Battle for the Soul of Great Britain

-edited

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative candidate Boris Johnson are in an epic battle for the soul of Britain.

The UK general election is less than 5 weeks away. The winner will change the face of the UK for decades.

Nearly every pollster had Johnson in front, but no one is really confident of the numbers.

Radical Marxist Corbyn

In a forced distribution scheme, Labour Proposes Workers to Get 10% of Company Shares

  1. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, want big companies to give employees a 10% stake in their business and a seat on their boards.
  2. They plan to renationalize rail, water, energy and Royal Mail, increase corporation tax and the minimum wage, and extend workers’ rights.
  3. Companies doing business with the government will have bosses’ pay capped and there will be a tax on financial transactions.

Corbyn proposes sheltering the homeless and forcing homeowners to sell their homes to renters at a "reasonable" price, set by the government.

Look to Venezuela for what happens when countries renationalize industries and seize private property for the "good of everybody".

Corbyn's Brexit plan is to negotiate a deal with the EU, then hold a referendum on it.

The Guardian Live Blog reported this morning: John McDonnell has announced a radical Labour plan to commit £400bn of investment to what he called the twin crises of the climate emergency and social deprivation, saying “future generations would never forgive us.” if rapid action was not taken.

Centrist Johnson

Johnson is a centrist in most aspects. He supports more government spending, but let's instead call it investment.

I cannot come up with any proposal of Johnson that one could remotely be called "radical right", yet that is how Eurointelligence labeled Johnson this morning while also discussing Watson standing down as a Labour MP.

As an American journalist put it yesterday, quoting Yeats, the centre does not hold. Tom Watson is probably not the last centrist Labour MP to leave the political scene. What we find particularly depressing is that Watson's new ambition in life is to become a level 2 gym instructor and fitness book author. The UK's political centrists - pro-European Tories and Labourites have completely snookered themselves in the last 10 years. Their mass exodus from the centre has left the UK with a choice between the hard left and the hard right.

Faulty Definition of Centrist

The centrists in Eurointelligence's view are those who wish to kowtow to the asinine policies and procedures of the EU, having no national say.

Johnson genuinely wants to work out a good free trade deal. If he can't do that, he is willing to walk away.

With Remain on one side and Hard Brexit on the other, Johnson's position isn't radical, it's centrist. So are his proposals for spending more money.

Eurtointelligence is half-right. Corbyn an extreme-left radical so much so that in the last two days, two prominent Labour MPs are actively promoting Johnson.

Former Labour MP Ian Austin Urges Voters to Back Johnson

The Guardian notes Former Labour MP Ian Austin Urges Voters to Back Boris Johnson

“There’s only two people who are going to be prime minister on December 13. Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson. And I think Jeremy Corbyn is completely unfit to lead our country. Completely unfit to lead the Labour party,” said Austin, adding "The Labour party’s been poisoned with anti-Jewish racism under his leadership and it is a complete and utter disgrace.”

Former Labour MP John Woodcock Urges Voters to Back Johnson

Today, former Labour MP John Woodcock joined the Corbin-bashing party.

"The choice to keep Jeremy Corbyn away from Downing Street, to stop him getting his hands on the levers of national security and defence has to be to vote Conservative in this election and that’s what I’ll be doing as well," said Woodcock.

Deputy Labour Party Leader Quits

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat Bashes Corbyn

Micro-Level Intelligence

Eurointelligence accurately commented this morning: "We are less interested in global polling than in micro-level intelligence in these elections, because we are seeing massive regional swings."

That is what most are wondering, including me.

What About Alliances?

The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru Announced an Election Pact.

In the pact, the parties agree to stand aside in more than 60 seats to avoid splitting remainers’ vote

My first thought was ho-hum so what? Without Labour, it's mostly meaningless.

This morning I read this claim on the Guardian Live: Unite to Remain press conference this morning it was claimed that “at least 44” of the 60 seats covered by the Lib Dem/Green/Plaid Cymru pact were winnable.

My immediate thought was how many did they hold already and how many were Labour seats.

The Guardian Live answered my question this afternoon.

in an interview on the World at One, Prof Sir John Curtice, the leading elections expert, said that in practice he thought the pact would result in remain parties winning only around six more seats than if the three parties had been competing against each other.

He said just over one in three of the 60 seats were already held by one of the three pro-remain parties, or by Labour, which is committed to a referendum with remain as an option. And he said that in some of these seats, and in some seats where the Lib Dems were not far behind the Conservatives in 2017, the Greens did not stand anyway two years ago.

Curtice said that, by standing down in Beaconsfield, the Lib Dems and the Greens might also help Dominic Grieve to hold the seat, following his loss of the Conservative whip.

The net might be four or five, or even less. I envision a scenario in Wales in which it's possible that vote-stripping by the Lib-Dems from Labour hands the seats to the Tories.

Let's now turn to regional battles where the election will be won or lost.

Spotlight London

YouGov reports Labour’s London Lead Slimmer Than in 2017

The chart looks ominous for the Tories, but it isn't. They are poised to pick up seats.

Compared to 2017, the Conservatives are down 4%. But they could still end up taking seats off Labour on current polling, as the Labour vote share has dropped 16% over the same period. Most of those leaving Labour are heading over to the Lib Dems, who are up 10%.

This drop means Labour will have a battle to hold marginal seats such as Battersea, or Kensington, which it won by just 30 votes in 2017.

In further bad news for the party, most Londoners do not hold Jeremy Corbyn in high regard. Just one in five (20%) think he’s doing well as Labour leader, compared to over three times that number (65%) who think he’s doing badly. Even amongst those who voted for the party at the last election, more now think he is doing badly (56%) than well (32%).

UK London Polls

Only two lines matter, the top and bottom.

In 2017, Labour got a whopping 54.5% of the London vote to 33.3% for the Tories.

London MP Split

The above chart from List of Parliamentary constituencies in London

With only 33.1% of the vote vs 54.5% for labour, the Tories managed to get 21 out of 73 MPs. Liberal Democrats rate to pick up a few seats and the Tories perhaps as many as 10 under the current polling math.

Spotlight Wales

Wales looks remarkably similar to London except there are three polls to consider.

In the 2017 general election Labour got 48.9% of the vote to only 33.6% for the Tories.

Wales MP Split

The above chart is from 2017 United Kingdom general election in Wales.

On a 50-50 but giving Plaid Cymru the same four seats, the outcome would look closer to 18-18-4. That would be a pickup of 10 Tory seats.

If Johnson campaigns well in Wales, a pickup of 8-14 seems likely.

It is possible the Brexit Party is helping the Tories in Wales.

Blue Wave vs Red Wall

The Financial Times asks Can Boris Johnson Break Labour’s ‘Red Wall’?

Along that line are 96 Labour-held seats that mostly voted Leave. In 81 of those 96-held seats Labour barely won.

Seats the Conservatives Aim to Win

Theresa May made huge mistakes. She campaigned poorly. Johnson will focus on the most winnable seats.

He is also promising to do more for Northern Britain, including more spending.

Johnson does not have to win 96 of those seats.

If he can swing 10 in London that will balance out 10 DUP seats lost. He also has to overcome the probable loss of 10-13 seats in Scotland.

Of those 96, he may need to win 25 or so for a comfortable working majority.

The polls suggest that is likely.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (70)
No. 1-29
FlyoverStan
FlyoverStan

It's all in the framing.

If it's Corbyn vs Johnson, it's left vs right among parties with a hope.

If it's Corbyn-Johnson-Farage, suddenly Johnson is in the middle. How many of the Muddle-along Middle voters who are tired of it all will just tick the middle box when given the choice?

I think this explains Farage's recent antics quite well.

Now, what explains Corbyn's antics? Is he trying to win the Stalinist vote? Or to just go down in flames with his true flag flying?

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

Will all these nitty gritty, lab-funny, utterly premature analysis be anywhere near reality on that cold dark day in December ?

At least let´s hope they are a better forecast than what we got for the 2017 election results.

What about social media campaigns impact of which opinion polls can´t measure ?

The British electorate has barely been exposed to specific candidates which DO matter much. Partisan argumentation has barely started and Bojo´s so-called "deal" (not) half-truths half-lies haven´t yet sinked in. Even the EU plays a role

Michel Barnier sports the perfect "cat that just ate the canary" look no ?

MaxBnb
MaxBnb

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.", - attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Karl Marx:

private property is abolished as soon as the property qualification for the right to elect or be elected is abolished,

Chancellor James Kent The tendency of universal suffrage, is to jeopardize the rights of property, and the principles of liberty. There is a constant tendency in human society, and the history of every age proves it; there is a tendency in the poor to covet and to share the plunder of the rich; in the debtor to relax or avoid the obligation of contracts; in the majority to tyrannize over the minority, and trample down their rights; in the indolent and the profligate, to cast the whole burthens of society upon the industrious and the virtuous; and there is a tendency in ambitious and wicked men, to inflame these combustible materials. The notion that every man that works a day on the road, or serves an idle hour in the militia, is entitled as of right to an equal participation in the whole power of the government, is most unreasonable, and has no foundation in justice.

the individual who contributes only one cent to the common stock, ought not to have the same power and influence in directing the property concerns of the partnership, as he who contributes his thousands.

Webej
Webej

Ah, the British soul indeed, to be decided by claims such as:

Johnson claimed Jeremy Corbyn "sided" with Vladimir Putin over the Skripal case.

This seems a high risk maneuvre, raising questions about where the Skripals are hiding out (being protected from renewed Russian molecules?!), and immediately attuning us to the level of public discourse characteristic of "Great" Britain in our day.

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

As explained above, it´s Bojo´s ego that will sink the Tories in this election, not Farage.

" It’s me or a horror show of dither and delay " …

Mish
Mish

Editor

Barnier cannot extend Brexit until 2022 The headline is idiotic. He can only do so if the UK asks, which implies Johnson losing. Even then, France might say no. Silliness

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

Sorry Mish, but Nigel Farage is right. Barnier’s fresh comments quoted above prove that there is no such thing as ‘getting Brexit done’ with Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Michel Barnier warned that under Bojo´s so-called "deal" (not) the UK would face a “moment of truth” in the coming summer.

Until December 2020, the UK must abide by all EU rules with no say, and freedom of movement continues as if Ol´ Blighty were a vassal state.

Trade experts from all sides view the possibility of a deal being ratified in 8 short months as extremely unrealistic as most free trade agreements take years to conclude.

The UK would face more prolonged uncertainty and a truly high risk of another NO deal moment by December 2020. Might as well gain valuable time, money and expectations and vote for the Brexit Party.

Mish
Mish

Editor

There can be no extension unless

The UK requests it All 27 nations in the EU agree

those are the 100% guaranteed facts of the matter

leicestersq
leicestersq

Soul of the nation? Corbyn and Johnson are our souls.

I am voting for Farage.

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

Mish, you are missing the point, please I urge you to listen. Your input matters lots.

As you say, TRUE enough, the 100% guaranteed facts of the matter are that the extension has to (1) be requested by the UK and (2) be accepted by all 27 nations in the EU.

The huge PROBLEM you are missing Mish is that Michel Barnier and all trade experts from everywhere agree that the possibility of (1) above happening is 99.99% sure for many obvious reasons because and also because time is WAAAAY short but (2) most probably will NOT ever happen for reasons you would surely accept.

Barnier called that "the moment of truth" while I call it the moment the SHTF.

Because the above means that Bojo´s plan will (a) necessarily require an extension that would NOT be granted by all 27 EU nations and (b) EVEN in that case it would mean to keep on negotiating for yet a couple of years more at the very least under yet prolonged agony and huge uncertainty of results of an extended and horrifying "transition period" during which the UK must abide by all EU rules with no say while freedom of movement continues as if Ol´ Blighty were a vassal state to which the Brits will rebel against. So we´d have years of yet more hell before us with no solution in sight, probably the worse of all options with business and personal decisions postponed forever (or till the pitchforks hit the streets ?)

Once the UK voters understand (or live through !) what Bojo´s gambling fake "deal" means for them they´d accept that a clean Brexit on December 2019 was a far better option to avoid the assured ordeal till whenever (if ever) a Free Trade Agreement is agreed upon by a yet "hung" Parliament as will surely be voted in the coming election.

Voting for Nigel Farage´s Brexit Party clean break NOW is the best option and then with the UK absolutely free from the EU shackles can start negotiating a Canada + type Free Trade Agreement which should take years.

avidremainer
avidremainer

One thing that we've all learned surely is that it is impossible to predict what is going to happen tomorrow let alone in 2020. So far this election has echoes of 2017. Brexit is not on the front pages, nor does it lead on the TV news. Candidates from all sides are dropping like flies thanks to their antics on social media. This cull of unacceptable candidates is nothing unusual for the first week of a British GE but suggests that all those " we are ready for a GE " claims by all parties were rubbish. This election is a roller-coaster and we all should realise that anything could happen and probably will. It will be no surprise to any of you that I will be voting LibDem.

Mish
Mish

Editor

1: Anyone citing 99% confidence on something like this is truly nuts. Thus I agree with AvidRemainer on that point.

2: Johnson says he will walk, that is WTO rules - I agree, he would if they cannot reach a deal

3: The EU does not want that, so the likely consequence is not a customs union "extension", but rather a Temp WTO deal with details worked out over time.

So yes, Barnier can be correct, that this will not be done in a year, but people are drawing piss poor conclusions from that.

Take your pick from these two: Temp WTO deal, UK walks

Mish
Mish

Editor

Barnier has some sort of agenda with his statements and people are drawing piss poor conclusions from it.

I am not sure what his agenda even is. It could actually help Johnson, purposely or not. Very difficult to say, but most likely it is pure noise, regardless of his intent.

My position stands. This will fall through to a base WTO, something Farage wants, or there will be a Temp WTO Agreement not a customs union extension.

I have researched WTO rules and they allow Temp agreements (up to 10 years!)

I believe a negotiated "Temp" agreement is best as long as it is not a customs union. And I do not believe Johnson will fall into a customs union trap.

People need to think rationally!

Mish
Mish

Editor

Mish
Mish

Editor

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

Mish, and every Brexit voter.

It could of course be that Bojo is playing/acting Trump style in rope-a-dope fashion saying THIS here now and later saying THAT there then fooled ya yet again wohahah I didn´t even read my own "deal" (not) nor plan to abide by it anytime soon, etc., etc., etc. and THEN coming up with whatever negotiated "temp" WTO-based agreement and whatnot... or other magic rabbit pulled out from somewhere.

But a very DIFFERENT thing is how voters may / will interpret such fool´s gamble.

QUESTION: Brexit isn´t a game, is it ?

There are many voters that are influenced by a single line or newsbite in a given direction or opinion... and then they go and VOTE without further ado let alone research.

So Mish even if your far-fetched hypothesis were correct, if this is Bojo´s strategy for winning this election its HIM who is nuts.

If, as you say Mish..." this will fall through to a base WTO, something Farage wants " then why in this world is Bojo adopting such a convoluted pathway to THAT end while fostering the Brexit Party to take votes away from Tories !!!!

If this were an office party with a silly-happy-go-lucky junior manager entertaining us all so be it and let´s laugh along, but this is BREXIT okay ?

Mish
Mish

Editor

AvidRemainer, does Sin Fein, assuming they do not sit, count for determining a majority in Parliament?

Mish
Mish

Editor

If Sin Fein does not sit, assuming the same 7 seats, is a majority 322 instead of 326?

A bit of research into my question says yes, sitting out affects the majority.

A majority is anything over 50% 650 seats / 2 = 325 This makes the "guaranteed" majority 326 650 - 7 Sin Fein = 643 643/2 = 321.5 Majority = 322 if Sin Fein sits out which they say they will do again

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

@HenryV, your derogatory "twat" is out of place. And no, I´m not a Lib Dem. BTW, do you even know where I live ?

All I said is that I would BENEFIT lots if the UK remained in the EU. And so would almost all of my family. BTW, would you know why ?

I´m just analyzing the Brexit process, that´s all.

HenryV
HenryV

Sorry - I will correct my poor English which should have read ‘If ONE is a liberal twat, the last place ONE would look’ etc. Not you personally, and rest assured I read your contributions as I read EVERYONE’S contributions here with great interest and greatly value the discussion. Otherwise I make no apology. The point I was trying to get across is that right now there is virtually no debate in the mainstream media about the merits or otherwise of this withdrawal agreement which I see as just about the most important deception about to be foisted upon us in living memory. The normal places where one would hope to find opinion are busy catering for the lowest common denominator. So a perfectly legitimate discussion about whether (for example) there will be customs administration in both directions across the Irish border and the implications of this gets spun into ‘Silly Boris contradicts himself and his cabinet’.

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

@HenryV okay, I know see it from your perspective and fully understand.

BTW, your English is certainly excellent and I could have interpreted the way you meant it. As a matter of fact I am ready to admit that, in view of the context and your always respectfull input, I SHOULD have interpreted the way you really meant it. Sorry for that.

Regarding sources, yes, there are many but most are just like you describe.

So I always check out 2 "different" sources, namely www.rt.com and Nigel Farage´s tweet page at https://twitter.com/nigel_farage.

Trust me they are both worthwhile as proven by my previous inputs above. High five @HenryV

HenryV
HenryV

All I said is that I would BENEFIT lots if the UK remained in the EU. And so would almost all of my family. BTW, would you know why? —————— I have no doubt that applies short-term to virtually all of us. Most if not all of us in the UK (whether you personally are here or not) all enjoy easy travel throughout Europe, simple shipment of goods, the international dimension of education etc. But there are much much MUCH bigger issues at stake and IMHO it doesn’t matter how long, how difficult, how much pain is incurred in the short to medium term, we’ve just got to get out. I view the EU as one of the most pernicious ‘out of step’ enterprises to have arisen in the 20th century and which is hell bent on its own destruction - probably with a very great deal of civil unrest in the process. And its something we just have to get away from.

Brexitologist
Brexitologist

I dare EVERYBODY (Mish included) to listen to the technical arguments against Bojo´s SELL OUT-"deal" regarding the impossibility any Free Trade Agreement including "economic indicators" (Parma ham, muzzarella cheese, etc.) as from 32:00 at https://twitter.com/nigel_farage.

Only Moldova and Ukraine have accepted (for their own reasons the UK doesn´t have) such UN-believable nonsense

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

"I cannot come up with any proposal of Johnson that one could remotely be called "radical right""

The divergence from EU regulations means deregulation in effect. This is a hard right policy in European context.

JustASimpleMan
JustASimpleMan

Mish - your question about Sinn Fein - they already announced over a week ago that they will stand aside in 3 of their present 7 seats. Also, SDLP will give them elbow room in 3 other seats against the DUP.

Avid's answer was wrong, as usual. Please don't ask him factual questions, he doesn't know what day it is. All you are ever going to get is a narrow, monochrome opinion from him.

.

JustASimpleMan
JustASimpleMan

Excellent analysis once again. However, please don't ignore the long standing visceral hatred of the Tories in much of the north - many would still rather stay at home than go out and vote for them even in the worst possible Corbyn scenario.

But being also largely pro-Brexit constituencies, the Brexit party could cut a wide swathe through Labour seats there, IF given a free run. An informal pact is going to be essential.

Also, don't be too hard on Corbyn, he's just a mild mannered, incompetent soft toy. The real man to fear is MacDonald who would undoubtedly be in the job within 12 months of a Labour victory after Corbyn stands down "for health reasons".

.

TheLege
TheLege

Good to see you embrace the term 'piss poor', especially as it's an under-used and very British phrase.