The Sun had fresh YouGov voting intention figures today, fieldwork conducted straight after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech. Topline figures are CON 37%(-2), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 17%(+1) – changes are since YouGov’s last poll in mid-September, just after Jeremy Corbyn became leader. Tabs are here.

The rest of the poll repeated some of the questions YouGov asked just after Ed Miliband became Labour leader, five years ago. Corbyn’s figures are worse than the ratings Miliband had at the time and as I wrote in relation to the Ipsos MORI poll earlier in the week, while Corbyn’s ratings aren’t that bad at first glance, brand new leaders normally get some leeway from the public, so they are bad when compared to the ratings new leaders have usually got.

YouGov also repeated the bank of party image statements they normally ask at conference time, testing positive and negative lines about the Labour party. The figures are (remarkably) close to what they were five years ago when Labour first entered opposition – 71% think Labour need to make major changes to their policies and beliefs to be fit for goverment (up 2 from 2010), 58% think they have lost touch with ordinary working people (down 1), 56% think they haven’t faced up to the damaged they caused to the economy (down 4), 44% think they care about helping all groups, not just the few (up 2), 39% think their core values and principles are still relevant (down 2), 42% think they would cut spending in a fairer and more compassionate way than the government (up 1).

The only areas* where there is a significant shift since 2010 are the claim that Labour are a party only for immigrants, welfare recipients and trade unionists (49% agreed in 2010, now only 42%) and the claim that if Labour returned to government they’d get the country into even more debt (47% agreed in 2010, 53% agree now).

Afrer five years in opposition, Labour don’t really seem to have made much progress at all in nullifying their perceived weaknesses. There is still an underlying strength in their brand – a large chunk of the public do think their heart in the right place, that they care about the many not the few, that they are more caring than the Tories. The big weaknesses though remain those negative perceptions about the economy and the belief they’ve lost touch with their ordinary supporters – the challenge for the next five years is to address those.

(*There was also a big shift in a question about whether Labour will be ready for a quick return to office after a short period in opposition. We debated whether to keep that statement from 2010, given Labour have now been in opposition for five years. We decided to keep it because it can still make sense if you interpret it as being a short period from now, but given we’re assuming people will interpret it differently I wouldn’t really compare 2010 and 2015 on that one)


633 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 37, LAB 31, LDEM 7, UKIP 17, GRN 2”

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  1. Oldnat,

    One could use pretty much the same argument to make the case that European imperialism wasn’t so bad. It brought security and stability, and economic and social development. So what if this was done at the end of a sword or gun barrel, by people who had no mandate and no legitimacy…

    Also, I am really not so sure that the conflicts in the Middle East are the result of Western interference. It seems to me that they are the continuation of a millennium old struggle between Sunni and Shia that dates from a time when a betting man would probably have put his money on Europe being subjugated by the Middle East rather than the other way around.

  2. Neil A

    “I am really not so sure that the conflicts in the Middle East are the result of Western interference”

    Indeed. Of course I made no such charge that the West was solely responsible and that was why I included the Ottoman and Russian imperialists in my comment, rather than just the Western ones.

    As to your “Europe being subjugated by the Middle East “ – were you meaning a Catholic or Protestant Europe and are you clear as to whether you meant a Sunni or Shia Middle East?

    “One could use pretty much the same argument to make the case that European imperialism wasn’t so bad. It brought security and stability”

    That argument is frequently made by advocates of authoritarianism. One could equally make the case for Russian imperialism, Tito’s Yugoslavia, Franco’s Spain, etc on that basis.

    However, it is fundamentally flawed as it assumes that

    1. there was less security and stability before the imperialists seized control and

    2. that repressing those internal conflicts in the short term was a satisfactory solution, as opposed to a mesh implant.

    3. “European” imperialism is a good thing, while other versions of imperialism are a bad thing – essentially a racist attitude.

    Sometimes the sensible response is to choose the lesser of two evils. In the scenario that the Powers have managed to create in the Middle East, Russian hegemony in Syria seems more likely to be effective in dealing with Daesh than America’s pathetic attempts to achieve regime change.

  3. I know I keep on saying just how much Corbyn’s ratings can’t be compared to other, newly-elected leaders of the opposition – he’s just that much better known and people have a definite opinion of him – but I found a dramatic illustration in a poll YouGov did last month. They showed pictures of various Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet members and asked people to pick who they were from a list of politicians[1]. There were the following hit rates:

    Cabinet

    David Cameron 98% (95%)

    George Osborne 77% (73%)

    Iain Duncan Smith 71% (67%)

    Theresa May 71% (66%)

    Michael Gove 52% (40%)

    Sajid Javid 34% [2]

    Jeremy Hunt 33%

    Philip Hammond 32%

    Michael Fallon 15%

    Nicky Morgan 15%

    Shadow Cabinet

    Jeremy Corbyn 89% {77%}

    Andy Burnham 59%

    Diane Abbott 58%

    Tom Watson 34%

    Hilary Benn 29%

    Angela Eagle 20%

    John McDonnell 19%

    Chris Bryant 11%

    Heidi Alexander 10%

    Charlie Falconer 10%

    The figures in brackets for the Cabinet are their equivalent rating in May 2013. As you can see they have all made gains and become better known to the public. The {} figure is the equivalent 2013 rating for Ed Miliband.

    So three days after getting elected, Jeremy Corbyn was already more recognisable than Miliband was after two and a half years in the same position. He was even more recognisable than the man who had been Chancellor for five years[3]. No wonder there was no evidence of a honeymoon – the public felt that they had already been living together for years.

    [1] There were separate lists one with 21 men and one with 14 women and 15 men and 5 women to be identified. A dummy picture was also supplied but very few claimed to identify it as on one of the lists.

    [2] There was also very little misidentification, the main case being the 19% who picked out Javid as being Chuka Umunna – proving that all bald blokes do look the same. YouGov did manage to restrain themselves from giving the names of both Eagle twins.

    [3] I suppose it’s possible that that haircut has caused some people to wipe every visual image of Osborne from their synapses.

  4. ALEC
    ” the development of civic society came from two directions – the paternalistic wealthy and the mutual working people.”

    Civil society by any definition – both in the UK but also, importantly in working documentaton and practice, as the basis of DFID and other funding in developing countries – comes also from two other sources: f local government; and non-governmental organisations and the professional cadres and organisations that support them.
    The latter, for example that of the Red Cross, Save the Children, OXFAM,CARE CAFOD or Medecins sans Frontieres, have fulfilled a major, sometimes the prinicipal,, service function of providing health, educational or agricultural extension which have replaced colonial structures in a number of countries and are staffed by career professionals.

  5. OLD NAT

    “If the Ottomans, French, British, Americans and Russians had kept out over the last few hundred years, and allowed the locals to sort out their own conflicts – as Europeans did, then the current threat to security well outside that region might have been prevented.”

    While I agree with your general thesis,and have posted to that effect some months ago in pointing to the realpolitik of having Russian support for the only regime in town if a return to sanity and peace is the objective rather than a Bush-Blairite removal of tyrants and progress to a Western imposed democracy,, I don’t follow your historical argument. Kept out of where, and which Europeans and where?

  6. “Jeremy Corbyn has snubbed the Queen by refusing to be sworn into the Privy Council on Thursday, as it emerged he could use a loophole to join the advisory body without ever meeting Her Majesty.”

    DT

    Wolfie does it again :-)

    I bet he is really enjoying being a proper Republican rather than just talking about it for so many years.

  7. Good morning all from Westminster North. Some pleasant early morning sunshine, hope it lasts…

    Pete B.

    “Doesn’t this seem a bit contradictory? The implication is that the West’s actions in Syria are imperialist, but Russia’s are not. Can you explain what the difference is?”
    _____

    Yes I can. Putin has watched from the sidelines for a long time watching the Wests grand expansionist projects and the terrible fallout afterwards.

    Everyone accepts Assad is a dictator and in a perfect World he would be gone along with our own friendly dictators in the middle east who we sell billions of arms to.

    If the Russians aloud Assad to fall when the Americans first wanted to bomb him then what would today’s Syria had looked like? America has spent billions in Iraq over the years and not forgetting the hundreds of Western troops who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and for what? Iraq is in the middle of a sectarian civil war despite having over 15 years of American led interference.

    Back to your question…A country with imperialist ambitions can be judged by the amount of military facilities it has in other countries. The USA has over 3,000 and the Russians 15, most of which are in their near abroad…..draw your own conclusions!!

  8. @OLDNAT

    It should of course be noted that if the Moors had not been decisively defeated by Charles the Frank at the battle of Tours in 732 then we would all be Muslims now and none of this would matter. There would probably have been many other conflicts between even more Muslim factions though.

  9. Oldnat,

    Those roads were built a long time ago, but (most of them!) were maintained more recently than that.

    Anyway, “X resulted in revenues” doesn’t entail “X should have done on the basis of resulting in revenues”.

    Similarly, “It would be good to have more graduates” doesn’t entail “It would be good for the state to cap/remove fees and replace the revenues with subsidies”. If you really care about increasing the supply of higher education, rather than charging a popularly low price for it, then having the state introduce a price ceiling is nonsensical, even if the loss to universities is (in Scotland, perhaps increasingly inadequately) made up for by subsidies. And it creates exactly the public subsidy of private gain that, in other contexts, you are so rightly suspicious, as well as the dependency of universities on politicians that is problematic for ostensibly independent institutions (and creates yet another group of bureaucrats to make academics’ lives miserable).

    Anyway, this isn’t the place to get into a debate about tuition fees or state control of academia. My original goal, which is to show that I’m not myopically ignoring the presence of state “investment” in my profession, has hopefully been achieved.

  10. The US expect us to believe that their actions in the middle east are altruistic (they’re saving the world from terrorism) & that we should thank them for interfering/ intervening in the middle east. The Russians don’t expect the grateful thanks of the world for getting involved.
    And that, I think, is why I prefer the Russian intervention. I don’t have to waste time trying to persuade myself it’s for the common good. I can simply know it for what it is: Russia taking care of its own interests.

  11. A poll of Syrians coming to Europe by WZB Berlin Social Science Centre is reported as showing :-

    70% fled from violence by the Assad regime.**
    Most would would prefer to return home, but 52% said only if Assad were overthrown.
    8% said they wish to settle permanently in Europe.
    58% said more Syrians would remain, given an internationally protected safe haven.

    Putin has played a blinder: Under the guise of attacking ISIS, he will destroy the Syrian opposition; prevent a Syrian Safe Haven for Assad’s enemies; cause even more Syrians to travel to EU & bring it to crisis point; secure Russia’s Military bases on the Med; cement an Iranian/Hezbollah/Russian control of Syria.

    All he needs now is a deal with Iraq which allows Russian military presence there & bingo-he has an arc of influence from the eastern Med to the Caspian.

    **Syrian Network for Human Rights shows that the Assad regime was responsible for 7894 civilian deaths out of 10345 in the first half of 2015-ISIS killed 1131,

  12. A great article in The Times by Aaronovitch about the role of “activists”.

    He concludes with : ” The nature of activism works against compromise & even persuasion**. Democratic politics relies on both ”

    ** The “Activists Delusion” that if I keep shouting at you, spitting at you, throwing things at you & calling you “scum” , that will persuade you to my point of view.

    JC is riding this tiger :-)

  13. @ Colin

    Activism is the lifeblood of democracy. Women got the vote because the Suffragettes were activists.

  14. @ Anthony

    LOL :-)

  15. Anthony is back moderating. Perhaps civilisation can survive after all.
    @ Roger M

    fascinating analysis: If Corbyn is that well recognised what does that say about the apparent stability of labours VI at about 31/32% there must be some churn there, but does it point to a core vote for domestic policies of Labour, Quaere what impact will the foreign affairs and defence attacks from the Conservatives have on that core?

  16. AMBER

    That was true indeed. ( a great film according to this morning’s critical reviews)

    But we all have the vote now-there is no absence of democratic rights.
    Unless you believe that the electorate are wrong when they don’t agree with your point of view ; in which case that is a denial of democracy isn’t it ?

    Of course peaceful protest must always be possible-but democracy operates by means of the ballot box. One shouldn’t confuse the two 87 years after a Conservative government passed the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act .

  17. @Alan Christie
    “Back to your question…A country with imperialist ambitions can be judged by the amount of military facilities it has in other countries. The USA has over 3,000 and the Russians 15, most of which are in their near abroad…..draw your own conclusions!!”

    To me, that just says that the US are better at being imperialists than are the Russians, not that the Russians aren’t imperialist. If the Russians achieve their aims, Syria will in effect be a client state.

    This is not to say that I approve of US and UK being involved in Syria either. The US idea in particular of just trying to impose democracy on countries that have rarely, if ever, experienced it is totally misguided.

  18. @ Colin

    I was taking issue with “the nature of activism…”

    Aaronovitch is writing about activism in an unthinking way.
    “Compromise & even persuasion” can only happen when both sides of the conversation have political influence. Influence comes from making people aware of your cause; and that’s what activism is about.

  19. AMBER

    Thanks

    But in a functioning democracy, ” both sides” do have “political influence”.

    Aaronovitch was arguing that “activism” which merely abuses & threatens does not persuade. He also argues that Activists should be careful not to believe that the “mandate” of their self-selecting group is outweighed by that of the vastly greater numbers of the diverse UK Electorate.

    Anyway-no point in me making his case for him. Its there to read & to critique at your leisure.

  20. @John Pilgrim – While I don’t deny the good work done by NGO’s and other avenues for aid and local funding, their record isn’t particularly brilliant. It’s improving, but there are equally numerous disasters from the past (the Tanzanian groundnut project etc) where well intention assistance was ill informed and simply imposed new structures onto long suffering populations.

    This happens aplenty in UK local government as well, stemming from the same basic fault – that the funders/experts know best what is needed. Often they do, but they need to accept local people have to be able to control more of what happens to them, to the extent that mistakes are accepted. At least those mistakes will be the responsibility of everyone, and not just the professionals.

    On a different, but related matter, at this time of year I smile each time I see the freshers in my nearby university town standing with placards begging for donations to go to Africa and help people for a gap year experience.

    Forget it. It’s a holiday for you, not something that helps Africans. If these students were serious about helping Africans, they would ask for the money and then give it over to the villagers – at the very least, this would save the air fare and so be more efficient.

    Much of how we engage with development and relief issues is about what we like and what makes us feel good. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, as we do need to get people to engage, but lets not wrap it all up to the ‘the answer’.

  21. @Colin – with you on ‘Tory scum’.

    I’m afraid these street activist campaigns are a joke, and are actively handing Tories victory.

    There are some extremely sound arguments that can be made against almost every action this government has taken (as indeed there are against almost every government) but simply abusing them because of their name isn’t very effective.

  22. @Alec

    “””
    If these students were serious about helping Africans, they would ask for the money and then give it over to the villagers – at the very least, this would save the air fare and so be more efficient.
    “””

    I used to think that — but have been given pause by people who make connections with local people and get a real understanding of how things are in those countries, and communicate this to others on their return. There’s a human element to this that is missing when we just chuck money over and expect it to do good. I don’t disagree with you completely, but I don’t think it’s simple enough to say that all such trips are useless. (Of course, some are undoubtedly more useful than others to those who are being “helped”).

  23. I suspect it’s going to get lost in the shouting, but we’ve got to the nub of the EU debate now.

    Hollande yesterday saying that to meet the current crop of crises, the EU needs to integrate, and that the UK needs to choose between this or the exit. Meanwhile, Cameron is trying to hold an impossible line that it is possible for some countries to integrate more than others. The other striking point is that a major EU leader is openly talking about the UK leaving. Patience is running thin.

    The EU has three options. Remain as it is, and be wracked by semi permanent crisis on multiple fronts; Return to a more independent group of nations, with limits to the EU’s remit; Or integrate towards ever closer union.

    We may scrape to a ‘remain’ vote in the forthcoming referendum, but I imagine that will only be a holding position for the UK. The big, irreconcilable forces that have pulled Europe in opposite directions for half a century are reaching the straining point when one or other needs to break.

  24. ALEC

    I agree-and that fault line lies between the EU membership & the EZ membership.

    Given “ever closer” in the latter-can membership inside EU/outside EZ have any meaning or purpose?

  25. @Colin – I’ve been thinking for some time that the need of a fully integrated EZ group are not compatible for a looser EU group. On top of that, it’s clear that the Germans won’t tolerate the EZ becoming a transfer union, which is the only way a currency block can survive long term.

    So we would remain in a half way house, wedded to a disaster zone and permanently fighting greater integration. At this point, achieving the classic Euro compromise simply creates it’s own disasters.

    For me, the decision making nexus is moving on, and the scales are tipping inexorably towards the out door, as I have no wish to be part of an EU nation and cannot see how a loosely define group of cooperating nations being compatible with either the EZ or the wishes of many other EU countries.

  26. Hi everyone, it’s been a while since I commented here, for two main reasons, firstly, I got fed up of boring partisan nonsense about Corbyn in the absence of opinion polls (or actually any discussion of real political questions), and secondly, because I got a new job and moved house (double stress, will never do it again!).

    I haven’t kept entirely up to date on stuff here, but have read most of the comments on this thread (which went into a very strange realm on around page 4).

    I don’t really want to comment on Syria and the refugee crisis, as my feelings are a bit strong, and I don’t want to be partisan on the issue. All I would say is that some of the comments above were intelligent and well thought-out, and other contributors appear to believe it’s still the 1960s.

    My main point is somewhat off-topic, but it’s more an attempt to gauge the opinion of this board (a selectorate meritocratic straw poll?). As far as I see it, there are (at least) four infrastructure-related mega-projects (>£10bn) planned in the UK (none of which have been actually begun), namely the renewal of Trident, Hinkley Point, the Heathrow expansion and HS2. The first of these is a “public need”, while the latter three are ostensibly commerical developments which will be in part bankrolled by the Government.

    I have therefore two questions:

    (1). Considering the fact that despite economic growth of the last couple of years, the actual tax revenues in the UK have not increased proportionally, how many of these projects will go ahead in full, and which will be curtailed?

    (2) Which of the above projects, if completed, would be a potential vote-gainer?

    Looking forward to (hopefully!) non-partisan responses.

  27. LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN –

    Additionally in your £>10bn category there’s Crossrail, which unlike the others has started.

  28. @AW

    I had forgotten about Crossrail – but I was thinking more of the future projects. I seem to recall that overall , public support is generally for Trident renewal (outwith Scotland), but have the others been polled upon? I suppose the response depends significantly on geography – I guess people in West London aren’t really in favour of a new runway at Heathrow (even if their jobs may rely on it).

  29. Holyrood VI from the TNS poll…..

    Plurality Seats VI
    Con 13%, Lab 19%, LD 6%, SNP 57%, Other 5%

    AMS Seats
    Con 11%, Lab 23%, LD 6%, SNP 52%, Grn 5%, UKIP 3% Other 1%

  30. Brexit VI from the TNS poll…..

    Stay 47%
    Leave 18%
    Undecided 29%
    Refused 2%
    Would not vote 5%

  31. @LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN

    I think the answer is probably that all these projects, apart from Trident, are more or less vote neutral in terms of the whole electorate. They are all far from neutral in terms of the local vote which makes them difficult to implement in some cases. Trident is probably a vote winner in most of the UK, possibly even in Scotland.

  32. LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN

    @”the fact that despite economic growth of the last couple of years, the actual tax revenues in the UK have not increased proportionally”

    According to “HMRC TAX & NIC RECEIPTS-Monthly and annual historical record” , -22. Sept 2015 Release-Table 1:-
    ” total HMRC receipts” increased yoy as follows in the “last couple of years” :-
    2013/14 + 4.2%
    2014/15 + 4.4%

  33. While at the moment, what Hollande says is taken as the voice of France, the message may change in 2017 when Sarco could well be back. (Having beaten Marine Le Pen in the final vote)

  34. Using Scotland Votes, the TNS numbers would make Holyrood 2016 something like:

    SNP 69 76 [+7 vs 2011]
    Lab 33 [-4]
    Con 11 [-4]
    LD 6 [+1] *
    Grn 3 [+1]
    UKIP 0 [nc]

    * NB Scotland Votes assumes LD will win the Shetland plurality seat.

  35. Sorry. That was to ALEC and Colin . Tablet having the hab-dabs.

  36. @Colin

    But can Russia afford this arc of influence? Patronage always requires money.

    The Russian economy has contracted by 4%. Inflation is running at a staggering 15.8% thanks to the weak ruble plus economic sanctions. Their reserves were at $500bn in mid 2014, it’s down to $360bn now. So they’ve burnt through $140bn in a year.

    All those missiles they are firing cost money. They may have bought them in the boom years, but once you fire them you either spend to replace or have your arsenal depleted.

    I don’t think they can continue like this more than a couple of years. And the Saudis arn’t looking too healthy either.

    If I were the Americans I’d be giving every assistance to the fracking industry to keep them pumping. They just have to keep the oil price at or below $50 and then wait, and if the Russians spend their dosh taking out ISIS so much the better – sooner or later the bankruptcy point will be reached for all parties in the Syrian crisis.

  37. @louiswalshvotesgreen

    ” the renewal of Trident, Hinkley Point, the Heathrow expansion and HS2.”

    All four of them will go ahead. In full.

    In terms of votes, Trident is a net positive and the others are more neutral. Maybe the 3rd runway is also a net positive, haven’t seen polling on that.

  38. @candy

    I agree with that. Russia looks very weak to me. Putin does a great job at giving the impression of strength from a position of weakness.

  39. If SNP continue to roll over Unionist parties at Holyrood then with the SNP gaining more power (yes its Holyrood but more and more looking like one party holds the stick) then I am not sure how sustainable having ‘Unionist’ parties and a Nationalist party actually is. In saying that the nationalist parties stand above the collective unionist stat.

  40. @Louiswalshvotesgreen

    Interesting questions.

    (1) I think they are all quite likely to happen as of now. On all the others apart from Heathrow though building work hasn’t started the wheels are well in motion, so to speak. I think George Osborne’s love of big infrastructure projects will win the day on Heathrow. Corbyn does bring more doubt to HS2 – if Labour whipped against, or even free voted, the HS2 Bill would be in serious danger come third reading. But Lilian Greenwood, the shadow Transport Secretary, is in favour and there has already been a lot of time and money spent on it so if he pulled the plug Corbyn would be blamed for wasting money.

    (2) You can separate the effect of the actual projects being completed – none of them will be in this Parliament, and a number of them not under this government even if it lasts to 2025 and beyond – from the perception that going ahead creates. So the hope is that by supporting HS2 and Heathrow the government look in touch with the challenges of the future, not in hock to the NIMBYs and interest groups. And that by backing Trident renewal they don’t look like a soft touch on defence. If I had to rank them by vote-winning potential I would go:

    1/ Trident
    2/ Heathrow
    3/ HS2
    4/ Hinckley Point C (I’m not sure many people are much interested in energy policy)

  41. ALEC
    Your point was about the sources and composition of civil society. My post was intended to be factual: that civil society in common parlance (and in development aid usage, including that of DFID) is made up mainly of local government and non-governmental organisations. I was not seeking to promote them
    Despite that, I suggest you review your record of the Groundnut Scheme in Tanzania. It was not an NGO inspired operation but thought up by Frank Samuel, head of the United Africa Company, a subsidiary of Unilever and carried out in 1946 by the UK Labour Government Department of Technical Cooperation. It is the classic example of aid devoid of any appropriate research, and so failed after five years of trying to grow a crop demanding 20″ of rainfall a year in a rainless area, at huge cost to the UK taxpayer.

  42. P.S. A good example of the importance of money and trade in patronage is the TPP just signed.

    One of the 12 signatories is Vietnam. They were fighting the Americans 40 years ago, but they’ve now signed a mega trade deal with them to get into the American sphere and thus protection from China (which is menacing their islands along with those of the Philippines and Japan in the South China Sea).

    What can Russia offer offer the countries on their border? The whole Ukraine thing started because Ukraine was wistfully looking at the former Soviet Union Baltic states and wondering if they made a mistake in staying within the Russian sphere rather than moving into the European sphere.

  43. I find it odd that there is so little notice being taken on here of contrasting policy on migration in relation to changing HRD in the EU and UK labour markets Back in May this year, Theresa May was declaring Tory opposition to the acceptance of economic migrants crossing the Med, declared to be EU policy by Fedirica Mogherini, EC Commissioner on Expernal Affairs.
    In the past ten days Mogherini, reinforced as the UK position by Hilary Benn and Diane Abbott statements on Labour policy at Conference, has reiterated EU policy in the Agenda programme as accepting economic migrants and recognising their value in ageing EU labour demographies in maintaining the active labour force v. dependents in decades to come.
    Theresa May today has declared that it is and always has been this Government’s and Tory policy to return (illegal) economic migrants to their countries of origin.
    This issue (and as Mogherini said, the language used by politicians in dealing with economic migrants) appears likely to define right and left in the UK like no other, It threatens to distance a Tory governed UK from an EU block around France and Germany determined in a policy shared by the Labour Party, to permit and assist the integration of illegal economic migrants as essential to European economies and social security and to their policies toward the peoples of developing and emergent countries.

  44. @candy

    On your last paragraph, check out the noises that have been coming out of Belarus recently:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34463901

  45. @Colin 12.33 – Thanks for the link. I apologise for misleading the board on tax receipts. Some very interesting tidbits in those enormous tables of data mind you. Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, I calculate that the total HMRC receipts (which is not the same of course as total government income) to have increased by 13%. Income tax has only increased by 6%, NI by 14%, Corporation Tax is essentially flat, and VAT has increased by 33%!

    Thanks to the rest of you for your responses so far – looking forward to seeing some more!

  46. CANDY

    Clearly there is a financial cost to Russia of this strategy.

    I don’t know how big a cost it is though relative to Russian GDP-they aren’t sending an army in-Iran & Assad are supplying the boots.

    As you say oil is the paymaster for both Russia & Saudi in this proxy war between the two Islams. Saudi, with Iranian proxies running Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon,and a losing battle on oil price looks very shaky. The North American oil rig-count dropped to 664 from 1,608 in October but output still rose to a 43-year high of 9.6m b/d June !!. Same with the sister industry of shale gas . Gas prices have collapsed from $8 to $2.78 since 2009, and the number of gas rigs has dropped 1,200 to 209. Yet output has risen by 30pc over that period.!!

    I guess Russia is in a similar state-they both have to keep pumping more oil until US output dips-which it shows no sign of doing. And Iranian oil will now presumably add to the market glut.

    Meanwhile Russia/Iran & proxies , & Saudi & proxies continue to knock six bells out of each other over a 1500 year old religious succession disagreement .

    I don’t know how long it can be financed-but for the time being I think Putin has knocked a Syrian Safe Haven on the head. Would the west really risk a shoot out with Russian planes & missiles?

  47. @JOHN PILGRIM

    Economic migrants may be useful to Germany but can the same be said of France? The French right certainly don’t think so and they (the centre right anyway) are likely to get back in charge in about 18 months time. France already has a long standing immigration issue because of its colonial past. I don’t think this will end well.

  48. @Colin

    About a week ago Putin signed a decree drafting 147,000 conscripts. No idea what he’s doing – but it looks like he thinks it’s still Soviet Union circa 1979 when they went into Afghanistan.

  49. @ Candy

    “but it looks like he thinks it’s still Soviet Union circa 1979 when they went into Afghanistan.”

    Tell me, how did that go?

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