The Guardian released their latest poll from ICM earlier today. Topline voting intention figures were CON 42%(nc), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 8%(+1). Changes are from early April and fieldwork was Friday to Sunday, so once the Windrush scandal was in full throw but before Amber Rudd’s resignation. While the changes are well within the normal margin of error, three points matches the largest Tory lead ICM have recorded since the election (and bear in mind the last two weekly YouGov polls also showed the Tory lead at a post-election high). In other words, while I would still urge caution about reading too much into a couple of polls showing a similar pattern, it’s possible that the Conservatives are opening up a small lead. It is worth keep an eye on at least.

Voting intention polls don’t tell us that much at this stage of the Parliament, but if the Tories have improved their position relative to Labour over the last few weeks then perhaps Thursday’s local elections may not be so bad for them as they might have been (for what it’s worth, when the same council wards were last fought in 2014 the Labour party had a small lead in the national polls… but of course, the polls back then were likely over stating Labour, so that does not necessarily imply a swing to the Tories). On the subject of local elections, Survation have said they’ll be releasing some London local election polling overnight.

Turning back to the ICM poll they also asked about the impending visit by Donald Trump. 33% of people said they supported Trump’s visit, 31% were opposed, 33% neither supported nor opposed it. Full tabs for the poll are here.

UPDATE: As well as the ICM poll, there is also a new ComRes poll out for the Sunday Express. As with ICM fieldwork was Friday to Sunday, so at a time when Windrush was all over the news, but before Amber Rudd resigned. Topline figures with changes from mid-April are CON 40%(nc), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2). The parties are neck-and-neck, rather than the slight Tory lead we’ve seen in other recent polls, but it does not suggest that the Windrush scandal has had any impact.

183 Responses to “Latest ICM and ComRes voting intention polls”

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  1. @ HIRETON – “Again not a lot of evidence that I have seen that EU deals are not suited to the UK”

    Well let’s start with how bad the current EU-UK deal is.
    “We have entered into a lop-sided arrangement under which all impediments to trade have been removed from areas where our trading partners are strong but not from areas where we are strong. So obviously our overall trade deficit with them has gone on rising, and will continue to do so.”
    (quick tangent, consider much worse a Turkey deal would be)

    You could then look at CETA which is along the same lines – pushes the interests of the core EU countries and puts UK’s interests to the back of the queue.

    I’ll also repost this link which shows the implications of this “lopsided” deal and should highlight how bad a Turkey deal would be:

    As for most of your other points, then well we haven’t left yet. No other global #1 in financial services exists so your asking for evidence about something that a/ hasn’t happened yet and b/ doesn’t currently or historically exist.

    Leave certainly has an element of “leap of faith” about it – no argument with that. Those that see the glass 52% full are optimists!

  2. Nice to have the YouGov published when it should be rather than hidden away over the following weekend. The tables are here:

    As we seem to have resumed euro-squabbling, there are two interesting related things in the tracker questions. There’s a big jump in the percentage of people thinking the the government is doing badly at negotiations – up 6 points to 59%. Not as bad as it has been, but getting that way.

    And the breakdown of Wrong-Right on voting to Leave is at 47-42 – the highest lead for Wrong we have seen (equalled once back in October). It could just be random but the Wrong lead has been fairly solid this year.

  3. @Shevii – not too sure about this being a regressive move.

    The principle would be that it is the recipient’s income now being taxed – not the deceased. It would also apply to any gifts made during their lifetime, so paying off tuition fees, for example, would go towards the £125,000 threshold.

    Taxing any gain above this at the normal basic rate tax would be about right in most cases, as although a one off payment of say a deceased parents estate might exceed the threshold in any given year, and therefore look as if it is a large income that therefore should be taxed at a higher rate, the allowance is a lifetime allowance, so the applicable rate above this ought to pay attention to the tax rate paid by the recipient during most of their lives.

    The point is that these proposals would significantly increase the tax take, so overall should be seen as more progressive, in my view.

  4. @TOH – great posts.

    All we need now is one of the ‘your Mum smells of poo’ posts and we’re there, I think.

  5. @trevor Warne – you did quote Larry Elliot before (a leaver) but while I generally like his articles, his points don’t really mean very much on this issue.

    It’s true that there is a clear imbalance on trade with the EU. However, to take from that fact that the deal we have is therefore bad, or somehow benefits our EU competitors asymmetrically, is fundamentally flawed. Flowing from this, it’s also flaws to imagine that leaving the SM would make this problem any better.

    The real question is why are the benefits of the SM so asymmetrical, and here, the answer l!es in Westminster. There is no pre-ordained reason why Germany is better at manufacturing than we are. They have just been better at it. We could be better if we wanted to be, but we choose not to be.

    We then choose to blame the trading system for the fact that we are incapable of utilising the trading system more to our own advantage, but it really is an illogical argument.

  6. New poll from NCP/Matt Singh in the FT reporting a 5 point Con lead, despite weariness with austerity:

    and also mentioned on his website round-up:

    No tables as yet but promised later. The end of the month seems to be becoming the new middle of the month for a flurry of polling

  7. ROGER

    Interesting, another poll with a Tory lead. All in all it adds up to a picture where the national polling is showing a swing of a few points to the tories since the last time these seats were contested, but a large swing to Labour in London. I’m thinking that it’s going to be good for Labour in the capital (though probably not as good as some were thinking), but not too bad a night for the Tories elsewhere as they hoover up UKIP voters. The whole landscape has shifted an awful lot since the last time these were contested though, so there might be some big upsets along the way.

  8. @ ALEC – I posted in answer to HIRETON. We’ve been over all this before, quite recently on most issues. I fully agree we have been too lazy fairre over trade at a govt level for decades and other countries have had a more aggressive approach to making the most of EU protectionism on goods (aka CET)

    My date of choice is Major signing Maastricht. By then we’d seen 20yrs of EU dragging heels on service liberalistation, quite enough time to realise how lopsided the deal was.

    If we want to go back over other old ground then Germany does have one extra advantage over and above the rigged current trade deal – the Euro!
    “A “German euro” was nearly 17 percent undervalued against the dollar in PPP terms, while a “French euro” was overvalued by nearly 5 percent. A “Greek euro” was overvalued by 7 percent.”

    Note that since that article was written the Euro has gained about that 17% (ie the “German Euro” is about fair value) and we are stating to seeing the early signs of the “reverse J-Curve”. Even worse, the PIGS are again being dragged along for the ride. The “Greek euro” is now overvalued by more than 20%!

    P.S. If you/others don’t understand why they pick a “J” to represent the J-Curve then the lead-lag element is explained here.

    Note the lag in the inverse relationship of the currency and current account deficit and also note the “J-Curve” graph does not state how long the process takes. You need to either estimate how long contracts or hedges run for or use empirical studies to get a guide to the time scales. Most estimate at 3mths-1y or so for the lowest point on the dip and 2yrs for the max gains. The issue for UK this time is we might have squandered the opportunity of the last ccy deval and that is why I’d like (and expect) to see another 10%ish deval if/when we leave with no deal)

  9. GARJ

    @”The customs partnership is a nonsense though, one of May’s many muddled fudges”

    Guido reporting that Nick Timothy has told her it won’t work.

    Sp presumably she will now drop it & fall in behind MaxFac.


    I thought it was interesting in that survey that whilst Continental Companies were more concerned with macro effects on them, UK companies atre more concerned with the nitty gritty of getting it done effectively.

    …… ocurred to me that this might go some way to explaining the recent attitudes of VW & the German producer of Thalidomide !

  11. @ ALEC – also note LAB and CON both want to leave the SM and the EC have said no cherry picking so we can’t stay in 3/4 of it (goods, capital and services) and drop the 1/4 on immigration, hence why we might end up stuck with a Turkey deal which is even worse than the current deal.

    IMHO an EFTA+ outcome (ie SM-CU) would have been OK (at least to begin with) but that has dropped down the list of likelihood. It now seems to be Turkey (CU-SM, aka LAB policy) or “No Deal” as most likely. Unless/until May (or her replacement) face down HoC and show UK would prefer “No Deal” to “horrific deal” I can’t see why Barnier would compromise on anything (ie offer UK the Canada+ with Enhanced Equivalence that seemed to be a strong contender before HoL weakened UK’s hand)

  12. Alec

    “All we need now is one of the ‘your Mum smells of poo’ posts and we’re there, I think.”

    That about sums up the nature of your posts today. You really are a child sometimes. Grow up.

  13. I’d assume that as we’re back to pages of Brexit obsessed nonsense that appears to prove merely that no one has changed their view since the last time or the fifty times before that we haven’t had any polls for weeks and there are no elections due in the foreseeable future. Have I got that right?

  14. Lovely morning here in Texas or rather it would have been if one of our ranch hands hadn’t stuffed our new tractor and cotton picking machine in a drainage ditch late last night.
    Been up since 0500 this morning trying to recover both so having a spot of breakfast now just catching up with recent polling in U.K. seems like a very slight Tory lead at least outside London I’ll stick with the common thoughts re local election there tomorrow Labour do well in London , Conservatives do better than expected elsewhere as do the Liberals.
    If May cannot resolve brexit re trade then possible GE by end of year or at least May triggering a John Major back me or sack me leadership contest.

  15. @GARJ
    I don’t really care, the NI border has been blown out of all proportion and should not be wagging the Brexit tail. What is best for the 65 million people living in the UK overall is much more important than posturing about something which will only really affect a tiny handful of people running larger cross-border businesses.

    The Northern Irish border is not really about trade. Any reintroduction of a ‘hard’ border will be met with fierce resistant by the Irish government as it is seen as a symbol of 800 years of British oppression of the Irish and it would be deeply unpopular with the electorate. I speak as a Protestant brought up in County Fermanagh.

    Suggestions of hardware installed further back from the border seem to be fanciful to me. They would be the target of vandalism and the first person arrested for said vandalism would be a martyr to the cause. This could quickly escalate into something far more serious. My earliest memories of crossing the border in the mid 60’s are burnt out customs buildings.

    Again the Irish Government do not want the re-emergence of sectarian violence on there doorstep.

    On the other hand, I suspect the DUP would be happy with a hard border as it would be the death knell of the hated Good Friday Agreement.

    During the referendum campaign the issue of Brexit endangering the GFA was raised however this was dismissed as “Project Fear”. Even though I am an ardent Remainer, I agreed that with the sentiment that it wouldn’t endanger peace in NI.

    I now firmly believe that Brexit (In any meaningful sense) and GFA are incompatible, I also think politicians on either side know this but those on the leave side can not admit it.

    What is annoying me most is the narrative in the MSM that it is the EU and Barnier who are being intransigent about the border whereas it is almost certainly the Irish government dictating to Barnier the red lines.

    In the end I see no way forward and believe we will crash out with no deal next year on WTO terms although that might be catastrophisation on my part.

    I would be grateful if anyone on this board could give me reassurance that this won’t happen.

  16. EOTW

    I agree that the Irish government is one of the big road blocks in the way of a sensible solution for the border (and honestly, the technology-led stuff wouldn’t even be identifiable, let alone a target). I put that down to the fact that the only country that stands to take a bigger economic hit from Brexit than us is Ireland. Probably has something to do with the fact that their economic recovery is based on being a tax haven for British businesses.

  17. PeterW

    The only change I’ve noticed is either side hates the other more with each passing exchange.

  18. Turk

    Putting two clearly defined options to the public would be another way out.

    “I give up, let the people decide (at least they can’t blame me if it goes horribly wrong)”

  19. PETERW

    I would much rather talk about polling and did try but nobody seems very interested.

    Tories seem to have a steady lead at the moment based on polling moving averages but as I have already posted will lose seats on Thursday especially in London.

    The ComRes poll was particularly bad from Labour on the economy.

  20. @Trevor Warne: “also note LAB and CON both want to leave the SM and the EC have said no cherry picking so we can’t stay in 3/4 of it (goods, capital and services) and drop the 1/4 on immigration, hence why we might end up stuck with a Turkey deal which is even worse than the current deal.”

    To judge by what Labour have said, they’ll be happy with:

    – Call the Single Market something else; and
    – A few barely meaningful protocols to meet Corbyn’s fears about the EU standing in the way of socialism.
    – Something that hardly pretends to be meaningful on free movement – maybe a restatement of what we are allowed to do presently but so as to sound really, really tough.

    Finkelstein is right in today’s Times that Labour’s approach in the Lords is only reconcilable with remaining completely. (What he overlooks is that the same is true of Tory rebels in the Lords – and the ones in the Commons are probably no different.)

    The million dollar question is whether when the remainers play their hand the public will see it as Brexit having been tried and failed, or the establishment choosing to overturn the referendum.

    The person who called this right is Varoufakis – who said that the EU would not negotiate, but set the UK to negotiate amongst itself. Hard to disagree with that description. (His remedy was to give up or make an offer they couldn’t refuse: he suggested a seven year EEA transition. But somehow the government discusses its approach when the EU will say “no” to anything that is not an outright surrender of the particular issue.)

  21. Things that strikes me from today’s posts are a) fact that Corbyn trails May heavily on leadership and economic competence (picked up from TOH) b) Slight (MoE?) movement in favour of Brexit being the wrong choice (Roger Mexico) c) evidence that labour’s hesitancy on Brexit may reflect fact that they have more marginal to gain or lose in seats that voted Brexit than in seats that voted remain (link by Somerjohn, I think) d) the argument between TW and Alec on advantages of Brexit,

    On the latter I agree that the downsides of Brexit may prove to have been overplayed. There is a risk of very significant damage, but perhaps a higher probability of a slow and not terribly noticeable decline, What I cannot see is any significant upside whatsoever. The fact that Germany sells something like 9 times as much as we do to China has nothing to do with the EU. They are just good at making things the Chinese want. I agree with TW that we should do more to sell to other parts of the world. That Brexit will help us do so to any significant extent is to my mind a fantasy,

    My take on the other points is that JC should show some leadership and (in my view) state clearly that we are leaving the EU super-state. This means free movement of labour but not free movement of citizens, no commitment to join the EURO, a European Army (unless It suits us), a common fiscal policy, or a common criminal law. Most of this we have already but it should be presented as an act of heroic self-assertion,

    That said we should say that having looked at the alternatives on offer (none of which the British people appear to like) he has concluded that the interests of GB are best served by remaining in the customs union and common market with all that that entails. This is the only economically sensible course. It does, however, entail that the justified reasons that led many to vote Brexit absolutely need to be address and obviously these include a sense that the NHS was failing, Britain was overcrowded, wages were being driven down and London was being favoured at the expense of the regions on which Britain’s original greatness was built,

    Looked at this way Brexit has to be addressed as part of a package and this can only be done in a general election. In such an event this fictitious Corbyn would in my view do better than the current one on the grounds that a) he has shown leadership b) he has a grasp of economic realities and c) he understand the pain that led to Brexit and will address it,

  22. @GARF
    (and honestly, the technology-led stuff wouldn’t even be identifiable, let alone a target).

    Of course it would be identifiable
    – stranger in Lisneskea or Rosslea with a telecoms van would be spotted a mile off.

    – first person prosecuted for smuggling would demand to see evidence which would immediately reveal location. I don’t think Secret surveillance cameras would be tolerated or admissible in court.

    I don’t wish to be unduly dismissive but I actually laughed when I read that.

  23. All
    Thanks for the supportive messages re Prostate cancer to ToH and I. Please listen to what both of us said, and don’t die of embarrassment!
    The years between 45 and 50 are particularly important to get checked out if you have any concerns. PC is not an old mans disease, indeed the younger you are when you develop it the worse it is, as it’s testosterone powered. Also as with its close relation, breast cancer PC is largely genetic in causation, so if you have a family history of either PC or breast cancer you should get checked out as a matter of course.
    Health prosletysing over, back to the politics!
    RT is not my ‘favoured’ news organisation, far from it, but I just knew that using their roundup would probably rattle your cage. “;- D

  24. had I not been busy penning an overlong post, I would have been aware of the post of Joseph1832 which seems to me to be extremely interesting,

  25. EOTW

    They could put a sign up “This is not a camera”

    That would solve it.

  26. RJW

    Ah-I see .

    I believe that is known as “Trolling” :-)

  27. RJW

    Well said and you have my full support on that.

  28. Every year a group of my friends go on holiday, and throughout their time away there is a ‘banned word’. Anyone using it has to contribute 1 euro to the kitty.

    This year their chosen word was ‘Brexit’.

    An indication, perhaps, of the fact that a lot of people are very fed up with the subject and broadly disinterested in the outcome of the negotiations. Few have any grasp of what is involved, and talk of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit is unknown in my vicinity.

    The only view I hear expressed is ‘just get on with it’ and a general despair at the inability of both sides to sort it out quickly and amicably.

    However, the fact that the negotiations have gone a bit quiet recently may indicate progress. I do hope so. Would a positive announcement now be in breach of local elections purdah, I wonder?

  29. Trolling?
    Wouldn’t dream of it, Colin, just a little gentle ribbing on this the most civil of boards.

  30. RJW

    :-) :-)

  31. @Millie – I agree. My impression is that very many people think Brexit is not a big issue and just want it out of the way,

  32. Some interesting effects of Brexit on the EU Budget.

    Unhappy French Farmers being one ?

  33. UKIP

    It seems UKIP politicians just can’t resist racist comments:

  34. @Peterw – “…that appears to prove merely that no one has changed their view since the last time…”

    This is an interesting view, and probably ranks alongside the oft quoted line about New Labour being no better than the Tories. You often hear it said, and it becomes ‘received wisdom’, but it isn’t quite as true as it sounds.

    While I would agree that there hasn’t been much shifting of minds in terms of who supports or opposes Brexit, at least publicly, there are some significant changes of views apparent in the posts here. Much of this is hidden – people don’t wish to admit they hold a different view – but the changes are there for anyone willing to read people’s posts carefully over time.

    For a number of remainers, the main change has been growing acceptance that Brexit will happen. This wasn’t always the case, and a few still believe fervently to the contrary, but the debate has moved on.

    For leavers, there has been an interesting set of shifts. Again, it was previously unacceptable to agree payment terms until a trade deal was done, we weren’t going to agree anything without a trade deal, all manner of issues over timings of events, and lots of assumptions about leaving without a deal.

    Again, lots of subtle changes – deniable changes, if you will – but they are there, make no mistake.

    I think in assuming nothing has changed, you’re just taking the headline view of a given poster and then placing them in one or other camp. Few people have jumped ship, but there have been many shifts on both sides below the surface as the debate progresses and realities start to form.

  35. Charles

    Just wanted to say I really like your posts!

  36. Charles,

    “My impression is that very many people think Brexit is not a big issue”

    So why o polls consistently show it as the publics current top concern?


  37. @ JOSEPH1832 – I agree with your view on LAB (Starmer) Brexit policy being BINO and how they would likely fudge the FoM (Belgium take a strict view on existing rules, we’ve been far from strict – see next post). However, I don’t think Corbyn+McDonnell see it that way and have simply been walking down Starmer’s “Primrose Path” as they wanted to keep up the “ambiguity” and enjoy the pain it is causing May and hence CON (why I’ve always wanted to call Corbyn’s bluff). Without rehashing the whole debate – can Corbyn+McDonnell achieve their “plan” for renationalisation, etc while we are still under ECJ jurisdiction?

    The other big question is why would Macron (and it only needs one blocker) allow us to stay in SM when France is aggressively trying to poach London business? Keeping UK trapped in CU and tight regulatory control but without enhanced equivalence and then later reshoring EU clearing to EZ would be a dream come true for Macron. Of course Corbyn+McDonnell hate the finance sector so they probably wouldn’t step in to stop France stealing that chunk of tax revenue!

    Regarding Varoufakis, UK is not Greece, but we do seem to be acting like Greece and in hindsight his view looks correct. Of course, Farage+co said similar things about EU not giving out fair deals but let’s not dwell on hindsight. My 2c was, in hindsight, that if we had been “strong and stable” in negotiations we could have got a “good” deal but May then blew that and after the GE it became “weak and wobbly” and hence maybe an “acceptable deal” at best. Hence in hindsight I’d be DK on “right to Leave” as BINO is worse than Remaining would have been (Turkey is even worse than BINO as BINO at least includes services and for a while we’ll still have EU as a key service export market). I’m still waiting for ALEC and the arch-Remain crew to build a few million time machines so that those that enough of those that voted Leave can go back 2yrs and recaste their vote or abstain so that Remain wins ;)

    Hindsight is irrelevant and time has moved on and although we’ve wasted much of it I think the transition deal will probably hold no matter what “deal” we end up – both sides have a lot to lose if we crash out and note the timing just before EP elections!

    So “no deal” or “Turkey deal”? The limited useful polling we’ve had suggests “no deal” beat BINO so it would certainly beat Turkey. I’m also starting to think maybe a new GE would be just as good or even better than a new ref in resolving HoC gridlock, assuming it comes to that in late Autumn.

    CON go for clean-Leave (no deal), LAB go for Turkey deal (EU’s deal), LDEM go for Revoke+Remain (n4ive deal). The Remain vote would be split and we’d get the GE we should have had in 2017.
    NB I’m assuming May would either have become a true-Br-leaver or have been replaced by the time of late 2018 GE and in full knowledge that we risk a LAB+SNP coalition (or C+S). If Brexit ends up being a Turkey outcome then Corbyn can inherit it and UK electorate can experience Corbyn-lite and a few years of being a vassal state before CON take back power and deliver a proper Brexit.

  38. YouGov again asked salient immigration questions (they asked about “hostile environment” in the last poll and that received very strong support).

    CON govt:
    Too Strict 21
    Not Strict Enough 44
    About Right 15
    DK 20

    Net +23 for “Not Strict Enough”!!

    LAB govt (would be):
    Too Strict 3
    Not Strict Enough 48
    About Right 24
    DK 25

    Net +45 for “Not Strict Enough”!!

    Obviously some partisan bias but similar to the last YouGov question on “hostile environment” it’s very clear folks want immigration policy to be stricter.

    My 2c. Javid needs to “own” a strong immigration stance (new nicer phrasing though!) but make it sensible and ensure he cleans up the c0ck ups. Drop student numbers which then meets the under 100,000 target then scrap the fixed target and instead adopt a “Belgium” approach to immigration which will work no matter what Brexit outcome we get (including the fantasy Revoke+Remain!).

  39. @peterw- just as I was saying, here’s an example from @Trevor Warne of how the debate has changed people’s minds -“….I think the transition deal will probably hold no matter what “deal” we end up …”.

    Previously, the oft stated position was that may wouldn’t sign a transition deal unless we got a trade deal pretty much sorted and we would be fine heading out on WTO terms in March.

    This is one of a number of changing views (on both sides) although you’ll be hard pressed to get posters to admit they’ve changed positions.

  40. I’m amazed that people seem, surprised that the Lib Dems have picked up in the past few weeks and are dismissing it as some sort of statistical quirk.

    Ignore what Vince Cable has been saying.

    The Lib Dems will do better in in these elections than we are being led to believe. They are fighting from a rock bottom base last time and are in a good position to gain tactical votes at local level both from people fearful of Labour and from Remainiacs.

    Lib Dems persistently lie about their relative levels of support from locality to locality, in comparison to other parties, and people vote for them in good faith to keep someone else or other out.

    Their National standings aren’t that big a burden for them in these local elections either.

    They will do surprisingly well and the more than they can talk down their chances, the better the outcome will appear.

    Vince Cable will be on TV on Friday and the weekend, telling us that what are, in truth, tactical votes at local level, or votes of confidence in some local councillors, cast for them in good faith, are in fact votes to Remain in the EU, and votes of confidence in Vince

    Lib Dems have been doing it for years. The difficulty for the rest of us, is, that as they are the convenient all purpose, dustbin for the votes of the disaffected, fantasists, along with sensible tactical voters, who won’t touch the Lib Dems with a barge pole at General Election time.

    Tories (even pro Leave Tories) vote Lib Dem locally to defeat Labour. Why wouldn’t they, if the choice is between ‘terrible’ or ‘even worse’.

    The Lib Dems then misrepresent the votes they receive, as being votes for whatever the Lib Dems choose to say they are.

    It is not unusual even, for a small, but significant section of the electorate to switch between UKIP, the Lib Dems Labour, and (even) the BNP.

    So when these people vote UKIP their votes are produced as evidence that voters are ‘bigots’, when they switch to the Lib Dems they are shown in evidence that the country has gone Remainiac, or when they vote Labour they portrayed as ‘enthused’ Corbynites.

    In fact the are none of these things. They are just people who’ll believe anything and switch from day to day, or cast votes in elections depending on what effect they think they will have on the result in the ward and local council concerned.

    The trouble is,that they then fall victim to manipulative liars like Cable who abuse their good faith, and claim they’ve been converted to whatever fad he’s promoting that week.

    If the Lib Dems don’t make significant gains in these elections, they are, in even more serious difficulty than we all thought they were, and might as well disband, and, with others, try and set up a completely new Party of the ‘centre’.

  41. @ COLIN – EU budget draft. It’s a lot more money and breaks the old 1% cap (new one is 1.114% and as you point out that is hoping that France will take a hit on CAP money).

    In brief they want to:
    – increase the budget (either grabbing more tax powers (sovereignty) for themselves or getting net payers to pay more), richer nations won’t be keen on that and it will fuel anti-EU sentiment in those countries
    – reduce some of the funding (eg CAP) that has very strong domestic support in countries like France (fuelling anti-EU there)
    – grab more power by including “conditionality” (clearly aimed at Hungary and Poland for now but that is a clear threat to “do as we say or pay the consequences”), fuelling anti-EU there
    – and all while filling in the Brexit black hole!

    I’m obviously biased but keen to hear from any EUphiliac on any country, let alone every country, that will be keen on the new EU budget!

    If you see a more detailed breakdown of the draft numbers then please post – likewise from me. I’m especially keen to see if they include the divorce bill and how they account for it.

    P.S. EC seem very keen on getting UK to agree on NI before June. They seem to be getting nervous that we’re not going to sign the WA. I’m increasingly starting to see the merits in procrastinating just a little longer. I desperately want to get on with Project After but with transition agreed (in principle) maybe the ticking clock is now working in our favour?

  42. Peter W / Alec

    The Brexiteers have had to abandon the fantasy that the Germans would allow the UK to cherry pick in a FTA, breaching rules of the EU, in order to continue to sell us lots of their cars.

    The end of this fantasy brought into play the new belief that no deal was better than a bad deal. This fantasy came about because of another fantasy – that it would be dead easy for the UK to replace trade with the EU with trade with other countries.

    It took time for it to filter through that every Brexit scenario was bad for the economy and no deal was worst. That should be off the table.

    We have also seen fantastic claims that no border is needed at the NI / Ireland

    The fantasy remains that the EU is to blame for most of the negotiating difficulties that the UK faces.

  43. TW: @ SJ, etc – you’re still arguing from a position of Remain as if this was Spring 2016!

    I’m not arguing a course of action, simply explaining what would be best for the UK and its people. Whether the country sees sense, and how it achieves that, is not my problem. It’s up to the brexiteers to deliver a non-disastrous outcome, and I’m greatly enjoying the spectacle of their hapless posturing.

    Personally, I’m not much bothered if the UK chooses future penury, because my priority is the preservation of peace and prosperity in Europe. That’s the best guarantor of at least some residual economic well-being for the UK, because we will always be dependent on our nearest, biggest and most prosperous market. If we choose to handicap ourselves in that market and impoverish our population, well, that’s our choice.

    I actually think that only a really difficult experience for the country post-brexit will dispel the illusion so many appear to have been labouring under, that EU membership is not a necessary condition for our future prosperity and standing in the world. Seeing that work out will be very interesting over the next couple of decades.

    So please don’t assume I’m trying to achieve this or that outcome. Of course, if the country finds a way to stay in the EU, I’ll be very happy. But I’ll be equally happy to see the EU freed of its most recalcitrant, uncommitted, non-constructive member. It’s win-win for me!

  44. TW

    “A sharp increase in research funding”.

    I’m happy with that proposed budget! (n=1)

  45. I think the next time someone tells me Brexit is the will of the British people, I will send them this:

  46. @Richard (from the early hours)
    I’d say E Europeans are a bit more interested than hitherto but nothing mind-blowing. The extra votes, such as they are will come in my estimate 2/3rds Lab 1/3rd LD/Green 0 Conservative.
    To be honest, I doubt they’ll make any noticeable difference, nor would they outside a Brexit referendum

  47. @ ALEC – ??? :-) :-) The WA again I see!!!

    We don’t need to sign the WA for both sides to agree a transition deal as transition agreements and arrangements are not covered by Article 50 (the only legal commitment we have signed). I’ll relink Article 50 for you as you seem to have forgotten it (again)

    I’ll highlight a section from c2:
    “setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but nowhere in A50 (or A218) is a transition agreement mentioned. You could argue it is part of the “framework for its future relationship” but the legal input I’ve had says that the transition agreement can be stand alone.

    Both sides will have a lot to lose (economically and politically) in a “crash-out” scenario. If you read my posts in full (something you accuse others of failing to do) you’ll note I mean we can transition to a WTO relationship (the default if we haven’t signed a WA by Mar’19). I expect we would pay as we go in 2019 and 2020 (17bn) but we could go to court over the other 20bn of the divorce bill arguing that the projects and pensions that are covered by that 20bn have been agreed by the 27 in the new MFF (not sure we’d win that court case but for sure we should fight it)

    As you must surely remember my ideal final outcome is reciprocal WTO, the only reason I want transition is because I understand the lead times required to get to reciprocal WTO and know that, so far, all we’ve done is plan for that outcome – we will need 18mths+ to actually implement that outcome.

    Of course EU might say no to transition but that would IMHO seriously risk the survival of their project and i would also expect them to hope to use the transition period to steal as much UK business as they can – I hope we have an HMG in place that does the same to them!


    They obviously don’t see the irony of a X3 increase in spending on border control & a reduction in regional funds.

    The punishment budgets for the East are pretty stark.

    There are going to be some scraps over this Budget:-

    France’s Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said “a drastic, massive and blind cut is simply unthinkable”.

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the plan was “not acceptable”

    For me the most interesting trend is this :-

    “The proposals to raise new resources, amounting to €22bn per year, include:
    20% of the revenues from the Emissions Trading Scheme, which aims to curb global warming and goes to member states
    A national contribution based on the amount of non-recycled plastic packaging waste in each member state – €0.80 per kilo”

    I think this is just the start of the Commission trying to move away from reliance on Members’ contributions towards so called “own resources”-ie EU wide taxes or a slice of National taxes -for The Commission to spend.


    On “Own Resources” the Press Release for the 2021-2027 proposal includes this in addition to a 20% slice of Emmissions Taxes & Packaging tax:-

    “- A 3% call rate applied to the new Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (to be phased in once the necessary legislation has been adopted);”

    :-) :-)


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