Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 41%, LDEM 7%, Others 15%. It’s a four point lead for Labour and a very low score for the Lib Dems, the lowest since last month.

Normal caveats apply, it could the start of a trend, or it could just be normal margin of error – we’ve had one 4 point and one 5 point Lab lead this month, and a poll last month showing the Lib Dems at seven, and in both cases things were back to rather more normal figures the next day.

That said, while YouGov’s daily polls are flitting between Labour and Conservative leads due to normal variation within the margin of error, we are seeing rather more Labour leads than Tory ones, and rather bigger Labour leads than Tory ones, suggesting the underlying position is a small Labour lead of a point or so (the average Labour lead in YouGov’s polls so far this month is 1.5 points).


161 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 37, LAB 41, LDEM 7”

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  1. Interesting, the next one will be worth watching.

  2. Do I get a gold medal for being first? :)

  3. Damn – too late for first billing!

  4. Crikey, a 4% Labour lead in a weekend YouGov poll. That’s equivalent to a 6-7% midweek lead, isn’t it?

    I’m going to do a ChrisLane 1945. 37% for the Tories? Sounds a bit high to me! lol

    England clinch the ODI series, Petersen gets a long overdue ton, Villa unbeaten (they didn’t play today!), Arsenal dumped out of the FA Cup and now a Labour 4% lead – if Carlsberg did weekends….!lol

  5. We are not advancing are we. Tories with another tiny lead with ComRes . Labour with a decent lead with You Gov.
    Overall, small Labour lead……..maybe?

  6. Liz,yes ,there is something very odd going on.Furthermore
    what the hell is going on in Libya,another news blackout.

  7. On the one hand, probably an outlier, on the other hand, a Labour lead in a weekend poll? Blimey.

  8. @Ann Miles
    “there is something very odd going on.Furthermore
    what the hell is going on in Libya,another news blackout.”

    We are going back to the dark days of the Thatcher era and possibly worse.

  9. Crossbat – I thought at some point people might accept what I told them when the hypothesis first turned up, that there is no pattern of YouGov Sunday Times polls being different to Sun ones.

    It all came from a period ages ago when for a couple of weeks in a row there were, by pure co-incidence, larger Tory leads in the Sunday Times polls. An overall look at the data though shows it was just co-incidence – if you average Labour leads in all the YouGov/Sun polls since the start of 2011 the average Labour lead is 4.9 points, for Sunday Times polls it is 5.0 points. In other words, no significant difference (and the tiny difference there is, is in the other direction).

  10. The LD is lowest for a month IIRC and I can’t think of any reason why so prob 1-2% out (for you gvv) at lab expense affirming prob slight lab lead overall on YG.

    ICM due next week I think may be interesting.

  11. Suspect this is a bit of an outlier for a one point Lab lead, especially in consideration of the ComRes poll tonight. Will be interesting to see the polls over the week.

  12. AW- labour now favoured on a Saturday night ;-)

    Instinctive thought = “outlier alert”

    Other thought = “ouch” if you are hanging on as a Lib Dem!

  13. @Boo Boo – keep whistling!

    @LizH – (last thread) I saw the various blogs on the visit. It would be interesting if there was any proof brought forward.

    Oddly enough, there was an article on ConHome a week or so back suggesting the Tories were misusing Cameron by over exposing him. It pointed out that Blair suffered in later years from ‘initiative fatigue’ but said that Cameron was moving to that point far earlier through over exposure and that they were undermining their key weapon. I thought the source and context of this critique was illuminating.

  14. @Alec

    On the ConHome article – I think you may have a point there.

  15. “@ann miles

    Liz,yes ,there is something very odd going on.Furthermore
    what the hell is going on in Libya,another news blackout.”

    You raise an interesting point, which I have been thinking for the last few weeks, Not much news coverage on Libya.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/02/18/uk-libya-clashes-idUKTRE81H0M920120218

    When you search for Libya news, there are some alarming reports as above, that indicate that clashes between different militias are taking place.

    If a civil war breaks out in Libya, how will the affect Cameron and Sarkosy ?

  16. @Anthony W

    It would appear that my ham fisted attempt at irony in my earlier post failed. My tongue will have to be more obviously in my cheek the next time I venture a comment on the weekend poll. That said, you may have to disabuse my co-conspirator, Rob S, who, like me, enjoys to fantasise about the Tory leaning proclivities of the YouGov weekend samples! When did that rather extraordinary and unrepeated 5% Tory lead occur, by the way?? lol

    @Alec

    If Con Home are right, and who are any of us to argue with the estimable Tim Montgomerie, maybe it’s time for the obvious vote winners like Eric Pickles and Baroness Warsi to take more prominent roles. Or even the hitherto invisible George Osborne. Now there’s a thought! They hid him from his adoring public in May 2010, didn’t they?

  17. @Alec
    “the Tories were misusing Cameron by over exposing him.”

    Here is my conspiracy theory. I wonder if that is a deliberate ploy by some in the Party to get rid of Cameron. The Party might suffer badly at the next GE, if he persists with the NHS reforms in their current format which are clearly not popular with a large section of the population and his successor i.e. Osborn might think he will never get to be PM if Cameron isn’t stopped or removed.

  18. R HUCKLE

    “If a civil war breaks out in Libya, how will the affect Cameron and Sarkosy ?”

    Probably not much. However, the opportunity to have managed some kind of humanitarian pressure on Iraq will have been squandered due to the West’s eminent desire for regime change in Libya, for no meaningful purpose.

  19. Just read Eoin Clarke`s blog…Sounds shocking if that`s what happened in Newcastle…No wonder they have only invited favourable parties to the Summit on Monday

    Said it all along that the PM`s biggest strength is the media support…As Tom Baldwin,Milliband`s communication adviser pointed out at the start of the year,some media outlets have personal interest in the continuance of this government…We had media outlets purchasing material damaging to the government earlier and not publishing them and now a self-imposed blackout

  20. Meanwhile Ed surprised me by delivering a good speech without notes or a lectern at the Welsh Labour Conference…He is making the effort but the media continues to ignore him

  21. @Liz H

    On another thread, and a little ill advisedly, I posted a link to a Daily Mail article that reported some surprisingly vitriolic remarks that Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, made about Cameron at a private function last November. Anthony removed it, quite rightly in hindsight, but, in mitigation, I was provoked a little by Colin gratuitously inviting us to look at some critical remarks made about Miliband by a former unsuccessful PPC on a Labour website.

    However, the serious political point to be made is the surprising levels of antipathy towards Cameron that resides in various sections of the Tory Party. Mercer isn’t some off-message, rent-a-quote maverick, he’s a well respected Tory MP and he may well have been giving voice to more widely held misgivings.

    Your hypothesis may be a little too Machiavellian to be true, but I’ve no doubt that there are many people inside his party who harbour grave doubts and antipathies about Cameron and these may well surface with some venom at times when his position appears to be weak. Of course, there are always plots and manoeuvrings going on within political parties, but I sense the problem Cameron has, unlike many of his predecessors, is the lukewarm mandate he has as a PM and the feeling of disappointment that still festers about his electoral failure in May 2010. There’s an air of vulnerability about him that’s unusual in a newly elected PM. I’m not sure, as a politician, he looks comfortable in his own skin.

  22. @LizH, @Alec

    It’s an interesting theory, but I doubt it. There may be some in the Conservative Party for various reasons who want to see Cameron forced out, but they are surely part of a very small minority.

    Cameron remains popular amongst unaffiliated moderates generally, and moderate Conservatives in particular. Everyone understands this. There is also the small matter of a Coalition to sustain, and there are very few other Tories who could lead such a Government.

    Finally, the NHS policy is only unpopular anongst some groups of Conservatives, because it is taking a fairly large political risk, for wht they see as relatively minor changes. If they are to take such a risk, they believe it should only be for substantial, irreversable changes.

  23. Given that the “YouGov is biased on Saturday night” theory is defunct, here’s a new one just for the LDs here.

    Hypothesis: In 2012, YouGov polls on the 18th of the month are invariably biased against the LDs.

    Result: At the 95% confidence interval, coincidence can’t explain why the worst two (7%) LD polls this year have fallen on the same day of the month.

    Conclusion: It is entirely rational for LDs to be paranoid about YouGov polls tonight.

  24. @SMUKESH
    “Ed surprised me by delivering a good speech …He is making the effort but the media continues to ignore him”

    And despite that Labour is in the lead. If the media gave fair coverage and did not impose news blackout, Labour would have been 10% ahead by now.

  25. @CROSSBAT11, RAF

    Osborn must see his chances at the helm slowly ebbing away as things are not going to plan. I don’t recall Osborn making much noise about supporting the NHS reforms lately and he is the one holding the purse strings.

  26. @Crossbat11

    I don’t agree with your analysis. Cameron is by no means Mr Popular within the parlimentary conservative party at the moment – but the antipathy towards him resides in the right of the party of whom wish to him to be a more ”conservative PM” – those who feel frustrated within the confines of coalition politics.

    Beyond them, I’d say Cameron evokes an apathetic feeling overall, with the reatively small but signifcant moderates and modernisers at one with him. If there are any doubts about him, they are most idealogical. Tory MPs have ”put up with him”, and his modernising agenda because they see him as a winner. If they didn’t he would have gone.

  27. @LizH

    “We are going back to the dark days of the Thatcher era and possibly worse.”

    For heaven’s sake, grow up.

  28. According to the IOS this is the first ComRes poll lead for the Tories since October 2010. Very odd result compared with YouGov. I guess still neck and neck.

  29. This is admittedly completely off-topic but I had a question for you guys on education (a topic we’ve discussed before). Do you guys allow for home schooling of children? That is, where kids attend neither state school or public school (in the English and Welsh systems) or public or private school (in the Scottish system) and instead are taught at home by one of their parents?

    And if so, is there any kind of party or ideological breakdown on the validity of this method of education?

  30. DINGO
    `According to the IOS this is the first ComRes poll lead for the Tories since October 2010`

    Even more odd that the COMRES tables show a Labour lead

  31. we seem to be getting a picture of mostly a tiny but stable Labour lead, occasionally punctured by odd spikes like this. I don’t really think we have captured 24-hour-long swings back and forth in opinion. I think we are hitting pockets of support, mostly Labour for the last little while.

    I think we are still seeing evidence of some of the oddly non-uniform swings we got at the last election. Of course we don’t expect completely uniform swings. It’s just they might be getting a bit lumpier.

  32. Smukesh,

    “Meanwhile Ed surprised me by delivering a good speech without notes or a lectern at the Welsh Labour Conference”

    You have made a couple of good points earlier on threads, about Ed doing slightly better in the last couple of weeks, which I agree with.
    However, you are in danger of coming over a bit “eager” with comments like the above. My 6 and 7 year old sons both performed extremely well in their recent school play, and neither required notes or prompting. I was extremely proud of them, and they merited their (biased) family’s acclaim. But for a career politician it should not be noteworthy that he ‘remembered his words’…..

    (and before you resort to “well Cameron did that in the Tory conference before he became leader and received rapturous applause”, I wasn’t that impressed then either)

  33. @SoCalLib

    Yes, we do and many children are home schooled. From memory, the setup is that the child must be adequately schooled, but method of scholastic provision is up to the parent.

    Since teaching children is time-consuming and difficult, home schooling tends to be the purview of the middle-class, who either can afford the time and money to do it properly (in which case good luck to them, frankly), or do it apocalyptically badly but earn so much it doesn’t really matter, since little Tamzin Bucktooth-Inbred is never going to actually need to earn a living (for example Toby Young, who is teaching his daughter Latin for some g*dforsaken reason beyond the comprehension of mortal man)

    Regards, Martyn

  34. @Hooded Man

    “(and before you resort to “well Cameron did that in the Tory conference before he became leader and received rapturous applause”, I wasn’t that impressed then either)”

    You were quite right not to be. As I recall it, it was the most choreographed piece of faux improvisation that I’ve ever seen. To coin an oxymoron, it was rehearsed ad-libbing!

  35. @SoCalLib

    Although by “many” I mean “many” in the sense of “lots of them”, not “many” in the sense of “frequently” or “commonly”. It’s actually very uncommon.

    Regards, Martyn

  36. @CrossBat11

    You said “…it was rehearsed ad-libbing!…”

    Best kind…:-)

    Regards, Martyn

  37. SoCalLiberal

    Legally, if a child is never enrolled in an Scottish school, there is no control over the educational provision (although the parent can be in serious trouble on the grounds of lack of care if the provision is inadequate).

    Children who have been enrolled in a school can be withdrawn, but the local authority then has a duty to ensure that their education is adequate.

  38. @Phil (from two threads ago)

    Alex Hilton used to write the blog “Recess Monkey.”

    @Chris Lane.

    I’m amused by the idea that Tony Blair in anyway constitutes “the workers.”

    Nothing is could be too good for them, but apparently having Blair and his acolytes enrich themselves at their expense is good enough, as is having an administration just marginally less bad than a Conservative one in the vain hope that they can triangulate themselves into perpetual government. Of course not having a Conservative Government for 13 years is a good thing, but it’s only in hindsight (and the Blair era covered over 2/5 of my lifetime and the New Labour era over a half), and with another Conservative lead Government in power, that it’s possible to comprehend what a wasted opportunity those 13 years were.

    With the size of the majority they had in 1997 they could have done anything, but they did nothing to fundamentally change the political landscape of this country, they bought entirely into the neo-liberal consensus, and now so many of the worst excesses of the present Government either are a continuation of, or build upon those of the Blairite New Labour era.

    There was no way they were going to stay in power forever, and the Attlee Government did infinitely more, in one term, to transform British society for the long term than New Labour did in three. Besides, a Labour Government has to be about more than keeping as many red-rosetted bums on green leather seats as possible, for as long as possible.

    With regard to Libya (from that thread and continuing on this one) as others have said the concept of carpet bombing is utter nonsense. The headline casualty rate isn’t particularly meaningful unless we know what the breakdown of military and civilians and at whose hands they were. We know that there were very few direct civilian casualties from Nato bombing, at least until the fall of Tripoli. We know this because otherwise the Gaddafi regime wouldn’t have had to try to pass off a car crash victims as injured in airstrikes (h ttp://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/06/us-libya-casualty-idUSTRE75504A20110606) or fake another fatal airstrike by shooting bullets into a wall ( h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12867445). We can also deduce from the strike figures (h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2011/may/23/libya-nato-bombing-no-fly-zone) and released footage (h ttp://www.youtube.com/results?client=safari&rls=en&q=tornado+libya&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=w1&gl=GB) that they were highly efficient in killing loyalist military personnel. There will also have been significant losses amongst the opposition militias as well as civilian casualties from indiscriminate shelling in cities such as Misrata who clearly felt they had less to fear from fighting on than from outright defeat.

    As for exceeding the number Assad has killed in Homs, just you give him time. His father and uncle killed 20-40, 000, mostly civilians, in one city in an attack with disturbing parallels to those now being carried out by Bashar, in multiple cities. (h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hama_massacre) The majority of the casualties occurred in the period after the rebellion was crushed, in mass retribution.

    From NYT reporter Thomas Friedman:

    “Even when I arrived some two months after the mass killings, all the blood had not been washed away into the Orontes River…whole neighbourhoods of crushed apartment buildings bearing silent witness…I am convinced that Assad wanted the Syrian people to see Hama raw, to listen closely to its silence and reflect on its pain.”

    “Syrian army engineers set about systematically dynamiting any buildings that remained standing in “Brotherhood” neighbourhoods, with whoever was inside.”

    “When I drove into Hama at the end of May, I found three areas of the city that had been totally flattened-each the size of four football fields…My taxi driver and I rode across one such flattened neighbourhood…

    “Where are all the houses that once stood here?” we stopped and asked.
    “You are driving on them,” he said.
    “But where are all the people who used to live here?” I said.
    “You are probably driving on some of them, too,” ”

    “A Lebanese businessman….[asked general Rifaat al-Assad]
    “I guess you killed 7, 000 people there,”…
    Normally a politician would play down such a ghastly incident and say “Oh no.. that’s only propaganda from our enemies we killed only a few hundred troublemakers.”…
    “What are you talking about, 7, 000? No, no. We killed 38, 000.” ”

    -From Beirut to Jerusalem, Chapter 4: Hama Rules.

    What’s unfortunate is that critics of the Libya intervention play up the failure to instantly morph into a stable democracy, but are not at all upfront about the consequences of other courses of action. The actions of Assads Sr and Jr, hold up an alternate image of where a complete lack of action would have lead. What remains is hair-splitting between R2P and regime change, when the primary threat civilians were being protected from, was the regime. The text of the the UN resolution was extremely broad, and any of the UNSC members claiming not to have understood the implications are being disingenuous and self serving.

    Opponents will usually purport that “negotiations” should have been pursued instead, but this is to rewrite history. The reason that the situation advanced as it did, was because Gaddafi (and Assad) responded to protests in response to the Arab spring, with massive repression, in excess of the other dictatorships in the region, we’re not just talking about sniping of protestors, but use of heavy artillery against unarmed civilians. Those are not the actions of a potential partner in good faith negotiations. The only option left is enforced stalemate, leading to perpetual civil war, which would only have bled the country further and stifled its development, likely leading to more deaths.

  39. @ Old Nat

    “Legally, if a child is never enrolled in an Scottish school, there is no control over the educational provision (although the parent can be in serious trouble on the grounds of lack of care if the provision is inadequate).

    Children who have been enrolled in a school can be withdrawn, but the local authority then has a duty to ensure that their education is adequate.”

    Thanks for that. There was a DKos dustup on this topic where a few front page bloggers asked whether home schooling could ever be progressive and if home schooling was used as a tool against progressivism. And this set off something of a backlash among those Kossacks who were homeschooling their kids (or had in the past). Of course it would, there are plenty of leftwingers who homeschool their kids (probably in the same proportion to right wingers, centrists, and the apolitical types).

    But then it got me to wonder whether this was one of those unique U.S. things or if it existed elsewhere.

    The San Francisco District Attorney’s office was able to dramatically reduce gang crime and other juvenile crime when it began threatening parents with legal action who’s kids were chronically truant. This lit a fire under the belly of parents to make sure their kids were in school (and avoid possible fines and jail time). This made me wonder what might happen if there was ever confusion with parents who legitimately home schooled their kids.

  40. The law states that children between 5 and 16 must be educated in school “or otherwise.” There were attempts to regulate home educators by the last Labour Government (e.g. registration and inspection) after a child was starved to death by her mother and step father after being removed from school, ostensibly to home educate.

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/aug/03/michael-gove-ed-balls-home-education

    h ttp://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/PDF%20FINAL%20HOME%20ED.pdf

    The Conservative response tends to view this as “nanny state” interference in individual liberty although my uninformed stereotype of home educators themselves is that they tend more towards the hippy-dippy anti establishment left.

    Here’s the blog of a home educator who’s at loggerheads with much of the rest of the home education scene:

    h ttp://homeeducationheretic.blogspot.com/

  41. @SoCal again, in response to your last post. There are potential criminal sanctions against parents who fail to send there children to school. My Mum works for the local authority department that monitors and enforces school attendance (IIRC NeilA was looking at this as a potential retirement option). Her friend specialises in monitoring home educators (I think the regulation of home education varies between local authorities). The law only states that education must be “efficacious” which is very subjective. She (the friend) can issue “attendance orders” to make previously home educated children go to school but very rarely does this and only if she thinks they don’t know what they’re doing and don’t have a plan to do anything effective.

  42. @ Martyn

    “Yes, we do and many children are home schooled. From memory, the setup is that the child must be adequately schooled, but method of scholastic provision is up to the parent.

    Since teaching children is time-consuming and difficult, home schooling tends to be the purview of the middle-class, who either can afford the time and money to do it properly (in which case good luck to them, frankly), or do it apocalyptically badly but earn so much it doesn’t really matter, since little Tamzin Bucktooth-Inbred is never going to actually need to earn a living (for example Toby Young, who is teaching his daughter Latin for some g*dforsaken reason beyond the comprehension of mortal man).”

    I would figure that in order to successfully home school your kids, you would need to have at least one stay at home parent. That would probably disfavor the working poor where you’re more likely to have two wage earning parents or perhaps families headed by a single parent.

    With that said, I don’t think that home schooling is neccessarily something that’s left to the wealthy. The reason being is that the many reasons that parents would homeschool their children for are often catered to by any number of private institutions. There’s a boarding school in Iowa, run by Mennonite nuns (or maybe Quaker nuns, I’m not sure…I know it’s a religious sect of nuns), that’s specifically for children with phsyical impairments and disabilities. Literally, there are kids who are disfigured and can’t attend regular schools and learn because they’re bullied and ostracized from their classmates. There are schools for gifted children. There are schools that are dedicated to the arts for artistic kids. There are schools for kids who have learning disabilities, a number which is growing. It’s a public high school but in New York City, there is a high school, Harvey Milk High School, just for LGBT teenagers. So wealthy parents usually can afford to send their kids to schools like this. I think it’s more an issue for parents who can’t afford schools like this but can afford to have one stay at home parent.

    And by many, I assume you meant it’s rare but it does exist.

  43. @ Hannah

    “again, in response to your last post. There are potential criminal sanctions against parents who fail to send there children to school. My Mum works for the local authority department that monitors and enforces school attendance (IIRC NeilA was looking at this as a potential retirement option). Her friend specialises in monitoring home educators (I think the regulation of home education varies between local authorities). The law only states that education must be “efficacious” which is very subjective. She (the friend) can issue “attendance orders” to make previously home educated children go to school but very rarely does this and only if she thinks they don’t know what they’re doing and don’t have a plan to do anything effective.”

    Fascinating. Thank you for that explanation. I didn’t even realize that you had a system of monitoring home educators but it doesn’t surprise me really.

    I’m not surprised by the rarity of your mom issuing “attendance orders.” On a whole, British people are extremely sensible and not prone to abusing or taking advantage of authority. I know I generalize here but I use your political structure as an example. But even without a written constitution and bill of rights, Parliament goes to great lengths to protect civil liberties and individual freedoms.

  44. SOCALLIBERAL

    “The San Francisco District Attorney’s office was able to dramatically reduce gang crime and other juvenile crime when it began threatening parents with legal action who’s kids were chronically truant. This lit a fire under the belly of parents to make sure their kids were in school (and avoid possible fines and jail time).”

    Obviously we are talking about different legal and educational systems, but there is a tension between keeping crime out of the community (during school hours) and transferring it into the school system!

    There is a much wider debate about the benefits to disturbed children by keeping them within normal education, and the potentially damaging effects on other pupils of doing precisely that.

    There isn’t a simple answer. If you think in terms of removing disruptive individuals from adult society through imprisonment, while forcing “normal” society – just because they are of school age – to associate with such people, then it’s difficult to find an equivalence.

    I don’t know the “best” answer – after 40 years in teaching, most of it spent with the most difficult kids – but simply transferring problems from one jurisdiction to another doesn’t actually solve anything.

  45. @ Hannah

    “The law states that children between 5 and 16 must be educated in school “or otherwise.” There were attempts to regulate home educators by the last Labour Government (e.g. registration and inspection) after a child was starved to death by her mother and step father after being removed from school, ostensibly to home educate.”

    Interesting. I don’t think that you can take the example of one set of irresponsible parents to suggest that there is a widespread problem with home schooling or that most parents who home school their kids are like this.

    “The Conservative response tends to view this as “nanny state” interference in individual liberty although my uninformed stereotype of home educators themselves is that they tend more towards the hippy-dippy anti establishment left.”

    I actually agree with the Conservatives on this. As for who homeschools their kids, it’s a veritable mix. You’re definitely going to have leftwing hippies and you’re going to have right wing religious fanatics. People are entitled to their individual liberty regardless of their political views or lifestyle.

    For an example of American leftwingers who home schooled their daughter:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqKsPMR_77M

    (Okay, it’s fictional, but I know a lot of people like that in real life).

    Thank you for the blog link btw.

    Btw, Ron Paul probably lost Maine. He won tonight’s caucus in Washington County by a 2-1 margin over Romney but given the low turnout, he only gained 83 votes in total and so not enough to overcome Romney’s statewide lead.

  46. Isn’t it a weird coincidence that the ComRes first lead for the Tories since 2010 was accompanied by messed up tables; whilst YG’s 5 point Tory lead (which was tweeted & trumpeted everywhere) was also accompanied by messed up tables?

    It seems that a Tory lead gets pollsters sooo excited that they can’t cope with the normal routine of getting the tables up correctly. :-)

  47. @ Old Nat

    “Obviously we are talking about different legal and educational systems, but there is a tension between keeping crime out of the community (during school hours) and transferring it into the school system!

    There is a much wider debate about the benefits to disturbed children by keeping them within normal education, and the potentially damaging effects on other pupils of doing precisely that.

    There isn’t a simple answer. If you think in terms of removing disruptive individuals from adult society through imprisonment, while forcing “normal” society – just because they are of school age – to associate with such people, then it’s difficult to find an equivalence.

    I don’t know the “best” answer – after 40 years in teaching, most of it spent with the most difficult kids – but simply transferring problems from one jurisdiction to another doesn’t actually solve anything.”

    No doubt you’re correct on the issues you bring up. There are serious issues with public education when it acts as no more than a custodial service for juveniles (as many urban school districts in the U.S. do).

    However, kids need to be in school or receiving equivalent education. When they’re left to their own devices during the day, they tend to get into trouble. And here, we’re not talking about occassionally truant kids (it’s one thing to play hooky for a day and go to the beach), we’re talking about chronically truant kids who often are not in school for a majority of the school year. High school drop outs are statistically more likely to join street gangs and or become violent offenders.

    Getting these kids back into school where they need to be has been shown as an effective way to cut crime.

    Btw….can I just say how much this photo makes my Liberal bleeding heart go pitter patter?

    http://obamadiary.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/barack-obama-kamala-harris-gavin-newsom-2012-2-16-16-51-58.jpg?w=655

    :)

  48. @ Old Nat

    I’m reminded of this conference I attended last year about our Educational Disability Acts (IDEA). What’s frustrating to me is when you have all these complex laws on the books that are supposed to provide for learning disabled kids in public school that are designed to make sure that kids get the education they need and stay in school that don’t work because they’re not followed by cavalier public officials. Many of these people seem to have an “I am above the law” sort of attitude. That is until the lawyers (all of whom are bleeding heart Liberals) show up with complaints and subpoenas and force them to comply. But in the meantime, you lose a lot of kids.

    So at this symposium I was at, one of the lawyers passed around this handout on the report card of this boy who grew up in D.C. and attended public schools. As you look at this report card, you can almost hear the music from Boyz N’ the Hood start playing in your mind. He was clearly learning disabled and was not taken care of properly and not in the way that the law commands. He was constructively forced out of the school. Well, slowly but surely his tardiness record increased until the point where he was no longer even enrolled. He was only 15 or 16.

    Well he did what most teenage males who aren’t in school do, he got into trouble. By the time he was constructively forced out of his school, he was involved with a gang. He ultimately was convicted of murder and sentenced to prison.

    Now, he sued his school district. He actually won (though the rabidly right wing D.C. Circuit partially overturned some of the verdict…..they’re awful, don’t get me started…..) and now is receiving educational assistance….in prison. That’s a good thing but you know, he’s going to be in prison for most of his life.

    Anyway, I’ve gotten sidetracked. But to bring it all home, the point is, kids need to be given educational opportunity and that includes being in school (or equivalent). When that doesn’t happen, you let down those kids and it often results in negative consequences.

  49. @ Old Nat

    God, now you’ve got me hating on the D.C. Circuit. They’re the ones who issued all those rulings in favor of the Bush Administration on Guantanamo Bay detainees. You know all the ones that defied the Geneva Convention (and the U.S. Constitution)? All the ones that were subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court in a demonstration of courage, faithfulness to the Constitution, and basic human decency.

    Everyone attacks the 9th Circuit for being too liberal (which it really isn’t). But these same commentators simply ignore the radical conservatism of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and D.C. Circuits. The Conservatives on these courts are the most dangerous ones because they’re not the uneducated, redneck types with poor personal hygiene. They’re educated and smart like Maggie Thatcher and the other Conservatives you deal with.

    Of course, there’s some good news on this front. The 4th Circuit (which I think covers where most of your American relatives live) is no longer as rabdily conservative as it once was. Obama has gotten most of his appointees confirmed to that court and Democratic appointments are now the majority on the court.

  50. SocialLiberal,

    There is more information here – the website of Schoolhouse Home Education Association, Scotland’s national home education support charity:

    http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/about-home-education

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