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. Of course, the different sample sizes probably account for the different standard deviations.

  2. Oh dear, another TOH day coming up, I fear.

    Get your tin hats at the ready.

  3. Somerjohn
    You quioted a song
    “How far I am from the land where I was born!
    Immense nostalgia overwhelms my thoughts:
    to see myself as alone and sad as a leaf in the wind,
    I want to cry, I want to die of heartbreak.”

    The obvious answer to which is – no-one’s stopping you going back there.
    —————————-
    Hal
    “I’m sticking with my odds (from weeks ago, in response to Charles):

    May’s deal: 10%
    No deal: 40%
    Remain: 50%

    the last two being after another referendum.!”

    There ain’t gonna be another referendum. My odds would be

    May’s (as yet unknown) deal: 50%
    No deal 50%
    Remain 0%
    ———————————
    CMJ
    Thanks for those latest graphs. Very interesting. I’m genuinely interested to know whether you have records from around the 2017 election that showed the late surge in Labour votes?

  4. Somerjohn

    Thanks.

    I really doubt that education (and BBC is part of it, even if not particularly great in some aspects of this function) is an issue. If you look at the polling in Eastern Europe you see that yes, there is support for the EU, and so on, but actually it would be easy to dilute it, and I think it would be the same in most West-European countries. The point of the Brexit propaganda was no-value (fudging beliefs) on most points, and odd appeals to instincts.

    It was really an uprising against the status quo (one shouldn’t forget people taking their own pen to the booths). As in most cases of these sorts of uprisings the question wasn’t cost-benefit – it was simply the the narrative. And the fairy tale won.

    There was actually nobody who talked to these people. The remain talked (successfully) to the metropolitan people (I said successfully, but with a turnout similar to Sunderland in metropolitan areas Remain would have won).

    The Left got bogged down with some undefined assumptions (I don’t have the time to write it up right now) became the ally of the ultra-right- the governing force of Brexit (and hence various Brexit fractions (and there were many of them) lined up behind the extreme right).

    When it comes to social beliefs it isn’t the TV channel that dictates the values, but the experiences as a full (not the foreigners, not the EU directives and so on, although they help in the reinforcement of the belief), but one’s life, position, needs as a seemingly unstructured reality.

    The surprise is that Remain got 48%. The tragedy is that most of the 52% will suffer.

  5. Jones in Bangor

    You want “an outcome focused system that delivers for the environment, localised and ethical farming and wildlife.” – and all that without any bureaucracy to ensure that it happens?

    You aren’t a “revolutionary” but an inhabitant of Erehwon.

    Since the earliest days of humanity, the prime task of leaders has been to ensure sufficient food for their people.

  6. “The surprise is that Remain got 48%. The tragedy is that most of the 52% will suffer.”
    @Laszlo October 14th, 2018 at 12:33 am

    It’s amazing. After over two years the leavers still haven’t moved on. Last Friday’s Newsnight is an example. Towards the end there was a discussion with three guests, one a leaver. He was still answering all questions with we won, get over it, this is what the people want.

    Even if the entire country voted leave we wouldn’t get any better terms. It’s not how many people voted leave that determines what the EU offers us, it’s that if you want the benefits the EU offers (access to a wide range of skills[1]; effective voice on the world stage, sophisticated continent-wide manufacturing infrastructure, easy access market for goods and services, etc, etc) you have to be in the EU. If you don’t want that, you leave and become a third country.

    Oh, and if you don’t want anyone sneaking in via the back door[2], you have to have a hard border somewhere between us and Ireland.

    That’s it. In or out. There is no ‘we are the UK, and so special’ option.

    Let’s put a line in the sand right now. It’s the Tories that have taken us to this point. Looking back from the future it’s the Tories that did this, no one else. Everyone’s going to start blaming everyone but themselves. But the blame will lie squarely on the Tories.

    The weeks are getting short now. Where did I put that box of popcorn?

    [1] So we don’t have to pay to train our own.
    [2] I’m sure I heard someone say Brexit was about taking back control of our borders. Does that mean all of them?

  7. Laszlo

    “When it comes to social beliefs it isn’t the TV channel that dictates the values, but the experiences as a full (not the foreigners, not the EU directives and so on, although they help in the reinforcement of the belief), but one’s life, position, needs as a seemingly unstructured reality.”

    True, thus the significant differences in “social beliefs” as reflected in political votes, demonstrates that there are such major difference in the “social beliefs” between the different polities in the UK as to make any claims as to a meaningful “UK” or “British” set of beliefs somewhat fanciful.

  8. Last charts before bed Re: Opinium vs You Gov.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1awErkf6Ru0CPYDlBfNQwhbjmrqr4zome

    These are scatter plots of the % VI on the Y axis, and the days since the GE the poll was taken on the X axis.

    Therefore, as the dots are close to other Pollster for the same period, it’s further evidence they reporting the same VI, within normal MOE, at any given time.

  9. Pete B: The obvious answer to which is – no-one’s stopping you going back there.

    As I said, the English are less likely to understand the yearning for home of a forced migrant than the Scots or Irish.

    Do you really believe that victims of the Highland clearances, or the potato famine, forced to emigrate to America could then just return to their former homes? Or the Okies displaced to California? Or, for that matter, the petty criminals ‘transported’ to Australia?

    The song (which dates to the early 20th century) is not about the freedom of movement enjoyed by comfortable middle-class Englishmen.

  10. On the CAP/Scottish farmers thing, I too found the article wanting.

    Every time I have looked at rural economics in upland areas, which I have had to do several times due to work matters, I’ve come to the conclusion that the income and economic multipliers brought in by farming are far less significant that is often assumed. I’ll hedge this by saying that I’ve never had to study Scottish highland situations, so my interests have been English upland only, with one project in Wales, albeit a long time ago.

    In terms of jobs numbers, farming has never been the top employer, and is always outside the top 5. In terms of earnings, it slips further down the list. Tourism is always significantly more important, as usually is light commercial/manufacturing, although here there will be some input from farming into this sector.

    [Interesting anecdote here: I assumed upland farming would support sectors like off road four wheel drive supply and repair businesses. In one project, I found that sales and repairs of ATV’s were more common to two tourist off road experience businesses than they were to the entire farm sector in the area. Farmers tended to buy an ATV, run it for years, maintain it largely themselves, and didn’t therefore contribute much to the local economy in doing so. The tourist businesses by contrast regularly replaced machines and had regular service contracts].

    It’s also true to say that the loss of a significant chunk of farming incomes would hurt rural upland economies significantly. In relatively low income economies, even losing 5% of total income will have a seriously deflationary effect.

    However, it’s abundantly clear, however you slice this, that if we ignore the environmental and ecological debate, and look at this in purely economic terms, switching farm subsidies en masse to other, more productive and more efficient sectors, would greatly enhance the economies of upland rural areas.

    Put simply, in narrowly defined economic terms and taking into account public subsidies, upland farmers are a drain on local economies, not an asset.

    However, there can be a whole host of additional public benefits from a properly constructed agricultural policy, with pressing issues like management of carbon in soils, supporting biodiversity, habitat protection, flood risk management and landscape protection all representing substantially more important targets than meat production.

    If upland farmers can be tasked to deliver more of these much needed public benefits, then the uneconomic and inefficient nature of their industry can be justified as a viable use of tax payers money. In this light, Gove’s plans have merit, subject to the detail.

  11. Its interesting reading people talking about the validity of different polls, and who has the right answer.

    However, it is all a bit, ‘how many angels fit on the head of a pin’.

    The problem is not which company has the right result now, but what would happen if there was an actual campaign.

    The last election had a 20 point swing to labour. It made a total nonsense of all predictions made before the election was announced. So the question is, if there was an election in the near future (possible, if parliament becomes deadlocked), what would really happen?

    There were two differences to the normal pattern at the last election. One was the personal popularity of jeremy Corbyn, and a perceived move of labour to the left. Tories on general policy were pretty much for continuing their previous offer.

    Despite attacks on Corbyn and his policy direction, it may be a tory manifesto now would seek to be more left wing. Would this make a difference?

    Milliband was also branded left wing, but this failed to win in 2015, so is Corbyn’s image really so much better that he personally explained the big boost labour got at the last election?

    The other difference was Brexit, and we just watched as polling showed UKIPs collapse and leavers moving to con, while libs collapsed and remainers moved to Labour.

    Can labour still stand as a remain party? If it comes up with some sort of deal which is basically soft brexit, then I do not see why those remainers would continue to vote for it.

    Probably tories formal policy will be to accept whatever deal May now agrees and will have presented to parliament. probably a medium brexit. i doubt remainers would be sufficiently impressed by a labour offer a little softer to turn out for them.

    Con would be banking on Labour either bottling it and supporting soft brexit (losing the remainers), or going remain and risking losing any soft leavers they still have. I do not belive there are any hard leavers still voting labour.

    The central issue then continues to be, to what extent labour support would go up or down based upon their position on brexit.

  12. SOMERJOHN

    I am quite certain that PeteB understands the meaning of the song & all the things you mention.

    Just as I am quite certain that you know that PeteB was referring to you-a “comfortable middle-class ” person enjoying “freedom of movement”-who invokes a song about the heartache of forced migrants.

    Incidentally there is an excellent new book out on the Highland Clearances by TM Devine ( Allen Lane). Andrew Marr’s review in today’s ST suggests a wider perspective than sometimes portrayed

    My copy of Prebble’s grim history is yellowing & dusty now.-time to replace its English author’s opinion with that of a Scot I think.

    :-)

  13. Millie,
    “Its got nothing to do with wanting a No Deal, its about the appropriate framing of a negotiation.”

    Perhaps it is also about our side really having no bargaining power, because the EU would not regard ‘no deal’ as the worst outcome.

    Jones in Bangor
    “I do know the CAP is unreformable and I’m glad we’re leaving it behind.”

    Why? What is wrong with it?

    The one thing you cannot do while in the EU is cut the amount of subsidy. Otherwise there is huge discretion about how the money is allocated and Gove is doing things we could have done anyway.

    I rather expect the government will carry out the one reform it could not do as a member, and I do not expect farmers will like this at all.

    Alec,
    ” switching farm subsidies en masse to other, more productive and more efficient sectors, would greatly enhance the economies of upland rural areas. ”

    Thats sounds reasonable to me. But I do not believe anyone is going to switch the money spent subsidising farming to subsidising something else. Uk governments currently do not believe in subsidy, and it is only the existence of the CAP as an EU policy which has kept it going for farmers.

  14. One further thought – the article states that without farm support the highlands would witness depopulation, which again I find illogical.

    If rising rural populations are what you want, in Scotland it’s decrofting land that is commonly releasing land for more housing, while in England, ultra tight planning restrictions that favour farm buildings and prevent house building is one of the reasons that has driven depopulation.

    Under general permitted development rights, English upland farmers can build very large, and very ugly modern barns and stock buildings without the need for full planning permission (in most areas). The justification for this is that it helps increase stock numbers through indoor housing, with no recognition that this is not sustainable – the additional stock are beyond the carrying capacity of the land and so additional feed needs to be imported.

    The English upland countryside is therefore now littered with very large industrial units, which look no different to buildings you get on trading estates but which are allowed because they are ‘agricultural’,

    Try asking for permission for an identical building that will house a workshop and employ half a dozen people, or (heaven forbid!) a house for a young local family to live in, and you’ll understand just what a soft touch the planning system is for farmers.

  15. Danny,

    Forgive my pedantry but I think you mean a 10% swing the margin apparently closed by 20%.

    I take the view that the gap was really less than the 22% your number implies but that is a different point.

  16. Colin: I am quite certain that PeteB understands the meaning of the song & all the things you mention.

    Oldnat was unable to share my amazement that 35 out of 35 MEPs appearing on Question Time were either UKIP or Hannan.

    In the same vein, I cannot share your certainty in the capacity of a full-on brexiteer to understand and empathise with the anguish of a displaced person.

    (Of course, the song could equally be about any other form of irrecoverable loss – loss of a loved one, of health, of youth… )

  17. Is this the week when the current Government collapses and the UK faces a General Election ?

    If Theresa May does not have the support of many cabinet ministers and many Tory MP’s for her Brexit deal, then I can see the DUP walking away. We are then left with a Government that does not have a majority in Parliament and might not be able to pass their budget.

    Theresa May is not going to resign as PM or Tory leader. I think she would face a leadership challenge, but I am not convinced any replacement would be able to convince enough Tory MP’s, DUP and pro-Brexit Labour MP’s to provide a majority Government to force a WTO Brexit through.

    Either Theresa or her replacement, is going to be faced with a General Election of another Brexit referendum. A GE might not settle the issue, so the only way forward would be a referendum, with the option to remain in the EU. Government needs to test public opinion on whether there is still a majority that wants to leave the EU. If the majority still want to leave, then there would be a choice, Government Brexit deal or to exit subject to WTO rules.

    What do people think ? General Election or referendum before 29th March 2019 ?

  18. @ OLDNAT
    “You aren’t a “revolutionary” but an inhabitant of Erehwon.

    Since the earliest days of humanity, the prime task of leaders has been to ensure sufficient food for their people.”

    Well we’re clearly not going to agree, but with decreasing biodiversity and ever increasing nitrates affecting drinking water aquifers in England, CAP clearly has not delivered for environmental protection.

  19. @ DANNY

    “Why? What is wrong with it?

    The one thing you cannot do while in the EU is cut the amount of subsidy. Otherwise there is huge discretion about how the money is allocated and Gove is doing things we could have done anyway.”

    You really do have a delusional view of the EU, bordering on being religious devotion. Good luck with cutting the CAP and getting that past the other states.

  20. @jonesinbangor

    If you haven’t yet read it, I’d recommend Wilding by Isabella Tree.

    It’s a really rather inspiring account of the transformation of the Knepp estate in Sussex from poor quality (in the agricultural sense) intensively-farmed land, to something very different. To judge by the views you express on farming policy, you will be very much in sympathy with what was done (or, rather, not done).

    But one interesting point is that the whole thing was only made possible by a reform of the CAP, replacing production-based subsidy with area-based subsidy.

  21. SOMERJOHN

    I didn’t realise you are a displaced person.

    PeteB was referring to you.

  22. COLIN

    Prebble – Canadian?

  23. Colin: PeteB was referring to you.

    That only works if you think that to quote a song lyric – in the context of appreciating Ry Cooder’s film music – is to identify yourself as the protagonist of the song.

    But perhaps you’re right, and it was an attempt at that often sought, seldom encountered phenomenon: right wing humour. It’s such a barrel of laughs, the anguish of displaced people, isn’t it?

  24. @Alec

    Your posts are right on the money with regard to many of the issues.

    The insane increase in indoor housing and intensification has devastated whole catchments in Wales, basically massive slurry farms which spray millions of gallons on to the land indiscriminately…

    Yes, some helps nourish the land, unfortunately, most of it ends up polluting our once beautiful rivers turning them into algae ridden shadows of their former selves.

  25. Re Opinium

    The changes in since last Opinium, Con +2, Lab -2, LD +1, UKIP nc are all within margin of error so don’t get carried away but there is a suggestion that Con are ahead (YG and Op with significant Con lead, BMG with small Lab lead). I would like to see a few more polls from other companies. On average Con have been moving slowly upward since a low point in July but there are too few October polls to make firm conclusions.

  26. Alec,

    Anecdotally, one of my friends who comes from a very entrepreneurial hill-farming family (they made a lot of money out of selling exotic meats to restaurants!) has more or less become the sort of “agricultural” worker you suggest, by force of economics.

    He’s a bright and canny man with a van AND tractor, and he knows how to use the latter very well. Does the Forestry Commission need a path sorted out or even a new path? He’ll get it done, in time and under budget. Does the Council need someone to sort out the flooding of a road? He fixed the drainage in the surrounding area so quickly that they thought he must have done a cowboy job. That walkers’ bridge in the remote mountains? He built it better and safer than before after the flooding.

    He’s at the extreme end of cleverness and work-ethic among hill-farmers, but there are a lot of people who love working outdoors, have great practical skills, and a work ethics you wouldn’t believe. For that reason and others (I grew up in the Highlands and tourism is FAR more important than farming almost everywhere I’ve been) I agree with your post.

  27. PeteB, RHuckle,

    I’ll explain my logic a bit more.

    Let’s assume May comes back from Brussels with a deal, which, as expected, will involve leaving the Single Market except in Northern Ireland(*). This deal does not have majority support in Parliament but she will frame it as “my deal or no deal” to attempt to blackmail members of her party and others to support it.

    Labour is desperate to use the issue as their one chance to split the government coalition and force a general election. However (as Colin points out) this will not work if MPs think voting down the May deal will inevitably end up with the worse no deal. Labour will be forced to support another referendum so that there is an alternative route out of no deal. Then MPs can safely vote against May.

    A general election makes no difference to the essential choice. Parliament will come back to having to make the same decision. If May wins the parliamentary vote on brexit (with or without an election), we get her deal. That’s my 10%.

    If May loses the brexit vote, or if Labour win a general election, then May’s deal is dead. Labour cannot implement May’s deal after an election called to oppose it. Likewise, any new PM (after a leadership contest but no election) cannot implement May’s deal after just running against it. There is already now no time to negotiate anything different with the EU, and after an election even less time! So the only course left is no deal vs a new referendum. Parliament will therefore choose a new referendum.

    Polling is showing Remain slightly ahead. That’s why I have 50% Remain, 40$ No Deal.

    (*) Strangely, Ian Dunt doesn’t agree. He thinks May’s deal will involve the whole UK staying in both CU and SM permanently. I don’t see that. The “common rulebook” idea died in Salzburg.

  28. The number one issue affecting the town I come from is an externality concerning promotion: it’s not greatly in the interest of any one business to promote the area, because publicisation is expensive but the benefits would be dispersed. The town was once a major luxury tourist destination and still gets a good supply of tourists (especially from Scotland and the flatter parts of continental Europe) but there’s been a definite decline in the relative wealth of the tourists vis. the local community and the increase in quantity is not great enough to compensate.

    If the state really wants to help a community like that, then subsidies for tourist promotion are probably the best way. There are a huge number of promotable historical and natural sites that are almost totally unknown today, mainly because it wouldnt be profitable for any particular business to promote them. Yet, if more people were to visit them, there would be a definite but dispersed boost to the small retail businesses that make up most of the local economy.

  29. SAM

    No-He was born in Edmonton, Middlesex, England.He emigrated with his parents to Saskatchewan, Canada,

  30. DAVWEL/ OLDNAT/ ALEC

    I think the potential impact on the H&I of Scotland of Brexit should be looked at through the desire of Fox and others to have liberalised trade.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/990513/brexit-news-liam-fox-international-trade-deals

    “A trade deal with the US is one of the key prizes sought by Brexiteers, although Donald Trump initially indicated Theresa May’s Chequers plan would kill the prospects of a transatlantic agreement before rowing back on that claim later during his visit to the UK.

    The Government’s Brexit White Paper suggested the UK would also seek agreements with Australia and New Zealand and could even try to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

    In his speech in London, Dr Fox told business leaders and trade experts that new deals could help drive down prices for shoppers.”

    http://www.shetland.gov.uk/economic_development/documents/POST-BREXITIMPLICATIONSFORAGRICULTUREASSOCIATEDLANDUSEINTHEHIGHLANDSANDISLANDS010518FINAL.pdf

    “This study was commissioned by the Highlands and Islands Agricultural Support Group (HIASG). It considers potential economic, social and environmental impacts of Brexit on agriculture, crofting and related land use across the Highlands and Islands. The main findings are that:
    ? Extensive livestock grazing across the region is vulnerable to potential Brexit-induced price reductions and, especially, to the removal of income support measures.
    ? This will accelerate existing trends of declining agricultural activity, land abandonment and a shrinking agricultural workforce, with limited scope for alternative land use activities.
    ? Declining active land management will impact negatively on upstream and downstream sectors, notably the Scottish Government’s target growth sectors of Food & Drink and Tourism, risking wider economic activity and employment.
    ? Declining active land management will also impact negatively on a range of unique and internationally important environmental and cultural public goods maintained by extensive and small-scale agriculture.
    ? Scope for appropriate policy support may be constrained by a range of external factors, but mitigating Brexit impacts will require both income support to maintain a resident population of land managers plus more targeted support for providing specific public goods.
    ? Crucially, relative to current and past arrangements, policy support measures and funding levels need to better reflect the distinctive needs and contributions of the Highlands and Islands, consistent with National Performance Framework and international commitments.”

  31. R Huckle

    I suspect neither of your options.

    I predict an extension to the negotiation period and further kicking the can down the road.

    This is what May is good at – this is what May will do.

    Having said that, it will all depend on how many and which, if any, cabinet ministers resign.

  32. @Jonesinbangor – “The one thing you cannot do while in the EU is cut the amount of subsidy.”

    Well, you can, actually. (In part at least).

    One of the bigger gripes people tend to have about the CAP is that payments are area based, so larger farms tend to get larger payments. This leads to a general situation where some rather well off landowners get vast sums of taxpayer money. These include, for example, James Dyson and Paul Dacre – both multi millionaires who have invested in farmland because it represents such a good investment, largely due to taxpayer subsidies.

    The EU CAP reforms allow member states to set limits on the maximum individual payment available under CAP, but – strangely enough, for a party traditionally supported by large landowners – the English administration within the UK has declined to adopt this. I seem to recall that the Scottish administration has now adopted this (after an ungainly delay).

    These caps on CAPs (ha!) can’t actually reduce the CAP payments overall, so in that sense you are correct, but would have to be spent on other means to meet overall CAP objectives. In other words, government can cut subsidies to the wealthiest and largest farmers, and divert this money to supporting either smaller farmers, or preferably supporting conservation measures covered by CAP.

    @Bill Patrick – thanks. I too know many farmers who have taken up other income generating activities, but there remain too many stuck in an unimaginative rut, doing the same thing endlessly and leaning far too heavily om the taxpayer for a living.

  33. SOMERJOHN

    @” that often sought, seldom encountered phenomenon: right wing humour.”

    Hmmm-but , when it is encountered, infinitely preferable to the often encountered ( as so ably demonstrated by you) phenomenon of left wing prejudgemental sanctimony.

  34. @ CARFREW – Japan (from p26)

    1/ The Japanese asset price “bubble” that burst in late 1980s was far much bigger than the UK+US bubble (ie they have a bigger hole to dig themselves out of)
    2/ It happened in “isolation” (some folks will try to link it to other things but it certainly wasn’t on a scale of the “Global Financial Crisis”

    1+2 kind of offset a little in that Japan was able to try and take advantage of export led growth. Buying USTs with their US$ prevented the currency markets working as they should. [1]

    Regarding inflation expectations in Japan (and v UK).
    1/ There is a “cultural” component that is difficult to change. Japanese are especially prone to “consensus” thinking which “bottles” issues up until you have an extremely “reflexive” change. Militarists to Pacifists. Property speculators to ultra-safe investments (govt bonds). Brits less so but for sure “grounded” inflation expectations shouldn’t be taken for granted.
    2/ The time horizon issue for Japan compounds the problem. They feel they need to save every spare Yen as they see future costs of living being expensive and as you pointed out they are rightly worried about the sustainability of their system.

    UK is very different to Japan but the ageing demographic issue is similar but with Japan a long way ahead of us. For subtle different reasons the distortion of the long-end of the yield curve is having very -ve “unintended consequences” that the relevant domestic authorities are ignoring. The Japanese have turbo-charged the paradox of thrift where as Brits either don’t bother to save or having been “crowded out” of normal pensions and annuities by low yields have turned to “property speculation” instead.

    [1] US trade is back in the news as they seek to add currency chapters to trade deals. Tangent: Of course EU knew this issue and put a 6% limit in SGP “rules” – which they then chose to ignore!

  35. Colin: Hmmm-but , when it is encountered, infinitely preferable to the often encountered ( as so ably demonstrated by you) phenomenon of left wing prejudgemental sanctimony.

    Really? Infinitely preferable? The memory of the holocaust themed ‘joke’ told to me at an otherwise very civilised drinks do by the most brexity, UKIPy resident of my former village will never leave me. It still makes me feel sick.

    As for the “left wing prejudgemental sanctimony” you feel I so ably demonstrate: I’m very much in the centre ground of politics and although I’ve voted in every general election since June 1970, I’ve never cast a left wing vote. A nice example of right-wing prejudgement there, methinks.

    Or is it just that in your view, expressing empathy with homesick forced migrants is enough to prove “left wing prejudgemental sanctimony”?

  36. @ HAL – What about the possibility of FTA+, two routes:

    1/ May finally releases Chuquers dead and “pivots” to FTA+. If Snell+co would prefer Chuquers to No Deal they might accept FTA+ (or at least abstain).
    2/ May falls on the Chuquers sword and CON elect a “caretaker” PM due to the lack of time. Caretaker agrees a slimmed down WA in return for transition with FTA+ TBA.

    I’m not putting %s on anything but above are possibilities.

    Regarding NI then that can is clearly kickable in #2 where as in #1 someone is going to need to call someone else’s bluff and see what happens.

    PS Are you assuming “Revoke” is certain? You think Macron, Juncker and co want us back on exact same terms we had before? Some form of “Remain” is possible you seem to conveniently assume all the obstacles on that option can be easily overcome (especially the issue of the clock!)

  37. A deal may be in sight in Brussels. Whatever the cause, much heat is being generated.

    “Speculation about possible resignations has centred on Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey, but the report also indicated that Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson could quit because of the sensitivity of the issue in relation to calls for Scottish independence.

    Mrs May’s own position also appeared in jeopardy, with as many as 44 letters demanding a vote of no confidence reportedly submitted to the Conservative 1922 Committee – just four short of the number required to trigger a ballot.”

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/republic-of-ireland/theresa-may-faces-brexit-challenges-as-clock-ticks-down-to-brussels-summit-37418074.html

  38. I`ve had a quick look-in after my singing duties and want to thank Alec for his two useful contributions (8.34 and 8.52 am) on rural economy and the substantial inputs from tourism.

    I feel the relative greater contribution from tourism than from farming, although true for many areas in the UK, will not hold for some lowland regions in Eastern Scotland. I don`t see many tourists around Turriff and Cuminestown, nor in Easter Ross outwith Dornoch.

    So the Dark Age activity at Portnahomack is not as much on the tourist trail as it should be (though doubtless ON has been to see the exhibitions, with a relative nearby). The monks there were like those at Jarrow, with skills in making vellum and books, metal-working, sculpturing fine crosses.

    In these lowland areas (that doubtless the London media would call remote) farming I feel is top in the economy, and the farmers are clearly worried about Brexit. Sadly some of them may respond by even greater intensification, and that is a reason for continuing payments for conservation management, to which Michael Gove has at least given lip service, without definite cash promises.

  39. @Sam

    Theresa May has obviously achieved the best deal available by negotiation and compromise whilst protecting UK interests.

    I’ve written before that Labour should extract a defined General Election date in return for supporting the Government. Clearly the Conservative party and DUP are incapable of passing the deal.

    The temptation for Labour to not support the Government must be very tempting, but Corbyn has here the opportunity to appear to be the statesman and at the same time light the blue touch paper within the Tory ranks.

  40. Trevor,

    I’m assuming May’s future relationship deal amounts to an FTA but with some additions to minimise/disguise the different treatment of Northern Ireland.

    If you are suggesting no additions then that means staying in the NI backstop forever, which seems to displease many people.

  41. @Trevor Warne – “Of course EU knew this issue and put a 6% limit in SGP “rules” – which they then chose to ignore!”

    No they don’t. I’ve explained this to you twice before, so you really should know by now.

    Naughty.

  42. @Somerjohn

    “Or is it just that in your view, expressing empathy with homesick forced migrants is enough to prove “left wing prejudgemental sanctimony”?”

    I think you’ve invoked the wrath of our resident right-wing inverted class warriors! A la classic Daily Mail, you really have no right to comment sympathetically about people less fortunate than you from your “comfortably middle class” perspective. Pick and mix from the lexicon of contempt “effete, bien pensant, metropolitan elite, latte-sipping, bleeding heart, do-gooders…..) etc etc. It’s classic Tea Party politics. Play the man, not the ball. I’ve been on the receiving end many a time. At least you were spared a response in a mock northern accent.

    Ignore it and keep listening to Ry Cooder.

  43. Somerjohn

    “Or is it just that in your view, expressing empathy with homesick forced migrants is enough to prove “left wing prejudgemental sanctimony”?”

    I agree with you.

    It also shows how the world has changed. Here is Udo Jürgens, not quite the flag-bearer of the left in the 1970s. Singing about that feeling. (His last concert was in 2014, and I’m afraid he was as bad as he had been on the clip).

    To “enjoy” the clip you need a degree of grasp of German.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uc9uTJtAt4s

  44. Trevor

    You really don’t understand Japanese firms, the business system, and the institutional system. It would be too long to explain, and it doesn’t belong here.

    If you test any of your causalities, you will see that they only work if you accept the business case of Hansel and Gretel at prima facie.

  45. Colin

    Great reply, made me laugh could almost feel those left wing feathers being ruffled from way over here.

  46. Brexit: We’re now in the stage where everyone releases emails/briefings/secret whispers that say everyone is digging in and a no deal looks increasingly likely/preparations are being made etc etc.

    This is the international negotiating equivalent of ‘am I bovvered?’ and is intended to signify how hard everyone and everything is before they all emerge with a deal.

    There is yet to be some bad tempered walk outs and a bit of the shouty stuff in front of the media, just because everyone has to convince their side that this was really tough and this is as good as it gets, and we’ll then go from there.

    The DUP and a few Tory hardliners might well refuse to back the deal, which means as I’ve always felt, the pressure is going to be on Labour to be the kingmakers, as far as the deal goes. The issue for them will be whether rejection really does mean no deal, and if so, would they or May reap the blame.

  47. @ SAM – SCON effectively aligning themselves with DUP has made a difficult situation even trickier. The LAB “soft Leave” MPs announcement might somewhat offset that depending on the specifics of the “deal” (about 15ish LAB v 13 SCON) but if May hopes to rely on LAB votes then she is going to lose more CON MP support.

    @ JIB – “Theresa May has obviously achieved the best deal available by negotiation and compromise whilst protecting UK interests.”

    WTF?!? Chuquers protects the interests of the corporate elite – most of whom are not even UK! As we see in the polling Chuquers is very unpopular with the electorate. UK HMG should not be protecting the profit margins of foreign CEOs and German/E.Europe manufacturing jobs!

    It’s obviously the WORST deal available for the electorate. Remain h8te Chuquers because it isn’t Remain and Leave h8te it because it isn’t Leaving.

    .. and that was Chuquers1.0 not the even worse rumoured version of Chuquers2.0!

  48. @Trevor Warne

    I stick to my line.

    We were always going to get re-hashed Norway, it was not going anywhere else.

    Even Canada isn’t acceptable and we lose NI and probably Scotland going there

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