There are two new polls on the EU referendum today. While the YouGov and ComRes polls conducted after the draft renegotiation showed a sharp movement towards LEAVE, these two paint a far steadier picture (though given one is online and one was conducted by phone, their overall figures contrast with each other!). ICM’s last poll had shown LEAVE nudging ahead, today’s new online figures are back to REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 39% (tabs here). Ipsos MORI’s latest telephone figures are REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 36% – virtually unchanged from their previous poll (tabs here).

MORI also released their monthly voting intention figures, which stand at CON 39%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 12%, GRN 3%

353 Responses to “Latest MORI and ICM referendum polling”

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  1. @NeilA

    First paragraph of previous post:

    “Fisheries policy is subject to rafts of international treaties whether we are in or out of the EU. As such I would have thought the UK government would be loathe to have this devolved to Scotland…”

    I go on to make the same point about agricultural policy in following paragraph. Emphasis should be on policy in both.

    In the following post I summarised the situation as:

    “Administrative devolution rather than policy devolution.”

    These all seem totally consistent statements to me.

    I don’t think we are in agreement that ‘Scotland can run her own agriculture and fisheries policy’ at all.

    These areas of public policy are so bound by international treaty and free trade agreements that so long as the negotiation of these treaties and agreements remain with Westminster as a reserved power, Scotland is in effect bound to administer quotas and regulations etc set out by treaty as agreed by Westminster in line with its (that is Westminster’s) policies.

    Administrative rather than policy devolution.

    The only way out of this would be for Scotland to have some kind of separate treaty arrangements reflecting the policy objectives of the Scottish Government. As treaty making is the absolute prerogative of a nation state, I can’t see how this would be possible without Scotland becoming independent.

  2. @NeilA

    Of course, there could be another means of ensuring that the UK government represents the interests of all constituent nations of the UK at international negotiations in line with each nation’s devolved government’s policy objectives, regardless of whether or not they are consistent, but I think you;d agree that would get rather messy…

    Can you imagine attending an international conference where you argued against your own position?

  3. But surely if treaty negotiation is the absolute right of the nation state, then Professor Scott is wrong to suggest that such powers would revert to Scotland on EU exit.

    As foreign policy matters, wouldn’t the negotiation of the UK, including Scotland’s, agriculture and fisheries policies revert to Westminster rather than Holyrood?

    I don’t mean to be awkward, I just like to understand things if I can.

  4. John B

    How can we be asked to vote on something not yet completed and secure?

    Well, the “Vow” still isn’t completed, and definitely not secure.

    In 1997 we had referendums in Scotland and Wales, when the UK Government hadn’t even drafted the Bills.

    When using the D’Hondt method …. What happens then? Most initial votes? Party with least list seats so far?

    Per the Electoral Commission:
    Equality of votes
    7.12 If two or more parties and/or individual regional candidates are tied with the highest totals at any stage where a seat is being allocated, the following rules must be applied:
    • If there are enough seats yet to be allocated, all the tied parties and/or individual regional candidates must be allocated a seat.
    • If there are not enough seats, you must restart the whole calculation for the region from the beginning, but before doing so you must add one vote to the number of votes given for each party or individual regional candidate who were tied. You should record this fact in your result notice.

    7.13 If this would still result in two or more parties or individual candidates having the highest regional figure you must decide between them by lot.
    Examples of types of lot are suggested at 6.43 above.


  6. As someone who lives in a country, Canada, now subject to 38 “international economic agreements”, I would say the English, before they vote for “BREXIT”, need to reflect on what it would mean to go it alone “economically”.

    We have never had a referendum in Canada on any of these “treaties” and/or “agreements”, and of late even our MPs have never seen some of the wording and language in them.

    The last “Conservative” government signed onto foreign corporations suing us as a country, if they feel federal or provincial legislation impinges on their right to sell a product and/or service in Canada and make a profit.

    Which means, for example, if we in British Columbia continue to insist that “dilbit” from the Alberta Tar Sands cannot be transported by pipeline to our coast and shipped by tanker to China, that the Chinese State corporation, Nexen can sue the government of Canada.

    So be warned about what kind of an “economic” world you are entering if you achieve “BREXIT”, as the economic agreements we have signed have no environmental, social or any other such standards written into them.

    As a Canadian I envy what you have achieved as a “united Europe”. After 1,600 years of fighting and mayhem, the last war killing over 50 million people, 20 m in the Soviet Union alone, never mind 6 m dying in gas chambers and by other horrendous acts of barberism – I am appalled by the whining on this list.

    The EU as a concept came out of the experience of WW1 and WWII, in which the entire planet was plunged into mayhem and chaos.

    Against the wishes of cooler heads the Americans and the English lead the world into an invasion of a sovereign country, rather than negotiate the transition of Sadam Hussein to another leader, as was done for the liberation of East Timor.

    This same policy was pursued in terms of toppling Ghadafi in Libya and Assad in Syria, and it galls me to read that the English having caused this massive flow of refugees out of failed states out of Syria, Iraq and Libya, now want to exit the EU.

    It is politically hypocritical, to say the least, to first cause the problem and then like Pontius Pilot, wash ones hands and walk away from the situation, pretending that you had not caused it in the first place.

    Our current government was elected on October 19th and will have paid for the arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees direct from the camps by the end of February, as compared to the proposed 6,000 over ten years that the “Conservatives” were planning to let in. And I assume we will be bringing in more as is appropriate for us to do.

    I am no political fan of Angel Merkel, but in comparison to David Cameron who insists on continuing to bomb Syria, instead of creating safe havens for these displaced people, I salute her for her compassion and courageous foresight.

    Tony Blair and George Bush by rights should be put on trial for war crimes for the murder and mayhem they unleashed with their policy upon us all


    @”Perhaps you could point to the credible reports of children in numbers freezing to death or dying of cholera in camps in the Balkans ”

    What “numbers” count as serious for you ?!!

    This will have to suffice-my point being that Merkel’s open invitation has given rise both the drowning of children AND the suffering described by Save the Children in the article. Indeed I think it arguable that the EU caused a double dose of potentialy fatal risk to these children:-First the perilous sea voyage-and then, just when the trans european route had been established & in use by thousands of migrants-the unilateral reaction to Merkel’s policy of border closures & razor wire-shutting these families into a maze of further obstacles just a winter set in.

  8. @NeilA

    I don’t think that you’re being awkward at all.

    The Scottish Government has control over the day to day matters relating to fisheries policy and the marine environment in general terms, which are exercised through Marine Scotland.

    Within this I am sure there is quite a lot of operational policy, emphasis for expenditure so on and so forth which is devolved.

    However, what’s clear is that the negotiation of treaties and EU level policy resides with Westminster.

    Professor Scott may be arguing that some of what is currently operationally managed at an EU level might in the future be done at a national level and therefore be devolved to Scotland. This could be true of some small amount of enforcement work and procedure.

    However, in terms of negotiating or ratifying treaties, which we (presuming the existence of the UK) will need to enter into in this area to secure cooperative fishing agreements which our fleets depend on, I think he’s either wrong, or intentionally setting hares running.

    Only a nation state can sign a binding territorial or international treaty under international law – I think some British people get confused because of the peculiarities appertaining to some of our sporting organisations which are ‘devolved’.

    So, the answer is simple, Scotland as part of the UK outside of the EU could not go around signing binding international treaties on fisheries, free trade or any other matter. If Scotland wants to do that she must become independent and a full nation state recognised by other nation states and the UN.

    Intriguingly, this would remain the case even if Westminster devolved treaty signing powers to the Scottish Government. As a non nation state Scotland would, even under these circumstances, find itself unable to lodge the treaty with the UN and therefore have no recourse the the International Court of Justice at the Hague in the case of breach. The treaty would be an unenforceable bilateral agreement. There’s some case history on this as California and other US states have tried signing international agreements, as have secessionist semi autonomous areas in other parts of the world.


    @”perhaps you could clarify what point you’re making and what it has to do with my comment?”

    NeilA was expressing the view that many , if not most of the migrants to EU last year were economic migrants-ie did not qualify for UN status of “Refugee”. You appeared to dispute that view and said-by way of example -“This would lead me to believe that at least as important as economic advancement is freedom from oppression ”

    I was seeking to suggest that NeilA was correct-and cited the number of asylum claims granted in evidence.-around 32% of applications in 2014.

    I agree that there will be claims in process-but such evidence as seems available points to a significant majority of “Economic Migrants”. Of course I accept that a particular individual may see themselves as both in flight from persecution and in search of better jobs. But we have to use the recognised UN criteria for determining their status.

    With regard to your points about Calais , I didn’t address them, because I didn’t read those comments.

  10. @Colin

    Do you know I almost specified when writing ‘reliable reports’ that the likes of IBT, RT and PRSSTV didn’t count; however, I thought, incorrectly, that your standards would be too high to cite such sources.

    As you have done, and for the sake of accuracy the article you link to doesn’t speak of thousands of children dying of starvation, cholera or freezing to death in the Balkans this winter. Instead it highlights that people passing through the area might be at risk of doing so unless adequate assistance was / is provided.

    The article is now several weeks old. As there are no reputable media reports since then of such a catastrophe having occurred I think it would be reasonable to conclude none has.

    The piece is also devoid of meaningful facts or figures, though it does contain some images that give us an idea of how truly awful things could be if all the 1.3 million people who came to Europe this year had not merely passed through the poorer states of southern Europe and the Balkans but been trapped there in huge numbers this winter. In that sense it gives us a glimpse of the abyss into which Europe stared in the summer months.

    By the way, the source for the this piece of journalism wasn’t a thorough going ‘Save The Children’ report as it claims, but a fundraising campaign by the charity – highlighting the prospect of what could happen if these people weren’t assisted. Furthermore the charity in the person of its CEO Justin Forsyth has praised Angela Merkel and encouraged other European leaders to do more in terms of admitting refugees not less.

    I do appreciate that what has happened as a result of the ‘open doors’ policy is a far from ideal situation of mass migration of a chaotic and distressing kind (though when was there ever any other?) and that it has had negative impacts on the public opinion towards refugees in many European countries, especially those with less favourable records in this regard to begin with.

    But I find the idea that had the large wealthy northern European nations – particularly Germany, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries – simply refused entry in May everything would have been some how better to be revisionist nonsense.

    Nor do I think the political consequences in terms of voter approval for Europe’s leaders would have been at all – and right so – better.

  11. Interesting discussion with a Scotch exile now living down south, today. Went “home” to SW Scotland and was surprised by the anti EU views expressed. Anecdotal, of course, but if you listen to the SNP and their cheerleaders, you’d think everyone the other side of Hadrians Wall was a rabid Europhobe.

  12. @NeilA

    I sent you a long and possibly slightly to technical response that has gone into moderation, reminding me why this site is so frustrating frankly.

    Basically I do think Prof Scott is wrong. There’s no provision under international law for any entity other than a nation state to enter into this kind of treaty and for it to be binding.

    So if Scotland wishes to make international treaties it will need to become independent via referendum.

    Of course transfer of fisheries administration and management work from ‘Brussels’ might result in some of this operational work coming to Scotland after a Brexit.

    Perhaps Prof Scott is setting hares running?


    @”I do appreciate that what has happened as a result of the ‘open doors’ policy is a far from ideal situation of mass migration of a chaotic and distressing ”

    Well I suppose that’s some sort of recognition of their plight. You & I seem to have a different approach to measuring the degree of suffering here.

    Lets leave it with an agreement of sorts between us.

    @”But I find the idea that had the large wealthy northern European nations – particularly Germany, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries – simply refused entry in May everything would have been some how better to be revisionist nonsense.”

    “Better” in this context is a state which requires significantly more analysis than your puzzling non sequitur.

    @”Nor do I think the political consequences in terms of voter approval for Europe’s leaders would have been at all – and right so – better.”

    Who can say-not I . Is it relevant ? ( that is a rhetorical question)

  14. @NeilA

    Final try from me.

    I’ve tried twice to clarify position re Scottish devolution and who can sign treaties – site having none of it.

    Both in moderation – therefore I give up.

  15. @Colin

    Oh Colin, where to begin?

    I’m not sure there’s any sort of agreement at which to leave things…

    To be plain, my view is that if northern Europe had sat on its hands and allowed 1.3 million people to simply fester on islands in the Med and in the Balkans the humanitarian crisis we would be facing now as a continent would be far worse than the one which we currently have.

    In this case, I posit, based on the public reaction to the publicity which surrounded the deaths of children during the summer that there may well have been pressure to more by now and some impact on the popularity of political leaders. This would, of course have depended on reporting.

    You feel differently, clearly, and my understanding of your view is that the people would have stopped coming had the borders been closed earlier. I’m unconvinced there are many precedents in history for this – but thankfully we’re not putting your theory to the test.

    I think we probably have to agree to disagree.

    On the question of the proportion of asylum seekers who are ultimately refugees be that 32% or 40% as some Scandinavian authorities currently estimate, I didn’t deny that economic factors were hugely important as a pull factor for people coming to Europe.

    I was merely countering NeilA’s view – which seems to have some traction in public opinion at the moment – that it is the only factor.

    There are no doubt a basket of different reasons that motivate different people to leave their homes and possessions and seek new lives and still others that dictate their chosen destination country, on that at least we might agree.


    PS to my February 18th, 2016 at 5:47 pm post….

    That extra single vote to each tied party/candidate should, of course, give a very slight edge to the party which had the least votes initially.

  17. via Record Editor –

    Survation Scotland poll on EU (with change from last month).

    Remain: 66% (+1)
    Leave: 34% (-1)

  18. Though pictures of drowned children are upsetting, it could all be avoided if the EU got its act together and stated that we would fund camps in Jordan, Libya etc and take a quota (to be shared out) each month, as the UK already does. It wouldn’t stop unofficial migration altogether but it would reduce it.

    Also let’s not forget articles like this, from May last year –

    Does anyone know how many Isis fanatics are among the migrants? I rather doubt it.

    To bring it back to polling, Unless the migrant situation is sorted out properly, I think that the Leave campaign will benefit because electors will think that we could at least control our own borders, and – crucially – get rid of any government that failed to do so.

  19. Pete B

    As John Curtice pointed out

    Leavers are excited by the immigration issue, while Remainers are more concerned about the economy.

    Not so much a debate as “a referendum campaign in which the two sides are often talking past each other rather than engaging in a debate on the merits of their respective cases.”

  20. For me, I am fairly convinced by the argument that the UK is better off economically within the EU (although I think the amount of benefit may be exaggerated). I also agree that leaving the UK runs a risk of splitting Scotland from the UK (although I think a Yes vote in those circumstances is by no means guaranteed). I am also fairly convinced by the argument that the UK is better off socially and culturally outside the EU (although I think the amount of detriment is also exaggerated).

    I wouldn’t describe myself as especially motivated. Whichever way the vote goes, I won’t be cheering or crying. I think the UK will be just fine whatever we decide. So for me I am very interested in hearing the merits (and as we get closer to the event, the specifics) of both sides’ cases.

  21. @peteb

    We do control our own borders as it is.

  22. @Hireton,

    I think Pete means deciding who gets to cross them.

  23. Neil A

    “the UK is better off socially and culturally outside the EU”

    I’m not sure what is meant by that phrase. Could you clarify?

    My initial assumption was that it was a code phrase for “keep these bloody foreigners away from my daughter!” – but
    1. Such an attitude seems unlikely from you, given what I’ve read of your views and
    2. maybe you don’t have a daughter. :-)

  24. New TNS poll based on 11 to 15 Feb.
    34% remain , 7% would not vote, 23% undecided.

    not vote removed leave 39% remain 36%: 25% undecided.

    Big undecided vote to play for?

  25. @Pete B – “Though pictures of drowned children are upsetting, it could all be avoided if the EU got its act together and stated that we would fund camps in Jordan, Libya ……”

    Not wishing to be over critical, but Libya is currently a war zone and Jordan has a migrant population equivalent to 20% of it’s normal populace. I think it’s a bit harsh to say that they should accept even more, and that refugees/migrants should be happy to sit in tents in a war zone.

    But you are right to focus on the polling issues. @Hireton is wrong, in the context of this discussion, in that we are not able to exert control of our borders in terms of EU citizens or accepted migrants. This is the problem.

    For me, the worst thing about this whole migrant debate is that the temporal aspects are largely ignored, or at least only considered from one perspective.

    We know from history, even from the ‘Polish Plumber’ migration from this century, that rapid population movements are nearly always accompanied by a slower and more measured counter flow in the opposite direction in due course.

    The unfortunate assumption (possiblly arrogant assumption) of many of those opposing inward migration is that our country is so great that eastern European workers or refugees forced from their homes by war think the UK is so great that they will stay here forever. Actually, the vast majority of these people love their own countries more than they love the UK, and if and when conditions stabilise at home, most will want to return.

    The problem for the host nation becomes one of adjustment in the short, maintaining security and public acceptance, along with a lesser problem of assimilation for the relatively small numbers likely to stay for much longer. If addressed in this general way, migration becomes a much more temporary issue and possibly less frightening for some.

  26. We seem to be getting to the nub of the EU negotiations now. A deal will be done, and in all likelihood the UK will vote to remain regardless, based almost entirely on the economic risks of leaving.

    The big questions remaining in my mind is what will happen to the leave voters after the referendum, and what impacts does the renegotiation have on the structure of the EU.

    In Scotland, losing the referendum emboldened the SNP, and certainly didn’t kill of independence ‘for a generation’. Whether a similar dynamic will exist for the anti EU campaigners is difficult to say, but that will largely depend on what happens in the EU itself. This is why these negotiations matter.

    It looks certain that Cameron will get his opt out of ‘ever closer union’, which makes a big difference in terms of the philosophy behind UK membership. However, it fails to answer another of his central questions, which is how we guarantee that the UK is not disadvantaged, either by being outside the EZ, or by being outside ‘ever closer union’.

    Logically, this circle can’t be squared. EU nations accept ever closer union as they think it benefits thems, as do the EZ nations regarding the Euro. By definition, being on the outside means missing out on some of these benefits, alongside being protected against some of the centralizing measures.

    Particularly with the EZ, I cannot see a long term future for the EU to operate with some countries in a currency union and some out, without one group or other securing preferential benefit. It would be unfair of the UK to block meaures that gave an advantage to the EZ nations, just because we don’t want to join their currency, but equally we will be unhappy if they seek reforms that adversely affect the UK.

    We end up back at the UK’s perpetual square one, which is we want be a little in Europe, but not fully in. Poland sees closer integration as the best way to protect their national identity, the Benelux nations have been used to drifting across their own borders unhindered for years (as have the Germans – oops – can I say that?) the eastern nations know what peace and war mean and shudder to think of fenced borders. The UK, by contrast, remains wedded to an ideal of independance and soveriegnty, which doesn’t really exist any more.

    I can’t see the EU’s structural problems being improved in any way as a result of these negotitions, nor can I see the UK’s relationship with the EU being resolved either. Both of these two issues will continue to collide, with a ferocity largely controlled by events, and I suspect the uneasy alliance will continue largely unaltered whatever happens.

  27. Alec

    The trap that Cameron has set himself is that the vote could end up being a referendum on his renegotiation rather than whether the UK already has a good position in the EU.

  28. ALEC

    @”rapid population movements are nearly always accompanied by a slower and more measured counter flow in the opposite direction in due course.”

    Are they?

  29. @ Hawthorn

    ‘The trap that Cameron has set himself is that the vote could end up being a referendum on his renegotiation rather than whether the UK already has a good position in the EU.’

    Agreed .. but not just a referendum on his renegotiation. It may also be a referendum on how the EU states are perceived to have been unreasonable and grudging about concessions which are regularly portrayed in much of the press as pretty trivial. If the EU states cannot compromise with its second largest economy (and after their treatment of Greece) then what guarantee is there of any future difficulties being taken seriously.

  30. @Colin – I think so, although it’s true that the link you provide doesn’t immediately suggest that. I suspect that thi is because in recent years we have been affected by waves on in migration from different sources. I can’t locate the data but I have seen official stats showing significant numbers of returnees from the A8 countries (Poland etc) but with new arrivals from Romania, and now the mid East, we still see large net migration totals.

    I remain pretty convinced that if we could stabilize the situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya, we would almost certainly see a healthy reverse flow of refugees, although equally not all of them would return I’m sure.

  31. Mention of Greece is apposite :-

    What a dog’s breakfast the EU approach to this tragedy continues to be.

    Tsipras reported to be ready to “veto” UK deal if Greece continues to be left as the fall guy in EU’s cynical ineptitude.

  32. ALEC

    @”the link you provide doesn’t immediately suggest that. ”

    It doesn’t because its not true.

    @”I remain pretty convinced that if we could stabilize the situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya, we would almost certainly see a healthy reverse flow of refugees,”

    But you will see from the excellent interactive data in the link I posted, that none of those countries feature as top sources of UK inward migration.

  33. ‘The trap that Cameron has set himself is that the vote could end up being a referendum on his renegotiation rather than whether the UK already has a good position in the EU.’

    I suspect the vast majority of voters won’t really give two hoots to the actual renegotiation, but will decide based on events between now and polling day.

    There remains an increasingly shaky economic outlook, with EZ banks last week facing some very heavy weather on the markets, and by June the migrant ciris will be in full flow again.

    If the EZ and the EU are seen as floundering, this could have significance for the UK vote. In general, the EU’s fairly shambolic but well intentioned ‘government by lowest common denominator’ approach tends to work OK, until there is a real crisis where a clear decision is required. We currently have the two biggest crises ever faced by the EU, simultaneously, so the omens aren’t good.

    [Greece now theatening to scupper the deal as they are fed up with people shouting at them to solve the migrant crisis, not long after the same people were shouting at them to stop spending money on the kinds of things that might have, er,…solved the migrant crisis. ‘We’re all European’, until the crisis hits.]

  34. Alec

    I agree that voters will not care about the (mostly trivial) details brought up in the “renegotiations”. It is the overall appearance.

    Cameron’s line has been “the EU needs reform – I will deliver and everything will be tickety-boo”. If people perceive the talks to have failed (no matter the substance) then the internal logic of that position is to vote leave. I am quite sure the “out” campaign/s will point this out forcefully.

  35. Hi Colin – I’m not so sure the evidence isn’t there. Every year from 2004 – 2009 Australia featured in the top three inward countries, but with greater out migration in each of those years.

    In 2004 Poles had the right to enter the UK, and on 05, 06 and 07 51K, 58K and 88K did so. By 2008 55K entered and 50K left, by 2009 it was +33/-25. in recent years India has featured in the top 3 inward countries, and also in the top three outbound in 2011 and 2012. In 2004 China was number 2 inbound and number 3 outbound, with Romania creeping into number 3 inbound. I would predict that in a few years we’ll see Romania in the top three outbound for a year or two.

    The politically fascinating bit is the appearance of India and China as big inward supply countries. There are legacy issues with India, but none with China. Not keeping promises on net migration, when you could, if you really wanted to, end all non EU in migration, shows the emptiness of government pronouncements.

  36. @hawthorn – yes, I understand and do agree in principle. This is why all the negotiators have a vested interest in making the negotiations look really tough before they all sign up to miniscule changes. Spending millions of poundsworth of taxpayers money discussing irrelevancies while the continent faces it’s two biggest crises since 1945.

  37. Alec

    It is not difficult to imagine everyone saying it is a good deal, trebles all round etc.

    The problem is that it could give other recalcitrant members similar ideas and it only takes one country to cut up rough under domestic pressure to mess it up.

    The other difference is that the press will be spinning against Cameron for once. I also don’t think the public are completely gullible.

  38. The other thing to bear in mind is that Cameron probably never intended to go through with this plan. I think he was expecting to wheedle out of the problem with his yellow human shield.

  39. ALEC

    There is no sign whatsoever that net migration trends include the short peaks of Net In followed by longer periods of Net Out.which you claimed.

  40. @Alec

    “I remain pretty convinced that if we could stabilize the situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya, we would almost certainly see a healthy reverse flow of refugees”

    Well I suppose the situation will eventually stabilize; if things keep going at this rate everyone will have either left the places or be dead…

  41. @ Alec

    I don’t know any East Europeans who want to go back to their country, unless they have to (the recession certainly had such an effect) or they belong to the ruling cleptocracies.

    Both the Polish and the Hungarian governments offer money for those who return. The Hungarian government managed to entice 2 families in 18 months.

  42. I think the coalition of the “leave” is much broader than the “stay” – meaning the arguments for leaving represent a much broader spectrum.

    As somebody mentioned the DKs could be decisive, although I expect the turnout to be really low (it would be difficult for many to see the difference in or out in their everyday life).

  43. @Laszlo

    The Polish couple I know best (like most Britons I know quite a few Poles) are very hardworking, and very pleased to be in the UK. When work dries up, they move. Most recently to Aberdeen (although before the oil crash – I hope they’re alright).

    Every few months, when they’ve saved up some cash, they drive their VW camper back to Poland with their kids and spend a few weeks continuing work on building their own house (he is a roofer – although currently managing a car wash). They then return and work some more. There’s never been any question that they’ll one day live in Poland again, albeit with children who are well-educated, bi-lingual and medically well cared for. They are the very epitome of what Lord Tebbit would like British citizens to be.

    The problem is that there are literally millions of such people, who although as individuals are wonderful, productive and neighbourly, as a group produce pressure on housing stock and wages that has a direct effect on the living conditions of British citizens.

    Once again, I believe it’s “economic opportunity, economic opportunity, economic opportunity”. Everything else is secondary. If there were well-paid jobs to go to, they’d be off tomorrow.

  44. @ Neil A

    The opportunism of people from emergent markets as they are now called is massive (it is not a value statement, but something economic and other policies have to deal with) is massive. It is true for Eastern Europe, China, Egypt and India (I don’t want to bring in anecdotes, because they are not data).

    Apart from the mid 2000s there was no unusual pressure on UK public services from immigration, and I would argue that the current (last 7 years or so) real pressure due to immigration is largely because of the missing infrastructure in public services planning and resources. Just not enough devolution of budgeting, cuts in other funding, and far too heterogeneous administrative areas.

    Also, while there is a benchmarking exercise on local authorities’ handling immigration (rather similar to the one in the early 2000s on police response to helpline – you probably remember those wonderful spider web graphs), there is no facilitation of learning (Liverpool use to be a basket case of errors, now a pretty strong performer) from each other.

    Aberdeen and immigration is a very, very interesting case (although I don’t know the effects of the collapse of the oil price either).

  45. @Colin – “There is no sign whatsoever that net migration trends include the short peaks of Net In followed by longer periods of Net Out.which you claimed.”

    You’re probably right. There is evidence of backward flows when you look at some specific countries, but overall this gets swamped by the overall migration pattern, if I am allowed to use the word ‘swamped’ in a purely statistical sense here.

    @Laszlo – “I don’t know any East Europeans who want to go back to their country,….”

    Indeed not – they’ve already gone.

    @Neil A – mention of Lord Tebbit took me back to those heady days in the early 80’s when unemployed British workers flocked to West Germany and Auf Weidersehen Pet was watched by millions. Mark Knopfler wrote the classic lines in ‘Why Aye man’ –

    “There’s English, Irish, Scots the lot
    United Nations what we’ve got
    Brickies, chippies, every trade
    German building, British made”

    Back then, it was a ‘good thing’ to be an economic migrant, but now many of those same people saying that then are telling us now that to be an economic migrant is a ‘bad thing’. S’funny old world.

    [I know you aren’t saying this – your post just reminded me of those times].

  46. @ Alec

    There have not been as many Hungarians in the UK as in 2015 according to an academic research paid for by the EU.

    Also, according to the Polish Statistical Office the number of Poles in the UK last year exceeded the number in 2007.

    There you are.

  47. @Alec

    Auf Wiedersehn Pet came into my mind when I was writing it too.

    In some ways the UK exodus to Spain is similar, although sun-based rather than work-based.

    I’m not sure I consider economic migration “good” or “bad” per se. It largely depends on the resources available in the receiving country.

    I am sure there are some people in Germany (perhaps German-born chippies and brickies) who thought the UK workers were a pestilence. They certainly thought our football supporters were. And I’m certain there are many in Spain (for example, anyone who likes coastal countryside) who hate the effect of UK immigrants.

    For a country with a labour shortage and plenty of land, like 19th century America, the effects of immigration are probably overwhelmingly positive (unless you’re a Native American).

  48. @ Alec

    According to the Soc. 1,4 million Hungarians have live NI number in the UK. Yet the OnS estimates their number at something like 200 thousand (I can’t be bothered to look them up).

  49. @Laszlo – thanks. It was a gag, but the stats are interesting.

    My experience of poles is largely restricted to the post war population in west London.

  50. BBC reporting Gove will campiagn for out.


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