There have been several new polls with voting intention figures since the weekend, though all so far have been conducted before the government’s defeat on their Brexit plan.

ComRes/Express (14th-15th) – CON 37%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 7%(+1)
YouGov/Times (13th-14th)- CON 39%(-2), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)
Kantar (10th-14th) – CON 35%(-3), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)

Looking across the polls as a whole Conservative support appears to be dropping a little, though polls are still ultimately showing Labour and Conservative very close together in terms of voting intention. As ever there are some differences between companies – YouGov are still showing a small but consistent Tory lead, the most recent polls from BMG, Opinium and MORI had a tie (though Opinium and MORI haven’t released any 2019 polls yet), Kantar, ComRes and Suration all showed a small Labour lead in their most last polls.

Several people have asked me about the reasons for the difference between polling companies figures. There isn’t an easy answer – there rarely is. The reality is that all polling companies want to be right and want to be accurate, so if there were easy explanations for the differences and it was easy to know what the right choices were, they would all rapidly come into line!

There are two real elements that are responsible for house effects between pollsters. The first is the things they do to the voting intention data after it is collected and weighted – primarily that is how do they account for turnout (to what extent do they weight down or filter out people who are unlikely to vote), and what to do they with people who say they don’t know how they’ll vote (do they ignore them, or use squeeze questions or inference to try and estimate how they might end up voting). The good thing about these sort of differences is that they are easily quantifiable – you can look up the polling tables, compare the figures with turnout weighting and without, and see exactly the impact they have.

At the time of the 2017 election these adjustments were responsible for a lot of the difference between polling companies. Some polls were using turnout models that really transformed their topline figures. However, those sort of models also largely turned out to be wrong in 2017, so polling companies are now using much lighter touch turnout models, and little in the way of reallocating don’t knows. There are a few unusual cases (for example, I think ComRes still reallocate don’t knows, which helps Labour at present, but most companies do not. BMG no longer do any weighting or filtering by likelihood to vote, an adjustment which for other companies tends to reduce Labour support by a point or two). These small differences are not, by themselves, enough to explain the differences between polls.

The other big differences between polls are their samples and the weights and quotas they use to make them representative. It is far, far more difficult to quantify the impact of these differences (indeed, without access to raw samples it’s pretty much impossible). Under BPC rules polling companies are supposed to be transparent about what they weight their samples by and to what targets, so we can tell what the differences are, but we can’t with any confidence tell what the impact is.

I believe all the polling companies weight by age, gender and region. Every company except for Ipsos MORI also votes by how people voted at the last election. After that polling companies differ – most vote by EU Ref vote, some companies weight by education (YouGov, Kantar, Survation), some by social class (YouGov, ComRes), income (BMG, Survation), working status (Kantar), level of interest in politics (YouGov), newspaper readership (Ipsos MORI) and so on.

Even if polling companies weight by the same variables, there can be differences. For example, while almost everyone weights by how people voted at the last election, there are differences in the proportion of non-voters they weight to. It makes a difference whether targets are interlocked or not. Companies may use different bands for things like age, education or income weighting. On top of all this, there are questions about when the weighting data is collected, for things like past general election vote and past referendum vote there is a well-known phenomenon of “false recall”, where people do not accurately report how they voted in an election a few years back. Hence weighting by past vote data collected at the time of the election when it was fresh in people’s minds can be very different to weighting by past vote data collected now, at the time of the survey when people may be less accurate.

Given there isn’t presently a huge impact from different approaches to turnout or don’t knows, the difference between polling companies is likely to be down some of these factors which are – fairly evidently – extremely difficult to quantify. All you can really conclude is that the difference is probably down to the different sampling and weighting of the different companies, and that, short of a general election, there is no easy way for either observers (nor pollsters themselves!) to be sure what the right answer is. All I would advise is to avoid the temptation of (a) assuming that the polls you want to be true are correct… that’s just wishful thinking, or (b) assuming that the majority are right. There are plenty of instances (ICM in 1997, or Survation and the YouGov MRP model in 2017), when the odd one out turned out to be the one that was right.

1,834 Responses to “Latest voting intention and the mystery of house effects”

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  1. DANNY

    I don’t know the ins and outs of the EU’s various trade negotiations, but I believe it’s more about whether the priorities of the bloc as a whole are pulling in the same direction as the priorities of the UK. The EU is generally seeking to open up reciprocal market access for its manufactured products while protecting the single market and maintaining a tariff barrier around much of its agricultural sector. The UK is more likely to be offering to go further in opening its markets up to manufactured and agricultural products from other nations in return for the right to sell services back to them.

  2. @ SAM – from you poll link:

    “But for the Tories, Brexit wasn’t simply important, it arguably bordered on the obsessional.”

    Yep! IMHO its about finishing the job you started, clean and proper, then moving on to other issues. It would be nice to have an HMG that could “multi-task” but clearly they can’t.

    The only way to end the CON self destruct obsession with EU is to Leave the EU – in full and on time

    PS Heads up to anyone, like me, who joined CON because of Brexit:

    Don’t go to the first meeting and say:

    “after Brexit we need to get rid of Scotland”

    Take it from me, that doesn’t go down well!! Forget a large slice of Mrs.X’s home made cake after that faux pas :(

    My bad for skim reading the party name I guess ;)

  3. @ ALEC – “The EU is the largest economy”

    Maybe in 2017 it was, not now – do try to keep up ;)

    PS. I won’t draw attention to you calling the EU an “economy”, most Leave know the “project” aim is a Federal “not-so-Super” State ;)

  4. I see the TW collective is on overdrive…. I’m amused by his frequent declarations of victory despite evidence to the contrary!

    When the relevant minister complained that virtually no UK agricultural products had protected status under the EU-Canada trade treaty, whereas Italy had dozens, the EU responded that this was because the ministers’ department had failed to respond to any of the many letters/email and direct requests asking for the list of products that the UK wanted protected.

    It is so often the case that the UK is the author of its own misfortune through incompetence or just not bothering to find out how the process works… in any other job such muppetry would result in a P45, but not as a Conservative politician it seems!

  5. “@ James E

    For example, can you cite any UK export industries which welcome the prospect of “no deal” ?

    That’s simple, all those companies who already export outside of the EU which is approx 60% of the total, trade deals with new countries offer new opportunities. This includes ourselves, we hardly do any business within Europe as it’s pretty much a closed shop to us.”
    @bantams February 1st, 2019 at 11:51 am

    You may want to have a read of this:

    LARGE AND sustained increases in the cross-border flow of goods, money, ideas and people have been the most important factor in world affairs for the past three decades.

    Recently, though, the character and tempo of globalisation have changed. The pace of economic integration around the world has slowed by many—though not all—measures. “Slowbalisation”,…

  6. Correction.

    Sorry, vu not “vue”

  7. Last two attempts went into aut0-m0d


    You don’t seem to understand that concentrating a single industry in one geographical area (as in volume car manufacturing in Coventry) means that that area is disproportionately affected when that industry goes downhill. There are many other similar examples, I could have used but I chose to use the one I am familiar with. Coventry incidentally voted for Brex1t.

    If rather than spending our North Sea oil b0nanza on paying unemployment benefits as Thatcher did, it had been invested in developing new industries in the areas that had suffered from the downturns in coal, steel, shipbuilding and car production, the ‘1eft beh1nd’ phenomena would have been much less serious. Of course that form of capitalism is much more associated with countries like France rather than the Angl0-Sax0n form that has held sway here and in the US. The roots of Brex1t go deep and it is only by going back to the 1970s and 1980s that we can find them.

  8. @Colin

    I give up, all my replies to you are ending up blocked for reasons I cannot understand, even after changing what I think are the most likely trigger words.

  9. “I know that customs brokers are potentially seeing a huge expansion in their trade, and Tate and Lyle are extremely keen on Brexit”
    @Alec February 1st, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Just to be clear, Tate and Lyle the brand is not the same as Tate and Lyle the company. They flogged off the sugar part to ASR:

    Disposal of sugar refining business

    In July 2010 the company announced the sale of its sugar refining business, including rights to use the Tate & Lyle brand name and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, to American Sugar Refining for £211 million.[15] The sale included the Plaistow Wharf and Silvertown plants.[15]

  10. @Trevs – “@ ALEC – “No one said it was” :-) :-)”


    “I also wrongly put EU27 (ie sans UK) when I meant EU,….”


    Firstly, you’ve just admitted to the mistake that I was pointing out, without even realising it, even while accusing me of not reading things properly.

    Secondly, my 12.10pm post specifically _did not_talk about the largest market. I didn’t even define what I meant by market. For someone quick to tell others that they don’t read, that’s a bit of a slip up.

    For a businessperson seeking to do business, the EU is a much better place than China, for all sorts of reasons. It isn’t necessarily bigger.



    Thanks for telling me.

    I know how you feel. I usually change a few words at random & finish up with a string of posts no one else can read !

  12. When Mrs May turns again to Brexit (in mid Feb?) what, if anything, will she bring to the HoC for approval? Any ideas?

  13. @ Alec

    For a businessperson seeking to do business, the EU is a much better place than China, for all sorts of reasons. It isn’t necessarily bigger.


    Is this what you meant? If so you’re completely wrong, the EU market is fragmented in pieces whereas a lot of Chinese business with the West is done through Hong Kong so much easier for us. The big row with the USA has benefited us, the Chinese like dealing with the British whereas a lot of Europeans want to sell to us but don’t want to buy.

  14. Trevor

    You really don’t know anything about the state aid rules of the EU.

    Just look here:

    As to the UK steel industry, it was the government’s decision (they were told that they can apply).

    To be honest, I’m not sure it would have been the right decision to save it as a whole. It couldn’t compete in the cheap steel market (mainly because of geography), and apart from a few specialised factories, they couldn’t compete in the high end market.

    Oh, and it was the British government that stopped the EC process of deciding whether China used dumping. Well, not like in Ecuador or Pakistan, but tributary diplomacy works to a degree in the UK.

  15. DAVWEL

    I found this and thought you might be interested in what it says.

    “The corporation has been frozen with fear after countless attacks from the reactionary right and is systematically failing to uphold its responsibilities for public education.”

    This sentence is of particular interest to me for the reason that there is polling evidence (on the Wings site – I can probably find it if you need) that suggests around 40 % of Scots believe that Westminster is responsible for health policy in Scotland.

    BBC Scotland is entirely unresponsive to complaints.I complained that BBC Scotland never reported that the Scottish parliament lacks the powers needed to address the fundamental causes of health inequalities.Unable to deny the substance of the complaint the BBC executive involved (based outside Scotland) resorted to claiming that health inequalities were not that important.

  16. Trevor

    Everybody knows that in certain sectors large German companies operate a cartel. However, it is actually not against the rule. How does it work? the companies are members of industry associations, and they provide monthly and quarterly updates about their activities to the association. It includes output, recruotment, price, technology innovation, and so on. The data is then disseminated to the members (also some of these associations are the channels for allocating funding for innovation. In addition, most of the collective bargaining happens at industry level (actually conducted by the association, so wages, working conditions and alike are – well, shared).

    It is all codified, and in the statues, and as the German Constitutional Court declared more than a decade ago, the German law is superior to the EU laws and decisions.

    It took Sweden a few years to recognise that their informal practices do not stand up to the EU Court, so they transferred them to the statues, and operate a somewhat similar system.

    One can criticise it, but your statements were false.

    One of the reasons why the UK never used any of these parts of solutions (apart from the lack of historical precedents, apart from the 1950s, was because the liberal interpretation of the law (dominant in the EU till cc 2003) suited the (some) economic interests of the UK.

    Just to provide the background: if companies in a particular country rely heavily on internally generated resources or bank loans for investment (rather than equity), they need market stability as they lock themselves in a particular product line (and/or market). This requires constant increase in productivity or customisation or improvement or quality or a combination of these. To be able to do so, they need to reduce market uncertainties through inter-firm relations (including competitors), co-operation between employers and employees (with odd strikes and alike), and a government that helps the industry-wide associations to specify expected business behaviour.

  17. Colin

    Yes, those dates of expression of association requests are correct, but all these countries had interim agreements with the EEC, which effectively specified the association agreements. I know it because I worked for the EEC until the summer of 1993 (and also had to deal with various member state interventions about the interim agreements in spite of the fact that the agreement was ratified by all parliaments).

    VW started to transfer the task of finding and auditing 3rd and 4th tier suppliers to 1st and 2nd tier suppliers at around 1992 for catalogue components and completed it around 1996. Then it moved on for non-catalogue components and the design of catalogue components to use the same process. It is really extreme (no other car company uses this model in full), but it worked for them for 20 years. But it is a very sensitive system, and may not be changeable, so moving to electric cars may appear to be the saviour for senior management.

    When one considers the supply chain of Mercedes, once the most vertically integrated car manufacturing company, the scale is obvious.

    (Just to add, and just for information, with Hungarian state subsidy, BMW is opening a plant near Debrecen. IG Metall has already set up offices and works with the Hungarian Iron Workers Union.)

    I promise that now on I stop commenting on this subject.

  18. Following the Rugby coverage (good result, Wales), I caught the start of the BBC News from London on the weather disruption.

    Decent factual coverage, I thought, of a difficult situation.

    Then I considered the difference between that and similar disruption in Scotland, and realised there was something lacking in the BBC UK reports compared with those from BBC Scotland when the Central Belt had similar difficulties.

    Where was the coverage of strident protests from opposition parties about the failure of government, and demands for the resignation/sacking of the Transport Secretary?

    Are the English opposition parties simply less insane than SLab/SCon/SLD and don’t make such stupid demands?

    Or is UK BBC just less complicit with the opposition than BBC Scotland, and don’t give coverage of their stupidity?

    Either or both could be true.

  19. @Bantams – to be honest, I think you are being deliberately obtuse.

    There are substantial challenges to western companies doing business in China. Language and culture can be barriers, but corruption is more severe.

    In China, the state owns 75% of assets, so most businesses and up negotiating with the government, which is very bureaucratic. Legal protections are much less certain than in the EU. Enforcement of laws can be fairly random, and as there isn’t an effective independence of judiciary, the government can readily influence legal matters to disadvantage a foreign company if it so wishes. In a dispute between a western firm and a Chinese firm, the western firm will discover it has few protections under Chinese law.

    Lack of respect for intellectual property is probably the biggest issue. China has a policy of stealing competitors IP, and does this in a variety of ways.

    I’m quite amused sometimes when I hear Brexiters talk about how the EU is dying and China is where we should focus, while I read about Trump going to war on Chinese companies for their “unprecedented level of larceny of intellectual property”.

    I originally used the term ‘premier free trade market’ to refer to the EU for a reason. China isn’t a proper free trade market. You go there and you serve the communist party. Brexiters might like that, but I would be more cautious, and less starry eyed about how big the Chinese market is.

  20. Apart from the 50-70 seats most likely to change hands in a general election its a total waste of time polling in safe seats unless numbers show a total collapse in support for a particular party with their support going in one direction to a single party.

  21. I note that the UK and the Faroes have signed a Free Trade Agreement which would come into force when the UK exited the EU.

    While I haven’t seen the details, the Faroese press release indicated that it largely replicated the EU-Faroese Trade Agreement, which allowed the duty free import of unprocessed fish to the EU, similar to that applicable to non-EU EEA states, while also allowing duty free imports of anything that the Faroes wanted to take from the EU/EEA (lots of stuff).

    If that is accurate, then the following might be worth noting from this first “post-Brexit” TA.

    The Faroes (fish exporters) and UK (non-fish) goods exporters have as good a deal as they had before, and the UK has secured a proportion of its haddock/cod (which the Scottish/UK trawler fleet doesn’t catch much of) import requirements.

    The details of any quota restrictions on products such as shrimps and salmon will be of interest to the West Coast Fisheries.

    These have been described by the spokesman for the quota owners (5 families) licensed by the UK Government as “small businesses in remote areas” who will need UK Government subsidy as their EU markets disappear post Brexit. Meanwhile, their own lack of market for the substantial proportion of their catch is to be dealt with by less fish catching!

    Hardly the wonderful future for Scottish fishing promulgated by the Tory Leavers!

  22. Andrew Jarman

    “Apart from the 50-70 seats most likely to change hands in a general election its a total waste of time polling in safe seats unless numbers show a total collapse in support for a particular party with their support going in one direction to a single party.”

    Most of the 59 Scottish seats could change hands with a relatively small shift in voting pattern between the 4 main parties.

    NI has 1?, Wales 2-3?

    Which few English seats were you thinking of that would be worth polling?

  23. Assuming that’s it for January polls, no matter how you average the polls – Election Polling, Britain Elects or the way I do it – it comes out within fractions as
    Con 38
    Lab 38
    LD 9
    UKIP 5
    A majority of polling companies have Labour ahead but a couple have Con ahead and one has them level. The averages I mentioned account for multiple polling by YG etc.
    Putting the figures into the Swingometer brings no good news for Lab and Con and only limited progress by LD. I can’t see a snap election appealing to anyone.

  24. @bazinwales

    I notice that those numbers come to 90%. In the past, they came to 92%-94% regularly.

    Who is getting the rest?

    For a site and a collection of visitors dedicated to accurate polling, there’s a regular lack of information.

  25. TW

    “PS Heads up to anyone, like me, who joined CON because of Brexit:”

    I did, It’s the only party where I think a majority of MP’s are willing to accept the result of the EU referendum to leave the EU.


    “Conservative members are certifiable.”

    Oh dear, what levels this site has sunk to. People you don’t agree with are all mad. Sum’s up Remainer attitudes generally on this site. Looking at the report that led to your comment i would suggest that a better comment would be Conservative Members are generally more democratic and patriotic.

  26. As BIW I can’t see Con or Lab really wanting an election, apart from Lab thinking that they could do the same as in 2017 and alter the balance during the campaign. Con presumably think that such a thing is possible, so won’t risk it.

    That got me thinking. I wonder how long it will take Lab. to realise that having Corbyn and Co. at the helm is actually holding them back. Someone with a more moderate profile would have Lab on a thumping lead with the government so incapacitated.

  27. @ Statgeek

    “Who is getting the rest?”

    From the figures linked below I would say that it’s something like:
    4% SNP + PC
    3% Green
    1% Other GB minor parties
    1% Northern Ireland parties (unusually, 3 of the past 11 polls have been UK-wide, adding2-3 points to ‘others’.

  28. SAM
    “When Mrs May turns again to Brexit (in mid Feb?) what, if anything, will she bring to the HoC for approval? Any ideas?”

    Can only think the EU will give the same assurances that they have no desire to use the backstop etc but repeat that the legal text ‘cannot’ be reopened. She will then re-present it to the commons and try to make out its a significant improvement when everyone knows it isnt. And she will hope she survives further attempts by MPs to ‘take control’ so project kick-can continue.

    Depressing isnt it. Noticeable how the media has been brexit-lite these past couple of days.

    It would be helpful if the EU were to make a public statement to the effect that that under no circumstances will they agree any A50 extension for further negotiations. The sooner the paralysis ends the better.

  29. @ LASZLO – I’d highlight I posted articles to support the “Vorsprung Durch Cheating” view (actual term used by one of the authors of said articles).

    You highlight that “German law is superior to the EU laws and decisions”

    I’ll resist a “gammon” outburst, but where do you think “populist” Brexiteer MPs like Mark Francois get there view of German arrogance from? How does the German’s stance wash with “populists” in the rest of EU, even more so if your classed as “lazy” and face turbo-austerity to ensure you pay the interest of the money that was willingly lent to you (the Euro was supposed to create “convergence” but instead we’ve seen the opposite – notably in unemployment and debt levels, huge social costs for the current and future generation of citizens in the “left behind” nations of the EZ)

    The “playing field” is tipped in favour of Germany, always was and always will be

    I will fully agree that we walked into the EU with our eyes wide shut (proto-Brexiteer’s did try a Maastricht rebellion). Successive UK govts have adopted an extremely n4ive laissez fairre approach to EU ever since.

    We can’t change the past but I am extremely worried (and angry) that our current HMG wish to continue with a “close” attachment to the EU with UK taking rules, trade policies and diktak from Brussels while (and I’ll quote you again) “German law is superior to the EU laws and decisions”

  30. @EOTW – “Looks like we will literally up the proverbial creek without a paddle.”

    I read this and personally I think that as far as domestic and commercial rubbish is concerned, this is likely to be one of those issues like air travel, where there is the potential for horrendous impacts from day 1, but where sensible arrangements will prevail. The various agencies need to consider the risks, and take necessary steps, but in identifying the risks it can be too easy for journalists to write some lurid headlines.

    However, I think it’s the farm wastes that are more worrisome, and this relates back to the recent discussions with the Trevors over the impacts of no deal on the meat sector.

    As live products, animals need housing and feeding, as well as constantly producing sh!t in large volumes. It’s really not easy to suddenly drum up more storage for this if you can’t shift mature animals as planned.

    Lamb would be much less affected by this specific issue, and I suspect neither would most beef herds. Slurry is probably more relevant to the dairy sector, where the trade in animals is less important. It’s the pig sector that could be really badly hit, where slurry is a major issue already.

    According to the National Pig Association we are net 56% self sufficient in pork, although accounting for exports this figure drops to 40%. While a low rate, theoretically meaning we could switch to eat UK produce, as with beef, the trade balances arise because of differential demand for different cuts. As the NPA says –

    “We love bacon or loin meat, but until such time as researchers can create a pig which has eight loins but no belly, offal or shoulders, the UK will rely upon the EU for exports of those particular cuts..”

    They estimate that the UK would lose out on EU2.3bn of export trade, while consumers also experience sharply increased prices. Under the plan apparently formulated by the Trevors, we could simply respond by allowing more imports from non EU countries, but while the NPA agrees this would bring down prices in the short term, they see this as a major risk to the viability of the home market as the lower standards means lower production costs so UK pig farmers couldn’t compete.

    Pig slurry is the most toxic of animal manures, and needs careful treatment to avoid pollution risks, so any disruption to the movement and slaughter of pigs could be a real issue.

    So, apart from the piles of sh!t that would build up instantly in a no deal scenario, we have abundant evidence that the three main meat markets in the UK would be very badly affected indeed under a no deal scenario.

    Going back to the waste issue, this is another factor where many Brexiters fail to appreciate the balance of risk. I’m sure the EU will be compliant and would not want to see piles of waste in the UK because of technical barriers to an existing trade.

    Equally, I’m sure that the EU will be assessing which areas that require cooperation they can target if UK Brexiters continue to insult them and refuse to – let’s say – pay our £39bn share of EU commitments.

    All of these aspects are unlikely scenarios to actually happen, but are levers to be pulled, if the UK keeps pretending we don’t need the EU.

  31. M. Deacon, sketch writer in the Telegraph.

    “A leaked Whitehall memo warns ministers that, soon after a no-deal Brexit, as many as 250,000 expats could leave the EU and return home to Britain. Naturally the news has been met with widespread public concern.“We need to take back control of our borders,” said Zbigniew Nowak, 42, a plumber from Stoke-on-Trent. “Bloody expats, coming over here, taking our jobs. This policy of open-door repatriation has got to stop. Our public services are already struggling to cope. The beds in our local hospital are full of British people.”” etc.
    Curious how the ex-pats have been abandoned. No doubt in the Brexiteers’ daft “betrayal narrative” they are traitors who deserve what they get.
    Is there any polling on how they voted? Friends report two such, Brexit Bob & Beryl, who voted leave & found UK-derived incomes down by 15+%. When asked if they hadn’t anticipated £’s collapse: replied “we thought it was just scare-mongering!”

  32. A very detailed report on UK Farming has just been released, with lots of mini-reports on specific sectors.

    I’m sure someone (guess who!) will say I’m posting articles that “whip out” my own argument for WTO, but brief summary of the “Trevor’s” views specific to agri-food as most of these points are made very clear in the report (a few jargon terms as running tight on time today, bit of banter as well!):

    1/ We need to end uncertainty, no one can plan changes or make investments facing huge uncertainty. Years of turning a PD into some bad deal prolongs uncertainty. No Deal is better than continuing the uncertainty to an eventual Bad Deal.

    2/ We need to rule out Unilateral Free Trade (UFT), that is a serious risk – faced with temporary disruption and some higher prices the “temptation” the calls for Let’s go UFT will grow louder (I’ve been v.clear about that risk many times)

    3/ Threatening ‘No Brexit’ is not going to scare the nutters who actively want UFT outcome (this is 20+ of ERG), enough to string May along with Corbyn’s backing. Remain need to at least “hedge their bets” and ensure a “No Deal” Brexit doesn’t turn into a UFT WTO Brexit

    4/ There are significant risks and we have left it too late to mitigate all of them, but we can and should be doing a lot more to help directly.

    5/ Market forces will “help” but in many cases more time would reduce the disruption and cost, eg
    a/ Faced with an increase in price for chicken breasts (we import a lot from EU), the “many” will substitute and buy chicken thighs (we export to EU and hence will need to “dump” that product on domestic market). The “few” will write upset articles in the Guardian.
    b/ You can’t instantly grow a cow but you can instantly increase processing capacity (ie machines and workers can work extra shifts, workers can be paid overtime)
    c/ With certainty returned then the snap changes in profitability (many of which will be good for UK agri-food provided we don’t go UFT), existing companies will invest, new entrants (eg previous exporters from EU) will invest, etc
    d/ With a tight labour market the investment will be highly productive (visit a modern production facility and it’s more engineers than minimum wages!). Productivity is a key requirement for sustainable increases in real wages (and real taxes!)

    6/ All of the above would benefit from HMG “help”. That is not an “open chequebook” but something better than laissez fairre

    7/ In a few cases HMG will need to do a lot more. Yes, lamb and a few other areas will face much larger issues. They won’t be “wiped out” but as TURK pointed out we’ve dealt with Foot+Mouth, etc. I’m not looking into a crystal ball but simply expecting we won’t sit back and do nothing (sadly economic models need to be “robust” so can’t assume a “human” response – a “fatal flaw” of most published models).

    8/ out of time and I’m sure no one is still reading anyway ;)

  33. Well played the Red Roses, fantastic display of rugby by the English Women’s team.

    Well done to the Welsh Men as well.

  34. Any Self-Identifying as Women Posters

    As I am only reading female posters, not much to detain me, other than Valerie & Rosie/Daisie, who are always excellent value.
    If there are any posters self-identifying their gender as female, could they er … well …um … identify themselves.
    It would be esp. helpful if you could distinguish whether such gender self-identifications are “fluid or fixed”. Thanks.


    I think nothing much will happen in the middle of February. The EU will leave it to Ireland to decide what, if any, accommodation it can make for the UK. Varadkar will have to pay attention to his own internal politics but it should be possible for the Irish to shift a little. Varadkar would like to be certain that any movement will succeed in getting the WA ratified otherwise he is going to look silly. Given the bad faith May brings to the negotiations and the factional makeup of the HoC it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, for the Irish to be certain any concession will be useful.

    So maybe Dublin will run the clock down a bit. As you suggest, a codicil and reassurances will be considered. I wonder if a lengthy time limit to the backstop might work .

  36. I see ALEC has come gone from the figurative to the literal :-) :-)

  37. SAM
    “I wonder if a lengthy time limit to the backstop might work .”

    I’d wondered about that too. Say 10 years or something ‘unthinkable’ in terms of how long it ought to take to negotiate a trade deal yet not forever.

  38. @ Alec

    Talk about going off on a rant! I was quite clear that I would prefer to remain in the EU but I was also clear that we find dealing with other countries easier than dealing with countries in Europe. We’ve been selling products easily and safely to China for 25 years, it’s a good place to do business and we haven’t encountered any corruption in that time. However we have come across problems in the Southern European states and in the UK and Ireland. Nowhere is perfect, you just have to be on your guard.

  39. @ James E

    Maybe deliberate, maybe not, but you managed to miss out the typical 3-4% UKIP share Like it or not, they’re still there.

    @ RobbieAlive

    While I agree that often the posters with more obviously female names tend to be far more worth reading than others, there are other ways to still enjoy this board. Ignoring anything that has absolutely nothing to do with polling is a good start in my opinion.

  40. @ Steam Driven Andy

    “Someone with a more moderate profile would have Lab on a thumping lead with the government so incapacitated”

    What’s your evidence for this? Moderation doesn’t seem to be that popular in European elections at the moment.

    Ignoring the fact that the 2017 Lab manifesto appeared to me to be pretty moderate (although to be fair you talk about “profile” rather than policy), the evidence to the contrary is that in 2017 the Labour vote went from 9.3m to 12.8m in just two years.

    Of course 2017 was confused by Brexit but the background chatter at the time was not really about Brexit so much as it was the former Labour voters that had been energised to vote again when they had not done under “moderate” alternatives.

    On Brexit, at least, Corbyn has been pretty “moderate”. I suspect right now Voting intention is very heavily influenced by the Brexit positions which is why Tories are losing votes to UKIP and Labour is losing votes to Lib Dems. But what is an alternative “moderate” leader going to come up with? A remain strategy that wins back those Lib Dems but potentially alienates the marginal leave seats that Labour needs to win to form a government?

    How is a more “moderate” leader going to enthuse those additional voters that Labour won in 2017? The strategy of economic caution that Miliband adopted in 2015 simply did not work and will not work.

    Obviously Corbyn has political baggage but my suspicion is that any Labour leader, without the baggage, who comes out with a radical agenda will be the same target as Corbyn has been anyway. Miliband’s rather timid proposals for some degree of ending austerity and wealth redistribution (such as mansion tax) came under intense fire.

    A moderate leader who broadly has the same policies as Corbyn would get crucified by the right wing press. A moderate who has different more “moderate” policies will not get the votes of the left behind. Neither option moves voting intention significantly.


    “Well played the Red Roses, fantastic display of rugby by the English Women’s team.

    Well done to the Welsh Men as well.”

    Yes the England ladies were really great, putting 51 points over a strong Irish team.

    Great comeback for Wales 16 points down at half time. They were a little lucky with the interception which happened when I thought it was France who were going to win. All the home nations have strong teams, which is good for British and Irish Rugby.

  42. TW

    “We can’t change the past but I am extremely worried (and angry) that our current HMG wish to continue with a “close” attachment to the EU with UK taking rules, trade policies and diktak from Brussels while (and I’ll quote you again) “German law is superior to the EU laws and decisions”

    I agree it’s madness, I don’t want our economy to continue in slow decline as it will do if we stay close.

  43. SAM

    @” it should be possible for the Irish to shift a little. ”

    You would think so after Varadkar’s comment a a few days ago that ,in the event of No Deal, his government would have to instal a border which -” could involve people in uniform-cameras, physical infrastructure , possibly a police presence or an army ”


    Philip Aldrick in today’s Times says that the reason there is a game of brinkmanship going on is because the Irish Border is a bigger issue for Brussels-as Varadkar’s unguarded comment ( which he retracted swiftly) shows.
    PA says that whilst the UK , after a No Deal exit, could mitigate the economic damage with unilateral responses-RoI could not.
    BoE could relaunch cheap funding for lenders , restart QE , or relax capital regulation. Hammond ( with borrowing headroom of £15bn on his own rule) could help households & companies with tax cuts to VAT & business taxes. State aid to companies in crisis would no longer be constrained by EU membership. UK Trade ministers can mirror EU tariffs to help border frictions-or introduce zero import tariffs & duties for essential goods-or food which Britain doesn’t produce.

    Ireland, whose economy will be hit nearly as badly as UK’s according to The Centre for Economic Performance, has no independent power to subsidise industries, change interest rates or Customs duties & tariffs.

    Outside the EU, UK could make it illegal to trade without meeting EU standards & tariffs. Ireland would not have these flexibilities. Brussels cannot apply different rules to one of its 27 members.

    Which is why the EU needs the backstop , not UK.

    No Deal, says Aldrick -” exposes the truth by giving Brussels the choice of either erecting the hard border described by Mr. Varadkar or breaking its rules , not to mention abandoning Ireland again less than a decade after the harsh remedies demanded of Dublin by EU in the sovereign debt crisis. So Brexit will go to the brink , because everyone has something to lose”

  44. @ Triguy

    UKIP’s 5% was already included in the figures giving 90% to the major parties and cited by Bazinwales (8:36) and Statgeek.

  45. @ Trevors / out of time and I’m sure no one is still reading anyway ;)

    To be honest, I don’t always read your posts. I did read this one from beginning to end, and this despite its length. It felt to me that I was being informed in a thoughtful way rather than being bombarded.


    Andy, I don’t think there’s any (polling) evidence that LAB would do better with a different leader. He has been very successful in reinvigorating the party, and quite successful in the last election. As Shevii says, moderation was the watchword of the Miliband/Balls leadership and turned out very badly.

    With his results so far LAB members believe Corbyn has earned the right to fight the next election…..or course he may not want to stand in 2022, but that’s another story.

  47. @SHEVII

    I think you underestimate the ABC effect and, in reality, those ‘on the left’ have nowhere else to go in an election.

    There would be a risk that some ‘newbies’ would abstain, but if, as we are led to believe, a lot have been drawn into voting for the first time, they’ll mostly stick around and whilst maybe not swelling Labour coffers, will still vote that way.

    I believe there are an awful lot of ex or disillusioned Con. voters out there, who Vince hasn’t motivated, but who will never vote for a Corbyn led party but with a more moderate figure would vote Labour as long as they don’t scare the horses.

  48. @TW @TOH

    Warren Gatland’s claim that if they won in Paris, they would win the 6 Nations, seems prescient. I don’t think I have seen Wales play so badly for the first half and still be in contact at half-time. Even the stupidity of kicking the free kick from a mark directly to the French at the end of the first half instead of taking a tap, running the clock down and booting it out as soon as they were into overtime, cost them an unnecessary three points. When you add in all points that Morgan Parra left on the field, France should have been out of sight at half-time. Neither England nor Ireland would have given Wales the chance to come back.

    That said, as a Welshman I’m pleased with the result.

  49. @ JamesE

    Ah yes, my fault, clearly showing my prejudice by not counting UKIP as a major party.

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