Boris retains poll lead – but 78% believe he is Mayor for the rich

16th April, 2012 12:47 pm

The latest YouGov poll on the London Mayoral race has Ken Livingstone trailing Boris Johnson by six percent – 53/47 – (five percent on first preferences), but a remarkable 78% of voters believe that Johnson is a “mayor for the rich” – and believe that he is “fighting on behalf of the wealthy more than any other group, including commuters and the poor” – according to the Evening Standard. Only 4% of voters believe that Johnson would focus on the poor – compared to 40% for Livingstone. (Update: Turns out it’s a third of Londoners who believe Boris would be “a Mayor for the rich”. An embarrassing error for a paper that has been so keen to back the incumbent…)

The Standard also report that Livingstone is “seen as “particularly keen” to help Muslims, black and Asian Londoners”.

The Livingstone campaign has been focussed on the financial benefits of a Ken win – especially his headline 7% transport fare cut. More Londoners believe that theywill be better off under Livingstone than Boris, but neither candidate is trusted by the electorate – when asked 25% said Johnson was the most “honest and truthworthy” compared to 19% for Livingstone.

That trust problem clearly has a knock on effect for Livingstone’s major pledge – with 45% saying they didn’t believe he would deliver his fare cut (compared to 43% who think he will), despite 56% of those polled saying that “any extra transport funding should be spent on cutting fares”. Voters agree with the policy, but don’t believe it will happen. That’s despite Ken saying he’ll resign if it doesn’t happen. I’m not sure he can go any further than that.

However there is good news for Labour candidates for the London Assembly. YouGov predict that Labour will pick up four seats, moving up to 12 from 8, whilst the Tories will lose 1 seat. The BNP and the Greens are also expected to lose their seats – and UKIP could capitalise by picking up an Assembly seat of their own.

Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • GuyM

    Why should transport costs be moved from those using the transport to general tax payers?

    Oh I forgot a lot of “rich” people might not use public transport, plus those “rich” people should contribute more to everyone elses fares rather than just pay their own.

    Another example of a bit more theft from the left.

    • Cheaper public transport means that commuters can spend more on other stuff, which is good for the economy. I’d have thought you would be in favour of that sort of thing, but of course I was being naive. The rich must always be allowed to hoard more of their money, taking it out of circulation. That trumps everything.

      • UKAzeri

        Alex I agree!

        However you give too much credit to the rich by referring to ‘their’ money! Means of production are not in the hands of the actual wealth producers and the jury is out on whose money it is that the rich dont want to share.


        • GuyM

          Simplest rebuttal to you wold be the way John Lewis pays it’s yearly bonus.

          That partnershipo, much vaunted in terms of ownership structure and employee engagement views economic value to JLP as based upon market salary.

          In other words a senior manager on £100,000 pa brings a value of £100,000 to the business whereas as someone working on a till and earning £20,000 brings a £20,000 ecomic value. Therefore when JLP bonus of 20% for example is given the manager get £20k and the till worker gets £4k.

          So on that basis, “means of production” and “wealth production” in JLPs eyes are that the senior manager is far more valuable than the shop floor worker.

          It would be perverse don’t you think that after years of education, training, professional development and commercial experience if a senior managers ability to contribute to wealth generation was less than a shop worker with minimal education and professional career development?

          Therefore why is a senior manager or above regarded as fair game to subsidise to greater levels someoene who is clearly less of commercial value or wealth generating value?

          If you want to travel by train, bus or tube etc. then  expect to pay a reasonable rate yourself not expect others who may not use said transport to subsidise you more and more simply out of some sort of left wing economic jealousy.

          • UKAzeri

            Guy, I am a member of the Cooperative Party as well as Labour and believe me , I know my mutual’s  :))))

            100% in agreement with you!!! Where workers own a share of the business it needs to be in relation to their contribution. Perhaps a subjective element is measuring said contribution but that varies from industry to industry. 
            However as you very well know, mutual’s don’t even make 5% of British economy and even less in terms of company structure. The vast majority of our economy is dominated by top down set ups, where only the shareholders ( in lot of cases this excludes even the top management) rip the benefits, where as the workers ( including management) only take on the risks ( ie bad times = redundancies; good times = ???? director’s discretion).

            Coalition only pays lip service to John Lewis economy. Such a set up would see most of Cameron’s personal friends making far less money.

            Re your last paragraph, not sure how you are linking general taxation to Ken fare deal? Is it the surplus issue?  Nonetheless, ask yourself this: How many businesses pay for the education of their workers (primary upwards)? And yet all of them use these skills/assets to generate income. Why should the state subsidise private businesses?

          • AlanGiles

            Just to add to your excellent points, I wonder if all those people who use Private Healthcare Companies ever consider that the doctors and nurses were trained at public expense by the NHS, that BUPA or PPP/AXA – none of the private companies have ever considered opening their own medical schools, and the staff, and the patients who pay to get to the front of the queue are, to some degree being subsidized.

          • UKAzeri

            Exactly and there are endless number of examples….

          • GuyM

            Spurious point.

            Every single industry uses workers who have spent at least 11 years in state education.

            I have employed a lot of people who have received state education, I don’t see the need to open a school.

            In terms of health insurance, as a user of private health care i pay not only income tax to fund the NHS and pay for health professionals training I also then pay additional substantial amounts to gain access to private care.

            If we all paid the same all the time you may have a point. But we don’t, those with private health insurance invariably more in tax and additional payments to gain access to the private service.

            It is standard that if you pay more you get more. If I buy a first class train ticket I am paying more for an increased service, yet I am still dependent on the train, line, infrastructure staff training costs (i.e. train drievers) paid for out of general taxation and standard passenger fares.

            To take you argument to a logical conclusion there would be only one type of train fare, one type of plane fare, one type of health provision, one type of education option and so on….

            In other words you rapidly approach communist ideology.

            What is the point of my spending decades in education (a lot paid for myself), career development and commercial experience if my options to buy better services are reduced and I am taxed more and more  heavily to provide for others?

            I can’t see any incentive under those circumstances. I actually prefer to never work again and live on benefits for 50 years than work my arse off for others.

          • AlanGiles

            If the private health racket had to pay to train students from the start, they would have to charge their customers a great deal more – but then surely, if you believe in private enterprise that should be a price worth paying?

          • GuyM

            Last I checked no current employer has to pay for the experience gained by a recruit from previous periods of employment, apart from in terms of increased market rates.

            If I hire a BI developer who may have become MS certified to develop MSRS at the cost of his previous employer I don’t need to compensate his last employer. That is a matter between him and his previous employer (most have schemes where expensive training is paid back if you leave in a certain time).

            If I had to do so then you would seriously be restricting individuals freedom, keeping them in a form of indentured slavery if they accepted training.

            The same applies to health care, are you seriously suggesting that anyone on a medical degree is to be bound for minimum periods of service with no escape and that any future employer would have to compensate the state before employing them?

            You do sound more and more communist in what you say at times.

          • AlanGiles

            I thought we were going to ignore each other Guy. I am not a Communist but I do think that the private health industry should train it’s own staff, or that NHS trained personnel ought to be contracted to the NHS for a minimum period before they can sell themselves.

            After all, if you join the Armed Services, if you wish to leave the service before your period of service is ended you have to buy yourself out.

            If that is “Communist” thought than so be it, but Guy I don’t want to resp[ond to you further because your abuse and big head is quite unacceptable to me.

          • GuyM

            Your comments are on a thread item I started, so i responded.

            The armed services is not a good analogy, are far as i know no private profession is bound in non military roles.

            Doctors are bound in the Army Medical Core the same as all other regiments, but no profession forces people into minimum terms of service.

            What happens if a medical student at the end of his training decides it isn’t for him and becomes a teacher… will you let him?

            Or maybe a trained nurse emigrates to Australia, will you block her the airport?

            And if you start forcing people to buy themselves out of their training do you extend that to all health service workers (dentist, physios etc.)?

            and to teachers?

            and policement?

            and firemen?

            and so on…. is anyone “trained” in a public service role to be indentured for a period?

            and if so have you any idea of the problem with recruitment?

            Shall we ask Jaime how he’d feel about knowing he was to be forced to work in a hospital for years, whether he wanted to or not?

            It’s that freedom to abuse personal liberty that marks the left and came to the fore under the last government.

            Nanny knows best, as always.

          • derek

            Maybe Her Candelas would be 
            favour this type of NHS?


          • GuyM

            Oh and in addition to below, I do most certainly value my private health insurance hence I’m happy to pay for it.

          • AlanGiles

            Except that from what you have said before your employer subsidizes your health insurance as part of your benefits package.

            You can’t have it both ways, either you pay for it in full or you get it subsidized. That’s the point

          • GuyM

            A a taxable benefit when on the client side yes it’s covered

            However during the 3 years plus I was freelancing I individually paid for health insurance for my family.

            So I’ve had it subsicised and paid in full dependent on type of work. Much the same way I have life insurance and critical illness cover as part of a package in some jobs, and have to privately arrange if not.

            The basic remains though, I greatly value my private health insurance and would not be without it, even when I was workingin the NHS.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas


            you are correct, and while you and I normally seem to take opposing sides of the argument, I can happily join with you on this.

            It is not a 100% one way argument:  you need to acknowledge the fact that the NHS itself also benefits, with our higher than average level of employees trained abroad.  I am an example:  Chile paid for my training, I work in the UK.  But your point remains valid.  

            There is also a further point.  I do not do private work (not much call for it in Emergency Medicine, by definition), but of course I hear the stories of those who do.  Most of the private health care providers will only employ surgeons or other specialists on the basis of them issuing a “license to operate” in their facilities, for which they ask for money.  I have heard of £5-10,000 among the main companies in the private healthcare sector.  So they make money up front from the moonlighting NHS surgeon.  I suppose it is the same business model as a franchise.

            Of course, they then use the power of their brand and membership schemes to direct work to the surgeon, who over time makes up for the initial investment.  I understand that only Nuffield Health do not operate this scheme, but they are a charitable foundation, not a private business.

          • AlanGiles

            Thanks Jaime. I think the private hospitals would get a wake up call if they had to provide A & E

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas


            A&E is funny, in that our staffing costs per patient are the highest (staff density), but our treatment costs are among the lowest.  Keeping you alive is not actually “that” expensive in drugs and equipment cost.  My BOx monitors cost about £20,000, which compared with an MRI machine is peanuts.  (Derek would hate me to refer to “my” monitors, but they are part of “my” department, and I decide within “my” budget what we buy or do not buy).

            There is one private A&E hospital, in London.  I think it caters for the sort of embarrassing events in celebrity lives, such as accidental overdose.  It has a fantastically funny website in which it talks of private services for everyday events such as dislocation of joints after DIY accidents.  It also has a large section on privacy.

            I’m not sure that a single parent in a poor district of London ever thinks of calling the private A&E hospital if they fall off a ladder when painting their ceiling.

          • derek

            It’s not you bloody department nor your bloody budget.

            Hmmm! you need a saw doctor?


          • jaime taurosangastre candelas


            no one else is responsible for running it, nor for how the money gets allocated between priorities, nor for deciding negotiating for how much money is the total budget, nor for staffing levels, or skillsets, nor for what training is performed, nor for day to day decisions, for retaining enough human and financial capacity to cope with surge periods.  If I get it wrong, I’m responsible.

            One of my first acts was to dispense with the Clinical Services Manager, who acted as a deadweight in the department having previously tried to run all non-clinical functions, but grossly inefficiently.  It was very easy.  I told the hospital management board that he was unnecessary, and could be redeployed elsewhere at his management grade.  It turns out there is no law written in stone that every hospital department needs a clinical services manager,  and HR agreed to reassign him (particularly after he failed to agree with me that it was my department and my policies).  Things are much better now he has gone.  He took early retirement, as no other department wanted him.

          • derek

            So you busy being a busybuddy  while your skills go stale on processing matters. I think that individual may return the favour by suggesting your not utilising your skills by undertaking to much managerial small talk, if you want to be a gunslinger don’t be an A&E doctor?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas


            A&E is funny, in that our staffing costs per patient are the highest (staff density), but our treatment costs are among the lowest.  Keeping you alive is not actually “that” expensive in drugs and equipment cost.  My BOx monitors cost about £20,000, which compared with an MRI machine is peanuts.  (Derek would hate me to refer to “my” monitors, but they are part of “my” department, and I decide within “my” budget what we buy or do not buy).

            There is one private A&E hospital, in London.  I think it caters for the sort of embarrassing events in celebrity lives, such as accidental overdose.  It has a fantastically funny website in which it talks of private services for everyday events such as dislocation of joints after DIY accidents.  It also has a large section on privacy.

            I’m not sure that a single parent in a poor district of London ever thinks of calling the private A&E hospital if they fall off a ladder when painting their ceiling.

          • GuyM

            I think you miss my point.

            John Lewis value employee economic contribution on the basis of salary paid at “market rate” (allowing for negotiation etc.).

            Most other private sector companies I’ve worked at also pay “market rates”, so in terms of economic value whether it’s the JLP model or PLC it seems market salary rates are indicative of economic contribution to that organisation.

            And it is at organisation level that economic worth for an individual has to be calculated, not on the basis of politically subjective opinion on certain career value. So the left really has no business taking moral positions over the economic worth of a nurse say versus a banker.

            In terms of how many business pay for education? All of them, as they pay corporation tax that funds state education. Just as all workers who pay tax fund state education. It is a spurious point you make.

            In terms of ongoing employee education, that depends. Education or training in those terms tends to be only that where it is associated with value to the employer as well. Hence I’d expect all my previous employers to fund a Prince 2 course for those looking to move into Project Management but not be interested in funding a language course where the employee is not needed to speak say Spanish.

            Not all skills and assets are used to generate business. If someone used to be a music teacher, it is of no particular relevance to me in terms of a software implementation.

            In terms of Ken’s fare deal, TfL have already said the money to pay it is not there, therefore it will need to come from another pot or through increased taxation (something Ken has a clear history of).

            Business is autocratic and hierarchical, it does not function no concensus and by committee. I’m afraid my economic worth for instance is higher than a nurse, bus driver, shop worker, miner and teacher…. market rate says so and that’s all there is to it.

            In the end people need to take personal responsibility and shiting the purchasing of services like a train fare more to general taxation and away from the individual only leads further towards the old Soviet way of running an economy.

            I’ll pay for my train fare this week, I see no reason to increase my subsidy I laready pay through taxation to make it cheaper for everyone else as well

      • GuyM

        The money remains in the hands of consumers one way or another.

        If you are arguing the “rich” or well off should subsidise transport more simply so other people can consume more then that seems an odd argument.

        I do sometimes wonder what the point of years of education, professional development and personal career management is for when I read posts like yours. It seems I’m doing this not for me and my family but for everyone else as well, who will no doubt cheer that they can find more ways to take more from me for their own personal benefit.

        I have this strange view that everyone should try to be self reliant in life to a great extent and therefore pay their own bloodt transport costs within reason.

        • Trudge74 as alexwilliamz

          Just get used to it guy. The reason why the rich need to get taxed more is because they have got the money. You can’t get much out of the low paid after they have paid for basic necessities, so it’s a simple as that. Whether you believe in your man is an island is irrelevant to the reality that you are not, you are a manifest part of the society we all live in and the ‘market value’ it creates. So unless you fancy that self sufficient crofters cottage on the isle f mull, you will just have to put up with the state trying to take as much cash as it can claw from you, while you may or may not try and find ways of avoiding as much of it as you can. If you think it unjust, tough, that is how life is get used to it and be grateful the great unwashed you so despise aren’t running around the streets sticking the heads of the rich on the end of spikes.

          • GuyM

            Or you have a state that spends less, subsidises less and expects greater self sufficiency from members of that society.

            And in this case that means if you use something you pay for it, not expect others to subsidise it more and more.

            The great unwashed haven’t a brain cell between them and have as much chance of revolting as they have of winning a nobel prize.

            Given what you say though, thankfully we have tax avoidance and tax havens.

        •  And yet even in your fantasy world someone will have to be paid to do the dishes, clean the street, deliver the mail and stock the shelves at the supermarket. Personally I’d like them to be able to better afford public transport so they have more money to spend on other things.

          But god forbid the proles should assume they can use public transport to get around London. They haven’t achieved that right through corporate career development.

          • GuyM

            London transport is already heavily subsidised.

            An all zone monthly pass including all trains, tubes, buses, trams etc. is around £200.

            That’s under £10 per working day for complete unlimited transport in the whole of greater London.

            This in a city with the highest wages in the UK.

            Sorry but I simply do not see the need to subsidise even further. Millions of Londoners don’t use public transport.

            Those who commute into London and tourists should not benefit from heavily subsidised transport paid for by hard pressed taxpayers.

            As I said, I don’t see myself responsible as having to help some “cleaner” get a train. That’s their problem, not mine.

  • alexagiusuk

    London is the richest part of the UK with your average Londoner richer than your average Britain so being a mayor for the rich is no bad thing in London.

    • UKAzeri

      richer is not the same as rich :)))
      It is one of the greatest neoliberal  cons that wealth should be evaluated though income. Who needs their 25k + job  when 45-60% of it goes on rent and other costs ( check out TFL  season tickets!!) Belive me 18k salary will take you further in Glasgow than a 25 k  would in London !!

      • alexagiusuk

        Yes I did not say that rich = richer

        But you take my point that London is a rich area? London is the richest part of the UK, if London is not a rich area then the is no such thing as a rich area.

  • alexagiusuk

    The evening standard has updated it’s story to now say that 37 per cent of Londoners think that Boris Johnson is a Mayor for the rich.

    Looks like they misread the poll data initally.

    • Kokopops

      Dodgy…second poll in a row (2 diff companies) that supposedly made a mistake in thir headline figures or have them readjusted and in both cases end up giving Boris a more positive light. Just saying!

      • Bill Lockhart

        What the client does with the figures is not the responsibility of the polling company.  The figure of 78% believing Johnson is more interested in working for the rich is amongst Livingstone supporters, as the YouGov poll summary linked to above makes quite clear.

  • Bill Lockhart

    ” More Londoners believe that theywill be better off under Livingstone than Boris,”

    Just- by 22% to 19 %. but 29% believe that none of the candidates would make them better off, perhaps displaying a better understanding of the real degree of influence and power enjoyed by the Mayor than is evident from the candidates or their propaganda.

  • Bill Lockhart

    ” More Londoners believe that theywill be better off under Livingstone than Boris,”

    Just- by 22% to 19 %. but 29% believe that none of the candidates would make them better off, perhaps displaying a better understanding of the real degree of influence and power enjoyed by the Mayor than is evident from the candidates or their propaganda.

  • Kokopops

    There is a positive with the poll – the last yougov (March) gave it to Boris 54/46 – it is now 53/47 so small improvement…albeit a little more work to do but opinion polls were wildly wrong in similar periods at last Mayoral election so anything can happen

  • I can’t understand why Boris is ahead. When you combine the support of ethnic minorities and working-class Londoners, Ken should be miles ahead.

    • Bill Lockhart

      Your apparent belief that ethnic minorities and/or working-class Londoners vote en bloc for Livingstone suggests that you know very little about London.

  • I think someone else already pointed it out, but it hasn’t been updated: the 78% was not of all respondents (so the “78% of voters believe” in the post is wrong) but actually out of 48% who felt Boris cared more about some Londoners than others (as opposed to 35% who felt he wanted to help all Londoners & 16% who didn’t know). Only theose 48% were asked the follow-ups about which groups they meant, so it’s more like 37% of Londoners who think Boris is biased to the rich. I can’t imagine him being remotely competitive if the figure was literally 78%. Same goes for the 40% of Londoners who felt Ken would focus more on the poorest- they were from the 53% who felt Ken was biased to certain groups, meaning about 21% think Ken would focus heavily on the poorest and ethnic minorities (and then further bear in mind that middle-class respondents saying that don’t neccesarily mean it as a good thing).

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Derek, in reply to you below but the box got too thin,

    we have a blended 17% improvement in the 9 measures of clinical effectiveness we are assessed upon (those measure time and inputs, not directly costs), and have turned a £227,000 overspend into a £94,200 underspend in the last year.  Within those figures, I have increased budgetary provision for training and managed to get 1.2 additional full-time nursing staff, and upgraded the BOx monitors, which I believe to be the single most effective pieces of equipment in a modern A&E ward.  Our waiting times are reduced, largely due to the additional nurse provision in the evening shifts by reducing early morning manning.  This is all easy, and obvious changes that take little management.  What is more personally heartening is that we now have people wanting to join the department of all grades.  I have also made a policy that means new staff have to undergo a specific CEM course, which for nursing grades gives additional pay and is therefore popular, but easily controlled within the overall budget.

    This takes me a couple of hours per day to manage which is in addition to my clinical duties.  It seems to me to be a better system than under performing and coming in over budget when we had an administrator who frankly did not know, or care about practical efficiencies.  At the very great risk of over-extending my departmental experience to the huge organisation that is the NHS, it seems to me to illustrate the benefits of putting people in charge of decisions who can see the benefits of doing things to a clinical priority rather than an administrative priority.

    • derek

      How could I possibly challenge that? I hope I’m wrong but I feel there is some kind of marked change in health issue, heart and lung issues seem to be on the rise? really I’ve no idea if it’s related to climate or something else but I think it’s happening so budget do and will continued to be reviewed and change.

      You seem well suited to the challenge of efficient workings and is such an additional weight on staff members going to back fire in the long run? when a patient arrives will a life threatening illness surely there’s only one focus, having additional cost burdens or practices might result in a failure to administer the saving goal?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas


        you don’t know how it works – no criticism at all, why should you?

        All shifts are covered by a Registrar (i.e. fairly experienced A&E doctor, several years of experience).  In addition, and depending on time of day, there are 2-3 slightly more junior House Officers (i.e. junior Doctors who have done specialist courses in Emergency Medicine).  Plus we have specialist nursing teams who love to boss the House Officers about and to tell them which end of a piece of equipment is connected to which other end of another piece of equipment.  Loads of experience there.

        My role is to manage all of this, to fight for budget, to mentor professional development, to make sure the nurses stop one inch short of making clinical decisions they should not but have the self-confidence to think matters through and make decisions they should make, to take the House Officers into my office in private and give them 1000% of my opinion on their professional capabilities (good or bad), and as often as I can, get stuck in with helping the breathing or stopping the bleeding.  I’ll quite often do a nurse’s role if nothing else more interesting is going on, and watch my House Officers to see how they cope, and give them a debrief afterwards.  I try to bring the Registrars into the decision making functions, as I hope that all will run their own A&E in the years to come.  There are a few clinical decisions only I am authorised to take, but not that many.

        It is not at all one way.  I like the 360 degree assessment model, and encourage it.  I have one particular senior Charge Nurse who very much keeps me on my toes.  She and I had an argument last week, and she was right.  I don’t want my nurses to think they work in a doctor hierarchy – they have their say.

  • AlanGiles

    This doesn’t just affect London, sadly it affects the whole country, but as the cost of living is so high in London this is food for thought:


LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends