Tonight’s Times has a YouGov poll conducted on Wednesday night and Thursday daytime, giving us our first steer on the public reaction to the poisoning in Salisbury.

73% of people in the poll think that Russia is responsible for the poisoning, 21% are unsure, 5% don’t think it was Russia. There is also broad public support for the government’s reaction – 60% support the measures they’ve announced so far and 14% are opposed. Asking more specifically about the response of the party leaders, 53% think Theresa May has responded well to the incident, 23% badly; 18% think Jeremy Corbyn has responded well, 39% badly (and 43% don’t know).

SkyData had a poll earlier on today which asked similar questions about how well respondents thought May and Corbyn were dealing with Russia, with very similar results. They found 61% thought May had done a good job, 29% a bad job; 18% thought Corbyn had done a good job, 57% a bad job.

Returning to the YouGov/Times poll, the voting intention figures are CON 42%(+1), LAB 39%(-4), LDEM 7%(nc). I’m sure people will be tempted to interpret that as Labour’s support taking a hit from their reaction to the poisoning… I’d be very cautious before concluding that. The changes are within the margin of error, and nothing we haven’t seen before (for example, while YouGov’s last few polls have shown Labour just ahead, they had another poll in early February showing a small Tory lead that turned out to be just a blip). If we see other polls showing a drop in Labour support then it will be a fair conclusion, but a relatively small change in a single poll could easily be co-incidence.

703 Responses to “YouGov/Times polling on the Salisbury poisoning”

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  1. @ ALEC – :-) :-). I’m not the one talking in absolute certainties. I’ll recap my best guess drawn from the JR and updated for the new current info (changes from input by COLIN, etc recently and new transition info in brackets)

    1/ the JR will be codified with ‘triggers and timings’ related to events. I posted a long list of those specific dates and you agreed the ‘triggers and timings’ concept. From the money side it’s akin to ‘pay as we go’. Final ‘trigger date’ is Dec 2020 (although the exact schedule for timing of the RAL, etc is TBA). I can not see how May can sign off too much too soon and even if it is agreed then that is in principle, subject to ‘nothing is agreed…’ and requiring UK and EU parliament approval.
    2/ we will fudge implementation as we did with phase 1 but EU will make us squirm another month (I was wrong on the timing)
    3/ the ‘framework for future arrangements’ will need to be fairly detailed and in place by late 2018 in order for HoC and EP to agree it (that is where the poop is most likely to hit the fan, but let’s hope not)

    regarding #1, you’ll note a lot of the draft WA is now green but the difficult bits are yellow or white and while ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ anything in green highlighter would be harder for either side to change without starting right back at step 1.
    regarding #2, pleasantly surprised to be wrong. IMHO the fishing issue creates a double edged opportunity (nice excuse to fall back to WTO if we have to, but hopefully the other play which is for SCON to champion the Scottish cause and as it plays out gain VI – after a short-term drop perhaps). It is also important some elements within CON keep May from backsliding too far.
    regarding #3, the level of detail will be important. May has already agreed a lot of alignment and that drops the NTBs on those absurd treasury predictions. Even if it ends up being WTO it will not be max friction WTO and HMRC data shows the fuss about huge tailbacks at Dover etc are nonsense (not every lorry is checked at port of entry!) Lots to do for sure to make it as frictionless as possible but a lot of people are working on it and hence cautiously optimistic we’re ready for any scenario (as are the people who will actually be responsible for the new customs arrangements – HMRC!)

    @ BFR – agree on NI increase but totally oppose a 35hr week, you work in the City so you’d know how bad that would be. I’m saying we need to kicking the economy up the 4rse not kicking it in the balls! The three major issues UK faces are IMHO:
    – unsustainable current account
    – low productivity
    – ageing population
    To ensure long-term sustainable increases in living standards we need to address all three or at least net improve on the three of the overall. Housing, NHS, all very important but these are symptoms of multiple govts being complacent and overly reliant on London, financial services and ne0liberalism. We don’t need to go Corbyn, just ‘tweak’ welfare state capitalism and give it a more moral and politically aware face. IMHO! I’ve been mocked for saying we need to enhance trickle down but in essence that is all I’m suggesting. Not a bigger govt, just a more focussed, energetic one, oiling and fixing the odd broken market as and when it crops up – not abandoning the principles of a market economy.

    @ DANNY – Brexit might be a small negative, certainly it is in the short-term until we get to the final arrangements – I think it can be a positive in the medium-long term but it isn’t going to happen by magic – it needs an energetic HMG response to mitigate the risks and ensure we capture the opportunities. It can also be the excuse to tweak our economic model for post-ne0liberalism (see reply to BFR)

    i do agree transition at the moment is more plank than bridge but the future arrangements will be filled in to a large extent in the coming months. At any point we might pull out and go to WTO but if we transition to WTO as at Jan’21 we have ample time (the info I’ve seen suggests around 18mths is minimum so by July’19 the stakes become very high again). The meaningful vote in late 2018 is a big challenge – a lot of unhappy MPs might be pinching there noses and going for what they believe as least bad. An alignment of arch-Remain with arch-Leave is the scenario I fear most. If Corbyn goes arch-Remain then long story but happy with that and the possible new ref or even GE that it might cause.

    I’m also more comfortable about not needing UFT version of WTO as GATT permits an exemption that could perma-fudge Ni border issue. I have no issue with transitioning to a reciprocal WTO – probably my preferred outcome but I know CON are hugely into free trade so it would be damaging for them politically! Crashing out and being forced into a UFT WTO was my concern and although that is still possible it seems less likely after y’day.

  2. @Colin-

    “Love All” was a joke!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Um – I know. Which is why I joked back.

    “I think-as I said to Artemis-you have missed the key sentence in her letter to Tusk. But even that one doesn’t help with detail.

    It does however , imo, show that the Irish Backstop is not something she intends to have to face.”

    Well that’s what I’ve been saying all along too – which is why I think we are in agreement. The acceptance of the backstop is critical however, as it effectively allows the EU to accept or reject alternatives at will with impunity. that’s the whole point of why they wanted it. It’s now entirely up to the EU to determine what kind of border arrangement is acceptable, as they have their backstop.

  3. @ TOH – I’m sure we disagree on some details but from my perspective I think we (and most Leave) are broadly on the same page with Brexit. May is keeping her genuine red lines broadly in tact and ERG, SCON and DUP keeping her from back sliding too far. ALEC’s doom, gloom and constant negativity on everything is funny.

    Agree good news on inflation (base effects are well, base effects!) and OBR/BoE all forecast +ve real wage rises later in the year – folks will only notice it with a lag. With polling showing -ve economic and Brexit outcome views from plurality of folks I’m quite happy with people having set the bar on the economy and Brexit outcome so low – leaves a lot more room to over deliver and turn VI when the timing matters.

  4. Today I’ll will be mainly sat on a tractor turning over the soil for planting cotton in a couple of weeks. Funny how life is having spent many years doing the same thing in Dorset preparing soil for crop planting that is not much cotton planting in Dorset ,here I am in the US having retired once doing the same thing one year of 70.
    My point is one of the reasons I retired was I had a heart attack 4yrs ago and thanks to the NHS staff and a couple of well placed stents I’ve made a full recovery and have had a new lease of life because of it.
    Maybe it’s a metaphor on how I’ve come to view brexit at first I didn’t want it rather like my heart attack but now it’s happening I’ve come to embrace it because I think it may well shake our institutions and business out of there complacency and give the U.K. a new lease of life are past history was built on trade I see no reason why that shouldn’t continue and grow after brexit.

  5. @Trevor Warne – long post, but it’s not clear at all what you are trying to say. I note that all the financial section of the WA draft is, I think, totally in green, so that is basically settled. Once signed, we’ll be legally obliged to pay the sums as defined and according to the timetable set out. The triggers and timings you speak of are not relevant – the point is that there will be a legally enforceable commitment on the UK to pay the sums as and when defined, and that this is not contingent on the future trade deal.

    The only other option is not to sign, and not get a transition.

  6. @Trevor Warne – “May is keeping her genuine red lines broadly in tact and ERG, SCON and DUP keeping her from back sliding too far. ALEC’s doom, gloom and constant negativity on everything is funny.”

    That’s a strange comment. As I noted after the Joint Report, I am now far more upbeat about Brexit, as we have removed all the nonsense talk of a crash out WTO hard Brexit. My belief is that we are heading for an ever softer Brexit, and for this reason I am reasonably content.

    This has been my consistent position for some time now, so I’m unsure why you claim doom and gloom. All I have done is pointed out how the Brexit claims have gradually been wound down.

    In light of which, the notion of “genuine red lines” is interesting. Sounds like redefining red lines that have been ditched after the event to make them sound like we never meant them in the first place.

  7. Blimey! Even with my speed skimming method that was a waste of a few minutes of valuable life.

  8. Well, if UKPR is anything to go by it seems that May might yet pull off a deal that everyone thinks is what they want.

    The only downside is that they’ll also be claiming that everyone else is unhappy with it.

    I think it is prudent to check who is still whingeing about the deal.

    The fact that it is Farage, Gove and Rees-Mogg, whilst Umunna and Soubry are ok with it tells you what you need to know.

  9. The discussion about the UK’s ability to discuss trade deals but not be bound by them during the transition period seems to me to be missing three key points.

    Firstly, the UK will need to replace over 700 trade related agreements with third countries just to stand still with where it is now.

    Secondly, no other significant trading countries will want to discuss detailed trade agreements until they know what the trade agreement between the UK and the EU will be.

    Thirdly, the Cabinet was advised last week by the Civil Service that the UK will not be in a position to introduce new customs arrangements in time for the end of the transition.

  10. @alec

    I admire your stamina in attempting to explain fairly simple and self-evident facts to most of the Brexiters on here!

  11. Alec

    I have not agreed with you at all. I read it carefully and you can read into it whatever you like. Its a beautiful fudge. I really think you are making yourself look silly and i take no joy in that even though we are on different sides of Brexit.

    Trevor Warne

    I agree with your 3.03 to me. May has kept her red lines on ECJ, internal market and customs union. It’s why the Brexiters are keeping quiet and not making a fuss. Alec thinks it will end in a very soft Brexit (better described as remaining as a vassal state). I think the opposite and feel more confident now than I have for some time. I think those who wanted to stop Brexit are losing out badly now. As I keep saying time is running out. I think that’s why the EU moved and accepted the fudge in Ireland. I think they are worried.


    Mr Sir Echo in town! Time to sign off, the only thing which is simple and self evident is that you and Alec are wrong.


  13. @TOH – “May has kept her red lines on ECJ…”

    Minor technicality, but as it happens she hasn’t. Article 131 states that Union Law (eg the EU law and therefore ECJ) applies to the UK for everything committed to under the current and previous spending rounds after December 2020 up until the closure of those programs. Theoretically, we might still be liable to ECJ judgements for anything relating to staff pensions up until 2064, for example.

    As I say, it’s a minor point, but important to be technically correct.

  14. @garj

    The EU is not arguing that the UK should remain part of the CFP.

    The reference to fishing in the draft EU guidelines for the future trade arrangements is

    “…trade in goods, with the aim of covering all sectors, which should be subject to zero tariffs and no quantitative restrictions with appropriate accompanying rules of origin. In this context, existing reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.”

    Reciprocal access is what the EU has negotiated with Norway and IIRC Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

    I have also not seen any suggestion from the EU that the UK must remain in the SM and CU in order to have some sort of involvement in some EU agencies such as the EMA. No doubt you can link to it.

    I note that you say you voted Remain. None of your posts which I have seen would lead anybody to think that was the case given your strident dislike of anything to do with the EU.

  15. @trevorwarne

    You are going to be sorely disappointed by the SCon MPs and their influence.

    You have carefully ignored their complete failure to enforce the agreement they thought they had reached with the UK Government over amending clause 11.

    It also appears that they were not informed about let alone consulted on the transition fishing agreement and only learned of it when it leaked in the press.

    The SCons are not united on Brexit. Lamont and those making most fuss about fishing are ERG members or supportive of its drive for the hardest of Brexits ( Davidson is not although that rather depends on what day of the week it is and what she thinks will play well with the Unionist vote in Scotland).

    SCons were probably seen at their truest in two recent events. Voting to reduce free school meals in England although they knew that there votes would be discounted under EVEL. And Ross Thomson campaigning to ban electric shock collars in England (already banned in Scotland). And perhaps also Douglas Ross preferring to officiate at football matches rather than be present in the HoC for important debates.

  16. “Mr Sir Echo in town! ”

    LOL. From the poster ( @toh) who repeatedly posts backslapping compliments to his ideological friends and also prides himself on courtesy.

  17. Hireton

    Good post – may I add that the government does not have enough competent trade negotiators to do deals.


    Mr Sir Echo in town! Time to sign off, the only thing which is simple and self evident is that you and Alec are wrong.


    I don’t think they are wrong and presumably they don’t think so either.

    So it is far from self-evident, possibly to the extent that you are wrong.

  19. New development on the Scottish court case regarding the UK’s ability to revoke Article 50 unilaterally:


    Yes, I didn’t mention the Xenon poisoning because you can burn it off, transmuting it to Xe136.

    This is, yes, a safety concern, because if you burn off a neutron poison then the chain reaction can lead to a runaway scenario. But this can be managed by controlling the rate at which you remove the control rods.

    Obviously if you get it wrong, and then get some other things wrong, you can wind up with Chernobyl.

    But tbh, given its easier to just remove the Xenon in a molten salt reactor, and there are numerous points of failure in a conventional reactor, one’s interest in managing the Xenon transient in a conventional reactor wanes rather!

  21. @TO

    Sorry, I meant the xenon transient can be managed by the rate at which you reintroduce the rods!

  22. @Danny

    Just to explain….

    A by-product of the nuclear reaction is Xenon 135.

    What’s awkward about this, is that Xenon 135 absorbs neutrons. Which is bad news, because neutrons are what keep the chain reaction going.

    An atom splits, releasing neutrons that then strike other nuclei of atoms, splitting those and releasing more neutrons, and the reaction is self sustaining.

    If you have something that absorbs the neutrons, then it can kill the reaction.

    But if you ensure there are enough neutrons you can convert the Xenon to a different isotope that doesn’t absorb neutrons so much.

    But then removing the neutron poison will then speed the reaction up as there will be more neutrons and it can runaway with itself as more atoms are split, releasing more neutrons, splitting more atoms, releasing more neutrons etc.

    You can manage this by reinserting the control rods that will absorb some neutrons, keeping things I’m check. But it’s a bit of a balancing act…

  23. ICM poll out which is favourable to the Tories – looks as if the the Novichok poisoning is having some effect.

  24. According to Wren-Lewis, the polls on Brexit’s likelihood to harm the economy of the UK are tied between optimism and pessimism because of the failure of the press to report expert opinion on the matter.

    I’m not an expert on international trade, but because I read some of the now numerous people who write stuff on Brexit who are experts, or who have made themselves experts, I feel I am reasonably well informed. I have never seen the same level of expertise from the broadcast media. If I just listened to the BBC or read any newspapers bar two or three, I would know almost nothing about what was really going on in the negotiation…..

    So far the shift in the public’s view of Brexit has been small, and is largely down to previous don’t knows making up their mind. This is not surprising if as many people think they will be better off after Brexit as think the opposite. The most obvious explanation for this is that people remain unaware of the overwhelming expert opinion that they will continue to become worse off after Brexit. That in turn represents another victory for right wing press propaganda, and another critical failure from most of our broadcast media.”

  25. @ Artemis

    Yes, just spotted that too:

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 44% (+1)
    LAB: 41% (-1)
    LDEM: 8% (+1)
    GRN: 2% (-1)
    UKIP: 1% (-1) <- new low

    via @ICMResearch, 16 – 18 Mar

  26. I think it’s not unreasonable to suppose that the polls have been very gradually moving back in the Tory’s favour for a little while. It’ll be interesting to see if Labour can get any traction during the locals and claw back some of the recent drift. (If the drift is real that is.)

  27. Trevor Warne,
    “However, yes, the big carrot of UK’s massive trade deficit in goods,”

    What evidence is there that even on WTO cold turkey this would not continue?

    I really dont see that the EU has anything to fear because the Uk will still want its quality German toys. That has been their USP. The likelihood is surely that any liberalisation of our import policies- in a quid pro quo for these deals you are on about – is likely to see the Uk swamped with cheap foreign goods undercutting home produced…yet we will still be buying in germany quality ones.

    Surely a far more likely scenario is that in return for any deals at all, the UK will have to grant more concessions than the EU does now,and we will end up on less favourable terms, not better.

    The most likely scenario is that at the end of a 2 year transition period, the Uk will have no new deals lined up. probably the government knows this, and therefore knows it has nothing to loseand everything to gain in terms of trade deals by staying inside all the EU ones.

  28. UKIP do appear to be essentially an ex-party now.

    It seems incredible after the hullaballoo a few years ago.

    It’s hard to see them reviving at this point, even in the event of a massive “betrayal of Brexit” in some form or other.

  29. @Sam

    Thanks for the link to the Wren-Lewis blog. I think his suggestion that the even-stevens polling on brexit economic effects reflects minimal public exposure to the overwhelming consensus of expert opinion on the matter makes sense. As he says, it must be either that, or people have been brought to distrust expert opinion.

    A further possibility that occurs is that the majority of people are as incapable of forming a considered opinion on the matter as they are of discussing the construction of a concerto, or the case for string theory. That doesn’t stop people holding an unconsidered opinion, of course.

  30. CARFREW: But tbh, given its easier to just remove the Xenon in a molten salt reactor, and there are numerous points of failure in a conventional reactor, one’s interest in managing the Xenon transient in a conventional reactor wanes rather!

    I only half know where you are coming from with this, but it looks like you are doing your fuel processing on a ‘PAYG’ basis. It looks more scary to be doing the reprocessing on molten salt hot from the reactor.

  31. CARFREW: But tbh, given its easier to just remove the Xenon in a molten salt reactor, and there are numerous points of failure in a conventional reactor, one’s interest in managing the Xenon transient in a conventional reactor wanes rather!

    I only half know where you are coming from with this, but it looks like you are doing your fuel processing on a ‘PAYG’ basis. It looks more scary to be doing the reprocessing on molten salt hot from the reactor.

  32. A word of warning about the polls folks.

    The Conservatives led three in a row in Feb – +1%, +4%, +3%.

    It came to nought as the poll moved back quickly, with two consecutive ties and four Labour leads.

    Caution required I think.

  33. Thought this was worth sharing:

    Provides as convincing explanation as any for why Britain seems to be stuck in a political limbo, ready for something new, but not yet convinced as to what that new thing should be. The paradigm shifts brought in by Attlee, and later Thatcher, both came about following considerable intellectual groundwork. This time around, no such work had been done in the run-up to the series of electoral shocks we have felt these past few years, much less the financial crash that preceded, and indirectly caused, them. So everyone seems to be making up policy on the hoof.


    I am not always in agreement with the pieces to which I link but I think Wren-Lewis is right to conclude that the polls are tied because of the absence of information

  35. @Polltroll

    “So everyone seems to be making up policy on the hoof.”

    I think this has coinsiderable merit but I also think things are worse than that. Both main parties have essentially been captured by nostalgia cults intent on resurrecting failed policy solutions on the ground that either ‘they’d never been done properly or that the time is *now* right to implement them and they’ll work.

    New ideas for a new age are desperately needed but the main political actors are positively allergic to them. Hence political limbo. Brexit may yet destroy one or both main parties, which I think is what the country needs to happen, really.

  36. @Danny
    “The most likely scenario is that at the end of a 2 year transition period, the Uk will have no new deals lined up. probably the government knows this, and therefore knows it has nothing to loseand everything to gain in terms of trade deals by staying inside all the EU ones”

    They’ll probably buy in expertise from abroad if required to get at least a few token deals through. It will be a joke if there’s nothing lined up by 2021 though!

  37. Re latest polling. Assuming (as I don’t necessarily) that this is a true and accurate snapshot of what would happen were there an election tomorrow, this one continues to bear out my theory that the last few percent of the Ukip support has switched directly to the Tories, with only the tiniest rump of Redwoodites, Boneites and personal friends of Neil Hamilton remaining to be peeled off.

    If Labour has been affected by Corbyn’s gentle request for evidence before condemning the accused it is hardly obvious from this poll. That Labour figure looks pretty solid to me, despite the howls of horror every time Comrade C asks a reasonable question or dons a fake fur hat.

    On other matters, I see that Spain are threatening to derail the latest Brexit agreement over Gibraltar, leaving Davis scratching his head in bewilderment having understood the rock to be an outpost of Ireland or something.

  38. CMJ – did not pass the infallible 4 in a row test!! Although IIRC a 4th did have a smaller lab lead than the previous one from that pollster so 4 in a row had shown a Lab-Con swing.

    ICM usually best for Tories so still around level pegging me thinks, at least for now.

  39. @JimJam

    So little in it is the only real conclusion.

    By the media spin, last week was Corbyn at his worst and May at her best.

    If all this does is produce a Con +1, Lab -1, it’s not even a storm in a tea cup!

  40. NEIL A

    Did you abandon your reading of the transcript I provided?

  41. WB

    “TM’s government cannot survive without the DUP”

    I remain unconvinced by this argument. It would be vulnerable to defeat at any time, but governments in that position, in many places, have staggered on like that.

    They only fall when all the members of all the opposition parties decide that the time is propitious to bring the government down.

    Never underestimate the effect of an outbreak of undiplomatic flu! :-)

  42. @Sam

    Ian Dunt has a nicely expressive turn of phrase, doesn’t he? I liked this:

    the authors expect [post-brexit trade deals] to lead to an overall price reduction of just 0.4%.

    This is the horrible reality for the Global Britain lot. Tariffs are already quite low and anyway don’t apply much to the type of goods we consume. Plus we’re likely to protect our domestic producers anyway, so only some items can be slashed.

    This is really a sad little number, but it’s all they’ve got.

    Hard to see our economic salvation in that “sad little number” of 0.4%, especially when the brexit vote has already pushed prices up by 2%.

  43. ON – only needs DUP to abstain on confidence motion.

  44. @JimJam

    I can’t envisage for a moment the DUP doing anything that might bring a Corbyn Government about.

  45. Davwel

    “Them with big boats” (and Filipino crews!)

    Though I am long away from the fishing world. I get the strong impression that even those (probably the majority of Scots fishermen) whose livelihood depends on access to the EU market, have an emotive dislike of the CFP, and a sympathy with other fishermen who are affected by it (as they see it).

    Other folk in the industry may take a less charitable view.

    Those who process salmon and shellfish into high value products know that Norway and Iceland are prevented from selling their products into the EU market.

    Hence why Norwegian fish processors have bought over Polish processing yards, send their chilled fish to their subsidiaries from where they are sold throughout the EU. The profits are then repatriated to Norway.

    Just as “there is more than one way to skin a cat”, there are ways and means to skin a fish to maximum profit!


    “I only half know where you are coming from with this, but it looks like you are doing your fuel processing on a ‘PAYG’ basis. It looks more scary to be doing the reprocessing on molten salt hot from the reactor.”


    Well the idea is to avoid fuel reprocessing, by having the fuel dissolved in the salt. Unlike with using fuel rods, where only a small amount of the fuel is used up before needing reporocessing, if the fuel is mixed in with the molten salt, most of it is used up and doesn’t need such reprocessing.

    You also don’t have the problem of the Xenon damaging the fuel rods over time, since there are no fuel rods and as a gas it can bubble out of the liquid.

    There can be some medically useful isotopes one may wish to extract at some point. The fission products tend to be single isotope, which means you can use chemical extraction.

  47. Jim Jam

    “only needs DUP to abstain on confidence motion.”

    And insufficient others to abstain too.

    After the 2007 Scottish election, the minority government could have been brought down at any time. It wasn’t.

  48. Hireton

    Thanks for the link to the ruling by the Inner House on the A50 revocation case.

    Their Lordship’s assertion that UK Parliamentary sovereignty transcends the will of the UK Government is important, and just might prove useful at some point.

    From a legal standpoint their scathing commentary on the political framing of the petition might also be instructive for future petitions –

    if the petition was “shorn of its rhetoric and extraneous and irrelevant material and reduced, after adjustment, to a manageable size”, then “a case of substance – albeit not necessarily one which is likely to succeed – can be discovered”.
    Lord Carloway added: “The issue of whether it is legally possible to revoke the notice of withdrawal is one of great importance. On one view, authoritative guidance on whether it is legally possible to do so may have the capacity to influence members of parliament in deciding what steps to take in advance of, and at the time of, a debate and vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
    “After all, if parliament is to be regarded as sovereign, the government’s position on the legality of revoking the notice may not be decisive.”
    He concluded that there was “a point of substance, albeit one heavily concealed” in the case, “which should be argued in the normal way”.

  49. @Sam,

    No I read it, but after trying unsuccessfully to get a long post on another topic past automod, I ran out of time and energy. I was off work last week so had more time. Back into work this week, into a frenzy of gang-related violence in a small Westcountry town…

    I didn’t really see very in the transcript we hadn’t already discussed. They didn’t really discuss the evidence that poverty is the direct causal link of ill-health, or at least not to any great extent (I accept that this is probably because the witnesses and most of the committee take that as read).

    I found it interesting that the witnesses weren’t able to point to any material impact of their efforts on physical health, and that their assertion that it improved mental health (whilst probably self-evident, it would be odd if people felt more unhappy if given more wealth) wasn’t linked to any actual evidence of this.

    It seemed to me largely a forum for SNP MPs to try and get the witnesses to blame the Tories at Westminster for health inequality (in the sense of welfare cuts) and bemoan that welfare policy is not devolved. The witnesses expressed some coded sympathy with that view, but tried hard not to be drawn into taking a view (as is sensible from civil servants, and has the questioners should have known and respected).

    I didn’t see anything new to convince me that the undoubted correlation between health outcomes and wealth is a completely, or even predominantly causal one.

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