Petitions on EU Referendum and Trump State Visit show dominance of Labour Party by London activists

In the UK it is possible to raise a petition to Parliament. If that petition obtains 10,000 signatures, there is a written response from the Government. If there are more than 100,000 signatures, the matter is discussed in Parliament. In less than two years 48 proposals have been discussed in Parliament, with another 14 pending. By far the largest was for EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum, which had 4.15 million signatures. It was never going to get far, as it would have meant changing the rules for the referendum vote after the vote had taken place. But it acted as a protest for the substantial and vocal minority who did not like result.

The signatures by constituency are available for download. There are a also non-UK signatures, which I shall ignore. I ranked the signatures by constituency, and divided the 650 constituencies into tenths, or decile groups. The constituencies I then classified by political party of the current MP, giving the graph shown in Figure 1.

Compared to the Conservative constituencies the Labour Party has a few dominant activist constituencies on in terms of wanting to overturn the EU Referendum results, whilst most are far less active. It is even worse if you include the SNP, many of which were Labour constituencies prior to 2015. Figure 2 splits these 231 Labour seats into the 14 regions.

Of the 34 Labour-held seats in the top decile, 27 are in London. The Labour heartlands of the North of England. parts of the Midlands and in Wales are far less activist. Those 27 London constituencies (or 15% of Labour seats) registered 41% of all signatures in Labour seats. 15% of Labour seats registered slightly more signatures than the lowest 140 or 60%. This lines up with the an analysis of the estimated split of the EU Referendum vote I did last year, and shown again as Figure 3.

The Labour seats that most virulently voted remain in the EU that are unsuprisingly the Labour seats with the most signatories who wanted to overturn the democratic result that goes against them. But it in terms of signatories, London-based activists skew the result even more, meaning that within in a political party their views are likely dominant over the those held in the majority of Labour-held seats. As Labour Party members are mostly pro remain, this means that going with party and not will the majority view in the constituencies that they represent.  There is a similarity with attitudes to Donald Trump’s prospective State visit to the UK. A petition against this is Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom. This currently has 1.85m signatures up from the 1.82m when I downloaded the figures a few days ago. Figure 4 shows the decile groups by political party of the current MP and the Figure 5 shows the split by region of the labour constituencies.

The Labour constituencies dominate even more the top 65 of constituencies by signatories, with the same 27 London constituencies being represented in the top decile. With 15% of Labour seats they registered 32% of all signatures in Labour seats and registered slightly more signatures than the lowest 144 or 62%. A very similar pattern to the EU referendum.

This petition has been countered by Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the United Kingdom. With just 307,000 signatories or one sixth signatories of the Prevent State visit, it might nor seem as relevant. Figure 6 and Figure 7, are from when the signatories were about 275,000.

The Labour constituencies are fairly united in their apathy for wanting a Donald Trump State visit, but are divided in the expressed opposition to a state visit. But are the far greater numbers of the “Stop Trump” signatories reflected in the wider population? YouGov Published an opinion poll on 1st February on the topic. Almost half the sample thought the state visit should go ahead, whilst just over a third thought it should not. In the detail, the poll also divides the country into five regions, with London separated out. Even here, the opinion was 46 to 38% in favour of the Trump state visit. The real problems for Labour are shown in the extract  of the detail in Figure 8 below.

 

Those who intend to vote Labour now are a smaller group than those who voted Labour in 2015. Proportionately if 30.4% voted Labour in 2015, 25% would do so now. In the unweighted sample, it implies around 70% of the of the 67 lost would support the state visit. The remaining Labour voters are much more against the majority who expressed an opinion than in GE2015. This indicates a party in general decline. That the opinion seems to be centered on London, this indicates the collapse in the Labour vote has in the traditional Labour heartlands of the Midlands, the North and Wales has further to go.

Yet if the visit does go ahead it is the noisy protesters that will come out in their thousands, the majority will be Labour supporters based in London, who shout down everybody else.

 

 

 

Tim Farrons false claims on the EU Referendum Vote

Yesterday, in reaction to Prime Minister Theresa May clearly laying out the Brexit means leaving the European Union, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron was vocal in denouncing what was said. On the positive side, despite having just 9 seats in Parliament and getting 8% of the vote, Farron was acting as an opposition spokesperson (an intentional aim) instead of the Leader of the Opposition who is nominally the Parliamentary leader of a Party that got nearly 4 times the number of votes and 29 times the number of seats as the Lib Dems in 2015. This attempted takeover of the role of Opposition is intentional.   However, Farron misrepresents those who, like me, voted leave.

Is it the case that Theresa May is opting for a hard Brexit that the vast majority of leave voters did not want? The primary reference source is a glossy pro-EU Government booklet that was delivered to every household in Britain. The Stronger Economy page is below.

This seems clearly to state that remaining in the EU means leaving the Single Market. What it implies – quite wrongly in my view – is that leaving that single market will mean the loss of lots of UK jobs that depend on EU trade.

On page 8 in bold, was stated:-

No other country has managed to secure significant access to the Single Market, without having to:

• follow EU rules over which they have no real say

• pay into the EU

• accept EU citizens living and working in their country

As immigration was a bit issue, people who voted leave as a way of controlling immigration were clear that this meant leaving the single market. Anyone who thought that an independent UK could pick and choose was clearly ignoring the statements from both sides.

But the worst part is that Tim Farron is claiming that Theresa May is acting undemocratically as the specific Brexit deal will not be put to a referendum. On June 23rd the British people voted to gain our Independence from the EU institutions. The major decision-making body of the EU is not democratically-elected; the budget is so opaque that nobody can exercise proper control of where the money is spent, and there has been no sign-off of the audited accounts in over 20 years. A half-in half-out deal would be even less democratic, whilst the Hard Brexit would mean that the democratically-elected Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland would gain greater powers.

Kevin Marshall

Going for Brexit or denying the EU Referendum

The Rt Hon David Davies MP and Secretary of State for Exiting the EU gave an update to the House of Commons today. He made quite clear what Brexit means

Naturally, people want to know what Brexit will mean.
Simply, it means the UK leaving the European Union. We will decide on our borders, our laws, and taxpayers’ money.
It means getting the best deal for Britain – one that is unique to Britain and not an ‘off the shelf’ solution. This must mean controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe – but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goods and services.

He went on to lay out the principles on which Britain would proceed.

…as we proceed, we will be guided by some clear principles. First, as I said, we wish to build a national consensus around our position. Second, while always putting the national interest first, we will always act in good faith towards our European partners. Third, wherever possible we will try to minimise any uncertainty that change can inevitably bring. And, fourth, crucially, we will – by the end of this process – have left the European Union, and put the sovereignty and supremacy of this Parliament beyond doubt.

On other words Britain will Brexit is in a very British fashion.

– It will be from principles, not from specific objectives or adhering to specific rules.
– Britain will act honourably, something that the British have long been known for commercial dealings.
– It will recognize that other EU members have interests as well. The outcome being aimed for is where Britain’s relationship to the EU is based on co-operation and trade where both sides are net winners.
– At the end of the process Britain will have a more sovereign Parliament. That is, the democratically elected Government will be able to decide the future course of country, for better or worse.

Text is at ConservativeHome
Emily Thornberry MP, speaking for the Labour Party, gave a somewhat different perspective from about 13:10

– Strategy consists of clearly laid out and concrete plan.
– There are areas of policy that should placed outside of the scope of a sovereign Parliament, such “workers rights” and guarantees for EU Nationals currently resident in the UK.
– A “positive vision” consists of definite objectives.
– You listen to outside gloomy prophesies that support your perspective.
– The Government are now rushing to start negotiation, without a well-thought plan. Given that the Government is delaying triggering Article 50 until 2017, the means she is wanting a slower pace. But on 24th June when the referendum result was announced, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was all for triggering Article 50 straight away. Is this another open split with the Labour Leader, or an about-face in Labour policy?
– Article 50 should not be triggered without a parliamentary vote to authorize.

On triggering Article 50 David Davies pointed out 20.35 there was a referendum bill that went through the House of Commons, and was voted for 6 to 1. Emily Thornberry voted in favour. It was made perfectly clear by the then Foreign Secretary at the time that the EU referendum was not a consultation, or an advice to parliament, but a decision by the electorate. The words of the Act do not state that, but people were lead to believe that in the campaign. Most importantly Will Straw, leader of Britain Stronger in Europe (the official Remain campaign) said the decision was for the voters.

RE: THE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EU AND THE REFERENDUM
On 23rd June you will get to vote on the EU Referendum and decide whether Britain remains in or leaves Europe.

Apart from the inaccuracy of naming the decision as whether to leave the geographical continent rather than the political organisation, the statement could not be clearer. Yet the losers in the Referendum want to re-interpret the meaning of the result.

Kevin Marshall

The EU Referendum – The end of the Labour Party or the United Kingdom?

In the previous post I used Chris Hanretty’s estimated the referendum vote split for the 574 parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales to look at the pattern of voting. In particular I found that a disproportionate number of the constituencies with strong votes either for remaining in the EU or leaving the EU have a Labour Party MP.

The graphic below shows the split by region for constituencies with Labour MPs. The strongest Remain votes are concentrated in London, whilst the majority of constituencies voted for Leave.

This is not the full picture. Most of the Labour Party MPs still have a desire to become the party of Government. At a minimum, they would have to win enough seats to become the largest party to have a chance of power. Of the 573 parliamentary seats in England and Wales Labour came second in 212. Of these, 58 had majorities of less than 12% of the popular vote. This would mean winning 56 from the Conservatives and 2 from the Liberal Democrats.

The problem for Labour is that these target constituencies exhibit similar patterns to the existing Labour constituencies. That is, there was support for Remain in London, and support for Leave in much of the rest of the country.  The differences between existing and target Labour seats are slight. The proportion of seats that voted Leave is slightly higher (78% against 69%), whilst the constituencies that voted at least 60% Leave is lower (29% against 39%) when compared to existing Labour constituencies.

Adding these target seats to the existing seats makes very little difference to the split between London and the rest of England and Wales, except for downgrading the relative importance of London in relation to the Midlands and the North West of England.

The elephant in the room is Scotland, where Labour lost 40 seats to the SNP. It is likely that every single one of these voted to Remain in the EU. This compares to just 8 Labour losses in England and Wales, everyone to the Conservatives and 7 calculated by Chris Hanretty to have voted for Leave. To make themselves electable in Scotland and maintain support in London where up to 40% of the membership live, Labour must support some policy of opposing Brexit. But this would scupper their chances of winning more seats most of England and Wales, and might help maintain support for UKIP. This is particularly true in the North and Midlands where UKIP are strongest. This is illustrated in the table below.

This gives the biggest issue of them all. If Labour manage to revive from their present turmoil and become the largest party at the next election, then the price of power might be the breakup of the United Kingdom. But this is unlikely to happen if in 2020 Brexit remains the over-riding political issue. If Brexit ceases to be an issue, Jeremy Corbyn, in hanging onto power might be doing the country a service by ensuring the breakup of the Labour Party into two unelectable factions.

Kevin Marshall

 

 

The Democratic Deficit in the Referendum Result

During the EU Referendum campaign all the main political parties backed the Remain campaign. The opinion polls predicted a final 52/48 split for the Remain vote. The final vote was 52/48 win for leaving the EU, sending shock waves around the world. This seems quite a narrow win. However, Chris Hanretty, a Reader in Politics at the University of East Anglia, has estimated the referendum vote split for the 574 parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales. The actual vote also covered the 76 constituencies in Scotland and Northern Island, along with Gibraltar. This was not a simple task, as the vote was counted by local Government areas, which rarely coincide with the constituencies. He estimated that 421 of these 574 constituencies likely voted for Leave.
However, there was no geographical split of the figures. I therefore classified the constituencies by region, along with putting the estimated vote into bands, with shades of green for a majority to Leave the EU and shades of pink/red for a majority to Remain in the EU.

There is a huge divergence between the regions. London was the only region to vote Remain in England and Wales, with 71% of constituencies in favour. The next nearest pro-EU region was the South East, with 39% of constituencies in favour. Furthermore London accounted for 22 of the 26 constituencies with greater than 70% of the vote in favour of Remain. What is quite worrying for future political consensus is that in 39% of constituencies the vote was at least 60% for a position for the majority vote.

The split by political party is also revealing. Of the 574 constituencies, 330 have Conservative MPs, 231 have Labour MPs and the remaining 12 seats are split between four other parties.
The Conservative constituency split is as follows.

The Conservative support is mostly in the South of England and the Midlands. The divergence is slightly less extreme than for the total, with 94 of the 330 constituencies having at least 60% for the majority vote.
The Labour Party constituency split is as follows.

The Labour Party support is mostly in the North of England, the West Midlands, London and Wales. The divergence in vote is more extreme than for the total, with 123 of the 231 constituencies having at least 60% for the majority vote. Over half of the constituencies with a greater than 60% Remain vote in England and Wales (34 of 54) are Labour. Also over half of the constituencies with a greater than 60% Leave vote in England and Wales (89 of 168) are Labour. Yet Labour have just 40% of the Parliamentary seats. What is worse for the Party, the divergence is regional. The Remain constituencies are concentrated in London. All the other core regions have a strong Leave vote. Even worse, the Party activists are strongly Remain supporters and are behind efforts to annul the Referendum result.

In summary the results show two things.
First is that there is a huge divergence in Referendum vote across the English and Welsh constituencies.
Second is that a disproportionate number of the constituencies with strong votes either for remaining in the EU or leaving the EU have a Labour Party MP.

Kevin Marshall

Is there fraud behind the EU Referendum Petition?

In an update to the previous post on the EU Referendum Petition I noted:-

In a few hours 25,000 signatures have been added to one constituency – London and Westminster to 39,338. There are only about 110,000 people in the constituency, including babies and those not entitled to vote. There were only 57,240 (53,928 + 3,312) who voted for Remain on Thursday.

By 10.15 the votes had risen to 43,317, but at 14.30 it had reduced to 14,031.

PetWestm1430

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now the BBC Reports

Second EU referendum petition investigated for fraud

The House of Commons petitions committee is investigating allegations of fraud in connection with a petition calling for a second EU referendum.

Its inquiry is focused on the possibility that some names could be fraudulent – 77,000 signatures have already been removed.

Also

A House of Commons spokeswoman said the petition was created on 24 May. There were 22 signatures on it at the time the referendum result was announced.

Confirming my thoughts in the previous post

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says the petition has attracted a lot of attention but has no chance of being enacted, because it is asking for retrospective legislation.

Our correspondent says some referendums do have thresholds but those clauses must be inserted in legislation before the vote so everyone is clear about the rules.

You cannot simply invent new hurdles if you are on the losing side, our correspondent says.

The Petitions Committee has removed 77,000, of which at least 29,000 were from the Cities of London and Westminster Constituency. Where the are the other concentrated? At the foot of the petition there is Get petition data (json format). This I downloaded at 10.15 and 17.24 today.

From the twitter feed.

LGMTwitter

At 10.15 there were 40,031 signatories from the Vatican. By 17.24 this had reduced to just 45.

Also on the Twitter feed.

CW&Nyan

At 10.15 there were 24,372 signatories from North Korea. By 17.24 this had reduced to just 26.

From the petition data it is possible to calculate the non-UK signatories by deducting the UK total from the overall total. At 10.15 there were 597,354 non-UK signatories. By 17.24 This had reduced to just 128,384. With the 29,000 deducted from the Cities of London and Westminster Constituency that is over 498,000 petitions deleted.

However, there are still likely to be a very large number of fraudulent responses that have, as yet, gone unnoticed.

Kevin Marshall

EU Referendum Petition tries to overthrow a democratic decision

Rather than accept that they lost, there are efforts to stop the result of the EU Referendum being implemented by some Remain supporters. An example is in a petition to Parliament from EU supporters that which would nullify the EU Referendum decision and re-run it on rigged criteria.
Some background. In Britain it is possible to start online petitions and get others to electronically sign them. If there are more than 100,000 signatures the issue will be discussed in Parliament. (More than 500,000 who signed a petition to “Block Donald J Trump from UK entry” earlier this year.) The latest, started a month before the referendum, states

EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum and w
We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.

Anybody who reads it should realize that the petition became redundant once voting started. People were voting on the basis of winner being the position that won the most votes. With an either/or decision it means the winner has greater than 50% of the valid votes cast. In the event, the Leave EU vote was 51.9% of the total, or 1269501 votes more than the Remain vote. Turnout was 72.2%, higher than in any General Election since 1992.
What would have happened if the rules had been accepted for the Referendum? Quite clearly, in a country where voting is not compulsory, a little apathy would have nullified the result. The Leave vote would probably have been a higher proportion, as a protest vote would have likely made no difference to the outcome, but would have embarrassed the Government. Given the criteria, no decision would be taken so there would be regular repeat Referenda. The alienation from the democratic process that many feel would doubtless grow, maybe leading to a rebirth of fascist politics.
What is worse is the implication from the location of two million or more who have signed the petition after the referendum result has been announced. The deep red areas where the petitioners are concentrated are in London, Bristol, Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge (Petition map extract around 00.30 26/06/15).

These are the very centres of the left intelligentsia that voted for so solidly for Remain last Thursday. Unable to accept the majority view, including many who they view as their ignorant inferiors, they are effectively attempting to deny democracy. But to retrospectively rig the rules to nullify a democratic result is what one would expect in a 1970s Banana Republic, not something to be considered in the Mother of all Parliaments. Hopefully the House of Commons will unite to treat this petition with the contempt it deserves. To do otherwise would be to usurp the democratic decision of the people they represent in favour of the undemocratic rule by a failing undemocratic institution that the majority have decided to cease being a part of.

Update 9.40am – Is the petition website being scammed?

The screenshot above was taken at around 00.30, when there were about 2.6 million signatures. By 09.00 the number was 2.91 million. By the composition has changed. In a few hours 25,000 signatures have been added to one constituency – London and Westminster to 39,338. There are only about 110,000 people in the constituency, including babies and those not entitled to vote. There were only 57,240 (53,928 + 3,312) who voted for Remain on Thursday. Seems a bit of a daft way to send a message to the Westminster Parliament, as it indicates the petition is not the will of the people, but a few vocal activists attempting to maintain a failing undemocratic institution.

9.40am 2,957,066 signatures of which 41,249 in Westminster.

10.15am 2,999,122 signatures of which 43,317 in Westminster.

Update 15.00 – Scam responses from Westminster removed

UK votes for divorce from EU

The unexpected has happened. Despite the efforts of most of the British political establishment, the UK has voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union. It should be viewed as a divorce which the interested parties had tried to prevent Like with a divorce, there needs to be deep breaths all round to accept the future dissolution. Like a divorce with children involved, Britain and the EU need to work constructively to achieve the best futures for all.
British politicians need to reflect as well. Maybe two-thirds supported Remain. Many were in line with their constituents, especially in London, Scotland and the M4 corridor where Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency lies. But most of the North of England, particularly in the Labour Heartlands, voted for Leave. The MPs have to clearly state that they accept the result, and will join in obtaining the best futures for Britain and the countries of Europe. Those who cannot accept this should recognize they have no future in public service and resign from leading roles in politics.

Kevin Marshall

Britain Stronger in Europe Letter

I received a campaign letter from Britain Stronger in Europe today headed

RE: THE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EUROPE AND THE EU REFERENDUM

Putting the “RE:” in front is a bit presumptuous. It is not a reply to my request. However, I believe in looking at both sides of the argument, so here is my analysis. First the main points in the body of the letter:-

  1. JOBS – Over 3 million UK jobs are linked to our exports to the EU.
  2. BUSINESSES – Over 200,000 UK Businesses trade with the EU, helping them create jobs in the UK.
  3. FAMILY FINANCES – Leaving the EU will cost the average UK household at least £850 a year, and potentially as much as £1,700, according to research released by the London School of Economics.
  4. PRICES – Being in Europe means lower prices in UK shops, saving the average UK household over £350 a year. If we left Europe, your weekly shop would cost more.
  5. BENEFITS vs COSTS – For every £1 we put into the EU, we get almost £10 back through increased trade, investment, jobs, growth and lower prices.
  6. INVESTMENT – The UK gets £66 million of investment every day from EU countries – that’s more than we pay to be a member of the EU.

The first two points are facts, but only show part of the picture. The UK not only exports to the EU, but also imports. Indeed there is a net deficit with the EU, and a large deficit in goods. It is only due to a net surplus in services – mostly in financial services based in the City of London – that the trade deficit is not larger. The ONS provides a useful graphic illustrating both the declining share of exports to the EU, and the increasing deficit, reproduced below.

No one in the UK is suggesting that Brexit would mean a decline in trade, and it would be counter-productive for the EU not to reach a trade agreement with an independent UK when the EU has this large surplus.

The impact on FAMILY FINANCES is based upon the Centre for Economic Performance, an LSE affiliated organisation. There is both a general paper and a technical paper to back up the claims. They are modelled estimates of the future, not facts. The modelled costs assume Britain exits the European Union without any trade agreements, despite this being in the economic interests of both the UK and the EU. The report also does a slight of hand in estimating the contributions the UK will make post Brexit. From page 18 the technical paper

We assume that the UK would keep contributing 83% of the current per capita contribution as Norway does in order to remain in the single market (House of Commons, 2013). This leads to a fiscal saving of about 0.09%.

The table at the foot of report page 22 (pdf page 28) gives the breakdown of the estimate from 2011 figures. The Norway figures are gross and have a fixed cost element. The UK economy is about six times that of Norway, so would not end up spending nearly as much per capita even on the same basis. The UK figures are also a net figure. The UK pays into the EU twice as much as it gets out. Ever since joining the Common Market in 1973 Britain has been the biggest loser in terms of net contributions, despite the rebates that Mrs Thatcher secured with much effort in the 1980s.

The source of the PRICES information is again from the Centre for Economic Performance, but again with no direct reference. I assume it is from the same report, and forms part of the modelled forecast costs.

The BENEFITS vs COSTS statement is not comparing like with like. The alleged benefits to the UK are not all due to being a member of a club, but as a consequence of being an open economy trading with its neighbours. A true BENEFITS vs COSTS comparison would be future scenarios of Brexit vs Remain. Leading economist Patrick Minford has published a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, who finds there is a net benefit in leaving, particularly when likely future economic growth is taken into account.

The INVESTMENT issue is just part of the BENEFITS vs COSTS statement. So, like with the PRICES statement it is making one point into two.

 In summary, Britain Stronger in Europe claims I need to know six facts relevant to the referendum decision, but actually fails to provide a one. The actual facts are not solely due to the UK being a member of the European Union, whilst the relevant statements are opinions on modelled future scenarios that are unlikely to happen. The choice is between a various possible future scenarios in the European Union and possible future scenarios outside. The case for remain should be proclaiming the achievements of the European Union in making a positive difference to the lives of the 500 million people in the 28 States, along with future pathways where it will build on these achievements. The utter lack of these arguments, in my opinion, is the strongest argument for voting to leave.

Kevin Marshall

 

Copy of letter from Britain Stronger in Europe