This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are online here. Topline voting intention is CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8% (so towards the higher end of the normal variation around a ten point lead). Approval ratings for the party leaders are minus 16 for David Cameron, minus 18 for Ed Miliband and minus 55 for Nick Clegg.

On the regular economic trackers the increase in the “feel good factor” (the proportion of people who think they will be better off in the next 12 months minus those who think they will be worse off) that we saw after the good GDP figures three weeks ago has now unwound and we are back to the levels of pessimism we saw pre-October. 10% expect their position to get better in the next 12 months, 50% expect it to get worse – we will obviously require more sustained good economic news in order to see a real turnaround in economic optimism.

On law and order, the Conservatives retain a small lead as the most trusted party, with 24% to Labour’s 19%. 41% of people think policing has got worse in the last couple of years, asked about crime levels 20% think they have gone up in their local area, 12% gone down and 53% stayed the same.

Looking specifically at the Police and Crime Commissioner questions, 28% of people in areas with elections say they are 10/10 certain to vote in this week’s election. Turnout is notoriously difficult to predict in opinion polls – people invariably overestimate their own likelihood to vote – but at general elections the proportion of people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote has not been a bad guide to actual turnout. 28% however still sounds quite high considering some of the predictions we’ve seen, just lower than the sort of level more energetically contested local elections usually get.

20% of people support the introduction of elected commissioners, 34% do not, 46% say they don’t know, underlining the lack of interest in or awareness of the policy. People think it will make the police more accountable by 24% to 8%, but very few seem to think it will make any difference to standards of policing or levels of crime.

36% of people see Rowan Williams has having done a good job as Archbishop of Canterbury, 25% a bad job (39% don’t know, perhaps a sign of the role’s diminishing prominence). Opinions from people who identified themselves as belonging to the Church of England were a little more positive, 49% though Rowan Williams had done a good job, 25% a bad job. It’s important to note that the Anglican figures are for people who self-identified as being Church of England – many of them will be Christian in a purely notional, cultural sense. For example, 43% of people who said they were Church of England actually attend a church only once a year or less and only 49% say they believe in God. Practicing Anglicans who regularly attend church may have different views, but there are not enough of them in a national sample to get representative figures.

99 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 44, LD 8, UKIP 8”

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  1. paulcroft

    If an atheist lives an exemplary moral life [like,for example, wot I do] do they go to heaven?


    Now, that depends on what type of Christian you ask.

    I am a liberal Catholic within the Anglican Communion, so if you ask me — of course you will!!

    But be warned. When you get there they will raise their eyebrows slightly at you over the sherry.

  2. paulcroft


    “Ask an expert”

    mmmm…. they all disagree though. Its rather like finance.

    Yes but economics is much more faith-based

  3. @Charles

    I suggest you go and look at fivethirtyeight. The latest post has information on how the various polling companies performed (Google well, YouGov OK, Rasmussen poor, Gallup piss poor), but also an analysis of online vs telephone polling.

    The conclusion: online now seems the best bet (in the US).

  4. @ Billy Bob (from the previous thread)

    “It was the (six?) Police associations all turning out en masse to express concerns about the business of the reading of the letter in 1997 – I would have thought they had more clout than the lone ex-FBI guy who had been flown in to do a hatchet job.
    The interview I saw where Ruiz was questioned about these developments was the first time I have seen him flustered during the campaign. I was genuinely thinking Bono Mack had scored there.”

    Well this is funny because I wasn’t actually aware of all this. Just goes to show that you were actually following this race more closely than I was. Funny, I donated to individual Congressional candiidates this year. Both had at one time been arrested in their youths. Both had the charges dropped against them. Both were upstanding and exemplary citizens otherwise. Both had their arrests brought up as campaign fodder. Both won anyway.

    I’m going to sound like a total Liberal here but wasn’t it Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henry David Thoreau who said that every man should spend a night in jail? (Okay, I get it….that’s not going to be a very effective defense line in real world politics but still….).

    What Bono Mack did here was a racially motivated hatchet job against her opponent, attempting to portray him as some “other.” I don’t think it moved anyone because it wasn’t something that portrayed him as dishonest or as a true criminal. If anything, it simply angered the Native American and Latino populations in that District who made sure to get out and vote for him (probably helped boost his name ID which is a very important thing). This guy came from totally humble beginnings and he really did work his way up. But like many Latinos actually, once he got to the top, he didn’t move away to someplace much nicer, he came back home and helped build up his own community. I think he lives in Palm Desert now which is fairly swanky but still, he provides much needed medical services to the people of Coachella. He’s won a handful of “Citizen of the Year” awards. For her to attack him, a product of their community, like that probably just raised their ire.

    I mean think about it this way. In all those gated communities, the whites are just fine with Latino security personel. Latinos are their housekeepers, their caretakers, their gardeners, their golf course caddies, their pool cleaners. Latinos are the ones standing in the hot desert sun landscaping to keep those nice cities looking beautiful. When a new development goes up, people are just fine with Latinos working as construction workers. You go to the restaurants out there (and that’s the fun thing about the desert, you can get whatever kind of cuisine you like…..even English themed Prime Rib) and all the busboys and servers and lower kitchen staff are Latino (half the waiters are too, and even some chefs are as well).

    Despite what racists may tell you, these people are some of the hardest working people in the world. They’re not lazy. They’re not criminals. They’re not part of Romney’s scorned 47% moucher class looking for easy benefits and handouts. Those who are unemployed (and unemployment is VERY high right now in Inland California) suffer because they want, like everyone else, to work. Painting Ruiz as some sort of radical criminal was Bono Mack’s way of taking advantage of racial stereotypes and negative attitudes. I’m glad it failed.

    My feeling is, if it’s okay for a Latino to clean up after you and keep your home sparkling, then it’s okay for a Latino to represent you in Congress (or in my case, serve as your Mayor).

    And on the subject of Leonard Peltier (which I think was the subject of the letter controversy). I think every college student in America who was politically anywhere from center-right to full on leftwinger has signed something on behalf of Peltier. A lot of people believe he was framed and that he was not given a fair trial. In fact, his codefendants were caught and tried first. The feds prosecuted them in lily white Iowa. But despite being lily white, there are (as you’re no doubt aware) a lot of Liberals in Iowa. Those jurors actually took their jobs seriously. They looked at the prosecution and blew holes in the government’s case and they came back and unanimously acquitted the defendant to everyone’s surprise. When the government caught Peltier, they made sure not to make that mistake again and moved the trial to conservative North Dakota and this time, got their conviction.

    Now politically, it failed for Bono Mack because even if you’ve never heard of or followed the Peltier saga before or even if you think he was in fact guilty, what does it have to do with Ruiz? Nothing. He wrote some letter 15 years ago. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything. It doesn’t show him to have acted in some shady manner. It was irrelevant.

    However, it probably offended the Latino community that this was being presented like this and that someone who they looked to as a role model for their community was being tarred this way. And it probably ticked off the Native Americans who live in that District who probably don’t like a politician who goes after Native American activists.

    Like many things, it misfired. Because it frankly wasn’t very relevant. Like during the debate, I was incredulous that she brought up the tv show Modern Family to talk about her record on LGBT civil rights. I don’t watch Modern Family and I don’t care about Modern Family. And I have a feeling that a lot of gay voters in Palm Springs and Cathedral City felt similarly. She couldn’t discuss her leadership role on civil rights because she didn’t have one.

    On that note, her defeat (as well as the defeats of many others) make me glad that Americans have shown that overall, we will not tolerate the Julia Gillards of the world. And we will, when given the opportunity, vote them out of office. I’m even more glad though that her Jim Hahn inspired racial attacks failed as well and that the voters of her District stood up to that and rejected it.

  5. @ Billy Bob

    I realize just how worked up I sound on this. I am worked up, I admit it.

    It just bugs me though. Here we are in 2012 and we’re still dealing with this sh*t. I thought we had moved on from racism. Or at least politicians who run racist campaigns because they feel it will be politically advantageous.

    I was talking to a gentleman who was actually friends with her (and had once hosted a major fundraiser for her when she first ran for Congress). Or he was (don’t know what she thinks of him now) and he pointed out to me that she has nothing against gays, she embraced her former son in law Chaz Bono. She’s actually helped out some of the Indian Reservations and has nothing against Indians. I doubt she’s actually a racist at all. But when she saw that she was vulnerable against a Latino opponent, she decided she was fine with whatever attack lines against him she could find. Even if they played into racist fears and stereotypes.

    So she’s probably not personally racist but deciding to go down that road, it shows lack of leadership, lack of values, and lack of character. So I’m glad it didn’t work for her and that she lost.

    Scott “Teabagger” Brown also laid down some vile racist attacks against Elizabeth Warren. Makes me doubly glad he lost. Now there’s a guy who’s a total homophobe btw and completely got away with it too in Massachussetts, which shows you how easy it is to dupe voters and how much Dems have sucked for not bringing up these issues out of fear. I’m glad that Dems finally grew some spine in this election and called out their opponents on these issues.

  6. @ Billy Bob

    I didn’t even see this (maybe you did) but one of the last ads run.

    Yes, this is racist and vile. It’s also called going nuclear (you should have seen some of Allen West’s final ads, they were not only nuclear, they were unhinged….it was the political version of Dr. Strangelove).

    Btw, there’s a major political misstep in this kind of campaigning.

    Let’s assume a hypothetical British ex-pat who becomes a U.S. citizen and retires to the Desert Cities (say someone like Crossbat’s dad or his long lost twin brother). He was a Tory all his life. But he knows about the GOP and he likes Obama (he figures anyone with David Cameron’s endorsement is good enough for him). He goes to his precinct to cast his ballot for Obama. Now, downballot, does he know who Raul Ruiz is? He likes Obama but he’s a former lifelong Tory and doesn’t consider himself a leftwinger so he’s not going to just vote straight ticket Democratic. Does he even know who Mary Bono Mack is? He might just skip that altogether (“I know nothing about these chaps”).

    Okay, this guy is made up but believe it or not a lot of people skip downballot races cause’ they haven’t really heard anything about the candidates and they’re not wed to a party. Now I am assuming that CA-36 was carried narrowly by Barack Obama (maybe it wasn’t, we’ll have to see). But for Bono, the best thing is to have infrequent Obama voters simply vote for Obama and not vote on the rest of the ballot. So by going after your opponent like this actually helps boost his name recognition.

  7. @Martyn and the Sheep – many thanks for authoritative help, particularly helpful as you both agree

  8. @Roger Mexico

    LOL :-)

  9. Thank you, ANDYO.

    Still seems a bit odd to me though…..

  10. Patten knew about the Newsnight report-but didn’t ask Entwhistle about it.

    Patten’s relationship with Lord McAlpine over the years is very interesting.

    So many BBC “managers” stepping aside ( as it is known) , that their management structure begins to resemble a game of Draughts.

  11. Socali

    Is Julia Gillard being accused of being right wing as well now?

    So far the right wing seems to consist of the British Labour Party, Tony Blair, the US Democratic Party, Barack Obama, Julia Gillard. Is the Australian Labor Party considered right wing on here as well?

  12. Maninthe Middle:

    I think my new puppy’s a bit right wing: its hard to tell but she is very greedy and nicks Rosie’s food so I think she probably is.

  13. While we are considering these tables and chairs, I’d like to ask a question about privatisation and “taxpayer’s money”.

    The efficiency saving when a public service is privatised is all about labour costs. Put bluntly, the workers are paid less in terms of wages, pensions and other terms and conditions. The savings are converted into shareholder profits and high level salaries for the board members of the privatised service provider.

    But here’s the question: is the availabilty of cheap labour REALLY good for the economy? If a few at the top are paid loads of quids and those at the bottom barely scrape a living, just who is going to spend enough to keep the economy going?

    As the middle class disappear so might the great internal market that is the UK.

  14. @ Nickp

    Spot on re your last post. Making more people poorer is not going to help the economy. There are many people that have been using savings to supplement their incomes, so they can afford to live. If savings are gradually disappearing, this is not good news for the banks and for the economy. Due to the ever rising cost of living, these savings may not be rebuilt.

    The bit you miss out in your post, is that some of these private companies will some how move any profits abroad and not pay much in the way of tax. So the country does not benefit from the move from public to private, apart from the future cost of state pensions. But much of these savings in regard to state pensions, could be wiped out if governments are forced to pay additional benefits to curb poverty.

  15. For pension savings, I meant public sector employee pensions and not state pensions.

  16. r huckle

    The thing people forget about pensions is that they too are deferred wages. So if you give people smaller pensions, yes the tax payer is paying less for them BUT the pensioner has less money to spend in the market place too.

    These things are interconnected. It seems to me self evident that the wages/pensions that need restraining are towards the top end of the scale. Those board members should not get so much and the workers should get more.

    Simplest way to do that is to not privatise the damn thing in the first place.

  17. Agree with NickP

    I really hope Labour get onboard with this living wage. I want it to be made party policy, and not just an agreement that can be broken, it needs to be written into legislation.

    It will also help readdress concerns I’ve stated on here in the past about immigration hitting the working class. The minimum wage is not enough for a decent standard of life, so Brits can’t go for those jobs, but if all jobs ensure at least a decent standard of life, then British workers, and foreign workers will be on a more even playing field.

    Now we need full implementation of the EU working time directive!

  18. @ Nick P

    But here’s the question: is the availabilty of cheap labour REALLY good for the economy? If a few at the top are paid loads of quids and those at the bottom barely scrape a living, just who is going to spend enough to keep the economy going?
    Gosh, Nick you are really making my day here. I spent some time on a couple of previous threads trying to explain China’s economy to Colin – it kind of had the same effect as QE; he dissed me when I said that Chinese Labour may appear cheap but it isn’t value for money because it is unproductive, has very limited capabilities & carries a lot of ‘hidden’ costs.

    FoxCon, a Taiwanese Company which has huge factories in China where Apple products (amongst others) are assembled. It has recently announced that it would like to open factories in the USofA. The given reason for this being that in China there is a shortage of workers with appropriate skills.

    The actualité is that Chinese workers cannot operate & maintain equipment. Manufacturers are no longer finding it cost efficient to perform all the machining & material handling work in the US & Europe then ship the parts to China for assembly, then ship them back into the markets where people actually buy the products.

    The expectation was that China would become the major market for products (due to the size of their population) with the rest of us buying surplus goods which represented over-production by the Chinese. That’s what would’ve made producing in China cost efficient.

    However, the market for consumer products hasn’t developed in accordance with projections (most of which were made by the Table Futures Banking Corporation & their like ;-) ).

    As a result, pretty much none of the consumer goods can be made in China & sold in China, they can only be assembled there. The components which are to be assembled in China must be shipped in & the finished products shipped back out again. Logistics, warehousing, shipping, import & export duties etc must be added to the cost; & all that costs a ton of money. So the production cost is much higher than expected.

    Ultimately, cheap labour in the wrong place isn’t cheap. Why did the domestic market in China fail to develop in the way projected? Because cheap labour doesn’t create wealth for the economy in which it toils because (as you say) it has no spending power. This is why unbalanced, race-to-the-bottom, capitalism generally fails after a relatively short period of time.

    Manufacturing is reaching the tipping point of returning to the USofA & Europe. The trickle may well become a flood. And the UK will miss the opportunity, if we are fixated on comparing cost of labour alone, instead of total cost from product inception to point of sale.

  19. Had an education in those VI differences between the youngest & oldest age groups.

    As part of a lovely weekend with a visiting undergraduate granddaughter & in search of cool things to do-booked for a Marcus Brigstocke gig.

    Two hours of gritted teeth as I contemplated my £30 investment in an unremitting anti-government rant of laser like focus & unrelieved lack of variety, left my granddaughter very happy indeed.

    Her evening of happiness & fun was only slightly spoiled, I felt, by my clapping the two hecklers. Molly thought in “unfair” to heckle “comedians” in that way.

    That she perhaps sensed a less than enthusiastic enjoyment of proceedings in me , than she so pleasingly displayed, was evident in her tentative enquiry-“did you enjoy it grandad” ?

    I don’t think my reply-” I enjoyed the train joke at the end…..and the interval music” was entirely convincing.

  20. Amber and nick

    You forgot to mention the impact of low wage workers borrowing money to pay bills

  21. @ Amber

    Mostly right about China. But it is not that they are technically unable to make high tech productrs, as they do so. It is just that that they don’t have the size of workforce with the skills needed, to handle the volumes the rest of the world is trying to use them to produce. There are many foreign workers who now live in China to bridge the skills gap. The German companies who manufacture the high tech factory machinery have their engineers based in the manufacturing areas.

    What has also not been mentioned is the cost of transporting the goods on these huge container ships. The costs have risen massively, due to the cost of oil. Many of these cargo ships were laid up when the financial collapse happened and many don’t get the work anymore to stay in operation. Therefore there is a move to bring the manufacturing of products closer to the markets they are being sold into.

  22. Japan is back in recession again, 5th time in 15 years even QE8 didn’t help. Their bubble burst in 1990 and they still haven’t got rid of the debt overhang. And property prices seem to be still falling, of course the stock market never regained the 1989 heights of 30000+ and today languishes just below 9000

  23. @RIN

    Agreed. The rise in the number of Payday loan companies and such loans being taken up. Did you know that many of the Payday loan companies that advertise on TV are not actually based in the UK ? All they have is a postbox address, that forwards on any post. Some are based in the US and have 24 hour call centres there that deal with applications, emails etc. Why the UK allows these companies to operate outside the UK beats me. I could not see the French accepting US loan companies operating in France.

  24. AMBER

    Your stated reason for FoxCon’s change of policy doesn’t tie in with this report, in which increasing Chinese Labour costs are reported as driving a move to ” targeting its investments in large markets with low labor costs, as well as opportunities to reduce transport times and import taxes. ”

    Taget areas are reported to be Africa ,South America & Indonesia :-

    Your remarks about trends to “reshoring” of Chinese manufacturing operations to USA is certainly highlighted in this study :-

    h t tp://

    ..but as you will see, the reasons highlighted do not include skills, but focus on increasing Chinese Labour costs & Transportation costs.

    The bar charts show falls in the US/China Labour Cost Gap & Landed Cost Gap between 2005 & 2013 from 51% to 30% , and 31% to 16% respectively.

  25. @ R Huckle

    I agree with everything which you say. And your additions further illustrate why the tipping point has been reached.

  26. With regards to the living wage -> it is important to note the position of the market rate. If (as with the current minimum wage) it is set a level comparable to, or below the market defined position it will not cause unemployment AND protect explotiation of workers.

    If you set it above the market rate, it will (it really will) cause unemployment. If thats something that is worth bearing (presuming a living wage is above the market wage) then fair enough we should go ahead with it.

    It is important to reward working class people putting in a hard days work so I see leftys points on this issue. But don’t think its a one sided, needs to be done, no

  27. With regards to the living wage -> it is important to note the position of the market rate. If (as with the current minimum wage) it is set a level comparable to, or below the market defined position it will not cause unemployment AND protect explotiation of workers.

    If you set it above the market rate, it will (it really will) cause unemployment. If thats something that is worth bearing (presuming a living wage is above the market wage) then fair enough we should go ahead with it.

    It is important to reward working class people putting in a hard days work so I see leftys points on this issue.

    But don’t think its a one sided, needs to be done sort of thing. Yes, unemployment didn’t result from the minimum wage, but that was firstly due to its low level and secondly due to a strong economic position meaning that the market rate was quite high. Don’t think just because the tories were wrong before that you won’t be putting people out of work this time. Large companies will be able to afford this with ease in many cases, however lots of small companies may not.

  28. R Huckle

    I agree with you about Pay Day loan companies. ( and the “stars” who advertise them)

    There is clearly a demand , and I cannot understand why the Credit Union movement doesn’t expand to fill it.

    Here is an example :-

  29. @ Colin

    ..but as you will see, the reasons highlighted do not include skills, but focus on increasing Chinese Labour costs & Transportation costs.
    Well, if Chinese unskilled labour is also becoming too expensive that simply adds to my interpretation of the ongoing situation.

    To be honest, I don’t think FoxConn will open factories in the USofA. I think the contracts will be placed with US firms instead of FoxConn. But that’s just my opinion, don’t go selling your FoxConn shares because of it. ;-)

  30. AMBER


    An interesting trend in any event.

    I would have thought FoxConn shares might be a punt if lower costs & improved margins are in prospect :-)

  31. Really Joe? An extra £1 an hour is really going to break the bank? I think if such a business exists where an hours worth of labour from a worker, does not generate more than £1 of revenue then that business seriously needs to look at it’s business plan.

    For every employee a company has, they should receive a net gain

    (What the employee produces minus their wages = net gain) If that net gain is lower then firms will be encouraged to hire more staff. Hiring more staff isn’t a burden, it’s your staff that generate your revenue and your net profit. The current minimum wage is £6.19 per hour, is raising that to £7.30 really going to cripple business, I don’t think so, and if it does, then that business probably wasn’t long term viable anyway.

    Also don’t forget the simple fact that more cash in pockets will mean more demand for a businesses products. So if every firm is forced to raise their wages, they could also see a rise in demand. Some may choose to raise prices instead, but that would make them uncompetitive harming their own business further.

  32. @ Colin

    I do admire your Keynesian approach. When the reported facts change, you change your mind. :-)

  33. If that net gain is lower then firms will be encouraged to hire more staff *to make up the shortfall! If they want to keep generating profit of £X0,000 then they will need to hire more workers.

  34. AMBER

    @. When the reported facts change, you change your mind. ”

    How’s that ?

  35. Iain Overton, the editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which collaborated with Newsnight on the false report, has resigned.

  36. Colin

    Famous quote of Keynes

    “When the facts change I change my mind, what do you do sir”

    Or something like that

  37. @ RiN

    Unemployment rate in Japan is 4.2%; there is not too much political pressure to escape stagnation when most of the population are in work.

  38. I wondered about Overton. His tweet “we’re going to expose a Top Tory tonight on Newsnight!”, or whatever, apart from being inaccurate, seemed a bit illjudged. Might have drummed up some viewing figures, I suppose.

    I can’t really say what I think because AW will be cross, but in general I think the pursuit of the BBC is missing the point a bit. They were damned for not publishing (Savile) and now they are damned for publishing (TT).

    As far as I can see, after many many years of rumours, outing the accusations has revealed TT to be innocent. In other words, openness has cleared his name at last.

    i don’t want to pretend that that was the BBC’s intent, but it was a good outcome anyway. Cleared his name rather than besmirched his reputation.

    And there is still the question of the actual guilty party or parties.

  39. @ Colin

    It was meant as a compliment.

  40. @Man In The Middle

    “Go Lean” has been a huge thing for a lot of MBAs of the last decade. They *do* run companies where they are making tiny slivers of profit, but do so on huge bulk so they have giant turn-over so they make lots of tiny slivers of profit. This is basically what turned Walmart into a giant.

    The problem is of course that they are massively vulnerable to anything changing in the market that wipes out that tiny sliver of profit. Which is why the likes of Walmart through their weight behind certain ‘free market’ practices to prevent changes that would disrupt their business.

    Which is why they are so very dead set against minimum wage increases or enforcement of regulations, because that exposes the systemic flaws in their business plans.

  41. @Colin – “There is clearly a demand , and I cannot understand why the Credit Union movement doesn’t expand to fill it.”

    This will be largely due to the legal restrictions placed on them. There are limits on the way CU’s can recruit members which severely limits their scope for expansion, and there are other limitations drawn up within the legislation. Partly this is to do with managing risks, but in the main I think it is the result of pressure from the big banks.

    CU’s tend to offer a better service, better returns to members, and generally consistently out perform the big banks in terms of customer satisfaction. this frightens the big players, and the last time legislation was proposed to loosen the restrictions on them, the banks lobbied furiously to water down the legislation and protect their interests.

  42. There are talks that because of the weak economy (no growth) more cuts and/or higher taxes will be required.

    Surely we are now in that death spiral feared by Keynesians? No growth leading to calls for more cuts which reduces demand further leading to no growth leading to calls for more cuts etc etc etc

  43. Thought experiment – What happens to the US Economy when Walmart like low-margin retailers ability to manipulate markets and cost conditions; is exceeded by market volatility, changes in the work-force and increased cost of operation to cover fraying infrastructure?

  44. Regarding Japan in “recession”

    Japan is a very weird case as they have a declining population, due to low birth rates and very low immigration. Especially to note is the “working age population” which is decreasing even faster leaving problems of supporting a top heavy age distribution.

    If their economy remains the same size everyone would get “richer” (in terms of GDP to population) it’s only in countries that consistently grow that they expect growth to be the norm.

    In truth the Japanese have a fairly consistent standard of living. Although expensive compared to a lot of the world due to high housing prices ( at least in Tokyo which accounts for 1/4 of the population) and the “cost” to have exorbitant import tariffs on food to effectively subsidise their declining agriculture industry.

    There hasn’t been a long term plan for Japan’s economy in years, with a PM who seems to change on an annual basis, no big decisions can be made and they simply look to “hold station”.

    Whether they can continue along this path indefinitely remains to be seen but unless someone grasps the nettle of relaxing immigration in Japan I fear they will become too top heavy and living standards will decline.

    I doubt many people are too worried about recession or stagnation in Japan, unemployment is low, living standards are good. It’s been that way for the most part of a generation. Whether it’ll remain on that course for the next generation remains to be seen. Where recession will affect Japan will be in regard to paying it’s colossal debt, which as long as it keeps making it’s payments and everyone ignored the future issues in might face, everything is rosy.

    I suspect the next big crash will be Japan unable to sustain it’s level of debt with it’s dwindling population somewhere around 2030-2040 bust everyone will keep their heads in the sand as long as possible hoping it’ll be someone else’s problem.

  45. I don’t see how more immigration would help Japan, It would be a short term fix, more workers to pay for pensions, but immigration would reduce Japanese wages and the Japanese living standards.

    The problems in Japan is quite ironic, it’s their hard work ethic. The birth rate is so low because neither Mum or Dad wants to take any time off work to have a baby. I couldn’t live in Japan work comes first in everything, work comes before family.

    I work so that I can live.
    Too many in Japan live so that they can work.

  46. Regarding cheap labour being bad for a country like China. If China produces white goods they can’t sell in their own country because the cost of the product is to high for there own low paid workers, but can sell in a Western country to the higher paid workers, having a lower paid work force producing the goods, is good for economic growth. Conversely If the west produce the same white goods but has much higher labour costs not only can’t they sell it in China, but wont be able to sell it in the west because the product will be priced higher because of Labour costs.
    I’m not saying it’s morally right but China is acting very much in the same way Victorian’s did, using cheap labour to build a huge Empire no doubt this will change in the years ahead as the Chinese demand more rights, but by then China would have hoped to be so dominant in the world markets that increasing wages will not effect there global financial dominance.

  47. AMBER

    Oh-I see-that’s a relief :-)

    How do you factor in the impact on China’s the economies of China’s neighbours of land acquisition for commodity crop production – esp. plantation production of cassava for pig feed and rubber – taking these out of domestic food crop and small farmer production and tenure? One effect is the creation of an impoverished work force, but one with limited skills; OK for the garment industry but not for other manufacturing; so the latter goes back to Europe and US? Domestically, though, in Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh,, with inadequate government capacities for long-term educational or economic policies, it is having a colonialist effect, and reduces the potential for world trade.

  49. But don’t think its a one sided, needs to be done sort of thing. Yes, unemployment didn’t result from the minimum wage, but that was firstly due to its low level and secondly due to a strong economic position meaning that the market rate was quite high. Don’t think just because the tories were wrong before that you won’t be putting people out of work this time.

    – Is your point that on the basis of chance the Tories will eventually get something right. I suppose there is a first time for everything!

    Historical examples show that paying above the market rate for workers increases their discretionary spending which they spend locally, and increases the tax take and reduces in work benefits, unlike paying money to Senior Executives which while it increases their discretionary spending this is off shored along with income to avoid paying any additional tax on increased income.

    If the purpose of a policy is to encourage growth and raise tax take while reducing benefits then a policy based on paying more to workers at the lower end rather than making millionaires richer stands some chance of success.

    Labour should develop this policy it’s a vote winner and I think has struck a cord with both Labour and non labour supporters.

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