The final YouGov poll of the year is up here. Voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. The six point Labour lead is the same as the average in YouGov’s polls across December, in comparison in December 2012 YouGov was showing an average Labour lead of eleven points, so year-on-year Labour’s lead has almost halved – the YouGov average for December 2013 is Conservative 33% (up 1 since 2012), Labour 39% (down 4), Lib Dem 9% (down 1), UKIP 12% (up 3).

Labour leads have seemed a tad lower since the Autumn statement, but the vast majority that narrowing came in the early part of 2013 when economic optimism first stating picking up. We can see the changes in attitudes to the economy in the other regular YouGov trackers here. 17% now think the economy is doing well, 50% badly. It’s still strongly negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 5% well, 73% badly. 41% of people now think the coalition are managing the economy well, 51% badly – it’s still a net negative, but compare it to December 2012 when it was 31% well, 59% badly.

The most interesting questions in the rest of the poll were on shale gas and fracking, 44% of people support fracking/shale gas, 29% of people are opposed. This is up slightly since YouGov last asked in August when it was 41% to 33% opposed. Asked about its impacts people see it as safe by 47% to 33%, as good for the economy by 64% to 14%, but as environmentally damaging by 42% to 34%.

Compared to other potential ways of generating energy, fracking is seen as broadly preferable to coal or imported gas, but seen as less desirable than nuclear or renewable energy. People would, unsurprisingly, be less positive about fracking in their immediate area. Only 25% of people would support fracking within a couple of miles of their home, but it rises to 32% support if its further away, but in a local town or village, and goes up to 46% support if it was somewhere else in their local county, but not their own town or village.

316 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 11”

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  1. Virgilio
    “Unaffiliated parties are ahead in Austria, Netherlands and the Czech Republic (Far right parties in the first two, where actually the PMs are SD and ALDE respectively”

    That contained a clear mistake as, later in your report, you make it clear that NL has a ALDE PM VVD, (right wing liberal, clone of Orange bookers). I agree with you that the far right PVV has no chance of forming a government in NL although the largest party VI at present.

    Thanks for your interesting post, as always.

  2. Virgilio, what am I saying, my mistake, it was good as it was! I dined well.

  3. A new thread on PB making essentially the same point that Roger Mexico and many others of us here have been making for weeks about Populus and UKIP.

  4. @Phil

    Not sure you caught AW’s response to me on the last thread to this question of who is getting UKIP weighting right, but it was very informative. I’ll repeat it here to save people looking:

    Richard – I suspect both are the same issue, differential response rate from supporters of different parties. Sort of the opposite of the spiral of silence, a spiral of enthusiasm!

    This is probably much the problem that polls apart from ICM (who had pioneered political weighting by then) got it wrong in 1997 – Labour supporters were full of enthusiasm and keen to take part in polls and back Labour. It’s possibly one of the reasons the polls overestimated Lib Dem support in 2010, because all those people full of enthusiasm with “Cleggmania” were more likely to agree to take part in polls. I suspect it down to some of the UKIP issues now – even on their worst figures they have tripled their support, so they have millions of new supporters with the zeal of the convert, who may be more likely to take part in polls if asked (or to go looking for them)

    My guess is that’s why Populus get far too many UKIP responses – though it could also be something to do with how they sample… which I don’t know. A point I’ve often needed to make here is that the make up of raw samples from internet panels doesn’t tell you anything at all about public opinion, it just tells you about how effectively they are targetting the correct people in their sampling. Needing to use a lot of weighting is not necessarily a sign you are weighting to the wrong figure, it can just be a sign your samplings producing something odd. Or it can be both.

    Let me give you a scenario.

    Imagine pollster A gets a raw sample that is 75% women, and pollster B gets a raw sample that is 40% women.

    Pollster A weights the sample so it is 52% women, reducing the proportion of women in the sample by 23 percentage points.

    Pollster B weights the sample so it is 45% women, increasing the proportion of women by only 5 percentage points.

    The first pollster has used much heavier weightings (their sampling obviously has issues!), but their weighting is correct – 52% of the adult population is female. The company with the small weights is wrong. Much harder with political weights of course, because we don’t know what the “correct” figure is.

    Anyway, as it happens I suspect Populus should be weighting UKIP to a slightly higher level. Given YouGov rely on a panel we can track party ID on an individual level and it has increased since 2010, that’s why YouGov changed their weightings earlier this year. But even if Populus were weighting UKIP to an ID level of 2 or 3 percent, which I suspect would be more accurate, they’d still be heavily weighting them down

  5. @Phil Haines

    Interesting article by Mike Smithson and I tend to agree with him. I know many others take a different view, but I think the Tories may be lazily sleepwalking to disaster if they think a sizeable chunk of existing UKIP support is going to come back “home” to them at the next General Election. UKIP have mutated from the eccentric ginger group that they once were and they’ve now grown roots and electoral legs. Just look at how they’ve been consistently performing in the polls for almost two years now. This is a flash that has glowed persistently in the political pan.

    Rather than them evaporating conveniently into the electoral ether, as many hope and predict, I think they may well increase in strength the nearer we get to May 2015. Their current standing in the polls isn’t necessarily their high water mark and I expect them to get a big boost from the May 2014 Euro elections which, quite conceivably, they could even win.

    This cuckoo isn’t go to flee the political nest any time soon, I don’t think. They have the potential to change British politics for ever, that’s how seriously I now regard them.

  6. @?oward
    Re the NL, to be more precise the actual gvt consists of orange-booker VVD (ALDE) and very moderate PVDA (SD), under PM Ruute. Both parties have heavy losses in all VI polls, and all opposition parties are growing, not only the PVV, but also the radical left SP and the left liberals of D66, whose role might be crucial for the formation of the next gvt (next GE is in 2016).
    Furthermore, the “unaffiliated” far-right parties may not stay unaffiliated for long. Austrian FPOE, Dutch VVD, plus the French FN, the Swedish SD, the Belgian (Flemish) VB and the infamous Lega Nord (Italy) have formed an alliance in view of the forthcoming European Parliament Election of May 2014. In order to form a distinct political group in the EP, an alliance of parties must have at least 25 MEPs from at least 7 countries. The first condition is poised to become reality, but they still need a 7th partner. Slovenian and Slovakian far right parties (both called SNS) are not certain to gain seats in the next EP, so they must look elsewhere, and they have already excluded Hungarian JOBBIK and Greek Golden Dawn for being far too extremist. Anyway, if they succeed in forming a new group, this is bad news for UKIP. In fact, the group of European Free Democrats, where UKIP is the biggest party, will probably be dissolved, because of the defection of LN, its second biggest component, leaving UKIP only with minor parties most of which are not even certain to renew their representation in the EP (e.g. the Greek LAOS, almost extinct now). It is certain that the Eurosceptic right will be restructured, with probable consequences also for the Conservatives, especially after the recent demise of their Czech allies (ODS).

  7. Typo error, of course is HOWARD!!!

  8. And of course in the sixth line it is PVV, nor VVD. (But how could one avoid errors with all these initials? LOL!!)

  9. @Neil A

    Again, you need to show your figures when you say that X causes Y, not just asset that X obviously causes Y.

    Here’s the underlying issue… At the current time, population growth has increased not because immigrations increased substantially, but because native births increased. 2012 Net migration was only ~165600, but there were ~254400 more native births than deaths. And even then, that’s a population growth of less than 1%.

    Now, people may say “But then there are clusters of places which have more people in them!” which is really just the same as saying “Cities have higher local services costs because they have more people”. The UK as an *entire nation* is able to absorb our current population growth.

    To make an example, the cost to the NHS of immigrants using it’s services is 0.027% of it’s operating budget. Let’s state that again, the cost to the NHS of immigrants using it’s services is 0.027%, and yet this was raised as an important political issue that had to be immediately addressed with primary legislation.

    The significant population based increases on demand come from there being more children, and increased due to having capacity in the school system cut for under 11s due to misreading of the runes by population predictors in the 90s. They predicted continuation of lower birth rates, and population growth from immigration. What a surprise that fears about mass immigration might have led to taking the eye off the ball towards where funding actually was needed.

    I know it’s an emotive issue. I know that UKIP are getting more powerful by mining it’s rich seems of outrage and indignity. But the fact is, it’s a piddlingly tiny little problem compared to practically everything else. It doesn’t even scale with, say, the things we need to do if harsh winter storms are now the new normal.

    Again, I have to stress this… Immigrants cost the tax payer way way way way way less than people seem to think. Again I bring up that 0.027% of the NHS budget that goes on immigrants. Even if some calamity brought in twenty times as many immigrants to use the NHS’s services, well, that’d be a staggering increase to the NHS’s required budget of 0.54%!

  10. @Neil A

    To restate a comment in moderation much more tersely.

    The cost to the NHS of immigrants using it’s services is 0.027% of it’s total budget.

    Yet what was the political rhetoric that was applied?

    I suggest that the scale of the problem, if there even is one, and the scale of the political activity, do not match.

  11. @oldnat

    Thanks for the informative link about Ukip in Scotland.

    It looks to be the case that Farage, through the NEC, is quite capable of dissolving an entire local party organisation.

    In addition to control over candidate selection that would, if needs be, help overcome the kind of rebellion that Malcolm Pearson encountered in Wells, Taunton Deane and Somerton & Frome in 2010.

    Ukip’s leader (2009-2010) Pearson advised supporters to vote Conservative “for the good of the Country”, and even handed out leaflets on the campaign trail for Philip Hollobone amongst others, though he appears not to have recieved any favours in return.

    Soon after the 2009 EU elections Lord Pearson (on behalf of Farage who was then leader) offered David Cameron an electoral deal, but he was given the brush-off. Baron Strathclyde acted as go-between.

    Ukip had polled well in the EU elections, however, Cameron was at that point riding high in the Westminster polls (16-19 point leads over Labour).

  12. Phil – there’s also a danger of people reading stuff into Populus’s weighting and drawing conclusions about the wider polls, when actually Populus isn’t typical of all the polls showing lower UKIP scores.

    For example, MORI don’t use any political weighting, but still show some of the lower scores for UKIP. ICM do use political weighting, but it doesn’t particularly decrease UKIP’s support (in their most recent poll they weighted the proportion of 2010 UKIP voters up, and their weighting scheme as a whole increased UKIP support).

    There’s some reason for the big difference between different companies on UKIP scores, but it certainly cannot be explained by political weighting alone.

  13. @Anthony Wells

    Yes I agree. I think Mike Smithson is in danger of doing that in his piece, in that while the reweighting of UKIP by Populus is obviously ludicrous in its extent, it arises from the strange Populus method of reweighting identifiers and it doesn’t follow that the more modest treatment by other pollsters is necessarily wrong.

    BTW have you looked at the last provincial election in Alberta in 2012, because it may be instructive for the UK. There are parallels I think between the Wildrose v Conservative contest there (Wildrose being an insurgent right wing party coming from nowhere i.e. not dissimilar to UKIP), and it happens to be that all the polls greatly overestimated support for the former up to the very end. A Canadian polling disaster that makes UK 1992 look like a triumph.

  14. Phil – I hadn’t. I remember the Canadian pollsters getting it horridly wrong, but hadn’t really registered the potential parallels. Hmm.


    Whilst I am in accord with your general drift I’m a bit suspicious of that 0.027% number. Are you sure you’re not confusing the (ludicrously over-reported) cost of the NHS treating patients who *should pay* with the total cost of treating immigrants?
    Could you point to where the numbers came from please?

    I agree with Laszlo that internal migration within the UK (not just England) likely has a far bigger effect on housing shortages and the like than *foreigners* do. But that’s a matter of domestic policy so cannot be blamed elsewhere :p

  16. Anthony

    Could it be that pollster methodology assumes an essential stability in the political system they are measuring?

    Shifts among the lead players might be something that they can pick up fairly accurately, but new players might cause them problems – or, indeed any unusual political occurrences like referendums.

    Asimov fans would note how the predictions of the psychohistorians fell apart when the Mule came along! :-)

  17. Further to the post regarding MEP Mike Nattrass. He lost his attempt to place an injunction on Ukip’s candidate selection process, and left the party in September. He seems to be saying (as per Godfrey Bloom) that Farage has conducted a purge:


    There was some confusion about whether Nattrass might become the first English Democrat MEP, but he has now created his own party called An Independence Party.

    Before UKIP he was a Referendum Party candidate, and before that stood for the New Britain Party (which had absorbed Patrick Moore’s anti-Heath, anti-immigration United Country Party).

  18. There’s been a lot of discussion on here previously about incumbency bonuses for MPs. One way or another, I don’t think that the Lib Dems can count on one in Portsmouth South:

  19. @Guy Monde

    The parliamentary reported figure of accounted expenditures by the NHS from use by immigrants was £6,967,780 in fiscal year ending in 2010. Tiny compared to it’s over £100,000,000,000 budget.

    I calculated from one of the early figures being thrown around as to “How much immigrants cost the NHS” before it became a political snow-ball.

    However, certain politicians have repeatedly commissioned studies to “prove” that the immigrants cost the NHS progressively increasing amounts each time they commision a new study. For instance, the Prederi and Creative Research (perhaps appropriately named) study commissioned by Hunt did not actually find any accounting weight to back up a claim that billions were being spent by the NHS on migrants, they did however say that it was “uncertain” how much was being spent. The final figures being come about by adding up some “plausible ranges” of figures, assumptions about spending best guesses as to what might be being spent… Hence the repeated ramping up of how much Immigrants Cost The NHS!

    The strange thing being that even then, even taking these pretty obviously inflated figures as true it was still less than 2% of the NHS’s entire budget. And well within the range where trying to clamp down harshly on it might cost more money than is saved.


    Since these figures only apply to “research” about NHS England, the figure for immigrant use of the 4 different NHS services in the UK would presumably be a little lower still.

    (There is no “the” NHS in the UK).


    Thanks. Quite an astonishing finding.

  22. On the false recall thing. Is there any data on which parties tend to experience it more than others?

  23. @Neil A
    To restate a comment in moderation much more tersely.
    The cost to the NHS of immigrants using it’s services is 0.027% of it’s total budget.
    Yet what was the political rhetoric that was applied?
    I suggest that the scale of the problem, if there even is one, and the scale of the political activity, do not match.
    Exaggeration is at the core of the rhetoric about immigration

    I recall a fairly recent poll when members of the public asked what percentage of the UK population were immigrants a figure in the region of 31% the actual figure is just under 13% under.

    The full figures were
    Ipsos MORI.June 2013

    When asked what percentage of the UK population are immigrants (i.e. not born in the UK), the mean response was 31 per cent – compared to the actual figure of 13 per cent. Of those immigrants, the public estimated that 21 per cent of these were asylum seekers. The actual figure is four per cent.

    When asked why their guesses were so much higher than the real figure, 56 per cent thought this was down to illegal immigrants not being counted, while 46 per cent refused to believe that the 13 per cent figure was correct!

    The real level is broadly in line with most Western European countries.

    It is a dangerous path some politicians and newspapers are treading stirring up social tensions and identifying a problem where no problem exists.

    It’s what happened in pre War Germany.

    With that Cheerful message Happy Christmas

  24. JayBlanc

    I expect Neil A will return on this but I’ll pre-empt him. You chose NHS (OldNat’s comment taken on board) but perhaps Education is possibly an area that produces more problems. In the eastern counties of England (OK OldNat?) for instance, the heavy presence of eastern european workers (note workers) has clearly produced a severe strain on primary schools. It’s thus no surprise that UKIP support has arisen there more sharply.

    A responsible government would have stepped in to give local authorities great support in those localities where the strain on services manifested itself.

    The interesting political point is, I think, how much UKIP support is based on what it was originally set up to do, and how much on fear of immigration (EU or otherwise) and to what extent there are ‘wings’ of UKIP that are compartmentalised. The UKIP of 2006 in the SW that I described on this site was chiefly one that regretted the loss of ‘Englishness’ and empire and opposed opined undue interference in our affairs by foreigners in Brussels.

  25. @”The parliamentary reported figure of accounted expenditures by the NHS from use by immigrants was £6,967,780 in fiscal year ending in 2010.”

    This figure relates to “abandonded claims” for fees from overseas visitors-ie health tourists. It excluded NHS Foundation trusts & had increased to £8.8 bn by 2012.

    It therefore is not a measure of the use of NHS resources by “immigrants”

  26. Julian

    Apologies for late reply. You are right about the number of 4 way (and 3 way) splits in Scotland. But….
    Do you think the lack of potential SNP gains at the expense of LibDems is in part beacuse the SNP are already in government? Or is it because they are already at their maximum potential?
    Then another question: Why would any Lib Dem voter in Scotland see the Tories as a viable alternative? I ask, because the traditional Lib Dem vote in Scotland is/has been non-unionised ‘working class’ – strongly anti-Tory. Or is all that now in the past?
    And what are the chances of tactical voting to keep out the Tories, or keep out the SNP, or, for that matter, to keep out Labour? There seem to me to be so many variables…..

  27. @Colin

    “This figure relates to “abandonded claims” for fees from overseas visitors-ie health tourists. It excluded NHS Foundation trusts & had increased to £8.8 bn by 2012.”

    If I’m on holiday in let’s say Spain, or even working there, and I get taken ill or have an accident causing me to receive medical treatment in that country, could I be described as a “health tourist”, particularly if the Spanish health service doesn’t eventually get reimbursed by the NHS? I hadn’t gone to Spain seeking medical treatment but required it once there, although you could argue that my very presence there was an encumbrance on the Spanish taxpayer, I suppose, in the sense that I’d used a public service of theirs. Of course, stretching the argument even further, every time I made an enquiry to a Spanish policeman, or used their roads or took advantage of their street lighting, I was picking a little more dosh out of the Spanish taxpayers pocket. Where does all this end and how much of a burden on the taxpayer are the 2 million UK citizens currently working in EU member countries? How many jobs are they taking too?

    As for the cost of health tourism to the NHS, I’m sure I heard somebody inside the NHS saying that we probably owed more to our fellow EU countries than they owed to us in terms of UK citizens receiving medical treatment abroad. In other words, we were in the black.

  28. CB11

    You assume that all of that sum relates to EU citizens.

    What is the proportion of health “tourism” fees written off in respect of non-EU citizens,……..would EU citizens be billed for NHS treatment anyway?

    Personally-in respect of “health tourism” I think the more interesting number would be the cost of treatment which was paid for ( I make the rather flimsy asumption that more bills are paid than not !). This gives an indication of the burden placed on NHS hospitals by people flying in -and out-just to get treatment here. It is this which impacts the NHS’ capacity to treat the rest of us.

    Coming back to the effect/cost of permanent immigrants to UK on NHS-the question which has to be asked is what their PER CAPITA addition to GDP & State Tax Revenues is , compared with their demand on the NHS-and all other Publicly funded services-Schools/Housing infrastructure/GPs/Police/Prisons/Social Services……….

    I always find that the expression of net inward migration addition to UK population as “another city the size of x”-very striking.

    Particularly so , since the flawed cult of “multi-culturalism” has in general discouraged integration, encouraged cultural seperatism, & led to discreet populations of unicultural immigrant communities in various parts of the country.

  29. CB11

    My reply is in mod-don’t know why?

  30. As a proportion of the cost of the NHS the average non UK born UK resident costs approximately half as much as the average UK Born Resident while on average contributing 30% more in taxes.

    Regarding visitors reciprocal arrangements exist for the refund of treatment with all EU countries and some others, where they don’t visitors who fall ill or are injured have to cover the cost themselves.

    In reality the NHS is a net gainer out of health tourism as while some £7 million goes unclaimed the number of people coming to the UK actively seeking treatment in NHS hospitals privately and paying contributes over £350 million pa.

    My wife’s own Hospital Trust as a renowned World centre of excellence collects over 15% of this total the money goes directly into additional resources within the Trust and has in part allowed them to recruit an additional 500 Nurses at a time of financial constraint.

    But you won’t find this little snippet featuring any time soon in the Right wing Media as they have an agenda and no amount of facts are going to get in the way of it.

  31. Is the rise of UKIP purely related to misconstrued economics? Saying migrants benefit the economy assumes all immigrants are the same, therefore immigration should continue at high levels. The unemployment rate for Bangladeshis for instance, especially women, is sky-high. Far greater than Indians (which discounts racism) or North Africans (so not religious intolerance either). So, if you are arguing for immigration as a financial only tool, then are you also arguing that it should be restricted on a country-by-country basis? Or is it, like polls suggest, anti-low-skilled immigration?

    The high birth-rate is a result of the high birth-rate of recent immigrants, not the host population (which is declining, whether that makes us uncompetitive or sustainable depends on your point of view). The large increase in population has resulted in segregation, not integration.

    Mass immigration is considered by many a social problem, not necessarily a financial problem. Cities like Bradford and Oldham displayed in the past the dangers of mass immigration (unless you believe segregation is a good thing). Creating Newhams up and down the country isn’t something valued by most voters. Labour’s said pretty much the same thing but are they trusted?

    There are cultural issues too that financial assessments fail to take account of. Do Britons want a more religious society (yes, it is argued that the population becomes more secular but surveys show that many second or third generation Muslims are becoming more, not less, religious)? Is bringing in cultures with a very right-wing attitude towards free speech, mixed marriage, gender equality and gay rights something to be condemned? The polls suggest otherwise.

  32. @John B

    “because the traditional Lib Dem vote in Scotland is/has been non-unionised ‘working class’ – strongly anti-Tory. Or is all that now in the past?”

    Perhaps. All the LDs I’ve met in Scotland have been Aberdeenshire or North East Fife folk, and both have been middle class St. Andrews or Aboyne types, with 2.4 children an estate car and a 4 x 4.

  33. Steve makes a good point (on comparability of stats).

    My anecdote is as follows: I had a severe car collision injury while I worked an lived in NL. The total costs of treatment (1980s) went into tens of thousands of euros (was guilders then). I know this because one receives all bills personally from surgeon, hospital and so on. Everyone in most EU countries above a certain income has to be compulsorily privately insured in addition to tax and national insurance contributions. You get the same treatment and only if you pay extra on the insurance can you get a private room or a room with fewer patients (that’s a euphemism for avoiding the riff raff in the larger wards of course).

    So as a foreign EU citizen my treatment in NL cost the Dutch government zilch, except of course the enormous amount of money I cost it for my social security payments (in those days 80% of my salary for the first year and 70% thereafter for life, if need be). Of course with IT rates of 60% on higher salary bands, I paid my whack too.

    That’s just an indication of how it is sensible to avoid listening to a single word from polemicists on this kind of subject.

    However, that does not stop politicians whom it suits spouting any old rubbish that suits them.

  34. @Starry
    Not sure where you get your unemployment data from.
    Employment (as opposed to unemployment) amongst Bangladeshi-born men is higher than UK-born men. Bangladeshi women’s employment is indeed low but that doesn’t necessarily mean unemployment is high – my sister has never worked since she was married but equally she has never been ‘unemployed’.
    Unemployment amongst immigrant women in general is nearly twice as high as UK-born women but I have not found a data source that splits this by country of origin.
    Anyway, if you make emotive statements like “The unemployment rate for Bangladeshis for instance, especially women, is sky-high” I’d like to see them substantiated: otherwise they just look inflammatory and potentially misleading.
    FWIW my source is:

  35. I found the jailing of Denis MacShane for six montbs deeply saddening and angering. In case anybody did not read the details of his “fiddled” expenses claim for work in Eupope as Europe Minister, or his lawyer’s statement: “The invoices submitted were intended to recoup expenses genuinely incurred. This not a case where this was a man seeking o enrich himself by inventing expenses.”
    Mr MacShane, finding the mechanism for seeking reimbursement for genuine expenses time-consuming, created receipts for “research and translation services” in the name of the European Policy Institute” which he had founded. Idiotic, confused and incompetent – but criminal?
    Rather than prosecuting him, the police should have been talking to the Government and to the HOC regulatory system to ensure that his and similarly marginally illegal expenses cases don’t happen – that the protective and support arrangements remove the risk of “wonderful moments of British fiddling” from destroying people in parliament whose competence and integrity are otherwise needed in government and opposition.

  36. @Colin

    London *was* progressing quite well on a plan of Cultural Inclusion, part of which involved ensuring that cost of housing was as mixed across London as possible so that economic groups would not be concentrated into any particular area. The idea of “Failed multi-culturisim” is invented to explain the failings of councils that refused to take up this method, instead simply paying lip service to the existence of minorities by publishing some leaflets in different languages (while complaining at the tiny cost of doing so), and continuing policies that concentrated people from the same background into the same areas.

    Alas, true cultural integration projects have now been abandoned in the name of austerity, and there has been a great reversion to concentrating people of the same backgrounds and economic status into the same area. London in particular has been backsliding.

    Cultural integration has now essentially been replaced with “Stop acting so foreign and start being BRITISH!”, and the obvious backlash against that is being blamed on “the failure of multi-culturisim”… What a sad state of affairs.

  37. Schools are a better example of strain cause by some migration, as was pointed out previously. My nieces school witnessed a doubling of the expected intake during the summer holidays at the height of the EU movements, with some significant language problems as well. Again, as others have pointed out, the vast majority of the families were based on workers, earning money and paying taxes, but school classrooms don’t pop up on demand. The head teacher literally didn’t know what was in store until the first day of term.

    Raising such basic points of population management really shouldn’t lead to allegations of similarities with pre war Nazi Germany.

    If you do opt to permit the equivalent of a new Southampton every year in terms of population influx, then this needs to be discussed, managed and planned. That’s all we are saying.

  38. I really hope McShane appeals the sentence it is ridiculous. I travel a lot and often get handed a bunch of receipts by a taxi driver and have to fill one in myself in order to recoup the expense – should I get 6 months in jail for that.

  39. ALEC
    Schools are a better example of strain cause by some migration, as was pointed out previously. My nieces school witnessed a doubling of the expected intake during the summer holidays at the height of the EU movements, with some significant language problems as well. Again, as others have pointed out, the vast majority of the families were based on workers, earning money and paying taxes, but school classrooms don’t pop up on demand.

    -Alec there used to be an emergency fund for this it was paid for by some form of levie on the charges imposed on registering as a resident or entering the UK , I can’t recall the exact details consequently no cost to the UK tax payer and while the Government still collects it they no longer pass it on to schools!

    It’s not a huge amount (about £50 million pa) but certainly was of assistance with local problems

  40. @Guymonde

    Old data but ‘m not aware of any more recent.

    I’d argue, given that your sister isn’t employed, she is unemployed. Note: I was also not arguing for immigration to be a matter of simple economics. I’d rather a secular integrated country than a simple balance sheet.

  41. @Alec

    Rather naive assumptions were made that the birth rate would continue to decline, and so school capacities were tightened rather than allowed to keep slack capacity available. Combined with a misunderstanding of how long it takes to restore lost capacity, assuming that capacity could be restored within five years has lead to strain on the system now. Any sudden increase of the birth rate would have shown up the flaws in that planning, and sudden increases do occur from time to time, so it doesn’t really matter if it came from native families or immigrants.

    Creating a lot of new “Free Schools” that last only a year before financially collapsing, or being closed due to incompetence of staffing… probably isn’t helping. This is something where central planning really is needed, because you need to see the big picture on population movement within the country, not just reactionary thinking at a local level.

    Even “reactionary thinking at a local level” – maybe reactive would be a better adjective – is not helped by available funding being diverted away from local authorities to free schools, academies etc which have debateable ‘non-selection’ policies and are sited where the sponsors fancy rather than where there is necessarily any need.

    That’s a very strange interpretation of unemployment and I suspect you’re in a minority of one.

  43. That would be one Free school that financially collapsed and one Free school that was closed due to incompetence (as it happens a “Montessori” type school and therefore nothing like the kind of school Gove really had in mind).

    I accept that Free schools aren’t and can’t be the answer to the shortage of school spaces, and that additional provision (and the funding to provide it) is needed. But for me that’s not really the point of Free schools. They are (or should be) about creative thinking and responding to the wishes of motivated, independent-minded parents.

  44. @John Pilgrim

    MacShane cut corners and was foolish, but I tend to agree with you that a 6 month jail sentence was a little harsh. His personal reputation and political career has been trashed and you wonder what public good is being served by imprisoning him.

    On a scale of relative venality, his transgressions were pretty small beer and I wonder what some other MPs were feeling as MacShane was driven away from court in a prison van yesterday. There but for the grace of God go I, quite possibly.

    A certain Mr Laws, and maybe a Mr Gove, probably smiled ruefully to themselves. They harbour leadership ambitions within their respective parties while MacShane will have a job pulling his life together after this, I suspect.

    It’s a funny old word.

  45. @ Neil A
    You’re right. Gove’s idea was based upon the Swedish model (see speech to Con conference in 2008).
    The Swedish model has been a disaster with schools providers going bust and closing schools with little or no notice and Swedish attainment and place in international comparisons falling sharply.

    [If I can stop you both there, as ever, this is NOT a place for debating whether government or opposition policies are any good or not – AW]

  46. un·em·ploy·ment
    noun \-?plo?i-m?nt\

    : the state of not having a job

    Well, that’s me and Merriam-Webster. Never hurts to say ‘you’re wrong and everyone else think so’ to try to bully your point.

    And far from the point I was arguing, i.e. segregation v integration being a driver for UKIP, not solely economics.

  47. As a postscript to the MacShane case, it’s worth noting that he lost both his 24 year old daughter and wife to an accident and illness respectively while he was involved in all this silliness with his expense claims. Not an excuse, but maybe mitigation.

    The court obviously concluded otherwise and it would appear that most of the tabloid press are delighting in his sentence. The “Quelle Surprise” that he muttered to himself as he was sentenced was described by the Daily Express as a disrespectful “sneer”. They probably want the key to be thrown away.

    C’est la vie.

  48. CB11
    “There but for the grace of God go I” indeed, and not only among politicians.

    Have a good Christmas.

  49. Yes, well succeeding correspondence only goes to prove what I maintained, which is that if you would like to think (EU) immigrants are causing a lot of trouble and cost, that is what you as a voter will think, regardless of any data put forward to your contrary view.

  50. ‘contrary to your view’, apologies

1 2 3 4 5 6 7