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. Pete B: 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.

    Even with my sensible hat on, I can see that Ireland leaving the EU to join the Commonwealth will be the first crack.

  2. TNO
    Yes, I mentioned a couple of times a few months ago that it would be the simplest solution to the border problem.

  3. CARFREW

    Sad but predictable result to the Test match. I was pleased with young Lawrence’s approach though and as always Stoke’s gave 150%.

    Looking back at yesterday what a superb innings by Pant that was. We had almost broken through but he took away our chances with brilliant batting.

  4. @ToH

    “Looking back at yesterday what a superb innings by Pant that was. We had almost broken through but he took away our chances with brilliant batting.”

    ———

    Indeed. There was an article in the Telegraph or Times, forget which, fearing it might have set back Bess’ career.

    On the grounds that if a marginal call against Pant had gone the other way early on, it might have spared Bess.

    Michael Vaughan thinks he’s been mishandled. And while I am on board with the idea of rotating the squad etc. it’s possible they’ve overdone it rather.

    Still, we have to remember this is a good Indian team that just won in Oz fielding something approaching a second eleven.

    And it’ll hopefully be quite the learning experience!

  5. garj,
    “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”

    This is ridiculous complication. The EU is a Trading block with important principles it has to stick to, and above all it will act in the best interest of its members.

    It’s absurd to suggest it is doing anything othet than getting the best deal it can for its members.

    What many have not appreciated is how strong is its bargaining position and how weak is ours in trying to influence the EU now we have resigned our membership, voting power and vetos in its decision making.

    In WW2 the uk eventually got sidelined and churchill had increasingly less influence as the war proceeded and the US took over. The analogy now is as if he had simply walked our and let Russia and the US just direct affairs from day 1.

    The EU can reasonably expect to end up with a reunited ireland, a new member scotland and in due course an associate member england still on the naughty step. That’s how our chosen policy is going to end up.

    By then Johnson will have moved on and Farage will be blaming con for having messed it all up.

  6. It’s extraordinary to see so many people over-complicating the EU-UK situation, and then calling their imagined EU motivation “blindingly obvious.”

    The UK defined the terms on which it wished to leave, and negotiated and agreed two agreements accordingly.

    Any difficulties that now arise are the consequence of what we negotiated for and agreed to. Brexit, in other words. Simples, as leavers seem to like to say.

  7. Ordoliberals in the EU, were never likely to offer a favourable deal that didn’t bake in a load of their ordoliberalism.

    If you want to reject ordoliberaism-forever you are liable to take a hit in the nearer term.

  8. Pete [email protected]: Yes, I mentioned a couple of times a few months ago that it would be the simplest solution to the border problem.

    Hook line and sinker.

  9. Steve, TOH

    The owner of this website wants us to discuss polls here and would prefer it not to be a website where people express political opinions.

  10. @Garj – Not sure you’ve really been following things, tbh.

    The UK could very easily have agreed an SPS deal with the EU. Because of our stated desire not to be bound in any way to EU regulations, we removed ourselves from the room where SPS equivalence and enhanced arrangements were being discussed.

    It’s no more complicated than that.

    This is what happens in trade deals. So, for example, Mexico has limits placed upon it in terms of the hourly pat rates for auto industry workers, if it wants to export to the US secure the tariff concessions under the USMCA. If the UK wants to join CPTPP, we would have to change our legal code in terms of patent violation and introduce a new crime. Switzerland has better food export access to the EU than the UK does because it has agreed a deal that aligns aspects of veterinary inspections.

    The UK chose otherwise, and accepts the consequences.

    @Trevs – the deal we’ve agreed was defined by you previously as a very bad one (no tariffs, subsidy restrictions, state aid restrictions, a single deal allowing for cross sectoral remedies) but you moved a long way to now think this is a fair deal.

    That’s your prerogative – anyone is free to change their mind.

    I have consistently said that Johnson is very good at the politics of all of this, and indeed, I predicted that the deal would not stop to 5 decade long ‘Project Fear’ nonsense of the anti EU brigade. These blinkered types will continue to blame the EU for everything, as indeed we see on here today.

    It’s completely coherent to accept that Con voters won on Brexit and are happy with Brexit, while also pointing out the damage they are inflicting on the UK.

  11. @ ALEC – “the deal we’ve agreed was defined by you previously as a very bad one”

    Fabricated nonsense. How many times did we go over that? Have you forgotten once again [1]

    Why do you continue to make stuff up?

    You are entitled to have the opinion that you think Brexit is inflicting damage on UK but why don’t you take that up with LAB or LDEM? As we see in polling (which you seem to ignore) the folks who think it is a ‘bad deal’ are LAB and LDEM VI, not CON VI

    You’re wasting your time trying to convince me/other Leavers.

    [1] Once again. The deal is ‘fair’ (not perfect, but ‘acceptable’). I hope all the fudgey/can kicked bits err on the ‘Clean’ side when the dates come up but of vastly more importance now is what we do now we’ve left as pour moi Brexit was the catalyst for change (I expect you’ve also ‘forgotten’ that?)

  12. @tco

    “There are no workplace processes against him which have been upheld.”

    There have been his own admissions but hey ho you have clearly decided that Salmond is beyond blame and blemish, that there has been a deep state conspiracy against him and he must return to lead his people to the promised land.

    Enjoy WoS and the Stuanon conspiracies.

  13. PETERW

    @”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.
    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,”

    I think you are a bit confused. The groups involved in promoting their secession * often believe that it is they ( us) who are stuck in “accidents of geopolitical history, ” ( them).

    And have a care about branding them all as narcissistic nationalists. I don’t know if you have any concept of the extent of this phenomenon. I certainly didn’t until prompted to do a bit of reading by a conversation with ON.

    Have a scan through this lot -and this is NOW-not history:-
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_active_separatist_movements

    Then come closer to home and look at the list for Europe:-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_Europe

    Then ask yourself where the “accidents of geopolitical history” lie , and what real identity means to all these people-and why?

    Re your @” Groups, collectively, can do better by their choices made collectively.” the evidence from the above seems to suggest that “choices” should come first and define the “groups”. Trying to define the Groups first and then insist on them making “collective choices” ignores the tendency for an awful lot of the individuals deciding they don’t actually want to belong in that “Group”.

    Telling people what their Identity has been defined as , by others ,and then calling them narcissists for objecting doesn’t help achieve anything.

    Its a tricky thing-Perception of ones own Identity. Important too. I hadn’t realised how important till now.

    *Secession- the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance.

  14. @Trevs – carry on Trevs.

    No one’s listening.

  15. Built my own Senedd seat prediction model to see how close some of the final list seats would be. Central prediction from last YG

    CON: 17
    LAB: 26 (short of outright majority)
    PC: 14
    Abolish: 3

    Region: constituency seats+list seats=total
    (final seat winner beats nearest loser and contenders)

    North
    CON: 4+0=4 (gain Vale of Clwyd and Wrexham, -1 in list)
    LAB: 3+1=4 (lose Vale of Clwyd and Wrexham but +1 in list)
    PC: 2+1=3
    Abolish: 0+2= 2
    (Abolish beat PC and LAB, CON, RUK all in with a chance)

    Mid+West
    CON: 4+0=4
    LAB: 0+3=3 (if they keep Llanelli then 1+2=3)
    PC: 3+0=3 (PC gain Llanelli, if they don’t then 2+1=3)
    Abolish: 0+1=1
    (LAB beat CON and PC, Green, UKIP all in with a chance)

    S.Central
    CON: 1+2=3 (gain Vale of Glamorgan)
    LAB: 6+0=6
    PC: 1+2=3
    (PC beat Abolish and CON also in with a chance)

    S.East
    CON: 1+2=3
    LAB: 7+0=7
    PC: 0+2=2
    (CON beat PC and Abolish, Green also in with a chance)

    S.West
    CON: 1+2=3 (gain Gower)
    LAB: 6+0=6
    PC: 0+2=2
    (CON beat Abolish, if CON don’t gain Gower then Abolish take final seat)

    Summary: Not far off what you can guess on back of fag packet but LAB winning so many constituencies in the 3 Southern Regions means CON and PC have more chance in the list over Abolish

    Also of note is some of the marginal constituencies (eg Llanelli) would have no net effect as the gain/lose in that constituency would be a lose/gain in the list.

    It is tricky to seat where LAB could gain any constituency seats and hence unlikely they can win an outright majority.

  16. As to be expected, the usual crowd refuse to accept that the EU is capable of making unreasonable demands. The UK asked for an SPS agreement on the same terms as NZ and Canada, the EU refused that. Neither of those countries have had to agree total alignment in order to benefit from their agreements, they are based on mutual recognition and allow for full regulatory independence. Do you seriously buy the idea that the UK (whose standards are currently identical to those in the EU) is some kind of special case which needs to have its autonomy permanently constrained before any level of relaxation can take place? Seriously, just do a bare minimum of research, your lack of objectivity is astounding.

  17. [email protected]: “There are no workplace processes against him which have been upheld.”

    There have been his own admissions but hey ho you have clearly decided that Salmond is beyond blame and blemish, that there has been a deep state conspiracy against him and he must return to lead his people to the promised land.

    No, I have not decided that Salmond is beyond blame and blemish. I have observed that no independent body has upheld a complaint against him. And as such, I think Sturgeon is well out of order on proportionality, if not on inclination to spend 8 hours taking every opportunity to drop the words ‘Salmond’ and ‘sexual’ into every answer on prime TV. Pointing fingers at Salmond was over and finished a year ago. This was about the Sturgeon government’s incompetence in investigating and proving one way or the other the things you want to lay on Salmond.

    No, I have not decided that there is a deep state conspiracy against him. I would say there was a conspiracy. How far it extends, I cannot say. And who knew about it and let it carry on anyway is another interesting question.

    No, I have not decided that he must return to lead his people into the promised land. I am on record on here wanting both him and Sturgeon gone and a new generation in charge.

    Don’t put words into my mouth and then condemn me for them.

    Enjoy WoS and the Stuanon conspiracies.

    I thought you were better than this.

  18. @ ALEC – Indeed. CON and Leavers have moved on, no one is listening to your whining from CON side. zzz ZZZ

    We can also agree that Starmer and Davey are not listening to your whining. Maybe get your gammon on with them eh or see if Blair will listen to your whining?

    So please do carry with your whining, hopefully likes of you can cause problems inside LAB or at least get a lot of LAB to feel they have been betrayed by Starmer’s ‘vow of silence’ and move to DK and DNV in elections ;)

    CCHQ sent their thanks to the die-hard EUphiliacs who still bang on about Brexit ;)

  19. GARJ: As to be expected, the usual crowd refuse to accept that the EU is capable of making unreasonable demands. The UK asked for an SPS agreement on the same terms as NZ and Canada, the EU refused that. Neither of those countries have had to agree total alignment in order to benefit from their agreements, they are based on mutual recognition and allow for full regulatory independence. Do you seriously buy the idea that the UK (whose standards are currently identical to those in the EU) is some kind of special case which needs to have its autonomy permanently constrained before any level of relaxation can take place? Seriously, just do a bare minimum of research, your lack of objectivity is astounding.

    I also think that you should be able to go on Rightmove and choose a house and move into it without selling your own, only passing over the money which is left when you have sold your own, settled the mortgage and paid off the debts.

    Now, let’s be real here. We are outside the EU. We can argue that the EU should give us an SPS agreement. You may be right, that an SPS agreement with the UK is as good as an SPS agreement with NZ or anywhere.

    But, if the EU don’t want to give us an SPS agreement, it is their choice. And respect for their autonomy and indeed sovereignty demands that we accept and respect their choices even if we disagree with their logic or even if there is no logic.

  20. TCO

    But, if the EU don’t want to give us an SPS agreement, it is their choice. And respect for their autonomy and indeed sovereignty demands that we accept and respect their choices even if we disagree with their logic or even if there is no logic.

    Yes, I agree completely. We can not force the EU to agree equivalence, it’s fundamentally their decision. What I object to is the repeated insistence of the likes of ALEC that this is entirely the UK’s fault for failing to agree to wildly one-sided conditions that the EU is seeking to impose for political reasons. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail in the end.

  21. [email protected]: Yes, I agree completely. We can not force the EU to agree equivalence, it’s fundamentally their decision. What I object to is the repeated insistence of the likes of ALEC that this is entirely the UK’s fault for failing to agree to wildly one-sided conditions that the EU is seeking to impose for political reasons. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail in the end.
    Alec might or might not be right [I tend to think he is right] but it is down to the UK to either do what is necessary or do without. To be in that position is the choice that the UK has made.

  22. “if the EU don’t want to give us an SPS agreement, it is their choice”

    and the consequences of the lapse of the UK unilateral asymmetric aspects of the deal[1] will be for them to explain to their electorates (as EU have a massive trade surplus in agri-food with UK, they will choose to hurt their own exporters and that will help UK domestic-domestic producers (disclaimer: personal interest in that)

    As we move into Summer then UK is less reliant on EU food imports and going into next Winter supply chains will have had ample time to adjust – the luvvies can eat British Kale salads rather than EU imported lettuce (or pay more for EU lettuce), we import tomatoes from Morocco and not Spain, Beef (to UK standards) from rWorld not RoI.

    If EC-EU want to export less agri-food to UK then fine, their choice = their consequences.

    If they want to start up a mini trade war or try to blockade GB exports to NI then again so be it. Their choice = their consequences.

    I always expected EC-EU to apply a vexatious interpretation of any deal. If that means the fudge and can-kicking results in an even ‘Cleaner’ Brexit then great.

    The Cleaner the Brexit the more radical UK can be ;)

    [1] Repost, yet again, of all the fudge and can kicked aspects. Businesses in each sector will be aware and if they want to repeat the embarrassing M&S ‘oops – we didn’t prepare’ then on their heads be it.

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/charts/timeline-post-brexit-relationship

  23. PS The SNATS should be hoping EC-EU don’t continue to act like tw4ts, taking the view that UK food has suddenly become toxic.

    The Cleaner the UK-EU exit the Harder the rUK-Scotland exit if Scotland Leaves.UK and Rejoins.EU

    Quite clearly that penny is yet to drop with the SNATS.

  24. Prof Howard reminds us that the initial purpose for this site was to discuss polls.

    While that is correct, it was always permissible to discuss matters that could affect VI.

    That latter aspect covers an enormously wide range from an examination of the motivations for human behaviour to the impressions of political parties created by single issues – such as NHS pay awards,

    Sadly, topics irrelevant to this site are matters such as gardening, energy production systems, cricket and other sporting triumphs/disasters but being human, we have a tendency to stray onto such matters.

    Even wishing well to fellow contributors with health or other problems fails to match the purposes of this site – but both it, and ourselves, would be the poorer for such human kindnesses that transcend political differences.

  25. “poorer without” not “poorer for”!

  26. Garj and TCO

    Do you want to look at the relative importance of the UK and NZ in terms of foreign trade and FDI and portfolio investment.

    ———-
    About 60% of the EU standards are actually straight adaptation of the UK standards

    ——-
    It seems that the AI governing TW’s comments needs an urgent update.

    ——-
    The proposal was made yesterday to ONS to abandon the Eurostaat definition of unemployment (which then also means abandoning the OECD definition). The source of the proposal is not Ministry of Business but from some sound number – 10 or something.

  27. @ LASZLO – Well if EC want to commit to alignment to UK standards then they can choose to that of course.

    Somehow I doubt it, so what point are you trying to make with “About 60% of the EU standards are actually straight adaptation of the UK standards”

    We are still 100% aligned, can you source the 60% (which I assume you mean is UK set the standards and EU adopted them – hard to tell what you mean most of the time)

    Perhaps apply some Actual Intelligence and/or some sources for once.

  28. Welsh Greens are Pro Indy Wales (arguably even more Pro Indy than PC). Polling on YesCymru 39% (DK removed) is still above polling for PC + W.Green but there are two Indy parties in Wales (as per Scotland)

    “Wales Green Party vote to back Welsh independence at conference”

    https://nation.cymru/news/wales-green-party-vote-to-back-welsh-independence-at-conference/

    They reckon their best chance is in S.East but LAB’s ‘overhang’ from constituencies makes that tougher than looks with fag packet maths (see 4:50pm).

    They’d be better off trying to get PC to win an extra seat in every region rather than split the Indy vote.

    Vote Welsh Greens is more likely to give Abolish or CON a seat that help Welsh Greens (unless they can add 50% more to their current polling numbers)

  29. Anyone remember GE’19?

    “General election: Lib Dems agree ‘Remain alliance’ with Greens and Plaid Cymru”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/general-election-liberal-democrats-green-plaid-cymru-unite-remain-alliance-swinson-a9188606.html

    LDEM doing a pact with NATS, so desperate to say “B*llox to Brexit” they did pacts with parties that want to say “B*llox to UK”

    Whatever brain fart that led to that decision then clearly LDEM seem to have ‘forgotten’ and hoping to pull the wool over Welsh voters eyes.

    “Welsh independence ’10 times more painful than Brexit’ says Lib Dem leader”

    https://nation.cymru/news/welsh-independence-10-times-more-painful-than-brexit-says-lib-dem-leader/

    Polling suggests Welsh have decided LDEM are toxic and not to be trusted as a supposedly Unionist party.

    What a disgrace LDEM are – Wales can look forward to getting rid of LDEM for good after May’21 Senedd.

  30. Those saying that supply lines will sort themselves out eventually are no doubt correct.

    One way is for Ireland to replace UK suppliers.

    A food store in Belgium was facing closure when an Irish solution to a British problem presented itself

    https://twitter.com/rtenews/status/1367879492971229189

  31. Good Evening from a cold Bournemouth where the sun and the running were good, in this Brexit town, which contains a very poor ward in Boscombe, which contains Shelley’s old house and a school run by a Chinese company. Opinion columns in the local press suggest that the big grant for development was well received by people here.

    TREVOR;
    I think that you may be over estimating the standing of the Lib Dems

  32. “Sadly, topics irrelevant to this site are matters such as gardening, energy production systems, cricket and other sporting triumphs/disasters but being human, we have a tendency to stray onto such matters.”

    —–

    Well they’re not necessarily irrelevant to the site, it’s just that people rarely post polling on them.

    E.g. YouGov do polling on nuclear energy…

    “A new survey by YouGov for New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE) shows at least four times more support for nuclear to complement renewables in the UK energy mix than other power generation technologies”

    https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/nnwe-poll-reveals-overwhelming-support-for-nuclear-over-gas-and-coal-634004293.html

    And I have even seen polling relating to Thorium, regarding fourth generation technology.

  33. @Trevor Warne

    “What a disgrace LDEM are – Wales can look forward to getting rid of LDEM for good after May’21 Senedd.”

    Indeed I share your hope.

    Already wiped out in Westminster terms, Lembit Opik is a distant memory, although I did find him an interesting contributor to political debate.

    I had more time for the Lib Dems then.

  34. Not sure how much polling on gardening, but it could be a growth area…

  35. @DANNY

    ‘The EU can reasonably expect to end up with a reunited ireland, a new member scotland and in due course an associate member england still on the naughty step. That’s how our chosen policy is going to end up.’

    I agree it’s possible. Not quite Evens, yet, IMO.

  36. @PETE B

    ‘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.’

    10 – 1?

  37. @TCO GARJ

    ‘Alec might or might not be right [I tend to think he is right] but it is down to the UK to either do what is necessary or do without. To be in that position is the choice that the UK has made.’

    Agree: simple, logical and true.

    The idea that the EU is being horrible or unfair to the UK mistakes the reality of international power relations.

  38. garj,
    “Yes, I agree completely. We can not force the EU to agree equivalence, it’s fundamentally their decision”

    but the point is, as members we could.

    We have diminished of sovereignty by leaving the eu.

    The trevs,
    ” the luvvies can eat British Kale salads rather than EU imported lettuce (or pay more for EU lettuce)”

    As you pointed out earlier, actually it isn’t salads coming to us which are having big problems but if we try to sell to them.

    Anticipating therefore we keep importing but they stop buying. Massive worsening of our trade deficit with eu.

    Tobyebert,

    I agree lots of water to flow under bridges yet. The fundamental reality though is uk better off inside the eu than out, and no one on here has been able to find a credible alternative. between 5-10 years of serious debate on brexit now and still no alternative plan how the uk could possibly do better outside.

    It’s like the fact covid only ever kills about 0 1% in an outbreak. It’s a fundamental reality.

  39. Oldnat
    While agreeing with you, I would say that the comments policy seem to me to discourage expression by posters of their own primative political opinions.

    However their spirit seems to encourage civility, of which wishing others well on health is naturally a part.

  40. Primitive

  41. Or better replace primitive with personal.

  42. @PETE B

    So Nigel Farage is standing down as leader of a party currently polling at 2%? Hold the front page, as they say.

  43. TOBYEBERT

    On a fundamental level the UK is not a weaker negotiating partner than New Zealand or Canada; our economy, population, and market are all much larger (over 10x in the case of NZ) and more accessible to EU exporters. What gives the EU negotiating leverage is that we are moving from a position of full alignment, which creates the potential for them to try to exploit the potential for disruption in the UK in order to try to extract concessions which are effectively unheard of in other trade deals. The recent reports that the UK is likely to extend its grace period on checks on EU imports highlights that power imbalance, and the NI protocol continues to be seen as a means of furthering this agenda by applying additional pressure. There is clearly a school of thought in Brussels which believes that the EU should create the maximum discomfort for the UK in order to either extract those concessions, or otherwise penalise us for having left. There is another which might prefer to make fairly standard bilateral agreements to ease trade, and while I think they will eventually win out, the former seems to be in the ascendent at present. It may be that we need to go through a certain amount of disruption and posturing in order to get to the point where the balance shifts, and I’m not sure that the reintroduction of Frost and a more bullish attitude will speed that process.

    Of course I don’t like that the EU are taking that approach, I consider it to be unreasonable and imperialist. It isn’t as annoying, however, as the attitude taken by some posters which seems to be that if the commission demanded every British first born child in return for waiving vetinary checks as they do with NZ produce then that would be a perfectly reasonable demand, and the UK government should be held solely responsible for any disruption caused by rejecting it. The ongoing belief by a large contingent of remainers that the UK should essentially give the EU whatever it wants is a major encouragement for the hawks in Europe to continue pushing a hardline approach. Essentially, cheerleading for the EU in negotiations weakens our position, and therefore worsens the arrangements we might end up with. Thankfully the opposition has decided to try to put Brexit behind them, which might lessen the effect and help to smooth the road ahead.

  44. Toby Ebert

    Farage gone? Step forward Michelle Ballantyne!

  45. GARJ: Of course I don’t like that the EU are taking that approach, I consider it to be unreasonable and imperialist.

    Oh, diddums!

    As I said earlier, the UK defined the terms on which it wished to leave, and negotiated and agreed two agreements accordingly.

    It was our decision to leave, and to make those agreements. Frost was proud of playing hard ball, and brexiteers expect him to continue doing so. No doubt some in the EU see that as unfriendly and confrontational; some may even consider it to be unreasonable and imperialist.

    We have made our bed and it’s frankly pathetic to complain if it’s uncomfortable.

  46. @STEVE

    There has been no significant change in mortality rates in Greece from covid it’s still around thirty per day as it has been for the last month or so.

    That’s not what the numbers I’m looking at show.

    w/e 5th Feb – 158 deaths
    w/e 12th Feb – 155 deaths (down 2%)
    w/e 19th Feb – 172 deaths (up 11%)
    w/e 26th Feb – 190 deaths (up 10%)
    w/e 5th Mar – 225 deaths (up 18%)

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/greece/

    What is positive is that mortality is increasing more slowly than the case rate (in the last wave they rose at about the same rate as each other). There is also a longer lag time between the rise in cases and the rise in deaths than in the previous wave.

    So whilst the numbers are obviously a cause for concern, then yes the link between the two seems significantly moderated compared to the previous wave, which would make sense given the other points you made about the vaccine and the health system.

  47. New Opinium poll

    In tomorrow’s Observer, a whopping *72%* think the 1% pay rise for nurses to too low.

    Just 20% think it is about right, while 4% think it is too high.

    Even a majority of Conservative voters (58%) think it’s too low.

    https://twitter.com/chriscurtis94/status/1368321257880576000

  48. SOMERJOHN

    Whoosh, right over your head. I’m not complaining about the EU, I’m complaining about lickspittle remainers.

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