Friday round up

Here are few bits and bobs for Friday afternoon.

  • The YouGov/Sun daily poll this morning had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. As we suspected yesterday, the Conservative boost from the referendum pledge has indeed faded away.
  • While we’re on that topic, Lord Ashcroft had some polling this morning on the same subject. It was taken over last weekend, so when the poll boost was at its height, and had voting intention figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 7% (the polling appears to have been done by Populus, whose voting intention polls for the Times are becoming increasingly infrequent), but Ashcroft concludes, probably correctly, that it has not done much to change perceptions of the Conservative party.
  • Ipsos-MORI have put together a rather nice interactive graphic of their main polling between 2010-2012, which is worth a play with here.
  • And finally, some polling for Phil Cowley on the Nottingham Politics site, asking people what sort of MPs they wanted to see more or less of. The type of MP that the largest proportion of people say they want to see more is MPs who are local to the area they are representing, followed by more working class MPs. This does not, of course, mean that people will necessarily vote in a way to achieve that aim…

171 Responses to “Friday round up”

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  1. lol I always did like Orwell’s summary of his own social status. Perhaps I’ll adopt that.

    Seriously though, I guess that lower middle class may be the best description of my own social class or a C1. I certainly think I have more middle class sensibilities than working class ones.

  2. I don’t have no class, I’m feckless

  3. @Amber

    “They are expected to have intellect, empathy, emotional intelligence, knowledge, ability & a host of other attributes which ‘set them apart from the herd’ just to be accountants or bank clerks!”

    Well it’s a reflection of the employment industry more than anything else. If I want an accountant (no specialism), they have to be able to:

    count
    account (as in be able to the do the accountancy work)
    explain it to me in a way I understand

    That’s enough really. Honesty, and a tidy appearance of course. To ‘set them apart from the herd’, they need to be sharp or perhaps it depends on the employer. Some might want a good looking lassie, or other might want a ‘Yes man’.

    There’s no accounting (scuse the pun) for peoples’ employment methods sometimes. I would recommend gender, race, religion and age (unless job requires specifics, such as infantry) be omitted until the interview stage. The point is to find the right mind or skillset for the job; not the next useless article with a confident smile.

  4. @AKMD

    No Labour front bench for you! You’re a toff, y’know.

    :)

  5. RIN
    “I don’t have no class,”
    You are of course quoting John Kennedy on Richard Nixon,
    bat according to the record of his Oval Office meetings on Watergate, he was “expletive deleted”, anything but feckless.

    Ambi
    You’ld better watch out for what us academics call inverse snobbery, which consists of adopting an Essex accent, dropping your H’s and pronouncing nothing as nuffink. Paul’s quite good, but not sure if it’s a parody, and he really talks like Edith Sitwell.

  6. @ Statgeek

    Maybe you should try asking a recruitment consultant what is required by the big accountancy, consultancy, legal & banking firms.

    The list of personal qualities, qualifications, skills & experience/ personal statements/ references they expect is daunting; I cannot begin to list it all here, it would take too long. They also expect prospective employees to have an indefinable ‘x-factor’ (I joke not) which makes the interviewee ‘a good fit for our corporate culture’.

  7. Ambii
    My apologies. My post was for MitM – not really being mean, or looking down academic nose, M; as I think Crossbat said, we have a nostalgia for what was a social force, for mobility as well as snobbishness and priviiledge, in the thirties and beyond. National Service was a powerful mixer, but I would judge that wealth, professional ability, doing your year out as a traveller, athleticism etc etc have replaced class badges as a social placer. Go out and do it all seems to have replaced social climbing as achieving merit.
    From that point of view the HOC seems to be a bit of an anachronism; but the reason we’ld like more working class people there (it still means something, doesn’t it?) is a realistic one – the government of the country and debate in the HOC would be more effective if it was by people who had had to struggle and faced a few difficulties and who had real experience and expertise of doing a job.

  8. @Neil A and AKMD

    Not that I’m into this at all but…
    Surely Lower Upper Middle Class would be impoverished younger siblings or cousins of aristocracy? Likely to have had a public school education but without a great deal of social or business/professional success.

    From the little information we have, I would have put AKMD as middle-middle-middle or possibly upper-middle-middle.

    There again, I suppose it depends on where you are yourself. A QC might consider a solicitor lower-middle for instance.

    Ay this grayt foon? (as some of my more working-class relatives might say)

  9. AmberStar
    “Unless I am mistaken, the Unions used to encourage working people to get degrees or other qualifications; I think some even had funds to help Union employees with living expenses whilst they were doing degrees.”
    You are right trade unions do still pay for people to do degrees, I am one of them,

  10. It’s always illuminating when the right talk about class. Like when they talk about socialism. It’s like they haven’t read any Marx or anything. It’s just… the sort of thing you get from the Daily Telegraph.

    So we get stuff about accents and background and stuff that, actually, doesn’t define your class. Class is about power. How much power do you have?

    For Marx, power was determined by your relationship to the means of production. If you own the means of production (for example, own a factory… or call centre…) then you are in the capitalist class (the Bourgeoisie) and have control over the workers you employ. (Hence Marx saw the workers owning the means of production for themselves as a means of evening up the power).

    There are other subsets, like the Petit Bourgeoisie (who own their own production but don’t employ others), and Rentiers, but you get the point. It’s about who has the (economic) power. Weber, however, noted that there was a class of people who, though employed by others, still could wield quite a lot of power through their profession etc.: hence the middle class.

    Thus things like background, education etc. don’t usefully define your class. But they may IMPACT upon it, help DETERMINE which class you end up in or have access to. Come from a wealthy background, hence go to exclusive school, therefore have better opportunities than others to attain power.

    Comments about “toffs” also misses the point. It’s fluff, a distraction from the genuine concerns. Some may be concerned about fluff like accent and stuff but nonetheless there are two valid issues that remain. One is a concern about being insufficiently aware of the reality of life for those way down the power scale (and making decisions that affect them despite such ignorance), and the other concerns privilege.

    There’s been talk of Boris re-entering parliament to allow him to stand for leader. If he does, he may get parachuted into some safe seat. It’s not like that sort of thing hasn’t happened before. That’s privilege. Privilege that comes from having more power. The right like to talk in terms of people working hard, doing well and getting the rewards. The reality all too often however is of not doing so well and getting the rewards, and power, regardless.

    Or getting another bite at the cherry when they fail, a chance others wouldn’t have. There are no shortage of ways this happens. You can ask the bankers about that…

  11. CRFREW
    “It’s always illuminating when the right talk about class…….
    So we get stuff about accents and background and stuff that, actually, doesn’t define your class. Class is about power. How much power do you have?”
    Not too many people in the Skinner’s Arms or the Laundromat, or Berkhamstead Golf Club, have read Weber of Marx, either. And not many have read Nancy Mitford, or heard Mrs Alan Clark on the subject of her husband’s difficulties: “That’s what happens when you sleep with people below the salt.”
    You may be right about classical sociological class theory,but as far as the populat understanding and VI are concerned, it’s about perceptions, Dear Boy, perceptions.
    Incidentally, have a look at the association of income levels with occupations in the ONS Nov 2012 report – very clear break point of <15,000 income and occupations; manual, service and operatives below: managers and technical above; up to about 50000, top 5% magnates and bosses (yacht owners and capitalists). And the incidence of low level income earners has widened with an increase in the population associated with immigration.

  12. @ Billy Bob (from a few threads ago)

    “Harold Wilson was opposition leader in 1963 and along with the Duke of Edinburgh and Sir Alec Douglas Home (PM) he did attend JFK’s State funeral… fwiw the story about Harold not turnig up to an important event because of a tooth-ache I can’t track down atm.”

    I can see why both would attend JFK’s funeral as he was the President. RFK and MLK Jr. were never President. Would have been nice if they attended. But I don’t see why they would have been expected to.

    “I do remember seeing Churchill’s cortege go past on a very grey London day in 1965. A policeman had just closed an intersection and let us stand in the road, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen anything from the crowded pavement. Also watched it later in the day on TV and had a weird felling that I was in two places at once. We moved house around my fourth birthday, and strange to say, I do remember quite a lot from before that.”

    I’d forgotten when he passed away. You’re young though. 50 is the new 30. Apparently I cried during Nixon’s funeral though I don’t believe that. I didn’t watch Gerry Ford’s funeral but I remember my brother telling me that there was anles airing of “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” on FOX. Here’s what was funny about it, that movie has an impersonation of Gerry Ford that’s hilarious but not exactly totally flattering. The image of President Ford waking up in the middle of the night to an emergency call shouting “What’s the score!” is priceless. That’s my favorite of the Pink Panther films. They also had charactures of Henry Kissinger and John Warner.

  13. @john pilgrim

    Are perceptions important? Certainly. But power relationships have their impact whether you perceive them or not.

    And sure, not everyone’s read up on Marx, but if one opines regardless then it leads to error and unfair conclusions. Such as considering the Labour party as socialist. So I was just filling in some background.

    The class war as commonly perceived, is about prejudice. Do toffs have issues with the “lower orders” and vice versa. It’s a valid concern… people point out the ridiculousness of branding people according to accents and background and so on and the debate is soon over.

    Meanwhile the real concerns about class, the power relationships, persist…

  14. CARFREW
    Granted.
    “Do toffs have issues with the “lower orders” and vice versa. It’s a valid concern…”
    At barge pole’s length, I’ld say, via the Stock Market rather than the ballot box. The FTSE has just broken through the 6,300 mark, making a cool 720bn mark-up in value of the top UK companies since the depth of the financial crisis in 2009, and they are not racing to hand out bonuses or wage rises, or to pay higher corporate taxes..

  15. Re: This Class Debate Y’all are having

    My mom has a good saying that has summed up my feelings on class: “It really doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are or how important you are, at the end of the day, everybody sits down and takes a dump.” Most interesting thing though is when conservatives use class warfare against the wealthy in order to enact policies that harm the poor (means testing for social security, flat taxes, sales taxes).

    @ Statgeek

    “I doubt anyone would class John Prescott as anything other than working class. Champagne socialist perhaps, but it’s not as if his later-life education changed his accent.”

    Are champagne socialists anything like limosuine liberals (or latte liberals)? One British friend of mine who loves American politics claims he prefers the term “Prosecco Progressive”.

  16. @ Billy Bob

    Ed Koch died today. I’m sorta mourning him but sorta not. I don’t think I would attend his funeral if given the option. It’s weird, he has such a complicated legacy. I can only imagine the pain and inner conflict he lived with throughout his life till the very end. I also wonder if he watched Obama’s second inaugural speech. “From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall.” Still in amazement over that. Really am.

  17. “Are champagne socialists anything like limosuine liberals?”

    Well Prescott was nicknamed “Two Jags”…

  18. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”The FTSE has just broken through the 6,300 mark, making a cool 720bn mark-up in value of the top UK companies since the depth of the financial crisis in 2009, and they are not racing to hand out bonuses or wage rises, or to pay higher corporate taxes..”

    That’s probably because they understand the difference between the Profit of their companies ( from which wages & bonuses can be paid) -and the Value of their companies indicated by the Market from time to time ( which generates no Profit for the company, but facilitates future issues of equity ) .

    They will also presumably be suitably cautious about a share price which has merely returned to the levels just prior to the 2008/9 plunge of 3000 points-in case the Markets have made a similar misjudgement about future earnings potential .

  19. Trying to clarify something in my small brain can Anthony or indeed any of you well informed cognoscenti on here confirm that a. The next election will take place on existing boundaries b. the commission will not carry out any of the normal reviews that might have taken place had nothing happened in 2010 to change the regulations around electoral boundaries. c. Does that not make the boundaries even less Representative than they were in 2010 & will this not favour MP’s in inner city constituencies etc. d. Any polling to indicate if this will damage the Conservative disproportionately.?

    Just curious….thanks john

  20. The notion of John Prescott being a champagne socialist is unbelievable and I wonder at colleagues’ knowledge here (I excuse the Scots).

    A champagne socialist is someone who is born to the purple but insists they care about the working class.

    Anthony Wedgewood Benn (was Lord Stansgate) is a champagne socialist.

    So, for example, is Harriet Harman.

    On another scale, I am always intrigued with David Davis MP. In many ways hewould be believable as a toff but of course is not. He is almost accent-less and that goes a long way, as well as not having a silly hairstyle, but without that essential refinement of accent, remains middle class. You acquire the accent if you have attended a top public school (not a minor one) or did very well to acquire it at Oxbridge when in the company of the toffs at those universities. John Cleese did it. Then you have to hide your social background, which the following failed / didn’t try to do.

    Ted Heath and Ken Clarke were / are middle class.

    Our Scottish colleagues’ contributions demonstrate that class is essentially an English concept.

    Dad’s Army with the tension between the modest Wilson and the ebullient Mainwaring demonstrated the whole thing beautifully.

  21. The dollar is still depreciating rapidly against the euro, so I assume the Fed is still printing greenbacks like no tomorrow.

    I don’t understand its appreciation against the pound though, unless the BoE is QE-ing even faster. I thought it was not at present, but perhaps the experts here know better.

  22. It seems that their are rumblings on the tory right about replacing cameron – he has effectively been ‘put on notice’.
    I very much doubt wether they will be able to boot him out before the next election – but they can certainly damage him and the sniping and plots will only get louder if the tory remain behind in the polls and continue to get pasted in local and euro elections.

    The irony is that the tory right dont realise that what has made them unelectable is the same thatcherite policies they champion The fact that they failed to get an OM in 2010 was down to too much of the electorate seeing them as the unreconstructed nasty party of yore because Camerons ‘detoxification’ had not gone far enough.

    Theres an article in the telegraph mooting Teressa May as a potential successor to Cameron post 2015 – I think that could be a good bet. She comes across a lot more like a human being than the most of the tory front bench and has a solidly middle class background like heath and thatcher.

    All this plotting, mutterings about coups and positioning for the post 2015 leadership tells me that much of the tory party expects to lose the next election.

  23. HOWARD

    No doubt you have read the same currency reports as me, but these factors are mentioned in connection with sterling’s recent weakness :-

    Mark Carney at BoE – prospects for higher inflation in UK.
    2012 Q4 GDP shrinkage .
    Uncertainty over EU/UK relationship post The Speech.

    It occurs to me that the last of those three might have been part of a cunning DC plan.

    Something has to give in the markets’ sentiment re. UK just now-and a weaker sterling ( helping exports) is sure as hell preferable to a fall in Gilt prices/ hike in Gilt yields , with it’s knock on to mortgage rates.

  24. HOWARD

    RE the euro-this is from the FT yesterday :-

    “The euro rose 0.7 per cent against the dollar to hit a session high of $1.3711, its strongest level since November 2011, helped by signs of an improvement in the Spanish and Italian economies.
    Figures released on Friday morning showed that while Italy’s manufacturing sector continued to contract in January, it did so at its slowest rate since last March. The purchasing managers’ index for the eurozone showed manufacturing contracting at its slowest rate in 11 months.”

    I don’t know about you, but I sense a desperation in both the currency & equity markets to find some good news after so long in the doldrums.

    The Markets are supposed to be forward indicators, so I suppose the new sentiment is encouraging-but I am cautious about wishful thinking until things look much clearer & sustainable.

    No one wants to miss the wave though .

  25. “…. to those opposing” the arraigned Government and French forces….

  26. DT Reporting a Comres poll suggesting that 20% of Tory voters in 2010 will not vote Tory next time if gay marriage vote goes through based on this question:

    “would have considered voting Conservative at the next election but will definitely not if the Coalition Government legalises same-sex marriage”.

    The 20% they quote appear to apply specifically to those who did vote Tory in 2010.

    I do find it quite amazing that such a relatively minor issue could cause such a swing if the poll is anything close to the truth. In my circles I still expect to hear the odd gay joke/ comments but nothing like the 1970’s and 1980’s and they are done with mild homophobic stereotyping but no real malice and certainly no sign that gay marriage would be a voting issue deal breaker.

    The EU speech does not seem to have calmed the chatter down in the press one little bit- leadership bids etc. Remains to be seen if the polls reflect this but I’m guessing unless the Comres article is a precursor to a voting intention poll (or the poll has already beenn pubslished early and this is the remnants) that we may have to wait a week before any other polls are due other than YouGov.

  27. @ Carfrew
    As you say the anecdotal discussion of class on these threads is hampered by its lack of any sociological perspective..

    Weber discussed professional “status” and recognised that entry to the professions was controlled by “credentialism”: academic qualifications. Middle-class children get better “qualifications” than those from “lower” social groups, thus monopolizing the professions & perpetuating social inequality. Problems arise when middle-class children are inept or more generally when we get “credential inflation”. Part of the right-wing concern with “standards” in education is of course an attempt to perpetuate “credentialism”.

    Weber also argued that Marxian class theories did not explain the evident inequality based on education, gender, race, sexuality, religion etc. His response was “social closure”, brilliantly developed by F. Parkin, which argues that collectives attempt to monopolize resources by closing their groups to outsiders on the basis of social or physical difference. Male trade unions exclude females from closed-shop occupations; whites exclude blacks; northern Irish Protestants exclude Catholics; proifessions close their ranks to those lacking credentials etc.
    Social closure emphasises identity, hence cutting across or trumping class differences.
    The current opposition to gay marriage is a form of “closure”: an attempt to perpetuate rules which exclude gays from the benefits of marriage.

  28. The gay marriage vote won’t affect the Tories at all, regardless of what the ComRes poll infers. It’s not a whipped vote so any Tory who thinks it will harm their chances in 2015 can vote against. There’ll be enough support from Labour & the Nats for the Coalition to get it through with no problems, I’d think.

  29. Times reporting a surge in resignations and/or non renewals amongst Tory Party members over the issue of gay marriage. Some MPs putting this in the dozens in their constituencies, others in the hundreds.

    As a non-Conservative looking in, I really can’t understand Cameron’s tactics on this. Why alienate your grass roots over an issue with such little resonance? Strange and ultimately counter productive I would have thought. What he gains in terms of liberal plaudits he loses, twofold in my view, in terms of mainstream conservative support.

  30. @Reggie

    “The irony is that the tory right dont realise that what has made them unelectable is the same thatcherite policies they champion The fact that they failed to get an OM in 2010 was down to too much of the electorate seeing them as the unreconstructed nasty party of yore because Camerons ‘detoxification’ had not gone far enough.”

    When people mention the Conservative far right, I always think of John Redwood. I’m sure he, and others from his end of the spectrum mean well, and really do believe in what they champion, but those are the people who should have joined UKIP, realised they were unelectable, then returned, or formed an alliance with the modern Conservative party.

    Some folk never learn that wanting a thing badly won’t make it happen. Many on the far left learned that in the 80s.

  31. CB11

    @”As a non-Conservative looking in, I really can’t understand Cameron’s tactics on this. Why alienate your grass roots over an issue with such little resonance? Strange and ultimately counter productive I would have thought. What he gains in terms of liberal plaudits he loses, twofold in my view, in terms of mainstream conservative support.”

    Nor me-given the existence & universal acceptance of civil partnership.

    I would add to your “little resonance” , little clamour or demand .

    It is all very odd-I blame the LibDems -they’re bound to be behind it all.

    Chatting to friends yesterday-older generation/ assumed Con voters ( though do not know)-DC in Africa had made them very unhappy. They conflated assistance in Mali with the Liberia meeting on overseas aid. ” Why can’t Africa look after itself” & “what has happened to all this aid over the years-why hasn’t it made a difference”?

    My impression was that these ordinary , pleasant people just didn’t understand the relative priority of “Africa” given the economic situation in UK.

  32. @Amberstar and Crossbat11

    I’m also slightly puzzled by the Tory reaction to the gay marriage issue, and while I doubt the significance of the ComRes findings (are these voters really going to abandon their party because of one really rather minor issue?) it is clearly having an influence on grassroots Tories. As I’ve often said on here in relation to local election results, maintaining a strong and committed grassroots operation is vital to the health of parties at Westminster.

    In the TV and now the internet age, commentators often suggest that campaigning is different now, but as we saw in the US presidentials, you can have all the adverts and twitter feeds you like, but the parties that tend to win are still the ones with a army of volunteer fundraisers, door knockers and envelope stuffers.

    Right from the off, I think Cameron had problems with his grassroots. He is by no means the first leader of any party to have such issues, as almost by definition, a party leader has to set himself against many in their own party if they want to approach the centre ground. However, the Cameroon’s style has been commented on by many as being remote, aloof and arrogant, and I don’t think he has the Blair knack of still appealing to his party while leading them in a direction they don’t really wish to go in.

    Cameron hasn’t even bothered to place much store by keeping his MPs onside, let alone his party activists. If these various reports of the impact of the gay marriage vote on party members are anything like true, the issue could yet become an election loser for Cameron.

    For the liberal voter, support for this measure is normality – we wouldn’t change our votes because of this, as we simply expect these kinds of measures to be the norm. For many Tory voters, they probably won’t like it, but I doubt it will change their votes. But for his army of activists, this could well become a defining moment, and if too many of them decide they’ve had enough, that makes the job of getting those Tory voters to the polls that bit harder.

  33. @Colin – I must say, I also felt uneasy over Cameron’s African adventure.
    When I heard him talk about a lengthy engagement period, I couldn’t help feeling that we were watching a major world leader, in some political difficulty at home, seeking an external foreign threat with which to make his name. It wouldn’t be the first time in recent history that a British PM has sought to persuade us of overseas military action by raising the image of a great global struggle.

    I’m genuinely trying not to be cynical about this, and I really do appreciate the threats and difficulties experienced by people in Mali and elsewhere in North Africa, but I did also get the sense that Cameron’s position on this has not gone down at all well in his own party.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean I think it isn’t the correct thing to do, but I get the increasing feeling that due to a number of coinciding factors, he is now wide open to attacks from behind.

  34. Ian Pennel

    You paint a convincing and coherent picture of the troubles of the right.

    Where did you get the idea that Labour were popular? They are just a little less unpopular than the alternative.

    One could just as easily present an analysis which was equally negative from their point of view.

  35. Alec

    DC is right when he talks about us being in east Africa for a while but the al-qaida thing is overblown, it just so happens that the economic interests of “western” powers is at odds with the interests of the local population, al-qaida is just one of the many groups that are problematic. Mind you the Chinese haven’t had to deploy troops yet to protect their interests but it can’t be far away seeing as their activities in Africa are causing a similar resentment

  36. COLIN
    ” these ordinary , pleasant people just didn’t understand the relative priority of “Africa” given the economic situation in UK”

    & @ ALEC

    Not only ordinary people, what percentage of people in (a) this thread, (b) the HOC, and (c) the Cabinet would you say understand the reasons for and likely outcome of the intervention in Mali? And, given the specific problems and situation of Mali, what percentage would be able to say how this relates to any generalised policy or UK interest in Africa? 5%, 1%, 0.1%? Cameron seems to me to be like a man being carried off tangled in a helium balloon.

  37. AMBERSTAR

    I think they gay marraige vote will harm the tories.. It’s the worst of both worlds for Cameron, a big revolt from his own party but the bill will still get through. Even those who vote against will have trouble with their constituency parties I think.

    Front page article of the Times will make worrying reading for the tory high command (assuming it is true!)

  38. @Ian Pennell

    “Although I do not support the Tories, and will be voting for UKIP (because I think that they have the better policies for safeguarding our future prosperity), I do believe that a majority Labour Government after the next General Election will be a disaster for the economy.”

    How much I agree with all of that except I shall vote Tory as the best way to keep Labour. Sadly voting UKIP is only likely to hinder the Tories and let Labour in.

  39. RiN
    I know that you are all happy bunnies in Norway, except the ones who are depressed, but that does not excuse you for thinking that Mali is in East Africa. You can look it up on Google Earth. Which bit do you think the Chinese are in? Lol!

  40. For the record (having just re-read previous post) I am in favour of gay marraige.

  41. Ian Pennell

    Your comfort os a false one. Even if those Conservative governments achieved the turnaround you cite, it doesn’t follow that it was because they were Conservative[or even good] governments.

    “Events” then may have favoured them, and “events” now may do the same or the opposite.

    I see that you are getting your excuses in early blaming large external factors.

    Omnishambles, austerity and “all in it together” (when we are obviously not) will defeat the Cons. Labour won’t win.

  42. @ The Other Howard

    “How much I agree with all of that except I shall vote Tory as the best way to keep Labour. Sadly voting UKIP is only likely to hinder the Tories and let Labour in.”

    Although I fear the prospect of another Labour Government, I do not believe that the Conservatives (as they are now) have the right policies to forestall a major fiscal crisis- or to get the economy growing sustainably in the future.

    I will therefore vote for the only Party offering substantial marginal-rate tax cuts along with deeper spending cuts (UKIP mentions not just leaving the EU, cutting foreign Aid but also that £50 billion could be saved from cutting back Quangos- which the Tories haven’t really touched at all).

    I also mention Prof Tim Congdon’s latest research on the cost of the EU and its regulations- which concludes this could be as much as 10% of GDP (and yet we have the likes of Nick Clegg and David Miliband going round saying “We cannot leave the EU, it will greatly harm the economy”!). I’d say we really are “Better Off Out”. UKIP also has sound policies for re-vamping our dilapidated energy infrastructure to stop the lights going out in a few years’ time…

    [Snip – please, read the comments policy, it’s not a place for a party political broadcast – AW]

  43. John pilgrim

    Strange typo, “w” is right next to “e” on the keyboard so maybe not so strange, anyhow I meant of course WEST Africa but it counts equally for other places in the world

  44. Amber

    John Prestcott’s employer/union supported him through Oxford.

    It was called Socialism.

  45. I also mention Prof Tim Congdon’s latest research on the cost of the EU and its regulations- which concludes this could be as much as 10% of GDP (and yet we have the likes of Nick Clegg and David Miliband going round saying “We cannot leave the EU, it will greatly harm the economy”!). I’d say we really are “Better Off Out”. UKIP also has sound policies for re-vamping our dilapidated energy infrastructure to stop the lights going out in a few years’ time.

    -They also have a flat rate tax policy of 31% which is really handy if you are a Millionaire like Nigel Farage but not so brilliant if you are on minimum wage.

    One of the things regarding the EU which is ignored by the right completely is the Free Trade Agreements the UK has with countries outside of the EU piggy backed on our membership.
    While of course these could possibly all be renegotiated on a bilateral basis , at considerable time and cost and quite possibly not on such favourable terms continued membership means this isn’t necessary.

    It is worth remembering that Germany’s trade with China is Fifteen Times the size of the UK’s so the argument that trade with other countries if we left would be increased is somewhat spurious.

  46. ALEC

    @” I must say, I also felt uneasy over Cameron’s African adventure.”

    I don’t feel uneasy at all about it.

    I was just recounting the attitudes of a couple of friends-for what that is worth.

    I do think DC has potential problem in choosing things which are not perceived as “priorities” just now by his traditional supporters.

    It’s more a question of timing than of principle.

  47. JOHN B DICK
    “John Prestcott’s employer/union supported him through Oxford.
    It was called Socialism”

    And Christopher Soames continuously braying “A whskey and soda, please, steward,” across the floor of the House was called Conservatism.
    What b-ll-cks!

  48. TOH

    I agree absolutely.

  49. Reading the correspondence on Mali, I kept thinking of Waugh’s novel ‘Scoop’.

    Thanks Colin, on currency reports. I don’t actually pay much attention to them, as they contradict each other frequently as to reasoning, and sometimes, the verbal reports on television become so confused, the ‘financial journalists’ explain why a currency is losing value against another while I am looking at the internet where it is doing the opposite!

  50. Shevii

    In Scotland the S-S marraige issue is supported by all of the parties two of which have openly gay leaders, including the conservatives, and by and a majority of the voters.

    Opinion in the largest protestant denomination is that while a small coterie will move to one of the smaller right wing secessionist traditions, (and good riddance)it is already as good as a done deal, will soon be accepted, as was the smoking ban, will affect a tiny number (after the first flush) and if it makes them happy, then that’s just fine.

    Catholic spokesmen are opposed. Militant gays are for it. Most of the rest don’t care. They have other concerns.

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