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. ON

    “Window replaced the Old English eagþyrl”

    In other words the English did already have a word for the object.
    “mc donnel is very much the brains of new model labour party. tough and determined and sharp of mind – i think he is more important to the success of the corbyn project than corbyn.”

    He’s also much more dangerous.

  2. So two polls out yesterday, the first one Britain Elects
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 41% (-1)
    LAB: 40% (+1)
    LDEM: 9% (+1)
    UKIP: 4% (-)
    GRN: 3% (-)

    via @ICMResearch, 21 – 24 Sep

    The second one YG poll carried out on the 24-24 Sep

    CON – 42% (+2)
    LAB – 36% (-)
    LIB DEM – 11% (-)
    UKIP – 4% (-1)

    YG poll overlaps the dates of the other one but it could be argued it is more recent I suppose, even if only by one day. Even so I think it likely one or the other is an outlier

  3. “He’s also much more dangerous.”

    Can hardly be more dangerous than, say, Thatcher with her dismantling of industry, doing away with social housing and deregulation of banking and finance.

    Basically wrecked not just the UK, but the f*cking world, in the end.

  4. The Newsletter’s coverage of the RHI scandal has been good. Below is part of its coverage of yesterday’s hearing.

    “Later, Mr Brimstone was asked whether if the RHI scheme had not been available he would have replaced his domestic biomass boiler with another biomass boiler. Mr Brimstone said: “No.” Later, Mr Aiken asked him: “Did it not seem rather contrived to you? You’ve been using biomass to heat your house. You’ve got…limited transient heat need in your shed…and you used heating in it occasionally…but you end up with a scenario where even though you’ve a more limited heat need in your shed and a full heat need for your house you can get on the non-domestic scheme through the shed and as a result have the greater benefit for your house…did it not seem odd to you that you could do it [within the rules]?””


    The pound was trading above $1.50 on the eve of the vote, before tumbling to $1.32 when it became clear that Leave was to emerge victorious, netting millions for those on the right side of the bet.

    “The integrity of UK financial markets is a key concern of the Treasury Committee, and the Bloomberg report raises concerns in this regard,” Ms Morgan said. “During election and referendum campaigns, polling companies present themselves as neutral observers of public opinion. Yet behind the scenes, they are selling private polling data to hedge funds to make profitable trades.”

  6. John Curtice says the polling shows little change in support for Leave and Remain

    “The first thing to note is just how extraordinarily stable the picture has been during the last nine months. We started the year with Remain on 52% and Leave on 48% – and our latest poll of polls also shows Remain on 52% and Leave on 48%.”

  7. PETEB

    @”Does anyone have any idea what would happen to a worker’s shares if he was sacked or made redundant?”

    They won’t belong to him-so nothing happens to them. They continue to be owned by the IOF-ie The Labour Government.

  8. Legal opinion on McDonnell’s IOF proposal.

    The section headed EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS is interesting :-

    “We expect that Labour’s proposal would be regarded as a de facto expropriation of up to 10% of the company. If so, it would require a public interest justification,and whether it can be said to be in the public interest to move 10% of a company to a trust to benefit the company’s employees and the Government without compensation is, at the least, open to question. A deprivation without compensation in an amount reasonably related to the value of the property would normally be considered disproportionate, and require exceptional circumstances to justify the lack of compensation. “

  9. Canada anyone?

    “No one seems to be bothering to ask whether it is actually achievable. The trade negotiations leading to CETA were launched in May 2009. It still isn’t fully in force. It provisionally came into force in September 2017 after both the EU and Canada ratified it. However, it still needs to be ratified by all of the EU’s member states. So far it has been ratified by nine member states.

    This leisurely pace would not matter so much if it were clear that the job will be done in the end. It isn’t. The Belgians have launched a legal objection to the dispute resolution process. No fewer than 14 countries might conceivably have a referendum on CETA. And Italy has already stated that it will refuse to ratify the CETA deal.”

    Alastair Meeks

  10. @Colin
    A point of correction – the assets would belong to the nation, not ‘the Labour Government’, which is very different. Norway’s Sovereign Wealth fund doesn’t belong to the government of the day, it belongs to the nation of Norway.

    That said, I am no fan at all of McDonald’s idea…

  11. BFR

    Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund bought its shares for consideration at market value.

  12. @NICKP

    he is more dangerous because if Corbyn is right there will be a redressing of gains from assets versus the gains from wages/salaries. On of COLINs contentions is that employers will lower wages, well actually compared to gain by other means wages have fallen to a level of GDP and that has been a steady erosion. Indeed the real problem has always been asset accumulation since it basically starts the divide that only keeps growing

    The Tory idea of owning your own home as part of asset accumulation is receding, and I say Tory since even people like Osborner’s view if you read Nick Cleggs account is that council houses and renting make for Labour voters and Dame Shirley Porter seemed to think that way even to the point of breaking the law

    The point is that no one know how to redress the balance between assets and wages one way as COLIN suggest is pure theft (i.e taxes ) and another is for the asset holders to be enlightened enough to change their approach. Personally I have never seen a change of this nature being done voluntarily.

  13. Trevor Warne,
    “The first question in the YG poll very interesting.”

    Indeed it is. A majority of labour supporters feel their party supports their values. Only a minority of conservatives think their party suports their personal values. The scores are 41 and 58, so 17% more labour supporters feel comfortable with their party than do tories.

    As to ‘best policies for our country’, tories score 37 and labour 30. So only about 1/3 of supporters of political parties think their party actually has the best policy for the nation. Yet presumably they also think that policy is better than the policy of the other major party, or they would be supporting the other.

    In conclusion? Most voters think both parties are not good for either themselves or for the nation, labour supporters are a bit happier with hobson’s choice than are tories.

    “They are not supporting a no deal only option, instead preferring a Canada style deal. ”

    When we started all this, I would have pretty much equated canada as being a ‘no deal’ option. Meaning no special deal with the EU.

    It is interesting that canada is now being touted as far superior to no deal, When I dont relly see the difference. It is possible incompetent negotiation might lead to the Uk leaving the EU with no agreements in place, but inevitably these will happen eventually. Its a question of what level of integration they will be pitched at, and it is the refusal of the Uk governement to define where it is aiming which has caused the delay.

    Any outcome is better or worse depending on the degree of integration with the eU market which it preserves.

  14. PTRP

    @”one way as COLIN suggest is pure theft (i.e taxes ) ”

    No-not taxes. Just appropriation of private assets by The State-as in the IOF proposal.

    Note also-whenever McDonnell is asked about the price he would pay to compensate shareholders of companies which he brings into public ownership, he always states that it will depend on the conduct of those companies over time.

    So he is clearly stating that if a Labour Government judges that XYZ Water plc has not invested enough of its profits, or paid too much away in dividends over time, then he will discount the effect of that in the companies market share price-and pay the lower figure.

    The Courts will be busy after McDonnell gets going on this.

  15. @Colin – as I said, I do not remotely agree with
    McDonnell’s proposal, but it would still be a sovereign fund, not a Labour government fund.

    Your description makes as much sense as claiming Tory welfare cuts were carried out to create a Tory Government fund…

  16. NEILJ
    re ICM and YG polls.

    I think everything is still roughly within the margin of error of –

    Con 39 Lab 38 LD 10 UKIP 5 Green 3

    Which is the average of all polls so far this month. I expect there will be some post Lab conference polls this weekend.

  17. @Pete B

    “He’s also much more dangerous”

    Is he likely to be more dangerous than, say, a politician like Cameron proved to be? There was a man who bequeathed us the Brexit disaster and Theresa May. A bitterly divided nation, in danger of disintegration, a constitutional crisis, a paralysed body politic, an endangered peace process in Northern Ireland and doubled levels of child poverty. It might also be worth asking the benighted citizens of that ruined state Libya what they think of him too.

    Not all dangerous politicians come with horns and tails. They can appear quite deceptively harmless and establishment-friendly and yet turn out, in Cameron’s case, to be the most disastrous and destructive of Prime Ministers.

    Who’d have thought it when you saw him hob-nobbing with Jeremy Clarkson at Cotswolds garden parties? He seemed such a nice and inoffensive fellow, didn’t he?

  18. @ PLANKY – “Why do you want OUR country to have the best policies”

    Errr, because I live here and would to continue to do so!

    @ ALEC – If you bump into Charles de Gaulle either on Planet Remain or in Nation Remain then can bring him back from the dead. Enjoy your NOx and the rain.

    If you get time and can be bothered to think for yourself for once then actually look at tariff levels compared to peer countries and more importantly in relation to UK’s existing trade and future trading priorities.

  19. ICM tabs are up:

    For benefit of ALAN and others who can only accept “spin” if it matches their strongly held views, I’ll direct quote from their write-up:

    “compared to February, Labour have a reduced lead over the Conservatives in pretty much all key policy areas” (with one exception Brexit where CON’s leads has gone down a little)

  20. YG live has asked a few interesting questions in the last few days.

    WARNING some comic bias ahead! Make the most of freedom of writing and reading before it becomes “democratised”

    May going for the sympathy vote?
    CON VI net +45 have felt sympathy toward her (I’d be in the 21% that have not – she wanted the job and knew what she was taking on)

    Not all LAB VI understand the party the intent to vote for?
    31% of LAB VI do NOT believe going on strike is an effective way of achieving the change that you desire! Only net +17 do believe!
    (in the previous day they asked about headteachers protest and large majority support that, even a net +13 in CON VI of which I would be one!)
    Hold off on the call for a general strike perhaps!

    Also one on workers from EU and non-EU being treated the same post Brexit or giving EU worker’s “special status”
    Only 21% think EU workers should get special status (high with LD and LAB). Net +58 CON want a non-rac1st policy but all other x-breaks net agree it is time to stop treating non-EU inferior to the master race(s), just to a lower extent ;)

  21. Yougov tables are up, cons have a lead of 3 over labour in the raw data. One thing to note is that 21% of lab 2017 voters, and 23% of lib dem 2017 voters are don’t knows. 20% of the sample overall was don’t know. No supplementary questions, and no right/wrong to leave question asked which must be the first time in a very long time. Seems strange given the events of the last week or so.

  22. ah, of course, its because they got their brexit question in on Friday/Saturday. Wrong to leave leads by 4 in that poll, down from 7 earlier in the week, given the 7 was the equal largest lead i would say that this could well be margin of error.

    There are some respect questions there which suggest that the UK government has shown net respect by 49 to 22 while the EU has shown net disrespect by 59 to 15. Interesting question on Northern Ireland staying in the single market if the UK doesn’t. 27 find it acceptable and 42 unacceptable. This stretches out to 23 acceptable and 56 unacceptable for Conservative voters which will please Mrs May.

    Also, the number of people who think May is pursuing too soft a Brexit has dropped from 34% to 26% while those who think she is getting the balance right have gone up from 11% to 16% (compared to 4/5 September). Too hard is largely unchanged, dropping slightly from 18 to 17%.

  23. @ PTRP – “The point is that no one know how to redress the balance between assets and wages”

    CON, like most Western Centre-Right parties, are failing to make that argument heard but is a simple argument to make.

    The simple “centre-right” answer is to tax “bad” things, regulate against really bad things whilst creating an “enabling environment” for “competitive” businesses be able to sustainably increase real wages and hence sustainably increases the tax base in your country (not someone else’s country)


    Assets – I’ll split out:
    Good assets: productive assets that boost your economy’s potential (everything from plants and machinery to intellectual property)
    Rent Seeking assets: distributive (e.g. rent on buy to lets, abnormal private sector profits on natural monopolies)

    You can do loads to incentivise the former and redress the latter, which is the “bad” one.
    1/ Buy-to-let/2nd homes: Increases taxes (stamp, income, council) on more than 1 home. CON have done some of this, need to do more. Building more homes also to tackle the supply side.
    2/ Rent seeking on utilities. Instead of nationalising everything asap with money we don’t have then you can force them to invest more and where appropriate apply “windfall taxes”.


    create an “enabling environment” for “competitive” businesses

    This will become a very long post if I explain all the ways to achieve the above and how we need to learn from the past (remembering what does work, what doesn’t work and where the electorate feel the balance has been wrong).

    Simple enough to say that in order to have sustainable real wage increases you need to enable businesses to be competitive in your own country (ie pay taxes here not in tax havens like RoI or cheaper production areas within CU (ie E.Europe)).

    You also have to keep a keen eye out for uncompetitive behaviour (capital will always seek to maximise its profit via increasing barriers to entry for competition, operating as cartels, lobby for their own interests, etc). I don’t think we should ban CBI and other lobby groups, just be aware of their bias and ensure they don’t have too much influence!

    NB Above is how I think the current CON party could do it post Brexit.

    P.S. I’d personally be OK with a single state player in utilities, etc. as it would keep the private sector firms honest. See how that goes to begin with. I’m very concerned about renationalising everything quickly with folks like Tosh McDonald and John McDonnell around!

  24. Water would involve local ownership of some sort with the specific arrangements varying as water geography does.

  25. @ FROSTY – you beat me to it but yes the DK differences boost the CON lead in the YG poll due to methodology.

    The rest comes from CON having the highest “loyalty” (89% of 2017 would vote for them again). In terms of flow:

    CON-LAB and vice versa are v.small and net out. It’s going to be difficult to find anything that significantly changes that, although motivating your own GOTV and discouraging the other side’s GOTV will make a difference, especially in marginal seats!

    CON-UKIP continues to be the risk/reward for CON
    LAB-LD continues to be the risk/reward for LAB (for the next 6mths only though)

  26. Good afternoon all from a lovely sunny Edinburgh.

    John Curtice says the polling shows little change in support for Leave and Remain

    “The first thing to note is just how extraordinarily stable the picture has been during the last nine months. We started the year with Remain on 52% and Leave on 48% – and our latest poll of polls also shows Remain on 52% and Leave on 48%.

    The polls haven’t shifted since the lead up to the EU referendum when the polls were showing remain (again) in the lead, however the only poll that counts is the actual poll and we all know how that turned out and lived happily ever after.

  27. FROSTY

    “Also, the number of people who think May is pursuing too soft a Brexit has dropped from 34% to 26%”

    Personally I would put this down to public perception after the speech she gave on the back of the EU snubbing her Brexit deal because in reality her position hasn’t changed and May is still offering a soft Brexit.

  28. Oh, fun, polls now have to state what amounts to a systematic error, rather than just a statistical error:

    Or rather they’re assigning a generic error, which is to some extent a combination of both. The statement is that 90% of the time the VI lies within +/-4% of the actual VI. That’s probably not so far from the truth. It doesn’t seem to take into account size of sample, or whether it’s a small VI (say 5%) or large VI (say 40%), which means the statistical factors are assumed to be swamped by other factors, if you take that line precisely.

    Depending on how you interpret this, a measured VI of (say) 40/40 can only really be seen as somewhere between 36/44 or 44/36 – that is a huge swing to be considered as within the error range of any one poll. So let’s not over-interpret this stuff!

  29. Actually that appears to be old news, so I don’t know quite why it’s just appeared on Britain Elects. Has it reached its implementation period perhaps?

  30. Trigguy

    so UKIP were on somewhere between -2% and 6% according a recent poll?

    Glad they’ve made things simpler and easier to understand!

  31. Plaid Cymru have elected Adam Price as their new leader.

  32. Useful look at current economic trends here, including falling investment, while growth in private consumption is sustained only by rising debt:

    It concludes:

    John Hawksworth, chief economist at the accountancy firm PwC, said UK GDP was around 1.5% lower than might have been expected if Britain had not voted to leave the EU in the summer of 2016, equating to an annualised loss of national income in the past two years worth £30bn.

    “Brexit-related uncertainty continued to take its toll,” he said.

    I’m not sure if “an annualised loss of national income in the past two years” means the loss of GDP post-referendum is £30bn a year, or that’s the total over two years, but either way it’s a substantial hit. And, of course, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  33. @ FROSTY – Re NI and “respect” questions in YG.

    It might please Mrs.May, it should definitely please whoever follows her (be that a new CON leader or Corbyn)

    May makes out that she is oblivious to the fact that Chuquers is dead and is putting her deal with 10DUP MPs ahead of NI people and marginal CON VI in future marginal CON seats.

    It’s worth noting DUP backed ERG’s NI plan which is now pretty much a full alternative proposal; not just for the EU deal but also how to take advantage of the opportunities of a Clean Brexit (it is light on dealing with the practical challenges though!).

    ERG’s plan is also certainly closer to what EC might accept. For those that missed their NI proposal:

    EC are unlikely to “willingly” accept ERG’s NI plan in its current form as they think they have us over a barrel and it does require RoI to have “special status” via an all Ireland (but not EU) biosecurity zone (ie it’s a tiny split in their precious CU+SM).

    In this regard the “respect” question is interesting. Perhaps May is not as foolish as she makes out?

    a/ Perhaps she wants one final humiliation on 18Oct before “pivoting” to FTA+ and risking a GE if DUP and/or CON-Remain join Corbyn and vote her out (confidence vote or meaningful vote)?
    b/ Alternatively perhaps she’s waiting so she can then accept she has failed and let a new leader take over (ie go quietly with some honour intact and some chance for the party to win a GE)?

    Both seem v.unlikely but what else can she be thinking?

    She must surely know Chuquers is dead. I understand she might be hoping to limp through conf still alive but she must know that buys her 2weeks before she has to go back to EU Council with her dead horse to be given a final kick. In the fantasy land where EC somehow accept Chuquers she then drags the dead horse to HoC who put the final nail it’s coffin and bury her with it.
    (DANNY – no need for repeating your “theory”, we know what you think but check any/all CON X-breaks on any/all Brexit questions and note the maths in HoC)

  34. Allan Christie

    “The polls haven’t shifted since the lead up to the EU referendum when the polls were showing remain (again) in the lead, however the only poll that counts is the actual poll and we all know how that turned out and lived happily ever after.”

    Where are we now?

    Mrs May is putting to the EU a “framework proposal” that is supported by almost no one in the parliament and which reports suggest are not endorsed by the majority of her Cabinet.

    Her chief rivals to take over as PM, Johnson and Rees Mogg, have supported a “framework proposal” that has the support in parliament of no one but the group to which they belong, not much more than 10% of parliamentarians.

    The EU has stated that there are two options. The first is a Norway style deal. It is believed by some that Mrs May favours this option. She will not say so, leaving the EU to try to infer UK intentions. It has been a negotiating tactic of Conservative and Labour parties to refuse to tell the EU what kind of deal these parties want.

    The EU’s second option, based on UK red lines, is a Canada style agreement
    This is likely to be supported in parliament only by members and supporters of ERG. It would mean a hard border with establishment inspections, rules of origin regulations and phyto-sanitary inspections.

    The first step to be taken is for the UK to put forward its proposed text for the border backstop. It is not clear to me that this is possible. Perhaps the EU will come to the rescue but not, I think, at the expense of Ireland.

    So how do you get from here to happy ever after?

  35. @ TRIGGUY – at the end of the day it is seats that count and in that regard the “confidence range” issue makes it worth reconsidering the YG model into last GE.

    Seat predicted 95% confidence intervals of:

    CON 269-334, range 65
    LAB 238-302, range 64
    LDEM 7-19, range 12
    UKIP 0-1
    Green 1-1
    SNP 30-53, range 13
    PC 0-3

    The SNP range also shows there isn’t a need to be “symmetrical” (their “central” prediction was 44).

    The smaller party issue also seems to be covered as the % VI range is much narrower for small parties, eg.

    CON 39-44%, range 5
    LD 8-10%, range 2

    However for the smaller parties my guess is there is some kind of “human override” between seats range and % range, best seen in the Green % and seat numbers being “locked” at 2% and 1 seat. It wouldn’t have mattered whether they got 1% or 5% they’d still have only won 1 seat.

    Who “wastes” their vote or wants to register a “protest vote” outside of Brighton Pav however is of interest and brings us back to:

    How to model for tactical voting

    (to groans, sighs and tutts I expect)

  36. Blimey, it’s the Trevor Yawn show.

  37. I wonder if the Conservatives have been paying any attention at all to the increasing problem for them at General Elections. The crown of unquestioned economic competency has gone from the Tory party due to their support for Brexit. And that won’t be won back.

    So, Tory moaning about other parties economic platforms will not resonate the way it used to…

  38. @ Somerjohn

    Yet John Hawksworth predicts we will have the fastest growing economy of the G7 over the next 30 years! I take it all with an extremely large pinch of salt.

  39. @CB11
    “Is he [McDonnell] likely to be more dangerous than, say, a politician like Cameron proved to be? ”

    I haven’t got much time for Cameron either but he’s out of the picture now. I’m looking towards the future.

  40. Interesting analysis from CNBC factchecker on comparative EU and USA tariffs here:

    Particularly striking information on agri food products:


    * Beef: 50 out of 50 U.S. states can export beef to the EU. Only 4 out of 28 EU Member States can export beef to the U.S. (France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Lithuania).

    * Poultry meat: 50 out of 50 U.S. states can export poultry meat to the EU. None of the 28 EU member states can export poultry meat to the U.S.

    * Eggs and egg products: 50 out of 50 U.S. states can export eggs and egg products to the EU. Only one (the Netherlands) out of 28 EU Member States can export egg and eggs products to the U.S.

    * Grade A dairy products such as cheeses incorporating pasteurized milk; 50 out of 50 U.S. states can export grade A dairy products to the EU. None of the EU countries can export grade A dairy products to the U.S.

    * Plants, fruits and vegetables. The EU has an open system; unless there are specific restrictions called for because of particular pests, all 50 U.S. states can export plants, fruits and vegetables to the EU without any limitation. However, an overly lengthy and burdensome approval procedure is required for every plant, fruit and vegetable to be exported to the U.S. from every EU Member State.”

  41. @Colin – as I said, I do not remotely agree with
    McDonnell’s proposal, but it would still be a sovereign fund, not a Labour government fund.”

    Of course I accept your point that , insofar as we yet understand who will own IOFs ,since they are held for the benefit of company employees & the Treasury ,then one or both of those entities will have beneficial ownership..
    But my reference to the Labour Party has some merit too.

    The Norwegian State Sovereign Wealth Fund arises by the investment of its Petroleum Tax Revenues , by the Norwegian State in a variety of publicly quoted companies’ shares across the globe. The Fund owns 1.3% of global stocks & shares-purchased for fair consideration at market values.

    The proposed IOF arises by the appropriation for no consideration of 10% ( over ten years) of the share capital of every UK company with more than 250 employees. It is a Labour government which will enact this proposal.
    There are many legal questions which arise-not least among them , the prospect that shares held in IOFs will have the same voting rights as other shares in that company , despite having entirely different rights to dividends. But we must assume that McDonnell has chosen this strange vehicle for giving employees and the Treasury a new mandatory slice of corporate dividend payments. So I make the assumption that these shares will exist in order to convey voting rights on the Treasury +Employees. ie a significant chunk of shareholder voting power in every medium/large UK company passes to the representatives of those beneficial owners.

    This is not a Sovereign Wealth Fund, strategically invested in Global Stock Markets.
    It is a Strategic Stake in every medium/large UK Company.

    No Conservative Government would want such a thing.
    McDonnell needs such a thing to direct UK Industrial policy- from inside Boardrooms.
    Who will be on the Trustee & Management Boards of the IOF share holdings? Labour Party Political Activists.

    There will be no conceivable similarity between those people & their objectives, and the Investment Managers of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund & their objectives.

  42. Sorry-that was a response to BFR.

  43. @ SAM –“a “framework proposal” that has the support in parliament of no one but the group to which they belong”

    I assume by group you mean ERG?

    Boris, Davis, Javid, Hunt etc are not in ERG
    Even some b4st4rds like Bone are not in ERG

    More importantly Remainers like Nike Boles support “Canada-style” FTA (although he differs on how to get there)

    With Chuquers dead then various “factions” are slowly uniting on “Canada-style” as the only realistic option but in general they’d prefer May takes the carrot rather than waits for the Boris stick. Few want the leadership challenge now and those that do are aware of the 1y gap before you can try again. (48 is a lot less than 159)

    Most other CON MPs probably just want it over with (eg likes of Greening). Some despise Boris but would be loyal to whoever can get it over with, preferably avoiding a GE. They will stay with May and whatever she says for now but that might change after 18Oct unless she “pivots” before/soon after. The “caretaker” PM fits into this option. Delay the leadership bl00dbath until Summer’19.

    You then have the 0-20 CON-Remain that have to decide if they’d prefer Corbyn to a CON PM – many might abstain rather than actually vote against manifesto promises.

    Moving on to non-CON:

    3-6 LAB would probably support a Clean Brexit and break whip to do so
    0-15 LAB might abstain (e.g. Snell, Flint, Austin, etc.)
    10 DUP? Depends.
    1 LDEM (Lloyd) might abstain

    I doubt it would pass but if EC have accepted it in principle then the numbers would be close.

    If CON-Remain and/or DUP did vote it down and we have a GE then it would be:

    CON: EC acceptable plan that honours the ref result and a leader who shows up this time!
    LAB: just voted against EC acceptable plan and boxed into BrINO with Corbyn unable to avoid Brexit debate and unable to hide in ambiguity
    LDEM: new ref.
    SNP: Indyref2.

    We’d have the GE we should have had in 2017 but this time hopefully CON leader shows up and has a positive Brexit plan and positive plans for the Post Brexit as well. ABL gets in some votes but not enough!

    A lot of if, buts, maybes and IMHO in above I’ll admit but it is probably the “least bad” option for CON as a party. Since the Mayb0tch GE there was never a majority for any kind of Brexit and we hence moved into “least bad” options.

    @ SJ – Carney explained it a few months back.

  44. @ HIRETON – do you mean to say we might already be eating chlorinated chicken and hormone injected beef?

    OMG you’d better keep that quiet. Remainers think we’re all gonna go instantly blind and die from cancer if we eat US food! :-) :-)

    “Only one (the Netherlands) out of 28 EU Member States can export egg and eggs products to the U.S”

    I didn’t know that bit it is hilarious given the fipronil issue :-) :-)

    I’ve never been in a rush to do a trade deal with Trump, pretty happy with things the way are. Given we can’t economically grow oranges in UK then dropping tariffs on orange juice makes sense but far better to join TPP-11 and convince next US president to do the same IMHO.

    Side issue of different EU countries already having different standards for agri-food and how that opens up the possibility for a pragmatic solution to Irish border.

    Thank you for the link and info. Have a great evening!

  45. @ HIRETON – just spotted this in your link as well (thanks again):

    “U.S. companies earn some $106 billion more in corporate profits in the EU than EU companies do in the U.S.”

    Odd they add that to trade balance IMHO but that is certainly something that Macron is probably aware of. Lots of profit in search engines, on-line delivery, social media, mobile phones and medicine – especially if you can access a market of 500million from an offshore tax haven!

    Once Brexit is over then so is RoI’s role as “useful eejits”

    Crocodile tears from Brexiteers!

  46. Good evening all from on board the 17.35 Edinburgh Haymarket to London Kings Cross Choo-Choo.

    Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square…or perhaps not! I should had sang that on my way up.

    Ok moving on.


    “So how do you get from here to happy ever after?”

    You might not be happy and if you’re not then I’m really sorry but you can’t really expect me to sort out all of your grievances on a political forum.

    If you’re not happy then why don’t you stand for Parliament, campaign out on the streets, lobby your MP, direct action, smash peoples faces in, move out of the country, join the Russian KGB, become a tourist guide in Salisbury for visiting Russian tourists….the list goes on…however don’t expect me to sort out your moans on a political forum.

    I’m not happy with Theresa May but I’m traveling First Class.

    Happy days R us.

    Anyone for a G&T? ;-)


    You just made me spit out my G&T…….bon voyage!

  48. Pete B

    “In other words the English did already have a word for the object.”

    Of course they did. Only a total ignoramus would imagine that because the word for an object in a current language was a borrow from one language and not another meant that the object itself had not existed prior to that borrow.

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