We’ve had three new voting intention polls in the last four days. ICM‘s regular poll for the Guardian came out earlier today, with topline figures of CON 42%(-1), LAN 28%(+1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 11%(-1), GRN 3%(-2). Full tabs are here.

Opinium had a new poll in the Observer at the weekend. Their topline voting intention figures with changes from a fortnight ago are CON 41%(+1), LAB 29%(-3), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 12%(-1). Full tabs are here.

Finally YouGov at the tail end of last week had topline figures of CON 42%(+1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 11%(nc). Full tabs are here.

All three polls show the Conservative lead still up around 12-14 points, suggesting that the narrowing in the Ipsos MORI poll last week was indeed just a reversion to the mean and that the polls are settling into a consistent position of the Tories up around 40% and Labour marooned around 30%.

Ahead of the Autumn statement both Opinium and ICM asked economic trust questions – Opinium found May & Hammond with a 26 point lead over Corbyn & McDonnell on who they’d trust to run the economy (44% to 18%), ICM gives tham a 33 point lead on which team would be better able to run the economy (48% to 15%).


827 Responses to “Latest voting intentions”

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  1. Fillon beats Juppé, 67% to 33% after 90& polling stations have reported.

    Stunning.

    Now we see how the Left react.

    Fillon v Le Pen would be fascinating. The French voter gets immigration control & confrontation with Islamist terrorism in France from both. But the economic platforms are complete opposites.

  2. @socaliberal

    My history degree days are longer ago than I care to remember but IIRC uncontested elections meant no votes were cast hence the strange disparity between the popular vote and seats won.

  3. Danny,

    The focus of my concern has already moved on from Brexit, to beyond post Brexit.

    I didn’t want Brexit but it is going to happen.

    I’ve watched the debate here as a few vainly try to reverse that decision and those opposed react as if they are a real threat to it that decision but most argue over what kind of Brexit we are going to have.

    It’s pretty clear that most who voted remain want a “Soft Brexit” as close to no change as possible, while the Brexit side want the best of both worlds, all the benefits of the Single Market with non of the costs.

    However the Brexit side are far more split which includes free trade above all to out and out protectionism and sending EU citizens home. Regardless of the merits of those positions as Brexiteers are in the driving seat the contradictions within them point to a Hard Brexit being more likely than a soft one.

    But then what! Looking at opinions from Brexiteers expressed here;

    If the Frustrated still rule the roost what kind of policies and attitudes are we going to pursue. Some want a greater Commonwealth or just the mostly white parts of it a coalition of people they identify with.

    Some an Anglophile world built around the the UK and the US up to and including Ireland leaving the EU to rejoin the UK.

    Some sea the EU and Europe with increased suspicion blaming it for all ills up to and including Syria and the Ukraine, even to the extent of seeing reproach meant with Moscow as a counter to the influence of Berlin.

    They appear to want to exchange a permanent relationship with democratic neighbours based on mutual self interest with adhoc ones with authoritarian regimes from Russia to China based on narrow national advantage.

    They want the UK to maintain and grow it’s influence but want to cut immigration, aid and not get involved in foreign wars.

    In short I am not sure we really know what we want to be in the world or if even if we do it is achieveable.

    Post 2020 we are going to go out into the world with only the vaguest idea of where the hell we’re going lead by a movement with a belief in our own manifest destiny!

    I think that’s a recipe for problems!

    Peter.

  4. those that revel in Brexit being stopped by Scotland would do well to consider consequences. Hard line nationalists like sturgeon may well be happy but only because her particular brand of anti-english racism will be reinforced by by anti Scottish racism south of the border, The english popular response may be that Scotland should have a new referendum and good riddance. All very well if the scots vote to leave but if they vote to stay as part of the Uk where are we then?

    Scotland faces the prospect of neither being part of the Uk or the EU.. Sturgeon can move south with Salmon

  5. Valerie

    Rawnsley is correct to point out that this Brexit mess is a Tory induced shambles and symptomatic of the hopeless governance post 215 General Election. I can think of no other governing party so ill deserving of their current lead in the polls than this current administration.

    Cameron was weak and cowardly in trying to postpone battles regarding the EU with his right wingers by pledging a Referendum further down the line. History will not be well disposed to him. I also believe history will judge Farage to have been a rabble rousing fool who caused great damage to this country. Just my view on the impending Brexit impact. It is not just economic but social too. Of course I could be hopelessly wrong and Brexit becomes a towering success. However I trust economic experts far more than I would trust a career politician like Gove

  6. S Thomas,

    “Hard line nationalists like sturgeon may well be happy but only because her particular brand of anti-english racism”

    I don’t suppose you have anything even remotely like a fact to back that statement up.

    Peter.

  7. S Thomas

    “Sturgeon can move south with Salmon”

    You seem somewhat ignorant of the migratory patterns of fish. Salmon range across vast areas of the world before returning to their birth place.

    Sturgeon on the other hand, do not venture so far into the ocean, preferring to mature in the estuaries.

    Sturgeon also have the ability to swallow whole salmon in a single gulp. :-)

  8. @Peter

    I don’t think I fit into any of your Brexit sub-categories.

    I want an internationalist and European Britain, committed to her friendships and alliances with like-minded states (including the EU) and willing to continue to exert whatever power and influence she has for causes that are just, but only when they are also realistic and properly thought through.

    I want a Britain that trades with anyone who is willing to be traded with (unless subject to sanctions regimes) and through the most open and fair arrangements that can be arrived at without compromising on whatever principles the British public, through parliament, consider sacred.

    I want a Britain that seeks and is open to cooperation across all areas of endeavour, from science to medicine to action on global issues such as climate change.

    I want a Britain that is open to inward migration by those who fill skill shortages, or are genuine refugees.

    In short, I want a Britain not unlike that which most Remainers want. I just want such a Britain to have control over it’s own immigration policy, and as such I can only seek the Britain I want outside of the EU and, assuming the EU isn’t bluffing (which I don’t believe they are), outside of the Single Market.

  9. Neil A,

    Well in line with what you say you want, the U.K.

    Along with the EU has imposed sanctions on Russia over the Crimea and Ukraine, intervened militarily against ISIS in Syria will supporting the pro democracy rebels with training and equipment and agreed a deal with Iran on it’s nuclear programme.

    If Trump changes course on all three, do we stick with the current position and argue with Trump to stay with positions Obama and the EU have done or do we change tack and back Trump and do deals with Russia over Crimea and Syria and rip up the deal with Iran.

    Peter.

  10. old nat

    the sexual practices of the sturgeon fish is not a fit topic for this site.

    Was it so long ago that opprobrium was being heaped upon the Donald because he would not commit to accepting the election result?Apologists for Hilary will find many reasons to not take the same approach with her, after all, her post truth supporters are saying that Putin funded farage, brexit ,ukip and hacked the voting machines in key states.I think we need to see the receipts for the copious quantities of spitfire ale that farage consumed during the campaign.I bet he paid in roubles!

  11. @Candy – “People in Italy and France keep citing Mrs T’s reforms, but seem to forget that she very carefully put each step in her manifesto and only implemented it after she got a mandate and buy-in from the electorate.”

    You really do say the funniest things sometimes.

  12. peter cairns

    1. hard line nationalist.surely no dispute there.

    2. is willing to submit to the jurisdiction of the EC who would surely exercise similar powers to the uK government (if not more) but does not want to remain linked to England and wales and is willing to put 80% of trade with the uk at risk to maintain 20% with Europe. surely an inference is that she just doesn’t like the English. I would respect her more if she just came out and said it and aligned herself with a considerable portion of he r party.

  13. S Thomas,

    Clintons campaign has openly said that they will observe the recount but have seen no evidence of any hacking.

    It is the Green Party that have asked for a recount and the Democrats are only doing what any political party would do at any recount, participating and watching the process.

    I doubt there was any hacking, but I don’t doubt that Russia would do what it could to destabilise both the US and the U.K. but is more than smart enough not to do anything as obvious and easily detected as direct hacking and handing over cash.

    Both sides have their nut jobs who’ll believe any conspiracy and the worst of the other camp and anyone who doubts that just has to read your posts…riddled with unfounded accusations and insinuations!

    Peter.

  14. Syria

    Trump is surely clear sighted in his approach to syria. It is hold your nose time for the west. An Assad victory will stabilise the country and enable a proportion of the refugees to return. Syria will remain a state and isis will be beaten and chaos will be avoided. To tthose who say he is morally reprehensible i agree but what is the alternative? Libyan situation?, Iraq?How many more must die because obama ,cameron and the west talked liberal democracy while the people just wanted to live.Egypt is regrettably the model that works in the region.

  15. S Thomas

    I presume that your reference to Trump not committing to “accepting the election result” has some reference to something in the current thread?

    Perhaps it’s just one of the random comments that you hard-line nationalists fire off from time to time?

    Incidentally, I was talking about the feeding habits of the sturgeon, not their sexual behaviour – what is it about some right-wingers that they seem to be so obsessed with sex?

  16. S Thomas,

    “1. hard line nationalist.surely no dispute there.”

    Complete dispute, ETA and the IRA are hardline nationalists not the SNP!

    “2. is willing to submit to the jurisdiction of the EC who would surely exercise similar powers to the uK government!”

    Wrong again, as an EU member we will have more influence as a full member than we have with 50 UK MP’s and we can leave if we want, with or without a Referendum. In the UK we can’t even hold a referendum without Westminsters permission.

    I don’t know which is the more laughably disturbing, your hatred of the EU or your ignorance of it!

    Peter

  17. @PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    “Post 2020 we are going to go out into the world with only the vaguest idea of where the hell we’re going lead by a movement with a belief in our own manifest destiny!
    I think that’s a recipe for problems!
    Peter.”

    The truth is that the government has been handed a poisoned chalice by the British people. A true ‘hard’ Brexit is not only highly undesirable, it is also effectively unfeasible. You cannot ‘disinvent’ the last 43 years of history as if they never existed. Many pro-Brexit people simply don’t fully comprehend the complexities of disentangling from all the treaties, legislation and other aspects of our relationship with other EU countries. Withdrawing from the UN would probably be much easier.
    Fillon as French President would weaken Merkel and be another shot in the arm for May, following Trump’s victory, but it would not change the fact that negotiating an orderly withdrawal is going to be extremely difficult.

  18. @Neil A – I imagine a lot of remainers would settle for the kind of UK you want, and the result might be a compromise that could even command a majority. Do you see the slightest chance of achieving this result and if so how?

  19. old nat

    why do you stereotype me as a right winger?. I realise that anyone who challenges the scottish position is likely to be abused or patronised here.I am surprised that you think in such 70’s terms. I imagine your generation has difficulty with the modern political tendency to be more issue based and to have a series of positions on such issues and that the cold war black and white thought process finds difficult. I accept that it is easy to become set in the old ways but political discourse moves on.

  20. @NEIL A

    “I want an internationalist and European Britain, committed to her friendships and alliances with like-minded states (including the EU) and willing to continue to exert whatever power and influence she has for causes that are just, but only when they are also realistic and properly thought through.”

    Britain can do this perfectly well now – as a member of the EU. No need to leave the EU to pursue your diplomatic policies.

    “I want a Britain that trades with anyone who is willing to be traded with (unless subject to sanctions regimes) and through the most open and fair arrangements that can be arrived at without compromising on whatever principles the British public, through parliament, consider sacred.”

    We have a massively valuable trading system within the EU that we have followed for the last 43 years. Why sacrifice that for a leap into the unknown? And what are these ‘sacred’ principles? I don’t know of any.

    “I want a Britain that seeks and is open to cooperation across all areas of endeavour, from science to medicine to action on global issues such as climate change.”

    Again, not relevant to leaving the EU.

    “I want a Britain that is open to inward migration by those who fill skill shortages, or are genuine refugees.”

    Skills shortages can be met by EU labour movement. Moreover, the issue is not one of skill shortages – this is generally a lie that is spread by big business who are unwilling to train UK workers. The issue is filling jobs that British people either do not want to do or are not capable of doing – not just because of lack of skill but because of lack of interest. Hence the need for all these east Europeans to do these jobs.

    “In short, I want a Britain not unlike that which most Remainers want. I just want such a Britain to have control over it’s own immigration policy, and as such I can only seek the Britain I want outside of the EU and, assuming the EU isn’t bluffing (which I don’t believe they are), outside of the Single Market.”

    Why is this issue of ‘control’ so important to you?
    Is this so important to you that you are willing to throw away 43 years of strong trading and diplomatic links with our EU partners?

    The truth is that even before Maastricht there was no genuine control over immigration. Immigration was controlled by business, who pressed the government to get people here, initially from the British West Indies to drive buses and underground trains, and then South Asians to work as cheap labour in textile factories etc. Immigration is largely fuelled by economic need. Government immigration policies since WW2 have been a total failure as they have not managed to keep the lid on even non-EU immigration, so what makes you think that regaining that mythical ‘control’ will actually change anything?

    My view is that labour movement within the EU already provides that need to meet labour needs in industry. There is a strong argument that If anything, we should be looking to curtail non-EU immigration much more, such as banning the ‘import’ of Asian and African wives (or pretend wives) by not giving automatic citizenship and right of abode to them upon marrying a UK passport holder.

  21. S Thomas

    Perhaps “social conservative” would have been more accurate than “right winger” – but then you did bring the US political divide into this – where the distinction between those terms is much less clear.

  22. @mike Pearce,

    You sound like a bitter liberal…

    Love him or loathe him, Farage’s impact is very significant, and if the left had somebody who could speak as eloquently and passionately as him, half their problems would be solved.

  23. @OLDNAT

    “It seems likely (but let’s see what the SC says) that the UK could be left with invidious choices –

    1. Before tabling Article 50, legislate to remove the LCM requirement for this (and, by implication, any other area where the devolved administration’s attitudes are likely to be “inconvenient” to Westminster)
    2. Follow existing constitutional procedures, invite LCMs – and then ignore the views of the devolved Parliament/Assemblies. Potentially facing a ruling from the ECJ that they haven’t followed their constitutional requirements, and thus any Article 50 is invalid.
    3. Take seriously the proposals from NI and Scotland (and possibly Wales) that these territories should remain part of the Single Market : make these part of their negotiating position to the EU – and hope that the EU rejects the idea, so they don’t get the blame.”

    I think May will choose option 1. Risking upsetting Sturgeon would be judged as a lower risk than causing further delays to her Brexit crusade. Option 2 is pointless and option 3 would not be acceptable to EU countries, especially ones with restive regions, such as Spain.

  24. Rich

    “if the left had somebody who could speak as eloquently and passionately as him, half their problems would be solved.”

    If such a person got the coverage on TV that Farage did, over many years, then that would also help.

    There is something of a threat to the democratic process, when TV companies choose to give undue exposure to those who “shock” rather than present reasoned arguments.

    It may boost falling viewer ratings, but depresses intelligent discussion.

  25. Tancred

    I don’t think you actually read the last bit of my option 3!

    Politically, it might be the cleverest line for the UK to take.

  26. Tancred

    Interesting that you see Option 1 as just “upsetting Sturgeon”.

    Upsetting one person wouldn’t matter a damn, obviously. But you seem to be suggesting that upsetting a majority of Scots would also be OK.

    That is why I noted that constitutional questions are intrinsically complex – both legally and politically.

    Simple solutions to complex problems only appeal to the simple-minded!

  27. @CANDY

    “People in Italy and France keep citing Mrs T’s reforms, but seem to forget that she very carefully put each step in her manifesto and only implemented it after she got a mandate and buy-in from the electorate. She had elections every four years, there was no attempt to hide from the voters, because none of it would have succeeded without their endorsement. The Continental obsession with ramming things through by fiat without consulting voters dooms them to failure before they even start.”

    What utter bilge you keep vomiting.

    We are a parliamentary democracy, not a direct one – can you not understand this simple fact? We don’t have referenda on government policies.

    Since when were voters consulted on mass privatisation? Or on council house sell offs? Or on lowering or removing state benefits? Or on reducing income tax for the well off?

    Yes, we had three general elections, that Thatcher won, but to call them an endorsement of her policies is very wrong. Many people who voted Tory did so holding their noses because the Labour alternative was much more unpalatable. Had Thatcher enjoyed such massive support there would have been no need for the SDP-Liberal alliance.

  28. @OLDNAT

    “Politically, it might be the cleverest line for the UK to take.”

    From an SNP perspective, yes. But what makes you think that it will get support in the EU? They have already said that there will be no deals with parts of the UK, only the whole. And even if the UK government proposed this it would still face stiff opposition.

  29. @Tancred

    I’m not sure you quite caught the gist of my post, in that it was a response to Peter’s list of assorted Brexit unmentionables, and was intended to illustrate that it is possible to share most of the ambitions of remainers without wanting to remain. Of course many of those things can be done as an EU member, that was my point (i.e. not so much difference between me and Remainers) but they can also be done as an ex-EU member.

    The “sacred principles” I had in mind was really to do with the way we organise health care in the UK (including NICE and the way the NHS purchases drugs) , and the concerns that have been expressed about trade deals with the US requiring that this be “opened up” in some way that equates to a dismantling of NHS principles.

    But of course there may be others. My point is that it would be for the UK to decide what they were, if anything, and to forfeit the benefits of any trade deals that contravened them.

    As for why the issue of control of immigration is so important to me, I’ve covered this ground in detail before. I am wary of mass migration and the effects on the UK environment of steep increases in population levels. I want my country to be allowed to say “no” to it. And that includes saying “no” to business interests that want it for cheap labour.

    @Charles,

    I see a very great likelihood of a post-Brexit UK like that emerging. I happen to think that people like me are much more common, and swivel-eyed nutters much rarer, than Remainers fear.

    Of course how exactly the world, and in particular the EU, responds to such a UK is another question and one we can’t really control. The EU may decide that they can’t have a constructive relationship with any European neighbour that they don’t own, or aren’t in the process of acquiring. Or they might decide that it is perfectly fine to have a Europe in which there is a large bloc of nations bound together in a tight political, economic and (eventually) fiscal union, but one which coexists happily with some other nations that only want to be bound with them in a loose, cooperative framework of common interests and values.

  30. @Tancred

    You strike my as someone that doesn’t think elections serve much of a purpose. And as you already make it clear that there is no place for referendums, it makes me wonder if you are actually a democrat.

  31. Tancred

    “But what makes you think that it will get support in the EU? ”

    Read what I said! “and hope that the EU rejects the idea, so they don’t get the blame.”

  32. @OLDNAT

    “Upsetting one person wouldn’t matter a damn, obviously. But you seem to be suggesting that upsetting a majority of Scots would also be OK.”

    I’m not convinced that most Scots would be upset. Many, yes, but most? I doubt it. The SNP has widespread support but has totally failed to convinced the Scottish people to go for independence.
    I also think you misread May – she has now embarked on a crusade and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

    There will be blood………

  33. @Tancred

    Mrs T definitely had a clear mandate for her policies.

    She won in 1979 with 43.9% of the vote on a 76% turnout

    She won in 1983 with 42.4% of the vote on a 72.7% turnout

    She won in 1987 with 42.2% of the vote on a 75.3% turnout

    John Major won in 1992 with 41.9% of the vote on a 77.7% turnout

    By contrast Blair’s wins were meagre apart from in 1997:

    He won in 1997 with 43.2% on a 71.3% turnout

    He won in 2001 with 40.7% on a 59.4% turnout

    He won in 2005 with 35.2% on a 61.4% turnout

    His turnouts were low and his percentage of the vote wasn’t anything to shout about. You could say that Thatcher and Major had much clearer backing from the voters.

  34. @OLDNAT

    “Read what I said! “and hope that the EU rejects the idea, so they don’t get the blame.”

    I understand but I don’t see how the EU would be blamed by the supporters of devolution. It’s not the EU who have initiated Brexit, and if the voters in Scotland, Wales and NI don’t see this then they are blind or very limited in intellect – which I am sure is not the case! May could do this, but I very much doubt it. She is very unwilling to give an inch to the devolved parliaments and is also fully opposed to them having a say in the Brexit process.

    What would be more interesting is if the EU comes up with an ‘associate citizenship’ of the EU as an option for any UK citizen who wants it. Of course there would be a fee, which could be a few hundred pounds, but this would not deter many remainers, especially ones with businesses or professional careers. Such a move would doubtless infuriate many Brexiteers and cause a major headache for the government – which is why I hope it will happen.

  35. @CANDY

    “Mrs T definitely had a clear mandate for her policies.
    She won in 1979 with 43.9% of the vote on a 76% turnout
    She won in 1983 with 42.4% of the vote on a 72.7% turnout
    She won in 1987 with 42.2% of the vote on a 75.3% turnout”

    As I stated before, I do not believe that victory in a general election gives ‘carte blanche’ to all the manifesto policies of a given party.
    And of course none of these votes represents a majority of those who bothered to vote, let alone of the entire electorate! So how on earth can you call these results a clear mandate?

  36. @Tancred

    I’m not sure an individual “associate membership” arrangement for Britons in the EU would cause any headache at all for the government, although I agree it has tweaked the nose of some Brexiteers (the kind that call pro-Europeans “tra*tors” mostly).

    I don’t think it will happen though, because it would be a pretty major non-reciprocal concession to the UK, and as it is one that the UK negotiators probably won’t actually be asking for, the EU is unlikely to get anything in return for it.

    I could perhaps see some sort of reciprocal arrangement by which EU citizens would be entitled to buy “associate citizenship” of the UK in a similar way. But for this to satisfy people like me for whom reducing immigration from the EU is the main motivator, the cost would need to be set pretty high (certainly in four figures).

  37. Hmm, guessed right. A version of my last comment with the correct spelling of “tra*tors” was auto-modded… for the info of anyone thinking of using the T work in any future comments.

  38. @Tancred

    You are dismissing Thatcher’s high turnout wins, and exclusing Blair’s low turnout wins?

    Sounds like you use any excuse to dismiss democratic results.

    Here is another one for you: the referendum had a 72% turnout but the current Parliament only had a 66% turnout. Therefore the referendum gave voice to more of the electorate than the general election did – and by your own words, Parliament has no right to overturn the referendum as it was elected on such a low turnout, it can’t possibly be representative!

  39. @Neil A

    “Hmm, guessed right. A version of my last comment with the correct spelling of “tra*tors” was auto-modded… for the info of anyone thinking of using the T work in any future comments.”

    ————-

    That’s weird because tractors works just fine for me…

  40. Neil A

    I totally agree with your post of 10:42. It sums up my own position more eloquently than I could.

    Rich
    Your 11:54 post. Totally agree. It’s arguable that despite never being an MP Farage has had more impact on the future than any politician from the mainstream parties.

    Tancred
    “Since when were voters consulted on mass privatisation? Or on council house sell offs? Or on lowering or removing state benefits? Or on reducing income tax for the well off?”

    Every time there’s a General Election.

  41. Sorry, in last post ‘any politician’ should have been ‘any recent politician’. Goodnight all.

  42. “Love him or loathe him, Farage’s impact is very significant, and if the left had somebody who could speak as eloquently and passionately as him, half their problems would be solved.”

    ———-

    Yes but can he dance like Ed Balls or sit on the floor in a train like Corbie?

  43. @NEIL A

    “You strike my as someone that doesn’t think elections serve much of a purpose. And as you already make it clear that there is no place for referendums, it makes me wonder if you are actually a democrat.”

    What I would say is that elections are a mechanism designed to demonstrate to the public that the government is willing to exercise power by consent. This is fair enough and quite right and proper – I am not against this process, as the alternative is far worse.

    On the other hand, referendums have no place in a parliamentary democracy in which the people are already consulted on which party they would prefer to rule over them. The very concept of referendum undermines parliamentary democracy because it renders parliament impotent over whatever decisions are put forward in referendums. It also assumes that the people are sufficiently educated in the subject to make a reasoned decision above the heads of elected parliamentary representatives. I believe this to be a very flawed idea and potentially the doorway to anarchy unless exercised in a very limited number of circumstances.

    I can understand hosting referendums in the case of the proposed independence of parts of a country, the change of borders in a contested area etc because these are very fundamental issues that pertain to the inhabitants of these regions. Likewise, in case of a fundamental constitutional change such as a proposal to become a republic or abolish the House of Lords, a referendum may well be appropriate. However, I believe that a simple majority should be insufficient to enact a change from the established status-quo. In order to have a clear and unambiguous mandate for change you should have a decisive majority of at least 55% of the vote, possibly 60%, especially if the majority in parliament is also opposed to the change.

    The issue I have with the EU referendum is that there was no initial vote in parliament on whether to leave the EU. Had such a vote taken place it would have resulted in a clear majority for remain. Then there should have been a referendum with only a clear qualified majority required order to overturn the will of parliament. Instead we have the situation the wrong way round – first a vote with a simple majority, then a likely rubber stamp (if the Supreme Court decides it) from MPs bullied into voting leave by the whips and the fear of public backlash.
    This shows how messy and dangerous referendums are. They should only be used in situations where is mass support for one view, not situations where the difference of opinion is clearly divided.

  44. @NEIL A

    “I don’t think it will happen though, because it would be a pretty major non-reciprocal concession to the UK, and as it is one that the UK negotiators probably won’t actually be asking for, the EU is unlikely to get anything in return for it.”

    The EU would get money of course. And also the goodwill and sympathy of many remainers in the UK, who would take heart from such a gesture. Therefore there is considerable mileage from doing this, from a diplomatic perspective, if nothing else.

    “I could perhaps see some sort of reciprocal arrangement by which EU citizens would be entitled to buy “associate citizenship” of the UK in a similar way. But for this to satisfy people like me for whom reducing immigration from the EU is the main motivator, the cost would need to be set pretty high (certainly in four figures).”

    If you are rich – i.e. have many hundreds of thousands to throw away – then I believe you can already pay your way to UK citizenship through a fast track mechanism (remember Peter Mandelson and the Hindujas?). This is already there. Also, I doubt that buying UK citizenship for a four figure sum would be of interest to many people in the EU when they can already have free access to other EU countries.

  45. @NEIL A

    “The “sacred principles” I had in mind was really to do with the way we organise health care in the UK (including NICE and the way the NHS purchases drugs) , and the concerns that have been expressed about trade deals with the US requiring that this be “opened up” in some way that equates to a dismantling of NHS principles.”

    I cannot see how or why the EU would want to dismantle the NHS. Many other EU countries have their own slightly different versions of the NHS and a few tweaks here and there would not undermine the fundamental principles.

    “As for why the issue of control of immigration is so important to me, I’ve covered this ground in detail before. I am wary of mass migration and the effects on the UK environment of steep increases in population levels. I want my country to be allowed to say “no” to it. And that includes saying “no” to business interests that want it for cheap labour.”

    Yes, we have covered this ground already and I have also explained at length why what you are asking is well nigh impossible in the modern world. As a matter of fact I also share your concerns, but I am realistic enough to accept that this is a situation where the clock cannot simply be turned back. It would be idyllic to return to the Britain of the 1930s where foreigners were few and far between, but implementing such a policy now is simply not feasible. Even Japan, that most insular of industrialised nations, has opened up its doors to a lot more immigrants in recent years.

  46. NEIL A
    ” I am wary of mass migration and the effects on the UK environment of steep increases in population levels. I want my country to be allowed to say “no” to it. And that includes saying “no” to business interests that want it for cheap labour.”

    There are two aspects of your position which you might be willing to concede are technical or management issues, and on which you could be wrong. I think you are.
    One is that of the assumption that “mass” migration would have negative effects on the UK environment.
    The other is the assumption that business interests predominantly want cheap labour as their rationale on employing immigrants.
    I don’t doubt your conviction on these issues but think you should look carefully at the facts and at the alternative assumption which underlie EU and UK policy. This should include their potential further adaptation, for example to the possibility of an external border to the EU such as has partially been created in Turkey in the holding of migrants there, their identification and registration there, similar developments in Jordan and Lebanon, and the call by David Milliband’s organisation for their integration into the work forces of these and other transit countries; the call for this holding, care and registration of migrants preparatory for any legitimate migration to EU states or repatriation to be made permanent in an external border (which would I consider would need to be extended to all the North African/M.E. Mediterranean seabord states) called for by the Hungarian and Austrian representatives at a hearing last April of the UK Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee Enquiry on Migration.
    On UK business and industries’ response and policies for migrant job seekers, both the CBI policy statements, and the research of bodies such as the UK Commission on Employment and Wages (Working Futures 2016) see the need and the proven impact of migrants as taking place at every level of the occupational and skills sectors, and as being directly responsible for maintaining and increasing productivity and as acting over the whole spectrum of the economy to raise rather than reduce wage levels and working conditions.
    That reading calls for a strategy of investment in the jobs, housing and services which are put under strain by population increases. This is a stress which occur in pockets rather than in the UK environment and population as a whole.
    I feel you should concede that realistic forecasts, which indeed see a population increase as a result of immigration (to 80m. by 2060 in the EU 2015 Ageing Report, based on Treasury forecasting and ONS stats on prior trends and which assumes net immigration at about 180,000 to 200,000 throughout this period) (a) may continue at this level, and (b) may (this is where better research is needed) be absorbed by urban design and development and by investment and social measures which can be adopted by the UK government and LGAs.

  47. @”Yes, we had three general elections, that Thatcher won, but to call them an endorsement of her policies is very wrong. ”

    :-) :-) :-)

  48. Neil A:

    You have presented yourself as a one-issue Brexiter, concerned only with ‘regaining control’ of immigration. Seemingly, to the extent that you are not really bothered by the practicalities and the numbers, so long as nominal control lies in the hands of Whitehall. Which would imply that you could have no objection to a post-Brexit non-Tory government deciding to ‘throw the floodgates open’. Is that a sensible position?

    But then you appear to reveal your underlying motivation in a subsequent post:

    “The EU may decide that they can’t have a constructive relationship with any European neighbour that they don’t own, or aren’t in the process of acquiring.”

    So you see the EU as being in the business of owning, or being in the process of acquiring, its members.

    That is a much more fundamental objection to the principle of collective action and merging of some sovereignty for the common good.

    There is nothing wrong with taking a ‘sovereignty is everything’ line, as TOH does. But if that is your real motivation, is it not disingenuous to dress yourself up as a nice reasonable liberal who was only barely tipped into supporting Brexit by the need to preserve our green spaces from the hordes from the east?

  49. Those for whom the EU is a shining beacon of unrestricted immigration and Citizen of The World Liberalism might be in for a shock when its second largest member decides what a dreadful mistake that has been-as does something about it.

  50. Mike Pearce,
    “Cameron was weak and cowardly in trying to postpone battles regarding the EU with his right wingers by pledging a Referendum further down the line”

    Hmm. Cowardly or cunning? Was it better to have the showdown over Brexit with the parliament we have now, or with a future parliament having a block of UKIP MPs? For the conservative party, it is surely better to keep UKIP out of parliament and not disturb the status quo with their chief rival labour. For the nation, is it better to have May taking these decisions or have Farage as minister for Brexit?

    It is arguable that losing the referendum was the best outcome for the nation, given that UKIP was enjoying steadily growing support and it was only a question of the circumstances in which they would eventually win.

    The government’s problem now is they failed to lose the brexit vote decisively. The result could yet be reversed before we leave and the wrangling continue endlessly. A tied result was the worst possible for scuppering UKIP.

    The roots of Brexit are dissatisfaction with the political order. It is arguable that the only way to demonstrate whether being in or out of the EU is better is by trying out. In the long run this may lead to a very chastened UK being readmitted and becoming a fully integrated member, euro and all. Equally, the UK leaving creates scope for significant reforms of the EU, which will probably mean further integration in some ways, but possibly also formal limits in other respects, maybe even in migration.

    Quite what all this might imply for dissatisfaction with the existing Uk parties is another matter, but it should eventually settle Brexit. Then the public will switch back to disliking westminster.

    The long term consequence of this could well further a more integrated european state, including the Uk. Getting the UK outnow might remove significant hurdles to the others reforming as they see fit, and then the Uk accepting those reforms when it re-joins. The Uk has to leave and rejoin to allow this to happen. Clever.

    What the Uk gives up now is the uniquely British EU which it created. It is utterly perverse that what Farage will have created is a more eurocentric EU, with us as compliant members.

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