Today’s Sunday papers have the first polls conducted since the local elections, from Opinium and ComRes.

Opinium for the Observer have Westminster voting intentions of CON 22%(-4), LAB 28%(-5), LDEM 11%(+5), BREX 21%(+4), GRN 6%(+2), ChUK 4%(nc), UKIP 4%(nc). Fieldwork was between Wednesday and Friday, and changes are from late April. Full tables are here.

ComRes for BrexitExpress have voting intentions of CON 19%(-4), LAB 27%(-6), LDEM 14%(+7), BREX 20%(+6), GRN 5%(+2), ChUK 7%(-2), UKIP 3%(-2). Fieldwork appears to be all on Thursday, and changes are since mid-April.

Both polls have Labour and the Conservatives rapidly shedding support, with support growing for the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit party. I suspect we are seeing a combination of factors at work here, most obviously there is the continuing collapse in Conservative support over Brexit, a trend we’ve been seeing since the end of March, with support moving to parties with a clearer pro-Brexit policy. Originally that favoured UKIP too, now it is almost wholly going to the Brexit party.

Secondly there is the impact of the local elections and the Liberal Democrat successes there. For several years the Lib Dems seemed moribund and struggled to be noticed. The coverage of their gains at the local elections seems to have given them a solid boost in support, more so than the other anti-Brexit parties – for now at least, they seem to be very much alive & well again.

Third is the impact of the European elections. People are obviously more likely to vote for smaller parties in the European elections and in current circumstances obviously appear more willing to lend their vote to a different party in protest over Brexit. To some degree this will be influencing other voting intention figures as well, so I would treat Westminster voting intention figures with some scepticism in the run up to the European elections (and probably in the immediate aftermath as well, when those parties who do well will likely recieve a further boost in support).

In short, these are startling results – but we have seen startling results before (look at the polls at the height of SDP support, or just after the expenses scandal broke, or during Cleggmania). These are indeed very unusual results – the combined level of Con-Lab support in these polls are some of the very lowest we’ve seen, the Conservative share in the ComRes poll almost their lowest ever (I can find only a single Gallup poll with a lower figure, from back in 1995). What we cannot tell at the moment is whether this portends a serious readjustment of the parties, or whether things will return to more familar patterns once the European elections have passed, the Conservatives have a new leader and (assuming it ever happens) Brexit is in some way settled.

Both polls also had voting intention figures for the European Parliament elections

Opinium Euro VI – CON 11%, LAB 21%, LDEM 12%, BREX 34%, GRN 8%, ChUK 3%, UKIP 4%
ComRes Euro VI – CON 13%, LAB 25%, LDEM 14%, BREX 27%, GRN 8%, ChUK 6%, UKIP 3%

Both have the Brexit party ahead, though they are doing considerably better with Opinium than with ComRes. In both cases the Liberal Democrats have recieved a post-local election boost, putting them above the Conservatives in European voting intentions.


760 Responses to “New Opinium and ComRes polls”

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  1. Oldnat,
    “It would be much easier to give “special status” to England. by which they can be outwith CU & SM if they wish, but the other 3 polities all remain in both.”

    And then Lonon could stay in too. That might even be workable. Customs fence set up along the green belt? Although some of the home counties would probably also want to be inside. In fact, if we are talking real views on remain/leave, probably most of the country wants to be in.

    It has all become rather absurd.

  2. The Comres write up gives this;

    “If the parties were to achieve these vote shares at a General Election it would result in Labour being the largest party but 13 seats short of a majority (Con 199, Lab 313, SNP 55, LD 24, Grn 1, PC 4, CHUK 0, Brex 36 source: http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk)”

    That’s roughly 245 Leave (Tory, BXP, DUP)
    With Remain on 397 plus anything from NI

    The Brexit Party delivering another remain Parliament!

    Peter.

  3. DANNY

    We didn’t really discuss the timing of the GE-just the result whenever it occurs.

    Of course Con MPs will not want an early GE !!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. @OLDNAT, PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    So you can’t give a valid reason? Thought as much

  5. Danny

    I am far too sensitive to suggest the dismemberment of a polity, just because it supports separatism, and I’d quite like to keep bits of that polity (virtually) in the same political union as my polity.

    But then I’m not a Tory who regrets the loss of Empire!

  6. @Colin
    Funnily enough I think the Labour party have a similar problem – it’s very hard to hold the traditional ‘broad church’ together in these times.

    The Tory’s area of risk is that they have a highly effective populist to the right of them, who appears to be highly attractive to a substantial chunk of their electorate and membership.

    It’s certainly going to be interesting…

  7. “PETER CAIRNS (SNP)
    The Comres write up gives this;

    “If the parties were to achieve these vote shares at a General Election it would result in Labour being the largest party but 13 seats short of a majority (Con 199, Lab 313, SNP 55, LD 24, Grn 1, PC 4, CHUK 0, Brex 36 source: http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk)”

    That’s roughly 245 Leave (Tory, BXP, DUP)
    With Remain on 397 plus anything from NI

    The Brexit Party delivering another remain Parliament!”

    Labour are a Leave party. Oh dear, would that destroy your point? How funny

  8. @Sorrel / Oldnat

    Because Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems have brought such national unity…

  9. The Trevors,
    “Farage is like marmite, you either love him or hate him”

    Thing about Farage is he had some good points about the EU. Bad thing is that you could have found some about westminster too. In fact we did, the expenses scandal for example. He missed the point by attacking them for being rather human and ordinary.

    But all in all, what he has managed to do is screw up government of the Uk for four years, discredit both main UK political parties, discredit his own challenger UKIP, set the UK on a path to guaranteed decline.

    If the Russians didnt help him, they certainly should have.

  10. @Trev

    I can’t say I love or hate Farage, no more than I love or hate used toilet paper. I certainly don’t want it hanging around the place too long though. One might get so used to the smell, it wouldn’t be noticeable.

  11. @ CIM – The aggregation of demographics across 8 of the English EP constituencies will be different to using MRP in 632 GB constituencies for sure. GE’17 highlights such as “student seats” will average out in many regions and you might instead have other factors such as “coastal” (fishing) v “inland” (manu) that are not human demographic factors.

    Then there is FPTP v D’Hondt (although that takes very little time to add-on and even run simulations to obtain probability ranges)

    It would nice is someone like ROGER MEXICO or similar could give us a run down of why MRP might/might not be useful for EPs.

    I expect “cost” could well be part of the issue but then Peoples Vote campaign seem pretty loaded so I’m sure they can cough up for it and polling companies are in the business of selling polling services – so why not “upsell” the customer (or is that a bit to RoC of me for this forum?)

  12. Colin,
    “We didn’t really discuss the timing of the GE-just the result whenever it occurs.”

    yes, but the longer delayed the more chance something will turn up.

    Oldnat,
    “But then I’m not a Tory who regrets the loss of Empire!”
    Coming from (I assume) part of that empire, I dare say not.

  13. What the Gord Lord giveth, he also taketh away. Only 23 months ago, in the 2017 GE,the combined vote share for Tory and Labour was 82%, but now some of these latest polls are estimating it as low as 47%.

    Of course the utterly daft thing is that if we take that latest poll from ComRes and extrapolated those VI ratings that into a General Election run under a FPTP electoral system, then you could conceivably get a majority Labour Government on a 27% vote share.

    So and here’s the Catch 22 situation, if you are a political party who could benefit from such unrepresentative nonsense, why on earth would you want to do anything to change it? Keep feeding the goose that is laying all these golden eggs; don’t kill it.

    Unless, of course, you cared sincerely about democracy, and didn’t just pay lip service to it in the abstract, and put that consideration above narrow party interes.

    Stop laughing at the back!

    :-)

  14. LASZLO

    “more seriously: he was a BNP man. And when evidence was presented, he denied it instead of self-criticising.”

    Firstly, thanks for at least providing a sensible response, unlike some on here who struggle when repeatedly asked. I guess that’s what happens when their argument isn’t based on logic, but knee-jerk leftie emotions.

    Regarding BNP: Google doesn’t return any obvious links. However, if we assume you’re correct, Labour have several MPs who clearly hate whites. I don’t see people hating them on here.

  15. @Danny

    “They (the Tory Government) have to produce a credible plan to proceed with brexit, and the only one left is revoke and reconsider how to do it.”

    There is no way revoke is an option for the Tories. They can only win the next election by extinguishing the Brexit party, and they can only do that by delivering Brexit.

    I think you understand that really, but cling to some wide of the mark theory that the Tories can switch to Federalised Remain and get all their supporters back.

  16. JiB

    “They [Tories] can only win the next election by extinguishing the Brexit party, and they can only do that by delivering Brexit.”

    You talk as if “Brexit” was a clearly identifiable and coherent set of ideas and policies. It isn’t and never has been.

    Whatever particular manifestation of being outwith the EU, that the Tories managed to deliver would p!ss off a large measure of its potential support – who wanted a very different form of Brexit.

    This “wanting independence” thingie is very new to most English/British folk, so it’s hardly surprising that it is a very incoherent movement, and driven by grievance, resentment, emotion and unfocussed anger [1] has no central theme except for othering.

    For the Tories, I assume that the most important element for what passes for its leadership, isn’t winning the next election, but still being in control of a party large enough to stand a chance of winning the subsequent one, as opposed to being but one of a splintered group of English/British Nationalist factions.

    [1] Every independence movement goes through that stage. Like most others, the English/British version will mature and become more rational in time. The tragedy is that “victory” came too early, before it had the time and space to work out what it really wanted.

  17. BRXT

    “…. I guess that’s what happens when their argument isn’t based on logic, but knee-jerk leftie emotions.”

    ” Labour have several MPs who clearly hate whites.”

    Oh, the irony!

  18. crossbat11,
    “Only 23 months ago, in the 2017 GE, the combined vote share for Tory and Labour was 82%, but now some of these latest polls are estimating it as low as 47%.”

    Which suggests 35% of the population is motivated to vote based upon leave/remain.

    Its all very well setting a boulder running down hill, but who will stop it?

    Jonesinbangor,
    “There is no way revoke is an option for the Tories. They can only win the next election by extinguishing the Brexit party, and they can only do that by delivering Brexit. ”

    By now they have probably given up any hope of winning the next election. It is damage limitation time now.

    There must be a good chance BXP will self destruct before nother election, as has UKIP. We shall see how the euros turn out, and whether this gives any clues how BXP support is really doing.

    The tories have some big problems quite apart from Brexit. While they did have a long period in office, they havnt managed to win back the nation after several years of labour. It is likely the libs will recover somewhat now, even if they dont get a long term brexit remain gain. The lack of a coherent popular policy was the conservative’s problem, and it is still there. Getting leavers onside was always a short term fix.

    If con did deliver brexit, then they would lose the leave vote anyway. BXP will also lose the leave vote if they deliver. It is very likely BXP will fare no better than UKIP on other issues, so long term they are likely to disappear if brexit happens, even if they do it.

    But it is doubtfull BxP would achieve brexit. Which might leave us in the same situation we would have been in if the conservatives had chosen to oppose UKIP and support remaining inside the EU, instead of calling the referendum. Slugging it out against Bxp in opposition to labour.

    This tortuous Brexit path might leave the conservatives in a mess as a remain eurosceptic party, but that was where they were headed before trying this referendum thing. The country has paid a heavy price for this mess, but they are no worse off than they would have been. They stand a decent chance of hanging on to tribal tories and recovering some pushed away by their leave policy.

    Where will everyone end up? Remain supporting labour. Con standing for the ground May has staked out, eurosceptic soft brexit, but realistically unachievable. From this they will hope to get back soft leavers, who might even be repelled by fear of a crashout from the EU espoused by BxP. And then when Bxp collapses, get back many of their leavers too. But to a eurosceptic remain party.

    Farage is to some degree damaged goods, having burned up an entire party himself.

  19. @Danny

    With all due respect, Farage is clearly not damaged goods if he’s polling 25-30% and on course to win!?

    The Tories will not have surrendered the next election. The sharp knives will soon be lodged in the appropriate back and the incumbent removed. Then we will see if they are a stealth Remain party won’t we!?

    @Oldnat

    The next Tory leader will arrive all full of bluster on delivering some fantastical “Best for Britain Brexit”. And will then shortly unveil a “new” deal very similar to May’s. May failed only on one thing – building a political consensus, something that she is unfortunately inept at.

  20. Brxt

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nigel-farage-fascist-nazi-song-gas-them-all-ukip-brexit-schoolfriend-dulwich-college-a7185236.html

    I know it is full of excuses. But if they publish something like this, they are more than 50% assured.

    My point was the refusal of admitting being wrong, not what he did 40 years ago.

    [There was an earlier light hearted response before the one you responded to, but it had the word with an autom0d trigger. Something to do with the white thing coming from the sky in small bits during winter. So, it never appeared.]

  21. @ALEC

    Really interesting post on the US Supreme Court. I agree that the kind of partisan activity you describe would be extremely bad but I remain optimistic – whilst there is now a conservative majority, being a “conservative judge” (especially one that can get confirmed by any recent Senate) is not at all the same as being a “conservative voter”,

    Between those who think that no partisan state legislature should be allowed to overturn Supreme Court precedent, and those who think the Court has no business trying to clarify or change federal policy on anything, I would strongly bet that the Alabama (and Georgia) policies will get stayed by the Appeals courts and then thrown out by the Supreme Court.

  22. Andrew111

    Yes, I know the funding issue for the Greens.

    But you see, without giving advice, they have a lot of university student supporters who have credits on their printing accounts (and it is now exam period)…There are also tech start-ups who, to show off their excellent printing platform, would be happy to print a couple of hundred of leaflets.

    Then, there are the canvassers. Before the local elections the Labour candidate knocked if we still vote for them. We had a civil conversation, and he was, rightly, reassured. They wouldn’t have such an easy time this time (if the Greens bothered to put out people – they used to have a stall opposite Tesco – well, the other side of the road. Not now.). They had a good presence in the neighbouring ward (St Michaels), but no, nothing.

    In socio-demographic terms the area is for them: relatively young, families, starting career professionals, minorities, parks under threat (not really, but the narrative can be created), community and so on.

    The practice doesn’t support the message…

  23. Not sure there’s much point in running these polling numbers through GE models – as a couple of people mentioned earlier, however things go then Brexit and Tory candidates seem pretty unlikely to stand against each other in every seat.

    Why would Farage bother even trying to unseat Tories who are voting for a No Deal Brexit anyway, let alone risk giving the seat to LD or Lab on a split vote?

    And from the CON point of view, if a seat looks set to be won by the Brexit Party, particularly where eg a safe CON MP has defected to the Brexit Party in a pretty leave-y seat, why would they try to win it back at the risk of again letting LD come through the middle? A Brexit MP is likely to vote with them on most things they care about.

    So if the Brexit Party do get established in the Westminster polls to an extent that the Tories think they can’t mitigate away with promises then I think the electoral impact would probably end up being a lot less mutually destructive than the current models are going to suggest.

  24. Just very briefly because of my comment on the Greens. A few days ago a longish comment of mine went somewhere in the space. It came from a rather practical work (but with some theoretical underpining) on market access strategy.

    Essentially, parties are partially stuck in the 1960s marketing – it was flawed, but worked because there was a mass market, so it actually didn’t really matter. Then the parties also try to catch up with digitalisation, big data and so on. It is flawed, but oddly they seem to work because they appeal to mass markets.

    So we have, let’s say, the Brexit Party of a core support somewhere around 12-15%, and an ambivalent additional 15%. The marketing technique is made market appeal.

    the same applies for Labour – about 20% core, plus potential 20%. LibDem, core 8%, plus potential 15% and so on.

    All the marketing strategies are generic, mass market one, when all evidence shows a highly segmented market with ambivalent issue by issue affiliation.

    This the point is not marketing but route to market. Not the appeal, but the segments to be appealed to. As all parties use mass marketing methods, it means that they all disadvantage a sizeable voting basis with their marketing practices, this addressing the element that disadvantages the voter (be it segment based marketing or direct critique of opponents, or whatever) is the way. However, it is against the legacies and against the fashion. However it makes sense – it was successfully used in the 1960 Kennedy campaign.

  25. Danny
    “There must be a good chance BXP will self destruct before nother election, as has UKIP.”

    UKIP self-destructed because they thought they had won and their prime purpose fulfilled. TBP won’t go away unless a real Brexit happens (i.e. no customs union or ECJ).

  26. Agree with @NEILJ and others that it’s same old same old on the Revoke vs No Deal threat from the PM.

    Parliament would vote against both options in June, and if she tries to bring an actual either/or motion then there’ll be an easy majority to amend it back into two separate propositions, both of which will lose comfortably.

  27. @Crossbat11

    On voting reform and self-interest, is the Brexit Party maybe a player if wondering about potential scenarios to reform of FPTP? At the minute, they’re a single-issue party, and one could wonder whether being a party is actually necessary at all: if the word ‘Brexit’ devoid of a party was simply printed as an option on the ballot paper, how much different would one expect support to be? If we’re into the realms of a general election though, then apart from Brexit if not yet achieved, and instead of Brexit if it has, what does the Brexit Party stand for (as Farage suggests they will stand)? There doesn’t seem to be a great scope for agreement on “normal” political issues among the varied candidates and voting base, but might a focus on such constitutional change just about be something that might get support, and Farage’s ego persuade him to want to stay in the spotlight and do *something*? Piggy-backing on votes for Brexit if we haven’t left, or (more of a stretch) with carry-over loyalty for the party and a taste for change (any change) if we have, might the Brexit Party pick up enough seats to be kingmakers with a demand for voting reform as the price, and knowing that they have no real long-term future as a party anyway beyond the issues of constitutional change?

    Complete speculation of course, but if you’re looking for a scenario where the self-interest you refer to can be bypassed, is there a more obvious one?

  28. @NORBOLD

    “Oh, the irony!”

    Are you saying Labour do not have MPs who hate whites?

  29. @DANNY

    “BXP will also lose the leave vote if they deliver.”

    I don’t think they will. A lot of conservative members believe the party has too many liberal MPs. Less now the TIGs have left, but there’s still plenty more (Hammond, Grieve etc).

    BXP should target Rudd’s seat!

  30. @DANNY

    “But all in all, what he has managed to do is screw up government of the Uk for four years, discredit both main UK political parties, discredit his own challenger UKIP, set the UK on a path to guaranteed decline.

    If the Russians didnt help him, they certainly should have.”

    No, May and MPs did that by refusing to implement the referendum result.

  31. @Brxt

    That you think Hammond and Grieve are too liberal says a lot. From theyworkforyou:

    “How Philip Hammond voted on Social Issues:

    Voted a mixture of for and against equal gay rights; 3 votes for, 11 votes against, 13 absences

    Generally voted for smoking bans; 3 votes for, 2 votes against, 7 absences

    Consistently voted against the hunting ban; 0 votes for, 7 votes against

    Generally voted for allowing marriage between two people of same sex ; 2 votes for, 0 votes against, 5 absences

    Generally voted against laws to promote equality and human rights; 2 votes for, 7 votes against, 6 absences

    ——

    How Dominic Grieve voted on Social Issues

    Voted a mixture of for and against equal gay rights; 7 votes for, 14 votes against, 6 absences

    Generally voted for smoking bans; 4 votes for, 1 vote against, 7 absences

    Almost always voted against the hunting ban; 0 votes for, 6 votes against, 1 absence

    Generally voted for allowing marriage between two people of same sex ; 4 votes for, 0 votes against, 3 absences

    Generally voted against laws to promote equality and human rights; 0 votes for, 10 votes against, 5 absences

    Consistently voted against allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life; 0 votes for, 2 votes against

    One wonders what you consider ‘liberal’ to qualify, and what you consider acceptable that is not liberal. It must be a narrow field of options, or you’re at the extreme end of non-liberal thinking. These guys were generally against gay marriage than for it, and against equality and human rights and they are too liberal???

  32. BFR

    @”Funnily enough I think the Labour party have a similar problem – it’s very hard to hold the traditional ‘broad church’ together in these times.”

    I don’t agree. They have made their choice clear. -For the Many, not the Few.

    And BOTH the corporate sector & pensioners are in the Few.

    So we will see how the latter react when their pension funds are forced to swap their shares for McDonnells State Debt. The whole point of this policy is to reduce the investors’ income & eliminate capital gain so the “elderly” will be in no doubt about Corbyn’s choices.

    As for the broad church & its difficulties. That is what politics should aspire to-resolving & balancing the interests & aspirations of all the electorate. And the key to that is perceived fairness.-a factor which May has ignored -or forgotten-to her cost.

    The task for Cons is to find a leader who can return to a broad church appeal. It is the only way imo to achieve sustainable political success

  33. @EOR

    “Why would Farage bother even trying to unseat Tories who are voting for a No Deal Brexit anyway, let alone risk giving the seat to LD or Lab on a split vote?”

    I’d expect that if there were any moves to soften Brexit further or to perform the ultimate betrayal of revoke, then the Hardliner ERG will defect to Brexit party. They already have 4 members in the Welsh Senedd after UKIP / Conservative defections.

    BTW my comments are observational, and I do not support a harder Brexit, but I suspect the attempts by duplicitous Remainers like Grieve and Starmer to frustrate Brexit actually may well deliver a harder version.

  34. Brxt,
    “No, May and MPs did that by refusing to implement the referendum result.”

    I dont believe the conservative MPs want to leave the EU, but to be fair to them they set about accomplishing remain by trying to accomplish leave. No government could have negotiated a better leave deal than the current one has, and still it is nowhere near good enough. They understand that the only good deal for the Uk is membership.

    There was a comedian on R4 yesterday talking about brexit, saying the only way it could be accomplished would be to surround the Uk with fog. Disconnct the internet. No more electricity form France. No more gas from europe. no more food from anywhere. Disconnect the internet and phones. No holidays or flights abroad. No people coming here. No trade at all.

    The comedian was of course right. And it would be less than one day before the entire country demanded rejoin.

    Colin,
    “we will see how the latter react when their pension funds are forced to swap their shares for McDonnells State Debt. ”

    Surely pension funds are already legally obliged to swap the cash they are given by contributors for government bonds?

  35. Very hard to see where we go from here. An election might change the parliamentary arithmetic, but turkeys do not vote for an early Christmas. (Or only those in very safe seats.)

    Currently there is no majority in parliament for anything. That is partly because with three alternatives (No deal, compromise, revoke) it is harder to reach 50%.

    There has been a lot of talk of eliminating either the no deal or revoke options and pitting something against May’s deal. Perhaps a better option would be to eliminate the compromise – which is really loved by very few people.

    A parliamentary vote between no deal and revoke is fair and could settle the matter medium-term if a rider could be added that the question would not be revisited for ten years.

    For those enthusiasts for a referendum (I am not one) there could be the option of a confirmatory referendum, though I think this carries the danger of undermining parliamentary democracy.

  36. Somehow I don’t see Con standing down in GE constituencies to give BXP a free run. Like Labour, they regard themselves as a full ‘national’ party that stands candidates in all constituencies, except those polities they choose to ‘ignore’. As an aside, that ‘ignore’ is possibly more apt than I originally intended. Surely their view would be that such a concession to BXP would not be reciprocated, would risk doing even more harm to their national party status and leave them hostage to the BXP in a future parliament. In short, they’d regard such deals as below their dignity and they’d prefer a period out of office than one at the beck and call of Farage

  37. @ BRXT

    “@TRIGGUY

    What is wrong with Nigel Farage? Await your reasons.”

    If you look back at my post, I didn’t say there was anything wrong with Farage. I just said that neither I nor my daughter will be voting for him, a trait which we share with about 70% of the voting population, if the polls are to be believed, so I don’t see that as being anything of note.

    I have given my reasons in the past on this site, but I try to avoid exchanges of that sort here now, as I think the continuous repetition of the usual arguments adds little to the value of these threads. There’s plenty of polling around at the moment, and an imminent election, let’s stick to that.

  38. @Colin

    “And BOTH the corporate sector & pensioners are in the Few.”

    Blimey, that’s a pretty big “few”, isn’t it? On the last count, one in six people in the UK were over 65 and as for “the corporate sector”, who are we throwing in there? Is this “business” that Liz Truss claimed Labour now regard as the “enemy” in an interview she gave yesterday?

    So, and let’s use Truss’s language, Labour are now at war, or set against, large swathes of the British population, are they? In what sense? Sure, they want to address gross inequality in our society, and the policies that may emerge from that political objective might lead to some re-distributive taxation and public spending priorities, but why are we so determined to misrepresent, parody and distort what Labour and McDonnell are about?

    Look, I accept you are a Conservative and regard the Labour Party as a political foe, and in that sense, I sort of get the hostility and knee-jerk instinct to go on the attack, but when the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a would-be leader of the Tory Party goes on to the BBC and quite casually claims that the Labour Party have now described business as “the enemy”, we are getting into Orwellian levels of distortion and fabrication.

    Sure, criticise McDonnell’s plans for business and the economy, but why resort to silliness about “the few” and “the enemy”. As I mentioned a few days ago, there are some interesting ideas being generated by centre-left social and economic think tanks at the moment, and McDonnell is looking seriously at some of these. And of course these are open to political criticism. I expect people like yourself and Truss to oppose them, but democracy and sensible debate is not best served by frankly silly accusations and language.

    Marx Brothers, business as the enemies, pensioners as the few….. Dear oh dear.

  39. Now, this is what I call a sensible and reasoned contribution to political debate. No talk of enemies and the few, but an interesting perspective on the impact of inequality in modern Britain. McDonnell and Labour are well into this debate and good for them too. It’s a key economic and social issue. They may not have the answers, but they’re in there arguing their case from a centre-left point of view. Healthy democratic debate should ensue now on the answers to a generally accepted problem. A problem that may be at the root of a lot of our modern ills..

    Maybe Sir Angus Deaton is a latter day class warrior, who knows?

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/15/inequality-britain-social-injustice-beveridge-report

  40. DANNY

    @”Surely pension funds are already legally obliged to swap the cash they are given by contributors for government bonds?”

    Their trustees are responsible for investtment policy-which will include a mix of equity & Debt-maybe property too.

  41. CB11

    @”Blimey, that’s a pretty big “few”, isn’t it? ”

    Yes -that very thought ocurred to me. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

    @” regard the Labour Party as a political foe”

    Thats the language of a Party activist. I don’t see them as a foe at all. I see them as a choice on offer at election time with a track record which I can evaluate when voting.

    @”but why resort to silliness about “the few” and “the enemy”.”

    I didn’t use the word “enemy”-you did.
    …….er …..JC talks about the Many & The Few in every speech !!!

    So far as McDonnell is concerned I agree that he is hugely important & much more interesting than Corbyn. The key to the futre we face imo.

    And I have been re-evaluating him of late. A piece in the Times on the differences between him & JC on Industrial Policy ( Devolved municipal ownership vs Command & Control from Whitehall) started it. Followed by an interview on Pienaars politics last weekend. And finally the leaked detail on how he will set up the management & ownership of the Energy supply network after nationalisation..

    All very interesting.

    By the way it is McDonnell himself who makes no bones about the intended purchase price for Water & Energy Grids. They will exclude what HE describes as the premium from “asset stripping”-aka excessive dividend payments. The Leaked Elec/Gas details indicate a similar approach for those share purchases.

    I think that one is being launched today -so we will see.

  42. Colin,
    “Their trustees are responsible for investtment policy-which will include a mix of equity & Debt-maybe property too.”

    They are legally obligated to have a minimum of safe investment, which essentially means government debt.

    A little perverse in the definition, I agree, but thats what the law says.

  43. ALISTER1948

    “Perhaps a better option would be to eliminate the compromise – which is really loved by very few people”.

    That’s true but I think that might be because most people’s self awareness of what they actually want is warped. A more honest discussion would help in my opinion, to establish some facts: (these are only my ‘facts’ of course).

    FACT: Despite what Remainers think of themselves, there are very few true europhiles in Britain. Through European eyes, if you don’t want to join the euro and Schengen and aren’t bothered to learn a second language (foreign language skills in the UK have been DECLINING for years) – or even switch the plugs to make them compatible – then you aren’t really committed. (Ironically, I’d say this little group has grown through this process, but to what? 15% maybe?)

    FACT: the UK is not currently ‘IN’ Europe (see above). I’d say we’re about 70% in.

    FACT: Hardcore Brexiteers don’t really want a hard Brexit, they only think they do. When asked, point by point, they support continuing almost everything as it now is: Military cooperation, intelligence, the space program, university access, a borderless Ireland, roaming fees, you name it, they want to keep it.

    So I think that nearly everyone either wants to keep the compromise deal we currently have (which would be UNREASONABLE in light of the narrow win for Leave in the referendum) or shift the compromise incrementally towards a slightly looser arrangement (which would be REASONABLE in light of the narrow win for Leave in the referendum).

    If everyone were a bit more self aware, and less hysterical, I think that we’d discover that we aren’t as far apart as we think, but the gridlock has sent both sides running for their bunkers.

    Why not put Nigel Farage and Vince Cable on tv – with Barnier there too, to say ‘oui’ or ‘non’ – with a checklist and have them tick off the hundert odd things that they all agree on in front of the whole country? Then we could have an intelligent conversation about the three or four things on the list they disagree about and they could COMPROMISE. At least the public would see what it is we are arguing about.

  44. DANNY

    Could you provide a link to any law prescribing what proportion of total investment portfolio , a trustee must hold in UK Government Debt ?

    I am not aware of any such law.

    The terms of Pension Fund constitution in question are-as far as I am aware-the key constraint.

  45. Sorry BRXT, I hadn’t realised you were just a wind u7p merchant. Nice one. You had me going there at first. Well done.

  46. For those that are still a little unsure about D’Hondt (surely no-one now), there’s a nice graphic here:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/european-elections-polls-latest-brexit-party-forecast-win-majority/

    Not sure exactly which poll they used for the predictions, but it is clearly one that was relatively generous to Lab/Con and not so generous to BXP/LibDem. The full seat prediction would be:

    BXP 26
    LAB 22
    CON 11
    LD 3
    GRN 3
    SNP 3
    CHUK 2

    There’s also a prediction for the full European Parliament which is interesting.

  47. Colin,
    “Could you provide a link to any law prescribing what proportion of total investment portfolio , a trustee must hold in UK Government Debt ?”

    Not off hand. But nor does the link you provided address this. It simply says trustees must obey the terms of the trust and obey national law, which unhelpfully may override the terms of the trust they are administering.

    David Colby,
    “I think that nearly everyone either wants to keep the compromise deal we currently have (which would be UNREASONABLE in light of the narrow win for Leave in the referendum) or shift the compromise incrementally towards a slightly looser arrangement (which would be REASONABLE in light of the narrow win for Leave in the referendum).”

    The trouble is, by the time you add back all the things which you argue people actually want, then the deal would pretty much amount to staying in all the trading system. What we would be leaving is simply the council, commission, parliament and court. So we would only be leaving the bits which make decisions on how the EU is run.

    That makes absolutely no sense at all!

    I’d agree the sides arent far apart, but the proper compromise to adopt is REMAIN! That is the irony of this whole business. The Uk decided to compromise with the EU years ago and it made a deal now called membership. The new deal proposed by the government is the same deal but voluntarily throwing away some of our current rights. Of course no one likes it.

  48. DANNY

    I don’t think there is a law which prescribes Pension Fund investment policy.

    Pension Fund Trustees will always have a mix of asset classes -which will include sovereign debt . The point is it is their judgement for which they are accountable to Pensioners & under Trustee Law.

    When McDonnell compulsorily acquires shares from them & gives them UK Debt in exchange :-

    a) McDonnell has explicitly said that the purchase price will be below market price.-ie the Pension Fund will take a capital loss.

    b) Income streams to the Pension Fund from the Bonds will be less than the income stream from the shares-that is one of the purposes of the policy.

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