1) The Labour lead narrowed

Labour’s lead has gradually eroded over 2013. We started the new year showing a Labour lead of around about ten points. It started falling in the spring as the economy improved, and continued over the summer. There appeared to be something of a reverse in the autumn, one assumes because of the impact of Labour’s energy pledge and the political narrative focusing on gas and electricity prices for a few weeks, but we still ended the year with an average Labour lead of six points, compared to ten. Note however, that the majority of this change came from Labour losing support, dropping from an average of 42% in the polls to 39% – there has been comparatively little increase in Tory support.

2) People got more optimistic about the economy

There has been a sharp increase in people’s view of where the economy is growing. Looking at the monthly questions MORI and NOP both ask on how people think the economy in general will perform in the twelve months ahead shows a sharp increase early this year, thought it has rather stagnated since September. Asked in a more narrative way, earlier this month YouGov found 43% of people now think the economy is showing signs of recovery or is well on the way to recovery, up from 37% in August and just 14% in April.

However, people are less optimistic about their own household finances. YouGov’s economic optimism tracker for the Sunday Times asks about people’s expectations of their own finances, rather than the economy in general, and while it has shown a similar rise the net figure is still much more negative. In November MORI asked the two questions in parallel – 42% expected the economy to improve in the year ahead, but only 23% expected their own finances to improve. In a similar vein YouGov found 35% of people thought the economy as a whole was growing, but only 22% thought it was growing in their own region. More and more people are thinking that the economy is growing, but people are not necessarily feeling in their own pockets yet.

3) The Conservatives have moved ahead on the economy

As the economy has improved, it has had an impact on political attitudes towards the economy. At the start of 2013 the Conservative and Labour parties were essentially neck and neck on the economy. As the year progressed the Conservatives gradually pulled ahead and established a consistent lead.

Other trackers have moved in the same direction. Since the end of 2010 YouGov’s fortnightly trackers on attitudes towards the cuts had consistently shown that while people thought the spending cuts were necessary, they thought they were bad for the economy. That reversed in September and now finds more people think that the cuts are good for the country’s economy, than think they are damaging. However, while preferences on who people trust to manage the economy are heading in the Conservatives direction, Labour still lead on their preferred ground of prices and living standards.

4) But people have started to care more about other issues

The two regular trackers of what people think are the most important issues facing the country (YouGov’s which offers a list and Ipsos MORI’s which is unprompted) have both had the economy as the number one issue for years, and it remains there at the moment. However, it’s dominance has begun to fade over 2013. Back in 2012 well over 50% of people consistently told MORI that the economy was one of the main issues facing the country, YouGov’s prompted question consistently found over 70% picking out the economy.

In 2013 both trackers have shown the proportion of people thinking the economy is one of the big issues facing the country falling, presumably as a result of people starting to think the economy is improving. In the case of MORI the proportion of people saying the economy is a big issue has fallen below 50%, and in their December poll down to 39%. On YouGov’s tracker the figure has fallen below 70%, and in their final December poll down to 58%. At the same time other issues have risen up the agenda, most notably that of immigration – in MORI and YouGov’s December polls they both found immigration the second most mentioned issue, in both cases just two percentage points behind the economy. Note also the increase in the number of people mentioning issues of inflation from Autumn, as Labour started to try and shift the agenda more towards cost of living.

5) UKIP have continued to gather strength

The advance of UKIP in the polls has continued, though perhaps hampered by the lack of any elections or by-elections in the second half of 2013. UKIP’s support so far this Parliament has been a series of spikes and plateaus, seeing sudden increases in their poll ratings on the back of election successes like Rotherham, Eastleigh and local elections and the ensuing publicity and then flattening out again until the next opportunity to demonstrate their support comes along. This has certainly been the pattern in 2013 – they started the year at just below 10% in the polls, enjoyed a big jump in national support following their successes in the county council elections and, since the publicity boost from the county elections faded have rather stagnated. They still end 2013 above where they started, and have the inevitable publicity boost of the European elections to come next year.

6) Ed Miliband’s ratings went down, and up, and down again


Ed Miliband’s miserable job approval questions have continued to go downwards, with one notable exception. Three companies do regular questions on what people think of the party leaders – MORI ask if people are satisfied or dissatisfied, Opinium if people approve or disapprove, YouGov if they are doing a good or bad job. Ed Miliband’s ratings have been on a downwards trend for most of the year, but he enjoyed a reverse after the party conference and his energy price pledge, briefly reversing some of the year so far’s decline. All three measures still showed him ending the year with lower approval ratings than he began with.


559 Responses to “Six public opinion trends from 2013”

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  1. “I can’t in all honesty recall any evidence to support the idea that UKIP supporters are opposed to genuine asylum cases – do you?”

    Top of page 5 here asked specifically about attitudes towards immigration of people fleeing war or persecution abroad:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/6qiej6gfjs/YG-Archive-131121-Immigration.pdf

    62% of UKIP voters wanted fewer or none.

  2. @Alec

    UKIP is an anti immigration party, it’s greatest strength is speaking up on immigration where the other 3 dare to say a word. Reducing immigration is the Raison d’être for UKIP. For him to then go and say, actually open the doors a bit wider, will not play well with those looking for a party to deal with immigration.

    Now if you are on the left, you probably like what he has said today, but that doesn’t mean you are anymore likely to vote for him, as he’s not exactly Labour lite.

    As for the rebels I didn’t say the majority were jihadists/extremists but then again who knows. It’s proven already that areas the rebels control are now under Shariah control with daily beatings and killings for those who dare break the rules, even children. Even the Guaridan so beloved by the left reports that Al Qaeda is a significant if not majority force in these rebel groups

    Just like Libya and Egypt, they are better off under a dictator maintaining order and relative secularism, than under Islam extremists imposing Sharia.

  3. Anthony

    What was so wrong with my post of 8.25 am for it to be moderated ?

    Or is the question irrelevant?

  4. Anthony, since you are around could you release my posts from auto-mod? *puppy dog eyes*

  5. @ Man in the Middle,

    Syria appears to be a sink for the UK’s jihadists, rather than the reverse- British citizens keep going over there to fight.

    I suspect any right-thinking jihadist wants to be in Syria on the frontline of the holy war, not in the UK driving a cab or whatever.

  6. Anthony

    Can you update the UKPR Polling Average and Projected Majority to include the remaining polls that were published this calendar year.

    I would be most interested to see where the parties stand at the end of 2013.

    Thanks.

    Richard

    P.S. When is the first poll of 2014 due to be published?

  7. @Spearmint

    Why not in the UK planning their next attack? I’m not saying all the refugees are jihadists so don’t try and spin in that way, but both the left and the right have accepted there is a large element of extremism amongst the rebels, so if you take a random sample and let them in your country, you are undoubtedly going to get extremists in that mix.

    Not to mention the point that with schools, hospitals and public transport already at their limits, unemployment and under employment already high and daily struggles paying for heating and food, can the UK really afford thousands more immigrants? No matter how noble.

    Also the treaty on Asylum clearly states they have to claim Asylum in the first safe country they reach, now there is a dozen countries between Dover and Damascus, not to mention all the surrounding Muslim countries who can take refugees in, so why would the UK be expected to take any?

    Why Ipswich and not Istanbul? Or is there a reason that the UK is preferable to other countries? After seeing the deadly storms killing people in South East England I have decided to claim asylum away from the deadly storms in Australia? What do you think my chances are?

  8. @ Anthony,

    My hero! Thanks.

    @ Man in the Middle,

    I’m not saying all the refugees are jihadists so don’t try and spin in that way

    I didn’t. My point is, so far net jihadist migration seems to be UK -> Syria rather than the reverse. Syria is a much softer target where Islamists can actually hope to achieve real social change, rather than just making a lot of people angry and a few people dead.

    I’m not making a case for or against allowing more Syrian refugees into the UK. What I’m saying is that based on both jihadist logic and current evidence, I don’t find the counter-terrorism argument very convincing.

  9. @AW – thanks for the evidence. That does put UKIP supporters as a whole more against asylum than I thought.

    @MitM – “As for the rebels I didn’t say the majority were jihadists/extremists but then again who knows.”

    I didn’t say you did, but you then continued to insinuate they might be. I think the onus is on you to provide evidence for your assertions, which you have not done.

    As others have said, I would find it odd that jihadists are fleeing from the conflict, whereas the evidence appears to support the hypothesis that they are actually being attracted to it.

    In truth, I think we all sometimes post remarks that we didn’t think quite deeply enough about, and this may be one of those cases. I always find it best to make a plain admission and withdrawal (ref my first paragraph here) and them move on. Otherwise you end up tying yourself up in knots trying to justify something you said for no other reason than you said it.

  10. @Spearmint

    I didnt add that clause in with regards to you, but just in general, as people, like to extrapolate my comments to give them wider meanings than they actually have.

    Besides all this talk of terrorism rather dampens the festive spirit.

    Moving onto predictions I think 2014 could be a very right wing year, I’m not saying thats good, before someone rushes in and shouts Maninthemiddle is on the right. But the European elections look like they will be won by UKIP in the UK and FN in France, not to mention the US Democrats likely losing the Senate. They are defending some seats in extremely Conservative states. Montana, South Dakota, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisianna, West Virginia and North Carolina all look set to swing to fall back in line with the Republican side. The last time these seats were up for grabs was 2008 a boom year for Democrats and Obama, 6 years on, I doubt they will be able to retain these 7, and the loss of these 7 will give control of the Senate to the Republicans.

  11. @Alec

    The point is we don’t know the exact composition of the rebels in Syria. There certainly is a large amount of Al qaeda, and Al Nusra, in cities they’ve captured such as Aleppo they have installed Sharia law. Are these the sort of people we want to be helping, not really no.

    Assad really is the lesser of 2 evils, he may be a vile dictator but it’s better than having another Sharia law country where the people are even further oppressed.

  12. And I don’t deny some extremists are leaving to go and fight, but there are some going the other way.

    Why is it that we work in absolutes? People can only be moving in one direction and not both? Yes the majority of Jihadists might be going to Syria, but if you start opening the doors to more Syrian refugees undoubtedly you are going to get some fleeing to fight another day, and plan to infiltrate the west to launch their attacks.

  13. @ManintheMiddle

    I don’t think what you describe for 2014 is a ‘right wing’ year, but a year of protest against whoever is in Government.

    The 2008 crash, in my opinion, pricked a big hole in western capitalism. This hole cannot be fixed without a fundamental system change.

    I believe the rise of UKIP is nothing to do with people really wanting a UKIP Government, but a kick up the bottom for the political establishment.

    In the US, do people really want the fundamentalist free-market dogma of the Tea Party? I suspect most people don’t.

    Anyone in Government, be it US Democrats, French Socialists or UK Conservatives/Coalition are having deal with the fact that people are hurting, getting poorer and all the things they took for granted are looking shaky.

    I don’t think most people are attracted to more of the free market as a solution, nor some state under-pinning of the system either.

    As a non main stream voter, I am not convinced by the economic model promoted by the Conservatives or Labour. I suspect I am not alone. In that sense, both have failed in the eyes of an increasingly large minority.

    I think that many people are looking a coherent alternative to a patched up system that had it’s wheels fall off in 2008.

    I don’t have the answer, but whoever does has a real opportunity.

  14. Colin

    I express no preference for the poll situation but it does contradict more than somewhat, the impression given by the summary, as presented by Anthony.

    I genuinely thought you did think that the picture was encouraging, by your actual words, but since this is subjective view from both of us, I am willing to accept that it gave no pleasure to you at all, of course.

    It seems to me that that if everyone keeps being told that the Conservatives (note not the Coalition) are best for the economy, there may be a few who begin to think they are wrong in thinking that they are not. Since these voters are mostly Labour voters, it depends whether they can be browbeaten by graphs like AW’s or whether, which is more likely, they will not be so browbeaten, due to the fact that most voters will never look at such information, not being the slightest interested (that’s 96 % of voters IIRC).

  15. @Catmanjeff

    But then why did Angela Merkel get re-elected with a larger number of votes than she did in 2005? Yes I know she lost her coalition partners, but that was only because of the strange 5% threshold rule which meant she would have been better off sending voters to the Free Democrats to ensure they crossed the 5% threshold. The 2009-2013 coaltion could have carried on, if only the votes spread a little differently between them.

  16. @MiM

    Germany as a country is different to the US and UK.

    Perhaps she convinced the electorate better than Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband are?

    Also, the US and UK were hit differently, due to the the dependence on financial companies I think?

    (If this is wrong, I am sure someone will correct me.)

  17. @MitM – “The point is we don’t know the exact composition of the rebels in Syria.”

    Err – no. That is a complete irrelevancy. The point under discussion was entirely to do with refugees fleeing the fighting. It had nothing to do with rebel fighters.

  18. Germany has an export based economy rather than a finance based economy like the UK. It doesn’t really behave the same way. They had a very sharp crash but a relatively rapid recovery. Like the US but unlike the UK or the rest of the Eurozone, they’re now above their 2008 peak:

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/11/14/1384426497525/6f3d25c3-367a-4954-afb8-952947045eae-460×298.png

    I don’t know how austere Merkel has actually been over there, but she’s in a better position because Germany can sell their way out of a slump. That UK can’t do that, which makes austerity more dangerous because there’s no clear mechanism by which the money that the government takes out of the economy can come back in, except through (© Alec) increased household debt.

  19. @Alec

    How is it irrelevant? I like to know who I’m helping before I start doing the helping whether it be giving them weapons, giving them aid, or letting them through my front door.

    The fact is the UK government in general no matter what colour stripe, feels a need/compulsion to get involved in stuff without knowing the full facts. It’s grandstanding, they have to be seen to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something makes the situation worse.

    The UK needs to butt out entirely, and I think people are beginning to realise this. Even giving aid is problematic as it often falls into the wrong hands and we discover we are funding some violent militia or a government oppressing its people.

    There are poor people here in the UK, people starving and freezing is a reality in 2014 Britain, lets help them out first.

  20. @Spearmint

    Thanks for that (I’m between cooking dinner for two kids so did not have the info to hand).

    @MIM

    There are poor people here in the UK, people starving and freezing is a reality in 2014 Britain, lets help them out first.

    There more than enough wealth in the UK to stop this without reducing support for poorer countries.

    We do have an issue with wealth, but it’s distribution….

  21. Correction

    We do not have an issue with the amount of wealth, but it’s distribution….

  22. Here’s an interesting question for the number crunchers!

    If we took the UKs current (2013) wealth/income and redistributed it by the same proportions in which wealth was distributed in 1970, would the “average hardworking family” be better off or worse off now?

    Anticipating the answer I would guess the average family would today be much, much, better off than since the redistribution of income levels/wealth that has happened since 1970?

  23. HOWARD

    Thanks.

    Have no response to your final para except to say it is the sort of stuff which I tend to move quickly on from.

  24. “It’s grandstanding…”

    I prefer to describe it as humanitarianism.

  25. Catmanjeff

    Of course we are one of the richest countries on Earth so of course the issue is distribution, as it was ever so.

    I think that’s why my point about this thread may have value. Taken in one fell swoop, the graphs above would make anyone wonder about why the Cons do not have well above a 50 VI.

    It is (one assumes) the skewing of those incomes that produces the polls we see at present.

    I always do a ‘hmm’ when we are told some in the UK are ‘below the poverty line’. That’s our poverty line, not some other country’s one. The definition IIRC is ‘less than two thirds the average income’ but there are many definitions.

    Clearly the presence of uncosted state handouts (such as free health, free OAP bus travel) would affect such a calculation so it’s not worth breaking one’s head about.

    I think a more relevant item in the context of polling data is that the Which magazine has published that one quarter of the population has gone into borrowing to finance their Xmas festivity, including such items as food. This gives a signal that there is still much living for tomorrow taking place. It will affect future incomes because far more will have to be repaid eventually.

  26. @ Spearmint

    Thanks again for the graphs- they are the most interesting ones I see on here.

    I didn’t realise for example that Lab has lost a not insignificant percentage of their 2010 vote which is strange as you would say well if people voted Lab in 2010 they are likely to vote it always barring something quite extraordinary. Also showed the defection from LD to Lab seems higher than I imagined- well over 6% and seemingly more like 8%.

    The only thing that would be nice on the graphs to make them easier to read would be different colours- I guess you want them to be dark red, light red and so on but I find them hard to read with so many close colours and have to work it out intuitively. Maybe a black and a grey even though they don’t represent the idea behind the colours!

  27. @ AW

    I was very surprised with the results of a Mori poll reported in the Guardian saying 68% of the population (headline of the article 72% of people aged 35-44- a narrow age range!) were quite happy and welcoming of migrants provided they “learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community”.

    That certainly isn’t the way I see public opinion and I wondered if there was an element of voodoo about the poll or just that the questions were slightly loaded?

  28. Spearmint

    Have had time to look at graphs and congratulations. I hope that would not be taken that I approve of some results which I hoped would be so!

  29. Shev11

    I think it was sponsored by a think tank so usual warning may be appropriate?

  30. I get to see the accounts of a number of small and medium sized businesses and they are not seeing any real growth in sales. The vast majority are still going through a recession.

    Lots of retailers are planning to close because they can’t compete with Amazon.

  31. @SqueezedMiddle

    I work for a company that supplies a ‘commodity’ type product, largely to the supermarkets.

    Just before Christmas we went into administration. Our main UK competitors are either on their knees (and up for sale) or also in administration.

    As a company we have been squeezed for years, absorbing increases in energy prices and raw material costs (we deal in plastics).

    The supermarkets have squeezed the life out of so many suppliers (milk suppliers for instance). I really fear for UK jobs. If each product bought (worth about 60p in the shops) could be sold at say 62p and we got the difference, it would transform the business and allow us to invest in better machinery and work more efficiently. Instead, we have to bat out products on older machinery as we do not get paid enough to maintain them and replace things that go wrong.

    I really don’t like way big businesses squeeze suppliers for pennies, and destroy the UK supply chain, for their ever increasing profits.

  32. Shevii –

    My views of agree/disagree statements are well rehearsed here! In this case, the statement actually said two things

    “Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain have got to learn the language, work hard and pay taxes, fit in and be part of the community.”

    and

    “If they do that, we should welcome them to the UK”,

    We always try to avoid questions like that, as what if a respondent agrees with the first statement but not the second. Either way, it’s a “would you support immigration if all the immigrants are nice and hard working and well behaved an integrate perfectly?” Oh course people would – one assumes the public hostility towards Romanian and Bulgarian immigration that all other polls find is because (rightly or wrongly) people DON’T think they’d “learn the language, work hard and pay taxes, fit in and be part of the community”

  33. SQUEEZEDMIDDLE

    @”I get to see the accounts of a number of small and medium sized businesses and they are not seeing any real growth in sales. The vast majority are still going through a recession

    mmm-wonder why FSB is putting stuff like this out then?

    http://www.fsb.org.uk/News.aspx?loc=pressroom&rec=8472

  34. @Colin

    Maybe the effect is regional?

    @SqueezedMiddle

    Roughly, in which area of the UK do you work?

  35. Big vote of thanks to Spearmint for those excellent graphs (plus I also have a little difficulty deciphering the colours though that may be due to the condition ‘old git’ rather than any imperfections in the graphs) and interpretations.

    I note the divergence of opinion between Colin & FSB vs CMJ and SM. The jury is out for me, but it’s a big concern that the balance of trade is truly awful whilst private investment is miserably low. If business confidence is high and exchange rates still at a low which was unimaginable until 2008, why are businesses not investing?

  36. @ Shev,

    Thanks! I try to keep every party’s inputs or NV/DKs in their general colour family so you can quickly scan everything that’s adding up to, say, the Tory VI, but they’re easy enough to re-colour if any of them are particularly confusing. Which are the worst offenders?

    @ Anthony,

    Either way, it’s a “would you support immigration if all the immigrants are nice and hard working and well behaved an integrate perfectly?” Of course people would

    Would they? I feel like there’s a common vein of anti-immigrant sentiment that runs along the lines of “I’m sure they’re perfectly nice but we’re full up- no more jobs/housing/NHS beds so we have to close the borders.”

  37. @ Spearmint

    It’s mainly the oranges and reds and light and dark colours but not asking you to change it just because of one person! Although I am not aware of being colour blind maybe I struggle more with subtleties of colours!

  38. @Colin – I’m still somewhat cautious about these kinds of surveys. having looked at the FSB site and tracked down the survey details, the methodology looks pretty thin. There doesn’t seem to be any attempt made to ensure a reasonable sampling by sector or business type, with only an unspecified form of weighting by regional gross value added.

    It’s taken from a panel, with all respondents invited to take part – ie, no attempt to recruit a representative sample.

    The survey itself is about business confidence more than anything else, and I’m not saying it isn’t valid – I think it’s pretty clear there is an increase in business confidence. However, confidence doesn’t always match results (ref England’s cricket team). It’s also worth noting that several on the responses have weakened since the last survey.

  39. @Anthony,

    Excellent impartial summary of where polls moved over the year.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  40. @Colin @catmanjeff

    It is a wide range of small and medium retailers covering the UK.

    They have increased their prices by about the same as inflation but their actual overheads have increased by more.

    Lots are looking to close when their leases expire and take what money they can. Money isn’t being invested because they will retire on it.

    Those that own their premises from which they trade know they would have a tough time trying to let or sell their premises should their business close. They are they ones clinging to a lot of hope that the economy will improve.

    By the way, sales for the few days before Christmas were down on the same period last year. The thought is that people have bought the new PS4 & Xbox one consoles and Tablets etc. from major retailers but less of many other things from smaller retailers.

  41. @ SM

    We await the verdict on Christmas in retail overall. I read that clothing sales are down 3% overall on last year despite price reductions (all clothes in my local M&S had 30% reductions on 23 December.
    It was noticeably quieter in the places where I shop – parking a synch – though online is said to be very strongly up.

  42. For me immigration is not about race, although integration is important.

    It’s about space, we are a tiny island 1/3 of the size of France but with an almost equal population. The policy should be like what night clubs have, one out one in.

  43. Great Britain is the 9th largest island in the world excluding continental land masses.

  44. Wes

    Our rank does not indicate our capacity.
    My room is the 3rd biggest room in the house, wouldn’t want to try and fit 65 million people in it.

    England is officially the most crowded country in Europe, if counted as the whole of the UK we still come 2nd only to Malta.

    Is London soon to become like Hong Kong and become a vertical city, just forever building up?

    Nick Clegg had the right idea about regional immigration, sure there’s tons of open space in desolate Scotland, but that’s not where the immigrants tend to go. The tend to go to London, Birmingham, Manchester etc

  45. @Amber

    “…I like CB11s comments very much; Rosie & Daisie are fabulous; actually the folks who deserve kudos are too numerous to mention but I think Martyn should get some sort of prize for: “Look, there’s a squirrel!”..”

    Thank you: I shall be sure to insert more Pixar ripoffs into my posts..:-)

    @all

    As for a UKPR POTY, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I tend to focus on those who crunch the numbers (Statgeek, Roger Mexico, latterly Spearmint) and those who give me info I just can’t get from elsewhere (Virgilio, SoCalLib), but I also read Amber, Oldnat, RiN, Howard, Roly, Chordata, CB11, Colin, Neal A, Alec and others for their own perpectives, which are never less than interesting. RosieAndDaisie make me laugh, I finally got the joke with Sine Nomine, and if ChrisLane1945 doesn’t say “This poll is too high for the LibDems” I just can’t sleep. AndyJS and RodCrosby (who usually post on PB.com but sometimes here) are also valuable.

    But just to make a list is to leave people out, and I’m sure there’s somebody I’ve omitted who I will regret omitting.

    But in the end, it’s pointless. The POTY is obviously Anthony Wells. Without him we’d have to get lives and speak to our families, and that’d never do…:-)

  46. UKIP could position themselves quite nicely; why let all these economic migrants in when there are people in much more need wanting in. UKIP do not just aim to ‘reduce’ migration with Europe but to put it under full state control. Make sure your base know your about reducing immigration but also make your non-base think your also about reducing immigration purely to benefit other types of immigration.

    Current UK policy towards Syrian refugees is hardly a great showing of solidarity, and its quite embarrassing for the west just how battle ready they were to just how silent they’ve become. You can’t really charge UKIP with the usual problems, end of the day why is a Romanian migrant better than a Syrian? They at least have a sense of stability.

    However; I fully suspect this is Farage just annoyed that Miliband, Cameron and Clegg made a joint statement on Syria without him, as oppose to any politically intelligent decision.

  47. MitM – this isn’t the place for discussing those issues, but it was you who made the point about the size of the room, when you said this was a tiny island – it isn’t. It’s a big island.

    I also don’t think it’s correct to say that we have the second biggest population density in Europe – but this isn’t supposed to be about what we believe, it’s supposed to be about what the population believes, and it’s clear that immigration is consistently shown to be a major concern for a large part of the population.

  48. mim

    “It’s about space, we are a tiny island 1/3 of the size of France but with an almost equal population. The policy should be like what [sic] night clubs have, one out one in.”

    That sounds like a good plan: if we had turnstiles – like at footy grounds for example – it would also be a doddle to monitor.

    You’d probably only need one bloke.

  49. @MANINTHEMIDDLE

    “…Why is it that we work in absolutes?…”

    We’re Sith.

  50. AW
    “one assumes the public hostility towards Romanian and Bulgarian immigration that all other polls find is because (rightly or wrongly) people DON’T think they’d “learn the language, work hard and pay taxes, fit in and be part of the community”’

    Or, alternatively, people think that they would, and, on present evidence, do all those things better than us.

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