There is plenty of new polling in today’s papers, including two polls proporting to show that large numbers of people would vote for new political parties. One by BMG for the Huffington Post, claiming 58% of people would consider backing a new party at the next election, and a ComRes poll for BrexitExpress, claiming 53% of people in a selection of Tory constituencies would consider voting for a single issue party campaigning to “conclude Brexit as quickly and as fully as possible”. There have been various other polls in recent weeks asking similar questions about how popular new parties would be.

These sound like large figures, but you should take them all with a huge pinch of salt – the reality is that quantifying the prospects of a new political party before it exists is an almost impossible task. Certainly it is not something that can be done with a single question.

First let’s look at the question itself. Polls tend to take two approaches to this question, both of which have flaws. The first is to say “Imagine there was a new party that stood for x, y and z – how likely would you be to consider voting for it?”. The problem with that as a question is that “consider” is a pretty low bar. Does thinking about something for a fleeting second before dismissing it count as “considering”?

An alternative approach is to say “Imagine there was a new party that stood for x, y and z. How would you vote if they stood at the next election?” and then prompt them alongside the usual political parties. This does at least force a choice, and sets the new hypothetical party alongside the alternative established parties, prompting to people to consider whether they would actually vote for their usual party after all.

There are, however, rather deeper problems with the whole concept. The first is the lack of information about the party – it asks people whether they would vote for a rather generic new party (a new anti-Brexit party, a new pro-Brexit party, a new pro-NHS party, or whatnot). That misses out an awful lot of the things that determine people’s vote. Who is the leader of the party? Are they any good? Do the party appear competent and capable? Do they share my values on other important issues? Can I see other people around me supporting them? Are they backed by voices I trust?

Perhaps most of all, it misses out the whole element of whether the party is seen as a serious, proper contender, or a wasted vote. It ignores the fact that for most new parties, a major hurdle is whether voters are even aware of you, have ever heard of you, or think you are a viable challenger. That is the almost insoluble problem with questions like this: by asking a question that highlights the existance of the new party and implies to respondents that it is a party that is worthy of serious consideration a pollster has ignored the biggest and most serious problem most new parties face.

That’s the theory of why they should be treated with some caution. What about their actual record? What about when people polled about hypothetical parties that later became real parties that stood in real elections? Well, there aren’t that many cases of large nationwide parties launching, though there are more instances of constituency level polls asking similar questions. Here are the examples I can find:

  • At the 1999 European elections two former Conservative MEPs set up a “Pro-Euro Conservative party”. Before that a hypothetical MORI poll asked how people would vote in the European elections “if breakaway Conservatives formed their own political party supporting entry to the single European currency”. 14% of those certain or very likely to vote said they would vote for the new breakaway pro-Euro Conservatives. In reality, the pro-Euro Conservative party won 1.3%.
  • Back in 2012 when the National Health Action party was launched Lord Ashcroft did a GB poll asking how people would vote if “Some doctors opposed to the coalition government’s policies on the NHS […] put up candidates at the next election on a non-party, independent ticket of defending the NHS”. It found 18% of people saying they’d vote for them. In reality they only stood 12 candidates at the 2015 election, getting 0.1% of the national vote and an average of 3% in the seats they contested.
  • Just before the 2017 election Survation did a poll in Kensington for the Stop Brexit Alliance – asked how they might vote if there was a new “Stop Brexit Alliance” candidate in the seat, 28% of those giving a vote said they’d back them. In the event there were two independent stop Brexit candidates in Kensington – Peter Marshall and James Torrance. They got 1.3% between them (my understanding, by the way, is that the potential pro-Europe candidates who did the poll are not the same ones who actually stood).
  • Survation did a similar poll in Battersea, asking how people would vote if a hypothetical “Independent Stop Brexit” candidate stood. That suggested he would get 17%. In reality that independent stop Brexit candidate, Chris Coghlan, got only 2%.
  • Advance Together were a new political party that stood in the local elections in Kensington and Chelsea earlier this year. In an ICM poll of Kensington and Chelsea conducted in late 2017 64% of people said they would consider voting for such a new party. In reality Advance Together got 5% of the boroughwide vote in Kensington and Chelsea, an average of 7% in the wards where they stood.

In all of these examples the new party has ended up getting far, far, far less support than hypothetical polls suggested they might. It doesn’t follow that this would always be the case, and that a new party can’t succeed. I suspect a new party that was backed by a substantial number of existing MPs and had a well-enough known leader to be taken seriously as a political force could do rather well. My point is more that hypothetical polls really aren’t a particularly good way of judging it.

662 Responses to “The perils of polls about “new parties””

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  1. AW

    Many thanks for the detail in your piece, very helpful. I totally agree with your last paragraph.

    Have a good week everybody.The rain is giving us a great late crop of runner beans.

  2. New parties can do well – eg in an AMS list system election like the Holyrood election of 2003 (the so-called Rainbow Parliament), though even then it turned out to be Scots voters experimenting with the new system, which they since have decided not to repeat.

    In a FPTP system any “new” party which isn’t just composed of a faction of an existing party seems very unlikely to make a significant breakthrough (just look at UKIP).

  3. TOH

    My freezer is beginning to bulge with the amount of runner beans this year!

  4. From last thread.

    @ CMJ – hold tight to that straw and certainly make sure LAB conf attendees think it will save them ;)

    @ ALAN – “Ideal scenario for me after a GE would be Lab in power requiring Lib/SNP support to get anything really damaging through”

    I’m guessing CON-R that want to stay in UK want LDEM to ensure nothing really damaging gets through. We know you want to see UK punished for daring to vote to Leave.

    CON-R wanting LAB to rely on LDEM make senses and could well be the outcome of a GE (30%ish probability) but it is a risky move. LAB with only SNP as C&S is certainly a possible outcome – something you’d probably enjoy watching from foreign shores. My silver lining on that dark cloud would be IndyRef2 and hopefully a YES vote this time.

    P.S. Why haven’t you left yet?

    @ ALEC – “The above is precisely what May has just rejected as violating the UK’s constitutional integrity”

    Ehh? The current backstop from Barnier is v.different and does violate UK integrity. I did read the Guardian piece about Red/Green channels which would treat NI differently to UK. My suggestion: “Le Touquet+” treats GB and NI the same (ie treats whole of UK the same). It’s fudge for sure but the criticism of ERG’s current offer is that is requires EC to give RoI “special status”. This “evolved” version avoids that.

    May has promised a revised plan. She has two audiences (EC and home) of which the more important is home (her own MPs, voters and potential voters – especially in marginal seats)!

    Only 15%ish of UK electorate think Chequers is OK and it lacks support from either wing of CON party. So if this comes to a GE then she needs something the majority of her MPs and potential voters can support:

    CETA+ with WTO backstop and both options with a generous offer on NI border that avoids UK side needing any additional hardening.

    P.S. We float a few ideas around to get input. You’ve often highlighted some weaknesses and/or confirmed the idea is fairly solid. If you could point out exactly which part of the plan violates either the UK’s constitutional integrity or the EU’s precious Single Market please let me know – not too late to make changes as I’m guessing they’ll be a delay tomorrow ;)

  5. A good write-up by AW but I also remember a piece about manifestos not moving the VI just before 2017 manifestos and Corbyn closing a 20pt gap!

    These are very unique circumstances. Facing probable deselection what have some MPs got to lose?

    The key part in AW’s write-up is hence:
    “a major hurdle is whether voters are even aware of you, have ever heard of you, or think you are a viable challenger”

    A block of say 20+ Blairite LAB MPs and possibly a few CON MPs (although I doubt many) joining with the younger LDEM MPs and the 1 Green MP and having a pact with the NATS?

    People would be aware of that! Cable even missed crucial HoC votes to discuss a new party although you’d want to ensure he retired and had nothing to do with it unless you want the LDEM baggage coming with you!

    On Betfair, folks not only see a new party as possible but they see them as having a shot at getting most seats (25-1 isn’t in the “no hope” category, that would be LDEM at 120-1):

    P.S. LAB fans who fancy a flutter will note that LAB are 2.24 which is the widest they’ve been (reminder that this means you’d get 224quid back if you bet 100quid but you’d obviously risk losing the 100quid)

  6. It is interesting that the SDP managed a 50% VI at one point with only 29 MPs (28 Labour and 1 Tory). The key is hanging onto that until polling day, which they failed to do. I was quite young in 1983 but I think the reason was due to a combination of the improving economy, the feel good after Falklands and the relationship between MT and RR coming into its own in the face of a growing Cold War.

    This time it is unlikely that these factors would come together in such a way and you have two very split and increasingly extreme parties which only have awful leaders in common (although is TM beginning to get her mojo back?).

    If a large number of Labour MPs broke away and with a new dynamic leader and maybe even a few Tories went on and absorbed the Lib Dems, I am wondering how much better they would do with say 80-100 MPs.

    Playing with the numbers in Electoral Calculus the magic number is around 40% VI. If they can poll anywhere near this figure they become the largest party. A tall order, I think, but recent times have thrown up more than a few surprises so who knows!

  7. @ A Wells.

    You express a well-founded scepticism about the prospects for new parties in UK politics. O. Mosley set up a new party for the 1931 election, called the New Party, It was a disaster, as chronicled in H. Nicholson’s excellent diaries. (Harold was an old-fashioned elitist and snob, but he had a genius for being in the right place at the right time; his instincts were good, other than the New Party! he smelt a rat with National Socialism at an early stage.)
    But all parties are new at the start. (Contd)

  8. You’re Going to be Smoked Out Boys

    “Angela Rayner has called for social media companies to ban anonymous accounts, complaining that most of the people who abuse her online do so without using their real names.”

  9. TW

    I don’t “want” anything of the sort. It speaks volumes about how you see people with a different opinion to yours though.

    How would I benefit from the UK being “punished”? Unless Germany is going to capture huge swathes of UK industry, significantly improving the standards of living there, it really doesn’t matter that much to me.

    I’m largely ambivalent as I’ve decided not to stay on board the boat and join the bun fight whether we aim for Scylla or Charybdis. In my view the best option is a stalemate where as little as possible happens for now as every party wants to damage the UK for its own reasons. Out of all possible damaging outcomes, I want the one which is least damaging to the UK. I don’t expect it to happen though.

    If the UK escapes with little damage done to it in 3 years time, it remains open an option. If great harm has been caused by then, I’d probably look to make my foreign adventure more permanent. I guess you can say I’m having my cake (with cherries) and eating it! I’m sure Rees-Mogg would approve of me hedging against the risks of Brexit, enough if I don’t have the sort of cash to invest in his funds.

    I believe leaving the EU will be detrimental to the UK but that’s nothing to do with punishment, just a natural consequence of not enjoying the same terms as we do now. Nothing to do with my desire, just my expectations. If I throw two dice, the most likely sum to come up is 7. You can’t infer ANYTHING about what number I WANT to come up.

  10. TW

    In reply to your PS.

    Waiting on the award for my MSc in Data Mining. Fingers crossed that I have a distinction.

  11. SLab not exactly covering themselves in glory (except maybe the Land of Hope and …. type).

    To the anti-Semitism row, they have now added anti-Catholicism.

    As Corbyn dodges the question of indyref2, Leonard blunders on telling conference that the next UK manifesto will state opposition to holding such a thing.

  12. As usual Andrew has produced a shrewd analysis backed up by lots of hard facts on the polling for new parties.

    Given the present multiple divisions within both Conservatives and Labour, I cannot see more than 10 and 30-40, respectively, breaking away and joining any new centrist party.

    Much more likely is Alec`s prediction of NI and RoI joining together followed by a linkage to Scotland (last thread 5.26 am). If TM continues with her present suicidal plans, England in 10 years time will be relegated to the second world tier, and a new Indy Ref will achieve a firm YES.

    And the Leavers keen for “control of our borders” will find the England borders even more porous than now. It will be too late for changing course, but likely those English hoping for tax cuts after Brexit will be angry at hard-Left “robbery”, and totally ashamed.

  13. ToH in good form for his weekly visit, even triumphant it might be said. I am not sure, however, that he is right that the chance of ‘no deal’ is anything like 90%,

    Fortunately for the country, the conservative party and my own mental health, I am not Mrs May. If I were, however, I might reason like this.

    I want to keep myself in power, my party together and the country safe from the economic disaster of no deal, To do that I need to get through the conservative party conference and then strike a deal with the EU who want no deal almost, but sadly not quite, as little as ‘I do,

    To deal with my party ‘I must put it about that the EU is trying to bully me\us and that I am not having it. As the only thing that is not really agreed about the withdrawal agreement is the ‘Irish border I must be extra intransigent about that. Why not say they are trying to break up the UK. That will rally the troops or at least, if not them, the DUP.

    I am, however, worried about the economics of all this. Once we have withdrawn, we have much less negotiating strength than the E/U and there is no guarantee that we will get a decent trade deal with the E/U.let alone strike deals with anyone else in time to prevent irrevocable damage to our economy and social Fabric. That’s no doubt why the perfidious EU did not want to negotiate trade along with withdrawal,

    But I have an idea, a cunning plan even! Basically I need to stay in the common market for the foreseeable future, The only way to do solve the border issue is to do just that. So I can give that as my reason for blurring the odd red line. And if we define managed divergence as something where change only happens through negotiation between sovereign states. That starts to look OK to me, because its not hat unlike Chequers.

    Furthermore I have some leverage in this as we have not yet paid the money. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, I can tell the DUP that I am keeping the country together, the country that ‘I have pushed through my plan with my usual perseverance, the labour party that it can vote for no deal or back mine or get lost, and Brussels that we are bound to the central requirements of the common market by a treaty which we can only alter by negotiation, which we will never be in a position to do,

    Clearly presentation is all. But I am convinced in my heart of hearts that chequers is the only game in town, And after the conference I am going to play it.

    Why wouldn’t his work and has anyone got a better idea?

  14. Davwel

    Ahem. It’s Anthony (which you know) but typing “Andrew” suggests approbation of the analyses by Mr Neil. :-)

  15. BBC reporting that UK Labour under pressure from the Scottish branch office will rule out agreeing a second independence referendum. Interesting political choice if true as it implies they are limiting their ambition to being the most popular of the British nationalist parties in Scotland by wooing back voters from the Tories while bleeding support to the SNP.

  16. BBC reporting that UK Labour under pressure from the Scottish branch office will rule out agreeing a second independence referendum. Interesting political choice if true as it implies they are limiting their ambition to being the most popular of the British nationalist parties in Scotland by wooing back voters from the Tories while bleeding support to the SNP.

  17. Hireton

    It seems an unwise political stance for SLab to take (we’ll need to wait to see whether ELab go along with it or not).

    Many acres of screen have been covered by people explaining the wisdom of Lab not committing to any stance on Brexit, yet Leonard says the UK party is going to take a definitive stance against “allowing” Scots to have a vote on independence.

  18. Splitting the Labour Party would hand the Tories power for another 15-20 years.

    Surely they won’t do it all over again?

  19. NickP

    Not if the Tories split as well.

    Just to make it fair, they should coordinate their splits on the same day!

  20. hireton: BBC reporting that UK Labour under pressure from the Scottish branch office will rule out agreeing a second independence referendum.

    Mixed messages, Corbyn has already said he ‘would not rule it out’.

    The sense I take from this is that Labour need to be in a position to offer something to the SNP for support if Labour become able to form a minority administration. So by ruling out Indyref in the manifesto, the value of it is perceived more positively if it becomes offered. Could it be bait for C&S? Could it be bait to implicate the SNP in a coalition?

  21. Alan @ Nick P

    Even fairer, they could split on the same issue – support for the Protestant ascendancy in NI (not, I suspect that many Tories would consider leaving the ranks, but Hoey and Andy Kerr would find themselves in more congenial company in the embrace of the DUP.

  22. ON:

    Thanks. It was Anthony Wells I meant to praise and thank.

    I hope folk won`t think it as bad a howler as the UK War of Roses from Trevor. My excuse is reading through almost 2 days of messages, and then a gloomy phone call from son: granddaughter is off on a school trip into the EU this week, and school and parents much doubt that this will happen again. Well not in the present cohorts` school days.

  23. TO

    I don’t think Leonard is bright enough to add any bait to his hook.

    If you look at the Herald article that I linked to earlier, it’s clear that he hasn’t agreed such a stance with either Corbyn or the NEC. As so often, from a position of ignorance and political ineptitude, he has reduced the chances of those supporting Scottish autonomy from voting SLab – regardless of what the UK party eventually puts into its manifesto.

    On a very basic level, there are two constitutional gulfs in Scottish politics – a relatively small one re Brexit, and a huge one re independence.

    With no stance at all on Brexit, and stance against Scots having the chance to vote again on the major issue, SLab have exiled themselves to the outer reaches of Scottish politics. SCon will always be more effective BritNats than SLab, while SNP/SGP will always be more autonomist.

    Just who (other than the Orange Lodge vote) are SLab aiming at?

  24. @NickP

    The big difference is that in 1980 I don’t believe that the moderates were facing deselection, which I understand has been made more likely in the last few hours.

  25. Davwel

    No more school trips to the EU? What a depressing thought.

  26. Andrew Myers

    IIRC back in the 1980s there were no “moderates”, just “left” and “right” wings of Labour.

    “Moderates” and “centrists” are just modern labels created by spin doctors, which the MSM have swallowed whole, and peddled incessantly.

  27. Andrew Myers

    “IIRC back in the 1980s there were no “moderates”, just “left” and “right” wings of Labour.”

    There certainly were “moderates” back in the 1980s. It’s what the Right Wingers called themselves even then. In Trade Unions they even took it as their “official” title as, in the 70s and 80s, control of Trade Unions became battlegrounds between the “Broad Left” and “Moderates”.

  28. Norbold

    I sit corrected.

  29. I was banned from the only school trip abroad that was a possibility in my time. Apparently there was too great a risk to the reputation of the school and the nation. :-)

  30. @Nick P/Alan

    “Splitting the Labour Party would hand the Tories power for another 15-20 years.

    Surely they won’t do it all over again?”

    I think the likeliest party to split are the Tories since there appears to be no conceivable Brexit outcome that won’t render one of its many sub-sects feeling completely betrayed. Our membership of the EU has been the open sore in Conservative politics for 40 years and even though the boil will be lanced once and for all when we do leave the EU, I think it will cause the party to split. Such has been the bitterness and rancour, the various sub sects cannot and will not be reconciled when the deed is done (or not done).

    I thought it was very interesting to see Davis at that Leave rally the other day. Watching Farage and his fruitcakes enjoying a premature exotic spezum was not surprising, and clowns like Hooey will be drawn to whatever Leave circus comes to town, but to see a serious centre right politician like Davis there was highly significant, I thought.

    I sense a realignment on the centre right of British politics. Long overdue too and Europe was always going to be its enabling agent. FPTP has kept the ludicrous coalition called the Conservative Party on the road, but I sense that their deep divisions on Europe, hatreds even, that were always there, will play out to their final conclusion when, come March 2019, the 40 year nightmare for some, dream for others, finally comes about. Then there really is no point sticking around if you end up on the losing side. A fudged half baked exit and Farage’s tent gets much bigger as UKIP rides again, or, if the exotic spezum is realised and No Deal is our fate, then the Tory remainers jump ship.

    Accordingly, all the party split fetishists are looking in the wrong place. Don’t look Left. Look Right. That’s where money is going in the party split stakes.

    Should be interesting.


  31. for those interested the new trigger process for Labour PPCs where an MP is in situ is:

    ” if either one third or more of party branches or affiliated branches indicate they wish a selection to take place, a selection shall proceed. The MP shall be included in the shortlist. Where neither one third ……..the MP will be, subject to NE endorsement, be selected as the PPC.

  32. Kuessenberg reporting that the Lab motion on Brexit is to be ‘if we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote on the terms of Brexit’

    They are truly incompetent if they intend to simultaneously support a crash exit, staying in CU and/or SM, withdrawing A50, etc etc.

  33. Jim Jam

    After today, I suspect that those rules will be wholly irrelevant in Scotland.

  34. ON – would not be simultaneous and Labour will never support a crash exit, The Government might try to say they are if they oppose any agreement that the (HMG) manage to broker with the EU but in truth, sadly for Labour Cons back-benchers are the power brokers

  35. Jim Jam

    Just where in ‘if we cannot get a General Election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote’ is a crash exit from the EU excluded?

    It’s a classic example of “a loose motion”, though Immodium is often recommended as a palliative.

  36. @OLDNAT

    Whilst I agree that Labour position should be untenable. The electorate has the same position. There is no clear majority for anything. Had Remain won by 52:48 would you believe that it would have been put to bed?

    This is one of the most toxic yet irrelevant arguments that the UK could have. Leaving or indeed staying in the EU does not cure our funding problems with the NHS and social care, the gutting of welfare particularly for the disabled nor any of the myriad of other problems we have. In one sense Labour are concentrating on the other because that is the problem that needs to be cured and more over they believe they have answers for those problems I believe no political party has the answer for our EU problem.

    In Scotland it was used to hammer the SNP in coastal towns in the UK the east midland was the strongest region to come out for LEAVE. WE have a broken consensus and much of the issues is emotional not practical in my view

  37. PTRP

    What Labour position are you referring to? The one where they support every option on the table (without specifying whose table or who decides what is on it)?

    “WE have a broken consensus”. I’m not sure what you mean by consensus in this context – presumably not that everyone agrees, just that those disagreeing with a proposition are a relatively small section of the population in a given polity.

    In my polity there is consensus over remaining in the EU, but no consensus on independence. There is also a consensus on the direction of travel on most social issues.

    Voting in England would suggest that there is an element of consensus there around applying austerity to the population and penalising the poor.

    I have an emotional response to that, as I do to the promotion of inequality anywhere. I have a practical solution (imperfect of course, as the EU is – but still the best available) for Scotland.

    As to England’s emotional response to the EU, that has much deeper roots, and without a major reassessment by those in that polity about the assumptions transmitted to them (Gramsci got some things right), you aren’t going to achieve much in the way of consensus.

  38. “In all of these examples the new party has ended up getting far, far, far less support than hypothetical polls suggested they might. It doesn’t follow that this would always be the case, and that a new party can’t succeed. I suspect a new party that was backed by a substantial number of existing MPs and had a well-enough known leader to be taken seriously as a political force could do rather well. My point is more that hypothetical polls really aren’t a particularly good way of judging it.”


    It’s still worth asking though, because you can see how people might gauge a potential new party BEFORE those other factors kick in – competence, leader etc.

    Then later once the party gets established you can see the impact of the other factors.

    And yes, it’s hard for new parties, there are significant barriers to entry, but SDP wound up getting quite a few votes, it’s just that FPTP doesn’t necessarily reward it.

    Then you have other parties like UKIP that start small but grow later on. And there you can see, that possibly BECAUSE of FPTP, it can be worth voting for a party if you don’t necessarily want them to get in, aren’t too sure of their competence, but want to exert pressure on other, bigger parties.

    FPTP can be quite handy for protest votes.

  39. Some suggestion that LK got hold of the text of the Leaders preferred composite but Cortes of TSSA,got tighter wording thru compositing meeting.

  40. Crossbat11

    I suspect there is a fair chance of a Tory split. Brexit has meant visceral hatred between parts of the country and certainly within the Tory party. I can’t see the party (or the country mind you) coming back together again.

  41. andrew myers

    “The big difference is that in 1980 I don’t believe that the moderates were facing deselection, which I understand has been made more likely in the last few hours.”

    But they did split in the 80s (?) so I assume your point is that this is different, so…they will split (?)

  42. We may well be witnessing the limits to Corbyn’s desire to strictly follow party democracy.

    It’s fine to call for a greater say for party members when you are on the outside and the leadership is deciding for itself what party policy should be, but we are now in a position where Corbyn wants someone else to deliver Brexit, and a second vote might disrupt that plan.

    No matter that his party overwhelmingly supports a second vote – this is now a problem, so instead of a simple ‘let’s have a second vote’ motion, he crafts an awkward and curmudgeonly response.

    I don’t think Corbyn fanatics should get too excited over his adherence to party democracy. If the party were to decide things that he doesn’t like, I suspect we’ll see a bit more of this kind of thing.

  43. @NickP

    No, you were suggesting that they wouldn’t want to split again with the benefit of hindsight. I am suggesting that the conditions are different now. In other words the moderates are under the gun, in a way that they weren’t last time so may feel that they have no choice, and/or little to lose.

  44. Charles

    I am not sure I follow your post. Are you talking about the UK staying in the Single Market? Regulatory divergence? Chequers?

  45. Clear that composite wording doesnt suit Corbyn but its no disaster .

    After all the baloney Tories are going to unite around Canada style deal under a new leader and maybe a forced general election if the Tories cant find another £billion to square off the DUP.

    Labour are inching towards Norway.Corbyn will hope they never get there but if he wins the general election ,as above,he will be on the spot.

  46. Carfrew
    It was the Euro elections by PR that gave UKIP oxygen (ironically). In Scotland and London the Greens are doing much better than in the rest of England or in General Elections, thanks to PR. With PR the SDP-Lib alliance might well have won a Euro election…

    PR is a prerequisite for success for a new party. It is the reason why Labour and the Tories will NEVER back PR when push comes to shove. (And why the Lib Dems were so foolish not to insist on it when they had their chance in 2010)

  47. @”Labour are inching towards Norway”

    Don’t they like Liverpool ?

  48. IEA have released their Brexit Plan A+
    (for those who want details on Post Brexit options and suggestions concerning everything from trade to domestic regulations)

    I don’t agree with all of it and it is quite vague on NI but it is certainly better than Chequers and covers “strongly mitigating” a no deal etc

    Lots of other suggestion documents on their site
    (they are one of the more detailed pro-Brexit groups but a little too n4ive on free trade IMHO)

  49. Anyway, I think we now know a bunch of actual positions on Brexit:
    Boris Johnson: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster if I can become Prime Minister”
    ERG: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster if we are in control of the disaster (and our friends can make money out of the chaos)”
    TM and most of the Tory Party: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster so long as we can blame the EU”
    Jeremy Corbyn: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster so long as we can blame the Tories and win a General Election”
    Lib Dems: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster so long as we can blame both Labour and the Tories and say we told you so”
    SNP: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster if we can engineer independence out of it”
    Nigel Farage: “It does not matter if Brexit is a disaster so long as I can keep my German citizenship and my fat EU pension”

    It is a bit of a sad state of affairs, to be honest…

  50. I have broken my rule to only look n at weekends this morning as I needed something to do while waiting to go out with my wife.

    The runner beans season has been rather odd this year in the south. The early crop was magnificent then it dried up during the very hot weather despite daily watering and feeding. Now they are coming fast and furiously again. We no longer freeze runner beans, we freeze dwarf French beans instead. They freeze better, reconstituting just like they were fresh whereas you can always tell frozen runner beans. I have had three crops of dwarf French beans and like you our freezer is full.

    Sorry if I sounded triumphant all I was doing in my first post was pointing out to Alec that insults can rebound on the sender sometimes.

    Actually, like you I just want what I feel will gives the best future for the UK, and my children and grandchildren. For me that means seizing the opportunity and leaving the EU in the fullest sense as quickly as possible. For you it means staying in the EU. I think the EU is undemocratic and inward looking and has already sown the seeds of its own destruction with the creation of the Euro, and the further movement towards becoming a super-state.

    I have always said I would like a deal and would be happy with a Canada style deal, but feel that the EU are unlikely to agree because, although they want no hard land border in Ireland they are not prepared to give us terms that are acceptable. What they offer does not respect the fact that NI is an integral part of the UK and cannot be treated differently. On NI I agree with Mrs May at least on her statements so far. I hope the cabinet pursued the PM to move on from the dead “Chequers Plan” to a Canada style approach but with a continued firm rebuttal on the EU approach to NI.

    I believe we reflect the divisions in the country, and the deepness of those divisions, and the intransigence of the EU means we are most likely to exit on WTO term. That will cause short term pain in the UK and in Europe, and will hasten the decline of the EU IMO. Not my first choice but much better than staying under EU rules or rule.

    I will look in this evening in case you reply but I am off now and will not post again until next weekend. I you do reply i will respond next weekend.

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