There is also a new ICM poll for the Sun on Sunday. Topline figures there are CON 47%(-1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 8%(+1), GRN 4%(+1), conducted “at the end of the week”. Changes are from the ICM poll at the start of the week. While the Tories are down one and Labour up one (and the Conservative lead therefore dips below the twenty point mark), it’s a far smaller drop than we’ve seen in the YouGov polling this week.

394 Responses to “ICM/Sun on Sunday – CON 47, LAB 28, LDEM 9, UKIP 8”

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  1. Interesting article on PB about who people think would best negotiate Brexit.
    The public perception is May over Corbyn with May winning hands down.

    I have no doubts about it’s accuracy and importance but what I find striking is that from both her time in Government over the years and her time as PM May seems to have shown absolutely no negotiating skills what so ever!

    Those who think she is doing a good job also seem to like a “No Deal better than a Bad Deal”, “Standing up for Britain!” And “Not giving in to Brussels Bullies!”

    All of which denotes an adversarial, take it or leave it attitude, almost as if the priority was to teach them a lesson rather than reach a reasonable solution.

    Given that much of this discussion has been about some of the groups Corbyn has been willing to sit down with to try and find a compromise way forward that makes progress you can at least argue he has a least as much experience negotiating as May.

    Certainly the meeting with Tusk and how people have reacted to it hardly fills me with confidence nor has the discussions over Brexit with the Scottish Government.

    May supporters might think starting with “Take it or Leave it!” and no budging makes May a good negotiator but I doubt it will be effective or she will be able to stick to it.

    The Brexiteer view often expressed here is that we stick to our guns, tell them where to get off and pretty soon they’ll see we aren’t going to roll over and then they’ll come to their senses and give in!

    I think that’s just wishful thinking.


  2. @AW and others – Thanks for replying, I didn’t realise the ‘Shy Tory’ effect had been discounted. I was an ardent lurker (and very occasional poster) on this site in the run up to the 2015 election, but lost heart somewhat when the polls seemed to be so far out (albeit not as much as the media made it seem) and stopped visiting this site until recently. I would be grateful if anyone could point me in the direction of a summary of results of the polling inquest as I’d be interested to read it now.

    @AW – On the last thread you mentioned that although the boundary size issue still favoured Labour, the other biases in the system currently favour the Conservatives. In the run up to the 2015 GE I recall the Conservatives needed a clear lead to obtain a majority (I think around 3%) while Labour only needed a small lead – does the shift in the electoral bias mean this is no longer the case? Is there a discussion of the biases (the last I read was a report into the 2005 election which is clearly very dated)

  3. thegreeny – it is no longer the case, these days if the parties had an equal vote the Conservatives would have more seats, and Labour need a considerable lead to be the largest party (though as I said yesterday, that’s down to the pattern of third party support. A Lib Dem revival, UKIP decrease in vote and increase in Labour seats in Scotland could all reverse that trend.

  4. Peter Cairns SNP

    See the first paragraph of my post to PATRICBRIAN.

  5. oh God, not another thread dominated by Brexit. Give it a rest chaps, do!

  6. Brexit: ‘no deal versus bad deal’.

    To a great extent this is just playing with words. ‘Bad’ is obviously bad, ‘no’ sounds neutral, i.e. neither good nor bad. So, if you didn’t think about the question carefully, or know much about it, you would automatically prefer ‘no deal’ over ‘bad deal’.

    It’s a pretty meaningless statement, but also a good slogan because it points people in the direction you want to go.

    But in real life, ‘no deal’ might be much worse than a ‘bad deal’.

  7. Here are the tweets by The Economist’s Berlin Bureau Chief, Jeremy Cliffe on the May-Junker meeting.

    These and the FAZ article – even if they are just partially true suggest embarrassment for May, and danger to the UK.

  8. @TOH – yes, I would agree that a majority of 100 currently looks likely and would be seen as v good for May – less good for the hard Brexiters in practice though, I sense. It would give her the confidence to compromise.

    My key point was that, unlike the 48/24 type of polls, this latest crop of polls does bring into play notions of differential turnout, poll errors and vote distributions that could suddenly produce a much tighter result, although at present I would agree that all these factors would need to be in one direction to really help Labour close the gap.

    I do feel though that Labour are currently making the best of a bad job, while May does not come across as a particularly effective campaigner. The Conservatives have never used her as a main campaign weapon of choice previously, precisely becasue she appears wooden, stilted and cold. They have to use her now, and this opens a contrast with a much more human looking Corbyn.

    @Crofty – to be clear, is the ‘pointless gesture’ to spend billions on an unusable non-independent nuclear deterrent, or opposing this?

    I wasn’t completely sure.

    @Candy – bearing in mind AW’s strictures on the discussion of Corbyn’s past and the IRA, I note that you made another factual jumble regarding the different treaties, but I was more interested in the facts of whether past IRA attitudes remain quite such a potent vote shifter.

    I think there was a time when to appear to support the IRA in any way was pretty toxic to mainstream UK politicians, but now that the IRA are in government, I do wonder whether raking up the past has very much impact.

    Certainly, if I were Corbyn, my stock answer would be along the lines of ‘all conflicts ultimately need a political solution and all I said was that we need to talk to the IRA. Now the IRA are in government, the PM and the Queen amongst others meets them and talks with them and we have peace. Perhaps I was just ahead of the game?’.

    This certainly won’t keep everyone happy, but if the Tories wish to make attacks based on things said three decades ago, I would argue that this is a sign that they are unwilling to front up to their record in government over the last seven years, and would be a sign of weakness, more than anything else.

  9. I think Trident is the elephant in the room. What is the point of spending billions on it and having a PM who says he would never use it. And rightly or wrongly, people feel that the UK needs it’s own nuclear deterrent.

    Corbyn’s only hope is that people will vote Labour because they like their sitting MP and think “what the hell, Corby hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of reaching Downing Street”.
    That’s the only chance Labour has of avoiding a complete meltdown.

  10. LASZLO

    As I posted to RAF, all they show is that Juncker and co have no idea of the UK’s position. They still think we will be a pushover which is why I posted what I did earlier.

    How these things are perceived depend where you stand on Brexit.

  11. @Laszlo – that link to a credible source really does demonstrate how poor the UK approach to these negotiations has been. We haven’t just seen this in term of UK/EU27 relationships however.

    The ACP organisation recently slapped down May very forcefully regarding her statements that we could get a trade deal up and running with them within 2 years, stating clearly that they did not want to disrupt their traders until their EU deal bedded in and that there would be at least 6 years to negotiate a deal with the UK. They also expressed huge irritation at the ‘Empire 2.0’ briefing. Whoever thought up that one has no idea how to build international relationships.

    I see no evidence whatsoever that May has any negotiating skills, and I think the very positive public perception of her is based entirely on the ‘strong and stable’ rubbish.

    I would agree with @TOH, however, that what could be seen as an intransigent attitude from the EU27 could harden attitudes here, although I probably depart from his view in how this is defined.

    As with May and her government, a fair proportion of voters are completely delusional about how this deal needs to work. People really do seem to think that we can get whatever we ask for, and that anything less is down to EU intransigence.

    People are in for something of a shock, but that isn’t to say that they won’t blame the EU instead of our ridiculously optimistic leave campaigns and now government.

  12. @TOH

    You did say on a previous thread that you were bored with Brexit.
    Be a good chap and set a good example.

  13. If I recall correctly the polls on trident money being spent were often close. Many do not support trident.

    I don’t think it is as big an elephant as the media portray.

  14. The problem with the EU negotiations are that the EU can name any cost they like and if it is not met say “no trade deal”. This will encourage them to pile on unreasonable costs for punitive reasons.

    The UK has to demonstrate the unreasonableness of the above and be able to say “no”. Hopefully then both sides can take a step back and negotiate in the interests of mutual benefit.


    Now that Brexit is central to the election I have regained my enthusiasm. Sorry if that disapoints you.


    If you want confirmation that my view on the EU negotiations is supported by others you could try the excellent article in the Telegraph by Juliet Samual which says more or less the same things as I have been saying. Even the EU is starting to talk about preparing for no deal as I think Juncker is starting to realise that May means what she says.


    Glad we can at least agree on the UK voters reaction to the EU in the event of no deal.

  16. LASZLO

    An interesting link !

    I noted this particularly :-

    “19) Davis then objected that EU could not force a post-Brexit, post-ECJ UK to pay the bill. OK, said Juncker, then no trade deal.”

    I suppose that is what Peter Cairns describes as -“we stick to our guns, tell them where to get off and pretty soon they’ll see we aren’t going to roll over and then they’ll come to their senses and give in!”

    It says something about this organisation that there can be any dispute at all over what it is describing as “unpaid bills”.

    This explanation of the major element of Brussels’ demand is from “The €60 billion Brexit bill-How to disentangle Britain from the EU budget” by Centre for European Reform:-

    ” Reste à liquider (RAL)
    Roughly translated as “yet to be paid”, the reste à liquider is essentially a €241 billion bill that has ballooned since 2000 as the EU has piled on projects to its schedule of works and investment. While that €241 billion must be paid by all member-states of the EU, it represents the biggest portion of the Brexit charge.

    It effectively arises from political divisions over the EU budget, which mean the EU systematically commits to more spending projects than its member-states are willing to pay for in a given year. This is managed through a forked accounting method. Inspired by a bygone French bookkeeping technique, the EU adopted a system of budgeting that splits its accounts into ‘commitments’ (basically appropriations to spend money for a specific purpose or project) and payments (to actually execute
    those commitments). The EU’s long-term budget sets ceilings for both annual commitments and payments. But crucially, the annual
    commitment ceiling is almost always bigger than payments. That leaves a (usually increasing) overhang of unpaid commitments. So in a typical budget year, the EU can be paying for the implementation of commitments first registered in the EU’s annual budget anywhere from one and 20 years previously. Most commitments from the 2014-20 budget are supposed to be paid for by 2023.

    This runs against the grain of the British public finances, which operate on the basis of accruals. If a high-speed rail line is approved in the UK, it will only appear in the annual budget once a payment is actually made.2
    Britain’s fixation with payments has driven its diplomacy in Brussels. Along with other net-contributor states, it saw the giant RAL as proof of financial mismanagement by the Commission.3

    In practice the Treasury’s strategy for parsimony was to largely ignore the overhang, and instead focus on maintaining discipline over annual payments, much to the irritation of the Commission and European Parliament.
    That largely worked for London. But Brexit may have dramatically changed the calculus. The RAL will stand at up to €241 billion by the end of 2018, a few months before Britain’s expected exit date from the EU. More than half is made up of cohesion spending, and a fifth each by research and agricultural spending. As a result of the latest long-term budget being delayed, the EU is off to a
    later start on big project spending than usual; most of the cohesion spending is backloaded, to be executed in the years after the UK has left.
    Britain’s share of the RAL, based on its typical contribution
    rate, would be around €29-36 billion.”

    Actually , I have a feeling that the EU’s attempts to cover as much of their financial overhang as possible is merely a function of the enormous internal battle they face after UK’s net Budget Contribution ceases.

    Dutch PM Mark Rutte, who beat the anti-Brussels Geert Wilders earlier this year by standing on a reformist eurosceptic platform, said he was watching the budget situation “with great interest”.

    And he made Amsterdam’s position plain on how the £10bn financial black hole caused by Britain’s departure should be approached, insisting: “A smaller union means a smaller budget.”

    We have yet to hear from the Eastern & Southern EU member States about their view of reductions in their net Receipts-but I’m sure we will !

    That is what this is all about in my view.

  17. SORREL

    Of course that’s what should happen but my guess is that Juncker and Co could not accept that level of loss of face having congratulated themselves so publically on their so called “solidarity after the EU meeting.

  18. Peter Cairns: “Those who think she is doing a good job also seem to like a “No Deal better than a Bad Deal”, “Standing up for Britain!” And “Not giving in to Brussels Bullies!”
    All of which denotes an adversarial, take it or leave it attitude, almost as if the priority was to teach them a lesson rather than reach a reasonable solution.”

    You have robustly defended the EU in drawing multiple red lines, stating that it was only concerned with the EU interest, and standing up to Britain. It talks of £50bn, but does not settle on a methodology – just tries to sound aggressive. And it talks of little else but walking away if all of its demands are not met – yet it is aggressive for us to say no deal is better than a bad deal, despite that being a truism.

    Maybe leaking denunciations of May as “delusional” is equally just the act of a friendly country engaging in constructive negotiations.

    I am surprised that the EU are approaching the discussions in the same vein as they did their diktats to Greece. How people react to this, that is unpredictable.

    This is what one of AW’s early post referendum posts said. There was little sign of Bregets, but how will it play when we get to the business end? Who would be blamed?

  19. To try to move off Brexit, I don’t really understand the Scottish situation. I’m not Scottish, and don’t live there either, but if I were and I had voted SNP in 2015, I can’t think of one single reason why I would change this time. From the perspective of an SNP voter, what has any of the other parties done to deserve my vote? So how come SNP are going to be losing seats? Other voters switching Lab to Con I suppose, but I find it difficult to understand that switch too. Does pro-unionism outweigh other ideologies? OK, it does in NI, but in Scotland?

  20. Anthony

    One for you.

    The’ National’ newspaper in Scotland has emblazoned across its front page today a poll saying that 51% of Scots support independence and that this is the highest level this year. However this was in fact the same poll (Panelbase) reported in yesterday’s Sunday Times and earlier last week which put support for independence as being only 45% exactly where it was when the Scots last voted on the subject. The confusion seems to have arisen over a second question asked by Panelbase in which-as an earlier blogger mentioned- they asked the same voters which option they preferred as between being in the EU but not the union, being out of both and staying in the union. When added together the first two options equal 51% giving the’National’ their headline.
    My point is not whether this exposes a dilemma for the SNP in that some of their ‘Indy’ supporters may vote for the Union if it means joining the EU . No I am asking you whether Panelbase have laid themselves open to misinterpretation or if the media have simply allowed bias to determine the headline according to taste. Or both!

  21. Alec – “the Tories wish to make attacks based on things said three decades ago”

    Umm… Not all of it is about stuff three decades ago. Here is what a Labour party member had to say about the murder of David Black by the Continuity IRA in 2012:


    Jeremy Corbyn is a founder member of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) as is John McDonnell (its Chair for many years). At the LRC AGM 2012 on November 12, the following motion, moved by Gerry Downing’s Socialist Fight grouping, was passed which stated the following as reported in the weekly worker:

    “There was greater controversy with motion 4 from the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group. It called for the release of political prisoners, highlighting Palestinians in Israel and Naxalites in India. However, it was the paragraphs dealing Irish republican prisoners which split the meeting.

    “Opposing motion 4, a comrade from Socialist Appeal warned, should we pass the motion, we would have to call for the release of those who had murdered prison officer David Black, shot while driving to work. Such actions were not part of working class tradition, he claimed. Presumably comrades from the AWL were of a similar opinion: they also voted against. Nevertheless, the motion was passed, by a margin of 52 to 35.”

    End quote

    Bear in mind that Sinn Fein condemned the murder of David Black as “wholly wrong” – but Corbyn and McDonnell’s group think his murderer is a “political prisoner”.

    So this isn’t about stuff from three decades ago, but stuff from three years ago. Are Corbyn’s supporters really OK with all of this? And how will voters react when they find out?

  22. Alec

    We have an intelligent electorate in this country and I am very wary about anyone describing any section of it as ‘delusional’. My own impression is that most people are entirely realistic about the likely outcome of negotiations ie it probably won’t be that great.

  23. @The Greeny
    ‘Thus while Labour were in power throughout the 00’s the polls were relatively accurate as the ‘Shy Tory’ effect was suppressed, only to catch pollsters unaware in 2015 when the effect returned in force.’

    But the polls were way off in 2001 and greatly exaggerated Labour’s majority. The same was true of October 1974 and 1966.
    ‘ The last time the polls underestimated the Labour vote was in February 1974, and that was distorted by the miners’ strike.’

    Not so. The polls also underestimated Labour in 2010 and 1983.

  24. TOH,
    “How these things are perceived depend where you stand on Brexit.”

    Surely it should be the other way round, that where you stand on Brexit should depend on how you perceive these things?

  25. TOH

    You do always come to the worst possible conclusions about the motivations of any EU politicians, while putting the best possible gloss on Theresa May. Perhaps you will turn out to be right, but if negotiations do break down, for whatever reason, I can see the immediate negative consequences, but not the happy long-term outcome you envisage, and I don’t think it is what the majority of Leavers voted for either. And how this can be presented as representing the 48% who voted Remain is beyond me entirely.

  26. What I find interesting is that Juncker allegedly says that the EU “isn’t a golf club”.

    Except, of course, that it is. Article 47 of the TFEU states “The Union shall have legal personality”. That means it contracts on its own behalf. It is no longer a simple partnership of its members.

    The legal consequence of that is that the Union is responsbile for its own debts, and its recourse to members is a matter of the agreement between them. And it appears that there are no recourse arrangements in the treaty if a member leaves.

    So subject to guarantees there can be no liability on the UK when it leaves – because the UK is not the contracting party.


    “I could equally say you do always come to the worst possible conclusions about the motivations of TM, while putting the best possible gloss on EU politicians.”

    As I said above it depends where you stand on Brexit, but on the question of cash payments the UK voters seem very clear that they are strongly against such leaving payments, AW can probably tell us which set of polls it was.

  28. Anthony
    I believe that the FTPA in its original form adhered to the traditional 17 day period between Dissolution and Election Day – but the period was subsequently amended to 25 days.

  29. In the meantime, Labour has had its first real vote winning policy (imo) announcement with the consumer rights for private (hopefully other types too) renters (providing that those who would really be affected were to turn up at the polling stations, after registering, of course)

    Justly, or not, landlords have been perceived a little worse than Baal.


    I agree and the polling tends to suggest that is true as the voters see at least a short term economic effect.

  31. @Neil Wilson

    So what you are proposing is that the UK should honour its minimum contractual commitments vis a vis the EU.

    Thereafter we should ask for the most favourable possible terms for our new contract with the EU.

    It’s an approach; however in my line of business if someone involved in a joint venture wants to pull out or change the terms in a major way while pointing to the letter of the existing contract to reflect their obligations, we tend to be very wary indeed of creating a new relationship that puts any reliance on their behaviour going forward.

    I’m not sure why this would be any different…

  32. @ToH
    The opinion of voters is often not the deciding factor in terms of policy.

    For example, the voters have repeatedly opined in favour of both tax cuts and increased spending – however no government is likely to deliver this miracle of contradiction on a sustained basis.

    Like the British public, I would like to make no contributions, have free trade in industries we are good at, protections for industries we would like to protect and immigration/emigration only when we approve of it.

    However I accept that this is not ever going to happen because it is totally one-sided; the problem is that some (mostly pro-Brexit) folk seem to believe that they can all of these boons at once and will cry ‘foul’ if they don’t get them.

    To be clear, I don’t include you in this group…

  33. If there really is a €250bn spending commitment and they want upwards of 10% from us, rather than just say “No Deal!” We might want to first consider;

    1) Which of those commitments we might benefit from, directly or indirectly.

    2) which of those continuing to contributing to might make us friends in the negotiations and closer trading partners in the long run.

    3) just how much of that programme might still be spent in the UK or might end up as contracts going to UK companies. Do we want to close the door on that business or see UK companies participate by moving parts of their organisation outwith the UK, it’s jurisdiction, regulation and tax system.

    I see no evidence that any of those balking at paying “The Bill for Brussels!” have even thought about any of this.


  34. @Candy 12.15pm

    I would reply to your post giving an alternative viewpoint but I will follow the clear guidance given by A.W. on this matter and not get drawn into another rabbit hole of mis-information and spin.


    Fair comment about some voters.


    Personally i have no problem paying some money where joint projects have a benefit to us and I suspect May would feel the same. What I object to is this “gun at the head” approach by the EU which in my view is just asking for the talks to collapse.

    I think Sorrel has got the right approach, see his post above, but I fear the EU will be intransigent in which case the talks will collapse and we leave in March 2019 without any payments or trade deal.


    An interesting and though provoking post.

    I think Theresa May is if nothing else a pragmatist and it maybe what is required rather than a conviction politician in the upcoming negotiations. Some one who will compromise and change her position time and time again maybe just what is required.

  38. TOH
    “I could equally say you do always come to the worst possible conclusions about the motivations of TM, while putting the best possible gloss on EU politicians.”

    I don’t think that’s true. I think both sides mean well, in their own ways. I am no fan of Juncker, or the Commission. But it is the UK that has decided to leave, and it seems meaningless to critcise the EU for maintaining a consistent, if somewhat inflexible, line on how negotiations need to be conducted, given they have to keep the agreement of 27 states. I think TM wishes for a successful deal. I’m very unsure whether she has the right skills to deliver it, but I hope so. You, on the other hand, seem to hope there will not be deal. it’s quite a difference.


    @”rather than just say “No Deal!””

    I have no doubt whatsoever that money will be on the table by UK.

    That the EU’s claim is based on a medieval accounting system which counts “committments” over and above agreed “budgets” as a contractual obligation for a leaving member is in May’s favour.

    Settlement of legal liabilities flowing from contractual arrangements provide no leverage in negotiation at all. Conceding payments which are not legally liable does.

    Both sides are trumpeting their public stance hard -its normal .

    What I find so amusing in contemplating these perfectly standard opening gambits is those in this country ,who always say the UK stance is unreasonable & the EU stance is reasonable.

    It belies both their ignorance of standard negotiating tactics, and their scant support for UK’s best interests.

  40. LASZLO

    I agree-it is a vote winner.

    But if it doesn’t actually get JC any more votes-what does that tell us?

  41. alec

    “@Crofty – to be clear, is the ‘pointless gesture’ to spend billions on an unusable non-independent nuclear deterrent, or opposing this?
    I wasn’t completely sure.”

    It was in relation to Corbyn re-stating his position on the deterrent, and saying he would never authorise it’s use, as soon as he was elected as leader – but then doing absolutely nothing in the way of conversation with the UK public to bring them/us round to his point of view.

    As Laszo and others have remarked he has no skills for this at all.

    With regard to the details of Trident/keeping the deterrent I think the polls are somewhat ambiguous but that there is a large majority in favour of global, but not independent, nuclear disarmament.

  42. Let us get a sense of perspective

    The single market is only a trade deal. If we were outside trying to do a deal with the EU we would:

    1. Offer them tariff free trade with the 5th largest economy in the world

    2. In return we would want tariff free trade in goods and services(germany please note) with the single market;

    3. Customs arrangement would be organised to facilitate the above.

    4. we would not sign up to a deal which gave them access to or fisheries, pay them 12bn a year, give EU citizens different rights to the indigenous population protectected by a foreign court,cede legal sovereignty to a foreign court etc

    The above reads more like the Versailles agreement or vichy settle ment.I note the No 2 in the EU team isa german lawyer. No doubt he has an old book of precedents.

    i just wish i was doing deal with the posters on this site. Many are beaten before they start and only see the strenghts of the opposite side.The Art of War has been read by someone and it is not the Remainers on this site.

  43. @Trigguy

    “Does pro-unionism outweigh other ideologies? OK, it does in NI, but in Scotland?”

    Hello from the Cairngorms!

    For some voters it clearly does. Ruth Davidson’s strategy since 2014 had been threefold: distance herself as far as possible from the UK tory party and brand; pose as the only effective opposition to the SNP; and linked to that last point, claim to be the defender of Unionism (this latter strand has been described by some as “Ulsterising” Scottish politics).

    This seems to have helped her pick up votes from former Slab voters ( especially in areas of Glasgow with strong Orange links) and persuaded some Lib Dems to vote tactically. It may also have enthused the Tory base.

    Whether this approach will survive and can get the Tories much more than between 25% to 30% of the vote remains to be seen. The strong tide of xenophobic British nationalism which has been unleashed by Brexit may help her in the short term but she has, for example, already been put badly on the defensive over the Tory’s two child policy and rape clause so the option of effectively disowning Tory policy may be diminishing. What will her position be on ending the pensions triple lock? Will Lib Dems still be prepared to vote tactically for a Tory and now for a hard Brexit in order to keep the SNP out? Time will tell!

  44. TRIGGUY: I voted SNP in 2015 because there was no Green candidate and I had no wish to prop up the Scottish Labour establishment under Jim Murphy (and tactically I wanted rid of the useless lib dem locally). Now there is a small but real chance of restoring Labour to being a party that can make real, long term positive changes to how the country works rather than simply mitigating some of the consequences of neo-liberalism I’m backing Corbyn’s Labour all the way.

  45. @S Thomas

    Getting a good deal isn’t about ‘beating’ the other side in some zero sum game – it is about understanding what is important to the other party and what they are likely to be flexible about, the relative value they place on particular aspects of the agreement.

    You identify where you can give something they want for little cost to you, and where you can ask for something that matters to you which will cost them little.

    You narrow down on the – hopefully few – areas where there are mutually contradictory red lines, and look for opportunities to mitigate the difficulty for both sides.

    This requires an element of ‘position setting’, true, but also a significant level of understanding of the other side’s needs and drivers, all of which seems to be very lacking in the UK team.

    I want the best possible outcome for the UK – I currently despair of us getting it because our negotiating approach is simply so inept…

  46. @COLIN “Settlement of legal liabilities flowing from contractual arrangements provide no leverage in negotiation at all. Conceding payments which are not legally liable does.”
    So does not insisting on the performance of legal liabilities. Exaggerating those liabilities beyond what is strictly due gives more scope for obtaining such leverage.
    @BIGFATRON ” if someone involved in a joint venture wants to pull out or change the terms in a major way while pointing to the letter of the existing contract to reflect their obligations, we tend to be very wary indeed of creating a new relationship”
    But the terms are surely what has been contractually agreed. If you wanted different terms you needed to have put them in the original contract.
    What you are saying is that you want to have as of right a partner who will accept less than his due.
    I can see why the partner might want to pull out of a joint venture with you, and indeed might be equally wary of entering into a new one.
    I am reminded of the idea that there is no way a contract should be replaced by a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for a gentleman is content to be bound by the law.

  47. S THOMAS

    @”. Many are beaten before they start ”

    I suggest it goes much deeper than that.

    The sort of people you refer to cannot bring themselves to contemplate life outside the EU-they want it not to happen. So they want Brexit to be a humiliation for May, and a chance that an incensed electorate will demand re-entry at any price.

    I have come to understand a little of this absolute reliance on & confidence in EU law & regulation when discussing Brexit with an Remainer Conservationist.

    He is desperately worried that EU Environmental Regs will be watered down-or just ditched after Brexit.

    My opening gambit -that the Great Repeal Bill ensures compliance on Day 1 met with complete cynism. This person believes that “Lobbyists” + a Conservative Government will , over time, replace the current regime with less restrictive rules.

    My second attempt-the prospect of replacing CAP & the Environmentally un-targetted /acreage based Single Farm Payment with specific Environmental output targets met with a similar blank stare- “Corporate Interests” will write the new Regs.

    All of which brought me to my final attempt-But British MPs will write the Environmental Laws which their constituents have elected them to write-this is what Brexit is all about.

    With an embarassed downward glance , the response came quickly-I don’t trust the “voters”-they don’t care about the Environment.

    And there you have it-Extreme Remain-aka total mistrust of the UK Electorate & any Conservative Government it elects.

    Its a sort of backstop position I think-in the absence of a Labour Government.

    My guess is this attitude has application across all major areas of domestic policy .

    Though it is unsaid-it is their answer to the Brexit demand for Parliamentary Sovereignty. And this unsaid response is-We dont trust & don’t want UK Parliamentary Sovereignty.

    And it exists because the Conservatives aren’t trusted by such people. This is why I am so keen for TM to start demonstrating her Downing Street promise with policy.

  48. @Colin
    “I have come to understand a little of this absolute reliance on & confidence in EU law & regulation when discussing Brexit with an Remainer Conservationist.”

    It’s understandable because we’ve been in the EU for a relatively long period of time. Had we left the organisation in 1992 after Maastricht treaty was signed, it would have been far less painful.

  49. This election is the chance for the British Electorate to chose its lead negotiators for the brexit talks.
    we can see already that on the EU side the talks will be spun, leaked ,
    be without principle or honour, and be confusing and illogical.
    Who better to throw into this maelstrom than JC. This is a man who is impervious to what others think of him, not afraid to be regarded as useless (save by a few praetorians), a man with a skin so thick a rhino would be embarrassed.He is just the man. Of Course in the labour team he would be ably assisted by one D. Abbot who could denounce the EU team as white,pale and male and bring her own special lucidity to detailed points. Also “Big”John the shadow Chancellor.a man who is used to talking in billions and imaginary figures. He should get on well with EU accountants.
    And in the interests of the whole of the UK can i press the case for Sturgeon and “Leanne” to be members . If sturgeon is there one has no need for any press support as she will have leaked every thing before the meeting has ended.

    A formidable team i think you will agree. Other negotiating teams are available.


    Actually-I agree. I think it is understandable. This has been a very long marriage.

    But the idea that EU Membership & the Laws it brings stand as backstop for the “mistakes” which the UK Electorate will make is still a strange one for me.

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