A quick round of of today’s polls. The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here, and has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. YouGov’s daily polling appears to be showing an average Labour lead of around about six points.

The rest of the poll deals mainly with the economy and the royals. Economic optimism continues to get slightly less pessimistic, the “feel good factor” (those thinking their economic situation will get better in the next twelve months minus those who expect it to get worse) is minus 27. Asked more specifically about the recent GDP figures, 38% think that it shows the economy is now on the mend and will continue to grow, 49% think it is bouncing along the bottom. Looking at the crossbreaks shows quite how much people’s opinions on the economy are shaped by their pre-existing views of the government and politics: three-quarters of Conservatives think the economy is now on the mend, three-quarters of Labour supporters think it shows things bouncing along the bottom.

George Osborne continues to have a negative rating as Chancellor – only 25% think he is doing a good job, 45% a bad job. However the widespread desire for Cameron to replace him that YouGov found back in March has declined somewhat – back then people wanted Osborne sacked by 51% to 17%, it’s now a less overwhelming 42% to 30%. He also has better ratings than Ed Balls, and people think Osborne would make a matter Chancellor than Balls by 35% to 27%. By 43% to 32% people think the economy would have been worse if Labour had won the last election.

On the monarchy 17% of people think Britain should become a republic, 75% that we should continue to have a monarchy. A new ComRes poll for the Sunday Telegraph found a similar pattern – 66% think Britain is better off as a monarchy, 17% that it would be better off as a republic. The Sunday Telegraph article has a rather overblown headline of “Confidence in British monarchy at all time high, poll shows” which is a bit silly on various grounds (the monarchy predates opinion polling by hundreds of years so we don’t have anything to judge by, and as far as I can tell the survey did not ask questions that have a long train of past tracking data to compare to).

The best long term tracker data on attitudes to the monarchy is probably MORI’s collection here. Even there things are a bit hamstrung by the fact that lots of polling on the royal family started in the early nineties when the monarchy was at a low ebb in the wake of the the failure of the marriages of Charles, Andrew and Princess Anne and the Queen’s annus horribilis – so most current polling does show the royal family being held in higher regard than in the 1990s…but those few trends that stretch back into the 1980s show much more positive ratings. I suspect the reality is “confidence in British monarchy higher than it has been for twenty years or so”… but we don’t have the data to be sure.

Finally the Sunday Times had a new Panelbase poll on the Scottish Independence referendum, which had YES on 37%(+1), NO on 46%(+2). Past polls on the independence referendum are here, and it’s worth noting the consistent differences between pollsters. Panelbase tend to show a relatively tight race, Ipsos MORI and TNS tend to show a much bigger lead for the NO campaign.


342 Responses to “Sunday polling round up”

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  1. @Amberstar
    Bankers’ bonus tax would be a purely political gesture

    -Bankers managed to pay themselves over £150 Billion in bonuses in the decade before their profligate greed and corporate irresponsibility dropped us all in it.

    Didn’t stop them asking for another £150 Billion to bail them out.

    Maybe they shouldn’t have paid them in the first place?

  2. @ BFR

    The power to give & withdraw UK banking licenses rests with the Bank of England i.e. with the Government – who can legislate for anything they like & the BoE must comply.

    The BoE were able to force the resignation of uber-star banker Bob Diamond. Barclays did not say: “We are keeping Bob, here is your license back, goodbye & thanks for all the fish.” Therefore, it is somewhat naïve to advance the argument that banks with UK licenses can have whatever staff they like, located wherever they wish to be (e.g. Switzerland, Singapore or whatever) & operate under a UK banking license.

    The tide has turned; as the banks outsource more & pay less tax their ability to influence UK governments diminishes. Their reducing contribution to the UK economy will be met with more stringent regulations & tougher conditions attached to their licenses. Better banks & credit unions will gladly step in to fill the space left by these tax avoiding banks. So it may be a case of the UK wishing these chaps bon voyage & telling them they won’t be missed.

  3. SHEVII
    ” Sadly I think both parties have tended to go for an option of pretending that “efficiencies” and “reform” can provide higher spending and lower taxes which I think is nonsense.”

    I am not convinced that stated intentions of making efficiencies and seeking reforms are either rhetoric or nonsense, at least in the areas where I have experience and have banged on about: EC expenditure and management of the CAP, and the Development aid budget. Both are in radical need of reform and offer the opportunity ) of savings in a substantial part of the budget, and (b) of improving the terms of UK international trade.

  4. @Steve,

    Having spent four pleasant and balmy days in the “countryside” of Surrey and Essex, I think you have to be careful about what we describe as “countryside” these days (and what counts towards that 93% figure).

    English countryside these days consists of an old village, with three or four large estates on the outside, with a string of houses and businesses stretched out along the approach roads, which may (or may not) give way to half a mile of fields before you reach the large estates on the edge of the next village. I suspect all of that is called “countryside” in the statistics.

    Hampstead is more rural than much of the English “countryside” these days. Speaking of which, why don’t we build 200,000 homes on Hampstead Heath? Perfectly located, good transport links and it’s exactly where people want to live. Surely Dame Glenda couldn’t possibly object?

  5. @John,

    I wholeheartedly agree. Efficiency savings are very much there to be found in the criminal justice system too. It’s just that the people who are asked to make the savings don’t have the knowledge, courage or conviction to actually do so.

    Having said that, the police cuts under the coalition have been managed more effectively than I expected. I still think more meat could have been saved and less fat kept, though.

  6. @ToH

    What I’m saying is that when you look at historical graphs of immigration and population growth across various countries… There’s no apparent correlation between peaks of net migration, and peaks of population growth, or comparability between nations of high population growth and high net migration. Other factors seem to have a bigger impact on population growth.

  7. BFR
    I see two inexactitudes in your response:
    taxing is not legislating, and nor is the self-regulation which a proper and hnorable relationship between the City and Governmenr would indicate;
    Deutsche Bank would not, despite your purely hypothetical suggestion, transfer its fifty top Fixed Income Traders to Singapore, because they would not want to go – nice environment though Singapore is – and because DB management would know that they would all be back again as their business dried up without the London juices.

  8. @Jayblanc,

    That may be true, but if you look at the breakdown of new births and fertility rates based on parental origins in England you’ll find that immigration has pushed up birth rates considerably – so that new arrivals increase population both by their presence and by the effect they have on the number of new residents born.

    (Apparently 57% of all births in London last year were to women born outside the UK).

    Not making a political point (although there is surely one to be made). Just pointing out the arithmetic.

  9. TOH,

    “does not invalidate the point i was making though, ie that England is already densely populated.”

    Except that it does.

    If we took out London which has a small area but large population you would see that England would drop way down the rankings.

    England; population- 53m Area- 50,000 mile2 just over 1,000 per mile2

    London; Population- 8m Area- 600 miles2 or about 14,000 per mile2.

    England isn’t a densely populated country it is a sparsely populated country with a large number of people in a relatively small urbanised part of it.

    Scotland is the same with the bulk of the population within the central belt in Glasgow and Edinburgh and the associated towns.

    This map illustrates the point well, but I fully expect you to ignore it because it doesn’t help your argument that we need to do something about immigration.

    http://www.olib.co.uk/popmap/

    Peter.

  10. @ Amberstar

    UK banking powers apply only to UK banks, which are a small part of those operating out of London – that’s the flaw in your logic.

    The largest contributors to the Bankers Bonus tax in 2009 were almost all non-British banks; they were Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, UBS, Nomura….

    Only RBS and Barclays ranked in that list, and RBS are pretty much no longer serious players (or payers for that matter).

    All of the above have a choice as to whether their trading operations are based here, NY, Singapore, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

    They stay in London because we have the best support staff, rather than the best traders – the best traders come from all over the world to work in London and are usually pretty mobile. If London imposes a tax on the banks for them working here they will simply go elsewhere.

    Sure, Balls can legislate whatever he likes for UK banks, but since UK banks make up a fraction of the City’s revenue that will not help.

    Those foreign banks are the ones we want to keep – the ones that bring in all that lovely tax revenue for our Exchequer, but that the UK taxpayer doesn’t pay a penny towards supporting if they go belly up. And the bonus tax is designed to push them overseas – it’s just plain stupid.

  11. @ John Pilgrim/Neil A

    I’m not arguing efficiencies can’t be made or shouldn’t be looked at. Just that they alone are not the whole answer to provide better services for the same money. I’m thinking particularly of the NHS and schools which are two of the bigger budgets.

    I accept your points though, although in Neil A’s reply you did say meat was being cut out as well as/instead of fat.

    In my experience most ‘efficiencies’ just involve people working harder for less money and it depends on your starting point as to how hard they were working before and how well paid they were before.

  12. I am sorry, BTW, that noone picked up on my entirely fictitious creation of Elspeth, I think it was, as one of the young Labour Front Bench heavy-hitters waiting in the wings to come in at Ed’s shoulder, as I was ready to invent a really good biog for the girl. A black Muslim, rumoured love-child of one of the Limehouse 4, she occupies the entire top floor of a warehouse on the waterfront at Wapping., and was the controversial subject of a D-notice on publication of her remarks to the police sergeant who tried to to stop her when doing a wheelie into the HOC underground car park on her 1970 Norton International. On the political front she has been put in charge of the planning of PROMUS, the Labour response to the latest Government anti-terrorist acronym.

  13. @JP
    ‘I see two inexactitudes in your response:
    taxing is not legislating, and nor is the self-regulation which a proper and hnorable relationship between the City and Governmenr would indicate;’

    Apologies, I don’t really understand what you are trying to say here?

    ‘Deutsche Bank would not, despite your purely hypothetical suggestion, transfer its fifty top Fixed Income Traders to Singapore, because they would not want to go – nice environment though Singapore is – and because DB management would know that they would all be back again as their business dried up without the London juices.’

    Of course they would, and Singapore, Zurich or New York would bite their hand off to get them as well.

    Why would business ‘dry up’? Almost all the business in question is trans-national and heavily automated, and much of the day-to-day operational support is now located in India – where the traders’ desks are located is almost irrelevant from a business perspective as long as the traders are willing to sit there.
    Why would French, Indian, Greek and South African traders be less willing to work out of NY or Singapore than London? This is wishful thinking.

  14. Big Ron

    Foreign banks are here because we have the most lax regulation in the world and because the overwhelming majority of tax havens are British controlled

  15. I really don’t understand why there is all this talk about taxing bankers or about them leaving etc, they do nothing productive, they are a complete drain on real resources, we should be endeavoring to eliminate them entirely

  16. BFR

    Thank you for your courteous reply.
    On my first point, I mean that the reform should be self-regulating, not imposed and should be arrived at in a sustained dialogue between the City institutions, not the banks in isoloation, and the Government.
    On my second point, the location of banking is, of course, a flexible matter in the information age, and not my field, but I believe that banking itself is informed also by the environment and society it lives in, and that these new players in international banking are likely to work in and benefit from the quality of the London environment. This element in the competitive development of city institutions, not just in Europe as you rightly say, will be of immense interest in the history of the coming decade or two.

  17. Good Afternoon All.
    Fascinating discussions, but maybe we should all get outside more in the happy holidays, if we are at all able.

    No doubt the polls will oscillate beyond our control.

    Happy Summers

  18. @ Petercairns

    “England isn’t a densely populated country it is a sparsely populated country with a large number of people in a relatively small urbanised part of it”

    Hmmm. Tends to undermine standard or common-sense perceptions. If you say E & S indeed UK is sparsely populated then you must have a non sparsely populated comparator country/ies in mind? Where exactly ? I can think of a number of other countries with capital cities that suck in a massive proportion of population (and other resources) eg Greece/Athens, Kenya/Nairobi, Mexico/Mexico City, and France/Paris. I suspect they would all end up being classified as even more sparsely populated than UK on your criteria. So where are the dense hotspots, then ? Do you mean a developing country which is relatively small like Rwanda or Bangladesh ? Or perhaps you have China and India in mind? But how many UKs could you fit into India area-wise? And is Rwanda really more dense than UK ? (I haven’t checked the arithmetic..).

    I think what you are trying to say is “don’t panic we still have relatively unpopulated areas in UK”. In which case I will agree with you. However we can’t go into denial about the fact that globally UK is very urbanised and populated in relation to our overall area. And “don’t panic” in my book doesn’t mean “let the market and not Parliament decide on our immigration policy”. It is perfectly reasonable and democratic for any Government to decide after a clear pre-Election commitment that “we are going to admit (say) 200,000 max per year, and that’s a ceiling”. It should also apply within EU and its high time the Treaty of Rome was modified to allow member states to set reasonable ceilings. Better still they could be negotiated within the EU. The Treaty of Rome is about 50 years out of date on this, and we should not become its prisoners, but equally we should not throw all our European toys out of the pram, which is what UKIP seem to propose. Sorry this has digressed a bit.

  19. @RiN

    Sorry, this makes no sense. A German bank operating in the UK is subject primarily to German regulation, not British. It is simply wrong to say foreign banks are here because of the UK regulatory regime!

    And the point about tax havens makes no sense to me – moving money in and out of British dependencies doesn’t require a UK base in the slightest…even Paypal can do it.

  20. John Pilgrim

    I don’t know if you deliberately chose to mis- represent my point but for the majority of people pre-distribution is not a word in common everday use.
    Many would not of heard of it until used by EM.

    My point was if you want to reach a large section of the public try using lauguage people understand, instead of being smug about your own command of english try thinking of those who received a poor education, or don’t you believe the pooly educated need to know EM big idea’s.

  21. Big Ron

    That’s why all the deals that took out mf global and Lehmans took place in London, at the centre of every major tax scam or dodgy deal is the city of London and I suppose it’s purely accidental that so many of the tax havens fly a British flag.

  22. @ BFR

    UK banking powers apply only to UK banks, which are a small part of those operating out of London – that’s the flaw in your logic.
    —————-
    No, it is you who has a flawed understanding. Foreign banks need a license to operate within the UK & must also negotiate with the BoE to be included within the deposit guarantee scheme if they wish to take deposits.

  23. Neil A

    Having just visited my Mother this weekend who lives within 50 Miles of London I spent at least half the journey going through areas which consisted exclusively of farmland and small villages. In fact I was brought up on a Farm for some of my childhood within the boundaries of Greater London .Of course the presence of the stockbroker belt with it’s 4×4’s has meant most countryside this close to London is unaffordable as a dwelling for the vast majority of the population but it is still there!

    The fact is farmland is of course man made but only less than 2% of the UK is actually paved over an increase of the UK’s population of 10 million would still leave some 92%+ of the UK as what most people would describe as country and two thirds of the rest as green urban .

    Frankly I don’t accept that removing what is left of the green urban areas to fill it with high density housing simply to ensure that property prices in the countryside remain high is actually a viable plan.

  24. @ BFR

    And most of the foreign banks which operate within &/or trade out of the UK have set up UK subsidiaries for their UK business which makes them ‘UK’ banks & they are certainly subject to all UK regulations & require UK banking licenses.

  25. @ Amber star
    I’m sorry, I’m not being clear:

    Deutsche, Goldmans, Citi, etc – the banks that would pay the great majority of the bankers bonus tax – do not take deposits in the UK. They do not need a UK banking licence, they typically operate as UK branches of a bank domiciled and licensed overseas.

    The UK has no power to legislate over these banks which would prevent them moving their operations overseas.

  26. Why do we care if they move their operations overseas, what we want is to shut down their operations entirely

  27. @ BFR

    Here’s JP Morgan:
    One of the Company’s principal operating subsidiaries in the United Kingdom is J.P. Morgan Securities plc., a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. JPMorgan Chase’s activities are organized into four business segments, as well as Corporate/Private Equity. The Company’s consumer business is the Consumer & Community Banking segment. The Corporate & Investment Bank, Commercial Banking, and Asset Management segments consists of the Company’s wholesale businesses.

    Check Reuters, if you don’t believe me; though I’d be flattered to have people think I was clever enough to invent all the above stuff!

    Please don’t make me go through the entire list of the banks which you’ve mentioned to prove you are probably mistaken about each & every one of them.

  28. You have no interest in the many billions of tax that they pay to the UK exchequer each year?

    The figure of £150bn over a decade quoted above implies around £7.5bn of tax revenue a year from bonuses alone – that’s equivalent to 2p on the basic rate of tax for all taxpayers.

    And that’s the tax on just the bonuses at current tax rates…you can probably multiply that by four or more times if you want the total UK tax take from investment banking.

    It’s fine being snarky about financial services, except that it’s one of the UK’s biggest employers & export earners, and largest tax generators. It has to be controlled and managed, not just shut down…

  29. Amber

    I really don’t see the point about arguing about taxing banks or bankers, or what will happen if we do, only a small amount of their activities are socially useful all the others are highly damaging to the real economy. Consider that the financial service industry has grown from % of western economies in the 70s to over 30% now, all the immense amounts of money which this industry generates must come from somewhere and the only place it can come from is the real economy because financial products are not real

  30. Big Ron

    They only have that money because they take it from the real economy, without them the real economy would be more productive and pay more tax

  31. @ BFR

    It’s fine being snarky about financial services, except that it’s one of the UK’s biggest employers & export earners, and largest tax generators. It has to be controlled and managed, not just shut down…
    —————
    Sorry, I must have misread your comment. I thought you wrote that they would be leaving voluntarily, not “being shut down”. And didn’t you also comment that many of the jobs & related taxable earnings were being moved offshore anyway?

    But I’m pleased to see that you have come around to Financial Services being controlled & managed – that was precisely the point which I was making. And being controlled & managed could easily include not allowing non-resident employees to make trades via a UK subsidiary. Which rather puts a crimp in all those ‘major talents’ running off to Singapore or wherever.

  32. Statistically, in the UK, all but 400,000 of us live on less than 6% of the land .

    A group of 36,000 individuals – only 0.6 per cent of the population – own 50 per cent of all rural land.

    In Scotland just 103 People own nearly One Third of All Land

    Those children who are fortunate to have attended Eton had playing space 46,000 times larger than that of the average state comprehensive.

    Basically all that has changed regarding who owns the majority of UK land is that in addition to our own Aristocracy foreign multi millionaires also own our land.

    The UK is 60m acres in extent, and two-thirds of it is owned by 0.36% of the population, or 158,000 families.

    The reason why urban areas are congested is because the vast majority of the UK population has no access to anywhere else to live.

  33. @ RiN

    I’m a bit like Martyn; I find it virtually impossible to be disinterested in something which I’m interested in & concerned about. Let’s just agree that I’m a geeky finance analyst who should probably go out & get a life. ;-)

  34. @JayBlanc

    Many thanks for your reply, and very interesting.

    @Peter Cairns

    It does not invalidate my point about England being more densely populated than the other major European states with the exception of Holland if you use Jayblanc’s calculations. If you bother to read all my posts today you will see i was not making an issue of immigration, indeed with one reservation I support it. My original point was that immigration is not the answer to making “big government” affordable. I think there is even less chance of convincing the British public of the need for more large scale immigration than there is that Labour are are better than the Tories with the economy. Its about perception which was the starting point for the whole discussion and my original point to Amber.

  35. @Amber Star

    I should not try to generalise/simplify on here – I should know that people are not going to accept it…

    From a technical perspective banks can either structure on a branch basis or an entity basis – regardless, the lead regulator is the regulator of the country in which they are domiciled.

    Entity based banks set up separate subsidiaries in each trading location; branch based banks set up bank branches. Separate legal entities will require a banking license, but branches do not (but they cannot undertake retail business as a result).

    A trading entity basis requires the banks to capitalise each local entity for the activity that it will conduct; branch basis typically relies on the legal liability of the head office for the branch activity to support the branch.

    Banks tend to be split on which to use – some (like JPM) go the entity route, others (like Deutsche) go the branch route.

    This doesn’t solve your problem though – Reuters will show you that JP Morgan has trading subsidiaries in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York & Tokyo as well as London, all of which are empowered to trade the instruments currently concentrated in the London entity. London based traders for JPM may & will transact trades on almost any of these entities (the US and Japan get stuffy about overseas traders trading off their domestic broking entities).

    For JP Morgan to swing the UK-managed business across to the Singapore entity would be a relatively simple matter, although administratively burdensome as a one off – it would involve amending client settlement instructions and novating some or all of the existing portfolio of OTC trades; a simpler alternative for JPM would be to ring-fence the historic portfolio and just do all new trades in another entity based in Singapore.

    Either way they can ship the high earners off to Singapore within a few months at most…

  36. TURK
    Absolutely not! I agree with you that pre-distribution means a damn to most people, and is gobbledygook.
    On the other hand, you’re right that I think I know what he is talking about: that is, the strengthening of parts of UK soceity which would encourage greater equality of access to education and employment, in particular. So, pre-distribution rather than distribution of wealth. I agree, though, silly b-gg-r (and me sometimes) needs to use language which is undersandable to ordinary people.
    I genuinely wanted you to tell me, though, what in my post to Amber, spelling out four or five specific policy ideas, was not in understandable English.

  37. @ Amber Star

    I’m all in favour of the financial sector being properly regulated – having worked in it for 30 years I’ve seen all the flaws at first hand, and they are very ugly. I can spend hours on that if you ever want to get bored to death!

    But I don’t want to allow factual inaccuracies to support bad decisions.

    There’s nothing magical that requires investment banking activity to be done on UK-based entities or branches (unless it is trading with UK-domiciled retail customers); it’s just how things have turned out historically. All of these banks can simply swing this activity onto another entity elsewhere in the world – it’s painful but relatively simple to do.

    All the major banks, with the exception of RBS and Barclays, CAN shift their trading activities out of the UK, and probably will, over time. Taxing banking bonuses incents them to move much quicker, with a consequent major loss of UK tax revenue.

    Incidentally we’d still keep the commercial banking activity onshore – the stuff that wrecked Northern Rock, and (through HBOS) Lloyds – that we’d be stuck with!

    The banking activity that has already moved is focused on the low-complexity support work, which has moved mostly to India and Manila; the high grade, knowledge-based support work is still mostly London based, but if the traders go then the technical work will – gradually – move with them.

  38. It’s a little naive to say we shouldn’t care about the City decamping for Singapore. Obviously if very rich people stick around and pay a lot of tax, this is better for Britain than if they move abroad. (Although all those foreign traders taking off for foreign climes would bring down the net migration figures, so Theresa May might be in favour.)

    I do not, however, see much advantage in very rich people sticking around and not paying tax. In that case they might as well be in Singapore.

    I also note that there are many countries with reliable electricity and broadband connections- the only two things that JP Morgan really needs to do its business- and very low taxes indeed. Yet mysteriously, the global banking sector has not already decamped en masse from London to take up shop in Monaco. So I don’t think we need to pedal quite so enthusiastically in this race to the bottom.

  39. BIGFATRON

    Thanks for your informative posts on an industry you actually work in.

  40. @Neil A
    “That may be true, but if you look at the breakdown of new births and fertility rates based on parental origins in England you’ll find that immigration has pushed up birth rates considerably – so that new arrivals increase population both by their presence and by the effect they have on the number of new residents born.”

    Never the less, when you pull back and take the historical and international view; there’s still no apparent correlation between increases/decreases of national population growth rate, and increases/decreases of national net migration. You can cite all the causative reasons why there *should* be one, but one doesn’t show up in the data. Net migration’s effect on population growth, either directly or indirectly, is less than any other affect.

    Access to family planning services and contraceptives, general prosperity, and education levels all seem to have far more effect on population growth than net migration does. And when you think about it, that makes sense because net-migration is such a small factor when compared to how the pre-existing population behave.

  41. @ BFR

    London based traders for JPM may & will transact trades on almost any of these entities (the US and Japan get stuffy about overseas traders trading off their domestic broking entities).
    —————-
    Thank you! That is precisely the point which I was making: London is perfectly able to get just as ‘stuffy’ as the US & Japan, were the UK government to make it so.

    As to this resulting in everybody whizzing off to Singapore: What makes you think that people would want to invest $Bns via entities of that nation? It has none of the size, security or stability on which the US & UK spend huge amounts of public money. Who wants their $M trades to disappear into the ether & no government with any clout to give two hoots about it?

  42. No govt to bail them out you mean

  43. Here’s an interesting graph which has nothing to do with the subject at hand

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2013/07/20130729_heart1.jpg

  44. I note that much of the discussion re banking has referred to UK regulation. Are we really talking regulation or are the references really referring to taxation.

    I ask the question as my understanding is that UK regulation is essentially European regulation so that the regulation would, for example, also apply to German banks although admittedly not to Swiss banks.

  45. @Spearmint

    There’s a third thing in that list you forgot… Stable security. Outside of dystopic science fiction, and the activities of the really really big oil companies, no multinational wants to fund their own army and police force.

    You can also note that the few ‘successful’ Tax-Havens tend to be the few remaining City-States. Singapore being a prime example. Maintaining a City-State to an acceptable level of development and secure stability is a lot easier than a whole country.

    And even then doing so means practically turning the City State into a place that poor people do not live in. Monte Carlo can exist on the back of a work force that lives in France, Singapore exists on the back of a Malaysian work force, those doing factory work for Singapore based exporters often actually doing the work in Malaysia! Singapore gets to be safe and secure because of international aid sent to Malaysia.

  46. @Shevi – “I only see it as an admin issue rather than a service to users issue or life threatening in any way. ”

    This doesn’t appear to be correct. The independent Kings Fund have gone on record repeatedly as believing that the largest single factor in the current A&E crisis is the overload caused by the introduction of 111. This is the most critical service issue currently in the NHS, and one that is probably costing lives, due to the knock on effects of cancelled operations and clogged emergency departments.

    @Petercairns – Have to disagree with you on England’s population. As others have pointed out, if you were to take away cities in any other country, you would reduce the population density, and while there are some lightly populated area in England (I know – I live in the largest of them) this doesn’t mean the rest of England outside London is sparsely populated.

    Probably the best way to look at this is to look at the tranquility mapping that the CPRE is experimenting with. They are trying to find a methodology of assessing noise, visual impact of development and light pollution into a single index. For England, except for a very few areas, it doesn’t make for pretty reading.

    England really is densely populated. The rural populations in most ‘countryside’ areas are more densely populated than in many European nations, even without the cities. Perhaps we could reverse your logic, and take the two or three genuine areas of low population density out the calculation and then see just how dense the population is in what’s left?

  47. On a personal note, does any one think I shouldn’t be worried about my missus putting our 6 year old daughter on a diet, it’s really freaking me out

  48. @Richard

    Noone should ever be “on a diet”.

    Everyone should eat a balanced range of nutritious food that they enjoy and which matches their average energy expenditure. If doing so means they lose weight, then all that tells you is that their “diet” beforehand was wrong.

    (I am not preaching – my diet is also wrong and I have the blubber to prove it).

  49. @Alec

    Your last post is very interesting and makes the point i was trying to make in a much better way. Thanks for that very illuminating.

  50. JAYBLANC

    @”As counter-intuitive as it sounds, there just doesn’t appear to be correlation between Net Migration and Population Growth!”

    Really?

    http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/migobs/Briefing%20-%20Impact%20on%20Population%20Growth.pdf

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