A new Populus poll for Policy Exchange (to accompany the publication of Policy Exchange’s own paper on police mergers) shows a high level of public opposition to the merger of police forces into larger strategic forces in the areas affected (police forces in London and some larger forces such as the Thames Valley Police will remain the same). Overall 58% of people opposed the changes with 36% of people supporting them.

Opposition was pretty much even across the country. The press coverage makes much of the strongest opposition being in the South – between 59% and 60% – compared to 56% opposition in the North. Even with a sample size of 4,569 though, these differences aren’t really significant.

YouGov/uSwitch – phone customers most dissatisfied with BT and NTL’s service
ICM/War on Want – 75% of people want companies to be legally compelled to be socially responsible. 61% of people think supermarkets have too high a proportion of the market. 59% think supermarkets don’t pay staff highly enough. 50% of Asda customers and 48% of Tesco customers say that price is the most important thing and the huge growth of supermarkets is a jolly good thing. The poorer you are and the younger you are the more likely you are to welcome the growth of big supermarkets.


At least according to the Telgraph this morning they are. If these figures were true, it would see the Tories winning 48 seats in Greater London, including Poplar & Limehouse, Erith & Thamesmead, Lewisham East, Lewisham West & Penge, Holborn & St Pancras and Feltham & Heston.

Alas, for any excited Conservatives out there, it isn’t quite accurate. On YouGov’s detailed tables, the regions listed aren’t the government regions, they are ITV television regions. In practice that means that London covers not just London, but big chunks of the home counties, which tend to vote Conservative. With bits of Surrey, Essex and Sussex thrown in the London TV region is far more Tory than Greater London, and that 25% lead suddenly isn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds.

Since the creation of the Scottish Parliament the West Lothian Question – why should Scottish MPs be able to vote on issues that have been devolved in Scotland and therefore affect only England and Wales – has gone unresolved. A related question is whether MPs representing Scottish constituencies should be able to hold ministerial portfolios that cover only England and Wales. Obviously there is no any legal or constitutional bar to it – the question is whether or not a government would face a backlash from the public for doing so.

There have been occasional rumbling when MPs representing Scottish constituencies have been given ministerial responsibiles on matters that are devolved in Scotland (for example, as Transport Secretary Alistair Darling had responsibility for transport in all the constituencies in England and Wales, but not in his own Edinburgh constituency). The most recent example is John Reid’s appointment as Home Secretary. YouGov’s last poll asked specifically about whether this anomoly bothered people – 45% of people said yes, 49% said no.

However bothered people say they are, at present this is clearly a pretty minor issue in the greater scheme of things. Once Tony Blair stands down as Prime Minister though it becomes far more important, since Gordon Brown’s constituency is in Scotland – will the general public accept an MP for a Scottish constituency as Prime Minister? A new ICM poll for Sunday’s Daily Politics suggests that 52% of the public think that, post-devolution, it would be wrong for a Scottish MP to be Prime Minister.

As one might expect, in Scotland itself there is no such feeling – 75% of people think it would be perfectly okay. In South-East England though, 59% of people think it would be wrong for a Scottish MP to be PM, as do 54% of people in Northern England and 55% of people in Wales.

OpinionPanel/THES – 68% of students support lecturers’ demands for higher pay…but 77% oppose their boycott of exam marking.
Conservative Home survey of Tory party members – 81% oppose state funding of political parties.