There are two GB polls in the Sunday papers. Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer has topline figures of CON 28%(nc), LAB 35%(-2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 19%(+3). Meanwhile the weekly YouGov poll in the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%.

Opinium normally produce higher levels of UKIP support than other companies, but even by their standards the UKIP score is the highest since July. For YouGov the UKIP score is the highest since June, and follows on from a 14% yesterday. As ever, once can never be completely sure about the reasons behind poll movements (nor certain they aren’t just blips) but it’s tempting to link these figures with the recent prominence of Eastern European immigration in the news. This is a useful reminder of how public opinion can be a lot more complicated than “popular policy => more support”. The YouGov poll finds that the policies David Cameron has suggested on EU immigration (putting residency requirements and time limiting benefits for EU migrants and, deporting EU migrants sleeping rough) are very popular – all received over 80% support. However the short-term impact in the polls does not appear to be more Conservative support, but to push the immigration issue up the agenda and, therefore, increase support for UKIP.

Then again, shutting up about it probably may not have been much better either – the media were shouting about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration anyway, and will likely do so even more as January approaches, and would also have spent their time demanding Cameron did something. It’s not really as if Cameron could had kept it off the agenda if he’d wanted to – not doing anything at all could have been even better for UKIP!

Following the publication of the white paper on Scottish Independence I’m expecting some new Scottish polls measuring if there has been any impact on referendum voting intention. In the event there only seems to be one in the Sunday papers – a Progressive Scottish Opinion poll in the Scottish Mail on Sunday. They have YES on 27%(nc), NO on 56%(-3), Don’t know on 17%(+3). Changes are from their previous poll in September. Progressive are not BPC members, so we have limited information on what they do, but suffice to say the poll does not show a massive change from prior to the white paper. I’m hoping there will be more Scottish polling in the next week or two on the back of the white paper, so we shall see if it paints a consistent picture.


524 Responses to “Sunday YouGov and Opinium polls”

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  1. Still a race to the bottom for those three main parties.

  2. Interesting focus group discussion here

    http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2013/12/01/meet-the-swing-voters/#.Upr8GOulcX5.twitter

    This may explain why talking about immigration fails – voters know it lacks credibility

    “We tested several immigration policies, all of which suffered a similar fate when put to the credibility test. All policies in this area floundered as participants simply did not believe that an ‘Australian-points system’ or similar control, desirable though they may be, would be workable. ‘They’re not being honest. The elephant in the room is being part of the EU.’

    But there is a lot more in that article about values and perceptions of the two main parties.

  3. Nothing seems to be really changing, when all the sound and fury dies away, we are still in the same place. The two main parties are still struggling and are unlikely to form a majority government, with the odds on Labour to be the largest party, but not certain.

    Will either be able to form a government with a much reduced Libdem party, will UKIP actually win a seat or two, those are the only questions yet to be answered.

  4. Finally, a thread where the Scottish referendum can be discussed!

  5. … and then there was silence.

    OldNat must be out.

  6. Nickp

    Labour are up around 10% on their GE performance,the Tories down only slightly I really fail to see how this is a race to to the bottom for all 3 Parties.

    It remains a plummet off the Cliff for the LD’s with 40% of their support transferred (permanently?) to Labour and an additional 20%+ apparently to UKIP.

    If the VI intention figures for UKIP are anywhere near close to reality the Gain must if it is coming from those who are likely to vote (ie who have before) be at least in large part the protest element from LD it really can’t be accounted for simply by transfers from Tories and the BNP and as their age demographic is skewed nearly as much to the geriatric as conservatives it isn’t new voters who are boosting their support either.

  7. Regarding the coming Autumn statement (should George Osborne…):

    “Increase the personal tax allowance (the amount people can earn before paying income tax) from £10,000 to £10,500?”

    Should / Should not / DK

    Total – 81 / 11 / 8

    Con 83 / 11 / 6
    Lab 82 / 11 / 7
    Lib 78 / 18 / 4
    UKIP 89 / 8 / 4

    The people have spoken. More cash please Mr. Osborne. I would like to see questions following these sorts of statement (“If the tax allowance was increased to £10,500, would you more or less likely to vote for Mr Osborne’s party?”).

    I suppose I’m not surprised at the Lib Dems being less inclined. The Conservatives will (probably) get the headline credit for it. That’s the trouble with naming Osborne in the poll question. It should have been:

    “Next week the government will make its annual autumn statement
    People have suggested the Government should do different things in the Autumn statement, but any money spent on tax
    cuts would have to be raised from spending cuts, other tax increases, or by borrowing more money
    Do you think the Government should or should not do the following?”

  8. Tories copying UKIP on immigration is rational competitor action long-term. But, as in business, it raises salience for UKIP’s ideas short-term, helping UKIP, rather like a established industry player helps a start-up when it copies the start up’s new product. Eventually it may smash the start-up because of its incumbency advantages and scale.

  9. @Anthony W

    I understand the point you make about UKIP seeming to benefit from any increased focus on their flagship issues, immigration and the EU, rather than the Conservatives who, ironically, are actually trying to implement allegedly popular measures in these areas, but these are still astonishingly poor polls for the Tories, aren’t they? Just after announcing a swathe of measures that, so we’re told, go to the heart of voters concerns and they score 28% and 30%???

    Maybe I’m missing something, but am I the only one who thinks that what is happening to the Tory vote, or not happening to it if you want to look at it a little counter-intuitively, is now straying into one of the most extraordinary things in British politics? A recovering economy, crackdowns on immigrant entitlements, promises of an EU Referendum, action on energy prices, the opposition led by a crypto-Marxist with the appeal of a wet sandwich and, yet, 28% in the polls.

    As I said; absolutely extraordinary. In my view there’s clearly something else going on here that is defying orthodox psephological theory.

  10. @Crossbath

    I think it’s called being in Government.

  11. They’re still a government which has had to slash budgets ferociously across the whole range of public spending.

    Lots of small(ish) groups of people feel aggrieved and potentially pro-Tory floating voters are resistant to their appeal.

    The “austerity forever” theme won’t have helped with this, as there will be some people who have felt under the cosh but felt that it was necessary, temporary pain which would begin to be relaxed once financial circumstances allow.

    It is beginning to look like there is not enough time left for a feasible return to government for the Tories, but in the context of what they faced I don’t think 30% is an astonishingly low score.

    As always, their hopes will be pinned on last-minute reversion from Lab to LD and UKIP to Con. I still think both of those things will happen to some extent, but I don’t think it will happen to the extent the Tories need it to.

  12. As I’ve said in the past… “Dog Whistle Politics” for the Conservatives isn’t going to work when UKIP are blowing a louder whistle.

    All it is doing is moving away from the Centre, to ground that is already occupied by UKIP. It’s doing half the work of campaigning for UKIP, and allowing them to slip in and eat the Conservative’s lunch by saying they’d do “what people really want”.

    Crosby may be mistakenly basing his ideas on how things work in Australia. But the problem is the fundamental electoral differences. Australia has PR, so the bulk of fringe votes transfer back to the major parties/coalitions. Even in the US, the strong two party system means that Tea Party candidates still run as Republicans. But in the UK, UKIP can actually poach voters from the Conservatives and lower their vote share.

    If the modernisers had any control, they’d have repositioned the party as Danny Alexander conservatives. Consuming the orange-booker rump of the LibDems, and simply let the UKIPers go.

  13. @Crossbat11 – my sense it’s that the government has got lost. I’m not commenting on whether it is doing good or bad things, but that voters are struggling to understand exactly what it is trying to do.

    I’ve said this for a good may years now, but Cameron is a tactical player, not a strategist. Pre election it was all about sharing proceeds of growth, being green etc. He was understandably wrong footed by the financial crash, but maintained a positive line very close to the election, when suddenly the focus switched to austerity, and then the Big Society.

    The BS has turned out to be just that, while austerity worked surprisingly well for them in many ways. They hit troubles over badly configured budgets measures with the granny tax etc – more an error of governance than anything else, but now they are jumping about on the cost of living crisis and talking up tax cuts. Austerity seems to be yesterdays tactic.

    Along the way we’ve had cast iron promises and promises of immigration in the 10’s of thousands and dealing with the EU, which really haven’t amounted to a great deal.

    I think it is genuinely difficult today to sit down and work out the single, central theme Cameron wants to bring to government. Thatcher and Blair were far less opaque.

    I really feel that too many voters (opponents and supporters) struggle to identify what Cameron wants to do with the country, and this is why apparently popular initiatives don’t always translate into party VI.

  14. Crossbat11 there was a rather extraordinary situation with the last election with the Tories failing to get a majority against Gordon Brown and the collapse of the national economy.

    Their polls have never recovered from the omnishambles business; along with policy failure/retreat/u-turn after policy failure/retreat/u-turn they government does not seem like a very can-do bunch. Their single policy success is pointing to the economy, yet they still have a deficit and debt is still rising. Meanwhile the ‘need for cut-backs’ is increasingly down to what is politically convenient.

    I struggle to describe the government as in anyway ‘effective’ at what their trying to do, but worst of all is their messaging. They talk less about being good with the economy and still only about how bad Labour would be. At times they still feel like the opposition party with Labour momentarily out-of-power; Ed Miliband just keeps putting the pressure on them.

  15. “@ Neil A

    It is beginning to look like there is not enough time left for a feasible return to government for the Tories, but in the context of what they faced I don’t think 30% is an astonishingly low score.

    There is plenty of time. Nick Clegg was the best rated party leader before the election in May 2010. Within a few months of being in coalition, ratings totally reversed.

    The problem as I see it from the Tories, is that the growth in the economy has yet to deliver pounds into most peoples pockets. If you work in the public sector and in most parts of the private sector, there has been virtually no pay rises in the last 4 or 5 years. But most living costs have increased. Millions of workers have seen a reduction in actual pay and their terms of employment changed, particularly pension arrangements.

    The Tories believe in having lower taxes, but it is difficult at the moment to reduce income tax or employee NI, without upsetting the markets. With the level of government debt, it does not look sensible to cut tax rates. The government could cut tax rates for employers, but this may not result in increased pay and conditions for workers, so no benefit in terms of polling ?

    My perception is that the Tories have twigged that Labours approach is correct i.e to look at market failures which hurt consumers. If government can look to help consumers by making changes to energy regulation/competition, then this is pretty sensible. Popular with voters and not that costly to government.

    If the government continue to tackle the cost of living issues that Labour have been talking about, then the question arises as to whether Labour would offer something different from May 2015. If it starts to look like Labours policies are not that different to the Tories, then I expect the Tories polling to increase.

  16. R Huckle (fpt)

    Opinium/Observer poll.[…]

    Why do these people score UKIP so highly compared with other polls ?

    There’s basically two reasons. Firstly it’s because they don’t use any weighting for political bias in their sample. So if they happen to have a disproportionate number of UKIP voters in their sample, it’s not corrected for.

    This wouldn’t matter so much (MORI also refuse to use political weighting) if it weren’t for the other reason, which is that Opinium is an online poll using its own panel. Because the big difference in UKIP’s VI is between online and telephone polls.

    You can see this most clearly with ComRes whose latest telephone poll (11%) is much less than their latest online one (17%) though they use the same adjustments to process their data for both. Similarly the other telephone polls (ICM, MORI) are usually way below online ones such as Survation.
    Pollsters are aware of this and other online polls try to use some form of political weighting to compensate. For example YouGov’s weighting usually knocks a point of two off the UKIP VI. Populus try a grotesque version of this[1], as I’ve discussed recently, but other online pollsters such TNS have their methods too.

    The reasons for the presumed overrepresentation of UKIP in online polls is uncertain, but probably rather than deliberate infiltration it’s because the sort of voters that UKIP attracts are more likely to be the sort of people who like to join online panels. They may be more opinionated and older (hence with more time).

    This problem may be particularly acute for pollsters such as Opinium, who use their own relatively small panel. They claim 30,000 members, but given that some members will inevitably be inactive or do not reply to requests very often, with a sample of 2,000 replies needed every fortnight, it’s certain that panellists are being asked pretty frequently. So they may be less able to avoid asking known partisans (more likely to reply) and so distorting their figures.

    [[1] Grotesque not just because it’s probably overcompensating but because the mechanism of correction has no rationale behind it. So even if they get the figures right, it will be for the wrong reason.

  17. Noooooo not a saltire thread!

    @ Nick P,

    Still a race to the bottom for those three main parties.

    The Lib Dems appear to be winning.

    More seriously, though, I don’t think that we/the Tories/the main parties/the political establishment should worry too much about these immigration concern-driven Ukip boosts. Two important things have happened with Ukip since the general election: the omnishambles budget, which prompted a mass exodus from the Conservatives to Ukip of voters who have not yet returned, and the Eastleigh by-election, which gave Labour and Lib Dem voters license to defect to Ukip for the first time. Those effects may persist into the general election. The rest of Ukip’s support has peaked and then unwound once before, and I see no reason why it should not do so again.

    Although it does support the view that Ukip have not in fact peaked a year too soon and the electorate are still happy to flirt with them at protest elections, which suggests Anthony is right and they remain in pole position to win the European elections next year.

  18. @ Jayblanc,

    Crosby may be mistakenly basing his ideas on how things work in Australia. But the problem is the fundamental electoral differences.

    A very interesting point was made (somewhere I can’t remember, or I’d give the author credit) that Australia also has mandatory voting. Crosby appears to be running a largely negative campaign based on bashing Labour and thereby suppressing the Labour vote. This may work better in a country in which everyone has to vote for someone. In Britain there’s a danger that running such a negative campaign just convinces undecided voters to stay home, instead of getting them to turn out to vote for you.

    In an election in which the Tories need a massive swing towards them from current polling, this may not be an ideal strategy.

    There’s also a second problem in that Crosby (and Cameron) appear to have forgotten the Government is a coalition based in a bicameral legislature. Whatever you may think of plain packaging for cigarettes, it’s clear that saying you’re going to do it, then saying you’re not going to do it, then saying you are going to do it after all because you’re afraid of an embarrassing defeat in the Lords is a terrible strategy. It makes Cameron look like he’s in government but not in power, and as Alex says it makes his political vision for the country extremely muddy.

    It might have been better to check how firmly the barnacles were attached before announcing they were being chucked off the boat.

  19. *Alec, rather. I appear to be letting my anti-saltire-thread sentiments infect my spelling!

  20. @Spearmint

    I agree with you.

    Whenever immigration hits the headlines, all news programmes book an interview with Mr Farage (and normally Migration Watch).

    Once normal politics resumes, people look at the broader issues, and then UKIP slip back.

    I have observed that on any programme like Question Time, UKIP spend all their time trying get every issue linked to immigration and Europe. When the subject strays beyond that, they do not seem remotely bold.

    Losing a few percentage points to UKIP from Labour or the Conservatives will not cause sleepless nights.

    As I pointed out on the previous thread, the drop in support for the big two isn’t good from one view. Given we have FPTP, the system is grossly iniquitous when parties win on 35-36% of the vote. If this happens in 2015, in my view our system will look more and more out of touch.

    (You may guess I support genuine PR).

  21. I think ‘it’s the economy stupid’ was appropriate in the context of that particular election – with the point being keep focus on the economy as that is our strong strength and how we will win. It doesn’t mean that every election is won or lost on the economy.

    The question ‘on the side of people like me’ is where Obama out scored Romney and where Labour out score the Cons. In my opinion this is why the Cons score is so low and why if it stays the same Labour ought to win the GE.

  22. Albert Tapper

    Tories copying UKIP on immigration is rational competitor action long-term. But, as in business, it raises salience for UKIP’s ideas short-term, helping UKIP, rather like a established industry player helps a start-up when it copies the start up’s new product. Eventually it may smash the start-up because of its incumbency advantages and scale.

    But the trouble with that analogy is that in business you have to produce an actual working product. Politics doesn’t work like that – unless you happen to be in government and people can look at the outcomes of what you do.

    UKIP’s policies on the other hand can be the equivalent of vapourware. And even these involve the UK leaving the EU, something Conservative leadership would not countenance and I believe the public would not vote for.

  23. I have posted a graph of You Gov UKIP VI 2013 plus 2013 five poll rolling average

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDLXlzdEZPTU1ibEE/edit?usp=sharing

  24. Neil A – “They’re still a government which has had to slash budgets ferociously across the whole range of public spending”

    And yet govt spending has been rising 2-3% per year the past 3 years. The UK govt deficit is still up there as one of the highest in the world – double the level of France and around the same as Spain. They or Labour will be in trouble when real cuts start.

  25. Ed,

    Yes, the 2010 election was a bad one to win, and so will be the 2015 election, because so many of the unpopular choices lie ahead.

  26. Yep cuts after 2015 won’t be pretty. Even with growth of 3% (if we ever get there soon) will still leave a substantial structural deficit remaining.

    The tories can’t really claim much success in reducing the deficit so far – this year will be around £110 billion after one offs are stripped out, the previous 2 years £115-£120 billion depending on revisions. That’s about 7% of GDP this year. I think France is at 3.5%, Spain 6%, Italy at 3% and Germany 0%.

  27. It may well be that if unemployment falls, wages rise and tax receipts rise the much vaunted deficit will vanish and the debt will stop rising and then start to fall in value.

    As long as the next Government spots this happening there will be no need for draconian cuts.

    You might even argue that there never was.

  28. @Fraser

    “Crossbat11 there was a rather extraordinary situation with the last election with the Tories failing to get a majority against Gordon Brown and the collapse of the national economy.”

    Zak Polanski

    “@Crossbath
    I think it’s called being in Government.”

    I’m going to tie your two comments together, but probably not in the way you expect. I’m developing a theory that the Conservatives partial return to government after many years in the wilderness could signal their death knell as a party of government. They’ve been shunned by the electorate, either overwhelmingly (97,01 and 05) or partially (10), for nearly a quarter of a century now. They proved to be a fairly underwhelming party of opposition in those years, hence their failure to win in 2010, but at least they had the luxury of outlining their brand of Toryism away from the levers of power. Slowly, maybe, enough of the electorate forgot the reasons why they rejected them to allow them to squeeze back into power via a coalition. Now, alas for them, four years of governing in difficult circumstances has reminded the electorate of why they didn’t much like them in the first place.

    In other words, their problem might not be what they’re doing necessarily but who they are and what, in the eyes of the electorate, they represent. What else would explain these extraordinary polls that keep telling us that significant majorities seem to support what they do but reject the notion of ever voting for them? This line that they’re merely paying a short term political price for doing unpopular things ceases to hold, I think. I fear their electoral and political problems are much more deep seated. With the rise of UKIP and Labour’s reclaiming of the entire centre-left political terrain, they may well be falling between two very large stools.

  29. It’s looking unlikely given the sheer scale of the deficit in the UK.

    The UK’s problem is that wages are so low and housing so expensive that people moving to work are often still receiving tax credits and housing benefits to make up the shortfalls, and those costs are rising quickly year on year. We have the strange situation of more people in work but much of it low wage, part time, temporary or low security work that isn’t benefiting tax receipts as much as would happen in the past, despite record employment levels and declining JSA figures over the past 2 years.

    Building houses would actually save much money long term but all parties are so reticent to do so.

    Just been rooting around and the UK’s is even above Portugal at 6% this year.

  30. @”The tories can’t really claim much success in reducing the deficit so far ”

    UK Deficits ( excluding APF coupon refund & RM Pension Scheme tfr. )
    2009/10 £157 bn -(11% GDP)
    2010/11 £139 bn -(9% GDP)
    2011/12 £ 119 bn-( 8% GDP)
    2012/13 -£ 115bn-( 7% GDP)
    2013/14-forecast next week from OBR-Press
    -speculation is c£105bn to £110bn -( around 6% GDP)

    …ie-around 32% reduction in Nominal GDP-or 40% reduction in DEficit/GDP% over 4 years.

  31. Oops:-

    “ie-around 32% reduction in Nominal GDP-or 40% reduction in DEficit/GDP% over 4 years.”

    should read
    “ie-around 32% reduction in monetary Deficit-or 40% reduction in Deficit/ Nominal GDP% ……..over 4 years”

  32. Neil A

    “They’re still a government which has had to slash budgets ferociously across the whole range of public spending.”

    Point of order. “Chosen to,” not “had to”. I appreciate that “had to” has been accepted as cast-iron fact, but it isn’t and never was.

  33. The 2009-10 figures were under Labour’s massive stimulus program that would have declined in 2010 whoever won as economic growth was going up and those levels were completely unsustainable. A short term Keynesian boost.

    2010-11 was barely affected by Osbourne’s policies. They came to power in May 2010 and had limited impact upon the deficit from April 2010-May 2011.

    Osbourne’s polcies really can be said to have had more of an effect from April 2011-2012. In that year the deficit was £119 billion. This year it is projected to be £105-110 billion. Based upon the first 7 months of the year it will be £110 billion.

    So in 3 years that’s a reduction of less than 10% in a huge deficit (brought about by Labour’s carelessness and facilitation of feeble regulation in case you think I’m partisan). A very poor show in tackling the deficit and barely scratching the surface leaving the UK will a greater deficit than almost all of Europe, which are often held to be in crises.

  34. @”Just been rooting around and the UK’s is even above Portugal at 6% this year.”

    Portugal’s fiscal policy is dictated by The Troika following the 2011 Bailout.

    It has Debt / GDP of over 120% & has just introduced the largest annual spending reductions in since 1977, targeting public sector jobs as well as wages, pensions, and health spending.

  35. @ Ed,

    The issues you raise about housing and the tax intake are very serious, but they’re precisely the problem Miliband’s new settlement is meant to fix, theoretically removing the need for swingeing cuts by a Labour government. (An argument could be made that Miliband has diagnosed the problem but not yet proposed any viable mechanism for solving it.)

  36. @”The 2009-10 figures were under Labour’s massive stimulus program ”

    No they weren’t-Total Government spending increased 6% over PY-but Tax Revenues collapsed .

    Darling’s last Budget included a reduction in Government Capital Expenditure.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/apr/23/budget-2009-spending-cuts-tax-rises

  37. ‘Debt to GDP’ is one thing, Colin, but ‘deficit to GDP’? Don’t want to talk without being sure, but ‘debt to GDP’ has gone up consistently since 2010, hasn’t it? If so (and again, I stress I don’t have figures at my fingertips, so if I’m wrong, I’m wrong,) noting a lowering ‘deficit to GDP’ ratio is little better than the Thatcher government of the 80’s claiming it had reduced the ‘rate of increase’ in unemployment. The problem’s not going away.

  38. CROSSBAT11

    I’m going to agree with you, “but probably not in the way you expect.”

    In any democratic system there is likely to be a dominant party representing vested interests and a dominant party representing the demand for change by those that feel excluded from power (including vested interests that also feel excluded!)

    Right and left are rather archaic terms for describing those positions.

    Labour may well be replacing the Tories as the “natural party” representing those who do well out of the system. If, like Disraeli’s Conservatives, they can carry the aspirations of others as well, then they could well replace the Tories.

    In England, the questions are “Where does their opposition come from? Who is going to represent those who don’t buy in to the neo-liberal consensus?”

  39. cross batty

    ” they may well be falling between two very large stools.”

    Be funnier if they fell IN to two very large stools in our opinion.

    No offence of course.

  40. @ Crossbat11,

    The Tory party has lasted for three hundred years; I think pronouncements of its demise are very premature. We may, however, be heading into an unprecedented period of Labour dominance.

    The Tories are going to have a very difficult time regrouping for 2020 if they lose power in 2015. Because Cameron’s message is so muddled and because he’s losing votes on all sides, modernisers of both metropolitan and proletarian stripes and the far right can all claim a defeat as a vindication of their position. It’s going to be an all-out civil war for the future of the party, which never looks good to the public. Worse, since every Tory faction has failed to diagnose at least one of the party’s key branding problems, no possible outcome of the war can result in a leader who will solve all of them. When the dust settles they will still be viewed as either a) as a party for the Southern rich, b) a party of nasty reactionaries or c) both. Oh, and they’ll have to decide whether or not they want to leave the EU.

    I don’t see how all this can be sorted in one term in opposition. They need to have their civil war, watch the leader of the victorious faction lose an election, and then elect a new leader to correct whichever half of the branding problem Leader 1 failed to fix.

    (Their only chance in 2020 is if the incoming Labour government completely cocks everything up, which is… a possibility I would not discount.)

  41. Darling’s 2009 Budget forecasts for “Net Capital Investment “:

    09/10 £44bn
    10/11 £36 bn
    11/12 £ 29 bn
    12/13 £ 26 bn
    13/14 £22 bn.

  42. Colin

    “Darling’s 2009 Budget forecasts for “Net Capital Investment “:

    09/10 £44bn
    10/11 £36 bn
    11/12 £ 29 bn
    12/13 £ 26 bn
    13/14 £22 bn.”

    Keep ’em coming – we need a snooze.

    Be even better in the original voice

  43. In what might be my last post I agree with whoever it was above noted the next election could be a tough one to win. But the problem arises only because we don’t take enough in tax, and we are hamstrung there because income tax is inefficient and expensive to levy. The problem vanishes if tax is levied seriously on wealth itself.

    I don’t have figures, but a serious blogger gave figures for the US the other day, and they were interesting. The US debt, he said, is 17 trillion. A thousand times that sum is traded on US stock exchange every day. Right? Wrong? Anyone know? If he’s even in the right ballpark, there isn’t actually an economic problem at all. The problem is ‘belling the cat’.

    Goldsmith puts the conundrum quite well in the Vicar of Wakefield, when the vicar’s son runs out of money and a friend tells him he could earn a good living teaching English to the well-off (but non-English speaking) Dutch. The son spends his last half guinea on a boat trip to Holland and launches himself onto the streets of Amsterdam offering his services to passers by – only to realise that, in order to earn money teaching the Dutch English, a Dutchman had first to teach him Dutch!

  44. @ Colin

    But how much has GO spent on net capital investment in those same years?

  45. @R Huckle: “The Tories believe in having lower taxes”

    That rather depends on which tax you’re referring to. They are the party of high VAT, after all. Every increase from 8% to 20% has been a Tory increase. Also didn’t the total tax take rise during the Thatcher years?

  46. SPEARMINT

    “The Tory party has lasted for three hundred years”

    That would require there having been a Tory party in 1713 which still existed in 2013.

    Since few members of the current Conservative Party probably support the Jacobite cause, what I presume you mean is that a series of political groupings since late 17th century England have been given, or adopted, the appellation of Tory.

  47. @Crossbath: “I think it’s called being in Government.”

    But isn’t that why no government to date has managed to be returned with an increased majority? Is there any reason to expect this one to succeed where all its predecessors have failed?

  48. colin cavis

    “only to realise that, in order to earn money teaching the Dutch English, a Dutchman had first to teach him Dutch

    Not with owr dad’s pointing and showting method: it works in all languages.

  49. spearmint

    Thank goodness for ole nat being here.

    In was a bit confused there for a while and thought the Tories were supporting the Jacobites again.

    Try to be clearer in future.

  50. “@ rogerh

    @R Huckle: “The Tories believe in having lower taxes”

    That rather depends on which tax you’re referring to. They are the party of high VAT, after all. Every increase from 8% to 20% has been a Tory increase. Also didn’t the total tax take rise during the Thatcher years?”

    Yes the points you raise are very valid.

    I was just being non partisan in my post, by including words which would probably be supported by polling. I think previous polls have shown that Tories are seen as supporting lower tax rates, than the other parties.

    I can remember when the Tories wanted to increase VAT on household fuel bills from 5% to 17.5%. That was under John Major and Tory rebels voted with the opposition to stop the increase. Could you imagine how much fuel bills would be now, if that increase had gone ahead !

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