The full tabs for YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times are up here.

On the strikes, 50% opposed headteachers taking stike action (38% supported it), 49% opposed teachers taking strike action (41% supported), 51% opposed civil servants taking strike action (39% supported). The YouGov poll had a cross break by public sector and private sector employment – as one might expect, public sector workers are more likely to support strike action, private sector employees are more likely to oppose it though the difference is less black and white as one might expect. For example, public sector employees support the civil servants’ strike action by 53% to 39%, private sector employees oppose it by 56% to 34%.

On the subject of public and private sector workers, note the main voting intention question. Public sector workers are more likely to support Labour than private sector workers… but not monolithically so. Amongst public sector workers this week’s voting intention was CON 30%, LAB 46%, LDEM 10%. The sample size was only 404, so give it due scepticism, I mention it solely to knock down the lazy assumption I occassionally see that all public sector workers are Labour voters.

Going back to the issue of the strikes, YouGov asked how well people thought David Cameron and the government had handled the issue of public sector pensions and negotiations – only 23% though he had handled them well, with 59% thinking it had been done badly. Turning to Ed Miliband, YouGov asked if people thought he should support or oppose the strikes – 23% think he should support them, 33% oppose them, 27% neither. Amongst Labour supporters 41% think the strikes should be supported, 14% opposed and 34% neither.

YouGov then asked about various policies and whether people would support or oppose them. Most of these were largely as you would expect – 83% supported cancelling the rise in fuel prices, 64% would support spending more on big infrastructure projects, 54% support building a high speed rail link to the Midlands and North, 48% oppose a new airport in the Thames Estuary, 53% support underwriting mortgages for new build houses.

The full tabs are here, and also have some questions on energy and Rugby.

I also said I’d have a look at the new (presumably Populus) polling for Lord Ashcroft. The poll found Cameron & Osborne were more trusted on the economy than Miliband & Balls (they did some interesting split sample tests, seeing if the answers were different if you asked just Osborne or Balls, or Cameron, Osborne & Clegg. None of it made that much difference though).

There were also some interesting questions on whether people trusted Labour or the Conservatives more on specific aspects of economic policy. The Conservatives were significantly more trusted to cut borrowing and debt, to steer the economy through tough times and to stop Britain getting into the same problems as Greece and Italy. Labour were significantly more trusted on creating jobs. The two parties were pretty much neck and neck on helping business and making banks behave responsibly.

Asked about what aspects of the economy most worried people rising prices easily came top, though I’m slightly sceptical about how much the options in the question led to this. For example, low pay rises wasn’t on the list, and while there were some wider issues like national debt and the Eurozone crisis, low growth in the British economy wasn’t there. It is probably not a co-incidence that the three top issues on the question (rising prices, national debt and the Eurozone crisis) were the only three that affected everyone – the other options on the list were things that were largely dependent on people’s circumstances (job insecurity is not a direct issue for the retired, making mortgage payments only for homeowners, finding somewhere to live only for non-homeowners, etc).

Ashcroft also asked people if they thought the economic situation would be better or worse if we had a Labour government, or Conservative government without the Lib Dems. 21% thought the economy would be better with Labour in charge, but 39% thought it would be worse (41% thought it would be much the same). 19% thought the economy would be better if the Conservatives were governing alone, 24% thought it would be worse, 57% thought it would be much the same.

107 Responses to “Full report on YouGov/ST and new Ashcroft polling”

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  1. ALEC

    @”But this is the man who is encouraging sub prime 95% mortgages”

    That is a ridiculous portayal of the scheme. Even for you that is a grotesque & partisan generalisation.

    @” Back in 2010, he slashed capital spending budgets”

    I think you will find that should read “…he did not change AD’s plan to slash capital budgets.

    @”Many new school builds were cancelled – now he is anouncing new school building.”

    The “cancellations” of the Balls school building programme fiasco was because :-
    It was an administrative shambles.
    It was to build schools where the State wanted them-not where parents wanted them.
    It was to overspend on badly &overdesigned schools-some of which had never been occupied.
    It wasn’t funded.

    The “new schools” just announced will :-
    Be Free Schools .
    Specialise in Mathematics .
    Be Funded.

    On a more general note I was amused that the models for the Pension Fund investment in infrastructure is Birminham Airport. ( why didn’t anyone at the Treasury spot this before ?) ; and the model for switching some current spend to capital is the Scottish Administration ( I suppose DA spotted that one :-) )

  2. ALEC

    @” Now we can all produce endless quotes from the FT about the markets getting very frightened about zero growth. That’s the thing about markets. They consistently get it wrong.]”

    You miss the point entirely.

    If bond markets are nervous ( and they were before the GE) you pay the price in higher interest rates & struggle to sell your debt.

    If bond markets are confident you get lower interest rates & get your debt funded.

    It doesn’t matter what you think of the bond markets -or whaty you “called for”-if you want to borrow from them-they call the shots.

    If you don’t like it -don’t borrow from them.

  3. I thought the government were meant to tell parliament before telling the media about policy matters…not that it matters… except to the Speaker….

    But what I love about this political version of lap dancing is that you are told what you can see but never never how much it’s going to cost…..or who’s going to be asked to pay for it….giving government ministers a series of soft interviews…

    And the media play along with the politicians to fill hours of broadcasting time with questions the ministers are unable to answer….ah the wonders of the 24 hour rolling news…speculations tightly packed in hot air and not a revelation to be seen!

    I can hardly wait for the Autumn Statement…what will the Chancellor have to tell us beyond how he has been right; he has got it right and it will all turn out right…on election day…

    Followed by lots of media analysis saying the chancellor was confidant everything will be alright but actually it may not be and none of us will know one way or another until….yes you’ve guessed election day.

    We could just run some old cowboy films with Ronnie Reagan instead….then we’d all know the good guys from the bad guys…

  4. @Colin – fair enough – my reference to encouraging sub prime was a touch flowery, but not too far off the mark in some respects.

    As I understand it, the housing scheme underwrites 95% loans on new builds only, with the builder having to stump up 2.5% as well. Here though, there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism to stop the builder adding 2.5% onto the price (the government backs the loan) so builders will get a state subsidy for building new homes in effect.

    On top of this, the scheme includes mention of a scheme to absolve builders of the requirement to supply affordable homes as conditions of existing, already granted planning permissions. So the scheme retrospectively alters locally agreed planning permissions to remove the requirement for affordable homes. This is a real slap in the face to localism, will reduce the numbers of affordable homes being built and is the first case I know of where retrospective government legislation over turns planning agreements.

    The increase in discount to social housing tenants right to buy, even when the landlord doesn’t want to sell, will also restrict supply in this sector.

    Overall, most knowledgeable commentators I’ve seen seem to view the changes as minor, helping few people, but overall increasing prices at this end of the market. To my mind, this doesn’t seem to be the most appropriate path to take, although sub prime may be a little strong.

  5. @Tinged Fringe – “…sympathise/support gives broadly different answers.”

    If you are asked “Do you support such-and-such an organisation?” that often implies attending their events, making contributions etc., whereas, supporting the aims of /sympathising with something is much less onerous

  6. @John Murphy

    “I thought the government were meant to tell parliament before telling the media about policy matters…not that it matters… except to the Speaker….”

    Ah yes, John, this wasn’t meant to be part of the “new politics”, was it? Messrs Clegg and Cameron used to berate the last administration for very similar behaviour and, if I remember rightly, used to both mount some very high horses, accusing their opponents of displaying “contempt for Parliament”. It would appear this was empty oppositional rhetoric, as was government by “soundbite and leak” and “cosying up to the Murdoch press” and “cronyism” (oops, where’s Coulson gone??) and “headline seeking announcements” and all the other lazy and opportunistic accusations that used to be employed by Dave and Nick when in opposition.

    Am I the only one detecting a whiff of Majorism about this current administration? A series of brake-squealing policy u-turns at the first hint of media and public opposition, gaffe-prone ministers at odds with their senior civil servants, a Chancellor abruptly and casually exchanging one economic policy for another, a crumbling and vacuous “big idea” (for Big Society read Back to Basics) and viscerally anti-European MPs sniping from the backbenches.

    Will Eric Pickles become our new David Mellor, I wonder, just to further underline the Majoresque similarities? The mind truly boggles! lol

  7. Nobody seems to have a clue what happens next, whether the Euro is going to collapse, what happens if it doesn’t.

    I have little faith in anybody whatsoever. We’ll have to just wait and see what happens.

  8. Crossbat

    I can’t see Eric as a David mellor, for one thing he’s not a chelsea fan. But then again I could never see mellor as a mellor until it happened

  9. Talk of a big IMF bazooka to support Italy’s funding for a year-to give Monti time.

    At last something sensible & concrete.

  10. Interesting take on Wednesday’s strikes at the weekend, with government briefings suggesting they would cost the economy £500m.

    Based on a 5 day week with a few weeks annual holiday allowance, this means the government thinks that these striking workers earn the country over £120b a year.

    The union leaders were very quick to dismiss the £500m strike cost calculation as fantasy figures, but perhaps if they had been more mentally nimble instead of being forged from the same basic material as the 1970’s TUC dinasours, they might have jumped on the governments numbers that effectively confirm just how valuable these workers are to our economic wellbeing, so the government thinks.

  11. @colin

    Surely the money that the IMF receives comes from subscriptions/funds provided by its members. The UK recently increased the amount it provides and so have many other countries. The UK does not have plentiful cash reserves, so presumably the money we provide, could well be borrowed from the market. So we say borrow at 2.5% and then the IMF lend at say 6%. Surely the more that countries like the UK borrow, the more the interest rate goes up. If many EU countries need IMF help, this would mean they would need more funds. You then have a vicious circle of IMF countries borrowing at increased market rates to fund the IMF, without really solving the problem. The IMF system works ok in normal times, when help is limited to a few countries, but in the current economic climate, I think the IMF could become used more than it is really designed to deal with.

    My opinion for what it is worth, is that the Eurozone must be disbanded in an orderly way, so that countries like Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal can regain control over their economies i.e exchange rate, taxation. They are then removed from an EU straightjacket and have a chance to restructure their economies. Keeping them in the Euro and continuing to deal with debts in the current fashion, will just prolong their agony. I understand that if countries leave the Euro that they also have to leave the EU, but I am sure that these countries could be keep in the EU, with changes to treaties. This would give the UK a chance to recalibrate our EU treaty obligations, in areas where political agreement can be obtained.

    If the EU continues as it is, then they could be responsible for causing a recession that could last many years. Germany and France, therefore need to do much more to bring about the change needed. i.e a multi-speed/ more flexible EU. At the moment, I don’t think there is the political will because of weak government positions in their parliaments.

  12. Anthony….

    I’ve obviously said something unintentionally out of line….if so I apologise….

  13. Colin

    I saw that rumour last night but didn’t comment on it because any increase in IMF funds (which would be needed for this to happen) would have to be agreed to by the IMF biggest contributer, the US, I can’t see congress being able to make up its mind quickly on a yes

  14. Anthony,

    BBC are reporting a ComRes poll showing that 61% of people think “Public Service workers are justified in taking strike action”. Now that is obviously a very different question to “do you support the strikes”, but does that show a nuanced approach to the strikes, its causes and where public sympathy lies?

    Or is it that the poll has asked some very screwy, leading questions? I can’t find the link to the poll on the report.


    Link if anyone’s interested.

  16. TingedFringe

    ComRes asked a similar question in their poll for the Sindy. To In most cases I have sympathy for people going on strike against public spending cuts 48% agreed and 38% disagreed. As with other polls on this topic there was a big sex differential – women agreed 51% to 31% and men disagreed (just) 45% to 44%. This latest poll is for Newsnight so I assume the details won’t be up till later today or tomorrow.

    This whole area makes me think of Anthony’s favourite word ‘salience’. I wonder if issues such as this can have a comparatively low salience in general, but matter an awful lot to those that they affect directly. As Anthony pointed out the political preferences of public service workers don’t at the moment differ much from private one, but a feeling of being let down by the government might cause a big shift among them. My point is that sometimes things can have a low general salience and yet cause a change in voting patterns, because those that care about such things care about it a lot.

  17. On polling matters…

    It will be interesting to see whether really poor economic news and the start of real pinch-feeling starts to affect Government polls. Tories have been stubbornly 36% ( and Lib Dems c 10%) for some time. Now we’ll find out whether all the things that poll completers say about who they trust on the econonmy and whose fault it all was matters a bean when things turn sour.

    “It’s the economy, stupid.” Over the next few months we may well find out if that’s true.

  18. Anthony with regard to the public/private split I have a couple of (non-urgent) questions.

    Firstly has there been a disproportionate change in the voting patterns of public sector employees? I vaguely remember that at one time they tended to be to be more likely to be Lib Dems. I couldn’t find anything around the last election (though I think YouGov have used this split at sometime) but I’m probably missing something.

    Secondly how do you classify outsourced workers in the public sphere? Technically they’re private, but would imagine most would regard themselves as public workers. Conversely would RBS employees now count as public? Of course it’s such anomalies that enable some people to claim that public sector people are paid more than private ones (most outsourced public jobs are low paid).

  19. @ Colin

    If you don’t like it -don’t borrow from them.
    In the future, the Uk won’t borrow from the market. The QE genie is out of the bottle. Osborne used £75Bn, not in an unprecedented emergency, but simply because growth was flat-lining. And the talk is that there will be QE3 in Q1’12 for the same reason.

    A future government would have to be daft to borrow in the market, when they can just QE the funds they need – provided they don’t tear the @rse out it, it’ll be fine; they’ll never need to go cap in hand to the market again.

  20. What I take away from the difference between the two wordings is this… While people tend to dislike strikes in particular, especially when they affect them directly, they still tend to strongly sympathise with strikers and very strongly sympathise with the right to strike for almost all professions. Going in with anti-strike legislation would be a pretty unpopular move, even while people dislike the current strikes.

  21. amberstar

    Exactly. So the whole argument about the cuts being needed to keep the markets sweet has been blown out of the water.

    As I’ve kept saying, we don’t have to borrow and we CANNOT go bust, because we print our own currency.

  22. Adrian B – well, obviously we can’t tell if there are screwy questions till we’ve seen it

    There are various potential reasons for differences – one is, as you say, that support and justification are different things. It’s a change to their working conditions, so legally taking strike action is justified… it doesn’t necessary mean you support it.

    Secondly, ComRes has an annoying tendency to ask agree/disagree statements, which bring a risk of affirmation bias. In theory, if you ask “do you agree or disagree with this statement: X is justified” and “do you agree or disagree with this statement: X is unjustified” the answers should be the mirror image of one another. In practice, they won’t be because people are more likely to agree (sometimes this leads to directly contradictory polling questions in the same survey – I’ve seen one survey where 55% of people agreed with the statement that Britain should remain in the EU, and 55% of people agreed with the statement that Britain should leave the EU.)

    Roger – Don’t know, I’d have to dig it out.

  23. Anthony

    There’s a new Angus Reid poll out:

    Labour 42% (+1)

    Conservatives 33% (nc)

    Lib Dems 8% (-2)

    UKIP 7%
    SNP 4%
    Greens 3%
    BNP 2%
    PC 1%

    Labour maintains sizeable leads over the Tories in the North (54% to 26%) and Midlands and Wales (43% to 35%). Labour is barely ahead of the Conservatives in London (42% to 39%), while the Tories keep a seven-point lead in the South (41% to 34%).

    In Scotland, the SNP remains in first place (43%) followed by Labour (36%).

    The approval rating for Prime Minister David Cameron remains below the 40 per cent mark for the second consecutive month (37%, -1).

    (Incidentally I think Cameron had a new high for ‘Total Badly’ in the YouGov-ST figures).

    Report with link to tables and methodology here:

  24. Thanks Anthony,

    Maybe, deep down, there’s something in us that wants to respond affirmatively with the agree/disagree questions. I used to think that was also true for referenda (that the “yes” had an inbuilt advantage) until the AV referendum.

  25. Anthony

    There is another possibility (admittedly unlikely) that the public are swinging heavily behind the strikers and against the Government.

    (I can but hope).

  26. Talk of a big IMF bazooka to support Italy’s funding for a year-to give Monti time.
    Yes. I said that’s how it would be done.

    And countries which can QE ‘cash’ out of thin air can chip in with it barely making a difference to their own economy. Not so easy for the euro countries but I’m going to amke a forecast: The IMF may begin issuing SRMs based on guarantees, rather than actual funds, & justifying it on the same kind of grounds that have been used for QE; i.e. it’s a ‘power’ which is needed due to the ‘liquidity crisis’.

    The German constitution can block ECB printing cash/ being lender of last resort but I doubt it can block Germany being a major guarantor of IMF support.

    If the IMF can give itself that power without it causing ructions, then we are off to the races…

  27. By the way Angus Reid already had UKIP on 7% last month. The only change not shown is the Greens up a point.

  28. NickP – no, that’s one possibility we can definitely rule out as an explanation for the difference between the polls.

    The BBC report says the ComRes fieldwork was done a week ago, so it would have predated the YouGov/Sunday Times fieldwork (it could be people swinging the other way of course, but that seems very unlikely given YouGov have found similar responses before. The difference is almost certainly down to wording)

  29. Amber

    BUY GOLD!!!!

  30. Adrian B – yes, there is. For the same reason, it’s inadvisable to ask polling questions where the answers are Yes and No (unless it’s a purely factual question)

  31. By the way part 2. Angus Reid do weigh their Scottish figures separately by past vote,l but on the other hand the sample size is only 178…

  32. If the Government is hoping for a popularity boost as a result of taking on the Unions (a la Thatcher v Scargill), I can’t help musing (hoping?) that it could be a mistake.

    All those inconvenienced parents…are they really going to look at their kids’ teachers and see some sort of leftie greedy enemy within?

    I think the Government could have done a deal but it will be a lot harder now they have gone the hardboiled route. I think delaying the contribution rises might have got them all the changes they sought, just on a longer timescale.

    Now it’s likely to be long and without any winners at all.

  33. @ Alec

    The union leaders were very quick to dismiss the £500m strike cost calculation as fantasy figures, but perhaps if they had been more mentally nimble instead of being forged from the same basic material as the 1970?s TUC dinasours, they might have jumped on the governments numbers that effectively confirm just how valuable these workers are to our economic wellbeing, so the government thinks.
    Perhaps they are smarter than you think, Alec.

    IMO, the Unions were supposed to do exactly what you suggest, for the reasons you suggest. If the Unions have any political sense, they’ll leave it well alone.

    To agree to the ‘costing the country £Bns’ would have opened the door to the Government blaming the Unions/ strike for poor Q4 figures, if the numbers are bad – or I should say worse – than expected.

    The Unions have done the smarter thing by saying it won’t cost the economy much, if anything. Keep in mind, David Cameron apparently said during a Telegraph interview that the Unions had: ‘Walked into the trap which the Government had set for them’ or words to that effect.

    I see that ‘trap’ as the Unions allowing themselves to be scapegoats for the expected poor growth in Q4; I think they may have dodged it because they aren’t as gullible as Osborne hoped.

  34. Looking at black/white support/oppose questions… there will be a discussion on Wednesday/Thursday about how many public employees supported the strikes.

    For a trade union member “supporting a strike” has the meaning of actually taking industrial action.

  35. “Marines from Somerset’s 40 Commando are on standby to work at Heathrow during Wednesday’s strike by immigration officers, the BBC has learned.”

    Blimey. Will they parachute in, do you think, or arrive by tank?

  36. Nick p

    I never should have introduced you to MMT, now your answer to everything is print.

  37. The OECD have done Osborne a huge favour. By predicting a recession in 2012 Q1/Q2 i.e. before it happens, 0% will be seen as a win. Recession, if it does happen, will be viewed as ‘expected in the circumstances’.

    It’s very kind of them to give him his entire Autumn Statement news cycle to get in front of this.

  38. @ RiN


    BUY GOLD!!!!
    Nah, I’m buying shares in YG & Angus Reid. +9 & counting ;-)

  39. I understand why printing money is dangerous…but we are doing it anyway, but pretending it is something else.

    But how can we afford our liabilities to the unemployed, the disabled, the retired, the ill, the poor while still letting business thrive? I think we need some central planning on industry which looks beyond the next election and isn’t driven by hatred of the public sector. If you want to downsize the public sector the time to do it is when the economy is creating jobs, surely?

    People keep going on about increasing our debt, but if we are printing money anyway, let’s use it instead of filling black holes (bank vaults).

  40. Amber

    I don’t see the connection between the IMF printing more money and YG and Angus reid, out preforming the market. Are you expecting lots of polling on who is to blame for inflation?

  41. The strike. Consider

    – teachers will work till 68 on current plans. Oh yes, I can really see 67 year old PE teachers running around on football fields. Let alone all the 67 year olds walking the miles you need to in schools. And how many staff loos will you need? And afternoon naps. Teaching is physically demanding – and mentally demanding dealing with variant teenaged demands. It’s just not possible to do it in your 60s.

    – Career average for teachers. Well there goes your Senior Management Team. There will be no point to move on from Head of Department to SMT as your pay increase is roughly £5 a day. Not a reason for all the extra work and hours they put in. So, the SMT will have to be paid a fortune more, so their goes the saving.

    – The line that we are all living longer is factually wrong. Govt has extrapolated from now based on earlier years, they have not incorporated the figures which offer predictions for the future, such as UK women are the 3rd fattest in the western world. The current generations are actually those expected to live fewer years than their parents. So, the govt is making living conditions worse for us all to enable the bankers to thrive.

    ‘Occupy’ movement land…

  42. @ RiN

    Joking aside, I think that polling firms will do brilliantly in the coming years. Businesses crave information in an uncertain world; high quality market research & polling information is gold to them…

  43. Nick

    The problem with using QE to print money is that it is taxed by the banks. You see the govt issues debt, say 100 pounds but the market aka the banks only pay £99, then they turn round and sell that debt to the BoE for £101 and make an instant £2 profit. Of course the BoE can’t decide what price it buys the debt at, it can only decide to buy or not to buy, the price is set by the market, what if the market decides it wants a bigger spread, what if banks and other financial institutions buy and sell between themselves driving the price up to say £107, then the BoE would have to decide whether it was going to pay then inflated rate or not. This is exactly what happened about a month ago, that time the BoE told them to get stuffed, but I’m sure you see the problem here, the govt is still effectively under the control of the market, it has to pay for the right to print money!!

    Bill will be along later to tell me why I’m wrong, or maybe amber, so you must not believe everything I say. Even though I’m always right!!!??

  44. Amber

    Yes indeed, the thought struck me as I pressed the submit button, polling should do well in an uncertain world.

  45. It’s about time we cut the banks out of the whole equation then ain’t it?

  46. Nick p

    Ahh, I fear I may be indoctrinating you, but yes the right to print money should be either a purely govt preserve or if private should be open to everyone, so do me a favour and print up a few thousand for me and I will do the same for you

    Omg, I was being funny but that’s exactly how it works, you can see just how ridiculous the whole idea of private printing is

  47. @ RiN

    The bonds can be at a premium or a discount, depending on whether it is a BoE push or a bank pull.

    But the Government can decide/ legislate what level of liquidity banks must have &/or tax their balance sheets. So it is all up for negotiation/ manipulation.

    If the banks were to say, we are liquid enough keep your QE cash, the government could establish another distribution route. It would be an interesting situation – but I doubt we’d ever get to that.

    And Anthony has a new thread up, so should probably stroll on….

  48. RiN,

    Actually, what you’re saying makes a lot of sense this time. The BoE has tremendous influence over UK bond prices, and consequently over all asset prices. That’s the primary mechanism by which QE works, though it is rarely mentioned. By withdrawing bonds from the market, the BoE increases the value of the remaining bonds, making it easier for business to invest.

    There is another way, incidentally, that the UK government can finance its expenditure without borrowing. Back in the early 1980s, the Treasury used to “overfund” i.e. sell more debt to the market than was necessary, in order to decrease asset prices, reduce the money supply and decrease the inflationary impact of government spending.

    The same policy works in reverse: if government borrowing is underfunded, then that reduces the quantity of assets and increases the inflationary impact of government spending.

    “It isn’t how much government spends, it’s how it funds its expenditure.” – As monetarists used to explain the variable impact of government spending on demand. Deficits like those of Thatcher’s early period, overfunded, are not inflationary. Deficits, underfunded, can be extremely inflationary.

    The Darling/Osborne cuts plans are most rationally reconstructed as an attempt to enable the government to borrow without inflationary underfunding. A country with its own currency cannot have a classic debt crisis, but it can have a funding crisis i.e. an inability to finance expenditure except via underfunding and a consequent loss of control over economic conditions.


    “There has been an update to Electoral Calculus published on 27 November 2011 at

    The new national prediction is that:

    Labour will have a majority of 36 seats, winning 343 seats (up 6 seats since 30 October). ”

    How much of the boundary commission changes are factored into that, if at all?

  50. I’ve heard some mention today of a speech by Gove on the union leaders behind tomorrow’s strikes. I haven’t read in detail what he actually said, but I heard a summary on the radio this morning and the passages they quotes rather made me squirm.

    I’m prepared to accept this could be selective reporting until I read more, but it’s interesting that Tim Montgomerie over on ConHome is tweeting that he thinks Gove has got the tone wrong. He refers to an unamed poll showing the public think the government has mishandled negotiations by 59% to 23% and ends by saying –

    “Ministers need to tread carefully. This isn’t 1985 and teachers and dinner ladies are not mineworkers and train drivers.”

    Putting aside the rights and wrongs of the issues, I’ve certainly been deeply unimpressed with the governments negotiation skills, going right back the Danny A’s rather childish outburst early on in the piece when he presented a negotiating stance as what the government were going to do, only to be shot down by Cameron 24 hours later. It’s all been very slack and poorly managed in my view, so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

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