A quick update on three new voting intention polls in the last day:

Survation for the Daily Mail have topline figures of CON 38%(+1), LAB 37%(-4), LDEM 10%(+4), UKIP 4%(+3). Fieldwork was done wholly on Friday, after the news of Boris Johnson’s seperation from his wife had broken and changes are from their poll earlier this week which had shown a four point Labour lead. The changes are from their poll at the start of the week that showed a four point Labour lead – obviously given the closeness of fieldwork those changes are more likely to be noise than a sudden surge in Lib Dem support within a matter of days! Full details are here.

BMG for the Independent have topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 11%(+1), UKIP 7%(+2). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Friday and the (insignificant) changes are from last month. Full tabs are here.

Finally YouGov‘s weekly poll for the Times had headline figures of CON 39%(nc), LAB 35%(-2), LDDEM 11%(+1), UKIP 5%(nc). Fieldwork was on Monday and Tuesday, and changes are from last week. Full tables are here.

All three polls obviously show Labour and Conservative relatively close. Worth noting is that all three have the Liberal Democrats sneaking up into double figures, something that does seem to be part of a wider trend of the Liberal Democrats very gradually starting to recover support.

327 Responses to “Latest YouGov, BMG and Survation voting intention”

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  1. We know have the tables for that London poll:


    Irritatingly there’s no figures for non-voters, so it’s difficult to tell where the votes have shifted. There’s also no indication of likelihood to vote (or even if it was used).

    The headline rate suggests that the Conservatives have lost a higher percentage of their vote since the GE (if both have lost 7 points) but the tables show them with a higher retention rate (88% to Labour’s 80%) so it may be that more Tories are moving to DK etc. What there doesn’t seem to be is much Tory to Lib Dem shift. though there does seem to be a sizeable Lab to LD one.

    After my boring you all about weighting, there’s actually an oddity in the way it’s done here. If you look at the last YouGov poll in April:


    you can see that there was weighting applied to the Inner/Outer London split so that Inner London made up 37% of the sample, and to ethnicity so that BAME voters made up 36%. In this poll, Inner London makes up only 31% and BAME 29% and no weighting appears to have been applied. I suspect that it’s just that the weighted figures haven’t been displayed properly in the table, but if not this would downgrade Labour’s VI a bit.

    There’s only two additional questions shown so far. One is whether “Sadiq Khan is doing well or badly as Mayor of London?”. This has dropped from +22 (52-30) to +4 (44-40) since April. Some of this is partisan from Tory voters, but there’s a substantial swing among Labour and Lib Dem voters too. It’s difficult to know what is behind this, though I suspect crime (and particularly knife crime) may be part of it. That was already a topic in April, but it may be that he has been attacked more in the media over it.

  2. On electoral systems, there seems to be an assumption that, whatever the polity and its geographical make up, there has to be a single system adopted on a “one size fits all” mentality.

    I haven’t seen anyone explaining why this should be the case.

    In my STV elected council, the island of Arran is lumped in with mainland towns, and might have no councillor advocating for its special needs. An obvious solution would be for such a community to select a single councillor using AV, while the rest of the council is chosen through STV (though with more proportionality than the 3/4 member wards that the big parties pushed through).

    For the UK, why does it have to be a single system of electing MPs for every polity that is in the UK?

    As long as the number of MPs sent to Westminster is proportional to the population of each polity, why does it matter a damn why MPs from Scotland, NI, Wales or England get there by the same electoral system?

    Highland North is ludicrously big, but is required by standardised rules.

    Na h-Eileanan an Iar (and Orkney and Shetland separately)require their own MP (just as Arran needs its own councillor).

    These MPs wouldn’t need to have the equal voting rights at Westminster, but could have a voting strength proportional to their electorate, if Westminster adopted electronic voting, instead of the archaic and inefficient voting system of trooping through lobbies.

  3. Following on from OldNat’s example, why not make the seats based on geographical size, or perhaps ease of transport?

    I recently did an what-if experiment where I pretended all elections since 1945 were done on an additional member basis. The results were predictable: hardly any majority government, and lots of coalitions with the Libs/LD’s. It’s pretty much impossible to be sure, but I think having one party involved in successive coalition governments for 20-30 years would get stale.

  4. keithp,
    I’m not sure how you did the experiment, but you cannot assume that party support would be the same under any sort of PR. The results we get now are not what voters would wish, but the best they can manage given the system in place.

    I would expect more parties with less support. It is not at all clear the libs would feature in government. The game they have played of ‘none of the above’ would not have worked over 70 years. They would have had to stand for something, rather than simply against. The kind of contradiction we got in 2010 when the libs did precisely the opposite many of their voters expected would not have been possible over time.

  5. Roger,
    Thanks for engaging in the “weighting” discussion. This is supposed to be a polling site after all.

    As a reduction and absurdam, if Survation only found one 18-24 to interview and they happened to be a Tory or Lib Dem voter, unweighting that person to 100+ in a sample of ~1000 would introduce a significant error, since we know young voters actually tend to vote Labour. These errors should be quantifiable and probably should be combined into the Moe for that poll. As I said, these adjustments are MUCH bigger for Survation than for Yougov, where they are typically <5% of target. Presumably this reflects YouGov's large panel and also their larger sample size, typically ~1800.

    Another point is that these errors are secondary. If you have too few Tories in your sample, then upweighting them corrects the Tory % well. But if your small Tory subsample happens to be more Remain than it should be, then you may overestimate Remain in the referendum question. And if your small Tory sample also contains more Tory to Lib Dem switchers than it should, then Lib Dem voting intention may also be overestimated.

  6. Danny,

    You are quite right (although it is not only the Lib Dems who campaign just as much on what they are not as on what they are..)
    Almost certainly the SDP would have been a big player, as they are in Germany, and there would have been a centre-right party like the German Christian Democrats, with much more of the post-war consensus since Thatcher would never have had the majority to push through neo-lib economics.. Corbyn would be leader of a fringe left-wing party. Farage of a libertarian Nationalist party. There would never have been a Lib Dem Party and you are probably correct that the Liberals would never have got 20%, more likely varying in the 7-15% range ( 50-100 MPs)

  7. It’s getting more and more bizarre, if the media reports are to be believed – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/11/brexit-no-10-refuses-consider-eu-staff-british-ports-irish-border

    The EU has come forward with an outline plan for NI border checks which seems altogether sensible – red and green lanes for freight in UK and Irish ports for trucks heading into NI, with EU staff operating on UK soil, checks done while goods are in transit.

    This is nothing new or unusual. I seem to recall the UK placed HMG officials in Argentinian slaughter houses back in the 1950’s as part of a beef export deal, so there really shouldn’t be any issues with EU customs staff in Fishguard.

    The really bizarre bit about this is that No 10 has rejected the idea, because it doesn’t meet May’s red lines (nor the legislation she was forced to put through by the hardliners in the ERG) while the ERG seem happy to accept the idea as a way to break the deadlock.

    Unpick this one and the deal is waiting, and it seems like the ERG is getting twitchy. Just like Boris not wanting to challenge May right now, I really don’t think the ERG want to see a no deal exit.

    On both counts, it’s mouth and trousers time here. They know that carping from the sidelines about how patriotic they are and how bad Chequers is for Britain is the easiest thing in the world, but that actually being in power and having the responsibility of delivering their promises is when the emperor is revealed to be naked.

  8. ON @ 12.03 am:

    I agree strongly with your ideas on different voting systems for different polities. It seems to me that the far north of Scotland is getting two ridiculously large constituencies and the boundary commissions have applied rules but not considered the physical problems of travelling.

    Now on travelling for mothers-to-be, you challenged me (9.30 pm) to harden up my comparison of Elgin/Morayshire with rural England – perhaps I should have said district rather than county. Well the Barrow hospital, Furness General, serving c. 100,000 people, has just got a new £12 million maternity unit. Which should mean that hardly any ladies have to endure a 53-mile ambulance trip round Morecambe Bay to Lancaster.

  9. Sam @ 9.41pm:

    Elgin hospital maternity is only midwife-led because of staff shortages as a temporary measure. The problems go back at least to July 2017 – the link uses past tense to describe them.


    Compared to Aberdeen, Elgin house costs are, and have been, less, so I think the NHS staffing problem there is more a result of Brexit than “oil”.

    Now for some botany.

  10. @ALEC

    Isn’t the problem that if you accept both sides red lines there is no deal. That has been the problem all along. The point of taking back control is that symbolism of EU officials on UK soil is breaking a figurative red line.

    We’re not arguing about policy, we are arguing about emotion and identity first and foremost. It is why I think remain lost it was shouting facts that is not what leaving was about for a good section of the voters. It was a kick up the backside for our political class. That it has gone sideways is because logic and facts were secondary

    hence the view from some leavers that remoaners are thwarting the project and you just have to believe


    I am not sure that any of what you say would be true. Voters do strange things. Politicians do even stranger things. Do you think with hindsight for example Labour MP would have voted to go to war in Iraq. If you look across at Germany despite/inspite of the politics no one believed the crap that was being spouted. Fischer was in your view close to Blairite and had a different view of Iraq compared to New Labour/David Miliband as an example. So I do not think we could point to any country and get a view of what the UK would be like. the most honest answer is we don’t know.
    In the same way that LDEMs got 23% of the vote in 2010 in a system that favours two party politics show that any system can break the mould indeed we have the situation in scotland where a system designed to not produce an overall majority does.

    One could argue that people will vote to shake up the system ( as one person I spoke to about the choice between Hilary and Trump and another person from Sweden who decided to vote for the far right said “How bad could they be”). Sometime we flirt with danger because we can, because we are frustrated and sometimes because we just want a change.

    In 2010 I suspect we wanted a change, It was the high watermark for the LDEMs (as actually they were the most left wing of the main parties which is paradox of what they ended up doing). In 2015 we voted for more of the same “austerity” which only two years later we decided that we’d have enough. Now would Corbyn be a leader of a fringe party. and increase to 500K members seems to say not. Which one of the parties have pushed an anti austerity message? Well I reckon what you would have seen is the equivalent SDP and CDU parties not doing so. but you may have found that the left and right parties pushing it hard, how would that have hit the polls. it is clear that some of labours support came because of remain but there is also clear evidence that Labour party voters had different priorities to that of conservatives and that may with both parties split have pushed people away from the centre.

    Indeed the only thing holding the centre together at the moment is the fact of our party system. if both Labour and Tories broke up into their factions whos going to be doorstepping for them. Do you think May or David Miliband would not lose a large chunk of votes to ERG types and Corbynites.

    As a coach you are often told whatever you do or say be right about it. it means you can keep a team together despite losing and lose a team despite winning. Blair was successful but he lost his team despite winning because they didn’t believe him. Politics is based on religious levels of believe, tribalism and not really policy. That makes stuff unpredictable. Lastly voters can hold completely contradictory views I often use this poll on immigration because it basically show the contradiction. We have the same issues with welfare


    So forming policy is actually very hard for all sides so it is easier to fall back on tribal politics.

  11. “Wages saw faster than expected growth in the three months to July, as they continued to outstrip rising prices.
    Excluding bonuses, wages grew by 2.9%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), well above the 2.4% inflation rate for the three-month period.
    Analysts had forecast a 2.8% rise.
    Unemployment continued to fall, dropping by 55,000 to 1.36 million. The unemployment rate remains at its lowest level for over 40 years.
    The number of people in work rose by 3,000, taking the total employment level to 32.397 million.
    The ONS’s head of labour market statistics David Freeman said: “With the number of people in work little changed, employment growth has weakened. However, the labour market remains robust, with the number of people working still at historically high levels, unemployment down on the year and a record number of vacancies.
    “Meanwhile, earnings have grown faster than prices for several months, especially looking at pay excluding bonuses.”


    Signs that as the available pool of additional workers shrinks, pay is rising ?

    Interesting timing on the day John McDonnell lays out his Emlpoyment Law plans to the TUC.

  12. @ OLDNAT / etc. – My personal preference would be for a Swiss style approach. Simplistically “central” govt should deal with “central” matters only and devolve down other responsibilities to the lowest sensible level – local representation filtering back up the hierachy to decide the central issues (with refs used on non-partisan issues). Sharing a single currency should have SGP type criteria buffeted by a cyclically tolerant transfer union.

    This is why I dislike the EC/ECJ. It is also why I think we are talking about 1,001 ways to rearrange deck chairs rather than looking at Icebergs that are already banging into the good ship UK and starting to sink some of the flotilla in the EU27.

    @ ALEC – “I really don’t think the ERG want to see a no deal exit”

    Is that the Indy today? Perhaps it is just they just don’t want to be the ones doing it and also want to ensure it is “strongly mitigated”. Project “Save Theresa” and bring Chequers back from the dead is too late.

    As May would say, nothing has changed – the nothing being the arithmetic in HoC. I wrote about this y’day.

    ERG are giving May the option to keep her job – you can call that making her their hostage if you like but since they just want her to honour the ref, the manifesto and all the promises since, Leavers don’t see it like that.

    P.S. I had hoped we’d get a 3.9% on unemployment just for the “headline” appeal but earnings data was good at least – people earn wages not a share of GDP!

  13. The EU will experience more & more resistance to cutural & societal stresses resulting from failure to integrate large immigrant flows.

    That must be the conclusion from this study.


    It is difficult to see how integration of any meaningful nature will be possible for the larger numbers in that study.

    Whether the political response sees mainstream parties adopting policies of greater control to keep the Far Right at bay-as in Sweden ( and to some extent Germany)-or failing to respond and seeing the Far Right take their votes , as in Italy; remains to be seen.

    I doubt there are but a handful of politicians across Europe who really understand the implications.

  14. I’m still trying to resolve the logic on display from @Trevor Warne a couple of days ago that somehow semi permanent increases in supply stocks is somehow a good thing for business.

    There are some arguuing this point, but to my mind it looks like they are confusing permanent growth with flows. A stock needs to be built up, which means higher spending, and therefore potential GDP rises (unless the stocks are imports) but once a new, higher stock level is reached, there is no material difference, except to the increased operational costs and therefore reduced profits.

    Indeed, this is precisely what the CEBR has estimated. They believe that pre March 19th stockpiling is likely to add 0.5% to GDP, with a consequent equal and opposite fall post Brexit, should a deal be struck. In their view, this stockpiling will merely shift demand forward by around 9 months, creating a mini recession asit unwinds. On top of this, the stock levels in the intervening period will cost companies more money to service than usual, so the net impact once everything has unwound is lower profit.

    Getting these basic bits of logic part arch leavers is difficult to the point of impossible, but that’s the nature of the debate we’re having. Some of the statements and ideas are just so barking mad that one needs to pinch oneself and do a double take, jut to make you really are awake and this is real. Sadly, it really is – some people genuinely seem to believe this stuff, which is, in itself, rather frightening.

  15. TREVOR WARNE @ OLDNAT / etc.

    You misunderstand the polities of Switzerland. Unlike the UK, it is the Commune which is sovereign.

    They have the power to join or merge with other Communes and to join or create Cantons. The newest Canton is Jura, which acquired a Commune from Bern earlier this year.

    The Cantons are often non-contiguous, and provide most of the services which are carried out by central government in the UK.

    The Confederal government provides foreign representation, common devices like the motorways and railways plus defence.

    Devolution would be anathema to most Swiss. It’s the electorate who devolve power to the state!

    Equally, I suppose Brenda & Co would be miffed at being a civil servant should bliti try the same model.

  16. devices = services … autocorrect seems very bossy today.

  17. The guardian story is poorly sourced and reported but appears to make no sense at all either, unless based on an absolutely fundamental change in the EU position.

    Since I suspect others would have picked up if it were one, I think it’s a non-story.

    Please pick holes in this logic.

    But as far as I can see the only reason you’d need to have officials in place at Fishguard, say, to assess the risk of goods supposedly en route from GB to NI via RoI being smuggled into the RoI and hence into the EU is if there was a smuggling risk.

    And there can only be a smuggling risk if NI is not in the EU customs area. Which it is, I thought, the position of the EU that it must be.

    If NI is in customs union with the EU then it doesn’t matter where the goods are destined or whether they end up there. It only matters if it isn’t.

  18. Alec,
    ” I really don’t think the ERG want to see a no deal exit. ”

    Coming round to the idea no tories want to see a no deal exit? Or any kind of exit?

  19. @Andrew111 comparing the now defunct British SDP to the German SPD is odd; the latter are clearly the German sister party of the British Labour party and have had institutional links for decades reflecting that

  20. Expanding on ROGER MEXICO’s comment (I’m also upset about them not showing DK):
    “What there doesn’t seem to be is much Tory to Lib Dem shift. though there does seem to be a sizeable Lab to LD one.”

    We have seem this pattern in other polls. Some of the LAB-LD “flow” has been 2-way but the net is generally helping LD and coming from LAB-Remain (see the ICM poll that split LAB and CON by Remain and Leave).

    At a national level the rough moves have been:

    CON-Leave (-4) to UKIP (+4)
    LAB-Remain (-3) to LD (+3)

    The London poll is fairly consistent with the loyalty and flow from other polls once you adjust for the regional difference in the starting point and the higher Remain bias of London.

    Both main parties hence have a problem, more pressing for CON of course.

    If CON don’t stop the drift to UKIP they are in trouble but by doing so they might unleash CON-Remain moving to LD

    If LAB don’t stop the drift to LD they are in trouble but by doing so they might unleash LAB-Leave to DK (abstain), UKIP or possibly even CON (assuming they adopt a more politically aware manifesto)

    In terms of London seats the LD resurgence won’t actually make much impact

    LD will gain Richmond Park from CON

    but most of the marginals are LAB-CON battles and hence LD/Green impact will be more via tactical voting or unwinding of previous tactical voting. LAB-CON seat changes could net out or tip +3 to 5 to one party depending on the role of tactical voting and seat level factors.

    It is possible LD take Bermondsey from LAB and they will very likely increase their majority in seats they currently hold but we see the “geographic niche” issues of LD.

    They are S.West London party, not a London wide party.

  21. Colin,
    “The EU will experience more & more resistance to cutural & societal stresses resulting from failure to integrate large immigrant flows.”

    I wonder, how will the UK react if following brexit it is obliged to get its immigrant labour from all over the world, rather than from much more culturally similar EU countries as now?

  22. @ ALEC – Stockpiling is a one-off “boost” that will drop out of YoY measures due to “base effects” BUT that one-off boost will not reverse unless companies decide they can go back to the previous lower JIT levels (which is possible if we fudge WA then agree CU+SM later – ERG’s worst nightmare!!)


    The bigger issue I have is with “status quo” assumptions. Companies respond to change. HMG can directly effect and indirectly affect how companies respond.

    Since May is talking cars, lets talk cars (Remainer favourite)

    – Do we give large “incentives” to car co.s to go “next-gen” in UK (e.g. R&D, state-aid, adjustments to tax code, etc)?
    – Do we give large incentives to OEM producers to expand/move to UK to cope with RoO issues?
    – Do we work with multi-nationals to develop more “pocket factories” and “built under license” facilities (a lot of car companies have either the same owner or less formal “alliances” with other companies)[1]

    – Stay in CU+SM and continue to adopt a laissez faire approach that sees the continuation of car industry moving to cheaper labour markets in E.Europe (sped up slightly due to Brexit if we leave CU+SM and do nothing)

    I’m not predicting what will happen just showing that we can make choices to affect/effect the outcome. I’ve always said if we leave EU and don’t snap out of laissez faire ne0-liberalism then Brexit might fail (it will certainly fail in many regions outside of London!). A more pro-active HMG can ensure it is a success overall and at a sector and regional level.

    [1] This is possibly less relevant to car industry but is highly relevant to many other industries.

  23. @ BZ – top-down or bottom-up it amounts to the same thing but UK would be starting from a top-down system (ie opposite direction to Swiss). I doubt it will happen but a step-change approach resulting in something similar might (e.g. NI and Scotland leave Westminster but retain some links via EFTA, NATO, WTO and bilateral agreements)

    @ DANNY – try looking at polls and actually understanding Brexiters rather than the Remain brainwashing that all Brexiters are th1ck rac1sts.

    The write-up is good but make sure to also open the tabs:


    “Culturally Similar” is not the wording used but if you look at the country breakdown from p3 onwards you’ll see (net numbers)

    Top rated countries are “culturally similar” (not in perfect order).

    English speaking:
    Australia +45
    RoI +40
    US +36

    You then have:
    Germany +38
    Poland +28
    India +25
    Jamaica +18

    After that you are into -ves, the only just -ves being:
    Bangladesh -3
    Pakistan -4

    The very -ve countries:
    Nigeria -11
    Romania -18
    Somalia -21

    Brexiters simply want a consistent system (ie same for non-EU as EU) and to get the overall number down to a manageable level (but keep the gates open for NHS and high tax payers!).

    We see no reason to give priority to Romanians over Indians (Javid fought and won the case for Indian doctor visas, students will hopefully be the next win for Javid – May seems to be stuck on some UKIP approach).

    If the EU had stayed as EEC and not gone on its low wage Eastern expansion to benefit the corporate elite then Brexit might have never happened and the rise of the far-right populism in many Western EU countries might never have happened. Too late now though and you’ll note Juncker still wants to expand – Albania+co. joining soon?

    You will also note Brexiters want to see real wages in UK go up and see investment in productivity (Ind.Rev4, AI, skills training, etc) – early days but already seems to be working!!

    Those with a socialist heart also want UK to train more of its own NHS workers, etc rather than keep poaching them from other countries once they’ve been trained up.

    FoM between countries with large wage differences is raw capitalism (ie ne0liberalist) – it is for the few (corporate elite), not the many (90-99% of UK citizens)

  24. @Peterw- “The guardian story is poorly sourced and reported but appears to make no sense at all either, unless based on an absolutely fundamental change in the EU position.”

    Is it? This has been the EU’s settled position since the start, I thought. No border in Ireland, but a need to have controls between the EU and UK trading blocks. This is exactly what they’ve said all along, but this time they are offering to do some of the work.

    @Danny – “Coming round to the idea no tories want to see a no deal exit?”

    Not coming round to it – this has been my position all along. I have always felt that very few people in the Conservative Party are that stupid that they genuinely think a no deal exit is desirable.

    @Trevor Warne – “Is that the Indy today?”


  25. DANNY

    In 2017 EU migrants in the UK workforce was 8%-exceeded by 10% for Non-EU working-age foreign-born people.

    And I think that cultural difference can be mitigated where the migrant is gainfully employed.

    It is where unemployment is high in the migrant group & cultural differences are emphasised by segregated , rather than integrated living.

    In Sweden unemployment among Swedish-born residents stands at 3.7%, whereas 20.5% of those born abroad remain without work.

    The concentration of migrants in particular areas is well documented & reported on.

    Thus far , it seems that UK has avoided the attraction of Far Right political blandishments based on immigration.

  26. “Thus far , it seems that UK has avoided the attraction of Far Right political blandishments based on immigration.”

    Maybe this passed you by, Colin?


  27. Chris,
    Whatever the origins of the SPD it is now a Party prepared to be in coalition with Merkel and her allies. Would Corbyn ever do that?
    The SDP in Britain also had very similar roots, in the mainstream of the Labour Party. Eventually it’s successor Party went into coalition with the Conservatives.

    These days there is also a left wing alternative to the SPD.

    Of course German politics is not exactly equivalent to Britain, and in fact has been shaped very much by the electoral system. My point is that under PR the SDP would not be defunct and might well be the largest left of centre party by now

  28. ON
    “These MPs wouldn’t need to have the equal voting rights at Westminster, but could have a voting strength proportional to their electorate, if Westminster adopted electronic voting, instead of the archaic and inefficient voting system of trooping through lobbies.”

    I quite agree. I think all the flim-flammery is ridiculous in the modern world.

  29. Davwel

    Your original post raised one case where a woman was diverted to Aberdeen from Elgin and was left in pain because of a shortage of painkillers, anxiety because of the journey and discomfort because of the space restriction. Raigmore hospital expects less than 20 such cases each year

    Elgin is the smallest district hospital in Scotland and the problem may not be Brexit or house prices. It may be the (traditional?) working conditions of junior hospital doctors. That said the Press and Journal also reported in July that junior doctor recruitment in Scotland reached a 5 year high.

    “Maternity wards in England were forced to close their doors 382 times in 2016, according to new figures that have triggered claims of women being “pushed from pillar to post in the throes of labour”.

    Campaigners warned that expectant mothers could be left in fear of giving birth at the roadside after a wide-reaching freedom of information request found a 70% increase in the number of maternity ward closures over two years.

    Research by the Labour party found that 42 hospital trusts had been forced to shut their doors at some point over the last year – 44% of those who responded – with many blaming and bed and cot capacity.

    Fourteen of them admitted they had shut down more than 10 times, with some taking more than 24 hours to reopen.

    In total, there were 382 occasions when units had to close in 2016. This figure is slightly higher than the 375 occasions from the year before, and an almost 70% increase on the 225 in 2014.”

    This kinda knocks your comparison between England and Moray on the head. The report does not mean there is any reason for safety concern in England for pregnant women. The IFS report to which I link below gives better information about the state of English obstetric care. It is demand that cannot be met that causes the closures and late pregnancy is one reason for increased demand in certain kinds of obstetric care.


  30. ‘The EU will experience more & more resistance to cutural & societal stresses resulting from failure to integrate large immigrant flows.’

    Immigration sorts itself out over time; see Australia which has absorbed many different nationalities over time and, bar for the original Australians, is a totally immigrant country.

    Overall first generation migrants live in enclaves, 2nd generation moves out of enclaves and into the normal mixed culture societies as tv / radio / going to work etc forces people to live in the outside world. 3rd generation migrants are like everyone else in the mixed world…

  31. Davwel

    On an earlier thread I suggested to you that a good many of the pressures on the Scottish NHS could be released by addressing the fundamental causes of health inequalities.

    Here is a link to the Ministerial Review of Health Inequalities done by Dame Professor Sally Macintyre in 2013. On page 6 you can find policy recommendations to address the fundamental causes of health inequalities. None can be introduced because the devolved powers are absent. That is not to say that the Scottish government and local Councils could not do more about health inequalities. We cannot most effectively address the fundamental causes.

    Professor Macintyre observes: “Around 40 per cent of our spending is currently accounted for by interventions that could have been avoided by prioritising a preventative approach. The focus needs to shift away from meeting the cost of dealing with health or social problems after they have developed to prevention and early intervention.”

    As well as campaigning for Elgin Hospital it would be sensible, imho, to campaign for greater devolved powers or, failing that, independence.


  32. Davwel

    “Raigmore hospital expects less than 20 such cases each year”

    That is cases requiring the input of a consultant obstetrician

  33. @ ALEC / PETERW – NI border, Guardian article.

    The only interesting part is the obvious and predictable misrepresentation of ERG. ERG actually floated the idea of Le Touquet style agreement between UK and RoI – a bilateral deal to take the “drama” out the NI border backstop. Their “draft” was widely circulated before being pulled with a lot of the info leaked into the weekend press.

    Raab apparently didn’t deliver Ireland-UK trade flow info last week. My guess is the “tricky bit” is putting a number on the port effect issue and splitting Liverpool/etc out by NI and RoI. You see plenty of info on the “Rotterdam effect” but less so on the “Liverpool effect”.

    One additional reason ERG may have decided not to publish their full proposal is possibly the very real concern that EC will cut+paste the bits they like in ERG’s proposal with the bits they like in Chequers. (IMHO!)

    PETERW – I’m guessing you might have a better read on this and could possibly also repost the raw data and anything on how to isolate the data adjusting for the thru-trade issue.

    IMHO the “backstop” should be and always should have been open trade in goods between RoI and UK achieved as a bilateral agreement between UK and RoI via mutual recognition and part of an “evolution” to GFA. It’s obvious why EC won’t like that and it does bend some WTO rules which is possibly why ERG holding back on it?!?

    Who knows? If EC do want a solution for German exports to UK then “allowing” RoI a bilateral that breaks their precious SM could solve the issue – the quid pro quo of which would possibly be RoI accepting harmonisation on tax? ;)

    At some point RoI’s “usefulness” is going to end!

  34. @ ALEC / DANNY – both of you continue to ignore the maths of HoC. It only takes a few b4st4rds but you might have missed this:

    Everyone wants to “Save Theresa” but for very different reasons!! Boris is over doing the “stalking horse” role IMHO turning more CON-Remain into CON-Arch Remain.

    Anyway, 80 is probably the upper limit of ERG but it also misses two other “levels” of CON-Leave:

    “Fix Chequers later”: Gove, Cleverly, etc. 30?

    “Opportunist”: Javid, Hunt, etc. 30?

    (possibly a few more/less and they groups do overlap)

    That still doesn’t add up to 159 though and they also know the 1y “try again”issue and that up to 20 CON-Arch Remain would run the risk of Corbyn as PM if they took May out.

    ie: No one wants to take the “kill shot” and now everyone wants to “Save Theresa” provided she becomes “Our Theresa”

    If it wasn’t so serious you’d have to laugh!

  35. Davwel

    I’m sure that’s good news for women in Barrow, but it is irrelevant to your claim that nowhere in England would have the maternity care problems as in the NE.

    For example, Whitehaven looks like it may have similar problems to Elgin.


    Locals make the same kind of comments as in Elgin

    Midwives at Whitehaven are concerned mothers facing unexpected problems would need a potentially risky 40-mile (64km) transfer across the county.
    “We’re going to become a third world area because of our inaccessibility to a consultant-led unit.
    “If ladies have to be transferred, mothers may die, babies may die.
    “If babies have foetal distress, what with the transfer time they may end up brain damaged.”

    I remain puzzled by your (not infrequent) unfavourable comparisons of the NE with “England”.

    Such comparisons often stem from one of two ill-informed groups
    1. Aggrieved Scot Nats, convinced that England pours largesse into its own services, while decimating Scots ones
    2. Aggrieved Brit Nats, determined that everything in Scotland must be worse than in England because that’s just how it is!

    You don’t fall into either of those categories, so it remains unclear as to why you make these comparisons.

  36. @Trevor Warne – “@ ALEC – Stockpiling is a one-off “boost” that will drop out of YoY measures due to “base effects” BUT that one-off boost will not reverse unless companies decide they can go back to the previous lower JIT levels (which is possible if we fudge WA then agree CU+SM later – ERG’s worst nightmare!!)”

    Sorry Trevor, but this ranks alongside your inability to grasp the compounding effect of lost year on year GDP.

    Increased stockpiling won’t be a GDP boost for the UK. Given the fact that we are talking about cross border trade here only, and given our balance of payments deficit in goods and materials, increased levels of stocks are more likely than not to reduce GDP. This is because we will be buying in additional goods and storing those, meaning a net outflow of money from the UK economy.

    Where UK suppliers stockpile goods for export, that will contribute to GDP in the short term, but at a cost. There will be extra outgoings in servicing these stocks, and in the case of UK exporters to the EU, these stocks aren’t being held in the UK – contract stipulations are specifying that stocks need to be held on the other side of the border (otherwise what’s the point of stockpiling?) so that the costs of warehousing etc add to the UK’s export tally.

    Again, I suspect you are thinking about stockpiling in a lopsided manner, where you are thinking about UK producers stockpiling end products. In fact, stockpiling needs to happen on the input and output side of UK production, and because we import a lot more than we export, by definition, stockpiling will produce a loss to the economy overall.

    There is also an indirect loss – UK firms will have to pay more than their EU rivals due to the costs of stockpiling, and so in theory will lose market share through becoming less competitive.

    Still – lets not allow sensible facts to get in the way of the Brexit dreamland.

  37. Davwel

    This snapshot of maternity units across the UK might be of interest?


  38. Going along with conspiracy theories.

    By reading the document by Economists for Free Trade, one can immediately recognise that it is a covert organisation for boosting the self confidence of economics undergrad students – they have already surpassed the authors in terms of knowledge of economics by the end of the first year.

  39. Good afternoon all from a slightly damp Central London.


    “Everyone wants to “Save Theresa” but for very different reasons!!”

    Nope..they need to get shot of her ASAP and bring in someone who I regard as competent such as Mogg and that way the EU will know the UK ain’t bullsh#ting when it comes to negotiations.

    Brexit has always been on the back-foot and on the defensive under Theresa May which is fueling the incredible amount of wailing from re moaners.

    As for Big BoJo replacing May…Well that really would turn the Tory party into a lunatic asylum and make ol Broadmoor’s residents seem like outstanding pillars of the community.

    All around Crowthorne in my home county of Berkshire they are pulling down the warning sirens for escaping loonies from Broadmoor and some local residents are wanting the sirens to be reinstated and reconfigured to screech whenever BoJo lurches towards a leadership contest.

    It’s not funny.

  40. Laszlo

    Any idea of what progress (if any) is being made by the EU Parliament on initiating Article 7 steps in the case of Hungary?


    (PS liked your comment at 4:39! :-) )

  41. ON, Sam:

    I am obviously not pleasing you two by suggesting that NHS provision in NE Scotland is less good than it should be. Clearly Sam knows about these services better than I do, and so I cannot argue with Sam`s statement that Elgin is the smallest general hospital in Scotland and hence may be difficult to staff and work.

    It has 185 beds and was coping with 1100 births a year according to Wikipedia. So with maternity only being looked after by midwives meantime, dare I suggest that more than 20 mums-to-be will face the 38-mile journey to Inverness Raigmore, and just as many the longer journey to Aberdeen.

    Things don`t look good for Whitehaven mums either from ON`s link, with a 39-mile journey to Carlisle threatened. But there is a difference – the Whitehaven maternity unit is temporarily reprieved, but Elgin stays just midwife-led now.

    In reply to ON`s query as to why I make criticisms, these ideas and views are cropping up in many conversations each week here. A sizeable proportion of folk in the NE have relatives in England, as my family do, so opinions on levels of service do have some basis.

    But I think we can all three of us agree that more spending on the NHS is required across the whole UK.

  42. @ ALEC – “Increased stockpiling won’t be a GDP boost for the UK”


    You were the one who quoted the CEBR piece in your 11:01am so I thought your understood the “boost” bit at least.

    Did I mention costs or profits? No

    Yes it will be a cost to businesses and a hit to profits, those with x-border supply chains who are lobbying for a CU+SM deal.

    So when you say:
    “stockpiling will produce a loss to the economy overall”

    You mean a loss to the profitability of some companies.

    It seems to me you have no idea how GDP is calculated. I’ll try to help as feeling kind:

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the total market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in one year

    If you want to say GDP is a cr4p measure of economic success then I fully agree. I’m not the one obsessed with GDP to 0.1% but I’m aware most Remain are (well when it suits them anyway).

  43. OldNat

    The vote on Article 7 will be tomorrow. Today Orbán was given 7 minutes to respond to the report. He said, “we Hungarian etc, etc, except for Laszlo (I asked him to make the diatinction). There was hoping as well as applause.

    The Tories have already said that they will vote against the proposal, the Hungarian liberal party (LMP) will abstain. For Orbán’s shock the Austrian Volks Party will vote for the proposal. The German EPP contingent is split. I doubt that it would get 2/3, so it will not go ahead. There is a good chance that Fidesz would leave the EPP, and join the Bannon International Party (on the other hand there are many admirers of Orbán in the EPP).

    The report is quite good, by the way, written by a Dutch Green Party MEP (well, a cross-party committee), but she is stepping down.

  44. Question for LAB folks. How many LAB MPs might rebel under following scenarios (split as Remain, Leave and possibly also add in abstain). Keep Hopkins and Field in as LAB (ie using 2017GE result)

    Assume Nov “meaningful vote” in HoC. WIth Deal as:

    1/ Canada+(++)
    2/ Chequers(ish)
    3/ Full BrINO (CU+SM)

    Now assume May is sent back and we get to 21st Jan – any change in voting?

    Finally if we’re into Feb would any LAB-Arch Leave actually support May/new PM in a “No Deal” scenario (and would any attempts to “strongly mitigate” it via unilateral or negotiated mini-deals make any difference)

    I’m fairly happy with CON numbers and scenarios where DUP might abstain or actually vote against but curious on the LAB numbers and the timing aspect.

  45. @ Allan Christie

    “All around Crowthorne in my home county of Berkshire they are pulling down the warning sirens for escaping loonies from Broadmoor and some local residents are wanting the sirens to be reinstated and reconfigured to screech whenever BoJo lurches towards a leadership contest.”

    Funnily enough, your hero (Mogg) has very recently said that he’d really like BoJo to be leader – this from 5 days ago.


  46. This is a story that’s been brewing quietly for a while, but proponents of private sector service provision in education are increasingly on the back foot after repeated scandals around academies – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/11/academies-parents-tories-labour

    In my own end of the country, we’ve been witnessing the Brightside Academy chain scandal unfold, which is now the subject of criminal investigation into fraudulent use of tax payer money. The defence put up by the organisation seems to be that they didn’t make any money from the alleged fraud, which pretty much sums up how utterly useless Brightside have been.

    For so many reasons, education provision is now joining the social care industry as a blinding example of how corruption and inefficiency so often follows the private service provision mantra, and as with social care, Labour cannot divorce themselves from the issues as they have been complicit in this shift of emphasis.

    There is no guarantee that public sector provision is inherently better than private sector services, but the root problem appears to be the ingrained belief that the private sector is more efficient and knows better how to run things. Indeed, if there has been a prejudice, it;s been the other way, with the argument that things must be better if they are privatised.

    This mindset, when wedded to the awful ‘commercial confidentiality’ baggage that comes hand in hand with private sector contracting of state services, has led us to the point where school children are being told to tear up their work at the end of the year to prevent inspectors seeing that they have had multiple teachers during the year, or private sector academies claiming millions of pounds of government grants for work on school buildings that was never done.

    The ruination of the public service ethos is easy to put in train, but devilishly difficult to role back, but increasingly it seems that reluctant local campaigners are fighting back against government dogma.

  47. @Trevor Warne – “It seems to me you have no idea how GDP is calculated. I’ll try to help as feeling kind:…”

    I’m also feeling kind, so would you like me to explain how GDP calculations account for imports and exports?

    (Hint- as you keep saying, with import vastly more from the EU than we export…..spend a moment pondering what that means for stockpiling…..)

  48. There is within the Tory party those of us who believe May is offering sensible solutions to leaving the EU that will protect trade and jobs and it’s a real shame all though not surprising that those who have spent a lifetime trying to get the U.K. out of the EU are proving as inflexible and bloody minded as those they accuse of within the EU of doing the same thing.
    Mogg and his like are in that group which I call the sniper brigade very good at taking pot shots from the side lines, always looking to criticise but completely devoid of any sensible ideas of how to manage brexit without causing major damage to Industry and jobs.
    It’s simple not good enough to keep on saying everything will be ok if we have a hard brexit without coming forward with a plan that will ensure the flow of goods and services and protect jobs.
    As for Boris I consider him a rather gutless opportunist who would be a disaster for the U.K.
    Sadly May is unlikely to get her view of brexit through HOC because of those hard line brexiteers and a Corbyn lead government who are much more interested in forcing a GE than striking a deal regards brexit.
    It could be if May can’t get her deal through she will call a GE with her version of brexit to the front of her campaign but doing that in 2017 was not such a great idea.
    However how this is resolved seems to me to rest on what deal the EU finally offer, how much support the brexiteers really have not the 80 they claim I’m sure and frankly how much the moderates in the Labour Party want to send a message to Corbyn and his crew.

  49. TW
    I’m not a “Labour person”, but would have thought that 3, CU & SM, is close enough to the official Lab position that only Hoey, Field, Mann, possibly Skinner, and the others so implacably opposed to the EU are likely to rebel against their own side should Starmer decide to support it. By the time this scenario was on the table the ERG would be marching on Parliament with torches and pitchforks, so it would probably be in Labour’s interest to prevaricate and move slightly one way or another just for the fun of watching to see what happens next.

    I’d have thought the takers for Canada plus to the power of whatever would be few, and since Chequers is unworkable that one is pretty academic.

  50. Davwel

    Criticisms are fine – as long as they are valid and the comparisons useful.

    The source of criticisms also matters. In every polity, the media are sometimes less than helpful in explaining matters (The Evening Express would not be my favoured source of accurate news!)

    A useful example would be delayed hospital discharge – something that costs a significant amount of money. Here’s the BBC report on this year’s reduction in bed-blocking.


    Most people agree that Health and Social Care Integration partnerships are the key, but not all councils /Health Boards have progressed these arrangements at the same rate.

    NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has the lowest rate of bed blocking at 3.1%, while NHS Western Isles the highest at 18.9% – but how much of that is due to the inherently greater difficulties in providing care at home in a sparsely populated area compared with a densely populated urban environment?

    You will want to focus on NHS Grampian, where the BBC tells us (not very usefully) that it is “above the Scottish average”. Is it by a significant amount, and if so why?

    That you and others have family in England (as do I) who have anecdotes about individual cases in their locality, they would be pointless in trying to analyse any problems.

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