Three new polls over the last few days. Firstly, the regular ICM poll for the Guardian has topline figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc). Fieldwork was over the weekend and changes are since the start of the month. There is no signficiant change from last month, but it is the fifth ICM poll in a row to show a (very small) Tory lead. The full tables are here.

The ICM poll also contained a couple of Brexit questions. By 43% to 38% people were opposed to the idea of extending the transition period beyond 2020 (as you might expect, this largely split along Remain/Leave lines). On the customs union, 35% of people wanted Britain to Leave the customs union, 24% wanted Britain to stay, 26% wanted a compromise. I suspect many respondents do not have a good idea what the Customs Union is, and that questions like this are heavily influenced by the wording. As it is, it once again splits very much down Remain/Leave lines – the reason that leaving the customs union came up ahead was because most Leavers picked it, while Remainers were more evenly split between staying and a compromise.

Secondly there was a new BMG poll for the Independent. Topline figures there were CON 39%(nc), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 10%(-1). Fieldwork was right at the start of May, before the local elections, and changes are since mid-April. Full results are here

Finally, at the weekend there was a new online Survation poll. Fieldwork was Tues-Thurs last week and topline voting intention figures with changes from April were CON 41%(+1), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1). As regular poll-followers will know, Survation tend to produce figures that are more favourable to Labour than average, so while this poll too shows Labour and Conservative neck-and-neck, it’s very much in line with the trend that most other companies have shown. Essentially, Survation have gone from showing a Labour lead of around 5 points late last year, to showing the parties neck-and-neck now. Companies who were showing the parties neck-and-neck last year are now showing the Tories with a small lead. The overall leads are different, but the trend is the same. Full tabs for the Survation poll are here.

Survation also asked voting intention in a hypothetical second referendum (the only company who regularly publishes this with proper likelihood to vote) – topline figures there were Remain 50%, Leave 50%.


643 Responses to “Latest ICM, BMG and Survation polls”

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  1. So Still somewhere between neck-and-neck and a small Tory lead – ho-hum!

  2. Polldrums it is. To paste over my comment from the end of the last thread, in the hopes of continuing the topic of conversation in this one:

    BFR

    I’d be happy for taxes to rise in order to provide better pay to care home workers. The pay and conditions in the sector are abominable. I equally think that some goods and services in the UK should be more expensive in order to pay the workers in those sectors properly, and that potentially includes food. The way I see it is that high levels of low-waged immigration represent a redistributive measure from the younger working population to the consuming, shareholding, and property owning older middle classes. An impact of reducing it will be to correct that power imbalance. One of the ironies of Brexit is that the youth overwhelmingly voted for the option which would drive down their wages and drive up their housing costs, while the elderly voted for the one which would increase their care costs and harm their investments.

    LASZLO

    It would help if you made it clear who you’re directing your comments at, but I’ll assume that one was for me. I’m not in favour of smashing the unions, just of reducing the level of centralisation of a lot of public services. If anything it would increase their bargaining power, as hospitals and schools would have to compete to attract workers and it would be easier for staff to take their labour elsewhere. Do you really think that junior doctors were better served by having their pay and working conditions determined by Jeremy Hunt than they would have been if they were negotiating with individual hospital trusts instead?

  3. Somerjohn,

    “I fear that would amount to a policy of welcoming foreigners to cream off many of the best jobs, while leaving the Brits to do the drudgery no longer performed by lower-skilled overseas-sourced labour.”

    What you mean like Russian oligarchs in London!

    Peter.

  4. @Garj

    “Do you really think that junior doctors were better served by having their pay and working conditions determined by Jeremy Hunt than they would have been if they were negotiating with individual hospital trusts instead?”

    ——-

    That’s how Maggie broke the Miners. Made it about local pay bargaining. So those in the most lucrative pits broke ranks with the union and got paid well, while other lists went to the wall.

    (Down the line, more and more of the remaining pits went too).

    Without enough union power, if there’s significant unemployment, then it’s easier for employers to push down wages.

    You can argue that the time to curb union power, would be once you are close to full employment*, as they already have an advantage.

    * and a few hours a week on zero hours contracts isn’t proper full employment of course.

  5. Lists = pits

  6. SOMERJOHN

    Well, let’s not get into the lump of labour fallacy. I’m of the opinion that a greater number of highly skilled immigrants would result in increased spending and revenue generation to the benefit of all. It would also help to create the conditions for higher investment in the UK. On a personal level I’m intensely relaxed about skilled migration, perhaps because I feel I have a lot more in common with a middle class Nigerian or Australian than I do with a ‘working’ class Brit. I am a member of the metropolitan elite, after all.

    PETER CAIRNS

    Well, nobody could accuse Russian oligarchs of stealing anyone’s job, but it would be nice if they could pay some taxes while they’re over here.

  7. CARFREW

    The pits needed to close though. I don’t think you can really compare an essential service like healthcare or education with the ludicrous practice of paying miners for make-work so as to avoid conflict with an overpowerful union.

  8. Garj,

    “but it would be nice if they could pay some taxes while they’re over here.”

    Is there a tax on Novachok???

    Peter.

  9. @Garj

    Whether or not the pits needed to close is not the issue though, any more than whether or not the doctors should have a pay rise. The point is that the example rather dramatically showed how local bargaining can favour employers, especially if they are already benefitting from unemployment.

  10. Garj:

    You have been persuasive here and on the previous thread, but I can`t go all the way with you.

    You say under freedom of movement we can`t have nuanced policies for immigrant labour, but what about these £2000 a year charges the UK government has putting on some employers for certain immigrant categories.

    And when we have almost full employment, albeit some as part-timers, how many will be attracted to the unskilled care and agricultural hard-working jobs even if their rewards rise appreciably. These part-timers may be quite content with 25 hours a week, and not every day cutting daffodils or picking soft fruit.

    I agree with your earlier proposal:

    “”The imbalance in the economy nationwide makes a very good case for those earnings thresholds to be set on a regional level to take account of the differences, but they are likely to be significantly higher than the median income.””

    But that is provided you aren`t treating Scotland as one region. There`s an enormous difference meantime between Aberdeenshire and Fife meantime.

  11. From the BBC

    “MPs have, for a second time in a week, voted against re-opening the Leveson inquiry into press standards after ministers made further concessions.

    Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said a review of newspapers’ compliance with data protection rules would be widened in scope and would become permanent.

    Labour said a “solemn” promise was made in 2011 for a two-part inquiry and new evidence of misconduct was emerging.

    MPs overturned a Lords amendment backing phase two, by 301 votes to 289.!

    Good to see.

  12. CARFREW

    The example doesn’t bear scrutiny, find another one. The only reason they could close pits and drive down wages was because they were paying miners for work that didn’t need to be done. If the miners had been performing an essential public service, and there had been a severe shortage of them, then the situation would have been very different indeed.

  13. Peter Cairns: What you mean like Russian oligarchs in London!

    Well, I suppose there’ll be openings for true Brit chambermaids to replace the Bulgarians and Thais in those Mayfair dachas!

  14. TOH

    Yes, concessions were offered in order to get the vote through, parliament working as intended. Might not be enough for some but the process leads to a “better” (as seen by both houses) final bill.

    If TM offers concessions on Brexit to overturn Lords amendments will you just as cheerful?

  15. @Garj

    You’re committing a logical fallacy. It’s not about whether they could close the pits or not. It’s about how local bargaining was able to break the opposition to closing the pits.

    If it had just been about paying people less in the other pits, then local bargaining could have forced that too in the same way.

    Do you really not know of any other examples? You can start with the way women might be paid less for the same jobs…

  16. THE OTHER HOWARD

    Sad to see that you are happy for the gutter press to print untruths without fear of any meaningful consequences.

    Do you see it as a reward for their one-sided attitude over the EU referendum?

  17. @GARJ
    Well, I agree with your basic premise that some jobs in the UK are fundamentally underpaid.
    However I think you are making some assumptions in there:
    – that there are sufficient UK citizens who want to move into the caring profession or farming but are unable to do so due to low wages; I’ve not seen any evidence presented to support this.
    – that the arrival of immigrants into these employment areas supresses the wages of young UK citizens who – generally in my experience – are doing rather different jobs; I may be remembering wrong, but I recall a number of studies being linked to on here when this topic last came up which generally demonstrated minimal impact on the broad spread of wages from immigration, although a few specific industries (plumbing for instance) were affected
    – that the pressure on access to services due to immigration is greater than the extra service capacity generated by those immigrants
    – and finally, the one that I doubt most, that Brexiters in general are expecting to be the ones that actually pay for the additional cost of goods and services as a result of Brexit.
    Polling evidence both on Brexit and general attitudes to taxation shows that most Brexiters don’t think there will be anything extra to pay, and that right wing voters (which is what most voters of Brexit persuasion are) are both generally averse to paying more tax for services and also expect that whatever extra tax should be paid to come from those of working-age (which many Brexiters aren’t).

    So I agree with your initial premise but not with the conclusions you draw…

  18. @Garj

    I should add, the power of collective bargaining is not confined to wages.

    It’s a big part of the reason numerous medical treatments tend to cost a lot less here than for those in the States who are outside the protection of the big purchasers.

  19. @Garj

    I should also add, it’s important to avoid the propaganda, and not just treat immigration in some naive, one dimensional snapshot.

    Thus, immigrants may START OUT doing something low paid, but that doesn’t necessarily constitute the full contribution. Immigrants can be rather aspirant.

    My mother worked on the factory floor for six months while she found her feet and spruced up her English, but she didn’t stay there, and her son wound up going to Oxford.

    This is without other benefits. Ever seen what happens when the children of immigrants go to school? The impact on the other kids raising their game? Take a look at the performance of some of the schools in London.

    Immigrants may bring new working methods, too.

  20. Garj,

    What did you do when your brother was at Oxford?

    I suspect that with >4% unemployment and a tight immigration policy on low skilled workers the two likely consequences would be wage inflation and moving production to lower cost neighbouring countries.

    Maybe the later is why Eire is so keen on an open border….

    Peter.

  21. “– that the arrival of immigrants into these employment areas supresses the wages of young UK citizens who – generally in my experience – are doing rather different jobs; I may be remembering wrong, but I recall a number of studies being linked to on here when this topic last came up which generally demonstrated minimal impact on the broad spread of wages from immigration, although a few specific industries (plumbing for instance) were affected”

    ———

    Because immigration tends to lead to growth (increasing demand), while it might impact wages, this can be offset by the growth.

    The problem is that this may not be evenly spread. So maybe OVERALL immigration might not impact wages, but within certain sectors it might pull wages down.

    (Of course, the government can always create some more jobs, or invest to encourage more private sector investment creating jobs…)

  22. DAVWEL

    “And when we have almost full employment, albeit some as part-timers, how many will be attracted to the unskilled care and agricultural hard-working jobs even if their rewards rise appreciably. These part-timers may be quite content with 25 hours a week, and not every day cutting daffodils or picking soft fruit.”

    _______

    I wouldn’t pretend to have all the answers on this one, there are a lot of factors. The government has been very good at getting (forcing) people into work through reform to the benefit system, and might be able to go further, but it is still the case that the prohibitive cost of things like childcare makes it unprofitable for people to take on longer hours. We could also benefit from more funding being made available for training so that people can find better paid work. The entire gig economy is highly dependent on casualised and poorly paid labour, and in a way its a sector which more productive businesses should be able to mine for employees. The coming automation revolution is going to make a lot of Uber drivers and Deliveroo couriers redundant anyway. Agriculture, meanwhile, could do an awful lot to become more productive (back to the Dutch example here, or the Japanese for that matter), and there is every reason for there to be a seasonal worker’s visa so that fruit can get picked.

    As for regional immigration rules, the challenge is how you set them, there will always be a balance to strike between how granular you make the system as opposed to how simple it is. What we have at the moment is far too one-size-fits-all, but I don’t think it would be workable for thresholds to operate at the local authority level. There’s also a question of how much it should be a political decision, or something generated automatically by a formula.

    CARFREW

    No logical fallacy here, thanks. The pits were closed because economic sense dictated that they had to be. The unions militancy in opposing closures or modernisation made the situation worse than it might have been if the process had been managed properly. What miners needed was not the prevention of closures, but of a better funded and managed scheme to retrain them to find alternative employment. You can’t compare a union trying to play at King Cnut with an industry which is facing a severe staff shortage (and yes, I know what Cnut was actually trying to demonstrate).

    Interesting that you should try to point to women’s wages as an alternative example. Women aren’t paid less for the same jobs, younger women earn slightly more per hour than their male counterparts. The problem is that there is discrimination built into the legislation, which encourages women to take time out of work to care for children while not doing the same for men, with a long-term impact on their earning potential. If we want to eliminate the pay gap then we have to move towards equality of parental leave, as they have in the Nordic countries. A lesson about the unforseen consequences of state involvement in the market, perhaps, but nothing to do with collective bargaining.

  23. @Trevor Warne – “Goods – UK implement unilateral MaxFax with unilateral recognition of EU sanitary regs, etc, etc. (ie no need for border checks on agri-food, possibly other sectors if we chose).”

    [I got into a bit of a muddle with new threads and picked this up from a few days ago, thinking it was current].

    This view of MaxFax demonstrates why the pro Brexit brigade are finding it so difficult to understand these negotiations.

    Regulation isn’t just about following some written guidance. The SM, and all that flows from it, depends not just on meeting standards, but also to agreeing mechanisms for interpreting these and resolving disputes, often very complex ones.

    We can mirror EU regulations if we like, but then we would need to accept ECJ interpretations, or actions against us in the event that we are deemed culpable of some breach. We have indicated neither of these things is acceptable, so the long term stability of a Max Fax regime remains unclear. It is, as presented, unworkable, in the view of the EU, and if the boot were on the other foot, we would be saying exactly the same.

  24. Garj,

    “What miners needed was not the prevention of closures, but of a better funded and managed scheme to retrain them to find alternative employment.”

    Dead wrong…..

    What the miners needed was what Germany did.

    Created enterprise zones with Business rate holidays and investment grants in mining areas a decade before the coal became to expensive to mine.

    That meant that before the pits closed the majority of the workers had already moved on to the safer better paid jobs Government policy and investment had created.

    Peter.

  25. BFR, CARFREW, PETER CAIRNS

    Much to reply to, I’ll have to try to keep it brief. ‘Minimal impact’ on wages from immigration just isn’t good enough. There should be an impact, and a strongly positive one at that. I’m not trying to naively treat all immigrants as belonging to one lumpen group, my whole point is that there is a world of variation within those statistics and obviously an individual’s ability to contribute economically does change over time. Unfortunately though, that change is often for the worse as people draw more on the state as they get older. My argument is not about arbitrarily trying to lower immigration, its about changing the type of immigration we have so that it is overwhelmingly and unarguably a net positive for the economy.

  26. Am

  27. PETER CAIRNS

    How is that materially any different from what I said?

  28. Peter Cairns

    I agree and a similar sort of idea needs to be thought about now for when AI causes a bit of a shakeup in the jobs market.

    These sorts of changes need long term planning to cope with not a sticking plaster of training for jobs which don’t yet exist. Turn the one company town into a high growth area with companies suited for the next generation and you won’t have young people replacing the attrition rates of an industry heading towards a dead end.

    Of course, instigate a plan like this and the union would have still opposed it as it would have lessened the amount of power they had.

    I suspect the UK hasn’t learned any lessons.

  29. @Garj

    To elaborate on why the pits needed to be closed does not alter the fact that making it about local bargaining weakened the bargaining power of the unions because some miners broke ranks.

    (Similarly you didn’t bother making an argument on whether the doctors deserved more pay, because not relevant to whether they have more power if bargaining locally).

    It’s like, the Germans might have been wrong about the war, but this doesn’t alter the fact that opening the Western front made life harder for them.

    Regarding women’s pay, you’re introducing yet another straw man. Sure, they may be other ways of trying to address such an issue, but that doesn’t mean local bargaining wouldn’t undermine their pay.

  30. @Garj

    If you need yet another example, the miners were able to force a victory over Heath because Heath fought over something national and miners didn’t break ranks. (Indeed unions in that era tended to be able to do enhanced collective bargaining, by roping in other unions).

    As another example, if the Winter of Discontent had just been the rubbish in just one council not being collected, as opposed to a more national action, do you think it would have had quite the same electoral impact?

  31. Garj,

    “Unfortunately though, that change is often for the worse as people draw more on the state as they get older. ”

    And without a replacement supply of younger people from somewhere it will get a lot worse.

    “How is that materially any different from what I said?”

    Because it started twenty years earlier.

    People weren’t retraining after being miners, they left school and went straight to work in electronics rather than the mines.

    By the time our miners were fighting for their children chance to mine deep coal, their German counterparts children were making the diggers we would use for open cast mining….

    Peter.

  32. @Garj

    Here’s an example of a survey on how moving to free schools resulted in less pay progression.

    “Results by sector

    As in previous years, academies and free schools were more likely to have denied their teachers pay progression than local authority-maintained schools. Some 17% of teachers in L.A.-maintained schools who were eligible for progression and knew their outcome had been denied progression, unchanged from last year. The equivalent figure for both academies and free schools was 20%, slightly down on the figures from our previous survey.”

    https://neu.org.uk/latest/pay-and-progression-our-survey-results

  33. CARFREW

    I’m sorry, is there some kind of union that bargains all women’s salaries (presumably in a series of meetings with with the Minister for Women) that I’m somehow unaware of?

    My point is simply that the state abuses its near-monopoly of healthcare employment (among other sectors) to hold wages down below the free market rate. I’m proposing dispersing the state’s power among a series of smaller entities, not the union’s.

  34. Very interesting that despite all the chaos around Brexit, half the country still wants it. (I say that non-judgmentally).

  35. @Garj

    “I’m sorry, is there some kind of union that bargains all women’s salaries (presumably in a series of meetings with with the Minister for Women) that I’m somehow unaware of?”

    ——

    Of course unions safeguard women’s salaries. If you’re on the main scale, you get your pay increments year on year, regardless of gender.

    Once things start becoming more about local bargaining, going through the threshold, moving onto another pay scale, etc., then it gets more optional.

    In the example I just gave, that’s what’s happening.

  36. @Garj

    “My point is simply that the state abuses its near-monopoly of healthcare employment (among other sectors) to hold wages down below the free market rate. I’m proposing dispersing the state’s power among a series of smaller entities, not the union’s.”

    ——-

    And it’s a reasonable and interesting point for discussion. I am just adding a few extra considerations.

    I shall add another, given what you just said. Some doctors may INTENTIONALLY accept lower pay if working for the health service, as opposed to the private sector, because they don’t think the state or taxpayers should be charged what they could really be charged, as it would make treatment less available.

  37. JONBOY

    @”Very interesting that despite all the chaos around Brexit, half the country still wants it.”

    It is !!

    And still show no enthusiasm for a Corbyn administration.

  38. Garj,

    “My point is simply that the state abuses its near-monopoly of healthcare employment (among other sectors) to hold wages down below the free market rate. I’m proposing dispersing the state’s power among a series of smaller entities, not the union’s.”

    What so that the big out sourcing firms like G4S, Serco, Atos and Capita and can dictate the price to Government and then make profit by forcing wages lower.

    As part of local pay bargaining rather than national are you proposing local income tax and national insurance so that workers in London pay the higher wages of London based health workers.

    Or maybe cheaper hospitals in the midlands and North can cherry pick the most profitable patients by undercutting London hospital elective surgery prices.

    Great if you can afford to travel north in comfort but not so good if your a poor Londoner who has to carry the burden because you don’t have the money and the hospital needs to cover it’s costs with fewer operations.

    If you don’t like a near monopoly state health care provider fine, but go the full way and show us how the alternative would work particularly who and how the higher wages would be paid for.

    The current system is far from perfect but I am not sure your fresh market alternative would be any better and i suspect it would be worse, not to mention electoral suicide.

    Peter.

  39. Carfrew: Am

    But what I want to know is whether it is possible to think without being.

  40. @TO

    Yes, that is all that’s left of a longer post that Garj is probably relieved disappeared into the aether. He might wish others did too. (He may not be alone in this…)

    Regarding your question, obviously it’s a tricky one, the “I think therefore I am thing”, but just quickly, AJ Ayers’s “logical positivism” take on it, is that you can only really say “There is a thought now”, since any memory of previous thoughts might be illusory.

    And whether a momentary thought constitutes much of an existence might be open to question.

  41. Davwel

    Re your previous quote from the Evening Express on Allen Transport.

    Since, as was pointed out, Vehicle Licensing is not devolved, I found the story intriguing.

    In my day’s in Aberdeen, the Evening Express was seldom considered an authoritative source, and that situation seems to continue.

    Whether the EE deliberately phrased the reason for the discontinuance of Allen Transport licence in order to produce the kind of reaction, I know not.

    In reality, Aberdeenshire Council already had concerns about the number of HGVs being operated from the Newmacher site, and Allen’s action in increasing the number of unlicensed vehicles was what cost them their licence.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/706433/Allen_Transport_Ltd__and_Daniel_Allen.pdf

    The UK’s Traffic Commissioners did not apply different rules to HGVs operating in Scotland, but applied the UK’s licensing rules – which exist to protect the public.

    The moral of this story – is that it is unwise to assume that something printed in the press necessarily reflects reality. Going off the constitutional deep end as a result of misunderstanding what they did say is even less sensible.

  42. Further confirmation that this country has gone to the dogs. Time to pack up and go to NZ or Australia.

  43. Garj

    “My point is simply that the state abuses its near-monopoly of healthcare employment (among other sectors) to hold wages down below the free market rate. I’m proposing dispersing the state’s power among a series of smaller entities”

    Correct in referring to “near monopoly”, as within the public healthcare sector, NHS England (where the UK state’s remit applies) is by far the largest unit.

    The UK state, however, did legislate at the end of the last millennium to disperse that power to some extent to the devolved administrations.

    What you are arguing for, is devolution of such powers within England. Will Manchester now be able to pay nurses more?

  44. I note that the BBC in its 6 pm Radio 4 news just now delayed reporting that 63 Windrush-generation citizens have been deported or forced out of the UK by the Home Office, though they had plenty to say earlier in the bulletin on Facebook`s problems.

    And when I looked at the DTel`s web-site for details, the story doesn`t even get a mention. Fortunately it`s up at the Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/15/windrush-row-63-people-could-have-been-wrongly-removed-says-javid

    Why does BBC Radio 4 show such blatant support for the Tory party?

    And who is going to be punished in the Home Office and amongst its past ministers for this shocking attack on people, due to their being perceived as foreigners.

  45. Davwel

    “Why does BBC Radio 4 show such blatant support for the Tory party?”

    Isn’t it equally possible that the BBC just toes the line for the UK Government?

    To suggest a partisan bias, you would have to demonstrate that it supported the Tories against a Labour Government as well.

    That the Tories currently form the UK Government means either hypotheses could be accurate.

  46. @OLDNAT
    “it is unwise to assume that something printed in the press necessarily reflects reality.”
    That deserves capitals!

  47. garj,
    reposting this from the last thread because I think it an important issue you keep missing.

    “it’s the people who arrived under the Blair government who make the least economic contribution”

    You are in danger of falling into a trap here. The amount someone is paid is not their value to the Uk economy. Their value is whatever the value is of the product they make for us.

    So, for silly example, man cuts diamonds and gets paid £50 per week. Value of diamonds he works on increases 50% and he gets through £10,000 worth per week.

    On your reckoning of how much he is paid, we should send him home because he is clearly not benefitting the Uk. So lets send him back to India to ply his trade. Shame about the lucrative Uk industry which closes as a result.

    But there is another example here for brexit from the pit closure debate which has come back to haunt us after so long. The reason the pits closed was because of cheaper coal available from abroad. The government chose not to impose protection on those industries and keep them going, but import the coal instead.

    What happened to the Uk minining industry seems likely to happen to a long string of UK industries once we take them out of th EU shelter.

  48. Garj

    Apologies, i checked back, and indeed it was you whom I referred to. Two excuses – one the point is more general than yours was, and I really got lost in who said what.

    I’m not in any particular favour of union power (actually I think there should be a higher level check, which does not exist institutionally in the UK, as we well learnt it in the 1950s and 1960s). However, decentralised bargaining has unintended consequences – like luring away all the capable employees (like surgeons) from one company, and a consequence firms stopping investing in training (it is actually a major problem in the UK) unless one hour a day training per employee a year in one of our major telecom companies is sufficient as due to the size of the company the total hour looks huge.

    However, my point was much broader. You often refer to GDP and GDP per capita. Well, the basis of it was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1920s (unless we want to go back to Quesnais’s tables), then the Keynesians adopted it, but with a huge number of theoretical errors (not to mention that Keynes actually have two irreconcilable definitions, economists can pick what they want).

    In principle, a lot of sectors listed as contributors to the GDP don’t contribute anything. Not only applies this to real estate (10% of the GDP in the US), but also banking (it increases the rate of return, but it is a completely different question), health, education and so on. They are needed, but don’t create value, they consume value produced elsewhere and as they sell their services and as investors think they have an entitlement to return, so they appear to create value.

    Now this completely undermines your argument about employment, wages and alike (and of course workers in the productive sectors don’t have any day if they want to maintain the friendly real estate agent at the corner – or they do, only as an elector, but then it goes against their role in producing the surplus that goes to the agent).

    More importantly, it undermines most of the argument about productivity – it is the goods and services produced. Thus, a 10% increase in productivity doesn’t at all increase GDP but increases the goods and services that are available to distribute. But of course the increase of productivity increases the chance for employers to take a bigger share without reducing (even increasing) the standards of living (it’s called relative surplus value).

    So, without institutional counter-balances the outcome is stagnating wages for the vast majority which has nothing to do with immigration but much more to do with the economic logic of the system.

  49. @ Davwel

    “I note that the BBC in its 6 pm Radio 4 news just now delayed reporting that 63 Windrush-generation citizens have been deported or forced out of the UK by the Home Office, though they had plenty to say earlier in the bulletin on Facebook`s problems.”

    It was reported in excruciating detail* in PM before the 6pm news. I guess you could argue that the new bulletin has a wider audience, maybe, though I favour PM, especially when Eddie is on. I suspect this story will get more coverage. I’m sure that there must be some personal tragedies amongst those 63 which will make for good copy.

    * That’s proper excruciating detail, not David Davis detail.

  50. GARJ

    “I’m not in favour of smashing the unions, just of reducing the level of centralisation of a lot of public services. If anything it would increase their bargaining power, as hospitals and schools would have to compete to attract workers and it would be easier for staff to take their labour elsewhere. Do you really think that junior doctors were better served by having their pay and working conditions determined by Jeremy Hunt than they would have been if they were negotiating with individual hospital trusts instead?”

    If the NHS is the employer but collective bargaining goes to local level (within Hospital Trusts as you say) there may be, as a result of that, a good number of cases where men and women doing the same work end up with different pay and/or conditions. It is likely to cause a lot of equal pay claims.

    If the NHS is broken up so that all terms and conditions are negotiated locally and the localTrust is truly the employer it will be seen as an opportunity to drive down pay and conditions. Osborne argued for local pay for teachers as a means of making teaching more responsive to market conditions. There may well be staff shortages as staff look for the best terms and conditions

    Breaking up the NHS is likely to have a knock-on effect on the health systems of the devolved governments by way of allocating resources.

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