Last week I wrote about the unusual YouGov poll showing a four point Conservative lead and said I personally thought it was more likely to be statistical noise than the first sign of the Conservatives opening up a lead in voting intention.

However, at the weekend we also had a new poll from Opinium that had topline figures of CON 42%(+2), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1). Fieldwork was Tues-Thursday and changes were from mid-January (tabs). This morning’s Independent reported partial figures from a new BMG poll that apparently had Labour and Conservative equal on 40% each – this would be an increase of three points in the level of Tory support since the last BMG poll in December.

The government have done little to endear themselves to the public in the last few weeks, nor have Labour done much to lose support. There is no obvious reason for movement in the polls, so I’m still a little sceptical (in themselves the changes are within the margin of error, and it’s perfectly possible for random chance to spit out a couple of polls that just happen to show movement in the same direction). Nevertheless, it’s possible we’re seeing some movement in the government’s direction. If we are, what should we make of it?

This far from the next timetabled general election voting intention polls have very little predictive value, all the more so when we have a known unknown as large as Brexit looming ahead of us and at least a fair chance of a change of Conservative leader before the next election. However for better or worse, mid-term voting intention is the barometer that we tend to use to measure how well the government and opposition are doing against each other, and that is reflected in the morale of the political parties and media perceptions of how well or badly they are doing. If it turns out to be genuine it may bolster Theresa May’s position a little, and may put Labour on the back foot, but we shall see.


536 Responses to “Latest Opinium & BMG polls”

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  1. @ HIRETON (last thread) – UK’s neglected voice: services.

    Intra-EU: the slow and far from finished liberalisation of services (versus THE CU with its protectionist CET barrier)

    New trade deals: CETA, no expansion of services, simply status quo.

    Best for Brussels want to keep us in THE CU and within the control of EU’s trade deals as it works for them not Britain.

  2. Ahead of Boris’s speech here is a great article from back in Mar’16

    Liberal case for Leave:
    https://www.adamsmith.org/the-liberal-case-for-leave/

    Good write-up about why UK joined EEC (1970s), why in hindsight it was a bad idea (for UK), the importance of Marrakesh agreement and the birth of WTO (1995), the fallacy of UK shredding “good” regulations (set by global bodies, etc), etc.

    “This Brexit vision is therefore a global, outward-looking and ambitiously positive one. It eschews the inward-looking outlook of both the Remain lobby and the shouty anti-immigration lobby.”

    Hopefully Boris can cut+paste much of this line of thought and then make it his own with a few trade mark bizarre words and phrases.

  3. @ HIRETON – UK’s neglected voice: Juncker appointment.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/27/david-cameron-loses-jean-claude-juncker-vote-eu

    Although Juncker was “democratically!?!” nominated and then “democratically!?!?” elected by EP the UK’s representative didn’t vote for him and the UK electorate have no ability to vote him (or his heirs) out of office if we don’t like the path they are taking us down.

    If EU want to become a federal state then good luck to them, we finally got the chance to vote to Leave and we are now leaving. 25+yrs too late possibly but that is only with the benefit of hindsight.

  4. @Trevor Warne – “…inward-looking outlook of both the Remain lobby…”

    Quite a ridiculous thing for the ASI to state. Absolutely barking.

    On your thought on services, perhaps it is worth noing at this point that the Single Market is I understand, the only trade deal in the world that includes an element of services.

    We’re looking to switch from a completely free trade agreement in goods with the biggest trade block in the world, along with a significantly improved services deal for that same huge market, for a series of trade deals that will be hard to negotiate and limited to goods only, while losing elements of free access to the world’s largest trading block.

    It doesn’t quite sound so good when you give a more honest description of what we’re being asked to do.

  5. As with pretty much everything Boris has ever said or done in politics, today’s speech sounds like another meaningless bit of dishonest posturing.

    It wuld have been easier to believe had the case for Brexit been made pre referendum on the back of demands for better regultaion, higher labour and environmental standards, fairer distribution of resources, more protection for consumers etc.

    Now why wasn’t Boris saying that back then?

  6. Ah… I had thought I had bookmarked UKPR but have accidentally stumbled across the Trevor Warne blog instead!

  7. @Trevor Warne – Fully agree about Junckers.

    So much so, that I think the residents of County Durham should be able to get rid of Theresa May. Never voted for her. Never will. Can’t get rid of her. Dreadful example of democracy in action.

  8. Pete B,
    “I get that, but both parties seem to be sending contradictory messages – e.g. Hammond/Boris, Corbyn/various. Are you saying that it’s a deliberate strategy to confuse the public? I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just not sure they’re that clever. I think personal ambition is behind most of the confusing statements.”

    This is a little detective game we play here. Analysis of some inadequate data and trying to find either a definitive solution which can be reliably deduced from that data, or some trend which is within the margins of error so might be real.

    In the recent election both the social policies of labour and their remainish stance were pushing in the same direction for most of their voters (and indeed MPs). Maybe the right wing inclined who however are remain stuck with the libs. Perhaps those who really are serious leavers despite being left inclined on policies went tory. But on the whole labour in particular had a harmonious ticket.

    For the tories, life is a bit more confused. The fact that the conservatives lead both sides of the referendum shows the passion with which the matter is held inside the party. Yet it also suited them, because it was guaranteed they would lead a victorious campaign. Boris Johnson always appeared equivocal on which side he supports. He was tipped at one point to lead remain. After his victory he looked horrified, and it did his career no good. The game plan seems likely to have been to lose honourably and tuck away solid right wing support within the party. Gove was so horrified when he discovered what Boris really thought that he nerved himself to stand for leader so there might be a real leave supporter in the race. Personal ambition rather than conviction? Certainly evidence of strategy, Boris the party man and Gove the one of conviction.

    And then the mess of the result. The wrong result. Worse, virtually a draw so there is no body of public support for either course of action. A policy disaster. It doesnt matter whether you think leaving is good or not, if it doesnt have public support then it is strategically a bad policy. Turning the governance of the UK and its economy upside down only to upset half the population with no likelihood ofpolitical or economic gain at the end of it.

    Although tories in the main like Brexit (good), the opposition dislike it, some with a burning passion (bad). British politics is about two teams with broadly similar aims who differ on detail, whatever they claim. Being divided by an issue where the public feels so strongly on both sides breaks the mould, threatens to upturn the cosy hegemony on power of the top two parties. It created UKIP, it still has potential to turn the libs from a geriatric back into a bounding interloper, in the way labour supplanted them 100 years ago. But it might be the tories who are displaced into 3rd place this time. The threat to them which the referendum was intended to defuse was a pincer movement of UKIP from the right and libs from the centre.

    Maybe tories always understood the referendum was a risky strategy, but believed the only way to defuse the situation way to give voters what they wanted and trust that unfolding events would swing the public behind a new path. Ukip is looking a bit wan, that worked. But the public remains divided. There is no clear winner yet who the tories can get behind. They will get behind whichever course the public backs, and the public will eventually back the side which boosts voters self interest. But still there is no proof which that is. What we do have is a massive progaganda campaign.

    Trouble with propaganda is, its propaganda. The parties might be able to persuade the public to get on board either leave or remain, but the public will not stay on board if things go badly, and will blame the party which led them if it goes badly. Normally parties are happy to tell as many porkies as needed, secure in the knowledge outcomes will never be tested against promises. But this is so big it will.

    Not quite your question. Yes, they are more than clever enough, or some are. Personal ambition always matters, the aim might be to get 300+ MPs, but there is always the question of which one will lead. In this case though there is strong conviction about the EU both for and against thrown into the mix.

    If you think tories are pro leave, just look at Ken Clarke. Arch remainer. Serenely happy to go along with policy. Doing his bit to ensure remain by not rocking the boat, and waiting his turn on stage. Just like Mogg.

  9. There is some Cake about:

    https://twitter.com/piris_jc/status/963026794935963648

    “Ms May to make « big offers» while these wishes will actually be wishes she has no means to realise:that U.K. continues after Brexit to continue benefiting from arrest warrant and Europol as if it was still an EU member. Impossible. See Denmark for Europol!

    4:27 AM – 12 Feb 2018 from Ukkel, België”

  10. “This is part of a good number of other illusions that, while the U.K. will become a third country vis à vis the EU she could continue to benefit from the advantages of an EU member states: buy a cake, eat it, keep it and keep the money!

    2 replies 30 retweets 65 likes
    Reply 2 Retweet 30 Like 65

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    Impossible while you are not member of institutions and not bound by EU Court of justice

    1 reply 11 retweets 53 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet 11 Like 53

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    Illusions again for U.K. to remain a « rules maker » and not become a « rule taker » while she will have to follow rules and standards adopted by EU institutions in order to export to EU member states

    1 reply 19 retweets 66 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet 19 Like 66

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    Illusions again to agree a trade agreement with EU with significant provisions on services and in any case a EU banking passport. FTA not on services. Only EEA includes them (« Norway model »)

    2 replies 11 retweets 55 likes
    Reply 2 Retweet 11 Like 55

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    Illusions that the U.K. could conclude an FTA with USA before Brexit. USA is the only important trade partner for U.K., but far behind EU and countries linked to EU. USA to be tough and want to know links U.K./eu before negotiate

    1 reply 12 retweets 56 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet 12 Like 56

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    Illusions that the Irish border issue could be solved without being in customs union and in single market at least for Northern Ireland

    1 reply 15 retweets 61 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet 15 Like 61

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    Illusions to have a transition period which is vital for the U.K. economy without accepting Full Monty all rules and respecting them as requested logically by the EU

    1 reply 14 retweets 52 likes
    Reply 1 Retweet 14 Like 52

    JC Piris
    ?
    @piris_jc
    20h20 hours ago
    More
    All illusions to be abandoned very quickly to avoid cliff edge this is necessary and urgent to sign article 50 deal containing transition period in October or November in order for both U.K. and EU Parliaments to have meaningful vote on results

    0 replies 22 retweets 72 likes
    Reply Retweet 22 Like 72”

  11. @Trevor Warne

    Something I’ve always wondered about (and perhaps you’d care to enlighten me) is why Leavers get so emotional and het up about the idea that European Commissioners are ‘unelected’ and ‘undemocratic’.

    You do know that ECs are basically the European Parliament equivalent of Cabinet ministers, don’t you?

    Yet, you don’t seem to object about the fact that the only person who picks Cabinet members is the PM… Are you not equally angry that you didn’t get to vote to decide the Home Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Education minister? Was that not ‘undemocratic’?

    Ironically, a EC is nominated in the first instance by member states, the President can only pick candidates from the shortlist suggested by members. Of course, there is no such rule in place forcing a PM to only pick cabinet members shortlisted by Party members / voters… Sort of makes the EU seem more democratic, by comparison, doesn’t it?

    It’s funny, but it almost seems as if the average Leaver who screams about the ‘undemocratic ECs’ doesn’t actually understand a) what an EC actually is b) how similar processes work within their own country and c) even what democracy truly is, and instead is just thoughtlessly mouthing options that they have heard and read espoused by other Leavers and the Daily Heil….

    Couldn’t be that though, surely?

  12. *opinions, not options

    #damnyouautocorrect

  13. That Cabinet members are to make speeches about something that may be about Brexit or not suggests that no agreement on the framework for Brexit can be agreed. Given that there is no agreed position, what will emerge from Mrs May’s speech is likely to be unacceptable to the EU. Mrs May will not do anything to imperil her own position as PM.

    What will happen when the EU rejects what is proposed in the May speech? Nothing – more stasis?

  14. Bigfatron,
    R4 recently had a program which talked about drones in the animal world (obvious example ants and bees), and stated flatly there are no human drones. I thought this an obvious mistake. The mother’s biology is capable of overriding the develoment of the child into a functional male or female and produce drones. Presumably the evolutinary pressure to do this is that a drone boosts overall survival by working towards the survival of the family group, rather than branching out to form their own family. These drones might not be sexually inactive as per the bees, but in practice they have been inhibited from having their own offspring. Though in a ‘survivors washed up on a desert island’ scenario, they still could. Brilliant evolution.

  15. @Sam – there is a frequent misconception among Brexiters that the SM doesn’t include services. It does, in part, which is why we have banking passporting, among other things. That is something that isn’t legally permissible for third countries in EU law, which is why the leavers original case that we would get a special deal for the city was so logically flaky and was dropped by HMG at forst contact in the negotiations.

    As @Enigma points out in another sphere of the EU organisation, amongst leavers there is a simplicity of understanding that too often drifts into the downright ignorant. Too often they simply don’t know what they are dealing with, making so many of their promises nothing more than idle dreams.

  16. @ DANNY
    “And then the mess of the result. The wrong result. Worse, virtually a draw so there is no body of public support for either course of action. ”

    There was no ambiguity about the result. A win in % terms, and if you look at the result regionally;

    1. East Midlands
    2. East of England
    3. Greater London
    4. North East England
    5. North West England
    6. Northern Ireland
    7. Scotland
    8. South East England
    9. South West England
    10. Wales
    11. West Midlands
    12. Yorkshire and the Humber

    A very CLEAR landslide where 75% of regions / constituent countries supported LEAVE.

    Not many ifs and buts there in my view?

  17. CMJ

    @”Quite frankly I think that 99.99% of women know nothing about Labour’s all-women shortlists and related issues, nor do I think it has any salience whatsoever in the real world outside the world of political geeks.”

    It isn’t a question about 99.9% of women-it is a question about the 28% & 21% who , respectively , expressed Labour & DK VI in the last YouGov Poll.

    And the question is-do Left supporting women with a strong feminist inclination feel unease about Labour’s support for gender self ID .

    Does JC’s support for the idea that becoming a woman, by signing a few forms, offends their belief that womanhood is based on biology, socialisation and experience that only those born to it can know; & if the law dictates that a man can attain womanhood
    by form filling, womanhood becomes empty and women lose any standing in society.

    If you are a politically interested Left leaning woman , you will be aware of Labour policy & you will have a reaction to changes.

    The question is what reaction to this issue?

  18. Helen Evan’s revelations about her time at Oxfam are damning.

    They ask searching questions about the Charities Commission & DfID as well.

    This sector-reliant on the donations & taxes of the public- is not being adequately supervised .

  19. @Jonesinbangor – if you really think that a result that only talks 19 people in every thousand to switch sides to change is a landslide, then you are simply being delusional.

    It’s actually worse than that. A very tight result has led some leavers to support a very hard version of Brexit, which even the majority of their own voters didn’t support, according to polls.

    Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and so far, British voters haven’t agreed anything.

  20. Jonesinbangor,
    “There was no ambiguity about the result.”

    I am sorry to demur, but there was. British politics normally makes decisions by a majority of 1, but this only works where people accept such an arbitrary choice. Brexit is an example of major change where it cannot work unless there is a consensus to go forward. Another famous example was the Thatcher era poll tax. They certainly had the technical majority to put it through, but inadequate popular support. It significantly contributed to Thatcher’s and torie’s demise, in the end, and a similar outcome is predictable now.

    Colin,
    “the question is-do Left supporting women with a strong feminist inclination feel unease about Labour’s support for gender self ID .”

    So what about the left supporting women without a particular feminist inclination? Probably the majority?

  21. @ ALEC – ??

    Swiss-China trade deal includes services.
    https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/china/en/home/representations/embassy-in-beijing/embassy-tasks/economic-and-commercial-section/china-switzerland-free-trade-agreement.html

    NAFTA chapter 12 is all about services:
    http://www.sice.oas.org/Trade/NAFTA/chap-12.asp

    In general though services are conducted at a global level (as they should be). Progress has been slow but not zero.

    Regarding democracy – I’m very much in favour of moving democracy closer to the electorate. Easiest to start with the devolved nations but I’d like to go further. We should only ‘pool’ what makes sense to pool and then only to the level at which is makes sense (e.g. NATO makes sense at the level it is, Swiss Canton system for most stuff below that).

    Of course CON are control freaks and that is one of the reasons my VI for them is due mostly to Brexit (although with McDonnell as potential CoE I’d also be ABL).

  22. So let me get this right, as a man I could don a dress, some frilly knickers and a wig and plenty of polyfiller on my face, say that I identify as a woman now and be able to stand as a candidate on an all woman short list? Even though my Adam’s apple would still be bobbing up and down?
    It’s a total insult to real women.

  23. @trevorwarne

    Thanks for confirming that you can’t point to real examples of the UK voice being neglected in trade deals.

  24. @Alec

    “Quite a ridiculous thing for the ASI to state. Absolutely barking. ”

    It’s the ASI, Alec. ‘Ridiculous’ and ‘absolutely barking’ are a standard Tuesday for them.

    The first question anyone should ever ask when the ASI hoves into view is ‘who funds you, exactly?’

  25. Very difficult to see how UKIP come back from their latest difficulty.

  26. @ ALEC
    “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and so far, British voters haven’t agreed anything.”

    I think you are very mistaken. The British voters decided / agreed to leave in a referendum, and there will be no second bite at that cherry. Keep thinking otherwise if you want to, but there is no way Tories nor Labour want something as damaging as EU Ref 2. Sequels are usually a let down, and this ain’t Star Wars.

    It is now merely a case of our politicians achieving and enacting their chosen will at the best possible terms. I do wish Tories and Labour would work more closely on that, and I personally would settle for EFTA, but I’m not a Tory and I’m not an MP!

  27. @trevorwarne

    “Although Juncker was “democratically!?!” nominated and then “democratically!?!?” elected by EP the UK’s representative didn’t vote for him and the UK electorate have no ability to vote him (or his heirs) out of office if we don’t like the path they are taking us down.”

    So much misunderstanding of reality – to put it generously – in one small sentence as to how the EU works. Debate and discussion with you really is futile.

  28. @enigma

    Actually Commissioners are more a hybrid of Minister and civil servant. Real power still lies in the Council of Ministers.

  29. SAM

    Some EU cake there too, I think. There are 12 (yes, 12) non-EU countries which Europol cooperates with, so right from the get-go that colours the whole series of tweets as being less than impartial. We have, anyway, the largest intelligence service in Europe. It is in their interest to have us still signed up to these bodies too. It is all a matter of whether there is the will on both sides to achieve it.

    The NI border issue has been discussed at length, but it is fundamentally an issue for Ireland and the UK to come to an agreement over, and if we manage to do so then the EU will have to put up with it.

    It’s a bit rich to make claims about upholding EU law and the ECJ during transition, when the EU has demanded the ability to bypass the courts. Maintaining the status quo would mean the UK keeping its seat at the table until the end of the transition period. Both sides are pushing things here.

    There are some legitimate points there, but all in all it looks like a political broadcast from the BINO Party.

  30. Danny
    Drones in a honey bee colony are sexually functioning males. Their sole function appears to be to mate with virgin queens, this is done on the wing and will generally be with queens from other colonies so ensuring genetic diversity/avoiding inbreeding.
    They do no work, they do not forage nor do they do the housework in a hive, they eat what the workers (females) bring in. There are certainly men who fit this description, wasn’t Bertie Wooster a member of the Drones Club?
    I missed the beginning of this conversation and have no idea what it is doing on UKPR, something it has in common with a few other posts! Site is generally better for it.

  31. If there are issues with Labour and women atm I think the Haringey bullying allegations will have made more impact than the GRA, AWS issue.

    (Acronyms esp for Crofty).

  32. Jonesinbangor

    As to constituency/region level referendum results, this one is interesting (although probably Remain leaning, but using data).

    https://medium.com/@jakeybob/brexit-maps-d70caab7315e

  33. @Alec/Sam

    Re: SM in services.

    I think people underestimate how difficult this is to achieve in practice. Take the example of lawyers: you can’t just wave a wand and allow, say, Greek lawyers to practise in Portugal. To function effectively, they need first to master Portuguese, and then Portuguese law and practice.

    So progress has to be incremental: you might first try to agree some standardisation of simple law (property transactions, for example) across the EU, then a standardised qualification in that area. You might even try to introduce an online, AI-friendly process. But it would be fiendishly slow and complex work.

    Much of the low-hanging services fruit has already been picked. Look at airlines: Ryanair and Easyjet owe their phenomenal success entirely to the SM in services. Newer arrival Norwegian has also benefited, but has to base its intr

  34. I might be remembering wrong , but when one of the Leave guys (Fox, I think) made much of the lack of UK specific protections in the CETA the EU commissioner responsible pointed out that this was because, despite repeated requests including on direct to the minister, the UK didn’t bother to submit a list of requested protected products…

    We have been so utterly inept in our management of UK-EU relations since 2010 it is almost unbelievable.

  35. Ah, premature posting. To continue:

    Newer arrival Norwegian has also benefited, but has to conduct its intra-EU operations via an Ireland-based company.

    So significant progress has already been made. Further progress will be made, but much of it will be slow, grinding work. The prospect for the UK is of exclusion from what has already been achieved, and from any influence on the shape of what is about to be achieved.

    For a country so dependent on trade in services, that is not a happy prospect.

    Or do the TWs of this world think that Easyjet will be carrying out internal flights in the USA, China and Brazil any time soon?

  36. Remainers should see their GP (or CON-Leave MP) for a cure to Stockholm Syndrome ;)

    Two minutes on google wouldn’t go amiss either ;)

  37. Quite frankly I am not at the least bit interested in opinion polls at the moment. The big issue for the public is Brexit but every single time few people know what is happening with it. What is a Customs Union, Single market, bespoke agreement etc leaves the majority of people stumped at what they actually are. I think opinion polls should only be noted after Brexit. Anything else health, gender, Haringey etc are only minor issues for the moment.
    Also last time the Conservatives were 20% ahead – well we all know what happened then. At this stage I think it is just Don Quixote looking for windmills.

  38. Anyway: Polling. VIS2 7 on Opinium poll (extension on earlier post)

    Trust most on EU and Brexit. % with DK removed (loyalty v VI). Hardest to Softest

    UKIP 14 (82%)
    CON 39 (78%)
    LAB 19 (53%)
    LDEM/Green/NAT 14 (av. 60%)
    None 14 (na)

    UKIP score 8% or so above their VI, which comes roughly 3-1 from CON v LAB (ie reverse of 2017 to 2015 GEs)
    CON is about their VI and high ‘loyalty’ (they lose a little to UKIP and None but pick up a little from LAB, LDEM)
    LAB is way below VI (ordering the lose it’s DK, none, LDEM, UKIP/CON)

    Is DK the ‘gateway drug’ to abstain/LDEM for LAB-Remain? Cognitive consistency and ongoing Brexit uncertainty with LAB ambiguity is holding LAB VI up for now?

  39. JJ

    TVM

    YVK

    LFC

  40. ALEC

    Good post @8.37 am.

  41. Most Remain-favouring politicians I have heard say: “I respect the referendum”
    Their best way to respect the referendum is to accept that we are leaving and shut up. Then we might get news media discussing whether government policy is adequate to achieve a good deal, rather than strings of people whose Remain views are well-known given more space to promote them than those who definitely want to leave.

  42. C
    FFS

  43. @Trevor Warne – yes, the Sino-Swiss deal does cover services, you’re right.

    But then it had to – there’s only so much chocolate the Chinese can eat and after a while cuckoo clocks get a bit boring.

    The deal is interesting for Brexiters. Even with a small economy like Switzerland, the deal took seven years from commencement of negotiations to taking effect, and that was after a decade of talks. The global mega deal between China and Iceland took even longer. It’s as if some people think we’ll just go and sign great deals overnight.

    Those who want to leave the largest free trade area in the world might also want to have a read of this https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/04/boris-and-the-brexiteers-are-talking-nonsense-about-britains-trade-policies/

    It’s from the right wing Spectator, but it isn’t too complementary about the prospects. The bit about the US/Australia deal not adding new trade but just shuffling it around are timely reminders –

    “….the UK government and other free-traders have for decades argued against bilateral trade agreements…… They rather wanted the attention for trade liberalisation to be directed to the World Trade Organisation and deals involving all economies, not just two. After all, many bilateral trade agreements aren’t worth the value of the paper they are written on because, just like the Australia-U.S. deal, they reshuffle trade rather than create more of it……

    “Boris and his co-campaigners are in for a hard confrontation with reality if they think stand-alone Britain could sign better free trade agreements. No doubt it could negotiate a trade deal with India, but what exactly is the evidence or logic behind the notion that India would offer the UK better market access than what the EU got? Stand-alone Britain has so much less to offer India in return for better access and, in bilateral trade agreements, reciprocal exchange of trade benefits is everything. Like Iceland and Switzerland, post-Brexit UK could do a trade agreement with China, but do Brexiteers really want to copy these agreements? Have they even read them?

    Iceland’s trade agreement with China is hardly an example because its dominant ambition was to get better openness for its $61 million exports of fish. It couldn’t offer China much in new exports to Iceland, but it had another currency to pay for its small gains: supporting China’s frenetic campaign to get a seat at the table of the new Great Game in the Arctic. The Swiss trade deal with China has largely been inconsequential for bilateral trade. Swiss export growth to China after the deal has been weaker than, for instance, UK export growth to China. And don’t be surprised about that outcome. Switzerland doesn’t have the economic power to open up China’s protected sectors. Nor does Britain.”

    Hmmm…

  44. @ LASZLO – thank you for the link. Map5 looks a lot like Map1 with a different colour scheme. The article seems to lean to the idea that low turnout is an issue in referendums and this is the “37%” argument. 72.2% was a pretty good turnout but for sure a lot less than 100%.

    Maybe if we get a new ref then should we change the “rules”?

    Should 50%+1 of entire electorate be the hurdle?
    Let’s say we get 80% turnout, then Remain/Rejoin would need to win 62.5% of the vote.

    The tragedy for UK democracy is that we’ve destroyed the use of referendums as a tool for democratic voice – neither party is going to want to go that route again unless they absolutely have to. Remain and Leave were both awful in the campaigning and both main parties were nearly torn apart and are still divided – as is the nation (something McDonnell made clear at weekend regarding his desire for a new ref)

    I’m happy for a 50%+1 on the “old rules” but only once we know the terms (even LDEM admit that) and then only assuming the HoC “meaningful vote” reaches gridlock and kicks the terms back to electorate.

    Once we’ve left should we ensure the threshold for referendums is higher? 50%+1 of entire electorate if we want to trigger A49 and rejoin?

  45. Crofty, I think?

    Ta very much
    your very kind

    But LFC?

  46. GARJ

    As usual, and as you identify, it depends how one looks at these things.

    Europol

    Schengen – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41240643

    NI / Ireland border.

    The UK chose to leave the EU. The UK will/may choose whatever FTA it wishes with the EU. The EU will not permit any arrangement that affects the integrity of the SM. Also, the UK will not, even with temporary arrangements, have better arrangements outside the EU than it would have had inside. Bargaining power determines the outcomes within those limitations. If the UK chooses a hard Brexit there will be a hard border between NI and Ireland and it really does not matter who gets the blame.

    Transitional deal. This will be determined by bargaining power.

  47. Ian Dunt has had a preview of the speech that BoJo will make tomorrow. There are, apparently, allusions to John Stuart Mill and an attempt to bring together the Remain and Leave side I guess it involves Cake – I have not time to read it now ). It is here:
    http://politics.co.uk/blogs/2018/02/13/there-s-nothing-liberal-about-brexit

  48. JIM JAM

    I think that is part of a general picture.

    The feminist backlash against the Trans bandwagon is not just in smoke filled rooms full of activists :-

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/09/debate-over-inclusion-of-trans-women-in-women-only-spaces-intensifies

    It is on social media too in a specifically expressed context of Labour supporting women :-

    https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3147549–LabourLosingWomen

    Labour cannot expect the road to more & more Identity Politics to be free of sectarian strife-some would argue that the former begets the latter.

    This issue is a concern in Labour supporting Female groups. The only question is-how significant for VI. And I agree that bullying should be added to the mix when asking that question.

  49. @ ALEC – ??

    Firstly, your lack of understanding of the Swiss economy is disturbing (chocolate and cuckoo clocks!??)

    I’d be very happy if we take our time on future trade deals and certainly hope we don’t “warm-up” with China or US.

    Knock out some easy singles with old friends and make our own economy “fit for purpose” first.

    I am, however, very worried that as the Brexit clock ticks down then we’ll end up with UFT WTO and not a reciprocal WTO.

    You seem to have a single stereotype for Leave – it is a broad church and the “type” of Brexit we get is v.important. Some red lines can be smudged but everyone will have different priorities and consensus within HMG will be difficult to arrive at. I fear procrastination helps the “Ultras” get the outcome they want (UFT WTO) and EU would probably be OK with that (not as good as BINO – – but they most certainly wouldn’t reciprocate so they keep CET and slow liberalisation of services intact and grab banking, etc if/when Corbyn becomes PM)

    Remain is also a broad church and understanding their fears is important to those that want to try to unite the country and make a success of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us.

    IMHO increasing the spending on NHS is both morally essential and politically important – polling supports that. Getting CON to put taxes up a little is a challenge but the case needs to be made – and it is! Action speaks louder than words and CON-Leave are in the position to take action and “affect the weather”

    Tackling this mis-understanding about trade (goods versus services, current balances, future opportunities, etc) seems to be a much bigger goldmine that I had expected though and I appreciate your “insights” along with the thoughts of other arch-Remain.

    P.S. Fox is SoS for International Trade

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