YouGov’s latest voting intention figures are CON 42%, LAB 25%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4%. It was conducted over last weekend, so shortly after the Liberal Democrats’ success in Richmond Park. The 11% for the Lib Dems equals their highest from YouGov since the election, but it’s not a huge bounce and not a record breaker. More notable is the Labour score – 25% is the lowest that Labour have recorded since back in 2009 (as others have commented, it appears to be the lowest they have had in opposition since all the way back in 1983, though that should be seen in the context that there were fewer small parties in the 1980s and the big parties normally had higher scores than are typical these days)

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378 Responses to “YouGov – CON 42, LAB 25, LDEM 11, UKIP 12”

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  1. Neil A

    Loved your nail/hammer analogy!

    As to ” Everything above that is really organisational management (civil servants should do that) or politics (politicians should do that).” I suspect you are doing a bit of kite-flying there.

    Obviously, police and legal systems and traditions vary from country to country, but I would be fearful if the operations of Police Scotland were to be decreed by civil servants (who might have recently been transferred from the Department of Rural Affairs) or politicians who don’t have to put the relevant legislation through the complex set of consultations required, and hold their position in public debate.

    Your system may be very different, of course, but surely the dividing line is between those who direct operational procedures and policies, and those who define the context within which those decisions are made?

    That’s often a fine line – but I want those on the police side of the line to be officers who have learned about managing the political environment, and not “outsiders” who are already on the other side of the line!

  2. The NPIA morphed into “The College of Policing” which I think is a good idea, although the jury is still out on its effectiveness.

    IT systems are basically an issue for each force, rather than the government, other than PNC and a system called “PND” that each force uploads information to. They are a sore point, as with most public sector IT. It takes years, and millions of pounds, to come up with something that doesn’t really work and isn’t really an improvement on what preceded it. I am not sure what the solution is. Probably some sort of national projects team with IT experts, police officers and specialists in User Interface design. It would surprise the public to know that we are still pole-axed by things as simple as someone spelling a suspect’s name incorrectly.

    As for cutting off career options, I don’t think it would. There’d be nothing to stop a Superintendent applying to become “Assistant Director of Policing” or whatever. They’d just be competing against people with expertise in other public services, business, academia etc. And there are a lot less ranks at NPCC level than there are at Superintendent level so the damage to career prospects from direct rectruitment to Supt is probably greater.

    Besides which, if you’ve been promoted to sergeant, then inspector, then chief inspector, then superintendent then chief superintendent, how many more promotions do you need in one career? Police service is 35 years now. An average of 6 years in each available rank seems like a pretty good rate of progress to me.

    As to “training”, well its no substitute for experience, frankly. We wouldn’t do it in other professions, so why the police? “Dr Khan is now going to perform open heart surgery. He’s never actually done an operation before, but we’ve thoroughly trained him in the procedure so don’t worry”. It’s fine to put a businessman in charge of the hospital, but don’t ask him to treat patients. Similarly don’t ask a businessman to decide whether to deploy firearms officers to a critical incident, or whether there is enough evidence to justify extending the police detention of someone who is alleged to have murd*red a child.

  3. Oldnat,

    My point is that operations are not decreed by people about the rank of Chief Superintendent. Virtually any decision that means anything is taken at or below the superintending ranks, apart from certain very secret things that are personally decided by the Chief Officer. There is a powerful argument that those decisions should rightly be taken by a judge, or a politician, rather than a police officer. After all, the really, really secret things (the next level up) are decided personally by the Home Secretary.

    But those aren’t really operational decisions. That’s a situation where a group of officers (primarily constables, sergeants and an inspector) puts together a plan and goes to get it approved. It’s quasi-judicial.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that police officers should be involved from top to bottom. I have only come to the idea of allowing civilian control quite recently. But certainly if you are going to have civilians involved, giving them 12 weeks training and a uniform and putting them in charge of running operational units is the wrong approach.

  4. @CANDY

    I don’t object to the NHS remaining in public hands and I certainly don’t like the American system, however I am not sure about keeping the NHS free ‘at the point of delivery’. I believe that those who can afford to should pay something towards the costs of their treatment – not necessarily a lot, but something. Also, raising the age limit for free prescriptions from 60 to 65 would raise useful and needed cash.
    Increasing council tax in order to fund social care sounds like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  5. Neil A

    It does sound as if your structures and policy decision making procedures are a bit different from those here.

    Incidentally, “It’s fine to put a businessman in charge of the hospital”. Of course it is – if you want the hospital to be a profit making enterprise where you obviously would want decisions to be taken that maximise profits rather than health care.

    Lots and lots of excellent examples of that strategy in the USA.

    On that basis it would be perfect to have a businessman in charge of your force. Just consider the profit opportunities!!

  6. @Tancred

    If you look at Europe and the amount of money they waste on people paying and admin costs to reimburse them, or on insurance, you’d want to keep the NHS.

    The NHS is the only system that works because when people get sick they get vulnerable to scams.

    In order to hold down costs we need to look at preventative care. Japan with an older population than ours spends less because their people are healthier, and we need to learn from them.

    Regarding prescriptions, I agree with you.

    Wales abolished prescription charges and saw their costs soar as careless cheapskates tried to get things like paracetemol on prescription (about 50p in a supermarket but £2.50 when prescibed by a doctor to pay the £2 fee to the pharmacist for discharging said prescription).

  7. @NEIL A

    “I am sympathetic to the idea that police officers should be involved from top to bottom. I have only come to the idea of allowing civilian control quite recently. But certainly if you are going to have civilians involved, giving them 12 weeks training and a uniform and putting them in charge of running operational units is the wrong approach.”

    Is the direct entry supt programme not 18 months in duration? I would be interested in it but I’m over the hill now as I’ll be 50 in March. Shame it wasn’t around 6 or 7 years ago, I would seriously have considered it as I have a lot senior management experience.

  8. @CANDY

    “If you look at Europe and the amount of money they waste on people paying and admin costs to reimburse them, or on insurance, you’d want to keep the NHS.”

    Not sure what you mean other than another dig at Europe.

    “The NHS is the only system that works because when people get sick they get vulnerable to scams.
    In order to hold down costs we need to look at preventative care. Japan with an older population than ours spends less because their people are healthier, and we need to learn from them.”

    I take your point about scams, but as I said I’m not advocating a free market in healthcare.
    The Japanese are an interesting bunch. Their diet is very different from ours – they eat much less in general and most of their protein is from fish, which they have in abundance.

    “Regarding prescriptions, I agree with you.”

    Yes, and even paying say £8 to see the doctor would be affordable for most people and over 65s could be exempt. These small measures would actually raise significant amounts that would make a difference for the NHS in many areas. The government’s line of continued direct taxation for the NHS is not imaginative – we will need more creative funding solutions in future and action needs to be taken now, not later.

  9. Candy

    “Wales abolished prescription charges and saw their costs soar as careless cheapskates tried to get things like paracetemol on prescription (about 50p in a supermarket but £2.50 when prescibed by a doctor to pay the £2 fee to the pharmacist for discharging said prescription).”

    You have a remarkable ability to present your own prejudices as proven fact!

    Not only did Professor David Cohen demonstrate the silliness of your proposition, “Evidence suggests that abolition did not increase overall dispensing rates and therefore did not cause the NHS drugs bill to rise. It did not increase the demand for GP visits or cause a substitution from over the counter sales to prescriptions – at least not to any degree. At the same time it eliminated transaction costs and probably reduced waste. ”

    For the evidence his assessment was based on see –

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/should-prescription-charges-brought-back-4053805

    (although the research studies are available for anyone who actually wants to look at evidence)

    Similar research in Scotland and NI (which also do not charge for prescriptions) has resulted in similar conclusions.

  10. Tancred – “Not sure what you mean other than another dig at Europe. ”

    The Europeans pay a greater percentage of GDP into heathcare to achieve outcomes no better than ours (and in some cases worse).

    The French system for example requires patients to pay upfront and claim afterward, and it a) causes distress amongst the poorest b) requires a massive admin system to reimburse people and c) results in ovre-prescription as people think “I’m paying upfront, and even if I am being reimbursed, I demand that all sorts of unnecessary tests are made, because, damn it, I am paying upfront”.

    That stuff makes things expensive,

    As I said, only the Japanese spend less on healthcare for an equivalent effect, and they are therefore the only people with something to teach us.

  11. @OldNat

    I don’t see how the Welsh system decreased the “transaction cost” as buying paracetemol from the supermarkert for 50p has no transaction cost, but getting it on prescription costs £2.50 thanks to the $2 transaction cost that pharmacists get paid to fill said prescription.

  12. @ Oldnat

    ‘There are other models of public ownership than nationalisation. It might be interesting if these were discussed by political patties, and then polled on.’

    I agree that some polling would be good! I deliberately referred to ‘democratic ownership’ because John McDonnell and his economic advisor, James Meadway, are keen to incorporate all sorts of ideas about co-operatives and worker’s ownership. (They have probably taken on board Carfew’s caveats about nationalised public services being ripe pickings for any incoming neoliberally-minded government.)

    I don’t know how easy it would be for Corbyn to get a simple message out about housing, rail, the NHS, given the seeming media blackout on whatever he says or does, but I think that a compelling narrative could be crafted out of his policies. I have rather more doubts about Theresa May’s ability to steer safely through the Brexit gates… but what do I know.

  13. Syzygy

    “I don’t know how easy it would be for X to get a simple message out about ……….. given the seeming media blackout on whatever he says or does”

    Yep! It’s not easy. Mind you, it was much harder for another party to get rather complex messages out, given the concerted attacks on them from both Lab, Con & LD supporting media. and move to getting 50% of VI over years.

    Lots on my side of the Scottish political divide still whine endlessly about how unfair the meeja are, and it’s not really very useful.

    Of course, the meeja are unfair. What do you expect when you challenge powerful established interests?

    Parties can get into power by not being challenging to these interests (or at least being selective as to which you challenge and when) but that requires a level of strategic thinking that seems to be absent from much of Westminster politics, I’m afraid.

  14. Candy

    “anything that goes through the prescription system incurrs a transaction cost as the pharmacist needs to be reimbursed.”

    Of course, but go read the research and find out how removing the bureaucracy surrounding exemptions, the reduction in over-subscribing by GPs, the hospital care required by those who didn’t take prescribed medication due to cost also have to be put on the other side of the equation..

    In the devolved nations previously, and in England still, most of those getting prescriptions were exempt from charges, yet the NHS and pharmacists had this expensive system to examine who was, or wasn’t entitled to free prescriptions

    Most importantly you have presented precisely zero evidence to support your original charge that “Wales abolished prescription charges and saw their costs soar as careless cheapskates tried to get things like paracetemol on prescription”.

    It seems reasonable to think that you have no such evidence.

  15. @OldNat

    See the following:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-28778033

    quote

    New data shows that more prescriptions are given per person in Wales – which scrapped charges in 2007 – than any other country in the UK.

    Prescriptions have soared by nearly 49% over the last decade, and last year almost 25 were made out to every patient costing £179.17 per head.

    end quote

  16. The Other Howard,
    All the economic statements I read say there has been a drop in growth since the vote to leave the EU. This is being spun as ‘better than predicted’, but in truth it is a negative economic effect of brexit, which of course still hasnt happened.

    Carfrew,
    ” it said Corbyn was “considering radical plans to ban the sale of new petrol cars in the UK, The Independent can reveal.”

    The logical consequence of such a move would be people hang on to their old cars and patch them up. This would probable be a very environmentally friendly thing to do, but also close down much of the motor industry. It would herald a switch to a very different sort of society. The article makes it clear this is part of a wider plan to cut energy consumption, which in general is massively cost effective for society though often not for individuals unless subsidised on introduction. (because of payback times and startup costs)

    “If things keep shifting to the left, e.g. headlines about upping council tax to pay for social care , then it does potentially make it a little easier for future Labour leaders…”
    Surly the council tax was a right wing invention, which weighs more heavily on the less well off than did the previous rating system, and this is just a plan to increase it? In effect, it is an added tax on May’s ‘JAM’ voters?

    Dave,
    “To push the analogy a little further, success is most frequently achieved if action can be both secret and quick.”

    Rather, if we pursue a wartime analogy, what you are proposing is that britain should deliberately seek a phyrric victory, one where the cost of victory is afterwards considered so high that in reality it was a defeat.

  17. Required reading for those who continue to be confused as to what the Brexit options are:

    Brexit: the options for trade – House of Lords cross-bench report
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldeucom/72/7211.htm#_idTextAnchor124

  18. Alec,
    “She is maintaining that internal splits have been the root cause of their polling ills, despite the rebels being remarkably quiet of late”

    You think the voters have forgotten about these splits already? I completely agree Labour need their own cunning plan, but the splits in themselves destroy party credibility.

    Rich,
    ” The ones I know vote conservative don’t post anything political and generally keep their views to themselves.”

    I am coming to suspect the excitement over social media is overblown. People socialise with like minded people and always have. Was reflecting at the weekend on the demise of the public house, and one aspect of that must be people have moved to different places to have their debates. Different classes will have different patterns.

    Graham,
    ” I think much will change if Corbyn is no longer leader by 2020.”

    But who would replace him? Corbyn is seen as more left than his predecessor, ‘the wrong milliband’. Bit of a trend.

  19. @”John McDonnell and his economic advisor, James Meadway,

    Ah-the new Guru.

    The old one isn’t impressed I remember when his every word was holy writ here too :-) plus ça change

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/08/02/a-note-to-james-meadway/

  20. @Colin – that all adds to my sense that Labour don’t really know what they are doing. The legion of adoring fans are there simply because they believe Corbyn and McDonnel are ‘left wing’, but most of them also simply don’t understand what they, or there leaders, are talking about.

  21. http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/thousands-of-public-servants-sit-idle-as-atos-it-melts-down-20161213-gt9xfd.html

    Makes you think of the consequences of a major computer meltdown and data loss in the UK. I am sure that UK tax authorities have contingency measures in place, where they have the data stored on another back up system and this can be used, in the event that their primary system has a problem.

    But we are so reliant on having reliable IT systems in place for everything we come into contact with, that there should be a full audit compliance system in place, similar to financial stress tests. We have seen many of the Banks have problems with their systems causing payments not to be processed and cash machines not to work. The consequences of losing data or massive corruption of data in the modern world, is potentially massive. I would dread to think of the potential cost.

    If a major problem did occur in the UK government data systems, it would be ministers that got the blame from a frustrated public. We have seen problems already with Concentrix and false demands for tax credit overpayments. I have heard of DWP debt collectors chasing for amounts from about 20 years ago and when it has been looked into, it was an error on government systems. UK government stores a gigantic volume of data which is growing constantly and it poses a massive risk.

  22. @ Oldnat

    ‘Parties can get into power by not being challenging to these interests (or at least being selective as to which you challenge and when) but that requires a level of strategic thinking that seems to be absent from much of Westminster politics, I’m afraid.’

    I agree … and it’s not something which happens overnight, regardless of knacky strategic thinking. Something called the zeitgeist has to change. Aditya Chakrabortty asks what will happen when 17m realise that they’ve been betrayed over Brexit… and I wonder the same over the 150+m in the US.

    There is no point in complaining about the media but that doesn’t mean that I/we shouldn’t be outraged by their false agendas and misinformation.

  23. Danny “britain should deliberately seek a phyrric victory, one where the cost of victory is afterwards considered so high that in reality it was a defeat.”

    No-one I think deliberately seeks a pyrrhic victory. Only after victory has been won can the costs and benefits truly be assessed (and set against the costs of losing). The alternative is not to fight. If you think that Brexit will be a pyrrhic victory, you presumable voted Remain, with all its costs and consequences.
    Maybe you can work out the costs of a ‘phyrric’ victory in advance.
    All I am proposing is that negotiations proceed along the normal lines in which both sides keep their positions of last resort secret, as both hope to do rather better. By ‘position of last resort’ I do not mean what each would find totally unacceptable. I mean what each would actually be prepared to concede if all else failed in reaching agreement.

  24. @oldnat

    Another quote from the link from our constantly factually challenged poster:

    “The increase in prescriptions dispensed in Wales is similar to the rising trend seen in England – the number of items dispensed in Wales has gone up 23% between 2007 and 2013 compared to 29% in England, where the charge is currently £8.05 per item,” said an official.”

    It also seems that prescriptions per capita have been higher in Wales compared to England since 1973.

  25. Neil et al

    Interesting discussion on police training, graduate entry, external recruitment vs rising through the ranks etc.

    When I was enjoying my first year at a very radical university in 1967/8, the local police force took the unusual and enlightened step of enrolling a couple of their officers. There was a combined social studies first year – economics, government and sociology – and these two officers (one chubby and round faced; the other thin and hatchet faced; both brylcreem users!) bravely smiled through the suspicion and occasional hostility they encountered. It was fascinating talking to them, and hearing their perspective in various seminars. I like to think they learned a lot about ‘the other side’ and found the experience useful in their later careers. One went on to be a well-respected Chief Constable in another force.

    I don’t know if that sort of thing still happens, but I always thought it must be a useful antidote to life in a police bubble. Incidentally, one of the leading radical student leaders there at the time is now an ex-minister, sitting in the HoL!

  26. @” powerful established interests”

    Oh there are lots of those.

    Some are more “powerful” than others.

    How you feel about them rather depends upon whether you are standing behind Jack-or behind The Giant.

  27. Candy

    Your link is simply a report of Tory attacks on free prescriptions (using selected bits of information).

    The comments on it suggest that causation of the increase in prescription rate as being other than free prescriptions – or didn’t you read it?

  28. privatization vs nationalization

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_competition

    logically the closer to perfect competition an industry is the better suited to privatization it would be and the further away it is from perfect competition the less suited it would be so

    conditions of perfect competition
    – large number of buyers and sellers
    – no barriers to entry
    – perfect information
    etc

    imo you can pretty much tell in advance how any industry will turn out if private/nationalized by checking through each condition

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