The Evening Standard have published a new BMG poll of the Richmond Park by-election, suggesting a significantly less exciting race than some people thought (and than the Lib Dems hoped). Topline voting intention figures are:

GOLDSMITH (Ind) 56% (down 2 from the Con share in 2015)
OLNEY (Lib Dem) 29% (up 10 from the LD share in 2015)
LABOUR 10% (-2)
OTHER 5% (-5)

While there is a month to go, this suggests that Goldsmith should hold the seat relatively easily. The idea that, with both main candidates opposing Heathrow expansion, it could become an by-election about Brexit in a pro-EU seat doesn’t really seem to working out at present. 25% of voters say that Brexit will be the most important issue in deciding their vote, but they are mostly voting Lib Dem and Labour already. Goldsmith’s voters say their most important considerations are Goldsmith’s own record and views, followed by Heathrow opposition.

BMG also asked people how they would have voted if the Conservatives had put up an official Conservative candidate against Goldsmith. Topline figures would have been GOLDSMITH 34%, LIB DEM 25%, CONSERVATIVE 20% – so the race would have been far more competitive, but with the Tories trailing in third place. It was an unusual decision not to stand, but the polling suggests it was the right one for the Tories (or at least, neither option would have produced a Tory MP, but the Conservatives presumably prefer Goldsmith winning to a Lib Dem). Full details are here.


522 Responses to “BMG/Standard poll of Richmond Park gives Goldsmith 27 point lead”

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  1. @Graham
    That’s a view – it’s one I disagree with; I think that they had little option other than to support a Conservative administration, either through confidence and supply or a formal coalition.
    Ironically they dug themselves this hole by taking the route that as perceived at the time as being more in the national interest and then playing it straight – I think a combination of naivety and the excitement of getting to enact some liberal policies in government for the first time in eighty years.
    But this is re-hashing old round; the real question is whether left-leaning voters are still angry enough to prefer a Tory MP to supporting a Lib Dem.
    From the opinion polls it appears they are still angry, from local elections it appears they are more forgiving – Richmond Park will be a very good test.

  2. @NEIL A

    “I think you have the LDs problem in one”

    ————-

    LD’s problem was playing their hand really badly. They should not have u-turned on austerity, it was too big a compromise to make, fundamentally betraying their voters in many ways at once. And to trade that u turn for the miserable compromise was taking the Mick?

    If they had held firm on Austerity I think they could have gotten away with some other u-turns.

    Cameron in contrast knew he couldn’t afford to betray on the referendum despite the risk, it was too big a u-turn and Tories are consequently still in power.

  3. Regarding local by-elections. Turnout is usually abysmal. In the region of 20% to 30%.

    In that situation, you could get some very motivated people turning out while everyone else in the ward isn’t even aware a by-election is happening. Lab voters in particular don’t bother with local by-elections.

    So that could be the reason why LibDems are doing well in these by-elections but the national polls arn’t budging.

  4. @Bigfatron

    “That’s a view – it’s one I disagree with; I think that they had little option other than to support a Conservative administration, either through confidence and supply or a formal coalition.”

    ———-

    They didn’t have to support Austerity and trash so many aspects of their manifesto at once though. No one forced it and their voters clearly didn’t want it.

    They just gambled and lost. They capitulated in the hope that voting reform and being seen to be in government would eclipse the betrayal. Which unfortunately it didn’t…

    As say, you might find that acceptable, though won’t be able to justify it, but clearly delusional for LDs to think there would. I posted that to Cable at the time when he posted his excuse for the Greece gambit online. Electorally untenable.

  5. but clearly delusional for LDs to think others would

  6. BigFatRon – “You wouldn’t chastise the Tories for a U-turn over Inheritance Tax cuts (for – abandoned), educational investment for the poorest children (against – adopted) or increased personal tax allowances (against – adopted); all things they made pre-election commitments on and then did the opposite as part of the coalition. It does seem that the poor Lib Dems are held to some higher standard of behaviour than other parties”

    It is to do with being true to your brand. You can u-turn as long as it doesn’t damage the essence of your brand.

    People expect a certain sort of hardness from Conservatives, and when they do soft things (increase educational investment for children), people are pleasantly surprised but then expect them to go back to the norm.

    That’s why Osborne didn’t even bother to campaign on raising the minimum wage in 2015, he knew people wouldn’t believe him (because of his brand), so said nothing, and simply implemented it after the election. Nobody felt betrayed by his actions. Because the essense of Toryness is about doing whatever it takes to keep Britain as a whole on the road, and they frequently bend to do this.

    The LibDems built their brand around “niceness” and anti-war – and then abandoned that. They even voted for the Libya action. Their voters did feel betrayed. It was the equivalent of Labour trashing the NHS, or the Conservatives refusing to sing “God save the Queen”.

  7. Couldn’t say for sure but it’s possible LibDems may be screwed for quite a while. Not just the anger at the scale and cynicism of the betrayal and just how much was done under the cloak of austerity, but liberalism is being somewhat rejected anyway. Not just the economics but also some of the social aspects.

    Bussing hundreds of activists into a by-election might mask this a little but come the GE…

  8. Irony is the Lib Dems got a lot of what they wanted in the end. We had a couple decades of Liberalism. Neolib economics, free movement, all that jazz. Tories and Labour implemented a healthy dose of Liberalism.

    And peeps aren’t overly keen, the main parties are changing tack. They didn’t get voting reform, of course, but their vote collapsed anyway. It’s not necessarily just the betrayal but might be unhappy about the policies too

  9. @Candy

    “It is to do with being true to your brand. You can u-turn as long as it doesn’t damage the essence of your brand.”

    ————

    And also, what’s the reason for the u-turn. Did the tuition fee change save money? Er not so much, no. Peeps will make allowances for some turns esp. if genuinely no choice but flagrant betrayals for party advantage? Not so much…

  10. The problems with the Lib-Dems is that they will be flamed whatever they do. And people don’t seem to really understand liberalism anyway.

    Liberalism isn’t just a fluffy ‘nice’ type of politics that the left seem to love, it’s also about taking responsibility for your own life and being free to live it – meaning that you shouldn’t expect the state to bail you out with subsidies and help at every stage. This would be a socialist view. Liberalism is about providing a safety net but also giving people the freedom to live the life they want. Capitalism is embraced, not rejected, because if gives people the opportunity to improve their lives, as long as checks and balances are in place to prevent abuse by the mega rich.

  11. @Tancred

    “The problems with the Lib-Dems is that they will be flamed whatever they do. And people don’t seem to really understand liberalism anyway.
    Liberalism isn’t just a fluffy ‘nice’ type of politics that the left seem to love, it’s also about taking responsibility for your own life and being free to live it – meaning that you shouldn’t expect the state to bail you out with subsidies and help at every stage.”

    ———–

    Lol, the Lib Dems were happy to pump hundreds of billions into the SE economy in the form of QE while going along with cuts in the North…

  12. @Tancred

    True – most countries have a Liberal party but there isn’t a pure liberal party in the UK.

    Interestingly, other countries don’t have a Tory party either (Toryness predates capitalism and is about ducking and weaving and doing whatever you have to do to keep the country stable).

    The right-wing govt of Finland has taken the opposite tack to our govt and is freezing wages across the board to force productivity gains:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-23/finland-s-millionaire-premier-freezes-pay-in-bid-to-save-economy

    That’s what a genuine right-wing govt looks like (as opposed to a Tory govt). People there are pretty unhappy about it, and in the western Swedish-speaking part of Finland people are applying for jobs in Sweden to escape the drugery.

  13. @Laszlo
    The phenomenon is always more complicated than our description.
    Or at least than our description as we understand it.
    The phenomenon is linked to the whole universe.
    The description is curtailed by the limits of our brains (though as they are linked to the whole universe, our description contains implications we are not aware of, and don’t understand.)
    A signal passed through a filter is always distorted, unless the bandwidth of the ‘filter’ is so (infinitely) wide that it ceases to be a filter.
    During WW2, attempting to produce a dummy Halifax bomber ‘signal’ to confuse German radar, it was concluded that the only certain substitute was another Halifax bomber.

  14. Tancred
    “Liberalism is about providing a safety net but also giving people the freedom to live the life they want.”

    Isn’t that pretty much the modern Tory party?

  15. SOMERJOHN

    @”. It’s having half of that torn away that is so hard, and so unnecessary.”

    I feel sure that they will still be pleased to take your Tourist spending money off you-I am lead to believe that Americans & Canadians & Chinese and…………..oooh lots of nationalities go to “Europe” all the time.

    And no one is going to stop you from here .

    You really need to stop panicking :-)

  16. “A signal passed through a filter is always distorted, unless the bandwidth of the ‘filter’ is so (infinitely) wide that it ceases to be a filter.”

    ————

    Sometimes the distortion in a filter is a good thing though. Like in a synth…

  17. “Isn’t that pretty much the modern Tory party?”

    Both Tories and Nulab moved to adopt some aspects of Liberalism, this is why LibDems were forced to move to the left as Lab moved to the centre. Not that the Orange boomers really believed in it as we saw.

    In reality the conception of safety nets and who gets them and how much tends to follow party advantage however.

  18. Colin: “oooh lots of nationalities go to “Europe” all the time.”

    It’s not about access, it’s about belonging. I don’t want to be in another European country on sufferance, as a Chinese or American would be: I want to be there because European is what I am: it’s my home.

    At the moment I’m an EU citizen. When Brexit happens, I won’t be. For some of us, that isn’t just a dry bureaucratic point: it’s about part of our identity, our future, our heritage.

  19. Orange boomers = orange bookers

  20. @Somerjohn

    I think you are fantasising if you believe that when you go to France, the French believe you are “at home”. They believe you are a Brit visiting their territory. Ditto the Italians, Germans and others.

    The only place you are genuinely at home and treated as such, is here in Blighty.

  21. Candy: “The only place you are genuinely at home and treated as such, is here in Blighty.”

    You don’t know anything about my family background. I have 15 cousins in “Europe” and none in the UK.

  22. Somerjohn

    It was an interesting argument though. “They are as racist as we are, so stay safe at home here”

  23. wow

    BBC reporting that ABC poll has trump ahead! still expecting Clinton victory but is a trump win possible?

    Dont think Prime Minister May has rubbished him.

    His mother is Scottish.And they say that scotland doesnt produce anything the world wants!

  24. The fall of the LibDems is not really about specific pledges, but about general strategy. The LibDem issue with the coalition is that they didn’t follow through with the whole basic political concept that they had held for the past three decades.That being in coalition they would act as a equal partner with a strong position based on representing the electorate not their seat count, and that certain things would be required to prevent a return to the ballot box.

    Instead they accepted the Junior partner. They then completely changed the structure of the party, so they could ignore their own conference votes calling for them to have a stronger position. And thanks to the various memoirs published, we now know that many of the government’s policies were constructed without even notification of the LibDem members of the cabinet.

    It is hard to understand how anyone in the LibDem leadership could have thought this situation would be welcomed by their voters. I really do wish they had shown the spine to break the coalition and go back to the ballots mid-term. I still do not understand what they thought they had gained from such a subservient position. It is possible they were simply paralysed with the thought that they could bring the coalition down if they really wanted to over something, but now wasn’t the right time, and surely they best wait and see, and then suddenly it was 2015…

  25. Actually I think how an individual feels about ‘belonging’ is ……individual…. I know people who are very firm about describing themselves as ‘English’ and not ‘British’ and, in the same way, some people will see themselves very comfortably as ‘English’ and ‘British’ and ‘European’. I don’t think much is gained by saying you can’t feel like that if you do.

  26. I understand how Somerjohn feels, as that is how I feel about the UK.

    However, ScotNats are quick to disabuse me of the notion that Scotland is in any way “my” country.

    I’d also add I am less than 50% English ethnically (perhaps much less – my mother never knew her family, and although they had British sounding surnames and lived in London they could easily have been Irish, Scots or Welsh), with Danish and Swiss blood. I have as many living relatives abroad as I do in the UK.

    However, I do not think of myself as European first. British first, then English, then European. I don’t accept TOH’s view that the British are not European. That seems to fly in the face of history, geography, ethnicity, demography and, well, reality….

  27. @Candy

    Really? I was born here, and yet ToH had the gaul to imply I was a foreign instigator. I suggest you have a very rosy outlook of how Jingoist Britain works out for people who have even the air of Bohemia about them.

  28. @Maura,

    Snap!

  29. oldnat

    You keep on referring to pelagic fish.

    I have never had one of those. Does it taste like sea bass or is it on the mackerel side?

  30. @Somerjohn

    So your grief is really because you have actual family abroad, and despite being part of a small minority who do, you expect everyone else to put up with supranational crap to accomodate you?

    Why don’t you just apply for EU passports in the countries where you do feel at home? That way, you get to deepen your attachment to them and we get to move away. Win-win. Why on earth are you trying to force the majority to feel something we clearly don’t feel?

  31. @Jayblanc

    I’m surprised at ToH – you come across as a classic Labour person, which is a unique British subculture I haven’t ever encountered abroad! (The American Dems and the French socialists arn’t anything like Lab, even Aussie Lab are different).

  32. @Candy

    Has it occurred to you that they do not hand out passports to any one just because they have relatives in the country in question?

    You seem to take the attitude that because you will not miss EU membership, and all the rights that entails, then no one else should be allowed to complain about losing them.

    If the nation voted tomorrow to ban Marmite, because 52% of the people didn’t like it, would that ban be a good thing that the 48% should not complain about.

  33. @Jayblanc

    There is certainly an element of jingoism about the British character, but I don’t think we’re exactly famous for it.

    We don’t fly flags like the Americans or the Danish, or pour disdain on the rest of the world like the French.

    There’s a reason migrants want to come to the UK and it’s not entirely economic.

    This country is a polite, well-meaning and tolerant place to make a new life. The Brexit vote has perhaps led to the small minority that don’t fit that general picture baring their teeth, but I don’t see any sign of us becoming a significantly less friendly place to be.

    I certainly think we are, and will remain in the top half of the Euro-table of places that are tolerant of foreigners.

  34. @Jayblanc,

    The UK does hand out passports to people just because they have relatives living here, so in a sense you may have reinforced my last post…

  35. @Jayblanc

    As Neil A said, we provide passports for the purposes of family unification.

    Somerjohn claimed that he felt at home in those places, and that they regarded him as being at home.

    In which case they ought to grant a passport to him. Of course they may regard him as foreign and refuse – in which case, he has been living in a fantasy imagining he belonged where he didn’t.

  36. @Neil A

    I suggest that you might want to review what it actually takes to get a British Passport these days. No, they do not hand out Passports just because someone has a relative living here. And I have to ask the question, why on earth do you think they do?

  37. Jayblanc is misrepresenting a discussion we had some time back, when to use his phrase I had the gaul to ask where he came from. He had just posted a number of anti UK posts at the time.

    I didn’t accuse him of anything.

  38. @Candy

    No. We *expressly do not* hand out passports for such. Children *may* be given a right to remain if their primary care giver or immediate family are legally recognised and licensed as permanently residing in the UK. And ‘right to remain’ is very very very different to having a passport and being considered a citizen, they may in later life be able to be naturalised, but that is not a simple process.

    This is really the kind of awful misinformation that leads people to throw about accusations about immigrants. Cut it out.

  39. Alan and Maura

    Yes, identity is an interesting and individual concept. I remember, many years ago, walking into a pub in Scotstoun and feeling a total outsider: I could hardly understand a word and the culture was just palpably alien. I’ve felt a bit the same walking through Rusholme.

    Perhaps I’ll be forgiven a personal anecdote to expand this.

    Last night I walked into a bar in Teruel, high in the uplands of Aragón, and within 30 seconds I was being clapped on the back for what was perceived as a joke by me but wasn’t intended. (If that sounds a bit unlikely, the situation was this: the bar was public but part of the small hotel I had booked. I’m travelling with my old dog – my wife prefers to fly and is joining me tomorrow – and one of a group of old chaps drinking together in the bar called out to me “¿Como se llama?” which can mean either “what are you called” or “what’s he called?” So I asked: do you mean me or the dog? Raucous laughter all round. Followed by a couple of drinks and good natured conversation about what I and my dog were doing there).

    To me, in a small way that was a rather wonderful experience. So while I don’t by any means truly belong in Spain, nor do I truly belong in parts of the UK. And, in case anyone thinks after my revelation of multiple cousins that I’m half Spanish, I’m not. My non-British component is from much further north.

  40. @ToH

    You will please do the duty of owning your own words. You demanded I answer you as to which country I was a national off, and implied that I was saying what I was only because of antagonism to the UK. That you still frame what I’ve being saying as having some inherent national bias against the UK is… telling.

  41. @CARFREW

    “Lol, the Lib Dems were happy to pump hundreds of billions into the SE economy in the form of QE while going along with cuts in the North…”

    The Lib-Dems were not ‘happy’ – they were in a coalition government and had to bow to the larger party. It’s called compromise.

  42. There is good compromise, such as “We could not decide what toppings to have on the pizza, so we ordered half and half as a compromise.”

    There is bad compromise, such as “The sealant on the boat become compromised.”

    The LibDems made the bad kind of compromise. They let all the ground under them be washed away by Conservative policies, and only took a stand on things very few people care about.

  43. Candy: “Why on earth are you trying to force the majority to feel something we clearly don’t feel?”

    I’m not trying to force anyone to do or feel anything. It’s me who’s being forced to lose my EU citizenship.

    And again: “Somerjohn claimed that he felt at home in those places, and that they regarded him as being at home.”

    I made no claims about how people regard me. As others have pointed out, we all have multiple layers of identity, with the strength of each layer highly variable between individuals. For me, the European layer is important: for you, clearly not.

  44. Somerjohn

    Nice anecdote.

    Like you say, there would be plenty of places within the UK where I would certainly feel a stranger…. the next village over for example!

  45. SOMERJOHN

    @”. I don’t want to be in another European country on sufferance, as a Chinese or American would be”

    I see-in which case I am even less inclined to be a “Citizen of Europe”-a “Europe” which “suffers” the presence of its millions of fee paying tourists.

  46. NeilA

    Just to correct a misrepresentation. I have never said the British are not European of course they are. However what have said is that personally I don’t feel European and have little affinity with Europeans. I feel much more affinity with Americans, Canadians, Anzacs, and Indians than I do with most Europeans.

    That is not to say that I don’t want us to remain friends and allies of the Europeans oce we have left the EU, I do, as I posted on the last thread.

  47. Colin

    The opposite of “on sufferance’ (defined as: passive permission resulting from lack of interference) is ‘by right’.

    I should have written: as a Chinese or American would be in an EU country including the UK. Or do you believe that a Chinese tourist in the UK is here by right

  48. @Jayblanc,

    Family reunification visas can include adult relatives, not that many do, because of course the vast majority relates to spouses/partners.

    Naturalisation can be applied for after 5 years’ residence in the UK.

    The reason I believe what I do is because that is the law.

    Yes there are hoops, but they aren’t particularly difficult.

    I am not complaining. It is an inherent part of being a civilised country that our citizens can bring members of their families here, if they need to (although I regret the abandonment of the primary purpose rule as I believe marriages of convenience are common, and very detrimental to the country and sometimes to the spouse).

  49. @TANCRED

    “The Lib-Dems were not ‘happy’ – they were in a coalition government and had to bow to the larger party. It’s called compromise.”

    ———–

    You got no evidence they weren’t happy. Evidence is to the contrary. They didn’t exactly complain about it did they. They didn’t have to go into coalition, could have done confidence and supply but then they wouldn’t have got their bums on the govt. benches. They were very happy about that, made it their slogan at Conference.

    “In government… and on your side!!!”

    It should have been “In govt. and doing the opposite of what you we said!!”

    Obviously there are LibDems in the London orbit who benefited from the QE and maybe think massive betrayal is acceptable. But most understandably think otherwise…

  50. Jayblanc

    I was trying to find out why you were so antagonistic to the UK. Now i know.

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