The ICM/Guardian poll today has topline figures of CON 41%(+1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 7%(-1). Fieldwork was Friday-Sunday, and changes are from ICM’s poll before the Labour conference. As with the polls at the weekend, there’s no significant change here. Theresa May’s conference speech obviously didn’t go as she would have hoped, but it doesn’t really appear to have changed levels of support: 17% of people told ICM her speech had improved their perception of her (mostly Tories who probably liked her anyway), 17% told ICM her speech had damaged their perceptions of her (mostly Labour supporters who probably didn’t like her anyway). Most said it made no difference.

ICM also asked about possible alternative leaders to Theresa May, underlining one of the problems the Conservatives have – in every named case (Johnson, Rudd, Hammond, Rees-Mogg, Patel and Green) people thought they would do worse than Theresa May would at the general election. The only person who the public thought would do better than May was a generic “someone quite young and able who is not currently in government”… which, of course, is a recipe for respondents to imagine an ideal candidate who may very well not exist, especially not among the select group of people with a reasonable chance of winning the leadership of the Conservative party.

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799 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 41, LAB 41, LDEM 7”

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  1. Badly worded polls?? Simple questions like ‘remain’ or ‘leave’ are often the only way to handle complex issues. Vote LAB or CON is similarly a complex issue. People have to interpret the complex and numerous components and decide on the overall ‘package’ appeal of the simple binary choices.

    “No deal is better than a bad deal” is very obviously May’s slogan, I seriously doubt people misconstrued that as ‘stay in EU’
    “Any deal is better than no deal” is fairly along the lines of Starmer/Corbyn’s approach although I’ll happily admit LAB HQ avoid clarity as best as possible to keep their options open and Remain voters onboard

    The poll didn’t have VI crossbreaks and seems to either have 0% for DK or somehow excluded those. I’ll happily concede Sky aren’t a BPC member and I’ll happily await a more credible polling company to ask these very simple kinds of question. Most polls we’ve been seeing for a long time suggest the public do not want to pay a large divorce bill, want to be free of ECJ, etc – ie people do not want a bad deal.
    OK, the poll agreed with my view but in late 2018, 641 MPs will vote on “deal” or “no deal” which might possibly trigger a new GE and hence be a de facto 2nd referendum. In that regard Corbyn’s views, when we get to hear them, are also very important – which is why I added that on. I think he is bluffing about wanting power before Brexit is settled so when he rules out a 2nd referendum that is important to hear – if we have a 2nd GE, it seems unlikely LAB would offer a 2nd referendum and hence merely take over the Leave negotiation, what that would do to their votes is for speculation.

    I hope DD passes Starmer’s open letter on to Barnier. The arrogance of the EU is clearly not working on turning UK main parties or public towards a 2nd referendum or other attempt to stay in the EU and IMHO I did think Barnier+co.s snub of the Florence offer was a mistake on their part. Hard core Remain will blame May+DD but IMHO the majority of voters will increasingly interpret DD’s approach as offering very fair terms and being snubbed by an arrogant EC.

    IMHO the EC’s approach is failing and if DD holds out they will blink first. If I was playing DD’s hand I’d offer just a little more in the next few months and continue to try and speak over Barnier directly to the EU Council members. With the knowledge that UK public would accept a ‘no deal’ outcome versus a ‘bad deal’ why would DD cave in?

    As always, if anyone has polls that show some groundswell of public opinion either demanding a 2nd ref or a desire to stop negotiations to leave and instead negotiate to revoke A50 and return then please post them or show that analysis.

    The Dec EU Council meeting will be the crunch date, plenty of time for well worded polls from BPC members so let’s see if polling co.s can come up with acceptable phrasing and see if the results are any different.

  2. Alec

    I have never got over the death of any of my dogs. I can remember the final day of each and every one. We always have chocolate labs and always have 2. That way when one goes the other is still there and we are then motivated to have another to stop the survivor from being lonely.
    Politics is politics but dogs are important.

  3. @Trevor Warne

    Are you honestly defending that poll wording?

  4. A Thomas and Alec

    I’m afraid you are both wrong (the example of Hungary).

    There is an ECJ decision against Hungary on accepting migrants. The Hungarian government publicly said that it accepts the decision (it has to because the EU subsidies are used to launder money), but that it will ignore it. Yes, it was done through proper channels.

    However, the question is relevant. The Archbishop of Esztergom (that is the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, and member of the Curia of Rome) said that accepting migrants is a sin as it supports people smugglers. The Hungarian PM publicly said that violence against legally accepted (that is, people recognised as fleeing for their life and given a refugee status) refugees is perfectly fine, and shows that Hungary is on the right track to perfecting democracy.

    Anyway, there is a quite large support for Orbán in Western Europe (after all, the German free democrats said that Germany should ignore the Geneva convention on refugees), and even the Spectator managed a rather positive article (well, writing a negative review on a negative book) on Orbán.

  5. Trevor.

    Labour’s policy has been for a long time that there will not be a second referendum seeking to reverse last years result. Furthermore, they will not seek a second referendum to re-join the EU as it currently operates as that would just be a second ‘ reversal’ ref in effect.

    What they have been clear about is the desire for continued membership of THE CU and SM through a transition period and then for membership of A CU (which could be a THE CU if sufficient changes are made to free movement, not clear about ECJ tbh but as a lawyer I expect Starmer would be clear about this when necessary.

  6. I wonder how may ‘Remain’ Voters are now acquiescent voters who still want though a close relationship (i.e. soft Brexit) with Europe and therefore are OK with Labours ostensible and declared positions.

    Or how may remain voters would move away from Labour (E&W) due to their not advocating a second ref?

    Will be some but I would guess not that many.

  7. SOMERJOHN

    Do you fly on your visits to NI? And if so don’t you need to show a passport to get on the flight?
    I ask because it’s a while since I’ve made any internal UK flights, but when I did it was always necessary to show ID, which in the absence of a UK ID card (or forces ID) meant a passport. Has this changed?

    To expand on some earlier replies, you normally need some form of photo-id to board a flight within the Common Travel Area, but it’s not a legal requirement and varies between airlines (and also varies as to what form of id each will accept). BA don’t seem to require it if you only have hand baggage, for example. Admittedly a lot of these checks are as much for the airlines’ benefit as anything – to make sure that passengers aren’t avoiding charges for name changes and so on.

    It’s also possible that you might need some id at the airport for security or on arrival for some sort of spot check – or at least id might be useful to avoid longer interview. Technically there may also be customs checks to/from the Republic of Ireland or the Channel Isles, though that tends to be harder to enforce as the Irish Times article I posted showed.

    ID doesn’t have to be a passport though, though that’s the one thing that seems to be universally accepted and some airlines are fussier than other (Ryanair are supposed to be bad).

    There has been some talk of similar requirements being imposed by ferry companies, but they are reluctant due to practicalities (a lot of passengers on ferries will be by car or coach). But again it’s possible there will be security checks. Of course if there is a statutory requirement to check, transport companies may be expecting such checks to be done by government employees.

    All this means that it’s usually wise to have some form of id with you when travelling, even if it’s not technically needed. During the Troubles it was a similar situation so it’s not even a recent situation. So the objections from the DUP to formal checks between NI and GB are more about symbolism than practicality. But then symbolism rather than practicality is what NI politics is about.

  8. @ SMILEYBEN – yes

    Please suggest better wording if you like. We don’t know what the ‘deal’ on offer will be but judging by EC’s approach we can make some guesses, which I expect is what anyone polled has also done.

    – the divorce bill will be viewed as too high
    – they will want ECJ jurisdiction on as much as possible

    Polls have been very clear on the high divorce bill element taken individually and fairly clear on ECJ. The ‘package’ question will either need a very detailed explanation or has to be made into a simple binary choice – such as the final vote on deal/no deal that we will get in parliament in late 2018. 641 MPs will decide how bad the deal is and also by then we should hopefully have some indication that ‘no deal’ is not a Farage ‘no deal’ but would include agreement on citizens rights (hopefully very soon), something on NI?, some short transition until at least end of 2020 budget period, etc – ie ‘no deal’ will probably sound better in late 2018 than it does today (IMHO)

  9. @ JIM JAM – Quite a few Remain folks I know are holding out for LAB minority govt with SNP C+S. They believe SNP will force LAB to have a much closer relationship with EU than LAB on their own – possibly even forcing a 2nd ref or permanent transition in THE CU and THE SM. SNP would probably be happy with EEA forever and Westminster paying a large divorce bill and say 4bn/year, Tom Watson liked that, but would Corbyn and how would LAB approach Brexit in a pre 2019 manifesto and snap election?

    Timing wise these Remain folks see this happening in mid-2018 when public are so disgusted with CON and DUP pact has broken down that the govt will fall and LAB will make their move. ideally LAB not being too high in the polls and needing SNP, or even better needing SNP and LDEM to form a pro-EU govt.

    It’s certainly possible. The important question is what terms would SNP demand for C+S and would Corbyn agree to them?

    The second question is what happens if we get past the deal/no deal vote and into an agreed transition, or no deal break with CON still in power? I think Nick Clegg spoke for the hard core Remain on that already.

  10. DANNY

    @”But my xample was a 1p share now trading at £10, a”

    Meaningless. The 1p could represent a company valued at £1 million pounds with 100 million ordinary shares in issue. -which is now a company valued at £10 million with 1 million shares in issue after a share consolidation scheme.

  11. Trevor,

    So, if Lab looked like winning would some Lab remain supports in Lab/Tory marginal seats vote Tory so increase Labs reliance on the rest of the rainbow?

    Doubt it very much so the only impact will be in Scotland and perhaps a few Lab/LD marginals.

  12. MARKW

    @” it is hard to deny his arguments about the relationships between capital, labour and power are at least thought provoking.”

    I’m really only interested in whether an economic system delivers prosperity , and in a reasonably equitable way.

    Economic theories ………….are just in books. They don’t actually help anyone in their real lives.

  13. PRINCES RACHEL

    @”Taking all the factors together I would say it’s not proved that capitalism is intrinsically better than communism but the evidence points that way.”

    On the evidence-I reach a different conclusion.

  14. @S Thomas – “Politics is politics but dogs are important.”

    Absolutely.

    That thing about having two of the same type etc. That’s what Donald trump does with his partners, except he only has one at a a time.

    Or so we’re told. :)

    @Somerjohn – it is a difficult thing, to have pets and know that at some point you’re going to have to make a really unpleasant decision.
    All I can relate is that for me, some time afterwards my stock memory of them stopped being them in their most recent aged state, but instead went back to a time when they were hoofing around beaches and climbing mountains with us.

    It was quite an unexpected mental process, but did get me back to enjoying the memories.

  15. Brexit negotiations proceedings as per my expectation. Deadlock on money, surprise, surprise, the EU is asking for unspecified sums, few if any with legal backing. and we have not budged. We would be mad to do so IMO.

    Labour horrified, again surprise surprise. I suggest Labour spell out exactly how much they would commit to the EU in £Billion to move the process forward. We could then watch the polls and see if the voters approve of Labour’s position? I suspect the chance of Labour doing that is zero but if I was the PM that’s what I would be asking Corbyn.

    Glad May slapped Hammond down, we should get on with preparing to leave without a deal.

    Back to the allotments, this is a very busy time of year Delighted with my carrots this year, the best ever. :-)

  16. ToH,

    Corbyn just says he does not have access to the books to make a calculation, what any LOO would say.

  17. What about if the Tories offered a second referendum in their manifesto? I would love to see the effect of that on overall VI!

  18. On Marxist economics and state socialism (long)

    Marc wrote previous little on economics in socialism (some in the Critique of the Gotha Programme, a few sentences here and there and a few pages on automation in the Grundrisse). In the Critique of the Erfurt Programme both Engels and Kautsky had a few sentences). Luxemburg under the pseudonym of Julius had a few passages. Ilyich in State and Revolution has some comments, but most of it comes from studying German state owned companies (among them the post office). Gramsci in the contexts of Fordism also had some passages.

    The first phase (November 1917 until the intervention) the Bolsheviks followed what they later reintroduced in 1921). Basically leaving everything as it was apart from banking and some strategic firms and the distribution of land (as they were in coalition with The SR)) The civil war required the extraction of all surplus and beyond. So, no market. This is called military communism. It never had any theoretical basis.

    However, it is difficult to abandon things, but it had to be: once the civil war was over the peasantry had enough of military communism, and there was disquiet among the working classes (trade union debate in 1920).

    The New Economic Policy (1921) was a largely (but not exclusively) short term political move (foreign investment, taxation, private property, entrepreneurship, etc). Although there were theoretical discussions (ABC of Communism is an example of it – it tried to make military communism a basic form. Bukharin, one of the authors, later became an advocate of using the markets more), but the New Economic Policy was defeated by the inability of the industry to provide sufficient amount of goods to the peasants for food, so by 1926 the experiment is over. There is a short attempt of collectivisation then, but abandoned due to lack of power.

    The decisive move is the first five year plan – based on what we call today a Keynesian economics, backed up by a powerful state apparatus. From the Gosplan debate of 1930, the national planning is based on input-output models.

    Stalin’s book (1952) The Economic Problems in building socialism is important. It recognises the laws of economics (against voluntarism), that the Soviet economy is a kind of market economy (wrapped up in terminology so it is not obvious), and an outlook to a completely different economic system (it’s only a few passages, but arguably the most extensive on a socialist economy).

    Khrushchev as he promised a significant increase in living standards, reduces (via market measures) investment and hence releases resources for consumption. Kossigin’s reforms try to create an institutional underpinning to increasing living standards while maintaining military expenditure. It also reintroduced Khosraschot – self-financing of enterprises.

    Essentially up to this point (late 1960s) what happened was the introduction a Fordist system in industry (constrained somewhat by the political requirement of full employment, although it wasn’t an issue in the Soviet Union due to the enormous losses in manpower – Labour turnover exceeded 20%), ensuring enough food for human consumption (but not animal fodder), and a variety of organisational form (conglomerates, diversified divisional firms, single product functional organisations and firms serving very local markets – the Soviet economy has never really overcome the geographic constraints). These firms were largely managed through market measures, and were allocated to different ministries (hence in a bureaucratic way) rather than by their economic connections.

    The whole Soviet economic history is about allocation of resources for investment and consumption in a more and more gigantic system through bureaucracy and markets. The only time when it wasn’t the problem: second half of the 1970s and the first few years of the 1980s – oil and gas material prices.

    In 1985 Gorbachev calls for uskarenie (acceleration) – huge amount of resources are put in investment – leading to inflation (parallel with the Dry Law depriving the state from revenue and creating the basis of private wealth) then in 1987 the perestroika which accelerates inflation (investment into consumption, social housing, social services). Not only the foreign debt starts to get out of control, but a number of capital-goods producing companies are switched to consumer goods manufacturing (for example, one of the aerospace-related manufacturer starts to produce refrigerators ). It is parallel with the liberalisation of foreign trade. Soviet goods are exported and then imported at a loss at national level.

    So, in general direction the Soviet economics followed a broad Keynesian (influenced by Polish economists) basis with strong political constraints (price ratios of products in the GDR followed the West German ones with a three-year lag). It achieved quite a bit in terms of industrialisation and living standards, but it was a catching up path (hence Khrushchev’s comment of overtaking the US), which as not enough resources (the Soviet Union had to subsidise the satellites, so they didn’t function as colonies) were available, was doomed.

    There is a possibility of a Marxist economics for socialism (Corbyn’s ideas are distinctly not Marxist), but it would be something evolving (beyond the key principles) – as Marx said: “I’m not making a cookery book for the kitchen of the future.” The question is the institutional and social structure of the collaboration of the direct producers ( we know it works within a firm, the question is the inter-firm, and firm-consumer relationship).

  19. Markets seem calm despite Barnier’s Brexit deadlock comments. Footsie 100 up 22 points, Footsie 250 up 83 points and £ is up against both the £ and the Euro.

    JIMJAM

    Of course but if I were May I would keep pressurising to get an answer. You dont need to see the books to give one. How much would he be prepared to pay to achieve Labours current position on Brexit?

  20. @Colin

    “Economic theories ………….are just in books. They don’t actually help anyone in their real lives.”

    ——-

    Nah, that’s just a blanket condemnation. Some theories in economics are unproven, but some aspects of economics are more robust.

    Various aspects of Marx’s analysis are borne out in real life and aren’t very con troverial. His proposed solutions, that is a different matter…

  21. Colin: Economic theories ………….are just in books. They don’t actually help anyone in their real lives.

    That’s like saying aerodynamic theorty is of no actual help to anyone travelling by plane. True. But you have to hope that the people who designed the plane understood the theory, and that the pilots know about stuff like stall recovery too.

    Likewise, understanding how economies work, and what is likely to be the effect of pulling the various levers available, is not a bad idea if you’re in charge (or even just commenting). Otherwise, it’s down to ‘common sense’ and gut instinct, which is probably not what you’d want your pilot to be relying on.

  22. TREVOR WARNE

    I’m sure Remain and Leave will be highly partisan on who to blame for talks not moving forward but in the LucidTalks poll info I sent y’day DUP voters would be fine with a hard border so without rewriting that whole post let’s really think about what path makes most sense, politically, for HMG!

    I didn’t comment on the poll you quoted because it was a blog post related to an old, post UK GE poll from the end of June, but on reflection you’re correct that their June 2017 – Post Elections Tracker Poll [17pp PDF] does have the border preference data starting at p12 of the PDF with []s showing weighted scores:

    Overall preferences:
    1. Special status for NI and Irish Sea border with UK [6083]
    2. UK leaves EU but remains in single market & customs union [6045]
    3. UK leaves EU, single market & customs union resulting in a hard border [4256]

    Unionist voters ONLY:
    1. UK leaves EU, single market & customs union resulting in a hard border [3828]
    2. UK leaves EU but remains in single market & customs union [3558]
    3. Special status for NI and Irish Sea border with UK [1221]

    Nationalist voters ONLY:
    1. Special status for NI and Irish Sea border with UK [3002]
    2. UK leaves EU but remains in single market & customs union [2194]
    3. UK leaves EU, single market & customs union resulting in a hard border [1266]

    Non-sectarian voters ONLY:
    1. UK leaves EU but remains in single market & customs union [1850]
    2. Special status for NI and Irish Sea border with UK [1820]
    3. UK leaves EU, single market & customs union resulting in a hard border [831]

    Bearing in mind that the overall preference for an Irish Sea border with UK is only very marginally ahead of the soft Brexit option and that the combined Unionist voters for remaining in the single market & customs union or having special status and an Irish Sea border outnumber their fellow Unionists who want a hard border, I think your analysis was somewhat flawed.

    In Westminster, the DUP are safe for now thanks to the plurality voting system, but even a slight reduction in their vote could lead to seat losses to the UUP or even sufficient splitting of the vote to let SF win extra seats. The DUP would also have to give up on the hope that power-sharing in Stormont is resumed.

    Unfortunately, the September LucidTalk poll [21pp PDF] didn’t cover EU issues, but it did have a number of indicators on issues which won’t be welcomed by the DUP, including

    1. DUP down 0.5% SF up 1.8%
    2. Same sex marriage: Overall 61% for 32% against; Unionists 37% for 56% against but Unionists aged 18 to 44 53% for 39% against, suggesting the DUP will have to make some concessions to their “youth” wing in the not too distant future.

    Of most interest, though, is the announcement at the end of the PDF, viz:

    THE NEXT LUCIDTALK NI-WIDE ‘TRACKER’ POLL WITH OUR NOW 10,000 MEMBER NORTHERN IRELAND (NI) REPRESENTATIVE ONLINE NI OPINION PANEL IS SCHEDULED FOR 20TH TO 23RD OCTOBER 2017 – COVERING: NI Border Poll, NI Border issues, EU, and Brexit issues. Full results will be published from 25th October.

    Let’s hope we have some clarity on who wants what come the end of this month.

  23. SOMERJOHN

    I responded -twice.

    But was moderated -twice.

  24. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2017/10/brexit-failing-because-its-being-negotiated-interests-conservative-party

    I think this article is correct that David Davis is negotiating on behalf of a minority of people i.e hardline Tory Brexiteers only.

    If Theresa May allows this to continue, then Parliament will block Brexit. John Bercow has already stated in a speech last night, that Parliament has the power to block Brexit, if they choose to do so. There are ways in which MP’s can vote against the Government to stop Brexit.

  25. TREVOR

    What evidence do you have to suggest the EU will blink first?
    What evidence do you have to suggest the British public will accept a no deal scenario?

  26. TREVOR WARNE
    “if anyone has polls that show some groundswell of public opinion either demanding a 2nd ref or a desire to stop negotiations to leave and instead negotiate to revoke A50 and return then please post them or show that analysis.”

    This is, Trevor, your “binary choice” argument: And leads you to:

    “People have to interpret the complex and numerous components and decide on the overall ‘package’ appeal of the simple binary choices.”
    Actually we don’t for the reason that they aren’t simple binary choices- anthing but.
    Not only were the choices in the EU referendum not simple or binary, they were also, in the information and explanations provided for them – particularly on the leave side – not true. They were porky pies, and grossly irresponsible.
    On their basis,and on that of the PM’s various statements, and those of her more convinced lieutenants, we will be on leaving the EU be more prosperous and our economy (measured by such factors as the value of the pound) would be stronger) .
    That was palpably unfounded on any evidence then and is palpably untrue now.
    One of the reasons that statement, and others, has no basis in proof or fact, is that your initial premise, that remaining in the EU or leaving it is a “simple binary choice”. It very clearly is not.
    The basis on which your subsequent argument is founded is nonsense, not for reasons of that discussion (which is a waste of time and space), but because of the one very clear fact in this debate ,around which you could establish a binary choice if you wish: that the effects of leaving the EU are unknown and are a very great risk to the economy of the country and of the well being of its people, The main issue is economic, and by any economic assessment the degree of risk and the unknown consequences are unacceptable. The choice of leaving should not have been put and, if the answer is still up for grabs, should be answered with a very clear no, and vey possibly that of impeachment of the politicians responsible for engineering and putting it.

  27. @MIKE PEARCE
    @TREVOR WARNE

    I believe the argument for the EU blinking first is that they believe the UK will pay the money they owe and that is both the RAL and the current count.

    I personally think you should consider the fact that the Germans are not the greatest in terms of fiscal transfers and that they will weigh the guarantees that the UK have not given against the fact that in the end germany looks weak. Secondly as with Switzerland and Greece the EU did not back down on principle. The payments is a matter of principle. Either we owe them money or we don’t. If the CoM believe we do then they will have no choice.

    I am of the view the UK really did believe the crap about BMWs wine and cheese and if that is so. I fear we will be some international court sorting the finances out some years down the line.

    I fear that the UK electorate will accept a no deal because it will never be compared with what a deal will be. it is again a hopeful future versus something sold as a the status quo. The fact is people views the eU as somethign that did not affect them, I would believe they will double down.

    it will be years before brexit will either be seen as a success or a failure and I alway say this is like Iraq.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/06/03/remembering-iraq/

    yes down the line we will not even remember what we voted for or even believed

    @JOHN PILGRIM

    You are arguing logically and are asking people to see your logic. They will not do so because they believe in their own logic

    People will vote for a hard brexit with the information they have because they believe in it and believe their logic is sound. However I will remind you so did those that believed in invading Iraq and someones ‘logic’ (mine I hasten to add) lost that argument big time.

  28. PTRP
    Maybe you are right that that is how people will, hypothetically,behave if in fact faced with the choice.
    This is, however, a matter, as Bercow has indicated, for parliamentary scrutiny and choice. It is they that I. as a voter, expect to logically read the evidence and to make a decision which present voting behaviour and debate indicates will be to reject any outcome of the Brexit negotiations and to revoke Article50.

  29. @R HUCKLE
    “If Theresa May allows this to continue, then Parliament will block Brexit. John Bercow has already stated in a speech last night, that Parliament has the power to block Brexit, if they choose to do so. There are ways in which MP’s can vote against the Government to stop Brexit.”

    It was a good speech and a wide ranging Q&A and Bercow certainly said they had the constitutional right to try. Which, however much it might attract some screams from the swivel-eyed end of the right wing tabloids is about as controversial as suggesting next month is November.

    What he didn’t really explore is how it might do so. And this is where the nature of that vaguely promised “vote at the end of the process” becomes key.

    The Government needs Parliament for confidence, supply and primary legislation. If Parliament withholds those, the business of government cannot continue indefinitely (and in the case of confidence cannot continue at all). But Parliament’s power is essentially negative. It is the power to stop Government.

    To proceed as it intends the Government certainly needs Parliament to pass its Withdrawal Bill. But the consequence for Brexit if Parliament does not remains unclear.

    I would expect the Government to fall, in which case Brexit is thrown back to the electorate. But it’s not, yet, stopped.

    If the Government doesn’t fall but merely presses on, or the election fails to resolve things clearly in time for a political resolution by March 2019, we’re then off to the Supreme Court and the CJEU again to determine what happens if nothing happens as it were.

    If Parliament passes the Withdrawal Bill though, as the Government will be hoping it will do long before things come to a head, it has seriously hobbled itself in my view.

    The Government has its enabling legislation. And the Government’s intention to offer only a symbolic vote is foreshadowed by its refusal to allow an amendment guaranteeing a binding one in the Article 50 legislation.

    Parliament’s only weapon now is it’s nuclear option of withholding confidence. But again, Brexit is then just thrown back to the electorate but not yet stopped.

    So Parliament’s power, as such, to stop Brexit, when the Government doesn’t wish it, is limited.

    For now it can deny the Government its repeal bill, and send us to the courts to resolve what happens then. After that’s passed, if it is, it’s reduced to bringing the Government down in the hope a new one is elected committed to reverse the process. The main party currently committed to that is polling around 7%.

    You don’t just need a desire, you need a mechanism. That’s what Parliament is short off, especially once the primary legislation is passed.

  30. Alec: my stock memory of them stopped being them in their most recent aged state, but instead went back to a time when they were hoofing around beaches and climbing mountains with us.

    It was quite an unexpected mental process, but did get me back to enjoying the memories.

    That’s a good thought. Thanks. It’s tough to know what’s for the best when an old dog is mentally fine, as responsive and affectionate as ever, and in no apparent discomfort, but is failing physically and needs a lot of help. The standard vet advice seems to be, “he’ll let you know when he’s had enough.” I hope that’s right and we have a while yet.

  31. Re dogs: the saddest thing is that they are in so many ways like a child in it’s very early years – but for their entire lives.

    There is close to nothing that they can do for themselves as domesticated pets. From feeding, to opening the door to go out, to knowing what to do when they are unwell, absolutely everything has to be done for them.

    So they fulfil a natural, human need to nurture. Yet, unlike our children, where the natural way of things is that we will die before them, suddenly the opposite is the case – even for someone of my own age it is still likely that my girls will die before me.

    I think that knowledge lends a special poignancy and depth to the love many of us feel for our pets and a real awareness of each and every moment being very precious.

    I’m not suggesting that is in my mind every moment but I think it is certainly always there in the background.

  32. Just back from Pitlochry, where I saw a good production of Barrie’s “Mary Rose”.

    The theme, whereby an island had the capability of stealing some people away from the real world, and turning them into ghosts seemed rather apposite for some inhabitants of both the islands of GB and of Ireland. :-)

  33. PTRP

    @”both the RAL and the current count.”

    We have agreed the latter.

    It is the former they are worried about. You don’t need to be a skilled decoder of Barnier’s remarks to understand that EU’s “forward committments” black hole is what they are worried about :-

    “We are, therefore, at a deadlock on this question. This is extremely worrying for European taxpayers and those who benefit from EU policies.”
    “This is not about making “concessions” on the thousands of investment projects and the men and women involved in them in Europe.”

    Michel Barnier
    12. 10. 2017

    ie:-Member States don’t want to drop these projects-and they don’t want to pay more to keep them alive.

  34. ON

    I spent the summer of ’59 in Pitlochry with my brother, Jon Croft**, who was just beginning a long career as an actor.

    It was a beautiful place and I have many happy memories of that time.

    ** http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0188474/

  35. Colin
    A friend of mine is a professor of Economic History at a Russel Group University. He. Is a ‘Marxiist’ in that he uses a Marxist critiique to analyse sources and evidence from times gone by. His specialism is the Middle Ages. It doesn’t mean he advocates the overthrow of the British state and will man the barricades as a means to this end.

    Honestly there is a difference.

    I defer to your knowledge and experience in accountancy but there are other realms of knowledge which may have passed you by ,

    Just sayin,

  36. For my money, we are exactly where both sides expected to find themselves. A deal seems highly likely, with the brinkmanship a much needed part of the show. The EU knows HMG is not serious about no deal, and will continue to feel like this until they see the compulsory purchase orders for the new customs posts going out.

    Clearly, an agreement on the money will be the first thing to unpick the logjam, but that’s coming. The EU aren’t completely daft, and so they haven’t named a figure – only that the method of calculation needs to be agreed. Plenty of wriggle room there, with the main advantage that UK voters won’t see a definitive figures until after everything is settled and agreed, so polls suggesting X% of voters won’t agree to pay more than £Y are typically pointless – the entire EU approach has been constructed to avoid naming a sum. Personally, I don’t believe we’ll actually know the real cost even as we leave, as it’s likely to be constructed in such a way to avoid a definitive sum, especially as we’ll almost certainly be making regular ongoing payments for all manner of things as part of the deal.

    Like I said at the time, I also feel that Davis made a major mistake back in August (I think) when he attempted to deconstruct the legal basis of the EU’s payments list, before then saying that the UK would go beyond the legal requirements and cover cost that we are morally obliged to cover, even if these aren’t legally enforceable. This told the EU that we weren’t serious about the legal arguments and the talks would simply come down to an armwrestle about the final number. This is now where we are at.

    By December I strongly suspect the UK will have signalled acceptance of another tranche of budget headings that we will pay, which won’t completely settle the money issue, but will give the EU enough to agree to start trade talks. This is in the EU’s interest, as they will use the rest of their budget payment list as leverage in the trade talks. Each trade concession we want will be eased by UK accepting something else on the money list.

    The longer the deadlock goes on, the worse it is for the hardliners. The time pressure is on the UK, not the EU, and the hard Brexiters worst nightmare is to see the reaction of business if they believe a no deal is genuinely on the cards. It really won’t take many examples of relocations for panic to set in, and that is the point when hasty concessions are made and many of the things that the hardcore leavers despise will get baked into the deal.

    We will see how the future unfolds, but I sense a deal is getting closer by the day.

  37. Paul Croft

    So you will remember the old “tent” theatre (as I do) = affectionately, but with a memory of finding it hard to hear all the words if a gale was blowing!

    Sybaritic luxury now!

  38. Alec

    I think your analysis at 10:47 is pretty accurate as to where the UK will end up.

    As to our “pre-theatre” discussion on energy –

    Thanks for the response – though you do make the error of assuming that because I’m a member of the SNP, I automatically subscribe to all the ideas of indy supporters!

    At no point, did I argue that electrical energy would be a great export industry for Scotland, so your making that suggestion was a bit inappropriate!

    My point was the much simpler one [1] that most of the electricity produced within a given area [2] is consumed there and that the relevant transmission costs should reflect that – hence no state ordered subsidy (paid by all GB consumers) should be required to encourage generation in SE England.

    Transmission costs are part of the overall costs of delivering a product to the consumer.

    At the end of the day, energy remains energy. If Icelandic geo-thermal or Norwegian hydro-power electricity is sent to Scotland (to meet excess demand over local supply) then it might be cheaper/more expensive for us to buy that than nuclear from England/France or solar from North Africa?

    Having an extensive array of inter-connectors between different regions of the world makes a lot of sense to allow tapping into external supply sources when local demand exceeds supply – after all, that’s what the “British Nationalist” (sorry, but that’s the appropriate response to your assumption) National Grid is designed to do.

    So, in essence, my suggestion is that the 20th century concept of a National Grid to deliver power from large power stations to the population centres of SE England may be past its sell-by date.

    A grid encompassing all of Europe, North Africa and the North Atlantic makes a lot of sense, and it shouldn’t be too hard to calculate from where the energy enters the system and where its equivalent is extracted.

    [1] If I have misunderstood the GB system, then you will naturally correct me!

    [2] “Given areas” will be politically determined. BritNats will favour a GB system. Others may favour a more decentralised pricing (though not operating) structure.

    Orcadians may prefer to continue with their policy of using their considerable excess energy through hydrogen storage to power their ferries during the day, as well as overnight.

    If there is space along the Thames when Westminster has to store Trident there, they could build power stations there instead of banks.:-)

  39. @Oldnat – we’ll see on Brexit I guess.

    “Thanks for the response – though you do make the error of assuming that because I’m a member of the SNP, I automatically subscribe to all the ideas of indy supporters!”

    I didn’t, although I accept it might have been easy to read it that way. While I was replying to you, I was deliberately talking about some independence supporters and the SNP, without assuming you would fall into either of those categories.

    On the energy market, one of the problems with parts of Scotland is that the energy isn’t consumed locally, which really is the transmission issue.

  40. The Other Howard: Markets seem calm despite Barnier’s Brexit deadlock comments. Footsie 100 up 22 points, Footsie 250 up 83 points and £ is up against both the £ and the Euro.
    That is the Brexit promises funded then. Just wait until the £ is 1.35 to the £ and with a float of £1 Billion, recycled through the markets every week, there is our £350 million a week for the health service.

    We can afford to be nice to the German car makers and tell them they can stop hammering on Merkel’s door, we just change our £’s for enough £’s to buy the cars and there will be money left over after the tariffs are paid.

  41. Alec

    Fair enough – though responding to an individual as if they werer simply part of a larger group, with whom you disagree, would be a fairly good example of “inppropriate”!

    Of course “parts of Scotland” (as well as many other areas) produce more electrical energy than they currently need – hence my Orcadian comment (I assumed you knew of it) –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-41257407

    Of course, the EU is far more understanding of the needs of start-up costs than the (semi)insular “UK” Government!

    It’s also why I said that the “given areas” would be politically determined.

    Under current arrangements, it should not surprise anyone that the needs of the majority in the UK (especially when they contain a large percentage of those voting for the current Government party) dominate the decision making process in Whitehall/Westminster

  42. @Somerjohn (7:20)
    “Likewise, understanding how economies work, and what is likely to be the effect of pulling the various levers available, is not a bad idea if you’re in charge (or even just commenting). Otherwise, it’s down to ‘common sense’ and gut instinct, which is probably not what you’d want your pilot to be relying on.”

    The problem with that statement is that economics is not an exact science. Virtually all the experts predicted immediate economic collapse if the UK voted for Brexit. The common sense position was that there might be a bit of turmoil but not much would really change. Which approach was more right?

    @John Pilgrim (8:21)
    “The main issue is economic, ”

    I think this is the main difference between Remainers and Leavers. Remainers tend to see the whole thing in terms of economics. Leavers have other concerns such as sovereignty and immigration control and are prepared for a bit of economic hardship if that’s what it takes.

    (9:02)
    ” It is they that I. as a voter, expect to logically read the evidence and to make a decision which present voting behaviour and debate indicates will be to reject any outcome of the Brexit negotiations and to revoke Article50.”

    You have a higher opinion of MPs than I do. Party and personal interest will take precedence for most of them over logic. Most of those in areas that voted Remain will reject any deal and those in Leave areas will accept it. If most of a particular party’s MPs vote against the will of the people as expressed in the referendum, they will suffer badly in any GE.

    G’night all.

  43. I see the London Press are reporting that Ministers are in talks about commissioning new Royal Yacht Britannia for post-Brexit Britain”.

    Seems rather unnecessary. They could just buy the paddle-steamer the “Waverley” and use that. It’s got more than enough room to showcase “all that is good about Britain”.

  44. Lib Dem position on Brexit proving popular in some parts of the country. Council seat taken from the Tories.

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    27m
    Oxhey Hall & Harling (Three Rivers) result:

    LDEM: 41.3% (+18.5)
    CON: 28.3% (-8.4)
    LAB: 26.3% (+4.4)
    UKIP: 2.2% (-16.4)
    GRN: 1.9% (+1.9)

  45. R Huckle

    Inevitably, Brexit dominates discussion among political geeks on here, but it is probably unusual to find a council ward in England, where it so totally dominated the discussion that the LD argument won through.

    I look forward to your posting the evidence that the LD position on the EU was the critical (or any, for that matter) factor.

  46. Sure is good LD result but how do can we judge if Brexit position was a factor?

  47. OLD NAT
    Would you clarify two aspects of the electrical energy generation/transmission debate on which my assumptions – possibly wrong or irrelevant – are: 1) that the main or major cost of transmission is the initial civil structure, and 2) that in some forms of generation the relative cheapness of generation in country A outweighs the cost of transmission to country B.
    This is so in the generation of hydroelectric power in Laos (in the upper reaches of the Mekong tributary system and its sale and transmission to Thailand and Vietnam (e.g. the generation and supply of seven dams, including Xekhaman 1 & 4 and Xekong 3 Upper and Lower, and transmission via the Hatxan to Pleiku 500 KVA Transmission Line,, supplying a major part of the future power needs of southern Vietnam.
    Does the same equation occur in the case of Icelandic geo-thermal or Norwegian hydro-power electricity supply to Scotland?

    PETE B
    “I think this is the main difference between Remainers and Leavers. Remainers tend to see the whole thing in terms of economics. Leavers have other concerns such as sovereignty and immigration control and are prepared for a bit of economic hardship if that’s what it takes”
    The difference is that the belief of the latter may be largely delusional (e.g. on any reduction of migration or of its need in the UK economy) and based on consciously false argument in the Leave campaign – now fading as the reality emerges. And, no, I don’t accept that Remainers tend to see the whole thing in terms of economics, for example, in respect of Barnier’s concern for the damage to investment projects with substantial social impact of the failure of the UK to make promised investments. Remainers do tend to give a damn about poverty in southern Europe or in the former Soviet E.European and Baltic countries.

  48. JIM JAM
    “Sure is a good LD result but.how do can we judge if Brexit position was a factor?”
    Yes, damn. That’s going to keep me awake.

  49. R HUCKLE

    Lib Dem position on Brexit proving popular in some parts of the country. Council seat taken from the Tories.
    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    27m
    Oxhey Hall & Harling (Three Rivers) result:
    LDEM: 41.3% (+18.5)
    CON: 28.3% (-8.4)
    LAB: 26.3% (+4.4)
    UKIP: 2.2% (-16.4)
    GRN: 1.9% (+1.9)

    Except if you look at Andrew Teale’s preview on exactly the same site:

    https://britainelects.com/2017/10/11/previews-12-oct-2017/

    you can see that the Lib Dems won the same ward in May 2016 (before the EU Ref) by an even bigger margin – so maybe the Lib Dem position is unpopular. Or just maybe local elections (and especially local by-elections) are even less influenced by Brexit than the rest of elections.

  50. Any question in a poll where one answer has bad in it will obviously skew the result.
    The neutral question would be –
    Do you support a deal or no deal.

    Would be interesting to see what the result would the be.

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