YouGov’s weekly poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 9%(+2). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Wednesday and changes are from last week. While the changes themselves are insignificant, margin-of-error stuff, it’s worth noting that this is the fourth YouGov poll in a row with a Conservative lead of 4 or 5 points, so it looks as if, beneath the noise, the Tories may have genuinely opened up a small lead over Labour.

The same movement is apparent in the best Prime Minister rating. Following the general election Jeremy Corbyn had cut Theresa May’s lead on the measure down to single figures, but it has gradually inched back up again, and in the last couple of months Theresa May seems to have had a steady double-digit lead.

Full tabs for the latest figures are here.


558 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 43%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%”

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  1. “The bile and poison is being stoked to unhealthy levels now and I’m not sure if there has ever been a time in British politics in my lifetime when the public discourse has been so bilious. As Keth Starmer said yesterday; people are just talking past each other with no one listening and the language growing ever more extreme.”

    This is sadly true I think, and at the root of my comment last night that for some reason the usual strength of democracy, that enough of the losers buy in to the process to give a period of stability even after a fractious campaign, just hasn’t happened this time.

    This may be a feature of referendums. I have never really trusted them. Politicians as opposed as Attlee and Thatcher certainly didn’t.

    I supported the courageous, as it was probably electorally costly, stand of Ed Milliband on the point in 2015. And the few who still opposed it in Parliament after that election, such as Ken Clarke. Far more so than the chancers who supported it in Parliament then but now want to change their minds because the electorate gave the “wrong” answer.

    But for whatever reason, a failure to settle the question without ongoing rancour certainly seems to have been a feature of this one. Which can only get worse I fear if the establishment gets its way and ignores the wrong answer the 52% gave. Even as one of the 48% I fear that scenario.

    Not necessarily for too much of the extreme stuff. I still have more faith in my fellow citizens. But because of the negative effects of another generation of this tedious and destructive failure to decide.

  2. Alec,

    I see TOH is on form again…he’s even in the movies…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE

    Peter.

  3. @PETE B

    Thanks for putting forward actual reasons.

    I will confess that to me it is about pounds, shillings and pence. In my opinion it is almost always about pounds, shillings and pence. First three examples that came in to my head are the Magna Carta, the English Civil War and the American War of independence. And no, I am not suggesting we are on the brink of civil war.

    Unfortunately, your reasons don’t really move me.
    ECJ has never done me any harm.
    We have control of our borders apart from Northern Ireland which we have never had control of.
    I believe we will be just as beholden to EU policies but have absolutely no say in what direction they take.

    @PETERW
    “But for whatever reason, a failure to settle the question without ongoing rancour certainly seems to have been a feature of this one. Which can only get worse I fear if the establishment gets its way and ignores the wrong answer the 52% gave. Even as one of the 48% I fear that scenario.”

    I totally agree with this, which is why I am constantly looking for reassurance that Brexit won’t be that bad…. still looking

  4. The Other [email protected]: “So why not confound us with some positivism by putting a bit of flesh on the bare bones of your oft-repeated, never-justified faith in a successful brexit?”

    Why would I do that, it would be a complete waste of time because our views of the future are basically acts of faith. Whatever I said would not convince you and whatever you can say will not convince me. I am very positive about the long term prospects for Brexit even if we leave on WTO terms which continues to seem extremely likely, but I would not be able to convince you, so there really is no point.

    There we have it. You did not reach your pro brexit position by any rational process which can be explained. It is a matter of religion for the faithful alone.

  5. Laszlo (May 13th, 2018 at 7:17 pm)

    “the SNP is a coalition of various political endeavours and hence also a centre of informal coalitions.”

    So just the same as other political parties – especially in a FPTH electoral system.

  6. FPTH = FPTP (of course, though First Past The Hurdle would work as well)}

  7. PeterW

    I see it being equally destructive either way, whatever happens both sides will continue to hate each other, not engaging with each other and just hoping the other side will die off.

  8. Sorry (No I’m not) to post more Brexit news, but Norway appears to be reconsidering its opposition to the UK remaining in the EEA Single Market via EFTA.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-britain-join-european-economic-area-single-market-norway-eea-a8350681.html?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#link_time=1526316270

  9. @toh

    And of course you are completely unable to refute it because it is true. Hence your anger and bad manners. It’s great fun to watch.

  10. So it seems that the Scottish Parliament will not agree to give legislative consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill tomorrow with only the Tories voting in favour.

  11. Net migration is sharply down, and likely to remain so or perhaps even decline further.

    So for me, with my eccentric motives for voting Leave, the signs are positive….

  12. Neil A

    I haven’t seen the net migration figures.

    Can you give us the percentage changes for both inward and outward migration?

    If they are available, it would also be interesting to see the age band distribution of outward migration, and to note any changes in that.

    Thanks.

  13. Hireton

    I note that the Lords have voted down the opposition to Leveson 2, and have reversed the Tory/DUP small majority for that.

    They will, no doubt, have also noted the lack of an LCM for the Withdrawal Bill from Scotland, with only one party supporting the UK Government.

  14. I don’t think they do figures on age ranges,

    But the net migration from the EU is down significantly – although still in positive territory. Slightly balanced by a slight increase in net migration from the RoW.

    Stats are here if you want to look.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/internationalmigration/bulletins/migrationstatisticsquarterlyreport/february2018

    Not a new report. My point was that for me at least, Brexit looks like having the desired effect.

  15. @ peterw

    ” I fear if the establishment gets its way and ignores the wrong answer the 52% gave. Even as one of the 48% I fear that scenario.”

    The question that arises is that if brexit does indeed turn out to be the disaster that many fear, then how many of the 52% will convince themselves that they really voted remain ?

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/06/03/remembering-iraq/

    ” But more than 10 years of opposition is a long time, and many people now remember things differently. Now only 37% of the public say they believed military action against Saddam Hussein was right at the time, instead of the 54% recorded at the time.”

  16. @Technicolouroctober:

    I think an awful lot of our beliefs owe more to faith than we would like to think.

    Some people think the case for modern immigration is obvious – and you might well agree. I think it is a reckless economic and social experiment at best, and a doomed Ponzi scheme worst. The economic benefits belong to a world that mistakes consumption for wealth, and puts off building the houses whose annual cost would outstrip any benefits.

    But those who see diversity as an end in itself, or economically benefit from immigration, tend to discount such risks.

    To me the economic case for the EU was summed up by the argument that it would make it cheaper for us to borrow. Sure, it may do. But borrowing is poisoning us slowly. So too is the current account deficit (massive with the EU). So too is rolling out the model of importing cheap labour into ever wider sectors of our economy. So, to me, the EU is part of an economic model where we go very comfortably to hell in a handbasket.

    Leaving is uncomfortable, and no guarantee we’ll actually face up to the long term problems. And there is no guarantee the problems are soluble.

    The reality is that only part of our views on the EU are built on solid facts. A lot comes down to what we find instinctively attractive, and what risks we find bearable.

    The real point of exchanging views on this sort of site – setting aside ego – is not to try to convince others. It is to expose ourselves to other views, and to see if we can meaningfully express our responses to our own satisfaction.

  17. Neil A

    Thanks for the link.

    I thought the reasons for migrating might give some indication as to whether the net effect was positive/negative [1]

    However, those are provisional estimates for 2017 (with a rather high margin of error shown) so I don’t think that they can really be used to support any argument.

    If anything, Table 5 would suggest a large drop in working age people coming to the UK, and something of a rise in such folk leaving.

    As my mother-in-law said of “retirement homes” – “No way am I going to live in a geriatric ghetto”.

    I may have no choice in that, if the UK becomes a gigantic retirement home! :-)
    [1] Whether indications would be positive or negative is, of course, a matter of desired outcome. Presumably, ideally you would want to see pre-menopausal women leaving the UK, so as to reduce future population growth.

  18. Interesting polling from Number Cruncher

    https://capx.co/what-does-the-british-public-think-about-capitalism/

    61 per cent think ordinary working people don’t get their fair share of the nation’s wealth

    Most people simply haven’t thought about merits of the market

    Only half of current Conservative voters believe in private enterprise

  19. @Polltroll

    “Andrew: but you also have to consider that most of the 65% are more solid in their support for Labour than most of the 35%. The strategy is electorally sound, if morally questionable.”

    I would have guessed the opposite to be true – the 35% would be in the former Labour heartlands of the North, and would be pretty solid given that they had not jumped ship by now to the Tories or UKIP.

    @PeterW – I am not openly pro-Conservative as such, I am just massively anti-Corbyn (or to be precisely accurate, McDonnell) – there is a difference.

  20. @Andrew Myers
    I agree about McDonnell – a very dangerous cove IMHO.

  21. I’ve been reading about parakeets.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_parakeets_in_Great_Britain#Ecological_impact

    An extract: “Concerns have been raised over the impact of the growing numbers of parakeets in south-east England. Scientific research programmes have analysed the behaviour of parakeets and found that they compete with native bird species and bats for food and nesting sites. Although not aggressive, parakeets deter smaller birds with noisy gregarious behaviour. ”

    Am I persona non grata for seeing some parallels with human immigration? As for the effect on polling, I would guess that parakeets would vote differently to sparrows, for instance.

    G’night all.

  22. @Joseph1832

    For a start, as a remainer my own position was about more than £sd: much more about the pleasure of roaming a whole continent with its diversity, the option to go and live there without serious formalities, the peace we have enjoyed within Europe throughout my lifetime and the fraternity with other nations.

    On £sd, it has nothing to do with making it cheaper to borrow, though I certainly would be in favour of borrowing to invest for production efficiency and for a modernised and more elegant public realm. The point of the EU economically was the expanded market – both customs union and single market and sweeping away so many absurdities of 28 different standards. That we have chosen as a nation to run a current account deficit is not the fault of the EU: the Americans have been doing the same without that excuse. It has to do with the dominance of finance and the exponential growth of private, as opposed to public debt.

    Of course, in 100 years many things may have been ‘cured’ by Brexit. There is every chance we will inhabit an increasingly squalid and backward country, clinging to our fantasies and continuing to favour private wealth above public investment whilst the rest of the world moves on. Earnings are likely to be depressed and that, and the squalor, will solve the immigration ‘problem’ and likely cure the current account deficit.

    So perhaps Brexiteers are right in the long run

  23. Guymonde

    “continuing to favour private wealth above public investment”

    Have a look at the Number Crucher poll report I linked to upthreasd.

  24. QUOTE (NEIL A)

    “My point was that for me at least, Brexit looks like having the desired effect.”
    —————————————–
    Let me tell you about one of my good friends, Neil.

    An EU national, she met her husband when he was in holiday in Europe. One whirlwind romance, one marriage proposal (his), one marriage later, she came to live in the UK.

    Two decades – of working and paying taxes – later and, post brexit vote, she gets abuse and comments every day – day in, day out. Occasionally, she gets threats. She speaks perfect English, but, does have an accent.

    I’ve seen her tears, heard the crack in her voice when she is angry, upset and a whole host of other emotions.

    She says that she no longer feels welcome in this country. I don’t want her to leave, but, wouldn’t blame her if she did. Nobody should live with that day in, day out.

    I fully accept that it is not you making the comments or threats – I would like to think that you you would roundly condemn those that do, but – and this is a very big but, this is part and parcel of your ‘desired effect’.

  25. Trevor Warne,
    “Wow, so you think the EU would allow us to just revoke and stay on the same terms”

    Dont ask, dont get. But you miss the point that while we have a very good deal, if that is no longer available we will take the next best which is. I do predict leavers ending up in what they would regard as a worse situation than our current membership.

    “An old but very good piece on why LAB have the bigger Brexit problem than CON but got away with the ambiguity in the 2017 GE”

    Polling keeps saying that 2/3 of labour voters are remainers, and as a whole labour supporters are less concerned about Brexit. In other words, those who did vote remain still feel other labour policies are more important. this was rather born out in the election, where labour did better than expected in leave areas.

    It is leave propaganda that labour would have a problem with a firm remain poicy. (as we see)

    Andrew Myers,
    “the way I see it a Hard Brexit is a high risk, high reward scenario”

    So what is the potential high reward? I dont see it anywhere.

    Polltroll,
    ” but you also have to consider that most of the 65% are more solid in their support for Labour than most of the 35%”

    What evidence is there for that? At first Glance, the 65% have never had their loyalty tested, but the 35% have already stayed with a soft remain party.

    TOH,
    “Enjoy your moaning all I am off to listen to some Beethoven followed by Copeland and then some Vaughn-Williams.Embracing the World unlike the Remainers.”

    I recall reading a SF book once, about one of those automated cities where the original citizens have degnerated somewhat from the high tech society which created it. Where on the one hand the high life continues amongst the affluent, concerts and parties, while the machinery underpinning the city slowly breaks down. In fact is deliberately torn apart by one disaffected individual who seeks revenge against the whole city for personal injustices. All a bit reminiscent of UKIP.

  26. Pete B,
    ” Brexit will (or should, if it’s done properly) mean that our own courts will not be able to be overruled by the ECJ, we will control our own borders and set our own policies to suit our own circumstances and not be beholden to trans-European policies which may go against our interests.”

    It makes no difference to me whether the most senior UK court sits in London or Luxembourg. Why should it? The ECJ IS empowered by the westminster parliament to perform this function.

    We really will not control our borders any better than now. Immigrants to the UK over the last 50 years -inside the EU or out – were invited to come.

    Assuming we continue as a trading nation to support ourselves, we will always be subject to the interests of others, and will accept terms which go against our interests. How could it be otherwise, short of creating a massive army and carving out an empire we control exclusively?

    This isnt the place to expand on this, but the truth is there is no way the UK can gain from brexit. It is all about damage limitation.

    Peterw,
    “can only get worse I fear if the establishment gets its way and ignores the wrong answer the 52% gave”

    But it wasnt 52%, only about 1/3 voted to leave. While that is quite normal in elections and usually non participants are ignored, in this case the fact they didnt bother to vote suggests they didnt care much.

    But they will care if Brexit goes through and they are negatively affected. This group has the potential to turn into vociferous post brexit remainers. Hence my arguments why there is a huge downside for any party pushing through any kind of Brexit which is perceived as a failure. A bad brexit could become a self destruct button for the tory party.

  27. Alec

    “Hang on a mo! Weren’t you telling us just a day ago that you don’t speculate on the future?”

    Exactly I have faith and do not need to speculate. If you cannot understand that then that explains a great deal about your negative attitude to this country.

    Peter Cains SNP

    Is that your idea of an intelligent comment Peter? If it is it confirms my view that you have nothing intelligent to say.

    Pete B

    Well said again Pete.

  28. Hireton

    Not angry at all just amused that you came up with an example of what i was talking about immediately. Perfection! :-)

  29. JOSEPH1832

    Thanks for that (10.52) the best post about Brexit for days.

  30. Oldnat: I think this speaks volumes. Voters don’t instinctively hate free markets, just like they don’t instinctively hate socialism. But up until 2017, many people had never really thought about the latter – and what they heard turned out to be relatively attractive. Most people have never really thought about free markets either. Labour isn’t winning “the battle for ideas”. There is no battle for ideas because the Conservative Party doesn’t have any. Labour only got back to level-pegging because any idea is better than none.

    Now, it is far from a sure thing, it is probably even quite unlikely, that a Conservative party that actually put together a robust defence of the current system would get a good reception. Because the current system is grounded in realism rather than magical thinking, but also because the Tories have done their utmost to undermine confidence in capitalism by screwing things up for eight years. And, of course, there is no counterfactual, no hard evidence that it is the worst form of economic management apart from all the others that have been tried.

    Actually, that’s not quite true, there are counterfactuals, France under Francois Hollande is a fair comparison (not Greece or Venezuela, as Corbyn’s less thoughtful critics would have it, although it is worth drawing attention to the gap between his private, socialist opinions and what was in last year’s, social democratic manifesto). But stuff outside people’s lived experience counts for sod all in a democracy.

  31. Polltroll,
    ” Because the current system is grounded in realism rather than magical thinking”

    Surely a contentious statement there? Take university fees, for example. Its perfectly clear we could afford to pay them through income tax instead of graduate income tax. Slash all that bureaucracy. But someone decided we would privatise university education. Someone decided they would sell of the student debt owed to government despite practiclly having to pay private institutions to take it off government hands and thereby increasing the cost to students. Someone decided we would give up all control over prioritising shortage subjects and let universiies run what courses they want.

    The whole thing of PFI- privatised expensive government borrowing- embraced by both parties.

    We had the consensus ‘realism’ of refusing to build enough houses for everyone!

    We have the realism of preferring to get in foreigners to do work here, rather than raising low end wages to make work viable.

    As far as immigration in general, quite a few seem to think our persistent policy of preferring immigrants to home grown solution is a root cause of the leave vote, despite it being UK government consensus policy to prefer immigration and having nothing to do with EU membership.

    I could go on. And on. And on.

  32. @TOH – “If you cannot understand that then that explains a great deal about your negative attitude to this country.”

    You do rather like assigning prejudiced views to those you disagree with.

    You obviously don’t have the faintest idea what I think about this country, which makes your post a complete hoot.

    And yes – of course you speculate about the future – that’s what ‘having faith’ is – nothing more, nothing less.

  33. Kentdalian
    An interesting polling question is whether false recall of referendum vote is already happening.
    If you look at the tabs for the latest Yougov poll, they found far more Remainers than Leavers in the original sample, and hence these people were downweighted both in voting intention and the Brexit question. If some of those people ACTUALLY voted Leave, then current support for Remain would be underestimated.

    What we need is for CMJ to do his famous stats on the sample size for Remain vote in Yougov polls since the referendum.

    Possibly the British Election Study may also tell us something, although I suspect the fact of being in it will improve recall!

    I would also like to see Yougov try their big panel approach to how people voted, and how they would vote now.

  34. Neil A,
    Of course net migration rate from the EU is down, with many people being scared away, the NHS in a recruitment crisis being one obvious piece of evidence. The amazing thing is that it is still positive..

    After Brexit net migration from the EU will increase again as it becomes a nearby part of ROW with many skilled workers that we desperately need….

  35. Danny: Realism isn’t a sufficient condition for good government, but it is a necessary one. You can be realistic about things and run a bad government. But you can’t run an effective government on magical thinking.

    Government is really hard! It is only the magical-thinking left that does not accept this. For them, it’s always:

    “We have a real problem with X. But solving it is so easy, we’ll just do Y! This no-drawbacks plan is so obvious that it must have occurred even to those dim-witted Tories, so the only reason they must be ignoring it is because of powerful vested interest Z.”

    (Normally, Y = throw money at the problem and tax the rich. Most often, Z = Rupert Murdoch, though any wealthy bogeyman will do.)

    Regardless of whether you agree with this analysis or not – and you must surely accept, at the very least, that it’s an extreme oversimplification – it is setting expectations of a Labour government that are going to be impossible to meet should such a government be elected. After all, solving X is easy if you care about it – the only reason the Tories haven’t solved it is because they don’t care. But Labour cares. So it can clap its hands and we’ll be living in the promised land. Right?

    I think this is why we are beginning to see some rhetoric about powerful oligarchs, the deep state etc, deliberately tanking the economy to destroy a Labour government. This is absurd, of course, rich people will want to stay rich even under a Labour government, and destroying the economy hurts the rich as well as the poor. It seems to be mostly a case of getting in their excuses early.

  36. @neila

    Never mind about the recruitment crisis in the NHS, you’re alright.

  37. Adrew111,
    “If some of those people ACTUALLY voted Leave, then current support for Remain would be underestimated.”

    OOh!. Good point. Although as Yougov uses panels of respondents, it should be possible to track their previous responses. In fact, presumably they could produce a percentage for people really changing their response.

    But we might have the same problem which applies elsewhere, that people willing to respond to pollsters are not a perfect sample of the general population. So Yougov might find a very high response accuracy, which is not valid in general.

  38. Andrew111,
    “The amazing thing is that it is still positive..”

    Ther must be an element of people taking advantage of rights to move while they still can.

    Polltroll,
    “Realism isn’t a sufficient condition for good government, but it is a necessary one. ”

    We’re doomed! Doomed!

    “It is only the magical-thinking left that does not accept this”

    Ah no mate, also the magical thinking right and the magical thinking centre, and the magical thinking leave, and even the magical thinking remain. Realism is not common amongst politicians, because voters frequently vote for magical thinking.

    And if one party finds their brand of magical thinking proves popular, the other lot quickly adopt it. We are still running on massive amounts of Thatcherite magical thinking quite some time since.

    If we go back further, there was all that magical thinking in 1914 that wholesale war in Europe just would not happen, not least because of an assumption Britain would rather withdraw and leave the others to it. Britain had to reverse its policy on europe at the last minute, just as it reversed its policy on appeasement before WW2, reversed abandoning the Falklands to argentina at the last minute, and maybe will be reversing its policy on abandoning the EU at the last minute.

    Going back further, didn’t a similar thing happen in Egypt, where the Uk abandoned general Gordon in Khartoum, but then had to reverse policy and send an army?

    I put the chances of the final outcome of the referendum vote being confirming the Uk as a committed member of the EU, being quite significant.

  39. I participated in an unusually long and complicated YouGov yesterday about Brexit, political attitudes to all sorts of things.
    I await its publication with great anticipation!

  40. Alec

    I think it is very clear what you think about this country and it’s voters. Shame on you and your like.

    As to faith, mine is positive and yours negative, it really is as simple as that. Anyway I am wasting valuable time. Have a good day all and Remainers try not to upset yourselves with your self imposed misery.

  41. TOH “Enjoy your moaning all I am off to listen to some Beethoven followed by Copeland and then some Vaughn-Williams.Embracing the World unlike the Remainers.”

    Two out of three composers cited would be EU citizens, then, if they lived today.

  42. Danny,

    Yes, good point, false recall will be most prevalent (if it exists) among the less engaged members of the population who do not have the time to engage with YouGov.

    However their longitudinal study with a big panel was much more accurate in the 2017 GE than regular polls, so that would be the way to find shifts in opinion that are not apparent (possibly) through regular polling. Possibly Guymonde has just participated in that!

  43. @TOH

    “As to faith, mine is positive and yours negative, it really is as simple as that. Anyway I am wasting valuable time. Have a good day all and Remainers try not to upset yourselves with your self imposed misery.”

    This always amuses me. You’ve come on to UKPR with a first post at the ungodly hour of 6.22am in the morning and then you complain, two hours later, presumably because you haven’t liked the other posts that you’ve read, that you’re “wasting your time”. So why the dickens do it, then? You’re always claiming you’ve got much better things to do anyway.

    I suggest you go and do them and this will no doubt be good for both your state of mind and blood pressure. I don’t know what’s happened to you of late. From my memory of UKPR, you used to be a slightly eccentric but largely good humoured poster, but now you seem angry, single-issue obsessed and intemperate.

    It’s entirely up to you, I accept, but I’d give it a rest, I really would. As you say yourself, stop wasting your time and get on with those things you much prefer doing.

  44. CROSSBAT11

    Not angry, Remainers seem to me to be too pathetic to get angry about and yes I am off to do other things. Remainers views on Brexit is why i post so little these days.

  45. JOHN B

    Hopefully not for long now.

  46. @ 10.24 pm et seq.

    The stand-off between the Scottish and Tory governments on the return of devolved powers after Brexit seems to me just another wasteful charade by leaders – they are trying to impress their followers when they should be tackling the many awful problems in UK life meantime – NHS, lack of teachers, nasty spiteful pay freeze for public sector, etc, etc.

    Devolution hasn`t been perfect, so some revisions ought to come when the rules are in the air again after Brexit. But this should be sorted in months, not up to seven years.

    A major extra power for Scotland should be to take over from the Home Office the control of immigration – we want many new immigrants in Scotland, and a cessation of the ridiculous deportations ongoing now of hard-working long-here teachers and NHS staff.

    But some Scotland powers seem ridiculous, like on teacher certification, and I strongly dislike the arrangements on student grants for university tuition. Rules on transport seems absurd.

    Like this week a subcontracting firm who brought in wagons from England to try to speed up the delivery of the long-delayed Aberdeen bypass, have lost their licence to operate, for two years, and the wagons sent back to England. Surely if they are safe to drive in England they are suitable for Scotland.

  47. If a site about political polling has any fundamental principles and aspirations, some of them must surely be:

    * respect for evidence-based research
    * corresponding caution about unevidenced assertion
    * the desire to understand changes in popular political attitudes
    * an acceptance that political opinion and attitudes are complex, fluid, malleable and constantly changing
    * the free interchange of views

    There will be others, but in general we surely stand for renaissance values, shining a light into the former dark ages of political practice.

    It does seem to me that coming here and proclaiming, “I have faith and I don’t need to justify it, and if you don’t share my opinion you are heretics” is – to put it mildly – a bit of a throwback.

  48. Resolute stand-offs in both the Tory and Labour parties then, in addition to the SNP-Tory stand-off.

    And the DTel thinks an extension of the 21-month transition is likely:

    “”Theresa May has admitted to Conservative MPs that Brexit negotiations are at an impasse because neither of her current options for a customs deal with the EU will work.

    The Prime Minister invited all 214 of her backbenchers to Downing Street to explain why she has had to go back to the drawing board in an attempt to find a replacement for the customs union.

    But her attempt at getting her critics on board appeared to backfire as the “technical briefings” increased fears among Eurosceptics that further delays will mean an extension of the 21-month transition period.””

    Jeremy Corbyn defying his party majority view on the SM is bad enough, but for our UK government to be relapsing into either near-paralysis or fighting Russia is terrifying.

  49. ANDREW111, NEILA, HIRETON

    To butt in on the discussion about immigration, I think that what needs to be remembered is that not all immigrants are equal. The economy certainly needs immigration, and there is a demand for skilled workers that can not necessarily be filled entirely from the native population, but answer thrown back at people who question the current levels of immigration is all too often about these highly skilled migrants and ignores the large numbers who don’t fall into that category. There is a hefty proportion of immigrants, perhaps even a majority, whose impact upon GDP per capita and overall prosperity is fairly neutral. There is also a sizable minority whose impact is negative, strongly so in some instances.

    One way of looking at it is to look at the averages depending on the country of origin. Immigrants from the EU14, Anglosphere, and India all tend to earn more, work more, and make fewer benefit claims than the British-born population. Immigrants from the A10 countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Africa all tend to earn less and make more benefit claims. Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants in particular have alarmingly low earnings, with a median income about half of the average (which goes to show that ending freedom of movement is no magic bullet, it’s the people who arrived under the Blair government who make the least economic contribution). Sticking to Europe, A10 migrants are more likely to be in work, but earn only about three-quarters of the median on average, and are more likely to claim in-work benefits. When you look at income distribution, only about 10% of them earn over £500 a week, as compared to 50% of immigrants from the EU14 countries. The point of any post-Brexit immigration strategy is to prevent migrants who have a minimal or negative economic impact from coming to the UK (and remember that you need a household income of over £35000 a year to be a net contributor to the exchequer), which will hopefully enable the government to offer more work visas for the kind of migrants who make a substantial economic contribution or fill crucial skills gaps.

    This is all aside from the question of the impact on services and quality of life. Immigration drives a fair proportion of the demand for school places, and there has been much debate over the effect on wages, though there seems at least some agreement that it can depress them at the lower end of the scale. One thing that it certainly has worsened is the housing crisis, particularly rents. In London immigrants now account for nearly two thirds of private renters, and it is the main driving force behing the ongoing exodus of several hundred thousand British nationals from the capital every year (previously mentioned on here in relation to the changing electoral demographics of the rest of the South East), which has a knock-on impact on house prices in those areas too.

    DAVWEL

    A further benefit of a post-Brexit immigration system is that it would be possible to create regional immigration rules. If you’re placing an earnings threshold on working visas then it would be a fairly simple matter to set them at different levels depending on the region where the job is based.

  50. Thank you, Garj.

    I was irritated when I read your £35,000 threshold, which deals with contributions to the Exchequher, but not value to the community.

    Then I read on, and found you did recognise regional variation in average earnings.

    Low earnings in parts of Scotland such that Home Office thresholds to extend visas are not met, etc., does seem to result in some of the unfortunate expulsions we keep reading about up here.

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