Today we’ve had the first two polls asking people about whether they’d support The Independent Group were they to stand candidates.

Survation in the Daily Mail asked how people would vote if there was “a new centrist party opposed to Brexit”, producing voting intention figures of CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, “New centrist party” 8%, UKIP 5%. In comparison, the normal voting intention figures in the poll were CON 40%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%, suggesting the new party could take support from both Labour and Conservative, though it would largely take votes from the Liberal Democrats. Tables are here.

SkyData, who do not typically publish voting intention figures, asked how people would vote if the “new Independent Group of former Labour MPs” were standing, and found voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 26%, TIG 10%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6%. We don’t have standard voting intention figures to compare here, but on the face of it, it also looks as if support is coming from both Labour and Conservative, though the level of Lib Dem support appears to be holding up better than in the Survation poll. Note that the lower figures overall appear to be because of an unusually high figure for “others” (possibly because SkyData do not offer respondents the ability to answer don’t know). Tables are here.

These polls are, of course, still rather hypothetical. “The Independent Group” is not a political party yet (assuming, that it ever becomes one). It doesn’t formally have a leader yet, or any policies. We don’t yet know how it will co-exist with the Liberal Democrats. As of Tuesday night it only has former Labour MPs, though the rumourmill expects some Conservative MPs to join sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, it is more “real” than the typical hypothetical polls asking about imaginary centrist parties. Respondents do at least have some names, faces and context to base it upon, and it gives us a baseline of support. We won’t really know for sure until (and unless) the Independent Group transform into a proper party and is just another option in standard voting intention polls.


511 Responses to “Survation and SkyData polls on the Independent Group”

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  1. R&D

    “It is a dire situation and a product of the Party system in my view.”

    True, but unhelpful. We can get all Jeffersonian about whether parties are a good thing or not. Or we can accept the empirical evidence of two hundred years and a greater number of hundreds of systems that they are an inevitable thing in anything that even pretends to democracy at the level of the modern nation state.

    We deal with the word as it is. With its wrinkles, its compromises, its making do, its muddling through.

    That was my overwhelming feeling about the Monday press conference. That it failed to do this. It was student debating society fantasy. Yeah, it’s be great if the world was like that. Now go away and grow up.

    Today was certainly better, as you say.

  2. Trevor Warne
    ““The Conservatives lost a chunk of their Remain voters to both Labour (15%) and the Liberal Democrats (9%)”

    I can see that you are quoting Yougov, but they are slightly misleading. They should have said that the Conservatives Remain voters went down as a proportion of their total. Everyone makes a big deal of Corbyn’s gains in 2017, but the Tories vote went up by 1.3m, a 21% improvement since 2015. Most of these came from UKIP, who were Leavers, so the proportion of Remainers in the Tory vote was bound to reduce, even if they lost no actual voters at all!

    Your interpretation of the Yougov figures (i.e. that Remain voters were lost in big numbers) is only valid if the total vote was the same at both elections.

  3. Shevii

    “ERG and Corbyn both reflect a significant section of society”.

    Very true. My objection to the monolithic parties is that when particular factions capture them, everyone else in them is forced to “toe the line”, despite their views being better aligned with other political groupings.

    More seriously, the electorate is excluded from determining the nature of political alliances, unlike Sweden.

  4. Sorry, this whole by-election nonsense doesn’t wash. Funny how Brexiteers don’t want parliamentarians to make straightforward and totally legal decisions when it doesn’t suit them! Boo hoo

    These MPs were always remainers. Their constituents knew that when they voted them in. Individuals were standing, not parties. It’s like saying John Smith and Tony Blair had to force their MPs to only support policies which were in Kinnock’s ’92 manifesto. Firstly, they didn’t win. Secondly, no!

  5. Lewblew

    It really is an amazing coincidence that Brexiteers should want 11 Remain MPs to resign their seats.

  6. @ PeterW

    “what is declining to fight them because you’re bound to lose a sign of?”

    A good point, well made. It would certainly be interesting to see the results if they did give it a try, and maybe one or two might actually succeed in retaining their sear. I suspect the problem is that if one does, then really they all have to do it. One or two of them may be up for it, but I seriously doubt they’d all want to give it a go.

  7. peterw

    “We deal with the word as it is.”

    I’ll assume the missing l and say that the “world as it is” means it rains and snows when we would rather it didn’t.

    But it doesn’t HAVE TO give us FPTP does it? Especially when we are told that that gives us “string and stable government” when it patently does nothing of the sort and it is FPTP that basically means we have a two party system which no longer works and yet ties people into it depending on which lot they hate most.

    Like many people [I think] I have got to the stage now in which that I can no longer decide.

    Many millions of people would like an alternative and are not minded to take it on the chin just because that’s how things have always been.

    If [ and it’s a big if I know] this new grouping looks like being hugely successful then they would win me over by still saying that they would introduce PR.

  8. “But it doesn’t HAVE TO give us FPTP does it”

    Absolutely not. No fan of FPTP me. But give me an example of an alternative voting system that hasn’t had parties formed, with all their faults.

    The comment is not voting system specific.

    And I’ll stand my “word as it is” and raise you your “string and stable government” :-)

  9. Peter W @ R&D

    Though you must concede that “string and stable” is a great metaphor for a political structure which resembles an equine establishment (beset by flu) where the doors are loosely secured with ancient binder twine.

  10. And I’ll go further. Yes, this new group may get somewhere. And I’d be more attracted to them as well (though in my case more than almost not all at present) if they were saying that they would introduce PR.

    But if it does, it will get somewhere as a party, not as a “conversation”. In our system it may need to supplant one of the others. In another system maybe alongside the others. But either way, as a party.

    Like it or not, they can’t have an individual conversation with each of the 60 million of us: they can only put a platform to each of us.

  11. I was surprised by Trevor Warne’s assertion that “Sadly few Leave MPs would be considered ‘Centre’. Boris possibly about the closest to a ‘Centre’ Leaver”.

    What about Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann, Stephen Lloyd – all centrist MPs. Boris has always been right of centre.

  12. Strong rumours of further Labour defections tomorrow from informed sources (Talk Radio)

  13. My cats would love string and stable government.

  14. @OldNat,
    [“More seriously, the electorate is excluded from determining the nature of political alliances, unlike Sweden.”]

    Until the 2000s each of the parties stood for election separately without any pre-electoral alliances. Then at several GEs (including last year’s), the four centre-right parties stood as “the Alliance” aiming form a government together. But at September’s GE neither the Alliance nor a centre-left alternative won a majority, and last month the Alliance broke up and two of the centre-right parties agreed to tolerate a centre-left government in return for policy influence.

    That may be a good model of PR and/or consensual democracy but how did the electorate determine the resulting alliances?

  15. @ R & D

    Yes, I thought they were better today than the Magnificent Seven,

    The terminology you objected to was in fact directly quoted from @Sorbus. But to deal with your point, I think much comment on UKPR is from a personal perspective, from which we can sometimes suggest extrapolation.

    Its just the way it is. But I’ll try to rein myself in.

  16. RP

    ” how did the electorate determine the resulting alliances?”

    You just described how they did.

  17. Thanks Millie.

    Certainly no need to do so on my account – I was just expressing a view…

    paul

  18. Given this comment from a voter in Bethnal Green re. Shamima Begum, maybe we get the politicians we deserve:

    ““I don’t think she should be allowed to come back because the home secretary has already said no.”

    My own view [on Javid] is that he is going to look an even bigger twat than normal as this goes forward.

  19. R&D
    Yes, I’m coming round to the idea of PR as well. It seems to give pretty ‘strong and stable’ government in some countries – e.g. Germany, and other northern European countries. FPTP used to usually give the same, but manifestly hasn’t since 2010. Would a HoC with (say) ERG, Tory, LibDem, Tiggers and Corbynites plus SNP and PC and a few other odds and ends as separate parties be much different to what we have now? At least alliances and compromises between different interests would be more open.

    There are a few snags of course. We’d have to accept the fact that people like the BNP or Socialist Workers would get a few seats. Also, which exact system would be used? There seem to be hundreds, and we’ve already rejected AV. And perhaps most significantly, how could it ever happen, when it is in both the major party’s interests to keep FPTP? The only scenario I could see would be if one party kept getting not quite enough seats for a majority and the others all refused coalition and all stood on a platform of PR, and then won. Perhaps we’re nearly in that situation?

    Another possibility would be to elect the HoL by some form of PR rather than stuffing it party apparatchiks and cronies. That would be a starting point.

  20. Struggle to see this new group getting anywhere long term. [This almost certainly means they’ll form the next government]. The trouble I have with them is not that they don’t have the normal practical machinery of party, but that there seems to be nothing of principle to join them into one.

    The Labour defectors didn’t seem to settle on anything except a rather nebulous string of not liking the way Labour have dealt with antisemiticism, Corbyn, and Labour’s failure to stand against Brexit – even while Labour may yet still support a second referendum – while the Ex Cons were aghast at austerity – athough Soubry said it was the right thing to do at the time – and pro remain.

    Strip out Brexit, which will, at some point, be resolved, and there really isn’t anything here to make a party. That could yet change, but ‘not being Labour or Conservative’ doesn’t provide the philosophical grounding a political movement needs. Even with Brexit, the SNP in Scotland and Lib Dems elsewhere already provide options for remainers.

    My guess is that this group won’t flourish long term, but I would be interested in two possible outcomes. Firstly, how much damage will the accusations of extremism against the Tories create? We know all about this on the Labour side, but it’s new for the blues. If that sticks, then lots of possibilities start to be created.

    Secondly, both the big two parties are now facing accusations of entryism by extremists. Will this finally allow us to agree a sensible voting system that liberates these overwieldy coalitions to split into politically more coherent sections, and finally give voters a proper choice?

    It’s not as if opponents of PR can claim that FPTP creates stable majority government any more.

  21. Pete B

    “And perhaps most significantly, how could it ever happen, when it is in both the major party’s interests to keep FPTP?”

    I’d suggest 2 ways –

    1. When the largest party can only get a majority in a coalition with a party that demands that as the price. (The LDs could have done that in 2010, as SLD forced SLab into accepting STV in 2003 – but they chickened out)

    2. When HoC as become so fragmented that the main English parties (however many there are) decide that PR is the only way to give them a chance at a share of power.

    As to the method – the NZ 1992 two stage process might help.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_reform_in_New_Zealand#1992_electoral_system_referendum

  22. “OLDNAT
    Strong rumours of further Labour defections tomorrow from informed sources (Talk Radio)”

    Can’t be Derek Hatton – he’s been suspended again.

    Any clues as to number/s??

  23. Alec

    I think you may be surprised.

  24. R&D

    No clue – which is also the state of my confidence at predicting the outcome of Brexit.

  25. Another example of BBC Radio 4 producers and news compilers favouring Brexit just now on the 10 pm programme.

    They said TM was in Brussels seeking changes to the “Irish Backstop”. But it`s the backstop fullstop, an integral item within the Withdrawal Agreement, and wanted just as much by people in Scotland, some sectors in England and all Ireland.

    I hope Nicola Sturgeon in her discussions in Paris this week, has been able to persuade the French government to veto any attempt at depleting the power of the Withdrawal Agreement.

  26. Davwel

    “They said TM was in Brussels seeking changes to the “Irish Backstop”. But it`s the backstop fullstop”

    True, but removing cultural normatavism is unlikely to succeed. The “British Question in Ireland” has so long been labelled the “Irish Question” that even many in Ireland use that inappropriate label.

  27. Some interesting posts about the new group tonight.

    I’ve listened carefully to both press conferences, and like @R&D I think the Conservatives came across the best. Although not part of my usual side of politics, the Conservative women are all ones who in the last year or two have stood out quite a lot.

    I find the narrative of traitors etc that partisans have putting out totally at odds with my understanding. All of these MPs face an almost certain quick end to their political careers. They face an onslaught of abuse for sure. Yet when pushed, they have made a stand that will cost their careers and put them out of a job. The chance of success is not great either. The easy route was to become like most MPs, lobby fodder for whips, voting as told even if they disagree, and picking up a salary for years as price for this rather blind and unthinking loyalty. I think this has really hollowed out Parliament for me. You might as well have 650 pre-programmed robots who trot out the party line on demand

    My own social media feeds are LOC, so I’ve read so much like “how can trust them when they voted for austerity etc.” for the Conservatives, and “Tories in dosguise” aimed at Labour MPs. In human terms. at many levels, the ability to accept what you have previously supported may not have been right, or accepting you need to change your view based on the evidence that comes to light, is a great vehicle for human progress. Therefore, Hedi Allen – unable to stomach the suffering welfare changes have to the poorest in society – is a marvellous example. That should be praised. Yet so many people see politics through tribal goggles.

    It’s obvious the cards are stacked against them, as the big party machines try to crush dissent. However, I suspect a chord has been struck with many people (it has with me), and there could be enough good will and support for an embryonic change to begin. I’m not sure these 11 MPs wll feel the benefit, but I think two tribal citadels have been damaged, and maybe things can’t quite go back to how they were.

  28. In the world as it is, both the main political parties are allegedly working for a good deal which ‘delivers’ Brexit. It is now probable that a majority of current voters do not want Brexit and it is a curious version of democracy which says that we voted for it and have to accept the consequences. So it seems to me it would be reasonable and patriotic for MPs to offer us a chance to think again.

    In this situation I personally think it would have been better for the 11 to state that on a limited range of Brexit related issues (which can include austerity) they would work and vote as a group across party lines but that in all other matters they would adhere to party discipline. It would be then up to the party leaders to sack them if they dared.

    It would also open the way for them to say that they would be talking to the Scots Nats and LibDems and like minded MPs of all parties about the most effective way of stopping No Deal, arranging a people’s vote, and putting forward a programme which would address the issues that underlay Brexit. And they could hold these conversations without suggesting that they were in any way expecting those to whom they were talking to leave their parties.

  29. Davwel
    “I hope Nicola Sturgeon in her discussions in Paris this week, has been able to persuade the French government to veto any attempt at depleting the power of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

    So you’d prefer No Deal? There doesn’t seem to be time for anything else, unless some really massive U-turns and betrayals happen.

    The Referendum said we (the UK for Oldnat’s benefit) voted to leave. The following general election had both the major parties including the one that won standing on manifestos that said that they respected the result of the referendum. So we are going to Leave. Just because a few opinion polls seem to indicate a drift away from that view doesn’t mean anything. Government is not done by opinion polls. The decision has been made.

    I’m quite happy about the so-called No Deal I’m just surprised that you are.

  30. I don’t know if it’s just because there’s unpredictable stuff happening after so long of being in the same Brexit rut but… I’ve really enjoyed reading UKPR the last couple of days.

    Lots of discussion/speculation about polls, but even in all the other stuff, on pretty much every subject I’ve had to read the messages to work out whether I agree or not, rather than having a pretty good clue just from the username and the subject. And several messages from different people have made me laugh out loud.

    This is why I’ve been following here for so many years, long before I started posting… analysis and insight and wit and ideas, in a frequency and breadth I haven’t found anywhere else.

  31. Theresa May is going to have to disappoint someone or several someones in her party. It’s impossible to leave and not leave, and I don’t think her deal does enough of either. The best deals always leave mutual dissatisfaction, and her current deal isn’t even all that good and it’s unlikely to get much better.

    So what do those who are disappointed do? Sit and grumble for a while or leave? I think the deep purples will do the former, after all the UK will have left the EU in some shape or form and once Brexit is over UKIP’s USP is much reduced.

    As for the remainers, there’s fewer of them but now they have somewhere to go, and that somewhere has seats even if a by-election or two would help solidify their position. So I think this sort of disappointed will join the independent group, if not in droves.

    Longer term, if TIG becomes a party and there’s an election, the remaining Labour Party will suffer thanks to the diversion of support (1983 again). It’ll take a while, but TIG will help end the Corbyn era.
    I expect one more defeat for Labour, perhaps two if someone invades the Falklands.

  32. I think it’s quite clever of the defectors simply to call themselves independent at this stage, and not create a new party, which would be problematic. It’s the same principle used by the Labour Party in relation to leaving the EU, avoiding commitment.

    The independents can simply see what happens and react accordingly, and by not being a party are much harder to attack.

    Creates difficulties which are fairly obvious for polling – as if the present situation isn’t difficult enough already.

  33. “The Conservatives lost a chunk of their Remain voters to both Labour (15%) and the Liberal Democrats (9%)”

    To the extent that Conservative-Remain voters defected to Labour and the Lib Dems in 2017, it’s kind of incredible to think about. Corbyn is an extreme leftist who’s hated by his own caucus which voted no confidence in him by a nearly 4-1 margin. Then you’ve got Tim Farron, who during the campaign was repeatedly asked by reporters his opinion on the morality of gay s*x (and couldn’t answer the question). I don’t know why but I think the most properly English answer to that question is “well it depends on what kind of gay s*x” (with the accompanying eyeroll).

    That’s not really a good set of options for longtime Tory voters thinking about defection for the first time.

  34. Yes, some great posts from everybody, so thanks.

    I do not know the future for TIG (too soon to tell) , but I think the absence of the defectors from the two largest parties will change those parties.

    I guess political parties change direction over time in any case. The LDems swerved from left to right as, ahem, has often been pointed out here, but Labour moved right under Blair before moving left more recently.

    To get this totally speculative post (plus a little history) out of the way, I did notice the experienced Conservative MP Nicholas Soames mention on TV a week or two ago that he thought the present political situation would end in an election. Could he be right?

  35. @ Old Nat

    “It really is an amazing coincidence that Brexiteers should want 11 Remain MPs to resign their seats.”

    Right? Lol.

    I recently saw from first hand experience that what the “party activists” want isn’t always in line with what voters who identify with the party want.

    Case in point. In one recent Assembly District “ADEM” caucus to elect California Democratic Party Delegates, the #1 candidate who swept in almost his entire slate (backed by Our Revolution and the Democratic Socialists of America) received 472 votes in a two hour Sunday afternoon caucus. He and the 12 others he helped bring in are the “grassroots” of the party.

    Well, this same candidate ran for the Assembly seat last year in a special election. Despite his brilliant campaign, he was unable to get himself onto the ballot (in his words, due to “dirty backroom politics”). But, backed by Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution, he fought on hard, bringing in all the young left wing Bernie activists and making enough waves to get the California Nurses Association to make over $60,000 in independent expenditures on his behalf. He was going to show that in this heavily Democratic district, establishment centrist politics were over and the Bernie wing was ascendant.

    He received a solid 495 votes (out of over 32,000 ballots cast).

    Side note. The election of a member to the Assembly outright (with 69% of the vote) did not stop him. He did make it onto the June regular election ballot. Came in 4th place, behind the 3rd place Republican, and the 2nd place Democrat who’d run and lost in the special election who had already dropped out of the race and endorsed the incumbent. So, she won against the Bernie Sanders backed candidate even though she wasn’t campaigning…..frankly I don’t understand how either she or my Assemblywoman could be considered anything less than left wing. But certainly, Jeremy Corbyn would find a way.

    Point of all this is to note that what the so-called “activists” want isn’t necessarily in line with what voters want. They can just be super loud. We had this happen in the U.S. Senate race last year too to some extent (wildly embarrassing).

  36. I find myself in the same uncomfortable position as that Labour chap to whom COLIN’s link led. What is Labour’s position on Brexit?

    I know Labour intends to honour the result of the referendum. That would make having a second referendum unlikely. Labour also wants to end freedom of movement. This would make membership of EEA and the SM difficult. Labour thinks it “vital that we retain unrestricted access for our goods and services.” Labour would attempt to retain the benefits of the SM and CU.

    All this to be done while not in power and in the space of about 4 weeks. The 8 who left, left it late.

    Mrs May, who may still, loosely, be said to be in power does not seem to have any idea of what she wants. She has deserted the WA which she negotiated on our behalf in order to try to undermine it while making it clear that her original deal is still one she favours. Of course, she expects the electorate, ERG and the EU to trust her and the integrity or lack of it she displays. What should we and the EU conclude about how trustworthy is May?

    Her acceptance of the Brady motion should be worrying. It suggests the possibility that she is willing to accept no deal. Indeed,no deal would seem to be the default position of the Conservative party and its supporters if the WA is not ratified.

    No deal is better than a bad deal cuts both ways. The EU is unlikely to desert Ireland in favour of a departing member. That does not prevent the UK from briefing against Ireland and seeking to isolate it.

    This is what Andrew Neil said on the night of the referendum

    “The European Union will be divided on how it should now deal with Britain. France & Germany will be divided – the North & South will be divided on what their negotiating position should be”

    Mrs May and some Cabinet members seem to think there is truth in that.

    There is no settled position in the HoC on the relationship the UK should have with the EU. That is the important message to take from the defections.It makes no deal likely.

  37. R&D
    Re. Javid and Begum
    International lawyer on R4 just now said making Begum stateless was 100% illegal and he did not believe any FO official would have advised him otherwise.
    Being able to apply for Bangladeshi citizenship is very different from having it, as has also been made clear by the Bangadeshis.
    Imagine if it was the other way round?

  38. Alister1948:

    “To get this totally speculative post (plus a little history) out of the way, I did notice the experienced Conservative MP Nicholas Soames mention on TV a week or two ago that he thought the present political situation would end in an election. Could he be right?”

    I have noticed a significant crop of Tory campaign material coming through the door lately. Of course some of that has to do with the local elections on the horizon, but I wonder if some quarters are quietly starting to prepare the ground in case it does indeed go to the polls.

    As for TIG, the optimist in me wants to say that this is a sign of potential compromise on Brexit between the Tory and Labour leaderships (due to parliamentary arithmetic this is a rather necessary and urgent step at this juncture, unless we want to get stuck with a no-deal), with the more hardline Remainers splitting off in order to oppose it openly. Probably wishful thinking though…

  39. Alister1948:

    “I did notice the experienced Conservative MP Nicholas Soames mention on TV a week or two ago that he thought the present political situation would end in an election. Could he be right?”

    I have noticed a significant crop of Tory campaign material coming through the door lately. Of course some of that has to do with the local elections on the horizon, but I wonder if some quarters are quietly starting to prepare the ground in case it does indeed go to the polls.

    As for TIG, the optimist in me wants to say that this is a sign of potential compromise on Brexit between the Tory and Labour leaderships (due to parliamentary arithmetic this is a rather necessary and urgent step at this juncture, unless we want to get stuck with a no-deal), with the more hardline Remainers splitting off in order to oppose it openly. Probably wishful thinking though…

  40. @Sam

    I do not agree that a no deal is a likely outcome. The present shenanigans are all about factions getting their interests represented in the WA. Theresa May is a shrewd political operator and knows that the ERG will pull back from the cliff edge when push comes to shove.

    Expect and exit mechanism from the backstop to be slipped in at the last moment, and expect workers rights to be enshrined in the WA, and more apparently frantic negotiations before the dog’s dinner is presented as a take it or leave it in late March. Pure theatrics so that MPs can claim their interests were represented.

  41. Polling!
    Someone posted two yougov links on voting intention with and without TIG.

    The results are dated the same, though I dont know if it is the same sample being asked both questions. If it is, then the results might have more significance, because the VI change is not due to random fluctuations between small sample groups but solely to it being a diferent question.

    Lets assume the samples are comparable. Then 26 Con, 21 Lab falls to 22 Con, 15 Lab if TIG are standing. TIG gain 9%, 4% off con and 6% off lab.

    Isnt this just about the inverse of what happened when UKIP drew support from lab and con in the years before the referendum? It was drawing more from con, but similalry maybe 2/3 from lab too.

    In the question involving TIG we got 31% dont know, compared to 22% in the standard question. Thats a further 10% right there who are uncertain how they would vote if this was a reality. Dont know (but probably will vote) has nearly 50% more than the conservatives!

    What might really happen would depend on how events play out, and whether TIG could find a clear issue in an actual election. But on these numbers there are more than enough uncertain to swep them to power in one election as per France.

    I have said before the problem with the remain campaign currently is that it has no leader. If it is given one, there are an awful lot of people who might jump on board. The last election showed an enormous willingness to move vote based on Brexit preference.

    We already saw that a Blair centrist style position is very popular with voters. Both from his long period in office, and from polling which showed labour’s last manifesto position was pretty popular amongst tories. Conservatives have sought to paint Corbyn as a radical left winger, which he would never be in office as PM. The aim, to put people off supporting labour.

    It is just possible a core team of mixed former lab and con could win an election at short notice, if they could organise fast enough. They couldn’t if lab moves to remain, but if labour were to take a brexit supporting position, labour might be slaughtered. If the remaining small pro remain parties could unite to make this a clear one issue election (moderate centrist otherwise), they might even beat conservatives, with a bit of help from resurgent UKIP#2 nibbling at the other wing.

    The conservative 22% with TIG option and 26% without is quite pathetic considering FPP, and this is the most popular political party in the country!

    They are opposed by 3/4 of voters!

  42. Alec:

    “Strip out Brexit, which will, at some point, be resolved, and there really isn’t anything here to make a party.”

    Interesting point. I was not around when the SDP launched, but I wonder if those who do remember could make the comparison.

    Brexit could well remain an issue for quite some time: if the backstop passes then we’re likely to have another two years (at least) of arguing what the final trade agreement will look like. And of course after we leave there will be room for a party campaigning to rejoin, a gap which the SNP (who don’t campaign outside Scotland) and Lib Dems (nowadays completely discredited) cannot fill. So perhaps a realistic aim for the TIG would be to become a reverse UKIP – the UK Dependence Party, if you will – and, just like UKIP, smooth over their policy disagreements with focus on a single issue.

  43. @E of R and @Andrew111 – every now and then we do get a moan on here about how UKPR used to be better, more balanced, less this or that, and I always jump in to state my case that it’s always been periodically robust, tilting one way or another, but nonetheless packed with insight and intelligence.

    It’s fashionable to claim ‘things ‘ain’t what they used to be’, but I think on UKPR they are actually better than days gone by.

  44. @ Cloud Spotter

    “Labours membership, which has approximately tripled since he ran for leader, still back him and the parties domestic policies.”

    Well, so you bring up a fascinating question. What is the party? So I had this funny experience last year at the California Democratic Party Convention. My Republican friend (he’s a real person, an army captain) attended for the first time. He found the whole experience bewildering but was mainly flummoxed while trying to gather signatures for his Congressional candidate. The “party” had endorsed her opponent. She was trying to force a floor flight. He was one of many volunteers going around the Convention trying to get the required signatures to pull. Well he was shocked over who got to decide these endorsements (some were crazy people, some had voted for Prop 8). It made little sense to him that this small group of self-selecting individuals. He was getting nowhere with gathering signatures. He kept questioning me on “what is the party?” So there I was on a Saturday night, on anti-biotics and nursing strep throat, dragging around the Convention Hall, with him getting my fellow Delegates to actually sign.

    Also bewildered by this process was the guy who wound up beating Dana Rohrabacher. The party endorsed his opponent and he was also gathering signatures to try and force a floor fight. Well he didn’t succeed. It was fun introducing him to my friend. I wish I had taken a photo now but the two of them interacting at 9:45 on a Saturday night, exhausted and amused over the whole absurdity of the process is something I can’t forget.

    But it does make me wonder. Is paid membership really reflective of actual base and what the base wants? Maybe it is. But I’m not sure that party membership is reflective of popularity.

    “I’d be very surprised if the IG can find many foot soldiers.”

    Another interesting point. I’m wondering where they will find their foot soldiers. I have noticed that in the age of Trump, there are a lot of well-to-do middle aged women who have suddenly become political activists for the first time. And they’re not just donating, they’re knocking on doors and phone banking. The white collar professional class has long given up on traditional outlets like Democratic Clubs (I have a feeling most showed up after the election and had the reaction of “what the hell is this? No wonder we lost to Trump.”). But you still see new levels of activity from those who haven’t been involved.

    Of course, it’s an extenuating circumstance that’s not really present here. But if folks are angry enough, they could get motivated.

  45. R&D/Alec

    OK, I’ll give you ‘nothing his changed’.

  46. I was a long term Tory voter and I voted LD in 2017. Maybe if I and just a few others hadn’t the Tories would have won Newcastle under Lyme and Paul would’ve lost his 30 majority.

    As to the gay sex issue, in a way Cameron’s gay marriage Act sort of prepared the way and my view was that it was no big deal. I could understand it was difficult for some folk to reconcile. So Tim’s struggle with the concept just seemed like the media trying to prod for a reaction that he was trying not to provide.

  47. so here’s the scenario as it could be played out. May refuses to budge from her deal; it is beaten in Parliament again. No deal looms. A motion gets passed in the Commons to defer leaving the EU to give time for a General Election.

    A General Election is held; the new Independent Group split the Labout vote and the Tories are returned with a sizable majority. With the new arithmetic, the only two possibilities left on the table are May’s deal or no deal. The idea of a “People’s Vote” is now out of the question.

    Well done the Independent Group.

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