This month ICM have done parallel telephone and online polls. For voting intention the figures are almost exactly the same – topline figures are

ICM Phone: CON 38%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%
ICM Online: CON 36%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 4%

ICM have exactly the same Conservative lead on both modes, though the level of UKIP support is higher in the online poll (a long standing contrast between different polling modes). The Conservative lead in the phone poll is back up to five points after a neck-and-neck poll last month, not reflecting the trend of a falling Tory lead we’ve seen in other polling.

In EU referendum polling ICM found the usual, familiar gap between telephone and online samples – it’s down from the fifteen to twenty point gulf at the tail end of last year, but there’s still a steady contrast of seven or eight points.

ICM Phone: REMAIN 48%, LEAVE 41%, DK 11%
ICM Online: REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 44%, DK 13%

Tables should up tomorrow, once Martin Boon has wrestled with ICM’s new website.


240 Responses to “Parallel online and phone polls from ICM”

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  1. First out :-)

  2. Very many thanks Anthony and Ken

  3. According to George O, I’m economically illiterate, according to Peter Cairns, (SNP) I’m a racist…..it’s not been a good day for my social profile. I’ll take solace from my Wednesday voluntary work with young, ( mainly BME ) gang members and ex-offenders, we’re very successful at getting them into jobs, it’s gratifying to see how well employers respond to the challenge. ;-)

  4. Mode effect does seem quite pronounced here.

    Perhaps some of our Scottish experts can remind us whether there were a significant number of telephone polls during the independence referendum and, if so, if there was any variation there.

    Looking back through the headline figures it doesn’t seem to be have been as much of an issue – though this could be a result of all on line surveys.

  5. The mode effect seems to apply to both Voting Intention and EURef figures at the moment, in that phone polls produce both lower UKIP VI, and better figures for Remain.

    As AW has written before, the 2015GE result suggested that the true position lies roughly in the middle.

  6. Assiduosity

    Wouldn’t claim to be “expert”! However, only Ipsos-MORI conducted phone palls only – though few & far between – in 2014, only 2 (Feb & Aug) before the final few days.

    In those early polls, they show much larger No leads than others polling at that time.

    ICM did some online, some by phone. Haven’t checked to see if there is a difference between them.

    No other phone pollsters.

  7. “According to George O, I’m economically illiterate, according to Peter Cairns, (SNP) I’m a racist”

    I don’t care whether you’re economically illiterate, and I have no idea whether you’re racist. But that “first” business is often the mark of an attention seeker. But don’t worry, you’ll grow out of it.

  8. And now I’m an attention seeker, could be worse, I could be a humourless ALUN009. ;-)

  9. These two ICM EU Referendum polls are absolutely typical of those we’ve seen for the past 2-3 weeks. Online polls average close to a dead heat, with phone polls putting Remain 7 or 8 points ahead.

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it looks to me as if the EU Referendum polls are producing a more stable picture than those for GE Voting Intention. Online polls have overall shown things neck-and neck, or a 1-2 point lead for Remain for the past six months.

  10. I still fail to see how anybody can vote to stay in the EU given the size and scale of the common agricultural policy. Just imagine for one moment if 40-45% of the UKs annual spending budget was spent on effectively one giant subsidy.

  11. @Rich

    What an odd thing to say for someone on a figures-oriented site.

    The only reason that CAP makes up such a large proportion of the EU’s budget is that it doesn’t do any of the ‘big ticket ‘ things: defence, social security, health, prisons, policing (apart from the tiny Europol) that make up the vast bulk of a nation state’s budget (or whichever level of government is responsible for said element of spending in each member state). The corollary of which is that the member states don’t spend anything directly on agricultural subsidy.

    Really it’s a bit like saying ‘I fail to see how anyone can support having county councils when they spend 0% of their budgets on navies’!

    Of course, you could argue that agricultural subsidies have no place in the modern world – fair enough, but then would that position hold in a UK outside of the EU?

  12. Don’t tell me nobody’s every called you an attention seeker before?

    FIRST

  13. @assid,

    You’re missing the point, it’s meant to be a free market, so why is nearly half the budget spent on guaranteed prices, price controls and subsidies?, it’s border line madness.

    Are you aware of the effect the CAP has on poor farmers outside the EU, Africa for instance, something which let me tell you is very damaging. Yet strangely many people think the EU is some sort of bastion of social justice.

  14. Considering the myriad political difficulties that the Government have been encountering recently, I’d say these are very disappointing polls for Labour as we head into the local and mayoral elections in May. I can see why Corbyn’s supporters have been busy downplaying expectations but if the results are anything like these polls are suggesting, then I can see Corbyn coming under some pressure inside the party. A Khan win in London may deflect some attention away from the locals, but Labour really need to be doing better than this now.

    This is starting to feel like the Hague/IDS Tory opposition days to me. Government in difficulty but the opposition not benefiting. Corbyn needs to find a way of cutting through soon or I think he’ll be challenged inside 18 months, maybe sooner.

    That is if the Tory Government doesn’t implode after the EU Referendum. Might be Labour’s only hope for 2020.

    No matter how sympathetic some may be towards Corbyn inside the party, it would be a very rose-tinted observer to claim that Labour had got its act together. If Corbyn is going to survive he simply has to get better at doing politics. Geniality on its own doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

  15. ALUN009…….The problem with attention seeking, as I see it, is that other attention seekers respond, I’m sure that other, more mature contributors, would welcome our mutual withdrawal. ;-)

  16. Rich
    “Yet strangely many people think the EU is some sort of bastion of social justice.”

    Only for those nations within it, I think. Another weird idea I’ve heard is that the second we leave, the evil Tories will reverse every socialist policy enacted by the EU, forgetting that if any party did that, we could vote them out, which we can’t do with the EU.

  17. “welcome our mutual withdrawal”

    I’ve had my fun for now. I withdraw :)

  18. I think those of a red persuasion might be a little disappointed with the latest VI considering some of the shenanigans within the Tory party over the past few weeks.

    Moving on….Too close to call on the the EU vote so those who are still undecided are holding the rest of us to ransom
    ………….
    KEN
    “First out :-)”
    ____

    Not so fast, I believe Dale Winton came out before you. ;-)

  19. ALLAN CHRISTIE……The, ‘ Fat Controller ‘ supports that claim, he’s a big Dale fan. :-)

  20. RICH
    “I still fail to see how anybody can vote to stay in the EU given the size and scale of the common agricultural policy. Just imagine for one moment if 40-45% of the UKs annual spending budget was spent on effectively one giant subsidy”
    ___________

    Totally agree with you, however the reason the common agricultural subsidy is so large is that it stops mad pierre’s in tractors from blocking The Champs-Élysées whenever they feel like grinding the poor city to standstill when they are told by the EU to produce square cucumbers which are more easy to pack for the supermarkets than conventional ones.

    It’s the ole carrot and stick stuff to keep them happy.

  21. @Rich

    “You’re missing the point, it’s meant to be a free market, so why is nearly half the budget spent on guaranteed prices, price controls and subsidies?”

    Er, no… I previously said…

    “Of course, you could argue that agricultural subsidies have no place in the modern world – fair enough but then would that position hold in a UK outside of the EU?”

    So I fully acknowledge that the existence of such subsidies is (a) a main part of your point and (b) questionable.

    However, the reasons there are farm subsidies within the EU and, more relevant to the remain / leave argument, we would be likely to have them without are:

    + Historical, relating to the need to stimulate European agriculture post WWII

    + To ensure food security (linked to the above, Cold War and ongoing questions of international instability in producer nations)

    + Political – we might like to think that farmers are only a substantial political lobby in France, but they also exert pressure elsewhere, including the UK, subsidies are a means of keeping this very vocal lobby happy.

    Farm subsidies are emphatically not an EU phenomena (see USA), their making up such a large proportion of the EU budget is an anomaly for the reasons I previously explained.

    By the way the proportion of the EU budget that is CAP is not ‘nearly half’ it’s 39% and falling (down from 70%+ in the early 80s).

    As for ‘it’s meant to be a free market’, actually, it’s not entirely … the treaties talk about ‘a single market’ and ‘a freer market’. To achieve equity of access to that market, quite a lot of regulation is required under the present model.

    It’s also untrue that the CAP is centred around minimum pricing structures – it moved to a minimum income or ‘producer subsidy’ years ago. Hence the movement of discount supermarkets into low cost fresh produce.

    So the CAP is quite a complex beast (and few, baring the French, would argue it is a beast) but leaving the EU raises the question – what would you replace it with? Would you allow British farmers to go to the wall? Who would pay for the stewardship of the countryside?

    Nothing is ever so simple in this debate as initially painted.

  22. assid
    Just because you can explain the historical reasons for something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change.

  23. @AC

    ” the reason the common agricultural subsidy is so large is that it stops mad pierre’s in tractors from blocking The Champs-Élysées”

    Of course, our own farmers and their supporters would react with total equanimity to the withdrawal of farm subsidies… really?

    Perhaps we should reflect on the ongoing saga over fox hunting.

    Whatever one’s personal views – it seems at though consistently over 70% of the public oppose re-legalising hunting with hounds, yet the government seemed minded to attempt to reframe the legislation as an initial ‘priority’ after the election and in 2002 the Countryside Alliance brought 400,000 ‘mad Peters’ (to translate your terminology) to London to defend their ‘way of life’.

    Now imagine that wasn’t the ending of a few hunts but the dismantlement of £bns in direct farm payments…

    The French are undoubtedly the most vocal supporters of the CAP, but nearly all countries countries – including the UK – has a substantial, vociferous and influential rural / farming lobby that ensure the survival of the subsidies.

  24. @assid,

    British farmers wouldn’t go to the wall. My local sandwich shop has rather expensive lashford sausages, and I would pay double the already premium price they are that nice. If some go to the wall because their produce is inferior, then I am afraid that’s competition, but plenty of great british produce that can command a fair or even premium price. Guaranteed prices in agricultural is one of the most perverse concepts I think ever dreamt up by politicians.

    Richo

  25. @Pete B

    I wasn’t merely explaining the historical reasons for the CAP, but the ongoing political imperatives for the survival of farm subsidies.

    Farmers lobbies are powerful, so is the public desire to have the countryside well managed and the national interest to maintain food security. Subsidies deliver this – even in the free market USA.

    If you leave the CAP, what then? This seems to be the question that the leave campaign doesn’t have an answer for – the same goes for a whole host of issues.

    The reply comes that the money we pay to the EU will be used for this… and the NHS… and for managing international trading relations…. and for regional development…. and for … and for…

    It does seem money trees are back in fashion on the ‘leave’ side.

    Given the amount of time that those on the ‘leave’ side have had to come up with a positive vision of how Britain might look without the EU (some of these people have been thinking of little else it would seem since the early 90s), little of that vision seems to be on display during the campaign.

  26. @Crossbat XI
    “…That is if the Tory Government doesn’t implode after the EU Referendum. Might be Labour’s only hope for 2020.”

    DC or not DC; that is the question. I strongly doubt that any of the possible alternative Tory leaders would ever cut it with the UK public. Boris doesn’t do detail. Osborne is incredibly unpopular. Theresa May is the only viable candidate, but again being on the Right of the party she lacks crossover appeal.

    Ironically, having said all that, Labour’s best bet is a Remain vote, with a chronically weakened DC. A Leave vote would unite the Tory party.

    As for Corbyn, his role probably isn’t to win the GE but to anchor Labour closer to its political heart thereby uniting the core, before someone more marketable (but of a similar ideologic thrust) takes the reigns.

  27. @Rich

    I’d suggest you visit the countryside.

    If you truly believe that the bulk of British agriculture is geared to the production of premium sausages then you have a very unrealistic view of the industry as a whole (because it is an industry).

    Before you go I’d suggest you start by having a look at the views of the National Farmers Union, Farmers Union of Wales and NFU Scotland – all of which have separately come out in favour of remain.

    If you continue to be of the opinion that farm subsidies should be removed then fine – as I said at the outset that’s a legitimate position – but my feeling is that the ‘leave’ camp need to be a bit more forthcoming on issues such as this.

    Does leave mean shedding rural jobs and an end to farm subsidy? If so, how would that play out in the polls?

  28. @RAF

    Can’t help thinking there’s a degree of wishful thinking in your post.

    Whilst the poll numbers support your analysis of the three potential Conservative successors – Boris very vulnerable on questions of details (would Osborne go with good grace or snipe from the back benches?), Osborne himself now highly unpopular, May identified with a certain type of Conservatism, that precludes a scenario in which DC stays on after a narrow remain victory and another candidate emerges in the medium term.

    This may leave the Conservatives damaged, but far from down with a pre-election bounce.

    Historically, Labour has been much less willing to ditch a poorly performing leader and the new ‘selectorate’ system has Corbyn more entrenched than ever.

    Either his fortunes have to change substantially with the country to deliver him the premiership or his fortunes have to decline hugely with the membership to deliver someone else the leadership. Events will dictate, but neither seems a very likely prospect at present.

    CB11’s – Labour victory by default seems the only plausible path to No 10 for the ‘reds’ at the moment. But we’re only just beginning….

  29. KEN
    ALLAN CHRISTIE……The, ‘ Fat Controller ‘ supports that claim, he’s a big Dale fan. :-)
    __________

    LOL…I might see if I can take a selfie with both of them together when I visit Thomas and friends. ;-)
    _______

    ASSIDUOSITY

    I’m surrounded by farms and each morning when driving into Winchester to catch the train I have to fight my way through a labyrinth of pigs and goats just to get out of my village.

    Yes I expect our farmers would get rather peeved off if the subsidy was stopped or cut and I’m not against the subsidy but merely highlighting it appears to serve continental Europe more than it does our own hard working farmers.

    I get your point over the fox hunting and the countryside alliance with reference to French farmers.

    Just on foxes, I really wish they would visit my neighbours garden because the noise coming fae her chickens and stuff is screwing my patience.

  30. @AC

    You have my deepest sympathies re noise pollution.

    Chickens are a hazard to the peaceful enjoyment of life and property – though the noise if a fox were to get in would be something from another world, I can assure you.

    No doubt the CAP has historically favoured the French, and to a lesser extent Southern European farmers to an excessive extent. There have been moves in the right direction but it’s an iniquitous situation.

    What I would welcome is more honesty – such as yours – that actually some of the things the EU does we would need to do ourselves so, were the UK to leave, the ‘golden pot of savings’ we would allegedly be getting back would be spoken for to some degree or another.

    I find the endless promises of ‘money for NHS’, ‘money for schools’, ‘money for tax cuts’ a little disingenuous.

    That way we might have a clearer discussion about the actual benefits of leaving or not.

  31. ORB Euroref phone poll

    Remain: 52% (+1)
    Leave: 43% (-1)

    Number Cruncher on this and other recent EU polling.

    http://www.ncpolitics.uk/2016/04/eu-referendum-roundup-04-18.html/

  32. @CB11
    ‘Considering the myriad political difficulties that the Government have been encountering recently, I’d say these are very disappointing polls for Labour as we head into the local and mayoral elections in May’

    Prima facie that might seem to be the case but I am inclined to reserve judgement until we see details of the next Ipsos Mori and Comres Phone polls – both of which I believe are due shortly. I am a little suspicious of this ICM poll to be honest – it differs markedly from the trend of all other recent poll findings. Whilst Comres Online also came up with a 5% Tory lead at the weekend, this has to be viewed in the context of the 14% lead it was recording in February – ie a big drop of 9 points. ICM gave the Tories a 7% lead in February so is now suggesting that their lead has dropped a mere 2% in that period.
    Also worth recalling that ICM has had its share of rogue polls in the past – most notably a week before the 1997 election when it showed that the Labour lead had dropped to 5% – compared with the actual outcome of a 13% Labour lead.

  33. Here are the latest EWMA charts including the new polls.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDSXdWMnJqUDBIcDg/view?usp=sharing

    As both polls were taken at the same time I used an average of the two, rounding up.

    It looks like the Conservative falls recently are bouncing back a bit, and Labour are dropping back a little.

    Perhaps it was all just a few bad weeks of bad Government headlines that have washed through.

    I guess we need more polls to confirm the trend.

  34. Do the public care about ‘patriotic renewal’? Seems to me Leave is scared to talk the main issues – such as immigration.

  35. Ken

    It’s the one’s who call others attention seekers who actually are!

    Neither are you economically illiterate or a racist. You just believe like i do that the EU is a failing undemocratic institution which will drag us down if we stay in.

    :-)

  36. Am I right in saying that Don’t Know is steadily reducing in the euro polls?

  37. TOH:
    It’s the one’s who call others attention seekers who actually are!

    That makes three of us now! Remarkable!

  38. I think it is becoming clearer by the day that Leave don’t want the EU but have no clear idea what to replace it with.

    CAP is a good case in point. On paper it should be a winner for Leave, it’s widely criticised if not condemned and disliked by the General public but where is the coherent alternative?

    UKIP in Scotland have said that CAP payments will continue but as they make up a big slice of the EU budget they can’t continue to pay it will spending it on the NHS.

    Equally they want free trade with the EU so if we don’t continue with our own version of the CAP are we hoping Europe will by our unsubsidised produce but we won’t buy there’s supported by the CAP?

    As others have pointed out those wanting to leave have had decades to work on this….there were weakness in the SNP case for Independence but it was a lot better put together than Leaves proposals.

    Apart from anything else for much of the campaign so far Leave has seems less a broad church than cats in a sack!

    Peter.

  39. Pete B

    “Another weird idea I’ve heard is that the second we leave, the evil Tories will reverse every socialist policy enacted by the EU”

    Yes, but not as weird as the notion that the Tories will reverse every Tory policy enacted by the UK Tory Government and start using the money saved to increase spending on public services such as the NHS, instead of using it to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

  40. BMG Scottish poll article and tables [1] now published.

    http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/labour-putting-off-scots-voters/

    Details of the “toxic”Labour, when associated with the 1% rise in income tax.

    A control group were asked whether they supported the proposal in principal, without making any reference to an individual or party, and a treatment group were asked an identical question, but this time explicit reference was made to the proposal being Scottish Labour’s genesis. Participants were randomly assigned to each group and the results show a clear fall in support for the proposal after the simple and minor addition of a reference to the Labour party.

    The experiment shows net support for the tax proposal dropping by some eight percentage points.

    Among Conservative Scots, Labour’s brand has a large negative impact, to the tune of -12 percentage points. Whilst for SNP supporters, a Labour-branded proposal is a whopping 30 percent less popular than a neutral one. Clearly there is no quarter for Labour ideas among the current breed of SNP supporters.

    As you’d expect, a Labour proposal is more popular among Labour voters than a neutral one, with a five percentage point increase in net support when Labour is referenced.

    When the proposal was put to those voters who say that they are still undecided about how they will vote on May 5th, results from the BMG poll suggest that ‘brand Labour’ also has a negative effect. Net support drops by around five percentage points among the undecided.

    Tables also have crossbreaks by region – for those wondering about the likelihood of Green/UKIP/LD List seats

    [1] In Excel format, which I find much easier than the pdf ones.

  41. @Peter Cairns (SNP)
    “I think it is becoming clearer by the day that Leave don’t want the EU but have no clear idea what to replace it with. ”

    What should the EU measures affecting UK be replaced with?
    That’s easy: Measures determined by the elected Government of the UK.
    That means a lot of hard work for the Civil Service in the period following withdrawal.
    We are not in June voting for that future government – only deciding the playing field.
    Actually electing a government capable of dealing with the problems that will arise if we leave is another matter.
    Look at it this way:
    Remain: stuck with a choice between Tory and Labour, with more and more need to comply with Brussels.
    Leave: stuck with a choice between Tory and Labour, unless some new party can be formed with leaders with some real brains.

    On farm subsidies: one reason for having them is to ensure that a season of bad weather does not drive farmers out of business permanently.

  42. The main problem most farmers have with the common agricultural policy is that it is incompetently administered but that is down to our own civil service. Our civil service don’t seem able to manage anything that requires a working computer system.

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about the CAP which has been through many transformations since its farm price support days. It is now mostly a flat rate payment made in return for giving the EU a measure of control over the environmental aspects of farming. It also offers some incentives for environmental improvements and public access. Apart from offering a measure of income stability to producers, and thus some stability to production levels, it has little effect on prices.

  43. Dave,

    “emain: stuck with a choice between Tory and Labour, with more and more need to comply with Brussels.
    Leave: stuck with a choice between Tory and Labour, unless some new party can be formed with leaders with some real brains.”

    That somewhat bizarrely suggest that EU membership is a break on the emergence of a third force in British politics….how does that work.

    As to all the work in replacing EU laws or rules with UK ones, what evidence is there that they would be really any different or better than those they replace. We currently have pan European rules on water and sewerage but is there actually anything wrong with them or special about British Poo?

    If the legislation is essentially the same and does the same thing what’s the big deal about where it is made!

    Peter.

  44. Peter Cairns
    As Gove has just said we would keep any sensible laws and jettison the silly ones. I’m looking forward to eating a curved banana!

    Great speech by Gove incidentally, even though the Radio 5 presenters pretended not to know what ‘a priori’ and ‘inimical’ meant.

  45. PETE B

    Do you advocate leaving the Single Market?

    As I understand it we can’t ” jettison the silly ones” (laws) and be in EFTA.

    Although I have heard a lot of people talk about daft EU regulations to my knowledge they have never impinged on my life. I found an excellent explanation of why they are necessary for a single market on this page – https://fullfact.org/europe/what-single-market/

    There is also an example of EU interference in national laws. Whether it is justified or not depends on where you stand.

    One of the most famous cases decided by the EU court, the Cassis de Dijon case, shows how the EU rules on negative integration work.

    France produces the magnificent Cassis de Dijon, a blackcurrant liqueur. It has an alcohol content of 15-20%. However, German law used to require all fruit liqueurs to have an alcohol content of at least 25%.

    The effect of the German rule was to keep French liqueurs off the German market. While this may have pleased the producers of German spirits, the rule was bad news for the French producer and denied German consumers the delights of French crème de cassis.

    The EU court said that the German rule interfered with free movement of goods: it stopped French cassis (which had been lawfully produced in France) from being sold in Germany.

    The Germans tried to justify their rule on the grounds of public health, arguing that German consumers risked getting drunk because they didn’t realise how potent the French product really was.

    The court wasn’t convinced. The German rule was found to be against EU law and so had to be removed.

  46. EOTW
    What would the liqueur case have to do with the EU? The French could have just called their drink something else instead of a liqueur, and sold it as that. If the Germans still banned it, so what?

    If individual Germans liked it so much, they could always order it online or nip over the border. (Though of course Germans nipping over the border into France does have unfortunate historical associations).

  47. @Peter Cairns (SNP)
    “That somewhat bizarrely suggest that EU membership is a break on the emergence of a third force in British politics….how does that work.”
    Assuming you mean a ‘brake’
    The Cameron Tories support EU membership. Labour supports EU membership. A referendum result to stay in the EU would be taken as a vote of confidence by both parties, thus slowing (‘acting as a brake’) on the emergence of a third party of opposition. At least some Tories voting leave would seek to mend party unity after such a vote, don’t you think?

    “If the legislation is essentially the same and does the same thing what’s the big deal about where it is made!”
    If it is made here, by an elected UK parliament, there is the possibility of changing it if our circumstances change and it becomes less applicable; or of not adopting changes if they are made to suit the changed circumstances of other nations (parts of the EU)
    Example? 20% VAT on insulation and heat pumps.

  48. EOTW @ PETE B

    “Do you advocate leaving the Single Market?”

    Pete’s probably going to have to leave the UN as well!

    http://www.unece.org/trade/agr/welcome.html

    UNECE standards (which like the EU ones) also ban “abnormal curvature of the finger” in hands of green unripened bananas, mean that his chances of finding a malformed (and, therefore, probably fungal infested) one are likely to be limited to ones grown in his deregulated isolationist state

    Those of us who remember the reappearance of bananas, oranges and similar exotic goodies in the late 40s are unlikely to wish for a return to the limited diet before then.

  49. Dave,

    What nonsense you write!

    If lots of people vote to leave but not enough it is as likely it will boost UKIP in the same way as the Referendum result boosted the SNP.
    If anything a vote to leave would hurt UKIP as it’s there biggest policy shot and the LibDems are still in the doldrums.

    If you are going to try to put forward Leave arguments at least try to make them coherent as opposed to wishful thinking!

    Equally the idea that EU laws are immutable and can’t be replaced is just nonsense.

    For example the so called rules on curved Bananas which were only ever about classification and never a ban have already been removed.

    You can happily stuff bananas anywhere you want!

    Peter.

  50. PETE B:
    “If the Germans still banned it, so what?”

    Well, the logic of that is that any country can impose arbitrary sanctions. The result is that trade across borders is risky, and therefore stifled. And we lose all the economies of scale that having a market of 500,000,000 confers.

    This is the reality of international trade. If there aren’t protections for companies against the whims of governments, trade suffers. In some cases, this will be a good thing. Sometimes, protection is better than efficiency. But in most cases, efficiency is better than protection.

    “they could always order it online or nip over the border”

    And be charged with smuggling? If you’re saying a black market is better than a free market then you might well fall into that category that Osborne was speaking of, the economically illiterate.

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