Archive for October, 2016


Unless the betting is wildly wrong Paul Nuttall looks set to be UKIP’s next leader

Monday, October 31st, 2016


His first challenge: planning for the loss of all UKIP’s MEPs

The UKIP leadership race is down to four with Paul Nuttall the 1/4 odds-on favourite. It is hard to see anyone beating him.

The Merseysider has been a growing force within the party and the hope is that he will help UKIP challenge in Labour strongholds in the north. Certainly he’s an increasingly confident media performer and will set a different tone from Nigel Farage.

Second in the betting is Suzanne Evans who looked more able to appeal to voters in southern England.

    One feature of BREXIT is that the party’s traditional political stronghold, the European Parliament, where the party has been helped enormously the PR voting system, will no longer be an option from 2019. At the 2014 Euro elections UKIP came top winning most seats.

UKIP has to start learning to win under first past the post elections – something which it has struggled with – and the only MP is the semi-detached Douglas Carswell who, of course, defected from the Tories.

Mike Smithson


Free movement now appears to be at the heart of Brexit negotiations

Monday, October 31st, 2016


Don Brind on what the assurances to Nissan might mean

The new Select committee on Exiting the European Union, who will hold their first meeting on Wednesday, will have the opportunity to shape the debate on what Brexit actual means.

The 21-strong committee is like to have a majority of members who backed Remain. Eight of the ten Tories, including Michael Gove, were Leavers but all five of the Labour members, including the chair Hilary Benn, were Remainers. Of the six smaller parties members only the Democratic Unionist Party representative is likely to join the Tory Leavers.

The witnesses they call and the evidence they commission will be important in creating the basis for an informed debate on how Brexit negotiations should be conducted and what the priorities should be.

There will be plenty of fun to be had when the committee grill the distinctly unimpressive trio of Brexit Ministers David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson.

One of the most significant areas the committee can be expected to explore is what scope exists for a deal on free movement of labour. In a must-read piece on the issue the editor of Labour Uncut Atul Hatwal  looks at the deal to keep Nissan manufacturing in Sunderland from the perspective of the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. He declares

  “There is absolutely zero chance that Barnier would give Britain what it prizes the most – the automotive single market– “without extracting a concession on the issue that exercises Central and Eastern European states the most: migration. The firmness of Britain’s commitments to Nissan mean that the British government knows that it has to accept a compromise on this issue.”

Hatwal outlines two possible approaches to allow continued free movement. One is sectoral, where specific arrangement allow key industries to keep current migration arrangements. The other is geographic, where devolved administrations would be able to opt-in to free movement with some associated single market advantages for these regions. “There would be a democratic mandate and local control over decision-making. Regions that were hostile to migration could simply not opt-in to any free movement scheme.”

Hatwal is clear that there is a bureaucratic cost to the twin approaches. His article is worth reading in its entirety.

On the same theme, Sunder Katwala director of the British Future think-tank strikes an optimistic note in an article for the FT.

He takes heart from the polling evidence that “there is no public support for an indiscriminate anti-immigration crackdown. Instead, three-quarters of people — including eight out of ten Leave and Ukip supporters — see Brexit as the opportunity to get the balance right, to have more choice and control over who comes to Britain while still keeping the immigration that is good for our economy and society. Britons also want to maintain our tradition of offering sanctuary to refugees.”

There is he concludes “a remarkable opportunity for a pragmatic deal on this most polarised of public policy issues. Seizing it would help to rebuild public confidence in Britain as a society where immigration and integration is a positive thing.”

Don Brind


Of all the Westminster constituencies affected by Heathrow Richmond Park is where there’s the most opposition

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Maybe this is a reflection of Goldsmith’s campaigning

Back in July, just after TMay took over at Number 10, Populus carried out a big series of phone polls in constituencies most affected by the then proposed expansion of Heathrow. The data is in the chart above.

What is striking that in all but two of the seats polled there was net support for the expansion not opposition. Perhaps this is an indication of the huge contribution to the local economy of Britain’s leading airport. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly linked to Heathrow and people see this as a positive rather than the associated environmental issues.

There are just two exceptions: Twickenham and Richmond Park where the by-election takes place on December 1st. My guess, and I spent a large part of my life living in the area, is that in these two seats the level of Heathrow-linked employment is lowest.

But there’s also another explanation and that is Zac Goldsmith himself. The billionaire’s son and old Etonian has always had a high profile on Heathrow and maybe the polling is reflecting that.

What is perhaps surprising is that even in Richmond Park just 52% said they were opposed to the expansion. So Heathrow has resonance but maybe not quite as much as is assumed.

Mike Smithson


If this analysis and trend of early voters is right then Clinton is on course for victory

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

One of the reasons I like betting on US Presidential races is that there’s an awful lot of data made available before election day that allows you to see how people have voted that simply isn’t available in UK elections because of electoral law. This info helps influence my betting, so I like this from Ipsos and Reuters asking early voters how they have voted.

With 11 days to go before the U.S. presidential election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by 15 percentage points among early voters surveyed in the past two weeks, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.

Though data is not available for all early voting states, Clinton enjoys an edge in swing states such as Ohio and Arizona and in Republican Party strongholds such as Georgia and Texas.

An estimated 19 million Americans have voted so far in the election, according to the University of Florida’s United States Election Project, accounting for as much as 20 percent of the electorate.

Overall, Clinton remained on track to win a majority of votes in the Electoral College, the Reuters/Ipsos survey showed.

Having so many ballots locked down before the Nov. 8 election is good news for the Clinton campaign. On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it is examining newly discovered emails belonging to Clinton’s close aide, Huma Abedin. Those emails were found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s estranged husband, during an unrelated investigation into illicit messages he is alleged to have sent to a teenage girl. The Reuters/Ipsos survey was conducted before the news emerged Friday afternoon…….

….Clinton’s lead among early voters is similar to the lead enjoyed by President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney at this point of the 2012 race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken at the time. Obama won the election by 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.

What would have been even more useful if there were comparisons to 2012. But if the on the day voting is anything like this then we could see a Hillary Clinton landslide, but in a close election this substantial early vote lead might be crucial in a tight race.

As noted this was conducted before the FBI intervention on Friday, where not for the first time, a Weiner has the potential to imperil a Clinton Presidency, hopefully we’ll see more analysis like this in the run up to November 8th.



Betting on who will win the US Presidential race in 2020

Sunday, October 30th, 2016


Both Trump & Clinton have the potential to voluntarily be one term Presidents and that benefits their nominees for Vice President for the 2020 race.

No, that headline wasn’t a typo, even before the winner of the 2016 race has been decided, Ladbrokes really do have a market up on who will win the 2020 White House race. I do wonder if both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, by choice, will be voluntary one term Presidents.

The reasons for why they might be involuntary one term or less Presidents are Clinton’s much commented upon mainly her health issues may become a subject that renders it impossible for her to run again in 2020 and that email server. But for whatever reason she decides not to run in 2020, her Vice Presidential candidate, who by 2020 would be the Vice President, Tim Kaine, might be the best option to back in that scenario. He could be in the incumbent President at the time of the 2020 Presidential election, and being the incumbent makes it very helpful for him to be his party’s nominee in 2020.

As for Donald Trump, despite the hype, the President of the United States of America isn’t as powerful as some think, I suspect Donald Trump will become very frustrated with the system of government the Founding Fathers came up, and will despise the separation of powers and checks & balances like most other residents of the White House. Which makes it more likely he’ll stand down after one term due to frustration at not being able to get things done as he does in the business world, after all he isn’t a career politician. So if Trump steps down this would benefit Mike Pence. Like Hillary Clinton, you can see President Trump being successfully impeached, and like Tim Kaine, Mike Pence could be the incumbent President at the time of the 2020 Presidential election.

What I’ve seen of Mike Pence so far in this election campaign he comes across as an assured and smooth politician, who if he were the GOP nominee probably would beat Hillary, and I say that as someone who thinks Pence’s views on LGBT equality and denial of treatment of H.I.V. and AIDS sufferers marks him out as a vile bigot and extremist egregiously unqualified to be President but as the old Polish proverb says ‘not my circus, not my monkeys.’

So Tim Kaine and Mike Pence to win the Presidential race in 2020 will be my first bets of that Presidential race.



Hillary is now even more than reliant on the First Lady to get her over the line

Saturday, October 29th, 2016


The race looks a lot tighter than it 24 hours ago

What’s become almost the best guide to how WH2016 is going is how often it is Michelle Obama who is making the news.

She was the star of the Democratic convention in August – an event that was certainly a turning point in the polling. Recently she’s been really forceful on Trump’s issues with women and last night made a big speech alongside Hillary in North Carolina which got good coverage. This is a state that Obama missed in 2012 which, if things go rightly for HRC, could end up in her hands on November 8th.

As Taegan Goddard writes on the excellent PoliticalWire:

“..The reasons Obama is such a perfect surrogate for Clinton is that she appeals to every part of the coalition that carried Barack Obama to victories in 2008 and 2012: younger voters, people of color, single women and college-educated white voters.

Clinton has struggled to put that coalition back together, but Michelle Obama is helping her do it..”

While the early voting continues to look positive for the blue team the latest FBI intervention has certainly taken the wind of out the Clinton campaign sails even though it did not directly concern her.

What appears to be happening in the polls is that Republicans are increasingly likely to say they are certain which is helping the Trimp numbers.

This battle is very much about turnout. Only a week and a half to go.

Mike Smithson


Conservative David Herdson wonders whether Theresa May’s meritocracy is actually a mirage

Saturday, October 29th, 2016


Why the nomination for Yorkshire’s Tory MEP will be a key test

Prime ministers are inevitably remembered for their great achievements and their great failings: Attlee’s welfare state, Thatcher’s Falklands, Thatcher’s Poll Tax, Blair’s Iraq, and so on. Theresa May’s first ministry will be defined by the success or failure of Brexit. If it’s a failure, her first ministry will be her only one.

But beneath the towering achievements and epic failures, governments leave a much broader legacy in the tone they set for the country in values and actions. May should be judged as much for the thousands of small decisions her government takes as for the few giant ones.

Helpfully, she gave the country the means to judge her when she took office. Her first speech as prime minister was almost entirely about social justice, reducing inequality and, to quote directly,

“When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few. We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.”

One place where her ability to put those principles into action is as great as any is within her own party. In fact, it’s not just an ability to act there, it’s a duty. Unfortunately, an early bad decision might well undermine all the fine words – and there is the risk of such a decision.

David Cameron’s resignation honours included a peerage for the (then) Yorkshire MEP, Timothy Kirkhope. As you can’t serve in both the European and Westminster parliaments, Kirkhope’s entry to the Lords meant that there was a vacancy for the Strasbourg post. The full details of what happened next are laid out in this ConHome article. To cut a long story short, when there’s a vacancy, the position goes to the next person on the party list able to take it. In this case, that should be Alex Story but because of an administrative error and the refusal of CCHQ to acknowledge that error, Story might well be unfairly passed over.


This is not the sort of thing that brings party leaders down, and nor will it. Indeed, it’s not the sort of thing that party leaders much get involved in at all. But were the Board of the Conservative Party to ratify someone else over Story, it would give the lie to May’s comment quoted above.

The Yorkshire nomination is set into particularly sharp focus by the goings on in Richmond where multi-millionaire Zac Goldsmith has been given a free run as an independent after resigning in protest at the government’s policy. There might be good reason not to put a candidate up there but all the same, the impression of one rule for the rich and prominent, and another for the less-well-connected would be hard to dispel in the public mind – particularly if the Yorkshire case ends up in the courts, which is far from impossible.

The best thing for May to do would be cut through the office politics within the lower ranks of the Party and simply ensure that the normal operation of the nomination process is followed and that Story gets the nod. Were that to happen, the whole issue would simply go away before it ever came to the public’s attention. But to prevaricate or stay out would risk adding another discordant note to the government’s tone and risk further undermining her efforts to deliver systems that work fairly for everyone. After all, if you can’t deliver fairness within your own party, what chance in the country at large?

David Herdson

p.s. Keen observers might note that Alex Story was the Conservative candidate for Wakefield in 2010, and that I am now the Chairman of the Wakefield Conservative Association. Despite that, I don’t know him personally (I was still in Shipley in 2010), and have no particular axe to grind in the case other than a belief that people should be treated fairly and according to due process.


Local By-Election Results : October 27th 2016 and October Summary

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Rhyl West on Denbighshire (Lab defence)
Result: Lab 199 (48% +5% on 2012), Con 93 (22% -3% on 2012), Ind (Shone) 55 (13%), Ind (Webster) 42 (10%), Lib Dem 26 (6%, no candidate in 2012)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 106 (26%) on a swing of 4% from Con to Lab
Total Independent vote: 97 (23% +6% on 2012)

Collington (Ind defence) and Darwell (Con defence) on Rother
Collington Result: Ind 818 (60% +20% on 2015), Con 393 (29% -1% on 2015), Lab 87 (6% -3% on 2015), UKIP 66 (5% -8% on 2015)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 425 (31%) on a swing of 10.5% from Con to Ind

Darwell Result: Con 359 (47% +5% on 2015), Lib Dem 259 (34% +17% on 2015), Lab 79 (10% unchanged on 2015), UKIP 60 (8% -9% on 2015)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 100 (13%) on a swing of 6% from Con to Lib Dem

October Monthly Summary
Labour 14,155 votes (28% +1% on last time) winning 10 seats (-5 seats on last time)
Conservatives 12,657 votes (25% -5% on last time) winning 10 seats (-3 seats on last time)
Liberal Democrats 9,306 votes (18% +6% on last time) winning 6 seats (+3 seats on last time)
Independent candidates 3,351 votes (7% +2% on last time) winning 3 seats (+2 seats on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 3,156 votes (6% -4% on last time) winning 1 seat (+1 seat on last time)
Scottish National Party 2,888 votes (6% +4% on last time) winning 1 seat (+1 seat on last time)
Green Party 2,367 votes (5% -2% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Plaid Cymru 495 votes (1% unchanged on last time) winning 1 seat (+1 on last time)
Other Parties 2,692 votes (5% -1% on last time) winning 2 seats (+1 on last time)
Labour lead of 1,498 votes (3%) on a swing of 3% from Con to Lab since last time

SNP GAIN Garscadden and Scotstounhill on Glasgow from Labour
UKIP GAIN Headland and Harbour on Hartlepool from Labour
Liberal Democrats GAIN Culloden and Ardersier on Highland from Labour
Local Residents GAIN Limpsfield on Tandridge from Conservative
Labour GAIN Witham North on Braintree from Conservative
Independent GAIN Abergele, Pensarn on Conwy from Labour
Liberal Democrats GAIN St. Mary’s on the East Riding of Yorkshire from Conservative
Conservatives GAIN Rothwell on Kettering from Labour
Independent GAIN Heacham on King’s Lynn and West Norfolk from Conservative
Conservatives GAIN Strood South on Medway from UKIP
Plaid GAIN Blaengwrach on Neath and Port Talbot from Labour