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. @Neil A

    “and yes I was misrepresenting you, for effect….
    But you do tend to dismiss people’s choices as something that are not their own fault.”


    Not at all and you’ve never been able to quote me to that effect. I just counter the idea promoted by some that it’s relatively easy to escape certain difficult situations. I point out some things can be harder than they might seem, and some things have hidden deleterious effects, and it can be particularly hard when things stack up.

    That’s not the same as denying some people mess things up for themselves making relatively unforced errors. Which I have never denied.

  2. There was some discussion of poverty earlier. I’ve had a look at the definitions of what this means on government sites and elsewhere. As far as I can work out, my wife and I are in or near ‘relative poverty’, yet we run two cars, own our own home, go on holiday and trips whenever we feel like it and so on and are much much better off than our parents were when we were growing up. We even have a colour television! Though I am sure there are some people in genuine poverty and I feel sorry for them, it doesn’t help the case when ludicrous exaggerations are made by official sources.

    ‘…and aim to put solar panels on “every viable” roof in Britain.’

    He’ll have to pay me a bloody big bribe to do that, unless he sends the jackbooted enforcers round. What a load of tosh (I nearly used a word that might be considered inappropriate).

  3. @Oldnat

    “Any idea what he means by “the country”? Many of those proposals can (unless the devolved administrations are bypassed) only be done in England.

    Scotland has done pretty well in reducing carbon emissions, but government here needs to do more (though they are moving in the right direction) to implement the range of recommendations that will genuinely produce a carbon-zero economy.”


    Hopefully Scotland can at least get some of the allocated cash? I think it would be cool for Scotland to not just become zero carbon but to be able develop those significant renewable resources to replace oil as soon as, if the pace of adoption of renewables continues.

  4. Carfrew

    “Hopefully Scotland can at least get some of the allocated cash?”

    Only if the Treasury decides that the expenditure on these projects only benefits England, and is subject to their rules for allocating additional funding to the devolved administrations.

    Much more critical would be the UK Government altering some of the regulations on transport, energy transmission etc which are GB wide.

    That’s why it’s important to see the detail of what politicians in England intend when they use loose terminology like “the country”.

  5. @OLDNAT

    “Not only that but (as I’m sure Sam has already pointed out) disadvantage in early life has a damaging effect at the genetic level.‘


    Yes, funnily enough I’ve been reading up on epigenetics lately. There are so many factors. Sometimes they do work the other way, and you can make some gains from hardship. But that is by no means a given.

  6. @oldnat

    Is there a particular reason why Scotland wouldn’t get a share of the cash?

  7. @Pete B

    “As far as I can work out, my wife and I are in or near ‘relative poverty’, yet we run two cars, own our own home, go on holiday and trips whenever we feel like it and so on and are much much better off than our parents were when we were growing up. We even have a colour television!”


    Eh? No mention of having any synths, or storage units, not even an allotment? Sounds positively deprived, Pete!

    Re: solar panels – weren’t you asking about them not so long ago (for survivalist purposes}?

  8. @ CARFREW
    “Good news for assorted Greenies. Not so good for those opposed to the windmills. Been wondering if Corbs would embrace the exponential trends…

    From the Times…

    “Wind and solar to drive Corbyn’s green revolution” ”

    Better than a fracking revolution as promised by the other side….

  9. @pete b

    you are not in poverty. by any definition.

    millions of people – many of whom are in full time employment – struggle to afford the basic necessities needed to function in our society – i dont see it as a source of amusement – its a national scandal.

    Ive been there myself and work in one of the most deprived areas of leeds – widespread poverty is real, its growing and it wrecks lives.

  10. Carfew re emissions whether Scotland or the whole UK.

    Labour have said that they will try to find a way to calculate out-sourced carbon in assessing performance.

    The UK has done well in the last 15-20 years relative to some other developed countries with much being genuine especially on energy.

    However, off-shoring, especially to China has meant we have shifted the carbon impact of much of our consumption.

  11. Colin,
    “Downside for the country-a shambles.”

    You miss out that labour supporters are remainers. If labour supports pretty much any leave deal it is opposing the will of its voters. It is pretty likely that whatever the tories bring forward will be a plan to leave the EU, so labour voters wish it opposed. Leave means leave…it does not mean remain.

    Allan Christie,
    “The far right is rising all across the EU political project.”

    So you see WW3 coming?

    Not sure why you are expounding the benefits of actually visiting a shop. These benefits have always been there, Its the new options for retailing which have changed the market. There are new pressures against needing a cluster of shops which can be visited. Sure, there are still reasons why you might want to be there in person but the viability of shops on the ground has been reduced, and they are closing.

    So as I suggested, something has to change to make actual shops cheaper or they will be gone. That comes down mostly to the cost of the property they are in.

    One of the reasons for the rise of the charity shop on the high street is they pay little or no rates (being charities) and likely pay consessionary rents (being frequently in otherwise unlettable shops). They must also be very good for the environment, since they hugely recycle goods to new owners. But they are a very different business model which does not involve making new goods.

    “She needs to get on the telly pronto & spell out in simple terms why Chequers is the best of a bad job”

    But she cant. To say so would be to admit Brexit is bad for britain.

  12. Trevor Warne,
    “We never wanted Brexit, that was the Tories.”

    The interesting thing I see is that whereas you write a slogan for labour which you think will rouse the country against them, it could also be seen as rousing the country for them. The two main parties are potentially much more polarised than in the past. Tories have lurched to the right with both austerity and now Brexit. Labour moved back to the left and its more traditional role of wealth redistribution.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    And against a background where Trump has initiated a new era in world politics, which I fancy will continue after him. Never forgetting the left winger who nearly beat Clinton to the democrat nomination as well. There is a groundswell of opinion which opposed both the established democrat and republican consensus. The US too is about to oppose globalism

  13. @ HIRETON / ALEC – Take a few steps back and consider why dieselGATE has GATE on the end!

    UK consumers should be compensated but this is about something much bigger. So stepping back:

    The EU began as ECSC – the European Coal and Steel CARTEL. It has come a long way since!

    If/when lawyers uncover evidence that links back to German and EC officials and bodies then do you begin to understand the importance?

    If not, I give up. Let’s simply agree that Remainers see the interaction between some companies, govts and the EC/ECJ very differently to Leavers.

    @ VARIOUS – more later.

  14. @CARFEW

    I am not sure that Gove get’s it at all I think it would be fairer to say that the Tories understand that intervention is necessary but it goes against their ethos. Hence I believe the telegraph article is one that strike at the heart of the issue.

    it also points to my view is that we never talk about policy and we tend to talk in memes. for example ALLAIN CHRISTIE believe that Ed Miliband was a Blairite made me chuckle. ‘Red’ Ed Miliband was sold as a marxist even Blair himself thought he was a traditioonal left winger yet we have people who though he was a blairite so go figure

    What I thought Ed Miliband did was talk about policy, hence he was seen as a geek yet it is policy that we need and hence possibly and scarily we need more geekiness.

    COLIN has pointed out that Corbyn has offered a set of policies that are coherent and therefore the argument cannot be that he is communist/socialist antisemite

    Even the moderates in the party do not talk policy indeed the biggest knock on Corbyn that I have seen thus far is not policy but purely electability.

    So i believe you could sell the his policies in a conservative setting all you have to do is be a Tory and espouse them. I thought brexit was going to be a sea change when the vote came in I remember Andrea Leadsom talk about the end of austerity as an example. May talked about the JAMs lipservice but no policy it is why I believe were are stuck we have the politics of the soothing soundbite and yet there is no real policy to show for it.

    Now Javid pointed out that to restore the housing stock and provision future need we need to spend 50B on housing and that because it was that we were generating an asset it was self financing. A simple idea , one which I would vote for be it Labour Conservative or liberal democrat but this was slapped down because it does not meet conservative doctrine (we cannot have council houses because people will vote Labour) I believe if the electorate took their tribal blinkers off things would be different but I am not sure the electorate understands where our politicians are coming from

    I suspect Ed Miliband is kicking himself right now. Given the GE2015 in hindsight I suspect Ed Miliband may have been the choice to help avoid this mess (I know this is weird since the right of the labour party think his brother is the messiah)


    the problem the Tories have is that the party has boiled down to two tribes which are vying for power. Those that believe for want of a better term in sunny uplands of Brexit and those that are trying to extricate themselves from a messy situation. Are any of the politicians true europhiles? Actually I believe not, it is after all why we are the country whos knowledge of the EU ranks amongst the lowest by many measures.

    I think Boris aligned himself to the sunny uplands brigade because he rightly concluded that the members would vote overwhelmingly to leave (which they did) I am not sure that winning was in his calculation.

    my view is that the Tories are worried that they are going to get the blame for whatever comes next and now they have a bogey man that is straight up the bogey man so it does not pay to say he’s the bogey man. It is why it works to say that Ed Miliband is a marxist but not that Corbyn is one.

    We have so many different proxy battles going on here it is sometimes difficult to keep up.


    If VW broke the law then they should be prosecuted. It is obvious that they broke the law in Germany. They have paid a fine so the UK is free to prosecute them. You seem to be blaming the EU for the UK not utilising subsidiarity correctly.

    You need to take a step back, take the hatred blinkers off. There are clear reason for not wanting to be in the EU. There is a clear argument of what subsidiarity really means, after all we have one of the most centralised governmental systems in the EU. Often we end up blaming the EU for things that our government are doing and that lack of subsidiarity in UK governmental affairs seems to suggest.

    Once you put your anger away and go through your thought process I would accept that there is an argument for leaving the EU that has sense about it. but at times you seem to have a ‘blaming’ the Germans default mode. it just does not enhance the debate at all.

  16. TW: The EU began as ECSC – the European Coal and Steel CARTEL.

    You need to be a bit more subtle with your lies. Despite what you might wish, and where your own instincts might lead you, in the real world the second C in ECSC stands for COMMUNITY.

    As Wiki has it:

    The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. He declared his aim was to “make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible”[3] which was to be achieved by regional integration, of which the ECSC was the first step. The Treaty would create a common market for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources, particularly in the Ruhr.

    Some of us are still moved by that noble aim of making “war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” Others, sadly, seem to prefer glorying in the memory of WW1 and WW2.

  17. @ VARIOUS – More Project Fear nonsense – YES!

    There does seem to be another coordinated push to “thump the tub” for those that gain from UK staying in the CU+SM and who know Remainers are too lazy to think for themselves.

    It’s the same rubbish we’ve all heard before, sometimes with a “new report” or tiny rework of false assumptions but nothing genuinely new that would warrant calling it new-s.

    I’ll pick the 9.3bn hit on food costs story as I’ve spent A LOT of time looking into the food issue and the related tariffs, NTBs, future trade deals, etc.

    All sounds really scary until you read the last para that gives some examples of the huge tariff hit that the authors obviously assume will be 100% passed on to consumers with HMG and supply chains doing nothing:

    “Frozen beef would have a duty of 300%, while orange juice would have a tariff of 180%”

    Well, we’d be free to set our own the tariffs[1] and we’d also be free to do trade deals with countries who would be keen to sell us more beef and orange juice to compete with the previously tariff free EU27 beef and orange juice (sensible trade is based on comparative advantage not beggar thy neighbour protectionists blocks that serve the corporate elite!)

    P.S. I am worried about the supply chain issues for agri-food in a rapid adjustment but these “scary number” myths along with the ridiculous claims about non-EU regulated food take away the focus from the important issues we do need to resolve.

    [1] Various leave groups and HMG consultants have proposed a range of options. It will vary by product, urgency and “political” issues. The “by product” bit will range from 0% on products we can’t grow/process in UK and EU’s protectionist %s on products we can grow/process in UK.
    The urgency and political issues are more complex, we might chose to make the tariff a bit or a bit lower than an “optimised” level.
    The level on each product will depend on what you want to achieve but you can certainly ensure the net cost to UK consumer is very low (even assuming 100% pass thru of tariff!).
    Most food is already 0% so VAT offers limited obvious options but some “creative” and/or indirect options exist if the aim to is to get more food processed in UK to avoid tariffs, etc. ;)

  18. “The EU began as ECSC – the European Coal and Steel CARTEL. It has come a long way since!

    If/when lawyers uncover evidence that links back to German and EC officials and bodies then do you begin to understand the importance?

    If not, I give up”

    Tin foil hat time. And a complete acceptance of utter ignorance about the CJEU so let’s try some distraction.

  19. “Well, we’d be free to set our own the tariffs[1] and we’d also be free to do trade deals with countries who would be keen to sell us more beef and orange juice to compete with the previously tariff free EU27 beef and orange juice (sensible trade is based on comparative advantage not beggar thy neighbour protectionists blocks that serve the corporate elite!)”

    So the EU which – as has already been demonstrated – has comparatively moderate to low tariffs in a global context is a “protectionist block” [sic] but countries like the USA with its tariffs are not? Again an intresting insight into Brexiter psychology.

  20. God morgen from a cold, wet field in Clones. It is raining and I am being watched by a number of curious cows. I have no idea why I am here. Can anybody help? Takk.

  21. @Sam

    Hvorfor snakke du norsk (eller dansk)? Spesielt som du ser ut til å være i Irland, ikke sant?

  22. PTRP

    @”COLIN has pointed out that Corbyn has offered a set of policies that are coherent “.

    Nope-that was Jim Jam.

    I disagree with him and what I actually said was :-

    ” It is a sad embarrassment to me that the answer to some of the problems he rightly highlights, is McDonnell & Corbyn’s Command Economy with policies set by a bunch of Far Left Labour Activists.”

    Corbyn’s speech was a very effective list of the problems faced by many groups in UK society as a result of ten years of eliminating an annual Deficit of 11% of GDP. ( it also contained the usual untruths about the usual things- Personal Taxation , Brexit etc etc ,………)

    That was certainly coherant .
    I think most of his solutions are not-though until we see the Total proposed spend & Total Revenue sources, final judgement cannot be made.

    The rest of my comment was about the screaming need for a Tory response. The link that Carfrew posted says it all.

    When this particular writer pens a headline like that, Cons should be taking serious note:-

    “The terrifying truth is that Middle England is falling for Corbynomics”

  23. Good morning all from a grey and breezy Edinburgh.

    “As Van the Man said in his song Magic Time, “you can call it nostalgia, I don’t mind, let me go back for a while to that magic time”. Yes, the magic time of UKPR in its pomp before Brexit monologues and tediously voluminous, one-track and repetitive posts strangled the life out of what was once a truly stimulating political discussion forum”

    I have to agree with you although part of the problem also is the fact that Anthony Wells doesn’t have as much time to moderate the forums as in bygone days.

    Another possible reason could be that some posters haven’t adapted to having to sign into WordPress as part of the login process for UKPR and are now posting as guests meaning their comments are permanently held in moderation until Mr Wells has time to release them or in some cases their comments are not instantly visible and delayed for a bit.

    The emphasis of your comment is correct and the forums have become one-track and very repetitive. In the good ol days we used to have mostly on topic discussions based on whatever Anthony had posted and then go off topic a bit after a few days if a new headline hadn’t been posted.

    Anyway, we still have the two woof woofs Rosie & Dandelion to keep us entertained. A big plus for any forum.

  24. @ HIRETON – “So the EU which – as has already been demonstrated – has comparatively moderate to low tariffs in a global context”

    Such as 300% on frozen beef and 80% on orange juice!?
    (as “demonstrated” in the link I shared)

    I think ALEC would refer to your comment as “ignorance on display”

  25. “The EU began as ECSC – the European Coal and Steel CARTEL. It has come a long way since!”
    @trevor warne September 27th, 2018 at 9:23 am

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read on here in a long time. The ECSC was signed in 1951. That’s because it was all sunshine and roses between the various participants. They had, quite by accident, decided it would be nice to form a CARTEL, and try out this interesting idea of sharing sovereignty.

    They were the best of friends and thought it would be a fun thing to do.

    And then, a few years later, they thought to themselves, sitting outside a cafe in the late autumn sunshine, ‘ha! I know what will p1ss those Tories in the UK, let’s form an EEC!’

    Yes, it’s come a long way since then.

    A little more seriously, perhaps this goes a long way to understanding the hostility to the EU here in the UK — simple ignorance.

  26. As for ol Corby and his speech….I’ve not seen it but I did manage to see a party political broadcast by the Scottish Labour party, although I think a lot of the footage was filmed south of the boarder..the terrace housing stock in the aerial shots looked more like Acton than Castlemilk.

    I agreed with quite a lot of what was being said, the actual broadcast I thought was a little confusing from a Scottish perspective. . Some of the proposals such as bringing water and the railways back into public hands has already happened in Scotland, then it went on about the NHS in England and the setting up of Windfarms, again the Scottish government are already ahead of the game on this front.

    The message was there, if a little confusing.

  27. Anyway, first post LAB conf poll from YG – good news for Corbyn+McDonnell

    McDonnell’s share scheme:
    Good idea 50
    Bad idea 19
    Not sure 30
    Net +31

    LAB VI love it of course but even CON VI give it net +2

    Similar with renationalising privatised water companies although CON just about in -ve there at net -3

    Not so good for 2nd ref folks. Unlike B4B wording “optimisation” they split the questions out and clearly call it a refs

    McDonnell/McClusky: Deal v No Deal ref
    Should 34
    Should not 50
    DK 16
    net -16
    (CON VI very much against, net -64, LAB VI net +19)

    Deal v Remain ref[1] is very similar:
    Should 37
    Should not 48
    DK 15
    net -11
    (CON VI almost exactly very much against, net -65, LAB VI more in favour at +36)

  28. I have been pondering McDonnell’s strange proposal by which employees of some ( not all !!) UK companies will receive up to £500 pa from their companies annual dividend payment.

    The method proposed is that over a period of years 10% of the companies shares be held in an ” Inclusive Ownership Fund”.

    McDonnell said ” “The shares will be held and managed collectively by the workers,”

    But the “workers” cannot sell the shares. Further-the “workers'” dividend payout is capped at £500 pa-the excess going to The Treasury.

    There are many types of Share Ownership Schemes already in existence . Thousands of companies transfer ownership of shares to employees as part of their company incentive schemes.

    McDonnell’s IOFs are not Share “Ownership” Schemes.

    So what is the point of this circuitous route to an increased slice of corporate profits for the Treasury -with a bit for the “workers” thrown in ?

    The legal questions are many-differing share classes, property ownership-The Companies Acts themselves might have to be amended.

    I conclude that the IOF is a bridgehead for the Corbyn/McDonnell project of transfering ownership of the commanding heights of the ( UK owned) corporate sector to The People. Sitting alongside the proposal for a mandatory third of Boards of Directors to be “workers” it is, I believe a first step in that project.

    In Corbyn’s speech he talked about his proposal to tax second homes. He summarised the proposal as follows :-

    “we will put a levy on those with second homes. Think of it as a solidarity fund for those with two homes to help those without any home at all.”

    Corbyn has a strange passive-aggressive style moving from one to the other with a change of volume & hand gesture.
    He said those words quietly, with a truculent smile.

    He likes his poets & must have thought deeply about choosing one poem . It was this :-

    “The 19th century Chartist leader and poet Ernest Jones wrote:

    And what we get, and what we give,

    We know, and we know our share;

    We’re not too low the cloth to weave,

    But too low the cloth to wear.”

    Corbyn & McDonnell are not going to be tinkering when in power. They are going to transfer large amounts of wealth-and larger amounts of power to “the workers” from those who forced them to be “too low” to wear the cloth they weave.

    ie Corbyn & McDonnell’s long time hate figures-The Wealthy, The Corporate Sector, The Banks, The Press.

    There is an attitude in UK that we have escaped the “populist” surge which is sewing chaos from The White House & invading European National Parliaments. This is complacent hubris.

    These two Labour Leaders are intent on a Far Left Populist Project , with their own collection of Enemies of The State.

    Here in UK, -and the Conservative Party is letting it happen. The lesson from USA & Europe is clear-if you let the momentum** gather , you cannot stop it.

    ** what a great name Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard chose !

  29. @Sam

    Aha, nå forstår jeg det! “Norway Plus Sam”

  30. @ HIRETON – 10:25am today “And a complete acceptance of utter ignorance about the CJEU”

    After your 4:41pm y’day, which was barking up the wrong tree anyway, it I’m glad you’ve accepted your utter ignorance about ECJ

    Perhaps you didn’t mean to post that before you posted your “distraction” ignorance at 10:33am?

    It would be nice to discuss polling but by all means keep going, see if you can get a hat trick ;)

  31. Colin: I have been pondering McDonnell’s strange proposal by which employees of some ( not all !!) UK companies will receive up to £500 pa from their companies annual dividend payment.

    I see it as an extra tax on dividends, paid as a bonus to employees. If dividends are very large, then the top slice goes to the Treasury.

    Seems fair enough to me in terms of equity (ie fairness, not shares), and may help employees identify with their companies and so improve industrial relations, as in John Lewis.

    It might also, at the margin, encourage firms to plough profits back into long-term growth rather than go for short-term dividend maximisation.

    The devil, of course, will be in the detail, but the principle looks quite attractive to me.

  32. Colin,

    For the record I said McDonnell’s (not Corbyn’s) proposals are coherent which is important in terms of credibility.

    The CBI say they support the aspiration of workers owning stakes in companies but object to the compulsion.

    Mc Donnell in turn has said we will of course consult on implementation.

    This is code for trying voluntary and incentive driven approaches first (maybe lower corporation tax for companies with worker shareholdings) with legislation as an option if progress insufficient.

    FWIW, I think the 1/3 of boards being from the work-force is more problematic for industry.

  33. missing footnote from 12:04pm

    [1] It would be good to see polling on whether people think “Remain”:
    a/ is before or after we try to unilaterally revoke or ask to revoke A50
    b/ feasible in the time left (links with a/)
    c/ would be on DC terms (ie a straight do-over), pre DC negotiation terms (ie forget the few weak concessions DC obtained from Juncker) or on “new terms” that might involve losing rebate, vetoes, etc.

    Huge potential for “wording bias” depending on who commissions the poll. Also perhaps B4B should in future start using Ja/Nei (Nein) instead of Yes/No?

  34. If by (say) next January, no agreement has been reached on the WA and the default option of a no-deal cliff edge looms just two months ahead, then minds will be wonderfully concentrated.

    In that situation, I can see pressure mounting mightily for a crash-out/remain referendum.

    If the government of the day asked the EU for a 3-month extension to give time for such a referendum, and to confirm that in the case of a remain vote, membership could continue on current terms, then people would have a crystal-clear choice.

    If the considered verdict of the people was to crash out, then I for one would have no quibble with that.

    I guess Danny will say that that was the plan all along.

  35. SJ – needs all 27 EU Governments to agree to A50 extension.

    It has been claimed the EU would push for said extension is a second ref was going to be held but not is just for extra negotiations.

  36. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party

    Anyone think they were Socialists? Started of as a “Worker’s” party in 1919 but dropped the essence of that word a few decades later.

    It’s not about words but actions. Are your actions those of a “Community” or those of a “Cartel”.

    In Corbyn”ish” that translates to: for the many not the few

    Anyone listen to David Mallon at LAB conf? “Capitalist Club” is two CCs but he has the right idea about theEC/ EU as do Corbyn, McDonnell, McClusky. I disagree with them on some things but not their view on the EC/EU.

  37. JIM JAM

    @”The CBI say they support the aspiration of workers owning stakes in companies but object to the compulsion.”

    Of course they do-which is why so many companies ALREADY utilise the existing ones !!!.

    But McDonnell’s proposal is not employee share OWNERSHIP”.

    Ownership of the IOF shares in unclear as yet. I believe we will discover in time that this is State Share Ownership.

    The CBI are in for some big shocks imo-but only after Labour take office.

  38. “Hvorfor snakke du norsk (eller dansk)? Spesielt som du ser ut til å være i Irland, ikke sant?”
    @somerjohn September 27th, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Was that really you or was it Google translate? I have a German pen pal and we have corresponded for nearly thirty years. His English is brilliant, as is that of his children. My German is really non-existent.

    He told me last year he’s now learning Danish, and has a tutor visit him once a month. Now I’ve been to Germany and Denmark many times, and so I know English is widely spoken. But he has chosen to learn Danish for fun. Every time I think about this I’m impressed.

  39. CB11

    I thought about commenting on the conference speech, having ploughed through yesterday’s comments I was feeling a bit drained, tbh.

    Will it affect polling? Probably not, but what it did do was allow the active wing of the party to come together and feel better about things, a few days respite from the RWMs banging on about antisemitism, lancing the boil of the second referendum and go back to their constituencies fired with enthusiasm. Corbyn got himself onto the media on his own terms, and reminded people why they liked him last year, even LK and NR are struggling to maintain the Corbyn as anti-semitic red peril meme in the face of what people are seeing on TV and hearing on the radio.

    In the light of the poll TW has just posted, I’m surprised that many people even noticed the share scheme thing, when it was announced it sounded to me like the sort of thing conference would like and the CBI would be against (at which point everyone could be reminded that they were opposed to the minimum wage) but would have practically no traction outside of the hall, big business and the media. Assuming that “not sure” equates to “don’t know”, I’m completely staggered that the DK figures are that low, across the poll.

    Colin will doubtless be surprised that I almost agree with his analysis of the McDonnell share scheme, which has dog’s breakfast writ large all over it imo and I’m surprised that the media didn’t take the opportunity this week to tear it to shreds, although the Brexit fudge was obviously more attractive to report on since most journalists seem focused on it to the exclusion of everything else, rather like being on here actually.

    As regards the CBI being in for a shock should Labour achieve power, it has been somewhat gratifying to consider over the last two years that regardless of what Labour might promise to do when in government, it is nothing compared to what the Tories have been preparing for them during that time.

    Quelle surprise the Times says the conference was” dominated by disagreements over Brexit”

    Perhaps they have stepped forward in time and landed in Birmingham next weekend already. The Tory mayor of that city has just been quoted as saying “I do also think it is right to say that the cuts have gone far enough. It’s not reasonable to expect that this continues”, which probably deserves more attention than I expect it to receive.

  40. RHI hearing developments here

    Mr Brimstone was subsequently the subject of allegations by the TUV leader Jim Allister, who used Assembly privilege to allege that Mr Brimstone had removed a new wood pellet boiler from his new house in order to install a similar boiler to make himself eligible for the non-domestic RHI scheme. He said it was “the sort of rip-off that brings disrepute to all of the scheme” and “causes great injury to the bona fide users”. Under the RHI scheme rules, it was possible to use a non-domestic boiler to heat a house in certain circumstances as an “ancillary” purpose. Mr Brimstone declined to discuss the issue at the time and the DUP said that he was no longer employed by the party and it declined to answer questions on his behalf.”

  41. @ TED

    “The Tory mayor of that city”

    Sorry to be pedantic, but he’s the mayor of West Midlands. Birmingham didn’t vote for him (just), nor did Coventry. It was the rest of the West Midlands that landed us with him. Just don’t want people to think that it was Birmingham that voted him in.

  42. Al Urqa: Was that really you or was it Google translate?

    Ah, that would be telling. But I’ve revealed on here before that I’m only half British, leaving people to guess what the other half is.

    Actually, my written Norwegian is pretty basic. I’m good at lullabies for getting my grandkids to sleep, though:

    Bæ bæ lille lam
    Har du noe ull?
    Ja ja kjære barn,
    jeg har kroppen full
    Søndagsklær til far,
    og søndagsklær til mor,
    og to par strømper til bitte lille bror.

    It’s a bit more practical than the English version, as the wool gets turned into something useful – the last three lines are:

    Sunday clothes for father,
    Sunday clothes for mother,
    and two pairs of socks for teeny-weeny brother

  43. Colin/Ted,

    I think you are both like me old enough to remember the dogs breakfast profit related pay policy that Ken Clarke had to phase out.

    I think there is consensus across the spectrum that enhancing the involvement of stakeholders in businesses is a good thing which at it’s best can increase productivity and long term planning and buy-in.

  44. Trigguy
    I stand corrected, apologies

  45. “I’m only half British, leaving people to guess what the other half is.”
    @somerjohn September 27th, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Well I’m only half British. Trouble is the other half of me is also British. :-)

    (well really both halves are English, but I like to keep that quiet.)

  46. Looks like our right wing populist friends on the continent, at least those of them who have gained power, are gunning for their respective free presses. What’s good for Hungary, and our new friend Mr Orban, Russia, Poland, Turkey and Italy seems to be good for Austria now.

    Here’s a taste of what’s going on there according to an article in today’s edition of the i newspaper: –

    “Austria’s interior ministry has been caught compiling a list of critical media outlets for distribution to the country’s police force, along with orders to limit the information given to journalists from these organisations…..The department, which controls the country’s security services, is led by politicians from the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) under the coalition the party struck with conservative PM Sebastian Kurz.”

    So, be warned ladies and gentlemen. When a populist far Left Corbyn led government takes over the reins, the likes of Kuessenberg, Neil, Landale, Smith, Robinson, Humphreys et al will be heading for the gulags for re-education purposes. In our hubris and complacency, we’ve ignored the populist menace growing within. No, not a Labour opposition hoping to take office, but a bunch of populist loonies hell bent on destroying all we stand for.

    Just like their populist sister parties on the continent.

    Be scared. Be very scared. Levenson 2? No, something much worse is on the way. The populist Left are coming.


    :-) :-)

  47. McDonnell and the “share scheme”.
    It is interesting for this reason alone, McDonnell has moved stance on public ownership. Whilst indicating that the former Labour Party Clause Four (To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service) is still relevant, he has moved away form central state nationalisation as the means of achieving that.
    The tenor of the policies emanating from the shadow treasury team point to an attraction to much more subsidiarity in public ownership structures, and I think it can be expected that policies will include workers in nationalised industries having a share of profits and co-operative style involvement.
    The share scheme is being sold in this light as a means of increasing workers shares of the “full fruits”.
    However, it is clear that it is intended to have a secondary impact on treasury funds. I did wonder if this was a precursor to a sovereign wealth fund.
    Whatever the detail, and the devil is always in the detail, I think the reaction of the “Tory” press to Labour this week (see e.g. Quentin Letts in the DM today) indicates a fear that Labour may begin to win over voters because it has the ideas that fit the zeitgeist!
    Impact on the polls, in my view, will start after November when the Brexit position in Parliament will become clearer.

  48. WB61

    Spot on.

    Labour agree that the old fashioned post war nationalization model that was necessary at that time due to lack of alternatives and war devastation etc became inappropriate in the late 1960’s.

    Labour failed to develop the model in opposition 70-74 would have been the time to do it) so Thatcher came long with first of all with confrontational management and then privatisation.

    Some on the right are recognising that the simplistic privatisation plus regulation approach needs developing and that McDonnell is forging a solution. They are bemoaning that the right are wedded to out of date approaches and that the solutions Labour are offering, which they don’t like, will seem attractive absent any alternative vision. (Like privatization did in the 1980’s versus Labours’ adherence the out of date Nationalisation model.

  49. @ COLIN – Re McDonnell’s share scheme. You can see from the way that YG worded the question in their poll that the only bit most folks LISTENED to was the £500 . Folks don’t care about the details but they picture what they would do with an extra £500! Even CON VI gave that a net +2!!

    Free cake is very popular but as we’re seeing with Brexit you might never get to eat it!

    Like it or not we have to admit the LAB conference was a storming success after McDonnell nearly messed it up with his leave v leave comments. They

    1/ Dodged the Brexit bullet and wrapped in fudge
    2/ Kept the party united on the common “enemy”
    3/ Cake for the masses

    It’s easier to do that in opposition of course, but if Hammond doesn’t start to understand you need popular policies to win votes then CON are done for.

    @ SJ – “no deal” v “Remain” ref in Jan and/or extension.

    JJ covered some points and I agree with him. Polling wise YG asked two different binary ref questions but not the “no deal” v “Remain” one

    Several LAB conf speakers did mention a “no deal” v “Remain” ref would be “easier” for them to support and it would also be easier to rush through so it is a shame YG didn’t specifically ask that and phrase it in the scenario of Brexit negotiations breaking down.

    Hypothetical polls set in the future are probably unreliable but my guess is your going to find it very hard to budge CON VI or that many CON MPs into backing any new ref on any terms. The question is then would they prefer a GE to a new ref and that comes back to ERG having more numbers than CON-Remain (with/without DUP).

    Nothing has changed other than the clock continuing to tick down.

    P.S. Rudd appears to have moved to supporting a ref but Morgan has moved the other way. Net unchanged on my CON MP watchlist.

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