The YouGov/Sunday Times results are now up here, with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7% – still within the margin of error of the 9-10 point Labour leads that YouGov have now been showing for a couple of months. The rest of the poll had questions on exam results, tuition fees and Julian Assange.

On exam results, 48% think the reason A-level results are consistently improving is because the exams are getting easier, 22% think teaching and school standards are improving, 12% that pupils are cleverer or working harder. 61% of people think it is right to introduce a tougher marking regime.

Turning to higher education, 30% of people think that a university education is worth £9000 a year, 53% think it is not worth £9000 a year. However, asked if they think graduates will or not be be better off if one balances the debt they will incur from university against the increased earnings they may achieve people are evenly split – 41% think most graduates will still end up better off, 42% think they will end up worse off (this does pose the question of how some people can think that a university education isn’t worth £9000, but that people paying that will still end up better off in the long run.)

On a different subject, 60% of people think Equador was wrong to let Julian Assange shelter in their embassy, and 55% think they were wrong to offer him asylum. However a majority (54%) also think that Britain should respect diplomatic convention and not attempt to enter the Equadorian embassy to arrest Assange (33% of people think we should). By 51% to 25% people think that Assange would receive a fair trial in Sweden, but by 51% to 29% they think he would not in the USA.


239 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 7”

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  1. @ Billy Bob

    “Waxman, Henry. Not the best name for a superhero perhaps, but I liked this comment: Democratic colleagues routinely joke about his persistence and tenacity. “Don’t get into an argument with Henry,” says Miller. “But if you do, bring your lunch. He won’t let you go.”

    h
    ttp://www.thenation.com/article/waxman-democrats-eliot-ness

    Funnily enough an old friend of mine bears more than a passing resemblance to Henry – his parents emigrated from the same region but to the UK.

    Websites. I have to say – this not a criticism of Waxman, it applies just as much to Labour candidates here – the first thing that hits you are the sign up/donate/contribute/get invoved buttons… which is great and it has proved a no fuss way to raise funds/reach the faithful; a bit off-putting if you are just visiting the site to get the feel of a candidate you don’t know.

    Huffman (you are right, his profile is 3rd person) – follow the Youtube links from his site and you start liking the guy already. Brownley – multimedia on her site means a string of photos, so you have to go to the trouble of searching… in which case you find some mediocre performances (KADYTV), some better, plus the one where she shadows security guard Chauncey Jones covering a 16 acre college campus for the day. I’m not sying she wants to be slick – she doesn’t – but the media profile needs more definition imo.

    Btw, I will be following the 36th district Dr Raul Riuz vs Mary Bono Pack challenge. Michael Shure (TYT February interview) seems to think he is in with a shout.”

    As for Waxman, he grew up above his dad’s grocery store in a less than fasionable part of town (similar to another famous politician you’re familiar with). I think his name is unlikely for a superhero but then again, isn’t that true of most superheroes? They look unassuming and ordinary by day even though they’re not. I thought if I was going to compare any MP to Henry, I’d say the former MP Chris Mullin of Sunderland South(cause’ of the slight resemblance). Like if Chris Mullin represented Kensington and routinely won 70% of the vote for Labour.

    Well you can’t do it cause’ it’d be illegal but if you were legally permitted to do so, I’d tell you to NOT donate money to Henry through his website. If you’re going to donate to someone like that, you should at least get the courtesy of a breakfast and a photo.

    I have some problems actually with the current trend in online political fundraising (even as I encourage it and participate in it).

    Raul Ruiz is a longshot. Mary Bono used to have one of the more Democratic seats but with redistricting, it’s gotten slightly more Republican. A new inland empire seat (CA-41) has been drawn which is likely to elect a Democrat (a Dem pick-up) and I feel that as a result, CA-36 is more of a longshot though not impossible.

    Latinos have swung heavily behind Obama, the only question is turnout. If there’s a large turnout in California this November, several House seats may fall our way.

  2. @ Howard

    “The Chicago Tribune reports:
    ‘An 18-year-old was killed and a 14-year-old was shot in separate shootings last night, two of 13 people hurt in overnight gun violence across the city. Those shootings are among at least 30 people shot since Friday evening, 6 of them fatally.’

    Sunday isn’t over yet. I just wonder if our friend from America has any insight as to what these data mean for the coming PE.”

    Sadly, nothing. :(

    In terms of the gun debate, it’s not something that most people relate to unlike the mass shooting in Aurora or the mass shooting in Tuscon that nearly killed Gabby Giffords. Every suburban town in this country has a theater like the one in Aurora.

    And generally, people don’t care about the plight of the urban folks, especially the urban poor (unless they are urban folk). So the fact that people were victims of gun violence in Chicago, most likely in blighted parts of town, isn’t something most people are going to care about. I think Ronald Reagan’s success speaks volumes to this.

    “The only thing that could ‘embarrass’ the USA is not having enough oil. Same goes for us actually.”

    I don’t think that’s true. I remember the response to Abu Grahib and it wasn’t pretty for Dubya.

    @ Old Nat

    “Only on sites like this will you find a preponderance of people who are committed to a particular party – and not all of us who have joined a party for one particular purpose have that blind faith in it as a vehicle for all that is good, that I see in so many partisans for the UK parties.”

    You know, it’s funny. I feel like I like a lot of your politicians far more than you do (even within your own parties).

    “Republican candidate talks about “legitimate rape”!

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/19/republican-todd-akin-rape-pregnancy

    With so many of my family in the USA, I do have concerns as to their safety when a major political party considers such an appalling person to be worthy of being a candidate.”

    And yeah, my response was “omg, wtf?” I mean, really? Really?

  3. @ Old Nat

    You might appreciate this diary at DKos.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/19/1121087/-Aug-19-1953-When-the-Eisenhower-Administration-destroyed-Iran-s-secular-democracy?showAll=yes

    Those Dulles brothers were evil. What they did can never be forgiven or excused.

  4. oldnat

    “Your comment was less than clever”

    ha ha sory about that. I don’t do clever often.*

    (*ever)

  5. although I don’t defend the old bigot and his legitimate rape nonsense, I think he meant that “if it was really rape”…

    still contemptible hogwash as it implies that lots of women/girls are pretending tht consensual sex was rape, which I think is highly unlikely and offensive.

    I wouldn’t vote for him.

  6. CHRIS LANE

    @I am sorry, you are not correct about New College, london.
    They DO pay up front. It is a private enterprise new venture.”

    I wasn’t disputing it-merely pointing to that financial advice link, which shows that for most undergrads that is not a sensible thing to do.

  7. @ Old Nat

    I’m going to bed but on this Todd Akin thing, I’m kinda glad he said what he said. Becuase his position is the Republican Party position. They do not believe in any legal abortions, no ifs, ands, or buts. This is true even in cases of rape and incest. This is Paul Ryan’s longstanding position (he’s been a co-sponsor of several of Akin’s anti-abortion bills) even though he may now try and backslide on this. It is Mitt Romney’s position as of this year or last though he may also now try and backslide on this. It is far better for an ignoramus like Akin to get up there and say what he really thinks because that will wake up the public and educate people as to what these people think and what they’re about. These guys often win the votes of uninformed voters who would never support them if they knew what they stood for. That is how they operate. The more educated the voters are, the better.

    IMHO, Tony Benn would have been a far more popular and successful politician in the United States than he was in the UK (even with the same political positions).

  8. Good Morning All.
    i. New season for MUFC tonight.

    ii. OLD NAT; I think that in your part of the world, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party won the majority of the working class and middle class protestant vote, partly due to the irish Home Rule issue, and Glasgow Rangers and Hearts connection, while the catholic vote is solidly Labour.

    iii. Colin; Yes, the weird thing is that the new loan system has actually increased the indebtedness of people and Government. The young people have the debts, and the Government gives the students the money, which may well not be paid back.

    iii. FOOD PRICES, even though inflation may be falling, prices of good foods are rising faster than wages for many people. Healey always said that Inflation was a greater danger electorally than unemployment.

  9. Old cybernat Jings, Olympic fever appears to have resulted in a record descent to personal abuse.

    I’d be more interested to read whether you think the SNP (well, Alex Salmond) will call a referendum he is guaranteed to lose.

  10. LANDOCAKES.

    Good Morning to you; I thought the Referendum was promised by Alex Salmond?

    The other question on Scotland is about whether Labour or the Lib Dems will benefit most from a fall from favour of the SNP.

  11. Chris Lane,

    – “… the catholic vote is solidly Labour.”

    You are out of date there. According to research conducted by the University of Strathclyde (ie. Prof. John Curtice et al) 43% of Scottish Catholics voted SNP at the May 2011 general election, while 36% voted SLAB. That may be the first time that any party other than Labour has taken the largest share of the Scottish Catholic vote since the advent of universal suffrage.

    Compulsory reading for people interested in Scottish electoral behaviour:

    “The electoral research that figure is based on was published this month by Strathclyde University. It suggests that the SNP pretty much swept the boards with all sections of Scottish society.

    … even when the SNP has been riding high in the past it never quite beat Labour for a largest share of ‘the Catholic vote.’

    … So allow me, if you will, to nominate three politicians—and only one of them a nationalist—who can perhaps help us to understand just why Catholics went SNP in May—Tony Blair, Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond.”

    http://www.sconews.co.uk/opinion/10479/charting-the-electoral-winds-of-change/

    By the way, the assertion that Proportional Representation in Scottish local government was a huge body blow to the Labour Party in undeniable. I was astounded when FM Jack McConnell allowed his Lib Dem coalition partners to get their way on PR. It was an epic and historic desertion of SLAB’s usually rock-solid modus operandi: self-interest. One of the few genuine “turning points” in Scottish politics in the last half century.

  12. Whoops. HTML error. That last paragraph is my own comment, not a quote from the Scottish Catholic Observer article.

  13. Chris Lane,

    I think that you will find that Land o cakes is uninterested in the facts. A “fairytale Scandinavian monster” phenomenon not unusual in blog threads, tant pis.

    – “The other question on Scotland is about whether Labour or the Lib Dems will benefit most from a fall from favour of the SNP.”

    Hurrah! An easy one. The answer is: Labour.

    But do not for one moment let yourself be misled that a ‘No’ vote means a fall from favour of the SNP. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The biggest threat to the SNP is a ‘Yes’ vote. Eg. I for one will be resigning my SNP membership (and with it my significant monthly direct debit) post-independence, as I see no role for a nationalist political party once national self-determination has been re-achieved. And I know that many, many SNP members and voters are of the same mind.

  14. STUART DICKSON.
    Very many thanks for this update.

    In England and Wales too, the catholic vote was less solidly Labour. MORI confirms this.

    In our part of the UK, Labour’s ‘liberal’ agenda against the church adoption agencies and perceived hostility against catholic schools help to explain.

  15. Today, we’ve considered the effects of the proposed Boundary Changes on West Mercia. Follow our series complete with unique maps, charts facts and figures: http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/08/west-midlands-boundary-changes-part-1-west-mercia/

  16. The university loan system is even worse than you say, Chris. Whereas before people who had a free university or further education qualification might have staryed in the UK out of a sense of owing something to society, now if they stay their reward will be to pay back a big loan.

    So the best people will go abraod, and pay back zilch.

    I think it should be free. The money still has to be paid up front by the Government under either system. A progressive tax system is what we need.

  17. @NickP

    I’m not a fan of the student loan system, but:

    1) surely the government debt is no greater then if they’d had to borrow this money to fund universities directly – in fact some of it will get paid back by graduates (which previous debt wouldn’t have been)

    2) the debt is a contract which is still valid if the graduate moves abroad. It is collected through the taxation system though. In effect anyone ignoring the debt whilst abroad will be racking up interest and will be liable for the amount if they ever return…

  18. @NickP

    It goes further than that. Future graduates are the people we’re relying on to fix the economic mess their elders landed them in. And we’re charging them for the chance to make sure we keep our pensions and lifestyle whilst informing them that they can’t have the same.

    The response of most sensible Governments to the economic crisis has been to expand HE. The Germans have scrapped their fees. We’re the exception, and that’s not because the UK are far-sighted mavericks. It’s because we’ve got it wrong.

  19. Best prices – Outcome of next UK GE

    No Overall Majority 13/8 (Hills, Paddy Power)
    Labour Majority 15/8 (BetFred)
    Conservative Majority 5/2 (Ladbrokes)
    Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition 5/1 (Hills)
    Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition 6/1 (PP)
    Conservative Minority 7/1 (PP)
    Liberal Democrat Majority 100/1 (various)
    Any other party Majority 125/1 (SkyBet)

  20. If Labour can win Corby with a substantial majority, on a good turnout, then I’d expect LAB MAJ to overtake NOM as the shortest price on the betting markets.

  21. the sheep

    How do you collect a student debt if student lives elsewhere? Even if they retire back here, you cannot collect the money.

  22. suart dickson

    “If Labour can win Corby with a substantial majority…”

    When.

  23. There has been discussion on UKPR about jobs, hours worked.

    An article on the G spot may be of interest to some:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/19/britian-labour-figures-hide-real-workload

  24. @NickP

    The same way that any civil debt is collected.

    The questions are: if abroad, will the local courts uphold the debt, alternatively are their UK assets that can be seized. If returned then you send the bailiffs around. You can grab what money you can.

    In this sense it is less avoidable than a graduate tax where you remove yourself from repaying by removing yourself from the taxation system. There is a little more complexity here in that there is a thirty year cut off when debts are wiped. I’m not sure if that also covers debts that should have been repaid whilst graduate was abroad earning over the amount, or not.

  25. CHRIS REILLY.
    Many thanks for your brilliant post.

    NICK P.
    Fully agreed about education being a right.

    STUART DICKSON.
    Thanks for your figures. THE TIMES this morning has interesting points about the role of the Civil Service at this stage of the political cycle.

    Off to veterans tennis, and then waiting for Van Persie at Everton.

  26. Can I remind people of the comments policy. This is not a site for people to criticise or praise government or opposition policy or to go on out each others views of the government/opposition so please don’t spend a long type writing up screeds about how policy X,Y or Z is horrid/wonderful as I’ll just delete it!

    It applies even when they are insightful and well-written. The fact remains this is not the place for it, and it is incompatible with non-partisan discussion.

  27. OK Anthony, point taken. Sorry for violating the comments policy.

    Let’s try this again.

    Re: fees policy. Because political pressure meant that the Bill had to pass very soon after the Browne Review, the Bill didn’t get full scrutiny. This has happened before, of course, and will doubtless happen again – all Governments find themselves in the position where it is vital that a Bill must pass even if they’re not sure exactly what’s in it yet. It had some other effects that may yet be quite wide-reaching, but the most significant were on the tuition fees side of things.

    Unfortunately, this time the problem was that there was an issue with the evidence base and with one of the key assumptions around the finances of the new loans system – specifically, that we don’t have enough evidence about the long-term career earnings of graduates, especially in a labour market that changes as rapidly as our does, and what we do have suggests that the original model was optimistic.

    Unfortunately, this flaw was not spotted until after the Bill had passed. Because lifetime earnings for the average graduate may have been overestimated (and it doesn’t have to be – and isn’t – by much), it means that the returns from the scheme to the Exchequer have, quite possibly, been also overestimated. This is, of course, the money that is supposed to fund the HE sector in future and means that at some point (Informed guesses say 10-15 years) there could be a black hole in sector finances of multiple billions of pounds (this is the view of a number of informed parties), meaning either the taxpayer could be on the hook for a sizeable sum or UK higher education gets gutted.

    An exacerbating factor is the decision to link public sector pay rises to CPI (about 40% of graduates work in the public sector), whilst fee interest rates are linked to 1, 2 or 3 points above RPI, dependent on salary. This means that the average graduate, on an average starting salary, using long-term CPI and RPI trends, will probably pay for the full 30 years, pay back about 27k, and then have the debt written off still owing more than the original value of the loan.

    Unfortunately, it still isn’t clear how far the original model was out and it’s extremely hard to find out (the Government is trying very hard indeed), but the nature of the model (lending all the fees up front to several hundred thousand people a year to be repaid over 30 years) means that a small discrepancy adds up significantly, over the lifetime of millions of repayments.

    This also makes it difficult to sell the loan book to private bidders.

    The Bill cannily has a clause in it stating that the Government can change repayment terms without notice or consultation (I don’t think they’re allowed to do it retroactively, though), which means that, given returns may not be what was originally anticipated, graduates could well find their repayment terms changing.

    Reducing the fees threshold is likely, although as it’s held at 21k until 2017, by that point it’s quite possible that it will already start to take graduates earning under average starting salaries (currently, average grad starting salaries are a hair under 20k). The size of monthly repayments are the other obvious potential change.

    There is a suspicion that the policy may not survive the election anyway; by 2015, nobody will have had to repay under it and there is disquiet in Whitehall about the finances of it.

  28. Anthony

    I hope this version is more appropriate for your site. I think the policy is an interesting example of how the policy-making process can go wrong if the evidence base is not as strong as it could be, but if you feel you’d rather not carry this sort of thing, then I respect that – it’s your site, and your comments policy is one of the things that makes it so good.

  29. Old Nat
    ‘Whatever makes you think that people don’t already do that?’

    I don’t. Your comments re Scotland provide interesting background in this part of UK, but I think the voting patterns in England often reflect the times also. I agree about Party allegiance.

    ‘Partisans are the exception rather than the rule. Only on sites like this will you find a preponderance of people who are committed to a particular party – and not all of us who have joined a party for one particular purpose have that blind faith in it as a vehicle for all that is good, that I see in so many partisans for the UK parties.

    Again I agree 100%. I would really like to find a party that meets my interpretation of Liberal, and the old Liberal Party came a lot closer than the LDs. I have often on this blog spoken up for NC and DC as in many ways they reflect my views (resulting in suggestions of me being a closet Tory). The thing is that many influential Tories identify closely with the Daily Mail attitudes and the Mail is imo the most illiberal of newspapers. They certainly do not support NC or DC, nor reflect my political, social and ethical opinions.

    It is interesting that my closest friends in the local Party have all changed allegiance (although this is partly due to local mismanagement) . Where there once were 5 committed LD activities and Councillors, the are now 2 Green members, one Labour member, one Tory voter and a no party disillusioned person. This leaves me who still votes LD but is no longer a party member.

  30. If students in Yorkshire vote for parties other than the LD’s, then current LD MP’s in Yorkshire may find it difficult to remain in their seats.

    http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/at-a-glance/main-section/lib-dems-face-backlash-from-angry-students-at-ballot-box-1-4849644

  31. hey…Bairstow has decided to go for it…

  32. ‘61% of people think it is right to introduce a tougher marking regime.’

    There are two ways to make these assessments. You can take all those entered and locate the average of the group itself as the benchmark for grading, or you can establish a benchmark external to the group, perhaps established by the average over several year groups, and mark against that.

    Those are the two choices and it doesn’t take long to see that both are far from perfect in establishing real ability by examination. In the former it is abitrary over periods of time and cannot measure improvements in teaching, the latter because teaching (and funding) is focused on passing the exams, not educating children.

    That’s also why course work was introduced, but that was abused by parents doing the work.

    In other words there is no perfect system available and constantly griping about it is an example of the just world fallacy, where these problems could be easily solved but aren”t because of the PC Brigade or whatever.

    The real reason for our troubles in this area are down to the very silly idea that funding should be linked to league table achievements. That’s why ‘grade inflation’ is a problem, nothing else. Get rid of that and you are faced with new, but different, problems.

  33. R Huckle – voodoo poll. Ignore.

  34. @OldNat @Henry

    I don’t think the polls support you. There seems to be a group of voters who always vote for party X. They are partisan in that they appear to vote pretty much regardless of self interest, policies or candidates. This shouldn’t be surprising, most people aren’t intensely political and may not know much about any of these.

    For example, on policy, I am continually bemused by the assumption of many (not necessarily you two) on this site that Labour will be in trouble unless they come up with convincing policies. Very few people actually know what a party’s policies are, unless the media start making something of them. This has been tested on this site where every now and then someone posts a link that suggests which party to vote for based on policy. The number of surprised commentators is always a joy to read. And if we can’t get it right?

  35. thesheep

    I’ve made that point many times. There are more anti-Tories if you include actual pro-Lab as anti-Tory than there are actual Tory voters, unless the Tories widen their appeal.

    The coming home of the LD anti-Tories has sewn up the next election unless Lab come up with policies so hated that nobody would vote for them.

  36. Meanwhile a source within Downing Street has told the Times today that the Coalition parties are running out of things they agree on.

    ‘At the start. we thought we were being clever by pushing off the difficult decisions into the long grass. Now this looks less wise as all the most intractable issues return all at once,’ the source said.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2190871/Mutinous-mandarins-plan-rebellion-Coalition-pledge-help-Labour-write-manifesto.html#ixzz245V8Lk1x

    I think these sources are stating the obvious. This coalition has run its course. There is no point continuing until 2015, because public arguments will do both parties damage.

  37. @TheSheep @NickP

    Let’s say that a CompSci graduate gets a job offer from Amazon/Google/Microsoft/Apple in the states? Or EA/RIM/Ubisoft in Canada?

    What exactly is to stop them picking up lock stock and barrel and heading of there, and abandoning their student debt in the UK. UK Student debt isn’t counted on Credit Reports, there’s no legal repercussions if you intend to live in the US/Canada from now on, you can even return to the UK on holiday. I know this because *I know people who are doing it*. And of course once they do, they cement themselves into staying away.

    The circumstances have been set up again for a disastrous ‘brain drain’.

  38. MIKEMS.
    Good post on education, Thank you.

    in A Level History, course work, (unit 4) remains. This is open to abuse of course, and students whose parents can pay for tuition clearly benefit.

    At GCSE level, Course Work has been replaced by ‘Controlled Assessments’, which dominate the first term of Year 11 (Form V).

    In my own main subject, History, the two long periods of study which I took, for example Britain 1815-1939 and Europe 1815-1939 over two years have been replaced by one examined paper, for example England 1625-1689, which we do in my school. The students also write their Long Essay (course work) which is quite demanding.

    On a wider front, teaching for skills and targets has replaced education, inspiration and thinking tangentially. The Lower Sixth has been ruined by the AS exam which breaks up the Summer (Trinity) Term.

    I hope Mr Gove can ‘sort it’ but he is beginning to run out of time, and there are many educational pressure groups militating against his work.

  39. @Jayblanc

    I didn’t say it would be easy to go after the money, simply that it was an outstanding debt and chasable. The current system is new and untested, so although you may know people who are doing it owing debt on the old system, you certainly don’t on the new one. One of the decisive factors with debt is does the cost of chasing it exceed the money owed. With £9k per year on fees alone it may do in future.

    To be honest if you get a job offer from Apple you’re going anyway, the debt won’t be an issue. Anyone brave enough to move to RIM though…

  40. A weekend poll of Scottish voters suggests that over the Olympic period opinion shifted in favour of staying within the United Kingdom,

    The sample of 1,177 adults question by YouGov, for the Scottish Mail on Sunday, produced a majority of 60 per cent opposed to Scotland becoming an independent country, with 27 per cent in favour and 13 undecided.

    The poll also showed nearly two thirds of 18 to 24 year old opposed to separation from the rest of the UK. This contrasts with a YouGov poll taken at the end of last month when 54 per cent were opposed to independence, 30 per cent were in favour, and 16 undecided.
    ————————
    This isn’t a Scottish thread, right enough but at least the above is about polling. :-)

  41. R Huckle

    Thanks for link.

    I note in the article “There were also hundreds or proposals in the Coalition agreement that were not properly thought through.”

    No sh*t!

    This coalition has surely been instrumental in consigning the concept of coalition government in the UK to the rubbish bin, IMO.

    Whatever the LDs thought they would get from coalition has not materialised and will never materialise.

    The best thing the LDs can do for this country, for the people and for their party is to exit the coalition now, IMO.

    The LDs cannot be a party of opposition in government.

  42. Amber, I reported that poll on the previous thread.

    I’m surprised that Anthony has failed to report it, as YouGov did the fieldwork (although it was NOT a YouGov poll, the research agency being Progressive Scottish Opinion).

  43. I’d have thought the obvious lesson of this government was that coalitions are less likely to work when the rank and file of the major party in the coalition is hell-bent on proving that coalitions don’t work.

    The coalitions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland never had these problems – that might be because none of them involved the Conservative party.

  44. This is an interesting development, both in the Scottish civil legal system and in public healthcare:

    ‘No fault compensation plan examined in Scotland’

    “… a panel of independent experts, led by Professor Sheila McLean, a specialist in law and medical ethics, recommended a no-fault system be introduced in Scotland.

    A number of countries, including Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and New Zealand, already have this type of system, as do parts of the US.

    Introducing no-fault compensation would mean patients who have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of their treatment could receive a payout without having to resort to court action.

    Patients would still need to prove that their treatment caused harm but would no longer need to prove negligence.”

    http://www.hsj.co.uk/news/no-fault-compensation-plan-examined-in-scotland/5048449.article

  45. Chris,

    – “The coalitions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland never had these problems – that might be because none of them involved the Conservative party.”

    You beat me to it! ;)

    The Lib-Lab coalition government in Edinburgh (1999-2007) was moderately successful at times, especially during its first term. But then of course, SLAB and the SLDs had already been working together closely for very many years, in the Scottish Constitutional Convention, Scotland Forward etc. And the respective memberships generally liked and respected each other.

    I knew from the start that the Con-Lib coalition would be a slow-motion car crash, and if anyone can get hold of the post-election footage of all the senior talking heads in the days after the last UK GE, just take a look at the horror on David Steel’s face as it slowly dawns on him what his English colleagues are about to do to the beloved party he once led. Sometimes a picture really does say a thousand words.

  46. Stuart

    The Mail on Sunday article is a bit odd – even ignoring the usual “Olympics alters politics, no honest it does” guff.

    It says “YouGov carried out a survey of 1,177 adults between Tuesday and Thursday last week on behalf of Progressive Scottish Opinion”. PSO claim to have a panel of 30,000 in Scotland which I would imagine to be bigger than the number on YouGov’s panel, so I would imagine the only reason would be YouGov’s experience in doing and analysing political surveys rather than just consumer-type ones. But it seems odd to go to a rival company for that, and it may just be the MoS getting confused.

    In any case PSO aren’t British Polling Council members and don’t seem to have anywhere on their website for detailed tables, so the details in the MoS will have to be treated with some scepticism (what was the actual sample size for the 18-24 year olds of which so much is made for example).

    On the subject of the BPC, I notice that Panelbase.com have joined, though I can’t see anywhere on their website as yet to show results.

  47. CHRISLANE.

    So much of the so called graduate debt is “virtual” debt.

    As the financial advice I posted points out, many will not earn enough to trigger a repayment. Many will reach to max years and see the balance written off.

    Only the very high earners will experience high repayments & high interest.

    I think the total Graduate Debt which the Government never in fact collects will become an issue in the future..

    My eldest grandson has just graduated. He has never worried about his graduate loan. He thinks it will never effect him-not for a long time anyway.
    He has just got a one year course at Drama College & has negotiated a Business Development Loan with Barclays to fund it.
    That is a real loan, with real repayments. He takes that very seriously.

  48. @Jayblanc

    From the DWP: If you go abroad for more than three months, you need to let the Student Loans Company know. You need to fill in an overseas income assessment form and give evidence of your income or means of support while you’re abroad.  You’ll then be given a repayment schedule.

    There’s no mention of the penalty for anyone moving abroad yet failing to inform the DWP – perhaps they assume all graduates would tell them ;-D

  49. “On a different subject, 60% of people think Equador was wrong to let Julian Assange shelter in their embassy, and 55% think they were wrong to offer him asylum. However a majority (54%) also think that Britain should respect diplomatic convention and not attempt to enter the Equadorian embassy to arrest Assange (33% of people think we should). By 51% to 25% people think that Assange would receive a fair trial in Sweden, but by 51% to 29% they think he would not in the USA.”

    Forgot to comment on this. Agree with the first part, disagree with the second part. What Ecuador is doing is wrong but I think Britain should respect diplomatic convention (unless there’s some sort of exception that allows them to get Assange). We can’t just ignore rules, laws, and diplomatic conventions every time we don’t like the outcome it produces.

    However, I have every belief in the justice system that Assange would get a fair trial in the United States. In fact, I think he’d get a fairer trial in the United States than in Sweden. That’s just because of all the evidentiary rules and constitutional procedure requirements that are absent in Europe (and if you think those don’t mean anything, just remember Casey Anthony).

    Of course, I don’t know what he would be tried for in the United States. I don’t think he’s accused of committing rape here and so I don’t know how any American court would have jurisdiction over him. There’s nothing (from what I’ve seen thus far) that he can be charged with regarding wikileaks. Yeah he’s a douche but you can’t convict people for being a douche.

  50. While British students will have their repayments automatically deducted from their salaries once the threshold is reached, the same does not apply to European students. EU students allegedly owe £20 million in student loans.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9307492/Thousands-of-EU-students-owe-20-million-in-unpaid-loans-but-just-nine-have-been-taken-to-court.html

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