The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. On the regular leader trackers David Cameron is at minus 25 (from minus 23 last week), Ed Miliband at minus 27 (from minus 20 last week), Nick Clegg at minus 54 (from minus 52). Cameron has the best rating again, but realistically him and Miliband have much the same rating and have done for the last couple of months.

While the GDP figures this week don’t seem to have had any effect upon voting intention, their impact is visible on some of the economic questions. Economic ratings and optimism remain very low. 80% of people think the economy is currently in a bad state (including 35% who think it is in a very bad state, up from 26% last week before the GDP figures were announced). Only 25% think the government is handling the economy well. 51% of people say they personally feel worse off financially than they did a year ago and only 10% of people expect their financial position to get better over the next 12 months.

The support for a change of economic strategy continues to grow – now only 28% of people say the government should stick to their current strategy compared to 45% who would like to see growth prioritised instead. David Cameron & George Osborne’s lead over Ed Miliband and Ed Balls on who people would most trust on the economy has also fallen, now down to 3 points. 34% would trust Cameron & Osborne more, 31% Miliband and Balls more.

Asked about various changes to economic policy spending more on large infrastructure projects and cutting taxes seem to be the most popular options (and no, that isn’t necessarily contradictory! YouGov presented them both as being funded from borrowing – there was very little support for bigger cuts). People would support more spending on big infrastructure projects by 46% to 37%, the most popular option. 41% of people would support cutting taxes to encourage growth, but 43% would be opposed. There is significantly less support for reversing spending cuts, supported by 32% but opposed by 48%, or reducing spending more quickly, supported by 24% but opposed by 60%.

Support for George Osborne has continued to drop. Only 19% of people think he should remain in his role with 52% of people thinking he should be replaced. Amongst Conservative supporters only 48% think Osborne should stay, compared to 28% who think he should go and 24% who don’t know. The most popular replacement for Osborne remains Vince Cable, but this is again a largely partisan response – Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters would like Vince Cable to take over, but Conservatives would prefer Hague or Clarke.

Finally on the economy YouGov asked whether people believed the GDP figures, or the claims of some commentators that the unemployment figures suggest that the economy is actually doing better. The majority (61%) of people think the economy is as bad as the official figures suggest, only 18% of people think the employment figures are a better indicator and the economy is, in fact, doing better than the official figures suggest.

Moving onto “cash in hand”, 64% of people say they have paid a tradesman “cash in hand”, but only 26% say they have done this in the knowledge that they were intending to avoid tax. 30% of people say they have asked for a discount for paying cash-in-hand. The majority of people think that it is not wrong to pay cash-in-hand, or to ask for a discount for doing so. However, 57% of people think it is wrong to pay cash-in-hand if you know the person you are paying intends avoiding paying tax on it.

Finally on the Olympics there is growing optimism that they will be a success – 60% of people now think they will (up from 53% a week ago), with only 15% thinking they won’t be successful. People think they will improve Britain’s image abroad by 50% to 7% thinking they will damage it. The survey was, of course, done before the opening ceremony – I expect we’ll have it asked again during the Games so we can see how figures for interest and if the Games have been a success go up or down.


158 Responses to “More from YouGov/Sunday Times”

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  1. SOCALLIBERAL

    In reality, those athletes from Northern Ireland who want to try for a place in Team GB can do so.

    It’s one of the many areas in which the whole UK/British thing is fudged for very sensible reasons.

  2. Polling implications?

    ‘Empty seats at Olympic venues’

    http://www.itv.com/news/story/2012-07-28/empty-seats-at-olympic-venues/

    ‘Ticket backlash overshadows Games’
    – (Reuters) – Olympic organisers scrambled on Sunday to quell a backlash over depressing TV images of half-empty stands at the London Olympics as a government minister said an urgent inquiry had been launched to identify just who had failed to show up and why.

    ht tp://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/uk-oly-emptyseats-day-idUKBRE86S0PG20120729

    “London 2012 chief Lord Coe faced mockery for insisting the stadia were ‘stuffed to the gunwales’ while troops were hurried in to fill empty rows.

    The worst example came Sunday morning when gold medal swimming favourite Rebecca Adlington won her heat in the 400m freestyle.

    In the middle of one side of the aquatics centre were five rows of empty seats.”

    ht tp://www.metro.co.uk/olympics/906725-london-2012-organisers-condemned-by-fans-over-empty-seats-scandal#ixzz222yfSOdc

  3. STUART DICKSON

    “Polling implications?”

    None – unless anyone can give me evidence that sporting events affect voting.

  4. Crossbat re BJ prospects

    Do I detect some wishful thing CB?

  5. OldNat, – “evidence that sporting events affect voting”

    I’ve seen it suggested that this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/sportscotland/asportingnation/article/0002/print.shtml

    … was a major factor causing this:

    ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_devolution_referendum,_1979

    But I’ve no solid evidence.

  6. Paul Croft
    LDs to get OM at 100 to 1

    It’s called the Foinavon bet (when that horse won the Grand National).

    Somebody collected that day. :-)

  7. SOCALLIBERAL

    Puerto Rica.

    I blame West Side Story!

  8. 100/1 bets are novelty bets. Purely for the amateurs.

    It may as well be 1000/1 for all the difference it’d make to the number of daft punters donating their cash to the Ladbrokes’ pension fund.

  9. CROSSBAT

    Both DC & Boris expressed pleasure at & admiration for Boyle’s Opening Ceremony. They will both have known about it’s content in advance.

    Hunt doubled the Budget for it, to make it possible.

    Coe is reported to have resolutely opposed any interference with Boyle’s plan.

    They were all on-side from the start & judging by the OPs were wise to be so.

    None of this would turn Boris from an effective showman for & promoter of London, into a Prime Minister.

    He would be a disaster.

  10. chrislane1945

    By the way, has any polling been done to discern whether many people know that TB actually won the Games for Britain?

    I afraid the two answers to that are:

    (a) he didn’t. The Olympic Games are won by a city -in this case London. So the Games were won by Ken Livingston

    (b) even if he did (and you could argue that the process did show his trademark n-fold increase in budget[1]), in a year’s time the whole thing will be considered a near-complete disaster.

    [1] Where n is greater or equal to 4. Usually greater.

  11. STUART DICKSON

    I’ve seen that suggestion too.

    It’s a possible scenario where nations define themselves through sport. Scotland tended that way prior to political evolution.

    Arguably, Australia made a conscious decision to do precisely that.

    It may be that the political Brits are currently doing that as well.

    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/5485-questions-over-glasgow-2014-tweets-as-unionists-attempt-to-politicise-olympic-ceremony

    Though I doubt that most people in the UK think that way.

    It would be interesting to see polling as to whether Brits or their component parts see sport as being definitive of their status as a nation.

  12. My longest winning bets in 2011 were 50 quid on John Mason to win in Glasgow East (or whatever the SP seat is called). I think that was at 16/1. (Thanks for that tip Marcia!)

    I may also have had a couple of quid on the SNP Anniesland candidate, who was approx 20/1.

    A couple of months later I received an email from Victor Chandler telling me that my custom was no longer wanted.

    For the record, the longest winning odds at UK GE 2010 was 14/1. That was the woman who beat the Unionist leader in NI. Very, very few winning candidates were longer than EVS the day before polling day. At most 10 winning candidates, out of 650!

  13. “political evolution” = political devolution

    Though both terms are accurate.

  14. SoCalLiberal

    OldNat has it more or less right about the position of Manx and Channel Island athletes. They do however have their own teams in the Commonwealth Games (coming in two year’s time to a country near him)

    The situation in the island of Ireland tend to depend on the particular sport involved. Some – such as boxing – operate on an all-Ireland basis and so athletes will end up competing for Ireland at the Olympics. In others there will be a bit of picking and choosing – perhaps based on no more than which team they think will be easiest to qualify for.

  15. @Roger Mexico

    I hope all those people in Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle, Eton, Weymouth, Manchester, Coventry etc… are aware that they aren’t actually watching the Olympics then.

    Of course the right to hold the Olympics was won by a team, but TB played a significant part with his ability to lobby at a much higher (and more charismatic) level than KL. He certainly outperformed Chirac who turned up to the meeting late and famously pissed of the Finnish delegation for no explicable reason.

  16. Stuart Dickson

    I believe at one time you could get 100/1 on Naomi Long winning Belfast East, though the odds did shorten.

  17. The whole idea of pretending that a “city” hosts the Olympic or Commonwealth Games is a bit of a nonsense.

    These pageants have become far too expensive for any city to host, and need significant funding from the rest of their country.

    Since the real revenue comes from TV rights, it would make far more sense to award the Games to countries (or combinations of countries, as the Football World Cup does) and to spread the events across all parts of the country that is funding them.

    Does any TV viewer care whether the event is being staged in London, Glasgow or Fort William?

  18. The Sheep

    Those people are watching the London Olympics, even if they are not actually watching that bit anywhere near London. I do admit however that Tony Blair has immense skills in being able to schmooze rich, corrupt people. It’s almost as if he meant it. :P

  19. @ Old Nat

    You mean you don’t want to host the Ayr Scolympics, if your team win the referendum. ;-)

  20. Roger

    If you can fake sincerity …

  21. Amber

    No.

  22. Nice tweet

    Milton Mermikides [email protected]
    Just to think an underprivileged inner London kid might watch these Olympics and be inspired to really work at his dressage in the stables.

  23. Sundry Nats

    We were all wrong weren’t we?

    The best election 2010 result f’or the SNP (short of holding the balance) wasn’t a Con goverment. It was a Con Government supported by LibDems in Coalition.

    A Con Government gives the SNP some formerly Labour voting antiCons but all the SLD voing anti-Cons are on the move (some to Labour).

    John Curtice reckons that MT had three enduring achievements, one of which was persuading the Scots of the merits of Devolution.

    NC’s legacy will be the first SP SNP majority government and the undoing the successes of 50 years of SLD localism.

  24. @Colin

    “None of this would turn Boris from an effective showman for & promoter of London, into a Prime Minister.

    He would be a disaster.”

    Drat, you’ve spotted by cunning plan!

  25. JOHN B DICK

    I don’t think anyone in Scotland could have anticipated the enthusiasm with which the LDs went into coalition with the Tories.

    As to the distribution of their former voters, I suspect that some of them have now gone Tory. As with those who went to Labour, the effect is disguised by former Tory/Labour voters now voting SNP.

    It would be interesting if, in their occasional Scottish polls, YG published the 2010 and/or 2011 voting data for respondents.

  26. oldnat:

    Coalition? Well yes, perhaps.

    Enthusiasm? Really, really distasteful to many. I think Vince Cable is the only one to stand out as offering [whether one accepts it or not] coalition for a short-term purpose.

    I find the others, from Clegg down, quite sickening and burnt bridges spring to mind.

    Cocoa time and see if the tablets have worked for a change

  27. @ Crossbat11

    “I think I may have underestimated Boris Johnson. For those courteous, and patient, enough to read my many posts this might be seem a puzzling development, but let me explain. I’d tended to regard him, up to now, as an amiable buffoon, capable of moments of extreme crassness but, occasionally, crowd-pleasing brilliance too. Politically, I’d never taken him seriously, tending to think he was essentially a walking triumph of style over substance. Somebody from such a rarefied and privileged background that he could afford to belittle politics and politicians as if he was the only one clever enough to get the joke. I still harbour some of these doubts about him now, but his positive and genuinely emotional reaction to the Olympics opening ceremony, and his disdainful dismissal of right wing nutcases like Hitchens and Burley, who have condemned Boyle’s masterpiece as leftist propaganda, suggests a far more nuanced and intelligent politician than I’d given credit for.”

    You know, that’s the most interesting thing for me with the whole Romneyshambles thing. Your politics are far more class based than ours are and class tends to be far more polarizing. Romney is someone who has a lot of money and comes from a lot of money and it’s easy to imagine a Labour Prime Minister in charge (or perhaps a Tory Prime Minister from an underprivileged background like like David Davies) and perhaps if Ken Livingstone was the mayor of London (or Oona King), Romney rubbing them the wrong way. Or having some more difficulty with them in terms of building a relationship or getting along well with them.

    But when you consider the privilege backgrounds that Cameron, Johnson, and Hunt come from, it makes it all the more astounding. If there are any politicians he could get along with and impress, these are those politicians. If there was an American chapter of the Bullingdon Club, I think Romney would have been admitted as a member. These are the people who should love him. Instead, they publicly rebuked him.

    As for Johnson, he comes off like a local buffoon but he does deserve credit for standing up to those in his own party. He’s been lucky with his opposition, enabling him to get elected but even still, you couldn’t be a complete bozo and get elected Mayor of London.

  28. @ Roger Mexico

    “he didn’t. The Olympic Games are won by a city -in this case London. So the Games were won by Ken Livingston”

    Isn’t this one of the ironies about electoral politics? Usually the politician who accomplishes something important usually doesn’t see that accomplishment happen until they’re out of office and then their successor takes office and then that successor gets the credit. This happens even when that successor opposed what their predecessor did.

    So one example would be Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C. It was Mayor Anthony Williams who pulled off the incredible coup of luring the Nationals franchise to D.C. and convincing Major League Baseball to do it. Then he managed to secure financing for a new baseball stadium (which was the requirement for the franchise moving and ultimately staying). Then he was the one who made sure that bids were properly done so that the stadium construction was finished in record time and on budget and built in a way that was condusive to public transit. Building the new stadium was controversial and generated a lot of opposition. But it just barely got Council approval, 7-6. This was in 2005.

    Williams left office in January 2007. He was replaced by Adrian Fenty. The ballpark opened in 2008. Who’s name is on a plaque dedicating the stadium? Fenty. Who was standing there for the photo-op for the finished construction? Fenty? Who was there for the stadium opening? Fenty? Who got credit in the eyes of the public for the stadium opening? Fenty.

    Who had been one of the voices of opposition to the stadium, voted against it in the 7-6 vote, and had absolutely nothing to do with its construction or the team being moved there? Fenty. :)

    So Blair and Livingstone may both be responsible in large part for getting the Olympics in London and even for much of the initial planning of the (hopefully ultimately successful) event. But they won’t get credit. Cameron and Johnson will.

  29. @ Old Nat

    “In reality, those athletes from Northern Ireland who want to try for a place in Team GB can do so.

    It’s one of the many areas in which the whole UK/British thing is fudged for very sensible reasons.”

    It sounds like the Brits, in their typical civilized, sensible, and highly intelligent way, handle the situation with an exercise of good discretion and some subtlety.

    (Notice I said “their” and not “your” as I know you don’t consider yourself British…..see I’m getting better).

    “Puerto Rica.

    I blame West Side Story!”

    I haven’t seen the musical or the movie in a long time. It was pretty good although it does kinda trivialize inner-city gang violence.

    @ Roger Mexico

    “OldNat has it more or less right about the position of Manx and Channel Island athletes. They do however have their own teams in the Commonwealth Games (coming in two year’s time to a country near him)

    The situation in the island of Ireland tend to depend on the particular sport involved. Some – such as boxing – operate on an all-Ireland basis and so athletes will end up competing for Ireland at the Olympics. In others there will be a bit of picking and choosing – perhaps based on no more than which team they think will be easiest to qualify for.”

    That makes sense. It seems like there’s a consensus that those in Northern Ireland can choose which country they more identify with and no one is going to make a big deal about it.

  30. The new Labour for Independence group is the leading story in both the Scottish broadsheets today:

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/yes-scotland-wins-support-from-labour-rebel-group.18282942

    ht tp://www.labourforindy.co.uk/

    I cannot see much coming of it, but would be delighted to be proved wrong. Allan Grogan is a very brave man, but he’ll need to watch his back now. I would avoid dark alleyways if I were him.

    By the way Allan, your party leader spells her name Johann, not Joanne:

    ht tp://www.labourforindy.co.uk/p/sign-our-petition.html

  31. @ Old Nat

    “Just to think an underprivileged inner London kid might watch these Olympics and be inspired to really work at his dressage in the stables.”

    I think that the Olympics can show kids the importance of a work ethic. Most people will not be Olympians or even come close. Then again, I’m always a hopeless optimist (except when it comes to myself where I can be Debbie Downer).

  32. “Support for George Osborne has continued to drop.”

    The Independent is reporting a ConHome survey of party members: “George Osborne, who was widely seen as Mr Johnson’s main rival in the future leadership stakes, is supported by a derisory 2 per cent.”

    53% think the party will be out of office at the next election, Boris currently front runner to replace Cameron – with a movement towards Gove becoming the stop-Boris candidate.

    h
    ttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-favoured-for-tory-leader-as-osborne-tumbles-7986154.html

  33. Interesting US Presidential Gallup poll –
    “If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person who happened to be ___, would you vote for that person?”
    Black
    1958 – 38%, 1978 – 77%, 1999 – 95%, 2012 – 96%
    Female:
    1937 – 33%, 1958 – 54%, 1978 – 76%, 1999 – 92%, 2012 – 95%
    Gay/Lesbian –
    1978 – 26%, 1999 – 59%, 2012 – 68%
    Atheist –
    1958 – 18%, 1978 – 40%, 1999 – 49%, 2012 – 54%

    So over time, Americans have become less divisive over what sort of background someone has for who they’d vote for – but a lack of religion is still a major hurdle.

    Another interesting bit is the Democrat/Republican split –
    While, I’d expect Democrats to be far more liberal, the difference for most categories is very small, until you start getting much lower down.

    Mormon –
    Democrats – 72%, Republicans – 90%
    While this is likely caused by Romney’s background, I still find it highly surprising that Democrats would have such a bias against Mormons.

    Gay/Lesbian –
    Democrats – 82%, Republicans – 56%
    Still a majority for Republicans, but far lower than Democrats.

    Muslim –
    Democrats – 69%, Republicans – 47%

    An Atheist –
    Democrats – 58%, Republicans – 48%
    So even among Democrats, any faith is better than no faith at all.

    I always find this an interesting paradox – England is a nation with a state church and a second chamber which bishops sit in (and even when we reform it to elect the chamber, we have to leave the bishops in). But in politics, faith matters little to us.
    But the US, with it’s first amendment and “no religious test” clause effectively requires faith from it’s politicians.

  34. Alec @4.50pm yesterday

    There is a relatively new employment encouragement policy recently launched by the DWP and being rolled out further from end of July. This pays employers for taking on new employees where certain criteria are met. I think this is a good idea.

    But the wages for these people will be paid for by the employer, with the grant of up to approx £2500 being generally payable after a specified period of employment.

    I’m also very much in favour of extending availability and take up of apprenticeships. Which I note this gov are doing.

    Further, financial inducment, eg working tax credit, makes sense too. Hopefully UC will be successful.

    But I draw the line at what might be perceived by some as forced labour. And there are others who share this view.

    I believe one benefit claimant is seeking judicial review of the ‘scheme’.

  35. @Mike N – Understood. It’s complicated, and I do think on balance they may well come under political pressure on the plans you highlighted.

    On the economy; I posted yesterday about some interesting findings from the tax take from a number of consumption based taxes (landfill tax, aggregates levy, CCL and road fuel duty) with all of these declining over the last year and being consistent with a shrinking economy. I was looking at these to try and work out why apparently overall taxes are rising but GDP is falling.

    This morning Deloittes have published data showing that there were 10% more retail closures in Q2 compared to the year before. I haven’t seen the study details, but clearly, for those arguing that the GDP figures are wrong, this will take some explaining.

    This is another bit of real world evidence of actual economic decisions that appear to back the view that the economy is in trouble. My best guess is that the overall tax take is probably being distorted by things like inflation, changes to tax policy (more 40% tax payers) and more aggressive anti avoidance by HMRC (they’ve just announced an additional £500m from targeting plumbers, for example). Employment data probably represents a changing pattern of response to difficult trading conditions, but other data more directly linked to economic activity all seems to agree with the GDP figures.

  36. tingedfringe

    I always find this an interesting paradox – England is a nation with a state church and a second chamber which bishops sit in (and even when we reform it to elect the chamber, we have to leave the bishops in). But in politics, faith matters little to us.
    But the US, with it’s first amendment and “no religious test” clause effectively requires faith from it’s politicians.

    It’s a paradox that’s often been remarked on, more or less since the USA was founded; but it’s strange that it still applies to such a great extent. I think it’s partly because those who wrote the US Constitution were often Enlightenment deists, sceptical about religion and wary about its use in surpressing liberty[1].

    The main reason though for trying to keep religion out of public life was that the thirteen colonies were all too enthusiastic about the role of religion in everyday life – it was just that most of them[2] supported different varieties of it. The only possible compromise that would hold the new country together was “none of the above”.

    [1] It’s a source of endless amusement that those keenest to pledge themselves to the US Constitution are those most likely to denounce the ‘librul elites’ who actual wrote the thing.

    [2] Except Rhode Island?

  37. ALEC

    @This morning Deloittes have published data showing that there were 10% more retail closures in Q2 compared to the year before…….. clearly, for those arguing that the GDP figures are wrong, this will take some explaining.”

    No it won’t.

    Anyone who really wants to understand could read Deloittes report on Retail trends back in March :-

    “Four out of 10 shops will have to shut in the next five years as consumers turn their backs on traditional stores in favour of online shopping, according to a report which casts more doubt on the future of the beleaguered British high street.

    With retail experts increasingly painting a picture of a future high street lined with coffee shops and internet kiosks, a report from Deloitte highlights how the boundaries between physical and virtual space are becoming blurred with thousands of shops likely to face closure in coming years.

    To remain competitive, retailers may have to reduce their property portfolios by 30–40% in the next five years and adapt what remains to meet the changing demands of consumers, Deloitte said. The growing trend in the US for large warehouse-style retail outlets to have free in-store Wi-Fi to help customers shop online is expected to spread around the world. Tesco has already announced plans for such facilities in its UK stores.

    “The majority of UK retailers have simply got too many stores,” said Silvia Rindone, a director in the retail consulting practice at Deloitte and author of the Store of the Future report.”

    Guardian
    20 March 2012.

    Online retail sales were up 14% last year & similar increase is forecast this year.

  38. SOCALLIBERAL.
    Good Morning to you. In Northern Ireland some people believe they are living in Ireland. Others believe they are living in Britain.The Anthem of the Irish Republic is never played in England, Wales or Scotland during the Rugby Six Nations, but for the last ten years ‘we’ have played the English Anthem (The Queen) in Ireland.

    TONY BLAIR.
    Good to see that many people here now recognise his brilliance when persuading voters to give London The Games.

    Tripe Dip Recession being reported in the Daily M, with knives out, unfairly to GO.

  39. CROSSBAT

    :-)

    The Times reveals this morning that the whole Cabinet saw private film of the rehearsals .

    Only Hunt & Gove are reported to have commented adversely-Hunt to make some change proposals & Gove just didn’t like it.

    Your enthusiasm for Boris is shared by TM who writes a paean to him in this morning’s Times.

    In a very interesting analysis of Boris’s “world view” he includes this :-

    ” people like him because he likes them”.

    I’m pleased to see that Labour ministers like Carl Sergeant , who said the OC was ” the best Labour Party political broadcast I’ve seen in a while” have failed utterly to understand Boris & DC.

    I think TM is spot on in his Times piece about Boris.

    The trick for the Conservative Party is finding the best place for Boris to do his thing.

    I think he would do a great job at either Trade & Industry-or Culture Media & Sport.

  40. COLIN.
    Good Morning to you from a glorious Olympic sunny beach.

    Gove is interesting, since he has, I think, a ‘heroic’ view of British History, which would not include the stories of suffering employed in Danny Boyle’s version of British History, which is ‘History from Below’ rather than the deeds of the ‘Important People’.

    That explains why there is a debate going on now about the future of the History Curriculum for schools, which Gove and the Prince’s Trust are helping to form.

  41. If you think about it, the most extraordinary thing about the questions on whether people ‘believed’ the ‘economic’ figures or the ’employment’ ones is that it needed to be asked at all. After all, despite the perfectly valid quibbles there might be about various macroeconomic statistics[1], the best indicator on how the economy is doing is always going to be economic statistics.

    Politicians have always tended to downplay facts that don’t suit them, but to try to deny them completely marks a new low. Amber may be pleased that this position was rejected 61% to 18%, but I’m personally horrified that the nay-sayers are more than 1.8%. The last thing Britain needs is a fifth of its voters detached from reality[2], including (just) a plurality of Conservatives.

    The real danger is that Conservative politicians themselves will start to fall for this self-delusional nonsense – believing their own propaganda. The tiny, narcissistic politico-media-PR world they inhabit tends to encourage this – the spin is not just more important than the facts but becomes the ‘true’ reality. Unfortunately when the results of decisions taken from this viewpoint meet the real world, the consequences are unexpected and unpleasant.

    I suppose they could always pretend that the results of their folly simply don’t exist and continue on their spiral of self-delusion, becoming more and more detached from reality. But you can’t go on like that for ever.

    [1] As has been often enough pointed out on here, the rise or fall in the unemployment figures, of which so much is made each month, is often just random statistical variation of the MoE type we mutter about five evenings a week.

    [2] Interestingly women seem significantly less likely to take this view than men. This isn’t because of their Party support, though I suppose it could be because they are less partisan in that support.

  42. @ chrislane1945

    Tripe Dip Recession being reported in the Daily M

    Nothing personal. We all make typos.

    But I found that one kind of interesting….

  43. CHRISLANE

    Thanks.

    I found myself very conflicted when watching the Brunel tableau. I immediately reacted badly to cigar chewing top hatted industrialists grinning as they destroyed the lives of downtrodden rural peasants .

    But then I remembered the poems of one of my favourite poets, John Clare – and the Enclosures.

    I guess it’s how you tell ’em.

    The trouble with recorded history when there is two millenia of it, and two hours to portray it-there will always be things left out.

    And for me there were huge gaps & omissions-eg Dickens – DNA -Shakespeare-you name it.

    ..and far too much Film & TV stuff, the latter being obviously parochial in the extreme.

    But that’s what you get if you hire a Film Maker-and a former Marxist to boot.

    People liked it-end of.

    I hope our children are taught a balanced account of their history-it’s glories & it’s sins-what more can one ask

  44. All this talk of the Olympic opening ceremony being left wing is complete nonsense. Britain is generally a cooperative nation, with people willing to work for a common cause. The opening ceremony celebrated entrepreneurs with the piece on the industrial revolution and on the other side of the coin, it mentioned the struggle for workers rights. People should be celebrating that Britain is a nation where we protect the rights of workers.

    The bit on the NHS was also not political. It just pointed out that we are a caring nation and have a universal health care system. It also celebrated GOSH and how as a nation we cherish Children.

    It does annoy me that people perceive the NHS and workers rights as being left wing. This is not really true, as we all pay council taxes which partly funds the various services that are available. Are people from the right of politics really suggesting that we cancel most services and people should buy them from private companies individually if they want them ?

  45. @Colin

    “Your enthusiasm for Boris is shared by TM who writes a paean to him in this morning’s Times.”

    Steady; not quite enthusiasm, more a recognition that he might have one or two more saving graces than I first thought! As the Independent leader commented, he’s more overtly left-leaning on social issues like immigration and gay rights because he probably feels he has to be rather than because it comes naturally to him. He is leader of a fairly liberal and left leaning city and it would be surprising if he didn’t realise, from a realpolitik point of view, that he has to go with the flow to survive. Economically conservative to please the City and socially liberal to win over instinctively non-Tory Londoners; a clever combination that has served him well up to now, but only by the skin of his teeth in May this year. Maybe his apparent enthusiasm for Boyle’s Opening Ceremony is part of the act he feel he needs to perform. In that sense, he’s rather like Mayor Bloomberg in New York; a former Republican (now Independent, interestingly) who is allowed to preside over a firmly Democrat city because he didn’t/doesn’t behave very much like a Republican. One such example is his stance on much stricter gun controls.

    As for the Tory Cabinet being “enthused” by Boyle’s masterpiece, I’m sceptical about that to be honest, although I’m not surprised that only Gove and his friend Hunt were overtly critical. I quite like Tristram Hunt’s take on it, published in yesterday’s Observer. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say and, typically from a fine historian and one of Labour’s rising stars, I thought he was spot on: –

    “……………But what a different history to that offered by the Thames two months ago, when the jubilee flotilla celebrated the Queen’s public service but also codified a staid and nostalgic national identity. This was always the fear when that ghastly doubledecker bus had appeared in Beijing. By contrast, Boyle’s Britain ebbed and flowed, succeeded and failed in equal measures, but offered an attractively contradictory, complicated and above all creative conception of these Isles of Wonder.”

    He concluded: –

    “They were never going to like it, but the reaction of the cultural right to Danny Boyle’s brilliant Olympics pageant speaks volumes about their incompatibility with modern Britain.”

    Messrs Hitchens and Burley, take note!

  46. @Tingedfringe

    Fascinating poll, thank you!

  47. Re CAP and other work schemes, I recall there was an SDP policy in the early eighties whereby companies would receive the unemployment benefit of any long-term unemployed people they hired as a sort of ‘offset’ to their wages. That way unemployment falls although the JSA bill doesn’t, but then those people would be paying tax. I was wondering what people’s thoughts of this are? I can see the drawbacks, but it doesn’t sound like a *terrible* idea.

    PS. Scotland. (just thought I’d spice up the conversation)

  48. I don’t know if Anthony intends to share some further details later, but there has recently been an interesting poll of Tory Party members, the results of which are published in today’s Independent. There are some really quite startling findings, not least that a majority (53 per cent) of the party membership believe Labour is most likely to be in office after the next election while only 47 per cent think the Tories will be. Much more along similar lines is revealed in the poll which suggests a crisis of morale inside the party.

    There has also been a collapse in the membership of the party, and this is covered in a related article in the same paper: –

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-membership-in-crisis-as-the-grassroots-desert-7986155.html

    If the party foot-soldiers are losing the faith, where do you go?

  49. I think the opening ceremony gives us a hint of how the left can win over the hearts and minds of the voter. There were many things there to be proud of that angry Tory of Tunbridge Wells would froth at.

    Apart from the NHS there was the Jam the Pistols and horror of horrors…Rappers!

    I don’t think it plays directly into polls but next time a politician wants to rant about not being to afford the NHS or other public services…the mood might well have subtly changed.

    Can Ed M grab the initiative…again?

    The other thing is that the Olympics might, just might, strengthen the pro-union feel in Scotland.

  50. @Crossbat

    Governing parties do always lose members though – Labour saw a massive slump 97-2010.

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