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. @Mr Nameless,

    You see, I read a description like obsessed with order, militarism and elevate the unifying concept of ‘the nation’ above everything else and the regimes that spring to mind are the Soviet Union, North Korea and China before it turned into a sort of military-corporate conglomerate.

  2. NEIL A

    ” I think you’d agree that looking to the seas for their defence and enrichment is rather a natural state of affairs for the people of these islands?”

    I’m sure that both parts of Ireland, the Crown Dependencies and all three countries within GB would agree as well.

    Having an appropriate naval (and air over the maritime sector) defence for Scotland, instead of the current non-defence position, would be a good thing.

  3. More Benn than the Greens, but yes.

    Although Benn is a resolute believer in parliamentary democracy and the will of the people. He’s just spent his whole life trying to change that will.

    My characterisation of the “Proper Left” would probably have them “Brand”-ing (see what I did there?) Benn as a failure and “no better than the Tories” because he never managed to persuade the British public to embrace Socialism.

  4. @Richard
    The trouble with Owen Jones’ plan is that UKIP is defined emotionally, but the Left define themselves ideologically, and ideology is divisive.

    UKIP members can and do believe in all sorts of contradictory things but they’re held together by the feeling that the country’s going to the dogs and Johnny Foreiger’s to blame. You couldn’t hold even a small leftist group together with just a feeling, let alone a UKIP sized party big enough to influence the mainstream. And getting them all to agree on an ideology would be like herding cats. Believe me, the Peoples Front of Judea was not a broad parody.

  5. “the Soviet Union, North Korea and China before it turned into a sort of military-corporate conglomerate.”

    You raise a valuable point, which is that ostensibly left-wing states like that do trend towards becoming insanely controlling and brutal.

    It is worth pointing out that North Korea at least is now essentially a fascist state. The constitution hasn’t mentioned socialism in two decades and it’s run by a vicious, hereditary personality cult.

    However, when I wrote that description I was thinking of Franco’s Spain, Italy in the 20s and 30s and of course the one we mustn’t say. Pinochet would probably also qualify.

  6. @Oldnat,

    No doubt. But I still think the English would get a bit upset about not having the capacity to launch a warship.

    Planes, missiles, rifles, landmines, backpacks, hand grenades, whatever. Buy them on eBay if we have to.

    But ships? “We want eight and we won’t wait”.

  7. NEIL A

    I apologise for thinking that when you said “I believe this cycle is essentially why violent revolution is so appealing to some on the far left.” you actually meant to say “the far left”, and not something totally different.

  8. @Oldnat – “You may well be right. So sad that the Empire has gone, but (if you are right) the English still cling to an outdated vision of their role in the world.”

    I’m no misty eyed old imperialist by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time I think it’s a bit too easy, and intellectually lazy, to simply sneer at ‘English’ visions of themselves and their role. For a starting point, as a Scot, with a 100% Scottish bloodline, my experience is that a very similar vision of our role in the world holds true north of the border anyway, and attempts to offload this onto the English alone are symptomatic of nationalist aspirations to identify themselves differently to the English, when in reality the differences in these matters are highly marginal.

    As to whether this vision is outdated or not, I think you are exhibiting somewhat lazy thinking. British people generally accept the limitations of our global capabilities these days, but are equally willing to see us take action when needed.

    I really don’t want to over romanticise this, for fear of being accused of being outdated, but we remain a nation far more prepared to act internationally that most. This can be a bad thing at times, but equally we don’t do an Ireland and opt out of fighting tyrannical fascists because it’s easier.

    The Balkans and Afghanistan, rightly or wrongly, were Nato engagements, and the UK met our commitments far, far better than most other Nato members. Away from military action, when Gleneagles G7 Summits agree third world debt deals, the UK actually does what we promise, while other countries delay and avoid their commitments. [UK also has one of the best records in the EU in terms of the number of times we have faced enforcement action on EU laws – not really my point, but interesting, nonetheless]. Am I proud of this? Yes. Should I be proud of this? Yes – most of the time.

    So we can desire to be a small country, the same as the others, and take our ‘rightful’ place in the world, and feel freed from accusations that we are clinging to an outdated vision of our place in the world, or we can take a more realistic vision of who we are, what we represent, and how we contribute, and accept the fact that we are a significant player in world affairs, and try to use that fact in the best way possible.

    It’s one of the saddest things I see in the nationalist armoury, that there seems a willingness to belittle their own country/countries and what we have and can achieve, all for the sake of painting the ‘English’ as clinging to some outdated past.

  9. @Oldnat,

    I stand corrected.

  10. Just to be clear, in Yorkshire it’s the ‘reet proper left’.

  11. @Mr Nameless

    You’re a journalist?

  12. Neil A

    @Oldnat,

    I stand corrected.

    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    …… and so you should [what did you do?]

  13. Alec

    Well said: its a tiresome habit.

  14. ALEC

    Your comments would have been more appropriately directed to NEIL A.

    My comment, that you quote, was specifically directed to his assertion that the “English” (his term, not mine) would insist on having a warship building facility, based on historical events / mythology.

    That you wholly “misunderstand” our conversation is sad, but not surprising.

    Neil and I were not discussing international interventions, or any other aspect that you mention. It was a specific discussion on the reasons why public opinion (specifically in England) might be determined to continue building warships, even though they would be happy to buy any other military equipment from elsewhere.

    You may decry Neil A’s “nationalist armoury”, but he clearly reflects a significant strand in English thinking.

    As I said earlier, my expectation is that the English are rather better than that..

  15. I think that’s a little unfair. I grant you it was me that made reference to “England” and “the English” with reference to the romance of warships, but it was Oldnat who mentioned the Empire and “England’s role in the world”.

    The English naval heroes I mentioned, although all of them played a part in England (and Britain’s) imperial ambitions in one way or another, are principally remembered for two mighty battles fought not far from English soil (one in fact in sight of England) and which are seen very much as battles for the freedom and liberty of the home country rather than as part of any grand colonial scheme.

  16. @Oldnat – “Your comments would have been more appropriately directed to NEIL A.”

    No they wouldn’t. I didn’t misunderstand your conversation, nor is it sad. Again, these are ‘Dr Oldnat’s Patent Debating Methods’ deployed regularly on these pages.

    You rather gave your game away when you said –

    “What I suspect you are actually talking about is what might be described as the English “creation myth”. In those terms, long generations of mythology (frequently dressed up as history, and used as propaganda in schools) can have a powerful effect, and cause people to act wholly irrationally in much changed modern circumstances.”

    All @Neil A was saying was that we have a long history of shipbuilding and naval history, and British people have an emotional attachment to that.

    This is not irrational, nor mythologising, nor is it a creation myth. Indeed, the very use of the term ‘creation myth’ as opposed to the much simpler ‘history’ does tend to portray your undoubted prejudice.

    Argue away all you like, but most people on here understand your ways and means and the points you are looking to make. I disagree with many of them, and now I’m off to bed.

  17. NEIL A

    I agree that ALEC’s comments on your stance were a little unfair.

    There is nothing wrong with remembering “heroes” in the past (no matter how flawed they may have been!) who secured “the freedom and liberty of the home country”.

    We may disagree as to whether the English conflict with Spain that Drake & Raleigh were involved in were primarily concerned with “defence of the realm”, or the result of English freebooting activities in the sphere of influence that was internationally recognised as Spain’s.

    While one country’s “terrorists” may be another country’s “freedom fighters”, I don’t think that distinction would apply to England’s licensed privateers in their attacks on Spanish treasure fleets in the Caribbean.

  18. Right wing authoritarian states

    Honduras Nicaragua, before the Sandinista
    Venezuela, before Chavez
    Brazil, for most of the second half of the 20th century, oh hell, all of south America and most of central America apart from Costa Rica. That the western hemisphere covered, Vietnam, before the Americans got kicked out, Indonesia, oh hell most of south east Asia at some point in the last 60 years. On to Africa, well south Africa of course, then there is a motley crew of kleptomanic regimes well liked(at least in private) by western govts and business interests, I think it’s fair to include them. Moving on to the middle east, Iran before the fall of the Shah but it’s not exactly leftwing now but quite authoritarian, Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian religious monarchy which sounds right wing to me- oh hell we might as well include all of the middle east as well seeing as the only long term democracy in that region is brutally oppressing half their population in a very right wing way

    Hope that helps, lol

  19. ALEC

    Goodnight.

    In the morning you want to consider the entire conversation and avoid selective quotation. That is a tiresome debating tactic.

    I continued “In that, they are no different from any other nation”, You would have to be exceptionally partisan to see that as being a discriminatory comment against one nation.

    If the cap fits ….

  20. @Postageincluded

    Yes, I think you are right, there are too many factions. Rather than unite on ideology I’m sure they could unite on policy – scrap tuition fees, reduce house prices by building more social housing, introduce property taxes to redistribute wealth, immigration friendly to bring in workers to help support the aging population.

    Some clearly different policies that would be popular with a large segment of the population that are being ignored by all the current parties.

    Plus you need a Farage/ Grillo larger than life character to get it going. Difficult, but with all the main parties drifting to the right and certain segments of the population being hit much harder than others – disabled, immigrants, the young, renters, I think there is a solid base that could be rapidly mobilised with the right policies. I feel we are getting to the tipping point where that starts to happen.

  21. RICHARD

    There must be somewhere that has a Government that pursues such policies? Such a one would continue to maintain electoral advantage over its opponents even after 6 years in office.

    Damned if I can think where such a place could be.

  22. We shouldn’t forget about Europe, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus were all right wing authoritarian states, I believe that Croatia was after the break-up of Yugoslavia, I think Macedonia still is? Laszlo will come by later on to mention Hungary as an example of a modern day right wing authoritarian states but it’s still technically a democracy, of course the same could be said of Greece. Which brings up an interesting question, do we include democratic right-wing authoritarian states?

  23. RiN

    Then you also have to consider the sad state of my country as explained by the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party – “not a democratic place in the conventional sense. It is a dictatorship of one man sitting in Bute House, who will do not what is Scotland’s interests, but what is in his own or his party’s interests.”

    Shakespeare doubtless had this in mind when he put these words into Malcolm’s mouth.

    “I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
    It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash
    Is added to her wounds: I think withal
    There would be hands uplifted in my right;
    And here from gracious England have I offer
    Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
    When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head,
    Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
    Shall have more vices than it had before,
    More suffer and more sundry ways than ever,
    By him that shall succeed.”

  24. I know I shouldn’t quote from Wikipedia but I can’t resist

    “There have been a number of other attempts to identify “left-wing authoritarians” in the United States and Canada. These would be people who submit to leftist authorities, are highly conventional to liberal viewpoints, and are aggressive to people who oppose left-wing ideology. These attempts have failed because measures of authoritarianism always correlate at least slightly with the right. There are certainly extremists across the political spectrum, but most psychologists now believe that authoritarianism is a predominantly right-wing phenomenon.”

  25. Oldnat

    Not everything is about scotland

  26. Oldnat

    Not everything is about scotland

  27. So true, I had to say it twice

  28. RiN

    “I know I shouldn’t quote from Wikipedia”

    Thousands of pupils across the world can’t be wrong!

  29. RiN

    Indeed. Lots of it’s about Norway (and England, and USA and other places too).

    That’s why I was happy to discuss English attitudes with Neil A, and often US politics with SoCalLiberal.

    Still, if you are going to quote “democratic right-wing authoritarian states” should my own country be ignored?

    (I’ll double post the response if you want.)

  30. Scotland is not a right-wing or any other wing authoritarian state(lol, it’s not a state) at least according to my interpretation, you were just using my post to have a partisan dig at a particularly foolish slab person

  31. Unless you think Scotland is authoritarian?

  32. RiN

    True. :-)

    Still Shakespeare continues to provide appropriate quotations for the modern world.

    I gather that he will be a required study for Eng Lit candidates in English schools in future, along with 19th century poets and novelists.

    Quite why politicians are allowed anywhere near determining the detailed content of school curriculums (curricula? – I never know) in some countries will remain a mystery to those in places where that doesn’t happen.

  33. @ Old Nat

    “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.”

    You’re welcome. I try my best.

  34. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 6th November – Con 33%, Lab 40%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%; APP -25

    Five Poll RA:

    Con 33.4
    Lab 40
    LD 8.6
    UKIP 11.4

    Lab Lead 6.6

    The last two LD rolling averages have been the lowest in 2013.

    Lab and Con look set in stone at the moment…

  35. Good Morning All. Dark and Wet here in Southbourne/Bournemouth,

    Labour seems close to being at 40%. Lib Dems figures are high though, and I think the Conservatives will pick UKIP and LD voters by 2015.

    Looking like a close race.

    And Old Trafford Match v Arsenal will be exciting too.

  36. Just some numbers from the change in Government’s (previous to GE) VI numbers from 18 months shy of the GE to the actual GE result:

    1987 +8
    1992 +5
    1997 +6
    2001 -10
    2005 – 0
    2010 -2

  37. @Crossbat11

    “Echoing OldNat’s thoughts, thanks very much, as usual, for your insights into US politics. It’s a bit like the voice of clarity cutting through the transatlantic fog!”

    Well first off, you’re very welcome. Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate that.

    “On Di Blasio, I know little about him beyond what I’ve read in the English press today in the wake of his election, but I rather like the sound of the fellow and I hope his radical plans for New York aren’t frustrated and thwarted to to the extent that you obviously expect them to be.”

    Well here’s where it might be interesting. It seemed that Millenials, my generation, were this generation that politically was emerging as socially liberal but fiscally conservative. That was initially the look of things in the middle part of the last decade. That was until you saw the Great Recession hit in 2009 and its lingering aftermath (truth is, we really haven’t come back). Millenials have taken it the worst, across racial lines, gender lines, and even across educational levels.

    Awash with record student loan debt, meaningless degrees, falling wages, record high unemployment, rising standard of living, and fulltime free labor positions, Millenials are struggling economically and despite what some journalists think, not through much fault of their own.

    The basic question that so many young Americans find themselves asking is “where’s mine?”

    DiBlasio’s election may be a result of that. People who feel that they no longer have the opportunities for economic advancement they once thought they did are not going to be in a mood to defend low taxes on the wealthy and less spending on social services. And hearing scare stories about communism and socialism and satanism (all one in a same according to Ted Cruz’s dad) isn’t going to convince people who have the doors of employment slammed shut in their faces and are told “oh go intern.” It’s not going to resonate with people who are being forced out of their already expensive neighborhoods for “redevelopment” that seems to bring in wealthy folks who want to live in New York.

    New York has elected some progressives in the past as mayor and interestingly enough, they were Republicans. Fiorello LaGuardia comes to mind. He was elected during the Great Depression. The closest to a Communist we ever had in Congress was Vito Marcantonio. He started out as a Republican and represented Harlem.

    With that said, I should point out that DiBlasio overwhelmingly won Manhattan. There are plenty of wealthy neighborhoods and wealthy voters in that borough (I’d like to see precinct data to see just how he fared and where). So I would imagine quite a few wealthy folks voted for him even if he didn’t do as well as let’s say Obama and Gillibrand in the old Silk Stocking Congressional District. He lost Staten Island though which is decidedly working class and middle class. So my analysis may be off.

    LA politics is so much better than NYC’s (though both obviously top Toronto).

  38. ” Lib Dems figures are high though”

    I think you’ve done that joke before Chris…. a few times.

  39. No big changes in the usual Scottish cross-break. Con up 5 or 6 and SNP down a similar level (yesterday’s poll was probably an outlier).

    Yawnsville. Was hoping for something really weird.

  40. Neil A
    “Whereas you are presumably thinking of the “Fascist Right”, who to me are pretty much indistinguishable from the Far Left in terms of their makeup and psychology”
    I seriously suggest that you read some far-left and far-right philosophy – you don’t have to agree with it, but it’s enlightening to understanding those you oppose.
    Only to say that I think you’re deeply wrong.

    I agree with Mr Nameless ‘sortof’ on his definitions.
    At their pure extremes the scale would exist like this –
    Far-Left – Each person is treated as equal but need and ability are taken in to consideration.
    Distribution is therefore communal (each person can take as they have need) and expected labour is based upon need (those with the most ability should do the most work).
    Left – Each person is treated exactly equally.
    Distribution is based upon a rationing system and labour is based upon equal effort.
    Right – Society exists based upon a hierarchy but people can work their way up.
    Distribution is based upon reward for work and labour based on what you’re willing to put in.
    Far-Right – Society exists as an unchanging hierarchy, where your position is defined by ‘higher’ and ‘lesser’ social groups (based on aristocratic/genetic/racial/national/religious/etc grouping).
    Distribution therefore goes to the top first and labour is based upon your class.

    Then you have the anarchist-authoritarian scale, which goes –
    Respectful anarchist – Each person has full personal autonomy (which ends when it violates the autonomy of others) and people are expected to respect each other’s choices.
    Critical anarchist – Each person has full personal autonomy and people are expected to be socially critical of each other’s choices.
    Critical statist – Each person is expected to follow the law/rules of society but are also expected to be critical of those laws.
    Respectful statist – Each person is expected to fully follow the law/rules of society and are expected also to respect those laws.

    So far-left and far-right totalitarians are indistinguishable in the fact that they both believe that everybody should unquestioningly/respectfully follow the law.
    But their core ideology is exactly the same – the problem with far-left totalitarians is that the system is easily ‘infected’ by the far-right, who establish a new unquestioned hierarchy (whereas the far-left are anti-hierarchy).

    The only difference between my theory and most others is that I see (as relational model theory does) it as a social grammar rather than a fixed ideology.

    Take our monarchy for example – you can only become the monarch by virtue of birth (Far-Right) and the head of state is fixed in law (Statist) but we are allowed to criticise the system (Critical Statist).
    Obviously not all take the critical-statist stance and instead often tell people that they should ‘just leave the country’ if they don’t like the monarchy.

    But take the NHS – the NHS is currently distributed based upon need and contributions to pay for it are based upon ability (Far-Left). Again critical-statist.

    Then take the distribution of food generally – this is currently distributed based upon the ability to pay, so individual investment is individually rewarded (Right). And the distribution is enforced by law but we are free to criticise this distribution (Critical-statist).

    But what about food-banks? Where food is distributed based upon need and people contribute based upon ability (Far-Left). But contribution is entirely voluntary and we’re free to criticise the system (Critical-anarchist).

    So our cultural/social grammar is based upon *context* but those who’re political (i.e those who are more consistent in their ideology) wish to change society so it matches their ideal more.

    You can see this in the center-left, many of whom (Frank Field, etc) wish to abolish universality (Far-Left) in favour of contributory benefits/NHS provision/etc (Left), where each person is expected to put in relatively equally and take out relatively equally.

    I hope that makes sense.

    “They just don’t see how they are going to persuade all of those centre-loving voters without some kind of firearm.”
    Two things on this point:
    1) How are laws currently enforced? Ultimately through violence, i.e through the barrel of a loaded gun.
    The only difference is that revolution is ‘unlawful violence’ where law is ‘lawful violence’ – both are the violent enforcement of social ideology.
    2) Revolutionary psychology happens because it, to paraphrase Marx, is the sigh of the oppressed creature.
    People on the left and right are so keen on the idea of revolution simply because they lack representation – in the same way that previous historical revolutions happened.
    The bourgeois revolutions of the 18th century happened because bourgeois politics had no real political representation (whereas in Britain, the Whigs were allowed to peacefully ‘take over’).

    So the current FPTP system which forces a three ‘centrist’ party with little difference between them (Ming Campbell recently described it as a system where all parties largely agree and parties are elected to be managers of the establishment system) leads to frustration from those who disagree with their establishment politics (See; the rise of UKIP).
    If we gave minority political views political representation (via PR), I suspect we’d see far less expressed frustration.

    RiN
    The research for the search for Left Wing Authoritarians was deeply flawed – it took the Right-Wing Authoritarian scale (which is empirically sound) and modified it to change some of the statements so that ‘leaders’ became ‘revolutionary leaders’ etc
    Part of the problem was that he was measuring the wrong thing – right-wing authoritarianism requires leaders while left-wing authoritarianism doesn’t, so he was still searching for right-wing features and therefore found no empirical correlation.
    His sampling of people in the west (where most of the far-left are of the anarchist or new-left variety) was probably also a mistake.

  41. @NeilA. 1141

    For “obsessed with order, militarism and elevate the unifying concept of ‘the nation’ above everything else” you might want to consider the good ‘ol USA. Huge army, fetishised constitution, flags and anthem everywhere…

  42. Namless and Tingedfringe:
    To much to comment on but neither of you mentioned capitalism or property rights once.
    I’m not sure how you managed to do that whilst defining political philosophy.

  43. Or the other defining issue, the nature of mankind.

  44. Alec

    Point of fact. There may be some isolated North Country places in Yorkshire where they say “reet”, but the vast majority of Yorkshire folk say “reight”.

    The ignorance of R-UK to our Yorkshire culture and mores is a constant source of frustration to my fellow Yorkshire folk. One day we WILL fulfill our destiny and shake off the imperialist yoke.

  45. @Lefty

    (Capitalist, South Eastern response)

    “Hurry up then!”

    :-p

  46. @Lefty

    Would you care to exchange that white rose for a red one?

  47. SG

    You’ll be sorry. What will R-UK do then, without its supply of underachieving football teams and lugubrious old gits?

  48. RAF

    Ahm norravin’ nonotha’ Lancashire rubbish.

  49. @Tingedfringe,

    Perhaps. I suspect what happens is that when a left wing authoritarian government comes to power, the rest of the left disowns it and characterises it as right wing.

    Personally, I think if you take a communist revolutionary (power to the people, destroy the upper classes who think it’s their right to rule, take back what belongs to us, etc) and add in some racism and you have a fascist. After all communist countries generate their own, party-based, ruling class which is very much the way fascism operates.

    As for the “barrel of a gun” – I think there is a huge distinction between enforcing the laws passed by a democratically elected parliament and using force to impose a system on the population which they have rejected at the ballot box. If you can’t see the difference, I am a little scared. Noone has satisfactorily explained to me how the public’s rejection of socialism at the ballot box is in someway not “real” and therefore not valid. I hear the arguments about political lobbying and a right-wing press, but honestly if there was a huge appetite for a socialist program someone would be winning large numbers of votes on that manifesto. Perhaps they just need the right figurehead? Maybe Russell Brand should step up?

  50. @TheSheep,

    You think the Americans are obsessed with order? Have you ever been there?

    It is a paean to glorious, creative chaos.

    And I although I agree on the nationalism, I don’t actually think the Americans are at all militaristic. They have a large military, which they adore, but I haven’t ever seen any sign of that military seeping into the daily lives of Americans.

    There are more Americans at a Gay Pride march than you’d ever find at a military parade, I think (SoCal will correct me if I’m wrong).

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