Just to catch up on the post-budget YouGov polling from yesterday’s Times, carried out on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

At the simplest level, the budget appears to have polled well. All the measures within met with approval and overall people thought it was a fair budget (44% fair, 14% unfair). Compared to other recent budgets, that’s a very positive score. However, in all fairness that’s what one should expect – it was very much a giveaway budget, with the Chancellor making several large spending announcements and very little in the way of tax increases. Even those tax increases that were announced – mostly notably the plastics tax and tax on internet companies – were ones that were largely popular. It’s hardly surprising that sort of budget gets net positive ratings – increases to NHS funding, the personal allowance and the National Living Wage are always likely to go down well.

A positively received budget does not, however, necessarily translate into a boost in the polls. The voting intention figures in the poll are CON 41%(nc), LAB 39%(+3), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 5%(+1). The three point increase in Labour support doesn’t necessarily mean anything – it’s within the normal margin of error – but it certainly doesn’t point towards a budget boost for the Tories.

The poll also asked about the wider perceptions around the “end of austerity”, and here the figures are far less rosy for the Conservatives. Looking back, by 36% to 29% people think that the austerity polices followed after the 2010 election were necessary, though by 36% to 30% they now think they didn’t help the economy and by 43% to 20% they think they were unfair.

58% of people now think it is right to end austerity (27% who think it was wrong to begin with, 31% who thought it was right at the time, but it is now time to end it). Unfortunately for the government, while people may be in agreement with their stated policy, they don’t actually believe they are doing it – only 10% think the government have ended austerity policies, 50% think they have not.

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2,158 Responses to “YouGov post-budget poll”

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  1. @Trevs

    “Immigration – maybe you should try FREWer CARs on your immigration posts! Anyway, if time later I’ll post on how that fits into labour market. Supply-Demand, Ricardian view, “pulling” wages up rather than “pushing wages” down, etc. If lots of time then I’ll link that to the “covenants” on resale for state assistance on “rent to buy” housing.”

    Wot, you don’t want to chat about it with Garj too??

    Look forward to seeing your post later Trev!

  2. @Somerjohn

    “I’ve skimmed the prolonged Carfrew/Garj exchange on low-skilled/low-paid work and immigration, as it’s frankly a bit boring and repetitive.
    I’m hesitant to intrude on what seems like a private quarrel, but there is one aspect to this that puzzles me.

    You both seem to accept that low-skilled immigration is undesirable, or that (in Garj’s case), high-skilled, high-paid immigrants are more beneficial.

    But it seems that in the current UK economy…”


    You clearly haven’t read it properly, that’s not my position on low-skilled immigration. I made it really obvious when I talked of the value of cleaners etc.

    Which several other people supported me on, dunno how you missed it. This is the problem of being economical and not posting more on a complex subject. Some people need more.

    Our exchange is as nothing compared to some of your Brexit exchanges. Which are not necessarily as exciting as you might think!! We’ve only been talking immigration a couple of days and it’s nearly wrapped up.

    And it’s a bit sickening when someone can not see that one person keeps repeating the same points and the other is fielding that. But fine, if you think both should be tarred with the same brush we can apply that to you too in future, Somerjohn!

  3. From the Graun – “‘A Farage in every country’: Barnier warns of existential threat to EU.”

    ‘Maybe we could gather them all up and just give them their own country and be done with it?’

    Andorra might do.

  4. A poll!!! YG have a good one on taxes (and touches on cost of living, govt priorities, etc)


    Quite a bit of cake and eat it as you’d expect!

  5. What have you got against Andorra, Steamdrivenandy?

  6. What have you got against Andorra, Steamdrivenandy?


    I’ll be brief, because SOMERJOHN is right that this is quite boring and repetitive. You seem to think that because I favour more of a market mechanism for determining public sector salaries, I must somehow be in favour of total unregulated laissez-faire anarcho-capitalsim. Goes to show that you’re just projecting a caricature.


    The two things I’d quickly say are that there is still quite a large pool of labour available in the UK, thus the numbers of people in part-time, insecure, and poorly paid jobs. Go and look at how many companies advertise minimum-wage jobs at 16 hours a week so as to get out of paying any NI. The thing that a lot of the working poor need in order to raise their living standards is not a higher wage, but longer and more reliable hours. Businesses reliant on large numbers of low-paid workers would either have to raise salaries and prices (no bad thing to redistribute wealth that way), invest in training and equipment to increase productivity, or close down. None of those are a bad thing, not even the third.


    I don’t necessarily mind the increased costs of paying public sector workers properly, ministerial control over wages is a tool that is too readily abused.

  8. An example seen last week of habitat removal underway meantime in Aberdeenshire, was the virtual removal of an unploughed bank all around the edge of an arable field.

    A digger and a tractor plus trailer were working, and they had scraped away c. 2m of ground rising up to the boundary dyke in most of the field.

    So the ploughed area of this field c. 200m x 200m would be increased to 204m x 204m, so 4% extra grain yield.

    These marginal uncultivated strips are generally being encouraged as a refuge for fauna and flora, flowering plants for bees, nesting places for birds, etc. But that had been forgotten by this owner.

    Another example on a bigger estate (Tillypronie) is a big drainage scheme of a large tract of marshland. From the layout of new drains I don`t think this is afforestation – we will see.

  9. GARJ

    @”I’ll be brief,”

    Nice try !

    I do admire your stamina-and patience :-)

  10. @GARJ

    “You could have fooled me. I’m not arguing against immigration, only against an overall profile of immigration which tends towards low-waged mass migration rather than well-paid skilled migration.
    If the state doesn’t create enough jobs, the market may not create enough good jobs itself.
    I’m not against the state employing people, we ought to spend more on social care, childcare, healthcare, education….”

    Well one doesn’t need to fool someone if they fool themselves. I have offered both pros AND cons of immigration, you ignore that because you have to try and pretend I have a bias.

    The issue is that the state needs to employ ENOUGH people.


    “What, like the Canary”

    Just one place? Once again, you’re thinking in a limited way Garj.


    “Globalisation has expanded the middle classes enormously, it’s just that all of that expansion is happening elsewhere. The middle classes in the developed world used to be comfortably among the very richest, now they face more competition. A lot of the wealthy created by globalisation are flowing to the developed world, and they are buying up the houses and sending their kids to the schools that used to be the preserve of the upper middle classes over here. It’s not just London that’s seen huge housing sales to the foreign rich.”

    Well that may be one reason but once again, it’s not the only factor. The rise of the n3ol1beral and reduction of state action in jobs has meant that even without immigration etc., companies have pushed down on the good jobs. On salaries, terms and conditions, job security etc. This trend, again, predates the influx. You want to blame immigration for so much that actually would happen anyway.

    This is why we need the state to create ENOUGH jobs to make the private sector offer better jobs to compete. Like we used to do.


    “Glad you recognise that having large numbers of low earners pulls wages down.”

    Sure, that’s why we need the state to create more jobs, sufficient to offset. Whatever the level of immigration, the state needs to create enough to offset the private sector’s drive to pull them down. Especially in an era of weekend unions.

    You also have the problem that if you are a slave to markets and let the private sector get too powerful, they can pressure government to allow more immigration. If you want less immigration, markets are not necessarily your friend.


    “I’m not suggesting that you wouldn’t offer people higher salaries (or other perks like an improved work-life balance) in order to attract them. It’s a floor, not a ceiling.”

    Ok, so you want to cut the salary just to offer more perks, when you could just leave the salary as it is. A whole new unnecessary army of employment perk consultants beckons.


    “I don’t think it’s impossible at all, I think it’s very possible. I think it requires investment, and as such is easier to do when you avoid spreading that investment too thinly. Spending on education, housing, and job creation can all reduce poverty, but low-waged immigration increases it. It’s a crude analogy, but it’s easier to fill a bath if you put the plug in. If we were successfully tackling the poverty that already exists within the UK and turning low earners into net contributors then that would provide the impetus for allowing larger numbers of lower earners in, but we aren’t.”

    You’re not looking at the full picture. Low-wages might have a tendency to increase poverty if you don’t do anything. But that immigration brings growth, you use that growth to invest, and you increase the mobility and avoid poverty. (You can also create jobs and hence put an upward pressure on wages, but you need to drive down prices of essentials ideally).

    This is why you keep focusing on wages, you know the full contribution of immigration including production holes your argument below the waterline.

    It’s also why you don’t find too many allies trying this economic argument even among those who favour more curbs on immigration. Things like the environmental impact are harder to challenge.

  11. Today’s FT Brexit Briefing:

    Theresa May faces down the cabinet

    Theresa May’s hopes of getting cabinet to sign off on the UK’s Brexit negotiating position have hit a last-minute stumbling block. The question now is whether this can be overcome quickly, or whether it is the prelude to a serious rebellion in her cabinet.

    Mrs May had been hoping to convene a cabinet meeting late on Thursday to agree the UK’s final position on Brexit.

    But as the FT reports, the meeting has been pushed back to the weekend and maybe Monday, while ministers examine what the draft says about the customs backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

    Mrs May and the EU have agreed that in the period between the end of the standstill transition and the conclusion of a comprehensive trade deal, there will be an all-UK customs backstop.

    This is an insurance policy that would see the UK in effect remaining in a customs union to help guarantee an invisible border across Ireland.

    But Brexiter ministers want to know whether the UK would ever be able to leave this arrangement of its own free will, and they want Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, to provide them with full (and published) legal advice on the matter.

    The question of whether the UK can leave this arrangement has become totemic for the Brexiters. As James Forsyth writes in the Spectator (paywall), the UK today has the sovereign right to leave the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. But Brexiters fear the backstop will create an open-ended international legal obligation for the UK:

    “This would mean that the UK couldn’t simply renounce the backstop or give notice to quit. Rather, it would have to hope that the proposed ‘joint review mechanism’ would allow the UK to leave it. To put it another way, this would be like the UK having to go to arbitration before invoking Article 50. The UK would not have the sovereign right to simply quit the backstop.”

    Brexiters in cabinet are also concerned that the backstop arrangement would require the UK to maintain a “level playing field” with EU rules and regulations, at least until a final trade deal is done. As the Times reports (paywall), Chris Grayling, transport secretary, “is understood to have told Mrs May he was concerned this ‘would mean a single market through the backdoor’.”

    The problem for Brexiters is that their room for manoeuvre is completely spent. We have reached the point where, if they block progress on the negotiation, a November summit to clinch a deal cannot be held and that would be a big shift in the direction of a no-deal outcome.

    But the Brexiters in cabinet are also coming to realise that, through sheer lack of preparation, “no deal” is no longer a viable option and they are in effect snookered. This is the significance of the comment by Dominic Raab last night when he confirmed that the choice of goods available to buy in British shops would be hit unless the UK maintains frictionless trade at the French border.

    As the Brexit Secretary said (reported by Jack Blanchard in the Politico London Playbook): “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.”

    (Incidentally, the huge significance of the Dover-Calais strait for UK trade was brought out in graphic detail on page 12 of this Institute for Government report some 14 months ago.)

    Much now depends on what Mr Cox says in his legal judgment on the review mechanism. But according to one Whitehall official, the likelihood is that the cabinet will give the go-ahead to the backstop and the final negotiating position early next week.

    The much bigger problem for Mrs May is what happens on the Commons vote.

    Hard Brexiters like David Davis will argue that the backstop is a major surrender of UK sovereignty, and that Britain should contemplate leaving the EU with no deal.

    Pro-Europeans like Dominic Grieve will also argue that Mrs May’s deal will leave the UK “subservient to the EU – and it should therefore be put to the British people.

    Mrs May can get her Brexit negotiating position through cabinet. But in the Commons the numbers look very tight.

  12. @Barbazenzero – “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.”

    Your quote from Raab pretty much sums up the utter delusional lunacy from so many Brexiters, including the ones we were told had some intelligence.

    Not understanding the importance of Dover? Like, doh!!

    The FT comment – “But the Brexiters in cabinet are also coming to realise that, through sheer lack of preparation, “no deal” is no longer a viable option and they are in effect snookered…”

    is also worth noting. I hate to come across as smug, but many of us were saying that this is how the talks were going to go over two years ago.

    Lots of bluster, pretense that we could walk away and go for a no deal, agree with the Rees-Smogs while shaping an agreement with the EU, not make any serious preparations for no deal, keep negotiating until very late in the day, present a deal to Brexiters that they can’t vote down without triggering a calamity that no one is ready for and were there is no time to adjust.

    To use the parlance of one on here, it looks very like the Brexiter MPs have been the ‘useful idiots’ here. They even pushed through an amendment to ensure that the meaningful vote would only be on accepting the deal or leaving without one, effectively handing May a total advantage and shafting themselves.

  13. Can’t quite get my head around this one – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/08/dutch-man-69-starts-legal-fight-to-identify-as-20-years-younger

    Using the argument over self identification of gender to ask for the right to self identify as 20 years younger than your calendar age sounds bizarre, but when you work out the discrimination suffered by the elderly and think through issues of how old people feel, differential biological aging processes and the emotional desire to stay younger, it gets quite difficult to say yes to one type of self identification but maintain a no to the other.

    Quite a good philosophical problem to wrestle with.

  14. Carfrew: “But fine, if you think both should be tarred with the same brush we can apply that to you too in future, Somerjohn!”

    A bit thin skinned today? Or is that a permanent condition?

    FWIW, I’m with you (as my post should have indicated) on the contribution that lower paid immigrants make, not only initially through doing jobs that would otherwise go undone, but through the potential for subsequent greater contribution as language skills, famil!arity with the jobs market etc enable some to rise through the ranks of the jobs market. More generally, I think many are fine, dynamic people who end up improving UK society. My own true story of the Bulgarian shopfloor abattoir worker who turned out, after perfecting her English, to have a degree in biochemistry and is now the plant’s biosafety/quality control manager, is an example of that.

    I think that Garj’s faith in selective controls is tantamount to “bureaucrats know best” and is at odds with his faith in market solutions.

    But as I confessed, I have only skim-read the exchange and may have missed or misunderstood some of the finer points. I only contributed in the spirit of tossing in another bone to fight over when the original was getting bereft of flesh and flavour.

  15. ALEC

    I agree entirely with your response to the FT briefing.

    The only logical course would be to withdraw A50 and promise to remain in the EU until a border poll re-unifies Ireland before considering a second attempt at leaving, not that the next generation of politicians would likely to wish to do that.

    Perhaps in another 40 years or so the quitters will get their act together, of course, but I doubt there’ll be many of them.

  16. I’ve nothing against Andorra Norbold, but it’s small enough for Mr F and his followers. It’s also isolated enough so nobody will hear their shouting and the winters there will serve them right.

  17. @GARJ

    “I’ll be brief, because SOMERJOHN is right that this is quite boring and repetitive. You seem to think that because I favour more of a market mechanism for determining public sector salaries, I must somehow be in favour of total unregulated laissez-faire anarcho-capitalsim. Goes to show that you’re just projecting a caricature.”


    Well you keep repeating stuff and making it up. Of course you want to close it down.

    And nope, I didn’t project a caricature, you advocated leaving some things to the market, I point out the pitfalls. You want to leave wages to the market, it has issues. Same with housing. This doesn’t mean I think you want to leave EVERYTHING to the market. Just that you neglect assorted pitfalls. (I decided to point out some more, for future efficiency).

    Regarding who you are and how you might be seen, it’s not really a priority at the moment, the Cricket is set up for a good finish!

  18. @COLIN

    @”I’ll be brief,”
    Nice try !
    I do admire your stamina-and patience :-)”


    Yes he’s very determined to make stuff up. There a price to be paid for that though Colin. You can’t seem to see it though!

  19. ” But fine, if you think both should be tarred with the same brush we can apply that to you too in future, Somerjohn!”

    Blimey! This is getting really serious.

    [Although if we assume that it’s a royal “we” maybe it’s not so scary as it seems.]

  20. @Garj

    “ministerial control over wages is a tool that is too readily abused.“


    It can be particularly bad when they just leave it to the market.

  21. “Using the argument over self identification of gender to ask for the right to self identify as 20 years younger than your calendar age sounds bizarre, but when you work out the discrimination suffered by the elderly and think through issues of how old people feel, differential biological aging processes and the emotional desire to stay younger, it gets quite difficult to say yes to one type of self identification but maintain a no to the other.”


    Does that mean younger people can self-identify as boomers and get all the benefits?

    Just askin’…

  22. Lol, “Weekend unions” = weakened unions.

  23. GARJ

    @”“Globalisation has expanded the middle classes enormously,”

    It has-and a good thing too !

    Brookings Institution & their World Data Lab, concluded earlier this year that ” just over 50 percent of the world’s population, or some 3.8 billion people, live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered “middle class” or “rich.” ” ie about the same number of people are living in households that are poor or vulnerable to poverty

    Brookings says :-
    ” the middle class drive demand in the global economy and because the middle class are far more demanding of their governments.
    Consider the structure of global economic demand. Private household consumption accounts for about half of global demand (the other half is evenly split between investment and government consumption). Two-thirds of household consumption comes from the middle class. The rich spend more per person, but are too few in number to drive the global economy. The poor and vulnerable are numerous, but have too little income to spend. For most businesses, the sweet spot to target is the middle class. This has long been true in individual advanced economies; it is now true on a global scale.”


    ” it is also the most rapidly growing segment, projected to reach some 4 billion people by end 2020 and 5.3 billion people by 2030. Compared to today, the middle class in 2030 will have 1.7 billion more people, while the vulnerable group will have 900 million fewer people. Trends for the poor and the rich and more modest, at -150 million people and +100 million, respectively.”

    And all of this growth is in Asia


    The global middle-class market is now clearly bifurcated: a slow-growing developed country middle class, and a fast-growing emerging economy middle class—with growth in both instances measured in terms of either numbers of people or total spending.
    Big geographic distributional shifts in markets are happening, with China and India accounting for an ever-greater market share, while the European and North American middle class basically stagnates.

    A 2017 European Study of the effects of “Europe’s shrinking middle class” resulting from the 2007/2008 Financial Crisis included
    this interesting & prophetic comment :-

    “This hollowing out of the European middle class has generally resulted in an expansion of the lower-income class rather than in the upper-income class, even though the latter has expanded significantly in some countries too (especially in Ireland and Czech Republic).
    These trends emerge as a clear source of concern and, if not reverted, may have significant implications. The middle class is essential for the stability of European democracies and welfare systems and its erosion may generate increasing unrest at the political and social level.”


    Of course all the eclectic discretionary spending of all these “Crazy Rich Asians” will both reward successful Western Entrepreneurs & Exporters………..and complete the plundering & destruction of the Natural World.

  24. To return to the Survation poll:


    its main point was to look at whether people would vote differently in a rerun EU Ref[1]. If you compare how people voted in 2016 (Table 1) with how they would now (Table 5), the pattern among the demographic groups and the size of the sample means we can see the sort of people who are now changing their mind[2], either by switching sides or deciding to vote when they didn’t or couldn’t in 2016.

    The general ‘swing’ is from Leave to Remain is 5.1 points, but that isn’t uniform. Age is important, as it was in 2016 and it amplifies the pattern then. The biggest swing is +9.3 among 25-34 year olds, but that lessens until it is actually towards Leave among the over 65s (-0.4 65-74; -2.1 over 75). The generational divide is intensifying if anything.

    Oddly enough it doesn’t apply quite as strongly to the related question of education, which was the strongest predictor of voting Remain in 2016. Among graduates (Level 4) it’s only +2.1, lower than the swing for other groups (eg +6.9 for Level 3), though of course graduates are still the most Remain group (65.2%). There may be a similar pattern of ‘catch-up’ if you look at household income. Those on £40k+ are +3.1 but below 20K it’s +8.2.

    Stephen Bush has pointed to larger than average swings to Remain among BME voters (eg Asian +9.4)[3] and put this down to hopes of easier immigration from non-EU countries being dashed (We’ve also had anecdotal evidence of this from Norbold). I suspect a perceived increase in racism after the vote and more worries about the ‘hostile environment’ that leaving the EU must intensify will also play a part. In any case such groups were strongly pro-EU to start with, so the numbers changing won’t be large in UK terms, but it’s interesting to see confirmation in the polling.

    The most significant move however is on gender. That overall +5.1 is made up of only +2.6 among men but a much bigger +7.9 among women. In 2016 women were slightly less Leave but not by much. In this poll they were Leave 51.1% while men were 52.7% (from memory Ashcroft had them even closer). Now women are 56.8% Remain while men are 50.1% Leave – a seven point gap[4].

    What is interesting about these groups: younger, not just young, voters; women; poorer voters; BME voters; is that the make-up is similar to what you might call the Corbyn Coalition. The sort of less-frequent voters who did turn out in 2017 and caused that upset.

    Conservative voters have swung slightly to Leave, both 2017 ones (-0.9) and current ones (-2.6). But there are still around 30% of them who did and would again vote to Remain. It cannot be said too often that Brexit is not a big determinant of voting behaviour, despite what everyone on both sides of the argument seems to believe[5].

    The Lib Dems, having bet the house on being the hard-Remain Party have similarly got little reward for it. The swing to them is modest and they lose almost as many Leave voters as they gain Remain from elsewhere, though they are attracting some previous 2016 non-voters who are now Remain. The SNP rather than losing their Leave voters appear to be converting some to Remain, though they may have lost a good number prior to 2017. The same may be true of the Greens

    Labour has an above average swing in contrast as you would expect. As with the SNP some of this seems due to their voters switching, though they also lost some to Undecided. The later group are actually more Leave-inclined than general, being split 50-50, but are less so that they were in 2016 (59% Leave). This is another reason why Labour has refused to be a vociferously Remain as its critics demand. It’s not just their current Leave voters they don’t want to alienate (as so often tone is important in politics) they want to attract Leave and ex-Leave voters currently homeless.

    As with all other recent rerun EU Ref polling it’s worth emphasising how much apparent changes are based not on those who have switched sides but on those who didn’t vote in 2016 – 12.7% in the weighted LTV numbers. 21% of those were undecided but 53% are Reamin as opposed to 25% Leave. That’s a nett 606 ‘voters’ for Remain as opposed to a nett 178 who have switched to it. The real question is whether those previous non-voters would turn out as they say they will.

    There is some indication they might. The Remain campaign in 2016 was tainted by Cameron’s leadership and 2017 showed us that the power of the press to dictate perceptions is fading. Importantly we know from Ashcroft that most voters in 2016 expected Remain to win (even most Leavers expected it) and that must have meant that many didn’t bother to vote or register. The same would not be true today.

    (footnotes follow)

  25. [1] While it asked whether people would back various referendum options, like most other polling it managed to miss the one that is both most likely and would best inform political discourse. Namely (a) do people want a No deal v Remain referendum and (b) if there was one how would they vote.

    [2] It’s not exactly the same people of course. Some who voted in 2016 won’t now or aren’t sure if or how they would in 2018. Those numbers are after LTV as well and even those certain they will vote may still be undecided (including 21% of those who didn’t in 2016). But it will give some idea of trends.

    [3] He also reckoned on a big swing in the SW which I can’t see. The regional figures in Table 5 should treated with a lot of caution as they’re not separately weighted and the 2016 vote doesn’t match. If Hanretty’s figures show big swings for local authorities in the SW that will be because those LAs have a lot of people who belong to groups which have swung heavily. I don’t think he modelled purely regional factors.

    [4] Because women traditionally give a lower LTV – in this poll their 65% say they are certain to vote as opposed to 75% of men – it may be that if they do actually turnout in similar numbers that such polls could underestimate Remain. It would be interesting to know if, say, the study of marked registers, would indicate lower female turnout or if they are just more realistic about their LTV.

    [5] Amusingly there’s even a slight swing to Remain among UKIP voters.

  26. @Croft

    “blimey, this is getting really serious.”

    Aw, just because they don’t take much notice when you complain about the Brexit posts.

    He does get tarred already though, or do you leave a Somerjohn out when you complain about all the Brexit posts?!

    P.s. you’re not supposed to be reading my posts, either.

  27. “If the 20th century belonged to America, then the 21st century will surely belong to Asia.”


  28. Garj

    “Not everything has to be accompanied by a lengthy paragraph relating it to your bit of the world”

    Naturally, which is why I seldom mention North Ayrshire.

    However, those seeking to find solutions to perceived UK wide problems really need to look beyond their polity as to the situation in the other three.

    If a “solution” is inappropriate in at least one of the four, then it won’t work for “the UK”, but only in one or some polities.

  29. “The country is now the priority, not her.”

    No………..not Theresa :-) :-)


  30. Carfrew: a Somerjohn

    There’s definitely only one of me. I’m unique, irreplaceable and extraordinarily modest!

  31. @Somerjohn

    “A bit thin skinned today? Or is that a permanent condition?”


    Re: thin skin. No, I was rather surprised that you of all people would skim posts then jump to rather unhelpful conclusions. And that’d you’d complain about the amount of posting!! Then, well, you tacked the tarring with the brush thing on top and that was quite a bit for one post. Pointing that out is not a sin. (Rather than me being thin skinned I might have asked why today you felt so prickly you felt like doing all that for no good reason. But I didn’t, I know it’s out of character, so it didn’t alarm me that much).

    Regarding the skimming, yes, one can miss subtleties. For example, I might go with their argument temporarily, accept it, in order to show it fails anyway. If you dip in briefly, you might think I agree with them on that point.

    Some of my argument also shows that immigration is rather irrelevant to some things. But this doesn’t mean I don’t value it, just that it shouldn’t be blamed for certain things.

    (I should add, that exchanges can go on longer when something or someone is relatively new compared to some things. It can take a little while adapting the shortcuts. Next time around it’s more efficient, etc.)

    Be interesting to see what he says about the irony of being keen to leave things to the market but then roping in bureaucracy when it suits.

  32. Not that I think it matters, since the Court of Session had already referred the A50 revocability question to the ECJ, who have accepted it, but Scotland’s Supreme Court has refused UK Government leave to appeal the matter to the U.K. Supreme Court.

  33. @Colin

    Re: expanding middle class.

    Have you come across Goldstone – Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World


    Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World: Population Change and State Breakdown in England, France, Turkey, and China,1600-1850; 25th Anniversary Edition Paperback – 20 Dec 2016
    by Jack A. Goldstone (Author)

    It’s partly about how intra-elite competition shapes things and can cause crises.

  34. @Colin

    Turchin, another researcher, extends Goldstone’s work…

    “Intra-elite competition is one of the most important factors explaining massive waves of social and political instability, which periodically afflict complex, state-level societies. This idea was proposed by Jack Goldstone nearly 30 years ago. Goldstone tested it empirically by analyzing the structural precursors of the English Civil War, the French Revolution, and seventeenth century’s crises in Turkey and China. Other researchers (including Sergey Nefedov, Andrey Korotayev, and myself) extended Goldstone’s theory and tested it in such different societies as Ancient Rome, Egypt, and Mesopotamia; medieval England, France, and China; the European revolutions of 1848 and the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917; and the Arab Spring uprisings. Closer to home, recent research indicates that the stability of modern democratic societies is also undermined by excessive competition among the elites (see Ages of Discord for a structural-demographic analysis of American history). Why is intra-elite competition such an important driver of instability?”

    “Because the supply of power positions is relatively inelastic, most of the action is on the demand side. Simply put, it is the excessive expansion of elite aspirant numbers (or “elite overproduction”) that drives up intra-elite competition. Let’s again use the contemporary America as an example to illustrate this idea (although, I emphasize, similar social processes have operated in all complex large-scale human societies since they arose some 5,000 years ago).

    There are two main “pumps” producing aspirants for elite positions in America: education and wealth. On the education side, of particular importance are the law degree (for a political career) and the MBA (to climb the corporate ladder). Over the past four decades, according to the American Bar Association, the number of lawyers tripled from 400,000 to 1.2 million. The number of MBAs conferred by business schools over the same period grew six-fold (details in Ages of Discord).

    On the wealth side we see a similar expansion of numbers, driven by growing inequality of income and wealth over the last 40 years. The proverbial “1 percent” becomes “2 percent”, then “3 percent”… For example, today there are five times as many households with wealth exceeding $10 million (in 1995 dollars), compared to 1980. Some of these wealth-holders give money to candidates, but others choose to run for political office themselves.

    Elite overproduction in the US has already driven up the intensity of intra-elite competition. A reasonable proxy for escalating political competition here is the total cost of election for congressional races, which has grown (in inflation-adjusted dollars) from $2.4 billion in 1998 to $4.3 billion in 2016 (Center for Responsive Politics). Another clear sign is the unraveling of social norms regulating political discourse and process that has become glaringly obvious during the 2016 presidential election.“

  35. @Colin

    Btw – Turchin does a blog about the evolution of civilisations, wondered if it might be up your street…


  36. @Somerjohn

    “There’s definitely only one of me. I’m unique, irreplaceable and extraordinarily modest!”


    I know! That’s why I don’t think you should be tarred along with others!

  37. carf

    Blimey.. it’s like being savaged by a guinea pig. [To paraphrase ole Geoffrey.]

    Anyway, apologies for interrupting your harangues of yet another weekly opponent – do carry on with your multiple “and I should adds”….

  38. The Tory Government already compensates higher ranking military personnel serving in Scotland for their higher IT rate, but does sod all to compensate squaddies in rUK for the higher IT that they incur due to their postings.

    Sorry I fail to follow that. The scottish tax system only starts to affect soldiers once they cross certain income thresholds- which are largely dictated by rank . For example amongst ‘Rank & File’, it’s not until they reach Senior NCO rank of Staff Sergeant/Colour Sergeant (same rank, but one infantry, the other not), that they start to pay more tax for which they are compensated.

    Likewise for Officers it’s Captain where it starts to hit.

    The difference is compensated to all ranks affected, payable at the end of each tax year, in arrears.

    Soldiers posted out of UK on short operational tours pay tax at the rate they would pay in their home garrison under the same terms, those on full postings pay at the standard UK (less Scotland) rate.

    The fact that the bottom end actually pay less tax than thoose in rUK is waived to their advantage

    I have no idea at what rank it starts to affect RAF/Navy/Royal Marines as I have no knowledge of their pay system.

    Council Tax however is paid by all soldiers at a standard rate irrespective of which part of the UK they are stationed in under a charge known as CILOCT (contribution in lieu of council tax) that is deducted from their pay at source and listed on their pay statements (along with a myriad of other things that most civilians will have never heard of)

  39. @OLDNAT
    Not that I think it matters, since the Court of Session had already referred the A50 revocability question to the ECJ, who have accepted it, but Scotland’s Supreme Court has refused UK Government leave to appeal the matter to the U.K. Supreme Court.

    This really is more of a procedural issue is iy not? The problem being that Article 50 only lays down rules for extending A50 n and makes no mention of what the rules are for withdrawing it. So Scotland is seeking clarification as to whether it can be unilaterally with drawn, the same way it is submitted, or whether it has to follow the ‘delay’ route and gain unanimous approval of the EU27.

  40. Andrew Williams

    re Military pay.

    We agree that those in the higher ranks are compensated for having higher IT if posted in Scotland, and that lower ranks are not compensated for having higher IT if posted in rUK.

    Since we are wholly in agreement, it seems strange that you claim not to be able to follow that.

    re unilateral revocability of A50

    Of course it is a procedural matter. Whether it is possible for the UK to invoke such a procedure will be unknown until the ECJ rules on the matter.

    Since the petition was raised in one of the UK jurisdictions, it could only be a court from that jurisdiction that made the referral to the ECJ.

    Describing the referral as “Scotland is seeking clarification” is as inappropriate as describing an action raised in the E&W jurisdiction as “England & Wales is seeking clarification” – regardless of the fact that MPs from outwith the jurisdiction were petitioners in the case.

  41. OLDNAT – it ignores nothing. the brutal fact is that Scotland is not a member of the EU – the UK is. Scotland is merely a region of a member state.

    As for the thought that the lower ranking soldiers and junior officers in the rest of the UK should be compensated for the fact that their counterparts in Scotland pay marginally less tax, that’s irrelevant. The benchmark standard is what the UK government levies tax at. Scotland is subsidiary to that. No soldier loses out.

  42. “Amusingly there’s even a slight swing to Remain among UKIP voters.”

    About to lose their raison d’etre – who blames them.

    They’ll have to find something else to rave about after 31/3!

  43. Andrew Williams

    “it ignores nothing. the brutal fact is that Scotland is not a member of the EU – the UK is. Scotland is merely a region of a member state.”

    No one ever claimed Scotland is a member of the EU.

    Quite why you posted that strange statement is somewhat unclear. Of course, some people have been known to go off on a rant citing wholly irrelevant factors when their original statement is shown to be inaccurate.

    However, your political stance, as expressed in your last sentence, probably explains why your understanding of the UK Union is so demonstrably poor.


    Making things up indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you post a figure or link to back up your position.

    But that immigration brings growth

    Not enough of it at the lower end, that’s the point. Studies on the impact of immigration on GDP per capita show a marginal effect overall, but I am not talking about placing restrictions on all immigration. The UK’s average output per hour worked is £40, £83200 a year in a full time job, of which the state captures about a third in revenues. Where does someone working for the minimum wage fit into that, especially given that the state taxes a smaller portion of a lower-paid workers output. Do you honestly believe that the revenues raised on £40000 or so of output from a poorly paid worker are enough to cover the public services they require (and will require in sickness and retirement), plus whatever in-work support they need to keep their head above water, and the additional investment to combat poverty and raise living standards?

    Oh, I know, you’ll say that we need to ‘create better jobs’, but where does low-paid immigration fit into that, and why is it beneficial to have a large influx of people who you need to invest to create those better jobs for? We have a higher proportion of people working in lower paid and skilled careers than much of the rest of Northern Europe anyway, you provide no evidence as to why your prescription for creating better jobs wouldn’t work much, much better to redress that balance if we were to close off the supply of the lowest earners. If it’s about the price of essentials, by which I think you mean housing, then how does the public benefit from having to spend large sums building houses to deal with the additional demand coming from new arrivals who don’t pay enough in taxes to cover the costs?

    I don’t think there’s any contradiction in wanting to liberalise public sector wages, whilst placing limitations on immigration. The former is currently a command economy, and the latter is full-on laissez-faire neoIiberalism (at least when it comes to EEA migration). I’m arguing for both to be brought towards a middle position. As far as I’m concerned an earnings threshold for working visas is a similar sort of intervention as the minimum wage.


    However, those seeking to find solutions to perceived UK wide problems really need to look beyond their polity as to the situation in the other three.

    If a “solution” is inappropriate in at least one of the four, then it won’t work for “the UK”, but only in one or some polities.

    I don’t see how my suggestion is unsuited to Scotland (or any of the other nations for that matter), I’m arguing in favour of devolution, and within those devolved governments for decision making to be devolved yet further. I’m not of the opinion that ministers and civil servants should try to set all sorts of modifiers for different areas, I think that the negotiation of salaries should take place at the most local and individual level possible.

  45. For those interested in the legal arguments to the ECJ by the petitioners in the A50 unilateral revocation case, they are here


  46. @andrewwiiliams

    Just to be clear, you are saying thst is right for higher earning members of the armed forces to be compensated for paying higher income tax if they are posted in Scotland but lower earning members of the armed forces who pay more tax if they move from paying Scottish income tax to paying UK ( soon to be England and NI) income tax should not be compensated?

    By the way, “Scotland” is not a party to the A50 case. It is a group of individuals led if I recall correctly by an English QC.

  47. Garj

    Since you are keen to ensure that your solutions are manifestly suitable for all of the UK, why did you appear to complain about their being examined in a Scottish context?

    Of course, matters aren’t really devolved if decisions at Westminster contain instructions as to how they are to be carried out by the devolved administrations.

    As to your “I think that the negotiation of salaries should take place at the most local and individual level possible.” – I find that a seriously worrying aim. Ultimately, it would entail each individual negotiating their pay with their immediate line manager.

  48. @alec

    You may be interested in this piece of information about Kemp’s record as Secretary of State in Georgia as he prepared to run for Governor:

    “Under Kemp, Georgia purged more than 1.5 million voters from the rolls, eliminating 10.6 percent of voters from the state’s registered electorate from 2016 to 2018 alone. The state shut down 214 polling places, the bulk of them in minority and poor neighborhoods. From 2013 to 2016 it blocked the registration of nearly 35,000 Georgians, including newly naturalized citizens. Georgia accomplished this feat of disfranchisement based on a screening process called “exact match,” meaning the state accepted new registrations only if they matched the information in state databases precisely, including hyphens in names, accents, and even typos. “

  49. @Garj

    “Making things up indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you post a figure or link to back up your position.”

    Oh God I’ve posted loads in the past on various things. I assume you’re up to speed on various things and hence won’t demand proof, similarly I dint keep asking for proof for each of your claims when I know it’s true.

    I mean, when you say household disposable has gone up, I don’t challenge it, and make you post a link, I know it’s true. Similarly when I say that well yes, more spouses go to work these days, and Boomers are doing well, you’re not likely to challenge that are you?

    Anyway, I posted a link to the Guardian article which showed the impact of tax changes. You even pointed out wages had gone up since the Sixties. (I shan’t go into the memory thing again though!)

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