The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. Most of the rest of the poll asked about the “plebgate” row.

As various questions about Plebgate have continued to surface public opinion has moved in favour of Andrew Mitchell, albeit, not by that much. Back in December 2012 people were pretty evenly split over whether they believed Mitchell (31%) or the police (28%), now Mitchell is clearly more widely believed (37%) than the police are (27%). Back in December 43% thought Mitchell probably did call the officer a “pleb”, 34% thought he probably didn’t. The figures are now 40% think he did, 38% think he did not. On every question there are lots of don’t knows: remember most ordinary people will not be following the detailed ins and outs of the story!

30% of people think that there was probably a deliberate attempt by police to stitch up Mitchell, 21% think he was probably wrongly accused but through a genuine misunderstanding rather than a conspiracy, 24% that he was rightly accused and the police were just telling the truth. Despite the growing doubts about what he said, still only 29% of people think he should be offered a new government job (perhaps because many people think swearing at police officers should prevent him being re-instated even if he didn’t say “pleb”!)

22% of people say that “plebgate” has made them trust the police less, though the tracking questions don’t really tell the same story. 66% of people say they trust ordinary police officers (14% a great deal, 52% a fair amount), 48% say they trust senior police officers. Both are significantly lower than when YouGov started asking the questions back in 2003 (when 82% trusted normal officers and 72% senior officers), but not significantly lower than we’ve seen for the last year or two – the real damage appears to have been done before plebgate.

192 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 39, LD 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. COLIN

    I suspect that their polling and focus groups are a bit more sophisticated than that 10 point questionnaire (though possibly not!)

    The general approach, however, seems valuable in moving away from crude polarities like left/right, tough/tender etc – even when two measures are plotted, as Eysenck first did in the 1950s.

    If you’ve finished the Sunday papers, the IPPR Report which uses the TCC model is worth a read.

  2. Back quickly, and then have to fly out again, but not before thanking those who have replied to my ‘moral’ question.

    To Statgeek, I’m sorry I got your position wrong. I wasn’t (as I said) trying to whip up a debate, more elicit people’s moral positions. Your subsequent response deals with how you think poverty, and people’s reactions to it, come about, rather than what I took you to be saying in my ‘summary’. Mea culpa.

    Pete B and Colin corrected me on my interpretation of Mrs Thatcher’s famous dictum. But that, of course, doesn’t address the question I asked. At what point do you say it’s intolerable that we live in a society that permits our fellow citizens to live in extreme poverty? Talk of entitlements is irrelevant to that issue. These are people who have no resources and little prospect of obtaining any, and they live in a society where resources are in fact plentiful. What I wanted to know was, when do people think their situation becomes something we, as a society, should assume a moral responsibility to end. I’d appreciate your own thoughts about that moral matter.

    Old Nat, thanks too, but I know people’s values differ. I’d love to hear your own position on the moral question. Thanks too, R Huckle, but again, the moral question interested me more than what in fact we should do about it, or what the general political position of the Labour party happens to be.

    To Couper, again, thanks. I asked a question which could easily break the site policy here and become partisan unless I stand back a little, so I don’t want to launch into this in the spirit of an argument. Your suggestion that I act politically is interesting nonetheless, and you have guessed correctly the direction I’d take if I did that. However, my question reflects a desire to act ‘politically’ in a slightly different way.

    Pascal advised that if we want to convert an opponent we should never tell him his logic is at fault. We should suggest he is not in possession of all the relevant facts. Advising one another as to the relevant facts is, nevertheless, the stuff of political debate, and political debates still get bogged down by the facts adduced on either side. I prefer the Socratic approach, therefore, which is to start from where people actually want to start, and ask them to state for themselves the fundamental premises on which they base their positions. If you can’t set out your premises then, sooner or later, your arguments will wobble in the wind – and no one converts a person quite so convincingly as people convert themselves.

    I have heard from one or two on the left and centre (I think). Nothing as yet on the question itself from the right.

  3. And quickly to Bill Pa

  4. What is really clear re Mitchell is that the police must have had an agenda and therefore they must have had a reason for that agenda.

    That presumably would have centred around what they perceived as an arrogant attitude towards them. As I understand it he has also refused to say what he did SAY in precise, unequivocal terms.

    The best thing to come out of it that the Tory party now understand the nature of the power of the police to elaborate “evidence.”

  5. @Colin

    That quote pretty much sums up my point of view on the matter, and I had never seen or heard that prior to your having posted it.

    It makes a lot of sense. You make sure your own are fine. Then you look to those nearby. Then you look to your area, then your region, then your country.

    Another point of view is to give lots of cash to governments, and let them decide who is most deserving. Sorry, but that way was tripe in the 80s, tripe in the noughties, and is tripe today. Governments rarely ensure the most deserving get the succour they require. Rather, they try to ensure that the deserving are separated from the undeserving, according to their own political point of view. Then we get a blame and envy based society.

    Again, governments seem to cause more trouble than they solve. They should stick to foreign policy, trade agreements and national security. The rest can be locally or regionally managed. The only problem I see in that arrangement is that regions and areas of the UK might have an imbalance of trade, income and prosperity.

    There’s nothing new there though. We can’t expect the Isle of Mull to be the financial capital of the UK, any more than we can expect the nuclear power stations to be housed in the tourist hot spots (no pun intended). Ultimately, internal migration takes care of the worst of situations.

    Rather deep stuff for me, and on a Sunday…

  6. Colin.
    Hunt may not have specifically said, “the state shouldn’t” but in using Asian societies as a pointer to where the UK should be heading I think we can safely say that he believes, where possible, the state shouldn’t be involved.
    I’d be surprised if that wasn’t your position as well.
    My view is that the state should support any of us on the basis of need.

  7. And quickly to Bill Patrick before I dash, thanks. You’re dead right, of course, and the full quotation would have made an interesting answer to my question. Look after yourself and your own family first, then you can look to your neighbour – but he doesn’t have any entitlement to your consideration. Does that mean, and I only ask, that you don’t have a duty to say ”Enough is enough”, when the deck is stacked so severely against him as it is against many today?

  8. @Colin Davies

    I have lived in a number of countries, from Africa with its extremes of poverty and wealth living side by side, to the US with the same issue but to a lesser extent, and now the UK.

    In general my conclusion is the more extremes you have, the more crime you have, and the money you save on reduced taxes just gets spent on insurance and security. No government healthcare – result you need to buy expensive health insurance. No disability safety net – result you need to buy insurance to protect you against disability.

    In the end, you have a similar standard of lifestyle, but in countries without a government safety net you live in a state of underlying fear. Will I get burgled? Will my car be hijacked and my family shot? Will the insurance pay out if I have ill health or will they dig out some undisclosed doctors appointment from 20yrs ago to avoid paying out? And then add to that the underlying guilt you feel when you see people around you living in extreme poverty.

    The UK has a much better system. Sure it is abused. Sure some people are lazy. It may even be slightly more costly. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, you have a really good thing going here, fix the abuse issues where you can, but realise you won’t eliminate it, that is just an overhead for a more peaceful life.

  9. Richard

    That’s a very Scandinavian viewpoint

  10. Old Nat
    l did the test and got, Pioneer (Transcender).
    l should imagine that there is probably a positive correlation between being a user of UKPR and being a Pioneer?

  11. I don’t see this morality question is a matter of ‘either/or’. Clearly one should look after one’s family, friends and neighbours as far as one can. Mrs T was quite right to say that this is the bedrock of society (if she believed in such a thing). And Hunt was right to say that we should visit lonely old people in old people’s homes. In the end the state cannot provide love…

    That said, there are some evils that on one’s own one can do nothing about; the number of beggars on the streets, the threat of terrorism, the scourge of dementia, perhaps even greenhouse warming. And some of these things can even affect individuals in a way one can do nothing about (e.g. if someone gets a disease whose cure far outruns their ability to pay).

    Personally I think that some of these collective evils are best tackled through collective action undertaken through the state or even international bodies. So life is much better for all now that we have the NHS rather than the patchy provision that went before it and the long lasting memories of the workhouse and less eligibility have started to fade.

    Obviously there is room for argument about what the criteria are for state intervention. Should it deal with roads? or Health? or Education? or Research? or Working Conditions? Or the infrastructure needed for wealth creation? Or Smog? Or the prevalence of crime? etc etc

    And obviously there is even more room for argument about how it does what it does, how much money it spends on it and so on.

    But for my money Colin Davies is right. People should not be having to choose between food and heat. And we should not be saying that it is their individual fault or that of their neighbours. Instead we should be seeking some form of collective action that can do something about it.

  12. OLDNAT

    @”The general approach, however, seems valuable in moving away from crude polarities like left/right, tough/tender etc”

    Yes I agree , & thanks for the link.

  13. TROTS57

    @”My view is that the state should support any of us on the basis of need.”

    Well of course-I like apple pie too.

    But you avoid my question-should The State care for ALL elderly people who require some element of care.

    Or to put it another way-do you think that families have no responsibility for the care of their elderly relatives?

    On the much discussed & vexed question of Asian culture in this matter-what interests me is the wealth of articles & commentary pointing to the drift away from multi-generational households in places like India & China. A drift which seems connected to economic growth & urbanisation.

    I think the irony of Hunt’s Asian analogy is that it confirms his concerns about attitudes to the aged in this country.



    A bit deep for me on a Sunday too !

  15. Coilin
    Snap! Both categories (I am afraid – probably explains a lot of our exchanges).

  16. R&D

    @”What is really clear re Mitchell is that the police must have had an agenda and therefore they must have had a reason for that agenda.”

    Yes-it’s called Tom Winsor, and the reason is they don’t like his Review.

    And one imagines they therefore don’t like his appointment as HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

    A Cabinet Minister through the wringer for being nasty to them would appear to be the response.

  17. HOWARD

    Ah-then I shall rely on the outcome of my second attempt !

  18. Colin Davis,

    “Look after yourself and your own family first, then you can look to your neighbour – but he doesn’t have any entitlement to your consideration. Does that mean, and I only ask, that you don’t have a duty to say ”Enough is enough”, when the deck is stacked so severely against him as it is against many today?”

    Why speculate? We can see that you’re misrepresenting Maggie again-

    “I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation”

    So Thatcher not only thought we have to look after our neighbour if she is in need, but also (what follows) that she has an entitlement (Thatcher’s phrase!) to our consideration in those circumstances.

    As for the specific part of the interview where the famous quote occurs-

    “But it went too far. If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate. And the worst things we have in life, in my view, are where children who are a great privilege and a trust—they are the fundamental great trust, but they do not ask to come into the world, we bring them into the world, they are a miracle, there is nothing like the miracle of life—we have these little innocents and the worst crime in life is when those children, who would naturally have the right to look to their parents for help, for comfort, not only just for the food and shelter but for the time, for the understanding, turn round and not only is that help not forthcoming, but they get either neglect or worse than that, cruelty.

    How do you set about teaching a child religion at school, God is like a father, and she thinks “like someone who has been cruel to them?” It is those children you cannot … you just have to try to say they can only learn from school or we as their neighbour have to try in some way to compensate. This is why my foremost charity has always been the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, because over a century ago when it was started, it was hoped that the need for it would dwindle to nothing and over a hundred years later the need for it is greater, because we now realise that the great problems in life are not those of housing and food and standard of living. When we have got all of those, when we have got reasonable housing when you compare us with other countries, when you have got a reasonable standard of living and you have got no-one who is hungry or need be hungry, when you have got an education system that teaches everyone—not as good as we would wish—you are left with what? You are left with the problems of human nature, and a child who has not had what we and many of your readers would regard as their birthright—a good home—it is those that we have to get out and help, and you know, it is not only a question of money as everyone will tell you; not your background in society. It is a question of human nature and for those children it is difficult to say: “You are responsible for your behaviour!” because they just have not had a chance and so I think that is one of the biggest problems and I think it is the greatest sin.”

    Isn’t it utterly Orwellian to portray that as an assertion of selfishness?

    “There’s no such thing as society” meant the opposite of selfishness: it meant that we’re not only obliged to help others, but also obliged to take responsibility for our own lives and not look to others to undertake our obligations for us. I think that most people agree with that, and where we disagree with Thatcher will depend on how we cash out many of the vague notions involved in it.

  19. colin

    Yes, well done. I meant a very simple, personal reason.

  20. Unfortunately, we are very unlikely to ever know for certain what exactly Andrew Mitchell said to the officers in Downing Street. Unless someone turns up a hitherto unrevealed tape recording of the conversation, we are left with two mutually inconsistent accounts.

    Mitchell has been consistent in his denials, and muted in his condemnation of the police. The officers have stuck to their story. Other than the CCTV showing that there were fewer members of the public around than their report suggests, there hasn’t actually been any evidence to show that what they said was incorrect. The subsequent shenanigans (false corroboration witness, Police Federation statements etc) doesn’t in itself undermine the original report of the officers – unless the investigation shows some sort of collusion.

    People obviously have strong views, against the police or against Mitchell (quite a few I imagine having strong views against both and not knowing quite which way to turn). But the strength of feeling is not evidence, and I think it is unlikely we will ever get to the bottom of it. In fact, most disputes are never actually resolved, they are just put to one side.

    It’s certainly true to say that most police officers are quite angry at the government at the moment, and that Mr Winsor and his various schemes is the greater part of that anger. So there was motive, and opportunity. But that doesn’t exactly prove there was wrongdoing.

    Personally I am very sad about the whole thing. As someone who is broadly supportive of the police, and broadly supportive of the government, the whole episode is heartbreaking.

  21. CD
    “At what point do you say it’s intolerable that we live in a society that permits our fellow citizens to live in extreme poverty?”

    At no point, because there is no society that does not have pockets (at least) of extreme poverty. You could take all the money in the world, share it out equally, and within a fortnight some people would be rich, and some starving. That is how the world works, and not just for people. If you plant a field of wheat, some will grow better than others, some will get broken by the wind or eaten by insects or whatever. This does not mean that there is no moral responsibility on an individual level, just that we cannot expect some external agency to sort things out for us- whether it be society, the government, God, Fate, or anything else.

    I don’t know if that counts as the ‘right-wing’ view that you’re missing but it’s my take on the problem.

  22. Colin.
    Apple pie – You asked me a question and I answered it.
    I believe the state provision should be based on need. End of.
    Presumably you believe it should be based on some other criteria.
    You ask questions to trap, not out of curiosity.

  23. Bill P

    I don’t have a heat deal of sympathy for politicians whose speeches are twisted in an “Orwellian” way. It has always happened and it has happened to people across the political spectrum. From “Rivers of Blood” to “Eliminated Boom and Bust”, politicians have things that they never actually said (or directly meant) pinned on them. Smart politicians will always have this in their minds; when they are delivering the soundbite, they need to make sure that it’s fireproof and not easily open to being perverted. If they use a momentous phrase that is open to mis-interpretation, that’s their call. At the very least, Thatcher’s soundbite was naive.

    Now, if you are saying that we can’t trust the media to accurately report the truth, but to peddle half-truths or barefaced lies when it suits their agenda, I couldn’t agree more and I’d agree that it would be preferable if the media would help to get the truth out there instead of idly repeating the lie. But they rarely do. On the day Michael Foot died, the DM was still insisting that he’d worn a donkey jacket at the Cenotaph.

  24. @Colin Davis

    There’s a very interesting theory here that I read recently.

    Scroll down to the part that is subheaded ‘Turnings’.

    The theory goes that society goes through four recurring phases. It seems as though we’e coming to the end of a long Unravelling and beginning the transition to Crisis.

    Since the War the I think UK has generally been 5-10 years behind the US in reaching each turning, for example we arguably didn’t reach our ‘High’ until rationing ended and the NHS & wider welfare state had been built. The US’s ‘Fourth Turning’ happened with the 2008 crash, but I think it’s only just starting here or hasn’t even started.

    It’s slim pickings I know but the Guardian reported results of a recent survey of teenagers and found the number wanting to be rich and famous had plummeted, suggestings that the coarsening of culture that characterises a Third Turning is waning.

    You’re probably wondering how this answers the question, but I’m just saying in a slightly rambling way that a paradigm change in society is coming and it will happen within the next few years, at will point people may well start saying that this must stop now. Society is likely to become more communitarian, (not necessarly more small ‘c’ conservatives) so if Labour win in 2015 as I expect them to, we may find the new ‘One Nation’ theme goes with the grain of the times even more than was originally thought.

  25. LeftyLampton,

    It’s not a matter of sympathy, but a matter of accuracy. People who disagree with Thatcher on a lot of things should be the people most concerned with having her represented in the most charitable and plausible way, because if you don’t refute the strongest interpretation of your opponent’s argument, then your opponent always has an unanswered and at least somewhat plausible position.

    In general, you read too much into my comment: all I am saying is that we shouldn’t tell falsehoods when we can easily find out that they are false, and especially when they are comforting falsehoods.

  26. Drunken Scouser,

    I thought that the Labour party had recently ditched the “One Nation” line in favour of a more robustly left-wing stance.

    I don’t see communitarianism making a comeback without social liberalism going into decline, though I seem to remember that 1997 was supposed to be the grand comeback of communitarianism in the UK. I suppose on some issues (e.g. drug legalisation) communitarianism is getting a bit stronger, because polling evidence IIRC suggests that people are becoming more firmly prohibitionist.


    Well, if “Society is likely to become more communitarian”, then “Several Nations” may be even more “with the grain of the times”. :-)

  28. Neil A

    My point was a fairly simple one and I do agree that only those directly involved know the full truth.

    It does seem fairly obvious though that there was a history and that Mitchell was rude – presumably consistently – or at least appeared arrogant.

    That the police response was anything other than personal seems most unlikely and the fact that they then exaggerated with “witnesses” , though clearly wrong and stupid, hardly proves some sort of anti-Government theory.

  29. Bill Patrick

    “I thought that the Labour party had recently ditched the “One Nation” line”


  30. @Bill

    Communitarianism and authoritarianism are absolutely not the same thing. I see communitarianism as basically the antivenom to rampant indivdualism, a philosophy based more on ‘we’ than ‘me’ and one that doesn’t fit neatly on to a left-right spectrum. (Although obviously I would prefer a leftier form)

    It doesn’t conflict with social liberalism at all, because one could make a very strong case that it’s good for the community as a whole to give people freedom to pursue their lives, lifestyles and set up their domestic arrangements more or less as they see fit.

    You mention drug decriminalisation. One could make the case for it using the liberal theme of individual sovereignty over one’s body, or using the communitarian theme that prohibition is bad for society at large because it keeps the issue in the shadows.

    If we do indeed reach the Fourth Turning soon ad society becomes less individualist and more community-minded, then I fail to see how that could threaten many of the gains made by social liberalism in recent times.

  31. Old Nat

    Thanks for the link to the test.

    These things are always interesting and perhaps give some insite into ones personality. I came out as a Pioneer – Flexible Individualist, which, I did not find surprising given the definition.

  32. @” I meant a very simple, personal reason.”

    It is a simple reason Paul-they don’t like his recommendations.

    And it is personal them all-particularly so to those who saw an opportunity at the gates of Downing Street.
    I believe half a dozen or so are actually under arrest-we will hopefully receive the deliberations of the CPS very soon.

  33. Just to correct that-it is eight who have been arrested :-

    “Eight people including five police officers have been arrested as part of the Operation Alice investigation into the events surrounding the alleged incident.

    The five constables are from the Diplomatic Protection Group, which is responsible for guarding politicians and foreign dignitaries, and includes a 46-year-old woman who was present when the row broke out.

    Two of the officers – the woman and a man aged 46 – were arrested over alleged leaks to the media about what had occurred.

    The members of police staff are two women aged 46 and 49 who were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, and a 23-year-old man who was detained in December.”

    The Independent.
    5 October.

  34. Just got in and it’s suppertime, so can’t do more than thank all those who did respond to my question. Part of the deal was I wouldn’t set up an argument about it, well, not on this thread anyway, and I’m sure the question only got through moderation on the understanding I kept to that part of the bargain.

    I’m truly grateful to Pete B for grasping the nettle on behalf of the right, however, and to Bill Patrick too – although I’m not sure whether he’d want to be represented as doing that or not. The arguments both put forward (BP as an explanation of Mrs T’s philosophies) were to the effect that moral responsibility in society is primarily individual, not social. I have a supplementary question, however. What is the moral position when ‘society’, or government, is in part at least the cause of people’s deprivation? Mrs T effected, and was proud of, monetary policies that actually caused many of the miseries she said society could not cure, and the coalition government pats itself on the back for its austerity policies. Do you wish to argue that government (representing society) has no moral responsibility for what it has done, and that the moral responsibility for helping those affected lies purely on individuals?

  35. CD

    @”Do you wish to argue that government (representing society) has no moral responsibility for what it has done,”

    Democratically elected governments are responsible for all that they have done in office and are accountable to the electorate for it at a GE.

  36. It got through moderation because I wasn’t around, but I am pleasantly surprised to find it has not descended into a partisan back-and-forth about left-wing viewpoints or right-wing viewpoints being morally superior in some way so I haven’t stepped in… yet.

    I suspect the morality of the current government’s policies is not something that people will be able to discuss in a non-partisan way, so perhaps that is something people may want to exchange email address and discuss between themselves, not on here.

  37. Norbold,

    So one banner on a page full of “Them and Us”? I thought that One Nation Labour meant a bit more than that.

    Druken Scouser,

    “Communitarianism and authoritarianism are absolutely not the same thing.

    It doesn’t conflict with social liberalism at all, because one could make a very strong case that it’s good for the community as a whole to give people freedom to pursue their lives, lifestyles and set up their domestic arrangements more or less as they see fit.”

    Social liberalism means a bit more than provisionally granting people some space to themselves, if it suits “the community as a whole”. And who decides whether or not individual freedom suits “the community as a whole”? Someone, and that someone is an authority. You can decide not to call that ‘authoritarianism’ if you want, but a social liberal probably will, and a social liberal will rightly expect that the interests of “community as a whole” will often diverge from the interests of some individuals, as has occured throughout history e.g. the very communitarian Section 28.

    That’s not to say that communitarians and social liberals might not agree on some issues; it’s just that it will always be for different reasons, insofar as people are one or the other, e.g. a communitarian may be in favour of introducing gay marriage because they regard it as a good thing, whereas a social liberal is committed regardless of their approval or disapporval of gay marriage. The divergences tend to come up sooner or later e.g. many of my friends on the left who explicitly reject liberalism in favour of communitarianism oppose giving clergy/imams/etc the right to perform marriages if they refuse to do so for gay couples, which is socially illiberal.

  38. I have often wondered why previous polling has shown CoE followers have indicated Tory VI, more than for other parties. Is this just a coincidence, because many of these followers are elderly who tend to be more Conservative ? I believe the average age of a Tory member is 68. As people get older they tend to become more interested in attending church, presumably in preparation for meeting their maker.

    It would be interesting as to whether pollsters have ever asked about religious indentification alongside VI and any other questions asked.

  39. R HUCKLE

    It would be interesting to know if that had happened in England.

    In the Scottish Election Study 2011, these numbers were reported –

    Church of Scotland : SNP 44%, LAB 26%, CON 15%, LD 6%, GRN 3

    Roman Catholic : SNP 43%, LAB 36%, CON 9%, GRN 3%, LD 2%

    No Religion : SNP 47%, LAB 25%, CON 9%, GRN 7%, LD 5%

  40. R HUCKLE

    @”As people get older they tend to become more interested in attending church, presumably in preparation for meeting their maker.”

    Evidence for this please.

  41. Bill P

    My reply to you appears to have upset the Auto-Mod. Hey-ho. I suspect AW is probably tiring of this theme anyway so it may never see the light of day.

  42. @ Colin

    For starters, although I have not read all of it. It shows people become more interested in attending church as they get older.

  43. R HUCKLE

    FRom your first link :-

    “A symptom or a root cause?
    The order in which each age group declines in attendance suggests that the steep increase in the percentage of people 65 and over is caused by a steep fall of in attendance of the <15, 16-19, and 20-29 age groups. The number of churchgoers of 65+ in 1980 is 1,119,580 and in 2040 it is predicted to be 816,350, which is a significant reduction in the actual number of people despite the steep increase in the percentage of churchgoers for that age group"

  44. Neil A. I happen to like the police. As did my wife who ran a probation hostel in the days when they took young people and found the local officers committed, hardworking and sympathetic. I also like Mr Mitchell because of some dealings I had with him. However, I have seen the police do some things I found unacceptable and Hillsborough is difficult to take. It is also obvious that Mr Mitchell either has a mean streak or perhaps off days. So this incident hasn’t changed my opinion about anyone, and as far as I can remember AW doesn’t think it has changed general opinions about the police or government either. So hopefully it will all soon be forgotten

  45. R HUCKLE

    Your second link is paywalled so can’t comment.

  46. R Huckle/Colin

    I guess Pascal’s Wager forces itself to the forefront of one’s mind as one ages.

    Me, I’m determined to stick to my principles and ignore it.

  47. I haven’t read the entire thread, so my apologies if I repeat what someone else has said here or on an earlier thread.

    EM’s (dis)approval has improved but the Lab VI remains broadly unaffected.

    Might one therefore conclude that the Lab VI is really quite firm and not in any way diminished by EM’s (un)popularity?

  48. @Neil A – “Mitchell has been consistent in his denials”

    Sept 21st: “While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve.”

    Two days later he admits swearing at police.

    Later that week he claimed that friends and family know that he would never call people “plebs” or “morons”. (Michael Portillo would appear to contradict this assertion though: “I have heard him use that word in private conversation – the pleb word, I mean.”)

    I guess police are used to having the F-word, for instance, shouted at them, and are equally used to people saying it – as Mitchell puts it – “under my breath, but audibly, in frustration”. It would depend on the context which is more insulting.

    Sotto voce is a technique for adding emphasis, shock value and offense; also for controling the number of people who hear any given remark… again, I guess the police are quite used to this type of “What me? I didn’t say anything” rigmarole. Then again people sometimes misjudge how far their voice can carry.

    Damien Green was today repeating Cameron’s line from last week: the “didn’t give a full account” statement is evidence that “what he [Mitchell] said was true and what the police officers said was untrue.”

    So it seems they are confident that they have turned the tables on this one, except that Green was also widely reported for his expression of “surprise” that so many people still trust the police,

  49. Personally I think he said ******** plods. So he has not lied and the police were right that he was being offensive.

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