So far we have had six opinion polls since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, from Ipsos MORI, Deltapoll, Opinium, ComRes and two from YouGov (one for the Sunday Times, one for the Times). Voting intentions from them all are below.

YouGov (30 Jul) – CON 32%, LAB 22%, LDEM 19%, BRX 13%, GRN 8% (tabs)
Ipsos MORI (30 Jul) – CON 34%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BRX 9%, GRN 6% (tabs)
Deltapoll (27 Jul) – CON 30%, LAB 25%, LDEM 18%, BRX 14%, GRN 4% (tabs)
YouGov (26 Jul) – CON 31%, LAB 21%, LDEM 20%, BRX 13%, GRN 8% (tabs)
Opinium (26 Jul) – CON 30%, LAB 28%, LDEM 16%, BRX 15%, GRN 5% (tabs)
ComRes (25 Jul) – CON 28%, LAB 27%, LDEM 19%, BRX 16%, GRN 4% (tabs)

The trends across all these polls are very consistent – compared to pre-Johnson polling everyone shows the Conservatives gaining support (up 10 points in Deltapoll, 8 in MORI, 7 with Opinium, 6 or 7 in YouGov, and 3 with ComRes). In each case support for the Brexit party has dropped by a similar amount, while support for the other political parties remains broadly consistent. While in practice things will be a little more complicated (people will have moved in and out of don’t know, likelihood to vote will have gone up and down and so on), you can fairly characterise it as Johnson’s leadership immediately winning back a chunk of support from the Brexit party.

While The Conservatives will no doubt take some cheer from being ahead again in the polls, they should perhaps not take too much. The polls show them back at around 30% – where they were in March – as opposed to figures in the high 30s or low 40s that they recording at the tail end of last year. Boris Johnson has not magicaclly repaired all the damage they have suffered in the last few months – primarily it would seem because they are still losing a significant chunk of their 2017 support to the Brexit party. The fact they are ahead again is as much because of the splitting of the anti-Brexit vote between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In the early months of this year Liberal Democrat support was around ten percent and Labour were mostly in the thirties; now the Liberal Democrats are typically in the high teens and Labour normally in the twenties.

Secondly, it is very much the norm for a new Prime Minister to receive a boost in the polls. They normally come to power with a flurry of announcements and activity (and that often contrasts with the drift of whatever moribund government they’ve just replaced), their natural supporters once again project all their hopes and dreams upon them, and a fair chunk of the media are normally treating them as the messiah. It happened with John Major, Gordon Brown, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson. Generally speaking those factors don’t last, and neither does the boost – though the temptation is always to think this time is different. Gordon Brown narrowly avoided calling an election during his bump, aborting just before his lead collapsed; Theresa May’s boost in the polls stretched on far, far longer than expected, finally tempting her into an election before rapidly deflating. One probably shouldn’t get too excited about this one either – more important in terms of public support will be what happens in terms of Brexit in September, October and November.

(A couple of quick notes on methodology. You’ll note the usual big gap difference between pollsters in terms of Labour support – with YouGov and Ipsos MORI showing lower Labour support than Opinium and ComRes. My best guess, which I’ve written about elsewhere in more detail, is that this is to do with how and if pollsters weight for past vote. Secondly, I should flag up a methodology change from MORI – previously they hadn’t been including the Brexit party in their question wording for the voting intention question, resulting in lower support. This month MORI included the Brexit party in the prompt for half the sample – presumably in order to see how much difference it made.)


2,419 Responses to “The Boris-Bounce so far…”

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  1. Edge of Reason,
    “Out of curiosity, if the Great Tory Plan was to lose the post-Referendum GE and thus avoid responsibility for delivering Brexit, why do you imagine they called it when their poll lead was at its maximum and their principle opposition appeared to be in complete disarray?”

    Because the poll lead was illusory, just as it is now. The general problem is not at all unknown, that respondents cannot answer accurately without knowing the precise circumstances which will apply in an actual election. And they have not spent a few weeks seriously considering what they will do in a forced bad choice situation. Pollsters do not attempt to unwind this mess, just report what people say.

    You know what happened, leavers came in behind con and its vote went up. Remainers came in behind lab and its vote went up, more than for con. Lib had a big win or two before the election, suggesting they might take a lot of remain votes, but in realty it didnt happen. All this was reasonably predictable, and the conservative party must have had a report saying this sitting in front of it.

    But the outcome of the election had no possible downside for the conservatives. Bigger majority, more ability to control events. Lose control, someone elses problem. No change…well, no change.

    It acted as a second referendum on Brexit. It might have told the conservatives the nation was with them and they should go ahead. It actually told them the nation was divided, and if anything there was already less support for Brexit than at the referendum, and already a second referendum was quite likely to have an opposite outcome. Better to know that than be ambushed by it.

    Had the conservatives been confident Brexit could be successfully completed, there would have been no need for the election. They did not and do not believe it will be successful, that is why they have quietly subverted it at every opportunity. (which undermining of Brexit is the fact of what they have done, even if the motivation is speculation)

  2. Any evidence that the lower pound rate to date has actually helped exports?

    As for inflation that very much has registered on the goods you’d expect it to since 2016. The present recent decrease is unlikely to register much as the pound has it’s simply eliminated any of the recovery in the value and it does take some months for it to feed through on most products as shown after the 2016 ref.

  3. @JiB – “If the ppound looked like dropping to a point where imported inflation is a problem, then the default position would be to raise UK interest rates. Clearly this would not be without problem, and would reduce the disposable income of the indebted.

    However, we are not in any way powerless to tackle the currency problem should the need arise.”

    Sorry, but that’s just totally daft. Fortunately, the BoE thought so too when they reduced interest rates after the post referendum devaluation.

    If inflation is being caused by excess demand in your economy, then raising rates might have a benefit. If you are importing inflation through increased import prices because of a devaluation, raising interests rates will merely compound the economic shrinkage, without bringing down those prices.

    And it’s also worth pointing out that the latest inflation data was unexpectedly high, and that was before the recent devaluation.

  4. @DANNY

    He is saying there cannot be any kind of commitment to a permanent open border.

    The open border is key to retaining peace in Ireland. How can our government fail to acknowledge this? I despair.

  5. @Danny – “He is saying there cannot be any kind of commitment to a permanent open border.”

    No he is not!
    Read the letter.

    The bit where it says:

    “We must, first, ensure there is no return to a hard border……The Government will not put in place infrastructure, checks, or controls ate the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. We would be happy to accept a legally binding commitment to this effect…”

    He is simply restating the Conservative proposition that unicorns will one day fly again over the Irish border.

  6. This is a really good example of how the right wing media work to undermine faith in institutions like local authorities and other public bodies – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/19/mother-arrested-taken-police-cell-putting-wrong-colour-bin-bags/

    The headline is a classic – “Mother arrested and taken to police cell after putting out wrong colour bin bags”

    Obviously, this must be the local authority acting like Nazis, hounding a mother (it has to be a mother, doesn’t it?) just because of an honest mistake about the colour of her bin bags. Right?

    But wait! After the first sentence – “A mother was arrested and taken to a police cell after being accused of putting her rubbish out in the wrong colour bin bags” we see a small hint that something could be awry in the journalists tale. Line three has the tantalising hint: – “A court heard that the 34-year-old was caught dumping household waste in black bags near her home…”

    So was she recycling in the wrong bags, or dumping waste ‘near’ her home?

    After the claim that she has done nothing more than fall foul of new recycling laws, and seemingly put out the wrong colour bin bags, cue a lengthy section of the DT pushing it’s own campaign for simpler recycling rules. It then drifts through quite a confusing tale of the council making allowances for blag bin bags because the orange ones weren’t originally available, etc etc, giving apparent credence to the poor mother’s tale and adding to the sense of over officious, jobsworth council officials.

    Only at the very end of the article does the editor bother to allow the council to proffer any evidence, with a killer quote from a council spokesperson:

    – “She was dumping a large quantity of bags outside a shop in an alleyway around the corner.

    “She was originally sent a warning letter, but her offending continued. She was sent a summons and missed two court appearances.

    “She was arrested under warrant because of her failure to attend court.”

    Oh dear! So our distressed and hounded ‘mother’, was in fact, a serial anti social fly tipper who ignored multiple written warnings and court summonses, preferring instead to fly tip waste at night on someone else’s property.

    Well you wouldn’t have guessed that from the headline, would you?

    I really don’t see the point in editors publishing this kind of drivel. They’ve done it about the EU, climate change, Labour, cycle lanes, bank regulations, recycling, the NHS, local authorities – it seems endless. There is simply no point is writing such rubbish – unless the publishers have an ulterior motive.

    I wonder just what that could be?

  7. Alec – sound like the kind of thing the Northern Echo would put out now Peter Baron has retired.

  8. @Danny – you really seem to be thrashing about in you attempts to find justification.

    In recent days you’ve posted completely inconsistent material.

    For example –

    “Some modest measures to scare off traditional tories? If you need to lose, then every vote lost counts.”

    And then –

    “But the outcome of the election had no possible downside for the conservatives. Bigger majority, more ability to control events.”

    So did they need to lose the election, or was winning a good outcome with no downside?

    This is the problem with the antivaxxer style approach. Having a theory is fine, but if the counter evidence mounts up, it gets harder and harder to justify. You have the option of digging ever deeper, or accepting you were a bit over the top.

    What you don’t have is the option to forget the contradictory view that you posted the day before. Not on UKPR.

  9. What I am wondering is this:

    Boris Johnson again repeats in his letter that the WA was rejected three times by Parliamant because of the backstop.

    However, that is not actually true. The ERG rejected the WA because of the backstop but the rest of the HoC and indeed a majority in the Lords were fine with the backstop but opposed the WA on other grounds.

    It follows that even in the fantasy scenario that the PM could persuade the EU to reopen the WA and remove the backstop, the amendes WA would still be rejected.

  10. Looks like Alec is morphing into Davwel. :-)

    This case intrigued me so I wondered what the local press had to say about it.

    The Ipswich Star headline is :-

    “Mum locked up after putting recycling out in wrong colour bin bags”

    Mmm-must be another right wing conspiracy to “undermine faith” in our Local Authorities.

    https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/lyndsey-webb-court-discharge-for-dumping-rubbish-in-suffolk-street-1-6221950

    ……….or perhaps they are just as critical of Ipswich Borough Councils recent recycling policy change as DT.?

    In fact this lady fell foul of IBC’s recent change of contractor. Anglian Water Services put costs up for co-mingled waste & IBC switched to a new contractor who could not accept co-mingled food waste.

    Hence the change to bagging which Ms Webb was either trying to avoid , (if you don’t believe her )-or resulted in her complaint of failure to supply the new bags & late collection ( if you do believe her)

  11. If the nation immediately to the south of Northern Ireland left the EU it would solve all the problems. As I believe over 60% of their trade is with the UK it would make sense for them.

  12. @Jim Jam

    3 quibbles if I may.

    You certainly may! One of the less good things about UKPR is that it is very difficult to get into a dialogue in which ideas get built on, refined, modified etc. Points are either attacked, or ignored, or, more occasionally, endorsed. So it is difficult to modify one’s position and move forward.

    On the point at issue. I agree that no one is going to believe that Labour can renegotiate. The way ahead is to do this via the political declaration as you have said. An advantage of an election is that it can give a mandate for taking no deal off the table. A referendum May deal v revoke is thus absolutely fine with me. I knew this was your position. I hope i have got it right this time and apologise for expressing it badly.

    I agree and hopefully said that the problem with the above (highly desirable) train of events is that I don’t think it will happen. Hence the need for a plan B.

    Thank you for further refinements on the position of Labour MPs. I accept that some genuinely think that we should respect the referendum. Personally I think there is a prima facie case for doing this but that it does not over-ride all other considerations. My opinion is obviously irrelevant, but given that no one voted for no deal and the only possible deal (May’s) was considered seriously flawed by all sides, I would have thought they might see the logic in testing whether the people want Brexit at all costs, and if not whether they can accept May deal or would prefer the status quo.

    @Shevii I agree that it is not part of Labour’s moral duty to have a plan B. I think that they would be well advised to do so, however. This is because a) it is strongly in their interest as i see it to stop a no deal Brexit b) it is also in their interest to be seen as ‘statesmanlike’, rather than tribal, opportunist and extreme c) in reality the people they represent need a no deal Brexit like a hole in the head. I

    in due course there will have to be an election because the majority is so thin. It seems to me that Labour’s best chance lies in tactical voting and becoming the largest party. For this to work, they have to be seen to be willing to compromise and work across party boundaries. Their willingness to do this will help allay the widespread belief that a JC led government would be so extreme that it would be the end of civilisation as we know it.

  13. Steve Smith ruled out of the third Ashes test due to concussion.

    The decision to allow him to return to finish his innings really needs to be examined. If he isn’t fit to play five days after being struck, sending him back in after less than an hour was negligence.

  14. ALEC, DANNY

    Johnson’s asks on the backstop are only ‘impossible’ if you completely accept the EU and Ireland’s view of the situation. Can you actually point to any the issues relating to the backstop which he raises in his letter and honestly say that he’s wrong? The issue is less that NI is going to have to have some kind of special status, it obviously is, but that the EU is demanding an absolute retention of the status quo which sets an impossible bar for the UK to clear. You can find some quite illuminating stuff if you dig around, like these comments from Ireland’s revenue chief to one of their joint committees way back in 2017:

    Very soon after we began considering this issue nine months ago, we concluded that the diversion and impact of having to call to a designated Revenue customs post does not make sense and the volumes would not justify it. Therefore, alternative solutions are needed.

    We do not envisage physical checks taking place at Revenue offices. Currently, 2% of goods are selected for physical checks. There is a series of rules and risk indica-tors involved in being selected. As our two colleagues mentioned, many of these rules concern protecting the customs union and the Single Market. Some of them concern perceived dumping by other countries. Certain indicators are looked for. from a customs point of view, it is very unlikely that there will be anything approaching 2% referral for physical goods in regard to the type of goods that move between the North and the South. We have considered the analysis of the figures. Much of what is transported in both directions is construction material. There is also agrifood produce. Something that will distort the EU market will not be sourced from Northern Ireland into the South. I saw on the six o’clock news that RTE reported from the border between Norway and Sweden, which has very sophisticated bays for HGVs to pull into on both sides of the border. I do not see that being the case here. The discussion at the previous committee meeting on this issue prompted us to think further about it. We did not change anything because of the discussion. However, having thought about it and begun to analyse the numbers, I am almost 100% certain that we will not be providing new trade facilitation bays in whatever part of Donegal, Monaghan or Cavan.

  15. Alec,
    I think I saw that story and completely agree about how misleading it was. Indeed it seems typical of many stories. I put it down to cr*p journalism trying to get attention on the internet, but you seem to hint that there is an obvious ulterior motive.

    Could you explain?

    Your opening line was
    “This is a really good example of how the right wing media work to undermine faith in institutions like local authorities and other public bodies – ”

    But why would they want to do that?

  16. @ RAF

    As I remember it most of the ERG were prepared to support the WA if the backstop is removed completely as it should be IMO. There’s still a lot of smuggling between the two countries, it goes back 100 years and it’s not going to change anytime soon. My late grandfather was apparently involved in some of the shenanigans in the late 30’s but was never caught. There are somewhere around 200 crossing points between the North and South so difficult to administer manually.

  17. Pete B: If the nation immediately to the south of Northern Ireland left the EU it would solve all the problems. As I believe over 60% of their trade is with the UK it would make sense for them.

    Sometimes you have to let people make their own stupid mistakes. Perhaps the UK would do better to let the Irish get on with their own stupid mistake while the UK gets on with its own.

  18. Alec,
    “No he is not!
    Read the letter. The bit where it says:
    “We must, first, ensure there is no return to a hard border……”

    He might well say there can be no return to a hard border, but he also says the UK will not accept any future relationship which guarantees equal trading conditions either side of the border, such that it would become unnecessary. If he canot agree to any mechanism which could keep it open, he is saying it must be closed.

    “So did they need to lose the election, or was winning a good outcome with no downside? ”

    if they had won the election, it could only have been because there was a lot more suport for brexit than turned out to be the case. It was a referendum which did include its own mechanism for implementation, in that strong support for brexit would automatically give more power to the party proposing it. And similarly weak support for brexit…less.

    Whatever the outcome, it would shed light on the public’s view and push parliament that way.

    Given the tories already had a working majority, they had little to gain.. except for the public confirmation that brexit was right. Hence too, the campaign emphasis on hard brexit and brexit at any cost, to make clear to the public that this was what was at stake, not the (more) confused offering at the referendum.

    The benefit for the tories was to prove there is less support for brexit than the simple referendum result suggested. And this has informed their actions since. But the result could have been the opposite, with equal benefit.

    The bottom line for them was that they could not commit the Uk to a destructive course of action unless there was clear public support, which there was not in the referendum result. So they needed another vote and would be better off whatever truth it showed.

    It should be obvious, that if they believed Brexit would produce nothing but good for the Uk, then all this was unnecessary and they could have simply got on with it. Because after the event everyone would have been content. They did not act, so they did not, and do not, believe Brexit will have a good outcome.

    There seems to be a lot of propaganda that parties never set out to lose elections. That is obviously bunk. Notice that right now some parties are seeking consensus for agrements to withdraw in certain constituencies? They are adopting a strategy of not standing and therefore losing by default…so as to achieve a longer term goal.

    It is axiomatic that conservatives cannot admit they are trying to stop brexit, because that would be counter productive both to the aim of stopping it, and to future voter support (from leavers, anyway). A modern UK big two party is always seeking to convince opposed groups of voters that actually it is the champion of both. Which is short term beneficial, but long term is also destroying their national credibility.

  19. Charles agree pretty much with all you say when it comes down to no deal v ref 2 if it might the delivers (Nandy has already said so) will reluctantly back ref 2. It is the cynical calculators (good description which I will use myself sometimes) who might put their seat first. Irony is that they might risk deselection as the trigger ballots processes will be commencing in the autumn.

    I think the problem with plan B (backing an alt temporary PM) is that enough the deliveries/calculators won’t back as they don’t have to justification of putting the Labour Leader in No.10 with the attendant probable credibility lift. Corbyn might have to accede ‘in the national interest’ to thwart no deal and see if I (and others) are wrong that there would not be enough Tory rebels to match the Labour ones plus a few to win the vote. I think getting 6 Tories is still less unlikely if we ever get that far.

  20. GARJ

    You seem to have forgotten that NI voted to remain, as did two other polities. Somehow, however, Cameron forgot his pre referendum promises in his panic to resign.

    BTW, the latest NI poll is being reported in the Belfast Telegraph, here, where your own ideas seem to be directly opposite to the NI electorate’s wishes.

  21. Sorry Tidied up now Charles agree pretty much with all you say when it comes down to no deal v ref 2 if it might the deliverers (Nandy has already said so) will reluctantly back ref 2. It is the cynical calculators (good description which I will use myself sometimes) who might put their seat first. Irony is that they might risk deselection as the trigger ballots process will be commencing in the autumn.

    I think the problem with plan B (backing an alt temporary PM) is that enough the deliverers/calculators won’t back as they don’t have the justification of putting the Labour Leader in No.10 with the attendant probable credibility lift. Corbyn might have to accede ‘in the national interest’ to thwart no deal and see if I (and others) are wrong that there would not be enough Tory rebels to match the Labour ones plus a few to win the vote. I think getting 6 Tories is still less unlikely if we ever get that far.

  22. ” Britain’s economy is slightly larger than previously thought, according to new official estimates published on Tuesday that take into account new methodology and data.

    The Office for National Statistics added around 26 billion pounds ($31 billion) to the size of the world’s fifth-biggest economy in 2016, a rise equivalent to around 1.3% of gross domestic product and bringing total output to just under 2 trillion pounds.

    Average annual growth in the economy between 1997 to 2016 is now estimated at 2.1%, up from 2.0% previously.

    The new figures showed the economy contracted by 6.0% during the financial crisis, a smaller drop than the 6.3% estimated previously. The economy also returned to its pre-crisis peak in early 2013, slightly sooner than thought beforehand.”

    Reuters

  23. I should include the link for those statements:

    https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debateRecord/joint_committee_on_finance_public_expenditure_and_reform_and_taoiseach/2017-05-25/debate/[email protected]/main.pdf

    The point is that Ireland’s head of Revenue concluded way back in 2017 that having the UK and NI in a separate customs regime from the EU and Eire would not necessitate any border customs posts, or the stopping of any cross border traffic. The idea that Brexit would lead to border inspections and razor wire fences is a convenient fiction employed by people who want to push the UK into the softest possible Brexit, or cancel it altogether.

    That doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be costs associated, in the same committee hearing they discuss the additional burden to businesses of having to make declarations and the dangers of smuggling. Both issues could be lessened substantially if a FTA were agreed, of course, and he directly states that individuals bringing goods across the border is a non-issue compared to the smuggling of lorryloads of 40000 litres of laundered fuel as happens at present. The problem is not that the frictions can’t be managed without disruption to anyone except the 100 or so businesses which might have to deal with them, but that the EU has declared that they won’t accept any frictions at all, which is an extreme position designed to make Brexit as difficult as possible.

  24. @Garj – “Can you actually point to any the issues relating to the backstop which he raises in his letter and honestly say that he’s wrong?”

    Well the backstop isn’t going to undermine the GFA, nor it is counter to the objectives of the GFA.

    People in NI would have a say in the formulation of EU rules (not a veto though).

    The backstop, as originally conceived, also isn’t undemocratic. It was designed by the UK’s democratically elected government. It would only be undemocratic if it was forced upon the UK with no say. The WA, if accepted, would be far more democratic than – say – a no deal Brexit, which everyone was promised would not happen, parliament voted against and voters weren’t given the chance to vote for.

    So that’s basically pretty much everything he’s claimed in the letter that’s wrong.

    Perhaps it might be better if you picked out the bits that Johnson got right?

  25. @garj – it’s also worth pointing out that if Johnson is correct in that the WA is undemocratic and threatens peace in Ireland, there is a big question over why he supported it in the lobbies in parliament?

    You might have thought someone as committed as he is to such things would have resigned then and there? Unless……

  26. Charles,
    “in due course there will have to be an election because the majority is so thin”

    In belgium, didnt they just get the crown to rule directly? We dont need to have a government with a majority. The US normally does not.

    Garj,
    “Can you actually point to any the issues relating to the backstop which he raises in his letter and honestly say that he’s wrong?”

    Read above. I already did. It isnt the EU which is demanding a retention of the status quo but the people of ireland and the terms of the GFA. The problem is that EU membership is fundamentally one part of that deal, because it effectively creates a federal Ireland with two administrations. If you take that away then the agreement founders.

    The british government signed up to a peace deal which relies on EU membership. It has the option of creating an alternative acceptable to Ireland, but it hasnt even managed to convince the north, never mind the south.

    I have said it before, the real problem is not whether customs arrangements work smoothly or with minimal intervention, but that they exist at all. Conceptually the Irish want freedom to roam, live, work and trade across the entire island of Ireland. Leaving the EU cannot satisfy that, it just cant. Leaving is incompatible with the GFA, that is the problem, and the EU has already compromised a great deal in the existing agreement.

    Barbazenzero,
    ” Somehow, however, Cameron forgot his pre referendum promises in his panic to resign.”

    Or maybe he didnt forget his promise, which would have meant he would have to oppose Brexit. So resigned before being pushed.

  27. LucidTalk poll carried out in Northern Ireland reports:

    58.4% of respondents said they would vote in favour of “a border in the Irish Sea” and would rather Northern Ireland remained more closely aligned with the EU than Great Britain.

    Some 39.5% said they would reject the compromise, while 2.1% said they did not know.

    Not being publicised widely at all in the MSM AFAICS or mentioned in the reporting of the Irish backstop issue by the BBC.

  28. “Given the tories already had a working majority, they had little to gain.. except for the public confirmation that brexit was right. Hence too, the campaign emphasis on hard brexit and brexit at any cost,..,.”

    But that isn’t what they stressed…..

  29. Going right back to the heading of this thread, Johnson’s tack to the right does seem to have led to an increase in Con VI at the expense of BXP.

    With his base (fairly) secure, perhaps an appeal to LDs and moderate Conservatives will be a sign that an election is imminent?

  30. @ Artemis

    Just read Jeffrey Donaldson’s response (as reported in the NI press) to the poll, which was the political equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and saying “la la la”, by stating that the poll can’t be right because it doesn’t reflect what he hears from his constituents. This is a real problem in the current Parliament with the Conservatives reliant upon the DUP to remain in office. The start of the path to the Belfast Agreement was based on the statement that the UK Government made in 1990 (Peter Brookes Secretary of State forNorthern Ireland) that the UK had no “selfish strategic or economic” interest in Northern Ireland. It would appear that those sentiments cannot be said of the current Government given both reliance on the DUP and a dtermination to impose Brexit on a population that voted against it.

  31. @Bantams

    “As I remember it most of the ERG were prepared to support the WA if the backstop is removed completely as it should be IMO. ..”

    The majority of the ERG may well have been prepared to do so. My point is that the backstop wasn’t the reason that Labour, the SNP, the Greens, PC and others (save the bulk of the Tories and the DUP) voted down the deal. It follows that the removal of the backstop would not guarantee that an amended WA would pass through parliament in any event. Once again, the Tories are conflating their own interest with that of Parlianent and the country as a whole.

    The WA envisages the backstop only coming into effect only if alternative arrangements cannot be agreed by the end of the transitional period, and only lasting until such alternative arrangements can be agreed and come into force. If you don’t want a backstop the course is simple. Find altervative arrangements to obviate the need for the backstop. Boris Johnson has yet to identify one, and the one he previously suggested neither addresses all issues covered by the backstop nor would it have been operational until 2023.

    So what the PM is really asking for is to leave the EU with no backstop and no agreed operational alternative arrangements. That is fantasy and he knows it.

  32. @ RAF

    Spot on, I can imagine there is a small number of Conservatives who would not vote for a WA if the backstop is removed. But also I can see that there are a small number of ERG types who would not vote for the WA even if the backstop were removed given other aspects of the proposed treaty that would still tie the UK to the EU for a number of years.
    What I don’t think is appreciated is that for the likes of Francois, Baker et al, Europe is the Bete Noir and they cannot contemplate any connection between the UK and EU which does not involve UK dominance!

  33. I have also been pondering, in this very tense political climate, what the parties might be fearing most.

    Pace Danny – whose posts I enjoy and I hope he’s right – personally my guess that what the Conservatives fear most is splitting into two parties, one for economic/business conservatives and one for social conservatives/patriotic supporters, thus losing lots of elections. Johnson has managed a coup for the second category, but by being so comprehensive in his bloodless coup he has left little choice for the pragmatic supporters – for now.

    For Labour, losing to the Conservatives is fairly frequent, but they would be right to fear losing to the LibDems, and then themselves being subject to third party squeeze (worse in Scotland) and the disproportionate loss of seats under FPTP.

    As for the LibDems, they must fear Brexit most of all. First because they believe it is bonkers, but also the appeal of Rejoin as a slogan is very long-term, I guess. Many of those anti-Common Market (as it was) rebels like the Conservative Teddy Taylor, did not live long enough to see their dream (almost?) fulfilled. Perhaps they might focus on recruiting pragmatic moderate voters and industry, but is this enough to win an election?

  34. “CHARLES
    @Jim Jam

    3 quibbles if I may.”

    Can i point you to the relevant rule in my ever popular board game “QUIBBLE OR CARP?” Available at all good bookshops or direct from Daisie for a tenner. [You don’t even need to bother with a return address as everything is done for you.]

    “No more than two consecutive quibbles are permitted unless your opponent responds with their own quibble or [in special circumstances – see sub-sections below**] a single carp.”

    ** I haven’t bothered to quote the sub-sections as I got bored.

  35. @pete B – “But why would they want to do that?”

    You mean you really hadn’t noticed that the right wing want to undermine regulation, get rid or neuter state run orgnanisations, and campaign to cut spending on things like local authorities in favour of tax cuts for richer people?

    On you solution for the Irish border issue, OK, we can see you’re being a bit humorous, but lets play along. It’s far easier for NI to leave the UK than for Ireland to join. Much more popular and with the same effect.

    Can we agree on that?

  36. @garj – another point of note regarding the ‘undemocratic’ backstop is that by a very large margin, the people of NI seem to support an identical backstop that just applies to NI, not the UK wide backstop that our government insisted on.

    If you want a democratic solution for this, the EU’s starting suggestion would be the way to go.

  37. The heffalump in the room re a caretaker Corbyn is that, in oppositional politics, it is impossible for other parties to risk him looking rather prime ministerial, given that, however temporary, he actually WILL be the prime minister.

    To let that happen – particularly with agreement to hold a general election very quickly already agreed – would be a hostage to fortune, especially as one of the principal lines of attack on the man is that he is NOT suitable for that office.

    It just seems obvious that someone neutral and preferably someone about to retire anyway would be the better option.

    Given that Ken Clarke is not in favour of a second referendum he would be the obvious person to be installed, on a time limited basis, with the three objectives of securing an extension, making do deal impossible to achieve, calling a GE – and then buggering off into the sunset.

  38. ALEC

    How do you find the time to run a business?????

  39. @peteb

    “As I believe over 60% of their trade is with the UK it would make sense for them.”

    Well your belief is completely wrong. Here are some facts:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ireland/exports-by-country

    It really isn’t very difficult to check information such as this.

  40. Alec,
    “But that isn’t what they stressed…..”

    ‘Brexit means brexit’. ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’. The Eu will cave in and agree a deal we are happy with.

    What Johnson is saying now is very much in line with what May said then. Its just a re-run hoping a new leader will be more convincing to some voters now.

    But i dont really think he is electioneering. I think he is simply trying to establish the conservative party as brexiteers when that is clearly in doubt by many more than just me. The point of such a strategy, would be to have it stymied by external circumstances before he is required to enact it. Ramp it up with all sorts of promise which he will not then have to deliver.

    Kinda like the referendum. Same strategy yet again.

  41. “HIRETON
    @peteb

    “Well your belief is completely wrong. Here are some facts.”

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. @WB61 – “The start of the path to the Belfast Agreement was based on the statement that the UK Government made in 1990 (Peter Brookes Secretary of State forNorthern Ireland) that the UK had no “selfish strategic or economic” interest in Northern Ireland.”

    Minor quibble – I think that was in 1993 in a joint statement from John major and Albert Reynolds?

  43. ALEC

    Well the backstop isn’t going to undermine the GFA, nor it is counter to the objectives of the GFA.

    I suggest you go and reread the GFA. It is big on the principle of consent, on NI’s status as part of the UK and its internal market, and on how matters relating to cross border cooperation will be handled. The backstop rides roughshod over all of those. Indeed, on the last one Ireland was arguably in breach as soon as it asked for the backstop or something like it to be included in the WA rather than dealing with the matter through the bilateral channels enshrined in the GFA.

    People in NI would have a say in the formulation of EU rules (not a veto though).

    The right to send a non-voting representative or two along to discussions does not amount to a say. Where are NI’s MEPs? Where is its seat on the commission? If it is to remain part of the EU’s institutions then it is as entitled to these as any other small nation.

    The backstop, as originally conceived, also isn’t undemocratic. It was designed by the UK’s democratically elected government. It would only be undemocratic if it was forced upon the UK with no say.

    It was designed by the EU, and received some amendment at the behest of the government over the course of negotiations. It was rejected by parliament, however, and that government is no longer in power. If Trump were to threaten to nuke the UK unless we sign a treaty handing him a trillion pounds every year then the government would have a ‘say’ in the decision, but it doesn’t mean it would be a democratic one. The backstop removes the UK’s sovereign right to determine its own trading status, regardless of however people cast their votes. Of course its undemocratic. I’m not arguing that Johnson isn’t a titanic hypocrite, of course he is, but that doesn’t mean hes wrong on this point.

    You’ve only superficially attempted to address a couple of the points raised in the letter, far from ‘pretty much everything he’s claimed,’ and your rebuttals are very flimsy indeed.

    DANNY

    Conceptually the Irish want freedom to roam, live, work and trade across the entire island of Ireland. Leaving the EU cannot satisfy that, it just cant. Leaving is incompatible with the GFA, that is the problem, and the EU has already compromised a great deal in the existing agreement.

    Well, nothing in Brexit alters the freedom of the Irish to roam, live, or work anywhere across the island of Ireland (or the rest of the UK, for that matter) even to the slightest degree. I think I’ve probably told you to go and read the GFA a good dozen times, but it seems you still haven’t. You can lead a horse to water, and all that.

    What people have to grasp is what is actually meant by a ‘hard border’. The issue at stake is to do with whether or not a couple of hundred businesses, or potentially even fewer (perhaps only dozens if NI or the UK remains part of the single market for agri-food), will have to complete online customs declarations. That’s it. The UK is being told that it won’t be allowed to leave on reasonable terms because the EU won’t accept those checks having to be made in any way, even if they can be minimised to an enormous degree. That’s not a reasonable position to take.

  44. @R&D – sorry to be picky, but I thought you were allowed any number of consecutive quibbles in a month containing a Black Moon, up until the date of the Black Moon?

    This would mean @Charles would be OK with three quibbles before August 30th?

  45. Paul – I would never Carp at Charles but Quibble yes.

    I guess that is a quibble in itself, do I get extra points for that?

  46. Much of my opinion on Brexit etc is affected, if not formed, by what I read on UKPR. I haven’t a clue what’s going to happen next – i don’t think anyone has – but I’ve formed a view from reading posts here about some things I’m fairly sure *won’t* happen:

    1. More than one Tory MP voting against the govt on a VONC. They just won’t. Any old excuse will do, and ‘putting JC into Downing St’ is quite enough (even if it wasn’t going to happen). Though they wouldn’t put a caretaker PM in either if it meant losing their seats. Rudd is in the government. Grieve voted against his own amendment. Say no more.

    2. MPs agreeing on any course of action at all. They don’t. They won’t. I’m sure BJ knows that and will take full advantage.

    3. Corbyn making way for a caretaker. Nope. Not going to happen. Think about it!

    4. An election any time soon giving a decisive result one way or the other. We’re split as a nation on Brexit, and probably on what sort of country we want to live in more generally. No sign of that changing.

  47. Pete B

    You make a good point about the Republic leaving the EU with us.

    You say it would seem to make sense.

    Alas, sense and the Republic have never gone hand in hand.

  48. My interpretation of the PM’s letter to Donald Tusk is that he is not really seeking to ditch the backstop, but rather merely moving it from the withdrawal agreement (where it would be legally binding) to the political declaration. At this point, however, there is little incentive for the EU to back down. If attempts to block a no deal Brexit fail in the UK parliament in September, then the EU may change its stance.

    At this point, however, both sides may give up the withdrawal agreement and converge on a managed “no deal”.

  49. The EU has rejected Boris’s generous offer of talks in his recent letter.

    Nobody in the media seems to question the intransigence of the EU and yet everything seems to be our fault.

    Lenny Verruca will be hung out to dry by his electorate once their economy goes into freefall after we leave on WTO terms.

    Winter is coming to the Republic…

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