This morning’s YouGov results for the Sun had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 45%, LD 8%, UKIP 6%. It’s been a funny week of YouGov polls, with some 12 points leads and some 6 point ones. There have been rather more of the former than the latter, but I’m still not sure what the underlying picture will turn out to be when things settle down a bit. Meanwhile the latest figures from TNS-BMRB, who are now doing weekly voting intention polls, have topline figures of CON 31%(nc), LAB 43%(+3), LDEM 10%(-1), Others 17%(-1).

I will off at EPOP2012 this weekend (or Glastonbury for political scientists, as my colleague Joe Twyman calls it) so won’t be posting much on the weekend polls.


164 Responses to “New YouGov and TNS polls”

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  1. @Jim Jam

    “Rob S has been calling for this for sometime and Alec raised this point a thread or 2 ago.”

    “It could have been coincidence but their VI dropped a touch when EB basically backed the pay restraint measures in the Public Sector.”

    …and on that very issue here was EdM in the New Statesman a few days ago:

    ***

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/ed-miliband-it-would-be-politically-crackers-spend-last-labour-government

    ‘Ed Miliband: It would be “politically crackers” to spend like the last Labour government

    On public spending

    Asked whether the party’s position has changed since Ed Balls said in January it would have to keep “all these cuts”, Miliband says:

    “Our position hasn’t changed [from January.] Look, we absolutely hold to everything we said at the beginning of the year, and what Ed and I said was that the next Labour government is going to take over in very different circumstances and is going to have to have a very different prospectus than the last.

    And if we came along and said ‘look, we can just carry on like the last Labour government did’ – I mean it’s politically crackers to do that, because we wouldn’t win the election and we wouldn’t deserve to win the election. We can’t say: ‘Look, we just want to sort of carry on where we left off, you know, the electorate was wrong, we were right, thanks very much…” It’s not realistic.

    Ed Balls is not going to go to the Labour party conference and say, ‘It’s going to be the old model where we have economic growth and then we’ll use lots of that money to spend lots, to spend billions of pounds.’ It’s not realistic and it’s not credible.”

    The next Labour government, he adds, will be unable to restore those benefits abolished by the coalition such as the Education Maintenance Allowance.

    “I can’t make a promise on EMA. You can’t both say to me there’s less money to spend and are you realistic about the economic circumstances and then I spray around lots of promises. That’s why Ed’s speech [on accepting Tory cuts and fiscal discipline] in January and my speech were important.’

    ***

    I have been saying for a very long time that the inevitable manifesto content is going to disappoint many from the ‘we got out party’ back tendency, quite a few of whom have been lapping up the 8-10 point leads (minus any policy commitments!) epoch of the last 6 months.

    Needless to say my opinion of him improved after reading this interview. Indeed I could only find one thing to fault him on in the entire piece: continued opposition to the third runway which I interpreted as oppositon to new south east airport capacity in general rather than that specific location. A vote winner in opposition: but then economic reality in government will require an embarrassing or damaging U-turn = as the current bunch have found out…

  2. @Billy Bob

    See this article on Thinkbroadband:

    h ttp://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5424-government-removes-red-tape-from-broadband-infrastructure-roll-outs.html

    Trying to deregulate the rollout of wholesale broadband infrastructure so more and more can get it (faster broadband).

    See the DMCS link too. Should be good if it gets going. YG polls arriving so fast, they’ll need to run a poll every hour. :)

  3. @SoCalLiberal

    Earlier this year SMukesh posted a link which showed a glimpse of the back of his head at a Ken Livingstone rally (very fine it was too).

    Camera teams covering the DNC have elevated audience reaction to an artform… any chance they caught you sleepless and caffeined-up in Charlotte?

  4. @JimJam

    “I guess the trick is to try to appear specific without creating albatrosses.”

    That’s the trick. I’m not sure that Labour need detailed and spelt-out policies just yet; in fact I think they could be terrible hostages to fortune this far out from a General Election. Never forget the Tory Party and the still largely anti-Labour print media’s capacity to misrepresent and I would think they’re desperately keen for Labour to spew out a slurry of phantom policy announcements right now, just when they need some welcome diversions and distractions. Opposition politics, especially mid term, is about weakening the resolve and morale of your opponents; to jab and spar, present a moving target and keep one step ahead of the posse. Mop up council seats and by-elections, build up your membership, organisation and foot-sloggers and tease the electorate with the possibility of what you could be. Of course, in this largely apolitical world, it’s also important to continually present yourselves as “we’re not the other lot” party.

    I know, it sounds desperately unprincipled and cynical, doesn’t it, but it’s the seed-corn of party politics. In the background, of course, the serious work on policy development goes on, but this won’t be of much concern now to an electorate growing weary with the incumbents. The trick is to sort of look like you know what you’re doing, let your opponents make all the mistakes, bask in growing opinion poll leads and then, when the incumbent government is at its most vulnerable and enfeebled, maybe a gentle tease about possible crowd-pleasing policies to come. Miliband’s fairly airy-fairy pronouncements on predator capitalism last September fitted this bill very nicely.

    My advice to any opposition is simple. Be ready to govern when the opportunity comes, and excite the electorate at election time by all means, but win the bloody election first! You don’t do that by writing a manifesto mid-term.

  5. @statgeek

    Thanks for the link… I have to say it sounds like a the sweeping away of planning regulations could make it a bit of a free-for-all (and I don’t mean by that any cheaper for the consumer).

    The following link makes reference to the Lords communications committee report which describes government strategy as “flawed”:

    h
    ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/31/superfast-broadband-available-uk-2015

  6. CB11 – I agree about not having too many detailed policies this far out but think we need to have a few specifics worked out and be clearer about how a short term increase in deficit would (in our view) lead to a lower defecit as a %age of GDP than otherwise by whenever; backed up by preferably independent Economic forecasters. ‘Too far too fast’ has been good up to now imo but can only take us so far.

    If I knew the precise balance we should adopt and which areas to be specific in I would be offerring my services but as per Rob I do think the 2 Eds understand the need for additional clarity.

    Finally, I would prefer to get some of the disappointment out of the way early so we know how we really stand to inform better stategy and tactics.

  7. @BILLY BOB
    `Earlier this year SMukesh posted a link which showed a glimpse of the back of his head at a Ken Livingstone rally (very fine it was too)`

    :)

  8. Regarding policies, my thinking is that we should be cautious about releasing them and should have just a few headline policies. These policies we do have should have to pass four tests. They must be distinctly social democratic, so the Tories can’t credibly steal them. They must be at least cost-neutral, meaning they either cost nothing, raise money, or we have a credible plan to pay for them. They just be popular, so we don’t get too mired in controversy this far from the election. They must also fit within the narrative we’re currently pushing, such as ‘predators and producers’ and ‘responsibility at the the top.’

    Policies such as putting worker representatives in every boardroom, or rent control, or banning zero hours contracts, of some form of wealth tax, would all pass these tests.

    I’m cautiously encouraged by Miliband’s recent rhetoric about ‘predistribution’, especially as he’s said it would be addition to, not in place of, traditional tax-and-transfer redistribution, which he has made clear still has an important role to play.

    This piece here by American academic Jacob Hacker, whi is credited with the invention of the term ‘predistribution’, explains it well:

    ‘This is not just because pre-distribution is where the action is. It is also because excessive reliance on redistribution fosters backlash, making taxes more salient and feeding into the conservative critique that government simply meddles with “natural” market rewards. Further, it is because societies in which market inequality is high are, ironically, ones where creating common support for government action is often most difficult. The regulation of markets to limit extremes and give the middle class more voice is hardly easy – witness the fight over financial reform in the United States. But it is both more popular and more effective than after-the-fact mopping up.’

    http://www.policy-network.net/pno_detail.aspx?ID=3998&title=The+institutional+foundations+of+middle-class+democracy

    It’s an encouraging sign of new thinking coming from the centre-left, and when more meat is put on the bones it could potentially be quite a radical idea.

  9. @ Billy Bob

    “Earlier this year SMukesh posted a link which showed a glimpse of the back of his head at a Ken Livingstone rally (very fine it was too).”

    Lol. I was like 10 feet away from him and his very fine head.

    “Camera teams covering the DNC have elevated audience reaction to an artform… any chance they caught you sleepless and caffeined-up in Charlotte?”

    Yes. In fact, I was on CNN on that very night (it’s funny how you get a whole lot of texts from crazed friends). Caffeine actually calms me down (well coffee does) but it still keeps me awake even while I feel like it’s putting me to sleep.

    I hate being on camera and I don’t like photos being taken of me and I hate the sound of my own voice. Yet for some reason, this week I temporarily turned into a total media whore. I was aware of the possibility of camera crews catching me. So I made sure to have a great (albeit reserved) outfit for each night, made sure to be clean shaven, and did not dance. I also made sure to put on my stern politician at a major event face. When it came to the Convention entering into primetime, especially primetime primetime (10 pm),

    It’s kinda like getting to play a mini-politician for a week, which was fun. :)

  10. @ JohnTT

    LOL. :-) I love ‘running’ jokes, especially ones about camels or elephants!

  11. Ed M:
    Year 1 Squeezed Middle – everybody laughed; what does it even mean? what about the pinched bottom? ho ho ho.
    Now it is a ‘buzz phrase’ throughout the Western world.

    Year 2 Predatory Capitalism – everybody laughed; what does it even mean? Are you calling all businesses, banks etc. predators?
    Now it is a ‘buzz phrase’ for the left, throughout the Western world.

    Year 3 Predistribution – nobody laughs but still: What does it even mean? What a clunky phrase! People won’t understand it etc.
    This time next year, predistribution will likely be a leftie ‘buzz phrase’ too. And it could be the most important one so far!

    Ed M is building a lexicon for the C21 left. By the time of the GE, Labour will have the language it needs to speak with the electorate; big ideas which can be carried around in ‘portable’ phrases. The boy is a ‘wordsmith’; & I am impressed. :-)

  12. @ Rob Sheffield

    [Opposing Heathrow expansion] A vote winner in opposition: but then economic reality in government will require an embarrassing or damaging U-turn = as the current bunch have found out…
    ———————————–
    Labour should propose a new hub in the center of Britain. We are a small island. There’s no reason why our main hub can’t be in the Midlands.
    8-)

  13. @ Old Nat

    “I trust that you enjoyed NC – though I doubt you saw anything outside the convention!”

    Well I didn’t see anything outside Charlotte but I saw plenty of stuff outside the Convention. I didn’t take the shuttle busses provided for us at all (except from and to the airport) and just walked everywhere. So I got to see quite a bit including all the protesters. I mean, walking along College Street outside the Convention Center, there were a small handful of protesters with all these photos of aborted fetuses with all these signs decrying the President (for all sorts of loony reasons) and full of deragatory language towards gays and lesbians.

    So on Wednesday, I went to the Victory Fund reception/luncheon where I unexpectedly saw the first lady speak (total shock) and then got to meet her. Now outside at the corner were a bunch of various religious protesters. Now this one guy at the corner closest to the Marriott is on some sort of stand shouting and ranting away. He’s going on and on about “one man, one vote”, which apparently he takes literally because like all true good conservatives, he believes women shouldn’t have the right to vote. Just as I walk by, I hear him yell out “Now you see, American first began to go into decline when women got the right to vote. Because once you told women they could vote, you let them know that it was okay to kill their children!” I literally burst out laughing.

    I liked downtown Charlotte. It’s very pretty. I didn’t take a single shuttle bus the entire time (except for the shuttle from and to the airport) and just walked everywhere.

  14. Oh and talk about ridiculous…..

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/07/1129028/-Mitt-Romney-on-his-London-gaffe-I-meant-to-do-that

    My response: REALLY?

    Oh, btw, I am now catching up on my Daily Show episodes for the week. What Tom Brokaw said during his interview for the September 4th episode is not actually accurate (at least as far as the CA Delegation is concerned).

  15. Amber,
    I don’t think predistribution is anything new but it sums an idea up nicely.
    The key for me is that is recognises that the last Labour Government did not get the balance right with tackling poverty.
    Our solution was largely to increase benefits and we did not do enough to support people back in to meaningful work and to break the cycle of dependecy that some families have experienced for generations.

  16. Call me cynical if you like but all this discussion about policy is largely irrelevent. The left leaning have nowhere to go, other than Green and are unlikely to want specifics just simply to ‘get rid of the tories’.

    I would say the key thing for Labour (the cynical bit) is to neutralise the newspapers and opposition from business, which is exactly what Blair did. Last time around the press were back with the Tories and even the liberal newspapers went with Lib Dem and there was plenty of business letter signings against Labour economic policy.

    Blair achieved this but unfortunately (for a leftie like me) he largely sold his soul in the process or always believed in PFI type stuff anyway. I think the trick for Milliband (assuming he believes in a leftist agenda) will be to neutralise these dissenters while not promising much to the right. He has a chance if the opinion polls and economy remain unchanged because there will be no strong support for the Tories from those areas and the press/business will just want to know that it’s not going to be a Michael foot manifesto. The Sun will want to support a winner and if business sees the writing on the wall then they will not want to be seen supporting the losing side unless they see their lifestyles affected greatly or they genuinely see a shambles of an economic policy being put together.

  17. Tories accident prone ?

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4526989/MP-Sir-Tony-Baldrys-car-wrecks-a-loo-then-hits-Poundland.html

    Picks up parking ticket, then wrecks half of Banbury !

  18. Also, re new airport ‘hub’ – the arctic ice cap is melting much faster than climate scientists thought it would, in case anyone has forgotten.

  19. @SoCalLiberal – “I-meant-to-do-that”

    As someone pointed out in the comments, he is following Clint Eastwood on that – there is another Daily Kos story on the disaster of his impromtu empty chair routine – dear oh dear.

    Marco Rubio was only speaker in Tampa who was slightly scary imo, though he overdid it a bit with the prayer meeting schtick – and of course, he like most of the others was out for himself rather than the ticket.

    Where the Republican conference was sparse, the DNC was acres bigger, overflowing with energy and stand-out speakers, all the way from a laughing Ted Strickland feeding off the audience (W Post “Strickland goes for Romney’s throat”) through Kamala Harris, Christina Saralegui, the Castro twins, Sandra Fluke, Karen Pantone-Eusanio from the auto-workers, to another master-class from Bill Clinton.

    Barak’s speech did not suffer by comparison –

    “They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

    “Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

    “Deficit too high? Try another.”

    “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

    Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit.”

    The only time he sounded worried was when he warned about the Repubilcan war-chest and voter disenfranchisement campaigns.

    Nat Silver has a piece on turnout being the key, and how the DNC was carefully crafted to “fire-up” specific regions and demographic groups.

    Labour in this country also suffers from the turnout problem – UK commentators tend to find it difficult to see beyond the differences in our two political cultures, they like to be a bit sniffy about the showbiz schmaltz and overblown patriotism – but as a result they sometimes miss out on depth of commitment and enthusiasm on display, they don’t always pick up on the underlying common themes.

  20. @Amberstar

    Your may be impressed with Ed M buzz words but the majority of the population, if we are to believe the polls are not impressed with Ed M,

  21. @JimJam
    “Our solution was largely to increase benefits and we did not do enough to support people back in to meaningful work and to break the cycle of dependecy that some families have experienced for generations.”
    ———————
    True enough. The biggest obstacle for people on benefits who want to work is housing (rent) costs and the root cause of this was the failure by all governments over the last 30 years to build enough social housing, worsened by the right-to-buy sell off. Low income families have been forced into the private sector where high demand and low supply = sky high rents. It is not rocket science and no party is promising radical solutions.

  22. @AMBER

    “The boy is a ‘wordsmith’; & I am impressed.”

    You appreciate that all these words were around before Ed heard of them. He’s not a wordsmith at all. He’s stealing other words for buzz purposes.

    If I read into his words correctly, he’s arguing to reduce the ‘take with the left, and give with the right’ ways of the Labour Party. If this is so, and if he is sincere his party might just be electable. It’s one of the biggest shames of the UK that taxes go up, and benefits need to rise to offset the taxes, rather than just make taxation simple, and have less benefits’ dependants.

  23. @Shevvi

    “Call me cynical if you like but all this discussion about policy is largely irrelevent. The left leaning have nowhere to go, other than Green and are unlikely to want specifics just simply to ‘get rid of the tories”

    Couldn’t agree more. Much of Labour’s work in opposition so far has been to distance itself from the reasons why they were turfed out in May 2010. It’s a difficult process and while time and fading memory are allies, the Tory counter-strategy, fairly sensibly in my view, is to constantly remind the electorate of Labour’s alleged failings whilst in office. That’s why one of Cameron’s favourite mantras is “The country won’t forgive the mess you left the economy in….” and why most government spokesmen recite “the mess we were left by the previous Labour Government..”. All’s fair in love and war, and party politics, and whilst these finger pointing exchanges are a little dispiriting, they’re a natural hangover from the last election and, ironically, fairly pertinent to the outcome of the next. Tory strategy; make sure Labour’s fingerprints are still all over the economic difficulties besetting the country by the time the people next vote. Labour strategy; make sure the coalition is seen to carry the can. Pretty basic stuff and I think that this narrative will play out right up to May 2015.

    Now where does detailed policy prescription fit into this political knockabout? Depends when Labour thinks the electorate is listening and, in my view, the answer to that question is a definite not yet! Miliband, as Amber Star points out, is making a rather underrated fist out of sniffing the political air and getting, albeit vaguely, on the right side of the key arguments that are slowly developing. Seems like pretty decent opposition politics to me and he’s being slowly rewarded in the polls. Now, his opponents will obviously accuse him of vagueness, opportunism and presiding over a “policy vacuum”, but they would say that, wouldn’t they and a sensible politician hardly ever does what his or her opponent most wants him to do. Actually, make that a successful politician hardly ever does what his or her opponent most wants him to do!

    Cruddas and his policy development teams are doing their work, and I like Ms Eagle’s recent gentle tease on rail re-nationalisation, but the Labour front bench should continue to concentrate on some more ducking, diving, jabbing and weaving for a while longer yet.

    Plenty of time for knockout blows much further down the road; hopefully with the last punch in the last minute of the last round in the title fight!

    By the way, all this stuff is hardly new. It’s right out of the well thumbed ” Successful Opposition Leaders Cookbook” and I’m sure Cameron and Osborne were reading it thoroughly when they were slowly rotating Gordon Brown on the spit in 2009.

  24. @AmberStar
    “Labour should propose a new hub in the center of Britain. We are a small island. There’s no reason why our main hub can’t be in the Midlands.”

    To give you a perspective from the Midlands on that (a few miles NW of Birmingham to be precise), further expansion of (municipally owned) Manchester would do just fine, as it’s already the nearest thing to an alternative hub outside of London. It doesn’t have to be (municipally owned) Birmingham. The main thing is to make sure that there’s a decent selection of international flights that are accessible to people in the Midlands and North without having to trek all the way down to the horrors of (BAA run) Heathrow, which personally I try and avoid like the plague.

    The obsession with expanding Heathrow also seems to me to reflect a presumption that economic growth in the UK will continue to be focused on the South East, and the absence of even an inkling of a regional policy to spread that growth into the parts of the country that have the capacity to accommodate it.

  25. I accept the view from business leaders that we need more flights to the emerging markets or risk losing out to other places, notably Amsterdam.

    First, of course, short-haul (inc domestic) and unde-rutlised flights should be analysed to see if slots can be released at Heathrow.

    The lack of a proper intergrated transport policy for over 30 years or more meaning to take a train to Heathrow from the North you have to go in and out of London and take an expensive Heathrow express or a slow tube is crazy.

    It is not just West Londerners who think it is wrong to expand Heathtrow – surely there must be a better location to create a new long-haul airport (or runways) in the South-East or even futher North if other transport routes can be coordintaed properly.

  26. I think 2008 was a game changer in terms of politics. The previous dominant narrative of ‘trickle down’ economics, letting ‘wealth creators create’ in order to boost economic growth has been througlly discredited – it was all based on unsustainable credit and – ultimately – cheap energy.
    Now people are forgetting about the chasing the consumer utopia and are forced in facing harsh realities on housing and jobs.

    Austerity is clearly here to stay for some time and in that situation allowing the very wealthy to carry on getting very much wealthier – whilst the rest of us tighten our belts – is very hard for people to stomach. And the argument that its for our ‘own good’ – well good luck selling that one.

    There are some tentative signs that labour understands this – but they are very veyr cautious and the temptation is to sit tight and wait for their turn whilst the coalition take the flac – much of it, but not all, self inflicted.

    However I would argue that a few bold policies might really help labour and reinfuse mush of its natural support who have given up on party politics as a cyncial game where there are no real idelogical differences between the parties.

    One such policy would be a massiv investment in social housing – particualrly aimed at low paid working families.Money could be borrowed at very low rates, it would immediately save a fortune on housing benefit, it would provide jobs and growth, have large social benefits and – becasue many of these people would be paying rent – would pay for its self in 10 – 20 years. In addition – becasue people would be paying less rent than in the private sector – they would have more money to spend, providing a further economic boost.

    To me – and many many people – this makes far more sense than printing money to be shoveled into the maws of the bankers for no peceivalbe gain.

  27. REGGIESIDE

    Yep. exactly and absolutely. The majority will vote to take some wealth from the mnority.

    This is where democracy begins to get attacked though. Watch the rich try to move the goalposts.

  28. @ Statgeek

    You appreciate that all these words were around before Ed heard of them. He’s not a wordsmith at all. He’s stealing other words for buzz purposes.
    ————————
    Really? I thought that squeezed, capital, predator, middle & distribution with sundry prefixes were all new words Ed created. I am so disappointed. ;-)

    Wordsmiths don’t often create entirely new words; usually it’s what they do with the ones we have that matters.

  29. It was pretty brave for Ed to call for Brook’s head in parliament. DC had to think about it for 48 hours and see where the wind was blowing before he joined in (after sending her message to the effect of Ed Milliband has got me on the run.”

    That’s true, against all media commentary and expectation, it turns out that Ed Milliband really does have David cameron on the run. And there ain’t much sign as yet of the PM getting any of the initiative back.

  30. When there’s no news, we can usually count on dramatic articles about the euro being about to crash & burn.

    But impending elections in the US & Merkel’s fall in popularity appear to have focussed minds in a way that the fate of Greeks & Spaniards utterly failed to do.

    As the eurozone crisis wanes, so too will UKIP. That’s good news for the Tories. The bad news is that they will need to find something else to blame for the UK recession, unless another ‘gift’ is given to them by world events or the UK economy picks up simply because they have a Ken Clarke mascot hanging out at the Treasury. :-)

  31. I have a theory that the economy will, inevitably, grow again as the UK is a great big market in itself.

    But.

    Real growth will return when the public sector job cuts are done and things recover. Much personal harm and suffering, but what the hell, the spending cuts will be done and we can get back to business. Of course then we’ll have to start hiring public servants again to regulate the new boom but hey the great cycle of boom and bust will go on, except this boom has been created by an artificail bust, instead of the other way around.

    Much better surely to level out those troughs? Less chance to make quick fortunes bus less misery for the masses?

    The cuts kick in next year. The Tories and we won’t see any boom until they’re done. The election will get rid of them.

    And Labour will have to decide what to rebuild on the ruins.

  32. @NickP

    In the real world there haven’t been any cuts. Even Labour Governments in the 1960’s cut faster and harder than this Government.

  33. wolf

    there have been cuts. Job losses galore.

    It just has les to spending elsewhere…exactly as predicted by Balls and co.

    So job cuts that don’t save any money. Wonderful.

  34. I have a feeling that if the Euro crisis fades, it will not necessarily be the end of UKIP. These days they are seen as a sort of alternative centre-right party, a repository for those who don’t think the current government is right wing enough. Before UKIP came, such people just held their noses and got on with voting Tory, usually. Look at the effects of the Omnishambles budget: the UKIP VI almost doubled without anyone mentioning Europe at all.

    Also it should be remembered that we are awaiting the result of the US presidential election. The winner’s economic policy may or may not help drive growth here.

  35. @ A Cairns

    “Alex Salmond is a fat c*nt who bullied UK supreme court judges. Still he has his parochial apologists such as John B Dick etc.”

    Um, I don’t think that’s a fair characterization. Alex Salmond has a right to criticize decisions of a court that he disagrees with. Well in my mind anyway.

  36. @SoCal

    Meeting Michelle Obama must’ve been awesome; she seems to be an extraordinary person, somebody I’d love to meet anyway, regardless of her fame or current status.
    8-)

  37. WOLF.
    Good Afternoon to you.

    I agree with your assessment.
    Jenkins was fiscally conservative and so was Cripps.

    Butler, Maudling and Barber were profligate.

  38. @ Billy Bob

    On “he meant to do that”, Romney is taking a mistake he made and making it worse. It’s one thing for Jon Stewart to make a few quips about the Olympics because (1) Jon Stewart is not running for public office, (2) Jon Stewart reports on most things in a way to find humorous effect (even if that means deliberately taking things out of context), and (3) Jon Stewart makes fun of everything and everyone.

    You don’t go abroad and insult the people of the country. You especially don’t do it to the Brits! And so I’m glad Obama brought it up in his speech. The whole Eastwood fiasco was born out of Romney’s desperation and Romney just makes this situation worse by bringing it back up again (I have a feeling that a lot of Americans weren’t aware of his total sh*tshow trip to London).

    Now, the September 5th episode of the Daily Show had me in hysterics as the opening segment was largely true. The whole bit about his reporters not being able to get into the arena to do their jobs because of street closures and misdirections from uninformed volunteers and police officers. It was constant and highly annoying and so it rang true to me.

    This is how I wound up wearing a lais for Thursday night (probably getting confused by many for a Hawaiian Delegate). I got trapped in this crowd between the newly closed entrances into the arena and befriended a Hawaiian Delegate as we tried to find our way into the arena (we eventually did). She was so taken by me that when we parted ways she gave me a big hug, a kiss on my forehead, and gave me one of the lais she had (with a Hawaii Democratic Party button on it). It was so touching that I couldn’t take it off after that. I kinda liked wearing that over an otherwise conservative outfit.

    Also, Stewart had me in hysterics for his prediction of what Bill Clinton’s speech would be (accurately as it turns out).

  39. @KEITHP
    ” Also it should be remembered that we are awaiting the result of the US presidential election. The winner’s economic policy may or may not help drive growth here.”

    Important point that. The Tories should pray for a Democrat landslide, and not just so Dave can “take” Barrack at tennis! The UK might then be able to return to growth parasitically on the back of US spending, and George could claim a success for “expansionary fiscal contraction”. If Romney cuts US spending (if) UK and the Tories will be in deep trouble. You can’t live on leftovers if everyone is dieting.

    The polls in the US don’t look like a landslide for Mr O, though I think the electoral college thing means that he’s doing better than it looks (I think I read this on Nate Silver – who despite the ponytail is supposed to be good on US elections. He didn’t predict ours well – possibly due to hair incompatability IMHO). But he needs Congress as well if he’s going to spend us out of trouble.

  40. Sorry if anybody’s already posted this:
    http://www.quirksmode.org/politics/polls.html
    The Netherlands is having an election on Wednesday and this is a summary of the current polling situation/likely results.
    His polling average has right-wing parties losing a net of 11 (out of 150 seats) and the left gaining 7.

    Biggest loser being CDA (Christian-Democrat) with -8 and biggest winner being SP (Socialist) with +11.

  41. As some of you will know one of my grandson’s currently lives in Virginia and is helping out with the Obama campaign there.

    He sent me this link

    http://www.270towin.com/2012_election_predictions.php?mapid=xco

    It’s a map showing the result of the electoral college votes according to opinion polls were the election to be held tomorrow. It shows President Obama with a decent lead, though my grandson warns me that actually it’s very close, as in many states the race is very close, he lists these as;

    Iowa, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and now Wisconsin,

    if Romney was able to gain Virginia and Wisconsin, or Virginia and Iowa states in which Obama only leads in by about 2-3% then Romney could win,

    So there’s good news in there that Obama is leading, but also we can’t get complacent as Romney is still very much in this fight.

  42. @ Nickp

    I think the economy will improve once assets (in particular house prices) find their right level (significantly downwards!) and once the banks can live with their dodgy debtor book or rather inflated asset values. Presumably each year the banks are getting stronger as they discount bad debts and that might be the first sign when banks aren’t at risk.

    Certainly all the time that inflation remains above wage rises and interest rates on savings things are only going to go in one direction. Also I guess once governments have their debt under control and I think we are in for a long wait.

  43. Very disappointing news that Mrs May, Mr Hunt and Mr Osborne have been booed at the Para Olympic medal ceremonies; they must have been distressed.

    However, the normally a political populace’s mood may be sharpening.

    Undeserved opprobrium for such public servants.

  44. @ChrisLane1945

    “Undeserved opprobrium for such public servants.”

    Despite your Man U affiliations, I’ve grown quite fond of your many musings on these pages, but be careful about overdoing the sarcasm on occasions. You could be accused of laying it on a bit thick here, I think!

    By the way, and this is addressed to anyone who might know, are we expecting the weekend Sunday Times/YouGov poll tonight or will it be embargoed until tomorrow morning?

  45. @ Amber Star

    “Meeting Michelle Obama must’ve been awesome; she seems to be an extraordinary person, somebody I’d love to meet anyway, regardless of her fame or current status. :)”

    Oh it was. I had NO idea she was going to be speaking at this event. Someone said that it had gone out in an email but I never got it. It perhaps should have occurred to me that something was up when I got to the hotel and had to go through metal detectors. Well when she was introduced as a speaker, I was delirious (also, sleepless and caffenated…….I looked TERRIBLE). She gave a great speech to the reception. Afterwards, everyone goes up to mob her (these things bring out the worst in everyone). People want to meet her and people want photos and there’s this whole crush of people. We didn’t get to chat or anything, it was more like her long arm reaching out to my long arm and clapsing. It was an experience though.

    Also, an experience. Meeting the junior Senator from Oregon in the most awkward way possible. Waiting for a toilet stall in the men’s room. Let me tell you something, the man has manners. Because I was waiting for a stall when he walks in and right past me looking for a stall. Then he turns around, notices me, and actually asks me if I’m waiting in line. Then, he gets in back of me to wait and comments that there’s nothing worse than waiting for a stall, having one come free, and then having someone walk in front of you and take it. I said to him “oh Senator, you’re not the type to do that sort of thing.” Awkward way to meet someone.

  46. CROSSBAT 11.
    Good Evening to you from a lovely evening on the south coast, home of MUFC supporters and Harry Redknap.

    Unclear why sarcasm is suspected, but it is rare, I think, for happy British crowds to boo on these occasions of medal ceremonies. Itaque; it may signify something about the famous ‘sea change’ which James Callaghan noted when talking with Bernard Donoghue in 1979 when heading for the defeat at that General Election.

  47. About the dutch elections:

    The dutch labour party, allegedly centre-left, said in an interview that “Greece will never be allowed to leave the Euro”. And that in case of a debt default, the EU will intervene and help the country by means of a “tutelage”.

    It’s amazing how far these fat cats will go to protect this failed project. They are basically threatening to annex Greece. And this is the center left, I wonder what’s in the mind of VVD now.

  48. A. Cairns:

    I think you’re very unfair on Salmond – he’s not that fat.

  49. @Tinged Fringe

    I think both Virgilio and I have reported on the NL GE.

    Actually Labour (PvdA) has closed within one seat of the “Orange Bookers / John Redwood” (VVD) but I don’t think it will quite hold up to the election. The former’s leader, Samson, did a good Leaders’ debate so there is a ‘mania’ , the PvdA recovering from its disastrous position last year that led to its Leader, Job Cohen, resigning.

    As I wrote during my last report, the interest for we in the UK is that there is doubt whether NL will stick to the budget discipline it assured the EU in June, which Samson refused to sign up to.

    If that happened the strain on the EZ would be great.

    He is still talking of ‘doing right for Dutch people rather than chasing a cabinet job’ but i think this is show boating to get more votes from the Socialists who had, until a week or two ago, more seats in prospect than even the VVD.

    It looks as though NL may go back to ‘purple’ which is an unholy alliance between Labour (PvdA) and Right wing Liberal (VVD).

    Sound possible for us perhaps? Ed and Nick?

  50. Update

    Ipsos poll now shows the two parties above neck and neck on 35 seats with the socialists right down to 21 and the “UKIP” (Wilders anti islam) on 19.

    So TV dbates can produce this hysteria.

    2015 here will be definitely an X factor election.

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