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. Hugo

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

    We’re the ones who want to leave. And, what’s more, we were told at the time of the referendum how easy it would be to get a deal as “they need us more than we need them.”

  2. Hireton
    @PeteB

    Thanks for that link. Very interesting. I didn’t know that Ireland’s exports to UK were only 12 % of their total, dwarfed by the 28% to the USA and less than to Belgium . Puts it in perspective.

  3. @ RAF

    I don’t want to see it happen. Smuggling will happen anyway whether or not……

    The EU and the South will have to put the border up if they want it but I suspect this will contravene the GFA. I don’t see the need for one under any circumstance, surveillance will be the key to the solution.

    However if the EU are stupid enough to erect a border the troubles will inevitably restart on both sides.

  4. Link to a BBC piece about a letter from senior civil servant in NI to political parties about the dangers of No Deal Brexit.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2019/0305/1034536-brexit-warning/

    “In his six page letter, David Sterling draws attention to the vulnerability of Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector because of the trading relationship with Ireland and the highly/integrated nature of north/south supply chains.

    He details how the agri-food sector is a disproportionately large large part of the Northern Ireland economy, compared to Great Britain and it is located mainly in rural areas.

    He says this sector is particularly vulnerable, given its reliance on cross border supply chain in the production stage and in finished products.

    He notes how seventy five per cent of Northern Ireland’s private sector employment is in small and medium sized enterprises and that Ireland is the North’s largest international export market.”

  5. “JIM JAM
    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?”

    No.

    It’s back down the ladder plus you have to now support Sunderland.

    Re. temporary PMs – I nominate Charles as he is the nicest person on the site and talks a lot of sense.

  6. @Hugo
    In 1980 GDP per Capita in Ireland was $7,074, in the UK it was $8,879

    In 2017 GDP per Capita in Ireland was $75,538, in the UK it was $44,118

    Of course the Irish have no sense.
    Of course they should leave the EU.

  7. Colin

    Your comment at noon.

    It is probably because the earlier (a few years ago) addition of 3 billion for prostitution and drug dealing was an underestimate.

    [I don’t put a smiley although …]

  8. @GARJ

    “It is big on the principle of consent,”

    In the context of deciding the constitutional status of NI in which the UK no longer has a selfish or strategic interest.

    “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.”

    This from David Sterling, senior NI civil servant.

    In his six page letter, David Sterling draws attention to the vulnerability of Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector because of the trading relationship with Ireland and the highly/integrated nature of north/south supply chains.

    He details how the agri-food sector is a disproportionately large large part of the Northern Ireland economy, compared to Great Britain and it is located mainly in rural areas.

    He says this sector is particularly vulnerable, given its reliance on cross border supply chain in the production stage and in finished products.

    He notes how seventy five per cent of Northern Ireland’s private sector employment is in small and medium sized enterprises and that Ireland is the North’s largest international export market.

  9. In 2017, over 90pc of Northern businesses exporting to the EU traded across the border. That trade was worth £3.9bn and accounted for 38pc of all exports and 18pc of external sales (including sales to Great Britain via Dublin Port or Rosslare).

    About a third of this trade is from the agri-business and involves SMEs many of which have no experience of dealing with customs regulations.

    I was posting on this on this board years ago to the TREVORS

  10. A line in that last one should say ‘where is NI’s seat on the council’ rather than the commission, obviously.

    ALEC

    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.

    Hey, I’d be very much up for a role for the people of NI in all this, via a poll or through Stormont (when it eventually gets going again), but the EU explicitly rejected that when it was suggested to them. They’re not really fans of the plebs being allowed a vote.

    MBRUNO

    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”.

    I’d agree with all of that. Outside of a few nutters nobody really believes that NI isn’t going to have some sort of special arrangement in order to minimise border issues, but the matter has become politically entrenched and been blown out of all proportion. The cross border trade this is all about represents a tiny fraction of Eire, the UK, and even NI’s economies, only really concerns a relatively tiny number of companies, and could be solved in a heartbeat if both sides would accept a bit of compromise (allowing some checks, but keeping NI close to the single market in a couple of key areas). The idea that cross border smuggling represents a serious danger to the integrity of the single market is a nonsense, and if people tried to move substantial quantities of substandard goods through the border then that’s what policing is for. After all, as recently as 2007 as much as 40% of the diesel used in NI was smuggled in from the Republic. 40%! The sky didn’t fall in then, and the GFA wasn’t fatally compromised by the increase in policing which reduced it to a much more modest 12% by 2010. These problems are eminently solvable, given the will to actually do so rather than just present them as insurmountable obstacles.

    I share your gloomy outlook though. The EU is wedded to the backstop in order to make life difficult for the UK, and if that won’t work then they’ll either try to force something like it on us after a no deal exit, or accept that as punishment enough and sensibly try to move the conversation on.

  11. Garj.

    One of the core themes of the Belfast Agreement is that the status of N. Ireland will not be changed against the wishes of the majority of the population. Taking the six counties out of the EU against the wishes of the majority would seem to me to undermine the Agreement. Those who are wedded to the conviction that the UK can do no wrong really have to start looking dispassionately at what is really happening.

  12. @GARJ

    “Well, nothing in Brexit alters the freedom of the Irish to roam, live, or work anywhere across the island of Ireland ”

    A good deal of adjustment is required and there are still unknowns.

    https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2019/03/18/long-read-beyond-tariffs-what-no-deal-would-mean-for-the-irish-border/

    “The UK government has published its fairly sketchy plans for ‘avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland’ for such an eventuality. It concentrates primarily on the subject of customs controls and proposes, in effect, that there will be no customs controls on the Irish border. This means that goods crossing the Irish border into Northern Ireland will not be subject to tariffs, quotas or other controls. It is an ‘as you were’ effort, hoping that the rest of the UK, the EU and, indeed, the World Trade Organisation will not hasten to point out that the UK cannot make a unilateral decision to leave part of its border swinging wide open. It seems that the realities and responsibilities of being a ‘third country’ are particularly difficult to manage when it comes to Northern Ireland [who knew?].

    So what do we know will happen to a range of areas of everyday life for people on the island of Ireland, particularly in the Irish border region, in the event of a No Deal? We have analysed UK technical notices, the Irish Brexit Omnibus Bill (which completed its passage through the Oireachtas on 13 March with cross-party support), and third-party statements and documents. We have found a mixture of reassurance, omissions and ambiguities when it comes to knowing what to expect come No Deal Exit day.”

  13. Mr. Bruno.
    There can be no managed no deal. Management requires that there be a deal. No deal, no management.

  14. @rosieanddaisie

    Of course, the problem with Clarke is that it would give a (presumably-ex) Conservative PM and a Conservative Leader of the Opposition.

    For a party that doesn’t even have a majority to have both might be regarded as a bit unusual.

    I suspect that there are only two plausible candidates for an interim PM:
    1) Corbyn, because at the last minute the Conservative and TIG anti-no-deal groups back him through no other alternatives to avoid a no-deal then a GE.
    2) Bercow, as the only independent MP who has the respect of the majority of the anti-no-deal side in the Commons and clearly wouldn’t be using the position for political gain.

    Neither of them seem particularly likely, so the legislative routes might work better.

  15. It appears that the EU is playing into Johnson hands .
    Every time Mr Tusk speaks for the EU it’s to say no to what seems on the surface to be a reasonable request for more flexibility over the backstop.
    It’s difficult to gauge public opinion but I would put money on the British public growing a little weary of perceived intractability by Tusk and co.

    Johnson will play on that perception to paint a senario that the U.K. tried for a deal but the EU wanted nothing more than to punish the U.K. for leaving the club.

    I would fully expect to see support for no deal rise during the next month or so and also support of Johnson and the Tory party to rise as well ,if as I believe the intransigence of the EU begins to grate an the public.

  16. @Hugo. Dear Boy, if you are going to take on this Lexiteer character attacking the Irish Republic for a lack of sense really doesn’t do it; it simply smacks of colonial condescension that no decent Corbynista would countenance.

    However……”the Republic’s Government is deeply in hoc to multinational, mostly US interests and is never going to leave the corporate paradise that is the Single Market despite the obvious benefits it could bring to Irish workers” is more authentic

  17. @turk

    Johnson hasn’t asked for more flexibility on the backstop. He has demanded that it be scrapped and for the EU to to trust him.

    That is trust somebody who agreed the backstop while in the Cabinet, repudiated it when not in the Cabinet, then voted for it not long after telling the DUP that he wouldn’t, and then repudiated it again.

  18. “Checklist
    In summary, milk or milk products can only be imported into the EU under the following conditions:231
    ? The consignment is presented at a BIP for veterinary checks;
    ? The products come from an EU listed third country for which no safeguard measures are in place;
    ? The products come from an EU approved establishment which has been listed for the relevant
    product;
    ? The products bear an EU approved health mark/identification mark;
    ? The consignment is accompanied by appropriate health certificate(s);
    ? The animal product is appropriately wrapped and labelled with a health mark;
    ? The importer is registered with the government agency (in the RoI: the Department of
    Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) or the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA)), as
    appropriate for the animal product being imported; and
    ? The person responsible for the load has given 24 hours advance notification to the competent
    BIP. That person must be registered with the competent national authority and TRACES.
    These conditions will clearly have an effect on businesses due to the administrative burdens created by the documentary requirement but also by the need to transport the goods to a BIP (which are not currently located at or near the land border). ”

    BIPs are in Dublin and Shannon

  19. @Alec

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

    It may be daft to you, that is what would happen. There is something of a precedent there, especially as we move to more normal economic times.

  20. SAM

    Agri-food

    Which is why what NI needs is a deal which keeps it part of or closely aligned to the EU single market for agri-food, and maintains it as part of the island of Ireland’s phytosanitary zone. Adding in some trusted trader systems and exemptions for small businesses could massively reduce the number of affected companies. All of these things are extremely simple in the scheme of things. The dangers you are highlighting are the dangers of no deal, which will pose significant difficulties in Ireland, and are increasingly likely to come about because the EU is intent on imposing the backstop rather than dealing with the issues in the trade talks where they belong.

    EOTW

    Well, lets not forget that Ireland’s funny money GDP is completely divorced from their GNP, so they’re not doing quite as well as those figures suggest. Of course the single market is great though if you turn yourself in to a tax haven and steal all the revenues which ought to be supporting the other countries’ public sectors. Not the ideal model of solidarity and friendly cooperation though.

  21. Just to add some more information on Brexit and Ireland here is a link to the publication of the mapping exercise which identified a 142 areas in which north south co-operation would be affected by Brexit.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/20/northern-ireland-brexit-impact-study-finally-released

    Of course, one of the underlying issues is that the British right wing have never really been reconciled to the Belfast Agreement and would be very happy to see it undermined. One tactic to do so is to focus on and belittle the issue of cross-border trade, another is to belittle the Republic of Ireland as an independent state linked to another tactic of saying it as being “used” by the EU. There is also an underlying racism to the irish; Johnson’s question as Foreign Secretary as to why Varadkar couldn’t be called Murphy “like the rest of them” is an example

  22. @garj – that’s right. The backstop is so illegal under the GFA (indeed, if it were, Brexiters could just accept it and then go to court to have it squashed) and so terribly undemocratic, Johnson voted for it!

    Oh dear.

    @WB61 – accepted. Personally, I has always thought this was first stated in the 1985 Anglo Irish agreement, but I saw an Irish source listing it as in 1993, which was clearly wrong.

    @JiB – “It may be daft to you, that is what would happen.”

    highly unlikely. After all, it didn’t happen in 2016. Indeed, the exact opposite happened, and rates were cut, not raised, for the specific reason that increasing rates wouldn’t have had any effect in imported inflation.

  23. @Turk – “Every time Mr Tusk speaks for the EU it’s to say no to what seems on the surface to be a reasonable request for more flexibility over the backstop.”

    It may be seen like this by some voters.

    Others will ask why Johnson doesn’t outline now what his alternatives would be, and draw conclusions from there.

  24. [email protected]: “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.

    Well. going big on consent, you are forgetting something important. Brexit does not have democratic consent in NI. As verified by the 2016 referendum. You might argue that because the referendum was passed in the UK as a whole, then the result is valid for NI. But that would be to completely mis-apply consent from the GFA – essentially brexit is being put on NI against the principle of consent within NI.

    The backstop is the means of getting buy in from Nationalists to brexit. If you are not prepared to see a backstop, then the principle of consent means no brexit for NI.

    It really is as simple as that. It is brexit without a backstop which is undemocratic.

    As an aside, there is of course an option of a sea border, which polling shows would get 98% support from Nationalist voters [https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/brexit-poll-saying-majority-backs-irish-sea-border-rejected-by-dup-38414210.html refers]

  25. Alec
    “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?”

    What do you mean by ‘the right wing’? The Conservative Party? BNP? Newspaper proprietors? Someone else? I’m sure there are some people with those views, but are you thinking of a particular group or groups?

    ” It’s far easier for NI to leave the UK than for Ireland to join”

    I wasn’t suggesting that they join the UK, just leave the EU.
    ———————
    Hireton
    Thanks for the correction, though I see the highest value of imports comes from the UK.

  26. @GARJ

    “the EU is intent on imposing the backstop”

    Eh? The backstop was part of the WA negotiated between CON PM Teresa May and the EU. It failed to get past Parliament because the opposition opposed it (mainly because of wanting a closer deal) and her own party opposed it because it wasn’t hard enough.

  27. @PETE B

    Bl!mey Pete are you being naïve or just pretending to be?

    Surely you agree that CON and their supporting newspapers do want to ” undermine regulation, get rid or neuter state run organisations, and campaign to cut spending on things like local authorities in favour of tax cuts for richer people?”

    It’s in their manifesto at every election!

  28. @ Pete B

    “I see the highest value of imports comes from the UK”

    Surely that should worry the UK more than ROI?

  29. ALEC

    Oh dear indeed. How Johnson voted is not germane, I already pointed out that the man is a self-serving hypocrite. You’re not even trying to address the very obvious issues with the backstop, because you can’t.

    TCO

    As an aside, there is of course an option of a sea border, which polling shows would get 98% support from Nationalist voters

    Well of course it does. Anything which is overwhelmingly supported by one side of the divide in NI, but rejected by the other, is almost certainly going to be against the principles and spirit of the GFA which calls for negotiated compromises. The point of consent is not just in the form of consent from a majority, which is certainly required for any change to NI’s status as part of the UK, but also consent from both unionists and nationalists. That’s the point of power sharing, that solutions need to be found which are acceptable to both identities in NI. Brexit certainly throws up challenges, but the backstop is a one-sided approach which only takes account of the interests of nationalists.

    TOBYEBERT

    Eh? The backstop was part of the WA negotiated between CON PM Teresa May and the EU.

    Oh come on now, this is the same silly game that ALEC tries to play; the argument that every letter and full stop of the WA is sacrosanct because it was agreed to by our dismal failure of a former PM. You may have noticed that her attempts ended in failure and her party defenestrated her. It’s not an actual argument, just an attempt to deflect.

  30. “TURK
    It appears that the EU is playing into Johnson hands .
    Every time Mr Tusk speaks for the EU it’s to say no to what seems on the surface to be a reasonable request for more flexibility over the backstop.”

    More flexibility in which way FFS?

    Johnson has suggested NO alternatives.

    It is like a family member refusing to go on holiday if it is to be Disneyland, USA but refusing to say WHERE they are prepared to go instead.

    It is actually excruciatingly embarrassing for those of us without blinkers on.

  31. Legoland in Denmark is quite nice Paul

  32. GARJ

    If you haven’t looked at them already, I do suggest you look at the numbers in the LucidTalk poll here. The times would appear to be a-changin´ fairly consistently.

  33. I’m not that interested in who said what in the past or who are the bad guys and who are the good guys, just in what’s likely to happen now.

    And I see the prospect of the EU giving up on the backstop that they negociated with TM as an intrinsic part of the withdrawal agreement, as being vanishingly unlikely at this stage.

    Does anyone actually believe they’re going to?

  34. @Paul II seem to have been joined a game of quibble without knowing the rules. As for your kind words, to quibble a tad they are probably not unrelated to my coming from the same part of the political spectrum as your dogs but thanks all the same.

  35. Patrick only to agree something that would involve the whole of the UK which would be an anathema to the current Tory party.

  36. Alec/Hireton

    We may be obsessed with the minutiae of the Irish backstop but I wonder how much the voting public actually care.
    I suspect the majority of leavers and those bored to death with the brexit debate will think that if a hard boarder is imposed those responsible for it will be based in the EU and Southern Ireland rather than Westminster.

    We spend far to much time on these pages thinking of brexit as party political debate left v right and certainly that’s how politicians wish us to think of it, but whether that’s true of the public’s view of brexit remains to be seen.

  37. TobyEbert
    “Bl!mey Pete are you being naïve or just pretending to be?
    Surely you agree that CON and their supporting newspapers do want to ” undermine regulation, get rid or neuter state run organisations, and campaign to cut spending on things like local authorities in favour of tax cuts for richer people?”
    It’s in their manifesto at every election!”

    I suppose it all depends where you’re looking from. I must be one of ‘the right wing’ though I rarely vote Conservative and read the Guardian more often than the Telegraph because its free. But the quote above could be restated as “reduce bureaucracy, make state run organisations more efficient by allowing private competition, and campaign to cut council waste and allow all taxpayers to keep more of their money”

    I could just as easily say that ‘the left’ want to undermine British institutions, nationalise everything, and campaign for higher taxes. (And indeed I often do!) :)

  38. @Garj – knockabout aside, I really do suggest you might want to take a step back and think about the WA and the GFA again.

    I can accept that there are issues and difficulties with the backstop. It is a pretty novel arrangement, and to some, very uncomfortable, but it’s there because of the GFA and the fact that the island of Ireland is pretty unique. The new argument that the WA is inconsistent with the GFA is typical of the shifting arguments of Brexiters.

    Lets be clear here as well. We aren’t actually talking about the WA, but rather the Joint Report (this is where the article 49 that Johnson refers to in his letter comes from). That states –

    “….The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”

    I think you have to agree that the entire UK staying aligned with the SM and CU is not, and never was, remotely incompatible with the GFA. If it was, then we’ve been breaking it since 1998.

    Quite simply, you’ve been completely fooled by Johnson’s letter, where he is l!ying. There isn’t a more suitable word to use I’m afraid. Read the letter again, and double check that he is talking about this clause 49 from the Joint Report.

    Other points you really do need to consider are the facts that:

    – The DUP backed the Joint report
    – Johnson backed the Joint Report
    – The Joint Report was signed off by the UK Attorney General, and the legal representatives of the EU and the 27 other member states
    – Johnson congratulated the PM on a successful negotiation
    – David Trimble launched a legal challenge to the backstop which was struck out by the courts
    – If you want to talk about consent, you need to revisit the referendum result in NI first.

    If the backstop really was incompatible with the GFA, then you can be pretty sure that the legal people would have spotted this at the time of drafting, and the courts would already have ruled on this.

    I can understand reluctance to support the backstop, and I can also accept some criticism of the EU for digging in on this point (although I can also see why they are doing so).

    But what I can’t accept – and neither should you – is this l!e that the backstop is inconsistent with the GFA. You are being right royally led by the nose on this one, and a simple reading of the PM’s letter and the Joint Report article 49 will confirm this.

    You are parroting a l!e.

  39. Jimjam

    Yup, if the government changed, all sorts of things become possible. Don’t see that happening though either, certainly not before November.

  40. [email protected]: “As an aside, there is of course an option of a sea border, which polling shows would get 98% support from Nationalist voters”

    Well of course it does. Anything which is overwhelmingly supported by one side of the divide in NI, but rejected by the other, is almost certainly going to be against the principles and spirit of the GFA which calls for negotiated compromises. The point of consent is not just in the form of consent from a majority, which is certainly required for any change to NI’s status as part of the UK, but also consent from both unionists and nationalists. That’s the point of power sharing, that solutions need to be found which are acceptable to both identities in NI. Brexit certainly throws up challenges, but the backstop is a one-sided approach which only takes account of the interests of nationalists.

    Complete the following sentence:

    Ireland is the anvil and brexit is the hammer with which ….

    ‘cos the best I got was:

    …. the DUP and the tories are trying to flatten their own heads.

  41. @CIM

    Neither of [the possible PMs] seem particularly likely, so the legislative routes might work better

    I had thought that the legislative route would be the easiest but looking at the BBC website on the hurdles of a) getting this legislation off the ground and then b) making it stick given the number of opportunities for Johnson and Cummings to scupper it, made me feel that this was not possible. Robin Butler when interviewed on the BBC reinforced this opinion.

    The point of the legislative route is that it makes it easier for Tory rebels who only have to vote against their government once and don’t need to bring it down. If one is to have a VONC instead, it has to be as close to a legislative route as possible i.e. it would be an advantage if it could have a conservative leader, a clear focus on specific legislation and a clearly limited life.

    In my view this means that it is probably led by Ken Clarke or similar and has a mandate to seek an extension from the EU. I suspect that the EU would only grant this for a purpose that would clearly bring things to a head and an end.

    I suspect that a referendum would be a better plan for doing this than a general election as a) the lib dems are likely to demand it as a sine qua non b) it does not force the conservatives to vote for an election that might see them decimated and c) it would allow the Brexit supporters a chance to get their way. In these circumstances there might be enough principled Tory remainers or supporters of May deal to come over in some numbers and provide each other with cover.

    Personally I would like a general election but I don’t think we are going to get one. That being the case Tory remain MPs have to stand up and be counted, Labour MPs have to make this as easy as possible for them and the Libdems have to avoid getting in the way.

  42. @GARJ

    “The dangers you are highlighting are the dangers of no deal, which will pose significant difficulties in Ireland, and are increasingly likely to come about because the EU is intent on imposing the backstop rather than dealing with the issues in the trade talks where they belong.”

    Not quite the full story. The dangers arise also with a hard Brexit. It is not quite accurate either to say that the EU is intent on imposing the backstop. The EU has followed the lead taken by Ireland. Contrary to UK hopes and expectations, having briefed against Ireland, the EU has not put pressure on Ireland to change.

    “Trade talks where they belong”. Sez you.

    No account taken of NI opinion. By a majority (65%) people in NI expressed the view that they wish to stay in the CU and SM.

    Why won’t the UK change its position and make NI a special case?

    Since you are so sure of your position why do you think business groups in NI, political parties minus DUP, civil servants are not just pointing out how easy this is?

    Why would David Sterling write the letter he did? Why would the legal experts commissioned by NI fail to mention the trusted trader ideas you suggest?

    https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/economy/Report-Irish-Land-Border-Existing-Potential-Customs-Facilitations-No-Deal-Scenario.pdf

    Why does the freight community describe a trusted trader scheme as “disingenuous”?

    https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Trusted-traders-%E2%80%98no-panacea%E2%80%99-for-Brexit-border-challenges/71860.htm

    “Claims by senior UK government ministers that trusted trader schemes such as the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) initiative can solve the problems of the Irish border and wider UK-EU border issues after Brexit are “disingenuous”, senior freight forwarding industry representatives say.”

  43. Garj – 4.29 p.m.

    @Tobyebert
    Eh? The backstop was part of the WA negotiated between CON PM Teresa May and the EU.

    Oh come on now, this is the same silly game that ALEC tries to play; the argument that every letter and full stop of the WA is sacrosanct because it was agreed to by our dismal failure of a former PM. You may have noticed that her attempts ended in failure and her party defenestrated her. It’s not an actual argument, just an attempt to deflect.
    ——–
    The problem you are (inadvertently perhaps) highlighting is not that the EU is being unhelpful (to put it gently) but that no-one will trust any UK Prime Minister or Trade Minister in any future negotiations because there is no guarantee that parliament will accept the outcome of trade talks.

    The EU entered into the negotiations in total good faith. Of course, negotiations are, by their very nature, a game of bluff and counterbluff, of trying to get one up on the other side; but that in no way negates the good faith demonstrated by both sides in entering the negotiations and agreeing to their outcome.

    It is the UK which has reneged on its commitment. Who will trust it in the future?

  44. ALEC

    I’ve always argued that the backstop goes against the GFA, as have the unionists to my knowledge (though they’re hardly the sort of people I want to be in the same camp as). I do think that May, Johnson, and the rest of Tories and UK negotiating team were very naive not to see what the EU was trying to sign them up to with paragraph 49. Be that as it may, the interpretation of that paragraph, in the form of the backstop, has been the sticking point ever since. Keeping the UK as a whole in the single market and customs union isn’t inconsistent with the GFA, of course not, but then nor is the UK leaving the CU and SM. The potential for straining the GFA occurs when you start to impose barriers to trade, in either direction. If the aim were to uphold the spirit of the agreement then the way to resolve the issue is through negotiations between the involved parties, principally the nationalists and unionists, with the UK and Eire respecting their duty to remain neutral (neither side is doing well at this presently), and the EU involved at the peripheries. That order has been reversed, with the EU taking centre stage, Ireland utilising its relationship with Europe to force its preferred solution, and the parties in NI sidelined completely.

    I would expect the outcome of such negotiations if they ever could take place to be some sort of hybrid, and to have much in common with the backstop, but also to recognise the need to minimise new barriers arising between the UK and NI just as much as the need to minimise new barriers between NI and Eire. The point is that the GFA has become a political tool and been used to pit one side in NI against the other, which is a complete abuse of its intended purpose.

  45. Here is the Unite union’s take on the effect of No Deal on Northern Ireland. It is headed “No Deal No Way” so you can guess what they think.

    It covers specific examples of large food processing businesses, haulage, the NHS and Airbus.

    https://unitetheunion.org/media/2519/884x_nodealnoway_brief_ni_1digital.pdf

  46. With the proviso that I don’t have a bleeding clue about what is going to happen in the end, and everyone is getting their underwear in such a twist they might accidentally end up with precisely what they don’t want by default. Nobody is playing their hand well here, but I think all the talk of elections and referendums and parliamentary revolution is so much hot air.

    Firstly, I believe Corbyn doesn’t actually want the election he is demanding, leading the Libs, whatever the changing lot are called at the moment and various so-called independents who have been expelled by their parties into rejecting him as a caretaker PM has given Labour the ideal get-out for holding a VOC, he only has to fail to call for one for a couple of weeks once Parliament returns and it’s all down to Johnson to take the storm when it arrives. They would probably even get away with abstaining were the tories themselves to call a vote for a GE after this point, and could simply say that Johnson has made his bed and must lay on it.

    I see no reason why anyone should think it reasonable for Corbyn to step aside in favour of some unelected “moderate”, there would be no coming back from even a temporary handover. He’s the leader of the opposition, therefore the only realistic choice as alternative to Johnson.

    My hunch is that Johnson will somehow manage to pass the May deal, backstop and all, and try to stay in office for as long as it takes to ride out the flak from his own side. He’ll blame remainers, Farage’s lot will kick off but eventually calm down as Brexit happens. He’ll blunder along being an ineffectual caretaker PM unable to pass any legislation until he loses enough MPs for Labour under McDonnell or Starmer to overthrow him in a VOC and the result will be decided by whatever’s going on at the time.

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