Over the New Year the Times had an end of year YouGov poll, conducted in mid-December. The tables went up on the YouGov website today here. Topline figures were CON 39%, LAB 29%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%. The rest of the poll, covering a lot of the trackers that YouGov used to ask on the regular daily polls, illustrate some of the real problems facing Labour as well as a couple of opportunities.

The net doing well/doing badly figures for the party leaders are minus 6 for David Cameron, minus 13 for Tim Farron, minus 18 for Nigel Farage and minus 32 for Jeremy Corbyn. Not long into the job Corbyn already has pretty dire figures (to be fair, they are up since YouGov last asked when it was minus 41 – albeit at the time of the Syria vote). On who would make the best Prime Minister David Cameron has a solid twenty-six point lead over Corbyn, on 49% to Corbyn’s 23%.

However, on any “best PM” questions we need to keep in mind that Cameron probably won’t be there. Corbyn still trails behind the likely replacements for Cameron, but not by quite as much, head-to-head against Boris he would be fourteen points behind (Boris 43%, Corbyn 29%), head-to-head against Osborne he would be twelve points behind (Osborne 39%, Corbyn 27%).

Asked about which party they’d trust to handle the big issues of the day Labour are ahead on their reliable banker of the NHS (though by only seven points) and on housing (by five points). The two parties are essentially neck-and-neck on education (Con 28%, Lab 27%) and on immigration UKIP lead (29%, to the Tories on 24% and Labour on 15%). On law and order and on economic issues the Tories lead – on tax by 13 points, the economy in general by 23 points, on unemployment by 12 points.

Unemployment is an interesting one here. As I’ve written many times before “best party on issues” questions tend to move in tandem, if the Conservatives improve on education, they also improve on tax, on housing, on transport and so on. Each party has strong and weak issues (so Labour will always do better on the NHS, the Conservatives will always do better on crime) but a lot of the change in figures seems to actually reflect underlying perceptions of a party’s general competence, rather than their specific statements or policies on that subject. What is really interesting on these questions therefore is when a measure moves relative to other ones – over time unemployment appears to have done so. If you go back to old Gallup or MORI questions from the 1980s and 90s, under Thatcher and Major unemployment became an issued “owned” by the Labour party, up there with the NHS. Whatever their other failings, people trusted Labour with the issue of unemployment. A decade ago YouGov were giving the Labour party a lead of 13 points on the NHS, and 25 points on unemployment. Now it’s switched over, the NHS is still a safe issue for Labour, but unemployment is an issue where people trust the Conservatives.

The other economic questions in the survey were also relatively optimistic (or in the case of personal economic expectations, not as pessimistic as in the past). By 35% to 26% people now think the economy is in a good state, and 21% of people expect to be financially better off in the coming year, compared to 25% who expect to be worse off.

Improving economic expectations are a two edged sword for the government of course. At one level, George Osborne still has a lot of cuts to make to hit his targets, and if people think the economic problems of the country are solved it will be harder for him to sell them to the public. Equally, as perceptions of the economy improve people stop worrying about it. On the question of which issues are most important to the country the economy was practically nailed on to the top spot for years after the financial crisis began in 2007-2008. For a while seventy to eighty percent of people regularly named it as a major issue facing the country. Then, as the economy improved, it started to fall. By 2014 it began to dip below immigration, now it’s down in third place behind health, with just a third naming it as an important issue. Despite the Conservative party’s current strong position in voting intention, UKIP and Labour are the parties people trust the most on what they see as the two big issues facing the country, immigration and health. Then again, perhaps that just illustrates that it’s not really issues that drive voting intentions.

Finally YouGov are still finding a very close EU referendum race – 41% would vote to stay, 42% would vote to leave.


271 Responses to “YouGov end of year poll”

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  1. @AW

    My reply to JP is in automod, be great if you could free it up. Thanks muchly!!

  2. @Couper2802:

    Probably wouldn’t work unless the 400,000 odd Labour party membership are also invited.

    Corbyn promised them a “New Politics” with politicians being open and honest and the end of “spin”.

    That’s what they want and expect.

    Now faced with the consequences of MPs and shadow ministers being open about their opinions on Corbyn’s views and policies many have reacted with apoplexy.

    From a baseline of political immaturity the Corbyn team has had a crash course in political reality.

    It is ironic that within a few months we have such bizarre examples of ” WTF?” spin from John McDonnell (in particular) that would have made any Blairite spin doctor blush.

  3. @Colin

    Indeed!

    Yet more utterly catastrophic numbers for Corbyn and New Old Labour.

    On Red Ken and NATO

    1) Labour press office released a statement saying NATO withdrawal not a part of defence review

    2) EVEN the 1983 ‘longest suicide note in history’ contained a commitment to retain NATO membership.

    Disastrous performanc(s) by Labour. But completely predictable from the moment it was obvious that Corbyn and his ilk had gamed the open primary.

    I bet you think Christmas is never ending at the moment!

  4. I should elaborate on my above post.

    To give some examples of McDonnell’s claims:

    Yesterday on Channel 4 news he claimed that Maria Eagle had “always wanted” the Shadow Culture role and had nor been demoted from Defence.

    On Question Time he claimed Corbyn “always” sings the National Anthem but became too emotional at the Battle of Britain commemoration.

    Also on Question Time, he claimed that his Sinn Fein/IRA statements were a

  5. @Colin re Abbott

    Seems Ms Abbott forgot she too was once a special advisor to Ken Livingstone & that Jeremy Corbyn’s middle son is a special advisor to John McDonnell !

    She’s a walking disaster for Labour as is Livingstone’s nonsense about considering leaving NATO, for which was thankfully slapped down by Labour HQ less than an hour after he had said it on today’s Daily Politics.

  6. @JP

    Post still in automod, perhaps AW is busy. To cut to the chase, you are overly focussing on the emotive thing. Even if there is an emotive aspect, peeps may ask the question for other, more rational reasons.

  7. @JP

    I’ve tried a single sentence answer… But still no dice…

  8. @JP

    To cut to the chase, you are overly focusing on the emotive thing. Even if there is an emotive aspect, people may ask the question for other, more rational reasons.

  9. Emotive

  10. @JP

    The point is, it doesn’t matter if there is an emotive element.

  11. Because there may be other valid reasons for asking

  12. E.g. To make the matter more visceral, less abstract

  13. Or to check they’re not being contradictory

  14. In terms of the question is Corbyn “doing well or doing badly”, his most recent rating of net -34% compares with -8% back in September when the question was first asked.

    In terms of judging how the views of Labour members might have shifted, the closest tracking proxy is the view of 2015 Labour voters. Back in September a net 32% more of them thought Corbyn was “doing well” than “doing badly” (53% v 21%). Now that’s down to just +4% (45% v 41%). So the net deterioration in Corbyn’s ratings is marginally more amongst previous Labour supporters than amongst the electorate in general.

    It’s probable that Labour party members are a bit more sympathetic to Corbyn than Labour voters generally, so the shift in opinion may be a bit less stark. Nonetheless I think it’s reasonable to conclude from the polling that even now Corbyn must be significantly less popular amongst the Labour membership than he once was.

    So if YouGov do ever get around to polling Labour members again on their views on Corbyn, the results ought to make a few headlines.

  15. Practically speaking the rubbishness or otherwise of the Corbynites is relative to whether or not Osborne’s “boom” is a big joke or not.

    hint: adding more people increases GDP but it isn’t growth

    The reality is off-shoring / globalization has been a 30 year scam. By moving all the supply to the east while keeping demand in the west (paid for with debt) our plutocrat chums could pay eastern wages while still selling at western prices and make themselves very rich – until the western debt got too high to sustain the imbalance at which point the entire global economy collapses at once.

    Or not really – as the attempts to prevent it collapsing make it more like falling down a flight of stairs one step at a time. Either way the end result is the same.

  16. @MRJONES,

    I vaguely know where you’re coming from with this, but I think it’s a mistake to present the world economy as a sort of zero sum game.

    Production moving to poor countries to take advantage of lower wages is certainly a reality, but it also has the beneficial effect of rapidly increasing the incomes and standards of living in those countries – unless autocratic and corrupt governments prevent this.

    You could equally see it as the unwinding of the historic injustice of the West taking raw material from the East, adding value to it and then selling it back to them – which served to enrich a previous generation of plutocrats and artificially inflate the incomes of the Western countries.

    Where I agree with you is that the elite are now a sort of law unto themselves, sitting in an extra-territorial legal limbo where proper accountability and taxation can’t reach them and where the people and markets they take their profits from have no means of recouping a contribution back from them.

    Having a company based in the UK that sells goods made in India to the UK market is fine with me. Having a company based in India that sells goods made in India to the UK market is fine with me. Having a company, owned by another company, that is a subsidiary of another company, that is owned by shell company based in the Isle of Man, that is owned (probably – they don’t have to say) by a family trust based in Jersey, but whose bank account is in the name of an accountancy firm in the Cayman Islands but is actually held in Switzerland, that sells goods made in India to the UK market is what gets my goat….

  17. Yougov London poll has Sadiq ten points ahead of Zac in the run off – though with 30% still undecided and after very little campaigning. Mayoral VI seems at this stage to be going very strongly with basic party affiliation. Perhaps shows how remarkable Boris was in crossing party lines.

    Also some early signs of the Crosby approach – Sadiq described as “radical” – which of course has a rather special meaning when used about a Muslim.

  18. There’s really no reason why Sadiq wouldn’t win. The politics and demography of London get more favourable to him with every passing month.

    A Goldsmith win would be a very hard blow for Labour.

    It was fairly astonishing that Boris was reelected for the Tories. One does wonder how he would fare if he got to replace Cameron. Would the heat of the Westminster sun melt his magic wings?

  19. The YouGov tables (done for LBC rather than the Evening Standard as in the past) are here:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/e2hjduyzxn/LBCResults_London_Mayor_160106_Website.pdf

    After excluding the 7% who said they were certain to not vote the Mayoral poll is:

    Khan (Lab) 31% (+5)[1]

    Goldsmith (Con) 24% (-)

    Whittle (UKIP) 4% (-)

    Berry (Green) 3% (-)

    Pidgeon (Lib Dem) 2% (-1)

    Galloway (Respect) 2% (n/a)[2]

    Other 2% (-)

    WNV 3% (-2)

    Don’t Know 30% (-2)

    So it looks as if Khan is picking up votes while the Tory campaign is stalled, though there’s still quite four months to go. Presumably a lot of DKs will not vote – turnout was only 38% in 2012[3] – but Khan would also pick up more transfers than Goldsmith[4] and the final two candidate vote is Khan 55% (+2), Goldsmith 45% (-2).

    [1] Changes are from 18-21 Nov, a poll which the ES didn’t bother to publish (though they did use some questions on terrorism from the same survey) but for which tables are available with some questions asked for Shelter on housing. We’ve seen the ES keeping quiet about polls that don’t favour the Conservatives before, hopefully with the change in commissioner the same thing won’t be happening so often.

    [2] The Gorgeous One wasn’t included in the November list and presumably took his votes from Khan, which makes the latter’s rise a bit more impressive.

    [3] A drop from 45% in 2008, but similar to 37% in 2004.

    [4] The questions don’t quite replicate the supplementary vote process, so it’s difficult to be sure. There is possibly a chance for Goldsmith to pick up more transfers from UKIP, though he’s not exactly a candidate designed to appeal to such voters.

  20. @Colin – “Osborne’s Cardiff speech today looks interesting-getting his excuses in early for the prospect of continued difficulty with Public Finances?”

    Yes – I was also interested in the switch from the pre Christmas ‘isn’t everything great?’ approach to this rather sombre warning.

    This is typical of all Chancellors – they do the good bits, the rest of the world is responsible for all the bad stuff. Labour people shouldn’t complain about this. After all, remember Brown’s 61/62/63 etc quarters of continuous economic growth’?, many of which occured before he got into No 11.

    The significance is, as you say, Tory concerns over future finances. If there are problems that seriously impact perceptions of UK performance, how the public judges them and where they choose to lay responsibility will matter alot.

    To date, Osborne hasn’t been blamed for economic failures and missed targets. In large part I suspect this is because the public fairly solidly give Cons the edge on issues of economic competance. For this to change, Labour needs to be seen as credible, and while any adverse impacts will make Labour’s job a bit easler on that score, I suspect the public will still give Cons the benefit of the doubt unless there is a significant event that casues them to loose confidence, like Black Wednesday or the 2007 crash. These things tends to change once every few generations and then stick through thick and thin.

  21. I didn’t vote for Corbyn but, once he won, decided he should be given a chance. The problem is, the company that he keeps. Whatever is he doing giving credence to the likes of Ken Livingstone and Diane Abbott? It is like watching a car crash. Hopefully the end will come sooner rather than later.
    The two Labour people whose speeches have really impressed me since the election have been Baroness Hollis on tax credits and Hilary Benn.
    What a shame the Baroness isn’t in the House of Commons.
    She taught my brother history at UEA. He says she was formidable.

  22. ROB

    Well I suppose it makes a change -but in all honesty I would rather we had an opposition asking trenchant questions about Government performance. That produces better government.

    These people are doing a disservice to UK politics in my view.

    ……….mind you, what are the Centre Right actually doing about it ?

  23. CHERISH

    That the Labour Leader actually allows people like Abbott & Livingstone to speak on behalf of him tells you all you need to know.

  24. MR JONES

    re ” By moving all the supply to the east while keeping demand in the west” -perhaps it has escaped your notice that the current downturn in commodity prices & the consequent disaster hitting emerging economies is because China’s seemingly insatiable appetite for primary materials has come to an end. It was fuelled by overinvestment, excess capacity & debt-Chinese Debt.

    The oil price too has a China component, though Saudi’s geo-political games are too.

    And actually, if western exporters are smart they will see opportunities to sell consumer products into a Chinese economy being shifted from Indudtrial Investment to Domestic Consumption.

  25. ALEC

    Remember ( I’m sure you do ) that GO’s relaxation of spending cuts in the Autumn Statement were courtesy of that dosh which OBR found down the back of their computer.

    It could disappear at the entry of the next forecast.

  26. @Valerie

    Livingstone did a lot of very sensible, moderate, innovative things as Mayor of London. His knowledge and experience of how to successfly administer government to get results within budget (as he did in both terms as Mayor – there was a surplus when he handed over to Boris) is a very useful to tap into in these times.

    However, he should not be a spokesman! He’s been in too many battles over the years and doesn’t possess the necessary diplomatic skills for the job. He should instead be in the bavkground.

  27. The problem with Labour’s new defence and foreign policy is it is detached from the practical choices that will follow on from one decision to another. As a NATO member we are expected to put equiv 2% of GDP into Defence but the Party’s new policy is take to out Trident and put the money somewhere else – schools or whatever. This on most estimates means about cut of 1/4 to 1/3 in the Defence Budget in the 2020’s. That would mean we fail to meet the membership criteria by some distance. We would of course as a non Nuclear power continue to shelter under the nuclear umbrella of the US and French within the Alliance. Therefore we would be a target in any action against NATO in much the same way as we are today. However, whether the US (0r the American public to be more precise) would be willing to fire a nuclear weapon in retaliation were one to be dropped upon us – even by ISIS – is a mute point – so the decision inevitably alters the notional predictable effects of mutual deterrence.

    Meanwhile, we will have a number of submarines when the equipment we might want for a conventional force might turn out to be quite different – a larger fleet perhaps and a larger air force and better equipped army. Any or all of these will require a major restructuring of MOD procurement. this would put a disproportionate amount of costs into the near term and UK’s defence industries may not be able to fill that gap immediately – thus we export jobs abroad in order to provision an immediate military need. This has political implications for a Labour government and for the Unions.

    Then if the party chooses not to pursue NATO membership – which to some extent is the logical extension of this policy as Ken Livingstone has indiscreetly publicly suggested – and to seek to help NATO alliance reorient its posture consequence on our unilateral abandonment of our nuclear forces – by making additional expenditure on conventional forces – the inevitable problem of the UK’s relations with the USA will come to the fore and with it the UK’s position as a Permanent Member of the UN.

    Realpolitik will govern all the responses of UK’s allies and her enemies whether Corbyn wills that to be the case or not….enter for example another Falklands test…this time we will have fewer ships and if our US ally does not see any reason to help us there is no reason to assume it will continue so to do – that may be an unwinnable conflict of interests. good will say those on the left but there will further consequences for the UK’s investments and interests elsewhere in the world.

    These are just a few illustrations of how things might shake down and given the current instabilities of the world the political question for Labour is whether such a policy open as it is to these sorts of critique will be saleable to the wider electorate beyond all those very vocal new members who of their own hardly add up to more than a handful of MP’s.

    The fact that none of those proposing the change in the UK’s defence posture are willing to enter the debate in these terms simply betrays that there are large dollops of wishful thinking in all this.

    Emma Thornbury’s appointment hardly suggests Labour is having a serious rethink of all this and of its consequences. In that sense it is much alike Cameron’s renegotiation/referendum policy – all about internal party politics.

    Finally recent political history suggests none of this will play well with traditional Labour voters. Thornbury with her disdain for flag flying Labour voters is ill equipped to engage with this reality.

    It is hard not to conclude that this is gesture politics rather than policy-making. It may play well in CLP meetings rammed to the doors with new members with old fashioned pacifist ideals but I doubt it will resonate on the doorsteps – even in metropolitan London.

  28. There’s also Westminster VI figures for London:

    Con 37% (38) [35]

    Lab 44% (42) [44]

    Lib Dem 4% (5) [8]

    UKIP 11% (9) [8]

    Green 2% (4) [5]

    Other 2% (1) [*]

    Figures in () are from an accumulated survey 8 Jun – 12 Aug, possibly with different weighting:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/11zr3i9of3/InternalMerge_LondonMayor_150902_Website.pdf

    [] figures are actual percentages of the vote in May 2015. WNV is 10% and DK 19%, both quite high by YouGov GB standards, though it’s possible that different weighting and collection methods may have had some effect.

    Again it looks like very little has changed since May and certainly since Corbyn’s election. The most notable feature is the further collapse of the Lib Dem vote, though neither Con or Lab seem to have benefited over the other.

  29. @Carfrew:

    Although I would be dubious as to whether that particular question is being used with the intention you describe, yes, it could be argued that it is simply being used to investigate the nature of TOH’s moral construct.

    Although skeptical I will not claim to have absolute knowledge of the motivations of those posting here.

    I will however quote one post that is rather more explicit than the rest:

    “Toh, and if it was you? Surely you can do a tht experiment and see the foolishness of your remark?”

  30. Thought I’d contribute some Alec-tastic news courtesy of the Times today…

    Apparently, “Britain generated more electricity from sunshine than from rain for the first time last year”.

    Solar farms generated more energy than hydro, basically. Solar in Britain of all places. And total renewable generation has come close to levels of nuclear generation.

    P.s. I did notice before the New Year, Alec remarking on an something along the lines of an increase in renewables sans stuff like Thorium. As if this lackmof Thoriumness were a good thing. I must point out, this is to undersell Thorium somewhat. Like, quite a bit.

    I don’t doubt we might eventually meet current energy budgets with renewables. The point about Thorium is that it could unleash vastly more energy than currently, and cheaply, without long cable runs, in any part of the world, allowing all kinds of cool stuff: mass desalination, pulling CO2 out he atmosphere to synthesise oil etc., plus spin-offs like all the medically useful isotopes. And preserving stocks of U235…

  31. @JP

    There are indeed other reasons for such a query, much along the lines of debating a matter in the first place: to explore the reasoning and expose any flaws.

  32. @JP

    For example… It highlighted the problem of thinking one’s offspring needn’t worry about being convicted while innocent because of having moral fibre etc.

  33. JOHN MURPHY

    The problem with Labour’s new defence and foreign policy is it is detached from the practical choices that will follow on from one decision to another. As a NATO member we are expected to put equiv 2% of GDP into Defence but the Party’s new policy is take to out Trident and put the money somewhere else – schools or whatever. This on most estimates means about cut of 1/4 to 1/3 in the Defence Budget in the 2020’s. That would mean we fail to meet the membership criteria by some distance.

    Well yes, except that hardly any other NATO countries currently manage to spend 2%, even nuclear power France:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-calls-for-rise-in-defence-spending-by-alliance-members-1434978193

    only the US, the UK, Greece(!) and (just) Estonia. Some other Eastern European countries are also promising to up their spending, but I suspect this is more an ‘aspiration’ to keep the US happy rather than anything else.

    Which not to say that Labour could and shouldn’t be doing more and different things on this topic – particularly with regards to conventional forces and the long-standing disaster that is defence procurement. But the 2% is a bit of a myth and going below it won’t cause NATO to vanish.

  34. @Carfew

    Re: Thorium

    Desalinated water can be a waste product of concentrated solar plants… but ‘pulling CO2 out the atmosphere to synthesise oil’ does sound very neat.

  35. Oh Gawd, we had Boris v Ken and now it’s Sadiq v Zak for the London Mayoral elections, is it? What is it about these elections that infantilises the commentariat into this twee twaddle that refers to politicians by their Christian names?

    Why can’t we call them by their correct monikers; SK and ZK? :-)

    It looks like open season on Corbyn at the moment, and it’s very difficult to offer much of a defence of him when he appears to show so little guile and political stage craft. His unique selling point of authenticity and integrity comes across as archly naive when exposed to the harsh realities of politics and, as I’ve said before, being a nice bloke with good intentions takes you only so far if you lack the basic skills of your trade. His trade is politics and, now he’s leader of the opposition, his raison d’etre is getting Labour back into government. He looks a woefully poor politician at the moment and that’s a shame in many ways because it’s not allowing his personal attributes to count. Irate customers in a restaurant aren’t easily assuaged by talk of the chef being a nice bloke if they’ve been served poor food. It cuts no ice and voters may well like a politician but, at the same time, never dream of voting for him or her. You can’t get out of base camp as a politician if you’re no good at politics. It’s a big boys and girls game that has no place for the bien pensant maladroit. Corbyn has little time left to change fast setting negative perceptions of him, especially since he is being viewed through the distorting prism of a largely hostile media. It’s quite possible that he may already be very close to a tipping point when there’s no way back for him.

    All that said, I’ve always belonged to the political left as much for my non-conformity as for any great attachment to all the tenets of pure socialism. I have an instinctive affinity with non-conformists and people who cock-a-snoop at orthodoxy and convention. A love of the underdog and eccentric is in there too and that’s why there’s a side of me wishing Corbyn well as he struggles through the maelstrom.

    When I look at the people hunting Corbyn I have a natural urge to run with him.

  36. @syzgy

    Yes, you’re right about desalination. There are other advantages to Thorium, a personal favourite is the creation of new stocks of the rare isotope of Plutonium suitable for deep space missions.

  37. @CB11

    I strongly sympathise with you.

    Upfront, I am not a Corbyn supporter by any means, and I am also aware of his difficulties coping in our political age, and handling the unruly beast that is the PLP. He has limited party management skills, but even if had those skills in spades, the Labour movement seems to be going through a generational upheaval no-one can manage right now. They remind of the Conservatives post 1997 – lost.

    What I find personally very sad is politics had run in the cul-de-sac of politics in a greasy, media driven, two faced media age. Mr Corbyn has tried to break that. It seems that those sat behind in the commons want to stay firmly where Blair/Brown left them.

    The hard truth is that everything points to Mr Corbyn failing. It will also transpire (IMHO) that the hopes of those who joined Labour recently or took a fresh interest will simply slide away to no-of-the-above again. I imagine in a few short years we will be in the same place politically as we were pre-2010, namely large numbers of disaffected voters who see little difference in the main parties, and falling turnouts.

    Perhaps sometime with my lifetime, people will vote for serious change in our political system.

    Then again maybe, not.

  38. Carfrew
    I have a friend who has bored me to death with all the YouTube videos on Thorium. I agree it looks to be a brilliant source of energy such that every town and village could make their o?n energy and cheaply.

    The big question though, is why are the green lobby not banging on about it? I haven’t heard Miss Lucas refer to Thorium, ever. Why are they so fixated on blighting the countryside with wind turbines?

  39. @Crossbat11
    “What is it about these elections that infantilises the commentariat into this twee twaddle that refers to politicians by their Christian names?”

    Many of those commenting here are guilty of similar crimes. I would be delighted if AW decided to automod any post that referred to “Jeremy”, “Nicola” or “Boris”.

  40. @Crossbat XI

    “Oh Gawd, we had Boris v Ken and now it’s Sadiq v Zak for the London Mayoral elections, is it? What is it about these elections that infantilises the commentariat into this twee twaddle that refers to politicians by their Christian names?”

    An excellent turn of phrase (no doubt intentional) to describe Frank (who is Jewish) and Sadiq (who is a Muslim).

    “Why can’t we call them by their correct monikers; SK and ZK?:-)”

    FZRK and SAK. Sadiq and Zak is much easier. Us Londoners can’t handle long names. We get lost.

  41. @Crossbat

    FZRG and ZAK. That’s the last time I dabble in pedantry.

  42. @Crossbat

    Penultimate. This is the last time. Honest.

    FZRG and SAK.

  43. @ RAF

    I dropped in just before going to bed to see if there is any movement (apart from Thorium) in the opinion on the somewhat dubious record of the Labour Party (no), and of course, to check out if Roger Mexico had a post on the London polling (yes).

    But I saw your post on the “Christian” names, and I got re-energised, so maybe an hour work is feasible still (who needs Thorium).

  44. Something strange – could be a Merseyside or NW thing (anecdote alert).

    In the last three days I had to travel around in the North quite a bit, and mainly by taxis and trains. I met probably about thirty people from very different social backgrounds (public employees, some civil servants, entrepreneurs, self employed, skilled workers, clerical workers, even a rentier.

    They almost all liked JC and his policies, but very few of them would vote for him (pinch of salt: I’m quite sure that most of them, if they voted, voted Labour in 2015). One of the oddities was that they were all very willing to talk about Labour Party politics (it is new). It is a change. The other oddity was that they wanted a purge … and they would vote for Labour.

    One cannot take the probing too far when it’s the first time of meeting these people and to some degree they are dependent on my analysis of their proposals, still … After probing it came: a deep dislike of the Conservatives (LibDems are not even in the picture), but wanting a kind of autocratic Labour leader (?), and without it they don’t actually mind the Tories (a bit overstated).

    Reading about JC’s (dis)approval above … Who knows how these complex reservations, feelings, commitments, beliefs churn those ratings.

  45. @ROBERT NEWARK

    “I have a friend who has bored me to death with all the YouTube videos on Thorium.”

    ———-

    This is good to know, as it saves me doing it. As for the greenies, it’s a bit of a Mystery. I’ve tried asking them on here but they just seem to go “Dunno Guv”.

  46. I don’t see a particular problem in the UK sheltering under the US umbrella whilst simultaneously opting to become a non-nuclear power. Why would that make us any different to the Scandinavian countries – or to the Benelux countries – or to Spain , Portugal, Greece, Italy, Germany , Poland, Hungary , Austria – or indeed Switzerland? Are those states shaking in their shoes out of fear of lacking an independent nuclear deterrent of their own? I suspect in reality it is much more a matter of political virility – we just want to be seen as ‘one of the big boys’.

  47. “For all the challenges facing the election polling industry, one of the most basic remains figuring out whether people actually vote. Pollsters hoping to call elections correctly need to include Americans who will show up at the ballot box and screen out voters who won’t.

    Those who probably won’t vote tend to favor different candidates than those who are more likely to. A new report from Pew Research shows that how pollsters determine which camp someone falls into can result in completely different predictions about who will win.”

    This is from the Huffington Post Pollster site. It seems they are facing the same problems as we did in May. The article goes on to look at ways of getting the projection about who will vote more accurate. But concludes its very far from an exact science.

  48. @RAF

    I assure you that I’m not being in the least disingenuous when I say that the neither the ethnicity nor religion of Sadiq Khan and Zak Goldsmith had occurred to me in the slightest until you pointed it out. You’re right that I shouldn’t have referred to “Christian names” in their cases but I was lulled in to a generic term for first names, rather like calling all vacuum cleaner hoovers and all ballpoint pens biros.

    As for the various mysterious combination of intials that you allude too, I’m slightly at a loss, pedantry or not!

    I still stick to my point, though. What’s wrong with Sadiq Khan or Zak Goldsmith or, when abbreviated, Khan and Goldsmith? I’ve always been suspicious of tennis as a sport since they constantly referred to Tim and Roger and Rafa etc. It’s all rather twee and suggests a vaguely infantile faux familiarity to me.

  49. I guess safer forms of fission reactors and thorium will only catch on after we reach peak uranium or we suffer more accidents with current and in my view risky kettle type reactors.

    Back in the fifties we made the choice to use high pressure water moderated reactors based on scaled up sub power plants. Low or zero pressure reactors would have been a safer choice.

    British AGRs, many still running, appear safer to me. I worry our energy security is dependant on untried expensive Chinese kettles.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could build British AGRs with British money rather than the daft deals we have done?

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