In terms of support for the strike, there is a pretty clear picture. YouGov have been asking questions on whether people support or oppose strike action for the Sun and Sunday Times quite regularly over the last year and have consistently found people more likely to oppose than support the strike. In the most recent questions the teachers strike was opposed by 49% to 41%, civil servants striking were opposed by 51% to 39%.

This has been broadly consistently since June – while it varies slightly depending upon what sort of workers you ask about and the other questions in the poll, generally speaking around 35%-40% support the strikes, 49%-55% oppose them.

It makes a little difference whether polls ask about public sector workers, civil servants, teachers, headteachers – there is marginally more support for teachers than “civil servants” – but we are talking a percentage point or two, not a vast contrast.

There was also an agree/disagree question on support for strike action in a ComRes poll for ITV this week, 38% agreed that they supported the strike action, 47% did not. There was also a TNS poll yesterday, which asked a rather strange question on whether people thought public sector workers should strike (40%) OR the government should continue with the reforms regardless (37%), which is rather tricky to interpret as it deals with both whether people should strike and whether the government should proceed.

While people are generally opposed to the strike, they are not without sympathy. While ComRes found people opposed the strike, another poll conducted slightly earlier found that 61% of people agreed that strikes were justified, and another found 48% of of people said they had sympathy with people striking against cuts (as opposed to pensions, though my suspicion is the difference is more sympathy -vs- support!).

Turning to the issue itself, people are pretty evenly divided upon the pension changes. 41% of people say they support the pension changes, compared to 44% opposed (although in this case, opinion has moved slightly in the government’s favour – in July the break was 41% support, 46% opposed, in June 37% support, 47% oppose).

Suffice to say, opposition to the pension changes is greater than support for the strikes (albeit, not by a huge amount). This shouldn’t be particular surprising – if you support the pension changes you are hardly likely to support strike action over them, yet there will undoubtedly be some people who oppose the pension changes but think strike action is unwarrented or counter-productive.

258 Responses to “Polling on the strikes”

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  1. @ Richard in Norway

    “I’m not talking about abolishing capitalism, but major reforms. Over the last 30 years we have surrendered power to the “markets” with the result that your hoped for labour “cuts lite” program will have to be approved by the market, if it included any tax rises on weathly people or proposes any kind of limitations on the market or heavens forbid rejects the concept of debt money, then It will be rejected by the markets. The jaws of the trap are closing, have closed? The markets rule and politicians are just window dressing.”

    I think your position is reasonable. Government must be by the people for the people, not by the people for the markets. At the moment, that’s what we seemingly have or at least seem to be trending towards.

  2. @amberstar
    Companies did not take a holiday for a decade Amber. In any event the scheme trustees should always have been ready to insist on resumption of contributions if the fund required it. The usual holiday was 6 months or so, not 10 years. The biggest (by far) reason for scheme closure and collapse was your wee man and his raid on advanced corporation tax.

  3. Back to Anthony’s origina post. It appears me that we are largely.seeing a Con/LD voters oppsition, with Lab voters in support. Of course, it’s not that simple. But it is curious that the averages you quote in favour/again roughly tally with Con/LD as against Lab VI numbers.

  4. “An employee forbidden by the state to withdraw his labour is a slave. It really is that simple.”

    A quote from Craig Murray.

  5. Colin

    “I don’t quite see the problem for the Lib Dems-at least why is it a different problem to the one they would have faced anyway?/ So the deficit reduction objective has slipped two years out of the artifical constraints of the Coalition Agreement & Parliamentary term -that was always a possibility.”

    See this by Tory, er, Toby Young!

    I think you are concentrating (understandably) on the economics of all this.

    But the politics of it are absolutely atrocious for the Lib Dems and ergo- as a key component of the government- the Tories potentially as well (if it all goes pear shaped).

    Hughes and Oakeshott are the first to stick their heads above the parapet on this- and directly *challenge* it…..expect to hear/ see more in the coming weeks/ months to come.

    My view?

    Nick will HAVE to find a way to walk this back or he (politically) risks everything.

    Whilst Labour supporters will be quite happy with this Tories- if honestly realistic- will/ should be quite worried.

    “That was an extraordinary thing for Danny Alexander to say and begs the question of whether he had discussed it in advance with Nick Clegg”

    “Not only will that limit the Lib Dems’ room for manoeuvre when it comes to differentiating themselves from the Tories in 2015”

    “it will make it almost impossible for them to enter into a post-election pact with the Labour Party in the event of a hung Parliament.”

    “It’s tantamount to announcing – though Danny Alexander may not have been aware of this – that the Lib Dems will be joined at the hip to the Tories for longer than the duration of this Parliament.”

    “It’s hard to imagine that Alexander was speaking on behalf of all the senior members of his party, including Vince Cable.”

    “one of the unexpected bonuses of the Chancellor’s revision of his deficit reduction plan is that it has effectively lashed the Lib Dems to the mast”

  6. chouenlai & amberstar

    This a graph and some thoughts here (about the decline in defined benefit schemes):

  7. Some interesting conclusions (my bold):

    Thus there are many reasons for the accelerating decline of final salary pension schemes. Running these schemes has been likened to riding a bicycle: you are fine providing you continue to pedal but if you stop pedalling ( i e close a scheme to new members or take pension holidays) you will start to wobble when going uphill and you may eventually fall off.

    Closure doesn’t in fact result in any immediate gains for the sponsor.There is not only the reduction in the income stream from the new active members but also the “intergenerational” risk sharing inherent in DB schemes. The contributions from the active members eventually falls to zero and the fund then becomes more dependent on the continued support by the sponsoring company. Unless it can afford a “buy-out”, i e to sell the scheme to an insurance company, any scheme deficit will continue to plague the annual accounts for several decades.

  8. I seem to have upset some members of the one sided debating society………..I do apologise to everyone for holding an alternative view to theirs, and wish them well in their efforts to stifle debate………..hopefully they can’t win. :-)

  9. @ Chou Enlai

    John Bercow is hilarious. He gets to play the straight man in a classic comedy. While the other MPs engage in antics, he’s the one sitting there trying to enforce rules. And some of his lectures to MPs are reminiscent of the old Buddy Rich bootleg tapes where he would excoriate a band and threaten them with physical violence for playing too loudy.

    Did Gloria DiPiero ask any questions today? I have to say that every time I’ve seen her ask David Cameron a question, she looks like she wants to punch him. Or give him a knee to the groin.

  10. @Rob Sheffield
    I think to many LDs (at least 1) Danny Alexander has been a National Liberal for some time.

    And here’s a prediction – if the LDs continue real terms double digit cuts in public sector wages and mass public sector unrmployment, while the banking levy rises by 0.088% there may not be a LD party by 2017

  11. @ Nick P

    I don’t know who Craig Murray is but I think he’s right. I would say there’s only one exception and that’s for instances when a strike seriously threatens public safety.

  12. ROB


    I missed Paxo-but have just watched it.

    I honestly can’t see the significance.

    LDs have to decide whether they want to identify with the completion of a deficit reduction plan they are already signed up to & which ( as last forecast) has slipped by two years-or identify with a different deficit reduction schedule…..or to call a halt to it.

    You make the assumption that , because DA has made that committment, NC hasn’t .

    We will find out as LDs consider their manifesto for the next GE.

    I merely make the point that this issue concerns the first two years of the new Parliament. For the rest of that Parliament ( & very likely the one after that ) , in my view, Debt sevicing & Debt reduction will be the overriding issue-it will dicatate all public finance policy.

    Every party will have to take a view on it.

  13. @ RAF

    if the LDs continue real terms double digit cuts in public sector wages and mass public sector unrmployment, while the banking levy rises by 0.088% there may not be a LD party by 2017

    As an old Liberal, I couldn’t agree more. I think they will split into Nat Lib Dems (an adjunct of the Tory Party, eventually to be subsumed) and Free Lib Dems – or perhaps revert to just proper Liberals.

    Some posters have claimed that Social Democrats have gone back to Labour whilst Liberals were all along Tories in disguise (Wilson used to call Jeremy’s lot the “mini-Tories”). This is wholly innaccurate. The right-wing Labour rump who formed the SDP was, and is, addicted to bums on ministerial car seats. What I call the “McNally Tendancy” – to this are added some neo-Nat Lib Orange Bookers like Danny Boy. The real spirit of Grimmondite radical Liberalism swirls around Fallon and Hughes – it may regain the party….but the damage the SDP/Orange Bookers have done to the cause of the realignment of the left project begun by Grimond in the early 1960s, and for which much shoe leather has been worn out by activists (including me)over the past 50 years, has been set back by a generation by the Orange Bookers and power-at-any price hungry ex-SDPers.

  14. @ Martyn

    “This is where it starts, dude. Next you’ll be posting on the website, and eventually you’ll end up writing excruciatingly detailed posts onto the comment section of political websites about more and more arcane areas of knowledge like explaining how the IMF works or the exact size of the UK debt…

    …er, I’ll get me coat… :)”


    I say you should be proud of your depth of knowledge and your ability to express your knowledge so clearly.

    @ Richard in Norway

    “I have no problems with holding Hands with guys but I like to know who they are first. Internet dating is not my thing!!”

    I like it. It’s a lot better than going to clubs and bars. Or even blind date fix ups. Of course, you still can meet a lot of weirdos. But this is why it’s important to meet in crowded public places.

  15. ROB

    A further thought-DA is Chief Sec to the Treasury-GO’s right hand man.

    If he had been equivocal in answering Paxo-it would have left him immediately exposed to the obvious retort from Paxo:-

    So LDs no longer agree with the Government’s deficit reduction plan; have not signed up to the Autumn Statement your boss just made?…………when are you going to resign.

    Rock . Hard place. Paxo can sapot ,em blindfolded :-)

  16. Not sure what the ultimate consequences will be, but DA’s grilling by Paxman was (again) excruciating. I suppose, in his favour, he can rarely be accused of politicking as he seems too honest for his own good.

    Bercow – yet another rung down the ladder in terms of Speaker credibility. Oh for the bygone days pre Martin. Surprised more has not been made of the £40k for Bercow’s new heraldic coat of arms. As a wag put it, the prominent “ladder” obviously represents what he needs to climb up to his wife…

  17. Chou.

    As ever, I’ll take your opinions with a pinch of salt. Even right-leaning bodies like the IFS and the Adam Smith Institute don’t go as far as to say that “The biggest (by far) reason for scheme closure and collapse was your wee man and his raid on advanced corporation tax.”

    The most damning thing that the IFS have to say on the matter is: “Whilst the abolition of refundable dividend tax credits is not the only reason why pension providers now find themselves in very different circumstances, it has surely been a contributory factor.”

    Hyperbole from you again me old cock sparra?

  18. Torment

  19. @ Andy C

    “But why does pensions reform have to be a race to the bottom. Yes, the retirement age is none compromising. We are living in ageing population and living longer so the retirement age has to go up and the government should probably try to get people over 55 working part time via a new tax credits scheme instead of putting the idea that you have to always work full time. But aside the pension age, why does that mean that pensions have to be devalued. Again, a race to the bottom.

    Sorry for my rant but it really does annoy me that people on private pensions always turn to the public sector as an excuse instead of looking at the greed of their own CEO’s. Seeing all the misserable and depressing comments on BBC just makes me want to learn french, pack up my bags and move their or even Sweden.

    Rant over!”

    I appreciate your rant. Ranting is good and extremely underrated and undervalued! My only advice to you would be that most commenters on internet news pages are losers with nothing better to do with their time than spout off their stupidity ignorance against others. Just read any news articles on the current nationwide Adderall shortage in the United States and you’ll see EXACTLY what I mean. So don’t let them make you too angry.

    Here is where I’m confused though. I’ve heard a great deal about how public sector employees have pensions that are supposedly driving up government debt. I’m fine with raising the retirement age as people live longer though I think that all the criticism of public pensions is a little overwrought. I’ve not seen any evidence that the massive increase in the U.S. debt has been caused by these public sector retirements.

    But I haven’t heard people complaining about private sector retirement plans. What’s the problem with private sector pensions in general in the UK? I have a hard time believing that they’re dragging down big business (unless those retirement plans are mandated by the government and not just given out by employers as a means of remaining competitive). Further explanation is appreciated.

  20. EDIT: Mistake from me. I take back the comment that the IFS is “right-leaning”. It is an entirely independent body. I momentarily mixed it up with the IPS.

    So, the most that an entirely independent and respected institution had to say on the matter was…

  21. Right. I’m having a nightmare – I meant the CPS (Centre for Policy Studies). That’s what you get when you lift your head from the small-businessman work for a few moments. Back to the business again…

  22. Interesting debate on pensions and, as a member of one of the few remaining defined benefit/final salary schemes in the private sector, I comment from a rarefied and privileged position. I’ve paid into the Company scheme since I started employment with them over 35 years ago and remember well, when high interest rates and inflation boosted funds in the 1980s, the Company taking a prolonged holiday “to invest in product development”. It was resisted by the trade unions at the time and employee contributions were swiftly re-instated, albeit grudgingly, by the shareholders and senior management. I put the continued preservation of our viable and generous scheme down to the board of trustees and also, crucially, the trade unions who are prepared to die in the ditch to maintain it, even though they have had to negotiate some revisions and savings in hard economic times.

    One interesting dimension not raised thus far is the rise of the private pension, peddled assiduously by commission-rich financial companies and advisers during the 80s and 90s. Many people were tempted out of their occupational schemes by the promises of greater riches in their retirement on the back of lower contributions. This was one of the great financial scandals of our time, with hundreds of thousands of conned investors being mis-sold private pensions and endowments, inadvertently saddling themselves with, in many cases, a lifetime of debts and financial losses. Very few have been adequately compensated for the rapacious behaviour of some of our financial institutions.

    To accuse Gordon Brown of single-handedly ruining occupational pension schemes is a partisan bridge too far.

  23. Anthony

    I have a post in moderation, I thought that perhaps the word I just posted might be the cause as there was nothing else that could justify moderation(at least I think not) its probably some weird thing but if you could steer it out of mod I would be most obliged.

  24. Colin.

    As i said last night, DA should surely have known that the bleeding obvious question would come from Paxman’s lips. So why did he or his advisers not think up a few bland straight bat answers? Of the “Oh come on now Jeremy, you’re not seriously going to ask me to tell you our 2015 manifesto at this stage are you?” variety.

    It beggars belief.

  25. Colin


    What I was trying to say is two things:

    (1) Nick Clegg (whether he knew what Danny Alexander was going to say or not) is going to have to find a way to walk this back so that whilst, on the one hand, the Lib Dems are part of the government and are seen to agree with the extension of the deficit reduction programme by two years- on the other hand they need to be seen as the Lib Dem PARTY- and that perception categorically means they need to be able to write their own manifesto at the next general election.

    It is perfectly logically consistent to say now in 2011 that-as the government-you support the extra two years of austerity whilst also saying you reserve the right in 2014/ 2015 (if the election IS in 2015) to write your own manifesto and to decouple yourself from the government whose plans you have supported…..but which may now well disagree with in your manifesto that you write for that specific election.

    Remember if you talk to Lib Dem members and Lib Dem activists most of them (ALL of the activists) will tell you that current Lib Dem policy is to abolish tuition fees- but that they unwillingly but realistically accepted tuition fees as the cost of being a part of the coalition.

    They have lived with that apparent contradiction for 12 months now- indeed it was the only way that Nick Clegg could keep the party from splitting last year (by allowing the tuition fee abolition policy to remain ‘on the books’ so to speak).

    A similar act of political gymnastics is now required on this austerity extension issue.

    If he cant manage that i.e. walk back what Danny Alexander said so unequivocally on Newsnight last night- then he risks almost certain serious problems from his left flank- not only Liberal Democrat MPs, HoL members, the federal policy people and Lib Dem activists and members.

    (2) If that is the case- and he fails to walk back this unequivocal commitment- such tat there is no ‘tuition fee’ get out clause- my second point was that a fracturing of the Lib Dem party HAS to be problematic for the Conservative party.

    It may mean Tory supporting LibDem MPs becoming independents or members of the Tory party; it may mean LibDem MPs crossing the floor and sitting with the Labour Party.

    Either way the scenario them becomes a *Conservative* government not a coalition and that is contrary to all Cameron ‘not the nasty’ party strategic repositioning. Plus then there is the issue of actually governing with a potentially single digit Maastrict era majority…..

  26. Tony Dean
    “The real spirit of Grimmondite radical Liberalism swirls around Fallon and Hughes – it may regain the party….but the damage the SDP/Orange Bookers have done to the cause of the realignment of the left project begun by Grimond in the early 1960s, and for which much shoe leather has been worn out by activists (including me)over the past 50 years, has been set back by a generation by the Orange Bookers and power-at-any price hungry ex-SDPers.”

    Surely all three main parties (and all parties to some extent) cover a range of attitudes. There is a world of difference between say Ken Clarke and David Davis on the Tory side for instance. It almost sounds like you are hankering for the days when the Liberals had about half-a-dozen MPs because they were somehow ‘purer’ than they have to be when in power. If anything destroys the LDs as a credible partner in government it is surely that approach. It reminds me a bit of some Protestant churches which were constantly splitting over some minute point of religious dogma.

  27. leftylampton

    “Of the “Oh come on now Jeremy, you’re not seriously going to ask me to tell you our 2015 manifesto at this stage are you?” variety”

    That would have been my third point to Colin just now if I’d been on-the-ball ! In reference for the need to be 100% unequivocal.

  28. Tony Dean

    “but the damage the SDP/Orange Bookers have done to the cause of the realignment of the left project begun by Grimond in the early 1960s, and for which much shoe leather has been worn out by activists (including me)over the past 50 years, has been set back by a generation by the Orange Bookers and power-at-any price hungry ex-SDPers.”

    Very interesting – thanks.

  29. @ Pete B

    Whether your historic mission is to be part of THE eventual realigned party of the LEFT or part of an eventually realigned party of the RIGHT is not an arcane point. Going into coalition with the OTHER side in the “national interest” may have been noble at a time of crisis (indeed, I just about thought it was at the time, given the reward was AV) – I do not object that the Tories campaigned against it -they always said they would – but the vilification of Clegg sanctioned by fellow ministers in order to get that no vote on the basis of his “unreliability” when his “unreliablitiy” was in response to a request from Cameron himself, stank! It made me realise the error of supporting such a coaltion – especially as in terms of long term positioning strategy it has put us on the wrong side of the Left-Right divide. This is not purism – this is about being fundamentally a people’s party of the Left, not an adjunct to Toryism.


    Very briefly:-

    Private sector.
    There has been an accelerating trend over a decade or more where Defined Benefit Schemes have been closed to new members & replaced by Defined Contribution schemes.

    Clearly-members of a DB scheme have certainty of pension outcome, & bear none of the investment risk associated with the deployment of their contributions. Members of DC schemes bear all investment risk, and the have to accept the risk of interest rates inherant in the annuity markewt they must enter with their fund.

    Public Sector

    Schemes tend to be DB-with all the add ons like indexation, widows benefits etc which cost the purchaser of an annuity so much.
    But UK schemes include many -large-schemes which are unfunded in the sense that there is no invested fund & no income stream.
    They are pay as you go schemes in which the taxpayer funds the gap between contributions & pensions in payment.

    The OBR report just issued stated that the unfunded gap in public sector pensions will almost double from £5.7billion this year to £11billion by 2015.

    The whole issue was reviewed for the Government by a former Labour Minister who recommended changes in contribution rates etc to restore “sustainability” .

  31. ROB

    Yes-I follow all that.

    I think the “left/right” tension was there anyway-so it has to be dealt with -certainly.

    I note your suggestions ( & Lefty’s) for a more nuanced reply-I can see it would have been better.

    But I think Paxo would have given him the Howard treatment,

  32. Tony Dean
    “This is not purism – this is about being fundamentally a people’s party of the Left, not an adjunct to Toryism.”

    But surely the ability to influence policy for the first time in nearly 100 years is worth something? The LDs have had some good successes, like the holding of the AV referendum and raising the tax allowance by more than the Tories were likely to do on their own. I’m sure there are other things you could mention. Trying to be the People’s party of the left will mean that you are Labour-lite and have half-a-dozen MPs, just as in the good old days.

  33. Some interesting movements on the betting front for the US republican nomination in the past few days.

    Since I mentioned that he offered good value at 6/1 a week or so back, Gingrich has come in steadily to 3/1 (and around 2/1 with 8 of the 9 firms offering markets) currently, with Romney easing out to best odds of 11/13. I’d expect both to be close to level pegging shortly, given that Gingrich is ahead in most polls now and over the years has washed so much of his dirty linen in public that it would be hard to shock with anything left in the basket. I find it hard not to see him as favourite now given that he is clearly the conservative front runner and stands to gain as other candidates (eg Cain) eventually drop out following the car crash of their various campaigns.

    Regardless of this, the market is interesting because the maths of the best odds on Romney and Gingrich still imply a 20% chance of any other candidate coming through to win, which seems inconceivable now. So effectively we have a two horse race and an arbitrage situation (definition for the uninitiated: a market where you can make money by backing both horses in appropriate proportions).

    V Chandler are the ones still out of line with Gingrich at 3/1 – they seem once again to be displaying the doziness they showed in the Holyrood elections in May when their odds on the SNP remained unchanged for several days despite mounting evidence from opinion polls. But expect that price to have fallen into line by tomorrow.

  34. RiN

    “Every other crisis has resulted in a shift in political direction, the 30s and WWII led to the keynesian consensus and the stagflation of the 70s has led to the neoliberal consensus. Can that consensus survive a decade of austurity, I don’t think so, will it result in a farther shift to the right?”

    I only just spotted this reply to an earlier post.

    I tend to be a bit pessimistic on this: as a response to catastrophic economic crises I fear that we are actually much more likely to see a rise in support for the far right / fascism than we are a swing to the radical/ far left or anarchism.

    Unless centrism and social democracy is able to pull us back from the brink (a very moot point I accept given the severity of where we are- but I intend to keep fighting for that particular corner).

    So I see the potential for a rise in fascism, whereas I cannot see mass support for the far left/ or for anarchism materialising.

    I just can’t see it.

    Though you’ll always have the ‘peoples front of Judea’ types…

    (SWP; AWL; IMT; WRP; SPGB; TSP; RCG; RCP; SR; SLB etc etc etc almost ad nauseam)

    …and their TINY membership numbers: they will be on the anti-fascist barricades with a far larger number of Muslim youth (who incidentally will disallow Jewish youth from taking part).

    But these far left parties don’t amount to the proverbial hill of beans if we are honest (and which is why that ‘life of brian’ sketch is STILL so amusing/ so accurate 32 years later)

    Quite likely IMO- were there actually to be some form of radical leftist upsurge (which I don’t think will happen)- these parties would simply be swept aside.

    “We demand the immediate and complete dismantling of the entire Roman Imperialist State” !

  35. Phil

    What are the odds on a straight Gingrich Vs Obama match up?

  36. @ Pete B

    Trying to be the People’s party of the left will mean that you are Labour-lite and have half-a-dozen MPs, just as in the good old days.

    Under Ashdown and Kennedy between 1997 and 2005 we had between 47 and 63 seats – and we were most certainly “a party of the left” – indeed, in 2005 we were further left than Labour on most policies – not Labour-lite as you put it, but Full-Bodied Radical as opposed to right-wing New Labour. That stance gave us the highest number of seats since the 1920s – we have dropped since we went Orange Booker under Clegg (despite his Cleggmania blip) BEFORE the coalition was formed. This was nothing to do with good strategy – the strategy of being more “people friendly” than Labour under Kennedy was working..we were growing. The swing to the right under the Orange Bookers was ideological, because that is who they are, it was and is not good strategy. Ex-bankers like Laws never liked being Left-Radical, despite it being our histroic mission course set by Grimond. Yes, there have been successes in government, although the AV referendum was a fiasco IMO. But none of them are really “sale-able” as a “triumph” given the overall landscape as it will be in 2015 – we are just saddled with being seen as a rather wishy-washy party of the right – instead of a growing crusading party of the left, more in tune with ordinary folk than elitist New Labour.
    A tragedy for people of my generation who fought for decades for a party of the left – to find our tradition and identity hi-jacked by centre-right coalitionists – with no escape now in sight back to where we were even as recently as 2005. Not 6 MPs – but 63 MPs!

  37. TONY DEAN and PETE B.

    I am sorry about the Lib Dems.

    People should not assume that a collapse of the LD’s would be good for Labour/bad for Tories.

    The 1950 and 1951 Liberal Party slumps helped the Conservatives.

    Will senior Lib Dems change parties before 2015 in the Commons?

  38. @Rob S
    This is the site I use. There’s some fascinating stuff on there including betting history if you click on the names.

    Answer – as we’re not yet in a named two horse race there aren’t odds but of the various contenders for president you can get amongst others

    Obama 10/11
    Romney 11/4
    Gingrich 7/1 (which incidentally doesn’t look good value, even at that price)

    Democrat 5/6
    Republican evens

  39. @Rob Sheffield

    I wouldn’t completely count out the possibility of a shift to the radical left as the crisis deepens/continues. However, if does happen it will be a shift to the Greens, rather than to the old-school far left parties. Green parties appear to be gaining ground across the world (look at this week’s New Zealand elections for the latest example), and Greens in the UK are beginning the process of moving from a fringe party to a credibly mainstream one, despite an electoral system that’s rigged against us.

    Do I think it’s inevitable? Absolutely not. Do I think it’s the most likely possibility? No, although it’s far more likely than the general public embracing the likes of the BNP. But I certainly wouldn’t completely rule it out.

  40. Correction re the “which incidentally doesn’t look good value” just in case he goes on to win it.

    Wwhat I mean’t re Gingrich is that the 3/1 for the Republican nomination seems the better value as IMO he’ll struggle to beat Obama in a head to head. Notwithstanding that, if he did get the nomination the 7/1 would undoubtably shorten so it would still be possible to cash a profit by laying it or betting on Obama.

  41. Green Christian

    I was also thinking that the greens would be the most likely to attract folk looking for a radical alternative, but I’m also thinking that the image is a bit too nice. I suspect that the mood of the country will become very hard and dour as this crisis develops and I’m not sure that the greens have an image to match. But I could be wrong, one thing that will work in the greens favour is that over the next decade it will become almost self evident that a large part of the crisis is resource shortage, just as greens have predicted and it would be logical that those that predicted a problem would have the best solutions.

  42. But Chris, the Lib Dems being “lashed to the mast” unti 2017 makes it even less likely that the Lib Dems can attract back the centre-left voters they need. The remaining Lib Dems are a drag on the Tory vote being made up of the Orange-bookers (liberal right in the main).

    So the Tories have the Lib Dems on their left flank, UKIP to the right. All bad news for the Cons.

    Minor parties (I think we can put the LDs in that category now) chipping away at them from all angles :)

  43. I lost………..

    L 42

    C 37

    LD 9


  44. @Ken “I lost”.

    Get used to it mate.

  45. ROB SHEFFIELD……….Congrats Rob…………….Your guess wins. :-)

  46. @ Chrislane1945

    “The 1950 and 1951 Liberal Party slumps helped the Conservatives.
    Will senior Lib Dems change parties before 2015 in the Commons?”

    To your first sentence, yes, it did, definitely!
    To your second – I doubt it. Parties are “families of identity and tradition” you see, and it is difficult to change family, even if the stance of the other party is attractive.

    What many disillusioned Liberals would currently welcome would be if Miliband re-launched the pre-1910 Lib-Labs. Liberals with Labour support in elections, and their own Liberal group but with the Labour whip in Parliament thereafter. It would enable radical Liberals to retain their historic Liberal self-identity within the Labour movement – perhaps like the Co-operative party. A sort of secular parallel to Anglicanorum Coetibus, but for Liberals within the party of the left, rather than Anglicans in union with Rome allowed to retain their historic Anglican identity!

  47. TONY DEAN.
    ‘Anglican Coetibus’

    They talk of little else in Boscombe’s pubs.

    The split in the Left after 1910 was a tragedy, I think.

    On ecclesial matters: In Bournemouth we have the Anglican Ordinariate.

    The Bournemouth Town Centre Catholic Parish is being run brilliantly by a former anglican priest., bringing superior intellect and grasp of liturgy, but also compasionate and human.

    But how can Saint Vincent and Saint Simon live with themselves?

  48. IANANTHONYJAMES…………I don’t begrudge you, your moment in the sun, however, tonight’s result simply underlines the polarisation of opinion, MOE. :-)

  49. Never mind that…

    Man U 1 C Palace 2


  50. Former leader of Northampton Borough Council, Cllr David Palethorpe, who resigned his position a month or so ago has today crossed the floor and joined Labour from the Conservatives.

    In doing so he said: “you should protect the vulnerable first and make cuts elsewhere”.

    In a statement on his personal website, he said:
    “Leaving the party I have supported for over 45 years has been a big decision for me, however its abdication of social responsibility in favour of personal self-interest and local political patronage is why I have decided to resign from the Conservative party and join the Labour party who continue to demonstrate their commitment to opposing cuts to front line services, taking a sensible approach to balancing the books and supporting what is in the best interest of Northampton.

    “This is never more clearly demonstrated than the Conservative’s support of a councillor who lives 250 miles away whilst at the same time making swingeing cuts in front line services to the elderly, young and most vulnerable people of Northampton – cuts by the Conservative county council which are keenly supported by the Conservative borough council – it is policy without social conscience.”

    The first of many?

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