The first weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is out this morning here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 31%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%. Nine points is a larger Labour lead than YouGov have shown so far this week, so normal caveats apply.

17% of people expect their financial situation to get better in the year ahead, 36% expect it to be much the same, 41% still expect it to get worse – a net “feel good factor” of minus 24. While other polls show people starting to think the economy as a whole is improving, they are still pessimistic about their own economic fortunes. That said, they are increasingly less pessimistic. This minus 24 is actually much less bad than most of YouGov’s polling over the last four years, only once last year did they show a less negative figure (-23 in September 2013).

Moving onto the specifics of spending cuts YouGov asked what areas people would like to see prioritised for cuts. As usual overseas aid came top by far (71% want to see it cut), followed by welfare benefits (37%), defence (20%) and local government (11%) – there is no other area that more than 10% of people actively want to see prioritised for cuts. On the other side of the equation, people most want to see the NHS (67%), education (54%), pensions (39%) and policing (33%) protected from cuts. For welfare in particular, 15% want to see it protected from cuts, but 37% want to see it prioritised for them.

Note how overseas aid is widely identified as something people want cut with few people wanting to protect it and, at the other end, many people want to see the NHS, education and policing protected with few wanting to see them cut. Welfare and defence are the two interesting battlegrounds as both have substantial numbers of people wanting them cut and wanting them protected.

Looking at specific potential benefit cuts, large majorities would support stopping immigrants from receiving benefits, even for lengthy periods of time. 76% would support a two year ban, 62% a five year ban. The is also solid support for the current benefit cap of £26,000 (supported by 76%) and 49% would support a lower cap of £15,000. A limit on child benefit so it is paid for only 2 children would be supported by 68%. People are least enthusiastic about stopping benefits for the under 25s – they would support an end to housing benefits for those under 25 by 49% to 34%, but a solid majority (59%) would oppose ending all benefits for under 25s.

On the state pension and the minimum wage, 65% of people support Cameron guaranteeing the triple lock for the state pension until 2020, 12% are opposed (as one might expect, there is a heavy age skew – 87% of over 60s support it, 46% of under 25s); 66% would support a substantial increase in the minimum wage, 19% of people would be opposed.

Moving onto the issue of immigration, 76% of people support David Cameron’s stated aim of reducing immigration to the “tens of thousands”, but the overwhelmingly majority (83%) of people think it is unlikely he will achieve it, only 9% think it is likely. When YouGov asked the same question two years ago 15% thought it was likely Cameron would hit his target, so while net immigration has fallen somewhat over recent years, its not registering with the public.

31% of people in England support free schools, 42% of people are opposed. Looking forward, 24% want to see free schools continue to open, 18% want to see them stopped, but those that already exist retained, 26% of people think current free schools should be brought under local authority control.


219 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 31, LAB 40, LD 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. Moffat leads the BBC’s two best rating Dramas.
    Moan and groan all you want but end of the day, no hes not ‘RTD years Moffat’ every week, thats just can’t be expected when hes moving from one or two episodes to six.

    With Sherlock I loved this series, and end of the day he created it with Mark Gatiss. They can do what they want, and all this ‘Their writing for fans now’ seems to ignore that fans are the ones calling for it to be written for ‘them’ instead.

    I doubt the BBC is sheding too many tears over the man whose launched the BBCs freshest new series that is hugely successful; and confidently transitioned Doctor Who on form David Tennant whilst maintaining strong ratings. Nor do I doubt they miss that both his shows lead the trend in recording and iPlayer views.

    I hope people continue to moan into the empty ignored lands for many years to come.

  2. @kitsune

    Brentford and Isleworth
    Hammersmith
    Lewisham Deptford
    Vauxhall

    You’re right about Chatham and Aylesford, but
    Rochester and Strood includes The Isle of Grain

    Canterbury
    South Thanet, to include North Foreland, Margate. Hydrological Survey 1882-9 draws the line from there to Harwich, so…

    Clacton
    Harwich and North Essex
    Maldon CC
    Witham.

  3. “As for last night’s episode, a reworking of Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton for a privacy-obsessed digital age – I can’t be sure, but I think it was perfect. I’ve been sitting here a long time trying to imagine what anyone could find to object to in it and I can’t think of anything…

    http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/jan/13/sherlock-tv-review-lucy-mangan

  4. Thought you lot might be interested in this article I found from 2002 by David Cameron:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2002/apr/18/davidcameron.politicalcolumnists

  5. Is there a potential for fracking to stop housing being built in some areas of the country ?

    I was just thinking that in areas where there is potential for fracking, developers will not want or be able to build new developments. Plus who would want to buy a house near a fracking site.

    Cameron was on countrywide talking about new housing developments being controlled near villages and I was thinking that in some parts of the country, this may because the land may be wanted for other purposes. Some villages may be relieved that new housing is not being added, but then have a fracking site on their doorstep.

  6. Guymonde

    Where are you getting these constituency maps?

    The only ones I can find are pants

    I used the ONS election maps site

    http://www.election-maps.co.uk/index.jsp

    which is pretty user unfriendly due to Ordnance Survey’s paranoia about people stealing ‘their’ maps (the ones paid for by the taxpayer) though they’re pretty useless if you want to look at any level higher than the constituency. I checked some geographic features on Google maps, though of course the latter is fairly unreliable too.

  7. CB11

    You should try the French Press comment !:-

    “”Having to explain, a few minutes before sketching out his vision for France, instead, what he has in mind for his relationship (with Trierweiler) promises to be a highly interesting performance,”

    Sud-Ouest

    “catastrophic in every possible way for Francois Hollande”

    L’Alsace

    ” it remains to be seen whether his tabloid antics will harm Francois Hollande, whose ratings were already abysmal.”

    La Nouvelle Republique du Centre-Ouest,

  8. I can confirm that the Thames does not reach as far as north Cambs!

    We have the River Great Ouse here, plus at the moment a lot of UKIP supporters. 2014 high water for them?

    FPTP in 2015 will not be as kind to smaller parties without concentrations of support, and I still predict (guess) no seats at all for them in the GE, simply enough votes to spoil the Conservatives’ chances.

    If the Cons do really badly in 2015 some sort of realignment on the Right might not be out of the question, but a long while to go yet.

  9. ROGERH

    So that’s why “Sherlock” was clearly reading The Guardian
    in last night’s episode.

  10. @ RC

    The most partisan but about Allan Christie’s post was that, by my calculations, he was assuming Suarez gets about 4 goals against England :-)

  11. but= bit and ruins the joke.

  12. I was just thinking that in areas where there is potential for fracking, developers will not want or be able to build new developments. Plus who would want to buy a house near a fracking site.

    The Jury is Out regarding fracking but frankly if you are imagining some monstrous Oil Well type facility it isn’t like that the average fracking well once in place is about the size of an electricity sub station and can be hidden by a line of bushes.

  13. @RM

    Thanks. I had discovered the OS site but was put off by ‘user unfriendly’
    Now I have discovered the layers I find them workable if unpleasant and can confirm…

    @Kitsune

    Rather oddly, Slough does not touch the Thames but Beaconsfield does

  14. @ Billy Bob and Guymonde – thanks for your additions.

    I had Clacton on my first list, but then decided to exclude it and all the others along the Essex coast.

    Slough was one I wasn’t sure about – my maps weren’t good enough, but it was in the boater’s list; I also looked at Beaconsfield and wasn’t sure, so thanks for the information. I think I need the Constituencies Wall Map I came across during my search, though it will not be correct after the next boundary review.

    Meanwhile, after I logged off last night, it occurred to me that all those people in houseboats are…..floating voters….

    (I already have my coat on, being on the verge of going out!)

  15. Roger – you’ve pretty much got it right. The traditional boundary between Norwich and Great Yarmouth is where the river Chet joins the river Yare.

    This tradition has been maintained in the modern administrative boundaries, with the river up to the junction continuing to be part of Norwich City council.

    Now, all parts of a local authority need to be part of a ward*, a river bed is no different, so the river itself is in Thorpe Hamlet ward, and since the boundary commission use council wards as the building blocks for constituencies, it also means Norwich South has the same bizarre boundary.

    (*Not sure about Rockall. Everywhere else is)

  16. @Guy

    “Where are you getting these constituency maps?
    The only ones I can find are pants”

    Maybe we can do something about that then. ^^

  17. Personally I think there was something rather fun about a thoroughly odious foreign media magnate blackmailing cowed political leaders with complete impunity.

    At the back of my mind it reminded me of someone, but I’m struggling to locate the name in my mind palace.

    Overall, I think it’s wiser not to compare the current SH to the Conan-Doyle version. One inspired the other, but they are uniquely distinct, and don’t really deserve direct comparison. Enjoy the difference.

  18. Larger Scale Fracking will probably bring larger industrial structures but most fracking seems more like back ally drilling to be 100% honest. I don’t see a situation where fracking is hugely ‘visible’. No more than any other industry anyway.

    Fracking could have a good employment effect (where the Tories are arguably in a good position already); but I do feel more needs to be done to sell it to the public. I myself am not 100% sure of the reprecussions, it sounds like they will be influencing rock that has taken a long time to settle, and will thus need to ‘resettle’.

    The involvement of larger companies make me a bit more positive (they’ll be calculating some of this risk at least) but the lack of UK companies worry me as they have the biggest image to lose at home.

    The government need to be careful though; and I feel this new funding for councils stinks of cronyism. Cutting local budgets on one hand and then giving only when they agree to your terms. Cameron is hardly the symbolism of Tory Localism; its all about centralising power with this government. They have quite a high opinion of their own decision making

  19. @CHRISLANE1945

    “Good Morning CARFREW. My wife’s Independent School also gives staff 30% non contact time, (‘free’ lessons) This allows them to be available to their students much more readily than they would be able to be in a school where contact is close to 90% ”

    ————-

    I can believe that, although at my school they seemed to put more time into organising hobbies and stuff, whether folk were into astronomy, sailing, electronics or whatever, there was some member of staff involved. They also took it in turns to oversee homework until 9pm…

    @STATGEEK

    “Agree to differ. Point of the site lost in this subject, and what we believe won’t change the facts.”

    ———-

    That’s no problem Statty, being as you’ve been differing all along anyway. Agree too about the importance of distinguishing between fact and belief, that’s why I have been citing facts about small classes sizes (e.g. that they permit more streaming) and training (e.g. it lets you hit the ground running and can prepare you for many things it would be tricky to prepare for yourself, which is kinda the point of training), in order to show up problems with the belief that training is “just a piece of paper”…

    Maybe one day we’ll get a polling question on what the public think about teachers being qualified. In the meantime, whatever people think about Cumberbatch, at least he didn’t up my storage bill.

    @Bill Patrick

    I’m not sure competition in academia is always quite the same thing. I mean, if a company makes a lacklustre car, they may get wiped out if another firm produces a much better one at a similar price, ‘cos many folk would prefer the better car. But if someone produces an excellent piece of research, it doesn’t suddenly mean the lacklustre stuff doesn’t get published. There seems to be some niche journal for everyone these days, and did hordes of Physicists lose their jobs when Einstein changed the paradigm?

    There seem to be plenty enough people making a nice living in academia basically doing surveys and stuff. Furthermore, if a rival company produces a rival car, then it may be hard for another company to reverse engineer, or to copy key tech protected by patents. In academia, not just the results but methodology are published, allowing others to piggy-back on it, assisting their careers, even if not doing the greater research themselves.

    @John Pilgrim

    If I’m reading what you are saying correctly, you’re saying that the minimum wage is being pushed up in Cambodia etc., which could push up garment prices. But it shouldn’t, because wages aren’t such a big factor in the cost, and the brands could absorb it. On the other hand, they may not absorb it, instead passing it on, but even then, because not a big factor in the cost, shouldn’t push prices up. Unless… there’s a multiplier effect.

    In which case, garment manufacture might become more attractive here, leading potentially to more high rises. Though at the moment there’s no untapped capacity. So prices could rise, but no more high rises for now. Though if they rise a lot, then maybe they’ll build some new capacity…

    Is that the gist of it?…

  20. ROBBIEALIVE
    “One is bound to question the propriety of academy chains disbursing public money to firms owned by the chief executive’s daughter-in-law, son-in-law etc ”

    Of course, I agree with this and more generally with your post.
    I was writing specifically about the UK development aid and related international aid programmes, in which, in terms of safeguard provisions and regulatory systems, “consultancy” is pretty rigorously monitored and conducted to strict terms of reference. My main point is that these are mainly management and technical jobs (and these days you never see a suit.)

  21. @Fraser – “I don’t see a situation where fracking is hugely ‘visible’. No more than any other industry anyway.”

    Well I think you would be incorrect. As a process that will take place predominately in rural areas, fracking will be far more invasive and intrusive than say, wind turbines. People are equating the impacts with visibility, which is very misleading.

    Wind turbines are highly visible over a wide area, with a much smaller noise footprint, and almost no other impacts post construction.

    Fracking is less visible during the daytime at least, but large industrial complexes working 24 hours a day need high light levels, so night time visibility and light pollution is a major consideration.

    The process requires massive pressures to be generated, which requires the constant running of huge compressors, along with large numbers of other pumps and industrial processes. The sites are extremely noisy, with the bulk of the noise being relatively low frequency which will therefore carry for significant distances. Constructing earth barriers is one standard way to alleviate both visual and noise intrusion, but while this works fairly well in flat landscapes, in more rolling countryside it’s much harder to screen noise, which I think will become a very significant planning issues for frackers.

    Smell is another critical factor. These plants stink, and this cannot be controlled by landscaping and planting. Even if we apply better standards than the US and prevent the smells from the fracking fluids, the running of diesel motors and compressors makes a huge impact on rural air quality. In urban areas it can be quite hard to distinguish additional motor fumes, but in rural areas a single tractor running upwind can be smelt strongly for a considerable distance. Multiply this by a factor of a hundred, add some sulfurous fumes, and you’re in the right general sensory area.

    The final factor will be traffic movements. People don’t seem to have any idea how many tanker and lorry journeys are required to get the chemicals, machinery and water in, and the gas out. As typical US fracking proposal has a large truck/tanker entering or leaving every 3 minutes. That’s going to end up being probably the greatest single impact from such plants I would think.

    Overall, I really don’t get the sense that those backing fracking have really thought about the impacts, and how these can be reconciled with local residents in a crowded landscape.

    If it goes ahead, it’s going to be the biggest change in the countryside since the enclosure acts, and will create large numbers of losers in the process. It will make the debate over wind turbines look like a picnic.

  22. @Alec

    Yes, but aside from the impact of fracking on noise, air quality, visibility, light pollution, transport etc. What about the hedgerows? It’s all about the hedgerows, apparently…

    And people can say what they like about Moffatt, but his hedgerow footprint is pretty minimal…

  23. @ALEC

    “Overall, I really don’t get the sense that those backing fracking have really thought about the impacts, and how these can be reconciled with local residents in a crowded landscape.”

    Of course they have. And they’ve concluded it’s OK oop North where it’s already desolate and they’re all Labour voters anyway.

  24. CARFREW
    Yes, I think you’ve got it. There are two riders: one is the strength of the vregulatory system which has operated for the past ten years or so in Cambodia and similarly in other now dominant producer countries (International Multi-fibre Trade Agreement, ILO Convention and ini-country techncal asistance and inspection systems, USAID support to the Cambodia Garment Producers’s Association, legal rights of association and strong unions, self-regulation and support by the international brand companies. This is pretty remarkable in the wake of the ending of the Khmer Rouge regime and civil war in 1991, and deserves continued support through international aid and trade, including that of the generally virtuous brand companies. They should absorb the increased labour cost which will keep the trade virtuous.
    The second is that it is in this framework of continued available cheap high quality fair-trade garments from Asia that the UK rag trade can provide the niche designer and value added qualities which go with a vibrant international market.

  25. RC

    Stop moaning and contribute some useful posts.

    Its not our fault that the LDs are down around 8%.

  26. Not seen any of the S Holmes: the reviews are uniformly excellent. How clever of the BBC to come up with another winner.

    Holmes an excellent example of the fashionable literary theory of intertextuality [if I have understood it!] Namely, that no text [work] stands alone but is linked to other texts & that our appreciation of any text is mediated thru the way in which it interdependently evokes other texts.

    The pattern was established by the stries’ original illustrations, in which Holmes is portrayed as tall, thin, hawk-like nose, etc. Basil Rathbone, the first memorable screen Holmes, perfected this image, adding clipped upper-class tones, arrogance, elegant hauteur, omniscient etc.

    His notable successors — Brett, Cushing, Lee, Robert Stephens, etc & now Cumberbatch — replicate, indeed are trapped within, this pattern. They can update their predecessors, but cannot escape them.
    There have been comic Holmeses, but I doubt whether a Brit audience, or its TV critics, would accept a “serious” Holmes that diverged from the original. Hence the comforting nature, and the extreme limitations, of formula entertainment.

  27. Some interesting divergent views from Alex Salmond and Robert Peston on the Scottish debt announcement this morning. Alex goes with the expected line that this strengthens Scotland’s negotiating position, but Peston begs to differ – I wonder who we should trust?

    Peston’s point is that this would have had to happen anyway, and while the SNP have sometimes hinted that they won’t accept a straightforward split of UK debt if they don’t get the right deal, Peston points out that if they don’t want to do that, then rUK doesn’t have to bother about a straightforward split of things like oil revenues. If we retain the debt, we’ll retain other things too.

    More telling, Peston flags up the fact that markets expect Scotland to pay a higher interest rate than rUK due to it’s lack of credit record – with +1.5% seemingly the assumed figure. Peston suggests that this means rUK could be entitled to cross charge Scottish debt at such a premium, to reflect market conditions – so Scotland would in effect not have a legal obligation to pay the debts charges, which would reside with rUK, but if it refused to meet rUK’s terms for historic debt, it would effectively be frozen out of debt markets for new borrowing as a defaulting state.

    Given also that Scotland cannot proceed with negotiations and re entry to the EU unless it is supported by rUK [this is a very well established principle within the Commission, restated many times, backed up by the Spanish government as well] then I think Salmond needs all his powers of logical adjustment to convert this into a good news story. Although have no doubt – the increasing irrationality of the Yes campaign won’t stop them trying.

    If this is what Alex means by a strong negotiating position, then I’m a banana.

  28. Alec, as you’re knowledgable about fracking, I have a question on the volumes of water that will be used which you might be able to answer, please.

    Some parts of the UK, such as the south, regularly experience water shortages with reservoirs and rivers often reaching vey low levels. Assuming the frackers will use water from reservoirs and rivers how much water will they be using annually and is there a risk to supplies to domestic and other business users?

  29. @ John Pilgrim
    “I was writing specifically about the UK development aid and related international aid programmes . .”

    Of course: & your arguments are persuasive.

    My anxiety is that as traditional monitoring institutions which have some sort of democratic mandate — eg. LEAs — are replaced by agencies — eg. academy chains or free schools — which are created & evaluated in ways that lack transparency, then serious problems of accountability will arise.

    In terms of the [limited] Yougov polling, it is clear that the respondents are v. sceptical about changes in education since 2010.

  30. Yes, one can envisage the water issue being usefully deployed. Not much water in the South, ergo, fracking has to take place in the North.

  31. ALEC

    Out of respect for Anthony’s policy for this site, I will ignore your somewhat partisan posts.

    However, in the interests of public safety, can I ask that you be careful where you shed your skin?

  32. ALEC

    @”Wind turbines are highly visible over a wide area, with a much smaller noise footprint,”

    Do you know anyone living within earshot of the metronome “thrum” of a group of large turbine blades -day & night ?

  33. If this is what Alex means by a strong negotiating position, then I’m a “banana.”

    ——–

    On past form, there’s a reasonable chance Salmond does indeed mean that…

  34. ” @Mike N

    Alec, as you’re knowledgable about fracking, I have a question on the volumes of water that will be used which you might be able to answer, please.

    Some parts of the UK, such as the south, regularly experience water shortages with reservoirs and rivers often reaching vey low levels. Assuming the frackers will use water from reservoirs and rivers how much water will they be using annually and is there a risk to supplies to domestic and other business users? ”

    And what about the greater risk of flooding ? If they will be pumping water into already saturated ground, surely this could affect flooding.

    Think the government need to have a full public debate over say 3 months, where all of the information is available to people. Then when a planning application is made for a fracking site, the local population can appeal against if they wish to do so.

  35. Anthony

    Rockall is part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (ex Western Isles Council)and presumably the coterminous Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency according to Wiki. The Island of Rockall Act (1976) made the island administratively part of the Isle of Harris, though the ward map:

    http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/electionoffice/splg/whichward.asp

    suggests that it would be in the Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath Ward (Benbecula & North Uist) along with the St Kilda group.

  36. Populus:

    Lab 38 Con 33 LD 12 UKIP 9

  37. @Mike N – I can’t give you figures on water volumes just yet, but will try to look it up. In essence though, as many UK potential fracking areas are already struggling for water, it will be a major issue. The NE is generally highly favourable in terms of water supply though.

    @RHuckle – I wouldn’t see flooding as an issue. The solutions will be pumped into strata well below the water table, via sealed wells. If the well rupture, then you have an epic pollution issue, which would be the big concern rather than flooding.

    @Colin – yes, I’ve been to a few locations with turbine noise issues, although there are not as many as people think, and designs are much better now and can usually be programmed to adjust operation under certain condition where noise is found to be an issue.

    It will be nothing compared to fracking noise.

  38. It would be brave or at least a thick skinned water supplier who wanted to impose a hosepipe ban in, say, Guildford or Woking this year.

  39. I’m not sure there’s anyone on Rockall to vote anyway, so probably it does not really matter which constituency it is included in. It’s a long way to go to vote.

    It’s unfortunate timing for the government to have the EU elections this year and then 12 months later a GE – I’m sure we’ll see UKIP’s profile raised due to this, and it’ll probably stay quite well raised between the two. Not that the issues they are associated with are unknown in the media anyway.

    I’m still carefully trying to avoid ruling out an outright Conservative victory next time, but when I see the Labour lead increasing, with time ticking away, well it’s not getting any easier. They really need to move up from the low 30’s and quite soon to make this result more plausible. Perhaps the Chancellor will try raising the minimum wage? Something bold (with a bit of “fingers crossed”) is looking necessary.

  40. @Carfrew

    You go where the best reserves are, which won’t necessarily be in the middle of nowhere. Not that much of the UK is as remote as many of the locations in the USA. Also the wells can have a short life with several required over a relatively small area, each carrying the risk of polluting water supplies. Also granting incentives to local authorities would seem to create a conflict of interest for their role as planning authorities.

  41. “It is unlawful for fracking companies to drill under your home without your permission. Search your postcode and join the legal block today to protect your home and community from fracking.”

    http://www.wrongmove.org

  42. The OS map of Norwich South is obviously a glitch. Their MP’s website has a more reliable product.

    As for the fracking and the effect on the water supply, the vast majority of the US cases are in rural locations where people use straight from a well. UK supplies are treated first before entering the mains network and Water UK has concluded that the risks are both “negligible and manageable”.

    I do think local councils should see far more of the proceeds though. Scotland has its oil (for now) and the South has its economy, so are not in need of additional income. The North and Wales should therefore benefit as much as possible from the natural resources beneath their homes, correcting the national economic imbalance.

  43. “UK supplies are treated first before entering the mains network…”

    That rather misses the point. Testing after the fact doesn’t prevent pollution.

  44. “It’s unfortunate timing for the government to have the EU elections this year and then 12 months later a GE – I’m sure we’ll see UKIP’s profile raised due to this, and it’ll probably stay quite well raised between the two. Not that the issues they are associated with are unknown in the media anyway.”
    KeithP

    Yes, the EU elections were one year before a UK GE in 2009, the same is happening this year, and in fact I believe is due to happen again in 2019, as at the moment both EU and UK elections are on a regular 5-year cycle.

    There are provisions for a UK GE before the end of the fixed-term parliament under certain circumstances. Not sure about EU elections.

  45. And much of it is likely to be in the east and south of England:

    “The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has identified large areas of eastern and southern England as having the “best shale gas potential”: The main area identified runs from just south of Middlesbrough in a crescent through East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and the Cotswolds to Somerset and Wiltshire. It then turns along the South Coast and Downs, including most of Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Shale gas sites are under investigation in the Sussex commuter belt, near Haywards Heath, the Mendip Hills, south of Bath, in Kent, Lincolnshire, south Wales, Staffordshire and Cheshire, as well as more sites near the existing find in Lancashire.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_gas_in_the_United_Kingdom

  46. @RogerH

    Yes, take your point: there are a number of complicating factors, and many places in the UK aren’t all that far from water supplies. I do recall them sending convoys of tankers from the North East when water companies found they hadn’t left themselves enough supplies elsewhere.

    Question is to what extent the conflicts of interest, and indeed vested interests generally, have a bearing on the outcome. Do they ever ask that in polling? The question as to what extent people vote according to self interest, as opposed to making sacrifices for the greater good?

  47. ROBBIE
    Yes, also the universal setting of standards and mission adaptable to local circumstances and need.
    The lack of this at the level of LEAs within a country-wide system would inevitably, IMO, lead to spotty delivery of education: exellence where there is any involvement of interested parties (Etonian slumming in the East End) and of poor schooling as an aspect of a wider impoverishment and poor access to services where there is none.

  48. @John Pilgrim

    Ok, so essentially maintaining better wages without shoving up prices requires continued multi-lateral co-operation, and this isn’t just about high-rises: we’re handy at the fashion thing so it’s in our interests for this to work out. I’m guessing, but I think the general point might be that aid/interventions can assist us in more ways than one might think. And it’s a bit more complicated than one might think.

    In this instance, intervention is to some extent about improving conditions for the workers while at the same time performing the trick of keeping prices lower for our garment industry.

  49. It still remains entirely possible for governments to call a GE whenever they want, if fairly underhandedly.

    All that would be needed would be to deliberately lose a vote and whip their MPs to vote against the government in a Vote of No Confidence.

    Rather undermines the spirit of the law and the “Government votes to depose itself” angle doesn’t look great in the press, but a government leading in opinion polls could still make use of it.

  50. CARFREW
    You’ve got it Plus, of course, encouraging skilled Bulgarian CAD operators and designers and their families to occupy the high rises, with benefits to the Rwandan and Laotian coffee industries and Ozzy baristas.

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