1) Labour’s lead continued to fall

For the main horse race – who is in the position to win the next general election – the key point is always the lead in the polls, and throughout 2014 Labour’s lead over the Conservatives continued to fade away. In 2013 it fell from around ten points to around six points. This year the trend continued, with Labour’s lead fading from six points to just under two points. Given the complexities of the Lib Dem collapse, the rise of UKIP, a large number of new incumbents and the separate race in Scotland it is dangerous to rely upon on uniform national swing, but include all those factors and I think we are now into hung Parliament territory.

2014roundup1

Labour’s lead has almost wholly been down to falling Labour support rather than increasing Tory support. The Conservative share of the vote started the year at around 32% and ended the year in roughly the same place, Labour supported started the year at around about 38% and finished the year at around 34%. While there is always some churn between different political parties and there will be some people who have moved from Labour to Conservative, it’s certainly not the main factor – rather what we’re seeing is an anti-government vote that had previously been going to the Labour party by default is now finding many homes and showing itself in rise of the Green party, the SNP and UKIP. The public’s lack of confidence in Ed Miliband and Labour isn’t manifesting itself in them running back to the Conservative party for safety… it’s manifesting itself in them going off to find more attractive oppositions to vote for.

This has in many ways been the pattern of the 2010-2015 Parliament. The Conservative party’s vote fell to around 32% early in the Parliament and has stayed there, seemingly immune to events, announcements, people or policies. Labour inherited a substantial lead early on thanks to the Liberal Democrat collapse and have watched it be nibbled away by rivals.

2) The Greens finally woke up

So to those rivals. The rise of UKIP has been covered by everyone, the most remarkable story of the Parliament. The increase in support for the Greens is a newer development. Earlier on this Parliament I was frankly surprised that the Greens were not doing better. They had elected their first MP, the government were implementing unpopular austerity policies and Labour were constrained in their opposition to cuts by a desire to establish their own economic credibility. Elsewhere in Europe radical left-wing parties were benefiting from an anti-austerity vote, yet here it wasn’t happening. The Greens were marooned on around 2%.

2014roundup2

This year it finally did, and looking at the charts it appears to be the European elections – with the coverage and campaigning that it implies – that sparked the Greens into life. The European elections pushed them up to 4% or so, and since them other polls have shown them building on that, in many cases getting their highest levels of support since their first breakthrough back in the late 80s. What impact that will have at the election beyond providing a home for some people who might otherwise have voted Labour or Liberal Democrat is a different question – in 2010 the Greens managed to breakthrough and win a seat despite having a derisory national share of the vote. There has been an Ashcroft poll in one of their most viable targets (Norwich South), but it showed Labour well ahead, so it is possible that the increase in Green support may not translate into any extra seats.

UKIP meanwhile have managed to keep the bandwagon rolling onwards through 2014. There was an expectation that their support would peak after the European elections and then go into decline, but things were thrown off course by the defections and by-elections of Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless which kept the party at the forefront of politics through the autumn and allowed them to finish the year with higher support than in January. I would still expect their support to be squeezed as we get closer to the election, as the race focuses more upon the binary choice between a Conservative and Labour led government but events, such as further defections now a by-election is no longer unavoidable, could easily push that off course.

3) Economic confidence began to stall

We started 2014 with people being increasingly positive about the state of the economy, but still pessimistic about their own finances, and pondered whether the improving economy would filter through to people feeling more positive about their own finances. What actually happened in 2014 was that perceptions of the improvement in the economy peaked over the summer and have now started to falter – the economic statistics, GDP growth and unemployment, may have remained strong, but public perceptions have started to go back down again. In August YouGov found 50% of people thought the economy was showing signs of recovery or on it’s way to recovery, by December that had fallen to 40%.

2014roundup3

The impact of this is difficult to call as the economy is something of a two edged sword. Improving perceptions of the economy have gone hand in hand with a growing Conservative lead on the economy and that has remained steady… so far. If falling perceptions of the economy eat into the Conservatives lead on economic competence it will damage them. On the other hand, as the economy has improved it has fallen down the list of issues people consider important and become a less salient issue; if people worry more about the economy and it dominates their thinking more it may help the Conservatives…

4) Concern over immigration overtook the economy

Between 2007 and 2013 polls were consistent in showing that the public thought the economy was the number one problem facing the country. This year we saw it overtaken by immigration, and in the most recent few MORI polls it has been fighting with health for second place.

2014roundup4

These top three issues are each strongly associated with a party – the public invariably trust Labour more on the issue of the NHS, over the course of last couple of years the Conservatives have built up a solid lead on managing the economy and UKIP generally lead the other parties on the issue of immigration. It is in the clear electoral interests of the Conservatives to have an election dominated by the economy, for Labour to have an election dominated by the NHS, for UKIP to have an election dominated by the issue of immigration. Over the last year things the issue agenda has clearly been moving in UKIP’s favour.

5) We found out where the Lib Dems were doing well and badly

In previous round ups like this I’ve always ended up saying how Lib Dem national support is in a dire state, but their MPs may or may not survive due to their personal votes and tactical voting. Through 2014 though we have got a lot more data on where the Lib Dems are doing well and badly and where they may be able to withstand the tide against them. At the last election the Liberal Democrats won 57 seats. Thirty-three of these are English and Welsh seats with the Conservatives in second place, and twenty-six of those we have Ashcroft polls for. Twelve are English and Welsh seats with Labour in second place, and we have Ashcroft polls for eleven of those (all but Bristol West). A further eleven are in Scotland, where the impact of surging SNP support remains to be seen and where we will hopefully have some Ashcroft polling later this year. Finally there is the unique Lib Dem vs Plaid seat of Ceredigion.

The average swing in the LD-v-Con seats is a modest 2.2 points from LD to Con, enough for the Conservatives to take seven seats. However, because the majorities and the swings aren’t evenly distributed there were actually ten seats where Ashcroft found the Conservatives ahead and three more (St Ives, North Cornwall and Torbay) where it’s too close to call). The line on the chart below is the swing needed for each Lib Dem seat to fall, the bars the swings recorded in the Ashcroft polling (when Ashcroft has done more than one poll in the same seat I’ve averaged them)

2014roundup5

In the LD-v-Lab seats it is a different story, the average swing is a towering 12 points from LD to Lab, enough to win all the seats at a trot. Again, there is some variation from seat to seat, but this is only enough to save two of these seats – the once unassailable Old Southwark and Bermondsey, and Birmingham Yardley where John Hemming seems to be bucking the trend.

2014roundup5b

While national polls are never going to tell us too much about Lib Dem seat numbers, based on the Ashcroft polling The Lib Dems look set to loose around twenty seats in England and Wales, plus however many in Scotland (and given their dire performance in Scottish polls and the 2011 Holyrood elections that’s unlikely to be pretty). I think a fair assessment is that the Lib Dems start 2015 looking set to loose about half their seats at the election.

6) The SNP lost the war, but are winning the peace

Which brings us to Scotland. The aftermath of the referendum has been stark in terms of Westminster voting intention, with all polls since mid-October showing substantial SNP leads, ranging between 16 and 29 points. Thanks to the electoral system, if anything even nearly approaching this happens at the general election it will have a huge effect on seat numbers.

2014roundup6

For the last thirty years the electoral system in Scotland has worked heavily in Labour’s favour – they have enjoyed around 40% of the vote in Scotland, the rest being split between the SNP, Lib Dems and Conservatives, who have all struggled to get more than a quarter of the vote. That has translated into a consistent block of forty-plus seats for Labour. If that flips round in other direction, with a large lead for the SNP, we can expect the electoral system to deliver a similar boon for the SNP. There are still many unknowns about the Scottish vote – the post-referendum SNP is a new development, we don’t know if it will last, nor do we really know how the vote will be distributed and how the SNP surge in support is distributed. The Ashcroft Scottish polling will at least tell us more on that front, at present we can only say that things looks very good for the SNP in Scotland, and very worrying for Labour.


279 Responses to “Six opinion poll findings from 2014”

1 2 3 6
  1. Most impressive analysis – thank you

  2. Great stuff Anthony-and a blessed relief !

  3. Anthony:
    Many thanks for your work and a very happy New Year.

    As Colin has said; a blessed relief for UKPR standards of dialogue.

  4. Happy New Year to you Chris-and to you Anthony.

  5. COLIN:
    Let’s hope it is a good One, without any tears, politically.

  6. OK – a very boring question: for 4) (the most important issues facing the country) what justification can there be for measuring ‘the economy’, ‘inflation’ and ‘unemployment’ as separate issues?

    If I am worried that economic weakness will lead to rising unemployment (or for that matter, inflation and unemployment) how am I expected to answer?

    If the three are conflated, the new economic category would leap to the top of the graph.

    Or have I missed something?

  7. Good analysis, AW, but can we just discuss paragraph 6 please as we haven’t talked about Scotland much on this site?

  8. Compliments of the season to yourself Chris and to you Colin.
    Lovely piece of simple English about a political version of Hampton Court maze Mr Wells. Thank You.

  9. Happy New Year to all, not just to those who share my political opinions.

  10. NORBOLD:
    Brilliant.
    R and D: Hello, looks like a dead-heat race.

  11. Another excellent analysis, Anthony.

    The clear fact that the Labour lead has fallen from 10% to 2% since the start of the year proves ‘swing back’ theory – though you won’t find many people on this board admitting that fact.

    And as a special New Year bonus treat for your readers here’s a link to my scholarly forecast for May 2015 (which I have just posted in the “Election Guide” section)…

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide/labourtargets/comment-page-20/#comments

    I just keep spoiling you all rotten, don’t I?

  12. ^^^ Sorry – forgot to mention: my end-of-year analysis is the 24th post down (the rose-coloured one).

    The main predictions I am making are as follows:

    FORECAST FOR MAY 2015:

    CON 36%
    LAB 30%
    LIB DEM 14%
    UKIP 10%
    OTHERS 10%

    More predictions for May 2015…

    THESE THINGS ARE CERTAIN OR ALMOST CERTAIN TO HAPPEN:

    > No party will win an overall majority.
    > The Tories will win a majority of English seats.
    > Labour will win the most votes and seats in Scotland, partially arresting the SNP surge.
    > UKIP will win only one seat (Clacton).
    > The Lib Dems will hold most of their current seats.
    > The swings will be massively uneven, with Labour and the Tories trading seats.
    > Nigel Farage will complain about the electoral system during the BBC’s election night coverage.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

  13. “I think we are now into hung Parliament territory.”

    It looks more and more like that with every passing month, and especially when you balance all those points.

    I did hear some mention of ‘regional UNS’ as perhaps being the way forward. What think you of that? It’s not really UNS if it’s regional, is it?

  14. Thanks for all your work over this year, Anthony. To everyone else, hope you’ve had a wonderful year and that this one is even better. Good luck and best wishes to you all.

  15. Great analysis AW and taking onboard all of your extensive analysis my prediction for the 2015 GE is still for the Tories to become the largest party but without a majority.

    If the SNP take more than 20 seats and the Lib/Dems fewer than 20 then any talk of a natural coalition between parties will be fantasy stuff.

  16. OLDNAT…….. FTPT

    Thanks and a belated welcome back to you and hope all is well.
    …..
    “Is there much difference between Calabrian attitudes to Rome, and those of much of the UK to London?”
    ____

    If the heel and the toe can unite then both areas could walk away ;-)

    I’m not sure but Italy is divided between north and south. It’s the opposite from the UK and the center of gravity is in the north,

  17. A very clear and concise analysis from Anthony.

    .Very helpful and appreciated, not least because I don’t see any bias.

    A fascinating year lies ahead.

  18. Excellent summary capturing all the variables imo.

    Robin – 10% lead at the start start of 2013 to 6% start of 2014 and now around 2%.

    Some very brave predictions Robin esp in respect of LD seats and Scotland?

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.

  19. “now a by-election is no longer unavoidable,”
    Why did two defections lead to by-elections? Because of two avoidable resignations. I think Anthony you are yet another commentator who underestimates UKIP.
    http://www.w4mp.org/why-no-by-election-when-an-mp-defects-from-party/
    Happy New Year.

  20. @Robin Hood

    “The clear fact that the Labour lead has fallen from 10% to 2% since the start of the year proves ‘swing back’ theory – though you won’t find many people on this board admitting that fact.”

    You’re opposing Anthony’s analysis, then?

    “Labour’s lead has almost wholly been down to falling Labour support rather than increasing Tory support.”

    “The public’s lack of confidence in Ed Miliband and Labour isn’t manifesting itself in them running back to the Conservative party for safety… it’s manifesting itself in them going off to find more attractive oppositions to vote for.

  21. ROBIN HOOD

    “More predictions for May 2015…
    THESE THINGS ARE CERTAIN OR ALMOST CERTAIN TO HAPPEN:
    > No party will win an overall majority…..I AGREE

    > The Tories will win a majority of English seats…..I AGREE

    > Labour will win the most votes and seats in Scotland, partially arresting the SNP surge…..DISAGREE

    > UKIP will win only one seat (Clacton)…NOT SURE

    > The Lib Dems will hold most of their current seats…..DON’T BE SILLY ;-)

    > The swings will be massively uneven, with Labour and the Tories trading seats….AGREE

    > Nigel Farage will complain about the electoral system during the BBC’s election night coverage….AGREE

  22. ROLY

    And the same to you sir.

  23. My prediction (just over 4 months out):

    Lab: 35
    Con: 32
    LD 12
    Ukip 11
    Green 4
    SNP 3-3.5%

    Small Lab majority (10-15 seats ish) depending on how many the SNP get.

  24. @Robin Hood
    “The clear fact that the Labour lead has fallen from 10% to 2% since the start of the year proves ‘swing back’ theory – though you won’t find many people on this board admitting that fact.”

    Because it hasn’t happened. Labour and the Tories are not trading votes. They’ve both lost vote share to other parties.

  25. RAF

    It’s Hogmanay not April fools!! ;-)

    Anyway Happy New Year to everyone and remember….If you’re born in September, its pretty safe to assume your parents started out the New Year with a Bang!

  26. @Craig – unless I’m mistaken, Robin’s ‘swingback’ theory doesn’t depend on any particular cause or reason for the Labour lead shrinking – it depends solely on an observation that historically, that’s what’s happened.

  27. Personally I don’t see any swing-back as yet. Swing-away from the two-party system perhaps.

    I used to be a semi-believer in swing-back, but it was balanced with the assumption that the incumbent government would also be less popular if things weren’t going too well.

    The Conservatives have to retake another 4%, and while it’s easily possible for them to get it from UKIP if UKIP were only made up Conservative voters, UKIP is not made up of just Conservative votes. It is made up of a mix of Con, Lab, Lib, and probably 2010 DNVs.

    Equally I don’t see Labour on any static number. 30-35% is a fair assumption, but it might go lower if all the conditions were against them, and higher if for them.

    In 2010 Con and Lab combined got 65% and there’s nothing to suggest they will improve upon that this time, only this time the Lib Dems are on a quarter of what they had in 2010, with the 18% (churn adjusted) going to UKIP, SNP and the Greens.

    Sorry, but I don’t see swing-back, and certainly not enough for a Conservative OM in 2015. Even if the Con 36% / Lab 29% were repeated, and we took another 1% off Labour for the SNP in Scotland, we get an OM of only 2 seats.

    Lab are unlikely to get as low as 28%. Con are unlikely to get as high as 37%. Hung Parliament (Con minority) is the Conservative’s most likely option. More likely, with current polling, we’re going to see a Labour minority.

  28. Hmmm regarding this “economic statistics, GDP growth and unemployment, may have remained strong, but public perceptions have started to go back down again”.

    Not just perceptions surely? GDP growth was downgraded quite a bit, but what’s more important than basic GDP numbers is GDP per capita. With the UK now having the fastest population growth in the EU that matters, and per capita it’s not as positive a story.

    As for economic statistics looking strong, well there’s just as many looking bad as good. Trade balance, borrowing figures, credit card borrowing, consumer debt, income tax & NI income this year etc are all not in a good way, therefore it isn’t just perceptions at play here.

  29. Traditionally the idea of ‘swing’ was when the gap between the parties changed.
    Therefore there has been a swing back.
    My gut reaction is that the Tories will pull back more UKIP voters than Labour will pull back voters who. as AW has said, have gone to the SNP and the Greens.

  30. Guid New year when it comes.

  31. Excellent summary Anthony – thank you. I just have one tiny pedantic quibble – sorry! You say in section 5 –

    “A further eleven are in Scotland, where the impact of surging SNP support remains to be seen and where we will hopefully have some Ashcroft polling later this year. ”

    He’s going to have to get his skates on. About 90 minutes left, as I write.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  32. I suspect that the SNP is enjoying the same kind of euphoric surge that the LibDems obtained from Nick Clegg’s performance in the leaders’ debates before the 2010 election. If so, their support will decline steadily but not disastrously before May, though with rather more time for that to take effect. Thereafter, if the SNP’s fortunes allow the party seriously to influence politics in England as well as in Scotland, its support will depend on how it uses that opportunity.
    A future referendum, whose terms like the last would be decided by Westminster, might well be on the future of the United Kingdom rather than on the future of Scotland.

  33. @Wes
    But how on earth are current trends mirrored by historical precedent, exactly? Just sounds like everything’s evidence of ‘swingback’ to some people.

  34. I’m not a huge proponent of swingback, and in the current situation it does not work quite the same way as usual (which is going to upset swingback models based on what happened in previous elections). It’s more like indirect swingback; ie that which changes the difference between the two parties by their support leaking away from or toward other parties. But I think there is still a bit more swingback to come, it just does not look quite the same as usual.

    Conservatives are still stuck low thirties. If they want to win in any form, they have to hope someone else hoovers up a lot more Labour support, because those that are left do not seem inclined to switch directly to them.

    Miliband will have to be very careful what he says during the election (and what he doesn’t say) because it looks as if voters’ confidence in him personally is quite fragile, and his party is not far enough ahead to cover a blunder.

    I’m not going to put up a prediction at this point, it’s too early, but I don’t see the Conservatives getting 36%. It’s more likely to be parity or else them a little bit ahead.

    Apart from that, I shall wish you all a Happy New Year, and extend the traditional and much deserved thanks for running this excellent site to Antony,

  35. Nothing here about truffles.

    Big omission, in my opinion.

  36. Anthony, thank you for UKPR and all your analyses.

    Happy New Year to every one.

  37. It’s probably worth pointing out that while “Concern over immigration overtook the economy” is technically true, as with the narrowing of the Labour lead the real story is more complex.

    Although Anthony mentions the Ipsos MORI monthly tracker question, something similar is asked by YouGov most fortnights:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/5j725axty9/YG-Archives-Pol-Trackers-Issues(2)-Most-important-issues-091214.pdf

    If you look at the figures over 2014, it’s true that the Economy has dropped in popularity from an average of 64% in the last six months of 2013[1] to only 53% in 2014 – though most of the fall was in the first half of the year and it is stabilised since. In contrast Immigration has remained pretty static, rising only from 53% to 54%.

    So although the media narrative may be that immigration has ‘become’ the hot topic in 2014, in actual fact it was already very prominent and has only just edged in front because of the drop in the Economy. Interestingly that fall went, not to other economic-related issues such as tax, pensions or welfare, but to ‘quality of life’ one such as Health, Housing and the Environment. It also went to Europe, which suggests that those already concerned about immigration are finding a focus for their worries.

    Anthony’s graph does show a rise in immigration’s prominence in MORI’s figures, but the difference there is that MORI don’t present their (phone) respondents with a list but ask an open question and classify. So they may be registering more that the topic is more prominent in the media or that it is now more ‘acceptable’ to say that you are concerned about it – maybe more of a factor with a phone poll[2].

    [1] YouGov changed their list of options in June 2013, so previous figures are not strictly comparable.

    [2] And a happy and prosperous and numerate New Year to you all.

  38. The Greek elections may yet see Euro inspired repercussions. If Greece does vote to temper austerity, it looks like the EZ creditor nations will now do what they very nearly did in 2012 and cut Greece free. That they didn’t do this then was solely due to the fears of contagion.

    Within the EZ creditor group, they think they have now contained the threat so it won’t become a systemic crisis to the EZ as a whole, but many others outside the EZ infrastructure disagree.

    When dams burst, they burst quickly, and the tensions between Germany and the debtor nations are intense. If the Greeks do vote for the ‘wrong’ party in January we could yet see a major unraveling of the EU project, with both economic and political implications for our own GE.

  39. I’d just like to join others in congratulating Anthony on running the most stimulating political/polling site in the country. What draws me here is the well-informed and balanced comment particularly in Anthony’s own target posts, but also from many of those contributing btl. The main attraction, though, is that almost all discussion is even-tempered, polite and often even friendly. As others will no this is radically different from most other discussion boards. I am sure the tone is almost entirely down to Anthony’smoke ration style.

    Time to coincide with the New Year!

  40. “The Bells the Bells……. They make me deaf you know!”

    All the best folks!

    Peter.

  41. Joint first of 2015!

    Unfortunately in my haste to beat Peter to the 12.00 am time stamp, I left autocorrect to post some rubbish about Anthony’s ‘smoke ration style’ which sounds distinctly uncomplimentary.

    This should of course have read: “… Anthony’s moderation style”

  42. Alec

    I said at the time of the previous Greek election that they (the electorate) had made a mistake if cataclysmic proportions. They voted for mad, mad austerity measures through fear of what the alternative was. Germany terrified them with the (supposed) consequences of default and the electorate were cowed.

    What they’ve ended up with (as I said would happen 2 years back) is probably the worst of all worlds. They have experienced a Great Depression. A moderately paid Greek acquaintance of mine took a 25% pay cut in 2012. That’s nominal not real terms. And he’s a lucky one. The entire country has had two years of unemployment rates that, since the 1930s, have only been seen in England in isolated pockets of mid-1980s ex-mining communities. Youth unemployment is 60% (and people STILL say that austerity is right because it’s unfair to saddle our young with the debt – ok to saddle them with institutionalised joblessness instead, apparently).

    And now, they looking down the default barrel after all. With all the pain that this will bring.

    Meantime, the Germans have worked to isolated Greece and insulate their banks from the consequences of a default. Brilliant politics by the Germans. A horrific mistake by the Greeks.

  43. @Lefty,

    I suppose the question is, were your acquaintance’s salary to have remained the same, who would have paid the difference?

    The Greek government couldn’t, quite obviously. Which charitable institution do you expect would have stepped in?

  44. Happy new year to everyone from an airport transit lounge in Malaysia where it’s already well past the bells.

    Here’s my predictions for 2015:
    Lib Dems to lose half their 2010 seats
    SNP to double their 2010 seats
    UKIP to infinitely increase their 2010 seats
    Labour to win most seats in UK and England
    Conservatives to win most votes in England

    Look forward to another year of interesting and constructive discussions.

  45. @ Robin Hood

    Good to see you on one of your rare forays out of the forest. You’d be more than welcome to dally a while.

    You make some extremely bold projections for the election and its aftermath and no doubt there will be a reckoning for everyone who has posted specific predictions. You are shrewd, though, in avoiding hostages to fortune before that time. Based on historical data, Swingback should have progressed much further than it has to date (as evidenced by Stephen Fisher’s steadily declining projections for Tory fortunes). This leaves you having to predict a remarkable turnaround in the last 17 weeks (from the current Labour lead of 2 points to a 6-point Tory lead in May). So, while recent months have seen a lower than expected rate of improvement of Tory support, you are asking us to believe that the improvement will outpace historical patterns over the final four months (well – patterns other than the three elections with the largest swingback figures).

    There is no way of ruling out the possibility that this might happen. But I do wish that in 2013 and last July (and indeed last month) you had been a bit more explicit about the rate at which you expected to see your swingback coming into effect. As it stands there is no way of holding you to account until May 8, so I suppose we’ll all just have to wait patiently until then.

    In a rare lapse, though, in you post above you stated:

    “The clear fact that the Labour lead has fallen from 10% to 2% since the start of the year proves ‘swing back’ theory.”

    Of course this fall has not taken place ‘since the start of the year’. According to Anthony’s first graph, Labour’s lead over the Tories was about 10% in January 2013 and a little over 5% in January 2014. So, the drop was a little over 3% over the whole of 2014 rather than the 8% your statement seems to suggest.

    The decline has been fairly steady and may even have reduced in the last month or so. Against this regular 0.25 unit drop per month you are predicting a sudden shift to 8 further units of change over four months (i.e., 2 percentage points a month – an 800% acceleration of the rate of change).

    Well … We’ll see…

  46. HNY to all and thanks to Anthony for this site and its ‘smoke ration’ which is heartily appreciated even by this one who has his ration cut at times!
    I learn a lot from Anthony and many of the btl posters and it’s much appreciated.
    A fascinating 4 and a bit months in prospect and I hope even those of us who are passionate about outcomes can hold our passions in check, on this site at least.

  47. Slangivaar! I hope everybody enjoyed the champagne an hour back.

    All the best for 2015!!!!

  48. Neil

    An uncharacteristically unperceptive post from you.

    The point is that the trauma that he and millions of others have gone through is similar to what they would have gone through if they’d taken the age-old option of default and currency devaluation. That would have led to acute pain, but the prospect of rapid rebound.

    Instead having gone through an equivalent trauma, there is no sign whatsoever of a rapid change in their fortunes. What is being offered by the Austerians is…well, another decade of Internal Devaluation (read: “Grinding down wages and living standards in the periphery because Germany steadfastly refuses to countenance the role that it SHOULD be playing in the EZ – namely allowing 5% inflation in Germany to offset the deflation in the periphery and bring the overall EZ inflation rate back to target”)

    Greece’s rulers made colossal mistakes in the late 90s and 00s. No question. But, generally, the people who are suffering (e.g. the 60% of 18-24s on the dole) are NOT those who made the errors. Greece has swallowed the German line that this is a morality tale and proportionate sacrifices have to be made. But the sacrifices have not and (realistically) cannot work. All they have done is extend the pain and give German breathing space to insulate its banks from the effect of the final Grexit.

  49. Happy New Year to all of you, and many thanks to Anthony for his ongoing informative site

  50. Survival together is going to be important Politics may be irrelevant

1 2 3 6