If you are looking at voting intention or best Prime Minister figures to judge how well an opposition leader is doing, the first thing to note is that they are relative. It’s not just about how well the opposition are doing, it’s about how well the government are doing. Indeed, it’s probably mostly how well the government are doing – I am a great believer in the old truism that oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them. A really good opposition leader can pick holes in a government and force them into political errors, but primarily it’s a job of waiting for them to make a mistake, and making sure that when they do, you look like a plausible enough alternative for the public to place their trust in you.

Many of Starmer’s internal Labour party critics start with the absolute assumption that the Government are incredibly unpopular and that Labour should therefore be ahead of them. The reality is the Government’s figures really aren’t that bad and, on corona vaccination – the issue that currently dominates the agenda – are strikingly good. Looking at the Ipsos MORI polling this week, 38% think the government are handling corona well, 46% badly (negative, but not overwhelmingly so). 86% think they are doing well at securing vaccine supplies, 78% that they are doing well in rolling it out. For better or for worse, Boris Johnson has also delivered on his main election promise – getting Brexit done – and his own approval ratings appear to have bottomed out at the end of last year and have improved slightly since then.

As such, we’ve seen the Conservative party creep back ahead in the polls over recent months. At the tail end of last year the polls were broadly neck-and-neck. The Tories now clearly have a small lead again. Opinium and YouGov’s polls this week show a 5 point Tory lead, Survation a 6 point lead, Ipsos MORI earlier this month a 4 point lead. This is likely more a reflection of the Conservative Government’s recovering fortunes than anything Labour have or haven’t done. If we want to get a decent measure of public attitudes towards Keir Starmer, we need to look at figures asking directly about Starmer himself, rather than his relative position to the Government.

If we do that, then on the whole, Starmer’s ratings are at least acceptable. During the early part of his leadership there were very solid indeed, but over the last few months they have declined. His approval ratings are fairly neutral (Opinium’s last poll had 32% approving, 30% disapproving; Ipsos MORI has 40% satisfied, 35% dissatisfied; YouGov 39% good job, 37% bad job). These are significantly better than Boris Johnson’s current ratings, and better than his predecessors Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

Looking at polling on perceptions of Starmer, YouGov gives him positive ratings on being strong, likeable, decisive and – especially – competence (42% see him as competent, 21% incompetent). Ipsos MORI finds strongly positive ratings for him on being decisive, and moderately positive figures on leading opinion and demonstrating a clear vision.

MORI also ask a regular question on if the opposition leader looks ready to be Prime Minister. 33% of people think Starmer does, 37% think he does not. Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband got figures ranging between 17%-31% thinking they looked ready to be Prime Minister, but consistently got in excess of 60% saying they did not. The positive figures may not be that different here, but Starmer’s negatives are far, far less than his predecessors. YouGov have a similar question, and found 33% think Starmer looks like a Prime Minister in waiting.

It is clear from the polling that Keir Starmer is seen by the general public as much more of a competent, plausible Prime Ministerial figure than his two predecessors. Whether that is enough is a different matter. I’ve frequently compared Starmer’s figures in this article to Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. By that yardstick they’re not bad at all. But compare them to Tony Blair, or even to David Cameron, the last two leaders of the opposition to actually go on and become Prime Minister, and they look less positive.

It’s also worth underlining that the direction of movement for Starmer is currently negative. Lots of leaders have positive ratings to begin with (think of how positively rated Theresa May was to begin with, for example). At the moment it looks as if the way that Keir Starmer presents himself has chimed enough with the public for them to give him a serious hearing and to remain open-minded on whether he’d make a good Prime Minister. It looks as if Starmer has managed to win the opportunity to be heard, but having that opportunity doesn’t mean he won’t fluff it.

Obviously Keir Starmer is not yet in a position to win a general election. We won’t know until after the boundary review exactly what sort of lead the Labour party would need to win an election, but to get an overall majority on a uniform swing then without some degree of political realignment they’d need a very substantial lead indeed and at this point, Starmer has no lead at all. I suppose for those within the Labour party, it depends exactly how much one can reasonably expect from leader who inherits a party that has just suffered one of its worst ever general elections, its fourth in row, and has spent the last five years busy in internecine warfare.

2,990 Responses to “How well or badly is Keir Starmer doing?”

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  1. JIB, to keep fighting is democracy.

  2. JIB

    “Given this site is about democracy and polling, it’s frustrating that those who disagree with democratic outcomes keep fighting their lost causes.”

    That’s what democracy is all about!

    One person one vote one time only is straight out of the Mussolini play book.

    All democrats should embrace the right to disagree and keep disagreeing .
    If you don’t believe that , congratulations our government doesn’t either.

    If you don’t think the continuing disaster of Brexit will impact political opinion you’ve joined TOH in la la land.

  3. @Pete

    Absolutely your right to do so.

    You need to find a party that supports rejoin and win a democratic mandate.

    The democratic outcome at the moment is Brexit, but I have no issue at all with those seeking a democratic path for their world views.

    The endless gripes (and childish insults from one) about bureaucratic and supply chain realignment inconveniences in the middle of a global pandemic is getting a little tiresome.

  4. @Steve

    “If you don’t think the continuing disaster of Brexit will impact political opinion you’ve joined TOH in la la land.”

    I do not support TOHs political party, but double digit leads from them indicates support for the Government.

    The derisory offer in pay for NHS workers is more likely to affect their figures.

    Most people, sensibly, have accepted that democracy spoke and Brexit is done. Time to move on.

  5. JIB

    If you don’t like childish insults you shouldn’t have voted for the current regime.

    It’s their stock in trade

  6. JIB

    “Given this site is about democracy and polling, it’s frustrating that those who disagree with democratic outcomes keep fighting their lost causes.”

    Absolutely, and because they cannot argue against democracy, they indulge in insults as well. Neither of us are in la la land we are are in the real world of post Brexit Britain, and personally it feels good to me. I waited more than 40 years to leave the EU.

    I agree about the Nurses pay issue, it could have a negative effect on Tory polling quite quickly

  7. Remainers have every future GE to try and overturn Brexit and get a new ref to Rejoin.

    We have plenty of polling that shows LAB and LDEM VI want to Rejoin

    Both LAB and LDEM are supposed to be ‘members led’ not regimes with Starmer and Davey as dictators – so why are those parties ignoring their members/voters?

    CON VI overwhelming back Brexit and every related poll so CON policy matches CON VI views.

    Those still upset that we’ve left or jumping on any ‘I told you so’ anecdote need to take their issues up with LAB or LDEM – simples

    Starmer and Davey might ignore you but then simples again – don’t vote for them.

    Maybe then see if Blair wants to a come back and can maybe get Soubs, Umunna maybe even Hammond to form Rejoin.EU.

    Scots have SNP, NI have options, PC are more Rejoiny than WLAB but in England or GB wide I do feel sorry for Remainers as they have no current party to vote for – boo hoo, so sad

  8. @JIB

    It’s evolving. At the moment it’s a disaster.It can be fixed but it needs a lot of work. As ever when people lose money they get upset. Things look about to go seriously wrong for the Tories and that won’t help.Johnson is making a lot of enemies.

  9. steve,
    yes there are wider options of sheltered housing where people get some care. Probably people are better defining categories now because this has become a concern. I think the number I quoted was based upon state funded care – so it won’t include people who have the finances to choose such care , it won’t be the best care and it likely isn’t the same as BUPA stats.

    I seem to remember another stat that half the people in care homes have dementia and half die from it. I imagine they have a knock on inability to understand covid rules.

  10. ON

    @”You will be aware that that latter behaviour is confirmed by the ITN/ComRes poll as being particularly prevalent in England.”

    I wasn’t. Could you provide a link. please ? I would be very interested to read it-particularly if it offers insights into the degree of self awareness of people in Scotland who criticise people in England for not understanding Scottish politics.

    @“Grandiosity” is but the academic descriptor of such an attitude, as is “narcissistic nationalism”.”

    Grandiosity is given in my dictionary as “pompous superiority or pretentiousness.” Is that a particularly academic descriptor?. Its a word in general non-academic use is it not?.
    l I will be very interested to see if it is present in Scottish National Party supporters of a certain age. It might be covered in that Poll?

    With regard to ” “narcissistic nationalism”, from what I can see the essence of the tendency is in its “collective” expression. There is quite a lot of stuff online on “collective nationalism”.

    Since your pre-occupation is with proper respect for Scottish political identity , and knowing your respect for all opinion , you will be interested in this perhaps :-


    The research which your posts prompted me to undertake threw up this interesting nugget.

    “In 2017, an exasperated Nicola Sturgeon reflected on the negative associations that come from the word ‘nationalism’.
    The First Minister said: “The word is difficult. If I could turn the clock back, what 90 years, to the establishment of my party, and chose its name all over again, I wouldn’t choose the name it has got just now. I would call it something other than the Scottish National Party.”

    The National
    July 2020

    Do you think that it is the word which Sturgeon has regrets about which produces “collective narcissism” in Scotland-or the “collective narcissism “which requires that word ?

  11. “collective nationalism”. should be “Collective Narcissism”

  12. jib,
    “The derisory offer in pay for NHS workers is more likely to affect their figures.”

    The rationale for this is that having spent half a trillion pounds on health care no more can be afforded. Anyone not liking this should have stood up to prevent all that money being squandered on covid.

    And while con were in government, if anything lab were calling for more spending.

    I have no doubt the money would have been better spent on a better resourced nhs which would have been able to respond better to the emergency, but absolutely not spent on measures to lengthen the epidemic, which is what has been done.

  13. @Danny

    Whatever the arguments over NHS funding, the below inflation pay rise for the staff is a PR disaster for the Tories and has definitely taken the gloss of Chancellor Sunak’s golden boy image.

  14. @ TOH

    Yes- I think nurses pay could be an issue that makes the Yougov a one off. It probably was on the edge of MOE anyway because a 4 point swing in a short space of time seems high for what had been a gradual “vaccine bounce” so while the Tories had been improving that was too big a jump with a relatively “whatever” sort of budget. Feel good factor from the vaccine success is a gradual process rather than suddenly one single day where everyone feels good.

    For areas outside the cities I think the nurses issue is as much about the workload and conditions as it is about pay- ie more nurses and the conditions they work under would be a lot less stressful. Given the ever present shortages for the current climate of being overworked the pay isn’t enough for the stress but it is enough if they were properly staffed (different circumstances exist in areas where cost of living is high).

    If too many of these things start to build up then things may not be as rosy for the Tories as they are now. They’ve got all their PR spot on but talking the talk and walking the walk are two different things.

  15. The endless gripes (and childish insults from one) about bureaucratic and supply chain realignment inconveniences in the middle of a global pandemic is getting a little tiresome.

    March 6th, 2021 at 8:47 am

    I’m pretty sure being as we are now a 3rd country to the EU it’s a bit more than a realignment problem.

  16. hireton: Salmond was found not guilty of criminal sexual assault. There is no doubt that he behaved inappropriately with multiple women.

    There are no workplace processes against him which have been upheld. There is great doubt. There is the huge Police Scotland trawl which turned up no further complaints.

    Perhaps if the SG [whether that be Civil Servants or Sturgeon’s administration] had been less keen to trash his reputation [which they succeeded in] and more keen to conduct a genuine investigation, you would have more to shout about.

  17. steve,
    “As a matter of interest they have imposed exactly the same restrictions during covid as nursing homes and in the 35 communal homes they run there have been no cases at all of covid.”

    Which is perhaps evidence the difference is care homes contain very much higher risk people than average for the same age.

    Presuming every 80 year old is at the same risk has always been a trap.

    Most people have always been safe.

  18. https://twitter.com/DanielLambert29/status/1368089444679643141

    Daniel Lambert (Wines). Flag of European UnionFlag of FranceFlag of WalesGrapesClinking glasses
    We have now entered March on our #Brexit journey & as each day passes I get a clearer view of just how badly the Government have let down the U.K. with their shoddy little deal. In this thread I reveal all I have learnt in past couple of weeks. 1/23
    6:41 AM · Mar 6, 2021·Twitter for iPad

  19. @Pete

    “I’m pretty sure being as we are now a 3rd country to the EU it’s a bit more than a realignment problem.”

    I think the whole point of the deal was to avoid the UK / EU relationship becoming a third country one.

    I’ve written before that it’s going to take a few years to sort out the worst issues around friction, and the whole relationship will be subject to continual evolution in any case.

  20. edge of reason,
    “Also the recently discussed trend of case falls halting or starting to reverse in numerous areas of northern England appears to have stopped, with a pattern of substantial decrease resuming”

    The same pattern is present in king’s app data.

    I was thinking about this and don’t really see any specific change in policy which might account for a change in trend.However it would be consisent with vaccines finally kicking in and causing an effect. timing about right.

    The data from France someone posted recently showed a very clear trend in protection for their over 80s who have been vaccinated. A good situation to test in because currently they have rising English variant cases. (and others too)

    There is no justification for continued restrictions now in the uk.

  21. @TOH/@JIB/@Trevs

    I think the mistake you are making is to resort to the binary Brexit/no Brexit, and from there, segue into ‘remainers’ or whatever.

    That is a false characterization.

    Most of us have long accepted Brexit. Here, we are seeing the folly of those, like @TOH (a significantly small minority) who believed, and still do, that there is only one kind of Brexit.

    The negatives the like of @Steve and @Pete are highlighting are by and large the result of the form of Brexit chosen by this government – not so much about Brexit itself.

    Many of the problems can be easily rectified without risking Brexit or reopening the 2016 debate. That’s done. All it needs is for people like you to recognise the realities of the bad choices that have been made over the form of Brexit, and to get a better government, with a more sensible view of how the real world works.

    So, New Zealand has agreed an SPS deal with the EU which means some alignment with standards and only 1% of their food export consignments are checked. We believe that this infringes our sovereignty, so 30% of ours are physically checked, and it’s crippling those exporters.

    Is New Zealand any less sovereign than the UK?

  22. @ ALEC – What is the ‘geographic proximity’ of NZ to EU?

    You want ‘cake’, a unicorn deal was never and is still never on offer.

    If you existed in the Real World and had kept up, you’d know Barnier made a big fuss over ‘geographic proximity’

    So fine, a thinner deal, a cleaner Brexit – works for me.

    I fully expect the continuing decline of UK-EU trade (in relative terms versus rWorld) – Build/Grow/Generate it in Britain and Global Britain for services, with trade deals focussed on U.K., not Germany, priorities.

    D=0 for domestic-domestic trade (infinite potential) and there is no gravity in cyber space.

    Frosty and Boris got Brexit done, got the best deal available and CON VI accept it. Why not look at the polling and you’ll see that.

    If Starmer wants ‘alignment’ back inside EC’s sphere of (geographic proximity) influence then he needs to speak up – break his vow of silence.

    If Remainers want a closer alignment then get LAB or LDEM to adopt that policy, get Starmer to break his vow of silence – use the democratic levers you have.

    Beyond making an idiot of yourself what do you think you will achieve by m0aning to CON VI and Leavers who are fine with the deal and keen to move on.

  23. Alec

    If Lord Snooty hadn’t run off to spend more time with his money in 2016 this whole shambles could have been sorted by moving to an eea type arrangement.

    The vast majority could have lived with that.

    It’s the extremist brexitanian regime that’s ruled that out and currently our main opposition party doesn’t seem to care despite members and supporters opinions.

    Consequently identifying the results of the shambles is entirely valid.

    A better arrangement would probably have done less damage but that’s not where we are.
    Rejoining would solve all the issues.

    Not leaving would have meant they didn’t happen in the first place.I

    And it’s perfectly acceptable to point this out.

  24. Lest we forget – Remain or closer deals

    HoC 2017-19.

    Mays deal 0-3 in ‘Meaningful votes’

    Corbyn+May deal – dead duck

    2 rounds of indicative votes – every option voted against

    So we had the Final Say, People’s Vote #3 the GE of Dec’19, where Boris a large majority to ‘Get Brexit Done’

    LAB MPs had their chance to a ‘close align deal’ or even get a new PM and a 2nd ref but nope, most of them (eg Corbyn, Starmer, etc) voted for a GE and the rest, as they say, is history

  25. ALEC

    ” All it needs is for people like you to recognise the realities of the bad choices that have been made over the form of Brexit, and to get a better government, with a more sensible view of how the real world works.”

    I am very happy with Brexit, except the WA which as you know I would have never agreed . Apart from the WA, I think the right choices have been made, and I am proud to be member of the party in Government, a Government I support. If there were a GE tomorrow I would definitely vote Conservative

    I still don’t think you understand that Brexit for me is about being outside the EU in the fullest sense possible. It’s an organisation I loath, and it demonstrates almost every day why we were right to leave. If you cannot see that I am truly amazed.

  26. ALEC

    You really need to take the blinkers off. SPS equivalence was a specific negotiating objective of the UK, it’s laid out in black and white. The EU has SPS agreements with a lot of other countries, including NZ but also Canada and the US, yet for some reason they have refused to agree the same terms, but why? We don’t know the exact detail of the negotiations, but it seems that they demanded that the UK sign up to directly incorporating EU rules in perpetuity, and following future changes. This is a pill the government was not prepared to swallow, and rightly so, it is not a condition they have placed upon SPS agreements with other countries. This kind of situation has played out across a swathe of areas, the current holdup over financial services is much the same. Your ire should be directed at the EU hawks who are still seeking to permanently bind the UK to their regulatory orbit.

  27. JiB tells us that Brexit is achieved, done, and we have to get on with making the best of the chaos it has caused.

    He is utterly wrong. Brexit is not over until the EU approves the deal, and until the chaos in Ireland is sorted.

    The only solution is for the UK to resume negotiations, and for us to pledge to remain in the CU and SM in reality if not in name..

    Just wait till the EU impose stricter checks on the trade across the Channel to and from Dover. I cannot see voters in England accepting supermarket shortages as calmly as people have in NI.

    IMHO the sooner, the better, for the EU to show teeth rather than meekly talking.

  28. i wonder if Colin @ 9.20 am is really believing in the values of the Scottish Unionist party, a tiny outfit seemingly led by John Stanley, once a UKIP member.

    The only John Stanley that interests our household is the near-blind London composer born 1712, who wrote some wonderful organ music.

    What the present JS wrote about Collective Narcissism and the SNP has no connection with reality, and will surely produce another blast from ON on how out of touch the SE of England is with opinion in Scotland.

    While the Sturgeon/Salmond battle topped the BBC News and was on many front pages of England papers, it got put down to page 12 of our regional paper, with just a tiny column on p13 alongside.

  29. Starmer and Dodds both backed Boris’s deal. Davey and LDEM didn’t (but don’t seem to care and/or no one hears LDEM voice)


    Has Starmer, Dodds or anyone else from LAB front bench mentioned desire to renegotiate the TCA or solve the outstanding issues via closer alignment? FWIU it’s been a ‘vow of silence’ but if any senior LAB MPs have mentioned a desire for closer alignment can someone provide a link.

    LAB (or LDEM) could look to this ‘Trade Expert’ for ideas:


    Lot of cakeism IMO but then I’m fine with Boris+Frosty’s deal with any ongoing fudge + can kicks in the TCA being settled ‘Cleanly’

    Having tried to block vaccine exports to UK then let’s see if EC want to block sausage exports to NI and enforce a ‘food blockade’ in the Irish Sea at the end of this month or retaliate in some other way. One to watch as they say ;)

  30. DAVWEL

    “He is utterly wrong. Brexit is not over until the EU approves the deal, and until the chaos in Ireland is sorted.”

    If the EU doesn’t approve the deal it’s all very simple. We leave the EU without a Trade deal. If that becomes the result then if I was leading the Government I would immediately withdraw from the WA but not erect a hard border in Ireland. The EU would insist on a hard border,, and the whole World could see who is responsible for the failure of the peace process

  31. Colin

    When I first quoted the research on the correlation between Leave voters and those exhibiting “narcissistic British nationalism”, I pointed out that “narcissistic nationalism” can be found in every country (including Scotland), As far as I know, it isn’t correlated with age, though I wouldn’t be surprised if such a relationship existed.

    As you note, it is a subset of “collective narcissism” – the tendency to exaggerate the positive image and importance of a group the individual belongs to.

    Of course, these labels are but attempts to understand and explain complex human behaviours, and might be best used in the sense of medical “syndromes” – “signs and symptoms which are correlated with each other”.

    Such syndromes can also function as aggressive/defensive (or both simultaneously!) on behalf of the group of which the individual is part.

    An “aggressive” form might include a wish to treat other groups as inferior and to establish their own superiority (imperialism, or even glorification of empire would be an example).

    A “defensive” form might include resentment at perceived inferiority and exaggerated claims about the group’s talents – the latter aspects were very notable in post-Empire 20th century Scotland, and in late 20th century England.

    These forms can alter over time, and it is unwise to make assumptions that aggressive forms cannot morph into less disruptive ones. Unfortunately, the morphing can also take place in the opposite direction!

  32. GARJ

    Your last post, and my understanding as well. It has been quite clear except for those with blinkers that the EU is trying to damage the UK in any way it can, they are terrified of us making a success of Brexit.

  33. @ TW

    I think radio silence on brexit will be maintained which is unfortunate as it means Labour can’t call out the issues that @ Alec has flagged up.

    It all comes back to Labour not being able to adopt a policy of constructive engagement with brexit and to outline their preferred brexit and then tear into any decisions that didn’t align with that policy.

    I don’t really blame either Corbyn or Starmer for this- there were just too many voters on the remain side who couldn’t accept anything less than remain and we saw in the European elections even Labour people on this board voting LD to make their views crystal clear. That’s why all the indicative votes failed- Labour MPs in the cities could not go against their constituents wishes.

    Radio silence is probably the best of a bad set of choices for Starmer- bring up negatives on brexit and it just brings into play the “get brexit done” motivations in the key swing seats all over again.

  34. “they are terrified of us making a success of Brexit.”

    That’s not a bad example of “narcissistic UKanian nationalism”.

  35. One option that some are realising is inevitable (if EU and UK both want to keep N-S Ireland border as frictionless as possible)

    “”Member states are very serious about the internal market,” says the diplomat, “and if there’s a loophole in Northern Ireland which is too big, then of course something might happen on the Irish crossing between Rosslare and Cherbourg

    Connelly piece also a could ‘catch-up’ and summary of recent events on NI protocol issues


  36. OLDNAT

    “That’s not a bad example of “narcissistic UKanian nationalism”.”

    Well if facts, are an example of “narcissistic UKanian nationalism”,
    fair enough.

  37. @ SHEVII – “Radio silence is probably the best of a bad set of choices for Starmer”

    Fully agree, hence for ‘mischief’ purposes then CCHQ will be very happy if he is not allowed to get away with a policy of having no-policy (formally a policy of ‘fence sitting’). If for no other reason than ‘decisive’ then ‘no policy’ is not a good look – even if other ‘looks’ (eg London Remainer) are worse.

    Perhaps we see a further increase in DK from LAB’19 in polling (see my comments on most recent YG). Perhaps that becomes WNV in LEs and next GE from a lot of LAB-Remain who have no party that represents their views (in England).

    It doesn’t seem LDEM want to grab the Remain-Closer Alignment vote so maybe Starmer-LAB get away with ‘silence’ as the most credible ABCON vote in most places (in England)?

    In the YG tracker, then Britain Leaving EU dropped to 3rd place in Dec’20 but still gets 30% of folks in ‘pick up to three’ and in the detail we see it is more LAB and LDEM than CON who still think it is an Important Issue.


  38. TOH

    terrified of us making a success of Brexit.

    Having left la la land you are clearly on route to fantasy island.

    It’s akin to saying making a success of a train crash.

  39. YG Welsh polls tabs are up. Does anyone know if their is a site that does a detailed Senedd seat prediction (similar to BallotBox for Holyrood)?


    I’ll do a quick and fairly blunt constituency (v list) summary from most to least Indy

    PC: 22 (-2) which suggests PC tactically vote in constituencies they don’t expect to win

    LAB: 33 (+4) which suggest LAB pick up some tactical ABCON votes in constituencies and perhaps knowing they ‘max out’ the D’Hondt list they give PC a small boost in the list

    CON: 28 (+3) which suggests CON pick up some tactical ABLAB votes in constituencies

    Abolish: 3 (-6), they are not standing in constituencies so my guess is most of the ‘3’ is ABLAB votes that CON will pick up (and some CON ‘repay’ Abolish via giving them their list vote)

    RUK: 4 (+1). Are they standing in any constituencies? A wasted vote that might deny CON winning a seat if they do.

    Finally, Abolish’s % in each region (seat prediction)

    Mid+West: 7% (1, maybe 0)
    North: 13% (1, maybe 2)
    Cardiff + S.Central: 7% (1, maybe 0)
    S.East: 6%, (1, maybe 0)
    S.West: 10% (1)

    So could be 2-6, probably 4-5

    Green’s best chance looks being S.West with 7% (but they are more likely to be a wasted vote and lower the threshold for Abolish)

    LDEM’s highest list % is Mid.Wales at 3% and they are certainly a wasted vote which will help Abolish.

    RUK’s highest list % is North at 5% and they might just get the final seat (likely to be close with 6 parties in contention) but elsewhere they are, on most recent polling, just splitting the RoC vote

  40. Collective narcissism is not so much a good name for an undesirable trend in nationalism likely to be present in all its manifestations as a good name for the delusion that is the basis of all its manifestations.

    OLDNAT could have stopped his criticism of TOH with the pronouns. “They … us”.

    It is the delusional belief that there is a meaningful them, that there is a meaningful us, based on pro tem accidents of geopolitical history, and that “us” is better, that is not a trait but a defining feature of nationalism. In all its forms. However the “us” is defined and however the “them” is othered.

    Individual humans can be better, or at least make better choices. Systems of organising human affairs can be better. Groups, collectively, can do better by their choices made collectively.

    Arbitrary collections of people with particular accidental geographical boundaries cannot be intrinsically better than other arbitrary and accidental collections of people. Those who embrace the superiority of one over another are all indulging in the same collective narcissism. Illogical, delusional, and as we know from history, most often murderously dangerous as well.

    The greatest delusion of all peddled by any nationalist is “it will be different this time”. It never is.

  41. Peter W

    You choose to see “nationalism” as having a particular set of characteristics that differ from any other form of group identity.

    Others make similar sets of assumptions about religious groups.

    Ignoring the common characteristics of all human groupings, and that they can have both good and bad consequences, seems to be a mistake.

    In terms of choosing the best forms of governance for particular sets of people (political nationalism) , there is no ideal solution covering all circumstances, but any democratic model does require the consent of the governed.

    I am unaware of any evil consequences from the democratic nationalisms of the 5 Nordic countries, for example. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to what these are?

  42. TOH,

    “ f I was leading the Government I would immediately withdraw from the WA but not erect a hard border in Ireland. The EU would insist on a hard border,, and the whole World could see who is responsible for the failure of the peace process”

    f I was leading the Government I would refuse to withdraw from Poland and erect a hard border with Russia. If Britain would insist on withdrawal and the whole World could see who is responsible for World War Two!


  43. Peter Cairns SNP

    Your analogy is rubbish as they usually are.Peter.

  44. The Trevs,
    “D=0 for domestic-domestic trade”

    no, it is not. goods still have to be ordered, packaged and put into the delivery system. A year ago it was not much harder for the loaded lorry to go an extra 1000 miles. Just as easy to deliver to Paris as london.

    “Many of the problems can be easily rectified without risking Brexit or reopening the 2016 debate”

    No they cant. The problem is there is no brexit better than membership, so it’s entirely a case of trading off one loss against another. Brexit doesn’t gain anything in any direction.

  45. Danny
    “I am reminded how English intransigence over Ireland drove the Irish to ally with Germany in two world wars.”

    That’s just not true. In WWI Ireland was part of the UK, and in WWII Eire was neutral. There were many Irish in the British army in both.
    I’m sure there were German sympathisers, but it wasn’t government policy.
    “If you don’t want those who don’t share your blinkered nationalist view to remain in the U.K.”

    I dispute your characterisation of me, and also I don’t care if Alec leaves the UK I was just suggesting something that might make him happier.
    On TOH’s assertion that the EU are terrified of Brexit being a success. This seems to have baffled some people. He didn’t spell out the reason because it’s so blindingly obvious. It’s because others will leave as well if Brexit is proved to be a success, leading to the demise of the EU as it is now, or at least a gradual shrinkage back to where it started.
    Sorry these are from some hours ago. I don’t permanently lurk here like some appear to.

  46. PETE B

    Good post Pete.

    Good to see that least one person here has the common sense to understand the blindingly obvious point I was making Pete.

  47. steve,
    “If Lord Snooty hadn’t run off to spend more time with his money in 2016 this whole shambles could have been sorted by moving to an eea type arrangement”

    Na, you miss the point. Where we are has nothing to do with what is best for the uk or its citizens, and everything to do with the political prospects of the conservatives party. The party placed the lunatics in charge of the asylum because a quite small minority party controlled enough votes to swing an election and potentially drop con to third place and a terminal decline.

    I suspect Cameron left because he would not help in doing this. That he stayed on as long as he did was only to try to prevent the outcome of the referendum. A number of others have since followed him out because they stood for a rather different platform than that which con are now following.

    That we are debating whether the conservative and unionist party has now become the biggest threat to that union demonstrates the change.

  48. TOH

    I don’t think it’s necessarily that the EU is terrified of the UK making a success of things, just that there are substantial elements of the EU’s leadership who remain of the opinion that the UK should be kept under their control, or else made to suffer. They are still bitter about the rejection of their political project, and that has prevented them from treating the UK in the same way that they are happy to treat plenty of other third countries. There is a lot to be gained from mutual recognition of SPS standards, and across a wide range of other areas, but that has to come in the form of agreements entered into as equals, not one-sided imposition of one party’s rules onto the other.

    What aggravates is the attitude taken by the likes of ALEC, who believe that the UK should give in to any EU ask, no matter how unbalanced. I agree that the UK can be prone to playing politics, but when the EU is the one finding spurious reasons to refuse to sign up to mutually beneficial and fairly standard international agreements then it would be nice if certain remainers could find it within themselves to recognise that the EU is capable of being at fault too.

  49. @Davwel

    “Just wait till the EU impose stricter checks on the trade across the Channel to and from Dover. I cannot see voters in England accepting supermarket shortages as calmly as people have in NI.”

    That’s an unfortunately misplaced conception.

    The EU has no interest in checking outgoing goods to the UK, and unless the UK wants to individually check salad leaves, tomatoes and Camembert rounds before clearing them, it won’t happen.

    They can of course insist on petty checks for goods from the UK to NI and the EU.

  50. @Garj

    “I don’t think it’s necessarily that the EU is terrified of the UK making a success of things”


    It doesn’t have to be anti-UK, per se, it doesn’t have to be nationalism. For example it can be a battle between ideologies.

    E.g. if the EU wish to maintain their opposition to us being more socialist outside the EU, same as they tend to have issues with it within.

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