YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll is now up here. Topline voting intention are CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%.

Most of the survey was made up of questions about the budget and government spending. If George Osborne has money to spend in the budget 44% would prefer it goes on public services, 25% on tax cuts, 20% on the deficit. In general people would like to see any spending focused up helping low paid people in work (59%), followed by people looking for work (31%), small businesses (25%) and homebuyers (25%). People saving for their retirement, incidentally, comes bottom.

On specific measures most of those YouGov tested got the thumbs up – the most widespread approval was for increasing the personal tax allowance again (83%), limiting child benefit to three children (73%) and raising the NI threshold (71%). Letting people buy back annuities they bought when they were compulsory gets low support, but mainly because of a very high don’t know (I expect people simply don’t understand the change). The only measure that was actually opposed by more people than supported it was cutting taxes on alcohol (33% would support, 50% would oppose).

Moving onto government spending in general the areas people would most like to see protected from government cuts are the NHS (79%), education (50%) and policing (35%). The areas people most wanted to see cut were overseas aid (66%), welfare benefits (36%) and environment and climate change (29%). As I discussed in the weekly round up, defence and welfare were unusual in being issues that had both significant numbers of people wanting to prioritise them for cuts and significant numbers of people wanting to protect them from cuts.

Asked specifically about whether the government should commit to 2% of GDP spending on defence, 52% think they should, 27% that they should not. Asked the equivalent question about overseas aid only 24% think the government should commit to the 0.7% target, 59% think they should not. On Trident, 31% think it should be replaced with an equally robust system, 29% replaced with a cheaper system, 24% scrapped completely.

Outside of Scotland itself, the idea of the SNP being in a position of influence at Westminster is seen negatively – 63% think it would be a bad thing if they held the balance of power in Westminster, 64% think it would be bad thing if they were involved in a coalition. Overall 53% of people think that Labour should rule out doing a deal with the SNP, but this is largely made up of Labour’s opponents, their own supporters are far more split over the idea. If there was a choice between a minority Labour government or an SNP/Lab coalition with a majority, Labour voters would be evenly divided but if the alternative was another Tory government Labour voters would back a deal with the SNP by 6 to 1.


527 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 34, LD 7, UKIP 14, GRN 5”

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  1. Not sure why the SNP people are so upset?

    It’s logical that if you vote for a regional party that isn’t contesting seats in 91% of Britain, your MP won’t ever have a chance of being a government minister. It’s the same for Plaid and Mebyon Kernow.

    I think people are confusing regional govt with national govt. The SNP in it’s current form can only form a national govt if Scots vote for independence. And they said No.

    If the SNP want a shot at forming the UK govt, it’s easy – just abandon the independence thing and contest seats throughout GB.

  2. David in France

    “The SNP would take posts that were directly relevant to them as things stand. (ie. Given that the UK does, currently, exist). And if such posts didnt exist, they would be created”

    which posts exactly? Education? Health? Energy? the Home Office? DCLG? Environment? Justice? the Scottish Office (now there you might be onto something, lol)?

    Anyway labour have ruled out such a coaltion, and the snp ruled out such an arrangement with the tories which would effectively be the death warrant of the party, so it ain’t gonna happen, and we are embarking on another futile academic debate.

  3. Pete B

    Yeah, added to the fact they have 2 weeks to “tune” their “prediction”, it seems a bit weird, not that I’m accusing them of such shenanigans but if someone came out with their “final prediction” 2 weeks after the election I’d be suspicious!

    It has to be treated as a prediction as of today, not as of March 1 to be meaningful, if they choose not to use the most recent data, that’s their choice.

  4. So Labour have now agreed with the SNP that the two parties will not form a coalition, so some on UKPR leap into a fevered speculation as to which posts the SNP could hold in a coalition ?????????

  5. Today’s polls seem rather interesting. The one’s showing the biggest Con leads show this to be slipping, with a significant Lab surge in ICM and a big Con fall in Ashcroft. Meanwhile there is a huge Con surge in Populus. All very odd.

    I suspect we’ve just seen an example of multiple reversions to means, along with a smattering of unsound results.

    Ashcroft seems to stand out with unrealistically low scores for both Lab and Con, with his now traditional volatility showing again this week. I hesitate to discount any pollsters, but such is the week to week variation in his polls, rarely backed up by other pollsters and out of line with even his own marginals work, that I find he polls difficult to trust.

    ICM and Populus show big moves, completely contradictory, but in reality I posted about how the Populus poll from last week was a very odd Con score, while ICM’s previous effort seemed overly low on Lab scores. I suspect both of these are simply adjustments from MoE wobbles last time round.

    It’s Monday, so it’s a good YG for Cons later on, but let’s wait till Friday before calling this a blue week.

  6. @old nat

    I read your whole post. In the context of what you said it makes no sense. The idea that people might think independence is more likely for while doesn’t make it more likely to actually happen. In fact we saw the *opposite* effect in the lead up to the referendum

    I wasn’t being indignant either, I think the documentary would be a good idea to remind people of the fiscal wisdom of the nationalists. It sounds like some people need reminding.

  7. I have a theory (and instinct) that Miliband is actually much better than his image, and that he should go on TV in Scotland more. His style of Labour – to the left of the New Labour of Gordon Brown – actually is the Labour that Scottish people seem to say they like.

  8. So I went back and checked Populos and ICM polling for accuracy approximately one and a half months prior to the 2014 EU. Populos April 4 – 6 and ICM/Gaurdian April 11 to 13.

    ICM was projecting a GB EU result of 6% for LD and Green, with10% for LD in the 2015 UK GE and 2% for Green.

    LD ended up with 6.9% and Green 7.9% GB wide in the EU election.

    Populos had LD on 10% and Green on 3% for the EU.

    What I constantly see when I compare the pollsters with the electoral outcome is a roughly 2% differential with a reversal in the order of the appearance of LD and Green.

    It probably makes no difference to the number of seats Green may or may not take in this GE, but might have a psychological effect on some swing voters.

    In contrast whether LD is 2 points higher or lower than what pollsters project and ahead of or behind Green, will greatly impact the number of seats that LD are projected to win and hence the posibility of who might form government.

    If ICM are wrong and LD are in fact at 5 and Green on 6, that probably means LD will not retain as many seats – so it matters a lot as to accuracy.

    Likewise if Populos are wrong and the accurate respondent rate is 6 LD and 7 Green, again the perception is in fact to mislead the public.

    That’s why I remain like a dog with a bone in asking and questioning weighting methodologies. ICM, for example, take all the definites who did not vote in 2010 and cut their respondent value to .5 from 1.

    For a party, who up to 20% support could be from 18-24 years olds, that is going to make a significant statistical difference.

    Why? Well according to ICM who classify 18-21 year olds who definitely intend to vote as .5 in value – simply because they could not vote in 2010 as they were only 14 to 17 at that time – there is an unintended impact that skews published results.

    At one point ICM had only 6% of youth supporting Green whereas both Ashcroft and YouGov were in the 20% to 25% range.

    Anthony and others call these “house effects” whereas I call them for what they are, built in inaccuracies. No wonder the polls cannot agree on where UKIP is at and we face a constant up and down in Labour and Conservative support, as it is the modelling that is questionable, and not the volatility of the general public.

  9. Candy

    There is no logic to a nationalist position, whether SNP or Plaid Cymru.
    They are persistent moaners, the naysayers of British politics.
    As Big Jim Murphy knows – and thank goodness Scottish Labour have him – you have to beat them, you cannot negotiate with them. They want to destroy our country, it’s as simple as that. Always remember that when they are on TV smiling and seeming ever so reasonable with their “progressive” views.

  10. Candy

    “Not sure why the SNP people are so upset?”

    Who is it that you are asking whether they aren’t sure that a non-existent situation exists?

  11. @ Peter Crawford,

    I agree as well.

    It’s always hard to know with these things how much is objective analysis and how much is wishful (in my case) or gloomy (in your case and James’) thinking, but if we take a middling Ashcroft constituency polling estimate and say the Tories are on course to win 15 Lib Dem seats, I just don’t see how on current swing or plausible swings they can hold enough against Labour to finish in the 290s.

    And there’s also the fact that if Labour’s election strategy of relying on their ground campaign is working, they should outperform the national swing in marginals. Of course, this is the kind of “strategy” you only come up with when you know you’ve screwed up the air campaign beyond all repair, so I maintain a healthy scepticism, but even so it does suggest that errors from national polling projections are likely to be in the direction of underestimating rather than overestimating their gains.

  12. Pete B

    “Re Liga Nord – Italy wasn’t even unified until 1848 (from memory),”

    Italian unification was mostly completed in 1861, the papal states held out i think…

    we don’t want to get into the regions, kingdoms and principalities of italy before that on this website. the lombard bit was mostly under austrian influence…and it was hardly independent.

    The iron crown of lombardy, which i believe is one of the lega nord’s symbols, and all that jazz goes back to the early middle ages…

  13. @Jasper22

    Don’t worry – they can afford to be progressive because the Independence Fairy is going to double the price of Brent crude come independence. Don’t take my word for it: the SNP said as much in their White Paper.

    Deficit of 8.1% GDP in 2013/14? Who cares about numbers? That’s no barrier to the Nordic Model.

  14. @OLD NAT
    Your comment regarding posters forming an SNP/ Labour coalition cabinet, takes me back to 2010. Back in the day, thousands of words were wasted on the possibility of keeping Labour in power with every Tom, Dick and Harry propping them up. Now it is every Tam, Dirk and Hamish. Anything to keep the Tories out.

  15. PETER CRAWFORD

    I wonder if the Lega Nord would invade France to take back Savoy? ;)

  16. @ David in France

    “I’ve never yet seen an MP refuse the opportunity of power regardless of what principles they might need to overlook.”

    You need to look more closely. There are scores of examples.

  17. @ Jasper,

    you have to beat them, you cannot negotiate with them

    ???

    Cameron negotiated with them on the referendum like five minutes ago. Labour and Plaid had a coalition in the last Welsh Assembly, and everyone was negotiating with the SNP in the last Scottish Parliament.

    They are reasonably centrist political parties in a modern democracy, not ISIL.

  18. Andy S
    “No wonder the polls cannot agree on where UKIP is at and we face a constant up and down in Labour and Conservative support…… ”

    I think it’s stretching things a bit to say that there’s a constant up and down in Lab and Con VI. From Anthony’s chart top right of this page, Con has only been outside the range 31-36 once since Feb 23rd, and Labour has only once been outside the range 30-35. Given the MOE of relatively small samples, I think that’s remarkably consistent. Inded it’s so consistent that posters here often complain that nothing seems to shift the VI.

  19. Looking at the Polling Observatory methodology, it seems they are using a “swingback/mean reversion” model that somehow increases both Conservative and Labour votes between now and the election. I guess their choices about what constitutes “the mean” is responsible for this and is much more favourable to Labour than EFs reversion model.

    They don’t go into any detail and seem to have picked above 36% as a mean for both Conservative and Labour (based on “historical equilibrium”). This has resulted in a huge shift in their predictions over the last year. (It’s not our fault, UKIP didn’t collapse like we were predicting the rotters”).

    They seem to be handling UKIP/SNP/Greens/PC very weirdly and artificially.

  20. Alec
    “The one’s showing the biggest Con leads show this to be slipping, with a significant Lab surge in ICM and a big Con fall in Ashcroft. Meanwhile there is a huge Con surge in Populus. All very odd.”

    It’s called reversion to the mean. It’s the opposite of very mean, and what you would expect to occur, when nothing very interesting is happening.

    Spearmint,

    My thinking is based on very simple logic. I have a duty to repeat this until everybody is bored:-

    the tories beat labour by 11% in England 2010, when they won 299 seats in that country [300 if you include the speaker, 1 in Scotland and 6 in Wales make the total tally]

    remember 11%….today’s ashcroft poll shows a tory lead of 5% in England. this represents a 3% swing to labour from 2010 in England. Even in this scenario, with the tories 2% ahead in the GB poll, the tories ain’t getting to 295 seats. that isn’t going to happen if there is a 3% swing from C to labour in England in 7 weeks time….

    [you will notice that the tories getting to 295 has nothing to do with whether labour gets wiped out in scotland or not]

    So, to believe that the tories will win 300 seats in May, as I have repeated ad nauseam, you have to believe either a) there will be a considerable swing back to the conservatives- ukip supporters flocking back, lib dems, some labour etc-, in the next 7 and a bit weeks, or, and i am inclined to think this is more plausible, b) the polls are somehow wrong.

    The Kellners and others believe mainly a) with a bit of b) thrown in. So with regard to b) we are hearing about the “shy tory effect” …with regard to a) we hear about i) the kinnock factor, (which was mainly due to (b) , but never mind!), where voters are turned off the prospect of some bogey man or other getting into office; ii) incumbency effects iii) and lots of other stuff, frankly, of varying degrees of plausibility…so there’s the one about electorates only really focusing in the last few days…i think this can happen in an exciting contest, that’s why i don’t think it will happen this year, but it might.

    you should read about the 5 stages of grief: 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance…I detect these now…it’s very apposite to elections.

  21. Alec,

    reversion to the mean is the opposite of “very odd”, i meant…i type this stuff too quickly. it’s what one generally expects.

  22. Oldnat
    So Labour have now agreed with the SNP that the two parties will not form a coalition, so some on UKPR leap into a fevered speculation as to which posts the SNP could hold in a coalition ?????????

    Rather counterintuitive I know, but then so is the other reaction we’ve seen today:

    So Labour have now agreed with the SNP that the two parties will not form a coalition, so some on UKPR leap to the conclusion that Labour appear to want a Tory government ?????????

  23. Alan
    Looking at the Polling Observatory methodology, it seems they are using a “swingback/mean reversion” model that somehow increases both Conservative and Labour votes between now and the election.

    I’ll take the opportunity to dub this theory “squeezeback” although someone has probably thought of that before.

  24. Funtypippin

    I did see one person suggesting that some Scots would have that perception.

    Were there others? And has there only been one other reaction to anything today?

    I must give up this speed reading which seems to miss so much.

  25. Prof Howard -he cant make labour poll worse in scotland so I think he should go .He could call on nicola for tea and discuss a progressive economic policy.

    He needs her to pull rank on Alexander Elliott to stop him winding everyone up.

  26. @peter Crawford – I think if you read on in my post, you would have seen the words ‘reversion to mean’ somewhere in there, but thanks anyway for pointing me back in the direction I’ve just come from.

    On to the England Con/Lab swing – the absent factor from your analysis is the number of Lib Dem seats Cons might win – which isn’t really affected by Con/Lab swing.

  27. Oldnat

    I got the impression that both Couper 2802 and John B were in support of that opinion although I too am a speed reader and arguably a bit of a wally so it’s possible I’ve misread things.

  28. I second Funty’s proposal for the adoption of “squeezeback” as UKPR terminology. Any objections?

  29. Hmmm… Well ICM with the Lib Dems on 8% and now pretty much in line with the other polling organisations. An apology to Chris Lane might be in order even if this is a bit of an ICM outlier for the LD’s and even if he thinks this is still a bit high :-)

    I wonder what constitutes “Gold standard” (as often claimed whether by ICM or by the Guardian) because ICM might well be getting it right or get it right on the day but for the last 3-4 years they have been saying something totally different to the other polling companies and in my humble opinion been proved wrong on this particular methodology and stayed too long with a methodology that worked in the past but doesn’t work now. It seemed obvious to many of us that if a party has lost 2/3rds of it vote that the don’t knows aren’t just going to come back en masse.

    Of course we still don’t know whether this move away from the established parties will maintain up to the election day but I’d suggest that ICM in particular have been a bit dinosaur like in not realising something has changed. They still seem to be at it with downweighting UKIP and we have to wait on that one if they are proved right or another wrong!

  30. 07052015

    Excuse my ignorance but who’s Alexander Elliott?

  31. @Alan

    Could you give a link to the Polling Observatory material? The link up to the left on Anthony’s page only takes you to very old graphs.

  32. Blech, the dreaded “[email protected]”. Anthony, you can scrap that last post, sorry about that.

  33. @Andy Shadrack

    Regarding the up and down of Lab and Con, and the position of UKIP, people tend to vote against parties as much as for.

    So when Farage is the news, UKIP tends to rise at the expense of Con – and then in subsequent polls you see left-wing people rallying to Lab because they’ve taken fright at the idea of a UKIP-Con coalition. And Farage has been talking a lot lately about offers to a minority Con govt. When UKIP is out of the news, left-wing voters relax and splinter off to the Greens etc.

    And when the SNP are in the news a lot, right-wing people rally to Con to stop the idea of a Lab-SNP coalition.

    So a lot of it is about keeping the bogeyman out. And we’ve got two this election (SNP and UKIP), hence the massive churn as each takes it in turn to dominate the news cycle and scare the other side.

    I wonder if Cameron will rule out a coalition with UKIP?

  34. Meanwhile in Croydon:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CAO0eSiXIAA-49h.jpg

    I guess CCHQ hasn’t told Gavin Barwell about the central plank of their campaign strategy yet??

    @ Peter Crawford,

    you should read about the 5 stages of grief: 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance…

    It’s a process with which any supporter of the Labour Party is intimately acquainted. ;)

  35. Old Nat

    Were a Labour/SNP Cabinet to be formed, SNP representatives could attend as Ministers Without Portfolio. Their role would simply be to ensure that any measures agreed at Cabinet and brought to the House would be supported by the SNP. Policy would be generated by Labour, but with an SNP ‘rubber stamp’.

    In any event, many commentators argue that the role of Cabinet has been much diminished in recent years. So Ministerial roles are not essential for the SNP to see themselves as part of the Government.

    In reality power would be vested in a new ‘quad’ comprising Miliband, Balls, Sturgeon and Salmond.

    This, in my view, is the likeliest outcome of this election. Lab and SNOP will be able to claim that they are not in formal coalition, but ‘sharing government’ or some such euphemistic term that adds up to the same thing.

    I cannot see Labour and SNP together holding a workable majority and not taking power.

    Millie

  36. @Funtypippin 5.42

    What I meant to say was that EM has to be careful about the tone.

    As Spearmint pointed out the SNP is not ISIL, despite the hysteria of the London media.

    EM has to make it clear to Scots that he is not the slave of London, but can be its master, to the greater benefit of all.

    If he gives the impression that he’d prefer a Tory government to a Labour one supported by the SNP then he is in deep trouble. Of course, he wants a Labour govt with an OM but that doesn’t seem likely at present.

  37. Good to hear Prof Curtice on PM referencing the 1923 election to refute the “largest party forms the government” myth.

    He obviously follows discussions on UKPR closely. ;-)

  38. Funty

    Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond

  39. @Alec

    Miliband ruling out a Tory coalition has not been publicised at all in Scotland or on social media. Maybe Labour should look at why they are being do out manoeuvred in this way.

    And patronising people does not win votes. Voters make a judgement the fact you think that judgement is naïve or stupid doesn’t make it so, nor will your attitude persuade anyone.

  40. Andy Shadrack

    The problem is this.

    There is no pure sample that can be taken, If there were, we wouldn’t need all this methodology we’d just take a random sample and be content that the sample mean was the estimate of the mean.

    The fact that different people are more likely to respond (and vote) than others has to be corrected for. There are no theoretical rules about how this should be done. Pretty much what happens it any given pollster makes a heap of assumptions and hopes the combined effect of their assumptions turns their sample into an unbiased sample (it doesn’t but we all pretend it does.)

    The only thing that matters to the pollsters is how well their polls correlate with reality, even with a perfectly representative sample we’re looking at errors of 3% so to spot any systematic error of the order of 1% will be pretty much impossible. How realistic their assumptions are is pretty much meaningless (Although it’s nice to have a story to accompany the “fixes”). All the fixes are “wrong” it’s just that (they hope) when they are all added together they are as least close enough to not be biased to the point it gets swamped by the typical MOE.

    It’s a case of putting the wrong numbers into the wrong formula and consistently getting the right answer. Yes the extremes of 2015 will highlight differences between pollsters and this time some will be “wrong” and correct their model.

    Having multiple pollsters with multiple methods is useful, if they all used the same method with the same inherent bias, the final outcome will have that bias.

    With multiple pollsters, on average they will be less biased. Yes there is the chance by pure dumb luck any one of our current pollsters might be unbiased and everyone else is adding noise to the mix. It’s far more likely the truth is somewhere in the middle of all pollsters.

    Taken in isolation any pollsters assumptions are a bit weird, I suspect most of the time they were put in place because “For our polls, putting in this effect gave us better answers” not because of some psychology research paper that was produced. Why 0.5? Probably because both 1 and 0 had too strong an effect.

    For all I care they could weight between Marmite eaters/non eaters, if they feel it gives them better answers. It’s the cumulative effect of lots of “wrong” assumptions that matters, not each effect in isolation. Yes, when adding a new parameter to weight by, someone has to run his suggestion past the boss so there will be a “story” behind each effect, good enough to get it past scrutiny but not actually needed as these stories are just that.

    If someone is right for all the wrong reasons, they are better than someone who is wrong for the right reasons and once you add sampling error into the mix, chances are you can’t tell the difference between them.

  41. @Funtypippin

    We were discussing how this will be portrayed. In Scotland the SNP just have to harden their vote up to win in May and announcements like this from Miliband helps the SNP to do so.

  42. Alan
    “If someone is right for all the wrong reasons, they are better than someone who is wrong for the right reasons ”

    Sums up the difference between any two parties if you ask me, though of course ‘my’ party will always be the first option.

  43. Ipsos Mori have added some slides to their political monitor reported in the evening standard around leaders/parties/policies

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3541/Labour-are-the-most-popular-party-but-Miliband-trails-behind.aspx

    Slide 47 on is the new polling data

    David Cameron
    I like him but don’t like his policies 21%
    I do not like him but I like his policies 7%

    Miliband
    I like him but don’t like his policies 11%
    I do not like him but I like his policies 16%

    I guess that explains why Miliband’s low leadership rating is not impacting Labour VI.

  44. Pete B

    Well my party is right for the right reasons ?????

  45. I guess UKPR doesn’t have Unicode support… lesson for today learned.

  46. Alan – Lol!

    Richard, so only 28% like EITHER Cameron or his policies, and 27% for Miliband. A pretty pathetic show by both of them.

  47. LiS mps have allegedly been asking him to say something so they must calculate it wont harden any vote up.

  48. Alec,

    If you know all about reversion to the mean, why did you find all of today’s polls so “very odd”? It was almost a racing certainty that the icm poll would show a narrower lead than 4% for the conservatives, given that the blues have struggled to gather any real momentum. the “surge” in populus’ con vi was also not surprising, given that they showed the tories on 29 last friday.

    ” the absent factor from your analysis is the number of Lib Dem seats Cons might win – which isn’t really affected by Con/Lab swing.”

    This number, the number of lib dem seats the tories win is actually one of the simplest elements. I use 10 as my working assumption, but yes it could be as high as 15…. the con-lab swing is more of a driver of outcomes than this.

    the tory seat total will be: x + 10 – y – z

    where x is the number of tory seats held today, y is the number of seats lost to labour and z is the number of seats lost to ukip. I almost regard the seats gained from the lib dems as a constant, so I have put the actual number, but you could use the unknown b to express that figure, while z is pretty narrow in possible range, 0-4, at a stretch…y is the term which has the widest possible range.

    so x + b -y -z is the equation… (b-z) I would have a range of 3-15…(yes i think the tories could gain only 7 from the lib dems while losing another 4 to ukip, but i think that’s unlikely…

    y is linear function of the c to labour swing in england…which is the main driver of value…it’s the reason i focus on England ….y is the largest number, with the largest possible range… understanding the drivers of y is the key to the election.

  49. @ peter crawford

    Which posts exactly? Education? Health? Energy? the Home Office? DCLG? Environment? Justice? the Scottish Office (now there you might be onto something, lol)?

    Anyway labour have ruled out such a coaltion, and the snp ruled out such an arrangement with the tories which would effectively be the death warrant of the party, so it ain’t gonna happen, and we are embarking on another futile academic debate.

    —-

    I could imagine the SNP wanting to take Environment, Justice and EU minister – such a post could be created if it doesnt exist.

    As to “being ruled out… pointless academic debate”, not only is this not a debate but it certainly isnt pointless. 1. This is a site for talking about polls and what may or may not be their outcome and 2. I have learned to take what politicians say with a pinch of salt.

    You may well be right – as I have already said – that no such coalition is ever on the cards. But if it is on the cards, if it suits the SNP and LAB they will do it. As sure as eggs is eggs!

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