Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer today has topline voting intention figures of CON 41%(+4), LAB 34%(-6), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 7%(nc). Fieldwork was between Wednesday and Friday, and changes are from Opinium’s previous poll in mid-January, conducted straight after May lost her vote on the deal, but won her no confidence vote.

A seven point Conservative lead is the largest since the election. While it is not significantly larger than the 5 or 6 point leads YouGov have been showing this month, it’s a noticable change to Opinium’s previous recent polls, which have tended to show Labour and Conservative roughly neck-and-neck.

As ever, one should be a little cautious about reading too much into a single poll. Survation’s poll for Thursday’s Daily Mail had fieldwork conducted on Wednesday, so actually overlaps the fieldwork period for this poll and showed a one point Labour lead with no meaningful swing from Labour to Conservative. It would be wise to wait and see if subsequent polls confirm whether public opinion has shifted against Labour, or whether this is just an outlier.

Also, be cautious about reading too much into what has caused the change. We really don’t know if there has been a change yet, let alone exactly where it has come from and why (not that it will stop people assuming things). It has been two weeks since Opinium’s last poll, and an awful lot has happened – so one cannot pin the change on any one specific event. Neither can cross-breaks really give much guidance (as Michael Savage notes in the Observer, Labour are down among both remainers and leavers… though discerning any signal from the noise of crossbreaks would be difficult even if the change was all on one side).

The full tables from Opinium are here.

589 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 41, LAB 34, LDEM 8”

1 9 10 11 12
  1. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek, quoted this morning in response to the Tusk meltdown:

    “Probably very similar to the place reserved for those who designed a monetary union without a proper banking union and once the banking crisis hit, transferred cynically the bankers’ gigantic losses onto the shoulders of the weakest taxpayers.”


    Ouch !!

  2. Some now speculating that Donald Tusk is a Vote Leave special agent, and has been all along !

    I have heard he reports to Tony Blair.

  3. Tidies up last post sorry again/

    Agree Trevor,

    I thought that the vagueness would allow May’s deal to get both wings of the Tory Party and the DUP on board but the back-stop put paid to ERG/DUP backing and enboldened the softer Brexit (secret revokers/ref 2) group.

    Labour in essence as you imply want the looser relationship options to be ruled out but this is unacceptable to too many Tory MPs and their members so unlikely May will agree.

    Corbyn has to do this on the off-chance but also to exhaust the other options before moving reluctantly to ref 2 as the ‘only way to avoid no deal’.

    I thought this would happen the end of next week but now think it might be end of the week after or even early w/c 25th with the recess cancelled.

    Labour also pushing for A50 extension officially now and that has to be denied for a couple of weeks before the move to ref 2.

    NB) I expect nothing of significance on 14th from the PM but hope I am wrong.

  4. ToH and others.

    It’s been said before but as the date approaches it becomes pertinent rather than pedantry.

    UK law does not say we leave on March 29th, It says the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on March 29th.

    What says we leave an organisation set up by an International Treaty is the termination of application of that Treaty. What says we leave the EU is the deafult position set by Article 50 TEU if there is by March 29th no WA, extension or revocation by the UK that the TEU and TFEU then cease to apply to the UK.

    It would be a legal nightmare to have repealed the ECA while the TEU and TFEU continued to apply, but it would leave us in the EU.

    I’m not persoally convinced any of the options that prevent the effect of that default termination of the Treaties on March 29th are that easy either. But they are the ones that determine legally whether the UK leaves on March 29th.

  5. PTRP

    “May problem is that whatever she does looks like a retreat from her red lines and proffering those red lines was done to appease brexiteers and will have to lead to a no deal”

    There I strongly disagree with you, apart from the no deal bit. I think May produced those red lines because she believed that the people had voted to leave the EU and the red lines represented that, a view I strongly support.

    The no deal will be due entirely to the EU insisting in trying to split NI off from the rest of the UK. As may said this is something no UK Prime Minister could agree to.

  6. @Trevors (and @Everyone else) – If ‘thick’ offends you, then please accept my apologies. I should have used a more polite expression, and I was mistaken to describe the official Vote Leave campaign as thick.

    Let’s just agree that they were either completely wrong headed or deliberately misleading in promoting the idea that they could commence talks prior to activating A50. There is ample evidence to demonstrate they lacked any understanding of how the negotiations would work, so I’ll tend towards the former excuse.

    Your turn!

  7. At least the Tusk meltdown shows that we were right to leave the EU.
    And with Mr Corbyn “clarifying” Labour’s position, it seems the two main national parties are looking to get this over the line in the next couple of weeks.
    Now, one more tweet from the Euro Donald and we’ll be sorted.


    The problem is we want order control but actuall we don’t except when they are border but not…….

    If we have no border with Ireland then either we must have regualatory alignment and a customs union specifically for NI or we have to have it for the whole of the UK.

    The non border border and the red lnes are logically incompatible. it is not a matter of politics. Simple logic it is why there can be no deal because we are after inconsistent things. It is why May jumps from one thing to another. it would have been more honest to say there has to be proper border controls between the NI and the RoI because that would be consistent, but this is not UK government policy.

    Again you may have a different view of what Uk governmetn policy is but it is to have no border at the border between RoI and NO and to have different regulations.

  9. “HUGO
    At least the Tusk meltdown shows that we were right to leave the EU”

    Good grief…

    It would take rather more than Mr Tusk being accurately rude about people like Boris Johnson to convince me that this country would be better off outside the EU.

    Things like – to pick a random example – facts.

  10. TOH

    ‘The no deal will be due entirely to the EU insisting in trying to split NI off from the rest of the UK. As may said this is something no UK Prime Minister could agree to.’

    Surely it’s not the EU trying ‘to split NI off’, but a logical move to protect the integrity of their single market. To not have such a backstop for the border would mean opening the EU to any old rubbish anyone wants to take into southern Ireland, which is probably what some high profile brexiteers would like to take advantage of.

  11. R&D

    If you think the EU mob will provide you with facts, then good grief it is !

  12. @ JJ – Post Juncker+May’s chit chat, it certainly looks like it will near end of Feb before Corbyn will have any need to change tact. Maybe he gets around to backing a new ref at some point, keeping the question vague and knowing it won’t win HoC support – fair play, that’s a sensible tactic.

    For your two questions on Starmer, then

    1/ Agree, he probably knows more about what EC-EU27 would accept than anyone else in HoC (notably DD, Raab, etc!). CON partisan could frame that as him being a surrender monkey, collaborator, etc.

    2/ Come on! He’s an opposition MP, front bench at that! I have no idea if he has leadership ambitions but he knows how to play the game and full credit to him, he’s good at it!

    Starmer is not “selling” full CU with full SM, ECJ rulings, ongoing payments, etc (EC-EU27 would certainly agree that!) – he’s selling “cake”

    However, since he is not doing the negotiations then he can get away with it – fair play, that’s politics. If CON were in opposition they’d be playing the exact same games, probably dirtier than LAB are!

    It’s a lot easier being in opposition and anticipating where May would have to compromise and then “being first” (eg the transition period).

    It’s a lot harder to try and defend red lines when you have a tiny majority, very divided internal party, pact with DUP and an opposition party playing games.

    Blimey, that almost sounds like I feel sorry for May – oh wait, she made that bed for herself!

    @ HUGE – It’s a bit naughty but there is a joke going around about Germany already having all the best spots in hell and H!tler putting towels down on the sunbeds near the eternal fire of human suffering ready for their current politicians.

    Obviously I can’t repeat it though ;)


    in trying to split NI off from the rest of the UK. As may said this is something no UK Prime Minister could agree to.

    Was that not what the the idea of having no border in NI was all about. it was taking NI as a special case. May is not talking about doing the same with France for example. it is us who are insisting that we have have no border between NI and RoI. Our problem is that it directly contradicts with the red lines. It is not a political issue it is one of pure logic.

    As other have said that Corbyn keeps surprising me with his knowledge of the issues, He understand that basically this mean regulatory alignment with the EU and a Customs union. basically no real change.

    Some brexiteers argued that the simplicity of the red lines were enough. My argument is that a deal means breaking one of those red lines or accpeting a border in NI and the RoI.

    As I asked people like COLIN what they believed either side would give up no one has given an answer. The closest was TREVOR who pointed out that we will have to treat NI differently smudge the line as he call it but that would be stopped by the DUO because it is a red line

    The red lines means a hard border we will have different regulations after all that is why we have left. So I am not assigning blame here but if define brexit by the red lines you have only No Deal

  14. hugo: At least the Tusk meltdown shows that we were right to leave the EU.

    Tusk’s comment hinges on whether it was right for brexiters to promote brexit without a sketch of a plan to do it safely. As far as I am concerned, they did not have a sketch of a plan.

    I don’t think that Tusk’s criticism of a load of brexiters who went ahead without a sketch of a plan bears scrutiny as an argument for it being right to leave the EU without a plan.

  15. JIM JAM

    THe PD isn’t Canada.

    If May gets the WA through with a PD amended to include CU membership-she loses the DUP.

    Corbyn gets his GE.

    Presumably that is what this is all about.

  16. Credit where it’s due; well done to the government for resisting the fracking industries calls for a relaxation of the regulations on acceptable tremor magnitude.

    We are now probably seeing the end of the UK fracking revolution, which was entirely predictable (and indeed, was predicted, right here on UKPR!) given the developments elsewhere.

    While the industry has been highly successful in the US, where thicker seams and far lower population densities are prevalent, and where regulation in many states is woeful, it’s viability in the UK was always going to be limited.

    UK geology tends to be far more complex, with intermixed thin shale beds, and where public acceptability in a crowded country demands far tighter regulation. In Poland, even in the absence of UK style regulation, the industry walked away, for the simple reason that the geology prevented economic extraction.

    To give HMG even more credit, it’s also worth noting that they have at last woken up to the value of renewable geothermal heat. After years of study and quiet lobbying, the government has finally been convinced that the option of heat from minewater is a worthwhile resource to pursue.

    The numbers are staggering: there is enough renewable heat in the redundant coalfields to provide 25% of the UK’s total heat demand; in the north east of England alone, the Coal Authority estimates an extractable heat resource worth over £70bn over the next twenty years.

    It will no doubt make many posters sad that this resource is not available to London, but in many areas still suffering the backwash of the 1980s de-industrialization, there is a heat resource available that will last literally until the earth ceases to spin on it’s axis. Combine this with renewable power for the pumps, and you have a truly zero carbon heat source.

    So far, the government has committed little in the way of resource to this, but that is slowly changing. It’s a golden opportunity to use the legacy of hundreds of thousands of miners that could make the former coalfields the best places to live and establish heat consuming factories, and I suspect that within the next ten years we will have largely forgotten about fracking but be hearing about geothermal energy on a regular basis.

  17. TW

    @”The PD keeps everything from WTO+ through to Turkey- as possibilities but that is all they are”

    I disagree

  18. France withdraws its Ambassador to……………Italy .

    :-) :-)

  19. @Peterw – “UK law does not say we leave on March 29th, It says the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on March 29th.”

    I postulated something similar before Christmas. I too don’t really know what the legal position is or how it would be resolved, but as you say, if we remain in the A50 period after March 29th, then the ECA repeal is not legal. It’s how this is resolved in practical terms that would be the problem.

    I also can’t recall the details, but I’m sure Junckers said at one point that the EU27 could extend the A50 period unilaterally without being asked by the UK PM. This does sound a bit bizarre, but would be par for the course for the entire Brexit process.

  20. jIM jAM,
    “Could it be that Tusk’s remarks about PV/Remain having no leadership be a signal to those backing close alignment previously, who may not support now as they chasethe grail of a reversal (via ref 2), to get behind a Soft Brexit.

    I imagine he just thinks they are a bunch of idiots, and he thinks the Uk people need to realise that. thats all which is left now.

    Trevor Warne,
    “Various Leave groups had extensive “roadmaps” prepped way before the ref ”

    isnt that rather the problem? Various INCOMPATIBLE roadmaps!

    “Some parts of some plans were bonkers and still are”

    Ah, you agree!

    “Everything in Corbyn’s letter is readily available in the PD.”

    The PD is meaningless, as everyone here knows.

    “The EU _has not_ said that negotiations are over – only that the WA is not going top be reopened.”

    Exactly. They have said some meaningless waffle can be inserted in the PD, but even there only if it is for closer integration. They have only agreed for the ambiguity in the PD to be reolved in terms of closer union.

    Anything whatever could happen after labour agreed a compromise brexit based on PD. Most obviously, they would lose the remainers. Then con would call a further election on a ticket of properly completing Brexit- actualy exactly the same ticket as last time- and they would win well. Even more remainers would then desert labour because they had betrayed remain right royally and allowed conservatives unrestricted choice of what sort of brexit we get. The WA is not binding.

    We then enter an era of resurgent centrist libs with a rejoin ticket. Labour vote share shrinking fast, and the inevitable FPP results of tory wins-even if they eventually go soft on brexit.

    The trevors.
    “Corbyn successfully framed the 2017 GE as Brexit being “settled” and the focus was on austerity and +ve future for the “many”.”
    Go back and read threads from the time!

    ” These kinds of polls need a huge pinch of salt IMHO anyway.”

    Every poll for 2 years has been saying labour supporters are remainers! What staggers me is how anyone does not believe this.

    Labour did so well only because they captured remain votes. Corbyn did this my masterful understatement. He allowed the conservatives to make all the running on the brexit they wanted, and for everyone who hated it to therefore turn to labour. But labour policy was, and presumably is, to reject any brexit which does not safegurad the interests of the Uk. Which, as I have said many times, means all kinds of brexit are ruled out.

    Sure, thats subject to interpretation, but that is the whole point. The bottom line is still that remainers took labour at its word it would not support Brexit. They expect labour to keep it.

  21. So May has clearly conceded that there will be no change to the WA and discussions now pivot to beefing up the PD with those scheduled to conclude by end February.

    In turn, this means that May has ditched the extremists within the ERG and is looking to get a deal through with explicit or tacit Labour support.

    It also means that there will be no meaningful vote in Parliament before March which in turn means that Art 50 will need to be extended as there is no prospect of getting the necessary primary and secondary legislation through in time.

    In the business world, companies are now having to take commercial decisions including exporting without knowing what trading arrangements will be in place in a matter of weeks.

  22. @ PETERW – Any chance you could redo 11:30am in layman’s terms.

    “Revoke” is possible but I can’t see May doing that or HoC somehow gaining the authority to do so (not impossible but v.unlikely). If we end up with a new GE then in the “tidy up” phase of this session Revoke would probably happen (that would require CON to split and the numbers seem more likely via CON Remain forcing the issue and backing Corbyn – lots of FTPA and time issues applying)

    “Extension” is a massive can of worms (which I think is the point your making).

    Changing the date (and nothing else) in the EU Withdrawal Act and getting EU27 to unanimously agree a tiny “extension” to allow both sides to finalise some “mini-deals” and domestic “stuff” does look like it would benefit both sides (ie it would have the “will” so it could find a “way’)

    EP breaks up mid-April and new MEPs start from July. The EP election issue makes anything beyond a few weeks vasty more complex for both sides. Both sides will rightly need a very good reason to “extend” beyond a date that requires UK to re-elect MEPs. Not impossible but the “will” to do this from either side would be very low.

    Fudge: TBA
    Always possible. All kinds of legal issues will come up but if you use “Leadsom” extension once then I can see how “Leadsom2” might kick in as some “mini-deal” fudge to pad out an Association Agreement (or a slimmed down WA). Once you open two cans of worms (EU law A50 and UK law EU Withdrawal Act), you have new cans to kick and May and EC-EU27 love kicking cans – although businesses and electorates don’t!

  23. @JIM JAM

    Thank you for your contributions to this forum, your explanations, predictions and clarifications of Labour Party Policy are the posts I read twice.

    Two points:

    1. Jim Jam has pointed out frequently that the 6 tests were never Labours’ policy but 6 claims made by the Government that they would achieve. If Labour had a strong mass media communicator* in charge then Jim Jam wouldn’t have to keep reminding us.

    2. As a “remaniac” Labour Party member, I have often been disappointed with Jeremy Corbyn’s lukewarm enthusiasm for the EU in general and a second referendum in particular however on a number of occasions I have looked back and realised the Labour Party Strategy has been utterly brilliant. If it works, we will have either BINO, Corbyn’s preferred outcome or a 2nd referendum.

    * I did have a certain recent Labour PM in mind, but it risks Basil Fawlty’s red line of mentioning the war.

  24. @ PTRP (@TOH) – “if define brexit by the red lines you have only No Deal”

    That was the conclusion TOH and myself came to very quickly after the Mayb0tch GE and the C+S pact with DUP. I had briefly considered the n4ive hope of a Leave “govt of national unity” so UKPR kudos goes to TOH.

    Anyway glad the penny has finally dropped for you ;)

  25. PETERW


  26. Hireton

    Never feel sorry for business – they always manager. Look how VW “managed” in WW2.


    Nice one !

    I don’t care if we stay in the CU, whether its Efta, EEA, Norway Plus or Uncle Tom Cobley and all – as long as I am not a EU citizen anymore, just a British subject

  27. The Other Howard,
    “The no deal will be due entirely to the EU insisting in trying to split NI off from the rest of the UK”

    Howard, you know as well as the rest of us, that the EU was only ever going to make a deal consistent with its existing international positions. No special favours for britain once we leave.

    The only way the EU can honour its agreement over Ireland is if it refuses to make any new deal with the UK unless tha deal preserves an open border. There is an alternative way out, for the people of N. ireland to vote to agree to leave the EU and choose a closed border, but they havnt.

    The blunt position is, as a former Imperial power, the Uk doesnt care what agreements it breaks if the result is in its favour. The EU is in all respects unusually trustworthy, although it probably does help that digging its toes in over Ireland is in its best interest anyway.

    “If May gets the WA through with a PD amended to include CU membership-she loses the DUP.

    Corbyn gets his GE.”

    But then she tears up the WA, leavers cheer, remainers desert labour for deserting them, and conservatives get a huge victory. Labour can only win if it is remain.

    “Credit where it’s due; well done to the government for resisting the fracking industries calls for a relaxation of the regulations on acceptable tremor magnitude. ”

    Post brexit reversal coming up…

  28. You have to laugh !

    The French have recalled Monsieur Ambassador from Italy saying they have suffered the worst verbal onslaught since WW2.

    And I thought it was just brexiteers who mentioned the war !

    It’s all one big happy family….

  29. Lewblew

    ” I don’t really understand what makes a Scottish ‘one’ more different to me”.

    Most folk like, at least, to pretend to have empathy with other points of view, not proudly proclaim that they don’t understand other points of view, or declare their ignorance.

    ToH and I disagree on many things, but long ago agreed that we could empathise with each others stances.

    I can understand that you take the position that at some point since 1707, the UK Parliament should have legislated that the UK should become a unitary state, with a single Established Church, a single legal jurisdiction and body of law, a single system of local governance etc., and breached all of the terms of the Treaties of Union.

    That would be an entirely logical (if impractical) stance and I can understand that wish to dominate others and force everyone into a common structure, even though I fundamentally disagree with it.

    That you claim to be incapable of understanding alternatives to your own concepts, must reduce your view of the world to a very narrow tunnel.

  30. Trevor Warne,
    ““Revoke” is possible but I can’t see May doing that or HoC somehow gaining the authority to do so ”

    The act authorising May to give notice under article 50 already exsit, and almost certainly also authorises her to withdraw it.

    the ‘meaningfull vote’ already passed isntructs the government not to leave the Eu with no deal, but only to do so with an agreed revised WA, which we have already confirmed will not happen.

    The PM has therefore aleady been authorised to revoke, according to the requirements of the Uk constitution (rather flimsy).

  31. YG live are asking about the Tusk comments. It’s a simple “approve/disapprove” (so that caveat applies). At the moment:

    Approve: 42
    Disapprove: 50
    DK: 8

    Anyone care to guess how the X-breaks will look?

    However, simple maths will show that a few more Remain and ABC will disapprove than vice versa. Also note some Leave, like myself, fully approve of Tusk’s comments.

    I’d have loved Juncker to go full Donald today but I guess the bars haven’t opened yet ;)

  32. PTRP

    That all sounds very logical except as I have posted previously, the UK Government, the Eire Government and even Barnier have all said at one time or another there would not be a hard border even if we leave with no deal.

    Personally as I have said many times I do not have any problem with the idea of a hard border in Ireland if that’s what the EU insist on when we leave, as you agree is most likely with no deal. If there is it will be of the EU’s making.

  33. @ TO / HUGO – I hear Remain are launching several new court case against Leave campaign.

    1/ Leave failed to complete the correct EU Health and Safety forms on their plan to Leave.

    2/ Sketches were not submitted to EU planners for prior approval (and we didn’t “brown envelope” the right council members). 1,000 page documents, books and 40yrs of research and ideas don’t count they needed to see sketches of the plans.

    Both cases are due to be heard on 1April 19, shortly before noon :-) :-)

  34. EOTW,

    Even Laura Kuenssberg gets the 6 tests thing wrong on Politics Live today.

    I actually think it was deliberate by Labour to let people think the 6 tests were policy so the position in the letter last night looks like a compromise.

    Personally, I would have preferred the relative clarity in the letter earlier prior to the initial December scheduled vote but I am a mere member.
    Conference could have changed and/or the May proposals affected so earlier than November not sensible.

  35. DANNY
    “The act authorising May to give notice under article 50 already exsit, and almost certainly also authorises her to withdraw it. ”

    Care to give some legal basis for that view that goes beyond mere wishful thinking? It most certainly doesn’t say so. And if you’re arguing from a view that a Parliamentary authority is needed, then it is going to need to be enuniciated pretty unambigusouly. Rather than not at all.

    A better argument is that she doesn’t need Parliamentary authority to revoke. If she needs it and you’re relying on that argument I reckon you’re stuffed.

  36. According to Verhofstadt TM has assured the EU that a backstop will be used, Jonny Bairstow has been asked about his availability :)

  37. Colin

    I don’t see what else the French could have done – well, they could have implemented a full ban on all Italian government members (and their party members) to enter French territory (it is perfectly legal under the Schengen agreement).

    I hope it will happen.

  38. COLIN
    “If May gets the WA through with a PD amended to include CU membership-she loses the DUP.”

    I’m not sure it would. CU membership isn’t a DUP deal breaker (although it’s not very high on their wish list either). No border between GB & NI is the fundamental red line. CU membership doesn’t breach that.

  39. Trevor

    There’s a third case pending, apparently.

    “The people did not know what they were voting for”….

    There was going to be a fourth – “Nobody voted to be poorer” but the luvvies withdrew that one because they vote to be poorer every time they vote Labour/SNP…!!

  40. @ DANNY – Oh Danny, the fantasy World you live in!

    Give the unicorns a carrot for me as they must be very hungry to have eaten ALEC’s fresh copy of the Lisbon Treaty, Article 50 and EU Withdrawal Act.

    For some reason Planet Remain is unable to access the online copies?!? I’m sure that is somehow Brexit’s fault though ;)

  41. @Danny – “Post brexit reversal coming up…”

    don’t think so. Very strong opposition from a string of Con rural areas. Not got much coverage, but it’s surprisingly unpopular in Con circles.

  42. Pete W,

    Did not Sam post an ROI source a couple of weeks ago interpreting a remark by Jeffrey Donaldson as implying A CU could be acceptable to the DU?

    As ever Sammy Wilson is a stumbling block, I wonder if he sees Brexit as a chance to amend the GFA but he should be careful as moderate unionism (or some of it, perhaps enough) does not seem impressed by his approach.

  43. @Alec – thanks for your post about heat from coalmines. I was entirely unaware of this possibility. Not exactly about polling but thoroughly welcome nonetheless. You remind me of the schoolmaster in the deserted village.

    In arguing too, the parson owned his skill,
    For e’en though vanquished he could argue still;
    While words of learned length and thundering sound
    Amazed the gathering rustics ranged around,
    And still they gazed and still the wonder grew
    That one small head could carry all he knew.

    Not that I am aware of you being vanquished in argument, although you do seem to have a certain fondness for it.

  44. @lewblew

    “Question. Why do English, Welsh and NI students have to pay tuition fees to study in Scotland when Scottish and EU students get it for free?””

    It is an equally valid question to ask why Scottish students have to pay tuition fees to study at English universities.

    As @oldnat has explained its a question of residence not nationality as are other variations in policy, law and so on.

    The UK has never been a uniform unitary state. For example, Ireland and then Northern Ireland had separate constitutional arrangements with a parliament when no other constituent country of the UK did. Scotland always had a separate legal, education and religious system. England uniquely has an established church with considerable representation of its clergy in the UK Parliament. Scotland has a one tier system of local government, England has one with up the three (or even 4?) tiers in one area. And so on.

    The consequence of that is that there has always been variations between the constituent countries in many areas. English children study for different exams compared to Scottish children. Women in Northern Ireland can only have a legal abortion there under very narrow circumstances and same sex couples cannot marry. In Scotland, an alleged criminal will be tried before a jury of 15 of their peers not 12. A criminal convicted in Scottish courts has very limited rights of appeal to the UK Supreme Court. There are four separate health services in the UK with different protocols, service standards etc. And so on.

    You can argue for a very extreme from of British nationalism that everything should be the same throughout the UK but that has never been the case and it is difficult to see why it would be of any great benefit (assuming the UK would survive the experiment).

  45. OLDNAT

    “ToH and I disagree on many things, but long ago agreed that we could empathise with each others stances.”

    Indeed we did, and still do as far as I am concerned.


    “The EU is in all respects unusually trustworthy, although it probably does help that digging its toes in over Ireland is in its best interest anyway.”

    God help you if you really believe that. I stick by what I said and don’t agree with you at all, as usual.

    You also forgot to mention that Eire could resolve the problem by leaving the EU.


    I hope so to, but not for the same reason as you.

  46. Peterw,
    “Care to give some legal basis for that view that goes beyond mere wishful thinking?”

    The act as passed does not instruct the PM to give or not give notice, merely gives her the power to do so. I suspect the supreme court would interpret this as a full power to be exercised, including revoking. That is how such things normally work in the Uk with ministerial powers.

    No further act was passed instructing her to give notice, she did this on her own authority, but might argue parliament had indicated this was what it wanted.

    Parliament has now given a similar authorisation to withdraw notice. An informal one was all that was needed to give notice, so it is all that is needed to revoke.

    I would suspect that parliament could bring proceedings against her for contempt of parliament if she refuses to obey their instructions. Whether conservative MPs would vote for that is another matter. the DUP might.

    So we could end up with the Pm locked in the parliamentary basement untill she agrees to withdraw!

    The Trevors,
    “Oh Danny, the fantasy World you live in!”

    I always know i am on the winning side of the argument when opponents resort to personal attacks instead of addressing the argument! So thank you for that confirmation.

  47. From Mike Smithson

    Latest Ipsos-MORI poll
    CON 38%=
    LAB 38%=
    LD 10%+1

  48. Charles & Alec

    Geothermal energy production is still at the experimental stage.

    There is a small scheme running in Shettleston in Glasgow, but wider application will depend on better analysis, hence the experimental bore holes at the Glasgow Geothermal Energy Research Field Site started in November.


    Researchers plan for a 15 year programme of data collection and analysis.

    Scottish government also funding research into hot sedimentary aquifers and high heat production granites.

  49. Sounds like a tense meeting between UK government and devolved governments today. Hearing some frustrations “boiled over” – source says not quite Donald Tusk level but not far off. (Nick Eardley, BBC)

  50. NI POLL ALERT!!!
    (from Jan’19 but I note some NI unionist “opinions” today so worth a repost)

    They don’t split by party but they do split Republican/Unionist.

    Summary of Unionist x-breaks (ie the voters that DUP represent):

    Amongst unionist there is high dislike for a 2nd ref [1], clear preference for “No Deal” v “May deal” [2], some anger at a 2-way but Remain better than May’s deal [3], clear preference for “No Deal” v Remain.

    1/ 2nd EU Ref: 70% NO (net 43%)
    2/ New ref “No Deal” v “May Deal”: “No Deal” 65% (net 40%)
    3/ New ref “Remain” v “May Deal”: 33% Remain, 32% wouldn’t vote, 24% May’s Deal, 11% DK
    4/ New ref “Remain” v “No Deal”: “No Deal” 66% (net 37%)

    Link to poll and a few write-ups:

    PS I’m sure we’ll get the usual suspects saying DUP should do what is right for NI, etc. It’s not my fault Republicans vote for a party that abstains and hence are not represented. Tis what is it!

1 9 10 11 12