The monthly Ipsos MORI poll for the Evening Standard is out today and has topline voting intention figures of CON 29%(+2), LAB 38%(-2), LDEM 10%(-1), UKIP 15%(+2). Full tabs are here.

The poll also repeated some questions on whether Ed Miliband was ready to be PM, and the Labour party ready to return to government. 66% of people thought Miliband was NOT ready to be PM compared to 24% who thought he was (an improvement from 2011 when MORI last asked the question and only 17% thought he was ready). In comparison 29% think Labour are ready to form a government, 58% think they are not.

There is a temptation to look at questions like this and think “Oh Labour have 38% support but only 24% think Miliband is ready to be PM, so more than a third of Labour voters don’t think he is ready”. It doesn’t necessarily work like that, though in this case it isn’t far off. Voting intention figures exclude don’t knows and won’t vote, so are not comparable in this way. You need to look at the detailed tables here. For what it’s worth, and obviously there is a long time to go and these figures have tended to improve over time, 50% of Labour voters think Miliband is ready, 37% disagree.

In the meantime, how good or bad are those figures? Here is MORI’s historical results for the question for leaders and parties. Looking at mid-term figures (rather than when the question has been asked in election campaigns) in 2008 43% thought David Cameron was ready to be PM, in 2003 30% of people thought Michael Howard was ready, in 2003 just 16% thought IDS was, in 2000 18% thought Hague was. The figures for Tony Blair were much higher – in 1994 59% of people thought he was ready to be PM.

Yesterday there was also a new Angus Reid poll, which had topline figures of CON 27%(-3), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 16%(+4). Changes are from the Angus Reid poll in the Sunday Express at the end of January (note that the Angus Reid website instead gives changes from their poll in early January, hence the mismatch).

Finally this morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%… so back to normal after that seven point figure yesterday. I hate to say I told you so, but…


292 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 29, LAB 38, LD 10, UKIP 15”

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  1. Tinged

    @”Osborne believes in Say’s Law of classical economics (that supply creates it’s own demand) ”

    It is not true that GO/VC have no policies to stimulate investment & thus demand.

    There are a number, from Regional Incentives & Public Capital Investment to Corporate ( and indeed personal) Tax policy.

    You may argue that they are inadequate or badly focusd-but not that they don’t exist.

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  2. Very true Colin, and remember they are trying to get HS2 off the ground, which will be one of the biggest capital infrastructure projects ever done.

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  3. RICH

    I just wish he would get some boosters under Fracking.

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  4. Rich

    Let’s leave the politics aside for a moment.

    There was a huge internal argument within Labour in 2009 about how to deal with the deficit. Balls was of the opinion that in the wreckage of the economy left by the financial crash, Govt spending had to stay high for as long as it took for the private sector to pull itself off the floor. Darling was more cautious and wanted to map out the when and how of the cuts that would bring down the deficit to an agreed timetable. (The Tories of course never wanted the 08-09 stimulus in the first place, so they were at the other extreme.)

    On the economic argument, Balls’s position is increasingly looking like the correct call as the empirical evidence rolls in. There have been two major and clear issues to emerge from the last 4 years.
    1) There is a more or less direct correlation between the scale of fiscal consolidation and the reduction of output below potential GDP across Europe and America.
    2) There is absolutely no correlation between the level of sovereign debt and bond yields for monetarily sovereign countries.

    Both of those observations support Balls’s position and question the logic of Austerity (Osborne) or Austerity-lite (Darling).

    Now from a POLITICAL point

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  5. @lefty,

    But all econmies have their own vagaries and idiosyncrasies, so there is still no guarantee Balls extra fiscal stimulus would have worked!

    Remember, politics aside, as I heard a leading economist say on the news last week, if debt gets to 100% of GDP, forget it, it’s severe market forced austerity then.

    Rich

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  6. Rich

    Let’s leave the politics aside for a moment.

    There was a huge internal argument within Labour in 2009 about how to deal with the deficit. Balls was of the opinion that in the wreckage of the economy left by the financial crash, Govt spending had to stay high for as long as it took for the private sector to pull itself off the floor. Darling was more cautious and wanted to map out the when and how of the cuts that would bring down the deficit to an agreed timetable. (The Tories of course never wanted the 08-09 stimulus in the first place, so they were at the other extreme.)

    On the economic argument, Balls’s position is increasingly looking like the correct call as the empirical evidence rolls in. There have been two major and clear issues to emerge from the last 4 years.
    1) There is a more or less direct correlation between the scale of fiscal consolidation and the reduction of output below potential GDP across Europe and America.
    2) There is absolutely no correlation between the level of sovereign debt and bond yields for monetarily sovereign countries.

    Both of those observations support Balls’s position and question the logic of Austerity (Osborne) or Austerity-lite (Darling).

    So I’m left wondering where your admiration for Darling’s stance comes from. Appearing to take a sensible compromise stance does not mean you are correct.

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  7. Rich
    On the level of debt at which Very Bad Things start to happen.

    Nothing personal, but have you had your head in the sand this week?

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  8. Apologies for the double post. Bloody iPhone.

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  9. Am glad you have an iPhone lefty. Surely one of the benefits of capitalism. Imagine what a state owned mobile might look like. :-)

    Yes of course I know we have issues, I am just saying there is no guarantee that Balls plan will work, and until/if they get in and try increased spending, we won’t know for certain.

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  10. I think it might be somewhat more than 100% of GDP before we hit trouble, but I’m not in a rush to find out exactly how high it needs to be. It’ll be pretty obvious when it comes, though.

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  11. @LEFTYLAMPTON

    There was always going to be cuts in spending, whoever won the 2010 GE and these would have affected growth.

    The issue is what policies to aid growth would have been introduced by Labour had they won, that would be different to the coalition. I think that perhaps Labour would have realised that any government policies to aid growth would be needed urgently and there would have been the need to borrow to invest. The coalition instead concentrated on deficit reduction and their growth strategy may not realise positive results until after 2015.

    I fully understand why the coalition concentrated their efforts on deficit reduction and to try to make savings in department spending. But the BOE are the ones who have been buying most of the government debt and therefore interest rates would have remained low anyway. As long as a UK government had policies to control spending, there was scope to borrow to invest, so that growth could have been maintained.

    Next Thursday we will find out whether the UK economy is likley to have suffered a triple dip recession. It is going to close to zero. If is in the negative, then I can see the news coverage of this affecting polling and the local elections.

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  12. @ Rich
    “Am glad you have an iPhone lefty. Surely one of the benefits of capitalism. Imagine what a state owned mobile might look like.”

    The iphone, um.
    Is that the one made in a city-sized factory in China, where the workers are said to live in over-crowded barracks, work illegally for 70-80 hour weeks in return for low pay, suffer numerous accidents, and often commit suicide, or is that some other phone?

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  13. KEITHP

    It will be a combination of Debt Servicing Costs & Debt levels.

    UK ten year Gilt yields are an incredible & unprecedented 1.7% pa.
    30 year Gilts yield only 3%.

    This is a godsend for GO ( or more probably his successor given the maturity profile of UK government Debt)

    The big question is-how unusual & /or sustainable are these rates?

    Historically they are very low.

    Given a Tax take of 40% of GDP, and Government Debt of 100% of GDP ,2.5% Gilt rates take 6.25% of Total Tax Revenue.

    If average Gilt rates go to 5% , that doubles Servicing costs to 12.5% of Total Tax revenue.

    The former is probably sustainable in a balanced fiscal policy.

    The latter probably requires immediate adjustment to tax rates/policy or spending plans .

    The big question for Finance Ministers running this sort of economy is-am I living in a fools paradise?-will rates increase?-when & by how much?-can I get back to reasonable growth figures , whilst running high debt, before it happens?

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  14. Emerging from my shed which is where I always hide while my money is wasted on the state weddings/funerals of people for whom I have no sympathy & who are — or were — not in the slightest interested in my views/welfare (where I have been reading Proust, whose habit of writing very long sentences I find infectious) , I did wonder what dinner-time conversations take place between Dan Hodges, a so-called Labour blogger in the Telegraph, whose article intoned how solemn, necessary and important Thatcher’s funeral was, and Glenda Jackson, whose speech the same day was booed and jeered by various sleek, well-fed-looking Tories, one of whom raised a spurious point of order, and all of whom seemed blissfully unaware of the irony that they were celebrating the first “woman” PM, while themselves engaging in their habitual sexist behaviour, recalling that Jackson who hung on to her seat by a whisker at the last election and is retiring at the next — she is 76 — and whose origins lie in a very modest background in Liverpool & two years’ work in Boots before going on to RADA and a glittering acting career in which she won, or was nominated, for more awards than one would have thought possible, is Hodges’s mother.

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  15. Colin

    You are tilting at windmills. 20 years ago, we had 50% Govt debt to GDP and 9% 10 years bond yields. We then went in a 15 year period of unbroken growth and the Govt debt ratio came down despite us running a surplus in only a couple of those years.

    I agree that we would struggle if bond yields spiked. But you have to ask yourself, why would they spike? They have fallen almost monotonically for 20 years (so it’s not due to QE). They fell when debt rose. They fell when debt sank. They fell in recessions and they fell in growth times.

    They fell, I guess, because the markets priced in the low inflation environment of the modern world.

    Now, if inflation expectations increased, perhaps we’d see bond yields rise. But if inflation rises, the debt is partly inflated away. And (barring rank bad policy management, a moderate rise in inflation would probably imply rising growth, so we are better placed to service the debt.

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  16. I try to judge when to let a topic run, and when it is inevitably going to get to partisan nah-nah-nah rubbish. Economics is a tricky one – many people contribute thoughtful posts about the principles of how debt works and what might or might not be good, but there are equal amounts of silly “Ah but would you support that then!”, “Ah, but what would Ed Balls do then!” guff, or worse, the careful cherry picking of one-sided evidence to try and score political points rather than actually get anywhere near the truth. Even that is sometimes quite hard to pare away from discussion of what public opinion might be towards pledges to spend more, or stick to spending pledges or whatever… discussion which is obviously exactly what the site is for.

    So I’m not saying stop discussion it, but can you please try to stick to what public opinion and polling shows about the economy, and not get into arguments about whether the governments approach or Labour’s approach are “right” or “wrong”.

    (And as ever, please don’t take the positioning of this comment as a judgement on those comments that turned up immediately before (not least, they are normally ones that someone wrote while I was writing this!))

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  17. AW

    Received and understood.

    From a public opinion point of view, it’s undeniable that (as Colin tetchily suggested last night) homely “obvious” truths play better than more detailed economic arguments. That was Osborne’s genius in 09-10 – summing up the whole debate in a couple of pithy and resonant phrases. Their long-term efficacy was secondary to their impact on opinions.

    I’ve wracked my brains trying to find an equally witty, cutting and ideally, alliterative two-worder to sum up the argument that Govt spending can fill in the gap in aggregate demand, leading to a stronger medium-term outlook for the economy and Govt debt.

    Not having much success, I’ll freely admit.

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  18. Bit boring this lot really isn’t it?
    It’s just all too heavy and ends up being a Political football about two differing ideologies.

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  19. LEFTY

    Thanks.

    Will pass on a reply for obvious reasons.

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  20. lefty

    How big is your shed? It sounds nice.

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  21. The reaction in America to the end of the search for the second suspect makes me realise, even more strongly, that we are two countries divided by much more than a common language.

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  22. Anyone else seen the articles about the Treasury Select Committee panning Osborne’s new housing policy?

    I haven’t read the report itself and so far the Guardian is the only broadsheet running the story, so draw your own conclusions about how critical the report really is. But it certainly doesn’t sound positive and the criticism (that Osborne has put the taxpayer on the hook for a crash in the housing market) strikes me as a reasonable one.

    It goes back to what I was saying earlier, about how Cameron and Osborne are now at a point where no matter what they do they can’t catch a break from their own side. The mortgage guarantee was a stab at throwing some goodies to the aspirational Tories, and whatever is wrong with the policy I doubt it’s so terrible that a Tory Select Committee chairman couldn’t find something nice to say about it if he wanted to. Andrew Tyrie clearly doesn’t.

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  23. Yes Paul , isn’t it nauseating and embarrassing ?

    Politicians using it for their own ends and the public primitively whooping and hollering on the streets .

    The most worrying thing is that the BBC seems to think we are stimulated by this and flood their news channel with it .

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  24. This argument about govt borrowing misses the fundamental question of why should the issuer of a currency borrow when they could lend, the whole system is @rse backwards

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  25. SPEARMINT
    “Anyone else seen the articles about the Treasury Select Committee panning Osborne’s new housing policy?
    I haven’t read the report itself and so far the Guardian is the only broadsheet running the story, so draw your own conclusions about how critical the report really is.”

    It is also being reported on the BBC website so I think it’s fair to say that the Guardian has reported the facts as opposed to expressing an opinion.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22214546

    “George Osborne’s flagship scheme to boost the housing market may not help first-time buyers and could cost the Treasury large sums, MPs have warned.”

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  26. Spearmint , an MP of Andrew Tyrie’s standing is unusual and one who is very unlikely to abuse his Chairmanship of a Select Committee for partisan reasons .

    The Committee is out of touch though . Many singletons and couples of all ages with average and above incomes with responsible levels of debt , are trapped in the rental sector paying rents vastly above what a mortgage would be for the equivalent property .

    Lenders know affordability is not an issue with many applicants , yet still refuse them the 90 – 100 % mortgages they need .

    Many families who need larger homes are also trapped because the first time buyer market has collapsed and the potential buyers of their homes can’t sell their own .

    There is a housing supply problem but the biggest problem is the lending market , resulting in inflated rents .

    If Osborne’s scheme addresses this , it’s to be encouraged .

    There wouldn’t have been a housing boom if borrowers were assessed correctly . Apparently they are now , so we’ll see .

    I expect the Guardian’s doom piece is more about premature schadenfreude .

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  27. I’m sure if the general public knew that banks create money out of nothing to make loans their attitude to govt borrowing would be vastly different. I bet there has been no polling on how people believe the monetary system works.

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  28. At a time when yet another rating agency is downgrading the economy I thought it might be relevant to see the following.

    Osborne’s economic policy in as far as it has economic rational is dependant on the accuracy of the
    Reinhart, Rogoff. proposal which says in essence:

    At a time of economic crisis, economic growth slows dramatically when the size of a country’s debt rises above 90% of Gross Domestic Product, the overall size of the economy.

    This week, economists have been astonished to find that a famous academic paper often used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors. Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student doing his homework.

    No matter how he tried, he just couldn’t replicate Reinhart and Rogoff’s results.

    “My heart sank,” he says. “I thought I had likely made a gross error. Because I’m a student the odds were I’d made the mistake, not the well-known Harvard professors.”

    But no, he was correct – he’d spotted a basic error in the spreadsheet. The Harvard professors had accidentally only included 15 of the 20 countries under analysis in their key calculation (of average GDP growth in countries with high public debt).

    Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada and Denmark were missing.

    Oops.

    Herndon and his professors found other issues with Growth in a Time of Debt, which had an even bigger impact on the famous result. The first was the fact that for some countries, some data was missing altogether.

    Thomas and his supervisors also didn’t like the way that Reinhart and Rogoff averaged their data. They say one bad year for a small country like New Zealand, was blown out of proportion because it was given the same weight as, for example, the UK’s nearly 20 years with high public debt.

    All these results were published by Thomas Herndon and his professors on 15 April, as a draft working paper. They find that high levels of debt are still correlated with lower growth – but the most spectacular results from the Reinhart and Rogoff paper disappear. High debt is correlated with somewhat lower growth, but the relationship is much gentler and there are lots of exceptions to the rule.

    While I appreciate this is complicated and not therefore as far as the Media is concerned newsworthy it is of vital importance in deciding the economic policy of the UK for the next 10 years and what it indicates is the current approach is fundamentally flawed.

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  29. @ Steve

    Reinhart & Rogoff wouldn’t have known when they wrote their paper that it would be seized upon as providing academic cover for political austerity decisions. They are responsible for the paper but not what use it was put to.

    After their paper had received such unusual levels of publicity, they could have been very defensive about the negative publicity that any challenges to their work might bring. It’s to Reinhart & Rogoff’s immense credit that they handed over their entire project for detailed peer review.

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  30. Chasglas,

    “an MP of Andrew Tyrie’s standing is unusual and one who is very unlikely to abuse his Chairmanship of a Select Committee for partisan reasons”

    Sure, and backbenchers of that standing are always independent, and it’s the committee’s job to scrutinize government policy. But that remit still allows scope for some degree of political positioning. It’s a question of tone.

    There’s a noticeable difference between loyalist scrutiny (eg. John Whittingdale) and hostile scrutiny (eg. Margaret Hodge), and from the excerpts I’ve seen, this report seems to fall into the latter category. That should worry Osborne, because as you say, there’s a lot about the policy that’s worthwhile and Tyrie’s not some random malcontent with a grudge. If even he is allowing his committee to give the Chancellor a kicking the Tories have a problem.

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  31. @ Steve

    I am, like you, a bit discombobulated that politicians, & possibly ratings agencies, the IMF, Central Banks etc. set such store by the Reinhart & Rogoff so I wasn’t disagreeing with your comment, I simply wanted to point out that they deserve credit for openness as well as a good kicking (speaking metaphorically) for their errors.

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  32. @ Steve and Amber

    It was a policy paper (NBER) and not the usual academic journal article. It was published also in the AER Papers and Proceedings, which is an annual collection of discussion papers, rather than in the normal AER.

    As I said a few days ago the methodological errors found in the R&R paper are rather common (cleansing the data too) in economics based disciplines. Everyone knows it, so academics often turn a blind eye to it.

    Of course political or ideological convictions help these errors to occur Friedman misinterpreted his own graph in the Monetary History, Keynes gave two incompatible calculations for A1, etc).

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  33. Sorry Anthony, was typing my post so I didn’t see your gentle warning.

    So, what is relevant from my previous post that the R&R paper was intended to influence economic policy making and was not just an academic exercise.

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  34. @ Laszlo

    I appreciate your gentle correction of my comment regarding the intended use of R&R’s paper.

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  35. I still maintain that one very nice luxury of ecomic opposition, is you don’t need a plan b, as effectively plan a isn’t tested in the host economy.

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  36. rich

    What do you suggest then? That labour should have TWO plans or none??

    [Snip]

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  37. Amber
    “It’s to Reinhart & Rogoff’s immense credit that they handed over their entire project for detailed peer review.”

    Aye. Shame it took them 3 years to release the data. 3 years in which every Austerian in the world has quoted the 90% figure as a Doomsday point.

    Tyler Cowen has inadvertently hit the nail on the head. In his blog yesterday, he said we should feel sorry for R&R because they have been caught up in the maelstrom of being famous. As a result, they can’t be blamed for not denouncing the uses that their paper was put to. If they had accentuated the uncertainties and highlighted the caveats when interviewed, they wouldn’t have made such a splash.

    So of course, they didn’t point out the caveats. They were happy to accept Austerians telling the world that a cliff awaited after 90% debt.

    If you want to be a serious academic, you accept that your work had responsibilities. If you want to be a celebrity commentator, you accept that this is incompatible with cutting edge academic work in a highly uncertain field.

    R&R absolutely ARE to blame. They could have damped the flames any time they wanted.

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  38. Amber
    “It’s to Reinhart & Rogoff’s immense credit that they handed over their entire project for detailed peer review.”

    Aye. Shame it took them 3 years to release the data. 3 years in which every Austerian in the world has quoted the 90% figure as a Doomsday point.

    Tyler Cowen has inadvertently hit the nail on the head. In his blog yesterday, he said we should feel sorry for R&R because they have been caught up in the maelstrom of being famous. As a result, they can’t be blamed for not denouncing the uses that their paper was put to. If they had accentuated the uncertainties and highlighted the caveats when interviewed, they wouldn’t have made such a splash.

    So of course, they didn’t point out the caveats. They were happy to accept Austerians telling the world that a cliff awaited after 90% debt.

    If you want to be a serious academic, you accept that your work had responsibilities. If you want to be a celebrity commentator, you accept that this is incompatible with cutting edge academic work in a highly uncertain field.

    R&R absolutely ARE to blame. They could have damped the flames any time they wanted.

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  39. Bloody double-posting iPhone.

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  40. See I got “snipped” for saying the Govt’s main austerity/economic policy isn’t working. Read that many times here from others [UN-snipped] and had thought that, as things stand, there was broad agreement that that was the case.

    Picking up where I left off re Rich’s point about the opposition “luxury” of presenting policies which can’t be tested that is is a self-evident truth. But on the other hand, whichever party is in opposition it is most often the case that publicity surrounding any new policy becomes a vehicle for the Govt of the day to rubbish it, and for that negative reaction to be the main news item.

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  41. Charles

    May I add my belated condolences to those of everyone else on the loss of your wife and my thanks for your touching tribute to her.

    Though she didn’t comment as much as some here (though I think she also posted on the constituency threads too), when she contributed, I was usually struck by how thoughtful what she wrote was, in all senses of the word. You must miss her terribly.

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  42. Most people would want to leave the UK, move to where exactly the rest of the world is in bad shape as well.

    Thanks to policies of George Bush and Gordon Brown, which left much of the world over-loaded on debt.

    New York and London are the world’s 2 main financial centres.

    Remember Gordon Brown’s ‘Light Touch’ speech in 2005 when he allowed the Banks in the City of London to destroy the economy with massive debts and dodgy banking practises.

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