At midnight on Monday the Boundary Commissions release revised recommendations for the boundary review. A few notes to aid in understanding what it means.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, they are still pretty unlikely to happen. The Boundary Commissions are obliged by law to continue with the review, it doesn’t mean the government have the support to implement it. When the review produces its final recommendations next September the recommendations need to be approved by Parliament before coming into force. This would have been tricky for the Conservatives to do with a small majority (there were a few Tory MP threatening to rebel), it will be all the harder to do without a majority at all. They cannot currently rely upon the support of the DUP to push them through – the initial recommendations in Northern Ireland were very favourable to Sinn Fein, very unfavourable to the DUP, and the DUP were very critical of them. Of course, it’s possible the revised recommendations may be less offensive to the DUP, but we shall see – in that sense, probably the most interesting recommendations will be those for Ulster.

Two – this is not a new review, it’s a revised version of the one that started in the last Parliament. The current rules for the Boundary Commissions require them to deliver a review every five years, the fact that there has been an early election doesn’t affect this at all. The recommendations published today are based on the ones from last year, taking account of all the comments the Boundary Commissions recieved during their consultation period.

Three – they are still for 600 seats. There were reports in the press that the government were intending to scrap this review and start again with a new review based upon 650 seats. These reports have not been confirmed and at the moment the old 600 seat review is going ahead. Neither the Boundary Commissions or the government have the power to change the rules from 600 to 650 at will; it is set in law. If the government do want to change the rules and go back to a 650 seat review, they’ll need to get primary legislation through Parliament (and then the Boundary Commissions will have to start all over again).

Four – I will, as ever, seek to work out notional figures for what the 2017 election would have been on the proposed boundaries. That will, however, take a couple of days. I can tell you now that the changes will almost certainly favour the Conservatives, at least a little. This is not because the Boundary Commissions are partisan – they are resolutely and genuinely neutral. However, the pattern of population movement in Britain means that boundary reviews almost always favour the Conservatives. Generally speaking, the population in Northern inner cities (that tend to vote Labour) is falling relative to commuter areas in the South (that tend to vote Conservative). Therefore over time the electorate in the northern cities falls, the electorate in the home countries rises and we end up with Northern urban seats having lower electorates than Southern commuter ones. That means when boundary reviews take place, it tends to result in seats in northern cities being abolished and new seats in the south being created.

Fifth – MPs whose seats are “abolished” are not necessarily in any trouble. When boundary recommendations come out the first thing lots of people look for is big name MPs who appear to have lost their seats. It’s normally more complicated that that – parts of their seat will have gone into neighbouring seats and it will often be easily to work out a place for everyone to stand with a few retirements or peerages to help ease the way. While the reduction from 650 to 600 would make this review a little more challenging than usual, in the case of past reviews the vast majority of MPs who have seen their seats “abolished” have actually ended up staying on in a neighbouring seat. In short, Jeremy Corbyn is unlikely to struggle to find a Labour seat willing to take him.


1,017 Responses to “Some notes on tomorrow’s Boundary Review recommendations”

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  1. First!

  2. I still believe these changes are dead in the water and will be amazed if I’m proved wrong.

  3. Just as well that it is unlikely to go ahead, since adding the northern bit of Ayrshire to a constituency called “Renfrewshire West” would provoke peaceful demonstrations against the idea.

    Were Westminster to follow the example of their Spanish friends, of course, that would result in the organisers of such peaceful demonstrations being jailed.

  4. What’s the polling on whether people approve of this Boundary Review/seat change thing?

  5. I wonder what the effect of using the GE15 numbers rather than GE17 ones

  6. Also think that the idea that commuter belt seats of educated professionals will naturally lean Tory may no longer hold. I suspect a review that creates more of those seats and fewer post-industrial WWC seats is good news for Corbyn’s Labour.

  7. I can’t see this boundary/seat change being progressed given the current political situation.

    In other news, a new video has emerged of the current Tory Brexit negotiation talks.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/EL4JC/status/919961370514329600/video/1

  8. Can’t see it happening either, besides the data is out of date now. Since the information was compiled we have had the Brexit referendum, local elections and another General Election, where many more people joined the electoral role.
    But either way it will never get through the House of Commons

  9. A key element in constituency boundaries and representation should be, but probably is not, how well they represent rural and farming interests, especially in responding to expected changed market structures resulting from Brexit.. Regarding @ Chris Riley”s post on the AHDB’s report on Brexit in the last post,
    The opinions of people outside the industry are really not worth a spit but are listened to respectfully by farming and horticultural support or representative organisations, themselves an industry too much derived from and dependent on governmental and political sructures and interests – notably those stemming from the government’s and Mrs M’s response to Masstricht and what was seen primarily as trading opportunities with the EU, and specifically that of large scale marketing and related value added systems in the meat industry. The latter are inimical to the essentially regional and local basis of specialist and small and middle level beef and mutton farmers, and related dairy.
    The concept of the mixed enterprise farm was, I thought in the 1990’s when it was though up (faming families sleeping in the polytunnel while providng their bedrooms as B&B, always a false diversion from measures, essentially market and gvoernement-derived,for viable specialist farm production and related market structures. These included the District Council based meat,veterinary and health and safety services, destroyed rather than replicated in the ensuing regional and EU systems.
    While the majority of EU countries,most engaged in hobby farming and mixed farm/residential/non-farrming income systems, cheerfully manipulated EU systems including “subsidiarity”, Honest John UK multiplied their suppressive effect on its high intensity high-quality productive and viable farming systems, centuries in the making and supported by superlative training and advisory structures and science institutions.
    Structural funding to “equalise” farming and other elements of disparate economies, especially those of France and the southern European states of Spain,Italy and Greece, and then of the post-Soviet Eastern European states,have flown in the face of reality and of agricultural and market economics.
    NFU and AHDB, notably in respect of this AHDB report on the impact of Brexit, should rethink their policies and their sourcing of advice, notably in recognising who they serve and who supports them. They should look again at where they are deriving their policy ideas, notably, and notably in regard to the origin,, quality and purpose of the information on which their advice to the farming and horticultiral industries is based. It is properly that of those industries at every level, and of the British public,and not those of the government or of the EU, and not that of the current jacks in office or of any side in an argument over market interest and policies over Brexit, not directed to the interests and qualities of UK farming and horticulture and of its small, specialst, and – by comparison with the rest of British industry – highly efficient, productive and market-sensitive farmer-owners and market gardeners.

  10. In an article Peter Kellner looks at whether people are turning against Brexit.

    https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/blogs/peter-kellner/crunching-the-numbers-are-voters-really-turning-against-brexit

    In my opinion much depends on the positvity of the EU negotiations. There is talk of an accelerated process, but we should be getting to the stage now where the main issues have been resolved e.g divorce bill calculation method, Irish border, rights of EU citizens in UK/rights of UK citizens in EU. There is no reason why they have not reached agreement.

    I think it is quite possible that Theresa May agreed last night for the UK to pay whatever EU settlement figure is calculated and assessed as being valid to account for commitments. But the payment is based on both sides working together on an orderly Brexit, with an interim arrangement.

  11. @R HUCKLE
    In an article Peter Kellner looks at whether people are turning against Brexit.
    https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/blogs/peter-kellner/crunching-the-numbers-are-voters-really-turning-against-brexit

    Thnaks for that, could not read all the article, I suspect because it is on a subscription basis, but more of it is here
    http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2017/10/16/ex-yougov-president-peter-kellner-says-brexit-buyers-remorse-might-be-starting-particularly-amongst-c2des/
    ‘Last week’s poll has virtually identical figures for ABC1 voters (41 per cent right, 59 per cent wrong), but a seven-point shift among C2DE voters, to 56 per cent right, 44 per cent wrong. We cannot be absolutely certain that a seven-point shift is real: the margin of error in sub-samples is greater than for the sample as a whole. But when we look at the series of polls since the start of August, we see a steady decline in the proportion of C2DE voters saying Brexit was the right decision. (The detailed poll-by-poll figures can be viewed on YouGov’s website here) This feels more like a change in working-class attitudes than a sampling fluke; though whether it is lasting or temporary remains to be seen…”

  12. Don’t wish to re-open the can of worms (I suppose I do really) but the use of the ER rather than census was a bog advantage for the Tories and still will be helpful to them but not as much if the new 2017 register is used.

    Chances are it would be for a boundary review that actually gets implemented?

  13. http://www.politico.eu/article/mays-brexit-gambit-leaves-brussels-mystified/

    “May and her advisers sought to enlist Juncker and his top negotiator, Michel Barnier, as Britain’s new allies in Brussels.

    Two senior aides, who spoke to POLITICO on condition of anonymity, said the prime minister hoped to convince Juncker to press leaders of the EU27 to expand Barnier’s negotiating mandate and to help convince them May could not make any more concessions after her speech in Florence last month. It comes after her efforts to lobby French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to hit brick walls in Paris and Berlin this week.

    One U.K. official explained the goal of the dinner: “She doesn’t have any more room for manoever so they have to help create it for her.”

    But if May came to Brussels looking for Juncker to take a softer line, that approach left officials in the EU capital mystified. Even if Brussels is not quite “the enemy” as Chancellor Philip Hammond recently suggested, Juncker isn’t in much of a position to extend a helping hand.

    EU officials believe they have already created a path for May to secure a transition deal and start talks on the framework of a future trade relationship at the next European Council meeting — provided the divorce terms of Brexit are settled by December.”

    The Cabinet is divided. It agreed the terms of the Florence speech by May after some hours of deliberation and, apparently, changes to what was originally proposed. Now, it seems there is no more room for manoeuvre. If true, what now? There is little point from the EU perspective in continuing talks. The UK end point of having your cake and eating it never was possible and that remains the case. There is no indication that the UK can change position.

    The brexiters in the Cabinet can point to the folly of leaving the EU simply to continue to follow its regulations outside. The Remainers rightly fear the economic consequences of Brexit. The EU ref has not united the Conservative party. It has split it wide open. There will be more drift until December. What then?

  14. @ JIM JAM

    “bog advantage for the Tories”

    I suppose the saying is ‘ rubbish in rubbish out” or ” sh1t in sh1t out” would be relevant here.

    Given the typing error, perhaps the constituencies should also consider number of toilets on average per home. In poorer areas where queuing is the norm, you might have more demand on an MP, than say an MP for a seat where en suite bathrooms are considered essential to be able to live.

    I am not sure you can just arrange for constituences to be an average of approx 100k voters. If you are an MP for say Tower Hamlets or Toxeth Liverpool, you will face more issues than say Tonbridge or Truro.

    Personally, i have always favoured regional Government as a better system, where people are more connected to their local representatives. You can then have a smaller national Parliament, where they deal with the wider UK issues.

    Time to change the whole system, rather than tinker around with boundaries and number of MP’s ?

  15. Colin [previous thread]: PTRP

    I this article about the escalating gap between EU “Committments” & “Payments” you will note that commission spokesperson Jakub Adamowicz is reported as saying -“Some of the commitments are on paper only and can be written off.” !

    Presumably DD has asked Barnier for a line by line project list of RAL committments & a statement as to which are :-

    * Started already
    *Not yet started but cannot be “written off”
    * Not yet started but can be “written off”
    *”on paper only” and to be discounted.

    I would be asking him those questions.

    I have finally understood the significance of RAL in negotiating space. It is red meat or bait, for public consumption. It is included without itemisation and hidden behind an acronym in French, precisely to get the great unwashed brexiters wound up and to allow the UK an easy win in negotiations, by knocking tens of billions off the divorce bill. We were never meant to understand what RAL meant, we were only supposed to get angry about it in order to be assuaged.

    If the UK engaged with it, the UK could estimate how much it was, big it up to the public, knock it off the bill and big themselves up. But they have not, so Adamowicz is having to nudge DD in that direction, in the mean time giving the game away.

  16. New Tory policy people with only one toilet in their home cant vote.

  17. Splendid post from Ronald Olden last night on Brexit and an interesting one from Charles, otherwise nothing of interest IMO.

    Have a good day all.

  18. The Other Howard: Splendid post from Ronald Olden last night on Brexit and an interesting one from Charles, otherwise nothing of interest IMO.

    Have a good day all.

    And you too. See you tomorrow. Honestly, I think from here onwards, the content which you find interesting or splendid is going to diminish considerably.

    Unless these brexit promises start being realisable again.

  19. Neil J, R Huckle.

    Interesting observation by Kellner. On the info provided couldnt be certain it is true, but this suggests labour support is likely to be firming up with working class traditional labour supporters switching allegience to remain. So their support for remain and the left program is coming more into alignment, and labour has voters speaking more with one voice.

    Labour has more scope to be outspokenly remain, because it isnt going to upset any of its voters. Indeed, they are probably expecting labour to take a more remain stance.

  20. jim jam,
    “New Tory policy people with only one toilet in their home cant vote.”

    might have to extend that to two toilets.

  21. @Carfrew, exterminatingdalek Guymonde

    I thanked you and replied to you on the previous thread,

  22. From previous thread:

    @ BZ – thank you for the correction, back on full access so apologies for trying to simplify the maths and making an error.

    You had
    1. Accept HMG terms
    2. Join EEA
    3. Leave with no deal

    I thought we’d agreed that the new ref would be based on the EU offering us a Norway deal (ie EEA).
    However, no matter, I’d be totally fine with this approach IF the deal on offer is bad as EEA, IF parliament is the unable to agree on a decision and IF both parties then agree to throw the decision out to the public.

    That is a lot of IFs but I appreciate your input in clarifying the situation as Remain see it.

    If your #2 was supposed to say renegotiate to rejoin the EU and IF those terms had been pre agreed with EU then doesn’t change anything other than adding yet another stacked IF. If #1 was a Swiss+ deal then again, I’m in. Swiss++ was always my desired outcome but I’m trying to be realistic on what will be offered.

    Thanks again

    @ DANNY – do you know what a current account deficit is and the size of the UK one? Of course UK exporters will lose a little in a tariff regime but NET UK will benefit.
    Some caveats: you have to assume markets are not perfect (e.g. Mercedes will suck up most of the tariff as a cut on their profit margin rather than try and pass than on to the consumer). The critical part is then UK reacting to the change by reshoring some manufacturing, refocusing on domestic and continuing expansion in non-EU markets (which have been and still will be the biggest growth opportunities in or out of EU membership), etc. This is the issue Brexiteers have with Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore running the show. Mervyn King made salient points last night.
    UK businesses need clarity+optimism to invest and reprioritise with sufficient lead time to do so. Most businesses should have plans for various scenarios but will hold off until they get BOTH clarity and optimism. The govt needs to set the lead. As many Remain posters have commented Brexit is not the reason for many of our national problems. Low productivity from under investments has been hidden by lazy, false belief of EU level playing field and fiat money. Brexit should be the wake up call UK needs. I’ll avoid the lion roaring exaggeration – we simply need to wake up, stop being lazy and invest so we can improve productivity, etc. I’d trust business and the pursuit of taxed profit to be the ‘invisible hand’ as much as possible but a soft Keynesian nudge from Govt to free the investment backlog would help IMHO.

  23. TECHNICOLOR OCTOBER

    @” We were never meant to understand what RAL meant,”

    Eh ?

    Of course we were. We do. They do. EU’s Auditors do. Member States do.

    It is the result of the Commission’s efforts to spend more money than the Payments Budget allows-stretching unfunded project committments way into the future on the assumption that a future Budget round will pay for them.

    This “overdraft” has been growing-despite warnings by the EU Court of Auditors.

    The problem for EU is that Member States have been told they will be paid for those projects-some of which will have been started and/or completed already.

    This morning’s news seems to indicate they won’t move until we pay up on everything they ask for . May is playing the only card she has to get movement with-their Fiscal Black Hole.

  24. @TOH – “Splendid post from Ronald Olden last night on Brexit and an interesting one from Charles, otherwise nothing of interest IMO.”

    Personally, I find that observation somewhat saddening. This is why we are engaged in a dialogue of he deaf, by and large.

    I find many posts containing views opposing my own to be interesting, sometimes challenging, and worth reading. Indeed, I deliberately force myself sometimes to read, understand and digest articles and posts comletely counter to me views, as otherwise I feel I would be displaying an extreme form of arrogance – I am right and nothing could possibly change that.

  25. Sam,
    “There is no indication that the UK can change position.”

    Not sure about that. I read the politicalbetting piece, but it appared to be quoting leaks from the Uk side. They had leaked that May had no more room for manoeuvre. Gee, hardly a leak, more a restating of the official position.

    The official position is that if the UK is stubborn, the EU will give in. This has long been the official position, that a great deal will be achieved by persistence. I don’t believe it and never have, because the EU is a rules based system which gives preferential treatment to members, or it is nothing. Brexiteers don’t see the advantages of it (or they wouldnt be wanting to leave!), and cannot therefore see why its committed members would wish to maintain those rules and the advantages which they do see. So Brexiters are proceeding on a false premise by believing that rule change is possible. Instead, the EU side sees those rules as its great asset and to be jealously guarded.

    We shall reach the point when it becomes clear the EU will not compromise and the Uk must choose. Only at that point will we see whether May has more room to change position. Not until the bluff is played out will she do so.

  26. On the kellner article: Interesting, but contains a major judgement presented as a fact that we should beware of.

    In talking of a a hypothetical case of seeking to overturn the referendum, he says; “Not unless we see a run of polls showing “wrong” leading “right” by close to 60-40 per cent will Remainers have a strong case for citing public opinion as a reason to overturn the referendum result.”

    That’s just a personal judgement, and not a very logical one at that. %9/41 or 56/44 would each be pretty comprehensive cases to at least consider a second vote, if not write off the entire thing. Kellner is guilty of excessive statistical neatness in imagining that the mythical 60/40 point has any real significance.

    We may as well say the actual result doesn’t matter as it’s too close, but in terms of future actions, if we get to the point when polls collectively are even showing 51/49 against leaving, then we should not leave until the people have been formaly consulted. Otherwise we would be acting undemocratically.

  27. TREVOR WARNE

    @”The govt needs to set the lead.”

    Of course.

    But domestic industrial policy pails into insignificance compared with continued Brexit uncertainty.

    The reaction described in this article will be equally evident across other industrial & commercial sectors if we get to Q1 2018 without -at least-and agreed extra two years for transition.

    This article is about City jobs-the ones Merkel & Macron want-hence their response to May & DD.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/17/brexit-transition-city-jobs-london

  28. Colin: TECHNICOLOR OCTOBER

    @” We were never meant to understand what RAL meant,”

    Eh ?

    Of course we were. We do. They do. EU’s Auditors do. Member States do.
    Sorry, by ‘we’ I mean the wider public, was meant to get angry about it, what with not understanding it and it being a term in French

    It is the result of the Commission’s efforts to spend more money than the Payments Budget allows-stretching unfunded project committments way into the future on the assumption that a future Budget round will pay for them.

    This “overdraft” has been growing-despite warnings by the EU Court of Auditors.

    The problem for EU is that Member States have been told they will be paid for those projects-some of which will have been started and/or completed already.

    This morning’s news seems to indicate they won’t move until we pay up on everything they ask for . May is playing the only card she has to get movement with-their Fiscal Black Hole.

    I still say that the RAL is in there for the UK to negotiate away. You yourself quoted Adamowicz giving the fattest clue ever.

    But if the UK are not going to engage with the divorce settlement and want to wrap it all up in a settlement which covers the ongoing relationship, negotiations are not going to work.

  29. @ TO / COLIN – IMHO the choice has always been:

    1/ Pay whatever EU demand in order to move on – this is where you hear the 80-100bn numbers come in
    2/ Try and negotiate the number down originally planed via parallel talks but now it has to be during phase1 of talks in order to move to phase2. Say we end up with a formula method that we can estimate as being 50-60bn in phased payments.
    3/ Walk, pay the legal minimum of our contributions until 2020 then settle the outstanding legal minimum amount via courts (which court?). These are the lower estimates we hear in the 30-40bn range.

    NB above includes non-RAL items and the asset side but RAL does seem to be the issue getting most focus and concern and the biggest reason between the low and high estimates of the bill

    Broadly 1 = LAB, 2 = CON plan A, 3 = CON plan B

    I’m a little surprised people are so fixated by the money but polls show us that is the case so I’ve accepts #1 ain’t going to happen as it would be political suicide for CON, hence we are where we are. FWIW #2 is going to be a tough sell to CON voters as well!

    So the question is how do you accelerate a deadlock?

    Someone has to blink. Either EU Council accept ‘sufficient progress’ has been made (or will be by Dec) or UK have to cave in which IMHO is political suicide for CON and hence why I think #3 needs to be given far more focus. If EU see that as a serious option then we might still get #2.

    Now the ‘bill’ does drop by 10bnish per year in 2018, 2019 and 2020 so if we’d quietly agreed early on to make ongoing payments during the budget and transition period then people might not have noticed. However after the overly dramatic Florence speech, folks were very quick to read the transition period as costing 20bn and the only poll we saw after Florence showed 20bn was an issue for voters, especially CON voters.

    My optimistic ‘no deal’ outcome with regards to the bill is transition until 2021 with the net of RAL and our mostly unrealisable assets being very small at say 10bn and hence paid via the 2021 contribution. We then pay say 2bn/yr for projects we want to be part of and maybe people wouldn’t make a big deal about it??

    For me it was never about the money. However, polls show us people, especially CON voters, are very concerned about the bill settlement.

  30. @Technicolour October – I think @Colin is correct about the RAL and you are wrong, in terms of knowing what it covers and coming up with a number.

    However, I also think you are correct in the sense that it is a moveable feast and with a few agreed tweaks of the accounting assumptions the agreed number can be settled to enable both sides to ‘win’ something.

    As I have said before, from what I have seen of it, the rationale of the RAL is logically and morally correct. The UK has said it will fund certain things while we were EU members, and so we should fund these, even if we then leave.

    However, some of these committments are essentially unknowable. We have, for example, agreed to underwrite debts, such that in the event that the debtors fail to repay on the terms agreed, EU countries would have to cover the costs. If these debts are repaid, then there is no liability for the UK, but if they fall, then we have an obligation to pay up.

    It would be unfair for the UK to pay the full cost of this potential liability as part of the leaving bill, as it may turn out to not be a liability. It would be unfair to leave that liability ntirely with the EU27, as this is something the UK has promised to underwrite.

    The only logical answer is for UK to retain it’s liability and pay up in the future only if and when the liability is crystalized and a loss is made on the loan.

    Such a deal has many merits, as it keeps the actual leaving bill down and hides the liability. However, policing this in the future is the problem, and would almost certainly out us in the realms of the ECJ once again, as this comes down to a matter of overseeing the legalities of EU treaties.

    May’s and Davis have repeatedly said they will go beyond what we are legally required to pay and will also cover our moral obligations, which is what much of RAL is about, but it comes back to her overriding zeal in jettisoning any role for the ECJ. A satisfactory settlement of the bill should involve the UK in some form of future relationship with the EU to avoid once side or the other gaining an unfair advantage, and allowing the ECJ to arbitrate this would be the sensible way forward, in my view.

  31. Wallop – inflation up to 3%, a five year high.

  32. P.S. and for an optimistic deal (e.g. Swiss+ in furture), we could have paid say 5bn per year for a few years 2021-2025 perhaps to settle on a compromise of 50bnish.

  33. Trevor Warne,
    “do you know what a current account deficit is and the size of the UK one? Of course UK exporters will lose a little in a tariff regime but NET UK will benefit.”
    Rabobank seems to think Uk imports will fall, but exports fall even more. Obviously that is not sustainable for ever, but probably a state change where the deficit becomes unfinanceble is an even further worsening of our position which they have not included.

    “The critical part is then UK reacting to the change by reshoring some manufacturing”

    I posted an anecdote why this isnt going to happen. You assume ‘the UK reacting’, when in fact it is the German directors of a company operating in England, or the Japanese ones or French or…. None of these people care what happns to the UK and are not working to further UK interest in any way.

    “refocusing on domestic and continuing expansion in non-EU markets”
    But there is nothing stopping us doing this already. There are no new oportunities from Brexit, only increased difficulties because even our non EU trade relationships will have to be renegotiated. It is unlikely we will get new terms as good as the current ones.

    ” Low productivity from under investments has been hidden by lazy, false belief of EU level playing field and fiat money”
    No. The Uk has the same problem as Greece. The EU greatly benefitted both Greece and the Uk in trade and easy money. The Greeks blew the lot. We arent doing much better. But whereas they realise they have no alternative but to at least stay in the club which produced that wealth, we are trying to leave it.

    MInford, as I understand him, argues that the only way to fix Uk productivity is to give the economy such a negative shock we have no choice but to massively cut back our standard of living and increase productivity or starve. Whereas the EU approach is to create a protective bubble around the EU which boosts living standards for everyone inside it.

    The brexit approach is a race to adopt the lowest workplace standards, to compete with foreign nations on lowest wages and conditions and thereby boost ‘productivity’. I dont see this is desieable, we need to be less productive in thats sense. We need to drive up such standards, and that is exacty what the EU does. Within that bubble we do need to create an edge, but not by stark price competition.

    WTO is grinding to a halt as nations realise this. I doubt we will ever get a new formal position for the Uk adopted if it leaves the EU. The EU itself does not have an agreed position after 10 years of negotiations following the last accessions.

  34. Alec,
    “Kellner is guilty of excessive statistical neatness in imagining that the mythical 60/40 point has any real significance”

    Kellner might be interpreted as saying that a 52/48 result should never have been considered decisive in the first place.

  35. @ COLIN – I agree the need for clarity is probably higher than optimism and clearly the two are linked. My very serious concern is being ‘lost in transition’.

    If we end up with EEA then IMHO we will slow bleed the death of London anyway. Either EU tax on financial transactions or are inability to maximise the opportunity in the developing World will see NY, Singapore, Shanghai, etc take the global lead. I’m not bothered about a few jobs to Frankfurt or Dublin in the short-term as we could do with rebalancing our economy anyway – it’s the long-term that worries me.

    Services are very different to goods and require an equivalent regulatory regime and legal permission. A long drawn-out transition with no clear plan of the future would mean City firms enact their worst case plans and have nothing positive in the future to make them consider staying/expanding in the UK.

    Services are also very different than goods in that in the short-term EU need us more than we need them. We could take the financial hit if we had to but if Euro payments could no longer be cleared in UK then EU banks would fall and the whole EU project would be put at risk – the David and Goliath card! This is not a threat I’d like to see played out but was part of the basis of the original Lancaster House Plan B. EU are aware of this concern and hence a drawn out transition culminating in EEA would suit them perfectly – banks that do EU business will partially move to EU27 and they can put up the barriers to rWorld. If we don’t respond quickly with replacement revenue opportunities or incentives then London and hence the whole UK will see tax revenues slashed.

  36. COLIN – Hammond back in January:
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/15/philip-hammond-suggests-uk-outside-single-market-could-become-tax-haven

    and a +ve rumour for today:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/germany-drafts-outline-of-eu-u-k-ties-post-brexit-paper-shows

    Now no one obviously believes Germany = EU but even the most EUphiliac would acknowledge Germany are first amongst equals :)

  37. Alec

    Glad you read and enjoyed Ronald’s post last night. One of the few posts that make sense as we move towards leaving the EU IMO.

  38. P.S. RoI are already an offshore tax haven and, for now at least, staying in the EU – Hammond’s threat was probably a bluff but without that bluff we have nothing left to negotiate with other than money. Military bluff has has been called (and rightly so).

  39. “Kellner is guilty of excessive statistical neatness in imagining that the mythical 60/40 point has any real significance”

    Not entirely in my view.

    We are dealing with a situation where what Kellner is really talking about is at what point he thinks a succession of polls give political cover to one or other of the main parties to break ranks from the “respect the referendum result” mantra.

    I think he’s right that this needs a psychological tipping point that feels like a significant consensus and not merely a transient thing. Either party needs this cover of consensus to avoid tearing its current coalition at Westminster and in the country apart. 60/40 is such a psychological tipping point, arbitrary though that is.

    Incidentally, Kellner follows many in seeing that tipping point as tipping Labour. I am not convinced by this. If you game the scenarios, I don’t think it ever looks a better option for Labour to break ranks until and unless public opinion has moved so far that there’s really no choice for either party. Short of that, so long as they retain a vague “softer Brexit” position, they’re always better off just sitting on the Conservatives’ immediate flank in that regard.

    If I’m right, then it follows that the necessary tipping point is one that is so overwhelming that it forces the Conservatives collectively to change tack.

  40. Alec
    “Wallop – inflation up to 3%, a five year high.”

    Good news for those on state pensions then!

  41. @ DANNY – “the EU approach is to create a protective bubble around the EU which boosts living standards for everyone inside it”

    I’d disagree with the use of ‘everyone’ using our current account deficit v German current account surplus, dieselgate, etc as examples

    P.S. Minford is not PM!

  42. @TREVOR WARNE

    Services are also very different than goods in that in the short-term EU need us more than we need them.

    Why most financial companies are moving what they need to continue Euro clearing. It is just financial engineering. The money is not ours it is often the Europeans or others. wealth management is only in LOndon because of history and the internet means that it could be anywhere else. it is regulation, the english language and time zones which do most of the ‘work’

    I expect that a no deal will continue the travel of direction and indeed what you will see is more differentiated regulation to keep people locked in. before no one cared because the Uk was in the EU now the situation has changed.

    We need the the transition as much if not even more than the EU. The real good news is that the Euro exposure will not fall on the Uk if we lose that trade

    Lancaster House plan B was low taxes, but that does not mesh well with low productivity and low investment and a lack of access to markets especially with the UK unbalanced personal debt and housing market ready for a dip together with inflation up and wages rises falling behind.

    The UK will need to sell debt if they to embark on the changes that we need and we will be asking EU based managers and investors that we are a splendid opportunity to invest in over slovenia and Poland or Bulgaria.

    What is interesting is that 80% of our economy is services but it makes up only 50% of our exports yet manufacturing that makes up but 12% of our economy makes up the other half. Our big exporters are foreign owned (hence our falling FDI at the moment)

    Most of the Uk economy is mowing each other lawn and cutting each other hair and that is why we have a problem

    We can either die from death of a thousand cuts as it appears that we have been doing or as they say go large. it is what other did but it is not the British way and that is why we are worried about what I estimate is £30B in our share of RAL(of which most of which is a to paid all the way through to 2025 (so less than £6B a year if you include current account and transition)

    Yes you don’t care about the money but the UK electorate has been sold that this is what it is all about.

  43. @John Pilgrim

    I see you’ve reposted your thought-provoking agriculture piece from the previous thread, but thus far attracted no responses, so here’s mine (lightly amended) fpt:

    Your post on agriculture is interesting, if a little indigestible (pithier points and shorter sentences please, for us mere mortals!)

    As I understand them, your key points are:

    1. Trade bodies like NFU and AHDB reflect the govt/EU/agribusiness consensus and thus support the status quo. Their analysis and prescriptions should be viewed in that light.

    2. The best interests of British farming lie in promoting small and medium-sized mixed farms responding to local and regional demand, and should take into account democratic wishes (presumably landscape and habitat conservation, food quality, animal welfare etc)

    3. NFU, AHDB etc should move away from parroting establishment views and focus instead on the needs of more traditional farmers, aka “highly efficient, productive and market-sensitive farmer-owners and market gardeners.”

    Well, if I’ve summarised fairly, then I think many of us would be happy to see a return to a farming industry dominated by smaller, locally-focused mixed farms and market gardens.

    Whether we could, post-brexit, adopt that as a policy objective is worth debating. But I suspect the answer from most of the farming community would be, “can’t be done without big tariffs/small quotas on imports. And where will we find the workers?”

    Your suggested model would surely lead to much higher prices for consumers. Moreover, it’s directly contrary to the “global trader” model of our post-Brexit future.

    Put more bluntly, back to the future isn’t going to work.

  44. Trevor warne,
    “If we end up with EEA then IMHO we will slow bleed the death of London anyway.”

    You are not filling me with any confidence that the Uk has any choice except to remain a full member of the EU.

    ” If we don’t respond quickly with replacement revenue opportunities or incentives then London and hence the whole UK will see tax revenues slashed.”
    Thats just it – there are none. Brexit is a massive disincentive to base in the Uk. You just agreed this is the case.

    Its no good arguing the Uk can become a tax haven. It cannot. Tax havens only work on a small scale so they exist under the radar of big players. You cannot have a big player providing exceptional tax conditions. Either they all fall in line offering the same terms, or they take action against you.

    Peterw,
    ” I don’t think it ever looks a better option for Labour to break ranks until and unless public opinion has moved so far that there’s really no choice for either party.”

    I agree, but that isnt the same as saying simply calling for remain now would not be a viable option. Both sides want to coax as many leave back on board remain as possible before changing course.

    Its interesting that Labour are again setting the runing with another more remain statement recently, after the tories followed their last move in that direction.

    “Kellner follows many in seeing that tipping point as tipping Labour. I am not convinced by this”

    The article talked about social groups C2D changing sides. The division was 60/40, and in the context of a party needing to maintains its own support which might be only 40% or less anyway, there is scope to make that from either camp. Is this labour supporters moving remain, or conservative supporters moving remain?

  45. alec: @Technicolour October – I think @Colin is correct about the RAL and you are wrong, in terms of knowing what it covers and coming up with a number.

    However, I also think you are correct in the sense that it is a moveable feast and with a few agreed tweaks of the accounting assumptions the agreed number can be settled to enable both sides to ‘win’ something.

    It is not nice being told you are wrong, particularly when it comes to knowing what it covers. In actual fact, I am making no claim as to what it covers, just quoting Colin.

    I am only commenting on its role in negotiations.

  46. Somerjohn, John pilgrim,

    I am reminded of New Zealand lamb. That was an issue when we joined, the cheap foreign lamb we were importing. I seem to remember marketing campaigns based upon ‘buy british’, which come and go from time to time, but the german discount supermarkets seem to be growing market share.

    So I am sceptical the extent a slogan of local produce can offset the attraction of cheaper imports.

    The altenative is a system aimed at keeping food prices high and keeping out imports, which is what the EU does. The system was designed to help small farmers.

  47. TREVOR WARNE

    The example I gave on the previous thread was merely to show how STV/AV/IRV counts work. Until we get a court decision on EEA article 127 the wording for that option may be “Join EEA” or “Remain in EEA”, but the options were only chosen as examples.

    If, as someone on the previous thread opined, the E&W electorate cannot count beyond three, then a 4th option would be beyond them, but if most can manage counting to four then a “Re-join EU” or similar option could be added.

    Whether or not we have the right to rescind A50 unilaterally should probably be tested in the ECJ anyway, if only to inform other EU states whose natives become restive.

  48. @Trevor Warne
    Your speculation about using Euro clearing as a UK lever in the negotiations is nonsensical:
    – banks are busy developing contingency plans for exactly this event; I know, as I help to resource and manage two of them…
    – the decision point that closes the London Euro clearing market is an EU regulation; they will be able to suspend its application to the Euro clearing markets in the unlikely event that contingency plans are not far enough advanced to facilitate onshore Euro clearing
    – if the UK decided unilaterally to close the Euro clearing market on exit so as to damage the EU economy that would pretty much finish London as an international trading centre; London is trusted to a large part because the UK has NEVER done such a thing before.

    It’s a total red herring – the only thing the UK can do is to continue to prevaricate on a deal and drive thereby a larger proportion of London business overseas…

  49. @ DANNY – oh dear, dear DANNY. Yes, if we botch Brexit it will be a disaster, no one doubts that. The EU and hence Brexit are not the cause of UK’s worst problems and we can disagree whether EU helped or hindered. However, my point to COLIN (and others) was that a long transition with an unknown outcome that probably ends up as EEA is the worst possible outcome – a catastrophic disaster if it also brings in a far-left govt – IMHO.

    If I can be bothered I’ll repost the game theory concept later. The Greeks tried that game but failed as they under estimated the power dynamics and did not follow through on what was a much weaker hand than the UK has. May and EC are fully aware how Greece played out and May took on the challenge but seems to botching it – IMHO, something I expect you agree on just from a different perspective. I think DD is doing the best he can, but May+Hammond are letting him down.

    I wanted a fair divorce bill say 50bn, followed by a Swiss++ (or Canda+passporting) outcome with a Red Tory PM and believe that was achievable when I voted Leave and when May took over. My view on the likelihood of that scenario versus alternate outcomes has changed with events.

  50. TREVOR WARNE

    @”For me it was never about the money”

    Sadly-for both you & I-what matters is whether “its about the money” for EU-and it looks as though it is.

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