While there hasn’t been a lot of voting intention polling in recent weeks, there has been quite a lot of Brexit polling – those organisations campaigning for or against it used the summer holidays to get a good bite of publicity. This included some large polls from YouGov for Hope Not Hate and the People’s Vote campaign showing Remain at 53% and Leave at 47% if there was a referendum now. Today there was a new NatCen poll that showed Remain at 59%, Leave at 41% (though do check the important caveat from John Curtice’s report that the sample itself had too many 2016 Remain voters, so it actually implied a position along the lines of Remain 53/54%, Leave 46/47%) and a Survation poll showing Remain at 50%, Leave at 50%.

In terms of what to make of this, I’d give the same advice on support or opposition to Brexit as I do on voting intention. There are an awful lot of polls asking about support for Brexit, and a lot of people inclined to cherry-pick those which they agree with. Don’t pay too much attention to individual polls (especially not “interesting” outliers), watch the broad trend instead.

There are four regular tracking polls that people should look to to judge whether or not the public have changed their minds (the data is all nicely collected on John Curtice’s WhatUKThinks website here. First there are polls that ask how pople would vote in a referendum now – regularly asked by both BMG Research and Survation using the original referendum question, and using a more generic version by YouGov in their Eurotrack series of polls. BMG have been asking this since late 2016, and where early polls tended to still show more people would still vote Leave, that has gradually changed and since 2017 they have consistently shown more people would now vote to stay. Their EU referendum polls this year have averaged at Remain 49%, Leave 44% (Remain 53%, Leave 47% without don’t knows)

instead.

The Survation series didn’t start until 2017 – since then their polls have varied between neck-and-neck and small leads for Remain. On average this year their referendum polls have shown Remain 48%, Leave 46% (51% Remain, 49% Leave without don’t knows). Unlike the other two referendum polls Survation weight their referendum question by likelihood to vote which, given that previous non-voters tend to split in favour of remain, probably explains the slightly lower remain lead.

The YouGov Eurotrack poll is part of a regular poll across several EU countries on how people would vote in a referendum on their country’s membership of the EU, so doesn’t use the British referendum wording. Nevertheless, the results show a similar pattern to the BMG polling – results late in 2016 continued to show Leave ahead, but since then Remain has been fairly consistently ahead. The average across their five polls in 2018 is Remain 45%, Leave 41% (52% Remain, 48% Leave without don’t knows)

The most regular comparable poll isn’t asked as referendum VI, but is YouGov’s tracker for the Times asking if people think Britain was right or wrong to vote to Leave the EU, normally asked weekly. The pattern should be familiar – in late 2016 the poll consistently showed people thought Britain was right to leave, in early 2017 it began to flip over, and it now consistently finds more people think Britain was wrong to vote to Leave. On average this year 46% of people have said Brexit was the wrong decision, 42% the right decision (without don’t knows, it would be 52% wrong, 48% right).

So while the movement across the polls has not been massive (was are generally talking about a swing of 3 to 5 points from the referendum result), given the closeness of the 2016 result that is enough to mean polls are consistently showing slightly more people opposed to Brexit than in support of it. There is one important caveat to add to this. If you look at the breakdown by 2016 referendum vote you will often find the number of Leave voters switching to Remain is that that much larger than the number of Remain voters switching to Leave (if it is larger at all!), this is because polls generally find those people who did not vote in the 2016 referendum tend to split in favour of Remain.


270 Responses to “Bregret – an update”

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  1. Wise words of caution from AW as always. Three quick points regarding the title: Bregret is past tense

    1/ So it is more about “process” first, vote second.

    Unless/until Remainers get Corbyn to back a new ref it ain’t ‘appening and unlike GE’s that have to occur every 5yrs (or less!) the appetite for a new ref once we’ve left (and would need to rejoin via A49) is likely to face much higher hurdles than just getting Corbyn to back it at LAB-Conf:
    – neither main party is likely to want to go through existential trauma again
    – broader support amongst electorate is likely to be much lower (even in Scotland, SNP will want IndyRef2 not EURef2)
    – we wouldn’t know what kind of EU we would be rejoining (likely to be “closer” union than now if Macron gets his way or a total mess in some other scenarios, it might “evolve” the way UK voters would like but I doubt it!)
    – we wouldn’t know on what terms we’d be rejoining (ie “Stay outters” would have the “status quo” vote/argument and any doubt would be with regards to what “rejoin” terms might be)

    There were over 40yrs between the ref on EEC
    and the ref on EU

    2/ Even if all B4B/PVs dreams came true Leavers are busy battling over the type of Brexit (Clean v Messy). Corbyn turned the VI 20pts in 8weeks once the 2017 GE campaign started. Fussing over 52/48 or 47/53 could easily see a major move, either way of course, once campaigning started.

    3/ LAB would clearly want a GE this close to Mar’19 and if HoC reaches stalemate then a Brexit GE will not allow Corbyn the ambiguity of last time. CON will soon have two Brexit proposals on the table (Chequers corpse and one that could work). That might split the party or it might result in them accepting the one that could work and likes of Soubs+co facing deselection.
    Starmer is slowly but surely boxing Corbyn-LAB into BrINO which will mean the divorce bill in full and probably large ongoing payments as well – bon chance splitting the Remain vote with LDEM in E+W (plus SNP in Scotland, PC in Wales!)

  2. “Yes, I see you subscribe to the “cunning plan to be discovered” hypothesis“

    ——

    Well there is a good candidate for a cunning plan: to scare other ruskies from giving away secrets. And to scare the West… bet Trumps noticed! And not that Cleggski was a plant, but he did a good job of shifting the political axis here away from the Liberal. Obviously he’s been banned from the country by ruskies so it can’t be true. (But what if that’s a smokescreen?….)

  3. @Trev

    “– neither main party is likely to want to go through existential trauma again
    – broader support amongst electorate is likely to be much lower (even in Scotland, SNP will want IndyRef2 not EURef2)
    – we wouldn’t know what kind of EU we would be rejoining (likely to be “closer” union than now if Macron gets his way or a total mess in some other scenarios, it might “evolve” the way UK voters would like but I doubt it!)
    – we wouldn’t know on what terms we’d be rejoining (ie “Stay outters” would have the “status quo” vote/argument and any doubt would be with regards to what “rejoin” terms might be)“

    ——-

    Fair enough, commendably concise, but need to balance against potential pressures to rejoin. (Try and sneak it in so no one notices the extra paragraphs!)

  4. CARFREW

    ” Cleggski”

    Putin agent? ;-)

  5. “Three quick points regarding the title: Bregret is past tense ”

    That isn’t the title, and ‘Bregret’ (or regret) in “Bregret-an update” is used as a noun – so not a verb, let alone a past tense one.

  6. @JIM JAM
    “Scottish Independence is not complex”

    Can you elaborate?

    It’s unravelling an older, deeper, and more complete union. A genuine and largely unitary nation state (too unitary in many ways by that’s another issue) with a genuine single citizenship rather than one in pretence.

    It’s hard to see an objective reason why it should be simpler.

  7. Pete W, I am comparing a referendum on Scottish Independence, a simple binary choice, which I support occurring (should Scottish people want one as indicated through candidates and parties supported) and the EU Ref which I felt was too complex an issue for a referendum for reasons rehearsed many times.

  8. Well, as many have pointed out, a secret service that sets out to kill two people, fails in that, kills a random third person instead, and wanders around holding hands instead of covering its tracks looks rather incompetent. I find it rather hard to believe that looking incompetent is in the GRU rulebook..

    In other areas where responsibilities are completely clear (annexing Crimea, defeating the Chechen separatists, winning the Syrian civil war for Assad and generally getting re-elected time and again with no credible opposition) Putin and his employees have seemed extremely competent, so this one seems quite out of character (as is assassinating spies who have been pardoned and exchanged, which did not happen before as far as I am aware). And it is not as if the British secret service have no “form” for manufacturing or exaggerating evidence. There are many strange things about this case that remain unexplained (Skripals both swithing their phone off for 4 hours: unused Novichok apparently in a fully sealed package, stuff like that), and the timeline of the suspects is incompatible within the previous ” before 9 am doorhandle” story. The police say the suspects may have been travelling under an alias – every time I enter the Uk my passport is scanned and my photo taken, so surely the one thing that is completely clear is the names these two people were using when they entered the UK – are those the names we have been given??

    I have no brief for Putin – he is perfectly capable of ordering the death of Russians abroad and almost certainly did so in the case of Litvinenko. But in this case he seems to have been tried and found guilty right from the start before there was any real evidence, and just like Iraq we are expected to take secret information at absolute face value. I always thought the attack on Skripal was almost certainly Russian in origin, but double agents have many enemies. Do I trust Theresa May? Absolutely not! She has lied about her intentions on many occasions, not least the General Election. I guess that is where you and I differ Colin!

  9. @JIM JAM
    But surely each is essentially the same simple binary choice in principle (do you wish to be in a union with xxx or not).

    And each is essentially the same complicated disentanglement in practice for essentially the same reasons. The only objective difference being that England and Scotland and their respective peoples are probably more entangled just now than the U.K. and Latvia are.

  10. I wonder if anyone has noticed the interesting parallels in polling between now and the run-up to the vote just over 2 years ago. Pollsters rightly refer to a slight drift towards Remain in the past year or so (using 2017 as a benchmark)…but what no-one seems to refer to is the year earlier – and that the polls NOW are almost exactly where they were in the run up to the actual vote. Almost every poll in the week before the vote showed Remain winning, and by the rough or average margins that are currently showing in recent polls. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum

    Check out both the sections at the top on ‘poll of polls’ and the ‘standard polling’. Have there been any major changes in methodology adopted in regard to this issue (specially in polling which uses the same question as the referendum itself)? If not, then irrespective of a slight drift over the past year or so to Remain, the polls are actually now showing figures which they showed when Leave won.

    A useful article though on this, though, as always.

  11. Pete W – that is you view but not mine.

    I think people voted yes or no for Independence based on that issue but I am not sure all leave (or remain for that matter) did not vote that way as a proxy.

    There is strong evidence of more Bregret among Lab leave for example with a desire to kick Cameron being suggested as a likely reason for the original vote choice.

  12. @ALLAN CHRISTIE September 6th, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    To continue with the anti-immigrant theme.

    Don’t we want to trade with the rest of the world? Isn’t that full of immigrants (well those that come here because we want to trade with them)?

    All those Indian students who we want to teach, or those Chinese tourists, or the Africans we apparently need to trade with.[1]

    How is that going to work if we tell ’em we don’t like ’em, and won’t let ’em in? There are 7 billion people on the planet, and that is projected to rise to 11 billion by the end of the century. What do we do, build bigger walls? We need policies to encourage integration. It fascinates me when I look around here (north Manchester) and see young school kids out with their friends, and the groups are mixed between asians and white kids.

    That looks hopeful to me. It’s just many of the old folk, set in their ways and not wanting to support integration. Given the fall in birthrates for the indigenous white folk it will be these foreigners wiping all our bums in time.

    [1] More or Less on R4 said the entire continent of Africa had a GDP of less than Ireland.

  13. @ Damian Hockney

    Final pre-referendum polls by Opinium and TNS showed Leave leads, and polling for June 2016 as a whole was evenly divided between those showing leads for Leave and Remain.

    While the overall Remain lead is narrow (5 points or so) there hasn’t been a single poll with a Leave lead for several months.

  14. “More or Less on R4 said the entire continent of Africa had a GDP of less than Ireland.”

    Yes, but in this post Brexit world, we can at least entertain ourselves by imagining what Theresa May might look like in Riverdance.

    [Why didn’t her aides just stop her….?]

  15. @ JAMES E – regarding the title is not the same as restating the title!

    @ CARFREW – I did say it might evolve the way UK voters would like. Of course Brexit and other factors might mean it is the “end of World” that some think it might be – partly why I’d much refer a GE before 29Mar’19 than after!

  16. @Trevor Warne (re ‘Bregret is past tense’)

    I wasn’t sure whether it was an accidental misquote or complete nonsense.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  17. ConHome’s member polls are out, last ones before CON conf [1]

    Should May resign, triggering leadership contest:

    Yes, now 40 (-5)
    Yes, before next GE 39 (+3)
    Subtotal 79!
    No 19
    DK 2

    https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2018/09/our-survey-its-groundhog-day-for-confidence-in-mays-leadership-two-in-five-respondents-want-her-to-quit-now.html

    Next CON leader
    Bojo 35 (+6)
    Javid 15 (-4)
    SMogg 10 (-3)

    no-one else above 10 and just a bit of minor shuffling between them

    Subtotal all Leavers (original or converts) – 98%

    way down at bottom before you get a Remainer
    Hammond 1 (uc)
    Liddingtion 1 (uc)

    https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2018/09/our-survey-next-tory-leader-johnson-stretches-his-lead-at-the-top-of-our-table.html

    [1] I think we all know the circumstances that might force May out but also note the v.limited powers members have

  18. @AndrewIII

    Well the aim may not have been to kill but give long term effects, and some collateral damage may have been intended. It’s about considering all possibilities. including, of course, that others may have been responsible.

  19. @Allan Christie

    Re: Cleggski, Cablovitch and Farronitzen

    …Well, if we look at how Cleggski may have helped achieve Ruskie foreign policy objectives… all accidental of course!

  20. AL URQA

    You’re making out that I’m 100% against immigration. Having a concern and being against something are completely different.

    I accept to a degree we do need people come and live in the UK as our own populations is facing a demographic time bomb and some sectors of employment have skill shortages, however this massive wave of people coming over in such a short period of time is unacceptable and very worrying for a lot of voters in the UK.

    I’m a mixed bag of treats myself, my mother is Italian and my father is Scottish but was brought up in Liverpool where my grandfather worked for decades, he’s a native Gaelic speaker from Aros on the Isle of Mull.

    So I’m a product of our relaxed liberal immigration values but that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about the wholesale harvesting of cheap foreign labour into the UK which is causing untold problems on our creaking infrastructure, NHS and most visible the increasing rents in the private sector putting many of our own younger peeps into financial hardship.

    85% of people who come to the UK rent from the private sector in the first 5 years. Typically migrants will have between 3 and 5 wage earners per property where UK nationals will have 1 or 2 so this alone chucks up an unfair advantage because UK born peeps are less transient and less likely to rent with other people (excluding students).

    I would rather see our own government encourage more British families and give incentives to have children to offset the demographic time bomb, however if they are unwilling to do this then it’s them who must tell the voter why we need more and more people to move to the UK.
    ………..
    ” There are 7 billion people on the planet, and that is projected to rise to 11 billion by the end of the century. What do we do, build bigger walls?”
    _____

    If that’s your proposal then you’re entitled to it but personally I would rather see an emphasis on building stronger economies in developing parts of the World so people wouldn’t need to migrate for a decent wage.

  21. @Allan Christie

    More on Cleggski! I was only messing at first but OMG!!

    Nick Clegg hailed as ‘Russian aristocrat’
    Izvestiya newspaper talks of Liberal Democrat leader’s Russian heritage and ‘Winston Churchill-like popularity ratings’

    Luke Harding in Moscow
    Tue 20 Apr 2010 15.51 BST First published on Tue 20 Apr 2010 15.51 BST

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/apr/20/nick-clegg-russian-aristocrat
    Is there no limit to Cleggmania? It seems that not only Britain, but now also Russia has fallen under the Liberal Democrat leader’s mesmerising spell, with today’s Izvestiya newspaper hailing him as a genuine “Russian aristocrat” (article in Russian).

    Under the headline “Russian aristocrat wants to be British premier”, the paper picks up on Clegg’s emphatic victory in the first leaders’ TV debate and notes his “Winston Churchill-like popularity ratings”.

    But a blue-blooded Russian toff? In fact, Izvestiya is not far off the mark: Clegg’s father (also Nick) is half-Russian. Nick Clegg senior’s parents, who married in 1932, were Hugh Anthony Clegg, a subeditor on the British Medical Journal, and Kira Engelhardt.”

  22. @TW

    “@ CARFREW – I did say it might evolve the way UK voters would like. Of course Brexit and other factors might mean it is the “end of World” that some think it might be – partly why I’d much refer a GE before 29Mar’19 than after!”

    ——

    There is also possible demographic changes. And our politicians wanting an easier life. They keep wanting to hive stuff off as much as possible to other parties as it is. Now they’re going to be given a huge chunk back to fret over not having a scoobies what to do?? They may well want to hand it back to Brussels and more besides.

  23. CARFREW

    WoW!!….what a scoop….So Cleggski might be our agent provocateur setting up them two poor Russian guys on the ol novichook poisonings!

    It gets more and more bizarre by the hour.
    ……
    “Is there no limit to Cleggmania? It seems that not only Britain, but now also Russia has fallen under the Liberal Democrat leader’s mesmerising spell, with today’s Izvestiya newspaper hailing him as a genuine “Russian aristocrat” (article in Russian)”
    _______

    Cleggski is the missing link…He’s a Russian Black-op.

  24. As to immigration.

    Once Fortress Europe is up and Fortress Brexit is functioning, this will wait for the echte and tüchtig EU and UK workers.

    http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2018/protecting-migrant-workers-exploitation-eu

  25. @ JAMES E – No worries.

    Separate point but related to tenses. RM wrote about this on previous thread but this new piece expands on it.

    “hindsight” questions (ie YG) do give the same %s as “how would you vote” questions (ie future tense).
    Within MoE for sure.

    I had thought there was a justifiable small boost for “hindsight” but appears it not.

    Personally I find that odd. We know from other polling that we’ve seen a large move towards people (especially Leavers [1]) thinking Brexit will be a mess, we’ll get a bad deal and we’ll be economically worse off – yet the % of Leavers with Bregret is v.small and hasn’t moved much.

    I would have expected to see “right to Leave” DK to rise much higher and that would obviously feed into the headline numbers.

  26. @ CARFREW – I’m sure the reason most CON MPs didn’t want to “take back control” was because then they wouldn’t have EC/EU/EP to blame anymore. BoJo just wants to be PM, I doubt he really believes in Brexit anymore than May does.

    What I find deeply disturbing is most CON MPs not wanting to “own” Brexit and make it a success – you’d have thought they’d be motivated by the risk of not being re-elected. Also no one forced May to be PM – she wanted to be!

    We certainly didn’t take back control from Eurocrats to be run by Olly Robbins and the Remainers in the HMTreasury!

  27. Anyone fancy redoing the maths for the % changes due to “turnout differences” and also for “demographic drift” with regards to Remain/Leave VI changes.

    AW eludes to the “turnout difference” in his final sentence. From what I remember when this was last discussed it was giving Remain a 3-4% boost (ie worth 1.5-2% as a swing)

    “Demographic drift” is old folks dying (higher % Leave) and new 18yr olds being able to vote (higher % Remain). I think that was worth 0.4% or so a year (as a swing?)

    (@ CARFREW – is this what you meant by “demographic changes”?)

  28. “You’re making out that I’m 100% against immigration. Having a concern and being against something are completely different.

    If that’s your proposal then you’re entitled to it but personally I would rather see an emphasis on building stronger economies in developing parts of the World so people wouldn’t need to migrate for a decent wage.
    @ALLAN CHRISTIE September 6th, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    I didn’t say you were 100% against immigration. I am simply pointing out that even if you or anyone else likes it or not, we will have much more of it.

    I agree we should be putting much more investment into different parts of the world, and Africa in particular. But the attitude in this country seems to be we don’t want immigrants, and we don’t want to invest in their own countries to stop them coming here. The ironic part of this is the ‘best’ (from a business point of view) of their countries (generally young males) are the ones who are travelling.

    I argue this with my wife — just because we are an island doesn’t mean we can stop immigration. She thinks it does.

    Well I’ve no problem with immigrants. Indeed cultural differences are fascinating, and add so much to an economy. Just look at the number of Indian restaurants there are — and Chicken Korma is apparently our national dish!!

    You’ve got to be amazed!

    Oh, and just to say that the 11 billion that is forecast for the end of the century is also forecast to be the maximum; it may fall or it may plateau, but it is not thought to rise beyond that. (I think I heard that on the Gapminder website.)

  29. @ James E

    While the overall Remain lead is narrow (5 points or so) there hasn’t been a single poll with a Leave lead for several months.

    There has a actually. The Delta poll last week.

  30. Skripal is an assumed name for the renowned Russian choreographer, Serge Trousersov and his companion, the famous Russian ballet dancer, Irene Tumbelova. Their mime/dance Vlad the Bad led to their exile.

  31. @Trevor Warne

    “Carfrew – I’m sure the reason most CON MPs didn’t want to “take back control” was because then they wouldn’t have EC/EU/EP to blame anymore. BoJo just wants to be PM, I doubt he really believes in Brexit anymore than May does.”

    ———-

    Well, either way, they’re looking for someone else to blame/run things (into the ground at times). Either it’s the EU, or else it’s the corporate equivalent: selling our energy to the French, schools to American charter schools etc. etc.

    Either way, the foreign peeps increasingly run the show, and the politicians’ issues with understanding complex systems doesn’t get exposed. Hence why they don’t want to “own” Brexit, because if you think Windrush was bad, wait till you see what they can do with Brexit.

    I must say there is a part of me rooting for Brexit just to see how bad a Horlicks they might make of it. Maybe if they put G4S in charge, that might help.

  32. Andy

    The Delta poll you keep quoting does not ask a straightforward Remain/Leave question, but a whole series of rather leading agree/disagree statements relating to Brexit
    -such as “The EU is trying to punish the UK by not
    compromising in negotiations with the
    UK on trade, freedom of movement and
    other matters”

    http://www.deltapoll.co.uk/polls/sunonsunday-augst18

  33. To quote Anthony Wells on the problem with agree/disagree polling questions:

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/4741

  34. James E

    “In fact, the YouGov analysis linked above shows more movement in England and Wales than in Scotland.”

    That was rather my point (though I obviously didn’t make it very well!)

    While the effect of the other polities in polling is small compared with England, in this case it tends to disguise the extent of change in England to some extent.

    I doubt that MPs are much better than lots of voters in understanding polling. It is likely that lots of them just look at the headline figures.

  35. I am delighted that UK birthrates are falling.

    Hopefully we can reach the point where the fall in UK born population and the net migration rate balance out to a stable population.

    Yes we are facing some (temporary) difficult choices over how we finance the retirement and healthcare of the boomers, but doing this by importing a new generation of “boomers” (immigration boom rather than baby boom) is just going to kick the can down the road and continue the need to concrete over large tracts of green space for housing an infrastructure.

    If we could get to a point where there is a very small decline in the UK population every year I’d be ecstatic.

  36. TW

    You also have to add the false recall rate due to people changing their mind on how they voted in 2016 (as they did with the Iraq war once everyone found out what a mess it had become)

    How you weight for that is anyone’s guess!

  37. Trevor Warne

    Apology accepted, but I’m puzzled by your additional comments. Why would you want to imply that a business committing an offence created by the UK Parliament, wouldn’t be prosecuted in any of the UK legal jurisdictions?

    It makes no sense.

  38. @Allan Christie

    Oh, the rabbit hole goes much, much deeper. For example, this on the Clegg Ruskie Illuminati pyramid thing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL69QYBAXrc

    Obviously there’s so much more but really we need some polling on the matter.

    Is Clegg a Ruskie mule?
    1) Da
    2) Net
    3) Who?
    4) ????? ?? ?????

  39. As Colin raised the question of the Swedish elections. So, some polling, this time from Sweden.

    [Apologies for the long comment.]

    The current polling suggests that the Social Democrats will remain the largest party, although with their worst result.

    In June YouGov and the Norwegian Sentio suggested that the Sweden Democrats would be the largest, but since then it has changed (there are some reasons, see later), although both of these have put the ultra right a bit ahead at the end of August, but all the local pollsters (they use telephone polling) have the Social Democrats ahead (terrible, I can’t shorten the two parties, as both are SD).

    The Sweden Democrat rise, as Colin rightly put it, is related to migration. Sweden took some 160,000 migrants in 2015. However, the change started earlier, in 2013, when there were riots in the poor districts. Sweden has been behind with their integration programmes, since then these have improved.

    Now, the Social Democrats cannot really have more than 23-25% according to the polls. However, apart from migration, health and education have become a major issue among “the most important issues” for the voters, and the Social Democrats are heavily campaigning on these, and other welfare issues. Ipsos gave them 26% in the latest poll.

    The interesting thing is that the Moderaterna (Moderates – the alliance of four Right of Centre parties) established in the beginning of the millennium is also in trouble. Reinfelt (who was then their leader) was pro-migration, the successor Batra anti-migration. However, her appeal to the Sweden Democrats upset so many centrist voters that she was dismissed last summer. The new leader is a kind of centrist liberal. They could be the second or the third largest party.

    Now, we have two smallish parties. One is the Centerpartiet, essentially a smallholders’ party that actually brought down the social democrats. They are very small, but now with their new leader they have a new policy – extreme liberal in economic policy, and very, very leftwing in migration and multiculturialism. She is also positioning the party against both righ and left wing populism. There is a a large youth support for the party and they could get 10%.

    The Leftwing Party (kind of Marxist) could also get 10%, and their C&S seems to have worked.

    Two other rightwing parties will likely pass the 4%.

    So, the left will have the most MPs according to the polls, and the Sweden Democrats cannot play any role as there is no liberal party or the Centrepartiet that would work with them.

    So, according to the polls, a minority leftwing government is the most likely. The Swedish institutional system helps, as, for example, for the state budget there is no need for a majority vote, it is simply the proposal that gets the most votes.

    Last week the social democrats effectively offered a deal to the right of the centre parties for a C&S.

  40. @Neil A

    The only way to square the demographic circle is to extend the working life of people / delay retirement / reduce pension values.

    No doubt all those people already retired or close to it, and already getting pensions will be happy to vote for someone else to work longer to preserve what they get (something the younger ones won’t get).

    ;-)

  41. @DAVWEL

    “What we need is a strong UK leader who will announce that the Labour and SNP leaders will become part of the UK negotiating team, and more importantly that the UK will retain its membership of the SM and CU. That is the only feasible compromise.”

    I certainly don’t disagree that the outcome you describe is sensible.

    However, the Labour Party want to use the impasse over Brexit as a tool to force a general election.

    I think the Snp will be using Brexit, if it goes wrong, as a tool for a referendum and independence.

  42. @ CMJ

    “The only way to square the demographic circle is to extend the working life of people / delay retirement / reduce pension values.”

    I’m surprised as a Green you would take that view. Technological advance has at least halved the people you need to produce what you need so even living longer should have been more than covered by these advances. 5 accounts ledger clerks 40 years ago needs only one ledger clerk with a PC and software. People don’t need manual drawing by hand and can do it on a computer aided design system, factories have been automated, farming methods made more efficient and so on.

    It also seems to me we have a lot of under-used people (especially given our poor productivity making it “cheaper” to stick with them than automate) and much unproductive work in this country (starting with 2.5m people in pure sales as opposed to checkout staff). Without a job description in the work classifications it is hard to get a statistical balance on this and obviously my particular example doesn’t mean we don’t need people in sales we just don’t really need 2.5m of them. Equally do we need 54,000 Estate Agents to sell 1m houses per year?

    I’m not knocking anyone in those professions by the way- just saying that 2.5m from one cited category is an awful lot of people not adding to the overall wealth of the country even if the system says companies need them to compete.

    We just need to think how we change the country from non productive to productive work and everything else would work out fine.

  43. @Joe James B: “No deal – Whereas it is not my preferred option, it is esssential it is on the table, otherwise a dud deal is more likely.”

    This is so obvious, that it is a wonder that anyone saying they respected the referendum result (e.g. Starmer, Tory rebels) could say otherwise.

    If you are not prepared to walk away, you have no business at the table.

    If the answer to the question “what do you do if they don’t want to talk” is “give up”, then you either hide it damn well or you run away.

    To me, it is the clearest sign that so-called Soft Brexit supporters are trying to steer things back into Remaining on whatever conditions the EU attaches. (Or will they reject conditions, even if that meant no deal?”

  44. Back to polls, I think the analysis of AW and John Curtice is becoming incredibly valuable.

    Both sides are now trying to use opinion polls not to find out opinion, but in order to create opinion. The chap who gave £1m to Remain did so for it to be spent on polling – not so much to know what people are thinking, but to create what the Americans call momentum for his side, and to hawk the polls round the EU to encourage them to hang tight.

    The Leave side (my side) has done a big poll, and this strangely enough generates headlines which should scare any Tory MP into thinking that leaving the EU means something more than just giving up voting rights. You then get to Chequers is less popular than the Poll Tax in 1990…

    So, good to have this sort of analysis. However, I rather suspect that none of them can address the unknown – none of the polls can anticipate the conditions of the final crisis. Personally, I would be astounded if the EU does not at least test whether generating a crisis might not bring about a change of government offering negotiations to re-enter. If it doesn’t work – they climb down or go for an all out trade war.

  45. @Catmanjeff,

    I think that’s true to some extent but it’s much more multi-faceted than that.

    1) The problem has to some extent been caused by a general increase in longevity. I expect this to stall, and possibly even reverse as the relatively healthy wartime generation passes through the system (and off their mortal coil) and the fat, diabetic, sedentary generations behind them (me included) start to head for their death beds. This may well involve an increase of NHS expenditure in some areas, but a reduction in others.

    2) The much talked about advent of AI and robotics may plug some of the gap in the workforce, enabling the income per worker in the economy to increase to partially offset a shortage of taxpayers. Of course this is slightly dependent on the government ensuring that 100% of the economic benefit of these changes doesn’t get sequestrated by the corporate world and the 1%.

    3)The problem is very severe, but also very temporary. Once the boomers have largely died off, there will be smaller cohorts of oldies to support.

    4) If the the costs of the demographic overhang are spread between all of thepossible remedies, it may well be that the impact is not all that dramatic. Pensioners retiring a year later, on pensions 5% smaller may not cause riots and zimmerframes being thrown through shop windows. After all, most pensioners have done very well up to now. I am sure there will be some negatives for the working population too, in terms of tax rises to support the required extra spending on services, but there is a compensation in that the constant rise in housing costs should start to plateau once the number of new homes matches or exceeds population growth. As Carfew always emphasises, it is the massive increase in the proportion of incomes that have to be spent on housing that has left the average Briton poorer overall.

    And for people like me, the compensation of knowing that no more fields, woods, parks and playing fields will need ot be lost to development will be more than adequate for any losses I suffer.

  46. @Shevii

    Quite.

  47. Reports that the ERG have decided not to publish their alternative Brexit proposals. Confirmation awaited.

  48. So the Secretary of state for NI has revealed thst before taking up post she had mot known thst in NI nationalists did not vote for unionists and vice versa.

  49. I love Wales….

    The result of the contest to replace the Tory leader Mr Davies was announced by a Mr Davies. The winner was a Mr Davies, who beat a Mrs Davies…..

  50. @ Andy

    That Deltapoll is actually a great example of how agree/disagree questions can produce apparently contradictory results. From the same panel of respondents, we have the following

    “Brexit is an historic mistake and only now people are realising it”
    Agree 44%
    Disagree 30%

    …and…

    “We should just leave on 29th March next year ”
    Agree 47%
    Disagree 28%

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