The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out and has topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 8%(+2), UKIP 16%(-3). Their Labour lead is resolutely unchanged, but like TNS earlier in the week they have UKIP coming down from their post-local election peak of around 20 points. There’s obviously still a big methodological gulf between different pollsters on UKIP scores, but the trend is starting to be a bit more consistent.


252 Responses to “Opinium/Observer CON 28, LAB 39, LD 8, UKIP 16”

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  1. Amber

    How dare you call me a liberal lefty, but it’s true I can read minds

  2. @ Statgeek

    While there are some that need the welfare system to prevent the worst, there are many that do not need the excesses that it might bring. What we really need is a system that sorts the needy from the chancers.

    That essentially boils down to identifying the deserving and undeserving poor.

    Sounds great (some would say), but in practise is almost certainly unachievable.Any mechanism civil servants could devise to do that would fall prey to the theory of diminishing returns.

    Trying to do it, and failing badly (most likely outcome) causes more problems than it’s worth.

    You might as well put that on the same wish list as finding the elixir of life and nuclear fusion at room temperature.

  3. Statgeek

    You mean you want to rig the free market, the people you describe as chancers are a free market phenomena making rational free market choices

  4. @ Paul C

    Thank you! :-)

  5. @ RiN

    How dare you call me a liberal lefty, but it’s true I can read minds
    ————–
    I wish I could read minds; then I’d have known you weren’t a liberal lefty… :-)

  6. @ Paul

    I dare say that recent Labour GE manifestos would have been so centre-right that any pre-Thatcher Conservative party would have been perfectly happy to stand by them.

  7. CMJ

    “That essentially boils down to identifying the deserving and undeserving poor.

    Sounds great (some would say), but in practise is almost certainly unachievable”

    Precisely my point earlier Jeff. It is so easy to see something wrong but the question that needs answering is always “So what would YOU do instead?”

    We should actually be relativey proud that our system allows people to live without having to beg, steal or starve because society will not house them.

    I can’t say I approve myself in many ways but – to use Amber’s “intellectual” word – one has to think, intelligently, about the alternatives and their repercussions. Leaving aside that there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of our felow citizens who want a job and can’t find one anyway.

    So what hope would there be for someone at the bottom, who doesn’t want to work anyway, because they haven’t had that discipline for many years, getting work themselves under pressure from the state?

    As always such problems need tackling through better education, in the broadest sense, and incrementally over decades.

  8. @ Ambi

    Those crime statistics are totally baffling! In times of recession there has always been more crime and while I might not agree 100% with crime statistics I’m happy to accept them as being at least semi accurate.

    I’m not sure any political party can claim credit for this. I have not seen any current government policies that would explain this lack of increase- had it been a case of chopping off a hand for shoplifting and shoplifting reduced then you could say that policy had had an effect but there’s nothing radical in policies either in prevention or punishment to explain it. Maybe it is simply a long term trend or maybe the safety net still works or simply a generation of teachers at school and society in general tackling everything from morals to drugs that isn’t turning kids into criminals in the way there were 20 or 30 years agi.

  9. Amber

    I can understand your confusion, I have gone so far to the right I’ve ended up sounding like a lefty in much the same way that Stalin went so far to the left he ended on on the right

  10. Shevii

    I blame the internet, all the yobos that should be out committing crime are sitting at home surfing the net, some of them on here!!

  11. Miliband seems to have opened a bit of a Pandora’s Box with this party procedure review. The last time it was opened in the Labour party, it took about 15 years to close; how long does Miliband plan on being leader?

    This will be a sterner test for him than some people initially expected.

  12. RiN

    “it’s true I can read minds”

    Can you help me with mine Richard? I keep forgetting what I was thinking and then realising I wasn’t anyway.

  13. @ Paul C

    Exactly what I meant, thanks again! – I used the word ‘intellectual’ in the specific context of that particular comment & polling vis-à-vis: there hasn’t been any. Anthony could demonstrate that he is ‘intellectually superior’ to me by posting evidence that there has, in fact, been polling asking the particular groups very similar questions to those which I posed.

    Therefore, intellect is about putting in the work (thinking, researching etc.), not an innate quality which some people are born with & some without.

    Education – in the broadest sense of the word – is indeed what is needed so that people can examine sweeping statements & decide for themselves whether they make any kind of sense, common or otherwise! :-)

  14. Theresa May diabetes announcement will – as is the way of such things – do her good in the pubic eye as she is dealing with it very well.

    I still think she could be a good choice after Cameron – post 2015. Hard to think of anyone else – apart from Hague – who impresses.

    Anyone feel he could return?

  15. AW

    Why have a number of my posts slid into auto mod?

    They were all genial enough and contained no foul language.

  16. Hague has been clever.

    When things have been sticky for Government, he seems to have found a way to keep out of it – a benefit a Foreign Minister has, being away from domestic matters.

    I wouldn’t rule him out, as he seems to speak fluent ‘human’ too.

    I am some what baffled by the announcement though. I know enough people who have been diagnosed and live will diabetes without issue. I think it should have remained a private matter entirely.

  17. AW

    Actually this is bizarre and frustrating. A numeber on this page which stayed in place AND received responses have modded out whilst some haven’t.

    I give in.

  18. AW

    Fair enough you have put some of my comments into moderation and I agree.

    In future I will stick to the topic at hand and not get into arguments with fellow posters over trivia.

    Lesson learnt..

  19. CMJ

    It may be that the issue is the many people who DON’T take the tests. Publicity of this nature re someone doing a very demending job is, one assumes, helpful.

  20. @RiN

    Wanting to be a CEO is not a qualification of being able to be a CEO, or even a good CEO.

    Let’s say you make an investment, and get a good return, and the financial bod takes 5% (I have no idea of the going rates, so treat as hypothetical).

    The next year he decides he wants 7%. You’ll most likely stick with him as his track record is good. It’s that simple.

  21. acey

    still puzzled re mine as they certainly weren’t all with you.

    I actually thought are discussion was amicable, witty [on my part of course] and pretty useful.

  22. “our”

  23. PC

    I think Mr Wells may had enough of our to-ing and fro-ing lol.

  24. @PaulCroft

    Of course DC may well be PM after 2015 in which case why replace him?

  25. @CMJ

    “That essentially boils down to identifying the deserving and undeserving poor.”

    Up to a point, yes. Whenever people defend the welfare state, they cite the worst off and the most vulnerable as an excuse for the less vulnerable to keep their entitlements.

    It would be quite refreshing if the political parties collectively defended the most vulnerable and the worst off by going for those who are taking more than their deserving share of the resources.

    Necessities and not luxuries. If anyone’s argument is that the state should pay for peoples’ luxuries, then it’s a pretty weak argument. That’s why I’m inclined towards vouchers as part of the solution, so that bills and food are prioritised over alcohol, cigarettes and luxury electrical goods (tellys and computers; not toasters and kettles).

    I do think that a cheap computer and broadband solution should be considered semi-necessity, as the opportunity for job searching and keeping in touch with training or education changes is a vital weapon in the job seeker’s arsenal.

    Make no mistake. I’m not unfeeling. Only last week I heard of a case so frustrating, it had me considering MP letters and the like.

    A friend of the family is months away from being 64. He’s ex forces and has run a small business for a number of years. He recently had a stroke and is disabled down one side. He was applying for invalidity benefit until his pension comes up in 12-18 months.

    He attended a ‘tribunal’ where a panel of people interviewed him and his over-65 wife. A woman, who seemed to be in control of the panel stated that he could work.

    “Doing what?”

    “Making tea”

    “Yes I can make it, but I can only use one hand, and need it for the walking stick, so can’t carry it anywhere.”

    Then the conversation went along the lines of:

    “Well can’t your wife’s pension support you?”

    “She puts away a lot of her pension money, in fear of her dying and leaving me disabled and requiring care.”

    The short version is that the rest of the panel were embarrassed, but unwilling to challenge the woman, so the benefits have been rejected. It’s probably because the gentleman lives in a slightly nice area, and that there’s a decent pension on the way at 65. Some folk give all their lives, and get nothing when they need it most. Very, very angering.

  26. @RiN

    I had no idea that the PAYE and welfare system was a free market. Perhaps that’s part of the problem, in that some see it that way.

  27. I agree (if the Tories were to lose the next election or have a poll collapse beforehand ) then Hague would be a good choice for leader . He has certainly earned Brownie points with regards to being a reasonable good Foreign Secretary.

    Just don’t give him a baseball cap!!

  28. @Shevii

    RE: Crime

    I’m putting all my money on the Internet being the difference in these times. The current generation of under 25s have had it since they were at primary school, and as such can get access to free entertainment without leaving the house. As such, there’s no need to commit crime.

  29. Statgeek

    Well I’ve always done a good job(but then again I must confess I won’t stay in a job where I’m not good at it) but I’ve never been paid more than market rates, and market rates have always been the lowest amount they could get away with, it doesn’t matter how much value you provide for the company. Now I’ve walked out on jobs because I didn’t think I was getting paid what I deserved but even though I often had to be replaced by two people no one has ever called me back and agreed to my wage demands instead they have cursed me for being an ungrateful oik. What you are describing with CEO’s getting paid in line with their value to the company is not any part of free market economics

  30. Statgeek

    I suggest you look up the definition of “free”

  31. TOH

    Hope you had a nice walk.

    Re Cameron: yes, its possible but another coalition will be tricky and I think a small majority Con Govt would be very difficult for him to lead.

    All surmise of course.

  32. acey

    “I think Mr Wells may had enough of our to-ing and fro-ing lol.”

    Can’t believe that. I gave you good advice and you took it.

    Anyway there were others that had nothing to do with it that have been disappeared. I’m off to tell me Mum.

  33. statso

    “It would be quite refreshing if the political parties collectively defended the most vulnerable and the worst off by going for those who are taking more than their deserving share of the resources.”

    Agreed: most of it really should be agreed, common-sense stuff. I also quite like the idea of a “citizen’s” panel to be involved in longer term decisions. Whilst the reaction to certain stories is quite understandable I am fairy sure most people, when confronted with the alternatives, could support a majority, long term decision.

    It would then be much easier to implement than the current tribunal system, part of which seems to pay organisations if they someone IS fit to work, rather than taking a completely dispassionate, neutral stance and which is the criticised as unfair by the main opposition.

  34. @Paul Croft

    Yes thank you, much nicer temperatures for walking in. As you know, and of course it is only my opinion, i think he will have a working majority. However i agree he will have a difficult time if his majority is very small. There are many in the party who think he is too liberal in some of his views.

  35. AW


    Paul

    Lol”

    The above is a response from RiN to a short, humorous, non-argumentative post of mine, based on the Monty Python “argument” sketch. Which he clearly got.

    Home come you take it so seriously as to delete it?

  36. “The deserving poor”..this is in essence the same argument that The Other Howard was putting forward. Why should the undeserving get benefits?

    I recall a big furore when a rapist won the lottery. He bought the ticket and won but it turned out he was “undeserving”. As far as I know, he kept the money despite the tabloid fury.

    Then there are smokers, drug users, alcoholics, obese people being treated on the NHS even though they “brought it on themselves”. Undeserving?

    Benefits are usually based upon need, or on contributions, or sometimes even universal to ensure a need is met. There are discussion to be had about how they are targeted…but are we really saying that sick or disabled or unemployed or old people should only get benefits if they are “good”?

  37. acey

    “I’m off to tell me Mum.”

    I’ve done that: she said it was your fault apparenty.

  38. Ozwald

    If you think EM is doing better than DC in personal ratings with the voters then so be it, There’s a good article in the New Statesman dated 17July 2013 in there rolling politic’s blog you might want to read if you require evidence.

    Graham

    As I’ve said before I go for the UKPR rather than quote an individual poll, the underlining trend is the polls are closing and the average is showing about a 6% gap.

    However your quite right, a bit like shares the polls can go up or down the only thing I would say given the +/- factor of polls it’s quite close at present which is all we can go on.

  39. Nick p

    The thing is if you have to sell your Labour or else starve then youare not pparticipating in a free market you are being coerced, therefore by definition you can only have a true free market when all receive enough benefits that their choices could be said to be truly free. God it’s a batch being a rightwinger

  40. @NickP

    What you have just posted is factually incorrect. My discussion with PC yesterday was all about my use of the word contempt which i used to describe my feelings about criminals, the workshy and the feckless. He spent a lot of time trying to persuade me that I should not feel contempt. He failed. That was all it was really. You cannot conclude from that how I feel about the way benefits are allocated although you may well be right if you surmise that i would lose no sleep if the workshy lose some of their benefits if they refuse to work.

    I really dislike other people making assumptions about what I believe and when they missquoting me.

  41. Statgeek
    “The short version is that the rest of the panel were embarrassed, but unwilling to challenge the woman, so the benefits have been rejected. It’s probably because the gentleman lives in a slightly nice area, and that there’s a decent pension on the way at 65. Some folk give all their lives, and get nothing when they need it most. Very, very angering.”

    It’s probably nothing whatsoever to do with where he lives & everything to do with ATOS being incompetent & requiring re-training, something that has finally been admitted this last week by the DWP.

    Sick & disabled people have been complaining loudly for years about ESA which is no more than a tick-box exercise that in no way reflects reality. The decision that ones ability to move an empty box denies benefits to some but overlooks their ability to get to work & work in a safe manner – safe for them as well as their work colleagues.

    A piece in the Independent quotes:

    “Following months of complaints about allegedly unfair and slapdash decisions made by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions audited around 400 of the company’s written reports into disability claimants, grading them A to C. Of these, 41 per cent came back with a C, meaning they were unacceptable and did not meet the required standard.”

    The cost of appeals is said to be iro £66m, an amount that has trebled from £21m in 2009/10 to £66m in 2012/13.

  42. @RiN

    “The thing is if you have to sell your Labour or else starve then youare not pparticipating in a free market you are being coerced”

    Robert Nozick would disagree.

    Mind he does seem to have rather weird definitions of what counts as coercion and what doesn’t…

  43. The decision that ones ability to move an empty box denies benefits to some but overlooks their ability to get to work & work in a safe manner – safe for them as well as their work colleagues.

    Grrr, wish we could edit….

    The decision that ones ability to move an empty box denies benefits to some but overlooks their INability to get to work & work in a safe manner – safe for them as well as their work colleagues.

  44. I think there is a deep philosophical disagreement in play re so-called derserving poor etc.
    I think few would disagree that targeting/means tested should be used as much as realistic and non-intrusive to ensure benefits go to the deserving and and not ‘scroungers

    The disagreement imo centres on when separating the needy from the greedy is difficult.

    I am prepared to put up with some feckless receiving benefits to ensure that those deserving and in need do not miss out. Others perhaps (they can speak for themselves) appear to prefer a system that is driven by eliminating as many ‘scroungers’ as possible and will tolerate genuine cases losing out.

    Disability Living Allowance (or whatever called now) and ATOS seems to me a good example of the latter approach in action

  45. RiN

    I think Alec discussed an idea of a basic “citizen’s” entitlement that could be topped up with legal, taxable work.

    It sounds odd but actually makes sense.

    1/ It frees up the job market

    2/ It is utterly transparent and anyone on basic right benefit living beyond their means would be instanty spotted

    3/ It stops people saying “We’d al ike to live ike that if we could” because they could but almost certainly wouldn’t want to.

    As a professional musician that would have been wonderful for me but many people, I believe, would deal sensibly with increased personal time.

    My wife’s job is very demanding and weekends are really just recovery time. Shared jobs would become much easier to arrange.

    Still, won’t happen will it but this is what modern life seems to alow very little of >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    William Henry Davies

    “What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.

    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance
    .
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.

    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.”

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    [Not that I am suggesting we should all be looking at squirrels nuts: we all need our privacy.]

    I might nick that and make it into a song: it’s lovely.

  46. @Turk
    “If you think EM is doing better than DC in personal ratings with the voters then so be it, ”
    ————————————
    Please don’t try to put words into my mouth. I said no such thing.

    You made a claim that Lab would struggle on the ‘trust’ issue. I quoted Yougov evidence on what their respondents think ( not wot I think ) . These figures contradicted your claim and I await your evidence with interest.

    FWIW Ed’s ‘honesty’ ratings are poor . It’s just that Dave and Nick’s are a tad worse according to Yougov.

  47. New thread

  48. @Paul Croft

    Yes an excellent poem by a fascinating character. I have tried to find the time all my life, even when i worked an 80 hour week as a Director.

    @JimJam

    Agree with much of that.

  49. I think that a universal benefit of £144 (the flat rate pension amount) for all adults would be a good idea.

    Doesn’t solve the rent problem unless you assume that everybody has to house themselves out of that amount. But it might work.

    But you would have to accept the idea that some people might not work because they can live on that. I am happy to accept. that. Oh, and the fact that millionaires would get it too. I also accept that.

    Would the sums add up? £144 times the adult population? That’s about £720m but would include pensions.

    What’s the current welfare bill?

    Would you need an amount for kids too?

  50. @Shevii,

    Yep, agree that lowering crime rates cannot be attributed to the polices of any one government….as is evidenced by the fact that this phenomenon is being repeated throughout the developed world.

    I suspect the biggest reason is down to demographics, but I guess other factors are also at play….like better security systems/greater personal safety awareness, the Internet/PCs, better forensics etc. etc.

    Like yourself, I don’t totally believe crime stats….but they do show that the number of murders has also fallen sharply, a statistic that is hard if not nigh on impossible to fiddle. Then, of course, you have practically every western police force seeing similar declines, so they must be onto some underlying trend. It’s too much of a coincidence otherwise.

    For me, this demonstrates the fallacies of both the left-wing and right-wing social argument – or at least that they overplay such social factors which result in crime. Stats have proven that contrary to what the left say, increasing wealth inequality doesn’t equal more crime; similarly, contrary to what the right say, more single parents/family breakdown/modern family forms don’t equal more crime.

    Time for them both to admit that they are incorrect, or at least guilty of exaggerating the importance of these factors IMO.

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