A final post on boundary changes (at least until the Scottish proposals next month). This comes from a discussion I had with Mark Pack. Normally the thing we look at with boundary changes is what the party-partisan effect is, how the new boundaries would change the sort of swing that Labour need to win a general election. However, currently Labour are a very, very long way from the sort of polling lead they’d need to win a majority, so a small change in that figure really doesn’t make a lot of difference. More interesting in the current political climate is the effect it would have on Labour internal battle and any potential deselections.

The rules for how Labour will deal with re-selections after boundary changes are yet to be confirmed, so these are based on the rules set out for 2011 in the Labour rule book, on the assumption that Labour’s NEC will use similar rules this time round. A Labour MP has a right to seek selection in any seat that contains 40% or more of the electors in their existing seat. If an MP’s seat is divided up so much that no single seat contains 40% of their old electors then they’ll have the right to seek nomination in a seat with less than 40% of their old voters. If they are the only sitting MP to seek selection in a seat, they are nominated through the normal trigger ballot process. If more than one sitting MP seeks the nomination in a new seat there is a members ballot to pick between them.

Applying those rules to the provisional boundaries we can see where there may be contests under those rules. Note that this list is exhaustive, it contains every case where Labour MPs could compete against each other under the selection rules… but in some cases it will be easily avoided through either agreement (there are enough seats to go round) or retirement (an MP will be well over 70 come the general election and possibly considering retirement anyway). Of the 231 Labour members of Parliament in England & Wales, 142 of them should not face any re-selection difficulties connected to boundary changes – they may well see changes to their seat, but there is a single notionally Labour seat to which they have the sole right to seek selection. What about the other 89?

Avoidable Challenges

There are six places where more than one MP would have a right to seek selection for a seat, but where there are enough Labour seats to go round, so if MPs co-operate and agree between themselves who will stand where, no head-to-head challenge is necessary and no one is left empty handed. These are:
Alfreton and Clay Cross. Nastasha Engel and Dennis Skinner both have the right to seek selection here, but Skinner also has the right to seek selection in Bolsover, so a challenge seems unlikely.
East London. Mike Gapes’ seat is sliced up into tiny pieces, and if the NEC follow past practice he should have the right to seek selection in any of the successor seats. He is the only sitting MP with a right to seek selection in the new, ultra-safe, Forest Gate & Loxford seat so I imagine he will go there. If not, he could challenge Wes Streeting, Margaret Hodge or John Cryer (who could, in turn, seek selection in Stella Creasy’s Walthamstow)
Redcar. Andy McDonald and Anna Turley can both seek selection in Middlesbrough NE & Redcar, but McDonald is also eligible for the safe Middlesbrough W & Stockton E seat, so a challenge is avoidable.
Ashton Under Lyne. Jonathan Reynolds and Angela Rayner are both eligible, but Rayner is also eligible for the safer Failsworth & Droylsden.
Stockport. This is avoidable, but not without some pain for Ann Coffey. Andrew Gwynne & Ann Coffey are both eligible for the safe Stockport North & Denton seat. Ann Coffey is also eligible for the Stockport South & Cheadle seat, but that is far more marginal (that said, Coffey will be 73 at the next election, so may not stand).
Pontefract. Yvette Cooper and Jon Trickett are both eligible to seek selection, but Yvette Cooper also has a free run at Normanton, Castleford and Outwood.

Not Enough Labour seats to go round

The following seven areas have enough seats to go round, but one or more of them is notionally Conservative, so there may be a contest for the winnable seat or someone may be left in a seat that is notionally Conservative:
South London. Siobhain McDonagh’s seat is sliced up. Two of the successor seats, Merton & Wimbledon Common (a potentially winnable marginal) and Sutton & Cheam (no hope) are notionally Conservative, so she will have the choice of fighting one of them, or challenging either Chuka Ummuna or Rosena Allin-Khan.
South-East London. Erith and Thamesmead is split up into Erith & Crayford (a Tory seat) and Woolwich. The only option for a Labour seat for Theresa Pearce is to challenge Matthew Pennycook for the Woolwich nomination. Pennycook has the option of seeking the Woolwich nomination, or going up again Vicky Foxcroft for the Greenwich & Deptford nomination.
Coventry. Geoffrey Robinson’s seat becomes comfortably Conservative on new boundaries, but he has the option of going up against Jim Cunningham for the Coventry South nomination. He’ll be 81 by the next election, so I assume he won’t.
Nottingham. Vernon Coaker’s Gedling seat disappears. Half goes into the Conservative Sherwood seat, so there is the potential of a battle against Chris Leslie for the nomination in the Labour Nottingham East and Carlton seat.
Cumbria. The Workington seat disappears. Part of it goes into the very Conservative Penrith & Solway seat, which is unlikely to be attractive to Sue Hayman, leaving her the option of fighting Jamie Reed for the Whitehaven & Workington seat.
Wrexham. Susan Elan Jones’s Clwyd South seat is dismembered. Part of it goes into the elaborately named De Clwyd a Gogledd Sir Faldwyn seat, but that is notionally Conservative. The other part goes into Wrexham Maelor, where she would have to compete against Ian Lucas for the nomination.
Newport. The Newport seats are combined into one. Jessica Morden would also have the right to seek nomination in Monmouthshire, but that’s solidly Tory leaving one Labour seat between her and Paul Flynn. Flynn will be 85 come the next election, so the issue may well be resolved by retirement.

Straight two way fights

There are seven Labour seats where there are two Labour MPs who are eligible for that seat, and that seat only – meaning a straight fight is unavoidable unless someone stands down:
Sunderland West – Bridget Phillipson vs Sharon Hodgson
Newcastle North West – Catherine McKinnell vs Chi Onwurah
Wednesfield & Willenhall – David Winnick vs Emma Reynolds (though Winnick will be 86)
Stoke South – Rob Flello vs Tristram Hunt
Dudley East & Tipton – Ian Austin vs Adrian Bailey (though Bailey will be 74)
Neath & Aberavon – Stephen Kinnock vs Christina Rees
Cardiff South & East – Jo Stevens vs Stephen Doughty

More complicated fights

There are eight areas where there are rather more complicated fights… but where ultimately there are more Labour MPs than there are seats, so something will have to give:

Birmingham. Roger Godsiff’s seat disppears. He will have the right to seek election in four other Birmingham seats, putting him up against Gisela Stuart, Jess Phillips, Richard Burden or Steve McCabe. He will be 73 come the election though, so may choose to stand down.
Islington & Hackney. The change that got the most attention when the proposals were announced. Essentially Meg Hillier, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Rushanara Ali have to somehow share out the Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington, Hackney West and Bethnal Green and Hackney Central seats. Someone is going to get stuffed.
Rochdale & Bury. Debbie Abrahams, Ivan Lewis, Liz McInnes and Simon Danzcuk are in play, with Rochdale, Prestwich and Middleton and Littleborough & Saddleworth. If Danzcuk remains suspended from the Labour party then the problem presumably resolves itself.
Liverpool. Steve Rotheram’s seat disappears and he would be eligible to challenge Louise Ellman, Peter Dowd or Stephen Twigg for selection in their seats. Rotheram himself is standing for Liverpool mayor, so it won’t be an issue for him. If he steps down though whoever is elected in the subsequent by-election would face the same issue.
Bradford & Leeds. Judith Cummins seat disppears. She is eligible to seek selection for Bradford West (against Naz Shah), in Spen (against Jo Cox’s successor) or in Pudsey, where Rachel Reeves will likely also be seeking the nomination (Leeds West vanishes, but Pudsey takes much of its territory and becomes a notionally Labour seat)
Sheffield. Newly elected Gill Furniss sees her seat dismembered – she is eligible to seek nomination in Sheffield North and Ecclesfield (against Angela Smith) or Sheffield East (against Clive Betts).
Pontypridd. Owen Smith’s seat is dismembered and he will have the right to seek nomination in either Chris Bryant’s Rhondda & Llantrisant or Ann Clwyd’s Cynon Valley and Pontypridd. Ann Clwyd will be 83 by the next election, so it may be resolved by retirement.
Islwyn. Chris Evans’ seat also vanished, and he will have the choice of competing against Nick Smith in Blaenau Gwent or Wayne Davies in Caerphilly.

The deep blue sea

Fourteen Labour MPs do not have a notionally Labour seat they would be eligible to seek selection in. In some cases this is just because of a slight change to an already ultra-marginal seat (e.g. Chris Matheson in Chester notionally loses his seat, but there’s really little change from 2015), in other cases it leaves them with a very difficult fight:

Andy Slaughter would face a Tory majority of 14% in the new Hammersmith & Fulham seat
Gareth Thomas would face a Tory majority of 11% in the new Harrow and Stanmore
Joan Ryan would face a small Tory majority of just 3% in the new Enfield seat
Ruth Cadbury faces a 10% Tory majority in Brentford & Chiswick
Tulip Siddiq faces a 9% Tory majority in Hampstead and Golders Green
Alex Cunningham is only eligible for the nomination in Stockton West, with a 7% Tory majority
Chris Matheson doesn’t actually face much change, but Chester would have a 1% Tory majority on paper
Jenny Chapman faces a notional Tory majority of 1% in Darlington
Madeleine Moon’s Bridgend is merged with the Vale of Glamorgan to create a notionally Tory seat, but with a majority of only 3%
Alan Whitehead’s Southampton Test would have a 4% Tory majority on paper (Southampton Itchen would flip to Labour… but Whitehead doesn’t have the right to go there under Labour rules)
Melanie Orr would be eligible to seek selection in either Grimsby North & Barton or Grimsby South and Cleethorpes. Both, however, would be Conservative.
Holly Walker-Lynch faces a similar situation, under Labour rules she can apply for Calder Valley or Halifax, but they are both notionally Tory.
Finally, in the sorriest situation of all are Margaret Greenwood and Alison McGovern. They are both only eligible to seek selection in the new Bebington & Heswall seat… and even if they do get it, it’s now notionally Tory.

So, by my reckoning there will probably be around 15 re-selection battles where a sitting Labour MP faces up against another sitting Labour MP on the provisional boundaries, though remember that these are subject to change (and it only takes a small adjustment by the boundary commission to shift the number of voters from an old seat above or below 40%). It’s also worth noting that you don’t need boundary changes for a deselection – there is a normal trigger ballot process than can be used to deselect an MP and some of the speculation about deselections – Peter Kyle for example – is not due to Labour seats being merged together.


553 Responses to “Boundary changes – the impact on Labour reselections…”

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  1. Attitude to immigration is clearly a prime driver of voting intention and political support at the moment. But I for one don’t feel I have a grasp of the underlying issues and attitudes.

    Does anyone know of polling data or academic work that answers such questions as:

    * Is there a ‘pecking order’ of immigrant groups in terms of the acceptability of further immigration? Obviously different social and ethnic groups would have different favourites. But for instance I’d imagine for White British, at the top would come Aus/NZ/Canada, but then what? Would ‘friendly’ Europeans like Dutch and Danish come ahead of Poles and Germans? How do people view immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria compared with Bangladesh and Pakistan?

    * When people say they want less immigration, which sources of immigration do they most want to be reduced?

    * Who do people think was responsible for the long-established immigrant communities from the ‘New Commonwealth’?

    I ask because immigration is clearly a difficult topic to discuss dispassionately, and so fundamental questions tend not to be asked or answered.

    FWIW, I’m puzzled that most of the heat seems to be generated by EU immigration, which is after all overwhelmingly white, Christian and economically active, when most of the demonisation seems to be of older immigrant groups (child grooming, forced marriage, knife crime etc).

    Clearly, there is some confusion between free movement of EU citizens, on the one hand, and acceptance of refugees/economic migrants on the other. But as far as I’m aware, we don’t have information on how many people believe Brexit will reduce non-EU immigration.Or how many people believe EU membership means having to accept loads of Syrians etc.

    We discuss some of these things here, but without data we’re really thrashing around in the dark.

  2. Redrich

    ”””””””””’but the latter is very much alive, and present in all classes.

    You could have……………….. added across Europe.

  3. Breaking news.
    Junior doctors have lost their high court case against the introduction of the new contract by Hunt.

  4. @Tancred at 11.07 “We have had large immigration since the 1950s” but more emigration until the mid 1980s and under about 50,000net immigration until 1997
    http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/dvc123/index.html

  5. @TOH

    You could have……………….. added across Europe

    Agreed – very much so

  6. @Redrich

    “Personally I view the position taken by supposed ideological purists as self-indulgent, irresponsible, naïve and ultimately a betrayal of the people the Labour Party is supposed to be representing. They see people like me as unprincipled Machiavellian Tories is disguise. Fairs fair I suppose.”

    ———–

    Well, on the plus side, they might not in fact consider you an unprincipled Macchiavellian. They might instead see you too as “self-indulgent, irresponsible, naïve and ultimately a betrayal of the people the Labour Party is supposed to be representing”.

    But you’d have to ask ’em…

  7. @Carfrew

    Those I have talked to have definitely gone for the former, but used much much stronger language than that.

    Anyway not a problem for me atm as I have left the Party – and now have the joy of finding agreement with both TOH and CA on the same day.

  8. @Redrich

    Well I suppose if you consider them a betrayal they might return similar fire. But I’ve never been a member of a party so dunno what goes on. The info from party members such as yourself is therefore useful, if a little worrying…

  9. or ex-members…

  10. @RedRich

    To develop the divide you describe, I see Labour as current constituted as comprising 3 groups:

    1. Those who believe that the electorate will vote (in sufficient numbers) for a coherent set of radical socialist policies if it is presented them.

    2. Those who largely agree with those same or similar policies, to varying extents, but believe that the electorate would reject them because they are too unfamiliar, opposed by most of the press, traduced by the Tories etc. Instead, this group seeks to build a policy agenda that encompasses enough of the centre ground (including some of those currently voting Tory, cf Toynbee) to get elected, and then gradually move the Overton window so as to increase the electorate’s acceptance of more left-wing policies.

    Blair’s main failure/betrayal (as appropriate) was in not executing part 2 of the plan in several policy areas.

    3. True Blairite’s, who *believe* in policies nearer the centre. There are a small number within the party, but only a small number.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a large number of type 1 who are incapable of recognising that type 2 is a rational approach even if they disagree with it, and lump them together with type 3. Abusing type 2s as Blairites is both divisive and inaccurate. These are the “supposed ideological purists [who are] self-indulgent, irresponsible, naïve and ultimately a betrayal of the people the Labour Party is supposed to be representing”.

    There is another section of type 1 who, while mistaken IMHO, do accept the validity of the alternative approach. The path to unity needs these and the type 2s to start talking and making common cause.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this can happen while Corbyn’s hold on power within the party depends (as it seems to) on the “self-indulgent” type 1s. Maybe the continuing increase in party membership provides an opportunity for these to be marginalised – maybe there are enough open-minded type 1s that the abusive hard left can be marginalised – not on policy grounds but on the basis of their conduct towards other party members.

  11. @Carfrew

    There is a real nastiness within the party atm – which is one of the main reasons why I decided to leave. Anyway with my newly found free time thinking of taking up allotments or golf – haven’t quite decided yet.

  12. Anothe long post goes into automod for unknown reasons. Here’s part 1:

    @RedRich

    To develop the divide you describe, I see Labour as current constituted as comprising 3 groups:

    1. Those who believe that the electorate will vote (in sufficient numbers) for a coherent set of radical socialist policies if it is presented them.

    2. Those who largely agree with those same or similar policies, to varying extents, but believe that the electorate would reject them because they are too unfamiliar, opposed by most of the press, traduced by the Tories etc. Instead, this group seeks to build a policy agenda that encompasses enough of the centre ground (including some of those currently voting Tory, cf Toynbee) to get elected, and then gradually move the Overton window so as to increase the electorate’s acceptance of more left-wing policies.

    Blair’s main failure/betrayal (as appropriate) was in not executing part 2 of the plan in several policy areas.

    3. True Blairites, who *believe* in policies nearer the centre. There are a small number within the party, but only a small number.

  13. test Blairite

  14. Another long post goes into automod for unknown reasons. Here’s part 1:

    @RedRich

    To develop the divide you describe, I see Labour as current constituted as comprising 3 groups:

    1. Those who believe that the electorate will vote (in sufficient numbers) for a coherent set of radical socialist policies if it is presented them.

    2. Those who largely agree with those same or similar policies, to varying extents, but believe that the electorate would reject them because they are too unfamiliar, opposed by most of the press, traduced by the Tories etc. Instead, this group seeks to build a policy agenda that encompasses enough of the centre ground (including some of those currently voting Tory, cf Toynbee) to get elected, and then gradually move the Overton window so as to increase the electorate’s acceptance of more left-wing policies.

  15. Long post gone into automod, no idea why. Hopefully AW will release it soon…

  16. Corbyn has upped his game-he is much more fluent & confident.

    A barnstorming speech with red meat flung in large chunks to the Unions & The Members. For those not in the Hall, or the Members Register-Fairness for All & Unlimited Money.

    Those who experienced this stuff in their Government will have pause for thought-older people mainly.

    But for many under 30s who wouldn’t have understood the implications of McDonnell’s speech, Corbyn’s will resonate as a beacon of idealism & hope.

    May has to nail his accusation that Tories cannot address inequalities because they represent the interests of the wealthy “few”. Telling my grandaughter that Socialism produces fiscal problems will not reduce her faith in JC. May has to Prove that Corbyn’s accusation about Cons is a lie.

    If he starts to improve Labour VI , that will be a huge danger signal for May, given the political elephant traps she is surrounded with.

  17. @REDRICH

    “The core reason why many wc voters voted Brexit was as a consequence of the economic downsides to globalisation. The line that there ills are due to immigration has been fed to them by the political right and elements of the press – but it is also a line that is being bought into by more middle class people on the South who have lost jobs due to globalisation.”

    I agree, but globalisation has hit the middle class in a different way. The middle class has been hit by jobs being outsourced to India mainly, however it is the manual workers who have suffered the most impact as a result of EU immigration. Not that this has been that bad thing though – the £80k a year plumbers are now harder to find than some years ago, and that has benefitted consumers.

  18. @SOMERJOHN

    “FWIW, I’m puzzled that most of the heat seems to be generated by EU immigration, which is after all overwhelmingly white, Christian and economically active, when most of the demonisation seems to be of older immigrant groups (child grooming, forced marriage, knife crime etc).”

    I am also puzzled – very puzzled – but I think a lot has to do with the fact that criticising non-white immigration is now almost sinful according to modern rules of political correctness, while objecting to white foreigners is still acceptable and gives the far-right an opportunity. On the other hand, quite a fair number of EU immigrants have come from Romany areas in central Europe, so it hasn’t all been white immigration from conventional mainstream communities.

    “Clearly, there is some confusion between free movement of EU citizens, on the one hand, and acceptance of refugees/economic migrants on the other. But as far as I’m aware, we don’t have information on how many people believe Brexit will reduce non-EU immigration.Or how many people believe EU membership means having to accept loads of Syrians etc.”

    For many Brexiteers the EU free movement rules also mean a mass influx of refugees and non-EU migrants. UKIP has been beating this drum for a long time. Of course this is not the case, otherwise there wouldn’t be a camp at Calais, but that is the general impression. It’s this atmosphere of fear that has been seized upon by the ‘leave EU’ lobby. Certainly, Merkel’s daft open door policy did not help.

  19. @DAVE

    If you are looking at numbers maybe so, but even without EU immigration the numbers would still be much higher in terms of net immigration.

  20. @REDRICH

    “At the beginning of the c20 two major political forces emerged in Europe – Socialism and Xenophobic racial based nationalism. At the beginning of the c21the former appears to be in terminal decline but the latter is very much alive, and present in all classes.”

    I don’t fully agree. In Britain and France there is still a strong latent feeling of nationalism, but that has largely disappeared in Germany and many other EU countries. One thing is wanting to maintain your traditions and another is hostility to foreigners.

  21. @Tancred

    In the SE it has been partly mitigated by the growth of jobs in the city – with Brexit attitudes may change with competition for fewer ‘white collar’ impacting attitudes to EU workers in the city. Also there may be a shift in the attitudes of new graduates if youth unemployment remains high and the city is not creating jobs at a sufficiently high rate.

  22. https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2016/sep/28/deutsche-bank-ceo-help-opec-oil-draghi-germany-live

    Merkel still denying that Deutsche bank need a rescue package, and the media all claiming that she and her government are preparing one.

    It does beg the question though as to just how many bailouts the German government can reasonably (credibly) be expected to fund.
    Given the amount they have allocated to Greece, and with Italian banks needing massive amounts of cash, plus their own banks, even the ever tolerant world finance markets must at some point realise that there is no hope of ever being paid back, and that the Euro Zone is fast becoming a liability.

    Joseph Stiglitz predicted all this, and that the hapless governments would continue to stick plasters over the cracks, making the inevitable far worse than it needed to be,

  23. @COLIN

    It will eventually dawn on the young that Corbyn is a dreamer with little grasp of reality. The incompetence of his chosen few on the Labour front bench was amply demonstrated today on the DP prog when we were told by their shadow spokesman, that we were net exporters of gas. We haven’t been since 2004.

    I realise that there will always be some who, like Corbyn, believe in the magic money tree. I don’t think there will be enough to win him an election though. Most people have too much to lose.

  24. REDRICH

    ” thinking of taking up allotments or golf – haven’t quite decided yet.*

    An allotment is hard work, but very fresh produce is a delight to eat and exercise is very necessary at any time of life.

    I don’t play golf by son and son in law do. They enjoy the exercise although less demanding than an allotment.l If they have a good round they feel great if they have a bad round………………….

  25. @Tancred

    I don’t fully agree. In Britain and France there is still a strong latent feeling of nationalism, but that has largely disappeared in Germany and many other EU countries. One thing is wanting to maintain your traditions and another is hostility to foreigners.

    In France the electoral strength of the NF supports my point. I agree Germany is a different case, and there are a number of checks against xenophobic nationalism developing. In other countries in central and eastern Europe there are parties similar to the French NF who have relatively high levels of support.

  26. @TOH

    Thanks for the advice – will ponder my options as I get through a back-log of Airfix models I am making for my kids.

  27. Does anyone know of any source we can access, which would give us swingometer information for the New provisional Parliamentary Boundaries (as opposed to how they affect an identical outcome as of 2015).

    UK Polling Report for example has various swingometers but they are all on the old boundaries

    I would like to know (for example), an estimate would happen if Labour and The Tories won an identical share of the vote. Say 35% each.

  28. @Tancred
    “If you are looking at numbers maybe so” How else do you decide that there has been “large” immigration as you said?

    “but even without EU immigration the numbers would still be much higher in terms of net immigration” which of course is the point. The problem is the growth of population, concentrated into certain areas, recently on a scale some 10 times greater than the “large” immigration as you describe it, experienced over most of the time since WW2.
    The problem arising from EU freedom of movement is not that immigration into UK from Eastern Europe is most of the present figure. It is that there will be no control over the future figure as migrants enter Europe from the south, and seek then to move to the more prosperous parts of Europe. Assimilating large numbers is then made more difficult by the cultural, religious and racial differences between the new arrivals and present occupants. Other parts of Europe are already struggling with these issues.

    “One thing is wanting to maintain your traditions and another is hostility to foreigners” but the first may give rise to the second if the foreigners are numerous and do not wish to share in those traditions but maintain their own, if that gives rise to economic effects and social effects such as how women are treated, or the law applied fairly. In the past such matters have given rise to serious civil unrest even without the additional pressure of migrant numbers.

  29. @redrich

    “There is a real nastiness within the party atm – which is one of the main reasons why I decided to leave. Anyway with my newly found free time thinking of taking up allotments or golf – haven’t quite decided yet.”

    ————

    Yes, that much is apparent. Both sides think the other not just naive and wrong but dangerous and pig-headed. Both sides think the others betrayers. Nulab stalwarts bitter about Corbynite manoeuvrings and threatened de selections, while the latter apoplectic about stuff like purges. Stalwarts in local party associations resentful of newcomers barreling in, the newcomers feeling like up against inertia.

    One might suggest counselling but at the moment there’s little thought of reaching some rapprochement, it’s still mostly a power struggle. It has pulled things to the left through, and not just within Labour…

    For golf and allotments, this is the place. We have discussed both often enough. Ken recommended some places on the Algarve for golf to me a little while back. (I think maybe the two could be combined and have allotments on golf courses…)

  30. RMJ1

    I think they will vote for him first time round-and I mean actually vote.

    If May, of all people, can’t nail Corbyn’s crack about Tories for ” the few”-I don’t bknow who can.

    Yes-watched the self destruction of Barry Gardiner-have now seen Brillo destroy three of them-Gardiner, Paul Mason & an Australian Shadow Cabinet member.

    Hope the Tory ministers have their ducks in a row-he is ruthless. I love watching his interviews.

  31. Well well :-

    “Speaking to business leaders in Paris, the former French president said that if elected, he would fly to Berlin with a draft of new EU treaty the day after the second ballot of the presidential election to secure the support of German chancellor Angela Merkel. On May 8, the day after, he would travel to London.

    “I would tell the British, you’ve gone out, but we have a new treaty on the table so you have an opportunity to vote again,” Mr Sarkozy said. “But this time not on the old Europe, on the new Europe. Do you want to stay? If yes, so much the better. Because I can’t accept to lose Europe’s second-largest economy while we are negotiating with Turkey over its EU membership. And if it’s no, then it’s a real no. You’re in or you’re out.”

    Under pressure from France’s resurgent far right National Front party, Mr Sarkozy, who is vying for the centre-right presidential nomination in November, has promised a grand overhaul of the EU if he returns to power. On Tuesday, he said the new treaty would focus on reforming the Schengen passport-free zone, restricting the European Commission’s prerogatives to a dozen, integrating the eurozone further and halting membership talks with Turkey.

    “Maybe it’s time to tell Turkey that its place is in Asia,” Mr Sarkozy said. “I am a staunch European, I would never accept to leave the euro, but Europe doesn’t function, at all. “

    FT

  32. @Colin – didn’t see Corbyn’s speech and haven’t yet caught up with any media reports, other than the tail end of a BBC item about immigration, so I’m interested in your comments from ‘the other side’.

    I did automatically think, when reading your line – “Telling my grandaughter that Socialism produces fiscal problems will not reduce her faith in JC…”, that if I were your grandaughter my instant response would be to point out that we have had our biggest ever deficits under the Blairite/Cameroon neoliberal conventional governments, largely due to the disastrous failure to regulate banks – nothing to do with socialism there!

    But yes, I think you are correct. May can’t afford to let Corbyn ressurect the Nasty Party, and Corbyn has to convince people that the Magic Money Tree really is magical, or find some other way to explain where the money comes from that people feel comfortable with.

    On balance, I would much rather be in May’s shoes than Corbyn’s (although that would make me philosophically and literally highly uncomfortable) but if Corbyn starts to fire and May stumbles, times could be interesting.

  33. CR

    I agree with that analysis.

    He is in complete control now.

    If there are any power bases for the unconvinced they are in the City Mayoralties. Khan is clearly a sceptic. I don’t think the Bristol chap is a devotee-and Burnham will be after his own emire in Manchester.

    I don’t know what the PLP can do now-I noted JC’s throwaway remark that the people would stepped into the breech of Shadow Cabinet places ” are the future now” -ouch !

  34. ALEC

    She thinks “The Rich” & “Big Companies” will pay for it all.

  35. @Colin – as I generally anticipated. The EU doesn’t want to lose the UK, largely as we pay in rather a lot of cash, and this, in combination with widespread disillusionment with the EU (or more accurately probably the EC) means that the EU we are currently leaving might well not be the same EU that we face leaving once we’ve negotiated Brexit.

    I had always assumed that EU reforms would be proposed and probably agreed before we left, which is why I’ve always thought that the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ mantra is nonsensical.

  36. ALEC

    It will be interesting to see if he carries through on it-if he wins of course.

    May 2017-just about the time May has invoked !50 :-) :-) :-)

  37. CARFEW

    I agree with all your comment except the bit about local associations. As I’ve said before I think it varies enormously across the piece. In my association I’d love some to come ‘barreling in’ providing new ideas and, most importantly, more folk to do some of the work. But, despite invites (to meetings/drink in the pub/local curry) they do not come. Instead apparently some are meeting separately but I’ve no idea why!

    I know that in other areas (Liverpool seems really good) people have come to meetings although I don’t know how that’s working out. In the North-East my experience seems pretty typical. My association I guess is pretty normal – quite a lot of members but few activists and meetings that can be anything from lively to crashingly dull – but that’s the nature of local politics and we’re certainly a friendly enough lot.

    I think one problem is that local politics can be pretty mundane – many years ago when I began attending I wanted it to be a continuation of student debates and the ‘big issues’ but it’s often about stuff like dustbins and pavements. In our area most of the new members seem to be ‘new’ rather than returners but as I say I’m guessing why they don’t come because …… they don’t come

  38. TOH
    I have stayed out of this post, on the assumption that it was about the impact on election prospects of boundary changes, so would be full of the expertise of polly-wonks vying with AW’s devastatingly well informed and competent comment – for which much thanks O Guru.
    But here we are with a column of comments about immigration and policies on immigration almost uniformly illiterate, but illustrating why it causes such confusion and conflict in the country and Westminster. So it’s a relief to say that JC and JM have got it right. Immigration is and should continue to be driven by the international job market, including in the UK the service industry, which in particular employs 150,,000 immigrants in the NHS and care services, highly skilled and well educated and experienced staff throughout industry and commerce, and low-skilled but very hard working people in agriculture and processing – of whom there are no native species left – with the effect, in the research done for ONS and the UK Commission on Employment and Wages – Working Futures, 2016, of raising productivity and the overall level of wages throughtout the economy.
    They are also right to look to a much enhanced and planned Migration Fund to drive up services and wages in high immmigration,low wage areas, where housing, schooling and health services need investment to meet expanding need.
    “allotment is hard work” Really, Howard, have you not yet learned the importance and pleasure of idly poking the compost heap to let out the odiferous steam, and leaning on your shovel, while breathing in the crisp Autumn air, and exchanging ideologies of potato variety with neighbouring plot holders? Drudgery, my dear, is a myth of Marxist intellectuals, seeking a justification for interfering with the idle pleasures of the peasantry.

  39. Thanks for posting that Oborne article CR. At least there is one political commentator out there not wishing to destroy Corbyn.
    I am 52 and all my years I have never known such a vicious and constant attack on any one individual.
    It is disgraceful. I look forward to the day when the right wing rags fall into a terminal readership decline.

  40. John Pilgrim

    I have little interest in JC & JM, and have not been posting much today. I am not against immigration, but I do want control of our borders so that we let in only those we need.

    “have you not yet learned the importance and pleasure of idly poking the compost heap to let out the odiferous steam, and leaning on your shovel, while breathing in the crisp Autumn air, and exchanging ideologies of potato variety with neighbouring plot holders?”

    No to the first, and of course to the second part of that. I have always been very good at composting. My compost heap does not give off odiferous steam, it just produces an almost odourless rich soil when I dig it out annually. As to drudgery, it’s not, I really enjoy working hard, always have done, and yes the conversation with other allotment holders is often interesting.

  41. CR

    Oborne is a very interesting journalist – background on the Spectator, Telegraph and Mail he was a big admirer of Ed Miliband and has given some really explosive TV interviews and made some very controversial programmes. I think he’s a genuine maverick who writes exactly what he thinks (although he has a clear right wing background and mindset).

  42. How did this happen??-I thought our economic policies were no good & needed Socialism for the 21st Century?

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-jumps-3-spots-7th-place-wef-competitiveness-rankings-1583677

  43. Ron Olden

    I think electoral calculus has something, I suspect we won’t know much about the real effect of the boundary changes until Ashcroft starts polling constituency level.

    The accounting exercise is just that it might average out, it might not.

    It’ll certainly underestimate LD and Greens,

    For real fun it even has a Labour Split option (which actually doesn’t turn out too badly for Labour as long as it doesn’t split 50:50) If Labour did split, we’d need constituency level polling to see which Labour was competitive in which seat.

  44. Colin

    What I don’t understand is if the UK is so competitive why do we have a record trade deficit? Something doesn’t add up

  45. Great feedback from freinds who attended the Labour conference. Jeremy’s speech has energised the foot soldiers with a new vigour.
    Apparently, Scotland is where the new Socialist fightback will start.

  46. Anyone interested in the NI challenge to the triggering of A50, due in court next week, might read the following article, which outlines the areas covered better than anything else I have seen…..

    See Brexit set to face legal challenge in Northern Ireland.

  47. Watching JC’s performance at conference has left me wondering if anyone has considered the impact of the rise of Corbyn’s popularity on the methodology of political Polling?

    Love him or hate him (I’m no fan) it is hard to deny that he has hit a chord with many younger people. If this increases the likelihood of these people to vote, then could the adjustments made on VI by likelihood to vot of particular demographic,, much discussed post 2015 GE, be based on outdated assumptions and therefore understate the Labour Vote? Or is the actual impact he has made on this group, in terms of numbers, much lower than the “noise” would have you believe – and how can the pollsters tell?

    Just asking…

  48. @CR

    The current account is a strange thing. A thriving economy can actually worsen the numbers as overseas investors, think Nissan, take their profits home. Equally, poorly performing overseas investments can have a negative effect. On the visible side, a growing economy will often drag in imports to fuel the growth.
    Many poor countries have a current account surplus and the converse is also true. It takes a lot of analysis to decide if the figures are good or bad in any particular case.

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