“First, the Prime Minister personally and Conservative Party via its election manifesto have both undertaken to limit the Transition Period to December 2020 (now to be enacted into law) and not to honour those aspects of the Political Declaration which would allow the ECJ supremacy over the UK, bind the UK into a level playing field and assure fishing quotas to the EU. If the Government honours these undertakings and subject to the UK not entering into military interoperability with the EU, I would consider that Brexit has been delivered.
“Second, the Conservative Party has won a thumping election victory on the strength of its manifesto and executing the Withdrawal Agreement. It has a clear democratic mandate to fulfil its version of Brexit (including the manifesto pledges). Given the above, when the Withdrawal Agreement is presented to the European Parliament to be approved later this month, I shall vote in favour of it being ratified.”
– Ben Habib, Brexit Party MEP
I put this question to myself:
In this election campaign how many times have you heard mention of working class voters switching from Labour to the Tories?
Now, how many times have you heard mention of voters of any class switching from the Tories to Labour?
I have yet to see an article or a vox pop about the blue wall.
A couple of days ago YouGov published the first set of results of their massive Multilevel Regression with Poststratification poll. This was big news, as the equivalent from the last election in 2017 was one of only two polls that came close to the final result. (The other was a conventional poll by Survation.) The YouGov MRP results showed the responses of the hundred thousand strong panel as of 27th November. If this election were a game of The Weakest Link, that would have been the point at which the Tories said “Bank”. The results suggested a sea of red seats turning blue. (Note for American readers: your colour conventions for parties are wrong. Wrong like the spelling “color”.) As ever, though, a poll is a snapshot not a prediction.
There is no bank. Today’s poll from BMG showed the steepest absolute rise for Labour – five percentage points compared to BMG’s last poll – that I have seen so far in this election, and add to that a decline of two percentage points for the Conservatives. Net change -7, giving Con 39%, Lab 33%. One might argue – Tories might pray – that it ain’t as bad as it looks because it was quite a while since the last BMG poll. Or perhaps it is just one of those spasms that all polls are subject to, poor lambs. But however you spin it, a Conservative lead in vote share as small as six points almost certainly means no Tory majority, which means a coalition between Labour and one or more of the other parties, which means a second referendum, which means, given Labour’s plan to allow foreigners the vote, no Brexit.
When the YouGov MRP came out some Conservative campaigners had been saying that they wished it had been tighter, as such a thumping great lead would make their side complacent. They have their wish now.
I assume from Labour being up five and the Lib Dems down five that we are seeing a straight tactical transfer of voting intention from the latter to the former. The Remain vote is consolidating just as the Leave vote did before it.
Sometimes all one can say is “Read this”. It is by peer-turned-pollster Lord Ashcroft, who used to be Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, but whose relations with the Tories are no longer so friendly.
When people tell me “you must vote for Boris’ party or we will never get Brexit” I usually respond with “Because you trust & believe a Tory leader to actually do what he says & are willing to just hand-wave the last 3 years away?”
Well the Tories may be the only game in town in some areas, but decades of voting for the lesser evil is how we ended up with a ‘Conservative’ Party that isn’t conservative. If I thought Boris was actually serious about meaningful Brexit, I might hold my nose and vote Tory one last time. But if ‘No Deal’ really isn’t an option even now, I just don’t believe anything Boris says about truly wanting out of the EU.
Do I want to risk Corbyn getting in? I would rather he doesn’t but I am done voting Tory on the basis they are a slower acting poison than the alternative.
BXP will not be running in 317 seats where the ‘Conservative’ Party won in 2017. The pragmatic electoral arithmetic is simple to understand, but will the Tories actually seek to deliver a meaningful Brexit if they gain a working majority? I am far from convinced. But why Farage is doing this is not hard at all to grasp.
1) I am beginning to think that the best strategy for the Leave side would be for the Brexit Party and the Conservatives to make no official pact, and to continue to denounce each other vigorously, but to make a de facto pact in terms of which seats receive money and campaign volunteers from the two parties.
(EDIT 12:30, 11 Nov 2019: Whether or not that would have been the best strategy, it is now off the cards. Guido Fawkes reports, Brexit Party will Stand Down in 317 Seats the Tories Won in 2017)
2) In an effort to correct for the errors of their disastrous 2017 campaign, the Conservatives are deliberately holding back their main effort until later. This may be an overcorrection, but we’ll see. Expect the fireworks to start after the launch of the Labour manifesto. (The Conservatives’ own manifesto will be as short and uncontroversial – for which read fiscally incontinent – as possible.)
3) Talking of which, the line over which the campaign will be fought will be the words from the 2017 Labour manifesto that may or may not appear in the 2019 Labour manifesto: “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.” If these guys were to get their way the election result would be a Tory landslide. But Labour’s instinct to fudge will probably prevail.
3.5) It is sad to note that if I am right, both (2) and (3) require the Conservatives to move in an anti-Libertarian direction in order to win.
“Workington” sounds like a name made up for a novel. But it is a real place, a small town in Cumbria that used to have a coal mine and now has the questionable fortune to have become for the 2019 election what Basildon was in 1992 or Nuneaton was in 2015.
Damian Lyons Lowe of the polling company Survation tweets,
On behalf of Simon Walters at Daily Mail, we have polled the seat many in the media have described as a “must win” in this election as an indicator for Conservative fortunes in parts of the north of England – Workington in Cumbria.
The results were: Conservatives 45% (+3), Labour 34% (-17), Brexit Party 13% (+13), Liberal Democrats 5% (-2), Green Party 2% (+2). The figures in brackets are changes since the 2017 general election.
It is only one poll, but the results indicate that, as suggested in the previous post, the Brexit party running in most or all seats may not harm the Conservatives as much as it would seem at first sight. In fact the presence of the Brexit Party in the contest could indirectly benefit the Conservatives by taking more votes from Labour than from them.
Interesting as the electoral horse race always is, let us not forget that this (potential) change in voting patterns is also a change in how people see themselves.
The Daily Mail produced this graphic of some of the questions asked in the Survation poll. Take a look at the answers to Q5:
Regardless of your current voting intention, if you change your mind before Dec 12, which other party would you consider voting for?
We see the old certitudes dissolve before our eyes.
Or maybe we don’t. Never forget that for the first few days after Theresa May called the election in 2017 that ended with her losing her majority, her already high polling figures rose yet further. Nor did the Tory vote share ever drop very far during the entire campaign – the trouble was, Labour’s rose sharply.
It’s probably quite nice to be Prime Minister, going to all the best dos, having people listen to your bloviations, having the second best address in London and having the power to vaporise France but if you don’t have the ability to do anything useful – other the aformentioned services to French air quality – it’s pointless.
And you don’t have that ability. You don’t have a majority. The deal will be voted down again. If Parliament can make you send that grovelling extension letter – you know, the one you said dying a ditch was preferable to – what else is it going to make you do? Even if Brexit did get through you wouldn’t be allowed to get any of that Brexity goodness done like reducing tariffs, re-introducing traditional units and sorting out the railways. You are being turned into a cipher.
You must not allow yourself to be treated like this. You must resign.
Let the Queen find someone to be Prime Minister. Convention – for what it is worth these days – requires her to first of all call upon the Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn. That will be a laugh. Oh, he might just about be able to cobble together a coalition around stopping Brexit. They might even be able to hold their rigged referendum. But it doesn’t matter. Because, every day, every hour, every minute Corbyn and the federalist fossils stay in undeserved power the more hated they will become.
Remember, it can’t last long. Eventualy they will have to do some real politics at which point that Frankenstein coalition will collapse. And then we really will have to have a general election. Which you will win – not least because the interregnum will have given Cummings the chance to have that operation that he’s been putting off. And then you really will be able to get Brexit done. On your terms.
As our French friends might say: reculer pour mieux sauter.
Yours in the struggle,