Archive for the 'BREXIT' Category


Brexit: We wuz robbed but is Tony the one to stop it.

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Don Brind on the Blair intervention

Like many 48 per centers I believe last year’s referendum victory for Leave was built on a mountain of mendacity, epitomised by that bus promising £350 million for the NHS.

So it was good to hear Tony Blair declare, in his speech to Open Britain last week, that Brexit “will not mean more money for the NHS but less; actually it probably means a wholesale rebalancing of our healthcare towards one based on private as much as public provision.”

I don’t trust Theresa May, now the zealous convert to Leave after being a virtually silent a Remain campaigner. So, again, I enjoyed Blair’s withering assault on her. “The Government are not masters of this situation. They’re not driving this bus. They’re being driven.”

So why did the speech leave me feeling uneasy? And why did Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington and a member of the Shadow Brexit team tweet: “I defend Tony Blair as a great Labour leader who improved lives of my constituents. I do this a lot. His speech today won’t help.”

Blair says he accepts the result of the referendum and that “there is no widespread appetite to re-think.” He asserts that people voted without knowledge of the terms of Brexit. “As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their will. Our mission is to persuade them to do so.”

But the big question is how do we get from here to there? Who is best placed to get them to think again? Is Tony Blair somebody Leave voters will listen to?

They certainly won’t be listening to Ed Vulliamy in the Observer that” Corbyn and his MPs want to appease xenophobia in Labour heartlands, at whatever price of principle, to keep their seats warm at Westminster.

Such patronising tosh is not only unfair to Labour MPs, it part of the Brexit problem. “In politics, firstly, you have to earn the right to be heard” says Labour backbencher Wes Streeting in a wide-ranging New Statesman article that deserves to be as widely read as the Blair speech.

Streeting, a frequent Corbyn critic and a “Blairite” to leadership loyalists, represents Ilford North on the London Essex border which voted narrowly to Remain. He, nonetheless followed Jeremy Corbyn’s lead in voting to trigger Article 50. He explained his reasoning in a joint article with Chuka Umunna

Defying the referendum result, they say, would “deepen Labour and the country’s divisions and undermine our ability to build a coalition uniting the cities with the towns and country, the young with the old, immigrant with settled communities, the north with the south.
“We have to build this coalition in order to win an election to form a Labour government.”

The fact is that if Tony Blair’s dream of beating Brexit is to be realised it will Labour MPs who will do the hard graft of persuading Leave voters to think again.

Don Brind


The latest PB cartoon on Tony Blair’s Brexit intervention

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Cartoon by Helen Cochrane and Nicholas Leonard.


YouGov’s BREXIT tracker is back to exactly where it was just after Theresa May became PM

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

For all the machinations opinion simply hasn’t changed

Above is YouGov’s BREXIT tracker in which it has been regularly asking the same question “In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union?” over many months.”

As can be seen the most striking feature is the almost total lack of movement. In fact the numbers in the latest poll are exactly the same as they were at the start of August 2016 shortly after TMay became PM.

Both leavers and remainers have hardly changed their opinions.

What I like about trackers is that the same question is put every time in exactly the same manner. If there had been a movement then we would see it.

These are the party splits in the latest polling.

What will change things is when we start to get a sense of what BREXIT is actually going to look like and we won’t know that until after Article 50 is invoked.

Mike Smithson


Six times as many LD supporters say they’re concerned about BREXIT than UKIP voters

Friday, February 17th, 2017

This dynamic could have an impact next Thursday

The above chart is based on data from the latest Ipsos MORI issues index and shows the party splits of those, unprompted, naming BREXIT as the main, or one of the the main, issues facing Britain at the moment.

As can be seen there is a huge gap between the LDs, with 79% raising it, to UKIP voters where the figure is 15%. The Tory figure is highish well ahead of LAB.

    I’d suggest that this might be reflected in the turnouts in the two Westminster by-elections next Thursday. The main challenge for UKIP is to convert perceived anger about BREXIT into votes actually cast.

How strong is that feeling for UKIP backers to go to the polls to give LAB a good kicking? We’ll know next Friday morning. There’s also the question of whether LD voters are more motivated.

Each month for 40 years Ipsos MORI has been operating a totally unique poll – its Issues Index. On this those sampled are simply asked face to face “What do you see as the main/other important issues facing Britain today?”. They are given the time to respond and can name any number of things that come into heads.

Because of the unprompted nature of the approach this has been regarded over the decades as one of the best tests of the salience of issues without the question wording itself having an impact on the responses. This has stood the test of time.

Mike Smithson


Tonight’s PB cartoon – Who is the Brexiest of them all?

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Cartoon by Helen Cochrane and Nicholas Leonard.


It’s Clive Lewisn’t a member of the shadow cabinet anymore and becomes favourite to succeed Corbyn

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

But Diane Abbott doesn’t rebel

Meanwhile the elites say one thing to win votes but once the votes are won…Sad.



Stoke Central’s down to whether BREXIT’s a big enough issue for ordinary voters to come out an give LAB a kicking

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

This analysis feels right

The following is a great series of Tweet’s on Stoke Central by the FT’s Sebastian Payne


Brexit. There’s everything to play for

Monday, February 6th, 2017

My vantage point a couple of thousand metres up in the French Alps didn’t make Labour’s agonising over Article 50 any less depressing for me than it was for colleagues back at Westminster. For what it’s worth my sympathies were with those Labour MPs who felt, at this precise point in the process, that the referendum result trumped their pro European principles.

But I wholly agree with MP Paul Flynn who tweeted “Anti-Brexiteers, who reluctantly accepted force of referendum on Brexit principle, now liberated to insist on safeguards & second thoughts.” And France was a good place to understand how quickly politics can change. We all know about the financial allegations that have put the skids under Republican Francois Fillon but what was on the newsstand in my Vanoise supermarché ?

An intriguing Le Monde headline “The three cases that threaten Marine Le Pen and the Front National”over a story detailing how the FN is alleged to have taken 7.5 million Euros of EU cash for fictitious jobs; how since the arrival of Marine Le Pen the NF is suspected of using fraudulent system of funding for all its election campaigns and that in their declarations of interests as MEPs Le Pen and her father undervalued their property interests. Le Monde says the latter charge if proved could bring jail or a fine as well a ten year ban from office for Le Pen.

Undaunted by these allegations Le Pen launched her campaign in Lyon with echoes of Trump and Farage. As the Guardian reports polls point to her winning first round in April but losing to a mainstream candidate in the 7 May. Fillon’s problems mean there’s every chance that could be the independent Emmanuel Macron, described as “economically liberal and pro-business and progressive on social issues.”

My re-immersion in domestic politics started with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry’s impressive performance on the Andrew Marr show.  She pitched it right in conceding that Labour was divided just as the country was divided. She offered a message of hope saying Labour would “look after the economy first” and would seek alliances with MPs from other parties in challenging Theresa May’s hard Brexit.

Framing Brexit as an economic argument with the emphasis on jobs and living standards is an approach around which Labour MPs can rally. It’s one which ought to worry the Prime Minister and the hubristic Brexiters. I believe there is everything to play for.

Just as her toadying to Trump is a sign of the Prime Minister’s Brexit-induced weakness, underneath the triumphalism of the Leave camp there is a nagging fear that in the end they will not get their prize. They are scared witless that what has happened in several other countries, where voters given the chance to think again after a referendum have reversed their decision, could happen here.

Messy Brexit negotiations, robust Parliamentary scrutiny, an economic downturn and smart campaigning amongst Labour supporters who voted Leave could bring a shift in the public mood. We are not there yet. It’s premature to make a referendum the goal but it shouldn’t be ruled out.

Don Brind