There was a new YouGov Scottish poll in this morning’s Times. Topline voting intention figures with changes from their last poll in October are:

Westminster: CON 23%(nc), LAB 28%(-2), LD 6%(+1), SNP 36%(-4), GRN 3%(+2)
Holyrood Constituency: CON 26%(+1), LAB 23%(-2), LD 7%(+2), SNP 38%(-4), GRN 3%(+1)
Holyrood Regional: CON 25%(+2), LAB 22%(-2), LD 7%(+1), SNP 32%(-3), GRN 10%(+4)

Since October the October poll the SNP appear to be down a little (though as ever, it is just one poll). Two things of note: in Westminster Labour are in a clear second place, in Holyrood the Conservatives are second, perhaps the difference between voting for Theresa May and voting for Ruth Davison, or perhaps a reflection of the different political realities in the two places (in Holyrood one might vote for the Tories as an effective opposition to the SNP, whereas in Westminster it is a choice of Tory or Labour led government). Secondly, note the 10% score for the Greens in the Holyrood list, a level of support that would likely lead to a significant boost in seats.

The poll also had the regular independence questions (37% YES and 50% NO, with 36% support for holding a second indyref in the next five years), and the leader ratings. Interestingly there was a substantial drop in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings on doing a good job – down from 53% on October to 40% now. I can’t think of an obvious reason for this – it may just be last October people were answering in relation to Corbyn’s strong performance at the general election and that is now registering less in responses.

Full tabs are here.


193 Responses to “YouGov’s Scottish poll”

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  1. @ SJ – NIESR:
    “Based on this, the UK economy expanded by 1.8 per cent in 2017”
    https://www.niesr.ac.uk/media/gdp-growth-06-cent-2017q4-13185

    It’s an estimate at this stage of course. Some chatter around services being understated and upward revisions coming for previous quarters but let’s not get ahead of ourselves (productivity in services is very hard to measure). Personally I expect final 2017 GDP to come in at 1.7% (my guesstimate back in Jan was 1.5% +/-0.5%). My guesstimate for 2018 is also 1.5% but with a wider range of +/-1% as Brexit gets closer (watching the productivity issue with a view to revise that upwards). As always the consumer’s reaction is key (my view is below most estimates) but as I said y’day growing at 1.8%ish with a slowing down in non-essential consumer spending is excellent news – unless your a salesman at a BMW, Audi or Porsche dealership :)

    We could talk ourselves into a recession – letting air out of the property and consumer debt bubbles is a tricky business, bursting those bubbles is certainly a possibility and in the past I have said that Brexit might be the ‘pin’ that bursts the consumer’s confidence and the bubbles that go with it. Hopefully Brexit will be the ‘pin’ that bursts our unsustainable current account deficit but unlike Remain folks I don’t have a crystal ball into the future – I can run simulations based on possible scenarios, not predict the future to 3 decimal places!

  2. TW

    Well done, I saw that when it was first published and was about to post that to Somerjohn, you got in first. However as you say it is just a forecast.

  3. @ COLIN – another “issue” with inflation (and hence productivity) is “quality adjustments”. eg. An iphone8 is “better” than the original iphone but inflation numbers assume a “quality adjustment” that means you should expect to get more for your money as technology improves. Of course that does not apply to a loaf of bread or the price to fill up a car with diesel! How that “quality adjustment” transfers to actual living standards is highly subjective (spending more time on message forums, video conferencing in the background so I don’t have to go on the train into London or ordering a new book on Amazon prime rather than going to a shop is great but how to put a £ on that or adjust down the ‘hours worked’ denominator?)

    Inflation, as measured by the World’s central banks for setting interest rates and overdoing the QE, has much larger flaws – specifically failure to consider asset prices – but that is a whole different kettle of fish!

  4. @PeterW “@SEACHANGE
    There is another reason why a country might wish to withdraw notice if it could, though the implications of that are one of the reasons why it seems rational to suppose it can’t. A country could by doing so, and then resubmitting notice the following day, unilaterally frustrate the two year limit the Article places on reaching an ageeement.
    It would give the prospective leaver an ability to prevaricate indefinitely if it did not get its own way. I cannot believe that is the intention of the provision.”

    I think this was directed at someone else as I have not commented on A50/49 for a while. However I agree with your point, it would completely defeat the intentions of the other A50 provisions if that were possible.

    Here is a long but interesting article from London Owen on joining the EEA for the transition period.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/01/18/britain-can-square-berlin-achieve-brexit-wants/
    Of course, the legal uncertainty of whether that is even possible is another matter entirely.

  5. London Owen = Lord Owen

  6. @TW

    I’d be in interested in an explanation of how NIESR forecast annual growth of 1.8% from quarterly figures of 0.3, 03, 0.4 and 0.6 (fcast).

    As you say, they may be anticipating upgrades for earlier quarters, but in the absence of that, their Q4 estimate points to an annual figure of 1.6%. And I’ll believe 0.6% for Q4 when I see it.

    I suspect that the cushion provided to consumer spending by increased personal borrowing may have reached its limit; consumer spending surely lags changes in disposable income by some months,. Plastic can take the strain for a while, but the point arrives at which spending has to be reined in.

    OTOH, strong growth in EU27 and elsewhere in the world may offset that, boosting our exports, but I can’t see why that might suddenly become a stronger factor in Q4 than in preceding months. Maybe there’s also been strong growth in govt spending as the purse strings are loosened.

    Anyway, Q4 first estimates due on Jan 26, so we’ll soon see.

  7. OLDNAT

    Of course-I had in mind ” What is the size of the UK economy *”

    *-as defined.

  8. TW

    Thanks

    I think the main area of error is likely to be technology related productivity growth.

    Just thinking about the improvement in speed of communication & digital transactions of all kinds over say the last 15 years makes one wonder how it possible that “productivity” has not improved.

    And today’s announcement by ONS on the failure to measure growth in the telecom sector merely prompts questions about measuring the whole digital “economy”.

  9. “Asked about comments by the leftwing commentator Paul Mason that MPs ought to have the threat of deselection “hanging over” them every five years, Corbyn opts for different language.

    “Look, [we] will look at democracy within the party and look at the process of selections. We should all be accountable all the time. I’m accountable to my party, I’m accountable to my constituency and I’m quite comfortable with that,” he says. ”

    Guardian.

    So that’s a Yes then :-)

  10. Forgive me but for those who don’t know:

    At present each Constituency Labour Party who has a sitting MP who has indicated they wish to re-stand has a trigger process in place.

    If they can secure the support of half plus 1 of the affiliated organisations the they are deemed to have been re-selected. If they can’t achieve this there is a full selection process triggered following normal rules for open selections. (AWS may apply of course but the sitting MP must be able to stand so AWS would have to be where that was a women).

    The parties review is considering if the bar for automatic re-selection should be higher and if all affiliated organisations should have the same influence regardless of size.

    Some LP members, including perhaps Paul Mason, believe a full open ballot should be held every time which imo is unlikely to be achieved.

    NB) I understand the SNP do full ballots every GE for Westminster candidates not sure about Holyrood as the top up list system may make problematic.

  11. @Colin – Mason/Deselections

    The impression I get is that given a choice of power or purity, Momentum would rather flush the PLP of Blairites first.

    Should prove entertaining.

  12. “but unlike Remain folks I don’t have a crystal ball into the future”
    @Trevor Warne January 19th, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    You need to ask TOH if you can borrow his.

  13. SC – Jim Jam says there will be 3 deselections maximum and possibly none

  14. SEA CHANGE

    It will certainly be interesting.

    I note Jim Jam’s informative post & his confidence that nothing apocalyptic is likely.

  15. Jim Jam

    “I understand the SNP do full ballots every GE for Westminster candidates not sure about Holyrood as the top up list system may make problematic.”

    AFAIK (though I don’t pay much attention to these matters) branches are free to nominate candidates for the FPTP seats, and a ballot will be held if the sitting member is not the sole nominee.

    For the Regional Lists, members from all the relevant constituencies get a vote in preferentially ordering them for the ballot paper.

    The exceptions are that the NEC can order there to be an all-female set of candidates in any constituency seat that has a vacancy, and must ensure that there is at least one female being considered. On the regional lists, to ensure greater equality of opportunity, NEC can adjust the order in which the members placed the successful ones, so that the sexes are placed most fairly.

  16. JIM JAM

    Where do you think the centre of influence now lies in the Labour Party?

    Do you find the absence of JC from the list of speakers at this event at all odd-given the title of the book & the venue location?

    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/for-the-many-preparing-labour-for-power-tickets-42269112052?aff=es2

  17. Thanks to all who replied to my Carillion query last night.

    B&B
    “…speaking as your friendly neighborhood chartered Civil Engineer……National level infrastructure has always been undertaken by the private sector, and always will be. There’s nothing new in someone like Carrilion building hospitals and by-passes; its just that they messed up.”

    That’s what I thought. I appreciate what others said, that councils used to employ more construction workers, but I was thinking of the big national infrastructure projects that Carillion were involved with. Whether or not you agree with PFI, scrapping it wouldn’t make any difference to who does the actual work unless as Colin says, Labour intend to set up a massive state-owned construction company, which they haven’t explicitly said. Mind you they don’t say anything much explicitly.

  18. @ SJ – revisions, rounding, etc. NIESR state MOE of about 0.2% I think so sure 1.6% is possible. Given the errors in calculating the number trying to pin it to the nearest 0.1% seems pretty pointless and it’s past tense anyway. It certainly isn’t the recession predicted by Project Fear.

    I don’t know the causal relationship or correlation between consumer spending and disposable income. Of course their is a link with confidence being the important catalyst between the two. Probably a lag but in which direction? GDP gains that come from bubbles in property (indirectly through using them as cash machines) or consumer borrowing are not ideal or sustainable in the long-run which is why it is good news to see the consumer taking a break. Govt or business borrowing to invest in high multiplier areas is however a good thing – this has been a lag in most developed nations since the Great Recession and the excessive reliance on austerity to balance budgets.

    However, a lag certainly exists in exports reacting to a drop in currency. That is commonly referred to as the J-Curve. EA export nations are benefiting from the 2015 Greek crisis. UK is benefiting from Brexit and the boost in Euro nations economies (at last!). Studies generally show the peak J-Curve benefit is around 2yrs after the currency movement so we’re just getting into the maximum benefit period and EA nations have probably peaked (on this aspect, hopefully their consumers will take on their share next). IMHO we’re not seeing the full maximum benefit in exports from the J-Curve due to under-investment over the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

    @ AL URQA – very short-term predictions are quite easy (highly correlated to PMIs, etc). 1-2y is IMHO the trickiest as confidence, external shocks very hard to predict. Anyone who estimates out to 2030 or beyond has to make assumptions on ‘long-term trend’. Therefore it is ‘easy’ to ‘predict’ annual GDP growth in 2030 as you use your ‘long-term trend’ number after the 2-3y period. Despite all the evidence that EU failed to deliver improved economic performance and the failure of Project Fear assumptions some folks still assume we’ll be worse off out of EU than in EU!?!? Most Leavers that placed economics high on their list of reasons assume some combination of:
    – minimal trade impact drop from EU (no genuine comparative advantage reason why we import 100bn/year from them)
    – boost to domestic-domestic trade (re-shoring)
    – improved export potential to higher growth continents
    – drop in import prices once free of CET
    – lower cost burden from excessive regulations
    – less/no ongoing payments
    – an i-effect (ask SNP 2014, ignore SNP 2017) :)
    – productivity boost and lower unemployment due to more control over immigration (I’m still on the fence about this one)
    – etc
    (NB I didn’t even mention an input from HMG policy or the importance of really using GDP/capita and not GDP – lower population growth a touchy issue)

    Any model is only as good as the assumptions it uses hence the bizarre situation where Remain continue to believe models that have repeatedly failed to predict the right outcomes (e.g. benefit of EU, benefit of Euro, disaster of not joining Euro, disaster of leaving EU) – in many cases the error has been huge but hey believe what you want! The EU (and especially EA) has underperformed its pre-existance GDP growth, underperformed it’s peer group and has massive inter-nation divergence in performance – thankfully we are leaving!

  19. Alec

    your whole argument collapses at point1 and is a non starter. To use your own words: show me where junckers or tusk have said that A50 is unilaterally revokable by the UK?
    They have not and therefore the reason for them introducing A49 into the equation was because they either believe that it is not revockable or they do not believe it wlll. be revoked in time .What they have not done is to say that A50 can be revoked unilaterally and your whole point then descends into…well..pointlessness.

  20. @colin

    “My assumption is that “bringing it all in-house” means carrying all of the tasks involved in design, construction & management of new State assets with State employees on the State Payroll , managed by State Agencies or The Civil Service.”

    Apart from the physical construction, that’s more or less how the English motorway and trunk roads programme was organised prior to the Thatcher government abolishing the Road Construction Units to reduce Civil Sevice numbers and give the private sector more work. The RCUs planned, designed, tendered and project managed the roads programme.

    There are practical discusions to be had about exactly where and what the balance should be between public and private sector involvement in delivering public investment and services but it is simply not the case that the position now is not much different from what it used to be: there has been a major diminution of the capacity and size of the public sector and a major growth in the private sector which has seen the arrival of conglomerate multi-sector “delivery” companies like Carillion.

  21. HIRETON

    @”There are practical discusions to be had about exactly where and what the balance should be between public and private sector involvement in delivering public investment and services”

    I agree entirely

    @” conglomerate multi-sector “delivery” companies like Carillion.”

    I don’t think that description flags a problem-unless used with no joint venture partners to cover failure of one party.

    ……..had you described it as ” shell companies with no assets , assembling teams of sub-contractors” , I would join you in asking questions about suitability .

  22. @ SJ – another obvious lag exists between wages and inflation. Pay rises are typically annual and amongst other things will take current inflation into account. Other factors such as productivity, availability of workers, etc will have an impact but i’d guess with high confidence that if you lagged inflation by around 9mths you’d see a high correlation to wages.

    Zero and negative numbers presents a serious physiological barrier which even the ECB now accept! BoE inflation target is 2% +/-1% for a reason! FED go even better with ‘full employment’ as a second target.

    We’ve got low availability of workers (IMHO we’re below NAIRU despite BoE moving the target), inflation has probably peaked and the general feeling seems to be that productivity has been understated. Add that up with the delay in the system and wages should start to rise. If inflation has peaked and productivity has picked up then real wages will rise starting soon and fill in some of the gap from this year due to the lagging relationship.

    Fingers crossed anyway! Paying down debt and building a small savings cushion rather than putting down a deposit on a new Audi with finance would be my recommendation to the UK public (take a leaf out of the Swabian housewife’s book for a year or two) – but until we’ve left the EU we can’t adopt Singapore style import taxes on imported cars :)

    POETS day so thats a wrap! I hope everyone has a great weekend.

  23. Hireton: that’s more or less how the English motorway and trunk roads programme was organised prior to the Thatcher government abolishing the Road Construction Units to reduce Civil Sevice numbers and give the private sector more work.

    Ah, happy days! The first section of the M1 (53.5 miles) was built for £15m in just 20 months, starting in April 1958. That’s roughly £333m in today’s money, or £6.2m per mile.

    How many miles of motorway would you get for £333m today? Well, there’s been a lot of discussion here of the Aberdeen western peripheral route, which is 36 miles long with a projected cost of £750m. It’s only a dual carriageway, not a motorway, but eve so the cost is £20.8m per mile. Progress?

  24. Somerjohn

    Given that a 1958 pound is roughly equivalent to £30, fifty years later, that would make the M1 cost in today’s terms, £186 million per mile compared with the AWPR cost (it is a fixed price contract) of £20.8 million

    Sounds like the Scottish Futures Trust negotiated a pretty good deal there.

  25. Somerjohn

    Sorry. I hadn’t noticed you had already done the conversion calculation.

  26. Somerjohn @ 5.59 pm

    You are normally reliable on facts, but you`ve got the wrong road or date.

    The M6 opened in 1958, and I saw Harold Macmillan break the ribbon.

    All our Lancashire papers exalted the role of the LCC in building it, and I think the LCC engineer in charge was called Drake.

    The M1 was built several years later.

  27. I doubt if readers south of the Scottish border will have seen this interesting piece about so called competitive bidding for a PFI contract in deepest, darkest Labour.

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-only-game-in-town/comment-page-1/

  28. I`ve not obtained any definite facts on whether the AWPR is proceeding at full speed, to reply to queries on the previous thread.

    However today I had a hospital appointment in Stonehaven so decided to cross (via the B979) the AWPR junction with the existing A90 dual carriageway, this being a major and tricky part of the build.

    Some construction vehicles were active, so I am still uncertain. The slip-roads at the junction will be closed until Monday morning for work to be done that was postponed last weekend, our evening paper says. But opening the AWPR here in 3 months` time seems unrealistic – much work is still needed.

    A recent newspaper report (see link) says Carillion were employing 70 staff directly on the AWPR, and some of the sub-contracts had been let by it rather than the 3-company consortium.

    Hopefully neither of the other two construction companies will be bankrupted, but I reckon they will be very loth with paying out for what they consider Carillion`s faults.

    https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/2101692/snp-carillion-collapse-road-bypass-aberdeen/

  29. st homas: @Alec – your whole argument collapses at point1 and is a non starter. To use your own words: show me where junckers or tusk have said that A50 is unilaterally revokable by the UK?
    They have not and therefore the reason for them introducing A49 into the equation was because they either believe that it is not revockable or they do not believe it wlll. be revoked in time .What they have not done is to say that A50 can be revoked unilaterally and your whole point then descends into…well..pointlessness.

    What Juncker and Tusk have done is rendered moot the question of unilateral revocation of an A50 notification. The question is now irrelevant.

    They are saying that if the UK decides not to proceed with the A50 notification, any revocation would be accepted. ie, the revocation would be consensual, not unilateral.

    This also implies that in principle they have given no concession over the question of unilateral revocation in the case of any other A50 notification.

  30. Sam:

    I am not wholly convinced by your film, though in general I dislike these PFI contracts.

    It seems to me this is SNP propaganda to smear Labour, and in SNP`s years in charge of the SG they have used private-public contracts just as much as Labour did. And have faced the same problems of having only one competent bidder for work.

    The PFI system has many pitfalls, and the film documents one example.

  31. Perhaps nothing reflects the dysfunction of Government in recent times at the Federal level in the USA than this story

    “With the government spending Bill due to run out at midnight, Americans were facing the prospect of the first government shutdown SINCE 2013

  32. TO

    in a very legalistic EU and it being a creature of statute and Treaty i am not aware of such a provision or even the mechanism.
    The last thing the EU wants to do is create a precedent for the Eastern bloc to mimic. They will be doing the Hokey Kokey with A50 until the vaches come home.

  33. @Davywel

    I believe the Preston by-pass – which became part of the M6 – was indeed the first bit of motorway to open in Britain.

    However, there’s no doubt that construction of the first section of M1 started in 1958, as I said, and opened 20 months later:

    The first 53.5 miles of the M1, from Luton to Crick, opened in November 1959. It is not the first stretch of motorway in Britain — that honour goes to the Preston bypass, opened a year earlier — but it is both the first inter-urban motorway and the first three-lane dual carriageway in the country.

    That’s from:

    http://www.engineering-timelines.com/scripts/engineeringItem.asp?id=419

    I got the £15m cost from another website:

    https://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/projects/m1-motorway/

    The M1 was built as a dual three-lane motorway. Initially work was done on a 53.5 mile stretch from Slip End to Crick that included the M45. John Laing & Son was awarded a £15m contract for the entire work on 20 January 1958.

  34. @S Thomas – “your whole argument collapses at point1 and is a non starter. To use your own words: show me where junckers or tusk have said that A50 is unilaterally revokable by the UK?”

    I think you are nearly there! The point is that A50 isn’t unilaterally revockable by the UK (probably – although this is subject to an ECJ judgement to confirm). @TO has clearly understood this, but this is precisely the point. Even though the UK hasn’t got the right to decide to scrap A50 and just stay, without getting the unilateral assent of all of the EU27, the entire point of what Junkers and Tusk were saying was that the EU is willing to let the UK drop Brexit, without any penalties or difficulties.

    This is the point that you have missed entirely, which I find surprising, because it was screamingly obvious to everyone and their dog that this was a coordinated attempt to demonstrate that as far as the EU are concerned this whole thing can be stopped and quietly put to bed.

    Indeed, I thought this was just so obvious that the Brexiters would jump all over it and start shouting that the EU is running scared and about to crack! Frankly, I found your interpretation weird and impossibly illogical.

  35. Davwel

    “It seems to me this is SNP propaganda to smear Labour”

    I have some tangential involvement in this particular PFI scheme, and some points are worth making.

    The journalist/politician who made this film was chucked out of the SNP some years ago. I think he may now be SSP, but am not sure. (Incidentally, Stu Campbell of Wings isn’t in the SNP either, so it probably matters that you understand the difference between the SNP and the wider Yes movement).

    I have no knowledge of the legal issues involved in this case, but the comments made by B&B about the lack of expertise shown by the officials in LAs when commissioning public build projects are just as true when they commissioned PFI projects.

    In this case, the head of the NAC commissioning team was a Head of Education Service, whose professional training was as an Educational Psychologist. He had great skills – but this exercise was one that required different ones, in my opinion

    His team (I know them all) were good, hard working, but fairly junior council staff.

    I have no knowledge as to why “the second bidder” (which clearly didn’t meet the requirements of the process) was kept in the frame for so long, and make no judgment as to whether that was affected by any political decision making at council or Scottish Executive level.

    IMO this case is probably an example of incompetence – and not necessarily a condemnation of a particular political party. Rather it is a condemnation of a particular (very flawed) approach to commissioning public building projects.

  36. Somerjohn:

    Sorry I misinterpreted your “started” as opened 1958.

    I should have checked in Wikipedia. Now I have, I see that Tarmac (which became Carillion) were involved in both M6 and M1. And they had problems around Preston due to wet weather, causing a 25% lengthening of the expected construction tile.

  37. ON:

    That seems a very fair and interesting comment. I`ll look further tomorrow.

  38. @COLIN

    @” conglomerate multi-sector “delivery” companies like Carillion.”
    I don’t think that description flags a problem-unless used with no joint venture partners to cover failure of one party

    Trouble is that the obsession with outsourcing everything has led too often to ‘multi-sector delivery companies’ taking on tasks that they are singularly ill-equipped for: builders like Carillion taking on management of parks and libraries; IT companies taking on delivery of healthcare related services; multi-factor conglomerates taking on anything that moves, often underbidding and not bothering to skill up on the basis that they will be able to get away with it. This is not just a public sector phenomenon: from bitter experience my private pension administration was taken on by one of these conglomerates who quite plainly didn’t have the first clue how to deal with issues arising (in my case, a divorce). The same conglomerate is involved in council pension admin and is making a royal mess of that too. Of course procurement people often put in performance penalties but there is always a chance of negotiating those away and if not, well, the special purpose subsidiary they set up for the contract can just go bust, as is standard practice in the rail industry (where it doesn’t matter how many partners there are, they are all insulated see GNER, Tubelines etc)

  39. Davwel

    The only bit of the story that concerns me is why it seems that the “public sector” option for direct build might seem to have been avoided through the maintenance of an inappropriate “second bidder” in the process.

    Similar stories (true or not) have appeared in PFI cases across the UK. If there is substance to them, then it may be that the entire PPP/PFI process was compromised by such abuse of the rules.

    Richard Leonard said today that he wanted to explore methods of removing PFI burdens from Scotland. I wish him well in finding ways to achieve that without having to buy out the contracts – as the SNP did with the bridge tolls.

    Perhaps the SNP and SLab could co-operate in discovering which (if any) PFI schemes were compromised by a failure to follow the rules, and thus be declared null and void?

  40. alec

    ” Frankly, I found your interpretation weird and impossibly illogical.”

    That must have come a a bit of a shock for you.

  41. @Colin “UKIP wobbling ?”

    I didn’t think Paul Nutull’s disastrous tenure as leader of UKIP could be topped, but Bolton has managed to do it…with considerable ease, I might add.

  42. Sadly, while YG updated their archive today, no update on the tables for the questions that the Times have been commenting on for the last couple of days from their Scottish poll.

    Perhaps that means that the Times is going to carry on selective dripping for a few days more and that YG can avoid releasing any of these tables until the Times tap has ceased dripping.

  43. I’ve found it very interesting to read the debate on private sector vs public sector in the provision of services. Certainly makes a refreshing change from the endless carping on both sides on Brexit.

    FWIW, I’ve worked in both sectors; the majority of my career in the private sector but most recently in the public sector. I was surprised when I joined the public sector that many there immediately seemed to treat me as some sort of saviour, that somehow my private sector experience made me better than them

    In reality, my experience has been that the best people in the public sector are better than the best people in the private sector, partly because their motivation is to serve their community rather than just themselves, but the worst people in the public sector are worse than the worst people in the private sector. There appears to me to be a reluctance within the public sector to deal with poor performance that you don’t see in the private sector.

    To me, there are two things that hold public sector provision of services back;: Firstly, public sector service provision has tended to be on a monopoly basis, and with no threat of competition has become inefficient. Secondly, provision of services by the public sector ends up being interfered with by politicians, for example at one extreme, investment not being agreed to because there are priorities elsewhere or, at the other extreme, someone not being dismissed because they are an active member of the party in power.

    If I were in charge, I would create a set of publicly owned service providers, but these would be owned by a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) with the only political direction being to hold the SWF managers to account that they are providing the income to the treasury that is needed. The publicly owned providers would compete with the private sector for contracts to provide services but their objective would be to do so profitably. They would be also free to compete in international markets ( e.g. the publicly owned rail operator would be free to bid for contracts in Germany, just as the publicly owned rail operator in Germany can operate train services here).

    I get frustrated that the political debate is between public sector is good vs public sector is bad, when the reality is much more nuanced than that.

  44. @DAIBACH. Public vs Private

    I’d broadly agree with your points. The Public sector suffers from an inherent lack of accountability. This allows wasters to flourish more easily than in the private sector. On the flip-side, the constant revolving of ministers and policy changes have a destabilizing effect that can lead to poor morale.

    Your SWF idea has merit. Though I believe many would be after you with pitchforks when it came to the NHS…

  45. @Jim Jam “Jim Jam says there will be 3 deselections maximum and possibly none”

    Does that include forced resignations/retirements, sitting as independents, joining other parties or splitting off to a new party?

  46. @SEA CHANGE

    Yes. From my experience, the accountability is structurally there, its just that the accountability is to politicians who don’t have the knowledge or experience to do the job properly.

    Re the NHS, you may well be right, but I don’t think that people understand the level of private sector involvement already. I dont think most people realise that their GP is, effectively, a contractor working for the NHS rather than a direct employee of the NHS.

  47. alec

    well as neither rof us are mind readers especially of junckers and tusk we simply have to interpret the sayings of the great men. we mere mortals cannot be expected to understand the ravings of the euro gods.

    besides it does not matter because it is all guff.especially as the fog of despond will have engulfed EU central with the you gov poll now showing more support for leave than remain reversing the trend.Tories also won and strongly held seats in locla elections clearly benefitting from leave support.

  48. @DAIBACH

    It’s a shame that politicians, large sections of the media and the public, in general, cannot have a non-partisan grown-up debate about the NHS. “Golden Calf” idealization is rarely, if ever, productive.

  49. Alec

    you really do need to read your own posts.

    you have asserted that the “EU” have said that the UK can revoke A50 and remain.

    and I ask you again who is the eU and what is your legal basis for this startling proposition.Are you privy to the ear of the ECJ? No. Do Junckers and Tusk have the power to grant this? No. Have the 27 formally considered the issue? No.

    But that does not stop you asserting it as fact and basing an entire theory on it.

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