Archive for the 'Boris' Category


The Mayor, the pro-IN Mayor’s Dad and the LAB approach to EURef

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Boris Johnson announces he will back Brexit campaign YouTube

Donald Brind on how the campaign is unfolding


“It’s up to you in the Labour Party to save us.” I was too polite to reply: “From your son, you mean?”, for this was Stanley Johnson, the charming father of boorish Boris, the Brexiteer.

Boris is the black sheep of the Johnson clan. As is well known, his decision to join the Leave camp put him in opposition not just to his father but also to his brother Jo, the Higher education Minister and his sister Rachel Johnson senior and I were at the launch of a novel, Pax 1934-1941 which is set in a darker period for relations between Britain and Europe. Stanley Johnson describes himself as a lifelong “Europeanist”. He was a Tory MEP and also worked in the European Commission. He thinks his son may have made a “career ending” choice”. 

I agreed with Johnson senior that Labour voters were likely to play a decisive role in the referendum. I took the opportunity to explain the importance of Jeremy Corbyn’s “warts and all” support for the Remain campaign. It captures the mood of many workers who see the EU as wedded to austerity but vital for protecting rights in the workplace. The Labour’s leader’s pledge to seek to reform the Union from within could be vital in making sure Labour supporters turn out and vote.

I also recommended to Boris’ dad an article by one of Labour’s rising stars Seema Malhotra on the importance of tackling the generational divide. She pointed to a recent YouGov poll showing a three-to-one majority amongst under 30s in favour of staying in while among the over-60 the leavers outnumber the stayers by 63% to 37%.

“The generation born in the 1990s believe that walking away from the European Union will damage the British economy and endanger their chances to get on and do well. But that could happen if their parents and grandparents stick with their current intentions to vote to Leave.” Turnout would be crucial, she said. “The hopes of the Leave campaign are pinned on the support of older voters – and on a low turnout.”

This presents a double challenge for Labour which is overwhelmingly in support of Remain. She said the party has to mobilise and motivate Labour supporters of all ages to achieve a high turnout – and to appeal to those planning to vote Leave to “Think Again”.

They should focus on what walking away would mean for their children and their grandchildren.

“My appeal to older people is – “Listen to the young people of Britain. Take note of what they think is best for their future.” She called for a “conversation between the generations”, drawing inspiration from last year’s Irish referendum campaign when parents and grandparents were persuaded to support equal marriage.

There is expected to be a strong youth theme when Jeremy Corbyn steps up EU campaigning after the local elections. He met Barak Obama after the US president’s town inspirational town-hall style meeting with young people. The Obama visit has put the Leave campaign on the back foot.

Which, brings us back to Stanley Johnson’s lad. Boris Johnson’s biographer, Andrew Gimson, delivered a scathing account of his run-in with the president in the Mail . Game, set and match to the President” is Gimson’s verdict.

But why, asks the biographer, “did Boris ever get himself into a contest he was so likely to lose? The answer is that as well as being a politician, he is a journalist, and he needed to find an intro to his article which would grab the reader’s attention. “He was short of time, so he reached for the tired old Churchill anecdote and gave it a bit more edge by referring to ‘the part-Kenyan President’ – a phrase which would make people wonder whether Boris was being racist.”

“He was not being racist, but he was being inaccurate. For Boris has never set any store by the pedantic virtue of getting his facts right.”

Echoing Stanley’s Johnson’s view that joining Brexit was a “career ending move” for his son, the Mail headline asks “Has Obama busted Boris? … the President exposed the Brexit leader as a bogus… and unlikely PM.”

Maybe that’s right – maybe it isn’t.


Donald Brind


CON voters give Dave a net 24% lead over Boris on whose EU statements/claims are trusted

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Datawrapper    SNnbN    Publish

Why LEAVE has to undermine the PM

It is said, though I have no independent verification, that the Lynton Crosby analysis of the referendum is that the outers have to totally undermine Cameron’s reputation if they are to have a chance.

With Corbyn now coming off the fence which should encourage the Labour IN vote current CON voters are a major battleground between IN and OUT. The polls vary but all have LEAVE ahead amongst this voting segment but the gap needs to be significantly larger than it is. The above chart is a good illustration of why the CON vote could be decisive.

As can be seen at the moment David Cameron enjoys a very significant net lead over Boris Johnson when it comes to who Conservative voters trust on comments and statements in relation to the referendum.

Now the Mayor has become the de facto head of LEAVE numbers like these look set to give us good pointers.

Mike Smithson


If next CON leader betting prices are indicator then Boris leadership ambitions not helped by BREXIT campaign

Sunday, April 10th, 2016


We need to re-think next CON leader betting following Cameron’s rough week on his financial affairs

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Dave’s successor will have had a much more humble upbringing

One consequence I’d suggest of the past week’s revelations relating to David Cameron is that his successor will come from a very different sort of background. Next time the party will not choose a “posh boy who doesn’t know the price of bread” to use the Nadine Dorries quote.

For the big political damage from this whole affair has been the reminder that the Boris Johnson’s, Osborne’s or Cameron’s experience of this world is something that is alien to the vast majority of people in the country.

Whether the Prime Minister was involved in a tax avoidance scheme or not is almost irrelevant – the big problem for him is that it reminds us of his background.

So I would suggest that we can now rule out Boris Johnson and George Osborne from the next Conservative leadership race.

Looking around this could enhance Theresa May’s chances as well as Sajid Javid’s. It could also help the big mover at the moment Michael Gove who topped the latest ConHome member next leader survey.

Other possibilities with back stories closer to John Major than David Cameron are newly promoted Stephen Crabb and Liz Truss. I got 150/1 on the latter on Betfair yesterday.

At the right price all the names highlghted are worth a punt.

Mike Smithson


Gove pushes Boris out off the top slot in ConHome’s latest next CON leader survey

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

ConHome Gove poll

Was the Mayor’s Brexit move a mistake?

The big political betting story this lunch time is that Boris Johnson has been pushed out of the top slot in the Conservativehome survey of leader preferences by Michael Gove.

Boris is, of course the long-standing betting favourite to succeed David Cameron but he’s been having a bit of a rough time during the BREXIT campaign.

    The mayor’s flippant and seemingly arrogant approach at a recent Commons Treasury select committee session was widely criticised and there was the brutal attack on him in the Times by ex-CON MP, Matthew Parris.

This led to speculation amongst Tory MPs that Boris wouldn’t even make the final two when they ballot to choose the short list that will go to the membership.

He’s still favourite but that could change.

Michael Gove is widely regarded as having a good referendum campaign. He made his position clear right at the start and is managing to maintain a good relationship with both sides.

Mike Smithson


Boris Johnson is having a deeply unimpressive referendum campaign so far

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

If he wants to be leader, he needs to improve sharply in the next three months just to make the final two of the next Tory leadership contest.

Look at the above video from Boris Johnson’s appearance at the Treasury Select Committee earlier on this week, where his past comments/hyperbole on the EU came back to haunt him. Then there’s that tweet showing his inconsistency. Unfortunately for Boris these are the norms, not the exceptions. When he recently appeared on The Andrew Marr Show and was so unimpressive, Trevor Kavanagh of The Sun wrote of that appearance that it “may have damaged both Brexit and [Boris Johnson’s] dream of becoming our next Prime Minister.” People like Michael Gove have made a more articulate case for leaving the EU than Boris has so far.

The next general election campaign will echo the lines of the last campaign, Tory competence versus Labour chaos. That message won’t work if the Tory leader is seen as a buffoon or not as a credible Prime Minister. Despite recent appearances the Tory Party really does want to win the next general election, it would be wrong to view the next Tory leadership contest solely through the prism of only the EU referendum. The members have already said their two main criteria when choosing the next leader will be 1) Who will be the most competent PM and 2) Who has the best chance of winning in 2020. This represents good news for Theresa May, who in my opinion is value at  11/1 to be next Prime Minister, as she radiates competency.

As Matthew Parris noted in The Times yesterday (££), Boris Johnson in the past called Labour’s repeal of Section 28 “appalling”, who joked about “tank-topped bum-boys.” These sort of comments will come back and haunt Boris, whilst undoing the Tory detoxification project. Compare and contrast with Theresa May’s ‘Nasty Party’ comments, only one of those will be helped by their respective past comments, and it isn’t Boris. With Mike pointing out how the polls have a history of overestimating Boris, you can see the appeal of Boris waning with MPs further. On past performance Boris Johnson won’t survive the white heat of a Tory leadership contest.

Boris Johnson, David Cameron, and George Osborne all became MPs in June 2001, the performance so far by Boris Johnson in this referendum campaign has reminded us why Cameron and Osborne became Tory leader and Shadow Chancellor respectively within a little over four years of becoming MPs, whilst Boris Johnson was wasting away on the backbenches. History has shown, this far out it is profitable to lay the favourite for the Tory leadership, Boris is not showing any evidence why punters should break that habit. Simply not being Boris Johnson might be enough to win the Tory leadership.


PS – The Treasury select committee member Wes Streeting was deeply impressive during the questioning of Boris Johnson, coupled with his recent joke at George Osborne’s expense “Recalling a deeply, deeply unfortunate and certainly not amusing mix-up in which Barack Obama kept calling Osborne ‘Geoffrey’, Streeting had a Rainbow gag up his sleeve: “There’s probably a risk when President Obama visits next month he’ll think you’ve changed your name from Geoffrey to Bungle.”” Wes Streeting is worth backing at 66/1 for next Labour leader with Ladbrokes, I like him a lot.


So far Cameron just has the edge on trust in the mighty battle between him and Boris

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Cameron LHbosis narrow 268 x 400

The CON voter split will be crucial

One of the best non-voting intention polling indicators to the referendum could well be the question above used by ComRes at the weekend in its IoS Sunday Mirror online poll.

Inevitably the battle is being presented in the media as a mighty clash between the Prime Minister and the Mayor and the question of who is trusted most to act in the interests of Britain is central.

Overall but only by a whisker ComRes found that Cameron just has the edge but the breakdown by party support is quite revealing. He leads amongst all voting groups apart from UKIP supporters who are overwhelmingly for Johnson.

The key numbers and ones where we could see movement is within the Conservative voting segment. At the moment Cameron has a two to one lead here which I found somewhat surprising. I’d have expected it to be much closer given the way the Tory press is so hostile.

Because this is a blue on blue clash and what we know of previous voting patterns CON voters’ segment will have the highest turnout level. LAB voters might be less inclined to vote in a battle that appears to sideline their party.

The BREXIT campaign has to find a way of undermining the trust that Cameron has amongst the voting group that gave him a Commons majority last May. Many of them might be inclined to out but at the moment they trust him more than Boris.

Mike Smithson


LAB close the gap by 5 points with ComRes online to just 9% behind

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

CON 38%-3
LAB 29%+2
LD 7%-2
UKIP 16%+1
GRN 4%+1

The Boris versus Dave findings


An encouraging finding for Cameron and one which could be crucial that CON voters are twice as likely to say they trust the PM more than the Mayor to do what is best for Britain (54% say they trust Cameron more v 27% who trust Johnson more).

EURef findings but no voting intentions


ComResRes voting intwntion numbers have in all case but one come from its phone polling.


Mike Smithson