YouGov’s regular voting intention poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 41%(+1), LAB 42%(+1), LDEM 7%(-2). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Wednesday and changs are from early January.

The regular tracking question on “Bregret” finds 45% of respondents saying Britain was right to vote for Brexit, 44% think it was wrong. This is the first time YouGov have found more people saying right than wrong since last August, though I would caution against reading much into that. On average this question has been showing about 2% more people thinking it was the wrong decision than the right decision, but normal sample variation from poll to poll (the “margin of error”) means that with figures that close random chance alone should produce the occassional poll with “right” ahead, even if public opinion is actually unchanged. As ever, don’t get too excited over one poll, and wait to see if it is reflected in other polls.

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602 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 41, LAB 42, LD 7”

1 2 3 4 13

    Amusing looking back and seeing how many people predicting the likely result of a General Election some unknown time in the future were the ones predicting a Tory landslide last June. One thing we all should have learnt from that result is there are so many unknown factors that we simply don’t know. I’m predicting nothing.

    In fairness no-one is predicting anything. The figures are what GE may look like on the current figures, and of course these figures can change with events, in ways we don’t know.

    …were the ones predicting a Tory landslide last June.

    Also, for what it is worth, my projections running up to the last GE were for a tight result, and I was closer to the final result than most of the professional Pollsters.

  2. BBZ,

    Is not some lack of rigidity important for negotiating and that applies to HMG and the opposition neither of whom can have all their compromise options in the open?

    Re the young and Labour I agree but the problem is that SM and CU membership is not compatible with the referendum result as Pete W, myself and others keep pointing out.

    A clearer position on access via EEA or a bespoke arrangement would be important at some point but for now clearly being in favour of much closer post Brexit ties with the EU27 than the Conservatives is probably enough to keep these voters in the Labour column.

    As I said a week or so ago, the timing of a firmer position will depend imo on the nature and details of the transition/interim period.

  3. @Danny
    ” lets just theorise as if the numbers are precise (which is one possibility, after all)”
    That the numbers (predictions from a limited sample poll) have a very small chance of corresponding precisely to an actual electoral outcome does not make them precise.

  4. Despite what some posters, and the usual suspects in the media may say, there is no real evidence suggesting that an opposition need to have a large lead at this stage in a Parliament in order to win the next election, or at least to poll much more highly at the GE than at the 6th month mark. Blair was still ahead 6 months after the GE in 2005 but the Labour vote collapsed by 2010. Corbyn was well behind Cameron 6 months after the 2015 election, but polled way above that in the GE last year and narrowed the gap.
    One pattern you can discern from the past is that peak opposition leads tend to come in mid term, typically in Year 3 which would be the May 2020 local elections in the current Parliament.

    Nothing ever repeats itself completely and this could still be another short Parliament. However to assert that Corbyn must be further ahead now in order to win the next GE is IMHO just wishful thinking unsupported by the evidence.

    Finally, whilst I agree that there will be some local government wards (mainly those in previously Blue areas) where the collapse of UKIP is likely to help the Cons in the May 18 elections, this will not be the case in many areas. Whether we like it or not, much of the media focus this May will be on London where UKIP never broke through, and where there will be a straight fight between Lab-Con or in some leafy areas LibDem-Con, and if Mrs May has a good night in London that would certainly confound all current polls of opinion in our capital.

  5. Has no here been anything on whether there is preced not for being ills b inv so static?

    Is it that floating voters are now tied to particular parties by Brexit?

  6. Turk,
    “Polls show that Labour under Corbyn is probably at the top of its range”

    I dont understand how you derive that from the data?

    My take on the data is that as the tories have become more remainish they have improved slightly. but it is a very difficult position.

  7. Danny

    My assumption of Corbyn probably at the top of his ranged is based on my experiences of being involved in politics as a activist over a period of 40 odd years.
    During that period I have observed that the most successful political leaders have the ability to reach across narrow political lines and appeal to a broad spectrum of voters ,to enable them to do that successfully they have surrounded themselves with ministers that also have that skill.
    I see very little of that either in Corbyn or his front bench Labour have embarked on what I would consider to be a rather narrow form of socialism that has little appeal across the broad spectrum of voters.
    Corbyns appeal is among the younger more politically committed voter who are far more engaged in Corbyns view of socialism nothing wrong in that of course however he runs the very real risk of alienating Labours working class voter who rather like working class Tory voters don’t want revolution or a return to the 80’s rather they would like there taxes spent in running services efficiently and effectively not based on political dogma.
    For balance I would say the Tories face very similar problems and will have to bring in more centralist policies before the next GE however as much as May wishes she could do that Brexit and her weak self imposed political position is making that extremely difficult.

  8. @Jim Jam

    I fail to see why remaining in SM and/or CU fails to respect the referendum result. It was a close result anyway and none of this was spelt out, in fact rather the opposite, involving cake.

    On reselection: I was rather against it because of ‘plots’ but having just been peripherally part of council reselections I have developed a different view. I think incumbents should be subject to review for each term. However the Labour party process for reselection of councillors is inadequate for all sorts of reasons, not easily resolved. In my London Borough lazy councillors not respected by their peers have been reselected without serious challenge whilst some hard-working compassionate councillors have been deselected. None of this had anything discernible to do with politics (Momentum, despite making a lot of noise, were nowhere).
    In most cases, nobody had the first idea what the politics or capabilities of the candidates were (and in general they didn’t have to present or answer any questions). In any case, it’s cheap and easy to join the party so in theory closet Tories could take us over by stealth and in reality there are plenty of members who have little interest in politics but join as a favour to friends or relatives.

    I was told by one Momentum-aligned potential candidate (after he was eliminated) that he would vote for the worst Lab candidate on the basis hey would be easier to deselect next time. This felt a bit Back to the 80s


    I was interested in your experiences working in both the public and private sectors in IT. I’ve done the same, though I started in public and ended in private.

    I partly agree that the workers in my public sector area were less dynamic, on the whole, than their private sector counterparts. But I think this was partly due to the fact that public sector workers were often denigrated and certainly underpaid by the Thatcherite governments in power.

    When I joined the private sector I doubled my salary in quite short time and was encouraged by my employer to do well, rather than constantly criticised. My private sector pension is also miles better than my public sector one because both were based on fractions of salary, and the private sector salary was so much better.

    I enjoyed both jobs but ultimately, for me, the difference was that the public sector job was meaningful, e.g. providing a better education to a group of youngsters. But the private sector job was ultimately just about the money, both for me and the company.

  10. JIM JAM @ BZ

    A clearer position on access via EEA or a bespoke arrangement would be important at some point but for now clearly being in favour of much closer post Brexit ties with the EU27 than the Conservatives is probably enough to keep these voters in the Labour column.

    Agreed. The fact that the minimum that the current HMG has signed up to doesn’t seem to be popular with its own back benchers and leavers on these threads should provide some fun and games over the next six months or so.

    The fact that TW would rather stay in the EU rather than the EEA option [with or without +s] seems an apposite outcome for now.


    That the numbers (predictions from a limited sample poll) have a very small chance of corresponding precisely to an actual electoral outcome does not make them precise.

    See AW’s REPOST: Too frequently asked questions from April 2010. Variants of it usually get posted whenever anyone on these threads takes Voodoo polls too seriously.

  11. Guy,

    Just a legal thing no country is a member of the SM or CU without being a member of the EU.

    Norway for example has access, through the EEA, and we could do the same but access and membership are different.


    Would everyone agree wit the following facts:

    1) LAB MPs are overwhelmingly Remainers, and LAB voters are about 65/35 Remain/Leave.

    2) CON MPs are narrowly Remain, and CON voters are 65/35 Leave/Remain.

    3) LAB MPs have about 10 dedicated Leavers, and 40 dedicated Remainers.

    4) CON MPs have about 40 extreme Leavers and a couple of dedicated Remainers.

    Just offering this in the context of discussions about which party is more split over Brexit.

  13. Toby,

    You mean Labour have about 40 MPs who want to emphasise their remain credentials or use as an excuse to be disloyal?

    Only the 10 or so dedicated leavers were not remain with the rest being remain.

    It would be mistake to think the 40 have different fundamental view to most of the PLP.

  14. Turk

    “Polls show that Labour under Corbyn is probably at the top of its range whereas the Tories with the unremitting bad publicity re brexit NHS and so on nowhere near the top of its range.”

    “My assumption of Corbyn probably at the top of his ranged is based on my experiences of being involved in politics as a activist over a period of 40 odd years.”

    So actually nothing to do with any polls, then.

  15. Even by the standards of recent polls this is a fairly dull one, isn’t it? The only excitement comes from it being the first time ‘Right to leave’ has nudged ahead for 13 YouGov polls:

    but even that is probably random. Interestingly the movement is entirely among women. In the previous poll:

    male respondents tied 45-45 on the question while female ones put ‘wrong’ ahead by 47-40. It’s a pattern that has been fairly consistent in recent months. Women are obviously more prone to Bregret (they were slightly more likely to vote Remain in 2016, but by nothing like this margin) – or maybe they just find it easier to admit they were wrong.

    In the latest poll men are are again tied (46-46) but right leads among women by 44-42. So if there has been a genuine change it is among female voters – or this is just an odd sample.

    On underlying opinion. You might be right. But you’re speculating because Con arch Leave has never been tested vs Con Leave.

    On actual splits though, on real key votes in Parliament on the Committee stage of the bill, Labour has typically had dozens splitting both ways as you say. The Cons have rarely had more than Ken Clarke and possibly Anna Soubrey and only once had double figures.

    In fact, on what is actually happening, Labour is clearly the more split and the Oppositon ad a whole, when you account for things like the empty chair stunt the SNP and the LibDems staged, yet more so.

  17. I wouldn’t say that Labour are necessarily more split, just that the tories are all about staying in government, come what may (if you’ll pardon the pun) and so are more willing to sacrifice their own views on the altar of the party.

  18. NickP

    Of course it’s based around what the polls are showing it’s my interpretation of why I think Corbyn has failed to open any meaningful lead based around my years in trying to get people to vote Tory .Surprised that wasn’t obvious maybe if you weren’t to busy trying to score points even you would have got that.

  19. Peter,

    I think the difference between the 40-50 serial remain rebels and the rest of the PLP (except the 10 or Lab Leave MPs) is cosmetic and to a large degree semantic.

    If there are arch remainers in Labour ranks they have no chance of winning a vote ignoring the referendum so on the scale of influence they have little.

    When it comes down to the combined opposition voting against HMGs deal (a strong likelihood) there will be 10 or so Lab rebels voting with the Tories so 16 Tories at least would have to join voting down. That is the key number imo. (Abstentions and possible By-Election may change the numbers of course).

  20. The Scotsman is reporting that UK Labour seems to be pouring cold water on SLab’s policy – promoted by Dugdale – on constitutional reform. It will be interesting to see whether Leonard tries to keep the policy or decides to pitch SLab’s constitutional tents in the Tories’ unionist field.

  21. Hireton

    Thanks for that link.

    On the constitutional front, I suspect that whatever relationship the UK has with the EU will be of more urgent concern, but the relationship between the Scottish polity and Westminster isn’t far behind.

    Of course, these constitutional aspects come well behind things like the economy, social wel-fare etc, but they are critical to voters’ perceptions of how and where those issues will be best handled.

    I can understand the SLab wish to have decision making on the major issues being made at Westminster (as opposed to EU or Holyrood) then devolved to wee councils, where they may hope to have some political control, but the regular ScotCen surveys since 1999, suggest that LAs are not seen as appropriate vehicles for most major aspects of governance.

    Whether they like it or not, government in Holyrood (either SNP or SLab-dominated coalition) is trusted much more than Westminster or LAs.

  22. turk

    polls are fairly static …. until something happens to move them!

    Your “polling” indication that Corbyn’s Lab’s polling has reached its peak and Tory polling can go a lot higher is in fact your own confirmation bias talking.

  23. I pointed last week to some polling that Lord Ashcroft had been doing regarding a second referendum:

    which suggested that though there was still general (if declining) revulsion at the idea, opinion was more split on particular specific referendums, especially if a Hard Brexit looked possible[1].

    But earlier in the week we also saw one of his ex-Lordship’s amusing reports on various focus groups, this time in the marginal constituencies of Battersea, Walsall North and Wakefield. It hints at one of the reasons for the polls being so static:

    […] for some, the daily torrent [of political news] had more of a numbing effect: “Our cup has overflowed with political stuff. There’s only so much we want to take in”. Especially since, as one man put it, “there are a lot more rainy days than sunny days.”

    This seemed especially true in what was, for many, the impenetrable saga of Brexit. Most people on both sides were happy with the way they had voted, with very little appetite for a second referendum (“I don’t want to go through all that again!” “People have voted, the result is what it is”) though there were a couple of regrets: “It almost feels like we’ve been sold a timeshare. ‘We’re building a roof but not a floor yet’”; “It’s like someone has got down on one knee and proposed, but it’s a Haribo ring”.

    Effectively people have frozen their political allegience as at last June and are trying hard not to think about it. There is a growing vague unease about Brexit – both in principle and in the Tories’ ability to deliver anything meaningful, but it hasn’t yet got many people to definitively change their opinion. They have basically switched off until the process of negotiation is over and they can look at the result. They view the whole process as arcane and tedious and, most of all, one they have no control over.

    The domination of the news by Brexit and a feeling that nothing can be decided (or talked about) till that is sorted out, means that the disengagement has extended to politics generally. But that doesn’t mean that another election (even if not welcome) wouldn’t cause people to start re-evaluating how they would vote. It’s just that they are not going to make all that depressing effort when they don’t need to.

    [1] One option that wasn’t asked – a three way choice at the end of negotiation between Remain, take the deal or No Deal Hard Brexit – might be even more popular and arguably a fairer choice to offer voters. Though possibly unlikely to be offered (or even asked about) for that very reason.

  24. Turk,
    then your view isnt really based on anything from polling.

    Corbyn is from the left of his party, and only got the job because of blunders by his parliamentary opponents (or clever strategy on his part). However, the parliamentary labour party had gone the same way as the libs, believing the only way to victory is to appeal to the centre ground. Corbyn got massive support from members not because of some takeover of the party, but because he better represented their views than did the blairites. Labour has for a long time been a left party suppressing its real view. The blairite MPs were the takeover grafted on to the party.

    Whereas, the tories have always held to the right,and have become more right wing across my lifetime. But they faced a serious problem with UKIP stealing their core vote. This has led to all sorts of problems where they have become in some ways even more right wing, abandoning the very long held core policy they believe in which is EU membership. Brexit has massively muddied the waters of what the differences are between the parties.

    The libs were slaughtered by a strategy of seeking the middle ground, when their supporters were frequently from the left. They had a lot of disenchanted socialists who wanted something more left wing than labour, yet ended up voting for a party which supported a tory government!

    Corbyn has appealed to a broad spectrum of voters. Torys have clearly concluded the best way to attack him is to paint him as a rabid, communist terrorist supporter. They cannot attack him on policy, because voters like his policy when they are polled about it. Currently the tories are talking the same policy, yet failing to implement it. He comes across well to ordinary people, and proved it in the election overcoming negative propaganda both from the tories and from the blairite infiltrators in his own party.

    He represents a policy platform which is still untested in terms of popular support. His problem is not whether he can work with other senior MPs, but that they hold views opposed to his own and opposed to that of long term party members. To present a united platform he has to create a new set of colleagues, whose politcal stance would be traditional labour rather than Thatcherite. Its crazy to think many curent labour MPs would be content to be considered Thatcherites, and in reality are offering the same policy under a different brand name.

    Corbyn remains untested because Brexit has placed the labour party in the remain camp. I think the tories would love to be rooting for remain and are trying to achieve that, but publicly took the extreme opposite view. So automatically they made labour the remain party whatever it said (and it has sought to say nothing). The real outcome for what voters think on Brexit is untested as a single issue, Polling will not tell us because it is an artificial question until the public is fully informed of real alternative choices. (compare the result of the last election and the early predictions)

    Corbynism is untested because it has happened at the same time as Brexit. There seems to be a convergence of support both for traditional labour policy and remaining in the EU, which is confortable for him presently, but hard to disentangle. Once separated out, he could lose ground from the tories, or in fact gain yet more.

  25. Tony Ebert,

    I think both parties probably have more dedicated leave/remain than you suggest.

    If we are talking about the undedicated tories (by your reckoning the big majority), then I think they are solidly remain. Not for ideological remain/leave reasons, but for pragmatic governance and greater good feeding back into party success reasons. The bind has always been that leaving is unworkable but they have politically committed to leave. Political commitment is always fungible whereas reality is not.

    I agree labour are remainers, but have been witholding their hand to maximise trouble for the tories. They also face a potential modest hit if they come out as hard remain, so important to ensure the tories face this hit first.

    Roger Mexico,
    “The only excitement comes from it being the first time ‘Right to leave’ has nudged ahead for 13 YouGov polls:
    …but even that is probably random”

    It might be, but see my post arguing it could also be because con have redefined their aim as soft Brexit. See the polling that dissatisfaction with government handling of Brexit dropped amongst leavers (48/41 doing badly went to 42/43 doing well). This might be evidence leavers want soft brexit not hard. If its just random, its still probably the same respondents influencing the result of both questions.

  26. I agree with Ashcrofts conclusions – the polls are static because are not engaged with political stuff – mainly because of brexit.
    Interminable arguments over tariffs, quotas and legal small print are never going to engage any but the most hard core nerds.
    Another election and/or a final brexit deal (or no deal) will likely shake things up – but until then ….

    My feeling is that another election may see labour pick up more votes as policy takes centre stage – tory policy is all over the place as they are hanstrung by brexit and their own baggage rather than a clear vision.

    Will labour get punished for failing to seize the reamainer banner? No real sign of that yet – despite repeated pushes from the liberal remain camp in the media and the progress wing of the PLP – if brexit starts looking like a disaster on a stick then that pressure may become unavoidable – but labours present policy looks like the logical course to follow right now – dull but safe.

    Meanwhile the UKIP clown car continues to disentergrate – are they in any way relevant any more? Could their remaining votes drift off as the party collapses? Where will they go? To the tories? Or will they just not vote – or cluster around a more hard right party?
    Some talk of Farage starting a new party – wouldn’t be surprised given his love of the spotlight. Might get enough support to spook the tories.

  27. Roger Mexico,
    “One option that wasn’t asked – a three way choice ”

    I think remain would win today and would have won in the referendum on a three way remain/hard/soft choice, Its a big elephant in everyones room and being determinedly ignored.

  28. @TURK

    If you look at the Polls and the focus groups combined does it not actually say that no one dare change their view. No one is happy not Leavers or Remainers. That we remain bitterly divided and more importantly remain deeply tribal.

    In the context. It appear that nothing that is said actually moves the polls. The winter crisis does not move the polls against the Tories if anything it kind of says that politics is unable to help us.

    Basically no one is sure anymore and are clinging on to what if they made an analysis a belief not a certainty.

    When leavers voted they believed that their situation would not change whether we left or remained now more people say they are unsure.

    For once I agree with DANNY’s analysis especially the LD problems ( read the LD manifesto in 2010 and it was to the left of Labour ) it basically duped left wing voters which is why they are at 7% now. They cannot appeal to those type of voters again for a generation.

    Labour centrist cannot object to labour current policy not because they know it is popular. It is why the argument against Corbyn is not about policy although I believe there is lots of weakness in the policy detail but the argument about policy is not really there. In both parties the argument is about tribe. who control the reigns, who the voter think is the acceptable face of Labour. Indeed Brexit is where those that are anti Corbyn have kind of planted their flag. it is the only place they have a membership view allied with theirs.

    In the Tories they have a different problem. Their arguement is about policy they are fighting their instincts to deliver a policy close to Corbyn’s without conceding that the policy is close to Corbyn. hence you have the issue of utility bill caps being nothing like that Red Ed’s Utility cap. It is why you have populist mem of jailing executives but no actual policy, the same with the JAM’s. The Tories are mood music but no policy, Labour are policy but no real mood music, the smaller parties are very much seen as bystanders in England.

    I do not think that Corbyn’s policy is untested. Look at the cross breaks from previous polls and it shows that Tory voters were more concerned about immigration, law and order and the like and Labour voters were more concerned about education health and the like

    The brexit debate is at the forefront of the news but actually few people are voting Tory or Labour because of brexit only it may sway some seats but it is also clear that brexit alone is not swaying everyone against their will to vote for a different party. For example May constituency voted 60% in favour of remain and yet still voted for May

    I am not sure people understand what hell is going on. They are acting as if they are not sure what the hell is going on and are hoping not to have to make another decision like this again because it was difficult the first time. In my view people are shying away from the decision they made rather passively. They are hoping for something that makes their decision seem good and have yet to find it

    We are all waiting for something to happen. Until it does everything that happens is just noise.

  29. AW

    My last post was placed in moderation. Since it was totally mild in content I would be grateful if you would release it or eplain.

    Thank you.


    It happens to us all from time to time, and AW probably has more important things to do.

    I’m sure you didn’t include insulting words, so it was probably a banned word inside a longer one. My bugbear is the word L!AR inside a much longer word. I suggest you should look again at the moderated post and review the longer words in it.

  31. The under!ying trap!!

  32. @LASZLO

    I am interested in it – thanks for the link.

    My guess is that the Cakeist Tendency will persist. May has not been able to choose the direction of travel of Brexit. Though the Cabinet may have recently discussed the subject there is no indication that a choice can be put forward yet.

    Members of the Conservative party favour a hard Brexit to complicate matters more for May.

    In my view it will be for the EU to try to take things forward by proposing after a month or two of futility, that the Canada deal (no pluses) is the only deal take it or leave it.

  33. SAM @ LASZLO

    Agreed that the article was interesting and with your cakeism theory. I’m less convinced that the Canada “plain” option will be practical in the future, perhaps resulting in an interminable transition period until either the island of Ireland reunites or until us boomers die off and the young decide to rejoin.

  34. Second Referendum – three ways

    I agree with people on this site who say that second referendum is only likely if there is no deal (or Parliament rejects the deal the govt. negotiates, which comes to the same thing).

    If it did happen, there is some polling evidence that Remain would narrowly win (but AW points out that the recent Mirror poll was suspect). But if there was a three way poll, I reckon the middle option would win – it nearly always does, for psychological reasons (yes, I know, I’ve no evidence for this, but it seems likely).

  35. Most people are now seriously fed up with Brexit and simply want the politicians to get on with it. The uptick in ‘leave’ persuasion may reflect this.

    The public now does not believe anything coming from the establishment or established media. ‘Britain lashed by 95 mph winds’ turns out to a 93 mph gust on Cader Idris at 3am. So Brexit is seen as about as consequential as the Millennium Bug. The fact that Remain predicted all kinds of problems that have not materialised has encouraged this scepticism.

    Therefore, the idea of another referendum and yet more from the likes of Anna Soubry is not attractive.

    The message from the public is – stop pontificating, stop blustering, get on with it. We’re bored.

    In truth, I think the consequences of Brexit will be very small, and life will go on very much unaltered. Over time, we may find that there will be significant changes in outcome, but those are not predictable at the moment. There’s a lot of ‘butterfly theory’ involved: for example, Trump’s personal approach to the UK may have a significant impact. No-one can say that is predictable.

    My biggest fear, and the weakest part of the Leave approach, is the expectation that the UK will fly outside of the bureaucratic embrace of the EU. That will not happen: the UK has become increasingly slow and bureaucratic and enthusiastically adopted every aspect of EU officialdom. There will be no bonfire of regulations. It will get worse.

    Before anyone jumps on me: I like and endorse regulation, but only when combined with effective enforcement. We have the first in spades, but little of the second.

  36. BZ: …an interminable transition period until either the island of Ireland reunites or until us boomers die off and the young decide to rejoin.

    A while ago I posted someone credible’s analysis (Curtice? Kellner?) showing that, because of the demographic breakdown of referendum voters, 3 out of 4 voters who die are brexit voters. As a result, by 2020 surviving remain voters will outnumber leave voters, and the trend will be reinforced by the addition of young (overwhelmingly remain) new voters to the electorate.

    So the wait until sufficient of “us boomers die off” may not be as interminable as you suppose!

    Incidentally, I did pose the question as to whether “the will of the people” remained in force when it depended on the votes of now dead people, to which TOH predictably replied, “of course.”

  37. millie

    “The message from the public is – stop pontificating, stop blustering, get on with it. We’re bored.”

    I almost always find the idea that what “the public” think can be reduced to a single message – as above – quite absurd.

    Clearly the public are not all sending that “message” so presumably the rationale is that if you try to average out all opinions from rabid europhile to rabid europhobe – not forgetting to add a very large sprinkling of couldn’t give a toss – then that message is a meaningful result.

    It’s not.

    I think that a large majority of the interested public are simply biding their time. How can most do otherwise when pretty much nothing has happened since the referendum.

    What will be interesting is the timing of any Labour Party decision [if any is ever made] to swing behind single market or even remain.

    They can only do this if something significantly negative happens with the next round of talks – and they have a difficult balancing act to achieve between leading opinion and following opinion.

    Ideally, for them, the two things need to coalesce.

  38. I am guessing the transition will be settled sometime in the spring and then the trouble really starts – because as far as I can see what the UK has signed up to for Northern Ireland remains incompatible with effectively leaving the Single Market and Customs Union – particularly the latter.

    A weak German government probably makes it unlikely that there will be any offer over and above the “Canada” model in the near terms – and Germany herself may be in another election by the end of Spring. The danger for Mrs May is the same danger there has always been – namely that as soon as the Cabinet is forced to decide either the Eurosceptics will have to back down or the government will come apart at the seams.

    On the plus side for the government – alike Labour between 1976 and 1979 – nothing keeps a political party in a minority government together better than the prospect of an unwanted early election.

    Thus, it will need to be the DUP who pull the rug if May is to fall early…that is not likely until the deal comes clearly into focus. In short Mrs May will probably need to cut a deal which keeps the DUP happy and risk upsetting its own MPs. Even if the government loses a confidence vote they will still be able to stay in power so long as the government can keep on the right side of the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

    Meanwhile how long Mr Corbyn can go on promising his supporters that there will be an early election before its hopeful prospect fades into a hopeless parliamentary morass and whether that will weaken or strengthen him in the PLP, has also to be read and understood. The greatest danger Corbyn faces – beyond the grave danger of any political leader falling under a slow moving bus – is that Momentum’s stranglehold will means that fifty Labour MP’s are deselected and no longer have any reason to follow the party whip.

    These sorts of governments can last a long time – whether in lasting they survive to triumph is highly unlikely – but for the present impotence in continued office is most likely…and the terms of trade will most likely be changed by a sudden change in the economic fortunes of the world economy. Here the long long tail of high government debt and the hidden government debt of quantitative easing in its multifarious forms holds the key – it may all unwind and all will end well or it may eventually choke the world economy and lead into the long postponed depression avoided in 2007-9….and then there is a serious adjustment in markets once those quantitative debts are unwound and cease to inflate asset values…

  39. MILLIE

    @”In truth, I think the consequences of Brexit will be very small, and life will go on very much unaltered. ”

    Did you read this Millie?

  40. BBZ

    @” I’m less convinced that the Canada “plain” option will be practical in the future,”

    Perhaps it won’t actually be on offer ?

  41. CROFTY

    @” a difficult balancing act to achieve between leading opinion and following opinion.
    Ideally, for them, the two things need to coalesce.”

    How would that work Crofty?

    Just a thought -I know that being in two different positions at one & the same time is run of the mill in a world of Quantum Physics.

    But is it a desirable position for the average politician with a consituency of voters who haven’t read any Max Planck?

  42. @Danny 7.20 am

    From my perspective, you have stated the political situation perfectly (although I would refer to the Blairites as Tory lite rather than Thatcherite). Re the Lib Dems you sum up my position perfectly. As a Lab member in my youth, becoming a LD member under Charlie Kennedy, I resigned from the party because of the support for NHS reforms during the coalition. Although I have not joined Lab, I certainly will vote for them next election given a similar manifesto to 2017. IMO, my position on the political spectrum has remained fairly constant, it is the parties which have changed, as you described.

  43. @Colin

    As it happens, I did read Lord O’Neill’s comments, but after my post.

    He does confirm my thoughts: clearly the impact of Brexit has been overestimated. It is unlikely to make a great deal of difference. As he says, Khan’s prediction of 3% growth change in the period until 2030 is inconsequential.

    I’m not even sure if a hard or soft Brexit will make much difference to be honest.

  44. I’m not saying it WOULD work Colin – just that that would be the best solution for Labour.

    Go to early, only to discover a week later that we have just secured a superb deal with the EU and they look stuoid.

    Wait until it always goes seriously wrong and public opinion moves against leaving and the Labour Party would look weedy and opportunistic.

    Get it right and it’s win/win for them.

    But I have no confidence that they will. Don’t even know if the top two even want to.

  45. CROFTY

    If it is so clearly a matter of judging the point at which the public are changeing their mind-and timing a massive U-turn at precisely the point when they do; I think “opportunistic” will be the least of the accusations leveled at them.

    I suppose you would say-so what if they gain office.

    I think there are dangers in leading & then following with a platform of Yep-you were right & …………..its what we really meant all along.

    You set yourself up for this sort of examination:-

    -and power without authority.

  46. @Crofty

    Fair comment – of course my assessment is a sweeping generalisation of public opinion.

    But I can’t agree that everything depends upon the outcome of the next round of talks. There probably won’t be ‘an outcome’ – it will be another fudge. And my central point is that different outcomes will not have much economic impact. Nor will it have much impact upon public opinion or voting intention.

    Nor do I see how Labour can ‘swing behind…remain’. What does ‘remain’ mean at this point in time? Are you referring to a pre-referendum position, or some kind of post-referendum consensus that accepts the result, but wants it interpreted in a certain way?

    I repeat, the public are bored with it all, are increasingly realising it won’t change their lives, and are thoroughly confused by the jargon and hot air.

  47. MILLIE

    Given his background on Brexit , I suppose it is encouraging.

    Actually I have a feeling he is right-but only if you look far enough ahead.

    I think the actual transition will be problematic & disruptive. I expect multiple cock-ups from Government Departments & the usual failure of IT systems & Border Control operations.

    The economic context of a 2022 GE is so difficult to predict.

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