Lord Ashcroft has done another great big chunk of polling, this time focusing upon the rise of UKIP. Over on his site he has the results of a big poll of 20,000 people plus a series of focus groups with UKIP supporters and considerers.

Looking first at the demographics of who is supporting UKIP, amongst the 1000 people who said they would vote UKIP at the moment in Ashcroft’s poll, 45% say they voted Tory in 2010, 27% UKIP, 15% Lib Dem, 6% Did not vote, 4% Labour and 4% other parties. The demographic breaks show UKIP supporters continue to be heavily skewed towards elderly men – 43% of their support is from over 65s, just 8% from under 35s. 66% is from men, 34% from women.

Lord Ashcroft headlines his article on one of the most persistent myths about UKIP, that people vote for them over the issue of Europe and, therefore, winning the support of those people is all about offering policies related to Europe.

Past polling has shown this to be nonsense – a huge YouGov poll of voters in the 2009 European election found that Europe was only the fourth most important issue for UKIP voters after the economy, immigration and crime; a 2010 YouGov poll of UKIP voters at the 2010 election found the issue of Europe trailing behind the economy and immigration – and Lord Ashcroft finds the same now. Amongst people considering UKIP (he doesn’t provide a crossbreak for people saying they actually would vote UKIP) 68% name the economy as one of the most important issues facing the country, followed by immigration on 52% and welfare dependency on 46%. Europe is fifth on 27%… meaning almost three quarters of UKIP considerers really don’t see the issue of Europe as that important. Ashcroft found a similar pattern in his focus groups – Europe was mentioned comparatively little compared with immigration, welfare and general disatisfaction with modern Britain.

Asked which party people think has the best policy on particular issues, UKIP come nowhere at all on most issues. Even people considering voting UKIP don’t think they have policies on the economy, health, crime or whatever. There are only two issues where even UKIP considers think they have good policies – Europe and immigration. Essentially, UKIP have managed to break out of the ghetto of being a single-issue party to become a two-issue party, or a three-issue party if you count being generally dissatisfied with modern life.

As I endlessly say here though, policies really aren’t that important in determining voting intention. Ashcroft’s UKIP considerers say that they think the economy is the most important issue and they overwhelmingly think the Conservatives are the best party on that, they think David Cameron would be the best PM, they would prefer a Conservative majority at the election… yet they say they would consider voting UKIP. Why?

Crunching the data Ashcroft found the strongest correllations with considering voting UKIP were statements associated with values and party image – people who thought UKIP reflected their values, or was prepared to say the sort of things other parties wouldn’t. Lord Ashcroft also asked UKIP considerers whether they agreed with various reasons people might support UKIP. The most agreed with statement was to send a message about immigration and Europe (sadly lumped together in the same statement), followed by agreement with UKIP’s immigration policy, wanting to “take Britain back in time when things were done more sensibly” and the “bigger parties seem more interested in trendy nonsense than listening to ordinary people”.

Putting aside European elections (when much of UKIP support is from otherwise loyal Conservative voters sending a specific message over Europe), UKIP support is not particularly connected with Europe, it is an anti-immigration vote and protest vote against some aspects of modern Britain, a general reactionary vote in support of taking Britain back to a status quo ante.

Ashcroft also asked how some of the things that might stop people voting UKIP. The statements that UKIP considers agreed with least were the statements that UKIP seem “quite old fashioned”, or “seem a bit racist” – hardly surprising given the elderly age profile of UKIP supporters, their support for things being as they used to be and opposition to immigration – such voters are highly unlikely to see being anti-immigration as racist or being a bit old fashioned as a bad thing. The most agreed with statements were tactical ones about voting UKIP letting a party they didn’t like win their local seat or form the government.

So what of the future? The fact that UKIP support is not primarily driven by attitudes to Europe suggests that a referendum on EU membership is not the sort of elixir that some people seem to consider it to be. That’s not to say it wouldn’t shift votes, or appeal to people with the sort of values that lead them to support UKIP… just don’t expect it to magically lure all those votes back to the Conservatives overnight.

More pertinent is the degree to which UKIP sympathisers who prefer Cameron and the Conservatives to Miliband and Labour will end up returning to the Conservatives once an actual election arrives, and the degree to which UKIP has replaced the Liberal Democrats as a vehicle for mid-term protest votes from people unhappy with both the government and the opposition. Right now there is no good way of measuring that.


259 Responses to “Lord Ashcroft’s polling on UKIP”

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  1. @LEFTYLAMPTON

    I actually agree with you, poor attempt at wit on my part.
    He certainly is a man i much admire especially so since he retired from politics to look after his wife who was badly injured in the Brighton bomb.

  2. @ Paul Croft

    Come now, you strike me as a bit of a cynic so clearly if a newspaper has gone down a certain line in the past and chosen the police over Mitchell then I’m sure you don’t really think it’s that remarkable the Telegraph will defend that line to the bitter end :-)

    @ Robert C

    I agree that it looks like there are serious issues now with the evidence, particularly the shocked onlookers bit. However it doesn’t change things for me (and like I say it will now come down to party lines) that he swore at police officers. I think a Friday night drunk would probably get away with it as it’s not worth their hassle of bringing in a drunk but in the political arena or in everyday life I think it is different and many would say why should he get away with it when I can’t. The other issue is that he has said what he didn’t say but he still hasn’t said what he did say.

    I’ve been on a lot of demonstrations in my time, some heavy, some peaceful. The one thing, if you have any sense, is not to go swearing at police or giving them grief because you will probably not get away with it and there is nothing to be gained. So then it is quite sensitive if a member of the government can apply different standards to what a sensible person would do in real life.

    Taking two examples once at football someone was chucked out (or arrested) for shouting out that the ref was ‘as thick as a copper’. another example was someone arrested outside a police station at 1am in the morning for urinating in a flower bed (presumably all the public toilets were closed at this time!) while waiting for other people to get released. I think the general comment from his mates was something like ‘it’s always him isn’t it’ meaning he didn’t use any commonn sense and go to a quiet place.

    I’ve also seen the other side of the coin where someone who had been arrested was ‘de-arrested’ because the police needed to clear anti BNP ‘demonstrators’ outside of the area quickly to avoid public order issues and felt it was worth letting him go so they could get everyone on a train away from the conflict..

    So if you have any sense you do not antagnoise a police officer and particularly not over an issue of opening a gate. And if you were highly moral then you would not be swearing at anyone. So personally I think the double standards and expecting high standards of people in government line still holds even if part of the police evidence is suspect.

  3. I find the whole immigratio0n issue as a strange except if maybe you live in an area with high immigration that affects your perception, Europe and immigration are the same issue for most as it is because of the expnasion of the EU that has led to the rise in immigration particularly from eatern euroe.

    I personally work with a number of eatern european people and i dont feel my life is assfected because of immigration. I dare say that if the majority of people were asked how their life has changed because of immigration apart from not being able to tell some borderline racist jokes i would think not so much.

    this is much like crime and the economy where peoplesviews are effevyed by their perception of the issue rather than the reality of it.

    The fact is we are all a result of immigration, some recently some many years ago, whether it be roman, saxon, viking or recently from asia, africa or eurpe.

    I really never had an issue with immigration and as long as there is room why not.

  4. It doesn’t look good for the Met and it raises questions about the police relationship with the Sun (again).

    This might turn out to be a bigger story now, and not a good one for the press.

  5. i wonder if Cameron will bring up Milliband’s “he’s toast” at PMQT today? Might be interesting.

    If I was Ed I’d be non-combative today and seeking the truth about the behaviour of the Met and the Press.

  6. @Shevvi

    “However it doesn’t change things for me (and like I say it will now come down to party lines) that he swore at police officers.”

    That’s a tad cynical, isn’t it? You may be right in some cases but many people are able to look at these things more dispassionately and objectively. Mitchell behaved petulantly no doubt, but the crux of the issue, and what brought him down, were the reports that he used the highly emotive word “pleb” to describe the police officers that he was confronting. The political toxicity of this for a Tory politician is obvious. However, if it turns out that he never used that word, despite how poorly he may have behaved in other respects, then he deserves an apology from the newspapers and his political opponents who traduced him mercilessly on the very basis that he had been snobbish, patronising and offensive towards the police.

    It’s early days in the police investigation, but if the Channel 4 programme last night was accurate, then Mitchell has been the victim, at the very least, of shoddy police work and journalism (where have we heard that doleful double act before??) or, at the worst, some actual criminal wrong-doing and deliberate falsification of official statements.

    Forget the fact that he’s a leading Tory politician, I think he deserves a bit of sympathy as a human being. When we look back on this case I suspect, like the Strauss Kahn fiasco, we will find that there were far too many people prepared to condemn before the true facts became known. I have a horrible feeling that a combination of witch-hunt journalism and leaking police investigations, will mean that some of the people now being sucked into the Savile case will turn out to have been innocent victims of this type of media circus. Ruined lives and careers aplenty, I fear.

    As for Mitchell himself, I do agree with those who say that fatal damage to his career has probably already been done and he will find it difficult to recover from an image of him that is now engrained in popular consciousness. A lie is usually half way around the world before the truth has got its boots on and, sadly, people tend to believe what they want to believe. I remember a media inspired story about Tony Blair saying that in an old interview he’d falsely claimed to have watched Jackie Milburn play football at Newcastle when it was obvious, for all sorts of chronological reasons, that he couldn’t have possibly done so. This was used gleefully by his many media enemies to prove, in their minds, his insincerity and cavalier attitude to the truth. As it turned out, he never claimed any such thing but the myth was abroad and, to this day, Blair-haters like Wheatcroft, Porter and Oborne still refer to it as an example of Blair’s dishonesty.

    Similarly, Mitchell will take plebgate to his grave, I’m afraid.

  7. shevii

    […] if a newspaper has gone down a certain line in the past and chosen the police over Mitchell then I’m sure you don’t really think it’s that remarkable the Telegraph will defend that line to the bitter end :-)

    But if you look at the Telegraph’s coverage they’re not defending the police to the bitter or any other sort of end. They seem to have switched to being at least neutral, possibly pro-Mitchell, if you look at their coverage:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9754845/Senior-Tories-call-for-Andrew-Mitchell-to-get-job-back.html

    This change of heart seems particularly odd because there if you read it carefully there isn’t any dispute about what was in the police log (which was what the actual row was about) just around some of the surrounding detail. It seems more an attempt to smear the officer who passed on the info and then somehow imply that this “clears” Mitchell[1]

    Given that evidence has never been something that has got the DT to change their mind before, you do wonder for the motivation for this turnaround. Of course it could just be that they are worried about the servants getting uppity, but you suspect that the potential implications of Leveson might be in their thoughts[2] or indeed the potential for crackdowns on the various financial activities of the Barclay brothers as detailed this week in Panorama:

    ht tp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01px74c

    [1] I must admit I could never work out what he was guilty of in the first place – if just being unpleasant disqualified you for the Cabinet…

    [2] It’s getting mildly irritating that, every comment column on any subject in any newspaper is liable to erupt into “If Leveson was implemented we couldn’t tell you this”. Especially since it is usually blatantly untrue.

  8. Everyone loves a conspiracy.

    A word of caution

    My experience as a serving police officer was that it is common practice to speak to colleagues about events that have happened during the course of duty.

    This doesn’t mean there is any intent to collude and conspire or encourage your off duty colleague to corroborate a statement .

    I think we need to wait and see on this one.

  9. STEVE

    I agree with you and don’t think it was a conspiracy but the email was fabricated and the CCTV footage doesn’t appear to go hand in hand with the police log.

    The MP has always stuck by what he said to the police at the time but the police account seems to have changed.

    My main concern is that if the police (allegedly) fabricate accounts of events against a serving government cabinet officer then how can ordinary members of the public trust the police?

  10. #cabinet member

  11. Alan Christie
    “My main concern is that if the police (allegedly) fabricate accounts of events against a serving government cabinet officer then how can ordinary members of the public trust the police?”

    Oh come on, are you seriously suggesting that it is not something that has gone on for years? Why do you think we get so many miscarriages of justice being identified?

  12. @ Crossbath

    I don’t disagree with what you say and I don’t deny that, if C4 is all true, then there has been an injustice. We will find out how much of an injustice in due course.

    Just from my perspective he still refuses to say what he did say which suggests to me that whatever he did actually say (Plebs or not) it was something that would have put his career in doubt anyway. Having lost his job he would have had nothing to lose by saying what he said to clear the air.

    As Steve suggests a conspiracy is a long way from a series of events that may have grown from a bit of tittle tattle that got picked up on by various organisations.

  13. If you want another conspiracy theory. Why has it taken several months for the CCTV footage to appear ? If the CCTV footage appeared to clear Andrew Mitchell, why was it not released earlier ? Has someone mucked around with the recording ? Is the recording for a different time/date ?

    Jus raising this point, as I am not sure who to believe. As a ministers reputation was tarnished and he lost his job, then it is important that they get to the truth. The same is true for the Police involved.

    Another point is why such a small issue was made into such a big deal. Had this been dealt with properly at the time, then a lot of time and money could have been saved.

  14. The prime minister’s spokesman said David Cameron’s view of Mitchell’s behaviour in Downing Street had not changed since he accepted Mitchell’s resignation. He still believed Mitchell’s behaviour was not acceptable, and he had been right to apologise. He added that Cameron still hoped that in time Mitchell would be able to make a further contribution to public life.
    ——————-
    Apparently the e-mails from the police officer who is now ‘in trouble’ were not considered significant in the PM’s decision to accept Andrew Mitchell’s resignation.

  15. I think it is hugely unlikely that Cameron would offer an in/out referendum.

    It is far too risky and would alienate the party funders and the main beneficiaries of the EU : financial traders, large corporations and rich indiduals, few of whom are probably supporting UKIP at the moment.

    Far better, from his perspective, is to keep the issue alive by dangling some possible and ill-defined referendum at some point after the next election but to remain in until then. And maintain that policy for several elections until it returns to being of benefit to the tories rather than UKIP.

  16. My natural inclination is to think that Steve’s suggestion will prove to be right. So the email in question will turn out to be simply the result of discussions about work and not part of a conspiracy. But if this is the case why does the commissioner say that it is a complex investigation and why are there something like 30 officers on the case?

    I am actually sorry for Andrew Mitchell since I felt that he fought his corner as minister at DfID and this is surely more important than what was clearly bad behaviour by any standards. And it is also unfortunate by my lights that the story is now again about plebgate when other issues – for example, the decision to cut the period of notice needed before large scale redundancies are made – are more important.

    So I hope that Andrew Mitchell is in due course given his career back, that the current furore turns out not to be a conspiracy, and that everyone gets on to more substantive matters.

  17. TOH

    @”The Mitchell affair is now much bigger than that, was it a conspiracy?”

    Indeed?

    A question Andrew Neil put to Brian Paddick on DP this morning.

    His response was interesting-not a “conspiracy”-but more probably one the cops on the gate sending a copy of the alleged “record” to a “mate ” who was also in the Protection Squad ( but not on the gate) with the suggestion that he pose as a civilian & “use ” it.

    Paddick’s idea of what does & does not constitute a “conspiracy” is interesting!

    But certainly there are interesting questions, -to which the answers are going to be even more interesting.

    I presume Commissioner Hogan-Howe will be diligent in getting to the facts.

    I presume too, that the Police Federation will be waiting with great interest for the facts to emerge. :-)

  18. SHEVII

    @”ust from my perspective he still refuses to say what he did say ”

    If you saw him on the C4 investigation , you will have seen him saying exactly what he said, and what he says he did not say.

  19. SHEV11

    You need to watch the Channel 4 report in full including the recording of Mitchells meeting with Police Federation representatives. He has said repeatedly what he said and has apologised for it. The Police Federation part in this should also be investigated. I think this is a very big story.

  20. How many constituencies will have an NHS party as a vehicle for basic discontent? Is there any news of that?

    Two years to the election and it’s all UKIP, UKIP, UKIP. They haven’t got enough about them to sustain two years of encouraging unjustified greivances and remain fresh.

    NHS candidates however, really could mobilise cross-party support and the grumpy vote.

  21. Mikems

    Is there any evidence that the voters are annoyed about the NHS (I mean really put out)? I thought one needed grannies on hospital trolleys for that (for instance).

    I see Nick Clegg’s speech on Monday had a profound effect on VI (not).

    I predict that Mr Mitchell saga will have a similar effect on VI (not again).

    We appear to be in VI limbo again.

  22. I also noticed that this poll still shews broad support for the coalition from Con and LD voters. Of course many LDs have already waltzed off to labour, so the rump of them would be presumably more supportive.

  23. Howard,

    I mean as a protest vehicle to mobilise the disgruntled. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if damaging stories about the NHS become more common, like the Guardian story yesterday about failed out of hours GP services, now being run by private companies under ‘any willing provider’.

  24. MIKEMS

    @”How many constituencies will have an NHS party as a vehicle for basic discontent? Is there any news of that?”

    Hmmm

    I would have thought the first noises from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh – National Medical Director of the new NHS Commissioning Board -might begin to persuade people that progress really is on it’s way :-

    Hospital treatment to be available at weekends, in order to remove the enhanced mortality rates resulting from it’s current absence.

    Online league tables for surgeons.

    THe first of those is, in my view, a very big source of concern and upset for those unfortunate enough to be admitted to hospital on a Friday evening through Sunday.

  25. Colin
    A question Andrew Neil put to Brian Paddick on DP this morning.

    -I heard the question it was entirely Speculative and any answer Mr Paddick might have given would have been to.

    Clearly if the officers conspired this would be illegal. As far as I am aware there is no evidence yet obtained which would substantiate this, but it doesn’t look good on the face of it.

    As the CCTV tapes have been in the hands of the authorities, since the incident it is surprising that this matter wasn’t flagged as a cause of concern before Mitchell left His post.

  26. So. With the Tories now being in a lather about allegations of police conspiring to fabricate evidence, would now be a good time to ask for an inquiry into Orgreave?

  27. STEVE

    I agree-it doesn’t look good at all.

    I hope & believe that the Commissioner of The Met understands that the reputation of & fundamental belief in the Police is at stake in his investigation of this matter.

    Whatever the facts , he must disclose them-all of them.

  28. MIKEMS.

    The problems in GP after hours services result from two main factors :-

    Funding to pay GPs for contributing to the service.

    Reluctance of GPs to provide the service.

    And both of these factors emanate from the new GP contract established in 2004 which enabled GPs to opt out of working evenings and weekends.

  29. LEFTY

    I presume you are pleased with today’s announcements on Hillsborough?:-

    Inquest quashed & a new inquest ordered.

    A new IPCC investigation:-

    “The Home Secretary said the new probe would look into “all of the people and organisations involved” and could lead to criminal prosecutions. ”

    DT

  30. @ Colin

    And both of these factors emanate from the new GP contract established in 2004 which enabled GPs to opt out of working evenings and weekends.
    ——————
    Yes, market forces are a bugbear. There was a chronic shortage of GPs due to their terms & conditions being eroded by previous governments. The only way to get enough new entrants to the profession was to improve their terms & conditions.

    Would you have just allocated a lot of medical students to be GPs whether they wanted to do it or not? How would you have stopped them joining the ‘brain drain’ of medical staff which we’d suffered under the previous government too? Would you have just put a big wall around the country & not allowed them to leave?

  31. AMBER

    I don’t accept your characterisation of the event.

    :-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6314301.stm

    Now-we are where we are-and this government will have to try sort it out -what’s new?

  32. ………and it had become a shambles almost immediately:-

    http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/clinical-negligence/gp-out-of-hours-service.htm

  33. Yes, market forces are a bugbear. There was a chronic shortage of GPs due to their terms & conditions being eroded by previous governments. The only way to get enough new entrants to the profession was to improve their terms & conditions.

    -Not entirely true as GP’s incomes are approximately double that of their counterparts in Spain ,France or Germany and as my wife will confirm double that of a Hospital Registrar.

  34. ‘In the 1920s they wanted to stop the poor drinking tea!!!!!’

    Also, in the twenties, the party that demanded an end to free trade and closer trading links with the empire(colonies) was….the BUF.

    So UKIP are completely different.

  35. WOLF

    I agree that “nobody cares” what Mitchell said-and “nobody “cares about Mitchell.

    I think people will care if it turns out that a serving police officer posed as a civilian witness to an event he was not present at, in order to secure the specific resignation of a government minister.

    I think people will care if a Met. Protection Squad police “log book” is shown to be deliberately inaccurate, at a time when South Yorkshire police face similar accusations

    —though , as NickP implies-the “caring” will simply consist of the abandonment of what residual trust in the police remained.

  36. Colin,

    I am interested in the possible VI impact of the threatened NHS party standing in selected constituencies as a mobiliser for the disgruntled now attracted to UKIP.

    A debate between you and me on the NHS seems to be an exercise in utter futility.

  37. MIKEMS

    I agree !

  38. Steve
    In France a GP earns between 40 & 50k euros. In the UK they earn £100k+. In France you can make an appointment to see your GP, or just turn up, your choice & you see the same one each time, who gives you as long as you need, not the 4 mins allocated in England before they push you out of the door. Oh, and it costs 24 euros to see the GP of which you will be refunded 23 euros if you are in the ‘French health system’. If you are not, tough. This helps ensure that the service is valued & is only free to people who are entitled. ie pay their contributions.
    Oh and they send Romanian gypsies back home as well, if they are not working.
    So what’s a socialist country doing with such right wing practices?

  39. Colin

    I’m delighted by that news. And equally perplexed by the numerous Home Secretaries and PMs in the intervening period who did not push for an investigation.

    As I say. I now await the inquiry into police action and alleged police fabrication at Orgreave.

  40. AW

    Can you let us know when YG will be releasing the next VI poll results after 26 Dec please?

  41. @ Steve

    -Not entirely true as GP’s incomes are approximately double that of their counterparts in Spain ,France or Germany and as my wife will confirm double that of a Hospital Registrar.
    ————————
    That may be the situation now; it was not the situation in 2001 when the UK had 2,500 unfilled posts. Hence the 2004 contract, which Colin refers to.

  42. @ Colin

    Now-we are where we are-and this government will have to try sort it out -what’s new?
    ——————–
    I’m sure that this government will sort it out just as effectively as they sorted out the West Coast Line. Their reputation for contract management is stellar… or maybe not?

  43. The incident in question (Mitchell’s altercation with police) occurred on Wednesday September 19th, however, it was reported at the time that this followed a similar altercation between Mitchell and the police on the Tuesday evening.

    I only saw this reported once, and in passing, but if true it could throw a different light on the story.

  44. @Lefty L

    “As I say. I now await the inquiry into police action and alleged police fabrication at Orgreave.”

    I fear you may well have to wait for a very long time. The way the miners dispute in the early 80s was policed was a manifestation of state power unrivalled in peacetime.

  45. Just to actually talk about the poll:

    http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/7gch80zrwt/YG-Archive-Pol-Sun-results-181212.pdf

    I notice that in the concerns section, the huge difference between what Con voters think about the immigration issue for the country and for the family. 63% put it important for the country but only 21% put it so for their family. For Lab and LD it is still second place importance but much lower, for the country, but hardly figures as an issue for one’s family. I find this interesting. Is it that shire Con voters who never see someone from another ethnicity from one day to the next, just think it’s a problem elsewhere’

    Note the remarkable similarity of concerns for both Lab and LD voters, whereas one might have assumed, since the migration from LD to Lab, that there would have been greater differences.

  46. Regarding the Mitchell affair,It seems to me that if a group of policemen who are in the same diplomatic section of the met, two of which are involved in a incident with a Minister were no action is taken by the police at the time, but then a log of the events is leaked to the press by whom we must assume was the police to cause the maximum embarrassment to the minister.
    Then another member of the same diplomatic protection squad pretends to be a civilian witness to back up the two police officers reported log’s by quoting what was in the supposed confidential logs of the two officers, again to cause maximum embarrassment to a Minister.
    All of which is used by the police federation to attack the government over police cut’s.
    It was the word Pleb that really forced the minister from office because it fed into that stereotypical image of a posh Tory talking down to the peasants a word that Mitchell denied saying all along.
    He never denied swearing although he states he said “your supposed to help the ****ing public* which is not quite the same as telling somebody to **** off.
    It may or maybe not be a conspiracy, but if Mitchell had been arrested at least one of the officers would have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and the two reporting officers evidence about other people present would have been discredited by the cctv evidence and I suspect the whole case would have been thrown out of court.
    Certainly under the last Met Chief there was move not to report people for swearing unless it was accompanied by another act like causing alarm and distress to the public, I believe this policy is still in force in the met and other forces, which leaves the point should anybody lose there job for swearing, probably not , I certainly wouldn’t have wanted the police officer who once told me to ****ing move my car before he had it towed to have lost his job in fact on reflection he had a point and I was being a pain.
    Whether we like it or not swearing is part of the fabric of speech used by all sections of the public it can be heard everywhere in the playground, in the street,at work even on television, why should we expect Ministers to be any different to the rest of us when we lose our tempers the temptation to swear is not restricted by the position we hold in life.

  47. Seems like Labour’s daily poll lead with Yougov is now slightly up to around 11% or so.

  48. If Mitchell didn’t use the word pleb he hasn’t got a case to answer for and should get his job back immediately; if he did use the word pleb, he doesn’t deserve his/any role in government.

  49. Do we have any more polling before Christmas? I wonder if ‘Should Mitchell get his job back?’ will be asked.

  50. AS

    And if he direct the word f*** at the coppers?

    It’s like a mini-Watergate where the cover-up is worse than the original crime. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the original situation, Mitchell did himself no favours whatsoever by steadfastly refusing to explain exactly what he DID say.

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