The Times this morning has the latest YouGov voting intention figures – CON 42%(+3), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 11%(-2). While the size of the lead isn’t quite as large as the seventeen points ICM showed earlier in the week, it’s a another very solid lead for the Conservatives following their party conference, matching the lead May had at the height of her honeymoon. Full tabs are here.

While I’m here I’ll add a quick update on two other recent YouGov polls. First some new London polling, which shows extremely positive ratings for Sadiq Khan. 58% of people think he is doing well as London mayor, only 14% think he is doing badly. Mayors of London seem to get pretty good approval ratings most of the time (both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson normally enjoyed positive ratings), I don’t know if that’s down to the skills of the individual politicians who have held the job so far or whether the public judge them by different standards to Westminster politicians. Never the less, it’s a very positive start for Khan, with net positive approval ratings among supporters of all parties except UKIP. Full tabs are here.

Finally, since the subject keeps popping up, some polling on the Royal Yacht. The public oppose replacing the Royal Yacht with a newly commissioned vessel by 51% to 25%. They would also oppose recommissioning the old Royal Yacht Brittania, but by a smaller margin (42% opposed, 31% support). The argument that the cost of the Yacht would be justified by the its role in promoting British trade and interests oversees does not find favour with the general public – 26% think the cost can be justified, 57% think it cannot. Full results are here.


607 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 42, LAB 28, LDEM 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. I don’t think the exchange rate or even the inflation are in themselves a major problem, but there’s no doubt that they are the result of severe doubts in the markets about the UK’s prospects in the event of a hard and/or messy Brexit.

  2. Looks like the government is actually not opposing a parliamentary vote on Brexit.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37691270

  3. The rise in the pound might be because the chance of interest rates going up in the Uk seems to be increasing. William Hague wrote an article implying that BoE independence is under threat unless they raise rates. Although he doesn’t speak for the govt, his piece is so similar to noises from the govt that it would seem significant and we might reasonably suppose that there is huge political pressure on the BoE to raise rates.

    The slide in the pound and the expected inflation as a result must be really rattling the govt if they are prepared to threaten the bank in public

  4. @CR

    The base rate reduction to 0.25% was a quick, and perhaps successful, reaction to anticipated turbulence following the referendum vote. It would seem logical to lift it at least back to 0.5%.

    I am a big fan of an independent BoE, a system which has served us pretty well. I don’t think there is any public appetite for reverting to the old ways.

  5. @POPEYE

    “Just to note, the same point was expressed in my initial post. You misinterpreted that, and I have tried to help clarify. I wouldn’t call that quicksilver.”

    ———-

    I just went by what you wrote. If you wish to keep claiming that in your mind, you meant summat different, you are free to spend the rest of your days doing so. You can claim you really meant to say summat about chocolate if you like…

    Regarding the rest of it, yes, well done noticing some differences between court cases and EU referenda!! None of them are material to the matter in question, however, and do not challenge the idea that the more important summat is, the greater the mandate that might be required. Even in court cases they might raise the bar to require unanimity…

  6. NEIL A
    Looks like the government is actually not opposing a parliamentary vote on Brexit.

    The article you link to – Commons vote to ratify Brexit very likely, says No 10 – is on the premise that HMG will win in the UK Supreme Court or the ECJ which remains to be seen.

    Even then, the very first sentence of the report says:

    Downing Street has said it is “very likely” MPs will be able to vote on the final Brexit agreement reached between the UK and the European Union.

    Given that we do not know whether A50 may be withdrawn [HMG thinks it cannot be] it is hard to see what, if anything, a rejection of the final Brexit agreement by parliament could achieve.

    So much for parliamentary sovereignty and “bring back control”.

    On the bright side, the London High & Supreme Courts or the ECJ may yet reject this transparent attempt to usurp power by the executive.

  7. BBZ

    Seems it’s the role of the executive to come up with a deal x where parliament prefers x to the unknown.

    Refusing to talk to parliament about this until after x is known seems like a funny way to go about it. If parliament’s response is “NOPE! We’d prefer you went back and tried to negotiate for y but thanks for asking us at last” things will get interesting. Cries of “There isn’t enough time!” will be met with “You should have asked us sooner!”

  8. From the Times the other day…

    “Britain is among the worst-performing economies in Europe when it comes to encouraging small businesses to export, a report has warned.

    It is in the bottom five European economies in terms of small and medium-sized companies’ share of exports, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

    Less than 20 per cent of small companies have international sales, compared with 40 per cent of large businesses. There is little sign of a willingness among smaller businesses to tackle the UK’s weak international trade performance, with only 5 per cent saying that they have plans to export in the next five years, the study found.

    The research, based on official data and a survey of more than 1,000 directors in small businesses, suggests that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has done nothing to improve confidence. A third of respondents said that Brexit would make no difference to their ability to export, but 42 per cent felt it would hinder their ability to sell overseas.

    Between 2008 and 2015, UK exports grew from an annual $473 billion to $486 billion, a rise of about 3 per cent. Had they grown in line with the global average they would have been $564 billion in 2014, according to the report. With the value of overall exports stagnating, the UK is almost certain to fall considerably short of the target set by government in 2012 to raise the level of exports to £1 trillion by 2020.”

  9. Scully on some recently released Brexit Qs in the Welsh Political Barometer.

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/wales-and-brexit-some-new-ish-evidence/

    Seems that both sides agree with Piaf about their June vote –

    Non, rien de rien
    Non, je ne regrette rien
    Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait
    Ni le mal; tout ça m’est bien égal !

  10. @Carfew

    I am starting to wonder whether there is any point to this as you appear to now be wilfully misreading anything written. I hope that isn’t the case, but it is certainly beginning to appear so.

    One last attempt at clarification in case I am wrong and you are genuinely confused, the pertinent distinction which you seem to have missed is between cases where you are trying to determine the truth of a single proposition and those where you are weighing competing, exclusive options. Court cases (which you brought up initially) aren’t refenda, but what the example does do is nicely demonstrate the appropriate levels of certainty for those different types of decision.

    In determining the validity of a single argument, we have no theoretical limit to the burden of proof/size of mandate required to accept the proposition.

    When deciding between multiple, mutually exclusive options, we have no option but to accept the one with the strongest support, whatever the absolute strength might be. Or rather, to do otherwise wold be to introduce some sort of bias towards one option or another.

    Certainly in the case of the recent referendum, the question was a choice of the latter sort between two mutually-exclusive options. We weren’t weighing the validity of a single principle.

    It seems to me odd that there is an issue with this: it is what happens with Parliamentary elections (with more mutually-exclusive options than two, normally) and while the electoral system mightn’t be the best, you don’t tend to hear arguments that for as long as we are under that system, elected candidates with a lesser mandate (lower majority) might be treated any differently in the outcome. Have a second election to be sure in tight seats, or have the MP be forced to implement a few of their opponent’s policies along the way, or only have half a vote in the Commons or whatever.

  11. @BBZ, Alan,

    I understand all that, but the alternative is to do the entire negotiation in advance, between the government and MPs, then trigger A50 and see if the EU will accept the deal we’ve worked out with ourselves. What then happens if the EU rejects it? On either track we end up leaving the EU without a deal (either because it’s OK with parliament but not with the EU, or OK with the EU but not with parliament).

    I get that for Remainers, that’s fine because they want exactly the same deal the EU wants in any event. The objective is to prevent the government trying to get anything from the EU that Remainers don’t want in the first place (like any kind of movement on migration). But if you put yourself in the shoes of someone for whom migration is a red line, can you not see that it is not so clear cut?

    It seems to me that the real crux of the matter is the balance between Single Market membership and border controls. The country, and parliament, is divided between those on the one hand who don’t want SM membership, or are willing to gamble it to get border controls, and on the other people who don’t want border controls or don’t want to risk losing SM membership to get them.

    I don’t deny that this is a genuine debate and that the views of the public are not particularly clear. I made it clear throughout my tortuous process of deciding which way I would vote that this was my personal balancing act. In the end I decided that a reduction in population growth from migration was so important to me that I was prepared to gamble on the UK suffering economic damage to get it.

    I can see the logic in a either a second referendum, or even a general election, to test the views of the public on the question. I have some reservations, because it would of course be Project Fear x100 with the Remainers and the EU piling on the rhetoric about how intransigent the EU would be and how much s*** the UK would be in if it made the wrong decision.

    In the end it is not the end of the world for me either way. As I say I almost voted Remain. I think even in the event that we are corralled into a Norway deal without migration control, the trauma of the Brexit vote will probably have dented the UK’s popularity as a destination in any event.

    And it may be that given the impossible-by-design nature of the A50 arrangements for a proper exit, a two stage process of becoming EEA members first, then gradually negotiating a deal to replace EEA status over the next 10-15 years might work out for the best.

    I also think, as I’ve posted before, that there are workarounds that haven’t been explored to date. In particular the idea of law enforcing local-residency covenants on a proportion (or even all) new-build properties in the UK.

  12. ALAN

    It does seem a pretty odd attitude against her own MPs, many of whom are much more likely to accept a compromise than not if they get a chance to put in their own penn’orth in a meaningful debate.

    Unless she has had some secret guarantee from the EU27 that withdrawal of A50 will be accepted, it’s hard to imagine what she expects to achieve.

    Given that appeals re the A50 challenges are unlikely to be decided this year I suspect it doesn’t matter much for now.

  13. Neil A

    “It seems to me that the real crux of the matter is the balance between Single Market membership and border controls. The country, and parliament, is divided between those on the one hand who don’t want SM membership, or are willing to gamble it to get border controls, and on the other people who don’t want border controls or don’t want to risk losing SM membership to get them.”

    A useful summing up of the situation.

    What a pity that that wasn’t the referendum question.

    Instead, Parliament chose to pose a question which was totally unclear on that critical point, and few arguments were deployed by either of the two UK campaigns to help people decide on that critical matter.

    Consequently, we have this mess created by foolish politicians, more absorbed by internal party strife and personal ambition than the interests of the state or its peoples.

  14. BZ

    “……….. this transparent attempt to usurp power by the executive.”

    That’s just your very biased view.

    “Downing Street has said it is “very likely” MPs will be able to vote on the final Brexit agreement reached between the UK and the European Union.”

    Exactly my view of what should happen as I posted some time ago. It is for the Government to negotiate a deal if they can and bring it before the house. The choice is then the negotiated deal or no deal when we exit the EU.

  15. Millie

    “I am a big fan of an independent BoE, a system which has served us pretty well. I don’t think there is any public appetite for reverting to the old ways.”

    Totally agree.

  16. TOH at 8.13 am

    While accepting that the reduced value of the £ will cause many price increases including some foodstuff the following show that the movement is not all one way:-

    If a review of existing legislation led to an EU-wide ban on pesticides, the UK food chain could see lower yields, higher prices and be hit with additional raw material costs of about £7.5 billion a year that could be passed on to shoppers, the paper explained.
    Mark Littlewood, the director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “EU member states face staggering food price rises unless the march of increased regulation is halted. The UK is fortunate that it now has the opportunity to repatriate control of its farming regulations.”

    Indeed, we could see decreases in costs if regulation were to be lower in the UK. Maybe we could have children picking the veg at £2 an hour? That would bring the cost down. But we simply have no idea as we have seen no proposals. So, to be fair, I think that it would be better to say that while we can be sure that the reduction in the value of the £ will increase food prices now, we have no idea if leaving the EU will eventually increase or reduce the price of food going forward as there is no plan.

  17. @ToH
    Thanks – that’s an interesting swing around since this morning – it suggests the Euro has weakened quite significantly in the last few hours….

  18. JOHNINDEVON

    I was just posting what the IEA has reported. If you don’t agree with them, fair enough. No doubt given time we will see what happens.

  19. BIGFATRON

    Figures a couple of minutes ago little changed

    + .89% against the $
    + 1.00% against the Euro
    + .85% against the Yen.

    So gains have held for today at least,

  20. NEIL A
    ‘ I decided that a reduction in population growth from migration was so important to me that I was prepared to gamble on the UK suffering economic damage to get it.”

    Correction to the imbalance in the population, of a preponderance of pensionable people and those needing health support and care over people of working age, is one of the stated objectives of accepting and planning for migration from outside Europe (Juncker, Malta,, April 2014). The stated objective of free movement of labour as one of the pillars of the Single market is that of the strengthening of advanced post industrial economies such as those of Germany and the UK.
    What if these assumptions and objectives are seen to be correct. Would that override or correct your assumption that population growth, for environmental reasons among other reasons for opposing the Single Market which I assume you have?

  21. Polity breakdown of the Lab leadership election (membership votes)

    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/labour-party/news/79987/excl-jeremy-corbyn-even-beat-owen-smith-wales

    Wales – Corbyn 8,507 votes : Smith 6,758 votes (Oops!)
    England – Corbyn 152,063 votes : Smith 102,437 votes
    Scotland – Corbyn 6,042 votes : Smith 6,856 votes (SLab on the losing side, as usual)
    NI – Corbyn 541 votes : Smith 224 votes

  22. NEIL A
    I understand all that, but the alternative is to do the entire negotiation in advance, between the government and MPs, then trigger A50 and see if the EU will accept the deal we’ve worked out with ourselves.

    I suspect you’re be unrealistic there, as I can’t see parliament doing much more than setting a few red lines. I do think HMG are digging a hole for themselves in resisting it.

    The few I can think of immediately are:

    1. Accept full EEA terms if you can’t get any of the following.
    2. Negotiate any E&W only free movement “holiday” concession you can at all costs.
    3. Attempt no compromises on the Belfast Agreement unless they are offered.
    4. Attempt to ensure that the deal applies to all 5 UK polities [inc Gib].

    In particular the idea of law enforcing local-residency covenants on a proportion (or even all) new-build properties in the UK.

    If it doesn’t contravene existing EU law, that’s an excellent idea providing the requirements for local-residency are not unreasonable [Say 5 yr minimum?]. Other EU countries would implement it and worry only when it’s challenged.

    I presume you’re suggesting that all of the four main UK polities would have the power devolved to them. If so, I suspect only England would use them – perhaps best devolved to local councils as you imply.

  23. @POPEYE

    “I am starting to wonder whether there is any point to this as you appear to now be wilfully misreading anything written. I hope that isn’t the case, but it is certainly beginning to appear so.”

    ——–

    Cheers for the ad hom. If I am wilful, I am wilfully navigating your straw men. You appear to have a few more for us…

  24. @Popeye

    “One last attempt at clarification in case I am wrong and you are genuinely confused, the pertinent distinction which you seem to have missed is between cases where you are trying to determine the truth of a single proposition and those where you are weighing competing, exclusive options. Court cases (which you brought up initially) aren’t refenda, but what the example does do is nicely demonstrate the appropriate levels of certainty for those different types of decision.”

    ———-

    Irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether you are asking people to decide on a single option, or multiple options, you can still go for a bigger mandate.

  25. @Popeye

    “In determining the validity of a single argument, we have no theoretical limit to the burden of proof/size of mandate required to accept the proposition.”

    ———

    Already anticipated and dealt with. Whatever the limits in theory, there are usually limits in practice. This is why we don’t usually have weekly General Elections. Too burdensome etc.

  26. @Popeye

    “When deciding between multiple, mutually exclusive options, we have no option but to accept the one with the strongest support, whatever the absolute strength might be. Or rather, to do otherwise wold be to introduce some sort of bias towards one option or another.”
    ———

    I am not arguing against accepting the one with the strongest support.

    Even if a bigger mandate might intentionally introduce a bias, that might not be a bad thing, for eggers to offset other biases or concerns. Eg protecting minorities. Or if enacting a big change, with lots of effects, to raise the bar to be sure peeps really want it. Or to offset poor turnout so minority opinion doesn’t hold sufficient sway…

  27. @Popeye

    “It seems to me odd that there is an issue with this: it is what happens with Parliamentary elections (with more mutually-exclusive options than two, normally) and while the electoral system mightn’t be the best, you don’t tend to hear arguments that for as long as we are under that system, elected candidates with a lesser mandate (lower majority) might be treated any differently in the outcome. Have a second election to be sure in tight seats, or have the MP be forced to implement a few of their opponent’s policies along the way, or only have half a vote in the Commons or whatever.”

    —————-

    Part of the reason you’re not seeing the issue, is because you are ignoring some if the arguments against, and instead flying new kites.

    A new kite here, is the idea of treating elected representatives differently, depending on the outcome. I haven’t suggested this, nor do my arguments oblige me to.

    But we have already dealt with this. I pointed out earlier that sometimes, when things are tight, minority governments do sometimes return to the voters for another shot.

    The fact this sort of thing doesn’t always happen will in part be down to things I’ve already said, practicalities, how important it is etc.

  28. jayblanc,
    ““People put off purchases” is a micro-economics analogy to describe the macro-economic effect. The “people” here are going to be businesses, lenders, and so on… When deflation occurs, it becomes fundamentally less “risky” to just hold on to your cash, than to allow it to be economically active. Cash in the bank can be worth ‘more’ than cash invested or lent out. So Deflation has a huge drag on the general economy.”

    But what you describe is what we have experienced for the last 8 years despite not having deflation. Companies prefering to hang on to cash. It has always been a question of the difference between inflation and interest earned, not the absolute amounts, and I dont see why that is changed if the default state becomes deflation rather than inflation. Rather say, that for 8 years the net result has been better if you just sit on cash, and many economists have identified this as a problem. There is no incentive to invest. The root cause I think is we have reached the end of the line for debt fulled consumption.

    Alan,
    I think economists have great difficulty because it is never possible to do a double blind study. It is never possible to find two identical ecomomies and tweak one one way, and the second another, never mind trying to find hundreds of identical economies to experiment on.

    Other Howard,
    your household sounds much like mine and generally I prefer it that way. Though now its time to downsize and we are not accustomed to parting with anything. Do we keep the dining chairs which belonged to great grandma? If everyone behaved like us, the economy as it is currenlty constituted flatly would not work.

    wb,
    ” What I cannot believe is that the arguments are still rumbling away on this site. I think I have faced up to reality: the UK will leave the EU” I think what you have missed is that opinion has started to turn against Leave. I agree it is hard to see that the Uk would be permitted to rejoin any time soon, so it is a question of whether the economic difficulties of Brexit become sufficiently apparent to affect public opinion before Brexit takes place.

  29. Danny

    ” I think what you have missed is that opinion has started to turn against Leave”

    Not, it would appear, in Wales

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/wales-and-brexit-some-new-ish-evidence/

    Is England different?

  30. THE OTHER HOWARD
    That’s just your very biased view.

    The Royal Prerogative has been chipped away at since the days of Magna Carta – some of the precedents used in the A50 challenge date back to the days of James I of England, and Strafford was attainted and beheaded for doing less.

    If it doesn’t succeed, we won’t quite have reversed everything since Magna Carta but be somewhere near the polity of Tudor England.

    Do have a look at the English The Bill of Rights 1689 which includes 13 declarations, of which the first two are:

    1. That the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal.

    2. That the pretended power of dispensing with laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal.

    If Brenda doesn’t have those powers then neither does May.

  31. @John Pilgrim,

    Some EU countries have a major problem with demographics either because their birth rate has declined or because large numbers of their citizens are now sharing studio flats in SE England. The UK managed to reach an almost stable population, but then the Eastern European accession treaties pushed us into a rapidly accelerating population again.

    Like with so many things, the needs of France and Germany are not necessarily compatible with the needs of the UK.

    You won’t find me agreeing that we need never-ending inflows of people because a fall in population would be a disaster. A smaller UK population would present major challenges, particulary in the short term, with health and pension provision for the elderly. But in the long term it would be, in my opinion, a massive boon.

    @Barbazenzero.

    I don’t think we’ll agree on how much detail the deal between parliament and the government would have to be in. Either it is is so general as to be unsatisfactory to parliament, or so specific as to cripple the government’s negotiations. I am not sure there is a happy medium.

    On restrictive covenants, they are perfectly legal and already exist for large numbers of properties – particularly ex-social housing in rural areas. The residence restriction is usually three years although it varies. You can also have covenants restricting the tenancy to particular lines of work (usually agricultural, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t apply to other types of work).

    Yes the appropriate level for implementing such a policy would be local authorities. The legislation should be UK wide, but the decision to apply it would reflect local needs.

    One benefit would be to reduce opposition to new development, as there wouldn’t be the perception that the badly needed new homes would be hoovered up by incomers.

    Of course the house building industry would fight it like tigers, as the net effect would be to reduce the sale value of new homes (relatively speaking).

    In the long run, I would welcome a situation where there were effectively two housing markets, one for the general population and one (cheaper one) for those with local links. That would be anathema to some people, but for me it’s exactly what we need. Two bedroom cottage in Cornwall for a second home? £400,000 please. Two bedroom house in Cornwall for a local family? £200,000 will be fine.

  32. “I am not arguing against accepting the one with the strongest support.

    Even if a bigger mandate might intentionally introduce a bias [I assume you mean here that *requiring* a larger mandate for action introduces a bias, rather than the larger mandate itself], that might not be a bad thing, for eggers to offset other biases or concerns. Eg protecting minorities. Or if enacting a big change, with lots of effects, to raise the bar to be sure peeps really want it. Or to offset poor turnout so minority opinion doesn’t hold sufficient sway…”

    And that’s fine! That’s all I have really ever been saying. If you require a more onerous mandate for action than the simple 50% + 1 in this type of decision, you are necessarily prioritising other issues (for instance, conservatism, a bias towards enacting the status quo) over the democratic will. As maybe something of a democratic purist, I think I would would find it hard to make that argument. Others might well find it easier. But in arguing that action should not follow as freely from that slim mandate as from a larger mandate, one would need to be prepared and ready to make the case for why the democratic will ought to be trumped by some other consideration. That’s all.

    (In practical and political terms it probably makes sense for such considerations to be formally codified before such a vote too!)

  33. Test

  34. Danny

    The reason double blind tests are done in medicine is to minimise the variation in other factors that might be present.

    It’s not essential to do so if you quantify the other factors or use statistical techniques to remove endogeneity present in the data. A flawed piece of statistical analysis can at least be identified and improved upon. Produce a story and all that someone else can do is produce a different story with no idea if it’s closer or further away from the truth.

    Lock 10 economists in a room to solve a problem and you’ll get 10 different stories and it’ll come down to who can shout the loudest. Soundproofing the room and throwing the key away would be a good start to getting to the truth.

  35. @Neil A

    Cracking idea on the two-tier Cornish housing market.

    A two-bed house for only 11 times the average local wage rather than 22 times? Bargain.

    ;)

  36. Old Nat and Neil A,
    ” The country, and parliament, is divided between those on the one hand who don’t want SM membership, or are willing to gamble it to get border controls, and on the other people who don’t want border controls or don’t want to risk losing SM membership to get them.”
    Yes I agree too this may well be what a lot of people think, but you should not forget other confounding issues such as wishing to do the maximum harm to westminster and entrenched interests (think bankers). The less government money your area gets, the more likely it voted Leave.

    However, the binary reasoning process you propose illustrates that those who voted Leave had mutually exclusive aims in mind when they did so. It is not reasonable to assume someone who supports one alternative would support the other. This leads to the conclusion there is no overriding mandate for Brexit. Every option for Brexit has less support than remaining as now.

  37. Neil A

    Well Brexit is making my decision to leave for overseas that much clearer so it’s working in that regard. I can’t make the decision for anyone else but with any luck the economy will be so bad that there will be a trend of population reduction for you.

    In the long term, if it is a massive boon, well sorry to say, I’ll be coming back. All good things must come to an end!

  38. This fixation with polling to see if the people have changed their mind on the referendum makes me smile.
    They still don’t get it.
    And until they accept the people have decided, they will continue to cry inside.
    Britannia forges ahead, from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth, Belfast to Brighton, the people have broken free.
    The judges need to understand that and come to the right decision.

  39. @Popeye

    Regarding this mega-quibble from earlier…

    “You are right that the more important something is, the more sure we might want to be. But the example of the criminal is a slightly different one to the referendum question. We don’t find people innocent in court, we specifically test the truth of the single proposition that they are guilty. You can be guilty or not guilty, and we set a high bar for proof. We don’t choose between competing options of guilty and innocent.”

    ————

    Talk about playing with words, where you try and show that somehow a verdict is crucially different from the referendum, because “testing the truth of a single proposition”. Whether guilty or not…

    But it’s still a binary choice in the end, guilty or not guilty. Same as the referendum is a binary choice. A choice where a mandate is required.

    In both, truths are assessed before reaching a decision. You’ve provided another example of a straw man, via playing with words, and focusing on an irrelevance…

  40. Jasper22

    The judges, as always, need to impartially focus on the law.

  41. Alan
    Ordinarily, I would agree.
    On this however, the judges need to beware. They go against the people at their peril.

  42. @Popeye

    “And that’s fine! That’s all I have really ever been saying. If you require a more onerous mandate for action than the simple 50% + 1 in this type of decision, you are necessarily prioritising other issues (for instance, conservatism, a bias towards enacting the status quo) over the democratic will. As maybe something of a democratic purist, I think I would would find it hard to make that argument. Others might well find it easier. But in arguing that action should not follow as freely from that slim mandate as from a larger mandate, one would need to be prepared and ready to make the case for why the democratic will ought to be trumped by some other consideration. That’s all.”

    ————

    No, that doesn’t really follow from what I said. Firstly, I pointed out issues with the idea it would be biased towards the status quo. Secondly, I didn’t argue that the democratic will would be trumped by a larger mandate, indeed as I have already said one can argue it would be more democratic to have a larger mandate. Thirdly, it isn’t proven that a larger mandate necessarily does introduce bias, I just went with that hypothetically to show that even then, it might be acceptable in order to counter other biases.

    It’s weird, you addressed your post to me, but it’s like it’s dealing with stuff someone else must have said, someone with much more convenient objections…

  43. NEIL A

    Re A50, I’ll happily agree to disagree. When the transcript is published we might know a little more, but it’s likely to be a fortnight or so before we see the judgement, which is almost certain to go to the UK Supreme court anyway.

    Re Housing, I agree with pretty much everything you say.

    As it happens, Geneva canton [where I used to work for a UN agency] has a system not unlike the one you describe in order to provide housing for less affluent locals of the canton in both the rental and purchase markets, with significant barriers to moving people and homes from one category to the other.

    Whether such a system is legal within the EU proper I do not know but I find it hard to believe that it would be so in the EEA.

  44. @Alan

    “Maybe it’s the same with hypotheses? Why go to the effort of proving a hypothesis when a better one will come along in a few years? Is it a fear of devaluation of their work over time that stops them?”

    ————

    Popper explained about that. Because it’s easier to prove summat false than always true – because summat might come along later to prove your hitherto flawless theory flawed… precession of Mercury etc. – it suggests one might be better employed checking theories for flaws. But peeps don’t tend to find proving themselves wrong all the time very appealing. (Take Popeye, for example…)

    …Even proving someone ELSE wrong doesn’t necessarily get as many plaudits as coming up with a new theory…

  45. @Carfrew

    I’m sorry if you find it an irrelevant distinction but it is at the philosophical heart of our criminal justice system, which you invoked through the example of a capital trial.

    A “not guilty” verdict says nothing whatsoever about the possibilities of the defendant being innocent. It says that the assertion that they are guilty has not been proven to the required standard. All that is tested is guilt. A criminal trial does not seek to test any alternative hypothesis at all.

    You might not see the ideological distinction with civil cases where competing claims are weighed, but the law certainly does.

  46. Jasper22

    I don’t think judges should be ever “in peril” because of a decision they make.

    Unless you really want competing teams of lynch mobs intimidating them into making one decision or the other?

  47. @Popeye

    Yes, there’s a difference, between being innocent or not guilty. It just doesn’t counter my argument that one might require a bigger mandate for summat more important.

    There is also a difference between chocolate and cheese. One can note many differences, which have little bearing on the matter at hand.

  48. @Carfrew

    “Secondly, I didn’t argue that the democratic will would be trumped by a larger mandate, indeed as I have already said one can argue it would be more democratic to have a larger mandate. Thirdly, it isn’t proven that a larger mandate necessarily does introduce bias, I just went with that hypothetically to show that even then, it might be acceptable in order to counter other biases.”

    I have to say I am starting to doubt the willfulness of your misunderstanding!

    Neither of those are what I said. I said that if you didn’t treat a slim mandate (i.e. 50% + 1) as you did a large mandate (100%), you would be usurping the democratic will for some other consideration, assuming that the options being voted on are mutually-exclusive. You wouldn’t get the slim mandate and the large mandate in the same election, they are both possibilities that you have to consider going into it, and you don’t get to choose which one of them comes out in the wash, the people do!

    A large mandate itself doesn’t introduce bias, but any *requirement* for a larger mandate before action were taken would introduce bias away from the democratic balance. It’d be biased towards whatever it was determined *would* happen instead if the winning mandate came out as between 50% + 1 and the predetermined threshold, even if that decision was: “We won’t do owt!”.

  49. Danny

    “I think economists have great difficulty because it is never possible to do a double blind study.”

    No, not really. It is primarily because they don’t ask the right questions (hence the analysis is quite meaningless) as Joan Robinson put it her article: “What are the questions?” Just look at the current economics Nobel-prize winners’ works.

    Secondly, for convenience economists tend to confuse statistical significance with economic significance, so a double blind experiment wouldn’t help them (the vast majority of them have no clue of the magnitude effect).

  50. I am certain the reduction in UK interest rates has had an effect on £/$ rate as well as Brexit.

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