Monday, 8 January 2018

Fun Online Polls: Donald Trump and Severn Tolls

The results to last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

Did Trump collude with Russia in the 2016 Presidential election?

No - 70%

We'll never find out - 11%
Trump is clearly trying to cover up something - 12%
Yes - 5%
Other, please specify - 3%

Well that's conclusive enough. I still think there was something fishy going on, but I'm in the minority.

Thanks to everybody who took part.
I allowed this poll to run for far too long, partly out of laziness and secondly because I haven't been t inspired to start a new one. If anybody has any bright ideas on which burning issue of the day can be resolved by asking the internet, please advise.
I just stumbled across this article of a year ago, from the BBC:

Estate agents in south Monmouthshire claim about 80% of home buyers are now coming from the Bristol area ready for the halving of the Severn bridge tolls. As a result, property prices have been rising quicker than the Wales average as Bristol commuters seek new homes, figures have suggested...

"House prices in Bristol are off the scale," said agent Charles Heaven, "People know the tolls are coming down next year and hoping to get a bargain... With the railway electrification of the south Wales mainline, the planned south Wales Metro, the proposed M4 Relief Road around Newport, coupled with the beautiful countryside of south Monmouthshire and the Wye Valley, this is desirable place to live."

Two big housing developments are planned at Chepstow's old dockyard and near its hospital while a new estate is heading for Undy, bordering the M4 motorway near Magor. Severn Tunnel Junction railway station in Rogiet, between Caldicot and Magor, has recently undergone an £8m refurbishment while a new train station at Magor has the backing of Monmouthshire council and is part of the new South Wales Metro proposal.

Nathan Reeks, owner of Nathan James Estate Agents in Caldicot and Magor, explained why south Monmouthshire is becoming attractive for commuters from Bristol.

"We recently had a couple from Bristol who bought a property in Rogiet near Severn Tunnel Junction station, they bought a four-bedroom detached house with detached garage for about £295,000, after selling their three-bedroom mid-terrace in Bristol for £390,000. So they made almost £100,000 on a bigger house and the new owner can get to his work in Patchway on the outskirts of Bristol quicker from Severn Tunnel Junction than from when he lived in Bristol.

"That's typical of our business in the last six months as since the government was announced they are reducing the bridge tolls, 80% of my buyers have come from over the Severn Bridge. The accessibility for Bristol, the Midlands, the south west, south Wales, London and Heathrow Airport is all the more desirable as south Monmouthshire offers a semi-rural location with a stunning backdrop. It's a great place to bring up children and with a new comprehensive school opening soon in Caldicot, the Monmouthshire market is very strong."

They say "location, location, location", the Georgists say "community-generated value of land", it's two ways of describing the same thing.

This all reminds me of a Winston Churchill speech when he was (fairly briefly) a land value taxer:

Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains -- and all the while the landlord sits still. Every one of those improvements is effected by the labor and cost of other people and the taxpayers. To not one of those improvements does the land monopolist, as a land monopolist, contribute, and yet by every one of them the value of his land is enhanced.

He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived...

Some years ago in London there was a toll bar on a bridge across the Thames, and all the working people who lived on the south side of the river had to pay a daily toll of one penny for going and returning from their work. The spectacle of these poor people thus mulcted of so large a proportion of their earnings offended the public conscience, and agitation was set on foot, municipal authorities were roused, and at the cost of the taxpayers, the bridge was freed and the toll removed.

All those people who used the bridge were saved sixpence a week, but within a very short time rents on the south side of the river were found to have risen about sixpence a week, or the amount of the toll which had been remitted.


hreward2 said...

The Next poll could be on the FPTP voting system .

Question 1 How many votes do you want to be disenfranchised under our FPTP voting system for General Elections ? 400 4000 400000 4000000 ?
Question 2 Change voting system to PR so that more people have a vote that really counts ?

Mark Wadsworth said...

H, I did that a few years ago, we couldn't get a consensus. To my mind, least bad it multi-member constituencies (which the UK still has for some elections). The argument is then over how many members, but I couldn't get a consensus on that either - too many people voted "1".

L fairfax said...

One question why are prices in Bristol so high? Are wages high enough to justify it?

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, I assume so.