Is this the most absurd opinion poll question of all time?

YouGov bosses should hang their heads in shame.

The YouGov poll for yesterday's Sunday Times included this ridiculous question:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

The government could save billions of pounds by eliminating unnecessary "non-jobs" in the public sector.

Agree 85

Disagree 6

Don't know 9

Can you imagine a more loaded phrase than "unnecessary 'non-jobs' in the public sector"? I'm amazed that even 6 per cent disagreed. I mean, they might as well have asked people: "Do you agree with the state paying people to do nothing?" It would have elicited the same response.


Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.