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””

1 2 3 4 5 14
  1. STEAMDRIVENANDY

    “And wouldn’t a deal with the 27/28 country EU attract better terms than the UK on its own?”
    _____________

    The UK can negotiate deals with countries that suit the UK however, where the EU may be able to negotiate favorable terms as a cluster of 27 morphed entities, some of the morphed entities may in fact be disadvantaged by such deals depending on what products are being bought in the deals.

    What may be a good deal for Germany, Spain and Italy might be fright time for Poland, Netherlands and Ireland because morphing doesn’t allow for individualism.

  2. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Are there examples of deals done already by the EU which were bad for the UK?

  3. EOTW

    I made the same observation. Seems to be successful as people seem to tune into the messages they want to hear the most.

  4. @ BS – We sold off the “family silver” years/decades ago in order to keep sucking in EU and Chinese imported goods to balance the capital+current account. We bought German cars and paid for them by selling our railways! We bought French wine and sold them our utilities. We bought Chinese toys and sold them our power stations.

    Fiat money is still money and the books have to balance eventually!

    For a list of EU state owned “rent seekers” in railways see:
    http://www.cityam.com/256824/owns-uks-railways-well-not-british-firms-many-cases

    The countries you mention sold a few spoons and in some cases have bought them back, but for the most part they never had someone like Blair as PM who sold the whole lot!

    This is the key point that LAB-Remain don’t understand about Corbyn, McDonnell, McCluskey, etc dislike of the EU and the reason they will never back EEA

    My view has always been we need to fix the current account before we can fix the capital account. In the short-term I’d fully support “windfall taxes”, requirement to invest in infrastructure and skills, etc. to reduce the amount of “rent” we pay to EU state owned companies – but we can only do that with a clean break from ECJ.

    I’d like a Centre-Right less laissez faire HMG and we’ve seen May use “price caps”, close down Wonga, etc. Medium-longer term I’m also totally OK with single state players to keep oligopolies honest, etc but I don’t want Marxists and Trade Unions running the whole country!

    Some of what Comrade McDonnell is suggesting is very disturbing and instead of the British Pound we’d end up with the British Bolivar and be back to calling in the IMF to save us from bankruptcy.

    You can try to undo decades of incompetence and EUcentric n4ivtiy with hyper normalisation but that would require a “Venezuelan” approach to renationalisation and IMHO result in a similar outcome.

    @ ALEC – The carrot is her keeping her job – I’d say that is pretty “huge” carrot.

    It is v.clear LAB will not support any Brexit. The Marx bros are just opportunists who want to take over so late in talks that we crash out with no ECJ oversight and they rely on voters blaming CON for the next 15yrs.

    It is also clear 40+ CON MPs will not support Chuquers (even if EC supported it, which they don’t).

    The “stick” will be HoC votes in due course. I’d prefer it if May takes the carrot before it comes to that!

    I’m fully expecting LDEM to become UKIP in reverse and keep the whingeing going for 40yrs. Maybe in 2058 we can discuss the merits of rejoining EU via A49?

  5. EOTW
    @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Are there examples of deals done already by the EU which were bad for the UK?
    ______________

    Being part of the EU as you ken (I’m in Edinburgh so I’ll use the local lingo) has been problematic for British farmers and fishing and that’s with us being part of the morphing EU project.

    I’m not in the habit of posting vast amounts of data to shore up economic arguments..it’s boring, I haven’t the time and as I normally say, if I’m wrong then show me the goods but please keep it short, I’m already 20 minutes past my 5pm finish.

    Dedication..pure dedication…ken!

  6. I have no idea if this makes economic sense or not.

    https://iea.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/PLAN-A-final-document.pdf

    The detail contained immense & if you listen to Singham he is sounds very expert on the tortuous detail of international trade relations .

    The average voter has no chance whatsoever of making a judgement between this & Chequers.

  7. I reckon Mrs May will use the Irish border by having a row over it with the EU. That may rally her party. She will then try and use the border again to have BINO or Chequers under the cover of legally binding managed divergence to keep the UK together, We will be in the CU. In theory we will be able to do trade deals. But if we do we will have traffic jams on the M20 and have to have a border in the middle of the sea. So we won’t.

    Actually I don’t know if she will do that. It’s what I would try to do if I were her.

  8. COLIN

    That’s a very interesting link and in particular chapter two page 39. It’s going to make for some good reading when I’m back at my hotel tonight.
    ….
    How Independent Trade and Regulatory Policy Delivers the Brexit Prize.

    It is the capacity to apply an independent trade and regulatory policy that gives rise to the economic gains of the Brexit Prize. To make the most of this exercise, the UK should follow an integrated trade policy strategy based on four fundamental pillars.

    All independent countries have some variant of a four pillared trade policy.

    This includes autonomy over their domestic regulatory settings. To have a credible and executable independent trade policy, the UK must have control over its tariff schedules, and domestic regulatory autonomy.

    Without both of these, it will not be a credible trade partner, and this
    precludes being a member of the customs union and the single market or either of them.

  9. ALLAN CHRISTIE,

    “Being part of the EU as you ken (I’m in Edinburgh so I’ll use the local lingo) has been problematic for British farmers and fishing and that’s with us being part of the morphing EU project.”

    That wasn’t the question asked.

    Pretty much every trade deal creates winners and losers in sectors on both sides…almost by definition if it didn’t there wouldn’t be any point to them!

    Opening up trade by removing barriers creates competition which should drive down costs, but that means someone is going to have to make changes to keep it’s share, potentially painful ones.

    The Question was; name a EU trade deal that’s been bad for the UK!

    Peter.

  10. ALLAN CHRISTIE: You don’t have to like Farage but he’s very much on the money with this speech.

    Pretty much on a par with his braying a55 performance in the EP after the brexit result. I have no time for him and his ilk and a video of him supporting a Hungarian proto-fascist does absolutely zilch to enhance my opinion of him.

  11. I see the Commission has referred Poland to the ECJ due to the violations of the principle of judicial independence created by the new Polish Law on the Supreme Court, and to ask the Court of Justice to order interim measures until it has issued a judgment on the case.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-5830_en.htm

  12. A non-runner, I think.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/24/mays-plan-to-give-stormont-a-backstop-veto-enrages-eu-envoys

    “Under the solution, May will agree to Northern Ireland potentially staying, in effect, in the single market, as the rest of the UK exits after the transition period, should there be no other way to avoid a hard border at the time.

    However, crucially, the UK is insisting that the Northern Ireland assembly, known as Stormont, would have to vote in support of this move before it came into force……

    EU officials said the British government was seeking simply to push the issue into the future, leaving the backstop solution as an “empty shell”.”

    The weasel word is “potentially”.

  13. Judging by Guardian, Independent, some TV news feeds and reaction from every business lobby group McDonnell’s speech has gone done like a bucket of sick with ‘Remain” types.

    Many of these “Remain” groups had hoped McDonnell was drifting to the Centre after the 2017 manifesto success and that LAB would back a new ref that Remain would win. Starmer trying to put the Brexit cat back in the bag is probably too late but we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

    Folks might not pay much attention to party conf speeches but the journos who write for papers and news sources do and voters will hence get the info 2nd hand.

    With the next LAB manifesto to the left of the old one and any chance of LAB supporting Remain gone what “friends” they had in the mainstream media and “establishment” are gone.

    It might take a while to feed into the polling and CON’s conf might be a disaster as well but once the dust has settled then my guess is:

    LAB into low 30s
    LDEM and Green picking up the 4-5 from LAB
    Virtually none of the pick-up in UKIP has come from LAB’17 so no VI will come back to LAB from there.

    CON+UKIP stays mid 40s but we could see 3-4pts move one way or the other between them.

    Next LAB MP to go independent? Rumours around that it will be small groups going but to make any kind of impact why not go as a block and get this new party going – a GE is still quite likely and it will make sense to grab the headlines in between LAB and CON confs.

  14. Another npn-runner (taken out of the stalls and put down).

    https://infacts.org/4-gaping-holes-in-brexiters-latest-trade-fantasy/

    “So this is the future Brexiters are planning for: rushed-through trade deals, lower food standards, exposing our NHS and no solution in Ireland. Hopeless all round.”

  15. Meanwhile, I guess some of the members of Mrs May’s Cabinet who oppose the Chequers plan are deciding to wait until the Con conference is in session before resigning.

  16. Isn’t Barry Gardiner the bloke that shouts about Cillit Bang on TV. Thank the Lord for the BBC and no adverts.

  17. RHI inquiry

    Arlene Foster faces questions tomorrow. Her statement was released today and reveals…….. a very faulty memory.

    https://twitter.com/brendanhughes64?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    “‘Do not recall’ is mentioned five times; ‘cannot recall’ – eight; ‘no recollection’ – once; ‘unaware’ – 10; ‘I was not aware’ – four times.”

  18. @TW

    Keep up, McDonnell has back tracked

    https://twitter.com/jrmaidment/status/1044254310945705984

    Well sort of…
    John McDonnell has sort of clarified his second Brexit vote comments.
    He said: “Keir is right. We are keeping all the options on the table.”
    Asked if that included Remain: “…we are saying respect the past referendum and I just tell you we have to be careful what we wish for.”

  19. @Allan Christie

    Many smaller farmers have been kept afloat by the EU.

    I can see a future if we have the sort of unregulated free trade that some on the right dream of then large swathes of uplands will be covered in conifers, apart from the moors set aside for grouse shooting.

    Without the protection of the EU, New World beef and lamb could easily flood the UK markets making hill farming uneconomic.

  20. Hilarious situation with Ummuna and Co showing their duplicitous intent…..

    The People’s Vote, more like only “a referendum with a question rigged in our favour!!”

  21. I’m sure Brexiters care as much for Gibraltar as they do for Northern Ireland, but others may find this of interest.

    As international organizations have recognized, Gibraltar is a de facto tax haven, and this situation cannot go on any longer.

    The government seems to be aware that these are the main issues that need to be negotiated. This, however, means putting on hold – but not forgetting – talks over joint sovereignty, which will have to wait until a not-so-distant future. But the fast-approaching deadline is proving no small problem in the negotiations with London.

    Gibraltar today sets a bad example of what could happen in the border zone between Ireland and Northern Ireland if a suitable Brexit agreement is not reached: instability, corruption and organized white-collar crime. This is about achieving the opposite: an agreement that makes the current situation in Ireland a positive reference point for Gibraltar.
    https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/09/24/inenglish/1537782740_325473.html

  22. @ COLIN – the main difference between IEA’s suggestion and Chequers is that EC might accept IEA’s Plan A+ and it would be more popular with CON VI, knock out UKIP and possibly win a few marginal voters as well. It goes way beyond just the EU trade deal though, pointing out other trade deals and regulatory advantages that are only achievable with a Clean Brexit.

    IEA plan’s weakness is NI. DUP will not like it but EC might. ERG’s solution for NI was approved by DUP but EC won’t go for that. The gap between the two is narrowing though and other folks are working on NI options from what I hear ;)

    May wanted details, they gave her details! Whether she takes the carrot or wants the stick though?!? Who knows?

    @ EOTW / PETER – Ukraine, Georgie, Moldova and Balkans! Mostly for geo-political reasons but UK exports to some of them went down after EU did a “deal” with them.

    IMHO it is much more about the deals the EU hasn’t done than the few pathetic French-German interested ones they have eventually managed to do.

    Outside of growing their “sphere of influence” we can copy+paste the SADC EPA, join TPP-11 to improve on Canada, Mexico and add in 9 others and be way ahead of what has taken the EU decades to not do – and that is just before lunch! S.Korea in the afternoon as that is a bit more fiddly. No rush on US and China, start with the easy ones first ;)

  23. @ EOTW

    Speaking of forests, one big issue for me is the new EU directive on renewable energy. It appears to allow massive tree felling and is promoting burning wood as a renewable energy. About 800 scientists have said “don’t do it” because to provide just 5% of Europe’s current energy needs will mean using all Europe’s wood harvest plus swathes of forest from elsewhere in the world. The impact on carbon dioxide emissions is considerable easily wiping out the reductions produced by wind farms or solar. Sheer madness IMO!

  24. @ SAM – INFacts is B4B’s version of UKIP’s Full Facts and about as factual!

    I’ll fill in 3 of the 4 “gaping holes” for you:

    1. EU trade deals take for ever, or never. 28 pairs of feet on the brakes (more if you include the Walloons!). Chile or Switzerland would be better examples for how long it takes. Also plenty of “ready to go” options like CPTPP

    2. Food standards. See also IEA’s suggestion for UK-US FTA. There is an element of labelling and consumer choice to consider. Who are you to deny UK consumer’s cheaper food – especially since it is a large component of poorer households disposal income. We can still assist UK farming but we can’t grow bananas or oranges!
    It’s not lowering standards it accepting different standards and less people die from food related illnesses in US than in EU! The dutch egg issue a recent example of EU being far from perfect!

    3. NHS. Really?!? Do you need a bus for that crock of cr4p. As they say themselves: US companies are already (ie while we’ve been in EU) making inroads and pharma hasn’t featured. UK parliament accountable to UK electorate will set the terms and I’m pretty sure the press and opposition will keep a very close eye on the NHS!

    4. No solution for Irish Border – yep, fair point.

    So 1/4 hopeless but something to build on at least and a lot better than Chuquers ;)

  25. EOTW,

    “Without the protection of the EU, New World beef and lamb could easily flood the UK markets making hill farming uneconomic.”

    It’s already uneconomic…without CAP or an equivalent it will collapse even without free trade.

    Peter.

  26. @ SAM – “Meanwhile, I guess some of the members of Mrs May’s Cabinet who oppose the Chequers plan are deciding to wait until the Con conference is in session before resigning.”

    That is the rumour for Mordaunt and McVey. My guess/hope is they’ll wait a little longer so they can apply pressure on Hammond into the budget.

    You can’t steer stubborn donkeys from the back seat, you need a few folks on the front benches ;)

    If the donkeys (May+Hammond) are not for turning then it will also play better with the electorate if the EC put her and her daft plan out of misery on 18Oct (if she goes, Hammond goes with her)

    Finally, your beloved LBS bloggers say we need to get to 10Oct or so to ensure a new ref is impossible

    @ EOTW – :-) :-) Here kitty kitty, back into the bag now please.

    I was surprised about McDonnell. He is usually very astute and just had to play along and keep the happy clappy crew agreeing to some worthless fudge that he’d never have to honour.

  27. @EOTW

    Are there examples of deals done already by the EU which were bad for the UK?

    Yes. Where I live. Anglesey’s largest employer – Anglesey Aluminium (owned by Rio Tinto), closed because the EU lifted tariffs on Russian Aluminium and the EU was immediately flooded with cheap aluminium. 1200 people lost their jobs in a county where there are less than 70,000 men, women and children. Noy long after, the EU PAID another major employer to relocate to Austria.

    Not surprisingly, Anglesey – a Plaid stronghold at Assembly level and a safe Labour seat at Westminster level, voted leave.

    (PS – the fact that Mandelson was our EU commissioner at the time and lobbied hardest to get the tariffs lifted, and that the biggest beneficiary was RusAl, owned by a certain Oleg Derepiaska – a close friend of Mandelson, should not encourage you to draw conslusions)

  28. TW

    “the main difference between IEA’s suggestion and Chequers is that EC might accept IEA’s Plan A+ ”

    I doubt that. From the link I gave above.

    “The Brexiters have had another crack at how the post-Brexit economy should look. It’s essentially a free trade agreement (FTA) similar to what the EU has with Canada. The blueprint, from the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), has been backed by leading Brexiters including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

    The main problem with any Canada-style deal is that it would gum up the supply chains of our manufacturing industries and do nothing to protect our services industries either. But in addition to that huge flaw, there are four specific problems in the IEA’s proposal – all likely to make it unworkable on a practical level and/or deeply unpopular with the UK public.”

    Timing totally unrealistic

    Lowering food standards

    Exposing our NHS

    No solution for the Irish border

  29. @Andy – So you are not a fan of the free trade bonanza that so many of your fellow Brexiters seem to want?

  30. It’s common for the BBC to report on think tank reports (usually uncritically).

    It’s much less usual for them to publish a searing analysis from Newsnight’s political editor on the mathematical incompetence which is cited as being its basis.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45625724

    Has May’s government finally decided to deploy the state broadcaster to rubbish the ERG?

  31. TW is a time traveller! He answered Sam’s post of 8:53pm at 8:20! Spooky.

  32. We all know Lab doesn’t like the SNP since it capitalised on SLab’s self-destruction, but it’s a bit much to have Labour calling for my, and others, extermination so that it can get (a much depopulated) Scotland to vote for it!

    “Labour chairman Ian Lavery: “We need to kill off the nationalists in Scotland and regain that great country.” (h/t Kevin Schofield).

  33. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bbc analysis with a link to github with some python on it…

  34. @ Andy

    “the fact that Mandelson was our EU commissioner at the time”

    Interesting. So perhaps the EU will be less corrupt once UK has left.

  35. @Trevor Warne – you really ought to read the BBC link supplied by @Oldnat.

    I’ve been busy working through the ‘Plan A’ report from the IEA (page 34 so far!) and I’m not remotely surprised that it’s is beig dismissed as statistically bankrupt. It’s garbage, mainly. It’s only the fact that the IEA has built up a completely unwarranted reputation for knowing about the economy that anyone gives a flying [email protected] about this report. It trots out the same, discredited rubbish about deregulation and growth and gets numerous facts wrong.

    Their analysis is completely flawed, and rests on unevidenced assertions. This starts with statements that the EU stifles prosperity and protects incumbent businesses by limiting competition, without seeking to explain why many other EU countries have developed into highly affluent societies or give any evidence that the EU prevents new entrants.

    It then trots out a series of grumbles, like the GDPR lead to many small firms leaving industry, again, without any evidence. (As a small business owner myself, I recognised this as a particularly good example of utter garbage. The GDPR added no extra costs or burdens to my business, and would have very little impact to anyone running a decent business already).

    The central tenet of their entire approach to Brexit is also illogical. They are calling for a basic free trade deal to form the transition, and also become the backstop. This is not possible, as this would involve negotiating on the future trade relationship before the WA is signed. Both sides have already agreed the WA comes before the trade deal, so this is somewhat incomprehensible.

    I’ve checked quite a few of the references and many of them are nonsensical – if I were refereeing this for academic publication I would turn it down on that basis alone, so really you are left with a very lengthy list of opinions and assertions, dressed up as facts, littered with dubious references and where a detailed statistical analysis demonstrably proves the whole document as false.

    It may be that yu like this kind of publication, but no, this isn’t a viable plan for Brexit. It’s a propaganda piece for a discredited ideology, and not a very good one at that.

  36. Many thanks to Old Nat for giving us that link to a BBC journalist being critical of the modelling driving IEA`s excessive claims for benefits that will result from freeing-up trade.

    I doubt if TM and supporters of her Chequers plan have had any influence on the BBC on this occasion, rather we have a conscientious Newsnight staffer who has some knowledge of modelling and who has spotted very dodgy work.

    As ON says, often these think-tank reports are accepted uncritically. One shocking example was a report (probably from IFS) that compared public-sector and private-sector reward, and concluded that the difference was small, which George Osborne used to justify his public-sector freeze. Nobody commented about the effects (mentioned in a tiny footnote) of not considering benefits like company cars, childcare, share gifts, sporting facilities, etc. Also they had not taken into account salary deductions for public-sector staff to pay for their actuarially calculated pensions.

    It was a travesty of a fair analysis, just like this for the IEA seems to be.

  37. Davwel

    On what is a site devoted (or should be) to factors which may affect polling, my point wasn’t that “we have a conscientious Newsnight staffer who has some knowledge of modelling and who has spotted very dodgy work”.

    The BBC employs a lot of very good journalists and analysts who are capable of (and no doubt do) spot “dodgy work” in these think tank reports pretty regularly.

    Whether they are permitted to report their analyses on TV or on the BBC website is what interested me.

    Why has this particular report, at this particular time, been given that treatment? Why none of the other dodgy work that emanates from these partisan groups?

  38. @Andy – “Where I live. Anglesey’s largest employer – Anglesey Aluminium (owned by Rio Tinto), closed because the EU lifted tariffs on Russian Aluminium and the EU was immediately flooded with cheap aluminium. 1200 people lost their jobs in a county where there are less than 70,000 men, women and children.

    ….(PS – the fact that Mandelson was our EU commissioner at the time and lobbied hardest to get the tariffs lifted, and that the biggest beneficiary was RusAl, owned by a certain Oleg Derepiaska – a close friend of Mandelson, should not encourage you to draw conslusions) ”

    My understanding is that the plant closed in 2009, a year after Mandelson left his post as trade commissioner, with the loss of 400 jobs, not 1200 (although no doubt there were knock on losses).

    I can find no reference to cuts in tariffs on Russian imports, although this might have happened – do you have any references?

    I did find multiple references to the fact that Rio Tinto Group and Kaiser Aluminium closed the plant after losing their low cost energy contract, and the closure also fitted very closely with the crash in demand for European aluminium following the 2007/08 financial crash – see here https://www.statista.com/statistics/513470/eu-consumption-of-refined-aluminum/

    The BBC also reported that the operators turned down a government offer of £48 support to retain the plant, but were instead wanting to reduce their overall capacity.

    You may be correct that there was some kind of EU/Russian trade deal that led to tarfiff reductions, but I can’t find any reference to this anywhere.

  39. I see from Twitter that there is an MP called Daniel Kawczynski .

    He doesn’t seem to know very much about trade.

    https://twitter.com/jim_cornelius/status/1044323498754215941?s=21

  40. Andy

    I have no knowledge of aluminium smelter closures by Rio Tinto/Alcan due to EU policies.

    It seems likely, however, that such would not be the only factor since they closed their Invergordon smelter in 1981, Kinlochleven in 2000, Anglesey in 2009, and Lynemouth in 2012.

    The Lochaber smelter was threatened with closure in 2016, but put up for sale and bought by Liberty.

    Whether its planned investment and expansion of the plant will survive the economic problems created by Leave voters, I don’t know.

  41. Ooh! UK hasn’t been paying its taxes. Will it be ordered to surrender its castles, like tax dodging Tory councillors in Aberdeenshire?

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/09/24/fresh-blow-chequers-plan-brussels-demands-billions-customs-duties/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

  42. Andy,

    As before, there may have been individual losers (and winners) from a change in EU trade policy, but that doesn’t mean it was bad for the UK over all.

    Peter.

  43. The notion that nervousness about adopting a second ref is purely a Corbyn/McDonnell stance misunderstands the unease among many (mainly) Northern and Midlands Labour MPs who where elected in 2017 as Labour Leave voters stuck with them in sufficient numbers.

    Kier Starmer has never equivocated from the same line on a second ref as Corbyn as he genuinely agrees with it.

    NB) a technical point, the original Brexit policy paper which still stands but would be ‘complemented’ by the new contemporary composite rules out no deal. A second ref policy in the event of no HOC support for a HMG deal and a refusal to call a GE can not include no deal as an option therefore in theory.

    The reality (sadly imo missed by some peoples vote advocates and others) is that for there to be a second ref at least 12 Tory MPs need to support and that they, therefore, have the power to decide what is workable, although the combined opposition parties would have to sign up as well.

    As has been the case since the GE and DUP deal the ‘Grieve’ group for want of a better phrase hold the cards but so far when push comes to shove have caved in.

    My prediction FWIW, fudge in late November and deal through HOC, early next year.

  44. ON
    “Why has this particular report, at this particular time, been given that treatment? Why none of the other dodgy work that emanates from these partisan groups?”

    Good point. Institutional Remainism perhaps?

    Davwel
    “Nobody commented about the effects (mentioned in a tiny footnote) of not considering benefits like company cars, childcare, share gifts, sporting facilities, etc. Also they had not taken into account salary deductions for public-sector staff to pay for their actuarially calculated pensions.”

    I worked in the private sector for most of my career, and though I had a company car for much of the time, I never had any of the other benefits you mention. This does not mean that they don’t exist, just that their provision is at best patchy and restricted to larger firms. Those larger forms will also have actuarially calculated pension deductions as well of course. As of March 2017 nearly half of UK employees were in organisations employing up to 249 people who would be less likely to have any of those benefits. As this includes public sector, the proportion of the private sector would be even greater.

  45. Jim Jam

    Re your prediction – Author Robert Harris warns Brexit now taking on a slight railway-timetable-in-August-1914 vibe, with people trusting that “good sense will prevail” because “conflict is in nobody’s interest”. History suggests unwise to bet on it.

  46. Pete B

    “Institutional Remainism perhaps?” Seems unlikely. Were that the case, then similar treatment would have been given to similar previous reports.

    Consistent behaviours require no comment, but changes in behaviour may be revealing – so require to be specifically explained.

  47. My prediction is based on the Tories surviving in Government being the over-riding motivation although the ERG may cupper the so-called remain rebels won’t imo.

  48. TREVOR, can you back up your claim that more people from the EU die from food related illnesses than in the USA?

    https://www.ecowatch.com/13-ways-the-eu-beats-the-u-s-on-food-safety-1881850175.html

    As for cheaper food for poorer households, that would be me, no thanks. How much cheaper can food go without cutting corners on animal welfare/safety etc? I mean we have Aldi/ldil Farm foods Ice Land.

    Your NHS comments are naive and as with a lot of your posts best ignored.

  49. “@EOTW

    Are there examples of deals done already by the EU which were bad for the UK?

    Yes. Where I live. Anglesey’s largest employer – Anglesey Aluminium (owned by Rio Tinto), closed because the EU lifted tariffs on Russian Aluminium and the EU was immediately flooded with cheap aluminium. 1200 people lost their jobs in a county where there are less than 70,000 men, women and children.”
    @Andy September 24th, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Is that actually true?

    From what I can see it was closely tied to Wylfa nuclear power station, used as a base load for Wylfa and saved the grid the cost of keeping a power station on standby. Creating Aluminium makes very heavy use of electricity, and Aluminium plants are typically located next to high electricity sources such as hydro.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglesey_Aluminium

    Looking at the details of the Wylfa nuclear plant linked in the above page it says there was public concern for its safety in 2000; a plan to close it in 2010 was drawn up in 2006. Without the power plant the Aluminium factory could not continue. So to my mind its fate was sealed more by local circumstance than external meddling. Indeed the BBC report linked to on the Wiki page above (footnote 3) says £48m was offered. But a nuclear plant will cost a lot more than that, so I’d suggest the writing was on the wall for Aluminium smelting from the power station’s 2000 safety review.

  50. The IEA report and trashing of it is interesting, first we had fake news now we have fake maths
    Hopefully hat fine outstanding politician Jacob Rees-Mogg will want to distance himself form this shuckster organisation very quickly

1 2 3 4 5 14