Will YouGov’s election model be vindicated when the results are in?

Opinion polling firm YouGov have raised eyebrows in the run up to Thursday’s poll with the results of their forecast model, which at the time of writing is forecasting that the Conservatives will only win 307 seats. This would deprive them of their parliamentary majority, and leaves open the possibility that Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister if Labour could secure support from the smaller parties in the Commons. The YouGov model is out of line with other election forecasts, … Read more

Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland should have a say in the Brexit negotiations- Labour

Keir Starmer the former English director of public prosecutions who is Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary has written an “ exclusive “ for the New European paper headlined, “We’ll give Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales their say on Brexit’ says Keir Starmer. It sounded great when I heard about it but it took me took me a couple of reads to find what turned out to be an anticlimax. ..we will have the confidence to bring Parliament into the Brexit process, … Read more

The UK rejects the EU timetable for negotiations. A border solution will have to wait

A pat on the back is due for Slugger for anticipating this reaction  to the EU negotiating guidelines. The FT (£)  has picked up Brexit Secretary David Davis’s interview on ITV’s Peston show yesterday   “How on earth do you resolve the issue of the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless you know what our general borders policy is, what the customs agreement is, what our trade agreement is?” he told ITV’s Robert Peston. “It’s wholly … Read more

After #IndyRef in 2014, seismic shifts appear to be everyday stuff in Scotland…

Interesting piece in the Economist on the changing state of Scottish politics, which notes that “in the aftermath of the referendum on independence in 2014, seismic shifts are everyday stuff.” It contains a pretty good historical briefing of the development of Scottish politics, not least how a small stream from the old Tory Unionist Party broke away to form the Scottish Party (which advocated Dominion states for Scotland inside the Commonwealth). But the core observation for me is how the … Read more

Sinn Fein’s tactical playbook does not include what to do if unionists play generous and smart

So Brexit, eh?  How’s that going for you? Will it affect your vote? Or is it business as usual? Signs are from England that since it is still impossible to define what Brexit looks like the strong Remain position the Lib Dems took isn’t paying off well for them. In Scotland, the whole thing is being run aggressively as an anti-SNP/anti-#ScotRef referendum. The SNP is protected by the ongoing weakness of Scottish Labour, yet those who predicted the Tories were … Read more

Over the cliff edge – what would happen if exports to the EU were subject to tariffs

The continuing deterioration of relations between the British Government and the European Union has led to a renewed focus on the possibility of a hard Brexit, where all trade between the UK and the European Union would be subject to tariffs in line with WTO rules. Previously, I had written about how Northern Ireland would bear a disproportionate cost of a hard Brexit, due to cross-border exports of dairy playing a substantial segment of the local economy. Under WTO rules, … Read more

Theresa May’s local victories are good for the Union cause but give no comfort to special status fans

  A note of caution is needed about  talk of a Tory landslide on 8 June. Although UKIP was obliterated in the GB local elections,  Labour might have done even worse. Michael Thrasher’s projections of the local results to the general election “ for a bit of fun” on Sky News   works out a majority of  48 seats, up a respectable 36 but well short of a landslide and barely worth  the trouble of calling a snap election. John Curtice, election … Read more

Who is Donald Trump?

[Donald John, or Dòmnall Iain is one of the most common names on the Isle of Lewis, the birthplace of Donald Trump’s ancestors. It translates, from the Latin and Norse roots, as dom and val, as The Ruler of the World] In a wide-ranging interview, the writer, activist and ecologist, Alastair McIntosh, has raised an intriguing possibility that US President Donald Trump’s personality and behaviour can be traced back to traumatic 19th century clearances and evictions in southern and western … Read more

Westminster’s reply to the SNP’s case for remaining in the single market was taken seriously after all. So why did May allow Sturgeon to claim she’d been ignored?

Here’s a strange thing. There we were, led to believe  that Theresa May had dismissed almost with  contempt Nicola Sturgeon’s  carefully  considered case for the UK, or at least Scotland,  to remain within the single market. It turns out it wasn’t like that at all. We know that because the Scottish Government itself has just published a reply to the SNP’s paper Scotland’s Place in Europe, from the Brexit Secretary David Davis in a letter dated 29 March. It lists … Read more

The EU summit’s declaration on a united Ireland exposes British isolation

EU prepares for post-Brexit united Ireland membership Summit endorsement would raise fears over fragmentation of UK The Financial Times  is getting  excited about today’s  EU summit endorsing special treatment for Ireland  in the Brexit negotiations and raises “ fears for the fragmentation of the UK “ The Irish Times political editor Stephen Collins is equally excited that a declaration on Ireland gives Enda Kenny the dignified farewell he’s been seeking. What does it amount to? The Irish Times gives a … Read more

Brexit (in the short term) re-engineers the environment around Scotland’s political trilemma

Brexit is changing the terms under which the UK’s internal politics are played. If you thought it could only drive Scotland out of the UK let me re-introduce Dani Rodrik‘s Political Trilemma: …economic globalization, political democracy, and the nation-state are mutually irreconcilable. We can have at most two at one time. Democracy is compatible with national sovereignty only if we restrict globalization. If we push for globalization while retaining the nation-state, we must jettison democracy. And if we want democracy along … Read more

Labour facing real risk of wipeout as their polling slump continues

The past days have seen a number of opinion polls released ahead of June’s General Election, and they continue to make grim reading for the Labour Party. The ComRes/Sunday Mirror poll gave the Conservatives a 50% share, double that of Labour on 25%. The last fortnight has continued to give Tories a vote share in the high forties, whilst Labour have been languishing far behind on the low to mid twenties. Were these results to be replicated in the election … Read more

Signs of dramatic Tory revival causes new headache for Sturgeon’s Indyref 2 strategy

From the Sunday Times £ SNP set to lose 11 seats according to shock poll The Panelbase survey of 1,029 voters in Scotland — the first Scottish poll since Theresa May called a snap election — points to a surge in support that would take the Conservatives to 33%, up 18 points from two years ago. It amounts to their strongest showing north of the border since the days of Sir Edward Heath’s government in the 1970s before the steep … Read more

The problem with the Lib Dems’ anti-Brexit strategy

The snap General Election called for June 2017 would appear to be a significant opportunity for the Liberal Democrats. In contrast with Labour’s mixed messages on Brexit, the Lib Dems are offering a much clearer stance on Brexit, positioning themselves as the party who will stop a hard Brexit and keep the UK in the single market. Could this year’s election provide an opportunity for the Lib Dems to become the party to speak for the 48% of the UK … Read more

Effects of #Brexit are likely to challenge every single party in Britain, bar the Tories…

Now, take this British Election Survey with a modicum of salt. Particularly the visual graphics which, if you read them too directly, can be misleading. It’s complex, but the detail tells an interesting story. This is the tenth wave of a big survey with massive sample sizes that go way beyond the average polls. According to the notes: 7,351 respondents took all of the first 10 waves of the survey, 24.3% of respondents who originally took wave 1. Wave 10 was conducted by YouGov … Read more

Interview with Prof Rob Ford on the Ins and Outs of the UK’s #GE17

I spoke to Rob Ford, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester, about the upcoming Westminster election this afternoon.  I asked him how the government could get around the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act: There are two likely options. The first and, given the statement of Jeremy Corbyn already, the more likely is, that a vote will be called in the Commons which would require a 2/3 majority to call an election. If MPs don’t back … Read more

A centrist alternative to the UK Labour Party?

It’s worth reading this first… …being an equidistant centre party is good for winning votes and terrible at winning seats. That’s three questions anyone wanting to set up a new centre party has to answer, just as a preliminary: What does your proposed party stand for? How are you going to build an actual party, not just an HQ? How are you going to win Parliamentary seats and not just accumulate wasted votes? Once they’ve got the answers to those, … Read more

New powers for Stormont? That’ll get’em going!

James Brokenshire has solemnly warned that if Stormont is to receive new powers as result of Brexit, power sharing must be restored. This blatantly original statement puts him in line for a Nobel Peace Prize or a slot on Pointless. It’s just the sort of threat that will have them rushing to the conference table next Monday. It  puts a small cart before a big horse that is out there somewhere roaming the range. Who cares about powers when what … Read more

Slugger’s video round up of views from around the UK regions and Ireland…

Lots to take in the day after Article 50 was triggered. I’ve been busy trying to roster up videos which contain various viewpoints from within the UK and Ireland. The first being a very useful interview of Theresa May by Andrew Neil: The David Davin Power on maneuvers with the Taoiseach in Malta where Enda Kenny was attending an EPP conference… Then here’s our local guys kicking things around in two separate rounds… The Newsline report from last night has … Read more