Daily catch-up: ‘Ed Miliband goes to Waitrose with his Lidl bag-for-life’, say focus groups

All you need to know, including the history of ‘mistakes were made’, and other ancient mysteries

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The Independent Online

1. The Ring o’Brodgar, Orkney. Matthew Ward says it “was old when the pyramids were young”, which is a bit of romantic licence as it was probably built (2000-2500 BC) after the Great Pyramid (2560 BC).

2. Four opinion polls published yesterday. The May2015.com five-day average, which is published on The Independent website, is hardly changed, showing a Labour lead of 0.3 points.

As well as his national poll, Michael Ashcroft publishes the summaries of focus groups. This week the groups were asked about the row over HSBC and tax avoidance:

“For our groups, the ongoing rows about HSBC, tax avoidance and political donors had melded into a single shapeless story (‘there was the guy with the Swiss bank account who hadn’t paid tax for twenty years but they didn’t prosecute. Wasn’t it the Boots man?’). They had not found any of it very edifying but neither was it very surprising, and our participants did not think of it as a party political question, let alone a decisive election issue: ‘There are so many ways of dodging tax – invest in a film, buy a forest, it’s been going on for decades. You go to your accountant and say “I don’t want to pay any tax” and he’ll come back and say “OK, invest in this and this.” Did Labour really change it in the thirteen years they were in government?’”

The groups were also asked which supermarket the party leaders would be:

“Nigel Farage would be Aldi: ‘You know what you’re getting. Down to earth. Anyone can shop there.’ Nick Clegg would be the Co-op, with ‘all its nice fair trade values’ (if this sounds like a compliment, the tone of voice suggested it was not intended as one). David Cameron would inevitably be Waitrose, but ‘pretending to be Sainsbury’s’. Ed Miliband, by the same token, would ‘go to Waitrose but with his Lidl bag-for-life to carry round afterwards’.”

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3. This from last week on the history of “mistakes were made”, by James Fallows at The Atlantic, is quite dry.

4. Strangely fascinating chart of the highs and lows of US presidential approval ratings since Eisenhower, from the Pew Research Center, via Ian Bremmer. George W Bush’s low is lower than Nixon’s, but his high is higher than anyone except his father’s.

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5. Moose Allain has been practising for a job interview:

“So what do you think you would bring to the job?”

“Erm, probably just my manbag, some sweets. Maybe a packed lunch. Oh, my favourite pen!”

6. And finally, thanks to Kit Marsden for this, via Tom Doran:

“A gravy train is made from rolling stock.”

And to Eliot Andersen, who asked:

“Would that be a jus-jus train?”

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