What Went Wrong

Today YouGov have put out their diagnosis of what what wrong at the election – the paper is summarised here and the full report, co-authored by Doug Rivers and myself, can be downloaded here. As is almost inevitable with investigations like this there were lots of small issues that couldn’t be entirely ruled out, but our conclusions focus upon two issues: the age balance of the voters in the sample and the level of political interest of people in the sample. The two issues are related – the level of political interest in the people interviewed contributed to the likely voters in the sample being too young. There were also too few over seventies in the sample because YouGov’s top age band was 60+ (meaning there were too many people aged 60-70 and too few aged over 70).

I’m not going to go through the whole report here, but concentrate upon what I think is the main issue – the problems with how politically interested people who respond to polls are and how that impacts on the age of people in samples. In my view it’s the core issue that caused the problems in May, it’s also the issue that is more likely to have impacted on the whole industry (different pollsters already have different age brackets) and the issue that more challenging to solve (adjusting the top age bracket is easily done). It’s also rather more complicated to explain!

People who take part in opinion polls are more interested in politics than the average person. As far as we can tell that applies to online and telephone polls and as response rates have plummeted (the response rate for phone polls is somewhere around 5%) that’s become ever more of an issue. It has not necessarily been regarded as a huge issue though – in polls about the attention people pay to political events we have caveated it, but it has not previously prevented polls being accurate in measuring voting intention.

The reason it had an impact in May is that the effect, the skew towards the politically interested, had a disproportionate effect on different social groups. Young people in particular are tricky to get to take part in polls, and the young people who have taken part in polls have been the politically interested. This, in turn, has skewed the demographic make up of likely voters in polling samples.

If the politically disengaged people within a social group (like an age band, or social class) are missing from a polling sample then the more politically engaged people within that same social group are weighted up to replace them. This disrupts the balance within that group – you have the right number of under twenty-fives, but you have too many politically engaged ones, and not enough with no interest. Where once polls showed a clear turnout gap between young and old, this gap has shrunk… it’s less clear whether it has shrunk in reality.

To give an concrete example from YouGov’s report, people who are under the age of twenty-five make up about 12% of the population, but they are less likely than older people to vote. Looking at the face-to-face BES survey, 12% of the sample would have been made up of under twenty-five, but only 9.1% of those people who actually cast a vote were under twenty-five. Compare this to the YouGov sample – once again, 12% of the sample would have been under twenty-five, but they were more interested in politics, so 10.7% of YouGov respondents who actually cast a vote were under twenty-five.

Political interest had other impacts too – people who paid a lot of interest to politics behaved differently to those who paid little attention. For example, during the last Parliament one of the givens was that former Liberal Democrat voters were splitting heavily in favour of Labour. Breaking down 2010 Liberal Democrat voters by how much attention they pay to politics though shows a fascinating split: 2010 Lib Dem voters who paid a lot of attention to politics were more likely to switch to Labour; people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 but who paid little attention to politics were more likely to split to the Conservatives. If polling samples had people who were too politically engaged, then we’d have too many LD=>Lab people and too few LD=>Con people.

So, how do we put this right? We’ll go into the details of YouGov’s specific changes in due course (they will largely be the inclusion of political interest as a target and updating age, but as ever, we’ll test them top to bottom before actually rolling them out on published surveys). However, I wanted here to talk about the two broad approaches I can see going forward for the wider industry.

Imagine two possible ways of doing a voting intention poll:

  • Approach 1 – You get a representative sample of the whole adult population, weight it to the demographics of the whole adult population, then filter out those people who will actually vote, and ask them who they’ll vote for.
  • Approach 2 – You get a representative sample of the sort of people who are likely to vote, weight it to the demographics of people who are likely to vote, and ask them who they’ll vote for.

Either of these methods would, in theory, work perfectly. The problem is that pollsters haven’t really doing either of them. Lots of people who don’t vote don’t take part in polls either, so actually pollsters end up with a samples of the sort of people who are likely to vote, but then weight them to the demographics of all adults. This means the final samples of voters over-represent groups with low turnouts.

Both methods present real problems. May 2015 illustrated the problems pollsters face in getting the sort of people who don’t vote in their samples. However, approach two faces an equally challenging problem – we don’t know the demographics of the people who are likely to vote. The British exit poll doesn’t ask demographics, so we don’t have that to go on, and even if we base our targets on who voted last time, what if the type of people who vote changes? While British pollsters have always taken the first approach, many US pollsters have taken a route closer to approach two and have on occasion come unstuck on that point – assuming an electorate that is too white, or too old (or vice-versa).

The period following the polling debacle of 1992 was a period of innovation. Lots of polling companies took lots of different approaches and, ultimately, learnt from one another. I hope there will be a similar period now – to follow John McDonnell’s recent fashion of quoting Chairman Mao, we should let a hundred flowers bloom.

From a point of view of an online pollster using a panel, the ideal way forward for us seems to be to tackle samples not having enough “non-political” people. We have a lot of control over who we recruit to samples so can tackle it at source: we record how interested in politics our panellists say they are, and add it to sampling quotas and weights. We’ll also put more attention towards recruiting people with little interest in politics. We should probably look at turnout models too, we mustn’t get lots of people who are unlikely to vote in our samples and then assume they will vote!

For telephone polling there will be different challenges (assuming, of course, that they diagnose similar causes – they may find the causes of their error was something completely different). Telephone polls struggle enough as it is to fill quotas without also trying to target people who are uninterested in politics. Perhaps the solution there may end up being along the second route – recasting quotas and weights to aim at a representative sample of likely voters. While they haven’t explicitly gone down that route, ComRes’s new turnout model seems to me to be in that spirit – using past election results to create a socio-economic model of the sort of people who actually vote, and then weighting their voting intention figures along those lines.

Personally I’m confident we’ve got the cause of the error pinned down, now we have to tackle getting it right.


274 Responses to “What Went Wrong”

1 2 3 4 5 6
  1. @ The Other Howard

    “I find some of the views expressed recently by Trump and Fury abhorrent but I have to say the response we have seen in the Uk reminds me how much freedom of speech has been lost in this country by legislation from the last two governments. There is much still to admire in the United States.”

    Thanks. I will keep fighting to protect those rights. Don’t know who Fury is but I might change the word “some” to the word “all.”

    Trump did say one thing in the past several months I agreed with. He was in favor of progressive taxation. He even gave a great rationale for it. I was floored. But that turned out to be a letdown. He hired right wing zealots to do his tax policy (naturally) and his tax policies did not match his rhetoric in favor of progressive taxation.

  2. ROGER MEXICO

    Re your post to me of 5.41 yesterday. I refer you to LAZLO of 10.36.

  3. If the rich homeowners in Scotland pay more tax the poor in Scotland can have more money. Simples.

  4. @Mr. Nameless

    Yes, that makes perfect sense – I don’t know whether you saw Top Hat’s post which said much the same. The explanation was never going to be that women had a gender-determined disposition to vote Tory as they got older.

    Top Hat’s thinking is that election results in the future can be predicted, rather like we know how many senior school pupils we will need to deal with from the primary school numbers.

    People don’t change their broad political stance much over a lifetime, do they? Perhaps political parties wax and wane, depending upon whether their supporters are in the demographic ascendency, and how cleverly they nuance their policies to capture a bulge in the population statistics.

    I hesitate to say it, but my first thought is that there won’t be too many harrumphing Ukippers in the future.

  5. @The Other Howard

    Sorry to interject as I haven’t taken part in either discussion so far (though I’m following them with interest), but I must point out that Roger Mexico and Laszlo’s comments were on different topics — the former, whether income inequality has risen or fallen, and the latter, the three-cities report, which concerns economic deprivation and health. Thus, it isn’t possible to use one to refute the other.

    That’s how it seems to me, at least, apologies if I misunderstood.

  6. @TOH

    I find some of the views expressed recently by Trump and Fury abhorrent but I have to say the response we have seen in the Uk reminds me how much freedom of speech has been lost in this country by legislation from the last two governments. There is much still to admire in the United States.

    I think it’s a question of consistency.

    If it was a non-white person saying such things about Christians, there would be a stink kicked up by certain sections of the press to not let them into the country. Just think of the Muslim clerics that have been denied entry into the UK.

    I think our freedom of speech should be robust enough to handle a broad range of views many people find offensive, on the provisor these views are able to be fully and openly challenged.

  7. @Millie;

    I wouldn’t say that you can predict elections per se. You can say with reasonable confidence, I think, that politics in ~15 years will be more leftward than it is now, but supposing that means Labour victories also supposes both parties are broadly the same as they are now. Really, parties are dynamic and in the event the electorate’s centre drifts leftward one would expect e.g. the Conservatives to drift that way as well. Cameron and Osborne are even making a sop to this now.

  8. Alisdair

    I was referring to this part of Lazlo’s 1046 pm post to Candy.

    “By the way, @ToH there is much truth in your comment about inequality. DistributIon of inequality is hidden by the aggregates. There was a keynote speech in the 2012 AHE conference that thoroughly debunked most of the commonplaces about claims on inequality stats both from the left and the right.”

  9. CATMANJEFF

    I don’t think we are in disagreement. I would agree with your comments in your second paragraph. I also agree with your last paragraph but unfortunately it no longer works that way due to the legislation i mentioned.

  10. ToH @ 9.23 am:

    Freedom of speech in the UK has been lost not just from government legislation, but from the power of rich individuals largely unfettered.

    For instance, Donald Trump had the two Aberdeen newspapers bound to rule out hostile comments about his golf and housing developments, and to regularly include as news publicity material for the Trump organisation.

    So when I sent in a reader`s letter trying to correct a story about the planning of the development, it was sent to New York to be vetted. And two days later I was told by an editorial assistant in Aberdeen that the letter would only be published if I accepted the toned-down wording of the New York Trump organisation.

    These two papers have continued in the grip of Trump, ? for payment, and even this week when other media have had major stories about DT`s rash comments and burgeoning petitions, just tiny space has been given for this – yesterday just 4 inches on page 13 even it involved Robert Gordon`s University in Aberdeen.

  11. “People don’t change their broad political stance much over a lifetime, do they? Perhaps political parties wax and wane, depending upon whether their supporters are in the demographic ascendency, and how cleverly they nuance their policies to capture a bulge in the population statistics.”

    Two points here. Firstly people don’t change their broad political stance much, agreed. However PARTIES certainly do. They tend as suggested above to change their values and appeal to reflect the population (even sometimes their members). Anyone who remembers the 1970s will immediately appreciate that the stances of the political parties are very different now – probably more so than most of the people politically active at the time. So the idea that “the party has left me” is often accurate, and leads to changes in party loyalties and voting behaviour.

    Secondly, there is a process with aging, which may not be “broad political stance” but is rather attitudes to risk. If you are young, broke, deeply in debt, with no responsibilities, and doubtful prospects, then you are very open to change since you have nothing to lose if it goes wrong. On the other hand if you have a mortgage, kids, elderly parents requiring support, and a good job, you are going to be very wary of change which could seriously disadvantage you. And if you are at the end of your working career it will be too late to start again if things go wrong. This is one of the interpretations of people becoming more conservative as they age, and on the whole a reasonable one. But this is different from becoming CONSERVATIVE, in the sense of attitudes to open markets, free trade, taxation, state support, nationalism, etc.

    (sorry about the caps but I don’t know how the rest of you manage to get italics)

  12. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “@LASZLO
    Thanks for that, I get really annoyed at some of the myths repeatedly stated as “fact” on here.”

    ———–

    Wouldn’t throw a party just yet Howard!! Laszlo’s doing the same thing: claiming there’s stuff out there to refute others, without actually providing the links and quotes to back it up.

    Not that you have to, but others are actually providing that stuff, and I’m sure you can see the utility…

  13. @Wolf.

    I think the idea is that the rich people of England should pay more tax so the poor people of Scotland can have more money….

  14. Candy

    I knew that more had been done by GCPH since Briefing paper 40 to which you linked. I have copied and pasted a little from the start and conclusions of the “Towards a synthesis” paper and also provided the link to the paper.

    “Yet Scottish mortality was not always higher: it was only after 1950 that the rates improved more slowly than elsewhere in Europe. As late as 1981, most of the excess in Scotland as
    compared to England & Wales could be explained by deprivation. Over the next 20 years this excess increased, and the scope to account for it by reference to deprivation declined, raising
    the question of how to account for the balance.
    The immediate causes are known: high rates of alcohol and drug-related deaths, suicide, violence, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. But what are the underlying causes? There
    are multiple candidate hypotheses regarding both:
    ? the divergence of the Scottish mortality pattern from the rest of Europe from around 1950;
    ? the rise in excess mortality unexplained by deprivation from 1980 in Scotland (and Glasgow) as against the rest of the UK.”

    ” Conclusions
    The reasons for the high Scottish mortality between 1950 and 1980 are unclear, but poverty and deprivation linked to particular industrial employment patterns, poor housing and unhealthy
    cultural and behavioural patterns seem the more likely explanations. From 1980 onwards the mortality pattern changed and this seems most likely to be attributable to the changed political context, produced by neoliberal political attack, and the consequent hopelessness and community disruption experienced in Scotland and Glasgow. This perspective may have
    relevance to faltering health improvement in other countries, such as the USA. Further research, linked to integration and synthesis of the most likely causal explanations, is merited, as is further work to design policies and interventions to create a healthier future for Scottish communities.”

    May I commend to you the 10th Kilbrandon Lecture by the former Chief medical Officer of Scotland, Sir Harry Burns. On the day after the result of the Indyref an obviously disturbed Sir Harry observed only: “The poor have been put back in their box.”

    Here is the transcript. The lecture itself can also be found online.

  15. Good Afternoon All.

    TOP HAT and MILLIE.
    I predict that Labour will do worse in the 2020 GE than in 2015, and that therefore they will not win in 2025, and thus 2030 is the next feasible date for a Lab GE win, which I predict I will not see.

  16. @Sam,

    I’d suggest that someone who uses the words “neoliberal political attack” is probably not entirely neutral in their observations. Dr Burns is obviously eminent, but one might observe that for someone whose job was to promote healthiness in Scotland, with higher per capita spending than in England, he didn’t quite succeed in his task.

    Interestingly, there is new article just gone up on BBC news which suggests that, in women at least, unhappiness and stress doesn’t shorten your life. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35052404

  17. Presumably depends how much stress. Some stress is good. Isn’t there supposed to be an optimal level?

    It’s the chronic stress, months, years of the immune system being suppressed without respite, is the issue. (Or more acute stress, where completely overloaded…)

  18. Which is a big part of the problem with poverty. The stress is magnified, without respite. Everything becomes a big deal. How you spend every penny. And if on minimum wage, big time pressures too. Seeing loved ones go without. Key resources like cookers going down without being able to afford to replace. Living in places that are like war zones, further hampering, but can’t afford to escape.

    All this tends to fall off the radar, and it’s decided that it’s just people overindulging, poor diet and smoking etc., that apparently is the main problem. Only, it isn’t… And to some extent at times when it is an issue it’s a symptom rather than a cause. A response to the hopelessness…

    That said… The right have a point, in that the solution to the problem isn’t necessarily to just give more money…

  19. Millie – “People don’t change their broad political stance much over a lifetime, do they? Perhaps political parties wax and wane, depending upon whether their supporters are in the demographic ascendency, and how cleverly they nuance their policies to capture a bulge in the population statistics.”

    People might not change their broad political stance – but political parties do, so sometimes they are moving towards you and sometimes they move away from you.

    Hence someone like me who has managed to vote for three parties in my voting career so far. I had voters remorse immediately after the first time I switched (in a council election) – but it turned out really well, I felt pleased with myself and now I repeatedly choose whoever looks like the least worst option. No tribal loyalty at all, they’re just like options in a restaurant menu.

    I think the pool of floating voters is a growing demographic and once people realise that the outcome is good when they switch, they keep doing it. It’s the first time that’s the hardest. I think this is what Osborne has in mind with his moves to the centre and his wooing of ethnic minorities – he wants people to consider trying his party out. Once they do it, they’ll always be open to the possibility in the future because a Rubicon has been crossed. Of course Blair had the idea first.

  20. @Candy,

    You’ve become what I like to call a “Retail Voter”.

    I don’t know why the term never catches on…

  21. I suppose retail voting is more likely in the era of parties flip flopping and chasing votes in focus groups etc.

    Especially if you’re in a marginal…

  22. Candy is right about the number of floating voters increasing, but not on the calculations for the cost of politicians.

    We don`t get one regional MSP for each constituency, so the cost is more spread.

  23. Neil A – “You’ve become what I like to call a “Retail Voter”.”

    It’s a good term. In retail, the biggest obstacle is consumers’ inertia. They use the same brand of toothpaste for years, the same brand of toilet paper. Hence all the special price offers. If you try something at half price and it’s good, you might switch. But without the offer you wouldn’t try it in the first place.

    I think politics is like that too. Osborne is getting a lot of flak from his right wing for his move to the centre. But he has to have a go because no-one knows how long Corbyn will last – he may stay till the next election. He may be ditched in 2017. Which makes the 2016 council elections a really important window of opportunity. If people can be persuaded to just try the Conservatives for the council elections, they won’t get converted into tribal Conservative voters, but they will be open to the possibility of voting Con in the future. And they will have stopped being tribal Lab voters – once the Rubicon has been crossed, they are now in play as floating voters for the rest of their lives.

  24. Hello all, I haven’t made an appearance here in a while cos my life was temporarily consumed by the release of a much anticipated new video game. After playing it for 10 hours straight every day since its release I’m finally capable of pulling my eyes away and you should all be proud that the first place I go to is UKPR (excellent site that it is).
    Anywho not much else to say really, polls static, Labour holds a safe seat in a by election (shock horror) Blairites sniping, all old news.

  25. @Neil A

    Neil, it wasn’t Harry Burns who used the phrase -“political attack”. It is in the paper, “Towards a synthesis.”

    @Carfrew “the solution isn’t… just give more money”

    Giving evidence to the Health and Sport Committee Dr McCartney said what was needed to address health inequalities was to redistribute power, wealth and income. Professor Mcintyre said the key policies were employment, education and welfare.

    Education can offer protection against poverty. People may move in and out of poverty. The greatest risk is lost employment.

  26. Much pontificating as to the “real” cause of the Glasgow effect (as it was termed) on health and morbidity.

    However, the real purpose of the initial summary paper was that the Effect is real and measurable – and unexplained.

    We have had decades of people saying “X must be the cause (and I can’t do anything about X, so I can’t do anything”, or “It’s all the fault of Party Y, so elect me and a magic wand will be waved”, or “They’re Scots, what do you expect?”, or “We’re victims!”, or various other bits of rubbish.

    The whole point is that the Effect is unexplained

    Some of the factors which produce poorer health outcomes in Glasgow, than in similar areas, have been identified, but none of them provide an adequate explanation of the post 1980 phenomenon.

    There have been a number of theories promulgated (hence the structure of the paper, Lazlo) which need to be tested.

    However, it seems much more likely that the causes of the Effect lie in a complex network of interplay between them (as well as there being the potential for others, yet unconsidered).

    Those (from any aspect of the political spectrum) who try to suggest that they (uniquely, they imagine, for no expert in the field has their insight) know the answer is probably an idiot.

  27. @candy

    Ho hum. The TTIP debate was in the UK Parliament.

  28. @Sam

    The traditional prescriptions tend to leave some important stuff out in my view. And just education, raises the issue of precisely what that education should be. ‘Cos often, it isn’t what one might really need. He pace of change is causing additional issues, and education, and policy generally, is well behind the curve.

    (Like, at school, they don’t tend to tell you about well-remunerated but fault-tolerant careers. Even people IN those careers don’t necessarily realise…)

  29. @candy

    The increase in MSP’s pay of 2.7% comes after decoupling themselves from the Westminster pay review system which awarded a 10% increase to MP’s. So a fine example.of moderation and restraint compared to Westminster.

    Scotland doesn’t have a second chamber although we do pay towards England’s bishops to sit in the UK ‘s second unelected chamber and all the other costs associated with that medieval relic.

    Scotland has a streamlined system of 32 single tier local authorities (none of England’s extravagance of up two or even three tiers of local authorities in one area) and one national police and fire service.

    Perhaps your cost cutting zeal might best be directed elsewhere.

  30. Hireton – “Ho hum. The TTIP debate was in the UK Parliament.”

    I think Couper’s point was that she needed to pay MSPs £60,000 plus expenses to fly to London and cheer the discussion in Parliament from the gallery, and that’s why she used the TTIP discussion to justify their salaries. :-)

    You haven’t explained what tangible benefit Scotland is getting by diverting public funds into politicians purses – especially as Scotland is under performing quite badly on all sorts of measure – education, health, the economy, timely repair of bridges.

    How has giving politicians more money helped at all? The divergence in performance with England has widened since the Scottish Parliament has come into effect, has it not?

  31. “Perhaps your cost cutting zeal might best be directed elsewhere.

    ——-

    Lol, don’t be giving her ideas!!…

  32. Heathrow Runway decision delayed until after the London Mayoral Election. If Zac wins and the runway gets the go-ahead, will Zac resign?

  33. @RAF,

    As MP yes, as mayor no. He’s already said so in an interview a few days ago.

  34. @Neil A

    Thanks. I hadn’t seen that.

    It seems odd that with both the existing Mayor and both leading Mayoral candidates against a third runway at Heathrow, that the Government may still give it the green light.

  35. Things may be getting a wee bit partisan.

  36. Bill Patrick

    Isn’t Yuletide supposed to be for Parties an’ other fun things? :-)

  37. It’s not exactly a poll, but the left-wing media are making a big deal of a petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK (491,361 votes at time of writing).

    I’ve seen no mention of another current petition to “Stop all immigration and close the UK borders until ISIS is defeated.” which has 444,872.

    As Trump seems to have a decent chance of becoming POTUS it would seem foolish to ban the potential leader of our strongest ally.

  38. @ CMJ

    You are very right. Sorry, but in a great hurry, so it is a bit of a half answer.

    ://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/the-story-of-inequality/

    My problem with the whole thing is the lack of distributional analysis. Pauperisation is not new. I will produc some nice graphs on quantiles: the tw middle ones are more and more similar to each other. The trouble is where are the edges of the spectrum. ToH rightly pointed out this effect, and I think it’s an important one.

    Essentially, the GINI and other indices work with aggregates, thus they are exposed to the regression bias (look what NZ caused to the acceptable debt level analysis). So we need distributional analysis (in polls too, by the way AW), but it is then open to interpretations and hence, even if it’s right, it is vulnerable.

    While inequality measures show growing inequalities in the 2000s, there is no evidence of such in cluster analysis – clusters of incomes move, but their directions vary.

    Apologies. I’m really in a hurry.

  39. @Pete B,

    Trump is a reprehensible clown, but I don’t think he’s said anything so far that actually qualifies him to be banned from the UK under current rules.

    If he won the election, and actually tried to implement some of these stupid policies, then I expect the UK government would be amongst many others in fighting him tooth and nail.

  40. @RAF,

    I think it’s just local politics. Expanding Heathrow isn’t about the interests of Londoners, it’s about the interests of southern England (and to some extent the whole UK).

    Heathrow is within London’s boundaries, Gatwick is not. Hence every London politician who believes in an extra runway believes it should be at Gatwick (or in Essex).

    Whichever party was in power when this pass-the-parcel game finally had the music stop was going to end up with a political headache, balancing national interests against the views of their London representatives.

  41. @Neil A

    “As MP yes, as mayor no. He’s already said so in an interview a few days ago.”

    I’m not entirely sure I’d trust him on that. I remember reading an interview with him, prior to becoming an MP, where he declared that if Cameron rowed back on his environmental pledges he’d resign.

    5 years, and all the green carp junked, later he’s still hanging around the commons bar.

  42. Neil A

    “I think it’s just local politics. Expanding Heathrow isn’t about the interests of Londoners, it’s about the interests of southern England (and to some extent the whole UK).”

    I’m not sure about the last bit of your comment, unless having the largest hub airport in the UK in London produces greater tax revenues than having it somewhere more convenient.

    The flight time from Edinburgh to Schipol is the same as to London so, for many, the question is more one of which hub is easiest to use to get to my preferred destination – if there are no direct flights from a local airport.

    Other than business rate/employment benefits, how is having a hub airport economically beneficial to its host city?

  43. PETE B

    Snap, I was about to post the same comments. Funny how the BBC missed the other poll.

    OldNat

    Very sensible comments about the Glasgow effect. I agree it is clearly a very complex issue with multiple causes.

  44. @Oldnat,

    I’m not sure that a hub airport does particularly benefit its host city, or at least the gain in jobs and taxes is balanced with loss of space and increased congestion. That’s sort of my point. You can see why London Tories aren’t keen.

    As for Edinburgh, I think there’s a lot to be said for developing a hub for the UK away from London. After all, BA’s latest argument is that if Heathrow isn’t expanded they may consider quitting the UK and setting up abroad. Dublin was mentioned. Well, Edinburgh (or Yorkshire, or Lincolnshire, or Somerset) is just as well-placed as Dublin is.

    Personally I think England probably needs a brand new city somewhere. Perhaps in the Midlands. Let’s build 100,000 new homes, a big airport, a new university, a new hospital, a train station and a high speed line to Heathrow and make that our “City of the Future”.

  45. @Hireton

    I wish England only had two or three tiers of local administration. Here in East Devon we are about to be saddled with five:

    Town or Parish Council
    East Devon District Council
    Greater Exeter ( a joint body comprising East Devon, Exeter and Teignbridge )
    Devon County Council

    and a new ‘South West powerhouse’, comprising 14 authorities that make up our LEP area.

    Everybody I know would be happy with two tiers, parish and county, which would be easier to understand and save many millions.

  46. People in Scotland are talking about having only one education authority for the whole country, which would save a lot of money. Some of the very small schools in the country could then close which would free up sorely needed extra funds for Glasgow,

  47. “Personally I think England probably needs a brand new city somewhere. Perhaps in the Midlands. Let’s build 100,000 new homes, a big airport, a new university, a new hospital, a train station and a high speed line to Heathrow and make that our “City of the Future”.” Neil A

    That sounds a bit like Milton Keynes – except for the airport, oh and maybe the university?

    Seriously, perhaps Neil A is right and it would be better to start again and build the airport in the middle of nowhere first, as no-one wants it near them. Then at least those who move there will know what to expect.

  48. About those petitions.
    The trump petition reached half a mill in three days. The stop immigration one has been running for a month.

    To compare the two and conflate the difference into some frothing anti BBC story is reckless with facts and daft.

  49. It is interesting to observe that the person who started the anti immigration petition is a Brit living in Spain. Hmmmm.

  50. @Neil A

    “Personally I think England probably needs a brand new city somewhere. Perhaps in the Midlands. Let’s build 100,000 new homes, a big airport, a new university, a new hospital, a train station and a high speed line to Heathrow and make that our “City of the Future””

    They could call it ‘New Beijing’ ;)

1 2 3 4 5 6