There is less than a week to go until the general election and still no one has a Scooby-Doo what is going to happen.
Depending on which poll you turn to, we are heading for a hung parliament, a thumping/slender Conservative victory or a landslide/marginal Labour win.
Last time, the big reason the polls were so off was that a bunch of us lied. This time around, it is not so much that people are telling porkies as that a load of us still haven’t decided which way to jump. It’s like taking a big make-or-break exam and being forced to pick from a set of multiple-choice answers, none of which are right. Everyone’s just trying to pick the one that’s least wrong.
I feel sorry enough for those voting for the first time. But just who should you vote for if you’re a Muslim Tory or die-hard Tory remainer? What if you’re a Jewish Labour leaver? Or a Liberal Democrat supporter? Do you stick or twist?
I have a sneaking suspicion that most voters will revert to their old political allegiances if they had any. Traditionally, the property industry has been true blue through and through, and the Conservative Party certainly still appears to be the party of choice as far as donations to the political parties in the run-up to next week’s general election go.
As we reveal, it received just short of £2.5m in donations from property companies or individuals with links to the industry in the two weeks to 19 November. That’s just a smidge more than the other parties received from the industry. The Lib Dems were given a little under £30,000 and the Labour Party… the Labour Party received nothing.
It is perhaps no surprise that when it comes to individual MPs’ property interests, there is again a stronger affiliation between the property industry and Tory politicians than with MPs from any other party. As our fascinating trawl of the House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows, roughly a third of the 650 MPs who sit in the House of Commons receive money from their personal property holdings and the industry. Of the £18m received since the beginning of 2018, the lion’s share – £12.4m – was received by Tory MPs, while Labour MPs received £3.5m and the Lib Dems just £646,000.
Whether any of this will amount to a hill of beans when voters head to the polling stations remains to be seen. What nobody wants is an inconclusive outcome that prolongs the Brexit water torture. On Wednesday, M&G suspended trading in the M&G Property Portfolio fund in the face of “continued Brexit-related uncertainty… and unusually high outflows” and others could well be forced to follow suit.
Meanwhile, the rest of the industry will do its best to keep calm and carry on. The good news is that despite everything some firms are thriving, not just surviving, as our Top UK Agencies survey reveals, and there will always be those who, even at the worst of times, spot an opportunity, like Nigel Hugill and Robin Butler, who launched Urban & Civic in the teeth of the recession in 2009. But I think we’ve all had about enough now of living in limbo.
May we soon NOT live in interesting times.