Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Property: a tale of two countries

If there is any hallmark of the divided nature of our country in the present day, it is in property.

Whilst property owners benefit from rock-bottom interest rates, and a wealthy minority make a small fortune from so-called property investment - which in fact is little more than the accumulation of mulitple houses - a generation of young people are faced with a stark reality: unless you have a very high paid job indeed, you will need to borrow off the bank of mum and dad or face the fact that owning your own home won't happen.

Recent reports of banks requesting deposits of in excess of 30% for first-time buyers, coupled with sky-high prices are contributing to the reversal of years of increases in home ownership.

Today's report that house ownership is slipping back to levels not seen since the 1980's is in this climate unsurprising.

And yet the government does nothing to help, working as it does to defend the interests of the already wealthy. 

The question is this: at what stage will the locked out become a constituency powerful enough to create poltical change in this area?

Until then, it's property investment programmes on Channel 4 and buy-to-let schemes for some, and years of renting at increasingly high prices for others.

Monday, 29 August 2011

More evidence that Tory voters aren't really that...Tory

This blog has posted before on polls that have demonstrated highly significant levels of support amongst self-declared Conservative voters for such (not very Tory) views as increasing the minimum wage, raising taxes on the better off (and on banks), granting better employment rights to temporary workers and for improving rights for interns.

Well, the Telegraph has recently written about the recent YouGov poll that shows that only a minority of Conservative voters support scrapping the 50% top rate of tax, and a majority give their backing for the so-called 'mansion tax'.

This follows on from polling undertaking in 2009 that showed consistently high levels of public support for the renationalisation of the railway system, including a larger proportion of Tory voters favouring this, or the not slightly less radical option of increasing government involvement in the sector.

This is an interesting phenomenon that the right-wing press often choose to ignore. The often cited 'silent majorities' for right-wing proposals are frequently nothing of the kind - more often these are the loud bellows of Tory-leaning press and right-of-centre think thanks.

Admittedly, there is a caveat to to bear in mind: most polling firms add political weightings to their overall 'headline' figures, so analysing polls by sub-groups is therefore open to larger margins of error. Nevertheless, such significant proportions of Conservative voters expressing these views means that these margins of error are unlikely to seriously impact these conclusions.

It just goes to show that that left-of-centre politicians should fret less about public backlashes to progressive policies: they are more popular that people often think.

Friday, 19 August 2011


This blog has been quiet of late, but will return in September. In the meantime, EtonMess has a mobile site, courtesy of Blogger.