Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor is out, with topline figures of CON 27%(-3), LAB 40%(-2), LDEM 11%(+4), UKIP 13%(+4). It suggests a boost for the Lib Dems and UKIP in the aftermath of Eastleigh, but little difference in the Labour lead (most of MORI’s polls in the last few months have shown this degree of lead).

MORI also have some economic questions in advance of the budget. George Osborne’s approval rating remains strongly negative – 60% are dissatisfied with how he is doing compared to only 27% who approve. As with most recent polls, MORI show Labour and the Conservatives pretty much neck-and-neck on the economy. 26% think that Labour have the best policies, 27% the Conservatives. Asked if a Labour government under Miliband and Balls would do better or worse than the current government at running the economy 26% think they’d do a better job, 31% a worse job and 38% think they’d do much the same.

Full tabs are here.


286 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 27, LAB 40, LD 11, UKIP 13”

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  1. It’s possible that Cameron is letting parliament decide so that he gets the best of both worlds…Leveson imposed upon the Press, and the blame deflected onto Miliband and Clegg.

    Personally I don’t mind, unless the vote is lost and we get the Press regulating itself…again.

  2. John Pilgrim

    Thank you for saying so well what I would wish to have said. These deliberate lies about a good man make me too angry to be able to combat them effectively. Your last sentence persuaded me that I must at least write to express my gratitude to you and Amber.

  3. DEVONIAN
    Thank you for writing. Some issues are too important to be obscured or neglected.

  4. JOHN PILGRIM

    Thank you for your post re Hugh Grant / Leveson etc.

    I’m not sure why you were prompted to compose it.

    CB11 posted about his puzzlement on DC’s decision .

    My post was a response to provide such a reason.
    It was based on newspaper reports-echoed in this evenings tv news coverage.

    I offered no opinion on the rights or wrongs of anyone involved.

    MOnday’s HoC vote will be a historic & interesting one.

    I intend to follow the debate.

  5. @John Pilgrim/Devonian/Amber

    Thanks for bringing those News International stories about Gordon Brown, and their subsequent retractions, to my attention. As a studious non-reader of any of Murdoch’s publications, I had no idea this smear/retraction merry-go-round had been going on for so long and it’s deeply worrying that some of the nation’s most widely read newspapers are indulging in this vindictive and fallacious pseudo-journalism about our former Prime Minister. Of course, as I think Stalin once said, a lie has gone around the world before the truth has got its boots on, and there is no doubt that serious damage has been done to Brown’s reputation by the running of these stories. I was particularly interested in that false story about only one reporter turning up to one of his UN press conferences. False, but not retracted in time for the canard to be used as an item on Have I got News For You. 3 million viewers treated to a lie masquerading as fact.

    Deeply worrying.

  6. I would have put money on Cameron opposing any firm regulation of the press. It is predominantly right wing, and as far as his party is concerned has done an excellent job!

    A fair and balanced press comparable to the BBC would be an electoral disaster for the Tories.

    However, the press’ day is drawing to a close. They are selling fewer and fewer copies every year., and any regulation is pretty pointless. Like ensuring that the band on the Titanic playing “Nearer my God to Thee” is properly in tune.

  7. Crossbat11

    I think it is a real problem that not many of those who take a serious interest in politics read the Sun, so these stories go unchallenged. I pick up from my ex-foster children their unquestioning acceptance of the truth of what they read in the papers and their resulting view of Gordon Brown as either an incompetent self seeker or a subject of jokes. It is this which makes me so angry. I think one of the most important things we should be teaching our children in school is how to evaluate the truth of what they read, whether in the papers or on the net.

  8. Crossbat

    I thought it was churchill that said the boots thing

  9. Goebbels?

  10. @Richard in Norway

    I’m sure it’s in a Pratchett.

  11. ” …and it often happens that, if a li€ be believed only for an hour, it has done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect.”

    Dean Swift, The Art Of Political L¥ing, 1712.

  12. Crossbat11

    The notion of a posthumous sympathy of Josef Stalin (not his real name) for Gordon Brown did boggle my mind somewhat.

    I suppose, regardless of the assumed bias, or the otherwise certain carelessness, of our fourth estate, I think, ‘If you can’t stand the heat’ etc.

  13. @ RAF

    I’m sure it’s in a Pratchett.
    ————-
    Yes, it’s in The Truth. William de Word’s father says it.

  14. @Howard
    “I suppose, regardless of the assumed bias, or the otherwise certain carelessness, of our fourth estate, I think, ‘If you can’t stand the heat’ etc.”

    That probably depends on the the ferocity of the heat to which one is subjected. Poor old Brown was left to face magma and molton lava. And from all sides too. The Guardian couldn’t stand Brown and looked to pick him apart at every conceivable opportunity.

  15. If I may say so, AW, I think better could have been dealt out to the contributors today on perceived partisanship. In this sense, if the government proposes to make changes in the law that means that people will pay more or they will pay less or they will receive more or they will receive less, – this is clearly a taxation issue. It is clearly solely within the power of Parliament.

    How one dresses it up, one way or another is for nerds. it is still a taxation issue.

  16. Pratchett was probably quoting Callaghan who was quoting Churchill who was quoting James Watt… Mark Twain said something very similar, but I prefer the full Johnathan Swift (“truth comes limping after it”), however, auto mod stikes again.

  17. RAf
    I suppose I believe in Abe Lincoln. I know it won’t work ‘all the time’ but I’ve got to believe it.

  18. According to a story on Conservative Home, the big fear is that this style of regulation will result in larg numbers of third sector organisations forcing papers to retract and apologise for all sorts of incorrect and misleading stories on immigrants, benefit claimants and economic policy.

    Which ultimately means they know these stories to be false, and dont want them challenged. How depressing.

  19. Howard
    That’s an invitation to the press to say whatever they like on the grounds that politicians by definition should expect and put up with anything in order to remain in public life!

  20. @John Ruddy

    Friedrich Nietzsche tweets:

    “One may sometimes tell a !ie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth.”

  21. John ruddy

    Do you mean I was wrong to assume that the press would never tell lies about benefit claimants because they wouldn’t be able to get away with it?

  22. @EWEN LIGHTFOOT

    That’s an invitation to the press to say whatever they like on the grounds that politicians by definition should expect and put up with anything in order to remain in public life!.

    ———-

    Yes . It’s not just about whether someone can stand it or not, but about whether the public receive the best info. on which to make judgements on voting etc. ..

  23. Monday should be interesting, with fresh twists in the phonehacking saga emerging in the high court hours just before debate starts in parliament.

    Cameron is said (Gary Gibbon’s blog) to have been under “the most extraordinary pressure” since Eastleigh – a positive press reaction to the budget/May local elections is seen as crucial if he is to quell leadership seculation. In the short term though, there will be continued pressure on him from some Tory MPs and Lords, as well as LDs and Labour, to return to a cross-party approach on press regulation.

  24. @ Devonian

    ” I think one of the most important things we should be teaching our children in school is how to evaluate the truth of what they read, whether in the papers or on the net”

    This must be right, particularly given the speed with which lies get booted on the net. I don’t see why the lessons shouldn’t be rigorous and challenging and the kids might even enjoy them..

  25. A funny little tidbit from new update for the Iraq tracker: the current Lib Dem vote’s more in favour of the invasion than the Labour vote.

  26. COLIN
    “Thank you for your post re Hugh Grant / Leveson etc.
    I’m not sure why you were prompted to compose it.”
    HOWARD
    “I suppose, regardless of the assumed bias, or the otherwise certain
    carelessness, of our fourth estate, I think, ‘If you can’t stand the heat’ etc.”

    The reasons for my post were two-fold: first I have been concerned since 2010 (having been abroad in the months leading up to the election) at the popular view of Gordon Brown and at the press hostility to
    him, which seemed not to match his qualities and achievements I smelt a rat.
    Secondly because I thought you and others on this blog shoul read the evidence which News International and the Sun had themselves acknowledged, in the eight successive retractions and apologies which they issued, of repeated misrepresentations of Gordon Brown’s alleged personal gain from his non-parliamentary earnings.
    Otherwise we would not be debating on the same basis of fact about matters of relevance to voting intention – in this instance an issue which had been gravely damaging to Mr Brown, and in my view – the essential basis of this debate – to parliamentary democracy and the freedom of the press in this country. We would not be basing our judgements on the same evidence. In this matter it concerned the premeditated use of public apology to cover over a baseless attack on an honourable and decent man and politician. As Howard infers, Gordon Brown was working in an environment in which, within the legitimate and honest limits of parliament and of the press, he would expect, and be able to repond to, open comment and scrutiny, whether of his private life or of his political and public actions. Is it not damaging to those fiercely held rights of open comment and scrutiny to expose them to the readiness of a section of the press to lie with the intention of damaging the man and his party, and to do so with impunity?
    The debate on Monday is, as you say, of historic importance. It is not in its main purpose part of the passing charivaria of public performance and deception that, possibly, is of interest to you and me, and from which sections of the press would profit or otherwise satisfy their proprietors and commercial backers. What is written by the British press be a trough for the uninformed and indifferent to satisfy their appetites for whatever profitable but baseless muck and venomous misrepresentations the papers want to put on sale.

  27. Corr. last sentence: Nor should what is written…

  28. John Pilgrim
    An excellent summary of a complex situation,Monday will really show up the real dividing line in British politics.Lets hope the minor parties can see where their duty and interests lie.
    (Cue Alex Salmond?)

  29. @johnPilgrim

    The sad fact is that the behaviour towards Gordon Brown is far from the worst that the press has got up to. Ordinary people have found themselves in much the same position (direct lies, implied lies, misleading articles) without having a political background or a press office or a lawyer to do battle for them.

    The PCC was worse than nothing – it was like a newspaper condom.

  30. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”Nor should What is written by the British press be a trough for the uninformed and indifferent to satisfy their appetites for whatever profitable but baseless muck and venomous misrepresentations the papers want to put on sale.”

    Hmmm….

    Actually I tend to see the purpose of the Press as an informant for the uninformed.

    That is how I approach it myself in fact.

    If informing the uninformed is such an undesirable activity as you suggest , one wonders where the uninformed would go ?………the Internet.?………a Political Party?………a State Information Authority?. I see plenty of budding Winston Smiths in such a world.

    As for the “indifferent” & their “appetities”, I am tempted to suggest that if one is among the former, one is unlikely to have many of the latter. But that would be churlish, & I feel sure that mean to refer to the appetite for the trivial & salacious which resides within a certain readership.

    Of course , intellectual , educated & cultured ndividuals like your goodself, must find this readership , and the press which caters for it, thoroughly depressing-nay offensive.

    And I can understand that.

    But people come in all shapes & sizes John don’t they?-physically, intellectually, culturally, politically…..

    In some intellectual quarters “diversity” is viewed as a desirable thing I believe.
    My old Granny expressed it in a slightly different way – “It takes all sorts to make a world” -which means John, that you are stuck with those unfortunate “appetities” I am afraid.

    My very few -random-thoughts on the Monday vote & it’s consequences , for what they are worth , are :-

    A Free Press is vital.

    Freedom of expression is a fundamental right.

    The Press should not deliberately tell lies , or unreasonably intrude into the private lives of individuals.They should be held accountable if & when they do.

    There is such a defence as “the national interest”-but it is hard to define & can be abused.

    Most of the cases Leveson heard seemed to involve breaches of existing law, which appear not to have been pursued by the police.

    Allowing Victims to write Law is an undesirable thing.It could lead to very bad law.

    I don’t yet fully understand the differences between Cameron’s proposal & those of Miliband & Clegg.

  31. StatGeek
    Thanks for the post on UKIP’s VI – there’s a very clear trend upward (although seems to be settling on 11).

    My 7-day weighted average currently stands at –
    Con 30.7, Lab 41.2, Lib 11.1, UKIP 11.4
    Approval -36.8

    Or rounded:
    Con 31, Lab 41, Lib 11, UKIP 11
    Approval -37

    (One 12 on Sunday will push it up to 11.6 for UKIP, which obviously rounded will be 12 – but we’ll have to wait and see)

  32. Colin

    I think we all agree that the purpose of the press is to inform the uninformed. The issue between us is how best to prevent their being instead a source of misinformation.

    We probably all need to understand better the differences between the rival proposals being debated on Monday. Can anyone on this site suggest the best way of doing this? Are the actual proposals available in full somewhere? Can any commentator be trusted to give a fair assessment of their respective strengths and weaknesses?

  33. @Colin

    And freedom of distribution? At the moment the press is effectively a barrier to distribution of ideas and weakens freedom of expression. To get stories published they have to fit the agenda of the press. They are controlled by a professional priesthood who, in turn, limit promotion to those who fit in with the agenda. And the profession, like all priesthood, views itself as answering to a higher power, and therefore above the law.

    Never has this been more obvious in their attacks on Leveson. Any stepping back from their current power is seen as an inevitable slippery slope into dictatorship. They must regulate themselves, because only they have seen “the truth”.

    And all their lies and distortions are (of course) in the service of a greater truth.

    So ask yourself, as a follower of opinion polls and therefore presumably aware of the nature of statistics: what is the likelihood that the population of journalists contains fewer drug addicts, expense fiddlers, BDSM practitioners, prostitute clients than the general population? Yet how often do we see journalists accused of these things in the press?

  34. Another tidbit – even an approval of -40 (which is the very low end of the approval figures we’ve seen) will only push the weighted average up to -37.5 (38 rounded), so won’t make too much of a difference.

    Unfortunately I can’t tell you much about the trend for these figures, as I lack the full data and the effort to compile the data (I used to have weighted 30-day and 7-day averages, but I gave up updating my spreadsheet.. toward the end of 2011).

  35. Devonian,

    You are already seriously misinformed. The purpose of the press is to make money for the proprietor and/or advance their political agenda.

  36. @TheSheep Parliament attempts to bind its successors? Has that been done before?

  37. The purpose of newspapers – and commercial tv and radio – is to deliver audiences to advertisers.

  38. Hal

    I think you are confusing the corrupted UK press of 2013 with the entirety of an honourable profession which has included such notable figures as Jonathan Swift, Donald Woods and George Orwell as well as many less well known brave reporters and commentators.

  39. @Hal

    “The purpose of the press is to make money for the proprietor and/or advance their political agenda.”

    True enough, no doubt, in a sense. The purpose of chemist shops is similarly and in the same sense to make money for the owners. Does that mean that you would therefore allow them to purvey quack and dangerous remedies?

    And incidentally your brutal honesty does not fit with the protestations of proprietors about the virtues of a free press speaking truth to power or with the desire of journalists to see themselves as professionals.

  40. I think there is a lot of hyperbole on both sides in the press regulation debate.

    I don’t think statutory “underpinning” is remotely as dangerous to the freedom of the press as (some) Tories suggest, nor remotely as powerful a tool for controlling it as most on the left believe.

    Personally I don’t really care either way. I read a newspaper about once every couple of months these days, and I’m far more likely to get a news update from TV, from the BBC website or from another source (al-Jazeera, PoliticsHome etc).

    It seems to me that the only money to be made in “newspapers” is as entertainment rags. If press regulation successfully prevents papers from uncovering who Hugh Grant is being fellated by, or the last thing Steve Coogan stuck up his nose, then they will simply pack up and go home – their lifeblood having been drained away. The smut-hunting will then go entirely online, and/or abroad.

    I don’t really care about that, either. The world would be a better place without the red tops.

    As for the impact on Cameron, well I think he is in a bit of a bind. I don’t see any way he can win the vote. I expect he sees an inevitable parliamentary defeat in the offing and simply wants it to be sooner rather than later. He can then bow to “the will of parliament” and try to look magnanimous. It will hurt him, but at least the boil will be lanced.

    I’d also agree with TheSheep in that I believe that the majority of media reporting (even that which is not smut-hunting, or political axe-grinding) is generally inaccurate, generalised and misleading. Anyone who has been directly involved in any situation that was subject to media attention will tell you that.

  41. @Colin – “A Free Press is vital.”

    My understanding is that these various proposals guarantee this for the first time.

    It’s also worth noting that half the national print media supports statutory regulation. This includes the Guardian, the Independent, and the Mirror Group. The other half, which was most guilty of abuses, cover ups and campaigns of vilification, does not.

    If such august publications as the Graun and Independent can live with statutory regulation and believe they can still function effectively under such a system, it does rather beg the question why the other titles can’t, and what are the reasons why Cameron is supporting them.

  42. COLIN
    “Of course , intellectual , educated & cultured individuals like your goodself, must find this readership , and the press which caters for it, thoroughly depressing-nay offensive. And I can understand that.” ….“It takes all sorts to make a world” -which means John, that you are stuck with those unfortunate “appetities” I am afraid.”
    A bit of a liberty, if I may say so, and actually, no, Colin. I’m a South East London Charlton supporter and addict of Page 3, given to wanton thoughts, drinking too much, a strong streak of vulgarity, jiving at parties, karaoke, and occasional lapses of language, not to mention a tendency to anger in the face of attacks on those I love and things I cherish. I regret the political correctness that has weakened the directness of these attributes in an infantile, and as you rightly say, salacious, and thoroughly nasty and parasitic tabloid press and their more weasely defenders. When they lie about and damage good men, I want them nailed and stopped.
    “A Free Press is vital. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. The Press should not deliberately tell lies , or unreasonably intrude into the private lives of individuals.They should be held accountable if & when they do.” Agreed, and, if I may add, got rid of.

  43. The Sheep

    Thanks.

  44. Colin –
    “I see plenty of budding Winston Smiths in such a world”

    Orwell on the British press –
    “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”

    Personally I think that the Leveson proposals miss the point – the problem with the press isn’t one of the press ‘misbehaving’, it’s the centralisation of the ownership of the press and thus the control of information flow.
    Even if we banned the press from printing false information, there’s other ways to control the narrative framing and thus inform people whether an idea is doubleplusgood or doubleplusbad without letting them make up their own mind.

  45. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”and, if I may add, got rid of.”

    Ah yes-that’s the really worrying bit for ordinary citizens like me -the prospect of having to be “informed” by the Approved Intellingentsia.

    Re your other comment-not too much of a liberty surely. Your presence here puts you in a category of the intellectual & cultured doesn’t it?

    ….and yet even in this Hall of Academe, the appetite for salacious gossip has been evident on occasion.

    Food for thought wouldn’t you say?

    An interesting & helpful article by Clegg in today’s Times. All party consensus would be preferable-it is what Leveson himself called for.

    A typically trenchant view from Mathew Paris too.

    ..and a reminder that the Guardian story of the deletion of those Dowler messages by NoW was quietly retracted by that newspaper , and Leveson was told by the police that it might have occurred automatically.

    Yes Press errors come in all colours. It just depends which ones you really dislike I suppose.

  46. Neil A has surely put a useful perspective on all this. A bigger question must be what, if anything, can be done about the internet. And here education is surely at least part of the answer.

  47. CHARLES

    @”what, if anything, can be done about the internet.”

    Nothing-it is uncontrollable.

  48. “A bigger question must be what, if anything, can be done about the internet.”
    Nothing and nor should it.
    The internet isn’t subject to the same problems as the newspapers because it’s the home of the heterodox. You aren’t forced to accept one world view, but have the ability to judge all sides (and the evidence of all sides) of the argument.

    “And here education is surely at least part of the answer.”
    The only real education, in regards to the internet, that we need to give students is the one taught to science and history students – always assume that sources are biased and try to fathom the ‘truth’ by judging all of the evidence in context.
    Or to quote holy scripture – “A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing what he reads.”

  49. Devonian – The Conservatives proposed charter is here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/142428/Royal_Charter_14_March_2013.pdf

    If you put them side by side and go through line by line they are almost identical. (For example, the difference on the paragraph on investigations is that both set up the powers and ability to conduct investigations, but Labour’s says “The investigations process must be simple and credible”).

    The only substantive difference I can find is on the rules of how people are appointed to the regulation committee, and whether they need the unanimous support of the appointment panel

    “f) in the view of the appointment panel, be a person who can act fairly and impartially in the decision-making of the Board.”

    or

    “f) in the unanimous view of the appointment panel, having taken fully into account representations made by any affected party, and having regard to any publicly
    stated position of the individual concerned, be a person who can manifestly act fairly and impartially in the decision-making of the Board.”

    There are also differences in the statutory underpinning, where we haven’t had any details yet, but as far as I can tell both sides want the minimum needed to get the stuff on libel costs to work.

    All in all, there is nothing at all that strikes me as beyond the whit of man to negotiate and compromise over, hence I’m assuming most of the political argument is just posturing.

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