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. EOTW,
    “Labour have learnt the lesson of the Leave Campaign, be all thing to all men.”

    yes, I thought that. It has become more popular for politicians even than usual.

    Allan Christie,
    “You don’t have to like Farage but he’s very much on the money with this speech.”

    Didnt seem to be many people seated listening to him. Farage seems to dislike George Soros because he has been campaigning politically. Pot… kettle…black?

  2. Trevor Warne,
    “My view has always been we need to fix the current account before we can fix the capital account.”

    Isnt that exactly the wrong way around? Fix investment and then current account takes care of itself?

    ” they never had someone like Blair as PM who sold the whole lot!”

    I dont really understand that Trevor. It was Thatcher/tories who were selling off state assets hand over fist. My dad had loads of them. Sold them all off for a profit, of course. Really amounted to a bribe to voters, with the secondary effect of transferring profitable industry into the hands of private investors, who in many cases were tory contributors. So a double party gain.

    Of course, labour want to take back those assets from the rich to give to the poor, so equally aim to benefit their own voters.

    Oddly I see Blair as very much a compomise politicians who tried not to favour either the rich or poor interest groups. Corbyn is far more blatantly favouring labour voters.

    Unless labour does acquire more state assets, there isnt anything much for the tories to give away. So it could be looked upon as an endless ring of political largess, where the gifts of one side to their supporters create the potential for the opposite side to do the same. One could not function without the other.

  3. @Andy

    Lord Mandelson, Blair, Altmann, Adonis…..

    Former of wannabe future Eurocrats who’s loyalty is first and foremost not to the UK!

    The same old routine as Anglesey Aluminium was being lined up for Port Talbot steelworks……to the German steelworks’ advantage….

  4. @Trevor Warne – “It’s not lowering standards it accepting different standards and less people die from food related illnesses in US than in EU!”

    As ever, your slackness with facts leads you down some blind alleys.

    From the Centre for Disease Control (US) – on average, 1 in 6 Americans (48 million) get sick from eating contaminated food every year and 3,000 people die from it, while from the EU Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 70,000 people got sick and 93 died (2011 data).

    I’m looking for more detailed statistics on this, but this fits with other data I have heard over the years. The chicken meat supply chain in the US is notorious for high levels of pathogen infection, with recent independent research proving that chlorine washing pre despatch fails to kill life threatening pathogens, and that husbandry habits lead to vastly higher levels of these pathogens than in EU supply chains.

    As ever, it appears that you join the IEA in being just plain wrong.

  5. @ Alex

    Ah, but if you say it loud enough and with enough conviction some people will always believe it. AKA the ‘mud sticks’ syndrome.

  6. OLDNAT

    @”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.”

    Yes-and not just in think tanks :-

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45627146

    Gotta hand it him-a Corporation Tax called Employee Ownership :-) :-) :-)

    He’s the man to watch.

  7. Trevor Warne,
    ” 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.”

    So you do agree there will be lots of problems caused by Brexit, enough to stick in the minds of voters for years to come?

    Not surprising tory MPs are getting nervous, and you agree they have a clear motive to try to stop brexit.

    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”

    How? As i recall, we used to get cheap food from the commonwealth. If anything, being in the EU has meant more expensive food, which is good for farmers because they get more for crops. Plus those subsidies, of course. As to fishing, I dont see how it has changed anything. The UK fishing industry collapsed when we lost the cod wars with iceland. Plus we overfished traditional waters close to the UK.

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

    So its having four which matters?

    Trevor Warne,
    “EU trade deals take for ever, or never. 28 pairs of feet on the brakes”

    You havnt considered that perhaps it is not the 28 that cause the delays, but the inherent difficulty of negotiating a deal where the EU drives a very hard bargain and others are therefore reluctant to agree?

    I am sure, the less advantage the EU got for itelf, the quicker others would agree. But the EU perhaps states the deal it will accept and then just waits for the partner to agree, because in the end that is all which is on offer.

    Remind you of anything the Uk is trying to negotiate?

  8. There seem to be some intresting questions about the IEA’s mathematics in its Plan A+

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

    A number of trade negotiators and lawyers are also questioning central assumptions in it.

  9. @Trevor Warne – here’s another link, this time again a US source, quoting recent (2015) WHO data from their comprehensive “WHO Estimates of the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases”.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/12/03/food-poisoning-deaths-disproportionately-affect-children

    This is the first time anyone has tried to map food related illness globally and is the most authoritative source material on this topic.

    You’ll note that the article states “The European region had the lowest burden of foodborne illnesses in the world. Twenty percent of its cases came from contaminated produce, affecting more than 1 million people in Europe each year.”

  10. @colin – I also had a look at McDonell’s workers shares idea, and I have to say it looks incomprehensible. I really don’t think Labour should be in the business of forcing workers to own shares over which they have no control, and while I support some elements of wider social ownership of certain types of industry, the emphasis should be on ensuring a fairer distribution of profits between labour and capital and encouraging long term responsible investment.

    I really don’t see this idea flying much beyond conference.

  11. @ DANNY – “Fix investment and then current account takes care of itself?”

    Aka, the Venezuela method.

    @ ALEC – your seriously trying to fob folks off with stats from two different sources!?!?

    Let’s go with a single source shall we. Someone like World Health Organisation OK with you?
    http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/foodborne_disease/fergreport/en/

    If you cut through the EC PR B*llsh1t then it comes down to washing food in chlorine for the same reason we drink water with chlorine in it!

    Let’s make it even simpler for you with an analogy:
    The ne0liberal corporate elite drink bottled Evian water, poorer folks drink from the tap.

    FWIW Polling evidence suggests folks very happy to do a trade deal with US, net +58 with only 9% opposed.

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/fqnuy0sidj/GB%20PublicFirstResults_180717_Trade.pdf

    However as SDA said “if you say it loud enough and with enough conviction some people will always believe it.”

    so 15% of folks think a trade deal with US will reduce standards, with LDEM at 24% in the x-breaks!

  12. I think anyone thinking the NHS is safe after any trade deal with America is being very naive, it’ll be one of the main objectives of American vultures.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/07/theresa-may-refuses-to-rule-out-nhs-contracts-from-us-trade-deals

  13. @al urqa Thw Wylfa issue was also EU meddling. Anglesey Aluminium got special rates for its electricity that the EU ruled were in breach fair competition rules. But the miller punch was the lifting of tariffs on cheap russian aluminium

  14. @ DANNY – “Not surprising tory MPs are getting nervous, and you agree they have a clear motive to try to stop brexit.”

    Total B*llocks. Try looking at polling occasionally, specifically CON X-breaks on everything Brexit related.

    @ HIRETON – I’m still laughing at that BBC piece :-) :-)

    “there is a sort-of feedback in the model that can skew results and – falsely – suggest results are more certain than they are”

    Of course we know someone on UKPR who believes HMT models to the 0.1%. Those models include a “sort-of-feedback” compounded over 15yrs.

    “Good statisticians build fair and properly specified models all the time that fail to get robust evidence of things that we know are definitely true. But Mr Singham’s models, despite their fundamental flaws, got wonderfully clear results that match his priors.”

    WOW, again HMT’s analysis! We know their numbers for NTBs are absurdly high (ie fundamental flaws, that got wonderfully clear results that match their priors!!)
    Project Fear 2.0 numbers being remarkably similar to Project Fear 1.0 (even after the “immediate impact” section was shown to be total b*llocks and they had to abandon parts of the old model to create a new model with “wonderfully clear results that match their priors” )

    The problem with these “models” that in order to be “rigorous” they assume “status quo” which is an absurd assumption. They then rely on a bunch of other assumptions which they then compound over 15yrs assuming no HMG/BoE/business reaction or interaction.
    Ridiculous.

    The success/failure of Brexit will depend on not assuming the status quo as Brexit by its very nature is changing the status quo! Sadly May+Hammond don’t seem to understand that.

  15. @alec By 2009 whenit shut completely it had scaled down from 1200 down to 400 just running one pot line on a small re-smelting operation as it struggled with the economic pressures it had been put under. Yes Mandelson was out of post by then, but the damage was done on his watch. And yes only 400 lost their jobs on closure, but 800 lost their jobs in the run-up to that.

  16. Is it the case that the UK government cannot produce a legal text for the NI border backstop? If so it is a FTA with a hard border that the UK will choose, something that parliament will then reject.

  17. Ian Paisley may have caused trouble for a NI council . Was the dinner he organised a fundraiser for the DUP or a “business engagement”. The Auditor is looking at the Council’s spending.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-45634871

  18. @ ALEC – I’m guessing Alex Atkind is a LDEM friend of yours? You should try that pitch on the doorsteps of families working all day, struggling to make ends meet and bringing up a family.

    Maybe Planet Remain is like 1980s EEC. The days of:

    “mid-day siesta meals in Spain (current unemployment rate 15%) or lengthy, multi-course dinners in Italy (whose debt/GDP is over 130% and who just elected an anti-EU govt)”

    Have you ever seen the Matt Damon film Elysium?

    Instead of enjoying lengthy, multi-course dinners in Planet Remain restaurants serving only locally sourced organic produce you should visit Earth sometime and speak to the electorate!

  19. @TW
    the fact that only 15% of voters think standards will be lowered as part of a US/UK trade deal is not remotely reassuring

    Because the proponents of that deal are specifically citing reduction in food regulation as a means to sell the deal to the US!

    So this is not a question of lack of concern, but of lack of information… not surprising as this is all arcane stuff that is only of concern to policy geeks like us, until food-related illnesses increase.

    Even then, from a ne0-lib perspective, increased cancer rates due to food deregulation isn’t really a problem, as causation is so hard to prove.

    I’m curious about one thing – you have been castigating ne0-lib economic views for the last two years, yet report the (apparently deeply flawed) analysis of one of their main economic cheerleaders in positive terms and without critical analysis; why are more extreme, North Atlantic ne0-libs good guys in your eyes and European, rather more constrained ne0-libs bad guys?
    It seems rather odd… I think you must be a UK version of the Tea Party…

  20. @Oldnat

    Many thanks for that link to the comprehensive debunking of “an MP called Daniel Kawczynski.”

    I don’t know who his nemesis – Jim Cornelius – is, but we could do with him on UKPR!

    I’d commend it to anyone in need of a good laugh, but also as a salutary reminder of how things are in the real world, as opposed to the fantasy one subscribed to by over-zealous (and credulous) brexiteers.

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

  21. Jolyon Maugham has been looking into “dark money”.

    “The DUP’s Treasurer, Gregory Campbell, gave an on-the-record interview to SourceMaterial. That interview was recorded and, assuming he told the truth, the shadowy Constitutional Research Council, which gave £435,000 to the DUP, looks to have broken the law
    If Mr Campbell was telling the truth, both he and the DUP are also likely to have broken the law.
    You might hope but you can no longer expect that the Electoral Commission would conduct a proper investigation into these facts but – as will be seen – its investigation was at best cursory.
    And it may well have misled the public in its statements about those investigations.”

    https://waitingfortax.com/

  22. @Hireton – this may be of interest – https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/peter-geoghegan/legatum-who-are-brexiteers-favourite-think-tank-and-who-is-behind-them

    Shanker Singham is apparently an expert of trade, but there is precious little evidence I can find that he has any real skill or training in this field.

    He has an MA in chemistry from Oxford, which I find interesting as chemistry would usually be an MSc or MChem – it’s not an arts subject so why the arts faculty would be awarding chemistry degrees I don’t know but this could be a quirk of Oxford.

    He then did further ‘postgraduate degrees’ at Guilford and Miami law schools, but he doesn’t appear to be a Dr., so these would appear to be legal qualifications, not anything economics related and not a PhD. In short, the man appears to have not a single post A level qualification in economics, which I find suspicious.

    He wrote a book, ‘A General Theory of Trade and Competition’, which the IEA claims is now a staple text of economics, combining for the first time trade and competition into a single theory.

    I checked this on academic search engines and after publication in 2007 it appears to have attracted 10 citations in total, with 5 of these being in student thesis, so that’s just 5 academic citations in 11 years. For a major text in the subject, that’s appallingly bad, so it’s pretty safe to assume that this great text is viewed as rubbish in the world of economics.

    He does have a string of other publications to his name, but again these appear mainly in either low grade academic journals or in political propaganda publications. Again, the level of citations in very low in general.

    Summary: Shanker Singham is taken to be an expert on world trade by many people on the right wing of politics, particularly amongst some current Conservative politicians.

    He has produced texts on free trade and competition, but these are amateurish, politically inspired and should not be taken to represent a cogent economics case. They are political propaganda.

    He appears to have no formal economics training or education.

    His work is funded by multi billionaires with an interest in reducing the power of governments.

    @Trevor Warne apparently believes what he says.

    Taken together, I think this gives us a pretty comprehensive assessment of how sensible people should approach the ERG’s Plan A+.

  23. @Andy – thankyou for the response.

    Yes, I can understand a staged slow down and then closure of a plant. This is often what happens, and I can readily accept the 1200 job losses.

    Your original post laid the blame for this at the feet of the EU for negotiating a trade deal with Russia that you said slashed tariffs on aluminium and for which you blamed Mandelson.

    You didn’t refer to this in your last post, and this was the bit I was really trying to examine. I can’t find any evidence of an agreement to reduce tariffs on Russian aluminium, but I did find abundant evidence of a collapse in demand (Europe and rest of world) following the 2007 crash, and multiple references to the loss of cheap power to the Anglesey plant as being the main causes of the closure.

    This may be incorrect, and there may be an issue of Russian tariff adjustment that is not widely reported, but I was asking for you to share this data as you are obviously aware of some facts that I haven’t been able to find, and I do like to be as accurate as I can be.

    On that note, I can also correct my last post on this. Where I said te plant owners rejected an offer of £48 support from the UK government to keep the plant open, I actually meant £48m.

  24. MAs of that nature are a quirk of oxford, cambridge and dublin.

    In all three, those who qualify with a bachelors qualify for an ‘MA’ providing they basically manage to not do anything criminal for a 2-3 years or so afterwards.

    It is not a true masters and should not be considered as such. Proper masters from those universities have the current conventional forms of MSc etc for separate postgrad studies and things like MEng or MSci for ‘masterfied’ 4 year undergrad degrees.

  25. @Trevor Warne – “Let’s go with a single source shall we. Someone like World Health Organisation OK with you?”

    Ahh – you’ve managed to catch up then? I said – “…here’s another link, this time again a US source, quoting recent (2015) WHO data from their comprehensive “WHO Estimates of the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases”. ”

    I’m glad we can agree, and thankyou for helping draw people’s attention to the WHO data that shows Europe has the lowest food borne diseases in the world.

    Also: In your response to @Hireton regarding the BBC deconstruction of the IEA’s fundamentally flawed maths, it’s clear you haven’t understood the critique.

    The BBC was seeking to replicate Singham’s modelling, and got wildly diverging results from the same inputs. This has nothing to do with HMT models and it’s curious that you bring these up – they are not relevant here.

    Trying reading the BBC critique again, this time see if you can understand what the author is saying, and then have a ponder about that.

    You may also want to have a think about my previous post about Singham’s economics experience too.

  26. ALEC

    @”I really don’t see this idea flying much beyond conference.”

    I think it is at the heart of what he plans to do-and will do if in power.

    It is the a start-as he said. ClauseIV will be on its way back.

    Make no mistake JMcD is on a mission of very very radical industrial & economic reform.

  27. @Jameb – yes of course, I’d forgotten about that. So Singham doesn’t even have a proper masters degree.

    @Trevor Warne – “I’m guessing Alex Atkind is a LDEM friend of yours?”

    No he/she isn’t. Who is he/she?

  28. @somerjohn/Oldnat – I rather like the tag line on Jim Cornelius’ twitter feed:

    “Accidental tariff nerd. Not an expert. I just look stuff up”.

    I can sympathise with his pain at reading complete rubbish, where the authors have either tried to deceive or been too lazy to get hold of basic facts, and the way this nonsense spreads.

  29. “I think it is at the heart of what he plans to do-and will do if in power.

    It is the a start-as he said. ClauseIV will be on its way back.

    Make no mistake JMcD is on a mission of very very radical industrial & economic reform.”

    ——

    If you are going to keep selling this speculative apocalyptic endgame, can’t you at least be less partisan and do the same for his opponents and go on about how they might going to keep cutting services and safety net and selling stuff off till there’s not much left? Cos we have at least seen what they’ve been doing in power and seen the trend as opposed to with Corbyn.

  30. @ALEC

    “@colin – I also had a look at McDonell’s workers shares idea, and I have to say it looks incomprehensible. I really don’t think Labour should be in the business of forcing workers to own shares over which they have no control, and while I support some elements of wider social ownership of certain types of industry, the emphasis should be on ensuring a fairer distribution of profits between labour and capital and encouraging long term responsible investment.
    I really don’t see this idea flying much beyond conference.”

    ——

    Well it’s rather the point of socialism. To have workers controlling the means of production. In that sense, to try and give workers more control is to be expected.

    Whether that’s the best method is something else.

  31. ALEC / SOMERJOHN / OLDNAT

    Thanks to all of you re the Cornelius tweet to the Con Brexiter MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham.

    Best response I saw on the thread seemed very apposite for some who post here:

    Facts. So much fun. Who knew?!?

  32. Looking at the Beeb’s reporting of McDonnell’s plans, renationalisation isn’t a return to monolithic state control, but instead…

    “He also announced that the water industry in England would be the first to be re-nationalised under Labour.

    Existing bosses would be fired and control handed to workers, local councils and customers, with new executives hired on reduced salaries.”

  33. The worker share scheme doesn’t seem that radical, in one sense it’s s8milar to John Lewis.

    “Firms would have to put 1% of their shares into the fund every year up to a maximum of 10%.

    The amount of share capital available to workers would be capped at £500, with the rest – estimated at £2.1bn a year by the end of a five-year Parliamentary term – going into a fund to pay for public services and welfare.
    ‘Broadening of ownership’

    The scheme would apply to companies with more than 250 workers, although smaller firms could set up inclusive ownership funds if they wanted to.

    Labour calculates that 40% of the UK’s private sector workforce – some 10.7 million people – would initially be covered by the scheme. Dividend payouts would be made at a flat rate to all employees of the firm.

    The funds would be held and managed collectively, with a bar on selling or trading their shareholdings. The system would be similar to that operated by employee-owned retailer John Lewis.”

    ——

    The “interesting” part is that it is ALSO a sneaky way for the government to raise more revenue.

    And with companies hoovering up profits and paying less taxes, will this sort of thng be the future? And will it early be apocalyptic?

    I mean it’s not that long ago that something like QE would have been considered anathema.

  34. @ BFR – I posted the IEA report at: September 24th, 2018 at 9:53 am. As I said then:

    “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…
    (they are one of the more detailed pro-Brexit groups but a little too n4ive on free trade IMHO)”

    I’m not endorsing everything they wrote, specfically when I said:

    “a little too n4ive on free trade IMHO”

    FWIW I’ve previously also highlighted flaws in Minford’s analysis. Both sides are making dubious assumptions to get the number they want.

    My point here is that I fundamentally disagree with the APPROACH that everyone is taking, or being forced to take, with these daft 15yr forecasts.

    As a rough average Remain models say we’ll be 7% worse off in 15yrs. Leave models say 7% better.

    I don’t trust either as the whole approach is wrong.

    As we just saw in the last two years HMG and BoE don’t sit on their hands and do nothing. They also don’t impose punishment budgets and emergency rate hikes. Supply chains will also react in due course and I’ve always said that HMG should “incentivise” businesses to stay/expand/move to UK (which incidentally is what really disturbs me about letting the Marx bros inherit a Clean Brexit – they will be massively “disincentivising” business to stay/expand/move)

    UK’s version of ne0liberalism is laissez faire EU-Centric, London-Centric. Leaving the EU only breaks one part of that failing model and in case you didn’t notice I am highly critical of May+Hammond.

    @ ALEC – I caught up before Jun’16 but UKPR does seem to have a delay. At least we agree the WHO source to use.

    I’m guessing you are taking the “Americas” number (ie North and South)? You need AMR A for N.America. So on p76:

    “The lowest burden was observed in the North American subregion AMR A (35 DALYs per 100,000 population)”

    My original comment was US v EU and EU has more people (I’m sure you can multiply) but even on a per 100,000 basis US wins.
    (technically that is US and Canada but even if no Canadian ever died from food illness then it won;t make much difference to the result).

    Skim the graphs on the pages that follow and you’ll see EUR A (basically EU) is very close to AMR A and both way ahead of some parts of the World. Hence it is a case of “different regulations”, which is also known as “consumer choice”.

    No one if planning to hold your neck open and force chlorinated chicken down your gullet but those on lower incomes will appreciate the lower prices from increased competition and broader consumer choice.

    I’m not supporting a deal with Trump, just saying this whole nonsense about US food being a “reduction in food standards” is B4B Remainer BS and it does appear to have stuck with some folks as its been said often enough and loud enough to stick.

    P.S. You can be a pedantic d1ck about how they calculate DALY number if you want. Also if you want the last word then go ahead. LAB conf is more interesting!

  35. The big question with the shares plan seems to be: will it make big employers pack their bags?

    Of course, if it increases employee performance, it might be a benefit, and if it becmes something done elsewhere, then there’s less merit in moving.

    QE became something that went from being seen as a quick route to hyperinflation, to something more widely adopted. Measures to counter some of the effects of globalisation are probably going to happen.

  36. Trevor Warne,
    “Try looking at polling occasionally, specifically CON X-breaks on everything Brexit related.”

    The problem Trev is that the tories have promised to honour the referendum by leaving the EU, and implicitly to deliver all the leave promises. If they leave the EU but fail to deliver the promises, everyone will blame them. Remainers will say it was alway inevitable. leavers will say the failure is due to incompetent tory handling.

    At the moment they are still pretty much still promising everything, so what is there for leavers to complain about? But it is absolutely plain they fear future repurcussions, or they would just have got on and left the EU a year ago.

    Polling will adjust to reality. Already we have increasingly strident leavers claiming democracy demands we leave the EU, despite the polling saying there is now a remain majority. This propaganda war cannot be sustained in the face of a bad Brexit and tory support would disappear like snow if they allow it to happen.

    So how do you both deliver brexit and not deliver brexit at the same time? Tough, but they seem to be doing it.

  37. @ ALEC – :-) :-)

    @Trevor Warne – “I’m guessing Alex Atkind is a LDEM friend of yours?”
    No he/she isn’t. Who is he/she?

    Errr, the person you posted a link to at 8:27am!! Did you even read your own link?

    However, I totally agree with your:

    “I can sympathise with his pain at reading complete rubbish, where the authors have either tried to deceive or been too lazy to get hold of basic facts, and the way this nonsense spreads.”

    How do you think a new ref will go?

    I’ll credit you being less lazy than most but you struggle to “get hold of basic facts” and spread nonsense.

    :-) :-) You do make me laugh. Speaking of which back to LAB conf! It does seem like Starmer has got away with “tried to deceive” . I’m pretty sure LAB-Remain will be “too lazy to get hold of basic facts” such as no time to hold a ref by the time LAB might ask for one. April Fool 2019!

  38. So many questions on JM’s IOFs:-

    Employees & the Government will share dividend income on these shares but employees cannot sell them. So who actually owns them?

    These shares clearly have different rights attached than the company’s ordinary share capital. Can they be quoted on a Stock Exchange, and if so what value will they attract? Are they really “shares” at all? Isn’t this just a scheme to put 10% of all dividend payments in a separate pot for employees & the Treasury?

    Which employees will receive dividends from the IOF?-everyone up to the highest paid executives? If not-who will decide & on what basis.?

    The employees dividend is capped at £500 pa. What incentive is that-with no opportunity for capital gain- for an employee to identify personally with the growth of the company.?

    What about foreign owned companies?

    etc.

  39. Jeremy Corbyn would be ‘incompetent’ Brexit negotiator, Sky Data poll finds:

    https://news.sky.com/story/jeremy-corbyn-would-be-incompetent-brexit-negotiator-poll-11508078

    71% thought he would be incompetent.

    (they didn’t ask about May’s incompetence but separately: “Mrs May also has a 21% lead over him in a run-off question on who people would prefer to be prime minister”)

    Cue the usual Sky are Right Wing fac1sts.

  40. Interesting idea…..

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45631787

    Labour conference: ‘Nationalise the internet’ call rejected

  41. CARFREW
    I too see some problems with McDonnell’s proposal:

    Where might the UK workers at McDonald’s or Starbucks, or Apple get shares? Are companies allowed to issue shares that can’t be traded on the New York stock exchange indefinitely? I don’t know what the longest restriction can be. Don’t you have to declare tax in America on dividends earned there? The U.K. government would pay U.S. tax on their cut?
    (Of course if the Starbucks baristas end up with 10% of Starbucks over 10 years, that might turn out to be quite popular.) Would the EU agree to this for their companies? Where and how would Nisssan employees get shares?
    Are workers supposed to get 10% of the U.K. subsidiaries? These are privately held companies, they would be forced to float if they suddenly had thousands of shareholders, its the law. The same would apply to large privately owned U.K. companies.
    And what about a vodaphone employee posted to Italy (for example), does he or she get shares too? If so, what about the Italian co-workers?
    it’s too messy in my opinion.

  42. @carfrew – I don’t necessarily disagree, but I was a bit confused about what the plans actually represent.

    Workers can’t buy and sell their shares, but can get dividends, but only up to a limit of £500. Why? If you want to spread share ownership, why limit the returns.

    Above this level, the government gets the dividends. So that’s basically a 100% tax on worker owned share income above the threshold. This matters quite a lot, as labour have floated figures that after 5 year only the dividends will be worth £4bn with £2.1bn taken by the state. That’s a bit daft, and once workers see that their dividends are being trousered by the government, I think they won’t be very appreciative.

    Part of the mentality of this possibly comes from Labour’s struggle with identity. They seem to assume that A Labour Government = The Workers, so taking more than half the workers dividends for government is OK because it’s all for the workers benefit.

    Then there is the issue of what happens if workers are locked into share schemes of a failing company that they can’t sell, or where a major financial crash occurs and equities crash. Again, that is a bit daft. Stock market investing is a strategy that really should only be done with money that you don’t really need, and there are many other ways to build up assets with less risk, moving into stocks and shares only for very long term investments or where you can afford the risk. With a limit on earnings from shares anyway, it really doesn’t make for a good financial strategy for workers.

    The policy seems well intentioned but very badly thought through, and I’m unclear why Labour is taking this route.

  43. COLIN
    I think you just beat me too it
    :)

  44. ‘Well it’s rather the point of socialism. To have workers controlling the means of production. In that sense, to try and give workers more control is to be expected.

    Whether that’s the best method is something else.’

    The thing is that giving ‘the workers’ a few shares doesn’t ‘control production’, the majority shareholders do that. All it gives workers is a right to have a share in profits and some element of capital investment.

    Why not give customers some shares as well, they are likely to have a similar interest in a business succeeding and behaving ethically etc.

  45. @Colin
    @Colby

    Good to see tha analysis of Labour’s plans. Agreed, there are a number of question marks. Whether they are all insoluble deal-breakers is something else. It’s something to investigate, as was QE once upon a time.

    Colin’s concerns centre on the value of the shares. I suspect that to the socialist way of thinking, exerting at least some worker control over the company is the bigger deal lying behind it. A pseudo-Mittelstand kinda thing.

    They might evolve the value aspect over time. Similarly Colby raises concerns over the international aspect. Maybe these things are resolvable, or maybe… it’s the Brexiter mindset at work. If this mostly applied to companies based here, then on the one hand, it’s potentially a cost on the company, but on the other, it might be more attractive to employees to work for the local firm.

    The thing is, that I suspect we are likely to see more of this sort of stuff, and it might be part of a bigger picture, as I shall talk about in my reply to Alec.

  46. “@al urqa Thw Wylfa issue was also EU meddling. Anglesey Aluminium got special rates for its electricity that the EU ruled were in breach fair competition rules. But the miller punch was the lifting of tariffs on cheap russian aluminium”
    @Andy September 25th, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I thought this would be an interesting project to research, but I really am struggling to find any reference to the EU being bad boys in all of this. Can you point me to any links? All I can find is aluminium prices falling and the cheap source of power coming to an end, both making it uneconomic. As I said before electricity is the critical factor; you need loads of it.

    I did find this:

    Talking about Anglesey, he said parent company Rio Tinto had made the decision to leave once a deal with Wylfa nuclear station to supply low cost power came to an end.

    He said: “It was a very difficult time, every effort was made to keep them here, I can’t fault the UK or Welsh Government. They offered huge sums of money to compensate for the higher energy costs but the decision had already been made.”

    Anglesey MP Albert Owen also remembers the fight well – helping secure significant backing from the then Labour Government at Westminster.

    He said: “Rio Tinto had made the decision at a corporate level to close Anglesey Aluminium. Everything was done to save it but they still walked away.

    “They were struggling to compete because there were other parts of the world with cheaper labour and/or cheaper energy costs.

    “You had geothermal power in Iceland, you had cheap labour costs in Africa, we could not compete with that.

    “They wanted electricity at 1999 prices as they had done from Wylfa. This wasn’t going to happen.”

    https://www.dailypost.co.uk/business/business-news/death-aluminium-industry-caused-hammer-11260558

  47. @alec

    Yes there are links between the IEA, Legatum and the so called Taxpayer’s Alliance. The funding of the IEA and the TA is secretive.

    Thank you for responding to our prolix poster who seems to be getting more chaotic by the day.

  48. @Alec

    “Part of the mentality of this possibly comes from Labour’s struggle with identity. They seem to assume that A Labour Government = The Workers, so taking more than half the workers dividends for government is OK because it’s all for the workers benefit.“

    ——

    Yes, as you are probably aware, I have issues with the idea that the state is a proxy for the workers thing myself.

    It’s important to note, however, that in this regard Labour appear to have at least seen the value of decoupling the state when it comes to renationalisation, where the idea is a more local control.

    To some extent, the workers share thing might be seen in that context. I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to mix it up with government revenue though.

    It does create issues as you, Colin and Colby point out. But you can see the attraction. It might offer a partial solution to a few problems.

    Firstly, multi-national corporations being able to evade taxation, and having this advantage, eliminate local business in the process. This approach might provide an alternative revenue stream.
    .
    And secondly, the problem of renationalisation just leading to privatisation again. It might be harder to do if workers own some of the shares? It might also help block some asset stripping of private companies etc.

    We can be critical of the plans themselves, and we should, but one might see them not as a fair accomplis but as just an early move in a rebalancing echoed elsewhere in the rise of Sanders etc.

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