This morning’s Times had a new YouGov poll, full tables are here.

Topline voting intention was CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%. The poll follows a torrid few weeks for the Conservative party – a badly received budget, IDS’s resignation, the Tata steelworks and the week long fuss over David Cameron’s tax affairs. All of that has occured against the backdrop of the party arguing with itself over Europe and saying very little about any other issue. It’s always difficult to link a drop in support in the polls to specific events, but there are plenty of plausible reasons for a fall.

YouGov’s latest topline figures for the EU referendum are REMAIN 50%, LEAVE 50%. Looking at the underlying questions, there are a couple of significant movements in favour of LEAVE. Firstly on terrorism, 25% of people now think that Britain would be safer from terrorism if we left the EU (up from 16% back in February) – perhaps an impact from the Brussels terrorist attacks. Secondly trust in David Cameron on the issue of Europe has dropped sharply, from 29% to 21%. In fairness, trust in most of the leave figures (including Boris Johnson) has fallen too – the only person whose figures have increased is Jeremy Corbyn, who with 28% trust is now more trusted on Europe than Cameron.

Looking at some more general questions on the Tory leadership David Cameron’s ratings have declined there too. In December his lead over Jeremy Corbyn as best Prime Minister was twenty-six points, now it is only seven points (almost all due to Cameron’s rating falling, rather than Corbyn’s increasing) – 32% Cameron (down 17), 25% Corbyn (up 2). As with the voting intention figures, I would be cautious about jumping to conclusions about the reasons for the drop in Cameron’s ratings – while the questions were asked just after the row over his investments, in the same people people said by 45% to 35% that Cameron hadn’t actually done anything wrong. It is just as likely to be the impact from the budget, from the general running of the government or from Cameron losing the support and loyalty of Conservative voters who are backing leave. It will be interesting to see to what degree the ratings of the Conservative party and David Cameron himself recover once the referendum is finally over and they can get on with something else (assuming, of course, that Cameron’s leadership survives the aftermath)

On the subject of Cameron’s future 31% of people now think he should step down in the next year (up from 18% in December), compared to 36% who think he should stay until 2019 or later (down from 50% in December). If Britain votes to leave the European Union 44% think that Cameron should resign. In terms of a successor, Boris Johnson remains the clear favourite of the public and of Conservative voters. Support for George Osborne is now very low – he is the choice of only 4% of the public, of only 2% of Conservative voters (behind Michael Gove and Sajid Javid). Osborne even lags behind Jeremy Corbyn in a question on who would make the best Prime Minister – he will have some catching up to do to repair his reputation ahead of any leadership election.


161 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 31, LAB 34, LD 8, UKIP 17, GRN 3”

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  1. Indeed, we know the current arrangements in the EU. And the day after an out vote, those arrangements would start to change in a future outside the EU. A day after an in vote, those arrangements would start to change too in a future inside the EU. There is uncertainty.

    You may make a judgement call about which uncertainty you prefer (that’s the point of the referendum!), but to suggest that uncertainty lies only one way as a fact (or rather more of an undisputed expectation) is the issue.

    In short, we aren’t choosing between a out future in flux or the EU at an ossified present, we are choosing between an unknown out future and a future EU that doesn’t exist yet. To try and claim one-sided certitude as a “fact” would require an assertion that we actually faced the former choice.

  2. (At any rate, the fact that I bridle at the suggestion that it is undisputed expectation should be proof enough that it isn’t!)
    :)

  3. Nice use of the word ossified ;)

  4. “A day after an in vote, those arrangements would start to change too in a future inside the EU.”

    Surely it’s reasonable to assume that we’d continue to operate EU treaties as currently agreed.

  5. James E
    “Surely it’s reasonable to assume that we’d continue to operate EU treaties as currently agreed.”

    Never heard of ‘Ever closer union”?

    Incidentally, great gesture by Syed Kamall

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyICCFw2hws

  6. “But that wasn’t the question I asked, please answer the question I asked”.
    Robert Newark April 15th, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Well that’s a feature of just having two parties because of FPTP. If we had PR we would have a wider choice of parties/policies and individuals could be more honest in their answers. They could talk to their (smaller) electorate, and more views could be exposed to the public.

    C’est la vie (as they say in parts of the EU).

  7. @ CMJ

    ‘The “Don’t Knows” started to rise at data point 8 – poll taken 21-23rd Feb. The line doesn’t breach until point 10, but has been rising. ‘

    Fascinating… Boris came out for Leave around the 21st, following Michael Gove.

  8. PETE B
    “Never heard of ‘Ever closer union’?”

    Yes. That’s the thing that’s ruled out both in terms of the legislation required further powers to be subject to a referendum in this country, and by the acknoledgement from the EU that it doesn’t apply to the UK. So yes, we’ve heard of ever closer union. It’s the thing no being sought from us, nor by us, which we have a veto on, which can only be waived with the explicit and direct permission from the British people in a referendum.

    So James E is basically right.

  9. Alunoo9
    “But I would argue that this is because many of them are utterly repellent to the electorate. I believe the polling will back me up on that. The only thing that really hobbles Leave is their horribleness.”

    Equally treu of stay IMO.

  10. Sorry should have read “Equally true of stay IMO”.

  11. @Syzygy

    @ CMJ

    ‘The “Don’t Knows” started to rise at data point 8 – poll taken 21-23rd Feb. The line doesn’t breach until point 10, but has been rising. ‘

    Fascinating… Boris came out for Leave around the 21st, following Michael Gove.

    The polling data confirms that Mr Cameron is very likely to face ill winds for sometime. His MPs and his party membership like uncomfortable with the Government’s direction around this referendum.

    I think we will have a new Prime Minister this year, as Mr Cameron knows he needs to go in a few years, and a dignified,clean exit would make more sense than hanging on. The Conservative Party are quite adept at the swift removal of Leaders.

    Six months ago, it looked like JC might be the first to go, but it looks like it has turned around 180 degrees.

    I checked out what the bookies make of this – they agree:

    David Cameron to cease to be PM:

    2016 – 2/1
    2017 – 6/1
    2018 – 3/1
    2019 – 9/4
    2020 – 11/2

    http://www.oddschecker.com/politics/british-politics/when-will-cameron-cease-to-be-pm

  12. All the talk of Cammo walking away, voluntarily, or at the end of a sword, is fantasy, IMO, he’s in No10 until early 2020, he’s young, ambitious, and, ultimately, there is no sensible alternative. So, although I am no fan of his, I accept that we are stuck with him, the rabble constituting a challenge are no real threat, so, managing our decline, suitably chastened, as junior members of the EU, will be his role, until, a la Blair, he rides away into an offshore sunset to look after his ever increasing fortune. :-)

  13. @ Catman

    ‘I think we will have a new Prime Minister this year, as Mr Cameron knows he needs to go in a few years, and a dignified,clean exit would make more sense than hanging on. The Conservative Party are quite adept at the swift removal of Leaders.’

    That makes sense. As you know, I think that the ages of his children vis a vis their schooling will be as significant in determining his departure date, as his polling. So regardless of a Remain vote (and unlike Ken) I cannot see DC continuing as PM until 2020.

  14. KEN:
    “there is no sensible alternative”

    You think that will stop the Tories knifing him? You don’t seem to understand the deep, visceral hatred felt towards him by some in his ranks.

    Interestingly, the lack of credible alternative mirrors in some ways the Brexit debate. Many hate the EU with no clue what to replace it with. The fact that there is a very real risk that we will leave the EU mirrors the fact that there is a very real chance the Tories could ditch their leader soon. What comes after doesn’t concern them.

  15. @Ken

    “All the talk of Cammo walking away, voluntarily, or at the end of a sword, is fantasy, IMO, he’s in No10 until early 2020….”

    Ken Clarke would appear to disagree: –

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/16/cameron-wouldnt-last-30-seconds-if-he-lost-eu-vote-says-ken-clarke

    :-)

  16. Good afternoon all from a dull and damp rural Hampshire .

    KEN
    “All the talk of Cammo walking away, voluntarily, or at the end of a sword, is fantasy, IMO, he’s in No10 until early 2020, he’s young, ambitious, and, ultimately, there is no sensible alternative. So, although I am no fan of his, I accept that we are stuck with him, the rabble constituting a challenge are no real threat, so, managing our decline, suitably chastened, as junior members of the EU, will be his role, until, a la Blair, he rides away into an offshore sunset to look after his ever increasing fortune. :-)”
    ________

    I was shopping at Waitrose in Winchester this morning and bumped into your old pal, The Fat Controller who you had a selfie taken with a few weeks back. I did observe he was carrying Aldi bags but that’s not important.

    Anyway I showed him your comment (which conveniently cropped up on my phone when I too was having a selfie with him taken) and he disagrees with you. He said “What the Tories need right now is someone of his caliber and stature”

    I’m thinking Eric Pickles? ;-)

  17. Hasn’t Cameron himself said that he’d go before the next general election? To give his successor a chance that would presumably mean 2019 at the latest. Not that you can take politicians at their word of course.

  18. I was a bit surprised that it was Ken Clarke who came up with the statement that Cameron would have to go if the EU referendum resulted in a Leave vote. Because a “Vote Leave to dump Cammo” move would encourage Labour voters in the main and those are currently the people who Remain are relying on. Excluding DKs/WNVs this poll shows 71% for Remain as against only 48% of Tories. So from a very pro-EU MP it was a dangerous move.

    But it’s also true that people do think that Cameron should go if the vote is lost. This poll indeed asked that very question (p 17/18):

    If Britain votes to leave the European Union, do you think David Cameron should…

    Resign and let someone else take over as Prime Minister and Conservative leader 44%

    Remain as Prime Minister and Conservative leader 33%

    Don’t know 22
    %

    As you might expect there is some correlation with EU vote (Remain: 42/32/19; Leave: 54/34/12) but it’s less than you might expect. A better predictor is how people will vote (Con: 25/67/9; Lab: 61/22/17; UKIP: 67/24/9), so a lot of it is people who think he should go anyway. But then there may be more of those than previously.

    This is similar to a slightly earlier poll from MORI (19 – 22 Mar):

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/pm-march-2016-europe-tables.pdf#page=41

    As you may know David Cameron is campaigning for Britain to remain within the European Union.
    If Britain votes to leave the European Union, do you think that David Cameron should resign as Prime Minister or should he continue being the Prime Minister?

    Resign 48%

    Continue 44%

    Step down anyway 1%

    Don’t know 8%

    Interestingly the mode effect of telephone polls having a lower DK mainly seems to help Cameron – possibly due the Lab, Lib Dem and other remainers not wanting to say they would punish him for being on the same side.

  19. @AnthonyJWells

    I’m writing an article about assessing the performance of polls against the final result. My editor has questioned whether performance should be measured against raw polls, or against polls with don’t knows/will not vote (DK/WNV) proportionately reallocated.

    For example, if a poll has 20%Y, 60%N, 20%DK/WNV, should we take that as a predicted lead of 40% (60% – 20%) or a predicted lead of 50%? (20/60/20 is 25/75/0 when you reallocate DK/WNV)

    My feeling is we should measure against polls with proportional reallocation. This is because a) reference books frequently record the reallocated polls not the raw polls (so a reference book from the 70’s will record the final gallup poll on the 1975 referendum as 34%N/66%Y and not mention the DK/WNV), and b) it usually reduces the size of the polling error.But it doesn’t *always* reduce the size of the polling error (I think an Irish poll for the 2009 refrendum was more accurate before reallocation) so there’s room for doubt.

    Does the polling industry have a settled stance on this, or does it just vary depending?

  20. @Roger Mexico

    “Because a “Vote Leave to dump Cammo” move would encourage Labour voters in the main and those are currently the people who Remain are relying on.”

    This is exactly my quandary and why I’m going to mull it over very carefully between now and the polling date. I know of many Labour supporters with fairly lukewarm sentiments about the EU who are seriously considering a Leave vote in order to scupper Cameron and his government and to provoke civil war within the Tory party.

    It really is very tempting if one has an eye on the political long game and, as yet, I’m not at all sure what I’m going to do. I’m a tepid EU “remainer” thinking of casting my vote on the basis of another issue altogether.

  21. CB11

    That may be one of the most depressing posts I have read.

    Instead of the international interests of the UK being decided on the basis of the balance of advantage, it may be decided by people preferring to move the deckchairs from the port to the starboard side of the ship.

    There can be fewer better arguments for a Federal UK (if it has to exist) than that English voters can then squabble about which group of career politicians they want to run their domestic affairs, without affecting the wider interests of the rest of us.

  22. “provoke civil war within the Tory party.”

    1. If that’s the way you’re thinking, you need to ask yourself who is likely to end up in control afterwards. IDS, Gove, Boris. If Remain wins, who’s going to end up in charge? Osborne? Personally, if I had a shred of Labour sympathy, I’d be begging for a Remain win, and hoping Osborne takes charge.

    2. I think that civil war is underway, and will intensify no matter which side wins.

    My personal recommendation, which might be a little radical and leftfield, is to decide whether you think the UK would be better off in Europe or out. The decision will outlive Cameron and this government, so should probably be approached on its own merits.

  23. l agree with that and whichever way l decide to vote (and l won’t be telling anyone except those closest to me what that is) it will certainly be strictly on principle.
    But wearing my partisan Labour Party hat surely no.1 is correct. George Osborne as Prime Minister is a scenario which Labour High Command will relish more than any of the alternatives, except possibly Gove which is most unlikely l should have thought.

  24. My take on who replaces Cameron is this;

    Whoever it is he will do the job differently from what people currently think or predict……They always do!

    No one expected Thatcher to last, let alone become the Iron Lady, Major to show the resolve he did, Blair to be a War Leader, the Iron Chancellor to turn out to be Mr Bean!

    Peter.

  25. ALUNoog

    “2. I think that civil war is underway, and will intensify no matter which side wins.
    My personal recommendation, which might be a little radical and leftfield, is to decide whether you think the UK would be better off in Europe or out. The decision will outlive Cameron and this government, so should probably be approached on its own merits.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I am a Labour supporter and will be voting Remain. The two points are not linked directly.

    I am voting Remain because I really do believe that I and the majority of the citizens of the UK are better off as part of the EU no matter which party is in power.

  26. This discussion is becoming surreal, obviously from my point of view all the comments are irrelevant, since Cammo won’t be going anywhere until 2020, enjoy the guessing game. :-)

  27. ComRes/Independent/S Mirror:
    Con 35% (-3),
    Lab 30% (+1),
    LD 8% (+1),
    UKIP 16% (-),
    Grn 4% (-), SNP
    5% (+1),
    Oth 1% (-)

    Also some ludicrous questions about things like

    “Give you 1st aid treatment in an emergency” (Sturgeon preferred)

    “Go on summer holiday with” & “Have a meal with” & “Have on your pub quiz team” (Boris Johnson)

    On “Running the country” type questions, Cameron scores best.

  28. 59% say they’ve never paid anyone in cash to avoid VAT. Number Cruncher says they’re “Liars!”

    He’s right.

  29. That is a pretty good poll for Labour as Comres Online has consistently produced the best results for the Tories since May 2015.

  30. I have never been a Europhile – having opposed entry to the Euro and the ERM – but have decided to Vote Brexit in the hope of maximising turmoil within the Tory Party. At the end of the day it has to be a judgement call.

  31. ComRes poll

    59% say they’ve never paid anyone in cash to avoid VAT. Number Cruncher says they’re “Li-ars!”

    He’s right.

  32. I have a friend who works for HMRC and he had a boss who when paying tradesmen cash used to knock of 15% and tell them;

    “I’ve deducted the VAT for you as I know you won’t be paying it!”

    His boss swore that not once did they demand the full amount as they knew She could check their tax file!!!!!

    Peter.

  33. EWMA charts including the latest poll.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDRlNoQmFVallMdEk/view?usp=sharing

    Where we were on the last one really….

  34. Being polling geeks, all of us on here know that you can’t rely on geographic crossbreaks, in a GB poll, to be in the slightest bit accurate about that geographic area.

    However, in the real world, people in the nations and regions of the UK do vote very differently.

    When pollsters such as ComRes simply publish their rubbish about the distribution of Unionist votes in Scotland (Con 25% : Lab 15% : LD 5% : UKIP 4%) it’s easy to ignore that as the application of a methodology designed for England being applied across GB.

    What is less clear is why they would try to concatenate the English regions to produce an “English” crossbreak. Since these figures (Con 37% : Lab 32% : UKIP 18% : LD 9% : Green 4%) are bound to be distorted – even if marginally – by a whole sample which is constructed on GB demographics, and not English ones, what on earth is the point?

    If the Scots sample has been distorted to be “more Tory”, then the English one has been distorted to be “less Tory”.

  35. I’m surprised at hopes that a vote to reject the EU would split the Conservatives. I would have thought that a vote to remain, especially a close one would be terrible for them on a party political level.

    Are UKIP voters and anti-EU Conservatives more likely to reconcile themselves to an in result/a wavering Conservative party that had partly helped to bring it about, or are the pro-EU Conservatives more likely to reconcile themselves to an out vote/a wavering Conservative party that had partly helped to bring it about?

  36. Evening folks, watching the snooker and reading the comments this evening – a very good combination….

    The discussion above regarding voting for Leave in order to ditch Cameron illustrates two points for me. Firstly, it shows the flaw in referendums on constitutional issues – because what will happen after the referendum is exceptionally unclear and the issue itself is complex, there’s a temptation to vote on gut instinct. Secondly, the question of who should follow Cameron and when this will take place will, in my view, depend a lot on how close the result is. Oddly enough, I think he might be more vulnerable in the event of a very close Remain vote than in the case of a very close Leave vote – if it’s, say, 52-48 for Remain, that probably means that a majority of Conservative voters were for Brexit, and the Brexiteers might bring forward a challenge (a stalking horse candidate first perhaps, then a full-blown leadership challenge). On the other hand, if it’s 52-48 for Brexit, the likes of Boris and Gove may sit on their hands while any deal is being made for the post-Brexit future – I don’t really feel that any of the senior pro-Leave Conservatives could beat Cameron on a one-to-one, and a failed leadership challenge could weaken any negotiations with the EU. Maybe.

    I’m a bit loathe to predict the result of the referendum after my dreadful prediction for the 2015 UK election (I blame the polls :) ). It’s so difficult to predict turnout – but my gut instinct would be for a 3-4% advantage for Brexit – partially due to differential turnout and because some voters will vote simply against the government. In any case, any result in the range 45-55% would be very inconclusive – and, from what I’ve read over the last few months in the European press, there’s little desire for more discussion about the UK’s role in the EU, there are way too many other issues such as terrorism, taxation, Ukraine, TTIP, climate change, etc, that have been a bit abandoned during recent EU summits.

  37. I’m an inner for all sorts of reasons and the idea of changing my vote for some tenuous ambition to destabilize the Tories seems completely barmy. As others have pointed out, anything that bolsters George Osborne is unlikely to hurt Labour.
    I am, however, increasingly worried that the outcome will help nobody because whatever happens it will likely be very close and about as decisive as the Scottish one.
    We will either be plunged out by a tiny majority: reality will rapidly bite and people will realise what a stupid mistake they’ve made. We’ll clamour to be let back in and the price for that will be heavy in all sorts of ways.
    Or we will vote remain by a tiny majority, after which demands for a new referendum to obtain the correct answer will commence in no time.
    Referendums might work for the Swiss but they are a thoroughly bad idea here.

  38. Sorry, just one more point about Cameron. One tricky thing is that the next leader will have to have the support of the House of Commons as PM – if there’s a protracted and bitter campaign, is it clear that the winner would actually command a majority if there was a vote of confidence or Queen’s Speech? Of course, a new leader could do what Gordon Brown thought about, and call an early election and hope to catch Labour off-guard. Isn’t it amazing how interesting politics becomes once you get away from bland policy statements and PMQs?

    Ok, maybe just me then….

  39. I went into automod – might be because I mentioned that dull part of Parliament that occurs on Wednesday afternoons…..

    Sorry, just one more point about Cameron. One tricky thing is that the next leader will have to have the support of the House of Commons as PM – if there’s a protracted and bitter campaign, is it clear that the winner would actually command a majority if there was a vote of confidence or Queen’s Speech? Of course, a new leader could do what Gordon Brown thought about, and call an early election and hope to catch Labour off-guard. Isn’t it amazing how interesting politics becomes once you get away from bland policy statements and [moderated aforementioned Wednesday tedium]?

    Ok, maybe just me then….

  40. LWVG

    “any result in the range 45-55% would be very inconclusive – and, from what I’ve read over the last few months in the European press, there’s little desire for more discussion about the UK’s role in the EU, there are way too many other issues”

    Replace EU/European with England/English : UK with Scotland, and that’s an accurate description of the response to the last referendum in these islands!

    However, I’d suggest that turnout in England may well continue to cause problems for your predictions!

    If so few people are excited by the issue, that Labour activists are going to vote purely in a way that they imagine will embarrass their tribal enemies, then the large numbers who don’t give a damn about either tribe, won’t bother to vote at all.

    55% – 45% of damn few will have no effect on the disinclination of voters in England to engage with either of their hitherto dominant parties.

  41. LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN
    Of course, a new leader could do what Gordon Brown thought about, and call an early election and hope to catch Labour off-guard.

    That’s no longer as easy as it used to be thanks to the FTPA the LDs insisted upon as part of the Coalition deal in 2010. Even if they try to change or repeal it the HoL would vote any chages down.

  42. Barbazenzero

    Lib Dems in the Lords do have the advantage of enhancing their membership of the House of Rotten Boroughs through their democratic adventure in an electorate of three people!

    “There are seven candidates that have been declared and they will face an electorate of three; the noble Earls of Glasgow, and Oxford and Asquith and Lord Addington

    Brexiteers will be cheered that some somnambulents in the Lords are actually elected, and pronounce that as a triumph of UK democracy.

  43. @Oldnat – You’re right on the Brexit/Indy connection, can’t see Juncker and Schulz setting up a Smith-like Commission though :)

    @Barbazenzero – This was discussed before on UKPR – votes of confidence (such as the QS) would still lead to an election (presumably after the charade of allowing other parties to put together an alternative government, which wouldn’t be able to pass a QS). I’m no legal expert, but from the discussion here some time ago, I got the feeling that if the government lost a confidence motion, the “old rules” would apply. What would happen if a group of disgruntled (literally in the case of IDS!) Tories went off and formed the Grumpy and Unhappy Party and left Cameron with a minority – would there be a lame-duck government for 4 years? I’m not too sure to be honest.

  44. LWVG

    “can’t see Juncker and Schulz setting up a Smith-like Commission though :)”

    I dunno about that. Setting up a packed Commission to “concede” the minimum possible set of adjustments, to pretend that they recognise the concerns seems entirely possible.

    Indeed, if they are more sensible than UK politicians (could they be less?), that could be a smart move. Of course, if it’s a Remain vote, and Juncker’s first response is to talk about enhancing the powers of the Euro-zone countries, then he will prove himself as incompetent as Cameron.

  45. OLDNAT
    Yes. The BBC website has a good article on that piece of niche democracy.

    LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN
    This was discussed before on UKPR
    I certainly recall the 2011 discussions over it and the repeat just before the 2015 UK GE. Whether it becomes relevant post the June referendum will largely depend on whether the Cons kiss and make up or split Jo Chamberlain style.

    If there’s a vote of no confidence in the current UK government which isn’t followed within 14 days by a vote of confidence in the same or another government then effectively the old rules will apply.

  46. LWVG

    Section 2 of the Act also provides for two ways in which a general election can be held before the end of this five-year period:
    If the House of Commons resolves “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government”, an early general election is held, unless the House of Commons subsequently resolves “That this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government”. This second resolution must be made within fourteen days of the first.
    If the House of Commons, with the support of two-thirds of its total membership (including vacant seats), resolves “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”.

    In either of these two cases, the Monarch (on the recommendation of the prime minister) appoints the date of the new election by proclamation. Parliament is then dissolved 25 working days before that date. wiki

  47. Interesting views about tradesmen above. But if you don’t trust the poll participants in this, why do you trust them in any other question? Admitting of voting for the Conservatives around here is surely more sinful than paying the tradesmen in cash (although buying the Sun would be certainly denied).

    I actually think that making the tax returns public is inevitable – the question is timing. The Comres participants seem to be supporting it, unless they don’t tell the truth. But then …

  48. Laszlo

    Perhaps complicity in voting Tory or buying the Sun should be a crime, but it isn’t.

    Conspiring with a tradesperson (like Peter’s pal’s HMRC boss) to evade taxation would be.

    Perhaps Matt Singh (and I) are being too cynical. Those of us who pay the occasional guy in cash – like the window cleaner – aren’t conspiring to avoid the payment of tax. We just don’t know if the due tax is being paid.

    It’s a bit like buying a coffee in Starbucks.

  49. Its mental voting out just because you don’t like the Tories. You should vote out or in because it’s what you believe is best for the country.

  50. Pete

    “Its mental voting out just because you don’t like the Tories”

    Sadly, people do that kind of thing. Even more sadly, some activists encourage people to adopt that approach. In 2014, we had some folk voting in the indyref (in both directions) because they said they disliked a particular politician.

    Being in a democracy means that we allow people to vote for really stupid reasons, as well as well-considered ones.

    We just have to hope that the stupid ones on each side cancel each other out in a binary choice referendum.

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