The weekly YouGov results for the Sunday Times are now up online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%.

The survey also included some questions on banking regulation in general, and a couple touching on the ongoing story around the Co-Op bank. Most opinion towards the banks and their regulation remains very negative and very pessimistic. Only 15% think bank regulation is effective, only 18% are confident that enough has been done to prevent a repeat of the banking crash. There is slightly more faith in the Bank of England’s ability to regulate the sector in the future – 33% of people say they trust the BoE a lot or a fair amount to regulate the banks. Bankers themselves continue to have a very poor public image – by 49% to 16% people think they are bad at their jobs, and by 56% to 13% people think they are fundamentally bad people.

Turning to the questions around the Co-op bank, 77% of people think that it should really be necessary for someone to have banking experience to be appointed Chairman of a bank, but most people put the blame for the appointment of Paul Flowers on the Co-op board itself rather than a regulatory failure or political machinations. 67% think George Osborne is correct to order an inquiry into how Flowers was appointed.

Also in today’s Sunday Times is a new Scottish poll by Panelbase. Voting intention in the Independence referendum now stands at YES 38%, NO 47% – wholly in line with Panelbase’s previous polling over the last year, which has been consistently showing a NO lead of around 8 to 10 points since summer 2012. I’ve updated the page showing polls on the Scottish referendum so far here.


153 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. @Chris Riley
    The proportion of school leavers going on to higher education in 2011/12 was 49.3%. 38% of school leavers specifically went to University (presumably leaving 11% in some other form of higher education like HND)

    Of course, the proportion of the population who have been through higher education is lower because this proportion was much lower in the last, but talking about current graduates then they make up around 40% of job market entrants – this cannot by any sense be defined as an ‘elite’.

  2. @BFR

    “but talking about current graduates then they make up around 40% of job market entrants – this cannot by any sense be defined as an ‘elite’.”

    ———

    Yes, of course not all graduates are in the elite, that is rather the point. The point was that places in the elite are limited. So you may have many graduates, but only a fraction will make it too the elite. This is what is meant by an over-populated elite.

    Indeed the consequence of this competition is rather as you state: that you get more graduates, but not only do they not get elite positions, they don’t even get middling positions.

    This is happening in China too. Parents tried to give their children an edge educationally to get the better jobs, but others competed. So first it’s private tuition, then crammers, then study abroad, then send them to Hong Kong to prepare for study abroad, then private tuition in primary school etc… But because everyone’s doing it parents wind up mired in debt and offspring can’t get a job commensurate with their educational experience.

    Over-populated elite refers to more people competing for the elite places, not more people IN the elite, and a crucial aspect is the knock on effect to people further down: eg graduates, but with reduced prospects. The middle ground gets eroded as a consequence of the competition up above.

  3. I wonder whether the timing of Osborne’s announcement on payday loans (good news) might have been designed to distract from today’s news of the sale of student debt with a book value of £900m to a private company for just £160m (bad news).

    To quote from the “Guardian”:

    The plan will do little to endear the Liberal Democrats to students 18 months away from an election. But Nick Clegg may have decided the student vote is largely a lost cause after he felt forced to break his pre-election pledge in 2010 not to increase student tuition fees. Ultimately, the coalition wants to sell the entire stock of student debt, which has a face value of £40bn. There has been concern that this can only be profitable for private companies in the long term if the cap on interest for repayments is raised, increasing the cost of student debt.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/nov/25/student-loans-sold-off-debt-interest

  4. Payday loan cap is another win for EM. He is pretty effective as an opposition leader.
    I know that the Tories may get credit for this and it may be an example of the gov’t stealing good opposition ideas but it will help people now – so good news

    It will be if the cap is effective otherwise it could simply give weight to the concerns the polls highlight regarding the Conservatives being a party of only a section of the community.

    Currently
    France
    Maximum APR of 5.72% to 21.63%.
    Germany
    Maximum APR of 8.18% to 16.4%
    Poland
    Maximum APR of 20%
    UK
    Ferratum charges a typical APR of 3,113%
    Wonga, charges 4,214%.

    Osborne has to be very careful with this too little control is probably worse than nothing at all.

  5. Apologies if someone’s already posted this and I’ve missed it – couldn’t see it further up the thread.

    Populus 22nd-24th November:

    Lab – 39
    Con – 34
    LD – 12
    UKIP – 7
    Green – 3
    SNP – 2
    Plaid – 1
    BNP – 1

  6. @BigFatRon

    Agree that there are a lot of graduates and calling them an ‘elite’ is stretching. I was more exercised about the 50% canard rearing its head.

    @Carfrew

    Do graduates ‘fail to get even middling positions’? Not a lot of evidence for that, unless you want to count newspapers generating hot air about people very early into what will be, for most of them, careers of at least 45 years.

    It also all depends on what you mean by the ‘elite’ and how you think people should attain entry. It is an idea that works particularly badly in the UK where, sadly, by international standards we’re not terribly good at elevating people into any form of ‘elite’ by talent (except, perhaps, in some sports) rather than by family background.

    China is an interesting case, but the economy is in such ferment it’s not at all clear if they will eventually turn out to have a surfeit of graduates or not, although China (like India) may well have a lot of people with qualifications that they class as being degrees but most other nations might consider not being worth the term. At present, the only country that really does seem as if it might have too many seems to be South Korea, although Greece may have a bit of an issue in that regard.

  7. @Roger – Good posts! (I, II, & III)

    I would point out that there has been a large drop in LD support since 2010, and all the main other Scottish parties have benefited. I think it’s fair to say that the general trend of YouGov’s Scottish Westminster Vi is (plus or minus 2%):

    Con 19%
    Lab 41%
    Lib 8%
    SNP 26%

    @Martyn – I would venture that Scotland is ‘low’ for UKIP support and the NE is ‘medium’. I too have little statistical support for this, other than the recent reception Farage got in Scotland, and the Middlesbrough and Rotherham by-elections, which both had UKIP in 2nd place. Okay, so Rotherham is York & Humber, but the North East is as close to that as it is to Scotland.

    @Oldnat – Is it wise to tie Holyrood VI to Westminster VI? We all know that one has little to do with the other in many (VI) respects. It should be factored into things a little, to take into account the potential for the SNP to have a blinder again, but we can probably all agree that the SNP’s Westminster fortunes will not be a la Holyrood 2011 (possible exception of a ‘No’ vote, followed by an SNP landslide in Scotland – something which I wouldn’t be adverse to, just for the sheer theatre it would provide).

    @Billy Bob – The councillor data you provide gives more food for thought. Perhaps my Scotland / NE points are invalid after all.

  8. RE: Scottish UKIP councillors

    A ha! Then my earlier claim stands. :))

  9. @ Kitsune

    In Scotland, Community Councils are voluntary neighbourhood groups. And, as you correctly said, there are rarely enough applicants for an actual election to be required & they are definitely not party-political.

  10. @ Phil Haines

    I wonder whether the timing of Osborne’s announcement on payday loans (good news) might have been designed to distract from today’s news of the sale of student debt with a book value of £900m to a private company for just £160m (bad news).
    ————–
    The plot thickens…. I’d assumed it was the Co-Op, RBS issues which had prompted the announcement.

  11. Guardian, quoted by Phil Haines:

    ”There has been concern that this can only be profitable for private companies in the long term if the cap on interest for repayments is raised, increasing the cost of student debt.”

    Sure, and how many less well off students (i.e. those who badly needed the loans) are going to feel comfortable with the idea that their loans have been sold off to debt collecting agencies irrespective of whether they have kept up their payments or not?

  12. phil haines

    “the sale of student debt with a book value of £900m to a private company for just £160m ”

    i don’t understand the economics of this. Surely providing all courses free paid for from general taxation couldn’t do much worse than writing off £740m?

    The money had to be paid up front by the Government and they then get back less than 18% of it?

  13. Nickp “The money had to be paid up front by the Government and they then get back less than 18% of it?”

    Someone in government would have calculated the Net Present Value of receiving £160million now against:
    – inevitable losses over the next decades
    – erosion of the value due to inflation
    – administration and collection costs over decades.

    I can’t comment on the figures but someone in Whitehall would have worked it out, hopefully it wasn’t a politician.

  14. Great point, NickP.

    I’m sure Trots is right about the calculations making sense, but it’s odd those calculations weren’t made when student loans were dreamed up in the first place. Looks like the whole loans project (massively affecting life choices made by 18 year olds and increasing the social gulf between young people from poor families and young people from well-off ones) will have earned the UK government something less than the cost of a skirmish in the Iraq war.

  15. Osborne’s Wonga cap :
    I suspect this is a classic piece of Blair like triangulation. Hopelessly out manoeuvred on the cost of living crisis the Tories have decided to take on the Miliband agenda but water it down. It also gives an impression that they aren’t in Wonga et al’s pocket.
    It’s a sign that the Tories have given in on the cost of living crisis, look out for more of this in the next few months.

  16. or they worked out that £160m off the deficit now was better than future Governments getting anything back at all.

  17. @Trots57

    1) given the cost of money to the Government (either zero if they print more, or not very much if they borrow at the current rates) then it would be one hell of an NPV calculation.

    2) this should have been done as part of the original work for putting the act through. A reasonable FOI request should be able to find that out. If the calculations differ significantly then someone is being economical with the truth.

    3) I’m guessing this money is going to end up at the Department which has screwed up its budget and is thinking about drastic cuts… If it turns out they are undervaluing the book because they need cash due to their own incompetence that would look really bad

  18. @Chris Riley

    As I already pointed out, it depends what one means by “middling”. I have been talking about how easy one’s life is, versus having to struggle.

    There are various ways in which the degree of struggle may be increased. Whether it’s governments ramping up tax or diminishing retirement packages on the middle, or wages flatlining while costs go up, or housing being out if reach, or terms and conditions eroded, or education becoming more expensive, or having to start your career on low or no pay etc. etc., all these things squeeze the middle, even if there is no diminution in the number of middle class positions available.

    This is WITHOUT considering the impact of whether outsourcing, public sector jobs cuts etc. actually diminishes the number of positions.

    What I mean by elite in this instance is the positions which tend to be most attractive and influential. Thus they both attract more competition, and also the power and influence to try and stack the deck further in their favour.

    As for how I think people should attain entry, well I agree that we may have an issue regarding elevating people by talent, and the current polarization amplifies the problem. It’s a vicious circle. As the middle gets squeezed, more people try and leap to the elite, intensifying the competition. Thus they need more resources to compete, squeezing the middle still further.

    On China, well when I originally cited it I was referring to a BBC article on the matter, Chinese students with good degrees from here or America struggling to get positions of consequence. That was the point, that as the competition intensifies, even good performance means less.

    In my day, going to Oxford didn’t mean your first job would be an unpaid internship, now it increasingly does. China was just an example, you can see the problem in the US and elsewhere too, and it’s happened historically. If you let things become too polarized, then you get this vicious circle, that was the point of the research in the New Scientist.

    That said, to be fair, China is a special case in that educational competition has been potentially further stoked by the one child policy, whereby parents put all resources behind one child. This does rather highlight what happens when things become polarized and competition intensifies however.

  19. When a debt is sold on (more usually by a bank or credit card company) isn’t the price normally based on an estimate of what proportion is recoverable? 18% seems pretty dire. In any case, why not first offer the graduates the option of buying their own debt themselves at a discount?

  20. Colin Davis,

    “Care to elucidate the premises there, Bill P? I’m not disagreeing with you, just interested in the topic and not sure how the thinking is going.”

    Basically, all the arguments for price controls assume that policymakers get the relevant price right within a narrow range, e.g. if there is monopsony or monopoly power, then some economists argue that you can raise or cap prices without distortions, but if you don’t get the price right then it’s agreed that you end up causing shortages (Venezuelan toilet-paper queues etc.) or gluts (mass chicken drownings in the US in 1973 etc.).

    However, if the numbers on the controls are chosen on the basis of political reasoning (“What if Ed Miliband chooses an even LOWER maximum rate?” “What if the Lib Dems propose an even HIGHER minimum wage?” etc.) then it would be simply a freak of chance that (a) the economically optimal price and (b) the politically optimal price will match up.

    So instead the caps on these very high interest rates on payday loans (which reflect very high credit risk, otherwise you and I could make a fortune by lending to these unfortunate people at a lower interest rate) can be safely assumed to discourage lending to these folk, and I don’t see taking away people’s best option in an awful set of options as an improvement. If you want to help these people (and I do) then the best solution is to give them a better set of options, not take options away.

  21. NICKP

    @”i don’t understand the economics of this. ”

    Check the facts-then you might.

    This is the uncollected balance of an old “mortgage style” loan book from the nineties. Other tranches of it were sold off at the end of the nineties & what is left is heavily in arrears.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25084744

  22. @tnsbmrb: TNS BMRB’s voting intentions polling shows CON 30% (-4), LAB 38% (+2), LD 8% (-1), UKIP 12% (-1), OTHER 11% (+2)

  23. “Of the latest tranche of 250,000 loans sold:

    46% of borrowers are earning below the repayment threshold
    40% are not repaying in accordance with the terms and conditions of their loans
    14% are repaying”

  24. @BillP

    Experience seems to suggest that a cap will be neither as beneficial nor as damaging as predicted:

    http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-cap-payday-loan-interest-work-uk/15944

    However it is likely to be very popular.

  25. @BillP

    Experience seems to suggest that a cap will be neither as beneficial nor as damaging as predicted:

    http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-cap-payday-loan-interest-work-uk/15944

    However it is likely to be very popular.

  26. STATGEEK

    ” Is it wise to tie Holyrood VI to Westminster VI?”

    No, which is why I didn’t. My point was that using recalled vote in the General Election” is particularly fraught in Scotland. Hence the flaw in the Ashcroft and other polls.

    One pollster (I’ve forgotten who – but referred to in an earlier thread) uses a different question format in Scotland to help distinguish between 2010 and 2011 General Election recall.

  27. RogerH,

    I don’t know the details of the demand elasticities in the market, so I have little idea what the degree of effects will be; my point is simply that popularity is the key factor in deciding the details of the cap, rather than how beneficial it will be.

  28. NICKP

    Indeed so.

    So-would you pay 18p in the £ for that lot?.

    -Conversely would you take 18p in the £ if you were owed it ?

  29. @COLIN DAVIS

    “Care to elucidate the premises there, Bill P? I’m not disagreeing with you, just interested in the topic and not sure how the thinking is going.”

    ————

    Bill is using a standard rhetorical device known as reductio ad absurdum, where you take an argument to its extreme to demonstrate the absurdity of it. It’s a technique I find useful myself at times, but it has to be carefully applied if you want to be fair or get it right.

    It’s an approach he tried before in the chat about house prices, and he’s using it here to suggest that because price controls can be set badly, therefore we shouldn’t bother with them.

    But it doesn’t work. If you followed that reasoning, you might say that because things go wrong in hospitals sometimes, we shouldn’t have hospitals. Rather, it’s just an argument for getting price controls right, doing them better.

    It’s not Bill’s only line of attack on price controls, and his other concerns have more merit, although are not automatic deal-breakers. True, governments may compete on price caps, but again, this is not an argument against price caps. Governments may compete on many things, and this is not a bad thing in itself. Bill is assuming it may in extremis result in a price cap of 0%, but there’s nothing inevitable about this, and for reductio ad absurdum to work, it rather needs to be inevitable, otherwise it’s just a crazy extrapolation.

    Bill is also not weighing against the alternative of doing nothing: which is to let business corner the market and then exploit demand pricing on essentials, ramping up prices to as much as people can afford to pay as they have little choice.

    Bill is also concerned that price caps will stop the payday lending. This is similar to the argument over energy where it was claimed companies will struggle with price caps cos already prices are near the bone.

    This is only likely to be the case if companies aren’t already royally taking the mick. But they put themselves in precisely that position -cornered markets on essentials – to take the mick, and prices then balloon. They also obfuscate to disguise costs.

    This is why ideally you need to force transparency, and more competition. Then you will need price caps less, and if you do need them occasionally, then it is much easier to set them fairly.

  30. Re: payday loans. Shame Westminster isn’t quite as robust with bank overdraft charges. Wonga is a bargain compared to going overdrawn on your current account. There was a court case few years ago where m’luds said the fees were fine so it’ll probably take a change in the law to rein them in. Not holding my breath.

  31. I suppose the argument against the idea that popularity would be obtained through a seemingly populist proposal, is that voters would see through it.

    I don’t see any evidence that they collectively do. High pay day loan interest rates (is that the correct term for them?) have been around for a long time. One could imagine that voters would react with – ‘why didn’t you do that before’, in the same way they might have reacted to the energy price proposal from EM (as might have happened when he was in government).

    We here are very aware (I hope) of the pathetic nature of it all, but voters aren’t.

  32. YouGov have put a rather interesting immigration poll up today that goes into some detail, asking people about specific types of migrant.

    It’s the responses of the 18-24s that intrigue me, especially as I’m on the upper boundary of that group .On most categories 18-24s are more liberal than the general population, which is generally to be expecte.

    On one question however, the responses are dramatically different. Under-25s are significantly less keen than the wider sample are on having rich foreigners investing here. The sample size is only 120 meaning the margin of error could be as much as 8-9%, but the discrepancy is very interesting, especially as other polls have shown under-25s to be relatively relaxed about extremes of wealth.

  33. Thanks Bill P, thanks Carfrew.

    Reductio, though, standard or not? Roger Rebel said GO was wasting his time. This would be a win-win for Ed M. Bill P replied (presumably not to RR – who was talking about Ed M – but to the general idea of setting price controls) that price controls can’t possibly be set and work. It was who he was arguing against that concerned me, although that’s now clear.

    Bill then (helpfully) qualified all that by adding that some economists argue that sometimes price controls will be ok, but that he thinks in this (to him more normal) situation, they won’t. He’d like to suggest the government should offer better ways out of debt for people, rather than abolish Wonga et al.

    The reductio ad abs you talk of presumably relates to Bill’s subsequent post on the same topic, i.e. the one about a 0-per-cent cap. Fair do’s. Basically I’d take your side and put Wonga and all their ilk into a large incinerator, but Bill would still ask what we intended to do about people who can’t make ends meet – and there are many possible answers at that point, but none of them (I reckon) are going to occur to George Osborne.

    So I wouldn’t want to be as scathing as you are towards Bill P, since he rightly maintains the argument can’t stop at capping the pay-day-loaners. And none of the points made really dent RR’s original contention, that this looks like a win-win for Labour.

  34. @HOWARD

    “I suppose the argument against the idea that popularity would be obtained through a seemingly populist proposal, is that voters would see through it.
    I don’t see any evidence that they collectively do. High pay day loan interest rates (is that the correct term for them?) have been around for a long time. One could imagine that voters would react with – ‘why didn’t you do that before’, in the same way they might have reacted to the energy price proposal from EM (as might have happened when he was in government).
    We here are very aware (I hope) of the pathetic nature of it all, but voters aren’t”

    —————–

    Yes, this is my favourite bit of Bill’s post, as it is an important and tricky issue.

    I mean, clearly some see through it. You see the problem, as does Bill, and I doubt it is just confined to the two of you!! It’s an interesting aspect of the polling thing, how many see realities, which is why it’s cool when polling questions explore this aspect.

    There is no doubt, governments may do things that are not necessarily optimal, in order to secure re-election, pursue a flawed ideology, or to feather their own nests etc.

    But this is not an automatic argument for less government as some Libertarians would have it, because as Neil A pointed out recently, that just hands power over to the corporates. And with the corporates, we don’t get a vote.

    In theory of course, we are told, we get to exercise influence over whether to buy from them or not. In practice, they do what they can to frustrate that, as we see with energy, and it’s also rather the burden to have to keep checking up on what you buy.

    Fundamentally then, it comes down to needing more democracy. Which is why for me, core issues are things like recall of MPs, and in this context, making sure people have the info., because simple awareness is one of the factors determining voters’ choices.

    How one achieves the informational awareness of course, is something else. But if you had things like recall, it can help to at least foster interest.

  35. @kitsune

    Thanks for clearing that up about community councillors in Scotland… I did preface my remarks with an “according to the UKIP website”, so a salutary lesson right there.

    @Martyn – “… roughly the same number of elections have been held in each country/region”

    Not really (I was trying add a different dimension to your analysis of geographical “strength”). The distribution of UKIP councillors is skewed by the type of shire elections of 2013, which coincided with an opinion poll surge and a high number of their candidates standing.

    2014 could be another good year for them given there are EU elections on the same day as local elections. There is a more urban slant in 2014 though, including all the London boroughs, which last voted en bloc in 2010.

    UKIP polled 4.5% and no seats on the London Assembly in 2012 (8.2% and 2 seats in 2004)… and 2% in the Mayoral election (though they did forget to put UKIP on the nomination paper).

  36. BILLY [email protected]

    Given UKIP’s labelling of anyone they can as a “councillor”, I wonder how many of their “councillors” in England & Wales are parish councillors.

    While these have some powers, as opposed to our Community Councils, I don’t think they are significant?

    Are parish/community council elections in England & Wales contested or have any party political involvement?

  37. @DrunkenScouser
    Perhaps the younger respondents are reacting to fears that foreign investors are forcing property prices even further out of reach.

    @Carfrew
    Which is the greatest vote loser, though: being seen to act in a populist way or refusing to adopt a popular policy?

  38. @Carfrew

    “In my day, going to Oxford didn’t mean your first job would be an unpaid internship, now it increasingly does.”

    I’m picking on this particular statement as the rebuttal is interesting (to me). Bluntly put, it’s only true in a trivial sense.

    Although you wouldn’t guess it from the popular press, unpaid internships are actually very uncommon, mainly confined to a handful of industries (although since media is one, and politics is another, then unsurprisingly they have got a real spotlight in media and in politics) and mostly confined to London.

    A more accurate statement would have been ‘in my day, going to Oxford probably didn’t mean your first job would have been unpaid unless you went into politics or the environment, these days it probably still won’t mean your first job will be unpaid unless you want to go into politics, the environment, PR, fashion or the media, and even most of the time you’ll get paid’

    The real issue with unpaid internships are not that they’re common as they aren’t particularly, but that they’re being used by industries with an existing social stratification problem to embed that. In fact, it’s a hiring policy from pre-WWII, and in some industries, right up to the 60s, and whilst there is an interesting discussion about how recruitment to the professions has worked historically and how well there is a memory of it, that’s probably a digression too far for Anthony (although he’ll probably be pleased to see there is no danger of it getting party political!)

  39. OldNat
    You did not address me but if I may comment?

    Parish councils are not normally contested unless some huge local issue has temporarily split the community. Town councils (also are parish councils in law but retaining a mayor’s title for the chairman) are very often contested. This is because they are the relict geographical base of the old rural district councils, that were dominated by their towns. When the ‘Ted Heath’ changes came IIRC in 1974, the towns went on spending and thus the voters there retained their political interest and often on party lines, being urban in character. There are town councils in my area that spend, net, almost up to the District Council levels, because, unlike the DC, they get no subsidy. Thus, essentially, the good town burghers subsidise many town facilities for the visiting surrounding rural types like me who just pay a few quid to their own parish council. In doing this, they subsidise the District council and County Council CT payers, Still with me?

    The 1974 reorganisation was barmy (at least in England).

  40. @Carfrew

    “Which is the greatest vote loser, though: being seen to act in a populist way or refusing to adopt a popular policy?”

    ————

    Depends on perceptions, and outcomes concerning the policy.

    If people think it a good policy, you ought to gain, provided the policy itself doesn’t fail, or the execution. The difficulty comes if it’s an about face. This is why Tories have been struggling so much with cost-of-living: it runs counter to their prior stance on intervention.

    But quite often, voters prefer an about face to stubbornly persisting. Hence NuLab u-turned after fuel protests etc.

  41. @oldnat

    You don’t get away with anything here do you? :)

    UKIP are claiming 280 councillors on their website.

    Wikipedia give a GB total of 217… of which

    138 sit on County councils
    22 on Unitaries
    10 in London boroughs
    4 on Metropolitans
    41 on District councils
    2 on Welsh Unitaries

    +1 on a council in Northern Ireland and 1 Assembly member there.

    So they must have added in 62 other councillors.

    Answers to your other questions… yes they are contested if they are contested (as opposed to elected unopposed, or co-opted in the case of too few candidates), and yes they can be party political to some extent fwiw.

  42. @CHRIS RILEY

    “I’m picking on this particular statement as the rebuttal is interesting (to me). Bluntly put, it’s only true in a trivial sense.”

    ————

    That’s okay, I wasn’t expecting a rebuttal on the main points (good luck trying to rebut all the ways the middle has been squeezed, for example!!)

    On internships, sure, it’s more marginal, but you would expect that, given Oxbridge students are so well-placed. They are among the least likely to need it, so even a small increase is telling in terms of how much the middle is being squeezed. If it’s getting worse for Oxbridge, think how it is for those who aren’t Oxbridge, was rather my point.

    Plus, I was on about the trend. It may have extended currently to media etc., but as the squeeze intensifies, what’s next? (Actually I was wondering if any legal eagles on here could say if it’s happening in their profession…)

    It’s not just strictly “internships” either, but increasingly graduates are having to take some unpaid voluntary jobs for experience before getting a proper post, sometimes several. And again, this may be rather more prevalent for those not Oxbridge…

    It may well be in part a reversion to pre-war hiring practices in some cases, but that rather highlights my point., because pre-war we are talking about another polarised era, when you would expect such things…

  43. HOWARD / BILLY BOB

    Thanks both.

  44. SYZYGY
    Thanks for the Machiavellian quote from the Washington Times

    :” there may be an advantage for the US in fuelling the chaos in Syria.

    ‘…Evil forces pose less danger to us when they make war on each other. This (1) keeps them focused locally and it (2) prevents either one from emerging victorious (and thereby posing a yet-greater danger). Western powers should guide enemies to stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong their conflict.’ Washington Times.

    I think there isn’t a rational answer to this, either extreme Rumsfleldesque right-wing view of US policy, or intended to be ironic; but I fear the formerl.

    In the face of Obama’s clear intention to achieve detente and, not for the first time, to distance the Administration from Israeli militarism and sense of reliance on the Israeli domestic vote, I’ld say it is nonsense. I also think, specifically, that the rapprochement with Iran is intended to be progressive, and secondly, that it has strings attached: notably a tacit expectation that the Ayatollah’s voice will come to bear to bring closure to current militant Islamiic search for inter-sectoral conflict and for jihad against the west; that is, the arrival or rationalism in US ME relations to be played out through Iraq-Syria-Jordan relations, and a backing off of Saudi and Arab instigation and financing of terrorism.
    Relevant to VI? Britain,, as Hugh Grant’s PM said in Love, Actually, is a small country but…….

  45. Sorry – Iran-Syria-Jordan

  46. Carfrew,

    While it’s always interesting to be inaccurately told what you think, my main point is actually that even IF you grant that price controls can be a good policy, the incentives of policymakers will be to pick the numbers that make the most political sense, rather than the narrow margins that even supporters of price controls concede must be those within which the price control strategy is beneficial.

    The 0% case wasn’t an argument against price controls, but an argument against a claim that Ed Miliband could always set the interest rate cap lower and get political capital out of it. If you agree that there is a lower limit on the (politically possible) cap that can be set, and a basic mathematical limit on price caps, then you agree with me on THIS point.

  47. Is there a correlation between UKIP support and the readership of newspapers like the Bicester Advertiser, Bridgwater Mercury and so on?

    Type “ukip geographical support” into a search engine and
    you will get page after page of one PA artcle “Ukip on course for an earthquake” reprinted been in every imaginable local newspaper.

  48. Statgeek

    The only other poll with a proper Scotland-only Westminster VI was part of Panelbase’s September poll:

    http://www.panelbase.com/news/TheSundayTimesScottishPollTables160913.pdf#page=5

    Lab 45%

    SNP 26%

    Con 15%

    Lib Dem 7%

    Greens 3%

    Others 3%

    which aren’t too far from the figures you give. Panelbase are normally considered to be a bit on the kind side to the SNP (or at least to Yes) so that was a bit of a surprise. I suspect that the SNP rating is too low and Labour high, and in the polling booth some people who have been saying Labour out of reflex might vote SNP (this is clearly what happened in 2011)

  49. Com Res:

    Lab 37
    Con 32
    Ukip 11
    Clegg 9

    Yougov

    Lab 40 (again)
    Con 32
    Ukip 12
    Clegg 10

    Labour settling at 40% in Yougov with others that not far behind

  50. @Bill P

    Fair enough on the 0% thing, though of course 0% isn’t the barrier you suggest. After all, they could also go further and resort to subsidy. However, on your main point, while politicians may pick what makes “political sense”, it is not inevitable that they will simply seek to bid each other down on price caps. There are other factors liable to influence them… There are drawbacks to enacting unrealistic price caps, as you know, and these are unlikely to work out well for electoral prospects.

    The bigger picture is that it is easier to set appropriate price caps with more transparency, and less need for them if proper competition. In other words, try and obviate the need for price caps, though if we can’t, then take steps to make it easier to set them better.

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