This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%. This is a second YouGov poll in a row showing a three point lead. That could possibly be an impact from a week spent on the topic of tax avoidance, but equally it could easily just normal random error spitting out a couple of polls with above average leads in a row.

Most of the rest of the YouGov poll concentrates on that issue: HSBC, tax avoidance and evasion and party funding. Public opinion is predictably hostile towards HSBC – 80% think it’s unacceptable for banks to actively help their clients avoid tax, 75% unacceptable for them to turn a blind eye to clients doing things to avoid tax. By 71% to 15% people think that HSBC should face criminal investigation.

Blame for allowing banks to assist clients with avoiding tax is fairly evenly spread between Labour and the Conservatives. 21% think the last Labour government was more to blame, 14% that the current coalition government is more to blame, but 44% think both equally. Looking forwards, Labour have a lead on which party would do the most to tackle tax avoidance and evasion – 23% to the Conservatives’ 16%, though 50% of people said none or don’t know, suggesting little real faith in any of the parties to address the issue (compare and contrast this to the ComRes poll yesterday that showed Miliband and Cameron equal on 31% on the issue – that may be the effect of asking about leaders rather than parties, or perhaps it was because YouGov made it easier for people to say neither).

Moving onto party funding the public are critical of both the Conservative’s reliance on business funding and Labour’s reliance on Union funding. By 48% to 30% people think Labour should try and reduce Union funding, by 52% to 25% people think the Conservatives should try and reduce their business funding. More broadly only 24% of people think that donors give money purely to support a party, 68% think they do so also (19%) or mainly (49%) in the hope of getting something in return like honours or influence. Around two thirds of people would support a cap on business and trade union donations, 51% would support a cap on individual donations to political parties. There is little support though for state funding – only 19% would support taxpayer funding with 59% opposed. Even a forced choice between the current situation of a labour party getting trade union funds & a Conservative party getting business funds or a system of state funding, people would prefer the status quo by 63% to 37%.


284 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 35, LD 7, UKIP 15, GRN 7”

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  1. SPEARMINT

    All I’m trying to point out is that Labour are overplaying their importance to the Scottish electorate.

    I know people refer back to the Callaghan government and the subsequent loss of SNP MP’s after it collapsed but we are now in a totally different set up and the rules have changed. rools R rools but they have changed.

    Devolution and the delivery of more powers to Scotland will mitigate much of the negative impact from the Tories which Labour say will hit Scots hard so the old rule (rool) book has been booted into the long grass.

    I really hope this clears things up.

  2. I did indeed mean of but I only saw it after I’d posted and didn’t think it worth adding another post to say that’s what I meant.

    I know that’s what you’ve been saying all along and the post was partly in homage to you and your two pups.

  3. Allan Christie @ SPEARMINT (who may be unwise to assume that she knows what I think!)

    As the local representative of the Lib -> SNP -> Lab -> SNP (heading Green) faction, I agree that Spearmint asks the wrong question, but also that you give the wrong answer! :-)

    It’s not just that most Scots don’t want to be governed by a South of England regional party (many would see Scots Tories as much less toxic if they would break that link), but I think that the SNP leadership seem to be have decided on two tactical positions –

    1. There is no majority for independence currently, and the gradualist position that they adopted under Salmond actually works most smoothly by a constant accretion of powers rather than a “big bang”.

    2. As long as we are in the UK, under Devo-Max, or even with independence, Scotland’s best interests are served by the rUK not being driven down the small state model that the English Right are pursuing. Building anti-austerity support in other places is useful. In any case, Sturgeon’s model isn’t actually that different from Miliband’s – once you take out the pre-election posturing on both sides.

    http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/blog/the-snp-and-austerity-how-different-are-they-to-the-other-parties/

    Pushing Milkband (post-election) in a way that many Lab supporters would agree with makes sense.

    In any case, who would trust that Cameron could actually ensure (or even want) that his backwoodsmen would vote to dismember the British state?

  4. @ Allan Christie,

    I know people refer back to the Callaghan government and the subsequent loss of SNP MP’s after it collapsed

    We denbunked this on UKPR a while ago. It turns out that the collapse of the SNP post-Callaghan is basically a myth- what actually happened in most of their seats is that they held steady while the Tories surged ahead of them, so the Tories picked up the seat.

    The fact that it didn’t happen then doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen now, though.

    Devolution and the delivery of more powers to Scotland will mitigate much of the negative impact from the Tories

    It really won’t, because the overall budget is set in Westminster. Holyrood can shift money around from department to department but it can’t alter the overall spending levels, so if Osborne is chancellor Scotland will get just as much austerity as everyone else. Even if Holyrood gets more tax powers it’s not going to offset this very much, because borrowing rather than tax is the big determinant- you’d have to raise taxes a lot to make up the difference. And you’re never going to get to borrow independently because that affects the currency.

    Whether or not the SNP can convince people this is the case is another question. I would never underestimate the persuasive powers of a party that can convince 37% of its followers that the plummeting oil price doesn’t affect Scotland’s economy.

    That said, I’d suggest that as a Conservative/SNP voter you’re somewhat atypical. It would be downright bizarre if you rebelled over the idea of the SNP propping up a Tory prime minister! Glasgow may feel differently.

  5. “I did indeed mean of but I only saw it after I’d posted”

    I like that sentence very much Norbold.

    Ta for the part homage by the way: we shall treasure it always.

  6. Apologies if you have discussed this before.

    All this talk of swing back and no swingback caused me to check some numbers using the last five YouGov polls over the last six days. Percentage of respondents who say they will not vote or do not know how they will vote:

    Ros 21.6%
    London 20.6%
    North 20.2%
    M/W 19%
    Scotland 15%

    In fact the average of those who say they will not votes is supposedly only 3.6% in Scotland.

    How likely is it that first time voters or returning voters will swing back to Labour or Conservative if they decided to vote because they are now attracted to SNP?

    The same would be true for UKIP voters who voted for them in the European election when turnout was in the high thirties, but now when turnout is likely to be in the low sixties that bloc of UKIP voters becomes much smaller, but in effect has not moved from UKIP at all.

    So the question might be that a whole number of Labour and Conservative voters abstain at a European election, but then turn out at a UK wide one.

    Further 6% of the vote for the Green in the European election could mean that their supporters are dedicated to turnout, but 6% in a general election at double the turnout means that the absolute number of Green voters has expanded.

    Pollsters asking someone if they voted in 2010 really does not answer the question, but asking a voter if they voted in 2014 and how they voted might actually give us a better picture.

    Are the UKIP and Green voters who supported them in the European elections on the move or are they staying put?
    And if they voted for them in 2014 how firm are their intentions now.

    The volatile UKIP, Gren and even LD voters may be those who did not participate in the European elections?

    Was Scotlands turnout higher than the rest of the UK?

  7. @Allan
    As do I, sometimes! You seem, however, to have a rather ‘broad brush’ approach at times, which is, I suspect, what R&D is/are objecting to.

    What you failed to specify (at least on this occasion) and what, I suspect, is difficult for many south of the border to understand sufficiently, is that so much of policy making is now taking place, or will soon be taking place, at Holyrood, that who inhabits No. 10 can seem a trifle irrelevant.

    Not so, of course.

    But if Labour gets into No. 10 and fails, then the SNP win out – in the end. if the Tories get in, then the SNP is shown to be right in saying that the English vote differently. If Labour gets in and does well – which must include additional massive further devolution measures – then the SNP will have more power to use in Holyrood, thus reducing still further the real power of MPs being sent south.

    It’s not a ‘no win’ situation for Labour in Scotland – for, after all, by 2021 they could well be back in power in Scotland – and it isn’t all plain sailing for the SNP, for one miscalculation could put back their cause for a generation. But so far the SNP still seem to be better at reading the runes.

    And before any one says “Well, they lost the referendum”, I repeat what I have said here before: the SNP overall majority in 2011 was unexpected and threw AS’s calculations out of balance. He was forced into it. Given the mass media attack, the Yes side did rather well, I would say.

    But do we really have to keep telling people south of the Border all this?

  8. @ Old Nat,

    SPEARMINT (who may be unwise to assume that she knows what I think!)

    Fair enough! The SNP’s ABT problem may be bigger than even I’d thought, then. :D

    You have seemed noticeably more ambivalent about the party’s future Westminster plans than Couper, though. I took that to mean you were yourself somewhat open to a really good offer form the Conservatives, but perhaps you were just operating under the wise assumption that politicians will do whatever they have to in order to achieve their desired outcome?

    @ Barney Crockett,

    One remembers Pete Wishart’s “Tory friends!” speech. But that does seem to be a direction that the party leadership is moving away from, whatever the base is up to. And if the worst insult they can think up for Labour is “Red Tories” it’s difficult to see how they, ideological as they are, could countenance voting with the real Tories in all their Southern English conservative glory.

    Time will tell, I suppose.

  9. john B

    Nice to read some sensible analysis – that is largely what I am here for.

    “Given the mass media attack, the Yes side did rather well, I would say.”

    Not sure there was a mass media attack but yes, YES did amazingly well – certainly better than my 60/40 over-confident prediction. I am sensible enough to realise that 55/45 is a very big difference.

    “But do we really have to keep telling people south of the Border all this?”

    Apparently so. I can only assume that the new tactic is to push for a referendum on Scotland leaving the Union – but this time to be held by the English……………….

  10. Andy

    “Was Scotlands turnout higher than the rest of the UK?”

    No. GB 34.19% : Sco 33.5%

    With such low turnout figures, I don’t think the EU elections provide much of a guide.

  11. Actually, since they do opinion polls with all sorts of daft questions I think one aimed at an England only, asking for a response to a new referendum on Scotland toddling off, could be quite interesting.

    I would still want them to stay of course; I like them best when they’re McGrumpy.

  12. R&D

    I haven’t come across any situation where a state has voted to expel a constituent part. Indeed, it is probably a breach of the UNCHR.

    If England (and any other nations in the UK that wanted to go along with them) chose to vote for their own independence that would be a different matter.

  13. Spearmint

    Sadly, I am forced to remain inactive at present.

    Still, I did manage to do an hour of gardening today, with the help of my wife, so I’m mightily chuffed by that!

  14. missis minty

    “He keeps Old Nat up all night posting.”

    You write that as though it’s a good thing.

  15. @ Old Nat,

    Hurrah! How’s the recovery from your surgery going?

  16. Spearmint,
    An interesting analysis of Ed.Not that I totally agree but it was good to read.

  17. Spearmint

    Thanks. Getting there. Desperate for the DVLA to give me my driving licence back. I approve of their trying to ensure that drivers don’t drop dead at the wheel and cause carnage – but the bureaucratic wheels grind slowly. (after today’s rugby, I blame the bloody Welsh!)

    Interesting article in the Indy on English Labour shifting position on Uni fees, which would bring them into line with lots of Europe. Of course, they could have looked north.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/university-education-should-be-free-like-the-nhs-says-labours-shadow-universities-minister-10047241.html

  18. Some people Friday and yesterday were predicting that a time would come soon when the continued immobility of the polls would shift the discourse amongst commentators from their previous perceived assumption of a Conservative victory, through last week’s ‘Andrew Neil hang dog expression’ ‘if Labour are so bad why are they still ahead?’, to some actual analysis of the state of the polls and the new reality of campaigning.

    It seems this may be coming true, both Nick Robinson and Adam Boulton have been musing on whether the Miliband team have a better handle on electioneering in a social media, issue-focussed age than their immediate rivals

    Only of interest to the nerdiest of nerds, their views will have no effect on any voters (said with sweeping confidence based on nothing), but fun to see something turning out as predicted.

    Whether the rest of the narrative… this will lead to general public realising Labour have a fighting chance, looking a new at the party and leader and turn to them in in droves is anything more than the wishful thinking of the red teams supporters remains to be seen.

  19. Assiduosity

    “both Nick Robinson and Adam Boulton have been musing on whether the Miliband team have a better handle on electioneering in a social media, issue-focussed age than their immediate rivals”

    While I don’t see much of English social media, could it also be that Robinson/Boulton were mired in swingback theory, and seeking some explanation to excuse their misjudgement?

  20. ON

    “English” social media? Are there cyber barriers at the Solway and Tweed?

  21. I can state pretty confidently that whatever is happening, it has nothing to do with the Miliband team having “a better handle on electioneering”.

  22. @LeftyLampton

    We’re erecting Hadrian’s Firewall.

  23. @Oldnat

    Nick Robinson used his BBC blog and a commentary piece on BBC Radio 4 to advance the idea (the latter was better, the former seemed to be part apology for his error in attributing – by allusion -the ‘Milly Dowler / tax avoidance’ analogy to Miliband’s team).

    Boulton was writing in the Sunday Times, apparently,

    Yes. Could be that they are covering themselves should swingback theory not deliver, but I’ve also read a few ‘Miliband’s better when he’s fighting’ pieces, completely without looking for them.

    Perhaps after months of spouting ‘it’s going to be too close to call’ but looking like they didn’t believe it the main stream media are actually getting geared up for an election battle.

    Could also be that the Conservatives have been extraordinarily quiet this weekend after the ‘fat tax’ launch didn’t seem connect with anyone.

    My view on this – post-Christmas is not a good time to launch an attack on people for being over-weight. Many people will be carrying a winter paunch they feel unhappy with, of course this is not obesity – but people can sometimes be reluctant to throw stones when wobbling about in their glass houses.

  24. @ The Sheep

    LOL :-)

  25. Lefty

    Shorthand.

    If you prefer “social media which is aimed at and read by those in England”.

    Due to the wonders of digital technology, I could access such if I wanted to, just as I could watch the BBC local news in East Anglia, and you could access STV Glasgow.

    I do follow David Schneider, because he is funny, and tales the p*** out of many things, and others of a similar nature.

    I doubt that Robinson/Boulton were referring to that.

  26. @Spearmint

    As I say. Their musings, not mine.

    The thrust of Robinson at least is that elections may have changed, or so Miliband believes, and this necessitates a different approach.

    ‘Method in his madness’ is the phrase.

    His blog doesn’t say so, but the broadcast version also wonders aloud whether a more opportunistic, responsive, PR style of campaign as opposed to grand strategy might work on this occasion.

    I’d have thought actual campaigning has always had a fair mix of opportunistic and strategic, but there you go.

  27. Well here’s my take on what’s happening in Scotland.

    I hope it’s not taken as partisan, rather it reflects the views of an SNP supporter as to why my Party appears to be doing remarkably well.

    You can all make up your own minds of whether it’s wishful thinking making me see the world through Tartan Specs or valid analysis.

    I think I’ve also posted some of these thoughts before so apologies if it isn’t new but it is what I think the polls are telling us.

    A very long time ago doing sociology as part of my degree I read about Hegels idea of the Dialectic, that we get change through the interplay of ideas, it being sometimes looked at as Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.

    Out of two competing ideas comes something new that is neither.

    The referendum was between two such competing ideas; “Independence in Europe” v “Best of Both Worlds”.

    What has emerged seems for want of a better term “Independence in Britain”

    Put another way if we look at the way the Tories have tried to reconcile the two competing demand on the EU, those who want to stay in and those that want to leave, is to say “In Europe but not Run by Europe”.

    I am increasingly convinced that right now a narrow majority of Scots want to be “In Britain but not Run by Britain”

    Those that might have voted Yes but didn’t probably liked the idea of DevoMax with more decisions made in Scotland but didn’t want to risk any of four things; Needing Border Posts, losing Sterling or leaving Nato or the EU.

    Well having secured all four they now fell free to push for DevoMax and a lot more decided in Scotland, more it would appear than the Vow has offered.

    Not only has that lead to a lot more people supporting the SNP because they think it is best placed to get more powers but also best to represent them and protect their interests.

    I am not saying it is true, although I as an SNP supporter tend to think we are, but that a lot of people seem to be intent on voting along those lines.

    It might also partly explain Labours current problem, but also suggest something more worrying for the future, that with LiS and the SNP so ideologically close and with the SNP prepared to support Labour in power, LiS are no longer needed!

    Happy to hear people’s thoughts.

    Peter.

  28. “Mike Smithson [email protected] · 52m52 minutes ago
    ENGLAND only shares from Opinium
    CON 35
    LAB 35”

    A quick google shows that in the 2005 GE the shares in England were Conservative 35.7% and Labour 35.4% – but Labour got 286 English seats and Cons only got 194. If they both got 35% this time in England would the result in English seats be similar?

  29. Assiduosity

    My innate cynicism about political parties, and their desperation to get anyone to listen to them about anything, intensifies during election campaigns.

    [ahem – I know what you mean, but if you’re posting in the spirit of non-partisanship calling what parties do nonsense probably isn’t constructive language to use… AW]

    Transferring that kind of soundbite stuff across to a different platform shows a total lack of understanding.

    The really good performers on social (and other) media are Murphy, Dugdale, Davidson and Sturgeon, who interact with voters (and each other) in real time.

    Kez Dugdale’s “outing” of her Dad as an SNP member is masterclass stuff.

    http://news.stv.tv/scotland-decides/analysis/310055-analysis-david-knowles-on-social-media-at-holyrood-and-westminster/

  30. @Spearmint

    The SNP will not ‘cut a deal’ with the Tories which enables Cameron rather than Miliband to be PM. First for practical reasons as it would be electoral suicide. They have promised not to enable the Tories and if they did it they would have outright lied to their electorate. Second on principle: the SNP believe in self-determination for Scotland -the Tories will have between 0-3 MPs out of 59, they couldn’t possibly square inflicting a Tory government on Scotland with that principle.

    That’s not to say they won’t do deals if the Tories or Tories plus partners have a large minority or small majority & they might for example support EVEL for increased devolution but they would always vote against on a confidence vote.

    If the SNP disappoint me then I think I would give up on politics.

    @Colin

    Well defend Keller’s position that ‘Labour have to win back SNP votes for Miliband to be PM’. Nonsense Labour have to win middle England swing voters as usual.

  31. @Spearmint

    As a non SNP supporter who might or might not vote for them I tend to think they won’t do a deal with the Tories because Sturgeon has said clearly she won’t.

    If Nick Clegg has taught us anything it’s that reversing your promises straight after an election is a bad thing for your political future.

    Anything resembling a confidence vote in a Conservative Govt and SNP will be voting it down as if their lives depended on it.

    Hard to see what if any Devo Max powers they could be offered by Cameron that they couldn’t get out of Miliband instead and thus not annoy new centre left voters.

    Whether this strategy boxes them in too much and allows Miliband to call their bluff is another matter but I’m certain Sturgeon won’t be directly contradicting herself ala “Tuition Fee Clegg”.

  32. @OldNat

    I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with your cynicism, though sometimes I have sympathy for politicians (unfashionable) in that they are generally regarded with disinterest and disdain until they make a decision which is disliked at which point they are often accused of not having listened, whether or not the accusation is fair.

    I definitely agree that those politicians who manage best in the digital age and on social media are those who see the new platforms as a means of conducting an ongoing conversation with the people they represent. And those that recognise the ‘social’ aspect, injecting humour and humanity in their interactions.

    I’d guess these are probably the same set who were / are probably good at surgeries, listening at public meetings when there are matters of local concern at championing those issues on behalf of local communities.

    In addition to Westminster politicians a trend I’ve noticed is that lots of local councillors – of all parties – are particularly good on social media. Occasionally they are too social though, which leads to trouble….

  33. Couper

    (Adopts grandfatherly mode)

    “If the SNP disappoint me then I think I would give up on politics”.

    Of course, they’ll disappoint you at some point. That’s the nature of political parties.

    While giving up on active politics may be better than being the authoritarian follower who sees “their” party as the spouse they married for better or worse – as he beats the sh*t out of you, far better to look around and see if there are better potential partners out there! :-)

  34. Another week of polls and another week where sub-question responses seem at odds with voting intentions. This has been the case for some time with the responses on party leaders, welfare, economic competence, tax, Europe etc appearing to be broadly sympathetic to the centre right side of politics, and today it even appears that the response to the latest tax avoidance brouhaha is as antipathetic to Labour as it is to the Tories.

    So, as Anthony Neil occasionally asks rhetorically, and often with a deep and painful sadness in his eyes, why aren’t the Tories miles ahead? I often ask myself this question too and the answer isn’t immediately forthcoming.

    Unless of course, there is an ingrained reluctance amongst a large section of the electorate to vote Conservative. What other explanation can there be, beyond the sub-question response data being the purest twaddle, perish the thought?

    [Snip]

  35. @ Peter Cairns (SNP)

    “A very long time ago doing sociology as part of my degree I read about Hegels idea of the Dialectic, that we get change through the interplay of ideas, it being sometimes looked at as Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.”

    Yes, and in spite of Hegel’s being a genius, the Absolute Spirit found its rest in the Prussian state – end of dialectics.

    are you suggesting the destiny of the Scottish nation/people found its destiny in the SNP? The dialectics of history is finished too?

    Oddly, Hegel being Hegel, has an odd comment in the second edition: the trick of the spirit remains intact (the trick of the spirit is the same as the trick of history in Vico – he is more appropriate for Scotland than Hegel anyway – what makes something successful will be the source of its failure).

  36. Couper

    I mused a couple of weeks ago on the theme of whether the SNP actually would bring down a Tory-led Govt in a confidence vote.

    I can think of very obvious reasons why they wouldn’t. So, if you don’t mind, despite your comforting words I’ll work on the assumption that the SNP might well find it very much in its interests to let a weak Tory Govt stagger on.

    Now, if the SNP was prepared to make an unequivocal statement on this issue, that would clear everything up.

  37. @Spearmint

    If Labour are moving on tuition fees it means they take the Green threat serioulsy among the youth vote.

    If they want to tackle SNP and PC then they should move to scrap Trident and then transfer saved funds to NHS, public housing and increased benefits for unemployed.

    But the Blairites would think that was too much like Michael Foot and shades of the 1980’s.

    One wonders if Ralph is not turning over in his grave, given what his sons have advocated.

  38. @Peter Crawford
    ‘Personally i think comparing 2015 to ’83, ’87 (classic pro-tory swingback cases) and ’01 and ’05 is absurd. It warms the cockles of the tory heart to brood on thatcher’s turnarounds in those mid-80s years, but it’s simply not comparable. The myth of the tories’ pulling it out of the bag at the last minute continues to dominate press coverage and, it would seem, the labour party and the public.’

    I totally agree. It is worth pointing out,however, that even in the years mentioned above there was no swingback to the incumbent in the final month leading up to Polling Day.

  39. ON

    Nice analogy!

    Of course, many suitors promise the world and are only found out when they have to deliver.

    Salmond’s great good fortune is that he never had to deliver on the wonderful futures he projected of a Scotland in the Euro, in the group of Celtic Tigers, in a Sterling Group, in the petro-economies…

  40. battso

    I assume you read Rawnsley?

    Preston/Bradford final d’you think?

  41. Assiduosity

    Actually, most of the politicians that I’ve known across all parties have gone into it with the intention of doing good.

    There are self-serving exceptions who just select the party that will get them elected – Peter Cairns has alluded to that in the Highlands, and I know of similar ones in the Central Belt – and in the USA!

    Parties, however, are different things, and even the most genuine politicians can get caught up in their “win at any cost” schemes.

    It’s simply more difficult to dissemble in genuine human interaction, which is what I’m seeing from lots of people in Scottish politics – and makes the dinosaurs stand out as they repeat party mantras.

    What’s that US political tag? “Once you learn to fake honesty, you have it made.”

  42. Tomorrow/later this morning sees the latest Ashcroft poll.

    I heard last week that Ashcroft has not shown a single Labour lead this calendar year. Is that correct?

  43. @ Andy Shadrack

    While I sympathise with some of the sentiments in your post, it has the common (in my view fallacious) assumption that in the state budget if a sum is not spent on something, it is available for something else.

    While mathematically it is true, of course, it is flawed in reality. For example, if you build a hospital today (and there’s a need for it) – you can get the resources for it by not spending it on something else. So, it’s the Trident (the UK probably doesn’t need it, but it’s a different matter). Now, we want to use our new hospital next year – where do we have the money from, assuming the aenemic growth to continue? Do we now have something else cut?

    The trouble with all socially necessary, but non-value productive (education, health, etc) sectors is that they require growth or a massive scale redistribution. Dropping one expenditure saves you for one, two or five years, but it will catch up with you.

    (Completely different: The easiest way to avoid deflation is large public spending programmes. It can work miracles. Or can bankrupt countries, like the Soviet Union in 1987-88).

  44. @OldNat

    Agreed.

    Political parties are undoubtedly ‘crowds’ in the ‘crowd theory’ sense, having wills of their own often different, at odds even from the wishes of those within them.

    Social media is great at matters of near direct democracy – so works brilliantly where politicians are engaging on issues of direct representation. Where I fear few can make it work is in seeking to engage and yes, lead rather than simply reflect public opinion on complex propositions – foreign policy, details of economic intervention, ethical issues, civil rights and criminal justice.

    An interview tonight on the radio perfectly summed up the quandary – a politician who remain nameless, replied to every question in terms of ‘what the public want’ ‘what the public will accept’, never once prepared to express a view. If social media encouraged this kind of compliant political class that would be as bad as a distant, unresponsive one, Just my view.

  45. @LeftyLampton

    I reckon the worst possible scenario for the SNP is where after winning 40+ MPs there is a Tory minority government which within a few months leads to Labour forcing a vote of confidence and the SNP having to grit their teeth and bring that government down – knowing that the Scottish electorate may well feel they have had a close run brush with another 5 years of the Tories and despite the electoral logic return to voting Labour.

    So I am sure they are hoping for Miliband to get somewhere just short of a majority so he needs them but he can survive the 5 years.

    And I think it will be a C&S arrangement I cannot imagine SNP MPs being able to adopt collective responsibility on Trident, Austerity etc.

    The advantage for Labour is they could be far more left-wing and blame all the lefty stuff on the SNP so not to frighten middle-England. The SNP won’t mind because it will get them votes in Scotland.

  46. @RAF

    Quite so. Some draws, but otherwise a variety of Conservative leads.

  47. @Lefty

    The SNP have made that statement a number of times.

    The following quotes from Nicola Sturgeon are pretty unambiguous:

    “The SNP would not impose a Tory Government we didn’t vote for on Scotland

    ‘That means we will never support or prop up the Tories in office’

    ” We’ll never ever put the Tories into government.”

  48. Couper

    Four years and nine months ago, I couldn’t imagine a LD party that had campaigned on an economic policy based on a continued Keynesian stimus suddenly doing a volte face and signing up for Austerity.

    Surprising things happen after an Election. So in the absence of some unequivocal red lines from SNP, I’ll let my imagination run wild on the theme of what might happen in mid-May.

  49. Assiduosity

    Agreed. But if politicians are to take the lead (as they must – that’s why we elect them) then they have to be able to provide a balanced argument as to why policy X (among the range of unpalatable options) is the least worst in the circumstances.

    The guidance of God, dodgy dossiers, etc are insufficient.

  50. Couper.

    You see those as unambiguous statements?

    Bless you!

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