ICM’s regular poll for the Guardian came out today, topline voting intention figures are CON 42%(nc), LAB 27%(+1), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 12%(-1), GRN 4%(-1). There is no significant change since a fortnight ago and the Conservatives retain a formidable lead.

The poll also asked about expectations of Brexit. People tend to think it will have a negative impact on the economy (by 43% to 38%) and on their own personal finances (34% to 12%), but on the overall way of life in Britain they are slightly more positive (41% expect a positive impact, 36% a negative one). All these answers are, as you would expect, strongly correlated with referendum vote – very few Remainers expect anything good to come of Brexit, very few Leavers expect any negative consequences. Full tabs are here.

For those who’ve missed it, I also have a long piece over on YouGov’s website about the Brexit problem facing Labour and how to respond to it. Labour were already a party whose electoral coalition was under strain, with sharp divides between their more liberal, metropolitian middle-class supporters and their more socially conservative traditional working class support. Brexit splits the party right down that existing fault line and their choice on whether to robustly oppose or accept Brexit will upset one side or another of the Labour family.

More of Labour’s supporters backed Remain than Leave and a substantial minority of Labour voters would be delighted were the party to oppose Brexit. However, such a policy would also drive away a substantial chunk of their support. 20% of people who voted Labour in 2015 say they would be “angry” if Labour opposed Brexit. In contrast, if Labour accept Brexit but campaign for a close relationship with the EU once we leave then while it would delight fewer voters, it would also anger far fewer voters (only 7% of Labour’s 2015 vote would be angry). If Labour’s aim is to keep their electoral coalition together, then a “soft Brexit” would be acceptable to a much wider segment of their support.

Of course it’s more complicated than that. This is only how voters would react right now. Labour may want to gamble on public opinion turning against Brexit in the future and get ahead of the curve. Alternatively, they may think Brexit is such an important issue that Labour should do what they think right and damn the electoral consequences. That’s a matter for the party itself to decide, but in terms of current public opinion I think Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit may actually be the one most likely to keep Labour together. Full article is here.


637 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 42, LAB 27, LD 10, UKIP 12”

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  1. Only cross breaks… But they will make good tabloid headlines.

    Tories in Scotland now on twice Labours vote!

    LibDems only 3% behind Labour in Scotland..

    Crossover anyone?????

    Peter.

  2. Anthony,
    Have you missed the Opinium poll in last weekend’s Observer?

  3. A Scottish friend at work predicted Tories would be second party in Scotland to me 3 years back. He was right. I won’t elaborate as don’t want to be moderated!

  4. Of course the problem is that Labour doesn’t just have to hang on to its 2015 support, it has to increase it considerably.

    And just hanging onto the 2015 vote seems almost impossible at this point. I don’t envy them.

  5. @ STEPHEN W

    I think Corbyn’s got it right for now – keep your head down.

    Stoke Central is now critical for Labour.

  6. “Tories in Scotland now on twice Labours vote!”

    There was of course a dedicated Scottish poll a few days ago which had the Tories on 27% and Labour on 15%, so that would confirm these sub-sample numbers. The SNP was on 47%.

  7. Richo

    “A Scottish friend at work predicted Tories would be second party in Scotland to me 3 years back.”

    Many of us suggested that that was inevitable given the “Better Together” Campaign, and SLab’s stance.

    As Peter says “Only cross breaks… But they will make good tabloid headlines Tories in Scotland now on twice Labours vote!.”

    But underlying that, is that the SNP has twice the SCon vote, and that reflects the general pattern of Scots polling – not just a crossbreak.

    Davidson has done an effective job in attracting British Nationalists to support SCon. Can she develop policies and strategies to reach out to the “middle ground”?

  8. Yes.

  9. BOBINNORFOLK

    And what do you think those might be?

  10. Anthony

    Good article on Lab and attitudes on Brexit.

    I noted your “For now, however, Labour’s current position of accepting Brexit but pushing for single market membership afterwards appears to be the one likely to win the widest (if not the most enthusiastic) support.”

    That’s very similar to the Scottish Government stance (though it is rather more nuanced, and has specific proposals to achieve that position, rather than Corbyn’s generalities).

    In the Scottish Parliament today, MSPs voted 90 to 34 (SCon plus 3 SLab) against activating Art 50.

    Of course, that has zero effect on what Westminster decides, but is reflective of how the Scottish polity works, and, like the tenor of the Westminster debates, may change (or more likely) confirm VI.

  11. Front page story in tomorrow’s Herald (no idea of the details!)

    “Backing for Yes vote rises to 49%, poll shows. Most Scots do not want new vote before EU exit”

  12. Oldnat,

    “Davidson has done an effective job in attracting British Nationalists to support SCon.

    Can she develop policies and strategies to reach out to the “middle ground”?”

    That’s the tory dilemma in Scotland and indeed the Scottish issue. Most people in Scotland see themselves as scots first british second, so the Party wrapped in the saltire gets twice as many as the one win the Union Jack.

    The LibDems are wrapped in Blue with Yellow Stars and Labour seem to be holding the red flag like a security Blanket, part for comfort but feeling embarrassed by it too.

    I think Davidson has done a good job of garnering the Unionist vote but not only is it hard to break out of that a lot of what goes with it is at odds with what the middle ground in Scotland wants.

    In addition she seems too in step with Downing Street and a lot of what they are doing isn’t going down well north of the Border.

    Peter.

  13. This is a spoof, right?

  14. Seems to me labour are unlikely to win an election given the current political sitution. The question then becomes whether trying to choose a policy to maximise support now is simply pointless and maybe even counterproductive, and the party has to sit back and await events. It does need to consider what those events might bring and try to position for them.

    The question of who is its leader is pretty much irrelevant to this, and I notice that while Corbyn is doing a lot worse than May, he isnt doing so badly compared to either UKIP or lib dem leaders. Or indeed Trump, who was elected despite his unpopularity. I mention Trump because the national unease which let to Brexit seems to be parallelled in the US. A carismatic leader might boost a few percentage points, but firstly there is no obvious unity candidate, and secondly the issues dividing supporters look essentially unbridgeable as things stand. Any new leader now would be tarnished by his impotence within a year.

    Everything depends on Brexit. The two sides remain firmly entrenched with a belief in the rightness of their own positions, and it is pretty much a 50/50 split. It is not possible for anyone to command a majority of the nation. Luckily, to win an election you only need about 1/4.

    The conservatives aim to draw suport from the right, obviously, which is also the better fit with Leave. So long as they stick hard to driving a pretty hard Brexit they are unassailable. So long as Brexit is going well.

    UKIP can make no headway while its supporters are being satisfied by conservative Brexit, and must expect to dwindle. Whether brexit is succesful or not, so long as conservatives are driving it they are a single issue party with no issue. To survive they need massively to change their public appeal. There is no room for another major party, unless labour collapses. UKIP core support may revert back to a hard right nationalist party. If labour splits between the traditional disadvantaged and europhile cosmopolitans, then there might be room for UKIP to supplant labour in working class nationalist areas. If they can get some other policies together, somewhat akin to SNP.

    Lib Dems aim to draw support from Remain. They seem in latter years to have gained an image of being right of centre and therefore more welcoming for conservative defectors. If Brexit is decisive, then they should expect to gain, and there seems some evidence that they are, albeit modest. Plainly they can appeal to europhile cosmopolitans, so there might be scope for taking that half of the labour vote. National support figures arent very likely to show if they are getting hot spot support.

    Labour has the benefit of being one of the big two, to whom voters reluctantly return because they have no choice. Yet this situation has been eroding for decades, and the conservatives too have become vulnerable to outsiders taking their territory. Corbyn is following a middle of the road policy, but will therfore continue to be hit by cars from both directions simultaneously.

    The longer yuogov analysis piece argued that labour needs to avoid extremes which might positively alienate their supporters, but this strategy relies upon an inherent loyalty. Labour desperately needs a galvanising cause which will actively attract support. Without it the figures simply say the party is being torn apart and cannot succeed. Conservatives have already chosen leave: by default the only alternative to attract committed supporters is Remain.

    May might go for a snap election and win handsomely. However I still think she does not want to win handsomely. If brexit is a disaster, she must be able to retreat from her position, and allowing parliament to reverse her position is the easiest way out. May herself would be toast, but the party chose her for this very purpose.

    Labour can hope to reunite the two halves of its support if Brexit is a disaster, because then Leave will swap to remain or rejoin and the conservatives will be to some degree tarnished. To do this credibly they must remain at least brexosceptic. Their best plan is very likely to aggressively harry the government to get a better negotiating position and more parliamentary involvement, which seems to be just what they are trying.

    If the result of Brexit remains unclear, which might last for years, the two sides battle will continue splitting labour support. They cannot win while remaining neutral untill Brexit is resolved.

    If Brexit is a success then labour stands a chance of reuninting its supporters once the issue disappears, but the two groups who now are dividing leave/remain will continue to be divided by the same social outlook which caused them to pick those two sides. This underlying issue is not going away. Labour no longer has a policy capable of uniting the rust belt left and the cosmopolitan left which is why it was in a mess even before Brexit.

  15. Very difficult times for Labour – a rough sea to navigate, but with a captain who isn’t suited to the task.

    Much is going to depend on how Brexit turns out. It is now so completely owned by the Tories/UKIP that any visible downsides will need to be clearly associated with May and no one else – that is the risk she is taking by refusing a more consensual approach.

    Labour need to set this up, and make it clear that they will be holding her personally to account for every ill, and when jobs are lost, inflation rises, roaming charges return etc etc, relentlessly point out that this is what May decided and Labour fought against.

    This may give them some traction by discrediting May, but equally, if the impacts are not perceived as being so bad, or the EU itself lurches into another cirisis summer, Labour’s attack may fall flat.

    In this case, they need to return to domestic conditions. As ever, 5 years or so into a Conservative period of office, hospitals, mental health care, prisons, social care and schools are all falling apart. Probably as with Brexit, these things are never instant, but if a long period of Labour rule tends to end in fiscal crises, any period of Tory rule seems to end in social meltdown.

    Right now, it looks pretty bleak for Labour, but the political weather will change at some point. The question is whether they can prepare for this and exploit it, or whether their leadership is so defective that they end up making way for an new alternative opposition.

  16. Yesterday the institute for fiscal studies predicted a headline grabbing ‘highest national tax rate for 30 years’, accompanied by continuing austerity.

    The economic outlook is bad. This will harm the conservatives, who are experiencing increasing dificulties blaming this on labour after 6 years in government. This analysis suggsted that the health crisis, education cuts, can only get worse and voters will notice. The talk at the moment about housebuilding for rent will come to nothing without both political support from central government in pushing through land allocation urgently, and money. All this is important because plainly May would wish to mitigate negative effects of Brexit through social programs, and she will be unable to do this.

    Aside from brexit, such a policy is the only way to recapture the disenchanted rustbelt vote, which voted for Brexit and will seek a new home once brexit is resolved for good or ill.

    Labour had a respectable budget for housebuilding, but frankly squandered it on redevelopment of existing housing stock. This is not going to solve the problem, which can only be resolved by allocating more greenfield land for development and by measures intended to relocate population. No party is doing well on this as they have trapped themselves in policies of preserving the countryside. Which is utterly foolish unless you have an active policy of shrinking the population so it can comfortable fit in the currently allocated urban areas.

    It is hard to see what parties can come up with on these fronts, but it will become increasingly necessary for them to do so. Demands for a better future will grow after Brexit is resolved, because it will have no impact on wealth disparity at home, depite this having driven the vote to leave.

  17. There is speculation that Corbyn has decided to resign the leadership and will step down as soon as a new leader has been elected. Given that Corbyn does not have the support of most MP’s and struggles to fill a shadow cabinet, this is not a surprise.

    Corbyn must realise that he cannot unite his party into a strong opposition and Government in waiting.

  18. Interesting post in the news today and one I could have written myself:-
    “If we look to the pressure on the European Union at the moment… [President Trump] is bidding on the designation of the European Union and also Vladimir Putin who wants to divide the European Union, then there’s also the threat of jihadism and then internally we have enormous pressure by nationalists, populists, the whole question of Brexit, so it’s an existential moment for the European Union… it’s now the time to reform, otherwise it could disappear.”
    Can you guess who wrote it?
    Guy Verhofstadt the European Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator, as well as the former Prime Minister of Belgium.

  19. @ Old Nat

    “That’s very similar to the Scottish Government stance (though it is rather more nuanced, and has specific proposals to achieve that position, rather than Corbyn’s generalities).
    In the Scottish Parliament today, MSPs voted 90 to 34 (SCon plus 3 SLab) against activating Art 50.”

    Actually, this is an interesting legal question that KINDA came up at oral argument in the 9th Circuit today regarding the ability of states to sue the federal government over the travel ban. Does Scotland have standing to bring suits against the UK in order to stop the invocation of Article 50? If Brits living abroad were not given the opportunity to vote on Brexit, could any argument be made that rights were violated, the election result was impacted, and thus should be invalidated.

    “Of course, that has zero effect on what Westminster decides, but is reflective of how the Scottish polity works, and, like the tenor of the Westminster debates, may change (or more likely) confirm VI.”

    Might it influence cooler heads in Westminster to prevail and listen to what the Scots are telling them?

  20. I posted this last night just before the BMG poll. So I’ll repost here:

    Scotland is headed to a second independence referendum in autumn 2018 or Spring 2019. All parties in the Scottish Parliament bar the Tories voted against triggering article 50.

    Scotland will likely be in EFTA or EU as an independent member when rUK leaves EU.

    I am really excited about the goings on in WM & Holyrood, because it makes Scottish independence inevitable. I never thought WM would be a stupid as they have been. From EVEL to the anti-Scottish GE15 campaign to the watered down Scotland Bill, to the EURef and they Hard Brexit pushing Scotland to the UK Exit. Ian Murray the last Labour MP in Scotland laments that WM Tories are doing more to ‘destroy the UK’ than the SNP.

    If we look at the breakdown of Scottish voters:
    30% Yes/Remain v 20 No/Leave

    Yes starts with a 10% lead.

    The other 50% divide into 15% Yes/Leave & 35% No/Remain:This is the 50% which will be fought over in the campaign. The YouGov poll shows that Scots believe they will be worse off, the economic risk of staying in the U.K. will attract the risk adverse No/Remain to Indy. If it proves difficult to get the Yes/Leave back onside then EFTA membership is a compromise option. These 50% can’t get what they want N/R and Y/L are drifting at the moment at a certain point they will solidify behind their ‘least worse choice’.

    It is very obvious to me what WM & May should do to make things difficult for the SNP/Greens but they seem oblivious.

    I am not sure what NI will end up deciding but I a fairly certain Scotland will be independence in a few years.

  21. TOH

    Rats in a sinking ship.

    DANNY

    The IFS forecast lifts the lid on the elephant in the room-UK Public Finances.

    They cannot be squeezed more & retain public support. At some point soon they will need more money-particularly NHS.

    So the debate about the scale of deficit considered acceptable/sustainable is going to loom large. This should be fertile ground for Labour. But they need fiscal credibility to argue for deficit spending, & they still don’t seem to have it.

  22. @TOH

    Guy’s idea of reform is closer political union. And if Macron & Shultz win in France and Germany that is the way the EU is headed – a USofE.

  23. @ R Huckle

    “There is speculation that Corbyn has decided to resign the leadership and will step down as soon as a new leader has been elected. Given that Corbyn does not have the support of most MP’s and struggles to fill a shadow cabinet, this is not a surprise.
    Corbyn must realise that he cannot unite his party into a strong opposition and Government in waiting.”

    I sure hope so. Theresa May defended Dump’s Muslim ban. That puts her in the same league as Neville Chamberlain. You need to have a strong opposition leader who can take that on effectively.

  24. AW and Danny

    Thanks for a very interesting article and a couple of excellent posts on the position facing the Labour Party. I remember at the time of the referedum many were forecasting major Tory splits, and it has been fascinating watching the Tories hold together generally, while Labour has become deeply divided on Europe. That’s not to say the divisions in the Tory party on Europe aren’t deep, they are, but as a party they seem to be holding together well so far. It will be interesting to see how mant Tories oppose the 3rd Reading tonight.

  25. @R HUCKLE

    If Corbyn resigned that would be good for the party. But the electoral system change enacted by Miliband will no doubnt ensure that another letie gets in, alas.

  26. COUPER2802
    @TOH
    Guy’s idea of reform is closer political union. And if Macron & Shultz win in France and Germany that is the way the EU is headed – a USofE.

    I generally agree with your view and as that would always be unacceptable to a majority of the British people IMO I think it reinforces the Leave voters position and the majority for leaving the EU..

  27. @TOH

    Definitely for the majority in England there is no way they would want to go down that route. Scotland would probably be OK with it but I suspect EFTA is Scotland’s aim not EU.

  28. SOCALLIBERAL

    @”Theresa May defended Dump’s Muslim ban. ”

    It isn’t a “Muslim Ban”-the most populous muslim countries in the world aren’t effected. Its a TEMPORARY border control in respect of countries identified by Obama as representing risk to USA.

    Theresa May didn’t “defend” it. She said it is “divisive & wrong”.

  29. I’ve been so ensconced in work and Muslim bans, I hadn’t even noticed that the French Socialists didn’t nominate Manuel Valls as their Presidential candidate and instead went with some dude. Hmmm.

  30. @TOH

    “I generally agree with your view and as that would always be unacceptable to a majority of the British people IMO I think it reinforces the Leave voters position and the majority for leaving the EU..”

    I would not use the word ‘always’. In politics the word ‘always’ is not really appropriate.

    I believe the majority of people can be persuaded to join a US of E as long as there are very strong and valid reasons for joining such a union. You also forget that any such union would need to be agreed by all 27 member states – it’s not simply a question of France and Germany proposing and everyone agreeing automatically. I therefore doubt that it would happen without some very strong persuasive factors.

  31. @ Colin

    “It isn’t a “Muslim Ban”-the most populous muslim countries in the world aren’t effected. Its a TEMPORARY border control in respect of countries identified by Obama as representing risk to USA.”

    That’s right. It is a ban on Muslim countries that do not have business interests belonging to Dump. This makes it bigoted, zenophobic, AND corrupt in one unconstitutional move. Now that’s what I call a triple play! But yeah, it’s a Muslim ban when you arbitrarily begin revoking green cards from folks and denying entrance to refugees simply because they come from majority Muslim countries and you also say that you might let folks in from those countries if they happen to be a religious minority. Oh and when you are dumb enough to explain what you’re doing and you pick a random, un-related law in order to attempt an end-ruin around the First Amendment.

    I did not hear May condemn it. I heard she refused to say anything about it. I commend her if she did condemn it. I’ll take your word for it.

  32. @DANNY

    Interesting post.

    It’s fascinating how Brexit has strengthened the position of the Conservatives. The ‘we’re all in it together now’ message seems to be resonating well with most people, except those who, like myself, find the whole Brexit thing distasteful. Labour is suffering because of Corbyn’s left wing stance and also because of his weak leadership and non-opposition on Brexit. UKIP is suffering because the Tories have stolen their platform and the Lib-Dems have yet to convince most of those who abandoned them after the 2010 election.

    If Brexit fails, as I expect it will, the situation will change, though I also excect that the Tories will still capitalise on the ‘let’s blame the bl**dy foreigners’ message that will no doubt come through from the usual suspects in the national press.

  33. @SoCalLiberal

    I am amused and puzzled as to why American liberals are so outraged about this travel ban. Ok, so a a few countries are affected, but first of all it’s temporary and secondly, as has been mentioned before, only affects a limited number of countries. The outrage is bordering on the comical.
    I also believe that all this talk of breaching the First Amendment is a pile of steaming BS and just an excuse to try to derail Trump and make America ungovernable. If I were him I would fire all the liberal high court judges wholesale and appoint new ones.

  34. @Couper2802

    I don’t know about that. Even though Scotland is very much in favour of EFTA/EU membership, I really can’t see them willingly joining an actual EU federation, given how much time and effort the SNP has spent trying to get them out of one union as it is.

    If that actually came to pass it would make for a strange narrative. “We got shot of the UK because we had too little influence over the government. Now we should join a USE where we will have even less influence over the federal government.”

  35. SOCAL

    @” This makes it bigoted, zenophobic, AND corrupt in one unconstitutional move. Now that’s what I call a triple play!”

    Oh-I have no doubt whatsoever that it is what you call those things.

    @”I did not hear May condemn it. ”

    Then try Google.

  36. @Tancred

    It might be worth at least considering that firstly most polling shows a majority of Americans are opposed to the ban so simply labelling them all perjoratively as “liberals” is not very

    Secondly you might also consider that our American poster might know a bit more about the American constitution than we do and to dismiss a view that the ban may be illegal and unconstitutional as “bullshit” is superficial at best,.especially as there seems to be American case law which suggests the EO is, at least, challengeable on those grounds as do the Attorney Generals of 16 US states. You may also want to reflect.on the separation of powers in the US constitution as regards “firing” judges on political partisan grounds. And that the judge who suspends the EO temporarily was a Republican appointee.

  37. Heard reports of Corbyn standing down before, doubt this current one is any more true than the previous reports.

  38. Couper2802

    Is Scotland votes to cede from the UK, it will be because the Scots voted for it, not because of anything “Westminster” has done to Scotland.
    As a believer in the Union, I would be sad, but the UK would carry on.

  39. @oldnat

    It will be interesting to see from the full tables for the BMG poll whether, assuming this is real shift and not just a blip, there has been a reduction in “don’t knows” who have broken for independence or a switch from “no” to “yes”.

  40. Not the an AV vote on our relationship with the EU is ever likely or practical but a soft Brexit would probably win as the vast majority of remain voters would transfer to that position and some Brexit voters are already at that position with the rest moving there.

    I guess some Brexiteers and some Remainers would say half way house (soft Brexit) neither one or the other and we should either be full members or fully divorced but not enough to change a theoretical AV result.

  41. @ AW

    “socially conservative traditional working class support”

    Obviously if you say so I’m not going to argue as you have studied this batter. I did wonder though what range of criteria you used for this assessment. I guess the obvious one would be gay marriage but I’m struggling to come up with a list of issues that could be solely defined on a socially liberal/socially conservative basis. So for example voting Brexit may be an indication of social conservativism (not wanting culture to change) but may also be a one of any number of other factors.

    I do feel like there are now two different splits within Labour- the left/right split and the leave/remain split and I’m not sure to what extent these overlap but they seem to me to be largely two totally different splits and you can’t say the split is on a left/right basis. Puzzles me why the Tories are more split on their Brexit opinions but seem to hold their vote together better.

  42. @Socal “It is a ban on Muslim countries that do not have business interests belonging to Dump”
    I wonder why Obama chose those countries? Perhaps Trumpchose not to have business relations there for similar reasons.

    @Alec “Labour need to set this up, and make it clear that they will be holding her [May] personally to account for every ill,” when May will resign, job done, and the Tories will elect another (clean) leader to “steer us through the economic difficulties which Labour are quite unfit to deal with, their only recourse to blame everything on May’s Brexit and to borrow more, while we need to look to the future and rebuild the economy”

  43. Surrey seems to be the hardest word for Prime Minister May.

  44. @couper2802

    I agree about the UK Government’s handling of the Scottish dimension to Brexit. They could very easily have pursued the same substantive policy while being less abrasive in the manner of doing it. I think this has been true of it handling of Parliament, the initial.reaction to Trump ‘s EO and other issues: May has a political cloth ear which is very dangerous for a PM especially in present circumstances.

  45. @Hireton
    ”Surrey seems to be the hardest word for Prime Minister May.”

    I suspect this will run for a while, makes a change from Brexit and Trump

  46. Theresa May and the Cons are riding high in the polls – for now, while Brexit and the Labour shambles dominate the political news. Both will recede.

    Sooner or later, she will have to deal with the crisis in the NHS, and the gloomy prognostications for the fiscus and taxation, as spelt out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    She will also have to attempt to patch up the severe divisions in the country created by Brexit, and in particular her hard line stance on Brexit.

    When she first rose to PM, she assured us that she wanted a government that works for “all the people”, and also wanted a “stronger union”. Her actions over Brexit, with a promise of only a take it or leave it parliamentary vote on the final deal, do nothing to reach out to the majority of voters who do not want a hard Brexit, nor does her disregard of Scottish and N Irish concerns do anything to encourage a stronger union.

    Sooner rather than later, we should expect the Conservative VI to come off its remarkable highs. The question is – which of the others will benefit?

  47. TOH et Al. ,
    I assume the conservatives have better political analysts then me, so they must have created a decision tree of the optimum positions for the party some time ago. Despite their current success they are on a high risk strategy, having just had two poor general elections after three bad ones. Objectively they are only doing well in comparison to labour.

    To refuse to bow to ukip would have led to direct electoral challenge and loss of seats, therefore loss of power. Not acceptible to the party. The referendum was a ploy to avoid this, but now we are on to plan C. Having embraced brexit they have no political option but to ride the tiger. The problem is that most of the economic and even geopolitical power arguments say brexit will harm the UK, with obvious negative political harm if this proves the case. But one obstacle at a time.

    Yes, plainly conservatives include some wholly committed leave supporters, but even these expect some hit to the economy. They consider it a worthwhile price, but there is evidence voters may disagree.

    The possibility the eu might choose to reform and integrate more closely is an opportunity created by the UK leaving, because presumably we would have opposed or vetoed this. This is an argument against the chances of a UK Deal. It is possible the eu might reorganise into a new inner and outer tier where the UK would be unwiling to rejoin the new more integrated core.

    Germany may have to consider the logic of its position in a union where it is stacking up surpluses, which will have to be recycled to deficit nations if there is to be more integration. Is Germany willing to pay the price of union?

  48. Seems like the leader of Surrey Council has joined the Labour Party.

  49. Saffer

    Like Mrs may I do not accept the term “Hard” in relation to Brexit. In my, and I would suggest her view, Brexit means leaving the EU totally not remaining in bits of it. She, like me, thinks that’s what the people voted for.

    “Sooner rather than later, we should expect the Conservative VI to come off its remarkable highs. The question is – which of the others will benefit?”

    There we can agree, obviously at some point it will. Who knows who will benefit with labour in the mess it is in.

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