There are new YouGov voting intention figures for the Times this morning, with topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. The Conservatives continue to have a solid lead and there is no sign of any benefit to Labour from their party conference (fieldwork was on Wednesday and Thursday, so directly after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech).

Theresa May has been Prime Minister for two and a half months now, so we’re still in the sort of honeymoon period. Most of her premiership so far has consisted of the summer holidays when not much political news happens and she’s had the additional benefit of her opposition being busy with their own leadership contest. Now that is over and we approach May’s own party conference and the resumption of normal politics.

Theresa May’s own ratings remain strong. 46% of people think she is doing well, 22% badly. Asking more specific questions about her suitability for the role most people (by 52% to 19%) think she is up to the job of PM, she is seen as having what it takes to get things done (by 53% to 19%), and having good ideas to improve the country (by 35% to 27%). People don’t see her as in touch with ordinary people (29% do, 40% do not) but that is probably because she is still a Conservative; David Cameron’s ratings on being in touch were poor throughout his premiership. The most worrying figure in there for May should probably be that people don’t warm to her – 32% think she has a likeable personality, 35% do not. One might well say this shouldn’t matter, but the truth is it probably does. People are willing to give a lot more leeway to politicians they like. In many way Theresa May’s ratings – strong, competent, but not particularly personally likeable – have an echo of how Gordon Brown was seen by the public when he took over as Prime Minister. That didn’t end well (though in fairness, I suppose Mrs Thatcher was seen in a similar way).

The biggest political obstacle looming ahead of Theresa May is, obviously, Brexit. So far people do not think the government are doing a good job of it. 16% think they are handling Brexit negotiations well, 50% badly. Both sides of the debate are dissatisfied – Remain voters think they are doing badly by 60% to 10%, Leave voters think they are doing badly by 45% to 24%. Obviously the government haven’t really started the process of negotiating exit and haven’t said much beyond “Brexit means Brexit”, but these figures don’t suggest they are beginning with much public goodwill behind them.

Finally, among the commentariat the question of an early election has not gone away (and will probably keep on being asked for as long as the Conservatives have a small majority but large poll lead). 36% of people currently want an early election, 46% of people do not. The usual patterns with questions like this is that supporters of the governing party do not normally want an election (they are happy with the status quo), supporters of the main opposition party normally do want an election (as they hope the government would be kicked out). Interestingly this still holds true despite the perception that an early election would help the Conservatives: a solid majority of Labour supporters would like an early election, most Conservative supporters are opposed.

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1,094 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%”

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  1. Candy,
    Regarding Theresa May, I guess a key thing for her will be the Witney by-election.

    What would be considered the border between good and bad for her? I think the Tory vote share is virtually certain to fall. Lots of anecdotal evidence on Lib Dem blogs of voters shifting away from Tory, rather too much to be just hype… Also good reasons to think some Tory voters will be a bit cross at their MP disappearing so suddenly claiming (by proxy) that May stabbed him in the back. Plus some remainers keen to send a message to the Leave-voting candidate, and a noticeably less impressive candidate (the Tory vote went up 10% from 2005 to 2010 and 5% of that was probably Leader bonus)
    I think the Tories would be quietly happy with 50%, saying the vote just reverted to 2005 levels. Lib Dems would probably get 25% at that level, having gained a bit from Labour compared to 2005. If they squeeze Labour successfully they might get 30% if the UKIP vote collapses

  2. @Pete B

    Me German? No, of course not. And my point about immigration was to counter Cambridgerachel and her utopian view of migrants coming into Europe from the middle east.
    I’m not sure what you mean by problems caused by immigration in the UK. Fortunately we don’t have an open door policy to mass migration unlike Germany. If you mean EU immigration I don’t think the problem is there at all. EU immigrants are largely coming here to work and come from countries with a broadly similar cultural background, perhaps Romanies excepted. The EU immigration issue has been blown out of all proportion by UKIP and their Tory sympathisers. As I pointed out before EU immigration could have been discouraged through the benefits system – there was no need to take the drastic step of Brexit for this reason.

  3. Tancred,

    We obviously look at different papers.

    Not really that big a fan of the Independent but compared to the Express it’s like Shakespear beside the Beano!


  4. An interesting comparison is Ribble Valley March 1991. For most of that year the Lib Dems had been at 8-9% in the polls, although they got some ratings in the 10-13% range just before the by-election. The Tory vote fell by 22.3% from 60.9% to 38.5%. The Lib Dem vote went up by 27.1%, to 48.5% starting from a distant second place, with the Labour vote falling by 9.1% It is worth bearing in mind that the SDP second place in 1987 was achieved with the Alliance on 23%.. If there had been a General Election on the day of the by-election the Lib Dems would have been on 10% or less..
    Anyway, if the Ribble Valley % changes are replicated in Witney the Tories will win by just 4%…. This is why 350 Lib Dem activists were in Witney today, by some accounts.. They scent blood…
    Before anyone mentions it, if this board had existed in 1991 and I had posted something like this in late February I would have been accused of ridiculous “ramping”….So just treat it as a thought experiment and wonder whether 10/1 might be worth a quiet punt!

  5. Peter
    I think you are reading the right papers!

  6. Tancred

    Before the Civil War really got going Syria had a population of 23 million, therefore the 1 million syrian refugees in Germany are somewhere between 4 and 5 % of Syria’s original population. To suggest that all or even most of them are naturally criminally inclined is silly. That would be the same as saying 3 million of the British population is naturally criminally inclined and those 3 million are the most likely to up sticks and move if some disaster should befall the UK.

    There is always a small minority of any population which have undesirable traits but to tar everyone in that population with the same brush is wrong.

  7. @Candy It appears the Labour Civil War (2015-20XX) continues anew. Not surprising since the Abbott and co elevations. The party within a party agenda is being actively pursued

    Also Abbott & Chakrabarti are working against the Investigatory Powers Bill that the PLP supported. Farron wants to team up with them in the Lords against the bill.

    That should help to burn bridges between the PLP and the Lib Dems I would have thought!

    @Matt Wardman – I concur. Last week I was in Sydney on business and enjoyed a delicious octopus hot pot. It would be tough to find such tentacled delicacies in Blighty that’s for sure.

    @Tancred – On your English Civil War analogy. I think you have neglected to include the final denouement on purpose. It was essentially a war between parliamentary sovereignty & Protestantism on the one side and the divine right of kings & Catholicism on the other.

    It’s true that in 1660 the monarchy was restored under Charles II a Catholic king. However by 1688/9 his Catholic son James II had been booted out, the divine right of kings was abolished and Parliament’s position was enshrined in the bill of rights.

    Around the same time as the English Civil War in the Netherlands & Germany the Thirty Years War was going on which saw the eventual demise of the Holy Roman Empire. Hopefully a portent for the European Union.

  8. @Andrew111 re: Witney

    I reckon 10/1 are not long enough odds. However to boost your proposition we should also take into account that a Prime Minister’s constituency usually has a greater majority than a normal constituency.

    Just looking at the candidates I did a double take when I saw “Dickie Bird” was the candidate for UKIP. Not the legendary umpire…

  9. @Peter Cairns – from the same paper.

    I think the evidence points to the fact that immigration from some non-European countries has led to an increase in sexual crimes against women, like the scandals in Rotherham and in other cities in Europe.

    This is obviously down to the different attitudes that some other cultures have towards women. Does anybody seriously dispute this?

    When you travel round the world and witness these attitudes first hand I find it hard to credit the utopian multi-cultural view that dissimilar cultures are going to bond quickly and easily. Because history tells us they won’t and present experience tells us they won’t either.

    Merkel’s policy has backfired badly across Europe and will continue to do so in my view.

  10. Sea Change
    In an earlier post I used the Prime Minister effect among others to argue that a drop in the Tory vote by 10% is entirely predictable. The extra 12% would be the Ribble Valley effect (which unwound entirely in the following Genera Election)

  11. @Andrew111

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the LibDems came a strong second in Witney, beating Labour.

    And I don’t think anyone in the country would object to them becoming the main opposition given the state of Labour.

    I regard the Coalition govt as being classically Liberal both socially and in the way they were obsessed with the markets, deficits etc. Lots of people enjoyed the Coalition and would like something like that back again (and Liberals might pull it off after Brexit is done and dusted and nobody would be upset the way they would if a Corbyn govt was in prospect).

    The current govt is old school Conservative, obsessed with the Condition of Britain. It probably plays best in market towns, it should be interesting to see what a rural constituency like Witney think about them.

  12. Tancred

    I see you repeated your unpatriotic nonsense last night and wish to condemn large numbers in the UK and Europe to misery. You seem to think bullying will bring those who want to leave the EU to their senses. I think the reverse will be true and over time people in this country will say “thank god we got out in time”.

  13. Good Morning All from a sunny Bournemouth where people rest from last week’s Marathon and Half Marathon.

    I think May’s Tory message is like Lord Salisbury’s ‘Massess v the Classes’ system. His Party won Elections in 1886, 1895 and 1900.

    Maybe there will be new resignations in the next few days from Labour’s Front Bench.

  14. @Andrew111 – glad some people are picking up on the excitement in Witney. I posted very similar thoughts the day Cameron resigned. My thinking was that this is a remain area, May has gone for hard Brexit (apparently) and the Lib Dems will see an opportunity to ask pro EU voters to lend them their votes.

    It’s quite a mountain to climb, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Lib Dems do something dramatic here.

  15. @Chrislane1945 – good morning. I suspect further resignations are now inevitable.

    It really is time to put to bed the twin notions that Corbyn is a nice man or that he is willing to reach out the hand of friendship to other parts of his party.

    Once again, a matter of days after securing another healthy mandate, he turns his back on everything he has said over the last four months and opens himself up to accusations that he is, quite simply, an out and out l!ar.

    His inept attempt to sack Rosie Winterton by ‘phone, on the day he attends an SWP conference, is almost perfectly designed to show that he has no interest at all in attempting to unify his party, and runs counter to everything he said in his re-election campaign.

    Aside from the issues of whether a Labour leader should be headlining at another parties conference, the SWP have been riven by numerous internal divisions over anti semitism and more recently have themselves suffered mass resignations over a series of rape and sexual assault allegations covered up by senior party leaders. Whatever my politics, and whatever the issue, I wouldn’t want to be in a room with these people.

    Just because he looks quite elderly and gentle, many people seem to think Corbyn is ‘honest’. As some of us said a long time ago, you been completely fooled, but the country at large won’t be, which means your party has a big, big problem.


    Interesting story on the immediate impacts of Brexit. It prompts two thoughts.

    Firstly, it shows that the treaties don’t mean a great deal, in the sense that until the UK leaves, we ought to be treated as a fully functioning member. However, while the actions in Brussells are technically wrong, what can we reasonably expect. Brexit means Brexit, so why should we be demanding continued equal treatment of a club we have said we want to leave?

    My second thought is that this story highlights one of the critical points many EU doubters on the left have long held – that it is at the mercy of big business lobbyists with too tenuous a link to democratic control for citizens interests to be given due consideration. Brussels is crawling with corporate lobbyists, and the consumer and charitable sector simply can’t compete in such a labyrithine system.

  17. ALEC.
    I was never fooled about Corbyn.

    It surprises me that so many people want to believe he is a nice man.

  18. Alec

    I would suggest that if Brexit happens, it will be UK business interests that decide the Brexit deal that is negotiated. This simply reflects that government needs to ensure that businesses can have a stable environment post Brexit and that jobs are protected. If this means that we stay in the EU market with freedom of movement, that is what will happen. There might be some measures a UK government can take, so new EU migrants have fewer rights.

    UK voted not to be part of the EU and not for a specific Brexit deal. Therefore Theresa May would be entitled to negotiate a deal that she thinks is in the interest of the UK and as economics must always come first, she will ensure business interests are the no.1 priority.

    I suspect that this is the reason why Theresa May is staying quiet on the exact Brexit negotiations and is letting her Brexit ministers talk in public about the options, just to keep the media onside. What she must be avoiding is admitting that the UK is likely to sign up to a deal similar to Norway, so that the City of London finance centre can remain Europes main hub.

  19. Tancred
    Thanks for confirming that you’re not German. I must admit to some surprise.

  20. @R Huckle, ” If this means that we stay in the EU market with freedom of movement, that is what will happen” and .” What she must be avoiding is admitting that the UK is likely to sign up to a deal similar to Norway, so that the City of London finance centre can remain Europes main hub.”

    How do you square that with the PM’s statement, that the government would seek access to the EU’s single market if possible and then saying “But let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European court of justice.”

    She continued that controlling immigration would be the primary concern, saying: “We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully independent, sovereign country. We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration. And we will be free to pass our own laws.”

    Clearly this is incompatible with an EEA membership like Norway.

    @Alec – Spot on about Corbyn. It’s really quite incredible that he can do such a volte-face. Anything he says is meaningless, he has zero intention of bringing the PLP back together.

  21. Andrew111
    “What would be considered the border between good and bad for her? I think the Tory vote share is virtually certain to fall. Lots of anecdotal evidence on Lib Dem blogs of voters shifting away from Tory, rather too much to be just hype…”

    There seems to be a concerted effort by a lot of Remoaners (many of them are expats and don’t even live in the country) to persuade people who voted Tory but remain, to vote LD as their policy seems to be to try and scupper the referendum vote. I have seen reference to “Twitter storms” . I don’t use Twitter so I don’t really know how that works, but I imagine it involves pushing out a lot of left wing propaganda.

    To me it is quite concerning that social media could be used in this way. In one by election in one constituency, not much damage, except embarrassment for the government if they lost Witney but in a GE it could lead to anarchists in Parliament. It is after all how Momentum has taken over the Labour Party.

  22. @CL1945 – just to be clear, I am aware that you were never fooled by Corbyn. When I used the term ‘you’ in my post, I was referring to those that have been fooled, and specifically not you, although it wasn’t written very carefully so could easily have been misunderstood. Apologies if so.

    @Sea Change – while accepting completely what you say regarding May’s public statements, I tend to go with @R Huckle on this.

    It is tempting to lift key sentences out of any politician’s speeches and read into those sincere and honest intentions – a bit like those statements by Jeremy Corbyn that he was going to reach out to his critics, try harder, unify the party etc etc. They are often simply statements given by politicians who are trying to convince voters of something, knowing full well that they don’t actually believe a word of what they are actually saying.

    May opposes Brexit and she thinks it will be bad for the UK. She said this many times before the referendum. She now embraces the very marginal Brexit vote, and is sounding distinctly hard line – in public, at least. We know know that in private, she is telling the CBI otherwise.

    As I posted last night, she is either doing this as a negotiating tactic, to avoid the position where the EU thinks we need the single market and so force us to accept other things we don’t want, or she is simply l!ing to voters, because she knows if she told us what she really thinks the right wing press and UKIP would erupt in an almighty blue tinged sh!t storm.

    It’s almost certainly a bit of both, in my view. My suspicion is that May is actually hoping for a bit of bad news. Perhaps Nissan announcing their new model will be made in Spain and not Sunderland, and one or two other similar jolts to the complacency of Brexiteers who seem to assum we can pick those benefits we wish for and reject anything we don’t like.

    Then, events would enable her to address the nation in far more balanced terms, explaining that we don’t get something for nothing, either in or out of the EU.

    I don’t have crystal balls so have no idea how this will pan out, but I do know that May, like Corbyn, has spent a good deal of time saying things she doesn’t actually believe.

  23. Alec
    “.. I do know that May, like Corbyn, has spent a good deal of time saying things she doesn’t actually believe.”

    That’s probably true of most politicians. The only problem is which bits, if any, do we believe? Is it her old statements about Leave being bad for Britain, or the new hard-line Leave statements. I suppose neither is the best bet.

  24. @Alec – Well I remain doubtful of that due to the political realities. If May backtracked like you are suggesting it would cause an even bigger sh!tstorm and she would almost certainly be faced with several resignations from the Cabinet and a full-on Tory Party split. In fact that could easily bring down the Government.

    This also doesn’t take into account the electoral impact across the countries constituencies…”You voted for Brexit, but we’ve decided we can’t control our borders after all, sorry about that, will you vote for us still please?”

    Definitely courageous!

    The only scenario I could possibly imagine would be some kind of short-term transitional arrangements, whereby there was an EEA-type arrangement used until a full trade deal was agreed along strict timelines.

    That would still be a very hard political sell in the current climate IMO.

    Do you not think the Government will want to sow up the next GE 2019/20 and deliver an unambiguous Brexit, even if it means a recession during the next administration?

  25. Alec

    I certainly think it’s possible that she’s playing the part of a born again Brexiteer as she has no choice to do that no matter what she feels privately. Keep everyone onside until

    It’s consistent with setting up the Chevening Three to fail while taking up all their time trying to solve an unsolvable problem instead of causing hell on her back benches.

    Then again she might actually mean it. Time will tell.

    All we know is “Brexit means Brexit*”

    *except if it doesn’t.

    It’ll depend of the timing of when then pain hits, if it starts kicking in before Brexit negotiations are finished we might end up with a different stance that if the bulk of the pain comes after.

    I suppose it’s sort of what Tancred is saying in his individual style. He wants to see the pain upfront to hopefully soften the political stance ahead of Brexit, whereas hardcore Brexiteers want all the pain comes afterwards so that nothing gets in the way of Brexit Max.

    We’re in control of how much politics and how much economics comes to play in the deal. Europe will more than likely try to match our position. If we take a purely political stance demanding a hard Brexit, they will too and we’ll end up with a political solution with both sides and the economics will only get minor consideration.

    The question is, if we get the pain early on will there be a difference to peoples’ reaction to real pain as opposed to the theoretical pain at some point down the line which didn’t bother anyone?

  26. Alec

    Im glad you don’t have Crystal balls, i imagine that could be quite painful. But it would be very pretty

  27. Alec,

    “the SWP have been riven by numerous internal divisions over anti semitism and more recently have themselves suffered mass resignations”

    I would have thought that it would be difficult for the SWP to have mass resignations, unless they were resignations involving priests…

  28. The current line o NI borders is:

    “no one wants to see a return to the borders of the past”

    How reassured should we be?

  29. I always used to find it useful in business negotiations to be able to put yourself in your opposite number’s shoes, to try to gauge and understand the likely effect of your negotiating position and tactics. It is all too easy otherwise to get tunnel vision and end up with a bad deal or no deal at all.

    So I offer this example of how things look from the other side of the Channel. I’ve translated it from the Spanish newspaper El País, so any rough edges are mine:

    London’s Brexit demands forge a united front in the EU

    Community capitals will hit back hard in negotiations on migration controls

    It’s leaving with a slam of the door: London wants to put a stop to European immigration and leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, regardless of the consequences. The battery of UK demands, revealed this week and tinged with near-xenophobia, are working a miracle: the EU is closing ranks, undivided, in pursuit of a hard Brexit. The tough talk from Britain has forged a united front amongst the 27.

    After years of divisions, Europe is rediscovering its instinct for survival and agrees for once on what’s essential: no negotiations until London triggers its departure, and no access to the Single Market without free movement of people. The details will emerge in the lengthy negotiations to come, but for the moment one thing is clear: it will be a messy divorce.

    The exit of the UK will be extremely complex. The legions of lawyers on both sides risk turning the negotiations into a pythonesque pitched battle. But even from this distance it’s easy to see the alternatives: Brexit will be hard. Or it will be extremely hard.


    But this time it’s not just Berlin and Paris. The whole of Europe is closing ranks with two mantras repeated by diplomats not only from Italy, Spain, the EU, but also traditional British allies like the Eastern Europeans, the Scandinavians, the Dutch.

    One: no negotiations, not even informal discussions, until May pushes the button on Article 50.

    And two: the UK will not get free trade in goods and services throughout Europe if it closes the door on EU citizens.

  30. Alec

    Yes it is good we can discuss and agree or otherwise on a pleasant basis.

    However I have to disagree with this part of one of this mornings posts.

    ” very marginal Brexit vote,”
    It was a clear 3.8% and in terms of the spread of the votes over 400 constituencies voted to leave. Not very marginal at all.

    As to what May will do in terms of a deal I have an open mind. I never trust politicians when they make what appear to be clear statements. I have had too many disappointments over the years.

  31. @Somerjohn ‘One: no negotiations, not even informal discussions, until May pushes the button on Article 50. And two: the UK will not get free trade in goods and services throughout Europe if it closes the door on EU citizens.”

    I think both of those are a given. Clearly some kind of trade arrangement is in the interests of both parties. Something between standard WTO tariffs and Free Trade or perhaps certain sectors having tariff-free access and others not.

    It is likely to be a long and drawn out process that’s for sure, and is likely to change course more than once due to “Events”.

  32. Somerjohn
    Thanks for that translation. Very interesting, though I suppose some other papers will have softer views – unless they’ve all closed ranks as well!

    BTW, I was intrigued by the word pythonesque in your translation. I’m no linguist, but what was the Spanish for pythonesque?

  33. Pete B

    I thought that was the soft view!

  34. @Seachange 11.44am reply to Alec

    Theresa May will make a calculation. Labour can’t win the next election and with changed electoral boundaries/fewer seats, the Tories are likely to win a majority. It won’t matter whether at the next election Brexit has been delayed or any deal is not what most people voted for. It would not matter much whether some Tory ministers/MO’s resigned or defected to UKIP.

    Brexit means Brexit, means absolutely nothing. Theresa May will string people along and see what happens. I agree with Alecs thoughts on this.


    I agree with 12.35, I’ve always made the same assumptions about attitudes in the EU following a Brexit vote and assumed a deal along the lines you suggest..

  36. @TOH – “…It was a clear 3.8%…”

    That’s my point – that represents a very, very narrow majority. In a binary choice the difference is in practice half the headline lead, as it would only take 19 people in every thousand to switch sides and change the result.

    @Somerjohn – Indeed. I think May has been very effective at promoting European unity. I remain staggered at the incompetence of both her and Cameron’s administrations, and their complete failure to build on a deep well of sympathy for UK views among many member states.

    Cameron failed completely to build an alliance as part of his doomed negotiations, while May has driven the EU27 nations together with what is seen as alarmingly xenophobic statements.

    We are being poorly led into a battle nearly half of us didn’t wish to fight. Worse, the mood for reform was growing, and nation states were open to ideas to meet many of our complaints, even if the Commission wasn’t, but the Tories have blown it.

    @Sea Change – again, if I can explain my point, which I probably haven’t put across very clearly.

    At times such at this, people tend to assume ‘public opinion’ is more or less fixed. It isn’t, necessarily, although it may be.

    So, again, for example, were Nissan to switch production of their new line out of Sunderland, the shock waves in the town and across the north east would be palpable. The rising tide of Brexit in this region would be faced with a dliemma with nowhere to hide. They promised voters change would be positive, yet they would be left having to explain why the north easts brightest star is preparing to leave.

    I’m nt sure you understand just what an emotional and political shock such an announcement would be, if it ever occured. Public opinion may shift a little, alot, or not at all, and may wants to be able to ride on the coat tails of what could be quite a bumpy ride.

  37. Somerjohn

    Just for balance

    re your 8.57 post to Tancred last night:-

    “It is, sadly, entirely normal that Brexiters (a) use gratuitously offensive language (b) blatantly misrepresent those with a different view and ”

    I suspect if you carried out a detailed analysis (please don’t, I am only making a small point for balance) of the posts since the Brexit vote, then those two statements would be more representative of Remainers posts than those of Brexiters.

    Like Alec I hope that going forward we are all able to discuss things in the same way he and I do when challenging each other. Certainly I feel the recent tone with the exception of Tancred (at times) has been more reasonable on both sides.

  38. Alec

    “That’s my point – that represents a very, very narrow majority”

    I am afraid I still disagree, a very narrow victory would be 50.2% v 49.8%. You ignored my point about spread. I f there were in excess of 400 Tory seats at the next election we would be talking about landslide victory not narrow win. England and Wales were very clear about exiting the EU.

    You think May has blown it, I just think she has made the opening statement of the UK’s position. The EU response which you and Somerjohn have brought to our attention this morning was always there. In many cases EU leaders are just repeating comments made immediately the referendum result was known.

    It’s a great pity we have no poll on the Tory Conference and voters response to attitudes taken.

  39. Alec

    I was forgetting we have had one poll, on the issue of plans to make firms release foreign worker numbers.

    The poll showed support at 59% against 26 % with supporters of all parties in favour with the exception of the SNP who were evens.

  40. Pete B : “BTW, I was intrigued by the word pythonesque in your translation. I’m no linguist, but what was the Spanish for pythonesque?”

    Here’s the full sentence:

    Una legión de abogados por ambas partes corre el riesgo de convertir la negociación en una versión cómica de una batalla campal interpretada por los Monty Python.

    So a more direct translation would be:

    “… a comical version of a pitched battle as interpreted by the Monty Pythons.”

    I thought pythonesque was a bit pithier!

  41. Somerjohn

    I have just re-read my last post to you. I want to be clear that my last paragraph was aimed at all who post here including myself. No offence was intended.

  42. Somerjohn
    Absolutely. Nice one.

  43. Alec

    ” what is seen as alarmingly xenophobic statements.”

    I watched the whole of May’s speech I cannot remember any. What xenophobic statements did she make?

  44. Would it have an effect on VI that the current (past, and future?) leader of UKIP who threatened the British women with being groped by Syrian refugees thinks that if a white man (who shares his political ideology, or he shares it, who knows) does and advocates it, is merely an alpha male banter?

    Will now Theresa May advocate something similar to gain the centre ground?

    There is one level – the ignorance of the voters. There is another …

  45. @ Andrew111

    I believe that if the Lib Dems can make the Witney By-election a referendum on hard-Brexit then they can pull off a win.

  46. On the day when the Home Office says that all EU migrants (3.5 millions) will be able to stay, when it is declared that firms would not have to provide the proportion or the list of foreign workers, an ex LibDem peer joined the Tories because she was impressed by May’s leadership in Brexit.

    I’m really interested in the way all the parties will find their way in this maze. The role of the media will be huge.

  47. What lessons are the Republicans going to learn from the Trump saga. The fact is, he should have been a joke candidate, something is seriously wrong in the body politic when such a person comes to the fore.

    Trump shouldn’t be seen as an aberration, he managed to tap into some deep feelings in the American public, those feelings are unlikely to go away and will probably be looking for another outlet. The problem with this presidential campaign is that Trump the man has most probably been defeated but his ideology hasn’t. Will the next Republican candidate be a sane and less vulgar Trump? It could be the Republicans best chance of winning

  48. @Alec = Thanks for your greetings to Canada which I have duly passed on!

    I hope you are right that underneath May is a convinced remainer. I suspect, however, that what you see is what you get. She would like a ;good deal for the UK. However, her top priority is to get immigration down and if the price of that is hard Brexit so be it.

  49. CR
    “Trump shouldn’t be seen as an aberration, he managed to tap into some deep feelings in the American public, those feelings are unlikely to go away and will probably be looking for another outlet.”

    It’s not just America. The self-named ‘elites’ have been getting more and more out of touch with ordinary people all across Europe for years, and probably elsewhere too. Hence the rise of the Corbynistas and UKIP here and other new parties in other countries.

  50. @TOH – The statement (by Rudd) regarding employers having to count their foreign staff was seen by many as xenophobic, and she is one of May’s ministers.

    Within the week, the policy has now been clarified/revised, which tends to support the notion that it was a presentational error, if nothing else.

    Regarding the closeness of the result, I use Farage’s Rule on this one. He said he wasn’t going to give up if it was 52/48, and on that, I agree with him.

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