Good Brexit news for France – Britain’s blue passports will be made there not in the UK

March 21st, 2018


To election junkies like me the Cambridge Analytica stuff is fascinating but where is it going to lead?

March 21st, 2018

Isn’t it just election losers seeking to undermine the legitimacy of results?

Given the amount of publicity the Cambridge Analytica story has had over the past few days both in the UK and in the US the big question is where is this all going to lead politically?

The Westminster SNP leader, Ian Blackford, used both his allocated PMQ questions in the clip shown above.

    In the US are the revelations going to make it that bit harder for Mr Trump to continue in office and in the UK will it assist those who are still trying to stall the referendum outcome to leave the EU?

What makes all this rather confusing is that using Facebook is not new. Obama in his 2012 campaign was the first to utilise social media in a big way in order to reach new audiences to ensure his re-election.

We then have the UK Conservative campaign in 2015 which is said to have used social media to enable the party to identify and target key voters in marginals resulting in an outcome that was far better than anybody had been predicting and indeed secured Mr Cameron his majority.

Nobody is questioning the validity of these two earlier uses of social media but they are now in relation to Brexit and of course to Mr Trump.

So far, from my perspective at least, there’s yet to be a “gotcha” moment which could have a political impact. Maybe that will change.

Mike Smithson


If its Corbyn versus May again next time my money would be on the Tories

March 21st, 2018

Tories now back as odds-on favourites

We could be more than four years away from the next general election and it is possible that neither Corbyn or Theresa May will be leading the parties by then. But if the two were to be the main party leaders next time, whenever that is, my money would be on the Conservatives.

    Firstly it is always the case that we look at elections through the prism of what happened last time rather than what is actually happening at that moment. The assumption would be that message Mrs May would campaign as poorly as in 2017 and that Corbyn would campaign as well.

One thing’s for sure that if May is still heading blue team, which she wants to do, then she is going to perform a lot lot better than she did a few last year. What happens with failure is that it causes a lot of soul searching and you are able to look at the future more critically to work out the lessons to be learnt.

Labour, of course, lost the last general election even though their performance was substantially better than most of the polls were suggesting. But in terms of the red team seat haul compared with the Tories Corbyn’s Labour did worse than Gordon Brown 7 years earlier. Yet Corbyn was almost declared the de facto victor and this appears to be impacting on LAB thinking.

Last time the Tories had great plans to undermine Corby by highlighting some of his controversial past positions on things like Ireland and the wars Britain had been involved in. That didn’t have the desired potency because for many voters it was all about things a long long time ago.

Next time Corbyn’s approach to Russia and the Salisbury attack will be fresher in people’s minds and will be used more effectively.

One little bit of data should be worrying LAB. For the first time since the general election Opinium this week found Corbyn trailing Theresa May in its leader approval ratings.

The Tories have now moved to odds-on favourite to win most seats at the next election.

Mike Smithson


UKIP drops to just 1% in latest ICM poll

March 20th, 2018

Is it all over now the party’s task is almost complete?

Ever since the referendum on June 23rd 2016 life has been pretty difficult for UKIP the party, which undoubtedly played a huge part in shaping this dramatic decision.

Since then we’ve all followed the various leadership issues and I chuckled when Fairy liquid produced an advertisement suggesting that one pack would last longer than four UKIP leaders.

Tonight’s poll from ICM, as can be seen above, has the party down at 1% which I believe is the lowest certainly since GE2010.

This coincides with a dramatic fall off in the number of council seats that it holds as well as the failure last June win a single MP.

BREXIT means, of course, that there will be no UKIP MEPs from March 29th next year assuming everything goes to plan.

It can be argued, of course, that the UKIP agenda has now been absorbed by the Conservative Party and that the need for the single issue organisation is not necessary anymore.

If this poll is right then the voters appear to have taken that on board.

Mike Smithson


The Foreign Office goes on the PR offence over Russian Salisbury disinformation

March 20th, 2018

What say you Mr. Corbyn?

The above video which has been issued by the Foreign Office looks appears to be a very different approach to diplomacy in relation to Russia than we have seen before.

Clearly in the current situation where this is all about winning the battle for hearts and minds and who do you believe getting your case out there is highly important.

Having looked at the video a couple of time I think it’s quite impressive. It is simple a straightforward and uses the graphics very well – it certainly won’t be out of place on social media. It is, perhaps, a shock that the Foreign Office should be acting in this way. You normally expect them to be working behind closed doors not going public in a big way,

There is the ongoing situation that the leader of the opposition and member of the Privy Council, Jeremy Corbyn, seems to be going out of his way not to criticise Moscow in any way.

Mike Smithson


The last 24 hours on the Betfair exchange Brexit betting market

March 20th, 2018


Mike Smithson


It looks as though it could be after Easter before Pennsylvania punters get paid

March 19th, 2018

The above from the Wikipedia page on last Tuesday’s Pennsylvania special election sets out the result as it stands at the moment but those who have bet on It are going to have to wait some time before this has been resolved.

The on the night winner was the Democratic contender but the margin was a fraction of a percent and it looks as though there will be a recount or some other move that could impact on the outcome.

Interestingly the Republicans have placed TV ads to find out if individual voters had any difficulty getting their votes cast on the day suggesting that some sort of court challenge could be possible.

In a letter the party’s lawyer outlined five areas of concern, ranging from calls about machine errors to confusion about polling places and a dispute over whether a Republican attorney could watch part of the elections process.

So we have yet another US election where punters are going to have to wait for their money. Before Christmas, of course, we had the Alabama Senator race where the Democrats won by a tight margin.

I understand why the bookies have to be careful. Back in 2012 at the Iowa caucuses the bookies paid out on Mitt Romney who was, after all the votes had been verified, the loser. Those who had backed Rick Santorum, some like me at long odds, were mighty displeased when our winning bets were countermanded by the on the night result.

Mike Smithson



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

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