This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9%. The twelve percent support for the Liberal Democrats is the highest that YouGov have shown since way back in April 2011. All the usual caveats apply about unusual poll findings apply – more often than not they are just blips – however this is part of a wider pattern in recent YouGov polling, that has shown the Lib Dems sneaking up into double figures on an increasingly regular basis. Eight out of nine YouGov polls in December have shown the Lib Dems at 10 or above, compare that to 5/21 polls in November and 5/23 in October.

If is it sustained it will be worth looking at exactly where the support is coming from and trying to work out what is driving it, but the Lib Dems have been increasingly differentiating themselves from the Conservatives over recent months – that would certainly be a potential cause worth looking at.

240 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 44, LD 12, UKIP 9”

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  1. @ The Sheep (from the previous thread)

    “In Cameron’s defence he really could have avoided the whole thing. There was no (political rather than moral) need for him to legislate on this – he could have said he wanted it but it was low priority etc… I suspect that civil servants have overcomplicated the whole thing though.

    Why not just a triple rather than quadruple lock? Allow the CoE to decide if it wants to perform ceremonies rather than preventing it in legislation? After all it has it’s own pseudo legislative chambers and will take 30 or so years to decide anything!”

    Well, I give him credit for it. I just don’t know why he can’t seem to do this competently.

    @ Old Nat (from the previous thread)

    “The Draft Scottish Bill has been published. Essentially it allows religious organisations to opt in, and celebrants within such an organisation to opt out of conducting same sex marriages.

    It also tidies up various other matters concerning marriage law.”

    Thanks for the link. Good to hear. The sooner the Scottish government implements this, the better.


    ” it has become totemic of what many people see as undue influence of religion and its lack of sympathy with how people live their lives.”

    It seems that the Tory/LD Government has actually accelerated that perception – while the CoE wanted to resist that.

    I had assumed that English Tories were simply ignorant of issues outwith their immediate ken.

    It now looks like they were equally ignorant of England.

    That seems somewhat incompetent.

  3. OLD NAT

    “Good English tends to be of benefit wherever you are, …
    That, however, is nothing to do with the reality that immigrant communities sensibly group together due to family and cultural support systems……Nor does it have any relationship with prioritising English competence among public sector workers.”

    Actually, it does. And is fundamental to good public policy.
    I’m damned if I’ll publicly dispute this with someone whose views I generally hold highly, but this is one which you have got wrong, and your responses are in this case neither accurate to the facts nor relevant to what Ed or – if I may – I actually said.


    We have a process of

    1. public consultation on the principle of a bill
    2. public consultation on the consequent draft bill
    3. Parliament decides on any amendments to the draft bill

    Since the vast majority of MSPs support equal marriage and have contributed to the consultation, the measure will be passed by the Parliament – not the Government.

  5. @ Paul Croft (from the previous thread)

    “Re gay marriage in churches: given that we atheists feel that religion is built on fantasy anyway, it seems very odd to suggest that christians should give up on their central tenet that marriage is between man and woman. It may be a rational approach but religion is built on faith – not on 21st morals or logic.

    Its rather like suggesting vicars don’t have to believe in god in order to do their job.”

    You know I don’t agree with this statement but maybe this explains the position and ideological viewpoint of Julia Gillard.

  6. @ Old Nat

    “We have a process of

    1. public consultation on the principle of a bill
    2. public consultation on the consequent draft bill
    3. Parliament decides on any amendments to the draft bill

    Since the vast majority of MSPs support equal marriage and have contributed to the consultation, the measure will be passed by the Parliament – not the Government.”

    Is there any actual difference legislatively? Or legally? I don’t want to get into parsing over linguistic differences.


    Sorry. I don’t understand what point you are making.

    I understand that immigration is a different factor in London as opposed to other parts of the UK, and that Ed was making a speech in London about its circumstances.

    It may well be that dealing with linguistic variations is different in Birmingham than in Ayrshire, and that Ed saw “good public policy” as prioritising a particular English competence among public sector workers because some older English people have problems understanding accented English from some care workers.

    Whether these care workers are capable of understanding and communicating in local English dialects, might well be a problem – but that could also apply to care workers who spoke the London variant of English.

    As a Londoner, Ed may well not understand the large variations in English language that exist. There is a regrettable tendency of many people to assume that what they speak is “correct and normal”, while the speech of others is inferior, or worse, non-existant.


    It’s an important difference in a Parliament elected by PR as opposed to FPTP – even if the PR Parliament has a single party majority!

    That the Government has a majority in the Parliament could ensure that it can whip bills into law.

    In practice, the previous Lab/LD government and the current SNP government have sought to create cross-party consensus on legislation, and this has frequently been achieved.

    IE Parliament is more important than whoever is temporarily in government.

  9. It’s the fact that the CoS isn’t required to marry parishioners that makes the difference.

    Ministers and congregations can make their own rules and there will be no shortage of the willing. There are other denominations too.

    If a minister did not want to marry a particular couple gay or otherwise, it would be easy enough to find an excuse which would weaken any suspicion of unequal treatment.

    My informant inside the CoS thinks it is a done deal, a handful of ministers will go to one or other versions of the free and it will cease to be a matter of controversy very quickly.

    Those on both sides of the argument will be surprised how quickly the press and everybody else will have adapted to the new situation.

    In a year there will be no thought of going back. In two, those who now think it wrong will cease to talk about it.


    That seems likely. The Scots Kirk is really good at schism – they only fall out about property, as in 1843 or the Tron Kirk today.

    Civil society has been remarkably capable of coping with such matters – even in the 19th century when such things actually mattered.

    There are more fundamental matters. In my wee toon, the two CoS Kirks which are the remnants of the 1843 Disruption are finally to merge.

    It appears that the flower arranging rota is a major dispute.

  11. @ Old Nat

    “Any statement yet by the US gun lobby accepting their part in the culpability in the massacre of innocents in Connecticut?

    As supposed Christians, they must recognise the relevance of the timing.”

    Lol. It’s going to be a cold snowy day in the Imperial Desert before THAT happens.

    @ Richard in Norway

    “You are joking, you know that the gun lobby would say that if everyone had a gun the the gunman would have been shot dead before he could killed that many.”

    Well I think they probably already have said that though I don’t watch Fox “News” so I can’t confirm for sure. I heard that they were going after video games today.

    And to address their argument, yes, of course, it all makes PERFECT sense.

    I mean obviously you want more guns in the classroom and you want school administrators and teachers bringing guns on campus because:

    1. Those teachers and administrators will obviously know how to properly use their firearms in this sort of situation.

    2. In that sittuation, a teacher or administrator will always be able to get an accurate shot off against the mass killer.

    3. There’s NO chance at all that an armed administrator or armed teacher attempting to take down the shooter would be confused as the shooter by rapidly responding law enforcement officers.

    4. Having additional people firing guns at the same time will obviously reduce the possibility of additional casualties from people firing at one another, especially in a crowded place with lots of panicked people running around.

    5. It’s ALWAYS safer and a good idea to have guns around kids.

    6. Finally, when you really think about it, there are places for guns. And really, schools are just the right kind of place to have guns, especially elementary schools and kindergarten classes.

  12. @Amber

    “…The most compelling argument regarding the EU sounds loud & clear when Nicola articulates it. Basically, if we are EU citizens then we should not have to trade-in our EU citizenship for Scottish citizenship…”

    Nobody is forcing you to trade-in your EU citizenship for Scottish citizenship. You’re doing it voluntarily.

    Scotland is not a member of the European Union. The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union. Citizens of the UK have EU citizenship. If you trade-in your UK citizenship for Scottish citizenship, you lose all the characteristics of UK citizenship by definition. Including EU citizenship.

    Before Oldnat jumps in, him & me agree that HC 643 would prevail: realpolitik would beat theory and Scotland would stay in the EU, using hammers if necessary.

    But, and it’s a big but, it’s not automatic nor inevitable.

    The EU needs to stop being silly…”

    The EU is incapable of being either silly or sensible on this subject, because the EU does not decide its own evolution. Whether an independent Scotland stays in the EU is not a decision of the EU, it’s a decision of the EU27. I’m genuiniely surprised that the SNP top-flight don’t realise this.

    Why is Nicola Sturgeon going to Brussels at all? She needs to go to London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Madrid, Rome….Vienna, Bucharest, Riga, Athens…(thinks furiously), Ljubljana, Bratislava, etc and get the agreement of every single head of government of the EU27. Barosso can say “yes” or “no” until the cows come home, but it’s not his decision: if all the EU27 say you’re in, you’re in, but if one of them say you’re out, you’re out.


  13. @Oldnat

    Incidentally, leaving aside EU citizenship for a moment, what about UK citizenship? What is the plan for those people in Scotland who do not want to lose their UK citizenship?


  14. @ Peter Bell

    “Totally agree. I consider myself as left of centre (as regular readers will be aware I am now to the left of the Lib Dems or should I say they have moved to the right of me) but watching last night’s QT program I felt totally isolated. While I accept civil union of gays (homosexuals are entitled to all the legal benefits enjoyed by heterosexuals), as a commited christian I am against gay marriage as I believe marriage to be an act of union between man and woman. However it seems (according to Will Self et al) that I am not allowed to hold that point of view. So much for free speech!!”

    No one is saying you’re not entitled to your viewpoint. Some of us are just calling it out (using our own free speech rights) for the bigoted and discriminatory view that it is. And you’re entitled to your view as a Christian although I will point out that plenty of Christians don’t hold that viewpoint and in fact, many hold the viewpoint that their religion and religious viewpoint commands them to favor equality. At least that’s the case of all the Christians I know (and I know quite a lot, notwithstanding the “War on Christmas”).

  15. @ Old Nat

    “Bad enough that I have family in the USA! Fortunately, none of them are in Michigan”

    I have family in Connecticut (family I just saw the other day). My uncle, along with his elementary school aged son, lives within less than 10 miles of Newtown. They’re fine but when he heard initial reports incorrectly identifying his town as one with a school shooting, he was quite upset. My mom was on the phone with him today.

  16. @ Old Nat

    “Now that the concentration is on the detail, Nicola has moved to the pivotal role – she is better on these issues.”

    Yeah, she’s pretty awesome.

  17. @ Old Nat

    “Appalling BBC News guy asking someone in Newtown whether the teachers should have been armed!

    However, you are probably right. The US gun lobby are probably arguing that every kindergarten kid should have an AK47 tucked into their satchel.”

    Really? Did he actually ask that? I mean, really? Really? Always leave it to some news reporter to be a total buffoon.

    @ Roger Mexico

    “Cameron and his government seem to regard politics rather loftily. Details are something for the servants to work out (along with those nice people at KPMG), while their betters deal with “presentation”.”

    That’s a problem I think. The truly great politicians are those who care about the details and the real work of getting legislation through. I suppose it’s a little different in your system but actually, perhaps presentation is even less important. Presentation is something that you have your political operatives, your political consultants, your media people, and your press people work on. That’s what you have them all there for. But ultimately, substance matters most.

    Now we don’t need our politicians to be overly detailed and act like a bunch of bureaucrats or think tank nerds. But there’s got to be more than presentation in order to have good governance.

    Look at today’s shocking tragedy in Connecticut. Dan Malloy is the one who ultimately has to make the call on how to deal with the parents of murdered elementary school children. He ultimately has the responsibility for how his state police and emergency response units handle the crime scene and related procedures. That’s the substance. He can have his staffer fix his tie or pick out his sharpest looking suit. He can have a speechwriter go through his remarks and make sure his remarks are just right. He can have his press secretary go make sure that they’ve got the right camera angles. But ultimately, the most important calls and the most important judgments on how Dan Malloy responds are going to be the judgment ones, not the presentation ones.

  18. @ Martyn

    Barosso can say “yes” or “no” until the cows come home, but it’s not his decision
    Then let me rephrase what I said: Barosso, whilst giving the impression that he speaks for the EU, is being silly. Is that better?

  19. @ Martyn

    What is the plan for those people in Scotland who do not want to lose their UK citizenship?
    We are keeping it.

  20. @ Richard in Norway

    Saw this from DKos:

    “Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt: “Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands””

    Yeah, um, the gun lobbyists have already said what you’ve claimed you would say. I’m not surprised.

    Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) who was elected on a pro-gun control platform has been making some excellent points today on the networks. She’s brought up the fiscal cliff negotiations in this, pointing out that mental health services are being cut and mental health facilities are being closed down. She’s been a vocal gun control advocate ever since her husband and son were murdered in a random mass shooting on the Long Island Railwroad while coming home from work in 1993.

    Apparently the Swiss and the Israelis have lots of guns like we do and yet somehow they don’t seem to have major gun violence.

  21. OLD NAT
    I append Ed Miliband’s actual words, since I suspect you’ve missed the main content, which is to do with strengthening the teaching of a second language within immigrant communitie; and only secondly with teaching English to public sector workers.

    “What does a strategy for integration look like? It needs to be rooted in real life including language, housing and the workplace. First, we should start with language. We all know that the beginning of any real connection with a neighbour or colleague, work-mate or friend is a conversation. But we can only converse if we can speak the same language. So if we are going to build One Nation, our goal should be that everyone in Britain should know how to speak English. We should expect that of people that come here. The last Labour government raised the language requirements for people seeking to enter Britain on work and family visas. That was the right approach. But of course there is a minority who have come here without being able to speak English. This makes life harder for them. Those who don’t speak English are less able to get a good job, less able to make the most of being in this country. And it is also bad for Britain as a whole. Stopping us building the bond we need between newcomers and those who have been here for generations. This Government has dramatically scaled back the chances for English language learning.
    In order to protect English language teaching, some local authorities have looked to reduce the cost of translation services.Of course essential translation services including interpreters in our courts and hospitals, must have their role. But English language must be the priority.
    In a world where there is less money around, more of a priority than many written translation materials.
    And English language is particularly important for the next generation.In schools, teaching of English as an additional language is essential. And the earlier that support is given the better for all the children in a school.
    Where there are Home School Agreements, English language learning should be included.
    Which too often doesn’t happen at the mkoment. That would ensure that both schools and parents share the responsibility for helping foreign-born children learn how to speak English. And communities themselves should help too. As many do. I know there are excellent social enterprises across the country, like the Goodwin Development Trust in Hull, where one generation of immigrants take it upon themselves to teach English to the next. “

  22. OLD NAT
    Teachiing English as a second language I mean –

    Do read the whole statement with care – it is an important statement of policy and intent

  23. @”“What does a strategy for integration look like? ”

    Something like the opposite of your immigration “strategy” when in government. That’s what.

    And 2 million in a decade was probably beyond effective integration -even if you had thought about integration then.

  24. Rich, Peter Bell
    Free speech means that you’re free to spout your own point of view but you have to allow others to spout theirs – even if it’s in strong disagreement with your own and they don’t believe that you should hold those views.

    Nobody was prevented speaking on Question Time (although Dimbleby had to fight Will Self and Peter Hitchens who both tried to monopolise time) – and it may have been dominated by one view, but unfortunately the ‘marriage is only between a man and a woman’ is a minority view, especially when it’s a strong belief[1].

    Both the left and the right have a problem where often people on both sides think that strong disagreement of their point of view, often with very emotional language, means that their freedom of speech has been compromised.
    But the only way freedom of speech can be compromised is if you’re not allowed, by rule or law, allowed to express your views [2].
    You may have to put up being called a bigot or homophobe – and that may emotionally hurt – but it’s exactly the same as myself being labelled a Trot (when my politics are far-left but most definitely not Trot).
    Perhaps your opponents should be more mature in their use of language and expression of their views, but your free speech has not been compromised [3].

    It seems to be a meta-meme, that you can call ‘freedom of speech’ ironically in order to socially suppress the views of your opponents – calling it ‘political correctness’ (or ‘liberal left’ or any other emotional language) in order to try to silence your critics, because you feel that your speech is being suppressed by emotional language.

    All –
    The situation is Connecticut is a tragic situation and I think Obama has handled it well – I’ve seen quite strong views on gun control from both sides, but his call to put politics aside and try to work out a solution to this recurring problem is a good response.
    I suspect the issues are more complex than ‘ban all guns’, but I hope that they take the time to look at the deeper reasons why these sorts of tragedies occur and why someone would do such a horrific thing.

    [1] I.e the belief that the state should enforce your religious doctrine.
    [2] This includes threat of losing your job, having pay deducted, etc
    [3] Some places will have rules in order to facilitate this sort of moderation – for example, this board – so your freedom of speech is restricted, but it is for some overall better cause – here it’s for the facilitation of mature non-partisan discussion.

  25. I also hope the irony is not lost on those calling for the state to oppress religious freedom (derived from the freedom of conscience), through the banning of gay marriage, also fighting hard for free speech (also derived from freedom of conscience[1]). ;)

    [1] It’s important to make the parallel – since they’re effectively the same issue.

  26. How reliable is opinion polling on gun control?

    It seems there has been a collapse in support for more more legislation to control gun ownership… many states have ‘liberalised’ laws in recent years.


    Pew has been tracking this for a while and they draw comparisons with other divisive issues like marriage/abortion etc… same dividing lines… might the rural, white, conservative, Republican demographic be being overrepresented again?


  27. Turk
    Immigration is a difficult issue for Lab. So, EM seeks to reduce its damage to Lab’s electoral chances. The fact that DC was evidenttly riled by EM’s speech yesterday suggests the Cons would prefer Lab not to address the issue for electoral reasons. Further, EM used “one nation” again – which of course must irk DC and the Cons.

    And just to remind you and anyone else who has a short memory, the current points system for immigrants was introduced by the last Lab gov at the direction of GB when PM.

    It is also painful for the Cons that DC’s promise/pledge to reduced net immigration to tens of thousands is unachievable.This failure will haunt DC and the Cons into the next GE.

    As I have said before, immigration is a double edged sword. Whoever wields it should be alert to its ability to cut both ways.


    And there is a really good cartoon here, which brings together various developments in the last week or so:

  28. Turk
    I don’t think Labour’s support for immigration had anything to do with their electoral prospects (in fact, if Tories had embraced those immigrants with social conservative values, they may have done better – instead of bashing them with ridiculous caricatures), but everything to do with free-trade economics.

    The establishment view of the past 30-odd years has been that pure free-market/trade capitalist economics is ultimately the best system – and you can’t really avoid the free movement of labour within that view.
    And it’s big business who want the free movement of labour (because it keeps bargaining power down) and capital – the ones who broadly fund the political parties.
    If you want something to blame for New Labour’s stance on immigration, you need only to turn to the Clause 4 moment.

  29. “prioritising a particular English competence among public sector workers because some older English people have problems understanding accented English from some care workers.”

    I understand the regional differences you are talking about but I feel you are trivialising what is a serious problem with regards to London.

    My dad spent the last 9 months of his life in a nursing home in London (and one that was above average for the area and needed the family to pay a suplement). It was not a case of ‘some’ older people and ‘some care workers’. It was a case of, by and large, having only two nurses in the whole nursing home there who ANY of us were able to communicate with.

    There was one we always went to to air our concerns about his health or just to get the latest update. The other person could communicate but didn’t really have the full vocabulary such that you could communicate effectively with her. So we could get a message across but needed a lot of reapeating and we were not always sure she had really grasped what we were saying. The rest of the people there could barely speak English aside from one or two coming in for ‘entertainments’.

    When you get to a nursing home stage of your life the actual medical element is fairly basic- pain killers, dealing with bedsores etc etc. There’s nothing that requires a really skilled medical professional to deal with a complicated illness. What you do need is someone who the patient/family can communicate with for their problems and just to generally be supportive. We were ever so grateful for having this one person there but bitter that everyone did not have a grasp of basic English and it was like if we needed to speak to someone about his health we would actually wait a day until this one person was around.

    Try and imagine the worst call centre you have ever known and put this into a situation such as above and I think it is a very serious neglect of the elderly.

  30. TURK

    “The fact is Labour had a policy for mass immigration regardless of the effect it would have on local services, schools, housing, social services and so on.
    Nobody would object to immigration on the grounds the country needs skilled workers but this was not the case under Labour there were some in the Labour party who immigration as a way to boost it’s vote and change the middle England demography of the country that kept voting in those pesky Tories”

    I don’t know if Labour’s disastrous immigration polices were for political gains but there is no getting away from it…it was a complete disaster.

    Anyway we have to feel sorry for the poor Welsh who (in particular the rural areas) are been increasingly Anglicised by they pesky middle England migrants and voting Tory.

  31. Will there be a war or an uprising in European countries within the next 5 years ? I think this is highly possible given the problems in many countries including Greece, Portugal and Spain. I understand that in Portugal there are signs of people wanting an immediate change in their government, by whatever means. In Spain Catalonia wants to separate from the rest of Spain. The Greeks won’t stand for much more austerity.

    After the EU won a Nobel peace prize, I thought that this was a sign that a war was more likely than not.

  32. @Paul Croft re Turk’s last post.

    Partisan it was but certainly not silly. You just do not agree with him why not say so politely.

  33. @ Turk

    I do not agree with the assessment that Labour brought in immigrants to boost their vote. My experience is that a lot of first generation immigrants really do not bother to vote at all having no understanding of the politics of a country they have just moved to. I stand to be corrected as there may be family or community aspects but I am not aware of any.

    Immigration from Eastern Europe is potentially a temporary thing and certainly I doubt many Poles etc vote.

    In the case of people from newly joined EU countries being allowed to work in this country I think Labour underestimated the numbers and were keeping to a “European spirit”, but in any event were happy to have a cheap pool of labour to boost growth.

    In the case of asylum seekers that was probably humanitarian based or simply not interfering with the status quo and not grasping the fact that many were economic refugees as opposed to hardline political activists being targeted in the country they were seeking “asylum” from.

  34. @SHEVII

    I would agree with your post.It took me 8 years to cast my first vote and I was interested in politics.

  35. Mind you Turk might have a point. The most common name in Bradford is now Abdul-a-bulla and stats show people with this name are more likely to vote Labour. (Joke)

    I’m not that fussed on immigration as long as it’s controlled. I’m a bit of a mixed cherry myself being born in England now living in Scotland and having a Scottish father and Italian born mother who still gets confused at my Scots burr!!

    But I would like to see more skilled people moving here and the retention of newly qualified overseas students.

  36. SHEVII

    I covered your point in my initial response to Rob.

    Employers should ensure that their employees have the appropriate language skills for the job that they do, and the people with whom they work.

    Clearly, that might prove difficult in places like London, which depend on immigrants on minimum wage to staff their service industries.

    Presumably, their choice becomes one of employing people with inadequate English or not providing the service at all.

    Ed’s homily won’t improve the situation in any way.

  37. oldnat @ SOCALLIBERAL

    ” Parliament is more important than whoever is temporarily in government.”

    Indeed. Unfortunately we have now lost nearly all those who had the judgement to see that the Scottish Parliament was a better place to be than the other parliaments they had been in. You should see the opening speech of PO George Reid in the debae about breast feeding on women’s day 2007(?)welcoming the gender balance.

    Further evidence that the Westminster culure is the source of too many problems.

    In this matter Donald Gorrie is perhaps the greatest loss. Malcolm Chisholm is marginalised. Otherwise, only AS remains.

  38. “Really? Did he actually ask that? I mean, really? Really? Always leave it to some news reporter to be a total buffoon. ”

    Providing “Balance” between the mad and the sane, I think.

  39. @Nickp – “my understanding is that to get even the basic state pension you need 30 years NI credits. To get SP2 you need to be paying extra NI contributions. ”

    I don’t think that’s correct. My understanding is that the proposal replaces the basic (which has the 30 yr qualification0 and the pension credit guarantee, with the single, non contributory £140pw figure.

    SP2 is based on work record, but very low paid get it for free, if they earn up to £620 pcm (limit for NI payments).

  40. Alec

    Isn’t there going to be a residency qualification?

    I hope you are right. But one of the pensions “experts” I read said there would be a reduction for time spent contracted out. That would mean the Government replacing means tested benefits with a universal non-contributory pension and then reducing the universal benefit because of means of contribution history, but what the hell. None of it has to make sense.

  41. I would expect most voters who are not immigrants themselves, to be well aware who is doing a lot of the real hard work in our airports and places through which they pass and also when they want a artisan’s job done, or want to eat out…. and so on.

    They will also be aware of the nature of a lot of the people who would have done such work 60 years ago but are no longer apparently available. I looked at the recent unemployment stats and it is not clear to me why immigrants should have a head start over indigenous candidates.

    Thus, when garnering views on immigration, it would be interesting to know of those polled, how many are immigrants, or children of same (yes, go back the 60 years, I’m not talking Romans and Normans here) and perhaps divide those views between EU and Others. The problem is that Others will probably not admit to being immigrants. I suppose ‘where was your grandfather born’ might help. I doubt whether online panels like YG have many of either (in fact they may be excluded from results – and what about phone polls?).

    In fact, writing the above paragraph gave rise to so many thoughts, I realise that the whole immigration issue is not one that interests me much ( I mean as a political one). However, it seems to dominate others’ thoughts, so perhaps a poll on what can be done about it would be more revealing. How many ‘repatriation’ enthusiasts are there, outside the BNP and UKIP voters? The Mrs Duffy incident revealed that the ones she wished had not been here were those that could not have been rejected and were doing all the work that compatriots were not doing – in other words they paid their way and were not a burden, except their children in some schools. My children moved to Holland in 1977, aged 3 and 5, and within two months were fluent in Dutch and fully integrated, as only children can do. I admit it would have been be a bit harder at secondary age. Travelling around the mainland, I meet many people who did similar (from many countries to many countries). I find the whole experience of discussing with such people their thoughts, intensely satisfying knowledge.

    On language, a child moving from Devon to Paisley (or vice-versa) would be confronted with the same challenge that we faced. I have spent a whole evening in a Perth golf club (the Inch was it?) without understanding a single word that was said amid much laughter.

  42. @Amber

    Yes. And no. :-)

    Barosso answered the question he was asked, and did so truthfully (would you have preferred him to lie or dissemble?) But all he can do is accurately report the rules, which he did. He cannot change the rules.

    Under the current rules, the legal situation is as Barosso reported it, as I have been saying these many moons, and as I again relayed to you above (Scotland is not a member of the European Union, you will have to reapply, etc).

    If SNP want the situation to be as it want it to be (Scotland to become a new member seamlessly upon separation) then SNP will have to persuade the EU27 (the 27 heads of government, not the European Commission President Barosso) to change the rules. Sturgeon is literally going to the wrong place and talking to the wrong person.


  43. I’m curious as to what are the ingredients that turn a fairly straightforward speech into a “homily” and what, apart from discussing problems and encouraging others to do the same,is an opposition leader expected to do to improve situations.

  44. Labour let in so many eastern Europeans because business told them to and the BoE would have raised rates if they hadnt. To pretend that a Tory govt would have done different is laughable. Votes didn’t come into, political donations probably did play a part, all those wealthy folk who switch from donating to the Tories to donating to labour wanted cheap labour. Of course donations tend to lead to votes

  45. Martyn/Amber/Old Nat

    Out of sheer mischievousness, surely the argument that the SNP should be making is a Scottish monarch. James VI, took over England etc? Therefore the successor state to a dissembled UK should be Scotland and it’s the remaining bits that should be (re)applying for EU entry.

    Make UKIP very happy, anyway.

  46. John

    ” Suppose we add these measures in the UK to the Government’s takeover of Northern Rock and RBS, how close would we be getting to state management of the housing market and employment?”

    Good question, I think we are very close, what interesting to me is the strange relationship between the state and the market. Some days it looks like we have rule by markets, even though the state is constantly intervening to prop up the markets, would it be too far to suggest that its difficult to know where the market ends and the state begins, seems to me that its become like one of those mythical creatures. Half of one thing half of another but still one animal, but with lots of personality problems.

  47. @ RIN

    I think difficult questions should be asked about whether the banks are able to make decent profits from legal transactions. If you think about it, how much of the profits generated from the 1990’s until 2008 were from illegal or dubious practicies. PPI, LIBOR, other market manipulation, excess bank charges, money laundering etc.

    If you stripped away all of these dodgy revenues, I am not sure that much real profit is still left.

    Once this is all sorted out, I predict that the banks will start making charges for current account and dealing with Direct Debits.

  48. @ Roger Mexico

    LOL. But I think I did not properly explain to Martyn what I meant.

    I do not believe that Nicola Sturgeon’s point will fall on deaf ears when she articulates it to the 27. If we are EU citizens & we wish to remain EU citizens, what message does it send to the people of the EU, the rest of Europe & the world to take our EU citizenship away? A message which the 27 do not want to send, IMO!

  49. R huckle

    When your business is essentially printing money, it really takes special talent to lose money, even if banks lent below inflation they would still make money as long as all loans are repaid and they keep their costs under control. Of course greed and huburis made the improbable inevitable. As a result banks will have to have to find lots of absolute zero risk returns for a long time to come, the holes in their real balance sheets will take decades to repair. And charges for bank services would be an easy place to increase margins

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