A new centrist party?

With little political news over the Summer the media have entertained themselves with talk of new political parties. I have awaited the first poll to ask how people would vote if there was such a party with some trepidation. thus far it hasn’t turned up. Depending on how it is worded a poll question could either suggest triumph or disaster for such a venture. Either case should be ignored – polls asking about how people would vote in hypothetical situations aren’t particularly useful.

Back before the election YouGov asked a couple of questions asking how people would vote if the Labour party split into a centrist party and a Corbynite Labour party. That found Labour voters splitting fairly evenly between the two parties, with little impact elsewhere (a result that under FPTP would likely have delivered a Tory landslide). Of course that was a new party explicitly framed as a split within Labour. It it had been presented as a split from the Tory party, I expect it would have taken most support from them. A new party might actually seek to present itself as being made up of the centrists within both Labour and the Conservatives (though more important is how it would be seen by the public – how a party describes itself is not necessarily the same as how the public sees it), in which case it would have ambitions to take support from a wider pool.

As an explicit anti-Brexit party the first place to look for what support an anti-Brexit might receive is the EU referendum vote. 48% of people who voted in 2016 wanted to Remain. In more recent polls that group splits pretty evenly between Remainers who still think Brexit is a bad idea but that it should go ahead now the people have spoken, and Remainers who think that Brexit should be resisted and overturned. Some have suggested that this means the pool an anti-Brexit party is fishing in is only about 25%. I’d be less sure – at the moment we’re in a political situation where the political class has largely accepted the principle of Brexit and is arguing about the form it will take. Were that to be shaken up, were there a significant political force arguing for changing our minds, perhaps more of those who voted Remain would see it as something to be fought rather than accepted. Who knows?

A more negative consideration is what one thinks a new anti-Brexit party could offer that the Liberal Democrats aren’t already offering. Normally when there is speculation about new political parties it’s because there is a chunk of the electorate who support a political viewpoint that no party is representing – UKIP wanted to leave the EU when no other party did, the Greens offered an emphasis on the environment and anti-austerity that the other parties weren’t. We don’t have to ask hypothetical polling questions about how people would vote if there was a centrist, liberal, pro-European party standing…we already have a perfectly serviceable party of that description and they got 8% of the vote at the general election.

Ah, you might say, but this new party wouldn’t have the baggage of coalition that the Lib Dems have. Or it would have a better known and more substantial leader than Tim Farron. That may or may not be true, depending on who ended up being involved -serious political figures like Tony Blair or George Osborne would bring their own baggage. On the other hand, a new party wouldn’t have the local government or organisational base that the Liberal Democrats do.

The real difference between a new anti-Brexit party and the Liberal Democrats would be the political context and narrative. It is this that makes it impossible to predict from polling how any such party would do. If a party was set up by a couple of whohe’s it would likely sink without trace – if one looks through the register of political parties at the Electoral Commission you’ll find several new parties set up as pro-EU vehicles, and that none have had any impact. In contrast were twenty Conservative MPs and twenty Labour MPs to defect and form a new party, it would create a huge media buzz, there would be a lot of fuss and attention (needless to say, it would also deprive the government of a majority) and that would give it the potential to get a fair amount of support.

In judging these sort of hypothetical questions, I always look back to the polls we used to see in the final months of the Blair government, asking people how they would vote if Gordon Brown was leader. They would invariably show that Labour would perform less well under Gordon Brown. In the fullness of time Brown did take over, and Labour shot into a double digit lead as all the newspapers treated Brown like the second coming. The problem with those pre-Brown polls was that people couldn’t predict that wave of excitement and positive media coverage, couldn’t predict how they would react to it. Given the right people and media coverage, a new party could succeed to some degree (certainly the currently arithmetic in the Commons would make it comparatively easy for a party with Conservative defectors within it to make an impact). Whether it could be successful enough to actually retain or win seats and have a long term future is an entirely different matter – FPTP does not forgive smaller parties without concentrated support, the anti-Conservative vote is already split and the most pro-remain areas tend to be held by Labour.

In short, it could work in terms of upsetting the current narrative if not necessarily in electoral terms… or it could fall flat, but treat any polling questions asking how you would vote if X party existed with a huge pinch of salt. Without the context of the people involved and the political narrative around it, they simply aren’t good predictors.

699 Responses to “A new centrist party?”

1 12 13 14
    “absolutely no change whatsoever. So not news at all really”
    You think so? The continuous strengthening of a Labour lead, and the underlying trends, probably ensure no or a soft Brexit, and within a year or so, the ending of privatisation in the NHS and of selection in schooling, a movement towards the managed and continued freedom of movement of labour in the international market, primarily that of the EU. It presages genuine investment in social housing and in meeting the need for the use of public sector and sovereign funds in industrial and related infrastructure and social care, and a foreign policy based on cooperation with the EU in development and security to control illicit migration from and within the North African states as part of a wider strategy against terrorism and people smuggling.
    What do you want with your breakfast cereal?

  2. It’s funny that the few people who took the BMG poll seriously are now silent on this one. Presumably they think it reflects ‘no change’ rather than a 6-point shift in a week…

  3. ALEC

    @”Since 1945, many have”

    4 April 1949 is the date in question I think.


    @”Actually it has, ”

    I think you need a history refresher John.

    1 November 1993, or arguably 1 December 2009, came a little late to the achievement:-



    Its certainly an encouraging Poll for Labour & demonstrates the depth of the hole May has got her Party into.

    So I’ll just have to hope there is something in this !!!


  5. COLIN
    “I think you need a history refresher John.”
    From your Wiki quote:
    there are core elements which are generally agreed upon as forming the cultural foundation of modern Europe.[4] One list of these elements given by K. Bochmann includes:[5]
    • A common cultural and spiritual heritage derived from Greco-Roman antiquity, Christianity, the Renaissance and its Humanism, the political thinking of the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution, and the developments of Modernity, including all types of socialism.”
    I rest my case.


    Yes, it is very sad to see the state of West Indies cricket at the moment. No doubt we all remember those great and fearsome sides of earlier years.

    Still good to see England being ruthless, which is what you have to be to get to the top in any activity let alone cricket. And yes again, great to see Broad become the second in the all time English bowling list. Where will we be when they have both gone?


    “Since 1945, many have, so I think there is at least something in this Beacon of Enlightenment stuff.”
    In that case I assume you are referring to NATO.

    John Pilgrim

    Your 4.54.
    Sorry John, I think Colin has got it exactly right.

    Not surprised at the Opinium Poll any more than I was at the BNG poll. Polldrums!

    Splendid walking weather, have a good day all.

  7. COLIN
    “Its certainly an encouraging Poll for Labour & demonstrates the depth of the hole May has got her Party into.”

    From the standpoint of your recent broader thinking (which I applaud) do you really think that is the salient conclusion? There was a substantial body of opinion that the Lab vote was based on the quality of its manifesto, and on specific policy measures which it contained – which clearly had not been thought up overnight. The election and poll result indicated that the response has been, in AW’s terms, a trend – which I have tended to think might occur in response to the coherent statement of a body of policy measures which would meet middle of the road concerns – take posts on here from such as @Charles for example – for reform likely to move the country away from a growing inequality of wealth and access to services and opportunity, and to the safeguarding of institutions – especially of the NHS – and retention of membership of or attachment to the EU and its institutions.

  8. @Pete B – “Good job Kosovo was just a sideshow.”

    I’m somewhat surprised that you don’t appear to appreciate that this is precisely the point being made – Kosovo really was just a sideshow. In amy previous era of human history (since the invention of the nation state at least) a regional conflict in the Balkans would have led to such significant tensions between competing European powers that the threat of all out war across the continent would have been more likely than not.

    This time, because the French, Germans/Austrians, Brits, Dutch, Spanish etc were all on the same side, there was 0% chance of conflict spilling over from the Balkans.

    I’m not so starry eyed that I claim this to be to the complete and exclusive credit of the EU, as there are other alliances and global factors at play here as well, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the EU alliance and the integration and understanding this has brought has been a key factor in dampening down nationalist animosities and taking us further and further from war in Europe.

    Because we are now so used to peace in Europe, many fail to see the significance of this, which I can understand. What I won’t accept is the sneering attitide some display to what is, arguably, the greatest human achievement in Europe’s history.

    @Danny – there are many factors that will prevent the UK from fully benefiting from the devaluation, as we have wwitnessed previously. A lack of industrial invetsment (government selling off the Green Investment Bank – doh!) terrible management skills, poor training, woeful productivity.

    The devaluation won’t lead to an export led Brexit nirvana, unless we start to address these structural problems, in my view.

  9. ca. Two thirds of Istanbul is in Europe (10 million people or so) and one third is in Asia.
    There are fifteen million people or so in Moscow, another four million in St Petersberg. That’s an awful lot of people being ignored here every time we casually speak of ‘Europe’.

  10. A bit more from the Opinium poll on the grauniad website’s Majority of UK public backs Brexit ‘transition period’, poll finds, including:

    While almost half (49%) of those asked still believe that there should not be a second referendum once the terms of departure are clear, enthusiasm for Brexit appears to have dipped slightly, while trust in the Conservatives to lead negotiations has dropped from 39% in June to 33% in August.

    If another referendum were to be held on whether the UK should leave the EU, it would result in a win of 47% to 44% for the remain side, the poll suggests.

    Elsewhere, it claims that the poll finds that 60% of people now back a transition deal to ensure a smooth exit from the EU, rather than a complete break in 2019.

    The tables should make interesting reading when they’re published.


    What can I say ?

    Philistine perhaps ?


    I was refering to the effect of May-not Corbyn.

    YouGov’s poll certainly indicated the primary role of the Manifesto in Labour’s vote.

    It also emphasises the lack of such a role for Cons’ Manifesto. Some would argue the effect of that was negative.

    Cons communicated badly, with a PM would cannot campaign , and failed to attack Labour’s Fiscal plans.

    These are May’s fault. Corbyn campaigned very well-but there was no opposition.

  13. The latest Opinium poll seems more of the same to me. Colin’s point about May is true up to a point. I do think though that many folk are tired of austerity. We have a family friend diagnosed with breast cancer. She has other health problems and can barely walk. Her doctor has provided confirmation of this yet her welfare payments have ceased and she is going to have to go to a tribunal to try and have them reinstated. It’s appalling.

    Surely it has to be better than this?

  14. Mike P
    Yes, certainly over the past 7 years or so the State has become malign in many of its interactions with what seem obviously deserving cases. I had a similar experience to your friend and only got through it by contacting my MP.

  15. COLIN
    “but there was no opposition”
    Alternatively, the basis of a Conservative opposition had been eroded by the widespread rejection of austerity politics,and by the perception of division,,duplicity and a lack of political judgement in leadership, including that of Cameron,,in allowing party interest override the interests of the nation and of good government.
    Then,of course their b. awful campaign.

  16. Alec

    I certainly agree that NATO has done a splendid job of keeping the peace in Europe.

  17. @ John Pilgrim

    “What do you want with your breakfast cereal?”

    Well many of those things do indeed sound good, but I’ve already had my breakfast I’m afraid.

    It’s a nice vision, but I’m not convinced I see any signs of a change in tack of Tory policy yet. And they’re likely to be in charge for at least another two years. But maybe we’ll get some hints of a slight change in direction at the party conference? I won’t hold my breath.

  18. TOH: “I certainly agree that NATO has done a splendid job of keeping the peace in Europe.”

    Yup. If only Greece and Turkey had been NATO members the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey would never have happened. Oh, they were both NATO members at the time? Never mind, you can’t expect miracles. After all, didn’t NATO do a splendid job in preventing war in the Balkans? Umm…

    NATO exists for the mutual protection of its members against external aggression, and that is where it “has done a splendid job”. The EU exists, inter alia, to ensure there is never again a war within the large part of Europe that comprises its membership. And there, it too has done a splendid job: there has never been armed conflict between two EU members.

    It’s a shame that your world view prevents you from giving credit where it’s due.

  19. @TOH – as others have pointed out, NATO hasn’t prevented conflict between it’s own members, but has helped protect Europe from external threat. That is welcome, but the EU has been of great significance in stabilising countries like Spain, which had a military coup a few years before joining the EU, and also bringing many of the former Warsaw Pact countries towards democracy.

    Personally, whatever your views of what the future may bring for Europe, the EU and the UK, I think it is somewhat churlish to apparently deny the achievements that the EU has made up to now.

    “It’s a nice vision,but”
    Yes. I think where I was heading was towards recognising that the evidence suggests the strengthening of policy agenda in the two main parties, in which Labour are reaping the benefits of answering the brief, rather than in any emergence of a new centrist party.


    @”Alternatively, the basis of a Conservative opposition had been eroded by the widespread rejection of austerity politics,and by the perception of division,,duplicity and a lack of political judgement in leadership, including that of Cameron,,in allowing party interest override the interests of the nation and of good government.”

    I will continue to await the day when I can return your compliment in respect of “broader thinking” John. :-)

  22. Just on the topic of NATO – I feel NATO’s desire to push ever further to the Russian border is very damaging. We ended up supporting an unconstitutional seizure of power, in conjunction with neo-nazi political groups such as Svoboda and Pravy Sector, in Ukraine which in turn led to a civil war and the de facto partition of the country and the annexation of Crimea. I have it on good authority that the US state department had banked on Russia doing nothing to respond to NATO building military bases in Russian-majority areas like Crimea, Donetsk and Kharkov, and that when Putin responded by annexing Crimea it was the closest we had come to a nuclear conflict since the Cuban Missile Crisis, all instigated by NATO wanting to build military bases on the Russian border.

    We should kept our noses out and not publicly backed the coup/revolution in Ukraine. Not only did it lead to partition and civil war, but millions of refugees have fled the country and put the safety of Europe in jeopardy.

    Anyone who has read a history book can tell you that this border region makes the Middle-East look like a quaint tea party. The Russians have shown they view this region as absolutely vital to their national security and they are willing to fight and lose millions of their best people to defend it, whether it’s the Ottoman Turks, the British Empire, Napoleonic France or Nazi Germany, they would fight to the bitter end to keep their enemies away. The fact NATO didn’t know this really doesn’t inspire any confidence in their strategic acumen or their ability to “keep the peace” like so many suggest.

    And let’s not even get onto Libya, a country which at the latest count is ruled by 800 different warlords and militias and is now not only the primary entry route for migrants into Europe, but the world’s centre for slavery and human trafficking. Great work NATO I sleep soundly in my bed at night knocking this fine organisation is keeping is safe.

  23. Should be “knowing” not “knocking” btw

    The Russians don’t Blanw NATO. They blame The Eastern Partnership which was an EU scheme. They saw it as an attempt to undermine their sway in eastern Europe. They complained that the EU negotiated the association agreement with Ukraine, the neighbour that matters most to Moscow, behind their back and that the agreement woukd have dire consequences for the Russian economy.

    It was this agreement – not NATO. – which triggered the popular uprising that overthrew the regime of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

  25. Alec

    “I think it is somewhat churlish to apparently deny the achievements that the EU has made up to now.”

    Your entitled to your view, but I stick by my view that it is largely NATO that has kept the peace. I can agree that at this stage the EU has been positive as well, but longer term I expect the EU breakup could indeed lead to a renewal of European warfare. You may not like or agree with my views but then these days we agree on very little.

  26. TOH: “EU breakup could indeed lead to a renewal of European warfare.”

    Which rather supports the point that the existence of the EU is currently the best explanation for the absence of war amongst its 28 members.

    Which countries within the EU do you think might have gone to war had the EU not come into being?

  28. DC: “Which countries within the EU do you think might have gone to war had the EU not come into being?”

    That’s a very interesting question.

    So, I assumie that you want me to hypothesise a Europe in which there was no EC≻ no Treaty of Rome; no EEC; a continent of separate countries with trade barriers and beggar-my-neighbour economic policies (as in the ’30s).

    Well, Germany would once again have grown to top dog. France, threatened by that success, could well have put its faith in heavy defence spending and taken to throwing its weight around. Amongst all that disunity, who knows what adventurism the USSR might have indulged in?

    Speculation is useless, really. But instability breeds unpredictability. Who would have predicted in 1980 the consequence of weakened federal authority in Jugoslavia? If history has one lesson to teach us, it is that unbridled nationalisma nd national rivalry in Europe, has always led to war. To believe that, without a firm co-operative, mutual structure bonding the continent’s nations together, harmony and goodwill would have prevailed, is for me an imaginative leap too far. But it’s a leap many are now happy to take, so engrained has the habit of cooperation become. Happily.

  29. Hello all from Bournemouth East where night has fallen on this ostensibly marginal seat.

    I think John’s analysis is a cool and objective one.
    The former PM, IMO, is culpable in handing Mrs May a poisoned chalice

  30. COLIN
    “I will continue to await the day when I can return your compliment in respect of “broader thinking”. :-)”

    That’sOK, Colin,but you must try not to be manipulative or overly confident of you correctness in these matters. One man’s broader thinking is another man’s inability to focus on the essential issue. As taught to us by the Leader, however, we must try to maintain respect in political discourse, and awareness of the reasons for other men’s distorted and partisan views . I accord you full rights to the bias and tendency towards the confusion of selective reporting with genuine evidence and an aversion to looking up the original sourcing of data which is the hallmark of many of your most persuasive posts.

    Yup, and thank goodness for NAFTA otherwise Mexico would probably have invaded Texas by now!

  32. Chris – did you know that Bournemouth East is the 75th smallest Tory majority over Labour, just wondering?


    @” One man’s broader thinking is another man’s inability to focus on the essential issue.”

    Don’t worry about it John-focus will come if you try to widen your reading, shorten your posts, brush up on the concept of sentence length & punctuation…………..and a good deal less of your obsession with the Communist regimes of SE Asia will raise your horizon a good deal.

    I’m afraid your Leader is fooling you. He has no concept of flexible political thought.

  34. Brexit

    I have the feeling that a corner has been turned in the EU negotiations. The uK seems to be going onto the offensive with its position papers.Now some might say that there is not enough in them but what has been the response of the EU to the Immigration paper or the irish paper?. Could it be that for all the bluster about them being prepared they ,in fact, do not have a response.The absurdity of their Irish position has at last dawned on DD as per the times this morning. I have been saying it for weeks.Sufficient progress on these topics does not appear to involve EU making any suggestions at all save that their shall be a system of eU citizen exceptionalism in the UK.Where is this much vaunted negotiating machines proposals on uk citizens abroad? where are its Irish proposals?Can it be that it is the Emperor who has no clothes?. All they are doing at present is behaving like the german in Rowan and Martins laugh in.
    If they say talks need to be delayed until December then delay them until then.The only thing that matters to Barnier and the EU is the money and they are trying to force us to make an offer which they will bank and say only that it is a start.

  35. New thread

  36. DC: “Yup, and thank goodness for NAFTA otherwise Mexico would probably have invaded Texas by now!’

    I think you’re confusing me with someone else who prefers free trade areas to ever closure union. I make no claims for the peacekeeping efficacy of FTAs… as Trump may demonstrate if he defaults to the demagogue’s belief that there’s nothing like a winnable local war to distract attention from domestic failure (what could possibly go wrong with that, Gen Galtieri?)

    And as the absence of war on the Korean peninsula since 1952 shows, who needs supranational regional organisations, eh?

  37. S THOMAS

    It will be interesting to see how Barnier et al respond to DD’s position papers when they meet this month.

  38. That would be 1953, before someone helpfully corrects my shaky history.

  39. John Pilgrim
    “The election and poll result indicated that the response has been, in AW’s terms, a trend ”

    yes, I think so. Perhaps the salient point is not the detail but that labour has finally shaken off the ‘mea culpa’ approach it had in both the previous elections where it was owning guilt for mismanagement of the economy. I always felt that you do not win elections by saying you messed up last time but could you please have another go. Corbyn is striking out in a new direction so has credibility however outlandish a policy he might come up with, but in the event it wasnt outlandish at all.

    The shoe is coming round to the other foot, where conservatives are now faced with poor economic performance for 7 years under their chosen solution, and have this same choice of changing direction and admitting they have been making a mistake, or ploughing on with ‘austerity’. In a sense brexit has become their nw policy direction, but I dont think even they believe it will end well.

  40. @COLIN

    I personally do not see either where the Tories are going to get the extra votes from or indeed where the Labour party is going to drop votes.

    If the Tories are going to get extra votes is it going to be from more older people since at present I do not see it coming from the Young indeed at this moment I do not see much in the way of moment of any kind.

    All sides know that movement of their vote will lead to more of the party they do not want coming to power and more over if this is about the attraction of the new it appears rather like the Leave campaign Labour campaign is calibrated to those that want change.

    Increasingly I believe the leave argument of brexit means brexit will be come less important, Listen to the Slovenian PM and I think they are prepared to walk away (I keep thinking Greece and Switzerland here, these are the only times when EU where threatened and they stuck to their guns.

    So it will be domestic policy that will be the key. What politicians keep forgetting is that whilst people will agree to a policy it soon becomes discounted and even normalised. remember 20 years ago there was no NMW now there are Tories that opposed the NMW whom are selling it as their own.

    The problem with the Tories is that they could have sold Ed Miliband’s policies but they had spend 3 years rubbishing them. In the end this country is more tribalist than people would like to acknowledge. May needs an alternative left party to win a majority. it will not come from LD whom really struggled in part because Labour was not interested in helping them at the National level.
    Richmond was a salutary lesson in the fact that lost it by 20 votes when they could not persuade Labour voter to lend them their votes

    I do not see a better campaign winning Tories more votes or persuading Labour voters not to vote for them. The reality is that labour’s in fighting was more about the ability to win rather than policy. The problem that the Tories have is that now every policy change will be seen as a climb down, a weakness attacking giving nurses a pay rise just does not look goo as you mentioned previously but in fairness that was the plan and indeed it has worked for 7 years.

    I think that 2022 will be an interesting election because The UK will have left the EU and the will of the people issue will be gone what will not be gone is the fact that Leave had two sets of voters that had opposite views of what control of the country means. I fear that the stalemate will continue.

  41. John Pilgrim,
    “Then,of course their b. awful campaign.”

    But it wasnt B awful. It set out a policy of hard brexit as it had to, to test the nations will on this. I have really no doubt this was the purpose of the election and it succeeded in testing this. That many might wish the answer had been different is another matter, but that does not mean the campaign was awful.

    “The former PM, IMO, is culpable in handing Mrs May a poisoned chalice”

    One should be wary of personality cults. Cameron was not an absolute ruler of the tory party and nor is May. Their role is figurehead leader and public relations person. The route Cameron chose was supported by the party and was a compromise no doubt between factions who all thought they had a chance with the referendum. The favourite lost. May simply has to pick up the pieces as best she can, and the party sees no one better for the job.

  42. @S THOMAS

    I am not sure that they have. There are three points to cover

    1. Payment
    UK has basically ignored this in any position paper because as I have pointed out before they do not want to separate payment from trade and so I doubt that there will ever be a position paper on payment

    My view is that the money is less important to the EU but the method of calculation is important and the UK the amount is very important but the method of calculation is not. hence I fear the stalemate stay in place.

    2. EU/UK citizenship rights

    What the EU wants is to maintain the current rights of both sets of citizens and the UK is happy to lower the rights of both sets. That is the fundamental issue again I am not sure what will happen.

    I think the issue here is the rhetoric more than anything else, the point of the papers calling judges enemies of the people this is the paper whom the editor of has sat down to dinner with the PM on more occasions than all the business leaders put together. The argument could be made that May has turned a blind eye to the sort of behaviour as it is her base. What is has done however is make the EU feel that the EU citizens need more than the Uk judges protection. Many people said at the time that her statement would come back to haunt any negotiations and there needed to be a stronger statement regarding the papers but it was rather a weak defence of the judges in my mind.

    3. NI Border

    Even with a customs style agreement the proposal giving is essentially a free for all and a smugglers paradise ( I have said that this is the only proposal that flies in the UK ) having no checks is just madness you’d have companies setting up in the Northern Ireland which would really help their economy but hell.

    I believe the EU have already answered the position papers by pointing out the UK will be a third party and even the UK has said the custom proposals will require unprecedented cooperation between the UK and the EU. Pretty much saying that it is not going to happen.

    The problem is I think that EU is less and less invested in giving the UK a decent deal, the more the UK plays games. The EU cannot be as flexible the UK wants because it reports to 27 EU leaders and is rules based. The UK only rule is for the deal to look good and therefore is playing items off each other.

    Lastly the concentration on germany as the deal maker or breaker shows how much people did not pay attention to other disputes between the EU and the third parties. For example Finland, Slovenia and Slovakia were very keen on kicking Greece out of the Euro, however it was sold in the UK papers as Germany being hawkish. With respect to Switzerland they said these are the rules and walked away.

    I still think the UK believes in the EU where it was part of the club and is negotiating as if it was part of the club. It is not. I also see this as part of a bigger problem. If the UK is seen as being unable to get a deal with the EU I suspect the vultures will be circling and whilst I believe that FTA do nothing in themselves without having the goods and services to exploit such openings I can see the UK being disappointed.

    I have stated this before but I can see there being no deal by default as the UK will not agree to anything believing it loses flexibility and the EU sticking to it rules because it cannot do any other.

    In many ways it is like remain and leave supporters talking past each other


  43. PTRP

    @”I personally do not see either where the Tories are going to get the extra votes from or indeed where the Labour party is going to drop votes.”

    I have heard this sort of thing said for years & years.

    Its always wrong.

    Voters change their minds-they aren’t automatons.

  44. @COLIN

    Yes in the long term I agree, people change their mind hell. people did so this time. However I believe that if the torys get 42.4% of the vote unless we are going to expect them to get over 45% then the issue is how are labour going to lose their vote.

    I can understand the whole argument that says that the Tories ran a poor campaign and they did not attack Labour enough or defend their record. I just do see them getting more votes. If you ignored what labour got and said that the Tories would win 42.4% of the electorate, I do not know a Tory supporter whom would not be ecstatic. The problem lies not with Their vote share but the Labour Party’s vote share.

    So unless Labour implodes in some way I do not see them losing the 40% vote share indeed as I have said I do not see the Tories losing around 40% vote share either so I see somewhat of a stalemate.

    Now in 2050 I have no idea but in 2017-19 The only way I see the Tories getting a march on the Labour party is a resurgence of a Third party which essentially attacks Labour in the metropolitan heartlands, EU collapsing or letting UK cherrypick giving Uk a strategic advantage or Labour infighting.

    Now a third party success I reckon would require Labour voters to shift to say the LD and in the main the LD challenge the Tories in more seats than they do Labour so in the main their problem is persuading Labour voters to lend their votes to defeat tories (as we have seen the failure of keeping Richmond.)

    The EU giving the UK a win seems as likely as not on the best scale indeed it seems to me that no deal will now suit both sides but hardly a strategic victory over Labour’s ambiguous approach.

    lastly much of the battle in the Labour party was about electability. If you look at the labour party leadership battle. the argument was all about policies they believed the electorate would vote for not policies that would be part of the Labour party’s philosophy. it is why you had Harriet harman abstaining on the welfare cuts as she though that would get her more votes not because she believed in the policy as she had just spend the election fighting for the opposite. The argument was between those that would do anything to get power and those that decided that principles were more important. Now can Chuka Umunna or anyone on the that side of th party be able to sell themselves to the membership I feel they have lost their chance. it is hard to argue moving from 31% to 40% whether you win or not as a success.

    My view is simple I do not see Tories or Labour getting more than 43% of the vote i can see them squeezing the parties to their right and left respectively but I don’t see Tories leaving the tory party in droves or labour voters leaving their party in droves. SSo it is more about momentum and turnout than ever before

    If voters are not automatons perhaps there should be a second referendum


    Oh an if they Tories are going to win more votes where is it going to come form?

  45. I agree with Colin. Although I’d suggest that, given the party has been in power for some time now and that generally you would expect a slow net loss of support for the governing party at this point, things do move in multiple directions.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a more levelling-out of the dramatic age profiling that is determining voting habits so severely at the moment. Especially since much of it was driven by Brexit. Equally though, these divisions could be solidified. It all depends on the political climate, how the parties shift their positions, and whether Brexit remains dominant as a political issue.

    But it seems hard to believe that 70% of the 18-24 group will always be voting Labour, and that only 25% of the 65+ will do the same. In ’97, more 65+ voted Labour than Tory, for example. That was only 20 years ago. And just 5 years before that, in 1992, the Tories got more votes than Labour amongst 18-24s.

    Only time will tell….

  46. @ANALYST

    You picked two of the biggest changes in politics to descreibe the fact that thing do not stay the same. So my point is why would the young change their minds and vote Tory. What would be the thing that says either I am for this idea or against this idea.

    the same again for people over 65 voting predominantly Tory. what will change their minds.

    The big changes in 1997 was essentially the Tory party being seen as past it sell by data and the infighting. In 2010 Labour got the blame for GFE of 2008 and the need for change. In 2015 it felt like a wonderful tactical battle between Tories versus the LD in the South West and Labour and SNP in Scotland it basically skewed the results everywhere else.

    In 2017 look at the polls people who vote Tory have immigration high on their list and education low on their list. Now if you are a 65+ your interaction with education is less, it is less important to you but you feeling of identity will mean more.

    None of the Polls we have seen suggest that these trends are about to change indeed they seem to be reinforcing the issues as I see it so in order to break the impasse somethign has to change in terms of the parties or the electorate.

    I feel for example there is a hardening of attitude on things like brexit, immigration for Tories and the issues of austerity and taxation for Labour supporters. Now this has reinvigorated both sides. In a manner that we have not seen since the 1974 election one would say.

    The point is where are these votes that will make either party break free come from?

    Saying at some point the voters change their mind is a duh but show me where and why.

  47. PTRP


    Event dear boy-Events. :-)

  48. @COLIN

    Event dear boy-Events. :-)

    is not that the point:

    What events will change peoples mind?

    If you look at GE2015 people were happy to have austerity for example £20B of undefined welfare cuts as long as they thought it was not going to be on them. They were not scroungers after all and when it happened that therey were scroungers then even the Daily Mail was in uproar.

    The view was that people viewed austerity as something someone else had to pay. Now to my mind that was the first real anti austerity movement. did it benefit other not really Harriet Harman was abstaining the very welfare cuts that now we would say we are against. The event happened but there was no one to take advantage of it.

    The point I am making the events are often obvious. The movement from collectiveness (unions and the like to) individualism was one of the leading changes in terms of our politics without this there is no Thatcherism.

    The 1997 feeling of being able to afford a bit more for everything that was crumbling before our eyes and Tories refusing to believe or accept that in terms of mood of the country ( I would suggest we overstate Blair’s touch in winning in 1997 and pretty much the Tories tearing themselves apart the next two cycles did not hurt.

    Now we have had two events: EU referendum as my favourite Tory pollster (and also leave supporter) believes that it was less about the EU but about whether peopel were happy with their lives or not. Which essentially feed the narrative today.

    So what will change it for the tories:

    1. Great economic news
    2. Successful Brexit
    3. Liberal democrat rvival in metropolitan areas to challenge labour
    4. Labour party infighting
    5, Tory party abandoning austerity for the poor.(tax rises for everyone)
    6. War

    there are many scenarios which one could argue that ma bring Tories success but I a not sure that any at this time are believable considering when you look at why people voted for which party.
    My view says that as it stands the two main parties are evenly split in terms of the electorate. Labour needs a 6-7% lead to guarantee an overall majority in best case and tories it is a 4-5% lead.

    Now as it stands anything is possible but not everything is probable.

    So my view of the Events
    1. I think this is probable:, the EU is now producing growth acrss regions which have been suffering, This may have a knock on effect for the UK. Now he question is will it be seen as enough

    2. Ok my view of a successful brexit may not meet a leavers view but essentially let go for the cherry picking variety ( I think that the May may be able to get through a form of brexit which whilst not seen as an out and out win wlll be spun as such. it could be met with increased investment

    3. Liberal Democrat revival seems pretty distant, fi yu believe that the UK political landscape is going more two party politics.

    4.I don’t see the Anyone But Corbyn crowd ever getting a foothold when the Polls say 40%+ . the major argument against Corbyn was he was unelectable. Not one labour MP has opposed the manifesto.

    5. I think the party is torn on this which is will be the new battle between the left and the right of the party. i believe some are thinking there is ot much further you can push this. I just don’t think there is enough people or indeed that the they can sell enough change to stop the anti austerity vote going Labour.

    6 War, we could alway get roped into N korea or more Syria or we could just attack the EU.

    The point I am making is that the best opportunities for success for the Tories relies on the EU. Both require the EU basically looking favourably on the UK as a market. Does that depress the Labour vote possibly but no one is sell better growth than last year as a certainty and in any event more growth does not mean more disposable income because we have had growth since the GFE most quarters.

    In essence you are right for thing to change you need an event. but if nothing is forthcoming then in the short term I see nothing that the Tories can do to make them feel comfortable or make the polls look any different

    So i stand by the point that I do not see the Tories getting past 43% and I don’t see Labour getting past 43% either so it comes down to enthusiasm and turnout

  49. QUOTE (Cambridge Rachel) : “An islamaphobe, a white supremacist and a sexual predator walk into a bar. The barman says “What’ll it be Mr Trump?”

    Hahahahahahahahahaha…..that’s brilliant! I’m SO sharing that!

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