YouGov’s regular poll for the Times this week shows another Labour lead, with topline figures of CON 36%(-1), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 7%(+1). Fieldwork was on Monday and Tuesday, and changes are from the middle of last week. We’ve now had four polls with fieldwork after the Davis/Johnson resignations – two from YouGov, one each from Opinium and Deltapoll – and all four have shown the Conservatives falling back behind Labour.

YouGov also found 40% in favour of a referendum on whether or not to accept the final deal, 42% of people were opposed – the highest level of support for a second referendum that YouGov have found so far with this tracker.

There was less support for Justine Greening’s idea of a “three-way” referendum between remain, Theresa May’s deal or no deal: only 36% thought that should happen, 47% were opposed. In the event it did go ahead, people said they would vote to stay – on first preferences support stands at Remain 50%, Leave with the deal 17%, Leave without the deal 33%. Once leaving with the deal has been eliminated and second preferences reallocated, the final figures would be 55% remain, 45% leave with no deal.

1,549 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 36, LAB 41, LDEM 9, UKIP 7”

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  1. Colin, the bit about the ROC parties is an opinion the other part is evidential

    I think is was Roger that posted actual data asking about attitudes and what respondents thought of certain statements that would generally be construed as anti-Semitic.
    The biggest group agreeing with most statements was older ROC voters. Still a minority of that group but clearly bigger beyond any MOE.

    Key point anyhow is that Labour have a problem with some party members.

  2. ProfHoward
    “Gary Lineker’s support for a second referendum seems to have had an impact in the polls – possibly because he is the sort of person ordinary people can relate to.”

    Have there been questions in polls about Lineker’s influence? I’d be interested to see the tables.

    Also, as an aside, most people I know are either indifferent or despise the man. However I wouldn’t dream of assuming that my experience is universal, as you appear to.

  3. I remember at a world cup Henry Kissinger was there as he became a US ‘Soccer’ big wig after leaving front-line politics. He said he thought England had a good chance of winning and I recall the mirth in the studio and something along the lines of well if HK thinks we will do well we’re in business.

    I think about Lineker’s in the same way, his view is no more influential imo than anyone elses’

    NB) Some well known people do make the switch to politics with Labour having a luvvy cohort of course and if Mr Lineker wants to be taken seriously for his political views he should choose a party and get involved properly.

    Seb Coe whilst not my politics did it the right way.

  4. @Pete B

    “Do you have any evidence for that? Surely more free trade means cheaper products which benefits the poorest in particular.”


    That’s the theory, but it only works in a very narrow sense. The analyses often only look at the direct aspects of trade, the efficiency of exchanging specialisisms etc. and doesn’t take into account the cost in terms of jobs, investment, tax revenue, losing control of strategic sectors, etc.

    It might seem great if hifi falls in price, but not if you lose your job so can’t afford it anyway. Trump seems to get this and it’s been electorally useful for him.

  5. The US non-farm payroll figures are quite impressive – including the 36,000 in manufacturing. I doubt if it could be sold as a result of protectionism (as it hasn’t really happened yet), and could even be signal of an incoming recession (in my view, it is far too early looking at the M&A figures – at least 18 months, but more likely around 26 months away I would say). Still,it will be recorded as a positive for Trump.

  6. Jim Jam

    I suspect he’s significantly more influential than me. He’s likely attracted many followers on twitter, whereas I have a grand total of zero!

    I suspect we both have an equal chance of entering front line politics though!

  7. Carfrew
    I know you love complicating things, but there are positive aspects to the areas you mention. For instance, the ability to trade freely opens up opportunities for our own established and new industries because of easier access to overseas markets. This would create jobs. Whether jobs created outweighed jobs lost would be anyone’s guess. Or more likely both views would be supported by different economists.

    The key is to be adaptable both on a national and a personal level. I have been made redundant several times and I just got another job, sometimes in a different industry. At a time of full employment this shouldn’t be beyond anyone who wants to work.

    Of course there are other factors such as automation and robotics which will remove a lot of low-skilled jobs in the near future but that’s another area of debate.

  8. Both protectionism and free trade is damaging (or rather has a huge short-term term load) to the majority of the population, and so do any compromise between the two. It has been demonstrated from various theoretical and ideological angles. It doesn’t of course mean that either are ineffective in recruiting voters or movements.

    Theoretically, with all the dubious off tracks, Wallerstein is the most coherent (but then it is relatively easy to find the core of the world systems theory and dismantle it – but there hasn’t been an alternative coherent narrative.)

    As the world revolution is not on the agenda, I think the debate of pro-, moderate-,hard protectionist and the same for free traders is just as boring as the globalisatuon-antiglobalisation debate 25 years ago. They both rely on the same calling words to voters or movements as back in the early 1900s. It is only served differently, the ingredients remain the same – deconstructed cooking.

  9. @Pete B

    Complicate things?? I was keeping it simple!!

    Absolutely agree there are benefits to free trade, and indeed I have given some. My point is not to argue for or against free trade, or protectionism, but just that it doesn’t necessarily help to cherry pick pros or cons to suit.

  10. @Pete B

    “The key is to be adaptable both on a national and a personal level. I have been made redundant several times and I just got another job, sometimes in a different industry. At a time of full employment this shouldn’t be beyond anyone who wants to work.”


    Well, some people suit current employment conditions better than others. Maybe their strengths just happen to be relevant to more sectors.

    Maybe they found it easy to retrain because they earned enough for long enough before being made redundant, and could afford it. Policies of full employment helped people develop in careers for some time before being challenged. And in the process had acquired enough transferable skills. Research suggests it is early periods of redundancy in a career that tend to be more harmful to long term prospects?

    Also, some communities lost their only employer. And it’s all very well saying leave for elsewhere, but you lose your support network. Maybe you needed to care for an ill or ageing relative.

    In the early eighties, it wasn’t just sectors, but much of manufacturing took a hit due to recession, inflation, and high interest rates. You lose your job, you can’t find another even if you retrain and move because we lost 30% of our manufacturing base? SOME might find another job, but for a few million, the jobs just weren’t there.

  11. @Laszlo

    “Both protectionism and free trade is damaging (or rather has a huge short-term term load) to the majority of the population, and so do any compromise between the two. It has been demonstrated from various theoretical and ideological angles.”


    Well, that’s not really a surprise, since it is easily possible to come up with examples where protectionism is damaging, or helpful, and ditto free trade.

    Not saving our banking industry could have been catastrophic. So great and around was the descent spiral that we lost seven percent of the economy – more than twice a typical recession – real fast, DESPITE big protective measures.

    Thus it is all about how you do it, and indeed combine aspects of free trade and protectionism. Maybe you favour protectionism in sectors employing a lot of other people, that are of strategic value, and free trade where there are fewer jobs at stake, bigger savings to be made, etc.

    Or you allow free trade, but invest more in your own businesses so they can compete more effectively. (Normal stuff countries do when they can slip it by the n3ol1bbies!

  12. @PETE B

    “Also, as an aside, most people I know are either indifferent or despise the man. However I wouldn’t dream of assuming that my experience is universal, as you appear to.”

    And yet you repeat your opinion that people drift to the political right as they age as some kind of universal truth again and again.

    I have asked you in the past if you could give some statistical evidence for this…

    My anecdotal evidence, which I by no means hold to be true in general, is the exact opposite. As people age and accumulate wealth, they wish for a fairer, and hence more stable society in order to preserve their wealth and therefore drift towards the centre-left.

    Of course, the current cohort aged between 65-85, who let’s face it are currently determining UK politics with their nostalgia for a time that never was, have always tended towards the right wing and have been adequately fueled by the tabloid press.

    (You see, I can also play the game…)


    “I am sure there will be some that will believe they were betrayed”

    Indeed. It is likely that every expat, who was denied a vote by the Supreme Court because it was only an advisory referendum, will feel stabbed in the back by the stay-at-home-johnnies with no idea of how international trade actually works.

  14. Colin,
    “Same drawbrige being pulled up . Just different ways of hoisting it.”

    The US is perfectly capable of imposing a trade blockade, yet still maintaining as efficient and self sufficient an economy as anywhere else. Not such an advantage as it had in the early 1900s, but still pretty good.

    The reason is scale. It is a huge market in its own right. A union of what were originally 50 odd nations. From this springboard the US managed to utterly dominate world trade.

    Trump is simply the political result of a realisation that the US is no longer way ahead of everyone else, but more first among equals. Whereas free trade formerly allowed it to dominate markets everywhere, now it allows its pretty equal competitors to pour goods into the US, and for its non free trade, state controlled, competitors (china) to completely out compete it.

    The US needs to abandon free trade and become more protectionist. There is no benefit from free trade if all it means is you export your own jobs to another part of the world. This might boost the total wealth in the world, but at your own expense.

    The UK is a minnow compared to the US. It joined the EU because it could not compete in isolation with world trade. That problem has simply become worse since we originally decided we must join the EU. The UK alone would be less able than the US to win at free trade, and unable to sustain it own industrial base if it pulls up the drawbridge. The UK became unviable as a world leading developed nation when it lost its own dawbridge protected imperial market.

  15. I think hauling up free trade and globalisation as the cause of the poorer in society having a harder time is tilting at the wrong windmill. The billions spent by Brown in shoring up the banking sector and the recession that followed had to be paid for. Taxing the relatively few very rich couldn’t and can’t produce the revenue required, simply because they are so few. You might get some sort of vengeful satisfaction from it, though that could be short lived as they remove investment and change domicile.
    The only way to ‘retrieve such vast sums is to tax millions of people and reduce spending on millions. Taxing the few doesn’t help at all.

  16. Prof Howard,
    “Gary Lineker’s support for a second referendum seems to have had an impact in the polls”

    opinion former or bellweather?

    Pete B,
    “Surely more free trade means cheaper products which benefits the poorest in particular.”

    No. It has to be looked at in the round. If they have no job they cannot buy anything. If their income has fallen even more than has the price of goods, so their employer can stay competitive, they are worse off. Free trade benefits IF you have an alternative occupation which pays better than making widgets, and then you import cheap widgets.

    “For instance, the ability to trade freely opens up opportunities for our own established and new industries because of easier access to overseas markets.”

    But is also opens up our markets to their established and new industries. Just as accurate to argue it means we will be flooded with imports as we will flood them.

    The real result can only be predicted if you look at which country currently has a manufacturing advantage, and increasingly it is not the UK. A sensible manufacturer given free trade would decide which partner would provide the cheapest manufacturing, place his factory there and sell to the other partner. The US is bleeding industry because manufacturers have moved abroad. The same would apply (applies) to the UK.

    “The key is to be adaptable”

    No. The key is regulation to protect the home market, and it always has been. International trade has never been free and is always a stronger partner seeking to take unfair advantage of a weaker. Even the policy of ‘free trade’ as pushed by the US was a means for the US to exploit its then advantages (cheap labour, massive raw materials, expanding technical expertise) at everyone elses expense.

    “At a time of full employment”
    Quality is just as important as quantity.

  17. DANNY

    @” It joined the EU because it could not compete in isolation with world trade.”

    The EEC actually.

    But yes-those wonderful 1970s when UK was the “Sick Man of Europe”. I remember them well.

    Restrictive working practices and outdated attitudes on the shop floor ; amateurish management;soaring inflation, rising unemployment & stagflation.A plummeting pound & an IMF bailout.

    An economy managed by a Labour Government & the TUC- loss of markets; and rise of competition.

    Someone mentioned Kissinger. He said in 1975 “Britain is a tragedy,It has sunk to begging, borrowing and stealing until North Sea oil comes in.”.

    If May loses to Corbyn we will be trying the old formula we , leave the EEC to become Sick Man of Europe. :-)

    What interesting historical symmetry !

  18. “The only way to ‘retrieve such vast sums is to tax millions of people and reduce spending on millions. Taxing the few doesn’t help at all.”

    Not read Keynes then? Or for that matter see what Thatcher’s tax cutting agent was all about?

    Basically you either invest for growth or reduce taxation to stimulate spending or both. Paradox of thrift and all that.

    In fact, upping tax and cutting spending will shrink the economy and increase the deficit.

  19. ‘If May loses to Corbyn we will be trying the old formula again’

    I love the way people can see into the future. Or, in reality, letting their prejudices rule their comments.

  20. only about 8 months to go of my contract which prohibits political postings.

    you have been warned.


    @”The billions spent by Brown in shoring up the banking sector and the recession that followed had to be paid for.”

    The recession certainly did-arguably still is.The collapse in Tax Revenue after the Recession & its failure ever since to cover State Spending has increased Government Debt from £0.5 trillion to £1.8 trillion-from 37% of GDP to 87% of GDP. Annual Interest payments are now costing the Taxpayer £50bn pa.

    State support for Banks, however ( which is not included in the above numbers) consisted of Loans, Non-Cash Guarantees, and outright purchase of Equity tradeable on the Stock Exchange.

    At its peak the whole package totalled £1.162 trillion. NAO reported in late 2017, that after loan repayments, cancelled guarantees & share sales, all but 5% of that sum had been recovered. There will undoubtedly be a net cost to the taxpayer when this ledger is closed. But the cost of Bank support pales into insignificance compared with the effect of the Recession which the Credit Crash caused.

  22. St Homas
    That’s nice, are you going to bring Pressman back with you?

  23. And so the Credit Crash caused the Bank Crash, or vice versa and billions were spent on it. OK a lot has come back, over time but if we’d reduced tax and not reduced public spending our interest rates would risen and we wouldn’t have been able to pay down anything like we have.

  24. Deeply scary piece here:

    Seems like the Tories were right to warn about this country being turned into Venezuela – but probably not in the way they imagined…

  25. In the end we need to increase productivity and sell more stuff to other people.

    Adjusting tax or public spending makes no difference if you are basically a loss making enterprise.

  26. After Northamptonshire County Council, it looks very like Somerset is the next to be in big trouble. Problems have been developing for a number of years including the effective collapse of West Somerset District Council.

    A great deal of time and money appears to have been spent on restructuring and ‘transformation’, and new HQs to replace those that are ‘not fit for purpose’.

  27. @Steamdrivenandy – “The only way to ‘retrieve such vast sums is to tax millions of people and reduce spending on millions. Taxing the few doesn’t help at all.”

    That’s because you’re stuck in the past. You’re just thinking about income, whereas the real money is in wealth.

    UK national debt was £1.652tr in 2016 (unless otherwise stated, all figures are from 2016) which was 87.6% of GDP, making GDP £1.885tr.

    We measure everything against GDP, which is theoretically the UK’s total income (although GDP is a seriously weird construction when you start exploring it) and our entire mindset is by and large to tax income.

    The actual value of the economy however, is completely different – in 2016 this was £9.8tr, with the value of land equating to £5.0tr or 51% of total net wealth. So we can see that the value of land is worth over two and a half times GDP – yet by and large we don’t tax it. indeed, we gift so many tax breaks to landowners that it’s hard to argue that we effectively tax the income from land either.

    It’s also worth noting that from 1995 to 2016, land values rose by 412% – despite a 23% collapse during the recession – while average salaries rose by just 94%. These factors help to explain why rich people like to buy land to transfer their money from earnings to land assets.

    As the relative balance between income and assets has tilted more and more towards assets, the tax system has in effect been trying to squeeze ever more from a smaller pot, while leaving the asset rich to get ever richer.

    To put this in some perspective, total local authority spending on social care in 2017 was £17.5bn. This equates to just 0.35% of the total value of land. So, very roughly speaking, if we could initiate an annual land value tax of a minuscule 0.5% of land values across the UK, that would be sufficient to fund the entire national social care budget with a massive 42% increase on top of existing spending.

    If we could up that to a 1% levy, we could pay for all social care with a 42% spending increase plus pay off 1.5% a year of the national debt, or fund social care properly and build 8 new aircraft carriers every year.

  28. Dominic Cummings has actually gone mad:

    And I quote, “Vote Leave 2 will be much much worse for your side than VL1 was. VL2 will win by more than VL1 and the logical corollary will be to morph into a new party and fight the next election ‘to implement the promises we made in the referendum because the MPs have proved they can’t be trusted’. At a minimum VL2 will win the referendum and destroy the strategic foundations of both main parties. The Tories will be destroyed and maybe Labour too. The rotten civil service system will be replaced and the performance of government will be transformed for the better. Investment in basic science research will flow. Long-term funding for the NHS guaranteed by law. MORE high skilled immigrants, FEWER low-skilled. An agenda that could not be described as Left or Right. The public will love it. Insiders will hate it but they will have slit their own throats and have no moral credibility. Few careers will survive.”

    And yes, he is imagining himself as Prime Minister in this scenario. Presumably having used his illegally scraped data to blackmail British soldiers and then led a military coup against 10 Downing Street.


  29. Hmmm, looks like the people of Vauxhall might finally have noticed that Kate Hoey’s opinions are not strictly representative of their views.

  30. @ Turk

    @Danny answered your question better than I could have done. Losing well paid manual jobs to the Far East means that however cheap their stuff comes in the poorest will be worse off if they don’t have jobs. Investment or training doesn’t change this because China invests and trains anyway.

    Trump and Brexit and the rise of the radical/extreme parties didn’t come out of the blue- it came about because of economic conditions and losses in well paid manual jobs. There is no possible way in which free trade with countries that we cannot compete with on wages (plus shipping) will be a good thing. In moderation it might be beneficial but this always involves some degree of protectionism. Tariffs from China are negligible and don’t even cover basic environmental damage or working conditions.

    My point being that if you don’t want protectionism you have to come up with alternative solutions and no-one is doing that so voters will vote for protectionism. 1930’s protectionism and the rise of the Nazi Party was the symptom not the cause and to be honest we have no parallel universe to say whether any alternative would have been any better or whether protectionism really did delay a recovery compared to doing nothing.

  31. PollTroll
    Crumbs, I’d read the Graun’s write up and thought it was just par for the course, but that really is completely barking, and for someone who claims to be more clever than most demonstrates ignorance of both our political system by apparently not understanding how ftpt works and recent history by not remembering the sdp and what happened last time, unless as you say he is intending to enlist the army or provisional ukip (the activists I’ve met around here have been more Private Godfrey than Rambo, but some of their mobility scooters could probably be painted army green and fitted out as lightweight tanks).

    In amongst all the carpet chewing, he does appear to be accepting the likelihood of a second referendum, which is interesting. That his lot managed such a slight victory first time around by cheating, which was incidentally noticed by and commented on at the time by Private Eye, will mean that they will be watched more closely next time, and he’s not improving his prospects by shouting from the rooftops that he proposes to do it again, like some pantomime villain explaining his plans prior to watching them fall apart.

    He also appears not to have noticed the recent polling on the likely outcome of a second referendum, unless he thinks that there are sufficient gullible people to be taken in again, which is also rather insulting to those he wishes to persuade.

    Speaking of polling, the Tory slippage has surely put paid to any prospect of a general election, with Barnier saying that the only way we can get an extension is an election or a referendum it will have to be the latter, unless TOH has sufficient veg available for all on his allotments to stave off the instant food crisis Ian Dunt describes on Politics Home this morning. He cites expert opinion in the article, so perhaps if we assume they are wrong we’ll be fine.

  32. @Steamdrivenandy

    “The billions spent by Brown in shoring up the banking sector and the recession that followed had to be paid for.”


    Sure, but if you try and pay for it via cuts and tax rises, what Keynes showed was that this can actually be counter productive. Because people have less money to spend, buy less products, business invest less, tax revenues fall, jobs are lost, and then you have to make more cuts and things worsen further.

    The alternative is to try and increase your income via investment, via tax cuts that foster spending and so on. We did this immediately following the Crunch and went from minus seven percent growth to over two percent plus in less than two years.

    Which is quite the turnaround. Then we had cuts, put up VAT and lost the growth and tax revenue fell and welfare costs increased, and the deficit remained a problem. Then the government did the housing stimulus which restored growth.

  33. Alec

    One thing I’ve never really understood about LVT is the concept that rents are always at the highest a market can bear therefore the landlord must swallow the tax. Surely if, for example, every landlord of every shop in the country has an outgoing of an extra £10 a week in LVT, every landlord will put up the rent by £10. The market will have a new ceiling because there is nowhere for the shops to go – they can’t look for cheaper premises because all the rents have gone up at the same time? The fact is that, in London certainly, shops close all the time because the landlord is doubling the rent on renewal of a lease. Those shops never remain empty for long, because a more efficent business – like a coffee chain – comes along to accept the higher priced lease. LVT will be passed on to the shop owner, and via price inflation to the public. Where am I going wrong on this interpretation?

  34. Carfrew,

    “Because people have less money to spend, buy less products, business invest less, tax revenues fall, jobs are lost, and then you have to make more cuts and things worsen further.”

    Except, people are still spending if not more, they are buying products all be it online rather than on the high street, tax revenues are relatively robust, investment isn’t high enough but not far from trend, all be it we have a poor record, jobs are increasing and unemployment is down , though many of the jobs aren’t great and cuts have stabilised.

    We are still credit and asset driven and that will come back to bite us as will the burden of debt, but the fact is in both the US and UK the post crash economy isn’t reacting the way either Monetarist or Keynesian models predict.

    I think you can make an argument that a bit like Marx being right about the squeeze on Labour costs, but by the time he died much of what he saw had been addressed post the Banking crisis a lot of what was right about Keynes might be less relevant.

    For me their are two big questions;

    a) Are we in a time of turbulence before returning to the norm, are we in transition to a new form of economy with new rules, or has the transition ended and new rules apply?


    b) If any of the above are true what is the new economy, what are the new rules and what strategies and policies will work and can be developed?


  35. I think many brexiteers find it difficult to understand why people in other EU countries tend to have a much more favourable view of that institution than we do.

    Maybe it’s because what we tend to perceive (or is presented to us) as interference in the sovereign right of our government to proceed unfettered by external scrutiny is seen elsewhere as a useful counterweight to the lethargy or incompetence of national governments.

    While we may well share that view of the cack-handedness of our government, we don’t tend to see the EU as part of the solution.

    For an insight into how others see this – and treat the issue – it’s worth reading two items from El Pais (in English):

    Of course, English exceptionalists can maintain that while the Spanish government needs this sort of external pressure, the UK operates to a higher standard and can be trusted to do the right thing in all circumstances. But for, what’s interesting is the difference in attitude to the EU.

  36. More information on Bannon’s plan to undermine European democracy:

  37. Different bloggers have different opinions and will say different things. They may illuminate or obscure the view of Brexit.

    Chris Grey has a consistent view of how the negotiations have gone. Implied in this post, I think, is that the EU will stick to its red lines.

    “A different and much more subtle inflection of the same idea [that the EU will punish the UK] can be found in calls for the EU to be more flexible, as, for example, in an article today by the highly respected and pro-EU journalist Timothy Garton Ash, warning of the dangers of a Treaty of Versailles style humiliation. Similarly, also in today’s Guardian, Henry Newman, Director of Open Europe, argues for the EU to “seen sense” about what no deal would mean for the EU, especially in terms of security and international relations.

    I’m certainly not and never have been of the view that the EU can do no wrong (for that matter, I’m not sure that anyone is). It is an imperfect institution like all others. But I find it difficult to see what flexibility the EU could reasonably be expected to show in the face of the red lines put forward by the British government (nor is it very clear what this flexibility would consist of). The EU, like any multi-lateral organization, is and has to be rules-based or it will fall apart. That is so not least because, despite what some Brexiters claim, it is not and cannot act like a State.

    Britain, prior to Brexit, understood that very well, and one way to understand the present situation is to imagine if it were not Britain but another country leaving. I do not think that in those circumstances many in Britain, and certainly not those of a Eurosceptic persuasion, would then be calling for special arrangements whereby that country could continue to have many membership benefits without accepting those rules it disliked. Which has been exactly the EU’s position, and signalled as such since long before the referendum.”

  38. @ TED

    In all fairness to Pressman his manipulative predictions have proved chillingly accurate. Cameron majority government followed by leaving the EU at a time when the only possible result of 2015 based on polling was a minority Labour government with SNP support.

    I wonder what his current plans are.

  39. There are echoes of the Chris Grey blog post in this piece by Brendan Donnelly. Mr Donnelly is gloomy about the prospects of any agreement within the Conservative party on the Withdrawal agreement. He does not exclude the possibility of an orderly exit that depends of political realignments.

    Last week was by no means the first time that otherwise serious commentators have claimed to discern an important movement of the Conservative Party or at least its leadership away from radical Euroscepticism. These recurrent claims have always sooner or later shown themselves to be vacuous. They stem essentially from ignorance of the Party outside Westminster and an excessive preoccupation with the House of Commons as the exclusive focus of national political activity. It is an error of categorisation to regard the Conservative Party as one capable of being cajoled or bullied into pragmatism on European questions by a self-confident leadership. David Cameron experienced in 2016 great difficulty in persuading an unconvincing majority of his MPs to support him during the referendum. Radical Euroscepticism has taken a firmer grip on the Party since…..

    …….The completeness of Mrs May’s surrender to the power of the ERG earlier this week provided a useful corrective and clarification for those still hoping that the Party was capable of negotiating a pragmatic Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. No such prospect exists under a Conservative government led by Mrs May or anybody else. The default assumption must be that there will be no Withdrawal Agreement before March 2019 and that as a result the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29th March 2019, with no transitional (standstill) agreement to cushion the blow of such an abrupt Brexit. This outcome will be unwelcome and damaging for the EU. It will, however, be the worst possible economic outcome for the UK.”

  40. “For me their are two big questions;

    a) Are we in a time of turbulence before returning to the norm, are we in transition to a new form of economy with new rules, or has the transition ended and new rules apply?


    b) If any of the above are true what is the new economy, what are the new rules and what strategies and policies will work and can be developed?”
    @Peter Cairns (SNP) July 28th, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    The economy of the last 20-30 years or so has been transformed in as big a way as it was in the 19th century. Try to find something in your home that hasn’t been touched by some distant economy. Here in the north west the ‘traditional’ jobs of weaving and mining have now been destroyed. They provided the basis for many relatively well-paid jobs, and now they are gone nothing has replaced them.

    To be fair, that’s not quite true. The Internet has created a new infrastructure for some people the get jobs that pay well. But it hasn’t replaced all those lost. And you need to be quite well educated to do them. Quaternions, anyone?

    The Internet is the game-changer. All the multi-nationals now utilise the lower-cost areas of the world to reduce their cost base and provide goods and services at prices people will pay. If you think the economy’s gone down the pan just ask those in Thailand, Turkey, Poland or, of course, China what they think. You have to see the benefits and our future from a different perspective.

    But as many people can’t see past the end of their nose they won’t see this. Just look at the programmes you see on the Beeb’s iPlayer. How many are looking forward? Ignore the trains and history of Britain programmes — opps not much left.

    There is a new norm that has emerged, and it involves many more countries than before. We, as part of the EU, have helped drive these new linkages. Now we are going to break them. That doesn’t sound that smart to me.

  41. While Donnelly is sceptical that Mrs May can escape the clutches of the ERG another blogger, Jonathan Evershed, points out Mrs May’s tendency to poke herself in the eyes.

    The idea that divergence in customs arrangements across the Irish Sea would be synonymous with diminished British sovereignty and, thereby, disesteem or unequal treatment for Unionism is an intriguing one. It reveals the way in which Brexit has been mapped on to the complex issues of culture and identity which have defined post-Agreement Northern Irish politics. Like the issues of flags, emblems, Orange parades (as an aside, was Number 10’s choice to publish its Chequers White Paper on the Twelfth of July symbolically or politically significant?) and language, or the vexed question of ‘eleventh night’ bonfires – which once again reared its head this Summer – Brexit (and support for or opposition to it) has become part of Northern Ireland’s contested cultural landscape: of the culture war which has defined post-Agreement Northern Irish politics and provided a proxy for its unresolved constitutional conflict. …

    …..Theresa May’s Belfast speech signalled something of the closeness of her relationship with the DUP – some of whose members and supporters arguably are not only willing to accept, but actively want a hard border on the island of Ireland – as well her inability to stand up to the Brexit hardliners on her back benches, her unwillingness to deliver on her previous promises, and her resultant unreliability as a partner in negotiations. She could have presented the Irish backstop as an opportunity for Northern Ireland to ‘have its cake and eat it’ economically and in terms of protections for the rights and entitlements of its citizens. In electing to represent it as a threat to Unionist identity, she has instead added fuel to the fire of the ‘culture war’ which continues to smoulder beneath Northern Ireland’s fragile peace, further undermining her already dubious credibility as joint custodian of its foundering political settlement. “

  42. As a foretaste of the many unwelcome results that will come to the UK given a Hard Brexit and more restrictions on immigration and foreign labour, is the serious loss of raspberry and strawberry crop reported this week for a farm in Kincardineshire.

    “”A Mearns fruit farm was forced to leave 100 tonnes of perfectly good crop to rot because of a labour shortage.

    Castleton, outside Laurencekirk, has seen a drop of approximately 20% of summer workers since the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme ended, with the cumulative cost estimated to be around £350,000 for the business.
    Ross and Murray Mitchell have run the farm for more than 20 years and it is now one of the biggest commercial growers in Scotland.

    Ross Mitchell said: “Without a strong seasonal workforce we wouldn’t be in business.” “”

  43. Mr Evershed provides a link in his blog to the blog post by Karl Whelan. Mr Whelan demolishes some of the arguments about the alleged problems with a special status for NI.

    “Rather than being threatened economically, Northern Ireland would gain from the implementation of the EU’s backstop. To understand why, let’s look at how the backstop would work in practice….

    …Firms in Northern Ireland will remain within the UK, so there will not be and cannot legally be customs checks for goods produced in Northern Ireland when travelling to the rest of the UK. In addition, the UK itself promised in the December agreement that unfettered access would be maintained for Northern Irish firms and that “no new regulatory barriers” would affect these firms. Together, these points mean Northern Irish firms will have unfettered access to the rest of the UK under the EU backstop….

    ….So the EU backstop isn’t going to turn Northern Ireland into an economic dystopia. It is far more likely to have a positive economic effect. Northern Ireland would become the only place where firms could export freely to both the EU and the UK. One could easily imagine Northern Ireland obtaining new foreign direct investment because of this unique selling point. Business leaders in other regions of the UK (for example Scotland) would view this kind of special status as a great opportunity if they could attain it but the EU has made clear that this can only apply to Northern Ireland.”


    Interesting questions.

    I think talk of ” a new form of economy” is perhaps looking down the wrong end of the telescope though.

    For me it is a bit McDonaldesque.-this is my view of the way the world should work-so my government will instal a new form of economy to bring it about.

    My own preference is to see economic activity as what it has always been-a product of the behaviour & interaction of people. So first we have to decide how those behaviours & interactions are going to change in future. Then we can have a stab at guessing what sort of economic effects that may produce.

    Also modern communication & transport networks produce inevitable global economic interaction-so we have to consider global trends.

    There are plenty of Future Gazers to turn to online. A quick search suggests these amongst top possibilities;-

    * Further growth in urban populations including global mega cities.( 35% of world population by 2030 ?)

    *A richer and older human race characterised by an expanding global middle class and greater inequalities.

    *A transformative, digital enabled industrial and technological revolution .

    *The combined effect of climate change, energy and competition for finite resources

    * Large global migration flows , rendering the distinction between UN Refugee status & flight from poverty , academic.

    What effect such trends might have on economic activity & models , and perhaps more pertinently; whether politicians will appear capable of responding adequately to them , are questions I wouldn’t attempt to answer.

  45. I should have added that from memory of eating in the farm restaurant at Castleton, they had a sign up last year that they employ 300 (or perhaps it was 350) foreign fruit pickers.

    There is simply not that size of labour force available in the Mearns to do the job midsummer, and those attracted would have to have their own transport due to a negligible bus service that is remote to the farm.

  46. Somerjohn (12.43)
    I think that one reason why people in the U.K. (especially Brexiteers) find it difficult to understand other nations’ more favourable attitude to the EU could be simply this: we don’t publicise EU investment, nor do we attribute to the EU the financial investment in large infrastructure projects. I mean, with huge great big signs, which say, for instance, ‘this bridge is being built with the contribution of EU support.’ It is noticeable in many other EU countries (Ireland and Portugal, in my recent experience) how building works are plastered with huge explanatory signs. And yet there is nothing in Cornwall, where a huge amount of EU Grant is awarded. Just a superficial thing really, but I believe it could be significant.


    I was interested in your post & comments.

    Your two references appear to indicate that the EU has intervened in Spanish national affairs in order to :-

    *Overhaul the way Spanish railway accidents are investigated and to change the entire risk analysis system of the Spanish railway system.
    *improve urban waste water practices of 17 Spanish Regional Municipalities.

    My reaction is-why are the Spanish voters not punishing the elected representatives responsible at the ballot box?. I try to imagine what would happen in this country if these two matters were exposed by the Press & not addressed by national & local politicians.
    Wouldn’t there be an almighty row-complaints, petitions ?. Wouldn’t an opposition political party leap at the chance to expose their opponents failures?

    Why does it need a solution from Brussels?

    If it really does need Brussels to manage adequate rail safety & water treatment in Spain-then what is the point of representative governance in that country?

    You posted two suggestions :-

    @”While we may well share that view of the cack-handedness of our government, we don’t tend to see the EU as part of the solution.”

    For me anyway-that is correct.

    @”seen as a useful counterweight to the lethargy or incompetence of national governments”

    I note particularly here that you talk of “governments”-not political parties. If you are saying that all possible alternative governments in Spain are equally lethargic & incompetent-then I can understand why you ( and the Spanish people) look for a “counterweight”. I don’t live there-but you prompt me to think that the popular image of Club Med Governments & Local Authorities is not just a caricature.

    If the conclusion is that the EU is neccessary because Spain cannot govern itself effectively , then I suggest that is not the most ringing endorsement of the vital need for that organisation.

    And aren’t you in danger of assuming that your guardian “counterweight” always makes the right decisions for others ?

  48. Shev11

    Ref your post at 11.11 today did you mean it for another contributor I don’t remember havin a conversation re trains ,China ,Trump or protectionism.

  49. Oops sorry Turk- I meant Pete B.

  50. Birkenhead CLP vote to deselect Frank Field. Presumably the same is happening with Hoey and the other two rebels as well.

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