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. Carfrew

    But seriously we could be facing a lame duck presidency from the start with serious implication for the world

  2. Carfew “Yes, well one way of reading Oldnat’s post is that there’s an implied electoral advantage for the govt. in pursuing a soft Brexit if it might drive voters in the north away from Labour and into the arms of UKip”

    The only problem with that would be the likelihood of a Tory party split. Can the Government seriously take the view after all the positional statements it has made so far that after we exit the EU in name only, it will be okay to give the EU competency over regulations, be under jurisdiction of the ECJ, make continued payments into the EU budget and agree tocontinued freedom of movement?

    IMO this would be politically undeliverable. In any case part of their strategy so far has been to eat into UKIPs platform not drive those voters away.

  3. @Rach

    “I’m not sure how much you can blame the voters when they are faced with such a choice”


    Yes, well, voting peeps in my good books after voting for increased storage and now even synth costs.

    Regarding Hills, it’s unfortunate that the longer you’re in politics before enduring the scrutiny of a presidential race, the more likely the accumulation of snafus to hinder. Obama had fewer skeletons and the likes of Cameron and Blair, in contrast were not only young but spent much time in opposition so not much mud had stuck…

  4. voting peeps hardly in my good books

  5. @Sea Change

    Sure, you can list possible drawbacks. But then you might list the potential advantages and see which package comes out best overall…

  6. oldnat,
    “{Memo to self – become better informed about the distinction between the Customs Union and the Single Market!}”

    Been a lot of finding out stuff we should have known before the referendum….

  7. Tancred,
    ” I prefer to pay more and buy Twinings rather than the stale rubbish from the cheapo brands.”

    I didnt know it was grown in England?

  8. Danny

    Why do you think its called english breakfast tea?

  9. Tony blair does this country a great disservice(perhaps not for the first time) in suggesting to European ears that there should be a second referendum.
    From our point of view we need the EU to be convinced that our decision is irrevocable and that playtime is over. Only then will we obtain realistic trading arrangements.
    If ,however, they have the Blair whispering into their ears that if the EU hold out for obstructive arrangements it will be possible to persuade the british people to change their minds then the EU will be encouraged to do do.
    we used to have a word for someone who acted agains t the interests of his country.-just cant remember what it was now!

  10. @S Thomas “we used to have a word for someone who acted against the interests of his country.-just cant remember what it was now!”

    It was Blair’s government that abolished the maximum penalty of capital punishment for Treason.

    Possible conflict of interest? ;)

  11. S Thomas,

    We know the word you mean and it starts with a capital T.

    There’s also a word for people who pejoratively brand people who have opinions they don’t like with it.

    It starts with a capital W!!!!


  12. I think the problem with this whole “citizen of the world” thing is that it rather cuts across the concept of loyalty to one’s country.

    I suspect if a BritNat Scottish person was seeking to damage the North Sea oil industry, in the hope that it would persuade the Scots from leaving the UK, they would be widely perceived by ScotNats as owning the “T” word, regardless of whether they thought they were acting in the long term best interests of the Scottish/British/World/Galactic citizenry.

  13. peter Cairns

    i think that is not fair to him

    There is no way he should be branded a W** Criminal for his actions in Iraq.

  14. Neil A,
    “I think the problem with this whole “citizen of the world” thing is that it rather cuts across the concept of loyalty to one’s country.”

    But, surely that’s exactly what modern decision makers are?

    Corporations routinely move factories abroad or even sell themselves voluntarily to overseas competitors. The hyper-rich routinely relocate themselves and/or their money abroad to avoid taxation. How often have we heard politicians saying that we must reduce the top rate of taxation to prevent wealthy people leaving the country? How loyal are they to their country?

    Even ignoring the private sector, why is so much of Britain’s infrastructure now owned by the governments of China, France and Germany? The Bank of England is headed by a Canadian, and our trade negotiators are apparently going to be mostly foreigners because we don’t have enough of our own.

    Is Cadbury’s British when it is manufactured in Poland and owned by a US company? Are our armed forces British when they can no longer function without American and French support?

    Britain as a concept just doesn’t exist the way it used to. Modern British leaders do not deeply care what happens to Britain, beyond a superficial desire to play the short term political game. Most senior MPs are rich enough to cushion themselves from almost any decisions they take, so they don’t have to take anything too seriously. Many of those in charge of public services use private (and often foreign-owned) alternatives.

    I’m not saying there are any easy answers to existing in a globalised world, but the primal, automatic link to one’s own country simply doesn’t exist the way it used to. We are extremely intertwined with the rest of the world now, and that has an effect on how loyal people feel to a particular nation.

  15. As soon as we are all citizens of the world the better. Nation states are not helpful . The whole notion of patriotism and nationalism divides us.

  16. mark w

    that is very thatcherite.she is supposed to have said that there is no such thing as society only individuals.

  17. No. Not really.

  18. Edge of Seat,

    “Britain as a concept just doesn’t exist the way it used to. Modern British leaders do not deeply care what happens to Britain, beyond a superficial desire to play the short term political game.”

    First part right, second part daft.

    When their were a handful of big nations and trade within them was far bigger than between and beyond, national priorities dominated because there was little competition.

    Thus the great nation states that emerged after the 18th century and which dominated into the 20th.

    But as more nations emerged and first with sale, then rail and steam and then flight and telecoms, the world changed. Trade between countries grew exponentially till global trade was larger than any single country.

    That is why you are right;

    “Britain as a concept just doesn’t exist the way it used to.”

    But the second part, ascribing it to leaders;

    “Modern British leaders do not deeply care what happens to Britain, beyond a superficial desire to play the short term political game.

    That’s nonsense. It ignores how and why the world has changed and lays the blame falsely on “Them” because you don’t like how it’s changed!

    I for one would rather live in this modern multinational world with all it’s nuances and variety than go back to the days of the Great Nation States and blind obedience to it.

    I may be a nationalist but I don’t have a nostalgic view of “Bonnie Scotland” any more than I’d fly the Flag for “Uncle Sam”, Great Britain”, ” Mother Russia” or ” The Fatherland”



  19. “They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.” – in an interview in Women’s Own in 1987

    She wasn’t saying there is no such thing at all.

  20. Edge of Seat

    I think that is quite a reasonable summary.

    I think there is a two way thing with loyalty. We’d like investors to be loyal to our country, to play by the rules and not up sticks in times of difficulty. In return people who make an investment don’t want to see political winds turn against them and make life unfavourable towards them.

    This works on a number of levels, from multinationals investing in production facilities to individuals choosing the UK as a place to use their skills.

    I think the “You are a citizen of Nowhere” line TM used seems to be saying “This country owes you nothing for your loyalty”. I suspect that most people are generally quite loyal to a country and aren’t going to up roots because of a small short term thing like the wrong government being elected because things will be generally be fairly benign.

    If the wrong government then starts enacting stuff designed to make life difficult / less pleasant / less profitable then that loyalty goes out of the window. In a way, it’ll be the government which breaks the covenant between itself and a company or an individual. When this happens it can’t moan if those people / companies put themselves before the government and therefore the country. Just like in the days of 98% taxation, the people who were subjected to such high rates of tax weren’t betraying the country when they left. It was the government’s willingness to punish these people which was the betrayal.

    Today’s world is much more global and so the ease at which someone can up sticks is that much less and so their tolerance to punishment is that much less. People with skills/money to invest in companies are much more mobile and so a country beating them whilst extolling patriotism isn’t going to work on these people. Patriotism isn’t about letting a country punish you.

    I know some might think that people have a duty to stay in a country and take as much punishment as a government is willing to put out but in reality if a government tries making the pips squeak they will find that people will leave long before that happens and they will have killed the golden goose.

  21. “What is point of?”
    @Maura October 28th, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Well he gets re-elected with a reduced majority, the Lib Dems get some exposure, and we ‘Remoaners’ get renewed momentum to point out that Brexit will never work.

    What’s not to like?

  22. Peter Cairns

    I read that part and just felt not that it was rubbish, but exaggeration of the extent that loyalty has reduced over the years. I also think it’s a good thing.

    “But in spite of all temptations
    To belong to other nations,
    He remains an Englishman!
    He remains an Englishman!”

    Is not a good form of patriotism.

  23. Peter Cairns

    How can you be a scottish nationalist but not believe in nationalism.

    surely it is what it says on the tin. a national socialist is not the same as a socialist.

  24. S Thomas

    I don’t see any contradiction with believing that Scotland should be an independent nation within an international world. It’s not the same as saying Scotland is better than everyone else so we should be independent.

    It’s about saying it can work and it can better serve the needs of the majority of the Scottish people.

    When you consider the alternative, I’m beginning to think they might have a point.

  25. @OLDNAT

    “After all, Turkey has been in a customs union with the EU for 20 years, so trading in many goods shouldn’t be a problem – after a time gap, I suspect!
    .Of course, many areas of key economic activities can be, and are, excluded from a customs union, so the road ahead would still not be pothole free!”

    Well, I want to be able to go to France, Germany, Italy and Spain and not have to be checked for customs on my return journey. It’s unthinkable that this could happen. I also often order items from, so having to face a customs charge would be a real pain. And I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way.

  26. Tancred

    “And I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way.”

    Indeed not. I feel similarly but that wasn’t the point of my post, which was to suggest that May is looking at options that avoid the hardest of Brexits.

    In such circumstances, there may be other possibilities on the table. Who knows?

    While my personal opinion is that Brexit was a bad mistake to make, what matters now is the extent to which the consequences can be minimised.

    Equally, hard line Brexiteers will be concerned that, what they see as gains will be thrown away!

    Above all, on this site, how will the extent to which the UK Government separates the UK from the EU shift opinion among the many who are not hard line either way?

  27. AL URQUA

    I see what you mean! But could we achieve this excellent end more cheaply? For example by finding some folk who voted for him last time and giving them a tenner each to vote against him this time? Or is that illegal? Also how would you know they told the truth? Oh wait……they voted Zac last time…..I trust them implicitly.

    Here is my cunning plan …… Zac finds people who voted against him last time and gives them the tenner to change their vote (see above). He can afford it so that’s good. He gets more votes thus proving people don’t like Heathrow plan so that’s good or he gets fewer votes thus proving people don’t like him so that’s good. He gets reelected only it costs him rather than us so that’s good. What’s not to like?

  28. Maura

    A tenner? Cheapskate! (Now if it’s paid in euros or dollars that might work better). :-)

  29. OLDNAT

    I’m prepared to be cheap but not a skate (which I think is an old Scots word for one who is an object of contempt- skate or skite)? I hope it is anyway because it has a good sound!

  30. Maura

    Apparently “skate” in that term is a 19th c. US word for “fellow” – but I don’t imagine you want to be one of those either. :-)

  31. Cambridgerachel,
    “Why do you think its called english breakfast tea?”
    Ah, of course.

    S Thomas,
    “From our point of view we need the EU to be convinced that our decision is irrevocable and that playtime is over.”

    But that is just the thing. It is not irrevocable.Nowhere near. A narrow result was the worst possible one, either way, because it settles nothing.

    “we used to have a word for someone who acted agains the interests of his country.-just cant remember what it was now!”

    Really my apologies to everyone because I could not resist replying to such hyperbole. The answer so often through history has been, ‘prime minister’.

    Edge of Seat,
    Well said. The referendum has been very strange to me because so many of the issues seem to be absurd and wholly topsy turvey. People on one side really supporting the other. Arguing about issues when they have made a career supporting the opposite view. Above all the concept that there is any such thing as national sovereignty independent of other nations. It is inconceivable that the Uk could engage in the sort of conflict it did in ww1 or ww2 without collapsing almost immediately because we are so much more dependent on essential imports now than we were even then. The idea that there is any alternative to continued deep trading relations with Europe.

    Gilbert and Sullivan would have a field day over this. it was satire, even then.

  32. OLDNAT

    Oh that’s interesting. I thought it was ‘skate’ like ‘skite’ but I bow to your Scots knowledge.

  33. Oh, i forgot the serious bit.

    Todays news had a story that May is on record as calling for any minister who negotiates with the EU without obtaining approval for their position from parliament should be required to resign. She seems to be acquiring a reputation for U-turns, which I suppose is yet another total reversal of conservative policy as compared to the Thatcher era. The question then is, she seems to be increasingly accident prone in this respect. I don’t imagine the party will care because they chose her as a caretaker compromise to hold them together in this crisis. But what effect will this have on her own voter ratings?

  34. Danny

    That’s interesting. Does that include herself one wonders?

  35. Maura

    No, you were right. Both “skate” and “skite” are archaic Scots terms for a contemptible person – in fact both are variations of the same scatalogical term that is used in other variants of English, and the Americans (given their propensity for such terminology) would probably appreciate!

    However, “cheapskate” turns out to have first been recorded in the USA in 1896.

    (Not that I knew any of this before our chat! I do like words though!)

  36. “I do like words though!”
    @oldnat October 29th, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Ah words. So many Indo-EUROPEAN words. How did that happen, one wonders.

  37. Al Urqu

    Probably due to nasty things like people moving about from place to place, having sex (it always comes back to that); producing more people, who were curious about what was over the next hill etc.

    If we had stayed in Africa (and been celibate) none of this would have happened!

  38. Alan

    surely Scottiish nationialism is the belief that the Scottish nation should be free to make its own decisions irrespective of whether it is in their best interests.
    No definition of nationalism i have read includes the playground belief that the nation is better than anybody else.

  39. S Thomas,


    Scottish Independence; The Right to Make Our Own Mistakes!


  40. “If we had stayed in Africa (and been celibate) none of this would have happened!”
    @oldnat October 29th, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Bloody immigrants!

    (you got my got!)

  41. Mike Smithson tweet

    “It appears that ? of those sampled in BMG’s Richmond Park poll did not give a voting intention. Published figures based on the other third”

    So the effective sample size (confirmed by their tables is around 125.

    It was already pointed out upthread, that the weighting of Leave/Remain voters seemed extremely dodgy to say the least!

    Sorry Anthony, but for once, your posting on the BMG poll may have added little to the sum of human knowledge. :-(

  42. ? = “two-thirds” in the above

  43. I’m on my first post-referendum foray across the Channel and can’t help reflecting on how very well the border control arrangements currently work.

    At Dover, the French passport guy looked at my passport for about 30 seconds, smiled and handed it back. Very professional, polite and friendly – and French was used throughout. The British guy, in his booth a few metres further on, just waved me through without me having to get out of the car (I was on the ‘wrong’ side for his booth). Clearly, if my passport was OK for the French, it was OK for him: and nice to see sensible co-operation where you might expect jobs orth duplication.

    Then, in Calais, I was almost first off the ship, no further checks and straight off onto the motorway on a gorgeous sunny afternoon.

    The point of this anecdote? We’ve all come to take quick and easy border crossings for granted – many of the younger Brexiters probably have no experience of long border delays, or those customs officers with their sticks of chalking rifling through your cases- but if the border checks get shifted back to the ‘arrival’ side, the delightful efficiency of the current arrangement will give way to long, time-wasting queues for passport control after you drive off the ship.

  44. jobs orth = jobsworth
    chalking = chalk

  45. @thoughtful

    “I do wonder how the polls are going to be affected by the news crooked Hilary is – well crooked !”

    As I understand it the FB! have found some emails. They haven’t yet said what is in them or even who they are from. Does this yet amount to news that Hilary Clinton is crooked?

    News or not, the FBI intervention may of course affect the pollsl

  46. Charles

    It seems somewhat ironic that clinton calls for the publication of the e-mails in issue when i understand that over 33,000 of her private server e-mails were deleted by her staff after she had received a sub-poena to preserve and disclose.

    you cannot get the staff these days!

    Is it too late for the Democrats to change candidate? A president who starts her presidency on bail for Criminal Charges is hardly a shining example to the world. Bill will,however, be able to hold the fort for her during her absences and take a break from being head of dry cleaning services at the White house.

  47. Those above debating the issues of nationhood and independence might go to the Radio Four podcast for the last Reith Lecture:

    Thought provoking stuff.

  48. Michael Moore very good on ‘Michael Moore on Trumpland’.

  49. Charles

    “News or not, the FBI intervention may of course affect the pollsl”

    Indeed, they seem to have done that.

    However, I understand that these are polls across the whole Republic – which are cheap to do, but largely meaningless – even more meaningless than pollsters measuring “GB” political opinion!

    There are 51 separate elections to the Electoral College – and in all but two of them it’s a “winner takes all” process.

    Voting is already taking place in most of the USA (only 14 elections – mostly in “safe” Clinton territory in the NE don’t allow it).

    So, we are really in a situation in the USA where “the only poll that matters” is the real one.

    Possibly of more importance is how the current news story might affect the House and Senate seat elections.

  50. CMJ

    Thanks. That lecture was excellent.

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