Party conference season is sometimes a period of volatile polling – each party typically gets its own week of media coverage which, if all goes well, they’ll use for some positive announcements. This year it also immediately followed the Salzburg summit and Theresa May’s Brexit statement that followed. Below are the voting intention polls since my last update.

YouGov (18-19th) – CON 40%, LAB 36%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 5% (tabs)
Opinium (18-20th Sep) – CON 37%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8% (tabs)
BMG (21st-22nd Sep) – CON 38%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 4% (tabs)
ICM (21st-24th Sep) – CON 41%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 4% (tabs)
YouGov (24-25th Sep) – CON 42%, LAB 36%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 4% (tabs)
ComRes (26-27th Sep) – CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 5% (tabs)
Opinium (26-28th Sep) – CON 39%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6% (tabs)
BMG (28-29th Sep) – CON 35%, LAB 40%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 5%

They are a mixed bunch – the YouGov poll showing a six point Tory lead got some attention, and I’m sure the BMG poll out this morning showing a five point Labour lead will do much the same. As ever, it’s wrong to pay too much attention to outliers. Normal sample variation means that if the underlying average is a Tory lead of a point or two, random noise will occassionally spit out a 6 point Tory lead or a small Labour lead, without it actually signifying anything. Collectively recent polls don’t suggest a clear impact on voting intention from either the Salzburg statement (while YouGov showed a larger Tory lead, ICM did not), or from the Labour party conference (while BMG show an increased Labour lead, Opinium showed the opposite).

1,527 Responses to “Latest voting intentions”

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  1. “Personally, I would have preferred a proper graduate tax, which would have been levied at a lower rate because the very high earners would have paid back their tuition fees several times over, or funding through general taxation (as I was) but that boat has sailed now.”


    It’s an incentive to leave though. And if people earn more, they will pay more tax anyway. If their degree doesn’t mean they earn more, maybe don’t tax them extra. Also, having cheap or free fees can attract foreign students, from whom one can select the higher performers.

  2. @ LL – student loans.

    The current model is fundamentally flawed in so many ways: moral hazard (initially and in regards to not seeking a higher paid job); dodgy accounting; selling on the debt on the cheap; etc.

    I can’t see CON having the “creativity” for a major change but Hammond’s spreadsheet trick in the Spring was a disaster – from a political and accounting perspective!

    Roughly the cost of the current system is 5bn/year (44% “student subsidy” due to the high “write-off” component). However, if you apply some spreadsheet tricks then lowering the interest rate also lowers the “write-off” component (ie zero cost in present or future terms and possibly a modest vote winner – or at least generate a few LAB abstainers)

    It’s a tiny measure but we are talking about Hammond and he loves playing with spreadsheets!

    IFS have done several excellent pieces:
    “Murky World of student loans and the fiscal illusion”
    Longer piece on the “numbers”, assumptions, etc

    @ CARFREW – Well Japan is certainly not at risk of hyper inflation :<

    Since 1989 when the Japan housing and stock market bubbles burst they have faced the "black hole" of debt deflation and hence trying to achieve inflation is a desired goal!

    Their high current account surplus has been buying them time for decades but the debt is still mounting up. The MMT lot got on the band wagon with Abe who went back to high deficit spending – let's just call it was it is!

    So let's consider, 2018 rough numbers:

    Debt/GDP 240%

    Budget Deficit 4.5%
    Which is "buying" them growth of around 1.2%
    (and loading up ever more debt)

    Interest rates are near zero yet they still spend over 20% of all govt expenditure on debt servicing!

    Japan's solution is not MMT – that is making the problem worse. The Japanese know about the demographic time bomb and have a very high saving rate. As yields on long-term bonds dropped they saved even more, that generates a -ve multiplier effect that academics will tell you is mathematically impossible!!

    If saving rates were not so low, they wouldn't have to save so much. BoJ-MoF have basically turbo charged the "paradox of thrift".

    Raising the retirement age even further will help but IMHO they have to undo the "paradox of thrift" at source not use the MMT route of trying to "fight back" with govt doing the spending (and building up a massive amount of debt). It just creates a vicious circle.

    TW plan (very unpopular with the academic folks and MoF)!!
    1/ Gently let the yield curve normalise (ie end QE, MMT), 30y bond rate target of say 2% by 2020, rising to say 3% by 2022. Secondary market only due to..
    2/ Keep short-term rates at 0%, roll over all govt debt at the front-end (3mth t-bill is -0.3%). Don't issue any "interest bearing" debt (ie stop primary issuance of anything longer than 1y)
    3/ Tackle some of the "cultural issues" around excessive saving, encouraging retirement "off-shore", etc.
    4/ If that all fails then default on your own pensioners, raise retirement age to the day you die, etc until that "works" (very much a last resort but we are in the realms of last resorts and the "boomers" have had it too good for too long anyway!)

  3. A good piece on “fixing” supply side of housing:

    It covers the legislation aspect, comes up with a 9bn/yr number to make it sound sexy, etc. It’s a bit of an old piece but Hammond has been a bit deaf – let’s hope he is finally listening.

    IMHO this is more a bit more realistic as a CON policy than ALEC’s suggestion. I did like ALEC’s idea but even this idea is really pushing the limits for “Post ne0liberal” CON. It would also make a good first step, is easily adjustable, etc. The bigger issue we’re going to have is finding builders to build houses – for that meet SAM, the bricklaying robot:

  4. @Millie – thankyou. Very funny.

    @Carfrew – you’re probably correct. Anything is possible, and technology is developing all the time. Certainly if we had a Corbyn led government that fully recognised the environmental threat and didn’t have hangs ups about nationalising the national grid, then all sorts of things could happen.

    What I would say, however, is that I believe the idea of massed individual household systems to smooth demand/generate/store and re export is highly unlikely to be the best and most efficient option for communities, although I expect it would be a more profitable option for the companies selling the technology.

    My main interest here for twenty years has been to maximise the community benefit from renewables/new technologies. The simplest way to do this (happening already) is often to use community share schemes or similar to allow community investment in larger scale and more efficient megawatt scale instalations (wind & PV farms, battery aggregators etc).

    This is more cost effective in terms of £/kW anyway (and always will be, almost certainly) but also circumvents many of the social issues around the idea of collaboration between multiple households acting in a concerted manner in the energy market.

    For example, the best contract prices for energy will always be for guaranteed supplies, which can be achieved through large scale schemes. For household schemes to bank the higher returns would mean householders need to hand over control of their domestic systems (many don’t like doing this) and householders would need to sign legal contract agreements. Apart from the cost, questions like how do you stop huseholders tnkering with their systems and screwing up the settings, what happens when someone wants to sell and move, how do mortgage companies deal with contract obligations left in place in a property etc etc.

    Sigle site large community projects are not only cheaper, most cost effective and easier to manage, so offering superior investment returns, but they also avoid all these troublesome issues.

    That’s not to say your ideas won’t come to pass at some level and have some benefit for individual householders. In terms of net community gain however, I’m pretty sure that investing in bigger schemes will be more effective.

  5. It seems to me that there’s an awful selfish streak in a lot of my fellow English people.

    They don’t want to help the developing world with foreign aid.
    They don’t want to give money to the EU to help develop backward areas of the Continent
    They don’t want their tax money going over the border to Scotland, and presumably Wales and NI too.
    They want the lowest taxes possible so even the disadvantaged English can go hang.

    Presumably their answer to everything is ‘pull your socks up’ and somehow everything will be better.

  6. and another way to “help” the supply side of housing and proof of no patent on good ideas!

    Switch rent-seekers for home owners!

    ““good landlord” tax break rewarding investors who sell properties to tenants”

    Now that idea has CON VI written all over it (get quite a few LDEM VI to switch to CON as well!) – I only wish I’d thought of it first – oh ;)

    [Disclaimer: I do own some buy-to-lets, bought ’em in the mid-late 1990s (one was buying a relative out of negative equity from the early 1990s property crash). I’d be very happy to sell but the capital gains hit and lack of other “safe, high yield” investments options is stopping me. If long-term gilt yields were more attractive and the capital gains tax bill wasn’t so big then I reckon a lot of existing supply would come on to the market. I don’t own a “2nd UK home” but I reckon a “carrot and stick” approach their might free up a bunch of existing supply as well – CON have gently prodded with the “stick” side but a bit/lot more of that along with the “carrot” of a lower tax hit to exit would IMHO be a good idea!]

  7. @Trever Warne – “IMHO this is more a bit more realistic as a CON policy than ALEC’s suggestion.”

    It’s pretty much exactly the same suggestion in principle, with the difference being that the planning uplift is pocketed by local authorities to pay for infrastructure development.

    Probably somewhere half way between the two would ideal, but still with CLT’s up there in the mix.

  8. @TW

    The Civitas report is not very helpful – it simply conducts a ‘what if’ exercise, and does not put forward anything close to a workable solution.

    Whilst we certainly need to build a lot of houses, things are not quite as bad as we thought: declining divorce rates in particular, plus a modest decline in net immigration, means that housing need is not quite as high as previously estimated.

    As for the Great Battery Debate, I have found it most interesting, despite not understanding any of it. But can anyone tell me who won??

    Some polling would help…

  9. It is looking like the negotiations are not going to finish next week. That means Parliament rejecting a deal is postponed till after November 18th, the next summit date.

    If that leads to a general election, the campaign will run over Christmas (it has to be 25 working days now). I don’t think that has ever happened before. Polling could be very unpredictable!


    These two most recent polls (Opinium and BMG (See below) are of value in the sense that they reflect what’s been happening since the turbulence of the Conference season has started to settle down.

    Following the Lib Dem Conference, there was surge in Lib Dem support (bizarrely at the expense of UKIP). According to some ‘expert ‘commentators this meant that the Lib Dems were on their way back.

    I commented at the time that some of these so called ‘swing voters’ who say these things to pollsters are politically insane, and just say they’re going vote for anyone who offers the easy answers that particular week,

    It’s not uncommon for people to switch between UKIP and the Lib Dems, and back again. In Wales large number of people, (mostly in Labour areas) gyrate back and forth between Plaid Cymru and UKIP!

    About a third of Plaid Cymru voters voted ‘Leave ‘and nearly half of them, are against having an Independent Wales?

    Following the Labour Conference there was a surge in Labour support. Some ‘expert’ concluded that Corbyn was on his way to Number 10.

    Only a few days after the Tory Conference, the polls seem to be reverting back close to where they were before the conferences.

    Given that Labour supposedly had a fantastic conference, and there were dark forebodings in advance of the Tory one, that Mrs May might even be booed, she can. so far, look upon these as good news.

    I suggest however that readers wait for (say) three more, especially the YOU/GOV.

    October 5th 2018
    CON 38% (+3), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 10%(-2), UKIP 4%(+1).

    October 6th 2018

    CON 39% (+3), LAB 39% (nc), LDEM 7% (-2), UKIP 6%(+1).

    “It seems to me that there’s an awful selfish streak in a lot of my fellow English people.
    They don’t want to help the developing world with foreign aid…”

    Oh I know… they’re so so selfish, the English.

    Not as selfish as the Irish though, who only give about half as much, or the French or the Germans or the Italians, the Americans, the Spanish…. whose governments all give far less of their GNI in aid. Exponentially less.

    Government aid aside, private donations from U.K. citizens are higher as a proportion of GNI than any other European country, and the fourth highest in the world.

    Seeing how selfish the English are, the Scots and the Welch must be giving away every penny they earn to get a result like test :)

  12. (Welsh)

  13. DC
    You miss my point, all of the list I wrote are things that it seems most English people want and are elements of the policies they’ve voted for recently. Forget what we do or have done in the past and let’s not muddy things with what other countries do or do not do. What I stated appears to show that the English are becoming more selfish, more self obsessed, less willing to contribute for the good of others.

  14. MILLIE

    “As for the Great Battery Debate, I have found it most interesting, despite not understanding any of it. But can anyone tell me who won??

    Some polling would help…”

    I think they are both going down for assault and battery,

  15. At the moment, there are only two scenarios where Brexit will actually happen:

    1. New election – Tories win – obviously without May.

    2. EU decide that they don’t want us back just yet – want to prolong the agony in the “transition period” – get to a point where the UK is begging to come back.

    Pro-EU Tories now getting ready to vote down anything that isn’t Brexit in Name Only. Which is only a stepping stone to saying “what’s the point?”

    I think I got your point.


    Plaid Cymru voters who say they are against Welsh independence is not as contradictory as it might seem. Plenty will have grown up in areas of Wales where the only electoral question has ever been the identity of the candidate Labour will pick this time, and if they get disillusioned then Plaid would be a natural socialist alternative.

    It’s also coherent to be a Welsh nationalist in the sense of wanting a much stronger Welsh identity and presence within the UK, and again Plaid would be a natural home for such people given how London-centric the other parties are.

  18. @ JOSEPH1832

    You say an election “obviously without May” – but is it really a given? If it becomes clear that Brexit is deadlocked in the current House of Commons and she decides an election is unavoidable, why would she necessarily not lead the Tories into it?

  19. SteamdrivenAndy
    “What I stated appears to show that the English are becoming more selfish, more self obsessed, less willing to contribute for the good of others.”

    I think that actually the English are becoming more aware of how foreign aid is spent, and are suspicious that a lot of it is virtual bribery and ends up in the pockets of corrupt governments. More transparency on how it is spent might help to dispel that notion (or reinforce it).
    “Pro-EU Tories now getting ready to vote down anything that isn’t Brexit in Name Only.”

    If they do, they will be crucified at the next GE.

  20. Seems like the only way for Brexit to happen, is to not have a real Brexit before April 2019 !

    UK stays in customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland also has EU single market rules applied.

    If this is so, red lines abandoned to get Brexit through Parliament with Labour help. Tory party splits are ignored, with promise to negotiate further changes from April 2019, so that UK moves towards a more independent position at a later date.

    I can see most Tory MP’s accept such a compromise.

  21. Trevor Warne,
    “We have a trade surplus with rWorld and UK’s exports to rWorld are growing a lot faster than EU exports ”

    You mean, the Uk will be much more exposed to international expanding competition? yesterday’s news said something about the Chinese economy doubling in ten years? That means they will be looking to sell us more than twice as much stuff at prices lower than we can make it? Our trade deficit with them will double?

    ” I could write a piece on “Abecomics” but let’s hear it from the loony left instead. Since you’re in the “cult” of MMT”

    Gosh trevor, dont know what abecomics or MMT are! Nor do I know who the looney left are in Uk politics. Ken Clarke, would you mean?

    Electricity gridders,
    ” I am talking about a scenario where a community scheme might be allowed to take control of their bit of the grid”

    I take it the 4KW limit on feed in is designed to prevent imbalance on different phases of the supply system. For national transmission, the power flowing on each of three phases needs to be kept within small tolerances, because on a big scale that is how the generating system creates power. A big generator would blow up if only loaded on two phases, I’d guess because of physical stresses in the machinery rather than because it is electrically impossible.

    But just as in designing household supply an engineer is allowed to have many circuits which in theory could overload the system if all were on at once, the more households are supplying the grid, the less likely it is that an actual imbalance will occur. If everyone was supplying 20KW then phasing errors would take care of themselves. Its when a few people want to do it, it would be more of a probelm. If we get to the stage everyone is supplying the grid, the limits mght be able to be relaxed.

    It might be that if you have an agreement with your neighbours on two other phases to each match their feed in, then even now you could collectively have a deal to supply more without other physical changes.

    The question is, if households are supplying a big chunk of load, which commercially operating plant is ordered to close down and therefore stop making any money in the national interest?

  22. R Huckle,
    “If this is so, red lines abandoned to get Brexit through Parliament with Labour help. Tory party splits are ignored, with promise to negotiate further changes from April 2019, so that UK moves towards a more independent position at a later date.”

    So that would be a 2 year can kick, with no real solution in sight? Basically both the Norway outcome, and the rationale for the norway outcome, that there is no agreement for anything else?

    Problem is…I dont believe the EU would accept an unclear outcome. The Norway situation is a permanent solution untill Norway manages to make up its mind on being properly in or out. That is what the EU will be seeking. It wants the Uk to pick something and stick to it. What it does not want is renegotiation every year.

  23. Millie,
    “Alec and Carfrew have given us some excellent battery advice: Free of charge…”

    On the contrary, it is highly charged!

  24. Pete B

    ‘”“Pro-EU Tories now getting ready to vote down anything that isn’t Brexit in Name Only.”

    If they do, they will be crucified at the next GE.’

    Nice to kinow that some MPs put principle above self-interest then.

  25. Trevor Warne,
    “Scotland gets more than its fair share of govt spending – net +30 agree”

    But how would I answer that question? Does it get more per head than other places? yes. Is this fair because of other economic considerations? yes. Is this fair because of the negative impact on Scotland of union? yes

    In answering, should i reply to the literal question (per head), or the wider one (fair compensation of other disadvantages)? How many repondents answered one way, and how many the other?

    “I’d be interested, though, to see polling to establish how many would agree with a statement along the lines of, “nobody told us it would be this hard.”
    90% agree? (based on huge known majority for process being handled badly by british side)

    ” or funding through general taxation (as I was) but that boat has sailed now.”

    Not really. An acceptance of massive writeoffs is conceding that it is still funded through general taxation, so why bother with the admin?

  26. trevor Warne,
    “Interest rates are near zero yet they still spend over 20% of all govt expenditure on debt servicing!”

    Trying to research this, I see japan owns 1.2 trillion dollars of US debt. The situation has been essentially stable for 20 years. The population is shrinking, so growth to eliminate the deficit is virtually impossible. (cf Uk importing labour and the problems with that)

    FT article says almost all japanese government debt is owned by it own central bank or internal banks. Japan owes the money to itself. Japan is the worlds biggest international creditor.

    The conclusion seems to be -it works, so just live with it. Economits suggest slowly increasing taxes. The key would seem to be to increase taxes on the people owning the debt, so as to erode it. The sort of taxes on pensioners the tories got so much stick for in their last manifesto.

  27. Norbold,
    “‘”“Pro-EU Tories now getting ready to vote down anything that isn’t Brexit in Name Only.”

    If they do, they will be crucified at the next GE.’

    Nice to kinow that some MPs put principle above self-interest then.””

    Since they probably have pro brexit constituencies, why would they be crucified at the next election?

  28. @R&D – “I think they are both going down for assault and battery,”

    Well I can’t speak for @Carfrew, but I haven’t been charged yet….


    “However, withdrawal of DUP support for the government, with a clear indication that it would be renewed only under new leadership, may galvanise the Tories into action. They certainly won’t defenestrate May out of principle, but they would brush her aside like straw if they thought a general election would threaten their careers. All the DUP have to do is indicate that they are happy to serve under a new, Brexit-inclined Tory leader. Cynically, the Tories could also calculate they could deflect much of the so-called No Deal chaos that may ensue on to the DUP, saving their political skins – step forward Mr Johnson, this is your final chance, and it is now”

  30. @Danny – “I take it the 4KW limit on feed in is designed to prevent imbalance on different phases of the supply system.

    ……. the more households are supplying the grid, the less likely it is that an actual imbalance will occur. If everyone was supplying 20KW then phasing errors would take care of themselves.”

    Sorry, but that’s completely wrong. You can’t put anything onto the grid, at any level, unless it is strictly in synch with the grid.

    The national grid is a series of primary and local circuits, operating at progressively stepped voltages, and with the fundamental design brief to deliver power from central large generators through progressively lower voltage circuits to individual consumers. It is not designed to accept reverse flow, so specific assessments are required for every generation station to ensure that their output can be accepted onto that part of the grid without pushing the voltage outside the maximum allowance.

    It’s not actually about phasing. For domestic scale stuff, that’s all taken care of via a small scale inverter (or inverters) that will take battery/PV DC output at 24/48 volts and convert and synchronise this to DC 230V supply.

    My immediate locality gives a good demonstration of the issues. Our local circuit serves around 120 remote properties and is served by two 11kVa lines from two different intermediate circuits before connecting to the high voltage primary circuits around 20 miles away in each case.

    We are at the end of both lines, and as a result, the district network operator (DNO) has to up the line voltage to ensure sufficient power gets to the end of the system. We’ve already taken action against them because they were regularly running at excess voltage, which means consumers end up paying higher bills and risk motors in fridges etc burning out prematurely.

    One of the 11kVa lines already has a 400kW hydro and 130kW wind turbines feeding into it, and a minimum demand level of under 600kW. The other used to have a quarry running from it, with a periodically huge demand, but now there is virtually nothing else on the line, so the minimum demand is very low indeed.

    We’ve modeled the system, and found that anything more than 5kW of additional generation/battery release into the LV network around us would mean the voltages would locally start to break the limits.

    All the transformer taps are at capacity on both lines right the way back to the primary circuits. (These taps are how they step down the voltage progressively through the network. You can sometimes simply adjust these taps to allow for more generation,but only if there is sufficient capacity left on the taps).

    This means that if I wanted to say, add a 20kW PV and battery system onto the grid, I would have to pay to install a completely new supply line from the nearest primary circuit. This would involve 20 miles of new poles, cables, transformers, and a major rebuild of the substation connecting the local circuit to the primary circuit, as apparently there is no more sub station capacity to run another supply line.

    I’ve been told that the total cost of this is between £3m – £5m. this is at the extreme end of the kinds of problems the grid is facing in terms on new generation capacity, but is by no means unique.

  31. @RomaldOlden

    October 6th 2018

    CON 39% (+3), LAB 39% (nc), LDEM 7% (-2), UKIP 6%(+1).”

    Oh dear, Rolly my old son, there is a bit of fake news here, I think. You’ve got your +3% against the wrong party. It was the Tories who were unchanged and Labour up 3% on the last Opinium poll. In other words, completely the other way around from how you’ve presented it. Here’s what the Observer said about it in the article that accompanied the poll:-

    “Overall, the Conservatives and Labour emerge neck and neck in terms of public support at the end of the conference season, with both on 39%. The Tories are unchanged compared with a week ago while Labour has risen three points, having dropped to 36% immediately after its own conference in Liverpool, which closed on 26 September.”

    Now I know this is an easy mistake to make, confusing “Labour” with “Conservative”; we’ve all done it, such is the similarity between the two party names! And +3% is also very close to n/c too.

    Still, I thought I’d correct you so you didn’t confuse, nay misinform, your legions of admirers on here. It is a polling site, after all, and polling accuracy is sacrosanct as you well know.


  32. I suspect that the government try as hard as they can to ensure that foreign aid funds don’t go astray and that they don’t go towards projects and philosophies etc of which the UK does not approve. That means that sometimes it goes to recipients who will look more kindly on the UK in future. Is that bribery, soft diplomacy or sensible use of resources? There are some very blurred lines in amongst all that. Should we abandon the desparately needy just because some of the money ends up being misused?

  33. Some observations:

    Firstly All parties had a boost of sorts in conference season. May’s end of austerity lasted until PMQs when it became clear it was more jam tomorrow with a big if. Nothing really has changed in terms of the issues that surround Brexit and the lack of solution that will either win agreement from the EU or the UK parliament is still the problem.

    no matter what people believed on 23rd June 2016, not many people would want to start from here or indeed I believe would want to end here. What has surprised me is that poll whereby most leavers felt that nothing would change……I am not sure as to how anyone could have thought that whether you supported being in the EU or wanted out we were voting for fundamental change

    Regarding arguments about who get most money and why. I seem to remember back in the day the midlands was the power house of the UK economy, followed by a period when much of that wealth came from the North Sea (so Scotland) i don’t remember the English thinking we’re stealing those pesky Scots money, I don’t remember for example posters showing English leaders pick pocketing Scots as an example of our new and improved political discourse.

    As I constantly say, tribalism is the key item in UK politics not policy. May’s speech scratched the itch that many Tory supporters wanted scratched. it was an answer to Corbyn. I am hoping that Hammond’s budget last longer than 2 weeks (indeed his last budget was unspectacular and did not fail so he is 1 for 2, which I believe puts him ahead of Osborne) Since this appears to be the half life of anything in politics at the moment.

    I have also said in the past I blame us the voter. The politicians are salesmen selling us not policies but tribalism and the problem is we’re buying it. So we get the policies we deserve and the politicians than are pretty crap. Those that are considered thoughtful or policy driven are not what we want even if we want their policies.

    Part of me understands this cognitive dissonance, but I fear if we don’t get beyond it we are selling ourselves short. What is scary to me is that much of the positioning and statements even in forum is so tactical it is the concentration of the tactical when meant that we have no strategy.

    In one sense I feel sorry for May, When Corbyn won the leadership no one could say that he was not tested to destruction. Most people in the Labour party have accepted that for better or worst he is their leader and these are the policies. What I have found curious is that the moderates have not come up with an alternative view and indeed seem to have shrunk from the fight over policy. They are left with tactical, no strategy. It appears that the Tories have the same issue. Each and anytime a policy is displayed it is often at best amateurish and often just plain wrong. I can see why May and Corbyn are atop their respective parties the alternatives whilst they may sound better (especially in terms of the Labour party) pretty much have nothing to say. No strategy.

    Now brexit is panning out unfortunately like many predicted. Most pointed to EU history in many of these cases pretty much gives you their approach as a collective. One can argue if it is right or wrong, if it is fair or not but it is where we are or where we have been these past two years.

    My deep concern was not when and whether article 50 was triggered. I suspect it did not matter whether we waited 2 years or 2 minutes. We don’t have a common approach that would move the polls 60-40 one way or the other and would leave most MP thinking that they could vote for any of the options laid before them. 52-48 is cripplingly uncomfortable for a decision to make fundamental change and hence the prevarication.

    The point is for me if it all goes wrong, the electorate will hold the person holding the parcel and the MP know this since it is how they get to move voter their way.

    The TREVOR WARNE argument has always been to give the voter a tribal choice, Corbyn the remainer versus May the true BreLeaver it makes for a ding dong battle and it avoid nuance and really creates a tribal debate. That I suppose is why I think we’re pretty much screwed because I believe we problems we face are more complex more nuanced than we would like to acknowledge and we often sell ourselves a story which just leads to disappointment.

  34. CB11

    @”Oh dear, Rolly my old son, there is a bit of fake news here, I think. ”

    But not quite as deliberately fake as posting fictional poll results here.?

  35. Two polls on Britain Elects this morning:

    Britain Elects
    Britain Elects
    Scottish independence voting intention:

    Yes: 41% (-)
    No: 52% (-1)

    , 28 Sep – 04 Oct
    Chgs. w/ 13 Jun
    Britain Elects
    Britain Elects
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 41% (-1)
    LAB: 37% (+1)
    LDEM: 9% (-)
    UKIP: 4% (-1)

    , 08 – 09 Oct
    Chgs. w/ 01 Oct

  36. @ MILLIE – I thought the Civitas report went a lot further than most think tanks as they mentioned the legislation changes required (specifically repeal of Land Compensation Act 1961) and gave worked examples of the fiscal aspects, etc. However, it is a long way from a “White Paper” for sure.

    I also agree the housing crisis might not be as bad as thought, or at least not as bad as it’s made out! We need to be careful about overdoing a correction in the demand/supply imbalance. Deflating a bubble is v.tricky, it can rapidly turn into a crash and then turn into a vicious cycle via negative equity, collapse in consumer spending, etc (I’m a long time fan of Soros Threory of Reflexivity)

    IMHO one of the key priorities is to ensure public sector workers such as nurses, teachers are able to find affordable housing in the area in which they work. Building on the green belt is not the way to fix that particular aspect.

    IMHO a “single bullet” is not going to “solve” the housing issues we face. Instead we lots of targeted policies to address the specific problems and then an HMG that will implement them – would enough LAB MPs offset the v.likely CON MP backlash?

  37. @Alec

    It is widely recognised that the grant of planning permission can bring a huge windfall to the landowner. Rightly, people look at this massive increase in value and expect it to be taxed.

    But it is. The landowner will have to make substantial contributions to things like education and infrastructure, and will be required to make a ( often large ) CIL payment. Then there are affordable components and, frequently, ‘sweeteners’ offered as tempting extras to secure a consent.

    What is also normally forgotten is that a significant investment of time and money is required in order to get a consent. Many commentators think things are like they were twenty years ago, where a landowner could fill in a relatively simple form in triplicate ( four times actually, but I am not sure of the word ) and pay a small fee, and be rewarded by an outline permission.

    That is no longer the case: outline applications require almost as much input as detailed, so are effectively pointless these days. I will not list the amount of information that is required today, but it is very substantial, and professional assistance is normally essential.

    So an application for a single plot might well require an investment of £20,000. The chance of success might be 50/50 as no single plot will have a Local Plan allocation.

    Then there is local opposition to deal with. And it is often very hostile.

    Constructing a fair tax to accommodate these circumstances is not easy. And it runs the risk of discouraging applications, which is not wanted at the moment.

    As Garj has pointed out, its not that simple!

  38. Little change from YG

    CON: 41% (-1)
    LAB: 37% (+1)
    LDEM: 9% (-)
    UKIP: 4% (-1)

    via @YouGov, 08 – 09 Oct
    Chgs. w/ 01 Oct

  39. @Sam – One of the interesting polling questions that seems as yet unresolved is the question of what happens to Con VI if they are seen to be dancing to the DUP’s fiddle.

    The 2015 GE was dominated by a well worked Con campaign which presented the prospect of a Milliband government in hoc to the Scottish nationalists. This was a persistent and effective message that I believe had a strong bearing on persuading people to back Cameron. I have read some claims that this was instrumental in pushing Lib Dem voters to Con, and was play very strongly by Con online campaigns that specifically targeted Lib Dem voters in places like the SW of England.

    No doubt there will be some debate about the impact of this element of the 2015 campaign, but the Conservative Party certainly thought it was worth majoring on at the time.

    If the DUP effectively enforce an unelected PM onto the entire country, how will voters react? DUP policies in general are not favoured by the centre left, and it would be hard work for Cons to start arguing about an SNP dominated Lab coalition at the next GE if they have just collapsed in the face of 10 DUP MP’s.

    My suspicion is that this might look to be an appealing option to hard line Brexit MPs sitting in the sheltered confines of the Palace of Westminster, but they may be shocked to find something of a doorstep backlash out here in the real world if the country is forced to accept yet another unelected PM, especially if the choice has been forced by a tiny minority group that many view as backward, bigoted and corrupt.

  40. @Trevor Warne – “IMHO a “single bullet” is not going to “solve” the housing issues we face.”

    Very much agreed. Civitas and others have identified one very significant way that actual build costs for new builds could be brought down, but without other measures (more building, demand reduction, Community Land Trusts) values would simply return to market rates if this were to be done in isolation.

    One other idea that has a great deal of merit is the New Zealand solution of banning overseas ownership of new properties. This is of huge significance in London, where the proportion of new build ‘affordable’ flats bought off plan by investors from Singapore etc (and often left empty as the capital uplift is sufficient for them) is striking. Simply banning this kind of investment would release thousands of properties instantly.

    @Millie – I was interested in your idea of slightly reduced housing demand due to a reduction in divorces. I’m not claiming this to be a fact, but I have a suspicion that the ‘real’ divorce pressures haven’t changed that much, but have instead been hidden by the house price crisis.

    I’ve seen evidence previously (that I can’t find now I’m afraid) that more people get divorced if living costs are lower, tending to stay together in bad relationships when the cost of separate living is too high.

    It may be that the squeeze on living standards for the last decade is acting as a brake on divorce, but this would be released if the housing market was properly reformed.

    It’s just a thought though – not a definite prediction.

  41. MILLIE

    “…a landowner could fill in a relatively simple form in triplicate ( four times actually, but I am not sure of the word ) ”

    In duplicate twice is the proper expression I think.

  42. @ HAL – The can could well be kicked until 21Jan’19. With no majority in HoC for any Brexit outcome, my guess is HoC will force May back to try to renegotiate (which won’t achieve anything other than wasting more precious time)

    Whether May steps down or is forced out at the point of the 1st Meaningful vote is TBA but you make a good point about the Xmas period.

    @ DANNY – You almost hit the nail on the head with your last sentence abut Japan:

    “The key would seem to be to increase taxes on the people owning the debt, so as to erode it. The sort of taxes on pensioners the tories got so much stick for in their last manifesto.”

    In my post I said the “last resort” was to “default on your own pensioners”. A tax of pension income (ie the people who own Japanese govt debt) wouldn’t erode the debt but it would achieve a similar outcome in principle but IMHO would only encourage working age Japanese to save more – excessive saving being the root of their problems. By “default” I meant a partial default (eg shave of 20% from the principal) and it would have to be combined with a huge hike in retirement age. However, they achieve it though the “can kicking” is going to have to end at some point. Funding tiny growth with large budget deficits just makes the problem bigger and the eventual “fix” all the more painful.

    However, regarding the UK. Then Yes, May totally messed up the “PR” of her “boomer taxes”. LDEM and LAB killed off the “triple punch to boomers” and no one is going to mess with the “grey vote” now.

    Japan is very different to UK but the whole developed World faces the issue of an ageing population and associated problem of older people not wanting to vote for policies that will hurt them.

    If you want to see some v.scary projections for UK debt then open attached and go to Chart2 on p12.

    UK is a decade or two behind Japan – we still have time to “fix the roof while the sun is shining”. Getting robots to do the “rubbish” (ie low productivity) jobs and upskilling UK native workforce is how I’d like UK to “fix the roof”.

    [Regarding who owns US debt then that is a very dangerous side effect of the decades of current account imbalances and $ as the global currency – unwinding that gently is not going to be easy. Since a vast amount of US debt is foreign owned then a future US president (possibly even a 2nd term Trump!) could decide to default on its own debt, fix the domestic consequences and “hey presto” – China, Japan, etc totally screwed but plurality of US voters wouldn’t mind that. I think we’re a long way from that and hope the trade imbalances are solved with this mini trade spat – ramping that up to the “nuclear option” of default would be v.v.v.v.ugly]

  43. @Alec

    Thanks for your response. One can see the attraction of community shares to invest in larger scale schemes.

    However, if local generation keeps increasing in efficiency, at some point it may ALSO be attractive to leverage that to get cheaper energy to charge your car, run your business, mine some more cryptocurrency, build another house on your spare bit of land using 3D printing etc.

    People may decide it’s not an either/or, they may want both.

    When it comes to stopping people messing with settings etc., there may be remote sensing and so forth, or maybe there’s an approach where people own a part of a separate local facility, which is monitored to avoid tampering.

    (Or maybe, they run their own panels, but use the car to drive down the road and just dump the surplus into a community battery, for uses the community agrees. Community business maybe, leveraging the cheap energy behind selling it back to the grid. Then you don’t have to worry about settings. There are so many out-the-box possibilities with this stuff).

    Obviously I am not guaranteeing it’ll happen. I think there are pressures for it, but like you say, pressures against. That’s what makes it interesting.

    It’s about exploring the terrain, piecing things together. Career-wise, I’m sure you know, when you can see a trend before others, you can benefit. Or even shape things. But by the same token, one can obviously misread the trends. That’s one reason why I like to discuss them, get other opinions. It’s been a useful exchange, and given me a few ideas, so thanks for the info. Alec!

  44. Alec: One other idea that has a great deal of merit is the New Zealand solution of banning overseas ownership of new properties.

    I read recently, in connection with the ‘unexplained wealth’ case, that a total of £90bn in dirty money has flowed into the UK, much of it invested in property. I don’t recall the source of the estimate, or the time frame.

    That is a staggering sum, and must surely have had a major influence not just on the UK property market, but at a macroeconomic level, too.

    If the promised tighter policing of dirty money flows is effective (and that’s a very big if), then any big reduction in this inward capital flow (or even a reversal) just as brexit kicks in, could presumably be very significant.

  45. @Trevor W

    Re: Japan

    Naturally one is aware of the deflation in Japan, and the difficulty in solving that, but it’s one of the things that has slipped off the radar rather, so I don’t have a view on what might be the best course of action to take, and it was interesting reading your prescription.

    Some argue that having more wage growth would help. Despite having growth, and despite demand for labour given not enough younger folk, wages have been fairly stagnant. Corporates hoovering up again.

  46. The first use of an Unexplained Wealth Order going through the Court currently is to be applauded. The display of spending power in Harrods is a grotesque insult to UK citizens. We will see whether the London property involved is seized under this legislation. ( I believe funds released in these cases must be returned to those from who they were “stolen”-a difficult task one imagines-and no gain to UK Treasury)

    I am unconvinced that stopping the deployment of large sums of money from a foreign/unexplained source to buy a handful of large houses in The Capital is going to cause lower prices in the housing market across the Capital.

    It will be a very good thing to do for other reasons.

  47. @ MILLIE – No one is saying change will be easy!

    However, May has made a personal promise to “fix the housing crisis” and the UK electorate will judge her on her success or failure – as they rightly should.

  48. “I bought some batteries, but they weren’t included”

    (Steve Wright)

  49. As the FTSE heads south, the concerns over the impending end to era of Funny Money gather pace.

    Andy Haldane’s ( BoE) statement at an ACAS Conference that ““ there is more compelling evidence of a new dawn breaking for pay growth, albeit with the light filtering through only slowly,” adds to thoughts of inflationary rises & interest rate hikes in UK.

    The Fed’s winding down of US QE & steady hiking of interest rates has seenUS 10 year Treasury yields increase to a 7 year high.

    The G reports analyst comments -which have a common theme :-

    .Charles Ripley, senior strategist at Allianz Investment Management, blames the prospect of higher interest rates:

    “Today’s equity selloff is a reaction from investors finally realizing we are in a higher interest-rate environment, and given the elevated level of stocks, market participants were likely looking for a reason to sell.

    Steven Friedman, senior economist at BNP Paribas Asset Management, points to recent falls in the value of US government debt (or Treasury Bills). That has pushed up the yield on these bonds – a sign that investors expect inflation and interest rates to rise

    The rise in Treasury yields has been the primary catalyst for the sell-off in equities, since higher yields suggest a lower present value of future dividend streams, assuming an unchanged economic outlook.

    David Madden of CMC Markets says:

    The prospect of higher interest rates has left trader worried, as it means higher borrowing costs for companies and individuals. Homebuilders are under pressure as mortgage rates are likely to increase. Retailers are suffering for the same reason.

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