The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is now up here. Topline figures are CON 31%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%, so pretty much normal. The fieldwork of the poll straddled Thursday and Friday so was partially after the Eastleigh result, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect any significant impact until next week’s polling.

On the other trackers there is a drop in approval ratings for both David Cameron and Ed Miliband. Cameron’s approval rating is at minus 23, the first time he has dropped below minus 20 this year. Ed Miliband’s rating is at minus 31, the first time he has dropped below minus 30 since last August.

Economic figures remain extremely bad. On the government’s policy 31% support the government’s basic policy of prioritising the reduction of the deficit, 40% prefer what is essentially the Labour party’s alternative message of prioritising growth in the economy. Looking more specifically at the cuts, 49% think that the government are cutting too much and should reduce or slow the cuts, 35% think they should either speed them up (15%) or that the current balance is about right (20%).

33% of people say they have confidence in Cameron and the coalition to get the country out of the current economic mess, 61% do not. Just 20% of people say they would like to keep George Osborne as Chancellor (very low, but actually marginally up from when YouGov asked the same question last September!). A majority (53%) would like to see him replaced. Amongst Conservative voters a narrow majority (53%) want Osborne to remain.

There were also some questions on Clegg and the Rennard affair. It remains to be seen whether Eastleigh has moved the political narrative on from Rennard – for the last two days it looked as if the story had died a death, but this morning’s Marr show is full of it again. Anyway, for what its worth only 14% of people think that Nick Clegg has been open and honest and only 7% think the Lib Dems have handled the issue well but, as we’ve seen in voting intention polls over the last week, it doesn’t really seem to have had any impact on Lib Dem support. Asked about Nick Clegg’s own future 39% think he should resign, 32% think he should remain… but those thinking he should go are mostly opponents of other political parties. 63% of Lib Dem supporters think Clegg should stay.


242 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 42, LDEM 10, UKIP 11”

1 2 3 4 5
  1. RichO

    The Laffer Curve is like the Bible. Anyone can find something in it to buttress their pre-conceived beliefs.

    The basic concept of the Laffer Curve must be correct of course. There must be an income tax rate in any given set of circumstances that will maximise Treasury income and above which tax receipts will fall due to aggressive avoidance and depressed activity.

    But my understanding is that there is absolutely no consensus amongst tax economists of where that value is. I’ve seen figures as low as 25% and as high as 70% quoted. The problem is, of course, that it is nigh on impossible to separate the effect of changing tax rates with the effect of wider economic changes on tax receipts.

    So we often get the old one trotted out that when Lawson cut tax rates in the 80s, tax receipts went up. That clinches the argument. QED. Except that the economy was in a manic boom at that time. It is possible, perhaps very likely, that tax receipts would have gone up even more if he had INCREASED tax rates.

    To paraphrase Goebbels, when I hear the phrase “Laffer Curve”, I reach for my off button.

  2. @Hal – “You are right that Labour have a problem with the deficit story. Accepting the
    narrative that the deficit is the biggest economic problem facing the country falls straight into the trap that anything that requires spending can’t be done Because Of The Deficit. So then the only choice remaining is between doing nothing or tinkering at the edges in a way that can be portrayed by their opponents as fiscally irresponsible. ”

    Skimming the papers this morning it seems clear that the Tory right are braying for tax cuts post Eastleigh.

    Here is Labour’s get out card. If there is money for tax cuts, then the deficit isn’t the most important thing. The argument then becomes what would be the most effective way to encourage growth via a short term increase in the deficit.

    The debate moves inexorably in Labour’s direction.

  3. @Colin – ” On 30th January this year, Uk’s largest Wind Farm ( and one of the world’s largest) , London Array reduced its output at the request of National Grid.
    NG made this request to London Array, and to three other wind farms in the SE , because it could not take their high levels of output on that day.
    They were all paid £10,000 each that day-14 times the wholesale price of electricity.
    UK wind capacity is set to quadruple by 2030.”

    I’m assuming that your point here is that following thirty years of gross under investment in the national distribution grid, the UK cannot now take full advantage of renewable energy and as a result consumers lose money in certain conditions, rather than benefit from the easy distribution of green energy from wind sources?

    The requested shut downs of wind farms are nothing to do with wind energy and everything to do with low investment in grid connectors. If we had a properly constructed grid, these events would never happen, even if we quadrupled wind capacity. Indeed, had we managed to develop the trans European interconnectors, this event would have instead turned into a lovely export opportunity for the UK.

    BTW – I didn’t read it in full, but I gather that the new head of the National Trust has said that wind turbines can be beautiful and in years to come we will celebrate them like the railways.

  4. “@ALEC

    Here is Labour’s get out card. If there is money for tax cuts, then the deficit isn’t the most important thing. The argument then becomes what would be the most effective way to encourage growth via a short term increase in the deficit.

    The debate moves inexorably in Labour’s direction.”

    I think you have summed it up pretty well. However, I will anticipate the argument that would be used by Tories. They will say that they can cut government spending e.g benefits and reinvest in tax cuts, without the need to borrow any more money.

    The problem for the Tories is that they will not find it very easy to make spending cuts, while they are in coalition with the LD’s. Philip Hammond wants the government to make cuts to benefits to maintain Defence spending. Other ministers could use similar arguments to support their departments. I don’t think this would be acceptable to LD’s. There is already criticism about the current benefit reforms hitting the poor and disabled.

  5. @R Huckle – agreed, but again, given that we were told that only the deficit mattered, why not just cut spending and forget about the tax cuts? Clearly, encouraging growth must matter, and Labour will in all probability return to their mantra of the 1990’s – they we are paying high welfare bills as a result of the governments failure.

  6. @MITM

    Your maths, if you mean them to apply to.Eastleigh ARE wrong.
    There is a difference between party vote share % increase/decrease and total size of the turnout cake.

    Vote share %+/- per party:

    LD: 2010: 47% 2013: 33%. Total %,loss of LD voters (14/47) x 100 = 30%
    Con: 2010: 39% 2013: 25%. Total % loss Con voters (14/39) x 100 = 36%
    UKIP: 2010: 7% 2013: 28%. Total % gain UKIP voters (28/7) x 100 = 400%.
    Total average Coalition loss of own voters % = 33%
    So both Coalition paties lost 30%+ of their own voters, with an averahr Coalotion loss of 33%.

  7. Alec

    @”I’m assuming that your point here is that following thirty years of gross under investment in the national distribution grid, the UK cannot now take full advantage of renewable energy and as a result consumers lose money in certain conditions, rather than benefit from the easy distribution of green energy from wind sources?”

    No-it wasn’t.

    @”the new head of the National Trust has said that wind turbines can be beautiful and in years to come we will celebrate them like the railways.”

    Ah yes-Dame Helen Ghosh.
    After such an interesting Civil Service career, we can now observe her effect on membership levels in the NT.

  8. D’oh

    UKIP increase is 300%.

  9. ALEC

    ” One pressing case is that of Lyveden New Bield in Northamptonshire, where there are plans to put up four giant wind turbines within a mile of a uniquely preserved Elizabethan lodge and moated garden.
    The Trust joined with English Heritage to call for a judicial review, which is now complete. The result is expected in the next week or so, but if the turbines are approved there may yet be an appeal.
    “We think it is completely out of keeping with the spirit of the place,” she says. “Sir Thomas Tresham’s wonderful building is a place that exudes a sense of spirituality. It has an isolation and a serenity about it that is very engaging, attractive and special. The idea of putting 21st-century technology into that kind of landscape is unacceptable.”
    Hang on a minute, though; didn’t Dame Helen outrage some of her members a week ago by suggesting that a wind turbine could be “a thing of beauty”? Yes, she says, it can. In the right circumstances. “I think it’s clear from the reaction to my comments that there are as many people who agree with me as disagree with me.”
    So great big noisy, inefficient, uneconomic wind turbines are fine, even beautiful, as long as they are not in the Trust’s own backyard? “The National Trust has a policy which I completely agree with: that we oppose wind farm developments where they have an impact on historic landscapes. Lyveden New Bield, a place that I love very much, is one example,” she says.”

    DT

    NIMBY-or what?

  10. COLIN
    National Trust = Trust on behalf of the Nation = NNIMBYBIYBY

  11. @Colin – “No-it wasn’t.”

    I know it wasn’t, and I was being a bit naughty there. The point is valid though – it’s not the fault of wind turbines that they are asked to switch off. Other types of generator also suffer that fate, but the media only ever highlights turbines. The problem remains one of under investment in network capacity, and this is the problem you should be complaining about, as this is what will bring about power cuts in the next few years if uncorrected.

    On Ghosh – her reactions aren’t necessarily incompatible. I don’t know the site you talk about, but essentially she takes a similar view to my own – the setting has to be right.

    I’m actually also very worried by a recent study indicating turbines on peatlands lead to more carbon emissions than they save, due to degradation of the blanket bog. This is potentially a very serious issue for the Scottish wind industry, and could well confirm suspicions that there is another category of landscape that should not be used for wind power.

  12. Story in the Guardian that Tim Farron wants more wind farms now on the basis that the LibDem win in Eastleigh was a vote of confidence in Chris Huhne’s energy policy..

    @Alec

    Offshore wind power is mental illness.

  13. None of the percentage arguments make sense.

    Percentages of the 2010 election are fractions of 53650 votes.
    Percentages of the 2013 bye election are fractions of 41616 votes.

    These fractions cannot be added and/or subtracted to provide any meaningful statistic.

    As for 14% of one half plus 14% of the other half equals 28% of the whole … Go to the bottom of the class!

  14. @alec

    The Tories seem to be asking for cuts in fuel duty. Given that all parties seem to accept that outside London a car is indispensable to health and happiness there is a certain logic in that.

  15. @ ALEC

    Did you know that some wind turbines have electric motors to make them turn when required ? This was on some documentary about them and when contractors were asked, they would not say when the electric motors would be used.

  16. @James2612

    “None of the percentage arguments make sense.”

    In a sense you’re right because percentage decline in vote share is not the same as percentage decline in gross vote which, again, can be misleading on a much reduced turnout.

    That said, some of the number-crunching, so beloved of psephologists like Curtice and Kellner (that sounds like a dodgy firm of estate agents to me!?) does shed a bit of light on how the votes moved about and who fared better or worse. Compared to the 2010 gross vote tallies, the Tories declined by 49.9%, the Lib Dems by 46.5% and Labour by 20.7%. What does this tell us? Probably very little, but the Tories obviously shed the highest percentage of their 2010 vote although marginally less of the vote share than the Lib Dems.

    Of course, we could all be accused of examining our navels here and it’s probably pretty pointless trying to compare the Eastleigh result with current national opinion polls too. By elections, as we know, and Anthony keeps telling us, tend to play by their own rules , especially the Eastleigh type runners and riders on parade,and national opinion polls are usually fairly irrelevant. The key message from Eastleigh is that UKIP had a great day and the Lib Dem and Tory votes more or less collapsed from their 2010 levels, albeit the Lib Dems snook home in the end. Lessons? Coalition parties unpopular, UKIP rampant (but for how long?) and Labour getting marginalised in Tory v Lib Dem seats in the South. Beyond that? Time to move on probably and let’s see what the local elections in May tell us about the state of play.

  17. @R HUCKLE
    They are effectively starter motors to get the rotors into their operational mode. It’s a bit like saying that cars have had hybrid engines for years because the engine is cranked by electricity.

    @Colin

    There are very few bits of the UK which aren’t historical landscapes. I suppose the historical seascapes might count.

  18. @Colin, Alec

    Payments for over-generation are nothing to do with wind farms or indeed renewables generally.

    Its is all to do with the stupid market based system that privatisation has left us – virtually all generators earn these payments from National Grid from time to time.

    Coal fired power stations recieve by far the largest share of them – I believe wind energy’s share is about 5% of the total pot.

  19. @rHuckle – “Did you know that some wind turbines have electric motors to make them turn when required ? This was on some documentary about them and when contractors were asked, they would not say when the electric motors would be used.”

    Well of course they do! Unlike micro turbines, they don’t have vanes or blades designed to head them into the wind, so they need to be moved to face the prevailing wind direction. This is why all large turbines have an anenometer on top, so the computer control system knows when to turn the blades.

    There is also a motor to start the blades turning, as the wind speed required to overcome the inertia and start moving the generator from standstill is much greater than that required to commence generating once the blades are turning, so it’s economically and environmentally a no brainer to have an electric starter motor.

    @Wolf – “Offshore wind power is mental illness.”

    Really? I haven’t read about that one in the Journal of Psychology yet, but I will keep and eye out for it.

    What an extraordinary statement.

  20. @John Ruddy – that’s exactly what I was saying. Coal is a particularly bad case as they cannot wind down the boilers quickly and so get more of the offline payments.

    Apropos of nothing much, a couple of years ago Hartlepool nuclear power plant had to undergo an emergency shutdown due to jellyfish blocking the cooling water system.

    I’m not aware of jellyfish ever preventing wind farm generation, but I’m sure someone out there knows differently.

  21. “If there is money for tax cuts, then the deficit isn’t the most important thing. ….
    The debate moves inexorably in Labour’s direction.”

    1) There isn’t money for tax cuts;
    2) So, no, the debate stays where it is. It is not going anywhere, despite all the wishful thinking.

    Everyone on the far left and far right wants to believe there is lots of room for manoeuvre for fiscal policy in order to favour their particular voter groups, but there simply isn’t. It’s actually a very narrow budgetary tightrope we are treading. The case for the desirability of falling off either side is not very strong.

    And in any case, it is not fiscal policy that is determining the course of economic events in the UK at the moment. The reason the economy contracted in Q4 was oil and gas output falling. If you look at the course of the UK economy, the double and even possible triple dips are all due to the offshore economy contracting. Onshore UK, despite all its problems, has continued to grow.

    The only way in which the debate might be shifting in is that people are forgetting why the cuts are necessary in the first place and they are getting fed up with both cuts and stagnating living standards. It is not within the power of the government to avoid either of these things happening while also reducing the deficit.

  22. Reposted from previous thread in a desperate (and probably futile) attempt to stop percentage madness:

    Sigh. Not for the first time far too many people are getting confused between percentages and (percentage) points. If your vote goes from 40% to 30% then it drops by 10 percentage points. The vote itself drops by 25%, but that is less important, because we are normally interested in comparing how different Parties fare and when using points we can do that. This is because the changes will always add to zero while looking at the percentage change in votes or percentage of vote will not.

    So if we look at the Eastleigh by-election:

    L/D 46.5% to 32.1%.
    Change in percentage points -14.4
    Change in percentage of vote gained -31.0%
    Change in vote 24,996 to 13,342 -46.6%

    Con 39.3% to 25.4%
    Change in percentage points -13.9
    Change in percentage of vote gained -35.4%
    Change in vote 21,102 to 10,559 -36.8%

    Lab 9.6% to 9.8%
    Change in percentage points +0.2
    Change in percentage of vote gained +2.1%
    Change in vote 5,153 to 4,088 -20.7%

    UKIP 3.6% to 27.8%
    Change in percentage points +24.2
    Change in percentage of vote gained +672.2%
    Change in vote 1,933 to 11,571 +498.6%

    ‘Coalition’ (L/D + Con) 85.8% to 57.5%.
    Change in percentage points -28.3
    Change in percentage of vote gained -33.0%
    Change in vote 46,098 to 23,901 -48.2%

    The points changes roughly balance (not quite because of the changes in minor candidates) while the other percentage are all over the place because they depend on what the original figures.

    So it’s all about percentage points. And what do points mean…? Not getting confused.

  23. When I first joined the Labour party in 1976 Ken Loach was in the same branch as me, but I only ever saw him at GMC.

    I had no idea who he was.

  24. I think this is worth a read – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9906230/Brave-Ireland-is-the-poster-child-of-EMU-cruelty-and-folly.html

    Ireland is oft cited as an example to us all, but with a deficit of 8% GDP remaining this year, a debt ratio of 121%, unemployment kept relatively low (14%!) by 50,000 emigrants a year and Europe’s highest rate of long term unemployment, the underlying statistics really don’t look pretty.

    The Irish trades unions are making significant noises and they are correct.

    ” Mr Begg [Irish TU chief] said he had come to realise that EMU is constructed in such a way that the “entire burden of cost adjustment” falls on workers if there is macro-shock. He is right. An internal devaluation is achieved by forcing unemployment to such excruciating levels that it breaks the back of labour resistance to pay cuts. It is the polar opposite of a currency devaluation that spreads the pain. Note that Iceland’s unemployment is just 5.4pc today, and Britain’s is 7.7pc.

    “Such a callous disregard for distributional justice – which we have witnessed in this country over the last five years – is a fatal flaw,” he said.

    “For much of its history, European integration has proceeded on the basis of a ‘Permissive Consensus’. European citizens thought it was a good thing, or at least did no harm. I doubt that view is still current. From what I hear in the circles in which I move, today’s labour movement is disaffected from the European project,” he said.

    “What will happen when people eventually realise that they are trapped in a spiral of deflation and debt. We may reach the tipping point,” he said.”

  25. CrossBat11

    I don’t think the may local elections will tell us anything useful much, due to ‘participation’ bias. Most are Shire County seats which do not turn on most voters, except perhaps the ones that have ‘gone unitary’ like Wiltshire, Shropshire and Cornwall. The majority of funding and Whitehall stranglehold comes from, er, Whitehall. They are nearly all Conservative controlled, which is what you get when an authority only covers the leafy bits.

    The only voters to turn out will be the voters who always turn out and they mostly won’t have a clue what they are voting about.

    My evidence is garnered from standing as candidate in both District and County and testing what people knew about this. The answer was nearly always bugger all. As a District councillor I was blamed for the state of the roads, that there were insufficient police (the authority of which had already been hived off) and so on. We’ve got Ted Heath, bless him, to blame for that stupid reorganisation and then succeeding admins who did the hiving off bit. At least Shropshire, Cornwall and Wilts have done the sensible thing.

    So it will be a ‘referendum’ among people who always vote. The problem to analyse the result is that it is a referendum without a question. I suppose if the results are compared with the polling results of those polled who fill in 8 or higher on ‘likelihood to vote’ in national opinion polls, one could get some idea.

  26. ALEC

    We are not going to agree on Wind Turbines.

    That you come so late to realising that they have been plastered across natural carbon sinks & a habitat under threat does nothing to alleviate my concerns at this gung ho coalition of green zealots & subsidy chasing. developers

  27. @RC – “The reason the economy contracted in Q4 was oil and gas output falling. If you look at the course of the UK economy, the double and even possible triple dips are all due to the offshore economy contracting. Onshore UK, despite all its problems, has continued to grow.”

    I’m afraid that’s nonsense. Q4 contracted by 0.3%, with oil and gas production accounting for 0.2% of that.

    Besides, even if the contraction was 0.1% overall, it’s statistically illiterate to state that this was ’caused’ by the offshore energy output – it isn’t – the overall number is the total of many different elements.

    As I have said many times with the GDP figures, the regular exercise we have seen from those with an interest in the panglossian approach at these times is pointless. The attempt to identify one off factors to explain declines is hiding from the fact that we always have one off factors working in multiple directions, alongside more general trends.

    The general trend is so poor that occasional one off factors make a difference between positive and negative growth. This doesn’t mean these odd factors have any greater or lesser significance – it just means the economy in general is performing very poorly, is well below it’s normal trend growth rate, and is liable to be tipped into reverse by ‘normal abnormal’ occurrences in different sectors of the economy.

    Please stop trying to tell us everything is fine – it isn’t.

  28. RC,

    You are trapped with the idea that immediate deficit reduction is an imperative. Well it isn’t. That’s my whole point. Ask Japan.

    Whilst we have weak demand and zero interest rates, the deficit is essentially unimportant, or, more correctly, less important than other economic objectives, such as growth. The government can cut taxes or increase investment in the economy or both. Since the Bank of England has bought one-third of the government debt stock already, it can carry on buying more … until we get growth back.

  29. @Roger Mexico

    “Change in vote 21,102 to 10,559 -36.8%”

    Are you absolutely sure about your maths here?

  30. Not wanting to prolong the percentage pain (but I will anyway)!

    The reason it was raised yesterday is that some commentators on here and in the paper were saying that this by-election was actually good for the Coalition as each party only dropped 14% points whereas it was normal for Governments to lose 20%+

    I, and others, then pointed out that the actual Government Party loss was in the high 20s and anyway we have no historical information on marginals between two Government partners and what results we would expect.

    Crossbat’s broadbrush analysis above is a good summary of the actual situation – ie there are some potential interesting things to discuss but in the end it may all be a red herring.

    What it comes down to is the same gripe that AW always has – political commentators misinterpret results and draw conclusions based on their own perceptions and bias.

  31. @Colin – “That you come so late to realising that they have been plastered across natural carbon sinks & a habitat under threat does nothing to alleviate my concerns at this gung ho coalition of green zealots & subsidy chasing. developers.”

    To be honest, that’s a bit of a misunderstanding of my approach and professional role. You might actually be surprised to learn that I have assisted in a number of community campaigns against wind developments, and I have also led projects trying to get permission for community owned wind developments. I am dead set against wind development exclusively for landowners and developers benefit, and my working career has reflected this.

    I haven’t ‘come so late’ to anything, and while I’m not certain, I was probably opposing wind schemes on environmental and ethical considerations before you were, and in a much more involved way.

    I just don’t apply a blanket consideration to wind power, so when I say I support them in the right circumstances, I actually mean that and act upon it.

  32. @ Leftylampton

    Gardner in his piece (Laffer Curve and other laughs) used real figures to see the shape of the curve – it was very much like my grandson drew when he was 2 and a half.

    The story goes that Ladder drew the curve on a serviette at a dinner but it could be invented.

  33. crossbat11

    “Change in vote 21,102 to 10,559 -36.8%”

    Are you absolutely sure about your maths here?

    Ah, you spotted by deliberate mistake. -50.0% percent of course. I did it on that one so it easy to spot (honest).

  34. Ouch!

    PMI data for the UK construction sector in February declines to the lowest level since October 2009.

    So far everything for the UK in February has looked negative, but we need to wait for tomorrow’s service sector to get the final bit of the jigsaw.

    I’m away, so I’ll hand over to @Shevii, the Deputy PMI Monitor for the big announcement.

  35. Interesting little snippets within the PMI data. New orders have continued to decline (9th month in a row) so this suggests no immediate upturn is likely. Lead times are also continuing to extend, based it appears on low supplier stock levels. The release talks about supplier lead times extending to 2 1/2 years.

    This suggests that the time window for developing construction projects in time for a 2015 election is small and shrinking, if not already vanished.

  36. The stated aim of QE is to get demand into the economy but it isn’t working (because the banks take the money but don’t lend it out).

    People(like Colin) say that if you printed money to do something else (like directly funding the construction of 100s of thousand social housing projects, say) that would lead to inflation.

    Now, why would it? Inflation is a measure of price and wage increases. The biggest upward pressure of prices is energy at present (not much to do with either labour costs or printing money).

    So how would printing money in that way lead to inflation? Presumably because wages would go up? If they did that money would be circulating at least.

    If QE was working I assume we would see the same upward pressure on wages. In fact, QE is exactly the same as just printing money EXCEPT that because the banks sit on it (offsetting it against bad debt probably) it doesn’t circulate. In other words, no wage inflation proves it ain’t working.

    But there is ome evidence that the money going into banks is being used to gamble on commodities such as food. This means that food prices (as well as energy prices) are being pushed up by QE…but wages are being cut as we don’t produce food, we just buy it.

    What next? Gould alone knows. More QE pumped into banks won’t work.

  37. @ Hal

    “You are trapped with the idea that immediate deficit reduction is an imperative. Well it isn’t. That’s my whole point. Ask Japan.”

    Hmm. So Japan is now Labour’s model of economic prudence and sound management? And there was me thinking it was Greece.

    Japan can afford to borrow massive amounts because it is borrowing off its own citizens. The same is not true of the UK.

    If Labour thinks it can now spin a line that deficit reduction really doesn’t matter at all, come 2015 it really is going to struggle to convince people to vote for it.

    @ Alec

    “I’m afraid that’s nonsense. Q4 contracted by 0.3%, with oil and gas production accounting for 0.2% of that.”

    So, having accounted for two thirds of the contraction (the remaining 0.1% being statistically insignificant and very likely to be revised away), you’re telling me that my explanation is “nonsense”?

  38. ALEC
    @”I just don’t apply a blanket consideration to wind power, so when I say I support them in the right circumstances,”

    Nor do I.

    But the industry, politicians , developers & landowners do.

    I was writing letters & emails when they were planning this.

    http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hills/cc/gallery/index.htm#photos

    …but as you can see, they did it anyway.

    …and they have done it many times over , and are still doing it.

    The natural carbon sink ripped open in photos 23 to 29 probably took 12,000 years to form.

    The infrastructure you see in those pictures-cable runs, turbine bases, roads-will never be removed.

  39. @RC
    I dont think the point is that Labour thinks deficit reduction doesnt matter – quite the opposite.

    The argument is that if the Government makes tax cuts its priority – it thus must think deficit reduction doesnt matter.

  40. There is no borrowing, its all printing. The money does not exist until it is “borrowed” you can’t borrow something that doesn’t exist. All the terms used in this debate are misleading, just ask grillo

  41. @John Ruddy

    “The argument is that if the Government makes tax cuts its priority – it thus must think deficit reduction doesnt matter.”

    Unless, of course, they combine them with ever more swingeing public expenditure cuts.

    Wasn’t that more or less the Tea Party’s policy prescription in the US and, certainly on the right wing fringes of the Tory Party, doesn’t it have its acolytes here too?

  42. RiN

    @”All the terms used in this debate are misleading, just ask grillo”

    Don’t need to.

    He understands perfectly well :-

    ““Right now we are being crushed, not by the euro, but by our debt. When the interest payments reach €100 billion a year, we’re dead. There’s no alternative,
    In six months, we will no longer be able to pay pensions and the wages of public employees.”

    Bepe Grillo

  43. Economics is not my strong suit: but isn’t Grillo’s problem that he is in the Euro? He could leave the Euro and print money like we do?

  44. Grillo is under pressure from his own supporters.
    with 150,000 signing a petition calling for him to open up dialogue with the centre-Left Democratic Party, the biggest force in parliament.
    He acknowledged there were differences of opinion within the movement but denied it was an open schism. “It is a healthy dialogue,” he said.

    Pier Luigi Bersani issued an ultimatum to anti-establishment 5-Star Movement boss Beppe Grillo to support a new government or return to the polls.

    “Now Grillo must say what he wants, otherwise we all go home, including him,” Bersani said

    The cold light of day dawns after the fun & games.

    It always does.

  45. @ NickP

    It causes inflation (infrastructure) because demand is created without the corresponding supply. I think we do need inflation – probably about 8%, but politically it’s impossible.

    Printed money is the only form of money where the quantitative theory of money works – simply if it enters the circulation (RiN’s point about borrowing) it causes inflation as each unit now expresses a smaller unit of the nation’s wealth (all money in circulation expresses the debt of the country, including countries without debt as RiN again :-) rightly points out).

    Money created in normal commercial transaction-based borrowing doesn’t cause inflation, because once the transaction is completed, the money leaves the circulation. However, since in the last recession banks were bailed out they all sit on lending where the transactions will never be completed. Without somehow writing these off the threat of a new banking crisis or inflation (when lending starts) is a serious danger.

  46. Grillo wants to print money to pay off the bonds held by foriegn “investors”

  47. @ Alec

    I relish the opportunity :-)

    To be honest they are going to be very important stats tomorrow on PMI. There is a potentially nasty sequence of events for the Tories which starts with the budget, a few weeks later ‘triple dip’ and then local elections (I bow to Howard’s judgment that these may not bring headlines to anyone). Tomorrow will give us a very good idea of how close we are to triple dip or not and while we are still ‘bumping along at the bottom’ whatever the figures, politically triple dip might have a huge impact.

  48. Yes, he does. Judging Italy’s debt level it would create huge inflation first through the printing and then through the devaluation of the lira (?) because of imports. So except if Italy introduces forex control (expulsion from the EU, IMF), the balance is restored through reducing living standards (what GO tries to do in a different time scale and different methods).

  49. @LAZLO

    So why isn’t that happening to us? We have devaluation but not inflation. Why would Italy be different?

  50. Laszlo

    Nice to see you back

    The theory is that because money is destroyed when it is repaid it can never lead to inflation, however that only holds true if the total money supply is constant after making allowances for growth(if the supply of money remains absolutely constant then any growth will result in deflation exactly equal to growth, ie growth is 2% prices decline by 2%. Thats a rough approximation because there is some complicated maths involved, but you get the idea)however a look at money supply shows that it has until recently been increasing faster than growth. This is no surprise, for one thing the nature of compound interest requires ever more borrowing(I use that term loosely)in order to have the money to pay the interest, we dont in fact have enough money to pay off all our “debts” for another thing there are today very few restraints on banks ablity to create more debt(ie print money) and it is obvious that banks will continue to print and lend as long as it seems profitable for them to do so

1 2 3 4 5