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. The odds still have to be heavily in favour of Clinton. But the tightening raises the spectre that AW covered of a “Brexit” type shock. With Clinton well ahead, even an unexpectedly good showing by Trump amongst people who usually don’t vote, or other “insurgency” effects was unlikely to affect the result.

    It is a tribute to just how uncomfortable Trump makes us all feel that the possibility of him winning going from “none” to “small” is big, big news.

    I still think the email thing will fade. There’s no prospect of it being resolved before the vote, and unless the FBI release any more statements there simply won’t be any additional “news”. It will descend into “You’re a crook”, “No I’m not” which will bore the public.

    All eyes of Trump to see if he can make another career-endangering gaffe in the final week and a bit.

  2. Alec

    “As it is, early voting is something typically favoured by Republicans”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/02/the_new_conservative_assault_on_early_voting_more_republicans_fewer_voters.html

    the internet makes it harder to get away with bluffing – as the US finance-political-media establishment is currently finding out

  3. “Tariffs are simply a bad idea, full stop”

    Tariffs are how non-industrial nations, industrialise.

  4. @Peter

    Surely if the pound strengthened and we bought more EU goods, then the tariff revenue to the treasury would be roughly neutral? The same percentage of more goods at a cheaper price?

    As for paying money to the EU, I have no doubt that we will be expected to make contributions as the Swiss and Norwegians do, even if we don’t have as full access as they do. I don’t think it would be the same amount we pay as a member, however.

    I very much doubt there will be any sequestration of the tariffs themselves though. It would be up to the UK government how to fund any payments. The Treasury is one pot in the end.

    It’s actually one thing that might work in our favour in negotiations. A close(ish) Norwegian or Swiss style deal would involve large contributions. A more distant Canadian style deal would involve much smaller contributions.

  5. @MrJones.

    Not necessarily.

    Industrialisation can also be achieved with inward investment, attracted by low labour costs, adequate legal frameworks (including property rights), available land with the ability to secure planning consent, plus proximity and access to the markets for the manufactured goods.

    Also, industrialization isn’t always so great. Particularly the large-volume globalized version. Adding value is good, destroying the cultural and economic traditions of your country through rapid urbanization and the destruction of rural communities isn’t so much.

  6. @Neil A

    No we’re not pointlessly josing get summat we agree on. I disagree with the received wisdom that free trade is a largely united good.

    My view, is that sometimes it’s good, sometimes not. I’ve given substituiton as one example, and security as another. Here’s another. Suppose we and the EU have the two main suppliers of summat. If through free trade, we all the EU to force ours to suffer or height out by its rival, we end up with one foreign supplier that can hike prices.

    Not very efficient. Now your view, is tat free trade is so good that it can be used to offset any anomalies. My view is that this is not necessarily the case. E might end up worse off overall. And you’re aiming free trade anyway but thats not a given anyway.

    But you’re sidestepping my other point, that regardless of how it affects us, the EU have a number of incentives to not be so accommodating
    – hoovering up banking and other stuff
    – substitutions where they can’t hoover up
    – setting an example

    This stuff needs to be factored in, in determining what EU may be dreaded to accept, otherwise behaving a bit more Ike a prosecution when what is needed is a jury.

  7. @Neil A

    Another way of looking at it, is that Capitalism tends to like to distort free trade, requiring protections in n consequence. If you just leave things to markets, may not get free trade.

    And as people have pointed out, part of benefit of being in EU is protection from free trade…

  8. what EU may be dreaded to accept = persuaded to accept

    Possibly Freudian autocorrect there…

  9. Jeez, punishment autocorrect!!

    Josing get summat = joshing over summat
    Largely united = largely unalloyed
    Height out = buy out

  10. Economic theory posits that free trade is an overall good only under the assumption of a perfectly transparent and competitive market – the world market is manifestly neither transparent nor competitive.

    I am right with Alec – free trade is sometimes good and sometimes not; it is the function of governmental units to determine when it is in the interests of their citizens to trade freely and when it is detrimental.

    The EU has been doing that for us with varying degrees of success and failure over the last forty years – the UK Government will now be responsible and may turn out to be better or may turn out to be worse; only time will tell.

  11. Nothing much new then, I’ll look again tomorrow.

  12. @Carfrew

    Fair enough, we’ll have to agree to differ.

    I think it largely comes down to definitions.

    If a large scale producer abuses their position to prevent other producers from competing, a la 19th century robber barons, I wouldn’t define that as a free market. Free doesn’t mean free of regulation. It means free of restriction (wherever that restriction comes from). Achieving it is complicated and imperfect, and it requires all kinds of anti-trust measures and anti-dumping mechanisms.

    A free market means everyone producing the best goods or services they can, at the cheapest price they can, selling them for the best price they can, without deception, threats or other distortions.

    That can certainly cause pain to a community or industry if it is unable to compete due to structural or systemic problems in it’s production. In those circumstances you have to ask whether it’s worth that community or industry continuing, or whether the space, manpower and resources could be better used for something else.

    Sometimes the answer might be that it is worth it. Because it’s a country’s last shipyard and you want to retain skills for the defence industry. Or because of food security etc. Usually it is just to protect a particular way of doing things that people have become accustomed to (farming in Norway etc).

    But that’s not to say that the free market can’t provide those things. Just that for political reasons we don’t want it to.

    A country with no shipyards can buy ships. A country with no farms can buy food. The compensations are for political issues, not economic ones. And those compensations incur costs. It is just that they are costs we are willing to pay, because of whatever concern we have (national security, food security, local traditions etc).

    Paying £100m a year to maintain a basket weaving factory in Basketville, Northamptonshire, rather than importing baskets at 10p each from Bangladesh, costs the country money. That’s money that could have been spent elsewhere. Added value lost. But if Basketville is really important. Or a sudden loss of supply from Bangladesh would lead to a critical basket shortage that would cripple the country, then sure let’s decide to spend that £100m.

    But let’s not pretend the cost doesn’t exist.

  13. @BFR

    I think we agree.

  14. @Neil A

    Mrs Clinton’s fate is in the hands of the Bernie Sanders supporters.

    Trump’s supporters are going to turnout regardless. The Republicans who follow Romney, Bush etc are abstaining.

    But if there are abstentions on the Clinton side too (by the people who loved Obama and then went for Sanders), then it’s squeeky bum time. Because no-one is enthusiastic about her. She’s a female Nixon.

  15. Danny
    Even the village idiot knows what the aims of the negotiations are. They are to get the best trading deal we can sans free movement of people (but We could accept free movement of employment where it can be proved that there is no UK equivalent who can fill the role) and sans the ECJ or at least ECJ subservient to British courts.

    Now either remainers are trying to do as I suggested and sabotage the negotiations before they begin, or they are even thicker than the village idiot in not understanding.

  16. Oh dear!

    Poor Hilary.Has any other presidential candidate found themselves on bail during the campaign!

    That annoying habit she has of coming on stage and pointing to an imaginary best friend in the audience is in fact her pointing to people she privately e-mailed giving confidential information so that they contributed to the clinton foundation.

  17. Now we have a discussion on Ricardo’s theory, and as with Ricardo, the outcome is that Portugal should remain a wine producing country instead of producing some complicated machinery.

    Plus ça change.

  18. Bigfatron

    “Economic theory posits that free trade is an overall good only under the assumption of a perfectly transparent and competitive market – the world market is manifestly neither transparent nor competitive.”

    This needs some correction

    SOME economic theory posits that free trade is an overall good, BUT only under the assumption of a perfectly transparent and competitive market WITH PERFECT INFORMATION EXCHANGE. The world market is manifestly neither transparent nor competitive.

  19. @Laszlo,

    Hmm, no, I think Ricardo was saying that Portugal was better off producing wine than cloth.

    I don’t think he had laptop computers in mind…

  20. @CR

    Of course, in any area of life you can find someone who will posit pretty much anything.

    I’d also suggest that most economists are not suggesting that only under perfect conditions is free trade a good thing. But that free trade is at it’s best under those conditions.

    The further from perfect the conditions are, the more difficult it is to demonstrate the benefits of free trade. But then my own definition of free trade rather incorporates a solid dose of those conditions in the first place.

    To suggest that in a world where the public have no access to accurate information, where all transactions are surrounded in complete secrecy and markets are not at all competitive, free trade is not a good thing is a bit of an oxymoron.

    Trade in such a world wouldn’t be free at all.

  21. Neil A

    So you would agree with me that anti union legislation constitute an attack on free trade. Because individual workers have neither the time or resources to gather accurate information about market conditions, the only way that workers can have comparable quality of information with their bosses is by banding together and pooling their resources

  22. S Thomas,

    “That annoying habit she has of coming on stage and pointing to an imaginary best friend in the audience is in fact her pointing to people she privately e-mailed giving confidential information so that they contributed to the clinton foundation.”

    As opposed to that annoying habit of posting what you want to believe when there is little or no evidence to support it.

    A more than 6 month investigation by one of the worlds most advanced and successful public police services covering over 30k e-mails didn’t substantiate your claim, but still you persist!

    Trumpism;
    Believing what you want to believe and creating the facts to justify it!

    Peter.

  23. @Neil A

    “A free market means everyone producing the best goods or services they can, at the cheapest price they can, selling them for the best price they can, without deception, threats or other distortions.

    That can certainly cause pain to a community or industry if it is unable to compete due to structural or systemic problems in it’s production. In those circumstances you have to ask whether it’s worth that community or industry continuing, or whether the space, manpower and resources could be better used for something else.”

    ———-

    Ah yes, the neolib utopian view of markets wherein a company fails or needs assistance because it is failing, inefficient etc., and if consequently it needs that £100m that’s money that’s a cost.

    Whereas in reality, for example, the company might not be a bit rubbish but actually be developing some cool new tech that a currently bigger rival wants to quash, so they buy them up and the consumer loses out. Again.

    And that £100m doesn’t have to be a cost but can be an investment that pays off not just in assisting the firm but supporting all the suppliers and stuff. Rather like how some countries benefitted from saving or investing in their car industry that was struggling at the time.

  24. @Neil A

    First paragraph a bit rushed. Should have said that if a company ceases operations, must be because inefficient etc when in fact may have been bought out because it’s got new tech etc

  25. Robert,
    Must be me who is the village idiot, because i do not know what the government’s aims are in future negotiations. I don’t even know that they are aiming for no freedom of movement. Since most members of the government seem to support free movement, one might expect it to form part of a final deal. Most politicians idea of free movement seems to be exactly that, but with some form of Cameronian ’emergency brake’ attached.

    Whenever I go to write something about the consequences of limiting immigration I always end up with a caveat about the economy. For 40 years immigration to the Uk has been driven by its economy, which has led to Brits going abroad to work in bad times, or other nationals coming here to fill labour shortages. I expect this will continue by some deal which pretends to arbitrarily limit immigration but in reality does nothing of the sort. Whether it can be devious enough to simultaneously satisfy the EU and UKIP remains to be seen, but in practice we will continue as we have. So whether immigration is up or down in two years time will be a function of labour demands of the economy at that time and nothing else. This is what has happened in reality under ‘free movement’.

    A most entertaining debate over free trade. I side with the observation that free trade is theoretically best, provided all the theoretical conditions are satisfied. In the real world they rarely are, and it is usually one partner seeking to exploit the other. Or in fact both partners seeking to exploit the other, and one succeeds. The EU is a free trade area, but it has a select group of members of similar economic strength and a huge rule book to ensure fair play. It is this walled garden where free trade approaches ideal conditions which we are setting out to leave. We should expect a much more hostile world outside. Moreover, the EU itself will be one of the predatory partners. Of course it will.

    I do not believe the EU has ill will towards Britain,despite how troublesome we have been to them. But we are negotiating to leave, and Leave have sought to engineer a situation where it is impossible to create a deal with the EU because of various strategic red tripwires they have set up, which the EU cannot accept. They have sought to sabotage any compromise before negotiations even begin. So either the Leave dogma must be rejected, in part or in whole, or we will end up with a minimal trading relationship with the EU. In that case trade between the two partners will inevitably decline. I do not see how the UK can make that up externally, when it will still be faced by competition for any new business from its former partners, and the rest of the world. There will be no new miraculous boost to non eu trade from leaving. How can there be?

    So if we lose full EU market acces it is either bad news or very bad news. I agree with the argument that some things are worth the cost. But I have no idea at all from the available evidence what cost the UK public feels is worth it to leave the EU. I think one of the huge successes of the Leave campaign has been to downplay the likely financial loss from Brexit, and if they had failed to do this, the result would have been Remain.

    And Trump/Clinton is playing out exactly on the lines of the Brexit saga.

  26. “Now we have a discussion on Ricardo’s theory, and as with Ricardo, the outcome is that Portugal should remain a wine producing country instead of producing some complicated machinery.
    Plus ça change.”

    ————

    Yes I know it must be hard to watch us mere mortals lumbering along, but we’ll get there!!

    Anyway, what if Portugal produced complicated machinery to make wine?

  27. @Neil A

    “I’d also suggest that most economists are not suggesting that only under perfect conditions is free trade a good thing. But that free trade is at it’s best under those conditions.

    The further from perfect the conditions are, the more difficult it is to demonstrate the benefits of free trade. But then my own definition of free trade rather incorporates a solid dose of those conditions in the first place”

    ———–

    Yes that’s a very convenient utopia but I think most of us are interested in the outcome under the conditions that will actually pertain under Brexit.

    Btw I should also add that focusing on cost dodges the issue. I mean, there was a cost to bailing out the banks. The issue is the greater cost that would have been incurred by allowing them to fail and take down the economy.

    Of course, there is also the sacrifice of future revenues…

  28. we don’t have free trade – we have a wage arbitrage scam which is heading towards a cliff

    (although with a slim chance Trump turns it round)

  29. @Neil A

    So you’re an EU negotiating peep.

    And you’re faced with a situation where could get widgets a bit cheaper from the UK. Or, you can instead favour your own businesses and secure the extra economic benefit of jobs, taxes, supporting suppliers etc.

    Which do you pick? Given EU probably have the advantage here owing to size.

    Faced with the opportunity to snaffle banking… yes or no?

    Plus alongside, the chance to encourager Les autres peeps. From their perspective, what’s rational?

  30. As “Brexit means Brexit’ is getting a bit passé, can I suggest we all move on to ‘Out means Out’?

    If we accept that leaving the EU means just that, it cuts out all of the agonised debating about trade arrangements. It means accepting that what we have chosen to do is to put ourselves in the same position vis-a-vis the EU as any other country with no EU trade deal. A few Brexiters on here – TOH comes to mind – have accepted that out means out, but others bleat on about ‘punishment’.

    I hope that one day we can come to a CETA-type arrangement with the EU. But the two-year post-A50 period is for negotiating the divorce settlement. I think the chances of simultaneously negotiating a CETA-type deal are non-existent, not least because it will be hugely controversial in the UK and – as we have seen with Wallonia – getting all the EU stakeholders to agree will be impossible. It won’t happen in anything like that time frame so, so: get over it, move on.

    So why don’t we just accept that out means out? That would mean trading with the world on WTO terms, with the simplest WTO-compliant arrangement being that we retain the EU Common External Tariff (so no change to how we trade with RoW) but apply it also to imports from the EU. And, by default, our exports to the EU will be subject to the same CET.

    If the government states that as its default position, then we are getting the pure Brexit. It’s what we voted for, so can all Brexiters just stop whinging about the prospect of losing EU trading privileges and start making some concrete proposals for how we’re going to make our way in the post-Brexit world?

  31. @NEIL A

    “Hmm, no, I think Ricardo was saying that Portugal was better off producing wine than cloth.”

    ————

    Laszlo doesn’t realise we’ve moved beyond Ricardo.

    Ricardo wasn’t aware of brands and stuff. It might seem most efficient, to have a single country leveraging their advantage and economies of scale to churn out Trabants for everyone the world over, but Krugman got a Nobel for pointing out that because of things like transport costs and peeps wanting choice it’s perfectly viable for other countries to join the car-making party.

    Also, Ricardo didn’t necessarily consider efficiency in the macro sense if supporting an economy where jobs and suppliers and tax revenues and security and strategic interest come into play.

    He didn’t have much to help with synths, either.

  32. @Somerjohn

    Well there is a “Leave means Leave” group…

  33. @CR
    I totally agree – I was trying to keep it really simple.
    My brother (an Economics professor) taught a group of post-grads who had swallowed the neo-lib kool-aid; he challenged them to find a single global market where they could make a decent argument that it was transparent (i.e. information was freely available) and had full and open competition; they gave up after three months of trying.

    The point being (although I’m sure I don’t need it labour it for you) that they were unable to find a single instance where the simplified economic theory they were wedded to could be assumed to work in practice. Even assuming the theory is actually right in the first place…

  34. @BFR / CR

    A belief in free markets and comparative advantage doesn’t rely on them functioning perfectly, any more that to be a socialist you have to believe that the People’s Department of Making Everything Perfect can actually make everything perfect….

    As for the unions, I absolutely believe that workers have the right to organise, and that they have the right to collectively bargain for their services.

    What I don’t accept is that unions have the right to try and change the government, to determine how the companies their workers are in employed in are run (beyond their legitimate role in advancing their rights) or to take their dispute from one company to another via secondary picketing.

  35. My favourite transparency story was Volkswagen a few years back.
    Based on the expectation that the stock would fall a whole series of brokers took positions on stock they didn’t actually own.

    The stock moved but because of German rules it turned out that a lot of the shares were in private hands and not available to buy.

    So a lot of brokers were all trying to buy the shares at the same time sending the price in completely the wrong direction.

    So the insiders who normally make a killing because they know what overs didn’t, due to a lack of transparency, only this time the lack of transparency caught them out.

    Don’t feel sorry for them though they have probably made billions since!

    Peter.

  36. @CR

    Trade unions only exist in capitalistic democracies.

    They belong to the “freedom to assemble” right, which includes freedom to belong to a political party, a chess club, the womens institute, a trade union, guild, professional association, a church or temple, etc

    It’s the non-democracies that ban trade unions. They weren’t allowed to exist in the Soviet Union or 1030’s Germany, there are none in China, Saudi, Cuba or Venezuela.

    The thing about Corbyn that made people’s eye’s pop was that he was supporting Chavez even as Chavez was arresting trade unionists for criticizing him. Gives you an idea of what his priorities were (backing the authoritarians against freedom of speech and assembly), and is a reason he will never be PM. Because if a supposed lefty like him can’t support trade unions, he is unlikely to support belonging to political parties, churches, clubs etc.

  37. @Neil A

    “What I don’t accept is that unions have the right to try and change the government”

    ————-

    Well if at present you have peeps like the media trying to determine the government, and companies with threats to move elsewhere etc. why can’t the workforce exercise use some leverage too?

  38. And that’s without getting into political usage of police peeps…

  39. @Neil A

    “A belief in free markets and comparative advantage doesn’t rely on them functioning perfectly, any more that to be a socialist you have to believe that the People’s Department of Making Everything Perfect can actually make everything perfect….”

    ————–

    Sure but then in the real world you gave to look at the actuality to see how if it works on balance in practice.

    So, in theory, ideally, it might sound great if your higher ways widget factory gets transported to the low wage economy where they work them harder for a pittance. Especially when the theory says new jobs will spring up just as good in their place.

    But if in practice new jobs don’t spring up, or only insecure low-wage jobs, it’s not so good. Even worse if the business owners invest profits from the move into property, pushing up prices.

  40. Peter Cairns

    If Boris as foreign Secretary was at the same time receiving donations from foreign states and political figures into the Boris Foundation you would be the first to cry foul. Nothing illegal you understand but if he had also set up a private e-mail server which serviced it contrary to law you might also be somewhat critical.

    of course i might be wrong and in fact the SNP sees such as acceptable.Iin the wacky world of Sturgeon anything is possible

  41. Do I misremember(to quote hilary) a headline:

    ” Fog in Channel-continent isolated”

    what is the source?

  42. Somerjohn
    “So why don’t we just accept that out means out? That would mean trading with the world on WTO terms, …. but apply it also to imports from the EU. And, by default, our exports to the EU will be subject to the same CET.
    If the government states that as its default position, then we are getting the pure Brexit. It’s what we voted for, so can all Brexiters just stop whinging about the prospect of losing EU trading privileges”

    I agree with this except the last bit. It seems to me to be the remainers who are doing most of the whinging. Most leavers just want to get out, stop unrestricted immigration, and start negotiating later.

  43. @S Thomas

    You may find the Daily Mail or Express.comments section more appropriate for you.

  44. Latest NBC poll gives Clinton a 6 point lead in a 4 way contest and 7 points in a two way contest. Apparently unchanged since last week.

  45. “I agree with this except the last bit. It seems to me to be the remainers who are doing most of the whinging. Most leavers just want to get out, stop unrestricted immigration, and start negotiating later.”

    ———

    A lot of leavers also want to moan about the remoaners though. Understandable since they can’t moan about staying in EU any more.

  46. Hireton

    strange it was them that directed me to you.

    I am beginning to detect a common theme.

  47. S Thomas

    The source is that well-known figure – Urban Myth.

  48. oldnat

    Urban Myth

    when was that published?

  49. Carfrew
    “…….they can’t moan about staying in EU any more.”

    We can and will until the day the deal is signed, and possibly longer if its unsatisfactory.

  50. S Thomas

    She has been unfairly blamed for much of the world’s disinformation.

    Rural Mythter is just as bad.

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