The latest YouGov poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 39%(-3), LDEM 8%(+2). Fieldwork was Monday to Tuesday, changes are from last week. The full tables are here.

The big risk when watching opinion polls is to pay too much attention to exciting looking outliers and not enough to run-of-the-mill polls showing not much has changed. Polls have a margin of error, and normal sample variation spits out unusual results sometimes even when public opinion is actually unchanged. Before one gets too excited about an unusual or interesting looking poll one should wait to see if it is replicated in other polls or is just a blip. Sure, this could be the start of the Tories opening up a lead, but it could just be random noise. Given the government’s current travails, I think it’s more likely to be noise, but we shall see.

As ever, the thing to watch is the trend across the polls as a whole. So far 2018 has produced two polls showing small Tory leads, three polls showing the parties equal, five polls showing small Labour leads, suggesting that the actual picture is that the Conservatives and Labour have very similar levels of support. That itself is interesting – the Conservative government often seem paralysed by infighting and are doing very little except for Brexit (which most people think they are doing badly). Yet they remain equal with the opposition when past governments stuck in similar mires – such as those of Gordon Brown or John Major – trailed badly. I can see a couple of possible explanations – it could just be that the public aren’t paying attention, there is so little happening in politics and they are so turned off that they aren’t noticing this stuff. Alternatively, it could be that people are just lined up along EU divisions – for now, the Conservatives are the party that’s delivering Brexit, so those who want Britain to leave are sticking with the Tories. A third possibility is that Labour have reached a ceiling in their support – Jeremy Corbyn may be very popular among Labour supporters, but he is anathema to others and the alternative of Corbyn’s Labour is propping up Conservative support that might otherwise be faltering. Naturally, these are not mutually exclusive.

Meanwhile, in the interests of reporting the non-exciting poll figures, the YouGov tracker on whether Brexit was the right or wrong decision has returned to normality after an unusual figure last week. 43% think it was the right decision, 44% the wrong decision – typical of recent months.


553 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 43%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%”

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  1. Our pub is looking to hire one person, so far we have interviewed 30 people. I remember running a pub in 99 when unemployment was officially higher than now and I couldn’t even find 5 people to interview. I’m still not believing the underemployment numbers, they seem to be totally at odds with the real world.

  2. Laszlo

    Thanks.

    The power play between Macron’s France & the putative German coalition will be a key dynamic for EU going forward.

    Should the coalition fail & Germany have a new GE, then even more interesting times might emerge !

  3. Here is a link to a post I think might be of interest. I am not sure I agree with the analysis.Here is a paragraph.

    https://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/

    “Sometime this month Labour will discuss its strategy over Brexit. The danger of its current position is clear. Theresa May is going at some point be forced to admit that we will stay in some form of customs union with the EU because of the Irish border issue. The only alternative is to leave with no deal, or dump the DUP. Whichever occurs, Labour’s non-position on the Customs Union will look bad. If she goes for a deal Labour will be the wrong side of the government in terms of triangulation, which will be fatal to its support. If she goes for No Deal because of the Customs Union Labour will be immediately asked what it would do. Deciding to stay in the Customs Union just at the point when the issue becomes critical will look like the political opportunism that it is.”

  4. @ Colin

    Sorry to refer to my wife (apparently only TOH is allowed to do that) but as she is a Labour voting woman who has occasionally voted for other parties, although anecdotal, I thought an insight as to how that site is perceived by some women might be of interest, and even more of interest that her view would be hardened when any opinion from that source is filtered through the Conservative supporting lens of the Spectator Magazine.

  5. Re wages of agricultural workers. There is still in Scotland an Agricultural Wages Board. It is a left-over from the abolition of the Wages Council system and the later introduction of a minimum wage by Labour.

    I have no idea what the wage level is but I would be pretty certain it will struggle to recruit members from the workers side. I am also pretty certain that the enforcement procedure, if it exists, lacks strength

  6. WB

    Thanks -that is certainly an interesting anecdote about 1 Labour Female supporter :-)

  7. Hi Rachel,
    I suppose it depends where you are?
    There is a huge difference in economic performance between different parts of the UK now, driven by austerity cutbacks and disproportionate impacts on public sector dependent areas due to wage freeze and redundancy.

  8. GARJ @ BZ

    The EU isn’t insisting on no border in Ireland because of any reason in the treaties, they are insisting on it because Ireland is (because we account for half of their EU trade), and as leverage in negotiations to force us to accept what they want. There is no legal obstacle to some kind of Norway-style customs barrier, only political.

    I would agree that there is a good deal which is either moot or poorly defined in the Belfast Agreement. HMG could test the water by honouring the clause which guarantees that there will be no changes to the status of the people of NI without their consent.

    According to Wikipedia, the Norway-Sweden border is around 1,630km long and has precisely 8 crossings with customs controls in one direction or the other, plus 2 crossings with controls in both directions. There are also about 30 crossings which are only allowed to use by trucks with pre-declaration.

    Compare that with the 500km Irish border, which has well over 200 paved road crossings plus many unpaved road and footpath crossings, and that’s before mentioning individual fields and a number of houses which straddle the border.

    The two cases are hardly similar.

  9. @Garj

    “Energy and food prices are more do do with international markets (and trade tariffs) than they are to do with disposable income”

    ———-

    That’s what the corporates would have you believe, but you have to take all fsctors into account. In the past when we looked at it you could see that these utilities have been able to use the huge revenues from opportunistic price increases to hoover up rivals and buy up suppliers too.

    This makes headline profits seem reasonable, but when you look at what they’ve been buying you see the real picture. They’ve been coining it.

    If we take housing, sure, immigration is one factor, QE in the South East is another, also the reduction of investment in social housing, opportunism is another, including the whole land bank thing.

    The point is, however, that if you increase the amount of money chasing goods, this creates an upward pressure on prices. There may be other factors alongside, but you see the pattern repeatedly, particularly if insufficient competition. And of course capital tends to seek to eliminate competition,

    Also, you took it as disposable income, but I was talking about essentials. With disposable income, you often have a choice whether to buy or not, keeping prices lower. It’s essentials that take the hit.

    In the end, there are numerous factors that can cause inflation, including getting close to full employment, so you always need counter-inflationary investments available. In the case of housing, you can counter the effects of immigration or opportunistic pricing by, for example, building more social housing. Even if you sell it off later…

  10. @Garj

    I should add that this is independent of leftward or rightward stance. Thus, upping welfare benefits can also lead to opportunistic pricing. Or indeed, to employers opportunistically cutting wages.

  11. WB

    …..on reflection, even the very small sample of Female Labour VI you provided is of no help on this occasion.

    I note you say “her view would be hardened when any opinion from that source is filtered through the Conservative supporting lens of the Spectator Magazine.”

    Which means, I presume, that she would take no account of the views of the Socialist Trans activist quoted in the Spectator article simply because of them being in that periodical.

    So trying to glean her response to Kristina Harrison’s position on Labour’s espousal of self-ID in gender & the implication of all-women shortlists open to someone born male, retaining male physiology , & legally recognised as male ; would seem to be pointless.

    Mumsnet is certainly concerned about “the hottest political flashpoint in the gender debate. ” just now ,and has armed itself with a hashtag: #labourlosingwomen,

    But Kristina Harrison’s remarks given on the Socialist Feminist Network seem to indicate a wider spectrum of disagreement with Corbyn’s direction of travel on this.

    No matter-more Polls will tell the story I presume.

  12. @Garj

    Also, another example of how the amount of money chasing essentials affects prices is how much more house prices have gone up in the South East with all that QE and foreign money flooding in. (Whereas there are places with quite a lot of immigration elsewhere that met not have seen such inflation.)

  13. Toby, SC, Sam,

    Being in a customs union with the EU (which could be The Customs Union) is a priority for Labour above the SM.

    The party believe that avoiding the supply change disruption from not being in a CU is more important than being able to strike up independent trade deals.

    This is the difference between the mainstream Con and Labour Party positions.

    For now, though, Labour say getting the right transition deal is the priority and that negotiations should take place during that window.

    Personally, I think it is still too early to be spelling out what Labour would want at the end of a negotiation that they would have HMG conducting in to the autumn of 2020, at least.

  14. @PR

    I work with the ONS. They don’t make things up, and suggesting that they do is conspiracy theorising.

    However, employment growth is becoming highly concentrated in skilled areas and in cities. It is eminently possible for the number of benefit claimants to be low and for employment opportunities to be in demand.

    If you’re in a low-paid job in some parts of the country, the cost of living is so high that a second job is practically mandatory. London is not the only place where it’s a problem. Oxford, Cambridge and parts of Brighton also have similar problems.

    I was talking to a social worker last week who has taken a second job because there isn’t enough funding for her role (for which we have a shortage of entrants) to do 5 days a week (there is more than enough work to do) and her husband has just been taken very seriously ill. So there is another thing going on.

    If Brexit is to tackle these issues either it is going to occasion massive pay cuts for people in professional jobs, (which makes engineering, for example, even less attractive, and bloody good luck with the teaching shortage), massive pay rises for manual and service workers (congratulations, you’ve just offshored everything. Minford will be pleased) or a big fall in cost of living ie a massive house price crash.

    When I put the question to our largely affluent, mortgage-free Brexit cohort of whether they were willing to accept a large fall in the value of their property as the price of Brexit you will be surprised to hear I was met with a resounding silence. Unsurprising because one thing does unite most of UKPR’s Brexiteers – they expect someone else to pay for it all. The time has come to ask again.

  15. BARBAZENZERO

    I read about 80 crossings on the Norway/Sweden border in some articles, and I dare say they have an awful lot of informal crossings as well. It’s a much longer border in much more difficult terrain with a far larger geographical area to cover. The major issue that the Norwegians have anyway is the smuggling of alcohol, which is a problem created by their enormous booze taxes and rigid state-owned alcohol monopoly. You need that kind of disparity to create an economic case for black market smuggling, and it’s not like there isn’t already disparity on sin taxes anyway, so what does it matter if current smuggling continues? Anybody smuggling across the NI border would also only be getting into one small part of the UK, they would then have to make it across to the mainland if they wanted to take illicit goods any further. You might not institute a customs border in the Irish Sea, but it is a good choke point for checking documentation and carrying out random searches for illegal goods.

    A customs border only needs to be carrying out checks on goods vehicles on a regular basis, trucks essentially. If you were following the Sweden/Norway model you’d limit those kinds of vehicles to a smaller number of specific crossings and provide for a lot of pre-registration of cargo. You don’t need to impose a border which would impact people travelling to and fro.

  16. @WB

    Sorry about that. I rather think you’ve been around the block enough to know about McDonnell (if you don’t mind my saying).

    I’ve said before that I rather admire McD even if I don’t like or trust him – he is a schemer of the first water and any successful Government needs at least one.

    A referendum will only divide further if it is close. We’ve enough trouble as it is. We’ve just seen the recent spate of jailings of high-profile far-Right terrorists and it’s becoming a more and more serious issue. At some point the Right is going to have to stop running away from the problem and when they do the country can start to heal up. Another referendum will not help if the Leavers get their dogwhistles out again.

  17. CR

    Is anything you post actually based on any facts or is it all supposition. As brexit hasn’t happened yet and therefore nobody knows what will happen to house prices ( my guess is there go up) I assume you meant to say IMO to your previous statement.

  18. CARFREW

    I agree, the availability of cheap money is a big part of why house prices have gone up so much, but rents are a much more straightforward expression of supply and demand.

    CHRIS RILEY

    “If Brexit is to tackle these issues either it is going to occasion massive pay cuts for people in professional jobs”

    Why?

    “massive pay rises for manual and service workers (congratulations, you’ve just offshored everything. Minford will be pleased)”

    How do you offshore an office cleaner, a social worker, or a Deliveroo rider?

    “or a big fall in cost of living ie a massive house price crash”

    I’d prefer house price stagnation for a decade or two alongside rising wages.

    The social worker in your example ought to be better paid if she’s in an expensive part of the country. I’d also say that ‘second job’ might not be the right term if you aren’t working full-time in your first job. That’s the problem I see – that a lot of people in the UK are working part-time, even when they live in very costly parts of the country. Figuring out why this is and increasing economic participation goes way beyond Brexit, but for my money it’s a mix of lax immigration policies and a welfare state (particularly social housing) which result in an oversupply of low earners in places like London and depresses wages as a result. Given the cost of living it ought to be impossible to find someone to work for less than £15 an hour in the capital, but in practice you can get people for half that.

  19. @Garj

    “I agree, the availability of cheap money is a big part of why house prices have gone up so much, but rents are a much more straightforward expression of supply and demand”

    ————

    Well under a straightforward expression of supply and demand, whether the extra money chasing goods comes from wages or banking bonuses or QE, prices are liable to go up.

    Rents are much higher in the capital for this reason, compared to some other places with immigration.

    And if house prices go up, those BTL landlords are liable to put rents up to fund the increased mortgages of course. Or just to take advantage of the fact fewer people can afford mortgages of their own and are forced to rent. Just as energy companies will put prices up if they can get away with it, rail companies, etc. etc.

  20. “How do you offshore an office cleaner, a social worker, or a Deliveroo rider”

    ——-

    Well if you offshore the office workers, they won’t be needing local cleaners or possibly even Deliveroo riders…

  21. @CHRIS RILEY

    “I work with the ONS. They don’t make things up, and suggesting that they do is conspiracy theorising.”

    ——–

    Well it isn’t necessarily the case that Rach is conspiracy theorising. It depends how they decide someone is no longer unemployed. If it’s just a few hours a week’s work, then there may be many who are no longer counted as unemployed but who are still in need of further work.

    (On top of those who, as you suggest, have full time employment but still can’t make ends meet. E.g. paramedics and nurses in places like London).

  22. COLIN
    I was extremely sorry to read of the resignation of Penny Lawrence, Deputy Executive Director of OXFAM. One would only need to read of her work , since 2006 in poverty reduction across 60 countries, and of the 11m. plus people whom OXFAM helps, to recognise the target of TheTime’s’ campaign, and of the multiplier effect which it might have through television and press and a social media not able to read more than the message it wants to convey or reports which are biassed towards it.
    As the Wikipedia article you quote goes on to say,
    Haiti suffers from extreme poverty, with much of the population living on less than a dollar a day; those with no other resources often turn to prostitution.[6][7][8] After the 2010 earthquake, many prostitutes from the Dominican Republic crossed over the border, searching out clients amongst the aid workers and UN personal. Dominican women command a premium because of their lighter skin.[9]
    This social phenomenon and its origins in conflict and natural disaster has needed to be treated as an epidemic. It reflects a situation in which aid and peace workers are targeted as a market for prostitution because civil society and a commercial market have broken down. It goes back to well before the expulsion of the whole of the Sri Lankan UN peacekeeping force for exploitation and trafficking of women in 2007.
    In those circumstances it appears that it was not only OXFAM which, for the sake of not disrupting or misrepresenting its management of the use of international aid, had to use its own discipline and regulations, but also its discretion, in responding to its staff’s illicit use of prostitutes. Its own response was to fire four staff and to call for the resignation of its Country Director and two others.
    Andrew Mitchell’s accusation of OXFAM’s being “economical with the truth” in reporting to him and the Charities Commission that it had made those effective dismissals for reason of the sexual misconduct of the staff concerned leaves tobe judged whether he and the Commission were adequate in their awareness of the problem in 2011, of the stress which that put on OXFAM and other agencies having to exercise responsibility for aid delivery and in his and the Commission’s responses.

  23. @ JIMJAM etc on customs Union

    Yes, well I agree LAB should and probably will go for CU but not SM, eventually. And I would guess there is a majority in parliament for such a stance.

    I am puzzled by why Leavers think that negotiating our own trade deals will give us better trade deals than the ones the EU can negotiate. Surely trade negotiations always favour the strong, rich countries as against the weaker, poorer ones; so being part of 500 million trade bloc would give us better deals than being a 60 million one.

    Perhaps a Leaver will explain?

  24. CROFTY

    I don’t know if you read my exchange with WB on a piece in the Speccy about possible reasons for Labour’s recent loss of Women’s VI.

    The issue identified in the article is TRANS Activism & JC’s espousal; of gender ” self ID”

    A recent Labour Party appointment as “Womens Officer”-one Lily Madigan -a Trans Activist-seems to be at the centre of it all.

    So we now have a bit of a shindig between Feminists & Trans ——er people.

    Mumsnet was quoted in the Speccy Article.

    Here is a hashtag they have set up & the anguish is palpable there.

    https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3165074-Labour-lose-3-points-ALL-women-leaving-the-party

    The willingness to think about Amber Rudd’s public statements on the issue is interesting amongst this Left Leaning population.

    I don’t know how significant this particular group of people is -or how representative they are of Female Labour supporters’ attitudes to JC’s policy of Self ID Gender. & the knock on for All Women Short Lists.

    But my thought was that this is so JC-Identity Politics.

    But this is an “Identity” which is disputed within his own support . And when Lab’s propensity for Sectarian Division meets Identity Politics in this way it is a recipe for loss of support.

    I think this is a nice example of the potential flaws in JC’s politics.

    I know you have views on Corbyn -and wondered what your reaction to this is?

  25. Colin

    Thanks for the Spiegel link. I haven’t managed to get to their online stuff yet. Got bogged down with FAZ (which obviously has a very different interpretation), and also with Frankfurter Rundchau http://www.fr.de/politik/bundestagswahl/spd-krisenzeit-dank-martin-schulz-a-1444917,2

    It also seems that some “experts” in Germany underestimate the problem (apologies for the split link, but I have long forgotten my password to log on and be able to put two links in one comment).

    ht tps://mobil.derstandard.at/2000073896985/Experte-ueber-Groko-Man-darf-das-nicht-so-ernst-nehmen

    I checked Google translate and it does a good job on both texts if needed.

  26. JOHN PILGRIM

    Thanks.

    This is so very sad for the vast majority of charity workers engaged in Disaster Relief. They will look -as did their counterparts in the Catholic & Anglican Churches-with despair at the way their leadership demonstrated such moral cowardice.

    So now-everyone involved at the top of this issue is trying to regain some credibility.

    The latest reports indicate that the sector as a whole needs to address this problem. The Times has done a good job imo, in making public what this sector apparently already knew.

    As to Oxfam-I hope that they can be brutally honest & transparent with their regulator & DfID & I await the Charity Commission report on it. I hope that Mordaunt can be persuaded that she knows the worst & can believe that future management of this risk is acceptable

    I am also reading that Mordaunt’s own civil servants need to be told that they have to be more thorough & decisive too.

  27. TOBY EBERT

    I think you’re misunderstanding what might be on offer from the EU regarding the customs union. Turkey is in the CU, meaning that they have to apply EU tariffs to all imports in return for the right to trade freely with the EEA.

    They do not get the benefits of the EU’s trade agreements with other nations.

    Turkey has no ability to sell their goods to Canada, say, and take advantage of the benefits of CETA. What they can do is try to persuade Canada to offer them a similar deal, but as Canada is able to sell into Turkey and get all of the benefits of CETA while doing so, they have zero reason to do so. The CU also requires a high level of regulatory compliance. Turkey has to adopt all EU standards and regulations, but has no say over them.

    Unless the EU is willing to include us in all trade agreements and allow a fair bit of leeway in what it considers regulatory alignment, then CU could be a very poor choice. There is also the complaint that the EU has always favoured the areas of manufacturing and industry which suit its core members in any trade deal (there isn’t even a sinlge market for services within the EU), while leaving the UK’s main sectors out of any free trade arrangements. That’s hardly likely to improve once we’re out of the club but shackled to the side of it.

  28. “But this is an “Identity” which is disputed within his own support . And when Lab’s propensity for Sectarian Division meets Identity Politics in this way it is a recipe for loss of support.
    I think this is a nice example of the potential flaws in JC’s politics.
    I know you have views on Corbyn -and wondered what your reaction to this is?”

    ——–

    Well Paul did self-ID as a dog for a while, (or two dogs even), so he might be with Corbyn on this….

  29. JOHN PILGRIM

    I’m afraid the Sector will have to go through a lot more examination like this :-

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/feb/12/metoo-strikes-aid-sector-as-sexual-exploitation-allegations-proliferate

    Actually I think the recent wave of resistance to sexual exploitation of the vulnerable in the Arts, The Church, & now the Charitable Sector is a good thing.

    It will be overdone by some & harm may be done to the innocent on occasion.

    But at least it will be in the public eye & not hidden by the perpetrators.

  30. @ GARJ – Thank you for your posts today, some excellent points in your 10:59 and 11:30.
    In your 12:09 I think it is fair to add in the polling suggestions that showed most people didn’t really understand the differences between THE CU and Customs Arrangements. Staying in THE rigid CU but with no say is horrific (BINO – – ). Australia’s High Commissioner Alexander Downer pointed this out on the Today programme:
    “If you remain in the customs union… you would have no control over an independent trade policy, in fact you’d have no control over trade policy at all”
    Those that only believe the Independent and believe everything in the Independent can read this link:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-latest-updates-eu-customs-union-uk-leave-trade-policy-australia-high-commissioner-alexander-a8206126.html

    Hopefully May+co will ‘educate’ the electorate in the coming weeks because this is very important. UK jobs first Brexit not a Worst for Britain/Best for EU outcome as funded by the ne0liberal elite and backed by the capitalist cabals and their lobby groups such as SMMT.

    26years ago was about when we signed up (with no referendum) to Maastricht Treaty (with a few opt-outs) and about when we left the ERM. I’d love to visit a parallel universe where we had a referendum on Maastricht and if Leave had won we’d rejoined+revamped EFTA instead (or gone our own way). 0.5% extra growth per year from combination of less red tape and trade tailored to UK’s SWOT? EU expansion and/or FoM might have been different, etc.
    (1.005^26)-1 = 14% higher GDP or for those that like accumulated numbers 83% accumulated lost GDP from having joined the EU.

  31. CARFREW – regarding cheap money (QE) and unintended consequences of asset prices bubbles how do you view free uni fees?

    I think it is far to say we have an imbalance of demand for graduates versus supply of graduates. Hiking fees made very little difference as their is ‘imperfect knowledge’ between ‘buyers’ (employees) and ‘sellers’ (graduates) about product differentiation (ie graduates see a single price for fees and therefore ‘believe’ all degress are both valuable and equal where as employers see it differently).

    The whole student loan issue is complicated but it clearly isn’t working (Osborne-Clegg applied a blunt tool to fix a broken market and didn’t get the results they expected). The market is far from balanced, moral hazard is rife and students are ending up with massive debts and in many cases little opportunity to pay it back (bad for them and the future taxpayer)

    Free fees shifts the debt burden from the individual empowered with choice to the general burden of current taxpayers. Roughly 11bn per year! How does that fit ‘each to his contribution and each to his need’?

    [Interested in your thoughts as HMG are reviewing this. Friend of mine is again suggesting lowering interest rate to CPI and reintroducing means testing – failed to register last time but fingers crossed this time. Lot more to do especially on offering young people better alternatives but canvassing for ideas that address the imbalances as well as inequalities of the current broken system]

  32. I am beginning to think Danny has this right. The right wing Tories appear to push for a hard Brexit to ameliorate Brexiteers. In the meantime May does her best to appear to talk the talk whilst gradually preparing the way for a soft Brexit. Given polling is now more favourable to the Tories it would appear this perceived tactic is working.

    Labour are in danger of falling behind the line here and would be wise to set out a policy to include remaining within the Customs Union.

  33. GARJ @ BZ

    I read about 80 crossings on the Norway/Sweden border in some articles, and I dare say they have an awful lot of informal crossings as well.

    My younger son lives in Northern Norway, and I have driven there from Switzerland via Sweden, so I have a reasonable knowledge of the issues. There are certainly many informal crossings but the population density is very low, which is probably why neither side does much about them. That’s rather different from the appx. 30,000 daily commuters who cross the border twice daily.

    Anybody smuggling across the NI border would also only be getting into one small part of the UK, they would then have to make it across to the mainland if they wanted to take illicit goods any further. You might not institute a customs border in the Irish Sea, but it is a good choke point for checking documentation and carrying out random searches for illegal goods.

    That may be relevant to the UK, although I can’t see the DUP being happy about it, but if the UK leaves the Customs Union the problem will be in the other direction, which is why the RoI border is very relevant to the EU27.

  34. @ GARJ – I wrote my 5:32pm before reading your 5:10pm. You covered most of my points.

    @ TOBY EBERT – “Surely trade negotiations always favour the strong, rich countries as against the weaker, poorer ones; so being part of 500 million trade bloc would give us better deals than being a 60 million one.”

    This is the critical point that cuts to the chase of a large part of THE CU issue. The strong bullying the weak is disturbing but let’s be real – it happens and US, China, EU all do it.

    So are we better being part of a bigger bully than tailoring our own deals specific to our own needs?

    IMHO being a neglected voice in the EU’s ‘gang’ is worse than negotiating our own tailored deals (including the current bad deal with EU). The worst possible outcome would be to no longer even have a neglected voice (“pay with no say”). BINO – – is worse than having voted Remain on 23June16 and IMHO why some Leave are in the hindsight DK or ‘Bregret’ (Boris hinted at this but backtracked quickly as its clearly not in his interests to be fully honest during the negotiating period)

    We should also remember we are an island economy. 3/4ish of our GDP is domestic and UK-UK (yet subject to regulation from EU and within the jurisdiction of ECJ). Leaving THE CU is about more than just trade, there is an important indirect element which some Leavers cover with the broad term ‘Vassal state’.

  35. The real reason McDonnell doesn’t want a new ref:
    https://manicbeancounter.com/2016/07/

    I seriously doubt he wants a GE before Mar’19 either as it would clearly be based on the GE that we didn’t have in 2017!

  36. @Trevor W

    Ah well, that’s not something I’ve really chatted about on here. I’m a bit cynical about the idea – as with the health service – that you just change the funding model and magic happens and everything is suddenly a lot closer to optimal.

    Whatever the funding model, while it may be the case that there aren’t enough graduate-level jobs, one has to ask, is that the fault of the graduates, or the employers who can’t come up with anything better for this increased resource than fruit picking and bar work.

    Similarly, for all the debt they acquire, are students getting anything close to value for money? I think we’d both agree quite often not. That said, you can quite often see how thinking develops over the course of a degree.

    Part of the problem is that as things are, students have to commit to a degree, without really knowing much about what they are going to get. If they’re not happy, they might try another institution but that may be another stab in the dark. Changing the funding model won’t alter this big informational disadvantage for the consumer.

    This all needs attention, regardless of how you fund it. I think there’s something to be said for encouraging education, rather than discouraging it with payments, and don’t really buy the household economics approach to what it supposedly “costs”.

    First off, students spend the money in the economy, offsetting some of the cost. Secondly, I don’t really subscribe to the idea education is just about serving the needs of business, and even it’s just bar work for now, improved thinking skills can be useful down the line, whether it’s in setting up their own business or more enlightened voting.

  37. @Trevor W

    Or to put it another way….

    You can futz with the funding model, or you can create some jobs or other frameworks that actually make more use of their skills in ways that benefit us economically, socially, in health terms or whatever.

    I.e., focus on improving and getting more value out of the investment.

  38. BARBAZENZERO

    The Southern stretch of the Norway/Sweden border is fairly populated, from what I recall when passing through there. I would imagine that those two countries have a good deal of cross-border trade too. Regardless, Ireland isn’t part of Schengen, the free and easy movement of the 30000 daily commuters isn’t an issue unless they and the EU are intending to do away with the common travel area which has been in place since 1923.

    TW

    This is all why I think we’ve reached the point where the ball is really in the EU’s court. The problems with the NI border can be resolved, especially if they are willing to come to a reasonable trade agreement at the end of the process, but it’s impossible to figure out how everything might work until there’s some meaningful engagement in terms of what the EU would like the final outcome to be. The Commission may well be trying to get the government to accept BINO or hoping that they can delay until the threat of crashing out makes us give up on Brexit, so they’re obfuscating over technicalities rather than clarifying the broad intent of their negotiating goals. This is probably where the government needs to convince the Taoiseach that Ireland is better off helping us to get a comprehensive trade deal because trying to use NI as leverage to push the UK into BINO is just going to wind up with us crashing out and do enormous harm to both our economies and the peace process as a result.

  39. A bit of fun for fans of politics, gardening and Radio 4. Surely everyone here qualifies.

    Ever wondered what would happen if Prime Minister’s Questions and Gardener’s Question Time got mixed up? Wonder no more, listen from 23:45 here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09qhbxh

  40. @TW

    To use a straightforward analogy, about how the return on investment is often the important thing, which you can also apply to education. There are numerous ways of funding or packaging a mortgage. Some might work out a bit cheaper than others but in the end you don’t care so much if your house appreciates in value quite a bit.

    I’m not saying ignore funding completely, obviously the current model leaves a lot to be desired, but if you ensure sufficient return via improving the educational provision and opportunities thereafter, that’s the main thing.

  41. This evening’s Press Conference in Belfast was interesting.

    Apart from the prospective good news on NI Assembly , Varadkar & May discussed Brexit.

    Varadkar seemed to me to be much more emolient than when I last heard him. Specifically Varadkar said they preferred Option A for the Border ( ie solved via the FTA) and were supporting UK to achieve that solution. He said Options B & C were “last resorts”.

  42. GarJ,

    Turkey is in A customs union with the EU.

    It might some esoteric but A customs union allows Parliament to say they are honouring the referendum THE customs union makes it more problematic.

    As I said earlier, this is the real divide imo between Labour and Cons, although Labour have not said so yet.

    I suspect Andrew Rawnsley has been briefed by someone who knows where Labour are heading.

  43. GARJ @ BZ

    Regardless, Ireland isn’t part of Schengen, the free and easy movement of the 30000 daily commuters isn’t an issue unless they and the EU are intending to do away with the common travel area which has been in place since 1923.

    It becomes an issue the moment that UK leaves the CU unless the “regulatory alignment” offer is properly policed, presumably being written into the departure treaty.

  44. NeilJ
    F*ck me! Another Herefordian on UKPR, I’m from the metropolis of North Herefordshire, Leominster, greetings bro.( Not literally the rest of you, Herefordshire is not Norfolk after all).
    TrevorW
    Hmm, nice bit of lily pad leaping there in that you stated that fruit picking alone ‘put food on the table’ in the late 80s. Then all of a sudden it’s only a supplementary income.
    My serious point, as picked up by Alec, was that the influx of east european labour made possible an industry that was at best moribund prior to the early 2000s. Now that looks like it’s being put in jeopardy.

  45. COLIN

    That’s promising. It’s very much down to Ireland to decide whether a series of technological solutions and light touch enforcement will be sufficient.

    JIM JAM

    All just seems like a lot of lawyers’ sophistry to me, and as of yet Labour’s description of Brexit sounds like exactly the same kind of cake as the Tories’. If they shift to wanting to stay in The Customs Union (as opposed to just a customs union) then all those other problems will arise. Still cake, just a slightly different flavour of it.

    BARBAZENZERO

    Are you talking about the possibility that Ireland, at some future point, will decide to join Schengen? The idea of the NI border becoming a back door for European migration doesn’t really make sense, unless you think that we’re going to end visa-free travel from the rest of Europe. It feels a bit like you’re trying to pick holes that don’t really exist here.

  46. GARJ

    I thought so. Varadkar was much less confrontational-working with UK etc etc.

    I was reflecting that three women have got the talks moving again in NI-the two main party leaders & the new Sec. of State.

  47. GARJ @ BZ

    I have no idea why you mention Schengen. Until the UK rejoins the EU it will be unlikely, to put it mildly.

    The problem would be that absent monitored regulatory equivalence, spivs like Fox would be importing goods below EU standards, which – assuming they’re cheap enough – would end up being smuggled over the border.

  48. @trevorwarne

    “IMHO being a neglected voice in the EU’s ‘gang’ is worse than negotiating our own tailored deals (including the current bad deal with EU). ”

    1. Presumably you can point to how the UK is a neglected voice. One real example will suffice before you launch into another one of your long litanies.

    2. If the current deal with the EU is so bad why do Brexiters say that the EU is “punishing” the UK by not agreeing to replicate it after Brexit.

  49. RJW
    F*ck me! Another Herefordian on UKPR, I’m from the metropolis of North Herefordshire, Leominster, greetings bro.( Not literally the rest of you, Herefordshire is not Norfolk after all).

    Greeting Bro, on another note hoping in another 5 years Hereford finally get’s a bypass to so we can be as good as Leominster, it’s only been 40 years in the planning:-)

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