We have two new voting intention polls today. First is a telephone poll from ComRes for the Daily Mail – topline figures are CON 38%(-1), LAB 33%(+3), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 10%(-2), GRN 3%(-1). Since introducing their new turnout model based on socio-economic factors ComRes have tended to show the biggest leads for the Conservative party, typically around twelve points, so while this poll is pretty similar to the sort of Conservative leads that MORI, ICM, YouGov and Opinium have recorded over the last month, compared to previous ComRes polls it represents a narrowing of the Conservative lead. Full tabs are here.

The second new poll is from BMG research, a company that conducted a couple of voting intention polls just before the general election for the May2015 website, but hasn’t released any voting intention figures since then. Their topline figures are CON 37%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%. BMG have also adopted a methodology including socio-economic factors – specifically, people who don’t give a firm voting intention but who say they are leaning towards voting for a party (a “squeeze question”) or who do say how they voted last time are included in the final figures, but weighted according to age, with younger people being weighted harshly downwards. Full tabs are here.

BMG also asked voting intention in the European refrendum, with headline figures of Remain 52%, Leave 48%. ICM also released their regular EU referedum tracker earlier in the week, which had toplines of Remain 54%, Leave 46%. A third EU referendum poll from YouGov found it 50%-50% – though note that poll did not use the actual referendum question (YouGov conduct a monthly poll across all seven European countries they have panels in, asking the same questions to all seven countries and including a generic question on whether people would like their own country to remain in the EU – this is that question, rather than a specific British EU referendum poll, where YouGov do use the referendum question).


240 Responses to “New ComRes and BMG voting intentions”

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  1. @Anthony Wells

    “a poor effort by a council to register voters does not depress the turnout figure, it increases it.”

    It depends on what you mean by “poor effort”. If in the absence of an effort to find new people at old addresses where people have moved out, the names of the old long departed electors are kept on the register, then turnout will be depressed. In 2015 we had an unprecedented 1.9 million old non-responding names carried forward onto the new register, when the council got no response from those addresses. That was up from 1.3 million previously under household registration. Such carry forwards are not a good thing per se (although they stem from a poor new national system rather than poor efforts by councils) but will have surpressed turnout rather than increasing it.

    Overall turnout only increased very slightly in 2015. To explain that, I would point to a smaller share of the population registering under IER (which as you say would normally boost turnout) but with this effect being offset by an extra 600,000 old non-responding names then being kept on the register (which would surpress turnout). I think the two pretty well cancelled each other out.

  2. Clearly EVEL is going to have to require more attention when Bills are being drafted.

    In the Housing & Planning Bill, the Speaker has not certified clauses 77 or 89 as being “English” or “English & Welsh” only. In clause 89, that is hardly surprising as the UK Government has proposed changing the law as it applies to Northern Ireland (and in one respect to Scotland).

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0075/cbill_2015-20160075_en_5.htm#pt4-ch4-l1g77

  3. John -What strange Icon is “Tunbridge Wells” ?

    And do remember John-one man’s Icon is another man’s Heresy.

  4. @Anthony @ Haines

    Take a look at Warwick Leamington and Kenilworth Southam to prove the point. The registered electorate plunged in 2010, and the latter seat had the highest “turnout” in England. Both figures were back to normal in 2015.

    It is really surprising that we don’t have reliable figures on true turnout. Both polling companies, and statisticians comparing registers with census ought to be able to give us real estimates of the proportion of eligible population who vote. I don’t have any feel for the balance between dead/double entries on the register, and people who aren’t registered anywhere.

  5. If we had electorates for constituencies determined by census, future turnout figures would look truly appalling!

    I suspect few Government ministers would relish that as it would totally undermine the “mandate” claim for any policies implemented.

  6. There seems to be quite an impressive mismatch for Labour between Scottish Labour (who are anti-Trident, but have a pro-Trident leader) and RUK Labour (who are pro-Trident, but have an anti-Trident leader).

    Swapping Dugdale and Corbyn actually makes a surprising amount of sense!

  7. COLIN
    Actually, that was a rather nice thing to say, so thank you. “Tonbridge Wells” is, course, Outraged of Tonbridge Wells, the iconic letter writer to The Times, which I have read since aged sixteen when it was a broad sheet with only small ads on the front page, and required dexterous folding on the 7.45 Dartford Loop to Charing X.

  8. @Amber

    To answer your question, there were no polls of constituencies in my locality, so I was referring to betting odds. The tumbling odds of the Independent candidate were all over the local press.

    But I was obviously aware of polls at constituency level across the country by Ashcroft et al. These must have influenced people’s propensity to vote, and for that matter, to register. Why bother if your vote has no chance of influencing the outcome.

    We worry about the lack of interest shown by the public at times in voting: I am simply amazed that so many bother to take part in foregone conclusions. In my constituency we had 3000 vote LibDem and 5000 vote Labour, knowing with absolute certainty that it was pointless – you have to admire them.

    I did wonder whether some of them might have thought that their vote would legitimise a minority government in the event of a hung parliament. Shades of Ted Heath trying to cling to power, IIRC.

  9. And was where, according to “Punch” all apoplectic generals retired to.

  10. John Pilgrim

    You ignored the main point again.

    Mass immigration without building the necessary housing first increases housing costs, squeezes discretionary spending and creates a deflationary spiral.

    Almost everyone will have direct personal experience of this effect at some point over the last 20-ish years.

    #

    “an unstoppable flow of immigration”

    It’s not unstoppable. Some people want endless amounts of cheap labour because it makes them lots of money and as a result they can afford to buy lots of minions to get them what they want.

  11. MILLIE
    ” In my constituency we had 3000 vote LibDem and 5000 vote Labour, knowing with absolute certainty that it was pointless – you have to admire them.”

    Not only that but you had to have had a LibDem and Labour candidate, for whom their branch and constituency parties had spent the dark rainy evenings in cold halls selecting, spoken proudly at Conference, and given up working and family time at sometimes unaffordable expense,because they belived in their party’s cause and in the need to express its argument for change and to respond to those several thousand supporters whom they’d have liked to serve. You’ld be surprised at how much people commit to democracy.

  12. JOHN

    I must say your little collection of stereotypes is a bit passé now.

    Perhaps you should move on from your dog eared copies of Punch-which disappeared in 2002 !

  13. COLIN
    You obviously go to the wrong barber.

  14. Bill Patrick

    As far as LiS is concerned re Trident – the Eagle has landed!

  15. JOHN PILGRIM…….I detect a sense of nostalgia in your recent posts, mourn not, the loss of Punch, instead, rejoice in the resurrection, Punch, Nigeria. A reliable organ, when one has a moment to spare. :-)

  16. MR JONES
    “Mass immigration without building the necessary housing first increases housing costs, squeezes discretionary spending and creates a deflationary spiral.”

    Sorry if I missed your point: actually two points – we need to build sufficient housing both to make up the existing massive deficit, and to meet the increase in population which is mainly from immigration – Agreed. second not doing so will have both a severe economic and social effect, not least in creating tension over immigration. I’ll take your word on it for the deflationary effect.

    I turned on the telly to look at the HOC debate on housing and was depressed by the sight and sound of a solid wall of young Tory yahoos flushed with the effects of their preparation for the debate and leering up at some old buffer recounting fictitious statistics about the Conservatives performance past and future on building affordable housing- I shouldn’t have depressed myself.

    On immigration it is not, I think, the offer of low wage employment which is main factor which will make it unstoppable, short of leaving the EU or reneging on the single market, but rather the push factor of demographic change in developing countries, demanding both investment in countries of origin and in transit countries, and – as you say – investment here in housing. Other elements in the absorption of immigrants will take care of themselves through associated labour market, taxation and increased GDP. However, we do need to be told.

  17. KEN
    Thanks. Punch, Nigeria – what it?

  18. JOHN

    Barber?-whats a “barber” ? :-)

  19. JOHN PILGRIM…..Punch, is a famous Nigerian newspaper. :-)

  20. John Pilgrim

    Although the LibDems and Labour are organised at local level, they cannot find candidates for our local councils. Or even get their act together with the independents to put up a united anti-Tory slate.

    So commendably active, yes. Effective opposition, no.

    As for housing issues, it is obvious that with current levels of net immigration, we are going to struggle to solve our housing shortage. Our planning system, which patently fails to identify the best locations in which to build, and is ludicrously biased towards the big builders, does not help.

    One point I would like to make is that house prices are only slightly linked to the numbers of houses that we build. We have roughly 30 million homes in this country, so whether we build 150,000 or 250,000 makes little difference to supply and demand. Prices are linked to macro-economic factors such as GDP, employment, interest rates, inflation, stock markets, etc., and most importantly, to what I would loosely call ‘mass hysteria’. If the press and TV highlight a property boom then one will surely arise. We are seeing this now: the papers are talking of houses ‘selling in a day’, when what they really mean is that someone says they will buy a house subject to the selling of their own, getting a mortgage, borrowing from their Mum and Dad, and getting a job in the locality. It is still much easier to buy a house than sell one in this country ( London possibly excepted ).

  21. MILLIE
    Your post on housing illustrates a wider issue of the information available, both to decision makers and to the voting public as a basis of policy and action. This has been demonstrated in two major issues raised this a.m. by police commissioners on further cuts to policing, and by the the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on the futility ofthe UK’s use marginally relevant addition force to bomb ISIS in Syria, and putting the now clear view that we and the States should be engaging in dialogue of the major players, including Assad, to combine in taking away ISIS’ sources of funding and political support.
    Better information both to the public and to politicians would demonstrate that these various issues are interlinked with other major unresolved policy questions, including that of meeting the crisis of migration and its causes (and thus of course immigration to this country – and so back to housing, and, of course, the question of EU membership and what that should comprise.
    To relate that to the headline issue of recent Comres and BMG polls on voting intention, it’s surely undeiniable that housing, policing and policy on immigration and intervention is Syria are central to VI but complex. They are made impossible to fathom if first the information provided to the voting public is insufficient (as it is on all matters EU) or obfuscated for party or ideological advantage, as they are on the statistics and finances of policing and housing.

  22. Ah-that old one-the Public don’t understand how great the EU is , because no one is explaining it to them.

    And this despite spending £3.1bn on promotional activities and
    “corporate communication of the political
    priorities of the Union”.

    I wonder why this effort has so abysmally failed?

  23. Colin in Tunbridge wells.

    I think our rabid press may push the anti EU bandwagon far too enthusiastically. Surely you have noticed?

  24. COLIN
    “Ah-that old one-the Public don’t understand how great the EU is , because no one is explaining it to them……….
    I wonder why this effort has so abysmally failed?”

    Wilful misreading or you haven’t followed my previous criticisms, particularly of the EC and of the EU structural funding and CAP and dreadful treatment of Greece etc. ?
    One of the main reasons for staying in the EU is to bring about its radical reform. Another, however, is that some issues including migration need multilateral action and policy in which the UK should join, and this includes the, in many respects, carefully planned Agenda programme, to control and legitimise migration from the ME and sub-Saharan Africa.
    It has failed dismally to do the necessary research to have the information on what was coming in the way of an exodus from Syria or to set up the essential, in my view, cordon sanitaire, which would include both registration and support services and logistical support for both migrants and transit countries and communities looking after them
    The UK Government staying our hasn’t helped and is regarded as shameful by many, including the Churches and charitable, especially children’s, organisations.
    In the meantime, the UK public does remain badly informed, thinks the Westminster elite are in another world, and therefold won’t bother to vote.

  25. People are always complaining about the press being right-wing or ‘rabid’ in this case. Can I just point out that if people didn’t like what was written, they wouldn’t buy the papers.

    And yes, I know newspaper sales are on the decline all round, but the more rabid papers sell more than the others.

  26. therefold – interesting word = therefore.

    In the meantime:

    “Cartoonists, meanwhile, take inspiration from the fog enveloping much of the UK to suggest a lack of clarity in the government’s policies. Describing a “fog over Europe” the Independent’s Dave Brown pictures the PM emitting a thick mist from his rear, while declaring “our demands [for EU reform] are clear”.

    Very rude. I thought, but penetrating and insightful.

  27. Pete. So how would you characterise EU press coverage? Calm? Considered? Reflective? Fair?

    Recall the pants in the papers about hoovers ? It was ridiculous and wrong.

    The fact that people buy the rabid papers and approve their message is irrelevant. Democracy needs a plurality of views to thrive and our media struggles with this.

  28. Mark

    I rarely read a newspaper these days, but thought I remembered about the vacuum cleaner story. I looked it up to make sure I had it right. The first story that came up was from the Guardian and it said “EU ban on powerful vacuum cleaners prompts anger and legal challenge”. Was the Guardian ridiculous and wrong?

    Also, there is a plurality of views expressed in the newspapers, it’s just that the Daily Mail for instance appeals to more people than Socialist Worker, or the Guardian for that matter. This isn’t irrelevant, as it’s the same reason that UKIP is more popular than the Greens for instance, as reflected in the polls. By attacking the press, you are attacking democracy because you are in effect saying ‘I don’t agree with the majority of people, but they’re all wrong’.

  29. SVEN HASSEL SCHMUCK (apologies I meant to reply to this earlier)

    There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that many of those who have been re engaged by the emergence of Corbyn were non voters in May. Many of the new Labour members I’ve spoken to since the leadership election have been people who consider themselves highly political and on the left and failed to vote in May because they felt no one represented their beliefs. Some of those people voted Green in May and there is, at least, some quantifyable evidence that that (fairly small) group have been returning to Labour. As for the left of centre May non-voters, it seems the polls are not really picking up how many would now actually bother to turn out.

    YouGov did a rather odd poll of the Labour ‘selectorate’ around the time the result was announced[1] (odd that they didn’t start earlier and use it as a prediction):

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/h4c7aqabu7/LabourSelectorate_TopLine_W.pdf

    That showed that only 2% of those didn’t vote at all (and some of them may have been too young)[1]. As you might expect (and indeed hope), most voted Labour (81%) but this varied from 91% of members to 76% of affiliates to only 60% of the £3 registrations. There was a scattering of support for other Parties (including presumably some tactical Lib Dem votes), but the big alternative was indeed the Greens – 3%, 12% and 24% for the three groups.

    So there may be some who are returning or turning to Labour, but the activists are coming from the Greens rather than alienation. Whether they are in the right places or not is another matter[3], as is what they will do and how long they will stay. And of course the majority of the new members will be long-term Labour supporters either returning or deciding to become more involved.

    The myth about an increase in a Party’s membership being driven by those new to political involvement or even voting seems to happen every time there is a rise (for example with UKIP in 2012). There will always be some people like that, but most will be have already interested in politics and possibly a member of their ‘new’ or another Party in the past.

    [1] The poll has been “weighted to the final result”, both between the make-up by group (members/affiliates/£3) and candidate voted for. It’s possible that some of the other targets have been superseded (the membership may have become younger and more female over the campaign), but other weighting may correct a bit for this and broad conclusions will be valid. The raw sample doesn’t seem that much out except that Burnham supporters were under-represented, which suggests they are more likely to be male, Northern, C2DEs all groups normally under-sampled in YouGov.

    [2] There is the usual problem that YouGov panelists aren’t typical of the population at large, in that they are much more likely to vote and generally take an interest in things. But the same would be true about the sort of people likely to take part in the Labour leadership vote, so the non-voters probably aren’t as under-represented as they would be in a sample for other purposes.

    [3] For example in a strange* Guardian interview entitled “Stella Creasy: ‘New politics? I’m still waiting for that to happen’”, it was said that Walthamstow had gained 1200 new members. Its previous figure was probably about 600 (it was 578 in 2010) so that’s a 200% increase, much more than the general increase of around 90%. But Labour really doesn’t need more members in Walthamstow but in the Midlands marginals and similar places. Reinvigoration in some ‘safe’ seats might also be useful where numbers had been very low, but that doesn’t apply here.
    * It seemed to be designed to boost her, but ended up making me think her more concerned with projecting the right image than getting her facts right.

  30. MILLIE

    It would be interesting to know the relationship between the ‘marginality’ of a seat and turnout.

    […]I am wondering whether the increasing amount of polling, and indeed betting information, has made the public more certain of the outcome in their own seat, and therefore discourages them from voting, as they are more likely to know the outcome in advance.

    There is a relationship, but it seems to be less strong than you would expect. It also seems to vary over time, differing between elections.

    In a report Rallings and Thrasher did after 2010:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/105896/Plymouth-GE2010-report-web.pdf#page=6

    they say:

    There are further interesting variations in turnout depending on the political status and marginality of the constituency […] As is usual, turnout was lower in safe as opposed to marginal seats, although the gap seems to have narrowed compared with 2005. This is confirmed by a simple correlation analysis. In 2001 the correlation between a seat’s marginality and its level of turnout was 0.7; in 2005 it was 0.72. This year it was still significant, but at the lesser level of 0.48. Turnout did remain sharply lower in constituencies won (held) by Labour than in those won by either the
    Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats, although these seats also showed the largest mean increase in turnout. In constituencies gained by the Conservatives mean change in turnout was only fractionally higher than in those the party held.

    The figures may be confused by the boundary reorganisation in England before 2010, which could have left some voters less sure about how marginal their seat was, but effect doesn’t seem to be large (at most a point or two) and appears to be decreasing.

    In fact social factors may be more important than marginality and turnout was much higher in safe Conservative seats than safe Labour ones (or even slightly in marginal Tory ones).

  31. Hello All,

    I was thinking about the VI at the top of this thread and wondering whether it might suit the Labour and Conservative leaderships’ very nicely.

    The Corbynistas can say, “You see, we are in touching distance, just wait until the public hears more of our plans.”

    Meanwhile those hoping to lead the Tory party into the next GE might be thinking, “Corbyn is a liability for Labour we want him to stay at the helm as long as possible” and “But if it appears close-ish my right wing supporters will not feel sufficiently confident in a Tory victory to lend their votes to UKIP”.

  32. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”In the meantime, the UK public does remain badly informed”

    I repeat-blaming a public opinion which does not accord with ones own on a failure to understand the facts ( for whatever reason) is mere single minded partisanship.

    I don’t see how anyone could claim that news coverage of the Syrian conflict has not provided in depth analysis of its effects on migration .

  33. LITTLE RED ROCK.
    Good Evening to you from a wet Bournemouth East.

    Labour went easy on IDS in order to try to keep him there for 2005. It did not happen of course.

    The Conservatives, I think, will go easy on J.Corbyn for that reason, but they have no need to worry, since the only Labour leader that Labour has removed in modern times is Tony Blair.

  34. chrislane1945

    I haven’t seen “resigned” described as “removed” before.

    On that basis, Brown and Miliband were also “removed”.

  35. COLIN
    My meaning I should have thought is clearly not that the UK public are not informed about the Syrian conflict (though I should think that few would understand the choice between Assad and his opponents within Syria, on which the Foreign Affairs Select Committee now seems to be wavering) but that they are almost totally uninformed about the EU Agenda programme or about how the EU works, as regards treaty obligations, judicial powers, the function of the EC, that of the Council of Ministers and that of the EU Parliament.
    It would, in fact, be interesting to see a YouGov poll on awareness and understanding of these aspects of the EU and of the UK Government policy towards them.

  36. John Pilgrim
    I know you addressed your last message to Colin, but as he hasn’t replied yet, I hope you don’t mind if I chip in. You said
    “… they (the UK public) are almost totally uninformed about the EU Agenda programme or about how the EU works, as regards treaty obligations, judicial powers, the function of the EC, that of the Council of Ministers and that of the EU Parliament.”

    This may well be true, but some of the blame attaches to successive governments hiding the fact that many new rules and regulations come from the EU. Though in an ideal world perhaps all voters would be fully informed about all political subjects, it’s never going to happen (at least while we have one person, one vote). In the real world, most voters just want to get on with their lives, and the more committed ones (about 2/3) will vote every 5 years in a GE.

    In light of this it can not be expected that voters have a grasp of any detailed message about the EU. In the end it will boil down to whether people want to be governed from Brussels (or Berlin) rather than London. In the subsidiary countries it may not make much difference, but it will in England.

  37. @Colin
    Public opinion on, say, if Smoking is harmful to your health, is on an objectively right or wrong position. It is not partisan to say “Smoking is bad for your health”. Not every position is based on politics.

    Are people in the UK under informed about how the EU works? Yes. Again, this is factual. You can judge it by asking questions on how the EU functions operate, and compare it to how it actually functions. And generally, yes, the respondents in the EU are substantially less informed about how the EU works in comparison to, say, local councils.

    Again, that’s not partisan, that’s just how it is.

    Now saying it’s because of the press, is conjuncture. And you can probably assign partisan intent there… You can objectively survey for articles that have misleading headlines on EU subjects, and show a tendency for untrue statements about EU intents to be made. You just can’t directly link that to the UK’s general poor understanding of the EU. So yes, that would be a partisan assumption. It’s also quite possible people don’t understand the EU, because it’s too ‘distant’ and EU elections and MEPs are not considered as important as general elections and MPs, and don’t receive the same coverage.

    But you can’t just dismiss “people are under-informed about X” as partisan. Because people *can* be under-informed, ad this *can* be objectively measured and quantified.

  38. PETE B and JAYBLANC

    “In light of this it can not be expected that voters have a grasp of any detailed message about the EU. In the end it will boil down to whether people want to be governed from Brussels (or Berlin) rather than London. ”

    The very odd thing is that it is not “any detailed message” that voters don’t have a grasp of but the fact that we belong to the EU and have done now for a generation, have ceded sovereign powers to the EU and pay substantial amounts of our tax revenue to it, and do in fact benefit from the Social Chapter and the Single Market. So, the first question in any poll on the matter would be do you know that we belong to the EU and have these obligations and benefits?
    In the current debate the question is primarily should we leave the EU or should we stay and reform it, in specific respects in which it is objectively seen to be performing badly?

  39. BTW, the question of cutting or delaying benefits to economic migrants is marginal and its Halloween apparition between the wraiths of fog being emitted from George Osborne is of little economic or political consequence.
    If they are economic migrants that’s what they are, and the benefits issue will, under rational governmen,t be ordered by labour market management for the ultimate good of the economy, but one which demands humanity and sweet reason.

  40. Actually, of course, it’s two generations in a period equivalent to that which encompassed the two World Wars. The equivalence exists also in the material and moral purposes by which the creation of the EU has – one only had to listen to Hollande and Merkel to comprehend what this means to the countries which were involved most directly in those conflicts – replaced War War with Law Law, to paraphrase Chruchill.

  41. JOHN

    I like Pete B’s last para.

    One could equally complain that “voters” are not “informed” about the UK Tax codes, and the operational minutae of HMRC-but the answer may simply be that most voters don’t like paying tax & want other people to be taxed more than them.

  42. JAYBLANC

    The effects of smoking on humans involves Scientific evidence.

    The workings & purpose of the EU don’t

    What attitude a Sovereign State takes to either matter will involve political choice.

  43. One could also argue that people being ill-informed about the EU (and the EC and the EEC before it) is that the movers and shakers didn’t want them to be informed about it, until such time as integration was so locked in that the fact that their country had been negotiated away behind their backs was just a historical detail rather than a live issue.

    There is certainly no lack of visibility in places like Cornwall where pretty much every publicly funded infrastructure project is covered with EU flags to remind everyone that they put up some of the money. Whether people have the whit to realise that, sans EU, the likelihood is that structural funding would still have come their way via a UK body, would be interesting to know.

  44. Sorry – “is because the movers and shakers” and “wit”

  45. JOHN PILGRIM

    @” carefully planned Agenda programme, to control and legitimise migration from the ME and sub-Saharan Africa.”

    It doesn’t exist John-except in the burgeoning pages of Brussels paperwork & the fantasies of their bureaucrats.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151104/opinion/Valletta-s-migration-summit.590821

    Meanwhile the Mayor of Lesbos says his island has run out of room to bury the bodies of migrants trying the reach Europe, & the island’s ambulance crews launch protests over budget cuts and over-work.

    In Germany , from where the siren call to these desperate thousands was made, yet another policy U turn sees it implement stricter border controls leaving 14,000 heading for Germany , trapped in Austria.

    This dystopian nightmare of EU ” migration policy” is like some bizarre version of The Maze Runner-German officials welcoming the dwindling band of successful ones -You paid the Turkish Traffickers ; you braved the Aegean without drowning your children; you walked through the Balkan fields & winter mud without succumbing to disease; you negotiated the razor wire Maze -and here you are.

    You successfully qualified as a German.
    “Willkommen in Deutschland”

  46. NEIL A
    ‘structural funding would still have come their way via a UK body”
    Interesting point. There has been some evident differences of strategic thinking which might have meant that structural funding would not have been a domestic choice: that of comparative advantage in putting infrastructure where it had the best economic returns – in the South East, or Manchester regions, say – while regarding Cornwall as being best left as a resort and rural tourist backwater; and, on the EU side, the concept of Cornwall Brittany, Ireland and Portugal as an Atlantic alliance.

  47. And for anyone who thinks the fate of these poor people isn’t bound up in party politics-read this & despair :-

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/german-coalition-fails-resolve-rift-refugees-114516721.html#ppfwpWU

  48. “In light of this it can not be expected that voters have a grasp of any detailed message about the EU. In the end it will boil down to whether people want to be governed from Brussels (or Berlin) rather than London.”

    I’m not at all convinced that people will accept that equivalence. But even if they do this is a very dangerous line of reasoning for the leave campaign to follow.
    Governing from Brussels is generally very poorly regarded by the UK public.
    But governing from London – in quite substantial numbers outside the south east of England – is likewise very unpopular, perhaps much more so than you politicos realise, and I don’t just mean Scotland, I mean all over the UK.
    If a lot of people reason that it is a choice of two unappetising evils you will have to convince them one is noticeably worse than the other, or else you will simply get a lot of people not voting at all.
    There seems to be a prevailing view that an EU in/out referendum will be energising and voting will be high (a la the Scottish independence referendum). But I see no polling evidence that this is true, please show me it. In fact less people vote in EU elections than general elections and I fear it is more likely that less people will vote in an EU referendum than will vote in a general election too.

  49. JOHN CHANIN

    It is really surprising that we don’t have reliable figures on true turnout. Both polling companies, and statisticians comparing registers with census ought to be able to give us real estimates of the proportion of eligible population who vote. I don’t have any feel for the balance between dead/double entries on the register, and people who aren’t registered anywhere.

    There is data on the IDEA website that not only gives the total vote and turnout, but also compares it to voting age population (VAP). I’m not sure if they adjust the VAP to allow for those nationalities not entitled to vote in a particular election or whether it’s just the estimate of all those 18 and above:

    http://www.idea.int/vt/countryview.cfm?id=77

    It ought to be possible to make an estimate for deaths as well (and possibly even the nett effects of migration), using demographic data, but I’m not sure if there has been any attempt to look at valid double registration – for students[1] and holiday homes usually.

    Similar tables exist for lots of other countries as well on the site, so you can have fun playing around.

    [1] For all the fuss made by Conservatives about fraud and the ‘unfairness’ of boundary distribution meaning their votes count ‘less’ (something which has now disappeared, anyway), the double registration of students has meant that middle-class areas get over-representation by 1000 or so votes per seat (if not more) which will distort boundaries much more than any possible fraud.

  50. COLIN

    “It [the EU Agenda Programme] doesn’t exist John-except in the burgeoning pages of Brussels paperwork & the fantasies of their bureaucrats.

    Thanks for the link to Martin Scicluna’s article in the Times of Valleta. It’s very well written (as it should be since he was for 20 years a senior civil servant in the UK Ministry of Defence and now head of the Malta Public Policy Institute) However, it does not comment or report on the Agenda Programme (which was initiated in May this year). It dealsrather with the unlikelihood of significant action from the Malta Summit planned for the middle of this month,primarily to establish dialogue with the concerned African and EU Governments and the EC and EASO, its migrant coordination office located in Valetta.
    It will, as the article points out be unlikely to have much relevance to the current crisis of migrants crossing into Turkey and Greece and those in transit in the Balkans and Austria or in Bavaria, which is putting intolerable strain on the concerned German states and the Federal Government.
    The Valletta Summit will, however, be able to review action already taken under the Agenda programme to establish a transit centre in Niger for migrants crossing into the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa and headed for Libya.
    Scicluna’s piece and your other referenced web article are factual as to the present crisis, and in respect of Malta express the position of the Maltese that they would like to see stronger measures to return migrants to their countries of origin, but has little to say about the long-term programme which Agenda is set up to tackle, except, rightly to exemplify UK aid in Lebanon and Jordan as necessary to the reinforcement by the programme of refugee support in transit countries, and by implication in Syria itself and Turkey.
    A key indicator to the effectiveness of the EU response will be the setting up of what will need to be long-term facilities and support programmes in Turkey now that that country is prepared to participate, on condition of better support for its accession to the EU, in the Agenda programme.
    It is, however – my point – clear that the substance and effectiveness of the actions being taken by the EC, will barely be known to any except very specialist members of the HOC, still less the UK voting public.

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