YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph, the first since the Crewe by-election, is another appalling result for Labour. The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, are CON 47%(+2), LAB 23%(-2), LDEM 18%(nc).

The Conservatives now have a 17 point lead on the economy and David Cameron has a 22 point lead as best Prime Minister. Gordon Brown’s net approval rating stands at minus 60, which is the worst ever rating I can find for a Prime Minister (the worst John Major ever hit was minus 59 in August 1994).

With the sole caveat that this was conducted soonish after a by-election victory so Cameron will have something of an aura about him, there little else to add – the figures speak for themselves and the picture for the government is bleak.

117 Responses to “Labour continue to plummet”

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  1. Colin – “Statism” with a big S has as negative a connotation for me as “self-ism” has for you. The “don’t feel guilty about wanting low taxes” advice used by The Tories in the early nineties sought to use “trickle-down” as its model.

    I don’t understand how it could work either, but I was more or less quoting Redwood from last Summer.

    Nick and Paul H-J, why is it that regressives and the plain wrong mob resort so easily to pejoratives and assume that “progressives” all believe the same rather extreme things? (I know I just did it – to make a point).

    Good luck with the SVP.

  2. Pete Banks –
    The “enlightened self interest” label says it much more clearly (and less offensively) than “self-ism”.

    Focussing on the “inevitability” of greater efficiency in the private/voluntary sector puts miles of clear blue water into the debate.

    You’re very close to advocating education and health vouchers , on the grounds that the services provided are bound to give greater value when stripped of the costs of tax-collection and results measurement.

    Where next? Tax incentives for volunteers?

  3. Yes on reflection “self-ism” was a crude & ugly word.
    I will substitute “responsibility of the individual”

    I didn’t actually have charitable giving in mind at all when coining it-but responsibilities like providing for ones family ( without expecting The State to do it) , obeying the law ( without ASBOS), respecting others in the community ( Without PCSOs),teaching your children how to behave ( Without Mr. Balls) -old fashioned things like that.

    However, I do believe the voluntary sector has demonstrated remarkable ability to achieve outcomes which the The State cannot.
    In the Kids Company article I quoted, a three year University evaluation showed an 89% reduction in reoffending ( National reoffending rate-80%) ‘ and 87% of young people dealt with returned to education & employment.

    So -tax incentives for volunteers?-yes please & back-date them.
    More seriously- tax incentives for the Voluntary Sector-yes-why not ?

    But DC is ahead of you I’m pleased to see:-

  4. I should have pointed out that since most Voluntary Sector organisations are Registered Charities they are already tax exempt.

    “stripping out” the costs of tax collection doesn’t arise.The change would be diversion of our taxes from innefective State payrolls to effective Voluntary Sector support.

    As to “results measurement”-as I have already mentioned this is available & I have no doubt whatsoever that a Conservative administration will ensure that value for the taxpayer is demonstrated.

    Just Google for the Conservative Green Paper John-it’s published today & called “Voluntary Action in the 21st Century”

    Plenty there for the ardent Statist to criticise

  5. Colin, you coined “statism”, I coined “self-ism” and had the gallantry to admit it was inaccurate. You continue with the pejorative “statism” to pigeon-hole me as some sort of extremist Stalinist. You are wrong.

    Cameron wants to incentivise the pivate/voluntary sector with this :

    “Allow voluntary organisations delivering public services to earn a competitive return
    on investment by sharing substantially in the rewards that come from success.”

    That is privatisation

    “among the poorest 10% of the population, those who give to charity give over
    three times the proportion of their income as the highest income groups.”

    Cameron thinks that will change when his government creates a volunteering mood in the country. I don’t believe that will happen.

    I won’t bang on – it’s a long paper, but at least tax relief for volunteers isn’t on the agenda. That would mean the volunteers on lowest income would get less for their time than those on the highest. Perhaps the “responsible individual” in you might recognise the unfairness of that?

    The only thing I’m ardent about in politics is fairness – I don’t think that green paper will lead us anywhere.

  6. John:-

    I used “statism” initially to try and produce alternatives to your “left” & “right”.

    My reference to you in the last post was tongue in cheek-you are Statist by inclination in my reading of your views.I haven’t described you as Stalinist.

    You make “this is privatisation” stand for an argument against it which it is not neccessary to outline!
    I don’t have a problem with privatisation of appropriate services.

    I do have concerns about 1) the scalability of some voluntary sector activities & 2) the effect on their independence & sheer enthusiasm, of too much State funding.

    I am pleased though to see Cameron recognise b) in saying the State needs to know when a partnership is best-and when it’s best to leave them to it.

    Yes I would agree about the unfairness of tax relief on income for volunteering.
    But I suspect that in the very act of envisaging it ,you fail to understand the ethos of the volunteer.
    In my experience they do not want payment-it’s not the point.
    The reward lies in a whole host of personal enjoyments, satisfactions & achievements-but mainly in contributing to cherished outcomes.

    I disagree with your last sentence-but would not expect to have been doing any other.

  7. I volunteer Colin, lots of people do and it’s the very gratuiotous nature of un-called for voluntary acts that make up that ethos. It cannot be instilled by politicians wringing thir hands and coming up with ideas like privatisation – the conversion of voluntary organisations into ones which return financial dividends to their investors. THAT contradicts the ethos, not my idea that the state should support voluntary services as a matter of course and pool technical and management best practice.

    It isn’t necessary to outline an argument against the privatisation of health services – Cameron will not label any move in that direction as privatisation, he’ll call it “encouraging the volunbtary sector with profit incentives” instead.

    Of course vlunteers don’t get paid, but an unfair incentive to higher rate taxpaters ins’t beyond my imagination. I believe most of them would exercise their perfect right to concentrate on family treats, or failing that, Bullindon-style activities if they found themselves with a biot of extra time and cash.

  8. Well John we are beginning to shout across clear blue water-which is good-the clear blue water I mean, not the shouting.

    My reading of the section in the Green Paper on Social Enterprises does not lead me to your conclusion that DC plans “the conversion of voluntary organisations into ones which return financial dividends to their investors.”

    The idea that Camila Batmanghelidjh would allow this to happen to Kids Club is far fetched I think

    Social Enterprises & their purpose are defined very clearly-there are after all 50,000 of them now.

    They are not necessarily the same thing as Charities-but they may be.

    In any event , if a Social Enterprise-or indeed a Charity needs to pay the providers of long term finance a return I don’t see the problem.

    It will be their purpose and the outcomes they achieve which concern me.

    By the way it’s Bullingdon-not Bullindon.
    That you should need to introduce that word into this topic is sad , but very illuminating.

  9. John tt
    “It isn’t necessary to outline an argument against the privatisation of health services” – Why not?

    I actually work in the NHS (trying to get a bit of pension before I retire after a lifetime in private industry).
    I’ve never understood the shibboleth of ‘no privatisation of the NHS’. GPs have never been directly employed by the NHS, neither have most opticians and various others. Hospitals are being built through PFI, private companies are taking over the practices of retiring GPs – I could go on. The NHS is not a state monopoly, and never has been. It is probably less so now than ever. One of the reasons it is so inefficient,in my view, is that it is run by bureaucrats (like me, though I’m pretty low level) who have no real sanctions over the considerable private sections of the organisation. This uneasy mix just doesn’t work.
    It would become more efficient either by wholly nationalising (which would be impossible, because of the GPs), or wholly
    privatised. In the long run, this is only feasible solution.
    This does not mean that it could not remain ‘free at the point of use’, as this could be written into the terms of the privatisation. ‘Free at the point of use’ was always a lie anyway. Even with NHS dentists you have to pay, and prescriptions are chargeable to non dole-scroungers etc etc.

  10. Pete
    I actually agree – and with education I’d hand over the provision to the experts with a thin administrative layer and a less onerous measuring regime. You know the NHS better than I do, but the “free at the point of delivery/use” is I think important to preserve. It’s dilution in dentistry leads to appalling dental conditions amongst the poorest.

    Cameron’s posiotn on this, though, is not “free at the point of use”. It’s “free at the point of NEED”, which is an ocean of clear blue water away, and takes NHS provision towards the dentistry one.

    What I was objecting to was the idea that returns on investments in the voluntary sector were the way forward. Of course Camila Batmanghelidjh would accept the returns, and re-invest them in a new Kids Club, but she’d be exceptional in practice.

  11. Colin – In know it’s Bullingdon, it was a typo.

    So was the “it’s” above.Sorry.

    My point remains that there aren’t enough people out there who “get it”. Boris’ attempt to sort out drunkenness on the tube led to a Bullingdon-style party on the last night, full of post-ironists saying “thanks for the party, Boris, mate.” Am I not allowed to have a pop at “bullingdon-style practicves”?

  12. An interesting perspective Pete-and timely given yesterday’s announcement by Ben Bradshaw :-

    “What we’ve never done before is to allow the private sector to take over the running of a whole hospital in the form of a franchise, which is one of the options that would be included in this performance regime.

    “What we know from our experience of involvement in other parts of the health service is that the private sector can bring different skills, different management skills, different techniques.”

    Did someone mention that Brown might “turn left” ?

    BMA’s consultants committee, said there was plenty of talent within the NHS without having to resort to the private sector whose only concern would be turning a profit.

  13. Exactly, so we still have a free at the point of delivery, public-funded service, operated by a private sector company..

    Nothing inconsistent with my views, in fact the opposite of the free-marketeer’s approach. If Cameron supports it, I’d say it was a lurch to the left from him.

  14. Franchised hospitals are a really stupid idea. I’ve nothing against private involvement but the way to do it is to sell them not to set up some arcame procurement process that takes two years and ends up with the same people running the same organisatrion just as badly but costing us more.

    The free market isn’t about businesses it’s about consumers. Businesses hate free markets when their inside the pail – that’s what Brown and Balls don’t seem to get.

  15. The free market – lovely idea – doing wonders for the oil traders at the moment. The traders just don’t seem to get the notion that their obtaining of positions carries greater risk than their risk-profile mangers can get their heads around.

    It’s not about process , it’s about outcomes.

    Selling hospitals will only really work if they are sold with planning permission to convert them into flats, or, ironically, back into workhouses, because that’s where the push towards the voluntary sector’s “responsibility” is heading.

    Educate me. Come up with some UK names like Peabody – give me the modern inspirational equivalents. Are there any British ones ? British people don’t recognise the Government as a force for good for one very simple reason. They forget the gifts, and remember the costs. My Grandfather was given an appointment in June 1988 to see an oncologist. He’s died in May 1988, but they sent the form through anyway. 18 months on the waiting list. The reason the lists weere so short under Thatcher was that they reckoned that most would die before receiving an appointment. I think my Grandmother has actually kept the letter criticising her for not informing the oncologist of her sad loss.

    Now, 99.7% of cancer sufferrers see a consultant within two weekss.

    Sorry, it’s so boring, statistics, I’ll retire and admit defeat because Free Market Rot is now au courant because Gordon hasn’t got “It”.

    Try telling someone on the Pelican Estate that they’re acting as an enfranchised consumer when they are googling how to knock out their own teeth with a Black & Decker.

  16. “What we know from our experience of involvement in other parts of the health service is that the private sector can bring different skills, different management skills, different techniques.”

    … and different values and different objectives.

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