning administration, has no place in the European Union.”

    BBC

    Sounds right to me.

  24. “Feb 15 (Reuters) – Top Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum said on Wednesday it had not been informed of a cut in Iranian oil exports to Greece but that it was confident of finding alternative sources of fuel if needed.

    Iran has stopped oil exports to six European states including Greece in retaliation for European Union sanctions imposed on the Islamic state’s key export, its English-language Press TV reported.

    Debt-laden Greece relies heavily on Iranian imports, because alternative suppliers have been curbing exports and demanding steeper credit guarantees on fears the country might default.

    According to data from EU statistical agency Eurostat, Greece imported 158,000 barrels of Iranian crude per day in the third quarter, which is equivalent to 53.1 percent of its total imports.”

    Reuters.

    They could have done without this-the benefits of EU membership looking less attractive by the day.

  25. Colin,

    Those with Greek dept seem to be trying to hold out for about 70p in the pound, about 50% more than the Greek government wants to offer. That offer from Greece is about 50% higher than the market price.

    It does depend on who pays for the haircut. If the Greeks stick with the European deal, effectively EU taxpayers will pick up the difference between the Greek offer and the market price.

    If not then the banks will take the hit.

    It is somewhat complicated by the fact that some of the debts are held by governments already so they may well be just recirculating the debt. Equally it’s clear that some of the countries pushing hardest for the deal are ones who’s own banks hold most debt.

    What should be clear is that, given its size and status, it’s hard to see how a hard landing for any Eurozone economy that involved leaving the Euro and default wouldn’t hurt the city pretty badly.

    We are in the odd situation of wanting a deal to protect our interests while not wanting to be part of the deal.

    As a continent we need to make a choice; are we all in this together and prepared for a long hard slog… Twenty years of supporting the weak till they get up to speed with an end to EU support as a sticking plaster and for it to become much more of a stick or is it everyone for themselves.

    Or is it already to late and is the whole already to deep and filing with water.

    Up until our Christmas clean up I had a poster on the SNP Office wall.

    It was a sinking boat with four people in it… Two at the stern bailing like mad half underwater , with the two others sitting at the bow clean out of the water. The caption read….

    “I am glad we’re not at their end”.

    That sums up where I think we are and why we should all be bailing together.

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  26. @ Rob Sheffield

    “I find it fascinating.

    How they are able to get away with defining themselves as fair and balanced: the panels where one inarticulate democrat is up against 2-3 conservative republicans AND the host; the morning show with the mini skirted conservative Christian chick sits in between two drippy-preppy guys and where almost every story is ‘yet another reason why Obama is failing’; ‘the country is going communist’; ‘we are doomed unless we can elect a republican president’; ‘the USA is exceptional’; ’the poor in the USA are not really poor-t hey should try being poor in Zimbabwe’ etc etc all with furrowed brow and straight face. Hysterical.

    Simply fascinating: makes Murdoch’s Sky News seem very balanced by comparison.

    Though I guess if FN was actually commenting on UK events/ was a UK channel I would feel the same as you do.

    But as it’s a USA channel it is more of an academic exercise.

    I’d love to be able to watch MSNBC as the other extreme- but the only other option I have USA-wise is CNN (and that is the international version which only covers/ uses about 30% of the CNN USA output).”

    I see. That makes sense. I guess it is an academic exercise. As for the Democrats they usually have on the panels, back when I still watched, they often weren’t Democrats or they were conservative or centrist Dems. And they weren’t argumentative or particularly bright people who could challenge effectively. Like Alan Colmes. They seemed to be brought on as props.

    CNN is a lousy news channel. Simply put. So you’re not missing much. They’re not left, they’re not right, they’re just bad journalists.

    As for the U.S. going Communist, I don’t think these people know what Communism actually means. Or Socialism for that matter. Even if you accept the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown definition of socialism, Obama is not a socialist.

    What worries me about FOX and a lot of the other right wing radio gasbags and their media coverage is not that they actually swing elections results because I find they’re mainly preaching to the converted. Instead, I worry that they make politics coarser by riling people up and inciting them to be angrier and angrier.

  27. Peter Cairns.

    Thanks .

    Re the hit to Banks-it should be academic in an accounting sense, because any prudent bank will have marked down their Greek holdings already & taken the book loss.

    I read that most had offloaded to hedge funds -who are trying to maximise profits in the negotiations!!

    ECB also has a holding at less than par value & there is controversy over their treatment.

    Interesting analogy-your boat.

    Not sure it works though. The Northern EU part of the boat isn’t sinking-a bit becalmed -but not sinking.

    Even RoI seems to be coping with it’s austerity package without too much drama-and considering their taxpayers really were stuffed by nationalised bank debt -they deserve a lot of credit for just getting on with it.

    Italy has a debt problem, but not so much a deficit problem-and a pretty focused manager in charge now. It’s a huge & varied economy too.

    Spain doesn’t seem to be hitting any headlines just now??

    Portugal seems in a bad way.

    So I think your boat has two in the back & quite a few spread out across the rest of the boat. Perhaps if the two in the back went overboard , the boat would just right itself.

    ( I tried to work in that man mountain, the Greek Finance Minister. :-)

  28. @ Rob Sheffield

    “I think Christie sows up the blue collar and independent vote = that with the libertarian ,conservative and mainstream GOP vote “is an election” as the phrase goes IMHO…just.

    Rubio- well yes it depends on whether he can get Latino blocks who would normally vote democrat (so non Florida Cubans and some other lineages) but cannot resist the notion of the first Latino president.”

    The thing about Rubio is that he would not have won if not for the fact that he ran against a split opposition of two center-left guys. Rubio also had the advantage of running in 2010. If 49% in 2010 is the best a Republican can do in a Republican leaning state, I’m not sure how good it is. I think that a number of Republicans would have a problem with a Latino candidate on their ticket (they’d probably stay home and not vote). I’m not sure Latinos would vote for Rubio once they found out his platform. Cuban Latinos are a very small percentage of the Latino vote (they’re even a minority among Florida Latinos). Just from his presence, he seems like a particularly whiny, angry, nasty individual.

    As for Christie, I believe he’s pro-choice which automatically disqualifies him from being the GOP Presidential nominee. He won in 2009 because he faced an incredibly unpopular incumbent, Jon Corzine. Yet the win was narrow because Corzine was able to focus on how unlikeable Christie is (and some of his corruption issues). Christie’s own approval ratings lag. He’s also not a likeable individual. He’s morbidly obese and comes off as an angry, nasty, know-it-all. He likes to threaten people. It’s not appealling.

    Neither one comes off as Presidential and that’s a problem.

    In 2008, whatever you could say about Obama (and there was plenty of criticism, some valid), he came off as Presidential and he came off as extremely likeable. If he didn’t, he would never have even had a chance, let alone won.

  29. @ Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP)

    “I don’t really accept the strong needs to slow down argument. If its a race then it’s a team event and it’s team performance that matters.”

    Its not a race where the first person across wins. Its a race where the last team member across decides the total team
    time. In such races the overall pace achievable by the whole team is paramount.

    In a military convoy an inexperienced commander will tend to put the best vehicles at the front and the oldest/slowest vehicles at the rear. The best vehicles roar away and the convoy as such splits. The key is to put your slowest vehicle at the front and get it to set the best possible speed for the convoy. That way all vehicles will be able to maintain the convoy speed. Should a convoy be split by say traffic lights, the better speed of the rear vehicles will enable them to actually catch up without the overall convoy speed being affected. It is the slowest vehicle which is used to calculate the convoy speed during planning, not the ‘boy wonder chasers’.

    “I can’t accept the idea that countries currently struggling are permanently structurally deficient and will never catch up. If that were true then the current state of and the prospects for the Turkish economy would be the same as Greece’s.”

    And just how long is Greece going to be on the austerity program – 30…..40 years!! As for you comment on Turkey – Umm yes, which is why Turkey is unliky to be able to sustain the economic constrictions required to even qualify for the Euro, yet alone be able to stay the pace.

    “Countries can transform themselves and if they are to prosper in the long term they must. The question is how best to do that starting from where they are now.”

    Not the way being suggested for Greece etc within the Euro.

    “Do we keep playing as a team and try to improve together or do we get rid of the weaker players.”

    It’s not so much playing as a team as playing in the same economic divison. If EZ was a single national entity then the single team idea would be valid. It’s actually lots of smaller teams all of varying abilities trying to play at the standard of the best team in the division….and some are failing to keep up.

    “If I see a problem with cutting the weak free is is that they may leave the Euro but they won’t leave Europe. Even if they left the EU, Spain would still border France, we can change treaties but not geography.”

    EZ is not EU. There are quite a few countries within the EU that are not part of the EZ. The whole of the EU having a single currency is the dream of those wanting a single state of Europe.

    “In a way it mirrors in part the Independence debate. Scotland would be free to make more of its own decisions, but we’d still share the same Island and our fates would always be linked.”

    The UK is a single country with a single common currency, the pound. Most economic matters are sorted out by the UK’s Parliament, ie Westminster. Whilst some ‘micro-economic’ matters are devolved to some parts of the UK, all the important and basic economic policies are taken for the whole of the UK, not with separate basis economic policies for each of the various devolved elements.

    If Scotland wants full independence then in my opinion it must not only control its own economy policies, but must also have its own currency. It cannot retain the British pound as its currency, as the economic policies for the British pound are set by the UK Parliament. It is nonsense invalid to claim you can be fully economically independent and still NOT control your own currency. That is where the EZ had its basic fault-line. In much the same way as Greece has to abide by the EZ economic policies because it uses the Euro. If it still had the Drachma, then it could decide its own pace in the economic world.

    “I’d still warn Greece, that the easy way out now, would almost certainly lead to a longer harder road ahead.”

    From a Greek perspective, your warning does not make sense. They are facing decades of austerity, not just a couple of years. As far as many of them are concerned, they managed to scrape by before giving up the Drachma and trying to be part of a ‘German style’ western Europe super economic Euro zone. A growing number feel they would be better off to revert back to the sooner rather than later. The EZ does not seem minded to cut Greece much slack in the austerity measures and indeed seem to be heaping more and more onto the list each time it comes to a fresh bailout installment deadline.

  30. @ Rob Sheffield

    I used to think Bob McDonnell was the best GOP option (for 2016 anyway). But now that he’s supporting mandatory physical vaginal probes for any women who seeks an abortion and is going to probably sign into law a bill defining any fertilized egg as a person (which would have the effect of banning contraception and child bearing attempts in many instances), he may have gone off the deep end. If the economy has recovered by 2016, he’ll have made himself unelectable (frankly, I think he’s already made himself unelectable in Virginia by doing this).

    You have to admire the chutzpah of a Republican and American Conservatives. They go out there and scream about how individual liberty is being taken away when the government requires you to get private health insurance. That’s big evil government at its worst. But then these same people don’t see any problem with the government requiring women to have physical vaginal probes (against the will of the woman and her doctor). I feel like one is a lot more intrusive by the government than the other.

  31. Hal

    It seems to me that that’s probably a very significant fact both numerically and politically.

    On Sunday, while recovering from major surgery in a hospital which serves a population of about two million people with some of the worst cardiac disease in Europe, I was visited by the mother of a GP in the area. She was concerned that the changes to the NHS in England might spread to Scotland.

    I was able to allay her concerns because I had myself sought comfort from my previous MSP, Jim Mather, who backed up his own assessment of thinking within the SNP minority government (of which he was a part) with his knowledge of the capabilities and character of the Health Secretary.

    If the GP’s mother isn’t satisfied with that, she certainly should be.

  32. @ Colin

    ‘ ” economic convergence ” Of all the misconceived ideas about the Euro-that was probably the worst.”

    It is not misconceived if you expect basic economic criteria to be fully satisfied BEFORE conversion. The idea of a single currency is also a sort of mandatory requirement before you can push for a single state of Europe. Both are very reasonable ideals …………………….. if you are into that sort of delusion!

  33. @ Frank G

    “There you have spotted the crux of where your argument fails: namely: VALID vote results. The votes to which you refer were due to be submitted after the close of polls; not due even to be taken, let alone counted until well after the ‘final result was published; some are even not due to be taken still for nearly a month’s time. They are therefore INVALID votes.

    The fact that they are votes is immaterial. The close of polling time was very well known and was deliberately defied by a very small number of the precincts. My previous post makes it clear that there was ample opportunity for most, if not all to vote within the polling period. It is immoral to count ‘alleged’ votes submitted after the end of the voting period, otherwise it makes a mockery of a ‘close of polling’ time and elections would drag on…… and on….. and on. Imagine the complaints if Paul had won on the night, but ‘late’ submissions of votes meant that Romney could in fact end up with more votes. Laws and rules are meant to govern elections not sentiment.”

    Well, where to begin. Caucuses aren’t elections but I think they demonstrate how individuals feel about the right to vote. If you caucused at the correct time, your ballot should be counted. That’s what happenned in Maine. The fact that the caucus vote counter calls in your vote later than expected does not mean that your vote is invalid. Republicans can run their sh*tshow caucuses however they’d like but I think the party’s desperation shows when they will disenfranchize their own voters. It’s not how real elections work.

    I’ll give you a real life example in an actual election. In 2004, in a closely contested Washington Gubernatorial race, a whole box of ballots in King County were not counted. They were discovered during a long and drawn out recount battle. They were legally cast ballots and verified. They were cast by registered voters who were legally entitled to register and they were received by the County Registrar before the close of polling. It doesn’t matter that a mistake was made in initially not counting those ballots, they were still legally cast ballots. Btw, those ballots were counted.

    As far as poll closing times, I’m reminded of how shocked I was in 2010 where in your election, people weren’t allowed to vote due to long lines. Poll closing times and rules and regulations dealing with voting should never be used to disenfranchise voters or prevent legally cast ballots from being counted.

    “If you actually believed the above protestation, why did you comment in the first place?”

    A lot of the Lib Dems on this site have a thing for Ron Paul. I don’t think he gets very much coverage overseas so when there’s a newsworthy story about him from time to time, I comment on it.

  34. FRANKG

    We all know that the single currency was a trojan horse for the final objective-EU as a state.
    But they didn’t dare explain that to their voters-hence the mismatch of central monetary policy & local fiscal policy.

    Lets not forget that the first countries to breach the old Stability Pact were Germany & France !

  35. John B Dick

    Good to see you back. You seem to be making a good recovery.

  36. John B Dick

    You are back! :-) Is all going well for you?

  37. @John B Dick

    Good to hear you are out of hospital. Hope all went well. :-)

  38. Slightly over 1 in 5 young people unemployed,including
    my youngest daughter who has just left Bristol UNI
    with an excellent science degree.Will this effect the polls?

  39. Oops!

    http://www.sconews.co.uk/news/16355/cardinal-left-out-uk-ministerial-visit/

    Baroness Warsi’s decision to invite the Archbishop of Westminster along to this ministerial chat with the Pope, while ignoring the UK’s senior Catholic (who was in Rome anyway at the time) has been “a most unfortunate oversight”.

    To be fair to the noble lady, she probably doesn’t know anyone outwith Westminster.

  40. Also just noticed that some of the areas hardest hit by
    unemployment are the Birmingham marginals that all
    parties need to gain!

  41. @FrankG

    You said “…From a Greek perspective, your warning does not make sense. They are facing decades of austerity, not just a couple of years…”

    Yes, they are. And that will be true if they decouple-devalue, or if they stay in the Euro, or if they stay in the EU or leave the Euro. Absent somebody giving them trucks of cash for free, nothing will change that. Iceland or Argentina are frequently held up as a counter-example, but Google Public Data says it took Argentina six-seven years for its GDP to get back to what it was and Iceland has not gotten back to its October 2008 GDP yet, and even the OECD doesn’t think it will for some years yet. People confuse “return to growth” with “recover to original position”, but they don’t mean the same thing.

    Your concern for the Greek people does you credit, but your proposed solution doesn’t solve the problem, it just redistributes the pain: you get all the pain *now* instead of evened out over several years. This does have its advantages (and may indeed have to happen) but it isn’t a solution per se.

    Here’s a link to my new best friend, Google Public Data from the World bank. Have a play. The figures are hideous.

    Regards, Martyn

  42. @Ann Milles

    There will be fluctuations, but cannot see much change. If Labour are struggling to get a lead now, they will struggle in nearer the election. If your daughter has a good science degree she should get something eventually. The key is to be doing or learning something while unemployed. Plenty of work for engineers.

    Watched the Unemployment debate with Victoria Derbyshire this morning – seems like the graduates on there mostly had fairly pointless degrees in history, social science, media studies and psychology for which there is not much demand.

  43. John B Dick

    Good to see you back from surgery.

  44. @ SoCalLiberal

    Your example of legally cast votes being counted in 2004 after they were ‘discovered’ in an uncounted box, again just disproves your argument for what happened to most votes from the 16 ‘missing’ precincts in Maine. Those 2004 Washington votes in a hitherto ‘uncounted ballot box’ were filled out by legal voters before the end of the polling time. Yes, they should have been counted and indeed they were counted. However some of the Maine precincts’ ballot papers haven’t even filled in by the voters yet and some won’t be for several weeks. Those are well after the end of polling deadline and should quite rightly be discarded. They are/will be invalid ballots. They are therefore part of a completely different scenario to your example.

    I do however have some sympathy of the one precinct where the results were not phoned in before the deadline time for phoning in results, that itself being well after the closing of the polls. It is my understanding that less than 100 votes were involved and that the precinct concerned was not in a heavily ‘Paul’ county’, but was fairly evenly split between Romney and Paul. Although whom the votes were for, should not affect the vote validity judgement anyway. The argument on their validity has to be whether the votes can be proven to be valid (as opposed to whether they can be proven to be invalid). The onus is on the proof of validity. For that sort of decision only those involved can make a valid assessment and they have decided they were invalid.

    I seem to remember other instances of late discoveries of ballot boxes, of perforated/unperforated chads, of incorrectly zeroed electronic counters and of course postal votes. I remember some service postal votes not being counted in some Democratic states as they had not been physically received in the USA before the due polling date. I remember how harshly I felt a small number of Democratic states were on their service personnel serving the US forces abroad. I note however the tone of your assessment, because it was a Republican caucus, but that should not really affect your non-partisan assessment as to the validity or otherwise of either the late reported ballot totals or those ballots definitely cast after the polls had closed.

    The UK GE2010 fiasco on voting, mainly in Sheffield was caused because of late crowds arriving just before the end of polling, many of them without voting cards and some even at their incorrect polling stations. What happened depended largely upon how each electoral officer interpreted the ‘rules’. The rule is clear, at the end of the polling time, the polling station doors must be closed. Some interpreted that as’immediately finish issuing ballot papers’ even for those who were waiting inside the polling station. Others interpreted it as ‘close the doors but continue to issue ballot papers to those inside’. In my own opinion they should have reacted and sorted the problems out sooner, well before the end time approached. I think the rule should have been interpreted everywhere as ‘those inside the polling stations had made the ‘deadline’ (ie. they should be issued with a ballot paper and allowed to vote) and that every effort should have been made to get as many as possible queuing inside the polling station. I think however it would have been wrong to either keep the polling station doors open longer or to allow latecomers to join the queues inside a polling station.

  45. ANN MILES.
    good evening to you.
    I think that in times of hardship people often become and vote harsher. The Radio Five debate on this issue was illustrative of this- poujadist talk abounded.

    You may know a lot about TIGMOO history. Do you know if the Lord Hattersley who recently dispensed wise advice to Labour’s leaders to speak on the old social democratic verities the same man as Roy Hattersley who was a senior member of TIGMOO in the 1970-1992 period?
    Five awful GE defeats, and the two 1974 score draws in this period of triumphant social democracy.
    And can you recall the Labour leader who broke that cycle and actually won Elections?

  46. ChrisLane,

    Whilst your consistency is admirable, you are the very personification of a gramophone needle stuck in it’s groove :-)

    (I say that in a kind way…)

  47. @ Martyn

    “Your concern for the Greek people does you credit, but your proposed solution doesn’t solve the problem, it just redistributes the pain: you get all the pain *now* instead of evened out over several years. This does have its advantages (and may indeed have to happen) but it isn’t a solution per se.”

    Of course it doesn’t miraculously solve the problem, that I fully accept. The difference is that the problem is actually getting worse as the economies of the stronger Euro members (mainly Germany) and those of the weaken Euro members are actually diverging and therefore the disparity is getting larger. There is little that can be done to either group for some time, there will always be pain. The problem is that the pain in the way of austerity measures seems to be increasing each time new bail-out stage deadline is reached. It is like a limb with gangrene gradually spreading. The quicker it is sorted the better in the long term, even if that means amputation. As for getting ‘all the pain now rather than even out over several years’ , for ‘several years’ read ‘several decades’. The problem also is whilst Greece is part of the EZ, then the Greek problem is very much an EZ problem and not an international one.

    From a Greek point of view the very last thing they want is for German politicians to be imposing austerities trying to make Greece into a German economic ‘lookalike’ or part of a German economic zone. If they left the EZ, yes it would be bloody horrid, but at least they would be settling their own pain to make a start at sorting it out. There would be a far greater national unity feeling to cope and help each other. That same national unity feeling as happened in Germany after 1945, that led eventually to German re-unification etc. All the while the EZ/Germany is seen as ‘imposing’ the austerity measures that same sense of national common purpose is unlikely to be there and without it no such ‘imposed’ austerity program will be acceptable to the Greeks.

    I sometimes get the impression that some EZ countries and some international banks are merely buying time to get their own Greek debt liabilities etc. in order and to assuage certain ‘EU Single State’ politics by postponing the Greek exit decision. Well, for the sake of the Greek people, rather than best options for the other international financiers/banks/governments etc, I think Greece should leave the EZ sooner rather than later.

    Advocating this is of course not without personal risk. If Greece goes, Cyprus will probably follow and since I live in Cyprus and all my financial assets are over here, the future prospects for my own assets and for Cyprus scare the s..t out of me!

    Still it will probably be sunny here again tomorrow.

  48. Chris Lane,and good evening to you.I know that you are a
    great admirer of Tony Blair.I have just read “The End Of
    The Party”.Doing to GB what Suetonius did for Tibeirous,
    nevertheless it is hardly a paean of praise to your hero.

  49. Hooded Man

    Any minute now I am expecting to hear from the Bournemouth area of miracles attributed to St Tone. Perhaps the Evian turned into a particularly fine Chateau Neuf du Pape at a bankers’ dinner; the disappearance of an incriminating document after a prayer to the Blessed One; the spontaneous appearance of money from a Central Asian despot in various bank accounts of the already wealthy.

    Today’s business-friendly Vatican has already disposed of the Devil’s Advocate with his inconvenient facts. Surely the need to be actually dead for canonisation will be next.

  50. Welcome back John B Dick.

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