Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor poll for the Standard was published yesterday. Topline voting intentions were CON 39%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%. The two point lead is unchanged from MORI’s previous poll in September, and are very much in line with the other recent voting intention polls since my last update. YouGov and Kantar polls last week both showed 5 point Conservative leads, a Survation poll a one point Tory lead.

While voting intention polls continue to show a small Tory lead, the underlying figures remain poor. People don’t rate the government or the Prime Minister (net satisfaction for the government is minus 48, for Theresa May it’s minus 32), economic optimism is low (61% expect the general economic condition of the country to get worse over the next year) and confidence in May’s ability to get a good Brexit deal continues to trickle downwards, this latest poll has 19% saying they are confident, 78% saying they are not.

Full tabs for the MORI poll are here.

796 Responses to “Ipsos-MORI/Standard – CON 39, LAB 37, LDEM 10”

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  1. DANNY

    @”Bit of a red herring, isnt this”

    Nope-not at all. This number & the post it comes in was addressed to OLDNAT-who asked t me to tell him what UK’s OECD STR score was .That was the answer to his question.

    The post is entirely unconnected with my exchanges with Alec over data in respect of the comparative openness of Service Sector Markets for the EU & other trading blocs.

    Do try to read things properly before you sound off :-)

  2. I am TREVOR


    You mentioned the Dombrovskis leak yesterday.
    The Times Banking Ed has an interesting update.

    Trying to paraphrase:-
    Ross McEwan & Andrew Bailey upbeat after a meeting with TM.
    “City” optimistic on Brexit deal for Fin. Servs. Rumour is -The Political Framework attached to the WA will contain “warm words” about a Fin. Servs. Agreement. Could even be more clarity imminently after BoE/ECB talks on derivatives, insurance contracts & personal data..

    Caveats :- Political Framework not legally binding unlike WA.
    Deal may not be equally balanced between EU/UK.

    Anyway-chink of light…………..perhaps.

  4. That YouGov Poll feels more like reality to me.

  5. @NeilJ

    “Can’t wait for Andrew Neil to splurge the latest YG poll on his programme”

    If you are a masochist, you could stay up late tomorrow night to watch his programme and find out. Then, no doubt, he’ll turn to one of his Tory leaning guests (there is usually a wide choice) and ask, “So, if this was such a crowd pleasing budget that spread largesse in so many quarters, why has your lead in the polls been halved and Labour has surged by 3 points??”

    This would be an equally as inane a question as when he regularly asks his token and tame Labour guest (yes, I’m talking about you, Liz Kendall),” If The Tories are as blah de blah why are they 6% ahead in “the polls” (sic) “.

    Toytown political journalism at its worst.

  6. Crossbat11,

    “Toytown political journalism at its worst.”

    You obviously don’t get Scottish political coverage!


  7. Not enough being written about the Merkel demise & its effects.

    Roger Boyes in today’s Times has an interesting analysis:-

    Her plan to see this term out won’t work. Once a new CDU Chair is in place in December the succession jockeying starts. SPD get more & more P’d off shackled to a political corpse & the Coalition breaks up.

    Result-a shift from Centre to Centre Right in CDU Leadership ( Spahn or Merz-both more Eurosceptic than Merkel)
    Elections in East German States in 2019 will see AfD rampant.

    Macron, without a reliable German partner flounders and the Ever Closer Fiscal Union project gets kicked down the road again.

    All of this after Merkel’s disastrous 2015 open door . It shattered Schengen , exposed Member States at the external border, forced a deal giving all sorts of leverage to Erdogan, and stoked support for Afd & populist parties across the Continent.

    Thatcher lasted just short of 12 years at the top. Merkel has been thirteen years in office.

    The Eurozone Economy is beginning to look as tired as Frau Merkel.


  8. Sad to see the end of the Guardian ICM polls. When I started keeping polling spreadsheets the monthly ICM was the one I used as others were more sporadic.

  9. Colin,

    I think in proper democracies politicians have a shelf life. I heard a line recently about better to go a year early than a minute too late or same such.

    Merkel (like Thatcher and Blair) has stayed too long imo.

    The 2 term presidential limit seems about right to me except there can be a lame duck for the last 2 years after the mid-terms.

  10. I think the problem identified in this piece is central, and well characterised :-


    ” Brexit is about finding the best way of loosening relationships, of different countries having less to do with one another’s affairs. The implied direction of Eurozone reform is precisely the opposite – which is what makes it so difficult.
    Nations will have to sacrifice even more of their sovereignty and bind themselves even more tightly to the Euro and everything that the single currency implies. It will truly be a point of no return.
    However, there can be no crossing this threshold without the consent of the people. In continually fudging the issue of democratic legitimacy, the European elites have already provoked a populist revolt – to which most of central Europe and now Italy has fallen. To go to the next stage – an unambiguous and irreversible commitment to a European superstate – in the same manner, would risk a populist takeover of the EU as a whole. This, by the way, is now the stated aim of the populist politicians already in power.
    The current euro-establishment has a limited number of options:”

    But the author’s solution -another Supra National Talking Shop-.
    merely highlights the bind they are in.

    I think, having nicely described the imperative :-

    ” the super-state required by the single currency is something never seen before in human history; and if it is to remain a democracy it requires democratic institutions of a kind never seen before either. he fails to say the obvious”, –

    he fails to draw the right conclusion, which is that the National Parliaments of Member States must be entirely subordinated to the European Parliament as the prime legislative body.

    That this is politically impossible merely explains both the central tension in EU and the eternal failure to resolve it.

  11. JIM JAM

    Agreed. But its just a matter of human physiology. The pressures & strains on health of a decade + at the top, making the key decisions makes you too tired to make them effectively.

    Reports in papers today that Macron is “tired”. too.

  12. Well I think Merkel has probably made the right decision but I for one am sad it’s come to this.

    Might I suggest a good look in the mirror for all those saying I told you so….There but for the grace of God go I.

    Faced with the worst humanitarian crisis to hit Europe since WW2 one politician had the strength and courage to step up to the challenge and not slam the door on millions fleeing terror and war.

    We used to look on that kind of moral authority and humanity with respect, many particularly in the Brexit camp like to think it’s a British virtue.

    Merkel didn’t just talk about doing something or wring her hands, she did the right thing at huge cost, just as her mentor Kohl had with Unification.

    While Germany gave sanctuary over a millions fleeing death and destruct we quaked over the prospect of a few hundred from a couple of thousand at Calais getting across the Channel.

    At a time when populist and in some cases almost xenophobic politicians seem to be on the rise, I lament the fall of one who understood;

    “What’s Popular isn’t always Right and what’s Right isn’t always Popular!” And decided to do what was right.


  13. @ Oldnat

    Hmmm… I do share the concern about Labour sticking with the tax gains for higher earners but I don’t really think there is anyone who truly believes, as you suggest, that current Labour would not be embarking on substantial forms of wealth redistribution were they to be elected. So I tend to react to the McDonnell comments with a shrug of the shoulders and a “whatever- let’s wait for the whole package”.

    I also don’t accept your between the lines assertion that the English politie is really much different to the Scottish one. We can tell from polling that Scots don’t like tax rises any more than anyone else and after the hard fought powers to have control over Income Tax the result is a 1% increase for anyone earning over £24,000 which is welcome but scarcely a red letter day given historical Income Tax levels in the UK. I say this as someone who would still seriously consider an SNP vote if I lived in Scotland, almost certainly for tactical reasons and perhaps even as my preferred party. But it doesn’t mean that the criticisms you make of Labour are not equally true of the SNP. Clearly the emergence of 13 Scottish Tory MP’s suggests there are limits to what the Scottish electorate want just as we had 38% of Scots wanting to leave the EU. From a referendum point of view that is convincing, from a unified view of Scottish opinion far less so.

    I think also the comments of McDonnell can to some extent been seen in context of the London situation and that a £40,000 salary in London with no other means is not that great a figure to secure anything like decent accommodation. A friend of mine had a studio flat with the bed a few feet away from the cooker in an area where the local corner shop had a jokey sign in the window saying “no guns allowed in the shop”. She told me that it sold recently for £150,000 so based on that as a potential purchase for a £40,000 salary, it’s scarcely well off if you live in London.


    Putting aside the effects of persuading millions of people to cross the Aegean in rubber dinghies & walk across Europe in winter,; and Foreign Policy which allowed Assad freedom to bomb them out of their own country -which you don’t mention-you miss the point.

    The mistake was failure to consult her people, telling them “we will manage” , whilst taking a decision , the effects of which she had not planned for and in the end could not control as she slammed her own border shut on the very people she persuaded to walk from Greece to Germany.

    And of course she knew this-and apologised for it:-after it started to hit her Party politically !


  15. @Peter Cairns (SNP)

    Can I commend you on an excellent post. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    I certainly looked at Merkel with respect for the “moral authority and humanity” she showed when she accepted the large influx of refugees from war torn Syria in 2015. Sure, there was some economic self-interest at play with declining German birth rates leading to chronic labour shortages in some sectors of the economy, but it was one of the great humanitarian acts in post war European history and, how ironic, it was Germany that led the way in this. Maybe Merkel was conscious of her country’s dark history in such matters and saw this as an act of redemption. Who knows, but it was a courageous act of leadership that marked her out as a giant amongst, essentially, a gaggle of political pygmies in the rest of Europe. It was a towering act of humanitarianism that has no doubt caused her domestic political troubles, but history should be kind to her. I think it will.

    These are interesting articles. The first one is about how the German economic miracle has always depended on large scale immigration and the second concentrates on the progress being made in integrating and employing the million or so refugees who were admitted in 2015. Germany’s stiff employment rules for asylum-seekers make the progress slow, but they’re getting there. Unemployment rates amongst this group are falling quickly. I thought this paragraph from the second article was fascinating: –

    “Germany’s traditional crafts and trades, which have long complained about labour shortages, have been particularly active recruiters of refugees from war zones. ZDH, the German confederation of skilled crafts, announced this week that the number of refugees doing a crafts apprenticeship had risen more than 140 per cent year-on-year.” 



    I would imaging that most amongst the million or so 2015 refugees are now making a real contribution to the German economy, just as the Ugandan Asians soon did when they were thrown out by Amin and arrived in large numbers in the UK in the early 1970s.

  16. @Colin

    “Putting aside the effects of persuading millions of people to cross the Aegean in rubber dinghies & walk across Europe in winter,; and Foreign Policy which allowed Assad freedom to bomb them out of their own country -which you don’t mention-you miss the point.”

    Weren’t they running away from something rather than running to? Isn’t that what refugees do by definition? You think these people risked their own and their families lives because “they were persuaded” to to do so by a promise of a faraway shangri-la in Northern Europe? What would have happened to them had they stayed? These were desperate people who obviously would have much preferred to stay in the peaceful country of their birth, but no such country existed for them, did it? They were literally running for their lives. They weren’t economic migrants but utterly desperate people looking for a country, any country I suspect, that could offer them an asylum, welcome and a distant shot at a better life and future for themselves and their families. That’s a noble pursuit that any of us would do, isn’t it, if presented with the horrendous choices that lay in front of them; choices that you and I have never, or likely never will have to, face>

    I apologise to any reader who may be offended by this limp-wristed namby-pambyism.

  17. OLDNAT
    “via TSE
    Latest YG poll
    Con 41 (nc)
    Lab 39 (+3)
    Lib Dem 7 (-1)
    UKIP 5 (+1)

    YG has long looked like the regular outl*er in the pack, unless they’ve changed the way they do things that’s not good news for the Tories, especially since however the Brexit fudge ends up being flavoured UKIP should be able to peel off some of the ERG-inclined.

    The budget felt like such a monumental non-event, and the Brexit negotiations haven’t thrown up any major ructions in the last couple of weeks, it’s difficult to see where this movement has come from, which makes me wonder if this is an outl*er among others.

    I’m actually thinking that Hammond has managed to contain the budget quite skillfully so far, it’s difficult to make news out of things not being quite as bad as they were expected to be, he’s probably done enough to see off any UC rebels, the continuing decline of the NHS and education are probably factored in since that’s what the tories always do.

    The John McDonnell kerfuffle looks like the usual Right Wing Moderates stirring, nothing seems to have come out of the budget to really get hold of and give the government a particularly hard time over.

    Otherwise I’m with Paul and the pups, in the absence of polling I’m calling in here less regularly, I can’t even work out what’s being talked about half the time.

  18. Colin,

    You just don’t get it do you; what true leadership is and means!

    “The mistake was failure to consult her people, telling them “we will manage” , whilst taking a decision”

    If she had consulted the people would have said “No” and left the desperate to their terrible fate. Even though the political and economic costs were affordable, people would still have left others suffer greatly rather than suffer a little themselves.

    That’s the nature of things, it’s why populists rise but fail and why those that do what’s right suffer the electoral consequences. But if you have the strength to pay that political price you can do great things that need to be done… That’s Leadership.

    So Germany get Kohl and Merkel and we get Blair and May. I know who I admire, the Leader over the populist, those who were willing to defy the majority rather than pander to them!

    Merkel was willing to pay the price to do what was right, May can’t even stand up to Johnston Davis and Rees Moggg!


  19. CB11

    I am sure your right about her motives.

    But I think the stats probably show that her invitation of entry to anyone who could get to the Bavaria?Austria border was a pull factor of significance.

    Why wouldn’t it be?

    Frankly those pictures of children tramping across Europe ( not to mention the drownings) did nothing for my support of Merkel ( a politician whose economic instincts I associate with) .
    If she had organised a fleet of Cruise Liners-or just helped UNHCR & Turkey locally to respond with a massive injection of logistical & financial support then I would hold a different view.

    Politics is tough & she screwed up. She said so.herself.

  20. Did we miss the ORB monthly Brexit poll?

    Anyway, if we did then link below. Various wording issues you could argue bias the result in either direction.

    Do you agree/disagree we should pull out of negotiations with EU now.

    Agree 33 (+3)
    Neither Agree or Disagree 19
    Disagree 35 (-3)
    DK 13

    Net 2 (-6) for disagree

    IMHO the agree bias probably nets with the “pull out now” bias but like other polls we do see a lot of the general public in the “unsure” (in this it poll it is roughly 1/3 at 19+13 = 32)

    Two other questions:
    1/ Support/oppose a new ref (rejoin EU) in 2024. Support is 33% (net 11 oppose)
    2/ Support/oppose negotiations being led by someone other than May. Support 43% (and net +20 support) – both rising by 6pts since they last asked!

    Unfort they don’t split by VI and also somewhat concerned all 3 questions show the same changes (although the questions are somewhat linked that would be quite a coincidence)



    @”You just don’t get it do you; what true leadership is and means!”

    Yes – I think so.

    It means putting your neck on the block & taking unpopular decisions.

    If they come off you are a hero/in.

    If they don’t you take responsibility .

    She has done that unequivocally -yes that’s leadership.

    She made a hasty & emotional call , without thinking it through. Everything one reads about her tells you this was not in character. She is a politician who takes time to build consensus-puts things off till the politics will work-circles around it till its right.

    Politics is a tough trade.

  22. @ COLIN

    You can’t please all of the people all of the time and settling on a 1%ish budget deficit going forward is a fair compromise of a “balanced approach”. I agree the split of the “treats” was overly biased to NHS but Brexiteers forced May into that.

    20.5billion / 52 = 394million per week

    IMHO the biggest “political” flaw was upping the higher rate tax threshold straight to 50k. He should have known that would be spun as a give-away to the rich and take the focus away from other aspects.

    OBR’s growth forecasts are IMHO very low and we should beat them. The other issue from the budget was #10 ensuring #11 doesn’t tie the budget “treats” to a “good deal” (ie an extra “no deal” budget would be more like Lancaster House Plan B than Osborne’s “Punishment budget”).

    Fin Services:
    We should ensure after 29Mar’19 if EC want to continue using UK (ie non-EU) clearing houses etc then it is part of an “all weather” mini-deal (aka Association Agreement) and get something in return for that – however, that is not the way Robbins+May negotiate.

    We’ve seen Raab push likes of Xavier Bertrand into confirming Macron was bluffing about gridlocking Calais and now Dombrovskis showing he was bluffing.

    The risk of Robbins+May approach is their n4ivity and belief in ne0liberalism. EC and most EU nations know a crash out to “No Deal” on 30Mar’19 would be a disaster so they’re lining up “cherry picking” on the cans they want to kick and unless we change tact we’ll probably let them do that – although I doubt HoC will allow it!

    P.S. In your discussions on services trade maybe consider US as 50 states rather than one country ;)
    The other thing Remainers ignore is that EU27 is smaller than US (ie after 30Mar’19 it will not be the World’s largest single market, not even if you add in EEA countries)

    @ CARFREW – :-) :-) Your reply on paranoia was followed by several examples! I’m totally fine with banter and a bit of trolling and find it very funny and quite flattering ;)

  23. @ COLIN – Merkel. Who comes next will be interesting. It looks like being either mini-Merkel (Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer) or a shift to the right (e.g. Jens Spahn). Whoever it is will have trouble uniting their party, keeping unity in CDU/CSU and working with SPD.

    Having her as a “lame duck” doesn’t help UK. She wasn’t helping UK much anyway but I’d still have rather had her as “Primus inter pares” than Macron!

  24. TW


    True-you can’t. And he didn’t.

    I hope you’re right about OBR. If they are right its a great story-more jobs than anyone imagined-so more income tax. If its not like that at all then these Debt levels loom over everything as the Central Bankers start the process of ending the long era of Funny Money. Interest rates are going UP.


    I agree -we should look for a fair deal on Fin. Servs.

    I have everything crossed on the whole sodding issue !

  25. TW

    Om Merkel

    Not sure she has had much input anyway.

    My bet is a move to the right in CDU leadership.

    I do think it is significant. She & Germany have been such a towering presence for so long. The change will have effects.

  26. Just reading through the tables for the You Gov poll.

    This question is interesting:

    Which of these would make the better Chancellor of the Exchequer?

    Among all voters:

    Phil Hammond – 26%
    John McDonnell – 13%
    DK – 64%

    Among Con voters:

    Phil Hammond – 63%
    John McDonnell – 1%
    DK – 28%

    Among Lab voters:

    Phil Hammond – 6%
    John McDonnell – 29%
    DK – 65%


    It seems J McD has a lot of work to do to persuade voters, especially Labour’s.


    I could agree more with CB11 and Peter’s comments on Merkel.

    Blair with was partly responsible for starting a war in the Middle East which destabilized the whole region – one of the consequences of war is mass movement of people. HMG took no responsibility for outcomes.

    Give me Merkel’s rash but humanitarian asylum policy over May’s “Hostile Environment” 8 days a week.

  28. @Nulky

    Patrick Maguire’s take on McDonnell’s position may help to explain why he said this:


    There are many traditional Labour supporters in the public sector with earnings over £46,350 who will benefit from the HRA rise; London tube train drivers get around £50k basic salary. There are far fewer earning over £100k, who are the people that McDonnell is really targetting.

  29. YG tabs are out. They ask a bunch of questions about the budget and in every case it is good news for Hammond and CON – however, it clearly didn’t help CON VI?!?

    The three most popular announcements (p6) with their popularity (from earlier pages)

    Extra 20bn/year on NHS: net +85
    Increasing lower band of personal allowances: net +77
    Increasing min wage: net +80

    and at those huge +ves it is clearly across the board on VI with every cross-breaks seeing them as good ideas.

    Unfort they didn’t ask about raising higher rate tax threshold (I reckon that wouldn’t have been viewed as good idea) and they also didn’t ask about delaying balancing the budget (I reckon that would have been seen as a good idea but I would have been very keen to see how strongly folks supported it)


    What is quite strange is that despite finding every policy announcement net a “good idea” (often by a huge margin), there are still a huge amount of DKs on Hammond as CoE

    doing good job 24 (+4)
    bad job 27 (-5)
    but 48% are DK (uc)

    Who would make the better Chancellor:
    Hammond 26 (+3)
    McDonnell 10 (-3)
    with huge 64% as DK! (again uc)

    CON VI have the lowest DK but it is still quite high.

    A couple of final nuggets:

    Do you think the budget is fair: net +30 (+19 from 2017)
    and net +9 think it will leave the country better off (from -8 in 2017)

    So Trevors are scoring themselves as 1:1 on the budget impact. A goal for a “good” budget but let one back in in terms of VI impact (although awaiting the 3 poll TMO verdict for verification!)


    Do you think Labour will whip the vote on the Budget?

  31. @ COLIN – OBR (aka Osborne’s Band of Remainers)

    OBR have done a few things in the last 2yrs:

    1/ Having been repeatedly over optimistic under Osborne they then used the “rear view mirror” to downgrade productivity (coincidentally around same time as Brexit).
    In rough terms that means that they dropped “trend growth” from 2% to 1.7%

    2/ They are factoring in “medium” [1] Brexit and since they have the same groupthink models as HMT and co. that shaves a further 0.2% off (ie down to 1.5% trend)

    IMHO #1 is something we can improve on, the AIA hike one small step. I’d like to see more “incentives” (naughty or nice) to “encourage” businesses to invest in higher productivity. #2 is very clearly something we can directly effect and indirectly affect but TBA! Also #1 and #2 should interact and that should be goal of HMG post Brexit policy mix (eg starved of unlimited cheap labour UK businesses will need to invest in skills, tech and machinery but a little “encouragement” would certainly help! eg2 we need to be far more “assertive” in protecting UK business and poaching business from EU and beyond)

    [1] “Medium” is a summary single word for their 98pager on Brexit and how they are modelling it. It’s a very long read and IMHO full of “bad” assumptions. They do however make it very clear they haven’t really got a clue – something I’m happy to agree with. What HMG, BoE, markets and private sector do in response will what matters!


  32. Has there been any post budget polling yet?

  33. TW


    That looks like a fun read :-)

    I like the comment on OBR’s front webpage :-)


    I see from the Red Book that NHS spending will be 40% of Departmental spending by 23/24.

    Up from 36.9% in 18/19

  34. COLIN
    That YouGov Poll feels more like reality to me.


  35. JUDAH

    Anything much different to ” a plague on both your houses” at the moment doesn’t seem credible to me.

    So no lead outside MOE either way.

  36. The exterminatingdalek,
    ” I can’t even work out what’s being talked about half the time.”

    Someone was talking about HRT earlier. Funnily enough they had a doctor on womans hour today who was also talking about hormone replacement therapy. Said the medical profession talks a lot of bunk and advances cures (or dangers) without proper studies to prove it. Which, from my limited experience of looking up a few studies touted as proving things, I rather agree.

    He was pro lifelong HRT, by the way, and more of it.

  37. Sarah Montague on World at One R4 easily, and probably happily, fell into Hammond`s trap. By giving only 1 vote on the Budget, PH can combine the £860 generous rise for higher-rate taxpayers with £130 meagre rise for basic-rate payers, and play foul whatever Labour does and says.

    If any Lab spokesperson hints at voting against the £860, then they will be accused of robbing poorer folk of the only crumb coming to them from the budget.

    But this crumb allowed PH the headline of tax cuts for 32 m people.

    Sarah`s interviewing should have challenged the Tory approach, with questions such as why do you not allow votes on individual items in the budget, and how many of the 32 m supposed gainers will actually have less income in 2019-20 than 2018-19 as a direct result of the budget.

    Instead she showed her total bias by several times pointing out different Labour reactions to the income tax changes.

    There was no need to bring forward the tax changes planned for April 2020, so clearly this is a softener designed to shift some hardRight opinion from voting against the Chequers plan or anything more moderate.

  38. The Trevors,
    “Support/oppose negotiations being led by someone other than May.”

    Cant really be said to have led them, can she?

    “IMHO the biggest “political” flaw was upping the higher rate tax threshold straight to 50k. ”

    Ah, but he has to try to soften the brexit recession for tory supporters, or they wont be tory supporters much longer. Hence tax cuts for them to offset brexit losses. (with the promise of more to come)

    “They ask a bunch of questions about the budget and in every case it is good news for Hammond and CON – however, it clearly didn’t help CON VI?!?”

    As I just said. I expect they like the bung to compensate for brexit, but still think they are making an awful mess of the process.

    The numbers say a tiny number of people think much of any politician. People are expecting a brexit recession. (51% get worse, 11% get better) Digital services tax very popular.

    Cutting business rates by 1/3 for small businesses is an odd one: there is already 100% rebate for small business. What is meant by small? will it now be bigger?

    top three most popular policies are increasing starting point of income tax, more for the NHS and increasing national mimimum wage. All of them ought to be standard issue labour policies.

    Huge numbers of dont knows.

  39. MERKEL
    I don’t think it’s easy for us to judge.
    Her decision with the refugees wasn’t universally unpopular in Germany, far from it. It didn’t play well with her CDU/ CSU base though and that hurt her. The historical context is important. When Germans see columns of desperate people on the move, fleeing war, it invokes raw memories for them. Nearly every German family, has a story about relatives who just made it out of East Prussia on the back of a cart, or lost their farm in what is now Poland etc. (or stories of those who didn’t make it out). I think it’s worth remembering that we don’t see quite what they see. We don’t have clubs where people gather to reminisce about an old, lost ‘Heimat’.

    Internet Privacy is another area where German sensitivity is higher than it is in most countries. This is rooted in the sour ether of the famous (NCR) data base of the 3 Reich, which identified Jews and communists and homosexuals, and in the huge Stasi files of the DDR which fingered anyone who was disloyal to The Party.

  40. TW

    Bloomberg TV just reported this letter as a “leak”.

    It isn’t. Its been sitting on the Website of Benn’s Committee since 24 October.

    Note the words & date in Raab’s first para !


  41. @Colin (and others) – I’ve now managed to have a look at the OECD service openess document you repeatedy referred to ( https://www.oecd.org/trade/services-trade/STRI-Policy-trends-up-to-2018.pdf ) and I am now satisfied that this is a complete red herring. It bears no relationship to the point about the EU internal market in services.

    The mistake you are doing is to take an international study (which doesn’t even look at every EU member anyway) and then ranks them according to how open their services industries are on a global scale. We aren’t talking about global openess – we are talking only and exclusively about how open those countries are to other EU member states, and how this openess compares to other states global openess – this is what the EU services market is. Whether it is easy or hard for US firms to operate in France is not relevant – what matters is how easy German, French and Romanian firms can operate in France. This is the issue you need to focus on.

    The best way I can explain this is to invite you to examine the 22 tables in Annex 2, which give a score for each nation in different service sectors. These apply 5 categories: restrictions on foreign entry, restrictions on free movement of people, other discriminatory meaures, barriers to competition and regulatory transparency.

    Firstly, when we are looking at the EU services market, you need to remove completely the restrictions on free movement of people – there are none whatsoever between member states.In Figure A.21 Architecture Services, for example, eliminating this means France goes from third most restrictive to better than any other non EU state. It’s easier for UK architects to set up in France than any other non EU country – that’s what the EU services market is about, if you measure it properly, which is not what this OECD document does.

    On Figure A.16 Commercial Banking Services, remove the free movement bit and the bit about restrictions on foreign entry (EU passporting), as these don’t affect intra EU states, and the EU market again looks to be the best in the world.

    It’s pretty much the same throughout the tables, because the OECD isn’t looking at trade between EU states. On this, you’ve actually done a Trevor on me, and posted a link that completely supports what your opponent was pointing out.

  42. Jim Jam

    TSE is one of the bods who edits Political Betting.

    On NICS – “I trust somewhere in committee this will be addressed and that Labour will be as keen as the SNP to do so.”

    I suspect your trust is misplaced, and that Labour will continue to do what they have done since the problem was identified – nothing.

  43. Shevii

    “I also don’t accept your between the lines assertion that the English polity is really much different to the Scottish one.”

    Apart from anything else, anything that is “between the lines” can’t possibly be an “assertion”

  44. Shevii (continued – Pressed Submit by accident!)

    In terms of voting behaviour, the polities are different. While, in both (and everywhere else), most don’t like paying taxes, want better services and want someone else to pay for them, the language of political debate has differences, and the identification of benefits of their being a higher tax take is clearer in Scotland.

    People are people, but the significance of different polities is precisely that the terms of debate, the context in which that debate takes place, the internal dynamics of the political game, including the manoeuvring of parties for advantage are not the same in different polities.

  45. ALEC

    @” We aren’t talking about global openess – we are talking only and exclusively about how open those countries are to other EU members”

    Well I sometimes lose track of what you are talking about Alec-which is why I try to be precise.

    I responded to a post of yours in which you wrote:–

    “By leaving the EU, we will be free to sell services to the rest of the world and this will be great, despite the fact that no one will offer a deal on services like we have in the EU, which is the most open services market in the world.
    However, leaving the best services market in the world will also be great, because the EU will desperately need our services when we leave.”

    So you were saying that UK will NOT find access to a non-EU Services Market as “open” as “EU” Services Market.

    YOU were talking about “global openness”.

    YOU were saying the EU Services Market-all of it-is , as a bloc, the “most open in the world” and “the best”.

    I asked you for more precission on the meaning of “best” -and I challenged your assertion that EU Services Market is the most open in the world -there is no data on this-only the OECD study comes near to comparing EU member states Services market openness with that of third countries.
    And the comparisons it makes show that non-Eu members feature strongly at the openness end of the OECD Index.

    And if you now say that you were only referring to openness BETWEEN EU members ( which you manifestly were not) then I remind you of the EU study of comparative restrictiveness BETWEEN EU member states which I linked to in a post to Somerjohn.
    It shows-the EU shows-that there is disparity between the openness of EU member states for Trade in Services . The table in question in that paper actually sits right next to this statement- by EU

    “Even though Member States have fulfilled the obligations relating to the transposition of the Services Directive and have gone through a systematic assessment of their national regulation of
    professional services based on the revised Professional Qualifications directive, providers in several service sectors still
    face many barriers to establishing themselves in another Member State or providing services on a temporary crossborder

    It would help, Alec, if you could be consistent about what you write.

    Let me be clear about what I have written & what I mean.

    * I do not agree that the EU Services Market -as a bloc-is the least restrictive market for exporters to enter in the world. I do not agree because I have seen no data to support that contention. It may be true-but such comparison of EU member States with non EU Member States on this factor as I have seen, leads me to believe that it may not be

    * I do not agree that the EU has a Services Market whose INTERNAL transactions are regulated on a comprehensively common basis. I do not agree because the EU have published data showing that it is not so. The EU Single Services Market is incomplete.

    Frankly Alec, I only made the original challenge to your statement on this because you are forever chastising others about loose unsubstantiated assertions presented as facts whilst being guilty of that same offence yourself.

  46. On the services, trade and Brexit issue, someone posted this link recently (@Carfrew I think) – http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2017/10/24/the-eu-isnt-protectionist-its-one-of-the-most-open-economies-in-the-world/

    I was struck by something the authors said in their conclusion, which perhaps highlights things both leavers and remainers have paid little attention to. They conclude by saying –

    “…the most direct way for Britain’s trade policy to be much freer than today would be a radical, unilateral liberalisation. From a purely economic point of view, this option offers great gains, but it also creates enormous social dislocations, and it is far from clear that it would find political support in the United Kingdom.”

    Remainers don’t feel comfortable acknowledging gains could be made from unilateral liberalisation with rest of the world, while leavers take these gains and bank them, without acknowledging that much of the Brexit vote was based on dissatisfaction with the impacts of liberalising trade with the EU. In other words, liberalising trade with the rest of the world, will just bring more of what we have already had.

    The truth is that the gross economic gains from freer trade carry with them dislocation costs that impact upon people’s lives, and unless we have governments prepared to tackle the distributive impacts of free trade, the same resentments will remain.

    In other words, it isn’t really about Brussels – it’s about Westminster. Where do we want to draw the line between protectionism, economic openess and overall economic efficiency, and how prepared are we to intervene to balance the stresses that changes to trade dynamics would bring.

  47. @ COLIN – from that letter I assume your referring to “when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 Nov”

    Well having got my hopes up so many times since last Oct I won’t hold my breathe but fingers crossed the Nov special EU summit is back on and we have an answer by then (or at least a clear choice between 2 options).

    DUP are OK with the budget and I haven’t heard Baker or anyone putting in any amendments so my guess is May+Hammond have dodged that bullet but plenty more votes where DUP or ERG can put a spanner in the works.

    On the “No Deal” side and unilateral approach some news out today for those that have been following the tricky issue of “diagonal” approach to TRQs and UK schedules at WTO

    “the EU needs to be able to proceed unilaterally to the dividing up of the tariff rate quotas”


    I’m sure our resident Brussels apologists who scoff at the idea of UK taking a unilateral approach and having trouble with agreeing post Brexit TRQs will somehow say it is fine for EC to do it and rWorld will kow tow to EC!

    SAM, HIRETON – any comment?

    Re: OBR front page :-) Maybe Osborne edits that as well as the ES :-)

    Their GDP uplift and borrowing revision is as close as you’ll get to any apology from them!

    IFS response is similar. They said Hammond would have to hike taxes to pay for NHS so no way they’ll fully admit they got that wrong, closest to an apology from them was “(Austerity is ending) on a narrow definition perhaps”


    CON clearly not trying to out spend Corbyn and are not “going back to square one” by reversing the cuts to public spending. Austerity is ending tis all, it’s not an open cheque book to go back to the irresponsible spending days of Blair-Brown who ran a budget deficit during a boom!

    For sure don’t bother reading the 98pager. I read a few of the sections I was interested in (e.g. NTBs) and do recommend a quick look at Chart B on p36 where you see HMT way out there on their own with an absurd “Effect from WTO-style” scenario (-6.5% versus an average of nearer -3% with that “average” being a bit of a bad cherry pick as well!).

  48. @Colin – I thought it was pretty clear I was talking about the internal market? Others seemed to grasp this?

    In this, yes, the OECD data shows pretty conclusively, once you remove the barriers to non EU countries that don’t apply within the EU market, that the EU services market is the most open international services market in the world.

    You won’t benefit from this if you are not inside that market. The Trevors get this, which is why he wants you to change tack to pretend that US states are countries, which they aren’t, so it’s clear he understands the point.

    I can accept the accusation of looseness in my use of language, up to a point, although. As I say, everyoone else seemed to understand that I was using the EU services market in the same way as we use the EU single market. When we talk about trade in the single market, you don’t go down the route of looking at trade between other non member states and the EU/EU member states, so I assumed you had understood we were talking about the EU services market in the same vein.

    Bottom line is that the EU internal markets for services is most accessible and open multi state service market for members of
    the organisation, and the OECD figures help to demonstrate this.

  49. TW

    Yes-he seems to be saying I can come & talk to you on 21 Nov because we will have concluded a deal by then !!

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