The position in the polls remains much the same as the last time I updated – the Conservatives still have a substantial lead, though one that varies from pollster to pollster due to methodological differences. The figures also remain somewhat artificial given we know that a major event with the potential to transform the political weather (either Brexit going ahead, or Brexit being delayed) is looming upon the horizon. Perhaps the more interesting question is, therefore, what impact is that likely to have on the polls? Or perhaps more to the point, can polls tell us *anything* useful about what impact it would have on the polls?

Most of the polling that has set foot in this rather difficult territory has attempted to shed some light on what will happen if Boris Johnson ends up seeking a delay to Brexit.

Several polls have asked who people would blame if Brexit ended up being delayed, and as a rule they’ve tended to show that people wouldn’t blame Boris Johnson or, at least, that he would not be widely blamed by Conservative supporters or Brexiteers – the voters he needs to keep hold of. YouGov found 39% of people think a delay would be Boris Johnson’s fault to a large or moderate extent, 46% think it would bear little or none of the fault. Among Leave voters only 18% thought Johnson would bear significant blame. A ComRes poll found 34% think Johnson would bear much responsibility for a delay, 33% some responsibility and 22% no responsibility at all. Among leave voters only 19% thought he would bear much responsibility, 35% some, 37% none.

However, polls that have asked how people would vote if there was an election after a further delay to Brexit have invariably shown the Conservative party losing support and the Brexit party gaining it (for example, this ComRes poll from last month). A naive reading of that might be these two approaches are contradictory (the ones asking about blame suggest most people wouldn’t blame Boris, the ones asking hypothetical voting intention imply he would pay a heavy cost) – in reality they don’t. Even if most of his supporters wouldn’t blame Boris Johnson for an extension, if 1 in 5 Tories voters blamed him enough to defect to the Brexit party it severely damage the Conservatives’ electoral hopes.

I would urge some degree of caution on both these approaches though. We are asking people to imagine a rather vague hypothetical situation. A delay in Brexit could cover all sorts of different scenarios. Maybe Boris Johnson will apply for an extension, maybe he’ll resign and someone else will. Maybe he’d have done it willingly, maybe he’d have been forced into it by the Courts. More recently it’s been floated that he could even end up seeking an technical extension in order to deliver a deal. People’s reactions may be extremely different depending on the different circumstances. For now these uncertainties should put a question mark over any polls asking hypothetical questions about how the public think they would react to a delay – if political circumstances become clearer in the next week then perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll be in a better position to do useful polling on the issue.

In the meantime we are left to speculate. The questions I ask myself when trying to predict what the impact on public opinion are these. Can I imagine Boris Johnson seeking an extension and it NOT damaging him? Well, in certain circumstances I suppose I can, yes. On the other hand, can I imagine Boris Johnson having to seek an extension and it NOT giving Nigel Farage a boost?

1,843 Responses to “How much damage would a delay do to Boris Johnson?”

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  1. CB11

    @”You’re posting so often at the moment, rather like a cyber outbreak of hyper-ventilation, that I’m struggling to keep up,”

    I am-yes. Its raining & I am by the computer all ,day today.

    I know it upsets you so will pack it in now.

  2. @ GARJ – ” If I were a Tory strategist I’d be lining up those kind of things for the manifesto so as to firm up the depiction of Labour as a bunch of chicken littles fretting about the sky falling in”

    Well said sir, well said indeed.

    100% agree with your post and I’m not uncertain that CCHQ 100% agree with it as well (some clues in the Queen’s Speech although that’s at best an “early draft” of the manifesto and I’m sure he has a few “finishers”[1] he bring off the bench once we get into the final few weeks of the GE campaign)

    [1] Rugby analogy and nothing to do with the Queen’s Speech being a “fluffer” ;)

    PS I’d add in the Duckie Luvvies (LDEM) and Turkey Lurkies (SNP) to the “Chicken Little” analogy :-) :-)

  3. It is easy to look at Libem v Con in terms of Uniform swing and see only small number of gains. However there are a number of seats they could gain not even on the radar. For example Cities of Westminster (Umunna) , Finchley (Berger), Rushcliffe (Clarke stands down) . Only have to look at the vote breakdown in the EP elections. If The Lib Dems retain their share it ill depend what the Green Vote in EP’s does.

  4. @ DANNY – Try opening up Electoral Calculus homepage. Here’s the link:

    Lots of info on there but note it’s not all 100% up to date and I’m certainly NOT making predictions (and nor is Martin – as he clearly states “The future is never certain” under the probability numbers)

    IMO it is “better” to present the results in decreasing CON seat numbers order (and grouped into fewer outcomes) than cover all the scenarios and list them in probability order. As I hope I made clear in the post (and previous posts) some of the scenarios would be “unstable” and would probably result in another GE until we eventually had a “stable” outcome (with might involve getting rid of Scotland if their voters keep voting in MPs that want to be Independent from UK?)

    PS I’m really not bovvered that you don’t understand but I’m trying to be nice today. Please don’t assume I’ll read your replies in the future though.

  5. The Trevors,
    “Sadly younger voters seem especially vulnerable to pro-EU propaganda”

    I still think Trevors, that it is the older voters suffering from post WW2 propaganda that Britain had won a world war against all comers. The young understand there is no empire any more and no one owes the Uk a living. If anything, that last was a Thatcherite lesson, but Maybe Cameron and Clegg reinforced it for them with tuition fees.

  6. The Trevors,
    “@ DANNY – Try opening up Electoral Calculus homepage. Here’s the link:”

    I asked what you had based your own estimates of outcome on, not what electoral calculus had done.

    On their website they take current polling results showing a tory lead, then approximate this as a shift across the nation and what MP numbers would result. Yes, we all understand the principle of how this is done, and I think we would generally agree it gives an approximate result. Especially if then we deal with special cases separately, eg where small parties have a unique chance locally.

    However, it is only as good as the data going in, and polling does not promise to tell us what the proportion of support will be on the day. That is the tricky bit. How much public sentiment might change from now to then.

    The last election was a clear example of a huge swing behind the dominant remain party in the last few weeks. It is the most recent election result, and the situation is pretty much unchanged now. It must be predictive of what we would expect now.

    So why do you take the current polls at face value, instead of marking down the current con lead, as seems much more likely?

    Andrew Neill just asked a very good question on TV. Why not allow however long it takes to debate the leaving bill, a month maybe, and then leave a few weeks after schedule.

    Why indeed. The minister being interviewed says thats no good. I can see two posible outcomes of such a process, either the bill gets passed or rejected. Why are neither of these acceptable to the government? Because maybe in the first case we would leave (which I have argued tories do not want), and in the second case BJ would be shown to have just devised another non-functional deal.

    I presume they would rather have an election on an undebated deal, where its flaws have not been highlighted.


    I don’t mind much that you did not really try to address the question I asked you. There is no need to play the put upon victim as you do fairly regularly. It occupies too much space.

    Ronan McCrea is professor of constitutional and European law at University College London.

    It may be that the DUP does not raise this point in court. Then the McCrea article will go the way of much that appears in papers. I think the article is interesting even to one unqualified in law.

  8. @ GARJ – More thoughts on “tactics” (all IMO of course)

    1/ Playing the man (ie attacking Boris on grounds of not fit to be PM) will FAIL[1]

    2/ IF he can “OWN” a policy he will (eg Only Boris = Leave EU)

    3/ IF he can’t then he will seek to DIVIDE[2] the opposition by putting his tanks in the middle of the field (and LAB and LDEM are miles apart on domestic issues and 2nd ref v Revoke on Brexit)

    4/ Every policy will be about winning the GE (ie no dementia tax or similar RED card bonkers Vahaamahina-esque moments of sheer stoopidity that will cost him the match)[3]

    5/ He will “show up” (ie do every TV debate he can, etc) and ensure all of the above 4 points get max exposure. The training sessions are going well and he’s won the important friendlies (the xCONs he wants back and enough LAB and xLAB if/when he needs them)

    6/ He will “use” his squad and “use” them well. Some of them might need HIAs or the stretcher after the GE though ;)

    7/ He will use the “transfer window” to reselect some (not all) of the xCONs that were dropped from the squad

    I went a bit heavy with the Rugby analogies there (and one footie one as Scots and Irish won’t be so interested in Rugby now) – catching up on the weekends games while I’m typing. France – seriously WTF!!!

    [1] Very few DKs on questions that relate to Boris. Folks have made up their opinion on him and we all know he’s a l!ar, womaniser, bit of a baffoon, etc – unless some seriously shocking new skeleton in his cupboard then any “personal” attacks on Boris will backfire. Also for LAB them trying to make Boris look “unfit to be PM” – seriously? I’d pay xLAB MPs to come on air and say what they think about Corbyn (ie DO NOT directly attack Corbyn – let his own x-people do that and ensure LAB are seen as the na5ty party)

    [2] This is very important as it will deter any “pacts” and limit any tactical ABC voting. It obviously won’t achieve 100% success but IMO we saw quite a bit of tactical voting (and we certainly saw a few “grassroots” pacts) in last GE so, in E+W, that might reverse (in Scotland the risk is more that it goes against SCON due to SLD and SCON “dividing out” the RoC seats)

    [3] May (via Hammond IMO) was both greedy and complacent. She tried to fix some of the longer-term issues that do need fixing at some point (ie ageing population and increased healthcare costs) but she assumed folks wanted them fixed NOW and failed to make her case (and ended up pulling the triple punch to pensioners AFTER the political damage was done). Hence she spassed a probable large majority against the wall and then needed DUP… (still makes me angry how badly she f**ked up but I’ve waited 25yrs+ for Brexit so I’ll wait a bit longer)

  9. @Trevors – Thankyou for your kind words.

    You’ve been banging on about the ‘taking account of’ line from A50 for a very long time, completely erroneously. Indeed, there was a time when you claimed it obligated the EU to agree a trade deal with the UK as part of the WA. You forget. You were wildly wrong then, and things haven’t improved since.

    If there is a case to be made against the WA, as the link @Sam provided suggest, A50 will have nothing to do with it. It will be because elements of the agreement breach the articles relevant to trade deals.

    However, I suspect such a case is unlikely to succeed, due to the fact that the WA has the support of the EC, and the concerns over the GFA, both of which have some legal import.

    As for Saint Barthélemy, no, I don’t know what COR means. That’s why I asked you. Is there a problem with that?

    PS – do you still think Association Agreements are not agreed by unanimity in the EC?

  10. @ALEC

    Thanks for the detailed reply, it’s nice to get beyond the “but surely…” mentality that dominates our media coverage on this subject!

    @EoR – re Trump, his path top the White House in 2016 was very tight, with a string of state by state results required to get him what was a fragile Electoral College majority despite being millions of votes behind.

    In the 2018 mid-terms, that coalition broke spectacularly, with the suburban areas abandoning Republicans. If this happens again on anything like the same scale, he is finished.

    Whilst that’s a plausible and coherent narrative for how things may go, I don’t think the data yet bears that out. Yes the Dem House gains were mostly suburban, but they were also mostly seats that had voted for Clinton over Trump in 2016 anyway. And overall Trump’s side lost the popular vote in 2018 by 8.6 points; for comparison, Obama and Clinton both lost their first mid-terms by just under 7 points, Bush Snr by 7.8 and Reagan by 11.8, and all but one had pretty comfortable re-elections.

    He may not even get to the elections. The impeachment proceedings are throwing up some proper damage now, and voters may not get the chance to have their say, although the Senate would need to swing against him for that, even if this has already started.

    Aye, they’d need to find about 20 GOP Senators willing to vote him out. As for “proper damage”, where is that damage registering if not in his approval ratings?

    People like Trump lose power and authority in a rush, once a tipping point has been reached. lots of factors are working against him now,

    Again, this may be how we look back and read this period… or it may be just like the four or five other times it’s been widely argued we’re at a tipping point, from the Access Hollywood tape through resignations and arrests and testimonies…

    and if the impression starts to be given that he won’t win in 2020, everything will start to melt away very rapidly indeed.

    I’m not sure even this is necessarily the case, especially as we get closer to the election. At the point where it actually becomes clear that Trump can’t win, there’s a pretty strong chance that nor could any new candidate that they could find, especially if they’ve missed out on the oxygen of a primary campaign. And even if there might be time to establish someone else, it’s arguably better for the party to let Trump go down in flames at the ballot box, rather than risk having a whole swathe of their voters convinced that he was stabbed in the back by party elites etc. So they may well take the view that it’s better to let him try re-election regardless, and if he fails then they’re rid of him.

  11. I can trivially block malware hitting the computer, and adverts appearing on screen. Why can’t I do the same about the space wasting by the Boring Collective?

  12. @ SAM – I see my mistake. ALEC insulted the Prof not you.

    I thought it was a good article myself, thank you for posting it. The Prof made some good points (notably “annullment” of any treaty that uses the incorrect article)

    Did you happen to also read my 6:28pm.

    Pretty sure i answered your question (twice) but please ensure you read the footnotes in the 6:28pm

    Excellent point about many of these “hypothetical” legal challenges coming to nothing but I won’t elaborate on the time sensitivity aspects.

    Loads of Leave cases that never saw the light of day and almost certainly won’t now. I kinda feel a bit miffed about wasting my time on those “potential cases” but hey, ho it seems I’ve also wasted a bunch of time and money on NI opportunities[1] recently and have written off the “opportunity gain” of a lot more but that’s a sunk cost so we move on…

    [1] My hourly rate from the “minnows” would be below the minimum wage but the main purpose of the investment (of time and money) was in landing some “whales”. Luckily I hope and expect most of those “whales” will soon happily land in E+W rather than NI but until we know exactly what will happen with Brexit and post Brexit regional and sectorial “bungs” then my rod will remain on deck ;)

  13. @ ALEC – “Thank you for your kind words”

    Your welcome, enjoy your evening ;)

    PS I took a leaf out of your book and couldn’t be bovvered to read beyond the first line or make any effort to understand any point you made. I hope the rest of your reply at least covered this unresolved Saint Barthélemy issue as I know you never let any issue drop ;)

    PPS My son looked into Saint Barthélemy and he reckons your WRONG but beyond 30secs on google I’m not wasting my time looking into an island of less than 10,000 people and comparing that to Brexit (or Lisbon Treaty issues). I’ll back my son over your opinion every day of the week though (and twice on Sundays!!)

  14. @ DANNY – “The young understand there is no empire any more”

    Oooh go easy mate, some of them (and most LDEM) think the EU is the New Empire (and not just v5 of the Holy Roman one or v4 of the Re!ch – brand new shiney European Utopia where everyone lives happily ever after).

    Let’s not risk upsetting them so close to beddie byes, otherwise mummy will never get them to sleep and they’ll skweem and skweem and skweem until their sick ;)

    PS Done trying to explain my other post. Hire someone to explain as i’m going to rediscover the scroll bar (after I rediscover the local bar!!). Nighty night, sleep tight, don’t let the Boris bugs bite ;)

    I can trivially block malware hitting the computer, and adverts appearing on screen. Why can’t I do the same about the space wasting by the Boring Collective?”

    I think that would require far too much power or giggawattevers or something.

    It is definitely very hard work scrolling though…

  16. @ ALEC – “PS – do you still think Association Agreements are not agreed by unanimity in the EC?”

    ?!?! EC ?!? Huh, why do you think it’s just the EC??

    An AA is the “umbrella” agreement that covers two issues:

    1/ The trade bit that I hope is WTO or 2nd choice EC only (and as per CETA can be “provisionally applied” without every Italian or Walloonatic trying to block it for some daft domestic reason or some horse trading for something else they might want)

    2/ Everything else that is global and/or non-trade related and can be agreed by EU (all 27, some upper/lower parliaments and some regional parliaments) – potentially via “side deals” as per the 100+ that the Swiss have (and if the EU don’t want to do that then fine – bovvered – we walk on 1Jan’21)

    NB I’ve no idea or interest (NIOI) in why you can’t understand we’ll be using the AA “in reverse” and that most NTB stuff will de facto “roll over” due to various WTO rulings, etc (and we’re certainly ready to call the lawyers in for that). Also NIOI why you can’t understand that once we can “browse” trade deals and closer geo-political relations with rWorld then EU is not the only “house on the market”

    So once again:

    I’m totally fine with “No Deal” on 1Jan’21 (would be fine with “No Deal” on 31Oct’19 and was fine with “No Deal” on 29Mar’19)

    PS OK missus is now ready and I just l!ed about reading your whole post so I’d better sign off as some folks still seem unable to use the scroll bar. For St.Barts COR issue – try google, that’s as far as I got but son spent a whole 5mins on it I think.

  17. Some interesting cross-breaks from the Deltapoll with fieldwork from 18-21 Oct:

    The overall figures for a ‘second referendum’ are 55:45 for Remain, which is a rather higher Remain lead than the norm. However, this suggests that while voting intentions for a Westminster election are very fluid, few people are changing heir minds about the issue of EU membership, as polls on this question have barely moved in the past 9 months.

    The pattern of younger voters supporting Remain is even more apparent than it was 3 years ago. The 18-14 age group is 80:20 for remaining, and in aggregate, voters aged under 55 are around 64:36 for remain. In contrast, those aged 65+ are 36:64 for Leave, roughly as they were in the referendum itself.

    There’s some interesting analysis of groups who identify by both party and referendum vote. From these, it’s clear that where attitudes on EU membership have changed, it has largely been on party-political lines. Hence the largest movement is among the ‘Lab-Leave’ cohort, who are now 26% for remaining, and 74% for Leave. This is largely compensated by ‘Con-Remain’ who are now 76:24 for Remaining. ‘Con-Leave’ now divide as 93:7 for Leaving, and the most unchanged are ‘Lab-Remain’, who are now 98:2 for Remain.

    This pattern seems to be reflected in the regional cross-breaks. The combined score for ‘Rest of the South’, which encompasses the South-East, South-West, and East regions is now the most pro-Brexit, with an overall mix of 51:49 for Leaving. In contrast, the combined North ( Yorks, NE and NW) shows as 57:43 for Remaining, a net movement of about 13 percentage points since 2016. Almost as surprisingly, these figures show the Midlands as narrowly pro-remain, albeit at 51:49. This is around a 10 point swing from 2016.

    There are some interesting stats on the ‘referendum’ intention cross breaks: of the 222 respondents who currently intend to vote for the Brexit Party. 7% of them say they wish to Remain in the EU; these are offset by the 8% of those intending to vote LibDem who want us to Leave.


  18. Not that I have much faith in the Spanish courts ability to conduct fair hearings, nor in the US courts for that matter, but the decision by the UKCA suggests that the administrative body for the UK (let alone the proceedings in an English magistrate’s court) suggest that the UK has already chosen to be a “vassal state” – but of the USA, not the EU

  19. Danny,

    You are correct in your analysis of the last election, which was tge EU election earlier this year..

  20. James E,

    based on what yu ae saying, sounds as though the north of England is going back to labour/remain. Leaving just the tory shires as strong leave. Which is precisely the wrong pattern for con to win an election now.

  21. Andrew111,

    The last Eu election showed a swing to remain from the preceding one. You might notice that UKIP got elected members in those elections whereas it did not in westminster ones.

    Yes, the general pattern was a swing to remain, which is precisely what I would expect in another westminster election now.

    You will be aware the big difference between the two is the method of election. Which if nothing else tells us what a difference the method makes.

  22. MU considered view is that Labour need a timetable for the WAB that makes a 2019 GE impossible so ending second week of November or later.

    A 3 month period to mid Feb or later between Brexit Delivery (if it happens) and the GE is best for Labour for many reasons.

    A GE on the wave of Brexit delivery for Johnson would garner many ‘reward’ votes from enough non traditional Tories, coupled with punishment votes against Labour from strident remainers in Lab/Tory seats, to produce a comfortable Tory victory imo on 37% of the vote. (and they could get a bit higher).

    By mid Feb the Brexit conversation would have progressed sufficiently on to the future relationship to allow Labour’s close relationship policy to be listened to fairly by more voters and to be contrasted rationally with the FTA and rejoin positions of the main E&W opposition.

    It will also give time for other issues to get a greater share of the coverage which gives a chance for Labour to have wedge issues other than Brexit.

    Some around Corbyn might be keen for a Dec 05th GE thinking a rerun (and better) of 2017 is possible; I hope they don’t prevail and Labour find sufficient tactics to delay.

  23. Danny

    The Delatpoll figures are certainly further evidence that the movement on the EU Question in the past 3 years has been larger in Working class, labour supporting areas.

    I’d infer from this that the Tory vote is likely to be less efficiently distributed than it was in 2017 or 2015, and that their gains in the North and Mdlands might be lower than UNS would provide.

  24. James – the big worry is Labour losing votes to LDs and Greens.

    Labour and Tories will both get less votes than in 2017 and how many move to a possibly neutered BXP on one side and other non Tory Parties on the other is the main determinant imo.

    Labour voters going Tory due to Brexit with a few but less Tories going the other way will be the second key factor in E&W.

    The non Brexit agenda and how much space it has will be crucial imo to level of direct switchers.

  25. Jim Jam,
    “James – the big worry is Labour losing votes to LDs and Greens.

    Labour and Tories will both get less votes than in 2017”

    Thats two big assumptions. The fact both parties are polling lower now simply means that there is lots of vote redistribution yet to happen if we really get an election.

    Yes, much of the remain vote is currently residing with libs, but it did this too before the last election. I recall some soaring lib support at moments it didnt matter in the general election.

    “Labour voters going Tory due to Brexit”

    Surely, that is totally not what the polling has told us. Those that would, went years ago.

  26. JimJam

    “Labour voters going Tory due to Brexit with a few but less Tories going the other way will be the second key factor in E&W.”

    Delatpoll’s figures suggest very few switchers direct between Con and Lab. Just 3% of their Lab 2017 sample intend to vote Tory, and 1% of Con 2017 say they’d now vote Labour.

    As you say, the real challenge for Labour is to win back those lost to LD, Green or BXP.

  27. Interesting comment from the Llafur leader at today’s joint press conference by the Scottish and Welsh FMs on Brexit –

    I’ve come to believe in the end it is the Unionists who will see off the Union because of their carelessness about it, their unwillingness to give the time & attention & thought that needs to be given to how the UK will operate the other side of Brexit.

    I suspect that he was referring to “Unionists” in England, rather than to those in other parts of the UK.

    As the Tories choose to throw the Unionists in NI under a Ballymena bus, and (seemingly deliberately) antagonise Scots who support the devolution settlement, as well as those who have already moved to viewing independence as their preference, he clearly sees the threat to his own preference of maintaining Wales within a genuine partnership in a United Kingdom.

    An equivalent to the “Velvet Divorce” of Czechoslovakia seems a possibility, simply because there are, apparently, so few who wish it to continue in a form that can survive.

  28. “Andrew Neill just asked a very good question on TV”


    Eh? Wot, Andrew Neil, formerly of This Week? Does Crossbat know about this?

  29. @DANNY

    Yes, much of the remain vote is currently residing with libs, but it did this too before the last election. I recall some soaring lib support at moments it didnt matter in the general election.

    The table on this very site appears to show the LibDems as spending five years prior to the 2017 GE hovering between about 7-11% average. So where are you identifying the “soaring moments” and “much of the remain vote residing” with them as happening?

  30. Confirmation of Drakeford’s point quoted above.

    Davwel will note that Radio 4 is happy to denigrate all parts of the UK outwith its narrow little sphere.

  31. @OLDNAT

    It would be interesting to see more polling on what people in rUK think of Scottish independence, particularly after more discussion of what that would practically entail.

    But in hypothetical terms, a situation where the majority of people in rUK think that Scotland should be welcome to its independence if that’s what the Scottish people want seems decidedly preferable to one where they actively want to resist that? Thus far, the Velvet Divorce does seem a pretty decent template to aspire to, far more than the Spain/Catalonia situation!

    And it’s a small thing, but being from Wales it jars a little – the Labour party in Wales would only usually be called Llafur if one were discussing them whilst speaking in Welsh. When talking in English they would be “Labour” and “Llafur” would mean the historical society. Just as if Welsh people were talking in English they wouldn’t suggest “calling the Heddlu” or moan about “the traffic on the traffordd”. Whereas the whole Assembly/Senedd thing is a very different fish, and one that I was very surprised by Labour’s recent stance on, very strange fight to pick!

  32. @matt126

    “It is easy to look at Libem v Con in terms of Uniform swing and see only small number of gains. However there are a number of seats they could gain not even on the radar. For example Cities of Westminster (Umunna) , Finchley (Berger), Rushcliffe (Clarke stands down) . Only have to look at the vote breakdown in the EP elections. If The Lib Dems retain their share it ill depend what the Green Vote in EP’s does.”

    Lib Dems managed 11.1%, 6.6% and 4.7% in those 3 seats last time round. They’ve never done better than 21.7% in any of them and that was Rushcliffe in 2010 when Labour did poorly and Cleggmania was about.

    Not sure what planet you’re inhabiting, but if you’re saying the Lib Dems win any of those, anybody could pretty much win anywhere.

    Another thing’s for certain too – Brexit will win no seats. They’ll only lose the Tories many if they stand against them.

  33. Alec
    “As Hastings says, those who think Boris is a decent chap are the ones that haven’t met him.”

    I didn’t vote for Johnson because I thought he was a decent chap. I voted for him because of all the candidates he has in my view the best chance of beating Corbyn & McDonald, who frankly, would be 100 times worse than anything Boris would if they ever got the reins of power.

    As someone said upthread, (Colin?) he’s actually quite a one nation Tory and always has been. He was a very good Mayor of London and has always had an appeal to outside his party. Heonly has pariah status from the remoaning capachino eu luvvies lot, who seem to make up about 90% of this board.

  34. EoR

    Welsh folk on here have disagreed as to the appropriateness of using Llafur.

    I use it in the same way as I use SLab for “Scottish Labour” – a somewhat fictional term that the Labour Party uses outwith England, but to identify the fact that there are differences from what the “UK Labour Party” (predominantly English) espouses.

  35. Lewblew

    Some evidence that the LibDems are in with a shout in Finchley:

  36. Serving MSP Ruth Davidson has taken a “job” with a PR firm run by a Tory fundraiser for £50,000 for 24 days work.

    The firm is not part of the trade association for the sector which has slammed the move saying: “It is simply wrong for lobbying agencies to employ legislators.”

    Since Davidson has not held a single surgery since becoming a constituency MSP she will, presumably, have ample time to fit her new role in with being a backbencher at Holyrood.

  37. @OLDNAT

    Yeah, I see the intention of the demarcation, it just doesn’t feel right. I’m surprised that there are Welsh posters on here advocating “Llafur”, especially at a time when Carwyn Jones and Mark Drakeford feel we needed legislation to maintain a parallel English name for the place where they meet, rather than just accepting the increasingly common “Senedd”. As I said, strange fight for Labour to pick, especially when facing an extremely competent and resonant Plaid leader.

    Tho in that vein if there is an imminent GE it’ll be very interesting to see how much the Welsh bit of the Labour Party do try to define themselves as being distinct from Corbyn’s UK brand, especially if there is a repeat of the last Welsh Westminster poll to rattle their nerves!

  38. I get that citing the huge movement between initial polls and result in the last GE is good grounds to be sceptical about projecting current polls into a result.

    But surely the same scepticism applies to those posters who seem convinced that a similar trend will repeat this time around? Isn’t assuming that the current GE would be similar to the prior GE the basic reason that many pollsters got 2017 badly wrong?

  39. EoR

    Is there a “Corbyn UK brand”?

    Like many politicians from England, he has generally learned not to use “England” when he means “GB” or “UK”, but adopts the meaningless term “this country” when he’s talking about England, or GB, or UK!

    I was alerted to the “this country” trick a few years back by a Slovak violinist who said that its use by Czech politicians (pre divorce, in an equivalent sense) was intensely irritating.

  40. “The word Eurosceptic used to express wariness of further integration. Now it means someone who is not content to burn bridges but insists on also laying mines and barbed wire around the smouldering stumps.”

    Rafael Behr in the Guardian.

  41. “I voted for him because of all the candidates he has in my view the best chance of beating Corbyn & McDonald”
    @RobertNewark October 23rd, 2019 at 11:10 pm


  42. @ James E

    A telephone poll of 400 people commissioned by the Liberal Democrats shows them ahead… I’m alright thanks! ;)

    Then again just noticed she’s of Jewish heritage, so perhaps that and the fact she’s ‘well known’ (never heard of her until this year) would work in that area.

    But I wouldn’t trust that poll.

  43. Two 19s…

    Labour – The 19 Lab MPs that voted for the Brexit bill –

    Lib Dem – The 19 Lib Dem MPs (all of them) that voted to abstain on the recent NHS bill, which hoped to prevent more privatisation of the NHS. –

    Hope Indy folk in Scotland who plan to vote for either can now choose between the parties:

    Tories – Pro Brexit and anti-NHS
    Labour – Not anti-Brexit enough
    Lib Dem – Anti NHS

    If only there was a 4th party, against Brexit, and pro-NHS to vote for…

  44. @OLDNAT

    Is there a “Corbyn UK brand”?

    Maybe not the best phrasing by me. What I meant was whether they will actively try to define themselves as something distinct from Corbyn and his London circle, and use that to try to arrest the astonishing collapse in the Labour vote in Wales. Maybe to paint themselves as something more semi-autonomous, tho given the general irrelevance of specifically Welsh issues at Westminster that could be a hard sell in itself.

  45. EoR

    ” to try to arrest the astonishing collapse in the Labour vote in Wales.”

    I’m sure that they are well aware of the even greater collapse in Scotland and, by their language, trying to position themselves as not being so closely entwined with Unionism as their Scots colleagues chose to be.

    A sensible course, I think.

    I don’t know enough about Welsh politics to know why the only Labour controlled administration in the UK hasn’t already implemented a number of the policies advocated by Corbyn for England, and already long embedded in Scotland. (regardless of which party is in government – with or without a majority).

  46. Danny
    “If anything, that last was a Thatcherite lesson, but Maybe Cameron and Clegg reinforced it for them with tuition fees.”

    Blair introduced tuition fees.
    Dave Taylor (Oldnat)
    “Davwel will note that Radio 4 is happy to denigrate all parts of the UK outwith its narrow little sphere.”

    Does it really mean anything at all that someone on the radio said ‘Leader of the Welsh Assembly’ rather than ‘First Minister in Wales’? Aren’t they just different ways of saying the same thing? e.g. Boris Johnson could be called ‘Prime Minister’ or ‘Leader of the Conservative Party’. So what? Chips and shoulders come to mind. Jeez.
    Edge of Reason
    “It would be interesting to see more polling on what people in rUK think of Scottish independence”

    The Scots should let the English vote in their next independence referendum. Why should it be just the wife who’s allowed to sue for divorce?
    We don’t really have a government now, as they can’t get any legislation passed. In past times the PM would have called a GE, but the FTPA makes it impossible to just do that. So what happens now? Do we limp on until 2022 with virtually nothing happening in politics? That could be good. Most things they (of any party) do make things worse.

  47. @PETE B

    The Scots should let the English vote in their next independence referendum. Why should it be just the wife who’s allowed to sue for divorce?

    That’s confusing two different things – I think most people would find the idea that a wife could be in any way outvoted in her desire to divorce her husband to be appalling?

    I suspect what you meant was that England/rUK should be able to trigger some means of jettisoning the Scots, rather than waiting for them to hold and pass a vote?

  48. Pete B

    It really doesn’t matter what you or I might think about the terminology used on Radio 4.

    What you might usefully have noted that the tweets I linked to were from Wales’ most noted psephologist agreeing with another academic who was a former adviser to the Welsh Government.

    That it doesn’t matter to someone like yourself, from the dominant polity in the UK, simply reinforces that the attitudes, common in their neighbours to the East, confirm their exasperation.

    For Unionists in England, the best advice is, rather than expressing your incomprehension of others, just to STFU (as I see folk on social media expressing their wise advisement).

  49. EoR

    There’s a remarkably simple way of “jettisoning the Scots” that isn’t a form of racism (an inappropriate term, but it’s the legal one).

    If England wants to take back control, and avoid paying out the huge subsidies that it imagines it pays to keep Scotland, Wales & NI in the UK Union, all it needs to do is to elect MPs who will recreate an independent English state.

    No one is holding England back – except England.

  50. @OLDNAT

    I’m sure that they are well aware of the even greater collapse in Scotland and, by their language, trying to position themselves as not being so closely entwined with Unionism as their Scots colleagues chose to be.

    Proportionally true if one compares say 2017 UK GE to 2019 European elections, but less relevant in 2019 UK GE terms as Labour have little left to lose in Scotland, and unless all recent polling is drastically wrong then even less left to save at this stage.

    28 seats in Wales is a much more substantial problem for them in Westminster terms, and given their current position in regional and local government in Wales it’s also a much bigger potential problem for the future. Hence I’m intrigued to see how both the party in Wales and the party in London try to deal with the situation.

    Also if they were actually trying to be less “entwined with Unionism” why pick a needless linguistic fight about having an English name for the Senedd?

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