New party leaders normally enjoy a honeymoon in the polls. It’s noticeable for leaders taking over in opposition, on the relatively rare occassion that the party leadership changes hands in government the honeymoon is often remarkable. In the last fifty years there have been three previous occasions when the premiership changed hands between-elections:

  • Wilson-Callaghan, 1976. When Harold Wilson announced his resignation in the middle of March the polls were showing a Conservative lead of between two and five points. The polls immediately following Wilson’s resignation and during Callaghan’s first month in office showed Labour leads of between one and seven points, before returning to a steady Tory lead in May.
  • Thatcher-Major, 1990. Margaret Thatcher was famously removed by the Tory party in November 1990. In the month before the leadership election Labour had an average poll lead of thirteen points. In the month immediately following her resignation and replacement by John Major the Conservatives had an average lead of five points, peaking at 11 points. Over the next few months the polls settled down to an average Tory lead of four points or so.
  • Blair-Brown, 2007. The Blair-Brown handover was a more drawn out affair: Blair announced his resignation at the start of May 2007, when the Conservatives had a poll lead of around six points, and actually handed over to Gordon Brown at the end of June. Through July and August Brown enjoyed an average Labour lead of around five points, peaking in double-digit leads during the Labour conference at the end of September… and their rapid collapse afterwards. The Conservatives were ahead again by October, and remained so for the rest of the Parliament.

Every mid-term change of Prime Minister has been accompanied by a significant boost in polling figures – in the three historical cases, they’ve gone from trailing the opposition to a clear polling lead. The boosts have tended to be comparatively short though – Callaghan and Major only enjoyed a month or so before settling down into a new equilibrium, Brown enjoyed a honeymoon that lasted several months, but that was probably because he was seem to have responded well to the Glasgow Airport attack and Summer floods. There’s no clear pattern as to where the polls settle after the honeymoon: I suppose it depends very much on the leader. Once the honeymoons had passed the change in leader didn’t make that much difference in 1976 and 2007 (in both cases Labour’s position absolutely tanked a few months down the line… but for different reasons), in 1990 though there was a long lasting improvement in Tory support.

So to the current polling position. Today’s ICM poll has topline figures of CON 43%(+4), LAB 27%(-2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 13(-1) (tabs are here). It follows on from an ICM poll last week showing the Conservatives ten points ahead, a YouGov poll giving the Conservtives an eleven point lead and an Opinium poll giving them a more modest six point lead. All four polls had Labour around or just below 30% and the Conservatives nearer 40%, UKIP down a little from the levels of support they’d been showing before the referendum.

Viewed together it certainly looks like the sort of boost a new Prime Minister normally receives, which is a good reason not to read too much into it. New Prime Ministers receive good poll ratings because they haven’t had to annoy too many people yet – the public can project their hopes onto them and convince themselves they really will be different, really will deliver this, that or the other. Before long, however, the shine will come off and they’ll have to start making compromises and disappointing people. This is one good reason for Theresa May not to plan for an early election (and the mistake Gordon Brown made in not shutting down such considerations) – the current polls look wonderful for her, but on past timescales they won’t necessarily be so rosy in a couple of months time. It’s also a crumb of comfort for Labour… though quite a small crumb.

UPDATE: YouGov have fresh voting intention figures that also show a strong lead for the Conservatives, albeit, not quite as big as ICM’s. Their topline figures are CON 40%, LAB 28%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%. Tabs are here

846 Responses to “Leadership honeymoons and ICMs latest poll”

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  1. Charles

    Thanks for the reply. I obviously misunderstood the tenor of your original comment.

    The media love to portray party members (or factions of them) as “zealots”. I’ve been a member of three parties at different times, and there were few such folk in any of them at branch level.

  2. You don’t have to hate Blair to understand how some peeps might be disenchanted with being led to believe they’d get one thing but got another, much like LibDems felt disenchanted, or to see the stuff that undermined the good things, to see that things like tax credits were sticking plasters in lieu of proper jobs etc. etc.

  3. “Good point, things might look a little different in 13 years time”


    bet we still have storage taxes, and no Thorium…

  4. and autoschmod…

  5. Carfrew

    “and no Thorium…”

    How much longer are you going to peddle these untruths?

    We have lots of Thorium. It’s just sitting quietly in the Earth’s crust bothering nobody …..


    Just to help with my education, would you remind me about things that some people would find good and were done by the governments of Heath 70-74, Callaghan 76-79 and Major 90-97.

  7. Ludlownewboy

    I’ve retired from teaching! “Do your own research” would be my best advice as to furthering your education.

  8. Yet again, STV news is somewhat opaque in reporting polls.

    “The YouGov poll, commissioned by the SNP, found that 47% of those polled would be in favour of independence following the UK’s decision to leave Europe on June 23.

    The poll of 1006 Scottish adults, which was carried out between July 20-25, showed a 1% increase in support for Scotland becoming an independent country – up from 46% – from those sampled between May 2-4.

    The number of respondents who said they would not vote or did not know also increased from 12% to 14% in the wake of the Brexit vote.”

    Now, that might mean 46% Yes : 40% No : 14% DK – or possibly something else entirely.

    If that simple bit of arithmetic from the report is correct then it would equate to a 53.5% Yes vote, once DKs are excluded.

    So not much difference from other post Brexit polls.

    Independence seems to maintain a narrow lead among those with definite opinions.


    OK, fair enough. But you are not usually so reticent.

  10. Ludlownewboy

    Not so much “reticent” as rather uninterested in analysing all the policies of UK Governments in the last quarter of the 20th century.

    If you think that under any of those PMs everything was bad, or everything was good, then you don’t need me to analyse it for you – you’ll already have come to a conclusion yourself.

  11. Candy

    It might have escaped your notice that Hillary Clinton is the second most unpopular and distrusted politician in the US. No prizes for guessing who is on first place

  12. Seems STV not only can’t report sensibly, but they can’t even report accurately!

    YG poll has Yes at 47%, No at 53% (excluding DKs)

    Probably more importantly (excluding DKs) –

    “I would rather live in a Scotland that was a member of the European Union but not a part of the United Kingdom” 45%

    “I would rather live in a Scotland that was a part of the United Kingdom but not a member of the European Union” 55%

    As far as I know, this is the first poll to have asked that critical question.

  13. @Ludlownewboy

    Under Callaghan, Labour managed to save a lot of industry and employment desoite the ravages of inflation inflicted by the oil crisis, which saw the economy also thrown into recession.

    Very difficult to deal with, recession with inflation, as normal methods of dealing with recession tend to stoke inflation etc.

    They nonetheless got inflation down from 25% down to 8% before the second oil price spike saw inflation shoot up again, peaking under Thatcher. Things only improved under Thatch once the oil price collapsed, ushering in the world boom of the mid-eighties…

  14. “It’s just sitting quietly in the Earth’s crust bothering nobody …..”


    It’s bothering me…

  15. @Rach

    “It might have escaped your notice that Hillary Clinton is the second most unpopular and distrusted politician in the US ”


    It’s possible Candy doesn’t see that as a bad thing. Seems to like the distrusted ones, like Blair…

  16. Interesting (though not unexpected) difference of opinion on that critical question in the YG poll (it’s the same one that they have been releasing bits of for some days now).

    18-24: 25-49: 50-64 65+

    66% : 55% : 36% : 23% Sco in EU not UK
    34% : 45% : 62% : 77% Sco in UK not EU

  17. This is an example of a great polling question

    “13% of registered voters would actually prefer for a meteor to hit Earth than for Trump or Clinton to become president”

  18. Anthony

    Though I suspect the effect of question ordering in any poll is marginal at best (despite the shock/horror when an SNP commissioned poll on indy didn’t ask that first) it would be useful if YG showed the Scottish poll in its entirety, with the order of questions shown, rather than the current piecemeal release of individual (though related) questions.

    Now that you have corrected the erroneous age band numbers you first showed, presumably you can now show the whole poll as it should be reported?

  19. It doesn’t say what % would like the meteor to directly hit the two presidential candidates

  20. Anthony

    YG identified the “Scotland in Union” questions specifically, but there is no such identification of the commissioning questioners for any of the other ones.

    So why the “drip-feed” release that your company has adopted for this poll’s data?

    Presumably, there is some reason, and it would be sensible to outline what that is.

  21. Laszlo

    A story which will have a major impact in your area

  22. OLD NAT
    “Social wage” is quite a good concept, since it implies providing value to society and being paid by society for it.
    It’s used in costing contracts where the conracting agency needs the bidder to distinguish between salary and insurance,
    health care,housing, leave, children’s educational costs etc, so equates with travel costs etc as the costs of getting and keeping people and their dependents in a working or contributing situation.

  23. Looks like the Labour Party is set to split in two if Corbyn is re-elected:

    That will lead to interesting times ahead when Parliament reconvenes. Large bag of popcorn ordered.

  24. The YouGov Scottish Independance poll is up on their website now. I appreciate it is only one poll but it does not seem good news for the SNP. A majority favour staying in the UK even if that means Scotland is outside the EU. Age seems to be a very significant feature in the polling as already shown by OLDNAT.

    It will be interesting how this changes over time assuming that YouGov continue to ask the same questions going forward.


    A story which will have a major impact in your area

    But that story is over a year old Though even if it was missed at the time, there isn’t a ‘smoking gun’ there, just the unverifiable hints and untraceable suggestions that marked Blair’s style as PM. Burnham seem to have been warned off further action, but there’s nothing to prove that Murdoch’s hand was behind it (except that it often was).

    In any case, I doubt the people of Merseyside could be more cynical or disgusted about Murdoch and Blair than they are already.

  26. @ David Carrod

    I really doubt that the Telegraph scenario would happen. It is unlikely that many of the 171 would follow such a move, and even more unlikely that they had any chance at the court for the name and the assets.

    What interesting is the continuing briefings (unless they are invented).

  27. Not particularly surprised by the Scotland poll.

    A lot can change though, Brexit / realignment with the EU will inevitably change the UK’s constitutional balance.

    Barnett Formula / Number of MPs / Upper House / Trade Access to Europe are all likely to end up in the melting pot.

  28. @ CambridgeRachel @ Roger Mexico

    Yes, the article goes around the claim very carefully.

    And yes, the article would not have any new impact here. Having said that there is a new group that attempts (very peacefully) to persuade shopkeepers to remove the Sun from sales (and restaurants, bars, taxis not to allow people to read the Sun on their premises). In six weeks they persuaded about a 100 of them, and now they are negotiating with the supermarket chains not to sell the Sun in Liverpool (one seems to have agreed). They got publicity (radio, local newspaper), and the council came out in support of them.

    While it is an apolitical group (so Blair is not on their agenda), they protested against Angela Eagle’s tweeting Sun article against Corbyn.

  29. Many supporters of the SNP’s core policy agenda will reflect tonight on the words of the highly-regarded pollster, Joe Twyman, YouGov head of political social research, who has categorically stated that “In the short term at least, the data suggests the vote to leave the EU has not boosted the cause of Scottish independence.”

    The YouGov Scottish Independance poll is up on their website now.

    Yes, the article is here with a link to the tables just before the comments.

    Most importantly, p3 of the tables shows the weighting schema. As OLDNAT suggests, upthread, we have seen no weightings for the other “Scottish” polling published by YouGov over the past week, so perhaps this is the final tranche. If that is the case, then the order in which the questions were asked is important.

    If this is the last tranche which will be made public, then that should be uncontroversial, but it is possible that there are more for the Sunday papers.

    Age seems to be a very significant feature in the polling as already shown by OLDNAT.

    Yes indeed, but should indyref2 occur, the franchise will likely be the same one that participated in indyref1 and is now the franchise of the Scottish Parliament.

    Age will indeed remain “a very significant feature, but at both ends of the spectrum, as well as resident EU nationals. For Westminster VI polls, the weighting of “Scottish” polls should represent that franchise, but virtually every other question related to Scotland should be based on the Holyrood franchise, for which the 2016 results are in any event more recent.

    Hopefully we will have a new thread soon relating to all of the questions and some elucidation by AW of why 2015 Westminster was used for weighting.

  31. Carfrew,

    A few myths there-

    (1) Inflation didn’t rise to about 25% until after 12 months of Labour gaining power in early 1974.

    (2) Inflation fell below 10% on the RPI measure of inflation in 1978 and started to rise from mid-1978 onwards, before the second oil crisis began. On the GDP deflator measure, inflation was persistently over 10% from mid-1974 onwards, until 1981.

    (3) The fall in inflation in the UK preceded the collapse in the oil prices, which didn’t really hit until 1985/1986. In fact, during the early Thatcher years, which was when inflation came down to about 5%, oil prices (at least on some measures) were well above what they had been during the Callaghan years.

    This is what you would expect from basic economy theory: a rise in oil prices can cause an upward “shift” in the LEVEL of prices, but the rate of inflation over a period of years is the result of other factors.

    In general, I find that both the left and the right have their myths about the Thatcher years and the macroeconomy. It’s obviously seductive for the left to attribute every success to everything under the sun except the Thatcher government and every problem to the Thatcher government. Similarly, the right likes to say that inflation was tamed during the Thatcher years, when actually it was during the Major years that Britain finally moved towards a sustainable low-inflation environment.


  32. @Bill
    You’re comparing a rate of change (inflation rate) with an absolute value (oil price) which I personally find confusing!

    You would have to bring the FX rate into account to understand what happened to the real cost of oil from a UK perspective, and GBP dropped from 2:40 to 1:60 (so 33%) under Wilson, meaning the real cost of oil rose 50% in that time.

    It’s worth remembering that the impact of Barber’s disastrous ‘dash for growth’ was still working through the system too – printing large amounts of money and flinging it into the economy was never going to end well once the exchange rate was allowed to float freely.

  33. @ Bill Patrick

    It is a good summary of the inflation trends in the last quarter of the last century, and a fair assessment of the ideological influences on the assessment of Thatcher. I’m still not convinced that the best way was chosen to deal with the structural problems, but it is a different question,

    There are some additional things that people forget. Until 1973 exchange rates were fixed, and the dollar was heavily overvalued. The shock of the removal of the fixed rates coincided with the first oil shock, and a year later the first major recession in the post-war period.

    Most of the foreign trade then was done in dollar, and sudden devaluation masked the existing inflationary pressures. The second half of the 1970s is really the crisis of the existing economic structure under the radical changes in price ratios (raw material, energy, manufactured goods, etc). All the governments of the major economies responded in the same way – generating inflation to encourage economic activities. Only towards the end of the decade did it become clear that it only prolonged the depression (half year surges, half year drops in economic activities). The markets (both productive and financial) built the next government stimulus in their calculations, so, these only generated more inflationary pressures.

    The only element in this that was unique to the UK was the delayed wage increases in the public sector, and Thatcher promised that she would implement the committee’s recommendation (partly because monetarism really believed that wages were not an inflationary factor, partly because of political reason). This additional demand pushed the inflation higher – until the recession and unemployment gradually removed the excess demand from the economy.

    It was the 1992 recession that more or less completed the restructuring of the economy, and finished the recessionary era.

    The interesting thing after that was that the relatively loose monetary policy did not trigger a new inflationary period (although there were upward pressures on prices).

  34. @ David Carrod

    The Mirror is now reporting (almost word for word) what was in the DT – it could be that they just paraphrased the first article (quite common) or some of the plotters just distribute unattributable press releases.

  35. Big Fat Ron,

    The claims I was arguing against was that it was changes in the LEVEL of oil prices that were behind changes in the RATE of inflation. I agree that’s a bit weird, once you think about it, but cost-push explanations of inflation tend to be very strange once analysed.

    On the exchange rate: that would only hold for the real price of imported oil, but North Sea Oil was already flowing at that point. I do agree that the exchange rate is an important transmission channel from the causes of inflation to headline inflation, but that’s via the prices of all imported goods, not just oil.

    I agree that Barber was an atrocious chancellor (our first and last experience of traditional Keynesian chancellor without the constraint of the Bretton Woods system) and that there had been a huge boom, peaking in early 1973, driven by loose monetary policies. That’s the primary reason why inflation was so high in 1974. By 1975, Labour had been in office long enough to take some countervailing steps, but they didn’t do so in 1974 for political reasons.

    Of course, there had also been a boom in 1977-1979 that was driven by loose monetary policies, and therefore, for the same reasons, you might attribute the high inflation of the early Thatcher years to the Callaghan government.

    (I don’t want to sound like a Major fanboy, but if you assess prime ministers’ periods in office on economic grounds and give a two year lag for the averages, John Major’s period – 1992-1999 – looks REALLY good. By 1999, the UK economy was in very impressive shape.)

  36. Perhaps Corbyn has some reason to complain about the media coverage. Just imagine if there was a conspiracy too.

  37. Laszlo,

    I agree with a lot of that, but I would argue that the restructuring of the Western economy (primarily deindustrialisation) and demographic factors (the big rise in the working-age population) were primarily important for unemployment. However, politicians in the 1970s and 1980s often chose inflationary policies as palliatives for unemployment, and so indirectly the structural factors caused inflation. However, I’m very much a monetarist/New Keynesian on such issues.

    I would attribute the move to a low-inflationary enviornment to the shift in 1992 to inflation targeting, plus increases in transparency under Ken Clarke, and finally the full move to independent central banking under Gordon Brown in 1997. This created a framework of rules and accountability that restrained the tendency towards inflationary policies. It also helped lower unemployment, because it stabilised inflation expectations, for reasons explained by C. A. Pissardies in “Unemployment in the UK: A European Success Story”.

    Defining “tight” and “loose” monetary policy is difficult, but I think that expected inflation is a good measure*, and the public’s expectations of inflation have been very low (relative to the 1970s/1980s) since the early 1990s.

    * I.e. “Do the public expect the government to print an inflationary amount of money over the next 5 years?”

    Measures of interest rates and the quantity of money can easily be counterintuitive for econ 101 reasons: the demand to hold money can be unpredictable and interest rates can be low even in a depression because inflation expectations are low.

    (I suppose what I’m saying, overall, is that John Major was the best political leader ever, and possibly God.)

  38. Incidentally, I haven’t been following politics much until very recently, and I am shocked at what has happened to Labour. I hadn’t realised just how intense the civil war had become.

    This might sound like a party political point, but it’s meant as a serious question: can Labour possibly persuade the public that they could be a functional government in the next four years? They’re not a functional opposition right now, and being a functional government is MUCH harder.

  39. Bill partrick

    (I don’t want to sound like a Major fanboy, but if you assess prime ministers’ periods in office on economic grounds and give a two year lag for the averages, John Major’s period – 1992-1999 – looks REALLY good. By 1999, the UK economy was in very impressive shape.)

    Unless you were actually living in it

  40. Laszlo,

    On the structural issues and Thatcher: it’s very hard for me to imagine a government that could optimally deal with the structural issues of the 1980s. I believe that what was needed was both labour market reforms (which Thatcher largely implemented) AND major state intervention to help the unemployed, especially the young, develop marketable skills. The latter would be very expensive and even a left-wing Labour government might have lacked the political will to pay the costs.

    Sadly, almost no-one seems to have forecast the rise in structural unemployment in the 1970s and 1980s, so (a) these problems were underestimated and (b) politicians tended to overestimate the scope for demand-led growth.

  41. As OldNat has done his usual late night thing of quoting from the tables without linking, I’d better put the latest batch from the YouGov Scottish poll (f/w 20-25 Jul):

    As ON said there doesn’t seem to be a commissioner for this bit, though they seem to have gone native and started eking out their Scottish polls over numerous releases.

    The main question here is the usual tracker one of If there was a referendum tomorrow on Scotland’s future and this was the question, how would you vote? Should Scotland be an independent country?

    which gives figures of:

    Yes 40% (-1)

    No 45% (-3)

    Would not vote 4% (+1)

    Don’t know 10% (+1)

    (changes from 2-4 May) As ever with referendum polling questions it’s important not to ignore WNV and DKs unless you’re on an actual polling day. There will have been YouGov methodological changes since the last time this was asked and a lot more since the actual Scottish Referendum, but the picture is very similar since then – with Yes up on the 45% of September 2014 but still below 50%. Changes from poll to poll, though much crowed about by the appropriate side, are basically MOE stuff. Of course many individuals have changed their minds since then – only 77% of Yes voters and 76% of No voters have stayed firm, a lower percentage than we have seen for either in previous polls. But overall the situation is little altered.

    Independence campaigners seeemed to have hoped that the threat to remove Scotland from the EU might tip the balance, and a couple of polls in late June suggested that, but the reason this didn’t happen is suggest by the responses to the two new questions in response to Which of these statements do you tend to agree with more? the first set are:

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a member of the European Union but not a part of the United Kingdom 37%

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a part of the United Kingdom but not a member of the European Union 46%

    Don’t know 17%

    and the second:

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a part of the United Kingdom but not a member of the Single Market 40%

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a member of the Single Market but not a part of the United Kingdom 34%

    Don’t know 26%

    The important thing here is the figures for DK – many people are waiting to see what will happen and the details of what is on offer. This explains the lack of movement in the IndyRef figures – which after all is about how people would vote “tomorrow”.

    But while we know what the situation will be then we don’t know what will be on offer when and if Brexit negotiations are completed. Even those giving a non-DK answer may be doing so because then envisage a particular outcome that may not be on offer.

    In that context the answers to the Single Market question is particularly revealing[1]. Only 40% prioritise staying in the UK over it. So choosing between the UK and the EU is very much still an uncertain question.

    It’s also worth pointing out there is another complication, often ignored. There is a group of voters (about 10% in this poll) who are both for Independence and against the EU. As with those who want both the UK and the EU they may not be able to have both options and which they would think more important is another unknown. I suspect many would prefer Independence, but it’s not sure how they will split.

    [1] There’s an interesting gender difference with women more willing to say DK – a perfectly reasonable response given that we’ve discovered over the last month that for most politicians ‘Single Market means whatever they want it to mean and it’s different in each case. Men are nearly evenly split.

  42. Bill

    Im going to have to take issue with your assertion that we have moved into a period of low inflation expectations. We actually live in a world where the major engine of the economy is the expectation that prices will rise faster than wages in two important areas, House prices and share prices. So important have these become that monetary and fiscal policy is almost exclusively targeted at these indicators.

  43. ROBIN (from yesterday)

    It would be good to hear an explanation of why two other town council candidates [in Totnes] were also “independents” with no official Labour candidate standing.

    Actually there was one Town Council candidate who was explicitly Labour that got elected, along with all three Greens candidates, for the four vacant Town Council seats, so having the Labour description may have helped. Alternatively she could have just been better known personally or benefited as the repository for the extra Green vote by being near the top of the ballot paper (no explicit Lib Dems stood for the TC) – TC elections are like that.

    As to why the other two Labour members were ‘Independent’ candidates, they may also have been late arrivals to the Party and the local CLP may not have had the chance to sort out the waivers properly.

    As I said yesterday the Labour seat in Totnes that was ‘lost’ was only really gained accidentally in the first place. The Greens only put up two candidates in 2015 and the third seat went to the Labour candidate, 700 plus votes behind the lower-placed Green – very much ‘best of the rest’.

    Labour came third (22.8%) in a by-election in that October as well, so it suggests that they would have had problems holding onto the seat no matter what label their candidate stood under or who was leader – their white label candidate got 21.3% this time The winning Lib Dem candidate was the (quite close) runner up in both 2015 elections and so was probably the favourite even without the Lib Dem’s recent resumption of their historic local by-election habits[1]. So a typical story of small town English life – albeit in a rather unusual town where the Tories tend to limp in a distant fourth[2].

    Perhaps more telling was the social media reaction to Labour’s ‘loss’, with PLP members such as Ben Bradshaw quick to denounce it as the work of evil/incompetent Corbyn supporters without knowing or caring about the actual situation[3] As so often in the anti-Corbyn attacks, it seems more important to push the standard narrative than actually consider the facts. And when that narrative gets refuted, the story gets repeated regardless, alienating Corbyn’s supporters and splitting the Party even further as repect is lost for the MPs. What is so surprising is how the PLP are unable to see how self-destructive their behaviour is.

    [1] The other Lib Dem win this week (in Cornwall from the Conservatives) seem to have a similar story with the Lib Dems not even standing in 2013. presumably to give MK a clear run. But then Cornwall mainly exists to make Devon people feel they’re not that odd after all.

    [2] Though in fact that pattern was repeated in another of this week’s by-elections: Harringay Ward in Haringey (just don’t ask) – incidentally where a certain J Corbyn was councillor once. This showed the Lib Dems at least holding their 2014 vote, though not doing much better in a ward they held before that.

    [3] Given that Bradshaw is MP for Exeter just up the road, you would have thought he would have known better or at least who to ask.


    Thank you very much for your post of 1.18 this morning. Sorry I didn’t thank you earlier, I’d gone to bed. That is very interesting. I asked about Callaghan because I live in the West Midlands and at the time, I traveled around a lot on business and I remember it as a period of utter chaos in industry. Working long hours to try and keep a job, young children, etc., I was unable to come to any objective conclusion as to why it was all happening and what the government’s objectives were. I was frequently stopped at factory gates by pickets, had to meet directors in odd places and they then explained how it was almost impossible to make any plans for the business, etc..

    I am pleased to discover that Callaghan did actually have a strategy that was mending the economy though, because I was contemplating not voting Labour in 1979, although I eventually did.

    Of course, there is no reason why you should freely give me the benefit of your knowledge (not that I am contemplating paying). The only reason I asked was that a little while ago you intervened in a conversation I was having with TANCRED to correct my belief that Grimsby’s fishing industry had been harmed by the EU fisheries policy.
    You commented that you thought I didn’t know much about fishing which was accurate as my evidence was purely anecdotal and was based on conversations with an old school friend of mine who took a year out of university and worked on trawlers out of Aberdeen. This would be c1968.

    In short, he never went back to university and worked on the trawlers until about 1976. He told me that the work was back-breaking, there were several times when he first started when he knew he was about to die and most of his time was spent having obscenities hurled at him by fellow crew members because he was so useless.
    At least he thought that was probably what they were saying because the combination of noise and what was to him an impenetrable accent meant that at least at first he wasn’t sure.
    The benefits though outweighed the problems. The money was fantastic, the obscenity hurlers were the best mates in the world on land and the girls treated a young English lad working on the trawlers like some sort of hero and were never slow to show their appreciation.

    He told me when he packed it in that the reason was that there were too many boats chasing not enough fish since we joined the Common Market and had allowed all the foreign boats to fish in our waters. He told me lots of people were packing it in because there was no money in it any more. He still went back to live in Aberdeen though.

    So, that was the sum of my knowledge regarding EU fisheries policy. Thin, as you divined. I had assumed my friend’s analysis was accurate and that Grimsby had suffered similarly to Aberdeen.
    I quoted Grimsby rather than Aberdeen because I believe that Aberdeen has since prospered from oil whereas Grimsby has had no such replacement industry.

    Thanks then for correcting my belief that Grimsby did badly out of the EU fisheries policy. You might care to note, but might not, that I try hard not to have conclusions, simply beliefs that may be amended at any time by new evidence.

  45. Roger Mexico: as I pointed out before, being in the sngle market is a concept that is not entirely clear to many voters. It may turn out that many voters might acrually equate “access to the single market”, i.e. being able to trade with the EU under a zero-tariff regime, with actually “being in the single market “, although that would be an incorrect perception

    Overall, even voters who backed “Remain” don’t seem to be very supportive of some obligations that come with “being in the single market” such as freedom of movement, the common agriculture policy, fishing quotas, contributing to the EU budget, or having to submit to all EU rules and regulations. On the other hand, there are disadvantages to having no-tariff single market access, but not being in the single market properly, and those disadvantages may be more pronounced to some sectors of the economy in particular such as the financial sector or the university/education sector.

    In the end, we will have to see exactly what kind of Brexit deal the UK and the EU will reach and how the UK will redefine its relationship to the rest of the world outside the EU (Australia, Brazil, China, India, the US, etc.) following Brexit. Unless those issues are settled, it doesn’t make sense to ask the Scots if they would prefer an independent Scotland inside the EU (or the single market) to Scotland within a United Kingdom with a new relationship status with the EU and the rest of the world that has not been properly defined yet.

  46. roger Mexico

    I would have liked a “does the brexit vote justify a new indy referendum” question. There was something similar but not quite.

    I think its important that before a new vote is held that a large majority feel its justified even if they personally would vote no in such a referendum or even if they think a referendum shouldn’t be held

  47. @Rachel

    I’m not sure it’s a worthwhile question. I think most people on all sides think it would be justified (or at least justifiable).

    The question is do the polls make it a proposition that is worthwhile (politically) for the SNP and worthwhile (in terms of the cost of the thing) for the taxpayer.

    I think the cut off is probably about 55% support for independence in the polls. Were the SNP to achieve that then I think they would rightly go for it. Rightly because it would be politically worth the gamble and because there would be a genuine shift of opinion that would justify the expense of asking the question again.

  48. Well it will be interesting to see how Ms Strugeon spins this latest poll. Surely that must put the brakes on a referendum, if anything from the SNP themselves who can’t afford to fly in to one without effectively being sure if the win.

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