A very quick update on voting intention polls over the last few weeks. As usual August is a relatively quiet period – opinion pollsters have holidays too. The fact that we have a new Prime Minister hasn’t made much change to that. In August so far we’ve had five voting intention polls:

BMG/Independent (Dates TBC) – CON 31%, LAB 25%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN ?
ComRes/Telegraph (11th Aug) – CON 31%, LAB 27%, LDEM 16%, BREX 16%, GRN 4% (tabs)
Survation (11th Aug) – CON 28%, LAB 24%, LDEM 21%, BREX 15%, GRN 3% (tabs)
Opinium/Observer (9th Aug) – CON 31%, LAB 28%, LDEM 13%, BREX 16%, GRN 5% (tabs)
YouGov/Times (6th Aug) – CON 31%, LAB 22%, LDEM 21%, BREX 14%, GRN 7% (tabs)

Note that the BMG tables aren’t up yet, hence I don’t know the level of support for the Greens or their fieldwork dates. These polls continue to show the boost in Conservative party support following Boris Johnson’s accession filtering though. It is the first “Post-Johnson” poll for BMG and Survation, and they show the Conservatives up by 3 and 5 points respectively. We’re now at a point where the most recent polls from all the regular polling companies show the Conservatives back ahead, though the size of their lead differs given the variation in figures between pollsters.

Normally I would be speculating about how long the government’s honeymoon boost would last. It’s not really the case here given how many political events are going to be crammed into the next few months. Events will likely preempt its natural unwinding: whatever diplomatic negotiations or stand offs occur between the government and the EU (starting with the G7 meeting this week), whatever Parliamentary moves there may be against the government or against No Deal, the party conferences, whatever preparations or announcements there may be on No Deal and, of course, the actual outcome at the end of October. The current levels of party support seem rather irrelevant in the face of that – the Conservatives are probably happy to have a lead at the moment, but there are ten weeks ahead of us that are packed with events that can throw everything up in the air.


1,511 Responses to “Voting Intention Update”

1 25 26 27 28 29 31
  1. hireton: The ITV senior political correspondent is reporting that “senior” officials in No10 (presumably Cummings) is considering the option of not sending any Act passed by Parliament to prevent No Deal for Royal Assent.

    Looks to me like they are gagging for that VoNC

  2. Good result for the Lib Dems in Shetland, I think, given that they were facing serious opposition from a political party, as opposed to an Independent.

    HM will be pleased that her Privy Purse now bulges a bit more with an extra £3,500 from the lost deposits.

  3. HIRETON

    @”Kirkup misunderstands the role of the Speaker. ”

    I think you miss his central point.

    When Bercow ignored the counsel of the then Clerk to The House in allowing amendments to a business motion-thus revising generations of procedure, he responded to critics with the words:-
    ” If we were guided only by precedent manifestly nothing in our procedures would ever change. Things do change”.

    Kirkup merely asks the question-” How many of those who condemn Brexiteers flouting democratic convention ,….. hope he will now take up arms against the Johnson Government?”

    The Speaker himself has become a part of the “Cage Fight” which, Kirkup suggests , MPs have made of this Parliament.

    We will see this played out again next week.

    I am reminded more & more as the days go by of the closing words in Jonathan Sumption’s 2019 Reeth Lecture ( Law and the Decline of Politics) :-

    “” Prophets are usually wrong, but one thing I will prophesy; we will not recognise the end of democracy when it comes, if it does. Advanced democracies are not overthrown, there are no tanks on the street, no sudden catastrophes, no brash dictators or braying mobs, instead, their institutions are imperceptibly drained of everything that once made them democratic. The labels will still be there, but they will no longer describe the contents, the facade will still stand, but there will be nothing behind it, the rhetoric of democracy will be unchanged, but it will be meaningless – and the fault will be ours. “

  4. Re not sending an anti No Deal Act for Royal Assent, it would seem that this might breach the constitutional requirements condition in Article 50.

  5. Alec,

    Your observation that the prorogation dates are exactly the maximum period allowed by the recent Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 is very important. The Act requires reports on 4 September and 9 October to be debated in the following five days. Since 9+5=14, the 14th October is the last day Parliament must sit according to the Act.

    The observation confirms that the purpose of prorogation is to remove the maximum amount of Parliamentary time as permitted by law.

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/22/contents/enacted/data.htm

  6. @Colin

    Has an advanced democracy ever been overthrown? Or to put the question another way, what is the oldest democracy to be overthrown (Not including invasion)?

  7. EOTW

    Lord Sumption suggests not-which is the whole thrust of his argument.

    The institutional structure remains, but procedure & precedent wither & become debased.

    Eloquently expressed in his final paragraph in that Lecture.

  8. Prof Howard,
    “The most Machiavellian UK government ever?”

    For a long time English history was domiated by a struggle for the commons to achieve supremacy in government of britain. Once the monarch was beaten and made subordinate to the commons, then the ministers of the crown became the agents of the commons exercising power on its behalf.

    But since that time much of that historic struggle has gone into reverse, and powers have been granted back to the crown, to be used by those ministers. So now what we see is perhaps what should not be surprising, which is a power grab by the ministers against parliament. Its the same old tussel which proves tooo tempting for the executive, once it is granted powers to rule by decree.

    We have moved one further step along the path to dictatorship, where the executive sees the opportunity to dispense with parliament. Whether they might do that, who can say. But we have taken the first step in that direction. Its a historic move by Britain away from democracy.

  9. TO

    “Re not sending an anti No Deal Act for Royal Assent, it would seem that this might breach the constitutional requirements condition in Article 50.”

    As I understand, the ECJ would not want to entertain a case which required them to comprehend the labyrinthine opacity of the UK Constitution.

    However, if the UK Supreme Court made such a ruling, the ECJ would accept that as definitive, should anyone refer the matter, of the legality of the UK leaving the EU, to them.

    Any lawyers around to let me know if my understanding is flawed?

  10. The Shetland bye-election gave a good illustration of the Tory support in Northern Scotland meantime.

    Their candidate got 4% of the votes, and this was only a tiny reduction on the previous result in the full election.

    I wonder if the total vote for Leave-supporting parties and candidates was less than 10%. I reckon Leave support at only about 10% holds across much of northern Scotland, and underlines how totally divided the UK is due to the farRight fanatics now attempting to seize power.

    You can hardly call Shetlanders fanatics, just hard-working, caring citizens aware that the present Tories will have no compunction against forgetting their needs.

  11. @Colin

    Thanks, you made me reread your earlier post and it is very eloquently put.

    I suspect we are on the pathway Lord Sumption suggests and that the USA is further along the same pathway.

    It makes we despair.

  12. @technicolouroctober

    For A50 the “constitutional requirements” bit applies to the notification in section 1, not the treaties ceasing to apply in paragraph 3. The UK courts might be able to find that we shouldn’t have left with no deal and that the government was acting in breach of the law when we did – but by then it would be too late.

  13. Colin,
    “I am reminded more & more as the days go by of the closing words in Jonathan Sumption’s 2019 Reeth Lecture ”

    Sumption was intervied recently on R4 about some issue I forget now but relating to the current disputes. He was pessimistic about the chances of success of whatever it was, but then seemed to contradict himself by saying that under the Uk constitution, the crown is subordinate to the commons. Not to the PM, but to the commons.

    If this is the fundamental position, then the PM is constitutionll wrong to advise the queen to take an action against the will of the commons, and she is constitutionally wrong to accept that advice.

    Reiterating my oft made comments, the conservative government since the referendum has taken no action which has made brexit more likely, and all sorts which have made it less likely. This would include confronting parliament, when the constitutional position would seem to be that BJ is in the wrong. For the PM to act unconstitutionally in enabling Brexit, would be to break the legal requirements for giving notice to the EU to leave. Similarly the government sought to fault the procedure before miller came along.

    But mostly, by taking false steps they lay themselves open to be stopped. Which they have done consistently.

  14. Stephen Barclay, DExEU Secretary of State, said yesterday talks need to start immediately about how to keep the motor industry’s cross channel supply lines working in the event of a no deal:

    https://twitter.com/SteveBarclay/status/1166765868891725825?s=19

    I thiugnht the UK Government was fully prepared for no deal?

  15. On reflection I’m thinking that all this is a set up, in that it’s all part of Johnson’s plan to bludgeon the EU into giving way on the terms. He still believes the ‘They Need Us’ doctrine, despite his predecessor’s lack of success in that area. It’s a sort of version of shouting louder at Johnny Foreigner.
    Trouble is that in doing all this he is playing fast and loose with Parliament and the constitution and once the cat is out of the bag etc…..
    Then there’s the real risk of No Deal actually happening because we’ll be so near the cliff edge. Not a fine example of careing for the Country.

  16. CIM,
    “For A50 the “constitutional requirements” bit applies to the notification in section 1, not the treaties ceasing to apply in paragraph 3.”

    But it is the notification to leave, extension of leaving deadline or revocation of notice which is in play at this moment.

  17. Davwel

    It’s probably inaccurate to characterise the Shetland vote in Remain/Leave terms (no matter how much that issue dominates the further south in the UK one travels.

    The 3rd placed candidate (10.9%) supported “Leave with a deal”, but his votes were probably much more to do with his stance on Shetland’s transport links. I don’t know about the other 3 independents (1.95%) nor the SLab candidate (1.29%), but Brexit seems unlikely to have been a factor in their votes.

    How many of the Tory’s votes (3.59%) were cast for the Davidson “anti No Deal” position or the Cummings one (or in total ignorance of both!) is also unclear.

    That 0.51% voted UKIP is undeniable, as is that the two strongly Remain parties got 80.2% between them. Even then, not all SNP and LD voters support their party’s stance on the EU.

  18. @ STEAMDRIVENANDY

    “On reflection I’m thinking that all this is a set up”

    My thoughts all along. BoJo wants, IMO rightly, to force the HoC into the decision to extend Article 50 again and then call an immediate election if he loses next week, an election he will win handsomely. This will all have been played out well in advance, a lot of Remainers have made a big mistake in allowing themselves to think he’s all bluster. He proved as Mayor of London he could put his thoughts into action.

    We need to get this sorted once and for all. Kicking the can down the road isn’t the answer because politicians know what they don’t want in a Brexit WA but can’t reach a majority consensus on what they do want. This applies to both Leavers and Remainers

  19. Scottish judge Lord Doherty, who said he was not satisfied there was a “cogent need” for an interdict refuses to halt parliament suspension plans.

  20. @eotw @colin

    I’m not sure that it applies here. If anything the relative centrism of Major, Blair and Cameron perhaps seems more like the gradual reduction of democracy by keeping the processes but lessening their meaning as the visible effects of changes in government become smaller, and election turnout reduces.

    Conversely whatever ones opinions on Trump, Johnson, Farage, Corbyn, Sturgeon, etc. they can hardly be described as centrists. They have a political agenda, it’s not the status quo, and people have a clear choice to vote for or against them and have that vote achieve something. Election turnout recently has been rising again, probably as a result. Polling trackers on “they’re all the same” questions certainly saw a substantial drop in agreement when Corbyn was elected Labour leader.

    Likewise the Brexit referendum itself – a clear decision between two different directions. High turnout, high interest in the result, exactly the sort of thing democracy should be about. (Unlike, say, the AV referendum which was not especially interesting even to the supporters of change)

    If the establishment stagnates and becomes a facade of democracy, the lack of excitement in “vote Beige for five more years of the same” allows more radical alternatives to take a chance and shake things up again.

    There is certainly a risk that a democracy will elect someone so anti-democratic that they dismantle the structures of democracy so that they can’t possibly lose future elections – but that’s a separate risk and a rapid transition rather than a gradual one over several changes of leadership. That’s the risk which strong and established democratic structures can defend against by giving people cover not to go along with it.

  21. Bantams

    Though the interim interdict has been refused, the full hearing has been brought forward from Friday to Tuesday as “it was in the interest of justice, and in the public interest, that the case proceeds sooner rather than later”.

    That seems a reasonable compromise between what were (in my very inexpert opinion!) 2 well argued cases.

    It seems likely that judgment will be delivered prior to the earliest date of prorogation on 9 September.

  22. Support for Labour amongst students almost halves: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/labour-support-students-brexit-corbyn-lib-dems-green-party-vote-a9084001.html

    YouthSight aren’t BPC members, so I would be a bit cautious about taking their poll at face value, but it is another straw suggesting that Labour’s position on Brexit has damaged their support in a demographic which should be one of their strongest.

  23. BANTAMS

    Note that the hearing has been brought forward to next Tuesday.

  24. Lord Doherty has brought the case forward to Tuesday next week as “it was in the interest of justice, and in the public interest, that the case proceeds sooner rather than later.”

  25. While NI is a separate legal jurisdiction, I wouldn’t be surprised if their Lord Chief Justice notes Lord Doherty’s opinion when he decides on a similar case being raised in the courts there today.

  26. The prorogation hearing in E&W is scheduled for next Thursday, so good to see proceedings taking place in all three UK jurisdictions.

  27. @Danny

    Notification to leave: we already gave that in line with constitutional requirements. That’s done.

    Request for extension: nothing obliges the EU27 to accept a request even if we make it, so if we do make a request after we’ve already left, they’ll just reject it.

    Revocation: likewise the UK courts could rule in November that to meet the various legal and constitutional requirements hypothetically put in place before then a revocation should have been issued as the only way to meet the letter of the various laws. However, it’s not likely that decision would have effect outside of the UK – we would already have left, and the CJEU ruling was that we couldn’t revoke after we left.

    More practical would be for the Remain side to seek a declaration from the courts that the government can’t *not* submit a bill passed by both houses for Royal Assent (or issue a mandatory order that requires it to do so). But that would be done before we left, not after.

    Similarly if there was already before Oct 31st ongoing legal action over the constitutionality of leaving within the UK, it might be possible for the courts to mandate the government to request an extension for the purpose of resolving the legal challenge – while the EU wouldn’t be obliged to accept that request, it probably would.

  28. BREAKING The prime minister Boris Johnson has been urged to provide an affidavit — a sworn statement on oath — about why he is suspending parliament. Joanna Cherry of the SNP, who is pursuing the case, tells me the Court of Session could, if the judge wishes, compel him to do so. (James Cook – BBC Scotland)

  29. @Colin

    That’s an interesting quotation from Sumption’s recent Reeth Lecture and I listened to him on Newsnight the other day when he was commenting on the likelihood of success for the various legal challenges that are now being made to Johnson’s recent proroguing of Parliament. He wasn’t optimistic on the grounds that the decision to prorogue in our largely unwritten constitution is an entirely political one and the courts will therefore struggle to adjudicate on its legality. It might be a bad political act, but that doesn’t make it illegal. I suspect that the courts will soon conclude that political judgements are for politicians and not for them. In essence, that’s probably a right call too. The politicians need to sort this one out.

    However, Sumption’s point about the way democracy can disappear by osmosis rather than by seismic one-off events, death by a thousand cuts if you like, is a pertinent and powerful one. A recent Michael Moore film about Trumpism led me to the work of Bertram Gross, and particularly to a book he wrote way back in 1980 called “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America”. Gross is an American social scientist and professor of political science at Hunter College and, in the book, discusses how monopoly capitalism and big business can lead to a type of “benign fascism eventually” where, as Sumption says, amongst other manifestations, “our institutions are imperceptibly drained of everything that once made them democratic”. What’s happening to Parliament now, and maybe what has already happened to our electoral system, could well be two such examples of Sumption’s baleful prognosis. I’d add what’s happened to our mainstream media to that list too. Maybe also the hollowing out of local government. Worryingly, this is all happening in plain sight.

    As is his wont, Michael Moore applied Gross’s hypothesis to what he feels is going on in Trump’s US today in rather more melodramatic language, but the basic point he makes is the same. “The next wave of fascists will not come with cattle cars and concentration camps, but they’ll come with a smiley face and maybe a TV show. That’s how the 21st-century fascists will essentially take over”.

    I’m also left with the thought of what our various establishment mouthpieces, and crikey, aren’t there loads of those, would say if a Corbyn Government was doing half of this. Especially PM Corbyn who’d been installed without a General Election and on the votes of 90,000 Labour members.

    Latter-day Lord Lucans would be calling for the military to put tanks on the streets, wouldn’t they??

    :-)

  30. DANNY
    “the brexiteers seem perfectly happy to put the queen in a position where she is forced to take sides.

    Parliament can go around the government and submit bills directly to the monarch. Who would then have to choose whether to acccept the will of parliament. Constitutionally, I suggest she would have no choice but to ignore the advice of the PM in favour of the advice of parliament. Similarly, a humble address passed by parliament directed at the queen to cancel prorogation would again oblige her to side with parliament.”

    I think you grossly overestimate the flexibility the monarch has in our system.

    Sure, by defintion, having the monarch as the formal cipher for a poltically controversial decision places the monarch as formal cipher on “the side” of that decsion. But the way the monarch in the person of the individual is kept above of that poltical controversy is by obliging the person of the individual to act as the mere cipher. To follow precedent without demur. As the Queen always has.

    You’re living in a fantasy world if you think there is the remotest possibility of this Queen would decline to follow that rule.

    Just as those who were suggesting until Tuesday she might conceievably refuse a prorogation always were.

    There is an irony that the biggest champion on this board of the supposed absolute unfettered sovereignty of Parliament (an outdated Whig history simplification even of the position in England in any event, and never true of Scotland) wants HM the Queen to ride into the fray to rescue a Parliament that has so far failed to do anything.

  31. [email protected]: “Re not sending an anti No Deal Act for Royal Assent, it would seem that this might breach the constitutional requirements condition in Article 50.”

    As I understand, the ECJ would not want to entertain a case which required them to comprehend the labyrinthine opacity of the UK Constitution.

    However, if the UK Supreme Court made such a ruling, the ECJ would accept that as definitive, should anyone refer the matter, of the legality of the UK leaving the EU, to them.

    Any lawyers around to let me know if my understanding is flawed?

    I think you may be right. I am only pointing out a stone to be thrown, not suggesting how that stone is thrown

    [email protected]: For A50 the “constitutional requirements” bit applies to the notification in section 1, not the treaties ceasing to apply in paragraph 3. The UK courts might be able to find that we shouldn’t have left with no deal and that the government was acting in breach of the law when we did – but by then it would be too late.

    Section 2 deals with notification. Section 1 deals with the decision to leave and contains the constitutional requirements condition. I would agree that we would be way past Halloween by the time this was sorted.

  32. Peter W

    Agreed about the “outdated Whig history simplification”.

    Re your wider point – the most interesting aspect of the Court of Session case is its basis in Scots constitutional law, and whether unrepealed pre-Union legislation can still govern the UK Government in what is still legally a “Union”!

    Procedural points about today’s ruling from Lord Doherty –

    1. Doherty proposed Tue or Wed for the hearing, if the parties were ready to proceed. Petitioners ready to go on Tue, but Respondents’ Counsel unsure (presumably to ask for guidance from their client. Doherty decided on Tuesday.

    2. On the affidavit question, Respondent’s Counsel – “My silence on the issue of an affidavit from the PM should not be taken as consent to such an affidavit”.

    Somewhat reminiscent of the Nixon cases on Watergate, where the President’s counsel frequently had to go back to Nixon to be told what to do and say.

    Too many comments from me this morning! so off to do something more interesting instead. :-)

  33. CIM,
    “Likewise the Brexit referendum itself – a clear decision between two different directions. High turnout, high interest in the result, exactly the sort of thing democracy should be about. ”

    But it really isnt. Its only 1/3 of the electorate voting for something. Then, the electorate doesnt include those eligible but not registered, and it also left out many brits abroad. To such an extent that the supreme court ruled it could not be a binding election because of the people left out.

    Rather, the result was a fixup because of the process. If 2 people out of 50 million had voted to leave and 1 to remain, you would be claiming a huge majority to leave. An extreme example, but I hope you take the point. Maybe only 1/4 of those who might be considered eligible actually actively supported leaving.

    3/4 expect the country to be governed sensibly in their interest even though they dont bother voting. These people cannot simply be ignored as you seek to do, because if you do thats when actual on the streets revolutions happen.

  34. [email protected] W: Re your wider point – the most interesting aspect of the Court of Session case is its basis in Scots constitutional law, and whether unrepealed pre-Union legislation can still govern the UK Government in what is still legally a “Union”!

    OK, so prorogation not valid in Scotland and perhaps NI. But valid in England.

    SNP face DUP in Parliament. Lords is prorogued as it does not have explicitly NI or Scotland representation. So Lady Herman appointed Speaker. Possible to appoint Blackford as PM and some ministers. Not possible to do primary legislation. But possible to do a Section 30 order and a border poll …

    Before anyone says this is daft, is it any more daft than what as been happening of late?

  35. Peterw,
    ” …To follow precedent without demur. As the Queen always has.

    You’re living in a fantasy world if you think there is the remotest possibility of this Queen would decline to follow that rule….”

    if that is the case, then the monarch should not exist at all. The powers should be plainly and directly vested in the PM. If anyone sees a problem with that, so that they should be vested in someone else, then that other person has to have freedom to accept or refuse to act.

    The argument for the existence of the monarchy is often that it is someone acting as ringmaster who could veto the politicians. But that is just nonsense if the monarch never does so. Then the monarch has failed and is wholly redundant.

  36. Has the BBC’s Mr Cook gone back to Scotland?

  37. ON @ 10.13 am

    Thanks for telling me about the Shetland independent candidate who won 10% of the vote yesterday.

    I therefore had a look at what he was saying to the Shetland voters – I was very impressed by clear English, logical argument, compelling points:

    https://www.shetnews.co.uk/2019/07/29/election-2019-ryan-thomson/

    “”My manifesto revolves heavily, but not exclusively, around transport, which given our geography, is such a key issue for so many, including our aquaculture, seafood, and agriculture industries.

    NorthLink
    I’ve been very vocal on the need for change on our lifeline ferry route from Lerwick to Aberdeen. Folk need to get on and off the isles at an affordable price, and Industries need to get their goods in and out quickly and affordably.
    You shouldn’t have to be well off to be able to afford to use what is a lifeline service. For me and my family to go south this summer would have cost £561.76. This is simply not acceptable, nor sustainable.

    If elected as MSP, I will push for a resolution to the crippling cabin costs faced by islanders. A resolution to the capacity issues, particularly at bottleneck periods. A resolution to freight capacity issues, and push for 7pm sailings every night from Lerwick.””

    That is a taste, and his position on Brexit was against No-deal, but willing for a compromise deal.

    The big point for me was the cost of taking his family south from Shetland just down to Aberdeen – £561. Meanwhile across the UK people complain about rail fares. And in Aberdeen (wait for it) many people, mostly SNP, are raging at having to pay just £30 a year to have their garden waste regularly uplifted.

  38. @SDA

    On reflection I’m thinking that all this is a set up, in that it’s all part of Johnson’s plan to bludgeon the EU into giving way on the terms. He still believes the ‘They Need Us’ doctrine, despite his predecessor’s lack of success in that area. It’s a sort of version of shouting louder at Johnny Foreigner.

    IMHO Johnson genuinely believes that a last minute deal will happen and the EU will cave or at least give him a fig leaf to get the deal through parliament. I hope he knows something we don’t because I have seen no evidence to think this gamble will work. As the fig leaf will have to be very big to cover up all the inadequacies that Leavers perceive and have highlighted vociferously in the current WA.

  39. @OldNat: ‘the most interesting aspect of the Court of Session case is its basis in Scots constitutional law, and whether unrepealed pre-Union legislation can still govern the UK Government in what is still legally a “Union”!’

    Well – one could, at a pinch, argue that the Claim of Right, along with a handful of other Acts of the Old Scottish Parliament, was incorporated into English Law by section 2 of the Union with Scotland Act 1706. It would be clearer, one way or the other, if eighteenth-century draftspeople had known about commas.

  40. LL – That Labour have lost significant support among the pro-remain part of the population since the GE is not in question.

    What is unclear is to what extent this is recoverable in Tory/Lab marginals at the next GE which if soon would see Lab pretty much a remain party.

  41. @Danny

    The last time the Monarch vetoed a bill passed by Parliament was Queen Anne (the Scottish Militia Bill, 1708). From the Wikipedia article on it:

    “Royal assent to bills and governments generally came to be viewed as a mere formality once both Houses of Parliament had successfully read a bill three times, or a general election had taken place.”

    So we can see this limitation of the power of the Monarch as a natural stage in the transfer of power from the Monarch to Parliament, just as in the 20th Century there was a transfer of power from the House of Lords to the House of Commons through the Parliament Acts.

    At least the continued existence of the Monarchy avoids the risk of an executive Head of State (like Trump) who can rule even if opposed by a majority of the legislature. Our experience with elected mayors should give us pause in going down the route of putting too much executive power in the hands of one person. IMO Boris should have been forced to undergo a vote of confidence in his administration as soon as he took over as Prime Minister.

  42. @leftieliberal

    As a *very* rough proxy for the “student vote” [1] we can compare the age crossbreaks on other polls. “Halved” seems about right in terms of current polling.

    YouGov immediately post-GE in 2017, for 18-25:
    Lab: 73
    LD: 7
    Grn: 2
    SNP/PC: 2
    (subtotal 84)
    Con: 15
    UKIP: 1
    (subtotal 16)

    YouGov latest poll, same crossbreak
    Lab: 40
    LD: 20
    Grn: 18
    SNP: 5
    PC: 3
    (subtotal 86)
    Con: 9
    Brex: 3
    UKIP: 2
    (subtotal 14)

    And for comparison, just before the intent to have a 2017 GE was announced:
    Lab: 38
    LD: 14
    Grn: 7
    SNP/PC: 3
    (subtotal 62)
    Con: 32
    UKIP: 7
    (subtotal 39)
    Polling in 2015 was similar.

    So, very roughly, it looks like there’s been a fair bit of shuffling around of VI among the centre and left parties since 2017, but the general leftwards move compared with before 2017 has stuck.

    [1] One interesting point I’ve seen is that a snap election in October or November would be shortly after the start of term, and the logistics of either getting students to register to vote in time shortly after moving to university, or getting them a postal vote to vote in their home constituencies, would be very tricky in that short a timescale. That could potentially affect the result in close student-heavy seats (as Canterbury was in 2017)

  43. COLIN CROSSBATII

    I haven’t heard Sumption’s Reith lectures and know little about his views but I have a genuine question.

    If our democracy is being debased and is in decline then, at some point, it must have been purer. When exactly was the pinnacle for our democracy institutions – how many years ago?

  44. @PeterW

    “wants HM the Queen to ride into the fray to rescue a Parliament that has so far failed to do anything”

    Forget individuals for a second and appreciate that generations of Brits have been raised on the idea that our democracy is extra specially nice because the monarch, while never getting involved, oversees from afar that it is not being misused.

    So when some see it getting misused, it’s no surprise that some want the monarch to ‘step in’ and tell everyone to sort things out etc.

    Like it or not, the monarchy is going to have less supporters after this. “A rather expensive tourist attraction”, I think someone described it as earlier.

    Given that she’s not immortal, that Brexit might put more than a few tourists off, and the question “What is a monarchy good for?” raises its head, I imagine Charles, if not Elizabeth will face a less than happy period in the next few years.

    Perceptions and all that. Perceptions of the monarch, the UK as a people, Westminster, perhaps the legal system too. All for the sake of a political party’s internal issues. All for the hubris of a man/party with an overall majority.

  45. danny: The argument for the existence of the monarchy is often that it is someone acting as ringmaster who could veto the politicians. But that is just nonsense if the monarch never does so. Then the monarch has failed and is wholly redundant.
    Absolutely. If we had a President who would have stopped Johnson, you could get rid of him at some point if he failed to stop this.

    I think now we need to get rid of the monarchy precisely because you can’t get rid of them.

  46. @Prof Howard

    Apparently so.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook_(broadcaster)

    “He became Chief News Correspondent for the BBC Scotland programme on the opening of the channel in February 2019.”

  47. @Davywel

    Perhaps Shetlanders should look at their own “Norway Deal”.

    If I recall correctly, the islands were handed over by Norway as collateral for a royal wedding dowry which didn’t get paid. If they now settle the debt, they get the islands back…if arcane law and practice are still respected.

    Fanciful, perhaps, but what prompted the thought is that the Norwegian attitude to public investment, use of oil revenue, support of remote areas and fishing communities and, above all, financing of ferry links, seems far closer aligned to Shetland requirements than anything the UK or Scottish governments would contemplate.

    If I were a Shetlander I think I’d be tempted to say to the remote cities of Edinburgh and London, “a plague on both your houses.” Some sort of relationship akin to that between Denmark and Greenland might do the trick (with cast iron constitutional guarantees of no sale to Trump!)

  48. Despite my anger at HM The Queen not calling for a full meeting of the Privy Council which she could lawfully have asked for to hear their advice in addition to the recommendation of the PM, on reflection I now regret my out of character republican outburst. Rather than overthrowing the Constitutional Monarchy a simple change to Royal Prerogative would suffice to restore parliamentary democracy. Namely that HM The Queen uses her Prerogative on the advice of The Speaker as the voice of The Commons rather than that of the Executive in the shape of the PM. This would be a non-partisan way of preventing these sort of shenanigans by either side. The Bundestag works in this way visa vis The President and the Bundestag – The German Chancellor does not have these powers that are open to abuse in the manner in which a British PM can use them in a partisan advantageous way.

  49. @Danny

    Certainly very approximately 1/3 voted for one outcome, very approximately 1/3 (but slightly fewer) voted for another, and very approximately 1/3 didn’t vote (the vast majority through choice rather than inability).

    But if democratic decisions required 50% of the total – as opposed to voting – electorate to be in favour to be considered valid, we would probably require Australian-style compulsory voting to get any valid votes at all. A lack of valid votes through repeated failure to meet the thresholds would give more practical power to the undemocratic as they would still have to do *something* in the absence of democratic guidance.

    If 2 had voted to leave and 1 to remain, then I would have been claiming – as I did with the AV referendum – that the issue was therefore not one of any particular interest to the public (and therefore implicitly not a suitable subject for a referendum in the first place). Lacking any public interest in the result one way or the other, the government could justifiably have done what it liked based on a result like that.

    You’re quite right that a government which ignores the actual majority wishes of its country risks revolution – that was basically the point I was making about radicals being able to sweep away centrism if the centrism lost touch with where it was going, and therefore quietly lost the support of the public without anyone actually realising it – but provided that the country retains a democratic framework in which people *could* vote if things went against them, this will generally happen through that framework, rather than by a revolution against it.

    If Johnson’s actions become highly and immediately unpopular with the majority of the public – as many possible outcomes of the next two months would be! – then the pressure on MPs to bring him down will increase, the government will collapse and the subsequent GE will probably replace him. All through democratic rather than revolutionary means, however. A lot of the point of democracy is to formalise the process of revolution sufficiently that hardly anyone dies as an immediate result of the handover of power … in exchange for this, the public agrees to defer its revolutions to a more predictable schedule.

  50. SDA
    “That’s 84% anti proroguing and 16% For No Deal. Surely no government can seriously go ahead with that sort of co-relation?”

    The problem with that is that the petitions are not elections, or even opinion polls. I am a strong believer in Leave, but wouldn’t sign a petition unless I could see that the government was going to try to renege on the October 31st promise. I suspect many others are in that position. A petition is a vehicle of protest. While the government is doing what I want there is nothing to protest about.
    ——————
    EOTW
    “what is the oldest democracy to be overthrown”

    Roman Republic? (Relying on an ageing memory)
    ———————
    Wasn’t Shetland one of the very few areas to vote against the EEC in the seventies? I think it was on the grounds that they didn’t even like being ruled from Edinburgh.
    ————————–
    CiM
    Wise words at 10:26.

1 25 26 27 28 29 31