This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. The six point Labour lead is their lowest from YouGov since the local elections (and equals the lowest this year – YouGov had a six point Labour lead and the beginning of May and a couple in January). As ever, don’t get too excited over a single poll, but it is in line with Labour’s average lead with YouGov now being in the high single figures. Full tabs are here.

Also out yesterday was some polling of Conservative party members for Tim Bale and Paul Webb. The results yesterday just covered approval and attitudes towards the European Union. As things stand Conservative party members are overwhelmingly in favour of withdrawal from the European Union, by 71% to 20%. However, asked how they would vote if David Cameron secured renegotiation and recommended people vote to stay in, 54% would vote to stay, 38% to leave.

I’d take two things away from that. The first is that many Conservative party members are still open to persuasion – if Cameron managed to renegotiate Britain’s membership in some way they could be persuaded to back him (though of course, it would very much depend on what Cameron managed to secure). The second is that many others aren’t, even in the scenario of Cameron’s successfully renegotiating powers (and that itself is a serious challenge), 4 in 10 of Conservative members would not vote with him in a referendum. If a referendum does ever happen, and if the Conservative leadership are campaigning to stay in, it really is going to open up a gulf between the leadership and some party members. Full tabs are here.

348 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 38, LD 10, UKIP 13”

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  1. @Ex Pat,

    You’re right about the economy. Whilst I think Labour’s new policy is sensible (of I course I do – it’s the Tory policy and I support the Tories..) it does rather render void the entire basis of the argument they’ve been making for the past three years.

    As rehearsed here innumerable times, Labour has claimed that if the government spent more then it would boost the economy and eventually pay for itself.

    If that was really true, it would be true in 2015, 2016, 2017 just as much as in 2010, 2011, 2012. The “logical” policy for Labour would be to say that in 2015 they will massively increase government spending through extra borrowing and taxes on “The Rich” and then reap the fruits of this through lower welfare spending and higher tax receipts in time for a handsome victory in 2020.

    The fact that they’ve changed tack just makes it look like they never really believed what they were saying in the first place. Did someone just disinvent the Fiscal Multiplier?

    They are now relying on a sort of generalised “Gideon Wrecked The Economy” line, having deleted the main argument for how he is supposed to have done so. I suspect memories of just how bad the situation was in 2010 will blunt that attack at little. And presentationally it plays to the worst weakness, which is that Ed Balls comes across as a nasty, bombastic heckler showering hateful insults, rather than the rather clever and thoughtful economist he actually is.

  2. “My first time doing this latest YG/ST -”

    And a brlliant job you have done Mr Jim Jam. Congrats and AW’s cheque will be in the post.

  3. @Anthony,

    So when are we getting a thread on this. lol……

    I must admit I was surprised to see this whilst reading some stuff on YouGov today!

  4. what nonsense I have read on this thread about false forced choices for a surgeon – technically proficient versus communicatively proficient – surgeons need to be both and what is more a surgeon who cannot communicate well verbally and in writing is a useless and dangerous surgeon no matter how manually dextrous

  5. @reg,

    That was the consensus we came to last night after a lot of debate!

  6. Actually, the main things I’d like English teachers to enable their students to do are (a) to be able to write a professional and polite letter or email, (b) to be able to quickly read and comprehend a long passage of writing, (c) to be able to precis, and (d) to be able to speak English fluently in front of a group of people.

    Grammar comes into these tasks, but I found that learning grammatical rules was much easier when it was directed towards achieving some task like the above. (I didn’t actually learn most rules until leaving school and finding that they would be useful in making loadsamoney.) Abstract -> concrete is the way to go, but it’s a lot less hard for the students if the concrete applications are known to be at the end of the road.

  7. Interesting to see Osborne now say that pensioner benefits to be reviewed after 2015.

    Balls has quite effectively flushed this out and this now neuters any negatives for Labour in this area, while also helping make Labour look serious on the deficit.

    Although it won’t really register at the moment, I’d suggest this showed a tactical and strategic smartness within Labour minds and should count as a success for them.

  8. Rich
    I am aware you have a centre right view, I don’t happen to share it but of course you are entitled to hold any view you like. I also know you and Colin tend to agree, is that the Consensus you are referring to?

    Regarding the Burnham interview I think He came across with a welcome degree of candour in response to a very poor interview which metaphorically speaking began with the question “when did you stop beating your wife” and went downhill from there.

    I suspect it will be difficult to get any mud to stick to Mr Burnham apparently Sky News didn’t feel it necessary to question his successor.

  9. Steve,

    Yes I watched the Burnham interview in full. My honest thoughts;

    The bad; he said he couldn’t recall all details of his meetings back in 2010 and whether certain issues came up, and looked uncomfortable when he got that question about ‘are you happy for all meeting notes from 2010 to be released to jog your memory’,. Of course the question was rather pointed.

    The good; he talked about a culture of suppressing low level complaints in the NHS and said this needed a cross party approach to improve/change,, presumably as the culture of big organisations takes decades to change. I agree strongly with this.

    I think he will be fine. I get the impression Burnham has the best interests of patients at heart when I hear him, even if he does plough out the anti Tory line a lot. :-)


  10. @Alec,

    I’m very glad Labour came clean on spending cuts needed post-2015. For me, this makes them much more credible and electable.


    To be fair to Rich, a majority last night did see to agree that grammar and spelling are important in the modern age….and that included left-leaning posters. Personally, I agree that creativity should be actively encouraged in our schools….but that doesn’t need to be at the expense of good written communication skills. To compete in the modern world, we actually need to produce a population who have good communication skills, can perform basic arithmetic, and can think creatively and outside the box. It’s about finding a good balance…and the best teachers and schools tend to get the balance right.

  11. @PaulCroft,

    ““There’s a place for creativity and grammar/learning by rote. It’s finding a good balance that’s the key IMO.”

    What’s “IMO” mean Ambi?”

    You’re making me feel young now, Paul!

    IMO means ‘in my opinion’. It’s that dreaded thing that many of us younger adults use – text speech.

  12. On the spelling and grammar questions – which spelling and which grammar. My foreign contacts tell me frequently the Brits are the most difficult to understand because they are all taught American English which is subtly different from that we are taught.

    Also, I did most of my education under Thatcher and we were never taught grammar, even though we did O Levels.

    Just watching the Sunday Politics. Hughes as normal evasive and useless and for those three wonks (notice the spelling lol) from the metropolitan media going on about austerity having won – their smugness makes me nauseous

    We have not seen the long-term effects of this disastrous policy. The Tories managed to squander oil money in the 80s and are now also squandering the benefits of having our own currency

  13. Neil A,

    I think you have jumped to the wrong conclusions about Labour policy. Ed M said that any social security increases would have to be fully-funded. For example, he pledged that the top-rate tax cut would be reversed to increase tax credits for the lower-paid.

    However there is no commitment to fully-fund other areas of spending. The plan for jobs and growth is still on the Labour website and that includes temporary tax cuts and bringing forward infrastructure investment. All of this could still be unfunded (i.e., not balanced by cuts elsewhere) and therefore stimulate economic growth.

  14. @Ambivalent supporter

    It`s also interesting that Balls is keen to include Pensions in the spending review (given two thirds of benefit spending is pensioner related) perhaps to reiterate his Fiscal Credentials.How this will play with the pensioners will be interesting.

    Keeping the Tory day to day spending limits while borrowing more for longer-term infrastructure projects is quite a good position for Labour to project.

  15. @ Rich

    What makes the importance of grammar a centre-right view?

    Just to add – providing that the grammar taught is a living thing, it is of course beneficial to the individual. However,
    1) there are English dialects that are perceived to be grammatically incorrect. Speaking that dialect could be a disadvantage for the person, but that person doesn’t speak worse English than those with Oxford. (There is no standard English, only foreigners :-) – the perceived standard English is spoken by about 600 thousand people as a mother tongue).
    2) English speaking is changing (vowels, for example, shortened significantly since the 1950s in London. Also “r” is now more and more pronounced at the end of the word) – it will increase the discrepancy between pronunciation and spelling. It is already a problem that spelling reflects a 300 year old pronunciation, sometimes older. So, spelling will (in spite of whatever teaching) deteriorate.
    3) There are elements of grammars that are necessary for constructing effective communication and those that are purely for social differentiation. Sometimes the two are in conflict (the need to differentiate between singular and plural pronouns created “youz” which is clearly incorrect from the second aspect of grammar and perfectly meaningful from the first).
    4) Teaching the use of grammar and teaching grammar are two different things. The latter is meaningful only in comparative studies (requires the knowledge of another language).
    5) From the perspective of effective communication vocabulary is more important (and to be a snob: knowing the nuanced difference between meanings words with Saxon and those with French origin.)

  16. I shouldn’t write about grammar on a mobile…


    It’s a good point. In Hungary in the 1980s the leading language schools used American English textbooks and tapes. In the 1990s the influx of Irish language teachers to the Czech Republic and Hungary created an interesting accent…

    On the other hand I know of Chinese and Russian schools where in English classes Galsworthy is used quite extensively.

  18. @Hal,

    I thought Ed M stated that they would not be borrowing more. Hence I would expect those website commitments to either be “revised” (dropped) or “funded” (balanced by cuts elsewhere).


    So the reductions in department budgets (cuts in police pay and numbers, lost regiments and ships, reduced welfare payments etc) were actually good and necessary now? What happened to the argument that they reduced demand make the deficit worse? Why wouldn’t reversing them and paying for it with borrowing increase demand and make the deficit better?

  19. Laszlo

    As a chemist though I do rebel by using sulphur and aluminium both of which are contra-convention.

    I wonder what Gove would want me to do – maintain the English spelling or accent Americanisation

  20. @Neil A

    I think you should read the small print as EdM did say he won`t borrow for `day to day spending`.

    Ed Balls was right to an extent as tax receipts collapsed and the deficit which was supposed to be eliminated by the next election is still circa 120 billion pounds a year and Osborne won`t even achieve Darling`s target set in law which was to halve the deficit

    But Labour needs credibility and reassuring everyone that it`s not going to go ga-ga on benefits+public service spending is probably necessary before it can return to power.

  21. Ambi

    twas a jest – I am very young myself [not even seventy yet]

  22. Smukesh

    Isn’t it Tories going gaga on benefits? The biggest contributor being pensions. Can’t remember seeing any plans for dealing with that particular area in the short-term

    The Tories are tough on the minor components on welfare spending but not necessarily on the big ticket items which would not play well to their voting demographic.

    HB reform, for example, has ignored those in receipt of a lot of it ie the landlord but the propaganda has been focused in a different area

  23. I ain’t much cop at grammar so I might be wrong but isn’t consensus when everyone agrees even if reluctantly, rather than when most agree


  24. Neil A,

    Here is the quote from EdM:

    “The starting point for the next Labour government will be that in 2015 – 2016 we would inherit plans for social security spending from this government.
    Any changes from those plans will need to be fully funded.
    For example, if we were in government today we would be reversing the millionaire’s tax cut to help make work pay through tax credits.”

    He is only talking about social security spending, not all spending.

  25. I agree with you.Just as Labour has been accused of being generous over working age benefit recipients,Tories seem reluctant to touch Older Age benefits with some flimsy reasoning that they can`t increase their earnings.

    Tory austerity seems restricted to working age adults especially those with children.

  26. … and here is EdB on Thursday:

    “As the IMF said last month, we are a long way from a strong and sustained recovery. That is why, as the IMF and Labour have both demanded, George Osborne must finally act to bring forward infrastructure investment to create jobs now and strengthen our economy for the long-term.”

    So stimulus spending is still the Labour plan.

  27. I have not learned any grammar. I get a lot of replies to my comments therefore I assume that I am communicating effectively most of the time.

    I have also found that I am able to communicate very well with people all around the world who are using English as a second or third language.

  28. @Hal,

    That’s certainly not how the BBC website is treating it. They quote Ed M thus;

    “Our starting point for 2015/16 is that we won’t be able to reverse the cuts in day-to-day current spending unless it is fully funded from savings elsewhere or extra revenue, not from more borrowing.”

    ie ALL day to day spending not just social security spending.

  29. @PaulCroft,

    “twas a jest – I am very young myself [not even seventy yet]”


  30. Neil A,

    Most budgets have capital spending and current spending so constraining one by “funding” and not the other leaves a lot of room for manoeuvre. So you could cut one bit of capital spending to fund an increase in current spending and then increase some other bit of capital spending…

    However the social security pledge is a lot more specific.

  31. @Amber,

    I’m the same. Except my parents did use to test me regularly at spelling and arithmetic at home. My primary school also put a lot of emphasis on basic maths skills….which was rare in the early 1990s. I think the main reason I have always been proficient at maths is because I used to learn basic maths from a textbook at home before I was in my teens. It really enabled me to build a basic understanding of numbers, patterns, shapes etc. so that I could move onto more complex things.

  32. *my parents used to*

  33. @Amber,

    Interestingly I wasn’t really “taught” any grammar either. At least in the sense of sitting down to a lesson about grammar as a subject in itself. I learned grammar through a process of gentle correction from teachers, and reading a lot.

    I don’t think it is particularly important for anyone’s SPaG to be 100% perfect, but a degree of proficiency (at least to the point where the average, educated reader doesn’t recoil from what you write) is a very good thing.

  34. @ Ambivalent

    The self-correction was not required. I understood perfectly well what you meant. :-)

  35. @ Neil A

    I agree; the ability to construct coherent pieces of writing & convey what you mean when speaking should be the goal. Learning this from listening, reading & being corrected in a positive way is all that is required by most people.

  36. @Amber,

    “The self-correction was not required. I understood perfectly well what you meant. :-)”


  37. @Amber,

    “I agree; the ability to construct coherent pieces of writing & convey what you mean when speaking should be the goal. Learning this from listening, reading & being corrected in a positive way is all that is required by most people.”

    I agree. Spelling and grammar need not be taught in isolation from other subjects.

  38. So…a different consensus.

  39. Neil A

    Ed Balls today on the Marr Show to paraphrase said –

    We were correct about the Osborne plans for 10-13 and to call for lower spending cuts to support the economy including the temporary VAT cut which I did not expect to be calling for for so long.

    But where we are now with the Economy smaller than it would have been with less austerity but with nascent signs of recovery requires a different set of judgments as the balance of costs and benefits are different.

    You may not agree with it but it is perfectly coherent if hard for non economists to follow.

    BTW the bedroom tax and higher rate tax cut were mentioned very close together in his interview, I think the chances of one paying for the other, although obviously not equal may well be in the manifesto.

    Finally, borrowing for investment will affect current spending due to multipliers so Labour could announce say £10Bn of Infrastructure/Housing programs and increase current spending by £1-2Bn as a ‘ result of the projected positive impact of our policies’

    The last piece puts EB very close to VC as I see it paving the way for a post 2015 accommodation with the LDs.

  40. Neil A,

    I’ve found it now: EdB’s speech from 3 June:

    “Today, with growth prospects still very uncertain and interest rates too low to be of use, a temporary VAT cut now is still the right prescription before extra capital spending can come on stream – although any immediate tax cut which helps middle and lower income families is better than nothing.
    But over the coming year if, as we all hope, some kind of recovery does take hold, then the balance of advantage will shift from temporary tax cuts to long-term capital investment.”

    So there’s no commitment to austerity, in fact this is a call for increased investment to boost the economy.

  41. Crossed post Hal – very good info; I think EB signalled today that the balance has shifted in his view from a temporary tax cut to investment spending being best for the Economy.
    FWIW – my view is that this balance may well have shifted some months ago, after the tax threshold rises kicked in, but Ed is a far better economist than me.

  42. @RICH
    “That was the consensus we came to last night after a lot of debate!”


    Not sure about consensus. Majority view is more apt. And Reg didn’t make clear who he’s referring to but I used the surgeon analogy and didn’t say a surgeon shouldn’t be able to read and write.

    Reg’s view misses the point. It’s not about a false choice as he presents it. The debate is about someone good at, say, Pbysics, getting an insufficient grade because marked down for grammar.

    Equally, the “choice” was between a brilliant surgeon but only ok at grammar, versus someone only ok at surgery but getting an inflated assessment of performance because of excellent grammar.

    Or if the surgeon analogy is too difficult, a plumber adept with Shakespeare but not so good at fixing a leak versus vice versa.

    And if writing has to be reassessed in every exam, giving the more literate an advantage, why not maths? You could easily build stats into many exams and it is a very useful generic skill.

    Would everyone be confident they’d have passed their exams in history etc. if that had been the case?

  43. @Smukesh

    Yeah, there’s a logic fail on the right regarding their interpretation of Labour’s position on the spending thing. Thus far Miliband’s left himself quite a bit of wriggle room.

    Conveniently we don’t teach logic any more so you can do ok in exams if you can spell the word logic, even if you can’t use it.

  44. I read William books until I was sixty or so. They are probably partly responsible for my brilliant grammar and great sense of humour.**

    ** ….. and other all-round excellent qualities.

  45. wot are too numerous to mention.


    RED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. @Carfrew.

    The logic fail is that three years ago you thought borrowing and spending by the government would pay for itself. Now you don’t.

    Although the story has developed a little more, with the BBC reporting that Ed is now admitting that borrowing would rise in the short term for a Labour government. A bit more like what was being said previously.

  48. NEIL A
    “The logic fail is that three years ago you thought borrowing and spending by the government would pay for itself. Now you don’t.”


    Nope. That is a misreading of what he is saying. As Smukesh etc. have already pointed out…

    He is ruling out certain kinds of extra spending. Read carefully and you can see there are ways to still sneak some in.

    You know the drill. The parties giving one impression but in reality…

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