I admit it: my past election predictions have not always been perfect. Here, though, is one that I make with confidence. Over the weekend of May 8-9, as we digest the results of next week’s elections, all the main political parties will tell us that they have done better than they expected. They will, of … Continue reading Tory, SNP hopes? Labour, Lib Dem fears? A Green shock? How to make sense of next week’s elections
Two big lessons can be learned about public opinion since Britain’s agreement with the EU came into force in January. The first is that there has been a clear rise in support for Brexit. The second is that, given all that has happened in recent weeks – not least the spat between London and Brussels … Continue reading Support for Brexit rises – but not massively
As Winston Churchill famously said, jaw-jaw is better than war-war. However, jaw-jaw is less exciting, which is why the latest news about relations between Britain and the European Union has passed most people by. In three separate areas, confidential discussions have been proposed to resolve tricky issues. Any or all may yet founder. Even if … Continue reading Brexit: will Boris Johnson betray hardline Tory MPs?
If we ever needed proof that one of the most valued arts in politics is expectations management, the coming by-election in Hartlepool is certain to provide it. Already Labour and the Conservatives are briefing journalists on why they expect to lose – in both cases in order to prepare for the result in the early … Continue reading How much does the Hartlepool by-election matter?
Election buffs are in for an exciting spring; and for every party it will be unusually tense. For the first time since Brexit and the outbreak of Covid, millions of real votes, as distinct from opinion polls, will reveal the mood of the nation. In the wake of the pandemic, last week’s Budget and the … Continue reading Why all of Britain’s parties are nervous about May 6
In the short term, the result of Donald Trump’s impeachment is not in doubt. The Senate will fail to amass the 67 votes needed to convict him. The longer term is another matter, for leading Republicans will still face an essential dilemma: should they keep the former president as their de facto leader, or dump … Continue reading Ten million reasons for the Republicans to dump Trump
For America’s Democrats, Joe Biden’s inauguration is not quite the celebration they were expecting; and it’s not just because Washington’s National Mall is closed. On election day eleven weeks ago, they hoped not just to win the presidency but to tighten their grip on Congress. The 538 website’s central prediction was that they would win … Continue reading The great myth of the 2020 US elections: split voting
If Boris Johnson thinks his life will get easier in the spring, he should think again. Even if the current lockdown and vaccine programme both succeed, a fresh crisis is almost certain to erupt in its wake, to last longer than coronavirus, and be harder to tackle. This year Scottish voters will elect a new … Continue reading How Brexit helps the cause of Scottish independence
When Dorothy saw that the Wizard of Oz was a fraud, she was furious: “You are a very bad man.” “No, my dear,” he replied. “I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad wizard.” Boris Johnson’s best hope of flourishing in Brexit Britain, following the victory for his deal this week in parliament, … Continue reading The Brexit challenges to come for Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer
Cheer up. I bring good news. The Second World War will soon be over. To be precise, it will be over for Britain. It ended long ago for the rest of Europe–not just the fighting but dealing with its aftermath. For most of western Europe, the biggest step towards shaping the future was signing the … Continue reading Britain and Europe: 70 years of fudge will soon be over