The weekend papers have the first two polls with fieldwork conducted after the New Year – BMG in the Independent and Survation for yesterday’s Mail. Voting intention in the two polls is:

Survation: CON 38%(-1), LAB 41%(+1), LDEM 10%(+2), UKIP 4%(nc)
BMG: CON 36%(-1), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)

Survation’s poll was conducted on Thursday and Friday, changes are from their big Channel4 poll at the end of October. BMG was conducted between Tuesday and Friday and changes are from last month. Neither poll shows any real significant movement. As you would probably expect, the bulk of both polls focused on the looming issue of Brexit.

On the Brexit deal itself BMG found that 29% of people think MPs should approve the deal (up 3 points from December), 37% think it should be rejected (down 6 points). Survation found 36% of people wanted MPs to approve the deal (up 5), 40% wanted it rejected (down 6). Both polls show some movement in favour of passing the deal, but still more opposition than support.

BMG asked whether people would support or oppose various alternative Brexit options. By 46% to 28% people would support a second referendum. By 45% to 39% people would support reversing Brexit and just remaining. Further negotiations were supported by 45% to 34%. A “Norway-style deal” was supported by 40% to 36%. Leaving without a deal was opposed by 45% to 35%.

Survation’s poll included questions on how people would vote in various referendum scenarios – in a deal vs no deal referendum, 41% would prefer the deal, 32% no deal. In a referendum between no deal Brexit and remain, people prefer remain by 46% to 41%. A deal vs referendum vote would be neck-and-neck: 40% deal, 40% remain.

Tabs for Survation are here, BMG aren’t up yet.


908 Responses to “Latest BMG and Survation voting intentions”

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  1. @ Old Nat

    We’ve become too dependent on the current Kent ports for commercial and passenger transport to Europe although Ramsgate is going to be dredged, I think 10 years on we will see a marked change. Hull & Immingham are just a couple of the North Sea ports ramping up capacity. This should release real pressure on the M25.

    Reports from Europe suggest TM is not for turning, she’s after a time restriction on the backstop or a guaranteed end date for the trade negotiations so the backstop will cease to exist. I can only assume the numbers have been worked out and if they get something tangible from Brussels the deal will “theoretically” finally be secured. There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip!

  2. Sam
    “The Conservative party begins to disintegrate. Corbyn may get his chance of a GE. What might change, if anything?”

    Oddly enough, and probably by accident, I think the Tories would do rather well in a GE held before March 29th, and possibly soon afterwards as well. This is because they are now seen as the only mainland parliamentary party which contains at least a faction in favour of Brexit. All the others will be fighting over the Remain vote.

  3. jonesinbangor: Indeed I do support a softer Brexit, but I do not support a rigged referendum that will make a mockery of the 2016 result.
    The 2016 result is self-mocking, so I doubt that another referendum would injure it further.

  4. @ Crossbat11

    My wife is actually getting engaged with Brexit and watched QT last night for the first time in years. She thought Fiona handled the program intelligently and I wouldn’t like to repeat what she had to say about Diane Abbott’s performance. You’re right about the apparent audience mix but I have seen the opposite imbalance on other QT’s I’ve watched.

  5. Bantam

    I’m confused by your comment.

    Are you suggesting that an proto-autonomous London should annexe the M11 extension corridor as well as, or instead of, the M20 corridor?

    If both, then it may as well annexe all of rEngland while they’re at it, thus destroying Leftie Liberal’s dream of an autonomous London.

  6. Reading the various posts on here there seems to me to be a consensus that:

    a) the priority of the leaders of both major parties is to keep their party together and gain political advantage

    b) to do this they are prepared to play chicken with ‘no deal’, May using the threat of it to bring her troops and hopefully enough labour MPs into line, and Corbyn not wishing to take steps which might avoid it but which might endanger party unity or lessen the likelihood of a general election

    In these circumstances it is quite likely that no deal will happen by accident and against the stated wishes of the participants and the interests of those they represent. Ruling out an extension of article 50 makes May particularly at fault in this respect.

    Somehow I can’t believe that no deal will happen. Hammond and the markets appear to agree, But then again who would have thought we would be where we are now? It’s all too reminiscent of the miscalculations which led to the first world war.

  7. RAF

    The fault in your argument is you completely and utterly refuse to define what Remain means.

    Doe it mean Remain as per 2016?
    Does it mean Remain as now (the EU has moved since 2016)
    Does it mean we accept/not accept schengen, the euro etc etc

    Until you specify exactly what you mean by Remain, then we can’t rule out the myriad of Remain options. What abour Remain but less integration and federalisation? Is that an option? Whhat about Remain but we wil never surrender our armed forces to an EU army? Is ythat Remain? What about we will never accaept amendments to the Lisbon Treaty or a replacement Treaty without a binding one-off referendum each time – is that Remain?

  8. @ Old Nat

    :) No, but that idea of yours could have legs!

  9. ADW

    I do understand that you understand little about the legal basis under which the UK could remain in the EU.

    However, anyone with the remotest comprehension of the ECJ ruling in the “Wightman case” would know that revoking A50 means that the UK would remain a member of the EU on precisely the same basis that it was prior to the tabling of A50.

    We can all make errors, but yours are multiplying to the extent that any comment you make must be deemed worthless.

    You may well have views that are worth hearing – UKPR’s strength is that it represents a wide range of views, but you show such ignorance of the basics that any such points are buried under your lack of knowledge.

  10. Bantams

    The M20 and M11 extension corridors would provide only 2 legs, and a 2-legged stool has a tendency to tip over.

    Should you wish to provide greater stability, then additional annexation of the M3/A316 corridor would be essential to avoid falling on your @rse.

    Experience in the Danzig/Dansk corridor would suggest that armed intervention from those bloody foreigners – the Angles, Jutes and Saxons – might threaten London’s autonomy.

    London has long had the “corridors of power”, but these might be the corridors of weakness. :-)

  11. CB11

    I lodged a complaint with the BBC today. Bruce was appalling and either biased or pig ignorant. The appalling Oakeshott should have been shut down by Bruce when she said that Labour were miles behind in the polls. Instead Bruce backed her up.
    That’s totally unacceptable.

    Just to add to the right wing garbage we have to put up with that rag The Daily Express has made great play about Abbott’s blunders over all of this. It’s out and out lies. The Express should be made to apologise and so should Bruce. She is god awful and very smug. Maitlis would be far better.

  12. @oldnat

    I wonder if anyone has seen adw and trevbot in one room at the same time?

  13. Hireton

    Only Anthony could tell – and it’s been obvious for a long time that he (wisely) ignores anything said on his site!

  14. @ CB

    “I saw the Oakeshott attack on Abbott on QT last night when she mocked her call for a general election by claiming that “Labour were MILES behind in THE polls””

    I didn’t see QT last night, and your description means I have no desire to do so, but I do agree Diane Abbott seems to attract far more criticism than she deserves. Yes, she isn’t a slick performer with a quick wit, but that doesn’t mean she’s stupid. Do we want all our politicians to be like TB? I don’t think so.

    But trying to keep to polling, what I don’t understand is why the various Labour representatives don’t challenge the classic ‘behind in the polls’ attack more often. It’s more like ‘behind in the poll’, that poll being YouGov. Other pollsters are available. Now why doesn’t someone in the Labour press office brief them that way, and make sure they point to other polls more often when they have the YouGov figure thrust at them? And even if they can’t manage that, there’s always the classic “You can’t trust the polls” line. Whenever anyone points out “Wrong to Leave” is leading by 8% in the latest YouGov, thats the usual knee-jerk response from certain quarters.

  15. I find little emanating from UK politics of much interest ate the moment, but some interesting stuff from legal opinion within the EU.

    https://www.ft.com/content/901f95fe-1a70-11e9-9e64-d150b3105d21

    Britain can extend its EU membership beyond the summer of 2019 without taking part in European elections or undermining the European Parliament, [some] lawyers have advised the assembly.

    If that opinion were upheld, then it would remove the most obvious constraint on the period of time that the European Council might offer (if they do) an extension of the A50 negotiation period. Potentially until the EU Parliament elections in May 2024 – or even later.

  16. OLDNAT, in case it escaped your attention, there is a difference between revoking Article 50 – which requires not only no second vote but not even Parliament’s permission, and a second referendum in which there will be two choices, that this time will have to be starkly defined.

    So that means for you to be even of relevance you must state whether you support a unilateral woithdrawal of A50, or a secoond vote and if it’s the latter you are thus duty bound to define Remain, to the satisfaction of all other Remainers. If you cant or wont, then a second vote can only be a choice of Remain or Leave with no definition of what each is.

  17. RAF

    Your 3rd referendum plan is an interesting idea.

    However, I suspect that approx 80% of the population would not understand the rules and would thus not trust the result.

    The general public have a limited understanding of politics. Must people out there can’t even work out a percentage.

    For a referendum to work it has to be a simple question that frames two simple and opposite concepts.

    For the same reasons, our press prefers simplistic options that can be presented and reported as white versus black, good versus evil, us versus them, left versus right, and in this vein, leave versus remain.

    For this reason referenda are limited in their usefulness and should never really be used for anything as complex as this.

    I’ve been coming to the conclusion over the last few years that there are serious flaws in our party based democracy. This issue has shown those flaws up for all too see. Perhaps we need a benign dictator to sort this out in the national interest without having to think about Party loyalty.

  18. @ Myself

    “and make sure they point to other polls more often when they have the YouGov figure thrust at them?”

    Hmmm, should have read the link first, shouldn’t I? So it turns out Diana Abbott did indeed point out that the ‘behind in polls’ was misleading, but she was rebutted by the chair. That does sound a bit rough. Well maybe next time they will have a list of Survation, BMG, ComRes, etc to hand. Surely that can’t be beyond the wit of the Labour spin doctors.

  19. ADW

    Nope. There is one single procedure by which the UK can “remain” in the EU and that is to revoke the tabling of A50.

    Any proposal (and I have seen none by anybody) to “remain” an EU member under different terms and conditions, could only happen via the UK (having revoked A50, and thus remaining as an EU member as it was prior to tabling A50) then successfully negotiating amendments to the EU Treaties.

    Haven’t you read, or understood, the ECJ judgment?

  20. @ Crossbat and Fiona Bruce as QT chair.

    I am not surprised at your comments on Fiona`s competence and Labour`s complaints about BBC`s bias.

    FB is clearly the sort of lady presenter that the BBC are now wanting to run political programmes, a clone of the Husain and Montague family. People who clearly belong to the Home Counties upper-middle class and are poised, quick-witted, stand-up for themselves and speak the advanced RP dialect. But their knowledge of UK communities, occupations and professions is often limited.

    I see Radio Times says that FB`s grandparents were fisher folk in Hopeman. The present-day dwellers in that village will probably be angered by FB`s political outlook, and may have trouble in understanding what many of us consider a strong and debased accent.

    I agree about Eddie Mair, who showed balance, inspiration, quick thinking and wit on Radio 4. He and James Naughtie proved it was possible to advance from Scottish backgrounds without deserting them.

  21. If you want to categorically rule out No Deal, it seems to me that you are by definition saying that you’re okay with potentially (or actually) cancelling Brexit, or at least postponing it indefinitely which in politics is basically the same thing. And if you want to argue for doing just that, that’s a perfectly coherent and reasonable view to advance and debate.

    But the politicians on both sides who are even now still peddling this idea that you can “take No Deal off the table” and still carry on with honouring the referendum and delivering Brexit, this is surely a huge lie? And a pretty foolish one given how treating their opponents as stupid turned out the first time around?

  22. @Danny re Sunderland/Nissan
    there’s another angle to this which i only just spotted:
    Mercedes-Benz were reported in The Independent “Mercedes-Benz had been considering moving production to the UK ahead of the EU referendum in 2016, but decided against the move after the vote for Brexit, the carmaker’s chief executive has revealed.”

  23. Just seen this

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-may/may-makes-no-change-to-demands-in-talks-with-eu-leaders-report-idUKKCN1PC2L3?rpc=401&

    Really! Is she for real?

    May is starting to look a little desperate and sad. She must be in a rather advanced state of denial to think that she can round Europe peddling a plan that was thoroughly rejected.

    She cuts a tragic figure and needs to stop for her own sake and for ours.

  24. Davwel

    We agree on lots of things – and disagree on others.

    “what many of us consider a strong and debased accent.” is one of the matters we can agree to disagree on.

    I have no problem with folk who go to live and work in another country either keeping, or changing their speech patterns to match their neighbours.

    My son has (what we think of as) an American accent in the USA. The locals think of it as Scots (or English, or Irish, or Australian or somewhere else that they don’t know, but definitely not American).

    One of the girls (from Guernsey) in my digs at Uni sounded “very English” to us, but back home, they thought she sounded Scots!

    Knowing their background, the adopted accents of Gove or Jenkins may sound very affected, but it really doesn’t matter.

  25. TonyBTG
    “Perhaps we need a benign dictator to sort this out in the national interest without having to think about Party loyalty.”

    I’ve heard a few people saying that the Queen should sort it out. It would be interesting to see polling on that idea.

  26. @CHARLES

    I really fear that the game of bluff and double bluff being played by both sides will end up in complete immolation for all, and no deal on 29/3.

  27. ROSIEANDDAISIE

    Can you explain how a referendum under incredibly intense scrutiny “can be “rigged”?

    You really are coming up with nonsense.”

    My views are not nonsense. I merely highlight the reality that the majority of UK electors chose in 2016 not to be part of the EU. A referendum that presents two choices that exclude the outcome choice of c. 20-25% of that participating electorate (no dealers, just do it andleave)

  28. I should add… Is fundamentally flawed and undemocratic as they will simply boycott the process.

  29. “Whhat about Remain but we wil never surrender our armed forces to an EU army?”
    @ADW January 18th, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    No, of course not.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-france-commit-to-new-defence-cooperation

    (Published 18 January 2018)

    The Prime Minister and French President have agreed a range of measures to strengthen defence cooperation between the UK and France at a summit at Sandhurst

    And a little later…

    The creation of a UK-France Defence Ministerial Council, creating a permanent and regular forum in which UK and French Defence cooperation can be discussed by the two Defence Ministers

    Wasn’t the referendum supposed to stop us doing stuff like this? I mean, don’t we hate Europe? Don’t we want to reach out to the rest of the world? We don’t need the help of anyone else, especially those cheese eating surrender monkeys. What was Gavin thinking?

  30. JiB

    “the reality that the majority of UK electors chose in 2016 not to be part of the EU”

    It’s more than pedantry which makes the inaccuracy of that assertion objectionable.

    Words matter, and the implication of that phraseology is that a majority of those on the electoral roll voted in that way.

    You know that that isn’t the case, and you may not have intended that implication, but the statement is wrong.

    It may well be valid to suggest that the opinions who didn’t vote are of no account, but that is a different matter.

    Some may have had strong opinions, but assumed that “their side” would win (or lose) anyway.

    Others may have been confused by the plethora of arguments deployed in a highly complex choice.

    We have no way of knowing. However, to suggest that the opinions of these people is of no importance is to remove them from subsequently registering their views, once the alternatives become clearer.

    If the numbers are such that their participation would have made no difference to the result, then fair enough.
    But 27% of the electorate in England did not vote, and the pro-Leave margin among those who did was 6.6%.

    I am not suggesting that if more people had voted in England that the margin would have been the opposite, or greater or less. Simply that we don’t and can’t know.
    That stance (if it is one you adopt) would be fundamentally undemocratic.

  31. @Oldnat

    By any measure, the turnout in 2016 was excellent.

    If there were an unlikely second vote, I doubt the “winning” choice would get anywhere near 17 and a bit million votes.

    And therein lies a fundamental problem of legitimate democracy.

  32. The fundamental problem of legitimate democracy lies in an assumption you have made. Is that right?

  33. JiB

    73% turnout in England – “excellent by any measure”? More than a quarter of the electorate didn’t vote, and you think that is wonderful?

    As I said, I’m not suggesting that if more of that quarter had voted, that the result would necessarily been different, just that your assertion is factually wrong.

    There is no dispute that more people in the UK voted to leave the EU than to remain.

    Fairly obviously if turnout in another referendum was higher, “17 and a bit million votes” would probably be smaller than the numbers voting for the winning side. If turnout was lower, 17+m would be a higher number.

    Regurgitating sound bites does nothing to bolster your case (and I note that you haven’t even tried to justify your phraseology).

  34. “Must people out there can’t even work out a percentage.”
    @tonybtg January 18th, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Hmm. I’m not so sure about that. I’ve heard many, especially old white-haired guys, shouting out ‘52% — we won.’

  35. @OLDNAT

    I agree that 100% would be wonderful, but we inhabit reality rather than fantasy.

    I just wish to emphasise that I would be all for soft EFTA Brexit, but that I fundamentally oppose any remainer attempts to frustrate Brexit. The foremost of those duplicitous means would be rescinding Article 50.

  36. JiB

    “My views are not nonsense. I merely highlight the reality that the majority of UK electors chose in 2016 not to be part of the EU. A referendum that presents two choices that exclude the outcome choice of c. 20-25% of that participating electorate (no dealers, just do it andleave)”

    ON has already pointed out that your second sentence is nonsense.

    Your third is just silly, presenting your own, hypothetical questions, in a referendum which may never happen, to claim that such a referendum would be “rigged”.

  37. @RosieandDaisie

    I do not talk nonsense.

    And I pray no serious politician, as opposed to opportunistic chancer, believes that another referendum can settle the European conundrum for them. They have direction from 2016. Not acting on that is a dereliction of duty.

  38. JiB

    “By any measure, the turnout in 2016 was excellent.”

    Compared to what? What about the over 17 million people who voted in 1975 to remain in the EEC? You see …

    ———–

    Framing a referendum as a democracy question is always flawed in the UK (that doesn’t include the Scottish independence referendum due to its very precise and argued inclusion and exclusion rules).

    Of course, anything that needs explanation is anti-democratic, and in this case both Leave and Remain would need explanations, so both Leave and Remain sure anti-democratic (I’m not as for some odd reason I had no voting right in this referendum, while my Pakistani friend had, so it is anti-democratic).

    Everybody knows that there are different levels of the question – it just happens to be that individuals matters little (apart from turning up at the MP’s surgery). It would be an important step to democracy, but nobody is really interested in it. Ticked, personal feelings might be gurt, but it has nothing to do with democracy.

    The popular vote, everybody knows the outcome, seems to be a democratic thing, except that we don’t know why almost 30% of the voters didn’t turn up. It is not very democratic to ignore them. The argument that they didn’t vote so they at irrelevant is not very democratic. As a matter of fact undemocrativ, as they ignore the individual, while as per the previous paragraph they don’t have a democratic right, but then they vote – exercising a democratic right. Mind boggling.

    So then we have the parties that campaigned on leave. So they should honour it. Except that in the constitution parties actually don’t have a meaningful position. So, strictly speaking what the parties said about the referendum is pretty irrelevant from the point of view of democracy, as parties are not a part of the concept (I am fully aware of what I’m doing – but this is the outcome of formal logic. Just to help: Gödel demonstrated in a paper in the late 1920s or early 1930s that there is no axiom system in which all actions validity could be derived or there is an axiom on which everything else depends on, and it cannot be proven. That is human thinking cannot be fully formalised. The whole argument around Brexit was declared flawed 80 years ago.)

    The HoC is “of course” democratic – they were elected by their constituents, so they have to do what the rest of the country voted for???? Where is the democracy in this?

    It is very simple, and everybody knows it, it is the same child just in different dressing.

    Apart from a few – it is an economic question, which happens to mingle with other values. It demonstrates little knowledge of economics (e.g. á is Corbyn that wages increase of the demand for Labour invcreases, or á la some Leavers that there is a market demand out there and it could automatically become ours(. It also demonstrates little knowledge about the complexities of the supply chains within the UK (Englanf) and its dependence on outer corporate policies (Macro figures are useful, but not when one wants to evaluate concrete effects).

    So, now we are back to the Carnegie model of decision-making (1961) – and this is what we are seeing. Whatever comes out of it is not democratic, but will be legitimized ex-post (it is not less democratic that driving people to the killing station).

  39. Only 34% of eligible voters in England voted remain (and only 42% of eligible voters in Scotland voted remain.)
    So leave + apathy ‘won’, (even in Scotland).

  40. No one can know for certain what is going to happen about the relations of these islands and the EU, and doubtless there will be many changes over the very long term.

    Here are my guesses, though, in separate posts, about the probality of various options. Just an opinion, mind.

    1. Leave with no deal. About 40% probabilty. As the rules have been set up, if no one does anything then this is what will happen.

    It has the advantage of seeming simple. Many are against it, but it really is quite likely.

  41. Option(s) 2.

    Some sort of compromise or ‘soft’ Brexit’.

    About 35% probability. The main pointer against is that there is no majority in the House of Commons for any specific proposal.

    It also seems that the leaders of the two largest parties face revolts if they move significantly in either direction.

    I have given it a one in three chance though, as it’s main strength is that the government will at least to try to work for a May Deal 2.

  42. Option 3 Remain in the EU

    About 20%.

    Its main strength is that it is supported by about half the population, and by a majority of MPs, publicly or privately.

    The main weakness is that no large party is supporting Remain. Also many who privately would like to remain are fighting with one hand behind their back as they want to respect the referendum.

    Hence the calls for a second referendum, which if won for remain, might reconcile some leavers to remaining, and give courage to private remain MPs.

    I would gently draw the remainers’ attention to the fact that though a referendum is attractive and democratic, introducing a two stage procedure (i.e. getting a referendum and then winning it) makes it very much less likely to succeed. That is, it has a chance of failing at either stage.

    Perhaps easier to get remain through parliament, where a majority do support remain.

  43. Other 5%

    Some outcomes are very unlikely and devoutly not to be hoped for. An asteroid hitting the earth, world war three.

    Other events are possible but not very likely – The Russians invading a Baltic country in the next few weeks, a second American Civil War ditto. More minor international crises are certainly possible.

    Another possibility is that the project of leaving is just kicked into the long grass somehow, like House of Lords reform. Or maybe we agree to leave, but at some future date which is never specified. (If that it possible of course.)

    The Government just gets on with improving education, re-opening public libraries and train lines, creating training and jobs for young people, improving mutual respect between the nations of the islands. Well we can all dream…

  44. Bantams,
    “We’ve become too dependent on the current Kent ports for commercial and passenger transport to Europe although Ramsgate is going to be dredged”

    Would that be because its where a lot of the people live, presumably there is industry hidden here somewhere too, though I dont know where what with the 80+% protected open countryside you arent allowed to build houses on. Also because its the shortest sea crossing point to the continent and the sea journey is slow and expensive compared to just driving on a road.

    Charles,
    ” the priority of the leaders of both major parties is to keep their party together and gain political advantage”

    It is very plain they are both maneuvering for some advantage rather than trying to reach an acceptable comromise Brexit position. I am not so convinced the purpose of this is entirely to obtain political advantage, but no party can wholly ignore this and survive as an effective political force. If the aim had been an acceptable Brexit, then the matter should have been given to the commons 2 years ago to debate openly for as long as it took to get agreement. Trying to negotiate first and then form your own position afterwards is insane.

    However, the obvious reason why you would do this is because you did form your position first, but it is so secret you cannot voice it openly. For example, you are working for remain. This apparently incompetent way of proceeding is indeed circumstantial evidence the parties are working for remain.

    Although the second most likely explanation is probably that conservatives at least are working for no deal. We could even imagine that both sides of the tory party have agreed to create the circumstances where a compromise is impossible because it is a step towards either remaining or no deal. They could at least agree on first creating chaos.

    ADW,
    “you are thus duty bound to define Remain, to the satisfaction of all other Remainers. ”

    I really dont understand why you have a problem with this. Remain means the status quo, as it was before the referendum. its defined in the treaties all already written, whereas the treaties defining leave have largely still to be written, but we do have an outline now in the WA. This is a far closer definition of leave than we had before.

    Or…you can present different leaves to the public to choose, but I think by now the public should be presented just one sort of leave to choose from. If the leave supporters cannot spend 2 years and not come up with one clear definition of what they want, then Brexit should just be thrown out as unworkable.

  45. As far as I know there is no cast iron test of whether something is or is not democratic. We know, roughly, which states are democratic and which are not, and we also have some rough and ready criteria for whether their ‘actions’ are constitutionally legitimate. Given this anything these states legitimately do is ‘democratic’. And in the past states have overturned referendums (as the Danes and the Irish did in respect of the EU).

    The fact that democratic states can democratically overturn referendums does not mean that this is a ‘good thing to do’. It is probably a good thing to be able to do. The claim that a referendum confers eternal legitimacy is as convenient to dictators as it is to the staunchly democratic TOH. But obviously it does not mean that it is a good thing to do in this case.

    My own view is that PeterW is right. In most cases, and in particular when what is involved is a negotiation, a referendum should be followed by a ‘confirmatory referendum’, This is because one cannot instruct someone to achieve a given result in a negotiation and it is particularly dangerous to do so when those giving the instruction are not agreed on what they want. In addition too close an instruction makes the job of the negotiators almost impossible – they have nothing to give away. So the best way is something akin to what happens in strikes – an instruction that the current situation is not good enough and for a general direction of travel – and acceptance that at some point there needs to be a decision on whether what is on offer is good enough to be accepted. Workers have to be able to decide to go back to work.

    So it seems to me that in an ideal world we would not have started from here. Given that we did TOH and JIB have a point. Having another referendum is changing the rules of the game. So, all other things being equal, it is a bad (not undemocratic, just bad) thing to do. Unfortunately all other things not being at all equal, there are also reasons for thinking that it is a good thing to do. (Lots of new voters, differing views among leavers about what they wanted, evidence that the balance of opinion has changed, looming disaster unless we get out of the mess, lies told by Boris etc).

    So it is perfectly legitimate to have an argument as to whether we ought or ought not to have a 2 ref, and the only thing wrong with JIB’s and TOH’s positions is that they refuse to acknowledge that there is anything to be said on the other side. Personally I would suggest that AW allows the debate to continue, encourages as much reference to polling in it as possible, and bans any use of the word democratic in this context.

  46. Jonesinbangor,
    “I really fear that the game of bluff and double bluff being played by both sides will end up in complete immolation for all, and no deal on 29/3.”

    That would seem to be precisely the problem. The Sunderland interviews showed exactly that those people will never get what they believe was promised to them if Brexit proceeds. They will be frustrated and annoyed just as much if Brexit is halted. There is no outcome which will satisfy leave voters.

    How do you halt something without seeming to halt it?

    “A referendum that presents two choices that exclude the outcome choice of c. 20-25% of that participating electorate (no dealers, just do it andleave)
    … Is fundamentally flawed and undemocratic [/quote]

    But it is cast iron guaranteed there can only be one kind of leave and it is guaranteed one sort or the other of leaver will be excluded if brexit happens. The only valid sort of referendum must present to the voters what sort of brexit will happen.

    Logically, if parliament cannot reduce the choice to just one sort of Brexit, the only possible thing to do right now is halt brexit unill such time as it can agree on one sort of Brexit. And then ask voters if this is acceptable. You have eseentially agreed that a referendum which fails to make clear what sort of leave it would be… is invalid.

    The logic applies just as well to the referendum already held in 2016.

  47. jonesinbangor

    “I merely highlight the reality that the majority of UK electors chose in 2016 not to be part of the EU.”

    No they didn’t. Not even close. 30-odd percent voted to leave.

  48. jonesin bangor,
    “If there were an unlikely second vote, I doubt the “winning” choice would get anywhere near 17 and a bit million votes.
    And therein lies a fundamental problem of legitimate democracy.”

    You got me thinking. I see that the result of the EU referendum was 17,378,581 votes to remain from total registered voters of 40,086,677. 67% for remain.

    Some people have claimed that a second referendum is a good idea and there are writeups of a result of such a referendum of 17,410,742 for leave from 46,500,001 voters, 52%. for leave.

    The margin is excedingly tight, with just 30,000 more voters for leave on the second referendum than for remain on the first. If we take into account the larger voter base the second time and express the result as a proportion of the total, then the larger vote is the first one, for remain.

    It could be argued there are just as many people in the Uk who want to be members of the EU as there were in 1975. Given the swing to remain since the most recent referendum, in fact more.

    Another interesting statistic is that while in the intervening years the population has risen 10 million, the registered voters has only risen 6 million. I would guess the proportion of children now is smaller since families are smaller, while people are living longer which should also increase the proportion of adults. Are rather more not on the register?

    As to yout proposition, that the biggest total must stand as a win for all time, if there had been just 40,000 fewer votes for leave in this referendum, are you saying you think it would have been invalidated because the total in 1975 for remain would have been bigger? If we consider the matter on percentages, then the 2016 result was indeed smaller than the 1975, so should be disallowed even on these totals.

  49. GARJ

    “WTO (for all the headbangers out there)”

    The only “headbangers” who post here seem to be Remainers who still don’t understand that we had a referendum and the peoples instruction to parliament was to leave the EU properly as ADW clearly points out above.

  50. PeteB, TonyBTG

    I’m happy to offer my services as the benign dictator to smooth the Brexit process. I have a very clear view of what is needed to take us out and honour the result of the referendum properly.

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