A quick catch up of this week’s polls so far, and an update on polling on a Con-UKIP pact.

The first of this week’s two Populus polls had figures of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3% (tabs).
Monday’s Lord Ashcroft poll had topline figures of CON 28%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 8% (tabs). Note the Green score there – up to eight points and one point ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The fact they are up in fourth place is probably just a blip – it’s one poll and no one else is echoing it – but it’s a symptom of the genuine rise we’ve seen in Green support over recent months.
Meanwhile this morning’s YouGov/Sun poll had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6% (tabs)

Stepping back a couple of days, at the weekend YouGov also released an updated version of polling first conducted last year asking how people would vote if there was a Conservative/UKIP pact at the next general election (tabs). There is sometimes a lazy assumption that because the Conservatives and UKIP together have a very healthy level of support a pact between the two parties would be a winner. That is not necessarily the case – parties do no own their voters. If two parties agree to stand to together it doesn’t follow that their voters will go along with it. The usual voting intention in the poll showed Labour four points ahead of of the Conservatives, but with UKIP on 18%. Asked how they would vote with a Conservative/UKIP pact the Labour lead grew to six points. The reason is that only about two thirds of current Conservative voters would back the joint ticket – some would flake away to Labour or the Liberal Democrats, others wouldn’t vote or aren’t sure what they would do. At the same time only just over half of UKIP supporters would follow their party into a deal with the Tories, others would go to Labour, find an alternate “other” party or not vote. This probably paints an artificially bleak picture because many of those don’t knows would hold their noses and vote for the joint-ticket, but it should still serve as an antidote to those thinking a pact is a panacea to Tory woes.

Asking about the specific circumstances of seats where there is a Conservative standing on the joint ticket or a UKIP candidate standing on the joint ticket sheds a little more light on the don’t knows. Essentially just over 10% of Conservatives and UKIP voters are lost anyway if there is a pact, even if a candidate for their own party is standing locally – presumably people totally opposed to co-operation with the other party. If a candidate for the other party is standing locally, only a minority (36-40%) of the other parties support is transferred across.

200 Responses to “Latest polls, and how people would vote with a Con-UKIP pact”

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  1. Oh and pups – I met someone today whose entire family are from Barnard Castle. I did ask if they knew your dad but they said no.

  2. @MrNameless

    We will see but I know the people in RIC and they have found a new purpose in life and that is to see the Labour candidates defeated at the GE. So I think their self-discipline will last another 7 months.

  3. “In what alternative universe do you imagine that the GB Con/Lab/LD parties would agree to present a single common candidate in the 59 Scottish seats?”

    The one you seem to be inhabiting where the Yes side can manage the same.

  4. @Mr Nsmeless

    Remember RIC is a campaign group – they don’t stand candidates or have policies. They campaign for Independence, against Benefit Sanctions, Bedroom Tax, ATOS etc

  5. Couper2802

    Just re-read Hosie’s statement. That interpretation makes sense.

    And in that context, Roger H’s suggestion would be true as well.

    The Unionist parties will use their supporters in the media (including their CBI members) to campaign against parties supporting Devo Max – in practice the SNP.

  6. @PostageIncluded

    “The difference between most of these systems and ours is that the result of the election is decided by leaders of parties after the election instead of by electors during it.”

    Leaving aside what happened in May 2010, are you sure about that? Our system more often than not gives a definitive result with either a Labour or Tory majority government, but are those outcomes a real reflection of the wishes of the electors? They are a product of our electoral system, granted, but I’d be careful about making grandiose claims about their democratic validity.

    On another subject, this polling on the attractiveness or otherwise of a Tory/UKIP electoral pact is interesting. I’ve never subscribed to this simplistic x+y=z, linear approach to politics, assuming voters respond obediently and in a pavolvian way to trusty levers and stimulants. Now more than ever we have a volatile and non-aligned electorate, promiscuous and disobedient in their behaviour. Old orthodoxies are completely defunct in this world and to think that focus group or opinion poll generated gimmicks to” woo back” voters will work as they once did is to totally misunderstand why people have flocked to parties like UKIP and the SNP. Their attraction lies more in what they’re not rather than what they are. Until the mainstream parties fully grasp that then their efforts to stem the creeping disillusionment with what we call Westminster politics will be futile.

    The UKIPs of this world feed off cynicism essentially, probably more than distrust. The reason that Cameron’s pledges on taxation and immigration have gained no traction is that no one really believes that what he promises will actually materialise. Miliband probably suffers in this way too. Farage’s fine line in mockery plays to a willing audience. “Don’t believe these charlatans, they never deliver on what they promise!”

    In this sense, particularly UKIP, the attraction has very little to do with hard political issues like the EU, immigration or taxation. The key is their pretence to be something different and new, to say it like it is, to talk the people’s language, to be authentic, to just not be like that other bloody lot. It’s the purest cobblers of course, but it’s clever and it’s working.

  7. @Old Nat

    The unionists have a problem.

    If Pressman and the Press want a Con government then they will be against Labour. So Labour might find themselves deserted by their new friends I the Tory press.

  8. Couper2802

    I’m sure that’s true of the London press, but Boothman is still Head of News at BBC Scotland, the weekday Herald, Scotsman, SoS, P&J will continue their line – even the massively loss-making Daily Record will still probably limp on to May.

    Whether they are persuasive enough any more compared with social media and personal interaction will be interesting to see.

  9. @ Couper 2802

    We will see but I know the people in RIC and they have found a new purpose in life and that is to see the Labour candidates defeated at the GE.
    That’s not a new purpose in their life. That’s been their objective since Militant parted company with the Labour Party back in Neil Kinnock’s day.

  10. @ Adge3

    From last thread: I am flattered that you remember what I said about Nick Clegg long before it became ‘common knowledge’. And I appreciate your thoughts on Labour’s record regarding gender equality. Thank you!

  11. @Couper2802
    “If Pressman and the Press want a Con government then they will be against Labour. So Labour might find themselves deserted by their new friends I the Tory press.”

    Lol! Labour has friends in the Tory press? Goodness me… They gave Tony Blair a reasonable time because they thought he was one of them and they had no credible opposition party to support. As for the referendum they did not support Labour but the Tories who on a binary question happened to be on the same side. Also, if you read any of the Tory press outside Scotland during the campaign, they made it out that DC’s personal intervention at the eleventh hour swung it for No.

    I think Labour will do ok in Scotland. They will lose seats to the SNP but not a huge number. As for people who say they will never vote Labour again, we’ll have to wait and see how that develops.

  12. @oldnat – “Any polling on tomorrow’s by election for Westminster?”

    Errm… it’s Wednesday today, and the byelection is not until next month. You’ll have other things on your mind no doubt, all the best btw.

  13. On the “Who would break where” front in the face of a pact, it’s interesting: Where the Tory candidate stands down, the Tories leak off to the LibDems most strongly. UKIP leaks off to “another party” (I suspect a mix of the BNP and the English Democrats) and Labour about evenly.

    In both cases, around a third don’t vote/don’t know…but candidate-less Tories lean towards “Don’t Know” (probably not wanting to admit where they’d vote, if I had to guess, or folks who just hadn’t thought the idea out) while those in UKIP lean “Won’t Vote” (which goes to UKIP hoovering up disenfranchised voters).

  14. KEN

    Re the Blues, I agree. As someone who normally thinks watching football is like watching paint dry, I actually enjoyed the ten minutes of the match that I watched. The blues really seemed to understand that the basic principle is to get the ball into the opponents goal which is at the other end of the pitch. The last time i watched a little of an England match England seemed to spend most of the time passing the ball back towards their own goal. My wife thinks England players should be given a pitch map at the beginning of each half.

    Level pegging in the polls at the moment. I’m not expecting decisive movement until late in the campaign.

  15. On the possibility of a “Yes” pact I seem to remember Tommy Sheridan making similar noises on BBC Scotland on the morning of the referendum result so it wouldn’t surprise me to see people like RIC campaigning for SNP candidates at Westminster while opposing them at Holyrood.

    Worth remembering Solidarity didn’t stand any candidates in the 2010 general election however so no change for them. They also didn’t stand in Glasgow region in the 2011 election to try and maximise George Galloway’s chances of getting elected so they’re not averse to voting pacts with No supporters!

  16. @Couper 2802.

    “Labour might find themselves deserted by their new friends I the Tory press.”

    And they would be?

  17. In terms of the Scottish Greens they stood in 20 of the 59 constituencies in 2010 and lost their deposits in 19, with Robin Harper in Edinburgh East being the sole deposit held (5.2%) and again he’s not an ideal Yes pact candidate being as he voted No!

    I could however see the Green’s deciding to adopt a targeting strategy of standing in less seats than 2010 to both help the SNP but also allow resource targeting on the seats they run in.

    Obviously Edinburgh and Glasgow are their key strong areas so the logical thing would be to pick one seat in each city and focus all their supporters and councillors in each city on winning those 2 seats.

    You would want seats with a weak 2010 SNP presence and high 2010 Liberal Democrat vote to pick off especially if a large part of that 2010 LD vote was from students. Edinburgh South and Glasgow North seem like two decent prospects for them on that basis.

    Historically Martin Bartos got 7.6% of the vote in Glasgow North in 2005 (fell back to 3.2% in 2010) but has a higher profile now as a Councillor and he has contested the seat twice at Westminster as well as Glasgow Kelvin once at Holyrood (2007 when he was the only Green constituency candidate).

    I doubt the SNP would be willing to not stand candidates in these two seats or elsewhere but they could focus resources and campaigning elsewhere tacitly acknowledging Greens as a potential lead contender for Yes voters in a limited number of seats.

  18. On the balance of payments thing that got mentioned earlier. Stress tests and stuff…

    There are a couple of important things to note about this. The first, is that it is a consequence of the current economic strategy, begun under the last government and continuing ever since. We are keeping interest rates low, to prop up demand here at home. But a side effect, especially given difficulties in economies elsewhere, is our firms will be selling more here at home and less abroad.

    Which leads to a trade imbalance. Our investments abroad aren’t doing very well either, which adds to our woes. The problem with all this, as Peston notes, is that a worsening trade deficit with the rest of the world could lead to investors worrying about it and consequently a significant fall in the value of Sterling. Which would lead to inflation as the cost of imported goods rises.

    Which could force a rise in interest rates to control the inflation, the thing they were trying to avoid. There’s the irony, in which trying to keep interest rates low results eventually in having to increase them.

    That’s why they’ve been conducting stress tests on the banks.* Rising rates would cause job losses as firms struggle with rising investment costs, and a collapse in property prices, hence they have run tests under those scenarios, including a 35% fall in house prices. The good news is the banks seemed to do ok under those conditions.

    The bad news is that those conditions – surging unemployment and collapsing property prices – nonetheless might not be good for VI. Depends who’s in power when it happens as to who takes the hit, of course…

    * One should note, that it is not Alec with his truffles-of-doom conducting these stress tests, worrying about the impact of the trade deficit. It is the Bank of England.

  19. @Amber Star What did you say so presciently about Nick Clegg. Unlike Adge3 I sadly missed it.

  20. Its all very well asking people this side of a GE what they think about a Tory UKIP deal, but first ask yourself what the average Tory voter would have said, about a deal with the LD’s in April 2010.
    People strike all kinds of attitudes, without considering the alternatives. IMPO, the kippers will not get enough seats to make much of a difference. Reading what they have to say on Con Home and particularly the Specky, Cameron is as big a left wing toad as Miliband and they (UKIP) are going to win 40 seats. Such attitudes drive me back to the bosom of my friends on UKPR.

  21. Chouenlai,

    You raise a good point, although I don’t think most Conservatives voted that way in 2010 desiring a coalition with the LDs. As we know from polling, hardly any LDs voted that way wanting a coalition with the Tories. It would be interesting to see what would have happened if people had known that a LD-Con coalition would have resulted.

    Telegraph comments are good to read for a laugh, too. The mind boggles at the ones who consider Dan Hedgehogs some kind of radical left winger. Who voted for Boris Johnson.

    Can some pollster please ask the question “If you had the casting vote over which party would run the government, for whom would you cast it?”. I’d like to see how it would go – and I suspect the Labour and Conservative parties would suffer.

  22. @Chouenlai

    “IMPO, the kippers will not get enough seats to make much of a difference.”

    Or the Tories either.

  23. With a little over six months to go, the polls close and the largest two parties sharing a little over 60% of VI one can easily imagine 5 possible General Election outcomes.

    The least likely is probably a stalemate, but I think it is a real possibility. For this to occur a number of things have to happen. Each on its own is easily imagined, it just becomes a little less likely when the cumulative effect is weighed.

    1) The Liberal Democrats must lose half their seats.
    2) The SNP must make substantial gains from Labour. (20 + seats)
    3) The Conservative performance in Con/Lab marginals must be impacted by UKIP.
    4) UKIP must win a few seats.

    Actually those last two are probably optional rather than conditional.

    In these circumstances I can foresee a situation where no two parties (apart from Lab & Con) can reach 326.

    Lab would need the LDP and the SNP. (I can’t see that lasting 5 years)

    Con would need the LDP, DUP and the UKIP or SNP (and that is hardly a recipe for harmony either)

    Lab 281
    Con 281
    NI Parties 18
    LDP 25
    SNP 35
    UKIP 5
    Green 1
    Respect 1
    PC 3

    How long before we start talking about the FIRST General Election of 2015?


    @”How long before we start talking about the FIRST General Election of 2015?”

    Its been mentioned-by me for one.

    It tends not to generate much discussion though.

    But I feel certain that Nigel Farage thinks about it quite a lot :-)

  25. TOH

    Loving your description of the aim of football. If only it were that simple! It is the infinite complexities of the game that make it the most widely followed sport on the planet.

    But your comments reminded me of our Sunday League team’s manager 25 years ago. A deep thinker on the game. He came into the changing room one Sunday morning, the week after a particularly humiliating defeat and said (and I quote, verbatim – it’s seared on my brain):

    “I’ve been thinking about last week and I know what we need to do to improve. You, defenders, have got to make tackles and win the ball. Then give it to the midfielders. You, midfielders, lay the ball out to the wingers. You, wingers, get round your man and put in a cross. And you two, strikers, control the ball and bang it in the back of the net. What do you think lads?”

  26. Holding a second GE 1974-style could be quite a devious anti-UKIP move. Like the Liberals 40 years ago, they lack the funds and energy to fight two general elections in a row.

  27. Also loving the little Mike Read sideshow. It just goes to show that whatever surreal themes they come up with in the scripts for Alan Partridge and The Thick of It, they’ll never be quite as daft as reality!

  28. LRR
    You’ve posted this before IIRC.

    To me the arithmetic works out fine for a Lab LD SNP coalition. It’s not bad for a Con LD SNP one either, but I suspect EM is more amenable to Devo max without needing EV4EP (or whatever the acronym is).

    I just know that the smell of power will concentrate minds impressively. It always does.

  29. My favourite football manager pep talk is the one that begins…”It is no coincidence that you are all similarly dressed”

  30. Leftylampton

    I’m sure its a great game for those who love and understand it, I just have never seen the complexity you obviously see. Cricket and Rugby Union for me. Now cricket is a complex came, at least proper cricket ie Test cricket.

  31. Billy Bob

    @oldnat – “Any polling on tomorrow’s by election for Westminster?”

    Errm… it’s Wednesday today, and the byelection is not until next month. You’ll have other things on your mind no doubt, all the best btw.

    You fell into his cunning(ly worded) trap:


    The list of candidates also includes the mini-statements by them, which are definitely worth reading for lovers of unintentional comedy.

    This is one of the 15 elected by the whole House of Lords and so we miss out on the usual bizarre spectacle of the number of candidates being larger than the number of electors. This may explain why the result isn’t up on the website yet (it was actually yesterday).

  32. Interesting set of questions, though I seem to remember AW saying that answers to polls asking hypothetical questions are notoriously unreliable.

  33. AW says that almost everything’s unreliable tho’…

  34. ToH
    I too love RU , but I love football as well.
    The thing is , IMHO , the skill levels are vastly different, as long as they can run and catch a ball almost anybody can play Rugby well enough and with training can be brought up to a high standard. Also the variety of different roles among the 15 positions means that virtually all physical types get a look in.
    To excel at football you need to be exceptional. Also the physical type does not vary much, Peter Crouch being a rare exception ( incidentally I think Norwich Cathedral is the Peter Crouch of Cathedrals ! )
    Rugby is a territorial battle with lots of set-piece situations , line outs ,scrums, etc, which are an integral part of the game. Football thrives on spontaneity and is a bit like chess in that a winning move can originate almost anywhere.


    “I’m sure its a great game for those who love and understand it, I just have never seen the complexity you obviously see. Cricket and Rugby Union for me. Now cricket is a complex came, at least proper cricket ie Test cricket.”


    See, that’s what we need, an election over five days, two innings each. Best of Five matches. Where you can get opposing politicians out. Wherevwho seems to be winning keeps changing, session-by-session. Bouncers, Sixes, Last-ditch stands. Lots and lots of stats. Duckworth-Lewis. Pimms. Barmy Army. Travelling to foreign climbes. Boycott Bingo. Test Match Special doing the election commentary. Much better…


    “Holding a second GE 1974-style could be quite a devious anti-UKIP move.”

    It’s not so easy to arrange one now, though. Thanks to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act it requires either a No Confidence vote or the approval of a two-thirds majority. (And Labour’s not exactly flush with cash either.)

  37. Colin

    I wonder what will happen to polling if the polls leading up to the election suggest a complete stalemate? Might provide and extra amount of squeeze as the public are told essentially “get off the fence”.

    Just like one yes poll in Scotland likely had a “wake up” effect on the no campaign, a series of polls which suggest the country is walking into an ungovernable mess might have a similar effect. It’d be a less definite effect as it’d not be as dramatic an event.

    I have no idea under these conditions which vote will be more squeezable, SNP to Lab giving them extra seats in Scotland or the marginal excess of bluekip vs redkip plus greens in English marginals.

    As for a UKIP pact, very unlikely although I can see an element of UKIP not fighting hard for blue votes in Lab/Con marginals in exchange for a similar deal in labour seats that UKIP see as winnable, a case of let’s not fight where it would do us most harm. Clearly not all the vote will transfer but there could be significant blue/purple tactical voting similar to (historical) red/yellow voting in seats where one party is out of the running. At the moment it’s hard to tell which seats are susceptible to a tactical vote so it probably won’t be effective.

    What Farage’s long term thoughts are, who can tell? If he wants to turn his party into one that picks up more than a few seats in a GE, he needs to target those seats he can win (and get decent candidates who don’t say stupid stuff once elected to fill them). A second 2015 election will make it clear which seats he can win and remove the fog of war a little from the map. I’d expect tactical voting between blue/purple to increase once the lie of the land is revealed after a real election.

    I’m not sure that moving to the right is the solution for the Tories, a lot of UKIPs vote is an anti establishment one and even if they released similar manifestos, those people would still vote UKIP. Let them sit out on the fringe and trust enough of their ex-tory vote will get squeezed when it becomes apparent they can’t compete in the bulk of the UK seats.

  38. So SNP will end up holding the balance of power in Westminster? Will Salmond’s be tempted to enter the fray?

  39. mrnameless

    Holding a second GE 1974-style could be quite a devious anti-UKIP move. Like the Liberals 40 years ago, they lack the funds and energy to fight two general elections in a row.

    Actually I suspect UKIP would be the main beneficiaries in such a situation. They can probably round-up enough cash (Labour and the Lib Dems might have more trouble) and their membership would probably be fired up by any successes. Potential targets would be better identified as well.

    Most of all they would point to the chaos that required a second election as showing how the Westminster system was broken and only they could fix it. Yes I know that would be nonsense, but it might be successful as rhetoric.

    For this reason I suspect trying for a second 2015 election soon after the first may not be a popular option, even for the Conservatives (no matter how much Pressman and his mates assure them they can deliver them a majority, presumably on the grounds of third time lucky).

    It’s also worth pointing out that it would need the co-operation of several Parties to do so – either to repeal the fixed term bill or to arrange a vote of no confidence and prevent any alternative government being approved. So you need to put together a majority of the Commons made up of Parties that think they will all do better next time and hold that coalition together for a while. In which case why not form a government? Especially as that could include groups that definitely didn’t want a new election.

    Remember as well that October 1974 didn’t really change things that much. Labour took around 20 seats off the Conservatives – enough to give them a tiny majority, the Liberals only lost one seat net, SNP and PC made further small gains. It’s not like the electorate decided that they wanted to get rid of hung parliaments for ever and delivered an enormous majority.

  40. Roger M,

    All interesting, all feasible.

    Does that mean that the likeliest coalition partners in any near stalemate situation would be those who feared a second election most?

    And who would that be?

  41. Valerie

    “Will Salmond’s be tempted to enter the fray?”

    Will Salmond’s wot be tempted to enter the fray?

  42. TOH

    I love cricket and agree on its complexity. But it is (like Rugby to a great extent, and also like most other sports) a game of staged set-pieces. The skill comes in both being technically able to dominate a given set-piece, but also in being able to tip the odds in your favour by strategy and psychology.

    As Ewwn says, football is very different. It is a far more spontaneous game and at the highest level, it requires an exceptional ability to extemporise whilst being pushed to the physical limits AND having a general structure to work within. The goal that Maradona scored against England in Mexico City in 1986 was (for the standards of the time) an almost superhuman example of technical ability, physical prowess and improvised thinking. The goal scored by James Rodriguez in this year’s World Cup was an equally breathtaking example of a improvised decision making, coolness under pressure and technical execution.

    At its best, football gives a stage for these combinations of abilities that no other sport comes close to. It combines grace, intelligence, instinct and physicality like no other sport. That’s why it is by a street the most popular sport in the world.

    Although as a Donny Rovers fan, I don’t expect to see anything other than a thud and blunder defeat most weeks.

  43. People looked at me oddly when I said from the beginning of the referendum campaign that Salmond would return to Westminster. Most ruled it out. But Salmond is much more at home in Westminster. He can barely hide his contempt for the Scottish Parliament.

  44. @Lefty L/Little Red Rock

    My favourite, probably apocryphal, football team talk was one alleged to have been given by the Bald Eagle, Jim Smith, when he was manager of the habitually hapless Birmingham City in the late 70s. Unusually for those times, they had an overseas player amongst their ranks, a certain Alberto Tarantini who had played for Argentine in the 1978 World Cup. Birmingham, as was/is their wont, had made an awful start to the season and after about ten games without a win, Jim Smith decided to convene a heart to heart team meeting at the Blues training ground, then situated close to Birmingham’s Elmdon Airport. Smith started his team talk in comical, broken English. “You see this picture on wall. It is goal. That is left post and this is right post. The longer post above is crossbar. Everyone following? Right, now when we play we need to put ball between two smaller posts and below the longer one above so it goes into the net. When ball goes in net it is a goal………”. At this stage, one of the Blues players, feeling somewhat protective towards Tarantini piped up and said, “Hang on gaffer, Alberto does understand a bit of English you know.” Quick as a flash, Jim Smith retorted in his usual verbal mode. “I’m talking to him, you f—–g idiot, I’m talking to the whole bloody lot of you!”

    Ever since I first heard this story, I’ve always desperately wanted it to be true! :-)

  45. Perhaps tv has changed both football and rugby polarising the differences. They used to both be physical played with a heavy ball. Now physicality has pretty much disappeared from football but increased stunningly literally as well as figuratively in rugby.
    In football the ball has changed out of all recognition, making what was once impossible seem easy.

  46. The best ever half time team talk



    “People looked at me oddly”

    They still do.

  48. ALAN

    Great question & interesting thoughts.

    I’m the last person to ask-I don’t understand polling.

    But for what it is worth ( next to nothing !) :-

    On “squeezable” votes-does it really work like that-at a national level? Or is it much more localised, prompted by local candidates & doorstep stuff?

    On UKIP/Con pacts , I agree . I don’t think they will happen given DC & NF in place.

    On Farage’s plan-I very much agree with Roger Mexico. A failed, short term administration will play right into his hands. If its a Labour lead one, then DC will already be gone &NF will look to join forces with Cons in some way. I think the mantra will be just as RM suspects-look at this mess-only we can sort it out.
    If the new government is Con lead , and unstable-mmm-not at all sure what NF would try to engineer .

    Re your last para-I just don’t see how he can ignore them. Going down badly after waving the huge UKIP VI & MP defections loftily away as unimportant isn’t possible for DC. He has to react-and I think talk of “moving right” is irrelevant. If the OPs tell him that former Con voters have left for UKIP because of concerns about immigration-conflated in some way with EU membership-he must try & reach out. How far, and in what way is a matter of judgement.

    But thats why he is the leader of his party-he is there to make those judgements & live or die by them.

    We can all be armchair experts with our own agendas-but he actually has to deal with it.

  49. Barney

    I disagree that physicality has disappeared from football. Look at footage of the Pele/George Best era. Sure there were some barbarously violent challenges, but there wasn’t the relentless physical interaction that you see in today’s hi-tempo football. Sit or stand in the front row at a professional game and the intensity of even the most routine tackles is breathtaking.

    A couple of years ago, I watched back-to-back, two YouTube videos. One of great moments by Pele. One of great moments by Zidane. In the former, it was astonishing how much time and space Pele was afforded by his oppponents. Tackles did come and they were aggressive, but they were few and far between and they were usually telegraphed, giving an expert player time to react. In the Zidane case, the pressure by his opponents was relentless. The moment he had the ball, he’d have athlete’s closing him down, pushing, kicking at him, climbing all over him, holding him. And yet he was still able to generate space and to have his brain working on a higher plane despite the exhausting physical encounters.

    I am utterly in awe of the ability of modern footballers. Even if they are often dick-heads…

    And that’s all before you factor in the fact that modern footballers typically run twice as far in 90 minutes as a player did 40 years ago.

  50. TOH

    Very much agree with your point about relative “complexity” between Soccer on the one hand, and Rugby Union & Cricket on the other.

    The fact that you can summarise the objective in soccer in such a few words pretty much makes the point. Yes patterns of movement, and positional play are all factors. And the more of both which are employed, the more enjoyable the spectacle. But even then the “passing game” being more pleasing than the “route one/long ball game” doesn’t seem to me to add “complexity.

    I don’t see how the complexity of a five day cricket test match which adds so many variables to mere positional play, including the effect of things like cloud cover & way the pitch was prepared, can be compared to a game of soccer.

    As for Rugby Union, which I love watching, the rules & tactics of the Scrum alone ( I never understand the commentary) , never mind those of other phases of play in the game , put it in a different league on the complexity measure for me.

    But played at their best they are all very enjoyable to watch. I suppose that’s the main thing.

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