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. Good piece here from CNN:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/29/opinions/blair-cant-save-britain-from-brexit-merrick/index.html

    “Blair’s latest successor, Theresa May, has successfully managed to paint the 48% of the UK population who voted against leaving the EU as the 1% — an out-of-touch global elite who don’t understand the needs of ordinary voters. Remainers who complain about Brexit are shouted down for being sore losers or for trying to subvert the will of the British people.”

    This is the crux of the UK government’s approach. Change tack completely and move to the pro-Brexit side hook, line and sinker.
    It’s a bold strategy and I believe ultimately a losing one, even if it yields dividends short term. I believe Britain will pay the price for this unilateral act of diplomatic vandalism and at the end of the negotiation process we will be faced with a stark ‘either or’ from the EU. The 48% are not the 1% – and it’s time that the 48% made itself heard loudly.

  2. The debate does seem to be shaping up into the way the conservatives have simply adopted leave as their policy and are pushing it through. It is not about a parliamentary decision, or a decision by voters, but the normal process of a government choosing a policy and driving it forward. I dont know whether the conservatives wanted to adopt leave rather than remain, but what they did need was a decision. As they failed to get one in the referendum, they have chosen a side.

    The problem remains that while superficially Britain is ruled by majority of 1, in reality it is ruled by consenus. There are few issues where more people have been motivated to choose sides and where there is less consensus even possible. Superficially the conservatives are riding high on decisiveness, but events will dictate the outcome.

    And in the US the campaign continues to increase in intensity with the candidates knocking chunks out of each others political and personal integrity. By the time they have finished, neither one may be in a fit state to govern anything. The campaign has not been about policy but about the candidates themselves. Not even about how great they are personally, but how awful.

    Politics as a whole is losing vote share.

  3. This from UK Labour surprised me

    “Theresa May’s Brexit is in the interests of an elite few. Labour will fight for a Brexit that works for the British people.”

  4. @Danny

    I don’t think it’s complicated.

    The Tories stood on a manifesto in which they promised to hold an In Out Referendum and implement the outcome.

    They were elected, unexpectedly, with an overall majority.

    They carried out their promise and held a vote.

    Now they are carrying out their promise and implementing the outcome of the vote.

    Any Tory MP who didn’t now support Brexit is disregarding the platform upon which they were elected. That’s not especially unusual of course. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most pro-Remain Tories are now lining up behind Brexit. It is what they promised they would do.

    What wasn’t in the manifesto was any commitment to the type of Brexit deal the government would pursue in the event of a Leave vote. The voting question had nothing to say about this either. May’s decision to redline border controls is based on her judgement of what she thinks motivated the public, and therefore where the best interests of her party lie.

    Therefore the form of Brexit is a legitimate issue for the Tories to squabble over (and they no doubt will). I’d even say there is substance to the argument of those who believe parliament should have a say in what the priorities should be (subject to the government potentially making it a confidence issue if parliament supports a proposal that the government thinks is unacceptable).

    But Brexit itself is now officially Conservative Party policy.

  5. @Tancred –

    We are not a banana republic and there will be no 2nd Referendum whatever Blair snipes about from the sidelines. A poll subsequent to the result pointed to 30% of the 48% accepting the result and wanting the democratic will of the people to be enacted. So it is more like 2/3 to 1/3.

    If the courts or Parliament block Brexit there will inevitably be a General Election. May would win that by a landslide on a manifesto to implement Brexit as remain votes are relatively stacked up in fewer constituencies.

    Frankly your only hope for a reversal is financial Armageddon in the UK and a profound change in voter sentiment at a subsequent election. That looks a pretty forlorn prospect currently.

  6. Sea Change

    “But Brexit itself is now officially Conservative Party policy.”

    And judging by that Labour announcement that i posted, also UK (or at least Eng) Lab policy – as well as (obviously) UKIP policy.

    Not much of an election choice for folk in England anymore, on this issue.

    LD or a Brexit party.

  7. @NEIL A

    “But Brexit itself is now officially Conservative Party policy.”

    And this is why I will stop supporting the conservatives until this changes, and I believe it will, eventually. It could take 10 or 20 years, but I believe that the conservatives will sooner or later realise that Brexit is economically and politically a wrong move.

  8. @SEA CHANGE

    I am well aware that there is next to no chance of stopping Brexit, but in the longer term the issue will not go away, especially if the government takes us out of the single market and customs union. The debate will continue to rage.

  9. @OLD NAT

    “Theresa May’s Brexit is in the interests of an elite few. Labour will fight for a Brexit that works for the British people.”

    Meaningless nonsense from Labour. I don’t see any way that Brexit can work for the British people and they will find out the hard way.
    If we can stay in the single market and customs union then there is hope, but otherwise we will suffer a sharp recession, high inflation and a sharp drop in living standards.

  10. @OLD NAT

    “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.”

    I’m not sure what May is trying to do – there are no clear signals that I can see, only obfuscation. I can only therefore make educated guesses.

    I suspect that the harsh noises made at the Tory conference are designed to placate the hard line Brexiteers and the Tory press (The Times excepted). In reality I think she knows that the consequences of a hard Brexit would be severely damaging and she will do all she can to achieve the impossible – control EU immigration while keeping the single market and/or customs union. I don’t think she told Nissan anything concrete, only that she will do her best in the negotiations and that if it fails then she will do everything necessary to support the factories.

  11. I do feel that many people voted Brexit for irrational reasons, especially the old, who remember the ‘good old days’ of the 60s and early 70s.

    The thing is I have no idea what was good about them: no pasta and olive oil in the shops, only lard and beef dripping for frying – butter was expensive. No filter coffee, only instant or else that foul ‘Camp’ stuff. No cafes, only dingy, smoke filled pubs that banned children. Sausages filled with mostly rusk rather than meat. No decent affordable restaurants outside central London – only the Wimpy Bar and Little Chef being on offer, and the only food offered by pubs being ‘chicken in a basket’. Violence and disorder galore in Northern Ireland. Sideburns and drooping moustaches, flared trousers – yeah right. Criminals being able to flee to Spain and enjoy freedom from prosecution and extradition. Tight limits on being able to take money out of the country. British cars looked awful, were badly built and you usually had to wait months for delivery because the car makers were on strike; or the trains or the power stations etc. he banks closed at three, the shops closed at five and the pubs closed at 10.30. On Sundays and on Wednesday afternoons everything was shut. Late night television finished at midnight, and that was only on Friday and Saturday. Wine was expensive and you could only get average or low quality anyway, e.g. Blue Nun or Mateus – anything better would cost a small fortune.
    Women, children, foreigners, homosexuals and blacks/Asians still knew their place and if they didn’t they would get their heads kicked in. There was no domestic violence, although a lot of women ‘walked into doors’. There was no rape or child abuse or, if it did happen, it was the “slut’s” own fault “for leading men on”. Everybody trusted bankers, businessmen, doctors, journalists, policemen, politicians, priests, and Rolf Harris.

    Do we really want to go back to all that? Not me, fore sure.

  12. neil A,
    “The Tories stood on a manifesto in which they promised to hold an In Out Referendum and implement the outcome.”

    I’d agree, there is a certain inevitability about it. However, the whole purpose of having the referendum has always been to deal with UKIP as a political force, not to ensure the UK voters get to decide or to create a better future for the Uk. Uk voters did not decide, not decisively, so the government had to take a side, and chose the largest minority in the vote.

    Having now taken a side, the government is refusing to allow any further input from voters, or indeed parliament as a whole. I assume that having seen off UKIP as a political force, they are determined not to permit it to arise from the dead, while trying to make the best of the path they have been forced into.

    The dificulty with the result is that the only sensible alternative for the Uk is to remain a member of the EU, all other options being worse. Having settled on leave, the government fears being faced by voters who have changed their minds and now want remain. Right now it seems to be just throwing out ideas and trying to judge the reactions.

    sea change,
    in a banana republic what happens is the government holds elections until it gets the result it wants, Then it suppresses dissent by refusing to hold more. And our situation differs from this because..?

  13. “I don’t think she told Nissan anything concrete…”

    ————

    Hard to believe she could get away with just telling them ‘Brexit means Brexit ‘, though it does seem to have placated a lot of other peeps…

  14. @OLDNAT

    I can’t see us staying in the Customs Union. We would be unable to sign any Free Trade deals. Again invalidating a key benefit of Brexit. We may agree a common external tariff with a particular industry of course with the EU like the car industry, though that would tie our hands in negotiations with others.

    @Tancred – on a return to the 1960s/70s

    Your analogy is ridiculous verging on the bizarre. We might as well pick the height of the British Empire and power in that case if we have a magical time machine that we seemingly have to use according to you.

    There is no going back. We will simply be engaging the world outside of the European Union in the future.

  15. Regarding Nissan – it turns out that the reason the plant got built was because Mrs Thatcher gave them a bunch of sweeteners. The land was sold at farm rates instead of commercial rates. The govt undertook to build the factory to reduce their up-front costs, and they were given a special exemption to be able to deduct the cost of machinery against tax, which wasn’t available to other companies.

    Mrs Thatcher wasn’t an open chequebook kind of woman though, (look at the way she refused to allow tax money to go into the eurotunnel project). She would have demanded guarantees in return for her largesse, in order to prevent them taking the money and scarpering. Possibly a clawback of that tax break if they left.

    We should be able to find out the details of that deal soon – the Nissan plant opened in 1986, and under the 30 year rule, the archive papers should be released at the end of this year.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something in that deal that prevented Nissan from walking away (apart from the expense of setting up a plant elsewhere).

  16. Should have added, any penalties she built into the deal probably explain why the plant wasn’t relocated to eastern europe when they joined the EU in 2004.

  17. Tancred

    well it is good to see that dementia is still with us

  18. I think great caution should be taken when assuming Nissan was not given anything concrete.

    This morning we learn from leaked documents that the government has agreed to underwrite the costs of decommissioning and nuclear waste disposal of Hinkley C (so please – no more criticism about subsidies for renewable energy) otherwise the investment would not have been agreed.

    Like many other U turns she has committed in her surprisingly short time in office, May didn’t want us to know about this, and I can’t imagine Nissan would have been satisfied with woolly and vague assurances.

    I think Brexiteers are in general a charmingly niave bunch who are happy to suck up every headline spun for them without a great deal of scrutiny. At some point, reality will come knocking, and I think this will be the point when we see some strained minds trying to resolve some uncomfortable inconsistancies.

    One thing is rather striking though from my scan of the media – there appears to be a concerted effort by pro Brexit backers to move the debate on from ‘we won – deal with it’, to a more forward looking argument about how much better off things will be under Brexit.

    Nonsense of course, as they have no idea what the terms of Brexit will be, so can’t make these judgements, but my suspicion is that they are now recogising the arrival of Brexit related impacts, and are scrabbling to maintain control of the narritive ahead of the short/medium/permanent* pain to come. Perhaps some nervousness?

    [*Delete according to preference.]

  19. One other point of amusement this morning;

    When Corbyn tells his MPs that their job is to represent their local members and constituents, he is dismissed as a dangerous extremist who doesn’t understand representative democracy.

    When May and many other Tory MPs abandon their lifelong principles on the EU and embrace Brexit, they are merely representing the wishes of the people.

    Plus ca change, as they say somewhere else.

  20. @Alec 7.38am

    Agree with your thoughts on the current situation. Nissan were obviously given assurances that UK government would underwrite any financial impact caused by Brexit. Of course no cheque book from government was needed at this stage, but questions are quite rightly being asked about what financial underwriting government is planning. They can’t do something for Nissan, that is not available for all manufacturers.

    The economic situation with a reduced value of Pound Sterling is confusing. While it means what we export is cheaper in the short term, once the cost of increased imported material starts to factor into costs, then manufacturers have to adjust their prices. Exporters might make a short term gain, but having a fluctuation currency tends to cause problems because you can’t properly plan finances. Big companies with complex supply chains will be finding it very difficult.

    Tony Blair is correct that we need to start hearing from people who are against Brexit about holding government to account. It is not good for democratic accountability if people who are against something are told to be quiet because they lost the referendum vote.

  21. Ok, here is a cunning plan worthy of our Baldric, as Corbyn described May.

    Nissan makes electric cars. Heathrow has been justified in pollution terms by arguing London is about to massively switch over to using electric cars. Most unlikely if left to the public.

    So choose Heathrow on logistical grounds. Institute a massive program to cut London pollution, paid for by the taxpayer. This involves subsidising electric cars inside the capital. How can WTO/EU ant-subsidy regulations object to that? Nissan did mention their government arrangement involved electric cars. Hey presto, booming Nissan.

    Keep anti brexit London sweet with this massive program to cut air pollution throughout the city. Expect government announcement in due course.

    And where does the electricity for these cars come from? why, we need a non air polluting nuclear power station!

    How many birds with one stone is that?

  22. R Huckle

    Big companies with complex supply chains use currency hedging techniques.

    Tony Blair thinks we should hold the government to account? That’s rich coming from him!

    Tancred

    And just what is wrong with droopy moustaches, sideburns and flares? Just what is your prejudice against flamenco dancers?

  23. @Alex
    “When Corbyn tells his MPs that their job is to represent their local members and constituents, he is dismissed as a dangerous extremist who doesn’t understand representative democracy.”
    As I understand it Corbyn only wants his MP’s to represent the views of members of the Labour party not the Labour voters and constituents.
    Conservative MP’s are expected to reflect the majority of the voters in their constituencies not just party activists.
    However sometimes Conservative politicians who don’t agree with policy quit on principle and force a bye election. How many Labour MP’s have principles? How many have rejoined the shadow cabinet despite having resigned?

  24. Nothing much new then. Couple of excellent posts from NeilA at 1.33 and SeaChange at 1.38 IMO re Brexit.

    The MoS politics remains unreadable for anybody with intelligence.

    Clinton looks in big trouble, polls moving against her.

    Carfrew

    Fingers crossed, amazing start by England’s batsment but how long can they keep it up?

    Harlequins got a five point win yesterday.

    Have a good day all.

  25. @Tancred “the old, who remember the ‘good old days’ of the 60s and early 70s.
    The thing is I have no idea what was good about them:”
    Presumably not alive then?

    @Alec “I think Brexiteers are in general a charmingly niave bunch who are happy to suck up every headline spun for them without a great deal of scrutiny”
    Like the headlines of ‘Project Fear’ and Tony Blair?
    It’s naive, by the way, scrutinising your post.

  26. I hate to p** on anybody’s parade but the King across the water is not coming back to lead the angry losers back to the promised land of the single market and uncontrolled immigration.

    The labour rump has a visceral hatred of him and will fight a person who they see as a criminal. He will attract a small group of dispossessed tories members but the payroll vote will keep a large number of tories on board. The best that he can hope for is a loose alliance of lib dems;scots nationalists and labour ineffectuals. Good luck to him if he thinks he can hold that alliance together.

    he might try but he will,sadly, be forced to retreat to his chinese fragranced rich lifestye to contemplate what exactly he did that justified an obscure American foundation paying him half a million dollars for 45 minutes of bland drivel. If only he could recapture that magic.

  27. @Oldenglish – “Conservative MP’s are expected to reflect the majority of the voters in their constituencies not just party activists.”

    Rubbish, in my view.

    If you could point me towards the data showing how many Tory MPs have over 50% support in their constituencies, and then detail how these MPs vote differently to those Tory MPs who don’t have majority support, you might have a point, but you can’t. so you don’t.

    @ToH – “Clinton looks in big trouble, polls moving against her.”

    Not too sure about this. There has been some minor movement, and Arizona and Ohio are now just in the Trump bag, but barely, and the rest of the swing states currently still seem fairly solid for Clinton.

    There is also some blowback against the head of the FBI who is facing some serious questions from even some Republicans, and Trump appears to have gone too big on this too soon. At the moment, there is no new scandal, yet he claims this to be as bad as Watergate, which is nonsense, on the evidence so far.

  28. @Alec

    It is very difficult for us in the UK to have any realistic picture of what is going on in the USA.
    This is thanks to the massive bias of the BBC which accounts for 80% of UK news, and who have done all buy declare outright they are supporting Hilary. They’ve been backing her for president ever since Obama was elected for a second term.

    There have been no reports giving insights of the claims about corruption against her – nor the criticisms of her chief of staff Huma Abedin who even now is only being referred to in passing.

    The wikileaks emails have been ignored by the BBC, and the claims by Trump of election rigging has been simply brushed away despite there being evidence of some truth to it.

    Given all of this it is impossible for us in the UK to have an accurate picture of the mood in the US which is a disgrace given the amount of money we are forced to pay the BBC to be impartial and informative.

    I cannot even begin to imagine how it is that the US came to select these two as serious candidates for President, other than the explanation of a friend with some experience that the people of the US are uneducated uninformed and stupid, with a few notable exceptions.

  29. Alec

    The US national polls have moved dramatically and i don’t think your allowing for a shy Trump vote which i think could be quite large. We shall see, fascinating in a dreadful sort of way as the choice is so awful IMO.

  30. Dave

    I agree I consider the 60s and 70s as awful decades in many ways having lived through them. Fortunately we were busy getting married and raising a family so that kepy us very busy.

  31. On nostalgia (it’s not what it used to be..)

    I was born at the end of the1960s so can speak only from proximity rather than direct knowledge.

    My take would be that in most ways the world has improved beyond measure in the past 50 years. That period also coincides with the development of the EU from a small economic club to a massive pseudo-state, and I certainly credit the EU with a role in improving things. However I think the coincidence is mostly just that. Things have improved massively in most of the rest of the world too, without them being EU members. It is possible that the causation is to some extent reversed, with the advent of a close-knit European alliance made possible by a general improvement in the human condition globally.

    It’s interesting I suppose to see left-leaning people talking about the 1960s and 1970s in such a negative way, given the habit of looking at the UK’s current problems in a sort of simplistic “because Thatcher” way.

  32. Neil A

    I can assure you it is not just left leaning people that view the 60’s and 70’s in the manner you suggest.

    On a separate note we have seen over the past decade the demise of the 5 day Test match with another game about to be completed inside three days. Batsmen seem to have lost the art of grinding it out.

  33. @thoughtful – “This is thanks to the massive bias of the BBC which accounts for 80% of UK news, and who have done all buy declare outright they are supporting Hilary. They’ve been backing her for president ever since Obama was elected for a second term.

    There have been no reports giving insights of the claims about corruption against her – nor the criticisms of her chief of staff Huma Abedin who even now is only being referred to in passing.”

    That’s a very interesting take on the US election, but utterly flawed. Taking away ITN, Channels 4 and 5, Sky News, and the entire UK print media, might get you close to the BBC controlling 80% of UK news, but as we can’t do that, you are talking complete rubbish on that one.

    In terms of what the BBC reports, I’m not sure which BBC programmes you have been atching. I’ve seen a number of quite detailed BBC programmes detailing Clinton’s email affair and a number of other critcisms of her. Indeed, the tone of much of the BBC coverage has been explaining why Clinton is not burying such a complete duffer as Trump, with the expnantion largely returning the to the simple truth that Clinton is not popular, and then exploring the reasons why not.

    I haven’t even mentioned the interwebby thingy, but you do talk some nonsense at times.

  34. MIKE PEARCE

    Bangladesh have just won. Well done them and in particular their young off-spinner. I think grinding it out on that pitch was not going to happen. IMO we did really well to get a first innings lead, and that was a great opening stand in the conditions with both Cook an Duckett getting 50’s. Our problem is not our batting although Ballence has to go, but our spin bowling which is just not good enough.

  35. @thoughtful

    “The wikileaks emails have been ignored by the BBC, and the claims by Trump of election rigging has been simply brushed away despite there being evidence of some truth to it.’

    There is evidence of some very very minor irregularities in previous elections as might be expected in any large scale election. Trump’s claims regarding rigging are, like most of his claims, complete hogwash.

  36. R Huckle

    “Tony Blair is correct that we need to start hearing from people who are against Brexit ”

    Really? We hear from them day after day after day. Talk about undemocratic bad losers!

  37. @ R Huckle

    “Of course no cheque book from government was needed at this stage, but questions are quite rightly being asked about what financial underwriting government is planning.”

    True but Government departments are under a duty to report contingent liabilities to Parliament i.e. undertakings or circumstances which could give rise to public expenditure in certain eventualities. The PAC might be interested in pursuing that line of enquiry!

  38. @TOH – “The US national polls have moved dramatically and i don’t think your allowing for a shy Trump vote which i think could be quite large. ”

    I’m struggling to find consisten (any?) evidence of a ‘dramatic’ shift in the polls. This is one of my main sources – http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/president/

    and while there has been some small movements, there isn’t anything that could be described as ‘dramatic’. Your sources would be welcome, if so.

    As for shy Trumpers – I do think that is possible, although Nate Silver, who has a decent track record in these things, remains unconvinced. We also have the senate and congress votes to examine, and here we can see aggregate moves largely in line with the presidential poll movements, which would tend to suggest people’s responses are being less influenced by not wanting to publicly identify with Trump.

    I think it’s also worth noting that while the national vote share appears relatively close, the battleground states currently look awful for Trump. His margin of error on this is extremely tight, and the state by state races don’t hold good news for him. We’ve also had a poll of early voters out this morning which shows a very heavy lead for Clinton, along with record numbers of early voters.

    We’ll find out for sure in the next ten days or so, but at present the polls suggest it won’t be a close race – but there is still time.

  39. ToH

    In fairness a tied series was about right. Ballance absolutely has to go. He should never have been brought back.
    I can’t recall a time when English cricket had such a dearth of quality spinners and I can’t see that it is being addressed.

    Agree that on a pitch taking so much spin the game wouldn’t last too long but my point is more general. Sides score at four an over these days as standard. That’s fine but as a spectator I certainly wouldn’t buy tickets in advance for day 4 for any given Test let alone day 5.I think that’s a shame.

  40. @S THOMAS

    “Tancred
    well it is good to see that dementia is still with us”

    Oh yes, proved by 17.4M people!

  41. Mike Pearce

    Little I can disagree with. Where have all the spinners gone. At my age can remember watching Titmus, Laker, Lock, Underwood, Embury, Edmonds and many others.

    I also agree about scoring rates, the pressure is on to score quickly, due I suppose to the popularity of 20/20. Personally I much prefer Test cricket, in fact I don’t watch one day matches that often even if England is involved.

  42. @ALEC

    “When May and many other Tory MPs abandon their lifelong principles on the EU and embrace Brexit, they are merely representing the wishes of the people.”

    It reminds me of the outbreak of WW1 when the socialist movement, other than the far-left, overwhelmingly embraced the war effort in their respective countries. Socialists in Germany joined up with conservative monarchists and pressed for expansionist objectives with glee. In Britain and other nations it was the same – ‘hang the Kaiser’ and all that.
    Funny how lifelong principles are cast aside when a bandwagon is rolling, isn’t it? This is the danger of populist politics.

  43. @DAVE

    “@Tancred “the old, who remember the ‘good old days’ of the 60s and early 70s.
    The thing is I have no idea what was good about them:”
    Presumably not alive then?”

    I was born in 1967 so I only remember clearly from the early ’70s. My main interest at that time was Matchbox cars, so I couldn’t tell you much about anything else.

  44. Alec

    Thanks for that I was just reflecting on a piece in the MoS (before I gave up in disgust) which quoted a drop from double figure leads to a two point lead. Your are obviously taking a closer interest and I accept to your knowledge on this subject.

    Your probably correct about the outcome, it’s just i have this nagging feeling that we might wake up as Trump as President after the event.

  45. Tancred

    “Funny how lifelong principles are cast aside when a bandwagon is rolling, isn’t it? This is the danger of populist politics.”

    I would suggest they are just doing what they feel to be democratic in response to the clear referendum result.

  46. @NEIL A

    “It’s interesting I suppose to see left-leaning people talking about the 1960s and 1970s in such a negative way, given the habit of looking at the UK’s current problems in a sort of simplistic “because Thatcher” way.”

    I never hated Thatcher – in many ways I quite admired her, although I disagreed with her on several issues. One thing I liked is that she never entertained the idea of referendums; she stood by our tradition as a parliamentary democracy. Like every skilled politician she did come out with populist measures such as privatisation and council house selling, but she never allowed her principles to be betrayed by short term populist goals.

  47. @[email protected]

    I very much doubt Trump will get even as much as the polls suggest. I think many people in the US are fed up with all the negative campaigning and heartily dislike both candidates, so will abstain. In fact, I expect the highest rates of abstention ever in this election. Rather than shy Trump supporters I see a lot of shy abstainers.

    Clinton will win simply because the US is only just over 63% non-Hispanic white. In the UK this demographic pattern would have ensured an easy ‘remain’ win in the referendum. The American equivalent of the ‘disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells’ is a much smaller section of the general population than in the UK., otherwise Trump would be winning at a canter. If we were in 1966 instead of 2016 Trump would be racing ahead towards a landslide victory.

  48. @Neil A – “My take would be that in most ways the world has improved beyond measure in the past 50 years. ”

    I do think we sometimes lose sight of reality when we get embroiled in the partisan stuff, and I would agree with you, in general terms.

    However, I woud suggest that things really began improving much farther back than the last half century, with the post war decades representing one of the best periods of economic growth and redictribution for many.

    As you imply, much of this stems from general development, rather than directly from governments or political structures like the EU. However, where I think Thatcher and many other politicians bear some culpability is in the political and financial systems they actively encouraged.

    In the 1970’s and 80’s we turned away from a more collectivist approach and pursued a much more individualistic and less regulated path, and this has resulted in democracies handing over far too much influence and power to businesses. Aided by new technologies, we have seen some significant reversals in metrics such as the proportion of GDP allocated to labour, and the gentle stagnation of the middle classes has been testament to this. We’ve come to believe that governments have little or no power, because this is what business tells us. Only the markets make things happen.

    This is clearly nonsense, but the neol!beral takeover was almost complete, until the fabled unbreakable banking system crashed.

    To ‘blame’ Thatcher for this would be wrong, but she was one of the main instigators, and so her legacy needs to be viewed through the prism of a failed ideology.

    I suspect that we are at one of those points in history where we are searching for the replacement, much as 1945 marked a clear turning point after decades of government failure. Then, we had the ending of a world war to mark a clear point in history when everything could be started again from first principles. This time, it’s much less clear and the old order has not been forcibly swept away by a national interest forged in a time of war. As a result, we appear to only be inching towards a new era.

    There are signs though, that movement is coming, but unfortunately, in my view, one of the signs has been movements within the EU, which we are about to leave.

  49. Tancred

    I think that you should go the full hog and call the 17.39 million the “depicables” as per the paragon of straight dealing -hilary clinton

  50. @S THOMAS

    “I think that you should go the full hog and call the 17.39 million the “depicables” as per the paragon of straight dealing -hilary clinton”

    No, I will call them misguided. Misguided and naive, because they have been so deeply influenced by the tabloid press as well as Farage. Sad but true.

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