On Monday the government tabled the final recommendations of the boundary review. As usual, I’ve done updated notional calculations for what the results of the 2017 election would have been if fought on the new constituency boundaries. They are viewable in full on a google spreadsheet on the link below:

2017 notional election results on new boundaries

For those who have followed the process these recommendations are not much different from those at the revised stage. The Commissions have altered a number of proposed constituency names, and moved a few wards back and forth here and there, but in most cases the broad recommendations are very similar to the last lot – the most significant differences are in East Sussex and around Stockport. As such the party partisan impact of the proposed boundaries are also much the same. If the last general election had been fought on these new boundaries the result would have been something like Conservative 307(-10), Labour 234(-28), SNP 30(-5), Liberal Democrats 8(-4), Others 21(-3). All of the high profile seat changes are largely the same – Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith still both see their seats become tight marginals, Jeremy Corbyn’s seat is still carved up and combined with half of Dianne Abbott’s seat.

A few caveats to those numbers. First, for the avoidance of doubt, they are not a prediction of what would happen now, it’s an estimate what would have happened if the votes cast in 2017 had been counted on these new boundaries. Secondly, they cannot take account of whether people would have voted differently if the boundaries had been different. My feeling is that always someone understates how well the Lib Dems would have done – someone in a Lab-Con marginal might have voted differently if their ward had been included in a Con-LD marginal. Thirdly, these are just one estimate. Rallings & Thrasher, who produce the official estimates that the BBC, Sky and other media outlets would use to calculate swings at the next election have already produced their own totals, which are similar to the ones I have (for good reason, I use pretty much the same method that Rallings & Thrasher do) – their totals are CON 308, LAB 232, SNP 33, LDEM 7, Other 20.

The most important caveat however is that these boundaries still have to be voted on by Parliament to actually come into force. The DUP may back them after all (the initial recommendations were very bad for them and good for Sinn Fein, but the revised and final recommendations retained a four seat arrangement for Belfast, meaning the DUP should retain all their seats), but that still leaves the government with a wafer thin majority. It will only take a handful of rebels (either worried about their own seats, or objecting to things like the seat crossing the Devon-Cornwall border, or opposed in principle to the reduction in seats) to block the changes. We won’t find out in the immediate future, as the government have said the vote will be delayed for some months while the necessary legislation is drafted.

For more on the boundary review, Keiran Pedley has done a nice interview with the great Professor Ron Johnston on his podcast here.

While I was playing with boundary data yesterday, there was also a new YouGov poll of London for Phil Cowley at Queen Mary University London that I haven’t had time to write about yet. Full details of that are here.


805 Responses to “The end of the boundary review”

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  1. Anthony

    “Rallings & Thrasher, who produce the official estimates that the BBC, Sky and other media outlets would use to calculate swings at the next election have already produced their own totals, which are similar to the ones I have”

    In terms of the Scottish polity (losing 6 seats to 53) the difference between your version and theirs (SNP down 5 or 2) is actually not very similar!

    However, given the number of marginal seats in 2017, many in both analyses are likely to have been “damn close run things”.

  2. Crossing from Devon into Kernow is just not on.

  3. What I find depressing is that FPTP is already disproportionate and havign less seats makes it even more so. it is a winner take all type of system.

  4. This will all get caught up in the Brexit parliamentary churn and make the chances of the Government wanting to rush into it and of predicting the outcome if it did quite low.

    It seems that the No 10 dinner for backbench MPs was tense and the ERG meeting was mainly taken up with discussing whether, how and when to replace May. In the meantime we have this:

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7234952/plans-dump-chequers-brexit-proposal/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    Strong and stable.

  5. @Trevor Warne – “@ ALEC – baffling!

    “There are risks of losses (eg foodstuff wastage) which becomes a direct loss to GDP”

    If you buy extra food, you’ve bought extra food. If you eat it or it rots in your fridge your still considered to have “consumed” it.”

    If you read the post a little more carefully, you would have understood that we are talking here about an example of stockpilling raw material inputs into a UK based production line. Once purchased, yes, of course the raw material counts in the GDP figures, although even ere you’ve got it wrong as we’re talking about imports, so the GDP effect is exported and doesn’t accrue to the UK.

    The UK company holding the stockpile of foodstuffs is doing it to produce an end product, which when it gets produced will add value, and it’s then this added value that accrues to national GDP. But if your input material degrades and is discarded, you don’t get any added value. Hence lost GDP.

    For someone who is always highly disparaging about anyone else putting a counter argument to you, I would have thought you might have wanted to try to understand what you were talking about a little more.

  6. Owen Jones seems upset about the proposals –

    The Tories only got 2.4% more than Labour last year, but under the boundary proposals would have got 76 more seats.

    It’s not just a pisstake, it’s an affront to democracy – and it must be fought, with peaceful civil disobedience if necessary.

    Personally, I find greater affronts to democracy in supporters of FPTP whining when the system doesn’t suit them.

  7. @Hireton – I had to laugh at that Sun report, where the brexiters dismissed any chance of May calling a second referendum if the Chequers plan wasn’t supported with the reasoning that she would have to table the proposal for a second referendum herself and she has already said she wouldn’t do that.

    Where were they in June 2017?

  8. Apologies don’t normally but fpt.

    TED/Trev.

    ”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)

    1 and 2 will not be supported by Labour and few rebels who would support.

    3) Ted is right just 4 or 5 if it is only CU but for SM with no adjustment to free movement expect another group – up to 15 or so in total, although some would be abstaining.

    Those who voted against EEA (the party line was abstain) add to the main 5 rebels.

  9. @OLDNAT

    I think that FPTP and less seats is a real problem if you are going to have FPTP you need more seats not less in my view any system which minority of the vote gets you absolute power cannot be a positive. I don’t really care where the carping comes from in essence he is factually correct. It means more peoples votes just don’t count

  10. PTRP

    So a HoC the same size as HoL would be a desirable outcome for advocates of FPTP?

    It’s not the reduction in seats that would reduce Lab seats in England (though reducing Welsh representation to a UK standard does do that) but the population shifts since the last review.

    A minority of the vote would still get you absolute power, no matter how many MPs there were under FPTP.

    Jones isn’t just “carping”, he’s whining like a child that no longer gets favoured treatment. Not that he’s any different from anyone else in any other party who loves FPTP when it puts them into power.

  11. @OLDNAT

    So a HoC the same size as HoL would be a desirable outcome for advocates of FPTP?

    May be your memory is short but yesterday I made my views clear about FPTP. I have never been in favour of it. however no matter which party you favour or hate o whoever whines like a child the basica fact if you look beyond the tribalism is that less seats skews the system even further.

    It is just if you are taking solace in the fact that someone on else screwed as badly as yourself as a good thing then to be fair you go at it….as you said your here and my here is not the same

  12. PTRP

    I didn’t suggest you were an advocate of FPTP. I was questioning the logic behind your comment. Hence “for advocates of FPTP”.

    Mind you, if you are consider that (given an unfair system) increasing the number of MPs automatically increases “fairness” to a measurable degree, then you too should probably want to increase the number of FPTP elected MPs.

    As to your “someone on else screwed as badly as yourself as a good thing” you have no knowledge whatsoever as to my prowess in screwing (nor, probably, of Owen Jones either)!

    Do you have an objection to reducing the number of Welsh MPs to the same level as rUK? (NI and Scotland were “brought into line” some years ago). The previous practice arguably increased unfairness in the UK system.

  13. OLDNAT

    Owen Jones was all in favour of PR in 2015 and 2016 when Labour were doping badly, but seems to have gone very quiet on it now that there is a sniff of a majority for Corbyn…

    It was ever thus in the Labour Party

  14. Andrew111

    I have always given SLD much praise for forcing SLab to introduce STV for council elections.

    The evidence from the coalition period is that their colleagues in the Federal Party didn’t give a damn about PR.

    It was ever thus in the Federal Liberal Democrats.

  15. @OLDNAT

    Do you have an objection to reducing the number of Welsh MPs to the same level as rUK? (NI and Scotland were “brought into line” some years ago). The previous practice arguably increased unfairness in the UK system.

    Given the choice I would go for a proportional system, similar to that which we have in Scotland or London or indeed Wales. I would not reduce the number of welsh MP but increase the number of total MP to match and make the system more even in terms of vote count per seat, It is a crude approach but such is the limit of the FPTP system.

    Having less seats has shown to be less proprtional it amplifies the largest minorty as for the simple analysis of the seats count based on 2017 GE.

  16. I think some Tories would look to remove Maidenhead as a constituency as a way of removing Theresa May.

    I can’t see May being forced out by Brexiteers. They might trigger a leaders contest, but I think May has enough support of Tory MP’s to win any contest.

    The Tory party conference might just be slightly more interesting than Labours this year. Whilst Corbyn and Labour have their difficulties, I think the Tories are so split on Brexit, that there is no way of stopping their conference becoming an ugly fight between the two sides in the debate.

  17. News discussed possible tory rebellions against May. I continue to ask anyone interested, how these events are inconsistent with a party which has pledged to deliver a certain policy, but in reality seeks to defeat it, without suffering the loss of voter support likely if they do so openly.

    Obviously a party in government with a functional majority has to be defeated in paliament. How can this happen without formally changing policy? Why…it must have rebels who vote against it on the issue.

    And what do we see?

  18. I agree with Oldnat that Labour should be supporting PR (as indeed should the Tories unless they want the current Labour Party to be capable of winning a parliamentary majority).

    Also h/t to Oldnat for the Owen Jones hot take:

    “The Tories only got 2.4% more than Labour last year, but under the boundary proposals would have got 76 more seats.

    It’s not just a pisstake, it’s an affront to democracy – and it must be fought, with peaceful civil disobedience if necessary.”

    One wonders what “peaceful civil disobedience” means in this context. Presumably one civilly disobeys a voting system by… not voting? That’ll show those nasty Tories!

  19. Hireton

    “Stable and strong” indeed.

    The inquest into the Ballymurphy murders begins in November with the MoD expected to begin giving evidence in January,. 2019. That may well add to the political swirl over which May, if she is still PM, has little control I think she is toast at the party conferenceor soon afterwards.

  20. @DANNY

    I hope you are right (I always have) but I fear you are wrong. The Conservative party has always had trouble with party discipline. There have always been those who would be happy to see the party voted out of office, certain in the knowledge of their own infallibility.

    To manufacture such a circumstance when it is a natural recurring phenomenon, would be pretty hard to do.

  21. A letter to the Irish Times rubbishes the approach of Labour to Brexit and the backstop.

    “It is astonishing that the British should expect Ireland to trust them in any way. Just look at their performance since they agreed the backstop last December to see the depth of their cynicism. They agreed to the backstop, then sought to be allowed to move to the next stage of negotiations . They had then, and have now, no intention of ever enshrining it in law.”

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/backstop-is-crucial-to-any-brexit-deal-1.3625802

  22. @Danny – ” I continue to ask anyone interested, how these events are inconsistent with a party which has pledged to deliver a certain policy, but in reality seeks to defeat it, without suffering the loss of voter support likely if they do so openly. ”

    I think the mistake you are making is to frame your thoughts through the prism of ‘the’ Conservative Party, as if there is a single, monolithic entity that is content to enter into a gross subterfuge with the voters for a clearly defined and agreed purpose.

    The reality, as with most things in life, is that the situation is far more messy and less organised than you appear to think it is. There are many within the Conservative Party (probably a majority of members, and a sizeable minority of MPs) who genuinely think May has got it wrong because (they think) the UK can stick two fingers up to Brussels, leave without a deal and be fine.

    Then there is another sizeable chunk of MPs (and probably a large minority of members) who want a deal and who are thrashing about trying to get this, with all the compromise and conflict that brings, and then there is the minority of Con MPs and a few members who just want the whole thing to disappear and have us find a way to stay in the EU because they rather like it.

    We may yet end up staying in by accident, or crashing out by accident, but the tortuous logic of some kind of conspiracy to keep us in by getting us out falls short of the old maxim of conspiracy theories: the great and the good are rarely that good, and never that great, and 99.9% of the time history is cock up rather than conspiracy.

  23. Good to see AW mentioning tactical voting but it’s a little unclear:

    “My feeling is that always someone understates how well the Lib Dems would have done – someone in a Lab-Con marginal might have voted differently if their ward had been included in a Con-LD marginal”

    Is that supposed to be “someone always”?
    If so does that mean it is only one person and that they should be ignored?

    Also since it has come up I’m again going to suggest that some TV did occur in 2017 (the “Stop the Tories” ABC vote). To acknowledge it might happen surely accepts the possibility that it did?

    It was smallish and possibly didn’t impact that many seats. For the next GE though it will be important – will it have a bigger impact or will the smallish impact it had last time drop out (either due to LDEM being seen as the only true Remain party or fear of Corbyn actually having a shot at #10 this time)?

  24. @ JJ – thanks. Corbyn is sitting pretty right now! Well played Starmer as well. Credit where credit is due.

    @ R HUCKLE – it’s worth revisiting the end of Thatcher.

    Some possible similarities with what lies ahead although the CON rules have changed since and FTPA introduces some complications.

    I’m not going to post a link to a right wing gutter press rag but the paper that takes its name from the yellow sphere in the sky has recently been a step ahead on the “news” – possibly due to well places sources…

    FWIW, quite happy that Boris’s seat becomes marginal! Stalking horse not future leader and being in a marginal seat or hoping to parachute into a safe one won’t help his chances ;)

  25. Good morning all from a grey and not that warm Central London.

    On the boundary review I’m sort of split on the proposals. In one hand the proposals give a clear advantage to the Tories and in the other hand the current boundaries are clearly an advantage for Labour.

    If the new proposals do go through then we could see the Lib/Dems booted down to just 7 seats. That would put them in terms of seats down to the size of the DUP and SF.

    Vince is a tall man leading a small party potentially soon to be a tall man leading a midget party.

    With the new boundary proposals being far more of an advantage for the Tories and gaining outright majorities for the Tories under the current boundaries looking increasingly unlikely I will bet my house on the new proposals going through.

    Politics is all about exploiting and being opportunistic…Gordon Brown and Theresa May are experts in this field.

    If the new proposals do go through it will be interesting to see if PR suddenly shoots up the agenda for Labour.

    Food for thought!!

  26. OLDNAT
    Owen Jones seems upset about the proposals –

    The Tories only got 2.4% more than Labour last year, but under the boundary proposals would have got 76 more seats.

    It’s not just a pisstake, it’s an affront to democracy – and it must be fought, with peaceful civil disobedience if necessary.
    ……..
    “Personally, I find greater affronts to democracy in supporters of FPTP whining when the system doesn’t suit them”
    ___________

    Absolutely :-) :-)

  27. Prime Minsters Questions should be fun today. If I could I would love to jump along the road to Westminster and watch it in person but instead I’ll just watch it during my early lunch break from the comfort of my desk.

    Tesco Finest Jam Doughnut anyone?

  28. @Danny

    Usually I am a great admirer of your posts On two issues only I tend to differ. One is the ruthless logic with which you approach the NHS, euthanasia, and related matters. Here you may well be right but I find the idea that a key function of NHS managers is to decide who should die, distinctly uncomfortable. On all reasonable grounds I would be among the first for the chop (but maybe my sensitivities led me to misinterpret you).

    My other disagreement relates to your Machiavellian interpretation of Tory party strategy. Here I agree with Alec’s account of the situation in the Tory party. I just don’t see how anyone could operate such a strategy in such a party and without any leak.

    As for May her trouble is that she wants to keep her party together, do her best for the country and avoid economic chaos, negotiate something that the EU and DUP can accept and deliver something that can through parliament, maintain the appearance of her red lines, and be seen by the public as ‘delivering Brexit’. She may believe she can achieve all this but she can’t.

  29. [Sorry, it will be long.]

    The question the Swedish model of integration of migrants came up yesterday, and I found some time this morning to dig out an interview with Henrik Emilsson, professor at University of Malmö, who used to advise immigration organisations of the Swedish state. There are some interesting points.

    The first Swedish anti-immigration party (the New Democracy) entered Parliament in 1991, but disappeared in three yeara.

    The large Bosnian migration to Sweden happened during the Yugoslavian war. Unemployment among them was 30-40% towards the end of the 1990s, today it is roughly the same as the Swedish average. Eriksson thinks that in about 15 years’ time it will be the same with the 2015 migrants.

    As Sweden distributed migrants in the whole country, they are always visible and hence the crisis will remain. Many of them got to the point of being able to speak Swedish now.

    While there are some segregated living spaces in towns, it is mainly because of the labour market – people find jobs and settle (but in contrast to the current wave of migration, the Bosnians were skilled workers). However, when they would follow the labour market, they cannot move out because of the real estate prices. Still, in the segregated districts unemployment is lower today than any time (but higher than the native ones).

    Because of the highly regulated Swedish labour market, it is more difficult for the migrants to find a job, but the Swedish performance is not worse than other EU countries.

    Migrants participation in elections is lower than the average – in poorer districts they vote for Social Democrats.

    The state expenditure on integration is 5 billion euros (far from enough), and it doesn’t include expenditure of more teachers, nurses and alike. [1].

    Most of the migrant crimes are second generation migrant (high proportion in Sweden) crimes – which puts a question mark to the integration, but at the same time of it failed for 20%, it still succeeded for 80%. However, there are no integration tests in Sweden, although the professor thinks it will be introduced in this parliament.

    [1] The €5 billion could be compared to Junker’s proposal today of spending 35 billion on FrontEx.

  30. @ Old Nat

    “It’s not the reduction in seats that would reduce Lab seats in England (though reducing Welsh representation to a UK standard does do that) but the population shifts since the last review. ”

    No, the proposed reduction to 600 seats favours the Tories over Labour in England by having more electors per seat, and so in many cases bringing in more edge of town or semi rural wards into some urban seats. This is why places such as Ipswich, Crewe and Darlington would all have had Conservative rather than Labour MPs with a 600-seat HoC in 2017.

    As things stood after the 2017GE, Labour would need to be around 1-2 % points ahead of the Tories in the GB vote to have the same number of seats. The boundary changes with the reduction to 600 seats would raise this point to somewhere around 3%.

  31. OldNat

    Th He DO votes for the report on Hungary’s breach of the democratic and legal norms with 2/3 majority, so the Article 7 procedure can be started against Hungary.

  32. I still feel that the rationale for reducing HoC seat numbers has not been justified.

    You need to go back 217 years to get to a point in British history when we last had less than 600 seats, and even when the Irish Free State left the union in 1922 we still had 615 MPs for a population of just over 40m and at a time when government was far smaller and less complex.

    Compared with the rest of Europe (inc Iceland, Russia and all non EU countries as well) the UK is 27th in the list when ranked by number of members of parliament per million population, but this includes the inflated House of Lords. Take this away and we are even further down the list, despite the fact that very few countries have such a centralized democracy as we do.

    My view is that it is the 600 seat limit that is causing the problems here, and restricting MPs numbers to such a low level is unwarranted, given the increasing activities of government.

  33. Alec: quite agree. And two other points:

    1) Lawmakers in other countries aren’t expected to do constituency casework like they are in Britain.

    2) After Brexit, all that much-vaunted sovereignty will mean parliamentarians will have even more legislative responsibilities.

  34. If May and the Tory remainers were as Machiavellian as Danny believes, could they not arrange for the 48 letters, trigger a no confidence vote which she would certainly win and give her 1 year’s breathing space?

    Or is it case of once bitten, twice shy when it comes to calling unnecessary elections?

  35. Example of tactical voting.

    Layla Moran (LDEM), Oxford West & Abingdon
    Opening up AW’s link you’ll see CON sneak that back due to boundary changes (caveats as AW explained). UKIP received 751 votes in 2017 so if they do/don’t post a candidate that will also be a factor in this marginal seat.

    Anyway, this seat was an unexpected win for LDEM in 2017

    So review of 2015 (votes)
    CON 26,153
    LDEM 16,571
    LAB 7,274
    UKIP 3,963
    Green 2,497
    Other 789

    NB LDEM were down around 7k from 2010 (a lot of LDEM abstaining or switching in 2015)

    Grassroots level “agreement” for Green and other not to stand and instead back Layla

    “Pulled candidates” added 3,286 (assuming near 100% transfer let’s round that to 3,000)

    2017 campaign background:
    – Seat was 62% Remain
    – UKIP would mostly have gone to CON even though they still posted a candidate but some CON-Remain might have abstained or gone to LDEM (possibly as a “protest vote”?)
    – LDEM was 2nd in 2015 and LAB quite far behind. Tactical voting sites and grassroots campaign strongly encourage LAB to vote LDEM
    – Remain and LDEM worked nationally and locally on the GOTV

    2017 Result and model “backfit” flows with rounding:

    LDEM 16.5k x 120% MTV[1] = 20k
    Add “pulled candidates” TV = 23k
    Add CON-Remain TV guesstimate = 25k
    Add LAB TV guesstimate = 26.25k

    Against which CON vote went down very slightly (+2.5k UKIP guesstimate being offset by abstain and guesstimate of +2k to LDEM)

    That is highly subjective. You can build a model to guesstimate the different components but I missed this one at the time and “backfitting” is full of subjectivity.

    FWIW and switching to %s YG Model had it “lean CON” (CON 41, LDEM 40) and LDEM win was well within the confidence limits (CON 35-47, LDEM 32-48).
    Outcome was CON 42.4%, LDEM 43.7%, majority 1.4% (816 votes)

    So what happens in next GE? Do Greens sit it out again? Do UKIP pull candidate or do they fight it pulling “protest votes” from CON? Do CON-R TV move back to CON due to fear of Corbyn PM or throw more weight behind a Remain MP?

    Should be clear that UNS (even regionally adjusted) is going to be a poor predictor for this seat!

    [1] Motivation To Vote. Above 100% as reflection of some 2010 voters who abstained in 2015 but rejoined LDEM in 2017

  36. LASZLO

    @”The €5 billion could be compared to Junker’s proposal today of spending 35 billion on FrontEx.”

    Of course it can’t !

    The former is the totally inadequate expenditure in one country on a manifestly failed attempt to “integrate” the highest per capita asylum seeker intake in the OECD( 4x Germany).

    The latter is a belated recognition by the European Commission that its failure to control illegal immigration to the WHOLE Union at the external border, has caused stresses which are producing political outcomes which The Commission doesn’t like.

    In a debate in the German Parliament today , German Chancellor Angela Merkel told legislators that illegal migration poses a greater threat to the cohesion of the European Union than the eurozone crisis.

    I think many European voters believe that Mrs Merkel and some of her European counterparts have failed to fully understand the distinction between Economic migrants and UN defined Refugees ; worse, have blurred the lines between legal & illegal entry to the European Union .

  37. POLLTROLL

    @” Lawmakers in other countries aren’t expected to do constituency casework like they are in Britain.”

    Which countries ?

  38. Alec,

    “You need to go back 217 years to get to a point in British history when we last had less than 600 seats”

    When the only just had trains and no regular services till 1825, which most couldn’t afford, most people moved on foot to by horse and carriage, canals moved freight, ships were still only partially steam powered by coal.

    The telegraph had just been invented and still no phones, so it was messengers or post, let alone e-mail. We had newspapers but no radio or TV and no computers so no internet or social media.

    There were less than half as many people but it is infinitely easier to contact your MP and them to respond than then and the support they have is far better.

    Peter.

  39. ALEC

    @”“You need to go back 217 years to get to a point in British history when we last had less than 600 seats”

    According to Wiki there are 20,683 elected representatives in UK Local Authorities **

    How many were there in 1801?

    **County, District, Metro, Unitary, London, Wales, Scotland & NI.

  40. AW,
    OXWAB is clearly the sort of seat AW is thinking of when he talks about past vote based predictions probably undersestimating Lib Dem seats.

    When Layla Moran has knocked on every door in whatever bits have been added in the boundary review and has had 50 leaflets delivered over the next few years, people will realise they are now in a Lib Dem/ Con marginal and will vote accordingly. Plus she should get 1st time incumbency bonus too.
    The difficulty in this review for the Lib Dems will come in seats like Leeds NW, where they may have trouble persuading voters in Horsforth (where I was a lib dem councillor decades ago) and Kirkstall that they still have a chance, even if Greg Mulholland was standing again (which he isn’t…). The Tories could easily move back into second place..

  41. Peter Cairns,

    But given that some seats lacked voters altogether in 1801, I am sure the casework load was not too onerous!

  42. To be more positive about Danny’s Machiavellian suggestions, I suspect May (rather than the Tories) thinks a bit like this,

    1) Don’t do anything that will alienate either wing of her party to the extent that it might split
    2) Propose something that looks like damage limitation on the effects of Brexit
    3) Wait for the EU to get her off the hook

    She expects that the EU will agree on something like the draft withdrawal agreement and makes some conciliatory noises about subsequent developments and negotiating around the chequers proposal. She then puts this to parliament for a meaningful vote

    Leavers do not want to vote against this because it gets them over the line and all is then to play for. Remainers don’t want to vote against this because the only alternative is no deal. The Labour party won’t want to vote against it, for fear of opening up divisions, or getting blamed for no deal (To judge by past history it will abstain).

    So we then have the transitionl/implantation period to negotiate what will, from our point of view almost certainly be a bad deal (and a bad deal not only with the EU but Japan and the likes of them and anyone else who feels like profiting from our desperate need for deals of any kind)

    So I would agree with Danny that Mrs May is probably calculating on not getting Chequers through. I don’t think she has deliberately set herself up to fail. She is, however, resigned to the fact that for the moment she has to look as though she is doing something but actually has no chance of putting anything forward that will succeed.

  43. Colin

    The 35 billion to Frontex is a terribly serious question (apart from increasing the personnel from 1,500 to 10,000 and buying them military equipment). Among other things, the proposal would authorise Frontex to
    1) impose procedural rules on member states
    2) being employed in a member state even if the member state opposes it, and act against any jurisdiction of the particular member
    3) reducing the appeal time against deportation to give days
    4) arresting the asylum seekers for three months
    5) taking over border guarding duties from any country without the consent of the country concerned
    6) may participate in border guarding duties in third countries

    Now these are the propositions by the Commission. These would be appropriate reasons for Brexit – in trouble the Commission finds an enemy against which it can launch a baseless (and debased) war.

    I suppose, the trainers could consider these two lines from a fairly popular poem:

    Il n’est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
    Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun

  44. trainers = remainers

  45. 385million registered voters in EP 2014 elections
    42.4% turnout

    25.4% of those voted for an MEP that was part of the EPP “bloc” = 38.6million (10% of total voters)

    “bloc” itself is cause of some concern and is a failing system in some countries (most recently seen in Italy and Sweden with a near miss in Germany)

    Spitzenkandidaten means leader of EPP is almost certain to be next EC President (who and how they pick that candidate itself being well.. call it what you want)

    Cameron voted against Juncker but that vote was 2-26
    (I’m sure the NATS can relate to that!)

    Anyone in EZ will know the “approval” powers EC hold over national govt budgets. Anyone who heard Juncker today will know they seek to increase QMV further (RoI take note!)

    Tiered “democracy” looks a lot like autocracy to some folks (same applies to Unite+Momentum’s grip on LAB leadership)

    EPP will likely see their vote share and MEP numbers drop again in 2019 (although without UK their % of MEPs probably stay roughly the same).

    It is likely they will stay #1 and if not then my guess is they will “entice” some other party/MEPs into their “bloc”
    (e.g. the 2 CON MEPs that went “native” and defected to EPP)

    Election after that? Who knows.

    P.S. I hope UK stays at 650 seats. AW’s s/s link can be the basis of model for next GE if we do go to 600 but trying to retro-adjust 2015 results to 600 seats if UKIP come back will be a bit of a faff (unless AW or someone is kind enough to do so)

  46. @ PETER CAIRNS (SNP)


    “You need to go back 217 years to get to a point in British history when we last had less than 600 seats”
    When the only just had trains and no regular services till 1825, which most couldn’t afford ”

    Aside from the year becoming the time little has changed then :)

  47. “If May and the Tory remainers were as Machiavellian as Danny believes, could they not arrange for the 48 letters, trigger a no confidence vote which she would certainly win and give her 1 year’s breathing space?

    Or is it case of once bitten, twice shy when it comes to calling unnecessary elections?”
    @eotw September 12th, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    But the process quite long-winded? They have to get to a ballot of two, and then push it out to the members? Many people have a low enough opinion of them already, isn’t that just rubbing salt in the wound, especially when we are so near the A50 deadline?

    And anyway wouldn’t that mean Boris being forced to put his hat into the ring, the wrong side of the Brexit deadline?

    And they’ve also got to take into account my waistline — there’s only so much popcorn a man can eat.

    Then again, you have a point.

  48. Andrew,

    “Aside from the year, little has changed then :)”

    LOL!

    Peter.

  49. Laszlo

    It is indeed-though I wouldn’t personally put money on it actually happening-you know the way things are with those Grand Plans of the European Commission.

    A nice effort to work Brexit into this :-)

    I have no idea whether “Remainers” approve or not-or whether they actually follow what happens over there.

    It is entirely to be expected ( from me anyway) that you would invoke The Internationale as a rebuke to Juncker’s proposal.

    You may feel that the national anthem of the USSR (until 1944) & of every anarchist , Marxist or Communist organization is an appropriate rebuke to a proposal to cease uncontrolled & unregulated economic immigration to the EU.

    I doubt the average voter across EU would think so.

    Which doesn’t make them capitalist fasc*ists Laszlo.

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