A quick update for the ICM/Guardian poll on Monday, which is presumably the final ICM poll of the year. Topline figures are CON 41%(-3), LAB 27%(nc), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 14%(+2), GRN 3%(-1). Nothing startling to report here – the Tories still have a commanding lead, the Lib Dems are up very slightly following their by-election win (but nothing to write home about) and rumours of UKIP’s demise continue to be false.

Full tabs are here.

171 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 41, LAB 27, LDEM 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. @CANDY

    “So the question is, do we continue to shackle ourselves to a rotting corpse and become ill ourselves, or do we break free for health reasons.”

    If your neighbours are rotting corpses, you will soon be infected with disease yourself. Much better to help them recover from their illness, so that you may be spared the consequences.

  2. Must be scary having a rotting corpse on the doorstep which has parts with higher productivity than you.

    Personally, I welcome our zombie overlords…


  3. PETEB

    @”Surely the point is that we will be able to choose a better path for ourselves?”

    Glad someone spotted the deliberate mistake :-)

  4. @Candy – “That is not an “open-minded” attitude on your part! You jumped to conclusions based on stereotypes decades out of date.”


    Trying to work out how references from the most up to date data from 2015 is ‘decades old’, but struggling so far.

    @Pete B – I do appreciate the point about breaking free to go and develop new things for the UK, but the point I and others are trying to make is simply that, in or out, and whether we like it or not, we will still be adversely affected if the EU does not function well.

    Much of the Brexit debate has been characterized by hyperbole, on both sides, and I think this has affected the tone of he debate. Leaving the EU will not stop trade with them, but possibly make it a little more expensive and cumbersome. Staying in the EU doesn’t stop us trading with the US and India – but could potentially make it a little easier.

    The economic links with one or the other trading blocs are not defined by political structures, but instead by normal economic process, and this will go one, albeit influenced by amended and adapted structures. At least within the EU we have a seat around the table, and even regarding the Euro, there are treaty obligations to ensure non members are not disadvantaged within the EU. Outside, we have no leverage, and if things go wrong in Europe, we will still feel the consequences.

  5. tancred: “Many people in jobs have what many would call ‘McJobs’”

    yes indeed, which is a large part of the explanation for our much poorer productivity than countries like France.

    Interestingly, there seems more emphasis on automation in Spain than in the UK. For instance, there is a new breed of fully automated, ultra-cheap filling stations, with names like easygas and petroplus. No personnel at all, and prices around 10c a litre cheaper than manned stations (around €0.95 for diesel, or 80p). And hand car washes don’t seem to exist there – they are all automatic. Are we better off with McJobs? I don’t really know.

    BTW, in my comparison of Spanish and UK current account, I made the schoolboy error of dividing instead of multiplying when converting the UK figure to euros. It should be:

    Spain: €1.5bn surplus
    UK €34.1bn deficit

    Not sure which of these corpses is more rotten!

  6. Alan

    I can’t accept the point that people who are experts in their field add no expertise to the field they are required to advise in.

    It would appear that your position is that they are completely worthless, and we would be better off saving our money.

  7. @Alec

    You were citing the percentage of Mexicans in the US foreign born populationbin 2015 to prove that net migration to the US from mexico is currently positive.

    Even though a) those people came to the US over deecades and b) you should always look at net migration, cherry picking mexican migrants to the US while deliberately ignoring those leaving gives a distorted picture. And you did it to fit a stereotype in your head.

    According to Pew net migration from Mexico to the US turned negative in the 2005 to 2010 period, and is still negative. see


  8. Nice row developing in EU on the Council proposal that the Commission handle the Brexit negotiations, under advice from the heads of state via the Council – and side-lining the Parliament.

    It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.


    I presume that the heads of state will get their way, but – ECJ anyone? :-)

  9. @ Alec

    Pointless debating with some that have fixed opinions about world issues, without recognising there might be other factors which they should think about.

    As you quite rightly say, people who support Brexit should recognise that the UK needs a strong EU economy on our doorstep. In or out, UK exports represent 45% of our total to EU countries and the UK imports so much from EU countries, which are important to business supply chains. The EU is a mixed bag, with some countries doing very well and others struggling due to problems which go back decades. Trying to blame most problems on the EU or Euro is a bit lazy.

  10. Alan

    I think the important point is that regardless of expertise, some oversight of the negotiation process and some scrutiny of whatever emerges from it would be beneficial. In fact I’d go so far as to suggest that we’d be better off distributing our EU negotiating expertise, rather than concentrating it in the negotiating team.

    I don’t think it’s a particularly good analogy, but it provides a nice illustration of a case in which the benefits of oversight trump those of secrecy: cryptography. Anyone with any common sense uses open-source cryptographic algorithms. The US government runs a competition when it wants to set a new standard. It is much more dangerous to rely on a relatively untested system whose weaknesses haven’t been probed. The best cryptanalysts in the business have had a go at cracking the publicly available algorithms and they are only out there because any serious flaws have been fixed. The best attack strategies have been worked out and published. The security is not in the secrecy of the algorithm, it’s in its cryptographic strength. I suspect that the strength of negotiating strategies also has relatively little to do with secrecy.

  11. CANDY

    Can you explain

    ” you should always look at net migration”

    Too much obfuscation by politicians using this method to hide the real truth has gone on and I believe it is completely reasonable to take several metrics.

    I expect that you cannot explain your statement though.

  12. @Somerjohn

    There is an automated unmanned petrol station in Plymouth owned by Asda, so they exist but they are rare.

    As for car washes, until the accession countries joined the EU, most people used automated car washes in the UK. Every Shell, BP and Texaco generally has one attached which you buy a token to use. There is also the jetwash.

    It was only when a ready supply of cheap, unregulated and frequent trafficked/exploited labour arrived on our shores that derelict sites began to get opened up as “hand car washes” (often by people who are, or aren’t much better than, organized crime networks). Not a result of capitalist conspiracy, lack of investment or anything else. Just a direct consequence of migration policy.

    Not that I’m complaining. The real innovation is the “mini-valet”. Having six energetic young foreigners crawl all over your car for two minutes with rags and spray, then vacuum it and dress the tyres. Do the Spanish have robots that do that?

    If it was just the car wash, I’d probably still be using the automated one, but now its thrown in with a valet (which done by a garage costs upwards of £50) for a sum total of £12 all in, why bother?

  13. Sorbus

    Since Davis has now told MPs that the UK Government doesn’t know whether tabling Art 50 is revocable or not [1], any “negotiating strategy” based on a total lack of knowledge of the rules governing the negotiations, would seem to be off to a pretty bad start!

    [1] Of course, they don’t know! No one can until the ECJ has tested the proposition. That their lawyers accepted it was irrevocable in order to fight a court case in England, is totally irrelevant as to what the actual EU law is.

  14. Off topic I know but it looks as if we may finally be getting some progress on the election expenses investigations almost two years after the general election.
    Not sure how this can have been going on so long. The question seems to me to be very simple, were the people who were put up in particular constituencies, delivering leaflets and knocking on doors in that constituency on the local or the national campaign. My understanding is that for Torbay the hotel costs were not declared on the national return (which could mean a fine for the national party from the electoral commission) or the local return (which would mean that the winning candidate exceeded the allowable election expenses in the constituency). Just to add to the confusion, the battlebus which transported them was on the national return and the leaflets they delivered were on the local return.
    Surely it would be a simple issue to put all the evidence in front of a court and get the court to decide?

  15. Sorbus,

    Prestige Furniture near Newton Abbott sometimes have a “name your price” sale. The idea is that you pick a sale item you like, go to the counter and “make an offer” which they’ll probably accept.

    I got a lovely console table this way about 6 years ago. I went to the desk and offered about 80% of the price it was advertised for. The girl at the counter (who I think didn’t really quite understand the game) looked down at her clipboard and said “Yup, that’s OK. That’s just above the price they’ve written down here”. She didn’t quote the number, but for argument’s sake let’s say it was 75%.

    If I had a copy of the “bottom line” price list, do you think I would have offered 80% for the table? By keeping their negotiating position secret, Prestige got an extra twenty quid or so off me that they could have lost if they’d published what they were actually prepared to settle for.

    This sort of thing, in various forms and permutations, is standard practice throughout business. Try and get the most from the transaction, without losing the transaction altogether.

    Now of course it’s a poor comparator for international treaty negotiations, there are all sorts of things that are different. But at its essence the need for a degree of secrecy is still essential if you want to get a decent outcome.

  16. Neil A: Having six energetic young foreigners crawl all over your car for two minutes with rags and spray, then vacuum it and dress the tyres. Do the Spanish have robots that do that?”

    That’s the productivity thing in a nutshell, isn’t it? One machine or 6 people?

    I think the difference is that in Spain, the car washing is done by machines and the six people are either on the dole, or they are working for the council tending flowerbeds, sweeping the streets and collecting rubbish (which is done daily, can you believe?)

    I think productivity, just measured by economic output per head, is a simplistic and inadequate measure. What we should also be concerned about is the value that that output contributes to society.

  17. @John

    I’ve sworn off commenting on the election expenses issue, as I know a bit about it because of my job and it’s a bit too close to home.

    All I’ll say is that sometimes the process of deciding who’s actually going to obtain and collate the evidence takes as long as the process of doing so.

  18. @Thoughtful

    It’s simple: net migration from Mexico to the US simply looks at the number of people moving from Mexico to the US less the number of people moving from the US to Mexico.

    So if migrants from Mexico to the US are 800,000 and the number of migrants from the US back to Mexico is 1.000,000 then net migration from Mexico to the US has turned negative i.e. the Mexican population in the US has fallen by 200,000.

    Net migration from Mexico to the US turned negative in the 2005 – 2010 period and is still negative. In other words Mexican migration hasn’t been a problem for a decade.

    The tragedy of the US election is that both sides were arguing based on a stereotype. The Trump people were whipping up fears of a migration that wasn’t happening, it was reversing, and the Clinton people also accepted the stereotype and decided to use it as an excuse to virtue signal – “of course those poor things are migrating, we must be compassionate to them”. And the other side countered with “what about the rule of law”.

    Neither side wanted to acknowledge the truth – which was that Mexico’s unemployment was lower than that of the US, despite experiencing a migration problem of their own on their southern border, and they were growing so fast that they were sucking people back from the US. That would mean acknowledging that people south of the border were doing something right and if they continued on that path, had a very good chance of becoming a powerful economy in their own right.

  19. @Somerjohn

    I think you missed my point slightly. Car washes are one thing, and robots run them admirably. But is there a car valeting industry in the Spain? If so is it mechanized or manual? And if it’s manual is it done by well-paid Spaniards with job security and perks, or by Romanian casual workers?

  20. Neil A

    “All I’ll say is that sometimes the process of deciding who’s actually going to obtain and collate the evidence takes as long as the process of doing so.”

    I have an inkling of what you might mean, and we can leave it at that.

    However, to hark back to an earlier chat we had, I would still describe that as an “operational issue” to be handled by senior officers – rather than by the civil servants or politicians you suggested might handle them.

  21. @Oldnat

    I don’t think it is an operational issue at all. Who gets interviewed, who by, where and how are all operational issues. None of those things will be decided by senior officers, they will be decided by middle-ranking officers. Deciding which middle-ranking officers should be the ones to make those decisions is not an operational issue, it is a political/management issue.

    Actually I rather think it proves my point. Senior police officers are rubbish at politics, and it is hard for them to make fast and confident decisions on political issues.

  22. @Candy – shall we review?

    In your 1.32pm post you first raised the issue of immigration. You said – “(The immigrants trying to get into the USA arn’t Mexicans, they are central and south Americans, many Guatemalans and Venezuelans are making the trek north).”

    This was the only point to which I was addressing my comments, and please note you failed here to mention net migration, only focusing on who was trying to get into the USA.

    I addressed this in a number of ways. I gave you evidence that in 2014, of the inward migrants, Mexico supplied 27.6%, which meant it ranked third, behind China and India. By definition, this would mean that Central and South America combined (excl. Mexico) must have supplied less than 100% – (3 x 27.6%) – or 17.2% of the total inward migration at most.

    I also provided evidence from 2015 that suggested Asian migration is equal to migration from the Americas. This could be anomalous to the above calculation, and it isn’t clear how this source defines ‘Asian’.

    You then introduced the idea of Mexicans returning home, while being a little rude to me, and while also ignoring my original reference to the 27.6% of total 2014 migration from Mexico. This is the point at which you appeared to shift from migration to net migration, which is not the point I pulled you up on.

    In your 5.22pm post you again failed to realise that I had given you ample data from 2014 and 2015 migration, not just the total overseas born population in the US, so considerably misrepresenting my posts. You again discussed net Mexican migration, despite this not being the point of contention.

    Throughout this exchange, what you have so far failed to do is to provide any evidence to support the fact that Central and South America are providing most of the current migrants entering the US. I have provided some data that implies that this figure is likely to be less than a fifth of the total, but I would recommend this be checked for accuracy.

    Overall, again, you have made statements without backing them up, and when challenged sought to first disparage, and then evade.

    These really aren’t the most endearing of tactics. Recently when you pointed out I had been incorrect in an assertion about the 1987 Conservative Manifesto, I quickly agreed with you and accepted I had missed something.

    There really isn’t anything wrong with admitting you have make an error. Believe me – the world doesn’t cease to turn if you accept you have been inaccurate, and in general on UKPR, people like you more for doing so.

  23. Neil A: “But is there a car valeting industry in the Spain? If so is it mechanized or manual? ‘

    i’ve never seen a UK-style hand carwash/valeting operation in Spain, but possibly they exist in run-down city districts. There are plenty of Romanians in Spain, and I know a few. One is a handyman/plumber who fixes stuff in my flat from time to time. He’s been there 11 years, his kids were born there and are well integrated in local schools and he told me he has no desire to go back to Romania, or even visit. The other was the manager of a highly successful local restaurant called Dracula (it does a sort of eurobop dinner-dance where ageing expats from all over Europe let their hair down). When I called in recently, he wasn’t there and the chap I asked said, “Oh yes, he’s my cousin. He left in June to set up his own restaurant in town.”

    The point of this anecdote is that Romanians and others seem more integrated and mainstream in Spain than they do in the UK, perhaps because of greater cultural affinity (though you still get the beggars). And to get back to your point, I suspect that informal business activity needs to be more circumspect in Spain, so immigrants opening car washes might get the bureaucrats on their backs, so find something else to do.

  24. @Somerjohn

    Thank you. Presumably the culture in Spain is to clean out one’s own car?

    On integration, my understanding is that Spanish and Romanian are closely linked languages, Romanians find it much easier to get on in Spain both because of this and because they don’t “stand out” as much (i.e. their southern European appearance is the norm).

    I expect Spain gets a “better class of Romanian” and those drawn to the UK will be those who don’t have the education, skills or prospects to get on in Spain, and are therefore attracted by the UK’s ample supply of manual and unskilled positions?

  25. Neil A

    “Senior police officers are rubbish at politics, and it is hard for them to make fast and confident decisions on political issues.”

    And you think civil servants and politicians make “fast and confident decisions” on those issues???? :-)

    Of course, the question of whether the law may or may not have been breached is not “a political issue”. In this case, it happens to involve politicians, but it may only “political” in terms of which middle-ranking officer is to be given the black spot and guaranteed to have no further promotion prospects! :-)

    I may be in error as to how “operational” is defined in English policing, but for such decisions in cases like this to be taken by politicians or civil servants (who are bound to follow political direction) would effectively mean that politicians (alleged to be in breach of the law) would be liable to be a protected or endangered species, dependent on whether their friends or their enemies controlled those decisions.

    Senior police officers may be rubbish at politics but, like democracy itself, “all the alternatives are worse”.

  26. @Alec

    I thought it was obvious that I was referring to net migration throughout, even in my single line about migration in a post about unemployment in NAFTA and the EU.

    Nobody refers to gross migration: when have you seen headlines saying 680,000 people migrated to the UK? It is always “net migration to the UK is 338,000” etc. | suppose some people refer to inward migration only if they wish distort pictures so they conform to stereotypes.

    We got into this argument because you took a single line from me saying Mexican immigration to the US isn’t a problem, to argue that it is a problem. Despite me providing plenty of sources to say that no, it is not (and I notice you provided no sources for your assertions).

    And your entire stance was based on a stereotype in your head. But you can’t bring yourself to admit that you were thinking in terms of stereotypes because you like to think of yourself as “open-minded”!

    PS. On Central American migration, see the following.


    Plenty of sources about south american migration as well if you care to google.

  27. Neil A.

    You’re certainly right about the language, as Romanian and Spanish are both direct descendants from Latin (I’m sure one of our resident historians here could give us the story of the Roman general who conquered Dacia. But I seem to remember the survival of a latinate language and people surrounded by Slavs and Hungarians is a bit of a mystery).
    It surely helps Romanians to fit in easily, and to become fluent in Spanish.

    As for a ‘better class of Romanian in Spain’, I suspect it’s more a case of the recruitment channels into the UK actively selecting for unskilled workers willing to do rubbish jobs and put up with grim conditions.

    As I always like to humanise discussions of immigration etc, I’ve just remembered another Romanian in Spain. She was at the next table in a restaurant, and seemed to be gazing fondly at the handsome young waiter who was, somewhat inexpertly, serving us. “He’s my son,” she confided. She went on to tell us his Dad was a Dutchman, from whom she was now separated. She worked in the local German bakery, but her Dutch/Romanian son had lived all his life in Spain. As ever, I probably need to explain the point of the anecdote. It’s that for an increasing number of people ‘European’ really is more than just an abstract concept.

  28. Neil A.

    On carwash hand jobs.
    I have two close to me, one at tesco staffed by a mixture of long time locals and recent arrivals and another near a mosque staffed the same way.

    At the tesco the staff are tesco employees but at the other i suspect employment may be less formal.

    An ex neighbour of mine works at one, he is an asylum seeker.

    I don’t think its all Romanian press gangs.

  29. @Oldnat

    Perhaps it is a variance of the use of the word “operational”.

    A decision to have an enquiry into something ( (and I am talking in general) ) is not an operational decision, it’s a management decision. It should be made according to a range of criteria, which are largely to do with resources, budgets, public interest, national policy etc.

    Once a decision has been made to have an enquiry, a team of people will be selected, or assembled, which may nominally be headed by someone of superintending rank but in practice will be run by someone of inspecting rank (or even below, sometimes).

    Once that is done, all of the decisions will be taken within that team, unless they involve management issues (such as “can we have a bigger budget” or “can we move this to a different building”) or very high level covert policing authorities (which by law have to be taken by the Chief Constable or the Home Secretary – currently at least – this is the bit I suggest could usefully be handed to the judiciary).

    Not for nothing are roles in the police like “Head of Crime” or “Director of Intelligence” generally held by people of Superintending rank. Consider that for a second, there are several police officers in each force who are above the “Head of Crime”.

  30. @Mark

    Yup Lee Mill Tesco has one of those valet as you shop operations, as does Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth. They are relatively pricey. It is the proliferation of the cheap-as-chips backstreet places that is a feature of the new wave of Eastern European migration over the past couple of decades.

    Not all, but mostly….

  31. Candy

    Thank you for that explanation as I had misunderstood your meaning. Of course in face to face conversation we can quickly correct this.

    The assumption I had made was of net migration in total as opposed to net Mexican migration, which is of course slightly different.

    You should also differentiate between legal and illegal in so far as this is possible.

  32. Re car washes

    I’m not sure why they are being discussed.

    If individuals see a business opportunity and create one which meets demand, then that seems fine to me.

    Where those people come from is of no importance whatsoever.

    I couldn’t comprehend just what Neil A’s [1] point was when he said “if it’s manual is it done by well-paid Spaniards with job security and perks, or by Romanian casual workers?”

    Why not just omit the nationality labels”?

    eg “if it’s manual is it done by well-paid workers with job security and perks, or by casual workers?”

    That would be a reasonable question to ask about employment conditions for anyone.

    [1] Honest! I’m not picking on you. :-)

  33. @Oldnat

    I think it started as a discussion of the relative levels of productivity and employment within EU countries and the effects. Car washes themselves weren’t raised by me.

    Given the overall context was about Brexit and immigration is part of that picture, I thought the migration angle was a useful detail. People come thousands of miles to work for an effective wage of a couple a pounds an hour in the freezing cold doing very low productivity work because they can. They can, because of freedom of movement. Essentially I was disagreeing with the analysis that the difference in productivity levels is all down to British short-sightedness in not investing in technology. Why bother investing when you’ll be undercut by an eager workforce that you are (more or less) powerless to prevent?

  34. @Candy – “I thought it was obvious that I was referring to net migration throughout…”

    Well it isn’t, unless you mention it.

    “We got into this argument because you took a single line from me saying Mexican immigration to the US isn’t a problem, to argue that it is a problem.”

    Well I’m afraid that’s just stereotyping. At no point did I ever state or imply that I thought Mexican immigration was or wasn’t a problem. You just had a red mist attack based on your inaccurate reading of someone’s post correcting an error in yours.

    As it happens, no, I didn’t and don’t think Mexican immigration to the US is in itself a problem.

  35. Alec, Alec. Think it it through.

    Remember that my position was that migration from Mexico was no longer a problem. It should have been obvious that I was talking about net migration, because it is impossible that there was not a single person migrating from Mexico to the US. Just as it is impossible that there was no American migrating to the UK this year. But net migration from Mexico is negative and net migration from the US to the UK is also negative – colloquially, “not a problem”.

    The issue is that I said something that contradicted a stereotype in your head, and you decided to pull me up on it for sport, and cherry picked inward migration figures only to bolster your point.

    And when I pointed out that net migration from mexico was negative, instead of admitting your error, your response is that I should have written an essay clarifying what I meant, when it was obvious to everyone.

    The only people who focus on inward migration only are those trying to justify stereotypes…

  36. Neil A

    “to work for an effective wage of a couple a pounds an hour ”

    I have no idea what the effective rate of pay for someone working in a car wash is. If you have a source, it would be interesting to see it.

    Similarly, I have no idea what the street salesman who have travelled a couple of miles to work in the freezing cold in Glasgow city centre make per hour selling sports socks – because they can.

    I do understand that political debate in England is dominated by immigration from Eastern Europe, but it seems to infiltrate into so many arguments where the origin of the person is a matter of complete irrelevance.

  37. @Alec /@Candy

    Calm down or we may have to build a wall to keep you apart. (It will be a beautiful wall).

  38. Oldnat: “Re car washes
    I’m not sure why they are being discussed.”

    My fault, I’m afraid.

    I was responding in a slightly whimsical way to Thoughtful or Candy or Colin who was drawing invidious comparisons between UK and Eurozone in general, and Spanish in particular, unemployment rates. After pointing out that other metrics (GDP growth, BoP) rather favoured Spain, I offered the thought that Spain seemed to favour automation more than the UK, which is where I introduced the dread example of car washing (machines in Spain, multiple youths in UK).

    At some point Tancred mentioned McJobs in the UK. And Neil A reflected (rather fondly, I thought) on the delights of labour-intensive car valeting.

    In short, one of those delightful UKPR riffs that develop a life of their own (and avoid the heavy-handed antagonism that seems prevalent these days). But that can be rather baffling when you come late to the party…

  39. OldNat

    “Re car washes I’m not sure why they are being discussed.”

    They’re one of the consequences of cheap labour economics.

    The proliferation of car washes / fast food places used to launder money from businesses that are suspiciously profitable (because they use illegal workers) is just one example.


    “If individuals see a business opportunity and create one which meets demand, then that seems fine to me.”

    Creating wage arbitrage opportunities where you can pay people very little because once sent home it’s still more than they can earn at home has lots of ramifications for things like average productivity, tax, housing, demand for cheap prostitution etc.

  40. Would it help to stop all the arguments if we encouraged the Mexicans to come here to operate our manual car washes?

  41. @Candy – no. Completely false, and your lack of understanding is pretty gobsmacking, to be honest.

    Enough said – I’ll leave you to your imaginary world, stereotypes and all.

  42. Somerjohn

    Life does get complicated.

    My daughter just told me that my grandson has been cast as the Palestinian Jewish husband of a Palestinian Jewish woman who says she was impregnated by some god or other.

    Apparently, some guys travelled thousands of miles just to cash in on the investment opportunities, and some sheep were abandoned to their fate.

    It all seems a bit sexualised and about foreigners too!

    I’m not sure that a 4-year old will understand the political implications. :-(

  43. Pete B

    “Would it help to stop all the arguments if we encouraged the Mexicans to come here to operate our manual car washes?”

    Brilliant comment! :-)

  44. And talking of net migration, right on cue:


    Abandon net migration target, says CBI

  45. Thanks :-)

  46. Mexico

    My guess Trump’s point would be

    1) If illegal immigration from Mexico has gone down, Central American has gone up

    2) if illegal immigration from Mexico has gone down it’s because NAFTA led to jobs being shifted to Mexico – so if he changes NAFTA the migration flow will reverse

  47. @Oldnat

    Re: car wash wages.

    Car washes are often used as a “first job” by trafficking gangs for exploited workers on arrival in the UK because they are cash in hand, and undocumented.

    Obviously like all irregular piecework, actual rates of pay can vary. But if there are a lot of you working, and the takings aren’t good, you may end up with a lot less than minimum wage for your 8, or 10 hour day.

    Not that it really makes that much difference for trafficking victims as they will be expected to hand over virtually all their wages to the gang, ostensibly to recoup their transportation costs and for their keep.

    It’s something I do actually know something about! (for a change). That isn’t to say that all car washes are run in this way of course, or that the people running the car washes are necessarily complicit in people trafficking (in the specific case where I acquired my knowledge, I don’t think they were – the workers were paid, and the money was taken off them by the traffickers, who were separate albeit friendly with the car wash owner).

    It just tickled a nerve a little bit when Somerjohn picked that specific example re: labour productivity as its something I’ve given quite a lot of thought to (partly out of the moral dilemma of whether I should use their services or not).

  48. @PETE B
    Would it help to stop all the arguments if we encouraged the Mexicans to come here to operate our manual car washes?
    December 14th, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Quality comment. Thanks for making me laugh.

    We have enough talk about Brexit and immigration, without looking into American issues. Parts of the US would struggle without all of the Mexican labour.

    Wish there could be an intelligent conversation about immigration !

  49. Neil A

    Thanks for the info, but can you clarify?

    I have no doubt that you know more about the illegal trafficking of human beings (and similar crimes) than anyone else on here.

    There is no need for anyone from an EU country to be trafficked into the UK, so are you talking about businesses (and, of course, they exist) who are using illegal immigrants?

    I understand there may be a different problem for some Eastern European women who are conned by gangs that they are being offered care work (or similar) in the UK, but are forced into the sex trade.

  50. Interesting to see Corbyn commenting that it’s the leadership contest that has cost them poll ratings. He does seem stuck in the same vein, claiming that increased membership shows he is doing a good job, but passing off the poor polls and by elections as the fault of his opponents.

    It really doesn’t quite fit with the actual course of events, and if anything, since September he has been less visible and effective at attacking the government.

    Labour’s problems may also be compounded by the war now seemingly going on inside Momentum, which unless contained, is almost certain to be seized on by their opponents.

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