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. @John Pilgrim

    Think that in other countries people pick and choose what they like about the EU and ignore what they don’t. After all that’s what being a sovereign nation is all about.I suspect certain people use the EU in the UK for domestic reasons. For example it suits Parliament to pretend that the ECHR is the highest court, as the prospect of another Lord Denning terrifies them. Of course laws are only valid if there is prospect of enforcement which is why there is a barbed wire fence around Hungary.

  2. NEIL A

    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.

    I think that’s a touch conspiracy-ist. After all if the UK was locked-in to the EU it was by the 1975 referendum, after which they could have let any horrible ‘truths’ out if they wanted. In reality the British political and media class have kept public ignorance about the EU high for a number of other reason. One is their own ignorance about Europe and the EU in particular and the general lack of any coverage given. The media have always looked more towards the US and maybe other anglophone areas[1] and studying at Harvard is more likely to be part of a British MP’s CV than any time spent in a nearer continental mainland.

    But the EU has also been a highly convenient whipping boy for Westminster governments and the media over the last 40 years. Unpopular measures can be blamed on ‘Europe’ even if they have nothing to do with it or were supported or even promoted by the UK there. And public ignorance is bliss if you want to play that game.

    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 wit 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.

    But is it likely that any such investment would come their way at all? The fact that every such project needs EU assistance rather suggests not. Certainly UK government investment tends to be concentrated to serve London and its surroundings. In fact, because much EU funding required matching funds from the UK, no EU would probably mean even less UK investment in outlying areas than they get at the moment.

    [1] A good example of this is the lack of coverage given to the recent Polish elections compared to the intensive coverage already bestowed on American elections a year away. And yet there are 645,000 Polish citizens in the UK, compared to only 121,000 US ones (2013 estimates). Even what coverage there is, is scanty, often so inaccurate that a few minutes on Wiki can disprove it and distorted by being viewed as if it was extension of UK politics.

  3. JOHN

    THe “effectiveness” of EU responses to the Syrian exodus to Europe is evident to anyone who reads a paper or watches TV news bulletins.

    The voting public of the whole of the EU can see clearly what a disaster it is .

    As EU countries argue & put up the razor wire ; as Merkel tries to save her coalition, the EU is goes cap in hand to a resurgent Erdogan to beg him to act as its border guard & policeman.The price will be a heavy one. Turkey will demand billions of euros -and greater access to EU for its own citizens as the price for stopping the Traffickers on its beaches & the dead children floating to Greece.

  4. JOHN

    You clearly read a different article by Martin?Scicluna.

    The one I read said things like this :-

    “Like so much about the European Union’s policy-making and action on immigration, the agenda for the Valletta Summit, drawn up seven months ago, has been largely overtaken by events.”

    “Given that the main thrust of Europe’s migration problems stems from the Middle East, it is not yet clear how many Middle Eastern or North African leaders will be present, or whether Turkey will attend. Will any good be served by bringing together leaders of the EU and Africa without these key players?”

    “If the Valletta Summit is not to go down as yet another example of European gesture politics on immigration, there must be agreement to tangible action on a range of issues. There should be a greater focus on curbing migration at source.
    “Comprehensive return programmes and speedy extradition procedures for failed asylum seekers should be formally drawn up between countries of destination and countries of origin. Generous use of financial and development aid should be encouraged, as Britain is doing in Lebanon and Jordan. ”
    “Even in the unlikely event that such an Action Plan is agreed, the spectre at the feast hovering balefully over the discussions in Valletta will be the overriding need for a solution to the conflict in Syria. Europe is paying a high price for its inaction over Syria.”

    He signs off with :-

    “Regrettably, I shall be very surprised if the Valletta Summit produces any game-changing answers”

    Of course-his criticism of European “inaction” in Syria brings us right back to Westminster. To see Cameron forced to cede Syrian policy to Putin is depressing.

    The result is anticipated in Ankara as reported by DT :-

    “Turkey is expecting more than a million more Syrians to pour across their borders, many of which could travel on to Europe, following Russia’s decision to begin air strikes in support of the Assad regime.”

  5. No, Colin, I read the same article. Martin Scicluna is a man after your own heart, conjecturing that the outcome of the Valetta Conference – which is mainly framed around the need for a policy and concerted action to meet the demands of Sub-Saharan African migration – will not provide any answers and may not attract the participation of the Eastern Mediterranean dealing with the very different problems and origins of migration away from warfare in Syria. Quelle surprise!
    On Turkey, the result of what exactly is as reported in the DT? Not the ineptitude of the EU or blackmail by Erewan, but the very real need for the EC to – as you say -to pour billions into creating a cordon sanitaire in Turkey, similarly, as Scicluna reported, to that which Spain has sought, with EU suport, to create in Tunis and Mauretania, to meet the demands of migrants in transit across the western Mediterranean. And yes, the creation of facilities in Turkey would be in a reciprocal agreement for economic development in Turkey and a resumption of its accelerated accession to the EU. That’s the Agenda programme, sketched out by Jean Claude Juncker in April 2014 and being put together by Federica Mogherini and EASO. It is to meet a critical demographic movement which will last throughout the coming century, exacerbated by the war in Syria, and, while it is not of the EU’s making, it does demand a multilateral response which, to date, the EU is providing.

  6. ICM’s EU Referendum Tracker shows a marginal shift (wholly within moe) from Remain to DK with Leave unchanged.

    Remain 44% : Leave 38% : DK 18%


    ICM say “An interesting, but so far little-discussed aspect of the polling data is the gender difference on the referendum question. It’s clear from previous analysis that there are significant divisions in attitudes by age, social background and party affiliation: as seen in previous polls, younger voters, those from higher socioeconomic grades, and Labour and Lib Dem voters are all significantly more likely to back the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

    The contrast between male and female voters is less pronounced, but our polling has consistently shown a significant gap when it comes to undecided voters, with the proportion of women saying they don’t know generally around ten percentage points higher compared to their male counterparts. [Methinks ICM haven’t noticed that such a pattern is normal in every poll from every pollster!] More broadly, the implication is that targeting particular sub-groups may be less about reaching those with already strong views, and more about establishing where there is most scope to influence the final vote.” [Which is also true of every political campaign there has ever been. ICM somewhat grasping at straws to suggest that they are saying something new.]

  7. @Roger,

    Being “locked in” to the European Economic Community as a small trading bloc is not quite the same thing as being locked in to the EU.

    If there had been a repeat referendum in 1976, SNP-stylee , and the UK had decided to leave, it would have been relatively easy to do so. 40 years of incremental concreting has gone on since.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am on balance just about in favour of remaining in the EU, but I do think it is about time we had a proper debate and an informed decision about the whole thing. Hitherto, other than a band of stalwarts, the cross-party line has basically been that leaving is unthinkable. I’d like to have a chance to think, and make my own decision.

  8. WOLF
    Yes. I think in HUngary’s case, memories of the Ottoman Empire would add weight to the sovereign elbow of the government in being yet more bloody minded in defying EU laws or injunctions.

  9. NEIL A
    Yes, but leave what exactly. At the moment we are being held over the barrel not of the EU as constituted, social chapter, CAP, single market and structural funding, and all but that of Cameron’s narrow notion of reform to the movement of labour as having to be restricted in respect of access to benefits and social services. And it is not that which Labour or the SNP would seek to reform in remaining.


    I recommend GO’s speech to BDI in Berlin on 3 November if you want a flavour of what reforms he thinks are important.

    The “Single Market” is nowhere near complete-and the EZ is definitely a different entity to the EU.

    As Angela Merkel conceded before Osborne had even got to his feet :-

    ““The Europe of today is no longer a Europe of one speed,”

  11. NEIL A

    Looks like your worst fears about the Sinai aircrash might be right.

  12. Roger Mexico – “A good example of this is the lack of coverage given to the recent Polish elections compared to the intensive coverage already bestowed on American elections a year away. And yet there are 645,000 Polish citizens in the UK, compared to only 121,000 US ones (2013 estimates).”

    There are very few Brits in Poland, but there are a lot of Brits in the USA and of course we do a lot of trade with the Americans but I can’t think of anything we buy or sell to Poland. Our press coverage is always about how it affects us and the Polish elections didn’t really.

  13. Colin – “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.”

    It definitely resembles the Hunger Games.

    I think Merkel did it the way she did because she thought she’d score some PR points for taking in migrants, but didn’t expect many migrants to actually reach Germany’s border given the obstacles in their way. She underestimated how desperate these people are.

    If she really cared, she’d have convened a worldwide summit to get everyone to take a quota of people directly from the camps, flying them in safety, the way it was done for the Vietnam refugees (no one expected them to swim their way to Europe before taking them in).

  14. John Pilgrim

    “It is to meet a critical demographic movement which will last throughout the coming century, exacerbated by the war in Syria, and, while it is not of the EU’s making,…”

    It is entirely of the EU’s making. They are actively encouraging the mass migration over the heads of the member states.

  15. Interesting (if not necessarily useful!) replication of 1939 questions by YG.


    Biggest change is belief in life after death – “48% believed in one in 1939 while 35% did not; now 36% believe in one and 49% do not.”.

  16. Can’t quite believe National Grid had to invoke their emergency demand reduction measures today. It was a small intervention, paying 43 firms to cut their usage for a short period of time, with no serious knock on effects, but the critical point is that it happened at a time when peak demand was 47GW – a very modest peak.

    Imagine if we had a proper, cold weather spike, in the mid to high 50’s? This incident today sows just how weak the generation system is at present, and there must be some very worried people at National Grid and in the government at present.

  17. @Colin – “As Angela Merkel conceded before Osborne had even got to his feet :-

    ““The Europe of today is no longer a Europe of one speed,””

    I think this is a given. However, I’ve long thought that the problem for the UK is much more to do with the incompatibility of the different blocks over time. To survive, the Eurozone needs to integrate, and it will be extraordinarily for 19 EU states to do this without affecting the 8 outside the Euro, even if everyone agrees a multi speed EU is acceptable.

  18. Old Nat,

    It’s actually the euthanasia question that surprises me the most, especially for 1939 but even for the present.

  19. Bill Patrick

    Dahlgreen seldom impresses as an accurate reporter of polling, and I was concerned about his use of “euthanasia” to describe the 2015 question – for which “assisted suicide” would have been the appropriate term.

    Euthanasia would have been an appropriate term to use in the 1930s about the topic as it was discussed then, and (unless YG are dissimulating) the BIPO 1939 question was remarkably advanced in its phraseology – so where did Dahlgreen lift “euthanasia” from?

  20. @Colin

    The EU is not a subjective moras that is beyond truth and knowledge. The EU is not a cosmic unknowable. It actually operates in specified ways, and you can observe almost all of it in action, with lots of publications of their processes. It is entirely correct to say that someone can be wrong in their understanding of how the EU works, and again it’s not a partisan comment to say that the majority of people in the UK are very under-informed about EU government processes. For example even here people regularly conflate the ECHR and European Court.

  21. CANDY
    “Merkel did it the way she did because she thought she’d score some PR points for taking in migrants, but didn’t expect many migrants to actually reach” Germany’s border given the obstacles in their way. She underestimated how desperate these people are”
    “It is entirely of the EU’s making. They are actively encouraging the mass migration over the heads of the member states.”

    These are either true or false statements, that is, they relate as @Jayblanc says, to ascertainable facts. We – on this blog and the electorate – are adequately informed on migration and the EU response and the mechanisms it is setting up under the Agenda Programme, or we are not.

    You might view these questions against the evidence: the anticipated level of population increase in countries of origin of migration as recorded by OECD and the UN; the exodus of refugees and economic migrants from Syria; the imbalance in active labour to age dependent population in Germany and generally in the EU member states, stated in Juncker’s April 2014 statement; the EC statement to Parliament of May 2015 on the setting up of Agenda; the reality of migrant numbers reaching the UK and predicted to continue, as in other countries, not of their government’s or the EU’s making but of a, mainly anticipated and acceptable, movement of labour and families to areas of economic development and the related availability of jobs.

    The flood of non-legal, but evidently self-funded migration taking place through Turkey and Greece to the Balkans, Germany and Sweden in particular, through Libya and Tunis by way of routes across the Sahara, demonstrates the limits which have been encountered in legislation and borders. They do not show any evidence of any gung-ho open door policy on Merkel’s part or that of the EC, but do demonstrate that the impact of the delay or omission of ploanned action and investment, such as that now being negotiated for in Turkey and Niger, have had disastrous consequences, but that these will be repaired. That this is not primarily a crisis of the moment and of temporary measures such as the interim setting up of border controls to control the arrival of migrants in Germany.
    As far as this thread is concerned, have the UK electorate been well informed about this background to migration and about the EU response to it? No. Does that failure of information suggest that it may be thought in Westminster that narrower concerns of policy might be served by not informing the public,, and does that contrast with public concern and that of our civic sector, as well as the position of parties opposed to the UK Government’s position on possibly the greatest crisis facing the EU and the UK since WW2, and which will continue for the next several decades to demand an informed, multinational and planned response. Yes.

  22. @John,

    So far as I can tell from the media reporting and vox pops, the majority of those travelling to the EU in recent months are people who were previously living in relative safety (although in difficult conditions) in Turkey and Lebanon – or else people who aren’t from Syria at all.

    It seems to me pretty obvious that the massive increase in flow is not primarily the result of anything that happened in the region. People saw an opportunity, perhaps an opportunity that was time-limited, to elbow their way to a better life in the EU and rushed en masse to take it.

    Very little attention is given in the reportage to the First Safe Country principle, which is really the central political issue in all of this. Someone who arrives in the UK, in most circumstances, has absolutely no legal right under the currently existing laws and concepts of asylum to remain here. If the EU has erred (as opposed to individual politicians like Merkel) it is in not enforcing this principle, and providing resources to the front-line countries who would need to enforce it, from the outset.

    I am not against collective responsibility in the EU for the care of genuine refugees, but under the transparent rules that were democratically agreed on this involves refugees staying put when they get to safety, and only travelling onward to other countries with the agreement of those countries.

  23. CANDY

    I thought of Hunger Games, but they have to kill each other to survive-hence the Maze Runner seemed the better simile.

    I agree with your last para. It is the unspoken crime of this tragedy that liberal consciences are flashed on behalf of the “survivors”-but the drowned at the start of this exodus are never mentioned.

    Talking of shipping people in quotas, I read a report this morning exposing the vacuous nonsense that is EU policy. Over the last 41 days, the EU quota scheme for moving 160k migrants around the EU has moved 116 people. ( you do the maths on how long this will take at that rate) The first flight from Greece left three weeks late with 30 to Luxembourg. It should have been 51-but 21 refused to go !

    Meanwhile the slow Uturn of reality develops-Austria is proposing to restrict grant of asylum to three years, after which a repatriation to be considered.

    Now-where’s Alec-I want to know why Wind Power let the National Grid down in its hour of need yesterday :-) :-)

  24. JOHN

    @” They do not show any evidence of any gung-ho open door policy on Merkel’s part ”

    They do :-

    First this :-

    “Berlin took the lead in efforts to resolve the European refugee crisis on Monday by declaring all Syrian asylum-seekers welcome to remain in Germany – no matter which EU country they had first entered.”

    Indy 25 Aug 2015

    Then this :-


  25. NEIL A
    “People saw an opportunity, perhaps an opportunity that was time-limited, to elbow their way to a better life in the EU and rushed en masse to take it.”

    This is your choice of language, Neil. Retaining my concern with whether perceptions on this blog, or in the electorate, are based on verifiable information, the contrasting language of the EC asylum programme recognises that these are illicit migrations and accepts that those concerned are not “sticking to the rules” including that of remaining in their first place of asylum. Accepting those facts as the reality, it bases an EU response on recognising the need to provide all migrants – not only refugees from conflict, but also economic migrants – with support to migrate legitimately by setting up registration centres and by related support to ensure that they go where they are needed and welcome, while supporting countries of transit, and greatly increasing development aid to achieve a basis of employment in countries of origin. That’s the debated and published intention of the programme. Better information would tell us how well it is working – or not, as you have every right to doubt.

  26. COLIN
    Thanks for the very well docfumented BBC website, and for the Indy article reporting on the German Government’s decision to rescind its adherence to the Dublin protocol:

    “The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees ratified an order suspending the so-called Dublin Protocol. “Germany will become the member state responsible for processing their claims,” a government statement said.”

    “All current expulsion orders for Syrian asylum-seekers will be revoked, the government said. New Syrian arrivals will no longer be forced to fill in questionnaires to determine which country they had first arrived in. In the first six months of 2015, Germany registered 44,417 applications from Syrian asylum-seekers.”

    “The decision piles further pressure on other EU countries – including Britain – which have used the 1990 protocol as the legal basis for refusing to take any share of the refugees from the Middle East and Africa now pouring into Europe to escape war, oppression or famine.”

    Ah, those irrational gung-ho Germans. What do they think they are doing, behaving humanely and in the interests of their own future economic development.

  27. JOHN

    @”behaving humanely ”

    We will just have to disagree on that.

    I see no humanity in the fatal Obstacle Course to German citizenship.

    Handing out Free Lottery tickets on the Turkish beaches would have been more humane-and more honest.

  28. COLIN
    Well, we can certainly disagree on the reading of history, but perhaps not on the reality of the acceptance of migrants without the barrier imposed by the Dublin Protocol requiring registration as asylum seekers in the country of first arrival.
    I suspect you and @Neil A are continuing to make my point, that these are salient aspects of reform which might be looked for in remaining in Europe around which there is little if any knowledge or understanding – and I am sure that you and he are among best informed of the electorate.

  29. I wonder what checks are being made on the migrants as to whether they are members of ISIS?

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that out of many many thousands, at least a few will have malign intent.

  30. @Colin – “Now-where’s Alec-I want to know why Wind Power let the National Grid down in its hour of need yesterday :-) :-)”

    I’m here, and posted on this last night, but it appears I am unexpectedly in automod.

    It is illuminating to see that some media outlest are blaming wind for tyesterday’s problem. In fact, it’s no such thing.

    The issue was highlighted 4 hours out, with an accurate prediction of the contribution that wind could make at the peak demand period, as is normal. The reason we had a problem was that a couple of coal fired stations developed faults and had to come off line. That, and the fact that nuclear output was also below capacity as Hartlepool and Heysham are unable to run at full capacity after cracks were discovered last year.

    Blaming this on wind alone suggests a lack of understanding over how the grid functions, but the real culprit is the aging nature of the conventional and nuclear generating stations – something wind isn’t designed to combat in isolation.

    However, it’s an ill wind (or ‘lack of ill wind’, perhaps?) that blows no good, and some lucky generators were being offered a purchase 15 minute spot prices of £2,500/MWh – that’s £25 per kWh!

  31. John Pilgrim – “Ah, those irrational gung-ho Germans. What do they think they are doing, behaving humanely and in the interests of their own future economic development.”

    They are not behaving humanely. The humane thing is to send a couple of charter planes to pick up the Syrians from Turkey. That way they don’t have to put their lives in danger on leaky boats in the Med, or tramp through Croatian countryside infested still with land mines. And instead of handing all their life savings to people traffickers they could have kept it and used it to rent a place at their destination country and start a small business. Oh, and the “humane” Germans, having invited people for PR purposes, is now trying to palm them off on other countries. And in East Germany they are burning down migration centres on a daily basis – that kind of thing is unimaginable in Britain, but you are conveniently glossing over it, because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

    According to wiki, the Vietnam crisis was dealt with by convening a world conference in 1979 which decided on orderly resettlement.

    By what logic do you think the former is more “humane” than the latter?

    There are a couple of solutions to the current problem if the whole world is willing to help. For example there is a big Syrian diaspora in South America (at least 1 million in Brazil, plus people in Chile, Columbia, Argentina and Uruguay).

    We could place some people there and give money to their govts to help them resettle (and they’d be with diaspora who would be willing to help them integrate). I think our govt has $1 billion allocated for this crisis already – some of those South American countries would love to have the money. If the Americans, French and Germans can contribute an equal amount, it should make the resettlement a lot easier. The Chinese, Japanese, Americans, Canadians and Indians could take some people too. If people are dispersed, the chances of them getting liveable accommodation increases.

    Or we can keep them penned inhumanly in crowded migration centres in Europe that were built to house a fraction of the number, or in tents during winter, because no accommodation exists to put them in.

    It seems to me that you arn’t considering the needs of the refugees at all – the need to cross in safety, the need to not have their money nicked by mafia people traffickers, the need for a tiny bit of space and privacy that you can’t get cooped up like chickens in buildings that weren’t built for the numbers. With the threat of those places being burnt down. Do the people not count at all? Is the PR aspect and virtue signalling the only consideration?

  32. JOHN

    Its not “history”-its “right now” :-


    ……….and its the foreseeable future:-

    “The U.N. refugee agency says it’s expecting up to 5,000 refugees and other migrants a day to arrive in Greece from Turkey over the next four months.

    UNHCR laid out its winter plan on Thursday with an appeal for another $96.15 million in funding. It warned about the possibility of more deaths among the thousands of refugees who have been crossing the Aegean “if adequate measures are not taken.”

    The Republic.

  33. O/T Lewes has unveiled one of the effigies for it’s Bonfire Festival tonight. It’s a naked Cameron with a pig head :-)

  34. CANDY
    We agree on most of this, including the possible need for an international conference which could, as you say, help to get agreement on providing safe transit for migrants, but a likely outcome would be for the EU to foot the bill and provide the logistics in transit countries.
    Re Vietnam the programme of resettlement and repatriation took over twenty years.
    The record shows the US during the period following 1975 and the UNHCR (with substantial funding and technical assistance from the EC following the latter’s Repatriation and Reintegration Programme of Asylum Seekers (Vietnam) in 1990 providing air transport the latter for a return of about 100,000 boat people to Vietnam.
    Individual countries other than the US mainly gave asylum after people had made their own way to their countries, so that it may not be reasonable or workable on that evidence to expect Germany to have set up and operated a programme to bring the migrants crossing to Greece and Turkey by air.
    (I don’t dispute that that would be good, and maybe one result from dialogue now taking place for support for transit taking place in Turkey and which could see an agreement with the EU or indiividual governments to help with onward transit and reception on a legitimate basis.

  35. @Neil A – 8.58

    You cannot possibly think it good sense to insist that a tiny country such as Malta should carry the burden of the thousands arriving across the Med. Your attitude will only lead to a mass granting of citizenship to all those who arrive, as that is the only alternative to cooperation in distributing the migrants around the EU.
    IMO the EU ought to be regarded for these purposes as a single state – arrival in any EU state will count as arrival in all. After all, that’s what the free market wants, isn’t it?

  36. @Candy – 1.13

    Agreed. But until your plan was up and running we would still have to give human help to those who arrived in Europe. The point is surely that this is not an ‘either-or’ in the short term, but a ‘both-and’.

  37. COLIN
    Yes, it’s now and it will continued to be a task to which, as one of the German city mayors said, we will need to knuckle down, for the foreseasble future.
    A key element is that which the Indy reported on, describing protestors facing Tsipras and “calling on the European Union to stop deaths by allowing asylum seekers safe and legal passage to Europe.”
    @ Candy’s post referred to the Vietnam boat people, correctly in terms of the need for the logistics including air transport to be agreed internationally, and of the period involved – more than two decades in getting the Vietnamese asylum seekers settled or repatriated, and, vitally,, in getting the infrastructure and coordination in place for them to be accepted into normal, productive statuses integrated in asylum countries or back home.
    The agreed demographics indicate that it will require at least twice that long to bring this procees to completion, and that it must be one which ceases to be a response to crisis and illicit movement and becomes one of legitimised and assisted migration.
    This does in the present crisis require international agreements and cooperation, unavoidably dependent on the EU and willing participation by member states.

  38. I’m rather enjoying the John Pilgrim / Candy discussion of the refugee problem: it’s a bit like Wimbledon.

    Without taking sides, I do think there is a tendency to damn the EU for being domineering and undemocratic, and at the same time, weak, irresolute and tardy in taking action. You ca’t have it both ways

    The reality is that while the EU can propose coherent, well thought out and costed programmes, it can’t force these to be accepted. Trying to get agreement must make herding cats seem a very straightforward exercise. In the end, those coherent proposes are watered down to lowest-common-denominator levels, distorted by relentless national and commercial lobbying.

    While it is easy enough for anyone to find out how the EU and other European institutions work, and get information on what’s going on, the reality is that the vast majority of people will not seek any information beyond what they are offered by mainstream and social media. Just how comparatively sparse and selective is the information available to UK residents becomes clear if you take a look at TV news or broadsheets in other EU countries. I try to read El Pais online every day and it’s striking how EU stories form an integral part of the day’s coverage – it’s woven into the fabric of informed daily discourse in a way that just doesn’t happen here. Rather like the display of EU flags.

  39. Thank you. @ Somerjohn.
    I see myself rather as Jaroslav Drobny in his latter years.

  40. @John B,

    As I understand it (correct me if I’m wrong) any refugee who is granted asylum in an EU country acquires the right to live and work in any of them.

    In principle, yes Malta should take responsibility for sheltering and processing the applications of anyone who arrives there. Should this become too arduous, and the EU is able to arrange for the burden to be shared, then that’s fine (and in fact I understand that this is happening, for those countries who don’t have an opt-out, just very very slowly).

    If the criterion is “ability to carry the burden” then there is an argument that the UK shouldn’t be expected to take very many if any at all – given that our problems with lack of housing are far more critical than most other EU countries.

    @John Pilgrim,

    I’m sorry, but the sight of well cared-for asylum seekers in an orderly and safe camp setting light to things and fighting with the police because they’re not getting exactly what they demand merits the use of the “elbow” metaphor. In fact its quite a mild way to describe it. No mention of illegality or criminality whatever.

  41. @Neil A

    1. The granting of asylum or the status of legal migrant does not give the right to travel or work anywhere in the EU other than in the country which grants that status. That only comes once citizenship has been granted.

    2. Surely ‘the ability to carry the burden’ is to some extent an economic question – in which case the UK, having argueably at present one of the strongest economies in the EU, ought to be carrying a much larger share of the burden. The ‘housing crisis’ could be, as everybody knows, easily solved were government to have the courage to insist that more houses be built – or, better still, to get them built under government auspices. I think that used to be called ‘council housing’ or ‘social housing’. This has been a problem in certain parts of the UK for many years under governments of differing colours. Like the migrant problem itself, governments have often responded to the housing shortage with short-term measures; they are too fearful of the propertied using their vote to maintain their high housing values. The situation is also not helped overmuch by the extraordinary degree to which London and the South East dominate the economy, thus drawing more and more people into what is already (IMO) a horrendously overcrowded area.

  42. ‘South East’ of England, of course. Not that Edinburgh and surrounding Districts are not also in difficulty……

  43. @John B,

    Thanks for the information re: asylum and travel. Although I guess the advent of the Schengen agreement must have made restrictions on travel on the continent a bit moot.

    As for housing burden, I suppose if as a rich country we just paid for 100,000 new homes to be built on Malta that would be OK then?

  44. JohnB – “Surely ‘the ability to carry the burden’ is to some extent an economic question – in which case the UK, having argueably at present one of the strongest economies in the EU, ought to be carrying a much larger share of the burden. The ‘housing crisis’ could be, as everybody knows, easily solved were government to have the courage to insist that more houses be built – or, better still, to get them built under government auspices.”

    You can’t knock up a bunch of houses overnight in the middle of winter – not unless you want all the refugees to die of black mould. And then there’s the issue of various Brits who haven’t got houses who would kick up a fuss. And there’s also the issue that the places where there are vacant homes (eg bits of North Wales and Scotland) are also the places where migrants don’t want to go/locals don’t want them.

    The only solution is to disperse the refugees around the world. Most countries will be able to find about 20,000 rooms to house them. None have a million just sitting there empty on the off chance there is a refugee crisis. The alternative to dispersing people around the world is to put them in tent cities in the middle of a European winter…

  45. We ain’t seen nothin yet :-

    “The European Union is predicting that three million more migrants could arrive in the 28-nation bloc by the end of next year.
    More than 700,000 people have come to Europe seeking sanctuary or jobs so far this year, overwhelming reception centres and border authorities.
    EU autumn economic forecasts released on Thursday say that, based on current migrant entries and a “technical assumption” about future flows, arrival rates are unlikely to slow before 2017.
    The EU’s executive Commission said that “overall, an additional three million persons is assumed to arrive in the EU over the forecast period.”

    “On Wednesday, Libya warned it could flood Europe with migrants if the EU does not recognise its new self-declared government.
    Officials say they could hire boats to send large numbers of African migrants across the Mediterranean, massively adding to the numbers already reaching Europe’s borders.
    The warning was made by a spokesman for the National Salvation Government of Libya’s General National Congress in an interview with The Telegraph in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
    The Congress took control of Tripoli last year after fighting against forces loyal to the internationally- recognised House of Representatives government, and is not recognised by the European Union as Libya’s legitimate government.
    A fortnight ago, both factions also rejected the terms of a United Nations-brokered peace deal.”


  46. Candy – “You can’t knock up a bunch of houses overnight in the middle of winter”

    The German solution appears to be to build temporary homes using shipping containers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34454384

  47. CANDY
    I like your style. Taking both your paras. I feel my mathematical and sociological wheels turning to churn out the thought that 20,000 migrants is a lot less than the 300,000 net immigrants that we take anyway per year at the moment, and that once here they are kind of Brits among Brits anyway, muddling there way into the vacant property.
    The experience of the acceptance of the Uganda Asians was that a) it happened without questioning, b) all of the planned housing (in camps, empty institutions etc was side- stepped as they made their way into the social system on their own account.
    The distancing of the UK Government from the acceptance of migrants under the EC quota system can’t be justified on grounds of, we don’t have the housing; only on grounds of we don’t have the heart.
    It’s a mental deviation from an old tune, which says, people who have left their countries illicitly have rendered themselves far away from our legal commitments, and so don’t deserve to be morally heard of.


    @”The distancing of the UK Government from the acceptance of migrants under the EC quota system can’t be justified on grounds of, we don’t have the housing; only on grounds of we don’t have the heart.”

    You omit ( entirely unsurprisingly) the grounds upon which it is & can be justified:-Encouraging Refugees to leave UNHCR camps to give Traffickers large sums of money & risk the lives of their children in a perilous journey for the supposed financial gains of economic migrancy is not a responsible or humane policy.

    Taking people in deepest need , with UNHCR accredited Refugee status, from UN Refugee Camps denies the Traffickers their victims, and ensures that children don’t drown in the process.

  49. Actually there is another reason too-its the one voiced recently by the Archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clément Jeanbart, who has urged.Europe to stop luring Syrians away from their home country and instead focus on finding peace,

    Now that would be a moral cause worthy of the description.

    Fat chance though.

  50. @John Pilgrim

    The majority of our 300,000 immigrants pay their own rent, and work, they arn’t refugees. If the Syrians didn’t have to fork out money to mafia traffickers, they too would probably be able to pay their own way too.

    And the Ugandan Asians were an exceptional bunch – most were business people in Uganda and some had set up businesses here within 3 weeks of arriving. In other words, they didn’t need to “make their way into the social system” they were self-financing. And all spoke English and were familiar with British ways from when they were part of empire.

    According to wiki, the total number of Ugandan Asians that Britain took in was 27,200.

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