The full tables for YouGov’s weekly voting intention poll are now up here. Topline voting intention stands at CON 36%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, Others 15%. The rest of the poll covered the economy, the pension strikes, Northern Rock, smoking in cars and attitudes to Margaret Thatcher.

The regular economic trackers show their normal dire figures. People remain evenly split on whether the government’s economic strategy is correct, or whether they should concentrate more on growth and less on cutting the deficit. However, people do tend to accept the claim that Britain would risk similar problems to Greece or Italy were we not to reduce the deficit – 27% think Britain’s economic situation is better than Greece/Italy and we could afford to borrow more, 47% think Britain needs to reduce the deficit or risk going a similar way to Greece/Italy. Asked about how different groups of people have fared during the recession, young people are seen to have been hit the hardest. 65% of people think young people have suffered more than most, 48% think retired people have, 39% public sector workers, 24% women.

There is very little support for reducing the minimum wage for younger people to encourage employment, with only 17% of people saying they would support this and 73% opposed. A majority (56%) also oppose the idea of reducing employment rights to make it easier to hire and fire people. On the subject of foreign workers, 51% think employers should give priority to British workers over foreign workers, even if they are better qualified. 69% think the government should do more to give British workers priority in applying for jobs.

Turning to Northern Rock, people support the sale to Virgin Money by 48% to 23% – not a surprising result in itself. Slightly less predictable was that people trended to think it was a good deal: 50% agreed that the government was always going to make a loss and £747m is a good deal, 34% think the government is losing too much money on the deal and should have held on for a better deal.

Turning to the public sector pension strikes, 49% of people now think it is right for public sector workers to contribute more to their pensions, 35% think it is wrong. 52% of people now oppose public sector workers going on strike over their pensions (up from 49% in September), 35% support it (down from 38%). Asked about the threshold for strike ballots 58% of people think that trade unions should require the support of 50% of eligible members to call a strike, as opposed to 50% of those taking part in a ballot – virtually unchanged from when YouGov asked a similar question in June.

On smoking there is majority support for blank packaging (56%), banning the display of cigarettes (58%) and for banning people smoking in cars with passengers (59%). Only 34% of people, however, would support banning people smoking in all private cars regardless of whether they have passengers. YouGov also broke these questions down by whether respondents themselves smoked, around a third of regular smokers supported the restrictions on packing, display and smoking with passengers in the car.

Finally there were some questions on Margaret Thatcher. She came top when people were asked who was the greatest post-war Prime Minister, picked by 27% of people (more than Churchill, though this may very well be people correctly discounting Churchill’s premiership, though clearly the fact that Churchill comes up second suggests many people didn’t!). Blair was chosen by 9%, Wilson by 6%.

Overall, 50% of people think that Thatcher was a great (20%) or good (30%) Prime Minister, 33% a poor (8%) or terrible (25%) Prime Minister. Only 8% of people thought she was an “average” Prime Minister, people either admire or loathe her. Compare this to when YouGov asked the same question about Tony Blair at the end of September, 6% thought he was great, 33% good, 14% poor, 21% terrible, 24% average – this is a far more even distribution, opinions on Thatcher remain extremely divided.

196 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 36, LAB 40, LD 9”

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  1. Interesting movement on attitudes to public sector pensions.

  2. Slightly confused by your Churchill comment – Chrchill was elected as PM from 1951 until his resignation in 1955, surely qualifying him as a post-war Prime Minister?

  3. The question ‘who was the greatest post-war Prime Minister’ is a bit silly. It’s akin to asking who is the best footballer, or Heavyweight Champion. Perfect questions for pub discussions. What number of respondents actually lived under, or even know who all the post war PMs were? I know polling is about opinions, but questions like this take it to the nth degree. Surely, as a pollster you would want any solicited opinions to be as informed as is possible.

  4. Now, I am surprised how far public support is going for smoking bans. I have heard endless complaints about the nanny state etc. etc.

    Seems like it’s one of these cases where the loudest group turns out to be the minority.

    (IMHO, banning smoking in cars is unworkable. Doing it with children in the car is thoughtless in the extreme, but I don’t see how you can enforce this. A smoker who doesn’t give a damn about their own children’s health is unlikely to care what the law says.)

  5. Chris – one would be hard pressed to describe Churchill between 1951-1955 as a great Prime Minister. I suspect *most* people who picked Churchill as Prime Minister were thinking of his Premiership before 1945, not his premiership after 1945.

  6. CLAD – “Surely, as a pollster you would want any solicited opinions to be as informed as is possible”

    Hell no! Absolutely not. Opinions should be exactly as ignorant and ill-informed as the public as a whole are: that’s the whole point. If the sample of people you ask are better informed than the general public then they are not representative.

    Polls are not a magic 8 ball, they do not tell you the “correct” answer. They tell you what the public think, however ill-informed or wrong-headed that opinion may be. A strong bias towards more recent leaders is part of that.

  7. BBC Blogs in Scotland?
    In case anyone is feeling too sorry for those in Scotland now denied the right to comment on big Brian etc, I would make my guess that the motivating factor in the ban is legal fears. Vitriolic cyber-nats dominate these blogs to the extent that hardly anyone else reads them. I have thought for some time that the Scotsman would stop comments on their web-site totally as they are a very bad advert for the paper. However the fall-out of the Davidson affair has probably focussed BBC attention. It is probaly the first time since May that Labour have drawn blood from the SNP. Davidson would seem to be in a very strong legal position to exact revenge. The BBC may have looked again at comments which could be legally problematic.
    Spanish elections?
    The psoe had a huge bonus last time as the young and easily discouraged voters turned on the popular party for recklessly trying to link the Madrid bombings to ETA. This time these voters are going to stay away. Moderate left of centre parties are more reliant taday on variations in turnout than on moves of voters from them to others.

  8. I see that all the ex-smokers are keen to infringe the rights of those of us that are weak willed. I am of course referring to the 34% who support a blanket ban on smoking in private cars. If one of the side effects of giving up is that one becomes an intolerant B then I think the cure is worse than the disease. Although I never smoke indoors an rarely in the car.

  9. “47% think Britain needs to reduce the deficit or risk going a similar way to Greece/Italy”

    Shame though that cutting public expenditure and raising VAT- such that it adversely affects expectations (of firms,individuals and households), demand and investment levels as well as employment- has meant GO is very unlikely to meet his original deficit reduction levels (according to the HMT own figures).

    Perhaps there should be a question on that- as implicit in YG’s question is the notion that the current economic policy actually avoids a Greece or Spain scenario.

    Perhaps it will….perhaps it won’t !

  10. Point taken Anthony. But in my every day life, I tend to ignore and/or dismiss the opinions of the ignorant and ill-informed. Something I seem to be doing on an increasingly regular basis.

  11. @Colin

    “Interesting movement on attitudes to public sector pensions.”

    I presume you mean that it is interesting that there is *no* movement – absolutely everything is within moe.

  12. I am absolutely amazed that 39% think public sector workers have been affected hardest by the recession. It goes to show how powerful the unions are if disinformation like that is so successfully communicated.

    Public sector jobs are the safest, have been and always will be. It is now over 3 years since the economic crisis started and let’s remember that public sector employment was expanding up to the 2010 General Election. Whether that was political reasons (which I think is the reason Labour did this) or economic reasons it cannot be denied that public sector headcount rose between 2007 and 2010. On top of this the public sector were getting at least inflation rate pay rises up until 2010.

    So, as I say I cannot understand how so many people have been fooled into thinking the public sector has had it hard, it patently has not and only since the election has the imbalance started to be addressed.

  13. @Anthony Wells – “Hell no! Absolutely not. Opinions should be exactly as ignorant and ill-informed as the public as a whole are…”

    I can just imagine the headlines. ‘TOP POLLSTER CALLS PUBLIC IGNORANT’

    @Colin – “Interesting movement on attitudes to public sector pensions.”

    A ‘Hands off Our Pension’ poster has appeared in the window of a house in my village. It’s a substantial three story town house, formerly a large mill in days gone by. A young (ish) couple own it and only ever appear at weekends, so it’s a safe bet it’s a second home.

    While I have sympathy with public sector workers and I think they are facing a tough battle to convince the public of their true value, in this case I’m extremely tempted to put a poster alongside this one, saying something to the effect of ‘Hands off Our Second Homes’.

    A recent village survey we did suggests that even if they are working full time, the average wage for under 25’s in the area is no more that £15,000, the cheapest houses selling for £150,000, and any attempts to build more homes are fiercely resisted by second homers. I seriously doubt that this poster will be doing very much to promote the cause of public sector workers much good.

  14. @apollocyclops36 firstly, welcome – I don’t think I’ve come across you on this board before?

    You said this – “Public sector jobs are the safest, have been and always will be.”

    I found this to be a little odd, as the government’s strategy, clearly and explicitly stated by Osborne and confirmed by the OBR, is that the public sector will shed tens of thousands of jobs while the private sector will create as many and more. So clearly, the government’s strategy is entirely at odds with your statement.

    Whatever has happened in the past, I don’t think it’s fair to say that public sector jobs are necessarily safer than the private sector now.

  15. Just doudle ther tobacco duty and spend the revenue on the NHS thus allowing some existing sources of NHS spending to be diverted elesewhere where needed. This would reduce spending on tobacco productes quickly and help us fund the NHS properly 20,30,40,50 years down the line.

  16. I notice that UKIP are maintaining their share – 7% this time. Most, but by no means all, of these would otherwise vote Tory. It seems a reasonable assumption that a proportion of those would actually vote Tory at the next GE to avoid a ‘wasted’ vote or because there is no candidate. This is purely a guess, but let’s say half return to the Tories. This would then make the next election much closer.

    On another matter: the Irish apparently had to get their budget approved by Germany before they presented it to their own parliament. Osborne’s Autumn budget statement is due on Nov 29th. I do hope Cameron’s recent visit to Germany wasn’t for the same reason.

  17. What attitudes to Thatcher and Blair can’t measure is how long they will be a drag on their parties. Speaking as a 25%er I doubt that Blair will be drag as long.
    I suspect a similar question re Blair in 2028 (21 years after leaving office) would be many more don’t knows or average.

  18. It looks like Conservative support is still holding up, but economic confidence is very low,
    and it remains to be seen what happens next.

  19. Alec, thank you.

    I think public sector jobs are safer than many other sectors of the economy. Even though the public sector is going through a retrenchment, that is what the private sector is like all the time! The retrenchment in the public sector is no way as harsh as private sector retrenchment either – sure I feel sorry for anyone who is put out of work but much of the retrenchment in the public sector is through natural wastage or simply pay freezes. For the last three years the private sector has been the one having all the pay freezes and job losses.

    If you were to apply for a mortgage and you had a public sector job I can tell you that your application would be seen in terms of job security as being much higher. The reason this will still be the case despite the changes in the public sector: there will still be a need for policemen, NHS staff, local government officials, civil servants and the like.

    I can understand that some public sector workers may feel worried but I think they have little to worry about compared to their private sector counterparts as National Governments and Local Governments rarely go out of business unlike companies that do. In public sector jobs I have never heard of employees turning up at the door to find a sign saying sorry we are out of business!

  20. pete b

    “It seems a reasonable assumption that a proportion of those would actually vote Tory at the next GE to avoid a ‘wasted’ vote or because there is no candidate. This is purely a guess, but let’s say half return to the Tories. This would then make the next election much closer.”

    As said before when this frequently crops up: the difference between leakage of UKIP back to Tory at previous GE’s (from prior locals and Euros) is that we NOW HAVE A TORY PM.

    Just as there was leakage away from Labour by lefties between 2001 and 2005 (that did NOT return until Nick made is Faustian pact) the insipid disappointment on Cameron’s right flank over the EU, not cutting public spending (yep that’s what they actually believe) and all the soft-as-muck ‘centre-rightism’ will IMHO mean that only a much reduced proportion of that UKIP vote will vote for Dave and George next time.

    Plus some of that orange book vote that currently comes within the 34-37% range that the Tories have been in since last December will return to Lib Dem at the GE.

    Pushed to project, on current trends I’d see Blue as roughly where they were at the last election, perhaps 1 or 2 points higher.

    Whatever its going to be an absolute squeaker and if EdM is still leader a minority government outcome again (who will have the most seats who knows).

    But the EdM (PM) and Tim F (DPM) show- crikey :D

  21. Joe James B

    “It looks like Conservative support is still holding up”

    yes as is Labours- 40 ish for months now ;-)

  22. @apollocyclops36 – I can agree with much of what you say.One of the problems in the public sector is that it is easier for poorly performing people to hang on to positions of responsibility, although I also see plenty of examples of this within the private sector. I guess the key difference is that poor performance in the state sector has little impact on income, thus doesn’t create the same pressures on staffing costs as in much of the private sector.

  23. @pete B – re the Irish budget – this is part of a post I put on the last thread you might be interested in.

    “If you are in a properly functioning currency union, the wealthy areas will have an unavoidable requirement to fund capital tranfers into those poorer regions, as there are no longer interest rate and currency valuations to accomodate the economic differentials. The only other alternative would be inflation in the rich areas and unemployment elsewhere. This is the price you pay for having unfettered access to markets within the currency area.

    While the Germans managed this issue brilliantly during the reunification process, with the old west pumping resources into the east to create a newly united and stable single nation, in the case of the UK
    we can see how sometimes these disparities can be extremely persistent for all kinds of reasons, so the wealthier south east has effectively subsidised the north east and elsewhere for decades. This creates enough political tensions here, with a fundamental north/south divide in English politics, but imagine these same tensions arising on a trans national basis.

    If Germany wants the single currency, it has to pay for it. Either through bailing out debtor countries now, which it is not prepared nor able to do, or through facing years of paying for the poorer regions to develop to a state of parity.

    Their chosen alternative instead is to seek to erode the living conditions of the debtor nations via austerity and control their budget decisions, while ignoring their obligations to contribute much more to the Euro unification pot. At the same time, they are accepting all the benefits to a major global exporter of a currency that is seriously under valued for the German economy which gives them additional benefit in global markets, while further exacerbating the divergence within the Eurozone, for which they must eventually pay.

    All the talk of integrated fiscal union is therefore pointless. I simply cannot see any scenario where either the Germans will accept the bill, nor the southern nations accept the level of hardship that a Germanic refusal would require of them.

    My greatest fear is that this pointless attempt to hide from reality will instead create the conditions for trans national extremism, political division, and popularist aggression. With the notable exception of Ireland, in the British Isles we haven’t got too bad a recent track record of dealing with such national and regional tensions, although we’ve still had our problems.

    Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about Europe. History tells us that it’s dangerously delusional to assume that 70 years of peace in Europe means we will always have peace, and the German stance means we are now establishing the conditions that could conceivably lead to substantial civil unrest, if not outright conflict.”

  24. Richard in Norway,

    I’m surprised that the percentage in favour of banning smoking in cars isn’t higher, given that it has exactly the same moral logic as mandatory seatbelts and people have come to accept that rule.

    Once the principal that sane adults are not to be responsible for their actions is established, just about anything seems to follow. After this, the next logical step is to ban smoking in the home. Then on the streets. Then: mission accomplished.

  25. Bill

    Yes keep going after the drug addicts and never the drug pushers. But I think the 34% is almost entirely ex smokers. They are a nasty lot, it must be the withdrawal symptoms which last a lifetime.

  26. “Whether that was political reasons (which I think is the reason Labour did this) or economic reasons it cannot be denied that public sector headcount rose between 2007 and 2010”
    Are you counting the RBS/LLoyds/etc staff who are counted as public sector workers?
    If we take it’s peak, of 6015k in Q3 2005, you actually find pure public sector employment fell slightly to 5993k in Q4 2007 – it rose to 6103k in Q4 2009 and was at 6058k in Q2 2010.
    So a rise of 1% over the 2007-2010 period, hardly a big increase.

    It’s now at 5830k – which is hardly a massive drop from Q2 2010, but obviously the figure is going to drop.

    Where the biggest increase in ‘public sector workers’ came in, between 2007-2010, was the employment of ‘public sector bank workers’ – which rose from 0 in Q4 2007 to it’s peak of 241k in Q1 2009.
    It has since fallen to 207k.

    Now if we compare the private sector, we find it peaked in 2008 Q2 at 23542k – which dropped to 22515k in Q4 2009 but continued to rise to 22868k in Q2 2010.
    This is a loss 2008-2010 of 674k or 2.9%. But it’s distorted by the lack of ‘public sector bank workers’ – which if we include in the private sector figures we get –
    Q2 2008 (23542k) to Q2 2010 (23087k) we get 455k or 1.9% private sector loss.
    Private sector + Public sector banking employees is now at 23339k, or higher than it’s 2008 peak.

    So as far as % terms of people working in the public vs private sectors – the peak of Q3 2007 was 20.5% working in the public sector, this peaked in Q4 2009 at 21.2%, fell to 20.8% in Q2 2010 and has since fallen to 20% (and will fall further over the coming years).
    So in terms of % of people working in the public sector vs private, we’ve fallen to just below 1999 levels (the earliest data available).
    So the ‘rebalancing’ to pre-recession levels has already occurred.

    It is true that Labour slightly increased public-sector employment, probably for political reasons, but it’s hardly a rebalancing that’s going on now.
    If private sector employment were increasing at the rate that the government had hoped for (totally replacing public sector losses and then some), the percentage of people in the public sector would be even lower.

    Public sector pay is another thing – but it’s a difficult one because of the distortions at the top (much like the distortions in private sector pay – where bonus pay massively distorts the statistics).

    I’m not saying that efficiencies can’t be made in the public sector – I’d do a full cost/benefit (both to the public sector and the economy as a whole) of each sector and permanently cap maximum public sector wages at a multiple of the minimum – but the statistics of public vs private is heavily distorted by measures taken during the recession.
    Sorry for the long post.

  27. David b

    Doubling tobacco duty would both reduce spending on tobacco products and fund the nhs? I’m afraid you can’t have both if you tax people out of smoking then the revenue stream will dry up

    This is something the treasury takes into account which is why we never have a duty increase which takes us over a psychological trigger price. For instance when ciggies were 4.90 there were no tax increases but as soon as the price had passed five pounds in an ordinary way it was safe to start ramping up the tax again. The treasury is just as addicted to fags as I am!!!

  28. “Private sector + Public sector banking employees is now at 23339k, or higher than it’s 2008 peak.”
    Should actually read ‘or slightly lower than it’s 2008 peak’. – I misread the figures, doh!

  29. ALEC
    Thank you very much for your brilliant post, which is the best explanation of the effects of the European movement’s implications.

    The one caveat on your post is the mention of Ireland’s regional tensions. I think that the South was always peaceful.

    There were divisions in Six of the Nine Ulster counties, which a man called Tony Blair helped to bring to a peaceful conclusion- with heroic help from men like Trimble and Hume. Both tradittions now living alongside each other.

    The role of ‘The Fisherman’ and his sidekicks are much more complex I think…

  30. “… a breathing space of about 18 months to two years when they can dump on their predecessors before the electorate starts to focus pitilessly and unforgivingly on the incumbent’s mistakes.”

    Rawnsley’s “Excuses, excuses, excuses – ” piece today might be a significant moment. As a student he was a member of the SDP, and has been fascinated by political personalities ever since… and became quite enamoured of the Tory party under Cameron in recent years. Other opinion formers tend to read him.

    It took just three years for him to set the trend of disecting New Labour in terms of a feud between Blair and Brown.

    It took two years to deliver the coup de grâce to Brown’s premiership.

  31. “On smoking there is majority support for blank packaging (56%), banning the display of cigarettes (58%) and for banning people smoking in cars with passengers (59%).”

    How many of these people are smokers, and which non-smokers are prepared to have some of their habits legislated against ‘for the majority’?

  32. Just a note to my post –
    It sounds like I’m an apologist for Labour but I’m just actually an apologist for the truth.
    Labour were (as far as I can see) terrible at finding efficiency in the public sector (someone will no doubt correct me on that) but it’s amazing that both sides aren’t willing to be objective in where efficiency is made.

    Labour may have pushed an inefficient system but the Tories have decided on what figures are ‘efficient’ (this isn’t directed at you, Apollo, but at the actual party) and decided to fit the facts to the case after the fact.
    It’s amazing how afraid, across the board, political parties are at fact-checking their claims.

    So the Tories declare that cutting public sector staff will lead to private sector employment and growth (and Labour the opposite) – rather than implementing an independent system (perhaps run by someone like the BoE?) where public sector employment figures are analysed objectively – perhaps, if the private sector isn’t growing fast enough, the public-sector job cuts should be slowed – but oppositely if the private sector is job-growing faster than can be supported by those who’re unemployed, the public sector can ‘sacrifice’ (for lack of a better word) some people.

  33. ALEC

    @”While I have sympathy with public sector workers and I think they are facing a tough battle to convince the public of their true value, in this case I’m extremely tempted to put a poster alongside this one, saying something to the effect of ‘Hands off Our Second Homes’. ”

    Go for it Alec :-)

  34. PETEB

    @”On another matter: the Irish apparently had to get their budget approved by Germany before they presented it to their own parliament”

    According to the Times the Commission ( I think) will have powers to oversee all EZ national budgets-to “suggest” alterations & to make presentations of EZ policy to national parliaments.

    There will be no fiscal sovereignty for EZ members.

  35. @Colin,

    ‘According to the Times the Commission ( I think) will have powers to oversee all EZ national budgets-to “suggest” alterations & to make presentations of EZ policy to national parliaments.

    There will be no fiscal sovereignty for EZ members.’

    Oh Dear!

    So no point in any budget discussions and no point in proposing any amendments to the budget – ‘Big Brother’ has decided!

  36. @Chrisland45 – thankyou for your comments. I’ve always been baffled by the Eurozone, both in the fact that anyone with the remotest shred of knowledge of very basic economics could see that technically it has always been fatally flawed, but also due to the fact that for any such trans national currency unions, politics is even more important that technical economics. The Euro is technically totally deficient, and there are no politically acceptable solutions.

    On Ireland – never forget the huge contribution of Thatcher to the peace process, and also John Major.

    In the Dublin Accord (1984 I think) Thatcher enraged the unionists by explicitly stating that the British had no strategic interest in Ulster. This was the starting point of the modern peace process and made both Uniost and Nationalist think about a post conflict scenario.

    She combined this deeply symbolic stand with a publically very tough stance towards the IRA, which in due course led many within the armed movement to appreciate that, come what may and however many they killed, Britain would never walk away from Ulster while the bombs were going off.

    Major picked up the torch and carried it well, but ultimately unsuccessfully. Blair was an absolutely key player and deserves the accolades he gets, but without the actions of his two predecessors I doub’t he would have achieved the ultimate prize.

    @apollocyclops36 – if you could just adjust your moniker to ‘Apollo Cyclops, 36, Idaho’, we could all imagine you as an American wrestler approaching the end of your career seeking a move into politics.

  37. There was a lady without hair who was very involved with the peace process, that she does not get a mention is baffling. Is tony getting the credit because he’s a man, because he still has hair or because he’s still alive?

  38. @colin – “There will be no fiscal sovereignty for EZ members.”

    In theory there isn’t now. All EZ members are treaty bound to maintain a <3% of GDP annual budget deficit. As with most inconvenient EU treaty obligations, the EZ ignored this. So did the markets – once it was clear there was no fiscal discipline in the EZ they should have stayed well away.

    The bottom line is that there can be no true fiscal sovereignty in a proper currency union. The Euro architects knew this but never told the people, merely assuming that this obvious economic fact would gradually dawn on the peoples of Europe, and they would graciously understand the wisdom of their rulers and accept these restrictions on their democratic rights as being an overwhelming and necessary good.

    The failure to grasp the idiocy of this notion has always made me think that the Euro was designed by a bunch of starry eyed student dreamers, hoping a better world would come if they just wished for it hard enough.

    [For any starry eyed student dreamers out there – no offence, I love you dearly, but please don't get anywhere near the levers of power just yet].

  39. Rob Sheffield –
    The point is the figures are about the same as in May.
    The Conservatives led by 1% according to Thrasher and Rawlings, in actual votes cast in the council elections.

    Why is your party failing to extend it’s lead?

    This could happen though.

  40. Statgeek

    As a smoker I am fully supportive of blank packaging and hidding tobacco products, in fact I would go further and actively decrease the number of outlets by charging a high licence fee for selling tobacco products and then model it on the fuel escalator. But I dislike the victimization of us unfortunate nicotine addicts

    I’m a victim, poor little me!!! (smiley thing)

  41. @RiN – Don’t forget Peter M – he also played a crucial role.

    Essentially though, it came down to a realisation that conflict wasn’t going to change the situation. The IRA were broken, but they could be beaten. The British were thoroughly fed up, but would never be allowed to walk away. The Unionists were angry, but no longer quite so sure of their friends in Westminster.

    Ultimately it was wearisness that sorted the mess out, with a variety of players on all sides deserving credit for seizing the moment.

  42. @RiN

    What purpose does the blank packaging and hiding serve?

  43. The opinion poll from the smoking ban goes to show that you can never trust comments from internet users as reliable scources (or you could argue methodological flaws in opinion polls). The same also seems to go for opinion polls on the pension reforms and the strikes. However, this does make for interesting observation and analysis about the demographs of internet users.

    If we go by the idea that internet users are mainy young people then by observing the attitudes of the internet users comments then it would describe while the next generation of voters might be left-wing and believe in more state intervention (especially in the economic sphere) it would describe them as being libertarian and lassie-faire on their social issues (i.e. smoking ban) but this is then conflicted on their attitude towards religious freedom and crime when one would describe them as more authoritarian.

    I would probably describe the next generation of voters that while they are philsophically believe the functions of capitalism is in need of serious reform or in some extreme cases abolition they are more pragmatic when they take issues such as smoking ban, family issues, marriage, the role of the state in social life and crime and the usual “day-dreaming socialist thinkers” they are often described as.

    Still it is a very interesting observation between the views of internet users and that of the opinion polls which suggests a serious deficit of collection of data and analysis from one of the two sides.

  44. As for the smoking ban, IMO, it is simply unworkable to possibly police it and I agree with Chris that if you’re a parent who does care about you’re childrens and other people’s health you wouldn’t smoke in their presence. My dad smokes and he never smokes when anyone is present and even in snow goes outside to smoke in the garden. I think if someone doesn’t care then they are just not going to listen to the law anyway. Also, it would just be adding to the number of laws that is on paper but the police will not bother to enforce. It’s just something pretty for the government to put on paper. Even the ban of mobile phones hasn’t worked where I live because the number of times I have seen people on their mobile phones while driving and the number of police cars that go past them not even giving them a signal of warning to turn them off is…well…it is criminal.

  45. As my dad says….all laws on smoking is simply sticking plaster and if the government does feel it is in the moral interest of the government and society and does believe in looking at the nations health then the simply solution would be to outlaw saling tabacco such as recognising it as an illegal substance. He admits it would take time to police it and people to change their habbits and would be like the prohabition of drink in America but it would do more to serve the governments influence.

    Also, I do find it weird that the government has to with one hand collect enough revenue from smokers to help pay for the NHS (tabacco duty is worth £24bn a yr with alcohol adding another £10bn) which would in someway would suggest the government does need people to smoke while using the increase in tobacco duty to change people’s attitude.

    The increases in government revenue collection from tobacco through the years would suggest the governments intention to change attitudes has failed. Just would would the government do if suddenly everyone did not smoke – £24bn lost. This is why I think any “sin” taxes should be meaningful in just changing behaviour and not as a source of revenue.

  46. I’m ready to be proved wrong, but I think mapping of lung cancer cases still shows concentrations in areas with heavy industry, eposure to pollutants etc. The argument is that these areas contain more heavy smokers.

    At some point, maybe fifty years ago, the government started to refuse funding for reseach into the connection between pollution and cancer, giving it only to studies concentrating on a link with tobacco.

  47. @ Colin

    Interesting movement on attitudes to public sector pensions.
    I find it interesting too. I think Unions should widen their their PR on this to: We are striking over pensions but we are against all cuts which will be harmful to the public sector, its workers & the public whom they serve.

    Why do I think the Unions should do this? Because if you nip over to Opinium, their November political tracking shows 48% have sympathy for strikes against spending cuts 38% don’t & 14% have neither sympathy nor antipathy.

    So, a 10 point lead for public sympathy, if Unions & PS workers get their PR together.

  48. Statgeek

    ” What purpose does the blank packaging and hiding serve?”

    It removes temptation from new ex smokers. When you have just given up smoking and are having a really bad day, seeing an advert or a row of tobacco products can be enough to fatally weaken the resolve.

    We have the ban on public display here in Norway, and it has happened a few times that I have forgotten to buy ciggies and had to go back again later. That never happened before the display ban. So I belive that it does help those who are giving up.

  49. @ Barney

    Davidson would seem to be in a very strong legal position to exact revenge. The BBC may have looked again at comments which could be legally problematic.
    Vindication of Iain Gray’s comments at the one day conference, would it be fair to say?

  50. Hell no! Absolutely not. Opinions should be exactly as ignorant and ill-informed as the public as a whole are: that’s the whole point.
    I think on-line polls are already on a bit of a sticky wicket with this… because they attract people who want to give their opinions to on-line pollsters!

    Funnily enough, if called on the phone by a polling firm who’s name I knew, I’d answer the questions. But, despite being a huge fan of this site, I wouldn’t sign up to answer on-line polls. Nobody whom I know personally is an on-line panel member.

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