The Spectator

Barometer | 23 April 2015

Plus: Scotland’s budget deficit, high pay at charities and the facts about postal votes

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Any answers?

Nigel Farage accused the audience in the BBC opposition leaders’ debate of being left-wing. Need insulting an audience destroy a political career?

— Former US Vice President Dan Quayle did it on a number of occasions, telling an audience of American Samoans in 1989: ‘You all look like happy campers to me.’ Two years later he upset the American Bar Association by asking: ‘Does America really need 70% of the world’s lawyers?’

— Current US Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd in Wisconsin in 2010: ‘You’re the dullest audience I’ve ever spoken to.’

— Nigel Farage has done it before. In December he said to Russell Brand of a heckler in a Question Time audience: ‘These are your voters … lovely people’.

Scottish prudence

Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted an end to austerity. How is the SNP getting on with balancing the books in Scotland?

— In 2013/14 public expenditure in Scotland was £66.4bn£12,500 a head.

— Onshore revenue was £50bn, or £9,400 a head. With a geographical share of North Sea revenue, it reaches £54bn.

— Excluding North Sea revenue, Scotland’s deficit was 12.2% of GDP. With this included, it falls to 8.1% of GDP.

— The budget deficit for the UK as a whole was 5.6% of GDP.

Source: Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland

Charity begins at home

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of the Anchor Trust housing association, was revealed to have been paid £420,000 last year. Four charities who pay more:


London Clinic


Nuffield Health


Wellcome Trust


Royal Opera House



Going postal

Postal votes for the general election went out. Who votes by post?

In 2010, 7 million people (15.3% of the overall total) voted by post.

Highest percentage: 40.6%, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne North.

Lowest: 5.9%, in Hull North.

— Groups more likely to vote by post than in person: 18-24-year-olds, over-65s, lone parents, unemployed people.

— Less likely: professionals, managers, owner-occupiers, graduates, non-white people.

Source: Electoral Commission