The quiet summer rolls on – for once we have a proper silly season with barely any domestic political news. I’m off for the next week, so won’t be updating even if there are any chunky polls to write about. In the meantime Opinium released their regular voting intention poll last night, which continued to show a small Labour lead – CON 40%, LAB 43%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 4%. Full tabs are here.


795 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 40, LAB 43, LDEM 6”

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  1. PASSTHEROCKPLEASE

    Many thanks for that detailed reply. That is a interesting take on things but clearly we disagree.

  2. @ANALYST

    Is not the devil in the negotiation

    If your opening positions are not far apart you can make progress quicker. if they are diametrically opposite then it is a lot of work to come to an agreement. As I pointed out to ALEC the polls are showing a core of leave voters doubling down on their vote may mean that the Tories have even less room to maneuver

  3. Labour set to emulate the Cons and split?

  4. @passtherockplease

    “Come on man, Labour tax policy and the SNP tax policy is different for higher earner.’

    So we are agreed that the income tax policy for the basic rate of Corbyn’s Labour and the SNP are the same? (Although SLab still proposes to increase the basic income tax paid by all by the 5% you favour although it did not gain them votes in the Scottish GE).

    There is a difference for high earners although perhaps not as much as you think (and the SNP have not raised the threshold for higher earners in Scotland as the UK Government did). SNP are rightly in my view cautious about being bolder on the higher rate of taxes only in Scotland as the SG does not have control of income tax on dividends which would be an obvious tax minimisation response for high earners if they did.

  5. SAM. Why would Labour split on this? I see their current stance as unifying.

  6. Labour’s move on the Single Market etc seems to me to be well calibrated politically especially as it will make the job of Tory party management in the Commons so much more difficult.

  7. @Alec

    How much the EU27 want us to remain, or remain in close cooperation, depends I suppose on whether what you might call the utilitarian argument trumps the idealistic one.

    I see the EU as a magnificent, hope-filled, idealistic project to create a continent based on a politics of co-operation and
    pursuit of mutual best interests, with nations willingly accepting some pooling of sovereignty to that end.

    Ridiculous, wishy-washy, empty-headed do-goodery is how many here will characterise that view. Wake up and smell the coffee, man, is what they say: that’s a bunch of sharks circling out there, not cuddly dolphins.

    But I think what we have largely failed to understand is just how powerful that idealistic underpinning of the EU is. The folk memory ‘over there’ is dominated by the horror, futility and idiocy of nationalism leading to internecine conflict: ‘over here’ the memory is of our finest hour. It’s a fundamental divide.

    So, will the utiitarian arguments for holding the UK close trump the idealistic ones for forging ahead with unity, freed of the foot-dragging UK?

    In the end, and in a supreme irony, the EU27 are probably in a much better position to have their cake and eat it than the UK. Post-brexit, they will be able to pick and choose those aspects of cooperation with the UK that are beneficial, including military and intelligence as you suggest, while freed of UK influence to the future direction of developing union.

    As an instinctive European I’m actually quite ambivalent about brexit.

  8. Mike Pearce

    Because it is unrealistic in the same way that the Cons position on Brexit is unrealistic. The Cons want to be in and out of the Single Market simultaneously. Labour wants to be in the Single Market and negotiate a new deal with the EU on immigration and freedom of movement. Why should that be possible?

  9. SAM

    That depends on what the deal would entail. Besides Labour are not the ones negotiating with the EU. I also think Labour’s position is evolving and eventually we may see a gradual move towards an anti Brexit stance particularly if public opinion is heading in that direction.

  10. Somerjohn

    I share your view. I think Brexit may well make the EU stronger. This year has seen the far right in the Netherlands and France defeated. The Eurozone is becoming stronger month by month and the 27 are unifying in their approach to Brexit.
    There are many Brexiteers who would take pleasure in seeing the EU fail. They will be disappointed.

  11. RMJ1:
    But aren’t you missing the biggest difference in the positions of the Conservative and Labour parties – namely that one is in government and the other isn’t?

    By analogy: if David Davis claims he can unicycle blindfold, and Keir Starmer says ‘Go on, let’s see it!’ only one of them would end up flat on their face, and nobody would suggest that Labour’s position on his ability to unicycle was the same as the Tories’.

  12. Ah, MIKE PEARCE makes the same point as me. Happened to post at the same time.

  13. cambridgerachel: My own personal feeling is that labour have shifted the Brexit position too soon. It’s being reported as a bigger shift that it is and although the shift isn’t running too far ahead of public opinion, the sense of the reporting makes this sound like a shift that is running a long way ahead of public opinion. I suspect that the real aim is to head off trouble at conference over this issue.
    I think that this is CR’s analysis damned with ToH’s seal of approval, but it is interesting if it is the right one that he agrees that Labour have shifted too soon rather than thinking they should not shift ….

    Overall, I think that this is a time for political leadership and that the LP should be stating positions ahead of public opinion. If anything the problem with Labour [and most of the rest] for a long while is that they seek to follow public opinion for fear of the media, which in turn end up with leadership by default.

  14. THE OTHER HOWARD

    @Paul Croft: “Whilst the usual suspects will say this news is of no significance and makes no difference at all, in reality it is and it will.”

    “Wrong again” ….. “it could of course”

    Ooo… it’s have yer cake and eat it time.

    Probably simpler to just agree that I *could* be wrong.

    {As could you of course,}

    However, given that it is the main political story at the moment it has clearly already demonstrated significance which, typically, is a predicator of discussion which often leads to situations evolving.

    Of course, none of us have a clue as to exactly what IS going to happen [especially our current government] so we can actually have no idea what “different” means either.

    So what I really mean is that last night’s announcement will quite certainly have an effect on the ongoing debate and the political balance.

  15. @Monochrome October:

    “Overall, I think that this is a time for political leadership and that the LP should be stating positions ahead of public opinion. If anything the problem with Labour [and most of the rest] for a long while is that they seek to follow public opinion for fear of the media, which in turn end up with leadership by default.”

    A particularly incisive statement! The old sayings about cometh the hour cometh the man and leadership being thrust upon them are, I think, apposite. There is a clear failing in leadership and has been for some years, what we have amongst most political leaders is “followship”, I believe Corbyn has bucked that trend to some extent and it may be that a change in the political tide is afoot. What I hope for is the emergence of those who enter politics because they believe that a particular way of doing things is better, rather than, which has been the case for 27 years or more, those who wish a nice long term career with a peerage at the end.
    This is a time when leadership matters and where someone being prepared to say “Alea iacta est” and cross the river rather than sit down and arrange a focus group on whether crossing the Rubicon will be popular.

  16. After the last election it was put about that SOMEBODY at the top of the Labour Party knew what they were doing, tactically.
    Not much sign over the Summer, but now, just as normal political life is about to resume in September, we have a perfectly crafted initiative.
    It hammers at the fault line in the parliamentary Tory party. Whether it is enough, remains to be seen. But it is clear that Labour has moved decisively.

  17. MIKE PEARCE

    “There are many Brexiteers who would take pleasure in seeing the EU fail.”

    Not me I am neutral on the EU, I don’t actually care one way or another about it, I just want us to leave it. How I feel about it in future depends on the result of the UK/EU negotiation. If the EU tries to harm the UK then it will be hated by millions of Britons, for several generations I would suggest.

    Whether you like it or not the EU is likely to fail, probably starting with the collapse of the Euro which many economists expect, unless the EU is reformed in major ways.

    Paul Croft

    Certainly there are several types of cake which I enjoy thank you Paul.

  18. @Somerjohn – I don’t disagree with your overall sentiment on EU idealism and contrary views here and there as to what it actually represents, but I think you are making the mistake of seeing the EU as a single entity.

    There have been many times when other EU members have been grateful for the UK presence. Many of the northern states, and significant chunks of the population elsewhere, share the UK’s fundamental reservations about the drive to single state style of EU. They rather like having the UK banging the drum for an alternative, less centralised and less unified structure. The battle between member states and the commission is a big battle, and the UK is very powerful in that.

    None of these points alters the difference in emotional views taken of the EU, but the key point is that we still have friends over there who would welcome us back. Even those less well disposed to the UK would welcome our money back.

  19. Alec: There have been many times when other EU members have been grateful for the UK presence.

    I agree there are differences, as clearly there must be in 27 different countries and electorates, but I was trying to sum up the general position.

    I also note that you used the past tense in referring to other EU members’ gratitude to the UK. There is also, of course, residual gratitude for our positive role further back.

    But what I was trying to get across is that I suspect much – if not all – of that residual gratitude has been squandered of late.

    What we need, of course, is a polling series on public perceptions of, and attitudes to, the UK in each of the other 27. I’m not aware of any such polling, but I’m pretty sure it would show a very significant trend. I fear we have burnt our boats.

  20. somerjohn

    I tend to agree. For the EU to be happy about us continuing as members, or members in all but name, they would probably need some sort of guarantee as to our future attitude.

    It’s very hard to see how we could convincingly offer anything like that.

    However, the critical thing would be just how amenable they are – now – to dealing with at least some elements of immigration/freedom of movement.

  21. Paul Croft,

    “However, the critical thing would be just how amenable they are – now – to dealing with at least some elements of immigration/freedom of movement.”

    Reciprocal; The UK can have the same level of access for Capital, Goods and services as it gives for Labour.

    If you don’t agree to freedom of movement for Labour then you can expect similar restrictions on the free movement of everything else.

    So the more we offer on free movement they more they will offer on free trade.

    But post Brexit no UK Government can offer much on Free movement.

    Peter.

  22. PeterCairns

    I was more thinking of how many EU countries may prefer at least some flexibility of freedom of movement themselves. There are problems connected with it which UK citizens are not alone in identifying.

  23. Paul Croft,

    Macron has called for reform of “Posting” and the EU will address this but it will be along the lines of meaning you can’t employ people in France on Bulgarian wages.

    I suspect the EU will continue to place it’s hope on convergence. closing the gap between East and West to reduce migration.

    The other factor is the unspoken pressure from the West of the EU on former Eastern block countries to “Get with the programme!”.

    That are happy to take EU funds and have their unemployed work in other wealthier EU states, to have EU manufacturers move to their countries, but seem to be back sliding on taking their share of refugees, cuts due to the ending of UK contributions and interference in the courts or press freedom.

    I think open talk about internal Labour movement is really a sot across the bows, a reminder that the EU isn’t a free ride.

    Peter.

  24. The convergence funds to Eastern Europe will start to dry out from 2020.

    There is a massive reorganisation of supply chains in the region is going on (of German companies), and so far only the Czechs and the Slovaks responded with policy measures (and to some degree Romania). Hungary and Poland continue with their tax reduction policy (while having their anti-multi rhetoric). This is quite important as The only reason for the Hungarian and Polish governments’ acceptance of the EU is that they can steal the subsidies. Once the subsidies go, there is not much impetus for EU membership ( partly because the Hungarian migrants who moved to Western Europe, and anti-government politically, and have no intention of returning) can only vote personally at the Embassy, while Hungarians in the neighbouring countries (except for Austrua) who are pro-government have postal votes. IT actually goes further. To renew a Hungarian passport in the UK takes five month, in Cluj two weeks). Hungary’s position is easier than Poland’s as Hungary can be more submissive to Putin more than Poland (next week Putin will become honorary citizen of Debrecen).

    The migrant issue is purely for domestic consumption. Nowhere in the world migration has such a high prominence among fears as in Hungary, while the country has a little more than 1,000 refugees, and the government sold several tens of thousands of “abode bonds” without any checks (well, it was commission based), which enables the person to move anywhere in the EU).

  25. Apologies – I don’t know what happened to the second paragraph, bits that I deleted reappeared, and not that I added disappeared (copy and paste from word processing).

    Still, if one is really interested what’s going on East of Prague,it could be interesting (maybe).

  26. Somejohn,
    “As an instinctive European I’m actually quite ambivalent about brexit”

    I agree with you the upside of Brexit is much stronger for the EU than the UK. Not least if the Uk comes back in a few years with its tail between its legs because Brexit has failed.

    The Other Howard,
    ” If the EU tries to harm the UK then it will be hated by millions of Britons, for several generations I would suggest.”

    How exactly would it do this? The Uk has asked to leave, knowing exactly what terms the EU typically makes with third countries. Likely we shall end up with one of those (a la norway), or we shall reject them too. If we do, WTO terms beckon. All this was known as the only options on offer before the vote or negotiaions. If things end up with one of the expected outcomes, how could that be described as the EU trying to harm britain?

    If we end up with one of the known alternatives and it proves a very bad deal, I shall know precisely where the blame lies, which is with Nigel Farage and the others of the Leave campaign.

    If you think the EU are planning something else, please tell us what it is?

  27. How realistic is the Labour announcement about a transitional deal. First, it is meaningless unless Labour can manage to get the Cons out of office, install themselves and do a transitional deal before Brexit. If the Cons could be removed quickly then a transitional deal that would see the UK join the EEA might be done.

    What follows thereafter is unclear. To what does the transition lead? Politico reports that the UK could stay in the EEA though that is not certain. In the 4 years or so before leaving the transition there is a great opportunity for UKIP to rise again and take Labour votes. The Independent reports that there will be an attempt by Labour to negotiate a new deal on immigration and freedom of movement, The paper reports that critics say this is bound to fail. So it is. Such a bespoke deal would also place the UK as a third country and leave the NI / Ireland custom control problems in place. it is not going to look good for Labour to leave a transition position for something that is worse.

    If it really is the intention of the Labour party to stay in the EEA after Brexit why will it not say so now?

  28. Danny

    I’m not sure how the “If you don’t give us a good deal some of us will hate you” will affect negotiations. I’m pretty sure they the EU knows that a section of the UK hates them viscerally already.

    Does anyone hate Americans for placing protective trade practices in place? If the EU treats us like the rest of the world as some of us want, that includes a certain amount of protection of certain sectors deemed important to the EU27. If we voluntarily move from inside those protection to outside there is likely to be some impact.

    I don’t agree with the “for generations” either as pretty much positions are entrenched and if it all goes horribly wrong there will be a collective “told you so”. If the UK falls into WTO and it turns out to be terrible in the short term, remainers will blame leavers (and the conservatives for making a mess of things), not the EU.

    I suspect within a generation demographics will take care of themselves.

  29. Has anyone heard from Turk post-Harvey?

  30. CMJ
    Harvey is by no means ‘post’ as yet, according to the evening news.

  31. Regarding Harvey, I’m hearing there’s still 4-5 (!!) more days of heavy rain yet to come. Which is really something seeing as much of the city looks to be many feet underwater already. From what I’ve read, the extremity of this as a weather event are unprecedented in the US – even if the actual costs resulting from it turn out to not be.

  32. Is it believable that may would set a date for her standing down and wouldn’t that just weaken her further in the meantime?

  33. @CR

    Logic dictates that May will hang around until we leave the EU (anyone wanting to be the next PM knows it’s a poisoned chalice), but a new PM will want a decent run up the next GE to set their own stall out (one nothing to do with Brexit).

    Therefore before the 2019 conference season makes perfect sense.

  34. The Other Howard,
    “As I understand things Davis will ask Bernier for legal justification of any monetary demands.”

    Thats a curious thing to understand. However, surely it is irrelevant. I might be wrong, but i gather the arguments for UK payments are moral or obscure in terms of international treaty broken obligations comebacks. The main argument for paying up is if we dont, no further deal will be forthcoming.

    So is this just stalling? The Uk has to refuse to pay, agree to pay whats demanded or haggle.

    passtherockplease,
    ” let’s not forget the labour problem is that an overwhelming majority of labour voters voted remain but a good half of all their seats voted leave”

    That might be so, but 40% of voters is usually enough to win an election. That leaves 60% who might oppose your policy but are not united against you, or are still with you on balance despite this issue. Has anyone really quantified how solid labour’s position is likely to be even if they became adamantly remain? There are still remainers out there they have not captured.

    ” As I pointed out to ALEC the polls are showing a core of leave voters doubling down on their vote may mean that the Tories have even less room to maneuver”

    Not sure about this. Yes, the tories might clearly see they risk losing a lot of support if the go for soft Brexit, or even no Brexit. But if they also see a car crash economy in the case of no deal, then that too is a vote loser. And it might be even more a vote loser to their core support leaving aside Brexit. Brexit will be over in due corse so no one will be deciding their vote on leave/remain. But a disastrous outcome to negotiations could stick to the conservatives a long time.

  35. DANNY
    “40% of voters is usually enough to win an election. That leaves 60% who might oppose your policy but are not united against you, or are still with you on balance despite this issue..”

    This does not IMHO sufficiently take into account a recognition of and willingness or prefereence to leave to government decisions over specificities of remain, leave create a special or interim relationship, and to conduct the necessary research and consultation, with the EU or with the electorate, for that purpose. In that context the recognition also that Cameron in particular was culpable (and lacked judgement and statesmanship) a) in putting the question to a referendum, and b) in not ensuring sufficient time or public information and consultation to enable voting in the referendum to be an informed and genuinely democratic decision. The same issues continue to apply.

  36. DANNY
    “40% of voters is usually enough to win an election.”
    Do you want to tell T May that!

  37. Without reading back all of the comments, not sure this point has been made on Labours changed Brexit position.

    It is very helpful to Theresa May and cabinet colleagues who may support maintaining EU single market/customs area access as it is now, for at least a transitional period of a few years. With Labours changed position it allows Theresa May space to seek a more relaxed position, knowing that there is support in Parliament for this. It would not matter if hardline Tory Brexiteers were not happy.

    So i would argue that Labour in making this announcement have actually helped remove some of the political tensions on Brexit and could lead to a cross party Parliamentary position on a practical Brexit, which most MP’s could support. Of course SNP and Lib Dems would not do so. In regard to continued EU immigration during a transitional period, it was always going to require a transitionsal period, before stricter visa requirements could be implemented.

  38. @ALEC

    Thanks for the reply.

    II think that the problem with Brexit is that it is a slow burn problem. This is why I associate it with Iraq. remember when Baghdad fell, Remember Bush landing on a the carrier in a flight suit, remember Rumsfeld “stuff happens”, the slow realisation the shia, sunni, kurds dynamic, the disbanding of the civil service the dissolution of the Army the complete descent into violence.

    The problem is that they all happen too late to change the decisions made. Indeed each issue made doubling down the only decision that could be taken. Our initial set of decision means that we are left with a set of circumstances which are now viewed independently of that decision.

    It is seen as not fashionable to see the terrorism we have seen throughout europe as part of the decision we made in 2003. After all these are terrorists right.

    The EU referendum is in the same league, to my mind. Indeed even easier to sell since it has been sold as such for more than 40 years. Our narrative of second referendums are vote until we get the right answer, So here you have the first obstacle to reversing the decision. Tell me which government will argue after a referendum to leave the EU finding out that it would be an economic disaster will put itself in a position to opposing the ‘will of the people’. how do you demonstrate a change in the will of the people? You need a second referendum and hence demonstration of the big problems than surround leave/remain argument.

    I call this our mugabe moment ( one man one vote one generation )

    The problem is that at the moment to over turn brexit or to soften brexit in any manner would require a level of creativity that need the UK electorate, I do not see there being enough seats to do that. In that it would need a real cross party support and would a major gamble for the party leading it. I would have thought it would need something like a referendum accepting this is what brexit means since leaving the EU covers everything from joining the EEA/EFTA all the way through to WTO and working out a FTA bespoke customs union.

    My view is not that there is not going to be events that may prove that brexit is not a good decision I like you do not know although I would guess that there willbe it is just that they will too late to change the trajectory much if at all. The big decision was the vote to leave it unleashed a set of genies out of bottles which are now impossible to stuff back. The August 1 poll may be a level of bravado on the Leavers side but I think it is more deeper than we often give merit.

    I always say history repeats, because we never have our ancestors experience and more importantly the emotions of that experience. If given the choice now going back to 2003 would we have gone into Iraq? I would say undoubtedly no, were there a full set of warning about what could happen if we went in? Yes we had lot of information. Chirac told Blair that “Even if you win you have country that is three separate state ou will need to control which will torn by proxy wars and that was the best case scenario” Blair was said to have said that “Chaque doesn’t get it”

    it is not that your argument isn’t logical it is just it does not match the pattern of history.

  39. Does seem double standards, all the furore on here about the tuition pledge promise that Corbyn never actually made but very little about Theresa May’s promise in the last manifesto. In case people forgot it was to

    ‘legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders and listed companies will have to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay.’
    Also
    ‘ Boards should take account of the interests not just of shareholders but employees, suppliers and the wider community. To ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, we will change the law to ensure that listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director.’

    This is what is now being promised

    ‘Firms that face shareholder revolts over salaries and bonuses will be named on a new public register, Mrs May said.
    She also said firms could decide how workers are represented in boardrooms.’

    This is far short of their election manifesto, where is the outcry over the the lies told to the electorate?

  40. @SAM

    Scottish referendum and GE do not always translate indeed the GE2017 showed that people that want independence may not vote SNP

    The SNP vote share was 38% 7% below the traditional baseline for independence.

    So I do not feel that the comments I made was misinformed

  41. @HIRETON

    If you go back to my original point is that SNP success is pretty much reliant on central government giving them money since to raise the money themselves through taxation is risky.

    They have at the margin attempted to square this circle but in the end as a party their attempt have not met with success since these do not raise enough money to make a big enough difference.

    We could get in the weeds and argue the minutiae of policy but the SNP problem was that they are now down to 38% from their high water mark of 50% just 2 years ago. They have been eclipsed in terms of political orientation by both the LD and Labour on the left and Tories on the right. Indeed the Tories have shown themselves to be the master of reinvention in scotland. Scottish Tories would say they are social liberals (however it would be clear to note, that over half of tory MPs voted against the Gay marriage rights that their own Scottish leader now believes is under threat from DUP)

    In terms of numbers 4 seats (all won by the SNP) were decided by less than 100 votes)

    Simply put they are in a tough space, they are being outflanked because of their independence and pro EU stance by the Tories and I am not sure that goes away anytime soon and are now facing a challenge from Labour and the LD too

    Policy wise I think they have been timid and that has not helped and on top of that their record in government can be attacked, the are not the opposition any more.

  42. Peter Cairns SNP

    “But post Brexit no UK Government can offer much on Free movement.”

    Good to agree with you for once Peter.

    Danny”

    “If you think the EU are planning something else, please tell us what it is?”

    Happy to…………..

    I have seen no sign of any desire on the part of EU negotiators to actually negotiate. I suspect the plan is to give us no acceptable deal which will of course cause significant damage to the UK in the short term as well as substantial damage in the EU. I think they calculate that this is a price worth paying to prevent other defections by EU members. The people in the UK affected by the damage caused will be told repeatedly it is all the EU’s fault and no doubt this will cause anger and hatred which I suggest will last for generations. Even Somerjohn has agreed with that last sentence.

    In taking this approach I think the EU will have miscalculated badly. We start from a base of very low unemployment whereas in many EU countries unemployment is high especially amongst the young. Further increases in unemployment in the EU resulting from the fallout of no deal will put enormous strains on society in many countries in the EU. Add to that the significant loss of revenue to the EU itself which means those countries receiving support from the EU budget will receive less. It could be that the miscalculation is so bad that it actually initiates the slow breakup of the EU.

    The UK on the other hand is always at its best in adversity. I see us striking many new trade deals which I suspect are already being discussed in secret already. There are plenty of signs of support for trade deals with us from what I have read. I think we will recover and go on to much greater success both economically and as a World power. In the long term assuming they stick to their guns this will bring great benefit to the Conservatives while Labour will be seen rightly as the parties of reaction and decline and I say this despite not being a Conservative myself.

    That is just my opinion and of course and I could be wrong. Corbyn seems to have jumped into bed with Blair and the forces of reaction, which have always been strong might win out. In that case the gradual economic decline of the UK will accelerate, and as the EU breaks up which I believe is bound to happen eventually, we could be drawn into yet more European wars.

    Alan
    See my comments to Danny.

    Have a good day all, sun is shining down, watering and harvesting to do. Our tomatoes are so sweet and delicious this year, more than makes up for last years problems.

  43. R Huckle,
    “So i would argue that Labour in making this announcement have actually helped remove some of the political tensions on Brexit and could lead to a cross party Parliamentary position on a practical Brexit, which most MP’s could support.”

    The opposite argument has already been put, that tory hard leave will simply see such a move as remainers in labour and inside the conservative party as ganging up on them, making management of the conservative party more difficult and tory splits more likely. In that it helps tory remainers believe there would be labour support and a parliamentary majority for a softer line, it encourages them to refuse to cooperate with their hard brexit bretheren.

    So yes, there could be a parlimentary consensus but at the same time a public tory split.

    pastherockplease,
    “The problem is that at the moment to over turn brexit or to soften brexit in any manner would require a level of creativity…”

    Something like the good cop-bad cop, tories make patently awful proposals for leaving so public accepts mild slow steps by labour towards remain? The May-Corbyn plan for making Remain happen?

    “The big decision was the vote to leave it unleashed a set of genies out of bottles which are now impossible to stuff back.”

    What we shall need is successive politicians recanting Brexit. Boris first perhaps, then Rees-Mogg, then Nigel Farage saying he always did favour the ‘norway option’?

  44. I wonder who will be mentioning “climate change” to Trump?

  45. Hi Howard, nice to have some debate.

    “I have seen no sign of any desire on the part of EU negotiators to actually negotiate.”

    Well no, of course not. I do not see why anyone expects them to compromise, or ever has. The concept they would change their stated position was invented by leave and never suggested by anything said in recent times by the EU or by their past negotiations with anyone else. There is a firm menu of available options for relationships with the EU, but Leave and of late conservatives have argued it is possible to create a new option. I see no surprise if the EU does what it always has and which it said it would do. They are the ones keeping the rules we made.

    I dont think this has anything to do with discouraging anyone else from leaving. The EU is not a nation, it has no free will of its own and is bound by the rules agreed by the member states. It can only apply those rules, and in this case any departures would pretty much need unanimous agreement to change the EU. So it isnt going to happen, and never was.

    In the long term, I see the consequence of hard Brexit as any industries which rely upon the EU market relocating to the EU. This is a process already begun, because of high Uk labour costs, but it will accelerate. There will be a net benefit to the EU because of this relocation, while trade will continue if a little diminished.

    Luxury and premium goods purchases by either side will be unaffected, but we will face regulatory barriers to trading into the EU which we will be forced to comply with (so no sovereignty gains there). If we create such barriers against them, we will have to apply them to every country in the world, (WTO rules), which apparently we are not going to do. So tradewise, they have little to lose and a lot to gain.

    On the narrower question of UK budget contributions, I really have no idea where the truth lies about difficulties this might cause. I suspect that even if we remain members, the next round of budgeting would see the Uk demanding changes to funding, cutting our contributions, and therefore deadlock. Since the total amount isnt really significant in our national finances, we would probably agree to maintain spending, but expect something in return such as limits on freedom of movement. As a member, anything is possible to negotiate.

    ” I think we will recover and go on to much greater success both economically and as a World power. ”
    How? We have twice the GDP of Russia, they have 20% more military spending. Anyone proposing we up ours by 300% in line, which would be another £150bn a year? So military option probably out. Influence in our main market, the Eu, falling fast. Influence in rest of world, where they see a nation in trouble desperate for any kind of deal – doubt they will cave in first.

    “The UK on the other hand is always at its best in adversity.”
    Glad you recognise that adversity is what will happen. In two world wars there was a real cause to fight for, an obvious threat of invasion. It just aint gonna happen this time, and never was. There is no reason for brits to rally to a cause which is war we started over nothing. (and there was in fact a lot of oppostion to ‘rallying’ behind the two world wars)

    Re labour/con and corbyn, I had a quick look for income disparity figures and found a stat on the BBC for share of GDP going to top 1% of earners. Their graph had a steady fall from 1918 (when it began) to 1975 from 19% to 6%, but then it turned around and the top 1% started gaining steadily to 16% in 2005 (when the graph ended).

    I think this beautifully coincides with the change of national sentiment leading to Thatcher/Tory, but with the share going to the rich probably back around where it was in 1918, I see times as ripe for another rise of the labour party as happened then. ironically, this probably also caused people to vote Brexit in the mistaken belief that the EU was to blame rather than Uk tax policy.

  46. @ DANNY

    “What we shall need is successive politicians recanting Brexit. Boris first perhaps, then Rees-Mogg, then Nigel Farage saying he always did favour the ‘norway option’?”

    I am no proponent of damaging “hard Brexit”. In fact, beyond a few fundamentalists on the hard right and left of UK politics, I’m not sure who is,

    However, if we do follow the Norway option, we have to get a “good deal”. Simply settling for off the shelf EFTA is like being in the EU, but on the outside looking in. I think we will get a tailored EFTA membership, and some of the soundbites from the negotiations indicate that. But we must be confident that the significance of the UK as a market to the EU for so many of its products buys us huge leverage. There’s no need to be arrogant about, but it does.

    We will get a lot of control back with this options. On immigration, I’m strongly of the opinion that no extra additional controls are required, but that EU citizens must contribute for several years until they draw anything out. The employers of those EU citizens must also pay increased NI payments to cover medical care etc.

  47. Paul Croft.

    Quite although I doubt it will make the clown think again.

  48. @toh

    “I think they calculate that this is a price worth paying to prevent other defections by EU members.”

    Well “they” would have to think that other EU members were going to “defect”. Which other members do you think “they” are concerned are going to “defect” and what evidence do you have for that?

    And who do you think “they” are? The EU Council, Parliament or the Commission? Or some secret cabal?

  49. @passtherockplease

    “If you go back to my original point is that SNP success is pretty much reliant on central government giving them money since to raise the money themselves through taxation is risky.”

    Well you might just want to check what taxation a Scottish Government controls. It is the earned income element of income tax (excluding the personal allowance), what you would call stamp duty and, in the future, air passenger duty.

    It does not control income tax on savings and dividends, national insurance, capital gains tax, VAT, excise duties, corporation tax and other business taxes to name the most significant.

    So inevitably a Scottish Government will receive most of its funding from the UK Government as it is the latter which controls and collects by far the majority of tax receipts in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    “They have been eclipsed in terms of political orientation by both the LD and Labour on the left and Tories on the right.”

    I’m not sure what being “eclipsed in terms of political orientation” actually means. The modest recovery of the Unionist parties has mainly been through rallying the anti independence vote in tactical voting and more recently the anti-EU vote. The SNP have amongst other things proposed at UK level for continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union, introduction of PR in UK elections (Westminster elections are the only ones in Scotland now which use the so called FPTP system), abolition of the House of Lords, not renewing Trident, fiscal expansion, increased income tax for high earners, and major changes to Tory welfare policy.

  50. Paul C
    Trump is tweeting ‘Wow, it’s a one in 500 year event’. So he probably blames the Spanish for introducing horses to the Americas. They are Mexicans after all, sort of.

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