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. @Pete B

    All it needs is 326 MPs to vote to dissolve the Union. Scotland can put up 35-55 depending on a given poll, so 270-290 from rUK, or which ever party is in Government.

    No Westminster Government will vote for that. It’s not in their interests.

    So I suggest a ‘Dissolve the Union’ party. Or, if you feel that Wales and Northern Ireland are equally deserving of the English angst that is levelled at Scotland, then an ‘Indy for England’ party.

    Go on. Take back control (from Con and Lab).

  2. @OLDNAT

    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).

    Not sure where the r-word came in, my point was simply that @PETE B’s analogy was a cr*p one, whatever his actual objective.

  3. EoR

    I was referring to the previous situation in Scotland, when they chose to bind themselves to the UK Union, rather than move further towards Scottish autonomy.

    As to the “needless linguistic fight” over the name of the Senedd, I presumed (perhaps wrongly) that such was a strategic move to balance their “curiosity” about Independence, in order to keep their linguistically English orientated supporters on board.

    Sensible parties do try to be all things to all people (until a choice is forced upon them!)

  4. EoR

    It wasn’t directed at you.

    There are excellent reasons for people to want to govern themselves – there are few where ejecting the “others” from a political union is anything other than racism.

    The only example I know of, where a majority population chose to eject a part of the state, rather than making itself independent was the ejection of Singapore from Malaysia.

    That is, however, but one of the numerous political events that I know too little of to judge.

  5. @Pete B (et al)

    Just to highlight the democratic deficit to anyone forgetting it…

    We’ve had 20 General Elections back to (and including) 1945. A nice, round number for stats. If we look at all the UK-wide results of those elections (i.e which party formed the Government, regardless if minority), and look at how each of the four nations got the government it voted for, we get the following stats:

    1945-2017 –

    Basically, each time a nation’s preferred party, by a majority of seats matched the UK Government elected, the nation gets 1 point (or 5%). Twenty points would be 100%. England got half a point for voting Con in 2010, as we got a coalition, rather than a minority.

    Now see how the charts look if we break the 20 elections into 10 and 10 (1945-1974 and 1979-2017):

    As you can see, things have changed massively since the 1970s.

    UK Population in 1950 was approx 51 million, while today it is 66 million. Scotland’s population in 1950 was about 5.1 million. It first hit this figure in 1941, and last hit this figure in…wait for it…2006.

    Mismanagement, or calculated? You decide. Either way, things have to change. When people call Scotland too wee, it’s down to someone else’s management. I call Westminster. I call Con and Lab. I call England’s voters. :)

  6. Just for clarity, in the bottom pic of the second link, Scotland and Wales are both 30%. Three elections. Blair, Blair and Blair. England too voted Blair, Blair and Blair. The 5% missing from England, is the 2010 coalition, where they had to suffer the Lib Dems as well as the Tory party (the voted for the latter).

    So basically England has elected every party since 1979 without fail. On the rare occasion another country pops up to say “Wait a sec”, they are dismissed with “Chippy Scots” etc. Or if we’re really lucky we get a more learned version along the lines of:

    “The Scots should let the English vote in their next independence referendum.”

    And probably wonder why Scots shake their head in amazement at the ‘poor, put upon’ voters of England.

  7. @ JJ – GE timing, CON perspective

    Plenty of press suggesting there is a split within CON concerning whether Boris should get his WAB passed BEFORE a GE or push for a GE first (wrote a long piece on the sequencing y’day).

    I would expect polling (possibly internal) will be a factor as the sequencing has voter risks (notably BXP-CON switchers but also apathy from Leavers after we’ve left)

    As a few folks on UKPR have suggested Boris might be HOPING that the EU27 decide for him (see DC and the “short extension” and my posts from a while back about a 1mth only extension).

    However, I would point out that Boris doesn’t necessarily need Corbyn and if Corbyn “dithers and delays” on using FTPA Route2 then that might hand a gift to SNP or LDEM, ie the maths would work

    If either SNP or LDEM[1] want a GE then Boris can get a GE with their MPs votes

    Be in no doubt that Vote.Leave1b understand how FPTP works and will seek to divide the opposition as best they can (ie they will want LDEM to keep LAB Remain votes and allow LDEM (SNP in Scotland) to be seen as THE Remain party and LAB as the party of “dither and delay”, “handmaiden of Boris Brexit”, etc)

    [1] If it is just LDEM then he’ll need most xCONs and a few xLAB/LAB but it certainly seems that SNP want a GE and the maths works easily with them (see a post from a few days back about new routes to a GE)

  8. Summary of possible legal challenges related to NI borders[1]

    Three different piece of law, the court(s) where the case would be made – probable legal outcome[2]

    1/ Belfast Agreement (GFA), UK or EU courts – NO

    2/ EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (sections 10-12), UK courts – NO

    3/ Lisbon Treaty (notably articles 50, 218 and 267), loads of start points for those – Unlikely

    Very close to a NO, NO, NO

    However, if I’m asked will DUP or some other anti Boris deal group try any/all of the above – YES (probably)

    If anyone has additional pieces of law that they think Boris’s deal might BREAK then please post the details.

    Note either side could use the legal route but as per posts to @ SAM then HMG and non-HMG Leave Lawyers are happy with Boris’s deal (or the default) so will not be making any legal challenge (as far as I’m aware and IMO of course)

    [1] Either E-W (notably NI-GB but possibly also RoI-GB) or N-S (Ni-RoI)

    [2] It’s not always just about winning but IMO Remain have more to lose via “frustration” or “political spin” if the launch more legal cases.

  9. Trev – if I was a Tory I would want a vote before Brexit on a get it done ticket or just after when the reward vote is maximised.

    Pete B – re Leader of Welsh Assembly.

    Councils are important but clearly not as powerful as the Welsh Assembly.

    The slight by the BBC in using the term applied to the local who heads up the Councils may not be intentional but it is indicative of a subconscious downplaying of the Assembly.

    If I were Welsh I would be annoyed and as an English person I can still be cross. In fact this resonates with many of us in the regions of England who detect a similar lack of understanding from the London Centric BBC.

  10. Just completed YouGov poll, lots of questions on attitudes to Northern Ireland

  11. Edge of reason,
    “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?”

    By election results, which then vanished in the election.

    “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?”

    Most polling relies upon an initial assumption the result will be similar to previous ones, and the last is the best indicator. It is changes from this which are being measured. Aside from this assumption, the circumstances in 2017 were very specific that it was a one issue election. Do you see any reason why another now would not be dominated by Brexit? I dont. In so far as it ignores brexit, does the conservative government have a good track record on traditional election issues since 2017? I think not. Are there more remainers now? Yes.

    The main argument different now to then seems to be that going leave now would end this 3 year brexit crisis. While superficially attractive, us leaving this month wouldnt actually settle anything, just move us on to different crises. Similar argument was made before 2017, that May needed mandate to carry through brexit. Didnt work.

    I see the two most likely results of a general election as conservative opposition or hung parliament. It is quite likely a general election would waste a month but solve nothing.

    ” if you’re saying the Lib Dems win any of those, anybody could pretty much win anywhere.”

    I dont at this point think libs etc will make breakthroughs where they have not had a record of success already. I think the background high support for libs will switch to lab because of FPP and the fact everyone knows they would be wasting their vote going lib in the particular case of their local election. Voters are not idiots, and the ones we are talking about are highly motivated by brexit. Thus i think labour will do much better than the polling.

    However, if brexit disappears as an issue, the legacy of what has happened is likely to come back and bite the political parties who have upset voters. Libs had a moment of massive support in 2010, which they blew by then upsetting those voters in the ensuing government. I think brexit will have both redeemed them significantly, and discredited the big two.

    Both Brexit and the burst of support for the libs previously, have shown that while not quite ‘anybody could win anywhere’, it is way easier given the present level of voter dissillusion than you think.

  12. @ JJ – “if I was a Tory I would want a vote before Brexit on a get it done ticket or just after when the reward vote is maximised”

    Well, yes, if Boris wants a GE then I’m pretty sure it will be either just BEFORE or just AFTER Brexit but the “sequencing” creates two very different campaign risks/opportunities for all parties (both of ours but also LDEM, SNP, PC, Green)

    I was trying to point out that Boris can get the “GE before Brexit” votes from other parties (SNP being best bet) IF he WANTS a GE BEFORE BREXIT

    He might NOT want a GE first though. It might just be part of Dom’s version of “chaos politics” and an attempt to

    a/ “bounce” the EU into a short (get WAB passed so they can move on) extension or
    b/ “bounce” other parties into asking for a GE and then say NO, we need to “Get Brexit Done” first – MPs have a job to do, let’s pass the Queen’s Speech to release more money for NHS, schools, police, etc

    The other point I was making was that if Corbyn cannot LEAD the opposition then he risks being LED by the REAL opposition (ie LDEM and SNP) and i doubt that will help boost LAB GOTV when we have the GE.

    Corbyn has a window of opportunity[1] to show the country he can LEAD and is capable of making decisions (ie stop being cast as Mr. Dither and Delay) – that window won’t be open for long

    [1] Sure it might be more of a trap than a window of opportunity but Corbyn won’t find that out unless he starts LEADing and trying to win back Remain VI from LDEM (already too late to do anything in Scotland IMO)

  13. If the Conservatives remain at their current level in the next batch of polls, will this indicate (a) the delay to brexit hasn’t affected their vote, or (b) the relevant voters haven’t twigged that brexit won’t proceed on the 31st?

  14. Pete B,
    “Blair introduced tuition fees.”

    The route to paid for university education is a long one, and people were complaining about the withdrawal of free university education when I was at university under Thatcher. You do recall that at one point there were maintenance grants set equivalent to a working wage, and no tuition fees?

    The most recent example was Cameron and Clegg hiking the cost of university education to consumers. Very celebrated because libs campaigned against it. Since then con governments have tried to tweak the rules yet again to increase the final amount students pay. I seem to recall some of the con ministers part of the Thatcher government are on record saying they never envisaged fees going as high as they have now, and the final push raising fees has moved it from the territory of ‘a fair contribution by the student’, to something voters now consider unfair.

  15. In 7:59am add “pass budget” after “pass Queen’s Speech” in b/

    Both will likely fail but it folks haven’t twigged it yet then it’s not always about winning Parliament votes (losing those seems to be his main policy!)

    Boris wants to win the People’s Vote, not the parliament votes

    Consider the spin benefit for Boris if/when MPs vote down a budget that promises more money for NHS, Schools, Police and/or vote down a Queen’s Speech that contains an Environment Bill, etc

    Worse, consider the risk for LAB “spin” if enough xLAB and LAB rebels keep voting with Boris and he actually manages to pass a budget or Queen’s Speech.

    Keeping Boris as a “puppet-squatter” in #10 isn’t really going to plan so far is it, so perhaps time to change the plan and kick him out?

  16. Trev – having got a second reading not proceeding will look odd to the uninformed voter. ‘You could have achieved Brexit without a GE Mt Johnson as the HOC passed showing intent but chose to cause further delay by holding a GE’

    The Labour 19 have done the party a favour by making it harder for Johnson to go early and/or weaken his narrative if he does. On balance, though if I were him I would still try have a GE before Christmas if he can but I think it is harder to achieve now.

  17. Danny

    Jez will abolish tuition fees and is considering writing of the debt too (I think he should). That’ll be a lot of money but he could have a graduated increase in tax for higher earners so that it goes, 20%, 22%, 24%, 28% etc right up to 50% for your top earners.

    I think we all need to pay more tax. Probably not a popular campaign message though!

  18. @Trevs – thanks for trying to explain your views on the trade and other talks in your 8.48pm post. It won’t happen that way (as the EU aren’t dim enough to disengage their key areas of leverage from the elements we want) but you entire post was totally irrelevant to the issue in hand.

    Some days ago, you posted that everything you wanted could be agreed via an Association Agreement, so wouldn’t need Spain, France, the Walloons etc to stick their collective oars into the approval process.

    For an expert in such matters, that remains fundamentally embarrassing. Everything else on this discussion has been you attempting to distract to avoid the need to admit you didn’t understand what you were writing about.

    One of the problems with your admirably substantial quantity of posts is that you introduce multiple suppositions, theories and scenarios, but many of these are simply not feasible. In a number of cases you have demonstrated a very limited understanding of process and legal matters relating to the EU, and unlike other posters, have a strange habit of refusing to learn new things when you do make mistakes, but instead keep coming back with the same fundamental error.

    On the Saint Barthélemy COR point, I see you don’t actually know what it means. So why pretend?

    FWIW, I can’t find anything about COR and this territory. Perhaps it’s a translation issue around one of the various distinctions of overseas territories etc within EU law?

    On the broader issue, I suspect your original point might have been based on arguing that no one has left the EU, because (in your view) the EU didn’t exist pre 2009 and Lisbon.

    This is incorrect in several ways. Firstly, the EU was actually formed in 1993 by the Maastricht Treaty, so the name pre dates Lisbon anyway.

    The broader point is that EU is merely the name given to an organisation that dates back to the Treaty of Rome. This is still part of the legal acquis of the EU, and in legal terms the EEC, EC and EU are effectively the same, albeit under different organizational terms in some areas. The ECJ was formed in 1951, and case law from this time is still relevant, so long as it is not contradicted by subsequent legislation.

    So in answer to your statement that no one has ever left the EU, @Norbold was correct.

  19. Since a lot of the BBC moved north to Wigan I’ve not heard anyone complain that it’s too Manc-centric. Maybe that’s because because they left the news operation behind in London but that is, in many ways, understandable, given London’s national and international status. Indeed I don’t know of any UK wide broadcaster that runs a major news gathering operation from outside the M25.

    I would suggest that such operations follow where they perceive the action is, so moving parliament and it’s infrastructure somewhere else would probably generate a BBC News move too. But that would probably lead to just as many complaints of local bias.

  20. @ RP – There has been polling on who voters will blame for the delay (CON voters will blame parliament, not Boris) and also polling on “likelihood” of Brexit happening on 31Oct (most folks doubt it).

    Some up to date polling on those kinds of questions would help but based on polling we’ve already had then I’d expect the answer to your question is a/

    although I am clearly biased of course ;)

    The “Surrender Bill” was never legally challenged and Boris begrudgingly complied with it but perhaps the iceberg saw the Titanic coming form so far off that it moved just enough out of the way to let it passed?!?

    If the Titanic is running out of champers in 1st class (LDEM) and running out of diesel in the engine room (LAB) then why sink it? ;)

    Save the iceberg and leave the Titanic stranded in the ocean – the engine room and 1st class passengers can decide who is most to blame ;)

  21. This may be of relevance to discussions yesterday?

    I’m aware that the PSNI were consulted by May, and they did offer public warnings about the threat from Republicans arising from a hardening of the border, but I was never aware that they made such warnings specifically about her deal.

    Given the timings of the talks and the late concessions from Johnson, I struggle to believe that Johnson consulted the PSNI over his deal, and that tends to support my belief that his attention was more to securing his own short term political objectives than on a reasoned analysis of the impacts of Brexit on NI.

  22. Pete B,
    “We don’t really have a government now, as they can’t get any legislation passed.””

    That is not true, legislation is being processed. What cannot go through is party biased legislation. I dont see why that is a problem. Not for ordinary voters anyway. Its politicians who are having a tantrum at not being able to play with their favourite toys.

    The Trevors,
    “Plenty of press suggesting there is a split within CON concerning whether Boris should get his WAB passed BEFORE a GE or push for a GE first”

    A division between those who want to make brexit happen before getting out of government and avoiding the consequences, so do it before an election, and those who just want to get out of government before doing anything?

    Is there more blame to be had for initiating irreversible brexit and leaving it to labour to try to clear up the mess, or for skipping out of government and being blamed for not having initiated it?

  23. RP,
    “If the Conservatives remain at their current level in the next batch of polls, will this indicate (a) the delay to brexit hasn’t affected their vote, or (b) the relevant voters haven’t twigged that brexit won’t proceed on the 31st?”

    It will indicate that what conservatives do is largely irrelevant to remain supporters.

  24. “he could have a graduated increase in tax for higher earners so that it goes, 20%, 22%, 24%, 28% etc right up to 50% for your top earners.”
    @nickp October 24th, 2019 at 8:20 am

    If I were JC I would be looking at wealth and property taxes, rather than income tax. A land value tax, is one such example, that has been mooted before.

  25. @Danny

    “You do recall that at one point there were maintenance grants set equivalent to a working wage, and no tuition fees?”

    I started university in last year in which the full maintenance grant was still in effect (1994). This was subsequently reduced at the rate of 10% per year. Tuition fees were not introduced until the Blair government, but even then these were set at a fairly low level of around £1,200 per year.

  26. SDA – I should said BBC News specifically.

    By the Way is Salford Not Wigan.

    Perhaps your saying Wigan is due to your being related to Lisa.

    You are Steam Drive Nandy afterall.

  27. I’ve just had a moment of clarity, far from being a set of Russian bots, TW is Eric Cantona.

  28. @Colin

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

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

    Ah, I see, you’re a rainy day poster. I must check the weather forecasts before I come on to UKPR in future! :-)

    More seriously, and I don’t think victimhood sits easily with you, you are perfectly free to post as frequently and regularly as you like. It has nothing whatsoever to do with me at all; I merely observed your stream of consciousness yesterday. At no time did I command you to stop posting. That’s entirely a decision for you, but equally other posters and readers may be entitled to occasionally complain about threads that become mere endless conversations between a few posters. It’s at times like those that UKPR morphs into Twitter and I think that’s tiresome. You, of course, are entitled to disagree and carry on as you please. Entirely up to you.

    I did note, however, that you didn’t answer the question I put to you which, of course you are perfectly free to ignore. I’m not complaining about that by the way, just expressing disappointment that you didn’t give your answer. I’m genuinely interested about people’s motivations and the journeys people are undertaking with Brexit. I posted something along those lines a few days ago, wondering whether proxy party political games, maybe even cultural wars were being fought under the cover of Brexit and that the question of our continuing EU membership was subservient to other political interests. My view is that that’s what’s probably going on, not necessarily in every case, but in most. How else could an issue that in opinion polls consistently fell outside the Top 10 issues that were important to people suddenly become this all consuming and raging seminal political issue of our time.

    In case you thought I was, I wasn’t criticising your decision to abstain in 2016. I was just interested in tour reason for doing so. As I’ve said many times on UKPR, I too abstained but I did so not because I was apathetic or undecided, but because I didn’t want to honour Cameron’s tawdry stunt by participating in it and I thought Remain was certain to win. I was always a firm Remainer and supporter of the EU but, in hindsight, I made a terrible miscalculation. I dearly wish I had voted in it, not because it would have made any difference to the result, but because I would have felt better for having at least done my bit.

    What I haven’t done, which so many others seemed to have done, is change my views on the issue one iota.

  29. @EoR @OldNat. Interesting discussion on Welsh politics. Welsh Labour are in an obviously difficult position; as I’ve said before they are much more sensitive than their Scottish counterparts were to “soft nationalist” stirrings.

    However in terms of the strange battle over the name for the Sennedd they are really trying to be sensitive to the English speaking majority – but as the Welsh name hasn’t been exactly controversial it seems a strange fight to pick, although I doubt it will be a major bone of contention going forward.

    I’m not sure they have that much to worry about with Plaid – yet. the significant increase in support for independence isn’t matched by any sort of increase in support for Plaid. Adam Price’s personal ratings are poor and sinking.

    I’d argue that their immediate problem is actually the Lib Dems who are well placed to stop them winning (or holding) key seats if not winning them themselves. They will almost certainly campaign as “Welsh Labour supports Remain” and will have been helped by all their MPs (even Kinnock who’d probably need a map to find his constituency if it wasn’t on the M4) following the whip. If they can drive down the LD VI they’ll hold onto a good number of the 28. Plaid may well take Ynys Mon as the popular Albert Owen stands down but are unlikely to win any others despite what should be a very favourable environment

  30. Leaders of a right-wing party, out of power for 13 years, realise that the only way to keep their party alive and to get back in government is to inflict deep austerity on people – their core voters will be largely unaffected, while unimportant marginal groups like the poor, foreign-born and Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish take the brunt.

    Next up, a few referenda. What could be more democratic? That’ll get rid of Scotland (or keep it and shut the nationalists up), Europe (ditto) and hopefully keep the first past the post system by putting forward a rather naff alternative.

    Scotland votes to stay, but a few years + Brexit will deliver a second chance at being rid of them.

    EU vote is close, thanks to a terrible remain campaign. Brexit, once it’s done, will finally unite the party and free the country from Brussels bureaucracy. It’ll also lead to a united Ireland so we don’t need to worry about that lot across the pond diluting parliament anymore.

    So no Scotland, NI or EU to worry about = Tory domination of an independent England (and probably Wales) forever.

    Sounds like a conspiracy to me!

  31. @ JJ – “having got a second reading not proceeding will look odd to the uninformed voter”

    That is an excellent point and I’m certainly leaning that way. Get Brexit Done and then take on Corbyn.

    “The Labour 19 have done the party a favour by making it harder for Johnson to go early and/or weaken his narrative if he does”

    I’ll put that comment down to a bit of partisan bias, although maybe LDEM and SNP don’t use that in the GE campaign ;)

    However, from the maths point of view then winning the 2nd reading vote by 30 SHOULD ensure Boris can afford to lose some the 19 on different votes.

    We both agree there is no majority for CU or 2nd Ref so an added incentive to “Get Brexit Done” is the crush those unicorns (and see @ GARJ my discussion concerning the Worker’s Rights etc)

    NB It seems DUP will back the Queen’s Speech but I’ll continue to assume their priority is to “block” Boris’s deal (although they don’t appear any Plan B)

    @ ALEC – Some days ago you failed to read and/or understand my post.

    Anyway, I’m aware you think your job is to EDUCATE IGNORANT Leavers and tell them they are WRONG so I have a confession:

    I am IGNORANT and I’ve been WRONG about absolutely everything, every single time, in every single discussion we’ve ever had (also any discussion with @ DANNY and any other Arch-Remainer).

    We meerkat-bots are programmed to l!e and beaten by Dom if we tell the truth but I’ve dug a hole out of Tufton St. and I’m finally free!

    Since I expect Mrs.ALEC has now repaired the holes in your star chart then have a whole pack of new stars on me ;)

    Yes, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but it is English wit
    (cue: WRONG AGAIN, the Scots invented it in 1432)

  32. Interesting research on the 2017 results and potential for future election strategies.

  33. @DANNY

    I was dead against the tuition fees system until I axrually looked into it (and now in fact I have a postgraduate one myself).

    The system from I think the 90s to Cameron/Clegg’s time was to pay a token amount upfront, which I think was about £1k and was later raised to £3k per year.

    Now students pay nothing upfront – it’s all a non- means-tested loan which you only pay back once you start earning over about £25k per year after graduation, which isn’t bad. Unlike a commercial loan, you don’t pay if you stop earning to have a family or due to unemployment, or any other reason.

    I won’t go into the details, but someone earning £28.8k after graduating would pay £23 per month back. Not much is it? And it makes no difference how much you’ve borrowed, the monthly repayments are capped and worked out according to your salary.

    You’d be absolutely crazy not to take out student finance, or to pay extra after graduation to try and clear your debt. It gets wiped after 30 years and 83% of students are expected to not pay it off in this time.

  34. @ CHRIS IN CARDIFF – “Kinnock who’d probably need a map to find his constituency if it wasn’t on the M4”

    :-) :-) :-)

    Luv it.

    I won’t mention his wife, or his hopes to follow his dad’s career path[1] but I would just say voters in Aberavon voted 60% in favour of UK leaving the EU and if Kinnock wants a bung to help out his constituents then he knows who to ask.

    With a majority as big as his he should at least take a crack at winning Aberavon as an Independent (but oh no, I forgot, LAB don’t “purge” MPs that back Boris do they)

    [1] Lots of MPs are kissing goodbye to semi-retirement on a huge salary in Brussels.

  35. @Trevors – “I am IGNORANT and I’ve been WRONG about absolutely everything, every single time, in every single discussion we’ve ever had..,.”

    No no – you’re not always wrong.


  36. @Trevs – “@ ALEC – Please make the effort to look into the different types of trade deal if you want a discussion on trade deals.

    I’m quite happy with an Association Agreement (AA) to cover NTBs in goods and then “services” being handled at a “global level”

    That would not require the veto opportunity of each EU27 nation (+Walloons, etc)……

    As AAs can be agreed and implemented by EC (with a nod from EP).”

    October 19th, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Pretty easy to understand?


  37. @alec

    Re St Barthelemy, it became a COM (collectivite d’outre-mer) in French status when it separated from Guadeloupe , perhaps COM got transmuted into COR?

  38. CB11

    Good morning.

    Another day-another Quota -, as they say in the Continental Fishing Fleets :-)

    So lets see-where are we with your deep interest in my opinions.?

    @” I don’t think victimhood sits easily with you are perfectly free to post as frequently and regularly as you like. It has nothing whatsoever to do with me at all; I merely observed your stream of consciousness yesterday. At no time did I command you to stop posting. ”

    It certainly doesn’t. I know I am. My closing remarks last night derived from my imminent trip to a friend’s house after a quick tea ,to share another fine Liverpool win, and , thus, a weary lack time to respond to your question. The opportunity for a quip is never lost however -but sadly I see this morning that it was lost on your overweaning sense of self importance .

    So-to your question:

    A part of my evening ennui derived from reading a question which I have really addressed in exchanges with Somerjohn over time. A question which could only have received appropriate response with a post of boring length & content , which would have certainly taken me over my Wednesday Quota & deprived me of good company.

    But as briefly as I can-here goes.

    I admire our incredible common heritage from what is called European Civilisation-all of it down the ages. Art, Music, Philosophy, Science, Architecture …… I feel a sense of pride in its diverse history & legacy to us.

    I do not understand the modern expression & expropriation of this vast Cultural Kaleidoscope in & by the European Union’s Political Project , Flag & Anthem.

    Personal & National Identity is , I feel, important. It manifestly has survived oppression & subjugation on this Continent. My sense is that the Ever Closer Union project seeks to ( indeed has to) minimise National Identity because that produces anomalies-differences-resistances to the cause of Monetary, Fiscal, and Social convergence.

    I don’t believe in the Convergence Project. I cite as evidence for its flaws that they never seem able to bring it about.

    I don’t believe in the ability of 27 nation states to reach common opinions on every single aspect of modern human existence -and to do so in an overiding architecture of Laws & Regulations which require punishment for non-compliance. The Big Members will cheat & get away with it-they have & they do.

    I do think that the EU Project is at heart Left of Centre-Statist. It really has to be . I am Right of Centre.

    I am in favour of the co-operation of Nation States in mutually beneficial agreements across the piece-TRade, Defence, Security, Science etc. etc. Coalitions of THe Willing-not The Coerced.

    On Trade I can seen how a Single Market & a Customs Union become inevitable though. Logical next move for such a Convergence Project is a Single Currency. I can see this-it is inevitable. But , imo, because the Convergence Project is systemically flawed , the journey leaves all sorts of bits outside the Centralising Architecture. The Project is unfinished-it is the constant source of tension between France & Germany on Fiscal & Monetary Union.

    So I like the idea of co-operation -but I don’t like the modern EU as a vehicle for it. But we have been a member for over 4 decades-gradually becoming enmeshed in this spiders web of Convergence & Compliance with UNion Laws.

    At the Referendum, I was concerned that we would be able to disentangle all of this and stand as a Free Willing Partner & Friend -without adverse economic effect. I naively expected some numbers-a neat Profit & Loss Account. We both know the depths to which that Campaign sank. I gave up-no information-so no vote.

    Right now I am pretty much in despair. As I said yesterday we seem to be at the stage of Faith rather than Fact. The whole thing has produced such dreadful division..

    Where am I now?- A Right of Centre Voter, disliking the EU Project, anxious to strike a more Independent relationship of co-operation with its members, watching the Tory Party at War with itself & Labour in a post Blair phase which I dislike viscerally.

    WEll I knew that would be too long & boring, but just finally-you need to understand I think that your political life-a Labour Party Activist, is very different from mine. I don’t have the certainties that you have-or the unwavering allegiance to a particular Party. You will always see things more clearly than I & it is a mistake to interpret my occasional confusion and illogicality as dissembling.

    Boris is a case in point-I like him .He is a LIberal Conservative. I like his positivity & communication skills. But I know he is too flippant, too ready to indulge himself.Rash & cavalier. He will almost certainly make an almighty error of ommission or commission at some point

  39. @Lewblew – you’ve just identified one of the problems with student finance – it is easy for students to avoid paying.

    While this makes it superficially better for students, it means that the taxpayers now pay more than they were before tuition fees rose, because of higher defaults/non payments.

    It’s a good example of where efforts to take spending commitments away from general taxation and effectively privatise them can sometimes lead to greater costs to the taxpayer.

  40. WB61

    Thanks for the link to the academic paper on party election strategies.

    Quite an interesting methodology.

  41. Interesting tweet from Jack Doyle at the Mail:


    Chief whip to meet one nation Tory caucus this afternoon amid growing opposition to pre-Xmas poll.

    They want to persevere with the Bill.

    Some Scots Tories also want delay.

    Source: ‘if we go early we’ll be stuffed like Christmas turkeys.’”

  42. Some time ago I raised here the possibility that Labour might deny the government an early election. That seems to be a tactic.Why should it change?

    JImJam -anyone?

  43. Trevor,

    Yes get Brexit done but imo with sufficient delay to avoid a GE this year; a partisan Labour viewpoint I agree and only my opinion, I have no insight as to the leaderships viewpoint.
    I can only imagine 2017 is spooking some Conservatives against a 2019 GE, although as above the dynamic makes it hard.

    Re amendments, the key one in practical terms (the others are important and necessary for positioning ahead of the GE) will be an attempt to remove the no WTO on Jan 01st 2021 from the legislation somehow.
    This has a chance of passing and if it does who knows how the uber Brexit brigade will react?

  44. @ ALEC – Touché. Well played sir!

    OK a good bit of banter warrants a sensible answer and I’ll even frame it as a prediction (high probability, caveats in footnotes)

    If/when Boris passes his WAB and he wins 320-330ish[1] seat in a GE then:

    – EU will immediately give EC a mandate to “open” negotiations on an AA
    – We will have agreed an AA that starts from as soon as transtion ends, 1Jan’21[2]
    – It would NOT have been fully ratified by “unanimous” consent of EU27 (and all the regional, upper/lower parliaments)
    – The trade bit (NTBs, TRQs and tariffs, etc) will be “provisionally approved” (under EC competence rules) OR we have a WTO relationship[3] (my preference but we certainly need to ensure EC know we’re not bluffing)
    – The rest of the “future relationship”, should IMO be mostly “global”(notably services, etc) or “regional” (fishing, etc) or “bilateral” (more Le Touquet+ type of thing) and as much as possible avoid the unanimous issue “Sir Ivan Rogers”[4] risk (which I fully accept is a nightmare and will be the “trap” that EC-EU27 hope to lure us into)

    Please, please, please focus on the substance and the legality and don’t try an find a spelling mistake or minor point that NEW laws could “get around” (note I’m not saying the EU would change Lisbon Treaty, simply that the EC-EU27 have been seen to be “flexible” in the past, when it suits them to do so of course!)

    [1] The size of his majority is IMO important. If he has to rely on the Maastricht b4rstards (and has purged the pro-EU wets) then ERG will effectively be “kingmakers” in the internal CON coalition. If he wins a larger majority then he can selectively ignore them (bit trickier if maths is tight as most LAB Leave MPs will be standing down or might not be re-adopted). If he has to rely on DUP or some LAB Soft Leave again then definitely delays (and probably another GE before the AA is agreed)

    [2] Maybe later, and as per [1] then either a larger majority or a min.govt relying on DUP or LAB votes will probably mean delays.

    [3] The WTO new rules cover most of the NTB issues that would concern me. As you know I want tariffs on EU imports but I would like to minimise NTBs and I hope we ensure we make full use of taking up a “full” role in WTO to push for further reductions in GLOBAL NTBs. I certainly don’t want us to use GATT XXIV once we’ve ratified the WAB (that was maybe an option for the PD a long time ago but I dropped that way back)

    [4] He’s made that case very clearly and if it was May-Robbins turning the PD into a “future relationship” then I’d agree with him. IMO Boris-Frost have a very different approach (they ain’t bluffing!) but again see [1] as HoC maths will be a very important determinant of the “likely” outcome (I fully expect EC and EU27 to be as united as they can and as well disciplined as they were in the WA – but I also expect they do want a “deal” and we just saw them reopen the supposedly closed WA to change the backstop – so they clearly want a “deal” rather than “no deal” as well)

  45. Very timely poll from YG as covers desire for a GE and the very important issue of a GE BEFORE or AFTER Brexit is “resolved”

    GE Before: 38
    GE After: 40

    x-breaks fairly close to a tie for all parties but CON (narrowly) and LDEM prefer GE After Brexit and LAB (narrowly) prefer GE Before Brexit (Scotland[1] narrowly on the GE Before side as well)

    That ain’t gonna help any party leader to decide what they want to push for

    NB I’m 99.9% sure CCHQ are conducting “internal polling” on this issue and I’d expect most other parties are as well!

    [1] No SNP x-break in this poll but hopefully other companies will ask similar in more detailed polling.

  46. @ ALEC – Sadly I wrote a long answer before reading your 10:37am. I could have saved myself a load of time. So,

    Is the confusion on the word “implemented”? If so change

    “implemented” to “provisionally approved”

    IMO that means the same thing, ie businesses will be able to trade under the terms of the “trade in goods” part of the AA

    and again please note we are “reversing” out and we come from a starting position of 100% alignment (and EU will no longer be the only “house on the market”)

    Can we either agree to disagree or move on please. I’ve got loads of time to kill until we actually Leave but the GE timing and polling discussions are far more interesting

    PS Since I’m told 3 countries have already left the EU then it can’t be that difficult can it ;)

  47. This schism will last for a long time :-

  48. @Alec – there’s also the bizarre decision to replace long-term government borrowing at ~2% with unsecured long-term retail borrowing at 6-7%; the compounding effect makes this ruinously expensive compared to the alternative. e.g.
    – At 1% compounded for 20 years govt would have to repay 1.5 x the original outlay
    – At 6.5% for 20 years the graduate has to repay 3.5x the original outlay
    So the cost of providing this funding is more than doubled by privatising it…

  49. @ HIREON – “perhaps COM got transmuted into COR”

    Ahhh, good spot. Yes. A typo! R and M not even close on the keyboard so not sure how that happened?

    Anyway, yes I did mean COM (as per para 2 on the wiki link which is the 30secs of time I gave to comparing a Caribbean island of less than 10,000 people to UK)

    Good to get these things cleared up and I’ll admit to the typo and being WRONG to have written COR

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