The Economist is one of the only Newspapers that provides worthwhile comment on the state of British politics and their latest iteration of the "Issues Facing Britain" research carried out by Ipsos-MORI on behalf of The Economist is again revealing for a number of reasons.
Interestingly, although we are still struggling with a "flat-lining" economy there has been a significant reduction in the rating for the economy since the election in 2010. This is probably because people are have recovered form the shocks of 2008-9 and are now bored and worn down by the bad economic news; I doubt this reduction reflects any sense of recovery. The other 4 top 5 issues are the same, with modest reductions in people anxiety about unemployment and crime.
|June 2010 - after the election|
The for the coalition government the issue is now more about where the blame rests for performance. They can take some credit for the declines in both unemployment and crime and probably will escape any blame for the increasing anxiety around the NHS, which will be due to the scandalous revelations on poor care, that occurred on Labour's watch before the election.
In 2010 voters blamed our economic mess on Labour. Today both of the main parties have an issue of trust to overcome on the economy and I have a feeling that it will be largely a matter of luck on events outside the control of our politicians. If the US economy continues to improve and the Eurozone survives the Tories may stand a chance, if either of these goes the wrong way Labour will capitalise. The chart below is from the Independent:
An important swing item is immigration, all though the statistics haven't changed much since 2010 the heat is rising on this topic. The nervousness is due to the impending tidal wave of Romanians and Bulgarians expected to arrive in the UK in 2014, a year before the next election. The Tories have done well to control non EU immigration but the problem is how to deal with old eastern block counties now in the EU. The UK's second language is now Polish, with approaching 1 million Poles now enjoying the benefits of our overly generous welfare state, and this has happened in 10 short years. Without a plan on EU immigration (which is a huge issue for their core vote) and some luck on the economy the Tories will be toast.