Archive for the 'BREXIT' Category


New Survation CON voter poll finds that 50% say Brexit should go ahead even if the deal threatened jobs and living standad

Monday, March 19th, 2018

But by 46% to 30% they’d back government if it proposed a second referendum

There’s a new 1,507 sample Survation poll, restricted just to GE2015/GE2017 Conservative voters, which seeks to get their views on Brexit and related issues. Fieldwork took place last week.

It appears that the sample was chosen by getting back to those who had participated in Survation polls ahead of the two previous elections. It was commissioned by a body called Citizens for Britain which is a grass roots organisation of stop Brexit Tories.

I have highlighted here four of the key findings. I assume that the data from the poll will appear on the Survation website in the next day or two.

The big picture from the numbers is that a significant number of CON voters are committed to leaving the EU whatever the consequences.

There is a second referendum question asking how those sampled would view such a move if this is what the government wanted. The phraseology makes it difficult to make comparisons with other second referendum polling.

If you believed that the Brexit deal negotiated by the government threatened jobs and living standards in the UK, which of the following is closest to your view?

Government should reconsider leaving 36%
Government should not reconsider leaving 50%
Don’t know 13%

If your MP believed that the terms the EU had agreed with the UK regarding Brexit were significantly negative for the UK, would you or would you not support them in their decision to oppose the deal in Parliament?

Would support 35%
Would not support 33%
Don’t know 31%

When the UK Government’s negotiations over the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU are complete, if the government were to propose a referendum asking the public if they will accept or reject the deal, to what extent would you support or oppose this?

Support 46%
Oppose 30%
Neither support or oppose 15%
Don’t know 9%

How well or badly do you think the government are doing at negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU?

Well 51%
Badly 40%
Don’t know 9%

Updated with further finding

If your MP believed that the UK being in a modified (new) form of a customs union with the EU, where key aspects of the customs union were retained but the UK would have some autonomy in its ability to make trade deals with other countries, would you or would you not support them in their decision for the UK to be a member of such an arrangement?

Would support 47%
Would not support 24%
Don’t know 29%

Mike Smithson


Oh those Russians, you may have just ended the Labour party as we know it

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Today’s Sunday Times report

Senior Labour MPs appalled by Jeremy Corbyn’s performance over the Salisbury poisoning have been in secret talks with the Liberal Democrats and at least one Conservative MP about forming a new political party called Start Again.

Plans for a new pro-European centre party have been openly discussed as part of cross-party discussions on Brexit, according to sources present.

One of those involved in the plotting — a former member of the shadow cabinet — told The Sunday Times that Corbyn’s refusal to blame Russia for the attack would cause MPs to abandon Labour. “This is a watershed moment,” the MP said. “It has caused a number of people to question why we are in this party.”

Sources say a number of possible names — including the Democrats, Back Together and Regain — have been discussed for a new party to launch after Brexit in the spring of 2019, but Start Again has emerged as the “working title” of the new party

Details of Start Again emerged after reports last week that Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary, recently called Sir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, to complain that he had “jumped the gun” by publicly revealing that Labour MPs might join forces with the Lib Dems.

Pro-remain MPs and peers, including Umunna and Chris Leslie, the former shadow chancellor, and Wirral South MP Alison McGovern meet every Wednesday to discuss tactics.

Others present include Anna Soubry, the Tory MP for Broxtowe, who told the New Statesman magazine in March last year: “If [a new party] could somehow be the voice of a moderate, sensible, forward-thinking, visionary middle way, with open minds — actually things which I’ve believed in all my life — better get on with it.”

I can’t see this happening, Anna Soubry has already denied any involvement.

Additionally the first past the post voting system really does hinder an entrant/emergent party, whilst many the cite the 1 MP UKIP got in 2015 with 12.6% of the vote the better example might be the 23 MPs the Alliance got with 25.4% of the vote with many defector incumbents.

As Simon Danzcuk can attest to, being the incumbent MP counts for very little when you’re up against an official Labour candidate. More and more people will be regretting voting against adopting AV in 2011.

I suspect we’ll see grumbling from Labour MPs but it appears to be all light and no heat but no substance. Corbyn polling 41% in Great Britain at the last election and currently leading the Tories by 7% with the most accurate pollster at the last election makes in my view any defections from Labour unlikely.




More want a softer Brexit, a 2nd referendum or Brexit abandoned completely than back government’s current strategy

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

YouGov’s 4 part question sees a shift over 7 weeks

The above from the latest YouGov poll has not received much attention – what voters now say what they want on Brexit. Clearly this will evolve as thing progress.

All this presents Team TMay with a problem as she tries  head off the growing head of steam led by Rees-Mogg – current favourite to become next PM.

Latest Brexit betting has 58% on the UK still being in the EU after March 29th next year.

Mike Smithson


Another day and Corbyn’s detachment on Brexit from the vast majority of LAB voters seems amazing

Friday, March 9th, 2018


How the EU hierarchy is losing supportive governments

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

One of the less attractive aspects of British Euroscepticism (a keenly-contested category) is the willingness of many supporters to see the imminent collapse of the EU with every electoral development around the continent. Last year, Eurosceptics were salivating at the prospect of Geert Wilders’ party topping the poll in the Dutch election. Thwarted on that front, nearly nine out of ten Leave cats who expressed a preference decided that Marine Le Pen’s election as French president would be best for Britain. But the French electorate stubbornly refused to go off the reservation.

People who should know better (Andrew Neil, I’m looking at you) breathlessly live-tweeted every development in Germany before, during and after the German election on the basis that nation was about to suffer imminent collapse. The Catalan referendum briefly became a Eurosceptic cause – oddly, getting proxy support from some who were horrified at the idea of Scottish independence. And so on.

At the end of it all, the schadenfreude remained corked. Spain is still riven over the question of what to do about Catalonia, but it is a problem whose solution does not look as though it needs to be found this year. The Dutch have a right of centre government, the French have an energetic if hubristic young centrist President, the Germans have a grand coalition for the next few years. There may come a day when France or Germany forsakes their EU friends. But it is not this day. Purgatory has been postponed.

Italy is the latest sensation. The two most Eurosceptic parties have done well in the election, far better than expected, and the composition of the new Parliament is going to make forming a government tricky. But Italy has always had weak government – 67 governments since World War Two and four Prime Ministers in the last five years. You might be forgiven for concluding there’s not that much new about that either.

Yet the EU undoubtedly looks more fragile politically than it did even two years ago. Hungary and Poland are openly promoting an illiberal ideology and Austria has far-rightists in government. Greece continues in subdued hostility. Over it all hangs Brexit.

It is important not to get carried away. Inspired by the Corbynites, I have prepared a table of EU member states as a Eurocrat might regard them all. As with all such tables, the labelling of individual states is open to argument. I’m more interested, however, in the overall picture.

For there are two conclusions I draw in particular, one positive for the EU, one negative. The positive conclusion is that, contrary to the perception of the more belligerent British Eurosceptics, most member states’ governments are still onside. The negative conclusion is that the drift rightwards across the columns in the last few years is undeniable.

The trend is complicated by a general drift towards political fragmentation in many countries across the EU. Hard-right populists like Lega, AfD and the PVV have picked up some support, but this is only part of a wider trend against mainstream parties in countries with proportional representation. In countries with far right and far left parties that are seen as untouchable coalition partners, this means that the remaining parties are dealing without a full deck when seeking to put together stable coalitions. As well as Germany and the Netherlands, this has affected Irish, Belgian, Greek and Swedish politics in recent years. Such governments creak and groan under the strains, making it essential for them to be carefully brokered on all bar flagship policies.

Where does this leave the EU? On the one hand, the Brussels hierarchy can count less on a feeling of inter-government comity than they have for many years. On the other hand, the weakness of many governments is actively of assistance to them – in many countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, a fuzzy pro-EU stance is one of the threads that binds the coalition together, enabling Brussels to rely on a pro-EU approach being the line of least resistance in such countries.

Even as pro-EU forces are weakening within member states, the governments of many of those states are potentially more amenable to following the very pro-EU lead given by France and Germany, and indeed that weakening may have provoked it. The long run risks of following such a course are obvious.

But in the short run, these trends have implications for the Brexit talks. Weak pro-EU governments contending to hold themselves together are not going to pull themselves apart opposing the Brussels line. This means that, within their remit, Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker have an unusual degree of power in the negotiations. So perhaps Leavers who want a constructive deal should start being a bit more pleasant about them. No need pointlessly to alienate those who have taken control, is there?

Alastair Meeks


The ORB Brexit tracker continues to oscillate between free trade and immigration

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018


Punters make it a 58% chance that Britain WON’T leave the EU by March 29 2019

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

This market could get very busy – time to study the rules

One thing about being a betting exchange like Betfair is that it has to stand in the middle between those who want to place bets and those who want to lay them. This means that in complex markets, which most political ones are, the rules have to be watertight to ensure that there are no arguments and disputes later.

I had a period when I was advising Betfair on its political markets and was involved in a lot of drawing up the actual terms on how bets would be settled.

One that came after my timing is the one above in the chart. What actually do we mean by leaving the EU? This is how the firm defines it:

“For the purposes of this market leaving the EU is defined as the date when the treaties of the EU cease to apply to the UK. Examples of when this might occur include, but are not limited, to: the date specified in a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU; the end of the two year negotiating period (29/03/2019) as set out by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (or any extension to this time period); or the date of the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act. If more than one of these events were to occur, this market will be settled on the first of these events to occur. In the case of the two year time period in Article 50 being extended, via a unanimous vote by all EU Member States, we will settle this market on the extended date. This market will settle when the UK leaves the EU even if parts of the UK (e.g. Scotland, Northern Ireland) leave the UK or receive special status within the EU.”

My reading is that if it all goes to TMay’s plan and Britain leaves the EU on March 29 next year under the article 50 timetable then the Yes side wins.

But there is lot of amount of water to flow under the bridge in the ensuing months.

Mike Smithson


If there is a second referendum Remain should demand that all voters show photo ID

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Financial Times

Last time those without passports were most likely to vote leave

At this stage last year the Tories were riding high. The party had just taken Copeland from LAB and all the polls had the Tories in the 40s with LAB in the 20s.

In spite of her quite narrow CON majority Mrs. May was assuring the country that there would be no General Election until 2020 as laid down in the Fixed Term Parliament Act. That did not stop her in April calling what proved to be a disastrous election for the Tories on June 8th losing Cameron’s hard won majority of two years earlier

So the PMs statements that there will be no second referendum have to be treated as not watertight. You can see the circumstances under which this was the best option for the Tories If the Brexit process created something that was going to require some form of mandate then a referendum would be better than a general election that could risk Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.

    And if there was a new vote on Europe a smart move from those wishing to stay within the EU would be too demand that all voters be required to show photo ID in order to cast their ballots.

The reason is shown in one of the charts above from the FT analysis of the referendum that was published shortly after the vote in June 2016. As can be seen one of the greatest indicators of a Leave voter was them not having passports.

The data suggests that 3.5m people, or 7.5% of electorate do not have any form of visual ID. Other figures from the Electoral Commission show 11m (24% of the electorate) do not have a passport or photographic driving license.

We also know that there is a sharp cut back in the numbers of the 70+ group who do not renew their driving licences as they are required to do once they reach their 70th birthday.

So I’d argue that the groups least likely to back the EU are the ones who are likely to be more troubled by photo ID requirements for voting – something that the government is testing in five areas in the May local elections.

Mike Smithson