Some interesting poll results have just been released, investigating what the British public think about our economy and the ways to fix it. The poll, by YouGov for the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, strongly suggests we're giving up on capitalism and want the state to run more of the economy.
Why is all this "play the man not the ball" stuff rolling out from Tory HQ and their friends in the press? It's to divert us from the really big political story: that the Tory Party is in deep trouble. Their famed grassroots operation is shrivelling up. The foot soldiers are defecting to Ukip in their droves.
The country simply does not trust the press to handle complaints fairly or uphold journalistic standards effectively, without the independent checks proposed by Lord Justice Leveson. It wants to see, at the very least, a future press self-regulator undergoing regular inspections by an external body to ensure it meets basic standards of independence and effectiveness.
It would be easy to imagine that political party members would by definition be supporters of the party leadership, the most devoted and enthusiastic of anyone in the country. This is not necessarily the case, especially since winning elections normally requires a party leader to reach out beyond his or her party's natural support... Sometimes the relationship between party leaders and their party membership can be a fractious one.
Forty years ago, as a young journalist, I learned that 'there are no indiscreet questions, only indiscreet answers'. In general, the same applies to polling. We do not create public opinion; we measure it. That opinion may give us pleasure or pain; it might reassure us or frighten us. The issue is whether it is better to know how people feel or to remain in ignorance.
If David Cameron expected voters to respect him for firming up his commitment to a referendum on the European Union, YouGov’s latest polling for The Times will disappoint him. Most Britons, including a majority of those who voted Conservative in 2010, think he is acting out of tactical calculation rather than because he feels deeply about the issue.
The past five years of economic troubles have left their mark. There is no obvious end to them in sight. And these troubles are reflected in people's lives, not just GDP statistics. Graduates saddled with debt and finding it hard to get a decent job; couples waiting a decade longer than their parents to buy their first home, and so on. Long-term pessimism may be misplaced, but it is not surprising.