Today part of the country (or at least, a British dependency) actually has an election – the Falklands have a referendum on whether they wish to remain British. The result is a formality of course, people there will overwhelmingly vote to remain British, but what do people in Britain itself and Argentina think?

YouGov and Ibarometro have carried out parallel polling on the issue this week in Britain and Argentina – full results are here. There is a broad perception that the issue matters rather more to Argentina than Britain, only 1% of British people pick the Falklands as one of the most important international issues facing the country, 24% of Argentinians do. Asked directly about Falklands 54% of British respondents think it is an important issue to Britain, 67% of Argentinians think it is an important issue to Argentina.

Unsurprisingly 62% of Argentinians think that the fairest solution to the issue would be for the islands to become Argentinian, 20% would support joint-sovereignty. Only 4% think they should remain British. For British respondents 40% want the islands to remain British, 28% think they should become independent (presumably respondents who don’t realise just how few people live there!), 13% would support shared sovereignty, only 4% think the islands should become Argentinian. There is very little crossover there.

Asked what they think actually will happen there is less contrast. 61% of British respondents think the islands will remain British, 37% of Argentinian respondents think they will remain British. Despite the fuss made over the Islands by the Argentine government (actions that are supported by most Argentinians – 53% think their government is doing a good job on the issue), only 25% of Argentinians think the islands actually will end up becoming Argentinian.

Turning to the referendum this week, British respondents overwhelmingly think that the Falkland Islanders should have a say on their future (88% think they should, 4% do not). Argentinian respondents do not – only 15% think the Falkland Islanders should have a say, 59% do not. Asked who should have the final say on the Islands’ future, 74% of British respondents think it should be down to the islanders themselves. Argentinian respondents were more divided, but the most popular option was for a international organisation to make the decision (36%).


147 Responses to “YouGov/Ibarometro survey on the Falklands”

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  1. Of course the value of the pound is a political issue, if the pound falls to a 1 to 1 ratio with the dollar and substains that for any length of time it would mean the end of any of the parties in power at that time

    -The £ reached virtual parity with the Dollar in 1985.

    Followed by another 12 Years of Tory Government..

    On a more realistic prospect £- Euro parity looks on the cards within the next few months and the political fallout for the Tories with this having made such a play of how being out of the Euro zone meant the UK Was a safe haven would be significant.

    If capital walks I suspect the government will too.

  2. @Charles, TOH and NickP – Interesting points all round.

    Another consideration (although I don’t have figures to solidify a view on this) is the long term trend of higher basic rates of income tax being reduced, with increased NI to compensate. This has the effect of reducing the tax burden from non working pensioners and loading a greater proportion onto the working age population.

    This has happened since Thatcher’s days, with successive governments wanting to claim ‘reductions in tax’ based on falling basic rates. We are still seeing this, with coalition claims to have taken 2 million people ‘out of tax altogether’ with the increase in income tax thresholds. This is, in fact, extremely misleading (I would call it a lie, if I was speaking honestly) as low earners below the income tax threshold are still paying the elevated rate of NI, so are not being taken of of tax.

    Osborne appeared to be brave in opting to amalgamate income tax and NI – a long overdue move, now that few benefits are actually contributory, and those that are are unfunded (at least not directly funded by the individual’s actual contribution). The potential administrative savings are immense, not so much for the government, but for businesses up and down the land.

    The big losers in this would be pensioners, who would face a reverse of the four decade long experience of reducing tax on pensioner incomes. As a result, without complex and generous transitional arrangements, this would be very difficult for any government politically.

    I suspect that committing to such a move would only be possible as part of a root and branch overhaul of the unwritten compact between society and the elderly. In my view, this should include the scrapping of all the additional and rather pointless pension benefit add ons, a unified single income tax (higher than present basic rate income tax) an uplifted basic pension for all pensioners, and guarantees on issues like free care for all as required, inheritance tax and means testing of care costs as compensations.

    For working age people, overall this should see reduced employment taxes, probably some minor sacrifice of inherited wealth to pay for the care settlement, and a reduction in top end current pension tax relief to divert into basic pension upgrades. (Action on capping bank fees to make private pensions more worthwhile also helps balance this loss). This should help living costs and therefore boost the economy.

    Unless these issues are dealt with in a connected and wholesale manner, I can’t see them building sufficient political support, but the sad fact of this is that for many of the fundamental changes, the state either would be saving money or wouldn’t be picking up the tab, so much of a programme like this would be self funding.

  3. @NickP

    Good point I hope Labour put it in their manifesto.

  4. I to think that the overhaul of tax is lon ovedue. The rich aren’t paying enough as they dodge it through the cap on NI and by, well, dodging it.

    Now that employed and self employed “stamp” are being amulgamated, I can see no reason why it can’t just become a part of income tax, uncapped.

    What Alec has described sounds good.

  5. @steve – I think you are right to highlight currency issues, but don’t get too carried away by historic currency values.

    In 1985, world oil prices, adjusted for inflation to today’s prices, were $57 a barrel. Today they are $93. So you are not too far off double the price in real terms if you want to return to parity with the dollar.

    Returning to this level today would not be the same as 1985. We actually had inflation of over 6% in 1985, and given the huge real terms rise in resource costs today, this threat becomes even more significant.

  6. Steve

    I did say substained, yes the pound did almost reach parity with the dollar in 85 but it quickly rose again, but it was enough to lead to a a significant rise in inflation even though the price of oil was very low at about 10 dollars a barrel.

  7. Opps alec got there first

  8. Alec

    Your 93 dollar price is for wti, brent which is the real price of most oil is 17 dollars more expensive. A bit of pedantry I know

  9. ALEC

    @” low earners below the income tax threshold are still paying the elevated rate of NI, so are not being taken of of tax.”

    But only on their income above the “The Primary Threshold” -£7748 pa. for 2013/14-or 12% NI X ( £9440-7748) =£203 pa NI for an earner at the 2013/14 Basic Rate IT threshold.

    In Labour’s last year 2009/10 Basic Rate Income Tax started at £6475. Inflated at CPI , that would have been £7009 by 2013/14.

    Such an earner has thus saved IT of 20% X ( £9440-£7009) = £486 pa as a result of this Government’s policies.

    If one argues that there is never any guarantee that Personal Allowances will be indexed, then the saving is 20% X ( 9440 -£ 6475 ) =£593 pa.

  10. …………and of course the Basic Rate Income Tax threshold was above the Earnings THreshold for NI in 2009/10 too.

    The Earner at the Basic Rate threshold then would have paid NI of 11% X ( £6475 -£5715) = £ £84 pa ….or £91 if inflated to 2013/14

  11. Two interesting articles today on a common theme which doesn’t get a lot of airing beneath the clamour for for demand stimuli.

    The theme is lack of credit to business .

    WSJ points to a UK banking sector still hiding impairment of old loans through “forbearance”; undercapitalised & unable to channel cheap credit to business.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/source/2013/03/11/forbearance-stifles-u-k-economic-growth/

    On a similar theme, but picking up a different feature of UK ‘s credit market, Sam Fleming in today’s Times contrasts it with USA.

    In USA, Banks provide only 18% of business finance-in UK it is 50%.
    In USA companies “tap into far deeper equity & bond markets & more sophisticated pools of venture capital than in Europe”.

    Fleming says only 3% of UK SMS use Equity finance-whilst a quite unbelievable 55% ( he asserts) use Credit Cards !
    With APRs at 20% pa-that channel is manifestly not transmitting low interest rates to business.

    Fleming points to structural changes in the bias in the tax system against equity finance & in favour of debt.

    eg-Stamp Duty on AIM listed shares.

    The more one digs into the supply side of our economy , the more one sees the need for reform.

  12. I suspect that committing to such a move would only be possible as part of a root and branch overhaul of the unwritten compact between society and the elderly.

    -The unwritten compact that notes more of the over 65’s vote than the under 40’s

    By the way I was simply responding to a comment regarding currencies and there effects on VI incidentally the £ took 3 years to reach 150-60 after 1985.

    With falling £ exchange rates against the Dollar Yen and Euro I wouldn’t underplay the inflationary pressure now in the system either.

  13. I do know the diffidence between their and there but my cat decided to attack my toes as I was typing!

  14. With low consumer demand being generally recognised as one of the key causes of our stagnating economy, then it seems to me that one of the most important things for our economic policy makers to do is to get money into the hands of people who are likely to spend it. There are of course many and various ways of doing this and Simon Jenkins had a novel approach when he recently advocated, in one of his Guardian articles, that, rather than the ineffectual QE programme, it would have been better, and no more costly, to send everybody in the country a cheque for £8,000. Assuming, probably rightly, that most people would spend that money in the wider economy, and not save it or pay down debt, then that would have re-flated our economy far more effectively than stuffing freshly printed money into already groaning bank balance sheets. Haven’t we spent enough of the country’s money re-capitalising these ineffectual institutions already?

    However, assuming we’re not going to follow Jenkins’ maverick advice, maybe we should look at more modest methods of increasing consumer purchasing power. Ed Balls is right to argue that a VAT cut is more effective than cutting income tax. Indirect taxation tends to disproportionately effect people on lower incomes more than direct taxation and it is people on lower to middle incomes who tend to spend rather than save. The 5% cut to the top rate of income tax will have no discernible effect on the economy and I’m staggered that it was deemed an economic priority in present circumstances. A politically inspired eye-catching move from a tactics obsessed Chancellor, I fear. Osborne more keen to wrong foot Balls rather than boost the economy.

    The Cable idea of infra-structure investment such as big road and house-building programmes is a longer term measure but would boost employment and real wages. We have a chronic and pernicious problem that is linked to the flat levels of consumer spending and lack of confidence in our economy, and that is low pay and job insecurity. A sensible Chancellor would address all of these issues in next week’s budget rather than obsess about welfare spending and show-boat about measures to stop EU economic immigrants coming here to “sponge” benefits. Oh, and wouldn’t it be nice to concentrate on our economic woes rather than indulge in arcane and divisive debates about strivers and shirkers.

    I hope my hopes won’t be dashed next week.

  15. My advise to GO is take a big gamble. The Cons will lose in 2015, austerity really is not working so what has he got to lose?

    What that gamble should be I am not so sure. maybe cut the 40% tax rate to 35% that should bring most of the Con voters home :-)

  16. Crossbat11

    I assume that Dr Cable in pleading for more road building has not any problems with his colleague the SoS for Nnergy and Climate Change? :-)

  17. Er, Energy not Nnergy

  18. Actually, I had to remind myself who was responsible for Climate Change, I mean, we have a Dept for Environment, but I realise now – they just kill badgers, don’t they?

  19. 8 months for Huhne…

  20. 8 months for Pryce.

  21. Steve and R in N
    Thanks for replies. I have to say I fail to see the correlation between political opinion swing and currency exchange rates and I dispute that what people call Black Wednesday was in the slightest understood by the UK electorate, let alone the then chancellor who had, before he started raising rates by the hour in the last days, previously had actually once cut the bank rate, causing Mrs H and I to wonder if he understood what he was doing. We had expected the bank rate to have been steadily raised all through 1992 and 1993, not the opposite. At least, if the UK had wanted to remain in the ERM – most puzzling.

  22. So called “Helicopter money” dropped on consumers might well be used to alleviate debt. Certainly some of it would be.To the extent that it is spent on consumer goods, some proportion will be on imports , thus fuelling inflation.
    To the extent that on-line retailers are increasingly replacing the High Street for consumer durables, no significant effect on employment would occur, and Corporation Tax receipts are likely to be unnaffected following tax sheltering practices.

    Low cost Credit channelled to SMSs , to the extent that it replaces High cost Credit-or non-available credit, is perhaps more likely to enhance expansion, exporting, employment , income tax & corporation tax revenues.

    The latter route can lead to medium/ long term effects.

    The former route is a one off act of desperation-unless one wants to emulate Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic.

  23. Following on Alec;s and Crossbatt;s concerns and Colin’s concerns about our capital markets, how can one tax capital and incentivise it in such a way that money is put into creating meaningful jobs? Or can’t it be done?

  24. Given that Pryce and Huhne have both got 8 months and the weekly cost of keeping them inside is £800 per week, couldn’t the taxpayer save a bob or two and ask them to double up and share a cell?

  25. @Charles – that’s a fascinating question.

    I agree with @Colin’s worries about simply pumping cash into the consumer end of the economy. Something like a VAT cut would (and did) help a specific sector (retail) and there is some merit in this, but we have to be clear that the retail sector is changing anyway, and slowing down the rate of change isn’t necessarily the best way to spend taxpayers money. Perhaps actually speeding it up is – by allowing badly performing retail businesses to fail quickly and work on reinvesting in the high street in ways that are going to be viable in the decades ahead.

    This I think is the key issue no one has grappled with. @Colin is right in that funding enterprise in the UK is a really tough area.

    Governments really need to focus on incentives for investment. Despite the credit issues, UK companies are sitting on record piles of cash at present – around £70b. This government has chosen to incentivise companies to relocate head office functions to the UK through more lenient Corporation Tax arrangements, but while this is very popular with the kinds of people who seem to spend large amounts of time with government ministers, CT is a small part of the tax base and it’s actually the jobs, rather than the nominal company head office that we need to relocate. Salary taxes and VAT from workers is where the big bucks are.

    Targeting efforts at unlocking this cash through large investment incentives is the best way to get immediate activity in the home economy. creating jobs now and in the future, and ensuring we have high productivity and capacity to expand without inflation when the recession is finally over.

  26. @ Crossbat11

    The infrastructure spend would have to be on projects planned by the last government, otherwise the benefits to the economy will be into the next parliament.

    Osborne is not inclined to do Labour a double favour by:
    1. Admitting Brown & Balls were correct in saying that capital projects were needed; &
    2. Start the projects now, when they are more likely to benefit the next (Labour? Lab/Lib? Lab/UKIP?!!!) government.

  27. Alec

    Re Huhne & Pryce

    You reveal an unsuspected vicious side!

  28. Poll Alert: Guardian/ICM poll out this evening.

  29. I thought the whole reason for Pryce’s action was because her husband was *not* sharing the ‘cell’ any more and worse still had abandoned her for a person whose personal qualities angered her even more..

    Perhaps a good deal would have been to offer them 4 months but together in the cell?

  30. i would like to know more about the Austrian system of apprenticeships which (according to the BBC program I heard) are high quality and available as of right to all the young people of Austria.

    And if this could be accompanied by something that gave the unemployed the chance of really meaningful ways of spending their time to acquire skills and do something useful, my happiness would be greatly increased.

    And certainly I would much rather something of this kind than talk of benefit cheats lying in bed behind closed curtains.

  31. CHARLES

    I think Sam Fleming’s article , which I quoted up-thread is on to something. I was absolutely staggered to read that such a proportion of SMEs are using credit cards to finance their businesses. If that is true it is crazy, and shows how far our capital markets have drifted towards the Debt end of the spectrum.

    When I was a young CFO in industry successful companies seeking core funding for expansion went to the equity market. Debt was used to fund working capital through cash flow cycles.

    Where are the IPOs of yesteryear ?

    UK has always had a poor venture capital capability compared with USA .I don’t know why that is.

    Finally, there is clearly a blockage in the Bank Credit channel -particularly for SMEs. If the WSJ account I referenced is correct this is because banks are struggling to balance the enhanced reserves requirements imposed by scared & scarred regulators; the balance sheet impairment ( declared & not declared) from the crash; and government’s constant pressure for more lending to business.

    That this is so evident in the two banks owned by the taxpayer is ironic to say the least. I don’t imaging GO would relish the idea of telling voters that they need more capital & taxpayers will be subscribing. One can only imagine he wants to sell the Government’s shares asap.

    As I said-there is a structural problem in our capital markets, and I see no signs from Cable or Osborne of recognising it.

  32. Was Huhne of the Orange persuasion-or the Labour-lite wing?

    ……..or just another LibDem chancer?

  33. @colin – I was pondering whether QE has had an effect here. As QE has pumped up asset prices, presumably this has increased the returns for these, thereby making loans to industry less profitable and therefore less attractive?

    While I don’t have knowledge of the sector, I do also wonder whether pay and bonus structures in the city also play against good quality financing of industry. I have read that bonuses paid on deal create an incentive for banks to pursue the big takeovers and acquisitions, rather than more down to earth equity financing. How true this is I’m not sure, but I am sure that something has gone badly wrong in the finance markets.

  34. ALEC

    Not at all unsure about QE effects on the economy.

    Sure about it’s effects on me though-bast**ds !

  35. Not at all sure !!

  36. Thorpe, Kennedy, Ashdown, Huhne, Rennard, Opik, Oaten, Smith ( allegedly)

    It’s quite a record isn’t it?

    They don’t call themselves Liberal for nothing do they ?

  37. @CrossBat11

    Quote from Denis Healey

    ‘it had become impossible to discover with any accuracy how much additional demand the government should inject into the economy so as to produce full employment.
    it was equally impossible to know how people would use the money you did inject by cutting taxes or increasing public spending. It might go into higher wages or profits, creating more inflation rather than more jobs.It might be used to buy foreign rather than British goods, so worsening the balance of payments and creating jobs abroad instead of in Britain. Or it might be saved instead of spent.To the surprise of all economists, the increase in inflation led to an enormous increase in saving rather than the reverse.’.

  38. Sorry Anthony, I may have got the % wrong.

  39. I think we could all produce long lists of politicians from every party who have got up to no good, I don’t think it would be beneficial in any form (and accusing people who have not been convicted of any criminal offence of committing a criminal offence is potentially libellous*, so don’t do it on my website)

    (*If they are alive, I’m referring to a deleted comment, not the mention of Cyril Smith)

  40. @Alec and Colin, The Germans seem able to provide capital in the kind of way that Colin knew when he was a young CEO. So why can’t we do it?

    IMHO you have both provided some likely answers (the banks need for an enhanced capital base, the bonus structure, perhaps QE.

    My only sidelight on this comes from Dragon’s Den. I am struck by how many of the projects involve gimmicks (perfect egg poachers etc) rather than things that are going to make a substantial difference to anyone’s life, how many of the objects are going to be made in the far East, and how far the investors wanted very low risk (orders that were already placed etc) but still expected an extraordinary slice of the company in return. Is this any indication of the current investment culture? If so we might be in a mess.

  41. @Charles – I’m actually in the process of trying to raise £100K for a new social enterprise, and have been for over a year. It’s painful. If I had the answers, I wouldn’t be worrying right now, but I’ll keep plugging away and I’ll let you know if I attain financial enlightenment.

  42. NTM slacking again

  43. Apologies AW-it was an unnecessary post .

  44. Lending to business is too risky unless they have assets which can be mortgaged even worse such loans are not liquid which is why there was talk about sercuitization of sme loans, british banks dont like to be tied down, liquidity is paramount

  45. CHARLES
    Rather than 8k per person across the board, my solution to two or three problems is to provide it to individual carers in families keeping their aged parent at home. This would be accompanied by provision of IT support and additional heating and disabled bathroom provision for households caring for the aged. A national program of employment of hoodies of both sexes to care for old people in the high street and supermarkets would be accompanied by training in social care and IT literacy. Carers and the hoodies payment would be calculated at levels to ensure that they came off the unemployed statistics.

  46. One more social democrat PM in the EU. In Saturday’s Maltese GE, Labour won by a landslide: 55% to 43% for the National Party (EPP). Joseph Muscat, age 39, is now the youngest PM in the entire EU. The score of Labour is their best since 1955 and the score of the Nationals is their worst since 1962. It is also the highest score for a single party in the EU. Labour was in the opposition since 1981, except from two years, 1996-1998. It is the 23th (!!!) defeat of an outgoing EU government since 2010, with only two exceptions (Estonia and Poland in 2011). I believe this is the worst period for incumbent governments ever, probably a result of the financial crisis. Moreover, yet another EU government collapsed recently, the 5-party center-right coalition of Slovenia under J. Jansa (EPP). The two centrist parties abandoned the coalition formed in late 2011 and sided with the center-left opposition. Alenka Bratusek, leader of center-left Positive Slovenia, is the new designate PM and she has the support of the Social Democrats (who won by a landslide the Presidential Election of 2012), the centrist Pensioner’s Party and probably the Liberals of Citizen List. If the latter does not join the new coalition, a snap election within 2013 is possible, and VI polls give the SD as first party (it was 3d in 2011). Also Bulgaria will probably have a technical government till the snap election of May caused by the recent resignation of center-right B. Borisev (EPP), and for the first time since 2009 GE the Socialists lead the VI polls.

  47. VIRGILIO

    Fascinating information. We are too inclined to ignore the greater picture….

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