Opinium’s regular poll for the Observer suggests party support is still static, despite a difficult few weeks for the government. Topline voting intention figures are CON 40%(nc), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 6%(+1). Fieldwork was between Tuesday and Thursday and changes are from a month ago. Ahead of the budget Opinium also asked about the most trusted team on the economy. May & Hammond led by 36% to Corbyn & McDonnell on 28% (as with the best PM question, the majority of respondents said either None (24%) or Don’t know (12%). Full tabs are here.

Midweek we also had ICM’s poll for the Guardian – that too showed a pretty much static position, with topline figures of CON 41%(-1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 7%(nc). Tabs for that are here.

A budget is, of course, the sort of major event that can sometimes cut through with the public if it contains something particularly compelling or – more likely – something particularly unattractive. As I’ve often written here, it’s very rare for budgets to result in a boost for the government, but there are plenty of examples of budgets going horribly wrong and damaging party support – they are very much a bullet to be dodged, rather than an opportunity to win support. We shall see what happens this week.


340 Responses to “Latest Opinium suggests the polls are still static”

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  1. JOSEPH1832

    Irish contingency planning includes scaling up southern ports so as to bypass GB and export direct to France.

  2. @S Thomas – “If ROI thought that there was no deal on the cards why did they need to seek a written guarrantee?it only makes sense if they thought that there was a deal on starting trade talks in the offing and sufficient progress deemed made.”

    It’s clear that you didn’t read the various links posted last night, or even think about the situation from the RoI perspective.

    The entire point of Varadker’s intervention, which was drafted in full cooperation with Barnier’s team and with the knowledge and endorsement of the other 26 EU nations, was to force the UK to start thinking seriously about the border issue. No more ‘magical thinking’ – the UK needs to come forward with an acceptable solution.

    Why would they do this? You think it’s because a trade deal is starting to emerge, and they fear a hard border. It’s actually because they know that no trade deal means not only a hard border, but also a hard landing for the RoI economy. They looked to Westminster and decided that Davis and May were floundering on the Irish issue, and so decided to give the whole issue a hard kick to get this part of the talks moving and speed the trade talks. It’s the precise opposite of what you think. Varadker knows that as it stands, trade talks won’t start, and he is desperate to get them underway.

    I really do think that the dreamy nature of some Brexiters is frightening.

  3. @trigguy that’s new to me, but to answer your question I’m not expecting anything except for many surprises between now and the next government.

    I am dreading to think what that exit poll will show!

  4. JOHN B

    So, Op cannot find any LibDems in Scotland – or am I incapable of reading the polling results? If I have understood correctly, then I am unlikely to take this polling set up seriously.

    It’s just chance though. There were only 111 people from Scotland in the Opinium survey that gave a preference and with Lib Dems only polling about 5%, there being none in a sample that size is easily explained by chance.

    Especially if you then consider that of the 147 who said they had voted in June only 2 of them said they had voted Lib Dem, then they didn’t actually have many votes to retain in this particular sample. Because of course there’s no balancing of the sample to match the last election result either.

  5. Opinium usually ask for opinion on the Party leaders and this showed a slight increase for May as PM as we have seen with other polls:

    Approve 33% Disapprove 46% Nett – 13
    (Con voters 71 – 13 = +58)

    Corbyn’s rating as Leader of Labour is 36-39=-3 is interesting in that it suggests a greater potential for increase from it’s higher neutral rating.

    But they also asked for two other cabinet ministers:

    Since he took office in July 2016 do you think Philip Hammond has been, on balance, a good or bad Chancellor of the Exchequer? (tab Econ3)
    Good 20% Bad 28% Nett -8
    (Con voters 41 – 10 = +31)

    And since he took office in July 2016 do you think Boris Johnson has been, on balance, a good or bad Foreign Secretary? (tab V4)
    Good 20% Bad 50% Nett -30
    (Con voters 38 – 32 = +6)

    To only scrape a positive rating among your own Party is not impressive.

  6. @BARBARENZO
    “it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people”

    Your quote is out of context and implies a broader meaning than the context clearly requires. The whole clause requires that the parties:

    “acknowledge that while a substantial section of the people in Northern Ireland share the legitimate wish of a majority of the people of the island of Ireland for a united Ireland, the present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, freely exercised and legitimate, is to maintain the Union and, accordingly, that Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom reflects and relies upon that wish; and that it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people; ”

    The whole clause, and in particular the conjunctive “and” that introduces the selectively quoted text, clearly relates that text only to the specific sovereignty status question.

    Brexit raises huge political issues for Ireland as a whole, and Brexit without a majority in Northern Ireland potentially exacerbates those, but as it does not amount to changing “Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom … save with the consent of a majority of its people” it does not as such breach this clause of the IGA.

  7. Coalition talks in Germany seem to have collapsed due to the FDP walking out. Oh-oh, looks like minority government or new elections.

  8. I’m wondering about Gerry Adams stepping down and how that’s going to affect NI going forward. Could there be a big shift in policy from SF, maybe taking up their seats in Westminster to try and force a border poll? Is the timing purely coincidental? Or is it connected to Leo’s recent comments?

  9. PRINCESS RACHEL
    No, yes, no.

  10. Prof Howard

    Thanks for a succinct reply

  11. PETERW @ BZ

    The whole clause, and in particular the conjunctive “and” that introduces the selectively quoted text, clearly relates that text only to the specific sovereignty status question.

    You may well be correct that a UK court might interpret it as you suggest, despite the fact that the status of NI citizens will quite clearly have been changed against their will. I’m sure that both lawyers and teachers of English could find arguments both ways. Even if a UK court strikes it down, it would hardly be good publicity for HMG.

    More to the point is how the EU and RoI government interpret it given that both sides have committed to preserving it.

  12. ALEC
    ” it would be pretty tough for RoI, but by and large they have been seen as well behaved members of the EU and appear to have a good level of support. I suspect the EU will be looking at ways to assist, should Brexit go wrong.”
    If this were structural funding, it goes to the heart of needed reform of the EU and of policy driven by the EC, threatening ROI with a Greek solution and ultimately weakening its economy.
    It would (a) be palliative, and (b) run counter to comparative advantage, not sufficiently recognising that regional and national economies can operate at widely different levels of sectoral importance, e.g. of small scale agriculture as an employer, of productivity and gdp.
    One of the major factors not sufficiently recognised in EU structural funding policy is the differing levels of social wage provided by benefits from continued semi-subsistence agriculture and the length of time for industrialisation and urbanisation to change the basis of income and employment distribution.

  13. Millie
    Your post yesterday explaining local and other plans is the clearest and most succinct I’ve seen, if it were to be published on local authority websites there would be far less misunderstanding about it. As a non planner working in an LA planning department part of my role is to translate planner into human, so I appreciate fully your effort to so.

    Our local plan is now a mere 20 years old, the new one was supposed to be ready in 2001 but hasn’t quite made it out yet. Pickles didn’t help. It’s supposed to be ready next year, but I doubt anyone believes that it will be.

    Having no money, we do our 5 year land supply in-house, and the person charged with doing so usually develops a nervous twitch and goes off to work in the private sector soon after, although it’s possible that this has as much to do with effective pay cuts for seven years and the shortage of qualified planners than having to crunch numbers which no accountant could get to add up with any confidence over and over again.

    We have several neighbourhood plans now, they seem to exist mainly to allow opposition councillors the opportunity to pretend to be Mayor of London for s year or so, with the occasional public row about whether a particular piece of grass ought to be included, plus a day out of the office for two lucky people to sit in a polling station in a portakabin in November explaining to a few curious locals what they have been offered the opportunity of voting on.

  14. SAM
    Good article, bearing out exactly what many of us were pointing out before the referendum.

    Ironically it also describes precisely the only reason I could find prior to Stupid Day in favour of leaving, which is that by doing so we would no longer be able to put a brake on the civilised social and financial reforms we have always been so quick to veto, while sooner or later having to be in the single market and CU because we need them more than they need us

  15. Trevor Warne,
    ” the key info was that we have a trade deficit in cheese (along with so many other things) and hence given sufficient energy from HMG and companies producing more at home is a huge opportunity.”

    Oh dear oh dear. The current situation is that the EU is a protectionist zone against cheap food entering. Yet we still dont make our own cheese. Two things might happen. We might now allow unrestricted imports of food from elsewhere, which would undercut home cheese makers even more. Or, we impose restrictions and the price of cheese rises until it becomes economic to make in the UK. So, the possible outcomes are either more Uk businesses close down, Or the price goes up. Which of these is a good thing?

    S Thomas,
    ” i think the unwritten quid pro quo is the date for brexit enshrined in legislation.”

    seems to be quite a head of steam building in the media that it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, restricting the flexibility of negotiators. I do keep mentioning that the government seems to want to appear incompetent?

    technicolouroctober,
    ” I think it is done in full cooperation with the other EU countries, precisely because it brings the whole issue of brexit talks to a head”

    I think both sides want matters brought to a head now, while there is time for further reflection. Or maybe all three sides (leave, remain and EU)

    The EU want the matter settled.
    Leavers want to leave right now, as they see their chance slipping away.
    Remainers want Brexit to collapse into chaos and be abandoned.

  16. Anyone have sensible input to the German situation. Although Brexit is way down the list of priorities for them does it have an impact?

    From what I understand:
    – SPD will not form a coalition as that would make AfD the official opposition but could they offer informal C+S or bill by bill approval to allow a minority Merkel govt?
    – New elections possible any post election polls? is it likely that we’d get a different outcome from a do-over?

    2p thoughts
    – FDP seem to be playing the long game, making principled stand. bad for Brexit negotiations as the most rational party are out of a coalition?
    – Alternatively is this now the opportunity for DD to push a take or it leave offer? Bit more money, tiny compromises on NI and citizens rights and very clear declaration that it is impossible to progress further on these three items without knowing the transition and final arrangements. ie does Merkel really need the domestic political issues of Germany having to make up UK’s contributions if we walk – that would play nicely into AfD and FDP’s hand in a new GE IMHO

  17. @ DANNY – Remainers make me laugh. Heaven forbid we actually make more of our own cheese along with the huge array of other products where no genuine competitive advantage exists and “gravity”, avoidance of currency risk, avoidance of future tariffs, etc all make a switch to UK sourced production a much more likely outcome – wow, what a bizarre idea that would be, no wonder the doomster models and absurd predictions on prices ignore the most obvious outcome :-)

  18. Re: German Government.

    We should stay right out of it. Absolutely the worst thing to do would be for the right-wing press to stick their oar in or start gloating.

    Of course, they’re going to do that anyway.

  19. One example of a company that sees the opportunities from Brexit is Arla.
    https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2017/01/31/Dairy-company-to-invest-more-than-35M

    The modern production facility in Aylesbury plant produces 1bn litres of milk per year with state of the art production facilities, employees 700 people (ie is very productive), is zero carbon and was up and running in under 18mths – all the milk is UK sourced and I expect the vast majority, possibly 100% is for UK consumption.

    Apologies for a semi-repost, a friend of mine seems to be a bit on an expert on the agri-food sector so discovering a lot more info and simply sharing that to show a few examples of potential opportunities that Brexit offers.

    I hope the publication of the Brexit impact studies show the importance of agri-food. If German car companies have to lose a bit of profit and/or champagne socialists have to pay a little more for their next Audi then crocodile tears from me. Agri-food is a tiny sector in economic terms but vitally important and hence I rank it at the top of industries where we need to be pushing domestic investment and need a clear Project After plan.

  20. THE EXTERMINATINGDALEK

    @”We have several neighbourhood plans now, they seem to exist mainly to allow opposition councillors the opportunity to pretend to be Mayor of London for s year or so, with the occasional public row about whether a particular piece of grass ought to be included, plus a day out of the office for two lucky people to sit in a polling station in a portakabin in November explaining to a few curious locals what they have been offered the opportunity of voting on.”

    What a patronising remark-presumably from the Olympian heights of District Council.

    What would you prefer to Neighbourhood Plans?-complete freedom to turn every village into a town by burying them under concrete & brick -without the annoying interference of those who live there ?

  21. @ CR – Germans don’t read the Daily Wail and I doubt many Wailers are that interested in domestic German politics.

    The point is that for HMG not to evaluate the timing risks and opportunities of the German political situation would be negligent on our part. Time is clearly a factor and hence timing is important.

  22. Trevor Warne,
    “Remainers make me laugh”

    Good. Its always helps a day along when someone cheers you up.

  23. The failure of Merkel’s attempt to form a government is interesting.

    A wide area of policy was in dispute according to reports:-

    Immigration limits & rights-problems between the Greens & her own sister party , CSU, following their trouncing in Bavarian elections after the Merkel immigration debacle.

    Coal power station closures-Greens & Free Democrats.

    And CSU signalling disagreement across “tax & spend” measures.

    FDP leader Christian Lindner said there was “no basis of trust” between them.& has pulled out.

    Merkel is facing what May has faced-polarised politics & retreat from the Centre Ground.

    Guardian this morning features tweets from Germany backing a fresh election-early 2018.

    DAX & the Euro hit.

    Effect on Brexit negotiations………….?????

  24. According to the Times the Mugabe’s own –

    * More land than any other individual ever has in Zimbabwe-including confiscated farms.
    *An orphanage
    *Two private schools.
    * “several” palatial homes, including a 25 bedroom mansion.
    *Property in SA & Hong Kong.

    Mugabe is reportedly a £ billionaire .

    In the ZPF party meeting filmed on tv news , where they threw him out-they referred to him as “Comrade” Mugabe.

    I hope Comrade Mugabe is stripped of as much of his ill gotten Capitalist gains as his countrymen & women can get their hands on.

  25. So-McDonnell explains to Marr that the shares our pension funds are invested in , will be “swapped” ( !) for UK Government debt………….probably round about the time that the draining of the Central Bank Ocean of Liquidity ( aka QE) which has kept the Global Economy afloat for a decade starts to create a crash in Bond Prices.

    I like the irony ( of which he seemed oblivious) of his view that Interest payments wouldn’t be a net cost to the State because “On those returns you will always get more than you pay out”…………..returns which he believes are excessive capitalist consumer rip-offs.

  26. Trevor Warne: …. is this now the opportunity for DD to push a take or it leave offer? Bit more money, tiny compromises on NI and citizens rights and very clear declaration that it is impossible to progress further on these three items without knowing the transition and final arrangements. ie does Merkel really need the domestic political issues of Germany having to make up UK’s contributions if we walk – that would play nicely into AfD and FDP’s hand in a new GE IMHO

    Generally, a take it or leave it offer is made with the intention that it is taken. I cannot see DD having the ability to make such an offer, except with the intent that it is left. If DD were to make a take it or leave it which could be taken, such an offer would lack credibility because everyone would know that UK domestic politicswould deny the offer any substance.

    The argument that “it is impossible to progress further on these three items without knowing the transition and final arrangements” does not stand scrutiny, because the UK has already made it clear that it wishes to be out of the SM and CU, therefore enough is know to settle the divorce issue. Of course the UK wants a ‘deep and special relationship’ which is membership of the SM and CU by any other name, but it is clear enough that if we can have SM and CU after brexit, then this will be called SM and CU. Unfortunately, the EU are doing the government the disfavour of taking them at their word.

    As for a ‘bit more money’, it is clear enough to me that the EU want the divorce bill settling as an itemised divorce bill to get closure on UK membership of the EU. I don’t think that they are all that motivated for a trade deal either, so I think that they will just sit it out until there is a clear divorce settlement.

    As for domestic issues in Germany, they paid for reunification and moved on. Brexit is going to be far less costly, so they will take it in their stride. I think you have to look to other capitals for a candidate to fold in the face of an underwhelming British ‘no deal’ bluff.

  27. David Davis may be on the brink of leaving

  28. Or maybe not:-)

  29. TECHNICOLOUROCTOBER

    @”it is clear enough to me that the EU want the divorce bill settling as an itemised divorce bill to get closure on UK membership of the EU.”

    Its clear to everyone who has ever listened to Barnier.

    Just as it is clear to everyone who has ever listened to DD that some of their “items” are not considered Legal Liabilities under The Treaties.

    Hence the room for “negotiation”. And given that the Florence Speech was banked by them without agreeing to start phase 2 talks in October , it is no wonder that the Brexit Cabinet is reported to be absolutely focused on making a specific financial offer in return for a specific performance by Barnier.

    @” I don’t think that they are all that motivated for a trade deal either, ”

    If you are correct, then we will find out when May makes her financial offer-and that at least will be progress and we will have moved beyond their ” don’t want to talk about our future relationship-its only the past which matters to us”.

  30. Colin: The failure of Merkel’s attempt to form a government is interesting. ….

    Effect on Brexit negotiations………….?????

    On the divorce phase. none. The path for this is mapped.

    On UK attempts to conflate divorce and ongoing relationship, this becomes harder, because there is less political mindspace to consider it – not that there was ever very much

    On the ongoing relationship, this will go to the back of the queue. Probably the EU will take into account the ticking clock and offer a Canada deal. They are indicating a Canada deal already, it will just be even more take it or leave it.

  31. TECHNICOLOUROCTOBER

    @”it will just be even more take it or leave it.”

    I am inclined to agree.

    And then -of course-the politicians & bureaucrats on their side will have to answer to EU businesses & voters for the outcome-as will the politicians on our side.

  32. Colin: [email protected]”it is clear enough to me that the EU want the divorce bill settling as an itemised divorce bill to get closure on UK membership of the EU.”

    Its clear to everyone who has ever listened to Barnier.

    Just as it is clear to everyone who has ever listened to DD that some of their “items” are not considered Legal Liabilities under The Treaties.

    Hence the room for “negotiation”. And given that the Florence Speech was banked by them without agreeing to start phase 2 talks in October , it is no wonder that the Brexit Cabinet is reported to be absolutely focused on making a specific financial offer in return for a specific performance by Barnier.

    The real problem is not the question of whether this or that is a legal liability. The problem is that the UK don’t want the schedule of liabilities filled out and made public, whereas the EU do. Effectively the UK is trying to gauge how much to put into a brown envelope to cover everything, but the EU are not having this.

    Effectively, filling out and accepting the schedule of liabilities is a humiliation of the government. Usually, it is bad negotiating to let the other side be humiliated, but in this case, I think that the EU view is that it is far more important to close out brexit and have no room for further argument.

  33. @ TO – I’ll expand on “take it or leave it”. DD offers something more than Oct and makes it clear this is as much as UK can offer until talks move to phase2. If EC accept it great, if they don’t then at least we can start on min.deal plans (as the EU already are). If Soubs+co, dont like it then fine, we call Corbyn’s bluff and maybe even end up having to have a new ref (min.deal v EU’s offer of a deal).

    @ COLIN – one other scenario in Germany is that by walking now FDP shows they have red lines that they could bend but can not break. FDP are less up against the clock than UK but if you look at the kind of stunts Poland, Hungary, Spain, etc get away with clearly standing up for domestic agenda works. I’m glad we haven’t gone as extreme as Poland, Hungary or Spain but showing a little more backbone wouldn’t go amiss and clearly the timing for that is within the next few weeks.

  34. @ DANNY – indeed, thank you!

  35. TECHNICOLOUR

    @”The real problem is not the question of whether this or that is a legal liability. ”

    I disagree.

    DD was/is duty bound to establish-first-whether the demand he faces is or is not a Legal Liability of the UK government.

    Once that was done-and it was correctly done-then a political decision can be made-which is what is happening right now.

    TREVOR WARNE

    Thanks.

    I wonder if she can bite that German lip & talk to to AfD ?

    Bloomberg see this as a negative for May-because Merkel was a “friend”.:-

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-20/german-limbo-poses-brexit-obstacle-as-merkel-s-wings-clipped

  36. TREVOR WARNE

    @”showing a little more backbone wouldn’t go amiss and clearly the timing for that is within the next few weeks.”

    It seems to be producing the desired response :-

    “Berlin’s foreign minister Michael Roth said the deadlocked negotiations are now “about the money” and that no member states will come to the UK’s rescue until it agrees to cough up. ”
    Express.

    Whether May’s number is the “right” one remains to be seen :-)

  37. “Germany’s FDP would support a minority Merkel government, Bild reports, citing FDP’s chief whip Marco Buschmann http://www.bild.de/video/clip/jamaika-koalition/die-bild-analyse-im-video-53914892.bild.html?wtmc=twttr.shr …”

  38. Colin,

    “What a patronising remark-presumably from the Olympian heights of District Council.”

    It’s nothing of the sort, it’s a fair assessment of what actually happens. When a Councillor I experienced the same things exactly.

    The small local plans team working to try and calculate what future need and demand was using tried and trusted methodology that even when used correctly never got the result right.

    There are calculations that let you based on house type and location work out how many extra school places you will need in five years. But go forward five years and I’ve seen the actual number + or- 20% of that with either empty classes or a need for temporary huts in the nearest school.nn

    Fac is even with really good people decent accurate predictions of future occupancy are incredibly difficult to produce, but of course as everyone involves knows, the minute the final outcome differs from the prediction it is all down to useless politicians and incompetent planners not doing their jobs properly because with hindsight “Anyone with Common Sense could have predicted it!”

    Next is the issue of identifying suitable available land for development, the first part suitability is fairly easy. The second, availability, a nightmare.
    Once everywhere that could be suitable is identified you then need to find out if the owner is interested.

    Most in the most suitable locations aren’t, farmers who have worked the same land for generations aren’t interested in selling it and often the poor land the would sell isn’t suitable.

    Therefore top of the list comes the land that would be sold freely which isn’t always in the best place. Beggars can’t be choosers and those who already, like you think Councils look down from the “Olympian Heights” would go balsamic if Councils started compulsory purchase of land against owners wishes.

    So you start with those willing to sell, many of whom will have already been approached by developers, some already having signed pre contract agreements. Land can often be already banked by developers even before we consult the public on it’s use.

    Then we get to what is almost certainly the most frustrating part of a frustrating process…mass public indifference.bbb

    Neighbourhood plans are in theory a good idea, but in practice few participate. Councils advertise the consultation’ on local radio and in local press, with leaflets and posters. They hire small halls and staff them from before 9.00 to catch the school run till almost ten at night.

    They have display boards and maps and planners on hand and take a note of every concern and comment all recorded and included in the reports to Council. But the turnout and response is minimal.

    One I once popped into just after Lunch in my ward had had a good response in the first five hours….seventeen people. When the closed up near nine at night they had a total of under fifty from a village of well over 1,500.

    Three years later when the application went in to build houses on the allocated land nearly three hundred angry people turned up to lambast the Council…why

    “it was an outrage”, “They had’nt been consulted!”, “It was a stitch but by developers!”, “Brown Envelopes had changed hands!” And let’s not forget that evergreen classic… “There Is No Democracy!”

    The Council like all others had done everything reasonable and appropriate to consult, listen and respond to local concerns and incorporate them in the plan and had as ever received a mute and largely indifferent response from the public the vast majority of whom didn’t respond.

    But when they didn’t like the sight of the bulldozers turning up..the turned on the Council and the planners.

    It’s really rather like politics in general, the majority of the public don’t really get that involved, many don’t even vote. Many of those who do vote do so tribally or for reasons that aren’t always that easy to understand.

    As Anthony has often said it really is difficult to decerned just why people believe what they do and how it effects their decisions because they often aren’t clear themselves.

    But when something happens they don’t like they aren’t shy about venting their anger at Politicans, Parties and Parliament.

    Dales discription was a fair assessment of the process and it’s weaknesses including local politicians milking it for their own ends, pretending to be local champions to get reelected.

    It’s not they he is being patronising, he’s seen the whole process from start to finish from the inside, you’ve only seen the unpopular result.

    He understand it disappoints and understands why it disappoints, your just disappointed and looking for someone to blame.

    Try laying off the planners and take a look closer to home!

    Peter.

  39. @TheExterminatingDalek

    Unlike Colin, I found your post very amusing. There is in fact potential common ground between you: it seems Colin, like me, wants to see more local input, and I suspect you might wish for the same. Neighbourhood Plans might become more meaningful if they were granted more weight. Then the opposition politicians would have genuine competition for their ‘day in the sun’.

    I did try to get to understand our five year land supply, but it was obvious no-one had the slightest clue how the numbers were generated.

    In my part of the world we plan housing to supply the employment land, and employment land to meet the housing need. Which results in a death spiral of boxy housing and empty sheds on industrial estates, to which I suspect Colin understandably objects.

  40. COLIN

    You seem very quick to rise to my comments and accuse me of all manner of things, perhaps I should add smileys or irony markers to clarify, or maybe I actually am the thoughtless, arrogant a*se you paint me to be. I’m probably not the best judge of that myself.

    Do you actually have any experience of working on neighbourhood plans, or working with the councillors who want them? I’ve just googled neighbourhood plans in Hastings and around and can’t find any, so I’m interested to know whether this is a knee-jerk response or something more considered.

    I stated in my comment that I come to this from a non-planning role in a planning environment, what I see it a load of little empire builders working busily at great expense to produce something that needs only be “taken into consideration when determining planning applications”, in the same way and with no more weight that a neighbour representation is.

    If your experience is different then you will have a different opinion, and be fully entitled to it.

  41. MILLIE
    Thanks, yes, that’s pretty well what I meant.

    COLIN
    Sorry, I shouldn’t have gone off on one. A more considered response would have been better, or none at all.

  42. @trevorwarne

    Arla is a global Swedish Danish firm with a UK subsidiary ( which used to be Express Dairies). I note from the link that its primary markets are Germany, Sweden and Denmark and that nowhere in the article does it say that the UK investment plans have anything to do with Brexit ( indeed the implication is that the plans are to move away from bulk milk production to more value added processed products).

    Also on the site you link to is this:

    https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2017/01/06/Food-sector-must-work-together-to-protect-against-Brexit-threats

  43. @Peter Cairns

    I suspect Colin and I live in areas where local interest in the planning process is rather more developed, but I recognise so much of what you describe.

    The one part of your comment that I would query is the way in which SHLAAs ( Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments ) are conducted. Planners, as you say, invite people to submit their land, and those who are savvy enough, or are being advised by developers, comply. But those less aware, despite having the most suitable land, do not.

    In my area, the planners chose a site for employment because it was the only one submitted – not because it was the most suitable. The owners of more appropriate sites were simply unaware of the SHLAA.

    So they lost out to the landowner who enjoyed close connections with the LA.. Everyone else lost out because a wholly unsuitable site was selected.

    I would prefer planners to select the optimum sites for development and then ask the landowners if they are interested in selling. Most, when offered a big cheque, will do so, in my experience.

  44. TREVOR WARNE

    Anyone have sensible input to the German situation. Although Brexit is way down the list of priorities for them does it have an impact?
    From what I understand:
    – SPD will not form a coalition as that would make AfD the official opposition but could they offer informal C+S or bill by bill approval to allow a minority Merkel govt?
    – New elections possible any post election polls? is it likely that we’d get a different outcome from a do-over?

    There have been loads of polls in Germany since the election:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_German_federal_election#Opinion_polling

    In fact I reckon they’ve had 33 (plus daily polling from Clivy) in less than two months while the UK won’t have had much more than 50 in the first six months after their GE at this rate.

    But like UK polls there isn’t much movement – which is a reflection of the fact that polls very rarely move fast and more and better polling tends to emphasise that.

    There does seem to have been a drop in the CDU/CSU figures since September while Greens and (to a lesser extent) AfD have gained a bit. However it’s worth remembering that most polls overestimated CDU/CSU at the last election, so depending what adjustments the pollsters have made it’s possible there is still some bias in the system.

    But what changes there have been are pretty small (for any single poll it’s still MoE stuff) and there’s nothing to say that a new election would change things much. Unless support for one of the Parties implodes – voters get fed up with FDP grandstanding or the AfD breaks up, say – there’s not much to indicate that anything could. The only other gamechager would be Merkel going as she’s still a lot more popular than her Party.

  45. GERMAN FDP

    People may be interested to know that the German FDP are not a mixture of classical liberals and social liberals like the British LibDems. They are classical liberals only and appeal mainly to the rich and very rich, not to youngish semi-radicals.

    Their social policies are civil rights and libertarian but economically they are far to the right of the German Conservative parties. They propose large-scale privatisation, a low welfare safety net, and flat rate income tax(!).

    They were wiped out for some years when their leaders were filmed chanting “we are the mega-rich etc etc” (it loses something in the translation).

  46. @COLIN

    I’m interested that you call Germany’s refugee policy ” the Merkel immigration debacle”. This says more about you than the German public, who are broadly supportive of Merkel’s policy, and indeed many are actually proud of their own and their Government’s whole-hearted response to a humanitarian crisis. (People are more negative about it in the former East Germany.)

    Some even contrast the German response to the British one, which at the moment is running at roughly Germany 1 million refugees, Britain 2 thousand.

    I guess Merkel might even get the Nobel prize for it; David Cameron, not so likely.

    In this case, Merkel has shown leadership, and in the main, has carried her country with her.

  47. @Colin

    Mugabe’s

    You don’t need the apostrophe- it’s a plural

  48. @TOC

    A very gracious response to Colin in the best UKPR tradition.

  49. MILLIE
    I just popped back to give my brain a rest from mapping, measuring and monitoring SHLAA sites to find you talking about them here as well. PAH!

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