In the last couple of days I’ve seen three polls asking about government handling of the Coronavirus. There was a short Yougov poll shared between Sky and the Times on Friday (here), a much longer YouGov poll in today’s Sunday Times (here), and an Opinium poll for this morning’s Observer (here).

I should start by saying a little to what extent public opinion matters at all on a topic like this. In judging what the correct approach is, public opinion obviously weighs little if at all compared to the opinion of experts in epidemiology. However polls are not about finding the correct answer, they are about measuring what the public think, whether that is right or wrong, wise or foolish, and on other levels this does matter. We know the government are keen to stress they are following the scientific advice, but would they be blown off that course if there was widespread public dissatisfaction? We don’t know. Perhaps more importantly, many of the actions the government will take in the months ahead will depend upon the public’s willingness to get on board and follow their instructions, so public confidence in the government’s actions really will matter.

On the topline the majority of people approve of the government’s performance:

  • in the YouGov/Times/Sky poll 55% said the government was handling it well, 31% badly.
  • In the YouGov/Sunday Times poll 53% say they have a confidence in the governments handling, 40% do not.
  • In the Opinium/Observer poll 44% approved of the government’s reaction, 30% disapproved.

Overall these are positive findings. However there is a caveat. Asked about the amount the govt have done to respond the YouGov/Sunday Times polls dound 47% think have done too little, compared to 4% too much and 39% about right. Using a differently worded question Opinium found a similar breakdown of opinion (12% over-reacting, 41% under-reacting, 41% about right). In other words, while the public support the governments handling so far, there is some feeling they should now be going further (though given the government have been explicit that they will be introducing more stringent measures in future weeks it’s probably a good sign that there is public appetite for it… it would be far trickier if the public thought the government were over-reacting).

It’s also worth noting that Opinium found that only 36% of people trusted what Boris Johnson personally said on the issue of the coronavirus, a less positive figure than the government as a whole (in contrast 59% of people said they trusted Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Advisor – suggesting the government’s strategy of regularly flanking Johnson with Whitty and Patrick Vallance at press conferences may be a wise one).

Asked about specific changes that could be introduced there seems to be widespread support for a wide variety of measures. The YouGov/Sunday Times poll found majority support for a state of emergency, for travel bans, for food rationing, for cancelling large events. Opinium found similar. Asked about closing schools (perhaps the topic that has been discussed the most over the last week), Opinium found 44% of people in favour, 26% opposed – plurality support, but not the overwhelming backing they found for some other measures.


4,675 Responses to “YouGov and Opinium polls on the government’s handling of the Coronavirus”

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  1. It’s all a Brexit conspiracy – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52215606

    Leave the EU, crash the agricultural labour market, get a disease, create mass unemployment, lock people up in their homes for weeks on end until they get so bored they’ll apply to go work in the fields……

    What a great plan…..why didn’t our Danny see that one coming?

  2. As well as the German study that LL posted earlier then Porten Down are doing something similar and yeah.. no way will they be releasing the “demographic”[1] info before a sunny Easter weekend (hence why SAGE are meeting AFTER Easter)

    Some more Torygraph info on UK testing (which is blatant plagiarism of Germany of course – no patent on good ideas!)

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-tests-never-heard-hold-key-exit-lockdown/

    [1] and before “you know who” comments then that is different to the mass random sample testing to establish where we are across the country. The large random sample is to establish if any regional “Exit” might make more sense (I doubt we’d see a reverse “Kirstie Allsopp” effect and although I’d like to see the end of London first approach on most things – not in this case!). The sand have not shifted we’re just moving forward in “the FLEXIBLE plan” and ensuring we do the RIGHT things at the RIGHT time (as per 3Mar info)

  3. “and before “you know who” comments then that is different to the mass random sample testing to establish where we are across the country.”

    Go on @Trevs – say who you mean. Don’t be frightened! Don’t keep us all in suspense!

    Of course we all understand that a ‘mass random sample’ is completely different to a ‘large random sample’. :):):)

    Honestly though Trevs, you really are funny. I don’t think you’ve actually realised that we’ve been agreeing on most things for quite some time now. You’re just so invested in the need to pick fights with people that you constantly make assumptions about what they are saying.

  4. POLL ALERT: Two new ones on YG Live

    “Would you support or oppose the current lockdown measures being extended?”

    net 86% support :(

    (OK, they didn’t specify a time – be nice to see a poll that asks 1wk, 1mth, until we have a vaccine that could be 1yr away)

    although the % was slightly less than the do you currently support poll from the other day that is still a huge majority. 1 more week perhaps – once the tide has turned?
    (as you’d expect the youngest are least supportive and the oldies are near 100%! – if your elderly/at risk then you can “voluntarily lockdown” you know and you we’re told 12weeks!)

    and the other one (Science based!)

    “It has been proposed[1] that COVID-19 restrictions be relaxed for 20-30 year olds not living with their parents. Would you support or oppose such a move?”

    net 61 oppose :(

    For now and considering the implications for the Police then maybe that is a good thing and even the younger demographics are net oppose (although far less than the boomers of course)

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/survey-results

    It will take a brave PM to follow the Science without public support but hopefully the “narrative” can turn in sync with passing the peak (ie next week)

    [1] not sure who proposed that? kudos if it was Starmer or some LAB person.

  5. @ ALEC – ” I don’t think you’ve actually realised that we’ve been agreeing on most things for quite some time now.’

    and BINGO!!

    Wow, after you claimed the “Hybrid” plan with CARFREW what 3days ago then how f-ing predictable was that!!!

    Whatever. If you think I agree with you then GREAT – move on!

    No patent on good ideas and of course Starmer asking for an “Exit Plan” and a lot of European countries moving that way was pure coincidence with your “shifting sands” right?

    MUPPET!

  6. Not wanting to put a downer on the Torygraph puff piece about Porton Down, here is a list of serological tests developed elsewhere already in use – http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/resources/COVID-19/serology/Serology-based-tests-for-COVID-19.html#sec3

  7. @ trevors

    I normally just stop reading when you use impenetrable terminology, but must admit to liking the sound of “a reverse Kirsty Allsop effect”.

    Would you care to explain what it is?
    :-)

  8. Alec

    “The trick is to eliminate the potential spreader events. ”

    Quite.

    Belgium has a much stricter lockdown than the Netherlands (where a lot of retail businesses are still open, according to my family there). But the figures for cases and deaths are rather worse in Belgium (though not good in Netherlands either) . It seems at least possible that this is because Carnival is celebrated more widely and enthusiastically in Belgium than Netherlands, so goes back to a key spreading event in late February.

  9. @Trevs – “MUPPET!!”

    More thrashing about. And rudeness.

    I could repost some of the patent rubbish you posted from weeks ago, wrong models, failed predictions, incorrect science, changing views, but if you want to think you were right all along and everyone has moved to your view then fine – that’s a pretty good summation of your character.

    No skin off my nose if you want to live your life like that.

  10. @ Alec

    87.3% reliability just isn’t good enough and that’s the best case scenario they’re offering, it’s probably much lower. The Chinese just want to sell us unreliable products again and the Americans are desperate! Oxford University have tested all the current serological tests being promoted and said no thank you.to every one so far as they just aren’t sensitive enough.

  11. Wasn’t there a report from China that quite a few people who had had the virus had no detectable antibodies? There are two possibilities that I can see
    1) The test is no good, as our people say or
    2) A number of people don’t develop or retain antibodies, hence presumably no immunity and hence doom.

  12. ALEC

    @”Not wanting to put a downer on the Torygraph puff piece about Porton Down, here is a list of serological tests developed elsewhere already in use –”

    Sometimes you just can’t help yourself can you Alec.?

    So great is your desire to denigrate anything a Tory government does or says, that an article about hugely important work at our national Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research is trashed by you because it is in the DT.

    Not only that , but you use in “evidence” that some other country is-yet again-better than us, tests whose inadequate accuracy will lead to the disastrous consequences that Witty has to explain to the Press every so**ing day.
    !

  13. Pete B

    ” A number of people don’t develop or retain antibodies…”

    Two points:

    1. If you don’t develop antibodies, there is no chance of recovery.
    2. There are no recorded cases of anyone developing the illness twice.people have provided positive, then negative, then positive tests, but this is most likely due to the ‘negative’ case failing to pick up the virus when it’s still there.

  14. BANTAMS

    Spain rejected 60k Chinese test kits a few days ago on grounds of accuracy.

  15. @TW

    I figured out where that 799 ICU beds came from in the IHME modelling. If you look at the NHS statistics for bed occupancy in February 2020, (look for Critical Care Bed Capacity and Urgent Operations Cancelled 2019-20 Data and download their Monthly SitRep for February) there are 4122 adult critical care beds in England with 81.1% occupancy. That means 779 free beds. If they were including Wales as well with just under 100 critical care beds and assuming the same occupancy, that would give the extra 20 free beds. So their modelling seems to be based on the assumption that we cannot do anything to alter these numbers.

  16. Colin

    As someone who has demonstrated no immunity against making partisan comments yourself, I was a little surprised to find you in such defensive mode about your political party that you attacked Alec for partisanship.

    “Torygraph” is a common nickname for the London Telegraph [1] since that paper takes a very strong line in support of the Conservative and Unionist Party. Like many papers, its journalists often write articles which are aligned to the political stance of the paper and its editor, but can’t be equated with the views of the party itself.

    Your criticism seems somewhat misplaced, therefore.

    Having seen your and Alec’s comments, I took the unusual step of reading that article.

    Is it a “puff piece”? Like most articles, in most papers, much of the content would seem to be accurate, in that the scientists quoted will no doubt have said the words attributed to them.

    The “puff” consists of unevidenced (and sometimes inappropriate) claims.

    “Moreover, it plays to our skill set as a nation, based as it is on high-end science rather than the more mundane – but crucially important business – of high volume throughput or production.”

    The suggestion that our “nation” [2] has a superior ability to apply high-end science than those working in other countries is more UK exceptionalism than fact.

    “The work at Porton Down should, within months, start to answer that vital question.”

    “Should” is perhaps an overstatement, and in any case, the work going on in research establishments around the world might well answer “that vital question” earlier than Porton Down. It really doesn’t matter to anyone other than the MGBGA lobby, where the solution comes from.

    [1] Which might be a more appropriate name in order to distinguish it from other organs such as the Belfast Telegraph or the Greenock Telegraph.

    [2] I was puzzled about the “our nation” bit. The article specifically states that the sample being studied is entirely from England – despite Porton Down being funded through taxes from throughout the UK, and samples having been sent there from all 4 nations of the UK. It would seem unlikely (though entirely possible) that the Porton Down team chose to ignore any samples from outwith England. More likely would be that the journalist follows that bad practice of using England, GB and UK interchangeably.

  17. @Bantams – that’s just for IgG. For IgM it is 97.2%. Not too bad. And if the error is mainly false negative, that’s largely OK for serological tests for the current purposes. Funny that the US approve it. Brexiters say they have high standards.

    @Everyone – calm down! I did say I didn’t want to put a downer on Porton Down. Don’t be so sensitive!

    A bit of factual data never hurt anyone.

  18. Breaking news on BBC: Boris Johnson out of intensive care, but still in hospital, obviously.

  19. Sad news about Debenhams – totally expected and I for one haven’t shopped in a department store for years. I barely go into any shops except supermarkets, as it always turns out to be a thoroughly joyless experience and shopping online is so much more convenient and cheaper.

    But anyway. with Beales gone and House of Fraser probably knocking on Heaven’s door shortly, Bournemouth will be even more of a ghost town than it already is. Hoardes of empty shops, beggars, litter… Parking is expensive and there’s nothing to do.

    So what next for Britain’s high streets when the pandemic is over? Coffee shops, boutique shops, independent pubs, micropubs, eco-trading and anything ‘small’ seems to be flavour of the month, but high rents mean these businesses tend to shy away from town and city centres, which understandably have large, redundant premises. How do we rejuvenate ghost towns like Bournemouth*?

    *Enter name of medium-size town near you here.

  20. Lewblew

    Perhaps convert many of the properties into housing (or back into housing!) and have more people living in town centres, who can use the small scale amenities on offer?

  21. Just got back from a wonderful walk in the Worcestershire countryside. Confession; I exceeded my daily exercise allowance by about 2 hours! I think I avoided all surveillance too.

    It was all the more poignant for for setting out just after having done a bit more work sifting through my late father’s collection of photo albums and personal keepsakes. I’ve had them for well over too years without looking at them until now. It’s a bittersweet trawl through my childhood and my parents long and happy marriage. I came across on an old dog eared copy of A.E Housman’s “Shropshire Lad” bought by mother for my father when they were courting. It says simply “From Joan – March 1951”. They were both lovers of Housman’s poetry and used to recite his poems to each other regularly. Housman, a Bromsgrove man by birth, like me, wrote a lot about his love of the countryside, particularly the counties of Worcestershire and Shropshire. My mother’s favourite was “Bredon Hill”.

    Today, on my solitary but glorious walk, the weather, absurdly warm for early April, made for perfect visibility and the direction I took, due south towards Alcester can, on a very good day, give you a glimpse of Bredon Hill, deep in the Vale of Evesham. I think I saw it too, maybe in my imagination, but it was there, I’m sure.

    But the words of Housman that came to me on the walk, as I gazed out on the glory of the Worcestershire countryside were from a poem he wrote about another special place, in both his heart and mine. “The Land of Lost Content”, my favourite Housman poem, about the “blue remembered” Shropshire Hills.

    Into my heart an air that kills
    From yon far country blows:
    What are those blue remembered hills,
    What spires, what farms are those?

    That is the land of lost content,
    I see it shining plain,
    The happy highways where I went
    And cannot come again.

    I recited these beautiful words as I gazed towards what I thought was Bredon Hill and I think I saw my parents too.

    Through the tears.

  22. We have a full band out on the street tonight for the 8:00 clap. The old rockers have got out their dusty electric guitars and amplified drum kit and a separate group of young hipsters.

  23. @oldnat

    “Lewblew

    Perhaps convert many of the properties into housing (or back into housing!) and have more people living in town centres, who can use the small scale amenities on offer?”

    I agree. I know people moan about it, but student accommodation could fill up some of the old Debenhams-esque buildings, and students do spend money and go out and make places a bit more vibrant. For some reason in Bournemouth the student accommodation is concentrated miles away from the universities near the station and nothing much else…

  24. One of the closed department stores in Plymouth has been converted into high-end student accommodation.

    Mind you, every single space in central Plymouth that becomes available seems to become student accommodation so no doubt that bubble will burst fairly soon.

  25. @Crossbat11

    “Just got back from a wonderful walk in the Worcestershire countryside. Confession; I exceeded my daily exercise allowance by about 2 hours! I think I avoided all surveillance too.”

    Fear not, despite the fake news, there is no time limit on exercise currently in law, and no limit on number of occasions you go out per day (except in Wales – once a day).

  26. @Neil A

    “Mind you, every single space in central Plymouth that becomes available seems to become student accommodation so no doubt that bubble will burst fairly soon.”

    I’ve noticed this a few years back in Southampton and Brighton. Huge numbers of flats for mainly Chinese students (in Southampton’s case). I can’t imagine many will be coming over this year.

    Wonder if any unis will go bust in September?

  27. leftieliberal,

    the reuters description of events in China says the first cases they found had very high death rates. this could be possible if the virus has mutated so as to become much weaker since, but more likely they followed what now seems a classic pattern. the disease is only identified when sufficient very serious cases reach hospital.

    so in reality the cases they found were only a small part of the outbreak already in the community. this seems to have been about december, cases identified early jan. so again I see this as another factoid indicating the epidemic was well underway in china in december. at a death rate of 1/1000, 17 deaths in their first identified cases suggests 17,000 cases at large at that time.

    I imagine they failed to realise a disease with such severe cases could also have many more mild ones. but another interpretation would be that it was utterly unacceptable to admit there had been thousands of cases of a new disease already, which doubling at the rate of once a fortnight must have already existed for months.

    the implication is it must have originated well before November and would have spread across the world if it had at that early stage intersected any international travellers.

    the other interesting point is the conviction of the uk expert team that brits would never accept stringent restictions. which I presume explains why we are currently being subjected to a massive propaganda campaign trying to big up the risks from the disease, and avoiding obtaining any hard evidence which would undermine this claim.

    my concern is that this may ultimately backfire when it becomes evident is was indeed propaganda. not I would think if the final outcome is good. but if it results in serious errors leading to more deaths or huge unnecessary costs, then political trouble ahead. however… so far so good, government seems to have been seeking to achieve herd immunity as fast as possible, which seems the best course.

  28. @CROSSBAT11

    Your latest posting, I must admit, made me cry. Tugged at the heartstrings.

    @ All here:

    I avoided UKPR after the Dec 2019 election – all too painful. After several months of BBC News 24 and Google News, however, it’s lovely to be back – everyone seems remarkably polite. Not sure what that says about society in general!

  29. @Lewblew

    “So what next for Britain’s high streets when the pandemic is over? Coffee shops, boutique shops, independent pubs, micropubs, eco-trading and anything ‘small’ seems to be flavour of the month, but high rents mean these businesses tend to shy away from town and city centres, which understandably have large, redundant premises. How do we rejuvenate ghost towns like Bournemouth*?
    *Enter name of medium-size town near you here.”

    ———-

    Indeed, high business rates have been a factor too. (Though lately it seems they are starting to do something about that?) I live in a city, which is rather different as quite a lot of the social stuff, gigs etc. are organised by ex-students staying on. Some of the coffee shops too.

    And as Neil says, a huge amount of student accommodation. At least half-a-dozen tower blocks being built at the moment at my end of the city. Quite a few of which seem aimed at the lucrative foreign students, though there’s a vague on how lucrative that will remain after the cure to crisis.

    Seaside towns seem to have taken a hit from low cost air travel that lets people choose more holidays abroad, weekend breaks too? The way people seem to get to know other people has had an impact of course, instead of going out to meet new people in bars and clubs etc. they do more of that online. Clubs have been struggling with that for a while.

  30. @Lewblew

    Ah, I see you’ve already just raise a query as to whether we will keep getting people studying from abroad…

  31. “cure to crisis” = current crisis

  32. @ Bardini
    “Watched Destry Rides again recently – terrific fun and Dietrich is magnificent in it.”

    Glad you’re a fan. There’s nothing quite to match her dancing along the saloon bar in Destry, singing See What The Boys in the Backroom will Have, whilst kicking the importunate cowboys who try to lay hands on her. Unlike many Hollywood stars, including J Stewart, who ended up Republican hacks, she was a radical anit-fascist.

  33. Trevors @ 5.36 pm

    For once you haven`t been keeping up. I had a go at the DTel article of Nuki & Newey 2 days ago:

    “”Excellent news from Colin on the Porton Down work on sampling across ???

    But a tiny snag – do we know whether they sampled across Britain (headline) or England (text)? But it`s so typical of the DTel, many of whose writers don`t know the meaning of the word nation, and regularly leave us puzzling about advice and news in their articles.

    Surely at this time of crisis they could take a little care.””

    And I`m glad to see Old Nat today found to be in good health, and in good form tonight.

    It`s not that we don`t recognise that the DTel can produce useful articles, but why o why are they so out of touch with rUK.

  34. I’ve recently been viewing my youthful stamping ground Ruislip in Middlesex via Google Streetview. My dad’s local, The Windmill, an impressive 1930’s pub, a barn of a place, that overlooked the crossroads at Ruislip Manor, now a block of ultra modern flats. Just a few yards up the road, I remember them building the ministry office block with job and driving test centre. Rebuilt as ultra modern flats. Maybe the fact that Ruislip Manor Met station is just a few yards away makes the area appealing to flat dwellers. At the other end of the Manor’s shops the library, built circa 1980 has gone, more ultra modern flats.

    In Ruislip itself where the Rivoli cinema stood and was supplanted by a Sainsburys, there’s now another block of ultra modern flats.

    Go down the line to Harrow and the office block that I worked in from ’66 to ’69, brand spanking new then, has been gutted and turned into flats as has another opposite.

    I just wonder who lives in all these flats and where were their equivalents living back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when I roamed Ruislip’s verdant streets?

  35. Colin

    “Even the yanks think Porton Down is worth a bet”

    While my Carolinian family would object to the term “Yanks” being used for US citizens, it’s not really surprising that the USA would have regard for Porton Down.

    Reportedly the Pentagon has spent at least $70 million on research there.

    https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/03/28/revealed-pentagons-70-million-chemical-biological-program-at-porton-down-in-uk/

  36. @SDA

    “I just wonder who lives in all these flats and where were their equivalents living back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when I roamed Ruislip’s verdant streets?”

    ——–

    It’s possibly a consequence of housing shortage, growing population and high property prices? (That’s a reason storage has been doing well, along with the push to get people off benefits into the self-employed arena)

    I do recall reading a while back that some of the tower block going up aren’t student accommodation but part of the build-to-rent thing.

  37. SDA

    In my wee town, this street used to have two shops – both converted from former residences. Now both have been converted back into housing, after the Co-op opened a larger store further up the street.

    Common practice in many countries, since the earliest towns/cities, was to have commercial premises at street level with housing above.

    That might be a sensible model to return to, although in many places that would mean resurrecting the type of buildings that were torn down to build the (probably outdated) pattern that developed in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

    What many of us grew up with, and assumed was “normal”, may well turn out to have been a passing fad.

  38. @Oldnat

    “That might be a sensible model to return to, although in many places that would mean resurrecting the type of buildings that were torn down to build the (probably outdated) pattern that developed in the 2nd half of the 20th century.”

    ——

    On that theme, read an article a few months back, about the demise of the mall in the States and how these big shopping complexes were being repurposed as housing, offices, community spaces etc.

  39. @SDA

    “I just wonder who lives in all these flats and where were their equivalents living back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when I roamed Ruislip’s verdant streets?”

    More people live alone these days apparently, plus there are always students (foreign?). Also nowadays, younger generations and their families have been more inclined to stay in or migrate into cities, whereas for my parents’ and grandparents’ generations it was the opposite. Hence the left-behind northern and midlands towns the Tories are so caring about.

    —–

    @CARFREW

    “On that theme, read an article a few months back, about the demise of the mall in the States and how these big shopping complexes were being repurposed as housing, offices, community spaces etc.”

    Can’t happen quickly enough here! Recently visited neighbouring Poole for the first time, and it was like a zombie apocalypse had hit, and this was pre-corona! Streets of empty shops leading from the station. even McDonalds and Burger King shut up shop. This is a rich area of south coast England just 2 hours from London, with glorious surroundings, Sandbanks and its millionaires, and a Tory MP. What must it be like in the…. *shudder*…. north?

  40. In the absence of Barbazenzero, I give you Tom Lehrer on contagious disease transmission

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6qFG0uop9k

  41. TW

    “(OK, they didn’t specify a time – be nice to see a poll that asks 1wk, 1mth, until we have a vaccine that could be 1yr away)”

    Well, quite. Could be a year. If we’re very very very lucky.

    A reminder of what the Imperial report we’ve based our current policy on said.

    “ The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) ”

    Or more. That’s the bit that gets forgotten.

    More, like with SARS-CoV? The most similar virus we’ve faced. No vaccine after 15 years. More, like with HIV? The deadliest pandemic of recent years. No vaccine after 40 years.

    Far two many seem to miss the “or more”. It’s not 12 to 18 months. It’s sometime between 12 to 18 months and never.

  42. The PM has been moved out of Intensive Care…. because he was taking up two beds!!!

    Too Soon?

    Peter.

  43. The PM has been moved out of Intensive Care…. because he was taking up two beds!!!

    Too Soon?

    Peter.

  44. @Lewblew

    “Can’t happen quickly enough here! Recently visited neighbouring Poole for the first time, and it was like a zombie apocalypse had hit, and this was pre-corona! Streets of empty shops leading from the station. even McDonalds and Burger King shut up shop. This is a rich area of south coast England just 2 hours from London, with glorious surroundings, Sandbanks and its millionaires, and a Tory MP. What must it be like in the…. *shudder*…. north?”

    ——–

    There’s a seaside town further north I worked in for a little while that used to be rather more bustling than now, but it’s not that far from a couple of bigger population centres so I think they benefit from day trips more. They have arts festivals and stuff too, I think maybe that sort of thing can help? (Although maybe not uf we are going to keep having pandemics…)

  45. @SDA

    In my part of Harrow we have seen most of the free-standing pubs disappear. I think that it is because the return on them as ongoing businesses is less than the return from the capital value of the land. Practically all the pubs are in shop units in a parade of shops. Similarly some supermarkets are reducing the sizes of their car parks. Take a look at the Morrison’s supermarket by Queensbury Station using Google Maps with the imagery layer and you can see that the car park to the east of the supermarket is now being built on as is the land between the petrol station and the tube line.

  46. Real estate speculation by universities (and other companies) has been peaking towards the summer of last year (the completion slowed down).

    It is a major threat to many universities (some are more exposed, like Reading, but the very large ones – like UCL, Manchester – could also suffer). It is part of the financialisation of the sector (parallel with other public sectors). It was largely about getting a return on assets (rather than producing profit on current expenditure – the core assumption of financialisation). One of our universities got rid of about 400 academics, downgraded administrative jobs while having reserves of 1.5 billion and making a profit of 34 million, in the name of higher student satisfaction (IT) is the main focus. University education has been moving towards “blended learning” (mainly online with workshops), and the current crisis will accelerate it, so the wasted investment will have to be written off.

  47. @Colin – you posted a beautiful poem a few days ago, from an author I can’t remember. I wanted to save it but forgot, and now can’t trace back to find it.

    Any chance you could repost?

  48. Well if there is equal treatment, Jenrick needs to go. If the Scottish CMO has to resign for going to her holiday cottage during lockdown, Jenrick will resign for driving 40 miles to see his parents.

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