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. Davwel

    The relevant part of the motion on P1 testing calls on the Government “to halt the tests in P1 and to reconsider the evidence and the whole approach to evaluating the progress of P1 pupils”.

    As you say, it’s an entirely political point scoring exercise, little concerned with the needs of kids.

    The ignorance of politicians and journalists is somewhat more concerning than that of 5 year olds!

    Baseline assessments are hardly a new idea, and both Lab & Con have introduced them at “national” level while in Government. As diagnostic instruments for teachers to use, they are useful, and many councils have provided them for their schools for many years.

    I do understand the fears that teachers and others have about how they might be misused, as those introduced by the Tories in the past undoubtedly were [1].

    At national level, I’d be keen to see them used, not to measure value added in the future, but as evidence of how far increased nursery investment has actually moved to close the attainment gap.

    Advantaged kids will always have the benefit of structured learning via their parents. The attainment gap starts well before the age of 5, because disadvantaged kids haven’t gained so much in the way of social capital. If that gap is smaller between the advantaged and the disadvantaged who have been to nursery, then the investment (on that measure) will have been demonstrated [2].

    [1] Not that League Tables made much difference in terms of placing requests, anyway. Aspirant parents made such requests largely on the basis of social matters.

    [2] Providing nursery places for advantaged kids has the double benefit of providing a good social mix in nursery, and providing child care to allow advantaged parents to work. That there are advantages to the already advantaged is not why the arrangements are in place!

  2. Alec;

    What you have written at 6.54 pm is fine by me. It`s broadcasters and the columnists of so-called quality newspapers who to me have not probed hard enough

  3. @Sam – that links helps. Clearly there have been some serious problems with the NI RHI!

    The fact that the unit RHI is above pellet costs isn’t so much the problem, but the tiering is. The English scheme adopts the 1314 hours for the Tier 1 payments, which means that you get the full RHI price for a system output of (boiler capacity in kW) x 1314 (hours operation pa).

    The 1314 hours bit is assumed to be 75% of the average 1800 hour pa heating season (eg most heating boilers work for 1800 hours per year). Above this level of output, you get the Tier 2 RHI, which is a much reduced rate, and crucially less than the fuel cost. This generally limits the incentive to burn the boiler while providing something like a 7 year payback for the investment, subject to other site specific variables.

    The NI variant of the scheme appears to have a 3000 hour Tier 1 limit, which is more than double what we have here and seems remarkably generous. It looks like this issue was identified by officials and ignored, and so this is where the scandal arises.

    Whether or not this is basic incompetence or a deliberate move to favour a friendly industrial sector by politicians I can’t say, but I guess that’s what the enquiry is all about. certainly, in my view someone should have resigned over this, as it is a scandalous waste of public money.

  4. Recall petition for Ian Paisley has now closed – result expected around 1 am.

    It’s unknown whether Paisley will be including others in a Conference call to find out the result and intimidate the returning officer. :-)

  5. @Davwel,

    I didn’t respond to a few of your earlier posts on Salisbury (or at least not successfully) mainly because of problems with UKPR. Now I seem to have found a workaround I’ll try responding again!

    Firstly, on your specific point about Montgomery Gardens, if you look at the CCTV image at 11:58:58 and look at the white markings on the road, and then compare this with Google Earth, you will see that they were just a few yards East of the junction with Cherry Orchard Lane. They had therefore passed the footpath leading to Montgomery Gardens (which is more or less opposite Gorringe Road).

    If they did walk to the Skripals, it is more likely they did so along Canadian Avenue (a relatively wide street).

    However, having done a lot of house to house enquiries in my life, I can tell you that it is very rare to find a witness who remembers seeing passers-by. Besides which, given the weather conditions, I’m not sure many people would have been out on foot or at the front of their houses. I wouldn’t set too much store by the lack of sightings in the CPS package – and remember they might be withholding something.

    As for needing a lift from the vicinity of the Skripals back to town. That’s a more plausible suggestion. Looking at the images I can’t find an exact match on Google Earth for where they were, but the closest is the junction with Summerlock Approach, heading North West. That doesn’t really make sense, if they had walked from Wilton Road to Christie Miller Road. Google Maps suggests this is a 22 minute walk but a 4 minute drive. Making some assumptions – that they were at that junction and not another spot that has changed since Google Earth last visited the street – that the time clocks on the CCTV are both accurate – then they got from Wilton Road to the Skripals and then to the Fisherton Street junction in 10 minutes. They simply couldn’t have been on foot. Of course they could have hailed a taxi etc, but the notion of a conspirator picking them up is definitely not fanciful.

    When it comes to “believing the Tory government” remember that most of what is being set out for us isn’t from “the government” but from the police and CPS which isn’t the same thing. I am not suggesting that the police and CPS aren’t susceptible to a degree of pressure on timings and presentation, but I see no reason to believe or even to suspect that they would be involved in some political conspiracy with Theresa May. This is real life, not a Jed Mercurio drama.

    The bits that we are getting only from the government (as a conduit from the security services one assumes) are that the suspects are GRU officers, and that the Russian government / Putin are responsible.

    Even if you take that bit with a pinch of salt (and remember, Iraq wasn’t about inventing false intelligence, but about political manipulation of real intelligence to make it look more convincing and reliable than it was) then it still looks pretty convincing from the evidence presented that these two gents were responsible. And we know from RT that they genuinely are Russians (not Ukrainians, Israelis or Brits).

    If you take a look at the Bellingcat stuff Alec linked, there is are some images of documentation that, if genuine, certainly points to them being GRU agents. Of course you can dismiss Bellingcat as a CIA front etc, but the information looks fairly convincing at face value (and much more convincing than RT have presented).

    I am sure that you are right that there is a lot more to come out about this incident. I tend to lean the other way to you as to what the additional stuff to come out will tell us. I suspect it is likely to more evidence of guilt that the police are still investigating, rather than startling new facts that undermine the prosecution case.

  6. @Davwel

    Arrgh! Ignore what I said about the journey to Fisherton Street. I misread the timings. They had an 70 minutes not 10 minutes, so could easily have walked to town and a third person / vehicle is not necessary.

  7. Oldnat

    Its very interesting, because it has not happened before.

    I am most curious to know whether enough signatures will be there for a by election to be triggered.

    It was very low-key and there were only three places to go and sign in the entire constituency – though postal was allowed.

  8. Some interesting polling by Ashcroft about the US mid term elections.

    I broadly agree with his conclusion that the Democrats don’t seem to have done enough to reach out more to lost voters. They are still in denial/anger about the fact they lost. Getting p*ssed off with people for not voting for you, but supporting another team, does comes across badly (in my very humble opinion).

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2018/09/america-at-the-midterms/

  9. Prof Howard

    Might be interesting if a by election is forced. Presumably the DUP could readmit Paisley and put him forward as their candidate – but has he made too many enemies within DUP ranks?

    He could stand as an independent – could/would he beat the DUP candidate?

    If Paisley returns to Westminster as an independent, no doubt he will not feel bound to support the party that rejected him. In a knife edge Brexit vote, that could matter.

    Though, boringly, the petition will probably fall 1 vote short of the 10% needed.

  10. Neil A. 8.28 pm

    Many thanks for broadly confirming my comments on routes and times, apart from the wee slip corrected in message two.

    I`ve been moderated, the first time for many months, so will try sending paragraph by paragraph.

    NLS shows things differently to Google Earth, and I had to be somewhat broad on distances, not knowing exactly where the Wilton Rd camera was, or which was the Skripal house in Christie Miller road, from the overheads.

  11. Neil A:

    I wouldn`t have expected that the Russians facing a short time-window would take the longer route of Canadian Avenue, although they would be less unusual passers-by on that straight through road.

  12. @CATMANJEFF

    Agreed, and it’s particularly important in the context of the Mueller investigation. Whether they genuinely believe Trump colluded with a foreign power to influence the election or not, Dems ought to be working to counter the perception it inevitably gives certain voters that they simply can’t accept that they lost. They should be able to recognise and address the political liability even if they think the reaction is completely unfair and unwarranted.

  13. ON

    “Might be interesting if a by election is forced. Presumably the DUP could readmit Paisley and put him forward as their candidate – but has he made too many enemies within DUP ranks?”

    The DUP would certainly want rid of him. His behaviour at the time of RHI is teh last thing they want. And I sense he is not popular in the party, outside his local base. But I expect they won’t do it. Basically, in North Antrim, the Paisley brand is still just a bit too strong because of his father.

    “He could stand as an independent – could/would he beat the DUP candidate?”

    Very interesting question. I sense if the DUP stood a strong candidate they could win it but its a risk and I am not sure they have someone. (Paul Frew, the most likely candidate other than Paisley, refused to rule out standing but I am not sure he is quite the strong candidate needed for the DUP to win it).

    “If Paisley returns to Westminster as an independent, no doubt he will not feel bound to support the party that rejected him. In a knife edge Brexit vote, that could matter.”

    He seems to be on the more eurosceptic end of the DUP. Even among DUP MPs who are themselves on the eurosceptic end of the DUP.

    “Though, boringly, the petition will probably fall 1 vote short of the 10% needed.”

    This statement is certainly wrong – that one we both know from the laws of probability!

  14. Neil A

    Clearly the weather conditions would keep people in, but dogs need their walks and the Saturday was much worse than the Sunday. And it was on the Sunday that the peculiar behaviour of two men in strange clothing at a front door could have been witnessed, and then the fiddling to wrap up the scent bottle again.

  15. Neil A

    Clearly the weather conditions would keep people in, but dogs need their walks and the Saturday was much worse than the Sunday. And it was on the Sunday that odd behaviour by two men in strange clothing at a front door could have been seen, and then the fiddling to put cellophane back on the scent bottle.

  16. Prof Howard

    Thanks for the analysis.

    Mind you I do wonder if (regardless of his Europhobia) if he might be amenable to a much smaller “bung” than the DUP needed to be supportive of May.

  17. Oldnat

    He would seem amenable to things he shouldn’t be.

    Another point that you may not appreciate. There are only three centres where you can walk in and sign the petition. One is the local sports centre for example.

    If you walk in there and ask to sign you reveal your political position – as there is only one way to sign a petition. Hence, it is not very secret.

    I know someone who wanted to sign but was put off – she didn’t want people to know she does not support Mr Paisley.

    She did it by post.

    I am going to be brave and make a prediction: the petition succeeds.

  18. We haven’t heard of Lord John Kilclooney for a bit, but his latest tweet shows him to be as much of an undemocratic fool as ever.

    It seems that any Tom; Dick; or Harry is now becoming a candidate for President of the southern Republic of Ireland! What a way to run a country !!!

  19. Prof Howard

    No, I hadn’t understood the implications of the “3 centres”.

    I do realise that this is the first time this has happened, but do you know if the methodology involved is mandated by legislation (which wouldn’t surprise me) or a local choice by the returning officer (which wouldn’t surprise me either)?

  20. Factoid about John Taylor (now Kilklooney). He has been elected to every type of official body its possible to be elected to via a public vote in NI – local council, Old Stormont, New Stormont, EU Parliament, and UK parliament – and never lost an election.

    In the end he was supportive of the GFA and David Trimble when he was deputy leader of the UUP – which lost him electoral support – and decided to stand down before he was defeated electorally. But I think he does deserve credit for taking that position given that the UUP support for the GFA was always on a knife edge in the period 1998-2001. I think his support did make a difference.

  21. Prof Howard

    I suppose even a racist (the Indian) bigot (his latest tweet) can get something right occasionally.

  22. “I do realise that this is the first time this has happened, but do you know if the methodology involved is mandated by legislation (which wouldn’t surprise me) or a local choice by the returning officer (which wouldn’t surprise me either)?”

    See here:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-45055761

    The chief electoral officer determined how many centers there should be. The number laid down in law is up to 7. She could have chosen 4 more. Still not many – look at the size of the constituency in that map.

    I imagine many people in Ballymena didn’t fancy going into the leisure centre and ask the bloke behind the desk to sign the petition. Its so public. A lot of people do like to keep the fact they don’t support the DUP secret.

    Everyone got sent a letter, though, allowing them to do it postally.

    I have read in the news some strange rules about this recall business:

    – if the petition fails then they are not allowed to reveal how many signed. So, if it does fail by 1 vote we will never know.

    – you are not allowed to publicise the fact you signed, or forecast the result. (SF local MLA has apparently been busy deleting tweets as he finds out all these silly rules in the law!).

  23. Question for people who like hypotheticals…

    If May gets a deal, presents it to Parliament and loses the vote on it in the HoC, what do you think happens next?

    Specifically, I’m wondering these things;

    1. Does she immediately call a Confidence vote in the HoC a la John Major over Maastricht? Or does she say “Ok, No Deal it is then!” and just carry on?

    2. If she does call a HoC Confidence vote, does she win it?

    3. If she calls a HoC Confidence vote and loses it, how does *that* play out? Do Tories and Labour both vote for a dissolution as in 2017, or does the FTPA come into play? If it does, do the Tories vote down Corbyn’s Queen’s Speech regardless of its Brexit content and take us into a GE anyway?

    4. Assuming that if May loses a HoC Confidence vote we end up with a GE by one route or other, what do the Tories do? Presumably she would have to resign as leader, but they can hardly go into a GE without a leader so do the 1922 Committee suspend the normal rules and let the MPs elect the new leader in a matter of days? Does the likely result of such a vote mean that enough people would have fallen into line and backed her in a HoC Confidence vote to stop this from happening? Or would the ERG fancy their Brexit chances better with someone like Javid at the helm?

  24. Neil A:

    The last points that I was trying to make earlier were 1) that Fisherton St is some way beyond the railway station, and your suggestion of near Summerlock Approach with the two Russians walking back towards the railway station, implies a considerable distance walked, and 2) that police hpuse-to-house wide enquiries do sometimes get a murderer, as happened recently in rural Aberdeenshire.

    An extra thought is that the river at the end of Fisherton Street would be a good place to dump a nasty container or scent bottle.

  25. Edge of Reason

    She calls a GE without losing a confidence vote.

  26. @OLDNAT, @PROFHOWARD

    I’d argue both his political longevity and support for the GFA also need evaluating with the context of the bullets his opponents put into him at the start of his political career.

  27. Edge of Reason – agreed on John Taylor.

    He is also a rather wicked wind-up-merchant!

  28. @PROFHOWARD (11:13pm)

    So she essentially reruns the 2017 GE, from a position in which the polls are basically the same as the outcome of that GE?

    I’ll admit I didn’t give much consideration to that possibility – if she were to do that though, do you think the ERG guys would issue their own manifesto and basically stand as “UK Conservatives” or something like that? Presumably May would be using the GE to seek a mandate for her Deal, so it’s hard to see them getting behind that?

  29. Edge of Reason

    They might do that but the ERG are going to be there one way or another. If the arithmetic moves a bit in her direction then it may help get her deal through – you might even lose JRM. It would give her a chance of improving her position.

    (She will of course not need to put a full Chequers type deal through HoC – just some kind of minimal WA deal which leaves the details of trading arrangements to later and which can appeal to both wings of her party. Pushing the can down the road. ).

  30. Prof Howard

    Thanks for the link – though I see the RO could have nominated an additional 7 (totalling 10).

    Edge of Reason

    Did an Indian shoot him?

  31. Ah that is why the figure 7 was in my head.

  32. @Davwel,

    There is a chance they could have been noticed at the door, but the odds are against it. And even if they were, there’s no guarantee the witness would be willing to provide a statement, and even if they did, there’s no guarantee they’d be able to identify the suspects in an identity procedure, and even if they did, there’s no guarantee the CPS would have included it in their presentation package.

    Eye witnesses really are quite rare, particularly to things that weren’t especially noteworthy at the time.

    As for the cellophane and the fiddling. Logically one might have expected the assassin to have put on gloves before using the applicator. The men weren’t wearing them in the CCTV, but given the weather if they’d pulled them on as they entered the Skripals’ street it wouldn’t have drawn any attention. They wouldn’t necessarily have to have assembled the applicator at the scene, they could have had it ready to go – perhaps in a sealed freezer bag. And they wouldn’t necessarily have had to put it back in the box at the scene, they could have put it back in a bag and repackaged it somewhere more discreet before chucking it away.

    Believe me, I’m very familiar with the “Yeah, but” kind of defence case. Everyone is entitled to a defence, and lawyers will find something to say even in the most hopeless trials if that’s what their client wants. Just this year I took a case to court where the defence was frankly daft, but the very good barrister still managed to put it across very professionally with a lot of “Yes, but” and “Surely if” and “We can’t be sure”.

    “If the defendant was guilty his DNA would be on the weapon”. “The witness made a mistake in the identification”. “The money was from a win at the bookies”. “The alleged victim took a shower so there’s no evidence to support her allegation” “The defendant can’t be guilty because the climbing harness would have stopped her trousers coming down” (Yup, true story. He just got out of young offenders this year…) – This is story of my professional life.

    I have an open mind, but not an uncritical one. Of course it’s a matter for the courts, in the unlikely event that it ever gets there. I prefer not to try to judge cases even when I am involved with them, never mind when I’m an outsider looking in. But where people are attacking the evidence from the other side, for what appear to me to be fairly flimsy reasons, I feel the need to engage…

  33. UKPR eating my posts again

  34. @Davwel,

    There is a chance they could have been noticed at the door, but the odds are against it. And even if they were, there’s no guarantee the witness would be willing to provide a statement, and even if they did, there’s no guarantee they’d be able to identify the suspects in an identity procedure, and even if they did, there’s no guarantee the CPS would have included it in their presentation package.

    Eye witnesses really are quite rare, particularly to things that weren’t especially noteworthy at the time.

    As for the cellophane and the fiddling. Logically one might have expected the assassin to have put on gloves before using the applicator. The men weren’t wearing them in the CCTV, but given the weather if they’d pulled them on as they entered the Skripals’ street it wouldn’t have drawn any attention. They wouldn’t necessarily have to have assembled the applicator at the scene, they could have had it ready to go – perhaps in a sealed freezer bag. And they wouldn’t necessarily have had to put it back in the box at the scene, they could have put it back in a bag and repackaged it somewhere more discreet before chucking it away.

    Believe me, I’m very familiar with the “Yeah, but” kind of defence case. Everyone is entitled to a defence, and lawyers will find something to say even in the most hopeless trials if that’s what their client wants. Just this year I took a case to court where the defence was frankly daft, but the very good barrister still managed to put it across very professionally with a lot of “Yes, but” and “Surely if” and “We can’t be sure”.

    “If the defendant was guilty his DNA would be on the weapon”. “The witness made a mistake in the identification”. “The money was from a win at the bookies”. “The alleged victim took a shower so there’s no evidence to support her allegation” “The defendant can’t be guilty because the climbing harness would have stopped her trousers coming down” (Yup, true story. He just got out of young offenders this year…) – This is story of my professional life.

    I have an open mind, but not an uncritical one. Of course it’s a matter for the courts, in the unlikely event that it ever gets there. I prefer not to try to judge cases even when I am involved with them, never mind when I’m an outsider looking in. But where people are attacking the evidence from the other side, for what appear to me to be fairly flimsy reasons, I feel the need to engage.

  35. @Davwel,

    There is a chance they could have been noticed at the door, but the odds are against it. And even if they were, there’s no guarantee the witness would be willing to provide a statement, and even if they did, there’s no guarantee they’d be able to identify the suspects in an identity procedure, and even if they did, there’s no guarantee the CPS would have included it in their presentation package.

    Eye witnesses really are quite rare, particularly to things that weren’t especially noteworthy at the time.

    As for the cellophane and the fiddling. Logically one might have expected the assassin to have put on gloves before using the applicator. The men weren’t wearing them in the CCTV, but given the weather if they’d pulled them on as they entered the Skripals’ street it wouldn’t have drawn any attention. They wouldn’t necessarily have to have assembled the applicator at the scene, they could have had it ready to go – perhaps in a sealed freezer bag. And they wouldn’t necessarily have had to put it back in the box at the scene, they could have put it back in a bag and repackaged it somewhere more discreet before chucking it away.

    Believe me, I’m very [email protected] with the “Yeah, but” kind of defence case. Everyone is entitled to a defence, and lawyers will find something to say even in the most hopeless trials if that’s what their client wants. Just this year I took a case to court where the defence was frankly daft, but the very good barrister still managed to put it across very professionally with a lot of “Yes, but” and “Surely if” and “We can’t be sure”.

    “If the defendant was guilty his DNA would be on the weapon”. “The witness made a mistake in the identification”. “The money was from a win at the bookies”. “The alleged victim took a shower so there’s no evidence to support her allegation” “The defendant can’t be guilty because the climbing harness would have stopped her trousers coming down” (Yup, true story. He just got out of young offenders this year…) – This is story of my professional life.

    I have an open mind, but not an uncritical one. Of course it’s a matter for the courts, in the unlikely event that it ever gets there. I prefer not to try to judge cases even when I am involved with them, never mind when I’m an outsider looking in. But where people are attacking the evidence from the other side, for what appear to me to be fairly flimsy reasons, I feel the need to engage……

  36. Ah found it.. there was the [email protected] bit in [email protected]

  37. Neil A

    I do like your posts where you use your professional expertise, as I do Davwel’s when he uses his.

    I have more problems with Davwel on criminal behaviour, and yours on the environment.

    Fortunately, at that point, you both reduce yourselves to my level of ignorance on those topics. :-)

  38. @OLDNAT

    Yep, I really am suggesting that miraculously surviving being murdered by your political opponents when you’re a newbie MP is more relevant to the political career you subsequently pursue than social media posts you make fifteen years after you’ve retired from it.

  39. According to an FT correspondent May’s “pitch to EU27 leaders tonight: how would you feel if your country was carved in two?”

    Among the EU 27 are Ireland, Cyprus, Spain who already are (at least in their view). The Czech Republic and Slovakia : Slovenia and Croatia who are happy that their former “country” split up – not to mention Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who have no wish to return to being part of an imperial state.

    If the FT correspondent is correct, then May will be demonstrating a spectacular (if not unexpected) misunderstanding of the history of those EU members.

  40. Edge of Reason

    So – it was the Indians who tried to kill him?

    If Kilclooney “has retired”, why is he still in the HoL voting as to which laws will apply in the UK?

  41. More relevant in both directions, I’d add – I’d argue it makes his electoral success easier because it makes him a hero, but also that it makes his support for the GFA and powersharing with some of the very men who probably signed off on murdering him more interesting.

  42. Edge of Reason

    Are you seriously suggesting that Varadkar or current candidates for the Irish Presidency signed off on murdering him?

    Presumably not, so why justify his racist bigotry now?

    I can see that some Brit Nats in NI might see him as “a hero” because the Provos tried to kill him, though some of them would have seen him as a hero if he’d blown himself up trying to murder Catholics.

    Many folk in the Republican/Irish Nationalist community also supported the GFA and sharing power with those who had tried to murder them.

    The whole point of a peace process is to reconcile the irreconcilable. It’s always very hard, and when a member of the British legislature behaves so offensively, then that doesn’t exactly help matters.

  43. Paisley recall petition failed

    7,099 constituents signed it- the required threshold was 7,543

  44. @OLDNAT

    What on earth?

    You can’t possibly think I’m suggesting that Varadkar was involved in signing off a murder years before he was even born, and I never mentioned the current candidates for the Irish presidency, so I have literally no idea what point you’re trying to make with that bizarre question – perhaps you could enlighten us?

  45. oldnat,
    “According to an FT correspondent May’s “pitch to EU27 leaders tonight: how would you feel if your country was carved in two?””

    She said that? I’d say…rather stupid for having been part of causing it.

  46. News just said EU leaders calling for a second referendum.

    Whatever result that might have, it plainly shows the EU think there would be no problem from them if the Uk now decided to remain.

  47. @DANNY

    Both the EU 27’s national leaders and the EC have always been clear that they think the UK could remain (and would presumably manage to find a legal mechanism if they had to, although they tend as is politicians’ wont to be vaguer on that).

    It’s one of the reasons I go part of the way down the conspiracy road with you.

    Leavers are often criticised for “why don’t they just get on with it” comments. But that’s a valid question. Why is it taking so long?

    With the transition, which many on here say should be longer, it’ll be four an a half years from the vote.

    As @OLDNAT pointed out up thread, European states have a wealth of experience from a generation ago on severing unions. Nation state unions, not just economic ones.

    It created about 20 new states across Eastern and Southern Europe and Central Asia. Some amicably, some less so, some violently. Not one took four and a half years.

    The velvet divorce took six months. But even Bosnia was less than the 4.5 years from referendum to Dayton. Despite civil ware where 100k died. The Scottish government scheduled 18 months had the vote four years ago gone otherwise. 4.5 years is without precedent.

    So “Why is it taking so long?” is a legitimate question in a historical context. And the answer is that neither side wants to do it. So (and this is where I go half way down your road) each is prevaricating like a naughty schoolboy with homework to do, hoping it might somehow disappear. And it might yet do so of course.

    I don’t quite get a full on conspiracy. Especially the one you sometimes suggest as including career-defined sceptics on the blue benches in a grand plot. But for the rest, they’ll certainly be relieved if events do let them off the hook, and to that extent they are, I guess, working towards such an outcome.

  48. Can’t believe you stayed up for it Oldnat!

  49. @ ALEC – “My guess is that smaller countries negotiate more FTA’s because they need to. Whether they get as good a deal as bigger countries I don’t know”

    Well on most measures (GDP growth, growth in exports, unemployment, current GDP/capita) Switzerland and Chile have been more successful than their peer group. That is not all done to trade off course. You also need your govt to create an “enabling environment” for domestic companies to take advantage of the opportunities.

    IMHO the smaller country benefit is partly because they need to but also because they can negotiate quicker due to the simpler needs of only appealing to their own countries interests.

    However, I would agree 100% that Germany(+Dutch, etc) and France get a much better deal (eventually) by being part of a larger block – but does the UK get a better deal though?

    There is also the issue of do we need “better” trade deals anyway. UK exports with non-EU, non-EU FTA countries have grown much more rapidly than exports with EU countries!

    Personally I’m in no rush to strike trade deals post Brexit but I understand the political necessity. First up though we have to ensure we don’t capitulate with EU, otherwise everyone else is going to want to scr3w us over as well.

    Anyway, I’ll let SAM or yourself have the final word on trade. On to other more pressing matters!

  50. @ EOR – May’s options.

    I’d highly recommend putting together an info-graphic similar to this one from IfG:
    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/brexit-scenarios-infographic.pdf

    add in May’s “survival” options at each decision point and also add in the time factor to go around the boxes. You can make “inspired” guess about confidence votes, PeoplesVote or GE options at various points as well.

    Guardian readers might like to try that when they read this piece from PeoplesVote
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/20/seven-routes-peoples-vote-brexit-europe-eu

    IMHO May is going to continue to play for time and sadly everyone will let her do so. Ultimately I see the Trade Bill as the way she might be taken down – assuming CON-Remain want a GE.

    LAB conf will IMHO be a joke. Corbyn has been given an out by Cable+co who reckon a 2nd ref can be done in a matter of weeks. Corbyn can then say:

    “If parliament can’t agree a deal then we’ll demand a GE, if we can’t get a GE then we’ll back a new referendum”

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