The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out already on their website here. The topline figures with changes from last month are CON 32%(-1), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 13%(-1), UKIP 7%(+2).

The UKIP score of 7% is lower than we’ve seen in many online polls, but is actually the highest that ICM have ever had them in their polls for the Guardian, presumably an effect of the coverage from the police elections (the poll was conducted between Friday and Sunday, so after results from the elections had started to appear).

ICM also asked a Best Prime Minister question, finding figures very much in line with the more regular YouGov tracker version of the question. David Cameron leads Ed Miliband by 33% to 25%, with Nick Clegg on 7% and 21% saying none.


239 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 32, LAB 40, LD 13, UKIP 7”

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  1. @JayBlanc,

    “But I do suppose that we should expect a probable range on the Labour figure between 36% and 46%. And who knows, maybe the Conservatives will get back up to 37%, so let’s give them a currently expected range between 30% and 37%.”

    Personally, I think this is nothing more than wishful thinking! In the current circumstances, and with both leaders and parties really unpopular/not trusted, I really don’t think there is much of a ceiling or limit on how both parties could vote. It’s certainly more than possible that the Tories could get more than 37% in 2015, and definitely cannot be ruled out at this stage IMO (even 40%+ cannot be ruled out). Same goes with Labour scoring 42% or more – it’s less likely IMO, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out!

    To put it into perspective, the Tories are currently on about 32/33%. If they take back some of the UKIP vote by 2015, which is likely IMO, then that could be another 3% (possibly more, though 3% is my central/more realistic estimate) or so on current polling. If at least some of the Labour vote goes back to the Libs (which is very likely IMO) and some of the younger ex Lib voters who have now joined Labour don’t turn up on polling day (rather like happened for the Libs in 2010 – young voters are much less likely to turn up and vote, after all) then we could easily see Labour’s vote drop quite considerably. Then, of course, there are the leader’s debates – these may prove crucial, and much may depend on how the leaders perform (of course, it’s possible that Ed may outperform Cameron and lead Labour to an overall majority). Also, will the Tories offer an in-out EU referendum at some point before the next GE, which some senior Tory politicians have recently hinted at, and would this affect polling? Will the mid-term polls also unfold, and will Miliband’s perceived weaknesses as a leader and Labour’s lack of a detailed economic plan come back to haunt them? No one can really say at this point – if they speak with some certainly when forecasting, they are merely being partisan and asserting what they want to happen IMO.

    So Labourite Peter Kellner is pretty spot on with analysis IMO – it’s very open and all to play for. A hung parliament still probably looks the likeliest scenario at the moment IMO (probably with Labour favourite to be the largest party)…but anything is more than possible at this stage. Nothing can be ruled out.

  2. @Colin

    “but I see that you needed to say it nevertheless-and in less than 5000words too!-in a hurry this morning ?”

    Touché. You’ve obviously noted my weakness for verbosity. I blame my university education when I was constantly asked to write something in no less than 5000 words.

    …or was that in no more than 500 words and I just misread it!

    Might explain my poor essay marks.

  3. I’m not sure about the Ukip vote returning to the tories, anecdotally most Ukip voters I speak to, say they don’t care about Lab vs Con as they seem them as 2 sides of the same coin

    “Both want us in Europe and deny referendums, both want to force gay marriage into law, both want to keep foreign aid”

    I hear comments similar to that,obviously it’s anecdotal, but people who think like that, really don’t see Cons as better than Labour they see them as the same. So I’m not convinced about them all returning.

  4. The thing is, at the moment, Labour are benefiting from public dissatisfaction with the government’s austerity programme and its economic policy. But as we saw with Obama, come 2015 Labour will have to convince the general public that their economic policy is better than the Tory’s. Being the opposition during such difficult times and against an unpopular government may not be enough if the public are convinced that the alternative is worse/not any better.

    It’s certainly true that incumbents generally lose general elections rather than oppositions win them….but if the opposition (and their leader) is seen as even weaker than the incumbents, then it doesn’t necessarily follow that there will be a change of government. Labour’s job in 2015 will be convince a dissatisfied public that they are the best of what most people believe is a very lousy choice.

  5. @ManintheMiddle,

    Anecdotal evidence is not at all reliable.

    Like Kellner, I don’t think all will probably return from UKIP….but even if only some do, it would probably boost the Tory vote by 3% or so.

  6. MANINTHEMIDDLE

    “people who think like that, really don’t see Cons as better than Labour they see them as the same”

    Good point, but one that those who focus simply on which of the big parties form the government will reject – arguing about the points of difference between Lab and Con.

    Of course, there are differences between Lab and Con – as between any two parties – but these may be seen as minor differences to “outsiders”, compared with the issues that they see as important.

  7. The good news for the Tories is that they can affect the UKIP vote (probably) to some degree….they can always offer an in-out referendum before the 2015 GE, especially if things get desperate for them. This may not take all the UKIP vote, as people don’t just vote for UKIP because of the EU (though mostly so), but it would probably get most of their vote back, possibly all of it. Then, of course, UKIP offered to do an electoral deal with the Tories if they offered a referendum – so another possibility that would enhance their chances of gaining votes.

    As a few MPs were saying in yesterday’s news, an in-out referendum on the EU is probably inevitable in the next 5 to 10 years anyway.

  8. The good news for Labour is that they can outsmart the Tories, though….if they offer an in-out referendum at the right time, and just before the Tories (with a specific date)…then it could negate any effect any Tory announcemount has thereafter.

  9. This presents an interesting area of debate regarding budgets and austerity – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/9689532/Limits-on-pension-investments-could-hit-wealthier-savers.html

    In my mind this highlights the disparity between reality and where policy makers views on life come from.

    Of course there are arguments on the rights and wrongs of tax relief on pension contributions, just as with any other area of taxation, but the balance of what is effective government spending in this area has been heavily skewed to the better off in this area.

    Under Labour, tax relief was available up to over £200K annual pension contributions, until Darling announced cut to bring this down to £50K which was then enacted by the incoming government. Now it seems this is being reviewed to possibly reduce it to £40K or £30K in annual contributions.

    What astounds me is that the average private pension pot ON RETIREMENT is around £15k, with the figure for women only more like £10K. This is the final figure for people at the end of their working lives, including all their contributions plus any interest. Yet we are still wondering whether to bring the limit for annual contributions down to 2 or 3 times the average total retirement pot.

    In an age of austerity we really need to start addressing issues from the basis of need, not previous custom, and in the world of pensions, the need is clearly for those at the bottom of the heap. What I find frightening is that the policy makers seem to be entirely ignorant of how the vast majority of people exist.

  10. Surely the best pension is just saving your own money in investments/bank account and accruing interest, then living off the lump sum.

    I’m 19 so pensions are a long way off for me but as I understand it, you save into a pot of money, then sell the pot to the company, who then pay you back X amount each month.

    Why have the middle man? Surely they must take a cut themselves, they must make money from you? So why not just live off what is the pot, as it’s likely more than what you would have got from the company, as the company seeks a profit and isnt going to want to pay you more than what you gave them as they’d make a loss.

  11. CB11

    :-)

  12. @AmbivalentSupporter

    Dare I point out that the scenario you posit, Labour lose ‘a significant amount’ back to Lib Dems, and the Conservatives gain 3% from UKIP… Is exactly the ‘edge of the possible movement range’ case I stated could be possible. And still result in a hung parliament with Labour the largest party.

    It’s just that it’s not really very well explained how that’s going to happen. And isn’t supported by any polling evidence. And has not been reflected in actual elections.

    It could happen. But so could “polling stays pretty much as is right up till the next election”. So could “Lib Dems panic, and exit the coalition”. So could many things… But the evidence we have now suggests Labour are heading back into power.

    *When* there’s new evidence, I may reconsider.

  13. Coulson and Brooks facing more charges, this time payments to officials.

    Could be bad news for NI in the States. Probably means that Cameron will have to buy his own horse if he wants to go riding in the foreseeable future.

  14. MiM

    @”Surely the best pension is just saving your own money in investments/bank account and accruing interest, then living off the lump sum.”

    No-the best pension is an earnings related entitlement , with indexation & spouses benefits, in a funded scheme, with employer guaranteeing that the fund will pay you x% of your pensionable salary, regardless of your contributions.

    Such a scheme provides you with :-
    Tax relief on your contributions.
    The employer guarantee.
    Absence of investment risk for you.

    There are less & less of these available-except in one sector of the workforce

  15. “There are less & less of these available-except in one sector of the workforce”

    I assume you mean working on the Board instead of on the coalface. There are lots of very generous private schemes they just aren’t open to people who aren’t on the board.

  16. Even with a defined contributions scheme, the advantages over just saving you own money are:

    1) Most employers will also be funding an occupational pension
    2) If it is ‘contracted in’ to SERPS/SSP, you pay less NI on your earnings
    3) Pension contributions, up to a maximum, are pre-tax. Meaning you don’t pay any Income Tax on them. You would have to pay tax on the pension you receive, but it is likely to be lower, it’s many years ahead (so giving you greater opportunity to use the saving now) and you’d have to pay tax on a non-pension fund income anyway.

    The tax benefits are the main thing that make pensions worthwhile

  17. DANIVON

    @”The tax benefits are the main thing that make pensions worthwhile”

    The main advantage-overwhelmingly-of a properly funded DB scheme-is the absence of investment risk for the member.

    Ask any recent purchaser of annuities !

  18. @ ManintheMiddle
    “Why have the middle man? Surely they must take a cut themselves, they must make money from you?”

    Small [retail] investors place their money in “money-pot” sshemes in the hope that the managers of these funds will make better returns than they could themselves. This was OK for most of the late 80s/90s when the markets were rising and any fool could make money.
    Since 1999, and esp since 2008, markets have been v. volatile: this has brought home to the small investor the awful truth that while his/her pot bears all the RISK, the managers bear none, and indeed have a guaranteed income stream in the form of the fees & commissions they levy on the “pots”, levies which are extracted even if the investments are loss-making. [Of course the managers make more money in a rising market. It is also possible to make money in a falling market, by “shorting”, but this is not an area for the retail investor.]

    It is difficult to manage your own funds. But at the least you should gain some knowledge of the markets-unds so that you can understand & hence assess any advice you receive.

  19. Colin,

    I was going to add that a major drawback for non DB pensions is the annuity issue, as well as the lack of a guaranteed minimum. Like many people who work in the private sector, I have gone from being on a good DB scheme to a DC scheme. Luckily (for now) my employer has agreed to fund it to a considerable degree and also provide some assurance benefits that would have been lost, but most employees are not so lucky. The last few years have not been kind to my pension, however.

    But the tax thing is a common advantage (and one that helps those DB schemes to provide guarantees while being affordable)

  20. The crucial question for the tories is –

    How are they going to get people who didn’t vote for them in 2010 to vote for them in 2014/15?

    I would say that is going to be very very difficult. Only Wilson’s government managed to increase its vote share in government – and then only marginally and within a short period of the first victory (thus exploiting the ‘halo’ effect).

    In 2010 they had favourable press, facing a desperately unpopular government who had been in power for over ten years, and they could convincingly argue that it was ‘time for a change’.
    Yet – such was the extent of the deeprooted distrust of the tories amongst voters – they still only managed 36%.

    Now does anyone really believe that – after five years of punishing but ineffective austerity, the economy flat lining and the usual drip drip drip of inevitable scandals – they will have won anybody over?

    As it is their vote is actually holding up pretty well in the circumstances – polling only 3% or so less than in 2010 – (reflecting deep distrust of the labour party within a large section of the population).

    But – uniquely in post war election history – it doesn’t help. Retaining their vote share from 2010 would be a major achievement – but if they are facing a united opposition for the first time since 1979 – they are out of power.

    Most of the projections I see are based on the idea of the swing between tory and labour – and that a party that wants to win the next election needs to be further ahead in the polls. But I really dont think that applies now.

    For the tories, I think labour being the biggest party but unable to form a majority is the best they can realistically hope for.

    Thinking about it in retrospect – it might have been a better idea for cameron not to have gone into a coalition, but instead gone for a minority administration and then calling a second election in the Autumn so as to exploit the ‘halo’ effect.

    It would certainly given them a better chance of a majority than they will have at the next GE and the lib dems would have kept much of their vote share – (thus helping the tories by splitting the anti-tory vote).

  21. Mr Side.

    exactly my analysis for a long while now. I have said all along that for the LD’s to have allowed the Tories to govern alone, subject to item by item support, was their best option. But you are probably right that it was also in the Tories’ own interest.

    I am quiet baffled by the number of people who don’t see Labour as overwhelming favourites for 2015. If Cons don’t add a great deal to their 2010 vote – very unlikely – and LD’s don’t flock back from Labour – very unlikely also – then where does a tory majority come from?

  22. “quite” baffled.

  23. I think Labour are the favourites to win, but I think 2010 has made people more cautious about nailing their colours to the mast. In the years leading up to 2010 specifically 08 and 09, a Tory landslide in 2010 was all but inevitable, it was just a fact. Then we had Cleggmania which challenged that perception, and then in the end, actually we had a Hung Parliament, and for a few days it looked as though Gordon would hang on in there with support from the Libs.

    As things stand yes Labour are government in waiting, but I wouldn’t rule out a surprise along the way maybe disrupting that view, if a week is a long time in politics, 2 and a half years must be an age. Remember the VI on this page assumes a national swing, in 2010 there was no real national swing. Then things like boundary changes while unlikely, can’t be quite ruled out.

    A Conservative majority seems impossible, but a continuation of the Coalition, highly unlikely yes, impossible no. If Labour were the largest party, the Coalition could still continue if they had enough numbers, Labour have made clear they wouldn’t want a deal with Clegg, but Clegg’s actions make it seem like he is quite keen on gaining and keeping power whatever the cost, so maybe they could patch something with the Tories if the numbers allowed for it.

    (I really hope 2015 is the end of Clegg, but knowing my luck he will find a way to linger around)

  24. @PaulCroft

    I think that you are right, in that the only evidence we have is the polling data provided by AW and others, and as such we should assign the greatest probability to a Labour win. However there is a large element that is uncertain: subject to the vagaries of the economy etc…

    If I was going to try and put some numbers on it without going all Nate Silver on it I would suggest something along the lines of:

    Lab Maj: 50%
    Hung Parliament: 30%
    Tory Maj: 19%
    Lib Dem Maj: 1%*

    But there are large errors associated with such a prediction!

    *Not really, but I had to give the LDs some hope

  25. Don’t worry “THESHEEP” those numbers are too moderate to be Nate Silvers. A 2% lead is a 90% chance of a majority in Nate’s World, so God knows what number Nate would attach to a 11% lead.

  26. @MIM

    I think you grossly underestimate Mr Silver’s methodology. A 2% lead in a meta-poll, aggregated across hundreds of surveys done in the key states, a week before an election actually equated to about a 90% chance of victory. In fact all the data (for example the results) showed this to be a good estimate.

  27. Coin,

    ‘There are less & less of these available-except in one sector of the workforce’

    I agree. We need good pensions for all workers. In an age of insecure employment, the state should expand its role to ensure that for every one in the private sector too.

  28. A Tory majority is the least likely scenario.

  29. Great to see the G8 coming to NI but no China? Worlds second largest economy, investing billions around the world etc etc etc.

    Meanwhile Italy which is bust and can’t even invest in its own economy will be invited to the G8.

    I don’t see too many PM visits to Italy trying to drum up investments but visits to China?

    Chuck me a pot noodle.

  30. The hoped for economic lift will not lead to a change in these polling numbers if enormous numbers of the people have been made redundant, lost their homes, become poorer etc etc. in order to achieve what will seem to them very little.

    But they will still have their voting rights left………

    MinM: I don’t think Labour look remotely like a government in waiting as they did for example pre 1997. But their slow and steady approach is, so far, paying off and there is a fair chance that they will do by 2014 – when it matters.

    What matters most of all though is that the Government doesn’t look like a Government, either waiting OR working, in many people’s view.

  31. I agree that, in theory, Labour should get a comfortable majority in 2015….an unpopular government with an unpopular leader and a flailing economy should equal electoral success for any opposition party….whether it will, of course, is another question.

    Labour will probably need a solid, stable majority in 2015 to survive a full 5 year term IMO. A coalition with a much weakened Lib Dem party, or a majority of less than 20 seats won’t cut it, especially in the current climate.

  32. Also direction is very important and momentum hard to stop, never mind reverse.

    DC has had his time of popularity; it probably won’t return. En el otro mano the so-called “unelectable” EM has been going the other way.

  33. The best pension is your children, but of course they are going to get taxed to the hilt to take care of all those folks that didn’t have children and lost their pension pots in private pension companies, as usual the prudent bare the costs of the reckless.

  34. Thanks for all the replies on E Warren and filibustering.

    I enjoyed the YouTube spoof, R in N, crikey, the Molly girl has it. I mean *it*.
    On Senator EW, I find her attractive too, but would be a bit worried about the ‘breaking an arm’ bit, some feeling of being a male spider approaching the female.

    More good stuff from Reggieside, very convincing analysis.

  35. Good Afternoon All.

    ALAN CHRISTIE.
    Churchill’s ‘muddy highways and byways of Fermanagh and Tyrone’ will be marvellous for the Great Eight.

    Another Blair legacy: Peace.

    And a tour of the six counties will be marvellous for them.

  36. @PaulCroft

    You mention the slow but steady approach for Labour.If they had jumped `up and down` after 2010 asking people to look at them,it might have put a lot of people off.Tactically Miliband seems to have the right approach with this as well as correcting Labour weaknesses on Iraq and Immigration.

  37. One thing about private pensions no one talks about is how responsible or otherwise they were to the stock market bubble. At the time it was starting I had a feeling that it was mostly about inflating stock indexes, and as the years went by it seemed to me that every time the market had a little correction the govt/central banks had a little tizzy. I always thought that a lot of folk would end up with nothing or that the tax payer would have to bail out their pensions which is why I never got into a pension scheme myself.

  38. In my view the Tories can swing the next election by sticking to the current strategy. Since we are told that a growing economy favours the opposition, not the incumbent, GO can sail merrily along until late 2014, fine tuning as he goes, he then announces good prospects for mid to late 2015, which would, of course be derailed by the obsessive and unsustainable borrowing of the opposition, were they to be voted in, ( check out their form on the economy ) A few promises thrown in on tax and benefits, and Bob’s your uncle, people will be too scared to change govt in case the promised land turns barren. What can the Labour party do ? Nothing, they are, of course, impotent, if the Tories set a trap I suspect Labour will have no alternative but to spring it. :-) The usual caveat applies to this post, ‘we’re only halfway, to paradise, so near, yet so far away.’ :-)

  39. @MikeMs

    If basic rate of income tax went up to 50% – no problem

  40. @Maninthemiddle – ” In the years leading up to 2010 specifically 08 and 09, a Tory landslide in 2010 was all but inevitable, it was just a fact. Then we had Cleggmania which challenged that perception…”

    It’s funny how folk memory can change so rapidly.
    In truth, the Tory landslide idea was waning well before the televised debates.

    My personal view is that the initial turning point came when Mandelson launched his combative speech at the Labour conference in October 2009. This didn’t move polls, but I felt at the time it gave Labour a metaphorical kick up the *rse and it seemed to shake the party out of it’s terrible acceptance of the inevitable.

    From memory, there was some narrowing in the polls as autumn turned to winter, but it was immediately after the New Year when the landslide idea really started to be tested. This was when Cameron announced a ‘blizzard of policy initiatives’, but as each of these came out, so came a more negative reaction. January 2010 was the point when some serious questions started to be asked about Cameron and his policies. [This relates potentially to @Rob Sheffield’s oft stated line that Labour will lose support once detailed policies come out. The move from vague but popular positioning to hard policy is certainly a problem, and he may well be correct].

    Labour’s VI recovery really follows a pretty much straight line from around may 2009, but this start point is arguably artificially created by the depths they plumbed due to the expenses scandal. Tory VI also dipped when the scandal broke, but recovered to a slightly lower level by the autumn of 2009. From this point on it started to fall steadily. Cleggmania shows up as a dip, but the trend line ignores this one off event. From 14/01/10 until election day only 2 polls had the Tories above 40%, with both of these showing 41%. There were occasional polls at 40%, but the majority were in the thirties. No one should have expected a Tory landslide on these numbers, and I was baffled when Hague confidently stated in public in March 2010 that they were expecting a 100+ seat majority.

  41. @Wolf

    Or we could just stop giving the rich and corporations tax cuts whilst raising them on the average worker. Oh and actually collecting the tax from those corporations would make a fine start.

  42. @Reggieside – “Thinking about it in retrospect – it might have been a better idea for cameron not to have gone into a coalition, but instead gone for a minority administration and then calling a second election in the Autumn so as to exploit the ‘halo’ effect. ”

    I must admit, that at the time I considered it to be an error on the part of the Lib Dems to enter into formal coalition, but I hadn’t really thought about the impact on the Tories.

    Now, I would agree with you. I think we are in an odd situation whereby both members of the government would be better off if they hadn’t gone into coalition.

    I guess both made the error of believing that a quick slap of austerity and a couple of years of growth would make them look like heroes and leave Labour floundering.
    Instead, Cameron faces a far more united opposition with little chance of it splitting into Lab/Lib voting blocks.

  43. Alec

    Labour didn’t have a long recovery after 2009, in 2010 at some stages they were in 3rd.

    But we’ve derailed from the original point, and that’s that Labour are at the moment, very likely to win, and win big, but I’m not ready to put money on it, as anything can change, there are too many unknowns. We can argue all day about “when” people started to question the supposed obvious, but “when” doesn’t matter, the fact is that, what seemed inevitable at one stage, did not happen, and the same could be true in future elections.

  44. @ Howard

    “I enjoyed the YouTube spoof, R in N, crikey, the Molly girl has it. I mean *it*.
    On Senator EW, I find her attractive too, but would be a bit worried about the ‘breaking an arm’ bit, some feeling of being a male spider approaching the female.”

    Okay but you know what she did after that? She broke her own arm. It’s called EMPATHY. She’s clearly reformed now.

    Although when Scott Brown launched into his racist attacks against her and when Romney echoed them during his 47% video, I said I would be fine with her kicking either one in the nuts.

  45. ken:

    whistling in the dark mate – but am a big fan of Billy Fury so never mind ay?

  46. I think Conservative VI began to trend downwards following Osborne’s speeches about austerity in the latter half of 2009 – like Letwin in 2001, the Tory shadow chancellor was exiled for the duration of election campaign.

    Lord Ashcroft has already written about the findings of his own polling which appears to show a higher Con>Lab swing in marginal constituencies than in the overall polling picture. He put this down to the fact that voters in these constituencies still distrust the Conservatives, but the intensive marginals campaign (which he masterminded) did manage to persuade them, to give ‘heir to Blair’ David Cameron a go in 2010.

  47. Who will win the next GE is anybody’s guess I know many who post here think Labour are favourites to win and at the moment that would seem likely , however Labours lead is only averaging at 10% with over 2 yrs to go, so there is plenty of scope for that to move up or down, who knows what is in store for either party in the next couple of years.
    Milliband is still consistently behind his party in the polls and behind the supposed deeply unpopular Cameron.
    If the Tories follow every other Government in the last 18 months they will seek to bring in more populist policy’s to appeal to the voter possibly offer a vote on the EU to attract back UKIP voters and some Labour voters who want out the EU.
    The economy may pay a large part in the next GE but I don’t think there has to be an enormous uplift in fortune slight improvement will do for the Tories to claim there on the right track.
    The PCC is not a good example because of the poor turnout but I expected the Tory’s to be thrashed out of sight, I certainly didn’t expect them to lead Labour at the end, as for Corby well it was a good win for Labour but it was set against local people being deeply upset about the previous MP leaving them high and dry with a lot of Tory voters, voting UKIP instead of Tory as a protest vote, a position that may be reversed in the next GE.
    Manchester doesn’t show anything because it was a very safe Labour seat and again the turnout was so low.
    So it is all to play for I think it will be very close again with one of the major parties casting around for a partner the Liberals will fit in with either party, but I’m not sure if UKIP and Labour are natural bed fellows.

  48. I have a different memory of things.Labour VI began to recover once the economy started to climb out the deep hole of 2008 and people gave Gordon the credit for the massive risks he took.

    He could still be PM if Osborne had not masterfully decided to make the increase in NI a big issue terming it as `jobs tax ` and 50 big business leaders supported it giving Osborne and Cameron credibility on the economy.Especially as Labour could not respond with it`s own business leaders supporting it.

  49. PAUL CROFT………..It remains to be seen whether I’m whistling in the dark, or, consistent with history, remarkably prescient. Lots of lovely speculation before any of us find out though, until then I’ll live with a treasured memory of Billy Fury in a gold lame jump suit, wowing ’em at Ma Pardoe’s in Birmingham one Saturday night in the sixties. :-)

  50. @SMukesh

    Correct on NI, though Osborne was chaperoned by Ken Clarke and Phil Hammond on that occasion. Mandelson/Darling tactlessly asserted that the business leaders had been deceived about ‘efficiency savings’ making up the difference with no need for frontline cuts.

    Cameron fronted the policy after that, denying that there were any plans for a VAT hike.

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