Archive for the 'Theresa May' Category


Some numbers that could help TMay’s survival. Another poll, YouGov, has her & the Tories edging back a touch

Monday, July 17th, 2017

But still LAB leads

Given how close it is to the last election it is hardly surprsisng that there are so few voting intention polls coming out. Today’s from YouGov is only the second since Mrs. May lost her majority on June 8th and has the gap down just a touch.

CON 40 +2
LAB 45 -1
LD 7 =
UKIP 2-2

This follows the weekend’s Survation online poll which had the LAB lead down to 2% from 6% on the weekend after the election.

TMay is also seeing her “best PM” numbers edging back up a notch. With YouGov she is now back in the lead.

Best PM in latest YouGov
TMay 38%+4
Corbyn 33% -2

Give the fractious state of her party these numbers should ease the jitters just a touch but, of course, the moves are small. TMay has successfuly negotiated the first six and a half weeks since the disastrous result and now she must be looking to get through the summer and conference season.

But she cannot airbrush out of history the fact that she called the election to increase her majority and ended without one at all. In earlier times she would have been toppled within days.

Mike Smithson


I think allies of David Davis are overreaching and going to damage their man fatally. This is becoming very ugly

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Whilst the briefing against Philip Hammond continues



If or when Theresa May is replaced her successor shouldn’t hold a snap election (or even think about it)

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Mrs May has probably ended any talk of or actual snap elections in the future by her successors

The last ten years in British politics have been the most dramatic ten years I can recall in peace time. We’ve had, inter alia, the great financial crisis, the coalition government, the Scottish Independence referendum, the SNP tsunami, the Lib Dem wipe out of 2015, which saw David Cameron become the only Tory to win a majority in the last 25 years, the rise of Corbyn, and of course Brexit.

Interestingly these ten years have been bookended by a mandate-less Prime Minister trashing their reputation with a needless snap election, or speculation therein, memorably in Gordon Brown’s case when one of his minister’s wrote publicly in September 2007 ‘Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority.’

As seems likely Mrs May’s tenure as Prime Minister ends before the next general election the one thing that seems certain is that her successor  won’t be doing is holding a snap election, even if the polls show them 25% ahead, apart from the fear of running a truly terrible campaign, one thing the 2017 general election has confirmed is that voters don’t like be asked to vote again for partisan reasons nor do they like politicians who break their word so spectacularly.

Exactly one year ago Mrs May became Prime Minister very few, including Mrs May, would have thought within a year she’d be forever be associated with the greatest act of hubris since Emperor Palpatine allowed the Rebel Alliance to know the location of the second Death Star.

Happy anniversary Prime Minister.



Some Tories are determined to retoxify the party

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Unless you’re over 90 or grew up in antebellum Virginia, you should not be using the n word or even thinking about using it, but today a Tory MP, Ann Marie Morris, uttered the n word, unsurprisingly she had the whip removed.

Credit must be given to Theresa May for acting so swiftly, given her approach on things like stop & search and equalities, Mrs May will have experienced genuine revulsion at such comments, I think she realises how damaging this is because she is in some respects is the grandmother of the Tory detoxification project with her nasty party speech back in 2002.

However Mrs May and the Tories who may still have work to do with this incident, there’s already pressure on Mrs Morris to resign as an MP, however I think pressure might also be directed towards to the other panelists at the event which Morris spoke, as the Huffington Post observes ‘Despite using the racist term, none of her fellow panelists, including Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood, reacted.’

Given the pressure the Tories and Mrs May are currently under following her calamitous decision to hold a snap election and the performance therein which saw her wipe out David Cameron’s majority I suspect the media focus on this story will not end with the decision to suspend the whip from Ann Marie Morris.

Mrs May will need a lot of nous to stop this becoming a damaging incident, especially given how much the party has focused on incidents of antisemitism in the Labour party.



At last! Mr. Trump shakes hands with a leader who has worse leader ratings than he does – Mrs. May

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

One of the most worrying features for Mrs. May following her failed GE17 gamble and her determination to stay in the job has been the sharp move downwards in her leader ratings. Whether the format has been about favourability, satisfaction, approval or doing well/badly she has seen a very sharp reversal since June 8th.

Trump has had poor ratings right from the start and in recent weeks the President has seen his net favourability numbers down at a net minus 25%. The trend is getting worse.

    But for all Trump’s numbers amongst US voters are poor he is not yet down at the levels being experienced by Mrs. May amongst British voters.

The post general election polling has been really bad for the Tories and TMay. Recent polling from YouGov had TMay’s favourability at a net minus 34% – a picture that is broadly the same as other pollsters. The latest ICM had just 28% say she was doing a “good job” as PM with 54% saying “bad job”.

I’ve long argued that the trend in leader ratings is as good, if not better, pointer to electoral outcomes than voting intention numbers. Indeed in the lead up to June 8th Corbyn enjoyed a significant boost in his numbers which were broadly over-looked because they did not fit the prevailing “CON landslide” narrative.

Mike Smithson


Whilst Mrs May is performing very badly, we should also remember and praise Corbyn’s contribution

Friday, July 7th, 2017


Ditching Mrs May won’t be the panacea for the Tories some Tories think it will be.

Last night stories emerged that Theresa May is a ‘lame horse’, furious Tory ministers warn, amid claims they could resign to force her out, but I’m coming to the conclusion that whilst Mrs May is a pox on the Tory party, ditching her won’t necessarily improve the Tory party in the polls, though it would stop the haemorrhaging.

The chart above sums up the current political mood, but whilst Mrs May has received a lot of opprobrium for her calamitous decision to hold an early election and her performance during said campaign, I don’t think Corbyn is getting enough credit for his performance over recent months, the Tories need to understand why Corbyn has become so popular given his backstory, after all 46% is Labour’s highest ever share with YouGov.

Last summer I said we shouldn’t underestimate Corbyn as nobody has become rich by underestimating Jeremy Corbyn, Corbyn has probably a comeback to rival Lazarus, one wonders just how far Labour would go if the Parliamentary Labour Party backed Corbyn wholeheartedly?



The evening must read

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

‘Due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.’ – Douglas Adams

That quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy probably best sums up the mess Theresa May and the Tory party finds themselves in due to Mrs May’s calamitous decision to call an early election and run the worst general election campaign in living memory, this article gives a very good account what that means going forward.

From the FT article there was a lot that stood and I recommend reading the entire piece but here’s two selected highlights.

Mrs May only survived the humiliation of last month’s snap election because Conservatives have decided that the alternatives to an enfeebled leader are even worse. On June 9 party grandees trooped into Downing Street to tell the emotional prime minister that she had a duty to party and country to stay.

Most Conservative MPs fear that if Mrs May is ousted, the party would face a leadership contest that would once again split it over Europe, this time between those favouring a soft or hard Brexit. There is no obvious frontrunner, the eventual winner would have no direct mandate from the British people and they might inherit a party in a state of nervous disintegration.

There would be a clamour for another election, which the leftwing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could win. Although Mr Corbyn is no fan of the EU, the Brexit process would be thrown into chaos.

“There is a general mood of seriousness and a sense that if we screw this up, a Marxist government steps into the breach,” says one senior Conservative MP. Another says: “The person holding the party together is Jeremy Corbyn. The fear of Corbyn is greater than any nuance in the Brexit negotiation.”


In place of paranoia has come a remarkable reappraisal of what exactly Brexit should mean. “There wasn’t really any debate before,” admits one minister. The only problem is that it comes a bit late in the day: Britain voted to leave the EU more than a year ago and the clock is ticking down to an exit in March 2019. “It would be nice to know exactly what we want from Brexit,” confided one government insider.

No senior minister has yet directly challenged the central tenets of Mrs May’s “hard Brexit” strategy set out in her January Lancaster House speech, which called for Britain to leave the single market, customs union and the jurisdiction of the European Court. But the soft Brexiters are starting to chip away at the edifice.

Mr Hammond is pressing for a long transition during which Britain would retain close ties to the EU, including remaining in the customs union. The Treasury is challenging Liam Fox, international trade secretary, to prove that the deals he hopes to secure when Britain eventually leaves the customs union more than offset an expected loss of trade with the EU. Mr Hammond is vehemently opposed to Mrs May’s threat — or bluff — that Britain could walk away with no deal at all. 

Mr Davis, who is said by colleagues to be “more flexible than you think”, is exploring ways in which the ECJ might have a limited backstop role, allowing Britain to continue participating in European regulatory bodies, rather than recreating them at great expense at national level.



Don’t Diss the DUP. They could help put Labour into government

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

If Martin McGuiness could work with the DUP why couldn’t Jeremy Corbyn?

That rhetorical question works the other way round too.

If Jeremy Corbyn is to see private prediction to Michael Eavis at Glastonbury that he could be Prime Minister in six months fulfilled he can only get there with the combined votes of all the non-Tory parties – including the DUP. By contrast those 10 DUP votes were enough to give Theresa May an effective Commons majority.

On the surface the dealmakers looks like a natural fit. The Prime Minister emphasised that the Tories are officially the Conservative and Unionist party. And a youthful Labour tweeter declared “The DUP are basically Tories anyway (Tories from the Middle Ages, given their social views). They aren’t going to ever vote for Corbyn.”

But as shadow minister for Northern Ireland, Stephen Pound, reminded me the DUP are a working class breakaway from the official Ulster Unionists who really were “basically Tories”.

On a personal level there are warm words for the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson from Bethnal Green and Bow MP, Rushanara Ali. She is impressed by his work on conflict resolution.

Labour’s shadow NI secretary Owen Smith is a former special adviser to Northern Secretary Paul Murphy. Pound, his deputy served for 13 years on the Northern Ireland Select committee. The DUP’s leader in the Commons Nigel Dodds revealed that there had been contacts with the Labour frontbench in 2010 and 2015.
So the idea of the DUP supporting Labour is not that far-fetched.

On the Tory side the DUP deal has caused widespread disquiet amongst those worried that their “brand” will be re-toxified by the link with the socially conservative Ulster party.

And Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire, expressed her anger use of public funds to gain Commons votes. ‘We didn’t need to do it.’ She argued the Tories should have run as a minority government and shown the country what ‘mature, progressive politics looks like’

So why it might be asked would Labour want to repeat the Tory mistake by cosying up to the DUP?

The answer I would give is that a minority Labour could, indeed, give a demonstration in “mature progressive politics”. There would be no deals but there would, of course, be contacts and discussions about a programme for government that would command support among all the non-Tory parties – and many Tory MPs – and crucially be popular with voters.

That would undoubtedly involve extra cash for the National Health Service – and for mental health services, an issue highlighted by the Nigel Dodds in the Commons. He said suicide rates and cases severe mental ill-health in Northern Ireland, were some of the worst in Europe, one of the legacies of 30 years of terrorism and violence. He said part of the cash from the deal with the Tories go to mental health care—extra investment in the health service.

“Is it not time that people recognised that this is delivery for all the people of Northern Ireland, across all sections of the community, and that it is going to help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Northern Ireland? People should get behind it and welcome it.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to such arguments was that “cuts to vital services must be halted across the UK, not just in Northern Ireland.”

Corbyn’s declared aim is to pursue policies benefiting the “Many not the Few.” The vast majority of DUP supporters would undoubtedly qualify as part of the “many”. So, people in Northern Ireland would get the extra resources from a Labour government – not as a “bung” to buy DUP votes – but as part of a drive to improve public services and raise living standards throughout the UK.

One thing a minority Labour government might achieve is a solution to the social care crisis. Theresa May bungled it badly during the because she came forward with a plan that she would impose when she got her landslide. A Corbyn government could be more successful precisely because it would have to reach out to other parties to develop a consensus on a sustainable long term system.

Minority governments are rare but they can work well.

Don Brind