Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Political shifts

Opinion polls are faintly addictive- especially for those of us with far too much anorak in our DNA. However, generally I have not tended to comment on the gyrations that we see- there is too much random walk to draw hard and fast conclusions from any given poll.

The latest opinion poll from Communicate Research seems to have some important change to the methodology- for it has catapulted the Liberal Democrats up by 50%. So CR now has the Lib Dems on 21%- roughly where we seem to be with other polls. While obviously comforting- particularly since Lib Dem support typically rises in General election campaigns- they interesting theme of this particular poll is the weakness of the Labour core vote and the increasing strength of the Lib Dem core vote.

Its only a poll- so you have to take it with all the health warnings and caveats- but the message for Labour is beginning to look a bit bleak. For the Lib Dems, across the mass of the polls there is considerable encouragement. The feedback from across the country- including local election results- seems to be consistent. After a pretty glum time, the party seems to be settling down. The collegiate and thoughtful approach of Ming Campbell- although the subject of derision from our opponents- may, perhaps, be bringing results.


Anonymous said...

As I say it is Labour not the Tories ftom whom you now draw strength. Although contain your excitement it is CR. Will we get you though to pick up the baton Britain's new relationship with Poland and Miteleuropa post 2004. Also BTW do you think you should backtrack to those Poles who stay here for implying it is only out of "inertia", has it occurred to you it might be a positive choice on some part for many, that they may actually like living in Britain. You sounded a little like Jaroslaw Kacyznski on his comments on Polish migrants to Britain.


Cicero said...

I think it is clear that probably most CEE Workers do make a positive choice to come to the UK in the first place. The question is the length of time that they tend to stay- some will stay long term. but I think that most won't- Jarek Kaczynski is not too good on the economics of this, but the fact is that Poland is still "home" more than the UK.

As for the poll- not excited, CR now reflects what other polls and local by-elections seem to be saying- and that is the root of, well if not optimism, then certanly relief.

Anonymous said...

Cicero, parts of the Uk maybe more home for certain people than where they actually live, but the longer you are in any place, the more roots you put down and the more unlikely it is you will want to move. That is just a fact. With every Pole I've met here, it is a fact I welcome. I do wish though you backtrack by acknowledging the fact that Poles who choose to stay here are not doing do because they're somehow lazy. Most are technically 51%, while 49% are maybe unlikely to stay a third is not improbable. I think the Poles are great people. I just think you're close to insulting Poles who make a positive choice to live here after all.


Cicero said...

Lepidus, I think that this is a wilful misunderstanding of what I am saying. Inertia does not mean laziness- often quite the reverse, people have been building businesses in the UK too. Yes, some, but we don't know how many will stay permanantly, but the vast majority will not- that is the contrast between the waves we have had from CEE this time, and for example East African Asians, who did not have the choice to go home. A third staying does seem way off the mark, since we have already had a turnover of probably 60% in two years.

While I am relaxed about the numbers, since I see immigration as a gigantic plus to the UK economy and our way of life, even if I were hostile to the whole idea, the turnover shouls tell you that these are people whose primary identity reamins Polish, Lithuanian, Slovak etc. So in the same way that Australians used to come and spend a couple of years in London, I see the same process for Central Europeans too.

Anonymous said...


It is not wilful. Here is the Cambridge University Press defintion of inertia "inertia (LACK OF ACTIVITY) Show phonetics
noun [U]
lack of activity or interest, or unwillingness to make an effort to do anything:"

Many immigrants to America retained even for one or two generations a different primary identity, but they stayed. You are quite correct many will go, probably the most footloose, but once they start putting kids through School etc it becomes ever harder to go back. Once a child has spent their formative years, how likely is it their parents that they will then want to uproot them back to Cracow. I do think you have to accept significant numbers are here to stay, at a minimum tens of thousands. Since we seem to be at loggerheads on this perhaps you will turn your expertise to a more fruitful area, the long term implications for us and Eastern Europe. Will they look to us for Leadership now we have literally blood toes with them.

BTW On your article is that the sound of humble pie I hear being eaten in certain Liberal Democrat circles as Ming turns things around for them.


Cicero said...


Yes, probably a few tens of thousands may well stay- but in the context of the millions of Brits who live overseas, that number is a drop in the bucket, and certainly not an issue that should worry anyone except the most nutcase BNP-er. In fact, as we both agree- they are a big plus for the UK.

I supported Ming all the way through, and have not changed my view.

I will blog a bit about the diaspora eventually -after all it is one of the themes of this blog.

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