ICM’s regular poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline figures of CON 43%(-2), LAB 25%(-1), LDEM 11%(+2), UKIP 11%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). The 25% for Labour equals the lowest in the ICM/Guardian series of polls, previously reached during the nadir of Gordon Brown’s government in 2009.

Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations ICM also tested out some of the compromises that Theresa May may have to make in the years ahead:

  • By 48% to 28% people said they would be happy to give EU citizens preferential treatment compared to non-EU nationals when coming to work in Britain
  • People were also happy to accept, by 54% to 29%, continued freedom of movement during a transitional period
  • By 47% to 34% people said it would be not be acceptable to continue to follow ECJ rulings during a transititonal period (though given the widespread confusion between the European Court and European Court of Human Rights I do ponder how mant thought this was a human rights question)
  • The trickiest bits were, however, on spending – all three different financial settlements that ICM tested were rejected by the public: only 33% thought it would be acceptable to pay a £3bn “exit fee”, only 15% thought a £10bn fee would be acceptable, only 10% thought a £20bn “exit fee” would be acceptable. How and if the government manage to sell the financial settlement part of Brexit to the public is going to be interesting…

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759 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 43, LAB 25, LDEM 11, UKIP 11”

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  1. JOSEPH1832

    Your post reminds me of Farage’s outburst against his hero:-

    “”As a firm Trump supporter, I say, yes, the pictures were horrible, but I’m surprised. Whatever Assad’s sins, he is secular.”

    I was imagining this being said to the parents & grandparents of those children-yes their deaths made horrible “pictures”-but at least your dictator is secular.

  2. @AL URQA

    Since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, “The Eastern Question” has remained unanswerable as you aptly point out.

    Anytime someone wants to open that can of worms, they find it is not just one can but a whole Russian doll of them.

    Syria is a case in point as it is 70% Sunni but ruled by Alawites who are a radical sect of Shia and makeup only 11% of the population. This has only happened since 1970. The Alawites are considered “untouchables” as in the lowest of the low. It is deeply offensive to the Sunnis that they are in power. It would be something akin to a Muslim president and cabinet in power in Hindu majority India.

  3. I meant Prime Minister instead of President

  4. Danny @1.44 am

    “it might, but we are seeing the voters squeal even within the EU where we have just a teeny bit of redistribution towards the least advantaged.”

    We are also beginning to see voters within England “squealing” about the high share of infrastructure funding that goes to London and not other English regions, now that academic reports on that are being published.

    However, that gets little coverage in a London based media (now, why should that be?) so awareness isn’t great.

    Of course, I accept that all of us are selfish to a lesser or greater degree when we make decisions, but unless the argument for “enlightened self-interest” isn’t made forcibly and powerfully, then nothing will change.

  5. I thought there was to be the usual Yougov poll or have I missed it? After all this is a polling site ????

  6. Andrew111 @7.36 am

    re STV at local elections

    “I would have larger wards though so that the more popular ones in an area have more than one councillor. Then councillors have a bit more competition and even more people would have a representative close to their own views.”

    STV should be sufficiently flexible to allow for a variety of wards, depending on geographical circumstances, not laid down by central government that wards must have either 3 or 4 councillors.

    In densely populated areas, I would go along with your suggestion, and have 5 or 6 councillor wards (any more and you risk seeing the “lazy” councillor phenomenon re-emerging).

    At the other end of the scale, it seems silly to have the island of Arran being in the same ward as the mainland port of Ardrossan.

    Arran could be a ward with only 1 councillor elected by STV – which would make it effectively an AV election to decide the person with the greatest support to represent the island.

    If England is ever fortunate enough to have STV elections for its array of council structures [1] then it would make sense to plan wards on some such similar basis – though I think you have fewer small islands!

    [1] Although, as an outsider, I find the variety of council structures in England a bit confusing, that doesn’t matter. Having an array of structures, which reflect the variations in population and geography seems eminently sensible.

  7. Sine Nomine

    Sea Change kindly linked us to the new Ashcroft poll on the “new political landscape” (Thanks SC)

    Ashcroft’s analysis reasonably and inevitably concentrates on that new landscape in England & Wales [1], and I’m surprised that there has been so few comments on that poll.

    Sea Change did provide a good summary of it, so perhaps there is no need for further comment?

    [1] The landscape in NI was always different, and “Ireland” isn’t mentioned at all. The Scottish political landscape altered prior to Brexit – though there are on or two interesting possibilities that arise from the data tables.

  8. On, why are the LibDems doing so badly, perhaps the answer is at p.23 of the Lord Ashcroft breakdown: http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ALL-CHANGE-Lord-Ashcroft-Polls-April-2017.pdf.

    The question is as to what people think is the position of the parties on Brexit.

    – 37% of people say they don’t know the LibDem position
    – 3% say they backed Leave, so discount them – they don’t know and just guessed!!
    – But 40%, i.e. 2/3rds who had an opinion, went for:

    “Thinks leaving the EU would be a mistake, and would still like to prevent Brexit from happening if at all possible (40)!”

    – Only 11% thought LibDems took the line of:

    “Wanted the UK to remain in the EU, but believes the referendum result to leave the EU must now be implemented on the best possible terms for Britain”

    But wanting the best terms for Brexit – as opposed to seeing no-Brexit as the ideal to aim at in negotiations – is the most popular line among Remain voters. See p.21.

    In short, the LibDems current line of taking the EU’s side in every dispute is not going to work among many.

    And, there is one further piece of analysis to do – my guess is that those who back the LibDems on its cheerleading for the EU in negotiations probably include a lot of people who regard the LibDems as sell-outs for going into coalition with the Tories. Such people probably already have fairly hardline Remainer Labour MPs – and probably are in short supply in the sort of South Western constituency where they used to be strong.

  9. @Andrew111

    I have a strong interest in electoral reform.

    Some time ago I actually looked at the situation in the local authority that we both live in. where the wards are three seat wards. I looked at the effect of a more proportionate system. I had to use the Dhont system, as based on FPTP data I could not assess second preferences that are required for AV and STV etc. I based it on all three Councillors being election at the same time.

    In short it did make difference. Certain wards, like Mirfield and Batley East, the Conservatives and Labour respectively hold all the seats. In Mirfield the Tories poll around 45 %, so under Dhont the third seat goes elsewhere. Similarly, in Batley East Labour would lose the third seat.

    As I have given up on party politics, I am currently trying to form a local campaign for PR. If you read your local paper, you might see some information very soon….

  10. @Joseph1832, re. Lib Dem Brexit policy

    Presumably the idea would be that it will be a beneficial approach if it gains significant traction among the subgroup of the electorate who:

    Want to see as small a sop as possible towards meaningful exiting as possible in their Brexit/frustrating it entirely somehow/rejoining as soon as feasibly possible;
    Make their voting decision entirely or significantly based on their views on the EU and the referendum (a kind of mirror of some UKIP support);
    Were not likely to vote Lib Dem anyway.

    Whether that is likely to bear worthwhile fruit is another thing, but there is presumably at least a theoretical possibility in that such a subset of the population might be reasonably significant in comparison to the current Lib Dem poll ratings?

  11. @Catmanjeff

    I am not allowed to be actively involved in politics, but I’d certainly “passively” support a campaign for PR. If you can link something here then I will participate as much as I am allowed to.

  12. CMJ

    I suspect you will have an uphill struggle.

    Of the 4 systems of electing politicians that we have in Scotland, none was introduced by the democratic choice of the people. All were imposed by politicians, perhaps to try to secure party advantage – which just goes to show that politicians can be poor at their jobs.

    Interestingly, Wings has just published the details of a question about voting systems in a former Panelbase poll.


    Supporters of the party that would do best under FPTP are most in favour of PR, while parties that might just survive by their fingernails under FPTP are most opposed to their life support machine of PR!

  13. Evening all from a lovely Bournemouth evening.
    JOSEPH832. Hello to you. IMO the LD’s are doing well.

    What does GRAHAM make of the Corbyn situation?

  14. @Neil A

    Thank you :-)

    Here is a link to a group:


    They are actively trying to form groups to campaign locally. I see it being like the EU Referendum. It’s a cross-party issue and for people of no party. A big part is actually increasing the knowledge of the electorate, as a decent knowledge of PR is reserved to a minority of activists.

  15. @Oldnat

    Thanks for the link.

    It won’t be easy, but as an ex-Green and lifelong Leeds Utd supporter, I’m used to lost causes :-)

  16. CMJ

    As I have oft said, I remain an inveterate cynic about all political parties!

    But the only way (in the current system) to bring about change in such matters is for it to be in the interests of parties which see change as a route to expanding their representation, to force it through in coalition arrangements (formal or informal).

    That’s how the Scottish Lib-Dems ensured the AMS system for Holyrood (and the Sennedd) with SLab support, and STV for Scottish council elections, by sticking to their guns against bitter SLab opposition.

    That Clegg ignored all that previous Lib Dem success in his desperation to go into coalition with the Tories, has long been quoted as evidence that he wasn’t just not ept, but totally inept.

  17. OLDNAT @ CMJ
    Supporters of the party that would do best under FPTP are most in favour of PR, while parties that might just survive by their fingernails under FPTP are most opposed to their life support machine of PR!

    I saw that WoS article earlier and considered linking to it but chickened out on the basis that this is not a tartan thread.

    It is certainly counter-intuitive wrt SLab, who were persuaded to implement it by SLD, presumably as part of their 2003-2007 coalition deal. They did manage to garner 3 plurality seats in 2016 but I doubt any of their 21 “list” MSPs would want the D’Hondt system to be scrapped. I could imagine that SCon might be more interested in reverting to the “pure” plurality system operational in Westminster, if only to express solidarity with their English colleagues.

    About the only policy of UKIP of which I approve is their repeated manifesto commitment to PR, but I suspect their voters feel much the same as the other unionist parties.

  18. Barbazenzero

    Anthony doesn’t ban everything to do with Scotland! As long as the discussion of it is firmly placed within UK politics, my understanding is that such references are acceptable.

    Hence, I linked to it only in the context of attempts to promote PR in other parts of the UK.

  19. @CHRISLANE1945

    I pretty sure Graham is on record saying he thinks Corbyn is a disaster. Apart from the odd renegade or two like MarkW, I believe the board is probably more united on this point than on any other matter.

  20. CMJ
    I have been a member of the ERS for over 30 years so if you get a make votes matter group going in Kirklees post about it on here a few times and I will join it….. My organisational capacity is quite limited by not having given up on Party politics however! I hesitate to put my email address on here!

    Long ago I was involved in an electoral reform campaign group in Leeds and we held an STV mock election in Leeds city centre which was quite good fun!

    That WoS poll makes depressing reading. I do despair of British people sometimes…

    In Kirklees I would put existing wards together into 6 member ones and then we would probably see a mixture of all 5 Parties all over the place. In Almondbury under FPTP 5 Parties got over 10% in 2016 and I think that would be quite common in many parts of Kirklees once people got used to the idea..

  21. OLDNAT

    Point taken. It does seem odd, though, that STV was imposed on Ireland and even the old Westminster University seats when the Libs had the chance to do so.

    Not that I disapprove of those impositions, but it seems sad that it never caught on for the rest of Westminster. Clearly they should have commissioned polling on the topic which would probably have had similar results to the WoS Panelbase polling if pollsters had existed back then.

  22. Barbazenzero

    It’s worth noting the high number of “DKs” in that Panelbase poll, though. It’s an issue that would have to be brought to the forefront of politics, if people were to think seriously about what the options actually meant.

    The New Zealand experience is instructive – not least because the decision by the National Party to hold the 1992 referendum was as a result of it being “stuck with a rashly made campaign promise.”


  23. joseph
    “In short, the LibDems current line of taking the EU’s side in every dispute is not going to work among many.

    And, there is one further piece of analysis to do – my guess is that those who back the LibDems on its cheerleading for the EU in negotiations….”

    Just shows that you are even more ignorant about the Lib Dem position on things than the average Ashcroft panel member.. I daresay you get the Lib Dem view from the Daily Mail..

    Anyway this ignorance about Lib Dem leaders etc is very typical in between elections, and is why the Lib Dems typically put on 5% plus during a General Election campaign (the exception being 2015 when Clegg was all too well known!).

    Meanwhile the Ashcroft findings on many of those questions are not well in line with other pollsters, and after his catastrophic failures in 2015 with the constituency polls I am pretty surprised he has not given up! Quoting Focus groups is particularly dodgy practice..

  24. OLDNAT

    Thanks for the NZ link. I had forgotten it was so long ago that they became democrats.

    It was probably already too late for Clegg in the 2011 AV referendum, but the quote from the article might have helped a little:
    “Want a good reason for voting for [AV]? Look at the people who are telling you not to…”

  25. @Andrew111

    At some point in the next few weeks/months I will have some specific online presence.

    I’ll post a link.

  26. As Ashcroft polls on the new political landscape, Sky’s Adam Boulton talks about “why politics has become so unpredictable”.


    Although his actual writing doesn’t suggest that it is “unpredictable” – just that the old assumptions about what determined voting patterns have been replaced by new ones, which pundits now have to assimilate.

    Unsurprisingly, his comments in the Sunday Times about “the English centre” and “England’s fringe nations” seem to have upset as many Unionists in the devolved nations, as anti-Union folk!

    Though, as Boulton says “These are statements of fact about the way the U.K. Is structured. English are around 85% of the whole. Contributing to tensions inevitably”.

    Unionists would dispute that the tensions are inevitable. For them, their credo revolves around all of the UK being equal partners in an equal Union, and Boulton’s comments undercut that belief. No wonder some of them are disturbed!

    Perhaps one piece of evidence on the changed landscape that both Ashcroft and Boulton are trying to understand, in their different ways, is by having a look at the only geographical crossbreak which matches a polity – despite all the problems that a small non-demographically balanced sample has. In this case, for example, Ashcroft’s Scottish sample is a wee bit SNP heavy.

    However, those saying 0-10 (ie no/almost no chance of voting for party X) the responses from those in Scotland are worth noting –

    UKIP 85% : LD 68% : Grn 67% : Con 65% : Lab 55% : “Another party” (presumably mainly SNP but will include minor parties too) 4!%

    There is no overwhelming support for any party, but despite Ruth Davidson’s best efforts, it still looks like two-thirds of Scots voters still see the Tories as fairly toxic.

  27. @JOSEPH1832

    “But wanting the best terms for Brexit – as opposed to seeing no-Brexit as the ideal to aim at in negotiations – is the most popular line among Remain voters. See p.21.
    In short, the LibDems current line of taking the EU’s side in every dispute is not going to work among many.”

    I disagree. For now there is a lot of (misplaced) optimism about Brexit and that is reflected in the huge Tory lead, but if Brexit happens on bad terms, as I fear, then there will be a backlash against the whole idea.

  28. So Gibraltar’s fate is decided at the Masters.

    Garcia wins, and Gib becomes Spanish.

  29. @Popeye:

    I appreciate that there is a natural dilemma for the LibDems. How do you participate in a process that you are fundamentally opposed to?

    I entirely agree that those who disagree don’t have to stop disagreeing on any subject just because they lose a referendum. It is fine to say, “We represent those who want back in, and that is that.” The difficulty is trying to say you respect the result of the referendum whilst being all “Cathago delendum est” towards Brexit.

    For Clegg to say something like, “Look you idiots, if you want a deal on tariffs, this is your best play,” would mean doing something that he believes promotes harm. It would be a little like Amnesty International advising on how to minimise risk of hanging the wrong person – you’d be involved in something you thought was intrinsically wrong.


    Reading the Guardian online, you get exposed to LibDem views on Europe. And their approach is simply that Brexit can only be improved by being opposed. A good example is the misnamed Great Repeal Bill. They come out with lots of objections, but not a single suggestion as to how their objections could be met and the exercise delivered. Labour are equally outraged, and equally fail to make suggestions. But the LibDems go the extra mile in threatening to filibuster the exercise of bringing in the new legislation – not a targeted operation if the Tories wrongly use the exercise as a way to reform legislation that was never up for grabs in the 2015 election, but something far more aggressive.

    When Farron or Clegg follow the path of Saddiq Khan in putting the case for a deal to the EU, I will change my mind. At present, they only put the case for us throwing our hand in.

    The Ashcroft panel are spot on.

  30. From the Times…

    “Nation proves economy can expand while emissions fall

    Britain has been the most successful of the G7 group of nations in boosting its economy and cutting climate emissions in the past 25 years, according to a report that suggests it is possible for countries to get richer and cleaner at the same time.

    The UK has cut its per capita carbon dioxide emissions by a greater percentage than any other member of the bloc in the quarter century since the first UN Earth Summit, when world leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro to agree global action to protect the planet, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

    Over the same period, Britain’s economic output per person has more than doubled, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said in a study that as a result the average Briton’s carbon footprint is now 33 per cent less than in 1992 and people are more than 130 per cent richer. It pointed to a number of reasons for the shift, including the 1990s “dash for gas” power, a switch to a more services based economy, policies since the Climate Change Act was introduced in 2008, energy efficiency schemes and cutting methane from landfill sites.”

  31. Also….

    “The research also questions the notion that the UK has simply shifted its emissions overseas, with more products bought from countries such as China.

    Government data shows that these so-called imported emissions peaked in 2007 and, per person, are now almost exactly what they were in 1997, the report said.”

  32. Tancred

    “I disagree. For now there is a lot of (misplaced) optimism about Brexit and that is reflected in the huge Tory lead, but if Brexit happens on bad terms, as I fear, then there will be a backlash against the whole idea.”

    An alternate and I suspect a widely held view, is that the EU will be blamed, not the Government.

  33. @TOH

    I agree with you, it’s wishful thinking from the likes of Tancred and Danny in my opinion that there will be an about face on Brexit as the Ashcroft polling and others point to.

    If we offer tariff-free trade and this is rejected by the EU or they demand freedom of movement or a massive exit bill I’m quite sure public opinion will swing decisively against the EU aided and abetted by the majority of the media and our politicians.

    The British sense of fair play will be the deciding factor and if there is to be no deal then that stubborn bloody mindedness will then come to the fore. Naturally, I hope a sensible outcome is achieved for everyone on both sides of the channel.

  34. There’ve been numerous observations on here that the LibDems should be doing better, or querying their modest gains in the polls, compared with their substantial gains in by-elections.

    I suspect that this is down to simple lack of attention, outside of election campaigns. Other than political junkies, most people are just not thinking about party cholces right now. When asked by pollsters for a VI, I suspect that many people answer reflexively, without too much thought., That changes during a campaign, when they are surrounded by news commentary, discussions and election leaflets.

    This tweet by Mike Simpson is a reminder that during an election, opinions can shift quite quickly:

    “At this stage before GE1992, March 1989, the LDs were averaging 8% in polls. At election got 18.3% & 20 seats”

  35. @Sea Change, TOH

    “Ford sees a future in UK after Brexit, says CEO Mark Fields” says the remoaning BBC’s headline. If you read the article, what he says is more or less the opposite, wrapped in a bit of code.
    I wonder what people will think when these well paid ‘proper’ jobs in the motor and other industries start to evaporate, as seems highly probable:

  36. @Sea Change
    I love the way that the EU failing to agree to everything that the UK asks for is deemed to be offensive to the British concept of ‘fair play’.

    I agree every action taken by the EU that is not exactly what the UK asks for will be spun by the ardent Brexit leaders (Michael Howerd and his ilk) and their media cheerleaders as EU intransigence – we saw this with the Gibraltar debacle.

    But this idea that us Brits have a unique sense of ‘fair play’ that is foreign to continental thinking is just another example of false exceptionalism.

    We’re no better or worse at assessing and responding to ‘fairness’ than Danes or Germans, and probably worse informed, thanks to our polarised, mostly foreign-owned media.

    And you are right that voters might object to the EU’s negotiating stance because it is unreasonable – but they are far more likely to end up objecting to eminently reasonable, maybe even inevitable EU conditions because the anti-EU, pro-Tory media and establishment have an absolutely overwhelming vested interest in making any negotiating failures the EU’s fault rather than their own.

    Stand by for torrents of false news over the next few years….

  37. Just listened to Start The Week on R4. Discussion about Anglicanism and the stand out comment for me was that the Anglican assumption, absorbed into English culture, is that we are the chosen people. This is reflected in the overwhelming correlation between C of E and Brexit voting. Perhaps not surprising that I came out of the CofE into Agnostic/Atheist as soon as I embraced independent thought!
    A pound to a penny we have some Anglican Brexiteers on here!

  38. PR

    Voted against in 2011 referendum and would again – weak governments – if the LD or Green policies are so good or any other party they should be able to win a General Election on their policies alone.

  39. In the meantime polls put Mélenchon at 18%, still 6% behind LePen and Macron. As the polling figure of the latter two barely changed, I guess it mainly comes from the DKs and fringe candidates.

    I doubt that he can climb higher in two weeks, but it remains interesting.

  40. Seachange. I dont think a renegade would support the elected leader. I do.

    The renegades to be found elsewhere.

  41. @Guymonde

    I was unaware of the CofE/Brexit correlation: this parallels an earlier debate on the social legacy of the Civil War. Are we now invoking the Crusades?

    Personally I trace it all back to the French invasion of 8-10,000 years ago recently revealed by genetic analysis. We never really got over that one…

  42. Guymonde ” the Anglican assumption, absorbed into English culture, is that we are the chosen people.”
    In days gone by, when evangelism and conversion to Christianity was a higher priority for the church, the Anglicans had huge opportunities in the spread of the British Empire.
    It may be that ‘divine right to empire’ was absorbed into Anglican thinking, or more likely that those holding that view became Anglicans rather than any other denomination. Which came first, the chicken of English nationalism, or the egg of the Anglican church?

  43. @BFR “But this idea that us Brits have a unique sense of ‘fair play’ that is foreign to continental thinking is just another example of false exceptionalism. ”

    I never suggested that people are not fair minded on the continent, you are putting words into my mouth. And I never said we were unique either.

    What I do think is that a free trade deal is in the financial interests of the peoples of Europe and if the EU institutions block that that will not be seen as fair by the British public.

  44. Re Anglicans and Empire

    There’s likely to be truth in what is being said, but there were plenty of missionaries from other denominations as well. My great-uncle was a Methodist missionary in India and China for many years around the middle of the 19th Century. I believe Baptists, Presbyterians and others also had a bash at it.

  45. @ Sea Change – you described it as the ‘British sense of ‘fair play’; definitionally, you connected ‘fair play’ with ‘Britishness’ in that sentence. Perhaps this way of thinking is so ingrained that you don’t notice it?

    A free trade deal is in the interests of European people to the extent that their specific economic interests are satisfied.

    These are going to vary country by country, industry by industry, even town by town; that is what makes these agreement so damned complicated and long-winded to agree.

    Many of these specific issues will relate to restrictions that someone in Europe wants that we don’t, or to trade areas that we would like to restrict but some part of Europe feels strongly should be open.

    If we want – as one of the most developed countries in the EU – a bespoke, fairly comprehensive trade deal that favours developed over developing nations, without the things that made this more palatable to the less developed nations (net budget contribution, freedom of movement) – then we are going to hit a roadblock from a large swathe of European countries.

    Just saying ‘a free trade deal is in everyone’s interest’ misses out so much complexity as to be almost meaningless.

  46. @MARKW

    I called you a renegade on this forum in the context of the general prevailing view of Corbyn here.

    You are quite correct that in a broader context, it is most of the PLP who are renegades against the present leadership in the Labour Party.

  47. Re: Sea Change 8.34
    ‘If we offer tariff-free trade and this is rejected by the EU or they demand freedom of movement or a massive exit bill I’m quite sure public opinion will swing decisively against the EU aided and abetted by the majority of the media and our politicians.
    The British sense of fair play will be the deciding factor’

    This continuing nonsense from Brexiteers that, by wishing to maintain the open and clear rules of the Single European Market, the EU is somehow unfair or closed minded or any other insulting phrase shows just how unable Brexiteers are to move forward from their entrenched hatred of anything ‘foreign’, or, at least ‘European’.

    For the Brexiteers seem to have nothing but negative views of our nearest neighbours, whilst wearing rose-tinted spectacles for looking at the rest of the world (the rosier the further away they look, IMO).

    If we wish to trade with the European Union in an open way (‘tariff-free’ as SC puts it) then the quid pro quo is the freedom of movement. These are the rules which the EU has. Free market equals free market – in all four categories. Anything other than that will not be tariff free.

    If we don’t want a tariff free arrangement – and imposing restrictions on immigration would be imposing a non-financial ‘tariff’ – the UK will have to go through the same method of arriving at a deal with the EU that any other ‘third party’ would have.

    If the EU wishes to trade with us, and the bile which continues to spew forth from Brexiteers makes me wonder why anyone would wish to trade with such people, then arrangements will be arrived at which involve the smaller of the two parties coming to terms with the sheer size of the other ‘partner’. But that is going to be the same when it comes to the little UK tackling the USA, China, India and so on.

    Why the UK chose to leave one of the world’s biggest trading blocks in order to face the economic and political storms ahead solo and isolated is still beyond me, despite what so many here have written over the past year or more by way of ‘explanation’.


    “An alternate and I suspect a widely held view, is that the EU will be blamed, not the Government.”

    We shall see…….

  49. Dave – “Which came first, the chicken of English nationalism, or the egg of the Anglican church?”

    The church of course. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with Empire. It is to do with language. Language is at the root of all nationalisms, and the Anglican church helped raise up the English language.

    Under the Plantagenets, the language of the church was Latin, and the language of the legal system and the royal court was Norman French. Which meant a lot of literature of that period was written in French, because that was the language of the ruling culture.

    It is not till the Tudors make English the language of the church, legal system and the palace, that English blossoms and takes off (before that it was a weak thing).

    In Wales too, welsh is a weak thing before Elizabeth I makes it the language of the welsh church. After that, it strengthens and develops a literature.

    The Irish prayed in Latin, and their commerce and the legal system was in English. And the Scots switched to praying in English after the reformation, and commerce and the legal system was in English. In other words both were using the language of their dominant neighbour.

    Cultural security matters as much as economic security, and we have two culturally secure nations (England and Wales) because both have their own languages. And two culturally insecure nations (Scotland and NI).

    I would venture to say that part of the reason the Nats dislike JK Rowling so much is that her output is so English, you hear the voices of Gloucester, Somerset, Dorset and the Home Counties in her books. She’s also globally successful, so her version of Britain is the way the world perceives us. The Scots haven’t a contemporary with similar cultural clout. And to add insult to injury this Cultural Hegemon has moved over there and is telling them what to do! It must make them want to chew their limbs off in rage.

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