There is a new Opinium poll in the Observer with topline figures of CON 37%(+3), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 6%(-1), UKIP 15%(-2), GRN 4%(nc) – changes are from a month ago. The Conservatives have a healthy lead, but not the sort of big honeymoon lead that ICM and YouGov both showed them enjoying.

The Observer’s write up concentrates on the Labour race. Among current Labour voters Jeremy Corbyn is the preferred choice of 54%, Owen Smith of 22%. Labour voters do not, of course, necessarily reflect the preferences of the Labour members and supporters who get a vote, though the previous YouGov polling of Labour party members also suggested a large lead for Corbyn. On who would make the best Prime Minister (among the general public, rather than just Labour supporters!) Theresa May leads Corbyn by 52% to 16%.

441 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 37, LAB 31, LD 6, UKIP 15”

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  1. @Carfrew
    I’m getting old and tired and I would come off badly in any dispute with a hedge, but there are enough brownfield sites and Big Yellow locations to see me out.
    I keep reading that 99.3% of Britain (or something similar ) is hedgerows and a bit like areas where they’ve never seen an immigrant being agin ’em, seems to me that the hedgerow botherers mainly live in areas where the balance of their mind has been disturbed by an excess of birdsong.
    Of course, in the end we’ll have to turn to compulsory euthanasia as not enough of us old gits will be snuffing. Unless of course Jeremy’s masterplan for messing up the discovery of new drugs is successful and we start falling victim to sore throats (@CR, Syzygy – ONLY JOKING)


    “What do you do about the problem of supporting an ageing population? Or that migration seems to be providing the growth.”

    This issue has been exaggerated out of all proportion. We are already in a much better position than increasingly geriatric nations such as Italy and Japan. On the well heeled ‘Stepford Wives’ estate where I live every house seems to have at least two if not three or even four screaming brats. And these are not immigrants but white middle class people. No danger of a population decline here.

  3. I should add white middle class English people, just to be precise.

  4. @Oldnat

    Cheers for the tenuous ad homs, and you might wanna check yourself for projection, but buried among them you concede my point. Now what you need to do is realise that when you guys keep complaining about the English and unfairness of the BT campaign etc. etc., that you guys can be just as bad and plague the board with it too if left unchecked…

    It’s a straightforward point that no amount of twisting will evade. Night!!

  5. @Guymonde

    I recall earlier discussions where people said the real percentage in practice available for building is rather less, though can’t recall the details offhand.

    I think I posted a little while back that boomers are remaining more healthy than expected, needing less treatment, and hence support. Also means they can continue to work. Which of course can make it harder for the younger to find work…

    These things tend to wind up a bit more complicated when looking into them. Like, if boomer economic activity grew the economy enough to employ more younger people…

    In one wanted to complicate things further, there might be more efficient ways of housing people without drawbacks of the past, and indeed even of getting more biodiversity out of remaining hedgerows….

  6. @Tancred

    Yes, I recall reading a while back, in the Times perhaps, that the boom being experienced in schools wasn’t all down to immigration.

    There are even more complexities. With population comes growth, and a richer nation might have more resources to manage the hedgerows better. You could even employ second boomers to do it, they seem to like the flora and fauna.

    I wonder, even longer term, what the bio diversity thing will wind up meaning as genetic engineering becomes more and more prevalent.

  7. (even employ formerly retired boomers)

  8. @Andrew111

    You don’t seem to have read what I wrote about the reasons why there won’t be wholesale reselection – unless Conference changes the rules, of course, which is far from certain.

    It is simply not administratively plausible for a large number of CLPs to be dissolved, and a whole new set of CLPs to be created from scratch. What will happen is that a relatively small number of CLPs will be dissolved, and their assets distributed appropriately to the neighbouring/ overlapping CLPs. The remaining CLPs will continue as legal entities, bu covering different territory.

    *Legally*, the sitting MP for the old CLP will become the sitting MP for the new constituency, and the corresponding rules will apply.

    Yes, the NEC will get to decide which CLPs are dissolved, but for the most part this will be pretty obvious. The NEC will have to act rationally, so it won’t be possible for particular CLPs to be targeted for dissolution. There is established custom and practice for this, for instance when Sheffied went down from 6 to 5 seats.

  9. Carfrew

    Just to correct your deranged perception – few (if any) on this site have complained about “the English”.

    That the media were somewhat biased towards the UK Union has not been disputed.

    That the BT campaign used Twitter (in exactly the way that I described earlier) has been confirmed by Rob Shorthouse.

    I don’t (and haven’t) complained that that was “unfair”. It’s just how media people use all available resources to push the campaign that they are paid to support.

    You really need to remove the chips from both your shoulders. Doubtless, you consider that it makes your comments balanced, but it actually means that their weight has depressed your vision below the level that you can see anything accurately.

  10. Citizen’s Income plan for Finland

    I’d rather see a proper report on this (but I don’t speak Finnish). but the Independent story that “Finland’s government is drawing up plans to give every one of its citizens a basic income of 800 euros (£576) a month and scrap benefits altogether.” is intriguing.

    Such stories usually include statements like this in their story – “would cost the government 52.2 billion euros a year”, but seldom any indication of the net cost after the appropriate savings.

  11. @Carfrew

    In at least some places, the shortage of school places was because the local authority was refused permission to expand school places/build new schools, to provide an incentive for the establishment of free schools.

  12. Robin

    “In at least some places, the shortage of school places was because the local authority was refused permission to expand school places/build new schools, to provide an incentive for the establishment of free schools.”

    While I have to assume that this is an accurate description of what happens in another country, has there been any polling on whether people in England like this very centralised system of control over local government?

  13. Oldnat

    I still find it strange that an obvious free market solution like basic income should be championed mainly by the left

  14. @ Andrew111

    ‘what we have now is a situation where the rather small but important head of the chicken (The MP’s SPADS, party officers etc) has been detached from the larger body… We all know what happens to headless chickens….’

    I heard a prettier metaphor that the MPs are little flowers detached from their roots whereas the membership roots have few flowers… and we all know what happens to cut flowers.

  15. Opinion Polls

    This ‘mystery’ as to why the polls ‘got it wrong’ in the EU Referendum is misplaced. The final polls were only one or two % points out. We should be congratulating the polls on how accurate they are in being so close to the predicting the outcome when polling huge numbers of diverse and difficult to access people, spread over four Nations. But the pollsters do not have crystal balls.

    The difficulty arises because we consistently misinterpret the polls. It appears to be received wisdom that people swing to the ‘Status Quo’ at the last minute. So a small polling lead for the Remain camp is interpreted a meaning that there must surely be a Remain win.

    But there is no evidence whatsoever that people switch at the last minute to the Status Quo in any elections, let alone in Referenda. Polls however, nearly always, understate the more ‘politically conservative’ position. This has happened in every Referendum ever held in the UK. This phenomenon is however, misinterpreted as a last minute reversion to the ‘Status Quo’, because the ‘politically conservative’ position nearly always is the Status Quo, particular in Referenda. Referenda are nearly always held to endorse some ‘progressive’ change.

    When we voted ‘Stay’ in 1975, ‘Stay’ was overwhelmingly the ‘politically conservative’ position. The people who were opposing EEC membership in 1975 were almost exclusively the ‘Loony Left’ and a small cohort of the ‘Loony Right’. In all the Devolution, Independence, and the AV Referenda since the ‘conservative’ position has been the Status Quo.

    On June 23rd however it was different. The ‘politically conservative’ position was ‘Leave’ and unlike in 1975 there was enough respectable opinion supporting ‘Leave’ to make it a respectable choice of you were so inclined. Participating in an ‘ever closer European Union was also seen as at least as big a risky option as Leaving altogether.

    This ‘quiet conservatism,’ also explains why the Tory Vote is understated by the polls at General Elections. We all know from our day to day lives that people of a ‘politically conservative’ disposition are usually less likely to be open about their real opinions, or to want to engage in argument. They are also more likely to vote than people who ‘talk the talk’, morning noon and night but never listen. This is not least because ‘politically conservative’ inclined people see voting as their way of making their voices heard. ‘Getting their own back’ if you like.

    People of a ‘progressive’ nature, and the Left in particular, like debate and protest and are often more confident, whilst people of a more conservative are more likely to be of a quiet and sometimes timid nature and are content to be satisfied just with voting in the privacy of the Polling Station. And owing to the fact that this is their only way of letting off steam they are more likely to vote. It also explains why the Trade Unions are so unrepresentatively militant, and why people in the audience on BBC ‘Question Time’ resemble a French Revolutionary rabble and manage to whip themselves and like minded people up into assuming they are in the majority.

    People who are not so militant don’t get involved, or at least, speak more quietly More nurses for example voted Tory in 2015 than voted Labour. But if you believed the Labour Party and the NHS Unions the votes of Nurses are a dead cert for Labour.

    There’s nothing the Opinion Polls can do to remedy this alleged ‘sampling error’. It’s remarkable they do as well as they do. All we have to do is excise judgement depending on the circumstances of the question asked and make a precautionary point or two adjustment to the pollsters figures to take all this into account. I always simply add two points to the ‘ politically conservative’ position, as shown in the last minute polls and reduce the ‘progressive’ position by one. My ‘forecasts’ of % share are remarkably accurate although it’s hardly rocket science. I got the General Election % (although not the number of seats won) exactly right simply by adding a yet further point on to the Tory % to allow for the predictable likely ‘Scottish Effect’ in England and Wales. I have little doubt that without Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP there would have been no Tory Overall majority, and therefore no Referendum and Leave victory. In allowing it to resolve its differences like this, Scotland has not only secured ‘Leave’ but has secured the successful future of the Tory Party in the UK for years to come.

    I thought the Referendum would be 50:50 with a bias towards a tiny Leave lead. But I didn’t necessarily say that to the people I was trying to persuade to Vote Leave. My tactic was to tell people I thought Remain were going to win, that was relatively relaxed on Remaining or Leaving, but that we should all Vote Leave to ensure a decent ‘Leave’ total so as not to let the EU get too cocky. Hardly anyone disagreed with that.

    Meanwhile I heard Remain people in my locality shouting their mouths off in the street and in shops and the pub telling us all how stupid and/or bigoted anyone who voted Leave must be. I saw one articulate man refuse a Free copy of the Sun Newspaper in my local Newsagent on Referendum Day and announced to us in the queue how ‘intelligent’ people would all be voting ‘Remain’. One person in the queue piped up to pander to him and he went off confirmed in his prejudices. The rest of us, thickies, including the till operator however, all remained silent. But between us, we have have a winning majority of votes, and the Polling Station was only 200 yards away. Why do these ‘progressives’ always have to make it so easy for the Right?

    As far as ‘progressive’ political tactics are concerned, it would help if people of the Left or of a ‘progressive’ disposition didn’t always sound so cocksure of themselves and triumphalist, and in doing so provoke the more conservative minded into coming out to vote to bring them down to Earth.

  16. @SYZYGY

    I heard a prettier metaphor

    Or maybe both will be true at the same time?

  17. Robin,
    You seem to have misunderstood my point, which is not about the structure of CLPs at all

    Corbyn and Momentum want universal reelection anyway, and the review will give a splendid excuse because a significant number of MPs will no longer have a seat due to the review.. The current rule book is irrelevant because it will be torn up in the interests of fairness. It also means that no deselecting will be necessary..

  18. I am intrigued by the number of people who see the idea of a universal. Basic income as some sort of solution. No matter what the level was there would still be people who would claim that it was not enough. There would be no end of special case pleading and no end of complaints that it was all being spent on booze and ciggies.

  19. “I still find it strange that an obvious free market solution like basic income should be championed mainly by the left”

    I don’t consider myself to be on the left on most issues, but I’d certainly be in favour of a Universal Basic Income if done properly.

    This would be paid to everyone in the UK between the ages of 18 and retirement age, and all other benefits – JSA, Tax Credits, DLA, Housing Benefit etc would be scrapped. People would receive the UBI irrespective of whether they are working full time, part time or not at all.

    Child Benefit and State Pensions would be the only benefits paid, and there would be vast savings to be made in downsizing the administration currently employed to process and administer benefit claims.

    It would put clear blue water between those working and those living solely on benefits, and certainly encourage more people to find jobs.

    At current levels, I calculated this would equate to around £600 monthly per head. They’re already doing it in some parts of Finland, and no reason why it shouldn’t work here if there is a political will.

  20. @Andrew111 – “Except Smith seems very unlikely to win, since the gap amongst Labour voters, let alone members is huge, as shown by the poll highlighted in this thread.

    …….. I actually think that if he had a united party behind him from the start, Corbyn might have stood a chance of at least a draw in 2020. ”

    Not so sure. Of Labour voters, in a two horse race a bare majority of those left plump for Corbyn, as against someone they’ve never heard of or seen previously. If Smith gets some coverage I wonder if this will change? However, 54% of a depleted range of supporters is not a commanding position.

    As for getting a draw in 2020 – I seriously doubt that. Just yesterday we had yet another mis-step, when his number two had to bail him out for not understanding a major element of British industry before he made a crass ‘policy announcement’ on how medical research is funded.

    To be honest, making these kinds of blunders is actually quite incredible, and is precisely the kind of thing that has turned his MPs against him. As even his friends and supporters have admitted, he has made announcements on other peoples briefs without consulting, often getting things wildly wrong.

    I thing Corbyn is a theoretical socialist with no life experience or proper work outside politics – as bad as the Eton/Oxbridge/SpAD route – unwilling to engage with anyone outside his circle and incapable of understanding the actual workd around him. I suspect Labour’s policies would have fallen apart well before 2020.

  21. @Oldnat & @Coupar2802 – I wonder if we can be so certain that oil prices have no polling impact.

    Certyainly I don’t expect they do now, as there is no relevance, but if Scotland was to have another referendum today, I suspect they might. They are proxies for the economy, and @carfrew is absolutely correct, in that the SNP made a howler on these last time around. Now that this has crystalized, the arguments about how well or worse off Scots would be are different,and would have poll results.

  22. @Ron Olden
    Call this hindsight if you like, but had I set up a ‘ghost’ polling company and predicted 50-50 with a 2 to 3% sampling error, I could hardly have got it wrong.

  23. Good Morning All, hot day here in Bournemouth already.
    Thank you for your brilliant post.
    The nature of the quietude of small c conservatism is well summed up here.

    Orwell and GK Chesterton write about the same thing.

    I have heard similar talk in our staff room and in some circles in which I move down here about the uneducated and the stupid.

    Labour Leave seemed to represent the views of non-‘liberal’ Labour voters, as did UKIP. The academic Michael Merrick (UEA, I think) has written about how Labour leaderships for decades have pursued ‘liberal’ causes which have alienated many poorer people who have more’ ‘bread and butter’ concerns.

    Back to the poll above therefore I think that the Lib Dem vote is lower than being stated here and the Labour Vote is also.

    Corbyn’s ‘educated’ supporters are in a minority

  24. Ron Olden,
    My experience was that Leavers were a good deal more strident than Remained, both on public and online.. while your anecdote may be revealing of how stridency can be counterproductive were you not even a little embarrassed by the quality of debate put forward by the Sun?

    However I am not particularly impressed that you sought to persuade people that they could safely vote Leave on the basis that it would not really happen!

  25. Ron Olden

    I would like to join with CHRISLANE1945 in saying that really was an excellent post on small c conservatism.

  26. Christine,
    All the polling evidence is that the majority of highly educated Tories also voted Remain….

    But quietly, and possibly while telling their more vociferous friends they voted Leave….

  27. @CR

    I am vaguely centre-right and I’ve always been very interested in the citizen income idea.

    Whilst I can appreciate some of the possible disadvantages that people who oppose it point out, I would dearly love to see a country somewhere in the Western world give it a try so we could assess just how tangible those downsides really are.

    One of my great bugbears is the extent to which the tax and benefits system enables/justifies the state prying into the personal lives of citizens (my usual example is of a lodger starting a sexual relationship with their landlord, which should be an intensely private matter but is currently a very legitimate subject of investigation by the state).

    I love the idea that a citizens income could remove all judgement and moral posturing from the process of ensuring that no one starves.

  28. @Andrew111

    Anecdote Alert – my wife is a Tory member in Plymouth, a very Eurosceptic city which voted 60:40 to Leave.

    Her local association is split roughly evenly between Remainers and Leavers, with many people torn between the two and not a raised voice between them.

    The general feeling is that it’s not a choice between Heaven and Hell, but a personal preference from options which both have distinct plus and minus points.

  29. @ Neil A et al,

    Yes, you are right about the housing problems caused by population growth. Much has been made about the economic threat posed by immigrants to the white working class, but I suspect that the concerns of the middle classes about the impact of development upon the countryside was at least as big a factor in the Leave victory.

    I have always wondered why UKIP did not latch on to this at the GE, instead of taking up the ‘build more houses’ mantra.

    The problem is not immigration ( good thing – lowers average age, increases diversity ) but net immigration ( ruins the landscape, denies people decent housing, strains infrastructure, etc. ). The British people, rightly in my view, said that rampant population growth was unacceptable, and voting Leave might change things.

    We are currently faced with the need to accommodate 5 million+ extra people every ten years. That is unsustainable.

    But Guymonde is completely right, and I have made this point before, London, and other major cities, are replete with dereliction and obvious building sites.

    So solutions are available.

    The fundamental concern is that government has not developed a coherent housing policy, beyond building as many as possible. And they only consult the big developers and the affordable industry.

    But we have to start with lower population growth.

  30. Neil A

    A Conservative Association in Plymouth? Does she make you attend the ‘Bring and Win’?


    £600 per month would not even pay the rent for many people so there would undoubtedly be a clamour for more or for means tested extras. I doubt if we would save any administration at all.

  32. Re Care homes

    In my time I’ve seen quite a few and you have to differentiate the Cities (well London- not sure if the same applies to Manchester/Liverpool/Birmingham) from the Towns. The ones in the towns that I’ve seen do not appear to need immigrants to run them and the one my mum is in I’ve not actually seen any immigrants at all. The ones in London seem to rely totally on immigrants.

    I suspect the key difference is probably land values. A secure minimum wage care worker job in Wigan would eventually allow you to own your own house so care worker becomes a viable career job. In London it isn’t.

    So it seems to me that the problem comes down to overpopulation. Solving an overpopulation problem by more overpopulation seems counter productive in the long run.

    As a population control extremist I’d argue that overpopulation in the UK and worldwide is the single biggest contributing factor to poor quality of life. The biggest cost in anyone’s lifetime is putting a roof over their heads and when house prices are big multiples of the cost of actually building the house you don’t have to look much further as to why quality of life has been falling. That’s before considering the pressure on natural resources pushing up costs.

  33. @ Ron Olden

    Thanks for such a detailed and well set out post – something of a refreshing change here at the moment.

    I would certainly agree with your assessment that rather than chiding the pollsters for having done so badly at the referendum, we should note that many called what was a largely split vote largely correctly, once margin of error is taken into account.

    Your point about status quo is well made. I am more persuaded than you seem to be that there is a natural inclination towards the status quo in such votes.

    In this instance I believe that the side which represented the status quo was actually rather in question. The message ‘take back control’ suggested a return to a pre-existing state, that the EU was a form of interregnum, rather than a positive development, and that the true status quo for the UK was to be ‘out’.

    In that way, their much more successfully managed campaign succeeded in positioning the ‘Leave’ option as the status quo (albeit one that had been improperly usurped in the past).

    As you observe, there is definitely a sampling error in the polls, that, despite repeated corrective measures, delivers cohorts that are more weighted towards ‘progressive’ rather than ‘conservative’ views.

    Where I part company with @ChrisLane, yourself and others is in the view that this reflects any natural diffidence on the part of those with conservative opinions from expressing them.

    To clarify, I agree that it is harder for those conducting social surveys to contact these people and to get them to agree to participate in polling, but I do not believe that is due to them being ‘shy’ of putting forward their standpoints in a social sense, merely wary, unwilling or otherwise occupied when it comes to polling.

    If we look at the YouGov work carried out following the 2015 General Election (or Ashcroft and BES to an extent), a number of patterns emerge regarding Conservative voters in particular:

    They are more numerous in the parts of the population which are male, work in the private sector, own their own homes and are either above average income earners or retired (or both).

    I would argue that all of these factors lead to a number of lifestyle characteristics – longer working hours, greater agency over personal space through home and car ownership, greater access to ‘private space’ (e.g. sports clubs, restaurants, societies, members clubs etc) through higher disposable incomes and a greater propensity to organised social activity (noted in many studies amongst both men and older adults).

    Such characteristics in turn mean that these people are likely to do most of their ‘opinion expressing’ in such controlled spaces and the workplace than in more ‘public spheres’.

    You may (I stress may) be less likely to hear conservative views in the post office or the playground, the shopping centre or the queue for the bus; however, that may be because you are not in the places where the people who hold such views are to be found (or at least are not in the plurality).

    If you go to male-dominated workplaces, golf clubs, gyms, rugby / football clubs or even that increasingly rare beast – a Conservative Club – you will find such views expressed more freely. The same is probably true – at least in my experience – of public houses and restaurants in areas where people with such views feel themselves to be in a majority.

    So why should we perceive it to be the case that our own views are often unvoiced whilst those with contrary positions are so forthcoming? This may be down to geography, a instinctive liberal living a broadly conservative area may feel strangely isolated and bombarded (so much American writing is based on this situation), whilst a conservative may feel the opposite – indeed just this sensation is often cited as a reason to move out of an area in the US and from London to the suburbs (though it often serves as a euphemism for ‘white flight’).

    Beyond this, I believe there is the often noted human capacity to discern the dissonant in preference to the harmonious. Anthropology, behavioural science and neurology are all at one to tell us what we’ve always known – we are inherently biased, and seem to hear the person with the contrary view ring most loudly out in a crowd.

    That is why shown the same edition of QT, some will see an audience of Paris Communards at the barricades and others a black shirted mob about to embark on Cable Street.

    All of which is to say, there is undoubtedly a group of hard to reach conservatives in polling terms, whether they are hard to find socially, if one looks in the right places is an entirely different matter.

    Finally, I was intrigued by your statement that the majority of nurses voted Conservative in 2015. Do you have a reference for this? I’d be fascinated to see it, as I’ve been trying to find voting data by profession for some time and have drawn a bit of a blank. Also it would be interesting to see that one political party achieved a majority in such a diverse profession where none came close within the general population or any cohort (except high income earners).

  34. I voted Remain rather reluctantly hoping for reforms but reading that Barroso is to become Chairman of Goldman Sachs shows why things will never change in the EU. The revolving door for politicians ensures status quo remains.

  35. @Millie

    Brownfield sites play a part, but the reality is that actual, genuine, useable brownfield land in London represents only a fraction of the housing need.

    And a lot of “brownfield” land isn’t really anything of the sort. Allotments. The parkland around disused hospitals. That kind of thing.

    The brownfield land that does exist is often already earmarked for development, either for housing, industrial infrastructure or transport projects.

    I am fully in favour of using genuine brownfield, and of the government stepping in to help with clean-up and regeneration costs where appropriate, but I think the role it would play is seriously overestimated.

    If you think about it logically, why exactly would there be vacant, easily useable brownfield land in London? What kind of land owner would cling on to their acre of old factory site, thinking “well, I suppose I could build 200 flats on it and make myself millions of pounds, but why bother?”.

    We’re talking about a city where property developers buy up profitable pubs and close them, just to make a few hundred thousand developing them into flats.

    Migrationwatch (who I know are a lobby group, but I think they’re quite respectable in their research efforts) have a very detailed report into housing issues in London which I will try and dig out later. In summary, they say that the outflow of “Londoners” from the capital is huge, but that the inflow is far greater.

    If the inflow were reduced, and the outflow continued (a big if, I know, as I suspect the outflow is partly because of the inflow) then housing problems in London would alleviate over time.

    The charity Shelter have also produced a document categorically stating the brownfield development, whilst laudable, isn’t going to come close to meeting housing need and that it will have to sit alongside greenbelt use, garden cities and increased density as a package of solutions.

    Of course Shelter don’t concern themselves with the root causes of the problem, just the “build ourselves out of trouble” solution. I suspect the net effect of using their strategy to eradicate housing need would be that the pull factor of the new “affordable London” would amplify and several million more people would arrive, so we’d be back where we started, but with no brownfield sites to use, lots of tower blocks and a lot less green belt to destroy.

  36. MILLIE

    @” immigration good thing – lowers average age, increases diversity ”

    An interesting remark given a viewpoint I have been reading in today’s Times.

    Some quotes from which are :-

    ” Our 1990’s era multiculturalism was intended to bring about diverse communities. Instead it brought about monocultural ghettos that gave rise to schools such as Park View. …..
    ……multiculturalism came to mean diversity between rather than within, groups………
    ………….As a country we ended up living together apart……….”

    As you can see , the piece is in response to the outcomes from the turnaround project at so-called “Trojan Horse” school Park View-now Rockwood Academy. It describes the authors view that :- ” Failing to advocate for liberal values within groups and not merely between groups led to a stifling of creativity and a lack of diversity among Muslims. ”

    The author is Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam.

    He highlights the enthusiasm with with parents at the school have embraced diversity of opportunity in travel, activities & social interaction -an interesting & , in my view, hugely encouraging example of what Nawaz describes thus :-

    ” When a chance was given instead of denied, when aspiration was was encouraged instead of withheld , when integration was expected instead of disparaged, and when social mobility was promised instead of rubbished, the children and parents of Rockwood Academy rushed to it and excelled. They embraced it all-indeed why wouldn’t they? There was finally an expectation that they could be just like anyone else”

  37. @CambrifgeRachel

    “One thing I’ve noticed, working class people talk racist but act non racist, middle class people talk non racist but act racist. ”

    As others have commented, this has the sting of an uncomfortable truth about it.

    As you say it is a generalisation, but one which stands further examination.

    It is absolutely correct that levels of ethnic segregation are much lower in areas that are predominantly ‘working class’, and that commensurately rates of intermarriage between different ethnic groups are higher amongst people from C2DE than AB background.

    What all of this points to really is the great unspoken British prejudice: class.

    Historically, the UK’s BME communities have been heavily weighted towards the working class (with exceptions such as the Chinese, Indian Hindu and older Middle Eastern communities).

    This is a situation that is still only changing quite slowly. Work such as this for the Higher Education Trust

    and research for the Runnymede Trust shows that BME participation in higher education has only reached the same level as that of the rest of the community in the last decade or so.

    Whilst higher education is clearly not an exclusive indicator of intelligence, it does correlate strongly with access to employment, higher income and better life outcomes – all the things we would associate with being ‘middle class’.

    Even though the position has improved, the type of higher education institutions attended by people from a BME backgrounds is still quite different – one study commented that there are more British Black Afro Caribbean students at one single new (former polytechnic) university than all the elite Russell Group institutions combined.

    Essentially, what I’m pointing to here is a situation, slowly altering, where historically many middle class white people have never mixed with or encountered significant numbers of BME people at school or in the areas they grew up, and this experience may have been perpetuated at university and if they progressed to professions where there were few black and Asian people employed.

    This in turn leads to those espousing ‘liberal views’, having few, if any friends or family members from diverse ethnic backgrounds – as you might characterise it – ‘acting racist’.

    With changes to the higher education and some professions – notably medicine, law and the media – this may change, but it will undoubtedly be a generational phenomena.

    However, it will simply mean that the middle classes are swelled by high achieving people from a BME background as they were swelled by ‘grammar school kids’ in the past. I doubt very much it will do anything to disrupt the strict delineation between social classes that exists in much of British private and public life.

  38. Our Village Parish Council has just produced a second Neighbourhood Plan-the vehicle by which local communities can decide & consult amongst themselves on where it would be best to site the additional houses required by LA planners.

    The First Plan was rejected by the District Council, as a result of which two brownfield sites marginally outside some Planning Zone defining the limits of “The Village” , had to be replaced , in Plan 2, by three greenfield sites within it.

    Result-instead of two sites utilising a disused saw mill, and church land ( including provision of off road parking for the congregation) , we have one larger site involving the digging up of two fields & most of someone’s garden.

  39. @Ron Olden

    Very long post, but interesting. I don’t agree with you that the ‘conservative option’ was to vote leave. The PM and most of the Conservative Party favoured ‘remain’ and that was the default option, with the leavers being the ones rocking the boat. I also do not necessarily agree with you that the remain camp was the noisy and cocky one – lots of places I went to had leave poster and there was a lot fo pushing for that vote.
    I do think that many pepole who voted leave did not believe that leave would win, and many others voted leave in the belief that they could force the EU to give us a better ‘remain’ deal by doing this (an odd way of thinking).
    My personal view is simply that opinion polls simply did not factor in enough people over 75, especially the less well educated and poorer ones, who voted massively leave. Also, Cameron’s ‘project fear’ campaign totally failed to hit home with individuals who were not bothered too much about the economy, while the leave camp very skilfully turned the immigration issue into an EU one.

    Without even bothering to read more than the fist line I as is usual dismiss your opinion. Ron wrote”conservative option” , not “Conservative option”. There are many old fashioned Labourites who are conservative in a very big way. But they would never be Conservatives as for example, I am.

  41. @Roland Haines

    Hmmm. In my view the ‘conservative’ Labour supporters are pretty much over to UKIP now, so I don’t agree at all. Labour supporters voted by over 60% in favour of remain. Yes, there was a substantial minority favouring leave, but I don’t think this was unexpected and the key factor is giving victory to the leave camp. The key factor in my view was the lack of remain support within the Tory voters.

  42. @Robin

    That may be the case though LAs are also capable of not being entirely optimal in the planning!! I had the impression though that non-immigrant birth rate had gone up a bit, but not sure on this, so if anyone happens to know for sure…

  43. @assiduosity

    Whilst the result was close, I would still have expected the pollsters to get the outcome right – sorry, not good enough for me. On the day of the referendum both the final pollls showed fairly decisive leads for remain, and this cannot just be explained away as a blip.

  44. @RMJ1

    “I am intrigued by the number of people who see the idea of a universal. Basic income as some sort of solution. No matter what the level was there would still be people who would claim that it was not enough. There would be no end of special case pleading and no end of complaints that it was all being spent on booze and ciggies.”


    I like the idea of a basic income, but you’re right, there is an issue in this regard, beyond people complaining, which will always likely happen. Like people complain about taxes. Sometimes, even about Thorium!!

    Because unless you do something to ensure prices of essentials aren’t forced upwards as capital corners the market, the value of such an income may well be eroded.

  45. @andrew111

    As usual, an excellent response from you.

    I would agree completely.

  46. @Oldnat

    I am not disputing the media bias, so that’s a straw man. No need to look for needless argument! And it may indeed be relatively few in number, but boy can they have some output!! Including… Coups’ wishing a Tory govt on us as if some kind of punishment, anodyne comments twisted into the Two Wee stuff, the constant digs about not knowing Scots affairs in detail alongside increasingly tenuous claims that summat or other is emblematic of English bias against Scots, even a commentator’s slip. And BBZ’s comment up thread absurdly general and one-sided..

    On the bright side, no one claims that concerns about oil prices are fear mongering any more!!! These things can be cured!!…

  47. @Colin

    “Result-instead of two sites utilising a disused saw mill, and church land ( including provision of off road parking for the congregation) , we have one larger site involving the digging up of two fields & most of someone’s garden.”


    Now, if you had a Momentum-style campaign you could infiltrate the Council and change these undemocratic planning outcomes!!

  48. “But we have to start with lower population growth.”


    And more storage. You can easily build storage on Brownfield sites. You could build it underground!! It’s relatively Hedgerow friendly…

  49. @Carfrew
    ‘Soz, but you can’t use such a simplistic analysis of elections to determine whether the country has moved left or right. As has been pointed out numerous times.

    Especially when the left vote has been split several ways, including to UKIP, a goodly number of whom might have immigration issues but also support renationalisation.’

    I understand that and have made the same point myself from time to time. Of course not all UKIP voters are right-wing in that quite a few would still be more likely to vote Labour rather than Tory -and I suspect that in the key marginals the Tories were far more successful in squeezing the UKIP vote to vote tactically against Labour. Equally Labour was held back by the higher Green vote.
    Nevertheless UKIP will have hit the Tory national % vote share disproportionately overall- yet the Tories managed their highest % vote share in 23 years as well as an overall majority!

  50. Looks like the UKIP supporting Express is already screaming betrayal even before negotiations have strarted:

    These people really need psychiatric help.

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