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. Joseph1832,

    I’ve heard of “hangings to good for them!” but are you seriously advocating Life Imprisonment for incitement to Violence.

    What next 10 years hard Labour for not having lights on your bike.

    Try to to keep a little perspective at least.

    That goodness this site doesn’t let people change font size or use different colours, we’d have size 72 type in Bold Red!


    They have English names but they are black – i.e. ethnic minority.

    Those shown on BBC news last night were definitely not black. Their faces had been deliberately obscured, but hand/leg colour was pale.

  3. @Candy, @Tancred re who eads what.

  4. For once I have to partially agree with Tancred. At least some of the thugs were not white. Not that it matters, unless it only counts as a ‘hate crime’ if the perpetrators were white.



    I am inclined to agree with Joseph on this and find your remarks about “lights on your bike” far too flippant. This was very nearly a murder and the fact that it wasn’t is solely due to the care that the victim received from the emergency services. The perpetrators would no doubt have been quite happy to have killed him. The consequences of engaging in this sort of attack have to be severe or repeat attacks will happen.

    I was reminded of an incident when a young man I knew was attacked and repeatedly kicked in the head by a number of young thugs. The police actually witnessed the end of this and arrested the thugs but subsequently let them off with a caution. I protested at the leniency and actually spoke to the the chief constable but he would not be persuaded that more should have been done. The young victim subsequently suffered a number of health problems both mental and physical. I very much doubt that the perpetrators went on to lead blameless lives and as there were no consequences for them, why should they?

  6. @Tancred
    “Yes, but only when people HAVE a view! Many people are too muddle headed to understand the issues and so believe the tabloids and take their word as sacred truth.”
    It is perfectly possible to be muddle-headed, yet have a view.
    It is perfectly possible not to be muddle-headed, but to have a clear yet incorrect view through misunderstanding the issues (eg by being unaware of – or failing to consider – all the relevant facts).
    It is not always possible to ‘believe the tabloids’ and ‘take their word as sacred truth’ for the various tabloids do not always say the same thing. For that to be true, you must first select your tabloid (in line with your preconceived views?)

  7. RMJI,

    No one is underestimating the seriousness of this crime or that those responsible should be punished.

    The issue is whether this incident of itself justifies what be any measure would be a huge increase in the current sentencing.

    To suggest that a Judge should be able to sentence someone who participated but didn’t actual do any physical harm a “Life Sentence” goes beyond draconian to being ludicrous.

    What if that doesn’t work and there is a similar incident in a year or so’s time, get even tougher?

    What’s the next proposal going to be…Stoning?, Death of their First Born?

    What happens next time there is a Sutcliffe or West going to trial and people outside the court shout abuse and bang on the sides of his Prison van….

    Tazer the lot of them then Life sentences for incitement to violence for them all.

    I am not sure I buy into the idea that Brexit has opened a populist pandoras box, but first it’s Judges as “Enemies of the People”, then sending Gunboats to Gibraltar and now this.

    What next after Brexit, take on all this Political Correctness, Multi-culturalism and Health and Safety gone Mad.

    And while we’re at at, what was wrong with the Birch and Hanging.

    Why stop there, we still have Foreigners, Gay marriage and abortion to deal with.



  8. http://news.sky.com/story/no-signed-future-brexit-deal-within-two-years-says-theresa-may-10824347

    Find the position a bit confusing. Seems the Government recognises there will be no trade deal with the EU after 2 years of Article 50 negotiations. That the UK will just leave the EU with a position unknown at this point and that the UK Parliament might not have any say over the matter.

    Given that even the UK exit deal might not even be agreed within 2 years, then this is just storing up problems for the Tories which UKIP are likely to exploit.

    With a fixed term Parliament, Labour might not agree to an early election and MP’s might well have a vote instructing Theresa May to extend Article 50 to maintain membership of the EU until an appropriate exit deal including trade arrangements is negotiated. This could lead to a constitutional crisis, if Theresa May refuses to do so.

  9. @ Peter

    Gunboats to Gibraltar? Have I missed something?

    The invading Spanish Navy reminds me of the old joke:

    Q: “How many ships are there in the Irish Navy?”

    A: “Three, one Corvette and two Guinness boats!”


    I think you are just being silly. This was attempted murder, might easily have been murder and those who went along with it are all guilty. Life imprisonment may not be practical but a significant prison sentence would certainly be appropriate and would deter many who, at present, have no fear of retribution.

    This has nothing to do with brexit. People who do this sort of thing and have no respect for human life, have no place in civilized society and should be removed from it for a significant time.


    @”Gunboats to Gibraltar? Have I missed something?”

    Nope. Its just the usual Cairns stuff-misrepresentation-exaggeration-imputation.

  12. RMJI,

    “Life imprisonment may not be practical but a significant prison sentence would certainly be appropriate”

    Which if convicted is exactly what will happen under the existing laws and sentencing system. Nothing that has happened to change any of that.

    “deter many who, at present, have no fear of retribution.”

    Equally nonsense, what they did is against the law and is punishable with a custodial sentence so the idea that there is no retribution is daft!

    ” People who do this sort of thing and have no respect for human life, have no place in civilized society and should be removed from it for a significant time.”

    So what exactly is your idea of the appropriate sentence for being part of the crowd who watched this… If it’s more than the current sentences then I think we’ll need more prison space.

    Just wait till there’s a punch up on the terracing at a Premiership game and you try to lock up 20,000 people for cheering it on.


  13. Colin,

    Apsolutely, when someone goes over the top I respond with the full Harry Enfield…

    Is That What You Want….Coz That’s What will Happen.

    Seriously folks… A life sentence for incitement!


  14. Peter Cairns

    you seem to be confusing Gibraltar with Croydon now.

  15. Peter, please calm down. Attempted murder is a rare thing at football matches these days.

    I would guess that most of those arrested will be charged with minor offences and will not receive a custodial sentence and may not even be prosecuted. This is blatantly wrong. Being part of a mob is much more dangerous to society than a few errant individuals. If only those who can be proven to have undertaken the actual kicking are punished, then they will do it again.

  16. RMJI,

    “Attempted murder is a rare thing at football matches these days.”

    So are incidents like this but that didn’t stop you proposing we change national sentencing guidelines and penalties because of a single rare incident.

    And if we did as you suggest we had better prepare for the consequences.

    Lock them up and throw away the key is easy to suggest but a lot harder to implement and we often act in haste and repent later.

    “would guess that most of those arrested will be charged with minor offences and will not receive a custodial sentence and may not even be prosecuted”

    Probably, but not because of any weakness in the law, but rather the difficulty in getting a conviction.

    To convict you need to be beyond reasonable doubt and getting sufficient evidence of that on any one individual in a crowd of thirty when most will say “I sawn off on Gov!” Is extremely difficult.

    Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean the law is broken.

    Horrible as this is it doesn’t mean that the law or society are broken or that it’s evidence we need tougher sentences. They are a lot tougher in the states but crime is worse.

    The sentence fewer people to prison sentences on the Continent but tend to have less violence.

    As Matthew Paris famously said;

    “Whenever I hear of a wave of public indignation I am struck by an inner calm!”


  17. That should be ” saw nuffin, gov” not saw off…no shotguns were involved!


  18. I see Mr Corbyn is back from holiday and telling us how bad things are? So still out of touch then? Before it starts, ‘holiday’ in his case means just out of the news, which is the place the plp want him.

  19. Whatever you think of Theresa May’s mission to Saudi, talking about ‘standing on the sidelines sniping’ seems a singularly infelicitous use of vocabulary!

  20. There have been complaints on previous threads that the opinion polls for the May 4th local elections don`t predict for Scotland. And others have said it is very difficult for people in England to understand the system.

    Well many of us in Scotland too haven`t grasped the basic points.

    So in our area with saltires and union jacks now flying, and as of today leaflets from all the candidates in our ward delivered to our house, I am only just taking in things.

    As I said earlier (but was still moderated when last I checked), the Tories and Labour have very similar fight-for subjects on their leaflets. But I have only just found out, courtesy of another Labour message, that our ward has 3 seats and just 4 candidates.

    The sitting councillors are three – LibDem, SNP and Tory. So it seems we have here a pact of the existing councillors and very probably these three parties will win again despite new candidates.

    The Tories are probably the most scared of missing out, and if the ability of their candidate is measured by the English on their missive, they will deserve that fate; the Bristol apostrophe zealot would have field day.

    If pacts are widespread in Scotland, the pollsters have an impossible task.

  21. @Peter Cairns

    I am at a loss as to where you find all these straw men. Nobody suggested changing the law or throwing away any keys. We simply need the law to be applied appropriately and sentencing to match the seriousness of the crime. My objection is to you equating the call for heavy punishment of mob violence with quite preposterous invented punishments, that nobody has called for, for trivial offences. Your ability to extrapolate from any statement on any subject to a call for world war three, at least shows a vivid imagination, albeit without much grasp of logic.

  22. @R Huckle – I think it’s very interesting that May is allowing talk of free movement etc to continue during a transitional phase. This is very much what the EU are saying – that if you wish to stay in the single market for a transitional period after formally leaving, then that means staying in the single market.

    Once again, this is another significant softening of the tone. For me, it shows two things;

    Firstly, May knows she is not in charge of the timetable, and will do things at whatever pace the EU decides.

    Second, it shows that she knows she needs a trade deal.

    Her notion of leaving without a deal was an out and out l!e – she knew this at the time. She is now engaged in that difficult job of winding down Brexiter’s expectations.

  23. @DANNY

    Oh, I do get that locals are a different kettle of doorknobs and thus things won’t mirror national polls as such.

    My point was that UKIP at this time four years ago was on about 13% in national polls, this time around they’re slightly lower on about 11%.

    Yet last time around, in these same seats with all the same caveats about turnout and tactics and all the rest, they were credited with 22% in R&T’s national equivalence thing, whereas this time around they are predicted 10% in the same model.

    What I’m asking is why is the projection this time around so strikingly different to last time despite seemingly a very similar national baseline?

    What’s changed that national 13% meant NVS 22% in these seats four years ago but national 11% means 10% in these seats now?

    Or am I really misunderstanding something in these measures?


    Thank you for that – if UKIP do have the opposite of an incumbency boost (incumbency drag?) then that would go at least some way to explaining the poor seat projections this time around, along with the much stronger Tory performance.

    Still wouldn’t make sense of the overall share projections tho, but I suspect I’m misunderstanding something there!

  25. @ Alex

    I have always been content with a transitional period of using the Single Market as a means to an end after we exit the EU. 60% of our exports are now outside of the EU and this been increasing rapidly over the last decade and is set to increase further as we move forward.

  26. @Bantams
    “Gunboats to Gibraltar? Have I missed something?”

    It was the Spanish wot sent the gunboat:


  27. @Edge of Reason

    Remember that the forecasts for the local elections are not based on opinion polls, but on actual local by-election results, where UKIP have not been doing at all well, and LibDems have had notable success. I suspect that the key reason that these have not been showing up in national opinion polling, is that other than political nerds, most people have not been paying too much attention to electoral politics. This could mean that they respond reflexively with their habitual choice from previous elections, or with “Don’t know”. (DK responses seem to be quite high at present, especially for 2015 Labour voters).

    It could be that where people have to start thinking, with the election brought to their attention by active campaigning, the undecided could start to make up their minds – or even change past habits.

  28. @Pete B

    The link suggests Gibraltar has territorial waters. Under the Treaty of Utrecht, it doesn’t.

  29. “Scottish turbines provided 1.2 million megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid in March, an increase of 81 per cent compared to the same month last year, an analysis of WeatherEnergy data by WWF Scotland found.

    Wind power generated the equivalent of 58 per cent of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.

    On two days, wind turbines generated more than Scotland’s total power needs for the entire day.”

  30. @Alec

    “Her notion of leaving without a deal was an out and out l!e – she knew this at the time. She is now engaged in that difficult job of winding down Brexiter’s expectations.”

    Now, she didn’t say it was likely, did she?

  31. @SAFFER

    Ah okay, that makes a bit more sense then. Is there data on how accurate these pre-local election forecasts have been to the actual results in previous years?

  32. RMJI,

    “Nobody suggested changing the law or throwing away any keys. We simply need the law to be applied appropriately and sentencing to match the seriousness of the crime.”

    This started when Joesph1832 stated.

    “Fifteen years a piece, but as a minimum for discretionary life, would be good. Including for those who just shouted encouragement.

    That is clearly a significant increase in the current penalties and quite literally throwing away the key.

    I think this is as serious a crime as you do, but I didn’t choose to back someone suggesting a ludicrous increase in the penalties because I am upset about it.


  33. To play devil’s advocate to the “rain vengeance upon the cheerers-on” argument, how far do you go before you start to interfere with free will and personal responsibility?

    Even if you shout “Do ‘im! Mess ‘im up proper!” how much does that detract from the personal responsibility of the actual assaulter?

    I doubt the argument would be quite the same if we suggested that being flirtatious/wearing a revealing skirt/going back to someone’s house invoked some degree of criminal culpability due to incitement, or detracted from the responsibility of the perpetrator, in a subsequent rape.

    It seems rather odd to suggest that if you tell someone to beat someone up, they should do it, or that they will be unable to stop themselves.

  34. @RAF “The link suggests Gibraltar has territorial waters. Under the Treaty of Utrecht, it doesn’t.”

    There was no such thing as Territorial waters in international law in 1713. You might as well say Pluto doesn’t exist because it is not in the Treaty of Utrecht.

    The 3-mile exclusion zone came into effect by the mid 18th Century, and this was extended to 12 miles in 1982 coming into effect in 1995. Gibraltar has so far not claimed the 12 miles it is entitled to under the international maritime law.

    A summary of the legal position is as follows: –

    (1) The 1958 Convention on the Territorial Seas and Contiguous Zone has been applied to Gibraltar. It provides (Article 1) that the Sovereignty of a State extends beyond its land territory to a belt of sea adjacent to its coast. Spain did not enter any reservation to the above, such as would relieve her of the legal effects of this provision. The Treaty of Utrecht is totally irrelevant to the legal effect of the 1958 Convention.

    (2) Accordingly, British Sovereignty of Gibraltar’s “land territory” entitles it to Sovereignty of “a sea belt adjacent to its coast.” Britain has declared 3 miles.

    (3) The United Nations Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 has been extended to Gibraltar. It provides (Article 3) that every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea upto a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles. The 3 miles declared by Britain is thus squarely within the entitlement bestowed by the Convention. Spain has not entered a reservation to the above, and indeed she was precluded from doing so by the terms of the 1982 Convention (Article 309) itself.

    (4) Spain did make statements and declarations but, Article 310 of the 1982 Convention makes it clear that such statements and declarations cannot exclude or modify the legal effect of the provisions of the Convention in their application to Spain.

    (5) Accordingly, by virtue of these Conventions the UK has a treaty right to territorial waters in Gibraltar not exceeding 12 miles. The UK has declared 3 miles. Spain’s statements and declarations have no legal effect in altering this position.

  35. Alec,
    “Her notion of leaving without a deal was an out and out l!e – she knew this at the time. She is now engaged in that difficult job of winding down Brexiter’s expectations.”

    Yes, obviously, May’s speches were deliberately deigned to mislead. Yet at the same time a big theme was to get the best deal for the UK. Who could object? The question is, who were they intended to mislead, and the answer seems to be just about everyone.

    The question of winding down Brexiteer expectations may be a matter of timing. The plan seems to be to maintain a facade of hard Brexit for as long as possible in order to defuse UKIP. The conservatives are relying upon Brexit becoming plainly impractical so as to provide the opportunity for winding down expectations. While they try to do this, they will naturally be beset by UKIP diehards and their own Leave faction.

    Edge of Reason,
    “What I’m asking is why is the projection this time around so strikingly different to last time despite seemingly a very similar national baseline?”

    Swing voters? There being a lot more who are not diehard party fanatics but rather are making a reasoned choice about either supporting or opposing leaving the EU than about usual choices of lab/con/lib?

    So suppose a more or less constant base vote, last time they might have picked up a lot who felt the party needed a push because they liked its key policy, but who now see no point in supporting because of that policy. Not necessarily bcause they have changed their minds about it, but because the support they lent the party has accomplished the objective.

  36. Carfrew,
    “On two days, wind turbines generated more than Scotland’s total power needs for the entire day.”

    Presumably only power needs for electricity? Power for heating, vehicles, was presumably also needed from fossil fuels?

    Not that this isnt still impressive.

  37. @Danny

    Yes, it also doesn’t include energy required for walking, talking, posting, moderating, calculating margins of error, fretting about Brexit, unpicking the Treaty of Utrecht, negotiating storage discounts, and much, much more!!

    But if fossil fuels are less needed for electric, that will tend to pull the demand and hence the price down. On the plus side it saves the oil for other uses where you don’t just burn it.

    Worth bearing in mind as well, that the more renewable energy goes into surplus, along with falling energy prices, you can eventually get into the position of using the surplus energy to synthesise petrol from the carbon in the atmosphere. Or else to electrolyse water for hydrogen-powered cars. And you can use the leccy to charge electric cars too of course.

    Plus there’s the energy security thing. Oh, and possibly democratising it with some renewable schemes. And some methods of renewable energy have other benefits. Like tidal barrages can also limit flooding…

  38. @Danny

    I should add that surplus energy could also be used to assist in growing food, to help with the walking, talking, posting etc. thing…

  39. Thought of you the other day Carfrew when they announced on the radio that Ikutaro Kakehashi had passed away.

  40. Historical Perspective

    When we come to view events in retrospect the Brexit vote may be seen not as a terminatory ruling by the British People but as a step in a continuing dialogue/negotiation with the EU. if Cameron had returned with a settlement from the EU which comprised:

    a. Control of our own borders with a special arrangement for EU citizens subject to benefit/ numerical mechanisms;
    b. An end to Political union;
    c. The end of EU legal supremacy;
    d. A reduction in our financial EU contribution;
    e .A renewed right to negotiate free trade deals with third parties
    f. A vastly improved fishing arrangement;
    g Extendng free trade to services;

    in return for being outside the single market/customs union but with a similar type of arrangement i venture to suggest he would have been feted as the greatest living Britain and a negotiating genius by 75% of the population and Brexit viewed as a job well done.

  41. S THOMAS
    Historical Perspective…

    If he had got all that I would think he had mind control or the E.U. had lost it’s mind.

  42. @S Thomas – yes, I think you are abslutely right. Cameron completely failed at the negotiation, and the EU also needs to accept blame for failing to understand the potential consequences, although their culpability is limited – Cameron asked for so little and did it in such a crushingly unimaginative way, he gave them very liitle real incentive to make a good deal.

    Of your list, I can’t disagree with anything (indeed, I was saying precisely the same thing pre June 23rd) except for f). Fishing isn’t going to benefit very much from leaving (it will probably suffer*) and on the free trade bit, this again is something I supported but accept would have been very complex. If individual states could have secured their own trade deals, you then get into the business of having to initiate customs checks between EU states thus defeating one of the main benefits of the EU.

    You have often been critical of my posts on Brexit, but in essence, it looks like we agree. My view is that the Hard Brexit being touted by some will be both unpopular and a disaster for the UK, whereas a softer version focusing on the issues where people actually support reform would be very popular and not that damaging. You criticism of me are therefore somewhat odd, in the context of you above post.

    *On the fishing, this is wildly complex. Most fish caught in UK waters are exported, largely because we don’t eat those kinds of fish. Most of the fish we eat, comes from outside our waters.

    If the negotiations went wrong, we would get back control over 13% of EU waters, thus losing access to 87%, and wouldn’t be able to exploit the 13% fully unless the EU agreed trade terms with us. If they didn’t, we would find we were short of the kinds of fish we want to eat. We would also lose access to Icelandic, Norwegian, Canadian and 17 other non EU nation’s seas as we were no longer an EU member so the agreements wouldn’t apply.

    The UK trawler fleet makes a loss without EU subsidies, another reason for fishermen to be careful what they wish for.

  43. @BLUEBOB

    I still remember the first time I got my hands on a Jupiter 8 in a music shop… couldn’t pull myself away from the thing. And ordering a Roland drum machine… He was very influential… Many have used his products and they’re on many recordings. He’s left quite a legacy…


  44. Alec/Danny
    So, Mrs May is proving to be a very clever and able politician, so far. Does it annoy you so much because you want her to fail at her very difficult task of satisfying the seemingly conflicting demands of leavers and remainers, just so you can say, Told you so?

    Despite several years of doom laden analysis from you every month Alec, the economy bobs along quite nicely on the important measures of employment, unemployment, exports and growth. Even the currency is proving resilient in its new and much more realistic trading range and is assisting all the above. Of course there are pressures in areas. Ever has it been thus. Inflation needs to be watched but at a level close to the BoE target level, is not a concern just now. But I guess it’s very annoying to anyone who always sees the glass half empty to see mostly positive economic news, month after month, when we were promised punishment budgets and an exchange rate of 50p to the euro by some so called experts.

    If she manages to satisfy the vast majority of leavers by regaining control of the borders, making the British courts supreme and having the ability to enter trade deals with whomsoever we like and at the same time, convince the majority of remainers that life after Brexit is little different from life before it, then she will have achieved much. I accept that she will never satisfy those on the extremes like Heseltine, Clegg & Farron but they are the equivalent of the flat earthers who still think we make a grave error not adopting the euro. They can never be satisfied.

    That a bit of pragmatism is entering the atmosphere is a good thing surely? It is becoming evident on the EU side too and is the only way that a mutually agreeable settlement that works for both parties can be reached. Obviously we had to go through the sabre rattling stage first (both sides did it) as both sides have to give the impression that they are to be respected and will not be walked over. (Which is where Cameron went wrong) The skilful management of expectations is something to be applauded surely? To refer to it as lieing is rather disingenuous in my opinion.

  45. Alec

    I think everyone of my list is not only achievable but will be achieved. I am critical of you because i consider that you are blinded by the fact of the Brexit vote and are unable to see its historical context and its inevitability.Also you fail to see that it should be seen as a powerful negotiating tool. You talk in useless terms of hard Brexit or soft brexit whereas the only question is whether we have achieved more than we would have achieved without the vote.
    If TM achieves my list she will be attacked by some on both sides but to my mind the British vote on Brexit will be seen as inspired. Your posts which attack every concession by her as defeats miss the point.

  46. @Alec and S Thomas

    I think the list produced by S Thomas is very useful. It contains the key agendas around along which some compromise among the British people might be reached (as per the agreement between the two of you). What has to be realised that all the items (not just fishing) are immensely complex. Hence the link with polling and voting. To persuade, win votes etc one has to present the issue as simple – control of our waters or no control, supremacy over our laws or no supremacy etc (even polling is to some extent forced to proceed along these lines). To have a successful negotiation one has to have a much more nuanced approach to what these words mean and a much greater willingness to compromise. How does one achieve this without risking cliff edge disaster? And particularly so when there are 27 countries able to veto any overall coompromise and a binary choice is now available to them?

  47. @SThomas

    Include me in your new rapprochement.

    Is this the much-trumpeted centre party emerging?

  48. A couple of interesting responses there.

    @S Thomas – “….i consider that you are blinded by the fact of the Brexit vote and are unable to see its historical context and its inevitability…”.

    An interesting point in itself, in that I was warning of UKIP and it’s influence way before anyone else considered them a serious force in politics, and was also warning of the EU’s catastrophic misjudgements way before June 23rd. Maybe you arrived late to UKPR?

    In terms of believing all of your list will be achieves, again, that’s an odd claim. We are already moving (slowly) to free trade in services, and we had already secured protection against political union, so they are aspects where the EU was doing the job.

    You, and other leavers, are now talking just about a reduction in our contributions – well of course we will achieve that – before, all the talk was about no contribution, which was a red line to many. Again, we see the subtle changes in position as reality dawns, dressed up as some kind of success.

    On fishing – no, the main UK fishing organisation warns that UK fishermen will be worst off, so I think you will be surprised there, and I also think that if we have a free trade agreement with the EU, we will remain subject to their regulations and directives, across a much broader range than you think. This will involve some form of external legal supremacy in certain areas.

    But we’ll see in due course. Up to now, judging by May’s movement, I have been proved more right than most leavers we hear from.

    @Robert Newark – “Does it annoy you so much because you want her to fail at her very difficult task of satisfying the seemingly conflicting demands of leavers and remainers, just so you can say, Told you so? ”

    Not at all. I am becoming increasingly satisfied that my predictions are becoming reality, and that therefore the impacts of Brexit are likely to be less severe than I thought, had May not changed her mind on so many things. It seems that leavers are the ones moving their views, which is necessary and gratifying to see.

    But there is still time for things to go wrong, so I remain watchful. Leavers are winding in their expectations and this is a good and necessary thing, as I have often said.

    “Despite several years of doom laden analysis from you every month Alec…”

    Again, that’s not actually what I do. I point out the ups and the downs. You may remember my posts on the PMI data from July 2016? Despite shockingly bad falls in business sentiment I cautioned against reading too much into these, partly because I saw no logic to them and also because of the track record for overestimating swings.

    But you probably don’t remember this, as you might be prone to getting stuck only seeing what you want to see?

    “That a bit of pragmatism is entering the atmosphere is a good thing surely? It is becoming evident on the EU side too and is the only way that a mutually agreeable settlement that works for both parties can be reached.”

    Pragmatism is a good thing, and as said above, I predicted this from the UK side and was told by many leavers that we didn’t need it. Glad you are catching up.

    However, to date I see little movement from the EU. They are seeing the UK move toards their position, which has remained very clear and very firm, and at present, all the signs are that the final outcome willbe far closer to the EU’s position than to ours.

    As predicted.

  49. alec

    you do not seem to get over the referendum and want to see everything in black and white.You seem to need self validation and vindication for your position. You need to see it as part of a political process. It is the result that matters not the ups and downs on the way there.

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