YouGov’s weekly poll for the Times is out tonight (Times report here). Topline voting intention figures are CON 42%(-2), LAB 39%(+2), LDEM 8%(nc), returning to more run-of-the-mill figures after the unusual seven point outlier last week. Fieldwork was Monday and Tuesday.

Just 21% of people now think the government are handling Brexit negotiations well, 66% badly – the lowest net figure that YouGov have recorded so far on the question. The other regular Brexit tracker on whether it was the right or wrong decisions continues showed the now typical picture of slightly more people thinking it wrong (46%) than right (43%).

Despite disapproving of Brexit, people still don’t think it would be legitimate for Parliament to block it. While, by 40% to 37%, people think it would be acceptable for Parliament to reject the Brexit deal, by 49% to 39% they think it would be illegitimate for Parliament to block Brexit entirely.


730 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 42, LAB 39, LDEM 8”

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  1. As forecast yesterday and expected by Labour a compromise was reached although the speakers call device was one not anticipated.

    Trade bill more likelihood to produce a defeat for the Government but even then they will probably find some form of words to keep those wanting a Customs Union (arrangement) with the EU on board.

    The Withdrawal Bill it self may be crunch time as ambiguity to keep both wings of the Tory party (Brexitwise that is) on board may not be possible.

    Depends what the EU will allow to be ‘firmed up’ during transition perhaps.

  2. @Colin – it gets really dreary listening to such complete fabrications.

    You talk as if the EU never divulges any important security information to any non EU country – can’t you see just how utterly nonsensical that is?

    EU countries are constantly helping other non EU nations with intelligence, information, tips offs etc – all completely legal under EU rules. Nothing will change that, and it a bit idiotic to think that the EU is suggesting withholding anything that might help save UK citizens lives.

    What will happen, is that the UK will no longer have open access to EU security databases, and UK police will not be able to issue European Arrest Warrants, but use some other mechanism for extraditions. It also means that the UK won’t be allowed to sit on the committees that decide EU security policy. If the EU27 think there is a security threat to the UK, we’ll still be told – just like now.

    Or maybe you would like a system where EU countries can help decide what UK security policy should be after we’ve left, and that allows all 27 EU police forces access to your security data without any legal control from you or your government?

    Is that what you want?

  3. Colin

    For somebody who is routinely portrayed as weak Mrs May is proving time and time again she has the better of the minnows that surround her be they her own party or the opposition.

  4. May wins the vote after a kind of concession. It does seem clear that unless the Speaker is ultra compliant with the government, the option of a no deal exit would have to be put to some kind of meaningful vote that would effectively mean MPs could instruct the govt. not to take that path. The risk of a no deal exit seems to have been terminated, such as there ever was one.

    Most pundits are also saying the scale of the win is bad news for May, as it was significantly tighter than it should have been in the circumstances. The ill feeling over the nodding through will also rankle, and make the government whips jobs a lot harder in the future.

    Labour kept their rebellion down to 4, with Skinner apparently switching and helping other would be rebels stick with the whip. This looks ominous for May, in the longer term.

  5. Who were the 4 Alec,

    My guess Hoey, Field (nailed on) then probably Stringer and either Campbell or possibly Mann.

    Hopkins sits as independent of course.

  6. @Jim Jam – the interesting aspect of this vote was that it was really all about trying to prevent leaving without a deal – this is what Grieve has been concerned about all along, terming this a national disaster.

    The counter argument from Davis was that allowing the amendment actually weakened the government hand, making a no deal result more likely, and Grieve did accept this point was an artifact of his preferred democratic oversight by Parliament.

    These factors are significant, as if we do actually get to the point of exiting without a deal, the government will no longer be able to say that having a vote on the matter would make such an outcome more likely, as the outcome already exists. Their main reason for objecting to the Grieve amendment will have gone.

    In such circumstances, I really can’t see how the Speaker could see a government motion to leave as being neutral, so MPs will have a vote, and the main restriction on Tory MPs voting down the government’s option would have gone, meaning that I see no way we will be leaving without a deal.

  7. Colin 4.14

    ‘The ones which-apparently-say that its OK for GCHQ to help save the lives of EU citizens when we are an EU Member, but its not OK for EU Security forces to help save the lives of UK citizens when we are not an EU member.’

    But equally, those which say ‘it is not all right for GCHQ any longer to be part of a continent-wide organisation under the ECJ because that goes against our rabid anti-EU stance.’

    It is quite clear that the UK’s decision to remove itself from the EU must apply to all aspects – political and social. You and others are constantly telling us that to be part of, for example, the EEA and therefore still subject to the ECJ is unacceptable.

    OK.

    But if it is unacceptable in one case it is unacceptable for all cases. You can’t have your cake and eat it. Either we are in or we are out. We decided to be out. So we are all the poorer, and we are all less safe as a consequence. But that was, we are told, what the UK voted to do and it is what the UK Government is committed to doing, despite the fact that the EU would much prefer us to stay as full partners.

    This is not the result of belligerence on the part of the EU. This is the result of the UK’s decision to leave. Simples……

  8. Does anyone know of any other times an MP voted against his/her own amendment?

  9. That’s the first Lab lead in a long while. Not convinced it’s accurate with Con seeming low at 38% and Lib Dem high on 11%

  10. No deal was always improbable imo and is even less so now.

    The 2 key decisions are:-

    First being in a Customs Union (call it arrangement or alignment if the Tories want to avoid adopting Starmers position) which there will be a HOC majority for.
    This is where we have been heading for almost 2 years with the failed GE meant to obviate the ERG and fellow travellors slowing down the process getting the Tory party to accept. Lots of noise and ambiguous words but that is where we are heading.

    Single Market access on a frictionless basis is a much trickier issue to resolve whilst honouring the referendum result due to free movement issue. I think the situation in Germany and elsewhere means enough member states would be prepared to tweak enough to allow the UK to remain in a Single market with the EUs single market but am not sure this Government would get that offer.

  11. ALEC

    Actually I don’t know that.

    Encouraged as I am by your opinion that “Nothing will prevent EU governments from passing on information to prevent attacks, just as GCHQ has and will continue to do so.” , I will wait to see what our Security Chiefs say when the ink is dry.

    If , on the other hand, you can provide a link to authoritative statements to support your belief that would ease my mind-thanks.

  12. TURK

    I have to acknowledge that at present.

    But I would prefer a different leader when it is appropriate.

  13. Jim Jam,

    The problem with saying that No Deal is improbable is that everything else is starting to look equally improbable. What’s your most likely scenario?

  14. The whole medical cannabis thing is a bit of a mystery to be honest – why did it take so long for the government to act and why does there seem to have been such resistance? Certainly when YouGov asked a few weeks ago And do you think that doctors in the UK should or should not be allowed to prescribe cannabis for medical use?:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/63aaoe9j9t/InternalResults_180524_Drugs_w.pdf

    the public were in favour by 75% to 12% and Conservative voters weren’t much less enthusiastic (73-17). And the percentages in favour would probably rise even more for obviously medical-only derivatives such as cannabis oil[1]. So it ought to be an easy win, but the hesitancy it was dealt with managed to make it look grudging and due to public pressure.

    In fact the whole area of drugs, especially cannabis, is one in which politicians seem increasingly to lag behind the public. That same poll shows a general tendency to support legalisation, though narrowly (43% to 41%). Some more support tends to come if you split decriminalisation (24%) and complete legalisation (27%) as later questioning shows, but clearly there’s a lot of support there.

    With outright legalisation, the main predictor of behaviour is, unsurprisingly, age, with most other things such as Party support probably derived from that. Women do seem more opposed however (as they seem to be against all drugs) and possibly Scotland is more pro.

    Instead there is an unwillingness even to tackle the subject – a fear of being ‘tainted’ that seems to date from a previous age. Javid was very insistent that he wasn’t in favour of legalisation. And yet something half the population supports is hardly an extreme position. It’s similar to the attitude in the US where the Federal Government fulminates against cannabis and yet it is legal to some extent in most States (and completely legal in nine) and opinion polling shows a majority in favour, even among Republicans.

    There’s surprisingly little polling on the topic in the UK and what there is, is mixed up with other topics and without consistent wording[2]. What there is seems to suggest similar tied figures in recent years. In terms of public opinion we seem to be at a tipping point, but politicians are mostly still scared or maybe influenced by lobbyists.

    [1] A Sky Data poll in the last few days:
    https://news.sky.com/story/most-britons-want-medicinal-cannabis-legalised-sky-data-poll-11410060
    found 82-8 for medical use (a shift from previous polls) and 41-40 generally for legalisation. I’m slightly dubious about Sky Data because they only poll Sky subscribers, but in this case it seems fairly consistent.

    [2] In the US there are series like those of Gallup where support was only 12% back in permissive 1969 and has risen gradually to 64% last year, with most of that rise this century:
    ht tps://news.gallup.com/poll/221018/record-high-support-legalizing-marijuana.aspx

  15. BMG poll seems to suggest that Labour have picked up 2 points from an inexplicable 50% collapse in the SNP vote.

    As all other recent Scottish polls give the SNP a clear double digit lead and put Lab in third place, or neck and neck with tories in Scotland, that kind of drop, suggesting SNP support has collapsed from about 40% to 20% basically overnight, would seem very unlikely indeed.

    Combined with the unusually high LibDem figure, this poll would seem an obvious outlier.

  16. Extended Transition Hal with enough wooliness to enable buy in from sufficient Tory MPs; and the EU.

  17. Jim Jam,

    With the special status backstop for Northern Ireland??

  18. I expect so Hal Yes – the ERG will be annoyed n the end it is just how long Mrs May can fudge along;

  19. @Reiver97

    I agree that there are problems with this poll, as there are with others, but it seems to me that this could be corrected by running as an England & Wales poll only and to organise separate polls for Scotland as they do for NI

  20. Interesting stuff from Verhofstadt before MPs:-

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44546780

    Sky reports on him too :-

    “”I still look to the Brexit decision as a failure of the EU,” he told an influential committee of MPs in Westminster on Wednesday.”Because if an important country like the UK is breaking away from the EU it’s difficult to say, ‘Oh it’s a success, fantastic.’
    “I don’t look at the outcome of the referendum in that way – I think it’s a failure.”
    “In the sense of, ‘Okay – maybe there are a lot of things that don’t work very well in the EU, but to break away, maybe that’s not the right solution.’
    “So in that sense, since Brexit there has been more debate on reform of the EU than we ever got before. That’s caused by Brexit.
    “But I still find the fact that Britain is going out of the EU a bad thing for Europe, for Britain, and I think for everybody.”

  21. @Cloudspotter

    Catmanjeff

    ‘In fairness, the YG poll that looked bad for Labour among C2DEs at time, looked like an outlier of a sample.’

    That didn’t stop numerous headlines about it!

    The following You Gov also showing the Tories ahead in C2DEs BTW.

    Indeed.

    Firstly, the 11% was obviously balderdash, but Twitter and Facebook is littered with dodgy claims. Anyone with a reasonable grasp of psephology must have smelled a rat from the get go.

    I know that the headline VI for C2DE has swung from Lab to Con by about 4%. I’ve checked this with a rolling average, and also an EWMA, and both give a similar result.

    It isn’t the case that more C2DE are voting Con – it’s static – but YG exclude Don’t Knows and Will Not Vote from headline VI, and some 2017 Lab voters have drifted to DK and WNW.

  22. Jim Jam,

    So the DUP will go along with NI in the Single Market for goods?

    That means if product regulations differ between the EU and the UK, then NI manufacturers will only be able to make the EU version. And there will be checks and certificates at the border with the rest of the UK… I can’t see that being possible for the DUP.

    Especially as Mrs May said no UK prime minister could ever allow it. Will she go back on her word on that, then rely on Mr Corbyn to help her vote it through???

  23. @COLIN

    The issue for the UK and the EU is judicial oversight over data and sharing. Currently we have ECJ as oversight so when the security services step over mark our last port of call is ECJ (as David Davis boasted)

    May red line essentially means that we do not agree that common judicial oversight and hence why for example some countries do not allow extradition of nationals with certain countries

  24. @Colin – thisgives a flavour of what goes on and how the EU is seeking to improve things – https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Brief%201%20Security%20Partnerships.pdf

    This gives some further details – https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/34141/eu-sets-out-new-measures-counter-terrorism_en

    There seems to be an active EU response to the need for global cooperation on terror in particular, and it’s also worth bearing in mind that it was Theresa May who first threatened the EU with reduced security cooperation.

  25. Some further words of caution regarding the future outside a customs union – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jun/20/port-of-dover-warning-regular-gridlock-congestion-hard-brexit-trade

    “Port chiefs said a two-minute delay in Dover would lead to a 17-mile queue of lorries on the M20. Under Operation Brock, one carriageway would be closed to traffic to provide temporary lorry parking……..

    Customs agents dealing with non-EU freight told the conference preparations by the government to make Dover ready for Brexit were “woefully inadequate”.

    John James, the chairman of the largest customs clearance agency in the UK, said the government was unprepared for the consequences of leaving the customs union and single market.

    The big problem was not random customs checks, but the clearance documentation required for every consignment, he added.

    James said a new system for third-country trade being introduced by HMRC in January required 84 data fields to be filled for customs purposes – 34 more than the current system.

    Each form takes 10-15 minutes to fill out and there was no sign of HMRC recruiting staff in Dover or training them, he added.

    Before the single market was established in 1993, there were 300 customs officers; there are now 24 in east Kent, James said.

    There were also previously 185 customs clearance agents doing the paperwork. “Today, there are only 17, and only five of them of any real size operating a 24-hours-a-day service,” he said.

    “In 1993, there were between 2m and 2.5m entries; post-Brexit, there will be somewhere in excess of 25m, this including Dover and Eurotunnel. It is obvious to everyone that customs clearance will be woefully inadequate.””

    Who needs experts?

  26. @ALEC
    “In such circumstances, I really can’t see how the Speaker could see a government motion to leave as being neutral, so MPs will have a vote, and the main restriction on Tory MPs voting down the government’s option would have gone, meaning that I see no way we will be leaving without a deal.”

    I don’t think a no deal exit has ever been likely simply because in the end it’s in neither side’s interest, but I believe this shows a misunderstanding of the relevant Parliamentary procedure.

    Whether the motion is in neutral terms depends on what the motion says, not on how controversial the issue is. What the Government’s memo concedes is that first, this is a matter for the speaker, but second, that its presentation of a motion is in neutral terms (which is what the soon to be Act says it must do) cannot stop the house from putting, and by convention having time to debate, a motion in specific terms.

    But this still does not mean that the motion in specific terms directs the Government. The Government will shortly get its Act. The Act gives it statutory authority to do all that is necessary to leave the EU and repeal the ECA 1972. It provides no requirement for further consent by Parliament in exercise of any part that authority. It gives no statutory power to Parliament to tell it not to exercise that authority in any scenario. The Hailsham amendment did. But its gone.

    The motion in specific terms can say what it wants. It can say the Government is wrong. It can say the Government should do x, y, z. It can even say that the house has no confidence in the government on Brexit or in general. Even this last bit, under FTPA, means jack.

    Under our constitution, now that Parliament has given the executive the power in statute to execute Brexit without a statutory requirement for further consent, in principle on any terms, it can stop the Government from exercising that statutory power in only one of two ways.

    By taking the statutory power away again, which means an amending statute, not a motion on a matter of interest. Or by stopping it from being the government, which means a confidence vote that complies with the FTPA.

    The key to the meaningful vote question was always what the Act said, and whether it made the consequences of the vote something that mandated the Government. The Hailsham amendment did. This fudge does not.

  27. Like Alec, I think the idea that the EU will not pass on information about terrorist activity to the UK is nonsensical.

    Are Brexiteers becoming increasingly paranoid? It’s very worrying.

  28. TURK

    For somebody who is routinely portrayed as weak Mrs May is proving time and time again she has the better of the minnows that surround her be they her own party or the opposition.

    I’m not sure about bettering the opposition (at least in the long term), but she is certainly underestimated by the Westminster Bubble who always seems to have a rather snobby sniffiness towards her. A lot of it is simply sexism, but she’s also not quite One Of Us: state-educated, not PPE, genuinely religious, less concerned with personal advancement as a thing in itself. However she has proved a great survivor so far – rather like John Major.

    One of the things people seem to misunderstand about her is that her main priority is not Brexit (pro or con) but keeping the Conservative Party together and, she hopes, in government. That is presumably why she stood as the ‘Stop Boris’ candidate. Much of the dithering that she gets attacked for is simply trying to stop the Party breaking up and losing its majority.

    In a lot of ways she’s very like Corbyn, who also has the similar aims of keeping his Party together and getting into government. They both also want to be PM to do things and not because they ‘think they’d be jolly good at it’ and they both were the unlikely successor of a rather younger leader. I suspect they are also both basically rather shy (like many politicians), though Corbyn is better at dealing with the public and are both good at staying calm when everyone else is panicking.

    There are differences – like Ed Miliband, May has the sort of mobile face that makes it very easy to take a ‘bad’ photo of her, while Corbyn always seems to come out looking good (and all the media have busted a gut over the last three years trying to prove otherwise). But the main difference is that she is Prime Minister and is supposed to be looking out for the interests of the country as well.

  29. @Jim Jam

    Yes. We will not have left by the next election and the Tory campaign will be ‘Labour wants to stop Brexit, vote for us and we’ll make sure that we see it through to the end, vote for them and we’ll have wasted the last 5 years’

    It’s the only strategy they can use really.

  30. The Westminster Parliament is consistent.

    Having decided that the Parliament in Scotland and the Assemblies in Wales and NI should be ignored by the UK Government, it has now decided that it is equally not important enough to take big decisions.

    Mention was made upthread of the tendency to undermine democracy. This seems to be yet another manifestation of that process.

    Interesting to see the London Assembly becoming the model for Westminster.

  31. Nick Macpherson (Permanent Secretary to the Treasury) tweet

    Axiom of the last 30 years. Europhile Tories always compromise to preserve party unity, Their opponents don’t.

  32. Macpherson is an “ex” of course.

  33. oldnat: Macpherson is an “ex” of course.

    Thanks for the disclosure. I suppose it is indelicate to ask if it was acrimonious or whether you are still friends.

  34. TO

    He was the guy who organised the UK resistance to Scots indy. Of course, it was acrimonious! :-)

  35. Welsh Government signed away 24 powers. That’s now risen to 26.

    I doubt that the UK Government will stop there – not out of evil intent or malice, but just because it will be more convenient for Whitehall.

  36. @Valerie/Alec

    All that is likely to change in practical terms is the speed of information sharing.

    Currently, if a UK officer wants information from the Schengen Information System, the basic stuff is right there on the Police National Computer. This mostly helps other countries, not us. For example if a Dutch suspect is wanted for an offence in France, their details will be uploaded onto the PNC via SIS and if they are stopped in the UK they will get arrested.

    In the future, the EU will have a choice. They can either routinely send the SIS information to us to upload to the PNC, or they can take the view that we are now untrustworthy, undemocratic abusers of innocents (unlike, say, Hungary) and not do so, with the consequence that said Dutchman would be stopped and let go. What I suspect they will do is break our link to SIS (to make good on Barnier’s threat) and then have Europol routinely send the NCA a list of people to be uploaded onto our system as “Wanted/Missing”. The same thing but slower.

    The other database is Siena, which is the intelligence-sharing database for serious and organised crime. Currently if a UK officer wants information from Europol, they fill out a form, send it to the NCA who (via their delegates at Europol) check Siena for information and email it back to the officer.

    I suspect that no longer having direct access to the Siena will simply mean that the NCA have to forward the form to a Europol liaison office who will decide if the UK is allowed to have the information and, if so, send it. Again, same thing but slower.

    Most detailed enquiries in EU countries are sent via Europol direct to the country themselves (i.e. they are for information that wouldn’t appear on Siena anyway). This is currently pretty fast, as almost all EU countries have permanent delegations based at Europol who push them through. But it is also possible to send similar requests to most other countries in the world (under various types of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties). Same thing, but slower. Ultimately the outcome is that a local officer gathers the information you need and sends it to you.

    I’d be extremely suprised if after Brexit there doesn’t continue to be a permanent UK staff at Europol in a “liaison” capacity. They are Can-Do sort of people so I think they’ll make it work.

    As for the EAW, well it is essentially just a streamlined extradition process. A person arrested under an EAW still appears before the courts in the country where they are arrested (i.e. still under the jurisdiction of the ECJ) and that court has to authorise their extradition to the UK. A UK court issues the EAW, another EU country’s court puts it into effect. Without the EAW, we will revert to issuing Extradition Requests. They still have to be put into effect by the police and courts in the receiving country. Same thing, but slower.

    So in summary, the effect of Barnier’s remarks is that police and judicial cooperation will continue more or less as before but will take longer and involve a bit more paperwork. How much longer, and how much extra paperwork will depend on just how obtuse the EU feels it is necessary to be to reflect their huffiness over the Leave vote.

  37. @Valerie/Alec

    All that is likely to change in practical terms is the speed of information sharing.

    Currently, if a UK officer wants information from the Schengen Information System, the basic stuff is right there on the Police National Computer. This mostly helps other countries, not us. For example if a Dutch suspect is wanted for an offence in France, their details will be uploaded onto the PNC via SIS and if they are stopped in the UK they will get arrested.

    In the future, the EU will have a choice. They can either routinely send the SIS information to us to upload to the PNC, or they can take the view that we are now untrustworthy, undemocratic abusers of innocents (unlike, say, Hungary) and not do so, with the consequence that said Dutchman would be stopped and let go. What I suspect they will do is break our link to SIS (to make good on Barnier’s threat) and then have Europol routinely send the NCA a list of people to be uploaded onto our system as “Wanted/Missing”. The same thing but slower.

    The other database is Siena, which is the intelligence-sharing database for serious and organised crime. Currently if a UK officer wants information from Europol, they fill out a form, send it to the NCA who (via their delegates at Europol) check Siena for information and email it back to the officer.

    I suspect that no longer having direct access to the Siena will simply mean that the NCA have to forward the form to a Europol liaison office who will decide if the UK is allowed to have the information and, if so, send it. Again, same thing but slower.

    Most detailed enquiries in EU countries are sent via Europol direct to the country themselves (i.e. they are for information that wouldn’t appear on Siena anyway). This is currently pretty fast, as almost all EU countries have permanent delegations based at Europol who push them through. But it is also possible to send similar requests to most other countries in the world (under various types of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties). Same thing, but slower. Ultimately the outcome is that a local officer gathers the information you need and sends it to you.

    I’d be extremely suprised if after Brexit there doesn’t continue to be a permanent UK staff at Europol in a “liaison” capacity. They are Can-Do sort of people so I think they’ll make it work.

    As for the EAW, well it is essentially just a streamlined extradition process. A person arrested under an EAW still appears before the courts in the country where they are arrested (i.e. still under the jurisdiction of the ECJ) and that court has to authorise their extradition to the UK. A UK court issues the EAW, another EU country’s court puts it into effect. Without the EAW, we will revert to issuing Extradition Requests. They still have to be put into effect by the police and courts in the receiving country. Same thing, but slower.

    So in summary, the effect of Barnier’s remarks is that police and judicial cooperation will continue more or less as before but will take longer and involve a bit more paperwork. How much longer, and how much extra paperwork will depend on just how obtuse the EU feels it is necessary to be to reflect their huffiness over the Leave vote.

  38. Just to annoy the English monoglots –

    The vast majority of people in Wales want to see more done by the Welsh Government to promote the Welsh language, according to an opinion poll published today.
    The Welsh Government asked 11,000 adults in Wales and found that:
    83% of non-Welsh speakers were proud of the language
    63% of non-Welsh speakers thought more should be done to support the language
    62% of non-Welsh speakers would like to be able to speak it
    There was higher support across the board from Welsh speakers. 97% thought the language was something to be proud of, and 88% felt more should be done to support it.

    https://nation.cymru/news/wales-proud-of-the-welsh-language-and-wants-more-support-for-it-poll-shows/

  39. @Peterw – I bow to your superior knowledge of parliamentary procedures. Other ways will be found to avoid a no deal scenario, ut your analysis sounds highly plausible.

    Early night tonight – it looks like it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.

  40. @OLDNAT
    “Axiom of the last 30 years. Europhile Tories always compromise to preserve party unity, Their opponents don’t.”

    I know he means headbanger Europhobes on his own side. But pretty much what I said last night about Labour. They must all strut their student politics consciences/ bash Corbyn/ bash the Blairites. It’s all terribly tedious.

  41. @Roger Mexico

    “I’m not sure about bettering the opposition (at least in the long term), but she is certainly underestimated by the Westminster Bubble who always seems to have a rather snobby sniffiness towards her. A lot of it is simply sexism, but she’s also not quite One Of Us: state-educated, not PPE, genuinely religious, less concerned with personal advancement as a thing in itself. However she has proved a great survivor so far – rather like John Major.”

    I have to say that I think this is a nonsense analysis. I may sound a little Goering-esque here, but whenever I see anything that includes lazy cliches like “Westminster Bubble”, I tend to reach for my metaphorical revolver. I think you need to accept that there are a number of very legitimate reasons why many feel that May is a weak and ineffectual PM and these have nothing to do with your long litany of vices that you seem to think underpin the criticism.

    You’re quite entitled to defend May but certainly not entitled to impugn, belittle, parody, generalise and caricature her critics in the way that you have done here. It’s both ad hominen and condescending built on a list of lazy assumptions.

    I’m starting to think that it’s almost impossible to hold a political view or opinion these days without someone attributing malign motivations, either to the view itself and/or to the opinion holder.

  42. PeterW

    “his own side”??

    Macpherson was ennobled as a crossbench peer, so I’m not sure what you mean by that. Are you suggesting that he’s a closet Tory?

    Macpherson was commenting on a difference he noted between pro-and anti-EU Tories on that issue and party unity, during his long years as a senior Civil Servant trying to serve his political bosses.

    Your last paragraph does seem to reek of partisan irrelevance to anything at all..

  43. On the subject of the big “meaningful vote” amendment, I like Robert Peston’s terminology on itv tonight.

    Last week, the Commons was offered by the Lords, and didn’t go for, a decisive vote.

    This week, it was offered by the Lords, and didn’t go for, an influential vote.

    Now it has, at best, an indicative vote.

    I make no apology, for my part, of arguing that “meaningful” requires decisive, and anything less is in the end, at any level that matters, meaningless.

  44. Peter W

    Agreed with your comments on the meaningless vote.

    The HoC has decided to neuter itself. Now they can all pose with their consciences and be tedious.

  45. @OLDNAT
    “Macpherson was ennobled as a crossbench peer, so I’m not sure what you mean by that. Are you suggesting that he’s a closet Tory?”

    I suppose I was. I withdraw it. I cannot substantiate it.

    “Macpherson was commenting on a difference he noted between pro-and anti-EU Tories on that issue and party unity, during his long years as a senior Civil Servant trying to serve his political bosses.”

    My point too though as well as his. “Moderate” Tory remainers are Tory first. “Headbanger” Tory leavers by and large are not.

    And, for all the acceptance that the last point was partisan and deserves the comment, it was a cri de cœur.as a usual Labour voter when in England. They really do lack the discipline the Tories show, and from a partisan perspective I wish they didn’t,

  46. @ Roger Mexico

    I was aware that 256 members of the HoL had not given their home address, so the stats were unreliable. And. yes, the percentage of members based in London/SE is probably even higher than 44%.

    As a firm believer in Small Incremental Change, I think we can look forward to progress with regard to reform. We shouldn’t expect much improvement in only 700 years…

  47. Peter W

    My experience of Labour politicians is largely restricted to the SLab ones.

    Unlike 1987 when they (and a few other Scots MPs) followed Donald Dewar out of HoC for disrespecting Scotland, they became quiescent clones, voting the party whip regardless of the issue.

    Hence, the lack of them now.

    Still, SLab does have the possibility of recovery – though probably only by disassociating themselves from their E&W pals on a number of issues, and having an internal discipline that you would probably prefer not to happen.

    Not that I’m convinced by the (understandable) SNP rhetoric that Brexit will inevitably lead to a revolutionary vote by Scots for indy.

    I am, however, persuaded, by Ian McWhirter’s article

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/16301640.Iain_Macwhirter__Brexit_paves_the_way_for_Scotland__39_s_divorce_from_UK/?ref=mr&lp=4

    that the UK will fade away, because too few people care enough about it to secure its continuation.

    That Tory voters in England are least interested in keeping Scotland at least suggests that the same emotions that provoked Brexit will result in the effective independence of E&W.

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/a-funny-kind-of-unionism/

  48. I see there is unhappiness in the North of England with the ideas emanating from transport officials in London.

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/secret-emails-northern-rail-show-14809624

    I have no comment to make on the detail of the adjustments to the rail network services, since I don’t know what is involved. However, I note the final sentence of the report –

    “The north will doubtless form its own judgement on that.”

    I suspect they will – and will continue to vote for MPs from the London based parties that they already support and that, consequently, nothing will change.

  49. @OLDNAT

    Thanks for another interesting bit of polling from Wales there – though as a monoglot from Wales I’m a bit wary of how leading a couple of those questions feel. To ask Welsh people who don’t speak Welsh whether they are “proud” of the Welsh language as a binary question is likely to essentially separate respondents into those who are actively hostile/resistant to the resurgence of the language and those who are not, the latter encompassing a vast range of opinion.

    Likewise asking anyone if they would wish to be able to speak another language surely has a strong bias towards saying yes, especially if it’s to an interviewer? (I can’t find the methodology of this poll to say whether that applies in this case). In the same way as asking people if they wished they were able to play the piano or wished they could visit more countries, isn’t it only a fairly intransigent minority who are going to say no to that? It doesn’t go anywhere to gauging whether people would deem the result worth making any effort for, just that they perceive it as being better (or no worse) than they currently are.

  50. @Edge of reason /Oldnat

    As Blair professed, the success of the Welsh language relies on three things;

    Education, Education, Education.

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