This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

The biggest chunk of the rest of the survey covered the ongoing historical child abuse story. Three-quarters of the public think that it’s probably true that some senior political figures were involved in child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, and that there was a deliberate cover up. They are more divided over how well the current government have responded to the allegations – 34% think they’ve handled it well, 41% badly. 44% of people say they have at least some confidence in the inquiries under Baroness Butler-Sloss and Peter Wanless to fully investigate the matter, 44% do not. 56% would rather see a full public inquiry.

More generally 46% think questions about historical child abuse are being asked in a proportionate and measured way and there a genuine questions to be asked, 29% think it risks becoming a rumour-led witch hunt of retired politicians.

Interestingly, and perhaps reflecting their general suspicion towards the establishment, UKIP supporters are by far the most likely to believe there was a cover up (90%) and have by far the least confidence that the inquiries will get to the bottom of them (26% – compared to 67% of Conservatives and 65% of Lib Dems).

The other new poll is today is a Scottish ICM poll in the Scotland on Sunday. Topline figures with changes from last month are YES 34%(-2), NO 45%(+2). Excluding don’t knows it works out at YES 43%(-2), NO 57%(+2). The movement is towards NO, but it’s within normal margins of error and appears in line with ICM’s longer term trends. Looking back the YES score (excluding don’t knows) in ICM’s monthly Scottish polls this year have been 46%, 43%, 46%, 48%, 43%, 46% and now 43%. That looks to me like just random variation.

216 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times and ICM Scottish poll”

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  2. I’m becoming a little bit jaundiced towards public or independent enquiries. To some extent I can see the need for them especially where allegations of “cover ups” are involved, but when you look back at Leveson and the Iraq enquiry and countless others you do start to wonder what they really achieved for the cost. Especially when certain aspects cannot be gone into because of ongoing police investigations.

    Part of me thinks we’d be better off giving the police a bigger budget, maybe overseen/controlled by an independent person who can produce a report similar to what an enquiry might produce. So we might get more convictions and parallel to this get a report on where institutions failed the victims and what can be done to stop this happening again.

    Noticed a small report in the Guardian with the comments of someone counselling police officers that she had concerns both about the stress they were under, limited resources etc as well as a fear that historic abuse investigations were taking resources away from current child protection issues. Only one person’s opinion of course but would be interested in Neil A’s views on this.

  3. Coming back to the abuse claims, interesting article in the Sunday Mirror by Nigel Nelson stating he heard “sickening tales” about 2 ex-PM’s. With all these stories flying around clarity needs to be brought to this as quickly as possible. I suspect though, because it covers the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s, it’s going to take a long time to uncover the full picture. If that’s ever possible.
    There’s talk of one Labour peer escaping possible charges because of a diagnosis of dementia. We all know who he is and IMO anyone found (regardless of health conditions) to be involved should be charged or named & shamed!

    I suspect this won’t make a huge difference to VI as it will encompass all parties, it wouldn’t surprise me if the name count runs into 3 figures as it’s spread over such a long period of time.

  4. @Bantams,

    There have long been terrible tales told about Edward Heath. None of them have ever sounded plausible, coming from crackpot sources like David Icke. It does make me wonder who the other Ex-PM involved might be.

    The dementia question is an interesting one. I suppose it depends on how far the dementia has progressed, but in the later stages would it still be appropriate to charge someone for crimes alleged to have taken place earlier in their life? Not only can an advanced dementia sufferer not enter a plea, they cannot produce their side of a story and indeed are no longer “themselves” – merely the same body.

  5. @ Shevii

    I agree it must be putting investigators under pressure, at the end of the day though it was a career choice and there will be times when they’re not busy.

    We need to get as much of this story as is possible so politicians and others in public service can start with a clean sheet and with regulations in place that prevent this happening again in the future.

  6. @ MrNameless

    Absolutely right about charging someone who is present in body but not mind. However (again IMO) if there’s a sufficient amount of quality evidence from multiple witnesses, a naming and shaming should be considered. Otherwise the victims either won’t get their day in court and their voioces heard and the perpetrator will get off scot free because of a quirk of fate.

  7. @ Shevii

    The Hillsborough one might be an appropriate model:

  8. The last decent PM was Home and he was implicated in Munich.

  9. “The last decent PM was Home and he was implicated in Munich”

    I always thought Callaghan was a decent cove – but maybe I was just taken in by his avuncular image?

  10. @ RogerH

    Hillsborough/Orgeave etc are probably exceptions because they heavily involve the police and the police can’t investigate the police. But yes- seems like a good model.

  11. We are now as near to Polling Day as to 18th September 2013. I have just checked the YouGov data for that day – Lab 36 – Con 36 YD 10 – UKIP 12.. On that basis, Labour’s position has actually strengthened in the last almost 10 months!

  12. Is there a danger that if people suspect their party’s gonna lose anyway, then they may as well just take a punt on someone else like Ukip…

  13. I know I might be a hopeless idealist in saying this but I believe that most prime ministers have been decent people, honestly trying to do what they think is best for the country and their party. There are a couple I think might be exceptions, but I don’t know them well enough to be sure.

    Of course some are more decent than others and finding oneself in tough circumstances seems to bring out the better aspects of people personally (Douglas-Home, Heath, Callaghan, Major standing up to the Bastards, Gordon Brown).

    I just hope no leaders of this country are guilty of doing terrible things out of malice.

  14. We are in danger of so maligning our Political Class that we do lasting damage to our democracy. The number of non voters continues to grow remorselessly. I am just back from a major UN meeting working with fantastic young people less than half my age to protect elephants from the deadly ivory trade. attached. Yet one young highly educated British woman there told me that none of her graduate peers had ever voted out of sheer despair at the uninspiring (or much worse) Parties and politicians on offer. Meanwhile at the less educated level of society in working class S Wales I encountered several young voters on the doorsteps in recent elections who actually did not know HOW to vote , and were clearly from families who gave up on politics some time ago.

    If we now face yet another round of horrifying dirty washing about politicians this will make it worse. Here in Wales we have also had a grim week listening to the indefensible behaviour of one of our AMs who was at long last sacked from the Cabinet by the First Minister, but should have resigned much earlier and is still trying to hang on to his Assembly seat.

    I am one of those who feels strongly that ” they still don’t get it “. Unless we drive up standards amongst politicians the malaise will deepen. Maybe we need a neutral vetting and ethics training body for all potential candidates ? Sounds very interventionist I know, but the public have a right to insist that their representatives are honest and decent citizens – don’t we ?

  15. After reading the Sunday papers, it seems it is time for a clean up of politics to restore trust. Too many old boys clubs looking after each other. We need far more women MP’s and women ministers, and we need to change how MP’s are nominated and selected, particularly in safe seats.

    And the house of Lords needs to go. Hopefully we see a surge in ‘Others’ to send that message.

  16. @ Mr Nameless
    “I know I might be a hopeless idealist but I believe that most prime ministers have been decent people, honestly trying to do what they think is best for the country and their party.”

    There is no “national interest” in the sense you imply. There are sectional, class & ideological etc interests. You give the game away when you write: “for the country & their party”. These interests do not coincide.

    Certainly one can judge politicians by the magnitude of the problems they faced & their success in handling them. Roosevelt, for example, encountered vast, vast problems for 12 years & acquitted himself well. He also built the broadest coalition of interests in modern US history. Nevertheless the right regarded him as the nation’s greatest enemy & hated him with a venom which it would be hard to describe.

  17. @RICHARD

    Indeed, we must FORCE more women into the government, make quotas of 51% meaning that parliament must be 51% women, regardless of skill or education this must be done.

  18. The attempt by Cameron and others to for want of a better phrase get to the bottom of all the allegations swirling round parliament is asking questions that will be answered by todays standards. When all this was going on up to 40 years ago, parliamentarians were in many cases ex public school boys to home the activities of which we complain now were treated as more or less normal and all part of growing up.

    Historic abuse cases should be treated as history and left to lie.

    Best wishes

    Faded Fred aged 77 ex public school.

  19. @Skippy

    There are plenty of qualified and skilled women. The fact that they are not represented in the ranks of MP’s and ministers according to their demographics is not a reflection that women are less educated or skilled than men, it is reflective of something wrong in how MP’s are selected.

    The same could be said of the number of private vs public schooled MP’s and the number of MP’s who have never worked in the real world, and the number of MP’s who have family ties to previous leaders.

    There is clearly something wrong when our political leaders are all drawn from such a small pool of candidates. (Men, privately educated, political families).

    Widen the pool and you will have more educated, more skilled leaders, not less.

  20. @ Skippy

    I’d say enable & encourage more women to be involved in politics, rather than force but otherwise you’re correct.

    There are no specific skills or educational attainment required to be an MP or cabinet minister so, as you say, these aspects of a person’s life can be disregarded.

  21. We’ve only ever had a couple of working-class PMs, but I do wonder whether some of those who might have become Prime Minister (Kinnock, Hattersley, Bevan, Tebbit) might have done better than those who were middle or upper class.

  22. None of this is going to do Cameron any good in the run up to the election.

    If much is uncovered – and some of by older colleagues could write books on what they have heard – then it will reflect badly on the Establishment parties next May – and Cameron needs all the support he can get.

  23. Historical sexual abuse looks like being one of those unexpected news stories that can upset carefully choreographed media messages in the run up to an election. The problem is that, if the tabloids want to sell papers, this sells. An inquiry was an obvious ploy to dampen down the speculation- but I don’t think it will work. More stories and witnesses will come out. And I agree with Pressman- this will be especially bad for Cameron: plays into the UKIP narrative perfectly.

  24. @ RobbieAlive,

    “I know I might be a hopeless idealist but I believe that most prime ministers have been decent people, honestly trying to do what they think is best for the country and their party.”

    You give the game away when you write: “for the country & their party”.

    The key word in Mr. N’s sentence is think. I doubt many people join a party believing it does not advocate, the vast majority of the time, the policies that are in the best interest of the country. Otherwise they would join a different party.

    Whether or not the other sectional interest groups agree with them is another matter.

    And since the country is clearly much better served by having Party X in power, it soon becomes very difficult to disentangle the best interest of the party from the best interest of the nation.

    And of course Party X cannot function without its MPs, and how can they concentrate on their jobs if they can’t be sure their ducks are well protected from the elements?

    @ Mr. Nameless,

    Hattersley is middle class.

    And I’m not sure Tebbit would have been much of an improvement!

  25. The pedo enquiry is a wast of time because no-one will be charged let alone convicted.

  26. I’m always puzzled by those who insist we have to “force” more female / ethnic minority / young / working-class / red-haired / Cornish / etc people to become MP’s or senior managers or judges or whatever.
    I am most emphatically in favour of these positions being OPEN to applicants from all these groups, and in favour of ensuring competent folk are EQUALLY considered for them – but I’m not sure this is enough for some.
    I think we have to accept that (for instance) fewer women want to be senior managers, and that they have the right to choose not to be – as well as the right to seek to achieve it. But imposing quotas out of some misguided dogma helps no-one.
    Personally in any situation where it’s relevant to me, I want the BEST judge, the BEST MP, the BEST senior manager, etc etc. And perhaps I should add I currently have a pretty good female MP, and I have worked with some pretty good female (and non-white) senior managers.
    What I would definitely not want would be to have to say “Yes, I know (X) isn’t really very good – but he/she is the right gender, or the right colour, or has the right accent, after all”. “Not good enough, but . . ” means “not good enough” for me.

  27. @Welsh Borderer

    I think further abuse enquiries will damage the political system, but this is required dirty work in the long run.

    IMO, a big driver for many voters concerns is the lack of control over their own lives and double standards that exist.

    Ordinary people caught up in the riots were imprisoned for stealing a bottle of water, while huge scale financial white collar crimes – such as the LIBOR scandal – left the offenders untouched.

    Policies on welfare that means disabled people are getting into debt over essential spare rooms not being paid for, while those promoting the policy and earning £2,600 per week expect the tax-payer to pay for their £30+ breakfast.

    The political class now takes new people largely from a tiny portion of society, and it is very difficult for those without the right social capital to get in, even if they merit it.

    Quite frankly, all this taken together shouts out one thing – them and us. It’s not recent either, but has built up over decades.

    Any information that suggests that those commiting abuse crimes within that strata of society have covered it up will just add to this.

    However, the political system is house built over a huge time period. There are no doubt metaphorical bodies buried deep within it, and we can’t just paint the walls and carry on. I suspect we will have a short to medium term period when confidence in the system will decline further.

    Once the system has been disinfected it can be rebuilt, but it will have to different to now.

  28. Hairaising allegations against dead , very senior Tories in the ‘International Business Times’.
    Nameless , I don’t think David Icke is behind this. I still find it amazing that he was the best goalie Hereford United ever had, and I never would have dreamt cheering him on,in the 1970s what a whacko future career he would have, apart from playing for Coventry City of course.

  29. @ Mike of Sheffield

    “I think we have to accept that (for instance) fewer women want to be senior managers…”
    This comment, by you, makes an excellent case for quotas.

    Please consider why fewer women want to be senior managers – if that is actually the case.

    You might also want to consider whether your perception that fewer women want to be senior managers may, in itself, be a deterrent to women seeking & achieving the roles which they deserve.

  30. @ Ewen Lightfoot

    If the allegation of ‘no action taken’ (which are headlining in the International Business Times) is proved to be true, some Tories & kippers will be very upset. But I doubt it will affect current polling because David Cameron will likely deal with it well. He is simply terrific at apologizing for the past transgressions of others.

  31. @amber these matters effect polls because instead of the intended press campaign, the papers will be full of this…
    It is not good for politics in general, but this does appear to be more of a Tory story at the moment.

  32. @ Mike of Sheffield

    I think the issue is about balance.

    A parliament made up of 650 middle class men, even if they were individually the “best” at doing the job (difficult to define), would not make for the best parliament. Quotas might just open the door to ways of thinking that these best suited for the job people had not thought of. The same is true in reverse of primary schools who find it difficult to get men.

    It’s not the same as some professions where you want the best person to perform an operation or whatever.

  33. One of the primary reasons women are under-represented is because constituency selection committees generally pick men (and that includes the women on the committees). This is particularly true for the Tory Party. One solution is to have open primaries, as the Tories did in Totnes and Gosport in 2009 using postal votes sent to every registered voter, both of which picked women candidates. (They since seem to have dropped the postal ballots, though, making it far less effective.)

  34. @ Chatterclass

    There aren’t any political stories or campaigns at the moment. i.e. It’s the silly season, so I doubt that the current sex abuse scandal is keeping anything poll-shifting out of the news.

  35. Amber
    I have to disagree with you, for one reason, Butler Shloss cannot stay in position if the allegations in the IBT have been made, which they have.

    I predict that the Labour VI will edge up to 38-40 % by mid August.

  36. When is the Conservative poll lead going to materialise?

    A relentless 3 month press campaign rubbishing Ed Miliband doesn’t appear to be the answer, neither does some signs of economic recovery…..Is it down to the 2015 Budget followed by 3 months of throwing the kitchen sink at Labour?

    Its all starting to look a little desperate,

  37. I agree that the Conservative VI needs to be heading upwards at this point, or pretty soon, if they want to be at least largest party. They will need 300+ seats if another coalition with the LD’s is going to happen, otherwise the presumably much reduced LD seat count will not allow them to form a worthwhile, stable coalition as now.

  38. Political Betting are reporting the odds are about 11/4 on a Tory majority, and pretty much even as to who will be the biggest party.

    [snip] Those odds are just absurd, and I reckon they’ve come about because of natural human cognitive biases that make it hard to imagine a large change from the status quo.

  39. The only way Conservative VI is going to head upwards past Labour is for former supporters who are currently supporting UKIP to return. I joined UKIP in 1996 after reading the Maastricht treaty and have voted UKIP since but may vote Tory next year to gain a referendum on the EU and keep E.M. in opposition.

  40. When is the Conservative poll lead going to materialise?

    I thought it had briefly near to the European Elections.
    The ratcheting up of the anti European rhetoric in regard to leaving the EU might help Cameron and the Conservatives in the run up to the GE.
    However part of big business might become a bit queasy about the prospect. So it could become a zero sum game.

  41. Tom

    It will materialise, but maybe not until 2015. The kitchen sink and more will be thrown, I can promise you that. Getting the Tory share up to majority territory remains the aim and is a big challenge.

  42. Tony C

    We are of course backing the Cameron standpoint on Europe. Will he deliver on a referendum ? Possibly. Would he honour an ‘out’ vote ? Everybody close to him will tell you no way.

  43. @ Pressman,

    We are of course backing the Cameron standpoint on Europe.

    So “your” position is there should be an EU referendum and the Prime Minister should ignore it if there’s an Out vote?


    Spread the message …….please :-)

  45. “The kitchen sink and more will be thrown”
    Who would have thought it ? Perhaps the printed papers over-rate their influence in this hi-tec age.
    I prefer the quaint old-fashioned approach in which millions of citizens choose our government rather than press barons.

    But then again perhaps they know best what is good for us and we should meekly accept their wisdom and guidance. Or – please rearrange the following two words into a well known phrase or saying :-
    [ self-snipped to save AW the trouble ]

  46. Can we please not have a repeat of all yesterday’s unpleasant back and forth. I think everyone’s views have been thoroughly expressed on how much difference media attacks on Ed Miliband will or won’t make, and there probably isn’t much to be gained from going over the same ground again.

  47. Spearmint

    Absolutely not. But despite his words, Cameron is very close to TRG members who are strong Europhiles. There will be no exit IMO on his watch.

  48. I would be more inclined to believe that the press could influence VI if;

    – the intense post-euro broadsides against EM/Labour had worked
    – the right-wing press hadn’t lost 5 million readers since 1992
    – the internet didn’t exist

    However, given recent polling evidence I’m not sure how anyone could credibly claim that the press are in the slightest bit capable of changing VI, especially as Labour have received a slight poll boost post-euro elections.

    I agree we shouldn’t just regurgitate old discussions so I will leave it there. Ultimately however it will be interesting to see which of us is right as the 2015 GE approaches – those of us who look at the polling data and believe the press are powerless to prevent EM becoming PM, or those who believe the press can influence VI and ‘seal the deal’ for Cameron.

  49. @YORKCITY: “The ratcheting up of the anti European rhetoric in regard to leaving the EU might help Cameron and the Conservatives in the run up to the GE.”

    Unlikely, though. The EU doesn’t normally rate very high on people’s concerns in a General Election. Domestic issues, like the NHS, come to the fore.

  50. re: the child abuse scandal.

    There clearly a lot of stuff bubbling below the surface that the press are sitting on. Many of these stories have been the rounds for years – so i think we sholdn’t be suprised if theres more to come.
    The fact that the names of several senior tories from the 80s are being mentioned is obviously not good for them – but the greater danger for cameron is if the pubic become angry about a percieved cover up. Butler Schlos is a woefully bad appointment in this respect.

    As for damage to the political system – well personally i am of the opinion that we are overdue a revolution. We haven’t had one since 1649 and the result is an establishment who have had centuries to develop a culture of secrecy and self preservation, policed by the security services.

    The whole system needs opening up – and that will only happen if the whole lot is torn down and rebuilt.

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