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…

Full tabs are here


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

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  1. BFT – 5 p.m.

    Re: Canada
    “It is also not entirely clear to what extent Canada avoids regulatory, customs and inspection scheme constraints, as opposed to tariffs.
    The main difference with the UK’s situation is that Canada is – generally – seeking to export to the EU something that the EU cannot supply for itself and therefore desires.
    The question then is what is the UK offering to the EU above and beyond access to its markets in order to get special treatment?
    Canada offered liberalisation of access to its public sector markets, plus improved access for the EU to raw materials – what is the UK’s equivalent?
    However it does demonstrate that the EU argument of ‘free trade only comes with the four freedoms’ is a bit flaky….”

    n general I am in agreement with the points you make – until we get to your final comment, where I disagree fundamentally.

    The point I am trying to make is that ‘(free – sometimes) trade agreements’ are NOT the same as access to ‘the Single Market’. If the Brexiteers would stop confusing the two things, which are quite different, we might get somewhere!

  2. Al Urqa

    Thank you for explaining the English to me in such a clear way. It does help to have someone like you around…..

    :-)

  3. @JOHN B

    “Were the UK to end up with a deal similar to that of Canada, the UK’s financial and industrial access to the EU would be severely diminished in comparison with the current situation.”

    And I think that is precisely what is going to happen.
    I don’t see how we can have anything more unless May does a monumental U-turn and accepts free movement, which will make her another ‘enemy’ according to the likes of the Mail and Express. I don’t see that as likely as she would have too much to lose. The most likely result will be a Canada style deal, only finalised several years after we officially leave the EU in 2019. The economic price will only become apparent in the mid 2020s – until then the Tory papers will continue to blurt out fake economic good news as ‘proof’ of the effectiveness of Brexit, forgetting that we will continue to be in the EU until March 2019 and most likely beyond that while the period of transition is underway.

  4. Sae Change,
    “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”

    Why do people persist in thinking of the EU as a free trade organisation? It is a protectionist cartel designed to keep out non-members and their goods while encouraging internal trade.

    We just applied to be a non member. We must therefore expect to be outside its markets.

    Carfrew,

    My understanding is that declining emissions in the Uk have very largely been the consequence of outsourcing the more polluting heavy industries. Therefore the pollution happens in China instead. The figures are misleading because we are still the ones doing the consuming.

  5. Sea Change,
    “As there is already regulatory equivalence between the UK and the EU what will need to be agreed is a way forward, this is much easier than starting from completely different positions.”

    But this is purely by accident because the UK has hitherto followed all EU rules automatically, and indeed negotiated and set them. In the future regulatory equivalence can only be guaranteed if the Uk undertakes to continue to follow all EU rules. I gather this contradicts one of the leave demands regarding independnce from the EU, so it would not be possible.

    Are you saying that you want or expect that Uk in the future to still accept all EU rules? There is an irreconcileable contradiction in your argument if you do not.

  6. Danny

    ‘Why do people persist in thinking of the EU as a free trade organisation? It is a protectionist cartel designed to keep out non-members and their goods while encouraging internal trade.’

    And as such, the EU is doing exactly what every other country and trading block does. The UK was only ‘free trade’ when it suited. The fact that special preference was often given to Empire and, later, Commonwealth countries in specific sectors just goes to show that, even at its height, the UK’s commitment to ‘free trade’ was nothing like 100%.
    And that’s before we start talking about the use of gunboats to bully people into buying things they didn’t want – hardly ‘free’ trade!’ – such as heroin products……

  7. There is no such thing as totally ‘free trade’ and there can never be such a thing. It’s all very well to shout out that we need global free trade etc but that would not be a good thing as it would result in cheap labour countries exporting very cheap goods to high labour cost countries and destroying their jobs. What we need is a controlled free trade that covers areas where free trade is mutually beneficial. Within the EU free trade worked extremely well as most EU economies are compatible and similar, but global free trade just wouldn’t work.

  8. The opium trade existed long before we got involved. Just as with slavery, we were just more efficient than our competitors.

  9. @Tancred “What we need is a controlled free trade ” !?
    which surely means controlled trade?
    The question then is ‘Who exercises the control?’

    “cheap labour countries exporting very cheap goods to high labour cost countries and destroying their jobs.”
    Countries with high labour costs cannot produce very cheap goods, can they?
    Presumably the expensive labour is producing more expensive goods, which customers are prepared to buy. Why then should they lose their jobs? Why should customers be deprived of cheap basic necessities? They would then have more money to spend on more expensive goods, perhaps needing well-trained well-paid staff to produce them?
    If the cheap labour in distant lands is not allowed to sell its products to rich countries, then perhaps that labour might decide to seek jobs in high labour cost countries … … (now that they can learn of such opportunities through their smartphones?)
    Why do goods produced in countries with low labour costs need to be sold at prices much less than would be charged if the goods were produced in the high labour cost market? Perhaps those importing, or those paying low wages abroad could then make large profits at the expense of their workers?
    I vaguely remember a school geography lesson which traced cotton to shirt in a clothes shop, which last stage put some 30%-50% on the price. The cotton pickers are probably working in factories producing polyester thread now?

    Isn’t economics complicated?

  10. @DAVE

    You misunderstand the jist of what I said. Nothing wrong with importing cheap goods as long as that does not upset the economic balance in the importing country. Cheap Casio quartz watches and other Asian manufactured products come in because we don’t produce such items at home, so there is no competition, but when it comes to importing certain foodstuffs, for example, it’s a different story. One sure consequence of Brexit will be rising food prices, as farmers will no longer benefit from EU subsidies.

  11. Latest Yougov:
    Con 42 Lab 25 LD 11 UKIP 11 Grn 3. Others 8

  12. @GRAHAM

    “Latest Yougov:
    Con 42 Lab 25 LD 11 UKIP 11 Grn 3. Others 8”

    The Tories seem to be enjoying the support of both the moderate leavers and a majority of the moderate remainers. I don’t think the polls are going to change until the negotiations on Brexit yield a final result.

  13. TANCRED @GRAHAM
    I don’t think the polls are going to change until the negotiations on Brexit yield a final result.

    The Scottish subsample indicates much the same, with:

    SNP 53% SCon 23% SLab 13% SLD 8% SGP 1% UKIP 1% Other 1
    %

    If anything, SCon seem to be gaining a few from SLab, albeit well within sample variation.

  14. @Tancred
    These Yougov figures are almost identical to the results of surveys conducted in mid-January and early December.Very little change over the last four months – at least with this pollster.
    I don’t share your view regarding the likely future stability of polling. Contrary to what political anoraks and the commentariat believe,I am expecting Brexit to gradually fade as an issue with other matters coming to the fore. I also think it likely that if Corbyn departs the polls will shift significantly. Depending on who the new Labour leader is , I would expect to see Labour back in the 33% – 36% range with the Tories falling back to 37% – 39%.

  15. “Countries with high labour costs cannot produce very cheap goods, can they?”
    @dave April 11th, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Hmm. Do you mean cannot produce very cheap goods, or do you mean refuse to sell goods very cheaply? Consider the iPhone (as well described in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Entrepreneurial_State — I would recommend the book). Apple employ expensive staff who design and control the production and sale of their product. But these are only a tiny proportion of the whole supply chain, where most of the components are made overseas very cheaply.

    So the product is actually cheap, but they choose to sell it at an inflated price because… (well would you buy a cheap Rolls Royce?).

    The Internet, and to a lesser extent automation, have changed much. It is now possible for many large companies to outsource part of the supply chain to low cost centres. Note the word part; these still integrate into their end-to-end production, but the Internet allows the outsourced part to be managed nearly as closely as if they used a local workforce. They also don’t have to suffer the political problems of managing importing labour, so it’s a win-win for them.

    Local people here have been losing their jobs, but the work hasn’t stopped, it just happens off shore. This has the benefit that the wider world is getting richer, which must surely be a good thing?

    What do you mean you don’t give a stuff about anybody else, just give you a job. Self, self, self.

    Well, the bad news is that not only will your cheap, semi- and un-skilled job not come back, but those off shore jobs may also disappear too, as more and more companies are able to employ automation. Italy is a world-leader in robot textiles. Who’d have thunk it?

    The future is very uncertain and challenging. And nobody knows what will happen. But after 1820 technology created lots of jobs. Will it do the same now?

  16. @GRAHAM

    But will Brexit fade? If the economic situation starts to nosedive there will be renewed focus on it. Only if the Brexit negotiations work out splendidly will the issue fade. What people want is good news – irrespective of Brexit.

  17. @Tancred

    “One sure consequence of Brexit will be rising food prices, as farmers will no longer benefit from EU subsidies.”

    And many of our farmers will go out of business. That will be an interesting dilemma for the Conservatives. One unexpected consequence of Brexit could be the severing of the Tories from their traditional rural support – if the Tories do not get an extremely good deal.

    I wonder if UKIP will start to move in on that group as superficially they could find it very rich pickings in the vein of the FN in France. I suspect that the current leaders and financiers of UKIP are much more comfortable continuing to go after urban Labour voters though.

  18. @CHRIS RILEY

    “And many of our farmers will go out of business. That will be an interesting dilemma for the Conservatives. One unexpected consequence of Brexit could be the severing of the Tories from their traditional rural support – if the Tories do not get an extremely good deal. ”

    Brexiteers don’t really care – they would be happy to see British farming collapse just to get what they want. They’ll just say that it needs to adapt as it did in the golden years before we joined the EU. The problem is that adapting will mean small farms closing and only the Bernard Matthews of this world surviving.

  19. @Tancred
    I believe Brexit is seen by the vast majority of people as a very technical issue , and I feel it to be unlikely that – despite its obvious importance – it will prove very salient with regard to voting behaviour. If the economy deteriorates , that in itself will become the key issue – ie the state of the economy and the government’s policy response – rather than Brexit per se even though the latter will be likely to have a significant impact on various macroeconomic parameters. I may be proved wrong, but that is my perception of how most people feel even today – never mind in 2019 or 2020. There will be times when the issue will bubble up again as negotiations proceed – and obviously at the point of their conclusion. I really do not believe , however, that the electorate at large will be focussed on it on a month to month basis.Already there is a strong sense of being sick to death of the subject – and that people have moved on.

  20. Yet another good poll for the Tories from YouGov. The most interesting points to me were:-

    How well is Government negotisting Brexit

    Well 36% Badly 34% that’s +2% for Well. I think the first time ever that there has been a positive.

    and :-

    Right to leave 46%, wrong to leave 42%, that’s +4% for Right, the most for some time.

    No sign of any weakening in the desire to leave the EU IMO.

  21. @Graham

    You have been pushing this “Brexit will not be an an important line for months now”, yet every polling survey lists it as the most important issue. It dominates the news cycle. Is this wishful thinking on your part? “Already there is a strong sense of being sick to death of the subject – and that people have moved on.” Where is your evidence please?

  22. Good afternoon all from a its getting a bit chilly PSR.

    @Graham

    I also think it likely that if Corbyn departs the polls will shift significantly. Depending on who the new Labour leader is , I would expect to see Labour back in the 33% – 36% range with the Tories falling back to 37% – 39%.

    I agree that currently this assumption still holds true, however the risk of the long-term toxic effect on the Labour brand of his leadership increase day by day. I cant see him stepping down before the next election – by which time I think Labour will struggle to get above 25% of the popular vote in a GE. Even in the supposedly most left-wing part of the UK his polling is truly atrocious.

    Corbyn is the biggest single factor distorting the political landscape atm. If Labour had a leader who at least didn’t scare the bejesus out of Tory remain voters, then May would be in real political problems. In reality her govt is an exceptionally weak position both domestically and internationally (I am not sure to extent to which people realises how over the last couple of days that has been exposed by Syria and the rebuff of Johnson’s plans).

    Domestically her room for manoeuvre is restricted by a vociferously pro-brexit press to which she has become beholden and the practicalities of managing the complexity of brexit which prevents her from implementing any meaningful reforms of her own. Our foreign policy is looking disjointed and inept and we are as isolated as we have been since the summer of 1940. However, thanks to the lack of any viable alternative she can get away with a humiliating U-turn on NI for the self-employed.

    Anyway its not really my concern anymore and I plan to spend the Easter break making airfix models for my sons.

  23. @Danny “Are you saying that you want or expect that Uk in the future to still accept all EU rules? There is an irreconcileable contradiction in your argument if you do not.”

    There is no contradiction. I have stated that those businesses that sell into the EU will have to conform to the regulatory standards that the EU expects. Just like any country that does so. There is more frictionless trade within the single market of course than for instance with the EU-Canada Free Trade deal. What needs to be negotiated is a trade agreement that minimises those frictions between the UK and the EU going forward. I expect that will be better than the Canada deal but not as good as the single market.

    I have never bought this line that our trade relations will be exactly the same post-Brexit. Manifestly it won’t be. Nevertheless, it is in both sides interests to minimise the damage as even the EU has alluded to.

    As to your point about the EU being a protectionist bloc. Yes it is and that’s one of the reasons the UK is best out of it in the long term.

  24. @LASZLO

    That government questionnaire is incredibly skewed. Reminds me of this classic 2 minute YPM sketch:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

    @JohnB

    Please see my reply to Danny above. I believe we will end up with something in between the Canadian deal and our current arrangements. It remains to be seen what that will look like of course.

  25. Barbazenzero

    I wondered how the SNP could be at 8% of the GB vote, when it has just 53% of Scots VI.

    Then I realised it’s down to the DKs and WNVs being excluded.

    The difference (as commonly shown in multiple polls since 2014, is the much greater intention to vote, and knowing who they intend to vote for, in Scotland, compared with the English regions.

    Certain to vote : Sco 75% : Eng regions 52-54%
    WNV & DK : Sco 5% : Eng regions 28-29%

  26. @Sea Change
    ‘You have been pushing this “Brexit will not be an an important line for months now”, yet every polling survey lists it as the most important issue’

    That is not what I have actually been saying at all! My point throughout has been that whilst Brexit is an ‘important’ issue it is not a very ‘salient’ issue – ie despite being an important matter it is not an issue which will switch many votes. I form this judgement from my own conversations with people of insight who took different views at the time of the Referendum. In addition, there was little evidence from the Copeland & Stoke by elections that the issue was weighing heavily with the typical voter. Much more relevant – and toxic – was Corbyn , and in the case of Copeland the Nuclear Power issue. Going back over the years to when we entered the EEC, the Common Market was an important issue in both 1974 elections – but not particularly salient outside the West Midlands where Enoch Powell’s call to Vote Labour to get a Referendum did appear to have an impact.

  27. @ Redrich
    My only point of disagreement with your comments is that I expect Corbyn to be forced out – ie successfully challenged next year – if he does not step down. If I am wrong, then Labour is doomed in 2020.

  28. @GRAHAM

    Labour IS doomed. Corbyn won’t be forced out – the Momentum people are too strong in the Labour Party. The only hope for Labour – as I have said so many times that I’ve become blue in the face – is to make an anti-Tory pact with the SNP and the LibDems.

  29. @Tancred
    I am hopeful you will be proved wrong re- Corbyn. Indeed I suspect he would struggle to be re-elected this year . By next year I expect him to be defeated decisively.
    I am not a Labour Party member , but I fail to see the attraction of any deal with the ‘Tories little helpers’. In any case, pacts are not deliverable because in practice – as we saw in 2015 – many LibDems would vote Tory rather than Labour.

  30. @REDRICH

    Corbyn is a hopeless leader but Miliband was the idiot who played up to the Tory press by changing the Labour leadership electoral rules, apparently no realising that this would give too much power to the members, who distort the party excessively to the left. ‘One member, one vote’ is not necessarily the best voting system to elect your party leader, especially when members are likely to be radical.

    As for Tory remainers they would be more likely to move to the LibDems than Labour – unless someone like Blair came back as leader. The other thing is that for many remainers Brexit is not a big deal – they would have preferred another result but are staying loyal to the Conservative Party for now. Everything hinges on the negotiations.

  31. @Tancred
    I rather agree with you regarding the change in Labour’s Leadership election rules. However, I am very clear in my mind that the real blame for Corbyn’s election lies with Harriet Harman as Acting Leader. Her foolish decision to force the Shadow Cabinet to meekly abstain on Osborne’s Welfare proposals announced in the July 2015 Budget gave Corbyn the momentum to take him to victory as the only contender prepared to oppose them. I trust she has suffered many sleepless nights since.

  32. Tancred

    “as I have said so many times that I’ve become blue in the face – is to make an anti-Tory pact with the SNP and the LibDems.”

    It may well be the case that the political assumptions of the late 20th century are largely irrelevant to Westminster politics in the 21st.

    However, it’ still worth noting that a Labour Government in the UK (apart from a few months) never relied on MPs from outwith England to form their majority.

    England got a Labour Government when England voted Labour, and the rest of the time the UK got a Tory Government when England voted Tory.

    The role of the Scottish bloc of Labour MPs was largely to vote loyally for the Labour Government’s proposals for England, and thus to outvote the English Labour rebels.

    The SNP, I think, would always be happy to support proposals from a UK Labour Government for UK policies which were more in tune with its ideas.

    Supporting an English Labour Government for policies in England which they saw (or could label) as being “progressive, could happen but might equally abstain, if the “price wasn’t right”.

    Always assuming, of course, that Scotland still sends MPs to Westminster after the early 2020s.

    At some point, England will want to have a replacement for its current governing party. At that point, a party operating in the English polity needs to be ready to assume that mantle, by appealing to sufficient English voters.

  33. Oldnat
    Without Scotland the Tories would have won the elections of 1964 and February 1974.

  34. Graham

    Hence why I referred to “the late 20th century” : said “apart from a few months”, and talked of when the UK had Labour Governments not Tory ones.

  35. @Seachange

    “What needs to be negotiated is a trade agreement that minimises those frictions between the UK and the EU going forward. I expect that will be better than the Canada deal but not as good as the single market.”

    On Brexit the UK will have “third country” status. It will not be possible to negotiate anything other than the normal rules applied to “third countries”

  36. GRAHAM

    @” My point throughout has been that whilst Brexit is an ‘important’ issue it is not a very ‘salient’ issue ”

    In answer to the question “Which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing the country at this time? ” in the latest YG Poll;; ” Britain leaving the EU” was the most important for every demographic grouping.

  37. Redrich,
    “Our foreign policy is looking disjointed and inept and we are as isolated as we have been since the summer of 1940″

    This is the sort of thing we will be expecting more of with Brexit because of increased international isolation of the UK. This is the foreign affairs consequences of Brexit, which have very largely been glossed over.

    Sea Change,
    ” I believe we will end up with something in between the Canadian deal and our current arrangements. It remains to be seen what that will look like of course.”

    Soft Brexit?

  38. Tancred,
    “Labour IS doomed. Corbyn won’t be forced out”

    This is where I have problems. I have difficulty reconciling the idea a party is ‘doomed’ with activists seizing control away from the party’s professionals who increasingly do not represent them. If it is doomed, then it is because it has separated from its members, not because they have foisted a leader on the party the professionals dislike.

    If this is a revoltionary takeover, how has it been able to happen? Surely their must have been a bleeding away of party members of the same view as the professionals. Or there never were any in the first place? Labour is not in trouble because its membership has taken control, but because it has failed to provide adequate policies to attract enough members who would then support those policies.

    Scotland has thrown out Labour because it failed to provide attractive policies. It is very close to doing the same in England. But Corbyn is a reaction to this lack and not the cause.

  39. Danny

    “Scotland has thrown out Labour because it failed to provide attractive policies”

    A bit more complex than that, I think.

    The “policies” in 2015 weren’t much different from previous elections. I don’t think there is evidence that those who thought the policies were unattractive in 2015 thought they were actually attractive in 2010!

    What had changed was that many fewer saw SLab as being anything remotely close to their aspirations and that they had an alternative party to vote for, that seemed to match those aspirations better.

    In England, what non-Tory party is currently a viable alternative to Labour for former Lab voters?

  40. Colin,
    I would expect nothing else , but in my opinion it is not a salient issue and will change few votes.In the same way that I am sure that the conduct of World War 2 was a very important issue at the time of the 1945 election – yet despite that it did not prove to be salient.

  41. @Tancred “Dave: You misunderstand the jist of what I said”
    Hardly. writingexplained.org/jist-or-gist-difference

    I’m late to the party again, having been in the garden on this fine day, trying to undercut UK farmers.
    ” global free trade etc but that would not be a good thing as it would result in cheap labour countries exporting very cheap goods to high labour cost countries and destroying their jobs”
    I think I am entitled to believe that your post referred to cases where the cheap goods would destroy jobs, and not to cases which ‘do not upset the economic balance in the importing country’
    I can quite see that importing cheap food would make for serious competition for UK farmers, but not why importing cheap food would raise prices.
    If UK farmers need subsidies and preserving UK farming is thought to be in the national interest the money we currently send to the EU to provide the subsidies can still go to them, can’t it? (Don’t tell me it’s promised to the NHS)
    In fact we (my wife and I) buy meat from our local butcher, which is locally raised. It costs us a few pounds a week more than buying from a supermarket, but the quality is higher and the taste better. The butcher seems to be doing OK.

    @AL URQA
    “Countries with high labour costs cannot produce very cheap goods, can they”
    “Do you mean cannot produce very cheap goods, or do you mean refuse to sell goods very cheaply?”
    Had I meant ‘refuse to sell goods very cheaply’ I would have said ‘refuse to sell goods very cheaply’
    I meant that if labour is expensive in a country, goods needing labour to produce them cannot be made as cheaply as in countries with low labour costs.

    ” Apple employ expensive staff who design and control the production and sale of their product. But these are only a tiny proportion of the whole supply chain, where most of the components are made overseas very cheaply.”
    But Apple’s expensive staff are not making the goods. They are being made using cheap labour overseas. Why should Apple sell their goods cheaply if people are prepared to pay high prices? If they meet foreign competition, they can then lower their prices. If you are saying that it is in some sense immoral to make large profits on the back of consumer ignorance, I tend to agree with you,
    Tancred pointed to watch manufacture.
    Consider http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36902222 Comeback time: The rebirth of British watchmaking. (based on mechanical watches with prices between £2,695 and £30,950,

    “What do you mean you don’t give a stuff about anybody else, just give you a job. Self, self, self.” I have reread my post, and did not find those words in it, nor any that mean it. I did point out that poorly paid workers might seek to earn more.
    I agree that ” the wider world is getting richer,” is a good thing. The current high EU tariffs on what they try to sell to us cannot be helping that.

    “The future is very uncertain and challenging. And nobody knows what will happen.” Too true.
    As I said ‘isn’t economics complicated,’

  42. I read the Clegg paper on Brexit posted above. One thing which caught my eye is his argument that concluding a deal within 2 years is literally impossible.

    It will not be possible for the Uk to rewrite its own laws in a settled manner such that they could then be viewed and be considered by the EU as part of any ratification process. The EU will need to be satisfied that the Uk is guaranteeing whatever terms we agree to for a trade deal, and they just will not be in place.

    I anticipate considerable shenanigans when parliament considers details of uk rules to replace Eu ones. If the government takes powers to make up the rules later itself, I doubt the EU would find that comforting.

  43. Oldnat,
    “In England, what non-Tory party is currently a viable alternative to Labour for former Lab voters?”

    I think you identify the only reason the labour party has survived at all 2010 onwards. Hardly a sound foundation.

  44. Observations from outwith a polity (in this case Northern Ireland) can sometimes be ludicrously ill-informed, or provide penetrating insights.

    I think this article is much more one of the latter variants.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/adam-ramsay/will-brexit-deliver-united-ireland

    It also raises an example of the kind of “fudged” solution that often actually works in conflicted scenarios.

    Peter McColl, the Northern Irish former rector of Edinburgh University, has suggested a theory about Sinn Fein’s strategy with regards to the Assembly. He argues that that the collapse of a Northern Irish Executive is likely to lead to shared rule from both Dublin and London – what’s called condominium. And in that context, the British government would likely only appoint a minister or two to sign off on whatever civil servants proposed. The Irish government, on the other hand, would probably tell each minister to simply add the north to their brief. The result would be as close to a united Ireland as you’re likely to get in the next few years.

  45. I agree with Graham on Corbyn being forced out soon (next 18 months). It is more interesting what (and less, so, but still, who) comes after him.

    As to Brexit, I talked to centrist Labour people who are doing some canvassing, yes anecdotal, in Liverpool and others in Manchester and they say that Brexit is not an issue as such. Now it could be geography too. However, what comes back is doing jobs, including government jobs. And Corbyn is definitely a bigger issue for these voters (or non-voters).

  46. As to the legislative burden of Brexit (and the impossibility of it).

    When Estonia joined the EU the Estonian Parliament approved four laws a day for a few years, sometimes the copier couldn’t keep up. Yet, they met the deadline (mind, one ofmthe laws happened to be the translation of the wrong law, but these things happen).

    The government may choose to do most of the process through secondary legislation, so it would have to be the opposition to bring the laws to the HoC for debate.

  47. For so called astute observers of the political scene some posters such as Chris Riley, Danny and Tancred surprise me with the unworldly nature of their posts.

    sometimes it is better not to overthink issues. Can i predict:

    1. there will be a general election in 2020;
    2. Labour will be led by Corbyn;
    3.Mrs May will win that election;
    4. The margin of that victory will probably not depend on the Brexit deal. in that a good deal will not improve her current position;whereas
    a bad deal will be blamed on those Europeans and not harm her position
    5. there will be a liberal revival of sorts on the basis that it could not get much worse;
    6. Scotland will still be part of the Union in 2020 ; As the EU prove less and less antagonistic NS precipitous tactics look increasingly ill judged.In 2025 both scotland and NI will be part of the union.
    7.To alec I say that one day he will be right and the world will indeed end but in making such predictions timing is everything

  48. Labour need a Martin Schulz effect.

    But first they need a Martin Schulz.

  49. @Laszlo

    You’ve just suggested a simplifying mechanism which might save us all the endless re runs of Indyref 1.

    A civil servant just needs to ‘inadvertently’ add the Treaty of Union to the Great Repeal Act and the job’s done…

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