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  1. #161
    Call for a criminal investigation now too

  2. #162
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yes, though I'd be staggered if that came to pass.

    Going to watch an hour or so of election coverage tonight before bed. Lib Dems expected to do quite well.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  3. #163
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    Can't lie - had a reaaaaal boost watching the results come in today, even if I feel like it doesn't really amount to all that much.

  4. #164
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I suppose the question is how much does it amount to, in the final reckoning.

    I'm not sure the Lib Dems stuff is anything more than a historical corrective, but the Tory performance is monumentally, historically bad, when viewed in the full context.

    Labour is poor. Not really awful, but definitely a big worry for them.

    Green results might be the real takeaway from this in many ways, more significant than the LD Revival in a lot of respects.

    Could be a lot of internal pressure on the PM again after those results.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #165
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    Is it a protest more than anything do you think, or is there anything in th swing towards explicit Remain parties?

  6. #166
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I think Laura Kuenssberg said it best when she said it was undoubtedly both, but in what proportion, no one knows. So to be honest your guess is as good as mine.

    I know that the Greens improvement is based on local factors in several places and they've been grinding away in many places, so I'm reluctant to say it's a simple protest in some of those cases.

    So some of this was probably coming already, some might be hardcore remain voters swinging, and some might be a simple protest that you shouldn't read a lot into.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  7. #167
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    That seems fair.

    I did immediately want to drive my head through a window when the first thing Leave politicians began spouting was essentially, "Everyone voting for explicitly pro-Remain parties is because they want us to get on with leaving." Then I paused and thought, actually, the way this country has gone, there's probably a small amount of inexplicable truth in that - given it's the same electorate that got us to this point.

  8. #168
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I can't sleep, so I thought I'd do a big post in here with a bit of analysis on the local elections results.

    First, why is it such a disaster for the Conservatives - aren't local elections just a chance to kick the government?

    Well yes, in part. But the thing that has to be taken into account is the question of scale, and where the parties start from in the beginning. So to put it into perspective, in 1997 the local elections were on the same day as the General election. That boosted turnout and meant that Labour took a lot of seats that they wouldn't normally, because the scale of that landslide was massive. In 1999, they naturally came back down to earth and lost 1100 seats. That was the last time that a party lost 1000 council seats in an election, until this past week.

    What makes this more of an issue for the Conservatives is that they aren't starting from such a high position - to lose that kind of number from a relatively weak position means losing in all sorts of places that should be safe, true blue Tory. To be in such a position and to suffer the worst result since 1995, when the Tories were massively divided and basically unelectable, means this is a historically significant result and easily the weakest position a government has been in this century,


    Following on from that, why is it such a disaster for Labour, given they only lost 80 odd seats and the government are in such disarray?

    Well, the first answer is that they shouldn't be losing seats at all. In any typical political landscape, Labour should be making net gains from the Conservatives in a situation like this, and not just in small numbers. So to be down seats in the final reckoning is particularly worrying because it suggests that they just aren't on the way to power in the way that we might anticipate with such a weak governing party.

    But the other reason is that expectations were raised by recent polling. In the weeks leading up to the election, they were said to be waaaay ahead of the Conservatives - and while we weren't thinking they were going to be getting a majority they were certainly looking at being the biggest party, one that could be propped up by another party and take the country forward. They were supposed to finish 6 points up on the Tories and come within a few seats on winning an election. Instead, the local election results suggested they were essentially in a dead heat nationally. So they underperformed expectations going in, as well as not hitting what we'd expect in a more normal time.



    And with that, I'm starting to get tired. So I get this has worked. Perhaps more another time....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  9. #169
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    So forgive my ignorance, but the who the heck is the election benefiting then?

  10. #170
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Three groups did quite well out of the election. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens, who happen to be the two main anti-Brexit parties (which may or may not be significant), are the first two. And then the third are the various collections of independents and local groupings, who either have direct local causes or have benefit primarily from a strong 'plague on all your houses' message being sent to the main parties.

    First, the Lib Dems. They had their best performance in local election history, at least going back to the merger between the old Liberal party and the SDP in the 1980s. Yes, they were starting from a low base. They got absolutely hammered when these seats were contested in 2015, when they were effectively punished for their role in the coalition by one group of their voters, while the others voted Tory, overwhelmingly, to ward off the spectre of a Labour/SNP coalition (if you believe what you read). Long story short, their vote here is, in part, a historical corrective to where they have been in the last few years, emblematic of them being somewhat forgiven for their transgressions and getting back to where you'd expect them to be in their traditional areas of strength.

    What makes it interesting, though, is that they are the most obvious bastion of pro-EU sentiment out of all our mainstream parties, so the question now being raised is whether or not that return to form in traditional areas, such as the South West, or their growth in places where they have a strong MP, like North Norfolk, can be read as in some way a public mood shift against Brexit, or whether this is a simple protest vote without much behind it. And there's no way to tell in all honesty - but what that means is that everyone fights over the message.


    Now, to the Greens. They are in a similar position to the Lib Dems in a sense, in that if you don't know that they are for the EU then you must not know much about them. They wear that on the sleeve proudly. But they are also - as the name suggests - the most environmentally conscious party, and they've had their platform in the news a lot lately because of the climate protests that have been going on in London and elsewhere. There are also significant local factors at work. They've been building and building up slowly in a lot of areas, aiming for second place finishes to try and get the idea that they are valid contenders into people's minds, and then to push on from there. It's an idea that has worked in some areas and has seen them win a lot of support in Brighton, including getting an MP there. Finally, there are plenty of places where councils are trying to build housing on green belt land, which is always something pretty unpopular and I suspect they are able to win over a number of votes from people on that specific issue.

    Still, the question of Brexit comes back into it here. People are reasonably asking could they and the Lib Dems have done that well if it really was all about Brexit? The Greens performance is actually even more striking in a sense, because though the numbers are smaller they start from a far smaller position as a party. They've actually more than doubled they amount that they have in this election cycle. They are up 194 councillors, but their total now is only 265, showing you were they were before.

    The final group are the independents, and the residents' associations, etc. The independent figure is actually staggering, with a net gain of more than 600 seats, even winning control of two councils in the process. Remarkable really. This one is simpler to interpret though, as it's quite clearly going to be a combination of local factors and dissatisfaction with the two mainstream parties. You can't really infer anything about the larger national and international issues safely in this case, because no one really knows what the councillors think about these issues and, more significantly, won't really have any credible platform that relates to those issues because they have no responsibility for them or involvement with the people that do.

    So those three groups benefit from the results quite a lot, but what that does to the national picture is, as you can probably gather, as clear as mud.



    The one thing that all the polling has been suggesting is that the swing voters who don't turn up for local elections but only for the main event have been breaking towards Labour. Whether that is true or not, no one can really be sure, though all the polling suggests anything from Labour being the largest party by just 10 seats all the way up to Labour coming within a handful of seats of a majority. The council election results thrown up naturally suggest more of an as you were, so who actually knows.


    But two things are in the mix that could change the complexion quite dramatically. One is that the European elections will happen if we can't agree a deal, and the two new parties are going to be on the ballot. What that will do is show much more clearly what the mood of the nation is, because the local issues question will be taken out of the agenda on one hand, and on the other there will be a party on the ballot known by the simple name of 'Brexit'. If the Brexit party do amazingly well, then these results will be written off as a protest. If they split the Tory vote but the Lib Dem/Green performance continues, or Change UK do very well (unlikely), then I think that would be taken as reflective of a major shift and would see some sort of change. So one way or another these elections will be much more indicative.

    The second thing that could change it is that Graham Brady, the unofficial leader of the Tory backbenchers, is meeting with Theresa May today to discuss her timetable for departure, and there's a lot of chatter around Westminster that if she refuses to go then they might take the unprecedented (and decidedly un-Conservative, as many have pointed out) step of amending the rules to their constitution so that they can challenge her again within the same year.

    Now, if May goes the Tories short term electoral chances probably go up somewhat. But the overall picture doesn't become any clearer without a shift in the electorate or in parliament, so you wonder what it'd mean for any successor long term.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #171
    The Brain
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    Obviously you've still got a mess on your hands over there, but as an American who has only know the two party system it's very heartwarming to hear how many other parties can get into the conversation on your side. I'm sure we have our fair share of Green Party and Libertarians occupying small positions in certain areas but it doesn't really penetrate the public consciousness at all, except for exceptions like Sanders.

  12. #172
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    You know, that has a reasonably interesting history in itself, because for years the amount of the vote going to the smaller parties has been growing. In the 1950 General Election, the main two parties won effectively 90% of the vote. In 1979, it was 81%. By 1992, that'd fallen again, to 76%. Even as Blair's electoral freight train gathered steam, that number actually dropped in 1997, and it would carry on gradually diminishing until the end of New Labour in 2010, when it was down to just 65%. There was a marginal rebound in 2015, but the number was hovering around the mid-60s. Long story short, the Conservatives had won only one majority since 1992, and that was a bit of a fluke - Labour lost a huge amount of votes and seats in Scotland in 2016. With the two main parties pretty evenly matched and their total vote share now only around 2/3 of the electorate, most of the talk was about the end of the two-party system and a lot of compromise and coalition in the near future.

    Then, 2017 came along, and out of nowhere, they shot back up to 82.4% again - so there were then a lot of conversations about whether or not that was all premature talk, and maybe they were going to come out of this just fine. But then these local elections tell a whole other story, so if anything the impression is that 2017 might be an outlier, for all kinds of reasons.



    Interesting couple of days in politics. May has refused to rule out leaving before Phase one of Brexit is complete, risking the ire of her backbenchers. Johnny Mercer has effectively resigned the whip, saying he'll vote with the government on Brexit but on everything else they can go and whistle (over what he sees as the government's treatment of veterans) - in short, the government's minority is nearly at the end of its rope. And finally, in the event of a leadership contest, Esther McVey has said that she'll run.

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  13. #173
    The Brain
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    Could read a book of this stuff by you Pete, truly.

  14. #174
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    In that case, I'll speculate a little. Bear with me, we're going into a land of guesswork.

    So, my thinking is that the general drift away shows a basic failure of the two main parties to appeal to broad enough sections of the public. In times of great political polarity, you get the argument that it's because you have two diverse camps that force people into political pigeonholes and that actually, most people are down the middle and that you want a moderate party to come in and hoover up the votes (giving rise to the SDP in the 1980s and Change UK recently). When Labour were mimicking the Conservatives, the criticism came from the flanks, and the argument was that there was not enough difference between the two parties to mean that there was enough to vote for - that people were dissatisfied with the range of opinions offered by the main two parties, effectively. That was the common argument of some left wing parties, particularly the hard left like the Socialist Worker's Party and the like.

    In 2017, I think Brexit is the main reason that everyone comes back to the main two parties, even though it wasn't really a major electoral issue for either of them because they were - on paper at least - in a rough kind of agreement on it. But what I think happens is that the Tories winning over their skeptics on the right wing that had been voting for UKIP puts a huge boost onto their numbers. The UKIP vote fell by almost 11 points, and with the Conservatives co-opting the single issue that motivated that single-issue party, it's likely that they all went there. I think the knock on effect is that the polls for the Tories were so strong, that everyone who opposed the Tories (especially those who had been out to the left of Labour from 1997-2015) all came into the Labour camp. So even though they weren't actually being pro-European, they ended up getting a whole bunch of votes just from the need for everyone else to club together to prevent a Conservative landslide - which became much more of an issue as the Tory campaign limped on. It was so uninspiring I've heard it suggested that they were one more week of campaign away from Corbyn in number 10.

    So, where does all that leave us after these elections, and with both parties losing support again? I'm minded that parties tend to bumble along for the most part, but that the birth and death of parties tends to come in the fire of the huge issues. And Brexit could well be one of them. I could talk about the formation of the Liberal party in the aftermath of the repeal of the Corn Laws, but the truth of the matter is that the best parallel I can think of here is the 19th century American divide over slavery, where both Democrats and Whigs were parties with both pro and anti-slavery camps. The Democrats were able to ride it out but the Whigs disappeared from history, while the Republicans formed and were actually able to do quite well because they better reflected the issues of the day.

    While it's obviously a very different issue, in pure process terms this could be a similar situation. The parties will have to reform the internal coalitions by which they work to better fit the electorate and the issues that we face today, because if they can't there's a decent chance that they'll cease to exist - and the Brexit Party and Change UK, never mind any of the others, already offer two ready made groups that could take their place.

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  15. #175
    The Brain
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    I'm all for the changing of parties. Something fresh in politics is often a very good thing. Really interesting stuff, Pete! Feel free to speculate any time!

  16. #176
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    So the Brexit party polled very well ahead of the new European elections and that has got a lot of people reacting. They outperformed the Conservatives in that poll. Not much of a surprise though, given these are being called the 'ultimate protest vote'.

    But if that were reflected in a general election (HUGELY unlikely but go with it) they'd have a seat count in the 40s, which would make them the fourth biggest party in Westminster. Perhaps even third depending on the SNP's results. That eliminates any chance of a majority in the new parliament, you'd think.

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  17. #177
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    I find it weird that people are voting for a single issue party who are against the idea of the EU, yet if elected the candidates will be taking a seat in the EU parliament.

    Like, none of these votes will actually help the process of getting the withdrawal through Parliament. It's Farage and his crones just using a populist message to secure themselves a free meal ticket on the EU MEP wages again.

  18. #178
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    I suppose they are thinking that if they can pressure the Tories into sticking to a hard Brexit kinda path through inflicting an embarrassing result on them here, they might get what they want down the line. At least, that'll be voters thinking. In practice, you're right - nothing really can be achieved by this (unless you consider sending a load of wreckers to the EU as an incentive for them to want rid of us at any cost) and it will, in practice, just mean Nigel gets another term (or as much of it as we're still in the EU for) on the expenses train.


    The EU elections are going to go very well for them, I imagine. But the general election is a different kettle of fish. For one thing, polls always swing back towards normality in the run up to a general election, and so this won't stick. Many people deserting the Tories will return once the 'scary Corbyn' rhetoric starts to dial up. Second, Theresa May isn't likely to be in charge, and whether you have a sympathetic or condemnatory reading of her position I think we can all agree she's an electoral millstone around their collective neck. And third, first past the post actively hinders new parties, so they can't just do well to get a big number of seats - they have to go out and surpass each and every candidate. A big ask, in a lot of places in Britain.

    Now with that said - if the goal isn't 40+ seats but is just getting to be big enough to compare with the Lib Dems, that's absolutely on the cards if they can leach away enough of the Conservative vote. The downside is that if the Labour vote stays fairly strong and there is reason to believe the Brexit Party vote will come disproportionately from the Tories/UKIP bloc, then it almost guarantees giving power to their political opponents, albeit in a ridiculously fractious coalition.

    Because here's the thing. The 'left' in Britain, broadly conceived, is always fragmented between different parties, whereas the right is smaller but holds together through it's political cohesiveness. But while the left is fragmented, there's one big block, and then a lot of little, smaller parties that take a share. The Brexit party threatens to turn that on its head, not only by smashing the political cohesiveness of the right wing but by creating two blocks of roughly equal size - neither of which is big enough to win nationally.

    What that means is down the line the two will have to come back together, in one form or another, but for the time being god only knows what that will mean for our politics. It could be 'out of government for a generation' territory, if the rift really blows up and is prolonged.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  19. #179
    May is gone in a matter of weeks by all accounts

  20. #180
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Might be for the best for the Tories. Should point out that the poll is bullshit for all sorts of reasons, but say for arguments sake it held up - and it was a poll of Westminster voting intentions rather than for the European Parliament - then the results would be seismic.

    We're talking Brexit party picking up 90 seats, Tories worse off than they were in 1997, and Labour the only party with half a chance of forming a government.

    As I say - these numbers have a chance of holding somewhere in between 0-1%, but even so, they are reason enough for anyone wearing a blue rosette to think that a change is needed solely to avoid a bloodbath.

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  21. #181
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    So, a 'Brexit New Deal' is apparently going to be announced in a couple of hours, which seems to be double headed in it's intentions - one is to show that the Government is making concessions on some points that have been raised during the cross party talks, the other seems to be to bind the hands of a future PM so they can't break the detail of this deal.

    That second point is key, because one of the major sticking points for me had been that anything the Government offered by concession was too easy for the next PM to turn around and tear up. Now it seems like they might at least make a deviation from the agreement bill have to be voted on by Parliament.

  22. #182
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    D'you know, in many ways it was actually one of her better speeches, but there's a feeling of too little, too late about it all, and she's so wounded at this point that it's actually looking like it might just be the ammunition the hardliners on her own side need to finish her off. Be surprised if she hadn't been toppled by this time next week, by the way it sounds.

    Then again - haven't we said all this several times already? She's like the proverb about cockroaches and Keith Richards. We might have to add Theresa May's Premiership to that aphorism soon enough.



    Changing the subject from Brexit for a moment, this situation with British Steel is fucking dire. We're not in the kind of position as a country where we can afford to see a company like that collapse and 25,000 people (largely in areas that are already hard-up) get put out of work at a stroke. An absolute catastrophe.

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  23. #183
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    What's the story with British Steel, Pete?

  24. #184
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    Can't claim to be an expert, but as I understand it there was an Indian company called Tata steel who owned the second biggest set of steelworks in the country. They sold the company on a few years ago, and it was rebranded by some private equity group called Greybull. They called the new company 'British Steel', something which harks back to the old nationalised industry but doesn't seem to be anything to do with it. They initially returned the company to profit for a couple of years.

    But there's been a downturn in the business, largely it seems due to trade with the EU drying up over Brexit uncertainty and in part because of the US/China trade war that's going on. They've been placed into compulsory insolvency after rescue talks with the government broke down. The situation is now that the Government has had to take over and are looking for a buyer, but unless they do or decide to nationalise the company (unlikely right now, to be honest) then there's 5,000 jobs at risk initially, and another 20,000 in the supply chain that depend on the steel that these people make. They are also based in depressed areas, as these heavy industrial jobs often are, so the big question is where do these people go for work if they lose their jobs?

    Basically, it's a disaster. Another one.



    European elections tomorrow. Be interesting to see if the tactical voting materialises in some remain seats. Also interesting to see just how far the Tories will fall, and if that will be the final catalyst for May to lose power. Or maybe that's the wrong word, since she's in government but hardly governing as things stand.

    Dominic Grieve has apparently said he'll resign the Tory whip if a new leader tried to force through a hard brexit. So it's looking like new leader soon, and if they are from that wing, it'll be someone who will go to the country to try and change parliament. And then all bets are off.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  25. #185
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    Agree with you on British Steel, Prime - a serious mess, and one that there's most likely no good way out of.


    Am I right in understanding we won't know what these election results are until Sunday, due to when votes are held in the various EU countries?


    May due to have a meeting with the 1922 Committee tomorrow, supposedly. I can't see how she keeps clinging on to power much longer now, but the biggest question mark is what happens with relation to the withdrawal agreement when/if she goes - and that will depend on who comes in.

    Part of me is sat here secretly hoping for Prime Minister Ken Clarke...

  26. #186
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    Haha, Ken should have been Tory leader in 2001, when the Tory membership chose IDS for that disastrous stretch over him. Would be very interesting to replay 2001-2005 with Blair up against an impressive parliamentarian.

    I think we might not actually know what is happening with the Euro Elex results until Monday morning, by the time they are all in.

    Interesting fact doing the rounds, when the Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom quit the government, she became the 36th ministerial resignation under May (so since July 2016). In a comparable length of time, Gordon Brown lost half as many. Blair and Thatcher both lost less than that number in ten and twelve years respectively. I mean, it's not totally her fault because it's been an impossible hand to play, but a testament to how difficult it has been to get consensus.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  27. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    D'you know, in many ways it was actually one of her better speeches, but there's a feeling of too little, too late about it all, and she's so wounded at this point that it's actually looking like it might just be the ammunition the hardliners on her own side need to finish her off. Be surprised if she hadn't been toppled by this time next week, by the way it sounds.
    There we go. May steps down, and we have our date. June 7th.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  28. #188
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    Finally... The Rock has...


    Oh wait, wrong catchphrase.

    Finally, she has stepped down. Now for the next, and probably worse, candidate to step forward.


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  29. #189
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    So, a few notes on all the runners and riders.

    Boris Johnson - 2/1 FAV

    The early favourite, and likely to win with the members if he makes it to the final two. The catch for Boris is that he's not hugely popular in the parliamentary party, and would run the risk of losing a few more of the moderate MPs if he were to get the nod. As we know, the government is in no real position to lose anyone. A tricky one - instinctively socially quite liberal according to those close to him but in recent years quite admiring of Trump and met with Steve Bannon when he came to Britain. Politically very savvy but has messed up leadership bids before and given that a lot of the PCP will want to see anyone else but him get it, then I wouldn't take this as a done deal until he's made it to the final two. His main advantage is that he has fairly strong Brexit credentials and so could hold that wing of the Party together if the other candidate looked to be someone tainted by May's strategy.

    Dominic Raab - 6/1

    Raab at second favourite indicates the bookies are expecting the next leader to come from the harder Brexit wing of the Tory party. Raab was the Secretary at DexEU for a few months in 2018 but left because he didn't like the direction May was taking the negotiations, so he's one of several untainted in the eyes of the right wing - though he may struggle when facing the general electorate as he was seen as resigning over the deal that he was in charge of negotiating. He's been backed by several already, including the Daily Telegraph who see him as a much more serious and credible Brexiter alternative than the bumbling Hugh Grant-esque style of Johnson. There's plenty of minor things that you can pick up on in his CV but to be honest, he's much more of a blank slate than some of the other, more famous candidates.

    Michael Gove - 10/1

    Considered the smartest man in the Tory Party and really the idealist/philosopher of this generation, but I wonder how many people out there are going to hold the fact that he carved up Johnson's leadership challenge in 2016 against him? It certainly seemed to hurt his chances and he was unable to put up any real kind of challenge himself after knifing his Brexit partner in the back. There's probably going to be a trust issue there, and between that, his odd demeanour and his unpopularity as Education Secretary from 2010-2014 could mean that there'd be some real doubt about ever going to the electorate and asking them to make Gove PM. But if Tory MPs are looking for a Brexiter compromise and people want to stick to candidates with more recognition, then Gove's rep as the intellect of the party could see him come through.

    Jeremy Hunt - 12/1

    It seems laughable that Jeremy Hunt is in this position, but here we are. Ridiculously unpopular in some sections of the country for his time as Secretary of Health, but has generally kept his head down at the Foreign Office and as a holder of one of the major offices of state and someone who hasn't really made many waves, he could be the person they alight on if people start trying to figure out a compromise candidate that might be able to appeal to all areas of the party. His support for remain might count against him in some quarters, even though he's abandoned that since the referendum. On the other hand, his main selling point could be his loyalty to both Cameron and May before him, something that the party might feel they need in a fractious time.

    Rory Stewart - 17/1

    I'm surprised to see him so high up the list, but here he is. Probably the highest ranking explicitly soft-Brexit candidate we've had and seems to be the way a lot of the 'Customs Union' votes are trending at the moment. I don't see it personally - he's not really on many people's radar and has a slightly unusual manner which I think will mean that he'll struggle to convince people that he can run a General Election campaign. A major plus point might be his military background which could make it hard to make the 'soft Brexit is treason' argument stick to him. But who really knows at this point.

    Andrea Leadsom - 17/1

    Has done herself no harm in her time as the Leader of the Commons and had a few tributes from across the house when she resigned, but there's a fair few things that will count against her. The issues that counted against her when she ran in 2016 will not have gone away and there'd be even more scrutiny this time around as she is a more realistic prospect. I suppose the easy question is, she was head-to-head with May and considered a worse option, and we've just seen what the better option left us with - so where's the advantage in taking her? I could see her playing well with the members and she's got Brexit credentials to shore up support on the right - but you wonder where she's going to be able to overhaul more heavy-hitting people with similar positions.

    Matt Hancock 21/1

    The current health secretary often gets characterised as someone who is actually a liberal but who joined the Conservative Party because for people of that class it just would never have occurred to him to do anything else. He's seen as being very much in the same kind of mould as Jeremy Hunt, the person who could come through as a moderate consensus candidate - and if the party need to heal and people think not just about Brexit but where you go regarding a general election, he could actually be a real dark horse. I've already heard it said of his candidacy that he's a better option than Hunt in this respect.

    Penny Mordaunt - 21/1

    The first female defence secretary in history has her Brexit credentials completely lined up, a military background, and would play well with the Tory base. Could actually be a smart option for the Brexiter wing if they want to take somebody without too much baggage (though the same could be said about Raab). There aren't many people with hard Brexiter credentials who could also be seen as people who were unswervingly loyal to her bosses and she can tick both of those boxes. I think the biggest demerit on the record is that she said some things in the Brexit debate that were patently untrue, but paradoxically that might actually be a benefit at getting over the first hurdle. Don't rule her out just yet.



    Sajid Javid and Graham Brady - 26/1

    Both undeclared as yet, but both Eurosceptics who'll be seen as uniting candidates. Brady is very well respected within the party, while there's an idea out there that in this version of the Tory Party Javid is now a moderate, and he'd be a modernising figure in some big ways and might do better out in the country if an election were to be called.

    Steve Baker - 29/1

    Is considering running. Will attract some support early on as he's the most fundamentalist of the names on the list when it comes to Brexit, but I expect him to drop out early and throw his support behind one of the other Brexiter candidates.

    Esther McVey - 67/1

    The longest shot on the list and that doesn't bode well considering she's declared and plenty of others haven't. Most of the comments I see about her call her evil. She does have a media background which could potentially mean she'll play better if she were calling the shots, and there's a version of this in which she gets the job, plays quite well (much better than Corbyn) and is actually quite successful. But right now this feels like a really long shot and I feel like the field might be too crowded for her to get momentum.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  30. #190
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Euro Elex results in so far suggest a polarised country as we already knew, but stepping back for a second, historically fascinating to see the main two parties just getting annihilated - Conservative party might finish as low as sixth. Staggering.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  31. #191
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    Still, larger vote share nationally for explicit Remain parties gave me a bit of a smile, even if the press narrative is again, predictably, all about that odious man instead.

  32. #192
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    It sort of depends on how you allocate Labour votes, because as people from across the rest of the spectrum have been pointing out, it's difficult to know exactly what a vote for a Labour MEP is supposed to signify.

    Refine it a bit and throw out the Labour and Tory votes and make it the starker choice between 2nd ref and hard Brexit, and there's actually a pretty clear majority: 40% to 35%, with the Tories and Labour votes basically still up for grabs on either side if that's what the choice comes down to in the end.



    There's another way of thinking about this - if the 28 seats the Brexit Party have so far are made up mostly of the 23 seats that UKIP won last time, and I think without a decent look at the results that might be a pretty fair first thought, then that means they've taken five combined from Labour and the Tories. That means that 18 of the mainstream party seats haven't gone to the right wing, but have gone to the Pro-Remain parties. I haven't been able to look at the results closely enough yet but it looks like there might be a narrative out there that suggests the Tories in particular are losing more of their 2014 voters on their left flank than on their right.

    The Greens passing 2m votes is another major landmark for them. And a quick note for 'Plan, this is already guaranteed to be the Lib Dems best Euro Election result in history. I think we have to recognise that far from the coalition killing them for a generation, the Lib Dems are back.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  33. #193
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Sorry for another double post but I got quite interested in analysing the votes in a bit more detail and working out where the votes from the main parties had gone in a bit more detail. Now there's obviously a bit of interpretation in this because votes don't necessarily 'go' in the way they would do in an FPTP election, but this assumes that UKIP votes have switched to Brexit, Labour votes have gone to Green, and that the remaining switches are from Tory/Labour to Lib Dem as appropriate. So this is my best guess. If you don't want the regional breakdown, skip to the bottom for the headline figures.


    East Midlands
    Leave 59% in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    2 from UKIP to Brexit
    1 from Tories to Brexit
    1 from Tories to Lib Dems

    East of England
    Leave 56% in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    3 UKIP to Brexit
    2 Conservative to LD
    1 Labour to Green

    London
    Remain 60% in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    1 UKIP to Brexit
    1 Tory to Brexit
    1 Labour to LD
    1 Conservative to LD

    North East
    Leave 58% in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    1 Labour to Brexit
    1 UKIP to Brexit

    North West
    Leave 54% in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    3 UKIP to Brexit
    2 Tories to LD
    1 Labour to Green

    South East
    52% leave in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    4 UKIP to Brexit
    2 Tories to LD

    South West
    53% leave in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    2 UKIP to Brexit
    1 Tory to Brexit
    1 Tory to Lib Dem
    1 Labour to Lib Dem

    Wales
    53% leave in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    1 UKIP to Brexit
    1 Tory to Brexit

    West Midlands
    59% leave in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    3 UKIP to Brexit
    1 Tory to LD
    1 Labour to Green

    Yorkshire and the Humber
    58% leave in 2016
    Change since 2014:
    3 UKIP to Brexit
    1 Labour to Green
    1 Tory to LD


    Brexit gains from Tories: 4
    Brexit gains from Labour: 1
    LD/Green gains from Lab/Tory total: 17

    EDIT: Scotland result is now in.

    1 UKIP to Brexit
    1 Labour to SNP
    1 Labour to Lib Dem


    Northern Ireland takes ages because they use Single-Transferable Vote but looks like it could be a gain for the Alliance Party which roughly translates to a right-to-left gain. But perhaps they won't hold on to that one. The other two will stay Sinn Fein and DUP as NI doesn't tend to moderate very well.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  34. #194
    The Brain
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    That's a great breakdown, Pete!

  35. #195
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Thanks Mizzie.

    I suppose the next question is what do the numbers actually mean? Well, on the one hand I think it's fairly clear that based on the difference between 2014 and 2019, that the two main parties are losing much more of their votes to the Pro-European Parties than they are to the Hard Brexit parties. Labour aren't losing anywhere near as many to Brexit as people thought they might, with only the one in the NE going in that direction and no evidence that there's much happening elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Tories are losing twice as many MEPs to the Lib Dems as they are to Brexit.

    But of course, it's not that easy, because it never could be. Using the 2014 elections as a comparison is fair enough in some respects because it's the last time the seats were contested and makes for the easiest comparison, but it was also the high water mark of UKIP under Farage. A Brexit Party supporter might be inclined to say that for them to form, exist for a few weeks, and not only equal but better that performance, is itself a huge success. A Brexiter in the Tory Party might also say that the vast majority of those voters returned to the Tories for the 2015 and 2017 UK General Elections (something that might not be true in the next one if you believe the latest Ashcroft Poll) and that these people are natural Tory voters, and that they should be doing more to win them back than playing to the centre ground. Essentially, one could argue that enough water has passed under the bridge since 2014 that a simple comparison isn't particularly productive - and I think most people on the right wing of British politics might make that case. But there's also definitely a case for looking at it the other way, which is that the Tories are doing at least as much harm to themselves by losing the free market wing of the Party to LD.

    For Labour the equation seems to be simpler - that actually you just have to take those losses in the North East to prevent the far greater losses to the Greens and Lib Dems that come from their fairly muddled stance so far. There's no way to come out of this flawless, but someone on the pro-EU side could argue that had they made themselves the natural party of opposition to Brexit then maybe the majority of the LD/Green surge could have gone to them and maybe they'd have 'won' this election? A less fractured opposition beating Brexit into second place would create a very different narrative. A note of caution on this, though - we don't know how many more Labour voters might have deserted them for Brexit had they taken on a more explicitly 'remain' position. We know they are losing ground in the North East and nowhere else as it stands but there's no real way of knowing if that would be replicated elsewhere with a firmer position. That said, they're haemorrhaging votes on their left flank over the issue, so I'd argue that they have nothing to lose. The worst would be that you are damned if you and damned if you don't, while there's at least some way of winning out by coming out strongly for remain.

    The million dollar question - never mind individual parties, does this say anything for the overall question of the mood of the public? The first caveat to add is that the number of votes cast is wildly different. There were 33.5m votes cast in the referendum on a 72% turnout, and only 17.1m votes cast in the European Elections. So everything that I'm about to say has to have that attached to it before we start.

    Now, if we assume a No Deal vs Remain option, where Tories uniformly go with Brexit/UKIP/Far Right to Leave, and Labour uniformly go with the Rainbow coalition to remain, then you get an 8% swing from the 2016 referendum from Leave to remain - with the Leave parties now on 43.5% of the vote. It gets more complicated, of course, because some Tories would vote to remain, and some Labour voters would actively vote to Leave, but that's a simple way of looking at it. And based on that simple look, here's how it shakes out locally.

    The East Midlands saw a fairly big swing. Leave Parties still hold a majority, but from 59% in 2016 they've fallen to 54%, while in the West Midlands, another Brexit heartland, there was a 7% drop so there is now a 52-48 leave majority. There was a minor swing to remain in the East of England, though not really particularly noteworthy. Despite being where Labour have done badly, in fact since 2016 (as opposed to 2014) the leave vote was actually down around 7 points in the North East.

    London actually managed to see a dramatic swing to an even more solidly remain position, now at over 2/3 of the vote, and the North West might actually have flipped, to a remain majority (though this is the area where assuming Labour voters to be remainers might not be the safest bet). Even so, using our Brexit/UKIP/Tory/Far Right model, the Leave vote now stands at around 45%. The South East was the closest to the national overall result in 2016 and now has flipped to an almost inverse model, roughly at 52/48 in favour of remain parties. The South West would now be showing a marginal lead for remain, albeit one so small it could potentially be overhauled if all of their independents were standing on explicitly pro-Brexit platforms. The headline could be Yorkshire and Humber which has gone from almost 58% of the vote in 2016 being for Leave to a potential remain majority, depending on what you do with the votes cast for the surprisingly popular Yorkshire Party.

    The change in Scotland would also be pretty dramatic, reflecting London in that the areas that voted remain are now even more strongly inclined to go that way - from 62% to now over 70%. Wales, which voted to leave, now has the leave parties racking up 41% of the votes. N. Ireland, unsurpisingly, still have a narrow remain majority.


    So this is all complicated by two things - Labour and the Tories official 'Brexit but not hard Brexit platforms', which really keep everything up in the air, and the difference in turnout. Who didn't show up - is the Brexit vote down because a lot of people who turned out in 2016 were floating voters who could swing back either way, or might just not turn out for another referendum? Or is it down because there's a huge amount of Brexit supporters who don't recognise the legitimacy of the EU Parliament, and who don't think we should be having the elections, and who stay away as a protest? No way of knowing to be sure. And which way would the remaining Labour and Tory voters jump if pushed into a simple choice?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  36. #196
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    The remarkable thing about that list of runners and riders you've post based on the odds, Prime, is that arguably three of the top four candidates have been completely and utterly dogshit in their previous political roles.

    Gove was, and still is, utterly despised by people in the teaching profession.
    Hunt's time as the Health Secretary was an absolute abomination.
    Johnson's mayorship will go down as a series of money wasting projects, including the Boris Bus, Garden Bridge, Cable Car, and Estuary Airport.

    Just highlights what a shambles politicians can be yet still get to the top.

    As far as the EU elections go, I tend to put little weight to them, but it's certainly interesting to see that breakdown of where the Leave/Remain vote share has shifted.

  37. #197
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    As far as the EU elections go, I tend to put little weight to them
    Far and away the most sensible position!

    And yeah, you're not wrong about any of their performances. In a different era I suspect one or more of them would have been politically dead in the water by now. Though maybe everyone looks great next to Grayling?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  38. #198
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Just a quick reaction to the weird poll that came out a few days ago. I don't believe for a minute we're looking at this as a viable election scenario, but let's just say that it happens for the time being.

    The Lib Dems came out top in a recent poll for the first time in their history. The Brexit party came second, which pushes the two biggest parties in the country into a joint third position. So what would parliament look like if that were repeated in an upcoming general election?

    The news is VERY good for the forces of remain, assuming you'd back most Labour MPs to stand with you.

    Here's why. The Brexit party are actually up 140 seats. But nearly 100 of those are straight gains from the Tories, so the overall shift towards Brexit isn't actually all that strong. Almost offsetting that is that the Lib Dems would set their own record too, with more than 100 gains that would put them at around 120 in total. Obviously, they are firmly committed to remain, so any gains from Tories would shift into that column and the handful of gains from Labour would also be even firmer there.

    The Conservatives would be down 200 seats, but Brexit would only pick up around 140 of those, so the basic swing in Parliament would be 60 seats towards remain. Labour would still be the biggest party but with only 200 seats, so the only ministry that would have any chance would be a Labour administration - either in formal coalition with the Liberals (unlikely) or a confidence-and-supply deal (more likely).

    I imagine either a second referendum or formal revocation of article 50 would be in the terms of any confidence and supply deal.

    Caroline Lucas would also hold her seat, while the SNP would add to this by adding another 20.


    In short, on this poll the remain majority would be around 60.



    Now, it won't happen. This poll and the new leader are just two reasons why many people who usually vote Tory who are saying they'll vote Brexit will come home when the time comes. And plenty of people saying they'll vote Liberal Democrat will change their tune if it looks like Corbyn for PM.



    But just for fun, here are the high-profile names who'd be vulnerable in this scenario:

    Iain Duncan Smith, Ed Miliband, Dominic Raab, Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Liz Truss, Yvette Cooper, Penny Mordaunt, Stephen Crabb, Zac Goldsmith, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Matt Hancock, Kate Hoey, Grant Shapps, Peter Bone, John Redwood.... and Boris Johnson.



    Now, it won't happen.... but interesting times indeed.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  39. #199
    The Brain
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    I'm getting stress by osmosis with all these twists and turns, haha. And y'all still aren't nearly as fucked as American politics at the moment!

  40. #200
    That would be a fun election night, might push Huw Edwards over the edge

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