Saturday’s Times had the latest YouGov voting intention results, which were CON 40%(nc), LAB 42%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc).

It also had results from a poll asking about the media allegations about Jeremy Corbyn having met a Czech spy in the 1980s, which clearly illustrated why such things make very little difference.

To start with, most people pay very little attention to the day-to-day soap opera of politics. 40% of people said they had been completely unaware of the story until taking the survey, a further 31% said they had noticed it, but hadn’t really paid it any attention. That leaves less than a third who had actually taken it in. Obviously things that no one notices have no real impact, especially since those people who do watch political news stories will disproportionately be those who are interested in politics and have firm political allegiances.

Asked if they thought the allegations were true, the results were as you’d expect. A large majority of Labour voters thought that Jeremy Corbyn probably had a perfectly innocent meeting with someone he thought was a diplomat, and that he probably didn’t give any information to any Czech agents. The only people who believed it were Conservatives. This is typical of such allegations: people view them through the prism of their existing political allegiences. If it’s an allegation against a party you support, you are likely to view it with scepticism and give the politician concerned the benefit of the doubt, if it’s an allegation against a party you dislike then it will confirm all the negative things you thought already.

Finally, YouGov asked if the spy allegations and the way Jeremy Corbyn had responded to them had changed people’s opinions of Jeremy Corbyn at all. Only 8% of people said it had made them think more negatively about him (and they were mostly Tories to begin with). 6% said it made them think better of Corbyn (and they were mostly Labour voters to begin with). A hearty 64% said it made no difference at all.

Full results for the voting intention are here, and the Corbyn results are here.


1,679 Responses to “Why the Corbyn spy allegations made no difference to public opinion”

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  1. SYZYGY and SOMERJOHN
    Interesting exchange between you on Brexit or rather on the case for and against remaining in the EU, yesterday eve. In response to @SOMERJOHN’s “Europe’s uneven national histories have left huge differences in development, public institutions, probity and efficiency in government, education, health, social care and the opportunities open to citizens..”,your position is IMV, too Eurocentric particularly in relation to Juncker’s vision of a borderless Europe – which still underlies the principles behind an EU policy on migration (despite the stalled position in relation to the holding of migrants in transit in Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and in Italy and Libya).
    My position of remainer and reformer, is based on a longer view which sees your “huge differences in development” as far more pressing, in Africa in particular, and hence the demographic and economic push of migration to the EU and the risks which are atken, and the responses which are seen to it internationally, beyond EU borders. These include the turning to insurgency in the near East and N.Africa, as well as the responses of the international community towards a long-term resolution,both of terrorism and of non-legal migration, the two issues being closely related.
    Reform in the EU would need to provide, or contribute to, a framework of international responses to both – elements of which are already in place, such as the Deauviille Agreement, which brings together the development and political resources of all the Mediterranean and near Eastern states with the international community and the Bretton Woods institutions.
    It would also need to establish technically and financially support for migrants in the transit states and in countries of origin, but aimed specifically in my view to achieving parity of industrial development and trading status with the EU of the transit states in the N.Arican Mediterranean seabord during a 30 to 50 year period, and similar parity in the main countries of origin of illicit migration to the EU over a further century. It is not a lack of will that prevents a rational response to migration, which Juncker rightly sees as necessary and beneficial to EU member states, but a lack of competence.

  2. Colin: It is for Poles & Hungarians to choose how they wish their country to be governed-whether you or I like their choices is irrelevant.

    Faraway countries of which we know nothing….

    It does seem there’s quite a philosophical divide here, between accepting some degree of collective responsibility, and just looking after No 1.

    To draw a more domestic parallel, some people think that everything that goes on in families behind closed doors down the road is none of their business and if it ends in abuse or worse, well, that’s their choice. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    Personally, I think we’re all in this together and it’s not a bad idea to care about your neighbours.

  3. @Colin – I think you and I are largely at one in ur view of the EU attitude to national democracy and our understanding of the concept of nationhood, citizenship etc.

    For my part, I see one of the critical fragilities of democracy as being the issue of scale. Voters needs to feel as close to the seat of power as possible, and feel some ability to influence the governors. In the UK we are particularly bad at this, having a highly centralised, London based democracy until very recent devolution, but still suffering from an over centralized national system with other powers diverted to Brussels.

    The EU is very large indeed, and increasingly difficult for citizens to feel they exert meaningful control. As I’ve said many times before, the issue of mission creep is the really big issue for most UK voters I suspect. If we knew that the EU had reached it’s limits of geography and competence we might be a bit happier.

    The only quibble with your post would be where you say this – “Our experience of European Dictators is stepping in to stop them on behalf of Europe’s people & of Democracy.”

    While some were motivated by such noble ideals, I really don’t think we should kid ourselves that much. Throughout history we intervened when it suited ur own interests, and on those occasions that we did, it just so happened that our interests coincided with the interests of others. We weren’t quite so bothered about knocking down the Hapsburgs, or the Ottoman Empire – we didn’t see the need.

    In this, I see the British as being much like the Americans. They’ve persuaded themselves that they are the defenders of the free world, largely on the basis of arriving late but in large numbers in two world wars. They really weren’t interested in getting stuck in in 1939, as they didn’t see the fight against fasc!sm as their thing, but had no choice once the Japanese took them on. From this, they have created the same kind of national identity myth that we have.

  4. @John Pilgrim

    My view is that the EU needs to concentrate on improving its own citizens’ lot before worrying about the rest of the world, not least because any attempt to take on wider responsibilities is met with a chorus of disapproval of another “power grab”. They’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

    Having said that, of course the EU should aim to mitigate the pressures that produce external migration. But it isn’t the EU that bombed Libya, or intervened in Syria, or invaded Iraq, or started IS or Al Shabaab or Boko Haram.

    Perhaps those who say that the EU would be fine if it was just a FTA and didn’t aspire to greater things should outline a national-governments-working-together scheme to tackle the problems you raise.

  5. SOMERJOHN

    @” I think we’re all in this together and it’s not a bad idea to care about your neighbours.”

    But why do you imply that supporting democracy in Hungary or Poland means I “don’t care” about Poles & Hungarians?

    I don’t get these absolutists positions at all.

    As friendly countries our government would have regular dialogue with theirs. We would exchange cultural & trading interests etc etc.

  6. ALEC

    @”Voters needs to feel as close to the seat of power as possible, and feel some ability to influence the governors”

    Agreed

  7. COLIN

    “What difference does it make
    if we follow different routes,
    provided we arrive
    at the same destination?”

    Mahatma Gandhi

    He didn’t have to put up with sat nav.

  8. ALBERTO

    I have just realised that the passage you quoted on UK Debt , which I refuted as a misunderstanding of the effect of QE upon it-was by Redwood.

    I’m surprised he doesn’t understand how it works & quite shocked that he has written that.

  9. CROFTY

    :-) :-)

    It would make a good tag line for a sat nav advert :-)

  10. @TREVOR WARNE CONSERVATIVE TRIBES

    No doubt you’re right that what unites CON voters is stronger than what divides them. But you must admit that CON do have a Europe problem; after all the last 3 CON prime ministers have been decapitated over Europe, and TM may be the fourth.

    My thought was that the pro-business, younger, internationalist, pro-EU tribe tend to dominate the leadership (and possibly the donors) and the older, conservative, nationalist, anti-EU tribe are more likely be backbenchers, ordinary party members and voters. And every so often the peasants revolt, so to speak.

  11. Re the discussion last night, there is undoubtedly a thought process with some successful people that, since “they” have succeeded, and it has involved effort, then anybody else who doesn’t also succeed simply isn’t trying.

    My father who made a gradual rise from poverty to being a middle class house owner was of that view I think. [He died too early for me to really discuss such things with him.

    But, as in that saying “it is what it is”, we are also “who we are”. And we are all remarkably different. So, obviously some people are unable to rise above life’s problems – but does that mean that it;s their “fault” ?

    A second attitude with some is the linking of poverty to the blanket statement;

    “Ah…. but “they” can always afford cigarettes,”

    And that, of course, leaves aside the facts that many of them either don’t smoke or can’t afford them; that for the rest they are addictive and – even worse – have been promoted by big business with both that, and the fact that they kill, clearly known.

    I don’t believe in any “gods” but “There but for the grace of god go I” sounds like a very wise and moral statement to me.

  12. Alec: Voters needs to feel as close to the seat of power as possible, and feel some ability to influence the governors

    I seem somewhat unwittingly to have taken on the role of defender in chief of the European ideal, so if I may I’ll add my two pennorth’s (or maybe that should be two eurocents).

    I fully agree that in an effective democracy, decision making should be as close to the individual as possible.

    But that idea isn’t at odds with the EU.

    The idea behind the EU is that those policies that can be most effectively implemented at a continental level should be decided at that level. A few examples would be things like food and other traded goods standards, pollution control, animal welfare., air traffic, movement of nuclear materials, medicines regulation, avoiding domination by over-mighty corporations. It makes no sense to have 28 different policies – probably ineffectual and often at odds with other – in all those areas. But even in those pan-European areas, decisions are made largely by consensus. Can you come up with examples of EU policies forced on us against our determined opposition?

    Below that level, it’s mainly national governments that suck power and decision making up from lower levels. As you rightly point out, we see that writ large in the UK.

    So I’m all for the things that can best be decided at European level to be decided there – and subject to direct democratic control – but everything that can best be decided at national, regional or local level, to be decided there.

    Of course, this can be seen as a two-pronged attack on national governments, and there are those who closely identify with their national governments as the expression and even embodiment of their own identity. But I see it as just one more level in the chain that goes individual-neighbourhood-parish-district-city-region-nation-continent. Each of those levels is appropriate to different areas of decision-making and we should not be afraid of trying for a rational distribution of those powers, while aiming at all times to maximise accountability and involvement.

  13. @Colin
    “I’m not quoting anyone.”

    Sorry to quibble but you put my name and then a line in quotes. It looks an awful lot like you are quoting me if you do that. As above where I am quoting you.

    “I think that balanced budgets are a good objective for a country with the risk levels attached to out Debt/GDP ratio in an era of ultra low interest rates. Thereafter, as the latter falls, deficit funding will be appropriate in the right circumstances no doubt.”

    Can you explain how you think this would work? JR says he thinks the deficit isn’t a problem as the debt/gdp ratio is “modest” and we owe the debt to ourselves anyway.

    If we have a balanced budget we have a static money supply. Agreed?

    Therefore if we have growing productivity we will have deflation. How can we not? More stuff, same money, must equal less money per unit of stuff.

    So we can have recession or no growth to stop this. I don’t see how that is a good thing except perhaps ecologically.

    Or we can run a trade surplus. Now this isn’t all bad, we’d build up Foreign Currency savings. Except that all our productivity gains would be sent abroad and we’d have a static standard of living. Actually, a declining one if the population was growing. Is that what you think we should do?

    Or we could get the new money from the private banks. Except that comes with an equal debt we have to pay interest on. Is increased private debt the result you’re hoping to achieve?

    Do you see why I am confused? Perhaps you can explain?

  14. @Colin
    “I have just realised that the passage you quoted on UK Debt , which I refuted as a misunderstanding of the effect of QE upon it-was by Redwood.”

    Fair enough. I have just cross posted on this but please ignore my quibble now.

    “I’m surprised he doesn’t understand how it works & quite shocked that he has written that.”

    It is certainly surprising but I think my surprise is for a different reason to yours.

  15. TechnicolourOctober

    Interesting take on RI/NI. I don’t drop in very often any more, but your comment prompted me to write down some stuff I’ve often thought, but never bothered to formulate as a comment because I tend to assume that it’s fairly obvious and because saying exactly what I want to say reasonably concisely and elegantly takes more time than I can afford… That’s still the case, so apologies for sloppiness and length….

    Some of my reservations about ‘the European project’ stem from what seems to me to be a mismatch between the pace of formal convergence and the pace of change in people’s attitudes and sense of identity. Although the latter is highly heterogeneous (determined largely, I suspect, by how much one’s personal experience tallies with the concept of European identity rather than something else – but that’s a different issue).

    We saw something similar with the Euro. My understanding is that originally the single currency was intended to be an outcome of economic convergence, but in the end the convergence criteria were fudged and blind eyes were turned to manipulation of data, now the Euro seems to be being used to drive convergence.

    The political leadership of the EU has moved too fast for many of its citizens, which has caused resentment, insecurity etc. It’s not the direction of travel, nor even necessarily the destination, that is at fault. It’s the forcing of the pace.

    You’re probably right that Ireland has been sliding slowly, gently towards unification. Some of the ructions now are because, if anything, formal convergence has been outstripped by the change in the way people live their lives (or at least Brexit has revealed that formal convergence isn’t as secure as people had assumed). I’d like to think that when Ireland eventually unifies it’ll be a bit of a non-event.

    German reunification is another interesting case, but I’m wary of commenting as I don’t know much about specifics. It seems the GDR and FDR didn’t exist for long enough for many/most people to lose their old national identity, but despite this strong sense of commonality I believe there has been some resentment amongst former West Germans at redistribution to the former East Germany.

    Nothing like the resentment felt by some people in Europe, who don’t feel anything like the same bond with people in other parts of Europe.

    The perceived legitimacy of redistribution rests on this shared sense of identity. That slogan worked for Vote Leave because many Brits classify other Europeans as ‘them’ rather than ‘us’. I think that at the moment people in England and Scotland still think of each other as ingroup rather than outgroup, but that may be slowly changing.

  16. Alec,
    “Farage spotted this almost straight away, but is now largely ignored within Con ranks”

    My argument has been that this isnt simply May’s policy, it never is the PMs policy. That this is the considered policy of the large majority of tory MPs, even those who publicly support Brexit. Its one thing to campaign for freedom from Europe in anticipation you will fail, quite another if you believe you will actually win.

    What we saw was a staged debating society match, with tories chosen to play parts for and against the EU.

    Tories ignore Farage because the main objective was to destroy UKIP as a political force. They arent interested in dire warnings they might renege, when that was always the intention.

    Alberto,
    “So what was the real point of austerity then?”

    To shrink the size of the public sector, a longstanding tory policy.

    Colin,
    “There is no difference between Gilts held by BoE & Gilts held by you & me.”

    Oh i think there is! If the government defauts on a guilt I own, I go bust and lose my house. If it defaults on a gilt the BofE owns..they make a little note in their ledger and stop refunding the interest on it to the government.

    ” Our experience of European Dictators is stepping in to stop them on behalf of Europe’s people & of Democracy.”
    Gosh, you are an idealist. We generally joined european wars for personal territorial gain (usually outside Europe, but never forget N. Africa, middle east, Gibraltar, etc), or to defend the empire. More comfortable for us to fight on their territory than ours. All very reminiscent of being in the EU or staying out.

  17. @ALBERTO ‘So what was the real point of austerity then?’

    To give the feckless poor and disabled a good kicking.

  18. Colin: But why do you imply that supporting democracy in Hungary or Poland means I “don’t care” about Poles & Hungarians?

    Surely you mean your not supporting democracy if an elected government then disables that democracy?

    You said: “It is for Poles & Hungarians to choose how they wish their country to be governed-whether you or I like their choices is irrelevant. Whether they want an administration that Sue would like, or I would like, or neither of us would like is irrelevant.”

    Either you regard the possibilty of a European government moving to autocracy as a matter of shared concern or you don’t. And if you deny any responsibility to try and avert that, then I suggest you don’t care about Poles and Hungarians.

  19. LASZLO

    re Orwell, you’re most welcome.

    You might also care to look at Project Gutenberg Canada who now follow the 50 yr copyright rules and turn most books into EPUBs.

    Their home page is a bit random, but the index half way down the page is comprehensive.

  20. @Chris Riley

    “Henry Bolton is setting up a new party … called OneNation,”

    Hmm isn’t that EinVolk in German?

    OneCountry?
    OneLeader?

    I suspect he might not have thought this through terribly well.

  21. @pete
    “To give the feckless poor and disabled a good kicking.”

    Well it certainly appears so at first glance but that’s not a very patriotic attitude to your fellow countrymen, so I’m sure there must be another explanation.

  22. Alberto: “Henry Bolton is setting up a new party … called OneNation,”

    Hmm isn’t that EinVolk in German?

    OneCountry?
    OneLeader?

    Well, that last does address one of UKIP’s shortcomings.

  23. sorbus:
    Some of my reservations about ‘the European project’ stem from what seems to me to be a mismatch between the pace of formal convergence and the pace of change in people’s attitudes and sense of identity. Although the latter is highly heterogeneous (determined largely, I suspect, by how much one’s personal experience tallies with the concept of European identity rather than something else – but that’s a different issue).

    We saw something similar with the Euro. My understanding is that originally the single currency was intended to be an outcome of economic convergence, but in the end the convergence criteria were fudged and blind eyes were turned to manipulation of data, now the Euro seems to be being used to drive convergence.

    The political leadership of the EU has moved too fast for many of its citizens, which has caused resentment, insecurity etc. It’s not the direction of travel, nor even necessarily the destination, that is at fault. It’s the forcing of the pace.

    You’re probably right that Ireland has been sliding slowly, gently towards unification. Some of the ructions now are because, if anything, formal convergence has been outstripped by the change in the way people live their lives (or at least Brexit has revealed that formal convergence isn’t as secure as people had assumed). I’d like to think that when Ireland eventually unifies it’ll be a bit of a non-event.

    Re Europe, I take your point about the pace to an extent, but I think that some large part of it is that govt her and probably elsewhere has not engaged people in where it is going or made the argument domestically. All of them are to an extent in a conspiracy of doing it anyway and blaming ‘the others’ on what I think for the most part is a fairly benign agenda compared to the domestic agenda for austerity for example.

    On NI, RoI, I think that brexit has brought forward the date of UI significantly. I really doubt that SF would have collapsed Stormont but for brexit. I think the immediate aim was to prevent Stormont passing Legislative Consent Motions for the brexit legislation. And they have pulled a real blinder in cutting down their demands to an Irish Language Act and having the DUP refuse even that – that refusal is worth more to SF than getting their whole shopping list, in terms of getting a UI.

    The problem is that UI could happen too early, when Unionists are sensitised, and when there is no preparation from both the UK and RoI for whatever emerges as a UI.

  24. SOMERJOHN

    Ah-you are talking about specific s now ?- the Hungarian Government & Freedom of the Press there ?

    Yes we should criticize that. The EU is of course entitled to bring whatever sanctions exist within the EU law to which Hungary is subject as a member.

    But at the end of the day , imo, Hungarian voters must decide on the government they wish for. It is a difficult discipline, I accept that. But I believe in it strongly.

    If we get mass demonstrations , and systemic state ordered suppression of it involving violence-then we would clearly be under a duty to defend democracy there.

  25. @ TE – CON has had a Europe problem, once we’ve left the EU the problem will diminish – to what extend depends on the outcome. It would be fairly easy to make the case that the cleaner the break the lower the future “Europe problem”. I’d like to stay with a close relationship but just pointing out the obvious!

    @ DANNY – I fear you have no idea how bail-out packages work. The creditors impose harsh conditions on the debtor. The Greek economy is being run for the purpose of repaying French and German banks.
    I’ll agree 100% that many of the Southern countries had major corruption issues that needed to be solved (ideally before joining EMU!) and an indirect benefit of the ‘bail-outs’ has been to improve in these areas.
    However a nation with higher debt and higher interest rates will always be at a disadvantage to nations with lower debt and lower interest rates. Even worse in a monetary union where the main creditor nations go on their own diet of austerity and “lead by example”. The level of austerity on the debtor nations is that much higher.

    I’m always shocked that those that state UK has too much austerity seem to think the EU (and specifically the Euro) is great. Bewilidering as remainers might say!

  26. DANNY

    If the UK Government defaults on UK Gilts you can start worrying about something a lot more serious than BoE’s QE program. !

    I don’t share your view of the blood sacrifice made by the British .People in defence of Freedom & Democracy in Europe. You can call me what you like-it is of no interest to me.

  27. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/06/frosty-reception-army-of-snow-people-grieves-for-fallen-comrade

    I really love this story – although a part of it is depressing, the positivity and imagination far outweigh that element.

  28. alberto

    “Henry Bolton is setting up a new party … called OneNation,”

    Hmm isn’t that EinVolk in German?

    OneCountry?
    OneLeader?

    I suspect he might not have thought this through terribly well.”

    I don’t expect he’ll be doing the publicity in German….

  29. Crofty

    …and not a good title for a Union of 4 Nations (5 if you count Cornwall).

  30. Colin: If we get mass demonstrations , and systemic state ordered suppression of it involving violence-then we would clearly be under a duty to defend democracy there.

    And rather than rely on ad hoc responses when it got to that stage, wouldn’t it be good if we had an organisation in place to establish and codify such rights and duties beforehand, and that could work hard to maintain democracy with gentle (but increasing) pressure to nip things in the bud?

    We could call it, oh, I don’t know. How about “the European Union”?

  31. TO

    “On NI, RoI, I think that brexit has brought forward the date of UI significantly.”

    The Belfast Telegraph reports that a report from a conference organised by the Ombudsmen for Children/Young People in both RoI and NI, to seek the views of young people on both sides of the border, on Brexit will be presented to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/report-highlights-concerns-of-young-people-over-brexit-36668755.html

    I doubt that their views will differ much from those of young people in GB, or that anyone will pay much attention to them anyway!

    The significance, I think. lies in both the cross-border conference itself, and the probable increase in realisation that “them over there” aren’t much different from “us over here”.

    The “pace of change” issue, that Sorbus raised, may have been much faster in terms of the social attitudes of young folk than any institutional change – certainly among the dinosaur parties of older generations.

    It always seemed likely that the first of these (DUP, SF) to move away from the past to embracing the present (n the degree of movement needed to accommodate the future), would create a political advantage. SF seems to have moved that way.

  32. “BAZINWALES
    Crofty

    …and not a good title for a Union of 4 Nations (5 if you count Cornwall). ”

    What about Barnard Castle?

  33. @ COLIN – backtracking a little to the discussion with like minded people from across the political spectrum on EU’s ‘autocracy’. What next for EU?

    IMHO, the issue with the EU is the power-distance relationship. The idea of a ‘benevolent dictator’ appeals and has been tried repeatedly throughout history – benevolence usually doesn’t last long and since power corrupts, absolute power absolutely corrupts. Tiering democracy (as they do in the EU) hides the fact that power is being drawn to a central level – its the latest version of autocracy and destined to meet the same fate IMHO!
    With 27 Council members, many of whom represent weak coalitions, the tendency will be to allow the EC to take over with the Council and EP as mere rubber stamps. The democratic deficit used when the EP first started in 1979 and became much deeper with Maastricht Treaty and broader with every increase in membership. The democratic deficit is now very deep and very broad.

    Even if you believe EU is ‘democratic’ the symptoms are the same. The project is incomplete and was not built in the correct order. EU pays lip service to subsidiarity as it gobbles up the ‘easier’ components of power (e.g. regulations within countries rather than just between them, an over arching judicial jurisdiction that goes far beyond bilateral trade) but has no mechanism for solidarity (e.g debt and transfer union).

    Rushing to complete the project (option5) is objected by the richer Northern nations so should be formally ruled out. Federalists 2nd preference is option1 (muddle through) but this doesn’t fix the fundamental problems. My guess is they’ll settle on option4 due to budgetary constraints but again it doesn’t fix the problems. Option 2 or a flexible option 3 could solve the current problems, turn back the tide on voter anger and be something we could and should be part of (NB a new slightly more flexible SM with FoM tweaked, not the current strict SM with full FoM).

    Coordination not centralisation.

    Of course hoping for them to reform the way we’d like is a fools game (Blair, Cable, Heseltine, etc) – but even once we’ve left we’re offering to have our own option 2-3 relationship, it seems likely we’d have more success leading by example from without than leading with a tiny voice from within.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39132141

    Power is rarely given back without a fight – that is what really concerns me.

  34. Faisal Islam –

    Just spoke to Guy Verhofstadt after his meetings in Downing Street… he is pushing an “Association Agreement” under Article 217 in 66 part EUropean Parliament paper released tomorrow – not the EU 27 idea

    Article 217 reads “The Union may conclude with one or more third countries or international organisations agreements establishing an association involving reciprocal rights and obligations, common action and special procedure.”

    Note with “third countries”, so WA would still have to ratified first.

    I suppose that the UK could quickly dissolve itself and become an “international organisation” made up of 4 or 5 independent nations?

  35. Trevor Warne,
    ” The Greek economy is being run for the purpose of repaying French and German banks.”

    Didnt I gather from debate here that in fact US law prohibits a sovereign state defaulting? So a US bank can buy up that debt however much it might have been priced down and insist on full repayment? That being so, the EU has no power to write it off, all they could do is buy it up themselves and then not insist on repayment?

    Colin,
    “I don’t share your view of the blood sacrifice made by the British .People in defence of Freedom & Democracy in Europe.”

    Do you not? Germany threatened the british empire. That is why pre WW1 we changed our longstanding policy of being enemies of France and friends of germany to the reverse. We didnt care what they did on the continent, but a Germany seeking to outmatch the british Navy could not be tolerated by great Britain. There was a naval arms race pre WW1 between GB and G, and they were doing pretty well considering most of german expenditure was on the army, while ours was the other way about, on the navy. There was a nationalist membership club which millions subscribed to in germany demanding they build a bigger navy than GB so as to win gemany a world empire. (admittedly orchestrated by Turpitz and the Kaiser to force parliament to vote him more money for the navy). Britain could not tolerate this.

    Trevor warne,
    “Power is rarely given back without a fight – that is what really concerns me.”

    Very true. I think remainers will keep fighting for the rights leavers are trying to take from them. (you see the problem? It is rather a matter of perspective)

  36. @ OLDNAT – thanks for the various NI links recently. The demographics have long suggested that at some point Ireland will become 50%+1 One Ireland (your 18-44 link from LucidTalks and relative birth rates tell us that)

    You posted a link a while back that suggested a 55%+ referendum threshold for Unionists to be able to knock the issue out for a generation and I think that will become the issue. The 50%+1 referendum in Scotland didn’t put that issue out for a generation. Accepting the Brexit referendum is clearly still an issue for many so what kind of referendum for NI? If 55% is a threshold then so is 45%.

    I’ve heard people suggest reverse Velvet revolutions (reverse of Czechoslovakia), Hong Kong or Crown dependency route (e.g. Isle of Man) approaches. None of those had referendums – not saying that is good or bad, just an observation!

    How to peacefully and democratically achieve the outcome is a challenge. NI is economically highly dependent on UK so the economics can’t be ignored either (ie as a self-governing entity their budget deficit would be enormous).

    My concern would be that if a referendum came and we had a 51.8/48.2 or 55.3/44.7 split (either way) that would not put the matter to rest for a generation – something we should learn from the current IndyRef2 and Brexit situation!

    Sadly the LucidTalks poll did not ask about One Ireland referendum (desire or VI), border solutions or Brexit matters (that is what I meant by it being a ‘domestic only’ poll).

  37. It would be interesting to see proposals for an increased level of democracy in the EU from those who complain of a democratic deficit.

    Here are my proposals:

    1. Direct election of the EU President, with the main candidates representing each of the political blocks in the EP, but any other EU citizen free to stand (as in the USA).

    2. The European Commission formed by the political block or blocks able to command a majority in the EP, and its leader to be the leader of that block (as in the UK)

    This might create a power struggle between President and leader of the EC, which could (if thought undesirable) be resolved in two ways:

    a. Make the President’s role one of giving moral rather than executive leadership (as in Germany)

    b. Keep the EC as an appointed civil service (on UK lines, but with the jobs fairly divvied up between all member states) and allow the emergence of a ‘PM’ and cabinet from the group(s) winning the euro elections.

    That would certainly address any talk of a democratic deficit. But somehow I don’t think it’s what brexity critics of the EU have in mind.

  38. Danny

    So your still be fighting for the right to rejoin the EU if after time being outside makes little or no difference to the majority of U.K. citizens best of luck with that one.
    Still it must be a wonderful thing to think those tinpot countries that increasingly make up the EU are such a better bet in your eyes than the U.K.
    As you say it’s all a matter of perspective.

  39. @ DANNY – debt rescheduling is effectively partial default. It was a legal terminology quibble and you’ve misinterpreted it. In the case of Greece they did a very minor ‘rescheduling’ effort, nowhere near the amount required. We’re now onto bail-out 3 and ESM recently announced the blood is finally flowing nicely and the vampires are happy.

    I recommend you read up on Argentina debt crisis – the US$ peg was de facto monetary union. Messy but turned out well.

    A debt is a debt is a debt (say the creditors)

    A debt is a loan is a responsibility to help (say the debtors)

    NB The UK student loan system has repayment thresholds (common in bail-outs but set very harsh for Greece) and automatic full default after 30yrs (never seen that in a bail-out). SLC system is riddled with moral hazard and unintended consequences but if UK was ever bailed out by Troika they’d take a look at Treasury balance sheet and take the view that a debt is a debt is a debt regarding student debt – lower or remove the repayment threshold, no debt forgiveness after fixed time period, etc.

  40. “”Decision making should be as close to the individual as possible”, and “that idea isn`t at odds with the EU””

    Somerjohn @ 11.52 am

    I fully agree, and for us in the UK I see the EU as defending the minorities who stay some distance outwith London and SE England.

    Whereas this Tory government is trying to drag more power back to itself and London. For example, in the present battle on what happens when EU powers return being fought between the Scottish and UK governments.

    It looks like the UK government wants to get all the powers currently devolved back to itself, and then let those it chooses go back to Edinburgh. The attitude is: we are the boss, you are a tiny minority.

    Our UK media have the same SE England bias, which some on here are tired of me reiterating. Yesterday, as much time was given to the Londoners sadly with no water for a day, as the 5000 or so folk on Alston Moor, the West Fellside, Kirkby Stephen environs and West Stainmore who have been cut off from the outside world for 5 days by deep snow drifts.

    And the Radio 4 weather forecast yesterday could spend 98% of its time on English regions, and add at the end just 4 words for Scotland “for Scotland more snow”. Perhaps they hadn`t heard that in areas tinder dry in the far west crews were out tackling big moorland fires, whereas 100 miles plus east there were life-threatening blizzards.

  41. 2nd tranche of Lucid Talk poll on ILA – little, if any, shift in attitudes between the two communities on what has become a totemic, symbolic issue between them.

    Best solution probably for UK Government to use direct rule to legislate for an ILA and a U-SLA through Orders in Council.

    UK too weak (rather tinpot, in fact), however, to do any such thing.

  42. ALIENATEDLABOUR

    You seem to be enjoying canvassing and it seems to be effective. I think I wish you well ( I want an independent Scotland)..

  43. Jersey now doing the required contingency planning for when their UK neighbours (and its overlord Brenda, Duke of Normandy) leave the EU.

    https://businesseyeci.com/2018/01/23/jerseys-version-of-the-great-repeal-bill-unveiled/

    “We are taking a substantially different approach to the United Kingdom in bringing this draft law. Whilst the UK is implementing all existing EU legislation which applies to it in one law, we are creating the ability for the Island to carefully select which pieces of EU legislation it wishes to keep. The Law Officers and other Government Departments are working closely together to identify those pieces of legislation which are essential to ensure that the Island’s relationship with the EU operates properly when Protocol 3 falls away on Brexit day.”

    I presume Guernsey and Mann are planning something similar.

  44. ALEC

    I doubt that Mrs May has been rowing back on Brexit from the start. It is said that she and Nick Timothy alone decided that Brexit meant a withdrawal from the SM and CU. She did not realise that it was not that the EU would not give the kind of Cake that was desired but that the EU could not.

    Mrs May’s appointments of Brexiteer’s to the Cabinet has left her not only boxed in with little room to move but tied to the wishes of these people

    The departure of Sir Ivan Rogers signals that May was among those engaged in muddled thinking at that point in time.

    The repeated repetition that “no deal is better than a bad deal” does not suggest rowing back on Brexit but confusion. The mantra has vanished but relatively recently.

    It was only at the Florence speech when there was concession because it was necessary for the negotiations to continue that there seemed to be more realism from the UK government.

    I doubt that time wasting is a deliberate ploy. Would deliberate delays not be noted even within her own side causing even more internal tensions? Most negotiators try to keep time pressures under control when possible so not to weaken their negotiating strength. Mrs May probably knows by now she has little negotiating power. She does not need to create additional pressure for her own side.

    We are both speculating and i don’t suppose it matters whether we are right or wrong.

  45. CROFTY

    Regarding addictions and poverty; here is part of the 10th Kilbrandon Lecture given by (as he was then, not now) the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland, Sir Harry Burns.

    The Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) Study studied 17,000 American adults and assessed the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, witnessing domestic violence, and serious household dysfunction and a number of health and social outcomes. They counted the number of adversities in children’s lives and saw what happened to children who experienced four or more adversities in their lives. They found that the children were seven and a half times more likely to become alcoholic than children who had no experience of these adversities. Alcoholism may be, to a large extent, driven by these experiences in early life. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of adversity, they are all the same in terms of their impact. They are just cumulative. In terms of violence, boys who experience physical abuse during early life are eight times more likely as teenagers to beat up their girlfriends and three and a half times more likely to carry weapons….”

    http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0040/00403544.pdf

  46. @ SJ – ?? The voting mechanism to elect a president is not the point. As a sovereign nation why do we need a foreign president or a foreign parliament for that matter. If someone told you you could run for US president would that mean you’d be happy being governed by Trump – it could have been you so with your suggestion surely you’d be happy with that! Are Californians even happy with that!

  47. Neil A

    Have to agree with you about the riff raff of society, grew up amongst that kind of people. So I recognize the type, it’s why I scream at the TV when I hear Tories on the TV, it’s all the same excuses and reasoning that I hear from benefit scrongers and petty criminals. Boris is remarkably like my brother, the one that has been ostracized from the family for being a complete #$$€¥¥&. We look down on the petty criminals at the bottom of society but look up to the exact same type of people in the elite. SAD!

  48. From Britain Elects

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 43% (+1)
    LAB: 42% (-1)
    LDEM: 7% (-)
    GRN: 3% (+1)
    UKIP: 2% (-1)

    via @ICMResearch, 02 – 04 Mar

  49. More interesting would be to know the UK views of those who, like me, complain of the democratic deficit in EU.

    Should the UK:
    a/ Devolve more powers to the nations, regions and mayors
    b/ Keep the devolution of powers as they currently are
    c/ Have the UK parliament take back some of the devolved powers from the nations, regions and mayors

    I would expect plurality for a/ but the x-breaks would be interesting. I’m guessing but I think you’d see quite a high % of Leavers and CON picking c/! Conversely I’d expect a lot of SNP, LDEM and Remain to pick a/. LAB x-break?? probably a/ but split heavily by age and Brexit.

    @ DAVWEL – Lidington has certainly suggested a “pause” on devolving powers taken back from Brussels but can you give some examples of some powers that are currently devolved to Holyrood that Westminster will be taking back from Holyrood (as your suggesting). The replacement mechanism for CAP is the only one I can think of (there might be others, I’m just curious to know which ones). Fishing is TBA but since its not currently devolved its a bit of a stretch to say Westminster is taking it back from Holyrood.
    I’d like as much as possible devolved – to stay in a UK CU then regulations should have mutual recognition and I understand the need to “pause” on some issues.

    One other thing I was going to ask a Scot. Am I correct in thinking Holyrood have passed IndyRef2 legislation. May said no (technically not yet) but in theory the Scottish side for holding IndyRef2 is done and it just needs Westminster to approve it? Be nice to allow it in 2020 IMHO or maybe between 2021 Holyrood and 2022 Westminster. Possibly even skip a full ref and just make it a decision for Holyrood post 2021 (and hence a manifesto issue for Holyrood 2021).

  50. Thanks AM – tabs out already, lots of interesting questions by the looks of it. I’ll let a Remainer have first dibs on analysis :-)!
    https://www.icmunlimited.com/polls/

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