The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 3%. The four point Conservative lead is the smallest since the election – while Jeremy Corbyn maybe getting some mediocre personal poll ratings, it does not yet appear to be doing Labour’s voting intention figures any harm. Full tabs are here.


245 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 38, LAB 34, LD 7, UKIP 11, GRN 3”

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  1. NEDLUDD……Too many u-turns make for chaos, it seems Corbyn has lost any semblance of control, or he’s not even trying, perhaps he’s just too laid back for the job.

  2. @ Ned Ludd

    God knows why McDonnell u-turned

    Because until recently, McDonnell thought that Labour could table amendments regarding investment spending & what constituted “normal times”. There was a good chance that such a amendments would pass. But what McDonnell didn’t know was that the fiscal charter was being processed as an ‘order’ i.e. parliament isn’t able to make any amendments to it.

    Without amendments, it’s too restrictive. It’s very unlikely that Osborne himself will be able to stick to it.

  3. NEIL A
    “Corbynmania might, might just not sweep the country like a religious revival and realign British political gravity.”

    Nor any kind of mania. An underlying recognition that the NHS is under threat both of underfunding and of subjection to unscrupulous international marketing, that a Tory government may shackle future political action to restore rights of organised labour, that we need more social housing to be built and not talked about, and that women’s rights and the full participation of young people in politics affecting their future may “sweep the country” not like a religious revival but as a renewal of rationality, common sense and humanity just may.

  4. @ Ken

    Corbyn has lost any semblance of control, or he’s not even trying…

    Ed Miliband was pretty good at finding compromises; but compromise means a lot of unresolved issues. The issues are now going to be resolved, one way or another. It’s best to face such challenges early in a fixed term parliament, I think.

  5. AMBER STAR…… He’s been reading the thoughts of Andrew Stanton, ( co- founder of Pixar ) ” Be wrong as fast as we can, get the answer as fast as we can “. Or, ‘ failing forward ‘ , we’ll see, it works in Hollywood. :-)

  6. @Amber Star

    Strange because the SNP have always been able to say they will vote Against the Fiscal Charter.

    According to Kezia and reports, the U-Turn was because of the SNP opposition to the Charter and was done to help LiS.

  7. ” It’s best to face such challenges early ”

    Especially when the subject matter, such as Trident, needs to be approached as one of dialogue, and the issue needs information and balance. So I think that Russian behaviour in Ukraine and on the border with the Baltic States, in relation to solidary NATO, the emergenceof Iran as a player in Syria in return for readmission to international trade and diplomacy, and the behaviour of Korea, are all issues which will develop during the coming Parliament, and genuinely demand that Corbyn stays his hand and compromises, not least because he has yet to meet international leaders on both sides of conflicting forces.

  8. PHIL HAINES

    @”Yes, the scale of capital borrowing requires careful consideration by governments according to the circumstances. As opposed to being determined by an arbitrary (and extreme) fiscal rule.”

    Couldn’t agree more-I would of course add “and its purpose & projected outputs” after ” capital borrowing”.

  9. @NedLudd

    I think McDonnell could not face voting with the Tories. I was very surprised he was intending to in the first place. I like McDonnell very much.

  10. @KEN

    “AMBER STAR…… He’s been reading the thoughts of Andrew Stanton, ( co- founder of Pixar ) ” Be wrong as fast as we can, get the answer as fast as we can “. Or, ‘ failing forward ‘ , we’ll see, it works in Hollywood. :-)”

    ——–

    Lol, come on Ken, you know that’s just rapid prototyping really. They’re just reinventing the wheel…

  11. @ Couper 2802, @ NedLudd

    I think McDonnell could not face voting with the Tories. I was very surprised he was intending to in the first place. I like McDonnell very much.

    McDonnell thought he could get an ‘anti-austerity’ amendment passed so Labour, the SNP etc. would’ve had to vote for the amended Tory bill, or what would be the point in having it amended?

    However, it transpired that Labour couldn’t even put forward JMcD’s planned amendment; which means Labour now has to vote against.

    Kezia & the SNP can make it all about Scotland if that’s what floats their boat. But the truth is, a new shadow chancellor (JMcD) over-reached & got out-manoeuvred on parliamentary process therefore he had to change his position.

    And changing position (no matter how much of a shambles it looks) is smarter than digging his heels in & voting for an un-amended bill.

  12. Why didn’t McDonnell say that while the objectives of the bill were laudable, the likely means for its implementation were not, and there would be no prospect of Labour voting for it unless it were drastically amended?

  13. CARFREW…….During my career I always got it right first time, I’m merely being helpful. :-)

  14. @Ken

    Ah, easy to get it right first time if you didn’t try anything that new, complicated and unpredictable…

  15. @Amber Star

    “And changing position (no matter how much of a shambles it looks) is smarter than digging his heels in & voting for an un-amended bill”

    Yes, he has avoided doing a Harman – and that is undoubtedly a good thing.

  16. @ Charles

    Here’s what McDonnell is reported to have said:

    ‘McDonnell indicates that his main message to the conference in his speech on Monday will be designed to reassure voters that Labour is committed to tackling the deficit. But he indicates that his support for the charter is qualified because he believes that only the current account should be balanced to give the government space to borrow to fund infrastructure projects.

    ‘He says of Osborne’s plans to deliver an overall surplus: “There is an economic illiteracy about this. If you have a surplus in that sense you are actually taking capacity out of the economy.”’
    ————————
    McDonnell made it quite clear that he intended to put forward an amendment to Osborne’s fiscal charter which would have excluded infrastructure spending from the surplus requirement in the charter.

    Any Labour MP who was paying attention should have understood his position i.e. JMcD never said he would give the fiscal charter his unqualified support. Which means he actually did that which you are suggesting he should have done. :-)

  17. CARFREW……I didn’t have the luxury of risk, I was responsible for people’s livelihoods and had to plan and behave responsibly. That’s probably why I left engineering, and entered the banking world, I did, however, manage to sell my business to a US investment group…..new, complicated, unpredictable, and of course, profitable. I am now involved in new, complicated and unpredictable, projects…..you’ve got me worried. :-)

  18. “Any Labour MP who was paying attention should have understood his position…”

    ———

    One wonders how many Labour MPs are even aware of how running a surplus might be at the expense of the private sector…

  19. @RiN

    Just on the off-chance you’re around, popped back for a moment etc., there’s some vague possibility the new Labour shadow chancellor wotsit is down with the MMT thing…

    Meanwhile, Osborne’s got a bit of a grasp of the Keynes thing now, he just doesn’t yet seem to get stocks and flows and stuff. Maybe this term…

  20. @Ken

    Yes, I’m sure the U.S. is very pleased you grew a business for them but if you could perchance use that vast experience on summat useful like getting Thorium going over here that’d be cool.

    Or failing that, just setting up a new storage firm to pull prices down a bit would be handy.

  21. @Amber – Thanks for clarification. I still think that he should have said ‘In its current form we cannot support it’. Whatever, he now has a chance to say why it shouldn’t be supported and what the alternative position is. And that is a good thing from my point of view.

  22. CARFREW……..You are an inspiration, Thorium storage units, every town should have them…..I’ll be on the case.
    Incidentally, I’m currently using some of my time and resources helping develop a hydrogen converted internal combustion engine . We’re piloting the device that enables the transition now. Our system isn’t hydrogen fuel cell technology, it’s a direct hydrogen feed, no batteries, no electricity, just hydrogen…..! At the moment we’re running it with a supplementary petrol feed due to lack of fuelling points. The first hydrogen only, independent, fuel production and distribution station,was opened 2 weeks ago just off the M1, junc 33, wind powered hydrogen production an’ all. :-)

  23. @Ken

    “You are an inspiration, Thorium storage units, every town should have them…..I’ll be on the case.”

    —–

    yes, I wasn’t suggesting powering them by Thorium Ken, that’s your innovation!!

    Re: the hydrogen thing, interesting. It’s been done before of course, and makes commercial sense since reusing and adapting existing tech., but as you indicate, perhaps the biggest limiting factor is the refuelling stations.

    And of course Thorium could produce a lot of the hydrogen!!

    Did they solve the hydrogen leakage issue yet?

  24. CARFREW…….Mercedes have changed ICE technology with their Nanoslide treatments, more efficiency, lighter cars, other inventive steps have enabled hydrogen as a direct fuel, to become viable.
    30,000,000 tons of H are produced, transported, and utilised, worldwide p.annum, new materials and innovations addressing leakage issues have been introduced, overall, I take a positive view. However, I would never risk more than I could afford to lose, but so far, so good. :-)

  25. @Ken

    Oh yeah, hydrogen has potential, it’s more about how cheaply can it be produced, the refuelling thing and also the tax regime. How do fuel duties etc. on hydrogen compare with petrol?

    Of course, if we had Thorium powering the extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere to convert it into petrol…

  26. Amber & John

    With regards to whether to use “‘” or “‘s” to indicate the possessive after a name ending in “s”[1], there is a very simple grammatical rule that covers this. Which is: “It doesn’t matter”. In other words both are equally valid.

    There seem to be various ‘rules’ floating around for special cases, such as not using an extra “s” with classical name s (eg Socrates’ not Socrates’s) but I suspect this is mainly due to thinking not using the extra “s” looks more sophisticated, coupled with a vague feeling that foreign words ought to be treated differently because they have their own grammar. In the end I would just write the extra “s” if you would say it, if not, not. Which is pretty circular, but it really doesn’t matter.

    [1] Or indeed any other sibilant such as “z”, though most people seem happier using “‘s” in such cases

  27. The charter would legally prevent future governments from spending more than they receive in tax revenue when the economy is growing. The proposal commits the government to keep debt falling as a share of GDP each year and achieve a budget surplus by 2019-20. [Future] Governments will then be required to ensure there is a surplus in “normal times”.- BBC

    There are two aspects of this action which McDonnell and the Labour Party would be negligent in not opposing: first that it is legislation not just for this Parliament but for a permanent restriction on economic and fiscal policy; secondly that it includes spending in investment to increase the wealth and revenue to reduce the deficit over time.
    I have to admit that my political hackles are up at this and other attempts of the government, whether through parliamentary legislation or through EU treaty, to lock in future UK policy to which it knows more than half the population may be opposed.

  28. @Roger Mexico

    “there is a very simple grammatical rule that covers this. Which is: “It doesn’t matter”. In other words both are equally valid.”

    ———-

    There is a rule that trumps this, the rule of autocorrect, which is that whatever you decide to do, will get screwed with anyway. Rogue apostrophes will be inserted, or other apostrophes deleted.

    (Even without that, auto mod will prolly get your whole post anyway…)

  29. On the fiscal charter, is there any country in the OECD that would have met this in any year out of the last twenty odd? It’s so economically illiterate that I doubt it, but I can’t find a quick answer and I don’t fancy researching every countries’ budget deficit and growth rate for the last twenty years!

  30. @BigD
    “On the fiscal charter, is there any country in the OECD that would have met this in any year out of the last twenty odd?”

    Thanks to a booming economy, Gordon Brown met it in several years, and so up to 2007 had left the UK’s debt/GDP ratio lower than the one inherited 10 years earlier, while improving the value of the UK’s public assets.

    That ignores though the folly of the so-called “fiscal charter”. The test it puts into law isn’t whether governments meet Osborne’s rules in some years, it’s that they meet them in almost all years. And so even if you go right back to the start of the post war period I think the answer is that none met that test.

  31. One silver lining for Labour of McDonnell’s u-turn is that for the first time I can remember there was a lot of discussion on the BBC of the merits (or lack of them, take your pick) of Osborne’s fiscal rules and of the alternative that Labour has now settled on. Danny Blanchflower was (in my opinion) pretty convincing in the way that he tore Osborne’s rules and his past record to shreds this morning.

    If McDonnell had not managed to tie the party in knots over this issue, I suspect that the issue would have been far less newsworthy and the debate would have been confined to Labour’s decision not to sign up to Osborne’s rules, rather than going as far as to explore their rationale for challenging them.

  32. @BIGD and others,

    I know this seems old fashioned, but I have always thought that except in times of war or national emergency, governments should have no need to borrow. The government should run the services that it deems essential with a balanced budget. Governments generally produce nothing to sell that will pay back the interest or the capital sum borrowed and the only way to do so is to place this burden upon the productive economy, limiting growth and making people poorer.

  33. JOHN PILGRIM

    @” prevent future governments from spending more than they receive in tax revenue when the economy is growing. ”

    Thus seeking to enshrine in law the Keynsian dictum about counter cyclical public finance. policy.

    I know we are all Keynsians now-but putting it into law-I agree thats a bit of a stretch :-)

  34. @Roger Mexico

    In one case there is no flexibility whatsoever here in the Black Country.

    Any Wulfrunian, regardless of their educational qualifications, even those for whom English is not their first language, can tell you that it’s definitely “Banks’s beer”, “Banks’s’ brewery” etc.

    As for Socrates, he am a footballer, ay he?

  35. McDonnell walked straight into the trap Osborne set by putting down the Fiscal Responsibility Charter. To be fair it’s a lose-lose for Labour: vote in favour (even if claiming they’ll manage it without cuts) and they’d have both badly split the party and committed the party to something they probably wouldn’t be able to stick to; vote against as it now seems they will and they appear fiscally irresponsible; abstain and these days the SNP make lots of noise about them, not Labour, being the ‘real opposition’.

  36. @Colin

    You might pause to reflect that if national income is growing by say 5% year-on-year (as a consequence of a combination of economic growth and inflation) and annual government borrowing amounts to 3% of total government spending, then government debt as a share of GDP will still be falling.

    In almost all post war years the economy has been growing. It’s what economies tend to do as the norm. So Osborne’s rule that anything above 0% borrowing is verboten amounts to a thinly disguised attempt to enshrine a further permanent shrinking of the state into UK law.

  37. @PHIL HAINES

    No it doesn’t. The state can get bigger, as a proportion of GDP, so long as it is financed to do so. The bill is not a mechanism to shrink the state. What it does mean though is that any increase in the size of the state can not be financed by borrowing, only by taxation. If the country wants new toys then it has to spend its pocket money.

  38. JACK SHELDON

    A nice summary of the situation Labour have got themselves into.

    RMJ1

    Well done I was about to post something similar.

    John Pilgrim

    Re your comments on the NHS. The problem is that most commentators (but not politicians of any persuasion) accept that healthcare in the UK has to be funded in another way. The politicians are frit to act because they are afraid of voters reactions. So the NHS will stumble along from crisis to crisis until it eventually falls apart under one government or another.

  39. @ RMJ1

    What it does mean though is that any increase in the size of the state can not be financed by borrowing, only by taxation.

    It could also be done by using QE rather than taxation.

  40. PHIL HAINES

    BUt when your 5% annual growth grinds to a halt at the next global recession, and tax revenues collapse -you still have an increased quantum of Debt to service.

    This is why Keynes advocated countercyclical public finance management.

    Some have expressed his idea as ” fixing the roof when the sun shines”.

    By the way GO hasn’t coined a rule which states ” anything above 0% borrowing is verboten “. He distinguishes between times of recession & “normal times”.

    You seem to want no constraint on deficit funding at all-just in case you think of something else for the government to waste money on?

  41. This is why Keynes advocated countercyclical public finance management.

    Some have expressed his idea as ” fixing the roof when the sun shines”.

    Sunshine is an unusual metaphor for a recession, is it not?

  42. @ The Other Howard – you’re spot on about the NHS. It’s become such a sacred cow that any attempts to reform it, particularly with regards its funding, are reported as ‘attacks’ on the NHS when they’re nothing of the sort. It’s a huge worry because if its funding can’t be adequately reformed as and when required in an ever-changing world then, as you say, it will simply fall apart.

  43. According to the sidebar ICM returned Con 38 – 34 Lab on 12th July. Is that wrong?

  44. “It could also be done by using QE rather than taxation.”

    QE is a tax on holding currency and fixed-income securities. This generally involves more deadweight costs than taxes on income or consumption, which is why developed world governments have stopped inflating to finance spending. It still happens in some other countries, e.g. Russia, Argentina, Venezuela, Zimbabwe (before the currency was abandoned).

  45. @Mico

    How is QE a tax?

  46. @Carfrew

    In the same way that private printing of money is theft. It reduces the value of everyone else’s currency holdings, while increasing the value of one’s own.

  47. MICO

    “In the same way that private printing of money is theft. It reduces the value of everyone else’s currency holdings, while increasing the value of one’s own.”

    No. Just…..no. QE is not the same as private printing of money, which is a dishonest act (unless you are honest about it in which case you are going to jail).

    Releasing a quantity of a commodity (including money) which you are legally permitted to supply into the marketplace thus reducing the value of people’s existing holdings is not theft. Otherwise you would have to round up a lot of people and put them in prison, including all the world’s stock traders. Devaluation isn’t theft. All investments carry risk. Investor beware.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/crossheading/definition-of-theft

  48. AMBER

    @”Sunshine is an unusual metaphor for a recession, is it not?”

    It certainly would be :-)

    No-the metaphorical references are:-

    “Fixing the Roof” = Retaining some Tax Revenues by paying down Debt.-ie Running a Budget Surplus.
    “When the Sun Shines” = In good times-ie when the economy is growing & tax revenues are buoyant.

    Trying to “Fix the Roof”-when it is ” Raining”-in recession , introduces the competing requirements of Deficit Funding of Automatic Stabilisers , AND control of Debt . The former will be a priority in Recession-and so Debt Control should be carried out when “The Sun is shining” , providing leeway when it is “Raining”.

    Hope that clears things up on the meteorological front :-)

  49. @Mico

    Why does it reduce the value of others’ holdings tho’?

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