A quick update for the ICM/Guardian poll on Monday, which is presumably the final ICM poll of the year. Topline figures are CON 41%(-3), LAB 27%(nc), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 14%(+2), GRN 3%(-1). Nothing startling to report here – the Tories still have a commanding lead, the Lib Dems are up very slightly following their by-election win (but nothing to write home about) and rumours of UKIP’s demise continue to be false.

Full tabs are here.

171 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 41, LAB 27, LDEM 9, UKIP 14”

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  1. “I have no doubt that you know more about the illegal trafficking of human beings…”

    oh! I thought he was talking about sponges.

  2. ALEC

    There is a genuine condition known as Left wing denial, and it has cost millions of people their lives over the years.

    It is an inability of those in power to accept that there might be any fault in the policies of the government, it has to be some external factor – counter revolutionaries are the usual scapegoat.

    It seems Comrade Corbyn is a sufferer himself.

  3. @Oldnat

    I know it seems counter intuitive, but there is a very significant problem with trafficking of EU citizens into the UK for the purposes of labour exploitation (what is these days rather overdramatically called “modern slavery”).

    I think the confusion comes from the cross-use of the terms “trafficking” and “smuggling”. In general English these terms are synonyms, but in law enforcement there is a subtle difference.

    Some of the people who get called “traffickers” (for example Turks or Arabs arranging boats across the Med) are really “smugglers”. Their “victims” are fully aware of what they are doing, have themselves asked to be transported, and will no longer be in the ‘clutches’ of the smugglers once they arrive.

    Someone bringing someone into a country in order to exploit them for their labour (or for prostituti*n), or to use them as a benefits farm, is not necessarily a ‘people smuggler’, but they are a trafficker.

    Sometimes, people are both. If you approach an 18 year old Vietnamese girl in her home village and tell her you can get her into the UK illegally but she will have to pay off the cost by working in a restaurant, you are a people smuggler. If your intention is to keep her as an indentured labourer (by exaggerating the costs of the trip, and ‘charging’ her £100 per week for the mattress on the floor of the back room) so that she works the next ten years without pay, you are also a people trafficker.

    If you pull the same trick on an 18 year Czech girl, who flies in on Wizz Air, with her ID card, gets an NI number and registers at your address, then you are not a people smuggler. But you are still a trafficker.

    Like you, I had no idea this was even a thing three years ago, but then I was asked to investigate it and it really is quite a large scale problem.

  4. Neil A

    Thanks again for the info.

    What you tell us means that there is a serious need for language to be used accurately, if real problems are to be identified and dealt with.

    Raising generic concerns about “immigration”, but using only examples about illegal activity, has been a favourite tactic of the right-wing press [1].

    Genuine concerns are wholly legitimate. Concentrating on minimising difficulties for people matters more.

    [1] Though simply describing the likes of the Mail and Express as “right-wing” conflates the perfectly legitimate views of those who still adhere to the values of the Tamworth Manifesto, with the xenophopic, racist rantings of those rags.

  5. @Oldnat

    The whole concept of “illegal” needs to be treated with care.

    Inherent in the difference between trafficking and smuggling is the nature of the illegality.

    Someone who is smuggled in has entered illegally. They can therefore be described as “an illegal immigrant”. But many people who do so are also claiming asylum so they would properly be termed “asylum seekers”. Their “crime” was to disregard entry restrictions.

    The people who brought them in (if they were brought in rather than arranging illegal entry on their own) have committed a rather more criminal sort of crime.

    Someone who has the right to enter the UK, but then acts illegally (for example Romanian, Lithuanian, Czech or Slovak “people traffickers”) are immigrants who are acting illegally, but not illegal immigrants.

    The correct term for the vulnerable EU citizens they exploit is “victims”. They are not illegal in any sense of the word. In fact I am aware of at least two who have remained in the UK, now free as a bird, and are enjoying the fruits of their labour (one as a permanent resident, the other to save up the deposit for a flat for him and his girlfriend back home).

    I agree with you about the red tops. Whilst there are very, very genuine concerns about the activities of foreign criminals in the UK, and to some extent this needs to be factored in when considering the pros and cons of “Free Movement”, but the vast majority of migrants are law abiding and decent. It’s not as if the UK population sans migrants would be devoid of criminality and wickedness.

    And to some extent, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask “why?”. The reason there are Romanian women selling themselves in every city and town in the UK today, is because UK citizens like to pay good money for them. The reason there are poorly paid fruit and flower pickers living in sheds on farms and being cheated out of their fair wages is because UK citizens like to pay as little as possible for the things they pick.

    When people talk about migrants doing jobs UK workers don’t want to do, a large part of that is down to laziness and bad habits. But to some extent UK workers won’t do those jobs because they know their rights and they aren’t willing to be exploited.

  6. Neil A

    “a large part of that is down to laziness and bad habits”

    But to be fair, that isn’t true of ALL the market traders in London employed by the multi-national banks! :-)

    An excellent post from you – delineating the differences that political rhetoric so often masks.

    People exploiting other people is the core of the problem – whether within or between countries, areas, societal groups etc.

    Other than the absolute extremes of politics, everyone agrees that such exploitation is a bad thing.

    In a democracy, political parties can suggest particular points beyond which exploitation is illegal, legal but immoral, tolerable.

    There is no absolute moral dimension, I suggest, other than the principle of exploiting others is immoral, although the classification of something as exploitative is damn difficult – and certainly beyond the ability of legislatures, courts or police to define.

    Though I suppose that simply demonstrates that my vision of society is the liberal, inclusive one. Others take a different view.

    At the end of the day democracy determines which view prevails. Of course, if a country finds itself in a union where the views of its neighbours are anathema, it needs to get the hell out of it!

  7. Daibach
    ” I saw today that Nicola Sturgeon is considering fielding candidates in England”

    Very sensible of her. I’m not sure where the downside would be. SNP has already come to terms with Scotland itself not wishing to dissolve the union, but still SNP being the only credible alternative to the other parties at westminster.

    “No-one I think deliberately seeks a pyrrhic victory.”

    I was merely pointing out the fallacy in your last riposte to my observations on the WW2 analogy. You argued that invasion should continue, whether through Normandy or Dunkirk, despite it being apparent that neither alternative was acceptible to the Uk public. In other words, a deliberate choice of a phyrric victory.

    “All I am proposing is that negotiations proceed along the normal lines in which both sides keep their positions of last resort secret, ”

    Then we end up in a ‘prisoners dilemma’ situation, because there is no trust on either side. Although it seems clear negotiations are to begin on the presumption we are rejecting the optimum outcome.

  8. Will be 2017 turn out to be annus horribles for Theresa May and her Government, with a significant change in pollling ?

    We are currently seeing a wave of strike actions across the country. E.g South Eastern Railways, Post Offices, Argos, British Airways to name just a few.

    People are getting increasingly frustrated with the economic position, with wages not keeping up with increasing costs of living.

    Bank of England base rate may increase following decision by the US and this may feed into higher borrowing costs.

    In March 2017, people will start receiving Council Tax bills showing a possible 6% increase, as Government has decided that Councils require extra money to cover care budgets.

    In late January 2017, the Supreme Court is due to announce its decision on the Brexit issues raised. If as expected the Government loses its appeal, then they will be under pressure to meet their own timeline of Article 50 by end of March. The SC might require revocability of Article 50 to be reviewed by the European Court and if so, months will be added. The SC might issue a ruling requiring detailed legislation in Parliament on the Brexit process and this will lead to months of delay in the process.

    In March 2017, i presume Philip Hammond will have to do a normal budget, even though he has moved this to be an Autumn event in normal circumstances. Given the deteriorating public finances with a sizeable deficit continuing, i should imagine that there will have to be changes to tax and spending, not considered in recent Autumn statement.

    Due to a combination of all these different issues, it is going to be a very difficult year for the Government. It will also be very challenging for Jeremy Corbyn, as he is under the spotlight more for holding Government to account. Could Corby face another leadership contest during Summer 2017.

  9. Yes, it is going to be a very challenging year for the Tories. The problems with social care and the NHS look ominous. Let alone Brexit.

    But Corbyn looks in very serious trouble. I was interested to see the comments in the Guardian in response to his recent remarks about the polls. They were very strongly critical from a group that would normally be thought to be supportive. Not a reliable cross-section of Labour support, of course, but an unexpectedly hostile response.

    I now seriously expect Corbyn to resign quite early in the New Year. He will claim, entirely reasonably, to have transformed the party, to have hugely increased membership, and to have enshrined an anti-austerity position within Labour policy. I think Tom Watson will engineer an orderly transition and there won’t be a contest. A grateful PLP will accept the eclipsing of the unreconstructed Blairites like Hunt and Kendall, whilst the Left will not press for Abbott, McDonnell and Thornberry to have senior posts.

    Corbyn will acknowledge that age is against him, pass the banner to the next generation ( Lewis/Creasy?), accept that he is not suited to lead into the next election, and ride off into the sunset. And effectively retire on his terms, rather than be beaten by the centre-right.

  10. I agree that 2017 will be a challenge but I don’t think this should be oversold. Every year is a challenge. It’s not like 2016 was a picnic for the Tories, or anyone else.

    I don’t think the strikes are really a problem. They are mostly about management decisions, rather than cost of living issues. There is a conundrum with strikes in that the public tends to support them, tends to blame the government/employers for them, tends to sympathise with the strikers, but then manifestly fails to punish the government in the polls for any of this. And most strikes fail in the end.

    Any interest rate rises will be small and although they will squeeze people, alongside council tax increases and general inflation, I don’t think they will be large enough to be the breaking point. And of course they may not happen at all, depending on whether predictions of a Brexit slump ever come true.

    The Brexit legal process will be a problem of a different kind. I am not convinced the government will be able to keep to the March 2017 deadline, despite the EU itself being desperate to see them do this. I suspect the hope of avoiding the participation of the UK in the 2019 Euro-elections may have to be abandoned if the government loses in the SC.

    But unless there is a complete volte face by Labour on Brexit, I don’t see any of the wrangling in 2017 seriously impeding Brexit or putting the government at risk. I still think that if parliament rejected the government’s approach completely, a GE would be likely but I don’t think that will happen.

    The downside for me of parliamentary bunfights over Brexit will be felt in Brussels in 2018-2019 through a worse deal rather than in Westminster in 2017.

    I am interested by the most serious leak yet on Brexit, with the UK’s EU ambassador apparently advising a trade deal could take 10 years. He is in a position to know of course, and it’s not something that can be dismissed. But it is hard to see how a fully compliant UK could take longer to resolve issues with the EU than Canada did. I suspect the “could” is a very hypothetical one (i.e. “no one can guarantee that it won’t”) but as it is a leak, and Sir Ivan is very unlikely to spell out his true views in public, it’s hard to know. Everything seems to be moving towards a transitional arrangement, so the seriousness of the situation may depend on whether “time limited” would stretch to such a long transition.

    10 years in the EEA before final Brexit might be hard for the IDSs and Farages of the world to stomach, but it would certainly calm a lot of nerves elsewhere.

  11. MILLIE

    @”I now seriously expect Corbyn to resign quite early in the New Year”

    No chance whatsoever imo.

    He has only just started his “project”.

  12. Elections next year in France, Germany, Italy & Netherlands together with still unresolved Banking risk in Italy, and Greek Bailout renewal will imo have at least as much influence on UK’s fortunes via those of the EU , as anything on the domestic front.
    If The European Council asserts the primacy of Heads of State , over the Commission in their Brexit plan , then those elections loom even larger in effect for UK. Effects over which we have no influence.

    Add in the geo-political fall out from a Trump Foreign Policy; the fallout from the unholy alliiance of Russia & Iran after it secures Assad’s military victory in Syria & they start to pursue their own agendas ; and Erdogan’s agenda for Turkey as he tightens his grip on power-and you have potential for events “dear boy” of global significance.

  13. @Colin

    Absolutely. The earliest he will go is after the rules are changed to reduce the nominations requirements for a vacancy. Otherwise no-one from his faction will have a chance of being nominated.

  14. Good morning all from a sunny Reigate.

    Another poll with another cross break showing Labour in deep deep trouble in Scotland and well behind the Tories. I really wish we could get a Westminster Scottish poll to see if it backs up what the cross breaks are hinting at.

    Next year Scotland holds council elections and all eyes will be on Glasgow. If Labour are booted out of the city (after nearly one hundred years of dominance) then one can presume Labour have died in Scotland.

    Is your comment a prediction what will happen or what you hope happens?

  15. ROBIN

    I enter one caveat-if Coyne beats McCluskey , Corbyn’s “project” may discover that one wheel has fallen off.

  16. Danny “Pyrrhic victory.
    Continuing a policy successfully against majority public opinion does not of itself make the victory ‘pyrrhic’. It may convince the public that they were wrong. Even if it doesn’t, that adds something to the costs, but not necessarily enough to outweigh the benefits of victory. Suppose just before the Dunkirk evacuation of the BEF, Hitler had offered a peace deal. Would you put that to a referendum?
    The problem for a democratic approach to such matters is twofold. First, the public and the policy makers do not evaluate the same knowledge of the facts of the situation. Second, even if they did, their abilities to evaluate the facts differ. Two reasons why democracy is suspended in war. Whether EU negotiations should be conducted as a conflict is another matter, though obviously objectives differ. But some are mutually beneficial, while others may benefit one side at the expense of the other, while yet others my benefit or harm one side with little effect either way on the other.

    “negotiations are to begin on the presumption we are rejecting the optimum outcome. ” Which is?
    Do you want to put your answer to a referendum?

  17. NEIL A
    Every year is a challenge. It’s not like 2016 was a picnic for the Tories, or anyone else.

    I agree pretty much completely with the rest of your post, but 2016 has been a picnic for the Cons in polling, which is supposed to be what this site is about.

    The polls may well change fairly dramatically once we have the SC rulings, but in whose favour is as yet unclear.

    If MILLIE is correct re Corbyn, we could be back to 2 main parties in E&W perpetuating the plurality system, which would be a pity for democracy in the UK.

    Otherwise, UKIP, the LDs & the Greens seem likely to be the main beneficiaries in England.

    If I were a betting man, my money would be on the latter.

  18. Dave,
    not wishing to go over the entire states of the EU membership debate once again, there does seem to be a widespread consensus that the UK would benefit economically from remaining a member on much the terms as now. I really do not see much public disagreement with this. If there was, we would not see all this agonisizing over terms and we could simply walk away. On the opposite side, the main issue seems to be migration, but again all I hear are endless arguments that this industry or that is wholly reliant upon immigrant labour. Indeed, some Leave campaigners argued that this would be an opportunity to increase immigration from the non-EU parts of the world, which was already the majority. All in all, the staus quo would therefore seem to be agreed to be the best economic outcome.

    Myself, I have always maintained that events will determine public opinion, and yet again I think all parties agree with this too. Right now we are seeing a propaganda war arguing whether the economy will improve or collapse and continuing the Brexit campaign, which decision is far from finally decided.

    The way things are going right now, I see May et al. deferring the decision by going for an interim arrangement. This avoids the need for her to commit to hard or soft. Calling it temporary offers a bone for both sides, though perhaps more for the remainers than Leavists. But on the other hand, as I just mentioned, the economic consensus seems to be wholly against Brexit all together, and this is pushing the government to remain by hook or crook.

    Continuing with a non decision decision is probably the best placement possible for the conservative party for the next election. It might also simplify current negotiations, so there could be an actuel EU exit on the timetable outlined, before we get more EU elections, which it seems everyone dreads, except perhaps the snp and libs.

    There seems to be some agreement that we can insist on remaining part of the market because of the separate treaties involved, despite resigning from the EU. This seems a vital bargaining chip, because otherwise the EU is not going to give any concessions. It cannot.

  19. Is it just me or am i beginning to see a sort of consensus between Eu and Uk about the bare bones of a deal. The EC becoming a little isolated.
    The EC front may not be holding. The flanks are under pressure.Perhaps it is time for a spot of discipline amongst our mps. Perhaps there is more give there than the pessimists thought

  20. An interesting comment I heard was to stop confusing UK exit negotiations with trade negotiations as the two are not necessarily to be dealt with together and at the same time.

    Once article 50 is triggered there is a requirement to negotiate the leaving, but that doesn’t have to include any trade deal.

  21. I dont think there is a requirement to negotiate a leaving deal either. All the law states is that in the absence of an agreed deal, the member will have left the EU after 2 years.

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