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. PETER CAIRNS

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

    I’m very much involved in looking closer to home thanks.

    Our Village Neighbourhood PLan is currently with the Examiner.

  2. THE EXTERMINATING DALEK

    No problem.

    ……….the answer to your question “Do you actually have any experience of working on neighbourhood plans, or working with the councillors who want them? ” is Yes.

  3. TONY EBERT

    @” This says more about you than the German public”

    Do you think this poll was innacurate?

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/01/12/germans-attitudes-immigration-harden-following-col/

    Why do you think Merkel failed to secure an OM in the last GE?

  4. Here’s our story of planning applications in Tendring…

    Over the last year or so we have had some big applications gone in for housing developments of 100, 200 and even more houses. These have mostly been in or near small village locations. The local inhabitants have objected quite vociferously about the detrimental effects these developments will have on their small villages.

    As a consequence, the Planning Committee and full Council have turned down most of the applications. One of the developers appealed and in what will be a precedent setting decision, the Government Inspector upheld their appeal on the grounds that Tendring did not have a five year plan in place and therefore had no grounds to turn down any applications of this nature! Given this ruling, other developers have said they will now appeal.

    The Council have decided to appeal to the High Court. So we are all watching this space.

    Incidentally, following the Inspector’s decision, a Tory Councillor and Cabinet member, who had a planning application to build one three bedroom house on a piece of land he owns turned down, has also decided to appeal against his own Council on the same grounds!

  5. Norbold

    as I understand it, not having a 5 year housing land supply does indeed generally end up with this happening, and noises were being made recently about councils without a local plan in place effectively losing the ability to decide planning applications. I suspect that the people working on that one are currently being sidetracked by Brexit. Or possibly that post-Grenfell it may be a bit soon to outsource council planning as they did building control, even though this is what the Tories almost certainly aim to do.

    Since the reason most authorities without a plan in place would give is that the Government change the rules every five minutes meaning that the two people left in the planning department have to re-do the evidence and consultations over and over and over and over again, on top of deciding planning applications and stopping people from pulling down listed buildings (as someone did around these parts last friday) it all becomes rather circular.

  6. @colin

    “Why do you think Merkel failed to secure an OM in the last GE?”

    Why didn’t she in 2005, 2009, and 2013?

  7. @TW

    Actually, yes Germans do read the Mail, especially those in Govt and especially at the moment.

    Probably the stupidest mistakes certain Leavers make at the moment (and in a very, very crowded field) is to think that idiotic things that they say in influential mass-market UK newspapers are magically invisible to the rest of the Internet-connected world.

  8. HIRETON

    I don’t know-do you?

    Whatever the reasons were-they didn’t include 94 AfD seats in The Bundestag.

  9. Millie,

    “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.”

    The Scottish system may be a bit different but our process is to estimate housing need, to do a desktop survey taking into account know issues like infrastructure and flooding and then compare that outcome to what’s allocated in the existing plan.

    At that point we identify if any additional land is required at where the best suited sites are. At this point we contact the land owners, so if we think land might be suitable, appropriate and acceptable we ask. Some owners don’t fully engage, some are diffinately keen or against, but all are made aware of the possibility.

    As to accepting the biggest cheque, that is only partly true some would rather not sell or hold on for a larger price. In the end the higher the price of land the higher the price of houses the less affordable they become.

    If you use a market approach then you run the risk of changing from the right houses in the wrong place to the wrong houses in the right place.

    Planners plan for need developers build for the market. If you can make more money from ten luxury houses that thirty affordable ones they will and sadly, regardless of need, most villages would prefer ten big privately owned individual houses on big plots to thirty identical except housing association ones packed on the same space.

    Giving local or neighbourhood plans more weight to get people involved sounds great but in practice it doesn’t seem to work.

    Even in areas where there has been previous controversy and real attempts to engage people next time to prevent a repeat turnout and engagement is little higher and often the new participants want to fight over the previous applications or come along begrudgingly to moan that;

    “It’s all a waste of time and a cosmetic excercise because you’ll just ignore us like the last time!”

    Colin,

    “I’m very much involved in looking closer to home thanks.
    Our Village Neighbourhood PLan is currently with the Examiner.”

    That tells me nothing.

    You have shown nowhere that you have any real understanding of the difficulties I and Dalek have outlined involved in the process and until you do and engage with the issues we have raised I’ll put you in the same box as all those who come along and routinely blame others for outcomes they don’t like.

    I spent too many years sitting in planning committee watching Councillors castigate planning officers because the correct recommendation wasn’t one they liked to not know that just because someone is involved they understand what the problems are.

    I loved planning, it was probably the interesting thing I did and one of the most rewarding, but by far the most frustrating aspects were;

    The unwarranted and often vicious and personal attacks on planning staff who made unpopular decisions.

    The lack of real public engagement despite the planners best and often Herculean efforts (back to Mount Olympus).

    The way that even with all the help and advice I could give communities lead by well meaning committed armatures were out manoeuvred by Professionals working for developers who knew the system inside out.(often ex planners being paid far more for an easier job).

    And lastly the unprofessional and amateurish behaviour and efforts of my fellow Councillors some of whom despite being popular and on the planning committee for years still only had a passing understanding of the policies and rules.

    Peter.

  10. COLIN

    Why do you think Merkel failed to secure an OM in the last GE?

    Possibly because her Party has never done so since 1957?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundestag#List_of_Bundestag_by_session

    Germans expect their politicans to go into coalition and even in 1957 the CDU/CSU went into coalition with a smaller Party, though they didn’t need to.

    It’s worth remembering that the AfD only just failed to get into the Bundestag at the previous election so they’re not coming from nowhere (also they’ve only got 92 seats now due to defections). It’s also dangerous to assume that the AfD’s rise was caused by Merkel losing votes. More of their increase in vote came from those who didn’t vote in 2013 and a lot from small right-wing Parties. CDU/CSU voters only made up a quarter of the extra[1]:

    https://twitter.com/jburnmurdoch/status/912070175482138625

    In actual fact the CDU/CSU actually lost more votes to the FDP than the AfD.

    On immigration, obviously just one poll (as you quoted) needs to be taken cautiously, especially when at a time when a subject is dominating the news. I can’t find any tracking polls but German attitudes to immigration are quite complex because of the need there has been to import people for manpower and to counter demographic trends since at least the 60s. To some extent Merkel’s behaviour last year was more self-interested than it might look.

    [1] I find these bar charts more informative (if less pretty) than the Sankey diagrams that seem to be more fashionable.

  11. @COLIN

    The poll you mention is 18 months old (out of date) and taken just after the Cologne attacks.

    Possibly not representative?

  12. Stephen Bush, one of those few Westminster commentators who realises that important politics takes place outside it as well (it’s worth subscribing to his Morning Call e-mail), has some interesting things to say about the German situation:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2017/11/what-does-collapse-german-coalition-talks-mean-angela-merkel

    though I suspect the current likellihood of another election is lower than he thinks as German politicans and public are more tolerant of drawn out negotiations.

    I’d agree with him about the dangers to the FDP from this sort of brinkmanship – particularly if they do end up triggering another election. One point about German election results is that the constituency vote for the FDP is usually much lower than its party vote[1] (7% versus 10.7% last time):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundestag#Election_result

    some of those voters might well decide to support the CSU with both votes if they think that the FDP are being irresponsible.

    [1] The SDP and CDU/CSU benefit the other way as some left and right voters support their local candidate but then their ‘real’ Party in the national list vote. But the difference for the other small Parties is only about a point.

  13. Stephen Bush, one of those few Westminster commentators who realises that important politics takes place outside it as well (it’s worth subscribing to his Morning Call e-mail), has some interesting things to say about the German situation:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2017/11/what-does-collapse-german-coalition-talks-mean-angela-merkel

    though I suspect the current likellihood of another election is lower than he thinks as German politicans and public are more tolerant of drawn out negotiations.

    I’d agree with him about the dangers to the FDP from this sort of brinkmanship – particularly if they do end up triggering another election. One point about German election results is that the constituency vote for the FDP is usually much lower than its party vote[1] (7% versus 10.7% last time):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundestag#Election_result

    some of those voters might well decide to support the CSU with both votes if they think that the FDP are being irresponsible.

    [1] The SDP and CDU/CSU benefit the other way as some left and right voters support their local candidate but then their ‘real’ Party in the national list vote. But the difference for the other small Parties is only about a point.

  14. Well I’ve now found out how you make a double post.

  15. @Peter Cairns (SNP) November 20th, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Best post I’ve read on here for ages! Ta very much.

  16. Al URQA,

    I’ll take a wild stab at it and guess your a planning officer!!!!

    Peter.

  17. Thanks to those who are in the know for posting about planning and housing.

    I am now even more pessimistic the housing crisis will be conquered.

    I am a complete naive about all this but the whole system appears to reward prevarication or at least not prioritize rapid progress.

  18. PETER CAIRNS

    Grateful ( again !) for the lecture entitled “My Life as a Scottish Planning Expert”.

    I know what the circumstances in my Village are thanks.-which is all that matters to me right now. NPs have to go through a Parish & District Consultation, an independent Examination & a final Referendum ( if they proceed). Anyone with an interest becomes deeply involved-as am I.

    Our village NP has been revised twice, & has resulted in open warfare between the PC & the DC ; . A perfectly sensible distribution of housing obligation around the Parish was thrown out, because our obligation must , apparently, be fulfilled in the centre of the village where it will add to the numerous “infill” houses which have been squeezed into any available postage stamp of space & to the disastrous effects of increased traffic through our high street.

    AS a result the current version ( with THe Examiner) features a piece of blatent NIMBYISM as factions on the PC try to ensure these houses aren’t built near them, and spend residents’ taxes on three failed Judicial Reviews of a Planning decision.

  19. ROGER MEXICO

    Thanks

    re:- “Germans expect their politicans to go into coalition”

    I wonder if they will be disappointed this time around ?

    TONY EBERT

    Thanks

    Do you know of anything more recent-from Germany ?

  20. “Al URQA,

    I’ll take a wild stab at it and guess your a planning officer!!!!”

    Peter.
    @Peter Cairns (SNP) November 20th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Alas no — I work in IT. But your post was thoughtful and says so much! I can imagine the difficulties, and with my wider experience it comes as no surprise to hear that the unwarranted and often vicious and personal attacks on planning staff who made unpopular decisions.

    It is good to get a view of ‘life on the front-line’ as it were.

  21. “German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier did not announce any concrete steps in a brief statement delivered in Berlin on Monday after he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Instead he encouraged Germany’s political parties to reconsider whether they might not be able to create a working majority.
    “I expect the parties to make the formation of a new government possible in the foreseeable future,” Steinmeier said, adding that the parties had a responsibility that “cannot be simply given back to the voters.”

    DW.com

  22. @ ROGER – thank you for the German polling info.

    From what I understand Germans (of the centre) definitely do not want the previous coalition this time as that would make AfD the official opposition.

    I’m not sure a new election would resolve the issue. It would take quite a lot of tactical voting to support CDU/CSU with either just the greens or just FDP as partner and as you point out CDU/CSU are down a tiny bit since the GE (MoE decreases if you combine polls). Another possibility is FDP coming ahead of AfD next time as third place and hence allowing the previous coalition to reform with FDP instead of AfD as opposition but it seems Schulz has taken that off the table.

    Do you know the history of minority govts in any of the German states? Schulz offering informal support would seem the least bad option to me but a lot of drama in the German press saying that is unlikely.

    @ CR – your back in the lead ahead of DANNY as the most comical Remainer again :-)

  23. Back to UK politics. The inner-cabinet meeting about the divorce bill?

    I can’t see the CON back bench approving a 38bn+ offer unless it has a lot of strings attached to it. I hope I’m wrong though as that kind of number is definitely extremely generous at this point and if Barnier turns that down then we should be receiving the message loud and clear at last that they simply want to punish UK and have no interest in a deep or special relationship.

    As various CON MPs are saying if there is a money tree of that size then let’s spend it at home.

  24. DD could always offer to pay off what we owe the EU at the rate of £350,000 per week…..

  25. Incidentally, if we owe £40 billion and don’t pay up, can the EU send in the bailiffs to seize goods up to the value? How much would one Trident fetch at auction do you reckon?

  26. Interesting to see all this talk about planning on here, it’s enough to draw me into posting. I come at this from the development side, of smaller urban stuff rather than suburban plots, but my feeling is very much that land banking (such as it exists) is very much a product of our issues with land supply, rather than the cause of it. Others have pointed out that the development process is long and risky, with a lot of potential pitfalls along the way, and planning has to take a lot of the blame for it. Instead of taking the proactive Dutch approach that someone mentioned earlier, we have a reactive and micromanagerial system. The result is that land supply is an absolute trickle, prices are stratospheric, and the commercial imperative is to compete on the price paid for land and the amount you can squeeze out of it, rather than on the quality and price of the end product. On the subject Peter raises of ‘planners plan for need developers build for the market’ I have to disagree – market demand and need are one and the same thing. One of the big problems as I see it is that planning concerns itself far too much with issues like whether a building ought to be used as housing, offices, shops or a dentist’s surgery based on an overworked bureaucrat’s opinion of what the area ‘needs’, rather than allowing property owners the liberty to decide for themselves how their building is best used.

    Does anybody actually think that the planning system is fit for purpose anyway, that it has been a success by any metric since its introduction in 1948? If anything the quality of our homes has been on a steadily downward trajectory ever since, and it’s not even like it finds a way of ensuring that existing residents are satisfied with what does get built. There has to be a better way of doing things.

  27. That should have been £350,000 million of course!

  28. Oh no, not again. Well, you know what I mean. I never was good at figures….

  29. Colin,

    Never claimed to be an expert, but as for expertise. I was twice a Councillor and in both terms sat in planning. As your a long term contributed your probably aware that I post under my own name and formerly as Cllr Peter Cairns. You’ll also be aware that I live and served in the Highlands.

    So make your own judgement, just find the Highland Council site, go into the planning meeting minutes archives and you’ll be able to look at any of the dozens of Planning Committee Meetings I attended or literally hundreds of applications I voted on. Read any one or as many as you like and feel free to challenge any decision I made on the basis of the report we were determining.

    Now your turn a sort of Tit for tat so to speak.

    what’s this village called where can I find the report that is currently with the examiner and if you will be so kind your full name so I can find your submission or I put to the process. That way I can see if I agree with you!

    From what your suggest it looks rather that the Local plan for the overall area is one that has the principle that in order to support the viability of small towns and villages allowing them to continue to provide local facilities and quite possibly also to encourager sustainable transport on environmental and health grounds then develope net is focused from the centre out with available land built upon within the village boundary before looking a expanding it.

    This isn’t uncommon and has largely come about as rural villages become commuter belted and started to loose shops and facilities as people moved their spend to large out of town shopping centres. first they bought their food, the butcher and baker closed, then their petrol, the garage closed, then their magazines books and stamps, the newsagent and post office closed.

    Trying to support a healthy centre to the community was a laudable goal in most cases even if planning can be a clumsy way to do it. But if planning is one of the few tools a Council has.

    If such a Policy is, as I suspect, in place and democratically agreed by the Council then planning have no option but to pay regard to it in the plan. As I said earlier that might not be popular, but if it’s Council policy, Council Officers must abide by it.

    I wait with baited breath for you to get back to me with the links to the information on your village issues.

    Peter.

  30. Norbold

    I understand that the EU retains the right to not pay us the refund. Clearly not our money then and makes the 350 look like an understimate.I think an apology is owed to the bus.

  31. Norbold

    “How much would one Trident fetch at auction do you reckon?”

    We don’t have warrant sales in Scotland any more. Even when we did, the bailiffs weren’t allowed to seize goods belonging to third parties that were just rented by the defaulter.

  32. Gary,

    “On the subject Peter raises of ‘planners plan for need developers build for the market’ I have to disagree – market demand and need are one and the same thing.”

    Oh really, so why is it when for thirty years and more the greatest need has been for low cost affordable housing, has the building industry never came close to building anything near the correct proportion of it.

    On the basis of need the proportion of low cost homes to rent or buy should be close to 40%. Most places it doesn’t even get to 20%.

    Prior to the crash when banks were falling over themselves to lend for development it was a nightmare trying to get developers to meet our 30% target and the usual outcome was to get about a quarter all in the last phase cramped together in the left over part of the development.

    After the crash when the banks went into hyper nation the same developers need Council cash to put in infrastructure to get the sites moving… Guess what, within two years we were being offered over a third affordable, built in phase one in better positions on more land…..

    Market demand and need are one and the same my backside…and it’s not a pretty sight!

    Peter.

  33. PETER CAIRNS

    Why the hell should I tell you where I live, or what my NP consultation responses have said-or anything else to do with this problem..?

    It is something the residents of my village have been grappling with for over 3 years. Its our problem-not yours.

    I didn’t invite your completely unsolicited post to me at 11.32 am or the two follow up ones. I was talking to TED -not you. And I note the contrast in tone between your own , typically patronising know it all lecture, and TED’s polite response to me.

    I don’t need your Scottish assumptions about our NP thanks.

    ………..and I know it upsets you when planning officers take some stick . I have no doubt its a tough job-but drawing maps at a desk is not as tough as living with the results.

    Frankly-on current experience, a number of us are seeking ways to facilitate a complete abandonment of our NP. It has been the cause of bitter division here. We would rather take our chances with the desk bound map ,drawers at the DC & fight planning applications as they arise.

  34. “The head of Theresa May’s policy unit just resigned” (Independent)

  35. Breaking that Merkel wants a do-over!

    Brave!?!

  36. TREVOR WARNE

    Interesting !

    Not what The President asked for.

    SPD retired hurt pleading LibDem type damage-but might they change their minds ?

  37. Theresa May has Policy Unit!!!!!!

    Peter.

  38. Colin,

    ” Why the hell should I tell you where I live, or what my NP consultation responses have said-or anything else to do with this problem!”

    Because having questioned my qualification to comment on this process with your “expert” jibe, I gave you all you needed to check it out for yourself so though it only fair you did the same.

    I even did you the courticy of using a capital “T” on the tit in tit for tat!

    Peter.

  39. Colin: [Re Germany] Not what The President asked for.

    SPD retired hurt pleading LibDem type damage-but might they change their minds ?

    AIUI they see their role as being the Official Opposition, to avoid AfD taking the roie.

  40. Peter,

    We have the fifth highest proportion of social housing in the OECD, and the four countries above us all ensure that their social housing stock is available to people on a range of incomes. Effectively, we have the highest proportion of state-owned below market rate housing reserved for people on low incomes of any country in the entire developed world. What we actually have is a severe supply and demand imbalance in the privately rented and owned sectors, the solution to it lies in building the maximum number of homes at market prices in order to bring that market price down.

    The issue of affordable housing requirements is a fantastic demonstration of the dismal failures of the planning system. What it does is act as a substantial tax on private development, not just in financial terms but in risk terms as well. It adds substantial uncertainty to the process of housebuilding as well as squeezing profits, which is why developers resist it so much. The result is a slower pace of building, developers seeking higher margins to cover the added risks, and banks less willing to finance developments.

    An alternative system would do away with all S106-style affordable housing requirements and replace them with a fixed, non-negotiable CIL. Extremely simple to calculate and factor in from the earliest stages, no added risk or uncertainty associated with having to fund a 30 unit scheme with the proceeds from 20, and councils could use the monies raised to either buy from developers (off-plan they could even replace those overseas buyers that snap up whole schemes at property fairs in Singapore), to build their own homes for rent, or to compulsorily purchase land in order to bring it forward for building.

    See, the issue isn’t about developers making a proper contribution to the public good, that’s fair enough. It’s that building is already a risky business involving large investments over long timescales in a fluctuating market. The planning system should seek to do what it can to lower those risks so as to make development more smooth and predictable, increasing the willingness of banks and investors to fund it and potentially even reducing the profit margin that developers need to seek, but instead it represents the riskiest and most capricious part of the whole process.

  41. Oh, and please don’t call me Gary, my initials are GARJ.

  42. Amsterdam gets the EMA, in a coin toss over Milan in the final round.

  43. Bidders for the EBA (voting this evening) – Brussels; Dublin; Frankfurt; Luxembourg City; Paris; Prague; Vienna; and Warsaw.

    Just because the bare bankers, I’d love to see them having to go to Eastern Europe.

  44. “the bare bankers” -> “they are bankers”

    the prospect of naked bankers competing on a voting run-off wouldn’t make good TV.

  45. Oldnat

    “The prospect of naked bankers competing on a voting run-off wouldn’t make good TV.”

    Add a field of nettles and it could be quite entertaining!

  46. PR

    :-)

  47. Oldnat

    I enjoyed this post, very witty, very clever!

    “Norbold

    “How much would one Trident fetch at auction do you reckon?”

    We don’t have warrant sales in Scotland any more. Even when we did, the bailiffs weren’t allowed to seize goods belonging to third parties that were just rented by the defaulter.”

  48. EBA vote – Paris got 34 points with Frankfurt 32 and Dublin 28

  49. That was EBA round 1 only – so between those 3

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