There is a new Opinium poll in the Observer with topline figures of CON 37%(+3), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 6%(-1), UKIP 15%(-2), GRN 4%(nc) – changes are from a month ago. The Conservatives have a healthy lead, but not the sort of big honeymoon lead that ICM and YouGov both showed them enjoying.

The Observer’s write up concentrates on the Labour race. Among current Labour voters Jeremy Corbyn is the preferred choice of 54%, Owen Smith of 22%. Labour voters do not, of course, necessarily reflect the preferences of the Labour members and supporters who get a vote, though the previous YouGov polling of Labour party members also suggested a large lead for Corbyn. On who would make the best Prime Minister (among the general public, rather than just Labour supporters!) Theresa May leads Corbyn by 52% to 16%.

441 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 37, LAB 31, LD 6, UKIP 15”

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  1. @Syzygy FPT – I think you seem to be misunderstanding the entire approach of funding by private companies of university research. Universities already raise large elements of their budgets from research contracts, so preventing pharma from doing this and replacing it with government money would simply be shifting the deckchairs around, but as the government would need to pay 100% of the costs, instead of the 20% corporation tax relief they currently forego, it would be 5 times more expensive.

    I also disagree with your assertion about funding research on the cheap. Again, you don’t understand what they are funding. PhD students are trainees, and funding their studies is training future scientists, ones that don’t even work for you company to boot. It’s actually a really good thing for companies to do, as once funded, the nation gets a fully trained post doc who can work for anyone.

    The research is also open. PhD students and post docs look to publish papers, which then means the knowledge can be used by anyone. We are also quickly moving to an open access model for academic research, so you don’t even have to subscribe to the specialist publications.

    On the wider scale, income from research contracts also helps fund graduate students, who are still not paying the full cost of their education. It’s an essential part of good universities budgets.

    The model of private funding of university research is far from perfect, however. If you are doing an industry sponsored PhD you are likely to have to do a lot more presentations and [email protected] business management type stuff (Pfizer are good at this!) which gets in the way of research. It’s also true that he who pays the piper calls the tune, so much needed research areas may be neglected the chance of financial reward looks slim. This is precisely where the research councils step in, and why we have them.

    The idea that scrapping tax relief on the billions that go into UK universities for privately funded research is a good idea is frankly risible. If Corbyn really thinks this, then I’m afraid we are heading to a disaster for left of centre policy making.

    Big, profitable companies can behave badly, and do need controlling at times and nudging to do good things at other times. To make the leap from that to say that everything they do is bad and only the state can do good things is very poor politics and extremely poor governance,

    I get more and more concerned with Corbyn’s policy platform the more I hear about it.

  2. Interesting story about Brexit, not sure it will please all leavers though.

  3. I’m not getting why UKIP are so high They’ve gotten Brexit what’s the need for them anymore?

  4. @pete,
    I think it’s possible we might go that route. As a leaver not sure how I feel. It’s less than what many want, but we might need to be pragmatic. There are also legal cases to be heard in October where big business, fund managers have assembled some of the best legal talent possible to try to force this to an act of Parliament. Given all this legal action is more remainers, am guessing there is a hope a largely remain chamber might not rubber stamp it, or would at the least have a brexit lite. Am certain it would still get voted through. If the judiciary, establishment etc somehow delivered nothing, I shudder to think the size of the UKIP vote at the next election. 10m votes is possible. 4m + 3m each from Cobs and Labs.

  5. @Pete1

    UKiP represent something far more than passing a Brexit vote.

    I suspect the key drivers for UKIP support are attitudinal. They are very anti political establishment, and there are no real alternatives on that side of their political spectrum. I would argue that the Greens represent this on the opposite side.

    Seeing as article 50 hasn’t even been triggered, keen Brexiters should/will be very wary that a Brexit vote is not the same as the done deal they are looking for.

  6. Alec,
    Good analysis of industrial funding of universities.

    I would add that PhD students are a very variable bunch and no organisation would be smart to fully fund a project to be undertaken by someone of unknown quality. Hence these projects tend to be seen as bonus rather than core to companies. If they really want something done it will be done by more experienced postdocs, and universities will seek to get a full economic cost return. What they are not allowed to do is make a profit, but there are many university spin out companies that do… I have an academic colleague who has just retired with enough cash to buy a second home in central London thanks to that!
    What the government COULD do is insist that all companies that want to supply the NHS invest a certain proportion of profits in British universities. This is what the Norwegians have done with oil companies operating in their waters..

  7. @Rich

    I suspect that UKIP can’t win too many more votes from Labour.

    There has been some movement Lab to UKIP in the last few years, but of the Labour vote, if it breaks away it will be to Greens, Lib Dems perhaps or some perhaps new socially liberal party.

  8. I agree that UKIP will not be going away in many areas.. however they have been doing quite badly in local by-elections all this year, and certainly are not above the 15% that disappointed them in 2015..

  9. Regarding the non-disappearance of UKIP, it might be because that the deal hasn’t been sorted out yet. I personally think it will be something that is presented as “wholly out” but isn’t quite that.

    Cameron was, and May seems to be, eager to cover the centre of the political spectrum and it might be seen from certain points of view that this is too much to the left for some people. Hence UKIP gets some votes from that situation.

    Then there’s general distrust or dislike of the three main parties (struggling to call the LD’s a “main party” here) which hasn’t gone away. Perhaps in previous elections they might have got reluctant votes or else the voters didn’t bother. Now they have someone to vote for, they may well not stop doing so.

    As for current polling – nothing much happening here. A general election soon would probably have pretty much the same result as 2015. Perhaps the Conservatives gaining a few extra seats? It’s not worth the risk of losing that small majority.

  10. @Catmanjeff

    If Labour are going to win a General Election they need to win back the votes they already lost to UKIP in marginal seats

    .in seats like Pudsey it was pretty clear that the former LibDem vote broke Tory and the UKIP vote came more from Labour. Green votes came more from Labour than Tory but most probably came from the Lib Dems..

  11. If we get an agreement to curb EU immigration (what percentage is EU and non EU immigration?) for 7 years aren’t we cack to square 1 in 7 years then? Seems it’s another kicking the can down the road initiative.

  12. @Andrew111

    I won’t go deeply into it here, but I agree with.

    The big tent that allowed Labour to win 1997 – 2010 looks irreparably broken to me.

  13. So McDonnell says Corbyn & he will resign if they lose a GE. Looks like May may have her 2/3 majority for snap election after all.

  14. Pete1 – “I’m not getting why UKIP are so high They’ve gotten Brexit what’s the need for them anymore?”

    The talk from the Remainers of overturning the vote has made them suspicious. Recall, these are the people who took their own pens to vote with, so great was their distrust of the establishment.

    Tory voters trust that Mrs May will do her best to deliver Brexit, they’ve been pleased with her performance so far, and ex Tories have drifted back to the Conservatives because of her.

    But there is a hard core of Kippers who don’t trust anyone, and feel that supporting UKIP is the best way of holding the govt’s feet to the fire. Only once article 50 is triggered will they relax.

    Meanwhile UKIP are electing a new leader – according to their website nominations for candidates close on July 30th and the ballot will be on Sept 15th. Whether they survive as a party depends on who they elect and how well he or she goes down with the people in the areas they are targeting.

    They seem to be going for Steven Woolfe, who is mixed race (with black, irish, jewish and english roots, and catholic). Judging from the following interview he gave New Statesmen, he made the journey to UKIP from Labour, and will be attempting to persuade people in the Labour heartlands to do the same:

    Tories of course will be pleased if he is elected – he won’t be a threat to the Tory heartlands.

  15. One last word on prewar Germany:

    While it may be true that the actual course of German expansion was opportunistic rather than carefully planned, and certainly true that the Versailles Treaty sowed the seeds for WW2 by feeding German resentment, Hitler was very very far from being a “normal” European leader..

    He rose to power on a tide of violence, removed democracy as soon as he got power, and introduced hundreds of pieces of legislation persecuting Jews, inducing boatloads of Jewish refugees and the kindertransport… Just because he had not got round yet to systematic slaughter does not mean that was not planned..

  16. @Candy

    I’ve seen some TV interviews with Steven Woolfe, and I thought he came across very well.

    He is not like Mr Farage, and should appeal to more voters, in particular those who didn’t like Nigel’s in-your-face aggressive style.

    The other who I thought would do well for, but can’t stand I believe, is Suzanne Evans.

  17. @Pete1

    “If we get an agreement to curb EU immigration (what percentage is EU and non EU immigration?) for 7 years aren’t we cack to square 1 in 7 years then? Seems it’s another kicking the can down the road initiative.”

    This is complicated.

    Firstly, the proposed 7 year “emergency brake” to totally exclude EU migration into the UK is fantasy. It simply won’t happen. What might happen (as others here have said when the idea has been discussed previously) is some sort of cap beyond which migrants can be excluded. This would work well with the UK joining the EEA – which allows for restrictions on free movement where such activity causes serious social pressure – however, such an arrangement is also possible within the EU (if everyone agrees to it).

    Of course if the UK decides on hard Brexit, it can limit migration in the way that it wishes but without preferential access to the single market.

  18. @CatManJeff

    According to wiki, Suzanne Evans isn’t running because she’s ineligible – UKIP’s NEC said only candidates who have been members for 5 years could run, which ruled out Carswell too. See,_2016

    There seems to be four declared candidates so far.

    I don’t understand why the press isn’t covering their leadership election more – because if Lab dies, the great question is “who will take their place”, the pro-european LibDems or the anti-european Kippers. (LibDems seem to be having a mini revival judging from council by election wins).

    It might be that opposition to the Conservatives splinters into lots of groups, depending on region, allowing Mrs May to be in place for a long time.

  19. Pete.

    There’s no mystery as to why UKIP support has stayed high following the Brexit Vote. For a start it’s supporters haven’t ‘got Brexit’ yet. But the UKIP position mirrors the SNP position. The SNP didn’t fall away following the ‘Stay’ Vote in Scotland. It immediately rose.

    There’s more to the motives behind UKIP support than just Brexit. Just as there was more to the Brexit Vote itself than a mere decision on Europe alone. Indeed, the pro EU crowd have been telling us ever since the result became known, that the outcome was more about dissatisfaction with the status quo in a wider sense than just dissatisfaction with the EU.

    To an extent I’m sure they are right although I wouldn’t overstate it. Tory/UKIP waverers, will I think, largely to go back to the Tories now because the party broadly offers them what they want now they have Brexit. The drift of previously Labour and potential Labour voters to UKIP is however is likely to increase and if Corbyn stays might pass the critical mass.

    People voted in the Referendum who hadn’t voted in an elections since 1987 and the vast majority of that previously (allegedly) apathetic group will have voted Leave. In fact they weren’t apathetic at all. They previously didn’t think that had anything worth voting for.

    It was the under 25s who were supposed to be so enlightened on the EU and were patronisingly expected to go and ‘persuade granny’ to vote Remain, couldn’t it turned out, be bothered to vote at all. Turnout amongst under 25s was well under 50%.

    The main reason, Leave won was because Leave Voters turned out, whilst people who told the pollsters they supported Remain didn’t. Turnout in Scotland which was expected to break heavily for Remain was 67%, and only 56% and 63% in Glasgow and Dundee respectively and this made the Scottish contribution to the Remain pile smaller than expected. They voted in their droves in the Scottish Independence Referendum though.

    Whereas in England and Wales, both Leave Nations, with near identical leave % as well, turnout was 73% and 72% respectively. But in London which voted Remain, turnout was only 69%.

    Of the 13 Regions only three, Northern Ireland, Scotland and London, voted to Remain, but they could still have carried the day if they had achieved the same turnout as ‘Leave’ Regions. The three Remain Regions were all in the four lowest turnout areas.

    The fact is that Leavers cared enough to vote, but Remainers couldn’t be bothered. This suggests that enthusiasm for the EU is even lower than the Referendum indicates. It’s ironic that the Remainers especially the under 25 Remainer demographic who were the least likely to turn at all are the ones now asking for a re-run.

    What all this suggests however, is that UKIP has a future. Just as in Scotland with the Pro Independence voters, Leavers who never voted before have now been ‘radicalised’ and have twigged that they can get something of what they want by voting.

    This might have serious repercussions in the future for the Labour Party. My guess is that the Labour Party will never win a General Election in the UK again.

  20. @Pete1, RAF

    A brake on EU migration would be pretty much my “ideal” solution. I voted leave, due to concerns over net migration figures, but I am not at heart opposed to the concept of the UK being part of a “free movement area”.

    My issue is that I don’t think the new Eastern European countries were sufficiently developed to take part. A few threads ago I gave a hypothetical (and deliberately absurd) example of a single market / free movement zone between the USA and India. Noone could be in any doubt what the consequences of that would be.

    If a 7 or 10 year brake were to be applied, then that would give time for further economic development in the accession countries, with a view to reducing the “need” to up sticks, sleep in a garage and work in a car wash in the UK. I think it would have to go hand-in-hand with more generous regional development funds, and an understanding that new accession countries would face a pretty stringent hiatus on their citizens being granted free movement.

  21. Ukip is the main danger to labour and with a mixed race leader I can see my family and people like them voting for ukip unless labour is offering a radical alternative. which brings me neatly to the point Colin and others have been making. If voters don’t like their current MP they have two choices, vote for another party or become politically active and change the candidate of their prefered party.

    In scotland the SNP was an acceptable alternative to labour for the more politically aware people and trying to change the labour party from within was just too hard, it was also an acceptable alternative for ordinary voters. Labour in Scotland were told what the problem was, but they refused to change, they thought that they had a right to the Scottish votes. Scotland is lost for labour for the foreseeable future.

    In England Ukip is not an acceptable alternative to labour for the more politically aware but it is and could be for the ordinary voter. What has happened in Scotland is going to happen in England, New Labour is dead dead dead. Its change or die but the Labour party has a fossilized structure, its incapable of change with its present structure. At the moment its only surviving because of the absence of a viable alternative, in the same way as in Scotland for many years the MPs are relying on nostalgia and a romantic attachment by the voters but that isn’t going to save them for ever

  22. “Among current Labour voters Jeremy Corbyn is the preferred choice of 54%, Owen Smith of 22%. ”

    This surely is the critical bit of this poll, apart from the fact that it shows Labour trailing well behind and on course for another electoral thumping.

    54% of 31% is 16.74%, which I assume forms the core of the 16% of respondents who think Corbyn would make best PM. That’s really woeful – in effectively a binary choice, 84% of voters are against Labour’s candidate for PM, with half their own supporters against as well. Obviously the figures are worse for Owen Smith, but it’s difficult to know for sure due to the fact that I suspect very few people actually know him.

    One way to look at this is to imagine that the PLP are correct and that Corbyn is putting off potential Labour voters. These lost Labour votes will not be counted in Corbyn’s 54% support, as they now aren’t identifying as Labour supporters.

    For the sake of argument, lets assume that Corbyn’s unpopularity has cost Labour 2.5% in the national polls, which would give them 33.5%. Still very low, and a heavy election defeat looming, but better than a crushingly low 31%.

    If we also assume that the additional 2.5% are not Corbyn supporters (if there were, presumably they would be identifying as Labour voters) we can assume that Corbyn wouldn’t attract any additional support from these lost voters.

    So at 31% in the polls and with 54% of these supporting him, Corbyn has 16.74% of the total poll respondents backing him. As this figure stays static with the addition of 2.5% of lost Labour voters, we can see that anti Corbyn Labour supporters number 33.5 – 16.74 or 16.76%. Theoretically, this means that Corbyn has lost his majority of Labour voters support.

    Obviously this is a bit of statistical fun and games, but it does have a point. If Corbyn supporters use this poll to claim some kind of positive message regarding Corbyn support they are really missing the point.

    This poll tells actually us;

    – Labour support is extremely low
    – Corbyn supporters have a bare majority of this very low numbers of Labour supporters
    – Very few other non Labour voters think Corbyn would be best PM, suggesting Corbyn’s support is at it’s maximum possible level
    – Given this, even a very slight increase in labour support levels would mean Corbyn losses majority internal Labour support.

    The lesson I take from this is that Labour has shrunk to a position where it can’t win elections and they need to reach out to non Corbyn supporting voters. It adds to my sense that Corbyn is destroying Labour.

  23. Candy
    “But there is a hard core of Kippers who don’t trust anyone, and feel that supporting UKIP is the best way of holding the govt’s feet to the fire. Only once article 50 is triggered will they relax.”

    That’s largely true, as are other comments on UKIP, but I don’t think UKIP supporters will relax until negotiations are complete, and maybe not even then if the deal isn’t what they want. I think they’ll be around for a while yet, and have time to change emphasis to a wider range of policies.

    I tend to agree regarding the Labour vs UKIP debate. I, have never understood how a person having spent the last 10,20,30,40, years voting Labour, could suddenly think UKIP was the answer.

    If one had become sick of ones northern town being overrun with Muslims, why wait for UKIP to appear to cease supporting Labour?
    If on the other hand, one thinks multicultural Bradford is brilliant and a positive improvement on 40 years ago, you will not want UKIP and its policies anyway.

    All this is based on my own right wing- left wing and centre logic.
    Of course many of us have stood on doorsteps listening to the most ridiculous reasons for voting for the various parties.

  25. “What has happened in Scotland is going to happen in England, New Labour is dead dead dead. Its change or die but the Labour party has a fossilized structure, its incapable of change with its present structure.”

    That’s interesting, and not the view of Corbyn’s former Chief of Staff and Ken Linvingston favourite. He said that the shadow cabinet recognised that Labour had lost it’s way, particularly in economic policy, and was keen to work with Corbyn to craft a new message. It was Corbyn that refused to engage, apparently.

  26. ALEC
    It would be interesting to see how Nicola Krankie came out of a “best PM ” poll with Theresa May. Krankie would obviously sweep the board north of the wall, but I wonder how many left of centre persons would fancy her (politically) in E&W.

  27. I’m a bit puzzled by the discussion on the last thread about whether MPs owe their seat in parliament to the selection process for their party or to their vote from the electorate.

    I’m not sure if the argument about the electorate mandate is philosophical and this is where the electorate argument comes from- “it’s the voters that elect an MP”. But seeing as this is a polling site it would be quite easy to work out which assumption is true.

    I don’t really need to run the figures to know from an election night how generally there is very little variation in the swings between constituencies. Most standard swings come in within a percent or two of the national swing. Plus we have also talked about a bonus to an incumbent MP, fundamentally because during their time in parliament they will have helped a number of constituents with their school place, plumbing, dog sh*t or whatever. There might be a stream of other local factors (steelworks closed, demographic changes) that also affect those standard swings that have nothing to do with the candidates.

    There are of course exceptions- Portillo moments,the Hamiltons, Ed Balls, Galloway effects etc and it can be markedly different at by elections. In general however it seems pretty obvious to me that 95% of voters simply vote for the party and for the other 5% this generally comes down to a positive vote for an MP who has helped you in some way.

    So unless someone can run some figures from, say, 2015, and demonstrate wide variations in more than a handful of seats I think it is fairly obvious that being selected by your party as a candidate and the party’s national performance is the reason you are (or are not) an MP.

  28. @Shevii – “…..and the party’s national performance is the reason you are (or are not) an MP.”

    Yes! You’ve got it! That’s precisely what we are saying – it’s the voters that elect MPs. No one (as far as I am aware) was arguing that in individual constituencies an MPs personal relationship with their electorate trumps all else.

    All we were saying was that MPs get to Westminster because their party garners sufficient electoral support and that in their own constituency this means they are the victors.

    Your point is not relevant, to be honest. If party members, nationally and locally, decide on a leader, set of policies and candidates that they want but that doesn’t chime with the voters at large, they won’t get many MPs. That’s all – quite a simple concept really.

    At 31% in the polls, it pretty much looks like this is what labour are happy top do at present.

  29. Why should UKIP go away when they are expecting betrayal whatever May says now about brexit meaning brexit.
    Brexit light which will be negotiated by the new PM will not be sufficient for them.
    When you offer a real ale drinker a shandy they will hardly be over the moon.

  30. If there is a split in the Labour party then future success will be down to who ever is able to keep the name.

    The number of Labour voters I know who care not one jot who the leader is nor their policies is worrying.

    It seems that old memories dating back to the days of Keir Hardy have been passed even to todays generation in some parts of the country.

    The left today is a broader church than it has ever been and there is no realistic way that the breadth of those views can be represented in a single party, one side or another needs to dominate in order to present a coherent face to the public. Inevitably this leads to factional infighting and resentment.

    The SDP split is proof of this. The old Labour die hards, voting for a name will not allow a breakaway party to flourish. Unless of course the Labour name is allowed to die, which would force all those habitual voters to have to think about who they want to support, which would be a great day for democracy !

  31. Alec

    May has just become prime minister, I think that might have a little bearing on the poll findings

  32. Panelbase are currently surveying GB opinion on a fairly broad range of voting and Brexit matters including A50 activation, outcomes, 2nd referendum and GE timings. It didn’t ask about UK breakup, however.

    FWIW, a close relative in Bristol completed this survey earlier today.

    Let’s hope it was for a media outlet and appears as a thread near here soon!

  33. Most of these suggested elaborate and complicated systems of EU migration control when we Leave, ‘points systems’, etc, wouldn’t be required if the new arrangements simply ensured that draconian restrictions are in place for migrant benefit entitlements for those who come in from the EU.

    Immigration would fall of its own accord even with Free Movement still in place, if it were made clear to arrivals that they could not gain entitlement to any benefits of any sort, such as Tax Credits, ESA, Child Benefits, Housing Benefits etc in the UK, until they’ve worked for here for ten years, get only free Emergency Health Care, and never be entitled to Social Housing at all.

    If David Cameron had asked for something like this, and the EU had been willing to agree it, I bet the UK would have voted narrowly to Remain. The anger that many on low earnings, and in poor circumstances feel about large scale immigration is due to the fact that they see newcomers as being in competition for limited resources available for Benefits and Housing, which they think people born here should get priority for.

    Only the most suspicious and racist minded types resent people coming here to work if they don’t (or rarely) claim anything. No one here complains if a migrant is given hospital treatment, after being run over by a bus. We insist that he gets it. But we complain if he brings his family to Britain with him, expects them to go to school, receive housing and health care etc, while he does a low paid job and gets Tax Credits Child Benefit and Housing Benefit.

    Most people here are well disposed to the migrants who they see in their own locality, but they have a more jaundiced view of the numbers coming, and the economic effects on themselves in general. They see migration as bad but see most of the migrants they meet as good.

    The UK is used to accommodating migrants of far more distinctive culture and ethnicity than the Europeans who come now, and if the the numbers drop to (say) 100,000 a year or a bit more, this will all blow over, as long as we make some attempt to build more social housing than the pathetic efforts we’ve managed in recent decades. The financial returns on Social Housing investment for the taxpayer at current rents in the London and the South East when it can borrow the money at near zero interest rates,are enormous. And the Public Sector has the land and the ability to give immediate planning permission and is much better than it used to be at managing building projects and contracts.

    If the EU accepted that Free Movement of people doesn’t mean Free immediate entitlement to benefits these problems would largely go away. Migration into the UK is almost entirely a Labour Market issue, which in the UK is massively distorted and aggravated by the relatively generous ‘in work’ non contributory benefit system which operates alongside our endless capacity to create albeit relatively low paid jobs, whilst paying the benefits to top up the income. You don’t see people flooding into (say) Sweden in these numbers and the reason is simple. It’s not so easy to get work there.

    Under the present arrangements and the benefit top ups, if I were a single Romanian man, let alone one with a family, I’d come to the UK, and take a low paid job, in the knowledge that I could still have a much higher standard of living than I could in Romania, and live in a welcoming tolerant society and see other Romanians. It would seem like paradise. But I might think twice if there was no Housing Benefit, Tax Credits or other benefits to top up the pay.

    This system could not have been better designed to create the conditions which provoked people into voting Leave. Politicians are oblivious to the effects of the system in attracting migrants because they do not themselves fall within the low income category within which it operates and don’t imagine that people would be attracted by such low wages and a few pounds benefit on top.So they don’t appreciate how attractive it is to people who are used to living in near, or total poverty.

    When the UK does Leave, all this can be rectified with Free Movement left largely intact, and the furore will all die down. If I were the Government I’d rectify it immediately we trigger Article 50. All the EU can do is bring proceedings under EU law at the European Court of Justice, but by the time the proceedings concluded we’d already be out of the EU and ECJ, (unlike the ECtHR, (which I very much hope we we’ll be staying in). And even if we hadn’t quite completed the leaving process, there’d be nothing the EU could do about it.

  34. @CambridgeR

    “In England Ukip is not an acceptable alternative to labour for the more politically aware”

    Not a sensible thing to say.

  35. Ron Olden
    Very good summary.

  36. Wood

    Well if you look at ukip policies then they really aren’t a good alternative to labour. Which is what I meant by politically aware

  37. test

    Immigration would fall of its own accord even with Free Movement still in place, if it were made clear to arrivals that they could not gain entitlement to any benefits of any sort, such as Tax Credits, ESA, Child Benefits, Housing Benefits etc in the UK, until they’ve worked for here for ten years, get only free Emergency Health Care, and never be entitled to Social Housing at all.

    Yes it would, but it is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and as such the other 27 members have little choice but to reject it.

    Perhaps May should have the honesty to admit that “New” Lab’s “Tax Credits, ESA, Child Benefits, Housing Benefits etc” was a fudge to disguise the low wage levels which have been allowed to exist to encourage inward investment and to set the minimum wage at a realistic “living wage” level.

    That could well result in much inward investment being moved to the poorer EU members and obviate the need for their nationals to seek work in the UK.

  39. Roland Haines makes a good point. What we call the Right-Left spit is redundant, and might always have been. I myself am a life long Centre Right Conservative but have very liberal or even ‘Left Wing’ views on some things.My only noticeable ‘Right Wing’ views are that I am very hostile to Trade Unions and I was determined ‘Leaver’. I’m not hugely concerned about migration either, although I understand why many are. To me ‘Leave’ was about sovereignty, but I wouldn’t touch UKIP with a Barge Pole

    But I see a man in the pub occasionally, who over recent years has given me endless ear bashing about ‘all these migrants’ and how we should not just ‘stop them them all coming in’ but ‘send them all home’. He’s very nearly driven me to Socialism. So I avoid talking to him. He also endlessly slags off David Cameron.I assumed he was a Nazi.

    Just to make conversation the other day, when I couldn’t think of anything else to say, I asked him the if he had voted in the Referendum, expecting him to be delighted with the result. He told me he had voted Remain. I didn’t bother asking why, although I did meet an elderly man who also didn’t like migration either but who had voted Remain ‘because David Cameron was advising it’.

    There are many Liberal Democrats who voted Leave and even Liberal Democrats who’s shifted directly from the Lib Dems to UKIP in 2015. Except (usually) between the Tories and Labour, movement between parties in the UK is quite fluid.

    This is, and always has all been far more a Class and Identity thing than a Right-Left one. It’s like being either Man U or Man City. People will support anyone other than the main opponent. I wouldn’t be surprised if Owen Smith (in the unlikely event that he wins), turns out to be even more unpopular with Labour voters than Jeremy Corbyn, whilst winning back no swing voters at all.

    I’m also puzzled about why 4% of Tory voters in this recent poll think that Jeremy Corbyn will make a better Prime Minister than Theresa May, and why, if they think that, they are still voting Tory.

    I noticed a survey of SNP voters attitudes a year or two ago, which discovered that when asked to comment on policies without being told which party was advocating them, the SNP voters were no more or less ‘Right Wing’ than Tory Voters in England and voters in ‘Old Labour’ areas, when asked about certain subjects, were equally as Right Wing as Tory voters. My uncle (who would have been 100 by now if he was still alive, was was mad fort Labour and hated the Tories. But he adored Enoch Powell.

    No wonder it’s so difficult for pollsters.

  40. Alec
    ‘This surely is the critical bit of this poll, apart from the fact that it shows Labour trailing well behind and on course for another electoral thumping. ‘

    I agree with almost all your comments re-Corbyn and the state of the Labour party. However, this poll recording Labour at 31% matches what Milliband managed in May 2015, and the Tory lead at 6% is actually a touch lower. It implies a Tory majority of just 6 – hardly ‘a thumping’!

  41. Alec
    To continue my earlier post. A Labour vote of 33.5% could well be enough to remove the Tories from office – assuming that the latter poll circa 37%.. It would imply that Labour gains 15 seats from the Tories and would return us to a Hung Parliament with the Tories falling to 315 with Labour rising to 247. There would also be fair chance that the LibDems would pick up a handful of seats lost to the Tories last year – rising from 8 to -say -12 – so pushing the Tories a bit lower.
    On those figures May would struggle to survive – even with Unionist and UKIP support!

  42. @Cambridgerachel – “May has just become prime minister, I think that might have a little bearing on the poll findings”

    Yes – well aware of that. thanks. You can put your fingers in your ears and shout ‘la la la la’ about labour’s poll numbers if you want to, but what would be the point?

    Since Corbyn took power, of the 81 reported polls on UKPR, they have ranged between 27 – 36 (a single score of 36% on 13th March) with only 5 polls of 35% or above and 32 polls at 30% or below (that’s quite a shocking number) with an average poll score of 31.4%.

    This suggests that the current poll hasn’t been materially affected by May’s coronation, as it is bang in line with Corbyn’s long term average.

    Like others, I think you are deluding yourself if you think Corbyn is an asset to the Labour party. For his entire tenure Labour have been bumping along the very bottom of their historical range, despite a government facing multiple problems, and I think we’ve seen enough to know that electoral slaughter awaits.

  43. @Graham – that’s a bit like the joke about the constipated elephant and the three monkeys.

    Labour can’t win on 31%, and they won’t be able even run a minority administration. I doubt anyone would seriously want to work with a Corbyn administration is some form of coalition, such is his generally poor management abilities.

    Labour were hammered under Milliband. It was worse than 2010, which was a disaster, but in 2010 it was less of a disaster than people expected.

    If we are saying that Corbyn isn’t doing too badly because he is on course to continue a string of disasters, then I think Labour expectations have sunk to a very low point.

  44. @Ron Olden

    You are correct in general about turnout in Leave and Remain areas, but not about low turnout among young voters. 69% seems to be the correct figure, which is the lowest in any age group but not by much. So I think the snide comments about young Remained are out of order!

  45. Alec
    ‘Labour were hammered under Milliband. It was worse than 2010, which was a disaster, but in 2010 it was less of a disaster than people expected. ‘

    Yes and no to that. Milliband polled 31.2% in 2015 compared with just 29.7% under Brown in 2010. The Tory lead over Labour also narrowed slightly from 7.3% in 2010 to 6.6% in 2015.
    Despite the smaller % vote lead the Tory lead in seats went from 48 to 98 – but this was almost entirely due to the Labour loss of 40 seats in Scotland to the SNP and the Tories making big gains from the LibDems. In terms of the direct Tory – Labour contest Labour did manage a net gain of 4 seats in England though just 2 seats in GB as a whole.Had it not been for the collapse in Scotland , Labour’s 2015 performance would have looked far more respectable with a total of 273 seats.
    I agree that 31% would almost certainly be too low to form even a minority government. On the other hand, a level of 33.5% – which you allude to – might be a different matter – depending on the level of Tory support. All bets would be off if Labour polled 33.5% with the Tories on 36%.


    Again, another Corbyn supporter who backed him in the confidence motion describing the poor leadership, lack of awareness and lack of policies under Corbyn’s tenure.

    Again, I’m certain that she will be written off as Blairite MI5 undercover agitprop type individual, but the time will come when the huge range of moderate and formerly supportive voices are listened to. Probably after another stint in opposition.

  47. Barabazenzero.

    I don’t dispute that the Free Movement of people is feature of the Treaty. But that’s not to say that the Treaty couldn’t have been changed, to at least remove the Free access to benefits. There’s no earthly reason why Free Movement must also mean Free access to benefits in the destination country. This benefits issue impacts particularly sensitively on the UK because of the non contributory nature of our benefits system, and the ease with which we create the low paid jobs that allow people immediate entry into Tax Credits and Housing Benefits..

    I concede that it was impossible for David Cameron to achieve a deal which would have satisfied the electorate. But what the EU offered him was an insult. Although I was ‘Leave’ orientated and would probably have voted Leave anyway, just to ensure a decent Leave total vote, I was fairly open to persuasion to at least wishing Remain well, until the deal was announced.

    But when I saw the deal Cameron was given, my mind was made up in February. I concluded that if they weren’t willing to take this seriously with the threat of a Leave Vote in the offing they never would and we really should Leave.

    I also agree that this Tax Credit system has the effect of subsidising low wages. But that was an accepted side effect of the system when it was introduced. It wasn’t so long ago we had high unemployment and Gordon Brown thought that a system like this where people who could only get a low paid job, but could have their pay topped up rather than living a lifetime on benefits, was workable with a lowish Minimum Wage. And it probably is. I’d much rather have this than the levels of unemployment they have in Spain, Italy, Greece etc etc. But in the part of Rural Wales I live £9 an hour will certainly put businesses out of business and the people concerned out of work, with the knock on effect on the small communities.Low paid work for us, with Tax Credit money coming in is better than Rural deprivation.

    But it’s impossible to operate a Tax Credit system like this with unlimited migration. All this ‘living wage’ is going to do is attract yet more migrants who have no choice but to live in near squalor. Most of the people who get it, will simply lose Tax Credits as a result. Which is why Osborne announced it. To cut the Benefits bill. It only applies to over 25’s which ‘coincidentally’ is the age at which people qualify for Tax Credits.

    You are also entirely right that what the EU should be doing is making it possible for the countries of migrant origin to prosper. It’s not in their interests to lose their most enterprising people. But the EU is not set up to achieve that outcome. It’s set up to reward vested interests in the richest countries, and the richest countries have the most clout and the most discontented electorates.

    As for Britain, the best single thing we can do is build Social Housing as fast as we possibly can and make it an open ended commitment. High rents are the main single cause of poverty and insecurity in London and the South East.

    The Private Rental sector is excellent for transient younger people. But it is not suitable to providing homes for families and older people who want to settle down. How can you even decorating your home when you only have a six month tenancy agreement. We should be building Social Housing as fast as we can and when people have lived in their homes for so long, letting them buy them if that’s what they want, and use the proceeds to build yet more.

  48. Alec
    Thanks for that link. It includes the following from Liz Mcinnes
    ‘ The turning point in the campaign was the decision of the party to instruct MPs to abstain on the second reading of the Welfare Reform bill last July. Jeremy was the only candidate to vote against the plans, along with 47 other Labour MPs – myself included. It was the right decision to vote against the bill, and I believe that was the moment which convinced many to vote for Jeremy.’
    I have always taken that view and am convinced that the blame for Corbyn’s ascent to the leadership falls on the shoulders of Harriet Harman as Acting Leader – rather than the MPs who nominated him.

  49. First signs of the internal party problems facing May –

    It’s going to be genuinely interesting how such matters are resolved.

    If the emergency brake concept is included in the Brexit deal, then I can foresee huge pressure for a second vote from remainers. Such a deal confirms our contention from before the vote that something could be done on free movement without breaking the treaties. I would imagine the half way house of paying something in to get access to the free market with a brake on migration, but no seat at the table, would not be a good option for remainers, who would want the chance to stay fully in, but with a brake on migration.

    For leavers, we’re already seeing the hard core ‘out means out’ brigade getting hot under the collar. It begins to look like Brexit hasn’t calmed internal Tory divisions.

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