The full tabs for this week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are now online here, covering a wide range of topics including Jimmy Carr’s tax, GCSEs, global warming and Julian Assange.

On the regular trackers David Cameron’s net approval is minus 18 (from minus 25 last week), Ed Miliband’s minus 27 (from minus 25), Nick Clegg’s minus 53 (from minus 55). There were also shifts towards the government in some of the other regular trackers – the proportion thinking the government is bad for people like them has dropped from 62% to 55%, the proporton thinking they are handling the economy well is up 5 points to 34%. This tallies with the voting intention figures, which are marginally less bad for the government than they have been for the last month or two… but still show them trailing badly.

Turning first to tax avoidance, 60% of people think it is unreasonable for people to use artificial schemes to avoid tax, compared to 36% who think it is reasonable enough and the government should pass stricter laws if they want to stop it. 67% also agreed with a statement that tax avoidance was as bad as benefit fraud…nevertheless, asked directly whether Cameron was right to criticise Jimmy Carr only 38% said yes and 50% said no. Part of this will be as suggested in the question – distate at the Prime Minister commenting on an individual, but it will also be a reflection of partisan viewpoints – Labour voters are most critical of tax avoidance, but are also least likely to view David Cameron or his actions in a positive way.

Moving onto GCSEs, people think they have got easier in recent years by 60% to 22% and by 50% to 32% would support a return to an O-level style system, with less academic pupils taking some equivalent of the old CSE. There is also very strong support for the idea of moving to one single exam board, supported by 75% with 12% opposed. People are less suportive, however, of abolishing the national curriculum. Only 20% think this would lead to a rise in standards, compared to 38% who think it would make things worse.

Turning to the topic of climate change, 70% of people think that the Rio conference will make little difference, with only 9% expecting it to lead to a better environment. YouGov also asked about broader attitudes towards climate change, a repeat question from 2010, and found a slightly larger proportion of people believing in man-made global warming. 43% of people thought the world was becoming warmer due to man (up from 39%), 22% thought the world was becoming warmer but not because of man (down from 27%), 15% thought the world was not getting warmer (down from 18%). 20% of people said they didn’t know, up from 16%. While the trend here is towards belief in manmade global warming, it is still lower than the same question was showing in 2008, when 55% of British people thought the world was getting warmer due to man’s activity.

Finally the survey asked about Julian Assange. 60% of people wanted to see Assange extradited (44% to Sweden and 16% to the US, though I believe the US haven’t actually asked for him to be extradited), 16% think he should not be extradited. However, a majority of people (60%) also think that diplomatic norms should be respected and Julian Assange should be allowed to take sanctuary in the Ecuador embassy. 24% think the police should breach diplomatic rules (and, indeed the law, though this was not made clear in the question) and arrest him regardless.

158 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times round up”

1 2 3 4
  1. From Lib Dem thinker Tim Leunig-
    “Does this mean all parents have a legal obligation to house their children until they are 25? What sanctions will be placed on parents who refuse to do this?
    • If there is no such obligation, where are low income and unemployed under 25s supposed to live? Will the state provide “young adult homes” akin to children’s homes for people whose parents refuse? What about those who have no parents? How much will this cost taxpayers?
    • Will parents of people aged under 25 be able to claim housing benefit on a bedroom for their under 25, even if the under 25 has moved out, in case they need to move back? How much will this cost taxpayers? Or will there be a legal obligation on social and private renters to move to a different sized house every time their adult children need to move in, or choose to move out?
    • Which parents have a legal obligation to house a married couple aged under 25 in low income work? Do the young couple have to split up and live with their own parents? Can they choose? Do they have to alternate?
    • Who has a legal obligation to house a couple under 25 with children?”

    These valid questions really ram home the idea that this speech was written by a pollster, and not anyone with experience in the welfare policy area.

    Usual Cameron stuff, and isn’t get much support from sections in the right leaning press. Ben Brogan at the Telegraph contrasts the apparent radicalism here with the weakness on display when real policies are discussed, saying “Can a politician who has shown so much timidity suddenly transform himself into an unstoppable radical?”

    Playing to the gallery, I would say.

  2. Alec,

    The primary cause of so called grade inflation is league tables.

    The Tories brought in a system that rated schools by exam results more than anything else, so schools focused more and more on the only thing that mattered.

    A generation of children stopped being taught what they needed for life or indeed work and instead got what was needed to get them a good grade in the exam their teachers and school needed to pass.

    Result, pass rates and grades go up but general educational standards don’t.

    Much of the new understanding of how people learn and about emotional intelligence or literacy is either not pursued or harnessed to get the school godd results rather than to benefit the pupil.

    Universities need to introduce additional courses in things that young people need to know which they didn’t get taught because they weren’t needed to pass the exam.

    Changing the exam system won’t help if we still teach to exams and I doubt that Gove will be reversing policy on league tables.


    Good Afternoon.
    i. If I do not drive my pupils through the exam system I will lose my job.
    ii. Assessment Objectives rule everywhere in schools.

    It is interesting to see that 25 year olds are seen in some contexts as children. My wife and I are lucky because our older two offspring are working in well paid work.

    Society is not organised anymore to allow ‘children’ to get well paid work that can fund, say £500 a month for a tiny flat rent.

  4. @Petercairns – I would agree very much with that part of the problem. The key difficulty I feel is that everyone in the system – schools, competing (privatised) exam boards, teaching unions and the government, all had a vested interest in seeing higher pass rates.

    I read a very interesting letter in one of Mrs A’s science journals, written by a long serving physics teacher. He described attempts to teach his pupils about entropy, which can be a difficult concept for students to grasp. His approach was to encourage them to develop their own way to illustrate what it meant.

    He then found that his pupils were being scored zero on this question, as he hadn’t taught them the required wording that the exam board told the markers to look for.

    Low paid markers, working to a script, with students required to parrot answers rather than learn, and schools teaching to exams have all been part of the problem.

  5. @Chrislane1945 – Pondering as I am this afternoon, I also see a contradiction in the desire to promote family responsibility.

    Why does Cameron want parents to look after 24 years, but he doesn’t want children to look after elderly parents in their own homes? That would save a good deal of money I would guess.

    [I think this may be straying into critiquing a policy, rather than discussing its public opinion implications…. AW]

  6. @AW – apologies.

    FWIW – I suspect that this speech today may well give Tories a bit of a boost, more to do with general exposure of DC and the overall theme. Longer term, I think he may be storing up some problems. If the central objective in 2010 was to win the middle ground (which didn’t succeed as planned) it’s hard to see how this kind of differentiation sits alongside detoxification for 2015.

  7. I suspect the strategy about this is good old “You can do what you want to the young, they don’t vote.”

    The problem is that we’ve seen a steady increase in age of what the Government considers a ‘Young Person’. First they decided to move the age at which you could only receive the rent to cover lodging in a single room in someone else’s house from under 25, to under 35. Then they introduce this hard cut off for under 25s.

    The people in their early 30s who have been hit by the first change hardly consider themselves young people… And the people who are hit by the second will soon enough be older, and will remember what the government did to them. And yes, an amount of time unemployed and on benefits after graduation while looking for work has become the norm *across the board* for those of graduate age this will hit. The only ones it won’t hit are those who are parachuted into jobs right from leaving college, or those who have a trust fund or a home of their own paid for by their parents. Incidentally, forcing someone back to their parents does horrors for their chances of finding work, particularly if they live in the wrong area…

    This is a failure to comprehend a simple fact that the age demographics are the least fixed of all demographics. That block of ’17-24′ non-voters called ‘The Youth Vote’ do turn into that block of ’25-39′ voters that the Conservatives really need to capture if they are not going to be an irrelevance over the next 50 years. Not only aren’t they doing so, but they’re misguidedly redefining a lot of the ’25-39′ block as ‘youths’ that they can get away with side-lining too!

  8. Well, this under 25 idea might get those of that age engaged in politics and voting, although I can guess who they might not be voting for. Apart from that I think is more about positioning and attempting to mop up support lost to UKIP and elsewhere on the right.

  9. hmmm

    It could be an attempt to push them off all voting registers. It’s all shameful.

    Labour’s riposte…we have to look at Benefit dependency but if times are so tough why the 5% cut in tax for the richest in society at the same time as chopping benefits to the poorest?

  10. @JayBlanc

    Numbering your points and dealing with them in order thus:

    01) So long as you have good eyesight, and never need a dentist.
    02) And you’re never the victim of any crime, and live without possessions that you wish to insure.
    03) Or you have to travel further than you are capable of by foot for any reason.
    04) Or if you have to support someone.
    05) And you own your own home, or rent from someone who does not treat you as a captive source of income.
    06) And that nothing ever goes wrong with your home.
    07) And if your mental health is strong enough to get by without any entertainment or social activities.
    08) And you never became addicted to Tobacco because companies actually lied about how addictive it was and now you have an expensive ‘habit’.
    09) And you don’t drink alcohol at all, see above re Tobacco.
    10) And you have the equipment and capability of cooking all your meals from ingredients.
    11) And a place to buy those ingredients without a location based mark-up.
    12) And you accept that increase of standard of living only applies to those well off, and that everyone else should be pegged at a point in the 1940s

    My initial response was “Lord God, you’re telling me this?” But a more measured response is as follows:

    01) Fair point. Living with bad eyesight is feasible but difficult (you get some ouchmaking headaches). But bad teeth is a b*****d and eventually you have to have them taken out: there is only so far Bonjela and gargling with salt/TCP will get you
    02) True: I covered this under “The major problem with poverty is inability to defend yourself” which was the point I was making
    03) It’s surprising how far you can get on foot: family visits become impossible (mixed blessing, that) but walking to/from work is rubbish in winter. A scooter is cheap and helps, costing about 50% of a car once insurance and depreciation are taken into account.
    04) Fair point
    05) See point 2
    06) See point 2
    07) There’s a word for people with that level of mental strength. Normal.
    08) I know it’s hard it is to give up smoking, because I did (aaargh!!). But there’s a difference between “hard” and “impossible”.
    09) I will never get over the middle-class conceit that a regular infusion of 1 glass of white wine per day is necessary life support. Drinking alcohol is a luxury, not a necessity.
    10) Or you can get cheap tins from shops (please don’t make me have this argument again)
    11) Cheap tins are sold in your local 8-til-late. A tin of peaches has a shelf-life of years (have a look sometime). Or you can get a bus into town and raid the local Tesco, and get the 29p tins of beans.
    12) But I don’t accept that. That wasn’t my point

    My point is not that life in poverty is pleasant – it isn’t, its harsh, grinding and frightening. But the problems are not lack of material goods, because (as I keep saying) you can survive on surprisingly little. The problems are lack of safety and security: powerlessness, in other words. The inability to enforce your will on the world and the inability to prevent others enforcing their will upon you.

    Regards, Martyn

  11. A very good article by Libby Purvis in the Times today on
    i. The Young
    ii. Labour
    iv. The working class

  12. ALEC

    @”These valid questions ”

    Yes-good questions.

    The sort of questions DC is encouraging when he called for “a real national debate”………………and asked some of his own valid questions :-

    “The time has come to go back to first principles; to have a real national debate and ask some fundamental, searching questions about working-age welfare…

    …what it is actually for…

    …who should receive it…

    …what the limits of state provision should be…

    …and what kind of contribution we should expect from those receiving benefits.

    Some of these young people will genuinely have nowhere else to live – but many will.

    And this is happening when there is a growing phenomenon of young people living with their parents into their 30s because they can’t afford their own place…

    …almost 3 million between the ages of 20 and 34.

    So for literally millions, the passage to independence is several years living in their childhood bedroom as they save up to move out…

    …while for many others, it’s a trip to the council where they can get housing benefit at 18 or 19 – even if they’re not actively seeking work.

    the welfare system ( in Netherlands) doesn’t provide for under-21s as a default – and where it does, it expects their family to contribute if they can.”

    The Guardian.

  13. DC’s speech on welfare can I suggest be interpreted as follows:

    1. I need to get on the frontfoot and bee senn to be making things happen rather than be the unwitting victim of developments etc.

    2. I am actually very right wing in my views and now is the time to set out my stall for the 2015 GE. I’ve pretended to be centre-ish and fnd the time is now right to to push forward my real right wing views.

    3. Elements in my party grow restless. Some need some tasty right wing policies to chew on. There’s also the media – in particular the Tory press – to keep on board and alongside me. I don’t want to “encourage” back-bench rebellions or any miscreant Tory MPs who think they throw down challenges to me.

    4. I need wavering Con supporters to stick with me.

    5. To hell with the LDs and the coalition…I’ll show everyone that I’m not afraid of conflict with NC and the LDs.

    6. I need a source of money to pay for the tax cuts I’ve already sanctioned – reducng benefits to pay for it is popular.


    So, the outcome of all this? An uptick in Con VI and in DC (dis)approval.

  14. @Colin – I heard the start of his speech, and what was very striking is that he asked these questions, but only after expressly stating he wouldn’t be asking them of anyone in pensionable age.

    It’s the disparity between thinking the unthinkable for one section of the population while pointedly refusing to face up to the difficult questions for another, much more expensive group of people.

    To me, the fact that the chosen group to be protected is electorally strong, while the ones being targeted are weak, smacks of a complete lack of political courage, not the ‘tough choices’ image he is so keen to portray.

  15. The TIMES today, not owned by the Left, is leading on the tax avoidance by the well-off, with people pay as little as 1% of tax.

    I agree that the DC speech may well be part of ‘differentiation’ and also as a way of appealing to many MP’s, whose support he needs in the House of Lords debate.

    The issue is also difficult for Labour.

  16. Alec

    I gather you are not very impressed with Mr Cameron’s thoughts on welfare. However you are impressed with his electoral discrimination – oldies vote, young people aren’t voting.

    I wrote ‘aren’t’ as opposed to ‘don’t’ as I have wondered whether they could be galvanised to do so. What would galvanise them?

  17. I was supposed to be on the road over a half hour ago but so many of you left me respoinses that I felt compelled to respond. Plus, I’m still really excited over the SCOTUS striking down most of that awful SB1070 law this morning (that oral arguments convinced us it would be upheld). The media is misreporting that the “papers please” law has been affirmed. Instead it’s been narrowly construed and still may be unconstitutional upon implementation (cops can only ask you for your immigration papers if you’ve already been lawfully detained and checking your immigration status cannot delay your period of detention). I’m so happy about this, I’ve been playing that ridiculous and obnoxious Toby Keith “Proud to be an American” song this morning.

    @ Hannah

    “In the strictly formal sense, perhaps, but such unfairness is entirely in the abstract unless you hold the belief that women are often capricious and can’t wait to prosecute men who don’t stop the very instant they say, when the reality is that reporting sexual assault is an embarrassing and often gruelling process, and the any practical unfairness tends to be in the opposite direction. Which is not to say that every rape allegation is honest or well founded, but women in general don’t take unsatisfactory or regrettable sexual encounters to the police for no other reason.”

    Oh I agree (well I would not limit your statement to gender paramaters…what you say is true of ALL genders). And so I don’t believe that women (and for that matter men) are capricious and looking to create sexual assault charges against men (and for that matter women).

    @ Martyn

    “You don’t actually know any poor people, do you?…:-) The problem is never the money coming in, it’s the disparity between the money coming in and that going out. It’s actually not difficult to live off very little: strip it down to what you need and that’s actually not a lot. The major problem with poverty is inability to defend yourself: it’s not just the local hard b******s, it’s the fact that you can’t get anything done properly, and you will be scr****d by nearly everybody. This makes little things like a plumber that repairs a boiler so that it stays fixed, a handyman that repairs a washing machine, a builder that stops the damp coming back, and other decencies or competences, very precious.”

    Oh I know plenty of poor people. I may know too many rich people. But I’m not limited in that way. In the materialistic, competitive, and success seeking society that I live in, I have a hard time believing that anyone would actually want to be living off the government when they could otherwise be supporting themselves.

    “I understand that welfare reform is too often a way of legitimising attacks on the poor, and that many people do have problems that are better tackled via the health system. But neverthless many people are mendacious, lazy, self-justifying and/or selfish, not because they are TERRIBLE WELFARE SCROUNGERS, but simply because they are human. Such people may cope by familial dependence into adulthood but others do so by augmenting their familial income with money from the benefits system.”

    We are all human. No one ever does it all by themselves. Many young wealthy and middle class Americans who are fervent Libertarians and scorn the idea of government assistance are often those who fully receive generous financial support from their parents (well into their late 20’s and even 30’s). Nothing wrong with that but people might as well be consistent.

    Like Mitt Romney and his advice that budding young entrepreneurs (presumably with no credit and no controlled assetts) should just borrow $20k from their parentsin order to start their businesses. That’s great advice if (1) your parents have 20k just sitting around to give you, (2) you don’t have to worry about living expenses if your business is going to take a while to start producing revenue, and (3) your parents are willing to give you or lend you that money.

    @ Roger Mexico

    “the prosecution are trying to withhold evidence, that suggest otherwise:”

    And that’s not too cool either. Still unhappy with what Manning did.

  18. I have to drive back down to LA today from Sacramento (it’s a 6 hour journey). I think as I drive through the Central Valley, I will listen to the Clash. It’s great freeway music and it’ll provide a nice juxtaposition to driving through the ultra conservative area.

  19. ALEC

    @”a complete lack of political courage”

    Of course-something you identify without fail………repeatedly.

    I do think that your political perspicacity is an example to us all-and indeed the UK Press in general.



    THe Times has been leading the tax avoidance debate for days , with journalistic revelation, FoI data & analysis.

    It has featured on the front page on more than one occasion.

    I was very amused by your “not owned by the Left”

    ….you think “the left” is uniquely placed to talk about tax avoidance?………..have you read the Times’ demographic analysis of the users of tailored schemes for reducing tax?

    I would say-we are all in this together :-)

  21. @howard – in the current economic climate I do think you need to be very careful about making distinctions between groups based entirely on age, which is what Cameron has done today. He has effectively said that anyone under 25 on housing benefit doesn’t deserve it, but that everyone over 60 has worked hard and deserves preferential treatment.

    I suspect that this could be the kind of approach that does indeed motivate more young people to vote.

    @Colin – I’m not the only one who has pointed out that Cameron’s statements don’t match his actions. It was telling that he had to write n an interview last week that changing your mind was a sign of strength, not weakness. I doubt Thatcher would have ever had to say that.

  22. @SoCalLIb

    You said Romney said that “…budding young entrepreneurs should just borrow $20k from their parents…”

    My God, did Romney actually say that? OK, I’ll make you a deal: we’ll take Steve Jobs,[1] Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Alan Sugar (none of whom used their parents’ money as start-up capital) and Romney can have Rupert Murdoch and George W Bush (who had very wealthy parents).

    You said “…I think as I drive through the Central Valley, I will listen to the Clash. It’s great freeway music and it’ll provide a nice juxtaposition to driving through the ultra conservative area…”

    “Vengeance”[2] from the New Model Army[3] works for me. Although it will get you arrested… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] Ok, they did provide free use of a garage… :-)
    [2] “…I believe in justice, I believe in vengeance, I believe in getting the b*****ds…”

  23. @Howard –

    Keeping the grey voters happy might be Cameron and Osborne’s strategy, but at some point fairness has to be injected into the system.

  24. ALEC

    @” I doubt Thatcher would have ever had to say that.”

    There is doubt-we know that she should have said that -at least on one occasion in particular-and didn’t-and was ousted-all three of the contenders to succeed her pledging to change their minds -about the Poll Tax.

    Didn’t realise you were such an admirer of TINA Alec-& I had you down as such as pragmatist :-)

  25. @ Martyn

    “My God, did Romney actually say that? OK, I’ll make you a deal: we’ll take Steve Jobs,[1] Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Alan Sugar (none of whom used their parents’ money as start-up capital) and Romney can have Rupert Murdoch and George W Bush (who had very wealthy parents).”

    Yeah, he did. I think that Bill Gates used his parents’ money to start Microsoft. Steve Jobs had middle class parents. Don’t know about Larry Ellison or Alan Sugar.

    Look, the SBA had this great program called the Community Express Loan Program that gave government backed loans for small businesses (designed for first timers) in the amounts of 10k to 20k. Now sure, a lot of these businesses will unfortunately fail (perhaps most will). But those few that succeed benefit the economy and are testaments to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit. Also, it’s a great program during a time when banks don’t want to loan. However, this program has been cancelled because the Republican Congress refused to renew the program. So if you have parents who are wealthy AND they are willing to give you the money to start a business, that’s fantastic. But that’s not an option for the overwhelming majority of people and if we really believe in having an egalitarian society and a society where everyone can have the opportunity to make it, it shouldn’t matter whether your parents were extraordinarily wealthy or worked as minimum wage workers at MickeyD/s. Kids who have a great idea, an entrepreneurial spirit, and are willing to work hard should all get the opportunity regardless of their background.

    And as for your deal, sorry but no. :)

    I’ll see what’s on the CD’s I have.

  26. If this is about ‘keeping the Grey vote happy’ it’s a pretty bad failure to work out that the policy affects those across the entire rest of the age range. From those under 25 who are being threatened with withdraw of support, to middle aged parents who now have to support their children again, to people in the early 30s who are surprised to find they are now ‘young people’ with limited access to housing benefit… Really not very well thought out if the intent is to shore up voter share. While ‘cracking down on benefits’ polls well, it’s a really vague thing, and ‘expecting you to be able to have your children continue to live with you till their mid 30s’ is a very specific thing that is not going to be all that popular.

    If it’s trying to gain back UKIP voters, that’s missing the point. UKIP actually have a surprisingly moderate stance on benefits. (Albiet one that still looks dire to LibDem/Labour VIs, and anyone who’s disabled) They certainly aren’t attacking the young for being young. Instead they choose to attack immigrants, and put the blame on them for not being able to have a better welfare system…

    If it’s internal party politics… Well, pandering to the Conservative right at the expense of the vote share is a good way to start circling the drain on electability for the next 50 years.

  27. @Colin – “Didn’t realise you were such an admirer of TINA Alec-& I had you down as such as pragmatis”

    I’m an admirer of thinking first before you come up with a grand policy announcement.

  28. Average of apporx £17,000 comes to approx 120,000 households.

    Where do you guys get your life knowledge .I’ve read this blogg for over 2 years now ,and there’s been some stormer comments posted ,but this line above has to be the most absurd nonsense I’ve read.The most the council will pay for housing benefit unless in extreme cases is 100 pounds .If your rent is above 100 pounds you pay out of your own pocket either with your minimum wage or your benefits.So unless you have a family of ten kids , and need a super sized house “alla” the Daily Mail headlines then you can only receive £100.
    Niel A
    What are you talking about people on benefits don’t live like your describing.What a disgusting slur to families living on the breadline.What your describing is a criminal household or why else would you be involved.There will be a minority who live like that just like the minority who get 20,000 pound housing benefit.
    I don’t normally bother posting ,because I always get modded but my god you people live in some wierd kind of statistical bubble.
    Oh and before I get the how do you know this ,my sister lives on benefits has an aggressive form of arthritis,and on top of that has luekaemia.40 year old slowly dieing ,crippled with 3 kids and needs to jump through hoops to get her money,but she has a spotless house .

  29. I agree that there are some very complex issues involved in the cuts that Cameron is floating. One thing we generally don’t hold with in the UK is leaving people with literally nowhere to turn, and an under 25 year old who doesn’t have parents to turn to could potentially be more or less abandoned to the streets under the proposal as stated.

    But in terms of public opinion, I agree with Colin. There are a lot more parents whose well-educated, law-abiding, gainfully employed 20 somethings are sharing houses with a gaggle of other young professionals.

    If our young professionals have to live in “inadequate housing”, these parents might ask, why is it that other people’s children expect to be kitted out with their own places?

    The question is, adjusting for prevalence in the population, and likelihood to vote, which is the more powerful lobby?

    As for why Cameron doesn’t target any measures at the elderly. can anybody say “Granny Tax”? If a very minor adjustment to remove an arguably unjustified age-related benefit is political cyanide, what price wholesale removal of money from the unimpoverished elderly.

  30. Oh and by the way she was told her luekaemia will kill her in 5 years that was 2 years ago .So nice to know when she dies her kids will struggle to keep the roof over there heads.Even if it is a council house on a crime ridden estate in Newcastle.Suppose they can all be split between us or go into care.Tory Bitain what a shithole.

    AW I noticed you posted you were a Conservative ,But you come across as a Ken Clarke type what is your view on this government do you support them ,think there competent ,or am I not allowed to ask.

  31. ALEC

    It wasn’t a “policy announcement”.

    It was a prompt for a general debate on the topics he talked about :-

    “So these are just some of the questions I think we need to have in this debate.

    Some provocative; some obvious; some long overdue.”

    What’s the problem?

  32. NEILA

    @”can anybody say “Granny Tax”?”

    Yes-Alec can when he criticises DC for hitting the poor old folk :-) :-) :-)

  33. Good Evening after a wonderful run for 12 k on our beach, thinking I must be living in one of the best places in the world.
    A thought about parents and their ‘children; of 25.

    A teacher who eschews promotion out of the classroom has a ‘gold plated pension’ after 40 years of teaching at the age of 63. The pension will be £16K.

    So it will be quite an ask to expect her to finance her 25 year old ‘child”s housing.

  34. @Colin – I don’t want to get involved in tiresome tit for tat stuff, but my central point still stands – that Cameron’s calls for a ‘general debate’ was no such thing – he began his speech by excluding some of the obvious areas that such a debate should cover, namely universal benefits for pensioners.

    It’s a dog whistle – nothing more than that. Of the specifics, five minutes thinking, as Tim Leunig did – effectively destroys the central headline of the speech. As he said – is Cameron proposing parents to have a legal responsibility to house children until they are 25 years old?

  35. ALEC.
    Well said.
    Thank you/

  36. Cameron does seem to be locked into a desperate struggle to keep the Mail onside… there are only too aware of this and keep up the comparison between him and Mr Gove. The Labour leadership on the other hand hardly needed reminding that Conservative’s will see welfare reform as their strong card at the next election.

    Just listened to Rhianna’s rendition of “We found love in a hopeless place” at the Hackney Weekend, while reading “Life expectancy, economic inequality, homicide, and reproductive timing in Chicago neighbourhoods.”

    The study links income inequality, life expectancy, disinclination to invest in education, preventative health and savings, as well as the timing of life events:

    ” …teenage pregnancy is often an active decision, motivated in large part by expectations about a life course more compressed in time than that of more affluent people… interviewees expressly wished to become mothers and grandmothers while still young and competent because they anticipated problems of early weathering and poor health.”


  37. Shaun – “But you come across as a Ken Clarke type what is your view on this government do you support them ,think there competent ,or am I not allowed to ask.”

    You are allowed to ask, but I won’t answer you! It’s far too late to keep what party I support secret as it’s a matter of public record, but I try too keep my own views out of it. It’s a pleasure to write about things like the AV referendum or Scottish Independence when hardly anyone who reads the site knows what my own opinion is about it.

  38. Amber would your qualification in Accounting happen to be anything along the lines of the ACA by Institute of Chartered Accountants?

    I only ask because I have a grandson who has just finished the lower 6th and is entering the upper 6th in september, and with that the ordeal which is UCAS.

    He’s currently deciding on whether he wants to go into higher education and pay the exorbitant fees or whether choose a different qualification such as the ACA by ICAEW.

  39. It looks like the Tories are back in their comfort zone with a core-vote strategy.

    I wonder if it will be more successful this time than in 2001 and 2005?

  40. ALEC

    @”I don’t want to get involved in tiresome tit for tat stuff,”

    Oh -all right then-if you insist :-(

  41. @ ANMARY

    I am always wary of giving advice because I don’t know all the circumstances. But I believe ACA to be an excellent professional qualification. I think that more students will choose this path, given the rising costs of degree education.


    @”A teacher who eschews promotion out of the classroom has a ‘gold plated pension’ after 40 years of teaching at the age of 63. The pension will be £16K.
    So it will be quite an ask to expect her to finance her 25 year old ‘child”s housing.”

    Interesting pattern :-

    The average teacher qualifies at age 23; & has a child 15 years later , at age 38 .

  43. @ ANMARY

    h ttp://
    h ttp://

    Here are 2 websites which your grandson should consider, if he hasn’t already. :-)

  44. COLIN.
    As we wait for yet another YG poll,

    We have four children, age 26, 23, 17 and 14.

    Our youngest chiild was born when I was 43, if that is OK.
    Our third child was born the day before TB became party leader, when I was 39.

    I had two years training in philosophy and theology prior to being sent to read History at Oxford University.

    I do not know about the ‘average’ teacher. Due to illnesses over the last 34 years of work, my ‘gold plated’ pension will be less than £16K.
    Hopefully the children will be well enough to support themselves. In Bournemouth the going rate for an unfurnished room is £400 per month.

  45. Update – Labour lead on 10: Latest YouGov/The Sun results 21st June CON 33%, LAB 43%, LD 8%, UKIP 8%; APP -37

  46. @Chris,

    This discussion is probably not going anywhere, but presumably if you once had four children living under your roof, you now have plenty of space for your youngest two (assuming Cameron’s proposals are acted upon).

    Or you could downsize and use the money to finance housing for them?

    Thank you for the update.

    Sleeping will be easy then!

  48. Latest YouGov/The Sun results 25th June CON 32%, LAB 43%, LD 11%, UKIP 7%; APP -36

    Sorry, the banner changed before I clicked in the previous post!
    This is correct.

  49. @ Chris

    Sleep easier – it is +11 for Labour in the correct YG.


    @”Our youngest chiild was born when I was 43, if that is OK.”

    Your choice entirely-but yes, it’s OK by me :-)

    @”Our third child was born the day before TB became party leader, when I was 39.”

    An auspicious day for a child to carry with them through life. It must be a source of great pride.

    @”Hopefully the children will be well enough to support themselves.”

    Hope lives eternal doesn’t it?

    My children are a good deal older than yours ( some of my grandchildren too !! :-) )

    Support continues for all of them in different ways depending on their needs-which is as it should be-a cost & a joy to watch them all grow up.

    Why else bring them into the world ?

1 2 3 4