There was an interesting poll the other day from MORI, which found only 20% of people agreeing that rising house prices were good for the country, with 57% disagreeing. This was generally reported as being against the conventional wisdom, and perhaps suggesting that increasing house prices might not be a political positive for the government after all.

Regular readers will be familiar with Twyman’s Law – if a bit of data looks unusual or interesting it is probably wrong. If a poll finding is particularly surprising, then be careful of it. In this case there’s nothing wrong with MORI’s poll, but the reality is a bit more complicated than it suggests. It doesn’t take much hunting about to find other polls showing that more people want to see house prices rise than fall. For example, MORI again from their Halifax housing tracker last year found 33% wanted an increase, 23% a decrease, 31% to stay the same. Much more recently this June YouGov found 32% of people wanted prices to rise, 28% to fall, 30% to stay the same.

These polls make the public look more positive about house price rises, but aren’t actually contradictory. YouGov, for example, might show 32% of people wanting to see house prices rise, but add together those who’d like to see a fall and those who like them to stay the same and 58% don’t want to see a rise. More importantly, they aren’t actually asking the same thing. What people think would be good for the country, and what people actually want to see, are not necessarily the same. In a perfect world we might all wish housing was cheaper, but if house prices fell it would bring with it problems of negative equity and more bad mortgage debts in the banking sector. On a simpler level, what’s good for the country is not necessarily the same as what is good for the respondent personally – the YouGov poll went on to ask homeowners what they would like to see happen to the price of THEIR house, and miraculously support for falling house prices vanished! 64% wanted their own house to increase in value, only 4% wanted it to fall. Presumably people would only like to see the price of other people’s houses fall.

Anyway, from a purely political point of view I suspect we are being somewhat distracted anyway. As with so many things, the political impact of issues is much more than just simple approval/disapproval, it is the wider associations. Increasing house prices are a positive because they are part and package of economic growth, associated with a growing economy, the feel good factor and with homeowning people feeling more prosperous and well off (even if in reality we aren’t, as if we sold our houses we’d only have to buy another one at a similarly inflated price!). Falling house prices are associated with economic decline, falling prosperity and negative equity. Perhaps a day will come when there will be economic growth but falling house prices, and perhaps at that point those associations will change. Until then I suspect that rising house prices will continue to be a political good, whether or not they actually are one.


278 Responses to “Do people want to see house prices rise?”

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  1. @Couper : NO ONE CARES

    just as long as the pronunciation is correct.

    I was tempted – in my marginal with an expenses-blighted Labour incumbent – to vote LD for tactical voting reasons as well as disgust at incumbent’s behaviour and new Labour policies. In the end I didn’t because I thought (correctly) that Lab would be closer to winning (and the Tories are anathema, of course).

    How could any progressive vote LD now? Even if the local candidate is OK who could bear the thought of putting Danny Alexander anywhere near the levers of power?

  2. Chris Riley,

    You’re not suggesting that the price control policies of the Opposition and the Coalition are driven by populism rather than a consistent economic policy? I find that very unlikely.

    Amber Star,

    Capping house prices would be far more effective and your reasoning cuts both ways i.e. people would move out of the rental sector and become homeowners, reducing rental demand. If capping rents makes sense, why not house prices? Why are landlords less valuable people than homeowners? Might it have something to do with populist ganging-up on small groups?

    Also, by capping house prices, the government could make housing more affordable while (a) spending less money on new housing and (b) preserving the green belt. Even better: rather than build new houses to make housing more affordable, simply have a mandatory cut of 10% off house prices.

    Naturally, I’m being sarcastic, but I think we can better understand the price control ‘strategies’ of the government and the Opposition by realising that, whatever the arguments, it comes down to finding groups where the buyers are numerous and the sellers are small. It’s like the bullying of ginger kids at school: if most children had red hair, the bullying would go the other way. Similarly, if you reversed the numbers for homeowners vs. landlords, then we’d be hearing about house price caps rather than rental caps.

  3. @ Laszlo Yes,i think it’s a big bit suspect.

  4. bill patrick

    Personally I think building 200,000 3 bedroom semis in and around London and the South East and renting them out as social housing would reduce prices and rents.

    Meet the demand by building in other words.

  5. Nick P,

    Not as much as freezing prices or forcing a house price cut. You raise a good point though: the South of England and (IIRC) the Midlands have been where prices have been soaring ahead, so you could have a targeted price cut. Forcing market rates in London to fall by 30% would, on the logic of price controls, be a great way to solve the housing problem.

  6. Since the current news may or may not affect VI in the areas around the shipyards, this article might be of interest to the NATs of this place (I spotted it via a Scotsman article comments section):

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/a-gun-to-govans-head/

    “Labour MP Ian Davidson, whose Glasgow South West constituency includes BAE’s Govan yard, suggested a “break clause” in the event of a Yes vote in next year’s referendum, meaning the contract for Type 26 frigates would revert back to the UK Government to be reconsidered.”

    Anyway, it’s an interesting take on the ‘political football’ that is shipbuilding.

  7. @Bill Patrick

    Can’t see how a freeze on house prices could be enacted and enforced, to be honest. Where the commodity is a public utility, like gas, electricity and water, even if it is in private hands, a government could legislate to force the small number of providers to freeze prices. Let’s not go into the economic ins and outs of Miliband’s proposal, but it’s definitely do-able. It has practical application.

    As for the millions of houses, owned by millions of different people, the thought of trying to herd cats comes into mind. Cheap credit, low interest rates and the scarcity of houses has boosted house prices on a supply and demand basis and while it could be argued that home-owners are profiteering, they would argue that they’re just buying and selling and it’s nobody else’s damned business what they charge and what people are seeming to pay voluntarily. A bit like the private used car market. The hard knocks of a free enterprise economy, I guess.

    In my view, there’s absolutely no comparison to the provision of public utilities; essential goods and services that everyone needs, especially when these goods and services fall into the hands of a cartel of rapacious companies who play fast and loose in a rigged market.

  8. Some interesting early results in the American elections. Tea Party candidates getting beaten but Christie winning New Jersey by a big margin. Looks like a real fight for the soul of the Republican Party coming up before 2016.

  9. Housing and energy are two different markets. Comparing apples and oranges.

    People need energy, whereas you do not need to buy a house. Energy is dominated by a few big players, whereas with housing, people can build a house themselves. Achieving energy self-sufficiency is a bit more of a challenge given the situation of many.

    If landlords take the mick with rents, price controls may be forced into consideration…

  10. In any event, the assumption is the government might wish to reduce house prices, when in fact their measures assist inflation and this is electorally useful as people can use the equity to offset cost-of-living rises.

    The price freeze of Labour’s is a temporary measure while they attempt to reform the market. There’s no suggestion of using it as a staple. Equally, building more social housing would rebalance that market.

    That said, we do have caps of one kind or another on rail fares etc. Imagine how bad it’d be without them…

  11. If you had a situation where you had a handful of companies building nearly all houses, and people had no choice but to buy a house from these companies and couldn’t trade amongst themselves, and the companies can inflate prices to suit, then you would have a situation more analogous to energy and might need temporary price controls while you reform the market.

    Meanwhile, if you’re dying and need a very expensive drug that doesn’t really need to be that expensive, you might also be in favour of price controls.

  12. @AW – apologies & I promise to try not responding in future but to use the magic button instead :-)

  13. GUYMONDE

    “(and the Tories are anathema, of course).”

    As Labour are to others!

  14. Crossbat11,

    “they would argue that they’re just buying and selling and it’s nobody else’s damned business what they charge and what people are seeming to pay voluntarily”

    Scandal!

    “In my view, there’s absolutely no comparison to the provision of public utilities; essential goods and services that everyone needs, especially when these goods and services fall into the hands of a cartel of rapacious companies who play fast and loose in a rigged market.”

    ‘Needs’ is always relative to a goal. I have a goal of owning a home; I need house prices to be lower in order to achieve that goal; ergo, I need house prices to be lower.

    As for the housing market not being rigged: when house prices are falling, governments pump-in demand; when house prices are rising, governments pump-in demand. I’m sure there’s some definition of ‘rigging’ in which you’re right, it’s just that I have no idea what that definition is.

    Carfrew,

    “Housing and energy are two different markets. Comparing apples and oranges.

    People need energy, whereas you do not need to buy a house.”

    If the case for the price freeze in the energy market was based on a need to survive, then it would only make sense to freeze prices up to a minimum (and perhaps means-testing). That’s why I thought that Labour’s argument was based on profiteering, rather than people needing a certain energy price in order to survive, because the latter argument wouldn’t actually join up with their stated policy.

    (The “unlimited energy usage is a need, not a want” argument is more typically used when arguing for renationalisation, not price controls.)

    “If landlords take the mick with rents, price controls may be forced into consideration…”

    What if homeowners ‘take the mick’ with house prices? As unlikely as it may seem, house prices can actually rise pretty quickly in Britain sometimes.

    “The price freeze of Labour’s is a temporary measure while they attempt to reform the market. There’s no suggestion of using it as a staple.”

    And this doesn’t apply to housing because…?

    “If you had a situation where you had a handful of companies building nearly all houses, and people had no choice but to buy a house from these companies and couldn’t trade amongst themselves, and the companies can inflate prices to suit, then you would have a situation more analogous to energy and might need temporary price controls while you reform the market.”

    You have (a) severe limitations on new houses, which means that (b) people trying to get on the market must almost always buy from those who already have houses. And there is no sense in which companies can inflate prices that homeowners can’t; neither can do it “to suit”, obviously- what price would you set if you were a business and you could set any price you want without losing any profits?

    However, I agree that only in such a situation would price controls be considered, because it would make sense electorally: lots of winners and few losers. This is the real reason why governments like rising house prices and hate rising utlity prices. “The cost of living” is a problem when it’s rising prices at Marks & Spencers and a great thing when it’s rising house prices (and a reason for pumping in more demand).

    Note that this isn’t some moral failure in the Labour party that makes them obsequious to homeowners and brave against very unpopular companies. In a democracy, the buck stops with the electorate.

  15. @Norbold

    “Some interesting early results in the American elections. Tea Party candidates getting beaten…”

    SocalLiberal might be able to shed further light, but I wonder if the Republicans, and the Tea Party wing in particular, are now paying a heavy electoral price for the recent shenanigans in Congress and the virtual shutting down of the Federal Government. I’d heard reports that the polling that had been done during and after the Congressional deadlock was pretty negative for all the politicians, but particularly bad for the Republicans.

    If ever the moderate wing of the Republican Party needed to re-assert itself, it’s surely now, because it’s quite obvious that the Tea Party element, rather like the Militant Tendency within Labour in the 80s, is leading them to political oblivion.

    Christie in New Jersey, a moderate Republican by all accounts, might be the first sign of the sensible tendency fighting back to rescue their party. In the meantime, the landslide election of the avowedly left wing Democrat Di Blasio as Mayor of New York is a very interesting development in US politics. His ticket was to unite the “two cities” of New York, the haves and have nots, and it appears that the vast majority of New Yorkers liked it. I will be fascinated to see how he fares.

  16. The easiest way to stop house prices rising is to stop banks lending money they don’t have

  17. @Bill Patrick

    “‘Needs’ is always relative to a goal. I have a goal of owning a home; I need house prices to be lower in order to achieve that goal; ergo, I need house prices to be lower.”

    This is a bit gnomic for me at this time in the afternoon, but in as much as I understand what you may be getting at, you’re sort of making my point for me, aren’t you?As Carfew pointed out, you’re comparing apples with oranges and, as result, making a right fruit cocktail of the argument. Somebody selling a house, after marketing it, has only one customer/purchaser and what is eventually paid is a product of the negotiation between the two parties. You, the purchaser, might have a need to pay less for the house, but that’s all for the birds if you can’t find a seller prepared to meet what you can afford. They might be greedy, gazumping so and so’s but their argument will be that it’s their bricks and mortar and if they can find someone prepared to cough up the necessary spondoolinks, and they probably can, then you can go hang as far as they’re concerned. If you don’t like their price, they’ll find somebody who does. They only drop the price if they can’t find somebody prepared to cough up. This sometimes happens but only rarely.

    Are you really trying to compare this glorified boot sale with the public utilities market??

  18. @TOH

    Agreed. I was making a point about coalition damage to LD VI.
    In fact, I think they were quite right to coalite with the Tories given the parliamentary arithmetic. The enthusiasm shown by the likes of DA for policies which are miles away from LD policies is my problem.
    Even Clegg pretends to be conflicted sometimes.

  19. @Bill P

    Here we go, lots of needless explanation…

    You’re missing the point. People needing energy enables more profiteering, since people have no choice.

    Whether or not price controls are also applied to nationalisation is immaterial. Price controls have been applied to the private sector too, eg rent controls

    I explained why it doesn’t apply to housing. It’s a different market with different issues. Just because price controls may be appropriate in one situation doesn’t mean they necessarily apply to another.

    Meanwhile, you’re missing the point again, or missing what I said. Yes, with house prices, they can’t just charge what they like, BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO BUY. They can rent. Also, there are many people to buy from, the market isn’t sewn up.

  20. @crossbat

    “Are you really trying to compare this glorified boot sale with the public utilities market??”

    LOL, even after all the differences have been pointed out, Bill just ignores them and goes “what’s the difference”.

  21. Ah, so the University have (in their infinite wisdom) timetabled Natalie Bennett at the same time as David Blunkett will also be giving a talk.

    Now I have to decide if I’ll go see the has-been or the won’t-be (satire).

  22. @ Bill Patrick (& anybody else who cares…)

    If capping rents makes sense, why not house prices?

    The government already have very effective ways of suppressing housing prices:
    1. Have the BoE raise interest rates;
    2. Stop guaranteeing mortgages;
    3. Have bank regulations which set the deposits to mortgages ratio.

    This takes the heat out of the housing market in general but a side effect of these levers is to make it more affordable for investment property buyers who have cash &/or non-mortgage borrowing powers to expand because they can pass on the higher interest costs to the people who are renting.

    Therefore it is essential to cap/ freeze/ control rents. Otherwise, rather than asking: Why are landlords less valuable people than homeowners? we will be asking why landlords (the minority) are being favoured over the majority.

    Might it have something to do with populist ganging-up on small groups [like landlords]? That’s what happens in a democracy. That’s why minorities who are weak require protection; owners of houses who are renting them out don’t sound to me like a weak group which deserve being favoured above the majority.

  23. If I was a politician, I hope I would aim to keep house prices either flat or perhaps very gently rising. Dropping house prices leads to negative equity, much anxiety, difficulty in moving and general depression all round. Rising house prices ratchets up inequality between people and regions, sucks in resources that would be much better spent on actually creating things and makes it next to impossible for a lot of people to buy the house which is apparently the route to prosperity – a general recipe for envy and uncharitableness.

    From a national point of view I would have thought that aiming for flat house prices would be a prudent move, as well as one which released resources. As I understand it, the world economic crisis had something to do with dodgy loans on American housing, the Japanese doldrums probably had something to do with the price of houses in Tokio, and the fiscally prudent Spaniards got into trouble, not by piling up a deficit of Greek proportions, but simply because their banks lent too much on houses that are now lying empty. And from the point of view of VI, it should be more appealing to those who want prices to fall or stay steady than a policy of letting them rip. And as AW has pointed out this group are the majority.

    The problem would be how on earth to do it. I am informed (by someone who works in a bank and therefore must be right) that it is already enormously in banks’ interest to lend on houses rather than to SMEs., (Basically they have to have four times as much capital to loan to the more risky SME than to loan the same amount on bricks and mortar.) So what with this and the growth of single person households (is that still going on?), and planning restrictions, and the English obsession with owning one’s own castle. I guess my problem in the short term is more likely to be keeping house prices stable rather than preventing a drop.

    Part of the answer must I would have thought be NickP’s – build a lot more social housing. It might or might not have much effect on house prices, but it would at the least be a good thing to do, and would provide some competition for the private rented sector, hopefully reduce the benefit bill, increase employment and actually create an asset.

    And perhaps there are other things that those who are clever at finance can devise. As I understand it, London housing is now one of the things in which rich people invest, like gold, and art and other things without much practical use. Bully for them. But if London Housing is our national goldmine we need to do a rather better job of ensuring that the money people put into it brings a nice return to the nation itself. And if that drives people out, the price of housing comes down, and if it doesn’t we get more tax to defray the bad effects on the rest of us. (And a lot of those penalised do not have the vote, so they are the redheads in Bill Patrick’s class)

    So all in all, its a good thing that I am not a politician as it all seems so simple and electorally attractive when one doesn’t have to put it into practice or even persuade a sceptical electorate that one means what one says.

  24. @Charles – I posted a while ago on one possible solution.

    While in power, Labour introduced Community Land Trusts, of which there are now around 80 in the UK. These can buy land (typically they receive land transferred from state organisations) and then build houses on the land.

    These are offered for sale, with the CLT retaining ownership of the land. Purchasers can resell as they wish, with prices normally controlled by an established formula, which ensures the owners can receive some asset price improvement but the homes remain affordable.

    The CLT always has the right to purchase, so can recycle the house, while also retaining ownership of the land.

    Boris promised a big delivery of CLT’s in London in his first manifesto and failed to deliver, but the legal structure is still there, as is the need. Building more social or affordable homes is on answer, but the real need is to ensure that whatever homes are build within the ‘affordable’ bracket remain so. CLT’s are designed to achieve this, but are greatly under used at present.

  25. Catching up with the news today, and wondering what the implications of the shipyard closure could be.

    I’ve been struck by the rapid development of the notion that Portsmouth was selected due to the politics of Scottish nationalism. It’s being brought up repeatedly in southern and right leaning media commentators, as well as on the BBC and elsewhere.

    One the one hand, it theoretically bolsters the Better Together campaign, as it would appear that an independent Scotland would indeed have lost Govan.

    However, it actually feels like the political pressure is bearing down in the south. UKIP have some strange policies on Scotland and independence, but while it doesn’t sit very easily with their UK wide policy offer, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if their people on the ground in the south made play of the fact that English jobs are allegedly being sacrificed to placate the SNP. Uncomfortable for the Tories?

  26. Alec
    I thought we are supposed to believe that none of the politics you mention plays any role. BAE is a private enterprise and unless it could be proven that Westminster was handing out goodies, the point is not made.

  27. On the other hand I don’t see why such a commercial decision should require a Minister to make a Statement.

    If Morrisons closed down two distribution centres with a similar loss of jobs, it would just be a footnote on the business pages.

  28. @Howard

    Well, it’s a possibility, isn’t it. And if it’s reasonably possible, people are likely to consider it, as indeed they are doing in the media, and hence it may impact VI, at least locally.

    It’s particularly worthy of consideration, when you note that if Scotland do vote to cast themselves adrift, then we will have placed our naval procurement in the hands of a foreign power, which is something of a risk, let alone economically suspect, all those billions going into someone else’s economy, not hours.

  29. Carfrew
    We posted independently, but now I have read yours I think that was the probable reason for the Statement. Ludicrous (not your view) as we’ve been buying military hardware from abroad for yonks.

  30. Frankly, if Scotland were to become independent, I can see a future rUK or English government ensuring that shipbuilding resumes in England somewhere (presumably at Portsmouth again).

  31. @Howard

    Someone on the radio (Lord West?) was saying another reason it’s ludicrous, is that naval vessels in combat tend to need maintenance and repairs, and this may be awkward if the foreign power doing the repairing doesn’t agree with our being involved in some fracas.

    (This may be especially awkward should it be necessary to do a Marshall Wade up in Scotland again…)

  32. @Neil A

    The problem is we are talking about specialist skills which will have dispersed and been snapped up abroad, as has happened before…

  33. @Mr Nameless

    Personally, I’d go and see the won’t-be. You can find out the views of the has been easily enough, especially in any context when it would be helpful to his party for him to keep quiet. (That is, unless you want to confront him about why he’s been so keen to accept Paul Dacre’s shilling.)

  34. @Alec – Thanks interesting. Perhaps a bundle of different policies, a bit of Amber’s, an expansion of CLT’s, some more social housing as per NickP. What’s there not to like? (Well, higher interest rates from Amber, perhaps, but then they will presumably come some time anyway, and if houses have gone massively up in the meantime, what then?

  35. Few council house estates are places anyone would choose to live.

  36. The Lib Dems have been sinking badly recently. They have lost another 10% of their remaining rump.

    It is hard to get people back on your side when you betray them.

    Ed Miliband once (I think during his leadership campaign) let it slip that he wanted to exterminate the Lib Dems.

    That is all going to plan without much effort on his part.

  37. @Steve

    “My American Uncle who lives in Virginia says He was most relieved to see Terry McAuliffe win in Virginia as apparently his opponent Mr Cuccinelli was a “deranged Tea Party Wacko!””

    I share your uncle’s feelings. I think most of us are relieved to see the Cooch lose the election.

    “As I understand Virginia is normally Republican so a decent result for the Democrats”

    It was. Not so much anymore. In fact, in the last two Presidential elections, VA has voted almost the same as the national popular vote. Northern Virginia, which was once a bastion of suburban Republicanism has now turned into a Democratic stronghold.

    What is significant here is that in every single election going back to 1973, the party who currently occupies the White House always loses the Governor’s race. So that streak ended yesterday.

    @ Ewen Lightfoot

    “Good old BBC ,as always with US politics, has it as a score draw with Dems picking up NY but Reps holding NJ. And that’s it ,pretty much !”

    Well BBC should have Dems picking up VA We won governorship and lieutenant governorship (which is on a separate ballot). AG race is still being counted and will almost certainly head to recount. I wouldn’t call it a draw since Dems added to their count of governorships last night.

    Also key, and VA law is going to be determinative of this but it may be a victory for Obamacare. With a Democratic governor in Richmond, the commonwealth may decide to accept the Medicaid funding increase, giving hundreds of thousands of people healthcare who wouldn’t get it under the current governor. If it requires state legislative approval, it may very well not happen but we’ll see.

    NYC is strange. It’s such a heavily Democratic city. And yet Republicans have occupied the Mayoral Mansion for the past 20 years.

    What is the significance of a DeBlasio victory? I don’t know. He has all these progressive values and all these things he’d like to change but I don’t know how much power as NYC Mayor he really has to make things happen. Had Elliott Spitzer made his comeback and become the City Comptroller, he might have actually had some ability to reign in Wall Street through creative ownership uses (that’s why he decided to run). I don’t know what Scott Stringer is going to do with his powers.

  38. On the shipyard closure in Portsmouth it was purely an economical and sensible one and even the pilgrim fathers would had agreed with it.

    This wasn’t about cheddar man giving into tartan tantrums it was about Clyde built building the best.

    Off to watch football…Mon the tic!!

  39. Carfrew
    BAE is a ‘global company (its words) that has
    ‘ 88,200 talented people who make up BAE Systems in Australia, India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States’.

    The ships are designed in Filton and who makes the bits and pieces is just a question of where such companies can get the best deal.

    Scotland, were it ‘independent’, would undoubtedly be part of NATO and the EU.

    I cannot see how where they rivet things together has any bearing on security of defence whatsoever. Perhaps I am naive.

  40. @ Tinged Fringe

    “So Bill de Blasio won with 73.3% of the vote despite every attempt from the New York Post/Murdoch to paint him as a dangerous communist?
    Interesting..”

    Well I think it shows you how little power and influence that Murdoch really has. Frankly, that attack was so over the top and stupid that it reminded me a little bit of Mary Bono’s last minute attacks a year ago against her opponent as this radical quasi-terrorist who wanted to steal Thanksgiving.

    Although maybe it had some influence. Despite cruising to a 50% plus victory citywide, DeBlasio still managed to lose Staten Island. It remains, as ever, a Republican bastion.

    DeBlasio is actually little too leftwing for my tastes. But I would have voted for him anyway yesterday because of the 2nd Circuit’s decision on Stop and Frisk. True, they didn’t reverse the lower court but they did throw out its decision, effectively reinstating it. DeBlasio will end such a policy once he takes office. And that’s a good thing.

  41. @Howard

    I was talking about repair and maintenance during a conflict. Being in the EU and NATO is no guarantee… The US weren’t exactly shouting their support during the Falkland, though we did get some support behind the scenes. Do the French always agree with us?

    Did we back the US over Syria?

    Can you imagine if Oldnat was involved??!!! Exactly, I rest my case. And even if we get compliance, it puts us in a weak position and may cost us in other ways.

    Beyond that, there is the question of spending billions in another economy…

  42. NEIL A

    I’m not convinced by the “sovereign capability” argument that rUK would need to have a naval shipyard.

    Were that seriously the case, then the suggestion that the UK co-operate with other countries in developing and building the warships of the future wouldn’t have happened.

    “Business Standard has learnt that a cash-strapped UK government has approached New Delhi to jointly design and build a next-generation frigate, designated the Global Combat Ship (GCS). While the UK had originally planned to build this alone (then designated the Type 26 frigate), shrinking defence budgets have forced it to seek international partners. And, India, along with other countries, including Brazil, has been invited into a consortium to design and build the GCS.”

    http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/uk-proposes-building-future-warships-with-india-111081100061_1.html

  43. Carfrew
    Who are we going to be fighting then (with surface ships?)?

  44. @ Crossbat11

    “SocalLiberal might be able to shed further light, but I wonder if the Republicans, and the Tea Party wing in particular, are now paying a heavy electoral price for the recent shenanigans in Congress and the virtual shutting down of the Federal Government. I’d heard reports that the polling that had been done during and after the Congressional deadlock was pretty negative for all the politicians, but particularly bad for the Republicans.”

    Well I shall try my best here. They are paying an electoral price for shutting down the government. Their ratings are lower than ever. However, that doesn’t mean that the public is ready to leap towards the Democrats. And the bungled Obamacare rollout doesn’t help either.

    Given what an unelectable candidate McAulliffe was (he’d lost badly in an 09′ Primary for the same position), it’s fairly significant that he won.

    If ever the moderate wing of the Republican Party needed to re-assert itself, it’s surely now, because it’s quite obvious that the Tea Party element, rather like the Militant Tendency within Labour in the 80s, is leading them to political oblivion.”

    I’m not sure how many of them are left.

    “Christie in New Jersey, a moderate Republican by all accounts, might be the first sign of the sensible tendency fighting back to rescue their party. In the meantime, the landslide election of the avowedly left wing Democrat Di Blasio as Mayor of New York is a very interesting development in US politics. His ticket was to unite the “two cities” of New York, the haves and have nots, and it appears that the vast majority of New Yorkers liked it. I will be fascinated to see how he fares.”

    I do have to take some issue here with the characterization of Christie as a moderate. He’s not. He’s very conservative. The difference is though, he’s pragmatic and he spent a lot of time making alliances with Democrats in the state during his first term in order to get certain pet things done. That’s why so many of them worked to get him reelected instead of backing Barbara Buono. In some cases openly. Of course, that’s also why Buono (weak candidate that she was) was the nominee against Christie.

    Now, here’s something interesting. Despite his big win yesterday, the Republican in New Jersey did not win control of the state legislature as they had hoped. They gained one seat (maybe two) in the State Assembly. They gained no seats in the State Senate. Christie’s appeal and landslide had no coattails and did not extend past him. Even exit polling in the state showed that in a Presidential election, voters would opt for Hillary Clinton over him.

    I’m not sure there’s much to take out of DeBlasio’s victory and I’m not sure he’s cut out for the job.

    Mayor’s are limited in what they can do, even mayors of big cities who get lots of patronage appointments. At the municipal level, you can help create policy at a pilot level and experiment. But you can’t really make major sweeping substantive changes. So it’s great that he wants to fight income inequality and lift people out of poverty and create new jobs but I’m not sure what he can actually do on those levels. Even his plan to raise the city’s income tax on the wealthy requires approval by the state legislature and Andrew Cuomo (New York’s Democratic Governor) is never going to let him do it.

    So much of the job requires effective lobbying the state and federal government to give you money for projects. Antonio Villaraigosa, LA’s former Mayor, was quite good at that actually when it came to his transportation dreams for Los Angeles and expanding mass transit.

  45. Howard

    Iran, Syria, Venezuela?, north Korea and pirates, mostly pirates I think, in which case it’s Panama that should be building and operating these ships seeing as they have the biggest merchant navy I believe

  46. Hello Polling people,can you help me out.I have just been on YouGov and was looking through some of their polling regarding Nationalisation of energy and rail, and saw that even Tories would prefer them both under state ownership.What really suprised me was how close UKIP were to Labour voters regarding this,how does this come about when there is a right wing tendency to UKIP voters.I would have thought they would be closer to Conservatives in their thinking not the Labour Party.Or is it more of an age related thing people being older preferring state run industry like what they remember.Any info will be much appreciated.

  47. SOCALLIBERAL

    As always, thanks for the insightful take on US political events.

    Helps me to understand the political environment that so many of my family live in.

  48. @Howard

    I don’t think you understand what tends to happen in wartime. Countries generally don’t agree a schedule well in advance, home and away fixtures etc., but if I get a hold of a programme in advance, I’ll let you know…

  49. SHAUN

    I think, in any political system, you need to differentiate between how political parties like to position their rhetoric (often on a single political spectrum, like left/right) and how voters actually think.

    Also. There are a number of positions on which Conservative and Labour parties can hold identical positions – both at odds with what many voters think.

  50. Shaun

    Really it’s not surprising that Ukip supporters are pro nationalization of public utilities, they are ultra conservative and having the control of vital industries essential to the nation’s security in national control is a very conservative idea

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