Worthless opinion poll is beside the point - talk rather than scream

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01 May 2013 09:32:03 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

An opinion poll carried out on behalf of the Free Speech Network is claiming that most of the public support the alternative royal charter proposals drawn up by newspaper publishers. And it further purports to show that the people are against parliament's royal charter because "a clear majority" believe politicians should be kept away from press regulation. The results of the poll, by the market research company Survation , are given big treatment in today's Daily Mail and are also carried on the Daily Telegraph's website. But given the nature of the survey questions, the responses are unsurprising. And the highlighting of them by papers forms part of the propaganda war being fought by publishers in order to pressure prime minister David Cameron to withdraw the charter agreed by parliament in favour of their own alternative charter. It is very doubtful if the 1,001 people who were polled in the survey genuinely understood the import of the key questions, which did not explain any context. People were asked: which of the following statements is closest to your opinion? "The new press regulation system should be set up in a way that gives politicians the final say if and when changes need to be made." or "The new press regulation system should be set up in a way that does NOT give politicians the final say if and when changes need to be made." The result? Only 15.8% said the former while 66.5% opted for the latter. If I were to step into the street and ask people questions in which the word "politicians" was replaced by "publishers" I am sure there would be a massive negative vote too. Similarly, another Survation question asked: "It is proposed to set up a new royal charter to provide the framework for press regulation. Do you think: a) The royal charter should be subject to consultation so the public can have their say? b) There's no need for public consultation if the royal charter has been approved by politicians? The totally predictable answer showed 76.1% in favour of (a) and just 12% supporting (b). Without wishing to get into an unnecessary dispute with Survation about the merit of such research, the company must have known the outcome of the survey before the fieldwork was carried out. Anyway, the Free Speech Network - the front organisation created by newspaper and magazine publishers - were happy enough, naturally. So they sent the "astonishing" findings to various editors and five of them are quoted in a press release offering support to the publishers' charter and condemning the one agreed by MPs and peers. I accept that they are sincere reflections of those editors' views, but I'm not bothering to record them here because this exercise is, to be frank, sadly misguided. It is a worthless piece of propaganda. As I argue in my London Evening Standard column, available later today, it is time for the interested parties to talk to each other rather than scream. With 14 days left before the Privy Council meets to consider the alternative royal charter proposals, it is vital to find an acceptable compromise. There is enough common ground. Before all goodwill - and all good sense - vanishes, someone of stature who has the respect of both sides should host a summit meeting and sort out the differences. Press regulation Opinion polls Daily Mail Daily Telegraph National newspapers Newspapers Magazines Press freedom David Cameron Judicial committee of the privy council Roy Greenslade guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds         Full article on Worthless opinion poll is beside the point - talk rather than scream

Vice All News Time01 May 2013 09:32:03


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Poll points to uphill struggle for Tories

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Opinion poll gives Labour 11% lead despite poor rating for leader

0.39876828 27 July 2013 20:36:45 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

Ed Miliband falls further behind David Cameron but party maintains gap in face of better economic news Labour still holds an 11% lead over the Conservatives – the same as two weeks ago – despite David Cameron stretching his advantage over Ed Miliband in approval ratings for the party leaders. The latest fortnightly Opinium/Observer poll puts Labour on 39% (up 1%), the Tories on 28% (also up 1%), Ukip on 16% (down 3%) and the Liberal Democrats on 8% (up 2%). But while the headline figures will be a relief to Miliband's party, showing no sign of the Tories narrowing the gap, the personal ratings will be a source of concern as Labour's leader continues to fail to impress as a potential future leader. Some 33% said they approved of Cameron's performance as prime minister against just 22% who said they were positive about Miliband's leadership of Labour, while 13% approved of Nick Clegg's stewardship of the Lib Dems. For much of the spring and early summer Cameron's lead over Miliband was in low single figures. But now it appears to have stretched as better economic news has come through and the Tories have appeared more united over issues such as Europe. Voters were also asked whether their views of each party had become more positive or negative over the last year. There was little cheer for any of the three major, established parties, although the trend for Labour was less sharply negative than for the Tories or Lib Dems. Among voters, 41% reported no change in their attitude to the Labour party, while 20% said they were more positive and 34% more negative. Only 18% were more positive about the Tories while 42% regarded them more negatively. For the Lib Dems just 7% felt more positive about them and 47% more negative. Only Ukip came out well on the year-on-year question: 30% said they had a more positive of Nigel Farage's party against 25% who view them more negatively than 12 months ago. Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,935 adults in Great Britain aged 18+ from 23 July to 26 July 2013. Results were weighted to nationally representative criteria. Opinion polls Ed Miliband David Cameron Nick Clegg Nigel Farage Labour Conservatives Liberal Democrats UK Independence party (Ukip) Toby Helm © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions        

Vice All News Time27 July 2013 20:36:45


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0.38387278 30 May 2013 00:35:08 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

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Vice All News Time30 May 2013 00:35:08


Poll shows more support for abandoning gay marriage plans rather than plain packaging

0.38387278 08 May 2013 08:04:46 Politics News - UK Politics

The Government has come under further pressure to drop its gay marriage plans after a new poll showed more people wanted them scrapped than the scheme to ensure cigarettes are sold in plain packaging, which was recently kicked into the long grass.        

Vice Politics Time08 May 2013 08:04:46


Poll shows more support for abandoning gay marriage plans rather than plain packaging

0.36674204 07 May 2013 20:44:40 Politics News - UK Politics

The Government has come under further pressure to drop its gay marriage plans after a new poll showed more people wanted them scrapped than the scheme to ensure cigarettes are sold in plain packaging, which was recently kicked into the long grass.        

Vice Politics Time07 May 2013 20:44:40


Politics should be guided by principle, not opinion polls | Roy Hattersley

0.3458875 05 May 2013 20:44:18 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

Labour ought to resist 'the people', as heard through the Ukip megaphone. Convictions are popular too, as Thatcher showed The mantra of the moment is "listen to the people" – a call for populist politics dressed up to look like a demand for the genuine democracy which is said to be denied to Britain by an unrepresentative and remote elite. Despite its superficial appeal, government by continuous opinion poll does create one serious dilemma. How are politicians to behave when, having listened, they find themselves in fundamental disagreement with what they have heard? Should I, in 1964, have called for what a clear majority of my constituents, and most of the country, undoubtedly wanted – the repatriation of all Commonwealth immigrants? A couple of months ago, a Tory MP – discussing, on radio, the proposed changes to the planning laws – blandly explained that he had no doubt that they were right and necessary but that he would oppose them because of the strength of opposition in the borough which he represented. It would be easy to dismiss his behaviour as simply the craven hope that obsequiousness is the certain prescription for re-election. And there is no doubt that the "listen to the people" lobby is dominated by politicians of the right who believe that the national mood is, for the moment, in their favour. But the idea is gaining ground among politicians who should know better. The notion that MPs should abandon their own convictions in favour of what they believe to be public opinion is not new. A hundred and fifty years ago Edmund Burke thought it necessary to remind the electors of Bristol that their "representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion". But the idea that MPs should be delegates has grown with the development of opinion polls and the decline in ideological politics. Men and women who have no clear view of the sort of society which they want to create find it easy to accept secondhand convictions. The result is bad government. It may well be that the lord chancellor, Chris Grayling – not, even his greatest friends would admit, a towering intellect – really believes that the rehabilitation of offenders serving custodial sentences will be made more swift and certain by creating a more uncongenial prison regime . But most members of the cabinet and the Labour front bench know that view to be nonsense. Prison already creates habitual criminals. Pointless punishment will only create more. Yet nobody denounces what the government now proposes. The great god public opinion has spoken and may not be denied. What sort of politician wants to be a cypher – a human calculating machine who adds up votes and opinions in the country and responds to the perceived wishes, whether or not they seem right and reasonable? The answer can only be men and women who want to be in power for power's sake. It is convictions that make politics worthwhile – an exciting and interesting as well as an honourable profession. I have trooped through the House of Commons division lobbies in support of a bill which I knew to be morally indefensible – the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1968 which denied Asians from east Africa entry into Britain. But at least I knew that my motives were entirely cynical. I wanted to remain a minister and improve Labour's chance of re-election. I did not elevate my conduct into a theory of government which justified regular support for measures I knew to be wrong. Unreconstructed Blairites will claim that I am doing no more than asking Labour to choose between power and purity. Quite the opposite is true. There has never been a time when social democracy was more relevant to the nation's needs or when its unflinching advocacy was more likely to command support. The danger for Labour is that we will once again be seen as a party without a clear purpose. Margaret Thatcher proved that the people admire and support politicians with strong convictions – even when they do not share them. Labour needs to listen – but to its own conscience and judgment, not "the people" as heard through the Ukip megaphone. Labour UK Independence party (Ukip) Margaret Thatcher Roy Hattersley Roy Hattersley guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time05 May 2013 20:44:18