The Sun have tweeted out tonight’s YouGov poll – topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 42%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%. This is somewhat at odds with the Labour leads of two, three and three points so far this week, though for what it’s worth all four polls would be within the normal margin of error of CON 34, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 12, the average of this week’s figures.

When an unusual poll comes along I personally rather discount it – more often than not it’ll just be a blip. When the same happens two days in row it gets my attention, but I wouldn’t conclude anything. When you get three in a row I normally take it seriously, it looks as though something is afoot.

But it can still just be random chance. Right now we don’t really know what the position is. It could be that tonight’s poll is an outlier and other polls will continue to show lower leads. Alternatively it could be that actually nothing’s changed and its all just been random variation around the six point lead we’ve had for months. As ever, time will tell.


392 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 42, LD 8, UKIP 12”

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  1. The Anne McIntosh thing seems to be basically a local party of backwoodsmen going badly off-piste.

    As for Wythenshawe and Sale East – I doubt it will serve as much of a marker for the national picture. It’s a very safe Labour seat. Everyone will, of course, claim, whatever the result, that it was an excellent night for them and proves how right they are on everything, but I think it has the potential to be one of those contests where everyone ends up disappointed, although Labour least of all as they’re going to win.

  2. …that said, I’ll be interested to see how the Greens do in W&SE. I remain surprised by their inability to capitalise on actually winning a seat and an unpopular Labour Party.

  3. Syzygy

    Thanks for the link on QE.

  4. COLIN DAVIES

    When you read the blog which SYGYZY linked for you, I strongly suggest you take account of a couple of things :-

    First :-
    Murphy omits to explain, that Gilts are repayable-by the TReasury-on their redemption date, at par, to the then holder of them.

    This is true if you are Joe Blogs or the Bank of England.

    THe portfolio of Gilts bought by the BoE under the Asset Purchase Facility ( QE) obviously have a range of redemption dates. The first redemptions in their holding occurred last March when the TReasury repaid the BoE for £6.6bn of maturing Gilts.
    You can check this-as can Mr Murphy-on the BoE website.

    Government Debt is thus NOT relieved by the BoE Asset Purchase Programme-it is not intended that it is.

    Current BoE Policy is to maintain the stock of Gilts & the consequent size of its Liquidity injection to the economy-so it re-invested that £6.6bn in new Gilts.
    If & When BoE decides that it wishes to withdraw all or some of it’s Monetary loosening, it will not re-invest redemption receipts from the TReasury-it will retain the funds, thus cancelling the additional liquidity it injected when those funds were electronically created.
    Approx £20bn of redemptions will ocurr this year & the figure will start to rise as BoE’s Gilts age.
    Of course BoE can speed up MOnetary tightening if it so wishes by selling its Gilts in the market rather than waiting for them to mature.

    SECOND:-
    I am sorry to have to say it, being an FCA myself-but you should be very very careful when you read Richard Murphy’s thoughts.
    I strongly suggest that :-
    a) you check his funding sources & consider his objectives
    b) you read what other members of his profession think about some of the things he writes. This is easy to do-on this blog :-

    http://www.fcablog.org.uk/

  5. @ Colin Davies

    …but the Bank of England is holding .5 trillion of it and could tear it up leaving us with just a trillion debt.

    My questions are, therefore:

    i. Is that right? Yes, if the government – via the Treasury – told the BoE to shred it, they could. Osborne proposed converting it to 100 year bonds but didn’t go ahead with it. I won’t go into all the pros & cons of that, unless you’re really, really interested in it.

    ii. If so, why doesn’t the Bank tear it up? What do we gain by having the Bank keep it as debt? 1. flexibility; as it stands, the government has several options. 2. QE is not a high profile topic; tearing it up would almost certainly turn it into a ‘screamer’.

    iii. If so, i.e. if (i), have we done this every time we have issued QE? this type of QE is a fairly recent development.

    iv. If (iii), how much of the UK debt is in fact held by the Bank of England? approximately one third. Has this been going on for a long time? not in the current form. This ‘brand’ of QE was a reaction to the 2007 global banking sector melt down.

    v. Re all the above, does that mean our overall debt situation Is a lot less troubling in relation to GDP than we (the less well informed economically) have been led to believe? Yes, definitely yes.
    —————–
    I hope I’ve answered your questions satisfactorily (should be in italics, above, if I’ve got the syntax right).
    I have written about QE quite a lot on this forum. I used some quite simple analogies & maths to demonstrate how the situation occurred & why QE is irreversible (politically & economically) at least in the medium-term: hence Osborne’s proposal to kick the QE ‘can’ 100 years down the road – which is pretty much the equivalent of shredding the chitties. If you want me to reprise any of my past ‘lectures’, please let me know (I think everybody else has had enough of me chuntering on about it though!).

  6. So the burning question as Sunday approaches is, “what will the lead be?”

    3%?

    6%?

    10%?

  7. Good Evening from South Wales where the rain it raineth every day.And especially today.So the Sunday poll,no idea,could be anything.
    My daughters birthday,so going to the Bristol lido,wonderful food,and the zoo,
    Well she likes animals,we will just trudge around in the rain.The things we do for love,
    ,

  8. Regarding debt, the simple answer is that if anyone tears up the contract on the debt they are supposed to honour, no one will loan to them in future (other governments, banks, people). People get blacklisted, and nations get something similar.

    In the case of the government, the credit rating would drop (perhaps to ‘default’), and investors wouldn’t invest in the UK so readily.

    That creates knock-on effects, such as market share drops, tightening of a nation’s liquidity and so on. See the list of ‘not rated’ countries to ascertain how important credit ratings are to the financial markets:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_credit_rating#Not_rated

    I imagine any nation defaulting on huge debts would become ‘not rated’, and struggle to get any investment in the short to medium term.

    Austerity or ‘living within ones means’ becomes a stark reality in such a case, I imagine.

  9. Also ,
    Hollande has stymied Cameron in the pub,I would say.

  10. Scottish Police?
    I missed recent comments but think there was discussion of the national police force. Suffice it to say it is working out very badly in my area. Centralisation has been drastic and now all control centres for fire and police will be in a very small area in central scotland spanning greater Glasgow and Edinburgh and snp stronghold Dundee.
    Police Scotland have held no consultations on the closures because “the isues are too complex” for the public to understand.
    There was also a by election in the possibly un-romantic town of my father’s birth, Buckie. I make this the 17th Scottish local by election in a row that the have snp failed to win and their vote declined from 45% to 35%.

  11. @AMber, Colin, The Geek re QE

    But the point is, the government would not be reneging on any debt, other than debt to itself.

    Having read the various comments and Murphy’s views, I’m coming to the conclusion that this is not real debt, rather a somewhat disguised increase in the money supply. Like the balance of payments – which was used to hit the government of the day over the head in the 60s and 70s – money supply (always in the news 80s and 90s – I remember trying to get my head round M1, M2 and M3) is something nobody seems to talk about much any more.

    Seems to me that QE is printing money. Printing money will tend to make the value of the currency decline, but it doesn’t represent debt.

    So those on the right (who have a vested interest in saying there’s overspending) pretend it’s debt: those on the left (who have an opposite vested interest) pretend it isn’t.

    I’m not sure after all this that I’m any the wiser!

  12. I thought Holland was in the Netherlands not the pub!

  13. Ann In Wales

    The food in the Bristol Lido is supposedly very good, so I hope you have a nice day!
    As for the polls, what on earth was all that fuss about a few nights ago? Even Mike Smithson isn’t infallible.

  14. QE

    So, if I understand the arguments (in different contexts) correctly …

    1. the Bank of England owns 33% (approx) of UK debt, so it owns a really huge asset base

    2. Since the BoE is actually owned by the UK Government, it chooses to return the interest paid by the UK to the Treasury (ie an internal accounting procedure)

    3. If Scotland voted for independence, rUK would expect it to pay 100% of its share of the UK debt.

    4. If Scotland voted for independence, the BoE (and its assets) would remain entirely the property of rUK and Scotland would not get its share of those assets.

  15. @ Statgeek

    I imagine any nation defaulting on huge debts would become ‘not rated’, and struggle to get any investment in the short to medium term.
    ——————-
    QE is debt that has been settled. The UK can’t default on a debt that it has repaid early.

  16. @ Old Nat

    QT from Dundee. Jim Sillars tried to speak about QE. David Dimbleby shut him down pronto. One can only assume, QE is a subject that’s not to be mentioned in ‘polite’ political circles. ;-)

  17. Amber

    UKPR not “polite political circles”? Heaven forfend! :-)

  18. Just watched QE on catch up. Unbearable. Who was that ‘comedian’ who simply used every single moment of speaking time to attack the Cons. Loved how Ken Clarke was just laughing at her in the end.

  19. QT I mean!

  20. Rich

    Understandable confusion. Both are frequently incomprehensible and incompetently chaired! :-)

  21. @Oldnat

    You raise another issue which makes it very complicated to negotiate any country leaving the union. If Scotland votes to go independent, I think it will take at least 5 years to arrange the separation.

    As I posted earlier, there are people saying that if the UK votes to leave the EU, it could cause the break up of the union, as it will mainly be an English decison. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales want to stay in the EU.

  22. @Statgeek

    “I imagine any nation defaulting on huge debts would become ‘not rated’, and struggle to get any investment in the short to medium term.”

    Perhaps. But as the UK is a nation with a sovereign currency it can’t default unless it chooses to (which would be a silly thing to do).

  23. @Anarchists Unite

    :)

  24. R Huckle

    If rUK still clings to trying to apply both points 3 & 4 in my post, in the real world of negotiations, then they are going to look very bad in the views of the rest of the world.

    Still, since they have accepted that the whole of the UK debt will be paid back by the rUK citizens, then I suppose they can keep our share of the BoE assets, if they don’t want to arrange a fair settlement.

    Seems a silly stance to take though.

  25. @John B:

    “The Europe Referendum bill, had it become law, would surely had to have been put into practice, once the Royal Assent has been given and a date set for its implementation.”

    The implementation date was to be after the GE. If an incoming Labour government wasn’t in favour it’d just repeal the Act, saying (not unreasonably) that it wasn’t going to be bound by the decision of a government that had just been kicked out. That might be harder for Cameron to do if he was again PM but he’s promised a referendum anyway.

  26. @ OLDNAT

    If the BoE will be the lender of last resort for an independent Scotland and will be their central bank, then I guess that the BoE would want to hold all the assets they can. It would a different matter if Scotland had their own central bank and their own currency. Something would have to sorted out, with some assets transfered.

    On a different subject, what is stop SNP government ministers starting talks with the EU, about joining the EU as an independent region of the UK, pending full separation from the UK in 2016 ? Surely it would make sense for discussions to take place with EU officials, so that Scotland has continuing membership of the EU ?

  27. R Huckle

    “what is [to] stop SNP government ministers starting talks with the EU”

    Because the Commission (as opposed to some of it’s members from countries with their own autonomy movements) has, rather sensibly from their point of view, declined to get involved in internal matters in its member countries.

    It has, however, said that it will give its judgement from a member state on a specific proposal.

    The question, as to why the UK Government does not ask the Commission, has been frequently asked. “But answer came there none”. As far as I know, Lewis Carroll’s explanation that “And this was scarcely odd, because they’d eaten every one” doesn’t apply, despite the rise of UKIP in England. :-)

  28. @ Amber

    Very nice Q&A. I would be more cautious about the future behaviour of the securities, but I agree.

    A minor correction. The Peel Act that brought in the gold standard, explicitly excluded government debt financed by QE (mainly the Napoleonic wars) from the gold standard. It was because of the pressure of the City. (The key question today is the short and medium term behaviour of the City about QE and the possible ways of gaming it.)

    So, while it’s new in the last 50 years, it’s not such when we go beyond the memories of living generations.

  29. To Szygy, Colin, Amber, Statgeek, Guymonde, Old Nat, Anarchists U, and Laszlo, and anyone else I’ve forgotten or missed – not to mention John and RHuckle from earlier and already thanked – many, many thanks for offering so many insights, which I’ll enjoy thinking hard about over the next few days.

    Amber, I’d be thrilled just to know about the threads in which you gave your ‘lectures’, so I could check back.

    Thanks everyone

  30. And p.s., Amber, I really would like to hear what you have to say about the pros and cons of shredding….

  31. Or was that conversion to 100 year bonds?

  32. @rogerh

    “The referendum bill was always a gimmick since any future yet-to-be-elected government would feel no obligation to implement it.”

    Yeah, but Labour and the Lib Dems would need to take a position on this prior to the next general election. It would be tricky to say the least. The Tories have already taken theirs and it would be very quick and easy to reinforce (‘democracy’, ‘power to the people’ blah blah blah). They could spend the majority of time explaining to people how awesome the economy is while the other guys are having to give them convoluted reasons as to why they should vote against what may be their last possible chance of a referendum.

  33. I forgot to post the local by-election thingy..

    @MSmithsonPB – LAB HOLD Heanor W on Amber Valley
    CON 350 32.3%
    LAB 548 58.3%
    LD 41 9.4%

  34. Heanor East is a good hold for Labour. It is one of the two BNP seats they took back in 2012 (+4 gains from Con) in the Con/Lab marginal Amber Valley.

  35. COLIN DAVIS

    your welcome.

    It is all too easy to concentrate on the accounting & operational aspects of QE if you have my sort of background.

    But I suppose the more important aspect is its intended purpose & effect.

    You might find this simple explanation of the intended effect of QE on monetary policy & the economy :-

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/inflation/qe/video.aspx

  36. That explanation about the “why” of QE is quite something.

    Designed to increase consumer spending and investment? Well we have seen some of the first since the mortgage guarantee, but precious little of the second.

    Biggest laugh is the pretence that it is all about keeping inflation from falling below 2%. Now is the first time we have seen inflation fall anywhere near that and that might well be because they have stopped printing money.

    Makes me think we are being told fibs. Seems much more likely that insolvent banks are being propped up with printed money.

  37. So the burning question as Sunday approaches is, “what will the lead be?”
    3%?
    6%?
    10%?

    -The Answer is Yes

  38. nickp

    That explanation about the “why” of QE is quite something.
    ….
    Makes me think we are being told fibs. Seems much more likely that insolvent banks are being propped up with printed money.

    —–

    That’s exactly what QE has been this time around.

    Why the Bank of England failed to stipulate “You can have all this cash so long as you lend most of it straight back out and don’t just start stuffing it in your vaults/paying yourself large bonuses” is beyond me.

  39. @ david in france

    “Why the Bank of England failed to stipulate “You can have all this cash so long as you lend most of it straight back out and don’t just start stuffing it in your vaults/paying yourself large bonuses” is beyond me.”

    Innit! Its almost as if the whole political system is an enormous kleptocracy bring run for the benefit of big banking corporations.

  40. @Oldnat – “If rUK still clings to trying to apply both points 3 & 4 in my post, in the real world of negotiations, then they are going to look very bad in the views of the rest of the world.”

    I really don’t think rUK will give a fig about what the rest of the world thinks, The negotiations will be guided by what rUK (and that effectively mean English) voters think.

    You and I don’t necessarily disagree on many of the substantive points of any potential negotiation I think, but I believe I tend towards a more realistic line. Namely, that the rUL government holds the trump card – there can be no substantive negotiations with the EU regarding Scottish membership unless the rUK asks for them, and there isn’t a snowball’s chance of a smooth accession unless rUK gets the deal it wants.

  41. Coincidentally on last night’s Newsnight Tim Harford reported on the expected tapering of QE by the US Federal Reserve and its likely consequences for emerging markets.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03t0l0s/Newsnight_31_01_2014

    (Report starts at 10:18.)

  42. Salmond says he will set up Scottish currency.
    Response..It will cost jobs, too much uncertainty blah blah blah.

    Salmond says he wants to join the Euro..
    Response…It’s a toxic currency it’s failing it will cost jobs blah blah blah.

    Salmond wants to keep the pound.
    Response…No he can’t, it’s not his, rest of UK don’t want it, costs jobs, blah blah blah.

    Alternative.. Stick with the union, north south divide, rich poor gap widening, debt and so on.

    So what is the best way forward for Scotland?

    I read endless stuff all over the net, news papers and see it on the TV hear it on the radio about the negatives on independence and how England rules the debate yet we have an English PM who wont debate with a Scottish FM and as of yet not heard any positive incentives of staying in the union.

    So what is the alternative to Scottish independence and I’m not being pro or anti anything with this post I just want to know what the alternative is without a negative NAT bash.

  43. steve

    So the burning question as Sunday approaches is, “what will the lead be?”
    3%?
    6%?
    10%?

    -The Answer is Yes
    _________

    I hope it’s neck and neck and hopefully this will force some credible policy bullet points from Labour.

  44. @AC – “…and as of yet not heard any positive incentives of staying in the union.”

    A bit silly? You’ve just named some of the positives – eg that you avoid the negatives of leaving.

  45. ALEC

    “@AC – “…and as of yet not heard any positive incentives of staying in the union.”

    A bit silly? You’ve just named some of the positives – eg that you avoid the negatives of leaving”
    _______

    A bit silly? I’m sorry but it’s not and no I haven’t named any positives for staying in the union.

    The debate so far has been all about Salmond’s vision for an independent Scotland and an endless negative attack against it.

    Where is the positive debate for the Union?

  46. Allan Christie: “So what is the alternative to Scottish independence and I’m not being pro or anti anything with this post I just want to know what the alternative is without a negative NAT bash.”

    If it starts to look a close-run thing, some juicy carrots will be produced. Probably devo-max, high-profile infrastructure promises (extension of HS2 to Scotland to celebrate the union?), £500m a year rent for Faslane. So canny Scots afraid of independence should start saying yes to pollsters, even if they don’t mean it.

  47. AC

    That you won’t have to take the next step of being all forced to speak Gaelic.

  48. … and that you can look forward to a Scots footballer being an un-used substitute in a future “Team UK” footy team.

  49. …. and that England won’t adopt a “one-in-three-out” quota system for Jocks.

    The list is endless…

    You will still get Coronation Street and East Enders on your tellies.

  50. You can still go to sunny Blackpool for yer tatty-break hols.

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