We’ve had three voting intention polls in the last couple of days:

  • Ipsos MORI‘s monthly political monitor had topline figures of CON 43%(+4), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 6%(-3). Fieldwork was over last weekend (Fri-Wed), and changes are from January. Tabs are here.
  • YouGov/Times on Friday has toplines of CON 41%(nc), LAB 43%(+1), LDEM 7%(nc). Fieldwork was Mon-Tues and changes are from last week. Tabs are here.
  • Survation/GMB, reported in the Sunday Mirror, has CON 37%(-3), LAB 44%(+1), LDEM 9%(+1). Fieldwork was Wednesday and Thursday, and changes are from the tail end of January. No tabs yet.

There is no clear trend – Labour is steady across the board, Survation have the Tories falling, MORI have them rising. MORI and YouGov show the two main parties neck-and-neck, Survation have a clear Labour lead.

The better Labour position in Survation is typical, but it’s not really clear why. As regular readers will know, Survation do both online and telephone voting intention polls. Their phone polls really do have a significantly different methodology – rather than random digit dialling, they randomly select phone numbers from consumer databases and ring those specific people. That would be an obvious possible explanation for a difference between Survation phone polls and polls from other companies. However, this poll wasn’t conducted by telephone, it was conducted online, and Survation’s online method is pretty similar to everyone else’s.

Survation’s online samples at the general election were much the same as everyone elses. The differences were down to other companies experimenting with things like demographic turnout modelling in order to solve the problems of 2015, approaches that ultimately ended up backfiring. However, polling companies that got it wrong have now dropped the innovations that didn’t work and largely gone back to simpler methods on turnout, meaning there is now no obvious reason for the difference.

Meanwhile, looking at the other questions in the surveys the YouGov poll also included their all their regular EU trackers, following Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s speeches. Neither, unsusprisingly, seem to have made much difference. 29% of people think that the Conservative party’s policy on Brexit is clear, up on a week ago (25%) but still significantly down from January (37%). 36% of people say they support May’s approach to Brexit, barely changed from a week ago (35%). For Labour, just 18% of people now think their Brexit policy is clear (down from 22% straight after Corbyn’s speech), 21% of people say they support the approach that Jeremy Corbyn is taking towards Brexit.


640 Responses to “Latest voting intention polls”

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  1. @ DANNY – ??

    Net +51 CON prefer ‘Clean Brexit’ to ‘BINO’
    70-19 = +51

    Take issue with the wording if you like. I’d note that ‘Clean Brexit’ doesn’t mention a potentially lower divorce bill and that ‘BINO’ doesn’t say we’d have no say on rules, probably still be making significant annual contributions and probably still have FoM. In BINO’s favour however is NI issue – polling we’ve seen on that shows it as a very low priority however (expect the usual suspects will freak out but just saying it how it is)

    I don’t think we’ll get a ref on the terms but if we did then I’m fairly sure ‘Clean Brexit’ campaign would highlight the additional points and I’m guessing that would tip further in favour of Clean Brexit.

    If you see polling that supports the Best for Brussels campaign desire to keep us in CU then please post it!

  2. Crofty

    “trying to force us to boycott the whole thing…..”

    Scotland is well ahead of that! Not only did the Men’s team decide to boycott the Finals in Russia, but all the Finals in the 21st century! I confidently predict that they will continue that policy in order to boycott Qatar as well!

  3. “Not that much to be Tigger-ish about here. Growth forecasts dreadful compared with what we thought in March 2016, dreadful by historical standards and dreadful compared with most of the rest of the world.”

    Those who believe our economy has been unaffected by the brexit vote might like to reflect on these words today from
    Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    While many of the brexit persuasion now maintain that they always expected an initial economic hit, I don’t recall any mentioning that in the run-up to the referendum. Nor do I remember any saying there would be no net saving on EU costs until 2024 at the earliest (as OBR forecasts today). That’s 8 years after the referendum!

  4. ON

    Ah well, the Jocks were always very cunning.

  5. TrigGuy

    I see no more reason to believe a Russian State propagandist than a UK State propagandist! (Colin will doubtless disapprove!)

    Still raises the question – “Why would they?”

    Without some kind of reasonable suggestion of a benefit to Putin and Russia by mounting that assassination attempt in the UK, and now, it’s hard to assume that they are the only suspects.

  6. Davwell,
    “But in the NE it`s warmer than for some time”

    Been sunny in the south too. Unfortunately have an update on my occasional series on the state of the NHS. Relative had to go in for preparations for a serious op. Unfortunately they didnt know the details which had been agreed about what op it was to be, so didnt have the right person to talk about that. They hadnt sorted out the preparatory regime that was needed beforehand, and didnt have a different expert available for that. The matter was referred back to the GP to sort out, who we saw yesterday and who could have done it then had he known. Someone tried to discuss options for pain control, but kept having to interrupt herself because some of what she was discussing might simply not apply subject to the opinion of an anethetist, who likewise had yet to coment.

    So we may have to go back, and while we are trying hard to arrange transport and escort, its very difficult when the hospital keeps tripping over itself and being unable to accomplish what it says it will when it will, and which we have all worked around to attend.

    I dont know what is going on in there (they have been over budget for years), but administration is plainly not going well. A completley different issue concerned an apparently vital piece of information from test results 2 years ago. This is long enough ago that it would take some wading thorugh the notes to find, but we have pointed it out to three staff doctors who have dealt with this same issue in succession over teh last couple of months, plus their specialist nurse. Anway, what with all this passing on the case to someone else, the info never got passed along too. There is no one person coordinating one persons care.

  7. Financing parties from public purse

    No. Just check how many fake parties exist in Hungary purely for the state subsidy. Most recently three parties were removed from the April elections. They had candidates in every constituency – so about a million quid per party for expenses. One party was registered in a bicycle tire shop. All the three parties belong to the same family.

    Yes, there are safeguards – if a party doesn’t get at least 1% of the votes, they have to repay the subsidy, except that the party leader tends to be some very poor peraon, so the money cannot be recovered.

    A candidate needs 500 signature on the constituency – so it’s not that difficult (especially as these can be bought – about a quid we signature). One can also copy the list of another party’s dog matures and if it is not reported, the returning officer doesn’t investigate it.

  8. @ DANNY – ?? again.

    Visas are different to EU’s free movement – that is a simple fact.

    Relaxing visa restrictions still makes them visas. They just become easier to apply for and get, have larger quotas, less restrictions, longer time period, etc, etc. Eliminating visa requirements at the point of entry becomes free movement – ask the Swiss!

    Visas amongst other methods are how US, Canada, Australia, etc all manage their immigration. If you followed the CETA talks you’d know Canada was not too keen on the whole EU getting visa waivers just for travel – without seeming insensitive, gaining access for travel and then staying as an illegal after travel period expires is a problem in N.America.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/romania-bulgaria-visas-european-commission-mccallum-july-1.3665356

    NB I’m not anti-immigration – just pointing out the very important differences.

    I would however agree entirely that if May had wanted to do something about immigration she could have done that when she was Home.Sec. I’d also mention we’ve been very relaxed on EU rules and as BFR pointed out could have delayed the freedom of movement for nationals with very different wage levels to UK. Belgium adopt a far harsher interpretation of the EU rules.

  9. OLDNAT

    @”I see no more reason to believe a Russian State propagandist than a UK State propagandist! (Colin will doubtless disapprove!)”

    It is not for me to disapprove of your opinions. I am entitled to disagree though-and do here, since I trust UK SEcurity Officers more than the Putin State apparatus.

    @”“Why would they?””

    Well , though I am merely reliant on newscoverage of Putin & his regime I can think of a couple.

    So it is impressive that you are in such detailed possession of Putin’s range of tactical options for furthering his power & geo-political influence, that you can discount any reason at all.

  10. Financing parties from public purse

    One idea I have seen is that party donations are either paid on a per member basis from public funds or capped at a very low level per year per person, e.g £100. So no trade union block votes and no billionaire donors. That way for a party to have financial muscle they must also have lots of members. If a party has lots of members it will obviously need more of a mass appeal and therefore is harder for any minority to capture. Also it limits extreme views, stops dummy parties and encourages consensual politics.

  11. More from Lucid Talk

    https://twitter.com/LucidTalk/status/973617332034658305

    “Who in NI do we trust most and least?”

    As a sample of the groups trusted (or not) –

    PSNI : 71% All/Grn : 58% Unionist : 49% Nat/Rep
    NI media : 51% All/Grn : 37% Nat/Rep : 31% Unionist
    GB politicians : 42% Unionist : 26% All/Grn : 19% Nat/Rep
    NI politicians : 39% Nat/Rep : 33% Unionist : 25% All/Grn

    That comparatively high trust rate for PSNI in the Nationalist/Republican community seems a testament to the GFA.

    Nobody trusts politicians much.

  12. Colin

    I’m not discounting anything.

    I’m asking a question – “Why would Russia mount such an assassination attempt, now, in the UK.

    I’m not going to be as silly in my response, as you were in yours. Still, you must have some explanation as to the Russian motive – or else you simply trust that whatever the UK Government says must be true – because, perhaps, “you are a British Citizen”?

    It might well have been a Russian (or Israeli, or American, or N Korean) attempted assassination, for all I know.

    None of the responses (other than Crofty’s) I have received have bothered to suggest the motivation.

  13. Danny:

    I am sorry to hear your frustrating hospital news, and problems of communication on a complex case.

    If it`s any consolation to you, I can say that the passing of information from Aberdeen`s big hospital to us and our local doctors` practice has improved despite ARI`s grave staff shortages, That`s between December 2012 when my wife had a week`s stay with an illness that had stumped our local GPs and autumn 2016 when she had a flare-up, and now 2018.

    Blood tests are done both locally and during hospital clinics, and results come quickly via the internet. Phone calls to ARI consultants and local GPs can sort problems quickly. There`s a lot of good people, totally rushed off their feet, in the system.

    I`ll be thinking of you.

  14. Loose talk – by whom?

    http://eureferendum.com/

    “For all we know, Putin ordered the poisoning personally. But until Mrs May has more evidence, she really needs to be careful what she says. Accusing Putin without good evidence is not such a good idea and, without good evidence, is closer to slander than any Prime Minister should ever be.”

  15. Trevor Warne,
    “Visas amongst other methods are how US, Canada, Australia, etc all manage their immigration.”

    But the Uk has operated a rather simpler system. Uk company wants workers and places ad in katovize. Poles apply and come to do the work. Once there is no more work, they go home.

    It has worked beautifully to match supply to demand. Thats the thing. There is no evidence it has failed to do what was wanted, to provide labour we needed and which it was government policy to attract to the Uk. Now we have been making it plain europeans are no longer welcome, they are ceasing to come.

    The visa system is unnecessary because all EU countries are pretty close in economic development compared to the spread across the whole world. Its a relatively small pool with travel rights, most of whom would never want to come. Those that do carry out a fair bargain, giving us cheap labour and for the most part taking home the proceeds. Some stay, but if they spend their whole working life working for us, why shouldnt they?

    What would be different under a visa system? Are you saying we would give them visas for 50 years, and then when they retire we would deport them?

  16. Oldnat

    If Putin is responsible then one senario is he is merely excersing that traditional Russian ploy called setting an example to any future traitors by the exercise of fear in just the same way as Stalin did.
    Why not kill Skripal why he was in prison normally that would have been his fate however there were spy’s to be exchanged so that took priority not that it matter because Skripals fate was already sealed.
    Putins reach is world wide from atrocities in Chechnya Ukraine Syria and against individuals like Litvinenko he hasn’t hesitated to fear and force to deadly effect not surprising perhaps from a ex KGB officer.
    I find it odd that people in the U.K. think that somebody like Putin who is the effective head of corrupt gangster organisation asset stripping Russia that imprisons opposition politicians along with protesters and has journalists murdered should be believed over the U.K. government .

  17. Davwell,
    Happily I havnt personally had much to do with doctors. But three cases i have been involved in all suffer this problem, that as soon as there is change of doctor handling the case, continuity is lost. And since so many of them seem to be locums, change of doctor is frequent.

    A simple conclusion would be that attempts to compartmentalise the NHS, so as to make all elements financially accountable and independent, has shattered continuity of care. The model of GP commissioning services for a patient they understand simply isnt working.

  18. Danny

    “A simple conclusion would be that attempts to compartmentalise the NHS, so as to make all elements financially accountable and independent, has shattered continuity of care.”

    That conclusion should be relatively simple to test, by the Nuffield Trust or similar.

    Since that model has only been adopted in England, and there are 3 other UK NHS systems where it hasn’t been adopted, it shouldn’t be hard to discover if it’s that model that has created the problem, or some other factor.

  19. Oldnat

    Of course one senario is Putin is merely following the traditional Russian ploy of exercising fear.
    You may say why wasn’t Skripal dispatched whilst in prison as I understand it he was used in a prisoner exchange which probably would have taken priority not that it matter because Skripal’s fate was already decided.
    Putins reach is worldwide from Chechnya Ukraine Syria and against individuals like Litvinenko he hasn’t hesitated to use both fear and force.
    I find it odd that anybody should believe Putin who’s rigid control of the press that in prisons opposition politicians along with protesters in his own country should be believed over the U.K. government .

  20. @ SJ – ???

    The major change in OBR forecasts was in Nov’17 when OBR used a rear view mirror approach on productivity. Having over estimated GDP forecast v actual for 7yrs they took that moment to decide to lower productivity estimates for the future. If you read the OBR forecast today you’ll note they might soon have reason to regret that change (see 1.5 on p5).

    As for net savings, are you taking the info from chart 1.5 (or a biased source?) – annual path of divorce bill does show payments out to 2024 (1.5bn in 2024). You need to offset that with the numbers in Table B.1 (what we would have paid if we’d stayed, e.g subtract 10bnish per annum and get a -ve number (aka net saving) from 2021).

    NB Table B.1 shows lower amounts than the EU side but let’s not quibble about that. Another quibble would be the WA showing a bullet payment on Dec’20 where as OBR show that spread over a few years!? Anyway, you need to subtract what we would have paid if we’d remained from what we are paying in divorce.

    Please check and if you still claim 8years ongoing net payments then please explain where are you getting net payments to >2024 from.

    As for UK economy being affected by Brexit – errr, obviously!

    Pretty sure every leaver that posts has said we’d have a temporary small drop – no pain no gain if you like!

    Certainly most, if not all, models predicted that (they just got the magnitude wrong). Most polling is also picking up that people expect economy to get a bit worse. Please note the first three letters of NEWS are N E W! Most people either knew this when they voted or certainly know it now (as is shown in the polling – Survation even highlighting a lot of folks see a recession as likely!)

    OBR have set the bar for the future very low IMHO and polling shows people see it even worse. The productivity ‘puzzle’ is still TBA but with public perception so low then even if we do no better than the gloomy OBR forecast then a lot of folks will be wondering what all the Project Fear2.0 fuss was about!

  21. @Laszlo

    “No. Just check how many fake parties exist in Hungary purely for the state subsidy”

    ———

    Yes, but at least they haven’t been bought by some vested interest. We have fake parties as it is anyway, they even win elections!!

    The Hungarian system, it sounds very democratic. Even poor people can have a fake party.

  22. Turk

    An odd post.

    Your knowledge of the internal workings of the Kremlin is really, really impressive!

    “Skripal’s fate was already decided”. It may have been, but have you the slightest shred of evidence that that was the case? In any case, it doesn’t address the question of “Why, now?”

    With your inside knowledge, that should be an easy matter for you to describe.

    I also “find it odd” that anyone would believe Putin’s government over others. We can agree that it’s a pretty nasty regime – as are many states, unfortunately. The use of fear to cow populations into subservience isn’t uniquely Russian!

    However, I find it equally odd that anyone would believe any government in any country on such a matter, unless they actually had some evidence.

  23. @old nat

    Why would they?

    Depends who they ‘are’. The Russian Secret Service presumably wishes to deter defectors. Putin likes looking strong. , We were once a formidable player on the world stage and it probably does not harm from ‘their’ point of view to rub in our current ineffectiveness. If I was ‘them’ these reasons would not be enough to prompt me to murder but as I am not I think we should be willing to entertain the idea that their scruples are fewer than ours.

  24. @Oldnat

    1) There is an “election” pending in Russia. A feature of modern Russian politics is that Putin’s opponents tend to suddenly die. This has an understandably chilling effect on multi-party politics (insofar as there is any left). Does the attack in Salisbury make it more or less likely that a credible opponent to Putin will emerge in Russia?

    2) Putin has a history of saying things which are the 180 degree opposite of the truth, even when the truth is blatantly obvious. This was described recently in a BBC article as “implausible deniability”. Although I accept that officials in all of the world’s governments are untruthful much of the time, there are only a handful that will happily stand in front of a camera and say something that nobody anywhere actually believes https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/04/285653335/putin-says-those-arent-russian-forces-in-crimea

    3) Skripal lived in Salisbury, which is a slightly odd place for a Russian emigre to live. It is 8 miles from Porton Down and less than 70 miles from GCHQ. It has been suggested that Skripal might have continued to work for the UK after his release.

    4) Russia is at loggerheads with the West over Syria, Ukraine and Putin’s anti-democratic record. Demonstrating the powerless of the West in the face of provocation would be a further ratchet in that confrontation.

    5) Vil Mirzayanov thinks that Putin did it. Vil Mirzayanov knows about these things.

    6) Putin’s Russia is a kleptocracy, supported by a web of thieves holding onto large chunks of the Russian people’s assets on behalf of the Organized Crime Network in charge. People who fall out of favour in that web tend to die. The UK is in the process of changing policy to target this web.

    7) There really isn’t any other plausible candidate. Yes it’s theoretically possible that all sorts of people/countries could be responsible. Heck, maybe Norway did it. But if it was purely a criminal act, a simple bullet to the head is far more effective, vastly cheaper and has the same outcome – with the additional advantage of reducing the number of police officers tasked with catching you by about 95%.

  25. @TW – “The major change in OBR forecasts was in Nov’17…”

    Can’t be bothered to double check again but when I looked at the stats there was actually a hefty change between March 2016 and November 2016, directly because of the referendum. I did post previously that the net outcome of this is now firming up and is very much in line with the OBR pre Brexit forecast of a 3.6% loss in GDP by the end of the A50 period (assumed to be 2 years).

    This was the low end of the forecast range, and although they did predict a recession which didn’t happen, they have prettymuch got the fall in GDP just about spot of, by the looks of it.

    Given the accuracy of the pre Brexit forecasts, we better start dusting off the medium term fprecasts they made to see how much worse things are likely to get.

  26. Oldnat

    Why now maybe it’s got something to do with the upcoming Russian elections rigged as they are Putin can never resist being portrayed as the hard man to his hapless audience.
    As for evidence well let’s see radioactive Polonium-210 used to kill Litvinenko who had been a member of Russian security services
    Russian made nerve agent used to try and assassinate Skripal who was in the Russian security services both of whom had fallen out with the Russian state and had been critical of Putin.
    As they say over here if it quacks like a duck look looks like a duck it’s a duck.
    Unless of course you think nerve agents made in Russia and radioactive Polonium used in Russian spacecraft can be brought in Boots then of course anybody could have done it.

  27. TREVOR WARNE @ SJ

    Pretty sure every leaver that posts has said we’d have a temporary small drop

    I rather doubt that those leavers who post here are representative of the 52%. TOH, for example seems to prefer penury to EU membership. I’m not aware of polling on that topic directly.

    OTOH, the JRF analysis of August 2016 has the first two findings of:

    · The poorest households, with incomes of less than £20,000 per year, were much more likely to support leaving the EU than the wealthiest households, as were the unemployed, people in low-skilled and manual occupations, people who feel that their financial situation has worsened, and those with no qualifications.

    · Groups vulnerable to poverty were more likely to support Brexit. Age, income and education matter, though it is educational inequality that was the strongest driver. Other things being equal, support for leave was 30 percentage points higher among those with GCSE qualifications or below than it was for people with a degree. In contrast, support for leave was just 10 points higher among those on less than £20,000 per year than it was among those with incomes of more than £60,000 per year, and 20 points higher among those aged 65 than those aged 25.

    How happy to be even a smidgeon poorer than they are now do you think they will be?

  28. @ DANNY – ??? Have you had too much sun today ???

    There was a system for Polish, etc workers that existed quite a while ago, before EU freedom of movement – it did aim to match demand and supply. FoM has no in-built matching mechanism. If you want to use supply and demand then shift the supply curve to the right for unchanged demand and see what happens to prices (ie wages). In UK we’ve also shifted the demand curve (lots of lower productivity jobs) but this misses the sector level impacts. I’m aware of the studies that show no impact – either the economics is wrong or something else offsetting the economics (probably bit of both, IMHO this explains of the productivity ‘puzzle’ – e.g. instead of going shopping or cooking we get things delivered, more ‘free time’ doesn’t show up in the productivity stats!)

    Anyway, ONS immigration data breaks down EU immigration by ‘looking for work’ and ‘arriving with a definite job’

    In their latest release:
    “The numbers of EU citizens arriving with a definite job saw a small decrease over the last year (not statistically significant) (Figure 4a). The number of EU citizens coming to the UK looking for work decreased by 35,000”

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/internationalmigration/bulletins/migrationstatisticsquarterlyreport/february2018#differing-migration-patterns-seen-for-eu-and-non-eu-citizens

    As for close in economic development, do you extend that to wages? Helpfully wiki colour code:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage

    EG Bulgarian’s average net monthly wage is e457 (in red) where as UK is e1,990 (in blue)

    Whether or not it is Brexit, stronger EU economies or the currency moves, less EU nationals are coming to UK looking for work

    In a visa system you can’t come looking for work , you apply in advance before crossing the border. Being outside of Schengen and being an Island makes this logistically easy. The island of Ireland has CTA and let’s not be silly and consider someone going to Roi-NI-GB when they could fly in on easyjet with a travel visa if they wanted to become an illegal immigrant.

    Before you take a single quote out of context I’ll restate that I’m not against immigration. It’s not my #1 Brexit priority to control immigration but I accept that polling shows it is important for a lot of people.

    Also note if you take the ONS data, drop students out (as they should IMHO) then you’d be below 100,000 – tick box, move on. I’ve no idea why CON don’t see the PR benefit of removing student numbers and being able to claim ‘mission accomplished’. Maybe timing it for when they need it? At some point when graduate farms stop growing then the student number issue should drop out anyway – maybe thats what they are waiting for?

  29. @ BZ – ?????

    See Q8 in survation poll. Remainers (net 49) the most negative of course but even Leavers (net 13) see the chance of a recession in the next 2yrs as more likely than less likely .

    That is a recession, not just a temporary small drop! Would you agree it is far to say a temporary small drop would have got an even higher net ‘likely’ number?

    http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Final-GMB-Tables-070317NFCH-1C0D3H8-1.0.pdf

  30. Neil A

    “Putin’s Russia is a kleptocracy, …..The UK is in the process of changing policy to target this web.”

    Agreed about the first part (arguably, the West isn’t that different in that respect) but I didn’t know about how the UK is “changing policy to target this web”. Have you details? Presumably it will involve Ruth Davidson refusing to accept a huge donation to have a meal with the wife of a Russian ex-pat?

    “A feature of modern Russian politics is that Putin’s opponents tend to suddenly die.”

    Why did you introduce the word “modern”. It has been a feature of Russian politics since Ivan’s day. at least.

    “Putin has a history of saying things which are the 180 degree opposite of the truth, even when the truth is blatantly obvious”

    That’s also true of statements by a number of UK Cabinet Ministers.

    “Skripal lived in Salisbury, which is a slightly odd place for a Russian emigre to live. It is 8 miles from Porton Down and less than 70 miles from GCHQ. It has been suggested that Skripal might have continued to work for the UK after his release.”

    It has also been suggested that Skripal worked for Orbis after his release. He would have been thoroughly debriefed on arrival here after release. What further information could he have had access to after release from prison (other than historical)?

    “Vil Mirzayanov thinks that Putin did it”.

    I imagine that lots of Russian exiles think Putin did it. Just as lots of Iraqi exiles persuaded Western Intelligence that Hussein ad WMD.

    “Demonstrating the powerless of the West in the face of provocation would be a further ratchet in that confrontation.”

    Now, that’s a reasonable point. Perhaps not ratcheting up confrontation, so much as just “demonstrating the powerless of the West”.

    What’s May going to do? Launch a first strike nuclear attack?

    Much has been speculated about Russia intervening in the UK to weaken the EU, but (if it was indeed a Russian attack) it would seem to have been counter-productive in that the EU leaders have been far more supportive of the UK than the USA has been.

    “There really isn’t any other plausible candidate.” How do you know? I’m quite sure that you never approach a criminal investigation in that way!

    To be quite clear, I’m not saying Russia wasn’t behind the attack. It may well have been, but supposition is a poor substitute for evidence.

  31. Turk

    “Russian made nerve agent”

    You know that for certain? Despite the Soviet Union’s plant for making the stuff was in the subsequently independent republic of Uzbekistan, whose government asked the USA to secure the facility?

    I do realise that many in the USA (and elsewhere) are geographically and politically challenged, but “Soviet Union” and “Russia” are no more the same unit than “England” and “UK”.

    As to your duck analogy –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

  32. Crofty

    Makes sense.

    “Anyone thinking of cooperating with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating collusion, will think twice. ”

    Trump’s spokesperson did say , “We stand with our ally and we certainly fully support them and are ready if we can be of any assistance to them.”

    But who is Trump’s ally?

  33. oldnat

    I can only think of Trump.

  34. Crofty

    Good point!

  35. NEILJ YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.
    NEIL A

    1) There is an “election” pending in Russia. A feature of modern Russian politics is that Putin’s opponents tend to suddenly die. This has an understandably chilling effect on multi-party politics (insofar as there is any left). Does the attack in Salisbury make it more or less likely that a credible opponent to Putin will emerge in Russia?

    2) Putin has a history of saying things which are the 180 degree opposite of the truth, even when the truth is blatantly obvious. This was described recently in a BBC article as “implausible deniability”. Although I accept that officials in all of the world’s governments are untruthful much of the time, there are only a handful that will happily stand in front of a camera and say something that nobody anywhere actually believes

    3) Skripal lived in Salisbury, which is a slightly odd place for a Russian emigre to live. It is 8 miles from Porton Down and less than 70 miles from GCHQ. It has been suggested that Skripal might have continued to work for the UK after his release.

    4) Russia is at loggerheads with the West over Syria, Ukraine and Putin’s anti-democratic record. Demonstrating the powerless of the West in the face of provocation would be a further ratchet in that confrontation.

    5) Vil Mirzayanov thinks that Putin did it. Vil Mirzayanov knows about these things.

    6) Putin’s Russia is a kleptocracy, supported by a web of thieves holding onto large chunks of the Russian people’s assets on behalf of the Organized Crime Network in charge. People who fall out of favour in that web tend to die. The UK is in the process of changing policy to target this web.

    7) There really isn’t any other plausible candidate. Yes it’s theoretically possible that all sorts of people/countries could be responsible. Heck, maybe Norway did it. But if it was purely a criminal act, a simple bullet to the head is far more effective, vastly cheaper and has the same outcome – with the additional advantage of reducing the number of police officers tasked with catching you by about 95%.

    Yes but apart from that there is no reason, well apart from a very visible deterrent to discourage further ‘traitors’ in the future backed up by a Russian state TV presenter has told “traitors” they are not safe in Britain
    But apart from that no reason at all:-)

  36. TREVOR WARNE @ BZ

    Thanks for the Survation link, in which Q8 asks:

    A recession is defined as a period where the size of the economy (GDP) contracts for two consecutive quarters (6 months). Thinking about what you may have seen or heard, how likely do you think it is that the UK economy will experience a recession in the next two years?

    Not asking how much poorer they would accept becoming, but interesting nonetheless, although it would be clearer had they broken down the Leave/Remain vote in the same detail and been more specific in what “caused” the hypothetical recession.

    The cross-tab on income is perhaps more interesting:

    £0 – £19,999: Likely 41.5% Unlikely 14.4%
    £20,000 – £39,999: Likely 44% Unlikely 20%
    £40,000+: Likely 55.5% Unlikely 16.7%

    The Education Level columns give similar results.

    All in all, it looks to be saying that only higher paid/educated voters have much understanding of what a recession means.

  37. @Oldnat

    I am not sure if you’re joking, or just being an even more obtuse version of your normal self.

    http://www.transparency.org.uk/uwo-consider-today/#.WqhLJefLiUk

    I say modern because Russia did manage a short period of more-or-less democracy during which political murder was relatively rare. I accept that their longer history is very Putin-like. But then so is the long term history of every human civilization everywhere. Putin is a throwback to a different time in all sorts of ways.

    Can you recall an untruth by a UK Cabinet Minister in your lifestime that compares with Putin’s denials about Crimea?

    I presume your reference to Orbis is a suggestion that US agents might have done the deed on behalf of Trump? I submit that for all Trump’s faults, there’s far less reason to believe that of him than to believe it of Putin. Besides which, Orbis is more of a target for the Russians than the Americans.

    Exactly, the whole point of Russia’s strategy is to see just how much protection from international norms the possession of nuclear weapons gives them. The answer is probably “almost complete”. That’s why Kim Jong-Un wants them so badly.

    I don’t think the attack in Salisbury is anything to do with weakening the EU. I think it’s primarily for domestic consumption, and to highlight Western inability to react – the “weakness” caused by their “ethical” government – in contrast to Putin’s ability to do whatever he likes / it takes.

    Actually, concentrating lines of enquiry on the only plausible suspect is absolutely standard practice in criminal investigation. If CCTV cameras show that only one vehicle sped away from the scene of a hit and run, you wouldn’t expect the police to go looking for all the cars in the county – they’d go looking for that one.

    As a thought experiment, suggest to me another plausible candidate (other than Trump, whom I think you’ve already hinted at?)

  38. The DTel has a headline on its web page:

    “”Britain’s Brexit bill won’t be paid until 2064 (but austerity will end in Autumn)””.

    Oh, I do wish that were true rather than a blatant lie.

    If Philip Hammond is still in post in November, any changes he might announce on public-sector finance and salaries can`t take effect until April 2019.

    The absence of support for PH`s Spring Statement here from the Tory fan-club tells us that they realise it is grim news. More cut-backs will come in 2019-20, and if we have Hard Brexit, the cuts will be massive.

  39. @Davwel

    The “absence of support” for the the Spring statement may be a reflection of the fact that this is a polling site and not a forum for groups of partisans to puff the achievements of their own side, or denigrate the efforts of their opponents. It therefore tells us nothing at all.

  40. ON – thanks for posting something genuinely pleasing and imo positive re the PSNI and the GFA, hopefully those dissing the agreement won’t get traction.

    %ages are positive view of:

    PSNI : 71% All/Grn : 58% Unionist : 49% Nat/Rep

  41. Neil A

    “Actually, concentrating lines of enquiry on the only plausible suspect is absolutely standard practice in criminal investigation.”

    Of course, but problems can occur when investigators assume that there is only one “plausible” suspect, if less obvious ones are ignored.

    I’m presuming that you aren’t part of the investigation team (otherwise you wouldn’t be commenting) but if you were “there’s far less reason to believe that of him than to believe it of Putin.” would be a bit worrying as a mindset at the start of an investigation.

    “Can you recall an untruth by a UK Cabinet Minister in your lifestime that compares with Putin’s denials about Crimea?”

    Of course.

    Eden denied that there was a conspiracy between UK, France and Israel to attack Egypt.

    UK denied mistreatment (actually torture) of insurgents in Kenya. Malaya. N Ireland etc.

    The UK consistently claimed that Greville Wynne was an innocent businessman and not a UK spy.

    Blair’s “sexed up” dossier

    Blair’s denial of the “deal in the desert”.

    Governments are habitually “economical with the truth”.

    As to your “thought experiment”, Israel might be a candidate, though I’m more tempted by the idea in Crofty’s link that Russia might have done this to silence some witnesses in the Mueller investigation.

  42. @Oldnat – I don’t think it’s appropriate to attempt to claim that somehow Russia and the way it is run and behaves as a state today is somehow nearly the same as the way the vast majority of world states operate. By continuing to suggest this, you are losing your credibility as a poster.

  43. Neil A: Tell that to ToH and the rest!

    ToH is good at spotting economic news that might shift VI a notch or two.

  44. Colin,

    Billy No Mates is rather jouranlistic but the question of whether the UK will have reliable allies going forward outside the EU and with Trump at that point vacillating is a reasonable question.

    FWIW, I think Merkel will be less than supportive as, like over Ukraine allegedly, Germany’s apparent reliance on Russian Gas may be a factor in her considerations.

  45. Jim Jam

    To those of us who remember the sectarian activities of the “B-Specials”, that approval rating for PSNI is not just a huge testament to the GFA, but a tribute to PSNI itself, for having worked so hard to transform itself.

  46. Alec

    ” I don’t think it’s appropriate to attempt to claim that somehow Russia and the way it is run and behaves as a state today is somehow nearly the same as the way the vast majority of world states operate.”

    If I were saying that, it would be inappropriate, but fortunately, I’m not.

    I am saying that most governments habitually lie to their own people as to what they are doing in international affairs (and often what they are doing at home as well).

    Of course, there are degrees of nastiness between different governments of different countries at different times.

    N Korea, Miramar, and Russia are at the nastier end of the scale – though many would add Saudi Arabia and others to that list.

    I’d put the Nordic countries among the better ones (though even they have had their nastier moments).

    I do have a problem with those extolling UK exceptionalism, given the rather dreadful treatment of dissidents in the Empire, and the implicit (or explicit) ideas that the UK are always the “goodies”.

    Perhaps Iraq was the last time that the UK will be a belligerent, and all the parts of it can aspire to be more Nordic in future.

  47. @ Oldnat

    Former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray offers some alternatives:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/russian-to-judgement/

  48. Oldnat,

    Suez is an excellent example of “Putinismo” I’ll concede that.

    As to the idea that Israel did it? Why on Earth would anyone think that? Other than the general “Mossad are behind everything” schtick? Surely they are too busy spilling the blood of Christian children to be smuggling nerve agents from Moscow to Salisbury?

  49. Syzygy

    Yep! I cited that at the beginning of the discussion, commenting that his speculation might be wayward, but not necessarily more so than that of western politicians.

    I’m still tempted by the theory that it’s more to do with silencing potential witnesses to the Mueller inquiry.

    Powerful states are not averse to sending messages via killing people in unimportant allies.

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