This morning the Communication Workers’ Union released a Survation constituency poll of Hartlepool, the first one we’ve seen (earlier in the campaign figures were released from a Focaldata MRP of the North, but you can’t really use MRP for a by-election – it doesn’t pick up the unique circumstances). Topline figures with changes from the last election were are CON 49%(+20), LAB 42%(+4), NIP 2%(+2), GRN 1%(+1), LD 1%(-3), ReformUK 1%(-25).

I should start by saying that constituency polling is difficult. It is mostly done by telephone and often has small sample sizes (in this case, the sample was 500, but the actual voting figures are based only 302 who gave a response). Its track record has sometimes been patchy. Nevertheless, it’s the best evidence of where the race stands that we are going to get. What can we tell?

The Conservatives are ahead (though the two main parties are within the margin of error for a sample of 302). Compared to the general election the poll suggests an 8 point lead from Lab to Con, significantly better than how the Conservatives are doing in national polls.

It would be extremely unusual for a governing party to gain a seat in a by-election. There have been only two instances in the last fifty years (Copeland in 2017 and Mitcham & Morden in 1982). Few governments poll ahead of their last election performance mid-term anyway, and if anything they do worse than that in by-elections.

The reason the Tories are doing better in Hartlepool than nationwide appears fairly straightforward, and doesn’t offer any obviously transferrable lessons. In Britain as a whole the Brexit party got 2% at the 2019 election. In Hartlepool they got a very healthy 26%. That vote has almost completely vanished, presumably to the benefit of the Conservatives.

As ever, by-elections are extremely unusual beasts that do not necessarily tell much about national politics. Maybe if the actual by-election turns out like this it will be a steer on how other seats with a high level of Brexit party support in 2019 may go… but then, come the actual by-election we’ll have a glut of other data from the local, Scottish, Welsh, Mayoral and London elections due to be held on the same day, so hopefully we won’t be trying to desperately read too much into one single by-election.

Also worth noting that – given this poll was commissioned by the CWU – it also asked about some of the issues that they are concerned about like broadband, Royal Mail privatisation, nurses pay. The answers in Hartlepool were as you’d expect from national polling (people like free stuff & nurses. They don’t like privatisations). It doesn’t tell us anything particularly useful about why Labour aren’t doing better. Don’t assume because the CWU chose to ask about those issues that they are necessarily ones that are driving support in Hartlepool. Maybe people in Hartlepool care more about Corona, or crime, or Brexit, or economic regeneration, or taxes…

Finally, before this poll there was also significant social media buzz about the Northern Independence party having an impact, not least because their candidate is Thelma Walker, a former Labour MP who resigned over the party’s refusal to re-admit Jeremy Corbyn. Realistically a party that hasn’t even been registered yet may be very pleased indeed if they manage to get third place, but nevertheless, the poll suggests they are not significant players here.

UPDATE: The tables for the Survation poll have appeared, and worth adding a further caveat. At the last election the Brexit party got 26% of the vote. Among people who took part in the poll, only 3% recalled voting for the Brexit party. This does not *necessarily* mean its a duff sample – there will undoubtedly be issues of false recall, of people re-aligning their past vote to match with present circumstances (especially since the Brexit party has rebranded itself into ReformUK and no longer exists in its old form), but it should be an extra reason for caution.


There were two Scottish Parliament voting intention over the weekend, one from Panelbase, one from Survation. Topline figures are that both show the SNP continuing to cruise towards victory and on the edge of winning a majority. Both show a tight race for second place between the Conservatives and Labour.

However, these were also the first two to measure support for Alex Salmond’s new list only party, Alba. The Panelbase poll showed them at 6%, the Survation poll showed them at 3%. To understand the significance of these we need to explore the nuances of the Scottish Parliament electoral system.

The Scottish Parliament elects members using an additional member system. 73 MSPs are elected in constituencies using first past the post, a further 56 are elected on a proportional regional list system. The regional list seats effectively operate as a “top-up” to the constituency seats already won, so that overall the seats won should be proportional to the list vote. For example, if party A won 6 constituency seats, but got 10% of the list vote, they’d be awarded another 7 list seats so they had 10% of the total seats. It’s more complicated than that because it’s done by region, meaning there is an effective threshold to get any seats at all, but we’ll come to that.

Crucially people cast two votes – you don’t have to cast your constituency vote in the same way as your list vote, you can vote for different parties.

The SNP did extremely well at winning constituencies at the last election (59 out of 73). This meant that that despite winning 42% of the list vote, they didn’t receive many list seats, because they had already won almost their fair share through constituency seats. Compare this to the Scottish Greens – they don’t win any constituency seats (they barely stand), so there is nothing to set against their list vote and their list vote of 7% translates into 6 seats.

Therefore, the Alba argument goes, SNP votes on the regional list are “wasted” votes, that are unlikely to return MSPs. If a significant chunk of SNP voters voted Alba instead, it would return more pro-independence MSPs.

So far, so good. However, because the Scottish system uses regional lists, there’s an effective threshold to get any seats at all (about 5-6%). There is also already a second pro-independence party, the Scottish Greens. That means in practice Alba could have a positive or negative impact on the number of pro-Independence MSPs elected. If they get over 5% in a substantial number of regions, and do so by taking SNP second preferences, rather than taking votes who would otherwise back the Greens, they will increase the next number of pro-independence MSPs. If they get under 6% in most regions, they are unlikely to win any MSPs at all. If they get under 6%, but in doing so, take votes from the Scottish Greens, they could even reduce the the number of pro-independence MSPs.

Hence, in judging the impact of Alba, the thing to look at is the level of Alba and the Scottish Greens in the list vote, and whether each is above or below that threshold of around 5-6%. The two polls so far paint contrasting pictures – in the Survation poll, Alba were at 3% and the Scottish Greens were unchanged at 11%. In the Panelbase poll Alba were at 6%, the Scottish Greens at 8%, again comparable to their showing in previous Panelbase polls.

So in neither case was there any evidence that Alba were cannibalising the pro-independence list vote by taking support from the Greens, but the evidence on whether they’ll actually win seats of their own is unclear. On the Panelbase figures they may well do (John Curtice tentatively projects 6 Alba seats, with a total of 79 pro-Independence MSPs). On the Survation figures they probably wouldn’t, but the SNP and Greens would get 77 pro-Independence MSPs between them anyway.

And that, in itself, maybe underlines the extent to which this matters. As things stand most polls show the SNP getting a majority or getting close to one. Taking the SNP & Scottish Greens together, there will very likely be a majority of pro-Independence MSPs anyway. Whether Alba manage to scramble over the threshold to win some seats or not doesn’t look likely to change that given their present level of support.

3,381 Responses to “Polling on Hartlepool and the impact of Alba”

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  1. Sorry if this has already been posted, but it’s dated May 3rd. Not sure when fieldwork was done

  2. Might sound odd from me but I’m wondering if an offbeat suggestion from @DANNY a couple of days ago deserves more attention than it got.

    He asked about local/independent candidates in the English local elections. Having spent the weekend (mostly) in East Devon I wasn’t surprised they were the only cause I saw support for, I know they’re a big deal there. But killing time on the drive back, my better half read me the local candidate list in Coventry and… there’s an entire slate of local issue candidates, who seem to have picked their causes well.

    This is way different to the normal Independent Local Candidate thing, and I make no predictions for how they’ll fare in an extremely LAB city where CON are the only realistic challengers in any ward.

    But the fact itself is interesting – has anyone else seen a similar unusual development in their own patch?

  3. Goodish brexit news.

    This deal seems to be more of a stepping stone than what the gov is looking for as an end result.
    I’m wondering if better immigration between us and India leads to a better trade deal?

  4. PETE B
    ” (b) for brexiteers the only battle that counts is with the EU.”

    Not for me. That’s done and dusted. And though I have been pleased about the success of our vaccine rollout, I don’t think I’ve mentioned the EU rollout. I expect one of the obsessives will trawl back and prove me wrong. We really should get over the point-scoring between UK and EU. It’s over, further tweaks to agreements will happen over time, as they will with other relationships.

    I’m looking forward to the Survation poll, whatever it says. There are rumours that it might show Labour doing better than expected in Hartlepool.

    May 3rd, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    But the good/bad effects of brexit are not done and dusted and to want to stop people from writing about it is simply unrealistic.

  5. Survation

    New Hartlepool phone poll:

    J Mortimer, Con 50% (+1)
    P Williams, Lab 33% (-9)
    T Walker, Ind 6% (+4)
    S Lee, Ind 6% (+6)
    R Featherstone, Grn 3% (+2)
    A Hagon, LD 1% (-)
    J Prescott, RFM 1% (-)

    517, phone for
    , aged 18+ living in H’pool, 23-29 Apr. Changes w/ 29 Mar-3 Apr

  6. ‘But the good/bad effects of brexit are not done and dusted and to want to stop people from writing about it is simply unrealistic.’

    Surely it’s the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing loudly?

  7. KeithP

    “I’ve been watching this situation develop for the last few years. Looks like the next German parliament will have no party over 200 seats (!)

    An awkward three-party coalition is coming ever closer, powered by the collapse of the SPD.”

    Thanks. Agree. Worth watching.

  8. Neil Ferguson on R4 saying level of covid currently as predicted early in the year. Interviewer suggested actually it is rather lower…he didnt exactly comment but started talking about what might happen next autumn.

    Cases are currently as low as or lower than last summer, half the population has been vaccinated, yet we are still under more restriction than last summer.

    Last year, an earlier release would have had a better outcome, yet now we are maintaining even more restrictions than then, with a fundamentally safer situation.

    He also says the plan is for another vaccination program in the autumn. Which is remarkable, because it assumes the current vaccine will fail against a new strain come the autumn.

    The low level of cases right now is because those cases peaked end Dec/start Jan, with the fall starting during the relaxation of lockdown in December and before vaccination had time to have any effect.

    So thus far vaccination has pretty much accomplished nothing….yet the man reckons it will be ineffective and replaced by another vaccine given to everyone before it is called upon to protect anyone.

    What kind of a scam is this?

  9. Suravtion tabs for Hartlepool pool:

    Seems extreme IMO. 50% ‘Unite the Right’ behind CON with a very split ABCON vote.

    Lots of ‘Inds’ will make it tricky but I’d be very surprised if CON get much about 40%, let on alone 50%

    Punters have moved CON to around 75% likelihood to win

  10. Meanwhile, I have heard a couple of news reports saying some places in India are bringing their vaccination programs to those aged 18.

    While it makes a lot of sense to donate vaccine to india to give to 81 year olds there, instead of giving it to 18 year olds in the UK, its pretty pointless giving them – or anyone else – vaccines for 18 year olds.

    I noticed that some countries have not used the age related strategy as per the UK, prioritising those at most risk, but have instead allowed younger people to be vaccinated early. Which makes no sense to me. The gain from vaccinating 18 year old Indians must be negligible.

    There was also a story this morning of a children’s hospial in India running out of oxygen. Now, I guess that could be because all their oxygen has been redirected to the adult hospital next door, but I have seen no evidence whatever that covid in India is more dangerous for childen than anywhere else in the world. Which is to say, negligible. Far better we continue the various charitable schemes to provide clean water.

    So how come there are new stories about children? Just so as to get the world childen into a story about covid?

  11. Ferguson’s interview this morning also made no mention of the side effects profile of covid vaccinations. Which is to say, increasing side effects with every dose.

    How does this impact with what seems to be a plan for regular repeat vaccinations?

  12. Opinium has Andy Street winning the West Mids mayoralty in the first round with 54% – wins 59-41% in the run-off.

    In Tees Valley Houchen wins 63-37.

    I suppose it is important to note that the polling for these was carried out before the recent shift in the polls. Obviously that won’t affect people who did a postal vote though.

  13. Danny
    Firstly vaccination has a 200 year proven record of working.

    You tend to undermine some of your other legitimate points by pretending it doesn’t.

    That being said I agree it’s highly questionable whether there’s any point in vaccinating those at effectively no risk at all from serious illness , certainly before the hundreds of millions at far greater risk.worldwide have received doses.

    Regarding peak infection with the Kent/English variant given that this occurred approximately two months earlier in the UK than mainland Europe we should expect a similar pattern there.

    What precise difference do you think preventing people travelling overseas to destinations when they have been vaccinated against covid including the most common variant or in the case of millions like my family have already had it and been vaccinated will do for anyone’s safety?

    Rationally the answer is it won’t make any difference at all.

    If we choose we can safely travel and you can stay at home if you like.

  14. Seems pretty clear –

    Johnson prioritizing the interests of US farmers over the UK’s internal borders. The EU is playing along, effectively offering an extension of the alignment within the grace periods until such time as the UK secures any other trade deals it wants, and if these require a more distant UK/EU relationship, the full protocol checks are required.

  15. This is what Sam Lowe wrote regarding the UK/India ‘deal’ on April 9th –

    “Something is going to be announced when Boris Johnson visits India later in the month and it will be called an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’. But I have no idea what Enhanced Trade Partnership actually means. It’s not a free trade agreement, although it could “lead to a potential comprehensive FTA” and will include “considerations on an Interim Agreement on preferential basis”, apparently. And it’s probably going to be launched alongside an early harvest of trade wins. What could they be? Maybe the UK is going to exchange [three-year-aged] whisky for IT engineers? Maybe some companies will re-announce some investments they were going to make anyway?”

    This isn’t a trade deal, but instead a normal outcome when overseas visits are made. A series of positive announcements on jobs, investments etc.

    Meanwhile, the EU and India have announced the resumption of their FTA talks. These will be difficult, as India doesn’t like free trade, but without having to represent the UK, the EU has more leeway. Immigration and whiskey tariffs were two big stumbling blocks that the UK brought to the table, which trouble the EU much less.

  16. Pete B

    “Or perhaps that as Brexit was decided 5 years ago, and that this is a polling site, and that the polls are showing a lead for the government that ‘Got Brexit Done’, then we should discuss more relevant subjects.”

    My sentiments as well, lets move on as Brexiteers are and build a better country outside the EU

  17. “Projecting Survation 23 – 26 Apr into seats (changes vs 20 – 22 Apr / vs 2016):

    SNP ~ 62 (-5 / -1)
    Conservative ~ 27 (+6 / -4)
    Labour ~ 22 (-3 / -2)
    Green ~ 11 (+1 / +5)
    Lib Dem ~ 7 (+1 / +2) ”

    Note they were the only polling company that used to show SLAB beating SCON for 2nd place and hence puts them more in line with everyone else (herding?)

  18. Details for the Mayor polling @FROSTY mentions

    “West Midlands Mayoral Voting Intention:

    Street (CON): 54% (+12)
    Byrne (LAB): 37% (-4)
    Caudwell (GRN): 4% (-1)
    Durnell (RFM): 3% (+3)
    Wilkinson (LDM): 3% (-3)

    , 19-26 Apr.”


    “Tees Valley Mayoral Voting Intention:

    Houchen (CON): 63% (+23)
    Jacobs (LAB): 37% (-2)

    , 19-26 Apr.”

    @ JJ reckoned Houchen could get 60%+ for Tees Valley and along with the Hartlepool poll (check into things like best PM, favourability, etc) then maybe?!?

    As per FROSTY tho, note the fieldwork on some of these ‘new’ polling are quite out (Survation for Hartlepool was 23-29Apr!)

  19. @TOH

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you don’t love Brexit enough to actually live in the UK.?

  20. PS For Houchen and Street then quite likely a high ‘incumbency’ boost for all the Mayors so I expect to see Khan (Survation poll due today) polling very well and possibly also a good poll for Drakeford and WLAB?!?

  21. Wolf – that is Turk not Howard.

  22. And today’s brexitanian propaganda slogan is brought to you by TOH.

    TOH the man that says you only get one decision one time only on a vote if I like the outcome. Otherwise you get to change your mind.

    Less than 45% of people who voted in 2019 voted for this shambolic brexit.
    Given that most of them were retired and those likely to be doing the building overwhelmingly rejected your nonsense nationalism how precisely are you going about building a better country outside the European union?

    Are you using a meccano set?
    Maybe Lego or plasticine would work better.

    I’ve seen absolutely nothing to indicate any iota of improvement.

    As usual no doubt you will refuse to produce any tangible evidence of your fantasy .

  23. Wolf

    It’s Turk that’s our resident Texan brexitanian TOH lives in la la land.

  24. EOR,

    Yes Independents are a non-Tory alternative to Labour. I can only speak for Darlington where the Tories and Independents work together and did so before the Elections in 2019.

    The ‘leader’ of the Independent Group even works for the local Tory MP, go figure; as well as holding a cabinet position.
    Just to be clear I would rather have open Tories to contest with rather than these Crypto Tories and I do hope it catches up with them in the end.

  25. Sorry if I got it wrong

  26. STEVE

    I see from your latest post that your have reverted to 5 year old childish nonsense. For an ex-police officer whose service I respect you can be remarkably silly. Just behave your age and understand that others have views very different from your own. I have seen plenty of positives but I don’t waste my time posting them they would just get trolled by people like you.

    I can understand that many people don’t like Brexit, and I can understand why, although I don’t agree with them. What they should do now is campaign for a new referendum, you never know you might eventually get one, although certainly not in my lifetime.

  27. Maybe unwise of me to comment on very small crossbreaks in a small poll on Hartlepool (talking about a dozen people) but interesting that NIP take as many votes from BXP, Con, LD and others as they take from LAB. There were five BXP 2019 voters who are now saying they would vote for an openly socialist party. I doubt the sample has very good accuracy but I would still imagine it was statistically significant enough not to be nonsense.

    I still wouldn’t yet call it for the Tories based on this poll, but if it does work out this way then central Labour have imposed a candidate on the local party that looked good on paper (doctor working in Hartlepool A&E during Covid) but who had too many attack lines against him. Strong remainer in a leave seat, the Saudi trip, the Tory MILF quote and the hospital (de)commisioning group.

    As Sienna Rogers from Labour list says:

    “Survation poll distressing but not surprising after my visit to Hartlepool, where attack lines against the Lab candidate appeared to cut through”.

  28. Bit of ‘expectation management’ perhaps but from LAB list:

    “Why polls show the Conservatives are on course to win the Hartlepool by-election”

  29. WOLF

    “Sorry if I got it wrong”

    No problem, these things happen. I am English, have always lived in England and am proud of this Country. I have travelled extensively both in Europe and the rest of the World so I feel I have amore balanced view than many who have not had my opportunities.

  30. @ Jim Jam

    I always think independents (and Lib Dems to some extent) can get away with a lot more in terms of avoiding scrutiny on policy.

    I think one independent grouping are (or were) official opposition in Wigan but there are different loose groupings and while some are perfectly decent there are some off the scale awful ones and some groups are ex Tory and some ex Labour. Never do they have to nail their policy to the mast and can be all things to all people. Different of course if they have to back one of the two main parties.

  31. As @Danny said in India they vaccinate the youth. However, it is not exceptional. In China they started the vaccination with the young generation and then moving up with the age.

    The logic is different, but it is a logic

  32. Steve,
    “Firstly vaccination has a 200 year proven record of working. You tend to undermine some of your other legitimate points by pretending it doesn’t.”

    I dont pretend it doesnt, I keep quoting that Jenner protected people from Smallpox by deliberately giving them cowpox. I keep arguing exactly the same effect has applied throughout the covid epidemic, that people were immune to covid because of past exposure to related corona viruses. Its been proved that old blood reacted against covid. What has never been clear is the extent of the protection this has provided. Or indeed if it has varied country to country, which I think it has, and thus helps explain why some have done much better than others.

    “Regarding peak infection with the Kent/English variant given that this occurred approximately two months earlier in the UK than mainland Europe we should expect a similar pattern there.”

    Except that in the UK vaccination happened too late to affect the Kent variant outcome. In France it did appear (and I’m not saying it isnt true) even the modest percentage vaccinated had a large impact on deaths. It would be expected based on what we know about the fatality profile that vaccination has a severely diminishing return as you go down through the priority levels. I’d suggest 500,000 vaccinations could save as many as the next 5 million as the next 50 million. Maybe steeper.

    “What precise difference do you think preventing people travelling overseas to destinations when they have been vaccinated against covid including the most common variant or in the case of millions like my family have already had it and been vaccinated will do for anyone’s safety?”

    The ONS/oxford study of immunity did suggest a slightly better protection against kent variant from past exposure than vaccine. I didnt think they were adequately identifying people who had had past exposure, so the effect was likely to be stronger if they had. But thats more a study flaw than a finding.

    Assuming we were initially mostly protected from a very dangerous disease by cross immunity, then there are two possible gains for covid from mutation. One is to overcome some of that pre existing immunity. The other, to overcome immunity specific to covid from a recent case. The former is a much more encouraging explanation of what has been happening, because it leaves open that it is much harder for covid to mutate sufficiently to evade our specific immunity.

    I assume human immunity is well designed to maximise our safety. To do that it isnt sufficient to defeat a current threat, but also as much as possible to plan ahead and protect against new threats.

    The system we have creates multiple attacks on different parts of an invader. It does not do what the current vaccines seek to do, which is concentrate on limited areas and try to create huge response to just a few markers.

    There is a benefit to us in getting repeat low intensity infections where we meet a mild and thus safe threat, and in so doing adapt to any changes the invader has made.

    Modern vaccines have departed from the Jenner model, which as you say has been proven to work, and as I say works with the design strategy of the human immune system.

    Whereas what medics seem to be trying to do now is to create massive immunity to localised regions of the covid virus, which will deeply suppress the virus but put it under huge pressure to adapt in one step to evade that immunity. Which is possible because it is a limited defence concentrated on just a few areas. It creates a risk from future mutations which the human system tries to prevent.

    (I recall reading that for other pathogens, whole oganism based vaccines work better against new strains than specifically targeted ones).

    The human immune system is designed to allow repeat mild infections as mutations evolve. The vaccines are trying to push it to do something rather different, to try to force eradicaton of covid. It may be the fatal side effects are a consequence of trying to do this and causing an immune over reaction. Which is unlikely to improve if the strategy continues.

    It may be the targeted strategy is a big mistake. Though it does seem to be optimum for boosting profits of vaccine manufacturers.

    As to international travel…I dont think anyone has proved covid is not capable of generating identical mutations in every nation in response to the changing pattern of available victims, which is much the same in all as the initially susceptible ones get used up. Without the need for it to spread from country to country.

    Incidentally, I am much taken by Carfrew’s observations about vitamin D regulating immune response sufficiently to pevent/cause an outbreak. This feels part of the picture of our manipulating the pathogens to strike when is best for us not them. We have a defined catchup season on our immunity at the time of year most convenient, when we are forced indoors by bad weather. So we deliberately lower our immune response to bring on outbreaks.

  33. @ SHEVII – Great minds think alike!

    It was certainly a bad candidate selection (and selection process) from LAB but CON’s candidate is ‘not local’ either.

    Perhaps the best quote from Sienna’s write-up is:

    ““Same sh!t, different day”

    which applies to UKPR comments section…

    Expectations management from CON side will be ‘fieldwork dates’ but if you haven’t yet chucked a few quid on LAB winning in Hartlepool then you’ll get very good odds now.

    Hartlepool is the ‘perfect seat’ with ‘prefect timing’ for CON and to win on very low turnout (LAB voter apathy) isn’t ideal but it does make the mountain Starmer needs to climb all that harder – how does he intend to win back seats for LAB if the current plan (ie ‘best’ ABCON party and silence over Brexit) results in more Blue bricks in the ‘wall’?

    a/ Go after seats in CON heartlands instead?
    b/ Double down on trying to win back the ‘traditional/mythical’ LAB voter?
    c/ Scotland?

    He needs ‘all of the above’ and that creates huge policy conflicts (hence ‘no policies’)

    I’d much prefer to see CON win on high turnouts against a good performance and good policies from LAB as the risk for the country is Boris and CON HMG slide back into the ‘old model Tory’.

    If CON do ‘revert’ to the old model they deserve to be kicked out in GE’24 but Starmer needs to raise his game and not expect Boris and CON to ‘gift’ him more unforced errors.

  34. TOH:What they should do now is campaign for a new referendum

    Drawing attention to the malign effects of brexit as they roll in is a form of preliminary campaigning, so entirely in accordance with your suggestion.

    For years there was a sustained campaign of anti-EU disinformation, mostly based on myth-making (straight bananas, prawn flavour crisps, barmaids’ cleavages etc) which laid the ground for the big whoppers in 2016 (100m Turks ready to roll in, £350m a week etc etc).

    The difference between that and what Alec posts is that his is factually based and brexiteers are free to shoot it down or come up with countervailing benefits. That they are unable to do so and have to rely on either denigration (anti-brexit = anti-British), faux boredom, or blind faith tells us all we need to know.

  35. An interesting short survey of historic voting patltterns in Hartlepool over the past 50 years or so:

  36. Anon,
    “The logic is different,”

    Um, yes.

    The lockdowner logic is that restricting general spread will prevent high risk people catching it. If you vaccinate the low risk, this will help stop general spread.

    The anti lockdowner logic is that it is pretty much irrelevant how many in the general population have covid, because they dont die. Except that the more and the faster infection happens the quicker the aim of lockdowners to create herd immunity will be achieved natually.

    However ant lockdowners point to the death toll being massively in care and hospital locations and more broadly in the old and those with definable risk. So the better response has always been to prevent spread within high risk groups.

    I would suggest, the intra group risk is much greater than the inter group risk. Stopping the high risk infecting each other has always been the problem which matters most. Cutting this from 100% to 1% would have saved 99% of deaths.

    Wheras cutting the risk of the young general population infecting a care home or hospital is much less effective. Cut this risk from 100% to 1%, and the 1% of succesful infections of care situations will still spread unchecked through the entire 100% of the population there…resulting in the same number of deaths.

    And that is precisely what has happened world over.

  37. WAtched this News Conference and was very encouraged by the body language and exchanges between Blinken & Raab.

    Particularly liked this :-

    “Speaking after a meeting in London on Monday, Raab said he saw “an increasing demand and need for an agile cluster of countries that share the same values and want to protect the multilateral system”.

    He said the fact the UK had invited Australia, South Korea, India and South Africa to the G7 foreign ministers meeting in London was “a sign that we can see a shift to a pattern of like-minded countries working together”.


    “Drawing attention to the malign effects of brexit as they roll in is a form of preliminary campaigning, so entirely in accordance with your suggestion.”

    I can’t imagine I said that, but that’s up to people like you and Alec. If I did say it I was having a bad day.

    I deal with realities and have little interest the sort of negative posts that you both indulge in. I have moved on and am looking forward to a better UK outside the EU. I see good early signs although i have always expected a bumpy initial ride as i have posted many times.

    The Brexiteers are the positive people in this Country, we have move on, Remainers seem locked in a historic time warp.

    I don’t bother to read the negative posts by and large, they are of little interest although I sometimes catch something that does irritate and respond. I am trying to reduce my posts on Brexit and stick to polling

  39. @TOH

    My point was that for 40 years an anti-EU campaign was waged in this country. Those who supported EU membership had to put up with that.

    Now the boot is on the other foot, and you brexiteers don’t seem to like it. At least you don’t have to contend with 80% of the press running constant anti-brexit stories.

    If you don’t want to participate in the on-going debate on the wisdom of brexit, as the facts emerge and polling reflects that, then that’s up to you.


    We had 40 plus years of Governments who would not let us have a referendum on our membership. So I had to put up with more than you did.

    “If you don’t want to participate in the on-going debate on the wisdom of brexit, as the facts emerge and polling reflects that, then that’s up to you.”

    Indeed it is, apart from the WA which either requires major modification or ditching, i am very happy with Brexit, it is meeting my expectations, I feel very good about the UK’s future so i really have no interest in such discussions. Total waste of time IMO.

  41. YG latest ‘most important issues’, pick up to three, tracker. 3May (change since 26 Apr)

    Health: 52% (uc)
    Economy: 49% (-4)
    Environment: 32% (-1)
    Britain Leaving EU: 26% (uc)
    Crime: 21% (uc)

    ‘I voted Leave’ x-break

    Economy: 53% (-2)
    Health: 50% (uc)
    Immigration: 36% (-4)
    Crime: 30% (+3)
    Environment: 20% (uc)

    ‘I voted Remain’ x-break

    Health: 60% (+1)
    Economy: 48% (-6)
    Environment: 43% (-1)
    Britain Leaving EU: 33% (-1)
    Education: 20% (uc)

    Britain leaving EU used to get 80%+ at various times in the past but as we can clearly see in the polling ‘I voted Leave’ folks have moved on as that ‘issue’ no longer even makes their top5 (2c great to see Environment in top5 for Leavers)

    Starmer and Davey have moved on (Sturgeon wants to move back). With Brexit Done and no longer an important issue (see polling) then Boris and CON HMG now need to deliver on ‘Levelling up’ and if they don’t they should be kicked out in GE’24 – simples.

    If Starmer or Davey want to win the Remain vote then they can go announce a Rejoin.EU or ‘closer alignment’ policy and see if that is what voters want – again, simples.

    If Remainers feel Starmer or Davey have let them down with the ‘vow of silence’ policy (and Starmer did vote for Boris’s Brexit deal) then don’t vote for LAB or LDEM – yet again, simples.

    Scots have SNP although there are all the ‘process’ issues to consider then Remainers do have an option in Scotland.

    PS We can look at the ‘hindsight’ YG poll and see huge majority of Leavers pick ‘Right’ and huge majority of Remainers pick ‘Wrong’. zzz ZZZ

  42. TW

    Thanks for that, no surprise that Brexit is moving rapidly down the list even for Remainers.

    “Boris and CON HMG now need to deliver on ‘Levelling up’ ”

    I think you, Colin, and I are all totally agreed on that.

  43. @ TW

    Haven’t seen that much expectation management from any party this time around- perhaps because they don’t know what to expect so they don’t know how to set the bar a little bit lower from what they actually expect :-)

    The Sienna Rodgers article that you posted seemed identical to @ Jim Jam’s comments about less hostile but more apathy on the doorstep.

    I suppose that may not be awful for Labour if the Tories implode on the post Covid/brexit economy but beyond this Labour are going to have to give voters some reason to end the apathy and want to vote for them.

  44. Hireton @ 11.06 pm

    Thanks for reinforcing my suspicions on the motivation and veracity of the “news” story of Iran interfering in the Scotland GE newly put out by the HJS think-tank.

    From a balanced launch, it looks like this is another outfit infiltrated by neo-cons.

  45. TW

    Thanks for the “issues” polls.

    Very interesting.

  46. It’s good to see evidence of the gathering post-covid economic bounceback in this morning’s PMIs.

    But I’m getting a funny feeling Rishi Sunak is turning into the new Tony Barber. The recovery seems to be led by consumer and government spending, with investment and exports lagging. That sounds like a recipe for growing inflation and trade deficits, which could become a major problem in a year or so, just as government starts to rein in spending and attempt to redress the enormous government debt. And as the long-term effects of brexit grind away.

    A return to boom and bust?

  47. @ TOH – Indeed. Even for most Remainers then ‘Brexit’ is moving down[1] as an ‘issue’ in large representative polling so Starmer and Davey are ‘right in hindsight’ to move on ;)

    [1] As recently as 12April then 42% of Remainers picked ‘Brexit’ as one of the 3 most important issues (#3 in their view)

    That is down to 33% (-9) and into 4th place on their side.

    PS My main grievance with Brexit is the ongoing asymmetric access for agri-food but it’s certainly not in my ‘top 5’ of most important issues that the country faces and it would be incredibly boring to bang on about a single, not very important (see polling – even for most Remainers) issue all day every day yet I doubt that will stop the ‘anecdotes’ and selective ‘copy+pasting’ from the ‘usual suspects’ who have forgotten all their Br-Armageddon ‘predictions’ that have clearly turned out to be nonsense.

  48. Colin

    RE; The piece you posted about Blinken and Raab. Iliked this, remember all the negative comments that the special relationship was no more when Biden won?

    “Blinken also hailed the “special relationship” between the two countries, saying that the US had “no closer ally, no closer partner”. He skirted around the chance to call out the UK for its recent cuts to its overseas aid budget, and avoided explicit criticism over how the UK has put the Good Friday agreement at risk with the Brexit deal.”

  49. I was disappointed that the Survation poll in Hartlepool lumped The Incredible Flying Brick in with ‘Others’. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can beat the LibDems. It was the Loonies who finished off the SDP as a force when they finished above them in a by-election.

  50. I should add to my ‘boom and bust’ post above that of course the timing would be very awkward from an electoral cycle pov, with the bust happening in 2024. If I were a tory strategist, I’d be looking for an early election to capitalise on the boom.

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